Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 02, 2018

Previous Week   January 08, 2018 - January 14, 2018   Next Week

First elected female senator on January 12, 1932

First elected female senator on January 12, 1932

First elected female senator: Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, becomes the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Caraway, born near Bakerville, Tennessee, had been appointed to the Senate two months earlier to fill the vacancy left by her late husband, Thaddeus Horatio Caraway. With the support of Huey Long, a powerful senator from Louisiana, Caraway was elected to the seat. In 1938, she was reelected. After failing to win renomination in 1944, she was appointed to the Federal Employees Compensation Commission by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Although she was the first freely elected female senator, Caraway was preceded in the Senate by Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was appointed in 1922 to fill a vacancy but never ran for election. Jeannette Rankin, elected to the House of Representatives as a pacifist from Montana in 1917, was the first woman to ever sit in Congress.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / United States of Representatives History, Art & Archives / Biography / University of Arkansas.edu

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

Understanding Military Terminology - Military information support operations

(DOD) Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to the originator’s objectives. Also called MISO.

Joint Publications (JP 3-13.2) Joint Electronic Library JEL, Joint Publication Operations

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of the Ghost Ship Palatine Light”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of the Ghost Ship Palatine Light - Every winter Block Islanders can spot the ghost of the flaming ship Palatine, or so the legend goes.

The tale comes from the true story of a British vessel that ran aground on Dec. 26, 1738, and from the bad reputation Block Islanders earned for looting wrecked ships.

Sailors shook their heads when they spoke of Block Island, where wreckers lured ships ashore, killed their crews and divided the spoils.

“I would rather be wrecked anywhere than upon Block Island," became a common and significant saying in the forecastle or the midnight watch, when the dark mass of the island heaved in sight”, wrote Samuel Adams Drake in 1883.

Drake described Block Island as “a bank of clay, treeless and wind-swept, eight miles long, rising out of the ocean between Montauk and Gay Head, and lying nearest to Point Judith, on the Rhode-Island shore, from which it is about five miles distant.”

Located in the middle of busy shipping lanes, Drake called the island a 'veritable stumbling-block in the way of the anxious navigator.'

The Stories

Like the Flying Dutchman or the Ghost Ship of Salem, the legend of the ghost ship has endured for centuries.

In 1811, Dr. Aaron C. Willey, a Block Island resident, described the Palatine Light. He first saw it in February 1810.

“It was large and gently lambent, very bright, broad at the bottom and terminating acutely upward...

I saw it again on the evening of December the 20th. It was then small, and I supposed it to be a light on board of some vessel, but I was soon undeceived. It moved along, apparently parallel to the shore, for about two miles, in the time that I was riding one at a moderate pace.”

Benjamin Congdon, born around 1788, gave a typical Puritan explanation for the apparition, according to folklorist Michael Bell.

“About the burning Palatine ship... I may say that I have seen her eight or ten times or more. In those early days nobody doubted her being sent by an Almighty Power to punish those wicked men who murdered her passengers and crew.”

New England Historical Society / YouTube video

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Earth and sky, woods and fields,

lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea,

are excellent schoolmasters,

and teach some of us more

than we can never learn from books.”

~ John Lubbock.

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Never separate the life you live

from the words you speak.”

~ Paul Wellstone

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair.

It gives you something to do

but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

~ 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)

Kim Jong-un in pictures: Bizarre photoshoots of North Korea's leader

Kim Jong-un in pictures: Bizarre photoshoots of North Korea's leader

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

Here, we take a look back at some of the most bizarre photo opportunities that he has taken part in during his time in charge of the highly secretive state.

Telegraph (11/21/2017) video

Can It Ever Be Too Cold to Snow?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Can It Ever Be Too Cold to Snow?

A question meteorologist get asked all the time during the cold winter months is “can it ever be too cold to snow”? Well, the short answer is no.

The ingredients for snow are:

1. A temperature profile that allows snow to reach the surface

2. Saturated air

3. Enough lifting of that saturated air to allow snow to develop aloft and fall to reach the surface.

The phrase “it’s too cold to snow” probably originated as a misapplication of the relationship between temperature and the maximum amount of water vapor that can be in the air. When temperature decreases, the maximum capacity of water vapor that can be in the air decreases. Therefore, the colder it gets the less water vapor there will be in the air.

