Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 52, 2015

Previous Week   December 21, 2015 - December 27, 2015   Next Week

War of 1812 ends on December 24, 1814

War of 1812 ends on December 24, 1814

War of 1812 ends: The Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America is signed by British and American representatives at Ghent, Belgium, ending the War of 1812. By terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned, and commissions were planned to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada.

In June 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain in reaction to three issues: the British economic blockade of France, the induction of thousands of neutral American seamen into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress, made up mostly of western and southern congressmen, had been advocating the declaration of war for several years. These ”War Hawks”, as they were known, hoped that war with Britain, which was preoccupied with its struggle against Napoleonic France, would result in U.S. territorial gains in Canada and British-protected Florida.

In the months following the U.S. declaration of war, American forces launched a three-point invasion of Canada, all of which were repulsed. At sea, however, the United States was more successful, and the USS Constitution and other American frigates won a series of victories over British warships. In 1813, American forces won several key victories in the Great Lakes region, but Britain regained control of the sea and blockaded the eastern seaboard.

In 1814, with the downfall of Napoleon, the British were able to allocate more military resources to the American war, and Washington, D.C., fell to the British in August. In Washington, British troops burned the White House, the Capitol, and other buildings in retaliation for the earlier burning of government buildings in Canada by U.S. soldiers. The British soon retreated, however, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor withstood a massive British bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the “Star-Spangled Banner”.

On September 11, 1814, the tide of the war turned when Thomas Macdonough’s American naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain. A large British army under Sir George Prevost was thus forced to abandon its invasion of the U.S. northeast and retreat to Canada. The American victory on Lake Champlain led to the conclusion of U.S.-British peace negotiations in Belgium, and on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war. Although the treaty said nothing about two of the key issues that started the war–the rights of neutral U.S. vessels and the impressment of U.S. sailors–it did open up the Great Lakes region to American expansion and was hailed as a diplomatic victory in the United States.

News of the treaty took almost two months to cross the Atlantic, and British forces were not informed of the end of hostilities in time to end their drive against the mouth of the Mississippi River. On January 8, 1815, a large British army attacked New Orleans and was decimated by an inferior American force under General Andrew Jackson in the most spectacular U.S. victory of the war. The American public heard of the Battle of New Orleans and the Treaty of Ghent at approximately the same time, fostering a greater sentiment of self-confidence and shared identity throughout the young republic. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Library of Congress / Office of the Historian / USS Constitution Museum.org / PBS, American perspective - PBS, British perspective

“The Red Nomex Aviator” - “Unknown”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Red Nomex Aviator”

On the night before Christmas my ship was at sea,

A big flat-top “bird farm” from the land of the free.

Cruising the ocean at “the tip of the spear”,

So everyone home could sleep sound with no fear.

Flight ops had ended hours ago,

The day crew had turned in and gone down below.

Night crew was doin' their maintenance checks,

The aircrews and pilots were gettin' some rest.

The cooks in the galley were fixin' Mid-rat's

The Air Boss and Cap'n could finally relax.

CIC called up said something's inbound,

Prob'ly the mail plane, a C-2 Greyhound.

Stand clear of the foul-line, one to recover,

“Angel” is airborne, to starboard he'll hover.

Spotters see only one red blinkin' light,

No markers on wing-tips, now somethin' ain't right.

All eyes are watching but no one believes,

What comes o'er the round-down, bold as you please.

Nine deer and a sleigh, no tail-hook or tires,

How does Paddles grade a trap with no wire?

A red Nomex flight-suit, of course gloves that match,

And S. Claus printed on his aviator patch.

Why, it's old Santa Claus wearin' goggles and leather,

With bags full of Christmas cards, presents and letters.

Don't stand there gawkin', froze in your tracks,

Give him a hand with unloadin' those sacks.

The bags are all carried to the mail room below,

And after a pre-flight, Santa's ready to go.

The cat-crew is wondering now which hold-back pin?

Santa just laughs then he's airborne again..

We didn't hear jingling bells from his sleigh,

Ol' Santa was whistling Anchors Aweigh.

Off the angle-deck, over wave-caps of white,

Even without afterburners he's soon out of sight.

We all stood there doubting what we had just seen,

But the deer left a present, smelly and green.

Over the side with all the deer turds,

on't want them things fod'in one of our birds.

Tho' that night happened many long years ago,

anta still travels to our ships on the foam.

~ Unknown

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

If you don't succeed at first, hide all evidence that you tried.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

~ Winston Churchill

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”

~ Erma Bombeck

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)

Akron man shot by police after reaching to reinsert what authorities say was drugs in his buttocks

Akron man shot by police after reaching to reinsert what authorities say was drugs in his buttocks

A 27-year-old owner of the Hookah House in Akron, Ohio, was fatally shot by an Akron narcotics officer during an October raid for suspected drugs.

The man had his arms raised, according to the police report, but dropped one hand behind him, provoking an officer to shoot.

Only afterward did they learn that the man was unarmed; they concluded that he was reaching only to secure or to push back the packet of heroin he felt was oozing out of its hiding place in his buttocks.

Akron Beacon Journal (09/22/2015)

How can you tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How can you tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth?

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth is to look at the antennae. A butterfly’s antennae are club-shaped with a long shaft and a bulb at the end. A moth’s antennae are feathery or saw-edged.

Butterflies and moths have many things in common, mainly scales that cover their bodies and wings. These scales are actually modified hairs. Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera (from the Greek lepis meaning scale and pteron meaning wing).

There are some other ways that help to identify butterflies and moths:


• Butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs. Moths tend to hold their wings in a tent-like fashion that hides the abdomen.

• Butterflies are typically larger and have more colorful patterns on their wings. Moths are typically smaller with drab-colored wings.


• Moths have a frenulum, which is a wing-coupling device. Butterflies do not have frenulums. Frenulums join the forewing to the hind wing, so the wings can work in unison during flight.


• Butterflies are primariy diurnal, flying in the daytime. Moths are generally nocturnal, flying at night. However, there are moths that are diurnal, such as the buck moth and there are butterflies that are crepuscular, that is, flying at dawn and dusk.


• Cocoons and chrysalides are protective coverings for the pupa. The pupa is the intermediate stage between the larva and adult. A moth makes a cocoon, which is wrapped in a silk covering. A butterfly makes a chrysalis, which is hard, smooth and has no silk covering.

As scientists discover and study new species of butterflies and moths, distinctions between the two is becoming blurred. Some moths may fool you into thinking that they are butterflies such as the Urania leilus, a colorful day flying moth from Peru. The Castnioidea moths, found in the neotropics, Indonesia, and Australia exhibit many of the characteristics of butterflies such as brightly colored wings, clubbed antenna and day flying.

American Museum of Natural HistoryAustralian MuseumButterflies and Moths.orgLibrary of CongressLive ScienceMental FlossWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Freelance”

Where Did That Saying Come From?


In the Middle Ages freelances were soldiers who fought for anyone who would hire them. They were literally free lances.Deskmag

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Mystery Meat: Term given to chicken, pork or beef and sometimes fish, when completely unidentifiable by sight or taste, but eaten anyway to make a turd.

Naval Infantry: Derogatory term for the U.S. Marines.

Navigators Balls: wo round pieces of metal(Iron) on either side of a ship's magnetic compass to correct for the magnetic field caused by the ships metal surfaces from affecting the compass. Also known as Deviation. See Sailor's Balls.

NAVY: acronym used by disgruntled sailors for “Never Again Volunteer Yourself”.

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

Just for you MARINE

Halozone: Water purification tablet.

HAM: Hairy Assed Marine. A female response to BAM.

