Hey ____, it’s Bob from Points East

Have you ever seen the chocolate factory episode of “I Love Lucy”? In it, Ricky accuses Lucy of overspending and derides her housekeeping abilities, after which Lucy tells Ricky that if he thinks it’s so easy staying at home then they should “swap places.” Ricky takes on the domestic chores while Lucy lands a job at the local chocolate factory. It’s Lucy’s job to wrap chocolates as they roll by on a conveyor belt. While it’s easy at first, the belt’s speed soon increases. Eventually she can’t keep up, and mayhem ensues – she stuffs them into her clothing and then, when that’s not enough, she starts eating them.

This is comedy gold, of course, but over the years I’ve used it as a metaphor to describe what I think is happening with information in the modern age. Quite simply, the overwhelming volume of stuff – the social media feeds, YouTube suggestions, advertisements, voicemail offers, emails and texts – on our phones is starting to resemble those chocolates, and the belt is speeding up. Even if you love chocolate, you can only eat so much.

Given all this, I’m always surprised when people respond to my emails. It’s my job to ask people to do things, of course, and often for peanuts. The percentage of folks who both respond and say “Sure, I’ll do that,” still amazes me. This in a time when I can’t get friends to respond to yes-or-no text queries. This is the power of being in the editor’s chair at Points East, of course, and it’s something I’ll probably never get used to. But just because I won’t ever get used to it doesn’t mean I don’t like it (cue the sinister music).

So occasionally when I need a break from magazine work I’ll jump on the blog of Webb Chiles. Webb is a rock star in sailing circles, having circumnavigated six times on various boats, his last go-around aboard an ultralight-displacement Moore 24 when he was in his late 70’s. He has also, if I’m not mistaken, been married six times. The man has done some living. When I saw on his blog that he’d recently watched and liked the Netflix series “War Sailor,” which had popped up in my own “Recommended for You” feed (more chocolates), I thought it would be neat if he reviewed the series for Points East. Webb responded to my query within 20 minutes saying he’d love to do it. Amazing. You can read it on page 70.

I don’t remember the genesis of my relationship with the one and only Donald Street. I think I saw something he’d written on Scuttlebutt, and tracked him down. In theory Donald – who mapped out and wrote the early definitive cruising guides to the Caribbean, while living aboard the engineless wooden yawl Iolaire – was not a good fit for a New England regional publication. But, being a dreamer, I thought: What the heck? The well of his work is deep. Not only did he respond in a timely manner, but he had just the article for us. It involves him inviting himself aboard a stunner of a sailboat in Jamestown, R.I. (it’s on the cover), and then envisioning that same boat re-designed to suit his own tastes. Called “A Fortuitous Pierhead Jump and a Dream,” part 1 appears on page 13.

Dr. Chuck Radis is not someone most people are familiar with. I became a huge fan after reading his 2021 book, “Go By Boat: Stories of a Maine Island Doctor,” in which he describes with humor and compassion what it’s like to live and work on one of Maine’s out-islands. I tracked him down and discovered afterwards that besides doctoring and producing books, he also writes feature-length articles. Boom! This month we’re running a piece of his concerning the schooner Bagheera, which is currently employed in the Maine charter trade. You’ll find the Bagheera saga on page 24.

I don’t know who first reached out to our own David Roper. David has been with Points East since the Dodge Morgan and Tom Snyder days, and has more than carried their bright torches. I bet a lot of you pick up the magazine just to read David Roper.Well, it occurred to us recently that, while appearing in every issue, David really doesn’t have his own named column. We’ve fixed that, and I hope you’ll forgive us for making you look for him in a different place. Called simply “Musings,” David’s new column can be found at the back of the magazine where “Last Word” used to be.

To anyone who has ever fielded one of my requests and responded in the affirmative: I thank and appreciate you.

And that’s no joke.