Mega-Yacht Park, er Marina

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The Pacific Eagle may look in the photo above like a fairly ordinary ketch-type sailboat cruiser. But appearances can be deceiving. Imagine you are at Jurassic World, seeing a brontosaurus at a distance. Seems rather ordinary. But then you get up close…

And that’s the same with this boat: this boat is a mega-yacht.

PACIFIC EAGLE

Builder: Alloy Yachts International
Year: 1989
Designer: Don Brooke
Flag of Registry: New Zealand

Dimensions
LOA: 102 ft.
Beam: 25 ft.
LWL: 88 ft. (guessing)
Draft: 8.5 ft.

She carries a whopping 3400 square feet (yowsah!) of sail. And if that’s not enough, it can get through 200 nautical miles per day on her dual 240 hp diesel engines.

Also, according to the description, she “holds 5000 litres of fresh water that produces 4 litres per minute. She has a massive storage on-board, including over 30 cubic feet of customised freezer space and can be self-contained for over 6 months.” Simply put, this girl was meant to circumnavigate — whether you stop and party at every port is up to you.

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Current cost for this mega-yacht (and remember the Pacific Eagle is now almost 30 years old) is EUR 1,950,000.

It isn’t the biggest sailing yacht in the world. Since 1989 there have been even bigger boats. But the Pacific Eagle was one of the models that launched the limited yet very enthusiastic craze. Me, I’d feel pretty alone on that big ketch all by myself — guess I’d have to hire some friends. LOL

Well, I’ve got about $20. So I was thinking about buying the Titanic. $20 should be enough considering that particular mega-yacht is lying at the bottom of the ocean, broken in two big pieces.

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The Wild Wind is Roaring

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My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring,
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For, above, and around me, the wild wind is roaring
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray,
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!

— Anne Brontë

 

Sailing the Globe All Alone

FD4844A3-C4B5-4446-B1B7-E28ECBBF2FD2.jpegThe Guppy.

The youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single handedly in a sailboat is currently Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, who completed her 518-day trip at the age of 16. She was sailing the Guppy, an older style and slightly modified Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch.*

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*ketch = these days cruisers called a ketch are more properly a yawl, with a larger main mast and a smaller rearward mizzen mast.

The oldest human to circumnavigate the globe is Minoru Saito of Japan, who completed his extremely difficult “wrong way around” (east to west) voyage at age 77. He did it in a custom 50’ sloop, the Shuten-dohji III.

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This is what the nav station of a circumnavigator looks like (on the Guppy).

Rilke: from The Book of Hours

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You are the future, the great sunrise red
above the broad plains of eternity.
You are the cock-crow when time’s night has fled,
You are the dew, the matins, and the maid,
the stranger and the mother, you are death.

You are the changeful shape that out of Fate
rears up in everlasting solitude,
the unlamented and the unacclaimed,
beyond describing as some savage wood.

You are the deep epitome of things
that keeps its being’s secret with locked lip,
and shows itself to others otherwise:
to the ship, a haven — to the land, a ship.

 

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Translated by Babette Deutsch.

 

Private Reserve

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My private reserve.

Of one bottle. 

But that is acceptable. I drink hardly at all anymore. And as far as celebratory occasions go — well one can always hope but in truth that would be a rarity. 

The Browne’s Addition label refers to a neighborhood here in Spokane. My own neighborhood. Which is why I bought it. In truth though as far as the dancers on the label go, that is the Marie Antoinette Ballroom at the Davenport Hotel. Which is very close but actually downtown, not Browne’s Addition. 

Sargent’s Gifts

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I suppose it is natural when thinking of John Singer Sargent for the word “elegance” to pop into one’s head.

But for me, the amazing thing about Sargent has always been his genius for composition, for handling blocks of space. 

“A Venetian woman” (1882) is a great example of what makes me sit and stare at so many of Sargent’s paintings. It is almost as if Sargent said to himself:  “Hey, I know, I’ll take this simply huge rectangular block of dark space. And I’ll put it into a portrait. And make it like half the portrait. And yet somehow…somehow…I’ll get it all to balance out perfectly.”

And so he does. Amazing.

Also a bit unusual in this one: Hiding the left foot. 

Deborah Turbeville 1

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Deborah Turbeville’s fashion editorial for Vogue Italia, 1977. 

The designer was Blumarine. But I can just imagine what their people thought when they first saw the proofs of Turbeville’s gloomy, ghost-like photos showing off their pretty dresses.

To their credit, they decided to run with the editorial anyway. 

Amazing. 

A Few Notes

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God is a creative god, he does not destroy directly. But as creative beings ourselves, like the angels, it is given to us to destroy. In generating the letter sets for a piece of fiction, if we use a set making use of a block such as is used in 12-tone serialism, you essentially end up with nothing more sliding from letter to letter to generate the text than if you simply used the first line of the set:

C R E A T I O N I S T
R E A T I O N I S T C
E A T I O N I S T C R
A T I O N I S T C R E
T I O N I S T C R E A
I O N I S T C R E A T
O N I S T C R E A T I
N I S T C R E A T I O
I S T C R E A T I O N
S T C R E A T I O N I
T C R E A T I O N I S

which in the letter set method is functionally the same as:

C R E A T I O N I S T

and nothing more.
So how do you get the letters to skip?
The answer is you destroy. You remove every other line of the regular block:

C R E A T I O N I S T
E A T I O N I S T C R
T I O N I S T C R E A
O N I S T C R E A T I
I S T C R E A T I O N
T C R E A T I O N I S

I might also mention you could just as well remove two or three rows at a time, but then you would end up with fewer final rows to work with.

