Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"This We Believe..." plus obligatory wave over bow moment

I bring attention to the latest installment of the "This I Believe" meme (for want of a better word) that the New Bedford paper has been publishing as part of a collaboration with NPR's Jay Allison's national radio essay contest project called "This I Believe." . If you can get past the Reed Richards hair, and his too-young-to-be-an-ex-mayor demeanor, John is an okay guy who speaks exactly how he writes. (I understand that may not be a compliment. I once went to a fundraiser where he was asked to rouse the crowd, and as he droned on, the only "rousing" was done at the bar. I was also present where he got a bunch of traditionally cheapass SouthCoasters to write some unexpectedly heavy checks.) He does sail a pretty boat and once you get past his curriculum vitae, here he venerates the sea with a fervor that is rare in people with such -- erm -- white roots. I reprint here his salient point:

My life is immeasurably enriched by these connections to the sea. And so I am sad when I see connections abandoned or weakened. If we think our seafood comes from a supermarket and not the hard labor of our neighbors who fish, we sever a connection. If we live near the water but don't go in it or on it, we let a connection die. If we pollute our waters with carbon dioxide, which turns the ocean to acid, or nitrogen which sucks out oxygen, or oil which covers wildlife, or mercury which poisons fish, then we are cutting off the connection that keeps us alive.

See what I mean? Okay guy.
But just so you don't think I'm quoting the "port-a-potty 40'" man and losing my real wood cred, here's an episode of Yacht Rock, which isn't as funny as some of the others, but I'm not gonna drop you in the middle of the race. You're free to find the next marker. Or not. Here:

Friday, February 23, 2007

I have the dollar...

Daily Pilot has a swell story about one of my favorite dreams: Buying a ship for a dollar. Of course, when you buy a metal-sick wood-rotten old topsail ketch for a dollar, you're probably expecting to throw a million or so more dollars right after it. But the Argus Foundation, new owners of Argus (shown here, in splendid full parade, complete with fleur de lis main during the 2005 TallShipsLA event)seem willing to try, so I'm wondering...

If there are available any topsail schooners or brigantines at least 70-ft on-deck with less than 10-ft draft and beamy -- like 26 feet -- let me know. I have a dollar, and am willing to go as high as $20, as long as it doesn't cut into my repair fund. (I will not be a phony-ass foundation, because that would mean giving old self-important non-sailing rich guys positions of power. Frankly, The 'Mate don't roll like that.) Belowdecks: Besdies luxurious cabins, I'm going to replicate my friend Steve's dad's basement office/bar/galley combo. He was real Navy. The navstation I'll have to completely redesign because charts will be useless for the most part after the oceans rise.

Sails with thin-film solar technology will provide all power needs, so goodbye fossil fuel Iron Genney (That's why I need at least one squaresail. That and life at sea without yards is not worth living.). Solar-power desalinator provides plentiful "fresh" water for the hydroponics, still, and showers. I'm hoping there'll still be fish after the anthropogenic ocean disaster, so the cats and the Beloved and I are permanent happy liveaboards while the rest of you arm-wrestle for Spam. I'll never have to shovel snow again. Endless Summer, courtesy Here's My Ship Impossible.

You have your dreams.


  • The sort-of-nearby town of Wareham MA is holding its Mardi Gras Celebration” this Sunday. They planned it that way. Umm ... Mardi Gras was last Tuesday. That's where the "Mardi" part comes from. They’ve also shortened Lent to two consecutive Thursday afternoons in July.
  • The MardiGrazation of everything. At the risk of getting all "War on Mardi Gras," I submit that no wonder Wareham doesn't know when Mardi Gras is. You can’t go to an event without some idiot having to dress like a pirate or paint his chest or head. A bank opening, a car sale, a museum’s kids’ day. Face-painting, beads, everything but the nudity and drunkenness. Which is the whole point.
  • Democratic Party of Nevada and Fox “News” brings you a Presidential debate. How about not? Anyway, they're probably covering some Britney Spears car chase or something.
  • Eboni Deon is the Weather Channel personality I mentioned last week. The one who advises people to go to the mall to avoid cold, hot, or bad weather. There: She did it again. I am suggesting she say “library” or “indie film festival.”
  • I live on an old dairy farm, now a vineyard. It’s all protected land, including ancient forest and the saltmarsh to my east. Every so often, I’ll see (and hear) one of the most amazing animals on earth, an osprey. Osprey are alive in the saltmarsh environs because of Gil Fernandez. I wish I had thanked him personally. Gil crossed the bar this week. (Standard Times file photo)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Ashtray Wednesday," Germany

Says so. Right here.
Happy chamfering. (I didn't know you could commit 40 days to beveling. Even in a religious context.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody etc..."

