The Block Island Times

Captain Matty, Memories, The MV Manitou

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Mar 24, 2012

Captain Matt Rooney brought the MV Manitou back from Fairhaven Mass on Friday, along with engineer Gary Champlin and Captain Carl Lucas. She'd been in drydock for a couple of weeks. It's always nice to see the Manitou because of the memories. I loved working on her as a young guy. Well, I got a snootful of memories this morning from Matty. As the MV Block Island was getting ready to dock, Brian Cox, me and Matty were looking at the old ferry, as Brian manned the ramp for the incoming ferry. Matty talked about some structural issues that were addressed, the new paint job- bottom and topsides-and the thickness of the barnacles on the wheels, "The barnacle growth was this thick Joey," he said gesturing with his thumb and forefinger. Me and Brian nodded. "It slowed the hull speed down to 10 knots going to Fairhaven, but on the way back after painting up, she was making 13 knots no sweat." Now, this was some great nautical talk;however, it soon spiraled into the kind of wacky, zany, and sometimes insane dialogue Matty and I would partake in, aboard the cramped wheelhouse of the Manitou back in '75 with our other shipmates.

Pardon my short-term memory, but I can't remember this morning if Matty brought up the following or if I did, but somehow we up ended spouting out lines from the comedy group Firesign Theatre(kind of a cross between, Garrison Keillor's posse, Monty Python, and National Lampoon.) We would riff on the following on a trip by trip basis: "You can wait in the sitting, or sit in the waiting room," "That's just a two-bit ring from a Crackerback Jox." "She's no fun, she fell right over. " "We're all Bozos on this bus, my mother was a Bozoette, beep beep! "Now Georgy, eat with your entrenching tools." "Is the horizon going up, or is the sun going down?" "This is Nick Danger, third eye." Then, Matty spouts out this long monologue; I couldn't believe he had a file in his head which contained this one, I figured it got deleted! We laughed like like crazy people. This is 9 this morning mind you. When Matty was a kid, he had the vinyl albums of these guys, and of course memorized them( when he was probably supposed to be doing homework). Brian Cox thought we were speaking in riddles.

So file this memory folks, you're riding on the Manitou back in the day and five young unstrapped, yet capable guys, are in the wheelhouse holding a course, checking radar, monitoring Channels 13, 16, and are yammering away at each other in wacky voices the lines from the Firesign Theatre albums. To get a better sense of the what this cacophony really sounded like, go to Youtube, and punch up Firesign Theatre.

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