Monday, May 21, 2012

Skookums Log: Saildate 051212

Weather: Brilliant but windy

Depart La Conner approximately 1230 hours for Skookums first day sail out of her new port of call.  The wind was blowing so when we untied from the dock Skookum immediately started swinging towards her marina neighbor forcing Captain Tim to make a precarious lean over the water to catch her and pull her back. Skookum is a big heavy boat and so despite giving her good power on the reverse she pointed her nose in the wrong direction as we backed out of our space. Undeterred the Captain just reversed out of our lane and pointed her towards the Swinomish channel and we were on our way.

The channel ride is about 7 miles heading north towards Padilla Bay and Anacortes. Near the end it passes under the Highway 20 bridge connecting the mainland to Fidalgo Island and just beyond that, sitting in the middle of the channel, is a train track bridge on a movable barge. The track is rarely closed because the train only serves the oil refinery further down the track which is good because it's too low for Skookum and her tall masts to pass underneath.

Once Skookum made her way out of the shallow waters of Padilla Bay and passed the town of Anacortes the wind really started to pick up. Since we were heading directly into it Skookum was crashing into some 5 and 6 foot wind waves making for an uncomfortable ride. Combine that with a current also working against her and our progress was painfully slow. By this time it was past 1400 hours and it was time to turn around.

And what a difference it made. The minute we turned her around the ride became ten times more comfortable and we were able to put up sail. With the wind at her tail we hoisted a sail and turned off the engine and finally did what we came out to do. Skookum moved twice as fast with the wind behind then she had driving into it.

For an enjoyable half an hour we sailed back the way we came and then turned toward the waters around Anacortes in the hope of more sailing before we headed back to the channel. But the area is full of little islands and we found a hole in the wind on the aft side of Huckleberry Island. We creeped along hoping to pick it up again but the once vigorous wind remained hiding behind the island like a shy teenager. In annoyance the Captain decided we would require some iron wind to get us away from the spot and so turned the key on the engine. SILENCE!

This is not a good sound on a boat who's only other source of power is the wind which does a terrible job of powering the batteries, hahaha. As the trusty First Mate kept the boat steered still looking for the elusive wind the Captain shucked his old hat and put on his Engineers Cap. ("We need more power Scotty. I'm giving her all she's got Captain!") Soon he's in the bilge playing with the batteries and sparks are flying. He yells to the first mate "turn her on" and presto the engine roars to life. (It pays to read the manual as the Captain was quick to point out to a non-manual reading First Mate.)

Having had an eventful enough day and wanting to get back to the marina in time for a nice barbecue and beer we turned Skookum towards the Swinomish and headed home. The wind behind us the boat moved quietly while we bird watched and enjoyed the sunshine. As we closed in on Highway 20 we were barely paying attention until the Captain says "Hey, does that train bridge look closed to you?" And as sure as there are tornadoes in trailer parks the train bridge was clearly closed and blocking our path.

So we started circling the narrow channel in Skookum until finally a train came along and crossed the tracks. After it had passed by we watched a man in an orange vest make his LEISURELY way back across the train bridge, all the way to the other side and finally into the control booth where he finally hit the shiny red button to turn the trestle sideways again. Thanks dude.

Then the final and wonderfully uneventful last leg back to La Conner where the wind had died and the water lay like glass in the marina. The Carne Asada tacos off Skookum's grill were outstanding washed down with a couple of cold ones in the sun. Good times.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Romney Contraceptive Heckler a Plant


I'm not sure about you but I find the question posed to Romney by the supposed heckler at a campaign rally to be highly suspicious. Too say loudly that she likes "free contraceptives" sounds like a Republican theme they want to put in the mouths of Dems. What kind of real Democratic woman is going to a Romney rally to call for FREE contraceptives? And what a great opportunity for him to take a stab at the President, false accusation or not.  Coincidence? Not likely.

This argument has never been about free contraception. The Republicans would like us to think so but the facts are now history. This is about whether a woman paying for insurance can get her contraceptives covered under that plan. Everything else is an attempt to distract us from the attack on women that is going on from the GOP. It seems obvious to me that this woman was planted there to give Romney the opportunity to make his case. What I don't understand is why nobody else has looked into this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Tragedy at Penn State

I'm sure I'm not the only one in America who is stunned by the recent events at a once proud University - Penn State. You expect to hear things about boosters giving players money or players getting free cars and tattoos but this? Outside of the abuse that Mr. Sandusky dished out to young boys there is the obvious complicity of their venerated coach Joe Paterno. Known as "JoPa" in Happy Valley he is nothing short of a living legend around the school. 

