Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 36, 2017

Previous Week   September 04, 2017 - September 10, 2017  Next Week

The Blitz begins on September 07, 1940

The Blitz begins on September 07, 1940

The Blitz begins: On this day in 1940, 300 German bombers raid London, in the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing. This bombing “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) would continue until May 1941.

After the successful occupation of France, it was only a matter of time before the Germans turned their sights across the Channel to England. Hitler wanted a submissive, neutralized Britain so that he could concentrate on his plans for the East, namely the land invasion of the Soviet Union, without interference. Since June, English vessels in the Channel had been attacked and aerial battles had been fought over Britain, as Germany attempted to wear down the Royal Air Force in anticipation of a land invasion. But with Germany failing to cripple Britain’s air power, especially in the Battle of Britain, Hitler changed strategies. A land invasion was now ruled out as unrealistic; instead Hitler chose sheer terror as his weapon of choice.

British intelligence had had an inkling of the coming bombardment. Evidence of the large-scale movement of German barges in the Channel and the interrogation of German spies had led them to the correct conclusion-unfortunately, it was just as the London docks were suffering the onslaught of Day One of the Blitz. By the end of the day, German planes had dropped 337 tons of bombs on London. Even though civilian populations were not the primary target that day, the poorest of London slum areas-the East End–felt the fallout literally, from direct hits of errant bombs as well as the fires that broke out and spread throughout the vicinity. Four hundred and forty-eight civilians were killed that afternoon and evening.

A little past 8 p.m., British military units were alerted with the code name “Cromwell”, meaning the German invasion had begun. A state of emergency broke out in England; even home defense units were put to the ready. One of Hitler’s key strategic blunders of the war was to consistently underestimate the will and courage of the British people. They would not run or be cowed into submission. They would fight.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / World War Two Daily.Film Inspector / BBC / The Guardian The Blitz Begins - 1940 (YouTube search) video

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”


Now there came a certain common tramp who used to go begging all over the city of Ithaca, and was notorious as an incorrigible glutton and drunkard. This man had no strength nor stay in him, but he was a great hulking fellow to look at; his real name, the one his mother gave him, was Arnaeus, but the young men of the place called him Irus, because he used to run errands for any one who would send him. As soon as he came he began to insult Ulysses, and to try and drive him out of his own house.

“Be off, old man”, he cried, “from the doorway, or you shall be dragged out neck and heels. Do you not see that they are all giving me the wink, and wanting me to turn you out by force, only I do not like to do so? Get up then, and go of yourself, or we shall come to blows.”

Ulysses frowned on him and said, “My friend, I do you no manner of harm; people give you a great deal, but I am not jealous. There is room enough in this doorway for the pair of us, and you need not grudge me things that are not yours to give. You seem to be just such another tramp as myself, but perhaps the gods will give us better luck by and by. Do not, however, talk too much about fighting or you will incense me, and old though I am, I shall cover your mouth and chest with blood. I shall have more peace to-morrow if I do, for you will not come to the house of Ulysses any more.”

Irus was very angry and answered, “You filthy glutton, you run on trippingly like an old fish-fag. I have a good mind to lay both hands about you, and knock your teeth out of your head like so many boar's tusks. Get ready, therefore, and let these people here stand by and look on. You will never be able to fight one who is so much younger than yourself.”

BOOK XVIII continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

Table of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

~ Shirky principle

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

~ Alfred Adler

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy

but won't cross the street to vote.”

~ 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)

Man Spends 1 Year Creating 5-Foot-Long American Flag Out Of 10,000 Green Army Ment

Man Spends 1 Year Creating 5-Foot-Long American Flag Out Of 10,000 Green Army Ment.

Whether it’s the Fourth of July, Veteran’s Day or just a random Wednesday, citizens of the U.S. love to show their pride for their country as well as honor the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping everyone safe.

Greg Smith has gone above and beyond to pay tribute to those serving in the U.S. military - and we’re completely blown away!

Greg transformed the plastic army figures with red, white, and blue spray paint and glued them down to create a huge 5-foot by 3-foot masterpiece, that is perfect even after the Fourth.

Greg posted a series of photos on his Facebook page just in time for Independence Day on July 4, 2017.

This closer look shows you how precise Greg was in creating the design. He wanted to honor all of those serving including family. “My great-grandfather, grandfather, and my dad were in the Army. My uncle was in the Navy”, Greg tells Little Things.

