A Trickster’s Truth

As increasing numbers of people are coming to learn, Oakland, California’s FOX News Affiliate KTVU was pranked last Friday. After broadcasting false names for the captain and crew of the ill-fated Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the station attempted to deal with the ensuing furor by insisting that the National Transportation Safety Board had confirmed the crew’s identities.

In turn, the NTSB declared that no, indeedy, it wasn’t them – at least, not officially. It was their silly summer intern, some young fella who’d roamed just far enough off the reservation to allow a Bart Simpson-like joke to make it all the way to the national airwaves. As the NTSB put it, rather primly,

“Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.
The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.
Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.

I discovered the online hubbub shortly after coming home from work. On first reading, I feared I was suffering heatstroke. I couldn’t imagine even the most loosely-run or inattentive news organization not picking up on names that clearly were fake and that had made the rounds of Iowa playgrounds fifty years ago. But they weren’t paying attention, they didn’t take the time to read the names aloud, and they went live with a “breaking news” update that’s going to make Monday morning’s staff meeting a nightmare for someone.

Watching the broadcast video, I did laugh. I laughed because I was amused by the word play, and I laughed from astonishment that such a thing could happen. Most of all, I laughed at the speed with which the entire event moved from mistake to embarassment to apology to pending lawsuit.  On Friday, it took only minutes for the apology to be issued and the facts to be clarified. In just two days, Asiana began muttering about lawsuits. Two decades ago, things moved more slowly.

When sailor, author and adventurer Tristan Jones died on Phuket Island, Thailand, in 1995, one of his obituaries was written by Euan Cameron for the British newspaper The Independent. Cameron was Jones’s British editor and quite an admirer of the man many called, without apology, “the old rum-gagger“. The obituary tended ever so slightly toward hagiography.

 Tristan Jones’s life was a series of adventures. Since he was a Welshman, a sailor, a romantic and a story-teller in the best seafaring tradition, the adventures were so plentiful that they filled eight books of autobiography and were sometimes so improbable that they defied belief.
It all began with a breach birth [sic] in a full storm, aboard a British tramp steamer, 150 miles north-east of Tristan da Cunha – hence the Christian name – in May 1924. Mrs Jones was the ship’s cook and both she and Tristan’s father came from a long line of Welsh master mariners. “By God, this one will always land on his feet!” the ship’s mate was reported to have said, as he delivered the baby from the 10-hour ordeal. “He may be a candidate for hanging one day, but he’ll never drown!

Cameron went on to note that throughout his life, as might be expected of a sailor, pinpointing Jones’s location could be difficult. He kept landing on his feet in out-of-the-way locations. Letters would arrive requesting that money be cabled to Bahia Concha in Columbia, or that engine parts should be dispatched to Constanta on the Black Sea.

It appears never to have occurred to Mr. Cameron that Jones’s sudden disappearances and vague itineraries might be the work of a trickster, a prankster, a sleight-of-mind artist. But at the time, there was no reason for suspicion. His books, filled with roaring oceans and exciting landfalls, appeared regularly and sold in the thousands. His book signings at boat shows brought in hundreds of sailors. When I met him at a fall boat show in the late 80s, I was utterly charmed. One of my acquaintances, even more impressed, signed on as volunteer crew.

Still, there were mysteries. His eventual biographer, Anthony Dalton, remembers that Jones didn’t want his biography written during his lifetime. His books were autobiographical, he insisted, so there was no need for a formal biography. He felt so strongly about the subject that he included a stipulation in his will that no biography was to be written until at least thirty years after his death. Later, he amended that to a financial condition. No biography could be written without payment of $100,000 to the Tristan Jones Trust.

His reasons for not wanting his true story told, Dalton discovered, had little to do with modesty and far more to do with a lack of probity. As he began piecing together Jones’s life, one accidentally discovered falsehood led inexorably to another.

The man who claimed to have sailed more than 345,000 miles in boats under forty feet, who said he sailed 180,000 miles solo, and who told his readers he had crossed the Atlantic nineteen times under sail…had far less experience at sea than he was prepared to admit. The man who claimed to have been torpedoed three times before his eighteenth birthday, who said he had taken a sailboat farther north into Arctic waters than anyone else, who told his readers of being trapped in polar ice for months at a time, was something of a fraud.

Despite the details of Euan Cameron’s obituary – details picked up and passed around the world for years – the man who said he was born at sea on his father’s ship in 1924 actually was born on land five years later, and Dalton has the facts about “Tristan” Jones.

Arthur Jones was born in Liverpool in 1929, the illegitimate son of a working-class Lancashire girl, and he grew up in orphanages with little education. Too young to see action in the World War II naval battles he would later write about so movingly, he joined the Royal Navy in 1946 and served fourteen unremarkable years.

Why would a man who was an accomplished sailor, a beloved racounteur, a remarkable adventurer and a successful author feel the need to “prank” his audience?  Dalton points to cultural heritage as one possible explanation.

If we accept that he was Welsh, as he claimed he was and as it’s possible he was, he was far from alone in his ability to weave fabulous tales. British author Melvyn Bragg, in his biography of Welsh actor Richard Burton, said, “In his cups [Burton] was a story-teller who embellished whenever necessary, and he expected the brightest listeners to understand the art.” 
As Bragg put it, “The Welsh way was to talk it up. Celtic stories were tall tales, and if your audience was daft enough to swallow it whole – so much the worse for them. He truly didn’t give a damn.”

And perhaps that is the key to unlocking the mystery of Tristan Jones. There simply was no reason for him to give a damn. If his persona was invented, his knowledge and love of the sea was real. If he engaged in trickery on shore, he knew the tricks of his sea-trade as well as anyone and was willing to share them freely. He may have pranked the whole sailing world for decades, but in coves and in bays, sheltered at tiny island anchorages and buffeted on interminable offshore passages, his books continue to inspire and entertain the people dearest to him – the ones who put to sea. 

And as for those ashore? He was happy for their company, too. As he liked to say, some will sail the oceans and some will not, but everyone sets sail on the sea of life, and the lessons of the sea apply to all.

The Sea knows nothing of money or power.
She knows only loyalty and audacity
and determination and courage
and, by God, she knows an unthinking, unseeing fool when she encounters one.

She knows awareness.
She knows patience.
She knows staunchness.
She knows foresight.
Yet she knows nothing of our longing for riches or fame
or even of our efforts to overcome or thwart her.

