Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 48, 2017

Previous Week   November 27, 2017 - December 03, 2017  Next Week

USSR attacks Finland on November 30, 1939

USSR attacks Finland on November 30, 1939

USSR attacks Finland:On this day in 1939, the Red Army crosses the Soviet-Finnish border with 465,000 men and 1,000 aircraft. Helsinki was bombed, and 61 Finns were killed in an air raid that steeled the Finns for resistance, not capitulation.

The overwhelming forces arrayed against Finland convinced most Western nations, as well as the Soviets themselves, that the invasion of Finland would be a cakewalk. The Soviet soldiers even wore summer uniforms, despite the onset of the Scandinavian winter; it was simply assumed that no outdoor activity, such as fighting, would be taking place. But the Helsinki raid had produced many casualties-and many photographs, including those of mothers holding dead babies, and preteen girls crippled by the bombing. Those photos were hung up everywhere to spur on Finn resistance. Although that resistance consisted of only small numbers of trained soldiers-on skis and bicycles!–fighting it out in the forests, and partisans throwing Molotov cocktails into the turrets of Soviet tanks, the refusal to submit made headlines around the world.

President Roosevelt quickly extended $10 million in credit to Finland, while also noting that the Finns were the only people to pay back their World War I war debt to the United States in full. But by the time the Soviets had a chance to regroup, and send in massive reinforcements, the Finnish resistance was spent. By March 1940, negotiations with the Soviets began, and Finland soon lost the Karelian Isthmus, the land bridge that gave access to Leningrad, which the Soviets wanted to control.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /Uralica / The Atlantic / Finland WWII in color 1939 (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 - Military Construction

(DOD) Any construction, alteration, development, conversion, or extension of any kind carried out with respect to a military installation. Also called MILCON.

Joint Publications (JP 3-34) Joint Engineer Operations)

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of El Caleuche”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of El Caleuche

In the very south of South America, there live a group of people known as the Mapuche. This little known peoples were able to repel the Spanish conquistadors from the 16th century for over 300 years. This allowed them to keep much of their pre Columbian heritage and mythos intact. The collected wisdom is known as the Chilota mythology. One of the those bits of lore is about “The Caleuche”.

The Caleuche is a ghost ship that appears every night near the Island of Chiloe, which is an island off the coast of Chile. The ship appears as a beautiful and bright white sailing ship, with 3 masts of 5 sails each, The ship is always full of lights and with the sounds of a party and the people on board laughing. After she is spotted the ship is then said to disappear or submerge itself under the water. The ghost ship is also known to be able to navigate while under water.

The Ship is not just any type of ship. The Caleuche is said to be is a kind of conscious being that sails the waters around the area. She carries the spirits of all those who have drowned at sea. According to Chilota mythology, the spirits of the drowned are summoned to the ship by three Chilota “water spirits”.

After appearing for a few moments, the ship is then said to disappear or submerge itself under the water. According to legend, the spirits of the drowned are summoned to the ship by Sirena Chilota, her sister Pincoya, and their brother Picoy. Sirena Chilota resembles what we know as mermaids, with the upper body and face of a teen, with long blond hair and golden scales.

Pincoya is said to have long blond hair, be of incomparable beauty, be cheerful and sensual, and rise from the depths of the sea with her totally human like body. Picoy has the body of a sea lion with golden fur and the face of a strikingly attractive human man, with long blond hair.

There appear to be two types of passengers aboard the luminous vessel. The spirits of those who drowned at sea are said to be able to continue their existence in a sort of paradise like existence, instead of being left lonely and cold in the ocean deeps. They are allowed according to some stories to even visit home once a year to give aid to their families. However there are also kidnapped fishermen who are kidnapped and forced to perform the duties as crew.

The folklore also says that the evil Brujo Chilote, the equivalent to the male witch, likes to visit the party on the Caleuche. Although they are evil, they are welcome aboard the ship. They reach the Ship by summoning up a magical water horse which is said to be able to gallop upon the surface of the ocean.

EsoterX / Chiloe Mitologico / LabrujulaVerde (Green Compass) / Night Watch Paranormal / Wikipedia

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Go where the money is.”

Often cited in medical schools to teach new doctors to spend resources where they are most likely to pay off. The law is named after bank robber Willie Sutton, who when asked why he robbed banks, is claimed to have answered “Because that's where the money is.”

~ Sutton's law.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“There may be times when

we are powerless to prevent injustice,

but there must never be a time

when we fail to protest.”

~ Elie Wiesel

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

Six ethics of life

“Before you pray, believe.

