Steven Harper (stevenharper) wrote,
Steven Harper

They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA

Earlier tonight, I heard the devastating news that Leonard Cohen died. His songs have meant a lot to me over the past 20 years. That song, "Democracy," was from his album The Future, the first album of his I bought when I was 15. I didn't really get it then. It sat on my shelf for years until I rediscovered it and much of his other music in college.

It wasn't until six years ago that I finally got it. I had the opportunity to see him in concert, which may very well have never happened had his financial manager not stolen his money. I had no idea what to expect until the lights dimmed and this 76-year-old man skips joyfully onto the stage. He proceeded to entertain us for the next three hours. Elton John said his concerts were like a religious experience. That, I completely understand.

What's more, just last night I was listening to his music. It had been a while, but something told me I just needed to. The subject line from last week's entry? From perhaps his best-known song, "Hallelujah." So you see just a glimpse of the effect this man has had on me. Whither thou goest, I will go.

It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there

It happened. The thing we all thought could not happen, happened. I went to bed late Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning) feeling like millions of other people did, no doubt. I say I went to bed, but I didn't sleep. I couldn't.

Over the last 48 hours, I've gone from a feeling of dread to one of uncertainty. One side tells me I have nothing to dread, while the other says I don't dread enough. I am trying to remain cautiously optimistic, yet I hope I'm not being lulled into a false sense of security.

I cannot help but recall the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. Then, I wondered, just how many people genuinely thought he was the best candidate for the office as opposed to people who voted for him simply because of his celebrity status. I am wondering the same thing now.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty ship of state
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

And as I was driving home today, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" came on the radio. I am sure this was a computer playlist and no human being planned it, but today is November 10. Usually I just post this on November 10 and I'm done with it, but I just couldn't do that this year.

November 10, 1975 the bulk freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior with all hands. This is dedicated to the memory of the 29 men lost that night and the families they left behind.

The Fitzgerald cleared Superior, Wisconsin, on her last trip on November 9, 1975, with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets consigned to Detroit. Traveling down Lake Superior in company with Arthur M. Anderson of the United States Steel Corporation's Great Lakes Fleet, she encountered heavy weather and in the early evening of November 10th, suddenly foundered approximately 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay (47° North Latitude, 85° 7' West Longitude)

Captain McSorley of the "Fitz" had indicated he was having difficulty and was taking on water. She was listing to port and had two of three ballast pumps working. She had lost her radar and damage was noted to ballast tank vent pipes and he was overheard on the radio saying, "don't allow nobody (sic) on deck." McSorley said it was the worst storm he had ever seen. All 29 officers and crew, including a Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadet, went down with the ship, which lies broken in two sections in 530 feet of water.

Surveyed by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1976 using the U.S. Navy CURV III system, the wreckage consisted of an upright bow section, approximately 275 feet long and an inverted stern section, about 253 feet long, and a debris field comprised of the rest of the hull in between. Both sections lie within 170 feet of each other.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was removed from documentation January, 1976.

The National Transportation Safety Board unanimously voted on March 23, 1978 to reject the U.S. Coast Guard's official report supporting the theory of faulty hatches. Later the N.T.S.B. revised its verdict and reached a majority vote to agree that the sinking was caused by taking on water through one or more hatch covers damaged by the impact of heavy seas over her deck.

This is contrary to the Lake Carriers Association's contention that her foundering was caused by flooding through bottom and ballast tank damage resulting from bottoming on the Six Fathom Shoal between Caribou and Michipicoten Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard report on August 2, 1977 cited faulty hatch covers, lack of water-tight cargo hold bulkheads and damage caused from an undetermined source.

The brave men who were lost that night:
Captain Ernest M. McSorley
Michael E. Armagost
Fred J. Beetcher
Thomas D. Bentsen
Edward F. Bindon
Thomas D. Borgeson
Oliver J. Champeau
Nolan S. Church
Ransom E. Cundy
Thomas E. Edwards
Russell G. Haskell
George J. Holl
Bruce L. Hudson
Allen G. Kalmon
Gorden Maclellan
Joseph Mazes
John H. McCarthy
Eugene O'Brien
Karl A. Peckol
John J. Poviach
James A. Pratt
Robert C. Rafferty
Paul M. Rippa
John D. Simmons
William J. Spengler
Mark A. Thomas
Ralph G. Walton
David E. Wiess
Blaine H. Wilhelm
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