Weather outside is frightful.

Let’s check the weather forecast for today. Was it overcast, chilly and spitting rain? Check. Was there a brisk wind blowing out of the northeast with regular leaf-scattering gusts? Check. Did the mercury barely top 50? Oh, yes.

Well, sounds like a great day to take the boat out of the water, then!

So that’s what we did. Truth to tell, it wasn’t too bad. We are outdoorsy people, and a spitting, chill rain is nothing. We sucked it up and froze to death. And at the end of the day the Mary M was dismasted, stripped of its fittings, put on a cradle and ready to be tarped and tucked away for a long winter’s nap.

Next spring: A new name. The leading candidate: Lush Life.

I noticed lots of boat names today. Motion Granted — unimaginative lawyer at the helm. D-i-i-i-i-g! Hello, fellow jazz fan. And, of course, more evidence lots of people in the world hate their jobs: Therapy. Quittin’ Time. And, of course, Blowin’ Deadline.

So that was today: Chapped hands, wept-off mascara and cocktail-party-level sociological observations.

The other day, at a photo shoot, I kicked back with the photographer’s new issue of Esquire, and read most of the story referenced here. Yes, it was called “Idiot America,” and I put it down thinking “I wish I’d read this in a newspaper, but of course that will never happen, because newspapers don’t want to offend anyone, especially people who would be considered idiots under the terms of this article.”

You should read it. It’s about evolution, sorta.

Posted at 9:35 pm in Uncategorized |

13 responses to “Weather outside is frightful.”

  1. alex said on October 25, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    The Esquire essay sounds like rollicking good fun. The posts following the link above, however, capture the essence of Idiot America at its most wearisome. Religious fundamentalists aren’t the only idiots. So are intellectuals who would bother to argue with them or even about them.

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  2. basset said on October 25, 2005 at 11:43 pm

    purely by coincidence I read that same essay last night. first I’d heard about dinosaurs with saddles and harnesses… then again, I’m one of the people those folks hate so I can’t possibly have a valid opinion about anything.

    related issue… had my first extended exposure to Air America radio this weekend, we don’t get it here in Nashville but I figured it’d be one of the few reasons to feel good about going to Memphis for a couple of days, along with the zoo pandas and the duck house on top of the Peabody Hotel.

    wrong. an hour or so of some woman who came off like the inverse Rush Limbaugh and I’d had enough. guess the right doesn’t have a monopoly on obnoxious quacking.

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  3. brian stouder said on October 26, 2005 at 10:16 am

    Well, at lunch time my plan is to snag Esquire and read the whole article.

    Meanwhile though, I detected an echo in the comments on the blog – all those remarks about intellectual laziness and so on. It reminded me of a passage that struck me as particularly interesting in a book I just finished a day ago.

    Ronald White’s new book The Eloquent President points out that in 1860 the United States had more than 2500 newspapers, and for an example the town of Vicksburg Mississippi with a population of 4500 people, had 6 dailies!

    White goes on to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wonderment at discovering the power and reach of Horace Greely as he (Emerson) traveled in the Midwest, saying of the locals in Wisconsin that Greely “does all their thinking and theory for them, for two dollars a year”

    THAT sounds vaguely familiar, eh?!

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  4. Dan said on October 26, 2005 at 11:51 am

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand people freezing out on the water (or snowmobiling). What is it that is so attractive about suffering from the cold…

    It is so obviously senseless to purposely submit yourself to freezing weather as to be, what… idiotic? Unless, of course, you somehow find some added depth to your day out there on the water, some added value in ruddiness of your cheek, in the chapped lips and hands, in the beauty of the waves and wind, in the rush of feeling you’re a part of something larger, part of something greater as the icy mist cuts into you. Or is it the relief of finally being warm, afterward, that makes it all worthwhile? Is that it? Does the freezing cold make you value the warmth all the more?

    Since I really can’t understand why you seek the cold, and don’t care to spend more time trying to understand, I guess we’ll just leave it at idiotic. In fact, why not take as examples of sailing whichever unprepared slacker goes out and nearly drowns as a representative of all people who sail in late October. Really, I don’t see why you associate yourself with such a spoiled and unthinking crowd.

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  5. mary said on October 26, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    I have a few very nice memories of the last time out on a boat before hauling it for winter. Mine have cold saltwater as a factor, but I’m sure the wind and drizzle were similar. The last time I was part of the operation was when I was fourteen. My dad was an alcoholic, and his drinking had been a huge wedge between us for a couple of years. In late August of that year, he went into a residential rehab program. His attorney put him there against his will. He stayed sober until March. In that time, though, I got to know him a bit, and he let me stay out of school occasionally to go out on the boat with him. The other siblings were grown and had moved away, and my dad was stuck with a daughter he didn’t know well, but who would probably follow him anywhere. Even getting wet and cold hauling a boat.

