Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 47, 2015

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Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863

Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863

Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address: On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.

Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln—just two weeks before the ceremony—requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds.

At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Everett before Lincoln spoke. Lincoln’s address lasted just two or three minutes. The speech reflected his redefined belief that the Civil War was not just a fight to save the Union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all, an idea Lincoln had not championed in the years leading up to the war. This was his stirring conclusion:

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Reception of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the “little speech,” as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Library of Congress / Abraham Lincoln Online.org / Library of Law & Liberty / Civil War.org

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Marshalling

(DOD) 1. The process by which units participating in an amphibious or airborne operation group together or assemble when feasible or move to temporary camps in the vicinity of embarkation points, complete preparations for combat, or prepare for loading.

(DOD) 2. The process of assembling, holding, and organizing supplies and/or equipment, especially vehicles of transportation, for onward movement. See also staging area. Joint Publications 3-17 (Air Mobility Operations)

“THE HOLE” - The Snipe's Lamen

The Old Salt’s Corner


Now each of us from time to time, has gazed upon the sea

And watched the warships pulling out, to keep this country free.

And most of us have read a book, or heard a lusty tale,

About the men who sail these ships, through lightning, wind and hail.

AND MOST OF UBut there’s a place within each ship, that legend fails to teach.

It’s down below the waterline, it takes a living toll -

A hot metal living hell, that sailors call the “hole”.

It houses engines run by steam, that makes the shafts go round,

A place of fire and noise and heat, that beats your spirit down,

Are of molded gods without remorse, are nightmares in a dream.

Whose threat that from the fires roar, is like living doubt,

That any minute would with scorn, escape and crush you out.

Where turbines scream like tortured souls, alone and lost in hell,

As ordered from above somewhere, they answer every bell.

The men who keep the fires lit, and make the engines run,

Are strangers to the world of night, and rarely see the sun.

They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear,

Their aspect pays no living thing, the tribute of a tear.

For there’s not much that men can do, that these men haven’t done,

Beneath the decks deep in the hole, to make the engines run.

And every hour of every day, they keep the watch in hell,

For if the fires ever fail, their ship’s a useless shell.

When ships converge to have a war, upon the sea,

The men below just grimly smile, at what their fate might be.

They’re locked in below like men for doomed, who hear no battle cry,

It’s well assumed that if they’re hit, the men below will die.

For every day’s a war down there, when the gauges all read red,

Twelve hundred pounds of heated steam, can kill you mighty dead.

So if you ever write their sons, or try to tell their tale,

The very words would make you hear, a fired furnace’s wail.

And people as a general rule, don’t hear of men of steel,

So little’s heard about the place, that sailors call the “hole”.

But I can sing about this place, and try to make you see,

The hardened life of men down there, cause one of them is me.

I’ve seen these sweat soaked heroes fight, in superheated air,

To keep their ship alive and right through no one knows they’re there.

And thus they’ll fight for ages on, till warships sail no more,

Amid the boiler’s mighty heat, and the turbines hellish roar.

So when you see a ship pull out, to meet a warlike foe,

Remember faintly if you can, “THE MEN WHO SAIL BELOW”.

~ Author unknown

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Trust, but verify.

~ Ronald Reagan

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Who you’re with is always more important than where you are.”

~ 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)

WARNING: Mass Murder, Adult Content, and a Day at the Zoo - but are they sane?

WARNING: Mass murder, Adult content and a Day at the Zoo - but are they sane?

(1) Norway’s notorious 77-murder terrorist Anders Breivik (serving only 21 years because that is Norway’s maximum sentence) complained in September that he was feeling so oppressed behind bars that if conditions didn’t improve, he would go on a hunger strike and starve himself.

(2) In July artist Hilde Krohn Huse video, alone shooting a video in a forest near Aukra, accidentally got hung upside down naked in a tree for nearly four hours.

(3) In October, hunters who had shot two elk near Narvik were informed that they had inadvertently wandered into an area of the Polar Park zoo (and that, thanks to them, the zoo’s elk population was now down to three).

The Local, Oslo, Norway (9-29-2015 / 7-15-2015 / 10-15-2015) / Deutsche Welle, Berlin, Germany

How Will the Universe End?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Will the Universe End?

With a cold, dark whimper. As the universe continues to expand, galaxies will recede farther and farther until they’re impossible to see. Stars will stand alone in the cosmos and burn out, leaving behind utter darkness.

Galaxies will break apart. Black holes will evaporate. The universe will become a gassy soup of tiny elementary particles. And then, after 10^1000 years, it will use up the last of its energy and reach thermodynamic equilibrium: cold, empty, dead.

