Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 24, 2017

Previous Week   June 12, 2017 - June 18, 2017   Next Week

Lincoln calls for help on June 15, 1863

June 15, 1948

Lincoln calls for help: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting Washington, D.C., America’s capital city.

Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg, Virginia, and set it on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion, in September 1862, failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.

Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C. Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. All Lincoln knew was that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be certain as to the Confederates’ location.

On June 15, Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Britannica Encyclopedia / University of Michigan / United States Senate.gov American Civil War Documentary (YouTube) video

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

Understanding Military Terminology - Media pool

(DOD) A limited number of news media who represent a larger number of news media organizations for purposes of news gathering and sharing of material during a specified activity. Also see public affairs.

Joint Publications (JP 3-61) (Public Affairs)

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Thus, then, did Ulysses wait and pray; but the girl drove on to the town. When she reached her father's house she drew up at the gateway, and her brothers- comely as the gods- gathered round her, took the mules out of the waggon, and carried the clothes into the house, while she went to her own room, where an old servant, Eurymedusa of Apeira, lit the fire for her. This old woman had been brought by sea from Apeira, and had been chosen as a prize for Alcinous because he was king over the Phaecians, and the people obeyed him as though he were a god. She had been nurse to Nausicaa, and had now lit the fire for her, and brought her supper for her into her own room.

Presently Ulysses got up to go towards the town; and Minerva shed a thick mist all round him to hide him in case any of the proud Phaecians who met him should be rude to him, or ask him who he was. Then, as he was just entering the town, she came towards him in the likeness of a little girl carrying a pitcher. She stood right in front of him, and Ulysses said:

“My dear, will you be so kind as to show me the house of king Alcinous? I am an unfortunate foreigner in distress, and do not know one in your town and country.”

Then Minerva said, “Yes, father stranger, I will show you the house you want, for Alcinous lives quite close to my own father. I will go before you and show the way, but say not a word as you go, and do not look at any man, nor ask him questions; for the people here cannot abide strangers, and do not like men who come from some other place. They are a sea-faring folk, and sail the seas by the grace of Neptune in ships that glide along like thought, or as a bird in the air.”

Book VII continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“You have a clean slate every day you wake up.

You have a chance every single morning

to make that change

and be the person you want to be.

You just have to decide to do it.”

~ Brendon Burchard

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until eventually he knows everything about nothing.”

~ 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)

Engineering Students Create 1,500-Pound Rubik’s Cube

Engineering Students Create 1,500-Pound Rubik’s Cube

Squaring off against this Rubik’s Cube is a huge undertaking - it weighs 1,500 pounds. University of Michigan engineering students on Thursday unveiled what is believed to be the world’s largest hand-solvable, stationary version of the cube.

Designing and building the colossal cube was a three-year process, much of it involving getting the cubelets to move properly. “On the inside of our big Rubik’s Cube we have rollers and transfer bearings so that all of the cubelets are only touching each other through rolling friction”, graduate student instructor Kelsey Hockstrand says.

“For this cube, every move is deliberate, so you have to grab onto a face and rotate it completely and then remember what you just did, instead of doing a series of algorithms”, Kuhn said in the video. “So it’s hard to keep track in your mind what moves you’ve already done, as well as what moves more you have to do.”

This giant cube is now on display at the university, but be prepared to wait in line.

Huffington Post (04/09/2017) video

Why are the mountains and volcanoes on Mars so much taller than those on Earth?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why are the mountains and volcanoes on Mars so much taller than those on Earth?

Several things contribute to Mars’s huge volcanic peaks. Mercury does not have them, and it’s smaller than Earth, too. Venus’s are smaller than Earth’s, but Venus is lighter and should have higher volcanoes.

1. Lower gravity allows volcanoes to grow higher—if you have them.

2. Mars is large enough to have had volcanoes in its past (though it does not have active volcanoes now).

3. Weathering is very low on Mars, so large volcanoes stay large.

4. Mars probably didn’t have any (or much) plate tectonics in its past. This means that heat from the interior had only a few places to escape from (hot spots) rather than all sorts of places to leak out (like the Ring of Fire).

5. Two moons of Mars are Phobos and Deimos and a dust ring between Phobos and Deimos.

Combine all of this together, and you get a small number of huge eruptions on a low gravity planet with very little weathering.

NASAQuoraSpace.comUniverse TodayVolcano DiscoveryWikipedia

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Let the cat out of the bag”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Let the cat out of the bag”  Meaning: Divulge a secret.

Origin: There are two commonly heard suggested origins of this phrase. One relates to the fraud of substituting a cat for a piglet at markets. If you let the cat out of the bag you disclosed the trick - and avoided buying a pig in a poke (bag). This form of trickery is long alluded to in the language and 'pigs in a poke' are recorded as early as 1530.

The other theory is that the 'cat' referred to is the cat o' nine tails, which was used to flog ill-disciplined sailors. The cat o' nine tails was widely used and was referred to in print many years prior to the first use of 'let the cat out of the bag'. The 'nine tails' part of the name derives from the three strands of cord that the rope lashes were made from. Each of the cords were in turn made from three strands of string. When unbraided a piece of rope separated into nine strings. The 'cat' part no doubt alluded to the scratches that the knotted ends of the lash made on the victim's back, like those from a cat's claws.

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

P.C.O.D.: “Pussy Cut Off Day:” The last day of a long deployment on which male sailors can get laid and still obtain Venereal Disease cures from the Hospital Corpsman, and have those cures be effective, before returning to their partners at home.

PCU: Pre Commissioning Unit: What a ships company is called before a ship is commissioned. These personnel go on to become Plank Owners.