Before you speak, listen.

Before you spend, earn.

Before you write, think.

Before you quit, try.

Before you die, live.”

~ 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)

Driver stops car after hearing mysterious crying 10 miles from home and finds terrified koala clinging to wheel

Driver stops car after hearing mysterious crying 10 miles from home and finds terrified koala clinging to wheel

A terrified koala was found clinging to a car’s wheel axle after being driven 10 miles from home.

The young mother, who had lost her baby, was heard crying when the driver stopped and pulled over.

When he peered behind the wheel he saw the female still clutching the wheel strut.

Jane Brister, from Fauna Rescue, who was called out to care for the little marsupial, said: “I have never seen anything like that. It is absolutely incredible.”

It is believed Kelly had crawled into the wheel arch while the car was parked in the hills on the outskirts of Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia.

The animal was listed as a “vulnerable” species under an Australian conservation law in 2012.

There are fewer than 100,000 left in the wild, perhaps even as few as 43,000, according to Australian Koala Foundation estimates.

Mirror (09/17/2017) video

What Are the Northern Lights?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Are the Northern Lights?

Before science was able to get a read on what exactly was happening in the night sky, ancient tribes had their own theories for what caused the jaw-dropping light show. Many early beliefs had roots in religion, such as that the light was a pathway souls traveled to reach heaven (Eskimo tribes) or that the light was an eternal battle of dead warriors (Middle-Age Europe). Early researchers were a bit more reasonable in their approximations, and most surrounded the idea of the reflection of sunlight off the ice caps. In 1619, Galileo Galilei named the lights the aurora borealis after Aurora, the Roman goddess of morning, after concluding they were a product of sunlight reflecting from the atmosphere.

Today, scientists have come to the general agreement that the lights are caused by the collision of electrically charged solar particles and atoms from our atmosphere. The energy from the collisions is released as light, and the reason it happens around the poles is because that's where the Earth’s magnetic field is the strongest. In 2008, a team at UCLA concluded that “when two magnetic field lines come close together due to the storage of energy from the sun, a critical limit is reached and the magnetic field lines reconnect, causing magnetic energy to be transformed into kinetic energy and heat. Energy is released, and the plasma is accelerated, producing accelerated electrons.”

“Our data show clearly and for the first time that magnetic reconnection is the trigger”, said Vassilis Angelopoulos, a UCLA professor of Earth and Space Sciences. “Reconnection results in a slingshot acceleration of waves and plasma along magnetic field lines, lighting up the aurora underneath even before the near-Earth space has had a chance to respond. We are providing the evidence that this is happening.”

The best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter, due to the Earth’s position in relation to the sun (shorter days means darker night skies). And by the way, it’s not just the North Pole that puts on a show - there are Southern Lights, too. There are also aurora borealis on other planets - including Mars - so rest assured that future generations born “abroad” will not miss out on this spectacular feat of nature.

Traditionally, the best places to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights are in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, northern Canada, and Alaska. Maybe you'll get lucky this week and sneak a peek from your very own window. See Aurorasaurus for regular updates on where they are showing.

Earth Sky.org Library of CongressMentalflossNOAANorthern Lights Centre CanadaQuaraSpace.comWikipediaWhat Are the Northern Lights (YouTube Search) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang


Term used by Nukes to describe a method of estimation to arrive at an answer.

Used to prove a desired numerical answer with substantiated math, either correct or incorrect. Example: Watch Officer-“What is pH?” ELT-“What do you want it to be?”

Radioactive Rudolph: Reindeer meat brought onboard in Scandanavian Ports, especially soon after the Chernobyl meltdown. Now, just Rudolph.

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

Just for you MARINE

Slick sleeve: A private in the Marine Corps; refers to the fact that this person does not wear any rank insignia.

Slide Bite/Beretta Bite: Pinching or abrasions of hand due to holding a semi-automatic pistol too closely to a recoiling slide.

Slider: A hamburger so greasy that it slides right through you—typical of those served at flight line galleys. This meaning is evidently lost on restaurants whose menus proudly feature “sliders”.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-120 - “Grey Hawks”
Formerly RVAW-120 - FRS Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia - Established July 1, 1967

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Eat Humble Pie”

Eat Humble Pie”  Meaning: Act submissively and apologetically, especially in admitting an error.

Origin: During the Middle Ages, the lord of a manor would hold a feast after hunting. He would receive the finest cut of meat at the feast, but those of a lower standing were served a pie filled with the entrails and innards, known as “umbles”. Therefore, receiving “umble pie” was considered humiliating because it informed others in attendance of the guest’s lower status.

