21
Jun
10

Sailing and Urban Development

I don’t really have anything particular to write about today, but I do have a smattering of things that stuck out to me today.

First, I went to my sailing class. Today was like an hour and a half talk about sailing basics including how to get somewhere even when the wind is emanating from that point, making it seemingly impossible to get there (tacking is how you do it, something I had heard about before, but never really understanding how it worked. )

The terminology of sailing is great, and it really gives a window into another age. Originally, there was no rudder on boats and so helmsmen used a steering board, and this being in the middle ages, everything had to be done right-handed. So, the steering board was on the right side of the boat, and in time, the right side of the boat came known as the starboard side (as a corruption of “steer board” side). Port was named because you put the boat into port on that side so you didn’t hurt the steering board.

Also, if you try to go straight into the wind, you don’t go anywhere, and the boat is not free to move. The terminology is that the boat is “in irons” just as if it were a prisoner.

I learned a lot of other stuff that I forget and I’m sure I shouldn’t be allowed out on the water yet, even though I passed one of the tests because the dock staff is a bunch of 22 year old kids who are so relaxed that they honestly don’t care what you know (I’m not complaining, I like the relaxed attitude).

Also, I read this today in my book about urban renewal:

A developer named Ernest Hahn is trying to sell various chain stores on an area he is developing in downtown San Diego, and usually, he takes them up to a building so they can look at things from a birds eye view. That way, they don’t see how shitty the area is. One guy wants to go down to look at the area more closely. As they’re walking, they come across a bum peeing into his own shoe. The man says “Ernie, did you see what that man is doing?” to which, Hahn, ever the entrepreneur, said, “he is going to need new shoes, and if you had a store here you could sell them to him.” Wow, I would have hoped that this guy said in reply “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.”

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