Friday, October 31, 2008

When The Skies Of November Turn Gloomy

A new month means a new song.

A line-by-line explanation of the song, "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald"
posted by SirFlyalot, to the NewsGroup
added to and edited for display

"The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee"

Gitche Gumee translates roughly to "Shining Big-Sea-Water".

"The lake it is said never gives up her dead when the skies of november turn gloomy"

To put it rather bluntly, the reason so few bodies are recovered from off shore drownings
in Lake Superior is because the bodies first tend to sink (or are still on board a vessel) but
because of the depth and frigid temperatures, the victims do not naturally decompose.
Because of the lack of oxygen producing organisms, the bodies remain on the bottom.

"With a load of iron ore 26,000 tons more than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty"

When empty, the Fitzgerald weighed 8,686 net tons. The hold was filled with 26,013 tons
of iron ore pellets called taconite, used mainly for automobile production.

"That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed when the gales of november came early"

Lake superior is on average 533 feet deep with an extreme depth of 1333 feet. It is 400
miles long which, when the wind blows across it's length, the waves can build to greater
heights than found on less dense sea water, even in hurricane winds.

"The ship was the pride of the american side"

The Fitz was named after a Milwaukee banker and was launched into the River Rouge
basin in June 1958. The owner was Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of
Milwaukee and operated by the Columbia Transportation Company.

"Comin' back from some mill in Wisconsin"

Superior, Wisconsin.

"As the big freighters go it was bigger than most"

The ship was 729 feet long, 75 feet wide, 39 feet deep. She was the largest Great Lakes
steamer when launched in 1958, its size limited only by the largest lock on Sault St, Marie.
Larger 1000 ft. boats were possible after the construction of the Poe lock in 1969.

"With a crew and good captain well seasoned"

Captain Ernest R. McSorley, 62 years old, started sailing as a deckhand on ocean vessels
when he was 18 years old. After transferring to freshwater freighters, he made his way
through the ranks, eventually becoming the youngest to make captain.

"Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms when they left fully loaded for Cleveland"

The Fitzgerald was "downbound" to unload its cargo in Detroit and then continue on to
Cleveland to dock for the winter months.

"And later that night when the ship's bell rang could it be the north wind they'd bin feelin'"

The Fitzgerald and the Anderson, a second freighter following close behind, knew of the
gale warnings posted by the National Weather Service. They decided to alter their course
and head towards the North shore of Superior for shelter against the heart of the storm.

"The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound and a wave broke over the railing"

The two boats (great lake sailors prefer "boat" to "ship"), followed the Canadian shore to
the Caribou Island near "Six Fathom Shoals." The Anderson's captain Jesse "Bernie"
Cooper, remarks how close the Fitz is to the shoals. Crossing the lake in an attempt to
harbor the storm, the two make a course for Whitefish Bay Michigan. In heavy seas, the
Fitzgerald sustains topside damage and radios the Anderson, "Anderson, this is the
Fitzgerald. I have sustained some topside damage. I have a fence rail laid down, two vents
lost or damaged, and a list. I'm checking down. Will you stay by me till I get to Whitefish?"

"And every man knew as the captain did too, 'twas the witch of november come stealin'"

The Fitzgerald has two radar sets but both use a common antenna. The Fitzgerald calls on
the radio to the Arthur M. Anderson. "Anderson, this is the Fitzgerald. I have lost both
radars. Can you provide me with radar plots till we reach Whitefish Bay?"

"Charlie on that, Fitzgerald. We'll keep you advised of your position."

"The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait when the gales of november came slashin'"

Winds were 40 to 45 knots with waves to 20 ft.

"When afternoon came it was freezin' rain in the face of a hurricane west wind"

The Sault St, Marie Locks report winds of seventy knots, gusts up to eighty-two, about
ninety-five mph!

" When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin' "fellas it's too rough to feed ya"

Ironically, the "old" cook was suffering from bleeding ulcers and was unable to make the
last voyage. He is considered by some as "the sole survivor of the Fitzgerald".

"At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in he said "fellas it's been good to know ya"

The Anderson reports being hit by two huge waves which go over the pilot house, 35 feet
above the water line.

"The captain wired in he had water comin' in and the good ship and crew was in peril"

Although McSorley told the Anderson he had developed a list and was, infact, taking on
water, his main concern was that because of the loss of radar and new reports of the
Whitefish Bay Lighthouse being broken down, the Fitzgerald was sailing blind and due to
the list, the Fitzgerald was pulling to the left. They had to rely on the Anderson for
guidance. When the Anderson radioed back later to ask how they were doing with their
problem, McSorley replied "We are holding our own". That was the last thing heard from
the Fitzgerald.

"And later that night when 'is lights went out of sight came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

The tremendous waves on Lake Superior kept interfering with the Anderson's radar,
showing the Fitzgerald some 10 miles ahead of her. As the Anderson would dip with a
large wave, the Fitzgerald and all other boats in the area would disappear, showing up
again as the Anderson would crest. At 7:10 the Anderson rose above a wave and the
radar showed three blips, saltwater ships, the Navafors, the Avafors, and the Benfri about
20 miles downbound. But no Fitzgerald. In the span of just a few seconds, with no distress
call, the Fitzgerald was gone.

"Does anyone know where the love of god goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours"

The Anderson contacted the Coast Guard in Sault St. Marie. "Soo Control, this is the
Anderson. I am very concerned about the welfare of the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald. He
was right in front of us, experiencing a little difficulty. He was taking on a small amount of
water and none of the upbound ships have passed him. I can see no lights as before and I
don't have him on radar. I just hope he didn't take a nose dive!"

The air temperature at the time was 49 degrees and the water temperature was 40
degrees. Under these conditions a man would go into shock in 30 minutes.

"The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er"

A floating debris field was found the next morning and a 1000 yard long oil slick about 13
miles from Whitefish Point. On later days, small objects were found near the Canadian
shore, lifevests and rings, bottles, splintered wood, the largest object being a crumpled raft
with the Fitzgerald's name.

"They might have split up or they might have capsized they may have broke deep and took water"

The wreckage is in two major pieces. The bow section is 276 feet long and upright. The
stern section is 253 feet long and upside down. The sections are 170 feet apart. About 200
feet of the midsection is disintegrated. Although there is no conclusive evidence pointing to
what the cause was, the most popular therory is that because the Fitz was taking on water,
the taconite cargo shifted toward the bow making it unbalanced, heavy to the front. When
the Fitz plunged into the valley between two large waves, she submarined to the bottom,
striking the lake's floor with enough force to break her in two.

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

There has been no attempt by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point,
which had made several exploratory expeditions down to the werckage, to recover the

"Lake Huron rolls Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams
the islands and bays are for sportsmen
and farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her
and the Iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the gales of november remembered"

There is estimated to be more than 6000 commercial shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, and
fewer than half of these have been located.

"In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
in the maritime sailors' cathedral
the church bell chimed 'til it rang 29 times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald"

The ship went down in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975 with 29 men on board.

"The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior they said never gives up her dead
when the gales of november come early"

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The First Snow

The pictures speak for themselves.




It is that time again. Cookie of the Month. This month's cookie will be a pumpkin cookie. I am not sure exactly what kind yet. I will be choosing between two recipes that I have in my cookie file. Who's in? Let me know because the baking starts tomorrow, well, maybe Friday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mountain Biking

Well, the reason for our trip up north was to go to a log home tour. The company we are interested in has a tour every fall to show off some of the houses they have built. So next up was Crystal Mountain where the tour was being held this year.

We woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful fall day. Since the tour didn't start until the afternoon we had a whole morning to fill. Since the bikes were with us we decided to go for a little ride. Our plan was to ride around the resort and maybe some of the roads around that area. As we were riding along we saw this.

dave, crystal mtn, 10.08

Crystal Mountain has a mountain bike path that goes around their resort complex. D's bike is ok for mountain biking but my tires are narrower which makes off road biking a little trickier. The sign said this was intermediate in difficulty so I figured why not, if it was too bad we could just turn around. The trail made a huge circle around the comlex and was around 5 or 6 miles long. So off we went.

crystal mtn, 10.08

As you can see the colors were beautiful. I have to say this trail wasn't too bad. It even connected up to another mountain bike trail that would have taken us down to the nearby river. We went a little way on it but with no map and no food we decided we should probably go back to original trail. Other than some sandy spots where my bike would skid somewhat I found it doable.

crystal mtn, 10.08

We had gone about two thirds of the way around when we came across this sign.

crystal mtn, 10.08

I think the sign says it all. The sign at the beginning of the trail had said moderate so we assumed that this warning didn't pertain to us. For some reason we thought it was referring to cross country skiers. It didn't take long to figure out that it did mean mountain bikers. It was much sandier and had short, but steep, hills. In fact, we ended up pushing our bikes up the hills

dave, crystal mtn, 10.08

and walking them down the hills.

dave, crystal mtn, 10.08

We were doing more walking than riding at this point. After a short while we realized the bike trail was running parallel to the highway. Now D is ready to bag the whole idea and just get on the highway for the rest of the ride. But there was no way I was going to quit even if it meant walking the rest of the way. My stubborness paid off because when we came (walked) over the last hill we were rewarded with this view. Beautiful.

crystal mtn, 10.08

I am so glad we took the time that morning to ride our bikes.

dave, crystal mtn, 10.08

We had a great time and saw some beautiful houses in the afternoon. I can't wait to go back again.

