Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 42, 2017

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Victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781

Victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781

Victory at Yorktown: Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

Lord Cornwallis was one of the most capable British generals of the American Revolution. In 1776, he drove General George Washington’s Patriots forces out of New Jersey, and in 1780 he won a stunning victory over General Horatio Gates’ Patriot army at Camden, South Carolina. Cornwallis’ subsequent invasion of North Carolina was less successful, however, and in April 1781 he led his weary and battered troops toward the Virginia coast, where he could maintain seaborne lines of communication with the large British army of General Henry Clinton in New York City. After conducting a series of raids against towns and plantations in Virginia, Cornwallis settled in the tidewater town of Yorktown in August. The British immediately began fortifying the town and the adjacent promontory of Gloucester Point across the York River.

General George Washington instructed the Marquis de Lafayette, who was in Virginia with an American army of around 5,000 men, to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land. In the meantime, Washington’s 2,500 troops in New York were joined by a French army of 4,000 men under the Count de Rochambeau. Washington and Rochambeau made plans to attack Cornwallis with the assistance of a large French fleet under the Count de Grasse, and on August 21 they crossed the Hudson River to march south to Yorktown. Covering 200 miles in 15 days, the allied force reached the head of Chesapeake Bay in early September.

Meanwhile, a British fleet under Admiral Thomas Graves failed to break French naval superiority at the Battle of Virginia Capes on September 5, denying Cornwallis his expected reinforcements. Beginning September 14, de Grasse transported Washington and Rochambeau’s men down the Chesapeake to Virginia, where they joined Lafayette and completed the encirclement of Yorktown on September 28. De Grasse landed another 3,000 French troops carried by his fleet. During the first two weeks of October, the 14,000 Franco-American troops gradually overcame the fortified British positions with the aid of de Grasse’s warships. A large British fleet carrying 7,000 men set out to rescue Cornwallis, but it was too late.

On October 19, General Cornwallis surrendered 7,087 officers and men, 900 seamen, 144 cannons, 15 galleys, a frigate, and 30 transport ships. Pleading illness, he did not attend the surrender ceremony, but his second-in-command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders. As the British and Hessian troops marched out to surrender, the British bands played the song “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Although the war persisted on the high seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown effectively ended fighting in the American colonies. Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /British Battles / George Washington's Mount Vernon.org / Library of Congress.gov / Victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781 (YouTube search) video

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Then Mercury of Cyllene summoned the ghosts of the suitors, and in his hand he held the fair golden wand with which he seals men's eyes in sleep or wakes them just as he pleases; with this he roused the ghosts and led them, while they followed whining and gibbering behind him. As bats fly squealing in the hollow of some great cave, when one of them has fallen out of the cluster in which they hang, even so did the ghosts whine and squeal as Mercury the healer of sorrow led them down into the dark abode of death. When they had passed the waters of Oceanus and the rock Leucas, they came to the gates of the sun and the land of dreams, whereon they reached the meadow of asphodel where dwell the souls and shadows of them that can labour no more.

Here they found the ghost of Achilles son of Peleus, with those of Patroclus, Antilochus, and Ajax, who was the finest and handsomest man of all the Danaans after the son of Peleus himself.

They gathered round the ghost of the son of Peleus, and the ghost of Agamemnon joined them, sorrowing bitterly. Round him were gathered also the ghosts of those who had perished with him in the house of Aeisthus; and the ghost of Achilles spoke first.

“Son of Atreus”, it said, “we used to say that Jove had loved you better from first to last than any other hero, for you were captain over many and brave men, when we were all fighting together before Troy; yet the hand of death, which no mortal can escape, was laid upon you all too early. Better for you had you fallen at Troy in the hey-day of your renown, for the Achaeans would have built a mound over your ashes, and your son would have been heir to your good name, whereas it has now been your lot to come to a most miserable end.”

BOOK XXIV continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Every photon that is absorbed will cause a (primary) chemical or physical reaction.”

~ Stark–Einstein law:. Named after Johannes Stark and Albert Einstein.

In physics, are three scientific laws concerning the behaviour of moving bodies, which are fundamental to classical mechanics (and since Einstein, which are valid only within inertial reference frames). Discovered and stated by Isaac Newton (1643–1727), they can be formulated, in modern terms, as follows:

● First law: “A body remains at rest, or keeps moving in a straight line (at a constant velocity), unless acted upon by a net outside force.”

● Second law: “The acceleration of an object of constant mass is proportional to the net force acting upon it.”

● Third law: &ldquoWhenever one body exerts a force upon a second body, the second body exerts an equal and opposite force upon the first body.”

~ Newton's laws of motion

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Peace is the beauty of life.

It is sunshine.

It is the smile of a child,

the love of a mother,

the joy of a father,

the togetherness of a family.

It is the advancement of man,

the victory of a just cause,

the triumph of truth.”

~ Menachem Begin

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Mistakes are a great educator

when one is honest enough to admit them

and willing to learn from them.”

~ 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)

Amazon reviews that’ll help make Jeff Bezos into the world’s richest man

Amazon reviews that’ll help make Jeff Bezos into the world’s richest man

So Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest man (depending on the price of shares at any given moment).