Greg was also able to position the army men in a way that mimic the stars on the original American flag. A true work of art!

Little Things (07/04/2017) video

What is the History of the Jerry Lewis Telethon

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What is the History of the Jerry Lewis Telethon

The National Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that in 2011, for the first time since 1966, Jerry Lewis would not be headlining the annual MDA Telethon for “Jerry's Kids”. After earning more than $2 billion, the show was going on without him. Here's a look back at the origin of the telethon, some of the highlights, and what might have inspired Jerry to get involved.


TV's first telethon took place in 1949. It was New York's Damon Runyon Memorial Cancer Fund Telethon, hosted by Milton Berle. One of the guests on that very first telethon was a brash young comedian who appeared with his singing partner, Dean Martin. The young comic was, of course, Jerry Lewis. At the time, Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in all of show biz.

The comedy team later made an appearance at the 1952 Olympic Fund Telethon, hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. There is surviving footage of this appearance by Martin and Lewis, and they are uninhibited, wild, and electric. Incredibly, when Martin and Lewis come on stage, Bing Crosby rushes off in fear. Crosby was terrified Lewis would pull off Crosby's toupee, and he never did reappear while the boys were on.

In the early 1950s, Lewis was asked to host a telethon for a little-known disease called muscular dystrophy. Lewis accepted and, together with Martin, put on the very first MD telethon.

The two hosted other telethons together until their split as a team in 1956. Martin went on to other things, but Lewis never stopped. Over the years, he hosted several other 4-hour MD telethons sans Martin, much shorter than the almost 24-hour telethons to which we've become accustomed.

The First Jerry Lewis Labor Day Weekend Telethon

In 1966, the first official Jerry Lewis Telethon for muscular dystrophy took place over the Labor Day weekend, broadcast from the Americana Hotel in New York. Some were skeptical about the success of the undertaking, as many people were not home on Labor Day. But surprisingly, the telethon was a huge success, raising just over one million dollars.

Big Spenders

Jerry Lewis's annual Labor Day telethons went on to raise more than 2 billion dollars in donations to fight muscular dystrophy. Lewis claimed his goal each year was to get “one dollar more” than the previous year. The biggest single out of his own pocket to the cause. He has been accused - including by some who are stricken with MD - donations over the years have come from the Firefighters Association, who have given more than $250,000 to the cause.

Nothing has hurt Lewis more than accusations that he has pocketed some of the donated money himself. He vigorously denies this claim, and he even swears he has given $7 million of exploiting his “kids”, portraying them as pitiable victims who just need a big charity to take care of or cure them. Lewis has fought back against these charges, too.

Celebrity Guest Stars

Many of the biggest celebrities in show business have either hosted or appeared on Lewis's telethons over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and three of the Beatles. (In John Lennon's appearance with wife Yoko Ono, he stated, “Jerry is one of our favorite comedians.”) The ultra-reclusive Joe DiMaggio came on to answer the phones one year, and even a U.S. President - Ronald Reagan - made an appearance.

But the all-time highlight in telethon history was unequivocally the reunion of Jerry Lewis with his former partner Dean Martin in 1976, staged by their mutual friend Frank Sinatra. It was an incredible moment in television history, being Martin and Lewis's first public appearance together in 20 years. The two tearfully hugged, kidded around, and cracked a few one-liners before Martin and Sinatra sang, after which Martin disappeared with a wave and a friendly “Ciao!”

Lewis has always worn his heart on his sleeve regarding his deep affection for his former partner, while Martin was always "Mr. Macho" and rarely displayed any kind of emotion in public. But if you watch the video, you will see Martin quickly sneak in a brief kiss on Lewis's cheek as they hug. (I've always felt this quick kiss was very telling about Martin's real affinity for his erstwhile partner.)

Why Did He Do It?

One of the biggest mysteries of all regarding his unceasing dedication to the Muscular Dystrophy Association is, “Why does Jerry do it?” Oddly, Lewis has never revealed to anyone the exact reason. While no one may ever know the real reason, a little-known story about Lewis is very telling.

When he was two years old, Lewis developed a strange and potentially crippling disease. According to Lewis, his beloved grandmother nursed him and, although a very strict Jew, cooked him bacon and "crammed it into his mouth" to help fight off the impending sickness. What potential disease it was we have no idea, but Lewis has stated this story is true. If so, the frightening memory of a debilitating disease may have had at least some impact on his tireless work in his fight against muscular dystrophy.

