Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 15, 2015

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U.S. Navy captures first British warship on April 7, 1776

U.S. Navy captures first British warship on April 7, 1776

U.S. Navy captures first British warship: On this day in 1776, Navy Captain John Barry, commander of the American warship Lexington, makes the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he takes command of the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turned Captain Barry into a national hero and boosted the morale of the Continental forces.

Barry was born in the seaboard county of Wexford, Ireland, in 1745 and offered his services to the Continental Congress upon the outbreak of the American Revolution. Congress purchased Barry’s ship, Black Prince, which it renamed Alfred and placed under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins. It was the first ship to fly the American flag, raised by John Paul Jones.

Barry served with distinction throughout the American Revolution. At sea, he had continued success with the Lexington. On land, he raised a volunteer force to assist General Washington in the surprisingly successful Trenton, New Jersey, campaign of 1776-77. On May 29, 1781, Barry was wounded while successfully capturing the HMS Atlanta and the HMS Trepassy while in command of a new ship, Alliance. He recovered and successfully concluded the final naval battle of the Revolutionary War with a victory over the HMS Sybylle in March 1783.

Barry’s outstanding career has been memorialized on both sides of the Atlantic. A bridge bearing his name crosses the Delaware River, and Brooklyn, New York, is home to a park named for him. In addition, four U.S. Navy ships and a building at Villanova University carry his name, and statues in his honor stand in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and his birthplace, Wexford, Ireland. On September 13, 1981, President Ronald Reagan declared Commodore John Barry Day to honor a man he called one of the earliest and greatest American patriots, a man of great insight who perceived very early the need for American power on the sea.

History Channel / Wikipedia / U.S. History.org / Navy.mil

Paintings: John Barry An 1801 Gilbert Stuart portrait of Barry, Barry receiving commodore commission from Washington.

Paintings: American Revolution, Patriots gain control of Virginia, Battle of Long Island

Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutz; Battle of the Chesapeake, French (left) and British (right) lines; Battle of Bunker Hill, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill by John Trumbull; The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar, September 13, 1782, by John Singleton Copley; Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown, 1781; "The surrender at Saratoga" shows General Daniel Morgan in front of a French de Vallière 4-pounder; Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown by (John Trumbull, 1797).

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Amphibious Ready Groups

Amphibious Ready Groups consist of anywhere from five to twenty-plus amphibious warfare ships carrying between one to fifty thousand marines, depending on the mission. The combined Marine troops and air wing form Marine Air/Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs) of varying sizes (see below). MAGTFs include their own command staffs, ground troops, close air support (AV-8B Harriers and assault helicopters) and service/maintenance support.

The most basic ARG is the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) consisting of three to five ships and a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of two thousand marines with enough supplies for fifteen days of combat. Advantages of the PHIBRON/MEU team include quick response and forward deployment. This makes them ideal for evacuation of U.S. personnel abroad facing hostile conditions (see below) or amphibious raids. The next operational level up is the Amphibious Group (PHIBGRU) consisting of sixteen to twenty-four ships and a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) of fifteen thousand marines equipped for thirty days of combat. This group is capable of larger, extended operations. The ships in the PHIBGRU include Maritime Pre-positioning Ships (MPS) loaded with ammunition, supplies and material. Finally, there is the Amphibious Task Force (ATF) consisting of twenty ships and a full Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) of twenty-five to fifty thousand marines capable of sixty days sustained combat operations. This is the largest, most powerful MAGTF.

Typical ARG missions include non-combatant evacuation (NEO), in extremis hostage rescue (IHR), tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP), and maritime interdiction force operations (MIFO). A Navy/Marine Corps PHIBGRU performed a NEO to evacuate U.S. citizenry from Liberia during the 1991 civil war. U.S. Navy warships performed an extended MIFO in support of United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm also in 1991-2.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

If a man is in a forest talking to himself with no women around, is he still wrong?

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”

~ Anonymous

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)

How Loopholes Turned Dish Network Into a “Very Small Business”

How Loopholes Turned Dish Network Into a “Very Small Business”

“America’s Game” Is Gaming the Government: The U.S. Treasury recently took in more than $40 billion by auctioning off part of the wireless spectrum, but one buyer - the Dish satellite-TV provider--got a discount worth $3.65 billion by convincing the Federal Communications Commission that it is a “very small business” (despite its market value of $34 billion).