But as the story begins to come out it has become clearer and clearer that Mr. Paterno knew that something had gone on and that something was probably still going on and he did nothing about it. Any attempt on his part to feign ignorance will sound false and unbelievable at this point.

You simply cannot work that long with another person without picking up on certain clues. Sandusky took some of these kids on road games with him - no concerns here? So now you have all these clues laying around and then a graduate assistant and his father come into your office and tell you that he personally witnessed Sandusky having anal sex with a ten year old boy in the locker room showers. So even if Paterno had been obtuse enough to have missed the clues up until then, what's his excuse after this?

Reporting it to his boss? From everything I've heard Joe Paterno for all practical purposes IS the boss at Penn State. So it's probably more likely that he had a conference with "his boss" and the two of them decided to keep it all in the Penn State family. That is flat-out criminal negligence. 

Too bad that instead of being sent to jail for a few days he will probably be given honorary retirement. I hope he realizes that outside of his very tight football family he's not likely to be welcomed anywhere else. No more trips to the White House JoPa!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011

IS IT JUST ME???????????

Now that the guilty verdict is in on Dr. Conrad Murray and we can all go on with our lives I would like to offer up these questions: What is wrong with all the people hanging around outside? Don't they know that there are bigger issues than this? Focus people.

Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.........

It appears that the final nail in the coffin of Herman Cain might finally have been driven home. After days of bumbling denials in the face of irrefutable evidence a woman has put a face on his behavior. Aside from his crass and cynical attempt to score based on his ability to get this woman a job, his dismissal of all of the allegations reeks of Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman" and reflects poorly on him at best.

Serious Republicans are quietly ecstatic while Democrats are disappointed that the Herman Cain show might have been canceled. Privately Dems would LOVE to run against 9-9-9, Chinese nuclear capabilities, electric fences, moats, etc. But neither Republicans or Democrats should assume that Cain is dead yet.

You see a funny thing happened to the fork the experts were all getting ready to stick in Cain's ass. The tea party faithful have risen up to defend him, contribute to his campaign, and crop dust news and blogging sites with angry denials and talk of public lynchings. Pointing out to these non-reality planet dwellers (NRPD's) that it was Republicans, most probably one of his GOP primary competitors, who gave this information to Politico is completely lost on them. They are so focused on it being an attack by the non-existent "liberal media" that they can't see the forest through the trees.

And that, friends and neighbors, is the absolutely hilarious irony of the whole thing. The conservatives have done such a good job of indoctrinating their followers that all media is A. liberal and B. liberal that any report coming from them is clearly untrue. It's such a knee-jerk reaction for the tea partiers that they can't even stop themselves.

My guess is that even with the support of the NRPD's Cain won't get past this. But my letter to Santa this year will include a wish that conservatives "liberal media" tactics come back to bite them in the butt and the far-right Republican primary voters select Herman (Don't you want a job?) Cain to run against President Obama. Please, please, please............

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seahawks build a bonfire of slights to warm themselves before the Playoffs

I know that technically the NFL and politics aren't related but I've always been of the opinion that politics are one of the roughest sports out there (just ask Dino Rossi), so what the hell? I'm going to write about the Seahawks.

I've been enjoying this week as only a fan thrown an amazingly tasty bone right before imminent starvation can possibly imagine. Listening to sports radio, gleefully googling every local newspapers sports pages (if you haven't read Art Thiel then do so immediately, I'll wait), and scanning the national news for pebbles of information about the surprising Seahawks.

Locally we are a shining example of true blue fans. I have seen very few local sports fans on the air or over the internet that have had the cajones to say they weren't supporting the team because their overall record was so poor. I think you'd probably find a lot more of that from a more cynical fan base like New York (nothing personal) but here in Seattle the hope remains stunningly high. Some might say "borderline insane" high.

But digging around this week on the national level has been an exercise in self-flagellation. I mean it's really bad. We've even had some blowhards call for a change in the playoff system so that teams like the Seahawks could never make it to the dance.

Starting pregame people like Mike Ditka and Chris Berman were insulting us in a way they would never do the cheating, narcissistic Brett Favre. Some teams and or people are easy to kick around. Small market, who cares.

Since then it has bordered on the ridiculous. This is just some of what I've heard so far this week:

a. New Orleans should rest their starters during the game because they won't need them to beat the Seahawks.
b. The Seahawks are like a junior varsity team compared to New Orleans.
c. The Seahawks are just happy to be here.
d. The Seahawks have no defense.
e. The only reason the Seahawks won on Sunday was because the Rams lost.