MDA.org - Muscular Dystrophy AssociationMental FlossQuoraWikipediaWorld Standards

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Poopsick: Anything undesirable, specifically feeling seasick.

Poopysuit: Blue overalls worn when deployed out to sea. May also refer to the anti-exposure suits used by aircrews in the case of a water landing in cold environments.

The Pond:: The Deep Blue Sea. Where deep-water sailors ply their craft, “The Pond” may be Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, or Other. Used in slang expressions such as “Talk to me when you've got some Time On The Pond.”

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

Just for you MARINE

S/F: Semper Fidelis when used as an end greeting in written communication.

Sailor: The following nicknames are usually acceptable: bluejacket, tar, whitehat; while the following are considered insults: gob, swab, swabbie, swab jockey, squid, anchor clanker, rust picker, deck ape.

Salt, Salty, or Salty dog: Experienced or well-worn person or object, from the salt that would accumulate after long-term exposure to salt water.

Salty Language: Profanity

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAQ-136 - “Gauntlets”
CVW-2 Naval Aviation Squadron Whidbey Island, Washington - Established April 6, 1973

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Take the piss”

Take the piss”  Meaning: To ridicule someone. A Commonwealth term meaning to take liberties at the expense of others, or to be unreasonable.

Origin: One of the least desirable jobs was to collect human urine for the cloth-dying industry.

Anyone in this line of work would be inclined to lie about what they did for a living. Anyone suspecting the truth might ask if he was, in actual fact, ‘taking the piss’.

“Take the piss” may be a reference to a related (and dated) idiomatic expression, piss-proud, which is a vulgar pun referring to the morning erections which happen when a man awakens at the end of a dream cycle (each about 90 minutes in length throughout the night) or may be caused by a full bladder pressing upon nerves that help effect erection.

This could be considered a 'false' erection, as its origin is physiological not sexual, so in a metaphoric sense, then, someone who is "piss-proud" would suffer from false pride, and taking the piss out of them refers to deflating this false pride, through disparagement or mockery.


The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Why Scientists Are Growing Herpes-Ridden Turtle Skin in the Lab

Why Scientists Are Growing Herpes-Ridden Turtle Skin in the Lab

Dr. Frankenstein, eat your heart out: Scientists have grown the pebbly green skin of sea turtles in the lab for the first time ever.

In fact, it's the first time anyone has ever grown reptile skin in a laboratory, period. The reason? Researchers are trying to understand the behavior of a bizarre and mysterious virus that afflicts green sea turtles with huge, warty tumors.

These “gnarly” tumors are the main symptom of a disease called fibropapillomatosis, said study leader Thierry Work, a wildlife disease specialist with the U.S. Geologic Survey in Honolulu. It's found in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) worldwide. The tumors grow all over the turtles' bodies — including around the eyes and mouth, and on internal organs — so many turtles with fibropapillomatosis die of malnutrition and immune system complications, Work told Live Science. [11 Body Parts Grown in the Lab]

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and the U.S. Endangered Species Act list green sea turtles as threatened or endangered throughout their ranges worldwide.

For at least 20 years, researchers have known that a virus called chelonid herpesvirus 5, or ChHV5, is often associated with fibropapillomatosis tumors. But the herpesvirus doesn't reproduce under laboratory conditions, so scientists haven't been able to study it, or even prove that it's the cause of the disease.

Growing skin

The new lab-grown turtle skin could change all that. Through lots of trial and error, Work and his colleagues were able to take skin cells from sea turtles with fibropapillomatosis that had been euthanized and use them to grow actual skin tissue in the lab. This was a challenge, Work said, because the team had to reproduce the three-dimensional structure of turtle skin using two cell types: fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Getting it to work required lots of adaptations to techniques that have been used to grow human and other mammal skin tissue under lab conditions, Work said.

3D structure

The viral reproduction was exciting because it was the first time anyone had grown ChHV5 in the lab. But it was also significant because the researchers found that the virus replicates differently in three-dimensional skin tissue than other herpesviruses do on single layers of cells in a petri dish. For example, they found bizarre sun-shaped replication centers, around which viruses encased in protein shells called capsids arranged themselves.

