Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 01, 2018

Previous Week   January 01, 2018 - January 07, 2018  Next Week

Golden Gate Bridge is born on January 5, 1933

Golden Gate Bridge is born on January 5, 1933

Golden Gate Bridge is born: On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less.

Engineer and poet Joseph Strauss, a 5-foot tall Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.

With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, and a symbol of San Francisco.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Golden Gate Bridge.org / City of San Francisco Museum / National Parks System / Golden Gate Bridge Construction (Bing images)Building The Golden Gate Bridge (YouTube)video How Golden gate Bridge was Built - Full Documentary (History Channel)video

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of the Ghost Ship Lady Lovibond”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of the Ghost Ship Lady Lovibond - the ghost ship that reappears every 50 years

On February 13, 1748, a three mast schooner called the Lady Lovibond left port for a leisurely sail along the Thames River near Kent, England with the final destination of Oporto, Portugal.

The captain, Simon Reed, had just been married and brought his new wife, Annetta, with him for a honeymoon voyage.

The crew were below decks celebrating with the new bride and groom except for the Bosun and First Mate, John Rivers. Although Rivers had served his captain as best man at the wedding, he was also in love with the beautiful bride.

The more he thought of her, the more jealous he became until finally, unable to bear his anger any longer he decided to take action. The ship was passing a notorious stretch of the English Channel called the Goodwin Sands.

The Goodwin Sands is a nine-mile stretch between Kingsdown, Kent and Pegwell Bay and is still one of the most dangerous passages of the English Channel.

During low tide, as much as a tenth of the total area can be exposed and one can walk on the sediment. There have even been cricket matches played on the Goodwin Sands.

Over one thousand wrecks have been recorded in this area since 1298, and the area has become a virtual ship’s graveyard.

Frequently when ships attempt to sail through at high tide, the sediment quickly moves about and sucks the ship down into the Sands with the stern only partially supported. This leads to the ship’s back being broken and unable to sail once the tide comes back in. The entire ship is engulfed with great loss of life.

As the Lady Lovibond passed through the area Rivers attacked the Bosun and took over the ship. He intentionally steered the ship onto the Goodwin Sands destroying the ship and killing everyone aboard.

Exactly fifty years to the day after the Lady Lovibond was destroyed the captain of the ship “Edenbridge” recorded in his log that he had almost collided with a schooner with three masts.

Another fifty years passed and again on the 13th of February locals saw a three masted schooner head toward the Sands. Again, no evidence of wreckage was found.

In 1848 the same ship was reported to have been seen breaking up in the very same area with no shipwreck in sight.

The last report was filed in 1948 by Captain Bull Preswick. He was convinced he saw an actual ship that was described as the Lady Lovibond but was surrounded by a green glow as it entered the Sands.

The folktales of the ghost ship created so much attention that many curious onlookers made their way to the Sands in 1998 to catch a glimpse of the legendary ship but were all disappointed when no ship appeared.

Were the tales made up to entertain the gullible or were the reports made by people who actually believed they saw the Lady Lovibond on its way to its watery grave every fifty years?

The Vintage News / YouTube video

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The past is where you learned the lesson.

The future is where you apply the lesson.

Don’t give up in the middle”

~ Andy Rooney.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,

all leading to the same place,,

so it doesn’t matter which path you take.

The only person wasting time

is the one who runs around the mountain,

telling everyone that his or her path

is wrong.”

~ Hindu Proverb

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Keep in mind

when you speak or write something

and you believe your mom would be embarrassed

don't do it.”

~ 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)

What a hothead! YouTube prankster has to be freed by firefighters after friends cemented his HEAD inside a microwave

What a hothead! YouTube prankster has to be freed by firefighters after friends cemented his HEAD inside a microwave

Five firefighters spent an hour working to release a YouTube prankster who cemented his head inside a microwave.

Jay Swingler, 22, and a group of friends mixed seven bags of Polyfilla before they poured it around his head, which was protected by a plastic bag inside the appliance.

Their intention was to use the microwave as a mould, and by the time emergency services were at 1.49pm on Wednesday to the garage of a house in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, the group had already been trying to free him for 90 minutes.

The friends had managed to feed an air tube into the man's head to help him breathe.

