Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 7, 2016

Previous Week   February 15, 2016 - February 21, 2016   Next Week

First Academy Awards announced on February 18, 1929

First Academy Awards announced on February 18, 1929

First Academy Awards announced: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the winners of the first Academy Awards on this day in 1929. It was a far cry from the suspense, glamour and endless press coverage surrounding the Oscars today: The first award recipients’ names were printed on the back page of the academy’s newsletter. A few days later, Variety published the information–on page seven.

Spearheaded by movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, the Academy was organized in May 1927 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. The first awards went to movies produced in 1927 and 1928. Though the announcements were made in February 1929, the actual awards weren’t given out until May 16, 1929, in a ceremony and banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Some 270 people attended the dinner, many paying $5 each for a ticket.

The first Academy Award winners received gold statuettes designed by art director Cedric Gibbons and sculpted by George Stanley. The Academy’s first president, the silent film actor Douglas Fairbanks, handed out the statuettes to the winners, who included Janet Gaynor for Best Actress (for three different films: Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise) and the German-born Emil Jannings (The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh) for Best Actor. Frank Borzage and Lewis Milestone both won Best Director awards, for Seventh Heaven and Two Arabian Knights, respectively. Best Picture honors went to Wings, the World War I drama directed by William Wellman.

In the second year of its awards, the Academy changed its policy and began releasing the names of each year’s winners to the press at 11 p.m. on the night of the awards ceremony. This practice ended in 1940 after the Los Angeles Times broke from tradition and published the results in its evening edition, which meant they were revealed before the ceremony. The Academy subsequently instituted a system of sealed envelopes, which remains in use today. The awards weren’t nicknamed “Oscars” until 1931, when a secretary at the Academy noted the statue’s resemblance to her Uncle Oscar, and a journalist printed her remark.

The awards were broadcast on radio until 1953, when the first televised Oscars program aired. Since then, the Academy Awards have become one of the world’s most watched television events, drawing as many as 1 billion viewers worldwide. The comedian Bob Hope presided over the ceremony a total of some 20 times; other hosts have included Will Rogers, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Oscars.org

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - Modified combined obstacle overlay

(DOD) A joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment product used to portray the militarily significant aspects of the operational environment, such as obstacles restricting military movement, key geography, and military objectives. Also called MCOO. See also joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment. Joint Publications 2-01.3 (Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment)

Jack Staff: a small vertical spar (pole) on the bow of a ship or smaller vessel on which a particular type of flag, known as a jack, is flown.

The Old Salt’s Corner

Jack Staff: A jack staff (also spelled as jackstaff) is a small vertical spar (pole) on the bow of a ship or smaller vessel on which a particular type of flag, known as a jack, is flown.

1. The jack staff was introduced in the 18th century.

2. The jack is typically flown from military vessels, including submarines, while at anchor or moored pierside, but not while underway.

Civilian vessels such as private yachts have also been known to fly the jack of the nation of their homeport, also from a jackstaff, while moored or at anchor.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Why do psychics have to ask you for your name.”

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

~ Carol Burnett

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

~ Henry Ford

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)

Scottish Politician Who Shut Down Public Restrooms Gets Caught Peeing in Public

Scottish Politician Who Shut Down Public Restrooms Gets Caught Peeing in Public

As deputy leader of Scotland's South Lanarkshire Council, Jackie Burns was instrumental in the budgetary closing of all 24 public toilets in the area. In November, Burns was fined (equivalent of about $60) after he, out on the town, could hold it in no longer and urinated in the street.

New York Magazine (11/12/2015)

Naked Man in Town for Drug Policy Reform Conference Charged With Possession of Bath Salts: Police Sources

Hector Segura, 29, in town for a Washington, D.C., conference on drug policy reform (with most attendees certain that the “war on drugs” has failed) was found by police naked in a flower bed in a neighborhood near his hotel in Arlington, Va., with (according to police) “bath salts” the culprit. It required two Taser shots to subdue him as he pounded on a squad car.

NBC Washington (11/23/2015)

What Causes Freezer Burn?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Causes Freezer Burn?

Right now, thousands of elderly steaks are languishing in the backs of freezers, waiting patiently for their day on the grill. Hidden behind Celeste pizzas, forgotten by their owners, these once-healthy meat-slabs are slowly turning an unappetizing greenish-white, via the process commonly known as freezer-burn.