So in celebration of Bezos being literally rich enough to buy TWO Amazon Prime accounts, here’s five of our favourite funny reviews that helped him climb the mountain of pure wealth.

This review of a kids’ book where the reviewer points out the flaw

Where is Baby's Belly Button? This book is completely misleading. The entire plot revolves around finding Baby’s belly button; the title makes this much clear from the beginning. However, there is no mystery. There is no twist. Baby’s belly button is right where it’s suppose to be, on Baby’s stomach. Right where it clearly SHOWS you it is on the COVER OF THE BOOK.

This wonderful review of a toilet brush

Agony! I don’t know how these things have caught on! Absolute agony and quite disgusting to use. Call me old fashioned, but I’m sticking with toilet paper.

This very smelly review of an air freshener

Marriage saver. My poo stinks. ‘It’s supposed to smell bad’.

This rather alarming review of a WiFi Thermostat where the reviewer used it to exact revenge on his ex-wife

She Took The House, The Dog and The Pension, But I Still Control The Thermostat

This brilliantly funny review of a ‘squatty potty’

5.0 out of 5 stars This changes everything. Well, okay… just pooping.

Mirror (07/31/2017) video

How Large Are the World's Oceans?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Large Are the World's Oceans?

1. If all the irregularities on the Earth’s surface were to be smoothed out, such that there are no more holes or dents above or below the water, then the entire earth would be filled up with water which would be 12,000 feet deep.

2. The ocean contains so much salt that if you take out the salt and spread it evenly on all the land of the earth, then you will have a 500-foot thick salt layer.

3. The Pacific Ocean is as large as all the others - Atlantic, Arctic, and Indian Ocean - combined together.

4. Sea water contains 38 pounds of gold per cubic mile.

5. Everything goes into the ocean, in the end. Oceans are the greatest sink of the planet. That means all the sediments of rocks, all the rivers, debris with them, wind-blown dust, volcanic debris, everything. It’s said to have a 10,000-foot death bed of marine life’s skeletons. Below them is another bed of debris, which now is turned to rocks, due to immense pressure over the passage of time.

6. You can sink the entire Mount Everest (29,0299 feet) into the Mariana Trench (deepest place on the earth - 36,200 feet).

Live ScienceOcean Explorer - NASAQuaraWikipediaWorld Atlas

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Pucker Factor: Tension caused by high stress during a difficult or dangerous evolution. So named because one's sphincter tends to tighten up or “pucker” involuntarily during such times. Example: Pucker factor was high when he landed that Turkey single engine with complete AC power failure at night.

Puddle Pirate (derogatory): A members of the US Coast Guard.

Pull chocks (verb): To leave.

Pump and Dump: A term in Boot Camp, normally used by RDCs allowing Recruits time to use the Head. This was normally either 5 or 10 minutes in duration (never long enough). Sometimes used to call for pumping bilges and waste tanks overboard outside coastal limits. Originally used in reference to the daily order for a ship underway to go out past the 50-mile-from-shore line in order to legally pump oily water from bilges and dump trash, this can no longer be done.

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

Just for you MARINE

Shellback: Marine who has taken part in the crossing of the line ceremony or crossing the equator ceremony while on a Naval vessel.

Ship Over: To reenlist for an additional period of service.

Shit Bag or Shitbird: Habitually unkempt or undisciplined Marine. Also called a “10 percenter”.

Shit-Brick: Useless or ignorant person.

Shit Detail: An undesirable (usually temporary) assignment.

Shit-Hot: Term used to notify something as exceptional or very good. Not to be confused with Hot-Shit.

Shitter: Bathroom, Head or latrine, most often an outdoor portable toilet or outhouse. Also a nickname for the CH-53 helicopter.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-142 - “Gray Wolves”
CVW-11 Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Oak Harbor, Washington - Established April 1, 1997

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Cat Got Your Tongue?”

Cat Got Your Tongue?”  Meaning: A question addressed to someone who is inexplicably silent.

Origin: “Cat got your tongue?” is the shortened form of the query 'Has the cat got your tongue?' and it is the short form that is more often used. It is somewhat archaic now but was in common use until the 1960/70s. It was directed at anyone who was quiet when they were expected to speak, and often to children who were being suspiciously unobtrusive.

There's no derivation that involves any actual cat or celebrated incident of feline theft. It certainly doesn't relate to sailors becoming taciturn when punished with the cat o' nine tails as some have suggested - that's pure invention. Like the blackbird that 'pecked off his nose', the phrase is just an example of the lighthearted imagery that is, or was, directed at children.

The expression sounds as though it might be old but isn't especially so. It isn't found in print until 1881, in the U.S. illustrated paper Ballou's Monthly Magazine, Volume 53:

“Has the cat got your tongue, as the children say?”

The demarcation of the phrase as being 'children's' suggests that it may be earlier than the 1880s. children's language wasn't written down until it became used by adults, which may be some years after it was common parlance in the playground.

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Weird 'Rocks' at Robotics Test Site Turn Out to Be Dinosaur Fossils

Weird 'Rocks' at Robotics Test Site Turn Out to Be Dinosaur Fossils

Students searching for a Mars-like landscape in a Canadian park took an unexpected detour into paleontology.

What began as a search by university students for a Mars-like landscape in a Canadian park took an unexpected detour into paleontology, when they discovered strange “rocks” that turned out to be dinosaur bones.

Members of the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST) were visiting Midland Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, on June 1, to scout locations for an upcoming robotics contest. They needed terrain that closely mimicked the Martian surface, to test prototypes of Mars rovers in a new competition bringing together teams from around North America, USST President Danno Peters, a student studying engineering physics at the University of Saskatchewan, told Live Science in an email.

But the team found something else along the way: unusual-looking rocks embedded in the ground. Upon closer inspection, the “rocks” turned out to be fossils, including what appeared to be a thigh bone and part of a jaw, Peters said. [Seven Most Mars-Like Places on Earth]

Dry conditions in rocky deserts make many of them good candidates for finding fossils; some of the richest fossil repositories in the world are located in deserts, with the largest number of fossils originating in the badlands and deserts of China, Argentina and North America.

Live Science (07/31/2017) video

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


“Slow Ride” - Foghat 1975

“Slow Ride” - Foghat
Album: Fool for the City
Released 1975 video

The album version of this song, which runs 8:14, has become a classic rock staple. While the “slow love” theme is common in R&B music where the tempo is more congruent with the lyrics, this is a rare rock song that pulls off the feat. The famous guitar riffs change speed and climax neat the end, effectively simulating a lovemaking session. Those who are feeling strong can use the album version, but a single cut down to 3:56 with a fade out ending is also available.

This song was written by the group's lead singer, David “Lonesome Dave” Peverett, who died in 2000. He also wrote “Fool for the City”.

A '70s classic, this was used in the movie Dazed and Confused, which was set in that era. The song also appeared on The Simpsons, Seinfeld, That '70s Show and My Name Is Earl.

This song is featured as a playable song in Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. It is a cover of the 3:56 version, but instead of fading, an original ending was added leaving the singer belting out “SLOW RIDE” and having a bass solo before ending.

Foghat got their name when Peverett came up with the word while playing a Scrabble-like game with his brother. Peverett convinced the band to go with it instead of Brandywine.

Foghat, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Fool for the City (album)” by Foghat



CRESCENDO is the term for music gradually becoming louder?

Space Needle is the two-word name for the futuristic 184-meter tall structure built for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.

For thousands of years camel caravans moved along this route transporting SILK - this was the world's longest trade route connecting China and India with the Mediterranean named The Silk Road.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “HYBRID WORDS” ($200): (Each correct response will have a Greek and a Latin root.)

Your mechanic loves this word from the Greek for “self” & the Latin for “move”.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Learn That.org

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

The Greek for “tribe” & the Latin for “kill” gave us this crime that's investigated by the International Criminal Court.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Learn That.org

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “BASEBALL” ($600): (All of the clues were recorded at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where they were having a very special baseball exhibition.)

No major leaguer will ever again be permanently assigned the number of the jersey worn by this man.

Answer: Jackie Robinson CBS Sports

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “BASEBALL” ($1,000):

Check out the incredibly rare 1909-11 t206 card of this “Flying Dutchman”; in 2013, one went at auction for $2.1 million.

Answer: Honus Wagner National Baseball Hall of Fame.org

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

The Pope and a rabbi walk into a bar... - Told by Jews

A priest invites his rabbi friend to join him in the confession booth. A penitent enters on the other side, saying, “Bless me, father, for I have sinned this week.”

“Very well”, the priest replies. “Say three Hail Marys and put $5 in the collection box.”

The next penitent says, “Bless me father, for I have sinned three times this week.””

“Very well”, the priest replies. “Say three Hail Marys and put $10 in the collection box.”

At this point, the priest feels the call of nature. “Why don’t you take over for me while I’m in the loo?”, he tells his rabbi friend. “You see how it works. Nobody will know the difference.”

Soon another penitent enters the booth. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned twice this week”, she says.

“Go back and sin again,”, the rabbi instructs her. “We’ve got a special this week: three sins for $10!”

Quotable Quotables

“Frasier” (1993 - 2004)

Frasier Crane: “What on earth could have made him think I was interested in him? All I did was ask him if he was attached, and then we talked about the theater and men's fashions.…Oh, my God!”

Dr.Niles Crane: “Her lips said 'no'... but her eyes said 'read my lips.'”

Frasier Crane: “How can we possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex *is* what we want!”

Dr.Niles Crane: “I saw a twinkle in her eye I have not seen since the neighbor children discovered our new electric fence.”

Frasier Crane: “I do. I... I like her from a distance. You know, the way you like the sun. Maris is like the sun. Except without the warmth.”

Dr.Niles Crane: “Are you mad? You don't proposition a woman like that on the first date! Last night after dinner, I dropped her home with nothing more than a courtly kiss on the wrist. Tonight may proceed to handholding. If all goes well, in two weeks, I shall storm the citadel of her womanhood.”

~ “Frasier” (1993 - 2004) video Creators: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee