Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 13, 2015

Previous Week   March 23, 2015 - March 29, 2015   Next Week

Exxon Valdez runs aground on March 24, 1989

Exxon Valdez runs aground on March 24, 1989

Exxon Valdez runs aground: The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council / NOAA / The Atlantic / CNN / Exxon-Mobil

Photo: The damaged oil tanker Exxon Valdez, towed out of Alaska's Prince William Sound by a tugboat and a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, on June 23, 1989. On March 24, 1989, the tanker ran hard aground on Bligh Reef, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the sound - at the time, the largest oil spill disaster in U.S. history. (Al Grillo, AP)

Photo II: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. / Animals From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - guerrilla force

(DOD) Guerrilla force:

A group of irregular, predominantly indigenous personnel organized along military lines to conduct military and paramilitary operations in enemy-held, hostile, or denied territory. Wikipedia / DTIC.mil (Joint Publication 3-05)

110707-N-GT324-029 CORONADO, Calif. (July 7, 2011) Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, commander of Combined Joint Task Force (CTF) 435, walks through sideboys during the SEAL Team 5 change of command ceremony. Harward was the guest speaker at the event. SEAL Team 5 is a special operations component responsible for the training and deployment of personnel in support of U.S. and allied forces missions throughout the Asian and Pacific theaters of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marc Rockwell-Pate/Released)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Going Ashore

During your period of training, it is possible that the ship will visit a port (foreign or domestic). Tradition requires that you obtain permission from the OOD to leave the ship (in the same fashion that you obtained permission to board originally). When requesting permission to leave, present your ID card and have a copy of your orders with you. Before making your way to the Quarterdeck, obtain permission to leave from your supervisor. Formal permission to leave the ship is requested in the following manner:

Salute the OOD and say, “I request permission to go ashore, sir.” (In the same manner as boarding, always address the OOD as “sir”, as he or she represents the authority of the ship’s commanding officer.). The OOD will reply, “Very well”, and return the salute. If the ship is tied up in port, proceed down the gangplank. Remember to pause halfway and face to salute the national ensign aft during daylight hours. If at anchorage, make your way to the launch boarding area. When returning to the ship, follow the same boarding procedure outlined earlier in this section.

When going ashore by launch, junior officers always board first and take the forward seats. Senior officers and VIPs take the rear seats of the launch. Disembarking the launch is done in the reverse order; namely, seniors leave first followed by juniors.

Order of Debarkation

Maritime tradition dictates an order of debarkation at the conclusion of each at-sea period that is never deviated from.

Debarkation at the end of cruise is in the following order:

● Bodies of any casualties.

● Wounded.

● Ship’s commanding officer and/or his personal aide

● Mail.

● All ship’s personnel who have permission to go ashore

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

What hair color do they put on the driver's license of a bald man?

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

~ George S. Patton

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.”

~ Norman R. Augustine

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)

Bubble baths, story time and nappy changes: Inside the bizarre nursery where ADULT babies pay £75 an hour for 'Mummy' to indulge their fetish

Bubble baths, story time and nappy changes

Inside the bizarre nursery where ADULT babies pay £75 an hour for “Mummy” to indulge their fetish: “Mummy Maxine” and her husband Derek Ventham have run adult baby nurseries (the current one, in North Liverpool, England), charging men the equivalent of $115 an hour to lounge in their cribs, in man-sized infant clothing, while being fawned over as if they were helpless pre-toddlers. (No sex play is allowed, but diaper-changing costs about $40 extra.) (Even tamer is the “adult preschool” in New York City that Michelle Lapidos and a partner intend to start soon. A month-long course will allow grownups to “relive their pre-K days” with finger-painting, show-and-tell, and nap time, she told the Village Voice in January, all while dressing in “your 4-year-old best”.) Liverpool Echo (2-3-2015) / Village Voice (1-30-2015) / Daily Mail UKvideo

Why do dignitaries and deceased military get a 21-gun salute?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why do dignitaries and deceased military get a 21-gun salute?

