Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 07, 2018

Previous Week   February 12, 2018 - February 18, 2018  Next Week

Silver dollars made legal on February 16, 1878

Silver dollars made legal on February 16, 1878

Silver dollars made legal: Strongly supported by western mining interests and farmers, the Bland-Allison Act—which provided for a return to the minting of silver coins—becomes the law of the land.

The strife and controversy surrounding the coinage of silver is difficult for most modern Americans to understand, but in the late 19th century it was a topic of keen political and economic interest. Today, the value of American money is essentially secured by faith in the stability of the government, but during the 19th century, money was generally backed by actual deposits of silver and gold, the so-called “bimetallic standard”. The U.S. also minted both gold and silver coins.

In 1873, Congress decided to follow the lead of many European nations and cease buying silver and minting silver coins, because silver was relatively scarce and to simplify the monetary system. Exacerbated by a variety of other factors, this led to a financial panic. When the government stopped buying silver, prices naturally dropped, and many owners of primarily western silver mines were hurt. Likewise, farmers and others who carried substantial debt loads attacked the so-called “Crime of ’73”. They believed, somewhat simplistically, that it caused a tighter supply of money, which in turn made it more difficult for them to pay off their debts.

A nationwide drive to return to the bimetallic standard gripped the nation, and many Americans came to place a near mystical faith in the ability of silver to solve their economic difficulties. The leader of the fight to remonetize silver was the Missouri Congressman Richard Bland. Having worked in mining and having witnessed the struggles of small farmers, Bland became a fervent believer in the silver cause, earning him the nickname “Silver Dick”.

With the backing of powerful western mining interests, Bland secured passage of the Bland-Allison Act, which became law on this day in 1878. Although the act did not provide for a return to the old policy of unlimited silver coinage, it did require the U.S. Treasury to resume purchasing silver and minting silver dollars as legal tender. Americans could once again use silver coins as legal tender, and this helped some struggling western mining operations. However, the act had little economic impact, and it failed to satisfy the more radical desires and dreams of the silver backers. The battle over the use of silver and gold continued to occupy Americans well into the 20th century.

History Channel / Wikipedia / NCG Coin Explorer / Morgan dollar February 16, 1878 (YouTube) video

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships - Legend of the Ghost Ship of Northumberland Strait”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Tales of Legendary Ghost Ships”

Legend of the Ghost Ship of Northumberland Strait

New Brunswick is a mere ghost on a new Canada Post stamp featuring the Northumberland ghost ship.

Although Canada Post states “the tale has been told by residents for at least 200 years of a vision of a burning ship on the waters between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island”, the stamp itself bears only the abbreviations for Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

As legend has it, people see what appears to be a burning ship on the Northumberland Strait. Canada Post states: “On several occasions, onlookers have tried to rescue the ship but as soon as rescuers come close, the ship disappears into the mist.”

Reports from the mainland in Nova Scotia have come from Pictou Island, Cape John, Brule Point, Malagash and Gulf Shore, says the PSICAN posting.

“An intriguing aspect of these eyewitness reports (from both sides of the Strait) is their similarity, tending to prove that a curious light does appear, especially as the harbinger of a storm”, states the PSICAN report.

CBC News / Wikipedia

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship

unless it gets inside the ship.

and behave like free spirits


the negativity of the world can’t put you down

unless you allow it to get inside you.”

~ Anonymous

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“I, not events,

have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.

I can choose which it shall be.

Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.

I have just one day, today,

and I’m going to be happy in it.”

~ Groucho Marx

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

~ 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)

‘No trousers on the tube day’ this year was as awkward as ever

‘No trousers on the tube day’ this year was as awkward as ever

If you see people on the tube with no trousers in freezing Winter, there’s a reason for that.

Not necessarily a GOOD reason, but a reason all the same: It’s the annual No Trousers On The Tube day.

We wish we could tell you this is for charity or a good cause, but it’s not.

It’s just a chance for people to exercise their free will to show off their legs to confused commuters on the underground.

As it would be illegal for people to go naked, they will only be removing their trousers and not their underwear.

It was organised by The Stiff Upper Lip Society.

The only rules were:

“That you are willing to take your trousers off on the Tube.”

“You are able to keep a straight face while doing it.”

“Our aim is to make people laugh, not piss them off.”

“Please don’t wear anything overly close-fitting (so no thongs, banana hammocks or mankinis) or kilts without anything underneath. We don’t want people to be disgusted, and the organisers do not want trouble so we are putting our trust in you.”

METRO (01/07/2018) video

When and how did celebrating Valentine's Day start?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: When and how did celebrating Valentine's Day start?

The origins of the holiday might be traced back to the February fertility festivals of the Greeks and Romans.

The pope declared that the feast of St. Valentine would be celebrated on February 14 in AD 496.

The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in a piece by Chaucer in 1382, although the content of the poem makes it unlikely that it was referring to a mid-February celebration. The majority of legends relating to Valentine's Day probably arose during these medieval times.

The holiday was likely imported to North America in the 19th century by British settlers; the first mass-produced valentines were distributed after 1847 by Esther Howland, whose father owned a large book and stationery store.

In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts, including roses, chocolate, and jewelry.

CBNHistory ChannelNational GeographicQuoraWikipediaWND

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Roast Beast: Roast Beef, or any meat served aboard the ship that even the cooks who prepared it don't know what it is.

Rock: Term used to describe a sailor that acts as though he hasn't learned anything.

Roger That: A term of understanding and acceptance when given an order or other information. Can be used with varying inflection and tone without consequence to signify enthusiasm or disgruntlement without stepping outside the bounds of professionalism.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Survey: Medical discharge or to effect discharge/retirement of an individual for medical reasons; dispose of an item of government property by reason of unserviceability.

Swab - Mop: Short TakeOff, Vertical Landingalso pejorative for sailor, so named because sailors of wooden ships had to swab the decks to keep them from warping.

Swamp-ass: Unpleasant collection of sweat soaking undergarments.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-27 - “Royal Maces”
CVW-5 - Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan - Established September 1, 1967

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”.

Stack Exchange

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

What species is most fit for life? All have an equal chance, scientists sayResearchers design dendrite-free lithium batteryTeam modifies nanoscale virus to deliver peptide drugs to cells, tissuesNorth American waterways are becoming saltier and more alkalineSurprising result shocks scientists studying spin'Hide or get eaten,' urine chemicals tell mud crabsInkjet-printed thermite deposits energetic materials safelyMost sea turtles now female in north Great Barrier Reef

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

This Huge New Prime Number Is a Very Big Deal

This Huge New Prime Number Is a Very Big Deal

There's a new biggest known prime number in the universe.

Despite being a ridiculously huge number (just that text file, which readers can download here, takes up more than 23 megabytes of space on a computer), M77232917 can't be divided up without using fractions. It won't break into integers no matter what other factors, large or small, someone divides it by. Its only factors are itself and the number 1. That's what makes it prime.

So how big is this number? A full 23,249,425 digits long — nearly 1 million digits longer than the previous record holder. If someone started writing it down, 1,000 digits a day, today (January 8), they would finish on Sept. 19, 2081, according to some back-of-the-napkin calculations at Live Science.

Fortunately, there's a simpler way to write the number: 2^77,232,917 minus 1. In other words, the new largest known prime number is one less than 2 times 2 time 2 times 2…and so on 77,232,917 times. [The 9 Most Massive Numbers in the Universe]

This isn't really a surprise. Primes that are one less than a power of 2 belong to a special class, called Mersenne primes. The smallest Mersenne prime is 3, because it's prime and also one less than 2 times 2. Seven is also a Mersenne prime: 2 times 2 times 2 minus 1. The next Mersenne prime is 31 — or 2^5-1.

This Mersenne prime, 2^77,232,917-1, turned up in the Great Internet Mersenne Primes Search (GIMPS) — a massive collaborative project involving computers all over the world — in late December 2017. Jonathan Pace, a 51-year-old electrical engineer living in Germantown, Tennessee, who had participated in GIMPS for 14 years, gets credit for the discovery, which turned up on his computer. Four other GIMPS hunters using four different programs verified the prime over the course of six days, according to the January 3rd GIMPS announcement.

Mersenne primes get their names from the French monk Marin Mersenne, as the University of Tennessee mathematician Chris Caldwell explained on his website. Mersenne, who lived from 1588 to 1648, proposed that 2^n-1 was prime when n equals 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 31, 67, 127 and 257, and not prime for all other numbers less than 257 (2^257-1).

The smallest perfect number is 6, which is perfect because 1+2+3=6 and 1, 2 and 3 are all of 6's positive divisors. The next one is 28, which equals 1+2+4+7+14. After that comes 494. Another perfect number doesn't appear until 8,128. As Caldwell noted, these have been known since "before the time of Christ" and have spiritual significance in certain ancient cultures. [5 Seriously Mind-Boggling Math Facts]

It turns out that 6 can also be written as 2^(2-1)x(2^2-1), 28 can be written as 2^(3-1)x(2^3-1), 494 equals 2^(5-1)x(2^5-1), and 8,128 is also 2^(7-1)x(2^7-1). See the second chunk of those expressions? Those are all Mersenne primes.

