Another Sailing Season Wraps Up 
Sailing West on Lake Erie: As Good as it Gets.

Nothing was unusual about our three pm “early” start. My family has a long history of being late to get moving, and a whole dance card of missing organizational skills.

It didn't matter! We sailed our 1983 Hunter 34 out of Erie Harbor and rounded Seagull point to head West on a perfect July afternoon: sweltering hot in the city, 10 to 12 knots SW wind on the lake and my sweet daughter Shannon and I, all smiles, clicking off 6 or so knots an hour, West by North (for those of you who still go by the 32 point compass).

The water was much smoother than you'd expect, and sporting an incredible rippling green algae bloom from the extended heat wave of the last few weeks. That, along with the soft sounds of the boats progress gave the whole scene a relaxing, hypnotically, rare effect.

It was almost nine PM when the sun treated us to an “Olympic-scoring” 9.7 plunge into the burnt orange glowing water, just as Conneaut Harbor was coming into view. We had already made up our minds to sail right through the night, since our friends had left a day ahead of us for the West End of the lake and Kelley's Island.

Gradually blackness steals the view of your course and the water ahead; and at ten or twelve miles off shore your belly tightens up and wants your eyes to develop some better night vision! But shortly, the timely arrival of about a million stars soothes the situation like Pepto-Bismol on a rebellious Mexican lunch.

Shan says: “hey Dad, someone's following us”! I look and, sure enough, a bright spotlight straight astern and growing closer. Only the Coast Guard or Border Patrol has a light like that, but what do they want with us???

A few minutes later we laugh, it's the moon, beautiful, full and clear. The rich glow fills our wake as far as we can see. It follows us all night and passes us in the midnight hours.

This is what sailing is all about, moon, stars, and heeled over 15 to 20 degrees with only the sound of the breeze and the water rushing by. We just grin and move a little closer together; neither one of us even thinks about sleeping.

This was only the first night of an outstanding five day boating adventure, filled with a Pickle Bill's pit stop on the Grand River (when you need it most), a large gulp of Mother Nature in a very bad mood, and friends at last in a safe anchorage. And, oh yah, a couple of Brandy Alexanders at the very friendly “Village Pump” in Kelly’s Island once the hook is down.

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Elvis Stole My Dream 
Elvis Stole My Dream

Now don’t get me wrong, I am an Elvis fan. I grew up in the 50’s trying to make my legs do that stuff on the dance floor. Even now, I have a picture of Elvis in my living room (not velveteen thank you), but somewhere something has gone terribly wrong.

Back in the eighties and nineties, parents started dressing their sons up to be Elvis Impersonators and their daughters had to be beauty queens and Miss America, and now they just can’t send them to enough summer camps to make them into little super stars. The point is; that the American Dream has turned into the desire to be “Rich and Famous”, (sponsored by the parents??), at about a million to one shot, with all the pressure, commitment and disappointment that go with it for the other 999,999.

Now call me crazy, but I’ve always thought the American Dream was to be a useful part of a good community: work hard, raise a family and set a good honest, caring example for your children. Somewhere gold necklaces, Rolex watches, fancy cars, indoor swimming pools, fame and fortune have become the dream.

Now you know I’m getting old when I start talking like this. But, does anyone really want their daughter to grow up to be one of those used, abused, super model actresses, or their son to be Michael Jackson or Elvis, overdosed on fame and depression, - way too young.

My heroes are the Mailman, the Butcher, the lady at the Country Fair who always has a smile and a good word, the girls at the bank and all the people who care about what they are doing and try every day to do it the best they can.

Those people are the cement and bricks that make this country; not the shiny ornaments that get blown off the roof whenever the wind picks up.

Oh yah, and don’t forget the guy that’s dedicated to keeping your car safe to drive, (Especially if he can print money)! Don’t throw away your Buttsie Bucks.

— Livin’ the Dream — GB

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Gerry Solves Global Warming Crisis  
Totally unnerved and upset by the aspect of relentless climate change, and being a mechanic at heart, I find myself drawn to finding the cause and solution to this onslaught of warmth. So once again I join forces with my long time advisor and associate the Inebrial Dr. Tru-dat of the well known University of Apocalyptic Understanding and Dream Interpetation.

After months of extensive testing the good Dr. and I have arrived at the irreversible truth of the matter; that the air people breathe out is several degrees warmer than the air they breathe in, especially in the colder climates. (Do Not Tell The Canadians, the guilt would be to much for them to ,polar, bear).

Tru-dat and I have determined mathematically that the population of earth has quadzupelized every eleventeen years since the origin of man! Thus, the global temperature is rising, literally with every breath we take and baby we make!

Hopeless you say?? Ha Ha, Hardly; science will prevail! Through the use of Orphalic Satellites and highly sensitive thermometers, obtained from a unique non-sterile veterinary source, we have determined that Washington DC is responsible for creating the majority of the hot air in the world today. Our study proves that Politicians bloviating contribute more to global warming than the world supply of Bovine Methane.

