Friday, January 31, 2020

Evanston: 100; 1 septillion

The top photo is the view this morning out one of our glass doors.  Only a light snow.  Cities are mostly ugly, yet a few years ago we passed the point where most of our species lives in them and in thirty more years that percentage is expected to rise to 70%.  As I have observed before cities look best through veils of distance, fog, night or snow which briefly cover the blemishes.

We still have not seen the sun for more than eight days.   This month is the third cloudiest on record in Chicago, but will also be the second warmest, averaging almost 6ºF/3ºC above normal.  That is still for those of you wise enough to live in places with decent climates an atrociously cold mid-30s F.

I have never made new year’s resolutions, but I did enter the year with two goals:  to at least once do 100 push-ups and to have GANNET in Hilton Head before year’s end.  A few of you have written to ask if I do my age in push-ups all at once.  The answer is yes and that number is followed by at least my age in crunches, 60 knee-bends, at least 40 more push-ups, 40 more crunches, 40 knee-bends, at least 40 more push-ups, at least 40 more knee-bends, at least 100 side leg raises each leg, and at least 150 more knee-bends.  The ‘at least’ is because as I have noted I now randomly increase the numbers.   Usually I do a few more push-ups than my age in the first set.  The most I had previously done was 90, but two days ago I was feeling strong and as they say in cricket, I hit a century.  I don’t know when or if I will do 100 again.   That leaves the Hilton Head condo, two of whose virtues are that it is not in a city and the view out the glass doors is beautiful.

The second photo was taken by the Hubble telescope in, I think, 2016.  Each of those dots of light is a galaxy.  If you goggle ‘How many galaxies are there in the universe’ the top answer is likely to be 100 billion.  This along with an enormous amount of other information online, including that drinking bleach is a preventative for the coronavirus, is wrong.  The Hubble telescope has revealed that the number is likely more than two trillion.  If the average galaxy has one hundred billion stars as does our Milky Way, the number of stars in the universe is 1 septillion—that is 1 followed by 24 zeroes—in the American numbering system/1 quadrillion in the European system.  (Why can’t we get together on these things?)

All of these numbers are beyond my comprehension, as is that the estimated diameter of the universe is 93 billion light years, and puts my 100 push-ups in perspective.

I quote myself.  Why not?  Others do.

To Nicholas Copernicus

you did us no kindness
when you proved we are not the center of the universe
easier to believe our lives had meaning then
harder now

it is better
to know
the truth

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Evanston: gloom; albatross surveillance; beer virus

Today is the seventh consecutive day in which Chicago has had no clear sunlight.  The record is nine.  The sky is low solid gray.  The temperature is not cold by Chicago winter standards, hovering around freezing, but the place is dismal.  I walked down to the lake yesterday, hoping I might find something pretty or interesting to photograph.  I did not.  So I am running the old photo above with the caption, “I like boats, but I’m afraid of the water.”

A day or two ago the NY TIMES ran an article about albatross being fitting with radar detectors that are finding ships at sea that have turned off their AIS transponders presumably while fishing illegally.  I was surprised to learn how many vessels do this and by another affirmation that we are being watched all the time everywhere.  Even when we think we are alone in the monastery of the sea, there is a CCTV in the ceiling of our cell.

I had already seen the article, but I thank Lee who emailed me about it.  He was right to think I would be interested.

In a recent exchange of emails Guy mentioned that he will be 50 next year which caused me to remember my 50th birthday and consider where I have been on other ten year birthdays, but before that let me remind you that I have written here before about Guy, who is an architect, photographer/artist, and serious walker.  Guy walks off for days, even on occasion I think weeks, alone through isolated landscapes in the UK and at least once Iceland, taking photographs which he later turns into rare images which he publishes on his site, Tracing Silence, enhanced by quotes with which I am seldom familiar.  I do not claim to understand what he is doing, but I am certain he is an original.  If you have been here a while you know I have no greater praise.  I wrote to him that I don’t believe he is seeking to create beauty, but some of his images are beautiful.  I particularly like ‘exposure/one day, one night/east sussex’

To see for yourself:

On my 50th birthday in November 1991 I was in Auckland, New Zealand, with Jill preparing RESURGAM for a 6,000 mile passage around Cape Horn to Uruguay.

On my 60th I was with Carol on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA running before a gale near the Canary Islands on a passage from Gibraltar to Dakar, Senegal.

On my 70th I was here in this condo with a patch over my soon to be blind right eye following retinal repair surgery.

i remember those clearly.  I don’t have specific memory of earlier ten year birthdays, but can deduce that on my 40th I was with Suzanne and my grandmother in Mission Beach, having flown back for the holidays from CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE in Singapore.

On my 30th I would have been living on the first EGREGIOUS, the Ericson 35, at Harbor Island Marina in San Diego, still longing.

On my 20th I would have been a junior in college in Dubuque, Iowa.

On my 10th in grade school in Kirkwood, Missouri.

On my 80th, next year if I last that long, maybe Hilton Head.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Evanston: legacy; the impossibility of stasis; old friends; parasite

Forget the words.  Forget the voyages.  I have come to accept that my eternal fame will be for push-ups.  Well, whatever works.  Yesterday I got an email from Tom, who does my age in push-ups because he is young and his age is not enough, and a few days ago from Bruce who wrote that I have inspired him to try to do his age by the time he reaches 70 in a year and a half.  He is currently at 50 and increasing.  Carol began doing push-ups last year and has increased her output five fold.  Well done to them and to all of you push-upping away.

A related subject is the impossibility of stasis.  Even though I think I know words I often look them up to be certain.  Stasis is defined as inactivity and equilibrium.  Some dictionaries equate that with stagnation.  I agree.  You are either getting stronger or you are getting weaker.  Weaker is probably the natural progression, particularly at my age.  I have no particular desire to be stronger, but I have a strong desire not to become weaker, so as I have mentioned here before I am randomly increasing my workouts, from stair climbing to light weight lifting to push-ups, crunches and walking.  I don’t bike in Evanston winters or in San Diego since my bike was stolen, but living on a boat is a naturally healthy life.  A New Zealand friend just lost 5 kilos/11 pounds on a month cruise from Auckland to the Bay of Islands on his 26’ boat.  

If we ever live in Hilton Head I will be able to add biking and swimming for much of the year. Our development has a pool which is not much used.

For quite some time I have mistakenly sought just to maintain the status quo.  Now I seek to do more.

I am almost finished with IMMORTAL POETS.  Only seven poets out of hundreds still to go.  Along the way I have come to the conclusion that women write better love poems than men, most recently in my reading Edna St. Vincent Millay, and I have smiled to come across old friends that I had forgotten or not read for a while, among them Chidiock Tichborne’s ‘On The Eve of His Execution’ and William Butler Yeats’ ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’.

You can find Tichborne’s poem under ‘quotes used in front of my books’ on the lists page of the main site.

Only part of ‘The Irish Airman’ is there, so I include it in its entirety here.  

I recall that my editor at Times Books wanted me to use something about gathering the flowers of the sea.  I declined and did what I have always done and went my own way.

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above,
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.


We saw the movie PARASITE Saturday.  I went in knowing only that it was named best picture at Cannes, got good reviews which I deliberately did not read, is nominated for best picture at the coming Academy Awards, is South Korean, and was strongly recommended by two friends.  I recommend you see the film and that you go in as unknowing as I did.  

PARASITE is still playing in theaters and will be available to rent from iTunes January 28.

I will say only that it is original, very well done, and disturbing.  It is a film that has remained strongly in my mind and the more I think about it, the more I admire it.

I chanced across the epitaph that the astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote for himself a few months before he died in 1630.

I used to measure the skies, now I measure the shadows of the Earth.  Although my mind was sky-bound, the shadow of my body lies here.

