Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 49, 2015

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First human heart transplant on December 3, 1967

First human heart transplant on December 3, 1967

First human heart transplant: On December 3, 1967, 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

Washkansky, a South African grocer dying from chronic heart disease, received the transplant from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a car accident. Surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who trained at the University of Cape Town and in the United States, performed the revolutionary medical operation. The technique Barnard employed had been initially developed by a group of American researchers in the 1950s. American surgeon Norman Shumway achieved the first successful heart transplant, in a dog, at Stanford University in California in 1958.

After Washkansky’s surgery, he was given drugs to suppress his immune system and keep his body from rejecting the heart. These drugs also left him susceptible to sickness, however, and 18 days later he died from double pneumonia. Despite the setback, Washkansky’s new heart had functioned normally until his death.

In the 1970s, the development of better anti-rejection drugs made transplantation more viable. Dr. Barnard continued to perform heart transplant operations, and by the late 1970s many of his patients were living up to five years with their new hearts. Successful heart transplant surgery continues to be performed today, but finding appropriate donors is extremely difficult. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / American Heart Association / Heart Transplants UK / South Africa History Online / Cardiovascular Journal of South Africa / Stanford.edu

“THE OLD OUTFIT” - “Written By a World War Two Sailor”

The Old Salt’s Corner


“Written By a World War Two Sailor”

Come gather round me lads and I'll tell you a thing or two,

about the way we ran the Navy in nineteen forty two.

When wooden ships and iron men were barely out of sight,

I am going to give you some facts just to set the record right.

We wore the ole bell bottoms, with a flat hat on our head,

and we always hit the sack at night. We never “went to bed”.

Our uniforms were worn ashore, and we were mighty proud.

Never thought of wearing civvies, in fact they were not allowed.

Now when a ship puts out to sea. I'll tell you son - it hurts!

When suddenly you notice that half the crews wearing skirts.

And it's hard for me to imagine, a female boatswains mate,

stopping on the Quarter deck to make sure her stockings are straight.

What happened to the KiYi brush, and the old sa lt-water bath?

Holy stoning decks at night- cause you stirred old Bosn's wrath!

We always had our gedunk stand and lots of pogey bait.

And it always took a hitch or two, just to make a rate.

In your seabag all your skivvies, were neatly stopped and rolled.

And the blankets on your sack had better have a three-inch fold.

Your little ditty bag . . it is hard to believe just how much it held,

and you wouldn't go ashore with pants that hadn't been spiked and belled.

Oh we had our belly robbers - but there weren't too many gripes.

For the deck apes were never hungry and there were no starving snipes.

Now you never hear of Davey Jones, Shellbacks Or Polliwogs,

and you never splice the mainbrace to receive your da ily grog.

Now you never have to dog a watch or stand the main event.

You even tie your lines today - back in my time they were bent.

We were all two-fisted drinkers and no one thought you sinned,

if you staggered back aboard your ship, three sheets to the wind.

And with just a couple hours of sleep you regained your usual luster.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed- you still made morning muster.

Rocks and shoals have long since gone, and now it's U.C.M.J.

THEN the old man handled everything if you should go astray.

Now they steer the ships with dials, and I wouldn't be surprised,

if some day they sailed the damned things- from the beach computerized.

So when my earthly hitch is over, and the good Lord picks the best,

I'LL walk right up to HIM and say, “Sir, I have but one request -

Let me sail the seas of Heaven in a coat of Navy blue.

And unfilled shadows heaven casts.

Like I did so long ago on earth - way back in nineteen-forty two.”

~ Lt. J.G Don Ballard joined the U.S. Navy in 1935 when he received $21.00 per Month. What the author says in his words is true. In 1935 only 13 men joined the Navy (from Tennessee) and Don was one of them.

Proudly copied from Lt .Ballard USN Retired, April 13, 2002 , who loved the Navy and all the men he served with in all of World War Two.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.”

~ Dalai Lama

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Time alone is often time well spent.”

~ Anonymous

How Do Computers Tell Time?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Do Computers Tell Time?

The short answer: a real-time clock (or RTC). This feature is usually part of a microchip found in the computer motherboard. To tell time, the clock uses a quartz crystal oscillator that creates a stable, periodic electromagnetic signal or vibration. By counting the vibrations, the computer can tell the time. The RTC is powered by a very small battery (usually lithium) that keeps it running even when the computer is off. That way, when you turn the computer back on, the time is still set.

Most computers nowadays link up with international standardized time keepers via the Internet, though they still rely on crystal oscillators when not connected. Because of this, the fanciest personal computer—when off the Internet—will tell time no better than a cheap digital watch. “Getting accurate time out of virtual machines is something that has plagued all of the virtual machine providers”, software engineer George Neville-Neil told PCWorld.

Mental FlossPC WorldRedditWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Saved by the Bell”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Saved by the Bell:

Meaning: Rescued from an unwanted situation.

History: As scary as it sounds, being buried alive was once a common occurrence. People who feared succumbing to such a fate were buried in special coffins that connected to a bell above ground. At night, guards listened for any bells in case they had to dig up a living person and save them “by the bell”.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

Lieu-f**king-tenant: Illustrates Navy practice of including a swear word INSIDE another word (an Infix or Tmesis).

