Monthly Archives: September 2018

If you don’t vote . . . don’t bitch

I grew up in the cradle of American Revolution. For several years we lived right next to Lexington where some of- the first shots in the American Revolution were fired.

All through high school we lived out on the elbow of Cape Cod and pure democracy reigned. We had what is called “Town Meeting” government. Once a year a “Warrant” was drawn up and all the voters and taxpayers in town assembled at the high school auditorium to vote on all the projects to be down in the town for the next year and to vote on appropriating the tax funds to follow through. I was steeped in the entire ethic of voting. With the single exception of 1992 I have voted in every presidential election since 1964. I didn’t vote in ’92 because I was off on a nine-month cruise on my sailboat from Ft. Lauderdale to Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and back. The guy I would have voted for, Bill Clinton, won anyway so it didn’t matter whether I voted that or not.

A couple of months ago when I reregistered my boat I also changed my address and made sure I was registered to vote.

Supposedly it was all taken care of. The day before the recent primary election I went online to see where I was supposed to vote. It gave me a location in Holmes Beach. When I got there and checked in they said I wasn’t at the right location and then we spent nearly an hour trying to straighten things out. I ended up filling out a “Provisional” ballot. I knew things weren’t going to go well when they didn’t have a clue as to what to do with it after I’d sealed and signed the envelope the ballot was in.

Today I went to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office to straighten things out. Easy to get to. Hop on the #6 bus, ride it to the end of the line at DeSoto Station. The El;ections office is adjacent to the terminal.

Everything about my registration was all screwed up. The address they had for me was one that I used a single time in Bradenton to get some insurance papers. I had to fill out new paperwork and then there was still some computer problems with the application. A supervisor was called out to go over everything. It was then that I found out that muy Provisional ballot had NOT BEEN COUNTED! That’s because the address they had is a mail drop so it was rejected.

I explained that since I live anchored on my boat I don’t have a permanent residential address. Seems this is not actually a big problem. I was registered using the Elections Office as my residence. Seems that THAT is legal where a drop box isn’t. So. with the help of an elections officer I’m all signed up and was told where my poling place is located. They also said I could “Vote by Mail.” But I’m not sure I trust that, and since this coming election is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT I’m going to take the two busses necessary and vote in person

If you don’t vote you forfeit your right to bitch about what’s going on…


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That Time Of Year…

September is the most active month for tropical cyclones as they’re properly called. Here it is, the third day of the month and we’re already on edge…

“Oh, you live on a boat…that must be really cool.” That’s reason 347 for punching someone in the face.

Here’s what’s happening in MY world today.


Lots of wind and rain. Have two anchors set. Got food and water. Generator is running and charging computer, iPad and phone.

Enjoy YOUR Labor Day!

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Getting Ready For Stormy Weather

So far this year’s hurricane season has been tranquil here in the Gulf of Mexico. Conditions are ripe, though. Warm water is what fuels and intensifies tropical storms and hurricanes. Today in nearby Tampa Bay the water temperature is 85°F. Just slightly cooler than the air temperature. And we’re just entering into the worst month of the year for tropical cyclones as they’re properly called.

Current tropical weather forecasts say that there’s a tropical “depression” forming around the Turks and Caicos islands and it’s expected to cross over southern Florida in the next day or two and enter into the Gulf. Of course as it heads north in the Gulf it will pass the Bradenton Beach, FL anchorage where I’m located. It’s possible that the “depression” could easily turn into a tropical “storm” bringing lots of gusty winds along with it. If the steering currents change it could possibly come closer to where I’m located and really be a problem. ¿Quien sabes?

Right now the predictions are for winds in the mid to upper 20s starting later today (Sunday, 2 Sept.) and continue like that for the next several days. The prognosticators are prognosticating winds out of the east which, in some ways, is good. The worst direction is from a southerly direction as the fetch across the open waters of Sarasota Bay causes large waves here in the anchorage. They may only be three feet or so, but the period between crests is less than two seconds. It’s like BAM! One hippopotamus, two hippopota…BAM! One hippopotamus, two hippopota…BAM! One hippopotamus, two hippopota…Well, you get the idea. REALLY uncomfortable on a 22 foot sailboat. But the fetch from the east is only a bit over a mile as opposed to 15 miles from the south so the waves aren’t as much of a problem.

The bad part is I’m very close to shore where I’m anchored. There are docks only about 50 yards astern. I’ve dragged anchor here three times. The last time I got an emergency anchor overboard and it caught and stopped me from being run up on the rocks of the Bridge Street Pier 60 feet away. Scary stuff.

After that incident I bought a larger anchor from a friend and also a Manson Boss anchor that got the highest ratings possible. I also bought 70 feet of 1/4″ chain. Forty five feet of it I fastened to the Boss and the other 25 feet to the 25 pound Danforth. I rode out the winter without budging an inch.

I went for a bit of a cruise in July and since I’ve been back I’ve only been riding to the Boss, and doing fine. Went through a rough patch in the middle of last week with gusts under a thunder storm approaching 50 mph! With the depression coming I thought it best to set out a second anchor.

I don’t have the big Danforth. I lent it to a neighbor who was moving his boat but lost his anchor when it got hung up on something on the bottom and couldn’t budge it. So, I got out the 25 feet of chain I had stowed in the lazarette and shackled it to the smaller, 13 pound Danforth that I used most of last year, but the one that had dragged on me previously. I only had 10 feet of light chain on it.

Anyway, I rowed the anchor away from the boat and set it at about a 60° angle from the Boss. It’s a precaution. I’m also ready to go get six gallons of gas at the nearby marina as soon as I sign off on this. I need it to run the generator so I can have computer capability. And if the depression turns into a storm or, heaven forbid, a hurricane, I can always haul anchor and run across the Intracoastal Waterway and up into the mangroves where I rode out Hurricane Irma last year.

I don’t think it’s going to be real bad, but you never know.

boss anchor

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Caveat Emptor (“Let the buyer beware”)

I went to the pharmacy this morning to pick my Breo Ellipta prescription. The girl said, “That will be $245.”

“Wait a minute,” I said, “it was only $45 last month. What happened?”

“Well, this is a three month supply.”

Okay. Now I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree when it comes to math. How bad am I? Well, when I transferred to the University of Miami in ’62 I had to take a placement test in math…I got a blinkin’ SAMPLE PROBLEM WRONG! How dumb do you have to be to get a sample problem wrong? Even so, I was able to quickly grasp the fact that if I took a three month supply I’d be paying $110 MORE than if I bought one every month. So, naturally I bought just the one.

People like me get ripped off at the super market every time we shop. I can’t take advantage of the “Buy 3 for …” because I don’t have a refrigerator where I could keep the other two so I have to pay the regular unit price for a single which is a bit more than one of the three special. Sure, it’s only pennies, but over the course of a year those pennies add up.

I DO take advantage of Buy One Get One Free on non-perishables that I can store in the lockers under the bunks on my boat, and that helps a lot for someone on a tight Social Security budget.



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