She gives an illusion of freedom,
but in reality she demands restraint, caution, self-discipline,
and a deep belief in the grace of God.

If we have none of these attributes
when we join her,
we shall have them when we have known her
for any length of time,

or we will be defeated or dead. 
~ Tristan Jones

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86 thoughts on “A Trickster’s Truth

  1. This is one interesting story. What a character, Tristan Jones. I am still amazed at how you amass the information that you so wonderfully weave into these entertaining stories. This just kept getting better and better.

    Just as an added tidbit here. It has rained all day and is now raining harder than it has all day. I so hope that the rain is wide spread and I hope you are getting some wonderful moisture too.

    1. Yvonne,

      We hadn’t had a drop of rain until about ten minutes ago, when one of the showers streaming ashore decided it was our neighborhood’s turn. It’s gone now, but I’m hoping for a nice, wet week, despite what it will do to my work schedule. At this point, I have to come down on the side of the greater good, and hope for rain!

      Here’s another tidbit. After the shower stopped, it took about two minutes for the ducks to find the puddles and the doves to start cooing. They’re tired of hot and dry, too.

      Tristan was quite a character. By the time I met him, he’d already had one leg amputated and had begun sailing a trimaran – easier for a one-legged guy to balance on! He named it “Outward Leg”, and there’s a book of the same name that chronicles his cruising on that boat. Honestly, even with his quirks he was quite a story-teller, and all of his books make entertaining reading.


  2. I’ve been mostly offline this week, so I have not heard/read the Fox story. I enjoyed your story about Tristan Jones – what a character! I can imagine why a young lad trying to find self-esteem might make up stories to embellish his lineage and history!

    1. Zee,

      It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say Tristan’s what Dirty Dale could have become if he’d had a little more talent. Both of them were what my grandmother would have called rapscallions. Later, I learned the phrase “wharf rat”, and that would do, too.

      What’s funny about Tristan is that he began writing in his middle age. His first book was published in 1977, and in the next twenty years he wrote fifteen books! When it came to embroidering the facts, two things worked in his favor. One was the absence of any family, and the other was his life as a sailor – constantly on the move, never developing any real history in any one place.

      The absence of today’s technology contributed, too. Today’s sailors keep up with the world in a multitude of ways, and the world can keep up with them. It’s much, much more difficult to just disappear – or to keep control of your narrative.

      After all – when I started my varnishing business in 1990, we still were living in the age of pay phones, telephone credit cards and land lines. Skype was science fiction, and satellite phones unimaginable. Now, when I want to talk with someone in England, I pick up the phone, and if I want to check a cruising friend’s progress, I log on to a site like Sail Tracker.

      I suspect Tristan would have hated that!


      1. Yes, technology has changed our world; I have a friend who prefers to sail in and out of port and not rely on a motor. When I see people with their gps systems, I wonder if we’re (as a species) going to lose our sense of direction – the ability to know instinctively which way is north or how to get out of a downtown maze. Then my mind rolls to pondering simple tasks like adding a long column of numbers – many people use a calculator and are losing their math skills. and then there’s drawing.. and, and, and…. sometimes it’s good to rely on old fashioned skills to keep our minds sharp as well!

        1. I’ve seen a spate of “google is making us dumber” stories over the past months. It certainly tempts people toward more “looking up” and less “trying to remember”.

          As for the basic skills, there’s no question things are changing. I have a cousin who’s an engineer, and who’s done some teaching. He always insisted his students learn how to use a slide rule before they could turn their calculators back on. The abilties that used to be taken for granted – to read a map, to make change, to cut a recipe in half – are seriously eroding.

          I’m sure of this. If Tristan still were sailing today, he’d have the GPS, the chart plotters, the autopilot. But he’d do what every smart sailor does – consider all them nothing more than additional tools, and keep plotting his course on paper. You know – just in case.

    1. montucky,

      I’m not so sure Tristan was confused. For example, he backed up his birth date by five years, making it possible to write about service during WWII. And being born at sea on a tramp steamer? It’s romantic and nearly untraceable.

      There are plenty of questions, of course. Didn’t anyone ever ask, “What was the name and registry of that tramp steamer?” Did anyone ever look at his passport? Didn’t he have to document his boats? I’ve only read excerpts from Dalton’s book, but I’m eager to read his complete account. There are too many questions rattling around in my head not to!


  3. Hi Linda:

    Your story confirms that the difference between reality and make believe is only a thin red line almost unnoticeable.

    I loved your seascape pictures. It reminded me of scenes in Panama which as you know is flanked by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in generous portions.



    1. Omar,

      There wasn’t any place to mention it in the post, but once Tristan’s leg was amputated and he took off in his trimaran, he passed through Panama – west to east. The book that told those stories is “Outward Leg”. If you come across it you might enjoy it.

      I’m glad you like the photos. They were taken in the weeks following Hurricane Ike. That’s why the beach looks so smooth and clean – all of the seaweed, shells, plywood, derelict boats, shoes, milk jugs and such had been swept ashore onto the seawall. Here’s what it looked like just before they started cleaning it all up.

      Perspective is everything, isn’t it? Turn one way, and you see one reality. Turn the other, and it’s as though the world has turned. In a way, that’s what Tristan did. He decided to write his story facing in a different direction.


  4. Wonderful story. Reminds me a bit of Karl May, a German author from the beginning of the 20th century who tricked his audience with his narratives into believing he had travelled the world. A trickster, an imposter living an incredible interesting and tragic life, but probably with different motivations than Jones. Or perhaps not, who knows?

    I’ve no idea if anyone knows him at all outside of the German language area, but his books are read and republished until today, his works have been made into films and plays.

    1. springinkerl,

      I’d not heard of Karl May – thus proving the point of the writer on the website devoted to him. I did translate the page to English and very much enjoyed reading it. The parallels with Jones are there, not only in May’s own life but also in the themes running through his work.

      I thought it fascinating that he never had seen the American West, even though his imagination clearly had been captured by it. And I had to smile at the quite delicate acknowledgement that “historical probability” wasn’t necessarily his long suite.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and for bring May to my attention. I appreciate it!


  5. What an interesting story! We all create our own mythic version of our life at some point. Mr. Jones was just a bit more expansive than most of us. Good for him and good for those who were inspired to take to the sea.

