Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 24, 2018

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Lincoln calls for help on June 15, 1863

Lincoln calls for help on June 15, 1863

Lincoln calls for help: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting Washington, D.C., America’s capital city.

Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg, Virginia, and set it on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion, in September 1862, failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.

Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C. Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. All Lincoln knew was that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be certain as to the Confederates’ location.

On June 15, Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Britannica Encyclopedia / University of Michigan / United States Senate.gov American Civil War Documentary (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 - Minesweeping

(DOD) The technique of clearing mines using either mechanical sweeping to remove, disturb, or otherwise neutralize the mine; explosive sweeping to cause sympathetic detonations, damage, or displace the mine; or influence sweeping to produce either the acoustic or magnetic influence required to detonate the mine. See also minehunting.

Joint Publications (JP 3-15) Barriers, Obstacles, and Mine Warfare for Joint Operations

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Washington (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Intelligence Function

On a carrier, the CVIC supports the battlegroup’s intelligence requirements by supplying the Commanding Officer, embarked staffs, and air wing with operational, technical, and strike planning information. This is accomplished with a variety of intelligence related systems located in CVIC and in the Supplementary Plot (SUPPLOT) spaces (see Module 10 for a description of systems). These systems provide operational intelligence (OPINTEL) information, intelligence research data, and reports on the collection efforts of the air wing aircraft. Note that if you are assigned to a smaller vessel the intelligence spaces will vary.

Like CDC, a carrier CVIC actually encompasses several individual divisions, which are listed below:

1. OP Division

OP Division provides photographic support to the ship, air wing, and the embarked staff. OP has two labs onboard a typical carrier. The main photo lab handles photographic support for administrative and official events. The CVIC photo lab processes hand held photography from aircrew as well as TARPS film (the TARPS system is discussed in Module 10).

2. OS Division

The OS Division is responsible for providing special intelligence communications to the warfare commanders both internal and external to the battlegroup. Typically, OS Division personnel are enlisted cryptologic specialists (i.e., CTs). In some cases, ships will receive a special NAVSECGRU Direct Support Element (DSE) consisting of additional CTs, which provide tailored support (e.g., CTIs for specific area interception operations).

3. OZ Division

The personnel in this division are responsible for the day-to-day operation of CVIC and SUPPLOT spaces. Personnel in the OZ Division include intelligence officers (1630s), enlisted Intelligence Specialists (ISs) and Data Processing Technicians (DPs), Electronics Technicians (ETs), and Interior Communications Technicians (ICs).

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Never lose sight of the fact that

the most important yardstick of your success

will be how you treat other people

– your family, friends, and coworkers,

and even strangers you meet along the way”

~ Barbara Bush

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing!”

“The best way to see Faith

is to shut the eye of Reason.”

“Three may keep a secret,

if two of them are dead.”

~ Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack, 1732 - 1758

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Adversity doesn’t test character,

it reveals 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)

Costumed Squirrel ‘Furry Boi’ Wins Election For Berkeley Student Senate

Costumed Squirrel ‘Furry Boi’ Wins Election For Berkeley Student Senate

In a sign that Americans may have had it with human candidates, a squirrel has won a seat in the University of California, Berkeley, student senate. And that’s driving some people nuts.

Thirty-seven candidates ran for 20 student spots in this month’s election to the Associated Students of the University of California, including “Furry Boi”. His so-called human proxy is sophomore Stephen Boyle, who wore a squirrel costume to campaign as Furry Boi.

The student senate can affect critical university issues, such as tuition hikes and sexual harassment policies.

Furry Boi’s candidacy was announced on Facebook. The post said the squirrel had been conceived in the campus eucalyptus grove and hoped to “represent the squirrel community in the UC Berkeley political sphere”.

Furry Boi’s “platform” included more access to acorns, creating a squirrel sidekick mascot named Nutty McNut Nut for increased biodiversity, encouraging “safe spaces” for students and squirrels, and launching the Amicable Student Society, or ASS, to “bridge the culture gap between humans and squirrels.” Furry Boi also said he hoped to create squirrel “cuisine stations” in all dining halls and make lecture halls “squirrel accessible”. His most popular hashtags were #I’mWithFur and #WhyNut.

