Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The American Way?]

South Burlington, VT

I was listening to a program on NPR about health care. One man complained about having to buy insurance to get health care.  The program host said, "But insurance is the American way."   That struck me as very wrong..

So.  What is the American Way?  Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) is a moral very deeply embedded in the psyche of Americans. I think MYOB is a key factor in the culture wars, and the political upheavals leading to the election of Donald Trump.  But MYOB is hardly ever mentioned in public.

In the old days, if I saw my neighbor smoke, drink or do unhealthful things, it was my job to shut up and mind my own business.  But if we all have health insurance, then my neighbor's behavior affects my costs too.  His business becomes my business and my business becomes his.  If government gets involved it makes things much worse. Everyone's business becomes everyone else's and also the business of bureaucrats and congressmen.  That profoundly violates our beloved MYOB. That makes many Americans inclined to oppose it, and that inclination is exploited and inflamed by political parties that thrive on creating wedge issues.

I also note the county level red-blue election map of the USA.   There is an obvious strong correlation.  The blue counties are urban or at least those with the highest population density.  In low density areas, people provide their own transportation and they have their own grassy shaded areas to relax.  In cities, public transportation and public parks are a necessity.  The higher the population density the more imperative it is to act collectively rather than individually.  The most extreme case is that of a ship at sea.  At sea, the entire crew must act as a team under the direction of a captain who wields near-God-like authority.   If population density continues increasing, I see that as our inevitable future.



I am speaking about the deep deep cultural divide in this country that led to the election of Donald Trump.  But I hate to label is as Democrats versus Republicans, or even Liberals versus Conservatives versus Libertarians,  because all those labels carry baggage other than what I am discussing here. I think urban versus non-urban is close, but there are exceptions. I lack a good pair of words, so let me arbitrarily say yings and yangs.

Yings ask first, "What will we do on this question.?" Yings focus  on the "What" in the sentence whereas yangs  object to the "we" in the sentence.  Yangs would prefer to say, "What will you do about the question and what will I do?" Yang pollsters only care about what people think about issues.  They never stop to consider that some people resent some of the issues being public rather than private in the first place.   The very premise of polling and of media reporting is ying biased; almost by definition.

Media bias runs much deeper than favoring one party.  For example, I often hear extensive interviews of urban planners on TV or on NPR.  Urban planners are busy planning the 21st century for urban yings only.   They not only exclude non-urban yangs, they fail to recognize their very existence. There is no such thing as a non-urban planner because yangs don't make collective plans at all, they act individually.

Take the example of broadband Internet.  Yings ask, "What will we do to provide broadband for all Americans."  Yangs say, "Get government regulations and permits and taxes out of my way, and I will make my own Internet arrangements.  Give us the liberty to do whatever we want. Meanwhile, you MYOB."

Violent outbreaks between opposing protesters are already breaking out less than 1/2 year into Trump's first term.  I think 2020 will be very dark and ugly.

In the future, I'll write about what I think we need for yings and yangs to coexist; namely countries that are not geographically based.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Valcour Island Revisited

 South Burlington, VT

We just returned from three glorious days on Valcour Island.  I hate to repeat myself on this blog, but the natural beauties of Valcour inspire me to do so, at least photographically.


What do we do all day while camping?  Watch the video.

The bright orange is lichen.

See the ripples in the water separated by a band of still water.  This band of no wind was over 12 miles long.  Hard to imagine the science of that.

The battle between the cedar trees and the rocks is epic.  Eventually thr tree wins and it breaks up the rock. But then the tree dies, so did it really wijn?

The edge on this rock is so straight that it looks like a diamond saw cut.  But it's natura.

This rock shows why these sedementary rocks break in straight lines.  How many millions of years to lay down all those layers of limestone?

Even flowers find a way to survive in the rocks.


These rocks are fossil rich.  Close examination of this one shows an amalgum of tiny bones.  They are probably fish bones, but they look like bird bones.
Note the ruler straight vein of marble.  The limestone morphed into marble along the lines of a crack.   The rocks here have lots of marble veins like this one.

In Sweden, these are called "devil's bowls"  They are formed when a round boulder gets spun around under the glaciers and it drills a hole into the base rock.  This bowl is nearly two feet in diameter and a nearly perfect hemisphere.




The sky was so pretty on our ride back to the main land.  So wan't Libby.


A few miles south of the Peru boat launch, is Ausable Chasm.  Man oh man, what a lovely place.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Begin The Summer Routine

South Burlington, VT

We arrived here in Vermont one week ago.   The first few days were winter-like, cold and miserable.  But Jen and Pete gave a warm welcome, so all was good.

Here is my "office" for summer use.  It is the Burlington Airport, only a block away from Jen's house.   There is a 6-storey staircase to the top of the parking garage that I can use for my daily workout. Here is the view from the top of that garage.  Pretty spectacular huh?


Below is the view from my "office".   I've learned that even 12 years into retirement, I'm still an office person.  That's where I feel most comfortable.  So there is a booth on the second floor of the airport where I can sit, use my computer and where I have the view below.   When I'm done checking the news on my computer, I sit in those rocking chairs to enjoy my coffee and the view. I arrive there at 5:20 AM, so I usually have the whole place to myself.   I see the airplanes come and go in the foreground, the valley behind that and the Green Mountains on the skyline. Never before have I had a real office as nice as this.

Also, other than the bald summits of some mountains, there is no other place in Vermont with such nice views. Even billionaire's homes don't have a view this nice.


On the day I took those pictures, it was still winter-like.  The fog was so thick that I couldn't see the ground.  But as I sat there, the fog burned off thus staging a theatric quality revealing of this view.  It was great.  Look carefully in the picture and you still see fog following the Winooski River.  Wow oh wow what a nice place.

Tomorrow, Libby and I depart to go to Valcour Island for the first time this year.  That excites us.  Regular blog readers know how much we love that place. We'll stay 3 days and 2 nights.

During the summer, we hope to do side trips to Syracuse/Rome/West Chalrton/Mechanicville/Guilderland NY.  Also to Melrose MA, Vinahaven/Ilesboro/Eastport ME.  Prince Edward Island, Quebec, then Ontario/Wisconsin/Minnesota/North Dakota/Montana/Idaho/Oregon climaxing with a view of the ellipse on August 21.   None of those trips are planed in detail yet.   Whew, it makes me tired and ready for a nap just thinking about all that.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Old Habits Die Hard

Zebulon, NC

We leave tomorrow after 10 days visiting with Dave and Cathy.  That twice per year visit is one of our best highlights.