Hamlet: (Vietnam) A village of less than 100 residents.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VP-1 - Patrol Squadron 1: “Screaming Eagles”
AS Whidbey Island, Washington

Aircraft Nicknames

Aircraft Nicknames

T-37 : Dog Whistle, Converter (converts fuel to noise), Tweety Bird, Tweet: The Cessna T-37 Tweet (designated Model 318 by Cessna) is a small, economical twin-engined jet trainer-attack type aircraft which flew for decades as a primary trainer for the United States Air Force (USAF) and in the air forces of several other nations.

The T-37 served as the U.S. Air Force's primary pilot training vehicle for over 52 years after its first flight. After completing Primary in the Tweet, students moved on to other advanced Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Allied trainers. With a total of 1,269 Cessna T-37s built, the USAF retired its last T-37 in 2009. Wikipedia

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Curious History Behind Krampus The Holiday Devil

The Curious History Behind Krampus The Holiday Devil

We all know the story behind the legend that is St. Nicholas a.k.a. Santa Claus who pays visits to well-behaved children all over the world rewarding them with gifts at Christmas. However did you know that according to Alpine folk-lore good ol’ St. Nick has a dark companion named Krampus, who travels around with him punishing the children who have misbehaved.

The legend of Krampus says that he even captures the naughtiest children in his sack and takes them away to his lair. Pretty terrifying, huh? Krampus, whose name is derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology.The legend is part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany, where Christmas celebrations begin in early December. As the story claims, Krampus shows up the night before December 6, known as Krampus Night.

December 6 also happens to be St. Nicholas Day, when German children look outside their door to see if the shoe or boot they’d left out the night before contains either presents (a reward for good behavior) or a rod ( for bad behavior).

Krampus is generally portrayed in the classic devil fashion with cloven hooves and horns, but he is also at times shown as man dressed in all black, a demon cloaked in the robes of St. Nicholas, or as some sort of man-beast. Krampus has been quietly infiltrating our culture for quite some time, and while the first Christmas cards featuring St. Nicholas were sold here in The States, Krampus cards were popping up all over Europe.

The humor in the cards was very tongue-in-cheek, and they definitely portrayed a darker side to the holiday season.In the early 1900′s the Krampus cards were re-introduced in America and are now considered quite the collector item..

Krampus has also made appearances in modern pop culture in show’s such as Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers, CW’s Supernatural, The Colbert Report and most recently NBC’s Grimm. There have also been several festivals popping up here in The States dedicated to Krampus and the darker side of holiday season. You can find a full list of events taking place here! Nothing sets your holiday spirit ablaze than a little Krampus. POM / Krampus / Wikipedia

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


“I Want To Hold Your Hand” - The Beatles 1963

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” - The Beatles
Album: Meet The Beatles!
Released 1963 video

This was the first Beatles song to catch on in America. In 1963, the Beatles became stars in England, but couldn't break through in the US. They couldn't get a major label to distribute their singles in America, so songs like “Love Me Dovideo and “She Loves Youvideo were issued on small labels and flopped, even though they were hits in England. By February 1964, America finally took notice of The Beatles and bought this single in droves, giving them their first US hit. It sold better in first 10 days of release in the US than any other British single, and remains the best-selling Beatles single in the United States, moving over 12 million copies.

The Beatles celebrated madly when they found out they were #1 in America. They came to America for the first time in February 1964, a week after this hit #1, and having the top single gave them a huge boost. Conquering the US was, and still is, a big deal for British bands. Many groups that are huge in the UK never really catch on in America.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this in Jane Asher's basement. Asher was an actress who became Paul's first high-profile girlfriend. After appearing in several movies, TV shows and stage productions, Asher became an authority on baking, and has her own business selling party cakes and supplying baking and decorating equipment. She and Paul broke up in 1968.

