Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Evanston: retro; heavy

        Recently I have had several last century experiences.
        I read a hard cover book, read a physical newspaper, and entered a book store.

        The book, of course, was THE REGENERATION TRILOGY.  I finished the lost two volumes, and my opinion that it is masterpiece is confirmed.
        Although the three novels were published separately, they are in fact one only moderately long work, 592 pages in the edition I read.  The major characters, three of them historical, one fictional, continue through all three novels.
        After finishing the trilogy I bought two more of Pat Barker’s novels and read a bit about her.  
        Her early novels were about women and issued by a feminist publisher.  Critics admired them, but questioned whether she could write about men.  This is amusing because repeatedly while reading the REGENERATION TRILOGY I found myself wondering how a woman could write so well about men and experiences such as those of WWI combat that she could not have had herself.  What a great feat of imagination, I thought.  And it is.
        Reading a ‘real’ book only reinforced my preference for e-books.  The book was big, heavy, awkward to hold, and had no internal light so I could read in bed without disturbing an already sleeping Carol.

        Neighbors who were away over the Thanksgiving weekend asked us to collect their newspapers and mail.  We stopped subscribing to THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE years ago and I don’t think I’ve actually held one since.  It was pathetic.  A mere shadow of its former self.  A dying vestige, reduced in every dimension:  height, width, depth, weight, content.  Even the Sunday edition was feather light.  Why would anyone pay for this when you can get all the fake news you can possibly desire on Facebook?

        Two Sundays ago Carol and I went to see the film, ARRIVAL, a good sci-fi move, though not, I think, quite as good as its reviews.  The theater was a mile and a half away in scenic downtown Evanston and we decided to walk instead of drive.  We walked faster than expected and had some time to kill, so we went into the Barnes and Noble.  As you will know I buy lots of books, but all online.  I don’t remember the last time I was in a bookstore.  
        To my surprise there were a lot of people in there, perhaps Christmas shopping.  There was also a lot of stuff other than books for sale, including records—and I certainly don’t recall the last time I bought one of those—and Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-readers, which are subversively undermining the whole place, and gifts and novelties.
        Time killed, we left without buying anything.
        I have no plans to return.

————

        A geologist at the University of Leicester and his colleagues have calculated that the weight of the technosphere, consisting of all man-made substances on Earth, is thirty trillion tons, or 50 kilos/110 pounds for every square meter of the Earth’s surface.  One might wonder if we are going to sink the planet, as well as ravage it, but as Carol quickly pointed out most of the stuff we build is composed of materials already in and on the planet and we only rearrange them. Still we have been busy little beavers.
        That article, along with other events in the U.S. and abroad this year, caused me to locate a journal entry titled ‘three hypotheses’.  I was surprised to discover that I wrote it three years ago.  Ah, but true wisdom is timeless. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Evanston: snowed; grotesque; REGENERATION TRILOGY


        Snow fell heavily for several hours yesterday afternoon.  It was pretty as it fell and, not yet having absorbed city grime, still is.  I was surprised to learn this morning that the official total was almost 6”/15 cm, but that measurement is taken at O’Hare Airport, thirteen miles inland.  Here near the lake we had only an inch or two.
        Walking through the nearby cemetery today I saw these geese.  As I have noted before I have no sympathy for any geese who are too lazy to fly further south than Chicago.  Even with global warming this is no place to spend a winter, and I won’t.

————

        Perhaps you will forgive an old man for wistfully remembering that women once called him beautiful.    That was the word as opposed to the more conventional handsome.  I did not take offense 
        I am under no delusion that I am what I might long ago have been, but I do like to believe that I am not yet grotesque, though that is exactly what I was for the past two weeks thanks to another treatment to remove potentially pre-cancerous cells from my scalp and face.  This entailed applying a cream that is intended to attack only damaged cells, which apparently all of those on my face and scalp are.  I was supposed to apply the cream for four weeks.  I lasted eleven days at which point my head looked as though it had been slow roasted over a too hot fire, and felt worse.
        The treatment was a success in that it removed a layer of skin which peeled and has been flaking off for several days.  I have molted like a snake.  Whether it removed enough, I do not know.  That it removed all it is going to, I am certain.
        If not beautiful, no longer grotesque.  
        I can again look myself in the mirror while shaving without being frightened.

————

        From Barry comes a link to a professionally made video about a paraplegic team that participated in the Race to Alaska.   They finished, though with help from additional crew.  In fact, some of the crew interaction, both seen and inferred, makes a good case for sailing alone.
        I thank Barry for the link.


