Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 35, 2016

Previous Week   August 29, 2016 - September 04, 2016   Next Week

“Jack the Ripper” claims first victim on August 31, 1888

“Jack the Ripper” claims first victim on August 31, 1888

“Jack the Ripper” claims first victim: Prostitute Mary Ann Nichols, the first victim of London serial killer “Jack the Ripper”, is found murdered and mutilated in Whitechapel’s Buck’s Row. The East End of London saw four more victims of the murderer during the next few months, but no suspect was ever found.

In Victorian England, London’s East End was a teeming slum occupied by nearly a million of the city’s poorest citizens. Many women were forced to resort to prostitution, and in 1888 there were estimated to be more than 1,000 prostitutes in Whitechapel. That summer, a serial killer began targeting these downtrodden women. On September 8, the killer claimed his second victim, Annie Chapman, and on September 30 two more prostitutes–Liz Stride and Kate Eddowes–were murdered and carved up on the same night. By then, London’s police had determined the pattern of the killings. The murderer, offering to pay for sex, would lure his victims onto a secluded street or square and then slice their throats. As the women rapidly bled to death, he would then brutally mutilate them with the same six-inch knife.

The police, who lacked modern forensic techniques such as fingerprinting and blood typing, were at a complete loss for suspects. Dozens of letters allegedly written by the murderer were sent to the police, and the vast majority of these were immediately deemed fraudulent. However, two letters–written by the same individual–alluded to crime facts known only to the police and the killer. These letters, signed “Jack the Ripper”, gave rise to the serial killer’s popular nickname.

On November 7, after a month of silence, “Jack” took his fifth and last victim, Irish-born Mary Kelly, an occasional prostitute. Of all his victims’ corpses, Kelly’s was the most hideously mutilated. In 1892, with no leads found and no more murders recorded, the “Jack the Ripper” file was closed. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Biography / BBC / Telegraph video

“Sea Dreams”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Sea Dreams” (Part VI)

“Ah, dearest, if there be

A devil in man, there is an angel too,

And if he did that wrong you charge him with,

His angel broke his heart.

But your rough voice

(You spoke so loud) has roused the child again.

Sleep, little birdie, sleep! will she not slee

Without her “little birdie?” well then, sleep,

And I will sing you “birdie.” ”

Saying this,

The woman half turn'd round from him she loved,

Left him one hand, and reaching thro' the night

Her other, found (for it was close beside)

And half embraced the basket cradle-head

With one soft arm, which, like the pliant bough

That moving moves the nest and nestling, sway'd

The cradle, while she sang this baby song.

What does the little birdie say

In her nest at peep of day?

Let me fly, says little birdie,

Mother, let me fly away.

Birdie, rest a little longer,

Till the little wings are stronger.

So she rests a little longer,

Then she flies away.

What does little baby say,

In her bed at peep of day?

Baby says, like little birdie,

Let me rise and fly away.

Baby, sleep a little longer,

Till the little limbs are stronger.

If she sleeps a little longer,

Baby too shall fly away.

“She sleeps: let us too, let all evil, sleep.

He also sleeps - another sleep than ours.

He can do no more wrong: forgive him, dear,

And I shall sleep the sounder!”

Then the man,

“His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come.

Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound:

I do forgive him!”

“Thanks, my love,” she said,

“Your own will be the sweeter,” and they slept.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Part VI of VI)

Full Poem

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“In psychology, describes the time it takes for a person to take a decision as a function of the number of possible choices.”

~ Hick's Law

“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”

“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

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)

Minor league baseball team to wear cat-themed uniforms in celebration of “Caturday”

Minor league baseball team to wear cat-themed uniforms in celebration of “Caturday”

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - A minor league baseball in New Jersey will celebrate cats during a special “CATurday” game featuring limited edition uniforms.

The cat-themed jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit BlueClaws Charities in addition to being sold at the ballpark and online in limited qualities the following week.

Fans who sign a waiver will also be able to purchase a $2 Paw Pass that will allow them to bring cats on leashes or in carriers to the ballpark for the game. UPI (07/06/2016) video

Why Does the Snooze Button Give You Only 9 More Minutes of Sleep?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Does the Snooze Button Give You Only 9 More Minutes of Sleep?

Even in the early hours of the morning, when you're repeatedly hitting the snooze button to catch just a few more minutes of sleep, you've probably wondered why that beloved feature only gives you another nine minutes in dreamland. Nine minutes seems like an arbitrary timeframe. Why not make it an even 10? There's a good explanation for it—and it's all in the original alarm clock's design

By the time the snooze feature was added in the 1950s, the innards of alarm clocks had long been standardized. This meant that the teeth on the snooze gear had to mesh with the existing gear configuration, leaving engineers with a single choice: They could set the snooze for either a little more than nine minutes, or a little more than 10 minutes. But because early reports indicated that 10 minutes was too long, allowing people to fall back into a “deep” sleep, clock makers decided on the nine-minute gear, believing people would wake up easier and happier after a shorter snooze.

Although today's digital clocks can be programmed to have a snooze of any length, many default to the standard nine minutes, because that's what consumers expect.

Business InsiderLife HackerMental FlossVanwinklesVogueWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Three sheets to the wind”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Three sheets to the wind:”  Meaning: Very drunk.

Origin: To understand this phrase we need to enter the arcane world of nautical terminology. Sailors' language is, unsurprisingly, all at sea and many supposed derivations have to go by the board. Don't be taken aback to hear that sheets aren't sails, as landlubbers might expect, but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.

The phrase is these days more often given as 'three sheets to the wind', rather than the original 'three sheets in the wind'. The earliest printed citation that I can find is in Pierce Egan's Real Life in London, 1821:

“Old Wax and Bristles is about three sheets in the wind.”

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just 'one sheet in the wind', or 'a sheet in the wind's eye'. An example appears in the novel The Fisher's Daughter, by Catherine Ward, 1824:

“Wolf replenished his glass at the request of Mr. Blust, who, instead of being one sheet in the wind, was likely to get to three before he took his departure.”

The earliest manifestation of the phrase in print that I know of is the 'two sheets' version. That is found in The Journal of Rev. Francis Asbury, 1815, which recounts Asbury's travels through Kentucky. His entry for September 26th 1813 includes this:

The tavernkeepers were kind and polite, as Southern folks should be and as Southern folks ought not to be; they were sometimes two sheets in the wind. O, that liquid fire!

Robert Louis Stevenson was as instrumental in inventing the imagery of 'yo ho ho and a bottle of rum' piracy as his countryman and contemporary Sir Walter Scott was in inventing the tartan and shortbread 'Bonnie Scotland'. Stevenson used the 'tipsy' version of the phrase in Treasure Island, 1883 - the book that gave us 'X marks the spot', 'shiver me timbers' and the archetypal one-legged, parrot-carrying pirate, Long John Silver. He gave Silver the line:

“Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober.”


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Living the Dream: A sarcastic term used when someone is asked how they are, they reply with this which sounds upbeat and a positive term, and they are actually miserable. “How are you doing today PO Jones” “Living the dream Captain”.

LMN: Lima Mike November. Lick My Nuts.

Load: (Always referred to as “the load”.) Generally refers to the ship's engineering plant being online, e.g. producing adequate electricity, steam, etc.

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

Just for you MARINE

MARINE: Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Non-Essential or My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment, pejorative backronyms used by other branches.

Marine: The following nicknames are usually acceptable: leatherneck, devil dog, sea soldier, warrior, hard charger, motivator; the following are acceptable from other Marines: jarhead, gyrene; the following are grievous insults: soldier, seabag.

Marine house: Security Guard term for living quarters for Marines, on or off embassy grounds.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSM-46 - Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron: “Grandmasters”
Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida,

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Terrifying moment “possessed” toy skeleton “speaks to couple” before violently shaking

Terrifying moment “possessed” toy skeleton “speaks to couple” before violently shaking

The woman can be heard asking the demon to leave them alone before the toy begins to uncontrollably shake.

The video shows the creepy toy placed on their kitchen work-top, before it apparently begins speaking to them and turning its head.

In terrifying footage captured on a phone, the toy appears to swear and hurl abuse at them.

As the demonic voice stops, a man can be seen pressing a button on the front of the plastic toy, with little response.

The terrified couple then appear to turn off the electric toy, which continues to frantically shake before eventually stopping when the main power plug is removed. Mirror (07/06/2016) video

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


“Time Is On My Side” - The Rolling Stones

“Time Is On My Side” - The Rolling Stones
Album: 12 x 5
Released 1964 video

This song was originally recorded by the jazz trombonist Kai Winding video and his Orchestra on the Verve Records label in October 1963. His version was mostly instrumental with just the lyric “time is on my side” sung by the background trio of Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. video

The first fully vocal version was recorded by the New Orleans Soul singer Irma Thomas video. Her version was released as the B-side of “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)video in June 1964. The Rolling Stones released their version of the song in the U.S. on September 26, 1964, and it became their first Top 10 hit in America. Thomas' version contains a spoken part in the middle that the Stones left out.

The lyrics were most likely written by Jimmy Norman, who was a member of The Coasters. The songwriting credit is unclear, and usually lists Jerry Ragovoy, who wrote “Piece Of My Heartvideo and “Tryvideo for Janis Joplin, as the only writer, sometimes as “Norman Meade”, which he used as a pseudonym. Thomas' original single lists the credit as “J. Norman - N. Meade”. Ragovoy, who also produced the song for Thomas, died in 2011 at age 80.

Keith Richards said of this song: “In America we were basically known for heavy, slowish kind of ballads. Time Is On My Side, Tell Me, Heart of Stone, that was what we were known for. Strangely enough that was our thing. Every single was a slow song. Who would believe it? You'd think they'd be clamoring for out-and-out rock and roll, but no, it was the Soul ballads that happened for us in America.”

This was one of two songs The Stones performed in 1964 on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance. The other was “Around And Aroundvideo. Sullivan was shocked by their looks and promised to never have them back. He ended up inviting them back several times.

The Rolling Stones released two versions of this song. The U.S. single was recorded in England and is slower, with a gospel organ. The British version was recorded at Chess studios in Chicago.

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

Image: “12 x 5 (album)” by The Rolling Stones



● Milk turns sour when Lactose (sugar) in the milk is devoured by bacteria.

● Donna Summer earned the title “Queen of Disco” with ten Top Ten Hits, including four #1 hits between 1975 and 1980.

● The first brand of mascara for women, in 1915, was named after Maybelline, who was the sister of T. L. Williams who produced the product.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

This 17th century mapmaker created the flat map where the lines of latitude and longitude are drawn parallel to each other, however causing countries farthest from the equator to be distorted . What is the name of this projection, named after this person?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

What 15th century person was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, put on trial on charges of insubordination and heresy, and burned at the stake?

Answer: Joan of Arc Biography

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

My wife, a phlebotomist at the Denver VA hospital, entered a patient’s room to draw blood. Noticing an apple on his nightstand, she remarked, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?”

“That’s true,” he agreed. “I haven’t seen a doctor in three days.”

Pun of the Day

This is what I like about chiropractors. They always have your back.