Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 44, 2016

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300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota on November 05, 1862

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota on November 05, 1862

300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota: On this day in Minnesota, more than 300 Santee Sioux are found guilty of raping and murdering Anglo settlers and are sentenced to hang. A month later, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences. One of the Indians was granted a last-minute reprieve, but the other 38 were hanged simultaneously on December 26 in a bizarre mass execution witnessed by a large crowd of approving Minnesotans.

The Santee Sioux were found guilty of joining in the so-called “Minnesota Uprising”, which was actually part of the wider Indian wars that plagued the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. For nearly half a century, Anglo settlers invaded the Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

At the reservations, the Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors; during July 1862, the agents pushed the Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractors callously ignored the Santee’s pleas for help.

Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Santee finally struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages. The initial efforts of the U.S. Army to stop the Santee warriors failed, and in a battle at Birch Coulee, Santee Sioux killed 13 American soldiers and wounded another 47 soldiers. However, on September 23, a force under the leadership of General Henry H. Sibley finally defeated the main body of Santee warriors at Wood Lake, recovering many of the hostages and forcing most of the Indians to surrender.

The subsequent trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. However, President Lincoln’s commutation of the majority of the death sentences clearly reflected his understanding that the Minnesota Uprising had been rooted in a long history of Anglo abuse of the Santee Sioux. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / U.S. Dakota War.org / Santee Sioux Museum / Santee Sioux / Popular Resistance.org / University Minnesota Deluth.edu / University of Missouri - Kansas City.edu


The Old Salt’s Corner


In the heart of the blackest abyss, down,

Down, in fathoms deep crypt, where light,

Does not penetrate, and the structured protective hauls,

Of men, are crushed beneath pressures massive

Weight, of the oceans deepest depth.

This is truly inner spaces aquatic zone of the

Unknown, a realm of stilled silence frozen

In the icy currents of the barren straights.

Where prehistoric giants dwell, amongst the

Tidal flow, ambush predators, forgotten beasts,

From long ago, living krakens whom devour

All life, hidden within their dark domain.

In Poseidon's mighty anger, the waves answer

To his fists of fury, hurricanes wrath of vengeance,

Gives birth to the perfect storms rage,

Vessels rise and than fall in the tidal surging


Nay do the sailors cry out to the Lord God on high,

For redemption's salvation, but the sacrificial altars must

Be appeased, by flesh and bloods sacred offerings.

Summons does the mighty lord of the seven seas,

To release the last of the ancient Leviathans.

Two thousand hands, of a thousand dead men,

Heave and pull at the tethering heavy chains,

To this devil of the depths cage.

From within interments vaulted keep,

Captivities living spawn from hell, is

Unshackled and released, to reek havocs

Devastation above.

An aquatic spider, a maritime widow maker,

Flexing and in-flexing, its body’s motions,

Towards the surface, in pulsations rhythmic

Orchestrations, the gray giant is ready to strike,

With its killing arms extended wide, to grapple

At its unprotected prey, to engorge itself with

All living matter that it surveys, within its icy reach.

As bubbles shoot upwards breaking the waters

Surface, suction cups and talon claws are drawn

Outwards, aligning his eight legged tentacles of bone

Crushing death, behold the Giant Squid, instrument of

Lethal torture, a living killing machine from the fathoms

Deepest depths.

For it is the beast, the true essence of evil

Incarnate, and none survive its destructive wrath.

~ Cherl Dunn

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

~ Mark Twain

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

~ Sun Tzu

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“When you’re uncertain of what to do, follow the instructions.”

~ Anonymous

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)

Young women strip to their underwear and demand cash from drivers in bizarre bid to bag husbands

Young women strip to their underwear and demand cash from drivers in bizarre bid to bag husbands

This bizarre footage shows women on a motorway flagging down motorists in their underwear and begging them for £1 to buy clothes.

Wearing just knickers, bras and high heels the group were reportedly trying to entice the drivers in Russia to part with their hard-earned cash.

n the smartphone clip one of the half-naked women said to the camera: “Do you have 100 roubles for a T-shirt?”

Mirror (09/06/2016)

Why Are Airplane Windows Round?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Are Airplane Windows Round?

While some passengers might be too terrified—or sedated—to notice, frequent travelers may sometimes wonder why the windows that line airplane rows are round. Windows in the home are rectangular; car partitions are angled, but mostly rectangular. Why don’t planes follow suit?

It’s actually not an aesthetic choice. Airplanes used to have square windows. And they wound up crashing because of them.