The board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) establishment-science bigshots have creaked up from their big leather study chairs in the dusty environs of Letswait'll-Allfaxarin Hall and exhaled a proclamation (two weeks after the International Panel on Climate Change's report) that indicates, "Global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society."

Thanks for hopping into the fray, old boys. Many studies have indicated that the effects of anthropogenic climate change began sometime in the early- to mid-Nineteenth Century, concurrent with the "Industrial Revolution" and strangely contemporaneous with the founding of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1848.

What I find interesting about all this is the use of the term "threat to society." As a not-far-from-waterfront dweller, as well as having a history of living aboard vessels, I was curious to see what effect "global warming" would have on adjacent properties.

So I found this "Flood Maps" site that indicates where my port's expensive waterfront property would be if, say, the sea level rose 8 meters. Pretty spooky. Especially if you notice that all the really expensive parcels of real estate are under water. (You can move around and see how your neighborhood does in the calamity, too.) My house is high enough in this scenario. But the neighbors better move, or they'll wreck my view of the newly-expanded shipping lanes.

The threat to society is trying to find a place for the wealthy to live. Most will obviously move to higher ground, and probably sooner than later. But when I look out at Apponogansett Bay, I see a comfortable Mobile Estate. I know it'll take some getting used to, but soon those who were smart enough to invest in a decent yacht will have to live aboard. Most don't sail anyway, preferring to recline in the stern sipping gin-and-tonics. So there you have it: the new "trailer society:" Chip and Muffy pining for the yacht club and the market floor, lolling away their days rafting up to the Rockefellers and joking about Grey Poupon.

Happy times.

Friday, February 16, 2007


  • The federal government, in typical eurocentric racist policy, have finally decided to recognize the Mashpee Wampanoags. Congratulations to a nation that had respect for the land, their elders, and the law about 1500 years before we officially poo-pooed all that.
  • UCFW (United Food and Commercial Workers) locals 1445 and 328 might vote on Sunday to strike local Stop & Shop stores since ownership won’t continue to pay 100% of employee’s insurance premiums. Stop& Shop has been holding “hiring fairs” to make certain they can continue to provide customer service to the locals who need to buy lawn furniture, TV/DVD player combos, and N.E. Patriots sweatshirts. Oh, yeah, and groceries.
  • “Money trumps peace,” saith the Yellow Admiral. Your legacy, Beachmates.
  • Really? You're Not Going To Sing For Us, Are You? Dep't.: Fall River Mayor Ed Lambert, about children: "They truly are the future, quite literally."
  • MA State Senator Scott “Separate But Equalish” Brown (R-Crybaby) read a kid’s website insults aloud (cusses and all) in a one-sided school class “discussion” of why he’s against civil rights. He called it “calling the kids out.” I call it inappropriate. So the kid apologized for the insult and then Brown offered the kid a job.That said…
  • “Al Gore is a big non-recyclable carbon-emitting pile of Styrofoam.”
  • Wait, I’m sorry. Now can I work the “Live Earth” concert and teach people about anthropogenic global climate change? And do I get dental?
  • The Weather Channel anchor told everyone how cold it was and urged everyone to “find someplace warm to stay in. Like the galleria or mall, and do some shopping.” This is the same Weather Channel that employs Heidi Cullen, who blogged, “If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval.” I guess money trumps weather sometimes, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Commemorating St. Valentine's Day...

No better way to remember the holiday based on the patron saint of epilepsy who suggested that young people pick a card with the name of the saint they would emulate for the following year. (Of course, the earlier Roman tradition, Lupercalia, had you pick the name of your "bunkmate" for the next year.) It's also the day we celebrate Saints Cyril & Methodius, who invented the still-popular Cyrillic alphabet and the no-longer popular Method Method.
So here's Stiff Little Fingers' "Barbed Wire Love."

Monday, February 12, 2007

When Interests Collide...

I love the give-and-take of politics. I don't much write about it, because I prefer to let those who would turn the InterWebs into a politcopunditocracy do so until they're asked to take it outside. Plus, I'm more the jump-up-and-down-screaming kind of political commentator the gundeck loves to shove in the scuttle.