We'll head for the Blue Ridge Parkway, with camping gear in the car.   How does that differ from cruising?

  1. Our preference is to hit almost every campground along the parkway, doing as little as 50 miles per day progress.  Probably a different campground every day.  That is very cruiser-like.
  2. Our plans are weather sensitive.  Blog readers remember lots of times when we waited for a weather window.  In this case, it looks sunny tomorrow, but it might rain the next 3 days.  Bummer.  We don't put out to sea in storms, and we don't do tent camping on really rainy days.   The difference is that if tent camping is interrupted, we'll move on many more miles and maybe use motels.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Speech #10: The Playboy Startup

[Toastmaster Competent Communicator project #10: Inspire.  

Objectives: inspire the audience. Appeal to the audiences needs and emotions.  Avoid using notes.

This project really brought me out of my shell.  Instead of me speaking to the people in front of me, I had to invent an imaginary occasion, an imaginary speaker, and an imaginary audience.  It was like a stage play where I was author, and actor, and the audience were extras.]
---
Toastmaster's Script

The next speaker is TM Dick Mills. The title of his speech is The Playboy Startup


--- Dick shakes hands with the toastmaster.

While Dick is getting costumed, let me set the scene.

This is a bit of historical fiction. The scene is February 1954, Chicago Illinois. Hugh Hefner is meeting with his new team of 6 men and one woman their first day on the job at Playboy Magazine.

Dick will play the part of Hugh Hefner. The audience plays the part of the Playboy staff.

First iteration at costume.  Rejected because it made me look like Obe Wan Kenobe instead of Hugh Hefner.

Final costume.

---Toastmaster sits and Dick speaks

Welcome and congratulations. I say welcome because for some of you this is your first day on the job. I say congratulations because you all are in on the ground floor of Playboy Enterprises, where I plan to make every one of you rich and famous. But even if I fail, you're going to have the time of your life.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

Eldon, Art and I put the first two editions together on my kitchen table. The first one was the most famous. Two lucky breaks helped to make that happen.

First, with less than a week to go, we got a letter from some lawyers saying that the name of our magazine, Stag Party, was already used.
We needed a new name, and Eldon brilliantly suggested Playboy. It is the perfect name. Thank you Eldon. Then Art suggested a bunny to replace the stag theme in our art. I said OK, and only four minutes later, Art came up with this logo. It is sheer genius. Thank you Art.



Second, I am a detail man. I'm also a perfectionist as you'll all soon learn. Art collected lots of pictures of naked girls, but I told him that I didn't want a girl, I wanted the girl. So I went out in search of the most valuable photograph on the whole damn planet.

Marilyn Monroe is the most famous and
most desired woman in the world. For years there have been rumors that a naked calendar picture of Marilyn existed, but nobody had ever seen it. I found that picture and I bought the publishing rights for only $600.

So with Marilyn on the cover
and Marilyn inside, we printed 70000 copies, and sent them out to the newsstands. They sold out in two weeks!

[I had a magazine with the cover taped on, the logo on the back, and a centerfold with Marilyn.  I showed the cover, then opened the centerfold and mouthed WOW, but I did not let the audience see it.  Hee hee a bit of a tease.]

The money from that first issue allowed us to pay off all our debt, with enough left over for me to replace my old chevy with a brand new Studebaker sports car. The second issue outsold the first. The money from that issue was enough for me to hire the rest of you and to rent these offices for us to work out of.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

So. Here we are. What the hell do we do now?

Other men's magazines talk about hunting, fishing sport, we're not going to do any of that we talk about jazz, cocktails, Picasso, we talk about culture, but we also focus on sex. We will incorporate sex as one normal and logical and healthy part of a total package that appeals to a male audience. After all, what interests young men more than sex?

We started at the top with Marilyn, but that won't last. We need fresh ideas.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

First the girls. My thought is to forget the glamour girls. I want the girl next door, the girl that is right in front of our eyes. But I'm not going to call her the girl next door, I'll call her the Playboy Playmate of the Month.

But what I want even more is to turn this magazine into a guide for becoming a playboy.

What's a playboy? He is a bachelor. Suave. Sophisticated. Intelligent. And urbane.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

Every time someone picks up a copy of Playboy, I don't want him to just imagine himself as the kind of guy who gets the girl. I want to teach him how. How to buy the right suit. How to select the right bottle of wine or mix the perfect cocktail. How to orchestrate the perfect date. The Playboy is going to move to a major city, and pursue the urbane female.

The playboy is cosmopolitan. He appreciates people from all cultures, and all races. Interracial socializing and interracial sex will be prominent in Playboy. He is intellectual, and ready to debate any topic, especially those touching on his sexual freedom. Contraception, abortion, you name it. He can be religious but he must be willing to debate his religion with those of other belifs.

The women. The women a Playboy desires will themselves be suave, sophisticated, urbane, progressive in their politics, and intellectually superior. They will be connoisseurs of music, art, wine and life. Most of all they will be connoisseurs of worthy men; with the emphasis on worthy.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

Advertizers. Advertisers must meet our artwork standards and their ads must be pitched to our market. The advertisers will pay a premium price to reach this premium market. Indeed, their lavish advertising budgets will themselves become part of their image, their allure.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

But the how-to advice that we give has to be based on real life experience. I've arranged for my friend Vince to help. Vince is a real life Playboy who lives here in Chicago. Vince will arrange for us to be invited to all the best parties in Chicago. Before long, Marilyn Monroe, John Cheever, Lenny Bruce, and Jack Kennedy will come to know each of you on a first name basis. We will live the Playboy life. We will learn and then we'll teach.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

[I picked a woman in the audience to be Charlene.  I walked over to her, leaned on the table, put my face right in hers, and locked eyes while reading the next paragraph.  She looked like a deer in the headlights.] 
Charlene, you are the only female member of our team. I need you to live the Playboy lifestyle too. You are a beautiful woman. You are the girl in front of our eyes. We don't need to scour the world for the Playmate of the Month. I want you to pose. I don't want anyone else. I want you. Please consider it.

I too will be in it up to my eyeballs. I'm married and I have a child, but I will be living the bachelor life. Does that violate traditional values? Yes! That's what we need, We all need to break with traditional American values, so that we can figure out what tomorrow's American values will be.

I don't want to follow trends. I want to create them. I want you to create them with me.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

You six are the ones who are going to make it all happen. I want every article, every picture, every ad, every cover, every page to be specifically tailored to promote this one singular vision. The Playboy Lifestyle.

