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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Our Enemy, the State

An early look at a future post. This is the opening of Our Enemy, the State by Albert Jay Nock. What is interesting is that it was published in 1935 as FDR rose to power. (My emphasis added below.)

" If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, “agricultural adjustment,” and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power. It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power; there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power."

Nock, Albert Jay (2010-12-23). Our Enemy, the State (LvMI) (Kindle Locations 120-129). Ludwig von Mises Institute. Kindle Edition.

 Fair winds and following seas :)

Friday, January 30, 2015

XO wants you to watch 'Kitten Bowl"

Kitten Bowl!

Fair winds and following seas :)

Google Earth and Notice to Mariners

I love finding new and neat technology. Most of you are familiar with the Local Notice to Mariners. You may not be aware that there is also a "International" Notice to Mariners - it is actually called the "Notice to Mariners." This covers areas not covered by the USCG local notices. You can find it on the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency web site. Now here is the cool part. If rather than clicking on the "Notice to Mariners" link you click on the "Broadcast Warnings" link you can download a Google Earth .kmz file of the warnings.

The actual link (good when I wrote this) to the download is: http://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=msi_portal_page_63

Fair winds and following seas

Atlantic Crossing Memory 11/17/2012

A memory of Reboot's Atlantic Crossing November 17, 2012 to December 13, 2012.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reunion - Door into Summer

Last evening I was watching Fury (which, by the way, I did not particularly like) when the phone rang. We all have caller ID  so even before opening the clamshell I knew it was Ed from Door into Summer. The last time I saw Claudia and Ed was when they waved goodbye from the dock in Lake Worth as I departed for Bermuda on my first trans-Atlantic. That was on May 30, 2012. It turns out that they were in Sadler Point Marine Center. This is where Ed (the other Ed) has Hooligan on the hard to replace the fuel tank and bowsprit. It is also about a 2 minute walk from Reboot. They invited me over for a drink and of course I went. (It should be pointed out that I, with Ed's help, made a significant dent in a bottle of Johnny Walker Black - thank you Ed.)

One of the things that I enjoyed about the Navy was that you could meet someone you had not seen for years and pick up as if they had just walked out the door the night before. The same is true in the cruising community. Of course the first questions were "where have you been cruising since I saw you last?" This resulted in the apparently inevitable decline into the "so, what medical problems have you had since I last saw you?" Ed and I shared war stories - my kidney stone, his pacemaker, and so forth until we starting laughing. Then I turned to Claudia and said, "Well, you are a young chicken - I bet you don't have anything to contribute." That got us laughing again. We are, sadly, all getting older. But as the man says: "Any day I am vertical is a good day."

Matanzas Inlet (ICW to upper left)
Ed and Claudia are headed back down to NAS Key West. But first they need new batteries and far more important to watch the Superbowl. We discussed the Jacksonville to St. Augustine leg of the ICW (I have done it a couple of times, Ed and Claudia never - even though they have made far more transits on the ICW than me. We also agreed that bypassing Matanzas Inlet was a great idea. We were not actually talking about the Inlet - one of the worst for sailboats on the East Coast, but rather the section of the ICW that connects to the Inlet. According to the TowBoat US Captains it is the most frequent place on the ICW for sailboats to run aground. I know this because I have run aground almost every time including a couple of weeks ago. The problem is frequent and unpredictable shoaling. Apparently there have been a number of studies on how to prevent the shoaling - none have ever come up with a workable solution. The alternative is to go outside - either from the St. Johns (Jacksonville) or St. Augustine (with its shoals and breakers on either side of the inlet) and thread you way between the Gulf Stream and the shore down to Daytona (another terrible inlet) or Cape Canaveral (a very nice all weather inlet.) With Stormy back on Door Into Summer Claudia and Ed try to avoid long offshore passages. We will see if they roll the dice on Matanzas...

Fair winds and following seas :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aaron Sorkin and the PetSmart Irony

I have never been a particular fan of Aaron Sorkin's political view. On the other hand I have loved his work: The Newsroom, Moneyball, The West Wing, The American President. I think he may be the best living writer of ensemble drama/comedy at the moment.

I stopped at PetSmart to purchase a new harness for XO. His old one was about three years old and getting very seedy. (His new one, by the way, is royal purple. He looks quite smart.) I had chosen to go to PetSmart rather than the Naval Air Station Jacksonville commissary because US Airways is running a special deal on their credit card - extra frequent flyer miles for purchases in certain types of stores - one of them being pet stores. I selected the harness and then purchased food and litter. While searching for other potential items I happened across the anti-flea and tick area. I was stunned by the prices - $125 for a 6 month supply of anti-flea & tick medicine? And no FDA approval to jack up the cost of the research? As XO is almost never off the boat I took a pass.

When I got home I decided to watch an episode of The West Wing. The irony was that I watched Season 2 Episode 4 In This White House. One of the story lines is about the cost of providing AIDS medicine to African nations. Irony of Ironies.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

XO on Cats 101

For those of you who have never seen the XO (The Wonder Cat) video on Cats 101 here it is.

Fair winds and following seas :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Legendary Hooligan Tow

Ed (Hooligan) has been having trouble with his fuel filters clogging. Not only does this cause great problems when the engine stops but it can lead to unfortunate circumstances - like when he dropped anchor waiting for a tide change and drifted onto a shoal. The good news is that Hooligan wasn't damaged (we discovered this when he was hauled out yesterday.) Ed went through a fortune in fuel filters and decided to change out the fuel tank. He discovered, after disassembling the current fuel system that the new tank would not fit. He ordered another tank. The result of all of this was that he needed to rig up a temporary fuel system to run the engine to get to the yard to be hauled out.

With gas engines it's pretty easy, you just stick the fuel line in a jug and away you go. With diesel engines it is a bit more tricky. They have fuel return lines that have to also be routed back to the jug. But really, no big deal. Until you have it all good to go and discover that your battery charger is dead and you can't crank the engine. Which is exactly what happened. We considered jump starting the engine. I have an emergency starter pack. As it turned out we decided to tow Hooligan with Reboot's dinghy instead. This worked for me as I wanted to get the dingy in the water to exercise the outboard engine before it clogged up on the ethanol (a.k.a. crap) gas again. Since this is a sailboat story the next line should be that the dingy engine would not start or the dingy sank. But miracle of miracles neither happened!

I proceeded over to Hooligan with the dingy. Fortunately there was almost no wind and very little current. We hooked up the dingy and pulled Hooligan out of the slip. Remember I said there was only a little current. The "little current" was enough to make things a bit dicey. Finally, after about 10 minutes of things not going well (and my Wisconsin hat going overboard) someone on the dock suggested that I run the dingy in reverse and tow that way. It was the suggestion that turned the tide. I was finally able to get Hooligan going fast enough that Ed could steer. That got us away from all the things that Hooligan was trying to hit! The rest of the trip was uneventful. Of course, even before we had made it into Salder Point everyone on the dock was talking about our effort.

The good news is that once we could see the keel there was no damage, just a little scraped paint. There was also a small piece of dock line wrapped around the propeller. Neither of us could figure out when that little gem had attached itself to the prop. At least it was free wheeling with the prop so it was reducing efficiency but not adding any load to the engine. As Shakespeare says: "All's well that ends well."

Fair winds and following seas :)

I hate birds

This morning I turned on the multi-function display (chart plotter) to determine the current water temperature. It's cold, by the way. I noticed that I was not getting any wind speed or direction indication. I walked out onto the deck only to discover that the birds had once again trashed my sensor. That will be another $99 plus shipping and at least two more trips up the mast.


Fair winds and following seas :)

Movie Night

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy last night. What prompted my post was not the movie - it was OK, but not great, but rather the credits at the end. There must have been 1,000 people credited for working on the movie - almost the entire credit list was for CGI people. What a change from when I was growing up.

Fair winds and following seas :)