Sail Away

Went over to Newport this morning to check out the 2023 Ocean Race boats. These hydrofoil boats are as far removed from my kind of sailing as a wood-and-canvas biplane is from the Dragon spacecraft. 

Behind the 21st century sailboats is the Oliver Hazard Perry, a sailing school ship and the official flagship and tall ship ambassador of Rhode Island. 1812 meets 2023. I was volunteering on his ship and then along came Covid.


Celebrity Photo

I just finished getting some Epic Passes for skiing next year in Colorado. For some reason, they wanted photos of the pass holders. (I guess no slipping my pass to someone else for the day. No, no, everyone must pay the huge fees even if they’re not skiing that day.) Anyway, I uploaded a mugshot of myself only to have Epic Pass’ facial recognition system come back with a claim that my photo was a photo of some celebrity. Who I wondered? Cher? Harrison Ford? Snoop Dogg? 

I tried several different pictures of myself, but facial rec kept insisting I was uploading a celebrity photo. It would have been helpful to know which celebrity it thought I was pretending to be. Where’s CHATGPT or HAL when you need them? So, my currently posted photo is “under review.” I’m hoping some humanoid confirms by email that I am indeed me and not Ted Cruz or Tom Cruise or Celia Cruz. 

And now I’m wondering how celebrities get ski passes. Does Cher have trouble with the same facial rec system insisting that she’s uploading a photo of Cher? The system doesn’t like photos of people wearing sunglasses either, so that would create yet another hurdle for any celeb looking to grab an early Epic Pass.

Maybe I should have uploaded a baby picture.

Travel, Writing

Island Retreat

In my historical fiction manuscript (The Cottage Industry), the main character, David Enders, sails a catboat out of Stonington, Ct. He passes Enders Island, which he takes to be a good omen. It isn’t.

To me, the island was just a spot on a chart (just below Mason Island on the Connecticut shoreline). So, I drove over to check it out. You can drive onto the island because the original owner, Thomas B. Enders, MD, built a causeway connecting the 11-acre island to the larger Mason Island in 1920. I guess he didn’t want to wait for low tide to wade across the gap. He bought the island in 1910 and started the very large stone house in 1918. 

The house is still there. Today the island and its numerous outbuildings serve as a Catholic retreat of some kind. Which I suppose is better than having had the island turned into some rich man’s private kingdom, complete with helipad and guard shacks. There are enough of those dotting Long Island Sound. At least this retreat is open to the public. The island acreage is a curious mix of old estate, construction site, and quarry. All the ongoing stonework seems intended to hold back the rising tides. I’m guessing prayer wasn’t sufficient.

When I named my fictional character, Enders I wasn’t aware of the various Enders from the Hartford area. Of course, I knew of John F. Enders (1897-1985), the famous microbiologist and vaccinologist who won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Medicine. There’s the above Thomas Enders who built the island estate. Then there is Thomas O. Enders (1931-1996) who was an American diplomat. His uncle was John F. Enders, and his father was Ostrom Enders, president of the Hartford National Bank. Farther back, there is Thomas O. Enders (1832-1894) whose two sons were Thomas B. (above) and John O. Enders, the banker. My Enders isn’t so well connected or funded.

Books, Misc.

Some Free PR

From Embark, the literary journal for novelists:

Edward McSweegan—author of THE FEVER HUT (featured in Embark, July 2019)—recently had a short story called “The Bookshop” published in the Maryland Writers’ Association 2022 anthology, Caption This! His debut historical novel, Shadow of the Moon, was published in March by Wild Rose Press. He has also been invited to the 2023 DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Congratulations all around, Ed!