The Lifeguard was looking to see who was looking at the site.
He noticed a first for the blog. Even more surprising than the number of readers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, imagine The Lifeguard's shock when he learned that there is a reader at The Vatican. Below is a link to the entry page.
Does this mean that The Lifeguard is going to heaven?
No, probably not.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Coal Free Future Tour
Last week, The Lifeguard was strolling around The Hub and he saw M/Y Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace icebreaker, moored at Rowe's Wharf. After scanning the horizon for French warships, The Lifeguard made his way down the quay for a quick look around.
Attired in jacket and tie, and a bespoke cashmere overcoat, The Lifeguard expected fully to be escorted away by the Greenpeace volunteers manning their posts at the gangway. Instead, The Lifeguard was enticed with a free tour of the vessel, along with two other visitors.
The Greenpeace volunteer said, "Just fill out this form, so we know who has visited. Would you be interested in signing a petition to encourage Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) to close the Salem (Massachusetts) Power Plant?"
There were no high pressure sales pitches, no outrageous pronouncements. There was, instead, reasonable dialogue about the need for reliable and clean energy.
After a brief conversation, in which we discussed clean alternatives to coal (wind, solar, and slave labour), the Greenpeace position on the Cape Wind project (Greenpeace has been an outspoken supporter of the wind farm on Nantucket Sound), and nuclear power (in spite of nuclear power's stellar safety record--fewer deaths attributed to nuclear than the number that die each year because of coal-fired plants), The Lifeguard was piped aboard M/Y Arctic Sunrise.
A stroll to the bow was without incident, and the tour guide, a Greenpeace volunteer, was relatively knowledgeable about the workings of the vessel. She even managed, without pause, to identify "bow" and "stern"; "port" and "starboard." Interestingly, the hawsers holding the ship did not have rat guards. (Boston is known for its rat population, so perhaps they figured that a few additions, either way, would be all right.)
Next, we mounted the ladder to the bridge, where we were entertained by the second mate, a pleasant Australian woman who has been with Greenpeace for about eighteen months. She demonstrated the steering gear, as well as other features such as manoeuvring thrusters (bow and stern), and the tower, from which a lookout could watch for ice, whales, or French warships. She also talked about how the 50m vessel performed at sea, noting that since it was an icebreaker, it "...was like a bathtub in heavy seas."
Finally, we strolled to the stern to see the helipad, as well as the mechanism for launching and recovering the RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats).
After a short film outlining Greenpeace activities, and a brief question and answer session, The Lifeguard left the vessel, and made his way to the nearest bar for a dirty martini and a chat with a few friends.
So, gentle reader, you are probably wondering, "Where's the joke?"
Well, there isn't one.
While The Lifeguard doesn't share the views of Greenpeace, he is a sailor. The opportunity to crawl around a working icebreaker was cool, and The Lifeguard was pleasantly surprised at the lack of crazies, kooks, or hairy women. In fact, to a man (or, woman), the crew and volunteers were actually pretty knowledgeable, very interesting, and incredibly devoted to their cause. For this, The Lifeguard applauds their work, and wishes the captain and crew of M/Y Arctic Sunrise a safe passage.
[Photograph courtesy of The Lifeguard.]
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Lifeguard has been watching the news with great fascination. This is truly an amazing time to be alive, and it is easy to miss the high-speed changes going on in the world. Thankfully, The Lifeguard is on duty. Fortunately, The Lifeguard saves. (Sort of like Jesus, without the beard, the disciples, the miracles, and the angry mob calling for his head. Well, maybe without the first three.)
Wisconsin, the Midwest state with the highest per-pupil spending ($10,791.00 per pupil), is facing a budget crisis that has galvanized the country. Governor Walker (R-WI) has indicated that teachers need to contribute to their medical insurance and retirement. Their union has objected. Governor Walker has suggested that the teachers lose their right to collectively bargain. The union has gone positively batshit. Teachers have staged a strike, of sorts, and have gathered at the capitol to protest. Democrat legislators, whose job it is to legislate, have staged their own strike by leaving the state.
And, while it may seem like a good idea to close down the government (because it keeps them from spending money), it short circuits the democratic process. Indeed, the teachers may have shot themselves in their collective foot by drawing attention to their salaries, their benefits, and their job performance. Fully two-thirds of Wisconsin's eighth graders are not proficient readers.
Indeed, this is not only a Wisconsin issue. Across the nation, teachers are failing to teach children to read, while the federal government continues to funnel money to failing schools. (In FY 2008, the federal government gave $670 million to the State of Wisconsin for school funding.)
