View Full Version : Robb White calls it, ROTFLMAO

Ed Harrow
01-19-2006, 10:02 AM
Sorry (no, not really), long C&P, the good stuff (and it is really good) is a ways along. Mr White is, of course, absolutely brilliant.

The Internet Simplified

Robb White
This is a story I wrote for the little family published magazine, Messing about in Boats whose editor is Bob Hicks. He is an independent-minded peculiar type of editor and has published quite a few very successful small magazines about everything from motorcycles (he raced them until he got way too old) to all kinds of different boating specialties. His current effort is into its 22nd year with some five thousand peculiar type subscribers ("messers"). The subject matter of the magazine is more varied than any other publication I ever saw. The current issue has an article about boating in Georgia.... that ain't the Georgia down by Florida, that's the Georgia over there by Russia. The estimable Phil Bolger has a piece in MAIB every two weeks. Yep, that's every two weeks. You get 24 issues a year for $32. You can read the shipping news of the world in there.... who sank what and where... who is polluting and who caught them... which cruise ship sickened how many cruisers.... what the pirates in the South China Sea are up to and.... I have a story in almost every issue so this is an unabashed plug. If I didn't have that resource, I would have to resort to posting all that drivel on these idiotic forums on the internet. It is a good little magazine... 29 Burley St., Wenham MA 01984-1943. The "Boston Globe" said, "Alongside the information superhighway, Messing about in Boats is a dirt road."

Despite the fact that Bob Hicks has extremely widespread interests (might publish your story) he is not immaculately indiscriminate. He rejected this.

Even though it was rejected by MAIB the rights still belong to me and it is illegal to cut and paste or even copy this onto a piece of paper with a dull crayon.

Lately there have been several mentions of the world wide web in connection with this magazine and its recalcitrant editor. It occurred to me that there might be quite a few members of the messing community who do not mess with that miracle of the modern world but whose curiosity may have been aroused by those mentions. Just because one chooses to abstain from enthusiastic participation in something does not mean that they want to be completely ignorant. Take me, for example. I am not crazy about either the Democrats or the Republicans but that does not mean that I can find bliss by merely being ignorant. I try to keep up with what the hell those sons of bitches are trying to do to me. It is not necessary to immerse oneself in a cesspool to find out what's in there. You can find out from somebody who has had a little cesspool experience. I know a few people who are involved with the government from whom I am able to get a little insider information and I, myself, have had a little experience with the internet so, for those who would like to know what it contains without becoming contaminated, here goes.

I'll start off with porn: Whew, y'all, like Herman Melville said in "Typee" about the young women dancers of the South Pacific, "It is more than a sensible young man can stand." Somehow modern mores have enabled a state of exhibitionism that is truly mind boggling. What happened to subtlety and imagination? I mean, to take the personal exhibition displayed on the internet any further would require the use of tools such as proctoscopes. Not only is such exposure within easy reach, it is almost unavoidable. These porn magnates (I read somewhere that the porno industry is bigger than the automobile industry in the USA) have a cute trick where, when you are trying to type in a familiar and common internet address in the little hole (I do not know all the terms for all this... you'll have to consult a nerd) all you have to do is make the slightest error in the http///www thing to get the shock of your life... if you are a sensible young man. Not only that, but they will hide the little "X" that you have to move the little arrow to so you can mash the button and get rid of the damned thing. It's a mess. I understand that there are services you can subscribe to to prevent that and the library where I normally do my internet stuff has such a setup. The library computers are so uptight that you can't get your email through the service called "Hotmail."