Lifer: A derogatory term for both officers and enlisted men who love the navy and make it clear they want to be in for 20 or more years. Lifers will try to convince others to re-enlist. Also lifers say things like "there is nothing a sailor needs that is not in his sea-bag" this usually is a comment implying a sailor does not need to see his spouse or children. Derived from the acronym L.I.F.E.R. meaning; Lazy Ignorant F**ker Expecting Retirement.

Little Manila: A table or area on the mess decks where sailors of Filipino descent congregate during meal hours. Can also refer to anywhere on base that has a notable Filipino presence. See also “Filipino Mafia”.

LMD: Large Metal Desk or Large Mahogany Desk: Officers stationed ashore are said to ”command an LMD”. Usually Admirals and some captains will get the mahogany desks.

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

Just for you MARINE

Gung Ho: Eager and ready to accomplish whatever task necessary. An Anglicized version of the Chinese “Gong He” meaning “work together”. It was adopted by Marine Major Evans Carlson, famed commander of Carlson's Raiders during World War II and used extensively by Marines ever since.

Gungy: Gung Ho, but usually to express “in an inexperienced, just-out-of-recruit-training” way.

Gunner: A Marine warrant officer in the MOS 0306 Infantry Weapons Officer. The name is often given to all warrant officers but that is not correct. A person of this rank will replace the insignia of rank on his right collar with a bursting bomb insignia. See also “lipstick lieutenant”” The name was also often given to an enlisted machine gunner (MOS 0331).

Gunnery Sergeant of Marines: A noncommissioned officer in pay grade E-7 who wears three chevrons and two rockers with crossed rifles between them on both sleeves or collar points as appropriate. In the Army that pay grade is a sergeant first class (essentially the same insignia in different colors without the crossed rifles) and in the Air Force it is master sergeant (the insignia of a technical sergeant with one chevron above the five rockers. In the Navy and Coast Guard it is chief petty officer (three inverted chevrons with an inverted rocker above, upon which is perched an American.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-209 - Electronic Attack Squadron 209: “Star Warriors”
Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

How good is your British accent? How good does it need to be?

How good is your British accent? How good does it need to be?.

Despite the severity with which some contemporary English-speakers vehemently attack “incorrect” uses of the language, English used to belong to the people. In the formative years of the language, it was only spoken by “commoners”, while the English courts and aristocracy mostly spoke in French. This was due to the Norman Invasion of 1066 and caused years of division between the “gentlemen” who had adopted the Anglo-Norman French and those who only spoke English. Even the famed King Richard the Lionheart was actually primarily referred to in French, as Richard “Coeur de Lion”.

To further mess with your preconceptions about the English language, the “British accent” was actually created after the Revolutionary War, meaning contemporary Americans sound more like the colonists and British soldiers of the 18th century than contemporary Brits. Of course, accents vary greatly by region, but the “BBC English” or public school English accent (which sounds like Austin Powers) didn't come about until the 19th century and was originally adopted by people who wanted to sound fancier. London School / Wikipedia

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


“Ring Of Fire” - Johnny Cash 1963

“Ring Of Fire” - Johnny Cash
Album: Ring Of Fire - The Best Of Johnny Cash
Released 1963 video

This was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. Kilgore wrote several other Country hits, acted in a few movies, and became a manager for artists like Hank Williams. Kilgore was best man when Carter married Cash.

June Carter wrote the lyrics about her relationship with Johnny Cash. She felt being around Cash was like being in a “ring of fire”. Cash was involved in drugs and had a very volatile lifestyle. When she wrote this, both June and Johnny were married, but they became singing partners and close friends. By 1967, Cash and Carter were single again and they got married in 1968. Johnny claimed that June saved his life by helping him get off drugs. June died in 2003 after 35 years of marriage to Johnny.

According to the Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 Songs, June Carter wrote this song while driving around aimlessly one night, worried about Cash's wild man ways - and aware that she couldn't resist him. “There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns,” she wrote. Not long after hearing June's sister Anita's take on the song, Cash had a dream that he was singing it with Mariachi horns. Cash's version became one of his biggest hits, and his marriage to June 4 years later helped save his life. The song was based on a poem Love's Ring Of Fire, and it was originally recorded in a more folksy manner by June Carter's sister, Anita, as “Love's Fiery Ring”. Cash held back on his single to give her version a chance to chart.

In her autobiography “I Walked the Linevideo, Johnny Cash's first wife, Vivian Cash, denies that June Carter had any part in writing “Ring of Firevideo. His bandmates convinced him to go with it. In her words: “She didn't write that song any more than I did. The truth is, Johnny wrote that song, while pilled up and drunk, about a certain private female body part.”

In 2004, a company wanted to use this song to promote hemorrhoid-relief products. Kilgore thought it was funny and liked the idea - he sometimes made hemorrhoid jokes when introducing the song in concert. Cash's daughter, Rosanne, thought it would demean the song and refused to allow its use. She said, “The song is about the transformative power of love and that's what it has always meant to me and that's what it will always mean to the Cash children.”

Johnny Cash official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone / Biography / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Ring Of Fire - The Best Of Johnny Cash‎ (album)” by Johnny Cash



● Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent.

● Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn't smoke unless it's heated above 450F.

● The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Wife vs. Husband

A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically,

“Relatives of yours?”