Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 16, 2016

Previous Week   April 18, 2016 - April 24, 2016   Next Week

Castro announces Mariel Boatlift on April 20, 1980

Castro announces Mariel Boatlift on April 20, 1980

Castro announces Mariel Boatlift On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortagescaused bythe ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard’s death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the lushly landscaped gardens at the embassy requesting asylum. Other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, agreed to take a small number of people. But suddenly, two weeks later, Castro proclaimed that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave, as long as they had someone to pick them up. Cuban exiles in the United Statesrushed to hire boats in Miami and Key West and rescue their relatives.

In all, 125,000 Cubans fled to U.S. shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast guard. Cuban guards had packed boat after boat, without considering safety, making some of the overcrowded boats barely seaworthy. Twenty-sevenmigrants died, including 14 on an overloaded boat that capsized on May 17..

The boatlift also began to have negative political implications for U.S.President Jimmy Carter.When it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities, many were placed in refugee camps while others were held in federal prisons to undergo deportation hearings. Of the 125,000 “Marielitos”, as the refugees came to be known, who landed in Florida, more than 1,700 were jailed and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.

The exodus was finally ended by mutual agreement between the U.S. and Cuban governments in October 1980. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / United States Coast Guard.mil / National Archives.gov / CIA.gov video

“Being a Sailor”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Being a Sailor”

I like standing on deck at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe-the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the sea.

I like the sounds of the Navy-the piercing sound of the boatswain's pipe, the clang of the ships bell on the quarterdeck, the squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

I like the vessels of the Navy-nervous darting destroyers, sleep submarines, laboring amphibs and steady solid carriers.

I like the proud name of Carriers Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea-memorials of battles won.

I like the lean angular names of the Navy “tin-cans” Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, Cowell, Haynsworth, Parsons, McCloy-memorials of heroes who went before us.

I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed, “Now go to your stations all the special sea and anchor detail- that is, Now go to your stations all the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarter for getting underway.”

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night.

I like the feel of the Navy in darkness-the masthead lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of the ship's wake.

I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the noises large and small that tells me that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch will keep us safe.

I like quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee.

I like the sudden electricity of “General Quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations”, followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon or war-ready for anything.

I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them.

I like the proud names of Navy Heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones.

In years to come when sailors are home from the sea, they will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm - tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of the engines and a vision of bright signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a sound of hearty laughter on the mess decks.

Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the sea belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.

Remember this, they will stand taller and say:

I Was a Sailor Once. I Was Part of the NAVY.

~ Author unknown

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The empirical relationship between temperature and the rate of cricket chirping.”

~ Dolbear's law

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple.

You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down.

The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.”

~ Josh Shipp

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

~ Jim Rohn

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)

Melbourne Holds Last-Ever Naked Bike Ride

Melbourne Holds Last-Ever Naked Bike Ride

The World Naked Bike Ride is back again this year! Although organisers announced earlier this year that the nude ride won't be on this year, they've decided to do one last ride through town before they call it a day.

As usual the Naked Bike Ride is friendly event where riders can bare it all or leave a little bit more to the imagination (their motto is “bare as you dare”). This year, the route will start at The Monty Hotel (formerly The Fox) in South Melbourne so you can get some liquid courage before you do the full Monty (pun intended) through the city. The ride will take off from South Melbourne through to Albert Park lake, down to St Kilda, before heading along the bay towards Port Melbourne.

Don't have a bike? No worries, riders can rent bikes from the many bike shops and bike share ports around the city. Nudity is not compulsory but if you're comfortable airing your bits out by the bay, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Melbourne - Time Out (02/28/2016)

Why Is White Noise “White”

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is White Noise “White”?

Even though we can't see it, we know that the scratchy drone made by a radio between frequencies has a color. White noise is just one in a spectrum of sound colors audio engineers use to categorize continuous noise signals. But why do we use color to describe sound, and where does white noise fit into the auditory rainbow?

Sound is defined as the vibration of particles caused by a mechanical wave, but the term “noise” refers to something more specific. Just like the visual noise that disrupts an otherwise clear image, noise in audio engineering is used to describe anything interfering with the intended sound. This could include the crackle of a record player, traffic in the background of a movie scene, or static on the radio. As The Atlantic explains, the latter of these would be considered a colored noise, because the signal it produces is constant and consistent.

White noise is the uniform mixture of every frequency detectable by the human ear. This is where the color analogy comes in. In the color spectrum, white light is the sum of every color in the rainbow, and individual colors can be filtered from it. It makes sense then that we use black noise to describe what's essentially silence, just like the color black refers to the absence of light. The color format caught on for other noises in the spectrum, but from here each signal's relationship to its actual color gets less scientific.

Pink noise, for example, is just white noise whose higher frequencies have been lowered in intensity. According to The Atlantic, this has made it a trendy choice for relaxing sound generators in recent years (if a noise could ever be considered “trendy”). For people suffering from tinnitus, or a constant ringing in the ears, it can be a pleasant alternative treatment to the harsher-sounding plain white noise that's often used.

Blue noise is basically the inverse of pink, resulting in a high-pitched sound similar to the hiss of falling water. And then there's brown noise, which oddly enough isn't named after the color but the Scottish scientist Robert Brown. Plenty of colors in between, from violet to orange, have also been used to describe specific noise signals, but these are less widely recognized.

Live ScienceMental FlossScience News.orgSound HawkWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Taken Aback”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Taken Aback:” If the wind suddenly changed direction a sailing ship stopped moving forward. It was “taken aback”, which was a bit of a shock for the sailors.

“Aback” means in a backward direction - toward the rear. It is a word that has fallen almost into disuse, apart from in the phrase “taken aback”. Originally “aback” was two words: “a” and “back”, but these became merged into a single word in the 15th century. The word “around” and the now archaic “adown” were formed in the same way.

Taken aback” is an allusion to something that is startling enough to make us jump back in surprise. The first to be “taken aback” were not people though but ships. The sails of a ship are said to be “aback” when the wind blows them flat against the masts and spars that support them. A use of this was recorded in the London Gazette in 1697. 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

JANFU: Joint Army/Navy Fuck Up.

JEEP: Junior Enlisted Expendable Personnel - Submarines- Slang for Casualty Assistance Team members - “JSend in the JEEPs”.

The Jellystone: USS Yellowstone.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-6 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron SIX: “Indians”
Naval Station Norfolk - San Diego, California / Coronado, California

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Bearded British man flies to Germany using his girlfriend's passport and NOBODY notices

Bearded British man flies to Germany using his girlfriend's passport and NOBODY notices

A British man who flew to Germany using his girlfriend's passport only realised the mistake when he had arrived at his destination - having gone through security.

Josh Reed, who is 6ft3 and has a beard, travelled from London Stansted to Dortmund on a Ryanair flight with petite brunette Sophie's ID, reports The Sun.

According to the 21-year-old, security at the gate only checked his boarding pass, meaning he only spotted that he had the wrong travel documents when he landed in Germany.

But at no point did anyone else notice that he wasn't girlfriend Sophie Watkins.

“It makes you wonder how easy it would be for people that look alike to get through on fake passports.”

Mirror (03/01/2016)

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


“At Last” - Etta James

“At Last” - Etta James
Album: At Last!
Released 1961 video

The songwriting team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren wrote this in 1941 for the film musical Sun Valley Serenade. The following year it was rearranged and re-recorded and used in the film Orchestra Wives. It was performed in both movies by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra with vocals by Ray Eberle, and the song became a major big band hit in October 1942. Gordon and Warren composed other hits together, including “Chattanooga Choo Choovideo, “Serenade in Blue”, “You'll Never Know”, and “There Will Never Be Another You”. Many of their songs were for musical motion pictures, including at least one written for Shirley Temple. Before teaming up, they were successful composers on their own and wrote numerous other songs with other partners. Gordon wrote the lyrics and Warren wrote the music.

Etta James recorded this in 1961 shortly after signing with Chess records. Leonard Chess thought James was a classy ballad singer and saw pop crossover potential in her; it was his decision to back her with violin orchestrations for the song. Her version went to #2 on the R&B charts.

With lyrics about finding that one true love and a classical feel, this is a very popular wedding song.

Ten years after the original, Ray Anthony & his Orchestra returned this to the charts in a version with vocals by Tommy Mercer.

Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles. She started singing at only five years old in her Baptist church choir. Known for her amazing voice, many people considered James the “Queen Of Soul” before Aretha Franklin claimed the title. Her stage name came from switching around the letters in her first name, Jamesetta.

James battled various drug addictions through the years, but it rarely affected her music. She was in the midst of her addictions and other personal and professional problems when “At Last” was recorded.

It is her most enduring song, but is not typical of her work. Many of her songs have more of a blues feel and often contain darker lyrics that reflect the challenges she faced. James never gained massive popularity, but she eventually beat her two-decade drug problems and has been cited as an influence by many younger singers, including Christina Aguilera. She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and continued to tour and record into the '00s. She died on January 20, 2012.

Some of the artists who have recorded this song include Cyndi Lauper, Celine Dion, Gladys Knight and Joan Osborne. Christina Aguilera and Jason Mraz have both covered it in concert.

This is featured on the soundtrack of the 1998 movie Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire. That same year, it was also used in the movie Rain Man in a scene where Tom Cruise teaches Dustin Hoffman how to dance.

Beyoncé covered this for the soundtrack of the 2008 movie Cadillac Records, which told the story of Chess Records. The Destiny's Child singer portrayed Etta James in the film.

Etta James‎ official site / Rolling Stone magazine / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “At Last! (album)” by Etta James



● “K” and “M” are both symbols for 1,000.

● An octagon is a polygon with eight sides.

● Mathematicians first use of plus and minus signs was in the sixteenth century.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

Answer: period, question mark, and exclamation point, comma, semicolon, colon, dash hyphen, brackets, braces, parentheses, apostrophe, quotation marks and ellipses Your Dictionary

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Two cartons of yogurt walk into a bar.

The bartender, who is a tub of cottage cheese, says to them, “We don’t serve your kind in here.”

One of the yogurt cartons says to him, “Why not? We’re cultured individuals.”

Pun of the Day

The race car driver had a checkered past.