"I Want To Tell You,

Detroit, that you done set me up for a comeback."

Kwame Kilpatrick, farewell speech 9.04.08


Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Do Not Choose To Be A Common Man

For those of you who don't know, I drove over to Sarah's yesterday. She wanted me to go to a Bridal Expo with her and since I haven't been here in awhile I decided to come over. Thankfully it is on Sunday so I won't be missing THE football games today.

As I was driving over I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio. For those of you who don't know him he is a financial advisor of sorts. His main message is that people should live debt free. I agree with him for the most part though once in awhile I find myself yelling at him through the radio. Anyway, he read an essay on his show yesterday and it made me think of peej. I will leave it up to you whether that is a complement or not!

I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

Dean Alfange

*Originally published in This Week Magazine.
Later printed in The Reader’s Digest, October 1952 and January 1954.

The Honorable Dean Alfange was an American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and attended Hamilton College, graduating in the class of 1922.

Back to more pictures tomorrow. The subject? Mountain biking.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good Hart

I think I when I left off we were at Mackinac Island. From there we were heading to Crystal Mountain but we took a little detour to drive through here.


We drove through this bustling little town to get to our real destination.


For the technically inclined readers out there, we were here.


The prettier version looks like this.


Yes, we made a detour to visit out little piece of property "up north". Thankfully it was still there. Luckily our ski rope was still there too so we were able to go down to the beach.


Some day we will have to put real stairs in but for now this seems to work just fine. Just in case you decide to visit be warned that you should really wear gloves. Last year I didn't and ended up with fiberglass stuck in my hands. It was a good two weeks before all the bits worked themselves out of my skin. This year I had gloves and as you can see D is wearing gloves too. When we got to the bottom this is what we saw. Our own piece of Lake Michigan beach.


Some day we hope to build a house on the hill overlooking the lake. This is the view from that spot on our property. We may have to do a little tree trimming.


And here is the spot the house may go.


From there we made our way to Crystal Mountain. To be continued....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fire Away

This is the last assignment for week three. I am caught up until tomorrow. Sorry it's crooked but I gave up trying to fix it. Note to self, take them straight and then you don't have to worry about trying to straighten them later.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Good News For The Lions

"Now that it takes 3 shares of Ford stock to buy a #3 at McDonalds, maybe the Ford family will become hard up and sell the Lions."

I wish I could take credit for that quote but I can't. I got it from a message board but it was too funny not to share.

I don't know how many of you read Michael Rosenberg's article today about the Lions but I wanted to share a few excerpts from his column.

“I have to ask, since I’m curious. ... Do you have to write new material on the Lions each season, or can you use previous columns from year to year like a teacher’s lesson plans? In other words, just change the dates, maybe two or three names, and rerun them?”

I knew the Lions were in trouble when the Texans won the coin toss and elected to score.

The Texans and Lions basically run the same offense, except the Texans added this play where they have one of their receivers go to a spot where the nearest Lion is 15 yards away. It’s real cutting-edge stuff, and the Lions never figured it out, even though the Texans kept doing it again and again.

The Lions mounted a brief comeback, sort of — they cut the margin to 21-10 in the third quarter. But in the end Marinelli must have been even more frustrated than he was after his road loss in Minnesota (San Francisco, Atlanta, Green Bay, San Diego, Minnesota, Arizona, Washington, Philadelphia, Green Bay, New England, Arizona, New York, Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Dallas, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Chicago).

You have to laugh or else you will cry. I am going out on a limb and predicting a loss next week and that is without even knowing who they are playing. How is that for confidence in the Lions?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mackinac: Part Two

I got a little distracted posting layouts but I am back to my vacation photos. Though it was rainy on the day we arrived the next day was beautiful. The sun was out in full force but the wind was really gusting so it was quite cool that day. As you can see D is ready to ride.


Our friends rented bikes for an hour so we took a nice ride around the island.


One good thing to come out of this is D now knows why I am always complaining about my bike not having enough gears. After our friends turned their bikes back in the boys still wanted to ride so I let D have mine and John borrowed D's bike. After riding the hills on the island he now understands my whining. In flat southeastern Michigan 18 gears are enough but in the hills of Western PA and northern Michigan there are just not enough gears to get up those hills without a lot of effort on my part. Maybe I can find a bike in this assortment.


Along the way we stopped and walked up many, many stairs and were rewarded with this view.


Walking down to the beach rewarded us a view of this:


The next morning the boys went around the island a couple more times and I took a walk and snapped a few random pictures.




Later that day we moved on to Crystal Mountain where we decided to do a little mountain biking. Pictures to come soon to a blog near you.

Silly Boys

Well, a layout about my other girl. Guilt is a great motivater.

This was a sketch using the colors of red, gray, and bright green. I think the color scheme really worked for this.


I have one more layout to do today and I will be done for this week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'd Thought You'd Like To See

my version of the same sketch that my not that much younger sister used for her "take me fishing" layout. I have a lot to live up to because I thought her layout was incredible.


I am now working on another homework assignment from this week, the real world color sketch. Red, bright green and gray. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what I have come up with for that one, but I will say, it does involve the girl who's nose seems to be out of joint.

Mackinac Island

I decided to stay up late and get some pictures posted of our trip to Mackinac Island. After the exciting trips to the steel mills, it was time to depart for The Island. It rained most of the way up north. Luckily, it had stopped by the time we had gotten to the bridge but the view still wasn't very clear.


We were meeting friends at the base of the bridge so we took some time to look around while we waited. They arrived and we made our way to the ferry. As we were unpacking our stuff and getting it tagged an announcement came over the speaker that the last ferry of the day was leaving in 12 minutes. Twelve minutes! It never occurred to any of us that there would be a different schedule in the fall than there was in the summer. That was close. Needless to say if we had known the last ferry was leaving at 4:30 we would have been moving a little faster.

Not only do the ferry times change in the fall but so do the crowds. Can you believe we were the only four passengers that decided to ride outside on the top for the ride over to the island?


We landed and made our way to our bed & breakfast. D likes this one because it is only one block up from main street so it makes it very handy.


The biggest surprise of the weekend aside from different ferry times, no crowds, and that end of the season sales are everywhere is that there is no charge to walk on the Grand Hotel's porch. We took our friends up to the hotel just so they could see it. In the summer there is a gate that tourists must pay 10 dollars to go through which gives you access to their famous porch. In the fall there is no guard and thus no ten dollar charge. We spent some time up there that night and I went up early one morning by myself so I could take some pictures.








to be continued.....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy, Happy Day!!

Happy birthday to my favorite youngest niece!


Happy anniversary to my favorite youngest sister!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It Wasn't Easy But

I managed to get all of my layouts done before the next class. Wow, the stress is going to kill me. Darn those first born tendencies.

Anyway, this week was all about asymetrical balance. Let's just say my not that much younger sister and I agree that this is hard. I'm not sure I get it and it certainly isn't my style. Good thing we get sketches and lots of direction.

My first layout is a many photo design. The best part is I had my photos from Mackinac Island just begging to be used.


Then she has us do a one page asymetrical layout.


On to Real World Color. This week she used the colors of orange, pink and a touch of brown. What better subject than my girls?


New homework tomorrow and I am ready. I believe it is about repetition. Should be interesting and hopefully easier than this week's lesson.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Doesn't Everyone's Vacation Start With a Visit

to a steel mill?


Not just one that day but two. Followed by another mill visit the next morning but I can't complain because at least he has a job. And with this economy that is saying a lot.

More pictures to follow. I just need some time to get caught up.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I've Been Busy

A couple of months ago I decided to take a scrapbooking class. Not any class mind you but one taught by Cathy Zielske who's work I just love. She does very simple, linear pages which really appeal to me. It is online and started this past week and is going thru Christmas. She is teaching design basics that are the base of any good layout. Wonder of wonders, my not that much younger sister decided to sign up too. We are one week into it and so far I really like it. I much prefer going at my own pace at home to being in a class full of women I don't know. Yup, I get to stay home and take a class with 1500 other people who I don't have to interact with if I don't want to. It's the best of both worlds.

Before class started she had us do a layout to show what scrapbooking meant to us. The basic design was set by her but what we put in the squares was up to us. This is what I came up with. Such a simple layout but one I agonized over for a good two weeks.


Then class started this past week. Week one, balance with an emphasis on symmetry. Again the design is hers, how to implement it was up to me. In fact, I ended up rotating it 90 degrees so I could use this picture of D.


The second layout was another symmetrical one but this time it was a two page design.


Then for fun she threw in an extra little project based on color inspiration. We were to take her color palette and make a layout based on that but for fun we could go find our own inspiration for color and design a layout based on that. I decided to go through the PB Teen catalog and look what I found.


And this is what I came up with using that as a color inspiration. Note: We were also supposed to use our own handwriting which I hate. Hate the writing, love the way the rest of it turned out.

bps, 2008

That's it for the first week. Next week is going to be hard for me. D and I are leaving for the Mitten Tuesday and won't be back until Sunday. That gives me three days to get the layouts done for that week. I am sloooooow so I'm not sure I will get it all done. The good thing is no one checks our homework so no worries!

See you in a week and we hopefully we have heard from the winner of those cookies by then.

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I'm strange, but I've got a great sister!

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