First of all, very few people get a full 21-gun salute. The origin of gun salutes is usually attributed to soldiers or other armed types demonstrated peaceful intentions by placing their weapons (even back to the days of swords and spears) in a position that rendered them ineffective.

As cannons and small arms came into use, a good way to "render them ineffective," thereby demonstrating peaceful intentions, was to fire them, as reloading was a real pain. At sea, seven shots became the norm, probably because of superstition and mysticism about the number seven. On land, with a less limited supply of gunpowder, they could fire three guns for every one shot from a ship, so a salute from a ship of seven guns would be answered by a salute from the shore batteries of 21 guns. When gunpowder technology and storage improved, ships at sea adopted the salute of 21 guns.

There was some confusion on proper protocol of the whole salute thing. The US War Department, in 1810, set the “National Salute” at 17 guns, just to be contrary. The President received a salute of one gun per state of the Union whenever he visited a military installation, until 1842, when the "Presidential Salute" was set at 21. The national one, however, remained at 17 until 1890, although we did adopt an international salute of 21 guns in 1875. The "Salute to the Union," fired on Independence day, is still one gun per state.

So the difference is a matter of hormonal influence, first during puberty and then again after pregnancy. Men do have the necessary equipment, but usually they don’t naturally produce the necessary levels of hormones to use it. Provide the right hormones, though, and male lactation is absolutely possible.

There is a complex protocol for salutes. Despite the common cliché, 21 guns are only used to salute a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and anyone who's ever been elected President of the US. There are personal salutes (along with ruffles, flourishes, and appropriate music) for people of all kinds of ranks. A vice-president, speaker of the house, American or foreign ambassador, a premier or prime minister (unless they are the sovereign), chief justice, cabinet member, state governor, secretary or ranking general of a branch of the armed forces, and president pro tem of the senate all receive 19 gun salutes on entering. (The rules differ for exiting.) Generals, admirals, the assistant secretary of defense, and chairpersons of House committees receive 17. There are 15, 13, and 11 gun salutes for people of descending rank, both military and civilian.

For a full-honor funeral at Arlington, a President gets 21 guns. A secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or other military officer given command over multiple branches of the service receives 19. Seventeen guns are fired for a four-star general, 15 for a three-star, 13 for a two-star, 11 for a one-star.

History.Army.milArlington National CemeteryGeneral Services Administration.govWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Bootleg”

Where Did That Saying Come From?


Bootleg:” had been used up until that point simply to mean “the upper part of a tall boot”. But even in this earlier literal use there were hints of the later sense of “bo.o.tleg” to mean “smuggled contraband”. Such tall boots provided a handy hiding place for a gun or knife slipped between the boot and leg (“He - paused only to slip into his long boot-leg a ‘shootin’ iron”, 1889). In “dry” communities, the “bootleg” also served as a handy hiding place for a flask of liquor (“There is as much whisky consumed in Iowa now as there was before, … ’for medical purposes only', and on the boot-leg plan,” 1889)

The use of “bootleg” to mean something literally carried in one’s boot to avoid detection was quickly generalized to mean anything surreptitiously transported, sold or possessed. The term spread widely during Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States, when production and possession of alcoholic beverages was outlawed by the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and “bootlegging” liquor became a big business.

Today “bootleg” is applied to just about anything illicitly sold, from “black market” software to untaxed cigarettes to cosmetic procedures conducted in unlicensed storefront clinics. Interestingly, “bootleg” is almost always used to describe something for which a legal equivalent exists. Thus we speak of “bootleg” pharmaceutical drugs or “Happy Feet” DVDs, but not “bootleg” heroin or hand grenades. The Word Detective

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Brig: Jail.

Brigchaser: A sailor escorting a prisoner to the brig.

