Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 04, 2017

Previous Week   January 23, 2017 - January 29, 2017  Next Week

Australia Day: First Australian penal colony established on January 26, 1788

Australia Day: First Australian penal colony established on January 26, 1788

Australia Day: On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare.

Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. With little idea of what he could expect from the mysterious and distant land, Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for more experienced farmers to assist the penal colony were repeatedly denied, and he was both poorly funded and outfitted. Nonetheless, accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men.

The first years of settlement were nearly disastrous. Cursed with poor soil, an unfamiliar climate and workers who were ignorant of farming, Phillip had great difficulty keeping the men alive. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for several years, and the marines sent to keep order were not up to the task. Phillip, who proved to be a tough but fair-minded leader, persevered by appointing convicts to positions of responsibility and oversight. Floggings and hangings were commonplace, but so was egalitarianism. As Phillip said before leaving England: “In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves.”

Though Phillip returned to England in 1792, the colony became prosperous by the turn of the 19th century. Feeling a new sense of patriotism, the men began to rally around January 26 as their founding day. Historian Manning Clarke noted that in 1808 the men observed the “anniversary of the foundation of the colony” with “drinking and merriment”.

Finally, in 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. And, as Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day. Today, Australia Day serves both as a day of celebration for the founding of the white British settlement, and as a day of mourning for the Aborigines who were slowly dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent. History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Australia Day.org / Australia Day.vic.gov.au / Convict Creations

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Marshalling area

(DOD) A location in the vicinity of a reception terminal or pre-positioned equipment storage site where arriving unit personnel, equipment, materiel, and accompanying supplies are reassembled, returned to the control of the unit commander, and prepared for onward movement. Joint Publications JP 3-35 (Deployment and Redeployment Operations - Department of Defense)


1. The process by which units participating in an amphibious or airborne operation group together or assemble when feasible or move to temporary camps in the vicinity of embarkation points, complete preparations for combat, or prepare for loading.

2. The process of assembling, holding, and organizing supplies and/or equipment, especially vehicles of transportation, for onward movement. See also staging area. Joint Publications JP 3-17 (Air Mobility Operations - Defense Technical Information Center)

“The Seafarer”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Seafarer”

May I for my own self song’s truth reckon,

Journey’s jargon, how I in harsh days

Hardship endured oft.

Bitter breast-cares have I abided,

Known on my keel many a care’s hold,

And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent

Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship’s head

While she tossed close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted,

My feet were by frost benumbed.

Chill its chains are; chafing sighs

Hew my heart round and hunger bego

Mere-weary mood. Lest man know not

That he on dry land loveliest liveth,

List how I, care-wretched, on ice-cold sea,

Weathered the winter, wretched outcast

Deprived of my kinsmen;

Hung with hard ice-flakes, where hail-scur flew,

There I heard naught save the harsh sea

And ice-cold wave, at whiles the swan cries,

Did for my games the gannet’s clamour,

Sea-fowls, loudness was for me laughter

The mews’ singing all my mead-drink.

Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern

In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed

With spray on his pinion.

continued ...

~ Ezra Pound

(from Ripostes, 1912)

Full Poem

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

Miller's law:

• In communication: “To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.” Named after George Armitage Miller.

• In psychology: the number of objects an average person can hold in working memory is about seven. Also named after George Miller.

• In software development: “All discussions of incremental updates to Bugzilla will eventually trend towards proposals for large scale redesigns or feature additions or replacements for Bugzilla.” Named after Dave Miller.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“To make mistakes is human;

to stumble is commonplace;

to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.”

~ William Arthur Ward

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Remember, for everything you have lost,

you have gained something else.

Without the dark,

you would never see the stars.”

~ 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)

What your home will look like when you live on Mars

What your home will look like when you live on Mars

Put those retirement plans on hold. There’s a chance that, sooner or later, you might have to move further than you were thinking. As far as Mars.

To mark the launch of its new six-part docudrama Mars, National Geographic will unveil the first ever Mars showhome, giving earthlings an idea of what their life could look like on the Red Planet.

Set in the not-so-distant year of 2037, in Valles Marineris, a vast system of canyons on the Mars equator, the igloo-shaped structure could be the home of your future.

