March 11, 2010

One lean dream machine

(Mainly about Boats — a new column every Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

IT WAS ONE of those mornings when I couldn’t wake up. I lay there long after the alarm went off, half asleep, loathe to leave my dream, even though, as usual, it made no sense.

I was a reporter writing a front-page story:

NEW YORK, Thursday — In a shocking revelation, the Buddhist mayor of New York confessed yesterday that he is one-third cabbage.

“I was always kind to caterpillars in my previous life,” he explained. “I often let them eat me ’til it hurt.”

Recent DNA tests have confirmed that the mayor’s genetic make-up is 33 1/3 percent Brassica oleracea, or common cabbage.

His wife said yesterday that she was not surprised. “His political opponents often describe him as a vegetable,” she added.

It is not known how this revelation will affect the mayor’s standing among voters. “But I fully expect to be more popular among the Greens,” he said. Strong support is also expected from the Boston Beans and Has-Beans Party.

Meanwhile, after a hastily convened meeting in the Oval Office, President Obama called for bipartisan support for the Mayor. “He has deep roots in New York,” he said. The President also instructed the Attorney-General to find out if boiled beef and cabbage is protected by the Constitution ... chairman of the Vegetable Rights Movement deeply moved and delighted ... somebody thinks he would be good shredded for salad ...

I’m surfacing now, rubbing my eyes and realizing it’s Thursday. Omigawd, I have a column to write for Friday. And no ideas. Tabula rasa, as they used to say in Rome.

So this has nothing to do with boats or sailing. The only excuse for it is that people who are interested in boats and sailing are also interested in other things. They have nimble, wide-ranging minds. They have loving dispositions and are forgiving of dumb columnists who have overdrawn their idea boxes to the point of bankruptcy.

And in any case (he said unapologetically) you were forewarned. This column is called Mainly about Boats. It’s not Always about Boats. So there.

Today’s Thought
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
— Dr. William C. Dement, Newsweek 30 Nov 59

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb #25
Locating the center of a depression. If you need to know where the middle of an approaching low lies, so that you can avoid its worst winds, just stand facing the wind. In the northern hemisphere, the low is on your right side and slightly behind you. Down south of the equator, it’s on your left side.

That’s Buys-Ballot’s Law, incidentally. I didn’t make it up myself. (Could have, if I had wanted to.)

Tailpiece
Hickory, dickory, dock,
Two mice ran up the clock.
The clock struck one
And the other escaped with minor injuries.

2 comments:

nikolay.roshtainsky said...

Mr. Vigor,

You could always , I'm sure, hand us valuable information on stupid-proofing our boats with various person-powered apparatuses.

Cheers,
Nikolay R.

Jennifer Moran said...

Hello John,
On a slow day, this list might have one useful suggestion:
Parasail spinnakers (does a sock pull down over the sticking-out bit?). Splice revision. Constructing an emergency rudder. Why is a pirate flag called a Jolly Roger? Why is wet-weather gear so expensive? Glasses - there are those that have to put them on to read the compass and take them off to see where they're headed (and lose them); there are those who have to wear them all the time and have them fog up in pelting rain! Maths for sailors - with a cheat sheet. The Bligh voyage re-enactment http://www.bountyboat.com/
Obscure chart symbols. Guest blogs (ask people you'd like to have as followers, so they'll know your blog exists!).
Cheers, Jennifer