Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 22, 2017

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War of 1812: U.S. President James Madison asks the Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom on June 01, 1812

War of 1812: U.S. President James Madison asks the Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom on June 01, 1812

War of 1812 begins: The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law–and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress known as the “War Hawks” had been advocating war with Britain for several years and had not hidden their hopes that a U.S. invasion of Canada might result in significant territorial land gains for the United States.

In the months after President Madison proclaimed the state of war to be in effect, American forces launched a three-point invasion of Canada, all of which were decisively unsuccessful. In 1814, with Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire collapsing, the British were able to allocate more military resources to the American war, and Washington, D.C., fell to the British in August. In Washington, British troops burned the White House, the Capitol, and other buildings in retaliation for the earlier burning of government buildings in Canada by U.S. soldiers.

In September, the tide of the war turned when Thomas Macdonough’s American naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain. The invading British army was forced to retreat back into Canada. The American victory on Lake Champlain led to the conclusion of U.S.-British peace negotiations in Belgium, and on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, formally ending the War of 1812. By the terms of the agreement, all conquered territory was to be returned, and a commission would be established to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada.

British forces assailing the Gulf Coast were not informed of the treaty in time, and on January 8, 1815, the U.S. forces under Andrew Jackson achieved the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans. The American public heard of Jackson’s victory and the Treaty of Ghent at approximately the same time, fostering a greater sentiment of self-confidence and shared identity throughout the young republic.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Britannica Encyclopedia / Biography / Smithsonian War of 1812 (YouTube) video

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”

Book V

And now, as Dawn rose from her couch beside Tithonus- harbinger of light alike to mortals and immortals- the gods met in council and with them, Jove the lord of thunder, who is their king. Thereon Minerva began to tell them of the many sufferings of Ulysses, for she pitied him away there in the house of the nymph Calypso.

“Father Jove”, said she, “and all you other gods that live in everlasting bliss, I hope there may never be such a thing as a kind and well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern equitably. I hope they will be all henceforth cruel and unjust, for there is not one of his subjects but has forgotten Ulysses, who ruled them as though he were their father. There he is, lying in great pain in an island where dwells the nymph Calypso, who will not let him go; and he cannot get back to his own country, for he can find neither ships nor sailors to take him over the sea. Furthermore, wicked people are now trying to murder his only son Telemachus, who is coming home from Pylos and Lacedaemon, where he has been to see if he can get news of his father.”

“What, my dear, are you talking about?” replied her father, “did you not send him there yourself, because you thought it would help Ulysses to get home and punish the suitors? Besides, you are perfectly able to protect Telemachus, and to see him safely home again, while the suitors have to come hurry-skurrying back without having killed him.”

When he had thus spoken, he said to his son Mercury, “Mercury, you are our messenger, go therefore and tell Calypso we have decreed that poor Ulysses is to return home. He is to be convoyed neither by gods nor men, but after a perilous voyage of twenty days upon a raft he is to reach fertile Scheria, the land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the gods, and will honour him as though he were one of ourselves. They will send him in a ship to his own country, and will give him more bronze and gold and raiment than he would have brought back from Troy, if he had had had all his prize money and had got home without disaster. This is how we have settled that he shall return to his country and his friends.”

Book V continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“You fall, you rise,

you make mistakes,

you live, you learn.

You’re human, not perfect.

You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive.

Think of what a precious privilege it is

to be alive to breathe,

to think, to enjoy,

and to be with people you love.

Sometimes there is sadness in our journey,

but there is also lots of beauty.

We must keep putting one foot in front of the other

even when we hurt,

for we will never know

what is waiting for us just around the bend.”

~ Ritu Ghatourey

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“When someone is mean, don’t listen.

When someone is rude, walk away.

When someone tries to put you down, stay firm.

Don’t let someone else’s bad behavior

destroy your inner peace.”

~ 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)

Woman Licks World Record For Stopping Fan Blades With Tongue

Woman Licks World Record For Stopping Fan Blades With Tongue

Tongues will surely be wagging over this Guinness World Record attempt.

Sideshow performer Zoe Ellis, aka Zoe L’Amour, recently appeared on the “Guinness World Records Italian Show” in hopes of breaking her own world record for stopping the most electric fan blades using her tongue in one minute.

Shortly after filming this video, Ellis’s new world record was sliced apart by Ashrita Furman, who tongue-stopped 35 blades in a minute.

Huffington Post (03/31/2017) video

Why Can’t You Eat Grapefruit While Taking Certain Medications?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Can’t You Eat Grapefruit While Taking Certain Medications?

“May cause drowsiness.” “Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking this medication.” Most warnings on prescription bottles are pretty easy to understand. But “Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice at any time while taking this medication?” What the heck is that about?

Enzymes. It’s about enzymes. Or rather, one enzyme in particular: CYP3A4, which helps your body break down, absorb, and use many different drugs.

The grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) and its juice contain chemicals that interfere with CYP3A4 and keep it from doing its job properly. Depending on the medication, it can either cause your body to take in and retain too much of the drug, leading to a potential overdose, or not enough, rendering your medication useless.

It’s not just grapefruit, either.

Seville oranges (the kind often used in marmalade) and tangelos are CYP3A4 blockers, too. Dairy products and green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale can mess with other metabolic pathways.

“The biggest issue is from polypharmacy (taking multiple medications at the same time)”, Menzies says, “as many drugs will have effects on other drugs.”

Check your medication bottles and take those warnings

Should you have questions about how your prescriptions will interact with a specific food or other drugs or supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Family Doctor.orgFDA.govMental FlossRedditWebMDWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “High Jinks”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

High Jinks”  Meaning: Japes.