The photo is another old one taken several years ago from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA’s mooring off Opua.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Evanston: the charts of being

I made first use of the Apple Pencil this morning drawing charts of my circumnavigations.  They have all been uploaded to the renamed charts page of the main site.

But as a pubic service to save you the effort of clicking, I am also uploading them here.

(if you were one of the first few to view this page, the above chart has been changed.  When first posted it did not show RESURGAM's passage around Cape Horn.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Evanston: nine lives; ; do as I do

I thank Carlos for a link to an entertaining video about catboats apply titled Nine Lives.  If you watch, and you should—I provide a money back guarantee—continue through the final credits which have good images and a fine background song.

I do not often, perhaps ever, tell people that they should do as I do, but maybe I should.

While waiting in my dentist’s office for a routine checkup this morning I came across an article reporting a study that followed 1104 middle aged firefighters for ten years.  Those who could do 40 or more push-ups had a 96% reduction in heart issues compared to those who could do 10 or less.  

Here is a link to a summary of the study.

I note that these were middle aged men, but then I doubt there are any 78 year old firefighters.

I’ve done 173 push-ups today in sets of 81, 42 and 50, and I am as you know really old.

Time for you to hit the floor.  I’m counting.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Evanston: THE JOKER; an update; worthless lives

Carol and I watched THE JOKER Friday evening.  The movie exceeded my expectations.  It was darker and deeper.  I have written that I thought Leonardo DiCaprio gave an exceptional performance in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.  Joaquin Phoenix is even better in the strange and demanding title role in THE JOKER.

I have added the final passage logs of GANNET’s circumnavigation to the logs page of the main site.

Unable to avoid noticing the breathless reporting of certain actions recently taken by young members of the British royal family has not changed my mind about the lack of intelligence of our species.   I have no respect for or interest in ‘the nobility’ which simply means that you had an ancestor who was a brigand or a sycophant, and probably both, who was in position when the music stopped.  Were I British I would want to abolish the royal family, even if they are a tourist attraction.  

This caused me to consider jobs that are completely fatuous.  Being a reporter covering the royal family is certainly one.  How could you come to the end of your life and look in the mirror and not know that it had all been wasted?  Another would be emoji designer.  I googled that and found that such a person is likely to make $100,000+ annually.  Money isn’t everything.  

In that search I also came across “5 Careers For The Emoji-obsessed.  Because words are so yesterday.”

Sometimes I miss being in mid-ocean.

The above is another old image I came across, this of my only magazine cover.  The photo was taken in Boston Harbor a few months before Carol and I sailed away in 2001.  Some of you will recognize Boston Light.  The editor’s first choice of photos was one of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA sailing in front of the Boston skyline, but it was decided that a month after 9-11 a photo of a city skyline was not appropriate.  Carol and I were in the marina at Vilamoura, Portugal on 9-11 and saw the World Trade Centers collapse on a feed from CNN.

I have been called many things over the decades, but I believe that cover is the only time I have been called mystical.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Evanston: a difference; great names; earth wind map

I finished reading THE SEA WOLVES last evening.  Despite the butchery, it was an enjoyable book, divided into four parts:  the raiders; the explorers; the traders; the homeland.  I found all interesting, but the explorers most.  Sailing west partially by chance ships being blown off course, partially deliberately, the Vikings moved from present day Scandinavia to the Orkney Islands, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and in our year 1000 to what is now Newfoundland.  

Seventy years ago I read such books and thought I can do that.  Now I read such books and I know I can do that.

One of the pleasures of THE SEA WOLVES is names.  Gorm the Old.  Athlered the Unready.  Aud the Deep Minded.  Basil the Bulgar-Slayer.  Bjorn Ironside.  Charles the Bald.  Charles the Fat.  Charles the Simple.  Erik Bloodaxe.  Harold Bluetooth—reportedly the source of the name of Bluetooth wireless technology.  Harold Greycloak.  Ivan the Boneless—who may have been double-jointed.  Sitric  One-Eyed—my kind of man.  Sitric Silkbeard.  Thorgils the Devil.  Sigurd the Stout.  Rollo the Walker—who may have been a giant so big that no horse could carry him.  Eyjolf the Foul.  Richard the Fearless.  Eric the Victorious.  Svein Forkbeard.  Edmund the Just.  Eadwig the Fair.  Edgar the Peaceful.  Edward the Martyr.