Watch Commander Shaun Dakin, officer in charge of the West Midlands Fire Service crew who responded, said: 'As funny as this sounds, this young man could quite easily have suffocated or have been seriously injured.'

He added: 'Taking the microwave apart was tricky, because a lot of it was welded.

'We video-called our technical rescue colleagues for advice and eventually managed to get him unstuck.

'He was very relieved when we removed a large chunk of the Polyfilla with a screwdriver, allowing him to breathe more easily. But we had to be extremely careful with the screwdriver, working so closely to his head.

'It took us nearly an hour to free him. All of the group involved were very apologetic, but this was clearly a call-out which might have prevented us from helping someone else in genuine, accidental need.' 

Telegraph (11/21/2017) video

Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?
Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible”, according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

Fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

Daily MailGood Housekeeping UKNorth Carolina State UniversityMental FlossQuaraWikipediaWhy Do Fruitcakes Last So Long? (YouTube Search) video

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Red-Roper: Slang for a Recruit Division Commander (RDC), in reference to the red rope worn around the left shoulder. Used to be called “Company Commander”.

Red-Tag, also known as "Tag Out" (verb):

(1) (of a Calibration AT with no nuclear training) to do something to a piece of nuclear reactor machinery which should put part of the plant down.

(2) To de-energize a piece of electrical equipment or to cease usage of any tool or machine.

Red-Tag (noun): The tag placed on a piece of electrical equipment to prevent it being energized and injuring someone.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Spit and Polish: Extreme individual or collective military neatness, extreme devotion to the minutiae of traditional military procedures and/or ceremonies; from spit-polishing boots and dress shoes.

Spit-Shine: Polish leather footwear (boots and dress shoes), employing spittle to remove excess grease and produce a high polish.

Splice the Mainbrace: Invitation to drink, from the old naval custom of drinking grog after repairing battle-damage to the main braces.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VAW-126 - “Seahawks”
CVW-1 - Naval Station Norfolk Norfolk, Virginia - Established April 1, 1969

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “More Than You Can Shake a Stick At”

More Than You Can Shake a Stick At”  Meaning: Having more of something than you need.

Origin: Farmers controlled their sheep by shaking their staffs to indicate where the animals should go. When farmers had more sheep than they could control, it was said they had “more than you can shake a stick at.”

Oxford English Dictionary - in the issue of the Lancaster Journal of Pennsylvania dated 5 August 1818:

“We have in Lancaster as many Taverns as you can shake a stick at.”

Davy Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East of 1835:

“This was a temperance house, and there was nothing to treat a friend that was worth shaking a stick at.”

A Book of Vagaries by James K Paulding of 1868:

“The roistering barbecue fellow swore he was equal to any man you could shake a stick at.”

Shaking a stick at somebody, of course, is a threatening gesture, or at least one of defiance. So to say that you have shaken a stick at somebody is to suggest that person is an opponent, perhaps a worthy one. The sense in the second and third quotations above seem to fit this idea: “nothing worth shaking a stick at” means nothing of value; “equal to any man you could shake a stick at” means that the speaker is equal to any man of consequence.

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Two super-Earths around star K2-18Collisions after moon formation remodeled early EarthReplicating peregrine falcon attack strategies could help down rogue dronesPigeons can discriminate both space and timeNew algorithm repairs corrupted digital images in one stepBreaking electron waves provide new clues to high-temperature superconductivityHow to keep students in scienceHigh-stress childhoods blind adults to potential loss

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

It Bleeds. It Breathes. It's a Lifelike Artificial Human Corpse!

It Bleeds. It Breathes. It's a Lifelike Artificial Human Corpse!

Medical schools have historically used human cadavers to train students in anatomy and medical procedures, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. However, a unique type of medical model provides a remarkably human alternative to working with preserved corpses.

SynDaver synthetic humans are anatomically accurate medical models fabricated by the company SynDaver Labs. All of the body's muscles, organs and systems are meticulously represented, and unlike traditional models made of rubbery silicon or rigid plastic, SynDavers' are moist and pliable, and they closely resemble living tissue.

