Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adopt, Adapt, and Improve

Most shipmates will recognize this gentleman (shown here in a fourth wall-breaking moment from the Bank Robber/Lingerie Shop bit)'Motto of the Round Table'as John Cleese. (I say "most" because I know that one of you thinks that this gentleman is actually named "Monty Python.")
Which isn't to say that you're wrong; he's the tallest member of the troupe, so he might be mistaken for the leader of Monty Python's Flying Circus. But that's what happens in this New Age, where we assume stuff, are rarely corrected, and are merely told what is important.
By people who rarely get edited or informed.
The Beach's teevee and radio "information" sources lead me to surmise that events (like 2500 flu cases out of 6,776,560,627 people) are just opportunities for misinfotainers like teevee personalities to run their undergarments afoul and make more shrill and stupid noises to satisfy viewers' need for the opiate effects of drivel, and further addict and inure viewers to prolonged and mendacious assaults on their limited reasoning faculties.
Small misapprehensions become widely-accepted misunderstandings. Like "tighter control of criminals' access to firearms" becomes "liberals taking my guns away." Or "seasonal infectious flu instances" becomes "Dirty Illegal Mexican Alien Swine Flu Pandemics."
The fact that various outbreaks have been named "Russian," "Hong Kong," "Spanish," "Swine," or "Bird" means nothing to the influenza. It will infect, mutate, grow, study interpretive dance and do whatever else it is that influenzas do.
The would-be marketing guy in me believes that strains of influenza should be named for their cures, not their origins or causes. That way, you can't panic people on teevee and radio with menacing names for menacing things until you have it completely contained. Thus, the focus will be on fixing the disease and not on naming the disease.
Of course, you'll suffer a horrid debilitating drowning coughing illness from Tamiflu-Correctible Influenza or from Scuzzy Wetback Wallowing Pigfilth Flu either way. The former just looks nicer in the obituary.
A lively discussion took place at Dr. Momentum's Aces Full of Links, where I -- as I am often wont to do -- veered wildly and recklessly off-topic in order to satisfy my compulsion to talk about ME.
His post concerned Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman's suggestion that this swine flu should be renamed "Mexican influenza" so as not to offend Muslim and Jewish sensitivities about pork. A brief mention of "insulin injections which may contain porcine products" and I set topsails and courses and left sense in my wake, rattling on about a seven-year-old's experience with Jewish Orthodoxy and his own subsequent knowledge of relative price-per-unit realities in the manufacture of insulin.
A perplexity spied by b.o.b. (bob), a welcome contributor here in The Journal, to whom I owe an even more detailed explanation.
Many years ago, I worked at the Joslin Camp for Diabetic Boys (now operated by The Barton Center), and until that one Summer when I was not begged to come back (something about our pirate radio station and a camp nurse, if memory serves), I -- like the rest of the good consumers-in-training and staff -- was privy to news about breakthroughs in treatment modalities.
Oh, we knew all about the "artificial pancreas" backpacks which pumped measured doses of insulin right into your side at pre-determined intervals. We heard about how someday -- maybe as soon as 1995! -- science would shrink those down to "the size of a quarter." And we heard about how there would soon be "synthetic human" insulin to replace the pork-, beef-, sheep-derived insulin we depended on. Space-age genetics technology would create friendly and plentiful genetically-modified bacteria that would produce huge vats of the stuff, so much that it would be practically free.
There were, of course, skeptics.
Andrew, the Junior Counsellor in Cabin Six, understood a permanent consumer base like insulin-dependent diabetics. "What'll keep drug companies from just saying they have to use more expensive equipment to make it so they have to charge more? Or that you have to buy it more often because it expires in half the time? Or that you have to use more because it's not as strong as the stuff we have now?"
But you'll be able to use the same insulin that I use, not the sheep-beef stuff that they have to special-order, I advised, recalling his religious restrictions. (Which, we later discovered, were actually the result of his father's protracted disagreement with their rabbi over President Reagan's election.) "HAH! You wait. You'll see. They'll control the market with their one product. It's taken me eight years to find the insulin that works perfect for me. No high-highs, no more insulin reactions. Remember that time two Summers ago?"
Of course I remembered Andrew's ordeal. Waterfront watch... blood sugar dropped... thrashing... lines, floats, and canoes... three CiTs with a fishing net. But human insulin...
"You'll see. They'll take everything else off the market and we'll have to buy their kind. They'll find some excuse to take the beef or the sheep off the market. It's a monopoly."
I tried to tell him that there would be different insulin companies manufacturing it and selling it, and competition would bring the price even lower. That he sounded like one of those crazy Project Blue Book/Area 51/UFO nuts.
Or sort of what I sounded like when I observed on James' blog that recombinant-DNA insulin is "cheaper to produce, but costs more." No corroborative evidence, just me typing...
I was that know-it-all smarty-pants Owl from Winnie the Pooh.
And that's how a crisis of confidence and self-policing has inspired me to once again endeavor to avoid adding to other online comments sections. Not because I don't have anything to share; I'll just keep it here where I'll be more comfortable not messing up other peoples' threads.
Remember to wash your hands and don't cough in peoples' faces. Get plenty of rest and avoid stressful or immunity-compromising situations.
Adopt, adapt, and improve.

