Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 49, 2017

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Pearl Harbor bombed on December 7, 1941

Pearl Harbor bombed on December 7, 1941

Pearl Harbor bombed At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Pearl Harbor Oahu / National Park Service / Pearl Harbor - Dec. 7, 1941 - The only color film of the attack (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 - Military Deception

(DOD) Actions executed to deliberately mislead adversary military, paramilitary, or violent extremist organization decision makers, thereby causing the adversary to take specific actions (or inactions) that will contribute to the accomplishment of the friendly mission. Also called MILDEC.

Joint Publications (JP 3-13.4) Military Deception - Joint Forces Staff College)

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of Eliza Battle”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of Eliza Battle

One of the greatest catastrophes ever to occur on the Tombigbee River was the burning of the steamboat Eliza Battle on the night of March 1, 1858, in which between 80 and 90 persons lost their lives.

The night was gloomy and dark with a heavy sleet falling and bitter cold wind blowing. The river was many feet above normal, only the tops of the trees growing on the low banks showing above the water. Then came the alarming cry of fire. This cry was screamingly repeated when one person after another made the horrible discovery that the boat was afire. There was an immediate panic.

In the brisk wind the fire spread rapidly and soon the greater part of the boat was engulfed. Men began to push bales of cotton into the river and try to get their womenfolk on them. Dozens of persons leaped into the river and tried to reach the shore. Many reached and clung to the tops of partially submerged trees. Others got ashore but could render no assistance to those in the treetops, many of whom froze to death during the night.

Captain Stone, master of the Eliza Battle, in desperation ordered the pilot into the bank, but it was found some of the tiller ropes leading to the rudders had burned in two and was almost unmanageable. However, several miles further down the river, the current veered the burning boat close to shore near Wehoeta, a near landing at this point permitting the few persons left aboard to leap off and swim ashore.

Daylight coming shortly afterward, a young man, with only a skiff available sought to rescue persons in treetops up and down the river. About 50 were taken from the treetops in a half frozen condition. They were put in plantation homes and outhouses and others laid on the ground on hay and corn fodder and Negro slaves built huge fired to help them thaw out.

Those rescued, as they regained somewhat of understanding, told grim tales of hearing persons in treetops losing consciousness frozen numbness and falling into the river and drowning. At the Pettigrew plantation at Wehoeta some 80 persons were cared for who had been rescued, only one of who had succumbed from exposure survived.

There were many acts of heroism in this disaster and are always in such emergencies, but it would be useless to try to enumerate them. Men died in efforts to save their loved ones and women died in their efforts to save their children, though fortunately there were few aboard the failed trip of the Eliza Battle.

Stories have been written about the origin of the fire, some that professional gamblers deliberately set fire to the boat when they were pulled off by the captain. Another said the boat’s safe was robbed by two cracksmen and that when leaving they crashed an oil burning lantern on a bale of cotton so the fire would cover their robbery. The most plausible account is that a merrymaking passenger threw a cigar sub on a bale of cotton thinking he was tossing into the river and the fire resulted.

River Boat Daves / Wikipedia

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The amount of mechanical development will always be in inverse ratio to the number of slaves that happen to be at a country’s disposal.”

~ Van Loon's Law Named for Hendrik Willem van Loon..

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Find the good.

It’s all around you.

Find it, showcase it

and you’ll start believing in it.”

~ Jesse Owens

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone,

ask yourself the following question:

what fault of mine most nearly resembles

the one I am about to criticize?”

~ Marcus Aurelius

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)

Sex Robot Molested At Electronics Festival, Creators Complain Doll Was Molested by “barbarians”

Sex Robot Molested At Electronics Festival, Creators Complain Doll Was Molested by “barbarians”

“Because they did not understand the technology and did not have to pay for it, they treated the doll like barbarians.”

This is why we can’t have nice things.

The man behind an “intelligent” sex robot named “Samantha” says the kinky creation needs to be repaired thanks to “barbarians” at a tech industry festival.

The randy robot is programmed with artificial intelligence so that she responds to gentle seduction. Samantha seemingly gets more aroused the more she’s “romanced”.

“The people mounted Samantha’s breasts, her legs and arms. Two fingers were broken. She was heavily soiled”, he said, according to Britain’s Metro news site. “People can be bad. Because they did not understand the technology and did not have to pay for it, they treated the doll like barbarians.”

Even though Samantha’s breasts and some other body parts were badly damaged by the sex-crazed Austrian horde, the AI software in the robot still worked perfectly. When Santos asked the doll, “How are you?” it responded, “Hi, I’m fine”.

Santos shipped Samantha in a box back to Barcelona for repairs. The Daily Star reports he has sold 15 versions of her at about $4,000 a pop.

Mirror (09/29/2017) video

How Fast Do Astronauts Move While Spacewalking?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Fast Do Astronauts Move While Spacewalking?

The answer to your question is - It's all relative. Relative motion that is!