When commercial airlines graduated to faster and larger jets beginning in the 1950s, planes would sometimes essentially disintegrate midair. Two of them, both de Havilland Comets, fell apart within months of one another in 1954 and killed a total of 56 passengers. Investigators traced the flaw to the squared-off corners of windows, which collect the stress of a pressurized cabin and can be prone to fracture. During one test, the Royal Aircraft Establishment found that up to 70 percent of the airplane’s stress was concentrated on the window's sharp angles.

Circular windows, which are able to disperse that pressure more evenly, immediately became the new standard in passenger aviation. And for every one you see, there are actually three panes at work: one bears the burden of pressurization, another inner pane acts as a failsafe in case the outer pane fails—which is rare—and one “scratcher” pane faces the occupant, so that you can smudge and dirty it up to your heart’s content.

As for that little hole at the bottom: It’s there to make sure the working pane takes the brunt of the air pressure, maintaining the emergency pane for, well, emergencies.

Mystery solved.

BBCIndependentIO9Mental FlossMental FlossWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Between the Devil and the deep blue sea”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Between the Devil and the deep blue sea:”  Meaning: In difficulty, faced with two dangerous alternatives.

Origin: The phrase was originally “Between the Devil and the deep sea” (and somes “the Dead Sea” or “the Red Sea”). The sea turned blue much later and the phrase became well-known via the title of a popular song Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, written by Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen, and recorded by Cab Calloway in 1931.

What's the source of the original phrase? Well, we would really like to know. CANOE, the Committee to Ascribe a Nautical Origin to Everything, would have us believe that it has a nautical origin (well, they would wouldn't they?). In her book “When a loose cannon flogs a dead horse there's the devil to pay” Olivia Isil unambiguously attributes a nautical origin to the phrase, albeit without providing any evidence for that.

People who like that explanation can point back to Greek mythology for an earlier version of the idea of being caught between evil and the sea. Homer's Odyssey refers to Odysseus being caught between Scylla (a six-headed monster) and Charybdis (a whirlpool).

To explain the nautical theory we'll need to define some sailing terminology. That's always dangerous ground for landlubbers and usually results in some horny-handed sailing type writing in to say that I don't know my scuppers from my square knots, but here goes anyway...

“Devil - the seam which margins the waterways on a ship's hull.”

This definition is from Admiral Henry Smyth's invaluable Sailor's Word-Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, 1867. That definition wasn't entirely clear to me, but a correspondent who describes himself as “an engineer and vessel constructor” clarified it this way:

“Devil - the seam between the deck planking and the topmost plank of the ship's side.”

This seam would need to be watertight and would need filling (caulking) from time to time. On a ship at sea this would presumably require a sailor to be suspended over the side, or at least to stand at the very edge of the deck. Either way it is easy to see how that might be described as “between the devil and the deep sea”.

Another term for filling a seam is “paying”. Those that like nautical origins also give this as the source for the Devil to pay, although the evidence is against them on that one.

The first recorded citation of “the Devil and the deep sea” in print is in Robert Monro's His expedition with the worthy Scots regiment called Mac-keyes, 1637:

“I, with my partie, did lie on our poste, as betwixt the devill and the deep sea.”

The seafaring theory is plausible, but does it hold water? Was the nautical term “devil” in use when the phrase was coined? We've no evidence to show the word in that context until over two hundred years after the first sighting of the phrase. If the phrase really does pre-date the word then the nautical derivation is clearly incorrect. The onus falls on the nautical believers to provide the evidence - and I'm not holding my breath on that.

CANOE doesn't quite convince with this one. On balance it seems wise to stay on dry land and stick with the Devil we know.


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Grog: Initially, this referred to the watered down rum ration given daily to sailors in the Royal Navy. Presently in the USN, it refers to the alcoholic brew offered at social events like “dining-ins” and “dining-outs”. Depending on the wardroom and in particular on the person preparing the grog, it may be pleasant and delicious or one of the most foul and disgusting beverages ever conceived.

Ground-Pounder: Navy term for the Army or Marines, specifically infantry. Generally pejorative.

G.U.A.M.: “Giving Up and Masturbating” - common sailor's complaint about being stationed on the remote island of Guam..

● G.U.A.M.: “Give Us American Money”.

Gumby Suit: Brightly colored, puffy anti-exposure survival suit somewhat resembling the claymation character with the same name.

Gundeck: to juryrig something; falsifying or misrepresenting records and reports. The term originates from the days of sail, when ships would sometimes paint black squares along the hull to represent more gun ports than they actually had.

