Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 13

FDA approves Viagra on March 27th, 1998

FDA approves Viagra on March 27th, 1998

On this day in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence.

Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a form of cardiovascular disease). Chemists at the Pfizer pharmaceutical company found, however, that while the drug had little effect on angina, it could induce penile erections, typically within 30 to 60 minutes. Seeing the economic opportunity in such a biochemical effect, Pfizer decided to market the drug for impotence. Sildenafil was patented in 1996, and a mere two years later–a stunningly short time compared to other drugs–it was approved by the FDA for use in treating "erectile dysfunction," the new clinical name for impotence. Though unconfirmed, it is believed the drug was invented by Peter Dunn and Albert Wood.

Viagra's massive success was practically instantaneous. In the first year alone, the $8-$10 pills yielded about a billion dollars in sales. Viagra's impact on the pharmaceutical and medical industries, as well as on the public consciousness, was also enormous. Though available by prescription only, Viagra was marketed on television, famously touted by ex-presidential candidate Bob Dole, then in his mid-70s. Such direct-to-consumer marketing was practically unprecedented for prescription drugs (now, sales and marketing account for approximately 30 percent of the pharmaceutical industry's costs, in some cases more than research and development). The drug was also offered over the internet–customers needed only to fill out an "online consultation" to receive samples.

An estimated 30 million men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction and a wave of new Viagra competitors, among them Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil), has blown open the market. Drug companies are now not just targeting older men like Dole, but men in their 30s and 40s, too. As with many drugs, the long-term effects of Viagra on men's health are still unclear (Viagra does carry warnings for those who suffer from heart trouble), but its popularity shows no signs of slowing. To date, over 20 million Americans have tried it, and that number is sure to increase as the baby boomer population continues to age.History Channelvideo

Wikipedia  Image: Sildenafil citrate, sold as Viagra, Revatio and under various other trade names, is a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Coup de main

(DOD) An offensive operation that capitalizes on surprise and simultaneous execution of supporting operations to achieve success in one swift stroke.

The Old Salt’s Corner

A Toast to a Veteran

Crystal is the goblet, clear, like the vision of our mission.

Red is the wine, dark, to remind us of those who have gone before us.

Strong is the hand that holds it, yet tender, when the time is nigh.

Tall is the Warrior, whatever stature they may be.

We stand together brothers, comrades, and mates.

We pause to respect the departed, and reflect, on the life we choose to follow.

We lift these glasses high in honor, tribute and glory to all who may be called

American Armed Forces Veteran.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?

“Thought for the Day

“Thought for the Day”

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” ~Karl Marx

“What I Have Learned”

If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.

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)

Ms. Blondie Bennett (her recently-acquired real name), 38, is not just a California model selling provocative “Barbie doll” photos of herself online (featuring her recently-augmented 32JJ breast implants). She is at work on a longer-range project to remake herself completely as a human Barbie doll--to include the popular critique that Barbie represents not only bodily perfection but mindlessness.

Bennett said she has had 20 hypnotherapy sessions to “help” her appear more confused and vacant, according to news reports. “I want people to see me as a plastic sex doll, and being brainless is a big part of that.” She said she is doing well, in that she recently got lost driving to her mother’s house.British - Daily Mail

One night in August 1940, that movie happened to be the Paramount western, Geronimo, about the Apache chief. The next day, “Geronimooooooo!” was yelled by Private Aubrey Eberhardt while jumping from the plane.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why do parachute jumpers yell “Geronimo!” when they jump out of the plane?

The custom of yelling "Geronimo!" is attributed to Aubrey Eberhardt, a member of the U.S. Army's parachute “test platoon” that demonstrated the feasibility of parachute troop drops at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1940. To speed up the drops, the brass decided to try a mass jump, in which the chutists would jump from the plane in quick succession. The men were nervous about this, and to relieve the tension a group of them went to see a western at the post movie house the night before the jump. The movie featured the cavalry mixing it up with the famous Apache chief Geronimo. One supposes it was Geronimo (1939) with Andy Devine and Gene Lockhart.

After the movie the men went to the post beer garden to further calm their nerves, and after a few hours were feeling pretty courageous. Strolling back to camp, Private Eberhardt announced that he expected the next day's jump to be no different than any other. His friends immediately began to razz him, saying he'd be so scared he'd barely remember his name. This ticked off the six-foot-eight Eberhardt, who was known for his confidence and powers of concentration. According to Gerard M. Devlin, author of Paratrooper! (1979), he declared, "All right, dammit! I tell you jokers what I'm gonna do! To prove to you that I'm not scared out of my wits when I jump, I'm gonna yell “Geronimo” loud as hell when I go out that door tomorrow!"

Somers and Farragut were warned by Delphy's siren and they slowed considerably before coming ashore; both were able to back off without major damage. The other ships of the squadron avoided grounding completely. The ships came to rest in two groups: a main group with Fuller, Woodbury, Young, Chauncey and Delphy roughly in a line, and S. P. Lee & Nicholas together to the north of the other ships. In the aftermath of the grounding Delpy capsized and Nicholas' bow broke off.

Next morning half the platoon strapped on their chutes and boarded planes while the other half sat by the edge of the jump field to watch the drop. By now everyone had heard about Eberhardt's promise. The lead plane flew over the field at low altitude and the men began spilling out as planned. As the chutes popped open, the guys on the ground could clearly hear a shout of "Geronimo!" followed by an Indian war whoop. Eberhardt had made good on his boast and the unofficial yell of U.S. airborne troops had been born.

Wikipedia  Image: Why do parachute jumpers yell “Geronimo!” (Mental Floss)

Where Did That Saying Come From? “That takes the cake”

Where Did That Saying Come From? “That takes the cake”

African Americans of the Old South highlighted their social season with a dancing contest called a cakewalk. The contestants often practiced for months and included couples of all ages. The prize was a huge cake which was set in the center of the hall and around which the dancers exhibited their skills.

A panel of judges would watch the innovative dancers until a winner was chosen, who would then “take the cake”. We say, “That takes the cake” when something is done exceptionally well.

Wikipedia  Image: Cakewalk Cakewalk lesson, 1900s.

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Berthing: Living quarters for enlisted personnel. Aboard ship berthing is usually a relatively large space filled with three-deep racks, lockers, a couple of TV's, minimal furniture, and an attached head.

Black Hole, The: Reference to the Navy's main base at Norfolk, Virginia, so called because “it's where sailors' careers go to die.”

Black Hole: An extremely dangerous situation encountered by naval aviators when landing aboard a ship on a very dark night. Limited visual cues and vestibular errors from the inner ear give the impression of forward motion when in fact forward motion has slowed considerably or stopped altogether. The pilot continues his descent, however, under the impression that he is still on a normal glideslope. Many rampstrikes and water impacts have resulted from this phenomenon.

Bravo Foxtrot: Buddy Fu**er - someone who will make himself look good at the expense of his shipmates.

Cluster Foxtrot: A chaotic situation where everything seems to go wrong. It is often caused by incompetence, communication failure, or a complex environment.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-25 - Strike Fighter Squadron 25 – “Fist of the Fleet” Nas Lemoore, CA

Pun of the Day

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A beer please, and one for the road”.

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt of the Southwestern Biological Institute in Tucson, Arizona is a leading expert on stinging insects, Schmidt spends a lot of time capturing bugs for his research, going after some of the most toxic, aggressive, and algogenic (i.e., pain-inducing) species on earth. Inevitably accidents occur.

For example, one time Schmidt found himself clinging to a tree suspended over a Costa Rican gorge Indiana Jones-style while enraged wasps squirted venom in his eyes. You or I in this situation would say … well, actually we wouldn’t say anything. We’d just shriek like frightened babies. Schmidt for his part admits it wasn’t one of his better days but as a scientist wasn’t about to let useful data go to waste. After the agony receded sufficiently he jotted down a few notes for the pain index.