Origin: A variant of the once-popular game ‘high pranks’, which was a cross between dice and charades.

High jinks was a popular 18th century drinking game in Scotland. The game involved throwing a die, and if the caster got a bad score, they had to choose between drinking more alcohol or performing an undignified task.

The term “high jinks” is now commonly used to refer to any prank or frolic.


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Papa Chuck: The P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Also called “Four fans of freedom”, a desirable platform for airedales who have no wish to spend any time whatsoever at sea.

Paper Assholes: Gummed Reinforcements (office supplies); Paper Ensigns.

P.A.P.E.R.C.L.I.P.: People Against People Ever Reenlisting Civilian Life Is Preferable. Term used to show dissatisfaction with enlistment or unity amongst a brotherhood of bitter and disaffected sailors, specifically submariners. Often symbolized by the wearing of a paperclip on the uniform in varying levels of prominence to indicate the sailor's level of disgruntlement. May also be burned into the skin. C.L.I.P. also used as Civilian Life Incentive Program.

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

Just for you MARINE

Police: To pick up items (such as litter or expended ammunition casings), to return an area to a natural state, or to correct another Marine.

Poncho Liner: Insulating blanket used to warm the individual wearing a rain poncho, often used as a stand-alone blanket.

Pop Smoke: To leave quickly or hastily; from the method of throwing a smoke grenade to mark a landing zone or conceal a retreat.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VX-9 - Operational Test and Evaluation Force: “Vampires”
Operational Weapons Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, U.S.

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Rubbery, multifunctional fibers could be used to study spinal cord neurons and potentially restore functionMonkey business produces rare preserved blood in amber fossilsResearchers 'iron out' graphene's wrinklesThe space weather forecast for Proxima Centauri BNew slowly evolving Type Ibn supernova discoveredNew device produces hydrogen peroxide for water purificationElimination of specific neurons outside the brain triggers obesity

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Little Badger Buries Entire Cow - on Camera

Little Badger Buries Entire Cow - on Camera

An industrious badger in Utah's Great Basin Desert was caught on camera burying a cow four to five times the little animal's own size.

“Not to anthropomorphize too much, but he looks like a really, really, happy badger, rolling in the dirt and living the high life”, University of Utah doctoral candidate in biology Evan Buechley, who discovered the footage, said in a statement. [Watch the Video of the Badger Burying a Cow Carcass]

Live Science (03/31/2017) video

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


“Somebody To Love” - Jefferson Airplane 1967

“Somebody To Love” - Jefferson Airplane
Album: Surrealistic Pillow
Released 1971 video

This was written by Grace Slick's brother-in-law, Darby Slick, in 1965. They were in a San Francisco band called The Great Society, which also included Jerry Slick, who was Grace's husband and Darby's brother (Jerry played drums; Darby played guitar). The Great Society released the song as a single in late 1965 with another Darby Slick composition, “Free Advicevideo, on the B-side.

The single went nowhere, and when Darby started exploring Indian music in 1966, the group broke up and Grace joined Jefferson Airplane, which was already established. When she arrived at her new group, she came bearing hits: they recorded a new version of “Somebody To Love” and also did “White Rabbitvideo, which she wrote as a member of The Great Society.

With royalties he earned from writing “Somebody To Love”, Darby Slick spent years learning Indian music.

San Francisco in the mid-'60s was the epicenter of free love, but Darby Slick saw a downside to this ethos, as it could lead to jealousy and disconnect. This song champions loyalty and monogamy, as the singer implores us to find that one true love that will nurture us and get us through the tough times.

Jefferson Airplane's first hit song, “Somebody To Love” was also one of the first big hits to come out of the U.S. West Coast counterculture scene. Over the next few years, musicians flocked to the San Francisco Bay area to be part of this scene.

The original version of this song that Grace Slick sang with The Great Society is more subdued. With Jefferson Airplane she sounds far more accusatory and menacing when she belts out lines like “Your mind is so full of red” and “Your friends, baby, they treat you like a guest.”

Queen had a hit with a song of the same title in 1977.

Jefferson Airplane, official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Surrealistic Pillow (album)” by Jefferson Airplane



“El Nino” periodically occuring climatic event translates in Spanish to “the boy”

● At the 1984 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton became the first American ever to win the Gold Medal in the women's gymnastics all around competition - she won it with a perfect 10 in her final competition.

● Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas are four U.S. state names whose only vowel is “A”.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “SPICES” ($200):

Spanish for “little gourd”, the guajillo is a mild type of these with a heat rating of 2,500-5,000 Scoville units.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Mexican Food Products

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “BEST” WISHES ($200):

In this “scenario“, you look at the most favorable possibility.

Answer: The “best”-case scenario. The Free Dictionary

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

At an ecumenical religious conference, three panelists are asked where they stand as to when life begins.

“We believe life begins at conception.” says the panel’s Catholic priest.

“We believe life begins at birth.” says the liberal Protestant.

“We believe that life begins when the kids are out of the house and the dog dies.” says the rabbi.

Quotable Quotables

“Have Gun - Will Travel” Season 1 Episode 15 - The Hanging Cross

Paladin: “Well, this is the night when some people pretend there is no evil in the world.”

Paladin: “With this gun, I could have stopped murder tonight. But I've taken it off. That's my present to you. In all my life I've only seen a dozen real killers, but I've seen ten thousand people that would stand by and let it happen. Which is the greater evil?”

~ “Have Gun - Will Travel” - “The Hanging Cross (#1.15)” (1957) video Written By: Gene Roddenberry, Herb Meadow - IMDb - CBS (from 1957 through 1963)