    1. Gary,

      I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to think of it, but now I remember Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous line: “Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant… It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.” You could carve those words on Tristan’s gravestone and they would be perfectly fitting.

      In a sense, his life was like one of your paintings. The exploits – the various boats and cruises – were real. He just framed them differently than we might have expected. I’ve been thinking of your tale of the painting with the “wrong” frame. Like you, Tristan may just have been looking for the best way to present his “work” to the world.


  6. As usual (or should I write yousual?), you deftly moved from an episode in the present to one in the past. My mathy mind keeps my words pretty close to the truth, but reality forces me to admit that many people purposely stray, embellish, distort, and make things up, whether to serve some cause they believe in or just to make themselves appear better than they are.

    1. Steve,

      One of the problems with embellishing as wildly as Jones sometimes did was that, once he wrapped himself in a persona, it became nearly impossible to escape. Perhaps that was part of the reason for his increasingly dramatic exploits. Every new feat kept people’s attention focused on the present and future, preventing reflection on or curiosity about his past.

      After he lost his left leg and bought the trimaran, his legend only grew as he devoted himself to helping disabled children and youth get onto the water. I suspect that’s the point where he knew his secrets were “safe”. His work with the disabled was admirable, and that’s where people focused. All he had to do then was live out his life.


    1. Oh, my gosh. Did you catch the name of their boat? “The Bathtub”! That’s the name of the place where Hushpuppy and her family lived in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”.

      The brother was right. If it had been winter, this wouldn’t have ended so happily. But it did – thank goodness. You don’t have to be in the mid-Atlantic to learn what the water can do.

  7. HA! That summer intern may be out looking for a new line of work. Since s/he didn’t actually make up the names and the news anchor and whoever wrote the story didn’t actually read the names ahead of time, or catch the names at the time they were reading them…well, it’s a great big duh.

    As for Tristan. Good for him. What would we do without those Welsh storytellers? So glad that in his time there wasn’t the technology to “out” him, because we not only have his stories, but stories about his stories.

    What intrigued me most, however, is that you actually knew him. You never cease to amaze. Are you sure you’re not telling us tall tales?

    1. Martha,

      As a matter of fact, the intern is out looking for new work – if the reports from the NTSB can be believed. Some are suggesting that “the intern did it” is the new “somebody hacked my account”.

      I still have suspicions about the entire episode, particularly since on-screen graphics showing the names had been prepared. A lot of people watched “Anchorman”, and there are a lot of Will Ferrell wannabes out there.

      One of the other things that helped Tristan develop his following and enjoy the status he did is that he wasn’t just telling stories, he was telling sea stories. You certainly know how sailors love to tell stories about the ports, the disasters, the storms, the boats. A master story-teller can hold the floor forever, or at least until someone else can’t stand it and has to butt in with their own story.

      I wouldn’t say I knew Tristan, but I certainly did meet him and have a chat with him. I’m sure now it was the fall of 1987. He was making the rounds of shows like Annapolis that year for book signings, and somehow ended up here.

      I was new to sailing, and the fellow who was my instructor insisted we go to the show so I could get a book signed. I barely knew what a bowline was, but I was game.Tom was the one who’d met Tristan one or two times before – probably in an island bar – and Tristan remembered him, so we got an extra long chat.

      I own a lot to Tom. It was that same autumn that he got me out on the tall ship Elissa before she went to Beaumont, and I discovered I could get over my fear of heights.


  8. I haven’t kept up with the FOX story but understand there was a total gaffe made. Woe to the intern!

    “The absence of any family” working in his favor made me laugh. I had to laugh because what I write on the blog is the way I remember things. A couple of times, I have been relieved to find my mother, the editor, isn’t far away to correct my (mis)perceptions in a comment or two. I’m relieved because such comments are at a minimum. And family members usually nod in agreement as they recount one of my posts. Whew!

    1. Georgette,

      On the other hand, different versions of the same experience aren’t necessarily a sign of poor memory. People often perceive the same event quite differently. And there have been times in my life when I was certain I knew a person perfectly well until a previously unknown fact got tossed into the mix and it was as though the person in question suddenly had grown two heads. (I’ve written about my favorite aunt once. I need to do it again, to take account of new information!)

      It’s an interesting phenomenon, and part of what makes family reunions so much fun. “Do you remember when….?” someone says, and before you know it someone else is saying, “It wasn’t like that at all. What happened was….”

      Oddly, that’s how I like to imagine Matthew, Mark and Luke. While other people fuss and fume because everything isn’t the same in their stories, down to the very letter, I enjoy the differences. You just know there had to be some other people we don’t know sitting around with them, poking them in the ribs and saying, “Hey! You forgot the one about….!”


  9. Nothing like a good story (and those Welsh have talent). If they are willing to believe it….

    Another bit of proof it’s magazine articles, not news reporting. It’s getting to remind me of a classroom of over-achiever kids trying to impress someone observing. Me. Me. Me.

    Love your tale – and the pictures along with the poem. For many the sea- or mountains – are better company than society.
    Nicely done

    1. phil,

      Some friends moved from England to Wales a few years ago, and love it there. It may just be their village, but they say the arts of story-telling and generally pleasing conversation are alive and well. They’re both getting on in years, so they’ve been particularly appreciative of discovering what he calls “really good talkers” around them.

      Your analogy with the over-achievers is a good one, at least in terms of the mistakes made with the airliner crash and other such “get it first and then worry about right” events. On the other hand, I’m not too happy with the tales being told by certain celebrities and community leaders these days. I worry about the demagoging going on, but I’m not certain what to do about it.

      I mentioned to Omar up above that the pics are from shortly after Ike’s landfall. There’s nothing like a hurricane to sweep things clean.


      1. Wales has a long tradition of oral history and storytelling – back before Henry the 8th. Famous bards came from there
        Much of the US’s literary/folk song history came from Welsh and Scottish immigrants.Something about the language and the land. “Really good talkers” is an old East Texas phrase I remember hearing when I was little.
        Sounds like your friends have found a magical place to live.
        Speaking of Ike, Galveston just got a bit of fed hurricane money – finally…Grab some patience, New Jersey.

        1. Your mention of East Texas reminds me… When I visited the Hill Country recently, I peeked into a book my friend had. It was like the Foxfire series, only set in East Texas. It was filled with wonderful photos and stories. I’ll have to get the title from her. I know you’d find a memory on every page.

