Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 39, 2018

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Ted Williams becomes last player to hit .400 on September 28, 1941

Ted Williams becomes last player to hit .400 on September 28, 1941

Ted Williams becomes last player to hit .400: On this day in 1941, the Boston Red Sox’s Ted Williams plays a double-header against the Philadelphia Athletics on the last day of the regular season and gets six hits in eight trips to the plate, to boost his batting average to .406 and become the first player since Bill Terry in 1930 to hit .400. Williams, who spent his entire career with the Sox, played his final game exactly 19 years later, on September 28, 1960, at Boston’s Fenway Park and hit a home run in his last time at bat, for a career total of 521 homeruns.

Williams was born on August 30, 1918, in San Diego, and began his major league career with the Red Sox in 1939. 1941 marked Williams’ best season. In addition to his .406 batting average–no major league player since him has hit .400–the left fielder led the league with 37 homers, 135 runs and had a slugging average of .735. Also that season, Williams, whose nicknames included “The Splendid Splinter” and “The Thumper,” had an on-base percentage of .553, a record that remained unbroken for 61 years, until Barry Bonds achieved a percentage of .582 in 2002.

In 1942, Williams won the American League Triple Crown, for highest batting average and most RBIs and homeruns. He duplicated the feat in 1947. In 1946 and 1949, he was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player and in June 1960, he became the fourth player in major league history to hit 500 homers. He was selected to the All-Star team 17 times.

Williams played his last game on September 28, 1960, and retired with a lifetime batting average of .344, a .483 career on-base percentage and 2,654 hits. His achievements are all the more impressive because his career was interrupted twice for military service: Williams was a Marine Corps pilot during World War II and the Korean War and as a result missed a total of nearly five seasons from baseball.

Williams, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, managed the Washington Senators (renamed the Texas Rangers in 1972) from 1969 to 1972. In 1984, the Boston Red Sox retired his uniform number (nine). Williams died of cardiac arrest at age 83 on July 5, 2002, in Florida. In a controversial move, his son sent his father’s body to be frozen at a cryonics laboratory.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / New York Daily News / SABR.org (Society for American Baseball Research) Ted Williams becomes last player to hit .400 on September 28, 1941 (YouTube search) video

Battle of Yorktown begins on September 28, 1781

Battle of Yorktown begins on September 28, 1781

Battle of Yorktown begins: On this day in 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War.

Earlier, in a stroke of luck for the Patriots, the French fleet commanded by Francois, Count de Grasse, departed St. Domingue (the then-French colony that is now Haiti) for the Chesapeake Bay, just as Cornwallis chose Yorktown, at the mouth of the Chesapeake, as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. He ordered Marquis de Lafayette and an American army of 5,000 troops to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land while the French naval fleet blocked the British escape by sea. By September 28, Washington had completely encircled Cornwallis and Yorktown with the combined forces of Continental and French troops. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, both day and night, from cannon and artillery, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence.

Pleading illness, Cornwallis did not attend the formal surrender ceremony, held on October 19. Instead, his second in command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders.

Although the war persisted on the high seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the American colonies. Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / British Battles / National Park Service.gov / Mount Vernon.org / Army History.org Battle of Yorktown 1781 (YouTube search) video

Evening fog bow on the MS National Geographic Endeavour on the Scotia Sea near South Georgia Island (John Montague, Flickr)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Limber Hole

A limber hole is a drain hole through a frame in a boat designed to prevent water from accumulating against one side of the frame. Limber holes are common in the bilges of wooden boats.

In modern armored warfare, hull-down is a position taken up by an armored fighting vehicle (AFV) so that its hull (the main part of the vehicle) is behind a crest or other raised ground, but its turret (or a superstructure or roof-mounted weapon) is exposed. Turret-down is the position in which the vehicle's crew can observe forward from roof hatches, but the vehicle is completely hidden (usually a few meters further back from a hull-down position). The belly armor should not be exposed, because it is vulnerable to even modest antitank weapons.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“No thief, however skillful,

can rob one of knowledge,

and that is why knowledge

is the best and safest

treasure to acquire.”

~ L. Frank Baum

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Walk the Earth

with the knowledge

That you are a caretaker.”

~ D. J. Hinton

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Whether a glass is half full

or half empty

depends on the attitude of the person looking at 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)

Sex doll brothel to open in Toronto

Sex doll brothel to open in Toronto

A nondescript Toronto shopping plaza is set to welcome a new tenant that advertises itself as the first sex doll brothel in North America.