BUF: Butt up Front. Refers to the lower part of a female overlapping stomach stuffed into a pair of utility/dungaree pants. AKA “Butt-in-front” jeans.

EAOS: End of Active Obligated Service. This is the normal end of enlistment unless the person reenlists. At this point the sailor is transferred into a non-active reserve status if they have spent less the eight years active duty for a length of time to result in eight years total active service or reserves and non-active reserves.

Seabag: The large green bag the army calls a “duffel bag”.

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

Just for you MARINE

DEROS: Date of Estimated Return from Overseas.

Desertion: Unauthorized absence (AWOL) of more than 30 days.

Deuce and a Half: A two and a half ton truck. Also known as a Six By (it had six wheels on each side and each was a drive wheel). See Multi-fueler.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-117 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117: “Wallbangers”
NAS Point Mugu, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

New Zealand - Abel Tasman

Where is Old Zealand?

The first Western explorer to land on what is now known as New Zealand was a Dutchman named Abel Tasman. When he arrived in the 1640s, Tasman thought he had landed on a portion of Staten Landt, which is an island off the tip of Argentina, and he named it so. (Tasman was a little confused; it had been a long trip).

Soon after, Dutch cartographers Hendrik Brouwer and Joan Blaeu figured out that these large islands weren't actually part of South America, and Blaeu named the area Nieuw Zeeland after Zeeland, the westernmost province of the Netherlands. Zeeland is also made of islands, and its name means “sea land” in Dutch.

Englishman James Cook made three voyages to Nieuw Zeeland in the 1770s. The purpose of his original trip was to chart the path of Venus from the South Pacific, but Cook and his crew got lost and ended up in Nieuw Zeeland, which was relatively unexplored by Westerners since Tasman's original voyage. Cook charted most of the area's coastline, and he is responsible for anglicizing the name to “New Zealand”. Mental Floss


“Jump” - Van Halen 1984

“Jump” - Van Halen
Album: 1984
Released 1984 video

David Lee Roth has given various accounts of the meaning behind the lyrics, but he usually says they are about a TV news story he saw where a man was about to kill himself by jumping off a building (Roth thought, “Might as well jump”). He's also said the song is about a stripper.

This was Van Halen's first #1 hit, and their only #1 with David Lee Roth as lead singer.

Eddie Van Halen played this on an Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizer (Oberheim was a large synth manufacturer during the '80s). He was classically trained on piano growing up, and didn't start playing guitar until he was a teenager.

The synthesizer was a point of contention in the band. Eddie wanted to use it, but Roth thought it would look like they were selling out to get more radio play. Using a synthesizer instead of a guitar as the lead instrument was a huge departure for Van Halen, but most of their fans didn't hold it against them.

As early as 1981, Eddie Van Halen had written the keyboard part that would eventually become this song. David Lee Roth didn't like the idea of Eddie playing keyboards, and it wasn't until Eddie had built his own recording studio (5150) that he recorded the song with Ted Templeman during a late night recording session. When hearing the song, the band decided to include it on the 1984 album - something that is rumored to have contributed to Roth's departure a year later.

The album was released on January 9, 1984, ending (by nine days) Van Halen's streak of releasing one album every year since 1978.

The video was low-budget but highly successful. Directed by Pete Angelus and the band, it was simply 8-millimeter film footage of Van Halen performing, highlighted by Roth's slow motion spread-eagle jump (first seen on MTV in Def Leppard's “Photograph” video) video.

While it looks kind of ridiculous today, the video was groundbreaking and set the standard for cheap performance videos that hapless directors still try to emulate. To produce such a video, the band is recorded performing the song several times from beginning to end. Then, the band members are shot doing random stage moves without the pretense of actually playing the song (note that Eddie is seen playing the guitar at times when no guitar can be heard). Some candid footage is shot with the band goofing around, and it's off to the edit room where the footage is chopped up into a video.

