December 19

Once again I have failed to write in my journal for a long time. Usually when this happens there is either nothing going on to write about, or, as in this case, we are stuck in a developed port or country and we are working on repairs and provisioning. Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands , is a nice place to be stuck waiting for parts. It is also a decent place for re-provisioning and we have been doing both since we arrived here 3 weeks ago. Majuro has several well stocked supermarkets, all featuring American products imported from the USA .  

The only thing they don’t have is fresh meat or poultry. Instead, they import frozen meat and poultry and fortunately it is of fairly high quality. The chicken comes from Tyson and is sold in 3 or 4lb bags (skinless, boneless breast for example). We also bought 20lbs of strip steaks (NY Strips for those of you living outside NY) frozen and sliced into 1” thick portions. Other then shopping for food we have been eating out at restaurants, socializing at the hotel bars and watching CNN at the same venues. What a shock that is after all these months. From where I sit, watching only snippets of the news it sure looks like the whole Iraq adventure is going sour. We also have been receiving a lot of mail that has built up over the months and friends and family have been sending us packages of goodies from home, among which are magazines like the New Yorker, Newsweek, and Vanity Fair all of which seem to confirm my impressions of the governments performance vis-à-vis “rebuilding Iraq”. What a mess.  

It was nice, though, to see photos of Saddam on the TV a few days ago looking like a NY street-person (a bum for those of you outside NY). What a difference a few months in a hole makes. I doubt even that can help President Bush recover from this disaster. It was a great disappointment to hear Lieberman call for the death penalty, talk about jumping on the bandwagon – I expected more from him. General Clark is busting heads though and I am thrilled to have him around to shake things up.  

Then I began reading about the whole WMD scare which the administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq and how it was all a put up job. I certainly was not surprised at that. An in-depth article I just finished reading talked about how the administration, especially Chaney and Rumsfield, have re-tooled the protocols governing the dissemination of intelligence information so that they can get direct access to raw source intelligence before the CIA or NSA has a chance to do its job, vetting and corroborating (or refuting) the data. The result is the administration was able to latch onto un-vetted reports of “evildoing” by Saddam which was plainly false or incorrect to justify their plans. Specifically, the whole thing about Saddam buying “yellowcake” Uranium from Niger was a scam and Bush used that in his State of the Union address to drum up support for his war. Chaney referred to the same thing several times on Nationally syndicated TV talk shows saying things like “…we have definite proof that…” and “…we know for sure that…” when all along the CIA and other intelligence folks were saying “Whoa” – its all such bullshit. If this bald faced example of Bush and his pals hoodwinking the American people doesn’t convince voters to dump Bush I don’t know what will.  

I have no idea how things will turn out next November, but it sure looks to me like Bush has been a huge failure as our leader and the only way to turn (away from him) is to the candidate the Democrats end up fielding, whomever that shall be. I sure hope the rest of Americans agree with me and realize what a loser and poser Bush is, “The Unelected President” I like to call him. And thank you Supreme Court for giving us this moron and making the US look like fools to the rest of the world. Sheesh. Ok, I’m done venting. I probably should keep my mouth shut about all this. I once sent a nasty email to a sailor who used a sailing web site to proselytize about politics (he was attacking Al Gore and calling him a liar, which he may or may not have been) and I said he should keep partisan politics out of the web site since the site’s proclaimed purpose was to talk about sailing and cruising. In my defense, I would say that our web site is not a “group” web site, it is called “” and is run by and for the Bigels (the other web site was called “At Sea” and was run by a group of different sailors and featured stories by and about several cruisers). Second, I am not slinging unfounded and unproven accusations. And finally I am right and he was wrong, to paraphrase one of my favorite pundits. Case closed.  

Meanwhile, we still sit here awaiting parts need for repairs. Our generator is still off line pending a new AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) and our outboard is still running on half a cylinder pending a new leaf plate (don’t ask). Fortunately, the weather sucks and it has rained constantly for days and days, so no one else is going anywhere either. For fun, we got a hold of Matrix and Matrix Reloaded on DVD today and we are having a double feature presentation aboard the Queen Jane (Martin and Christie from “Wind Runner” are joining us). Jonah and Christie have never seen the original Matrix and none of us has seen number 2. And, Matrix 3 (Revolution?) is playing at the local cinema and we plan to go see it tomorrow afternoon once we have seen Matrix 2 this evening. We are also hoping they show the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King which is opening in the US today and should be playing here within a week I am told.