PAUSE, PUFF ON PIPE

Now, lets' get to work.

-–Dick steps out of costume.

America has changed much since 1954.  Hugh Hefner and his staff deserve a generous share of the credit.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Can This be a Yucca Plant?

Zebulon, NC

We found several of these beautiful plants growing in our camp site on top of  Cheaha Mountain in Alabama.  The flowers were just blooming the 2 days we were there.





They sure look like yucca plants.  At least the flowerers do, but the base leaves don't.  

But yucca is supposed to be a desert plant.  Can they be on the top of a moutain in the Smokies?

Here's the view from the camp site.  Unfortunately, the air was hazy that day.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

SOLD

It didn't take long.  I may have priced her too low.  That's OK, a lovely couple from Maine will buy her and begin their own retired cruising life.  That is a very good outcome for Tarwathie.

So, as soon as the paperwork is complete, Libby and I will officially be CLODs (cruisers living on dirt).  I'm not sure which emoji fits that.  It is bittersweet for us.


p.s. We had a lovely lunch today with and old friend, Ian Grant and his family.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Speech #9: The Nocebo Cure

[Toastmaster Project 9: Persuade With Power. Objectives: Persuade listeners to adopt your vie or ideas and to take some action. Appeal to the audiences interests. Use logic and emotion. ]

Dick Mills is a retired engineer, a sailor, a pilot, an exterminator, a fireman, a blogger, a carney, and a toastmaster.

The title of his speech is:The Nocebo Cure
---
A librarian was told that there was formaldehyde in her new library bookshelves. Formaldehyde is a suspected human carcinogen and the librarian knew this. Soon she was suffering from a headache, aching joints, and labored breathing -- all classic psychosomatic symptoms.

But then she heard there was no formaldehyde in the shelves. Suddenly the symptoms disappeared.

But the final word was that the shelves contained formaldehyde after all but the librarian didn't know that and she remained symptom free.
---
Madam Toastmaster, friends, and guests. I speak tonight about the nocebo effect. I'll explain what that means. I'll offer several example. I'll offer you a simple cure, and tell you how applying that cure can improve your life.
Most of us already know of the placebo effect, and placebo pills. If someone tells you that you should feel better, you do feel better. A negative placebo is called a nocebo. If someone suggests that you should feel sick or, you do feel sick.
---
Let me first read something from an article aimed at plastic surgeons.

The nocebo effect is a well known causation of, and contributor to … psychosomatic conditions which can make life a terrible ordeal.

The vast majority of treatment-resistant pain syndromes ... are either directly caused by … or … contributed to …by psychosomatic factors.

The most common symptoms include headaches, back pain, fibromyalgia, ulcers, GI discomfort, jaw pain, and carpal tunnel.

There are many situations which may cause a woman to suffer a nocebo effect related to a surgical breast procedure including:

  1. Diagnosis of breast cancer can create a severe effect on the mind and body.

  2. Reading inflammatory information suggesting that breast implants might be harmful to the patient’s health.

  3. A warning from a doctor or radiologist that breast implants are dangerous.

---
More than half of all health products list headaches, rashes, and GI problems as side effects. But those are also common psychosomatic symptoms. Therefore when a new drug is tested, and test subjects are asked about side effects, they say headaches. Therefore headaches are among the listed side effects, therefore causing more headaches.

Ay ay ay ay ay. Now we have the dog biting its own tail. Even on an industrial level we are unable to separate objective truth from psychosomatic effects.

---
Nocebo effects are harmful to public health. Dr Dean Edell, said in 2008, that fears in today's world cause the average anxiety level of today's kindergarden students to be at a level considered neurotic in 1952. I'll say it again. Today's children, by 1952 standards, would have be considered to be mentally abnormal.
---
But we can't go overboard. We can't sue doctors for delivering a bad news in the form of a diagnosis. Nor can we sue a drug manufacturer for putting warnings on a pill bottle.

What can we do? Let me offer a simple cure. Something, easy to remember, easy to apply, and that will make you resistant to the negative effects of the nocebo effect. It's called critical thinking. My definition is simple.

  1. Consider the source's motivation
  2. Look for cooberating evidence
  3. Shift the burden of proof to the source.

It's more than just being skeptical. I'll elaborate.


  1. Does the source have a financial or other motivation to want to scare you? If yes, be careful.
  2. Consider cooberating evidence. You already have a lifetime of experience. You know how the world works. Applying that knowledge is what we call common sense.

    Can you see evidence of this new scary thing in the things you already know about this world? Make your own judgement. Is it likely true or false.
  3. Shift the burden of proof to the source. Sources commonly pose questions that you can't answer. They are attempting to shift the burden of proof to you. Don't fall for it. Demand proof from genuine experts not motivated to scare you. Ignore celebrities and politicians.

---
If you apply those simple rules in your everyday life, you will be resistant to being scared unnecessarily. Drug ads on TV won't scare you. Predatory lawyers won't scare you. Neither will predatory doctors, journalists, TV producers, authors, demagogue politicians, or your neighborhood gossip mongers. Become the master of your own life and your own emotions.

Therefore, I urge you. Become nocebo resistant. Remember and apply those three simple rules. 

1. Consider source motivation
2. Use common sense
3. Put the burden of proof on the source.

Madam toasmaster, the floor is yours.

---



Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tarwathie For Sale : UPDATE SOLD>

Reluctantly, we are offering Tarwathie for sale.  She's priced to sell at $25K, half the price of comparable W32s here in Florida.  Email me dickandlibbymills@gmail.com


Tarwathie

Basic Specifications

More pictures HERE.

W32 1975 Factory finished boat
LOA 32'
LWL 27'-6”
Beam 11'-6”
Draft 5'
Diaplacement 20,000 lbs.
Fiberglass Hull
Ballast 7,000 lbs.
Sail Area 663 ft^2
Cutter Rig
Engine: Beta Marine 1308
HP: 37.5
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity: 40 gals
Water Tank Capacity: 75 gals

Comments:

In 2005, I retired with the intention of cruising. My wife said that she would do it only if we had a boat safe enough to survive a hurricane Ivan. My research led me to the Westsail 32. I found 14 of them for sale on the east coast. We looked at all 14, but the instant we went aboard Tarwathie, we both knew “this is the one.” Tarwathie was (and is) in marvelous sail-away condition. The interior is light, bright and cheery. None of the other 13 W32s came close to Tarwathie's interior comfort.

