Forty years ago, The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

“The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy”

I think we have all heard the Gordon Lightfoot song,

The AP is remembering it 40 years after the day.


I was blessed to hang out on a usenet group (alt Callahans) where I made the acquaintance  of Pat Kight who was a cub reporter that lived in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

Her job was to hang out with the families as they waited for news. Her comments stay with me still and I would like to share them with you all. Her on line handle at the time was Jezebel.

 Jez closes her eyes. "Never let anyone tell you reporters don't get involved in their stories ... or that they don't care about them. We cared passionately about that ship and its men. We*knew* them - or men like them. You don't live in a small Great Lakes town without knowing guys who make their living on the freighters ... or their children and wives. The Lake, its shipping, its weather - they're all woven in so closely to life in that part of the country that they become part of you, whether you've ever set foot on a freighter or not.

"They sent me down to the shipping company offices, to a big, cold warehouse near the surging water, the place where the supply boats usually put out to restock the freighters with food and mail and other necessaries. That night ... and for days to follow ... it became something like a church, or a hospital waiting room, as women and children and men whose loved ones were on the Fitz began arriving, by ones and twos, hoping for some word that the ship was safe.

"Not exactly the kind of situation where a person can walk in, ask the typical stupid newspaper question (`so, how do you *feel*?') and leave. I knew some of these people. I wound up holding hands and making coffee and chain-smoking in the parking lot, almost as anxious as those who had an honest stake in the outcome ... and at the same time feeling somehow like a vulture, with my little notebook at the ready just in case news came in...

"It was also the night - the series of nights - when I began to understand the kind of reporter I *didn't* want to be ... when I decided the work wasn't worth doing if it couldn't be done with compassion, and that the detachment and `objectivity' most reporters are taught to espouse are really kind of a load of crap..."

Someone starts to object - after all, aren't reporters *supposed* to be objective? - and the Spinster, no longer in the business, shakes her head. "You try looking into the eyes of a 24-year-old woman who's just been told that her husband is dead at the bottom of an icy, treacherous lake ... that she'll never even get his body back ... and try remaining detached. Me, I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried with her..."

To read the whole post,

And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters


About whskyjack

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Forty years ago, The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

  1. patd says:

    “It was also the night – the series of nights – when I began to understand the kind of reporter I *didn’t* want to be … when I decided the work wasn’t worth doing if it couldn’t be done with compassion, and that the detachment and `objectivity’ most reporters are taught to espouse are really kind of a load of crap…”

    well put. compassion and objectivity should not be exclusive nor adversarial.


  2. patd says:

    jack, good thread and thanks. however on first sight of the title and as always thinking of the vagaries of politicians, the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald brought back another but different one, the wreck of the edward moore almost 40 years ago.

    “In August of 1979, Kennedy was the overwhelming favorite to seize the Democratic nomination for president. The incumbent Jimmy Carter – staggered by soaring gas prices and a hostage crisis – seemed poised for a knockout by the last surviving brother of America’s storied political dynasty. And then, all of a sudden, Kennedy’s aura of inevitability was unexpectedly shattered.

    On the lawn of the family’s compound in Hyannis Port, Kennedy was about to give the first television interview of his nascent campaign to Roger Mudd of CBS. As a young reporter for LIFE Magazine, I was listening in the wings with photographer Co Rentmeester. (Listening and trying to hide from the CBS producer – who was livid that we had crashed what he thought was his exclusive party). We were awaiting our own turn to take pictures and ask questions of the all-but-declared candidate for president.

    As the cameras rolled, Mudd popped the now-famous question: Why do you want to be president? Even if he had not been a Kennedy, what followed was stunning: a hesitant, rambling and incoherent nonanswer; it seemed to go on forever without arriving anywhere. Mudd threw another softball, and Kennedy swung and missed again. On the simple question that would define him and his political destiny, Kennedy had no clue. ”

    btw, a more recent story cited and compared teddy’s campaign wreck with what’s been happening to jeb (formerly known as “!”) at


  3. patd says:

    “I heard him this morning saying he’s more scrutinized than anyone in this race … Is he kidding? Did he watch what I went through in January of 2014 for months and months of relentless attacks … when it turned out that I did absolutely nothing wrong?”


