Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 28, 2017

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Largest tank battle in history ends on July 13, 1943

Battle of Kursk: Largest tank battle in history ends on July 13, 1943

Largest tank battle in history ends: The Battle of Kursk, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million men, and 5,000 aircraft, ends with the German offensive repulsed by the Soviets at heavy cost.

In early July, Germany and the USSR concentrated their forces near the city of Kursk in western Russia, site of a 150-mile-wide Soviet pocket that jutted 100 miles into the German lines.

The German attack began on July 5th, and 38 divisions, nearly half of which were armored, began moving from the south and the north. However, the Soviets had better tanks and air support than in previous battles, and in bitter fighting Soviet antitank artillery destroyed as much as 40 percent of the German armor, which included their new Mark VI Tiger tanks.

After six days of warfare concentrated near Prokhorovka, south of Kursk, the German Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge called off the offensive, and by July 23rd the Soviets had forced the Germans back to their original positions.

In the beginning of August, the Soviets began a major offensive around the Kursk salient, and within a few weeks the Germans were in retreat all along the eastern front.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Battle of Kursk.org / AHCTV / The Battle of Kursk (YouTube search) video

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

Understanding Military Terminology - Medical intelligence preparation of the operational environment

(DOD) A systematic continuing process that analyzes information on medical and disease threats, enemy capabilities, terrain, weather, local medical infrastructure, potential humanitarian and refugee situations, transportation issues, and political, religious and social issues for all types of operations. Also called MIPOE.

Joint Publications (JP 4-02) (Health Service Support - Defense Technical Information Center)

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Thence we went on to the Aeoli island where lives Aeolus son of Hippotas, dear to the immortal gods. It is an island that floats (as it were) upon the sea, iron bound with a wall that girds it. Now, Aeolus has six daughters and six lusty sons, so he made the sons marry the daughters, and they all live with their dear father and mother, feasting and enjoying every conceivable kind of luxury. All day long the atmosphere of the house is loaded with the savour of roasting meats till it groans again, yard and all; but by night they sleep on their well-made bedsteads, each with his own wife between the blankets. These were the people among whom we had now come.

“Aeolus entertained me for a whole month asking me questions all the time about Troy, the Argive fleet, and the return of the Achaeans. I told him exactly how everything had happened, and when I said I must go, and asked him to further me on my way, he made no sort of difficulty, but set about doing so at once. Moreover, he flayed me a prime ox-hide to hold the ways of the roaring winds, which he shut up in the hide as in a sack- for Jove had made him captain over the winds, and he could stir or still each one of them according to his own pleasure. He put the sack in the ship and bound the mouth so tightly with a silver thread that not even a breath of a side-wind could blow from any quarter. The West wind which was fair for us did he alone let blow as it chose; but it all came to nothing, for we were lost through our own folly.”

“Nine days and nine nights did we sail, and on the tenth day our native land showed on the horizon. We got so close in that we could see the stubble fires burning, and I, being then dead beat, fell into a light sleep, for I had never let the rudder out of my own hands, that we might get home the faster. On this the men fell to talking among themselves, and said I was bringing back gold and silver in the sack that Aeolus had given me. 'Bless my heart,' would one turn to his neighbour, saying, 'how this man gets honoured and makes friends to whatever city or country he may go. See what fine prizes he is taking home from Troy, while we, who have travelled just as far as he has, come back with hands as empty as we set out with- and now Aeolus has given him ever so much more. Quick- let us see what it all is, and how much gold and silver there is in the sack he gave him.' ”

“Thus they talked and evil counsels prevailed. They loosed the sack, whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out to sea and away from our own country. Then I awoke, and knew not whether to throw myself into the sea or to live on and make the best of it; but I bore it, covered myself up, and lay down in the ship, while the men lamented bitterly as the fierce winds bore our fleet back to the Aeolian island.”

BOOK X continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“In human vision, the product of contrast and area is a constant for small targets below the resolution limit.”

~ Ricco's law

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Any man worth his salt

will stick up for what he believes right,

but it takes a slightly better man

to acknowledge instantly and

without reservation that he is in error.”

~ General Peyton C. March

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them;

ships sink because of the water that gets in them.

Don’t let what’s happening around you

get inside you and weigh you down.”

~ 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)

There’s Something (Shell) Fishy About This Seafood-Inspired Beer

There’s Something (Shell) Fishy About This Seafood-Inspired Beer

The Wild Beer Co used 30 live lobsters ― plus cockles, Kombu seaweed, sea salt, sea herbs, star anise and saffron ― to produce its 7 percent brew, called Of The Sea.

