Friday, April 4, 2014

Evanston: Ronnie Simpson update; Ambrose Bierce; 'W'; 'Y'.

        I emailed Ronnie yesterday and received a response this morning.  I also received from John a link that provides more details of the dismasting for which I thank him.
        I do not recall if Ronnie has a radio on MONGO, but I do know that he has an iPhone and was close enough to shore to telephone for assistance.
        In his email Ronnie said that he has found and bought a used mast that he can modify and is looking for a mainsail so he can keep going.  I wish him well.
        For those of you wondering, I am in agreement with Ambrose Bierce’s prescient definition of telephones included in Wednesday’s post and have yet to replace mine.  I do have aboard GANNET a handheld VHF with a range of eight or ten miles used to communicate with officials on entering foreign ports.


        I finished THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY yesterday.  Some definitions from ‘W’ and ‘Y’ are found below.  The dictionary does not include any words beginning with ‘X’ and I didn’t find any of those beginning with ‘Z’ of sufficient charm.
        The entire dictionary is worth reading.  There are many words I did not include here because the definitions are too long.  I recommend reading it as I did one letter a day.  Project Gutenberg has THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY available as a free download  in several formats.
        Ambrose Bierce deserves a greater reputation than he has, both as a wit, where he ranks near Mark Twain, and as a short story teller.  His CIVIL WAR STORIES are among the very best.
        Bierce disappeared in Mexico during the Revolution, and is the subject of a good novel, OLD GRINGO, by Carlos Fuentes, which was made into a pretty good film starring Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda, and a young Jimmy Smits.  
        I read the novel a long time ago.  We rewatched the film recently and found it entertaining, though in places a bit incoherent.


        Wall Street:  a symbol of sin for every devil to rebuke. 

        war:  a by-product of the arts of peace. 

        webb:  an old sailor who was the World Wide Web when Bill Gates was still poor.  (Some authorities doubt that this definition was written by Ambrose Bierce.)

        wit:  the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out. 

        witch:  (1) any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil.  (2)  a beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil. 

        worms’-meat: the finished product of which we are the raw material. 

        year:  a period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.

        yesterday:  the infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.