Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 36, 2015

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Aaron Burr acquitted on September 1, 1807

Aaron Burr acquitted on September 1, 1807

Aaron Burr acquitted: Former U.S. vice president Aaron Burr is acquitted of plotting to annex parts of Louisiana and Spanish territory in Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic. He was acquitted on the grounds that, though he had conspired against the United States, he was not guilty of treason because he had not engaged in an “overt act”, a requirement of the law governing treason. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe.

Aaron Burr, born into a prestigious New Jersey family in 1756, graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the age of 17. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and distinguished himself during the Patriot attack on Quebec. A masterful politician, he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1783 and later served as state attorney. In 1790, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1797, Burr ran for the vice presidency on Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican ticket (the forerunner of the Democratic Party), but the Federalist John Adams won the presidency. In 1797 Burr left the Senate and returned to the New York Assembly.

In 1800, Jefferson again chose Burr as his running mate. Under the electoral procedure then prevailing, president and vice president were not voted for distinctly; the candidate who received the most votes was elected president, and the second in line, vice president. Jefferson and Burr each won 73 votes, and the election was sent to the House of Representatives. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality–handing Jefferson victory over his running mate–developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. After a remarkable 35 tie votes, a small group of Federalists changed sides and voted in Jefferson’s favor.

Burr became vice president, but Jefferson grew apart from him, and he did not support Burr’s re-nomination to a second term in 1804. That year, a faction of New York Federalists, who had found their fortunes drastically diminished after the ascendance of Jefferson, sought to enlist the disgruntled Burr into their party and elect him governor. Burr’s old political antagonist Alexander Hamilton campaigned against him with great fervor, and he lost the Federalist nomination and then, running as an independent for governor, the election. In the campaign, Burr’s character was savagely attacked by Hamilton and others, and after the election he resolved to restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel, or an “affair of honor”, as they were known.

Affairs of honor were commonplace in America at the time, and the complex rules governing them usually led to a resolution before any actual firing of weapons. In fact, the outspoken Hamilton had been involved in several affairs of honor in his life, and he had resolved most of them peaceably. No such recourse was found with Burr, however, and on July 11, 1804, the enemies met at 7 a.m. at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey.

There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. According to Hamilton’s “second”-his assistant and witness in the duel–Hamilton decided the duel was morally wrong and deliberately fired into the air. Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. What happened next is agreed upon: Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach, and the bullet lodged next to his spine. Hamilton was taken back to New York, and he died the next afternoon.

Few affairs of honor actually resulted in deaths, and the nation was outraged by the killing of a man as eminent as Alexander Hamilton. Charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, Burr, still vice president, returned to Washington, D.C., where he finished his term immune from prosecution.

In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr, presumably, would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.

In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate U.S. investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a U.S. court. On September 1, he was acquitted on a technicality. Nevertheless, the public condemned him as a traitor, and he went into exile to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him forgotten. He died in 1836. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Federal Judicial Center.gov / National Endowment for the Humanities.gov

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Washington (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Continued from last week:

Briefing, Debriefing, and Reporting

1. Strike Support Brief

CVIC and squadron intelligence officers and members of the embarked aircrew team up to give this type of brief to aircrew prior to a combat exercise or actual mission. It focuses primarily on the perceived threat in and around the target area. The Strike Leader (i.e., senior aviator) then summarizes the strike course, way points, refueling points, landfall points, the target characteristics and the return route back to the carrier. He also outlines in detail the objectives of the mission. In an actual combat situation, this is a crucial, if not the most important, type of brief you can participate in. It prepares aircrew effectively to carry out their mission, be it peacetime or wartime.

2. Port Brief

Prior to arriving at a certain port of call, the CVIC or intelligence personnel may be asked to give a Port Brief for the benefit of ship’s company. On a carrier this brief might be broadcast throughout the ship on the television system. This type of brief outlines the characteristics of the port, including customs regulations, local port authority, the identification of restricted or "off-limits" areas, and any special information pertinent to navy personnel visiting the area. This type of brief may be combined with a Country Brief (see below).

3. Platforms Brief

Prior to reaching a certain operating area or beginning an exercise, CVIC personnel may be tasked with giving a Platform Brief. This type of brief summarizes information on a particular platform of interest to the battlegroup and air wing. It may, for example, give the performance characteristics of foreign or U.S. aircraft, surface ships, or weapon systems. Such a brief may utilize graphics, imagery, line drawings, and/or video footage (if available) of the platform of interest.