While most bands lack the charisma to pull off moves like the “bass player duck under the lead singer's leg” and “point guitar directly into the camera”, they try lame versions of it anyway, using such tactics as “run to the camera and stop” and “blow a kiss”. In an age when anyone can make a video but most bands lack the money and talent to make a good one, these videos have proliferated, and none has lived up to the standard set by Van Halen with “Jump”.

The video won Best Stage Performance Video at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. MTV quickly discontinued the category as music videos became more creative and relied less on footage of bands performing the song.

The B-side of the U.S. single is “House Of Painvideo. In 1991, a group called House Of Pain had a hit with a song called “Jump Aroundvideo.

1984 was David Lee Roth's last album with Van Halen, and the video for “Jump” conflated the tensions that led to his departure. The video was produced by Robert Lombard, who wanted to show the personal side of the band on stage. Roth, however, wanted the performance intercut with footage of him in various hedonistic pursuits, so they shot him doing things like riding a motorcycle and getting arrested while wearing nothing but a towel. Lombard edited the video and used none of the extra Roth footage, taking it to Eddie and Alex for approval. Two days later, the band's manager fired him for bypassing Roth; Lombard says he never received the award the video won from MTV.

Even the performance scenes were delicate. Lombard said in the book I Want My MTV: “I didn't shoot them together until the end of the day. I was trying to keep the peace, because I felt tension amongst them. David thought he was bigger than the rest of them.”

Some of the David Lee Roth specialty footage ended up in their video for “Panamavideo. Roth was replaced in the band by Sammy Hagar in 1986.

This was the first album recorded at Eddie Van Halen's 5150 studio. In California, 5150 is police code for a mental case.

Eddie used the outro guitar solo at the very end of this song to come up with the idea for the intro guitar riff to Van Halen's later hit, “Standing On Top (Of The World)video.

In an interview with Mix magazine, Daryl Hall said that the Hall & Oates song “Kiss On My Listvideo was an influence on this one. Said Hall: “[Eddie] Van Halen told me that he copied the synth part from 'Kiss on My List' and used it in 'Jump'. I don't have a problem with that at all.”

Music rights body PRS For Music held a vote among its members to find out the most popular sporting song in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics. “Jump” came top of the poll, with The Rolling Stones' “Start Me Upvideo in second place and Jackie Wilson's “Higher and Highervideo in third.

Rolling Stone magazine (100 Best Singles of 1984: Pop's Greatest Year) / Van Halen.com / All Music / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Jump” by Van Halen



● Sir Isaac Newton was an ordained priest in the Church of England.

● The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.

● A forfeited game is baseball is recorded as a 9-0 score. In football it is 1-0.

Military Trivia

● What was the name of the Japanese destroyer that sank PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, on August 2, 1943?

A: Amigiri

● When during World War II did Russia declare war on Japan?

A: On August 8, 1945 - two days after the U.S. bombed Hiroshima.

● How did wartime conservation efforts affect the Oscars handed out at Academy Award ceremonies during World War II?

A: Oscars were made out of wood (gilded wood) - After the war, they were replaced by real Oscars.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

This little Italian boy and this little Jewish boy lived about a block apart in the neighborhood and basically grew up together. The Jewish boy was the son of a jeweler and the Italian boy was the son of a hitman. Oddly enough, they had the same birthday. Well, for their 12th birthday, the little Jewish boy gets a Rolex watch and the little Italian boy gets a .22 Baretta.

The next day they are out on the street corner comparing their presents and neither is happy so they switch gifts with each other. The little Italian boy goes home to show his father and his father is NOT pleased!

“What're you, nuts? Lemme tell you something, you idiot!! Some day you're gonna meet a nice girl, you're gonna wanna settle down and get married. You'll have a few kids, all that stuff. THEN one day, you're gonna come home and find your wife in bed with another man. What the heck ya gonna do??? Look at your watch and say, 'Hey, how long you gonna be?'”