————

        Last week one of the daily BookBub recommendations was REGENERATION, a novel by the English woman, Pat Barker, about treatment of neurasthenic patients during WWI.  For ‘neurasthenic’ think ‘shell shocked’ or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  To many during WWI, including those in the medical profession, men with the symptoms were thought merely to be weak cowards.
        I learned that the novel is the first of an eponymous trilogy.  Oddly only the first and third are in Kindle editions, so I did what I rarely do anymore and bought a used hardcover copy of the trilogy via Amazon.
        I have just completed the first novel which is largely based on historical characters, including Dr. W.H.R. Rivers, and the poets Siegfried Sassoons and Wilfred Owens.  It is one of the most compelling novels I have read in a long time.
        I’ve only just started the second in the trilogy, THE EYE IN THE DOOR.  The third is THE GHOST ROAD.
        All the novels justifiably received rave reviews and critics have said that the trilogy may be one of the true masterpieces of Twentieth Century British fiction.  I won’t know until I finish them all, but so far I think that may be true.
        The used copy I bought was once a library edition.  I do not understand how a library could have ever let this book go.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Evanston: A Fraternity of Fools; strident; the fastest point of sail; The Solent in music and paintings











        I visited the CRUISING WORLD site recently to see if they had posted any articles of mine I had forgotten and came upon the following, which I had.  It was an entry in this journal so many years ago that I think it can bear repetition.
For the record the caption to the photo is wrong.  The capsize was halfway between Fiji and what is now Vanuatu, and it occurred in 1980.

A Fraternity of "Fools"

WEBB CHILES IS PART OF AN ELITE GROUP OF "FOOLS" TO CROSS OCEANS (AND SOMETIMES CAPSIZE) IN SMALL, OPEN BOATS. "HOLIDAY STORIES" FROM OUR NOVEMBER 25, 2009, CW RECKONINGS.
I seldom read sailing books any more; but recently a small boat sailor and
reader of this journal generously sent me a copy of A Voyage of Pleasure:
The Log of Bernard Gilboy's Transpacific Cruise in the Boat, "Pacific" 1882-1883.
I had read this slight volume of only 64 pages several decades ago. Naturally I had
forgotten many details and found interest and pleasure in rereading it, particularly from
the perspective of greater years and experience.
In 1876 Alfred Johnson made the first solo Atlantic crossing in a 20-foot dory, sailing
from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Abercastle, Wales, in just under two months, with
 a brief stop in Nova Scotia. Johnson named his boat, Centennial, and said his voyage
was to commemorate the nation's first hundred years.
When I completed my first circumnavigation in 1976, a journalist wanted me to claim
that I had done so to honor the Bicentennial. As readers of Storm Passage: Alone
Around Cape Horn know, this was not true and I refused.