Aura Dolls, which will operate alongside a nail salon, massage parlor and dry cleaner, promises to bring its patrons “an exciting new way” to achieve their needs “without the many restrictions and limitations that a real partner may come with”, according to its website.

The company’s marketing director, Claire Lee, saids that there will be no human staff in the brothel section and that customers are unlikely to bump into a single person during their visit.

“They put their payment down on the counter and they go straight to their room”, she said. “We don’t have staff there, just a camera. The payment is taken at the beginning, you go into the room, do your time and just leave.”

The company’s website states that it hopes each visitor can enjoy any fantasy or fetish “without judgment or shame, bringing the ultimate sexual experience.”

Customers will be charged $60 to $742 for their time with the dolls and are promised that each is thoroughly sanitized between clients.

“We try to focus on the fact that since we have this service, for men who have these dark, violent fantasies instead of putting out the urge to act aggressively, they can do something like this which is safe for everyone”, Lee said.

Toronto City Council member John Filion told CBC/Radio-Canada that people in his community were concerned about the business and that, although he has “an open mind about what sort of behaviors people want to do, ... people do all sorts of things that we kind of wish they wouldn’t in a perfect world.”

While Aura Dolls might be a first for North America, the world’s first brothel showcasing silicon sex dolls opened in Germany last year. Owner Evelyn Schwarz had told the Metro that 70 percent of Bordoll’s customers returned for more and that, “for many, it is not a fetish but more of a curiosity.”

Toronto City News (08/25/2018) video

Why do we have silent letters in the English language?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why do we have silent letters in the English language?

In short: we have silent letters because the spelling of words stopped changing to match their pronunciations.

Silent letters are the ghosts of pronunciations past. The word 'knight', with its silent 'k', and silent 'gh', is cognate with the German word for servant, 'knecht', where every letter is pronounced.

Silent 'e' (eg, tot vs tote) is a bit more of a complicated story. In Chaucer's day, the 'e' was pronounced. So, in a word like 'bite' (not a real old-English example, but simpler for exposition) the 'e' at the end would have meant that the word was pronounced bi.te, with two syllables. In the Germanic language, open syllables had long vowels, so 'bit' would be short 'i', 'bite' would be long. Nowadays, the distinction between long and short vowels in English is actually more than just length because of the Great Vowel Shift.

So, whereas before, 'bite' would have been something like 'beetuh', the Great Vowel Shift and the eventual elision of the final 'e' makes its modern pronunciation 'byt' – silent 'e'.

Another process occurs when we borrow words from other languages. 'Tsunami' was borrowed from Japanese, and 'psychology' was borrowed from Greek. The initial consonant sounds in these words are not used in English, at least to start words. English ends words with those clusters, though: 'hats', 'chops'. The initial 'p' in 'psychology' (and 'pterodactyl', and other words from Greek) has become silent in English. Some English speakers – not all – simplify the word 'tsunami' by not pronouncing the initial 't', so that it fits in with the phonological rules of English.

Often silent letters in English are actually diacritic letters. This means that rather than being pronounced, they change the pronunciation of another syllable. Compare the words 'fin' and 'fine'. The 'e' isn't pronounced, but it changes the pronunciation of the vowel by lengthening it. Consider also: 'fat'/'fate', 'hat'/'hate', 'don'/'done'.

There's another factor, too – when the printing press came to England, many of those who brought the new technology were Flemish and German. The printers had free rein, since spelling at that time was so non-standard. They added in a little something extra to make the words look more like the way they'd pronounce them back home. And because of the power of the printing press, their depredations on English spelling stuck.

Encyclopedia BritannicaIndependentMy English Teacher.euQuoraReader's DigestWikipedia Why do we have silent letters in the English language? (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

AIMD: Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department. A department on aircraft carriers and Naval Air Stations responsible for maintaining aircraft sub assemblies.

On an aircraft carrier, this consists of 5 divisions:

IM1 - AIMD Admin,

IM2 - Airframes and Power Plants,

IM3 Avionics,

IM4 Ground Support Equipment (GSE).

and Aviation Ordnance, IM5 IMRL.

Air Department: Consists of 5 divisions, usually manned by Aviation Boatswains Mates.

V0 Division: Admin offices.

V1 Division: Aircraft Handlers on the flight deck.

V2 Division: Maintenance of Catapults and Arresting Gear.

V3 Division: Aircraft Handlers on the Hangar Deck.

V4 Division: Aviation Fuels.

Air Boss: (Air Officer. His assistant is the “Mini Boss”.