In the 14th century, the numbles (or noumbles, nomblys, noubles) was the name given to the heart, liver, entrails etc. of animals, especially of deer - what we now call offal or lights. By the 15th century this had migrated to umbles, although the words co-existed for some time. There are many references to both words in Old English and Middle English texts from 1330 onward. Umbles were used as an ingredient in pies, although the first record of 'umble pie' in print is as late as the 17th century. Samuel Pepys makes many references to such pies in his diary; for example, on 5th July 1662:

“I having some venison given me a day or two ago, and so I had a shoulder roasted, another baked, and the umbles baked in a pie, and all very well done.”

and on 8th July 1663:

“Mrs Turner came in and did bring us an Umble-pie hot out of her oven, extraordinarily good”

It is possible that it was the pies that caused the move from numbles to umbles. 'A numble pie' could easily have become an umble pie', in the same way that 'a napron' became 'an apron' and 'an ewt' became 'a newt'. This changing of the boundaries between words is called metanalysis and is commonplace in English.

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Rapper B.o.B Is Trying to Launch a Satellite to Show the Earth Is Flat

Rapper B.o.B Is Trying to Launch a Satellite to Show the Earth Is Flat

B.o.B, born Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., is a rapper from Georgia who once recorded a diss track about physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, after the two got into a Twitter fight in 2016 about whether the Earth is round. The rapper is a member of the Flat Earth Society, a group of people who are convinced that the planet is flat, not round. A scroll through B.o.B's Twitter feed also reveals a number of other conspiracy beliefs: He is an anti-vaxxer, a 9/11 truther and also, for some reason, believes that oil does not form from the remains of organic material buried under pressure.

The goal, according to the rapper, is to launch a satellite as far into space as necessary to “find the curve” of Earth. [7 Ways to Prove the Earth Is Round (Without Launching a Satellite)].

How we know the Earth is round

Despite myths about Christopher Columbus believing he might sail off the edge of the Earth, humans have known that the world is round for a very, very long time. The Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras left the first written arguments for a round Earth in 500 B.C. Ancient Greeks thought the sphere was the perfect shape, so it stood to reason, Pythagoras figured, that the Earth was spherical. A few hundred years later, according to the American Physical Society (APS), Aristotle dropped some scientific evidence into the debate. He pointed out that during lunar eclipses, Earth's shadow on the moon is curved; ships going over the horizon seem to drop down, hull-first, rather than becoming tinier and tinier until they disappear; and different stars are visible from different vantage points on Earth, which wouldn't make much sense if the planet were flat.

The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes, born in 276 B.C., even managed to determine the circumference of the Earth. He did this, according to the APS, by measuring the angle of the shadow of a stick stuck in the ground on the summer solstice in Alexandria, on what is today the Egyptian coast. He knew that in Aswan, Egypt (then known as Syene), the sun cast no shadows on the day of the solstice - it was directly overhead. The difference in the sun's angle between Syene and Alexandria corresponded to one-fiftieth of a complete circle, so Eratosthenes realized that if he knew the exact distance between the two cities, he'd just need to multiply to determine the full circumference of the Earth.

The mathematician had to hire surveyors to walk the distance with precisely measured steps, but he eventually landed on a total circumference for the planet of between 24,000 and 29,000 miles (39,000 to 47,000 kilometers). He turned out to be remarkably accurate: Around the equator, the planet's circumference is 24,900 miles (40,072 km).

Resurgence of flat-Earthers

The resurgence of flat-Earth beliefs started in the early 1800s with a writer named Samuel Rowbotham, who developed an entire alternative cosmology around the idea that the Earth is a flat plane enclosed by a dome of space, surrounded by a perimeter of ice walls. Rowbotham's philosophy was that the Earth looks flat, from a human's point of view walking on the surface, so everyone who said they could show otherwise must be lying. The International Flat Earth Society, formed in 1956, draws from Rowbotham's views. In the mid-1990s, the president of the group claimed to have 3,500 paying members, according to his New York Times obituary. Today, the Flat Earth Society website claims to have 555 members, the most recent being B.o.B.

Live Science (07/27/2017) video

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


“Photograph” - Def Leppard 1983

“Photograph” - Def Leppard
Album: Pyromania
Released 1983 video

The Pyromania album was produced by Mutt Lange, who came up with the line, “All I've got is a photograph.” This gave them the idea to write a song about a guy who's crazy about a girl, but all he has of her is a photograph.

