Independent Means

Month: June, 2011

A Very Modest Proposal

I wrote this after a conversation with my friend who works for the (Republican) Governor’s office. Though I’m fairly liberal and he’s a die hard conservative, intermixed with our shoptalk we happened on an idea that would both thought would improve Dem Repub relations and actually help get things done. 

Think back to your time at school: even if your personal experience wasn’t the traditional dorm life, your probably still knew someone who had to get along with many people in extremely close quarters. Being a college student you get used to certain things: warm beer, cold pizza, and living with people who might not share similar tastes in cleanliness, hours for sleeping, or music. However, seeing as you live in a dorm/constrained space you have to cowboy up, and get along with this roommate/friend’s roommate/fraternity brother/sorority sister etc. In fact, at times you must even cooperate on such mutually beneficial tasks as vacuuming, dish washing, or alcohol purchasing.

The Senators and Representatives of the United States must go back to school. My proposal is as follows. It is very easy to demonize someone with whom you spend little time; you don’t have to talk to them, they don’t have to talk to you, and communication can be handled by pointed press releases and snarky tweets written by an intern. Overheated rhetoric is par for the course. However, if Senators and Representatives had to live in dorm style housing, I believe a new civility would prevail.

Senators and Representatives may read this and feel as though they would be forced into regression: they paid their dues and they should not suffer the same indignities as lowly college students. And to a certain point, that does make sense. But what our congressmen forget is that they are in this together. It is up to each and every one of them to craft solutions together that keep our country great. And lately, they seem to have forgotten that they are partners in this exercise, willing or not.

By confining congressmen to live together in close quarters, there would be a physical representation of how responsibility for the country works. We elect our senators or representatives to work for us; and it’s time that they start making sacrifices necessary to wrestle our country forward. With dormitory style housing, congressmen would no longer have to spend time dealing with leases or rent or any of those things; and the charges could be taken out of their paychecks.

As Abraham Lincoln famously stole from Mark 3:25 “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Well these days we don’t we even have a house. So I propose to create one. Imagine: the excitement of finding roommate assignments, the creation of house rules, and deciding who can use what when… I imagine somewhere in those negotiations, there could be time for a sensible discussion of healthcare, the taxcode, and citizen’s rights.

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Big Boat Cherry

Pearson 30 underway

from Sailing Data

Big boats are big. It is an adjustment to step on a sailboat and not immediately stand center so the damn thing doesn’t go over and put you in the water.

A friend took me aboard their Pearson 30 this weekend for a small regatta. At school I sail (and I use that term in a loose sense: I certainly don’t sail well, or more unfortunately, fast) small boats, FJs or 420s. And so my first time on a sailboat of size was this weekend.

I mostly scraped my elbows on the top of the cabin ducking the boom and staying out of the way of people who purpose on the boat. But I swear to God my eyes have never been open wider. The thing moves in the water. The jib fills up and you can feel it urge the boat forward, cutting the water.

I’ve seen harbors from a distance full of sails gently leaning, moving smoothly through the water. That image is a lie. Everything thing is moving and the wind is whistling through the lines. I’m clinging to the cabin cause the fucking thing is listing over so far that I almost stop believing that 3500 pounds or whatever of lead in the keel will keep the boat up and me out of the water. And it feels right that this boat is pitched over with water coming over the gunwales. I just want us to go faster and pass boats.

I can’t take credit for keeping the boat underway but goddamn I wish I could. I know more time on a boat will hone my skills. Cause I want keep a boat on the edge and sail fast. And maybe I’ll even get to bring a wide-eyed kid, nervous and new and pay the favor back.