Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

I declare this trip a success already. Traveling with Jen is a pleasure.

Man oh man is this place impressive. I challenge any political or economic system in the world to produce such extremes of excellence. Even though most of what Las Vegas is does not suit my tastes, I greatly admire the skill of how well they do it. Free enerprise (capitalism if you prefer) and most of all vigorous competition, bring out the best of the best. If you're not the best here, you wither and die quickly.

Our plan was to spend one night here. But the first night turned out to be very cold and rainy. We started shopping for shows too late. So we stayed a second night. During the day we toured the strip and we snaggged tickets to Mystere Cirque Du Soleil.

The Mystere show was amazing. All throughout I kept wondering how they loacted, recruited, and trained such marvelously athletic performers.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Longest Day

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

I'm hardly John Wayne, but tomorrow I'm going to do my own version of "The Longest Day".   At 4AM, Keys Shuttle will pick me up at the marina to take me to Miami Airport.  Then I'll fly to Last Vegas, and meet my daughter Jen.  In the evening, Jen and I hope to catch a show of Cirque del Sol.  Since my bedtime has been creeping towards 2030 Eastern Time lately, we'll see how I do.

But it is a joyous occasion.  Jen and I will have two weeks together to explore the American Southwest.   I plan to hit many of the same places where I went before with Libby and with my son Dave, and with my Father.  Zion, Brice, Escalante, Capitol Reef, Page, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona.  Those are the places roughly in a circle with radius 200 miles, with the center at the San Francisco Mountains.  (I've yet to share the trip with my oldest son John.)

I'll be leaving Libby alone on the boat for the two weeks. It has been many years since I've been apart from her for that long.   But she has many friends in Boot Key Harbor.  I'm sure she'll do fine.

Keep posted for blogs to come from out west.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Single Point Failures

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

In engineering and in any high-reliability operations, it is standard to eliminate any single point failure that could cause something bad to happen.  In other words, it must take more than something going wrong to have a bad outcome,  It must take a chain of multiple things.

Of course Libby and I practice that when cruising.  I've written before about the nasty box canyon scenario.  More mundane and everyday, we keep far enough away from other vessels to prevent a collision if something goes wrong.  You do the same when you drive your car down the street.  (You do don't you?)

But it is harder to follow that rule in everyday things we do without thinking.   Case in point.  I realized that Libby and I have both fallen into the habit of holding the dinghy painter in one hand as we climb down from Tarwathie into the dinghy.   If we should drop the painter, the dingy will be gone downwind and we will be ip the creek without a dinghy.

I had to force both of us to modify our habits.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Emergency Blog Backup

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

I saw an item in today's news that alarmed me.  It said, "Google bans porn from Blogger."    As you know, this blog does not contain porn, but Google's computers might decide that frequent use of the word dick here implies porn.  (My phone absolutely refuses to let me type my name in a text message.)

Twice in the past, Google abruptly terminated free services that I used and like.  Since they were free, I have no recourse. Google could delete my blogger account and Gmail account tomorrow.  What could I do, call Google Customer Service?

I could always create a new blog somewhere else, but if I did how would you find it? If you google search for dickandlibby or Tarwathie, you'll find thousands of hits to the archived articles of this blog, not a new blog.  The readership of this blog has built year after year, and it would be a very big loss if I had to start from scratch.

Therefore, I think I have an emergency backup.  I created a group on Facebook, that contains a link to my blog.  If you loose contact with me or with this blog, just go to Facebook, and search there for dickandlibby or  Tarwathie.   If I have to start a new blog with a new address at a new site, I'll post a link there.

By the way, Facebook could also terminate me without notice because I violate their terms of service by not using my real name on my Facebook account.

Did you know that violating a web site's terms of service is a federal crime (see CFAA) with a penalty of up to 35 years?   I'm pretty sure that I do that with 8 or more web sites.  That means that a fed, or a US attorney could threaten me with 240 years in jail as leverage to force me to cooperate with them or to confess to a crime.   Ridiculous you say?  Not in today's America.

Police have adviced teen girls to not use their real names on Facebook to protect them from sexual predators.  If they do so, they too are federal felons.

There is the famous and horrific case of Aaron Schwartz, who was hounded into suicide by federal prosecutors for violating the terms and conditions of a web site.  Another woman (I can't find the link) was convicted of a CFAA violation for not using her real name on Facebook (but the judge set aside the verdict.)  There is the Supreme Court Case (Bond v U.S.), where a woman who put noxious chemicals on her husband's lover's doorknob was charged as a terrorist waging chemical warfare.  There is the Supreme Course Case (Yates v U.S.) of a fisherman given 15 years for throwing an undersized fish overboard.

In those two cases, the Supreme Court justices, called the government's decisions to bring those charges ridiculous and stupid.  In the last case, the Solicitor General admitted that Obama administration DOJ guidelines require prosecutors to apply the most severe charges in every case.  No room for common sense.  If I am charged with failure to show proper navigation lights on my boat, the prosecutor would be required to add those other 240 years of felonies to my charges (but then he could drop all charges in exchange for a plea bargain).

Pardon my rant against overcriminalization.  I have a pending Captain's Table blog post about that.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Talents Afloat

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

I've written that cruisers are more healthy than the average person, are they also more artistically talented too?   I don't have the answer to that question.  Here in the harbor we have handy people like Alex, and musical people like Cory.  Actually, we have lots of musical people here.  They get hired by the local restaurants to provide live entertainment.  Then we have Libby, Sandra, Sharon, and Patty, the pine needle basket queens of Marathon.  Painters too seem to be everywhere here.  Even some of the homeless people who live in the mangroves make some beautiful art.

An exceptional talent that we met cruising is Alexandre Lemieux.  He is a young man from Quebec.   We know Alexadre's parents and we heard him sing on the boat.   Wonderful.  He composes his own music.

Now we heard that he won first prize at Prix de Vox Aeterna (The voice of the Eternal prix). Congratulations Alexandre.

Here is a youtube video of Alexandre singing.  Who cares if it in French, it's great music.