Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 8, 2015

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Thomas Jefferson is elected on February 17, 1801

Thomas Jefferson is elected on February 17, 1801

Thomas Jefferson is elected: On this day in 1801, Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. The election constitutes the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in the United States.

By 1800, when he decided to run for president, Thomas Jefferson possessed impressive political credentials and was well-suited to the presidency. In addition to drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson had served in two Continental Congresses, as minister to France, as secretary of state under George Washington and as John Adams' vice president.

Vicious partisan warfare characterized the campaign of 1800 between Democratic-Republicans Jefferson and Aaron Burr and Federalists John Adams, Charles C. Pinckney and John Jay. The election highlighted the ongoing battle between Democratic-Republican supporters of the French, who were embroiled in their own bloody revolution, and the pro-British Federalists who wanted to implement English-style policies in American government.

The Federalists abhorred the French revolutionaries' overzealous use of the guillotine and as a result were less forgiving in their foreign policy toward the French. They advocated a strong centralized government, a standing military and financial support of emerging industries. In contrast, Jefferson's Republicans preferred limited government, unadulterated states' rights and a primarily agrarian economy. They feared that Federalists would abandon revolutionary ideals and revert to the English monarchical tradition. As secretary of state under Washington, Jefferson opposed Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton's proposal to increase military expenditures and resigned when Washington supported the leading Federalist's plan for a national bank.

After a bloodless but ugly campaign in which candidates and influential supporters on both sides used the press, often anonymously, as a forum to fire slanderous volleys at each other, the then-laborious and confusing process of voting began in April 1800. Individual states scheduled elections at different times and although Jefferson and Burr ran on the same ticket, as president and vice president respectively, the Constitution still demanded votes for each individual to be counted separately. As a result, by the end of January 1801, Jefferson and Burr emerged tied at 73 electoral votes apiece. Adams came in third at 65 votes.

A contingent of sword-bearing soldiers escorted the new president to his inauguration on March 4, 1801, illustrating the contentious nature of the election and the victors' fear of reprisal. In his inaugural address, Jefferson sought to heal political differences by graciously declaring “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists”.

As president, Jefferson made some concessions to his opponents, including taking Hamilton's advice to strengthen the American Navy. In 1801, Jefferson sent naval squadrons and Marines to suppress Barbary piracy against American shipping. He reduced the national debt by one-third, acquired the Louisiana Territory, and his sponsorship of the Lewis and Clark expedition opened the west to exploration and settlement. Jefferson's first term ended in relative stability and prosperity, and in 1804 he was overwhelmingly elected to a second term.

The flawed voting system that was so problematic in the election of 1800 was later improved by the 12th Amendment, which was ratified in 1804.

Deadlock over presidential election ends - History Channel / Wikipedia / Thomas Jefferson Library / Encyclopaedia Britannica / Biography.com / Smithsonian

Image: Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, Rembrandt Peale (1805). United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase, is announced to the American people.

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - full-spectrum superiority

(DOD) Full-spectrum superiority:

The cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime, and space domains and information environment (which includes cyberspace) that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference. Wikipedia / Joint Publication 3-0)

Ship Operations - Man Overboard / File:US Navy 100414-N-1082Z-003 Deck department Sailors prepare to lower a landing craft personnel large during a small boat recovery and man overboard drill aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).jpg

The Old Salt’s Corner

Ship Operations - Man Overboard

Routes of travel are the same as for G.Q. when “All hands muster” is called away. You must muster by sight with your respective shop, work center, or division to insure an accurate muster for crew accountability. You will normally be assigned to the Operations Department. If you are on a carrier, you should be assigned to the CVIC/OZ division for mustering purposes (the OZ division is responsible for day-to-day operations of the CVIC—ship’s departments and divisions will be discussed in Module 6). Report for “All hands muster” as expeditiously as possible to avoid having your name called out over the 1MC (the ship’s public address system).

The prospect of Man Overboard is very serious. The “All hands muster” call assists in identifying who might be missing. Some XOs have even been known to “kidnap” one or more of the ship’s personnel and then call an “All hands” in order to test the process. Needless to say, should a “kidnapped” person be reported as mustered (either by well-meaning work center colleagues or by mistake) serious repercussions will ensue.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you don't have a leg to stand on.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

~ Thomas A. Edison

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

~ Terry Pratchett

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)

Mother of all Surgeries

“Mother of all Surgeries:” Cancer patient has her appendix, large bowel, gall bladder, spleen, womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix and most of her small bowel removed to treat “one in a million” cancer misdiagnosed as IBS

After 15 months of faulty diagnoses, Briton Pam Pope, 65, finally got the (bad) news: a rare, slow-moving cancer of the appendix, “pseudomyxoma peritonei”. The malignancy was so advanced that her only hope was the removal of all organs that she could possibly do without.

