Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 24

Reagan challenges Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall; on June 12, 1987

Reagan challenges Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall; on June 12, 1987.

In one of his most famous Cold War speeches, President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Two years later, deliriously happy East and West Germans did break down the infamous barrier between East and West Berlin.

Reagan's challenge came during a visit to West Berlin. With the Berlin Wall as a backdrop, Reagan declared, "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace."

He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: "Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace - if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe--if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Addressing the West Berlin crowd, Reagan observed, "Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men.

Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar." Reagan then went on to ask Gorbachev to undertake serious arms reduction talks with the United States. Most listeners at the time viewed Reagan's speech as a dramatic appeal to Gorbachev to renew negotiations on nuclear arms reductions.

It was also a reminder that despite the Soviet leader's public statements about a new relationship with the West, the United States wanted to see action taken to improve the Cold War tensions. Just eight months before, a summit between Reagan and Gorbachev had ended unsatisfactorily, with both sides charging the other with bad faith in talks aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals.

Reagan, who had formed a personal closeness to Gorbachev during their previous meetings, obviously wanted to move those negotiations forward. In December 1987, the two met once again and signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminated an entire class of nuclear missiles from Europe.History Channel

Wikipedia  Image: Tear down this wall! Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004)

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Direct action

(DOD) Direct action: Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or diplomatically sensitive environments and which employ specialized military capabilities to seize, destroy, capture, exploit, recover, or damage designated targets. Also called DA. See also special operations; special operations forces.

The Old Salt’s Corner - A Day's run

A Day's run is the distance traveled by a vessel in one day, normally measured from noon to noon. This was the traditional measure used in the days of packet and clipper ships and varied in the actual time dependent on whether the vessel was sailing east or west. The records certified by the WSSRC since 1994 are based on a 24 hour distance measure irrespective of longitude. DaysRun.com

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That’s common sense leaving your body.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”

~ Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862)

“What I Have Learned”

Admiration is our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves.

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)

Caught on cam: Clumsy robbers bump into each other, fire shots in lingerie store

Caught on cam: Clumsy robbers bump into each other, fire shots in lingerie store video

At a press conference in April, as Houston police officers announced they were after two burglars who had broken into Katz's lingerie boutique, surveillance video showed two armed men cautiously creeping through the store until one accidentally bumped the other, apparently startling the bumped man, who turned and fired - causing the first man to fire back. Officers counted nearly a dozen bullet holes in the store. Said the Houston press briefer, these are “by far some of the clumsiest crooks that I've seen in a long time”.

(Anyone with information on the identities of the wanted suspects is urged to contact the HPD Robbery Division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.)KHOU video

On 12 April 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space when he launched into orbit on the Vostok 3KA-3 spacecraft (Vostok 1). (ESA) / Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly in space, climbs into her capsule, Vostok 6, in 1963. (Roscosmos)

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why did cosmonauts land on land while astronauts landed on water?

What's so great about coming down on land? It's just that hard landings were better suited to a country with lots of territory, not much money or hospitable ocean access, and a craving for secrecy. The U.S., on the other hand, had a long coastline, money to burn, and the characteristically American impulse to make a big production out of everything

The Russian space center is located in central Asia in the midst of a huge unpopulated grassland. Landing nearby seemed like the obvious thing and was only slightly more challenging technically than landing in water. Both U.S. and Russian spacecraft slow themselves with retrorockets to start their descent, then open parachutes once they reach the atmosphere. The difference is that the Russian craft fires another smaller set of retrorockets just before touchdown to soften the impact. I'm told it's still a bumpy landing, although all the cosmonauts seemed to have lived through it. (The two fatal accidents known to have occurred during the Soviet space program both happened during re-entry, but neither was attributable to touchdown on land. One involved loss of oxygen following improper detonation of explosive devices separating the capsule from its orbiter and the other a tangled parachute.)

The best part about it is that the recovery operation is dirt cheap. According to space engineer and author James Oberg, an authority on the Russian space program, a Russian recovery team typically consisted of maybe 20 or 30 guys with helicopters and halftracks, compared to the vast fleet that we money-is-no-object Americanskis used in the days before the space shuttle. The drawback is that if you miss your intended landing point, you could be in for a long wait. Astronauts who overshot in the early days might have to wait a couple hours to get picked up; cosmonauts have been known to wait a couple days. One hopes they brought a copy of War and Peace to while away the time.(Straight Dope)

Image: Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (Space.com)Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (Space.com)American and two Russian astronauts land safely in middle of Kazakhstan in tiny capsule after 166-day Expedition 38 mission to NASA space station (Daily Mail)

Where Did That Saying Come From? “BLUE-BLOOD”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

BLUE-BLOOD:” This means aristocratic. For centuries the Arabs occupied Spain but they were gradually forced out during the Middle Ages. The upper class in Spain had paler skin than most of the population as their ancestors had not inter-married with the Arabs. As they had pale skin the 'blue' blood running through their veins was more visible. (Of course all blood is red but it sometimes looks blue when running through veins). So blue-blooded came to mean upper class.Wikipedia

Wikipedia  Image: Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry) (Wikipedia)

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Beach Pounder: A Marine (cf. Ground Pounder = soldier). Coast Guard: Shoreline foot patrol (archaic/WWII); lived on in expression: “Pound sand!” for “Get lost.”

