Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Evanston: as others see; 1, 2, 3; 'K'

        The above photo was taken by Ronnie Simpson.  I don’t have his permission to use it, but he is now at sea and not likely to initiate litigation.
        When we had lunch before he sailed for Hawaii, he interviewed me for Latitude 38.  A preview has been posted on their site.
        I have been following Ronnie’s passage on his tracking page.  That I enjoy doing this has reenforced my decision to allow others to track me.
        Six days out Ronnie has covered about 660 miles.  110 a day.  Roughly a 4.6 knot average.  The first days of a passage from California, breaking free of the coastal weather, are usually slow.  He should soon reach the trades and his average increase.
        He is using a different tracking device than I and the speeds are given in mph. Seven miles per hour is six knots.  His tracker is providing updated positions every hour.  I’ve clicked back on some of them and came across one that showed speed of 10.9 mph.  However the ones immediately preceding and following were in the 5 and 6 mph range, so I assume it was erroneous. Cal 2-27s don’t often make 10 knots.  
        Ronnie’s interview begins with a to me surprising (and pleasing), “An eternally youthful Chiles…”
        I’ve thought about that.  I certainly don’t look youthful, so I conclude that if I give anyone that impression it is because I still have energy and enthusiasm, passion if you will.  A lot of life is nothing more than energy.  The French philosopher, Henri Bergson’s élan vítal.  I’m fortunate that mine has lasted.

        A friend who once heard me speak in public and knew me from my writing for twenty years, commented after meeting me in person that he had not expected me to laugh so much.  Hopefully not maniacally.  
        A long time ago I concluded that there is enough sorrow in life, some inevitable and much unnecessarily man made, and I would rather be on the side of joy and laughter.

        Yesterday I went for an eye examination and to order new glasses.  (For those of you truly paying attention, I also got the number I needed to order a prescription snorkeling face mask and have done so.)
        Conversing with the young man who was fitting me with frames, I mentioned that I have spent time in New Zealand.  He responded by asking if that is where my accent comes from.  He was surprised when I told him I was raised in a suburb of Saint Louis.
        Now I don't think I have an accent.  But then no one does.
        Walking home I wondered about his question.  One possibility is that I speak grammatically, and that is so rare in contemporary America that it sounds foreign.



        ARCHITECTURAL RECORD, one of Carol’s professional magazines, includes in its current issue a list of the top five government construction projects.  
        1.  $524 million.  U. S. Strategic Command Facility.  Offutt Airforce Base, NB. 
        2.  $316 million.  Phoenix State Correctional Institution.  Schwenksville, PA.
        3.  $245 million.  San Bernardino Justice Center.  San Bernardino, CA.
        4.  $221 million.  San Diego County Woman’s Detention Facility.  Santee, CA.
        5.  $181 million.  Benner State Correctional Institution.  Bellefont, PA.

        The pattern is obvious and led me to Wikipedia, where I found:  

The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world. As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%). In comparison, Rwanda had the second highest, at 595 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world at 117 per 100,000, and China had 122 per 100,000.
While the United States represents about 5 percent of the world's population, it houses around 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Imprisonment of America's 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 per inmate per year, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60.3 billion in budget expenditures.

        One possible conclusion is that Americans have far greater criminal tendencies than any other people.  Another is that our society has taken a seriously wrong turn and is criminally wasting money and lives.


        I have been in all U.S. states except South Dakota, so I knew that Florida is the flattest state.  When I said Florida will disappear with climate change and rising ocean levels, I was not joking.
        I live here in obvious flatlands, but was surprised to learn from an article in THE ATLANTIC how flat.  Depending on which measurement you choose, Illinois is the second flattest state, or the third, after Florida and Louisiana.

        3.6 more inches of snow fell over night, bringing Chicago’s official total so far this winter to 79.1” and moving it into number three on the all time list.  
        The two snowiest Chicago winters were back to back.  1977-78 with 82.3”.  And 1978-79 with 89.7”.
        I am very pleased to say that I was not here there.
        In 77-78 I was living ashore in San Diego between my first and second circumnavigations.
        In 78-79 I was sailing CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE across the South Pacific.



        I didn’t find any ‘J’ definitions I want to include.

        kill:  to create a vacancy without nominating a successor. 

        king:  a male person commonly known in America as a “crowned head,” although he never wears a crown and has usually no head to speak of. 

        kiss:  a word invented by the poets as a rhyme for “bliss.”  It is supposed to signify, in a general way, some kind of rite or ceremony appertaining to a good understanding; but the matter of its performance is unknown to this lexicographer. 

        kleptomaniac:  a rich thief.