The Trunnion - Blog of Patrick McBriarty

German Takeaway

September 24th, 2019 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

Three weeks ago, relief at arriving in sweet home Chicago turned to frustration and boiled over into anger.  I was traveling light, without checked luggage, just a carryon, so you’d think getting home should have been easy, right?  Sure, my tolerance for foolishness was not high having awakened at 6 am in Germany (11pm CST) for a 2-1/2 hour train ride and nine-hour flight to Chicago.  Landing at O’Hare I was excited to be almost home – or so I thought. Read More

It’s Finally Summer in the City!

July 11th, 2019 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

Hope you are enjoying your summer!  It seemed to take forever to get some consistently nice weather here in Chicago!  And then BAM!  Someone turned a switch and it’s full on Summer! Of course living less than a score of blocks from Lake Michigan’s cool water in the spring definitely makes for chilly and foggy days that extend into June.  In addition, all-time high-lake water has made boating more dangerous with submerged jetties and barely visible break walls — even the lake shore bike path is half underwater near Oak and Olive Street Beaches! Read More

Midwest Name Calling

June 11th, 2019 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

In creating a podcast on Chicago history, co-host Christopher Lynch and I have discovered quite a few place and street names with origins reaching deep into the city’s past, often going back to Native American people and languages.  These fascinating tidbits were sprinkled into the podcast to spice up our storytelling. This adventure began by learning about the word Chicago, or as the French recorded the Algonquin pronunciation “Chicagoua” which means “skunk,” and was also used to identify the wild onion growing in the area known as ramps, and detailed in the first episode of the podcast.  Read More

The Next Challenge… Rewriting History

September 14th, 2018 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

These days it is unusual for someone to take on large, long-term projects, particularly, in an age of short attention spans, churning news cycles, and quarterly business returns.  Yet, this is my predilection.  Most people find it unwise, ridiculous, or even crazy to spend months, let alone, years developing an idea to see if it will work.  Hmm… have I stumbled on the definition of a creative (or worse yet, a dreamer)? Regardless, there is something in my DNA that propels me through long slogs of research, explorations of the unknown (at least to me), and vaguely envisioned, time-consuming ideas.  Read More

How to Write a History Book

May 10th, 2018 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

Each author has her or his own approach, but the trick to writing a book is trusting the process.  As Hemingway advised a young writer, “the first draft of anything is shit!” explaining that the real work comes in the revising, rewriting, and reworking of a manuscript as many as forty, maybe fifty times, to get to the finished product. For many writers, myself included, the first draft can be the hardest to complete, even though it is rarely where the bulk of the time lies.  Read More

Being Sisyphus & Leg 2: Bermuda to the Virgin Islands

March 1st, 2018 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

A week on Bermuda did, and did not feel like enough time.  It was enough to get a sense of the island, despite usually spending mornings and early afternoons working.  Blue did homework for his sophomore year of high school via the internet. Brian worked on boat chores, primarily rebuilding a broken daggerboard and bent rudder.  I was doing emails, social media, and transcriptions of research (sadly not much real writing).  Afternoons and evenings we explored Bermuda on rented scooters usually initiated by an errand for boat parts or supplies. Read More

Combing “Soft Gold” from Goats!

January 22nd, 2018 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

Questioning the origins of everyday things saved my a**! Christmas had rolled around again and as usual I was scrambling and out of time.  Thankfully I remembered the dozen or so scarves I had bought while traveling last January, but unsure my niece (age 13) and two nephews (ages 11 & 13) would really appreciate “a stupid scarf.”  My attempted solution (and in the spirit of home made gifts, which were not out of the ordinary when I was growing up) I created the following to go with each gift . Read More

Raise Your Bridge Game!

December 20th, 2017 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

Reprinted from: 2017 Yachting in Chicago magazine published by the Chicago Yachting Association (CYA) Chicago is a dynamic ever-changing city with a rich history closely tied to the Lake, its rivers and canals.  Yet, the bridges crossing our waterways are often over looked and taken for granted unless up for repair or viewed on a river run.  Most boaters know of the bridges, yet how much deeper have we looked at these magnificent structures – beyond their dance of conveyance and obstruction between Lake Michigan and winter storage? Read More

We Became Seafarers!

November 11th, 2017 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

It has been a week since we cleared Bermuda Customs after arriving,”by private yacht.” We will visit Customs tomorrow to clear out and begin sailing Leg 2 to the Virgin Islands. The last week of easy days in St. George’s Harbor has been a nice respite. My typical day started between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. brush my teeth, wash hands and face, decide whether or not to wear the same shorts again, a fresh t-shirt, and finding a small bite to eat. Read More

The Storm Before Departure

November 5th, 2017 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

So it is Sunday night and Brian, Melissa (Brian’s girlfriend), Blue, and I had a fantastic dinner at the Lobster Trap Restaurant in Bourne, Massachusetts which was a fifteen minute drive to the other side of the bay.  As I write this we are onboard Dragonfly the rain and wind is lashing the side of the boat.  We are tied to a finger dock off in Onset, MA as the wind pushes us against the fenders protecting the boat’s hull from the wooden dock.   Read More

trunnion

noun   trun·nion   \ˈtrən-yən\

a pin or pivot on which something is supported.

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