I wanted to describe the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" Christmas party's joviality for you, but I'm not in the mood. Leave it to say that we all had a good time and the arguments were kept to a minimum. The mood killer of course is the news out of Newtown, Conn. Babies being killed by a mad, insane, evil young man has pulled a black cloud over many festivities.
I have two observations on this tragedy. First - Since we've closed all the mental hospitals and allowed the insane to live among us in the 1980s, this country has changed a lot. In my wife's hometown there used to be a huge facility, as big as any university. It was a terrible place that housed sick people. After the State closed the place, most of the patients were released to their families or to 'half-way houses.'
The mental hospital was a terrible place, but it was also effective in housing, treating and isolating the mentally ill. Now we send the insane to prison where they learn to be criminally insane. Whatever this Asperger's Disease is, it's imperative that we keep these depressed young men off the street and out of the malls and schools. I heard one talking hear say that it is a form of Autism and the young men suffering eventually 'act out' because they will never have a normal life. They often kill their parents and others.
Second - As far as guns go, better background checks and more parental control is necessary! In China, where they don't have guns, an insane man attacked 21 children in their school with a machete. Go figure? Now to the mail.
n Dear boatguy: I have a small inflatable that I keep in the water when I'm in port. It is badly fouled and needs some kind of bottom paint. Any suggestion? Signed Cruiser Bill.
n Bill: Twenty years ago there was a company in Cape Coral that bought pints of Super Shipbottom (www.supershipbottom.com) to include in a kit for protecting inflatables. They had a primer that would flex whenever the boat was deflated and our hard ablative paint was compatible. They went out of business and eventually we sold a lot of Super Shipbottom to inflatable owners who skipped the primer and it worked well.
Most 'hard ablative' paints are much more supple so they don't crack and fall off. You can call our local number at 466-5670 or toll free at 800-466-7144 to speak to a paint specialist about painting inflatables.
n Dear boat-dummy: I tried that cast-netting thing you advocate and have come to the conclusion that it is impossible. You must have sold your soul to the devil to be able to throw that mess. I stick to buying my shrimp. Signed Definitely Not a Fan!
n Dear Fan: I know who you are and remember you watching me throw the net at a recent boat show. We were giving lessons, and I assumed you had achieved the basic method for casting the net. Obviously not. I stand by my opinion that a cast net catches live bait, which catches more fish.
If you have given up, you are worse for it but if you still want to learn, hire a guide to teach you. It's expensive but not much more than a dozen golf lessons. Learning anything is time consuming. I'm positive you can learn to master this on your own. Remember, practice, practice and watch the video on YouTube. It'll come to you like a bolt out of the blue unless you're a total dolt!
n Boat guy: I am considering joining a boat club. Are you familiar with them? What's your opinion? I sold my boat a year ago and thought I was done with boating but I miss it. Signed Ready to go boating again.
n Dear Ready: I have never been a member of any club willing to have me, except the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club. " And, if I hadn't been a charter member, I wouldn't be qualified, morally. LOL. All kidding aside, I don't know much about the boat club concept beside it is a 'short' time-share concept. Each member buys into the club by pony-ing up the required down stroke and then pays a yearly fee.
There are many restrictions including advanced booking, early return times and where you can go on the boat. No pontoons on the Gulf of Mexico, etc. You have to bring the boat back full of gas but they clean it for you.
Several "DECYC" members are also boat club members, most notably Cleveland Jack. He is a year-round resident and takes full advantage of his membership in both clubs. He recommends the boat club!
Please re-read this column constantly for at least a week and keep the television turned off. It's thee Ostrich way to avoid the tragedy in Newtown and incessant coverage.
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