A Viking ship captained by Olaf the Peacock got lost in fog and drifted for five days.  When the fog lifted, there was debate among the crew about which way they should head.  They informed Olaf who ignored them and told the navigator to make the decision.  “I want only the shrewdest one to decide because in my opinion, the council of fools is all the more dangerous the more of them there are.”

So much for Facebook, Twitter and crowd sourcing.

One of the sites I visit each morning is the Earth Wind Map.  You can turn and enlarge it.  Click on any point and it will show latitude, longitude, wind direction, and wind speed.  Kilometer per hour comes up first.  Click on that to cycle through meters per second, knots, and miles per hour.

Zane, a New Zealand friend who lives in Auckland, is presently sailing his junk-rigged 26’ Contessa in the Bay of Islands and sending me beautiful photographs that make me home sick for a place that is not my home.

The above is a photo I took some years ago at anchor in Whangamumu Harbor.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Evanston: quotes and a (minor) revelation

I finished reading the excellent Frederick Rebsamen translation of BEOWULF during the third quarter of the college championship game Monday night.  I muted the volume at half time to resume reading.  Because I was almost finished with the book I left the sound off on the TV and read between plays.  With on average only about 12 or 13 minutes of action in a 60 minute game that takes three hours to complete, there is ample reading time.  In order to remain awake for the entire game, I had a dry night, drinking only club soda.  I was successful and saw the game to its conclusion at 11:15 PM Central time, although the outcome was not in doubt after LSU went three scores up in the fourth quarter.

Here is a passage describing Beowulf’s return voyage home to Gotland after slaying Grendel and Grendel’s mother who is never given a name in the poem.

                      The sail grew taut tugged by ocean winds
                      Mast-ropes trembled tight sail-anchors—
                      Piling seaswells pounded clinker-boards
                      Bound for Gotland—the good wave-cutter
                      Plunged into the foam flew with sail-wing
                      Followed the swan-road
                      Skimmed across the sea
                      Till headlands of home 
                      Hovered above them
                      The known sea cliffs—nudged by the wind
                      The keel carried them to calm shore-sand.

The first letters of the lines except for the first one should not be capitalized, but the system will not let me do otherwise.

Beowulf was not a Viking, although I am, but after finishing the poem I begin reading a history of the Vikings titled THE SEA WOLVES.  My claim to Vikinghood is that I have a mild to moderate case of Dupuytren’s Contracture, also known as the Viking disease.  While my ancestry is mostly English, there was a pillager somewhere back there a thousand years ago.

So far I have found in the book two quotes I like:

Wake early if you want another man’s life or land.  No land for the lazy wolf.  No battle won in bed.
        —Edda of Saemund the Wise, a collection of the sayings of Oden

Braver are many in word than in deed.
        —The Saga of Grettir the Strong

From Kent who maintains and is sometimes permitted to steer some of Audrey’s Armada comes a quote attributed to Pete Culler:  Boat Building is simply correcting one mistake after another, with the first mistake being to have begun in the first place.

Correcting one mistake after another is the essence of life.  Hopefully the number of mistakes gradually is reduced and hopefully one does not spent a lifetime correcting the same mistakes.  Of not beginning in the first place, I don’t think he meant it and I don’t think we have a choice.

I downloaded a calorie counting app yesterday.  Actually I downloaded several and kept Calorie Counter + by Nutra Check.  No I am not getting fat.  A fat Webb Chiles is a logical impossibility and an abomination not to be imagined much less seen.  I am 6’1” and weighed 155.4 pounds this morning.  But I was curious about my intake, particularly calories in alcohol which I have been known to drink.

