Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 25, 2016

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Germany launches Operation Barbarossa—the invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941

Germany launches Operation Barbarossa—the invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941

Germany launches Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of Russia: On this day in 1941, over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

Despite the fact that Germany and Russia had signed a “pact” in 1939, each guaranteeing the other a specific region of influence without interference from the other, suspicion remained high. When the Soviet Union invaded Rumania in 1940, Hitler saw a threat to his Balkan oil supply. He immediately responded by moving two armored and 10 infantry divisions into Poland, posing a counterthreat to Russia. But what began as a defensive move turned into a plan for a German first-strike. Despite warnings from his advisers that Germany could not fight the war on two fronts (as Germany’s experience in World War I proved), Hitler became convinced that England was holding out against German assaults, refusing to surrender, because it had struck a secret deal with Russia. Fearing he would be “strangled” from the East and the West, he created, in December 1940, “Directive No. 21: Case Barbarossa” - the plan to invade and occupy the very nation he had actually asked to join the Axis only a month before!

On June 22, 1941, having postponed the invasion of Russia after Italy’s attack on Greece forced Hitler to bail out his struggling ally in order to keep the Allies from gaining a foothold in the Balkans, three German army groups struck Russia hard by surprise. The Russian army was larger than German intelligence had anticipated, but they were demobilized. Stalin had shrugged off warnings from his own advisers, even Winston Churchill himself, that a German attack was imminent. (Although Hitler had telegraphed his territorial designs on Russia as early as 1925 - in his autobiography, “Mein Kampf”.) By the end of the first day of the invasion, the German air force had destroyed more than 1,000 Soviet aircraft. And despite the toughness of the Russian troops, and the number of tanks and other armaments at their disposal, the Red Army was disorganized, enabling the Germans to penetrate up to 300 miles into Russian territory within the next few days.

Exactly 129 years and one day before Operation Barbarossa, another “dictator” foreign to the country he controlled, invaded Russia - making it all the way to the capital. But despite this early success, Napoleon would be escorted back to France - by Russian troops. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / RT (Russia Today) / The Atlantic / Military Channel video


The Old Salt’s Corner


Like a herd of cattle, placed on a ship.

Upon my back, I felt their whip!

Ripping into my flesh, excruciating pain.

Forced across the big water on a trip.

Living in darkness with little to eat.

The feel of chains around my feet.

Amidst tortured cries, the ship did shake.

Waves pounded the hull with relentless beat.

Only once a day, would we see the sky.

Huge sails, caused the ship to fly.

Further and further away from my home.

Feeling confused not understanding why!

A white devil, steered the wooden ship.

All his mates evil with scabbed putrid lips.

Yet we, depended on them for our lives.

Without them, into the ocean we'd slip.

The journey long, felt like an eternity!

I longed to be anywhere but on the sea.

My mind occupied with thoughts of my home.

yet, I could not escape this horrible enemy!

Sick and dying were forced to walk the plank.

Then into the cold water they quickly sank.

The sailors laughed, as the last man was tossed!

Their spirits boistered with the rum they drank.

Many days later we finally made land.

A place of stone and wood, I could see no sand.

Crack of the whip, we rose to our feet.

“Off of my ship!” was the devil's final command!

~ Richard Lamoureux (Part I)

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.”

~ Anonymous

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you stumbled today, remember where and how it felt. Tomorrow, take a different path. Life flourishes from its pain and the lessons we gain.”

~ Dodinsky

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

~ Edmund Lee

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)

This Guy Removed All His Teeth To Beat Record For Most Straws In Mouth

This Guy Removed All His Teeth To Beat Record For Most Straws In Mouth

NEW DELHI, India (Reuters) - An Indian man obsessed with setting Guinness world records got 366 flags tattooed on his body and had all his teeth removed so he could put nearly 500 drinking straws and more than 50 burning candles in his mouth.

Har Parkash Rishi, who claims to have set more than 20 records, now calls himself Guinness Rishi. Huffington Post / Reuters (05/28/2016) video

When it Comes to Dating, Does Having a “Wingman” Actually Help?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: When it Comes to Dating, Does Having a “Wingman” Actually Help?

The wingman/wingwoman concept seems sound enough. You stand nonchalantly with a loyal friend who laughs uproariously at your jokes and makes you look good. But is that hottie at the end of the bar actually impressed?

