Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 22

Ships crash in heavy fog; on May 29, 1914.

Ships crash in heavy fog; on May 29, 1914.

Heavy fog causes a collision of boats on the St. Lawrence River in Canada that kills 1,073 people on this day in 1914.

Caused by a horrible series of blunders, this was one of the worst maritime disasters in history. The Empress of Ireland left Quebec on May 28 with 1,057 passengers and 420 crew members on board.

At 2:00 a.m. the following morning, the Empress was near Father Point on the St. Lawrence River when thick fog rolled in. A Norwegian coal freighter, the Storstad, was approaching as visibility was reduced to nearly nothing.

Although each ship was aware of the other, the Storstad failed to follow standard procedures for fog conditions, which call for stopping when visibility is drastically reduced. The Storstad only slowed, while the Empress came to a complete stop.

The Storstad hit the Empress mid-ship and sliced through its hull. Captain Thomas Anderson of the Storstad made matters even worse by failing to reverse engines after the crash. He proceeded directly ahead, crushing many people on board and turning the Empress over onto its side.

Anderson later told investigators he had feared reversing would have allowed water to rush into the hole. This was a colossal error.

The Empress sank in just 14 minutes, taking the great majority of its passengers with it. Only 217 passengers and 248 crew members survived the collision.

The subsequent investigation placed most of the blame on Captain Anderson, but found the Empress had also ignored some critical precautions that would have saved many lives.

Because of the risk of collision, the Empress should have sealed its watertight doors, which would have minimized damage from a crash; it did not. History Channel

Wikipedia  Image: RMS Empress of Ireland - an ocean liner that sank in the Saint Lawrence River following a collision with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad in the early hours of 29 May 1914. (Melbourne Blogger)

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Desired Perception

(DOD) In military deception, what the deception target must believe for it to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.

The Old Salt’s Corner - Foul

Leading lights (also known as range lights in the United States) are a pair of light beacons, used in navigation to indicate a safe passage for vessels entering a shallow or dangerous channel; and may also be used for position fixing.

At night, the lights are a form of leading line that can be used for safe navigation. The beacons consist of two lights that are separated in distance and elevation, so that when they are aligned, with one above the other, they provide a bearing. Range lights are often illuminated day and night

In some cases the two beacons are unlighted, in which case they are known as a Range in the United States or a Transit in the UK. The beacons may be artificial or natural. Wikipedia

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people, I’m just saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

“Thought for the Day

“Thought for the Day”

“Always take things by their smooth handle.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, Ten Rules for the Good Life, 1790 (April 2, 1743 – July 4, 1826)

“What I Have Learned”

A coward is one who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs.

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)

Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe puts down four lions

Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe puts down four lions

Thousands signed petition to save Marius, who was put down to avoid inbreeding and then fed to lions

(Warning: some readers may find the images distressing)

Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo aroused worldwide ire in February when it slaughtered and publicly dismembered a healthy young giraffe (“Marius”) in order to feed a hungry lion.

Then, in March, the Zoo killed four healthy lions to make room for a new male.

Also, reported Vice.com in April, Denmark has no law against humans having sex with animals (unless it amounts to torture).

Animal rights campaigners have recently expressed alarm that Denmark will become a destination for “animal sex tourism” attracting horny ˜zoophiles” from around the world.Guardian video / Vice.com

William Henry Hharrison - Warners Tippecanoe

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Which U.S. President Served the Shortest Time in Office?

The election of 1840 was the first campaign with slogans, songs and modern campaign paraphernalia. The slogan that became best known was “Tippecanoe and Tyler too”. Tippecanoe was the battle that William Henry Harrison won against the Indians in 1811.

The Whigs remade Harrison, who had been an uninspired military leader, into a great war hero. William Henry Harrison won 80 percent of the Electoral College votes making him the first candidate to earn more than one million votes.

Though economics, enslavement, and employment were all major issues, the election was typified by cider. In the words of one newspaper: “We have had almost eleven years experiment of a rum-and- whiskey administration. It is time for a change. Let us try the hard cider.”

CHANGE WAS SHORT-LIVED. Harrison caught a cold, which quickly developed into pneumonia and 30 days into his first term, on April 4, 1841, he died–the first President to die in office–and with him died the Whig party. Biography.com

Wikipedia  Image: William Henry Harrison / Indiana Public Media

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Give them the Cold Shoulder”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Give them the Cold Shoulder:” A rude way of telling someone he isn’t welcome is to give them the cold shoulder.