During a spacewalk, it's true the International Space Station (ISS) is moving at 17, 500 mph about the earth. But the spacewalker, who crawls from within the ISS, is also traveling at 17, 500 mph. Relative to one another, they are - for all practical purposes - not moving (much).

Why wouldn't it be the same as jumping from a car on the freeway? If a spacewalking astronaut jumped from the ISS (and was not tethered to it as is the normal protocol), they too would be moving relative to the ISS and their separation distance would increase (i.e., sort of like getting left behind immediately) in whatever direction they jumped. But the physics of outer space (we call it orbital mechanics) is a bit different than on Earth. It's possible that, if left alone, the leaping-from-ISS-spacewalker would return to nearly the same point from which they departed one orbit later! That's orbital mechanics!

But our friend who leapt from the car would experience wind resistance, gravity, and other variables that contribute to the resultant motion for him/her relative to the car speeding down the highway. In space, gravity's effect is much less, and there is no wind resistance. It's a slightly different problem. If our friend crawls from the car window ... and slowly moves around the car, then our situation is more akin to that of a spacewalking astronaut.

The official term for these forays into the abyss of outer space is Extra-Vehicular Activity - activity outside a vehicle.

NASA.govForbes of CongressMentalflossQuaraSpace.comWikipediaHow Fast Do Astronauts Move While Spacewalking? (YouTube Search) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Radio girls: Derogatory term for Radiomen used by personnel in engineering ratings who do not believe they do any “real work”. OSs, STs and other Twidgets that don't, for example, stand any rate-related watches in port (in the days of steam ships especially) get even less respect.

Radioing the logs (Submarine Service): Recording engineering log data via mental telepathy (see "Xoxing Logs" below). (Surface ships sometimes use the term “blazing the logs“ or “gundecking”.)

Rain Locker: Shower.

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

Just for you MARINE

Slop chute: Impolite term for restaurant within the PX or beer garden. Enlisted Marine's club.

SMAT: Supply maintenance assistance team, provide the commanding general with a technical supply inspection and assistance capability to improve control and management of all organic supply operations.

Smokey Bear or Smokey Brown: The campaign cover worn by a drill instructors, so named because of their similarity to the hat worn by Smokey Bear.

Smokin' and Jokin' / Smoke and Joke: When a mass of Marines is acting unproductively.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-121 - “Blue Tails”
CVW-7 - Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia - Established April 1, 1967

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Go the Whole 9 Yards”

Go the Whole 9 Yards”  Meaning: All of it - full measure. To try one’s best

Origin: World War II Fighter pilots received a 9-yard chain of ammunition. Therefore, when a pilot used all of his ammunition on one target, he gave it “the whole 9 yards”.

In the 14th century, the numbles (or noumbles, nomblys, noubles) was the name given to the heart, liver, entrails etc. of animals, especially of deer - what we now call offal or lights. By the 15th century this had migrated to umbles, although the words co-existed for some time. There are many references to both words in Old English and Middle English texts from 1330 onward. Umbles were used as an ingredient in pies, although the first record of 'umble pie' in print is as late as the 17th century. Samuel Pepys makes many references to such pies in his diary; for example, on 5th July 1662:

• Many people are convinced they know the origin of this expression, which has numerous speculative derivations, but aren't able to provide documentary evidence to support their belief of choice.

• The earliest known citation of the phrase in print is from 1907. The absense of the expression in print prior to that date argues strongly against any of the supposed medieval origins and clearly disprove the commonly circulated World War I and World War II origins.

• The weight of circumstantial evidence is that the phrase originated in America but it isn't known who coined the term.

When was 'the whole nine yards' coined?

Although the precise derivation of a given slang phrase is often difficult to determine, the date of its assimilation into the language usually isn't. Phrases that are accepted into common use appear in newspapers, court reports, novels etc. very soon after they are coined and continue to do so for as long as the phrase is in use.

Although we have good documentary evidence of the expression's existence in the USA in 1907, it appears it wasn't in wide circulation before 1961. Why? In May 1961, the American athlete Ralph Boston broke the world long jump record with a jump of 27 feet 1/2 inch. No one had previously jumped 27 feet. This was big news at the time and widely reported. Surely the feat cried out for this headline?:

“Boston goes the whole nine yards.”

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Giant Rodent: 18-Inch Rat Species Discovered

Giant Rodent: 18-Inch Rat Species Discovered

A rare new species of rat - up to four times the size of the rodents that populate American cities - has been identified in the Solomon Islands.

The discovery marks the first time in 80 years that a new rat species has been found in the archipelago in the South Pacific.

In 2010, mammalogist Tyrone Lavery heard rumors about a coconut-cracking giant rat called “vika” that lived in the trees of Vangunu Island. People on the island even had songs and children's rhymes about the rats. But after several surveys, Lavery couldn't find the creature.

Then, in 2015, a ranger captured one of the rats as it scurried out of a felled tree.