I have learned several things.  There are more calories in beer than whiskey and gin.  Good.  I don’t drink much beer. This of course depends on how much you consume.  A bottle of wine has about 600 calories in it, which is about 60 more calories than in two martinis as I make them.

However the revelation is the amount of calories and protein I eat in my normal breakfast of grapefruit juice, uncooked oatmeal with protein powder, trail mix, and fruit, and two cups of black coffee.

Here is a screen shot of the details:

764 calories and 40 grams of protein are both twice what I would have guessed.  All good and I have no desire to change.

Yesterday I took in about 1800 calories including 4 ounces of Plymouth gin.  This is well below the 2100 a day  Nutra Check says I am permitted.  I may have to drink more gin.

The photo of the eponymous bird was taken years ago one evening from the deck of THE HAWKE OF TUONELA on her morning in the Bay of Islands.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Evanston: 1917

Carol and I saw the movie 1917 yesterday.  It is a good film, probably worth viewing a second time.  If I have a criticism it is that the movie is not grim enough.  There are trees and grass in many of the scenes.  In the photographs I have seen by 1917 there was not a tree or a blade of grass within miles of the front lines.  Nor a standing building.  Nothing but flattened mud.   

April 6, 1917 is the date given at the beginning of the film   Six months later on October 12 at Passchendaele New Zealand suffered what has been called “the greatest disaster in New Zealand history” when in one morning 843 New Zealand men were killed.  The population of New Zealand at the time was about one million, so the dead numbered about one thousandth of the entire country.  An equivalent in the United States now would be 300,000 dead.  In one morning.  US military total dead in WW II were 407,316.

It happened that a few days ago I came across a quote made by Winston Churchill during WW I about the “many thousands of young men moving resolutely and blithely forward in this, the hardest, the cruelest, and the least rewarded of all the wars that men have fought.”

Now Winston was very good with words and he was also very good at killing men.  Gallipoli was his idea.  But for Hitler his position in history would have been one of ignominy, not glory.

‘Blithely’?  Maybe in August 1914, but I doubt any soldier in any army moved anywhere blithely in 1917.

I buy most of my books through the inelegantly named BookBub.  I get an email with four or five selections each morning and find something of interest every few days or weeks.  Recent purchases have included CIRCE, THE OREGON TRAIL, GIVE ME A FAST SHIP about the founding of the US Navy, an excellent translation of BEOWULF by Frederick Rebsamen, and the deeply disturbing OVERTHROW by former long time NY TIMES foreign correspondent, Stephen Kinzer which describes the fourteen legitimate foreign governments the United States has overthrow by overt or covert means from Hawaii to Iraq.

I knew generally about most of these, but the details of the suffering we caused in Honduras and Guatemala and Chile and the Philippines and others are more than distressing.  Often the motive was to obtain resources or to protect US business interests, but there has also been a self-righteous belief that we Americans know ‘the true way’ and therefore have the right to impose our way on the world.

I have written that the self-righteous are always willing that others suffer for their beliefs and we Americans are.

I actually don’t care what anyone believes so long as they are not so certain in their faith, political or religious, that they feel justified to persecute and kill those who do not share their opinions.  And ‘faith’ and ‘opinions’ they are.

One of the governments we overthrew was Iran. In 1953.  We did so to protect British and American oil interests.  You have only to glance at today’s news to see how well that turned out.

I was amused to find Henry Kissinger quoted in OVERTHROW.  When the Chilean foreign minister accused him of knowing nothing about the Southern Hemisphere, Kissinger replied,   “No, and I don’t care.  Nothing important can come from the South.  History has never been produced in the South.  The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington and then goes to Tokyo.  What happens in the South is of no importance.”

But then all of you in New Zealand and Australia and South Africa and everywhere else on what I consider the better side of the Equator already knew that.

I checked.  Of the world’s current excessive population of 7.3 billion, 6.5 billion, 90%, live in the Northern Hemisphere, accounting for at least that percent of the world’s problems, if not more.

The photo is another I recently happened upon.  

