This popular phrase is actually taken from the title of a painting by Hieronymous Bosch (1490-1500) in which he imagines all of mankind sailing around aimlessly in a boat, drifing like fools. Needless to say his philosophical statement was not recieved without scandal.

This Grateful Dead original (music by Jerry Garcia, lyrics by Robert Hunter) was covered by Elvis Costello on the 1991 album Deadicated, which benefited Rainforest Action Network and Cultural Survival. Costello's comments in the album liner notes discuss his first Dead concert and opinion of the band:

...when I was 17, Dead records were some of the secret stuff that I loved and my friends hated (then it was on to something else, you know the scene). But I have often gone back to those albums (and others since), and I'm pleased to say I've seen them during three of their five trips to England.

Now I dig them not only for everything people think they are, but also for elements that are sometimes overlooked, such as having written many beautiful ballads.

—Elvis Costello, in the liner notes to Deadicated (Arista Records, 1991)

"Ship of Fools" is one of the ballads referred to by Costello in the last paragraph cited above. It's a slow song, and a thoughtful one, in its way. As with so many other Dead tunes, the words are those of a story, but they don't tell the whole story, instead leaving listeners to guess at meanings, or invent their own. (No, really --- I have no idea what it's about.) The melody's a catchy one, bluesy in flavor, although it's always hard to pigeonhole Dead songs, since the band borrowed from so many different genres and musical influences to create its unique and always evolving style and sound.

Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo

This science fiction book that borders on the horror genre set forth by the classic movie Alien. Ship of Fools maintains a similar dark and haunting atmosphere about it.

The story is told from the point of view of Bartolomeu, captain's advisor aboard the Argonos. This generation ship was made in the distant past that has been lost to its occupants. It now wanders from solar system to solar system without a goal or purpose. After fourteen years without planet fall, the ship finds the grizzly remains of a colony:

There were hundreds of bones scattered about the floor, strips of decayed flesh, pools and smears of viscous fluid. Just as it was impossible to avoid brushing against the hanging skeletons, so was it impossible to avoid stepping on bone or in thick, sticky liquid as I moved through the room.
From there, we move though an attempted mutiny, imprisonment, and exploration of an alien ship - the exploration reminds me most of Alien. The book also touches upon subjects of the relationship between religion and belief though leaves a person wanting a bit more fleshing out.

As with Alien, it would be unfair to tell of the ending.

Personally, I liked the book and found that it served its purpose of entertaining me. Many critique the book stating that it leaves too much undeveloped (relationships, personal background and how that influences the character in the present, etc...). While this may be true it would take a book that is already nearing 400 pages and make it in a monstrosity. Part of the appeal of this story is that it is told from only one point of view without any privileged information. Some see this as frustrating, it adds to the novel reminding you that the narrator is not in control.

ISBN 0441008933

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