Inspiration for the drink came from the mutual love that Cooper and his fellow brewery co-founder Brett Ellis share for the dish lobster bisque. And following a brewery team “bisque off”, they decided to take the plunge and transform the idea of the highly seasoned soup into a beer.

They dropped the lobsters and other ingredients into the boil for 12 minutes, before removing the crustaceans and stripping them of their meat. Staff enjoyed a team lunch of lobster rolls as the shells were grilled to intensify their flavor and then put back in at the end of the boil. They then extracted all the food debris, added saison yeast and left it to ferment for one week and to undergo a period of maturation for two weeks.

Only 120 Of The Sea kegs and 8,000 bottles, costing around $4.40, were put on sale, making it a limited edition.

The brewery’s enthusiasm to experiment with unusual or foraged ingredients appears to be succeeding, as it recently crowdfunded around $2.3 million to build a new brewery complete with a visitor center. It also operates two bars in nearby Bristol and Cheltenham and exports to 22 countries, including the U.S.

Huffington Post (04/27/2017) video

Why Are So Many Cartoon Characters Yellow?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Are So Many Cartoon Characters Yellow?

Whether you’re watching The Simpsons, Pokemon, or Adventure Time, there’s one color that stands out. Yellow has been a favorite choice of animators since cartoons were first colorized, and they aren’t just choosing the shade because it looks pretty. A combination of art theory and psychology helps explain yellow’s rise to prominence.

When Matt Groening was creating The Simpsons, he wanted the family to stand out, so he decided to make the characters a weird color. “An animator came up with the Simpsons' yellow and as soon as she showed it to me I said: 'This is the answer!'” Groening once told the BBC. “When you're flicking through channels with your remote control, and a flash of yellow goes by, you'll know you're watching The Simpsons.” And though the family is among the most iconic TV characters in history, they're not the only yellow characters out there. From Spongebob to Tweety, yellow is the color of some of the most famous cartoon characters.

Tnd there's a reason this color is so popular, as YouTube user ChannelFrederator outlines in a new video: It has to do with color theory. A television uses the red-green-blue color wheel rather than the standard red-yellow-blue model. With the RGB scale, yellow and blue are complementary colors. That's why characters like Spongebob stand out so well against a blue background. Yellow is also the most visible color in the entire visual spectrum because of how the cones in our eyes process light and the order in which the signals for red green and blue light reach our brain. This is why taxis and warning signs are yellow.

Additionally, yellow also works well for a psychological perspective. In this case, yellow is a warm color that most often conveys joy and optimism. Think about how depressing Spongebob would be if he were blue or red.

EsquireMentalflossQuoraRedditWikipediaChannelFrederator (YouTube) video

Where Did That Saying Come From? “My ears are burning”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

My ears are burning”  Meaning: I can hear someone talking about me.

Origin: It goes back to the ancient Romans, who had a strange obsession with burning sensations in various organs.

Pliny wrote: 'It is acknowledged that the absent feel a presentiment of remarks about themselves by the ringing of their ears' (Naturalis Historia, AD 77). The ancient belief that the left signifies evil and the right good applies here also.

Both Plautus and Pliny held that if a person's right ear burns then he is being praised, but a burning left ear indicates that he is the subject of evil intent. English literature, from Chaucer to Dickens, abounds with references to burning ears.

According to ancient belief, other unexpected bodily twitches and sensations also warn of events to come, among them the eye and the thumb. A flickering right eye, for instance, indicates that a friend will visit or that something longed for will soon be seen, and a pricking in one's left thumb warns of an evil event.

Stack Exchange

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Phantom Shitter: A freaking weirdo that thinks it's funny to shit in the shower, or to take a shit in the shitter and not flush.

Phrog: CH-46 Sea Knight helo. Also referred to as the “Whistling Shitcan of Death” or a “Flying Anvil”.

Piece: Rifle, as used in manual-of-arms (rifle drill).

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

Just for you MARINE

Rah: A shortened version of Ooh-rah.

Raider Cap: Cover worn with the M1941 HBT, utilities.

Rain Locker: Shower.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-129 - “Vikings”
Formerly VAH-10 Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), Naval Aviation Squadron Whidbey Island Oak Harbor, Washington - Established May 1, 1961

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Ground Control to Major Tom: The History of the Space Wake-Up CallThis Giant 3D Printer Could Build You a House TodayThis Barrel-Shaped Rocket Is Made to Save Lives - The attitude control motor would steer the crew capsule to safety if things get hairyEight Great Gadgets For Your Next Road TripThe Power of a Great Car Photohe Milky Way Through the Eyes of a Pilot - hot from a cockpit on a trip from Europe to South America, we see our galaxy in all its glory

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

How Long Do Elephants Take to Poop? Same Time As You

How Long Do Elephants Take to Poop? Same Time As You

The ancient Chinese practiced copromancy, the diagnosis of health based on the shape, size and texture of feces. So did the Egyptians, the Greeks and nearly every ancient culture. Even today, your doctor may ask when you last had a bowel movement and to describe it in exquisite detail.

