Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 4, 2015

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Ronald Reagan becomes president on January 20, 1981

Ronald Reagan becomes president on January 20, 1981

Ronald Reagan becomes president: Ronald Reagan, former Western movie actor and host of television's popular “Death Valley Daysvideo is sworn in as the 40th president of the United States.video

More than any president since the Texas-born Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan's public image was closely tied to the American West, although he was raised in the solidly Midwestern state of Illinois. In the 1930s, Reagan moved to California, where he became a moderately successful Hollywood actor. Thereafter, he always considered himself a true westerner in spirit.

Reagan's image as a westerner was reinforced by his acting career. Although he acted in other genres as well, many of Reagan's movies were B-grade Westerns like ”Law and Ordervideo, in which he played a sheriff who was the only law “from Dodge City to Tombstone!” When his movie career waned, Reagan made the transition to television as a host of the hugely popular showcase for western stories, “Death Valley Days”.

Reagan's film and TV career not only won him public-name recognition but also helped establish his enduring "good-guy" reputation. A few of Reagan's roles in non-western movies included men of questionable character, but in Westerns he usually played the brave and wholesome sheriff or cowboy who killed the outlaws, saved the school marm, and brought justice to the Wild West. Though it is difficult to estimate exactly how important such positive roles were for his subsequent political career, surely Reagan's "white hat" movie image helped win him some confidence and votes.

Reagan's politics also increasingly reflected the mythic western image of rugged independence and self-reliance. Although he had been a liberal New Deal Democrat as a young man, by the 1950s, Reagan had become a hard-line conservative. As president of the Screen Actor's Guild (1947-52, 1959-60), he won national attention as an outspoken anticommunist, and he began to view even the mild federal socialism of the New Deal as destructive to individual initiative and freedom. Switching his allegiance to the Republican Party, Reagan won two terms as governor of California (1967-75), where he gained a devoted national following that helped him win the presidency.

During his eight years as president of the United States (1981-89), Reagan redefined the center in American politics, moving it away from the liberal Democrats and towards the conservative Republicans. Though his days as a western movie star were long past by then, Reagan continued to celebrate the mythic independence of the western pioneer as a parallel to modern conservatism. To drive home the point, Reagan made frequent and highly visible retreats to his California ranch, where he rode horses, fixed fences, and cut firewood for the TV cameras. This president, Reagan's actions seemed to say, was a self-reliant cowboy at heart and only a reluctant politician.

After a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease, Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004. He was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Ronald Reagan Presidential Library / Biography / Office of the Historian.gov / C-SPAN: President Reagan 1981 Inaugural Address video

Image: Ronald Reagan takes oath as 40th President (January 20. 1981)

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - free-fire area

(DOD) Free-fire area:

A specific area into which any weapon system may fire without additional coordination with the establishing headquarters. Also called FFA. Wikipedia / Joint Point 3-09)

Reporting aboard a ship

The Old Salt’s Corner

Reporting aboard a ship

1. Officers

After checking in with the ship’s personnel office you will need to report to the Officer’s Mess Office for stateroom assignments and to join the mess. Berthing is tight, even aboard large ships, but every attempt will be made for a stateroom assignment commensurate with your rank. Typically, junior officers can expect to have anywhere from one to five bunkmates, depending on rank. Lieutenant Commanders and above can expect at least one bunkmate.

Mess assignments will vary from ship to ship. For a two-week AT, officers can expect to pay a daily meal rate instead of actually buying a share of the mess. The enlisted Mess Specialist staff responsible for the ship’s ward room(s) will record your presence at each meal. At the end of your AT, the ship’s Administrative Officer will tally up your charges and present you with a bill.

2. Enlisted

In most cases, a senior member of the CVIC or Operations Department enlisted team usually will tour you around the ship’s spaces of interests and otherwise act as a "buddy" for your first few days at sea. After securing berthing/stateroom assignments and storing your gear, report to the Personnel Office, part of the Administration Department, to turn in your AT paperwork.

Like the officers, reserve enlisted records and pay are not handled by a Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) aboard ship. All enlisted records and pay matters are run through the ship’s Personnel Office. On some smaller vessels, there may not be a separate ship’s Personnel Office. Invariably, the Administration Department will handle all records.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Did Noah keep his bees in archives?

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”

~ Robert H. Schuller

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

~ Chinese Proverb

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)

U.S. exchange student gets stuck inside stone vagina sculpture (stuck between a rock and a hard place)

U.S. exchange student gets stuck inside stone vagina sculpture:

STUTTGART, Germany - (stuck between a rock and a hard place) It took 22 firefighters to rescue an American exchange student who found himself trapped inside a giant vagina statue in Tuebingen, Germany.

The student had climbed in the statue for a photo opp and then got his leg stuck in a narrow area of the statue.

The statue is a six-foot replica of the female genitalia and was installed outside of the microbiology and virology department of the city’s university clinic. It has been in place for 13 years with no prior incidents before this one.

