Keys To Happiness
23 September 2020 | En Route to Montauk
Monday 21 September 2020
First day of autumn, but we'll shortly experience regional warming, perhaps to a sweltering twenty five Celsius. Citizens are up in arms. Somebody contact Greta Thuneburg.
Shout out to Jeff's mom. He's Jan's brother-in-law and mom is ninety. Just learned that she likes the blog. Goes to show that a twisted sense of humor can infect anybody. Of course, since she was a sailor, one is pretty sure she's a delightful, perspicacious, discerning individual although possibly just slightly crazy.
Ran around yesterday enriching Uber and accomplishing several missions, among them replenishing propane, spending a diaper load of fake money (it's plastic and much like fake news except eventually there's a reckoning) at Costco and ummmm, probably some other stuff.
Bought a cheap antenna for the digital TV so now able to receive crap over the air. News would normally be the primary advantage of this capability, but since that is currently all Supreme Court politics, all the time we've been lured into watching reruns of Mash and The Closer. This is not significantly better. Since so few people watch broadcast any more thus giving networks less revenue per commercial, actual content is, besides being almost as terrible as the ads, shrunken to a mere nugget. One forgets what happened in the previous show segment before end of each interminable, insulting promotion. So as not to leave this polemic on a negative note, weather reports are OK, but are teased so one has to watch the whole happy talk performance.
Speaking of which, we must make a decision shortly on how to proceed from here. Winds for next two weeks are predominately from south and southwest. Going further northeast into even colder temperatures seems on surface to be, not to put too fine a point on it, insane.
Over excellent dinner at Limoncello Italian Restaurant in North End, decided it's going to be hard enough getting south from Boston so we began this morning heading toward Cape Cod Canal with hopes of making other side by nightfall. Excellent wind for sailing and, although Teddy kicked up a two meter swell, period is long so today is fun. Luxuriating while we can. After this, appears we'll have a slog to Montauk and Long Island Sound. Checked temperatures from New York all the way to South Carolina. Crikey, it's fall everywhere. Should have planned this better and been in balmy Key West by now. What were we thinking?
Jack & Jan
Doona Wanna Live Like This
20 September 2020 | Boston
Saturday 19 September 2020
Thick doona has been deployed as nighttime gets a wee bit nippy. Waiting for hurricane Teddy, which will maintain winds from the cold, cruel north until it passes, then perhaps, a quick run up to Bar Harbor before escaping back south. Although latest wind forecast shows slightly warmer southerly breezes after Wednesday they may remain for several days and would create more difficulty getting back so plans remain irresolute.
Quiet evenings are continually interrupted by what sounds like a cart rolled rapidly along a planked dock. Too regular to be lines fluttering onto boat anatomy, too short duration for jets departing from nearby Logan Field, finally decided it's the subway passing through tunnels under the river below us. Presumably sound is so immediate because water transmits it much better than
Science Museum visited yesterday was extensive and contained several interesting
exhibits although iMAX and most performances were canceled. Planetarium show, on potential Mars exploration, was pretty good as it was not dumbed down as
these things usually are to appeal exclusively to children who are probably able to assimilate knowledge better than most adults think. People of all ages tend toward behaving at the level they're treated. For example, boat kids, with whom we are very familiar and who spend a large percentage of their time with adults sharing much more responsibility, are almost invariably more intelligent, mature, confident and urbane than counterparts whose primary influences are peers or people who treat them like delicate little idiots. Based on observation it once appeared to me that trickery and deceit were the hallmarks of good parenting,
whatever you could do to calm the little menaces down. Even so, never liked idea of chemicals. Hey guys, let's pump our tykes full of Ritalin and make life beautiful again. Of course, in perfect NIMBY fashion, if you're bringing them into restaurants and bars frequented by us, we're completely on board with drugging them into a total catatonic stupor... and thanks.
Very few boats in this area have fully enclosed cockpits. One presumes this is
because locals are hardy, crazy and/or cheap. In some fairness, they put boats up for winter, huddle in heated apartments and spend twenty minutes rugging up before venturing outside so suffer less when it's really cold. For us tropical wimps who live on a boat year round and don't have diesel heaters, sunlight shining through a wraparound clear plastic greenhouse is the only thing that keeps our blood from becoming slush. Windy overcast days encourage hibernation under that previously mentioned doona as well as high alcohol consumption... OK, that second thing was just a convenient excuse.
