Just an absolute gorgeous machine.
Just an absolutely gorgeous machine. RS

The current iteration of the Republican party could learn a lesson from the mariners of Seattle. (I'm not talking about the Mariners baseball team. I'm talking about actual mariners. Unless, of course, actual mariners call themselves something other than mariners. Then I'd just call them barges*. But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's resurface.)

Though I insulted the actual mariners of Seattle by referring to container ships as "barges" in a blog post celebrating the vessel's undeniable allure, and though I further insulted that aquatic community by doubling down on my word choice, arguing that the word "barge" better describes container ships than the phrase "container ship" does, the mariners have offered me an olive branch.

Thanks to the generosity of a loyal Slog reader, this evening at 6:00 p.m. I'll be boarding a barge*. While aboard, I'll be asking all the tough questions. Is it a barge? Is it a container ship? Is it a bulker, a tanker, a widow-maker? Is it bigger when you're on it than when you're looking at it from the beach? What exactly are we hauling in these things—and, more importantly, can I eat some of it? Whatever the case, I'll report back on Monday. So *watch this space* for more.

And before you barge truthers start running around talking about The Stranger's "barge" bias, you should know that I am touring an "actual" barge operation next week. After tours of both docks I'll be better able to determine which boat deserves to be called a barge.