Sources claim that the 20-year old student was climbing on the statue in the first place due to a dare. The 22 firefighters took about 30 minutes to pull the man out of the statue and were able to do so without using any tools or damaging the statue which is said to be worth about $200,000 dollars.

The 32-ton sculpture, made out of red Veronese marble is meant to signify “the gateway to the world” and was created by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara. (Related News: Injured explorer rescued from Germany's deepest cave after 12 days) The Guardian UK

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: The wife and I are going on a cruise.  Will our cell phone work from the ocean?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: The wife and I are going on a cruise. Will our cell phone work from the ocean?

The thing about a cell phone is that it has to be inside a cell in order for it to work. In the middle of a cell is a cell phone tower, and it might provide coverage for an area four or five miles in diameter (depending on terrain, type of service, buildings, etc.)

So if you are on the ocean and near enough to shore (a mile or two) to pick up one of the towers on land, you can get reception. Or if you are on one of the cruise ships that has cell phone service, you can get reception. They put a mini cell phone tower on the boat and then link up to the phone system via satellite. Keep in mind that cruise ship service is incredibly expensive, like $3 or $5 per minute.

Otherwise, on the ocean, a cell phone is not going to work. You would need to use a satellite phone instead.

Research:  Telcom History.orgNorwegian Cruise LineCruise LineTourism AttractionCNN (How phones work in flight)

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Wet behind the ears”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

“Wet behind the ears”

Wet behind the ears:

Meaning inexperienced or naive, comes to us from the wonderful world of baby farm animals. It seems that the last part of a newborn horse or cow to dry out after birth is the area behind the little critter’s ears. Thus, to say that someone is “wet behind the ears” is a folksy way of saying that they lack the experience or savvy necessary to accomplish a task.

The first published use of “wet behind the ears” in print dates only to the early 20th century, but most authorities believe that the phrase itself is much older than that and, like many folk sayings, was used in popular speech long before anyone used it in print. Urban Dictionary / Phrases.org UK (Photo: Susan S., Flickr)

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy America's Navy - A Global Force For Good

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Gerbil: Cordon Bleu. Named so since it looks like a deep fried gerbil.

Old Man: The Commanding Officer or Admiral in command, referred as such regardless of gender. Term is usually used when CO has gained respect of subordinates. RADM Grace Hopper is one such example of a female “old man”.

Saltpeter: Chemical supposedly added to “bug juice” aboard ship to stifle libido, the stuff of urban legend.

TLD (Nuclear): Tiny Little Dildo. Thermo Luminescent Dosimeter. Navy belt adornment. Worn by nukes to see how much radiation is received in a period of time. Often a good source of humor for when the topsiders ask what they are for.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines Marines - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

CP: Command Post. Unit headquarters.

Cracker Jack: Sailor.

C-Rations: Individual meals used in the field from World War II until Vietnam. They came in a box containing cans of food and a foil accessory pack. They were replaced by the Meal, Ready to Eat.

Crew-Served Weapon: Any weapon which requires more than one Marine to fire. Most artillery pieces, tanks and large machine guns fit in this category.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

SECNAV - Secretary of the Navy

Civilian head of the Department of the Navy, responsible for conducting all affairs related to the Department.

SIQ - Sick In Quarters

Term used when a medical condition or injury is such that in-hospital care is not required to return the patient to a full- or limited-duty status.

SWCC - Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (pronounced: swick)

Navy Special Operations Force member who operates the inventory of boats used for mission support.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VR-57 - Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57: “Conquistadors”
NAS North Island, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Missouri bar under fire for offering “Michael Brown” drink special: 6 shots for $10

Missouri bar under fire for offering “Michael Brown” drink special: 6 shots for $10

A Missouri bar named Mug Shots is receiving quite a bit of backlash after promoting their “Michael Brown” six shot special for ten dollars and have even had protesters show up outside of the establishment to voice their concern and outrage

The bar owner, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous, claims that he was not trying to cause any harm and says that perhaps he should have thought things out a bit more before coming up with the shot special deal.

He claims that other bars in the area are profiting off similar promotions, so he figured he would give it a try, however in this case it backfired massively.

Apparently, no one bothered to tell the U.S. intelligence community. In 1999, Furbys were officially banned by the NSA, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and the Pentagon. Administrators allegedly worried that an employee might bring one into work wherein it could eavesdrop on a top-secret conversation and “start talking classified”.

Mug Shot has since changed the name of their shot special to “The owner of Mug Shots is an asshole special”. Raw Story video


“Surfin' U.S.A.” - The Beach Boys 1963

“Surfin' U.S.A.” - The Beach Boys
Album: Surfin' U.S.A.
Released 1963 video

The lyrics are basically a guide to good surf locations, but the “Surfin' U.S.A.” music was based on Chuck Berry's 1958 hit "Sweet Little Sixteen" video. The Beach Boys did it as a tribute to Berry, but didn't get his permission first - maybe because Berry was in jail for transporting a minor across state lines. When Berry threatened to sue, The Beach Boys agreed to give him most of the royalties and list him as the song's composer. The song also helped build Berry's legend while he served his time.

