The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-16-2001, 11:30 AM
Saltire Saltire is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 3,607
The new column by John Corrado was really good. I don't have any facts to add, or any points to argue, or even any questions to ask. I just wanted to say how very complete and well-researched it was.

Link to the column: What really happened to the Mary Celeste?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-16-2001, 01:11 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
One of my favorite mysteries

Wasn't this mentioned on Unsolved Mysteries? And they claimed to have found some evidence on a nearby island? Or was that something else....
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-16-2001, 01:27 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 2,169
Oh, I don't usually nitpick but careen is one of favorite words. It means to take a ship or boat up on shore to scrape its bottom surfaces clean of barnacles and what-you-will. When Senhor Corrado says "careening out of control" he implies that the ship is beached and the whole process is poorly supervised.

The word he is looking for, I believe, is career, which means to run out of control, as a car careering down a steep road. Of course career has another meaning, but it's easy to keep these meanings straight if you, like I, have a careering career.

That is all.
__________________
And the plane never takes off...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-16-2001, 02:00 PM
Spiratu Spiratu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
My Webster's Universal College Dictionary says for careen:

1. to lean or tip to one side while in motion; sway. 2. (of a ship) to heel over or list. 3. career definition 5 (which is: to go at full speed) 4.to cause (a ship) to lie over on one side, as for repairs and cleaning. 5. to clean or repair (a careened ship). 6. To cause (a ship) to heel over or list. 7. the act or position of careening.

http://www.m-w.com , the Merriam-Webster web site, pretty much agrees with this, although it does put your definition first.

So his usage was fine; careen means that something is tipped over or leaned to one side, usually a boat, and often in order to clean the hull, but not necessarily. The meaning of career that you suggest, on the other hand, means "go at full speed." So maybe your career is not going as badly as you think.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-16-2001, 02:09 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
Well, as Ed Zotti properly informed me in the "Marines" column that I used 'wrangle' when I should have used 'wangle', I can accept that I use 'careen' when I should have used 'career'. But I've always heard 'careen' used to refer to something moving erratically and out of control- "the car was careening down the sidewalk as little Billy tried to reach a foot down to the pedals".

And thank y'all for the compliments!
__________________
Fighting ignorance since 1999.
Unfortunately, ignorance fights back.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-16-2001, 02:39 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
I've heard and used the word careen a long time, but this is the first time I've ever looked it up. The usage I've always had was "lurching about out of control" or "swerving from side to side".

My Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary supports John Corrado's use:

1. to swerve or lurch while in motion <a car careening around a corner> 2. Naut. to lean to one side, as a ship sailing in the wind. 3. Naut. To turn a ship on its side for cleaning, caulking, or repairing.

Definition 3 is the one you mean, but definition 1 and 2 are the way John Corrado used it.

Whereas career has as definitions speed and rapid progression, but no sense of a lack of steering.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-16-2001, 03:44 PM
RiverRunner RiverRunner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
One question regarding the Mary Celeste column: is there any account that tells how the sails were set when the ship was discovered? The "careening out of control" description makes it sound like she was moving at a fair clip and thus had a good bit of sailcloth spread. If the ship was abandoned for a storm or some such, as seems to be most likely, I would think that the crew would have furled the sails before leaving.

Of course, IANA sailor (obviously).


RR
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-16-2001, 03:53 PM
jmonster jmonster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Great column, but you forgot to mention that the Bermuda Triangle might have had something to with it.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-16-2001, 06:31 PM
peepthis peepthis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Great column! My only nitpick:
Quote:
Just sit right back, and I'll tell a tale. A tale of a . . . okay, I'll stop that.
Going on the Gilligan's Island riff, shouldn't that have been "Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale..."?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-16-2001, 08:20 PM
jab1 jab1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
I think it was a great column too.

What would have made it more perfect would have been mentioning that Clive Cussler (writer of the Dirk Pitt novels) found the remains of the ship in Haiti earlier this year.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-16-2001, 09:03 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Where the wild roses grow
Posts: 19,967
I agree! Great column, I am happy to now know some of the facts from the false.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-16-2001, 09:47 PM
saoirse saoirse is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Does anyone know if this story was the inspiration for Lord Jim? It seems like Conrad would have recognized a case of premature abondonment, with the result that the abandoned ship arrived at port before the captain. Perhaps he read about it and wrote a story about what would happen if the captian showed up? Of course, from there Conrad's story careers off in another direction, but the two stories seem to have a lot in common.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-16-2001, 10:48 PM
Teach Teach is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Great column. I especially like the conclusion.
Quote:
time-traveling Nazi aliens from Atlantis
[Dave Barry]Wouldn't that make a great band name?[/Dave Barry]
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-17-2001, 08:04 AM
Philster Philster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Good column.

If the crew believed they were doomed on the ship, and evacuated to the life boat, I wouldn't consider that "irony" like Corrado. Any sailor knows that leaving the ship for a life boat is a calculated risk. Doing something based on a calculated risk kind of spoils the real irony.

Sure, the lifeboat wasn't as safe as the ship. I guess you could make that a case for irony.