  4. Tony says:

    Jack good post.. Love the song always..
    Hillary Clinton to Release Plan to Address Veterans Affairs Scandal
    Amy Chozick


  5. Tony says:

    Ben Carson and the Truth
    Charles Blow
    “Carson may no longer be a practicing physician, but he is a full-time profiteer, selling his story in books and speeches and paid handsomely to do so. Good work, if you can get it. But these new charges threaten to reduce the legend to a fairy tale, and thereby threaten the checks to be cashed after the votes have been cast.

    Media observers seem to me too focused on Ben Carson the candidate. I remain focused on Ben Carson the enterprise, and apparently, so is he.”


  6. patd says:
    Organizers are promising to focus on substance when eight Republicans face off on the main stage for the GOP’s fourth presidential debate.
    While that’s the plan, big personalities and rising tensions in the unsettled 2016 field could make for an unpredictable Tuesday evening in Milwaukee. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are fighting to maintain their place atop the polls, while others — including Jeb Bush — are fighting for their political survival in the 9 p.m. EST event.

    maybe the candidates prefer a crowded dais (as in “don’t throw me in that briar patch”) so that there is little time for substantive thought… can’t imagine the gopers successfully getting thru a 30 minute each q&A like the dems did last week with maddow.


  7. Jamie says:

    Jack, Excellent post and look back. Thank you for stepping up and taking the reins.


  8. Jamie says:

    Not sure if this will work but Hillary Clinton goes to Bloom County


  9. Tony says:

    Kathy Griffin Is Endorsing Hillary Clinton Even If It Costs Her Half Her Audience
    “It’s gonna be a struggle… The black guy has had eight years of straight-up racism and I think it’s going to be harder on the chick.”
    Stephanie Marcus


  10. patd says:

    “Yeah, so they vetted Obama to the point where they questioned whether he was a legitimate natural-born American citizen,” Noah observed. “But at least no one ever accused Obama of not stabbing a guy.”
    “Maybe it’s me or where I’m from, but this sh*t is weird,” Noah said. “The media is saying, ‘Those rumors about you having a clean record and you being an upstanding member of society, those things are true.’ And Ben Carson’s like, ‘Bullsh*t! I’m dangerous and I tried to kill people and I’m a bad person and I should be president.’ What world are we living in?”

    be sure to watch the whole 7+ minutes at


  11. patd says:

    and on colbert


    • patd says:

      the marco/malala beer bit from above may come to haunt rubio… it has legs. humor, laughing at (not with) a candidate can really be deadly. ask guys like ford, quayle and carter (remember the killer rabbit?)


  12. Flatus says:

    Flash! The sun is shining Columbia SC


  13. rebelliousrenee says:

    Jack…. great post!

    Oh god…. another clown car debate tonight…. not sure I’m up for it.

    Although…. thinking about Carson being the front runner…. which means he has to actually answer questions about his “supposedly” plans… now that could be quite interesting.


  14. patd says:

    “For a lot of people, this is going to be their first exposure to Fox Business,” said Cavuto, a veteran of the network and its sister outlet, Fox News Channel. “We are obviously cognizant of that and want to make sure we make a very good impression. Part of making a good impression is asking smart, thoughtful questions, doing our homework, dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, and making sure that whatever we do shows that we take everything we do very seriously and that we are no-nonsense about it.”
    For debate night, the network has added a few new twists. Candidates will have more time to make their case: 90 seconds to answer questions and 60 seconds to respond to something, if warranted, as opposed to the 60 second/30 second rule that has often been the norm. Candidates, however, will not make opening statements. Gerard Baker, editor of The Wall Street Journal, part of 21st Century Fox sister News Corp., will also moderate the event.
    Cavuto and Bartiromo want to get specifics out of the candidates regarding the economy. “It’s one thing to talk in platitudes about ‘getting America working’ and ‘we should have better jobs,’” said Cavuto. “That’s sort of like arguing for sunny days.” He intends to tease out details for which voters can then hold the candidates accountable.