Air Force Gloves: Pockets. Used when a sailor has his hands in his pockets.

Air Force Salute, Airman Salute, Airedale Salute: An “I don't know” shrug of the shoulders. Also called an Ensign Salute.

Airedale: A sailor who works on or around aircraft.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

All Hands: entire ship's company or unit personnel, including all officers and enlisted personnel; also, the official Navy magazine

Alphas or Class As: Service Alpha uniform from the phonetic letter A.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Strike Fighter Squadron 204 (VFA-211) - nicknamed the “Checkmates”
Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia - Established May 1, 1945

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “As alike as two peas in a pod”

As alike as two peas in a pod:”  Meaning: Two identical items or people.

History: The figurative meaning of the odd phrase 'Two peas in a pod' or, as it is usually expressed in the UK, 'beat about the bush', evolved from the earlier literal meaning. In bird hunts some of the participants roused the birds by beating the bushes and enabling others, to use a much later phrase, to 'cut to the chase' and catch the quarry in nets. So 'beating about the bush' was the preamble to the main event, which was the capturing of the birds. Of course, grouse hunting and other forms of hunt still use beaters today.

This simile derives, of course, from the fact that two peas from the same pod are virtually indistinguishable. The phrase, sometimes given as 'like as two peas', is quite old and versions of it date from the the 16th century; for example, John Lyly used the phrase in Euphues and his England, 1580:

“Wherin I am not unlike unto the unskilfull Painter, who having drawen the Twinnes of Hippocrates, (who wer as lyke as one pease is to an other).”

Lyly's use of 'pease' as the singular form was the norm in Tudor England. The word 'pea' came into use as the singular in the 17th century, with 'peas' as the plural, thus avoiding 'peases', which would have been something of a mouthful.

This transition left 'pease' out in the cold and we now hardly use the form, except in the name of the dish of dried peas cooked to a mush - 'pease pudding'.

The pudding is itself now becoming less common as it has largely been superseded by 'mushy peas', which are essentially the same thing. Once that process is complete, 'pease' will be gone from the everyday language - a pity.

See other 'as x as y similes'.

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Zafar the Sexually-Frustrated Dolphin Shuts Down Beach in France

Zafar the Sexually-Frustrated Dolphin Shuts Down Beach in France

A sexually frustrated dolphin has closed down a beach in western France.

The 3-meter-long (10 feet) bottlenose dolphin, nicknamed Zafar by locals, started off as a friendly attraction in the Bay of Brest, according to The Telegraph. The bay had become the dolphin's hangout of choice for the last couple of months, and he would often amuse people on boats by playing around them and would sometimes even let swimmers hold on to his fin and swim with him. [Deep Divers: A Gallery of Dolphins]

But lately, Zafar has been caught misbehaving. The dolphin has developed a habit of rubbing up against both people and boats, a sign that he may be in search of, well, sex. He also lifted one woman into the air with his nose, and, in another case, refused to let a swimmer go back to shore, according to the BBC. (That swimmer had to be rescued.)

Zafar's behavior got so bad that the mayor of one of the bayside towns, Landévennec, issued a bylaw banning swimming and diving whenever Zafar's presence is confirmed, according to the BBC. Getting within 50 meters (164 feet) of the dolphin was also banned.

Zafar the Sexually-Frustrated Dolphin Shuts Down Beach in France

Though Zafar hasn't been too aggressive, a specialist at a Brest aquarium told the BBC that the dolphin could potentially cause unintentional harm with his tail fin.

Dolphins are known to have recreational sex with other dolphins throughout the year and don't have specific time points for mating, according to The Telegraph. But sometimes that sexual energy is directed toward other species, including humans, The Telegraph reported.

Indeed, such sexual behavior from dolphins hasn't gone undocumented.

In the 1960s, NASA funded an experiment to teach dolphins how to make human-like sounds and learn English. Though most of the trainers would work during the day and leave at night, one trainer, Margaret Howe Lovatt, decided to take it one step further and live in the facility with a dolphin named Peter, according to a 2014 article in The Guardian. But Peter soon began showing sexual interest in Lovatt, rubbing himself against her knee, foot or hand. Eventually, when the experiments ended, Peter was transported to another facility, where he allegedly “committed suicide” by consciously not taking another breath, according to The Guardian.