4. Country Brief

A Country Brief details a broad overview of a specific country of interest to the deployed battlegroup. The country could be one the battlegroup will visit in port or potentially operate against. This type of brief summarizes political, economic, and military characteristics for the country of interest. The brief may treat each subject broadly or concentrate on one or more topics as required. For example, CVIC or intelligence personnel might be tasked with the preparation of a country brief that concentrates mainly on order of battle and current political information. For example, this country could be in the battlegroup’s expected area of responsibility.

5. Current Intelligence Brief

This type of brief constitutes an important intelligence "product." A Current Intelligence brief typically summarizes world political and military events using as inputs a variety of intelligence sources, both open and classified. Classified sources usually come in the way of received message traffic and documents in the classified vault or SCIF (if applicable). Open source intelligence (OSCINT) can come from commercial television (if receivable on the carrier), newspapers, on-line (or downloaded) commercial databases, or CD-ROM computer sources.*

6. Operational Intelligence (OPINTEL) Brief

This brief is narrower in scope than the current intelligence brief described above. The OPINTEL brief outlines the tactical picture relevant to the battlegroup. It summarizes the intentions of the battlegroup for a defined period of time (the next 24 hours, for example), identifies battlegroup assets available, ship positions, target locations, and other data of a tactical and perishable nature. Typical customers of this type of brief include members of the embarked flag staff and aircrew.

7. Event Brief

The Event brief is a generic term that describes many different types of briefs that are necessary to conduct regular battlegroup operations. The most typical Event brief supports air operations. For example, when the Carrier and Carrier Air Wing (CV/CVW) are involved in cyclic operations, there will be a requirement to present an event brief for each event to be flown. This event brief is to be made far enough in advance of launch time so as to support the subsequent section or element briefs being conducted by the aircrews in squadron ready rooms. This usually translates to two hours prior to launch time.

-To be continued- Molule 7 - Briefing, Debriefing, and Reporting

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Day light savings time - why are they saving it and where do they keep it?

“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”

“When you are wrong, admit it.”

~ 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)

Maricopa County Sheriff‘s Office: Pennsylvania man flies to Phoenix for sex acts with horse

Maricopa County Sheriff‘s Office: Pennsylvania man flies to Phoenix for sex acts with horse

(ADVISORY: Article contains some descriptive content)

Michael Crawford, 68, was arrested when he arrived in Phoenix in July expecting, according to the sheriff’s office, to have sex with a horse.

Crawford had allegedly posted an online ad seeking horse owners who would allow him access for brief flings. In arranging the meeting with the undercover deputy, Crawford had volunteered that he would be bringing five shirts with him for the horse to urinate on, as memories of the trip.

AZFamily.com (Phoenix) (07/12/2015)

Why Is L.A. Traffic So Awful?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is L.A. Traffic So Awful?

According to the fifth annual Traffic Index report released in March by GPS manufacturer TomTom, traffic in Los Angeles is literally the worst. But the county’s traffic woes were set in motion, so to speak, long before it would see the population boom of the 20th and 21st centuries. From 1895 to 1945, the Los Angeles Railway, or “Yellow Cars” as they were known, replaced cable cars as the city’s main mode of transport. For a time, it was part of the largest urban rail network in the world, and the Yellow Cars were known for years as “the vital cog in the city’s transportation system.”

As time marched on, yellow cars would go the way of cable cars before them. Automobiles became the favored mode of transportation in the 1950s, and they might have had some help, too. According to a popular theory, automotive interests, led by General Motors, bought up a number of streetcar lines and converted them to bus routes. If this sounds familiar, it might be because this story also found its way into the plot of 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The automotive interests acted in the name of increasing sales, but today’s studies suggest that a number of post-WWI economic factors would have caused street cars to become obsolete in any event.

L.A.’s first freeway, the 8.9 mile, six-lane Arroyo Seco Parkway—later known as the Pasadena Freeway—opened in 1940. Many would follow, but not nearly as many as the city planners originally intended. Throughout the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, construction tore through L.A.’s mountains and communities in the name of a 527-mile freeway system. Businesses and homeowners were evicted and displaced, and these freeways created a divide between homes that once belonged to the same neighborhood. Many more roads were supposed to be built, but these never came to fruition, and their absence can be seen in some of L.A.’s most congested areas.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, construction halted. Some blame then (and current) Governor Jerry Brown, while others blame the rising costs of building modern freeways. In certain cases, it was the successful protests of affluent communities that stopped development. L.A.’s Eastside faced the worst of the construction, as its residents lacked the resources to fight back against those in power. (The east vs. west L.A. split is one that existed before freeways, and it still remains today.)

