Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 9, 2016

Previous Week   February 29, 2016 - March 06, 2016   Next Week

McDaniel wins Oscar on February 29, 1940

McDaniel wins Oscar on February 29, 1940

McDaniel wins Oscar: On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1895, McDaniel demonstrated her talents as a singer and actress while growing up in Denver, Colorado. She left school while a teenager to become a performer in several traveling minstrel groups and in 1924 became one of the first African American women to sing on U.S. radio. With the onset of the Great Depression, she was forced to take work as a ladies’ washroom attendant in a Milwaukee club. The club, which hired only white performers, eventually made an exception and let her sing, and she performed there for a year before setting her sights on Hollywood.

In Los Angeles, she won a small role on a local radio show called The Optimistic Do-Nuts and before long had become the program’s main attraction. In 1932, she made her film debut as a Southern house servant in The Golden West. In American movies at the time, African American actors and actresses were generally limited to house servant roles, and McDaniel apparently embraced this stereotype, playing the role of maid or cook in nearly 40 films in the 1930s. Responding to criticism by groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that she was perpetuating stereotypes, McDaniel responded that she would rather play a maid on the screen than be one in real life. Furthermore, she often subverted the stereotype by turning her maids into sassy, independent-minded characters who sometimes made white audiences shift uncomfortably in their seats.

Her most famous role was as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. Directed by Victor Fleming and based on the best-selling Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name, the movie remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when inflation is taken into account. Although she was honored with an Oscar, liberal African Americans sharply criticized McDaniel for accepting a role in which her character, a former slave, spoke nostalgically about the Old South.

McDaniel’s film career declined in the late 1940s, and in 1947 she returned to radio as the star of the nationally broadcast The Beulah Show. In the program, she again portrayed an effervescent Southern maid but in a markedly un-stereotypical manner that won praise from the NAACP. In 1951, while filming the first episodes of a television version of the popular show, she had a heart attack. She recovered to do a few more radio programs but in 1952 died of breast cancer at the age of 57. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Hollywood Reporter / Biographyvideo

“A Perfect Storm”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“A Perfect Storm”

Beyond the bay the sun peeked over waves.

The calm belied what destiny would tell.

A statue peers where young men served and gave,

so far from Gloucester shores where seagulls yell;

so far from sheltered harbor's gentle swells,

undaunted sailors dared the Flemish cap,

too far, as nature mixed a hopeless trap.

Like hungry beasts tempt fate to catch their prey

and stray beyond their tribal hunting grounds,

the George's Bank was left to stern that day

to go where surely greater catch abounds,

but while their hold was filled with bounty found,

two angry storms swirled in a deadly dance

and left the Andrea Gail without a chance.

Her captain turned for port but could not know

such wrath of nature blocked their pathway home

and all the crew on wings of angels glowed

the face of God to trust, and not to roam.

Though oft in tumult's grasp they will bemoan

and think to sell their souls in Devil's waves,

yet safe in Heaven's grasp they will be brave.

~ Craig Cornish

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Vegetarian - that's an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.”

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

~ Maya Angelou

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.”

~ Andy Rooney

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)

What are a snowball's actual chances in hell? This experiment throws up some surprising results

What are a snowball's actual chances in hell? This experiment throws up some surprising results

When something has very little chance of happening, some people call it “a snowball's chance in Hell”.

A group of the company's scientists devised a way they believed would keep a snowball safe from 2,000 degree molten steel - as close to the biblical conditions of hell they could find.

Visiting an old foundry, the scientists drew on technology from the power, aviation and healthcare industries to develop a container made from a super alloy that can withstand extreme high temperatures and is usually used to build jet engines.

They then chain it up and place the whole thing into a vat of molten metal slag.

Pulling the burning container out again, the scientists unchain the vessel and open the container - to reveal the snowball still perfectly intact.

Mirror (02/14/2016)

What Causes Hiccups?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Causes Hiccups?

Hiccups are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle. As the muscle contracts repeatedly, the opening between the vocal cords snaps shut to check the inflow of air and makes the hiccup sound. Irritation of the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest can cause hiccups.