Inspired by Johnson, Bernard Gilboy, a professional seaman, had an 18-foot schooner built in San Francisco
specifically for his voyage, at a cost of $400. He considered this the smallest boat
capable of holding provisions for the five months he thought his non-stop passage
would take.
Her length of 18 feet and beam of 6 feet were almost identical to those of my open boat,
 Chidiock Tichborne, but the Pacific had a keel and a draft of 2 feet, 6 inches, as
opposed to unballasted Chidiock Tichborne's 12-inch draft with her centerboard up
and 4 feet with it down.
Gilboy writes that he somehow squeezed into his craft: "14 ten-gallon casks, filled with
water; 165 pounds of bread, in 15-pound tin cans (air tight); two dozen roast beef in two
and-a-half-pound cans; two dozen roast chicken, in one-pound cans; two dozen roast
 salmon, in one-pound cans; two dozen one-pound cans of boneless pigs-feet; two
dozen cans of peaches; two dozen cans of milk; one box containing 25 pounds of
cube sugar; one gross of matches, packed in a half dozen glass jars; one half gallon
of alcohol, in a druggist's glass jar; four cans of nut oil-two and a half gallons in a can;
five-gallon can of kerosene oil; one bar of Castille soap; three pounds of nails; one
wooden pump; 12 feet of half-inch hose, which I used as a siphon to fill the kegs, or
get water out of them; one grains (a fish spear), a hammer, and hatchet; paper, copper
tacks; kerosene oil stove; alcohol pocket stove; two lamps; one pound of paraffin
candles; two compasses, barometer and sextant; patent taff-rail log; double barreled
shot gun, powder and shot, revolver and cartridges; clock and watch; nine knives;
 anchor and sea drogue, with about forty fathoms of 1½" rope; some spare marline
amber-line, and marline-spike; navigation books, sheet chart of the South Pacific; an
 American flag; clothing necessary for the voyage; two pounds of lard; one pair of
12-foot oars; and an umbrella, which I found very handy when the wind was light and
the sun strong."
He needlessly notes that the boat was deep in the water.
And I note one bar of soap for five months.
After obtaining his customs clearance for what was listed as "a voyage of pleasure,"
Bernard Gilboy called, "All aboard for Australia," and shoved off. He made very good
time his first week, covering 510 miles, particularly considering that he stopped to
 sleep, either heaving to or letting the small schooner swing to a sea anchor drogue.
However progress came to a stop when he reached 9 degrees North, and he made
only 237 miles in the next 29 days. Finally at 5 degrees North, he started moving again.
In describing conditions, Gilboy often uses charming expressions with which I was not
familiar, such as "baffling wind" and "mizzling rain."
Ninety days out of San Francisco he was near Tahiti.
Although San Francisco is 500 miles north of San Diego, in Chidiock Tichborne I was
within six miles of Tahiti in 39 sailing days. I was, of course, not carrying provisions for
five months.
Disaster struck with the passing of a single wave, which capsized the Pacific south of
Fiji on December 12, his 116th at sea, only a few hundred miles southeast of where
another single wave flipped Chidiock Tichborne 98 years later.
Gilboy lost a mast, the rudder, his sextant and compass, and almost all of his provisions.
Steering with an oar until he made a seamanlike substitute rudder with a jury rig, he
struggled on, starving, until on January 29, he was seen and picked up, boat and all,
by a passing schooner. At the time he was 200 miles off the Australian Queensland
coast.
Gilboy's almost successful attempt to make the first solo voyage across the Pacific
Ocean surely ranks among the greatest almost unknown voyages.
When late in life, Alfred Johnson was asked why he had sailed across the Atlantic alone,
 he replied, "I made that trip because I was a damned fool, just as they said I was."
In the March 24, 1883, issue of the San Francisco Daily Alta California newspaper
appeared: "The dory Pacific is reported as arrived safely at Australia. Her only occupant
gives a thrilling account of his perilous trip. He arrived, as above, and the fools are not
all dead yet."
To which I offer the very last words in Storm Passage: "The fool smiles and sails on."

————

        I have spent much of my adult life outside the United States.  Now I am away only
 six or seven months at a time.  In the past I was often gone for years.  
        Each time I return I find some new young person I have never heard of is famous 
and presumably wealthy.  
        When I returned to Evanston last month I was particularly struck by how strident is 
television.
        It was not just the politicians, but everyone, from the talking heads who speak rapidly
 what poses as news in tones of near hysteria, pausing only to emphasize, as they
must be taught in school because they all do it, words that heighten fear; to almost all 
advertising, which essentially is exaggerated lies; to excessively analyzing sports 
commentators.  Nature may abhor a vacuum.  Television and modern America abhors 
silence.
        I can turn all this off and I usually do.  I watch almost no news on television, except
 local, and I often watch sports with the volume muted while listening to music on 
headphones.
        During last Saturday’s football games there were two commercials that were 
exceptions to the advertising rule:  one by Apple, one by GE, both advocating being 
kind to those who are different, which of course is all of us, rather than shrilly pitching
 their own products.
        I am enjoying being with Carol, but I long for the silence of the sea.

————

        From James comes a link to an article that seems to confirm my subjective 
observation that just forward of a beam reach is the fastest point of sail, though on 
GANNET I would rather have the wind just aft.
        I thank him.

————

        And from Tim comes a link to a YouTube video of “The Solent”, an early 
composition by Ralph Vaughan Williams, accompanied by some lovely paintings. 
 An antidote to the strident.
        I thank him and wish you serenity.






Monday, November 28, 2016

Evanston: Rich Huffnagle; the center of the earth

        An inevitability of growing old is that increasingly some of those you knew die, until you become the one who others outlive.
        According to an unofficial class historian, roughly one-third of the 375 who graduated with me from Kirkwood High School in June 1959 have died.
        Last year I was stunned to learn that Jill, one of my ex-wives, had died.  I had not seen her for decades, but she was years younger than I and it never occurred to me that I would out live her.  I was informed of her death by one of her two daughters by a previous marriage, whom I remember as a teen-ager.  Now she is in her early forties and has adult children of her own.
        Jill was a natural athlete and died of a heart attack in mid-stride while running.  The doctors said that it was so massive that she did not suffer; but I am not aware of anyone who has sent back reliable reports from beyond that edge so how would they really know?  Still it would have been, like drowning, two or three bad minutes, rather than months or years of suffering.
        Over the weekend I received an email from Ron that Rich Huffnagle has died.  Rich was the man who sold me CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE.
        Ron worked with Rich for more than twenty years as Orange County, California, park rangers.  I remembered that Rich was a park ranger.  Ron also said that he had brought a Drascombe Longboat from Rich.  The Longboat is a Lugger stretched three feet.
        Over the years I’ve often told the story of how I bought CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, and sometimes I still do.
        Back in 1978 when I was considering an open boat voyage, less than two years after completing my first circumnavigation, Suzanne and I were living in an apartment in San Diego.  Some research, and I don’t recall how I did it in those pre-Internet days, revealed that Rich was the part-time west coast representative of Honnor Marine, the English builder of Drascombes.
        I telephone him, learned that he had a Lugger on a trailer in his driveway, and arranged to drive up one Saturday to see it.
        Suzanne, a New Zealander, had been with me in the California for more than a year, but had still to see all the tourist attractions.
        We drove up the Interstate and pulled off onto one of the many streets lined with small pastel stucco houses that now are worth well over a million dollars.  I’m not sure Rich lived in Anaheim.  If not, he was close.
        When we stopped in front of his house, I was immediately struck by how pretty the Lugger was.  I’ve always thought her lines graceful.
        Rich saw us arrive and came out and introduced himself.
        I walked around the boat, studying the hardware, which was superior, and the construction, which was excellent.  Then I asked if I could step into the boat while it was on the trailer.
        Rich said I could.
        I did.  Looked around what might be called the cockpit, except that the whole boat is the cockpit, and then lay down on the floorboards.  There was just enough room for my shoulders to the side of the centerboard truck.  I stood up, grinned, and said, “I’ll buy one.”
        “Great,” Rich said.  “What are you going to do with her?”
        “I’m going to sail her around the world.  But we’re going to Disneyland first.”
        Rich cashed my check very quickly.

        I saw Rich a few times after that.  Even appeared at a boat show with him once.  And then, as often happens, we lost touch.
        Rich was a nice man.  I hope he had a full and rewarding life and a gentle exit.

————



        The last journal entry caused Patrick to view the chart of my circumnavigations and reach an unexpected conclusion.  He wrote:  One thing that is obvious.  Opua is the center of the earth.  There are more tracks leading in and out of it than the U.S.  Eleven tracks in Opua.  Ten out of San Diego and NY.
        In fact, although I did live in NY for a year, the tracks are mostly from Boston.  And the chart is behind times.  Opua should have two more, one in, one out with GANNET.  And San Diego one more for my departure in GANNET.
        Should you wonder, only my first circumnavigation started and finished in the U.S.
        The second and third were Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, to Nuku Hiva.  The fourth Sydney, Australia to Sydney.  And my fifth, Opua to Opua.
        If all goes well, the sixth will again end in the U.S.
        That Opua is the center of the earth is undeniable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Evanston: housekeeping and two videos


        I came across the photo above and the one posted yesterday while looking for something else.
        This one was taken sometime during 2001-2002 when Carol sailed with me on the THE HAWKE OF TUONELA from Boston to Cape Town via Portugal, Gibraltar, Senegal and Brazil.  
        You will not be surprised that I don’t have a good recollection or explanation of yesterday’s photo.  You will also not be surprised to learn that it was taken during a weekend on Cape Cod with a group known informally as the Winos.  From the color of my mustache and the hair on top of my head—even that I had hair on top of my head—I date it from the mid-1990s.  I appear to be quite happy.  That’s all I know or will admit to.

————

        I have done my clerical work on the main site.
        The Darwin to Durban passage log has been added to the logs page.
        The GANNET in the Indian Ocean has been added to the videos page.
        The 2016 journal photographs page has been brought up to date.  
        Two photos of me have been added to the Webb Chiles photo page.
        Four articles have been added to the article page.
        I looked at my low-tech chart and gave up trying to add GANNET.   I did add a note to that effect.  James Bond and I agree that the world is not enough.  I need more room.