Jane had a brother named Pete Asher who teamed up with Gordon Waller to form the duo Peter & Gordon and McCartney wrote for them their hit single “A World Without Lovevideo. Pete recalled in a 2010 interview with Gibson.com the two Beatles penning this song at his home: “My mother had a practice room that she used to give private oboe lessons when she wasn't teaching at The Royal Academy, where she was a professor. There was just a piano, and an upright chair and a sofa. Paul used that room to write in, from time to time. One afternoon John came over, while I was upstairs in my room. The two of them were in the basement for an hour or so, and Paul called me down to listen to a song they had just finished. I went downstairs and sat on the sofa, and they sat side by side, on the piano bench. That's where they played 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' for the first anywhere. They asked me what I thought. I said, 'I think it's very good.'”

The Beatles performed this on their first 2 Ed Sullivan Show video appearances, which took place Feb 9th and 16th, 1964. There was a media frenzy around The Beatles, as this was #1 on the charts and millions of people saw them on Sullivan's show. The Beatles were booked for the show before they had a hit in the US, so they actually got paid less than many other guests for their appearance.

Bob Dylan thought the line “I can't hide” was “I get high” video, and a reference to marijuana. He was surprised to learn they had never tried pot, and became part of Beatles lore when he introduced them to it.

This was one of John Lennon's favorite Beatles songs. It starts with a falling melody, which is typical of Lennon's songwriting, and ends with a cadence with a quarter-interval: “I'll think you'll understand.” That quarter-interval cadence you can even hear in Lennon's first bit of “From Me to Youvideo and in “Tomorrow Never Knowsvideo. McCartney most often uses second-intervals. Also typically Lennon is the sudden octave-run, “Haaaaand...” The same octave-run you can hear in the end of the middle part in Lennon's “Please Please Mevideo: “To reason with youuuuuu...” Also note that the beginning of the melody in the middle part is almost the same melody as the beginning of the middle part in “Don't Let Me Downvideo.

This was played on a Washington, D.C. radio station before it was released in America by a DJ who got the record from a stewardess. It was a huge hit with his listeners.

The first Beatles song recorded on 4 track equipment. Some of their first songs were in mono.

The Beatles also cut a German version called “Komm Gib Mir Deine Handvideo. The Beatles picked up some German while playing The Star Club in Hamburg in 1962. In the 1960s it wasn't uncommon for British stars to record new versions of their hits in other languages. The idea was to increase airplay on continental stations and to get a hit before an indigenous artist recorded a version in the local tongue. On January 29, 1964, The Beatles went into the Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris and recorded this song and “She Loves Youvideo (“Sie Liebt Dichvideo) in German. The lyrics had been hurriedly translated by a Luxembourger named Camillo Felgen, who was then a program director at Radio Luxembourg. As well, apart from their recording of “My Bonnievideo in the early '60s, this was the only time The Beatles recorded in another language. In addition it was the sole occasion on which they recorded outside London.

When this hit US #1 it was the first time a British group topped the charts in the US since 1962, when “Telstarvideo by The Tornados did it. The Beatles quickly began dominating the US charts.

At times John Lennon realized that the crowds the Beatles played to were so loud that they really couldn't hear them sing, so sometimes instead of saying “I want to hold your hand”, John would say, “I want to hold your gland” as a reference to women's breasts.

The Beatles official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone / Biography / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Meet the Beatles!‎ (album)” by The Beatles



● Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday.

● Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

● A comet's tail always points away from the sun.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

The Les Nessman character on the TV series “WKRP in Cincinnati” wore something in every episode, either on himself, his glasses, or his clothing. What was it?

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

What product did the first TV commercial advertise?

Answer: The very first TV commercial was for Bulova watches in 1941, and it aired in the middle of a pro baseball game between the Dodgers and Phillies. The spot cost nine dollars. Mashable

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A guy walks into a bar, orders a beer and says to the bartender, “Hey, I got this great Polish Joke...”

The barkeep glares at him and says in a warning tone of voice: “Before you go telling that joke you better know that I'm Polish, both bouncers are Polish and so are most of my customers”

“Okay” says the customer, “I'll tell it very slowly.”