Friday, April 24, 2009


  • I was just looking over the files, and I found an old quote from a former president: Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law. (George W. Bush, June 26, 2003. "In a statement issued on United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture June 26, the president called on all governments to join in prohibiting, investigating and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.")
  • It's a complex world.
  • Is it my own skeptical, cynical, and discouraged imagination, or has everything on The Beach just gotten transparent?
  • I mean "transparent" like those anatomical models, where you can see all the gizzards and organs and such. There doesn't seem to be even a thought given to beautify or garnish or enhance or dress something up.
  • The marketing world. It's become too clear, too predictable, too common.
  • Take the celebration of Earth Day. Since 1970, when Wisconsin Democrat Gaylord Nelson dreamed up the commemoration of overpopulation, nobody was working very deliberately to turn it into an obnoxious Hallmark holiday that coincided with sales and sandwiches. In fact, most climate change deniers have used it as an excuse to make fun of earthy-crunchy-granola-hippie types.
  • Until this year.
  • When The Beach learns how to make a buck, it doesn't stop, and it teaches its young to do likewise. No matter what symptoms of ill-health capitalism is suffering these days.
  • "We saw everything today from a necklace made out of buttons to milk cartons for hats or soda tabs for ties. It helps to show them how everything doesn’t need to be tossed out, that everything has a purpose and can be reused,” said Gardner School "Green Day" coordinator Pat Daignault, who "coordinated" the school's Not-Earth Day festivities. (It's school vacation week, so they couldn't have Earth Day on Earth Day, so they co-opted the band's name for the occasion. Yeah, at first I thought it was like when their parents celebrate Mardi Gras on the Friday before. And they ripped off the band's name.)
  • The kids got to make and wear "fashions" forged from recycled items. The unfortunate part is that the whole "soda tabs for ties" concept is antithetical to the entire environmental focus, albeit clever.
  • See? You have to manufacture items that you can recycle and make into "fashion." Soon, kids will be gorging themselves to obesity and type-2 diabetes on high-fructose corn syrup-laden sodas in order to create the raw materials for their togs. Eventually, the market will turn on itself, as some distributor starts manufacturing those soda-tab ties in squalid third-world soda-tab tie sweatshops and underselling those very entrepreneurial Second Graders.
  • Maybe learning to do without things like soda-tab ties might help us avoid that next economic crisis.
  • I was sent a breathless e-mail notice urging me to pre-order the new Dan Brown book. I have never done so in the past, but -- like my inability to not look at the comments sections -- I am cursed with insatiable curiosity, so I looked at it. The cover (which was obviously a marketing mock-up thrown hurriedly together in just black and white) made me think of Umberto Eco.Really. This was in the e-mail.
  • Brown's books are Tom Hank movie scripts which usually pass as "great reads" primarily to folk who've never read Foucault's Pendulum, which covered all of this Angels & DaVinci ground. It actually looks like this: This is on my bookshelf. Right after 'Name of the Rose'
  • What's really cool for the conspiracy theorists among us: when I went back to find the Brown book cover at Barnes & Noble's, it had been changed to a more non-desciprt font and color scheme. Even with the obvious differences between the fonts, somebody -- however briefly -- served a subtle nod to the guy who wrote the book 20 years ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Bedford Fisheries Monument