Telegraph (11/07/2016) video

Why Do We Get a Lump in Our Throats Before We Cry?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Do We Get a Lump in Our Throats Before We Cry?

That “lump” is actually not a lump at all but a counter-reaction to the body’s automatic nervous system. When humans are exposed to stressful situations – ie, situations that would cause them to cry or get angry – the body, due to the genetic evolutionary “fight or flight” nature of humans, automatically increases blood flow to vital organs and muscles.

Unfortunately, one of the ways the body achieves this is by opening the glottis (the vocal folds in the throat that humans use to generate vibrational noise) in order to allow your lungs to receive more inhaled oxygen than normal.

By doing this, while increasing available oxygen which can be beneficial in stressful moments, it causes any human who wishes to swallow to fight against their body’s automatic nervous system for control of the glottis’ positioning, causing that distinctive sore pain in the throat.

How It Works DailyIFL ScienceQuoraWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Above board”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Above board:”  Meaning: Openly; without any trickery.

Origin: It is sometimes suggested that the board in question is the deck of a ship and that this term comes from the seafaring practice of concealing pirates below decks (below board) in order to lull the crews of victim ships into a false sense of security. The opposite, 'above board' was considered to symbolize openness and fairness.

There's no evidence to support this derivation and it seems clear that this term originated in the gaming community. If card players keep their hands above the table (board) they can be seen to be playing fairly.

Beaumont & Fletcher's The Custom of the Country, 1616, includes this line:

“Yet if you play not fair play and above board too, I have a foolish gin here, I say no more.” (Laying his hand upon his sword)

Given the phrase 'above board', we might expect there to be a 'below board' or 'beneath the board'. Neither of these is recorded, although 'under board' was used briefly. Sir Christopher Heydon used it in In Defence of Judiciall Astrology, 1603:

“After the fashion of iugglers, to occupie the minde of the spectatour, while in the meane time he plaies vnder board.”

The phrase that won out as the converse of 'above board' was clearly 'under hand', now usually written as a single word. This dates back to the 17th century too, for example, in this line from Cyril Tourneur's The Atheist's Tragedie, 1611:

“He does it under hand.”

English Stack Exchange - 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

NAMI Whammy: Slang for the incredibly in-depth two-day flight physical given to all prospective aviators at the Naval Aeromedical Institute at NAS Pensacola. Called the Whammy b/c many aspiring naval flight careers are ended before they even begin due to some unknown ailment.

NAMTRADET: Naval Aviation Maintenance Training Detachment. Specialized training for Avaition maintainers.

Nasty City: Slang for National City, California, just outside the gate of Naval Station San Diego. Its cheap dive bars were a noted hangout of “West-Pac Widows”. Also answers to the name “National Shitty”.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VT-7 - Fixed Wing Training Squadrons: “Eagles”
Formerly BTG-7 Established June 1st 1958, redesig to VT-7 on July 1st 1960 / Intermediate Tailhook, Advanced Jet TRAWING 1, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, NAS Meridian - Lauderdale / Kemper counties, near Meridian, Mississippi

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Politician Who Criticized Squirrels Gets Hospitalized By Squirrel

Politician Who Criticized Squirrels Gets Hospitalized By Squirrel

In October, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward went on a public tirade about “aggressive squirrels”, griping that the furry critters kept eating through the city-supplied garbage cans.

But Brookins had no idea just how “aggressive” squirrels could be. On Nov. 13, the alderman found himself in the hospital with a skull fracture after a squirrel leapt into the path of Brookins’ bike, wrapping itself in the spokes and causing him to flip over the handlebars, The Star Tribune reports.

“I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge”, he told the Tribune.

Some outlets, like the Chicago Sun Times, covered the incident but simply referred to it as a “freak accident”, apparently afraid to call radical squirrel terrorism by name.

Warning: This story includes a photo of a dead squirrel.

Brookins posted about the accident on Sunday to announce that he would be unable to attend events in the near future as he was still recovering from his serious injuries.