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

Just for you MARINE

Green Weenie: Sometimes the Big Green Weenie. It's what the Marine Corps uses to screw you with.

Grid Square: A standard grid square on a military map is 1000 meters by 1000 meters. Also called a click.

G-ride: A civilian style vehicle with government license plates.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSM-74 - Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron: “Swamp Fox”
Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Bikini-clad Scottish man has football fans in hysterics during World Cup qualifiers in Malta

Bikini-clad Scottish man has football fans in hysterics during World Cup qualifiers in Malta

A bikini-clad Scottish man has had football fans in hysterics after stripping down to a nude bikini to dance for supporters at the World Cup qualifiers in Malta.

In the bizarre clip, the fans are heard chanting loudly as the man entertains the first few rows of seats with his moves.

After spreading his arms wide, the man then bends over and cheekily slaps himself on the buttocks as the crowd whistles appreciatively.

Scotland romped to victory in the qualifying match beating Malta 5-1. Mirror (09/06/2016)

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


“The Beautiful People” - Marilyn Manson 1996

“The Beautiful People” - Marilyn Manson
Album: Antichrist Superstar
Released 1996 video

This song is a description of the way you need to survive in capitalistic society. It deals with Manson's personal struggle of being a wormboy (or middle class loser) to being a famous rock star. He's making a link between the American media and Nazi propaganda, as well as the need to to be physically perfect because of the hyper-reality we are brainwashed by.

It's also about the rock star looking down on the worms that make him what he is - this need to be more then a worm is what made him a star. The average rebel can relate to the song because Manson is making ugly fashionable, which is easier to achieve than the perfection we see on other CD covers and on MTV. (thanks, Mac - Cape Town, South Africa)

The phrase “The Beautiful People” came into vogue in the '60s, entering the popular lexicon in 1967. That year, a book by Marilyn Bender called The Beautiful People: a Candid Examination of a Cultural Phenomenon - the Marriage of Fashion and Society in the '60s was published, which is where Manson got the title to this song.

The phrase quickly became used as a demeaning identifier, as any grounded individual would certainly object to being classified a “beautiful person”. The Beatles used it incisively in their song “Baby You're A Rich Manvideo, and many journalists picked up the phrase. We found this from a 1967 NME article on Dave Davies of The Kinks, where the author responds to a comment from Davies that he likes to stare at the moon and let his mind wander: “Before anyone reads into that remark that Dave has joined the beautiful people perhaps I should mention that his version of a 'beautiful person' is someone who plays football.”

Manson wrote this song with his guitarist, Twiggy Ramirez.

The “Antichrist Superstar” is a character Manson took on to make people question their belief in God. It is a play on “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, which was the name of a Broadway play.

The music video uses jarring imagery and motion effects to create a very uncomfortable feeling - really the antithesis of what is traditionally beautiful. Manson appears in various elongated states with different barbs and contraptions disfiguring his body.

The clip was directed by Floria Sigismondi, who also did Manson's “Tourniquet” video. It was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Special Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Rock Video.

Radio stations usually play an edited version that says “every other hater” rather than “every motherf--ker”.

Marilyn Manson official site‎ / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Antichrist Superstar (album)” by Marilyn Manson



● The toilet featured in Hitchcock's Psycho was the first flushing toilet to appear on-screen.

● President Gerald Ford was offered contracts with the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions.

● Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Fearing that young boys might not read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full first name. Who is this successful writer?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

The world's oldest existing paved road, about 7 miles long, was built for a specific purpose some 4,600 years ago, in what country?

Answer: Egypt, Near the Pyramids of Giza New York Times

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

At school, Little Johnny was told by a classmate that most adults are hiding at least one dark secret, and that this makes it very easy to blackmail them by saying, “I know the whole truth.”

Little Johnny decides to go home and try it out. He goes home, and as he is greeted by his mother. He says, “I know the whole truth.” His mother quickly hands him $20 and says, “Just don't tell your father.”

Quite pleased, the boy waits for his father to get home from work, and greets him with, “I know the whole truth.” The father promptly hands him $40 and says, “Please don't say a word to your mother.”

Very pleased, the boy is on his way to school the next day when he sees the mailman at his front door. The boy greets him by saying, “I know the whole truth.” The mailman immediately drops the mail, opens his arms, and says, “Then come give your daddy a great big hug!”.

Pun of the Day

Did you hear about the vampire who used to torture his victims with music?

His Bach was worse than his bite.