Waitaminnit.. That black-and-white guy behind that lady... Keeps yelling that he is not a number...I can't believe that I've been sitting on this story by Standard-Times reporter Jennifer Lade (who has made it to the semi-finalist round in the S-T's Last Reporter Left Writing reality show). Apparently, the sexist-and-noninclusively-titled-but-sure-to-not-bother-anyone-in-The-SouthCoast...

...winning design for the New Bedford Fishermen's Monument was revealed Friday night at the New Bedford Whaling Museum... Joseph Ingoldsby's design of a granite fishing vessel was chosen from six finalists by the Fishermen's Tribute Fund committee. The completed design will grace the northeast corner of Fort Taber by the harbor entrance.
"I think it's important that New Bedford have a monument that's going to stand the test of time," the Marshfield artist said at the fundraising event, billed as The Big Reveal... Ingoldsby said he spoke with naval architects, fishermen and fishing boat captains as he did research for his design.(no mention of whether he spoke with the architects of Portmeirion, Wales)
It calls for a granite structure based on the eastern rig scallop boat. The granite will match the nearby Fort Taber, he said, and the deck of the boat could be used for ceremonies and celebrations.

Really, it's a real place. With a Stone Boat.
And also for filming Sixties cult television shows starring Patrick McGoohan.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Patriots' Day Weekend Quote

“I’m just a bit part in this story. I’m a small part. I’m a seaman doing the best he can, like all the other seamen out there.”

Friday, April 17, 2009


  • So, guess where I was last night. Go ahead.
  • Here's an especial hint for all the participants of the Million Moron Marches held on Wednesday:The guy on the right
  • That's right, I took the Cute Redhead to see the Redheaded Stranger, Willie Nelson, at New Bedford's Zeiterion. I must say that I prefer smaller venues for acts like Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters though. Not an arena rocker.
  • 83 year-old Ray Price was magnificent.
  • The one techie distraction was the way the Texas flag kept dropping out of -- and then disappearing into -- the flies. No mention of secession, though.
  • I apologize to my Sub-Continental friend who, after Googling™ "free mardi gras showin bob," What's urdu for 'chicks with low self-esteem'?and faithfully following the link to here, found that I did not have any for him.
  • Free or not, I haven't seen bob in months.
  • But such are the failings of an online journal whose sole contributor is not omniscient. Like so many others.
  • Even though I have an acute and chronic fear of letting other people down (probably a consequence of continual disappointment and disillusionment), I have come to think of this lively experiment as more than an online journal. As also a shared calendar, a reminder of when I should be hearing peepers or changing the storm windows or celebrating Alyson Hannigan's birthday.
  • March 24. Which, yes, I forgot again, so you can see how, after five or so years, I have tended to slacken a bit.
  • I will, however, take this moment to urge everyone to celebrate Liz Phair's birthday in an appropriate manner. Today.
  • Here's a musical talkie moving picture of a song from Exile in Guyville. People will say that she hasn't aged since 1993, but neither have I, and I know more swear words now.
  • But I can tell you that I was glad to have this cranking just moments from the end of a bit of my life that I title My Overlong & Mis-spent Adolescence. Pick it up wherever self-indulgent paperbacks are shoved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Enjoy your Tea Parties

