Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 31, 2017

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Germany and France declare war on each other on August 03, 1914

Germany and France declare war on each other on August 03, 1914

Germany and France declare war on each other: On the afternoon of this day in 1914, two days after declaring war on Russia, Germany declares war on France, moving ahead with a long-held strategy, conceived by the former chief of staff of the German army, Alfred von Schlieffen, for a two-front war against France and Russia. Hours later, France makes its own declaration of war against Germany, readying its troops to move into the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which it had forfeited to Germany in the settlement that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.

With Germany officially at war with France and Russia, a conflict originally centered in the tumultuous Balkans region—with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, and the subsequent standoff between Austria-Hungary, Serbia and Serbia’s powerful Slavic supporter, Russia—had erupted into a full-scale war. Also on August 3, the first wave of German troops assembled on the frontier of neutral Belgium, which in accordance with the Schlieffen Plan would be crossed by German armies on their way to an invasion of France. The day before, Germany had presented Belgium and its sovereign, King Albert, with an ultimatum demanding passage for the German army through its territory.

This threat to Belgium, whose perpetual neutrality had been mandated by a treaty concluded by the European powers—including Britain, France and Germany—in 1839, united a divided British government in opposition to German aggression. Hours before Germany’s declaration of war on France on August 3, the British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, went before Parliament and convinced a divided British government—and nation—to give its support to Britain’s entrance into the war if Germany violated Belgian neutrality.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”, Grey famously remarked to a friend on the night of August 3. The next day, Britain sent its own ultimatum to Berlin: halt the invasion of Belgium or face war with Britain as well. A reply was demanded by midnight that night. At noon that day, King Albert finally made a concerted appeal for help to France and Britain, as guarantors of Belgium’s neutrality according to the Treaty of 1839. To do so earlier, to call in the French and British too soon, would have risked violating his country’s neutrality before Germany had done so. When London received no answer to its ultimatum—the first German troops had in fact crossed the Belgian frontier at Gemmerich, 30 miles from the fortress city of Liege, that morning—Britain declared war on Germany.

In August 1914, as the great powers of Europe readied their armies and navies for a fight, no one was preparing for a long struggle—both sides were counting on a short, decisive conflict that would end in their favor. “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees,” Kaiser Wilhelm assured troops leaving for the front in the first week of August 1914. Even though some military leaders, including German Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke and his French counterpart, Joseph Joffre, foresaw a longer conflict, they did not modify their war strategy to prepare for that eventuality. One man, the controversial new war secretary in Britain, Lord Horatio Kitchener, did act on his conviction that the war would be a lasting one, insisting from the beginning of the war - against considerable opposition—on the need to build up Britain’s armed forces. “A nation like Germany”, Kitchener argued, “after having forced the issue, will only give in after it is beaten to the ground. This will take a very long time. No one living knows how long.”

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Telegraph / BBC / Deutsche Welle / Germany and France declare war on each other on August 03, 1914 (YouTube search) video

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Medical surveillance

(DOD) The ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data derived from instances of medical care or medical evaluation, and the reporting of population-based information for characterizing and countering threats to a population’s health, well-being and performance. See also surveillance.

Joint Publications (JP 4-02) (Health Service Support - Defense Technical Information Center)

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Thus did he speak, and they all held their peace throughout the covered cloister, enthralled by the charm of his story, till presently Alcinous began to speak.

“Ulysses”, said he, “now that you have reached my house I doubt not you will get home without further misadventure no matter how much you have suffered in the past. To you others, however, who come here night after night to drink my choicest wine and listen to my bard, I would insist as follows. Our guest has already packed up the clothes, wrought gold, and other valuables which you have brought for his acceptance; let us now, therefore, present him further, each one of us, with a large tripod and a cauldron. We will recoup ourselves by the levy of a general rate; for private individuals cannot be expected to bear the burden of such a handsome present.”

Every one approved of this, and then they went home to bed each in his own abode. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, they hurried down to the ship and brought their cauldrons with them. Alcinous went on board and saw everything so securely stowed under the ship's benches that nothing could break adrift and injure the rowers. Then they went to the house of Alcinous to get dinner, and he sacrificed a bull for them in honour of Jove who is the lord of all. They set the steaks to grill and made an excellent dinner, after which the inspired bard, Demodocus, who was a favourite with every one, sang to them; but Ulysses kept on turning his eyes towards the sun, as though to hasten his setting, for he was longing to be on his way. As one who has been all day ploughing a fallow field with a couple of oxen keeps thinking about his supper and is glad when night comes that he may go and get it, for it is all his legs can do to carry him, even so did Ulysses rejoice when the sun went down, and he at once said to the Phaecians, addressing himself more particularly to King Alcinous:

“Sir, and all of you, farewell. Make your drink-offerings and send me on my way rejoicing, for you have fulfilled my heart's desire by giving me an escort, and making me presents, which heaven grant that I may turn to good account; may I find my admirable wife living in peace among friends, and may you whom I leave behind me give satisfaction to your wives and children; may heaven vouchsafe you every good grace, and may no evil thing come among your people.”

BOOK XIII continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Everyone specializes in his own area of weakness.”

~ Rothbard's law

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you love what you do

and are willing to do what it takes,

it’s within your reach.

And it’ll be worth every minute

you spend alone at night,

thinking and thinking about

what it is you want to design or build.

It’ll be worth it, I promise.”

~ Steve Wozniak

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“You have three choices:

give up,

give in,

give it all you’ve got”

~ 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)

Make the pool boy say “WTF!”' Quirky Shirt company makes hilarious $44 'hairy chest' swimwear for WOMEN

Make the pool boy say “WTF!”' Quirky Shirt company makes hilarious $44 'hairy chest' swimwear for WOMEN

• U.S. company Beloved Shirts has designed eye-catching 'Sexy Chest one-piece'

• The flesh coloured swimwear has digital image of hairy man's torso printed on it

• $44 (£35) costumes come in different skin tones including 'dark' and 'tan'

• Some assumed the swimwear was a joke, while others said they 'needed' it

Ever wish you had someone else's body while making your way from the lounger to the pool?

An enterprising company is offering swimwear - in the design traditionally worn by women - printed with a hairy male torso.

The $44 (£35) costume, designed by Beloved Shirts, is available in different skin tones and has been shown off to the company's 105,000 Instagram followers.

The 'Sexy Chest One Piece Swimsuit' comes with the slogan: 'Make the pool boy say “WTF!”' and is the latest in a string of quirky designs from the company, whose own tagline is 'Yep - they're real!'.

The costume is available in sizes from XS to XXL and is offered in 'dark' and 'tan'.

Unsurprisingly, the photos, uploaded to the Beloved Shirts Instagram page, have caused more than a few ripples, with plenty of people saying they 'needed' them in their lives.

Others tagged friends who were about to go on batchelorette parties suggesting they buy one while others admitted they wanted one all to themselves - but in a different shade.

While many of those on social media questioned whether the outlandish swimwear was actually a joke, merely created in Photoshop, it seems that hairy chest swimming costumes are a real thing that can be purchased via the company's website.

And if you want a full hairy body tracksuit, you can bag one of those while you're there too - a snip at $119.

Daily Mail (06/12/2017) video

What Was the Original Reason for the 25th Amendment?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Was the Original Reason for the 25th Amendment?




The 25th Amendment clears up some ambiguity about the temporary or permanent absence of the President from office and, if permanently disabled from office, provides for appointment of a Vice President.

It strengthens and clarifies the line of succession as well as provides for temporary inabilities to carry out Presidential duties, such as a President undergoing a medical procedure or operation.

A President could die in office -- as has happened several times before — or be removed (impeached) and the original Constitution didn’t specify whether the Vice President was simply saddled with the duties of President or was elevated to the position of President. The 25th Amendment makes it clear that the VP becomes President.

Moreover, it also provides that the President may appoint a new Vice President to fill the vacancy in the Vice Presidential office, subject to confirmation and approval by Congress. This occurred after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 and VP Gerald Ford assumed the Presidency, using his 25th Amendment power to appoint Nelson Rockefeller as VP.

If a President knows that he will be temporarily incapacitated for some reason, under the Amendment he notifies the leaders of both Congressional houses by written letter. He can specify when the transfer of power to his Vice President becomes effective in the letter too. Once he’s able to resume the duties of the office, he would then send letters to that effect to the same Congressional leaders. This would be the case if the President knew he was to be anesthetized for a medical procedure. Once he’s awake and recovering and his doctors believe he’s fit enough, he can “reclaim” his office.

The most interesting provision allows for the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments (or of such other body as Congress may by law provide) to declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office by written declaration to the leaders of each Congressional house (i.e. the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives).

Originally it was intended as a means to allow official transfer of power to the VP if the president became too injured or ill to sign such letters himself — think of a heart attack or stroke. This section allows the President to reclaim his office if he recovers. But this could also be invoked if a President exhibits signs of dementia or possibly “mental illness.” It also provides that if the President is removed under this section, if he attempts to reclaim the office, the same officers can object, in which case Congress will decide the matter (and you thought the IRS hearings were a circus!). It’s about the equivalent to having the President “relieved of his command” as military officers might do in the event a commander is unfit or unable to do his job.

The 25th Amendment doesn’t directly negate Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution (the old provisions) or the statutes enacted by Congress outlining the line of succession should both the President and VP be unable to fulfill their roles.

