November 13, 2011

Not tonight, Josephine

I WAS THUMBING through a sailing magazine yesterday, looking at pictures of boats for sale, when I came across a pretty little Freedom 21 dancing among  lively waves in a fresh breeze.
   She was advertised as a singlehanded catboat, owned by a devoted meticulous owner, and "incredibly upgraded."  If you needed to establish just how incredibly she had been upgraded, you were referred to a website that presumably would supply you with all the fascinating details.
   All you had to do was read the address of the website from the printed advertisement, type it into the address box of your computer's browser and click on "Go!" (Or an arrow or something. You know your browser better than I do.)
   All you had to do ... yeah, right. Here's the address of that website: https//picasaweb.google.comHJRCMMBlueRavenFREEDOM211984CatBoatFORSALE?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCObUk8Tcp8fI4gE&feat=directlink
   I think you have to be pretty desperate to find out more about this boat to try to enter that in your address box, specially if you're a hunt-and-peck typist like me. Is this what the digital age has brought us to? Is this some kind of test of your eye/finger co-ordination, or a test of your powers of your patience and comprehension that you must pass before you can make a bid on this boat and become its new owner?
   In passing, I must note that the magazine charges $21 for 30 words or less for these classified ads. What I want to know is this: Is that website address counted as just one word? If not, how do they break it up?
   But the real point is that we have become so used to pointing and clicking to get the information we need from the internet that we have become quite spoiled. I can't imagine anyone going to the trouble to type that longwinded address into a browser unless they were absolutely desperate, really desperate, to know more.
   The art of advertising, as I understand it, is to snag the interest of the casual passerby who would never have dreamed of buying a Freedom21, and to excite a positive lust for possession that can only be satisfied by drawing out a checkbook and signing your name.
     I'm afraid this ad excites no such lust in me. Not tonight, thank you Josephine. Typing long website addresses gives me a headache.

Today's Thought
Advertising may be described at the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
— Stephen Leacock

Dekker in Durban
By e-mail from Chris Sutton, my man in South Africa:
   "A veritable armada of internationals has arrived in Durban. Many are slightly shellshocked by having to change their plans from transiting the Suez to the Cape of Good Hope. Hopefully they will enjoy South Africa and its attractions.
   "Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old Dutch girl arrived last week. I spoke to her yesterday when I went down to do some work on my boat. I asked her if she needed assistance with anything and all she wanted was to know where the nearest laundromat is. I didn't spend long enough with her to get much of an impression, other than that Laura is very self-assured and seems to be enjoying herself."

   * Well, I'm glad to hear Ms Dekker heeded my advice not to take the Red Sea route. She'll be much more at home going around the Cape, and much safer, at least as far as piracy is concerned. They also speak English in South Africa. Dutch, too. Sort of.

Tailpiece
“I hope I didn’t say anything in my sermon to offend your husband, Mrs. Smith.”
“Oh no, you mustn’t pay any attention to him. He’s been a sleepwalker since he was kid.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


5 comments:

Marc Cote said...

How sad that the person selling boat doesn't understand that Picasa Web allows you to create simple URL's for your albums. That URL could have been something like http://picasaweb.google.com/catboatforsale.

Adam said...

The owner of that Freedom 21 really ought to pay a visit to tinyurl.com!

Clint said...

Google "copy and paste" or go here it will be worth your time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxfz7nVkQys&feature=related

John Vigor said...

Thanks Clint, but have you ever tried copying and pasting from a print magazine page?

John V.

Clint said...

Oops, LAZY reading on my part. I did find it hard to believe that you wouldn't know how to copy and paste.