So what happened to the sails? Did they take them for cover? Has this ever happened before - a crew takes sails when abandoning a ship?

Was there ever a precedent to leave a note or some ship log behind explaining why the ship was abandoned?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-17-2001, 10:02 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,063
<< So what happened to the sails? >>

She sold the sea sails at a sail sale at the sea shore.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-17-2001, 10:50 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 24,087
Damn fine column, John Corrado!

I hate even to mention it, but since this is an article to be proud of, I'm sure you'll want to correct the spelling of "promptly" in paragraph 11.
__________________
Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-18-2001, 09:00 AM
Casta Lusoria Casta Lusoria is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Conclusions...

And if said alien's name is "Stroeher," we're all in an awful lot of trouble. Great stuff, John. Glad to know you're checking to see if we're keeping track.

~ k.

re:
Teach: 'Great column. I especially like the conclusion.'
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------
time-traveling Nazi aliens from Atlantis
------------------------------------------------------------
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-18-2001, 09:54 AM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
The feeling that all comments deserve a personal reply will eventually kill me.

RiverRunner- with a name like that, you're *not* a sailor? Anyways, I saw no direct reference to how the sails were set, but I didn't read in-depth the Admiralty's Inquiry, which probably contained the information. And the sails need not have been set at all for the ship to have been careening- again, we're talking about the North Atlantic in the middle of winter, and rough, turbulent water would have been the norm.

jmonster- Actually, if my understanding is correct, the St. Mary's Island referenced as the last point in the log is east of Puerto Rico, meaning the ship was well out of the Bermuda Triangle unless aformentioned Nazi time-traveling aliens forged the log to throw us off the track. But I could be wrong about the location of St. Mary's Island.

peepthis- You are correct, that is the way it starts off. However, I had a full parody of the song prepared, and realized that said full parody was just a bit too much (hey, my reports are long enough without throwing extraneous weirdities in them), and so just pared it down to the original lines, not remembering that I had changed the second one. Ah, well.

jab1- Well, again, it's a matter of space and time (and how much of my meandering dialogue Ed is willing to deal with); I didn't expect that discussing the unfortunate follow-up of what actually happened to the ship (namely, eventually being wrecked in an attempt at insurance fraud) would really interest people.

GuanoLad- Thanks!

saoirse- not being at all familiar with the Conrad story, I can't honestly opine.

Teach- Actually, that's half the reason I picked up this question. A friend of mine by the name of Jim MacDougall writes theater-style Live Action Games (as do I), and one of his most famous works is "The Last Voyage Of The Mary Celeste". In that one, not only does he throw in nearly *all* of the various theories about what happened (from New Age crystals to kraken attacks), but he throws in many plots that were becoming standard cliches of the writers in our community- time traveling Nazis, vampires, Atlanteans, etc. So that particular line is an homage to him and his work.

Philster- well, irony is irony regardless of whether it was the smart thing to do. I don't at all *fault* the crew for making the choice they did, but the situation *was* ironic. As for the sails- I'm positive they were left on the ship, otherwise the skeleton crew from the Dei Grata never could have gotten it to Gibraltar. And I don't know whether there was any precedent to leave a note behind, but given the state of the evacuation it seems the crew didn't think they really had *time*.

C K- Ouch. Just... ouch.

KneadToKnow- I'd love to correct that. Unfortunately, only C K has access to the tools to do so, so it's up to him or Ed. But I expect he'll get around to noticing it one day.

Casta Lusoria- A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat, say no more, eh?
__________________
Fighting ignorance since 1999.
Unfortunately, ignorance fights back.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-18-2001, 11:50 AM
jmonster jmonster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Re: The feeling that all comments deserve a personal reply will eventually kill me.

Quote:
Originally posted by John Corrado
jmonster- Actually, if my understanding is correct, the St. Mary's Island referenced as the last point in the log is east of Puerto Rico, meaning the ship was well out of the Bermuda Triangle unless aformentioned Nazi time-traveling aliens forged the log to throw us off the track. But I could be wrong about the location of St. Mary's Island.
That was my point. Look at the map again. The little dots have all been attributed to the magical forces of the Bermuda Triangle.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-18-2001, 12:01 PM
John Corrado John Corrado is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Posts: 3,684
Whoa. I have *no* idea how I *completely* missed the point of that website, but apparently, I did. Had it been a snake, I'd be in the hospital right now. Thanks, j.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 10-19-2001, 08:07 AM
grimpixie grimpixie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Excellent column - well written and presented...

Just wanted to ask: Are any of the sources you used availiable Online? If so, could you provide the links? I'd be particularly interested in the "official enquiry".

Thanks
Gp
__________________
"I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent." - Gandhi
"Therefore be at peace with Cecil, whatever you conceive him to be." - Dethreaderata by Tazma
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 10-21-2001, 07:01 PM
JeffB JeffB is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Posts: 2,753
Time travel was involved, but it wasn't the Nazis from Atlantis. Anyone remember the Dr. Who episode "The Chase", where the Daleks scare the crew into jumping off the ship?
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.