Although associated with a variety of ailments (some can be serious such as pneumonia or when harmful substances build up in the blood for example from kidney failure), hiccups are not serious and have no clear reason for occurring. Rarely, their presence causes health problems such as speech changes or interference with eating and sleeping.

The most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include: Drinking carbonated beverages • Drinking too much alcohol • Eating too much • Excitement or emotional stress • Sudden temperature changes • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy.

Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by a variety of factors, which are generally grouped into the following categories: • Nerve damage or irritation • Central nervous system disorders • Metabolic disorders and drugs.

eMedicine HealthDaily MailMental FlossMayo ClinicTIMEWikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Hooch: (1) A living environment, such as a tent, made more comfortable by innovation.
(2) Illicit homemade alcohol.

Hooligan Navy: WWII Navy pejorative for the Coast Guard, from its flexibility in enlisting men discharged from other services to rapidly expand for Prohibition. (Term endures within CG.)

Hoover: The S-3B Viking, mostly due to its unique engine noises.

Horse Cock: Large log of baloney or overcooked kielbasa usually put out for lunch or midrats. Horse Cock sandwich is one of the least favorite boxed lunches served to helo crews when visiting other ships.

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

Just for you MARINE

IAW: In Accordance With, term often used to denote compliance with published orders or procedures.

IG: Inspector General.

ILBE: Improved Load Bearing Equipment, the newest iteration of personal combat gear, utilizes the PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System), replaced MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment).

In Country: Phrase referring to being within a war zone.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HM-14 - Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14: “Vanguard”
Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Animal rights protest scrapped after “greased pig” dust-up

Animal rights protest scrapped after “greased pig” dust-up

An international animal advocacy group launched a protest against a New Hampshire winter carnival event billed as a “Greased Pig on Ice”, but withdrew it after learning there's no pig in the act — just a man on skates in a pig costume with dollar bills tied to his tail.

PETA spokeswoman Daphna Nachminovitch said Smith did not clarify what the event would entail. She said the updated information is excellent news for the pigs. WHEC (Rochester) - Associated Press (02/15/2016)

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


“Sing, Sing, Sing” - Benny Goodman

“Sing, Sing, Sing” - Benny Goodman
Album: Sing, Sing, Sing (With_a_Swing)
Released 1936 video

On the evening of January 16, 1938, Benny Goodman took to the stage at Carnegie Hall along with his trio, his quartet, and his big band. It was the first time ever that a swing band played Carnegie. Historians now look to this night as the moment when jazz gained validity from the music establishment.

The Goodman orchestra was well known in America from club appearances from New York to Chicago and from the radio. But Swing had its detractors, too. Even so, the Carnegie Hall concert marked the moment when the music itself was afforded a sign of respect.

The last number on the program was “Sing, Sing, Sing” — what Goodman called a “killer diller”, a number intended to get a crowd on its feet, jitterbugging. Drummer Gene Krupa sets the groove with his tom-toms, and members of the orchestra take their turns soloing, including a mournful one from Benny himself. But Jess Stacy steals the show with his piano. We'll hear the entire performance of “Sing, Sing, Sing” in addition to remarks from Goodman biographer Ross Firestone, audience member Turk van Lake, and Benny Goodman.

Benny Goodman official site / NPR / Songwriters Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Biography / Wikipedia

Image: “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) (album)” by Benny Goodman



● The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The Universe is at least 15 billion years old, but probably not more than 20 billion years old.

● If the Sun were a hollow ball, you could fit about one million Earths.

● Fusion, the same as a hydrogen bomb is what powers the sun.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the two perennial vegetables?

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer University of New Hampshire.edu

Answer to Last Week's Test

What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

Answer: Niagara Falls, since it worn down by nearly 2.5 feet per year by the rushing water. Wikipedia

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Doctor Jones likes to stop at a bar after work and enjoy an almond daiquiri.

One day, Dick the bartender runs out of almonds and uses hickory nuts instead.

The elderly man came back the next day; the specimen cup was empty and the lid was on it.

The doctor takes a sip and says, “Is this an almond daiquiri, Dick?”

And Dick says, “It’s a hickory daiquiri, Doc.”

Pun of the Day

I wasn't originally going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.