Benny: A treat or reward, derived from “Benefit”.

O Benny Suggs: The Navy's Beneficial Suggestions program, a method where DON employees, and Navy and Marine personnel can make suggestions to improve various programs and operations.

Mail Buoy: A fictitious buoy that mail for a ship is left on. Usually new sailors are given a mail buoy watch for the entertainment of the more seasoned sailors.

Roach Coach: “Geedunk” on wheels. Mobile cafeteria van, often seen when on det to another base.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for MARINES

Bust Heavies: (Vietnam era) To work hard.

But: The pits on a rifle range.

Butt: A cigarette or a wooden cask or barrel in the wooden Navy.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

POM - Program Objectives Memorandum

POA&M - Plan of Actions & Milestones

PPA - Procurement Planning Agreement

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VR-51 - Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 51: “Windjammers” MCB Hawaii

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Electrification of Human Corpses

The Electrification of Human Corpses: In 1780 the Italian anatomy professor Luigi Galvani discovered that a spark of electricity could cause the limbs of a dead frog to twitch. Soon men of science throughout Europe were repeating his experiment, but it didn't take them long to bore of frogs and turn their attention to more interesting animals. What would happen, they wondered, if you electrified a human corpse?

Galvani's nephew, Giovanni Aldini, embarked on a tour of Europe in which he offered audiences the chance to see this stomach-turning spectacle. His most celebrated demonstration occurred on January 17, 1803 when he applied the poles of a 120-volt battery to the body of the executed murderer George Forster.

When Aldini placed wires on the mouth and ear, the jaw muscles quivered and the murderer's features twisted in a rictus of pain. The left eye opened as if to gaze upon his torturer. For the grand finale Aldini hooked one wire to the ear and plunged the other up the rectum. Forster's corpse broke into a hideous dance. The London Times wrote, “It appeared to the uninformed part of the bystanders as if the wretched man was on the eve of being restored to life.”

Other researchers tried electrifying bodies, with the specific hope of restoring them to life, but with no success. Early nineteenth-century experiments of this kind are considered to have been one of Mary Shelley's main sources of inspiration when she wrote her novel Frankenstein in 1816. The Electrification of Human Corpses (Museum of Hoaxes)

Photo: Stills - Bride of Frankenstein (Fanpop / Wikipedia)


1953 World Series Against The Boys Of Summer - From left to right: Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, Billy Martin, Joe Collins

Sports 1953 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The New York Yankees win 4 games to 2 over the Brooklyn Dodgers

The Boston Braves of the National League moved to Milwaukee, becoming the first MLB franchise to relocate in 50 years.

NFL Champions: Detroit Lions win 17–16 over the Cleveland Browns

NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers win 4 games to 1 over New York Knicks

Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens win 4 games to 1 over the Boston Bruins

U.S. Open Golf: Dick Mayer

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Tony Trabert / Maureen Connolly

Wimbledon (Men/Women): Vic Seixas / Maureen Connolly

NCAA Football Champions: Maryland Terrapins

NCAA Basketball Champions: Indiana wins 69–68 over Kansas

Kentucky Derby: Dark Star

Image: 1953 World Series Against The Boys Of Summer (Bronx Baseball Daily, Corbis)

Famous Quotes 1953: 'The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings' - Frank Lloyd Wright

Famous Quotes 1953 Wikipedia

● “The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings”

~ Frank Lloyd Wright”

● “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent”

~ Pepsodent toothpaste”

● “Shane. Shane. Come back!”

~ Brandon De Wilde, in “Shane”

● “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t”

~ Peter Paul Mounds / Almond Joy

Image: Frank Lloyd Wright.org/



● In 1999, the U.S. government paid the Zapruder family $16 million for the film of JFK's assassination.

● Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.

● The top five states for beer consumption per capita: 1. North Dakota, 2. New Hampshire, 3. Montana, 4. South Dakota 5. Wisconsin.

Answer to Last Week's Test

The Oldsmobile 442 was a muscle car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. It was introduced as an option package for F-85 and Cutlass models beginning with the 1964 model year. It became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971. What did the “442” stand for?

Answer: A four-barrel carburetor, a four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhaust.Wikipedia.com

Joke of the Day


And what it really means

It's a guy thing.

There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.

Can I help with dinner?

Why isn't it already on the table?

Uh huh / Sure, honey / Yes, dear.

This means absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.

It would take too long to explain.

I have no idea how it works.

We're going to be late.

Now I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac.

Take a break, honey, you're working too hard.

I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.

That's interesting, dear.

That's interesting, dear.

It's a really good movie.

It's got guns, explosions, fast cars, and beautiful women.

That's women's work.

It's difficult, dirty, and thankless.

You know how bad my memory is.

I remember the theme song to “F Troop”, the address of the first girl I ever kissed and the Vehicle Identification Numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.

I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses.

The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe.

Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself, it's no big deal.

I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit I'm hurt.

Hey, I've got my reasons for what I'm doing.

And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon.

I can't find it.

It didn't fall right into my outstretched hands, so I'm completely clueless.

What did I do this time?

What did you catch me at?

I heard you.

I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me.

You know I could never love anyone else.

I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse.