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Thanks to the untold riches he made by co-inflicting the scourge that is Microsoft upon the world, Paul Allen leads a lavish lifestyle that can be imagined by few outside the House of Saud. One of his prize possessions is his 414-foot yacht, Octopus, which has recently docked in Bermuda, Barbados, South Africa, and Australia.
Allen, of course, would prefer that the Octopus’s movements were not known. A recent Wall Street Journal story said that the yacht’s “crew members have to sign confidentiality agreements” and Allen “has rarely if ever permitted the media to photograph the boat, and he prefers to sail in the world’s most remote waters.” But the_ Journal_ reported that Allen’s craft, and other 90-foot-plus yachts, are closely tracked by
an oddball collection of dockworkers, marina clerks, boat owners and other boat enthusiasts who call themselves yacht-spotters. They are to yachts what train-spotters are to trains–devoted, sometimes obsessive, trackers of the world’s biggest pleasure craft. And they are making life miserable for today’s superrich boaters.
After all, if one can’t enjoy total privacy while docking a 414-foot behemoth that also includes two helicopters and a submarine, and is crewed by Navy Seals, then what reason is there to go on living?
Go ahead–notch one up for the little guy, and spy on Allen’s yacht.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”