It’s hard to say. As you’ll see in the video above from ASAP Science, the wingman concept is quite popular in the animal kingdom, especially among birds. It seems to work for them, and some studies have shown that this kind of cooperative courtship may work for human men, too. Sort of. One study suggested that we find people more attractive when they’re standing in a group, but thp at doesn’t mean we’re more likely to date them. And another concluded that women also use cooperative techniques—to get rid of undesirable suitors.

Inevitably, this comes with a list of caveats: First, we are not birds. Just because something works for another species doesn’t mean it will work for us. Cats lick their own butts but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for us to try it. Second, only a small fraction of studies on human courtship have focused on anything other than heterosexual relationships. And lastly, as the video so rightly concludes, playing manipulative games—even those with a vague basis in research—is not the best way to make a true connection.

ASAP SCIENCEMental FlossUrban DictionaryWikipedia video

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A drop in the bucket”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

A drop in the bucket:”  Meaning: A very small proportion of the whole.

Origin: From the Bible, Isaiah 40:15 (King James Version)

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.”

A drop in the bucket' is the predecessor of 'a drop in the ocean', which means the same thing, and is first found in a piece from The Edinburgh Weekly Journal, July 1802:

“The votes for the appointment of Bonaparte to be Chief Consul for life are like a drop in the ocean compared with the aggregate of the population of France.”


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Kick start (a deck seaman): Surreptitious corporal punishment applied by driving one's boot down the shin of the offending seaman to encourage better and faster work.

Kiddy cruise: Officially a “minority enlistment”. Enlisting at 17. Active duty obligation expires the day before the enlistee's 21st birthday.

Killer Tomato: A large reddish-orange inflated ball used in gunnery practice at sea.

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

Just for you MARINE

Liberty: Authorized free time ashore or off station, not counted as leave, known in the Army as a “pass”.

Liberty List: List containing the names of Marines entitled to liberty and those employed by the guard during the liberty period (and thus not entitled to leave post).

Liberty Risk: A Marine with a high risk of getting into trouble on liberty.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-22 - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWENTY TWO: “Sea Knights”
Naval Air Station Norfolk - Norfolk, Virginia

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Council installs lights in ground for pedestrians who won't look up from phones when crossing road

Council installs lights in ground for pedestrians who won't look up from phones when crossing road

A town in Germany has installed traffic lights on the ground to serve as a warning for pedestrians using their phones.

Augsburg made the drastic move after a 15-year-old girl was struck and killed by a tram when she crossed the road without looking.

The lights look like cats eyes but are flat, and are dotted at the edge of roads.

When they flash red, it indicates to pedestrians not to cross - and green for when they should.

Mirror UK (05/30/2016) video

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


“Purple Rain” - Prince

“Purple Rain” - Prince
Album: Purple Rain
Released 1984 video

After Prince released his 1999 album in 1982, he toured in many of the same cities Bob Seger did. Prince was amazed at how crowds connected with Seger's songs like “Night Moves” and “Mainstreet”, which were slow songs that told stories to which people could relate. Prince decided to write a song in that style, and “Purple Rain” was the result.

The album was actually the soundtrack to the first movie Prince made. He went on to make three more: Under The Cherry Moon, Sign O' The Times, and Graffiti Bridge. Purple Rain won Prince an Oscar for Best Original Song Score (not to be confused with the Best Original Score category, won that year by A Passage to India).

The song “Purple Rain” was the centerpiece of the film and a key plot point. In the movie, the female members in Prince's band, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, write a song that Prince ignores, prompting a tirade from Wendy (“Every time we give you a song you say you're going to use it but you never do. You're being paranoid as usual...”). At the end of the film, Prince's crew is in a heated rivalry with another band (The Time), who do a blistering set that Prince must follow. When Prince takes the stage, he introduces “Purple Rain” as being written by Wendy and Lisa, then tears down the house with it.

Wendy and Lisa were real members of Prince's band until 1987 when they left to record as a duo. This song, however, was composed solely by Prince. It's a love song, with Prince singing about his devotion to a girl, but it also serves as a catharsis, releasing the pent-up frustrations that had been building throughout the movie. The “Purple Rain” is a place to be free.

The song was written for the Purple Rain film, but it served Prince very well in concert, where it was often his showstopper. He retained many of the visual elements from the movie performance in his shows, which isn't much of a stretch - the concert scenes were filmed at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, where Prince often performed.

Prince admitted the success of the film and its music was overwhelming. “In some ways Purple Rain scared me”, he noted in The Observer. “It's my albatross and it'll be hanging around my neck as long as I'm making music.”

The first use of the phrase “purple rain” in a popular song came in the 1972 America hit “Ventura Highway”, where they sing:

Wishin' on a falling star

Waitin' for the early train

Sorry boy, but I've been hit by purple rain

Prince played this to open the 2004 Grammy Awards. After singing part of the song, Beyoncé came on stage, and they performed a medley of their hits.

Many viewers were offended by the movie Purple Rain because of its apparent sexism. Prince defended the film, and himself, to MTV in 1985: “I didn't write Purple Rain. Someone else did. And it was a story, a fictional story, and should be perceived that way. Violence is something that happens in everyday life, and we were only telling a story. I wish it was looked at that way, because I don't think anything we did was unnecessary. Sometimes, for the sake of humor, we may've gone overboard. And if that was the case, then I'm sorry, but it was not the intention.”

The film was written by the screenwriter William Blinn and its director Albert Magnoli, but Prince did inspire the script. He told Larry King: “I really wanted to chronicle the life I was living at the time, which was in a area that had a lot of great talent and a lot of rivalries. So I wanted to chronicle that vibe of my life.”

According to Blinn, the story came about when Prince told him stories about his father, a musician who never quite made it and sometimes blamed his family for his failures. To Blinn, it sounded like a kind of therapy. “It was as if he were sorting out his own mystery”, he said.

On the tour to promote the album (conveniently called the “Purple Rain World Tour”), Prince's band, The Revolution, would play the intro to this song for about eight minutes while Prince underwent a costume change before emerging in fresh duds to complete the performance.

Stevie Nicks told Mojo magazine in December 2013 that she was asked by Prince to help work on this song. However, she suspects that the Purple maestro wanted more than just her voice. “I've still got it [the demo cassette] - with the whole instrumental track and a little bit of Prince singing, 'Can't get over that feeling', or something”, the Fleetwood Mac singer recalled. “I told him, 'Prince, I've listened to this a hundred times but I wouldn't know where to start. It's a movie, it's epic.”

She added: “The olive branch of him giving me that cassette was huge, but I think he would have liked a romance with me, too.”

Prince provided one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime video moments when he performed this song in the rain at the 2007 game between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears. After blasting through bits of several songs, he slowed things down for a sensuous rendition of “Purple Rain”. The stadium turned dark, and purple lights glistened through raindrops as Prince enraptured the crowd with a silhouetted guitar solo that produced a stunning visual. Colts fans will remember the game, but for the rest of us, Prince's performance on the field was the highlight.

Apparently Prince had concerns that “Purple Rain” might be too similar to Journey's hit ballad “Faithfullyvideo. The song's composer, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, recalled to Billboard magazine that the Purple Legend rang him up at Columbia Records' office in Los Angeles. “I want to play something for you, and I want you to check it out”, Prince told him. “The chord changes are close to 'Faithfully', and I don't want you to sue me.”

Cain had no problem with the song he heard. “I thought it was an amazing tune”, the Journey musician said, “and I told him, 'Man, I'm just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you're that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it's gonna be a hit”,

Among the many artists paying tribute to Prince in the wake of his death was Bruce Springsteen, who opened his concert in Brooklyn on April 23, 2016 with a performance of this song. He dedicated the show to Prince, saying, “There's never been anyone better: bandleader, showman, arranger”.

Springsteen and Prince had similar career trajectories, rising to fame in the '70s and dominating the musical landscape in the '80s.

Following Prince's death, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 rising to #4. It also re-entered the UK Singles Chart at #6, two places higher than its original peak of #8.

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

Image: “Purple Rain (album)” by Prince



● Aesop born a Greek slave around 600 BC, became famous for his many fables.

● Dodo birds became extinct in the 17th century, spelled with alternating vowels and consonants.

● The classical design of acoustic guitars as we know them today was created in the 19th century in SPAIN.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A child asked his father, “How were people born?”

So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.”

The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.”

The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!”

His father replied, “No, your mom was talking about her side of the family.”

Pun of the Day

There were a bunch of pillows at the store. I took one and my friend took the rest.