Boyle “came out” as Furry Boi on Facebook just after the votes were in, and posted a long, rambling platform of human-friendly issues, including support for campus sustainability measures, and more sensitivity about disabilities and mental illness.

Not everyone was laughing. The campus newspaper The Daily Californian ripped students for electing Furry Boi, calling it a “travesty”.

You voted for a squirrel; we’re disappointed”, an editorial said. “It’s a shocking display of privilege to vote for a squirrel over candidates who have actual plans to help students who need it. Instead of electing qualified students who had real, tangible ideas ... many of you (at least 538 strong) thought it might be a funny joke to have a man dressed up in a squirrel costume with no real platforms represent you.”

Others said Furry Boi was a dissident choice. Several anonymous commenters to the student paper said a vote for Furry Boi sent a message about disillusionment with student government.

Huffington Post (04/24/2018) video

Where Did the Myth That Radiation Glows Green Come From?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Where Did the Myth That Radiation Glows Green Come From?

Probably from radium, which was widely used in self-luminous paint starting in 1908. When mixed with phosphorescent copper-doped zinc sulfide, radium emits a characteristic green glow.

The use of radioluminescent paint was mostly phased out by the mid-1960s. Today, in applications where it is warranted (like spacecraft instrument dials and certain types of sensors, for example), the radiation source is tritium (radioactive hydrogen) or an isotope of promethium, either of which has a vastly shorter half life than radium.

In most consumer products, though, radioluminescence has been replaced by photoluminescence, phosphors that emit light of one frequency after absorbing photons of a difference frequency. Glow-in-the-dark items that recharge to full brightness after brief exposure to sunlight or a fluorescent light only to dim again over a couple of hours are photoluminescent, and contain no radiation.

An aside on aging radium: By now, most radium paint manufactured early in the 20th century has lost most of its glow, but it’s still radioactive. The isotope of radium used has a half life of 1200 years, but the chemical phosphor that makes it glow has broken down from the constant radiation—so if you have luminescent antiques that barely glow, you might want to have them tested with a Geiger counter and take appropriate precautions. The radiation emitted is completely harmless as long as you don’t ingest or inhale the radium—in which case it becomes a serious cancer risk. So as the tell-tale glow continues to fade, how will you prevent your ancient watch dial or whatever from deteriorating and contaminating your great, great grandchildren’s home, or ending up in a landfill and in the local water supply?

Even without the phosphor, pure radium emits enough alpha particles to excite nitrogen in the air, causing it to glow. The color isn’t green, through, but a pale blue similar to that of an electric arc.

This glow (though not the color) entered the public consciousness through this early illustration of its appearance in Marie Curie’s lab, and became confused with the green glow of radium paints.

The myth is likely kept alive by the phenomenon of Cherenkov glow, which arises when a charged particle (such as an electron or proton) from submerged sources exceeds the local speed of light through the surrounding water.

So in reality, some radionuclides do glow (notably radium and actinium), but not as brightly or in the color people think. Plutonium doesn’t, no matter what Homer Simpson thinks, unless it’s Pu-238—which has such a short half life, it heats itself red hot.

Britannica EncyclopediaCuriosityGizmodoQuoraWikipedia Where Did the Myth That Radiation Glows Green Come From? (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Skipper: Term used in reference to the Commanding officer of any Ship, Unit, Platoon, or Detachment regardless of rank. Generally only applied to someone who has earned the speaker's respect.

Skittles: Sailors who work on the flight deck of a carrier. So named due to the different colored jerseys they wear. For the same reason, they are sometimes referred to as “Wiggles

Skivvies: Underwear.

Skivvy waver:: Signalman (because of signal flags)

Skosh: Perilously close to minimum acceptable levels. Example: The F-5 usually lands skosh on fuel. Derived from “sukoshi”, the Japanese word for “a little”.

Skylarking: Messing around or not doing assigned work. Everyone else working while you watch the clouds go by.

Sky pilot: A chaplain or priest.

