Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 45, 2017

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“Kristallnacht”, or “The Night of Broken Glass” on November 09, 1938

“Kristallnacht” (“Night of Crystal” ), or “The Night of Broken Glass” on November 09, 1938

The Night of Broken Glass: This day in 1938 saw the organized destruction of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, as well as the beating and murder of Jewish men, women, and children.

It was an exercise in terror that would be called “Kristallnacht”, or “the Night of Broken Glass”, because of the cost of broken glass in looted Jewish shops.

After the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany. Kristallnacht represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.

The Nazis used the murder of a low-level German diplomat in Paris by a 17-year-old Polish Jew as an excuse to carry out the Kristallnacht attacks. On November 7, 1938, Ernst vom Rath was shot outside the German embassy by Herschel Grynszpan, who wanted revenge for his parents’ sudden deportation from Germany to Poland, along with tens of thousands of other Polish Jews. Following vom Rath’s death, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered German storm troopers to carry out violent riots disguised as “spontaneous demonstrations” against Jewish citizens. Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere. In the face of all the devastation, some Jews, including entire families, committed suicide.

In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the Nazis blamed the Jews and fined them 1 billion marks (or $400 million in 1938 dollars) for vom Rath’s death. As repayment, the government seized Jewish property and kept insurance money owed to Jewish people. In its quest to create a master Aryan race, the Nazi government enacted further discriminatory policies that essentially excluded Jews from all aspects of public life.

Over 100,000 Jews fled Germany for other countries after Kristallnacht. The international community was outraged by the violent events of November 9 and 10. Some countries broke off diplomatic relations in protest, but the Nazis suffered no serious consequences, leading them to believe they could get away with the mass murder that was the Holocaust, in which an estimated 6 million European Jews died.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.org / Kristallnacht: Night Of Broken Glass (YouTube search) video

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of HMS Eurydice”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of HMS Eurydice

On Sunday afternoon the training ship HMS Eurydice, when off Dunnose Point, a headland between Ventnor and Sandown and almost within sight of home, was struck by a terrific squall and blinding snow, with such force that it beat her down, heeling her till her open gun ports slide beneath the water.

Within minutes she sank with the loss of all her crew of 328 save for two. A relieve fund totalling £23,040 was raised for the dependents of the men who were lost. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was at the time a resident of Southsea wrote:

“A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,

Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down;

A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,

A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.

It broke in a moment of blizzard and blindness;

The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way,

But our ship and our boys! Gracious Lord, in your kindness,

Give help to the mothers who need it to-day.

Give help to the women who wail by the water,

Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.

Ah! Whisper it gently, you sisters or daughter,

Our boys are all gathered at home for the tonight.”

The wreck was raised the following September and brought into Portsmouth Harbour. Many of the bodies recovered were buried at Haslar Cemetery where a great memorial was erected. A brass memorial can be seen in the Dockyard church St Ann’s. The wreck was later broken up in the Dockyard.

BBC / Lost Ghost Nights UK / Portsmouth Dockyard.org UK / Wikipedia

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.”

~ Stigler's law.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“And let us consider

how we may spur one another on

toward love and good deeds…

encouraging one another

and all the more,

as you see the day approaching.”

~ Hebrews 10:24-25

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over

she began to fly.”

~ 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)

German waiter breaks world record for carrying beer

German waiter breaks world record for carrying beer

A German man has carried 29 beer steins to break his own world record. The feat involved months of strength and technique training.

Oliver Strümpfel carried 29 beer steins at the Gillamoos fair in the Bavarian town of Abensberg on Sunday, smashing his previous record of 25 steins to enter beer history.

In a beer tent packed with drinking onlookers, Strümpfel made two attempts at carrying the frothy steins down the 40 meter (131 ft) walkway. In the first run, he carried 27 steins and broke his own record.

The waiter then decided to up the ante and try for 31, but one stein fell and another lost more than 10 percent of its beer, therefore counting as 29 steins.

Twenty-nine steins of beer weigh about 70 kilograms (154 pounds).

“I have been training since February three or four times a week in the gym, and that is awesome when I think that is 200 hours all for the 40 seconds I just ran”, Strümpfel said.

At next year's Gillamos fair Strümpfel plans to beat his own record again.

“I know that I can carry more than 30 steins”, he said.

Deutsche Welle (09/04/2017) video

Do We Actually Know What Shakespeare Looked Like?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Do We Actually Know What Shakespeare Looked Like?

In fact, no existing portrait shows conclusively what Shakespeare looked like in real life. Since the mid-17th century, scholars have thought that the figure in the below Chandos Portrait, painted in 1610, was Shakespeare. While the painting's provenance and painting style point to its origin in Shakespeare's time, there is no definitive proof of the sitter's identity, according to Tarnya Cooper, author of Searching for Shakespeare and curatorial director of London's National Portrait Gallery.

