A mostly photo post today, because I’m lazy.
On Saturday I went kayaking. I’m sort of on an exercise binge, at least to the extent that I’m capable. A true exercise binger would have been undaunted by the brisk wind from the west, and would have dug in and headed out to the shipping channel for a quick there-and-back, damn the rollers, but not me. I stayed in the canals and collected data for my eventual master’s thesis on boat naming.
You can make a study of these things. Once upon a time boats were named for monarchs (Queen Mary), nobler ideas (Courage, Intrepid) or people who’d earned the privilege (Edmund Fitzgerald, Harry S. Truman). These aren’t names you’ll see in your local marina, unless you live in Liverpool or Norfolk or some such. For the average boat-owning American, naming the vessel is less high-minded and more fun, an occasion that calls for all the creativity they can muster. Like most creativity, though, it’s kind of predictable, and tends to fall into broad categories. Most common is puns and wordplay:
Some boaters can’t get over how the first two syllables in “nautical” make a homophone of “naughty.” People drink beer on boats and wear brief swimwear; naughtiness is frequently uppermost in mind. Also, basic facility with lines and knots is a requirement of the job, and so “knotty” is sometimes deployed in its place. We had a boat docked nearby our first year called the Knotty Lady, with the name spelled out in a font that looked like ropes. Alan once overheard the owner’s wife saying, “It says on our contract that if the boat isn’t removed from the water by November 1, they’ll do it for you. Isn’t that nice of them?” Perhaps Dumb Lady would have been more appropriate.
Bertram is a big manufacturer of motor yachts. I don’t think this is one of them:
More wordplay. It says something about the world of boating that you can drive around in a vehicle with a giant advertisement on the back saying, essentially, “There’s a good chance I’m drunk.” For the record, the law of the Michigan sea says you can drink aboard, but you can’t operate while drunk. Imagine driving down the highway, knowing you can legally raise a bottle in salute to a passing cop, as long as you won’t blow .08. (The funniest car-accident photo I ever saw was from a small paper in Indiana, showing a beater that had run off the road. Emblazoned across its trunk lid: “Daved and confused.” Go Dave!)
Many boat owners, in choosing names for their vessels, emphasize the mental-health angle:
Walk through any marina, and you’ll find versions of this: Seaclusion, Serenity, Escape, Cool Breezes, Hakuna Matata, In Recess. (The more jargon a job has, the more likely it’ll turn up on a stern somewhere. Lawyers in particular are guilty of this, but I bet if we’d explored the yacht basin in Sausalito, I’m sure we would have found at least one Offline and Away Message.) Skippers like to emphasize how chill they are, which lasts until the next set of bills comes, or one hits a rock. In my time on the water, I’ve witnessed beautiful watercraft pounded into near-splinters by heedless teenagers, squabbling crew members, screaming couples, fires onboard, near-sinkings. Somehow, you never see boats named Divorce Court or Poor House. Huh.
Also, note: This is Tranquillity II. Some people only have one name in them; all over the nation’s waterways are the Three B’s IV, Gone Fishin’ III, etc. Boats are distinct from one another; this just seems wrong to me.
I’m baffled by this one:
Inside joke/reference, I guess. Maybe Christine got a palimony settlement from Andrew Lloyd Webber. Maybe she got the house in the divorce, leaving her ex with this consolation prize.
Local color plays its part. This is a terrible name for a boat:
What’s the point? It moves fast? It would fit for an iceboat, but the last thing most people want to think about during summer sailing season is the Red Wings. But then, a boat is like a little floating nation with a single monarch, who gets to have it his/her way. So there.
Another local reference. Anyone get it?
It’s a Kid Rock lyric:
Buy a yacht with a flag sayin’ chillin’ the most
Then rock that bitch up and down the coast
Kid Rock is a local hero. He’s got a big hit now (“All Summer Long”) that name-checks northern Michigan, every Mitten Stater’s favorite summer-vacation spot. In the video…
…he drives a classic mahogany speedboat, which I will bet a sawbuck is not an original but one of those jillion-dollar reproductions. My friends Paul and Mark had a boat like that, and still do. It was a Chris-Craft, named The Kid. Here it is, in a scene from a summer day much like the ones in the video, only no one is pole-dancing or displaying breast implants:
I don’t know who that girl is. She looks drunk.
Anyway, Kid Rock’s boat name in the video is also a reference to that song about chillin’ the most, but not, I’m happy to say, something like Rockin’ That Bitch. It’s just the song title: Cowboy.
Then there’s ours:
Alan’s a jazz fan. I favored this name, and suggested Kind of Blue as an alternative. I thought Boplicity would be cool (it’s a Miles Davis song), even though no one would get it, and probably pronounce it “Bopple City.” Long after our friend J.C. designed this new name for us and it was installed, Alan revealed his secret second choice: Box of Rain.
I didn’t even know he liked the Grateful Dead.
Fascinating story in Sunday’s NYT magazine on trolling (the internet variety). What awful people.
That Obama-is-skinny story was made even worse over the weekend, after Maureen Dowd echoed its central premise and money quote, taken from a Yahoo politics message board. In both the WSJ and the NYT, it was reported as, “I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.”
In its full version, it reads: “Yes I think He is to skinny to be President.Hillary has a potbelly and chuckybutt I’d of Voted for Her.I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.” Hmm. The story appeared Friday, which tells me Maureen Dowd is still writing her Sunday column on Friday morning — not unheard of, certainly, but if she’s going to cut it that close, she should check the blogs first. That thing had been stripped by piranhas by noon.
Can I just say that few things drive me as insane as people who write “I’d of voted for…?” It’s my “supposebly.”
And that’s it for today. Monday. Another one. Sigh.