One type of these human models, built to train surgeons and first responders, even mimics what happens in the body during surgery or trauma, presenting the biological functions in a living person in distress, such as fluctuating respiration, blood pressure and heartbeat, according to the SynDaver website. [In Photos: Explore a Biodigital Human Body]

“The patient simulator that we have actually replicates the condition of a real patient - right down to, basically, bleeding to death”

“"It mimics exactly the physiology you and I would have, if we were to sustain the same injury.” “The heart rate would speed up, the blood pressure would drop, respiration would speed up. Our model is able to replicate all of those things.”

These simulators, which can cost as much as $100,000, not only include organs and tissues that feel real, they also contain dynamic internal systems that interact with software. Using a tablet controller, instructors can program elements in their “patient” such as heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, while a blood-like liquid drawn from refillable reservoirs circulates through the synthetic body and spills from its “wounds”, providing a valuable learning environment for surgeons.

“Throughout most of their training, most students would never have the opportunity to hold a human heart in their hand.” “Ours mimics all those properties, and it actually pumps, so they can see what a living heart would do.”

Other SynDavers that are merely realistic anatomical models without moving parts come with a price starting at $60,000, and they have the same remarkably lifelike feel to their tissues, which are made from materials that mimic the tactile sensation, elasticity and physiological properties of human soft tissue.

However, while being able to virtually “lift” a 3D image of a still-beating heart out of a patient sounds visually impressive, VR and AR are ultimately no match for a hands-on, visceral experience when it comes to treating or studying the human body.

Live Science (12/04/2018) video

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


“Show Me The Way” - Peter Frampton 1975

“Show Me The Way” - Peter Frampton
Album: Frampton
Released 1975 video

Peter Frampton This is Frampton's biggest hit. It took off when he included the song on his 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive, which in the U.S. was the best-selling album of 1976. The studio version was released as a single in 1975, but went nowhere. The live version is the hit.

On the intro to the live version, Frampton used a talkbox, a device hooked up to his guitar that allowed him to create amplified, distorted vocal sounds with his mouth. A talkbox is made with tubing connected to a compression driver (meant to be part of a P.A. system), with the other end going into the performer's mouth. The unit is then hooked up to the guitar amp.

The talkbox effect was a huge hit. Many musicians responded by buying one or trying to make their own. More than a few young people lost some cavities when they created faulty talkboxes and sent electric current into their mouths.

Frampton's songs “Baby, I Love Your Wayvideo. and “Do You Feel Like We Dovideo. also became huge hits from his live album. These songs still get lots of airplay.

This was one of the first songs U2 performed as a group. They played it at their high school talent show using the band name Feedback.

Peter Frampton official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Frampton (album)” by Peter Frampton



The Beatles song YESTERDAY was the most recorded Beatles song by different artists, and was never released by the Beatles as a single record.

OKLAHOMA's official state song comes from a Broadway musical OKLAHOMA.

Weighing 3 carats, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond, the only perfect diamond ever discovered, was located in 1990 in Arkansas.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THESE AREN'T BIBLE BOOKS” ($200):

“Part of this 1862 French novel tells of how prisoner 24601 became prisoner 9430.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THESE AREN'T BIBLE BOOKS” ($800):

“This 1886 Stevenson novel concerns a lawyer, Mr. Utterson, & his connection to a reclusive physician.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “DUDE-ERONOMY” ($200):

“In Americana, a dude was an Easterner who went to vacation at one of these places.”

● Answer: A Ranch. Top 20 Ranches

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “DUDE-ERONOMY” ($400):

“This Aerosmith song implores the unwary to 'never judge a book by its cover'.”

● Answer: Dude (Looks Like a Lady). YouTube

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Blonde Jokes

A blonde, a redhead, and a brunette were all lost in the desert.

They found a lamp and rubbed it. A genie popped out and granted them each one wish.”

The redhead wished to be back home. Poof! She was back home.

The brunette wished to be at home with her family. Poof! She was back home with her family.

The blonde said, “Awwww, I wish my friends were here.“


Two blondes fell down a hole. One said, “It's dark in here isn't it?" The other replied, "I don't know; I can't see.”


There was a blonde, a redhead, and a brunette.

They were all trapped on an island and the nearest shore was 50 miles away.

The redhead swam trying to make it to the other shore she swam 15 miles, but did not make it.

The blonde swam 25 miles, got tired, and swam back.