Live Science (08/27/2018) video

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


“Don’t Stop Believin” - Journey 1981

“Don’t Stop Believin” - Journey
Album: Escape
Released 1981 video

Journey's most enduring song, this track has a unique structure, which helps it stick in your mind. Where most songs have a chorus that's repeated several times, “Don't Stop Believin'” brings in its chorus (and title) only at the end - about 3:20 into the song. The structure goes: instrumental, first verse, instrumental, second verse, first pre-chorus, instrumental, third verse, second pre-chorus, instrumental, and then finally the chorus until fade-out.

It was not their biggest hit (that would be “Open Armsvideo, but it is by far Journey's most famous song, thanks to a resurgence in the '00s.

The line, “Strangers waiting, up and down the Boulevard” is a reference to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where dreams are made. Keyboard player Jonathan Cain got the idea for the song when he went there to pursue his career. In his Songfacts interview, Cain said: “The song began with the chorus. My father had coached me. I was in Hollywood, struggling with my career, kind of lost. I was asking him, 'Should I come back to Chicago and just give up on this dream?' And he said, 'No, son. Stay the course. We have a vision. It's gonna happen. Don't stop believin'.'”

Cain's dream came true when he joined a group called The Babys with John Waite. In 1980, he joined Journey in San Francisco, and this song took shape.

He told Steve Perry about his idea for placing the song in Sunset Boulevard, and Perry had him describe it. “I described the menagerie of people who would show up on a Friday night”, Cain said. “All the dreamers that had dreams to become actors. Producers, artists, lawyers, anything... they were all there on a Friday night.”

Journey lead singer Steve Perry, keyboard player Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon are the credited songwriters on this one, but the entire band contributed. In the Time3 compilation, the genesis of this song is explained: “At the band's Oakland warehouse, this song bubbled out of a rehearsal. Schon developed the bass riff, the chugging guitar line and the sweeping chords on the chorus. Steve Smith built the song around a pattern featuring a lot of tom-toms, anchoring the number to a rich drum figure. Perry and Cain drew from their experiences with the Sunset Strip street scene for the lyrics, 'streetlight people.'”

Speaking with New York Magazine, Perry explained that the song originated during a series of gigs in Detroit when he found himself in a hotel room unable to sleep, staring out of the window:

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard

Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlight people, living just to find emotion

Hiding, somewhere in the night

“I was digging the idea of how the lights were facing down, so that you couldn't see anything”, he recalled. “All of a sudden I'd see people walking out of the dark, and into the light. And the term 'streetlight people' came to me. So Detroit was very much in my consciousness when we started writing.”

Steve Perry severed ties with Journey in 1998 when he needed hip replacement surgery and couldn't give his bandmates a return date. Anxious to tour, they replaced him with the similar sounding Steve Augeri, and later with Arnel Pineda. For Journey fans, a dream scenario finds Perry reuniting with the band, triumphantly taking the helm on “Don't Stop Believin'” in an affirmation of unity and faith. But every year, they scenario seems less likely. In 2017 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Perry attended but didn't perform with the band, which did three songs (including this one) with Pineda.

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

Image: “Escape (album)” by Journey



● In the history of ship development, around 3000 B.C., what was the first civilization to discover sails and build boats out of planks of wood?


● The Canary Islands are named after what kind of animal?

Dogs (canines), not birds.

● What is the only U.S. state with a one-syllable name?


● Of the first seven US Presidents, all have appeared on currency except whom?

John Adams.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S AWFUL GRIMM” ($200):

“These 2 kids, near-victims of cannibalization, burn a woman to death & don't think twice about it.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S AWFUL GRIMM” ($400):

“A big steal from a big bank.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer University of Pittsburgh

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S AWFUL GRIMM” ($1,000 ):

“In this tale a woman cuts off her own toe to fit into some footwear.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer University of Pittsburgh

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “MARINE LIFE” ($200):

“The red algae pepper dulse & landlady's wig are types of this found in the North Atlantic.”

● Answer: Seaweed. NOAA

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “MARINE LIFE” ($600):

“The last of many books by Jacques Cousteau was titled “The Human, the Orchid, and” this other “O” creature.”

● Answer: Octopus. National Geographic

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “MARINE LIFE” ($1,000 - DD):

“National Geographic says without this small shrimplike crustacean, most “life forms in the Antarctic would disappear”.”

● Answer: Krill. National Geographic

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Health Hazard”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Health Hazard”

“Why English Is Tough”

Joke of the Day

Twenty-one reasons why English is hard to learn.

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

2. The farm was used to produce produce.

3. The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.

4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7. Since there was no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10. I did not object to the object.

11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12. There was a row among the oarsmen on how to row.

13. They were too close to the door to close it.

14. The buck does funny things when does are present.

15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?