From nose to tail, the rat measured about 18 inches (46 centimeters) long. Solomon Islands rats (vika) can weigh up to 2.2 lbs/ (1 kilogram). For comparison, the black rats that spread throughout the world aboard European ships typically weigh just 200 grams (0.44 lb.).

But the vika, which was described in the Journal of Mammalogy today (Sept. 27), could already be close to extinction. The species is considered critically endangered due to its small native habitat and low population density; it's also threatened by commercial logging on Vangunu Island.

“The area where it was found is one of the only places left with forest that hasn't been logged.”

Live Science (07/27/2017) video

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


“All Right Now” - Free 1970

“All Right Now” - Free
Album: Fire And Water
Released 1970 video

In the CD Molten Gold - An Anthology video, Free drummer Simon Kirke explained: “'All Right Now' was created after a bad gig in Durham, England. Our repertoire at that time was mostly slow and medium paced blues songs which was alright if you were a student sitting quietly and nodding your head to the beat. However, we finished our show in Durham and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. When we got into the dressing room, it was obvious that we needed an uptempo number, a rocker to close our shows. All of sudden, the Inspiration struck (bass player Andy) Fraser, and he started bopping around singing ALL RIGHT NOW... He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn't have taken more than 10 minutes.”

The song is about a guy who picks up a girl on the street and takes her home for sex. His opening gambit:

Hey, what's your name?

Maybe we can see things the same

Let's move before they raise the parking rate

Once they go back to his place, she gets a little suspicious, so he tries to put her at ease:

Don't you think that love can last?

Maybe mentioning “love” wasn't the best idea, as she retorts:


Lord above

Now you're tryin' to trick me in love

Free weren't able to follow up this song with another hit, as the next single, “Stealer”, stalled at #49 in America and didn't chart at all in the UK. In a Songfacts interview with Simon Kirke, he said:

“It became a bit of an albatross around our necks, I have to say. Even though it elevated Free into the big leagues, it became a bit of an albatross because we couldn't follow it. It became a huge hit all around the world, only because we wanted to have something that people could dance to, but then, of course, we had to follow it up, and Island Records were desperate for us to follow it up.

Really it was just a one-off for us, and when the follow-up to 'All Right Now' died a death - it was called “The Stealer” - and the album that followed, Fire and Water, from which 'All Right Now' was taken, when that didn't do very well, we took it to heart and the band broke up. So, in an indirect way, 'All Right Now' was not very good for the band, I have to say.”

The song has soundtracked numerous commercials in the UK, most famously in 1990 when it featured in a TV ad for Wrigley's chewing gum, which generated enough interest to return the tune to the UK charts. “I can't keep track of where it's turned up”, Paul Rodgers ruefully told The Independent April 7, 2010. “Island Records owned the publishing rights to all our songs in perpetuity. In theory, they're supposed to call me and ask, 'Can we use this song in this way?' but they often don't. I think if the money's good enough, they just go, 'Yes! Wrigley's? YES!!'”

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

Image: “Fire And Water (album)” by Free



Which two people signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and later became U.S. Presidents? JOHN ADAMS / THOMAS JEFFERSON.

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

Charles Lindbergh, in May 1927 was the first pilot to fly solo, nonstop, across the Atlantic Ocean.

A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “OPERATIC ADJECTIVES” ($200):

“By Wagner: 'The ____ Dutchman'”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “OPERATIC ADJECTIVES” ($1,000):

“Set in California: 'The Girl of the ____ West'”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer NOVA billings.org

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “YOU 'DY'” ($200):

“Term for a sports team that wins several championships in a row, like the Bulls in the 1990s.”

Answer: Conan Wikipedia

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “YOU 'DY'” ($800):

“This 4-word 'fabric' phrase means someone is extreme or unwilling to change an opinion.”

Answer: Dyed in the wool Cambridge Dictionary.org

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

You Want Me to Stay?

A wife got so mad at her husband she packed his bags and told him to get out.

As he walked to the door she yelled, “I hope you die a long, slow, painful death.”

He turned around and said, “So, you want me to stay?”

Quotable Quotables

“Frasier” (1993 - 2004)

Martin Crane: “Oh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Martin Crane: “In my day, when two people broke up you were mad, you were angry, you hated each other. What ever happened to the sanctity of divorce?”

Martin Crane: “Well, thanks a lot for all your help, boys, but I think we'll just split a bowl of creamed corn, rub a little liniment into each other’s joints and fall asleep drooling on the couch!”

Daphine Moon: “I'm from England, the country that used to own you people.”

Daphine Moon: “I’m having my baby the way God intended: in a hospital, numb from the waist down!”

Frasier Crane: “I asked Dad to pass me a bran muffin. He said “What's the magic word?”. He wasn't very amused when I said “Rest home.”!”

Dr.Niles Crane: “Frankly, I find it laughable that you're even considering putting your name on five hundred thousand copies of this piffle. Not even piffle. It's piffle light.”

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