Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On the bay with friends...

Nothing like another day or two on the bay! Good friends, good wine, clear skies - the bay couldn't have been more lovely this weekend. So out we went Saturday with Tom on Bostonian, his Tayana 48.

His able seaman and good friend Rick made the day on the bay effortless.

Mark brought the wine and good conviviality along with him.

Deb helped to drink the wine, though not too much.

And, I took my turn at the helm.

At the end of the day, a beautiful sunset rewarded us.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fear, paranoia, and doctrines of preemption...

I was stunned today to read the following statement by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley: "The president's strategy affirms that the doctrine of preemption remains sound and must remain an integral part of our national security strategy. If necessary, the strategy states, under longstanding principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack."

Having studied American history for over forty years, I'm can't help but wonder how on earth the Senate of the United States justifies permitting Mr. Bush or any president to adopt and adhere to a doctrine of preemptive war as a guiding principle in our nation's foreign policy?

Every Senator should read (or reread) J. William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power. Certainly any student of American history understands that Mr. Bush's preemption doctrine flies in the face of a century of generally cautious American foreign policy. And every American citizen ought to understand it as well!

The current administration has poisoned too many Americans, by turning them into ethnocentric antagonists of the Muslim world. It and its political allies are practicing the politics of paranoia in a way that has not been seen since Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon fueled anti-communism in the late 1940s and isolationists fed the Red Scare after World War I.

And, where is the United States Senate? That often august body of cautious and deliberative American leaders, that principle participant in foreign policy with the presidency seems simply to have rolled over and died, just as they did in the 1920s, and almost did in the 1940s. They should be ashamed of themselves for permitting the current occupiers of the office of the presidency to so corrupt our foreign policy, and we Americans should be ashamed that we've not risen up in protest!

My friends, we cannot, we must not become what we oppose!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beach Blanket Babylon...

Whew! What a weekend for a yacht club cruise-out. Last Friday afternoon brought rain, icy winds, and a messy chop, so we put on our foulies and a stiff upper lip and motored off to South Beach Harbor to celebrate Deb’s birthday and start our weekend yacht club cruise-out.

It’s always great fun with our boating buddies, and we quickly warmed up, watched the rain recede and the sun go down from the fly-bridge of Lu Sea, and then had a fun dinner at MoMo’s.

Saturday brought a gorgeous sailing day, but since we arrived on Friday in order to help cruisers find their berths and tie-up on Saturday, it wasn’t a sailing day for us. Some of our fellow cruisers, however, sailed out to the Golden Gate and around the bay before finally arriving at South Beach.

The rain held off for our dockside cocktail party and “Hat-a-la-Beach Blanket Babylon” contest. We didn’t have near enough contestants, but the handful of cruisers who did make hats came out with great ones. The prizes, of course, were hats.

That evening we hustled off in fourteen cabs (55 of us all together) to Club Fugazi and Beach Blanket Babylon, probably San Francisco’s best known musical theater revue. If you’ve never been, you seriously are missing a great show! San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, was there, too, but since my camera got put in storage at the door, no pics. He’s probably just as glad, but we know he was just there for us!

After the show, we all adjourned to Capp’s, one of North Beach’s oldest Italian eateries. The place was almost entirely ours, probably to the chagrin of regulars, and we held our own so much so that there weren’t too many late-night parties aboard our boats after we got back to the harbor.

Sunday morning we awoke to rain and threatening skies. It lifted enough for some of us to have breakfast at the Java House, and then as we returned to our slips to start our morning fizz party, rain returned. But, we’re sailors, so a little rain didn’t dampen our spirits, and the fizz party drew virtually everybody to the docks.

The return trip across the bay, however, brought even more blustery winds along with rain and even some hail. But what fun it was!

Check out the photos

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mommy, protect me...

My checking in with Shakespeare’s Sister this week uncovered her report on a new book for children of Rush Limbaugh’s right wing: Help! Mom! Hollywood’s in my Hamper (2006).

According to Shakespeare’s Sister, DeBrecht believes that since “the liberal elites running Hollywood have no intention of ceasing their relentless attack on traditional values, [and] it's almost impossible for parents to block out all of the left-wing messages that Hollywood and its media friends are bombarding our kids with, the solution is for parents to teach their children to laugh at Hollywood and to regard celebrities as silly people.”

Seems like the whole world (well, certainly the blogsphere and world of conservative pundits) knows about DeBrecht.

Help! Mom! Hollywood is DeBrecht’s second book, her first being “the tour de force” Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under my Bed! (2005), which has been described as “a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism.”

What lesson? Well, of course, liberals will ruin your life!

“…[F]ollow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.”

Well, all right then!

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister...

Dolly Parton, on why she won't run for president: "I think we've had enough boobs in the White House."

Monday, March 06, 2006

True loves...

A little over four years ago, Deborah and I went on a New Zealand bicycling trip over the Christmas holidays. Before we left, we mentioned our trip to our sailing friend Batu, and he told us he was going to be backpacking around New Zealand at the same time, so we agreed to hook up somewhere along the way.

Well, it came to pass, and Deb particularly made sure that Batu met one of our bicycle tour leaders, Mariska. It was true love! After the trip was over, Batu and Mariska burned up the international phone lines, soon Mariska was visiting the Bay Area from New Zealand, and, today, four years later, they are together here and loving life enormously.

We had dinner with them last night, a celebration of their four year romance and life together, a chance to meld our lives together again. Happy anniversary guys!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friends making the news...

I've been working on the program for this summer’s symposium of the International Committee for the History of Technology, and my friend Sue Horning, who will be giving a paper there on the history of women in sound engineering, just sent me a link to an article in Northern Ohio Live about her revived life in rock music.

Sue's been singing in The Email Special, the international jazz group I play keyboards with, for going on eleven years. But long before that, she had a life as lead singer in a couple of Cleveland bands, such as The Poor Girls and Cinderella's Revenge.

A year ago, she and members of another one of her groups, the "arty punk" trio Chi-Pig, released a cd, Chi-Pig Miami, which they originally made in 1978. It got a "rave review in the Village Voice," and the reformed trio since has been playing gigs at special events and local clubs, and they been featured in a documentary, If You’re Not Dead, Play!!, aired on PBS.

While arty punk rock isn't really my thing, it's fun to listen and know that the friend and singer you love making music with is still getting down in the rock scene.

So look at her now! Can't wait 'til we have our gig in England this summer!