3D structure Live Science (06/22/2017) video

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


“In The Air Tonight” - Phil Collins 1985

“In The Air Tonight” - Phil Collins
Album: Face Value
Released 1981 video

Phil Collins wrote this song about the anger he felt after divorcing his first wife, Andrea Bertorelli, in 1980 - he was so devastated that he left Genesis for a short time. All of the original songs on the Face Value album, including the followup hit “I Missed Again”, were at one time intended to be “messages” to his first wife in an attempt to lure her back to him.

The lingering tension caused by the divorce led Collins to the title, as these negative feelings were “In The Air”, and affecting not just the couple getting divorced, but the entire family.

By the time the album was released, Collins had moved on and was dating Jill Tavelman, who became his second wife. His split with Jill would inspire the songs on Collins' 1993 album Both Sides.

Collins explains the lyrics, “If you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand”, by saying the drowning is symbolic.

The meaning of this song became a pervasive urban myth. The story, which is not true, is that Collins watched as a man who raped his wife drowned. Another version has Collins writing this about about a man who watched another drown, and singing it to him at a concert. Yet another variation claims that when Collins was a young boy, he witnessed a man drowning someone but was too far away to help. Later, he hired a private detective to find the man, sent him a free ticket to his concert, and premiered the song that night with the spotlight on the man the whole time. We repeat, these stories are not true.

This was Collins' first single as a solo artist; he claims that he offered it up as a Genesis song, but that his bandmates rejected it, saying it was “too simple”. Tony Banks of Genesis insists that Collins never played them the song.

The Face Value album sold more than any prior Genesis release, prompting the group to change musical direction.

In an interview with Mix magazine, Collins explained that he wrote this song after returning from a tour. Said Collins:

“I got back to find that I had a lot of time on my hands because the family wasn't there, I rang up and said, 'Can I have my drum machine?' because I had to start writing some of this music that was inside me.

Face Value was all written over a period of a year-and-a-half, and some songs were written overnight. 'In the Air Tonight' was just a drum machine pattern that I took off that CR78 drum machine. You could eliminate certain sounds and program bass drums and snare drums, so I programmed a bass drum part into it, but basically the rest of it was already on there. I probably added an acoustic Fender piano pretty early.

I was coming from Genesis recording and rehearsing history where sometimes we didn't know what the vocal was going to be doing when we recorded the track because lyrics were sometimes written after the track was recorded. I remember the first principle I had for making my record was that I would get a voice down very quickly so everything else would fit to the voice. The lyrics you hear for 'In the Air Tonight,' I just sang. I opened my mouth and they came out. I never wrote anything down and then afterward, I listened to it and wrote them down.”

Phil Collins, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Face Value (album)” by Phil Collins



LADY JANE GREY a 16-year old girl, grandniece of Henry VIII, proclaimed Queen of England for 9 days on the death of Edward VI (July 10, 1553), was imprisoned after her short reign, replaced by the popular Mary Tudor, later Mary I, and subsequently beheaded for treason.

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

● On September 9, 1983, Washington, D.C. with more than half a million residents unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Congress to become the 51st State of the United States?

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “U.S. CODE TALKING” ($200):

Title 4, Section 8: this “should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free”.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Cornell Law School.edu

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “CLUES ACROSS AMERICA” ($1,000):

Today the guns of the battleship Wisconsin are silent on Norfolk's waterfront - but in 1945 they were fired on Okinawa as part of Admiral Raymond Spruance's Fifth this.

Answer: The Fifth Fleet. America's Navy.mil

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

The Cynical Philosopher

• When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90% of their body... men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.

• A recent study has found that woman who carry a little extra weight, live longer than the men who mention it.

• Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?

• You know that tingly little feeling you get when you like someone? That's your common sense leaving your body.

Quotable Quotables

“Mad Men” Season 2 (2007 - 2015)

Joan: (To Peggy) “You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.”

Don: “Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”

Peggy: “Well, one day you’re there and then all of a sudden there’s less of you. And you wonder where that part went, if it’s living somewhere outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize, it’s just gone.”

Bobbie: (To Peggy) “You’re never gonna get that corner office until you start treating Don as an equal. And no one will tell you this, but you can’t be a man. Don’t even try. Be a woman. Powerful business when done correctly.”

~ “Mad Men” - “Mad Men Season 2” (2007 – 2015) video Creator: Matthew Weiner - A drama about one of New York's most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm's most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper. AMC