Constitution Daily.orgConstitution LawsFord Library Museum.govQuoraWikipedia25th Amendment (YouTube) video

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Pull out all the stops”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Pull out all the stops”  Meaning: Make every possible effort.

Origin: The popular belief is that this phrase derives from the manner of construction of pipe organs. These instruments have stops to control the air flow through the pipes and pulling them out increases the musical volume. This seems to be the type of casual easy answer that is the hallmark of folk etymology. In this case, the popular belief isn't a fallacy but is in fact correct.


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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Pirate Navy: Small boy crafts generally referring to the smallest of the vessels, such as Minesweepers, Coastal Patrol boats, and sometimes Frigates.

Piss Cutter: A folding uniform cap.


(1) A urinal (not a toilet).

(2) An unpleasant situation "that's a pisser."

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

Just for you MARINE

Red Leg: Artilleryman See also cannon cocker and gun bunny.

Red Patch: Device worn on the uniforms of landing support Marines to distinguish the shore party from landing troops.

Request Mast: Appealing to increasingly higher links in the chain of command in order to seek satisfaction for a grievance the requester feels was not adequately handled at a lower level; DoN orders permit any Marine to request mast up to the individual's commanding general without repercussions.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-131 - “Lancers”
Formerly VP-920, VP-ML-70, VP-931, VP-57, VAH-4 CVW-8, Naval Aviation Squadron Whidbey Island Oak Harbor, Washington - Established May 1, 1946

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

The Juno Spacecraft Reveals New Mysteries at JupiterWe Ride in Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the Humvee's Successor (The stronger, faster, and much safer replacement for the popular but vulnerable Humvee is finally here. And we got to drive it.)Rock Bouncer Racing Is the Most Out-of-Control Motorsport You'll Ever See (In this off-road racing series, a rollover is just the beginning of your problems)These Magnetic Gyroscopic Toys Are Your Next ObsessionDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Is Working on Giving Soldiers SupervisionWhy You Should Never Squash a House CentipedeThe World's Most Dangerous ColorsRiddle of the Week #28: The Bicycle Killer

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Four Baby Squirrels Get Tails Entangled in Bizarre Video (Here's How)

Four Baby Squirrels Get Tails Entangled in Bizarre Video (Here's How)

A quartet of adorable baby squirrels recently got into quite a sticky predicament.

The four squirrels were found in Bangor, Maine, with their tails stuck together in a matted collection of plastic, twigs and straw.

But how, exactly, did these little squirrels get so tangled? [Photos: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals]

Squirrels stick together

To stay cozy while they sleep, baby squirrels sit all bunched up, with their tails wrapped around one another. So one possibility is that they were entangled by some kind of human food, like a sticky candy, Jacobs said. But whatever the sticky material was, it probably wasn't edible, because they would have eaten it.

Housing crunch

Squirrels that find themselves in this knotty predicament may be facing their own version of an urban housing crisis, Bateman said. In cities, the plethora of human food options fuels an explosion in the squirrel population, but there's not a lot of real estate for building nests — tall trees with cozy holes or branching limbs for making their twig-based dreys, Bateman said. So just as humans in the big city do, city slicker squirrels get roommates - and lots of them.

Rat kings

A slightly different phenomenon also occurs in rats, known ominously as a "rat king." In a rat king, dozens of rats may get their tails tied together in knots. There is some debate about whether these more elaborate rat kings are the result of human malice or a natural phenomenon. [Rats and Lizards and Monkeys, Oh My! 9 Islands Ruled by Animals]

Live Science (05/25/2017) video

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


“Piece Of My Heart” - Janis Joplin Big Brother & the Holding Company 1968

“Piece Of My Heart” - Janis Joplin Big Brother & the Holding Company
Album: Cheap Thrills
Released 1968 video

Janis Joplin sang lead. Big Brother & the Holding Company was one of the groups she sang with before going solo later in 1968. Until her death in 1970, this was her biggest chart success and best-known song (the posthumous “Me And Bobby McGeevideo went to #1 in 1971). Although she wasn't the first to record it, the song remains most associated with Joplin and continued to get airplay long after her death.

The song is about a lovelorn woman so enraptured by her man that she's willing to break off yet another piece of her heart if only he will take it. Joplin showed off her extraordinary vocal dexterity on the song, which was right in her wheelhouse in terms of dynamics and subject matter.

Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns wrote this song. Aretha Franklin's younger sister Erma sang the original version and put it on the R&B charts in 1967. Big Brother & the Holding Company quickly covered it and took it to #12 on the Hot 100. For Erma Franklin, it was her biggest hit. She went on to sing backup on some of Aretha's songs, and ran a childcare agency called Boysville. Erma died of cancer in 2002 at age 63.

Franklin's original version made its UK chart debut in 1992 - 25 years after initial release - thanks to its being used in a Levi's jeans commercial.

The song's writer Bert Berns was Van Morrison's producer at the time - Morrison had signed to Berns' record label, Bang. Berns wanted Morrison to record this song for his first solo album in 1967, but Van declined, choosing to record his own songs instead. Berns never got to hear Joplin sing it; he died of a heart attack on December 30, 1967.

Janis Joplin sang this at Woodstock in 1969 as part of her encore.

This song has been covered in a number of styles over the years, and five different artists have taken it to the U.S. Hot 100. Erma Franklin's original made #62 in 1967, which was followed by the #12 placing for Big Brother & the Holding Company. The rocker Sammy Hagar revived the song in 1982, taking it to #73. In 1997, the Reggae/Rap star Shaggy made it to #97 with his rendition, then in 2005 the song was included in a medley duet by Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone that went to #32.

When Faith Hill covered it in 1994, her version went to #1 on the Country charts. In the UK, the first version to chart was Shaggy's, which made #7. In 2006, the British Soul singer Beverly Knight recorded it for her 2006 best-of compilation, Voice, and her version peaked at #16 in the UK.

When Erma Franklin heard Joplin's cover on the radio, she barely recognized the song. She graciously said in a 1973 interview: “Her version is so different from mine that I really don't resent it too much.”

Melissa Etheridge sang her version at Woodstock '94 as part of a four-song medley of Joplin tunes.

Big Brother & the Holding Company, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “ Cheap Thrills (album)” by Janis Joplin - Big Brother and the Holding Company



Roquefort is a pungent French cheese made from the milk from sheep.

● Switzerland became the 190th member state of the United Nations on September 10, 2002.

● The classical design of acoustic guitars as we know them today was created in the 19th century in Spain.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “STEVE JOBS” ($1000):

In the 1980s Jobs began NeXT company with help from this Texas entrepreneur & future presidential candidate.

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “DANGEROUS” ($600):

This swimming superstar made many a movie right here at Sony studios, including 1953's “Dangerous When Wet

Answer: Esther Williams. Dangerous When Wet (1953) – Swim With Tom and Jerry (YouTube)

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Farmer John

Farmer John lived on a quiet rural highway. But, as time went by, the traffic slowly built up at an alarming rate.

The traffic was so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at arate of three to six a day.

So one day Farmer John called the sheriff's office and said, “You've got to do something about all of these people driving sofast and killing all of my chickens.”

“What do you want me to do?" asked the sheriff.

“I don't care, just do something about those crazy drivers!”

So the nextday he had the county workers go out and erected a sign that said: SLOW - SCHOOL CROSSING.

Three days later Farmer John called the sheriff and said, “You've got todo something about these drivers. The 'schoolcrossing' sign seems to make them go even faster.”

So, again, the sheriff sends out the countyworkers and they put up a newsign: SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY.

That really sped them up. So Farmer John calledand called and called every day for three weeks. Finally, he asked thesheriff, “Your signs are doing no good. Can I put up my own sign?”

The sheriff told him, “Sure thing, put up your own sign.”

He was going to let the Farmer John do just about anything in order to get him to stop calling everyday to complain. The sheriff got no more calls from Farmer John.Three weeks later, curiosity got the best of the sheriff and he decided togive Farmer John a call. “How's the problem with those drivers. Did youput up your sign?”

“Oh, I sure did. And not one chicken has been killed since then. I've got to go. I'm very busy.”

He hung up the phone. The sheriff was really curious now and he thoughtto himself, “I'd better go out there and take a look at that sign... itmight be something that WE could use to slow down drivers...”

So the sheriff drove out to Farmer John's house, and his jaw dropped the moment he saw thesign. It was spray-painted on a sheet of wood:


Quotable Quotables

“Lone Ranger” TV Series (1949 - 1957)

Narrator: “The Lone Ranger!”

[gunshots are fired]

The Lone Ranger: “Hi-yo, Silver!”

Narrator: “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi-yo Silver” - the Lone Ranger!”

The Lone Ranger: “Hi-yo, Silver! away!”

Narrator: “With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!”

The Lone Ranger: “Only you, Tonto, know I'm alive. To the world, I'll buried here beside my brother and my friends... forever.”

Tonto: “You are alone now. Last man. You are lone ranger.”

The Lone Ranger: “Yes, Tonto, I am... the Lone Ranger.”

[The Lone Ranger shots the gun from the bad man's hand]

Bad Man: “You broke my hand, it hurts!”

The Lone Ranger: “You'll find that breaking the law will hurt far worse, than a broken hand.”

~ “The Lone Ranger” TV Series (1949 - 1957) - “YouTube search” (“The Lone Ranger - TV series”) video Creators: George W. Trendle and George W. George