Monday, July 31, 2006


This week I am going to be hiking some of Ohio’s best trails for Glucose Magazine. Tomorrow I’ll be hitting up the grocery. I’m not too much into eating on the trail. I figure I could go a week or so without eating so why weigh myself down with a feast. My food of choice - flavored tuna. I’ve lived for as much as two weeks at a time with crackers and packs of tuna. They come in enough different flavors to keep things slightly interesting. I once tried to subsist a few days off of nothing but SPAM in Hawaii. Here’s what happened:

Excerpt from a Travelin’ Light column titled Life, Death, and Lava:

SPAM is a staple food in Hawaii and, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to subsist solely off various flavors of the canned meat during my hike. There was chicken SPAM for breakfast and Ham SPAM for lunch. I couldn’t tell the difference.

When I reach the Summit cabin, my legs heavy from the altitude, I can’t help but dread another meal of SPAM.

It’s a Mauna Loa mountain miracle when I find a MRE left behind for emergencies.
Is this an emergency? Heck, yeah! I eat the MRE and leave behind the SPAM, a food that I believe has no purpose other than emergency sustenance.

I’ll be back blogging sometime Thursday or Friday.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Simple Game of Soccer

I'm waterskiing in Kentucky this weekend, if the weather holds. Here's a link to a recent column, A Simple Game of Soccer, which has nothing to do with waterskiing or Kentucky. It doesn't have much to do with Soccer either. The story could use a little re-titling. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Celebrity Sighting - Cleveland

Celebrity sightings in the Midwest are rare. Usually they go something like this:

“Hey isn’t that Mike Hartsock, the sportscaster from Channel 7 Action news.”

“Holy crap, it is. Be cool, dude. Be cool.”

This past weekend while at the dock on the Picton Castle in Cleveland, I saw my first nationwide-level celebrity in Ohio. I immediately recognized the ‘stache, the shifty eyes, the aura of cocky confidence. I was excited, much more excited than I thought I’d be.

“Look, its Geraldo.” I turned to the nearest crew member.

They stared blankly, “Who’s Geraldo?”

Ughh! No one in my immediate vicinity had even heard of him. Where the heck do these people live? Well, actually, some of them live at sea and some are from other countries – pretty good excuses. But the Americans of the bunch, they have none.

I’m not really much of a celebrity hound, but somehow this was different. Geraldo Rivera is part of our Pop Culture. He is the walking talking equivalent of the old school T-shirt with a big can of SPAM on it - equal parts retro and ridiculous. It’s almost un-American to not know who Geraldo is.

The 3rd Mate on the boat spotted him and hollered, “Hey, everybody – It’s Geraldo!” I expect that is how it always goes for Geraldo: there he is trying to enjoy a sunny Saturday afternoon looking at some Tall Ships. Somebody hollers and its time to go.

Poor Geraldo. He could put on the classic Groucho disguise, with black furry eyebrows and mustache and people would still recognize him. I suggest he shave the ‘stache and drop the “O.” No one would recognize clean-shaven Gerald.
Update:::: Geraldo still has a show! Who knew?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Beach House on the Moon

With all of this talk about the moon and space travel, I thought I’d post a portion of one of my older columns. In general I disprove of anything that I haven’t written in the last year or so. Usually, before I’d post old writing it would be reworked. Today, I’m lazy. Plus, this piece was very time-dependent and is now somewhat outdated. Most people, including the President, pretend that this particular press conference never happened. It was a major flop. There is also a reference to Lance Bass going to space. He didn’t.

Note: I wasn’t actually at the press conference. I was in my recliner eating cold pizza watching the Simpsons.

Without further ado, a portion of the unedited version of...


“Using the crew exploration vehicle, we will undertake extended human missions to the moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods of time.”

Whoa! Stop the presses. Excuse me Mr. President, but I was never informed of such plans. Mars…fine, let’s go for it, but the moon?? ? No one asked me for permission.
Who am I? I just happen to be an owner of the moon, who appreciates to be kept in the know when decisions are made involving my property.

This year for Christmas, my brother purchased me an acre of land on the moon for the bargain price of $35.00. The one-acre of land represents the largest thing that I own. Area G11, Quadrant Alpha, Lot Number 6/1190 located 001 squares south and 006 squares east of the extreme or 6-10 degrees north and 20-24 degrees east, is harmoniously located on the northwest portion of the Sea of Tranquility, near the Crater of Argo.

Slices of the big cheese can be purchased from the self-proclaimed “Head Cheese,” Dennis Hope. In 1980, Hope found a loophole in a UN treaty that prevented governments from owning extraterrestrial property, but failed to ban ownership by individuals and corporations. Hope laid claim to the surface of the moon and the eight other planets, forming the Lunar Embassy ( - one-stop shopping for your extraterrestrial real estate needs.