Caldwell wrote that the 18th-century mathematician Leonhard Euler proved two things are true:

1. “k is an even perfect number if and only if it has the form 2n-1(2n-1) and 2n-1 is prime.”

2. “If 2n-1 is prime, then so is n.”

In lay terms, that means every time a new Mersenne prime appears, so does a new perfect number.

Live Science (01/06/2018) video

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


“I Want You To Want Me” - Cheap Trick 1977

“I Want You To Want Me” - Cheap Trick
Album: Live At Budokan
Released 1977 video

This song has a long and intriguing history. It was written by Cheap Trick's guitarist Rick Nielsen and recorded for their 1977 self-titled debut album, but it didn't make the cut. The song was included on their second album In Color, which was released later in 1977. This version had a medium tempo with a country feel and a honky tonk piano throughout the song.

By 1978, the band had dropped it from their setlist, but restored it when they toured Japan that year, since Japanese audiences loved the song. They played it on April 28 and 30 at their famous concerts that took place at the Budokan temple in Tokyo, which was a big deal because many Japanese citizens felt the temple was sacred and not appropriate for rock concerts. The concerts were released as the Live At Budokan album, which captured Cheap Trick's live energy and turned their fortunes around in America, where the album was released in February 1979 and sold over 3 million copies. The extracted “I Want You To Want Me” became their first hit, charting at #7.

According to Rick Nielsen, the band considered this “sort of hokey pop” when they first recorded it, and the arrangement matched that sentiment, with finger snaps and a plaintive country feel. Robin Zander played up the schmaltz in the vocal, sounding like a woebegone cornpoke. This studio version fell flat, but when they played it as an earnest rocker, it worked.

The famous At Budokan version of this song was inspired by a French cover version (“J'attends Toutes les Nuits”) by by a fairly obscure French synthpop artist named Niko Flynn, who sped up the tempo and put a beat to the song.

Many early Cheap Trick songs written by Rick Nielsen are from the perspective of characters who are a little unhinged (see: “Dream Policevideo), and the band played that up with their eccentric fashions and accessories. The guy in this song is a bit desperate and delusional, figuring a shoe shine and a new shirt will make the girl love him.

TThis is one of the few rock songs that starts with the chorus.

In 1978, this appeared as the B-side of Cheap Trick's single “California Manvideo.

In 1997, the group recorded a new version of the In Color album (complete with this song), with producer Steve Albini, but it was never released.

Cheap Trick official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Live At Budokan (album)” by Cheap Trick



● In the 8th century, Charlemagne also known as Charles the Great was the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

● Periodically occuring climatic event translates in Spanish to “the boy” is “El Nino”.

● When blood is first pumped out of the human heart, it first enters a certain organ, then it returns to the heart a second time before continuing its trip through the body. Which organ is this? LUNG... where the blood receives fresh oxygen.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “DUCK DAY AFTERNOON” ($400):

“This Looney Tunes duck attributes his constantly being shot in the episode 'Rabbit Seasoning' to 'pronoun trouble'.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “VICE PRESIDENTS” ($400 DD):

“He was the first vice president to assume the presidency upon the assassination of a president.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “WHO MAKES IT?” ($600):

“Classic Yellow Mustard.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “POISONOUS PLANTS” ($200):

“Alliterative name for a line of people who pass pails of water to help put out a fire.”

● Answer: Poison Ivy. Mayo Clinic.org

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: Chevy. How Stuff Works

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: (Tom) Saywer. Cliffs Notes

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Most often attributed to Winston Churchill

“If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart,

if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

We are all familiar with a

Joke of the Day

Herd of cows,

Joke of the Day

Flock of roosters,

Joke of the Day

School of fish,

Joke of the Day

and a Gaggle of geese.

However, less widely known is:

Joke of the Day

A Pride of lions,

Joke of the Day

a Murder of crows,

Joke of the Day

An Exaltation of doves,

Joke of the Day

A Parliament of owls.

Joke of the Day

Now consider a group of Baboons.

Baboons are the loudest, most dangerous,

most obnoxious, most viciously

aggressive and least intelligent of all


Believe it or not... A Congress!

Joke of the Day


That pretty much explains the things that

come out of Washington!