Slick Sleeve: A sailor in the E-1 paygrade who does not have a rating, and who has not yet graduated from Apprentice training. Therefore, his left sleeve is “slick”, or has no rate or rating insignia at all.

Sliders: Mess deck/chow hall hamburgers/cheeseburgers, so named for their high grease content and purported ability to 'slide' through the alimentary canal. A cheeseburger is sometimes called a “slider with slabs”.

SLJO: Shitty Little Jobs Officer. The most junior officer aboard ship, who has to handle the most demeaning or illegal duties demanded by HQ.

SMAG: Engineering Laboratory Technician (ELT). Stands for either “Simple Minded Ass Grabbers” or “Sometimes Mechanic, Always Gay”. To ELTs, it's “Superior Mechanic, Almost God”.

SMIB: Southern Maryland In-Bred. Refers to the locals in and around Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Smiles (Game of): A game in which two or more Sailors sit at a specially designed table or bar, typically in the Philippines, and receive fellatio from one or more prostitutes. The first Sailor to smile loses and is required to buy a round.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

WIR: DRMO; Washed-out In Repair; waste incidental to reprocessing; collection of items and/or equipment for turn-in that may be re-used by someone else at a later time, preferably at a savings to the government.

The Wire: Defensive perimeter of a firm base, crossing it denotes the end of relative safety.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VFA-115 - “Eagles”
Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan. - Established October 10, 1942

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A sight for sore eyes”

A sight for sore eyes:”  Meaning: A welcome sight; someone or something you are glad to see.

History: This phrase was first recorded by Jonathan Swift, in A complete collection of genteel and ingenious conversation, 1738:

“The Sight of you is good for sore Eyes.”

The title of the work suggests that it was in use prior to his writing it down. The currently used version of the phrase was first recorded by William Hazlitt, in New Monthly Magazine, 1826:

“Garrick's name was proposed on condition he should act in tragedy and comedy... What a sight for sore eyes that would be!”

That's all pretty straightforward. The rise of the World Wide Web has given this phrase a new lease of life. 'Sight', 'site' and 'cite' form one of the small number of three-word homophone groups, that is, words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Another three-word example is 'you', 'yew' and 'ewe'.

A quick scan of the Web courtesy of Google shows these hits:

“sight for sore eyes” - 549,000

“site for sore eyes” - 133,000

“cite for sore eyes” - 553

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

A Cockroach Crawled Inside a Woman's Ear, and It Can Happen to You

A Cockroach Crawled Inside a Woman's Ear, and It Can Happen to You

Another day, another story about an insect crawling into a person's ear and making itself at home.

Katie Holley, a Florida resident, woke up in the middle of the night to a weird sensation in her ear, “like someone had placed a chip of ice in my left earhole”, she wrote in an essay published in Self magazine. At first, her husband tried to remove the invader with tweezers. But that strategy wasn't successful, so they went to the emergency room. There, the doctor confirmed her suspicion: A cockroach was in her ear canal. To get the insect out, he first killed it with lidocaine (a numbing agent) and then removed it using tweezers.

But in the days that followed, Holley had soreness in her ear and trouble hearing. When she returned to the doctor nine days later, she learned that she still had pieces — including the entire head — of the roach lodged in her ear. [Gallery: Out-of-This-World Images of Insects].

Uranus: A Cockroach Crawled Inside a Woman's Ear, and It Can Happen to You

If you're thinking “gross”, you're not alone.

While there are no recent studies that aim to quantify the icky instances, one small study, published in 2006 the South African Medical Journal, found that during a two-year period, the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, removed 23 insects (and one tick) from people's ears. Those insects included three beetles, eight flies and 10 German cockroaches.

And in 2014, emergency-room doctors in Taiwan found a batch of fruit-fly larvae in a woman's ear canal. The 48-year-old had sought medical care because she had severe ear pain. Another case in Taiwan from 2012 involved a man who itched for two months because he had mites in his ears - a condition that's familiar enough to earn it a medical name: otoacariasis, according to a study published in 2016 in the Journal of Otology. (Otoacariasis isn't limited to mites; it can also be caused by ticks, the study said.)