Then there's the Cobbe portrait. Once owned by 18th-century Anglican Archbishop Charles Cobbe, it allegedly came to his family through the great-granddaughter of one of Shakespeare's patrons, the Earl of Southampton. Modern testing of the painting shows that it was made after 1595; the fashions depicted suggest it could have been painted as late as 1610. The unknown artist could have captured Shakespeare in life, between the ages of 31 and 46, although the figure appears somewhat younger than middle-aged.

Cobbe descendants have argued that the work is the only existing life portrait of the Bard, but art historian Sir Roy Strong described that as “codswallop” (translation: nonsense).

In fact, some historians have suggested that the Cobbe portrait is actually Sir Thomas Overbury, a poet born in 1581. Verified images of Overbury closely resemble the Cobbe figure, and—perhaps most damningly—the painting doesn't match the best existing image of Shakespeare from the same period, which was actually a bust.

The “holy trinity bust” wasn't made during Shakespeare's lifetime - it was commissioned four years after his death so that it could be placed above his grave in Stratford-upon-Avon's Holy Trinity Church. The sculpture depicts a portlier version of Shakespeare than the one we're familiar with, presumably because it shows him in his later life, and it doesn't look much like the Droeshout engraving, the Chandos portrait, or the Cobbe portrait—which are broadly similar. But because it was commissioned while his widow and son-in-law were still alive, scholars believe it's a credible likeness of the playwright.

More than 400 years after his death, Shakespeare's true identity still stirs debate. For the time being, a few secondhand images are the best clues we have to what he looked like. Luckily, his written work survives in far fuller fashion.

BBCDaily Mail UKPlay Goer.orgMental FlossQuaraWikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Quarterdeck: Ceremonial area of the ship used while in port for either boarding, or disembarking the ship, usually found at the main deck level, mid-ship.

Quarter Mile Island: CVN-65, USS Enterprise, and all eight of her reactors.

Quarters: A gathering of all the people in the organization. Quarters can be for the entire command, or just the department, division, or branch. Quarters is used to present awards, pass information, and make every sailor squeeze into their ill-fitting, rarely-worn uniforms at least once a year. “Quarters” also refers to the daily morning muster for each division, announced as “Quarters...Quarters...All hands to Quarters for muster, instruction, and inspection.”

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

Just for you MARINE

Sidearm: Weapon (usually a pistol) carried by a sentry under arms; also, cream and sugar in coffee.

Side Straddle Hop: Jumping Jack.

Silver Bullet: Rectal thermometer used to check the core temperature of a person suffering from heat-related injuries, such as hyperthermia; often referred to as an incentive to avoid dehydration.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-115 - “Liberty Bells”
Expeditionary Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Ventura County, near Oxnard, California - Established April 20, 1967

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater”

Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater”  Meaning: Don't discard something valuable along with something undesirable.

Proverbs are intended to pass on popular wisdom and are frequently expressed as warnings - 'don't count your chickens', 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth' and so on. Of all the 'don't do that'... proverbs this one seems the easiest to agree with. To that list of don'ts we can add the odd-sounding 'don't throw the baby out with the bathwater'

During the 1500s, most people bathed once a year. Even when they did bathe, the entire family used the same tubful of water. The man of the house bathed first, followed by other males, then females, and finally the babies. You can imagine how thick and cloudy the water became by that time, so the infants’ mothers had to take care not to throw them out with the bathwater when they emptied the tub.

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Fire Ants Make Themselves into Rafts to Float to Safety in Houston

Fire Ants Make Themselves into Rafts to Float to Safety in Houston

As floodwaters rose in Houston and its surrounding area, fire ants are staging their own type of evacuation, by floating to safety on rafts made out of their own bodies.

In the United States, fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) primarily inhabit the Southeast. When faced with a flood, they emerge from the soil, and form a floating raft by linking their bodies together. Rafts made up of as many as 8,000 ants have been observed, according to a 2011 study performed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The ants' ability to trap air pockets makes them buoyant and, for the submerged ants at the bottom of the raft, provides a source of oxygen, according to the study. [In Photos: Hurricane Harvey Takes Aim at Texas]

It is wise for people traversing flooded areas in rowboats to avoid touching a raft of fire ants with an oar, because the ants could climb up the oar and into the boat, according to a report by Paul Nester, a member of the Fire Ant Project Team at Texas A&M University in College Station.

“If one of those rafts comes in contact with you, or you try to break it apart, it will likely disperse and crawl up you”, Tim Davis, an entomologist at Clemson University.

Luckily, there is an effective way to sink these rafts: spray them with soapy water. According to Nester, biodegradable liquid dishwashing detergent could be used by emergency personnel to deal with these floating fire ants.

