Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 42

China joins A-bomb club on October 16, 1964

China joins A-bomb club on October 16, 1964

China joins A-bomb club: The People's Republic of China joins the rank of nations with atomic bomb capability, after a successful nuclear test on this day in 1964. China is the fifth member of this exclusive club, joining the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France.

U.S. officials were not terribly surprised by the test; intelligence reports since the 1950s indicated that China was working to develop an atomic bomb, possibly aided by Soviet technicians and scientists. Nevertheless, the successful test did cause concern in the U.S. government. During the early 1960s, China took a particularly radical stance that advocated worldwide revolution against the forces of capitalism, working strenuously to extend its influence in Asia and the new nations of Africa. The test, coming just two months after the Tonkin Gulf Resolution (a congressional resolution giving President Lyndon B. Johnson the power to respond to communist aggression in Vietnam) created a frightening specter of nuclear confrontation and conflict in Southeast Asia.

The test also concerned the Soviet Union; the split between the USSR and communist China over ideological and strategic issues had widened considerably by 1964. The Chinese acquisition of nuclear capabilities only heightened the tensions between the two nations. Indeed, the test might have been a spur to the Soviets to pursue greater efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons; in 1968, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Little wonder that the Soviets would wish to see China's nuclear force limited, since the first Chinese intermediate-range missiles were pointedly aimed at Russia. The Cold War nuclear arms race had just become a good deal more complicated. History Channel / Wikipedia / Military.com

Image: The Fear and the Folly of Nuclear Weapons between 1945 and 1998 ([Ctbto.org] by Isao Hashimoto (2003) / Infosthetics)

China's First Nuclear Bomb Test (Declassified Footage HD)

The Tragic Story of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site The first thermonuclear weapon test in USSR, exploded on August 12, 1953 (IO9) / Russia's First Nuclear Bomb Test (RT - Russia Today)

• November 1951 nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site, from Operation Buster, with a yield of 21 kilotons. It was the first U.S. nuclear field exercise conducted on land; troops shown are 6 mi (9.7 km) from the blast. / The mushroom clouds of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945 rose some 11 miles (18 km) above the bomb's hypocenter.

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - exclusion zone

(DOD) Exclusion zone:

A zone established by a sanctioning body to prohibit specific activities in a specific geographic area in order to persuade nations or groups to modify their behavior to meet the desires of the sanctioning body or face continued imposition of sanctions, or the use or threat of force. Wikipedia

Nuclear disaster exclusion zones

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine, established 1986.

Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Japan, established 2011.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

I like my relationships like I like my eggs. Over easy.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“What we do today, right now, Will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows.”

~ Alexandra Stoddard

“What I Have Learned”

Some people learn from their experiences, some people never recover 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)

Virginia Cops Nab “Stoner” on pot charges

Oregon Fugitive's Strong Cologne Leads Cops To His Hiding Spot.

LEBANON, Oregon - Officers in western Oregon say a suspect they tried to collar at a traffic stop drove too fast for pursuing officers, but eventually he was just too fragrant

The Albany Democrat-Herald reports that the driver gave officers in Linn County the slip in a high-speed chase before dawn Sunday, doing better than 100 mph in a red Honda Prelude whose hood flew off.

But Lebanon police later saw the car parked and launched a search by foot.

That's when officers caught a “strong scent of cologne” in the darkness and soon found their suspect hiding in shrubbery.

Thirty-five-year-old Charles V. Agosto was jailed on charges including probation violation and trying to elude officers. Officers said he told them he regretted using the cologne.

There was no immediate indication he had a lawyer. Oregon Herald / ©Associated Press

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is cheddar cheese orange?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is cheddar cheese orange?

It's orange because they dye it orange. The question is, why orange — as opposed to, say, a nice taupe?