I also love pretty boats with a tradition of learning and teaching. The Washington state legislature has been debating making Lady Washington "the Official State Ship of Washington State" for a month or so. All right, Lady Washington is a brig, a little small, but as of this scribbling, 94 "yeas" for HB-1084 on the floor sure looks like congratulations are in order. ('Hoy, Cap'n Ben, et. al.)

Friday, February 9, 2007


  • Yes, I'm flying an ensign of Ignignokt here:It's from this article in the online NB Stranded-Times about Jim Samples resigning from his position as GM of Cartoon Network. You'll notice the Mooninite is depicted either waving, taking the oath of office, making a fist, or showing solidarity with someone. Apparently someone defaced that iconic image, and it wasn't me. It's also kind of hard to see. I wonder if that's just the S-T being wussy.
  • Yes, I do think the cartoon I described as "arduous" in a former Soles'n'Bowls is funny. And, no, I didn't hear about ATHF in a misbegotten "guerrila marketing" tactic. I heard about it on SpaceGhost. Or maybe SeaLab2021.
  • I misspell or conjoin titles and names so I don't get hit so much.
  • I heard part of the Keri Rodrigues Broadcast today until Senator Bob was on. His voice makes my throat hurt. And I wonder if Keri ever tires of people calling her "Carrie." (Right. It's an audio thing I can't reproduce here. I know.)
  • Yes, I know nobody knows what I'm talking about.
  • Note to the media: The blonde bimbo who died recently really REALLY had nothing in common with Marilyn Monroe. At all. So stop it. And talk about Scooter Libby or something.
  • If you're not docked elsewhere, check out the new exhibit at NBAM.


A bunch of us kids taught ourselves to sail somebody's older brothers' Sunfish. Sunfishes. On the Sakonnet River, Tivertonside. Since it was easier to have someone else pop the daggerboard for landing while you dropped the sail: two lines, two crew. Until the thirteen year-old learns that the daggerboard really doesn't do anything in two feet of water, you pull, then drop. We all had chores (like mowing 6-acre lawns because in those days if you had a kid, he or she was the gardener for a couple of bucks. Not some guy you paid $2000 a month to park his equipment across your driveway), and a Sunfish just isn’t a party boat, no matter what any old guy with a dumb old girlfriend says. (I told you: Thirteen.)

Consult the smeary old chart above. I limited my solo expeditions, while others mowed, to Gould island (b -- which we called "Ghoul") because it was cool for a thirteen year-old, full of guano-covered rock and exotic birds. Off Nanaquaket (a) and up to Grinnell’s beach (c) was a safe trip, and sometimes the girls on the beach would wave and you could "ignore" them to be even cooler. When the race (d) between the remains of the Stone Bridge was receding and with the right southerly, you could get through on a small craft like mine and continue north, past the “packy on the pier” (what they called Mr. Jones’ Stone Bridge Liquor store, where some boaters would dock and "fill’er up" for the day’s fishing.) Past Standish’s Boatyard (e), and the few “yachts” (there are a lot more these days), past (f) the Tiverton Yacht Club (Kids like Peckham were there. I knew Peckham from Fort Barton school, and he has gone on to be a big damn skipper and was a pretty fair mate when we both sailed the Big Blue motoryacht. He’s one of the people I’ve seen, worked with, or laughed at, every decade of my life. I hope he’s well.) Then, you tack back, hitting mooring balls and freezing because the trees always made it shady up there, and there was the one time we had to pull the boat up onto the beach and portage over the bridge because the current was nuts...
It would be decades before I ever had to sail past the "old railroad bridge" and under the Sakonnet River Bridge, and I did so on other people's boats. They removed the rusting hulk of the crippled swing bridge, and the cement piers were blown up yesterday. I only remember seeing a train on that bridge once. But I always thought trains would come back, and there would be service from Boston to Newport through Fall River and Tiverton. But the Coasties called "HazNav!" so good riddance. Now the yachties from Pirate's Cove can let the kids helm all the way to Fogland.
A local station has a lead-in read that goes nowhere and a bizarrely-truncated video. Read the whole story here. (There's that seal again, asserting his rights under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, putting off the people for a whole hour.)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

SouthCoast Cultural Awareness, Part III: "How to recognize a hoax, B"

Look: I do what I do here so I don't waste paper with what I alone think is a clever turn of phrase or an interesting way of looking at the course ahead. Because, in some cases, the phone is busy or I can't find a crayon. Even when I rip a page out of Captain Wallbank's Almanack, (or any other fiction I invent) I clearly admit that I invented it, that funny is subjective, and I'm not trying to fool or convince anyone about anything. For instance: I believe in the scientists (and others) who have been warning us about anthropogenic global climate change. I believe everyone is equal and responsible for their share, which includes helping those who can't help themselves, like older, younger, unhealthier people and animals. I'm not publicizing my appearances or selling the book I haven't written yet. Although I do have T-shirts and magnets at CafePress. Thanks for listening.