PD-8: Fictitious valve requested to be found by junior sailor in order for an engineering qualification to be signed off. Valves are named with the initials of the system they belong to, ie Seawater valve 1 is SW-1. PD-8 is actually a chemical additive used in the evaporator to aid distillation of fresh water. As opposed to other in-joke shipboard goose chases, this one can go one for weeks while the nub spends his free time poking around the distillation plant.

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

Just for you MARINE

Possible: Slang term for the highest score possible in a marksmanship exercise as in "shooting a possible"; used on the rifle range during Recruit Training to denote the shooter possibly achieving a perfect score in a given round of firing.

Pos: Radio lingo for position.

PowerPoint Ranger: Pejorative for Marines (usually officers) who have spent too much time in an office.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HX-21 - Operational Test and Evaluation Force: “Blackjack”
Rotary Wing Aircraft Test, Naval Air Weapons Station Patuxent River, Maryland

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

This Could Be the Army's Next-Gen HelicopterEverything You Need to Know About 'Star Trek: Discovery'Fake Blood, Real Screams: What I Learned at Wilderness Medic TrainingIs It Possible to Build Your Own iPhone From Spare Parts?How to Choose Headphones (find the right pair for your lifestyle and budget)The Missing History of the UniverseMaking the Amazing Elevating Car (It's completely impractical, which is what makes it completely great.)Here's What Happens When You Run An Engine Without Oil12 Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Your Yard Look Professionally LandscapedHow to Check the 6 Essential Fluids in Your Car

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Worst Ways to Die Are Pretty Weird (and Gruesome)

Worst Ways to Die Are Pretty Weird (and Gruesome)

Let's face it - the world is a treacherous place full of dangerous substances, organisms and situations that can kill you. Some are hazards of everyday life — drowning in a bathtub, getting hit by a bus, falling onto train tracks, or having a severely allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Others are equally lethal but somewhat less likely - tumbling into a volcano, standing on the sun's surface, or going for a moonwalk without your spacesuit.

A physicist and a writer spent two years pondering the most outlandish, gruesome and extreme ways to die and wrote a book about them, “And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara”.

A fate worse than death: [Top 10 Leading Causes of Death]

A Thrilled to death: [Executions: 7 Gruesome Ways to Take a Life]

Live Science (04/10/2017) video

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


“A Horse With No Name” - America 1972

“A Horse With No Name” - America
Album: America
Released 1972 video

America was formed in England by sons of U.S. servicemen who were stationed there. Lead singer Dewey Bunnell wrote this when he was 19. Although the song is commonly misinterpreted about being on drugs, it is not: Bunnell based the images in the lyrics on things he saw while visiting the U.S.

This was originally titled “Desert Song”, since Bunnell wrote it based on the desert scenery he encountered when his dad was stationed at an Air Force base in Santa Barbara County, California.

The song tells a rather abstruse tale about a trip though the desert. While the landscape is unforgiving, the singer also finds comfort in that scenario.

According to Dewey Bunnell, the “horse” represents a means of entering a place of tranquility, and this tranquil place was best represented by the desert, which sounded pretty good to him while he was stuck in rainy England.

As for why the horse had no name and why it went free after nine days, Bunnell doesn't have any answers - it seems the various listener interpretations are far more colorful than any meaning he assigned to it.

Many people thought this was a Neil Young song when they heard it, and many rock critics pointed out the similarities. In a strange twist, “A Horse With No Name” replaced Young's “Heart of Goldvideo at #1 in the U.S.

Dewey Bunnell explained that he was well aware that he sounded like Neil Young on this song, but claimed he wasn't trying to imitate the singer. He told Rolling Stone in 1973: “I try to use a different voice so that I won't be branded as a rip-off. It's such a drag, though, to have to not sound like someone when you can't help it in the first place.”

“Horse” is slang for heroin, leading to myriad rumors (denied by the band) that the song was about drugs.

America, official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “America (album)” by America



In our solar system, the planet Jupiter has the shortest day - making one rotation about its axis approximately every 10 hours.

● William I, William the Conqueror led the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and was crowned king of England on Christmas Day that year.

● Bi-monthly; Semi-monthly: Easily Confused or Misused Words: The first adjective means every two months; the second means twice a month.

People Who Know Everything

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “INTERJECTING IN INTERJECTIONS” ($200):

Add a letter to alas! & you get this word for an alternate name.

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “I'M JUST A SAYING” ($600):

St. Paul was a big fan of this virtue, which, idiomatically, “begins at home”.

Answer: Charity. Minneapolis – Saint Paul Star Tribune

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, right up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, “I would like to buy some cyanide.”

The pharmacist asked, “Why in the world do you need cyanide?”

The lady replied, “I need it to poison my husband.”

The pharmacists eyes got big and he exclaimed, “Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! That's against the law! I'll lose my license! They'll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!”

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, “Well now. That's different. You didn't tell me you had a prescription.”

Quotable Quotables

“Lilyhammer” Season 1 Episode 2 - The Flamingo (2012)

Frank Tagliano:[having roughed-up Muslim] “Don't make me get emotional about this little misunderstanding.”

Frank Tagliano: “What about those punks? They goin' to be punished for this, or what?”

Teacher: “Oh no. No, no, we believe that dialog is a much more effective weapon against this kind of anti-social behavior.”

Frank Tagliano: [back in the car] “Look eh, your teacher... all this talk, eh, is not... it's no good. It's not gonna get'chu any respect. Here's what'cha gotta do.”

Frank Tagliano: [handing over money] “Let's just say he's found the spiritual wisdom in his heart to admit when he's wrong. And - it's hard to drive a cab with 10 broken figures.”

~ “Lilyhammer” - “Lilyhammer Trailer ” (2012) video Written by: Eilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad and Steven Van Zandt - Netflix (from 2012 through 2014)