As near as cheese historians can make out, the practice originated many years ago in England. Milk contains varying amounts of beta-carotene, the yellow-orange stuff found in carrots and other vegetables. Milk from pasture-fed cows has higher beta-carotene levels in the spring and summer, when the cows are munching on fresh grass, and lower levels during the fall and winter, when they're eating hay. Thus the natural color of the cheese varies over the course of a year.

So cheese makers began adding coloring agents. Nowadays the most common of these is annatto, a yellow-red dye made from the seeds of a tree of the same name. Dyeing the cheese eliminated seasonal color fluctuations and also played to the fact (or anyway the belief) that spring/summer milk had a higher butterfat content than the fall/winter kind and thus produced more flavorful cheese.

Figuring if yellow = good, orange = better, some cheese makers began ladling in the annatto in double handfuls, producing cheese that looked like something you'd want to carve into a jack-o'-lantern. In recent years some smaller operations have rebelled and stopped using colorants. Be forewarned — according to one cheese making text, uncolored cheese is a “sordid, unappetizing mix of dirty yellow”. But it's real.

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Mom and Dad: Commanding Officer and Executive Officer. “Get this mess squared away, Mom and Dad will be coming through in an hour”.

Mom and Pop night: The night before pass-in-review and “graduation” from Boot Camp, spent visiting with family and friends who have made the trip to Great Lakes to watch you graduate the next morning.

Wings: Naval Aviator or Naval Flight Officer breast insignia. Also the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist breast insignia.

Wire Biter: Electrician's Mate.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for you MARINE

Cinderella Liberty: Liberty that expires at midnight. Used mostly in foreign ports where the captain is concerned for the safety of his crew or as a subliminal form of punishment.

Class A: The green service uniform with ribbons. Term use until about the 1980s, replaced by “Alphas”.

Class VI: A military liquor store. From the priority level assigned to the shipment of such supplies during World War II. Class I was for medical supplies and ammunition, Class II for food and the lowest priority, Class VI, included liquor for troop consumption. Often written Class 6.

Claymore: Directional anti-personnel mine with plastic explosive propelling ball

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

CB - Construction Battalion (Seabees)

The Navy community of construction workers.

CDR - Commander

Navy Senior Officer rank (0–5).

CEC - Civil Engineer Corps

Officer corps that oversees the construction, renovation, maintenance and building of Navy projects all over the world.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames - Electronic Attack Squadron 134: “Garudas” NAS Whidbey Island, Washington

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-134 - Electronic Attack Squadron 134: “Garudas” NAS Whidbey Island, Washington

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Who Killed the Red Baron? - A posthumous photograph of Captain Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron).

Who Killed the Red Baron?

Baron Manfred Von Richthofen is confirmed as having shot down 80 Allied aircraft during the First World War, a record unsurpassed during the Great War. In a war which unleashed unspeakable horror, the Red Baron and his distinctive red Fokker triplane provided chivalry to a world desperately seeking honor amid the bloody conflict.

On March 30, 1917, near Fouquieres, France, Lt. Pat Garnett of the Royal Flying Corps engaged attacking German aircraft without waiting for reinforcements, not knowing his adversaries were none other than the Red Baron's Squadron. The ensuing dogfight was brief and bloody, the 22 year old British aviator and his Nieuport Scout biplane went down fighting, shot out of the sky by German Lt. Kurt Wolff, as the Red Baron watched from a higher altitude. Young Garnett's bravery against such odds greatly impressed the Teutonic Baron.

Lt. Garnett survived the crash and was captured by the Germans. He lived just long enough to tell them he had only recently been married. His last thoughts and words were for his beloved young wife, greatly moving his German captors.

Baron Von Richthofen was informed of Garnett's capture and the events surrounding his death. The Red Baron came into possession of Garnett's personal effects which included his favorite gold cufflinks and a piece of his wife's wedding dress which he had kept pinned inside his coat for luck.

The Red Baron was greatly moved by Garnett's death and wrote to his widow, Mary, a letter of sympathy expressing his sincere regrets, accepting overall responsibility for his death. However, Mary Garnett was horrified, erroneously interpreting the letter as boasting of her husband's death and promptly burned it.

Every dog has their day and the Allies had theirs. Lt. Wolff was himself killed in action in September of 1917 after having notched 33 kills. The Red Baron was killed in action while engaging six Allied aircraft in April of 1918. It has since been proven the bullet ending his life came from enemy ground fire, probably from the same Australian ground forces that eventually recovered his body and gave the Red Baron a funeral with full military honors. Australian War Memorial / Wikipedia

Image: A posthumous photograph of Captain Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron). (Australian War Memorial)


Wrigley at 100: Chicago Bears - The Chicago Bears recover their quarterback's fumble and go on to win the first scheduled NFL Football Championship game over the New York Giants at Wrigley Field by a score of 23-21 on Dec. 17, 1933. (Chicago Tribune / Getty Images)

Sports 1933 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The New York Giants defeat the Washington Senators 4 games to 1

NFL Champions: Chicago Bears defeat the New York Giants 23–21

Stanley Cup Champs: New York Rangers defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3 games to 1

U.S. Open Golf: Johnny Goodman

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Fred Perry / Helen H. Jacobs

Wimbledon (Men/Women) (Men/Ladies): Jack Crawford / Helen Wills

NCAA Football Champions: Michigan Wolverines

Rose Bowl USC Trojans defeat Pittsburgh Panthers 35-0

Kentucky Derby: Brokers Tip

Image: Wrigley at 100: Chicago Bears - The Chicago Bears recover their quarterback's fumble and go on to win the first scheduled NFL Football Championship game over the New York Giants at Wrigley Field by a score of 23-21 on Dec. 17, 1933. (Chicago Tribune / Getty Images)

Famous Quotes 1933: “When I'm good, I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better” ~ Mae West in “I'm No Angel”

Famous Quotes 1933 Wikipedia

● “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

● “Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”

~ Robert Armstrong in King Kong

● “Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!”

~ Oliver Hardy in Sons of the Desert

● “When I'm good, I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better”

~ Mae West in I'm No Angel

● “Why don't you come up sometime and see me?”

~ Mae West in She Done Him Wrong

Image: Mae West in I'm No Angel video / Mae West - Interview with Dick Cavett video



● Mallard nests are sometimes built at a height of 40 feet above ground. Surprisingly, when leaving their nests for the first time, chicks are very rarely hurt due to falling to the ground.

● The state of Maine was once known as the “Earmuff Capital of The World”. Earmuffs were invented there by Chester Greenwood in 1873.

● The common carp lives up to 25 years in the wild, and up to 40 years in captivity. The durable fish can survive in waters up to 90 degrees F, and can even withstand freezing for short periods.

Answer to Last Week's Test

What are the names of the four colored ghosts featured on the PacMan video arcade game?

Answer: Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.

Joke of the Day

When Bill and Hillary first got married, Bill said, “I am putting a box under our bed. You must promise never to look in it.”

In all their 30 years of marriage, Hillary never looked. However, on the afternoon of their 30th anniversary, curiosity got the better of her and she lifted the lid and peeked inside. In the box there were 3 empty beer cans and $1,874.25 in cash.

After dinner, Hillary could no longer contain her guilt and she confessed, saying, “I am so sorry. For all these years I kept my promise and never looked in the box under our bed. However, today the temptation was too much and I gave in. But now I need to know why do you keep the empty cans in the box?”

Bill thought for a while and said, “I guess that after all these years you deserve to know the truth. Whenever I was unfaithful to you, I put an empty beer can in the box under the bed to remind myself not to do it again.”

Hillary was shocked, but said, “I am very disappointed and saddened, but I guess after all those years away from home on the road, temptation does happen and I guess that 3 times is not that bad considering the number of years we've been together.”

They hugged and made their peace. A little while later, Hillary asked Bill, “So why do you have all that money in the box?”

Bill answered, “Well, whenever the box filled up with empty cans, I took them to the recycling center and redeemed them for cash.”