We cruised full time on Tarwathie for 11 years, 2005-2016, doing about 60K nm in the USA East Coast, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, and 9 summers on Lake Champlain in Vermont. The previous owner cruised full time for 11 years, also doing 60K nm and raising two kids on board. That's equivalent to 4 circumnavigations. Tarwathie stands ready for a couple of more circumnavigations, but alas her crew (me and my wife) are not.
Tarwathie's adventures, including maintenance and boat projects, are documented in detail (2700 blog posts!) on dickandlibby.blogspot.com.

Accommodations:

  • The Westsail 32 is the safest, most rugged, and one of the most famous sailboats in modern history. Hundreds of circumnavigations. Multiple winners of the Annapolis-Bermuda race and the SF-Hawaii Transpac Single Hnnded Race. Passers by often remark on her beauty and lines.
  • Supported by the active Westsail Owners Association (westsail.org) and new parts still available from Bud Taplin (westsail.com).
  • Blue water design: duoble-ended, fore/aft scuppers, small cockpit well, solid glass min 1” thick below water line, molded in full keel, skeg rudder, bulwarks, external chain plates.
  • Factory finish, with 6'-6” headroom. Wood headliner. Teak&Holly sole, Mahogany paneling with beautiful rubbed effect varnish finish. Ceiling and most surfaces pained white.
  • Rear facing navigator's table and bench in the place where most W32s have obsolete chart drawers. Unusual factory option.
  • Fold up table has three positions, up, down seats two without blocking passageway, down seats four. Goes up and down in seconds. Much superior to other Westsail table/seating options.
  • Settees port and starboard, can seat 8, or allow 2 people to lay back and lounge in the main salon. Many other W232s require the V-berth for 2 people to lay down and relax.
  • Two 2' square lexan hatches, one in the main salon and one in the V-Berth. Lots of light.
  • 205 watts of solar panels, adequate for all electrical use when at anchor 29-days out of 30.

Deck

  • Fiberglass deck. All non-skid areas refinished in 2013 with a unique gelcoat-epoxy-netting surface.
  • Hull insulation.
  • Teak handrails
  • 10 opening ports
  • Forward hatch with solar exhaust fan
  • Midship hatch
  • Deck box before the mast.
  • Teak chocks to hold the dinghy under the boom.
  • Teak chocks to hold 4 water/fuel jugs.
  • 2 dorade boxes and vents
  • Genoa tracks for staysail instead of staysail boom.
  • Quick disconnect staysail stay.
  • SS and teak boom gallows
  • Stern Lazarette, sealed and drained for propane storage
  • Two 20 pound propane tanks
  • 2x Lewmar #44 two-speed self tailing sheet winches
  • 2x Lewmar #30 two-speed self tailing sheet winches
  • 1x Lewmar #30 two-speed self tailing reefing winch
  • 2x Lewmar #??? two-speed self tailing halyard winches
  • 1x Brass halyard winch
  • New tiller 2015
  • Some lifelines replacd with Dyneema.
  • Boom Gallows
  • Cockpit Floor liftable for engine access.
  • Custom Fitted Canvas Shade Tarps, one forward, one aft.
  • 3 winch handles
  • Bomar Aluminum Hatch in cockpit floor for visual inspecttion
  • 2x 1 cubic meter lazarette storage bins under bench (unique to Tarwathie)
  • Furlex Roller Furler
  • Custom fit cockpit cushions, with washable covers.
  • Running Backstays
  • Bimini
  • Full width dodger
  • Radar Reflector
  • Fenders
  • Fender-step for boarding.
  • Spreader Lights
  • Separate mast tracks for mainsail and trysail
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Masthead: VHF, Static dissipator, auto anchor light, (inop) wind speed & direction
  • 50 watt solar panel mounted in stern.
  • 2x80 watt solar panels stowed under the dinghy, with quick-connect plugs, to be brought out when in harbor

Ground Tackle

  • Primary 35# CQR with 225' of 5/16 chain.
  • Secondary 25# Danforth with 50' 5/15 chain and 225' of 5/8 nylon rode
  • Storm anchor 80# Luke, comes apart in three pieces and stows in the lazarette.
  • Manual windlass, copy of the Sea Tiger but 100% bronze, avoids steel-aluminum contact.

Galley

  • Two burner Princess Stove, new 2012. Gimballed.
  • Seat Belt & Safety Bar.
  • Deep SS sink, with fresh water foot pump, drain foot pump, salt water hand pump.
  • Refrigeration, 12v Cool Blue, energy efficient. Spacious fridge and freezer sections.

Head

  • Sink w foot pump, drains to toilet
  • New Toilet 2015
  • Shower Pan

Hull

  • Bottom paint one year old
  • Hull above water line brand new paint 2016
  • Brand new line cutter on prop shaft
  • Dyna plate system ground
  • Dyna plate lightning ground

Ditch Kit

  • ACR EPIRB, serviced 2014.
  • Battery powered GPS
  • Battery powered VHF
  • Survival gear
  • Flares

Electronics

  • ICOM 710 SSB
  • Antenna tuner, backstay antenna
  • Pactor Modem
  • VHF with AIS
  • Lowrance GPS Chart Plotter
  • VHF Remote mic with AIS screen
  • ICOM hand held VHF
  • AM/FM radio w remote
  • Tiller master autopilot
  • Depth Sounder
  • Speed/log
  • Link 10 Battery Monitor
  • Hand held depth/temp
  • LPG remote switch

Navigation

  • Monitor Self Steering
  • Tiller Master self steering
  • Hand Bearing Compass
  • Chart books, Skipper Bob, and cruising guides for USA east and Bahamas.
  • Westsail Owners Manual
  • 5” compass lit
  • Horns, compressed air and manual
  • Old smartphone with Navionics Chart Plotter back up (does not need cell signal)
  • Davis Sextant & Celestial Navigation Books
  • Chapman's Piloting Book

Engine Room

  • Beta Marine 1308, 37.5 HP, 2009
  • Fuel Sight Gauges
  • Blower
  • Shore Power Charger
  • 40A Solar Charge Controller
  • 2 group 31 batteries
  • 2x 20 gallon wing tanks, 40 gallon diesel capacity.
  • Automatic Halon Fire Extinguisher.
  • Shunt for Battery Monitor

Salon

  • Folding table
  • Navigators table & bench
  • Two setees allow 2 people to lounge in the salon
  • Fully Gimbaled Oil Lamps
  • Weather Station
  • Pilot berth pulls out to make a double bed.
  • Wet Locker
  • Hanging Locker
  • 5 drawers
  • Original manuals for almost all equipment
  • Extensive spare parts inventory, and critical tools.
  • Rechargeable spot light
  • Removable washable cushion covers
  • Removable companionway ladder, and access to engine compartment.
  • Propane Cabin Heater with chimney

V Berth

    Generous room removable cushion covers Solar Ventilator Fan
  • 15 gallon neoprene bladder holding tank, no smells ever.
  • Chain lockers in forepeak, and under berth.
  • 4 Drawers and 3 lockers

Inoperative

  • Engine hours log
  • Wind speed & Direction
  • Outboard not used past 4 years.
  • Brand new throttle/shifter not installed
  • Washdown pump not connected
  • Brand new Windex not installed

Dinghy

  • 8' Fatty Knees hard dinghy. Excellent for rowing.
  • 7.5 foot oars
  • Dink anchor and rode
  • 2.5 HP Yamaha outboard, new 2013, <100 hours.="" p="">

Sails

  • Mainsail& battens
  • Yankee Jib
  • Stay Sail
  • Storm jib
  • Storm trysail



Monday, May 08, 2017

Speech #8, The 2017 Eclipse

[Toastmasters Project #8: Visual Aids.  Objectives: Select appropriate visual aids.  Use them correctly and with confidence.]

How many people here have seen a total eclipse of The Sun? Show of hands please.

Most people have not. It is very rare. If you stand in one place, such as Tavares Florida, it will take an average of 200 years for a total eclipse of the sun to pass here. That's 3 lifetimes.

Mister Toastmaster, ladies and gentlemen. I want to inform you about your chance to see an eclipse. It is an experience that has been described as so profound that you will thereafter describe your life in two phases; the part of your life before the eclipse and the part after.

On August 21 of this year, less than 5 months from now, the path of a total eclipse will pass within a 5 hour drive away from right here. Here you see a map of the USA with the path of totality. I'll pass it around so you can see the details. The line of totality is about 40 miles wide. It begins in Oregon and ends in Charleston, SC.


This map also shows the probability of cloud cover. That chance ranges from about 80% near Charleston, to only 10% in parts of Oregon and Idaho.

Throughout the rest of North America, a partial solar eclipse will be visible. During a partial eclipse, the sun becomes crescent shaped, like a crescent moon. This picture illustrates the physics of the Moon's shadow on the Earth. Totality is visible in the umbra of the Moon's shadow, partial eclipses are visible in the penumbra of the shadow. As you can see, the umbra is very small, but the penumbra is big.



I would dearly love to see this eclipse. My wife and I are still trying to choose our strategy. We will be in Vermont this summer. We could drive 1000 miles to Charleston, or 2400 miles to Idaho Falls, trading distance for clear skys.

But clouds aren't the only obstacle. People will be coming from all over North America and Europe to see the eclipse. Hotels, and campgrounds have been booked since 3 years ago. There are even rumors of 3 year old reservations being accidentally lost, and new reservations go for 10x the normal price. It will be a mad house. That argues for a spot in the desert of Idaho, far from people. We have a tent and a car, and that may be our best option.

What's fun to see? The big attraction is that the Sun's corona becomes visible. The sun's brightness hides the corona here on Earth, and to astronauts in space, except during a total eclipse.



Also, briefly visible may be the “ring of fire” on The Moon, as shown in this picture. What you see are the mountains and valleys on the perimeter of the moon in silhouette. Mountains block the sun, while valleys let the sunshine through. I think that's fantastic, to see lunar terrain with just my naked eyes.



Speaking of naked eyes, there are important safety issues to consider. Special glasses can protect your eyes.



But a much simpler, safe way is to use pinholes. I love this picture. It shows the shadow of a man holding his baseball hat. Sunlight streams through the rivet holes in the hat and project tiny crescent shaped images on the sidewalk.



If you are supervising children, you need to figure out a way to prevent them from disobeying and looking directly at the sun. In that case, I recommend this more elaborate setup with a box. You just tape a small piece of aluminum foil on one end, with a pin hole. And tape a piece of white paper on the other end. Then cut a head hole in the bottom. It gives children something fun to do and the supervisor can oversee that all heads are in the boxes.



Here's the point. The chance of a lifetime;, no the chance of three lifetimes is less than five months away. I urge you to make your own plans, be they elaborate or simple, to allow yourself, your family, and your friends to view the event.




Monday, May 01, 2017

Speech #7: To Boast or not to Boast- That is the Question.

[Toastmaster Competent Communicator Project #7: Research Your Topic.  Objectives: Use statistics,quotes, visual aids.  Carefully support your points.]

Mr. Toastmaster

I would like to speak today about some famous people. People that we either hate or admire. I'll talk about how their behavior relates to how we judge them. I'll give several examples. I'll show you how Harvard Business School analyzes such things. I'll finish with a bit advice about life.

Let's see; who is a famous hero? Elon Musk! The SpaceX and Tesla electric car guy. Wikipedia article says that he made his money from Paypal, which many of you know.

On TV, I see SpaceX rockets on supplying the ISS. But that not all. The BBC said, that Musk is talking about a private colony on Mars for crying out lout. Buzz Aldrin called that bodacious.

On the Tesla front, CNN shows film of drivers happily reading their newspapers as their Tesla car with auto pilot drives them to work. Forbes Magazine says that 400,000 advance orders for the Tesla model 3 are already sold.

But Musk is even bolder than that. CNBC reported that, South Australia has an electricity crisis. They got rid of their old dirty power plants, leaving only solar and wind. But when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow, South Australians sit in the dark. The Aussies are in a tizzy. They don't know what to do. In steps Elon Musk. He publicly boasted that he could fix South Australia's problem within 100 days, or else give them everything for free. Google News said that 74000 newspapers picked up that story. Wow, what's not to admire?

Wait! Not so fast. Tesla's report to the SEC says that they lose almost a billion dollars per year, and they have only 6 months left to start delivering on those 400000 advance orders. If Tesla Motors fails, many people will be hurt. How will we judge Elon Musk then?

The book Endgame told the story of Bobby Fischer, the arrogant, boastful, abrasive child prodigy chess player. It also tells how Fischer's public image changed overnight from villain to hero when he beat the famous Boris Spassky for the world chess championship in 1972.


Not everyone is boastful. Readers Digest wrote about Mother Teresa and Mahatma Ghandi. They were both successful yet modest..