There’s now no more room in L.A. to build additional freeways, and even if there were, studies show that expanding roads would actually create even more traffic. On top of that, updating current freeways is expensive enough and takes years of construction. Of course, it also doesn’t help that L.A. is the most populous county in the United States.

In recent years, the county has made concerted efforts to encourage “choice” riders—those with options beyond buses—to take mass transit. You might be surprised to learn that, according to a 2011 report from the Brookings Institution, L.A. actually gives the carless more access to public transportation than any other major metropolitan area in the country. Yes, even New York City. Yet only 25% of choice riders take the bus. This lack of enthusiasm for the bus by those who can afford not to take it is just one more cause of the traffic jams you’ve heard so much about.

Los Angeles has its work cut out for it when it comes to reforming their roads and transit system, but they're trying to come up with new ideas. A few years ago, L.A. brought back the 19th and 20th century streetcars—the same ones originally put to bed by automobiles. One person who would probably be a fan of this renaissance is Eddie Valiant, Bob Hoskins’s character from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He tells a kid, “Who needs a car in L.A.? We have the best public transportation system in the world.”

KCET.orgRoads Were Not Built for CarsLos Angeles TrafficInfo.org (LADOT)SigAlert (Los Angeles Traffic Report)Mental FlossWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “The Whole Nine Yards”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

The Whole Nine Yards:” American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long.

If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards. BBC / New York Times / Wikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Flag Deck: Command level on large ships for Admirals (flag rank, because they are entitled to show a flag with appropriate number of stars on a car, ship, etc. if they are present).

Meatball: Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System, a visual landing aid used by Naval aviators landing on a carrier.

Monkey: Nuclear Machinist's Mate.

Putting An Ensign To Sea: Taking a dump. The larger the log, the higher the Rank.

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

Just for you MARINE

General Orders

There are eleven general orders and every Marine must memorize them:

1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.

6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.

7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

9. To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.

10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

11. To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Unofficial 12th General Order was invented by the troops and goes something like this: “I will walk my post from flank to flank and take no shit from any rank.”

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

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

Aircraft Nicknames

Aircraft Nicknames

F-14 Tomcat nicknamed “Turkey, Tomkitty, Cat, Tomgrape” The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft.

The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program following the collapse of the F-111B project.

The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters, which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War. NAVY / Wikipedia

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Pineapples were quite the status symbol in 18th-century England; you could rent one out for an evening to take it to a party and show it off

Pineapples were quite the status symbol in 18th-century England; you could rent one out for an evening to take it to a party and show it off

Although the pineapple was introduced to Europe towards the end of the 1400s, it did not enter England until the 1600s. However, once it did, it became quite the craze among people, and soon became something of a status symbol amidst the rich. In fact, people have been known to carry pineapples to parties to show off, and would continue tagging it along wherever they went until it began to rot.

So popular was the fruit that almost everything during the period was shaped like a pineapple or had pineapples painted onto them. Real pineapples, on the other hand, were quite expensive, and could cost up to £5000 each, or right about the price of a new coach. Reddit / Foodbeast

© CEASAR CHOPPY by cartoonist Marty Gavin - archives Ceasar Choppy's Navy! “© CEASAR CHOPPY” by Marty Gavin


“Beat It” - Michael Jackson 1982

“Beat It” - Michael Jackson
Album: Thriller
Released 1982 video

Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo. He did it as a favor for Quincy Jones and was not paid, unless you count the two six-packs of beer Jones brought into the studio for Eddie.

Eddie connected to Quincy through Ted Templeman, who was Van Halen's producer and friends with Jones.

Part of Jackson's legacy was his crossover success with white audiences, something that many Motown artists achieved, but Jackson took to a new level. He was the first black artist to get regular airplay on MTV, and this song helped expand his audience further by bringing in some of the Van Halen listeners. “Beat It” was a key track in Jackson's rise to superstardom.

Jackson wrote this song. He came up with it when his producer, Quincy Jones, encouraged him to write something like “My Sharonavideo, which was a huge hit for The Knack in 1979.

The lyrics are about life on the streets and gang activity, something Jackson was very detached from. He was schooled by tutors his whole life and became a star at a young age, so his interpretation of “two gangs coming together to rumble” was based on the celluloid interpretations that he'd seen, specifically West Side Story, which used gangs as musical art.