I was thinking today about the participants of the Boston Tea Party.
Not the teevee "Tea Parties" going on in major moron settlements here on The Beach, with a bunch of slack-jaws tossing Tetley around to show their greedy and selfish disregard for the money required to keep our country great. Anti-American whiny boobs just love yelling about "taxation without representation."
Let the old Third Mate tell you something about "taxation with representation," my new Sons of Liberty. In 1773, you had a Parliament half a world away and a bunch of businessmen inciting willing townsfolk to protest ... erm, uh, waitaminnit, lemme try it this way...
Here in the Twenty-First century, we have representatives whose salaries come from the taxes that you pay. They have a Constitutional obligation to address your articulate grievances about the way your tax money is spent. Also be aware that those representatives answer to you every 2, 3, 4, or 6 years through our semi-annual semi-revolutions called elections. And guess what? You can even resolve to represent your neighbors and your own ideas about governance by running for a post or position or office or seat. And then you can decide how to pay for infrastructure maintenance and improvements, education, and programs to keep people from doing bad things, like stealing or dying of terrible diseases.
You should have learned all of this in civics class, but I'll bet somebody in your hometown thought that book-larnin ain't that important, so they cut taxes and left you with EMPTY where CIVICS should be.
The story of the 1773 Boston Tea Party is way more involved than the "No Taxation without Representation" slogan, and you can read about it anywhere online.
So, I was thinking about my old friend Leon, the boat architect, historian, and artist who's done work for the Boston Tea Party Ships.
Fifteen or sixteen years ago, we were traipsing around a lumber yard behind a sawmill, picking out lumber for the refit of a certain 400-ton movie prop. A storm over the previous Summer had left a lot of old oaks on the ground and we were looking for healthy and sizable lengths that we could mill and steam for hull planking. Oh, and a knee or two.
Leon explained some of the requirements of ship's lumber and my mind was receptive to every nuance while I enjoyed an Autumn afternoon's trudge through a few acres of felled old growth timber slabs, operating a peavy. CAN too I enjoyed that learning experience, and I especially enjoyed using the worn logrolling tools, whose antiquity and mechanical simplicity appealed to my antiquity and mechanical simplicity.
That I spent time doing this and rebuilding old ships does not mean that I am an expert on old lumber, but I do not believe that centuries-old machine oil-stained timbers from a recently rain-soaked cotton mill can be better for a ship than, say, whatever's been laying around the lumber yard that your shipyard generally contracts. Donated or not.
But that's just me. I like Douglas fir decking because it feels good on my bare feet.
As I freely admit: Not an expert.
But it makes me wonder why a few lengths of yellow pine removed from a factory that isn't even scheduled for demolition would be so important to Our State's Official Vessel™, Ernestina, when described in a press release from the developer which the Mayor of New Bedford sent out to the local newspaper.
Was someone really cynical enough to think that giving some wood from a building to a ship would make the people who like that ship clamor for the immediate demolition of that mill or something? What? WHAT?Oh, well.
I hate The Beach.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Portuguese Something-or-Others

There was an annoying, cloying, and ultimately untrustworthy little troll who blustered around a radio station where I worked. Unlike the other little trolls, he was not employed there. He loitered there, getting raised-eyebrow looks from on-air personalities who had heard a rumor (which he devised and did not deny) that he was related to the station's owner.
I had no self-esteem in those days, so I sometimes chauffeured him around since he lived on my way home. As some twisted form of payment, he felt obliged to share with me chestnuts of wisdom which ranged from advice about personal manner ( "We gotta develop you a swagger" ) to alternate sources of income ( "All them mailboxes on your street have checks in 'em" ).
But once, he said something that I found nearly tenable:
"Portuguese," he said, "will be the new Jewish slang."
Go on.
"You know how comics use Yiddish words? Gets a laugh everytime. But it's so last year, like Catskills-Borscht-Belt old. They're gonna need a new set of funny foreign words, and we've got'em all right here in Fall River. Start usin' 'em in everyday conversation, around town, and they'll catch on like wildfire."
Since I recalled that he actually had started a wildfire once, I listened as he rattled off Portuguese anthropomorphisms and terms for bodily functions, none of which had the ha-ha like michigas or cockamamie (or even kakameyme). Now, decades later, funny Portagee slang has yet to take off. Emeril Lagasse hasn't exploited his childhood neighbors' linguistic heritage (only their culinary heritage) and although he mispronounces Portuguese cooking terms regularly, it is important to note that "BAM!" is not a Portuguese slang term. (And it isn't funny anyway, unless Elzar says it when presenting the check to Bender.)
But I'm sure that when cabeça dos peixes is a sought-after Saturday Night Live T-shirt, my old work buddy'll be right there taking credit and bragging that he was ahead of that curve.
Which brings me to the things that have "Portuguese" in their names: the Obama's new dog, which I mentioned back in February, and I reprint here:

Please understand that I appreciate the Portuguese Water Dog. In fact, I am sometimes considered one: Portuguese + water + dog = Your Third Mate.
  • A Cão de agua Português, according to the American Kennel Club, is an exceptional swimmer and diver, the breed retrieved broken nets, dove for
    fish, carried messages between boats and to shore, and guarded the boat for his
    master in foreign ports
    . Yep. Number Three, four legs.
  • Which is why I like the idea of The New Guy and his family allowing one to
    inhabit our White House. Were I leader of the free world, I would have
    bird-dogged a more nativist pup name like an AMERICAN Staffordshire Terrier or
    AMERICAN Foxhound or Chesapeake Bay Retriever or -- keeping it at least on this
    continent -- a Labrador or Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever or Newfoundland or
    AMERICAN Eskimo Dog or Alaskan Malamute.
  • As long as the last two don't insinuate any ugly election memories.
  • So, maybe the Portuguese Water Dog is the right choice, as long as they don't get talked into giving it a goofy shave job like this:
  • All right! I got your thing. Now give me back my butt fur.And, most importantly: Bolos levedos or Portuguese muffins. As the packaging states, there's no preservatives, and they're low in sodium, cholesterol, and fat. So it's a good idea to slather them in butter to make up for those particular shortcomings. I've made some tasty cheeseburgers with them. They're about the size of a small dinner plate. The one drawback to them is that you can get into some pretty tough scrapes in Fall River if you insist that Amaral's are better than Tony's (wait, I thought that Amaral's was Tony's. Oh, that's Antonio's). Or Central's ... or Lopes' or Faria's. Or someplace in New Jersey.
    The First Family cão loves 'em!

