Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 01, 2017

Previous Week   January 02, 2017 - January 08, 2017  Next Week

Golden Gate Bridge is born on January 5, 1933

Golden Gate Bridge is born on January 5, 1933

Golden Gate Bridge is born: On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less.

Engineer and poet Joseph Strauss, a 5-foot tall Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.

With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, and a symbol of San Francisco. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Golden Gate Bridge.org / City of San Francisco Museum / National Parks System / Golden Gate Bridge Construction (Bing images)Building The Golden Gate Bridge (YouTube)video How Golden gate Bridge was Built - Full Documentary (History Channel)video

“A Sailor’s Song”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“A Sailor’s Song”

Oh for the breath of the briny deep,

And the tug of a bellying sail,

With the sea-gull’s cry across the sky

And a passing boatman’s hail.

For, be she fierce or be she gay,

The sea is a famous friend alway.

Ho! For the plains where the dolphins play,

And the bend of the mast and spars,

And a fight at night with the wild sea-sprite

When the foam has drowned the stars.

And, pray, what joy can the landsman feel

Like the rise and fall of a sliding keel?

Fair is the mead; the lawn is fair

And the birds sing sweet on the lea;

But echo soft of a song aloft

Is the strain that pleases me;

And swish of rope and ring of chain

Are music to men who sail the main.

Then, if you love me, let me sail

While a vessel dares the deep;

For the ship’s wife, and the breath of life

Are the raging gales that sweep;

And when I’m done with the calm and blast,

A slide o’er the side, and rest at last

~ Paul Laurence Dunbar (from Lyrics of the Hearthside, 1899)

“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”

“You have this one life.

How do you want to spend it?

Apologizing? Regretting? Questioning? Hating yourself?

Be brave.

Believe in yourself.

Take risks.

You have this one life.

Make yourself proud.”

~ 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)

Tattooed dog photos prompt animal welfare concerns

Tattooed dog photos prompt animal welfare concerns

A Brazilian tattoo artist has been condemned on social media after posting images of what he claimed was his pet dog with tattoos on its face and ears.

Emerson Damasceno from Poços de Caldas in south east Brazil, shared the pictures on Facebook, where they came to the attention of lawyer Fernanda Soares.

Ms Soares shared them among her followers and they swiftly went viral, with animal lovers appalled at the pet’s apparent mistreatment.

As outrage spread online Mr Damasceno took the photos down and changed the name of his social media accounts.

He claimed he had tattooed the dog as it was suffering from cancer, and he believed the ink would protect it from solar rays.

Several vets quoted in the Brazilian media said that tattooing a dog would provide no such benefits.

Telegraph (10/17/2016) video

Can I walk naked on the Moon with just an oxygen mask?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Can I walk naked on the Moon with just an oxygen mask?

Upon landing on the surface of the Moon you put on your oxygen mask, don a space suit over it and exit your ship. Jumping to the surface you pop the quick release straps on your space suit as you land.

It's one small step for an internet anon and one giant leap for Darwinism...

Anndddd your head explodes.

Well not exactly. To be more precise you experience an explosion on your face. While you were on your ship your oxygen mask was held in place by two things, those plastic bands that wrapped around your head and the balance of several hundred pounds of atmospheric pressure. When you open your space suit the gas inside the mask has nothing to counteract the 14.7 pounds per square inch they exerted on you face and the mask. The end result is that they violently begin to expand applying several hundred pounds of force to your head.

Furthermore, the approximately 6 liters of atmosphere in your lung rocket out of your mouth with enough force to provide thrust. For reference if you have ever seen those old movies of houses getting blown up by nuclear bombs those were caused by 5 to 7 psi of overpressure.

So now you're laying on your back in the Lunar regolith staring unblinking into space with frozen eyes as the oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in your pulmonary portal gently outgasses. Evaporation cooling provides the mechanism for partial freezing of the moist parts of your surface but the vacuum of space will insulate your body well preventing it from instantly feeezing.

This is effectively the end of the story for our intrepid explorer as experience has shown that humans lose consciousness in 15 seconds or less after explosive decompression. That gives you just enough time to realize what happened and start to feel pain, horrible wracking pain before you black out. NASA states that after 90 second enough trauma is suffered that death is inevitable.

At this point our deceased explorer is going to continue to outgas for a good while, to my knowledge no one has ever conducted research on how long it would take to reach an equilibrium with the Lunar environment but we can say the outgassing will substantially slow as his internal pressure lowers and his body slowly heads towards what ever the local temperature is.

What won't happen is you won't immediately burn to ash (there is no atmosphere to provide an oxidizer), nor will he instant freeze into a Quorasicle although he would slowly radiate off energy if in the shade or slowly absorb energy if in sunlight.

That said wet areas directly exposed to vacuum (like you eyes) will experience rapid temperature drops due to flash evaporation. Areas exposed to near vacuum will suffer harsh but lest dramatic temperature drops due to evaporation cooling.

You would definitely not explode as the tensile strength of our bodies exceeds the forces they contain nor would his blood instantly boil.

While emboli may form it will be well after he is dead and most of them will be the result of gas evolving from your blood and outgassing.

