edmund fitzgerald


June 7th marks the anniversary of the launch of the EDMUND FITZGERALD, which happened in one of the Great Lakes Engineering Company’s slips in River Rouge in 1958.  

We have two rare films of this moment in our collection.  In addition to the official film featured above, we also have a color 16mm amateur film of the launch.  Both clips were recently digitized as part of our Detroit Video History Archive project.


The Edmund Fitzgerald Remembered

40 years ago, on November 10, 1975, the cargo ship Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm in Lake Superior near Whitefish Point off the coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There are several theories as to what may have caused the ship to sink in a flash, but the actual reason will likely never be known. The remains of the 29 crew members were never recovered.

tips for writing void and water navies

So, since I actually work around boats all day and also have a thing for blathering about the voidfaring life, here’s a few things I wanted to share that maybe other people might find helpful for adding some realism and believability to their own fictions involving the same things. 

Naming Conventions: 
Ships are often referred to incorrectly in fiction. A ship’s name does not have “the” in front of it, unless that is actually part of the name of the vessel. Example sentence: 

Correct: Vengeful Spirit was an exceptional vessel, the only Scylla variant-build ever constructed of the ancient and intimidating Gloriana pattern. 

Incorrect: The Vengeful Spirit awaited them, a hulking monstrosity cruising slowly just above atmos as she waited in low orbit.

Now, this is not a hard and fast rule. There is a time that you can call a ship “the -name-,” and that is if the ship has been destroyed/sunk/decommissioned, is a piece of history thought to be destroyed, etc. Examples of this: The Black Pearl, the Edmund Fitzgerald. Just be aware that, generally, if your ship in question is still in service and has not become a legend yet, she probably doesn’t have “the” in front of her name. However, you /can/ name a vessel The Fickle Female, or something like that,in which case “the” is part of the name and is fine. Also, pirate ships and privately-run vessels may have “the” in front of their names, though this can make them sound a bit hokey and corny. Another semi-exception is when using the vessel’s full name/title, example “the U.S.S. Enterprise” or “the H.M.S. Titanic” (although Titanic could also call under the “historical indicator from “the.” Passengers who are not familiar with shipfaring may also think of the vessel as “the Glorious Name,” but your crew, and most likely your omniscient narrator, would not. 

Long story short? If your vessel left for her maiden voyage ten or a hundred years ago and hasn’t yet left service… no need for “the”– especially if it’s a crewman doing the talking.

Ships have their own words for everything. Here’s a quick rundown: 

Berth/Berthing: places where crew or possibly passengers sleep.
Quarters: Same as above, but generally insinuating more luxurious accommodations.
Bow: The front/nose of the ship, as a noun
Stern: The rear/ass end of the ship, as a noun.
Prow: The very front of the bow, the “nose” of a ship.
Transom: The flat “ass” of a ship. 
Engines: Whatever makes your ship go. Boats may have motors, but ships have engines. 
Bulkhead: An interior wall of a ship. 
Gunwale: Pronounced “gunnel.” The outside “wall” of the ship as created by the hull.
Hatch: A door or doorway. You can close a hatch or walk through a hatch.
Hatchway: Doorway. You cannot “close” a hatchway, but only walk through it. 
Porthole: a window
Ahead: To engage the engines in a way that the ship moves forward, as in “full steam ahead.”
Astern: To engage the engines in such a way that the ship moves backward/in reverse.
Deck: Any “floor” in or on the ship. Stuff you walk on.
Topside/abovedecks: the “outside area” of a boat. Where you can stand and feel the air on your face.
Belowdecks: “inside” the ship’s hull. “below” is a shortening of this. 
Bilge: A pump that removes water (or whatever) from inside the vessel.
Scuttle: to trash something or throw it out.
Scuttlebutt: Rumors and gossip, trashtalking.
Galley: The kitchen.
Head: bathrooms
Bridge: The part of the ship where it is controlled.
Helm: Phrase for describing the person actually controlling the ship’s movements. The person “at the helm” is the person making the decisions, not the person with the wheel in their hands. If your captain tells his first mate, “Six degrees to starboard, steady on”, the captain is at the helm. If the first mate is making that decision himself because the captain can’t, he’s “at the helm.” 
Moorings: attachment to a dock. “moored” meaning attached in this way.
Flotsam: Stuff floating in the water, or in space.
Masts: Big posts that sails fly from.
Boom: Big post going across the mast that sails attach to.
Make fast: tie shit down
Eye: a round thing to tie to or pass a rope through. 
Cleat: a thing for tying shit to.
Lines: Ropes.
Hold: Any large space inside of a ship to put shit, or “stow” it.

There’s lots more, and lots if you want to get into sailing vessels involving the names for the different sails and masts and such, but this is enough to get you started.

