Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pirates win another victory

I'm not talking baseball.

Often, I am asked if I am scared of pirates when I am out sailing on the ocean. My answer is usually , "No, they just aren't out there."

All except for the Sulu Sea near the Phillipines, some areas near Indonesia and finally, the Horn of Africa. (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia)

Back from the times of the Crusades 10th through the 19th Centuries, Islamic Pirates controlled the coasts of Africa and much of the Mediterranean. The Muslims felt that any Infidel who traveled near their coasts were subject to raiding, enslavement and worse. All this continued until The United States Government decided enough was enough and stopped paying ransoms and tributes to the Muslims and instead sent in our Navy and Marines to do some raiding of our own.

Soon, an International Maritime agreement concerning Pirates was accepted throughout the civilized (Read: Non-Muslim) world which made Piracy an affront to civilized behavior, and anyone practicing Piracy would face summary execution.

Today, with the proliferation of Lawyers throughout the Western World, the act of Piracy is treated more as a Law and Order kind of threat which is not taken very seriously by International Lawyers.

A victim, unlike modern pirates, has NO rights. After all, who wants to be a victim? Victims don't have representation by do good groups like Amnesty International or any other Human Right groups.

Victims are treated like losers by most lawyers, unless some claim for tort can be made on behalf of a victim by a lawyer. Lawyers are just so dreamy... aren't they?

So the sailors onboard the sailing vessel "Quest" paid the price for the lax international response on International Piracy.

Mustn't violate the pirates' human rights to act as pirates.

Sometimes, we can have special operations guys in place for a week while our Lawyers agonize about the lawfare and what rules are being broken by us actually having special operations folks pointing dangerous weapons on these mere children who are play acting like pirates.

Worse, sometimes the special warfare guys can't get the job done without someone getting hurt.

Currently, there are over 700 people being held as hostages by pirates. Frequently, there is a big incentive to take and keep hostages, millions of dollars to be exact. The risk of actually doing jail time or paying any price for piracy is outweighed by the lucrative payoff which the average commercial company will give to get their ship and crew back.

It's only money, right? Besides, the Muslim pirates are only acting as their culture instructs. Ahh, but there is the threat of pirates getting three hots and a cot during any incarceration a pirate may endure, that could be a total buzzkill. Right.

Remember: Any native culture is superior to Western Culture. That's what everyone knows.

Am I afraid of pirates? Yes, only if I happen to be near the Horn of Africa relying on our Governmental Lawyers to keep me safe.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday: Round Two with the Dental Profession

My normal Painless Dentist had me scheduled for a consult on 28 Feb, which I said before was not satisfactory. A friend of the Spousal Unit has a brother in law who has his Dental practice at Post and Stockton Street, Riverside. She called him up to see if he had room to fit me in on really short notice.

At 1030 I came to the Minta Dentistry Office and settled in for the hour visit. I was given two shots to renumbify the gums and he started grinding down the offending molar. By 1130 I was $783.00 lighter in the pocket but had a real nice temporary crown covering up what had been a very large pit in my molar. As of 1730 I am a very happy cat, no aches and I can actually chew on the port side!  This dental development will greatly assist me during tomorrow's 20th Anniversary Feast. Add in a pint of Fuller's London Pride and I am entering the weekend in style.

Tomorrow's feast will be at the Yacht Club's 1876 Steakhouse. We will dine on the best beef and consume the finest wines and as usual, there will be a 30 Year Old Graham's Tawny Port to be enjoyed with fine cheeses.  It will only be a great feast because of the special date I am bringing to the event...

I surprised the Spousal Unit with a Bouquet of 2 Dozen Roses at her place of employment. She triumphantly brought in her spoils and placed them on the billiards table.

Them became involved almost immediately.

"Them" (Malli and Saffy) always have to get involved.

I am a very lucky guy. Sometimes it all comes together in a positive way. Sure, someday I will suffer from whatever backlash continuous success brings; But I will keep my gratitude up to protect me from negativity and the bad stuff that seems to catch all of us in the end.

Worse thing that happens is I wind up living on a boat bereft of everything. The memories of these wonderful times with the Spousal Unit will keep me afloat and I will always have it better than somebody who is really suffering.

Thanks for following along with our boring stories, I look forward to telling about our next big trip up the St Johns River on the first week of April. It will be a return to Hontoon Island and this time we will bring along our friend Roger, late of the Sailing Vessel Beaujolais which carried me so nicely across the South Pacific.

Stay tuned, for more Rock and Roll!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back from my turn in the barrel

I just got home. Most of the work was pain free with the exception of the big back molar. It did not want to numb up, so I had a few twinges of momentary "OW's!"

The nice Doc stopped and hit me with some more novocaine directly where it was needed, which introduced me to two little jolts of sunshine before everything settled out. Really, the only problems were my jaw joints not wanting to separate in the manner of a snake while the good Doctor was carving out his niche. He was efficient and nice, so no complaints about his efforts.

I was hoping they would prepare me for a crown but instead I was given a big temporary filling and instructed to go see my regular jawbreaker for the crown and permanent fixes. I guess that's what you get for $348.00 worth of good work.

On the way home, I stopped off at my dentist's office and the nice lady offered a brief look over on the 28th, at 1030. Not really what I wanted scheduled, but I will take that up with her boss. Then the nice lady asked if I wanted to schedule my cleaning after my meeting?