————

        Yesterday afternoon I watched the New Zealand/Ireland rugby test on YouTube via a link sent by Mark.  I thank him.
        It was a good, hard match.  A couple of close calls by the referee went New Zealand’s way and their defense was mighty.  Toward the end of the video the commentators say that these are two of the three best teams in the world right now.

————
    
        I thank Jay for sending me a link to ‘Slomo’ whose philosophy I have long espoused.  During much of the video he is skating along the ocean front in Mission Beach, where my grandmother’s house used to be, and near where GANNET’s voyage began and may next year end.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Evanston: reviisted: BARBASHELA; requiem; rugby; Agulhas


        Above is the elegant BARBASHELA built by the equally elegant Kent and Audrey.  I have written of this before, but can’t locate the entry.  This was not a restoration or even a rebuild, but a reconstruction as close to possible to the original based on research, love and skill.  Kent tells me she rows as beautifully as one would expect seeing her lines.  
        BARBASHELA is now in the museum for which she was intended.  I hope she is taken out and rowed from time to time.  
        I don’t send out Christmas cards, but this photo would make a good one.


        I express my admiration for what Kent and Audrey have done and my thanks for their permission to share their photos.


————

        Bill in the UK—I know about where he lives, but am not sure if it is in England or Wales—found all the music in my requiem on YouTube and created a playlist.  I am pleased and flattered.  I thank him.  
        “Nova Scotia Farewell” is on twice because Bill cannot view one link and I cannot view the other, perhaps due to regional restrictions.   If you actually play the entire list, view one or the other.  Not both.  Bach is included three times intentionally.  But Ian and Sylvia are not Bach.
        You can find out why I choose this music here.

————

        Last Saturday New Zealand had a rematch with Ireland two weeks after the upset Irish victory here in Chicago.  I could not find any television broadcast of the match in the U.S.  Nor even a mention of the match before or after.  I was also unsuccessful online, though I did have a live radio feed for a while that somehow vanished into a blast of obnoxious music.
        For the record New Zealand won this time 21-9.

————

        I sailed across the Agulhas Current approaching Durban in August and will be sailing in it again next year as I continue west around the end of Africa.  Chris sent me a link to an interesting short video about recent research on the Agulhas.  I thank him.
        As I watched I found myself wondering how the researchers retrieve their instruments.  I would not like to run into a big surface buoy at speed in GANNET.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Evanston: alternatives; alerts; bookends


        Twice in the past few months all my charts have disappeared from iNavX.  The first vanishing followed a software update, the second the merging of X-Traverse’s, the chart provider, website with Fugawi.  Emails to support resulted in the charts being restored, but the second time I also paid for annual updates for two regions and was confronted with a warning message that they couldn’t be uploaded.  This, too, was resolved.  But all the hassle caused me to give thought to iSailor, an alternative to iNavX first brought to my notice by Nico in Durban.
        My needs for a chartplotting app are relatively modest.  With the addition of AyeTides, which I think costs $8, iNavX does everything I want it to, and a great deal more.  However, the only way to get charts, other than free NOAA charts of the U.S., into iNavX is through X-Traverse.  So X-Traverse/Fugawi's problems are very much iNavX’s problems, too. 
        It is difficult to compare the full costs of iNavX and iSailor.
        The iNavX app costs $50.  The iSailor app is free. iSailor make its money on in app purchases of charts.
        iSailor chart regions are smaller than the Navionics regions I use in iNavX.  If you sail in just one region, as most sailors do, iSailor will be less expensive, particularly since thus far updates are issued free and the charts are available on all devices.  If you sail the world, your charts will cost you less on iNavX, though you will have to pay for annual updates, which I don’t always do; and you will have to buy separate charts for iPhone and iPad.  Also it is X-Traverse’s stated policy that you can only download charts to two devices.  Ever.  Though I have been told they make exceptions.
        I’ve downloaded iSailor, but I haven’t bought any charts and may not.  I already have world coverage charts in iNavX on two iPhones, an iPad and an iPad mini, as well as C-Map 93 world coverage in my laptop.  That ought to be enough.
        However, if I were starting out again now, I’d definitely give iSailor careful consideration.

