Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 32, 2016

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

London learns of American independence on August 10, 1776

London learns of American independence on August 10, 1776

London learns of American independence: On this day in 1776, news reaches London that the Americans had drafted the Declaration of Independence.

Until the Declaration of Independence formally transformed the 13 British colonies into states, both Americans and the British saw the conflict centered in Massachusetts as a local uprising within the British empire. To King George III, it was a colonial rebellion, and to the Americans, it was a struggle for their rights as British citizens. However, when Parliament continued to oppose any reform and remained unwilling to negotiate with the American rebels and instead hired Hessians, German mercenaries, to help the British army crush the rebellion, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies.

In January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence from the British monarchy. It sold more than 500,000 copies in just a few months. By the spring of 1776, support for independence had swept through the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a document declaring independence from the British king.

The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other British theorists. The declaration features the immortal lines “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It then goes on to present a long list of grievances that provided the American rationale for rebellion. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Library of Congress / The American Revolution.org / U.S. History.org video

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Multinational logistics

(DOD) Any coordinated logistic activity involving two or more nations supporting a multinational force conducting military operations under the auspices of an alliance or coalition, including those conducted under United Nations mandate. Also called MNL. See also logistics; multinational. Joint Publications JP 4-08 (Logistics in Support of Multinational Operations - Defense)

“Sea Dreams”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Sea Dreams” (Part III)

“So sweet, I lay,” said he,

“And mused upon it, drifting up the stream

In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced

The broken vision; for I dream'd that still

The motion of the great deep bore me on,

And that the woman walk'd upon the brink:

I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her of it:

“It came,” she said, “by working in the mines:”

O then to ask her of my shares, I thought;

And ask'd; but not a word; she shook her head.

And then the motion of the current ceased,

And there was rolling thunder; and we reach'd

A mountain, like a wall of burs and thorns;

But she with her strong feet up the steep hil

Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top

She pointed seaward: there a fleet of glass,

That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me,

Sailing along before a gloomy cloud

That not one moment ceased to thunder, past

In sunshine: right across its track there lay,

Down in the water, a long reef of gold,

Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first

To think that in our often-ransack'd world

Still so much gold was left; and then I fear'd

Lest the gay navy there should splinter on it,

And fearing waved my arm to warn them off;

An idle signal, for the brittle fleet

(I thought I could have died to save it) near'd,

Touch'd, clink'd, and clash'd, and vanish'd, and I woke,

I heard the clash so clearly.

Now I see

My dream was Life; the woman honest Work;

And my poor venture but a fleet of glass

Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.”

“Nay,” said the kindly wife to comfort him,

“You raised your arm, you tumbled down and broke

The glass with little Margaret's medicine it it;

And, breaking that, you made and broke your dream:

A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.”

“No trifle,” groan'd the husband; “yesterday

I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd

That which I ask'd the woman in my dream.

Like her, he shook his head.

“Show me the books!”

He dodged me with a long and loose account.

“The books, the books!” but he, he could not wait,

Bound on a matter he of life and death:

When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten)

Were open'd, I should find he meant me well;

And then began to bloat himself, and ooze

All over with the fat affectionate smile

That makes the widow lean.

“My dearest friend,

Have faith, have faith! We live by faith,” said he;

“And all things work together for the good

Of those” - it makes me sick to quote him - last

Gript my hand hard, and with God-bless-you went.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Part III of VI)

Full Poem

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Vegetarian - that's an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.”

~ Andy Rooney

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

~ William Faulkner

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

~ Thomas Edison

How Is the Olympic Flame Lit—and How Does It Stay Lit?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Is the Olympic Flame Lit—and How Does It Stay Lit?

Billions of people from around the world will tune in to watch the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. From performances by famous Brazilian musicians to the scrapped plans for Gisele Bündchen to be mugged in the name of art, it’s sure to have a different tone from the 2012 opening ceremonies in London. One thing that will remain constant: the traditional lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

The Olympic torch is reignited months before each new cycle of the games in a ceremony in Ancient Olympia, Greece. An actress playing an ancient priestess uses a parabolic mirror and the sun’s rays to set the torch relay in motion (if it's cloudy on the day of the ceremony, they light the torch from a second torch that was lit in the parabolic mirror on a sunny rehearsal day).