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  6. ashley said on October 26, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    I like the name “Blowin’ Deadline”.


    Frank Deadline

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  7. Nance said on October 26, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    Actually, our last day out was a couple weeks ago, and it was a pleasantly cool day with fall color visible on the shore against a blue sky. Hard to find fault with that outing, although the wind was a bit brisk, and we turned back after we took a little spray over the rail and got our butts wet.

    If this were just a plain old dinky sailboat, we would have taken it out on a better day. But when it’s a vessel with a full keel, you need help, and for that you have to get in line with everyone else at the commercial marina. In other words: We had an appointment, and a deadline. We didn’t even sail there; we motored, and just in the short time it took, you got a pretty good sense of that witch-of-November stuff.

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  8. Dorothy said on October 26, 2005 at 2:15 pm

    I have never sailed, or gone out on a snowmobile, but I have gone sledding with my kids. And Dan captured a few of the attactions of being out in the cold: ruddy cheeks, the warmth inside after being outside. And those are positives, not negatives!

    We have some terrific home movies from days spent doing that. The snow was so heavy and deep, my hubby didn’t go into work. We threw snowballs, raced down the hill in our backyard, laughed, made angels in the snow, and generally had a blast. I went inside a little ahead of him and the kids to get the hot chocolate and cookies ready. Man, those were the days! And not an idiot in sight anywhere.

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  9. Howie said on October 26, 2005 at 4:56 pm


    Nance and Dorothy responded to your post, but if either of them grasped your point, I don’t think I heard it.

    Thanks for framing the standard scientific and/or atheistic objection to faith in a way that could possibly get somebody’s attention.

    Fundamentalists are the black sheep of the family of faith. I don’t like them any more than the next person, but I don’t really have any influence over them either.

    If you define all Creationists as Idiots, well, that would make as much sense as lumping all Cold Weather Sailors and Snowmobilers with the man almost killed by his own ignorance.

    But the Constitution does acknowledge a Creator, as did the Deists who wrote it, so why is it not a proper subject for public debate?

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  10. Nance said on October 26, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    You’re right, I didn’t grasp it. Do I have to read it again?

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  11. Nance said on October 26, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    OK, I get what he’s saying. Until he reads the original essay, I won’t bother to defend it, except to say no one calls all fundamentalists idiots. It’s the aggressive promotion of the don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts attitude that the writer finds objectionable, and I agree. When someone goes to the trouble and expense to erect a creation “museum” that features cave men riding dinosaurs with saddles, it’s hard to find another word for it than idiotic. When the debate over intelligent design is framed as some bold “challenge” to science on its own terms, instead of what it is — creationism in a nicer outfit — that’s pretty idiotic too.

    But that wasn’t my point. I have zero interest in engaging in that debate, having heard it in enervating detail for decades now. I was struck more by how pungent the essay was, how it stripped away the b.s. and politesse to speak the obvious, which is something newspapers used to do, but don’t anymore. Oh, for the thundering editorials and columns of yesteryear. You might even say the “debate” over ID and many other issues could only take place with the help of fearful, sweaty-palmed newspaper editors, so careful to seek “both sides of the story” lest some reader be offended.

    Sorry I missed that on first reading. I was pretty busy today. Again.

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  12. brian stouder said on October 26, 2005 at 5:24 pm

    I missed Dan’s point, too –

    but I understood Mary’s post – and found it to be evocative

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  13. Howie said on October 26, 2005 at 6:06 pm

    Since I don’t have access to the Esquire article yet, I am out of that discussion, too. But I’m not concerned with Fundamentalists being labelled as idiots as much as Creationists being labelled along with them. One could ask why Esquire chose to write the article with the saddled dinosaur museum as a point of reference. That’s like asking the half-drowned unprepared slacker-sailor for his advice on sailing. Maybe reading the article makes that point more clear.

    And yes, I see that he did sidestep your point about how that kind of writing used to come in newspapers. I think it takes somebody who studied and lived journalism to be nostalgic about newspapers.

    I have a friend (whom I refer to as the smartest person I know) from my days at college and after he got his engineering degree, he decided that science wasn’t all that impressive anymore, so he decided to get a PhD in Philosophy. His guiding question, in laymen’s terms is: “What is the arbiter of truth?” Our Inf.ormation Culture tells us it is science, but does science have limitations in revealing truth?

    I’m busy myself, so it might be a while before I evaluate if ID in its current form is worthy of taking on evolutionary science “on its own terms.” Until then, I’m all for cutting through BS and politesse. As long as it cuts both ways. And the Inf.ormation Age (the philosophical term might be “Materialism”) has limits, just like Romanticism and Rationalism do.

    We have a hard time seeing the limitations of the culture that helped form us.

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