  10. Hello, Linda!

    Oh, you’ve covered my favorite author in this blog! I’ve loved Tristan Jones’ books for many, many years- even though he was widely known for stretching the truth and ‘borrowing’ other peoples’ sailing experiences. He was rather infamous for being a crusty character and, sadly, an raging alcoholic, but I enjoyed his wonderfully witty writing!

    There are those who poo-pooed Anthony Dalton’s book (I’ve read it, too) saying that he “had it in for” Tristan Jones, but I guess we’ll never know the full truth about him, except that he was a cagey, interesting man and a real enigma. The photos in his books do give testimony to the fact that he did actually do some of the things he wrote about, but else-wise, the truth about his supposedly autobiographic stories has died with him. However, as one of his admirer’s said: ‘I don’t care if he never sailed a mile or ever left his flat. He was still a damn good writer!’

    I’m so envious that you actually got to meet him!

    Thanks for this wonderful blog! ~ Beth

    1. Beth,

      Knowing how much you enjoy Tristan’s books, I knew you’d enjoy this. He really was a love-him-or-hate-him sort, wasn’t he? I think some people were jealous of him. He could just pick up and go, he always managed to wheedle the funds he needed out of someone, and – well, he just was one of “those”. The drinking didn’t help, but in the end it didn’t seem to hurt much, either, and those latter years in Thailand seem to have been pretty satisfying.

      There are a lot of people who don’t have a clue how much time and energy he devoted to children generally and the handicapped especially. There’s a fellow here who’s a blind sailor who’s said to have drawn a good bit of inspiration from Tristan. He’s won plenty of sailing competitions in his day – including many open races that made no allowance for any kind of handicap.

      I’ve been thinking about other sailors I’ve known who seem to have been cut from the same cloth as Tristan. Not all of them traveled so far, but they can be – unique.

      A famous one around here – who died many years ago – was known as “Teacup”. That was the name of his ferrocement boat, which he built himself. He was going to circumnavigate, but when he got to the end of the Galveston jetties he got seasick and decided that wasn’t for him. He anchored at Galveston, and never left. The last time I talked to him, he’d dinghied over to shore to get some groceries. He had a tape player with him and I asked what he was listening to. It was Japanese language lessons. I asked why he was learning Japanese and he said, “Maybe some day a Japanese sailor will show up and I can talk to him.”

      He and Tristan could have had a ball.


      1. Linda; I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say that many people were jealous of Tristan Jones: his freedom, his success as an author, his many experiences. While reading your blog, I was remembering that while he was alive, he addressed the claim that he was lying about his birth. He said that he really was born on a tramp steamer off Tristan da Cuhna, but that the first port they put in at was Liverpool, so that was where his birth was recorded. He said he lied about his age to get into the Navy for WWII. He admitted to stretching the truth, combining his various experiences into fewer voyages and melded people he had known into fewer characters to make his books more readable. He called it “artistic license”. But, I’ve also read many articles by people who complained loudly that he had ‘stolen’ their nautical experiences and inaccurately portrayed events they had witnessed, that he was an obnoxious drunk….etc., etc. After a while, I just decided to ignore all the flap and simply enjoy his books.

        The waterfront certainly does seem to attract more than it’s share of unusual characters- that’s part of it’s draw: the romance of the sea, the beauty of the watercraft and the colorful men and women that bring it to life.

        ~ Beth

        1. There’s no question we all draw on experiences we’ve had and people we’ve known when we write. It reminds me of Annie Dillard’s wonderful observation: “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” Tristan just took the facts of his life – whatever they were – and then filled in the details. Some argue the facts are wrong, but the details right. Some suggest the facts are right, and the rest so much bad embroidery.

          As you say – who cares? The stories feel as true as the wind and the tides, which makes them perfect reading for the likes of us!

    1. Ken,

      Well, except for the fact that Tristan could sail rings around Crowhurst. That’s probably as important as anything – most of the people who read Tristan Jones want to know about the sailing as well as the “adventures”, and I’ve never heard anyone say that the man didn’t know his boats or what to do with them.

      But what a story. Crowhurst was slapdash about his navigation? He thought he might try and get his safety gear in order before he got to the Southern Ocean? I love this line: “He encountered immediate problems with his boat, his equipment, and his lack of open-ocean sailing skills”. That about covers it.

      Interesting that he chose a trimaran, though. They are good for stability. That’s why Jones went to a tri after he lost his leg. Interesting that Crowhurst had the flotation device atop the mast. The boat I first sailed on was a MacGregor 36 catamaran, and she had the same sort of gizmo. The one she’s carrying in this photo is factory produced, but there are quite a few cats around here that still use sealed up gallon milk jugs.

      Here’s the coolest little detail in the story. Teignmouth Electron went to Jamaica in 2007, was sold multiple times and finally landed on Cayman Brac. We’ll have to ask Crab if he’s ever seen the boat.


  11. Wonderful story. I was struck by your statement on instant communication. How true. 12 years ago Peggy and I took a year off and travelled around North America without cell phone and minimal Internet connection. What a difference as we travel today and are never out of touch. I may be in the remote Yukon, but the campground has WiFi. Now I am at a friend’s house in Anchorage using his WiFi. I get the convenience. And I am addicted. But I really miss the freedom of being out of touch. –Curt

    1. Curt,

      When I left Liberia, I was six weeks behind someone who had decided that a trip across the Sahara by jeep was just the ticket. Our agreement was that we’d meet under the big clock at Victoria Station on a certain date, at a certain time. When the date and time came, we both were there.

      You know what it was like. I’ve been sitting here trying to remember the itinerary. It was Liberia to Sierra Leone by money bus. Then, a flight to Senegal, on to Las Palmas, then Spain, then London. No cell phone, no calendar, no watch. No GPS. No smart phone, no laptop. And best of all – no problems. (Well, there was that little encounter with Franco’s best in the Madrid airport, but, hey! Things happen!)

      Little by little, I’m disconnecting again. When Mom still was alive I needed to be constantly plugged in. Now? Not so much. There is a real freedom to cutting the cords and walking away. (See how old I am? Cutting the cords? Good gosh!)


      1. I was relatively independent until I started this blog. (grin) Now I feel compelled to check in daily, not to mention putting up three blogs a week. But I can skip Email, leave the cell phone behind, and stay off Facebook. Amazing how we could make things work, huh. –Curt

        1. And there’s the secret. We still have the freedom to “make” things work, in whatever way is best for us. One of the reasons I post only once a week, give or take, is that I can post, respond to most comments and still have time to unplug for two or three days if I choose. I can’t take off like you can, but it’s still important to save some time for the real world.