Sadly, it appears that the squirrel did not survive the incident, based on the photo that Brookins posted. Chicago Star Tribune (11/22/2016) video

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


 “Carry On Wayward Son” - Kansas 1976

“Carry On Wayward Son” - Kansas
Album: Leftoverture
Released 1976 video

Written by Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren. According to Livgren, the song was not written to express anything specifically religious, though it certainly expresses spiritual searching and other ideas.

Livgren became an evangelical Christian in 1980, and has said that his songwriting to that point was all about “searching”. Regarding this song, he explained: “I felt a profound urge to 'Carry On' and continue the search. I saw myself as the 'Wayward Son,' alienated from the ultimate reality, and yet striving to know it or him. The positive note at the end ('Surely heaven waits for you') seemed strange and premature, but I felt impelled to include it in the lyrics. It proved to be prophetic.”

This was the group's first major hit, and like their next one, “Dust In The Windvideo, it was a last minute addition to the album. Kerry Livgren wrote the song just two days before they started recording Leftoverture. At that point, the band was polishing the songs they had, not bringing in new ones. “I've got one more song that you might want to hear”, he told the band, and when he played “Carry On”, they knew it was a hit and made it the lead track on the album.

This song has appeared in several movies, including Heroes (1977), Happy Gilmore (1996) and Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004).

The album Leftoverture not only propelled Kansas to international stardom, it also saved the band for the time being. Kansas' previous record, Masque, was a commercial failure, and the progressive style of the band and their songs hindered their ability to get serious radio play. While he personally enjoyed the band, producer Don Kirshner gave Kansas one last chance: produce a hit record, or be dropped by the label. Overwhelmed and distressed with the predicament, the band returned to their hometown of Topeka, Kansas, to relax and begin writing for the next album.

Lead singer and keyboard player, Steve Walsh, began suffering from writer's block which hindered his songwriting contributions, and so it was left up to lead guitar player and lyricist, Kerry Livgren, to generate song ideas and lyrics. Sitting at his parent's home, in front of the family organ, Livgren composed the music for what would become “Carry On Wayward Son”. In late 2011, Livgren stated in a short interview at his home that the lyrics were partially about himself and the struggles and pressures he was facing at the time when the band's career was on the line. The piano interlude and accompanying verse express how happy the band's success had made him, as well as how sad and fearful he was that it might possibly be over (“I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high”). However, the chorus expresses hope that everything will work out and that he must simply keep going. (“Carry on, my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done”).

In reality, the song was almost not included on the album, and thus contributes to the album's title of Leftoverture. The album title comes from the idea that many of the songs are leftover songs from the band's past. The album, while met with mixed reviews by critics, was commercially successful, going platinum five times. “Carry On” became the bands' first Top 40 hit, and is often regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. It gave Kansas the staying power it needed to keep producing records with Kirshner, and earned Kerry Livgren the reputation as one of the most respected musicians and lyricists in rock and roll.

Kansas official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Leftoverture (album)” by Kansas



● 1844 Alexandre Dumas wrote the novel based on the adventures of a band of merry men - “The Three Musketeers”.

● The Tees, The Trent, The Taw, the Trent and the Tamar are all rivers of England.

● Vermont was the first state to enter the union of the original thirteen.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

In “This little pig went to market, This little piggy stayed home”, it's what the only pig that ate pigged out on.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Wikipedia - Poetry Foundation.org

Answer to Last Week's Test

What's the difference between a pig and a hog?

Answer: A pig is a hog - hog is a generic name for all swine - but a hog is not a pig. In the terminology of hog raising, a pig is a baby hog less than ten weeks old. Live Science

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A blonde and a redhead have a ranch. They have just lost their bull. The women need to buy another, but only have $500.

The redhead tells the blonde, “I will go to the market and see if I can find one for under that amount. If I can, I will send you a telegram.”

She goes to the market and finds one for $499. Having only one dollar left, she goes to the telegraph office and finds out that it costs one dollar per word.

She is stumped on how to tell the blonde to bring the truck and trailer.

Finally, she tells the telegraph operator to send the word “comfortable”.

Skeptical, the operator asks, “How will she know to come with the trailer from just that word?”

The redhead replies, “She's a blonde so she reads slow: 'Come for ta bull.'”

Pun of the Day

Vampires are always looking for their necks victim.