Fun fact to know and tell: If bottom slime isn’t washed off with a hose when the boat is still wet, you’ll be removing it inch by inch with a chisel all winter. Note: This is not our boat. It’s a big gaudy fishing rocket with triple 300 hp outboards. Shudder.
Ah, the melancholy of a boatyard in autumn: Carhartt padded jackets have replaced shorts. The waterfront restaurant is closed for the season. There’s not a girl in a bathing suit, or a girl, period, in sight. (Except me. And as a female long past my sell-by date, it’s a scientific fact that I am, in fact, invisible.) Instead of boats passing up and down the channels, it’s forklifts and jeeps with winches and the shrink-wrapping crews everywhere. And us. Another fall, another day spent watching Alan yank repeatedly on an outboard starting rope. If I had a dollar for every yank I’ve seen the course of our relationship, I’d be blogging from my luxury houseboat tied up at Pier 66, Barbados.
The details are boring — hell, the whole day was boring, or would be to you guys. As for me, I did my part, and once we got the motor running again, the day went smoothly. I’ve learned, during these routine mechanical failures, to remain implacable while Alan howls obscenities at the sky. (If I had a dollar for every one of those, I wouldn’t be blogging at all. I’d have my houseboys taking dictation.) I think before I make a stupid suggestion (“Are you sure there’s enough gas?”). And I appreciate my surroundings.
There was less to appreciate this year. Sorry, Gov. Richardson, but not only can you not have any Great Lakes water because we don’t want to give you any, there’s not much left. Lush Life was sitting on the bottom when we left our slip for the year, and though a strong push freed her — thank God; I can only imagine the obscenities that little development would have required — that’s what you call a pretty low ebb. Granted, the water’s always down in fall, and Lake St. Clair is shallow enough that a stiff west wind can drop the water on the American side by a few inches, this is close to unprecedented. I hope we get shitloads of rain and snow this winter, because I don’t fancy poling.
In other decline-of-the-American-empire news, we’re also running out of gas. The price jumped by 30 cents a gallon mid-week, pushing us over the $3 mark. The local Fox affiliate did a story. I’ve mentioned before that I prefer Fox’s local news because it’s so unabashedly interested in the knuckle-dragger market that, perversely, it makes it easier to endure. The Fox story consisted of interviewing drivers as they gassed up at $3.25 prices, and adding another voice of the common man to the anvil chorus, doncha know. Why did they suppose prices were so high? As one, they answered: “The economy.”
No one mentioned the price of crude, the drop in interest rates, inflation. Not that you’d expect people interviewed at a Detroit gas station to be Alan Greenspan, but even the distant ringing of a clue would have been refreshing. But they all said “the economy,” and they all said it exactly the same way: “It’s the economy,” suggesting someone was asking a leading question, or maybe they were just that dumb. Anyway, the story wasn’t on for very long — nothing is, because the audience has the attention span of toddlers at a birthday party. And then it was on to a shocking armed robbery of a convenience store caught on tape. In Dallas.
Sometimes it’s fun to be a misanthrope. Sometimes sucking the gall-soaked rag of bitterness tastes pretty good.
Or maybe I just need some more coffee. And a shower. And a million phone calls, and some office-straightening. So, on to the bloggage:
This may be of interest only to journalists and media nerds, and its backward-running narrative makes it hard to follow, but if you have the time, it’s a wry giggle. Short version: Wall Street Journal runs an editorial that insinuates union officials live high on the hog and need more congressional oversight. As part of the argument, they toss off an astonishing figure: That one “Jimmy Warren,” treasurer for the United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO, earns a salary totaling $825,262. Wow. Having recently learned that Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers, knocks down around $150,000, this seemed, well, high. It also seemed high to the steelworkers’ media-relations people, who’d never heard of him. Turns out Jimmy Warren is a treasurer in a local in Alabama, and makes $8,252 and…anyone? Yes, and 62 cents, making the fat salary quoted by America’s leading financial newspaper a rather comical and gruesome error of misplaced decimal points. What’s more, the wrong-o figure came from a Human Events website on the “highest-paid union bosses,” which includes officials from such proletarian, blue-collar labor outfits as the players’ organizations for the NBA, MLB and NFL, the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild, etc. And Jimmy Warren is still on the list. Oh, well. Mistakes happen. Picky, picky.
Paul Tibbets is dead. I predict a Bob Greene column in the next few days, remarking on how reclusive the man was, and how rarely he gave interviews (except to BOB). Note: I’ve read at least half a dozen of these rare Tibbets interviews over the years. And I haven’t even been looking for them.
OK, outta here. Have a great weekend.