Monday, November 27, 2023

Hilton Head Island: The Year Earth Changed; Ted Lasso and taking responsibility for your own life; taxed

We are in the middle of a three month free trial to Apple TV+.  I do not know if I will pay for it after the trial ends.  When you are in the oldest 1% of the human population you cannot expect that any business that lives and dies by mass numbers is going to target you, and most of Apple TV+ content is appropriately aimed at those several generations younger than I and with different interests and standards.  I would like to see the Apple films of KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, which I read, and NAPOLEON, but they will not be streamed for a while.

In the meantime, we were impressed with the documentary, THE YEAR EARTH CHANGED.  That was the year of COVID lock down during which our species mostly stayed inside at home, resulting in quick and great changes in the rest of the world.  Within a few days air pollution decreased so that the Himalayas were seen at never before in recent times distances, whales in the Gulf of Alaska were able to communicate better in the absence of the noise of cruise ship propellers, penguins in South Africa were able to make more trips to and from the ocean to feed their young in the absence of crowds of us on the beaches, and, as they say, more.  Much more.

Unfortunately in the U.S. the film seems to be only on Apple TV+.  If you can see it, I strongly recommend you do.

We have also now watched all three seasons of Ted Lasso, of which we had heard much.

The series is very uneven.  Some of it is funny and clever.  Some of it is not.  Characters don’t remain in character.  Ted displays greater ignorance of English football—soccer to Americans—than even that of a casual fan.  And one episode in the second season, a drunken night crawl by an assistant coach, is so bad and so inconsistent with the rest of the series that I told Carol, one more like that and I am through.  The writers and director seemingly recognized their mistake and there was not another like it.  I think the problem is that with its success, there became too much time to fill.  The first season has ten episodes, each about a half hour long.  The second and third seasons run twelve episodes each, with those in the third season running about an hour long.  To fill them the series went off on many irrelevant tangents.

Having said all that, we did watch to the end.  Not in my opinion one of the all time great comedy series, and not in itself a reason to subscribe to Apple TV+, but entertaining and in the penultimate episode, briefly profound.

In that episode one character recites without attribution what is obviously a poem.  Carol immediately commented, “That’s your philosophy.”  And in part it is.

I googled and learned that the poem is “This Be The Verse” by an Englishman, Philip Larkin, who is famous in England, but of whom I had not known.  Here it is:

The last two lines certainly apply to me.  I got out as soon as I could—I just realized that 2023 marks fifty years debt free; and next year will mark fifty years since I last worked for anyone else—and I deliberately never had children, not because I feared ‘fucking them up’, to quote Mr. Larkin, but because I knew negatively from my own childhood that if you have children you owe them a lot for a long time and I did not believe I could be a good parent and live the life I wanted to and have.

I believe the greatest strength is absorbing the evil done to you and not pass it on.  This is a Christian virtue not much practiced by those who call themselves Christian, now or ever.  Most Christians have always preferred to stick with the Old Testament and seek revenge.

I do not know that I have lived up to that, but I have tried and like to believe that I have learned and am doing better than I did when younger.

You have never read or heard me blame my parents, natural or step.  I have related some facts such as that my parents separated before I was born and I only saw my father for perhaps twenty minutes, and I was not close to my mother or stepfather.  This in part I knew as a child because I reminded my mother of my father, whether justly or not I had and have no way of knowing.

I have said that I have lived the life I wanted to live and I have understood it as I have done so.  I can point to the minute my life moved from the part I call Longing to the part I call Being.  11 AM, Saturday, November 2, 1974, when I pushed the engineless EGREGIOUS away from the dock in San Diego for my first attempt at Cape Horn.

I also know when I took full responsibility for my life, though not as precisely.  It was when I was thirteen.  I had a minor accomplishment that year.  The details do not matter.  But I observed that my mother took all the credit and I realized that if I blamed my parents for what was wrong with me, they also had the right to claim what was good about me, and I did not believe they deserved to or want to share that, so I decided Webb Chiles is responsible for Webb Chiles.  Period.  No excuses.  No blaming others.  It has worked out pretty well.

I hardly had the South Carolina registration numbers on the bow before I got a tax bill for GANNET from Beaufort County.  Carol and I got the numbers on the port bow Tuesday.  The tax bill arrived Friday.  It is for $66.46 for the year.  I can handle that.  One of the many virtues of owning a small, old, great boat.

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