  12. There was a time when stories could only survive in the words spoken around fires, among those gathered in tall halls. No books, no papyrus, only hearts and minds.

    And I will always admire a person who expresses such a perfect love and understanding of the ocean – the one that extends down the coastline, or the one that extends throughout our lives.

    1. aubrey,

      And the stories that linger – and enlarge, and shift, and renew themselves – in hearts and minds still are the best.

      I’ve no doubt sailors admire Tristan so deeply because they recognize his knowledge of the ocean is grounded in love. And he’s not shy about making clear that he considers the sea a nearly perfect metaphor for life.

      In some ways, Jimmy Buffett has become Tristan-for-the-masses. I found this little delight for you, a lovely combination of California notalgia, ephemera and ocean. Enjoy!


  13. I really couldn’t believe that the list of names was actually from a real news story. I saw it on Facebook & I kept looking for The Onion’s byline!

    I love the story of Mr. Jones – and it’s funny that he would embellish so much when he himself was fascinating without the background. I like the idea of it being a Welsh characteristic – makes me smile.

    1. The Bug,

      It does seem like an Onion piece, doesn’t it? I’m still curious about the original source. I wonder if we’ll ever find out?

      I’ve thought from time to time about the role Tristan’s childhood played in his later inventions. I think it’s clear he knew he was living a lie, at least in some respects, but it also seems clear he preferred living in the world he’d created for himself. Plenty of people have been willing to join him there.

      I keep thinking back to my pre-school years. I was an only child, and playmates could be scarce. I solved the problem by creating an imaginary best friend. I wish I could remember her name.

      What I do remember is my mother telling me they always had to leave an empty space in the back seat for my little “friend” when we went somewhere, or I’d throw a fit.Apparently I sucked them in the same way Tristan did his readers. ;)


  14. Fascinating story. Living in the Bay Area, we followed the crash and its aftermath closely. So much for modern day inventiveness.

    The story of Tristan Jones makes me think of the belief of a friend of two of mine: “It doesn’t matter if it’s true, as long as it’s interesting”! And Tristan’s were certainly that. I had not heard of him before, and now you have given me a pleasant chore—to find his books.

    He is a great-looking character I would love to paint, lost leg and all. He was born about 100 years too late, so he had to invent the things he might have done.

    Well done Linda.

    1. kayti,

      He would have been a terrific subject for your painting – no question about that. And you could have done him justice.

      You’ll be interested in this – William Barth Osmundsen sculpted his portrait from life at the 1987 Annapolis Boat Show – the same year I met Jones. The piece was cast in 1988. Be sure and click the link for “Artist Chronology” near the bottom of the sidebar on Osmundsen’s page. He had his own remarkable career.

      Your comment about Tristan being born 100 years too late reminded me in a flash of Jimmy Buffett’s wonderful song, “A Pirate Looks at 40”. One verse declares,

      “Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late,
      the cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothin’ to plunder,
      I’m an over-forty victim of fate
      arriving too late, arriving too late…”


  15. Hah, that Tristan was a bit of a scally wasn’t he? (this is Liverpudlian slang for a n’er do well :) )… but you have to do it in the accent! A recognized and well known type in that city…

    Actually I was reading the comments and saw the one about your grandparents saying ‘rapscallion’ – it’s got to be the same hasn’t it?

    It’s funny, it is the Irish we usually think of as story tellers, and having the ability to spin a yarn – or blarney (deceptive or misleading talk!). But it’s obviously a Welsh tradition too.

    Didn’t Tristan do well with his rocky start? Good on him. I’ve never heard of him but he sounds like a jolly good sort even if he did weave his own version of reality.

    I’m feeling sorry for the intern – oophs.

    1. thinkingcowgirl,

      What a journey you set me on! I learned that your “scally” is short for “scalawag” or “scallywag”. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it means a “disreputable fellow,” and dates to about 1848. It may be rooted in the Scottish “scallag”, or “farm servant, rustic” (by influence of “wag”, or “habitual joker”).

      I’d forgotten that “Scallywag” also was a Civil War term, used from 1862 to designate anti-Confederate native white Southerners.

      As for “rapscallion”, the same dictionary says the term is from the “1690s, [an] alteration of rascallion (1640s), a fanciful elaboration of rascal. It had a parallel in now-extinct rampallion (1590s), from Middle English “ramp”, or “ill-behaved woman.” So they’re not quite the same – one a disreputable fellow, one an ill-behaved woman!

      Speaking of language, you asked once on your blog about differences between British and American terms for the same thing. I couldn’t think of one then, but I just spotted one in your comment. You say “good on him”, while I would say, “good for him”.

      It is a fact that the Irish are tale-tellers, too. My father’s side of the family was straight Swedish – his mom and dad came here in the early 1900s from south of Stockholm, and for the most part that’s the family I grew up with. But my mother’s side, those Crowleys (whom she always called “those” Crowleys, with a particular inflection) were Irish. I like to say that as I’ve aged, the Irish finally is overcoming the Swedish in me. ;)


      1. A storyteller without the blarney (hmm, maybe…) ;)

        Of course it’s scallywag I recognized it immediately. I definitely associate it with the habitual joker bit, as well as the not so savoury parts.

        I think my mother was similarly unimpressed by my fathers side of the family…Dubliners through and through. Not sure exactly why. Probably to do with social mobility which was so important to my mothers (and grandmothers) generation when ‘bettering yourself’ was an activity taken on with the utmost concentration.

        Actually we say ‘good for him’ too and now I’m trying to remember the difference in meaning. I thought perhaps it was a slang term and in my search came across this interesting site! http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/g.htm
        Maybe it’s just that ‘good for him/you’ can potentially sound patronising. Will ask some people.

        1. Oh, do I know about that “social mobility” business, and the status concerns that went along with it. By the time I was in grade school – maybe seven or eight – I knew the difference between lace curtain Irish and shanty Irish. I knew my mother thought we were shanty Irish, and she pinned her hopes for that upward mobility on me. It just about killed her when decided for downwarn mobilty and became a boat varnisher. She couldn’t bear to tell people what I did for a living. Eventually, she at least accepted it. But she never liked it.

          As a matter of fact, you could say she she stayed peeved about it.

  16. Linda, every one of your blog posts is an adventure. I look forward to the twists your mind takes and the journeys you take your readers on. I love how you start out with one thing (interesting in and of itself) and then swerve. I never know I where your threads will lead, and like a roller coaster ride, I give myself up to the pleasures and thrills of being taken on a glorious ride.

    1. Rosemary,

      Who knows? Maybe I learned it from my dad. He used to look at me when I was little and say, “Want to go exploring?” And off we’d go in the car. Usually there was some “errand” that had to be taken care of, but it was all an excuse to get out on the country roads and see where we ended up. It’s the flat truth that sometimes I’m as surprised at how these posts turn out as you are.

      And by the way – you may not have read or remembered that my dad earned his living by helping to make Maytag washing machines like the one at your dad’s place. I’ve been letting those posts of yours pile up just a bit so I could enjoy them as a group once I had this posted. There are so many memories there – I’m anxious to give them a more leisurely read.


  17. I don’t do “news” — the crime, murder and mayhem is disgusting, the political posturing is exasperating, the celebrity drivel is nauseating, and I can’t do anything about the disasters except feel so sorry for the people involved and donate to the Red Cross. I have no patience with spoofers, pranksters and practical jokers. What they think is “funny” is nothing but thinly disguised hostility and aggression. When they’re done suing this yahoo six ways from Sunday, I’d be happy to give him a good whop upside the head, which is better than he deserves.

    Tristan Jones is in good company. “Story telling,” “spinning yarns,” “telling tall tales” is an ancient art form, as old as humanity. In fact, I think it is a hallmark of humanity: It requires language, imagination, and the ability to consciously and willingly suspend disbelief. It is what sets us apart as a species. Tristan Jones comes by it honestly. However reluctant we are to own up to it, don’t we all, like Snoopy and Walter Mitty, live secret lives in our heads? The only difference between Tristan Jones and the rest of us is a large dollop of chutzpah.

    1. WOL,

      Well, now – there are spoofs, pranks and practical jokes that are flat funny. I’ve been a target of a couple of them that will show up here eventually, just because the stories are so good. But I mostly agree, particularly when such foolishness is carried in place of responsible behavior.

      I’d already given up on mainstream media news before I tossed the tv. While Mom was still alive I’d watch it with her occasionally, but the formula was so obvious (one murder, one cute pet story, a drug bust or two and some civic meeting that got out of control) that it hardly was worth watching. Sometimes there would be a weather event of note, and now and then a chemical plant exploded, but even the 24/7 coverage of “big events” rarely contained any real news.

      And the less I hear from celebrities, the happier I am. I don’t need to know what Nicki Minaj thinks about the latest Supreme Court decision, thank you very much.

      Your comments about story-telling reminded me of that common plea from children: “Tell me a story!”. When someone comes along with the ability to tell a story, we all become children again – there’s that willing suspension of disbelief you mention. (In fact, that was part of what made my experience of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” so wonderful.)

      And you’re exactly on-target, I think, with your reference to chutzpah. As the old saying goes, it’s often easier to get forgiveness afterwards than permission beforehand.


      1. ps ~ I just spent some time in the Munchausen pages.I knew about Munchausen by proxy, of course, but didn’t have a clue that there was a syndrome introduced in 2000 known as Munchausen by Internet. It hasn’t been added to the DSM-IV, but I certainly recognize the phenomenon. I’m sure its formal recognition is coming.

  18. Loved your photos of the sea, Linda — I can almost hear the waves! How fascinating, the story of Tristan Jones. Makes me wonder how many storytellers not only told tales but embellished them for their audiences (more than a few, I’ll bet!)

    I’ve been AWOL from Blogland for a week or so, and I hadn’t heard the story of the intern. Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me, though. As a former newspaper reporter, I know how easy it is to skew facts — remember the circle game where one starts a secret, whispers it to the person next to them, who does the same, and everybody gets a laugh over the final person’s retelling?

    That said, I suppose it’s inevitable in this day of news organizations scrambling to provide information first that something like that would take place. One would think a reputable news outlet would make more of an effort to check — and double-check — facts, though, especially “facts” provided by an intern!!

    1. Debbie,

      I did think about the circle game when I began reading about the events at KTVU. We called it telephone, and it was lots of fun for kids. For adults with responsibilities, it’s not such a good approach.

      One thing about the intern – apparently he didn’t give the information to the station originally. They got the “names”, and then got in touch with the NTSB to confirm them. That’s when the intern said, “Yep, those are the right names.” There are so many questions. First and foremost, where did those names come from in the first place? We may find out – or we may not. In that respect, the FOX story and Tristan’s stories are much alike. It’s almost impossible to unravel them.

      In a sense, Tristan’s books are memoir more than autobiography, and questions of fact and truth can be a little stickier there. Some people who write memoir are perfectly honest but choose to withhold details about their life. Others, like Tristan, start out honestly enough, but add a little here, and a little there, and then a whole lot, just for the heck of it!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. Just for comparison, here’s what Ike looked like rolling in over the memorial to the victims of the 1900 storm. The photo’s from a Houston Chronicle photographer. You can bet I wasn’t down there!


  19. What a fascinating tale! I had never heard of Tristan Jones, but am intrigued to hear of his exploits. Perhaps pulling the wool over someone’s eyes is an adventure in its own right? I would never have the fortitude for tale telling of this magnitude! But beyond his story telling craft, his writing on the sea alongside the lovely photos is itself impressive.

    As for the intern, perhaps a smaller version of Tristan Jones in the making?

    1. Allen,

      Aren’t those words of his about the sea lovely? And they are filled with truth. Anyone who’s experienced life on the water recognizes that, which helps to explain the popularity of his books.

      When I first began hearing rumors that Tristan sometimes played fast and loose with the facts, my response was pretty close to, “Yeah. Well, whatever.” The stories felt so true to life that the details didn’t matter. Reading his books was like sitting around the local café listening to “fish tales”. You knew fact and fiction were interwoven, but who cared?

      Ah, the intern. Well, at least he has the part about “an unthinking, unseeing fool” down pat!


  20. It’s interesting to see how our culture reacts to different forms of dishonesty. We clearly don’t like liars and swindlers, but a good hoax — especially one in which no one was harmed — is entertaining, and maybe even admirable. Bernie Madoff, for example, is in prison, while Frank Abagnale is a highly-paid security consultant.

