Break the bottle.


When you think of occupations that might be useful to have among your friends, you probably think of the old favorites — bail bondsman, lawyer, income-tax preparation specialist. And if you don’t mind mooching off your friends, then by all means, these are good friends to have. (And if mooching bothers you, it’s best to be something useful yourself. Tit-for-tat.)

But I’m here to suggest another job you’ll want to have in your friend bank — graphic designer. When I think of the favors done for us over the years by our good friend J.C. Burns, I am abashed. Resume design (going back to the days of Letraset), wedding invitations, the look of NN.C through three generations (including hosting services, ah me) and now — watercraft labeling services.

Above is the old name of Alan’s boat, which is a story in itself. Our little Sea Sprite started life as a salty, over on the Chesapeake Bay. This we knew when we bought it, from someone who had then taken her to Lake Erie, where we mistakenly thought St. Michaels was. Dumb, dumb, dumb, I know, but a reasonable assumption when a guy tells you the boat was named after his mother. Maybe it was — maybe there were two Mary Ms, and he just happened to buy a boat that came with mom’s name already in place. Whatever. All I know is, once we brought it here, we knew it was time for something new, a name to match the boat’s new chapter and home port. (Which is sort of a quibble too; I’ll explain in a minute.)

Boat names used to be painted by a guy with stencils on a ladder; now they’re rendered in vinyl, sometimes with graphics, by someone in a shop with computers. So we called upon our friend J.C., who can now add “for boats” to his website, which already offers design services “for print, for CD covers, for menus down the street so we get free food.” It’s all done in Adobe Illustrator, e-mailed from Atlanta, burned on a CD, taken to St. Clair Shores, rendered in vinyl and transferred today to the vessel, which will soon be floating in Lake St. Clair. Let’s swing a bottle of virtual champagne together as we rechristen this watercraft…


Suitable for a jazz fan like Alan, no?

About that hailing port. The Woods are, technically, landlocked, the only one of the Pointes with no waterfront. Our city’s waterfront park, where we keep Lush Life, is actually in St. Clair Shores. But since it’s city property, we’re going to fudge the technicalities and say its hailing port is Grosse Pointe Woods, legally if not actually. Besides, you see landlocked ports on boats all over the lake — including places like Novi and Troy, which are a damn sight farther inland.

Anyway, I think it looks great. Today just happens to be J.C.’s birthday. Thanks, buddy! Another one in the favor bank. I hope someday I can pay back even one of them.

Posted at 5:34 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

11 responses to “Break the bottle.”

  1. MarkH said on April 11, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Absolutely wonderful. Photos of Alan’s boat again rekindle memories of when I learned to sail on the Chesapeake, out of Annapolis in ’73 (gulp!). The boat looks great and JC’s work is terrific as well.

    I knew St. Michael’s right off; that’s where my sister moved. Very charming and tony place (read monied). Now Rumsfeld and Cheney have homes there. Form your own opinion.

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  2. John Good said on April 11, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Careful Nance! Isn’t it bad luck to change the name of a boat?

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  3. basset said on April 11, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    hope they don’t get swept into the shipping lanes…

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  4. nancy said on April 11, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Relax. There’s a ceremony. Fortunately, it involves alcohol.

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  5. deb said on April 11, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    excellent work, birthday boy. design something for me one of these days, willya?

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  6. Deborah said on April 11, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    As a fellow graphic designer, I say YES!

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  7. basset said on April 11, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    did you put a coin under the mast when you set it in place?

    reminds me of my first and so far only hot-air balloon ride, New Year’s Day 1984 outside Wichita… the flight ended, the chase crew wrestled the balloon into submission and everyone formed a circle around us two newbies.

    then they told us to get on our knees and put our hands behind our backs.


    turned out the challenge was to pick up a plastic cup full of champagne off the ground without using our hands… and drain it in one swig.

    which both of us did as prescribed. but I don’t remember the balloon having a name.

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  8. alex said on April 12, 2006 at 6:42 am

    Hmmm. I always thought it was the vessel that got konked with Korbel.

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  9. jcburns said on April 12, 2006 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for the kind birthday wishes Nance…and Ms. Deb, your blog (and webspace) awaits…just say the word!

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  10. mary said on April 12, 2006 at 9:41 am

    At least Grosse Pointe Woods is near water. I see boats here in southern California with Phoenix or Las Vegas on the stern.

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  11. jcburns said on April 25, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    I am testing, and not on my birthday.

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