Live Science (08/27/2017) video

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


“The Joker” - Steve Miller Band 1973

“The Joker” - Steve Miller Band
Album: The Joker
Released 1973 video

The line in this song, “I speak of the pompatus of love”, has baffled listeners for some time. Greil Marcus provided the best explanation we've seen in a 2002 article for Los Angeles Magazine titled “In The Secret Country”. The word “Pompatus” does exist in the Oxford English Dictionary, and it means “to act with pomp and splendor”. Miller most likely heard the word on a song called “The Letter”, which was recorded by the Los Angeles Doo-Wop group The Medallions in 1954. It was written by their lead singer Vernon Green, who was 16 at the time and crippled with polio. The song contains these lyrics:

Let me whisper sweet words of dismortality

and discuss the pompatus of love

Put it together and what do you have?


The Pompatus Of Love is the name of a 1995 movie starring Jon Cryer, and Cryer tracked down Vernon Green to ask him about these lyrics. Green defined “Dismortality” as “Words of such secrecy they could only be spoken to the one you loved” and “Pompatus” as “A secret paper-doll fantasy figure who would be my everything and bear my children.”

Miller drew associations to some of his other songs in the lyrics to this one. The line, “Some people call me The Space Cowboy” is a reference to Miller's 1969 song “Space Cowboy”. The line, “Some call me a gangster of love” is a reference to his song “Gangster of Love”. The line, “Some people call me Maurice” is a reference to Miller's 1972 song “Enter Maurice”. In that song Miller also sings about “The pompatus of love.”

Steve Miller told the story of the song in an interview with Mojo November 2012: “I got this funny, lazy, sexy little tune”, he recalled,

“but it didn't come together until a party in Novato, north of San Francisco. I sat on the hood of a car under the stars with an acoustic guitar making up lyrics and 'I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, 'I'm a midnight toker' came out. My chorus! The 'some people call me the space cowboy' and 'the gangster of love' referred to earlier songs of mine and so did 'Maurice' and 'the propitious of love.' You don't have to use words. It was just a goof.

I produced myself. Nobody pushing us around. That 12-string acoustic I played, it was made by Epiphone's last master guitar-maker. I forget his name, sorry.

The basic rhythm track, when we cut it I was very precise with the bassist, Gerald Johnson about the line he should play. Then there's the slide guitar sound, which I put through a Leslie speaker and a wah-wah pedal, among other things.”

Miller's subtle approach to the wah-wah pedal earned him the #16 spot on Guitar World's 2015 list of greatest wah solos of all time.

Steve Miller Band, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Steve Miller Band (album)” by Steve Miller Band



The decathlon consists of ten events, 6 of which are running and jumping; the other four are shot put, discus, pole vault, javelin.

In Florence, Italy, Michelangelo built statue of David, 17 feet tall in 1504.

The classical design of acoustic guitars as we know them today was created in the 19th century in Spain.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE BUCKET LIST” ($800):

“Bucket seats in cars were popularized by this make's Monza & Corvair & soon took over.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Curbside Classic

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE BUCKET LIST” ($1,000):

“This character “appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush”.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “POISONOUS PLANTS” ($600):

“This highly poisonous plant of Europe of the parsley family was used to do in an ancient method man.”.

Answer: Hemlock Wikipedia

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “POISONOUS PLANTS” ($800):

“Lovely to look at, yes, but its bulbs & flowers contain lycorine & other alkaloids, which are toxic to you & your pets.s”

Answer: Daffodil Wikipedia

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Real News Headlines

No Need for Redskins to Change Name, Says PETA - “that’s no small potatoes.”

PETA is no stranger to creating controversy by asking sports teams to change their exploitative mascots, but in this case, we’re offering to help a football franchise fend off criticism.

After the Washington Redskins came under renewed pressure to change the team’s name as a result of its racial implications, we leapt to the rescue with an ingenious—and healthy—solution.

Don’t change the legendary Redskins name. Just change the logo.

Quotable Quotables

“Frasier” (1993 - 2004)

Frasier Crane: “I am not crazy! I am dating a supermodel zoologist, whom I stole away from a professional football player, and she is off to the Galapagos Islands to artificially inseminate iguanas! Now is that so hard to believe?!”

Frasier Crane: “Let me tell you a little something about things I don't like: Boxing. Sporting events of any kind. Barbeques. Office parties. Buddy movies. Any dish made with marshmallows. Things that I do like: The opera. The symphony. Elizabethan revenge dramas, et cetera. So if you're no inclined in any of these interests, well, then frankly our association can be civil - at best.”

Frasier Crane: “Oh, Roz, plug in!”

Dr.Niles Crane: “Excuse me. Has a young woman been in here this evening- approximately 5 ft 9¾, with skin the colour of Devonshire cream and the sort of eyes that gaze directly into one's soul with neither artifice nor evasion?”

Dr.Niles Crane: “And I stormed out and slammed the door! Of course, it was that fourteenth century Bavarian cathedral door, so I had to get two of the servants to help me, but what it lacked in spontaneity it made up for in resonance.”

~ “Frasier” (1993 - 2004) video Creators: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee