Monday, September 30, 2019

Evanston: folly revisited; Basho

I finished rereading Barbara Tuchman’s THE MARCH OF FOLLY several days ago.  I continue my ongoing study of folly through the daily news.

I considered suggesting that the book be required reading by everyone in every government in every country in the world, but then, realizing the blindness to reason and fact that folly is, concluded there would be no point.

I next read NARROW ROAD TO THE INTERIOR and other writings by the 17th Century Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho.  

Here are a few of his poems.

Summer grasses:
All that remains of great soldiers’
Imperial dreams

May the ocean resist
Violating the vows
Of the osprey’s nest

A great soldier’s empty helmet,
A cricket sings

These winter showers—
Even the monkey searches
For a raincoat

Sick on my journey
Only my dreams will wander
These desolate moors.

The last is said to be his Death Poem.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Evanston: a change; a fugue; a poem

I have changed the photo on the home page of my main site.  If you haven’t been there for a while, the old image is above.  It has been on the home page ever since I first created the site thirteen years ago.

The photo was taken from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA anchored off a motu just inside the pass at Bora-Bora.  We were in about 18’ of warm water as clear as air.  Carol had flown out to join me in the Society Islands, to which I had sailed from New Zealand.  The island in the distance is Maupiti which I have never visited.  The sailboat is outside the reef, heading for the pass which is just beyond the right side of the photo.  I don’t recall the year.

To see the new home page;

I listen to some Bach and I read some poetry every day.

I have more than thirty albums of Bach’s music, but often when I have a good Internet connection I go to All of Bach, the exemplary project by the Netherlands Bach Society to make video recordings of all of Bach’s work.  

I went there last evening and chanced upon his Little Fugue in G Minor.  Once this was one of my favorites.  I have listened to it twice off Cape Horn.  Now I still like it, but I like all of Bach.

Also Iast evening I came across ‘Mag’, a poem by Carl Sandburg.  Not my story.  I do not know if it was his.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Evanston: Japan, beer and the Rugby Cup; transitioned; not quite

The Wall Street Journal ran an amusing article about the preparations for beer consumption at the Rugby World Cup.  I had access via Apple’s News+ to which I subscribe.  I can’t copy the link so am copying the article below.  Hopefully no one will turn me in to the WSJ.

I have only a attended one rugby match live.  That was in Durban courtesy of my friend, Chris.  I do not recall consumption of beer or anything else in more than moderation.

At the Rugby World Cup, It’s Japan vs. the Hardest Drinking Fans in Sports
The host nation is preparing for a beer shortage as the world’s powerhouses of drinking gather to cheer for their favorite teams
Japan had known for a decade that it would host this year’s Rugby World Cup. But only in the final months before kickoff did the city of Kobe grasp what it was in for. Some 36,000 fans from Ireland, England, Scotland and South Africa were on their way. And—these being rugby fans—they would be dangerously thirsty.
The Kobe tourist board needed to get the word out. At a seminar in May, it told restaurants, bars, and hotel operators to brace themselves for a run on all liquids hoppy, malty and cold. As it wrote on one fact sheet: “The world’s powerhouses of beer drinking to gather in Kobe?!”
Presenters at the seminar explained how Irish people drink more than twice as much beer than the average Japanese. And they warned that English, Scots, and South Africans weren’t far behind. For anyone in the business of pouring pints, the board had one rule of thumb: Prepare four to five times as much beer as usual.
“I stressed in the seminar that rugby fans drink all day long,” said Naofumi Machidori, one of the Kobe officials.
In a country that prides itself on preparedness for all kinds of natural disasters, a rugby-induced beer drought is no idle fear. Just two years ago, the beer taps at Yokohama International Stadium ran dry midway through a match. Not by coincidence, Japan was playing Australia.
So the host nation has taken serious measures wherever it can to make sure this six-week tournament meets the demands of the hardest-drinking fans in sports. Bars around the country are extending their hours on match days. Cities are throwing up emergency bars to keep supporters lubricated on their way to stadiums. And Kirin Brewery Co. has more than tripled production of Heineken, the official beer of the World Cup.
“We have talked a lot about beer,” said Brett Gosper, the chief operating officer of World Rugby. “For us, it was about educating the venues and the cites about what an international rugby event is all about. We have a great traveling audience and they drink a lot of beer.”
Beer is as much a part of the rugby culture as mud, bruises and cauliflower ears. There’s no getting around it. It flows freely in the stands during matches and the smell hangs thick in the air. At Twickenham Stadium in London, one of the game’s spiritual homes, the bars in the concourses stay full and rowdy long after the final whistle. Even opposing players traditionally gather for pints once they’re done bashing each other’s heads in.
Masaki Fujiu, a longtime supporter of the Japanese national team, experienced it up close during his team’s opener against Russia last Friday. After sipping a pair of pregame beers to unwind, he installed himself in the stadium and focused on the game. There was just one distraction. Hard-drinking Russia fans in his row were recycling beer at such alarming rates that they kept barging past him to get to the bathroom.
“We Japanese just can’t drink that much,” Fujiu said.
South African rugby fans, on the other hand, can. Inside Yokohama International Stadium during the World Cup’s opening weekend, Steve Evans and his two adult sons each carried six pints of beer to their seats in cardboard holders for the Springboks’ match against New Zealand—just to be on the safe side. They didn’t want to risk repeating the calamity of their flight over, which ran out of suds in midair. Especially, Evans said, when beer is so “crucial” to enjoying this sport.
“We all probably do eight during a game, and then take it from there,” he added.
Rugby fans don’t merely drink a lot. They also drink fast. Which is far from ideal in a country that often serves beer in small glasses. So to buy pubs and restaurants some time between refills, Japanese beer makers Asahi and Suntory have urged them to deploy bigger mugs for foreign visitors.
Not everyone will be able to cope. Yasunori Kanemura, who runs a rugby-themed bar in Kobe, knows he could be in trouble. His establishment only seats around 15 and has no room to stash extra kegs.
Which isn’t a problem they’re expecting at a British-themed pub called Hub in Yokohama. Having heard all about the potential beer drought, employees stacked kegs high around the bar area for the foreign and local fans watching Australia take on Fiji. Bar manager Hiroki Watanabe said he had 10 times the usual amount of beer supplies ready to avoid running dry.
“We’re making sure there’s no chance that will happen,” he said.
Watanabe said that over the first two days of the tournament, British fans seemed to be the most enthusiastic drinkers, with some knocking back as many as 10 pints apiece—a typical Japanese customer would only order one or two. Not that he was complaining.
“It’s a shame,” Watanabe added, “that the World Cup only runs until early November.”

Apple wants us to use iPads instead of MacBooks as our primary computer.  They have said so and quietly killed off the MacBook a few months ago.  I am going with the program and with the release of iPad OS yesterday, which among other features enables the iPad to recognize external drives, my transition is complete.  Now the only thing I can’t do on my iPad is update my website with iWeb and that won’t work on the MacBook with the soon to be released OS Catalina anyway.  I will keep Mojave and not update to Catalina.

An ad this morning in the NY TIMES declared “25% of seniors fall every year.”  I’ve done my part.  For the next three years it is someone else’s turn.
I can now lie on my left side, but not for long.  I tentatively tried a crunch and a push-up yesterday.  That did not go well.  I don’t know when I will try again.
The number of workouts this year is going to be a pathetic all time low.  So far I have only done 16.  The previous lows were 43 in 2009 and 2014, both years I was circumnavigating.

You may have noticed a change in formatting.  Actually two.
I am putting an extra space between different topics instead of a dash and I have surrendered to Blogger’s denial of indenting paragraphs.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evanston: Voyage 6; rugby; booked

        As some of you may recall last month on our 25th wedding anniversary, Carol and chanced upon and drank a fine bottle of wine called Voyage 7.

       Last week we thought we had found the same wine, only to discover this is Voyage 6, not 7.  Equally good.  The explanation is found on the label as well as the complicated way the wine is produced.

        We look forward to future voyages.

        Although this journal is read by a few in all the major rugby nations, in which somehow Wales and Scotland are again independent rugby countries, most readers are Americans and therefore unaware that the Rugby World Cup has begun in Japan and that by luck of the draw two of the greatest rugby powers, New Zealand and South Africa, met yesterday in the first round of the group stage.  New Zealand won 23-13.  My congratulations to my Kiwi friends, my condolences to South Africans.  Both sides are expected to survive the group stage.
        The NY TIMES did run an article about the match, but made no mention of it or the Rugby World Cup beforehand.   ON ESPN’s US site, rugby is listed 37 under ‘more sports’ right below cricket and far below esports and  the Xgames.

        I made my reservations to fly to San Diego on October 8, returning to Chicago on November 21 and am starting to get exciting about going sailing for a few days or weeks around and maybe to some of the Channel Islands.  I have not been to Catalina for more than forty years and I’ve never taken a boat into Avalon.  I may not this time either.  The point is to sail, not places.  I might even check out the wave break on the Cortez Bank.  At a respectful distance.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Evanston: plane crashes; hurricanes; biked

        The NY TIMES has a long article by William Langewiesche about the crashes of the Boeing 737 Maxs in Indonesia and Ethiopia earlier this year which provides insights into airplane manufacturers, pilots and their training, and low cost airlines of interest to anyone who flies, which includes almost all of us. 
        While I could not pronounce the author’s name, I recognized it, having read articles he has written in the past about other airplane crashes.  From those earlier pieces I learned that there is seldom a single cause of a crash, but rather a series of minor failures that build into a disastrous cascade.  This is true of boats as well.  I felt it as GANNET and I neared New Zealand in a gale.  All the tiller pilots were dead.  The cabin floorboards were broken.  One of the pipe berths had jumped out of its grove.  Fortunately we reached Opua before the little boat unraveled further.
        The Boeing 737 Max crashes were unusual and tragically easily preventable as you will discover if you read the article,

       From the historian David Cecelski via Barry and Steve Earley comes a link to the journal of a young woman who was visiting Ocracoke Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the hurricane of 1899.  
        Steve managed to get to Ocracoke while covering Dorian and found the devastation much worse than he had expected or ever seen before.  His photo above shows the level water reached during various severe storms.  You will observe how much higher Dorian was than any other.
        Perhaps what is most interesting in the woman’s account is what is not there.  In 1899 no mandatory evacuation order.  No advance warning of any kind.  

        I rode my bicycle to the grocery store yesterday for the first time since my fall.  I was not certain how it would go, but I was fine.  Leaning forward onto the handle bars and going over bumps caused no distress.  Sailing will be rougher, but I have a few more weeks in which to continue healing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Evanston: a plan; seven storms; foremost expert; tourist

        Although it is not 100%, my cracked rib continues to improve and I am making plans to return to GANNET, probably on October 9, and staying on her for six or seven weeks, during which I hope actually to sail.  Knowing that I am unlikely to go daysailing, the plan is to put GANNET’s interior into passage mode and go out and sail around some of the Channel Islands for several days and maybe even stop at some.  That depends on my mood and the weather.  
        During those long ago years when I had what is erroneously called ‘a real job’, which was in no way as real as sailing an ocean, I generally took what is called my ‘vacation’ to go sailing in October.  Southern California’s weather is good year round, but most people there stop using their boats after Labor Day just as they do in other parts of the country.  I suppose it has something to do with children in school or wanting to watch football on television.  For whatever reason, such harbors and anchorages as exist are less crowded in October, and there are sometimes Santa Ana winds blowing hard from the land that provide fine sailing in smooth water near the coast.
        At the moment my rib would not be happy being jolted around by GANNET underway, much less being knocked against one of the little boat’s numerous sharp edges.  I still can’t sleep on my left side.  Time is a healer.  Or so the song says.

        Of time, it is that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.  My Living Earth app shows seven active storms.  Humberto, Ten, Mario, Jerry, Kiki, Lorena, Imelda.
        Steve Earley is preparing for his annual fall cruise which is always subject to the chance of hurricanes.  By the time the season is over, conditions are too cold.  He tells me that his fall cruise has been interrupted by storms only twice over the years.  That gave me pause.  I don’t know why it should have.  Thirty spring and fall cruises certainly make Steve one of the most experienced small boat cruisers on waters from the Chesapeake to the Carolinas.  But I already knew that.  
        Steve was on the Outer Banks covering Dorian as a news photographer and for the first time experienced the eye of a hurricane.
        He recently posted a short video taken during the storm.

        I hope the storms stay away from him and SPARTINA for another year and they have a fine sail.

        My friend, Michael, flew up from the Florida Keys for the weekend, and Carol and I enjoyed doing some of the Chicago tourist things with him.
        Michael has written about the weekend and posted photos.  He is a talented writer and street photographer.  I am impressed by his eye for people and moments.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Evanston: reading, writing, watching, and folly

        On December 31, 1958 the headlines in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared ‘Cuban Rebellion Crushed.  Army and Batista In Full Control.”  The next day Batista fled the country.  It was a salutary lesson that one then seventeen year old never forgot.
        I would not have remembered the date if I were not currently watching a good Netflix series, The Cuba Libra Story, from which I have learned many things, including the audacious manner in which Batista came to power and that Fidel and Raul Castro were illegitimate and forced to live the early years of their lives with the poor cane workers who served his prosperous self-made father rather than in the main family house.
        There are bad guys in the Cuba Libra Story.  Unfortunately most of them are us.

        Two days ago I finished re-reading for the third time one of my favorite novels, BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA, by the Portuguese Jose Saramago.  I knew of him long before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, which has always been political and has recently degenerated to the point that it was given to Bob Dylan in what I assume was a pathetic attempt by elderly Swedish so-called intellectuals to seem relevant.
        The novel is set in the 18th Century at the time of the construction of the convent at Mafra and is one of the great strange love stories in literature.   If you can get past Saramago’s tendency to write paragraphs that run on for pages, it is a treasure.

        After finishing BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA I started rereading Barbara Tuchman’s THE MARCH OF FOLLY, which begins:  ‘A phenomenon noticeable through history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies  contrary to their own interests.  Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity...Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests?  Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?”
        She examines in detail and clarity four examples:  The Trojans taking the wooden horse inside their city walls.  The Renaissance Popes provoking the Protestant secession.  The British losing North America.  The United States in Vietnam.
        The book was first published in 1984.  You may have noticed that folly continues to march on.

        While not reading and watching—sadly the Cubs are imploding—I have been writing.   Last week I finished a piece for Latitude 38.  This week I modified slightly the story of the gale as I reached New Zealand five years ago for YACHTING WORLD in the UK.  And I have largely completed ‘Lessons of the Sixth’, probably for CRUISING WORLD.

        While not reading, watching or writing, I have been healing.  Even old bodies do.  The doctor I saw said six weeks.  Others have said two months.  I am now three and a half weeks post-crack and am mostly pain free.  Yesterday I climbed the stairs two at a time, a stretch that previously hurt, and I can even sneeze without excessive suffering.  I am so improved that I am considering that I may return to GANNET in the second week of October.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Evanston: oldest

        Suddenly there is a plethora, indeed a plague of 77 year old circumnavigators.
        I thank David for a link to an article about Minoru Saito

        And I thank Stephen for an article about Jeanne Socrates.

        I know of both of them.  I do no know or care which of us is oldest by whatever number of days. This is nothing I ever even thought about; and I think I read some time ago of someone who completed a circumnavigation in his 80s, though I am not certain.
        In the body of the article about Jeanne Socrates, it does add to oldest ‘non-stop’ and as far as I know she is the oldest to make a non-stop circumnavigation.
        Both voyages are praiseworthy.
        I sent notification when I completed the GANNET circumnavigation only to CRUISING WORLD, LATITUDE 38, and Sailing Anarchy, all of which had shown interest in the voyage and asked me to.
        I do not seek or need validation from others.
        GANNET and I were meet by a crowd of three, which was three more than I expected.
        Long ago I was in the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS for my first circumnavigation.  I did not contact them.  They somehow heard of the voyage and contacted me.


        Not long after I posted this, John emailed that the story about Minoru Saito dates from 2011.  I had looked only at the date at the top of the link.  I thank him.  So Saito was 77 then, not now.  I am not going to check who was older at voyage’s end.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Evanston: a tour of the TERROR; a Cal 20 for Cape Horn; a classic case

        The NY TIMES ran a link to a Parks Canada tour of the sunk HMS TERROR, one of the two ships of the doomed Franklin Expedition.  The TERROR was located in 2016 and is in remarkably good condition.  HMS EREBUS had been found two years earlier.

        Sailing Anarchy carries an item of a man who intends to sail from Hawaii for Cape Horn in a modified Cal 20.  He has a beard and looks like the old man of the sea.  I do not have a beard and look like a retired academic.  I do not usually comment on voyages before they are made, but this might be interesting.  There is no reason why a well sailed modified Cal 20 cannot round the Horn. 
        Scroll down to ‘microdosing’.

        In our Evanston condo when not sleeping I am usually in one of two locations:  at the right hand end of the L shaped sofa in the living room or on the sofa in the second bedroom.
       I fell tripping over the power cord for my MacBook and iPad which ran out from under the sofa near my feet to either the MacBook or iPad on the coffee table in front of me.  I have tripped on it before, but not fallen.
        Two a days ago I finally gave this some thought and in two minutes rerouted the cord to the side of the sofa and between the arm rest and an end table where it can charge either device while I am using it or while it is sitting on the end table.
        A classic case of locking the barn after the horse has bolted.  Or in this case the rib has cracked.
        Of the rib, I am good during the day, but still have some trouble sleeping.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Evanston: the mob

        Perhaps the worst unintended consequence of the Internet is the deification of the mob.  One might say fake news or rigged elections, but they are only manipulation of the mob.
        I have never believed in the mob, which is no more than a madding herd ready blindly to stampede at the first bolt of lightning, real or imagined.  I have been reading history a long time and I see no evidence that ignorance multiplied infinitely results in wisdom.  
        This morning I chanced across a reference to Hurricane Dorian social media hysteria aided by sensationalist TV coverage.  I see some of the TV.  I could have imagined, but otherwise would not have known of the social media because I don’t view any. 
        In 1990 Jill and I were anchored off the Royal Suva Yacht Club in Suva, Fiji.  We routinely rowed ashore in late afternoon to shower and have a cold drink at the yacht club bar.  I was then between my third and fourth circumnavigations.
        I recall that one evening we were there when an early tropical storm was forecast to pass about a hundred miles to the south.  At another table ten or twelve cruisers—I hesitate to call them sailors—all of whom were making their first ocean crossing, were excitedly talking about what they should do about the storm, which in fact posed no threat to Suva.  Fear and ignorance reenforced one another, bringing some nearly to tears.
        I have at least twice before posted an excerpt from HUCKLEBERRY FINN about the mob.  Here is a link to the earliest post, dating back more than a decade.  It needs an addendum.  We now know that Buddhists kill, too, as they have Muslims in Myanmar.
       The girl stoned to death has long been forgotten, except probably by her self-righteous family and I hope by the man she loved.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Evanston: Baby pictures; another shelf cloud; hurricane days

        The repair kit from Duckworks arrived last week accompanied by a complimentary copy of SMALL CRAFT ADVISOR.  I glanced at the cover and smiled.  That is my friend, Tom Head, with his crew, Baby, and the photo was taken by another friend, Steve Earley.
        I emailed Tom who sent along another photo of my favorite sea dog.

        The copy of SMALL CRAFT ADVISOR was full of pretty and interesting small boats.

        I thank Larry for sending a photo taken this summer by Brittany Johnson of a shelf cloud that wiped out seven docks at the Racine, Wisconsin marina.
        The people on the power boat in the left foreground do not seem concerned, but then they are power boaters.

        Steve Earley’s career as a newspaper photographer for a Norfolk, Virginia, newspaper is drawing toward a close, but when I saw that the updated track of Dorian shows it near Cape Hatteras on Friday, I expected he will again be heading into the Outer Banks as others are heading out.
        He confirmed this in an email and on his Log of SPARTINA which has a link to an entry from a year and a half ago in which he thought his hurricane days are over.

        If you go to that earlier entry you will find reference to my own hurricane plans for Hilton Head.  Steve’s hurricane days aren’t over.  
        There is a mandatory evacuation for Hilton Head.  I am glad that GANNET and I are not there.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Evanston: a fortunate and unfortunate anniversary; redundant proof; despicable me

        A year ago yesterday my friend, Michael, lay dying on Highway One in the Florida Keys after a car suddenly pulled out in front of the motor scooter he was riding to work.  The above is a selfie taken moments later.  Not all selfies are frivolous.  I believe that Michael expected then that it would be the last photo ever taken of him.  
        That Michael did not die is due to a quick helicopter evacuation to a Miami hospital, the skill of the doctors who reassembled his shattered body, and his own will.  
        I am pleased to report that a year later Michael is alive and well and his normal self, working as a 911 responder in Key West, walking his inestimable dog, Rusty, and recently celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Layne.  All subsequent photos of him, even while still in Intensive Care, show him smiling.  I do not know that I could have done it.  I do know that no one could have don’t it better.
        A triumph, my friend, that I wish you had never had.
        Michael posted a piece yesterday on his site.  Scroll down to ‘Motorcycle Obsession.’
        Long time readers are aware that I do not consider us an intelligent species.  The evidence is overwhelming, from the first half of the Twentieth Century to practically everything every night on what poses as the evening news on television.
        If you live in the U.S. you have seen further redundant proof in the images of long lines at grocery and other stores as Hurricane Dorian approaches.  You know what I think about doing things at the last minute.  How can anyone with intelligence living in the coastal South from North Carolina or perhaps Virginia to Texas not have completed their preparations by June at the latest?

        Yesterday, except for going grocery shopping in the morning with Carol, I was a couch potato, watching sports from morning to night.  English Premier League soccer was followed by US Open tennis, the Cubs game, Stanford/Northwestern college football, more tennis, and Oregon/Auburn football.  We cut the cord more than a year ago and stream TV via YouTubeTV.  While tennis was usually on our wall TV, I had a different event on my iPad on my lap, and at one point, added a third on my iPhone.  Despicable.
        In partial mitigation, I really want to workout but that is out of the question for weeks to come, and I did at intervals mute everything and reread and make minor changes to an article for Latitude 38 about why I sail.
        Nevertheless I am deeply ashamed.