Jack & Jan
17 September 2020 | Boston
Thursday 17 September 2020
Boston is called Beantown as reference its association with baked beans. Don't
know why as the British have had them forever. A full English breakfast
wouldn't be complete without haricot cooked in tomato sauce from tins. Perhaps
it's the way our guys fix them with salt pork and molasses to contain four of
the five most important food groups: meat, salt, fat and sugar. You can get all
five and make them palatable by including a jar of moonshine.
OK now see, that was a joke. If mom or Uncle Beauregard works for Goya and
relies on selling the things to put beans on the table, so to speak, don't get
dyspeptic (OK, that was another joke). Baked beans are fine. A full English
breakfasts is a favorite, all of it including the sweet, reddish lumps that
drool all over your plate. Don't get downwind... or strike a match.
We've come to Panera Bread for bagel, coffee and such to await opening of local
Apple Store. Computer bought several months ago was wrecked when a malevolent
kernal extension stopped migration of old system into new one. Now can't get
the thing to do anything. Apple Store in Boston would not look at computer -
tried walk-in when no repair appointments at all were available on the website.
Finally have repair appointment in Cambridge for next week. As usual Apple is
being, well, Apple and among other things has, like Starbucks, gone full
paranoid on the virus.
By the way, looking for a theory that might help explain where people fall on
the safety vs. liberty continuum - Ref. Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would give
up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither
Liberty nor Safety.". Suspect it has something to do with whether one thinks
individuals are competent to guide their own lives or whether they need to be
controlled by their betters. You're in the first group if you think people
properly have ownership of themselves and have the right to live, imperfectly as
may be, by their own lights. Can you live your life better than someone else
can live it for you? OK, not you there in the back row, but how about everyone
Jack & Jan
Sex, Drugs And Rock & Roll
16 September 2020 | En Route To Boston
Wednesday 16 September 2020
So, back to sailing! We do that sometimes. In this case, we're having a smashing cruise from Provincetown to Boston. Wind, as predicted strangely enough, is carrying us along at a nice clip, although adverse current around end of Cape Cod is slowing progress. Hope to lose it shortly to arrive on mooring before late afternoon. If for some unfathomable reason (a little nautically inspired lingo) wind forecast remains accurate for next several days, may be enjoying the delights of Beantown until following weekend.
Like Key West, Provincetown is a remote tourist destination and is similarly colonized, apparently, by a large gay population. This according to Jan as rest of crew is generally oblivious and has better things to notice such as which bars have happy hour and, since we're on the subject of sex, girls. Lovely creatures girls, but like, for example, the Mona Lisa, although one can enjoy looking, close contact can get a boy in big trouble. P'town is picturesque, one might even say quaint, where, while we were bundled against the frigid temps in jeans, sweaters and jackets, locals seemed impervious in shorts and T-shirts. Children were swimming around their boats. Our goose bumps had goose bumps.
Monday night spent almost a hundred US for mediocre dinner at Tin Pan Alley. When you toddle over next weekend, don't make the same mistake. Last night, for a few bucks more, rejoiced in a magnificent meal including halibut, lobster and clams at Pepe's, not to be confused with the also excellent Pepe's on Caroline Street in Key West. Too expensive for a regular event, but worth every agorot, which for your edification is one hundredth of a shekel. Spring that on your Israeli friends and revel in their amazement at your erudition.
Wind, somewhat ahead of the beam, has picked up to over twenty and we're bounding along at near hull speed on well-reefed main and genny plus staysail. Lost the bad current. Sailing's fun. Ought to do it more often... make note to self. May arrive in time to dinghy in for dinner and drinks, possibly at one of the excellent north side Italian restaurants. As a character building exercise distaff crew is limiting consumption of devil rum (and every other mind altering substance) and has not partaken in several days. This complete deprivation is finally coming to a grateful end - tonight's the night. Rest of crew has no desire to improve his character although considerable moderation has occurred as it's less fun drinking alone. Also, when dead sober, one notices that everybody who's drinking even a little acts like a moron. This is not obvious if you are in a similar state.
Jack & Jan
15 September 2020 | Privincetown
Tuesday 15 September 2020
Eschewing good sense and risking hypothermic collapse we, each and every member of the crew except me, have decided to spend a few days in Boston enjoying the sights while spending a rather impressive amount of funds to moor just offshore from the historic district, then (this is where unanimity comes a cropper) dash up to Bar Harbor, Maine, winds allowing, for an indeterminate length obsession to see that undoubtedly beautiful coast, where temperatures will go as low as 5C at night with highs occasionally no greater than 11. While a bit nippy for this little wood duck, adventure knows no bounds short of freezing one's noogies off. Original idea was to let cold chase us back south. As a now cast aside formulation, getting caught was at one time considered inappropriate.
