Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beware Your Captain

Well, today NASA finally fired the astronaut who was stalking the alleged crush of her alleged crush. This after proclaiming that her "flight status was unchanged." I'm sorry, but, would you want to be floating around in space in a tin can with that cracker? Me neither.

Truly to me the story was genuinely heartbreakingly pathetic. Astronauts always represented to me the best and brightest. Now I know they also are human, and I understand the hubris of being smart and brave and crazy enough to be an astronaut probably makes for an unusual individual. Admittedly, these people have to be a little bit on the edge, steely, and made of a variety of "right stuff" in order to tolerate the fact that they are flinging themselves into the outer limits with what really is a snowball's chance in hell of coming back to earth alive. Still, this was just a bit over the outside of the edge.

I find a lot of our leaders today see themselves as bulletproof. This woman clearly thought she was doing the right thing and would get away with it. Our President, as I've said lately, is in his own perfectly rationalized world, where what he's doing is right. Lots of leaders, and ordinary people too, do horrible things and think they've gotten away with it because they are convinced they're right.

You know, St. Patrick's Day is coming up fast, and I realized I haven't been celebrating like I should. (You think the Valentine series was rough? You have no idea what English guilt will do to a person.) So in thinking about this, comes to mind a song I love called Captain Glenn, recorded by Irish singer and guitarist John Doyle on his most recent solo release, Wayward Son.

Hear me: I LOVE JOHN DOYLE. I really do. I love his passionate playing, and his commitment to traditional songs. He was the first person to tell me about Mudcat Cafe, where you find virtually anything about old ballads and songs, and meet up with people who love that stuff, too.

This is a good old sea ballad. I really love the version on the album and because the clip doesn't do it justice, heartily encourage you to spend the 99 cents over at iTunes to add it to your collection.

Beware who you're sailing with. Steer clear of murderers -- murderers of people, of soul, of joy. And if you find yourself led by a wayward captain, don't be afraid to jump ship.

There was a ship and a ship of fame.
Launch'd off the stocks, bound to the main,
With a hundred and fifty brisk young men
Was picked and chosen every one.
William Glen was our captain's name.
He was a tall and brisk young man,
As bold a sailor as ever went to sea,
And he was bound to New Barbary.
The first of April when we did set sail,
Blest with a sweet and prosperous gale,
For we were bound to New Barbary
With all our whole ship's company.
We had not sailed a day but two
Till all our whole ship's jovial crew
They all fell sick but sixty-three,
As we went sailin' to New Barbary.

One night the captain he did dream
There came a voice which said to him,
"Prepare you and your company.
To-morrow night you must lodge with me."
This wak'd the captain in a fright,
Being the third watch of the night;
Then for his boatswain he did call,
And told to him his secrets all.

"When I in England did remain
The holy Sabbath I did profane;
In drunkenness I took delight,
Which doth my trembling soul affright.
"There's one thing more I'm to rehearse,
Which I shall mention in this verse,
A Squire I slew in Staffordshire
All for the love of a lady fair."
"Now 'tis his ghost, I am afraid,
That hath to me such terror bred;
Although the king has pardoned me,
He's daily in my company. "
"O worthy captain, since 'tis so,
No mortal of it e'er shall know;
So keep your secret in your breast,
And pray to God to give you rest."
They had not sailed a league but three
Till raging grew the roaring sea;
There rose a tempest in the skies
Which filled our hearts with great surprise.
Our mainmast sprung by break of day,
Which made our rigging all give way.
This did our seamen sore affright,
The terrors of that fatal night.
Up then spoke our foremost man
As he by the fore-yard did stand.
He cried, "The Lord receive my soul!"
So to the bottom he did fall.
The sea did work both fore and aft
Till scarce one sail on board was left;
Our yards were split and our rigging tore.
The like was never seen before.
The boastwain then he did declare
The captain was a murderer,
Which did enrage the whole ship's crew.
Our captain overboard they threw.
Our treacherous captain being gone,
Immediately there was a calm;
The winds did calm and the raging sea
As we went to New Barbary.
Now when we came to the Spanish shore
Our goodiy ship for to repair,
The people all were amazed to see
Our dismal case and misery.
But when our ship was in repair
To fair England our course did steer;
And when we came to London town
Our dismal case was then made known.
Now many wives their husbands lost,
Which they lamented to their cost,
And caused them to weep bitterly
These tidings from New Barbary.
A hundred and fifty brisk young men
Did to our goodly ship belong;
Of all our whole ship's company
Our number was but seventy-three.
Now seamen all, where'er you be,
I pray a warning take by me:
As you love your life, still have a care
You never sail with a murderer.'
Tis never more I do intend
For to cross over the raging main;
But I'll live in peace in my own country,
And so I end my tragedy.
From Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, MackenzieCollected from Alexander HarrisonDT #563Laws K22RG


At March 08, 2007 6:09 AM, Anonymous Gerry said...

Come to think of it doesn't Blue Grass have origins in Irish music? And about 'em astronauts they remind me of Catch-22 -- you know where they're flying because they're insane yet to get out of it all they need to be insane but no one wants out because they're insane enough to fly?
Anyway, happy St. Paddy's I'll drink to ya!

At March 08, 2007 8:23 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Ah Tis true, Gerry. Bluegrass certainly does have its roots there in Celtic music especially. And all the good murderin' songs really are holdovers from across the pond.

As for Astronauts, I have a much healthier respect now for appropriate times and places for AHA MOMENTS. I'll drink to that!

Thanks for stopping by!

At March 08, 2007 9:24 AM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

Wise words, MM. Thank you for the reminder to watch out.

At March 09, 2007 7:28 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

I love John Doyle! I don't have anything of his in my collection (my list-to-buy is really long these days). We saw him about 2 years ago at the Celtic Festival here (with Liz Carroll and John Willimas) and that is one of the most pleasant ways to see someone that I can think of. I've got that Celtic stuff down in my soul. Has to be in the DNA.

At March 09, 2007 7:30 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

That's "Williams", not "Willimas" (which sound like a new holiday celebrating the birth of Willie Nelson!)

At March 09, 2007 7:54 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Blueberry! LOL, I would almost rather celebrate Willimas. Anyway, I hear ya, I love that Celtic stuff, barely a stone's throw from bluegrass. Liz and John played a gig up here about two years ago at a glorious dive called the Beachland Tavern. They are a delight. Treat yourself to Wayward Son if not their joint release, In Play. You might like some of the older Solas stuff to, with him and Karan Casey.

Is this the big weekend??? ENJOY Mando Mayhem!!!

At March 09, 2007 6:41 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

The Greencards on Saturday and Mandolin Mayhem on Sunday!

At March 09, 2007 8:07 PM, Blogger Women on the Verge said...

" She was declared unfit for duty"... gee... I don't know, do ya really think so???

Happy St Paddy's Day... * tip of the glass*


At March 10, 2007 8:37 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi, E!
I wonder if the astrocorps was so devastated they felt they had to stand behind her at first, but I was really surprised. What a clumsy mess.

I'll drink to that~and to you and L! Gosh, I have a lot of people to drink to. GOod think I have all week to get ready. Must get my corned beef and cabbage and potatoes!

At March 10, 2007 8:38 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

OH Blueberry! Have fun and bring back reports and pictures! I have to wait until April or May to see the Greencards.


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