In a six-surgeon, 13-hour operation in May 2014 at Hampshire Clinic in Basingstoke, England, Pope parted with her appendix, large bowel, gall bladder, spleen, womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and most of her small bowel. She has endured massive chemotherapy, is on a nightly drip for hydration, and still remains frail. Daily Mail UK / PMP Cure.org

How Did Flipping a Coin become a decision-maker? (Norman Rockwell Coin Toss - October 21, 1950)

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Did Flipping a Coin become a decision-maker?

Coin flipping: The Lydians minted the first coins in 10 B.C. but it wasn’t until nine hundred years later that the coin toss became a decision-maker. Julius Caesar’s head appeared on one side of every Roman coin of his time, and such was the reverence for the emperor that in his absence often serious litigation was decided by the flip of a coin. If Caesar’s head landed upright, it meant that through the guidance of the gods, he agreed in absentia with the decision in question.

Use in clarifying feelings: A technique attributed to Sigmund Freud to help in making difficult decisions is to toss a coin not actually to determine the decision, but to clarify the decision-maker's feelings.

In fiction: DC Comics supervillain Two-Face, has a double-headed coin with one side defaced.

Coin landing on its edge in fiction: A coin toss has a theoretical third outcome, in which the coin comes to rest upright on its edge, rather than falling to either heads or tails.

Research:  WikipediaBritannicaCoin Books.orgMental Floss

Image: Norman Rockwell Coin Toss - October 21, 1950 / Norman Rockwell Prints on Decision Making

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Three sheets to the wind”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

“Three sheets to the wind”

Three sheets to the wind:

means, as most people know, “very drunk, extremely inebriated.”

The first example of “three sheets to the wind” found in print so far is from 1821 (in the form “three sheets in the wind”), but the expression is almost certainly much older.

The “sheets” in the phrase are the lines (ropes) that hold a sail in place. If one of the “sheets” (from the Old English “sceata”, meaning the corner of a sail) comes loose, the sail flaps in the wind and causes the ship to lose power.

If two sheets are loose and fluttering in the wind (or “to the wind”), you’re in major trouble, and “three sheets in the wind” means the ship is uncontrollable, reeling like a drunken sailor. Thus “three sheets to the wind” was the perfect metaphor for, at first, a sailor who had celebrated a bit too much on shore leave, and eventually anyone who was too drunk to walk. Phrases.org UK

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Field Survey: To discard a worn-out item (“in the field”, often off the end of the pier) instead of submitting for formal “survey” to determine redistribution or disposal. Sometimes items handed down to a needier local unit.

O-gang: A term made up by A-Gang for the Officers.

PFM: “Pure F**king Magic”, term applied to when things work, but you don't know how, but they work.

Secure: In general, to prepare something for stormy travel - to secure a window is to shut it. However, it's often used as a stronger form of “cut it out”, as in “talking is secured” or “I'm going to secure your mouth if you don't shut the hell up” or “your fruity ways are secured, Fireman Radomski”.

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

Just for you MARINE

Date of Enlistment: For enlisted personnel this is the third level used to determine precedence among individuals of the same rank. The senior of two persons of the same rank is determined by the earliest date of rank while among two or more where rank and date of rank are identical, the one with the earliest date of enlistment is senior.

Date of Promotion: The day on which a promotion warrant or order is signed.

Date of Rank: The day on which a promotion is effective. Usually the date of rank is prior to the date of promotion (sometimes by days, sometimes by weeks, sometimes by years depending on the requirements of the promoting authority). Date of rank is used to establish precedence for promotion to the next higher rank and to establish seniority among individuals of the same rank.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-21 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21: “Blackjacks”
NAS North Island, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

First Opium War

First Opium War

In 1840 the East India Company of England, suffering an adverse balance of trade with China, decided to make up its financial losses by pouring illegal opium into China for some quick profits. The Chinese imperial commissioner, Lin Tze-su, ordered all British opium destroyed. England declared war.

British gunboats smashed Chinese fortifications. In 1842, China surrendered, was forced to give up Hong Kong (meaning "sweet stream") to the British and pay a $21 million indemnity. And the British continued to pour opium into China. In 1900, the Chinese tried to get their revenge, and were humiliated. The Boxers (actual name Righteousness and Harmony Society, and having nothing to do with boxing, except Chinese word for "society" sounds like "fist"), a secret organization of 40,000 patriotic militants, tried to throw foreigners out of their country. England, U.S., Germany, Russia, France, Japan sent in 16,000 troops to put down the Boxer Rebellion, and succeeded.