Anyone not just now stumbling onto this site may have noticed a diversion into political observation. While the prime directive states this is for my personal amusement and "is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind", it is nevertheless a sailing blog and may have gone slightly beyond its commission. At risk of making excuse, this is partly due to somewhat enforced minimal activity and having little of more interest that is ironic, hypocritical or about which to be skeptical (as differentiated from the current nearly ubiquitous cynicism). For those who take exception (for example Barb who was hopefully not terribly offended by unsympathetic comments about Jeep (I have agreeably owned two), for which she has great affection) and don't wish to laugh at their own (and my) foibles, please either skip alerts or find more congenial material. Although the relentless perspective is individualistic, a concept currently out of favor as opposed to collectivistic, there is no desire to either instruct or offend. It's strictly meant as entertainment for me and for anyone who cares to look.
Human beings, unique in their ability to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic are also remarkable in their disinclination to do so.
- Inspired by Douglas Adams
Jack & Jan
15 September 2020 | Privincetown
Monday 14 September 2020
Saw first right whales on arrival yesterday. We love our creature features.
Cape Cod Bay is a favorite playground for much of their year. These guys are
second largest behind blue whales, which are the largest animal to ever inhabit
earth, but have testes ten times bigger than their larger cousins - amaze
friends with this delightful tidbit at your next soiree. Supposedly named
because they were the "right" whale to kill due to large quantities of oil and
baleen, this is probably hooey as nobody really knows. They were hunted almost
to extinction and populations in the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific are
possibly four hundred and fewer than two hundred, respectively. Southern rights
are doing much better with perhaps fifteen thousand. Numbers are a guess, but
the northern guys are certainly most endangered of all large whales. Next
chance you get give one a big hug.
Commercial Street along the waterfront in Provincetown is chockers with shops
and restaurants, but lacking, as far as we could tell, in coffee and breakfast
places that 1) are open, 2) allow sit down dining and 3) have Wi-Fi. Finally
found a hotel restaurant that eliminated their breakfast menu, but has coffee
and omelettes... whatever. Internet is useless. Still searching for new
favorite breakfast restaurant in all the world. Maybe in Boston if we ever get
there as weather is becoming, at frequent intervals, sucky (highly technical
meteorological term meaning poopy which is itself a highly technical
meteorological term meaning sucky). Looks like Wednesday might work for that
forty four NM sprint.
*** Upbeat Rant Alert... Oxymoron? ***
Despite intemperate opinions expressed previously, the worldwide human condition
has been getting better by virtually any metric one can imagine and at an
accelerating pace since the Great Enlightenment began in the eighteenth century.
However, since that knowledge doesn't stir the blood, put fire in the eyes and
sell newspapers or airtime it's not real news and thus not worthy of our
consideration. Murder, mayhem, an us versus them attitude and ritualistic
chanting attract attention and get emotional juices flowing. Good news is
boring and no fun at all. Therefore let's enjoy the idiocy. Looked at properly
current events, which are completely out of your and my control, are great
entertainment and way better than reality TV. Of course, as likely none of you
agree, road kill skunks are better than reality TV, but perhaps you get the
Jack & Jan
13 September 2020 | En Route Cape Cod
Saturday 12 September 2020
Since it's been awhile and also because we're running out of recorded movies, mobile data for Netflix in the anchorage is very slow and anyway costs a bundle now that Google Fi has reduced its limited, unlimited plan to very limited, unlimited, we re-watched Groundhog Day. It remains a classic and mimics our current activities not to mention that of many others. Northeastish wind, into our direction of travel, has kept us snuggled into this very cozy hideout for now, but may ease this afternoon to allow fourteen NM slog to south end of Cape Cod Canal from whence to make our final push tomorrow into Provincetown. Expect to be there until at least Tuesday as another nor'east blow comes in Monday. It's getting that time of year up here with attendant crisp temperatures. We don't do crisp.
NOAA has just predicted that a more active than normal Atlantic storm season is possible. We're just over halfway through, already at Sally with likely two more, Teddy and Vicki, in train. After next one, Wilfred, we're out of names and go into the phonetic alphabet with two and a half months left. Mighty bold assessment for our boys in the National Hurricane Center. Perhaps they'll get it right this year.
Wind remained fresh from the east until late. Full forty four NM run to Cape Cod today. No worries as current in Canal is against until after noon thus no rush getting to it. Started early (for us that's 0900) so plan to stop short for breakfast and meantime enjoying an easy beam reach across Buzzards Bay flying everything but a white flag of surrender.
Sailing can be a psychologically elevating and ennobling experience. It can help one appreciate life at its most basic and throw off that inner A type to relax and feel pure enjoyment. However, it is often said that anytime there are two boats going in the same direction it's a race. This is not accurate. It's only a race for the boat that's winning. After being squirted out of the Canal doing almost eight knots with following current, wind picked up and sail across Cape Cod Bay was a romp to P'town along with another sailboat. We were racing.
*** Rant Alert ***
As US slouches toward a national election, entertainment opportunities will certainly increase apace. Rabid ends of the political spectrum will provide some, but clearly not all, the fun. Universities full of little snowflakes who are terrorized by their own shadows have decided that they should indoctrinate their charges in the one right way instead of encouraging individual thinking. Hollywood has decided to judge the Academy Awards based on skin color rather than quality, going about more minority inclusion in the most perverse way. The idea that riots, destruction and theft are moral is given serious consideration. Police have been militarized and given duties far outside the need for lethal force plus bad cops cannot be fired and are given what amounts to an unlimited pass to abuse their authority. And it's virtually impossible to get unaccented news as even outlets claiming to be unbiased display ever more obvious agendas. Everyone is playing to his tribe as the rest of humanity is judged worse than wrong, they're evil. One interesting bit is that, unlike polls, betting lines, which are often more accurate, show the presidential race even. If we get four more years of the USS Trump (feel free to use your own perspective and imagination for words attendant to the letters) or indeed if Biden wins, expect everyone including those on the winning side to lose his !@#$%^&* mind (strength of adjective at your discretion). Although there are, of course, legitimate and serious problems, don't expect much movement toward constructive solutions any time soon. But hey, let's face it, good sense and adequate governance are awfully boring.
Jack & Jan
Not So Bunco
10 September 2020 | En Route Cape Cod
Wednesday 9 September 2020
Welcome to you few who may have come back after preceding entry. Overcast here in Newport and temps have begun to drop as we slide toward autumn. Jeans and jackets have, at least for the nonce, replaced shorts and Ts. Summer is ending. Cut loose on my own recognizance after visits yesterday to ortho and PT. Two weeks into total hip replacement and walking as well as during entire ten months with nail and screws. Would be leaving tomorrow, but package showing tracking number of paddleboards showed up with Apple Airpods. That's a pretty impressive screw-up. Even if they floated, don't think they'd hold our weight and paddles were missing. Ostensible phone number for Nevada company remains unavailable even overnight. Awaiting response to emails. Breath not being held.
ROC paddleboard company indicates no special sale, but we did get Airpods of similar value and email response from whoever sent them so not a total scam. Anyway no boards immediate future so we're en route Onset Bay, south side of Cape Cod Canal in fifty meter fog and no wind. If for some fanciful reason the things show up, Newport is minor detour heading back south.
Forecasts, of course, are notoriously crappy, but if true that strong winds from north and east will start tonight may hang tight until Sunday before continuing to Provincetown. As day has drifted along, fog has thickened to pea soup. Haven't seen anything like this since working for NATO out of Mildenhall in East Anglia. Surprising number of vessels ricocheting around in this stuff, but have radar and a horn, one long blast every two minutes, so not too bad. Even so, probably drop the hook short at familiar, well protected Hadley Harbor and see what tomorrow brings. Could be a fortuitous opportunity to piss away our immediate futures in unproductive activity.
"The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life."
- George Carlin
Jack & Jan
Culling The Readership
06 September 2020 | Newport
Saturday 5 September 2020
Enjoying a heat wave this weekend. Today: 24 (that's 75 for the Celsius challenged). Locals are complaining. We warm weather wimps are hoping it lasts for a few more weeks to explore New England before breathing becomes visible. Refuse to put a diesel heater in the craft as we won't stay cold for long. It gets to 15C (60F) we're beating feet south.
Had big plans for the long weekend: ferry to Providence or sail to Bristol, but inertia has capped enthusiasm at least through today. Doctor and PT scheduled Tuesday and another round of torture Thursday, but may blow that one off and head toward P'town (Provincetown, Cape Cod) Wednesday. Since Jan hasn't seen it since childhood also want to explore Boston. Wouldn't want to live there, but it's a fantastic visit. When weather is nice New England is a wonderful place: friendly inhabitants, lobster, clam chowder, history and lots of the most beautiful boats on the planet. Even some great looking stinkpots (powerboats). Downsides are expense and half the year is damp cold or freezing with no sailing.
Another beautiful day in paradise - at least one more. We've walked up to CRU Cafe, about eight hundred meters (that's half a statute mile for the metrically challenged) to have breakfast and partially assuage guilt engendered by doing diddly yesterday. It's working, but then we're not often tortured by our delinquencies.
Perhaps later we'll go to Fort Adams, which guards the immediate approach to Newport and to Providence further up. We've been in Rhode Island now for nearly six weeks and yet to visit. Although people come from around the world to see it, lived in Memphis for four years and never went to Graceland. There's probably a message there somewhere, but anyway, can't stay here much longer. If we put down roots moss will begin growing on our north sides. If you weren't a Boy Scout or live nearer the equator and don't know what that means, disregard.
*** Subversive Seriousness and Imprudent Opinion Alert *** If you love me and wish to continue, end here. DO NOT read this!!!
Haven't seen much overt, zealous, political tribalism up here in a blue state as in areas further south. Folks seem less impassioned for their side, led by the warmed-over, semi-sentient, wishy-washy, authoritarian gaffer, than by their rabid hatred of the other tribe's guy.
As for the Reds, despite their own culpabilities, which are manifest and part of the problem, one can hardly blame many people who've watched the country's governance going so badly off the rails for decades and been treated like fly-over country deplorables by the ruling elites and mainstream media, finally having their fill and voting for an incompetent, narcissistic, crass, authoritarian populist. Confirmation bias has apparently allowed them to think his blundering has made the situation better and that he hasn't degraded the political discourse and brought both sides down to his level. Although Trump is probably the worst, he's a result, not a cause. Ultimately we get the government we deserve and the damage isn't going to be repaired soon no matter which bozo is elected for the next four years.
By the way, for everyone either blue or red, but especially for any resident of a non-swing state that will absolutely go one way or the other, it matters not which way you vote, you're pissing it away. If you can't find a third party that more closely aligns with what you actually think is right and proper, show your displeasure by writing in Mickey Mouse. Your grandchildren will thank you.
"The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind".
- H. L. Mencken
Jack & Jan
Is Hip Fashionable?
31 August 2020 | Newport
Friday 28 August 2020
Couple more days on dock to wallow in virtual dirt dwelling then back out on anchor. If recovery is as fast as begun and anticipated, should be out of here in a couple weeks or not much more. Except for servicing anchor (easy), setting whisker pole, flying spinnaker or if something goes pear shaped (that's the tricky one) we can work the boat from cockpit and could take off now.
Slept in until eleven, so must need rest, but now headed out to restaurant down the road that has breakfast all day. Balance fine (more or less necessary living on a boat) and able to walk without crutch, but it does ease the load a bit. People in worse shape see it and hold doors - a wee bit embarrassing. The oddest thing is that after walking around with an inch shorter left leg for months, feels like it's now much longer than right. Doctor indicates it is indeed a negligible point three millimeters longer. Stomping on it a bit should correct that.
Had planned on dinghy practice to NE corner of harbor, but discouraged by rain. Off dock tomorrow morning. Spent a day chocked full of malingering.
A little sporty getting off dock with twenty knot wind, but forecast to stay blowy for next two days and piggy bank is already annoyed, so here we be on anchor a skosh closer in than previously. Perhaps close enough to get Cox Wi-Fi, which is free during covid. Thanks guys, but a smidge stronger signal would be nice.
Having wanted one forever (not in the womb, but right after) Jan found an ROC paddleboard that is normally several hundred dollars on sale for sixty nine with free shipping, so we bought two. It's been dispatched from Guangdong (evil China) sorting facility so in transport system. Probably have a high duty attached, but fortunately, as have been told to believe, those are paid for by the Chinese. Not sure how that works, but perhaps they'll credit our visa.
Surgical pain usually lasts about two weeks. Prescribed oxycodone is gone after five days so spent an uncomfortable night; not too bad today. I'm a tough guy and can handle the pain, but why should that be necessary? In the nineties doctors prescribed opioids like candy and now like poison because they've become paranoid about addiction, getting sued and government prosecution. Do pendulums ever stop in the middle? Probably too much to ask doctors be allowed to use professional judgment and treat patients as if they were individuals.
August gone, good riddance. Never liked this month. September brings the beginning of autumn; October has Halloween; In the US November includes Thanksgiving; December, the winter holidays. August has squat. The word itself is ugly with a guttural "g". In much of the northern hemisphere it's hot and uncomfortable with little breeze. School vacation ends. A check of the diary may show otherwise, but pretty sure nothing good has ever happened in August. It's a bad, bad month. Hello September. We love you.
On those down notes it's time to end this thing and upgrade frame of mind. In a different galaxy, far, far away while attending military school, response to, "let's have an attitude check", reply was always, "this place sucks, sir". When ordered to give a positive attitude check the proper answer was, "this place positively sucks, sir". This is not like that.
Jack & Jan