Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 21

The Pact of Steel is signed; the Axis is formed on May 22, 1939.

The Pact of Steel is signed; the Axis is formed on May 22, 1939.

On this day in 1939, Italy and Germany agree to a military and political alliance, giving birth formally to the Axis powers, which will ultimately include Japan. Mussolini coined the nickname “Pact of Steel” (he had also come up with the metaphor of an “axis” binding Rome and Berlin) after reconsidering his first choice, “Pact of Blood” to describe this historic agreement with Germany.

The Duce saw this partnership as not only a defensive alliance, protection from the Western democracies, with whom he anticipated war, but also a source of backing for his Balkan adventures. Both sides were fearful and distrustful of the other, and only sketchily shared their prospective plans.

The result was both Italy and Germany, rather than acting in unison, would often “react” to the precipitate military action of the other.

In September 1940, the Pact of Steel would become the Tripartite Pact, with Japan making up the third constituent of the triad. History Channelvideo

Wikipedia  Image: Pact of Steel - was originally intended to be a tripartite military alliance between Japan, Italy, and Germany. However, Japan wanted the focus of the pact to be aimed at potential adversary the Soviet Union, while Italy and Germany wanted it aimed at Britain and France.

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Denial measure

(DOD) An action to hinder or deny the enemy the use of territory, personnel, or facilities to include destruction, removal, contamination, or erection of obstructions.

The Old Salt’s Corner - Foul

Underway: or Under Way is a nautical term describing the state of a vessel. A vessel is said to be underway if it meets the following criteria:

It is not aground

It is not at anchor

It has not been made fast to a dock, the shore, or other stationary object.

If a vessel is adrift and not being propelled by any instrument or device, it is said to be underway, not making way.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Why do people say “This and That” as opposed to “That and This”?

“Thought for the Day

“Thought for the Day”

“When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, count to one hundred.”

~ Thomas Jefferson (April 2, 1743 – July 4, 1826)

“What I Have Learned”

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Controversial artist who “vomited” on Lady Gaga on stage now encloses herself in a room for 168 hours surviving only on water for latest art project

British artist Millie Brown, 27, profiled January in London’s Daily Mail, creates Jackson Pollock-style canvases by vomiting on them after ingesting colored soy milk.

Brown (whose work hangs in London’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! showcase) said she fasts for two days prior to public performances and, as the show starts, times her ingestions so that the proper hues don’t prematurely mix in her stomach.

Her appearance, at work, in a Lady Gaga music video brought her a somewhat larger audience. Said the understated Brown, “I am able to challenge people’s perceptions of beauty.”Daily Mail

London Buses

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why do the English drive on the left and Americans drive on the right?

Most travelers are daunted by the prospect of driving in countries which drive on opposite sides of the road from their own.

The Romans set the original standard by driving and riding on the left, which was adopted throughout their vast Empire until the 1800s when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte decreed it should be done on the right.

French colonial influence in North America resulted in its introduction there and that's why Americans and Canadians now drive on the right. UK.Answers.Yahoo

Wikipedia  Image: London Buses

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Teetotalers”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Teetotalers:” The word which symbolizes abstinence of alcohol came about through the stammer of English artist Dick Turner of Lancashire.

During an anti-alcohol speech, he tried to say “total abstinence”, but had a problem saying the word total, stammering instead “tee-e-e-total”.

Consequent crowds found his mispronunciation amusing and it eventually came to symbolize his group.Historyplace.com

Wikipedia  Image: Teetotalism / List of teetotalers

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Blow the DCA: (Submarines) A task made up by more senior enlisted, which sends an inexperienced junior sailor looking for an imaginary DCA horn. If done correctly, the junior sailor will be thrown in a wild goose chase around the submarine until he finds the real DCA (Damage Control Assistant), which the junior sailor normally asks the DCA officer permission to blow the DCA, and the officer will usually reply, “Well, it's about time!”

Dig-it: Someone who loves the Navy (“digs it”). Also a shortened form of “dig-it tool”, a device such as a Leatherman or Gerber multi-tool often carried by those who love the Navy.

Fleet Up: When a second in command takes his senior's place upon that senior's transfer, retirement, or other re-assignment.

HAZREP: HAZard REPort - a safety message generated after an unsafe incident that is released to the rest of the fleet so as to prevent the incident from happening again.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for MARINES

Buddy Unit: (Iraq) Two Marines, usually half a fire team. Emerging as the basic urban combat fighting unit. The tactical movement of a buddy team is for one Marine to lay down covering fire while the other Marine moves forward to a covered position only feet in front of the position being vacated.

Then they change duties. This eliminates the “fireteam forward” movement and places the squad leader even further from the action. Some tacticians are calling for squad leaders to join the leading fire team as a third member and lead by example--his other fire teams following along a flank.

When one member of a buddy unit is incapacitated he is left behind in forward movement and the other Marine joins a nearby buddy unit as a third member. The problem with this tactic is that it decentralizes the command structure requiring even the most junior Marine to make command decisions.

Bug Juice: Colored, sweetened water served on ship or in mess halls. Also a bug repellant used in Vietnam.

Bug Out: o leave quickly, usually as a unit. An individual would bug.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

OPSEC - Operations Security

OR - Operational Requirement

ORD - Operational Requirements Document

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-34 - Strike Fighter Squadron 34: “Blue Blasters”

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

A history of the Toronto Maple Leafs' first televised goal (November 1, 1952)

Early television was in black and white, and definition wasn’t nearly as precise as it is today.

When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was testing for live hockey broadcasts in 1952, they found that if both teams wore their traditional colors, it was impossible to tell them apart.

They solved the problem by having the home team wear white, while the visitors stayed in their darker uniforms.

Thus today, most sports still follow the old 1952 guidelines with the home team in white and visitors in team colors.

Photo: A history of the Toronto Maple Leafs' first televised goal (November 1, 1952)


1950 title victory on Christmas Eve in Cleveland - Cleveland Browns win 30–28 over the Los Angeles Rams

Sports 1950 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The New York Yankees sweep the Philadelphia Phillies

NFL Champions: Cleveland Browns win 30–28 over the Los Angeles Rams

NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers

Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings

U.S. Open Golf: Ben Hogan

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Arthur Larsen / Margaret Osborne duPont

Wimbledon (Men/Women): Budge Patty / Louise Brough

NCAA Football Champions: Oklahoma

NCAA Basketball Champions: City College of New York (CCNY)

Kentucky Derby: Middleground

Image: 1950 title victory on Christmas Eve in Cleveland

Famous Quotes 1950: Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted - Aldous Huxley

Famous Quotes 1950 Wikipedia

● “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”

~ Aldous Huxley

● “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

~ Betty Davis, in “All About Eve”

● “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

● “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”

~ Gloria Swanson, in “Sunset Boulevard”

Image: “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted” Aldous Huxley



● “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

● February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

● In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

● If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

Answer to Last Week's Test

During World War II metal was scarce. What were the Oscars made of during the war?

Answer: Plaster.Oscars.org

Joke of the Day

Why do the branches of the military have a hard time working together?

It's largely due to the fact that there is no standardization of the terminology.

Take the phrase “Secure a building” for example:

● To the Army this means that you set a perimeter and make sure nothing goes in or out.

● To the Marines, this means going in room by room, neutralizing all threats, setting a perimeter and god helps anything that comes near the place.

● To the Navy it's turning off the lights and locking the door.

● To the Air Force? They'll get a three year lease with an option to buy.