It’s possible that if the universe continues expanding, every known atom—including your atoms - will simply be torn apart. (Astronomers call this “The Big Rip”.)

According to the latest cosmological data available, the uncertainties are still too large to discriminate. Leaving us time to complete our “Bucket List”.

BBCHubble Site.orgInternational Business TimesMental FlossTelegraphWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Run Amok”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Run Amok:

The old word cop meant grab or capture so in the 19th century policemen were called coppers because they grabbed or caught criminals.Wikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Coner: (Submarine Service) A submarine crewman who is not part of the engineering department (slang for Nuke below), especially Torpedomen. Also known as “Forward Pukes” and “Fags”.

Cover: Hat - see “piss cutter” and “combo cover”

Flight Line: The area on a ship or station where aircraft are made ready for flight. Also used as a prank on gullible new sailors, as in “Go get me 100 feet of flight line from the crash shack.”

INT WTF: Letters Pronounced Individually. INTerrogative What The F**k. See WTFO below. Usually used in a text/teletype medium where WTFO is over voice communications.

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

Just for you MARINE

Group: A sub-division of an Air Wing. Equivalent to a regiment in infantry terms.

Group Tighteners: 1) Another nonexistent search & fetch item for rookies, a-la bucket of steam, 2) A placebo drop of solvent or oil placed on the sights of the weapon of an unsuspecting marksmanship trainee, placed there by a range instructor as a last resort to instill confidence and get the idiot qualified, 3) Adult beverages employed by competition marksmen to either relax after a day of dealing with recruits or to combat match butterflies prior to competing. See Recruit Punishment.

Grunt: Originally a pejorative term for Infantry Marines but now a source of pride.

GU11: The Navy version of the Air Force B1RD.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

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

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Olympic Games used to award medals for art

The Olympic Games used to award medals for art

Maybe artists deserve varsity jackets, too. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics held competitions in the fine arts, with medals being awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. The art produced was required to be Olympics-themed, so gold-winning pieces had names like, “Knockdown” and “Étude de Sport”. The first winning work of literature was actually written by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, who supposedly wrote the piece, “Ode to Sport”, under a pseudonym.

According to Frédy, adding an arts component to the modern Olympics was necessary because the ancient Greeks used to hold art festivals alongside the games. Over the years, dancing, film, photography and theatre were all proposed as additional events, but none of these ever became medal categories. In total, 151 medals were awarded before the Olympics removed the art competitions in favor of requiring host cities to provide cultural events to accompany the games. The World Post / Wikipedia

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


“Glory Days” - Bruce Springsteen 1984

“Glory Days” - Bruce Springsteen
Album: Born In The U.S.A.
Released 1984 video

This is one of Springsteen's favorites. He almost always plays it at the impromptu bar gigs he is famous for on the Jersey Shore.

In concert, Springsteen often extends this to over 10 minutes. Perhaps the most compact version he ever played was at halftime of the 2009 Super Bowl, when he squeezed 4 songs into a 12 minute set.

Springsteen: “The first verse actually happened, the second verse mostly happened, the third verse, of course, is happening now.”

Originally, this contained a 4th verse which mentioned Springsteen's father working on the Ford assembly line.

Springsteen performed this June 25, 1993 on the last David Letterman Show on NBC. Letterman is a huge fan but had never had Springsteen on. Bruce did go on the show a few more times after it moved to CBS.

This was one of 7 U.S. top 10 hits on “Born In The U.S.A.video. The band first recorded it in 1982, but it was not released until the album came out.

The video was directed by John Sayles, who also did Springsteen's promos for “Born In The U.S.A.video and “I'm On Firevideo. In the video, Springsteen plays a cross between the character telling the story and the guy he's singing about. Julianne Phillips, who was Springsteen's wife at the time, appears in the video, as does Patti Scialfa, who later became the next Mrs. Springsteen.

On the day Springsteen released his album “The Rising”, he played a concert on The Today Show. This was the only song he played that was not on the new album.

Bruce Springsteen official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Born In The U.S.A.‎ (album)” by Bruce Springsteen



● Gold is the only metal that doesn't rust, even if it's buried in the ground for thousands of years.

● Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

● If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Who was the first recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (for heroism or achievement in aerial combat)?

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

People Who Know Everything

Answer to Last Week's Test

Why did the state of Texas cancel this license place even though the customer had been using it for 3 years with the blessing of the state?

Answer: It took the state 3 years to figure out what the plate spells when viewed upside down. Texas.gov

People Who Know Everything Upside Down
Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree”, sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”

“Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.”

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

Management Lesson: Reddit