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Friday, April 10, 2009


    • It must be Spring, because I'm desiring more and more to leave The Beach these days. Time to return to the waves, hoping not to be molested by waterborne economic terrorists. Although I trust the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and its alumni to keep me safe there.
    • I am afraid that some wife-beater-wearing mouth-breather might accuse me of being wealthy, which is what the wretched boors and goons around here allege is the affliction of the well-mannered around here. The knuckle-draggers are trying to light their misbegotten ClassWar!™ fires once again.
    • If there is any one thing that my politically-disposed family taught me as I grew up, it's that politics is a social science at its heart.
    • I was immersed in that community by people who took to it rather easily and seemed to enjoy it. So, much like the kid whose dad turns the boat over to teach him how to swim, I was thrown into the world of "times" and parties and glad-handing and back-slapping and "haw-haw-haws" and "whoa-HOs" with little ceremony or thought as to how a kid might flail about until he manages to get his head above water.
    • Thirty-five years later, how do you apologize to some Fall River politician that you told to "Shut up and go home!" when he was yelling at your bedroom door at two in the morning because he thought that it was the bathroom? And how do you handle the politician who admits -- on the air -- to a crush on a member of your family? Or the one who wags a finger and says, "Oh. Yeah. I remember you."
    • Ultimately, it's about being sociable. It's about considering others, their needs, opinions, and feeling. Whether you like, agree with, or care about them.
    • The vigilant political mind does not say, "Ignore them, they'll go away." The discerning political mind does not ever say, "I don't need them." The considerate political mind cannot afford to insult anyone. And doesn't.
    • Even in small-town antediluvian irrelevancies like a seat on a masquerade representative body like Town Meeting. Since the anachronism is still there, Dartmouth has to people it with busy-bodies and know-it-alls who are sure that they know what's best for the town.
    • Town Meeting, though, does make everyone in Dartmouth think that they can make some difference in the town. This turned out very badly a few years back when some self-important bonehead insisted that the town should split itself in half in as indecorous and ignoble fashion as possible over -- what else? -- taxes.
    • Like the people who think that "free speech" means foul language, some people think that democracy means imposing selfishness, even on those of us who would rather be democratic and not be selfish.
    • I was taught that involvement in politics requires a certain amount of familiarity with and goodwill toward your constituents and fellow residents. You know: get out, mingle with the common or uncommon folk who also have a stake in your community. You might even want to mention your candidacy to the neighbors. Drop a note in their mailbox, or maybe wave or be in some way pleasant or... neighborly.
    • Unless, of course, there is some political machine or special club or "interest" that ensures that you get the votes. Which begs a whole new list of questions.
    • Certainly, an informed citizenry must seek answers in order to be informed, but scratching for facts by hunting out arcane sources and rooting around in obscure places is absurd and hampers the process. I mean, I'm not sure I really want you representing me if you're so presumptuous as to think that I'll vote for you just because you've always been there or because you live on my street without so much as a "how do you do."
    • Of course, if you're just looking for your name in the paper or trying to garner attention for yourself, you could always become a flasher.
    • Like the "environmental activists" in New Bedford who changed the name of their effective neighborhood group to something more generic and then started a half-hearted ClassWar!™ by blaming "non-profits" for the problems of "the poor."
    • Unfortunately, the specific "poor" mentioned don't do anything but hold out their grimy paws, stamp their little feet, make uninformed calls to talk radio, and give themselves prizes for their own misconceived "citizenship" and "activism."
    • (One of the characters in the above-linked story is one of the same guys who mouthed off at me, incorrectly thinking that he paid my salary since it said "New Bedford" on the door of the museum where I worked. I mentioned them here. So I may be apt to pre-judge.)
    • My advice to these would-be also-rans (besides "learn what a 4-way stop is" and that "uh-huh" is not the correct response to "thank you" ) : Learn about the positive effects of correctly-administered politics. And become intelligently involved with the people and politics in your town without becoming a menace and nuisance to the people and politics of your town.
    Also: Town Meeting Member

    Dartmouth: The neighbor's trailer shows solidarity with the Maersk Alabama

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Hey, thanks!

    Thoughtful humans, using helpful global climate change or underwater volcanoes, have released useful water from a sixty foot deep, Connecticut-sized chunk of the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica, where that water has been held in "cold storage" for millenia.
    Follow JUST ONE SIMPLE RULE and lose acres and gallons off your ice shelf! OBEY!

    from Wallbank's Atlas and Geographical Almanack

    actual sizeDartmouthageners are rightfully proud of their Town Motto: "utile dulci."
    After all, it's Latin, and so makes Dartmouth seem and sound official.
    When Count Vernon Latiffiere de Dartmouth first erected his Flag of Conquest on these pleasant shores and sweet fields, that flag held his family's crest which included, among a ferret rampant on a fraise proper, the enigmatic quote from Horace, "omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci," which is often translated as "He has poked every tulle, that is the one who has mixed the propitious with the peachy."
    Translated, yes, but marked "C- awkward: rethink."
    As the history of Dartmouth unrolled like a wide expanse of sod across the barren lawn of a middle manager, the motto sustained some unfortunate hits, mostly from vandals and Latin scholars.
    Arguing before Town Meeting in the Spring of 1838 (for Town Meeting was held in the Spring as soon as the Town Meeting members awoke from their hibernation), farmer Stinky Plaidsleeves called for the immediate truncation of the motto "because," as he explained, "folks have got to turn the Town Seal over to get to the good part."
    He was right, of course. And this was back in the day when the Dartmouth Town Seal featured a tiny fawn with a red bandanna. This was before the Bloods took over. (see above for this year's model, the ten-point buck wearing a fez).

