From the Boatshop
by Ron Magen 

(YO) HO - HO - HO !

{How do you think Santa got that big red nose !}

The past month American’s have had an election which resulted in an unprecedented change in our Government. Three of the four ‘legs’ [House, Senate, President] are now in philosophical agreement. A few weeks later we celebrated our traditional Thanksgiving. At the end of this month we will have a couple more Holidays, one Religious and one Ecumenical. While there have been ‘glitches’ and a few abuses, this sequence has been going on for over 200 years.

It’s interesting to ‘watch’ the squabbling that goes on between people in the various Groups and NewsGroups. Some of it gets pretty heated. The same goes for the fights, some times devious and cruel, between opponents in our political & religious ‘systems’. What is so amazing is that we go through this every 2 to 4 years . . . and NO ONE is killed or imprisoned because of it.

Within the last few weeks National Geographic announced the results of a WORLD WIDE survey they had done. A map of the world was shown to ‘young people’ 18 to 24 years of age {OUR future leaders ?!?}. They were then asked to identify such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Israel, etc. Although these places have been in INTERNATIONAL NEWS for the past several months, THE BEST was ONLY 30%; who could locate them. Where did we stand? . . . just above LAST place Mexico !! {pun INTENDED}. As to where their heads were . . . although most knew that "SURVIVOR" took place in the Pacific, fully 50% COULDN’T LOCATE the OCEAN !! [Chuck, told you I’d make a nautical reference - Ron] The representative of Geographic stated, "Children. . . have innate intelligence and inquiring open minds until age 6; then we do everything we can to shut them down".

‘Santa’ is an ‘Old Timer’, a ‘Traditionalist’, if you will. Besides, remember how Rudolph got to be ‘Lead Reindeer’ . . . technology failed, that’s how. GPS. is nice, but not when you’ve got to dodge the satellites . Plus, on his mission he’d have to get a ‘lock’ 100% of the time! CELESTIAL NAV is his method - ‘as sure as the stars in the sky’. He sets his course not with a mariners Sextant, but an Octant . . . what the aviation Navigators used when they had to be aboard those ‘Flying Boats’ setting the routes across the Oceans of the world.

What with playing ‘Dodge ‘Em’ with space debris, skateboarders and motorized scooters in the streets after dark when he tries to land [forget the roof these days . . . single homes have more ‘tophamper’ than the Fleet on the Queens Birthday, and Apartment & Condominium Security want 3 forms of ID and a ‘full body search’] just to bring presents to ungrateful children who don’t have a clue to where they are; no wonder he only goes out once a year. Mark Twain, another nautical fellow, I believe once said "Youth is wasted on the young". That was some time ago, and it’s only gotten worse. If the last couple of ‘Christmas movies’ are to be considered . . . the old elf’s definitely looking for a replacement !!

Personally, I KNOW I wouldn’t get in that sled sober, and I believe the ‘Old Boy’ feels the same. Me, THAT night I’m going to fold the cover forward, off the cockpit of ‘Quahog’. Then I’ll hoist the mooring light to the top of a spar I’ll attach to the gallows that supports the lowered mast. With a freshly opened bottle of the finest Dark Rum, some strong hot coffee and a couple of mugs, I’ll wait to share my good fortune, that I LIVE in AMERICA, with him.

And to say, "God Speed" and "Well Done".

Ron Magen
Backyard Boatshop