Another feature of the internet is the amazing "search engines" and the most powerful of those boogers is "Google" ("Dogpile" comes in a distant second). All you have to do is type in anything on your mind in the little window where the little thing is blinking and then put the little arrow on the "Search" button, tap and Google will find every mention of that thing that ever occurred in the world. I don't know how in hell it works but it is frightening. If some narcissus were to type "Robb White" in there he will get 800,000 things to look at. Somewhere in all that will even be a letter written from one bishop to another about my grandfather's performance as an Episcopal missionary in the Philippines in 1905... a "fitness report," if you will. He was an "evangelical of a different kind." There are a lot of mentions of my connection with this and other magazines, too. There are vapid "chats" exposing my ignorance of almost everything and some very intelligent rebuttals to those chats. If you forget the quotation marks and just type Robb White, Google will search each word individually and you'll get a bunch of white racist nonsense. You know the head turd of the KKK's last name is "Robb." The most terrifying thing about the amazing capability of Google is that typing your own name might come up with things you don't want everybody in the near universe to know... like your phone number, address, social security number and the status of your property tax bill.

They have a lot of social clubs on the internet which are easy to join. Once you have jumped through the hoops, you can "chat" with all the other members of those clubs simultaneously. I, myself, am a member of three of those clubs. One is the Atkin boat design club. In there are a bunch of people who are fans of the Atkins, William and John. It is easy to link to Pat Atkin's (John's widow's) web site and look at all the plans she has for sale. The members of the club will often post photos of Atkin boats and drawings of boats that are not in the catalog anymore. There is a lot of speculative discussion in there about what's what. The reason I joined was to try to find out if anybody knows of another Seabright tunnel boat like the one Alex Hadden built ("Noble Cab") or my bastardized Rescue Minor. I haven't found out what I want to know, yet, but I did discover that some people don't like the way I bastardized the stern on my boat. "So?" I say.

Another club I belong to is the AOMCI (Antique Outboard Motor Club International). Whew, what a thing. There are so many classified ads on there that I believe one could "scroll" for hours and hours looking for some little object. I have done that. I need a coil for my old 1938 Elto Pal but haven't found one yet. I think I will modify one of those completely unified modern ignition thingamajigs like they put on weedeaters and stuff where there is this lump of plastic with a spark plug wire coming out of it and nothing else.... no points, no condenser, nothing. If you whip any kind of magnet anywhere near one of those things it'll bite hell out of you. An old Elto set up like that would be a Pal indeed... if you could figure out how to circumvent the cursed Tillotson carburetor. Another thing you can do on there is look up any Michigan Wheel outboard motor propeller by the cryptic and meaningless number stamped on the hub.

There are a lot of those kinds of things on the internet. Despite the prevalence of the rapacious doings of commercial enterprise and the apparently random horrors of vandals ("hacker nerds") there are examples of true altruism on there. There is a very kind man who, with his wife, has worked very hard to set up a wonderful web site where you can find out almost anything you want to know about old Caille outboard motors (made by the same people who made slot machines) including all the old advertisements giving pictures, specifications, descriptions and old prices (Caille model numbers are the same as the price). There is a man in Germany who has "posted" almost every OMC outboard motor brochure from 1950 until 1975. From that, I learned that the fifty-to-one mix was first introduced in '65 and from then through '67, they made a 50/1 of the dearly beloved old-style, two cylinder 3hp (the one with the weedless foot and both high and low speed knobs). In '68 they changed it to a fiberglass hood, no high speed adjustment and the second worst throttle arrangement on any outboard... on the starboard side like a gearshift lever. The worst throttle arrangement was the 5hp of the same era... had the throttle on the port side... had to reach all the way over the motor to get to it. There is a an extremely diligent and hard working man who flipped through about 80 pounds of old Messing magazines and compiled an index of mind boggling intricacy and completeness going back some fifteen years. Too bad he blew a fuse about 1999... might have been Y2K. That's www.messingaboutinboats.com (http://www.messingaboutinboats.com)

Then there is eBay. I won't go into all the intricacies of that but you can buy absolutely anything on there in an auction style situation. I saw that a woman had rented advertisement space across her chest and got $15,000 for it on the ebay. I even saw a picture of the space offered... didn't look like it was worth all that much to me. If you, in a fit of self indulgence, once traded your old trusty Plymouth Valiant in on a high mileage GTO, you can buy another Valiant even better on the eBay... or the high mileage GTO, too, if the bull came back and left you a big, steaming pile in the stock market. Me, I have a lifetime supply of almost everything so I try to stay away from eBay all I can.

