Monthly Archives: October 2009

2009 Puddleduck Racer World Championships

It’s hard to believe that any sanctioned group of sailors have more fun with their boats than a bunch of Puddleduck Racers.

The Puddleduckracer 2009 World Championships were held recently in Altoona, Georgia, with participants from 11 states and one foreign country entered.

One of the great parts of the fun is that everyone entered must bring a homemade trophy if they are going to participate. This is the championship trophy:

PDR Worlds 146-wr

David (Shorty) Rouse, the creater of the class captured 5th place and copped this trophy:

Shorty with 5th place trophy

Read a complete account of the Championships here:

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Anything with sharp teeth eats meat

Most power tools have sharp teeth

People are made of meat

(Stolen from Soundman on the excellent Australian forum

And never forget: A borrowed saw will cut anything!

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Who In Hell Figured Out Coffee?

When you spend quite a bit of your time alone a person has to do something to pass the time. I don’t know how others spend their alone time but me, I think about strange things, most of which never make it past my cranial cavity.

One thing I’ve wondered about for years is who in hell figured out coffee? Coffee isn’t simple. In their basics certain things are simple and it’s fairly easy to figure out how they came to be. Tea is simple. Take some leaves from a plant, put them in some hot water and voilá, a tasty beverage. Wine? Somebody was really thirsty and didn’t care that the grape juice had bubbles all over the surface. They gulped it down and WHOA! Altered state of consciousness. Even the beginnings of cheese is fairly simple in its origins. Some hungry camel herder carrying milk in saddlebags made from animal skins, and possibly made from the stomach, which contains the coagulating enzyme known as rennin. Or, fermentation of the milk sugars  would cause the milk to curdle. The galloping motion of the horse or camel, acting as churning, would effectively separate the milk into curds. The result, curds and whey, provided a refreshing whey drink as well as curds, which would be drained through perforated earthenware bowls or woven reed baskets, and lightly salted to provide a tasty and nourishing meal. All accidental discoveries that were later expanded on.

But coffee isn’t simple. It’s complicated if you think about it a bit. I don’t buy that story of some Ethiopian herder saw his goats getting frisky after eating the fruits off some bushes and suddenly we had coffee. It’s a multi-step process. First you have to pick the fruit, known as “cherries.” Then  the pulp has to be removed and the bean inside has to be left out in the sun to dry. After that the husks of the beans have to be removed. Then the beans must be cooked (roasted), ground up and infused with boiling water. That’s a bunch of work. Who in hell figured that all out, anyway?

Since I’m moving to Panama there are several blogs I read on a daily basis. Richard Detrich actually grows coffee on his place and has some good posts about how he does it at and Don Ray who authors Chiriquí Chatter has this good story of his recent visit to a coffee plantation.

To John’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring.

He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.  John was so proud of old Butch,  he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair  and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize  but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well. Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention.


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Vaya Con Dios

As I’ve mentioned previously, my favorite radio station, Radio Baie des Anges in Nice, France, played music without telling the listeners who the artists were. One song that grabbed me was “Don’t Cry for Louie.” Loved the lyrics and the whole bluesie harmonic playing. Months after grabbing the song off the air and onto a cassette I was at a party and was instantly attracted to a little redhead in a corner listening to a CD on a Walkman. Having had two carrot top girlfriends in the past I overcame my natural reticense and approached her to find out what she was listening to. Solange, le canard rouge (the red duck) as she called herself, was from French-speaking part of Switzerland. She said she was listening to a group from Belgium (a French-speaking country) called Vaya Con Dios and she passed me the headphones. I couldn’t believe I was listening to one of my favorite songs and had now discovered who sang it.

I couldn’t believe they were from Belgium. They sound so much like an American group.

But English isn’t all they do.

The lead singer is Dani Klein

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Lulu and the Lampshades

I like this:

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A Lot Of Things Will Change When I’m In Charge!”

