Saints Alive!

People who have been in dicey situations especially when they are out of sight of land know that prayer never hurts, so it’s not surprising that a number of saints are connected with seafaring and seafarers. Here’s one of the most obscure.   Saint Calogero (pronounced Ka-loge-eh-ro) is a protector of the seaside town of Sciacca in the region of Agrigento, on the southern shore of Sicily. The Tringali family hails from the nearby town of Augusta, on east coast. The area has been engaged in trade and fishing since at least the time of the Greeks who conquered the area and colonized it beginning in 800 BCE. Some beautiful Grecian temples still stand in Agrigento, even though the original builders and believers are long gone. But Saint Calogero is still there. Just ask any sailor who had the misfortune of being becalmed on a hot Sicilian day when the
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Accepting the Responsibility of Leadership

What could have been the most important message of World War II is one that was never sent. It was hand-written by Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower late on June 5, 1944–the night before the D-Day invasion of Normandy–and he kept it in his pocket, he said, “in case it was needed.” Fortunately, it wasn’t. We’ll get to that story in a minute, but first let’s examine “Ike” Eisenhower, the man. Dwight David Eisenhower was only two years old when his family moved to Abilene, Kansas, and for the rest of his life he considered it to be his home town. His nickname, “Ike” was a takeoff on his last name, and, with his older brother, they were known as “Big Ike” and “Little Ike.” As a young boy, he was fascinated with military history, and became an insatiable reader on subject, much to the displeasure of his mother
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Gone Fishin’

Regardless of their political party or philosophical persuasion, all Americans agree that the job of President of the United States is a killer. The decisions are constant and the stress is unrelenting. And, as President Ronald Regan observed, when you live upstairs from “the store,” there’s no such thing as sneaking out early. All of that is especially true in times of war, and, in 1943, the War was worldwide. The President at the time was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, physically, he should have been the one least capable of handling it. A wealthy New York patrician, he had been stricken with polio myelitis when he was 39 years old; it left him partially paralyzed and unable to walk. As we wrote in The Log of October 31, 2019, “he could have stayed home covered with a shawl, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the family’s home
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A forgotten, unsung hero.

A first-time visitor to the Washington Monument in our nation’s Capital may get something of a shock. There’s no doubt that the world’s tallest obelisk, standing at over 555 feet and gleaming in the sunlight is a fitting tribute to America’s first President. But anyone who is not blinded by sheer patriotism can easily see there is a major flaw:about one-third of the way up the monument, the color of the stone changes from a light cream/tan to a crisp white.   And try as you might to chalk up the error to a gigantic shadow, or the vagaries of outdoor illumination, the break between the bottom third and the top two thirds of the obelisk appears to be a straight line. It doesn’t just “appear” to be a straight line; it is a straight line. There’s a reason for that, and it commemorates a deed that involves a hero
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Niagara Falls – It’s Just a Matter of Time

Niagara Falls! Whether you know it as the Honeymoon Capital or a punch line to a running gag from an Abbott and Costello skit, you can be sure of one thing: the Falls at Niagara isn’t a place–it’s a work in progress. First consider the facts: the Niagara River is approximately 36 miles long, and it flows northward from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, which is the lowest of the five Great Lakes and is the only one that is connected to the Atlantic Ocean. The Niagara is the only natural outlet for the upper lakes. Every drop of water, every molecule, in Lake Superior and its sisters must make its way “down” to Lake Erie, and then north, to Lake Ontario. The upper lakes are around 550 feet above sea level, and the water has to drop around 300 feet to get to Lake Ontario and from there work
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Who Says We Can’t?

In Harbor of Refuge, the Commodore’s wife, Judy Hennel, explains to newcomer Marilyn Dupré that, in spite of Bonita Key Yacht Club’s stand-offish reputation, the members were “really a family.” And, when Marilyn questions that statement, thinking about the fact that one of her employers had waited over a year to simply get a membership application, Judy replies “Well, you wouldn’t let just anyone into your family, would you?” As we enter the 4th month of a nationwide “lockdown” intended to at least slow the progress of a deadly new virus, Judy Hennel’s words should strike home to many Americans who have never heard her name or read the romantic novel that lovingly teaches many of life’s greatest lessons. It seems that, as “Grandma Calkins” told Marilyn, “we cannot live without love,” and, for many of us who are deprived of family love by distance or age or, perhaps–in very
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Quarantine!

Quarantine: What it Meant and How it Began The year was 1348, and the bubonic plague was spreading its black pall of death over Europe. Venice, one of Italy’s most important ports, lost 600 citizens in a single day. The Venetian Council frantically sought a means to protect their city, and ordered the Doge (their senior-most elected official) to command all incoming ships to remain at anchor, and traders to remain outside the walls, for quaranta giorni, or “forty days.” The number of days was no accident; according to the Bible, Christ himself had spent forty days in the wilderness cleansing himself and preparing for his ministry. Forty days was a divine number. Quaranta Girorni became, of course, the word “Quarantine”; a concept which quickly was adopted throughout the world and is with us to this day. A vessel entering a foreign port is required to anchor, raise a yellow
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All Hail the Entrance of the Boar’s Head!

The tradition of the Boar’s Head Festival goes back to Medieval England, where, it is said, on a cold Christmas Eve in the 14th century (or, perhaps, the 16th century—nobody is entirely sure), a university student was walking through the woods, lost in thought as he studied his copy of Aristotle. In the fading twilight a wild boar attacked the scholar, and the quick-thinking lad saved himself by ramming his book down the animal’s throat. The next day’s feast at Oxford featured a tasty treat: roast pork. It was the custom of the time to present the head of the animal to the hunter, but, in honor of the day, the Boar’s Head was brought into the dining hall and set before an effigy of the Christ Child, in thanksgiving for the young man’s life. Over the years, the Boar’s Head ceremony was seen to represent God’s power to slay evil, and the
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“Never, never, never give up.” — Winston Churchill

This 1905 photograph hangs in the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. It shows one of the most remarkable men of the 20thcentury at the helm. It would be meaningless if he had not identified himself by the inscription on the back which reads, in part, “I enclose two copies of prints enlarged from a Kodak, showing me at the helm of the ice yacht HAWK. I suggest that you have this framed and hung on the wall over the spars. . . .” We’ll get to the “driver” in a minute, but first, for those of us who live in warmer climes, and believe that “ice” is something that is found only in refreshing drinks, a few words about the peculiar world of iceboating: What is an Iceboat? An iceboat consists of a long, slim hull attached to a perpendicular cross- piece called a “runner plank.” The boat is supported by
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“Salvage” does not mean “Finders Keepers”

Last month I left a lot of readers hanging when I mentioned that the intricacies of the Law of Salvage were brought home to me during my tenure as an Assistant Attorney General.  A local denizen of the community (no doubt one of the “flotsam and jetsam of humanity” from last month) had been convicted of stealing a boat and sent off to prison from which he launched an appeal. He represented himself and wrote a brief in which he argued the State of Florida could not prosecute him because by taking the boat he was acting under the “federal law of salvage.” Since his brief contained the word “boat,” and everybody knew I was a “past commodore,” the case was assigned to me. I quickly headed to our law library to do some research. I learned that “salvage” does not mean “finder’s keepers.” In fact, the Law of Salvage is pretty
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