Anything and Everything

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“Oh judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason.”

(Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar, III.2)

 

Back in the 70s, at Indiana University, I took a class in symbolic logic. The professor I had for the class — let’s call him “Dr. C” for the simple reason that I can’t remember how to spell his long Italian surname — was an odd sort. An ex-Navy man, he sported a 17th century goatee and mustache, had his hair permed in an afro, and carried a good number of tattoos. He also had a bit of a reputation. Something to do with dating one of his graduate students, a no-no back in those days, there was a bit of a scandal — well let’s just leave it at that.

He also had a brain like a steel trap that I very much admired. And he didn’t try to hide it with false modesty. He was what I would later call a “confrontational” instructor. “Think!” he would yell at us across the classroom. We would kind of fidget at our desks, embarrassed. As well we should be. Thinking — thinking correctly — is never easy. Not happy with my grade at the end of the semester, not happy with having not learned enough in the class, I was to take the very same class with Dr. C  two years later. I only did slightly better. Yes, not easy to learn to think.

Perhaps the chief lesson I learned from him is something that he would drill into our heads the entire semester: “Never forget” he would shout, “anything and everything follows from a false proposition!” If proposition A is false, then conclusion B or C that follows from it may be false or may be true — the problem is that there was no real way of knowing.

No real way of knowing. And for a logician, that is like a deep dark well. It is darkness and death. It is not rational.

Having to deal with chronic free-floating anxiety since my 20s, how well and how many times have I gone back to Dr. C and his much stated sentence. Medication is certainly available to fight anxiety. But it is usually partially effective and almost always a double-edged sword that causes a flip-side reaction that creates depression. Logic and rationality, for me at least, has been more beneficial. No, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people that suffer from anxiety should simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I’m just saying that as a therapeutic adjunct that in my case logic has been very beneficial.

Perhaps that is one reason why the state of our current culture bothers me so much. And why I have to spend so much of my time hiding from it. Looking outward, I see accusations, ill-defined terms, lies and deceits, gossip and imagined states of affairs posing as truth. I see that deep dark well, I am saddened by it and I want to yell “Just stop!”

So much talking, and talking about talking — including this post unfortunately. And I fear that also. Jesus of Nazareth said not to throw stones — but only he was qualified to say it. And so I reach out to words here, words that open up into the Universe, very carefully. As much as I respect Jacques Derrida, as much as I am prone to my own anxiety-launched deconstructions, I know that they can only be personal, and that the interpreter, as Umberto Eco said, is “a free detonator of what he himself produces.”  

But what I do feel safe in saying is that I fear that besides a return to the Nihilism of the 1930s, that we have entered into what Eco called the Kabbalistic Drift (one might as well say the Godless Kabbalistic Drift):

“Mallarme’s idea of a context made up by empty and white spaces can recall the rabbinical idea of a scroll where even the white spaces are to be read as letters, but this time there is no God to warrant (and to be named by) the combinatory game: The Book is not conceived by God to speak of Himself. On the contrary, the Book…only speaks of its infinite combinatorial possibilities.”

Interestingly, there is another area which deals in infinite possibilities — metaphysics. But if our current deconstruction of meaning — all the words, all the talking —  is tied to the metaphysics of Nihilism, then we are, essentially, saying nothing. I leave it to each of you to decide whether or not that is the current case. 

All I can say is that in the practice of charity, in mercy, compassion, and love, words are not really necessary. And it was not me that said that, of course. A being far greater than any said those things.

I read an interesting quote the other day by Jorge Luis Borges: “I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have ever read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved.” How certainly I have felt that over the past years. I am barely solid, so much of me is insubstantial, like a spirit on Prospero’s Island. Both sinner and saint, I flutter around in the storm as best I can.

And so this Christmas I would like to thank all those friends and family who have given me laughter, who have taught me, who have given me their hand when needed. And to you all I wish you this Holiday a peace that the world cannot give; I wish you Anything not dark; and Everything excellent that God may ordain.

 

Post-Election Results

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Post-election results: The war will continue.

Which was pretty much an accomplished fact before even a single vote was counted in the 2016 National election. Hillary Clinton had said that she would continue the war against ISIS and, by extension, the entire war in the Middle East (difficult to have one without the rest). As for President-elect Donald Trump, if his comments on the matter are to be believed, he will escalate the war on ISIS, and even proposed “taking out their families.”

I can only repeat what I wrote back in September:

“I don’t think people understand quite what the war is doing to us. Where reason dismisses death, death destroys reason. It is driving our nation insane. Just look around you.”

Perhaps, at least to some, it is a little more clear now? Did we think that we could open the door to darkness and death, and not have it fall back upon us?

You have to be careful about calling down the Dark Angels; because they do not always stop at doing your bidding.

I pray for the people of this country, my family, my friends. Please note that you can all always find a safe coenaculum — Upper Room — here on my blog. We will pat each other on the shoulder and say “It’s going to be okay.” And, “Have faith.” We will hold each other’s hand.