Generally, foodstuffs fall victim to freezer-burn when they haven't been sealed properly. This lets valuable water molecules escape into the colder parts of the freezer. These molecules tend to stick to the outside of the container and form an unappetizing layer of ice crystals. Once the water molecules have migrated away from your food, your dinner becomes dehydrated and discolored.

This slow deterioration can be avoided with the right Tupperware, but freezer burn is ultimately inevitable. If you leave something in there long enough, it will get dried out, no matter how tightly you've vacuum-sealed it.

That said, you should never judge a rack of ribs by its off-putting discolorations. Freezer-burned foods are totally edible, in the sense that you can eat them without dying. Taste- and texture-wise, food that's been freezer-burned leaves much to be desired.

Library of CongressDon't Waste the CrumbsMental FlossThe KitchnRedditWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Warts and All”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Warts and All:” When Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658 had his portrait painted he ordered the artist not to flatter him. He insisted on being painted “warts and all”.

Phrases.org UK

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Hacker: An extremely bad movie.

Halfway Night: The only recognized holiday during patrol. This is the day when the patrol is halfway over.

Head: Bathroom.

Hollywood: A long shower with plenty of hot water.

Ivan: The Russians.

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

Just for you MARINE

Hotel Street: (WWII) The vice district of Honolulu, Hawaii which contained 20 brothels and around 200 prostitutes. Customers would pay $3 for 3 minutes and the women (mostly imported from the mainland) would service up to 100 customers per day (martial law rules imposed a curfew during the hours of darkness).

House Mouse: A recruit (or low ranking Marine in the fleet) who provides assistance to the drill instructor (or unit leaders) in the form of keeping the drill instructor hut (or NCO quarters) tidy and other minor tasks and chores. It is an informal position and the person is selected by the drill instructor often receives one of the promotions given at the conclusion of basic training. Some units in the fleet also use the term to mean a junior member of an organization assigned duties such as coffee mess and other domestic chores.

Housewife: (Civil War through WW II) Sewing kit.

HQ: Headquarters.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VT-9 - Training Squadron 9: “Tigers”
NAS Meridian, Mississippi

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Mauritania: A full-bodied wife is said to signify good luck and prosperity in a marriage

Mauritania - A full-bodied wife

In Mauritania, a large, full-bodied wife is said to signify good luck and prosperity in a marriage.

Unfortunately, Mauritian women are often force-fed to become fatter for their wedding, sometimes causing them endless illness and health problems down the line. Pinterest

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


“Smells Like Teen Spirit” - Nirvana

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” - Nirvana
Album: Nevermind
Released 1991 video

Kurt Cobain wrote this song for Nirvana; it came together in a jam session when he played it for the band. He said: “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off The Pixies.”

Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the group Bikini Kill, gave Cobain the idea for the title when she spray painted “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his bedroom wall after a night of drinking and spraying graffiti around the Seattle area. In his pre-Courtney Love days, Cobain went out with Bikini Kill lead singer Tobi Vail, but she dumped him. Vail wore Teen Spirit deodorant, and Hanna was implying that Cobain was marked with her scent.

Hanna explained that early in the night, she was Cobain's lookout as he spray painted “God Is Gay” on the wall of a religious center that they believed was posing as an abortion clinic and telling women they would go to hell if they aborted their child. They got quite inebriated that night, and Hanna said, “We ended up in Kurt's apartment and I smashed up a bunch of s--t. I took out a Sharpie marker and I wrote all over his bedroom wall - it was a rental so it was really kind of lame that I did that. I passed out with the marker in my hand, and woke up hung over.” Six months later she got a call from Cobain, asking her if he could use what she wrote on the wall for a lyric. Said Hanna, “I thought, how is he going to use 'Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit as a lyric?”

Cobain didn't know it when he wrote the song, but Teen Spirit is a brand of deodorant marketed to young girls. Kurt thought Hanna was complimenting him on his rebellious spirit, as someone who could inspire youth. Sales of Teen Spirit deodorant shot up when this became a hit, even though it is never mentioned in the lyrics.

This was the first “Alternative” song to become a huge hit, and in many ways it redefined the term, as “alternative” implies lack of popularity and the song was embraced by the mainstream. In an effort to save the label for acts like Porno For Pyros and Catherine Wheel, some industry folk referred to the genre as “Modern Rock”, which became a common radio format. “Alternative” became more of a catchall for music played by white people that didn't fit the pop or country formats, and Nirvana quickly became a “Classic Alternative” band.

With this track, Nirvana helped ignite the “grunge” craze, which was characterized by loud guitars, angst-ridden lyrics, and flannel. Grunge was a look and sound that was distorted and emotive, led by bands coming out of the Northwest. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were other top grunge bands of the era. Cobain would often dismiss the term as a meaningless label when asked about it in early interviews, but their bass player Krist Novoselic explained that it was a growling, organic guitar sound that defined it.

Cobain said he wrote this song because he was feeling “disgusted with my generation's apathy, and with my own apathy and spinelessness.” This feeling of detachment is what led to lyrics like “Oh well, whatever, nevermind.” Krist Novoselic added: “Kurt really despised the mainstream. That's what 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was all about: The mass mentality of conformity.”

The distinctive bridge was originally at the end of the song. Producer Butch Vig had them move it to the middle.

A lot was made of Cobain being a spokesperson for Generation X when this song became a hit. Cobain responded by saying, “I don't have the answers for anything. I don't want to be a f--king spokesperson.”

Producer Butch Vig explained, “That ambiguity or confusion, that's the whole thing. What the kids are attracted to in the music is that he's not necessarily a spokesman for a generation. He doesn't necessarily know what he wants but he's pissed. It's all these things working at different levels at once. I don't exactly know what 'Teen Spirit' means, but you know it means something and it's intense as hell.”

The line “Here we are now, entertain us” was something Cobain used to say when he entered a party.

The album cover shows a baby swimming toward a dollar bill. Cobain and Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic had seen a documentary on underwater birth and wanted to use that image on the cover. Pictures of babies being born underwater were too gross, so they hired a photographer to take some underwater shots during a water babies class. The baby they chose was Spencer Elden, who was 4 months old at the time.

At many of their later shows, Nirvana did not play this song, helping root out the people coming just to hear a hit.

The Nevermind album title is taken from the song's lyric: “And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it's hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind.”

Dave Grohl recalled to Mojo magazine March 2011: “Teen Spirit definitely established that quiet/loud dynamic thing that we fell back on a lot of the time. It did become that one song that personifies the band. But the video was probably the key element in that song becoming a hit. People heard the song on the radio and they thought, 'This is great,' but when kids saw the video on MTV they thought, 'This is cool. These guys are kinda ugly and they're tearing up their f--king high school.' So I think that had a lot to do with what happened with the song.

But do I think it's the greatest single of all time? Of course not! I don't even think it's the greatest Nirvana single. And compared to Revolution by The Beatles or God Only Knows by The Beach Boys?! Give me a break! Smells like Teen Spirit was a great moment in time… but there's better.”

The band's producer, Butch Vig, heard this song for the first time on a low quality cassette recording the band made. He couldn't make out much of the song because it was so distorted. When the band started rehearsing it in the studio, however, Vig heard the potential in the song. He made sure it was the first track on the album, since it made a statement. Vig told NPR: “Even though we're not really sure what Kurt is singing about, there's something in there that you understand; the sense of frustration and alienation. To me, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' reminds me a little bit of how Bob Dylan's songs affected people in the '60s. In a way, I feel the song affected a generation of kids in the '90s. They could relate to it.”

Nirvana official site / Rolling Stone magazine (100 Greatest Artists, - 30) / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Nevermind (album)” by Nirvana



● Delaware is the only state that does not have a National Park.

● For Halloween in 1988, then-Presidential candidate (and VP) George H.W. Bush dressed as himself! He wore a Bush mask and everything.

● The Beach Boys were the founders of surf rock; however, only Dennis Wilson knew how to surf. He died of drowning in 1983.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A Jewish father was concerned about his son who was about a year away from his Bar Mitzvah but was sorely lacking in his knowledge of the Jewish faith. To remedy this he sent his son to Israel to experience his heritage. A year later the young man returned home.

“Father, thank you for sending me to the land of our Fathers”, the son said. “It was wonderful and enlightening, however, I must confess that while in Israel I converted to Christianity.”

“Oi vey”, replied the father, “what have I done”. So in the tradition of the patriarchs he went to his best friend and sought his advice and solace.

“It is amazing that you should come to me”, stated his friend, “I too sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian.”

So in the tradition of the patriarchs they went to the Rabbi.

“It is amazing that you should come to me”, stated the Rabbi, “I too sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian. What is happening to our sons? Brothers, we must take this to the Lord,” said the Rabbi.

They fell to their knees and began to wail and pour out their hearts to the Almighty. As they prayed the clouds above opened and a mighty voice stated, “Amazing that you should come to Me. I, too, sent My Son to Israel...”

Pun of the Day

The invisible man marries the invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.