Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 45, 2015

Previous Week   November 02, 2015 - November 08, 2015  Next Week

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota on November 05, 1862

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota on November 05, 1862

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota: On this day in Minnesota, more than 300 Santee Sioux are found guilty of raping and murdering Anglo settlers and are sentenced to hang. A month later, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences. One of the Indians was granted a last-minute reprieve, but the other 38 were hanged simultaneously on December 26 in a bizarre mass execution witnessed by a large crowd of approving Minnesotans.

The Santee Sioux were found guilty of joining in the so-called “Minnesota Uprising”, which was actually part of the wider Indian wars that plagued the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. For nearly half a century, Anglo settlers invaded the Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

At the reservations, the Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors; during July 1862, the agents pushed the Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractors callously ignored the Santee’s pleas for help.

Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Santee finally struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages. The initial efforts of the U.S. Army to stop the Santee warriors failed, and in a battle at Birch Coulee, Santee Sioux killed 13 American soldiers and wounded another 47 soldiers. However, on September 23, a force under the leadership of General Henry H. Sibley finally defeated the main body of Santee warriors at Wood Lake, recovering many of the hostages and forcing most of the Indians to surrender.

The subsequent trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. However, President Lincoln’s commutation of the majority of the death sentences clearly reflected his understanding that the Minnesota Uprising had been rooted in a long history of Anglo abuse of the Santee Sioux. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / US Dakota War.orgv / Santee Sioux Museum / Santee Sioux / Popular Resistance.org / University Minnesota Deluth.edu / University of Missouri - Kansas City.edu

Robert Louis Stevenson, Requiem (Poetry Foundation.org)

The Old Salt’s Corner


Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.

This is the verse you grave for me: “Here he lies where he longed to be; Here is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

~ Sun Tzu

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“When you’re uncertain of what to do, follow the instructions.”

~ 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)

An Iowa farmer ran for public office and didn't vote for himself - here's why

An Iowa farmer ran for public office and didn't vote for himself - here's why

Randy Richardson, 42, vying unopposed for the Riceville, Iowa, School Board (having agreed to run just because he has two kids in school) failed to get any votes at all - as even he was too busy on election day (September 8th) to make it to the polls (nor were there any write-ins). To resolve the 0-0 result, the other Board members simply appointed Richardson to the office.

Riceville, near the Minnesota border, is a big-time farming community, and registered voters queried by the Des Moines Register said they just had too much fieldwork to do that day.

Desmoines Register (10/20/2015) / KUTV Salt Lake City, Utah (10/20/2015)

Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?

It’s a total cop-out to say that clocks run clockwise because that’s how clocks run...but it’s also kind of true. The modern convention is no arbitrary design choice, but rather a direct adaptation of the original timepiece: the sundial.

Way back when, a sundial told time by casting a shadow with its gnomon around a circular platform. In the northern hemisphere, that meant the shadow moved (to use a compass analogy) from north to east to south to west as the sun traveled, and when mechanical clocks started appearing, they were designed to operate in a similar fashion.

Which begs the question, would clocks run the opposite direction if we’d based them on sundials in the Southern Hemisphere? Yes! Sundials work counterclockwise below the equator, and we’d be reading our watches totally differently if modern clock-makers had used them as an example.

Mental FlossRedditThe Telegraph UKWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Pleased as Punch”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Pleased as Punch:

Meaning: To be very happy.

History: A 17th century puppet show for children called “Punch and Judy” featured a puppet named Punch who always killed people. 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

Grog: Initially, this referred to the watered down rum ration given daily to sailors in the Royal Navy. Presently in the USN, it refers to the alcoholic brew offered at social events like “dining-ins” and “dining-outs”. Depending on the wardroom and in particular on the person preparing the grog, it may be pleasant and delicious or one of the most foul and disgusting beverages ever conceived.

Ground-Pounder: Navy term for the Army or Marines, specifically infantry. Generally pejorative.

G.U.A.M.: “Giving Up and Masturbating” - common sailor's complaint about being stationed on the remote island of Guam..

● G.U.A.M.: “Give Us American Money”.

Gumby Suit: Brightly colored, puffy anti-exposure survival suit somewhat resembling the claymation character with the same name.

Gundeck: to juryrig something; falsifying or misrepresenting records and reports. The term originates from the days of sail, when ships would sometimes paint black squares along the hull to represent more gun ports than they actually had.

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

Just for you MARINE

Green Weenie: Sometimes the Big Green Weenie. It's what the Marine Corps uses to screw you with.

Grid Square: A standard grid square on a military map is 1000 meters by 1000 meters. Also called a click.

G-ride: A civilian style vehicle with government license plates.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-25 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25: “Island Knights”
Andersen AFB, Guam

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Medieval Times - History of marriage

Medieval Times - History of marriage

In medieval times you didn't have to get married in church.

In fact, you almost certainly didn’t get married in church: those who wanted their marriage “solemnized” would usually do so at the gate to the churchyard. But in any case, couples didn’t need a church, or a priest, or the banns being read, or any other religious paraphernalia.

The church certainly wanted people to do these things: since around the 12th century it had started to argue that marriage was a formal sacrament (that is, that it involved God enacting a change within the world). But in practice, and in law, people got married by declaring clearly that they wanted to marry each other.

There had to be consent, and ideally there should be witnesses (in case either party later had a change of mind). But you could marry very simply. BBC / Brown.edu / Medieval Scotland.org / Wikipedia

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


“Hot Blooded” - Foreigner 1978

“Hot Blooded” - Foreigner
Album: Double Vision
Released 1978 video

Written by Foreigner mainstays Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, this song is known for its distinctive guitar riff and sexually charged lyrics. The phrase “Hot Blooded” means passionate and fiery, and here it's used by the singer to indicate a raging libido. He claims that his blood is literally hot, reaching a fever temperature of 103 degrees. While most men afflicted with this condition would require a fair amount of rest, he feels that an after-show rendezvous with the girl he's been checking out is just what he needs.

In our 2009 interview with Mick Jones, he explained that Foreigner's songs are about relationships and emotions, and said, “I've never gone into any political or message-type songs, as far as I know.”

This was a big hit for Foreigner, but their biggest came in 1984 with the transatlantic #1 “I Want to Know What Love Isvideo, which found the singer taking a much more sensitive tone.

Nothing conveys testosterone-charged sexuality quite like this song, and it has been used in several movies and TV shows as a result, including Blades of Glory, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, WKRP In Cincinnati and The Simpsons. The song got special treatment on the show Bones, where Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz sing it on two episodes.

The guitar riff was sampled for the 1988 Tone Loc hit “Funky Cold Medinavideo.

Foreigner official site / Not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Double Vision‎ (album)” by Foreigner



● The toilet featured in Hitchcock's Psycho was the first flushing toilet to appear on-screen.

● President Gerald Ford was offered contracts with the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions.

● Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

At school, Little Johnny was told by a classmate that most adults are hiding at least one dark secret, and that this makes it very easy to blackmail them by saying, “I know the whole truth.”

Little Johnny decides to go home and try it out. He goes home, and as he is greeted by his mother. He says, “I know the whole truth.” His mother quickly hands him $20 and says, “Just don't tell your father.”

Quite pleased, the boy waits for his father to get home from work, and greets him with, “I know the whole truth.” The father promptly hands him $40 and says, “Please don't say a word to your mother.”

Very pleased, the boy is on his way to school the next day when he sees the mailman at his front door. The boy greets him by saying, “I know the whole truth.” The mailman immediately drops the mail, opens his arms, and says, “Then come give your daddy a great big hug!”.