Using awe-inspiring loophole-management, Dish created a separate company in partnership with a small Alaskan Natives’ group, which theoretically “managed” the company--though the Alaskans’ hands were tied by an earlier Dish-friendly contract. Thus, Dish got the benefits of a being “very small” while retaining control - a “mockery” (said one commissioner) of the FCC’s simple-minded attempt to help small businesses. DealBook, New York Times (2-25-2015)

Why is the “700 Club” called that? Is it a random number?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is the “700 Club” called that? Is it a random number?

For a Christian Broadcasting Network program, you'd probably expect the number to be biblically based. But, as usual, money's at the root of it.

CBN was founded in January of 1960 and broadcast its first program October 1, 1961. The network refused commercial advertisements, so by the fall of 1963, CBN conducted its first telethon to raise funds to keep the station alive. Pat Robertson, CBN's founder, told his viewers that a “club” of 700 contributors, each giving $10 a month, would allow CBN to meet its expenses.

By 1965, the annual CBN telethon had been so successful that Robertson added a new program to the end of his station's broadcast day: The 700 Club, which followed the telethon's format of prayer and ministry coupled with telephone response.

Robertson has since used those CBN resources to launch numerous other business ventures including: the Family Channel, designed to distribute "The 700 Club," which became International Family Entertainment in 1990; Northstar Entertainment; Broadcast Equities; CBN Travel; American Sales Corporation; International Charter Jet; Kalo-Vita; and the Founders Inn and Conference Center.

Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., is a multimillion-dollar organization that makes money on everything from hawking higher education to digging diamonds in Zaire.

According to Robertson, his close relationship with God has given him the insider's scoop on successfully using what he calls “God's marvelous system of money management.”

Maybe he'd better get out his Bible and re-read 1 Timothy 6:10.

CBNStraight DopeWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Passing the buck / The buck stops here”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

“Passing the buck / The buck stops here”

Passing the buck / The buck stops here:” Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was.

When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn't want to deal he would "pass the buck" to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”. Wikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Brown Nose: Sailor trying a “little too hard” to make rate by sucking up to superiors. Can also refer to those who wear khakis (Chiefs, Officers) since it is assumed that most have “brown-nosed” to obtain their present position. Mythical rate “Chief Brownnose” or “Brownose First Class"”.

Bug: Seabee Combat Warfare insignia. Consists of a 1903 Springfield rifle, officer's sword, Banana leaves, anchor, and the Seabee “bug” in the middle.

Ed's Motel: Navy Filmmakers' acronym for Editorials, Motion Picture, and Television Department.

Sea Going Bellhops: A derisive name for Marines. Refers to the fact that they pull guard duty aboard ship. A good phrase to use when picking a fight with a Marine.

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

Just for you MARINE

Diddie: Diddie Bop, to move in such a manner as to be extremely cool. (Vietnam) Diddy; to move on or Diddy Mau, to move very quickly.

Diggies: Digitalized pattern camouflage uniform fabric. Officially known as MARPAT

Dinged: (Vietnam) Wounded.

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

Plague doctor

Nostradamus - Biography - Scientist

Nostradamus treated plague victims with pills he made from rose petals. He instructed patients to keep the pills under their tongues at all times and also claimed the rose remedy helped fight bad breath and tooth decay.

In addition to astrology and medicine, Nostradamus knew his way around a kitchen. In 1555, he published a book of recipes for cosmetics, perfumes and fruit preservatives.

Nostradamus predicted the world will end in 3797.

While living in Salon-de-Provence in the 1550s, Nostradamus invested heavily in an ambitious canal project designed by engineer Adam de Craponne to bring an irrigation system to the arid region. The canal was a success and still stands today.

In late 1561, Nostradamus was arrested and briefly detained for failing to obtain proper permission from the authorities to publish his 1562 almanac.

According to legend, Nostradamus once encountered a young Franciscan monk herding pigs in Italy. To the surprise of onlookers, Nostradamus respectfully addressed the lowly monk as "Your Holiness." In 1585, years after Nostradamus died, that monk, Felice Peretti, became Pope Sixtus V.

