Thursday, September 11, 2014

Salt In Our Veins

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came. "

[Remarks at the Dinner for the America's Cup Crews, September 14 1962]”  
- John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thingies - Who Bloody Well Needs Them?

Shipmates, I was here at this bridge opening, just to the left, out of the picture a smidgen. Now for my Big Moan:

This opening had all the ingredients of something memorable. The weather was beautiful, all the yachts, kayaks, dinghies, launches and Maori Waka were out in force. There was a happy, amiable, laid back crowd of people waiting in anticipation for the official opening and the grand walk over - BUT - for over 60% of the time I was there; not so very high (It's amazing you can't see it in the above photograph) was a helicopter (I am told filming the event for posterity) - not just any helicopter mind you, but a fucking great, noisy, intrusive helicopter. In my opinion this constant barrage of noise detracted from the whole historical moment - not unlike witnessing a baptism with someone near the baptismal fount playing one of those fuck wit violent rap songs from a ghetto blaster radio thingy - and speaking of thingies, why couldn't it have been filmed from one of those little drone thingies that nearly gave me a crew cut haircut yesterday (No, I absolutely kid you NOT! - it crashed into a steel lamp post and then almost onto my frigging head) when I was minding my own business on a park bench on the river bank admiring the good ship Mariner.  I turned and heard some moron shout "sorry" as he continued to control this drone and its four helicopter blades with a radio controlled thingy - I was caught off guard by this small drone (with its camera) because it was so SILENT! - which is sort of where I begrudgingly rest my case - If you must film every moment in history - do it silently and away from peoples frigging heads.

So, damn modernity's gadgetry to hell I say: Good, got that off my chest - Now, lets drive home in my car, turn on the lights, get a beer out of the fridge, turn on the TV, and ring up Fred Dagg on my cellphone and see if he can lend me that DVD - modern fangled doo dads - bugger all of that malarkey.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Pale Blue Dot

Shipmates, this is one of the more sobering stories that has come my way for a while, and it's a true and wonderful tale well worth considering......

..... AND, in the considering (Watch the video), learn well this truth .....  That we really are all Shipmates, crewing together this spaceShip earth, as it hurtles around our Earth star the sun at 107,343 kilometers per hour (66,700 miles per hour).

... And here is something else: - The writer G.K.Chesterton wrote:

Imagine traveling to another planet and finding a civilization of Sparrows, over here is a little sparrow orchestra with all the birds looking intently at the conductor and keeping in time as the music flows forth; and over there a solemn group of sparrows in a funeral procession, following a little sparrow coffin, and again over here a political sparrow holding forth atop a pork barrel, while supporters and detractors cheer and boo, and yet again sparrows sailing their little yachts on the sea as baby sparrows swim and make sand castles on a beach, their parent sparrows picnicking with friends and discussing everything from supermarket food prices to the meaning of life.

Chesterton asks, "What would we make of all of this?" - The answer is that we would be stunned, speechless, we would look at this scene with absolute wonderment, amazement. We would be enthralled by all that we saw.

Chesterton's point is that the sparrows are proxies for ourselves and that the wonderment we would feel when viewing the sparrows is the wonderment we should have for our own existence and everything else that exists on our very own "Pale Blue Dot" and that somehow we have lost this sense of wonderment, this sense of the transcendent mystery of our lives.

The implication of all this is that if we could see and feel again the uniqueness of our existence we might perhaps try and look after each other and our planet a whole lot better than we are doing  at this present point in time.

So shipmates, lets do just that - commit to looking after each other and our beautiful planet a whole lot better ..... And remember, if you ever want to know what a Real spaceShip looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels like - just go outside your own front door and take a look!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back To The Future

Shipmates, double click on this picture and take a gander at it full size ....... Don't you just believe, as I do, that the world would be a much better and more beautiful place if it just hurried up and ran out of oil?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND - The Best Little City In The World - Gets A New Lifting Bridge And Circular Pathway



Little old Whangarei has a new "Internationally iconic structure" - And we may become known in this neck of the woods as "Whangarei - City of Bridges". Which to my mind is a good thing because to become a 'City of Bridges you first have to 'Build Bridges' - something which has a nice positive symbolic quality to it on a number of levels.
When this new lifting bridge (Above) is combined with the new footbridge (Below)  a new circular 4 kilometer walk / cycleway will have been created. The new footbridge which will be officially opened this month is slightly upstream from the large lifting bridge in the above photograph. The above photograph was taken at this bridges opening and the little footbridge had not begun construction. If it had been completed when this photo was taken it would have been clearly seen bridging the water on the left where the river divides.
The walk / cycleway includes the bridge in the Whangarei Town Basin (Below), the new footbridge (Immediately Above), the new lifting bridge and new walk/cycle paths that have been established on both sides of the Hatea river.
The whole construction of this new 4 kilometer pathway is so new I can't find an aerial photograph anywhere on the Internet that shows the completed bridges.

I personally feel a palpable sense of completion regarding this new path. These two new bridges complete a circle and give a new heart to the center of our great little city. Since my heart operation I have been walking sections of the path as often as possible. Since retirement I walk my favourite part from the town basin, past the good yacht 'Mariner' to the new footbridge nearly every day. When the footbridge is finally opened I will cycle the 4 kilometer pathway as many times as I feel I want too, as many times a week as I can for exercise.... and with the growing 'bicycle culture' that is taking off in Whangarei, I am sure that I will not be alone.

Every time I walk, sometimes by myself, sometimes with Christine, I don't think there has been a time when I haven't met someone I know, struck up a conversation with someone I don't know or just smiled and said 'Hi' to other passing pedestrians - The path has become a bit of a 'boardwalk' and I get the feeling that this path is one of the significant places where Whangareis' sense of community will be shared and expressed in the coming years.
 Good on yah Whangarei - you're a bloody legend.