"No. I don't want a cleaning, but if you want I will pay for the cleaning and pass on the work."

I then had to explain that I really want this crown in before we do anything else, and besides, I hate the pain I get for the cleanings. Cold water and high frequency sounds always bring me down...

So my lip is inflated, my jaw joints are sore and I am looking forward to losing my novocaine buzz. Maybe by dinner I will be back to normal but I am grateful to have access to some excellent dental care.

Back to work, everyone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thursday's toothsome tribulations

This is how I picture my tooth and the Endodontist

I have an appointment with an Endodontist, first thing in the morning.

The theme of the day will be some jackhammer work on a couple of lower molars that have been annoying me for the past six years. The Doc was funny when he asked me directly why I hadn't had this work done six years ago.

My answer was that I didn't want to seem like I was whining. I have a crown that never settled in right, and when I bite it hurts. The last dentist said the discomfort would go away in a couple months.

It's been six years.

Thankfully, I have a Humana dental plan which will defray some of the costs. Basically, it has been fear and air holding me back from having some necessary work being completed. It is really a lucky thing that none of this was an issue in the South Pacific. The dental facilities there are not so modern.

I had my first root canal done in London, up in West Ruislip, by Blenheim Crescent. The whole deal was painless except for the shots. Oooh, I hate the burn on the tongue nerve.

The second one was about a year later. The Navy Dentists did not put crown's on so I had to have them redone by civilian dentists in 2003. Since then, there has only been one additional crown placed on a tooth without the root excavation back in 2005, and this is what brings us to the present.

No big deal, really. I figure we should take care of this so that I don't get something dangerous happening later on. This stuff can be life threatening.  Two hours in the chair and out.

Why should I be happy. Besides, we are approaching the anniversary weekend so this should temper my exuberance, some.

On other subjects not being tomorrow's festivities; the weather is getting  a bit better and we have actually seen the sun yesterday and today. We celebrated the nice skies last night by bubbling in our bubbling hot tank by the pool.  Like lobstuhs

I think we will burn something good on the grill tonight, perhaps lamb or filets.

Have a fine rest of the week, and don't forget to floss!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Road Trip!

This past Friday night, we discovered a reason for to leave on a road trip.

Now, Road Trips are not trivial events, nosirree. The urge to go traveling may come to us in response to trivial events, but the actual travel is a portent of good times to come. Oh yes!

The last road trip was at least two years back, not counting Michigan Safari's. Indeed, our last Road Trip was in November of 2008. We went to Tampa/St Pete to look at purchasing a Trawler. We drove the four hours and inspected said vessel. We were less than inspired so we headed north in search of a place to stay. We wound up in Cedar Key and got a wonderful deal on a Condo for the night. It was water front and cost about 90 bucks.

Back to the present; We were due in Sarasota, a place I have never visited. Sarasota is about five hours from Jacksonville, so this was going to be a real Road Trip.

I received an inspiration at 0530; Why not rent a car from Avis?!

So we hopped on the internet and scheduled a car for us to rent at 0700, when the Avis shop opened at the Jax Airport.

Upon arrival at 0705, I was asked if I was a member of Avis quicker picker upper club?

Hmmmm, probably not, said I.

I gave my surname to the nice lady who pleasantly informed me that, "Yes, you are a member of that august club."

The results of this 1 minute exchange was that I showed my license and a credit card, signed a form and was driving away in less time than it takes to relay this story.

Off to a very pleasant road trip!

The two of us consolidated our bag and gear and headed down U.S. 301 without a cloud in the sunny Florida sky, passing pleasant old tourist traps and horse ranches.

Soon, we were in Ocala where we climbed aboard I-75 and hit the afterburner, maintaining speed with the traffic flow (About 85 mph!). We arrived in Sarasota about 1230 and made our appointment.

Our business was soon completed and we were back on I-4 heading East for Daytona. It was 1400 and we had wanted to return to Cedar Key, but we had forgotten the Florida Roadmap! Since we don't visit the West Coast very often, we are not as aware of the various road names and short cuts. Therefore, we departed to the East Coast where we know how to at least get home.

We cruised past the famed Daytona Speedway, the Rolex 24 hour race was underway and the crowd was milling about smartly.

After a bit, we crossed over the Halifax river to the Daytona Beach. Once there we made a left turn and headed North up A1A, looking for a place to eat and stay.

We selected the Best Western "Castillo Del Sol". $120 bucks got us a third floor Oceanfront Balcony room. Whooo-hoooo!

We stopped by Publix and picked up some sushi, hummus and olives along with two bottles of Champagne and two cans of Lager. Dinner would be by the ocean in the Florida chill.

Morning we awoke to sunshine which became fog. After brekky in the Hotel Restaurant we loaded up the family truckster and headed North on A1A in the morning sunshine, whizzing past beaches and sleepy houses in Ormand, Flagler, Marineland, Palm Coast and finally St Augustine.

At St Augustine we switched to US-1 and returned home.

After we fed the kitties we zoomed over to the Barco, untied her and took a river cruise to Doctor's Inlet with a couple of our friends.

At sunset, we regretfully returned the boat to her home and called it a weekend.

I really love living in Florida!

Hope everyone else had a good time where ever they call home, looking forward to a great year.