    So Town Meeting, displaying their now-customary disapproval of smarty-pants book-larning (codified by Town Anti-Intellectual Committee members in 1908) shortened Horace's ancient and incomprehensible epigram to the two words everyone could remember: utile dulci, "the useful with the pleasant."
    Although Dartmouth residents are neither Latin nor rarely both useful and pleasant.

    Which is why we drag our sour pusses to the polls and vote today.
    Also: remember that Captain Wallbank urges you to go to your town's local public library and learn more about your town's history before it closes because the selfish knuckle-draggers in your town stop funding it, unpatriotically refusing to spend another eight bucks a year in property taxes.

    Friday, April 3, 2009


    • If they're going to do a theatrical musical version of Green Day's American Idiot, what about Will Farrell's show? Are we to just forget that?
    • Speaking of the massive excitement brought on by the rapt anticipation of next Tuesday's Dartmouth Town Elections: I expect every resident to do their duty with the customary wisdom and gentility expected of the citizens of my fine village.
    • It is Tuesday, right? Because Monday is Opening Day at Fenway. And, well....
    • I have found that a few moments of actual Twenty-First Century news, watched in judiciously controlled doses, can be heartening and discouraging both.
    • So I stopped.
    • For instance: By a number of televised reports that I regarded on Monday -- the SouthCoast experienced a "tremor event" which allegedly incorporated a loud retort and rumbling, auscultated in locations as widely distributed as Tiverton Rhode Island and Wareham Massachusetts.
    • The geographical distance between which, according to locals, is as far as humans can travel without the need for technological preparations to combat the effects of foreign atmosphere.
    • That, and the inordinate fear of "them people."
    • The livestock around this old manse seemed perturbed, and so I dove in for a brief romp of the realm of caybull teevee news.
    • The landscape was peopled by blubbering idiots and giggling dingbats who both seemed incapable of speaking comprehensible English or dressing appropriately. It seems that uttering a full sentence without a wink or glib tone is simply impossible, and the only actual fact that I could discern about the meteorological/geological event was that the United States Geological Survey Team stationed nearby admitted that they had no explanation.(Nor even the Weston Observatory , who had felt the Boston one last week, nor the Woods Hole USGS Science Center for Coastal and Marine Geology, nor the group covering Mount Redoubt) so it must have had something to do with UFOs or a big spy laser.
    • Someday, I'll relate my really cool UFO story. If I haven't already. I'll check.
    • Of course, yesterday morning, Albany New York had some kind of event that registered 2.2 on their scale and Williston South Carolina residents reacted to a 2.6 happening. But nothing about Fairhaven Massachusetts.
    • However, all is not for naught, because now I can watch the really cool USGS site that only reconfirms my belief that The Beach is just as stable -- or unstable -- as anywhere else.
    • Remember Mike Perham? The kid that's single-handing it around the world? Sure, you might think that he's one of those "crazy circumnavigators" you hear so much about, but he's got corporate sponsors and plenty of of them, as well as a huge support network. And that, I suspect is because he's probably a nice guy, unlike all the other whackjobs who've tried it. He's probably passed Australia by now.
    • And then: there's this:

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    If you're thinking of it...

    That's Mark Sanford's boat. Or his house. Or both.

    According to this article in the New York Times, boat owners -- like their thoughtless, selfish, and criminally ignorant counterparts in the dog world -- are leaving their charges out in the wild to be ravaged by nature or lack of nurture.
    Look. We've been through this before. You have an unused or underused 38-foot schooner or Baltic trader or 43-foot reproduction barque and can't keep it anymore because you had to give back your bonus money. Don't just scuttle it in the channel where it'll be an unsightly wreck or hazard to navigation.
    Give it to me.
    I already have your cat.No more polyester faux-brocade!!!
    The conditions at the shelter were less than adequate.