Apparently, we judge Musk and Fischer first by their success, and second by their attitudes.
There are two dimensions at play, success and modesty. For only $150K Harvard Business School will teach you how to analyze almost all problems using a diagram like this with four quadrants.


The vertical axis is success versus failure, and the horizontal axis we have boastful versus modest. Heroes like Elon Musk go in the upper right corner. We use words like bold, boastful, arrogant, and reach for the stars, to describe them. For people on the lower right, we might also say arrogant and reach for the stars but we also might say hated losers. Bobby Fischer was promoted from lower right to upper right. We use the word admirable for the upper left and pitiful for the lower right.

Interestingly, cultural differences, can move the center point up/down/left/or right. For example, Radio Sweden reported on Sweden's first expedition to climb Mount Everest. They said, that the coach told the team to “try adequately”. Not, “do your best” but “try adequately”. The team made it to within 100 m of the summit, then turned back. Sweden considered that a success. The American equivalent is the familiar slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust.” Center higher. Center lower.

A recent article in euronews said that Americans are biased towards boldness, and Europeans biased towards modesty, and because of that the EU is falling behind. Center right. Center left.



Here's the point. In life, your degree of success depends of course on traditional values of hard work and skill, but also things beyond your control like timing, luck, and local culture. But whether you fall on the left or the right side is a strategic life choice. Choose carefully.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Speech #6: Soaring

[Toastmaster Competent Communicator Project #6, Vocal Variety.  Objectives: Use volume, pitch, rate and quality to make your points.]

Mr. Toastmaster,

I told you before that I am a sailor. Today I would like to talk about a sport that is closely related to sailing. --- Soaring. I''ll tell you about what soaring is and how it works. Hopefully, that will enable you to understand better when I try to paint a picture of my best soaring day. I'll finish by telling you how you might experience it yourself.
---

Soaring is nothing but a fancy word for flying gliders. A glider is an airplane with no engine and no noise. Especially no noise.

The main principle of flying gliders is very simple. I'll explain it right now. Wind does not always blow horizontally. Sometimes it blows up, sometimes down. To a glider pilot, up is good and down is bad. Remember that up-good, down-bad.

So, soaring means just flying around in the sky, here and there, looking for good air. If you feel the air blowing you down, that's --- bad. When that happens you push the stick forward, point the nose down and fly just as fast as you can to get away from that bad air. When you find the air going up you pull back on the stick to fly as slow as possible, then start turning in circles to remain in that up air because up is --- good.  In Florida, you often see a dozen or more turkey vultures circling the sky.  That does not mean a dead thing is below.  It means they found up air and they are soaring.

One more time up? Down?

That was your final exam. You all passed and now, you are all certified glider pilots.
Today, I want to tell the story of my best day ever soaring. There is something called a mountain wave. I'll have to explain that. Did you ever see a swift river where the water flows over a submerged rock. The water goes up over the rock, then down the back side. Then, downstream it goes up and down again. The same thing happens when the atmosphere flows over a mountain. The wind blows up one side, then down the other, then up again in a mountain wave. An invisible, but powerful wave.

It was a cold crisp day in the fall. The fall colors in Vermont were near peak. The trees were red and orange and yellow and crimson and gold. The air was crystal clear. I flew into a mountain wave. Up I went, faster and faster. One more time, up is ??? good. It became very smooth and very quiet, like riding in an elevator. I could have played muzac. Tall and tan and young and lovely.

The higher I went the faster the wind blew against me. The wind tries to push you back while the glider tries to fly forward. Eventually, I rose so high that the wind speed matched the air speed and I became stationary relative to the ground. I went no higher.

There I sat, 14000 feet up in the sky. No motion, no sound. I was able to let go of the controls with my hands and my feet and look around in all directions. I could see across the mountain. Across all of New York state. Across Lake Ontario. There was Toronto Canada. In the other direction, I could see across the mountains of Vermont to the mountains of New Hampshire. There sat Mount Washington. Spectacular.
--
Then I saw something even better. The mountain wave had sucked in some white clouds. That made the mountain wave became visible. It looked like Niagara Falls with the white water falling, except that this waterfall was falling up. It was the scale that was most magnificent. From where I sat, it appeared to be 20000 feet high, and 60 miles long. I flew over to the waterfall and I was able to put the tip of my wing only one or two feet away. There was just enough lift to maintain my altitude. So I was able to fly along the world's biggest upside down waterfall, following it left and right as it meandered across the state.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was the most amazing sight I have ever seen.
Perhaps you would like to experience soaring yourself. It is not terribly difficult, nor ruinously expensive.\

The easiest way to get started is to buy a ride at soaring centers where they offer them. I recommend Google maps as a good way to find anything local. Expect to pay about $100 for a 20-30 minute ride.
Obviously, it will be more fun to do it where there are big hills or mountains. Not Florida.

Mr Toastmaster, the floor is yours.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Speech #5, Fireman's Stories

[Toastmaster Competent Communicator Project #5, Your Body Speaks.  Objectives: Use body language, gestures, stance and so on.  Unfortunately, this blog is not video.]

Mr. Toastmaster, friends and guests.

All across America, the institution of Volunteer Fire Departments is dying. They are being replaced by paid professionals. Before they disappear from the landscape, and from my memory, I want to share a few stories.
--1
On my very first house fire, I was assigned to take a hose out to the back yard and to fight the fire from there. What I didn't know was that another crew in the front yard was setting up a powerful water cannon. When they turned that baby on the stream of water was so powerful, that it blew a hole in the front wall of the house, crossed the interior, blew another hole in the back wall, and hit the chimney.

Out back, holding my hose I looked up to see the chimney falling directly towards me. There was no time to get out of the way. CRASH. The chimney landed right beside me. Oh My God.
--2
One day I was hanging out at the firehouse with a bunch of fellow firefighters. We were standing in a circle in the parking lot, spitting on the tarmac and talking about manly things. Hunting. Tractors. Pickup trucks. Then, along came Maggie. Maggie was our only female member. Maggie elbowed her way into the circle. Conversation stopped. The pregnant pause got longer and longer. Maggie looked to her left. She looked to her right. Then with both hands she reached down to her crotch and adjusted her package.