Now to the boat related part of this in an attempt to vindicate this serious departure from relevance to the boat world: There is another interesting "club" and that's the WoodenBoat forum. On there is not only one of the most lengthy "strings" of salesman style jokes I ever saw and a run of fairly tame Bikini pictures of scrawny women but thousands of chats about almost every boat-related and non-boat-related thing you can think of. Because a lot of the people who post are very knowledgeable (Dave Carnell for one) It is possible to learn a good bit of actual knowledge from reading the chat on the WB forum. Not only are all kinds of maritime subjects discussed in depth and great detail but the members often post plans and beautiful or comical photographs on there. One sequence of photographs showed these three dudes launching a jet ski out of the back of an SUV. They backed it down into the water but, I guess, forgot to set the brake when they waded around to rassle the See Doo out the tail gate and the car rolled down the ramp until it was completely submerged with only a few bubbles showing where it was. The jet ski, however floated free and the last picture in the sequence shows one of the dudes sitting on it gesticulating to the other two dudes, one of which is pointing and gesticulating at the position of the sunken car while the other is pointing towards the bank as if to show where their next effort needs to be directed. The members of the forum copy links to other websites with interesting stuff. Once I clicked on this little blue thing and called up the web site of a British manufacturer of a very small two cylinder, two cycle inboard engine which was claimed to be the quietest and most vibration free of sailboat auxiliary motors. All that information is well and good but what is really interesting to me about the forum is that I don't believe there is any better place to explore the outer limits of human nature. Driving in a car is another good place because somehow the isolation of being inside with the windows rolled up and the doors locked and the ball of the foot poised on the gas pedal gives drivers a feeling of immunity from the necessity to comply with more restrictive conventions of human behavior. I mean you can see a woman in a car stopped at the light with all her makeup and jewelry on looking in the rear view mirror to pat her hair just so and then stick her finger three joints deep into one of her nostrils to make sure all is right up in there, too. You see people making rude gestures at one another which they would never make if they were outside the car like, say, walking down the street or in a crowded elevator where somebody could get his or her hands around his neck. Rude, little, wizened up old men will flip the finger at rude, big, tattooed young rednecks as if they were perfectly safe in the big Grand Marquis with the windows rolled up. They might be but I believe a chat room such as the WoodenBoat forum is a better place to work out the frustrations of the restraints imposed upon us all by the workaday world and apparently, so do a lot of other people. I mean, some of these rednecks will deliberately run over you if you make them mad enough whereas, the perfect (?) anonymity of the internet makes anybody virtually immune from retaliation for how he or she acts. The forum is "moderated" by this guy named Scot and, supposedly, if one were to get too ugly (or, Scot forbid, profane) he would get his ass "Scotted." His chat would be deleted and his name struck forever from the roster of the welcome. Despite that imminence, there is a lot of downright belligerent fury evident on the forum. There are these people called "trolls" on there who try to stir up trouble just for trouble's sake. I had a friend like that when I was in the navy. His favorite trick was to go up to some drunk at a bar and tell him that another drunk had said something derogatory about his momma. Then, when the resulting brawl rolled out into the parking lot, he would break the radio aerial off the nearest automobile and flagellate the participants to make sure they kept up the pace. That's what these trolls on the WB forum do except, unlike my friend, they don't have to keep poised to run. The flagellated members are completely impotent. All they can do is call on this Scot to throw the bastard out except they can't even say "bastard." It is interesting.

One of the most interesting things about it is that the forum provides these little yellow faces sort of like what Wal Mart uses to show how much they love the community where the super center is enhancing local business. Any forumite can punctuate his or her (quite a few... lot of Republicans) chat with these little expressive things. There are smiling ones, and frowning ones, winking ones and even little yellow faces sticking out their tongues at you. There is a little face to punctuate any remark. As a matter of fact, some forumites don't actually chat at all. They sit silent at their computers and make facial expressions at the other chatters. I predict that automobiles will soon have a little thing in the back window where the driver can display a little yellow face appropriate to his or her mood. Not only are there these little faces but forumites have special abbreviations sort of like the fool military so they won't have to type actual meaningful and correctly spelled words and sentences. The military does it so that officers won't have to reveal to low-life (but well educated) enlisted men that they can't spell worth a flip. Though forumites are presumably a classless society where the inability to spell or understand grammar is not frowned upon (they have a yellow face for that) I think a lot of them let their need to chat overload their ability to type so they use a lot of cultish abbreviations. A reply to a particularly amusing chat might simply consist of the letters "LOL" which mean "laughing out loud." Then there is "ROTFL" which means "rolling on the floor laughing" and even "ROTFLMAO" which means "rolling on the floor laughing my ass off." Communication has come a long way, folks.

I am not participating in the internet anymore. I never did have email capability anyway because I want somebody who wants to put his or her (not many) two cents in directly to me and who expects a reply to have to put their thirty seven cents in the post office first so I have no actual internet hookup myself. I got banned from the library for rolling on the floor laughing my ass off and I infected my daughter in law's computer with a virus so virulent that it could not be "cleaned" by the nerdiest of nerds. She says I did it by looking at porn but I think I got it off one of the trolls on the WoodenBoat forum. You know some people are real sensitive about what you say about their mommas particularly when the remark is followed by "ROTFLMAO."

Designers and Builders of Custom Small Boats Since 1961
P.O. Box 561, Thomasville, GA 31799
Copyright © 2004 and 2005 Robb White. All rights reserved.


Dolly Varden
01-19-2006, 10:10 AM
She says I did it by looking at porn but I think I got it off one of the trolls on the WoodenBoat forum. he oughter get some vetted fbi ers to look into that, huh mjc (aka cedar savage) and meer?


[ 01-19-2006, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Dolly Varden ]

01-19-2006, 10:15 AM
Thats beautiful. Well done.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-19-2006, 12:05 PM
Well, how could I not..


He's right of course.

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 12:07 PM
I read this, where did I read this before ? I read Rob's article on some website. Very good indeed thanks for the post. I enjoy everything the guy writes.

Russ Manheimer
01-19-2006, 01:18 PM
Thanks Ed for defying Old Bingey and posting another of his gems.

Speaking of gems, in the last issue the editor of Messing About in Boats (and owner, typesetter and everything else) Bob Hicks mentioned that his renewal rates arenít where they should be. For about a dollar an issue his magazine is probably the best value out there. As Robb mentioned, each issue usually has something by him along with stories from the sort of folks who congregate here. I particularly enjoy Hugh Ware's column about all things maritime world wide. It's amazing just how many nautical cock-ups take place on a distressingly regular basis.

The regular subscription form is here (http://www.messingaboutinboats.com/messform.html). Or you can subscribe online here. (http://www.duckworksbbs.com/media/maib/index.htm)

A guaranteed chuckle in every issue.


Phillip Allen
01-19-2006, 01:48 PM
A very good post...thanks

Dave Thibodeau
01-20-2006, 06:07 PM
Well I am the old geezer who created the cross referenced index for the first eughteen years of Messing About In Boats which is found on the by-the-sea web site. I'm still alive and kicking but I have pretty serious heart problems which curtailed my boating activites around the year 2000.

My boating now consists of clooecting Vintage Pond Models.


Dave Thibodeau

landlocked sailor
01-20-2006, 06:10 PM
Thanks for your efforts Dave! Rick

01-20-2006, 06:27 PM
Hopefully you're working on those ticker troubles, Dave. It's amazing what they can do with them these days.

01-20-2006, 08:22 PM
If anyone wants to check out "Messing About In Boats" Bob will send you seven issues for $6. You can't go wrong with that deal. www.messingaboutinboats.com/index.html (http://www.messingaboutinboats.com/index.html)

And thanks, Dave, I've looked through the online archives many times. Much appreciated.