    About those pilot names: Our ever-diminishing ability to think and question all but assures that there will always be opportunities for good storytellers like Tristan Jones. And one more thing. If Jones really was “the illegitimate son of a working-class Lancashire girl, and he grew up in orphanages with little education,” there must have been some authentic adventures we’ll never know about.

    1. Charles,

      It’s hard to make the distinctions sometimes, but I’m not willing to conflate the liars, story-tellers and hoax-perpetrators of the world. Successful hoaxes may depend on our decreasing ability to think and question, but good story-telling surely doesn’t.

      You have reminded me of a little dynamic that often popped up when I was very young. Mom and I sometimes had conversations like this:

      “Who at all those cookies that were on the plate?”
      “Um – I don’t know.”
      “Did you eat them?”
      “No! I think it was that lady from next door who came over to visit you!”
      “Are you telling me a story?”

      Of course, I was.Part of growing up was learning that stories and lies are different, and while stories may be acceptable – even that shading of the truth we call social lies, or “little white lies” – Bernie Madoff quality lies aren’t going to be acceptable.

      I was thinking this afternoon about all the ways we signal that there’s a story coming down the road. “Once upon a time” is the biggie, of course. But there’s also “Did you hear the one about…?” and “You think that’s something? You should have been there when….” When we hear such “code” phrases, we know that it’s time to loosen up a bit and just go with the flow of the story.

      You’re right about those “other adventures” we may never know about, that’s for sure. In Tristan’s case, trying to sort out the man from the myth may be impossible. It’s enough just to enjoy his tales.


  21. First off, the photos are beautiful! Did you take them all? I can understand how being at sea can open one’s eyes to see life in a more perceptive way. Sailing the deep and wide ocean definitely can be a humbling experience. Interesting your post reminds me of images of Life of Pi. Have you seen it? If not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy that sea voyage. ;)

    1. Arti,

      I did take the photos. I prefer no captions, but if you mouse-over the images, it gives you the location or title and photographer.

      I know you enjoyed “Life of Pi”. I haven’t yet read the book or seen the film. I’m not sure why, except none of the reviews I’ve read have been able to capture my interest. It’s gotten so many wonderful reviews (including yours!) my lack of interest seems strange even to me. Maybe one of these days.

      There’s a wonderful saying about sailing that defines it as “long periods of utter boredom interspersed with moments of sheer panic”. I suppose, in the end, learning to deal creatively with boredom and disaster would make putting to sea one of the best “schools for life” possible!


  22. I had never heard of Tristan Jones before, but now I have a hankering to read one of his books. The difference between life and fiction and the blur that they become fascinates me.

    His story reminds me of this article I read a while ago, about a rich old woman in New York who tried her damnedest to make sure her true story was never told. Although where Tristan escaped into the world and from port to port, she retreated into her hotel home and refused to open the door.


    1. Rachel,

      I got just far enough into the story to know I had to quit and set it aside for this evening, or I’ll be late for work. Still, comparing what I know of her story to Tristan’s, I’m reminded of the observation made by Annie Dillard: that we can travel far, or we can travel deep. In a sense, these two folks represent the opposite ends of that scale. Thanks for bringing by the link!

      You would enjoy Tristan’s books. And by the way – did you notice the phrase “rum-gagger” and link up above? I know I’d read the explanation of “rum-creeter” on your blog, but this put the phrases into a much larger context.

      Maybe when Dickens said, “‘There’s rummer things than women in this world, though, mind you”, he had someone like Tristan in mind.


  23. “Two decades ago, things moved more slowly.” Or perhaps even one decade, eh? What I love most about this is that he was Welsh. In a way, that forgives any tall tale, for, after all, and as you note, that’s what they’re known for, and as he was a Jones, he had to keep up, didn’t he?

    1. Susan,

      Oh, my gosh – your comment re: Tristan and the “other Joneses” has to be one of the best lines ever! Maybe that’s what dear Tristan was doing his whole life – trying to keep up with himself!

      As for things speeding up, perhaps we’d best adjust and not wish for an equivalent movement in the other direction. After all, in the “Alexandria Quartet” Lawrence Durrell did find himself willing to refer to “English life, which moves to the stately rhythm of an autopsy”. That’s a little too slow – and, it must be noted, not entirely true. I know a few Brits who’d take exception – including dear Friko, whom I must visit lest she think I’ve landed on the mortician’s slab myself.


      1. All right, note to self, I MUST read the Alexandria Quartet (you should see the pile-up of MUSTs I have here). Yes, I do believe our dear Friko would take exception–and so hope you’re able to visit her soon!

  24. Hehehehehe…. What a tale!

    It’s amazing how so many people accept things at face value and never question it.

    As Dame Agathat’s Miss Marple was so fond of saying, “I never believe anything I am told.” She would always stress that any statement needed to be verified.

    1. Gué,

      Well, lookie here – it’s happened again. While you were here, I was at your place. Happy Saturday!

      Miss Marple was one smart cookie, but I’m no Miss Marple. I once had a friend who swore the only thing needed on my tombstone is the single word, “REALLY?” I’m so gullible in some ways it’s pathetic. Of course, that makes me the perfect listener for a story-teller. I can suspend my disbelief so fast it would make your head spin. On the other hand, I’m pretty good at sniffing out pickup artists and internet trolls. A certain level of disbelief can be very, very good.


      1. Lordy, I do need to use spell check before I hit post, don’t I? Agathat?

        I’m gullible to a point but Hubby? The man will believe almost anything anyone tells him. Unless it’s me.

        I couldn’t tell you how many reminders he gets in the mail to honor his pledge to (insert charitable organization here). Most of which are probably not all that legit or trustworthy. He’ll be asleep in his recliner, the phone rings, he grabs the receiver and mumble “Yeah, yeah, uh huh” and have no recollection of it later.

        It scares the bejeebers out of me when I think about what he’ll be like in his twilight years.

        1. You’ve seen those tests that give you a paragraph with half the letters missing, or the letters in words mixed up? I’ll bet you can read the message, anyway. Apparently I can do the same thing in the other direction, too. Any letters that aren’t supposed to be there, I pass right over. Never even saw Agathat sitting there!