Directions and time: 

Ships have their own way of designating the “directions” on  the ship. Aft and stern are not synonyms: aft is a direction, the stern is the actual physical part of the ship. Same with forward and bow. 

Forward: The “front” direction, anything from the middle of the ship to the very tip of the prow.

Aft: The ass end direction. Anything from the middle to the very farthest back part of the ship.

Port: If you are standing on the ship and looking forward, this is going to be on your left. It’s easy to remember because “left” and “port” both have four letters.

Starboard: Pronounced “starberd.” The “right” side of the ship, if you are standing on the ship, looking forward. Two R’s in starboard– “right.”

This is helpful in writing because you can use these words to describe how your characters move about their surroundings, IE, “She looked up, lost, heading what she assumed was aftward.”

Ships generally have their own clock and specific time. Even today in real life, submarines will have their own times and clocks, often with each crewmember on his own clock.

Summary: Idk people, talk about the cool shit in your spaceships more! Hope this helped.      

So I had a thought about Necromancers...

Usually, one thinks of the opposite or natural foe of a Necromancer as being some sort of white mage or cleric (or sometimes paladin).

But what if the natural enemy of the Necromancer is the Bard?

In combat there’s no contest, but the secret of bards is they weave the big magic, they weave the story-magic and the song-spell. And when a dwarven mine collapses or a dragon scours a city or the Edmund Fitzgerald wrecks in a storm there’s a bard there to weave a mournful folk-song about the event. 

The bard’s song or tale memorializes the lost but it also binds the event into a tale, the wild chaos of life and death tamed by the structure of narrative and verse. All sealed with an ending and reinforced by the retelling. 

And when the Necromancer pulls forth his scepter of bone and calls to the souls of the lost to rise in his service, he receives no answer. The dead do not rise because that’s not how the story ends. Too many people have heard it. Too many voices have sung it. The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

November 10, 1975:  The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.  Launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, and remains the largest to have sunk there.

Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” after reading an article, “The Cruelest Month”, in the November 24, 1975, issue of Newsweek. The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels. (wikipedia)


Photo: Edmund Fitzgerald, 1971 (Wikimedia Commons)

Things People Have Said in my APUSH Class

- Who put the map on the back of The Declaration of Independence?

- People marrying for money seems to be a recurring theme in this class.

- I bought this Donald Trump shirt as a joke because I’m moving to New Zealand and I can watch the failure from outside the country, but I had to donate money to his campaign and it ended up costing me about $60.

- Is Pocahontas real?

- John Francis Fitzgerald is Edmund Fitzgerald’s grandpa.

- You know it, you love it, you smell it on the way to Chicago, that’s right kids, Gary, Indiana.

- Did Abraham Lincoln get shot because he revealed the location of The Book of Secrets?

- One time I saw Nicholas Cage at a parade and now we’re friends.

- The musket is a terrible weapon, Mel Gibson is a liar, and The Patriot is not a good movie.

- What do you mean New York City is on an Island?

- Someone on Tumblr sent me anon hate because I called Thomas Jefferson bae in the tags. (side note: I sent that person anon hate about Jefferson)

- Maybe Aaron Burr can shoot me instead so I don’t have to take the final.

- Can John D. Rockefeller pay for the textbook I may or may not have lost?

- Teacher: (describing an affair without saying they were fucking) They were getting to know each other in the biblical sense.

Student: What religion were they practicing?

Teacher: Baptist.

- Student: Why isn’t Lincoln on any paper money?

Teacher: He’s traditionally on the five…

- The Americans won the Revolution because they hid in the woods… like squirrels…

- Mrs. Lincoln was a female dog.

- Folks, watching the John Green videos is not enough.

- When you graduate high school you will not remember anything from The Missouri Compromise. What you will remember is “Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa, Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha.”

- Here are the three presidents I would fight, in order: Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, and James Buchanan.

- And Hamilton was so pleased with himself that his bonds plan was being used yet again, so he rose from the dead, wrote a musical, and won a grammy

- If you’re..uh… sensitive.. leave now. *pulls out a copy of The Jungle*

- Student #1: He’s the richest man in the world! He sleeps on a bed of gold!

Student #2: Carson, are you telling me you don’t sleep on a bed of gold?

- Everyone from the Democratic Party wanted this nomination. Even William Jennings Bryan wanted it, and he’s dead.

- And then part of the tape was (air quotes) “ accidently” erased. *teacher aggresivley shakes his head*

- You will need to acquire, either by theft or by asking, a credit card to pay for the AP exam

- I just read an essay that compared the New Deal to Wilson’s actions during the Civil War. And it was one paragraph. Good luck on the AP everyone.

- Teacher: The AP is in 5 days. It’s time to panic.

Student: I thought it was time to panic 15 days ago.