If education were truly important, and students were learning, this would be considered a solid investment in America's future. Instead, it seems to be another example of the profligate waste that plagues American government.
Rather than spending money of anti-bullying programmes and multicultural education, money should be spent on helping teachers do their jobs better. If this means firing non-performing teachers, then fire them. If this means getting rid of top-heavy administrations, then trim those jobs. Spending on education is at an all-time high, and the problem is not getting better. Indeed, it seems that the problem is not with the amount of money being spent, but how it is being used by the states.
The Lifeguard has made numerous pronouncements in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Teachers should be encouraged to teach fundamental skills, in whatever way works for their students. They shouldn't be evaluated by ill-trained or over-worked minions; but, rather, should be evaluated by outside teams of professionals. A twenty-year teacher, with stellar performance should not be graded by an individual without the same level of training and experience. A teacher should not be granted tenure just because they have stayed out of trouble for three years. Tenure should mean something more than it does now.
Professionals, with an aptitude for education should be welcomed into the ranks of teachers, regardless of whether they have taken college education courses, or passed a certification exam. A chemical engineer who wishes to teach high school chemistry, for instance, should be permitted to teach without having to go back to college. The Lifeguard recalls an uncle who taught high school maths after an illustrious career in the Air Force, without having to return to college for education classes.
Finally, the education establishment needs to look at new ways of providing their unique service, whether it is through same-sex academies, charter schools, or on-line education. There is no reason that, for $180,000 per class, schools can't deliver a quality product for all of their clients.
How To End The Threat of High Seas Piracy
The Lifeguard has previously commented on the need to take a stand against hostis humani generis. High seas piracy threatens the world order (as merchant vessels are the targets of these vermin), and simply must be stopped in order to preserve the credibility of seafaring nations.
Not only do the pirates--mostly Somali--operate with impunity, there is no disadvantage to surrender. Indeed, being brought to a First World nation to stand trial is a decided improvement on the lives of these men and women. Add to the equation the short sentences meted out by the courts, capture and incarceration is an acceptable risk to the pirates. Even the recent 33 year sentence imposed by a US Court is merely a slap on the wrist for people who have no running water, no electricity, and no cable TV.
And, while it is true that the recent murder of four Americans is an anomaly in the business of high seas piracy, it is the harbinger of things to come. Sadly, four innocent lives were lost as a consequence of a failure of the nations to act decisively among acts of terrorism in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
True, warnings have been given, both by pirates and the United States, relative to the dangers of sailing in these waters. However, if there is to be communion among nations, there must be an assurance of safe passage for all mariners.
Certainly, the presence of the twenty-four hour media makes such action difficult. Bombing villages and sinking pirate vessels yields collateral damage, which most countries (including the Chinese) are unwilling to accept. Sending soldiers is unpalatable, since it will likely lead to lengthy involvement by the invaders, along with other monetary and public relations costs. And, yet, something must be done, with all due dispatch.
First, the remaining pirates that seized S/V Quest must not be brought to the United States to stand trial. Instead, a military tribunal must be convened at sea, and the pirates hanged.
Second, any vessel suspected of being operated by pirates must be destroyed. The United States (and the navies of other countries operating in the region) must cooperate to sink (or permanently disable) these boats. While there is a risk of sinking a fishing vessel or coaster, the likelihood is small. Vessels engaged in legitimate commerce do not run when ordered to stop and be boarded. Those that do run should be sunk. (Any survivors can be interrogated and tried at sea.)
Finally, small teams of special operators should be tasked with attacking land-based hideouts; and, given impunity to drain the figurative swamp. The Lifeguard imagines that in short order, the instances of piracy will decrease significantly.
As for the pirate shown above, The Lifeguard intends a lengthy period of interrogation involving restraints and other "tools." And while it is true that this could be construed as "torture," The Lifeguard believes it is necessary.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Women Protesting Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi's Bunga Bunga Parties.
But, only because Prime Minister Berlusconi wouldn't invite any of them to the parties. (And, he sure as shit wouldn't fuck them.)
Prime Minister Berlusconi, a conservative media mogul, is the bane of the leftists in Italy, who have vowed to remove him at all costs, including investigating his private life. Indeed, the deck appears to be stacked against Berlusconi, who has been committed to stand trial on April 6, 2011. Not only is Berlusconi facing a panel of female judges, he is facing a panel of left-leaning female judges.
There is only one thing to do in this situation, Mr. Prime Minister.