The list could go on and on. It seems like nationally the bandwagon is "dissing" the Seahawks and everybody is getting on board. Now the only challenge is who can find the "catchiest" insult and how to say the same thing about the Seahawks every day until Saturday without sounding repetitious.

My only hope is that the Seahawks are using each one of those as kindling for the fire. Everyday they can bring another one in, this one labeled "junior varsity" and that one labeled "no defense," and add them to the growing pile. If the Seahawks are well-prepared, determined, and lucky then maybe that fire will burn hot enough to give them a whole other week of the same damned thing. Go Seahawks!

Get Ready for a whole lot of Nothing from GOP

I guess we don't need to wonder where KIRO 7's political loyalties lie since they preempted The Young and the Restless to cover the most non-newsworthy event since the last weather/media hysteria here in Seattle. Otherwise you would have to wonder why they thought that John Boehner being sworn in as Speaker of the House would be MUST WATCH television here in the liberal bastions of King County. I mean who besides Kemper (It's all about me, really) Freeman, Jr. wanted to watch that crap?

Perhaps as their phone lines, e-mails, tweets overloaded with highly agitated "Young, Restless, and Democrat" fans brought this unfortunate choice home to them. But my guess is they already were very well aware of the kick back they were going to get from their viewers and they just didn't care. Decisions made at the top based on political leanings and not on what is interesting or relevant. It is not as if those that couldn't miss the non-event couldn't have found it on a 24 hour news channel. So thanks for that KIRO.

And speaking of the new Crier of the House, you can expect a whole lot of nothing out of these corporate representatives. I love CNN yesterday doing this entire story about how having the Health Care bill overturned by these "we're all for the big guys" members of Congress because it was an absolutely pointless piece of journalism. The new members of the House of Representatives CANNOT overturn the Health Care bill because the American people left the Senate in the Democrats hands.

Boehner and his cohorts can scream all they want about what "the American people" ("the American people" translates from Republican to English as "the multinational corporations") voted for them to a.) lower taxes for the super-wealthy, b.) repeal the restraints on poor, poor Wall Street, c.) return all health care decisions back to the insurance companies, d.) chip away at Social Security and Medicare (lazy fucking old people), e.) and, impeach President Barack Obama. But scream is all that they can do because if that was true the real "American people" would have sent a bunch of asshole Republican to the Senate as well. It's not as if they didn't have a wonderful bouquet of candidates to choose from - Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angle for instance. But they decided against it because sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't!

So, Republicans, stop shouting that this is what the American people want. It's not as if you care or even know what the average American wants anyway. Your agenda has been for the rich since the 1980's so why pretend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Watch out for potential name change of High Fructose Corn Syrup

The New York Times is reporting today that the Corn Refiners Association is lobbying the United States Food and Drug Administration hard to allow them to change the name of their number one product "High Fructose Corn Syrup" to the simple and sweet sounding "corn sugars." One name defines exactly what it is - a highly processed corn sweetener and the other name describes basically what it is - sugar. One might wonder why we as consumers would need to only know basically what it is rather than exactly what it is and why that would be better for us?

Of course, that is exactly why the Corn Refiners Association is lobbying for the change - a DEEP CONCERN FOR THE CONSUMER. Apparently they have been laying awake at night worrying that we are overly informed in regard to their product and as a result might be denying ourselves something fantastic. Their solution is to give the consumer slightly less information about their product so that we can make better decisions. (Kind of like watching FOX news and then voting.)

"Clearly the name is confusing consumers," said Audrae Erickson, President of Corn Refiners Association. "Research shows that 'corn sugar' better communicates the amount of calories, the level of fructose, and the sweetness in this ingredient."

Apparently we consumers are under the impression that high fructose corn syrup isn't good for us and may pose a danger to our health. Since the Corn Refiners Association disagrees with the consumers assessment of their product (we are just confused), but are still unable to convince us that they are exactly the same as plain sugar, despite big advertising campaigns meant to do so, they have been left no choice but to try to clear it all up with a name change. Just like the cavalry "here they come to save the day."

Has anybody ever heard of a company called AIU Holdings ltd.? They are a mega-large insurance company that recently took millions of tax payer dollars to cover their you know whats. Doesn't sound familiar? Think American International Group or more popularly known as AIG. Apparently the highly payed individuals working at AIG felt consumers might be "confused" if they know who and what they really were so decided to go for the big name change.

It looks like the Corn Refiners Association is following very proud footsteps in the role of looking out for the American consumer. I have to remember to send them a thank you note for their selfless concern.

If you want to weigh in on this with the FDA they have six months to accept or deny the name change petition.