“Annabel” by Sergey Gurskly, cross-posted to Eloquent Profanity.

"Annabel" by Sergey Gurskiy


This lady speaks to me! A young woman in a naval uniform, with walking stick and straight sword. The gloves and high boots make this a “walking out” uniform rather than something worn for a social event. The artist is Sergey Gurskiy.

Fantasy Navy

Annabel gives me Steampunk-y vibes. The style is Victorian, rather than Regency. The artist paints the uniform in a Continental style. While she’s clearly not wearing a British uniform, it’s subdued, in the Royal Navy style. Using a French or Russian uniform as the base would mean more gold lace.

I’m interpreting the epaulette in the British style. It rests on her left shoulder. That’s the position for a Master and Commander, rather than a Post Captain. An officer “made post” wore the single epaulette on the right.

Additionally, I don’t think Annabel is a wet-navy officer. I see this and think, she commands an airship. Maybe not a line-of-battle craft, but a small, nimble, patrol ship. Think HMS Hotspur, one of Hornblower’s early commands.

Android proportions

Annabel stands guard on my Google Pixel 4 phone. the portrait orientation fits better with the phone than a landscape monitor. In the style of a “duet” on TikTok, it would be fun to place this officer next to an airship of appropriate size. Then she can wind in and out of the sky, observing enemy positions and forces. She flies in the vanguard.

Of course, I have no idea if Mr. Gurskiy approves of such things. While TikTok’s TOS permits collabs, artists usually prefer to present their art as finished pieces.

Pixel 4

My Google Pixel 4 performs well. While Twitter acts up since the latest Android upgrade, other apps do just fine. Additionally, T-Mobile works fine for me, with the exception of Uptown New Orleans. That’s not the phone’s problem. The service just sucks up there. I think it’s one of the reasons I shy away from coffee shops in that neighborhood.


My Charleston Battery Hoodie

My Charleston Battery Hoodie

My Charleston Battery hoodie sends a message when I’m traveling.

charleston battery hoddie

The Charleston Battery soccer club

Formed in 1993, the Battery were one of the original teams in the A-League. They came to town back in the late 1990s, to play the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers/New Orleans Storm. My firstborn played youth soccer out at Lafreniere Park in those days. We went to Gamblers games at Tad Gormley Stadium, had a blast. One game, the PA announcer made a call for ball boys/girls. My boy ran down, and he did it regularly, from there on out.

After the aforementioned Firstborn was commissioned as a naval officer, his first school assignment was Nuclear Power School in Charleston. I asked him to bring me back something from the Battery that I could wear when traveling, particularly on trips to Europe. He brought me back this hoodie.

Americans in Europe

My day gig, corporate computer training, meant a lot of travel for me. Both EMC and Hitachi offered opportunities for international travel. Hitachi’s European Education Center was located in the Netherlands. I traveled there, as well as other places in Europe for them. Unless I taught in the UK, I usually entered the EU in Amsterdam. So, most of the stereotypes of Americans traveling in Europe are pretty much accurate. I fought against that as best I could. Soccer presented a way to show I wasn’t the typical American. I wore soccer kit from my favorite sides as I passed through Dutch passport control. Arsenal was always the best.

“Good morning!” as I hand over my passport.

“Oh, hi, Arsenal? Van Persie! Good morning!” replies the officer.

Football kit is a shibboleth. It’s a silent statement.

Wearing the right footie kit

One must be careful, though, when wearing football kit in Europe. England is the most problematic. For example, there’s a Premier Inn located in Chelsea, not far from the Earl’s Court tube station. You don’t want to be in Arsenal kit on match day around Earl’s Court, as the Chelsea Football Club faithful make their way to The Bridge.

So, the solution? Wear football gear that’s from the US. US National Team kit is usually safe, except when they’re playing England. The best choice? lower-league gear from American clubs. I have New Orleans Jesters gear, but the home town club doesn’t sell sweatshirts. That’s where my Charleston Battery hoodie comes in. The hoodie offers openings for conversation in a pub. I proclaim my Yank-ness (as if my accent and dress didn’t!) For the most part, Brits don’t mind Americans, so long as we show them some respect. La Joga Bonita sets out common ground.



Maurice at Melba’s this Saturday @mauriceruffin

Maurice at Melba’s this Saturday @mauriceruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin reads and signs books! Maurice at Melba’s this Saturday.

maurice at melba's

See Maurice at Melba’s

This Saturday, November 6th, Author/Professor Maurice Carlos Ruffin will be at Melba’s Po-Boys, 1525 Elysian Fields Avenue, in Gentilly, meeting folks and giving away his latest book, The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You. He’ll be there from 12pm-1pm. If you haven’t met Maurice, you’re in for a treat.

Melba’s Memories

The current incarnation of Melba’s has little to connection to the original, other than the name. While this Melba’s is a po-boy place, the original Melba’s was an ice cream place on Franklin Avenue, a couple of blocks on the lake side of Claiborne. It was right near where Franklin and Almonaster came together. Forgive my memory on this. I first learned about Melba’s in the summer of 1973. The Brother Martin High Debate Team got together once a week or so, that July and August. We had some guys who were good at both Debate and the various individual Speech events. So, we worked on a bunch of different things, ranging from research on the national debate topic to practicing Extemporaneous Speaking.

I was a rising sophomore at the time. Debate broke out into two levels of competition, Junior Division for 9th and 10th grades, Senior Division for 11th and 12th. The team nurtured a culture of helping out the new guys. I made the most of that.

Oh yeah, Melba’s. It wasn’t like we could go out for beers after practice, but ice cream was just fine. We all lived in different parts of the city, but we deferred to the choices made by the seniors. A ride down Elysian Fields, then over to Franklin wasn’t all that complicated. Melba’s hit the spot. For a white kid who lived in Metairie, going down to the Ninth Ward was significant. So many kids from the suburbs don’t get out much. Going to school in Gentilly offered opportunities to understand what New Orleans was all about.


Anyway, come out and see Maurice. It’ll be fun.