        Although I’ve already done my Christmas shopping, browsing through one of the countless catalogs we receive, I came across Glencairn crystal whiskey glasses.  I have been known to drink whiskey. Generally I do from Dartington crystal double old-fashioned glasses, two of which are carefully stowed on GANNET, as well as several here in Evanston.  In the catalog the Glencairn were $40 for two.  Before buying I checked Amazon and found them for $13.57.  Quite a catalog markup.
        I ordered a pair and have been using them.
        They are lighter and smaller than the Dartington and do seem to concentrate what Amazon calls “that all important bouquet”, which is, indeed to me, one of the pleasures of Laphroaig.  They fit easily in the hand, but I do enjoy the smooth weight of the Dartington.  
        Do they enhance my enjoyment of 10 year Laphroaig?  Well, that would be hard to do.  I guess I’ll have to drink enough to use both. 

————

        Google sends me alerts when something I’ve written appears suspiciously online.  I don’t know why and I don’t recall asking them to do so.  However, I find the alerts interesting.
        In the past week I have been told that a Russian site is offering the free PDF download of A SINGLE WAVE, which has been downloaded 2048 times in a month.  I didn’t know I had that many readers.  But then the price is right.
        And I am advised that the above painting appeared on something called Scoopnest with the caption, a sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind.
        I’m losing track.  That makes a greeting card, boat shoes, a sweatshirt, a painting, and I can’t remember what else.
        It’s great to have a literary legacy.

————

        A reader, who shall remain anonymous less he receive hate email, observed that posts in this journal bookending the recent election are ‘a city turned upside down’  and ‘you want it darker’.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Evanston: birthdays past; YOU WANT IT DARKER

        Chicago’s mild autumn continues.  Temperatures have often been 10ºF/5.5ºC above normal and we have yet to drop to 32ºF/0ºC.  Usually the first freeze comes in mid-October.
        My birthday was cloudy and windy.  Walking to the lake we were protected by buildings until we reached the lakefront, where we were buffeted by twenty and twenty-five knot gusts.  Three lines of four foot waves were breaking.
        The day was just as I had envisioned, ending with an excellent bottle of wine, followed, naturally, by Laphroaig.
        There was a small delay when Carol had to go to the Fire Department to obtain a bonfire permit before lighting all the candles on the cake.
        At one point she asked me where I was on past birthdays.
        We both remembered that on my sixtieth we were on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA in a gale near the Canary Islands during the passage from Gibraltar to Dakar.
        I knew that I was here on my seventieth, a few months after my first eye surgery, but I wasn’t certain about sixty-five.  This journal goes back that far, and that's what journals are far, so I looked it up and found that I was on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA on her mooring in Opua.
        I was amused to read that ten years ago I thought I might run into problems doing my age in push-ups around 2013.  Despite a torn shoulder, I’ve blown past that and, if I avoid further injury or illness, now think I’m good until at least 2021.
        A few people wrote asking the secret of my longevity.  That's easy.  The good die young.

————

        Leonard Cohen had to die before I knew who he was.  I had heard and liked his songs, some of which were generational anthems, but did not know that he wrote them.  Articles about him following his death few days ago at age eighty-two caused me to buy several of his albums from iTunes last evening.  I listened to them while watching the Seahawks/Patriots with the television sound muted and regretted my long ignorance of his music.
        His talent endured, perhaps even strengthened, to the end.  YOU WANT IT DARKER was released three weeks before his death.  I like every track.
        Here is a link to a tribute to him from a friend.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Evanston: 75


        I was born seventy-five years ago today In St. Louis, Missouri, three hundred miles to the south-southwest.  That’s not much movement for three-quarters of a century, but I didn’t quite sail the rhumb line to get here.
        I have been looking forward to becoming seventy-five.  The number is something out of science fiction.   That I, who risked everything for so long, have become old is a cosmic joke, and as you can see in the photo below, I’m laughing.
        If you are wondering, yes, I’ve done my new age in push-ups.  Actually I did 155 push-ups and crunches in sets of 75-40-40 along with other exercises this morning, shortly after Carol took the two photos.
        The three heads in the one above was her concept.  Me now, my shadow looking back at me as I was in a drawing made by the French magazine, VOILES ET VOILIERS, almost forty years ago based on a photo taken in 1975.
        During some of the sailing on GANNET this year, conditions were atrocious.  I was constantly wet and in pain.  I deliberately sought to move my mind somewhere else and chose to think about this day, spending it quietly with Carol.
        The day is as I imagined.
        We will walk down to the lake this afternoon.  Dinner here with what I hope is an exceptional bottle of wine.  Followed, of course, by Laphroaig.
        To paraphrase myself:
        Smile, old man, and sail on.