          One of the best things about getting rid of my house phone is that it put an end to solicitations and direct marketing calls. They were such an irritation. Now and then I’d have a little fun with them, but I mostly hung up. I never could get Mom to do that. As you know, there was a time when a phone call was a Big Deal, and you were polite to everyone, even a wrong number. It went along with white gloves and patent leather Mary Janes, as I recall.

          The funniest conversation I ever heard was Mama, saying to some telemarketer, “I really hate hanging up on you, but my daughter is sitting here, and if I don’t, she’ll fuss at me. Good-bye.”

          We takes our victories where we can get them. ;)


  25. Oh my goodness. I was unaware of the fake pilot name story. Reminds me of how frequently stories on the Onion or the Daily Currant get broadcast or published by mainstream media as factual. As implausible as those stories are, these names are more so. Hard to believe no one at the station recognized the joke. (By the way, the video link is down. I tried to find it elsewhere but it appears the station has yanked them all–claiming copyright violations, but meaning profound embarrassment.)

    The story of Mr. Jones’ invented history is interesting. William Faulkner behaved similarly, falsely claiming to have served as a RAF pilot in WWI, even going so far as to manufacture a limp to go along with his supposed (but nonexistent) war wound.

    Bob Dylan created a story that made him more mysterious and Woody Guthrie-like.

    There have been many attention seekers who haven’t been able to resist the temptation to spice up their life story.

    1. Bill,

      After the news hit the interwebz that KTVU was trying to scrub the story, I checked and the link was still good. Now, I’ve substituted a link to the Legal Insurrection blog’s story on the scrubbing. Of course, it also contains a link to all those videos that still are lurking out there.

      Honestly, quite apart from the name fiasco, you’d think people who work in media would understand that they’re toast. The minute word hit that they were trying to get rid of that video, thousands of people saved it to their own hard drives, converted the audio to mp3 and so on. Left alone, it would have faded away of its own accord. The process will take much longer now, mostly because they’ve turned it into a squabble over fair use and there are hundreds of copies of the thing that never would have been saved except for their own efforts to dump it.

      Faulkner and Guthrie are great examples of the tendency toward embroidery. Of course, it was Faulkner who so famously asked, “What do facts and truth have to do with one another?”.

      Speaking of fair use – there’s been a recent lawsuit over Woody Allen’s use in “Midnight in Paris” of another famous Faulkner quotation from “Requiem for a Nun”. Here’s the story on the lawsuit, , and a post referencing the final decision, with a link to the opinion.

      I suspect you’ll enjoy this, from Judge Mills:

      “The court disagrees with Sony’s characterization of Requiem as being “relatively obscure”. Nothing in the Yoknapatawpha canon is obscure. Having viewed the two works at issue in this case, the court is convinced that one is timeless, the other temporal.”


  26. When I first heard the names of the crew members of the Asiana tragedy it went right over my head. I didn’t even notice. Later the next day when I heard of the hoax I wondered how this ever got by me. Pretty dense, wouldn’t you say!

    And Tristan, yes a spin weave Doctor, but a very good one at that. This may have been his true talent, perhaps misguided, but a talent nonetheless. Better put to fictional use perhaps.

    1. WildBill,

      I don’t think you’re dense at all! Part of the reason I picked up on the name hoax so quickly goes back to my youth. During recesses and lunch hours at school we often amused ourselves with a little game called “books and authors”. Some that I remember are better left alone, but I will share one favorite: “Under the Bleachers”, by Seymour Butts. ;-)

      Playing with names for the sheer fun of it goes back a good while – but pranking a television station? The closest we ever came to a prank was turning in a fake essay with a fake name at the top to our 7th grade social studies teacher. It did confuse him for a couple of minutes, until we couldn’t contain our giggles any longer.

      As for Tristan, “larger than life” and the telling of “tall tales” are great American traditions. Who knows? Maybe expansive horizons correlate with expansive story-telling. If that were true, the sailor and the prairie schooner driver might have more in common than we realize.


  27. Tristan Jones’ pranked life makes me wonder how such a thing could be accomplished today. Didn’t some athlete claim to have a girlfriend with an illness? And more than one woman has blogged about her terminally ill “child” to get donations.

    A lovely poem, though. And that last image with shimmering reflection of the sky is magnificent. Wish all things looked this good after a storm, especially in life.

    1. nikkipolani,

      I don’t remember all the details but, yes, there was a Notre Dame football player who was pranked by an imaginary girl who turned out to be a guy. My goodness – if only all that time and energy were put into something constructive. However much Tristan did or didn’t invent, at least there was a core of truth,and a good number of books that helped to support him and his charitable work on behalf of the disabled.

      Isn’t that last photo wonderful? I had no idea until I got home and uploaded it that the clouds higher in the sky were so light and puffy. It’s really quite remarkable, and a bit of a reminder that much of the beauty in the world is only a reflection of greater realities.


  28. I just adore your stories!!! Thanks so much. I hail from Scottish / Irish ancestry…. And I know the Celts are known for their storytelling. :)

    What a face that man has — those eyes, that grin. Such a light.

    1. FeyGirl,

      You don’t do too badly with story-telling yourself. That’s what makes your posts so interesting. Like other photographers I enjoy, you provide some narrative and information to go along with the photos – it adds so much.

      I love both of these photos of Tristan, but the portrait is especially wonderful. You can see the “light in his eyes” – something not everyone has!


  29. I do know a few characters like Tristan Jones. They definitely think of it as embellishing… not lying… if they think of it at all. And who’s to care if the story is good enough? What a great story this was.

    When I saw that broadcast on television, I laughed, too. I can’t believe there’s a lawsuit. What a whacky world.

    1. Bella Rum,

      Well, as I always say, sailors love Tristan’s story-telling because he gets the life right, even if the details are wrong. ;)

      There’s more coming out now on the fake name fiasco. You can read the whole entry here, but the bottom line is that it started out as a presumably in-house joke sent to the station by a reliable source, an aviation expert often referred to in such stories. To wit:

      “That person who sent the joke e-mail; a longtime source that the station has relied on in the past as a trusted informant, is now at the heart of the investigation. It’s looking pretty simple from here: the fake, joke e-mail that wasn’t meant for anyone other than in-house laughter found its way, remarkably to the air, and thus, cost four people their jobs.”

      Not only that, the very names had appeared on an internet forum days before the broadcast! Ah, well. It’s a good reminder of the wisdom of that old saying: trust, but verify. Then, just in case, verify again. ;)

      Glad you liked Tristan’s story!


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