Legend holds that Nostradamus was buried with a document containing the secrets to his prophecies. In 1700, officials in Salon-de-Provence decided to relocate his coffin to a more optimal location. In the process, they decided to look inside. No document was located; however, a medallion inscribed with "1700" was reportedly found around Nostradamus' skeleton, leading people to believe the prophet had correctly predicted the year his coffin would be opened.

Although Nostradamus died in the middle of 1566, his 1567 almanac was published because he had the foresight to prepare it before his death. Biography


“Another One Bites The Dust” - Queen 1980

“Another One Bites The Dust” - Queen
Album: Greatest Hits
Released 1980 video

This is one of the hardest Queen songs to understand. The opening line reads, “Steve walks warily down the street, his brim pulled way down low. Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet, machine gun ready to go...” Also, the last phrase spoken in the song is not “Shoot Her” or “Shooter”, but “Shoot Out”.

Though probably not intentional unless someone did an excellent splicing job, the “Another one bites the dustvideo line quite clearly says “...Decide to smoke marijuana” when played backwards. This is especially clear toward the end of the track when Mercury repeats the line with only the drums playing.

Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this song. All four members of Queen wrote songs, and each wrote at least one hit. Deacon also wrote “You're My Best Friendvideo.

Deacon was influenced by the Chic song Good Times video. In an interview with the New Musical Express, Chic bass player Bernard Edwards said: “Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that's OK. What isn't OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? 'Good Times' came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these dumb Disco guys ripping off this Rock 'n' Roll song.”

Deacon played most of the instruments on the track: lead and rhythm guitars, bass, reversed piano and additional percussion. Brian May did some guitar effects with harmoniser (in the interlude), and Roger Taylor played the drum loop. Surprisingly, there are no synthesizers.

The drum track and the hand claps were looped. They repeat throughout the song.

While the band and producer Reinhold Mack were mixing the track, Brian May's roadie suggested it to be released as single; the band didn't like the idea but were finally talked into doing it when Michael Jackson, after a concert, suggested the same idea.

Freddie Mercury loved this track. Brian May recalled to Mojo: “Freddie sung until his throat bled on Another One Bites The Dust. He was so into it. He wanted to make that song something special.”

This was the single that really broke the band in America, and it garnered a huge following amongst American Disco audiences, with many fans and journalists convinced it was a black man singing lead vocals (these people obviously hadn't heard of Queen before so didn't know what Freddie looked like). The band occasionally were unsure of how to deal with this - Roger Taylor jokes in the Days of our Lives documentary of having fans shouting “you guys are bad!” in the street, and he had to ask “does that mean good or what?”

Rolling Stone magazine (10 Greatest Queen Songs) / Queen Online Official Site.com / Mojo Magazine / All Music / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen



● Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and General George Patton were all dyslexic.

● If a woman had Barbie’s measurements she would be 39-21-33.

● Nippon Airways painted giant eyes on the engine intakes to discourage birds from approaching.

Military Trivia

● What was the first war the U.S. took part in that was partially financed with lottery dollars?

A: The Revolutionary War.

● What southeastern state was the last to return to the Union after the Civil War?

A: Georgia.

● What Persian Gulf warrior called his young majors in charge of combat operations “Jedi Knights”?

A: Norman Schwarzkopf.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A man walks into a bar in New York City. He orders three whiskeys. The bartender pours him one and says, “Lemme know when you want the next one.” But the man says, “think you've misunderstood me. I'd like all three at once.” The bartender pours two more drinks. The man drinks down the three drinks, pays, and leaves.

This goes on almost every night for a couple of weeks. Finally the bartender asks the man why he orders three drinks at a time, since there's no real advantage to it. So the man tells him, "When I left the auld sod I promised my two brothers that whenever I sat down to take a taste of the creature, I'd order one for me and one for each of them. That's why I order three at once." It makes sense to the bartender, so he's satisfied.

The man keeps coming back almost every night for more than a year. He and the bartender get to know each other pretty well. Then one day, the man orders only two drinks. This goes on for a couple weeks, but the bartender is afraid to ask if anything happened to one of the brothers. Finally, the man comes into the bar and only orders two drinks, again. The bartender figures he has to ask, and summons up the courage to say, “I noticed you've been ordering only two drinks for the last few weeks. Is everything all right with your brothers?” The man looks at the bartender, puzzled, then realizes what he is implying. He smiles and says, “Yes! My brothers are fine, but I've given up drinking for Lent.”.