Although giving someone the cold shoulder today is considered rude, it was actually regarded as a polite gesture in medieval England. After a feast, the host would let his guests know it was time to leave by giving them a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of beef, mutton, or pork.

Consequent crowds found his mispronunciation amusing and it eventually came to symbolize his group.Phrases.org.UK

Wikipedia  Image: Cold shoulder / Polar Bears

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Battle Wagon: Battleship (Note: While the Navy still owns the four remaining Iowa-class battleships, they are no longer in active duty - in fact most now serve as public museums).

Deep Six: Obsolete term for throwing something overboard; refers to the "deep six", the lowest fathom (six feet) before the ocean floor. Has been mostly replaced by Float Checking. Is now generally used to refer to getting rid of something in any manner, including personal, for example - “Deep six your porn, Inspection at 0630” See also: Float Test.

Nuke It: To overthink an easy task.

Punch Out: Eject from an aircraft

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for MARINES

Bull: The center or highest scoring part of a target often called a Bulls Eye.

Bullshit: A card game played by groups of Marines while standing in line, usually aboard ship. A player will draw five cards from a shuffled deck and after reviewing the hand will announce the hand (it can be anything from “One Jack” to “Full Boat, Flush”). The next Marine in line will decide if the announced hand is what the player has and will either accept or proclaim “bullshit”. If the hand is accepted the Marine can draw from one to five cards and announce the hand, but his hand must be better than the hand he accepted. This continues until someone calls “bullshit”. There is no scoring as the game is usually played while standing up.

Bum Scoop: Bad information. Often information passed on by Bum Scoop Ned.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

OPSEC - Operations Security

OR - Operational Requirement

ORD - Operational Requirements Document

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-115 - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 115: “Liberty Bells” NAF Atsugi, Japan

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Boar hunting: The Ancient Romans left behind many more representations of boar hunting than the Ancient Greeks in both literature and art.

Ancient Romans would drink a combination of wine and boar dung as a restorative medicine.

This medicine was prescribed and advocated by the famous Roman naturalist and author, Pliny the Elder, a name that might be better known today as that of a world-class beer made in northern California.

Let us just hope that the beer only used his name for inspiration!

Photo: Boar hunting The Ancient Romans left behind many more representations of boar hunting than the Ancient Greeks in both literature and art. Hunting became popular among young Romans starting from the third century BC. Hunting was seen as a way of fortifying character and exercising physical vigour. The boar was known as aper, feri sues or singularis on account of the animals supposedly solitary habits.


1951 - U.S. Open – Ben Hogan

Sports 1951 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The New York Yankees win 4 games to 2 over the New York Giants

NFL Champions: Los Angeles Rams win 24–17 over the Cleveland Browns

NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers

Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs win 4 games to 1 over the Montreal Canadiens

U.S. Open Golf: Ben Hogan

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Frank Sedgman / Maureen Connolly

Wimbledon (Men/Women): Dick Savitt / Doris Hart

NCAA Football Champions: Tennessee

NCAA Basketball Champions: Kentucky

Kentucky Derby: Count Turf

Image: Ben Hogan

Famous Quotes 1951: Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! - Patricia Neal in ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’

Famous Quotes 1951 Wikipedia

● “Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!”

~ Patricia Neal in “The Day the Earth Stood Still”

● “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”

~ Vivien Leigh, in “A Streetcar Named Desire”

● “It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory.

~ General Douglas MacArthur Letter to Representative Joseph W. Martin, Jr., (20 March 1951); read to the House by Martin on April 5.

Image: “The Day the Earth Stood Still” Patricia Neal



● The Arkansas School for the Deaf's nickname is the Leopards. The Deaf Leopards.

● Barry Manilow did not write his hit “I Write the Songs”. He did, however, write State Farm's “Like a Good Neighbor” jingle. And “I am stuck on Band-Aids, 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me.”

● There's a basketball court above the Supreme Court. It's known as the Highest Court in the Land.

Answer to Last Week's Test

Ramses brand condoms are named after the great pharaoh Ramses II. How many children did Ramses II father?

Answer: Over 160 children.Wikipedia

Joke of the Day

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked”. Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down.

“Ah”, the fighter pilot remarked, “The dreaded seven-engine approach.”