Monday, April 20, 2009

Quake Day Cameo

In which we're in the news

Attended the 103rd memorial of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 Saturday morning at Lotta's Fountain on Market Street at 5:15. Quite the festive occasion, with re-enactors, Clampers, politicians, siren-blaring fire trucks and various and sundry San Franciscans with a historical bent. The local TV news media was there, of course, and it appears that both yours truly and my friend, Gregory, made it into a little cameo on the b-roll.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Joke's on Buckley in Latitude 30

In which we chortle

Not sure what prompted this letter to Latitude 38, the sailing magazine, but the magazine's editors sure had fun with it. William F. Buckley Jr. liked to fancy himself a great sailor. Latitude 38's editors didn't think we was all that.

A Helpful Prescription

In his series of books on sailing and chartering, the late William F. Buckley, Jr. concluded that a vessel could only have one captain, and that it was best when he, Buckley, was it. Well, we've seen a lot of bossy male crew over the years, and have been leaving more and more of them back at the dock when we make our sailing trips. We've found that Swedish nurses, on the other hand, make excellent crew. We advise that anyone leaving on a voyage take at least one Swedish nurse with them.

Erik Westgard

Erik — We're a little fuzzy on the logical connection between William Buckley saying a vessel should only have one captain, preferably him, and you and the rest of your crew recommending that one or more Swedish nurses be brought along on all sailing trips. But whatever.

Ironically, Buckley, who often chartered Ocean 71s, sisterships to Latitude's Big O, apparently wasn't the most careful of skippers. According to the captain of one of the Ocean 71s Buckley chartered, the author of God and Man at Yale not only drove the boat onto a well-charted reef but, along with his friends, spilled red wine all over the salon cushions. The ever imperious Buckley told the captain to just send him a bill, missing the point that there was no time to get the cushions cleaned or replaced prior to the arrival of the next charter party.

We editorially stuck it to Buckley from time to time because we thought his sailing books were pedestrian and because we thought he comported himself like an arrogant ass. As a result, we were pleased when Buckley, who suffered from delusions of erudition, and having missed our point entirely, referred to us as "dyspeptic" in one of his sailing books.