Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 10, 2015

Previous Week   March 2, 2015 - March 8, 2015   Next Week

Congress overrides presidential veto for first time on March 3, 1845

The first congressional override of a presidential veto on March 3, 1845

The first congressional override of a presidential veto: On this day in 1845, Congress reins in President John Tyler's zealous use of the presidential veto, overriding it with the necessary two-thirds vote. This marked Congress' first use of the Consitutional provision allowing Congressional veto overrides and represented Congress' parting gift to Tyler as he left office.

About two weeks earlier, Tyler had vetoed a Congressional bill that would have denied him the power to appropriate federal funds to build revenue-cutter ships without Congress' approval. With the override, Congress insisted that the executive branch get the legislature's approval before commissioning any new military craft.

Tyler used the presidential veto 10 times on a variety of legislation during his administration; the frequency of his use of the veto was second only to that of Andrew Jackson, who employed it 12 times during his tenure.

History Channel / Wikipedia / History Art & Archive United States House of Representatives / National Archives / Encyclopaedia Britannica / Biography.com

Wikipedia  Image: Portrait of John Tyler, by George Peter Alexander Healy created between 1859 and 1864; currently hanging in the Blue Room.

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - geospatial information

(DOD) Geospatial information:

Information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on the Earth, including: statistical data and information derived from, among other things, remote sensing, mapping, and surveying technologies; and mapping, charting, geodetic data and related products. Wikipedia / Joint Publication 2-03)

Signal Bridge / Flight Deck / FOD / Vultures Row

The Old Salt’s Corner

Signal Bridge / Flight Deck / FOD / Vultures Row

All navy ships have a signal bridge. To the intelligence officer or specialist, this is the area where sighting teams are called to photograph items of interest such as foreign warships, merchantmen, or aircraft. If you are assigned to the sighting team, learn the quickest route to the Signal Bridge in advance.

If assigned to a carrier, the flight deck offers a unique source of fascination and entertainment for those who have never witnessed flight operations. Personnel who work on the flight deck receive monthly hazardous duty pay, which should be some indication of how dangerous a job it is. Going up on the flight deck or catwalks during flight operations is prohibited regardless of rank. An easy, and unobtrusive, way to watch flight operations is via the Pilot’s Landing Aid Television (PLAT) system. There are several (usually four to five) television cameras that cover the entire flight deck. Continuous views of landings and launches can be seen on any 9TV (SCCTV) or 14TV (ship’s entertainment TV system) monitor around the ship.

If you want to watch flight operations other than on the PLAT system, an excellent place to do so is "Vulture’s Row" located on the island superstructure around the 09 or 010 level. It is likely that you will receive a tour of the flight deck and "Vulture’s Row" when reporting aboard with your CVIC guide. Initially, do not visit either of these areas unless you have received a tour first. Vulture’s Row offers an unobstructed view of both aircraft launches and recoveries. Picture taking is allowed but remember that using a flash at night is strictly prohibited. While perched on Vulture’s Row, be sure to remove your cover and all the small items from your shirt pockets and remember to wear some form of ear protection!

As a member of the CVIC team, you may be required to report to Vulture’s Row or the Signal Bridge, as part of the sighting team (also known as the "Snoopy" or "Big Eyes" teams). As mentioned above, the sighting team is called away to photograph and identify foreign military or commercial ships of interest as well as aircraft coming into contact with the carrier battlegroup. Exposed film is then developed by the Photo Lab and returned to the CVIC team for analysis.

An excellent opportunity to get up on the flight deck to remind yourself there really is a sun is during FOD walk-downs. FOD is the acronym for Foreign Object Damage, the small bits and pieces of debris, nuts, bolts, wire clippings, etc. that can get sucked into a jet engine and cause thousands of dollars damage or possibly even cause a plane to crash. FOD walk-downs are usually held before the start of each major flight evolution.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.”

~ Benjamin Jowett

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“When you have things taken away, you promise you'll never take anything for granted ever again.”

~ Chuck Pagano

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)

Mom of teen driver who killed 4-year-old explodes at judge

“It’s not fair! There is not justice in this country!” shouted the mother of Franklin Reyes, 17, in a New York City courtroom in January after a judge ordered the son tried for manslaughter as an adult.

Reyes, an unlicensed driver fleeing a police traffic stop, had plowed into a 4-year girl, killing her, but had initially convinced the judge to treat him as a “youthful offender”, and Reyes’s mom was so enraged at the judge’s switch that she had to be escorted from the room. (After the judge’s generous “youthful offender” ruling, Reyes had violated his bail conditions by getting arrested three more times.) New York Post

How did Popcorn become the default movie theater snack?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How did Popcorn become the default movie theater snack?

It’s hard to imagine attending the latest blockbuster without a jumbo bucket of excessively buttery, salty popped corn.

Popcorn was hugely popular at fairs and carnivals in the mid-1800s. Street vendors were able to easily make and sell the delicious, aromatic snack food by the bag when the first steam-powered popcorn maker was created in 1885. However, movie theaters wanted to stay far, far away from the pungent, crunchy grub.

They strove to associate themselves more with the latter half of their name: the theater. A real theater would refuse to be associated with food that would be noisily chomped on and messily strewn about by consumers during showings. Before talkies, literacy was a necessity for film-goers, and movie theaters strove to target a well-educated crowd.

In 1927, with the dawn of talkies, movies were no longer just geared towards a “sophisticated” and literate audience. Going to the movies was an activity anyone could enjoy. This coincided with the Great Depression, and Americans wanted cheap entertainment that would help them to get lost in a new reality. Movies fit the bill.

Although early theaters weren’t equipped to handle popcorn machines, independent vendors were quick to jump at the opportunity of selling directly to consumers. Corn kernels were cheap, so popcorn was inexpensive (ranging from five to ten cents a bag) and patrons who were not well-off could enjoy a bag of the goodness. Vendors began selling popcorn to people outside of the theater, allowing for a double profit of simple passersby and film-goers alike. The snack was everywhere. Soon, vendors could, for a small fee, sell popcorn in the lobby directly to people entering the theater.

Movie theater owners began to cut out the street vendors and sold popcorn themselves. Theaters that refused to change with the times and have their own popcorn makers suffered, as the cheap snack became in-demand. (One theater owner even lowered the price of his movie tickets in order to encourage people to come for the food.) For theater owners, the way to stay alive during the Depression was to give the people what they wanted.

During World War II, the sales of popcorn in the United States really hit off. Sugar was sent overseas for the military, so there were not as many resources for the creation of candies and soda. Meanwhile, there was no salt or kernel shortage. The food's popularity continued to grow, and the rest is movie history.

Mental Floss

Research:  WikipediaPopcorn.orgPBSHistory Channel

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Win hands down”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

“Win hands down”

Win hands down:

This old saying comes from horse racing. If a jockey was a long way ahead of his competitors and sure to win the race he could relax and put his hands down at his sides.

This is recorded from the mid 19th century; for example, “Pips” Lyrics & Lays, 1867: “There were good horses in those days, as he can well recall, But Barker upon Elepoo, hands down, shot by them all.” 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

Bootcamp: A term used, usually derisively, when referring to any sailor who has very little time in or a lot less time than the speaker.

Expire Before Your ID Card: To die before being discharged.

Quarters: A gathering of all the people in the organization. Quarters can be for the entire command, or just the department, division, or branch. Quarters is used to present awards, pass information, and make every sailor squeeze into their ill-fitting, rarely-worn uniforms at least once a year.

Sandbox, The: The pier liberty facilities at Jebel Ali. Sandbox Liberty means travel outside the port of Jebel Ali is not authorized. All you get is a “beer on the pier”.

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

Just for you MARINE

Deep Six: To throw something overboard or away. Originally the call of a sailor to the bridge that the depth of the water is more than six but not quite seven fathoms.

DEERS: Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (used to register dependents for CHAMPUS and numerous other programs).

Defilade: A cut or low spot in the ground used for cover by tanks and personnel.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VX-30 - Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30: “Bloodhoundss”
NAS Point Mugu, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Pre-Civil War Strange History Facts

Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts


At the end of the Spanish-American War, in 1898, the United States occupied Cuba. Rioting mobs in the street, along with outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever, created havoc in the country. Lieutenant James Moss was sent with is troops to maintain order; they were successful.

The unique thing about Moss's 25th Infantry of only 100 men was that they were a bicycle corps - they all rode bicycles, they were all black, and they never once used their weapons while in Cuba. famous Authors.org


“Yesterday” - The Beatles 1965

“Yesterday” - The Beatles
Album: Help!
Released 1965 video

This is the most covered pop song of all time, over 3,000 versions recorded according to The Guinness Book Of World Records. For years, it was also the song with the most radio plays, but in 1999 BMI music publishing reported that "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" video had passed it. Still, at any given time, some version of “Yesterdayvideo is probably being broadcast somewhere.

Paul McCartney wrote this song and was the only Beatle to play on it. It was the first time a Beatle recorded without the others, and marked a shift to more independent accomplishments among the group. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote The Beatles early songs together, by 1965 most of their songs were primarily written by one or the other, although they continued to credit all their songs Lennon/McCartney.

A string quartet was brought in to play on this. In addition to the strings, this is notable as one of the first Pop songs to use elements of Classical Music.

This was the first Beatles song that could not be reproduced live without additional musicians. When they played it live, including their famous Shea Stadium concert video, it was just McCartney with an acoustic guitar.

While touring in Paris, McCartney claims he tumbled out of bed and the tune was in his head. He thought he had heard it somewhere before, and played the melody to different people in the music industry to make sure he wasn't stealing it. The working title was “Scrambled Eggs” until Paul could figure out lyrics.

This was the first Beatles song to capture a mass adult market. Most of their fans were young people to this point, but this song gave the band a great deal of credibility among the older crowd. It also became one of their “Muzak” classics, as companies recorded instrumental versions as soothing background noise for shopping centers and elevators. Another Beatles song that lived on in this form is “Here Comes The Sunvideo.

McCartney wrote some of the lyrics during a 5 hour car trip from Lisbon to Albufeira (in Algarve, south of Portugal), on the 27th of May, 1965, when he was on vacation with Jane Asher. The villa where Paul and Jane stayed was owned by Shadows' guitarist Bruce Welch. Bruce said that when he was packing to leave, Paul asked him if he had a guitar because (Paul) was working on the lyrics since the airport. Said Bruce: “He borrowed my guitar and started playing the song we all now know as 'Yesterday'.”.

The Beatles performed this on their third live Ed Sullivan Show video appearance and on their last tour. For the live appearances, McCartney would play with a prerecorded backing track of strings.

McCartney says that when he performed it on Sullivan, just before the curtain opened a stagehand asked him, “Are you nervous?” “No”, Paul lied, to which the man responded, “You should be. There's 73 million people watching.”

This was one of 5 Beatles songs McCartney performed on his “Wings Over America” tour in 1976.

McCartney had to ask Michael Jackson to use this in his movie Give My Regards to Broadstreet. Jackson outbid McCartney for the publishing rights to The Beatles catalogue, something that fractured their friendship as McCartney counseled Jackson on the value of publishing rights.

McCartney has consistently talked about how easy this song was for him to compose. In describing it, he has said “I did the tune easily and then the words took about 2 weeks.”

This song caused a rift between McCartney and Yoko Ono. When The Beatles Anthology album was released, McCartney asked that the writing credit on this read “McCartney/Lennon”, since he wrote it. Yoko refused, and it was listed as “Lennon/McCartney”, which is how they usually credited songs written by either Beatle (between Please Please Me and With The Beatles, the song credits turned from McCartney/Lennon to Lennon/McCartney). In 2003, McCartney switched the writing credit for the first time when he listed 19 Beatles songs on his Back In The U.S. album as “Paul McCartney and John Lennon”. Paul claims he and John made an informal agreement in 1962 regarding the credits, but he had every right to switch it if he chose. Yoko disagreed.

Paul McCartney's first performance at the Grammys came in 2006. He joined in with Jay-Z and the lead singer of Linkin Park to sing part of the lyrics to this song.

When McCartney played this song, he tuned his guitar one tone lower than usual. On a recording that can be heard on The Beatles Anthology, he explains to the musicians before the song: “I'm in G, but it's F.”

Rolling Stone magazine (500 Greatest Songs of All Time - 13) / The Beatles.com / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (The Beatles) / The Biography Channel UK / Wikipedia / Billboard

Image: “Yesterday” by The Beatles



● Elmo is the most recognizable children’s character in the U.S.

● The aorta of a blue whale is large enough for a human to crawl through.

● The Halifax explosion which killed 2,000 people occurred on December 6th, 1917, and was the largest man-made explosion until the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945.

Military Trivia

● In what war was the color khaki first used for uniforms?

A: The Afghan War in 1880 - the color was considered good camouflage.

● Who was issued ID number 01 when the U.S. military started issuing dog tags in 1918?

A: General John J. Pershing.

● What animal did the Carthaginians use to defeat the Romans at sea during the third century B.C.?

A: Snakes. The Carthaginians catapulted earthenware pots of poisonous snakes onto the decks of the Roman ships.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

In 1927, tire mogul Harvey Firestone gave President Calvin Coolidge a gift. What was it?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

Who all signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776?

Answer: Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A man said to his wife one day, “I don't know how you can be so stupid and so beautiful all at the same time.”

The wife responded, “Allow me to explain. God made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me. God made me stupid so I would be attracted to you!”