  15. patd says:

    another rather strange story from doc carson in
    To exhibit his opposition to political corruption, government intrusion on his privacy, and his faithfulness to his wife, Carson had revived — no, pointed to — the case of a founding father who was guilty of infidelity and a paternity suit few knew about that would leave any voter or reporter with a lot of questions.
    “The purpose of the anecdote seems to be to slip in that humblebrag about never having slept with anyone other than his wife, but confessing to having been sued for paternity seems like an awful long walk to get there,” Tommy Christopher of Mediaite wrote.

    comes to mind the nursery rhyme


  16. Jamie says:

    This was originally written for Canadian Remembrance Day, but it applies to all who have served and whom we honor tomorrow


  17. Picture ms Fiorina with no hair……….Curly Fiorina


  18. From: Press Credentials

    Good afternoon,

    If you are receiving this email we were unable to grant you a credential to cover the debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday, November 10th.

    Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Thank you.


    Your candidates are all mental incompetents, and the world would be a safer place if they were to fall down a cobalt mine and cannibalize one another.

    Also, the race you’re conducting this cycle to choose a party nominee is a train wreck unparalleled in the annals of modern democracy. There will be people laughing at your debate tonight in places like Belarus.

    However, thank you for processing my request for a credential.

    Matt Taibbi
    Rolling Stone Magazine


  19. Tony says:

    Christian Pastor Calls for Execution of Gays at Event Attended by Ted Cruz
    Dan Savage
    “Pastor Swanson called for gays and lesbians to be executed—at a “religious liberty” confab attended from one legitimate candidate for the GOP nomination and two clowns from the kids’ table. Hey, campaign reporters? Do your jobs and ask Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee if they agree with the homicidal pastor whose dick they were seen sucking today. Do they also think gays and lesbians should be put to death? Would they attend an event hosted by a pastor who called for the executions of Jews? Or Atheists? Or yoga instructors?”


  20. blueINdallas says:

    Trump’s spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, is such a radical T’bagger that she collected unemployment insurance while she was working as a consultant for Tedious Cruz. Ummm, that doesn’t sound right, does it? ~I love how conservatives have no problem taking for themselves, while trying to cut off everyone else’s air supply.~ ( Whatever happened to Air Supply?)
    Trump is clearly pulling a McCain by putting her on his team. She also seems to be of Hispanic decent, so he’s using her to deflect some the ugly things he’s said. She’s just a spokesperson now, but she has run for office down here (lost), but she is trying to be Palin 2.0. Yikes.


  21. blueINdallas says:

    And, I would swear that I heard Ben Carson’s magic belt buckle story somewhere else. Maybe it was in a TV show?


  22. blueINdallas says:

    Tony – That’s horrific. Also, it is not Christian, as sludge like that is fear-based. It is to Christianity as the mindset of ISIL is to Islam.

    Journalists are, indeed, sleeping on the job if they don’t press candidates in their affiliation with this hateful moron.


    • Tony says:

      Glad to see you.. Yes, horrific.. If you watch the video, scary.. I don’t have hope the media will pay a bit of attention.. I can’t make this stuff up, the pastor actually says we should be put to death.


  23. jacew2003 says:

    Allen Toussaint has died. I think that this is the way in which he would wish to be remembered.

    They will sprinkle my ashes to this arrangement.


  24. patd says:

    Jamie, I took the liberty of reposting your “Pittance of Time” as a new thread for Vets Day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s