Mr. President, as an owner of the moon, I hope that you plan to treat it with the respect with which we have treated our own planet. What are your plans for the moon?

“…the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air.”

Hold on a second sir…Maybe you were unaware of this, but I also am an owner of the mineral rights from the surface of my one-acre to a depth of three kilometers inclusively. I believe that I should be consulted or compensated for property being dug-up, thrown into a rocket, and burnt away. Maybe if I were to accompany the mission…

“Eugene Cernan, who is with us today, the last man to set foot on the lunar surface, said this as he left: ‘We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind.’ “America will make those words come true.”

Mr. President, please, I do not appreciate being interrupted. If there is no place for me in your plans, or respect of my ownership, I will be forced to take matters into my own hands. I love to travel to far off places and a trip to the moon has always been on my list of things to do; I am not beyond seeking the aide of the Russians. They have similar plans in the works and hope to revisit the moon by 2014, a year sooner than NASA. Sir I must remind you that the Russian’s can be bought. In 2015 when you visit the moon and Man Band member/Astronaut, Lance Bass, steps onto the Lunar surface, do not be surprised to see a sign driven into the ground: ‘Private Property. No Trespassing: Any violators will be prosecuted!’

“The vision I outline today is a journey, not a race.”

I respect that sir, I really do. But, please respect my rights as well. In the future I hope to develop an environmentally friendly get-away for the earthbound on my one-acre. Beachfront on the Sea of Tranquility guarantees to be an ideal location for a dive resort. Customers will have lunar diving a few “small steps for man” away from the front door of the Beach House. There is no atmosphere, promising that customers will return home with the tan of their life. What do you think?

“Let us continue the journey. May God bless.”

I’ll pencil you and Laura in for the grand opening. It’ll be great; I’ve booked Jimmy Buffett.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Spaceport Sheboygan?

Stereotypes happen. When we hear any mention of Wisconsin, we ultimately think of things like cows, milking cows, cheese from cow’s milk, and other cow related activities, products, byproducts, and souvenirs. We don’t think spaceships, let alone a hub of space travel worthy of being called a port.

The August issue of Wired Magazine lists Spaceport Sheboygan as one of the world’s “tourism-focused spaceports.” Right now all they do is shoot up rockets for school kids, but give it a couple of years and tourists may be dropping a cool quarter-million for a few minutes in space. There are 15 such places in the USA. A few hope to be operational in a year or so.

Hopefully, the price will come down enough that I can afford a trip to space before age leaves me unable to control my bladder – no one wants you messin’ in their rocket. Regardless, this is super cool stuff. If I don’t make it to space, at least my chances of meeting someone who has will be greatly increased.

Someday we’ll all drive to Sheboygan to watch rich people blast into space. We’ll remember the experience the rest of our lives. Of course, how will we be able to forget with that reasonably-priced, rocket-riding space cow magnet on the fridge?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Picton Castle Audio Slideshows

Silas Crews a photographer for the Bay City Times (MI) was also on board the Picton Castle. He put together a few slide shows about the trip from Cleveland to Bay City. If you look closely, you might even see me pulling up the anchor, standing as the lookout, working in the galley, and fresh off a mast greasing adventure.

Here are the links:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A not so Able-bodied Seaman

I couldn’t stand waiting for my turn at the helm of the Picton Castle so I bonked the girl seen beside me over the head.

No postings in over a week and not one email asking if I had gone down with the ship! Thanks for your concern.

Anyhow, I didn’t.
I'm currently polishing up my piece on the story. It will appear in the August issue of Glucose Magazine.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Out to sea...kind of

I'll be sailing away on the Great Lakes for the next week or so aboard the Picton Castle.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shark Petting!?

If I was a shark and my species had survived millions of years thanks to our sleek design and keen predator senses, and I was stuck in some tank as opposed to the vast ocean, if you tried to pet me, I’d bite your hand off. I’d be bitter. I’d be pissed. But most of all, I’d be bored and there is nothing I’d like to see more than you jumping around holding your stump.

The patrons of the Newport Aquarium are lucky that I’m not a shark. Recently the aquarium has opened its shark-petting exhibit, which just may be the dumbest exhibit ever. Divers and nature-lovers are taught not to touch anything, not out of fear for themselves, but out of concern for the touched. The aquarium is erasing the "watch, don't touch" approach to nature.

Aquariums and zoos always kind of make me depressed. No matter how many gallons the tank or how natural the habitat may appear, the animals are getting a raw deal compared with their free-roaming brethren. I justify the existence of aquariums and zoos because they often promote education and conservation. By watching and appreciating animals such as sharks in an aquarium, we will make decisions that help protect their natural habitat. What the hell does touching promote other than the Newport Aquarium’s bottom line?

From the aquarium’s website:

This summer you can enjoy the most unique experience of its kind in the region – Newport Aquarium’s new Shark Central exhibit. It’s home to a field research facility and dozens of sharks you can actually touch. You’ll learn the official “two-finger touch” technique and how to properly pet them. It’s safe. It’s thrilling. It’s an experience your kids will never forget.

I’ve got my own two-finger technique ready for a visit to the Newport aquarium.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Photo Courtesy of Mike Baker
I spent last weekend covering Paddlefest in Cincinnati for Glucose magazine. On Saturday over 1,400 paddlers hit the water to paddle 6 miles. The take out was at the Great American Ballpark home of the slumping Reds.

I thought I was going to be one of the slower ones because I was in a short whitewater boat that plows the water, but there were other paddlers in much smaller boats. It’s pretty cool being part of a string of canoes and kayaks that runs as far as you can see upriver and downriver.

My piece on the event should be in the August issue of Glucose.

The half-way rest stop was a paddle boat tied to shore. Jake Speed and the Freddies played their unique mix of American folk, bluegrass, and ragtime music from the boat’s top deck. Jake writes a song a week at the CincyBeat’s website – very entertaining.

On the boat I met Mike Baker who spent the perfect Saturday morning snapping photos. He was kind enough to email me some of his shots like the one above. Thanks Mike.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Insects on my mind

For every human being on the planet there are 200 million insects. How many of them are living in your head?

Whatever you do, don't watch this video!

Monday, July 10, 2006


My friends at the Casa Guatemala orphanage are in the midst of a terrible flood. I help them write letters to their English donors on a regular basis. Here is the letter I worked-up today about the flood. If you’ve got some extra loot lying around, send it to ‘em. I guarantee it will be put to good use. DONATE HERE.

Dear Friends,

The Rio Dulce provides so much for us here at the Casa Guatemala Orphans’ Village. It’s our highway and our playground. Unfortunately, living so close to a river in the tropics has one big drawback – rivers flood.

The Rio Dulce has jumped its banks and flooded our entire village. The school, the farm, the clinic, the pig pens, the children’s dwellings, are all under water. Normal life has come to a halt as we deal with this disaster.

Our immediate concern is with the health of our 250 children and 150 adult workers and volunteers. We are struggling to provide them with a sanitary place to live. Our wells have flooded and the drinking water is contaminated.

Long after the waters have subsided we will be dealing with their adverse effects. Buildings will have to be repaired and crops will have to be replanted.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Any donations that you are kind enough to make will be put to immediate use dealing with this crisis. Your kindness will allow us to get back to doing what we do best: raising and educating our children into responsible citizens.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Like Nothing Else.

I took this pick about a month ago while doing some mountian biking around Oxford, Ohio
The new H13.5 the most fuel efficient Hummer yet. With its paired down V-12, this all-terrain, all-weather bad ass gets a whopping 12 miles per gallon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Memorable 4th's

This 4th I lazed by the pool and ate a lot of food. It was a time to reminisce about more memorable 4th’s:

1 year ago-
I was in Guatemala. My stomach was in hell. Explosions resulted.

3 years ago-
Key West. The crew of the dive shop I was working at decided to take one of the boats out to watch the island’s fireworks show. There is nothing quite like being on the flat calm ocean watching 10’s of thousands of dollars exploding directly above you. The sky and the water glowed with greens, yellows, oranges, and about every other color. I was elected to pull-up the anchor. It was heavier after a few beers.

Back on shore I watched a co-worker, Koko – like KnockOut KnockOut – launch a backpack full of fireworks. He ended up setting a trash can on fire at one of the public parks. The police came.

20 some years ago-
I always thought that my cousin Brice was the devil. This night confirmed it. We were running around my house with sprinklers, lap after lap. Our parents were out front and we would show off as we ran by them. Behind the house no one was watching. I was following Brice and was the first to come upon the flaming bale of straw next to the house. Dad put the fire out by beating it with a blanket. Brice claimed it wasn’t him. But I knew.

I’ll stop at three memories, but please note that two of them involve things burning. Hope your 4th was a safe one.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Jimmy Buffett Syndrome

Stats from the July National Geographic:

Every week…

…3,300 people move to Southern California

…4,800 move to Florida’s shore

Every day…

…1,500 new homes rise along the U.S. Coastline

I lived on the coast, island actually (Key West), for two stints of six months. This may sound kinda dumb, but the best thing about it was the ocean. I don’t mean the beach, but the vast “where the hell did the land go” deep blue ocean. Where, in the summer, you could count more distant thunderstorms than boats or people. It’s hard to find more isolation than in a boat at sea. There is no other way I could stand to live on an island 2 miles x 4 miles if I couldn’t get away from the 25,000 residents plus cruiseshippers and other tourists.

I miss the ocean, but I don’t miss all the crowded streets, not to mention the rent.

With all of the crowds flocking to the coast, I’ve got one question…

Mountains anyone?

Read the NGeo article HERE