IFK ScienceQuoraSmithsonian MagazineSpace.comWikipediaWhat Happens if Your Body is Exposed to the Vacuum of Space? (SciShow - YouTube) video

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Batten down the hatches”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Batten down the hatches:”  Meaning: Prepare for trouble.

Origin: “Hatch” is one of those words with dozens of meanings in the dictionary. In this case we are looking at the 'opening in the deck of a ship' meaning. Ships' hatches, more formally called hatchways, were commonplace on sailing ships and were normally either open or covered with a wooden grating to allow for ventilation of the lower decks. When bad weather was imminent, the hatches were covered with tarpaulin and the covering was edged with wooden strips, known as battens, to prevent it from blowing off. Not surprisingly, sailors called this “battening down”.:

Admiral W H Smyth’s 1867 encyclopaedia “The Sailor’s Word Book” calls “Hatch” “battening of the hatches” but it is clearly the same expression:

“Battens of the hatches: Long narrow laths serving by the help of nailing to confine the edges of the tarpaulins, and keep them close down to the sides of the hatchways in bad weather.”

The misspellings “battern down the hatches” and “baton down the hatches” are sometimes found in print. “Batons” are sticks or staffs, which makes that particular misspelling plausible. “Batterns” are a form of stage lighting.

The earliest reference to this practice that I know of is in William Falconer's An Universal Dictionary of the Marine, 1769:

The battens serve to confine the edges of the tarpaulings close down to the sides of the hatches.

Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.

The first citation of the explicit use of the phrase 'batten down the hatches' is from the 1883 Chambers Journal:

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief: your noble son is mad:

“Batten down the hatches - quick, men.”

English Stack Exchange - 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

Monkey Butt: same as civilian usage; rash or other anal condition caused by less than sanitary field conditions.

Monkey and a football: Short for “A monkey trying to fuck a football, and the football is winning.” An utterly epic goatrope (quod vide), more serious even than a clusterfuck.

Monkey cum: White scrubbing liquid used to clean grease pencil from status boards.

Monkey fist: A knot tied in a rope useful for handling said rope.

Monkey Mate: Derogatory term used by Boiler Technicians to describe their brethren in the much cooler Engineroom on the other side of bulkhead from their Fireroom. “Being a Monkey Mate is a lot easier than being a BT.”

Monkey shit: (1) A mix of a clay and fibers, used to plug up small holes around cables as they pass through a bulkhead.

(2) A type of putty used to seal the large steel access panels to the air casing on a steam boiler.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VT-3 - Fixed Wing Training Squadrons: “Red Knights”
Formerly Basic Training (BTG-3) Re-designated VT-3 on May 1, 1960 Primary TRAWING 5 / Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Santa Rosa County near Milton, Florida

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

What's That Noise? 11 Strange and Mysterious Sounds on Earth & Beyond

What's That Noise? 11 Strange and Mysterious Sounds on Earth & Beyond

Nature's noises: Many scientists have come up with curious answers to explain some of the mysterious noises found in nature, while others are discovering strange new sounds from the extremes of the Earth and outer space.

The Bloop: Over the past 70 years, the world’s oceans have emerged as a valuable global listening device, first by networks of underwater microphones scanning for enemy submarines during the Cold War, and in more recent decades, by scientists studying the oceans and the internal structure of the Earth.

The Hum: Unlike the inaudible microseismic hum reported by ocean and Earth scientists, “The Hum” is a social phenomenon somewhere on the spectrum between conspiracy theory and annoying genuine mystery that has become famous enough to warrant having a “the” in its name, like The Rock.

Black hole in B-flat: Astronomers have not only reported that black holes can sing, they have also said they found one singing in a note close to B-flat for more than 2-billion years. Live Science (11/20/2016) video

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


“Led Zeppelin Inspired By Others&rdquo

“Inspired By Others” - Led Zeppelin
Releases from 1965 to 1976 video

In their career, the British rock band Led Zeppelin recorded many songs that consisted, in whole or part, of pre-existing songs, melodies, or lyrics.

List of Led Zeppelin songs written or inspired by others

Album: Led Zeppelin:

Joan Baez

Led Zeppelin song: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You video

Original Attribution Jimmy Page

Earlier Version: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You video

Earlier Artist Joan Baez

Current Attribution Anne Bredon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant

Willie Dixon

Led Zeppelin song: You Shook Me video

Original Attribution Willie Dixon

Earlier Version: You Shook Me video

Earlier Artist Muddy Waters

Current Attribution Unchanged


Album: Presence:

Blind Willie Johnson

Led Zeppelin song: Nobody's Fault but Mine video

Original Attribution Jimmy Page, Robert Plant

Earlier Version: It's Nobody's Fault but Mine video

Earlier Artist Blind Willie Johnson

Current Attribution Unchanged


Led Zeppelin, official site / The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame / Rolling Stone magazine / Music Times / World Library.org / Wikipedia

Image: “Led Zeppelin sold more than 100 million albums in the U.S. alone (Getty Images)” by Led Zeppelin



● Saint Nicholas is a 3rd century Bishop in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey, who is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, is commonly identified with the holiday season.

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

● Grey Poupon company begin producing Dijon Mustard in 1777.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?”

The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?”

The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”

Pun of the Day

I travel all over the world, but always stay in my corner. What am I?

A stamp.