If you do think you have an insect in your ear, take this advice from the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Try keeping the ear with the insect in it pointing upward in the hope it crawls or flies out or pouring mineral, olive or baby oil into your ear to suffocate the bug and let it potentially float out. And as Holley did, the NIH recommends visiting a doctor even if you pull out the insect on your own, because legs or other parts could be left behind and cause infections.

Live Science (05/04/2018) video

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


“More Than a Feeling” - Boston 1976

“More Than a Feeling” - Boston
Album: Boston
Released 1976 video

Group leader Tom Scholz wrote this song. A graduate of MIT, he was working at Polaroid up until this was released. “It was written about a fantasy event”, he told Entertainment Weekly of the song. “But it's one that almost everybody can identify with, of somebody losing somebody that was important to them, and music taking them back there.”

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Scholz was inspired by the “heart-tugging mood” of the Left Banke's 1967 song “Walk Away Reneevideo. He worked on the song for five years in his basement studio before it was released on this album.

This was Boston's first single, and a surprising hit. The group's rise was sudden and unexpected; they recorded most of their first album in Tom Scholz's basement, which was stocked with equipment he bought with earnings from his job at Polaroid. When they finally got a record deal with CBS, they had to abide by union rules and complete it in a proper studio, which Scholz felt was a hindrance.

When “More Than a Feeling” was released, the group's managers spent a lot of time pitching it to radio stations, and the song took off. Suddenly, this unknown band with an album recorded mostly in a basement was a major player on the rock scene.

The album Boston is one of the best selling of all time. It sold very well in the '80s and '90s due to catalog sales, which were these offers record companies made to the public where you could get something like “25 CDs for a penny” as long as you chose from their selection and agreed to buy a certain number of albums in the future.

Nirvana sometimes played the beginning of this as an intro to “Smells Like Teen Spiritvideo. When asked about Nirvana's confession of semi-nicking the song's chord progression, Scholz told Best Classic Bands: “They didn't do a great job on the chorus. I heard the story about people thinking that part of that song sounds like it was a swipe from 'More Than a Feeling.' I don't hear it. If it were, I would consider it a compliment.”

For many years Boston was the best selling debut album in the U.S. with 17 million sales. However their record was broken on September 23, 2008 when the Recording Industry Association of America certified Guns N' Roses' debut set Appetite for Destruction for 18 million sales.

Boston official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Boston

Image: “Boston (album)” by Boston



● After water, what are the next two most widely consumed beverages in the world? Tea (Chai) / Beer.

● Does water regulate the earth’s temperature? Yes (it is a natural insulator)

● Water is the only substance found on earth naturally in three forms: Solid, liquid and gas.

● At what temperature does water freeze? 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C

● At what temperature does water vaporize? 212 degrees F, 100 degrees C


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S SCOTCH TO ME” ($400):

“Whisky sold as scotch must be distilled in Scotland from water & malted this grain.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S SCOTCH TO ME” ($800):

“This brand named for a famously fast clipper ship launched in 1923.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Royal Museums Greenwich

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S SCOTCH TO ME” ($1,000):

“This term can be applied legally only to scotch distilled north of a line stretching from Greenock to Dundee.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Scotlands Best B&Bs

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “WHAT THE CITY NAME MEANS” ($200):

“God's Guidance & Care, Rhode Island.”

● Answer: Providence. 50 States

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “WHAT THE CITY NAME MEANS” ($400):

“Grassy Plain, Georgia.”

● Answer: Savannah. Southeast Discovery

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “WHAT THE CITY NAME MEANS” ($1,000):

“Ottawa Chief, Michigan.”

● Answer: Ottawa Chief, Michigan. Access Genealogy

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - The Farmer's Daughters”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - The Farmer's Daughters”

“Having a Bad Day?”

“Remember, it can always be worse.”

Joke of the Day: Birthday Card from the Funeral Home

“Did You Name It After Me?”

Not for the squeamish!!

SECONDS before Death (totally unaware).

WARNING! Graphic Boating Photo.

This is a Picture of a Man With Just Seconds to Live!

Joke of the Day: “Did You Name It After Me?”