Once the flame is reestablished, it’s up to thousands of torchbearers to ensure that it makes it to its final destination safely; this year, 12,000 torchbearers have carried the torch more than 12,000 miles by road and 10,000 by air to make it to Rio de Janeiro. The path from Greece to the Games can even take the torch underwater, as it did at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, when a special underwater flare was employed to send the flame over the Great Barrier Reef.

The intention is for the flame to stay continuously lit throughout its entire journey, but there's almost always difficulty at some point along the route. One journalist reported that the flame was extinguished at least 44 times on its way to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and the Rio relay has already seen its fair share of mishaps as well. On June 20, a jaguar that was part of the relay was shot and killed after it escaped from its handlers and reportedly lunged at a soldier; several days later, a Brazilian man attempted to douse the torch as it passed through his town. Just last week, protestors actually shut down the torch procession in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, stealing it from the torchbearer and extinguishing the flame.

Sometimes it's Mother Nature who extinguishes the torch. In 2013, it had to pass through what amounted to a wind tunnel at the Kremlin, where it fell victim to a particularly persistent gust of wind. It was quickly relit by a security agent’s Zippo. (That’s a no-no, by the way. There’s protocol for relighting the flame, and it involves a backup torch also lit from the original source in Athens—not a random lighter.)

When the flame does go out for good, it will be intentional; the snuffing ceremony on the final day of the Games, August 21, will put the flame to rest until the relay for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics begins in 2017.

Mental FlossNBC OlympicsRIO 2016Wikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A drowning man will clutch at a straw”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

A drowning man will clutch at a straw:”  Meaning: Try any route to get out of a desperate situation, no matter how unlikely it is to succeed.

Origin: It is only since the mid-19th century that we have been clutching at straws. Even more recently, the “grasp at straws” version has become commonplace, especially in the USA. Prior to that, desperate people would “catch at a straw”. That usage of 'catch' was commonly used in mediaeval England, by which was meant “obtain/achieve”; for example, John Wycliffe used it in his 1382 translation of the Bible into English, in 1 Timothy 6:12:

“Stryve thou a good strif of feith, catche everlastyng lyf.”

By the 17th century, in the King James Version, this had migrated to:

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life”

A straw was chosen as the height of futility as a means of rescue. Being, as it was, a flimsy and virtually valueless waste product, it was often used as a synonym for the most unimportant and trifling of objects. “Don't give/care a straw” was an indication of indifference, a “man of straw” was an insubstantial adversary, and to “condemn someone to straw” was to declare them ready for the madhouse.

“To clutch at straws” is now used as a figurative phrase, to describe any desperate situation.

On to the 21st century and you no longer need to be drowning or desperate to clutch at straws - straw clutch bags have become fashion items.


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Lieu-fucking-tenant: Illustrates Navy practice of including a swear word INSIDE another word.

Lifer: A name given to 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, more rarely acronym associated with people coasting through their Navy career, stands for “Lazy Incompetent Fuck Expecting Retirement”, or “Lowly Indignant Fuck Evading Reality” see also “The ROAD program.”

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

Just for you MARINE

Mac Marine: Nickname for Marine, popular during World War II, also the career planner popular on posters of the 1960s.

Mad Max: Term for a military vehicle that is irregular in appearance due to repairs, modifications or the presence of extra equipment. See also “Hillbilly Armor”.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSM-37 - Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron: “Easyriders”
M.C.B.H. Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

New TV remote control for DOGS developed - and it does include a paws button

New TV remote control for DOGS developed - and it does include a paws button

It sounds like a lot of barking, but dogs will soon be able to channel surf for their favourite ­TV shows with the world’s first pet-friendly remote.