Schmidt first used his index in a 1984 study investigating whether a certain physiological sting reaction was correlated with pain. It wasn’t, but Schmidt realized quantifying pain had its uses and elaborated on the index in a 1988 paper and again in 1990, providing ratings for 78 species and 41 genera. All were based on stings he or associates had experienced personally.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index is a five-point scale, as follows:

● Sting level 0 is virtually imperceptible — the stinger doesn’t penetrate the skin.

● A level 1 sting is the sharp prick you get from a sweat bee or a fire ant, a rating that seems surprisingly low until you realize hardly anybody gets stung by just one fire ant.

● A typical level 2 sting is produced by the honeybee, the benchmark of sting pain.

● But things can get much worse. For the archetypal level 3 sting you want a harvester ant (genus Pogonomyrmex), whose sting combines intensity with duration — the pain can last four to eight hours.

● Finally, there’s a level 4 sting, which is as bad as it can get. Schmidt knows of only three critters capable of inflicting level-4 suffering: the warrior wasp (Synoeca septentrionalis), a two-and-a-half-inch-long black bug found in the tropics; the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata), also tropical; and the tarantula hawk (genus Pepsis), two inches long, which Schmidt can find in his yard in Tucson.

The tarantula hawk’s sting, Schmidt has been quoted as saying, feels like “a running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath.” However, for sheer aggregation of misery he rates the sting of the bullet ant slightly higher. Whereas the sting of the tarantula hawk fades after two to five minutes, the “pure, intense, brilliant pain” of the bullet ant remains at full strength for one to four hours and can linger for 12 hours.

As one might surmise given the nature of the research, the Schmidt index is subjective and based on limited data points. Schmidt says he’s been stung six to eight times by tarantula hawks and just once, in the forehead, by a warrior wasp. He acknowledges the pain can vary depending on where you get stung and how much venom was injected. For that reason he hedges his ratings, with bee stings ranging from 0 to 2.


1988 NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame

Sports 1988 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers win 4 games to 1 over the Oakland Athletics

Superbowl XXII Champions: Washington Redskins win their second Super Bowl title and fourth NFL title 42–10 over the Denver Broncos

NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers win 4 games to 3 over the Detroit Pistons

Stanley Cup Champs: Edmonton Oilers win 4 games to 0 over the Boston Bruins

Olympics Ice Hockey: Soviet Union win the Olympic gold medal

U.S. Open Golf: Curtis Strange

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Mats Wilander / Steffi Graf

Wimbledon (Men/Women): Stefan Edberg / Steffi Graf

NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame

NCAA Basketball Champions: Kansas

Kentucky Derby: Winning Colors

Image: 1988 Lou Holtz Notre Dame Fighting Irish "TSN Collection Archives"



● The name for Oz in the Wizard of Oz was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence “Oz”.

● In order for a deck of cards to be mixed up enough to play with properly, it should be shuffled at least seven times.

● Seattle, Washington, like Rome, was built on seven hills.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Little Richard is one of the greatest performers and showmen of all time. During his concerts he would take off various items of clothing and give them to the crowd. Some people would get shoes or shirts, and a few lucky ones went home with ____ _____. Fill in the blanks.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know EverythingWikipedia

Answer to Last Week's Test

A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Physicist Murray Gell-Mann named the sub-atomic particles quarks. From where did he get the name quark ?

Answer: From a random line in James Joyce’s book “Finnegans Wake”. The line is: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!” (QuarkWikipedia)

Joke of the Day

A kangaroo walks into a bar. He orders a beer. The bartender says, “That'll be $10. You know, we don't get many kangaroos coming in here, you know.”

The kangaroo says, “At $10 a beer, it's not hard to understand.”