The Sailing Life – AI

Having recently counted the days and being particularly gifted in math I have determined that  well over a year of retirement has elapsed. It has gone too quickly. Liken it to a shooting star in that you see it but it’s gone so fast that you aren’t sure it actually happened. During the course of the year I have enjoyed the acquaintance of numerous octo and even nonagenarians who have raised an eyebrow of superiority and shared with me their determination to never retire……………What are they thinking?  In their defense they are probably too important to retire and as long as they are contributing to social security I encourage them to continue putting in a full 40 hour workweek.  I fear not offending them by saying so since my little blog is not listed among the intellectual publications that would enter their sphere. For those of you who have read this far it may not be necessary to make clear the obvious.  I am not here to enlighten!  But to perhaps in some small way unburden and in comparison make your lives seem meaningful.  As much as it would please me to raise you all to excited fancy with exotic phrases and fill your souls with well being – the pen oft’  falters!

This had begun as a short primer for those considering retirement: Rise at 5:45 AM(optional) to attend Body Pump classes and share the distinction of being one of two regular male attendees surrounded by very fit young and not so young women in tights.  Sit by the inlet and greet the awakening of another delightful finger lakes morn’  with a cup of coffee (not -optional), while rowers silently glide by and the hum of traffic signals the commencement of another workday for the young and so inclined. Go for a beautiful summer morning run (optional) then come home and drop in the pool (not optional). Browse yesterday’s calamities in todays paper(highly optional) over breakfast. Stroll the beautiful countryside while periodically striking a little white ball (AI – see below). Return home in time to drop again into the pool(not optional) before lunch.  Now with less energy, slump onto the porch couch and drowsily read or string together meaningless phrases such as those that currently hold you captive and wait for the appropriate moment to sample the nectars of any one of many gods. Not every day is like this. Much is optional.  Some days we go sailing (more to come).

Not to suggest it’s all fun and games out here, I have gleaned from my readings that there is growing concern, fear, yes mass hysteria over something called Artificial Intelligence (AI). We humans will no longer be in control!  Really?  When was the last time it seemed like we were in control?  In a conversation with Rob and Kim a week or so ago after they had completed a non-stop 19 hour drive from Batavia to St. Petersburg, Fla. I mentioned AI and they burst out in laughter.  It took me about a minute and I realized they thought I was talking about them! Bingo!  Wake up world. AI is not new!!  A good working definition of the word “artificial” might be “not real.”  Just substitute – not real- any time you might see the word “artificial or A.” So let’s wander the streets of our nations capital and observe that AI has been operating for well over a decade and appears to be reaching a crescendo – perhaps even found a poster boy!  Marathon runners -AI-  26.2 miles to end up in the same place and pay $75.00 for the privilege.  All religions -AI- no explanation required, with the exception of capitalism!  The list could be endless……………

Mel needed help sailing his boat from Ithaca to Aurora last week.  Susan and I, ever ready for adventure, offered our service as crew in exchange for a sailing lesson.  On Wednesdays our efforts were thwarted due to a misbehaving rudder which of course first appeared to be related to the quality and skill level of the crew.  Dockside again, with the rudder issue now in hand, Jane noted that the next day looked to be an exemplary day with a SE wind at 3-5 knots (Jane had no intention of being on that boat).  Not entirely sure of what a knot actually was and demonstrating exemplary AI we signed on for the next day’s voyage.  For those of you as ill informed as Susan and I, a knot is a unit of speed equal to 1.15 miles/hour. If one is good at math, as I so claimed to be earlier, you would know that traveling 25-28miles in a straight line at 3-5 knots would take between five and eight hours.  You know that if you actually do the math!  And when do you ever sail in a straight line?  And………..What if it’s actually 0-6 knots with lots of 1 knot and lots of sun?  Aha!  the math gets tricky.  Being good at math though, I can tell you exactly how ling it takes.  One hellova- lot longer than you want!!!!!!       In light air (no air) as we sailors describe it, it’s most useful to utilize a spinnaker which greatly increases the sail area and maximizes the advantage of every gust.  It is a beautiful thing to see when filled with air and  suddenly, perceptibly moving the boat through the water. After hours of nearly dead calm carefully studying the motionless tell-tales, we had air! Possibly that 6 knots I mentioned, which was getting a bit dicey, so Mel decided it would be wise to take the spinnaker down.  Mel is traditionally the Helmsman – the one who steers and gives polite direction to his well trained crew- but due to this particular crew he thought it best if he went forward and  handled the spinnaker -AI -while we managed the tiller and beer.  There is a lot of cloth in a spinnaker.  Do you know what a caterpillar in a cocoon feels like?  Well – Mel Does!!  All in all it was a great day.  Susan and I satisfied our objective of getting a sailing lesson and learning how to sail with no wind.  Mel learned to just stick to the Helm and run the risk of sacrificing a useless crew member.  He kept suggesting that we could probably swim faster than the boat was going – now I get what he was driving at! After eight and a half hours of sailing and motoring , at The Fargo over a beer, Jane revealed her  considerable knowledge of sailing and the many experiences she’s had on the high seas – which explains why she was not on the boat!!


Why didn’t the sailors play cards?      Because the captain was standing on the deck!

Three sheets to the wind,                                                                                                                                                                                   Grumpa!


  1. Tom colbert

    Your description of your retirement reminds me of that great old Gershwin tune- Nice Work If You Can Get It. The case for retirement so made confirms my belief that those who die at their desks die in fact of terminal lack of imagination, secondary cause often an inflated sense of self importance.

    Jim; you seem free of the symptoms noted above.

      • tomc


        Along with Opera, Classical, Blues, some Rock, I love ‘30’s and ‘40’s popular music.

        By the way, G. Gershwin was a genius whose work was highly regarded by Maurice Ravel-who was no pushover.

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