Old Sailors' Almanac

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

Week 4, 2016

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Germans sink American merchant ship on January 28, 1915

Germans sink American merchant ship on January 28, 1915

Germans sink American merchant ship: In the country’s first such action against American shipping interests on the high seas, the captain of a German cruiser orders the destruction of the William P. Frye, an American merchant ship.


The William P. Frye, a four-masted steel barque built in Bath, Maine, in 1901 and named for the well-known Maine senator William Pierce Frye (1830-1911), was on its way to England with a cargo of wheat. On January 27, it was intercepted by a German cruiser in the South Atlantic Ocean off the Brazilian coast and ordered to jettison its cargo as contraband. When the American ship’s crew failed to fulfill these orders completely by the next day, the German captain ordered the destruction of the ship.


As the first American merchant vessel lost to Germany’s aggression during the Great War, the William P. Frye incident sparked the indignation of many in the United States.


The German government’s apology and admission of the attack as a mistake did little to assuage Americans’ anger, which increased exponentially when German forces torpedoed and sank the British-owned ocean liner Lusitania on May 7, 1915, killing more than 1,000 people, including 128 Americans. The U.S., under President Woodrow Wilson, demanded reparations and an end to German attacks on all unarmed passenger and merchant ships. Despite Germany’s initial assurances to that end, the attacks continued.


In early February 1917, when Germany announced a return to unrestricted submarine warfare, the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with the country. By the end of March, Germany had sunk several more passenger ships with Americans aboard and Wilson went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war on April 2, which was made four days later. The first American ships arrived in Europe within a week, marking a decisive end to U.S. neutral. History Channel / U-boat Campaign (World War I), Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica


“An Old Sailor” Old Sailors of the Square Rigger Navy - NH2889

The Old Salt’s Corner

“An Old Sailor”


They remember friends from long ago and the times they had back then, of the money they've spilled and the beer they've swilled in their days as sailing men.


Their lives are lived in days gone by , with thoughts that forever last, of Dixie cup hats and bell bottom blues, and the good times in their past.


They recall long nights with a moon so bright far out on a lonely sea, and thoughts they had as youthful lads when their lives were unbridaled and free.


They know so well how their hearts would swell when the flag fluttered proud and free, and the stars and stripes made such beautiful sights as they plowed through an angry sea.


They talk of the bread Ole Cookie would bake and the shrill of the bo'sun's pipe, and how the salt spray fell like sparks out of hell when a storm struck in the night.


They remember mates already gone who forever hold a spot in the stories of old when sailors were bold and lubbers a pitiful lot.


They rode their ships through many a storm when the sea was showing its might, and the mighty waves might be digging their graves as they sailed on through the night.


They speak of nights in a bawdy house somewhere on a foreign shore, and the beer they'd downed as they gathered around cracking jokes with a busty whore.


Their sailing days are gone away, never more will they cross the brow, but they have no regrets for they know they've been blessed 'cause they honored their sacred vow.


Their numbers grow less with each passing day as their chits in this life are called, but they've nothing to lose for they've paid their dues and they'll sail with their shipmates again.


I've heared them say before getting underway that there is still some sailing to do, and they'll exclaim with a grin that their ship has come in, and the Lord is commanding the crew.


~ Author Unknown


“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.”


“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

~ Winston Churchill


“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”

~ Martin H. Fischer


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)

Least Competent Criminals: Police applicant to return to Kentucky to face charges

Least Competent Criminals: Police applicant to return to Kentucky to face charges

Recurring Theme: The job market in Wayne County, Mich., is apparently tough to crack, which led John Rose, 25, to the county sheriff’s office looking for a job.


He finished the paper application in November and was awaiting his interview when deputies called him back. As he walked through the door, he was arrested, since a routine check had turned up numerous outstanding charges in Kentucky including multiple counts of rape, sexual abuse, and sodomy.

The Detriot News (11/13/2015)


Who Was Heisman and Why Does He Have a Trophy Named after him?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Who Was Heisman and Why Does He Have a Trophy Named after him?

His name is mostly associated with the trophy now, but Heisman was a player, coach, and hugely successful innovator in the early days of football. After playing for Brown and then Penn as a collegian from 1887 to 1891, Heisman became a coach at a series of schools that included Oberlin, Buchtel, Auburn, Clemson, Penn, Washington & Jefferson, Rice, and, most notably, Georgia Tech.


For What Football Innovations Does Heisman Get Credit?

Just some little trivial stuff like snapping the ball. Centers originally placed the ball on the ground and rolled it back to their quarterbacks, who would scoop it up and make plays. When Heisman was coaching at Buchtel (which later became the University of Akron), though, he had a 6’4” QB named Harry Clark. Clark was so tall that picking the ball up off the ground was wildly inefficient, so Heisman invented the center snap as an easy way to get the ball in Clark’s hands. Heisman also innovated the use of pulling guards for running plays and the infamous hidden-ball trick.


Any Other Shenanigans on Heisman’s Resume?