Lange, whose first work with the band was producing their previous album High 'n' Dry, was so integral to the band's sound that he got songwriter credits on every Pyromania track. Def Leppard's next album, Hysteria, was also produced by Lange after an attempt with Jim Steinman failed. It wasn't released until 1987, delayed because of Lange's schedule and a severed limb: drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car accident on New Year's Eve, 1984.

Ringo Starr had a #1 hit in 1973 with a song called “Photograph” that contained similar subject matter. The band was worried they were too similar, but Lange thought no one would notice. In 2005, Nickelback had a huge hit with their own “Photographvideo.

The band would sometimes dedicate this song to Marilyn Monroe when they performed it live, and the video featured a Monroe look-a-like. This drew many listeners to the conclusion that the song is about the actress, but the Monroe association was constructed for the sake of a good story. The band didn't have a specific inspiration for the lyrics, but wanted to express their young lust in an anthemic song - what guy hasn't found himself so infatuated with a girl that every photograph he sees reminds him of her?

MTV, which launched in 1981, put the “Photograph” video in hot rotation, creating a feedback loop between the network and local radio stations. In interview with Joe Elliott, he explained: “It went through the roof because of MTV. Once people started getting cable all over the States, this fledgling MTV thing took off. We got fantastic bounce-back from people watching it on MTV and then asking the radio stations to play it. The two started bouncing back from each other request-wise, and the song just went crazy.”

Shortly after recording his hit “She Blinded Me With Science”, Thomas Dolby worked on the Pyromania album with Mutt Lange, who gave Dolby an unusual credit. Said Dolby: “By that time my name was known as a solo artist and I felt it might be a bit confusing to people to see my name on a rock record like that. And so it was actually Mutt that picked up a new moniker for me, which was Booker T. Boffin.” (See full interview with Thomas Dolby.)

The group “whoa...” that you hear a few times in this song was inspired by a 1973 Mott the Hoople song called “The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Rollvideo, where they do some significant “whoa”ing. Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott is such a fan of Mott that in 2009 he formed a band called the Down 'n' Outz that plays covers of their songs.

To the best of our knowledge, Joe Elliott performed the first flying spread-eagle on MTV when he does the leap about 1:40 into the video. This slow-motion display of limber exaltation was later seen in the Van Halen video for “Jumpvideo, where David Lee Roth performs the feat.

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

Image: “Pyromania (album)” by Def Leppard



Still in demand today the Grey Poupon company begin producing Dijon Mustard in 1777.

The term 'sesquicentennial' represents how 150 years.

The annual festival in Surin, Thailand (250 miles north of Bangkok) features amazing hard labor performed by trained elephants.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “YOU 'DY'” ($200):

“Term for a sports team that wins several championships in a row, like the Bulls in the 1990s.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “YOU 'DY'” ($1,000):

“This 4-word 'fabric' phrase means someone is extreme or unwilling to change an opinion.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT GAME OF THRONES GUY WITH THE BEARD” ($200):

“Oh, my sun & stars! In 2011 Jason Momoa took over this title film role from Arnold & got all barbaric.”

Answer: Conan Wikipedia

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT GAME OF THRONES GUY WITH THE BEARD” ($800):

“Before he was Robert Baratheon, Mark Addy stripped away his troubles as an ex-steelworker in this 1997 movie.”

Answer: The Full Monty Wikipedia

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Golfer's Tale

A golfer was sitting in the clubhouse after playing a round. He looked upset, so his friend went over and asked what was wrong.

The golfer said, “It was terrible. On the 16th hole I sliced one out onto the freeway and it went through the windshield of a bus, and there was a horrible accident.

... The bus went out of control and hit a car head-on. There were dead people all over the place.”

His friend said, “That's awful. What did you do?”

The golfer replied, “Well, I closed up my stance and shortened my backswing a little.”

Quotable Quotables

“Frasier” (1993 - 2004)

Dr.Niles Crane: “That's a good slogan for his radio show - "Dr. Frasier Crane: when he gets going, you have to tune him out.”

Dr.Niles Crane: “Remember the last time we took Dad to a four-star restaurant? He had a miserable time. The restaurant lost a whole star.”

Frasier Crane: “Are you kidding? The man smells like a chum boat.”

Frasier Crane: “Honestly, why does everyone feel I need companionship. What is this world coming to? What shall we do tonight Mr. Bottomsley?”

Frasier Crane: “My God! If I get any hotter I'm going to set off the sprinklers!”

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