If I knew where Kenneth Graham was buried I’d go there, dig him up and piss in his mouth for having written “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Every idiot in the world who has ever stepped foot into something that floats and has then gone on to write about it uses that quote. When I’m in charge of everything in the world anyone who even utters that quote will be sentenced to life at hard labor and if they actually put it into print they will be executed on the spot.

The second most despised quote is: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” People who repeat it verbally will be whipped. Those who wear it on a tee shirt will be flayed in the public square and those who actually write it down for others to read will be sentenced to having head phones strapped to their ears and forced to listen to “Duke of Earl”  for the rest of their lives.

Another thing that will change when I’m in charge concerns drivers who weave in and out of traffic and end up one car ahead of you at the stop light. You will be permitted to get out of your car and go up and slap the crap out of those people, breaking their windows if necessary to gain access for the slapping. There will be severe penalties and imprisonment if they try and retaliate. If, somewhere down the road, those people are involved in an accident in which they are injured you will be allowed to approach them and jab at their cuts and bruises with a sharp stick.

A lot of things will change when I’m in charge of everything, so pay attention and don’t screw around with people!

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Ultimate PDRacer?

Jason Nabors is a Texan and a big supporter or the whole PDRacer class of fun small sailboats. Not simply content to build the basic boat, Jason has added a lot to the class with sail furling systems and he has raced his Tenacious Turtle, a “cabin” version of the Puddle Duck in the Texas 200.

Who says you have to spend six figures to have fun with boats on the water?

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Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.

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The Mint Juleps

When I was living in Antibes, France, I was surprised how many people I met there were from, or had lived in, New Orleans. One who became a close friend was a girl named Jane who worked as a barmaid at Chez Charlie’s Pub. In the summer of 1991 it was announced that the first family of New Orleans music, the Neville Brothers, were going to be featured one night at the annual week-long Juan les Pins jazz festival. Naturally all of us with a Big Easy connection immediately bought tickets and got our friends to buy, too, so they could be introduced to the Nevilles.

With a high level of excitement and anticipation we arrived at the stage venue early so we could get up right close to the stage to see our favorites. Then along came the opening act, The Mint Juleps. A group of British lasses no one had ever heard of. They opened the show with the following song and blew the Neville Brothers off the stage.


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Katie Webster

Anyone whose been following this blog knows how much I love that good old whorehouse style piano playing…When I lived in New Orleans I was lucky enough to have seen Katie Webster several times. Katie comes from Lake Charles, Louisiana, but moved to California and fortunately for us music lovers she would show up in the Big Easy from time to time.

One of the greatest radio stations I’ve ever been around was Radio Baie des Anges out of Nice, France. The station played a lot of good honky-tonk piano numbers, the only problem was they didn’t have what we think of as dee jays except for someone called Jacquesno (spelling?) who had a show at eight in the evenings. He was great. Mondays were, of course, called Blue Monday and Fridays were country and western nights. This man really knew his music. Lots of evenings he would devote his hour to one special musician and often it would be some unknown studio musician and Jacques would play cuts that musician had played behind other featured players.

Except for Jacques you never knew the names of the songs or the musicians who were playing them. All you got on Baie des Anges was music, news, more music, advertising, and even more music. I would put a 90 minute cassette in my boom box, hit record and then go about the business of the day. Later in the evening I would edit the tape picking out the songs I liked and eventually accumulated around 80 hours of music I enjoyed most of which was hard-pounding piano.

We moved the boat over to Marbella, Spain, for several months prior to making the big leap across the pond. One day my French girlfriend, Florence, and I took a trip up through the mountians to town of Ronda. As we were wandering through the ancient streets we were passing by a music store and out of the corner of my eye I saw a cassette in the window featuring Katie Webster. Now, she’s not a big name around the world and it’s even hard to find any of her recorded music in New Orleans so I immediately went in and bought the album. When we returned to the boat late that evening I popped the tape into the player and the big surprise was that all but two of the songs on it I’d already pirated off of Radio Baie des Anges!

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