It's uncomfortable to talk about. But that's where science comes in, because what we don't like to discuss can still cause harm. Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal infections and other poop-related ailments cost Americans billions of dollars annually.

From personal observation, into the lab

We learned that most elephants and other herbivores create “floaters” while most tigers and other carnivores create “sinkers”. Inadvertently, we also ranked feces from most to least smelly, starting with tiger and rhino and going all the way to panda. The zoo's variety of animals provided us with a range of fecal sizes and shapes that served as independent pieces of evidence to validate our mathematical model of the duration of defecation.

The secret to the speed

During defecation, feces moves like a solid plug. Therefore, in ideal conditions, the combined length and diameter of feces is simply determined by the shape of one's rectum and large intestine. One of the big findings of our study was that feces extend halfway up the length of the colon from the rectum.

A unified theory of pooping

Beyond simply following our scientific curiosity, our measurements of feces have also had some practical applications. Our defecation data helped us design an adult diaper for astronauts. Astronauts want to stay in space suits for seven days, but are limited by their diapers. Taking advantage of the viscosity of feces, we designed a diaper that segregates the feces away from direct contact with skin. It was a semifinalist in the NASA Space Poop Challenge earlier this year.

Live Science (04/27/2017) video

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


“Blinded By the Light” - Manfred Mann’s Earth Band 1975

“Blinded By the Light” - Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Album: The Roaring Silence
Released 1976 video

This is Manfred Mann's cover of Bruce Springsteen's “Blinded By The Light”, though you'd hardly recognize Springsteen's version after being familiar with this one. And familiar you must be - it has gotten monster airplay on radio stations throughout the English-speaking world, and continues to be played daily. It is one of the most triumphant covers ever recorded.

Manfred Mann changed several lyrics, including changing “cut loose like a deuce” to “revved up like a deuce”, which results in one of the most notorious mondegreens in rock history as generations of fans have misheard it as &ldwrapped up like a douche”. Springsteen has even joked that his song did not become popular until it was re-written to be about feminine hygiene products. Said Springsteen: “Deuce was like a Little Deuce Coupe, as in a 2-seater Hot Rod. Douche is a feminine hygienic procedure. But what can I say, the public spoke.”

Two other records set by this song: First, it is so far Bruce Springsteen's only songwriting credit to have a #1 hit. Check The Boss's discography; his highest chart is #2 for “Dancing In The Darkvideo (hey, that must be what happens after you're blinded...). The other record was the longest a group up to that time had gone between #1 hits; previous to “Blinded by the Light”, their #1 was “Do Wah Diddy Diddyvideo.

This cover was such a breakthrough success for Manfred Mann's Earth Band that they decided to cover another Springsteen song, “Spirit In The Night”, as a re-released follow-up.

The piano noodling that shows up near the end of the song is a snippet of “Chopsticks”, a very well-known piece performed by any piano player or student.

In 2015, Guitar World placed guitarist Dave Flett's wah-driven solo at #17 on its list of greatest wah solos of all time.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “The Roaring Silence (album)” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band



Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote three ballets: THE NUTCRACKER, SWAN LAKE, and SLEEPING BEAUTY.

● The 1989 World Series was played between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants was interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989.

● In English it's called the French Riviera; in French it's known as Cote D'Azur.

● Shown on a 1639 map of 'New Netherlands,' the region known in Dutch as Conyne Eylandt (rabbit island) modern name is Coney Island.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Radio Conversation

This is the transcript of an ACTUAL radio conversation between a U.S. naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees South to avoid a collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.


Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

Quotable Quotables

“Batman!” TV Series (1966 - 1968)

Commissioner Gordon: “I don't know who he is beneath that mask of his, but I know when we need him, and we need him now!”

Riddler: “Did you hear about Greta Garbo? She dreamed one night she sprinkled 6 boxes of grass seed in her hair, and woke up moaning: 'I vant to be a lawn!' ”

Catwoman: “I'm not just pussyfooting around this time, Batman!”

Robin: “The opposite of a girl is a boy!”

Batman: “Not you, Robin. They have strict licensing laws in this country. A boy of your age is not allowed in a drinking tavern.”

Batman: “It's obvious. Only a criminal would disguise himself as a licensed, bonded guard yet callously park in front of a fire hydrant.”

~ “Batman!” TV Series (1966 - 1968) - “YouTube search” (“Batman - TV series”) video Creators: Lorenzo Semple Jr., William Dozier