Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond, 1969)

I always liked that song.  A few days ago I finished reading “Killing Kennedy” wherein Bill O’Reilly claims that the subject of the song was really Caroline Kennedy.  Google seems to confirm that.

I never thought JFK deserved even half the saintly reputation that history has given him.  I can well remember father coming home in November of 1963 carrying a portable TV that he had rented from George Laberge just so we could watch the funeral.  I vaguely remember a conversation that mom & dad had about how the British tradition of protecting royalty was superior to the American process.  As I recall the argument, (that’s 50 years ago so its a little fuzzy) it was that multiple bobbing Bobbies riding on horseback surrounding a royal provided more of a screen than secret servicemen walking beside a limousine.  Looking back with our historical perspective its hard to believe that more presidents (and royals for that matter) weren’t assassinated by lone whackos.  As John Malkovich’s character says in the Eastwood movie “In the Line of Fire”, if a lone gunman is prepared to trade his life for the life of his victim it is very likely he will succeed.

Kennedy’s reputation has been polished by history but its pretty clear that he was very much responsible for the failed Cuban invasion.  His actions were timid, ineffectual and probably counterproductive enough to increase the odds of failure.  His subsequent performance during the Cuban Missile Crisis likely wouldn’t have been necessary if he hadn’t performed so amateurishly during the invasion fiasco.  History has accorded JFK a hero’s role during the missile crisis but the reality was likely more that he was an observer of history than a leader.  If I had to pick a hero of that fiasco it would be Adlai Stevenson long before it was JFK.  Victors get to write their own version of history so the Kennedys come out smelling like roses but the reality was likely a lot different.

Yesterday we moved from Chemainus to Newcastle Island, across from Nanaimo.  We had to time ourselves to the slack at Dodd Narrows but that was pretty easy because there was a slack at 2:00 boat time so we made a leisurely departure from Chemainus, ate lunch on the water and cruised right through Dodd without ever slowing down.  By the time we got there though the water was getting pretty lumpy and it rapidly got worse as we got closer to Nanaimo. 

chemainus to nanaimo

Gabriola Island provides a lot of protection as you approach Nanaimo – I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in the Strait yesterday.  Even so, as we got closer to Duke Point the waves from the Strait started to find us even behind the shelter of Gabriola and we were getting tossed around pretty good by the time we turned into Nanaimo Harbour.  For most of the trip I didn’t bother running the stabilizers because we were headed straight into the waves.  The NAIAD stabilizers provide pretty good side to side stability for waves coming broadside but not much fore and aft when we’re headed directly into the waves.

The waves yesterday were kind of square, maybe 3 or 4 feet high and probably 15 feet apart.  Just the right size and period for us to climb up the face of one and then crash heavily down into the trough about the time Gray Hawk was perfectly balanced on top of the crest.  On the plus side the new TV mount worked perfectly.  The handheld radios that were sitting on the dash didn’t fare so well – both of them plunged madly over the edge into the abyss of the stairwell to the engine room.  They’re on the charger now – time will tell if they survived their suicidal actions.

This morning we are looking out on glassy water from the dock at Newcastle Island.  The radio tells us that the prairies are still in the grip of the arctic air that we were happy to leave behind us.  Its not real warm here but its nowhere near minus 40 either.

No comments: