16 November 2009


I don't very often write about where we have been or what we are doing, but for this I will make an exception. It is that time of year when so many of you boaters are "heading south", and so many of you end up in Miami or someplace close by. I am urging you to give consideration to the Miami book Fair, as a must stop, on you way to where ever. Unfortunately, this year the dates coincided with the Seven Seas Cruising Association's annual Gam in Melbourne, but I am hoping this won't happen again.

 I have always loved the Gam, and the one we attended in Annapolis, in October was superb. I always credit the Gam with giving us the impetus to go to the Med, one of our life's happier decisions, but are we sorry we missed it this year? Not on your life. Will we go to the Book Fair again next year? You bet!

Our only disappointments were Barbara Kingsolver and Orhan Pamuk, who basically read from their books, and we decided, unless you are truly funny, like Wally Lamb, and Susie Essman, reading on in a droning voice is a quick inducement to sleep, at least for me. But everyone else, from Al Gore, (standing ovation), to Ralph Nader, Sam Tanenhaus, Don Senor, Chris Hedges, Norman Podhoretz, Gwen Ifill,  and the dozens and dozens more, gave us something to think about, something to laugh about, something to cheer about, and something to worry about. The world is full of great writers and deep thinkers, and this was a feast of so many of this year's best. Dave's comments as we left each all day session on the week ends, was, he didn't miss hearing another Bob Smith talk on diesel engines one bit.

 I would love to go into details about each and every session, but I think you can find it on U-Tube. Sooner or later it will appear on C-Span's Book program on the weekends. For my grandchildren and their mother's, try to see Susie Essman reading the first chapter of her book, What Would Susie Say?, about how teen agers know it all, eye roll, eye roll, and then how the roles are reversed. I don't know if it is as funny just being read, because she is a master comedienne, so if it comes in a talking book, get it. We feel that way about Wally Lamb's latest, and he does do the talking book himself. I also want  to read Al Gore's latest. That along with Friedman's book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, may give you a different perspective about what is possible, nay necessary, for our country's energy needs, including some of the downsides of nuclear you may not have thought about. Actually I want all my family and especially the youngest to read this book. it is the world they are inheriting, and if they don't get the generation in power to do something now, they are going to be inheriting maybe more than can be fixed.

 Google the Miami book Fair web site for details, you will be amazed at what was included. Vendors selling street food from around the world were on site, along with hundreds of booksellers, from new to old and every genre.

Best thing about all of this, was a five dollar admission fee, ten if you are not a senior, on the week end days, and other than the big names that spoke during the weeknights, for ten dollars a ticket, which also bought you a drink and appetizers, the rest was free.  Even parking was free. There were people who drove down from many parts of the state. They hired buses, or came as a group, staying overnight at a local hotel like Holiday Inn, on the doorstep of Miami Dade College. So all of you who live anywhere in the vicinity, put in your next year's November Calendar, to get the information on the Miami Book Fair. For the big name speakers, you must apply for tickets, (on line) which are free, but the room only seats about a thousand people, and they do run out of space. If you come by boat, anchoring by the Miami Yacht Club is very handy, a walk for the vigorous, or a short taxi ride for us lame ducks. Maybe some sort of deal could be made with them to use their dinghy dock for this occasion, without paying a fortune. When something this great is on your path of travel, it is a pity to miss it.

SSCA, I hope you try not to schedule on the same weekend next year. The week before would be perfect. For those who may not know, Seven Seas Cruising Association welcomes all boaters, or wannabees, or has beens, to join or even just participate in any and all affairs. Check out their web site, http://ssca.org/