Well, let me tell you. It took more than 5 minutes for the laughter to die out. Thereafter, Maggie was just one of the guys.
–3
On a different occasion, I was searching a house after the fire was out, but while it was still full of smoke. I found three dead puppies in the bedroom. I picked them up and cradled them in my arms, the way one carries an infant. When I emerged from the house, I looked up. Across the street were the children that owned the puppies. The expressions on their faces broke my heart.
–4
Every little boy dreams of driving a fire truck. Well, for big boys age 60 find it just as much fun as they dreamed of at age 6. The truck is big, and red. You sit way up in the air. You have red lights and siren. The horn was so loud it could knock that bull in the field off of his feet. I drove right up the middle of the road straddling the yellow lines. It was magic to see the oncoming traffic just melt away as I approached.
–5
I got promoted to captain. I went to an Incident Command course. The instructor challenged me. “Dick. An airliner just crashed in your district. It was a jumbo jet, with hundreds of people. You are the only officer available for miles around. You are in command. What do you do?” I just wanted to fold myself into the fetal position and disappear.
–6
On my last house fire, I arrived at the scene late. The chief said, “Go in there and see if those guys need help. So in I went. The smoke was so dense that even if you hold your hand one inch in front of your face, you can't see it. The only way to navigate was to get down on my hands and knees, and to feel the fire hose with my hands. I followed the hose across floors and over furniture, until I came to the place where the flames were. One of the guys there handed me something heavy. “Get this out of here,” he said. So I dragged that heavy thing back, on my hands and knees following the hose. When I got outside, I looked down to see what it was. It was a 5 gallon plastic jug of gasoline, partially melted.
–7
On a training exercise, I was told to go to the third floor to rescue someone wearing all my gear and air tanks. The someone was a 200 pound dummy called Buster. I was supposed to throw Buster over my shoulder in the Fireman's Carry and carry him down the stairs. No way. I wasn't strong enough to to that. So I grabbed Buster by the heels and dragged him down the stairs. Thump, thump, thumpity thump thump. But in my training records, that counted as a successful rescue.
–8
Remember Maggie? One night we were about to leave the firehouse. Maggie held the door open to let people out. The people in front of me were Maggies family. As they went out the door, each gave Maggie a kiss. One. Two. Three. Four. Then me. I grabbed Maggie and gave her a really good kiss. Then I kept walking. I got 20 feet away before I heard Maggie's voice in back of me say, “HEY!”


[This speech resulted in the most negative reviews of any so far.  It had little intro, zero conclusion, and it packed 8 stories in where there should have been only 3.   I realized that I (and Libby) had committed the sin of telling stories that we like to tell, and ignored the audience.  Speaker-oriented versus audience-oriented.  I'll remind myself to remember that in the future.]

Monday, April 10, 2017

Speech #4: The Internet of Things

[Toastmaster Project 4: How to Say It.  Objectives: Select good words.  Use rhetorical devices.  Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words.]

Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests.


Do you recognize this thing in my hand?. Its an ordinary light bulb, right? Maybe. But it might also be an Internet enabled light bulb with wifi. Smart bulbs convenient and cheap. I can use this device call out “ Alexa turn on the light in the bedroom.” The bulb costs only a few dollars. I can have an Alexa voice device in every room, on my phone and in my car and in my office. What's not to like about that?

Suppose I told you about a web site that lists 80000 video cameras that people put in their homes but never set a password. Burglars can spy on them 24x7. They watch you dress. They know where you hide your jewelry. They know when you're not home. OK, there's a few things not to like.

The Internet of Things IOT: Light bulbs, speakers, a child's doll, thermostats, video cameras, refrigerators, fitbit bracelets, insulin pumps, our cars and countless more. The IOT threatens our privacy and security.

Guess who uses them against us. Big corporations, big crooks, and big government.

Big corporations. Suppose I am in the bathroom and that I just opened the last roll of toilet paper. It is super convenient for me to be able to say “ALEXA reorder toilet paper” Amazon knows what brand of paper I like, how to get paid from my account, and how to ship it to me. No law prevents Amazon from selling all that data to other big companies.

Big crooks recently hijacked more than 100000 DVRs digital video recorders, and video cameras in peoples homes. and turned them into weapons to attack our country's infrastructure. Somebody go tell Donald Trump.

Big government. Texas subpoenaed Alexa sound recordings from the home of a drug dealer. The cops reasoned that while the dealer's wife is reordering toilet paper, there might also be other conversations heard in the background where the drug guys incriminate themselves. The government doesn't need search warrants any more, we have bugged our own homes.

Ladies, lets see if this story creeps you out. Joe Blow walks down the street wearing Google glasses 2.0. He sees a pretty woman. The glasses tell him, “Her name is Susan Smith. She lives in the building behind you in apartment 3C. She is not wearing a bra. She loves Margaritas. Would you like to send her a text?” All of that is possible and inexpensive using today's technology.

Whose responsibility is it to clean up this mess? Think of the hijacked DVR case. The DVR manufacturer doesn't care; he has been paid, there is no more warranty, he is not the victim. The DVR owner doesn't care, his DVR still works. He is not the victim. Retailers don't care, they are no longer selling those old DVR models anyhow. Government may care, but these DVRs come from all over the world, outside the reach of our government. We cant send jack booted thugs to break down our doors and confiscate these IOT things. How about me? Have I set the password for this bulb and updated it to the newest software release? Hell no, don't bother me with that crap.

So, who's responsible? No one.

Some people say that better security is the answer. Wrong. We could use fingerprints instead of passwords. Suppose all your devices and your accounts are secured with your fingerprint? Pretty cool huh? But that makes it attractive for a crook to cut off your finger. He gets access to all your stuff, while you are locked out because you don't have the finger any more. Security is not the answer.

We have a problem. The people and the congress are weak on preventative actions. We tend to wait until things get very bad, then we react.

What can we do when we finally do react? I'm afraid that privacy is hopelessly dead forever. The best we can hope for is transparency. We need laws to subject Big corporations, Big crooks, and Big Government to our own surveillance. We need to see what they are up to and so that we can make a stink when what they do makes us angry.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Speech #3: Living Wills

[Toastmaster Project 3. Get To The Point.  Objectives: Have specific purposes.  Project sincerity and conviction.]

Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests. Good evening.

Wills, living wills, DNR orders, proxies, surrogates, end of life. Yuck. Those are subjects that we mostly like to postpone till another day. The fact is that only 25% of Americans have living wills.

My purpose today is to inform you about living wills and perhaps persuade you to make one if you haven't done so already. I'll talk about that what, why and how of living wills, about one enhancement, and even the nefarious side of the system. I'll mention do not resuscitate orders DNRs, but not regular wills.

Let's begin with the what.

Your treatment by the health care system is determined one in four ways. I'll list them in order, best case to worst case.