The Chinese had to pay an indemnity running into millions of dollars (although the U.S. returned about 12 million, half of its indemnity, to China), had to give Hong Kong up to the British, and had to allow foreign nations to establish legation quarters and troops in Peking.

It was not until 6 decades later that China got even. In 1965, Premier Chou En-lai, of the People's Republic of China, speaking to President Gamal Abdel Nasser, of Egypt, explained one reason for the demoralization of American troops in South Vietnam: ”Some of them are trying opium, and we are helping them. We are planting the best kinds of opium especially for the American soldiers in Vietnam... Do you remember when the West imposed opium on us? They fought us with opium. And we are going to fight them with their own weapons.” Wikipedia


“Back In Black” -  AC/DC 1980

“Back In Black” - AC/DC
Album: Back In Black
Released 1980 video

This was the title track to AC/DC's most popular album. It has sold over 19 million copies in the U.S., the 6th highest ever. Worldwide, it has sold over 40 million.

This was released five months after lead singer Bon Scott died. The song is a tribute to Scott, and the lyrics, “Forget the hearse 'cause I never die” imply that he will live on forever through his music. With Brian Johnson on lead vocals, the Back In Black album proved that AC/DC could indeed carry on without Scott.

Brian Johnson made quite a statement with this song, quickly endearing himself to AC/DC fans and leaving little doubt that the band made the right pick to replace Bon Scott. Johnson had been in a group called Geordie, which Scott saw in 1973. After that show, Scott talked up the Geordie lead singer to his bandmates, and in 1980 when they were looking for a replacement, AC/DC's producer Mutt Lange suggested him. At the time, Johnson was working as a windshield fitter and had recently reunited Geordie.

The band got the idea for the title before writing any of the song, although Malcolm Young had the main guitar riff for years and used to play it frequently as a warm-up tune. After Bon Scott's death, Angus Young decided that their first album without him should be called Back In Black in tribute, and they wrote this song around that phrase.

The album had a black cover with the band's logo on it, which was a tribute to Bon Scott. They didn't want it to feel mournful, however, and needed a title track that captured the essence of their fallen friend. They were certainly not going to do a ballad, so it fell on Brian Johnson to write a lyric that would rock, but also celebrate Scott without being morbid or literal.

Johnson says he wrote “Whatever came into my head”, which at the time he thought was nonsense. To the contrary, lines about abusing his nine lives and beating the rap summed up Scott perfectly, and his new bandmates loved it.

Bon Scott had several lyrical ideas for the album, but those were abandoned by the band in favor of new lyrics by Brian, Malcolm and Angus. Former AC/DC manager Ian Jeffrey claims to still have a folder that contains lyrics of 15 songs written for Back In Black by Bon, but Angus insists that all of Bon's notebooks were given to his family.

This features in commercial for the 2015 Chevy Colorado video pickup truck, where a mundane guy in a generic sedan is soundtracked with “Rainy Days And Mondays” video, which becomes “Back In Black” video when a much more exciting fellow comes into the shot and drives off in his black Colorado.

Rolling Stone magazine (Back In Black - 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - 77) / AC/DC.com / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N' Roses



● Horses cannot vomit.

● Tennessee is bordered by eight states This is more than any other state: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia.

● The most abundant metal in the Earth's crust is aluminum.

Military Trivia

● What type of aircraft was used to drop bombs in the first German air raids on London in 1915?

A: A Zeppelin.

● In 1996, which country's army became the last in the world to disband its carrier pigeon service?

A: Switzerland's.

● What were the code names for the five beachheads invaded by the Allies on D-Day, June 6, 1944?

A: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Who invented the toothbrush and when was it?

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their AnswerLibrary of Congress

Answer to Last Week's Test

What actress was the first to receive a $1 million contract in the film industry?

Answer: Elizabeth Taylor. In 1963 for her role as the Egyptian queen in Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor audaciously asked for, and received, the first $1 million contract in the film industry. The role was first offered to starlet Joan Collins, who turned it down. Film production became much more elaborate and costly than originally budgeted once Taylor came on board.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had told their new wives what their household duties were to be.

The first man had married a woman from Tennessee. He bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning. He said it took a couple days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were done.

The second man had married a woman from Florida. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. On the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Long Island. He boasted that he told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye just enough to fix himself a bite to eat, load the dishwasher, find a cleaning lady, and telephone a landscaper.