"Toga!" (Or, Bunga Bunga.)
Oh, and might The Lifeguard suggest the names of three women for the guest list?
Monday, February 14, 2011
The Lifeguard Hates Hallmark!
It's Valentine's Day, once more. The biggest crock of shit of a made up holiday...ever. The day when single people cry, and those in relationships cry harder.
It's all about expectations, which can never be met.
Either the card is not the right one ("But, you only paid $1.99 for this one. You bought me a $3.99 card when we first started dating."); or, the dozen red roses weren't long-stemmed enough. The diamond earrings are too small ("But, look at them. They'll go right through the holes in my ears."); or, the weather in the US Virgin Islands was shitty. It's never enough.
And, for The Lifeguard, it is the day that relationships end.
On no fewer than two occasions, The Lifeguard has been dumped--spectacularly--on Valentine's Day. (Not that being the dumpee made the day bad; it just made it emotionally taxing.)
Recently, The Lifeguard was reminiscing about one of these days.
Roses, champagne, and a fantastic meal were supposed to be the prelude to a night of enviable romance and, yes, hot cupid sex. Instead, the dumper--who shall remain nameless--told The Lifeguard, "It's over. Now, can you please take me home. I actually have a date at 10:00.") The Lifeguard was nonplussed, because things had been going so well. (Or, so he thought.) We seemed compatible. She was smart and sexy. The Lifeguard was, well, The Lifeguard.
We finished dinner, in relative silence; and, The Lifeguard paid the bill and carted the dumper home (with her roses in hand) so that she could get ready for her real date. Oh, sure, The Lifeguard thought about leaving her sorry ass at the table, with the bill and the roses; but, that is not how The Lifeguard rolls. Oh, no.
Instead, the ride to her place was spent, wondering, all the while, why she didn't tell The Lifeguard beforehand that she had found someone else. Wondering why she felt that my wallet was seriously in need of losing a couple of hundred bucks. Wondering what special place in hell awaited this amazing woman.
So, with ego crushed and wallet lighter, The Lifeguard walked her to the door and ran to his car.
The drive to the nearest bar was short, and soon, The Lifeguard was mingling with couples, all enjoying their night of love and romance. The Lifeguard wanted nothing more than to have a drink, to drown his sorrows in a booze-fueled night of self-pity and lament.
The crowd closed in around The Lifeguard as he moved through the crowd.
"Don't be an asshole," she said as The Lifeguard elbowed his way to the bar.
"Hey, sweetheart, The Lifeguard just got dumped."
And, to the barman, "Jaegermeister, please. And one for the young lady, who is clearly in need of an attitude adjustment, a shot, and a good rogering."
"I'm waiting for my boyfriend," she said. "My boyfriend is amazing," she proclaimed. "My boyfriend will be here in an hour," she mentioned. "Well, one shot won't hurt," she purred.
Three Jaegers later, The Lifeguard was driving the chippy back to her dorm, not contemplating that she was leaving her boyfriend waiting for her at the bar.
And, at 3:00am, when her roommate arrived, she was begging The Lifeguard to stay. "My roommate won't care."
At 7:00am, she was pleading, "Don't stop."
The Lifeguard, however, had an appointment...and, a fantastic Valentine's Day, after all.
And, so should you.
Happy Valentine's Day, y'all.
Friday, February 11, 2011
She Died For The American Dream
The Lifeguard is not really sure where the tragedy lies in the story of Claudia Aderotimi, an English woman who traveled to the United States for ass implants.
Is the tragedy that Aderotimi was willing to let someone inject silicone into her ass so that she could get more action in the world of rap videos? Is it that she had the work done at a Hampton Inn near the Philadelphia airport? Is it that she had the work done previously? Or, is it that more than one person has died from this procedure?
Seriously, who in the crikey fuck lets some unlicenced shitweasel they found online get near their ass with a tube of silicone and a spatula? Who gives that person $1,800.00 to complete the work? Why is The Lifeguard asking this question?
Now, truth be told, The Lifeguard is an ass man. (When he walks down the street, people scream, "Hey, you're an ass, man!") But, The Lifeguard does not want a woman with a tube of Dow Corning's finest shoved up her ass. (Or, injected, for that matter.) And, frankly, if there are women out there who seek a big ass, The Lifeguard can help them out for far less money than Aderotimi paid. Similarly, The Lifeguard is prepared to help out the women who seek a firm, tight ass.
Oh, sure. It'll take time. It'll take money. But, The Lifeguard gets results.