Solution: SIMPLE, remove all microphones and TV cameras from the Capital, this would effectively and permanently take away the incentive and inspiration to blow hot air up the worlds tidy, clean burning tail pipe.

And also, on a less technical note, if you let Gerry Butts Auto fix your Air-conditioner this summer, every time you roll down your window to flip off a fellow driver the cold air that escapes will be your contribution to this devastating world problem.

PS: Nobel Peace Prize?? Graciously accepted.(Don't hold your Breath)!

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Reasonable Auto Repair 
So what the heck is reasonable auto repair anyway, because that's what we want to be known as. I have had several of my customers tell me over the years that they recommended me to a friend or co-worker and it usually goes like this: "Now I told him your not cheap, but you will do a good job and in the long run they will be glad they came to you".

To me that is a glowing recommendation that really makes me proud, because that is exactly the goal of our little team here. To make people happy over the long run that they have trusted us to keep their vehicles safe and dependable for their family to enjoy.

The only thing that bothers me a little is the; he's not cheap part, as a lot of people translate that to "Oh, oh, he's going to charge me an arm and a leg", and that for sure is not the case.

I have seen the whole spectrum of auto repair; and cheap auto repair is not pretty, it is a dim, dirty, poorly run shop with grubby, untrained, underpaid and unhappy employees that turn over faster than "Pancakes at Perkins". Believe me this is not the place you want to trust your car to.

Expensive on the other hand is palm trees and coffee girls in the waiting room, customer satisfaction surveys to fill out (because the boss doesn't have a clue what's going on there unless you tell him). Service writers (read salesperson) with quotas to meet and an owner whom you will only see in an expensive TV commercial- "How did you enjoy your $service experience$".

We try to land in the middle, yet unique area. Neat, well trained, (happy) employees, in a clean, bright facility and a repair price that will be a good value to the Customers and the Company. Now that's what I call a reasonable auto repair!
*Quality - Value - Confidence!*

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The Latest in Transportation

Jim Manson, (no relation to Charles) was never an inventor, or a designer, nor an artist or a creator! He's what I guess I would call an imaginist (I had to make up that word because nothing else really suits him). He could see (imagine) things that no one else would even conceive or consider or certainly understand. He was a weird, spooky loner, completely out of tune with almost every part of society; probably hard for you to believe, but he and I hit it off from the start; for one reason or another.

Maybe I was his only friend, or perhaps he had a following of thousands, his persona was just that remote and unknowable. Recently, he "contacted" me to stop by his "place". He wanted to show me something new. Very strange, because, when I got there, I wasn't at his place at all, he was where I had been and so was I.??? What he wanted to show me was something new he had "instilled in the universe": his words not mine, and he was all abeam with pride on this one! It was an entirely new and unique form of transportation; unlike any progression of the existing fleet of every mode man has devised.

Description??: sort of like a self-driving car, (without doors, windows, engine roof or floor), that got caught in a friendly tornado??. That doesn't do it justice at all. It had no set speed or height off the ground, it went everywhere, and didn't bump into things, it just kind of flowed around them, or if there was an opening, it went right through! Jim was smiling like a proud father, and my knowledge of the thing was suddenly like I had been in on this project from the ground floor. People could just get on it and go, but not any place in particular, and not everyone could get on (or in, whichever).

Children loved it and most of them could get on easily, and they could stay for weeks, but when they got off, it was exactly the same time they left, so their parents were never worried or upset. No, it wasn't a time machine; it was an absence of time, and not a machine at all. In order to enter you had to be willing to have your mind changed (nothing fancy, we do it all the time: So what, I changed my mind?)! And, you knew as soon as you got close to it, all the things you would have to leave behind; all mental baggage, nothing physical! Also, you were certain as soon as your hand reached out that it was all about trust; no trick, no gimmick, no circus ride.

Once inside you could feel the air in your lungs freshening, like all the old air was going away and the new was almost bubbly and stimulating! At the same time you could feel all your bad, depressed thoughts spilling out of you; like a drink that had just been knocked over.

Well of course you can see out, but everything that was out there is gone, and all that is out there is magnificent! Or, whatever you happen think is magnificent, is out there: the ocean, the sky, a painting, a play, your mother! Then whenever you feel the time is right, you just get off, and it is exactly the same time as when you got on, and the world is just as it was, but you have changed; you feel fresh and alive, kind of like your brain just got a disc cleanup, de-fragmented and your battery is back to 100 percent.

Jim will be at Gerry Butts Auto for demonstrations and test drives. Not always of course, but at certain - uncertain times. He is very hard to pin down you know. But, if you would happen to be there during one of his visits be sure to have your current Buttsie Bucks handy; it is the only type of currency Jim recognizes.

And, as always, at Butts Auto we stay current with all the latest in transportation and currency innovations.

Enjoy the ride, gb

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