David Marks, who was a guitarist in The Beach Boys from 1961-1963, explains that he and Carl Wilson would play guitars every day after school, and one day Carl brought home the album “Is On Topvideo. They loved the album and introduced Berry's sound to Brian Wilson, who loved the rhythm parts and put together “Surfin' U.S.A.” based on that sound. Brian changed the lyrics and added a hook, but it is basically a rewrite of Berry's “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

Many of the early Beach Boys' songs were about surfing. Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed, but surfing was a very popular at the time, especially with teenagers who bought records. For The Beach Boys, the surfing subculture gave them an opportunity to write songs about adventure and fun while exploring vocal harmonies and new production techniques. And while the majority of Americans didn't surf, the songs represented California, which was considered new and modern and a great place to be. Surfing, and California by extension, became more about a state of mind.

This is a very early Beach Boys song, following up their first hit “Surfin' Safarivideo. Brian Wilson was gaining confidence as a producer, and this song marks the emergence of what would become the Beach Boys signature sound over the next few years. Wilson got the most of 1963 studio technology, and managed to create a sound with bright guitars and sophisticated background vocals - something he accomplished with double-tracking. Brian also used his falsetto vocals in the chorus to offset Mike Love's lead.

Carl Wilson came up with the guitar intro, which is reminiscent of Duane Eddy's “Moving and Groovingvideo. Wilson explained: “On 'Surfin' U.S.A.video, Brian wanted an opening lick and I just did this Duane Eddy riff. “I was worried that it had been on another record, but what the hell. That was the first time we were aware we could make a really powerful record. For the first time, we thought the group sounded good enough to be played with anything on the radio.”.

Rolling Stone magazine (100 Greatest Artists - 12) / Beach Boys.com / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / All Music / Wikipedia / Biography

Image: “Surfin' U.S.A.” by The Beach Boys



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

● Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

● There's no Betty Rubble in Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

How many restrooms are in the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia?

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their AnswerHistory Channel

Answer to Last Week's Test

What famous early American was the first person to use dental evidence to identify human remains?

Answer: Paul Revere, who supplemented his income as a silversmith by making and fitting false teeth. Revere made the first known dental forensic identification of a body in 1775 when he positively identified the remains of a patriot leader Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed during the Battle of Bunker Hill and buried in an unmarked grave by the British. Revere’s identification was based on two false teeth he had wired into Warren’s mouth in 1774.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Meet Jack Schitt

Jack is the only son of Awe Schitt and O. Schitt, and he has an interesting family tree:

In 1957, Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married O. Schitt, the owner of Needeep N. Schitt, Inc.

They had one son, Jack.

Jack Schitt grew up and married Noe, and together Jack and Noe Schitt produced 6 children:

• Holie Schitt (who came to be known as “The Lucky Schitt”)

• Fulla Schitt

• Shineola (who didn't really have the Schitt Face)

• Giva Schitt

• Bull Schitt (who really looked like Schitt, the father), and the twins: Dip Schitt and Deap Schitt.

Dip Schitt was not very bright, and was known as “The stupid Schitt”, and she married Dumb Schitt, a high school dropout who happened to share the same last name (no relation, however). Friends affectionately nicknamed them “The Schitts”. Their marriage produced no little Schitts.

The other twin, Deap Schitt, went on to build a deodorant empire, which became famous for its slogan: “Smell Like Schitt”. Interestingly, that slogan only worked in the United States, and another slogan was more popular in the U.K.: “Put a dab of Schitt on your pits.” When the company launched its product into Australia, a third slogan was used successfully: “Smell Like Schitt Down Under”.

But soon, trouble developed and Noe Schitt divorced Jack and promptly married a nice man named Ted Sherlock, but being a modern woman, she decided to hyphenate her name. She become known as Noe Schitt-Sherlock.

Jack was depressed at losing Noe, but he, too, remarried a nice lady named Loda. The blushing bride, Loda Schitt, produced a son of nervous disposition, whom they named Chicken Schitt.

Jack and Loda went on to produce two more boys, Krappy Schitt and Ugglee Schitt.

These athletic brothers, Krappy and Ugglee, married the stunningly beautiful Happens Sisters in a dual ceremony.

The “Schitt-Happens” Wedding was a huge affair, and this union also produced many offspring:

• Dawg Schitt

• Byrd Schitt

• Hoarse Schitt

• and Pigh Schitt.

But once again, Jack lost his love for his wife, and left to tour the world. He recently returned from an extended visit to Italy with his newest bride, Pisa.

Presently Jack Schitt and his 3rd wife, Pisa Schitt, are living without children in New Jersey on property which contains a stream of water, now known to the locals as “Schitt Creek”.

(From now on, nobody can say you don't know Jack Schitt!)