Teacher: Some people didn’t get the message. Now it’s really time to panic.

- So is there like… a meal included in the $90 exam?

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Gordon Lightfoot
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Here’s a blast from the bast! This was in one of my 3rd grade music class books. My whole class had to sing it, I figured it was just some song some school company wrote. Well, it was good back then, and it’s good now. 

A map of shipwrecks in Lake Superior

Lake Superior in Michigan, USA has the most shipwrecks, comparative to its size. If you were to combine all of the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, they would have more shipwrecks than all of the other bodies of water in the world combined. The Caribbean may have claimed many wrecks in the Golden Age of Piracy, but the Great Lakes have continued to increase their numbers well into the 20th century. The Edmund Fitzgerald, a wreck immortalized in a Gordon Lightfoot song, went down in Lake Superior in November 1975. The USS Mesquite, the most recent sinking, ran aground in December 1989. This wreck is still preserved and is available for divers to explore.

music tag

i was tagged by @to-japan-and-back! merci! 🌸

Instructions: List ten songs you’re currently vibing on, then tag people!

hey mama - david guetta

bitch i’m madonna - madonna

run the world (girls) - beyoncé

can’t hold us - macklemore

alors on danse - stromae

daniel in the den - bastille

flaws - bastille

glitter and gold by barns courtney

mother by pink floyd

the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald by gordon lightfoot

i tag @galacticphantoms, @perisaur, @fallenprussiansoldier, @noxbandit, @altered-mind, @almostamongoose, @borussia-in-saecula-saeculorum, @clueless-dullahan, @revesvagabond, @aphsouthkcrea, @furealdo64, @vunv, @jakathine, @thuguke, & @aph-belarusia! per usual, don’t feel obligated to do this, i’m just particularly interested in you guys’ music tastes specifically.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald. ~Gordon Lightfoot

"On November 10, 1975, an ore carrier - the Edmund Fitzgerald - sank in Lake Superior during a November storm, taking the lives of all 29 crew members."

A tribute video to the Edmund Fitzgerald on the 37th anniversary of her sinking.  I’ve posted this before and I’ll post it again.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

30 Day Song Challenge: Day #10 - A song that makes you sad 


A November Witch is, as the name suggests, not something to trifle with. The colorful name refers to the particularly nasty storms that pummel the Great Lakes around this time of year. They can be merciless systems; one such storm sank the Edmund Fitzgerald freighter 40 years ago.

Dave Sandford captures that power perfectly in his series Liquid Mountains, which he shot during four weeks on the shores of Port Stanley, Ontario. Although he respects the power of these storms, Sandford isn’t afraid of them. The worse things get, the more compelled he is to be outside.

Read more about how Sandford captured these vicious waves and check out more photos.


Fanmixes for Craig Tucker and Tweek Tweak. 

My reputation is the same it’s been,
and I don’t care what happens.
[Listen here]

Emptiness Will Eat the Witch Have a Nice Life Space Oddity David Bowie Welcome to Bangkok Brand New The Cosmonaut The Edmund Fitzgerald Blue Whirr Academic Flexing Capacities Dboles Innards Last Breath Calculator Stay Home American Football A Letter La Dispute At Night I Can See Everything Tim in a Life Jacket Honest Sleep Touché Amoré  

If you have a problem, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance
What’s wrong?
What’s wrong?
Nothing, really
What’s wrong?
[Listen here]

Dandelion Boards Of Canada Take Pills Panada Bear Community College Suicide Horse Jumper Of Love Crooked Dub Spacemonkeyz versus Gorillaz Cop Graveyard Teen Suicide Look… The Sun Is Rising The Flaming Lips Need Something Stronger Unkle Everything In It’s Right Place Radiohead Everything Is Fine Teen Suicide Monolith Ear when you wake up ill be gone little cat heroin party High Places Banana Slugs 

fanart by http://runmonsterun.tumblr.com/

Michigan Things

- the sinking of the edmund fitzgerald
- meijer’s
- the shame associated with knowing that the devos family is from your state
- Pure Michigan ™
- that Fresh Farm Scent
- people thinking that frankenmuth is a 100% spot-on accurate representation of germany
- same as the above but with holland and the netherlands
- everyone wearing camo during hunting season
- “someone fell into the lake ice fishing again”
- canadian pennies everywhere
- canada in general
- the bitter rivalry between u of m and msu fans
- cars
- everything being named after henry ford
- kid rock and eminem songs playing on the michigan radio stations a lot more than they are probably played in other states
- bad roads
- laughing at the southern states when they freak out over less than an inch of snow
- unpredictable weather
- no really we sometimes get snow in late april

Have you ever been drunk enough to want to listen to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald but not enough to be willing to let your roommate of over a year know that when you’re drunk you listen to the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald because that’s my current situation