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Evanston: my last laptop; what I used to do

My five year old 12” MacBook is showing its age.  The battery needs replacing.  $200.  The display needs replacing.  $500.  So reluctantly I bought a new one.  Reluctantly because my IPad Pro meets 95%+ of my needs and is a very enticing device, but a few apps, particularly iWeb, only work on Macs, and I have almost two decades of photos on my MacBook that I don’t want to transfer to the iPad.  I attempted to move the photo library to an external drive which almost led to disaster and I will not try again.

Apple stopped making 12” MacBooks six months ago but a few big vendors still have them and I was able to find one with the specs I want.  It arrived yesterday and the setup and transfer of data went smoothly this morning.  This one is gold because gold was $100 cheaper than space gray or silver.  I can live with it.

Possibly this will be my last laptop.  I seldom make changes to my main website except to add new articles as they are published.  I did a few days ago add to the wit/wisdom page:  Read some poetry and listen to some Bach everyday.  I thought about adding:  And don’t eat too much.  But decided not to.  I do need to replace the chart with one that includes the GANNET voyage, but I expect that I can soon consider the website complete and add whatever new I want here in this journal.

I bought my first laptop in September 1992, a month after I sank RESURGAM.  It was an Apple PowerBook and at $2400 the most expensive computer I have owned.  It had 4 MB of RAM and a 40 MB hard drive and a slot for floppies.  Those are not typos.  I wrote two books on it.

Outside is gray and grim and gloomy and cold and unphotogenic, so I will be running older photos that I recently came across.  The above was taken by Patrick as GANNET and I entered Bundaberg, Australia, on the passage from New Zealand.  I thank him.

I thank Larry for the link to this Bliss cartoon.  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Evanston: Tom Brady and me; eloquent

Almost all of you, even if you are not residents of the USA or football fans, know that the New England Patriots lost to the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the NFL playoffs Saturday evening. The loss was front page and national TV news because the game might have been the last for Tom Brady, the New England quarterback.  Brady is now 42 years old.  He will be 43 before the next NFL season begins.  He is not what he used to be, and I find myself wondering, as do many, if he has stayed too long.  

I do not have an opinion about Tom Brady, but I have wondered the same thing about myself.  I, too, am not what I used to be.  A friend, half jokingly (I hope), has called me “an old sailor who is a mere shadow of his former self.”   It is absolutely true.  As you may have noticed there are no 78 year old active players in the NFL or the English Premier League or any other sport.

However what I do does not require that level of athletic ability, though it does require some.  You may recall my advice to make yourself as strong as possible and sailing your boat as easy as possible.  And some of you may recall my writing during GANNET’s passage from San Diego to Hawaii, ‘Use yourself up, old man.  Use yourself up.’  That was in 2014 and while I am five years more frayed by time and sometimes wonder if I am deluding myself, I still don’t feel used up.  So while this is statistically the decade in which I am likely to die and I am knowingly in the third and dying part of my life, I am looking to the future with eagerness that surprises me.  

In part this is because after a year and a half it is possible, even likely though I fear to say it, that the Hilton Head condo logjam may be breaking up and the renovation will resume.  I have not written about that here and will not now.  There has been a plethora of lawyers, insurance companies, home owners association, government officials, and I am not going to write anything that could make matters more complicated, if that is even possible.   Nevertheless there is a chance, perhaps even a good chance, that the evil condo will become habitable this year.  If so, GANNET will have another truck ride which I expect will cost less than did her forty mile jaunt across Panama.

In the meantime I have decided to push my aging body harder.  Each workout I am doing a few more push-ups or crunches.  No set amount.  Just a few more.  And I bought a set of 10 pound dumbbells to go with the 5 and 2.5 pound ones Carol already had.  I use them on  days I don’t do my usual workout and on one of my three seven floor stairwell climbs each day  I carry 30 pounds in a knapsack on my back.  Not much for those of you who have been through Marine Boot Camp, but then I am old.

‘Use yourself up, old man.’  I’m trying.