When Heisman found a way to gain an edge, he jumped on it no matter how ridiculous it seemed. When Heisman was coaching at Clemson in 1902, his team traveled to Atlanta for a game against Georgia Tech. Although Heisman was known for being a rather gruff disciplinarian, the Clemson team immediately started partying upon their arrival. When Georgia Tech’s players and fans heard that the entire Clemson squad had spent the night before the game carousing, they prepared to coast to an easy win. When the game started, though, Clemson roared out of the gate enroute to a 44-5 stomping. How did Clemson crush Tech when by all rights they should have been ridiculously hungover? The “team” that everyone had seen partying the night before wasn’t really Heisman’s Clemson squad at all. He had sent his junior varsity players to Atlanta the night before to serve as drunken decoys, then quietly slipped his varsity team in on a morning train right before the game.


What Kind of Coach Was He?

Heisman worked as an actor in community stock theater during the summer – he consistently received rotten reviews - and allegedly spoke in a brusque, yet bizarrely ostentatious manner. Georgia Tech’s website relates a story of one of Heisman’s speeches he would break out on the first day of practice while describing a football: “What is this? It is a prolate spheroid, an elongated sphere - in which the outer leather casing is drawn tightly over a somewhat smaller rubber tubing. Better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.”


How Did His Name Get on the Trophy?

After leaving his head-coaching job at Rice in 1927, Heisman became the athletic director at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club. In 1935 the club began awarding the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy to the nation’s top college football star. (Chicago’s Jay Berwanger won the first trophy.) Heisman died of pneumonia the following fall before the second trophy could be awarded, and the club voted to rename the prize the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award.


Did He Ever Really Throw that Iconic Stiff Arm?

Possibly, but Heisman didn’t have the ball in his hands all that much. Even though he was a fairly small guy at just 5’8” and 158 pounds, he played as a lineman throughout his college career.


The famous “Heisman pose” is actually based on Ed Smith, a former NYU running back who modeled for the trophy’s sculptor in 1934. Interestingly, Smith went years without knowing that he’d modeled for the famous trophy. His sculptor buddy Frank Eliscu had just needed a football player to model for a project, and Smith volunteered.


Smith figured Eliscu was just doing some little personal sculpture and remained totally oblivious to his spot in football history for the next 48 years until a documentary filmmaker called Smith to interview him about the Heisman in 1982. Smith initially had no idea what the guy was talking about, but he eventually remembered his modeling days. In 1985, the Downtown Athletic Club gave Smith his own copy of the Heisman, and in 1986 he even received recognition on the televised ceremony. He looked at the four finalists - Vinny Testaverde won that year – and quipped, “Whoever wins the award, I feel sorry for you, because you're going to be looking at my ugly face for a long time.”


How Did Steve Spurrier Change the Process?

SEC fans are going to be floored by this one, but the Ol’ Ball Coach did something really classy when he won the Heisman in 1966. Instead of taking the trophy for himself, Spurrier gave it to the University of Florida so the school could display it and let the student body enjoy it. Florida’s student government thought Spurrier’s generosity was so classy that they paid for a replica for Spurrier so he’d get to have his own trophy, too. Since then both the school and the player have received copies of the trophy.


So Heisman Must Have Been the World’s Greatest Sportsman, Right?

Well, not really. Heisman was on the victorious side of possibly the most gratuitously run-up score in sports history. In 1916 tiny Cumberland College canceled its football program and disbanded its squad, but it had previously signed a contract to travel to Atlanta to play Heisman’s Georgia Tech team. If Cumberland didn’t show up, they had to pay Georgia Tech a $3,000 penalty, which was quite a bit of cash in 1916. Rather than forfeiting the money, Cumberland scraped together a team of 16 scrubs and went to take their walloping from Heisman’s boys. For reasons that still aren’t totally clear – some say it was to avenge an earlier baseball loss to Cumberland, while others claim Heisman wanted to make a statement about the absurdity of the old system of using total points scored to determine the national champion – the legendary coach showed Cumberland’s ragtag band no mercy. Tech went up 63-0 in the first quarter, but Heisman kept attacking until the final score was 222-0. There are tons of hilarious stats from the game, but the funniest is Georgia Tech rushing for 1,620 yards while Cumberland only squeaked out negative-96 yards on 27 carries.


BiographyMental FlossUniversity Archives PennsylvaniaWikipedia


Where Did That Saying Come From? “Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth:” Once when a child was christened it was traditional for the godparents to give a silver spoon as a gift (if they could afford it!).


However a child born in a rich family did not have to wait. He or she had it all from the start. They were “born with a silver spoon in their mouth”. 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


One-eyed Jack: See “Barney Clark” A tasty treat served at midrats consisting of a slider topped with a fried egg.


O-Rings: Pejorative term for junior officers, usually used by enlisted men of the engineering and weapons departments. Also refers to an O-Ring, a sealant device officially known as an “O-Ring”.


Out-chop: To leave an area of responsibility (AOR). “When we out-chop from 5th Fleet we're on our way home!” See “in-chop”.


Out-f**king-standing: An adjective used to emphasize something that is beyond outstanding, whether in a serious or sarcastic manner. Common term used by RDCs in boot camp.


