Tuesday, November 22, 2016

JFK

Ask anyone over the age of sixty where they were fifty three years ago when Kennedy was shot and you're in for an hours worth of stories.
I was at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. Some sailor said that he had just heard the the president was shot. I thought, but I don't actually remember weather I said it or not, that's stupid. How in the world could POTUS, the president of the USA, get shot. Who in the world could pull that off. 
A few minutes later, the captain announced on the 1MC that the president not only was shot, he was also dead. This news was just unbelievable. There must a mistake or maybe it is a cruel joke. 
Back then, even on an aircraft carrier there was no live TV. We had closed circuit TV but nothing else. It was about a week before we came back into port. JFK was dead, Lee Oswald was dead and Jack Ruby was in a Texas jail. My wife was in utter shock and I wasn't there to hug her and hold her tight. She had seen most everything over and over on the TV and couldn't comprehend how far out of the loop we sailors at sea were. We, the Navy, flew the American Flag at half mast for thirty days and watched JFK's funeral.
Kennedy was our instrument of change. I don't remember Franklin Roosevelt at all. I was three years old when he died. I remember Truman somewhat, but who I really remember is Eisenhower. Ike was like your grandfather. He was well liked but in my mind, he was dull.
In 1960, the year I graduated from high school. The year I went in the Navy was the year JFK was elected. He looked much younger than Ike, which he was and he had a gorgeous wife Jackie. This was the big change. The beginning of the swinging sixties and the beginning of  Vietnam. 
In spite of this, JFK wasn't particularly popular. I've told my kids that the best thing that ever happened to him was Oswald. Now he is a hero. The symbol of what could have been. But no, he never had the chance.
Well that's my rant for today.
Sayonara. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Bridges of Long Beach,

If you were a sailor homeported in Long Beach in the sixties, or before, you probably remember the floating bridge. It was the gateway to downtown Long Beach from Terminal Island.
Downtown Long Beach, in my humble opinion, was the very best place to be home ported. It had locker clubs, the Pike, and mobs of beautiful California girls. If a cargo ship was heading for the Cerritos Channel, the two halves of the bridge were floated back out of the way and traffic was backed up for ten minutes. About 1970, a new bridge, the Gerald Desmond, the "new bridge", was built to replace the old floater.
Now another bridge is being built to replace the older new bridge. This "new" bridge will have much more vertical clearance to allow the newest cargo ships to pass underneath. Why wont the big ships just enter LA harbor at San Pedro and go under the Commodore Heim bridge to access the terminals on Cerritos Channel you may wonder.
The answer is very simple, they can't. The big green Commodore Heim has been torn down and replaced with a new fixed span with only 41 feet of vertical clearance.
Now, aren't you glad that I cleared everything up?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2010

Don't Spachcock that bird my Friend

Just pass it over to me.
I don't know who devised the Spachcock technique but he must have been a Mexican and he, or she, deserves at least two pages in the Testament of Food. Spachcocking, in case you're wondering just what in the hell I'm talking about, is the way El Pollo Loco BBQs their chickens. They lay flat on the grill so they cook fairly uniformly. I bought a chicken on Sunday and ended up braising half of it with a can of mixed veggies made a gravy with the juices and poured the gravy over some instant mashed potatoes. Good comfort food as it was somewhat chilly on Sunday. I saved the other, Spachcocked half, and today it is in the nineties. Good BBQ weather. Let's light off the Q.

Throw the bird in a container and season with Seasoned Salt, Pepper Medley and Chipotle .
Put some fresh briquettes in the Magma, light them off etc. etc. When nice and hot place the boid on the grill and toss on a few dry Mesquite chips right outta the bag. Meanwhile soak some more chips in some water.
Let's stop and digress for a moment the rule is, pork gets Hickory. Everything else, IE Beef Fish and Chicken gets Mesquite. Commit this to memory, it will never fail you. Toin da boid occasionally to cook evenly and I swear this will be that best chicken that you ever stuffed into your piehole. If you don't agree, just send the unused portion to me for proper disposal.