Most heavy snowfalls happen with relatively warm air temperatures near the ground - usually at 15 degrees F or above. When the temperature drops into the single digits, or below zero, heavy snow is unlikely. That’s not because it’s too cold, but because its too dry. When temperatures are that low, the air’s capacity for water vapor becomes very small.

Experts say only at absolute zero would snow become impossible. Along with everything else.

AccuWeatherEarthSky.orgWeather ChannelMental FlossQuaraWikipediaCan It Ever Be Too Cold to Snow? (YouTube Search) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang


(1) A refrigeration ship carrying frozen foods.

(2) A large freezer of the type found on most ships, usually in auxiliary spaces.

Render honors to port/starboard: A custom in the Navy to honor a ship passing with a salute, it is also used when passing by the Arizona Memorial, an announcement is made “Prepare to render honors to port/starboard”, a Bo'sun's pipe signal is then given to stand at attention, to salute, to drop the salute, and finally to “carry on”. Honors are rendered from the junior to the senior by referencing the Lineal Number of the Commanding Officer.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Spud Locker: Place where fresh vegetables are stored, after the nickname for potatoes.

Squadbay: Living quarters with open rooms and shared head, as opposed to the more common barracks that offer individual rooms.

Square(d) Away: Make neat and regulation appearance, to be in a neat and regulation appearance.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-2 - “Bounty Hunters”
CVW-2 - Naval Air Station Lemoore, Lemoore, California - Established October 1, 1972

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Run Amok”

Run Amok”  Meaning: Go crazy. To 'run amok', which is sometimes spelled 'run amuck', is to behave in a wild or unruly manner.

Origin: This short saying comes from the Malaysian word amoq, which describes the behavior of tribesmen who, under the influence of opium, became wild, rampaging mobs that attacked anybody in their path.

'Run amok' is now synonymous with the term 'go crazy', but originally had a specific meaning. The term originated in Southeast Asia, where 'amok' (variously spelled amuk, amuck, amuco) meant 'a murderous frenzy or rage'. This derived from the state of mind of the Amuco - a class of 'death or glory' warriors who were employed in local power struggles in Java and Malaysia. Their belief was that fallen warriors became favourites of the gods, whereas failed missions were punished by dishonour and death. Unsurprisingly, the Amuco warriors had little to lose and their attacks were maniacal and frenzied. This is first alluded to in the 1516 text Barbosa, which was translated by Stanley, in 1866:

“There are some of them [the Javanese] who go out into the streets, and kill as many persons as they meet. These are called Amuco.”

Captain James Cook, in his account of his travels in that part of the world - Voyages, 1772, gives an explicit definition of 'run amok':

“To run amock is to get drunk with opium... to sally forth from the house, kill the person or persons supposed to have injured the Amock, and any other person that attempts to impede his passage.”

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

How the U.S. Military’s New Ship-Killing Missile Turns Targets' Radar Against Them - The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile homes in on the enemy’s own signalsDon't Forget to Water Your Christmas TreeHan Solo's Hoth Parka Will Keep You Warm This Winter50 iOS Games You Should Be Playing Right Now10 Gifts for the Coffee Drinker in Your LifeHow to Build a City on the MoonScientists Can Now Implant Thoughts Directly Into Monkey Brains

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Humans Would Be Cool with Finding Aliens

Humans Would Be Cool with Finding Aliens

If extraterrestrial life is ever discovered, humanity would probably be pretty cool with it.

A new study, one of very few of its kind, finds that people typically respond quite positively to the notion of life on other planets. The study investigated the possibility of finding microbial extraterrestrials, not intelligent E.T.s, so people's responses might be a little different if they were told an armada of aliens were headed toward Earth, cautioned study author Michael Varnum, a psychologist at Arizona State University. Nevertheless, he noted, large portions of people believe that intelligent aliens do exist and that they've visited Earth; so even a more dramatic announcement might not ruffle feathers.

“"What this suggests is, there's no reason to be afraid" of sharing news of astrobiology with the public, Varnum told Live Science. "We won't collapse. We're not going to have chaos in the streets.” [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]

Earthlings love company

In studies, people reacted to the idea of alien life with more positivity than negativity, Varnum found. They tended to focus on the rewards over the risks. Individuals in the first study felt they, personally, would respond to the announcement of microbial E.T.s with a little more positivity than the public at large, but they still thought humanity as a whole would be enthused.