The gadget has been designed with paws and dribbles in mind and will give Fido total control of the gogglebox.

Pet food maker Wagg has developed the remote with computer designers at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Mirror (07/02/2016)

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


“Come As You Are” - Nirvana

“Come As You Are” - Nirvana
Album: Nevermind
Released 1991 video

Kurt Cobain described this song as “About people, and what they're expected to act like.”

The lyrics are intentionally contradictory and confusing, with one line rebutting the next:

“As a friend, as an old enemy”

“Take your time, hurry up”

The chords in this song are a slowed down replica of Killing Joke's 1985 song “Eighties”. The songs were so similar that Nirvana considered holding off releasing the song as a single. Killing Joke considered legal action, but when Kurt Cobain died, they decided not to sue. (“It's a short f--king life, mate - we could be going fishing or something sensible,” lead singer Jaz Coleman explained).

Dave Grohl is a big fan of Killing Joke and helped them out by playing drums on their 2003 self-titled album.

In this song, Cobain sings over and over, “I don't have a gun”. Less than three years after the song was released, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. This was an eerie turn of events, but it's unlikely that Cobain had suicide on his mind when he wrote the lyrics. The gun could be a reference to a time when Cobain's mother got mad at her husband (Kurt's stepfather) and threw his guns in a river. Cobain says he recovered some of them, sold them, and used the money to buy his first guitar when he was 15.

The lyrics, “Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach” were taken from a campaign in Seattle that encouraged heroin users to soak their needles in bleach after injecting to reduce the risk of spreading HIV. The phrase for the campaign was actually “If doused in mud, soak in bleach.” The lyrics as used by Cobain could be about tolerating everyone no matter what they look like - black people being the “mud” and white people being the “bleach”.

Nirvana producer Butch Vig says that this is one of his favorites from the album. He says that Cobain used the same effects pedal on his guitar that he used on “Smells Like Teen Spiritvideo to produce the “trippy, psychedelic, watery effect”. Vig told NPR: "I think that song is about acceptance, and about misfits. You're cool no matter how screwed up you are. 'Come As You Are' is an ode to accepting someone for who they are."

Nirvana almost named the album "Sheep," a reference to people who follow the herd.

The line, “Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don't be late” is referenced in blink-182's “Adam's Songvideo when they sing, “I took my time, I hurried up, the choice was mine I didn't think enough.”

The cover of Nevermind shows a baby underwater reaching for a dollar bill attached to a fishhook. This symbolizes that you're taught to go after money from the moment you're born. Cobain got the idea for the image when he was watching a TV story on underwater birth.

One interpretation of this song is that it's about heroin:

“Come doused in mud, served in bleach, as I want you to be” - Drugs are cut with all kinds of rubbish.

“As a friend, as a trend, as a known enemy” - Drugs can make you feel good, like a friend. There's a trend with them, but they are bad (thus, “as a known enemy”.)

“Well I swear that I don't have a gun” - A gun could mean a syringe. Cobain also mentions a gun in “Smells Like Teen Spiritvideo.

“Load up on guns, bring your friends its fun to lose and to pretend” - Losing could mean giving in to drugs, and feeling high is to pretend.

Nirvana official site / Rolling Stone magazine (100 Greatest Artists, - 30) / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Nevermind (album)” by Nirvana



● Peacocks, distinguished by their crested head, brilliant plumage, and long spotted back feathers, are always males.

● Draw a circle. Draw the radius. Make a square out of one of the radii. Exactly PI Number squares fit inside the circle.

● This ninth President who had the shortest term of office: In his presidential inauguration speech in winter, 1841, William Henry Harrisonis took well over an hour to read, during which time he caught a chill that led to pneumonia and death a month later.
Exactly 8000 square miles. Reason: since one inch = 20 miles, one square inch = 400 square miles, so 20 square inches = 8000 square miles.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey”.

The horse says, “You read my mind, buddy.”

Pun of the Day

How do you catch a unique rabbit? Unique up on it.