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

Just for you MARINE


Hole: Window, from the naval term porthole.


Hollywood Marine: Marines trained at MCRD San Diego, CA. It is rumored among Parris Island Marines that Hollywood Marines are issued sun glasses in boot camp. There are no female Hollywood Marines since all female Marines go through boot camp in the 4th Recruit Training Battalion (formerly WM Battalion) at MCRD Parris Island, SC.


Honcho: The person in charge which is not necessarily the person assigned to be in charge. See HMFIC.


Honey Bucket: Any bucket used to clean out a toilet, usually carried in pairs on a stick by Oriental women and men.


Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-77 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77: “Nightwolves”
NAS/JRB New Orleans, Louisiana


The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Play-Doh modeling compound used by young children

Play-Doh modeling compound used by young children

Kutol Wallpaper Cleaner was first conceived and manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio by Noah McVicker The putty compound removed coal soot from walls and wallpaper.


When Americans switched to gas and electric heat, Kutol became a toy under the name of “Play-Doh” (1956). Playdoh.Hasbro / Wikipedia


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

SONG FACTS

“Back In The U.S.S.R.” - The Beatles

“Back In The U.S.S.R.” - The Beatles
Album: The White Album
Released 1968 video

The story of this song begins in Hrishikesh, India, where The Beatles were on a retreat learning Transcendental Meditation from their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Also on the retreat was Mike Love of The Beach Boys, who told us: “Paul (McCartney) came down to the breakfast table one morning saying, 'Hey, Mike, listen to this.' And he starts strumming and singing, 'Back in the U.S.S.R.,' the verses. And I said, 'Well, Paul, what you ought to do is talk about the girls around Russia, Ukraine girls and then Georgia on my mind, and that kind of thing.' Which he did. So I think it was the fact I was there, which caused Paul to think in terms of Beach Boys, and then my suggestion for what to do on the bridge, he took that suggestion and crafted, like only Sir Paul can, a really great song.”


McCartney was impressed with the idea and used some Beach Boys' elements in this song: Instead of “California Girlsvideo it was “Moscow Girls”. Plus, the definitive Beach Boy “Oooeeeeoooo” in the background harmonies.


The title was inspired by Chuck Berry's “Back In The U.S.A.video. The Beach Boys had been influenced by that song and also “Sweet Little Sixteenvideo to come up with “California Girlsvideo and “Surfin' U.S.A.video


Paul stated in 1968, “In my mind it's just about a (Russian) spy who's been in America for a long time and he's become very American but when he gets back to the USSR he's saying, 'Leave it 'til tomorrow to unpack my case, Honey, disconnect the phone.' and all that, but to Russian women.”


Things were tense when they were working on this album, and Ringo walked out during recording, briefly quitting the band. Paul McCartney played drums in his place.


The line “Georgia's always on my mind” in a play on the Ray Charles song “Georgia On My Mindvideo. It has a double meaning, since Georgia was part of the U.S.S.R.


Elton John performed this song when he toured Russia in 1979, and he got a huge response. This was the year before Moscow hosted the Summer Olympics, which the United States boycotted. Elton told Q magazine: “The first night as an encore I did 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' And they went apes--t. It was like playing 'Philadelphia Freedom' video in Philadelphia. You just noticed that the people there were as ordinary and as good as the people you'd notice anywhere else.”


Billy Joel got a similar reaction when he played the song in Moscow in 1987.


This song caused a controversy with conservative America, because it came out during Vietnam and the Cold War and it appeared to be celebrating the enemy.


This opens with the sound of an airplane flying from left to right across the speakers. Stereo was relatively new, so this was very innovative for the time.


On August 22, 1968, following an argument with McCartney over the drum part for this song, Ringo walked out on The Beatles. He flew to Sardinia for a holiday to consider his future. While there he received a telegram from his bandmates saying, “You're the best rock 'n' roll drummer in the world. Come on home, we love you.” On his return, he found his drum kit covered with flowers. A banner above read, “Welcome Back”.


Paul McCartney told Mojo magazine October 2008 that the song's middle-eight was a spoof of the Beach Boys leading up to Pet Sounds. He added: “The rest is (sings first bars of the melody line of the opening verse) more Jerry Lee (Lewis). And the title is Chuck Berry, Back In The U.S.A.video, and the song itself is more a take on Chuck. You'd get these soldiers back from Korea or Vietnam, wherever the hell, and Chuck was picking up on that. I thought it was a funny idea to spoof that with the most unlikely thing of way back in Siberia.”


There was a rumor in the Soviet Union that The Beatles had secretly visited the U.S.S.R. and given a private concert for the children of top Communist party members. They believed the song was written because of the concert. Actually, some fans still believe so.

The Beatles.com official site / Rolling Stone magazine / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “The White Album” by The Beatles‎


Trivia

Trivia

● For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.


● Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.


● Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.


Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent.


On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John. He was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn't take it anymore. They decided to try and convert John to be a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are Catholic.” The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved.


The next year's Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was setting down to their tuna fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! WHAT WAS GOING ON?


They called each other up and decided to meet over in John's yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent. The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”


Pun of the Day

What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.