Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 6, 2016

Previous Week   February 08, 2016 - February 14, 2016   Next Week

Yalta Conference ends on February 11, 1945

Yalta Conference ends on February 11, 1945

Yalta Conference ends: On February 11, 1945, a week of intensive bargaining by the leaders of the three major Allied powers ends in Yalta, a Soviet resort town on the Black Sea. It was the second conference of the “Big Three” Allied leaders–U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin–and the war had progressed mightily since their last meeting, which had taken place in Tehran in late 1943.

What was then called the Crimea conference was held at the old summer palace of Czar Nicholas II on the outskirts of Yalta, now a city in the independent Ukraine. With victory over Germany three months away, Churchill and Stalin were more intent on dividing Europe into zones of political influence than in addressing military considerations. Germany would be divided into four zones of occupation administered by the three major powers and France and was to be thoroughly demilitarized and its war criminals brought to trial. The Soviets were to administer those European countries they liberated but promised to hold free elections. The British and Americans would oversee the transition to democracy in countries such as Italy, Austria, and Greece.

Final plans were made for the establishment of the United Nations, and a charter conference was scheduled to begin in San Francisco in April.

A frail President Roosevelt, two months from his death, concentrated his efforts on gaining Soviet support for the U.S. war effort against Japan. The secret U.S. atomic bomb project had not yet tested a weapon, and it was estimated that an amphibious attack against Japan could cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. After being assured of an occupation zone in Korea, and possession of Sakhalin Island and other territories historically disputed between Russia and Japan, Stalin agreed to enter the Pacific War within two to three months of Germany’s surrender.

Most of the Yalta accords remained secret until after World War II, and the items that were revealed, such as Allied plans for Germany and the United Nations, were generally applauded. Roosevelt returned to the United States exhausted, and when he went to address the U.S. Congress on Yalta he was no longer strong enough to stand with the support of braces. In that speech, he called the conference “a turning point, I hope, in our history, and therefore in the history of the world.” He would not live long enough, however, to see the iron curtain drop along the lines of division laid out at Yalta. In April, he traveled to his cottage in Warm Springs, Georgia, to rest and on April 12 died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

On July 16, the United States successfully tested an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. On August 6, it dropped one of these deadly weapons on Hiroshima, Japan. Two days later, true to its pledge at Yalta, the Soviet Union declared war against Japan. The next day, the United States dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, and the Soviets launched a massive offensive against the Japanese in Manchuria. On August 15, the combination of the U.S. atomic attacks and the Soviet offensive forced a Japanese surrender. At the end of the month, U.S. troops landed in Japan unopposed.

When the full text of the Yalta agreements were released in the years following World War II, many criticized Roosevelt and Churchill for delivering Eastern Europe and North Korea into communist domination by conceding too much to Stalin at Yalta. The Soviets never allowed free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, and communist North Korea was sharply divided from its southern neighbor.

Eastern Europe, liberated and occupied by the Red Army, would have become Soviet satellites regardless of what had happened at Yalta. Because of the atomic bomb, however, Soviet assistance was not needed to defeat the Japanese. Without the Soviet invasion of the Japanese Empire in the last days of World War II, North Korea and various other Japanese-held territories that fell under Soviet control undoubtedly would have come under the sway of the United States.

At Yalta, however, Roosevelt had no guarantee that the atomic bomb would work, and so he sought Soviet assistance in what was predicted to be the costly task of subduing Japan. Stalin, more willing than Roosevelt to sacrifice troops in the hope of territorial gains, happily accommodated his American ally, and by the end of the war had considerably increased Soviet influence in East Asia. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / U.S. Department of State - Office of the Historian.gov Library of Congress.gov / Portland State University (The Far East agreements of the Yalta Conference of February 4-11, 1945) / FDR Library

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Mobilization

(DOD) 1. The process of assembling and organizing national resources to support national objectives in time of war or other emergencies. See also industrial mobilization. Joint Publications 4-05 (Joint Mobilization Planning - Defense Technical Information)

(DOD) 2. The process by which the Armed Forces of the United States or part of them are brought to a state of readiness for war or other national emergency, which includes activating all or part of the Reserve Component as well as assembling and organizing personnel, supplies, and materiel. Also called MOB. Joint Publications 4-05 (Joint Mobilization Planning - Defense Technical Information)

Navy version of the Hot Rod Race song

The Old Salt’s Corner

Navy version of the Hot Rod Race song

Sang to music of Hot Rod Lincoln -

Well me and my buddy, ol' Swabby Joe,

took off in a can from ol' Sasebo.

The chow was poor 'n' the fuel was low,

but the doggone can could really go.

Along about in the middle of the night

we were steamin' along like a tin can might,

when a cruiser behind us blinked her lights,

blew her whistle and pulled to the right.

Well we had twin screws on our old can

which makes you think that we're in a jam.

but f'you swabs who don't get this kinda jive,

we had six boilers with overdrive.

Now we're tin can men, and we likely knew,

The stern was down from the turn of the screws,

but f'you swabs who don't get this kinda jive,

as on through the waves we flew and flew.

Our exec was pale, he said he was sick,

but us tin can men knew he was just a hick.

Why should we worry, what the heck,

that cruiser 'n' us were still neck-and-neck.

Yes on through the ocean we did glide,

a'flyin' low with the throttle wide.

Our skipper screamed and the crew they cried,

but the doggone cruiser was still right beside.

Well we looked over the fantail, where sumpin' was a comin'

we thought it was a jet by the way it was a hummin'.

It was a'comin' along at a terrible pace,

and we knew right then was the end of this race.

As it steamed passed us we looked the other way,

and the cruiser's crew, they had nothin' to say.

For there goin' by was a reserve JG, pushin' a hopped-up LST.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.”

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

~ George S. Patton

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“When everything is coming your way, you're probably in the wrong lane.”

~ Unknown

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)

Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year

The Real Cattle Class: Cows Fly to China on 747s

China's love of beef, plus a regulation requiring that live animals imported for food be slaughtered within 55 miles of entry port, has created big business for the Australian cattle exporter Elders, which uses double-deck Boeing 747s whose only main-deck passengers “moo” instead of complain about leg room.

(Business-class humans still travel upstairs.) Without the flights, the 55-mile rule could be met only by coastal Chinese cities, thus ignoring inland gourmets demanding fresh meat. Unlike the well-fed upper-deck passengers, the cattle get minimal food--for obvious reasons.

Bloomberg, Business Week (11/08/2015, Updated 11/09/2015)

How Were Cats Domesticated? How Were Cats Domesticated?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Were Cats Domesticated?

House cats share 95.6 percent of their DNA with tigers, but despite how adorable they can be, most people probably wouldn't want the latter as a pet. While big cats and our furry friends have several other things in common, one of the main differences is that many years ago, people successfully domesticated Felis catus. But how did it happen?

To understand how cats became pets, you have to understand what it means for a species to be domesticated. In scientist and author Jared Diamond's 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel, he lists failed attempts at domesticating zebras in 19th century South Africa, gazelles in the Fertile Crescent, grizzly cubs in Japan, and cheetahs in India. “Of the world’s 148 big wild terrestrial herbivorous mammals — the candidates for domestication”, he writes, “only 14 passed the test”.

According to Diamond, there are six criteria for successful domestication: the animals must be easy to feed; they must grow and mature at a rate that makes economic sense; they have to breed well in captivity to keep the population going; they have to be generally nice animals; they can’t be prone to freak outs; and the social structure of the species has to be strong. Thousands of years ago, cats hit every mark for people looking to make them pets, though when that happened exactly is still a point of contention.

According to Smithsonian, cat remains have not made their domestication timeline any clearer, because house cats and wildcats have similar skeletons. Archaeologists have found evidence that suggests that cats in Cyprus were domesticated around 9500 years ago, long before the love affair with cats began in Ancient Egypt. A separate study and genetic analysis suggested that domestication of the animals began closer to 12,000 years ago. A theory about these wildcat ancestors, according to Stephen O'Brien of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, is that they “just sort of domesticated themselves”. O’Brien said that one of the cat species had a “genetic variance” that made the animals approach humans and hang around, while others were likely captured so that they could hunt mice and other pests for farmers.

Unfortunately, because cat domestication is believed to have started so long ago, history doesn't offer written manuals that explain every step of the process. By bringing the cats in as rodent killers, early domesticators may have given them certain amenities (like warmth and food) that persuaded the cats to stay. Over the course of time, that mutual relationship led to the breeding of slightly tamer cats than their cousins in the wild, though some would argue that even the house cats of today aren't fully domesticated.

Smithsonian Institution archaeologist Melinda Zeder tells The New Yorker that it’s the mutual relationship that makes cats the “ultimate domesticate”. But the domestication process didn't equal full subservience on the part of the felines. ˜I think what confuses people about cats is that they still carry some of the more aloof behaviors of their solitary wild progenitors”, Zeder said. “Sometimes they don’t give a damn about you, but they are very much part of your niche. Cats have us do everything for them. We clean their litter, stroke them, admire them, but unlike dogs they do not have to constantly please and satisfy our needs.” Makes you wonder—who's domesticating whom?

Independent UKLive ScienceMental FlossNew YorkerSmithsonian InstitutionWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Go To Pot”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Go To Pot:” Any farm animal that had outlived its usefulness such as a hen that no longer laid eggs would literally go to pot. It was cooked and eaten.

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

Check Valve: A selfish person as in a one-way check valve which only allows fluid to travel one way.

Chop: The Supply Officer, so named because the US Navy Supply Corps Officer symbol looks like a pork chop.

COB: The Chief Of The Boat; the senior enlisted man embarked.

Collision Mat: Pancakes.

Crank: To work in the kitchen.

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

Just for you MARINE

Hootch: (Vietnam) Living quarters, originally occupied by enlisted Marines, the word later become a general term for wherever a Marine was living. The civilian word crib is essentially the same.

Horse Blanket: A thick wool blanket or the heavy wool overcoat once issued to all Marines and seldom worn.

Hospital Corners: A method of making a rack where the top blanket is squared off at the corners leaving one 45 degree angle on each corner. The procedure allows the blanket to be tucked under making it straight and tight.

Hostess House: An on-base hotel for guests of Marines.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VP-4 - Patrol Squadron 4: “Skinny: Dragons”
MCB Hawaii (MCAS Kaneohe Bay)

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing

This is a sport that is a perfect mash up of brains and muscle. The participants need to be skilled at both chess as well as boxing because as the name suggests, this sport includes both games.

There are alternate rounds of chess and boxing which allows the inner boxer to take a break and recoup while working the mind to try and knockout their opponent with a checkmate instead of a right upper cut. People have taken a liking to the sport because it is not all about brutality and neither is it all about boring slow moves of chess.

It’s a perfect marriage. Whoever thought it up, there’s just one word – genius. World Chess Boxing / Wikipedia

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


“You Really Got Me” - The Kinks

“You Really Got Me” - The Kinks
Album: Kinks
Released 1964 video

Ray Davies wrote this with the help of his brother (and Kinks guitarist) Dave. Ray played it for Dave on piano, and Dave tried it on guitar. Their first version was six-minutes long, but the final single release came in at just 2:20.

Dave Davies got the dirty guitar sound by slashing the speaker cone on his amp with a razor blade. The vibration of the fabric produced an effect known as “fuzz”, which became common as various electronic devices were invented to distort the sound. At the time, none of these devices existed, so Davies would mistreat his amp to get the desired sound, often kicking it. The amp was a cheap unit called an Elpico.

In 2015, Ray Davies told Rolling Stone that the lyric was inspired by a night out when he was watching girls dancing in a club. “I just remembered this one girl dancing”, he said. “Sometimes you're so overwhelmed by the presence of another person and you can't put two words together.”

Before they released this, The Kinks put out two singles that flopped: a cover of ”Long Tall Sally” and a Ray Davis composition called “You Still Want Mevideo. If “You Really Got Mevideo didn't sell, there was a good chance their record label would have dropped them.

When The Kinks heard the first version they recorded of this song, they hated the results. It was produced by Shel Talmy, their manager at the time, and Ray Davies thought it came out clean and sterile, when he wanted it to capture the energy of their live shows.

Dave Davies' girlfriend backed them up, saying it didn't make her want to “drop her knickers”. The Kinks' record company had no interest in letting them re-record the song, but due to a technicality in their contract, The Kinks were able to withhold the song until they could do it again. At the second session, Dave Davies slashed his amp and Talmy produced it to get the desired live sound. This is the version that was released.

Talmy thought the first version was good, and that it also would have been a hit if it was released. This first version was slower and had more of a blues sound.

The song was recorded on September 26, 1964 with Ray Davies on lead vocals, Dave Davies on guitar and Pete Quaife on bass.

The Kinks didn't have a drummer when they first recorded the song, so producer Shel Talmy brought in a session musician named Bobby Graham to play. When they recorded this the second time, Mick Avory had joined the band as their drummer, but Talmy didn't trust him and made him play tambourine while Graham played drums. One other session musician was used - Arthur Greenslade played piano.

Just before Dave Davies started his guitar solo at the second recording session, his brother yelled to encourage him. Dave got a little confused, but they had only three hours of studio time so he kept playing. He pulled off the solo despite the distraction.

The first line was originally “You, you really got me going”. Ray Davies changed it to “Girl, you really got me going” at the suggestion of one of their advisers. The idea was to appeal to the teenage girls in their audience.

Dave Davies got the idea for the guitar riff from “Tequilavideo by The Champs.

This was the first hit for The Kinks. It gave them a lot of publicity and led to TV appearances, magazine covers, and two gigs opening for The Beatles. They didn't have an album out yet, so they rushed one out to capitalize on the demand. This first album contained only five originals, with the rest being R&B covers.

Ray Davies wrote this with the intention of making it big crowd-pleaser for their live shows. He was trying to write something similar to “Louie Louievideo, which was a big hit for The Kingsmen.

It was rumored that Jimmy Page, who was a session musician at the time, played guitar on this track, which the band stridently denied. According to a 2012 interview on Finding Zoso with producer Shel Talmy, Jimmy Page did not play the lead guitar on the song. However he did play rhythm as Ray Davies didn't want to sing and play guitar at the same time.

Ray Davies: “I made a conscious effort to make my voice sound pure and I sang the words as clearly as the music would allow.”

Ray Davies was 22 when they recorded this; Dave Davies was 17.

The powerful rhythm guitar riff was very influential on other British groups. The Rolling Stones recorded “Satisfactionvideo, which was driven by the rhythm guitar, a year later.

According to Ray Davies, there was a great deal of jealousy among their peers when The Kinks came up with this song. He said in a 1981 interview with Creem: “There were a lot of groups going around at the time – the Yardbirds, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones – and nobody had really cracked with a sort of R&B #1 record. The songs were always sort of like The Beatles. When we first wanted to do a record, we couldn't get a recording gig. We were turned down by Decca, Parlophone, EMI and even Brian Epstein came to see us play and turned us down. So I started writing songs like 'You Really Got Me,' and I think there was a sheer jealousy that we did it first. Because we weren't a great group – untidy – and we were considered maybe a bit of a joke. But for some reason, I'd just had dinner, shepherd's pie, at my sister's house, and I sat down at the piano and played da, da, da, da, da. The funny thing is it was influenced by Mose Allison more than anybody else. And I think there was a lot of bad feeling. I remember we went to clubs like the Marquee, and those bands wouldn't talk to us because we did it first.”

The Kinks' next single was “All Day And All Of The Nightvideo, which was basically a re-write of this song, but was also a hit.

Ray Davies recalled in an interview with NME how his brother Dave created the distortion effect on this song. Said Ray: “We stuck knitting needles in the speakers, or in Dave's case, he slit the speakers with a razor blade. In those days we played records on a radiogram so loudly that they all sounded fuzzy. We thought, 'That's a great sound,' without realizing the speakers were buggered. Everyone else was using really clean guitar sounds, so for 'You Really Got Me' we hooked a little speaker up to a clean amp and came up with thunderous, unaffected, pure power.”

In a Rolling Stone interview, Ray said that they “evolved” the sound by putting knitting needles in the speakers when recording this song. That statement prompted a rebuttal from his brother Dave, who wrote in to explain: “I alone created the guitar sound for the song with my Elipico amp that I bought. I slashed the speaker with a razor blade, which resulted in the 'You Really Got Me' tone. There were no knitting needles used in making my guitar sound.”

The Kinks official site / Rolling Stone magazine (100 Greatest Artists, - 65) / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Kinks (album)” by The Kinks



● In 2009, researchers at Newcastle University’s Centre for Life said that eating a bacon sandwich can help cure a hangover.

● The View-Master was originally for adults. The device was used to help soldiers recognize ships, planes, and artillery from afar.

● “Salmonella” gets its name from Daniel Elmer Salmon, a veterinary pathologist who ran a USDA microorganism research program in the 1800s.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Who was the first U.S. President to be born in a hospital?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

William S. Gray, A. Sterl Artley, and May Hill Arbuthnot were once three of the most widely read authors in the United States during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. What books did they author?

Answer: They were the authors behind the Dick and Jane series for school children. History Literacy.org

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.00.

The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank; she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000.00 Rolls Royce as collateral against a $5,000.00 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000.00 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, “Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000.00?”

The blonde replies, “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?”

Pun of the Day

Two cows are standing next to each other in a field.

Daisy says to Ermentrude, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”

“I don't believe you.” says Ermentrude.

“It's true, no bull!” exclaims Daisy.