West Side Story was a 1957 musical that was made into a popular movie in 1961. Starring Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, the film won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Some of the first dialogue heard in the movie - in a scene where some gang members have encroached on rival territory - is the emphatic line, “beat it”.

About 2:45 into the song, there is an audible knocking noise just before Eddie Van Halen starts his guitar solo. Rumors were that an angry and drunk Eddie made the noise, that he was telling the assistant producer to f--k off, or that it was the sound of his guitar tremolo being bent. The truth is more mundane, as it was an intentional sound created by Michael Jackson banging on a drum case. On the Thriller credits, Jackson is listed on “Beat It” as “Drum Case Beater”.

Michael Jackson is quoted in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 songs issue as saying of this, “I wanted to write the type of rock song that I would go out and buy. But also something totally different from the rock music I was hearing on Top 40 radio.”

This won 1983 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance.

The music video for this song was one of the most popular and memorable of the MTV era. Jackson became the first black artist to get regular airplay on the network when “Billie Jeanvideo went in rotation. When the clip for “Beat Itvideo was delivered, both videos were in hot rotation for much of the summer of 1983.

It was Bob Giraldi who directed the clip, which featured real gang members. Giraldi, who later directed the infamous Pepsi commercial where Jackson's hair caught fire, said in the book I Want My MTV: “Everybody says 'Beat It' was taken from West Side Story. It's not true. I had no idea what West Side Story was. My inspiration was the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, where I'm from. I listened to the song over and over, and realized it was about all the Italian hoodlums I grew up with - everybody trying to be tougher than they are, but really, we're all cowards at heart.”

Giraldi adds that Jackson asked to use members of the rival gangs Bloods and Crips as extras in the video, which they did. He says that on the first day of shooting, things got a little tense, so Giraldi had them shoot all scenes with the gang members on the first day.

When Jackson reunited with his brothers for two shows at Madison Square Garden, Slash from Guns N' Roses played guitar during the performance of this and “Black And White”.

The U.S. Department of Transportation used this in messages to discourage drunk driving. In exchange, Jackson was invited to the White House where he met President Reagan. Jackson showed up in his sequined suit and sunglasses, which made for an interesting photo with the president.

Quincy Jones said that when he called Eddie Van Halen to play the guitar solo, “I said, 'I'm not going to tell you what to play, the reason you're here is because of what you do play…' So that's what he did. He played his ass off.”

Eddie Van Halen recalled: “Everybody (from Van Halen) was out of town and I figured, 'who's gonna know if I play on this kid's record?' I didn't want nothing. Maybe Michael will give me dance lessons someday.”

According to Jackson's co-songwriter Rod Templeton, a mystery blaze broke out in the control room as Eddie van Halen played his guitar solo. “Eddie was playing and the monitor speakers literally caught on fire”, recalled Templeton to Q magazine. “The speaker caught fire and were all thinking, like, 'This must be really good, this solo!' That technicians had to race into the control room with fire extinguishers and put it out.”

Michael Jackson official site / Rolling Stone / The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame / All Music / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Thriller‎ (album)” by Michael Jackson



● Ferruccio Lamborghini made tractors until he went to Enzo Ferrari to complain about a Ferrari he had bought. Lamborghini felt snubbed by Ferrari and decided to get into the sports car business.

● The North Pole is not considered a continent like the South Pole because the ice of the North Pole floats on the ocean, while the ice of the South Pole sits on actual ground – the continent of Antarctica.

● Leatherback sea turtles have fleshy backward-pointing spines in their throats so that jellyfish, their favorite food, can be swallowed more easily.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A customer at Green's Gourmet Grocery marveled at the proprietor's quick wit and intelligence.

“I wouldn't share my secret with just anyone”, Green replies, lowering his voice so the other shoppers won't hear. “But since you're a good and faithful customer, I'll let you in on it. Fish heads. You eat enough of them, you'll be positively brilliant.”

“You sell them here?” the customer asks.

“Only $4 apiece”, says Green.

The customer buys three. A week later, he's back in the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting and he isn't any smarter.

“You didn't eat enough”, says Green. The customer goes home with 20 more fish heads. Two weeks later, he's back and this time he's really angry.

“Hey, Green”, he says, “You're selling me fish heads for $4 apiece when I can buy the whole fish for $2. You're ripping me off!”

“You see?” says Green. “You're getting smarter already!”