THE WRECK of the EDMUND FITZGERALD: The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee. Today is the 33rd anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 729 feet-long, 75 feet in breadth, 39 feet in depth, weighing 13,632 gross tons -- an ore bulk carrier with a capacity of 25,000 tons. When it was launched on June 7 1958, at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, Fitzgerald was the largest ship on the Great Lakes. Here's misty, water-colored video of the launch.
The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sank in the eastern end of Lake Superior during a fierce storm -- including snow squalls -- that pounded the ship with 30-foot waves. The crew of 29 men perished; without witnesses, a definitive reason has never been determined. A Coast Guard report suggested that faulty hatches failed to keep water out of the ship's cargo holds, though others believe the ship struck an uncharted shoal and took on water. A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel concluded the loss of the due to freak waves that overwhelmed the faulty hatches.
After the wreck, the Rev. Richard Ingalls went to Mariners' Church in Detroit and rang its bell 29 times, once for each life lost. The church continues to hold an annual memorial, which includes reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell. Here's video of Rev. Ingalls recounting that night.
At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in 1995, as a joint project with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Here's a brief video from one of the underwater explorations of the wreck. Throw in the 3-D animation, and you'll feel just like Bill Paxton.
The song by Gordon Lightfoot spent 21 straight weeks on the pop charts, peaking at No. 2. And there's a homemade video for it on YouTube, which I highly recommend. Beats the tar of Celine Dion! (PS: Ken King -- who has lived on the U.P. of Michigan, says the gales of November are quite something.)
THE DECEMBERISTS played the Electric Factory in Philly on Friday, you can stream the whole gig on demand via NPR.
THE REPLACEMENTS: Captain's Dead has posted their April 5, 1985 gig from scenic DeKalb, IL for downloading or streaming in three parts (Pt. One, Pt. Two, Pt. Three), which concludes with three Cheap Trick covers.
THE HOLD STEADY: Craig Finn talks about forgiveness, redemption and the Drive-By Truckers with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
ROBYN HITCHOCK talks to Paste about the next Venus 3 album and various collaborations, and about his past work with Jim DeRogatis, mostly the fabulous I Often Dream of Trains album.
ROGER McGUINN talks to the Rocky Mountain News about the Folk Den and why he's not keen on a Byrds reunion. He also mentions this recent cameo with Bruce Springsteen on "Turn, Turn, Turn!"
THESE UNITED STATES got some of their ragged-edged folk, rock and Americana on All Things Considered over the weekend.
ANDREW BIRD will be getting into Target with his latest release, just one reason the whistiling violinist is happy about his new label, Fat Possum.
NICOLE ATKINS talks to the Washington Times about her covers, EP, the aptly-titled "Nicole Atkins Digs Other People's Songs."
O'DEATH singer Greg Jamie tells Spinner why he likes having some blog backlash.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa sits atop the chart with 63.5 million -- the high end of expectations and roughly what the original made over the four days of Memorial Day weekend in 2005. With Harry Potter having moved to a summer release, the animals should clean up this month, and perhaps next as well. Role Models came in second with 19.3 million -- which vastly exceeded expectations. The unofficial budget estimate for Role Models was 15 million. HSM 3 finally dropped from the top slot to third with 9.2 million, having made 75.7 million on an estimated 11 million budget (might this have done better at Thanksgiving or Xmas?). The Changeling held in fourth place with 7.2 million, while Zack & Miri rounded out the Top Five with 5.6 million. Z&M has no official budget number, but this has probably broken even -- making the weekend a good one for Elizabeth Banks, who also features in Role Models. Soul Men debuted in sixth, which makes for an inauspicious coda to the career of the late Bernie Mac. Overall this weekend was much improved over the same frame last year. This Friday, the name is Bond -- James Bond.
ROLE MODELS: Another "slacker coming of age" comedy, though the characters played by Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott actually have jobs. The sitcom-like setup finds them mentoring troubled young boys, and succeeds because the script has plenty of laughs (generally less crude laughs than Zach & Miri, but with its share of nudity and profanity), because the cast executes it well, and because of the timeless music of KISS.
CHARLIE SHEEN and his pregnant bride, Brooke Mueller have hit a rough patch, according to InTouch magazine. Denise Richards filed for divorce from Sheen while pregnant with their second daughter.
SIENNA MILLER confirms she has split from boyfriend Balthazar Getty as she enjoyed the company of Olivier Martinez, Josh Hartnett and Leonardo DiCaprio. She needs new friends, as she was reportedly dropped from Guy Ritchie's movie Sherlock Holmes after her ex, Jude Law, agreed to play Dr Watson.
NICOLE KIDMAN will play the world's first post-op transsexual, married to Charlize Theron, in The Danish Girl. Hey, she won an Oscar for doing The Hours with a fake nose, so you can imagine the potential.
EVAN RACHEL WOOD rubbishes reports circulating about why she and Marilyn Manson broke up.
PEACHES GELDOF denies she's divorcing after 96 days -- but admits her marriage to Max Drummey has problems.
OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS seem to be defying a religious ban on birthday celebrations.
PAKISTAN: US fighters and artillery targeted Taliban fighters in the Khyber agency in hot pursuit after Afghan forces along the border were attacked. In North Waziristan, up to 14 were killed in the first cross-border attack in Pakistan's tribal areas in one week. Three of al Qaeda's top 20 leaders have been killed in recent strikes, said General Petraeus.
IRAQ: Abu Ghazwan, the former leader of the "northern Baghdad belts," was killed in a joint raid in the Tarmiyah region. Iraqi troops detained 42 suspected terrorists in Mosul. Coalition forces captured eight al Qaeda operatives in Baghdad, Mosul, and Tikrit.
PINGU, a penguin muscled out of its family by a greedy sibling, now cuddles up with a stuffed friend.
THE SQUIRREL THREAT: Many Britons do not understand the danger posed by suicide squirrels.
BIG BLUE -- believed to have been the largest North American catfish in captivity -- has died in a Nebraska aquarium.
CAT survives a 17-story fall in Ontario.
TWO THIEVES were caught in southern Hungary with 12 pigs stuffed in their small van during a routine traffic check, Hungarian police said on Thursday.