I have written about my friend, Roger, who cruised up and down the east coast this summer in TRAVELLER, his excellently home built 40’ catamaran.  He is now preparing to cross to the Abacos.  Roger grew up near Hilton Head and if I remember correctly has sailed on Skull Creek since he was a boy, but living on board more or less full time is new to him and he recently wrote in an email some eloquent words about that which he has kindly permitted me to share with you.

I am settling into this life now, but it has been odd to me how difficult it is to relax. When I was working we would sail on my summer vacations and I could easily fall into some state of relaxation, but perhaps it was a wishful state or like practicing to relax, but I find now that there is a true state of solitude and comfort in this life aboard Traveller. Hard work it is and my situational awareness is about Traveller and her well being which is one and the same as my own well being.  I am changing for the better and my heart is tucked into the natural world around me. I am only a reflection of the wind and water and the boat I built; nothing more than an instrument to them, as they play me. 

I was going through old photos when I came across some I had forgotten, including the above, which is not me and Tom Brady, but me and Carol on the pier leading out to the Skull Creek Marina.  Our shadows are on what I believe to be spartina, after which Steve Earley named his almost Drascombe Lugger.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Evanston: impossible; perfection; frozen fools

If you live in the Unites States you will probably have seen ads for the Burger King Impossible Whopper.  I was curious, so yesterday while Carol and I were out running errands we stopped at a Burger King and I ordered one.  I can report that it looks like beef and it tastes like beef.  However, as you can see the Impossible Whopper has little nutritional advantage over a regular Whooper.  Neither is good for you.


Impossible WhopperRegular Whopper
630 calories660 calories
34 g fat (11 g saturated fat)40 g fat (12 g saturated fat)
0 g trans fat1.5 g trans fat
10 mg cholesterol90 mg cholesterol
1080 mg sodium980 mg sodium
58 g carbohydrates49 g carbohydrates
4 g fiber1 g fiber
12 g sugar11 g sugar
25 g protein28 g protein

It should be noted that I seldom go to fast food establishments and don’t know what a regular Whopper tastes like.
One possible virtue to the Impossible Whopper is in savings of water and land needed to raise beef.  It is reported that 1,799 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of beef.
630 calories is an enormous amount for me to consume.   My normal lunch in Evanston is yoghurt to which I add trail mix.  Less than 200 calories total.  I will not be returning to Burger King soon.
Despite, or maybe because, of the Impossible Whopper, when I worked out later that afternoon, I went to 90 push-ups which would be enough to do my age though November 10, 2032.

Even for football fans there are far, far too many made for TV college football bowl games.  I believe the count this year is 40.  Teams don’t even need a winning record to be in a bowl.  Several have gone in with 6 wins and 6 losses.  Most of these are games that only alumnae of the participating schools and the local chambers of commerce care about.  Perhaps the most ludicrously named is the Gasparilla Bowl played in Tampa Bay, Florida.  What in hell is gasparilla? I wondered.  So I googled and learned from Wikipedia that:
“The game was renamed the Gasparilla Bowl in 2017 as a nod to the legend of José Gaspar, a mythical pirate who supposedly operated in the Tampa Bay area and who is the inspiration for Tampa's Gasparilla Pirate Festival.”
A mythical pirate?  Come on.
In any event, I have not watched many of the games, preferring to watch the football that we Americans call soccer.  Yesterday I watched Liverpool extend their unbeaten run in the English Premier League to a full year.  They are in first place in the league standings and arguably not just the best club in England, but the world, having won the most recent Champion’s League, the top club competition in Europe, and the FIFA Club World Cup.  They are a joy to watch and if not perfect, close enough.

Additional proof that we are not an intelligent species is not needed, but more is continually offered.
On January 1 recreational marijuana become legal in Illinois.  Lines formed at outlets before dawn.  I don’t know what time the doors opened, but the evening news carried onsite interviews with people who had been standing in line for up to six hours.  The temperature was below freezing.  The people being interviewed appeared happy.  Case closed.