Monday, October 31, 2016

MORE OF THE ART OF SHAVING

ORIGINALLY POSTED SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2010

The Art of Shaving

While visiting my first born Ed up in Walnut Creek this last week, somehow we started talking about shaving. I mentioned how I only use a Bic disposable razor for sensitive skin with the orange handle and how I used to stock up on Yardley Lavender Lather shaving soap while in Hong Kong because you couldn't get it stateside. Ed told me how his wife Cassy bought him a very nice upscale shaving ensemble consisting of soap, razor, pre-shave conditioner and badger hair brush and how he really liked it. Cassy had bought the set at The Art of Shaving which was a short stroll from their apartment and asked if I would like to check it out. Of course I said yes as I'm always up for new and varied experiences. We went in and I was approached by a pleasant but somewhat pushy young man who started extolling the virtues of the proper shave IE with a real lather using a brush etc. etc. As I explained to him that I had been using a brush that I inherited from my Grandfather the Barber since before he was born, I was no stranger to the "art of shaving". Pure bullshit of course. My Grandfather Alfred Koch was a barber but I acquired my mug and brush in Hong Kong twenty years after his death. But I have been using the genuine mug and brush technique for over forty five years. Cest La Vie. The soap that he was trying to convince me that was indispensable to the shaving "art" was a mere $45. Forty five bucks for a cake of soap? Gee, maybe I really do look that stupid. Wink, wink, but I'm not.
Occasionally, when I stay at a upscale hotel/motel, they provide complementary soaps that are round and that fit nicely into my shaving mug. The whole stinking room is about the same price as the soap that the nice young man was trying to foist off on me. When I'm on the road, I usually just shave in the shower and rub some soap on my face and have at it.
But when I'm "spoiling myself" and want to artfully shave I do the below.
So here's the drill.
Wash your face to get the accumulated oil(s) knocked down. I actually use dishwashing liquid for this task. I know Joy or Ajax won't ex-foliate quite like the $22 60 ml. pre-shave oil, but man up and do it. Wet the brush with a lot of very hot water. Nothing moisturizes like water in my estimation. Work up a nice lather in the mug and brush it on your puss. Squeeze of the residual in the brush and smear it above your pie-hole. Let it soak in for twenty or thirty seconds and start shaving. First with the grain (down) and then if you think that you're gonna get lucky later on back up against the grain. It's like going to a girly spa for men and probably a hell of a lot cheaper.
Top off with a little after shave, I still Canoe, and your good to go.
Screw change, this is the way to get the growth off of your face.

I posted this six years ago. Since then, the trusty old orange Bic has been relegated to the dust heap.
I am now a devotee of the so called "old fashioned" double edged  razor.
It completes the circle of what is new is really old. 
Like me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

NORTH TO ALASKA

NORTH TO ALASKA
I don't keep a bucket list, per se, but inside that madhouse that I call my brain I know what things that I've done and enjoyed and not enjoyed, and what things I'd like to do. About five years ago, I ventured into North Dakota for the express purpose of saying that I'd been there. But also so I could boast that I'd been in every state of the Union but Alaska. Oh that pesky Alaska. It's cold and snowy and all of those things that I want to avoid. But wait! There's more, I now have to go because it's the only state left that I've not been to. So we booked passage on Coral Princess a few months back and now, I mean right now, We're here in Alaska. Juneau for those of you who are keeping score. 

We flew up to Seattle on Sunday and boarded ship Monday. Tuesday morning, we landed at Ketchikan and my grand slam was a reality. Notch number fifty carved into my log. We took a Duck excursion in Ketchikan. Not the kind of duck that is used in a l'Orange but a truck like was used in WW II that travels over land or through water but newly built. We learned a lot about Ketchikan some we wanted to know and a lot that we didn't. But it was fun. Lee our guide was a kid with long hair and an even longer beard who was born and raised in Ketchikan and wanted us all to like the place as much as he obviously did.

Today Tuesday, we were to "scenic cruise" the Tracy Arm Fjord. The Sun rises at four in the morning at these latitudes so we were up at sunrise and really enjoyed Tracy Arm Fjord. Glacier at the end and all that goes with fjording, if that's a word. I was plotting our position on my iPad like the dedicated navigator that I am. My iPad however placed us in Holkham Bay not Tracy Arm Fjord. I switched on the channel on the telly that shows us our position along with time, weather etc. A message was scrolling across the top of the screen with words to the effect that when entering Tracy Arm this morning too many icebergs were present to be judged as safe so a safer location was selected. After seeing too many movies about Titanic, I was in complete agreement.


We set sail tonight at O Dark Thirty to head for pardon the expression, Skagway. We're booked to take a one hundred ten year old railway trip over White Pass Summit. It is billed as "The Scenic Railway of the World".


All aboard.






Friday, April 29, 2016

Bye Bye

Adios, sayonara,  auf wiedersehen and goodby to gangway 33.
Today is a bittersweet day for me. It is my last day on gangway 33. I have lived aboard good ole GW 33 for thirty four years. I moved here on 1 November 1982 from the infamous "toilet bowel" in downtown Long Beach. Actually I had a lot of fun back then, but back then, I would have a lot of fun regardless of where I was. A lot of the people downtown that moving day morning were motoring east towards Alamitos bay thinking and saying, Oh boy we're getting out of downtown. An equal number of folks that morning were motoring west  thinking, Oh boy, we're moving into a new marina.
I was a happy boy that morning. I was separated from my second wife at the time and I had my beautiful Donna with me. Donna and I spent fifteen wonderful years here in this slip number 1521. We made a lot of friends here and sadly most are gone. They've sold their boats or moved or died. 
Alas, nothing lasts forever and Donna and I went our separate ways. By then, Dave my youngest son had moved in and he and I lived here together until he went of to UC Santa Barbara. For a few years, my oldest son Edward lived on Merrymaid my Downeast schooner with Dave and me for a few years. I went through a gaggle of different girls until 2001, when I met my third wife Nancy. Nancy was a TWA flight attendant and we traveled a lot together. She working and me soaking up fine booze in First Class. 
Alas, nothing lasts forever and after a few years Nancy and I went our separate ways. I went through another gaggle of ladies for a few years until I met Julie. Wife number four. Julie was cute, had a nice body and was very smart. She was working on her master's degree at Cal State Long Beach in Middle English poetry or some such rot. We lived on a sailboat with Sadie my Golden Retriever and her two cats. Oh what fun. We had one deal breaking problem however, she is bipolar.
Alas, nothing lasts forever and we divorced. Starting to read like the movie Groundhog Day?  Sadie and I lived alone in our empty nest. She was great bait for meeting girls. Nobody could resist that sweet Golden face of hers. Yet another gaggle. Yata yata yata and then I met Jamie.
Jamie moved in with Sade and me with her two dogs. Maui, a boxer and Lady a diminutive German Shepard. Maui eventually died of cancer as did Sadie and we are down to one dog, Lady.
The marina has been ongoing a four year renovation. New concrete docks etc. etc. They started across the way by the Long Beach YC and then moved on to basin five by the Alamitos Bay YC. Next came the big yachts and then some of the intermediates. They are finally done with the intermediates and we have all of next week to move. Most of our good friends are moving to the same dock as us and the new docks obviously are not fifty six years old as the current rickety  ones are. 
I'm ready, But not without more than a bit of sadness.

Monday, April 18, 2016

IT'S MAGIC

I can tell how busy I've been by the amount of writing that I get done. I haven't  blogged since December so it appears that I've been a busy boy. I'm going to try to go backwards into the past.

I've been to maybe five places in the world that I consider "magic". The  first one is San Francisco.  There is an undeniable charm about the place. The hills, the bay, the food, the jazz clubs and the people that is magic to me. I first saw San Francisco in 1963 and immediately fell in love with the place and thought that this place has a "magic" charm about it. This is where I came up with the concept of a magical place. I lived across the bay at that time in Vallejo and went across one of the bridges to get there every chance that I could. 

The next was Hong Kong. My ship, Waddell made some stops there in the sixties and as soon as I saw Hong Kong, I thought here is another magical place. Once again it was the hills, the bay, the food, plus the wonderful Chinese people.

In the seventies, I worked for a few weeks in Kobe Japan. On the weekends, I'd take the Shinkansen, or bullet train to Kyoto the old Imperial Capitol of Japan. Once again, it was love at first sight for all of the same reasons. One of the highlights of being there was seeing the Moody Blues at the Kyoto Civic Auditorium. I met a girl in Kobe called Cherry San who gave me a STD, but what the hell. I was having the time of my life.

I made an extensive tour in the seventies on Eurail passes and saw many countries. Europe was very nice, but not magic until we got to Venice. I understood that all cities everywhere including Venice have changed in the last five hundred years so I was going on a hunt to find the old, real Venice with the canals etc. Well we walked out the front door of the Great Train Station and at the bottom of the considerable steps there was the Grand Canal. Gondolas and all. It hit me immediately that here I was surrounded by magic. The canals, the gondolas, Saint Marks Square and the food. Oh the food. I was afraid of the food. First I thought that maybe I wouldn't like modern Italian food but I was even more afraid that I'd love the food in Italy and not be able to get it back in the good old US of A. Much like German beer. I love German beer but you can't get it here in the US. At least not in California. Each little town in Germany has it's own brewery and in each little town in Germany, they have a gasthaus, or bar which servers the local quaff. On the glass there is the logo of the local brew and underneath the logo it will say  seit 1315 or whatever year the brewery starting production. Do you think that the Krauts haven't learned how to make beer in seven hundred years? Of course they have. But I digress.

I first came to Loreto BCS, Baja California Sur, south about five years age. My neighbor and I were driving from Long Beach to La Paz BCS and we were pulling a trailer with a sixteen foot Boston Whaler dingy behind us. Driving down the Baja Peninsula was a bucket list item for me and we really had a good time. The hills, the food, the people, the beer, starting to sound familiar? We got into Loreto around dusk and had dinner with a few beers and conked out  immediately. The next morning, we hit the road early and took a back road out of town. IE, I never really saw the place.
On a previous trip, I really liked La Paz. It was somewhat quaint, had paved streets, electricity and running water and it was not too crowded. I told people that I wanted to retire there.
This trip twenty five years later, poor old La Paz had grown up. It had a Walmart and a Home Depot, all of the things I wanted to get away from.
On 18 March, our common birthday, we flew to Loreto on Alaska Airlines to go to Bahia San Ignacio to see, and pet, the baby Gray Whales. Before going, we stayed a few days at the Oasis Hotel in room number 19, the very same room I stayed in five years ago. The Sun rose over the Gulf of California, a rarity for Californians, the Sun sets over the Pacific Ocean and, once again, I was blown away.


It was beautiful, it was gorgeous, it was dare I say magic. We walked the Malecon, the sea wall, and enjoyed the  hills, the food, the people and the Mexican music. Here we are in another magic place but with one big difference.  We're not leaving. At least not permanently. We've leased a RV pad here for five years and are bringing down Bullwinkle, the twenty eight RV.  
We are planning on spending our winters here in Loreto. No more of those killer sixty degree California winters any more. In the summer it  gets to hot, even for me, so we'll make the best of things and live aboard the trawler. We're just going to have to learn how to adapt.

OK, that's the over view. I'll fill in the blanks soon.