Unfortunately, some bloggers take themselves too seriously. I swallowed that pill last year when I spread (what I did not know was a) joke by the Yes Men masquerading as Halliburton . Yeah. I fell for the SurvivaBall. That's the Yes Men's raison d'ĂȘtre: not only to point out the ridiculous in large corporate-geopolitics, but also to deflate some self-styled do-gooders and gossips.

It's the right of any blogger to decide what level of integrity is appropriate to them. There's a certain "SouthCoast" website I won't link here. (Actually, I've hidden a link in this paragraph.) Disguised as a site of "City of Whaling Information," it makes me uneasy due to its manicly uneven mixture of self-impressed sophmorism, unreasoned libelousness, and unexpected humorlessness. With my characteristic willingness to help, I toyed with notifying them that they have been made chumps by the Yes Men. But it's way more fun to watch them be mistaken. I'll go on watching to see how long they insist that the World Trade Organization is "bringing back slavery." So far, two days. They even link to the phony WTO site. As well as to some other conspiracy-theory asshat who didn't get the joke either. Oh, and they're three months late. Of course, they didn't notice that the WTO site's URL is http://www.gatt.org So, don't worry about not knowing the difference between the 60 year-old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades and the group it inspired, the World Trade Organization. Here's culturekiosque's story from last November about the Yes Men's WTO Slavery hoax.

So, I prescribe the following inappropriately-timed diversion :

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

"H.M.S. Impossible At The Movies"

from The Magnificent Seven:

(a shot clips the tip of Chris' cigar)
Vin: You elected?
Chris: Nah. (looks at cigar) I got nominated real good.
For the past twenty years, a certain segment of our society has spent all of its energy deriding, ridiculing, and underestimating Jimmy Carter, the U.N., Jacques Chirac & the French in general, Al Gore, teachers and scientists. From the constant slander by talk radio creeps to the flippant vilification by the media, there is plenty of ammunition spoon fed to those who find it necessary to defame and debase.
So, has anybody heard that Al Gore has been nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on educating the world about global climate change? Or that the U.N. named him "Champion of the Earth?" Or even that An Inconvenient Truth is up for an Academy Award? No. The people who should be congratulating our former Vice-President are too busy talking about an astronaut in diapers kidnapping her love rival. Looking for links to share these stories with readers, I found a bunch of goons using this opportunity to make fun of Gore, Carter, and the international community. All at the same time. And the media is thrilled to report that a certain fat OxyContin-addicted, racist has also been "nominated."
Since Al can't get a break here in his own country (the British agree to show his film to school children, but Americans whine about showing such things to their own lazy obese addle-headed barely functional punks), I thought I'd share the following: At the bottom of this page is a link to StopGlobalWarming.org. Go ahead and click on it.
And here's a clip, with subtitles :

Friday, February 2, 2007


Only on The Beach:

  • An AARP TV ad features a 1979 Buzzcocks song called “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” off Singles Going Steady, which includes the masturbation anthem “Orgasm Addict” and the rocker “Oh Shit!” Retirees sure ain’t listening to Lawrence Welk no more, huh? Follow the bouncing bowline as we chantey along: “Life's an illusion, love is a dream But I don't know what it is...
  • After twenty years of convincing SouthCoasters that they want a casino, DUMass Center for Specious Statistics has once again released several of the first parts of an on-going multi-vacation package study of SouthCoasters and their love for slot machines (sometimes known as “stand-up scratch tickets”).
  • It’s Ayn,Ann,Oin,En,The Rand’s birthday (if she can be said to have been “born”). Allow me to repeat her prophecy: "The upper classes are merely a nation's past; the middle class is its future." Yeah, that’s working out. Whether Angelina Jolie is starring in Atlas Shrugged Colon The Movie with the Same Name as the Book Nobody Ever Reads or not, anyone who smugly claims that acting out of self interest is more rational than acting to help fellow shipmates is just plain wrong. "Rational" I guess, because you can rationalize putting on your “I’m Rational” hat and worshipping at the altar of inhumanity, greed, selfishness, and lazy, unimaginative fear. I can surely avoid the illiterates on EntertainMeTV deifying Rand when the dross gets poured.
  • Lauren Nelson, University of Central Oklahoma student and new Miss America, said in her “speak, speak, good girl” portion of the Miss America conetest: “I think by being a good role model, by being a Miss America, somebody that shows that women are strong and that they can succeed in this, in our society, I think by being a good role model we can change that.” Miss Rhode Island, Allison Rogers, a nationally-known environmental advocate, manager of Harvard’s Green Living program, and National Wildlife Federation functionary, travels around teaching school kids about global climate change. The perky but paranoid (can you get any more American?) Nelson spends her days online looking for sneaky 40-year-olds on MySpace, or something like that.
  • Remember my rant about cultural literacy? The Starbucks thing, and how nobody around here has any idea who Amy Sedaris is? Well, it’s not just the SouthCoast. Apparently only two people over the age of 20 in Boston have ever heard of the arduous AquaTeenHungerFarce, an uneven series of slow-burn “Gee this would be funny if I were stoned” gags on late-night CartoonTeeVee. Publicity stunt. Product Visibilities. Set up a couple of ill-prepared mumble-mouths who can’t carry a joke in a bag to run a poorly-contrived diversion and get the story on every possible media. Mission Accomplished.
  • Oh, and at the same time, there actually were two pipe bombs found in an office at Tufts-New England Medical Center, where my kidney crew is. They’re okay. Egos, not so much.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Extinct yet? No, but we're trying...

You've built your ugly McMansions on their land, trapped and poisoned most of them and forced their natural food onto the suburban roads where you can hit them with your 75 mph-going SUVs. You don't see them because you're on the phone or watching the DVD, and you can't hear them because you're cranking Justin or Britney or Fiddy Cent.
You feed your prized ChihPooBrador or Cockerel Spaniard out in the backyard because you don't want all that expensive but smelly NutriNaturPup© food in your newly-remodeled MarthaStewart© mudroom, but you don't have the common sense that other animals might want that food as well. And you refuse to admit that your $350 pet-of-the-month is part of the food chain. That's right: Fuzzy-Sweetums is a meal.
So, you have the cops chase your scary Public Enemy Number One. No, not the meth head across the street or the embezzling town clerk or the car thief or the vandal. No, this is a real terrorist: a coyote.

"A Framingham assistant animal control officer shot and killed four coyotes on Sunday, and police believe one of them is responsible for killing a family dog on Saturday."

Because those varmints are "a public safety risk," and all the TeeVee news mannequins can show scary pictures of those mangy varmints and show scary file footage and repeatedly show the bereaved, swearing that those things are threatening to your safety and junk. And yes, sure, it's coyote season (because we do so prize their pelts, don't we?) Yes, you're a spoiled child. Fear the real world, because Nature shouldn't include things like toothy beasts or global climate change. Stay home where it's safe, watching Fox News and Deal or No Deal. Where it's safe.
But maybe you want to show that you're a real man, a real tough guy. Have some fun with your shotgun. Since everything is put here by God only to entertain you, you can shoot at that seal thing, whatever. Yep, just blast it away. Hell, them Eskimos go out and club them puppies, don't they? Plus, it was prolly sick anyways.

Where I was growing up, there was a seal who frequented a rock in the bay near my house. The townsfolk thought little of that seal but no one would have shot it. Besides, the feds had just passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the damned thing was cute. Whether the seal changed a migratory pattern, or found better fishing someplace else, one day it wasn't on the rock, and the buzz around town was, "Where'd he go?"

Every night a few years ago, we could hear that extraordinary yodeling that only communicative canids like coyotes can make. Never mind the entertaining Native American coyote stories. This sound, romantic and plaintive, somehow joyful and free. We could tell where those coyotes were, running from one vineyard through the hayfield and out the other vineyard to the saltmarsh, and the neighbor's bassets and beagles would howl and yip right along, a language they delighted to share.
Last Summer, I heard only one brief isolated lonely yodel.
Yeah, I know.
"You don't know what you got til it's etc..."
Let's try not to waste any more.