  1. If you are awake and alert, you can tell the doctors your wishes directly.
  2. If you aren't awake or alert, your wishes are documented in advance in a living will. They might also be expressed by a loved one that you have instructed in advance as to what your wishes are.
  3. You can be treated by the legal default protocols in your state whatever that means.
  4. Worst of all, decisions can be forced upon a loved one who has to guess as to what you would have wanted.
The Why of living wills should be obvious.

On one hand, health care workers need it to cover their behinds legally to deviate from the default protocol.

On the other hand, a loved one might be forced to decide for you. He or she could be saddled with guilt and doubt for the rest of their life if they are not certain that that their decision was what you really wanted. You love them. You should never risk them being put in that bind.

You may think of living wills as something for old people. Wrong. Accidents, can snatch away your future and bring you to near death in an instant, Every adult should have one.
The how is pretty simple.

The paper I am holding up is called “Five Wishes” it is simple and straightforward. (I'll explain in a minute why I can't give yo a copy.) This document satisfies the legal requirements in Florida and 41 other states. It takes only 15 minutes to read, one hour to fill out and sign and to leave a copy with your doctor. I vigorously recommend that you take the opportunity to brief any loved one who might be called upon as a future surrogate.

The document mentions DNR, but a living will is not a DNR order. DNRs cover much narrower circumstances. The legal intricacies of DNRs in Florida are pretty bizzare. The only way you can get a DNR is to ask your doctor.

Now, what if something bad happens when you are traveling? It could take a long time to track down your doctors, your living will and your loved ones, and while waiting on that tracking you fall into the legal default protocols for wherever you are. A neat and modern enhancement is to have your living will registered on the Internet.

My state, Vermont provides a free living will registry for its residents. I sent them a copy of my living will. They send me a sticker to put on my insurance card with contact info and an ID code that health care workers can use to get instant access to the content of my living will. Not matter what else happens, you can rest assured that the first procedure the hospital will perform is a walletectomy. Believe me, they will find your insurance card. Florida, unfortunately does not have a free registry, but they do recommend a private registry. You have the link on that paper.

There are nefarious aspects of the system.

The laws of the 50 states are not uniform, nor are they user friendly, nor do they make even sense to a normal person. Misunderstandings abound even among the health care professionals in the hospital. So there is no guarantee that you wishes will be honored no matter what you do.

There are greedy people who try to make money from you. Lawyers charge a fortune for writing a custom living will. The living will registry recommend by Florida costs $59. Agingwithdignity.com forbids you to make copies of Five Wishes. They sell copies for $1 each, minimum order 1000 and the fine for illegal copies is a quarter million per copy. I got this illegal copy from my doctor, but he's rich.

But here's the point. No matter how flawed the system, no matter what your opinions, you are better off having a living will than being silent.

That brings me to you.

No matter what your age or your circumstances, you should have a living will.

You can use the link I provided, or you can get a copy of Five Wishes from your doctor.

Don't delay, do it today.

Mr. Toastmaster, thank you.


Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, esteemed guests. Good evening.

Wills, living wills, DNR orders, proxies, surrogates, end of life. Yuck. Those are subjects that we mostly like to postpone till another day. The fact is that only 25% of Americans have living wills.

My purpose today is to inform you about living wills and perhaps persuade you to make one if you haven't done so already. I'll talk about that what, why and how of living wills, about one enhancement, and even the dark side of the system. I'll mention do not resuscitate orders DNRs, but not regular wills.

Let's begin with the what.

Your treatment by the health care system is determined one in four ways. I'll list them in order, best case to worst case.

  1. If you are awake and alert, you can tell the doctors your wishes directly.
  2. If you aren't awake or alert, your wishes are documented in advance in a living will. They might also be expressed by a loved one that you have instructed in advance as to what your wishes are.
  3. You can be treated by the legal default protocols in your state whatever that means.
  4. Worst of all, decisions can be forced upon a loved one who has to guess as to what you would have wanted.
The Why of living wills should be obvious.

On one hand, health care workers need it to cover their behinds legally to deviate from the default protocol.

On the other hand, a loved one might be forced to decide for you. He or she could be saddled with guilt and doubt for the rest of their life if they are not certain that that their decision was what you really wanted. You love them. You should never risk them being put in that bind.

You may think of living wills as something for old people. Wrong. Accidents, can snatch away your future and bring you to near death in an instant, Every adult should have one.
The how is pretty simple.

The paper I am holding up is called “Five Wishes” it is simple and straightforward. (I'll explain in a minute why I can't give yo a copy.) This document satisfies the legal requirements in Florida and 41 other states. It takes only 15 minutes to read, one hour to fill out and sign and to leave a copy with your doctor. I vigorously recommend that you take the opportunity to brief any loved one who might be called upon as a future surrogate.

The document mentions DNR, but a living will is not a DNR order. DNRs cover much narrower circumstances. The legal intricacies of DNRs in Florida are pretty bizzare. The only way you can get a DNR is to ask your doctor.

Now, what if something bad happens when you are traveling? It could take a long time to track down your doctors, your living will and your loved ones, and while waiting on that tracking you fall into the legal default protocols for wherever you are. A neat and modern enhancement is to have your living will registered on the Internet.

My state, Vermont provides a free living will registry for its residents. I sent them a copy of my living will. They send me a sticker to put on my insurance card with contact info and an ID code that health care workers can use to get instant access to the content of my living will. Not matter what else happens, you can rest assured that the first procedure the hospital will perform is a walletectomy. Believe me, they will find your insurance card. Florida, unfortunately does not have a free registry, but they do recommend a private registry. You have the link on that paper.

There are dark sides to the system.

The laws of the 50 states are not uniform, nor are they user friendly, nor do they make even sense to a normal person. Misunderstandings abound even among the health care professionals in the hospital. So there is no guarantee that you wishes will be honored no matter what you do.

There are greedy people who try to make money from you. Lawyers charge a fortune for writing a custom living will. The living will registry recommend by Florida costs $59. Agingwithdignity.com forbids you to make copies of Five Wishes. They sell copies for $1 each, minimum order 1000 and the fine for illegal copies is a quarter million per copy. I got this illegal copy from my doctor, but he's rich.

But here's the point. No matter how flawed the system, no matter what your opinions, you are better off having a living will than being silent.

That brings me to you.

No matter what your age or your circumstances, you should have a living will.

You can use the link I provided, or you can get a copy of Five Wishes from your doctor.

Don't delay, do it today.

Mr. Toastmaster, thank you.