In the case of the realistic announcement about Martian microbes, people still remained overwhelmingly positive. They were pretty gung-ho about synthetic life, too, Varnum said, but Mars life got people even more jazzed. That finding suggests the enthusiasm isn't just about science or discovery or even just new life, he said, but specifically about alien life. [7 Theories on the Origins of Life]

A paper describing the findings is available as a preprint and is under review at a peer-reviewed journal. Varnum would like to replicate his findings in other countries to see if culture or other factors influence people's attitudes toward aliens. He'd also like to study people's responses to intelligent life, but it would be harder to fool participants into believing, even briefly, that humanity had made contact with an alien civilization.

Reactions to the discovery of intelligent life-forms outside of planet Earth might be a bit more complex, Varnum said, but it's hard to tell. Already, he noted, polls show that more than half of Americans, British and Germans believe extraterrestrial intelligence exists. Thirty percent believe that intelligent aliens have contacted Earth, but that the government has covered it up.

Live Science (12/06/2018) video

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


“Black Water” - The Doobie Brothers 1974

“Black Water” - The Doobie Brothers
Album: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Released 1974 video

Patrick Simmons, who is the group's guitarist, wrote this song and sang lead. It continued the Louisiana swamp rock feel of earlier Doobie Brothers songs like “Toulouse Streetvideo. and “Black Eyed Cajun Womanvideo.

The song is about the Mississippi River, with lyrics likely inspired by Mark Twain's books Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, which depicted life on the “Black Water”.

“Black Water” wasn't seen as having hit potential, so it was relegated to the B-side of “Another Park, Another Sundayvideo. In an interview with Tom Johnston, the Doobie Brothers frontman explained how the song became an unlikely hit. Said Johnston:

“That's a story that could have happened back then, but never would ever ever happen now: Roanoke, Virginia picked that tune up and started playing it in heavy rotation, and somebody in Minneapolis who I guess knew somebody in Roanoke heard the song and decided to follow suit, and it ended up becoming our first #1 single. That was Pat's first single. And oddly enough, it was never looked at as a single by the record company.

‘I remember when I first heard it was #1, we were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and we were just getting ready to go on stage, and then I guess Bruce [their manager Bruce Cohn] must have told us. I think we were already aware of the fact that it was getting airplay, but nobody was really paying a lot of attention. And then all of a sudden it became #1 and we were paying attention. I remember I went in and congratulated Pat backstage, and we've been playing it ever since.”

The Doobie Brothers performed this in a 1978 episode of the TV show What's Happening!!, where they teach the characters on the show about the dark side of bootlegging.

The Doobie Brothers official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (album)” by The Doobie Brothers



The full names of these types of electric current known as AC and DC are Alternating and Direct Current.

Europe's longest and most powerful river flows through only one country; eleven of the twenty largest cities of that country are located along this river. The river is the Volga, and flows through Russia into the Caspian Sea.

On what kind of court (grass, clay, etc.) are each of these tennis tournaments played:

a. Wimbledon b. U.S. Open c. French Open?

a. Grass b. Acrylic Hard Court c. Clay


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “OUR GREAT COUNTRY” ($600):

“It was in this Philadelphia building that the Constitution was drafted in 1787.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer National Park Service

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “OUR GREAT COUNTRY” ($1,000):

“Oahu's Diamond Head has great views of this coastal resort district just to its west.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer The Hawaiian Islands

Answer to Last Week's Test

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: A Ranch. 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: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. IMDB

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

A blonde and a redhead have a ranch.

They have just lost their bull. The women need to buy another, but only have $500.

The redhead tells the blonde, “I will go to the market and see if I can find one for under that amount. If I can, I will send you a telegram.”

She goes to the market and finds one for $499.

Having only one dollar left, she goes to the telegraph office and finds out that it costs one dollar per word. She is stumped on how to tell the blonde to bring the truck and trailer.

Finally, she tells the telegraph operator to send the word “comfortable”.

Skeptical, the operator asks, “How will she know to come with the trailer from just that word?”

The redhead replies, “She's a blonde so she reads slow: 'Come for ta bull.'”


A guy was driving in a car with a blonde.

He told her to stick her head out the window and see if the blinker worked.

She stuck her head out and said, “Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes...”


A blonde, wanting to earn some money.

A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do. “Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?”

The blonde said, “How about 50 dollars?”

The man agreed and told her that the paint and ladders that she might need were in the garage.

The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, “Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?”

The man replied, “She should. She was standing on the porch.”

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money. “You're finished already?” he asked.

“Yes”, the blonde answered, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.”

Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50

“And by the way”, the blonde added, “that's not a Porch, it's a Ferrari.”