The Mary Ellen Carter is a song written and recorded by Stan Rogers, intended as an inspirational hymn about triumphing over great odds. It tells the story of a heroic effort to salvage a sunken ship, the Mary Ellen Carter, by members of her former crew. It is one of the most popular songs written by Rogers.So inspiring is the song that it is credited with saving at least one life. On February 12, 1983 the ship Marine Electric was carrying a load of coal from Norfolk, Virginia to a power station in Somerset, Massachusetts. The worst storm in forty years blew up that night and the ship sank at about four o’clock in the morning on the 13th. The ship’s Chief Mate, fifty-nine-year-old Robert (“Bob”) M. Cusick, was trapped under the deckhouse as the ship went down. His snorkeling experience helped him avoid panic and swim to the surface, but he had to spend the night alone, up to his neck in water, clinging to a partially deflated lifeboat, and in water barely above freezing and air much colder. Huge waves washed over him, and each time he wasn’t sure that he would ever reach the surface again to breathe. Battling hypothermia, he became tempted to allow himself to fall unconscious and let go of the lifeboat. Just then he remembered the words to the song “The Mary Ellen Carter.”
And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
Rise again, rise again – though your heart it be broken
And life about to end.
No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Be like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
He started to sing it, and soon was alternating shouting out “Rise again, rise again” with holding his breath as the waves washed over him. At seven o’clock that morning a Coast Guard helicopter spotted him and pulled him to safety. Only two men of the other thirty-three that had been aboard survived the wreck. After his ordeal, Cusick wrote a letter to Stan Rogers telling him what had happened and how the song helped save his life. In response, Cusick was invited to attend what turned out the be the second-to-last concert Rogers ever performed.
Imagine my surprise that this was local.Â Wyoming, MI is maybe a mile from my house.Â The title is melodramatic, but the events are still disturbing.Â (Summary: with no warning to students or parents, there was an “evacuation” drill which involved police in full riot gear announcing a “threat” to the school, and running around the school with weapons and ordering kids around, searching their pockets and the like — which I don’t think is even legal.)Â The police say they didn’t know that the kids had not been told about it.
Maybe it’s just me but I have a hard time imagining any scenario that’s statistically likely to happen that this would be useful preparation for.
Unless there’s something to that “new law that makes it easy for Bush to declare martial law” story that’s going around.
I’m not sure this is news — PNAC stuff has been publically available for some time — perhaps it’s the explicit plan to use Saddam Hussein as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq when the actual reason is to establish a permanent American military presence?
The stuff about “decisively winning” wars on multiple enemies simultaneously sure seems to have turned out a lot harder than it was supposed to be.
The stuff about trying to bring democracy to China is chilling.Â Imagine that instead of picking a fight with Iraq and discovering it was nigh impossible for us to end that fight in a way we were happy with, we’d done the same thing with China.Â Holy crap would we be hosed.Â Remember way back before 9/11, when the first kind of scary incident in the W. Presidency was us sending out a spy plane to China and the Chinese shooting it down?Â I wonder if military rivalry with China would have been a much bigger part of the first W. term if 9/11 hadn’t forced everyone’s attention to the Middle East….
If so, I’m grateful.Â Iraq is bad enough, but we can pull out whenever we choose to.Â I don’t think we could “choose to” end a war with China if we’d started one.
FoxTrot‘s sunday strip is awesome.
People are always asking me, “Oh, Ed that Goes Ping, what did you and your friends look like when you were little more than half your current age, and hung around in basements which had been decorated with bizarre vaguely tribal-looking creatures, wearing a trenchcoat?”