Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 40, 2018

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Washington informs Congress of espionage on October 05, 1775

Washington informs Congress of espionage on October 05, 1775

Washington informs Congress of espionage: On this day in 1775, General George Washington writes to the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, to inform him that a letter from Dr. Benjamin Church, surgeon general of the Continental Army, to Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Gage, British commander in chief for North America, had been intercepted. Washington wrote, “I have now a painful tho’ a Necessary Duty to perform respecting Doctor Church, Director General of the Hospital.”

Washington described how a coded letter to a British officer, Major Crane, came into Washington’s possession by a convoluted route from “a Woman who was kept by Doctor Church.” Washington “immediately secured the Woman, but for a long time she was proof against every threat and perswasion[sic] to discover the Author, however at length she was brought to a confession and named Doctor Church. I then immediately secured him and all his papers.”

The woman Washington interrogated was the mistress of Dr. Benjamin Church, a renowned Boston physician, who was active in the Massachusetts Committee of Safety and served as a member of the Provincial Congress. In July 1775, Washington had named Church the first surgeon general of the Continental Army, only to find out three months later that he had been spying for the British since 1772. Church faced an army court martial on October 4, 1775.

Despite Church’s plea of innocence, and the inconsequential nature of the information he provided to Crane, the contents of the letter included Church’s statement of allegiance to the British crown. He was charged with treason, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. After becoming ill while incarcerated, Dr. Church was exiled to the West Indies. The ship in which he traveled is believed to have been lost at sea.

On November 7, 1775, shortly after the conviction of Dr. Church, the Continental Congress added a mandate for the death penalty as punishment for acts of espionage to the “articles of war.”

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Library Of Congress / Smithsonian / George Washington (YouTube search) video
Painting: “George Washington Addressing the Constitutional Convention”, Junius Brutus Stearns, 1856.

Washington informs Congress of espionage on October 05, 1974

American circumnavigates the globe on foot on October 05, 1974

American circumnavigates the globe on foot: American David Kunst completes the first round-the-world journey on foot, taking four years and 21 pairs of shoes to complete the 14,500-mile journey across the land masses of four continents. He left his hometown of Waseca, Minnesota, on June 20, 1970. Near the end of his journey in 1974 he explained the reasons for his epic trek: “I was tired of Waseca, tired of my job, tired of a lot of little people who don’t want to think, and tired of my wife.” During the long journey, he took on sponsors and helped raise money for UNICEF.

He was accompanied by his brother, John, but in 1972 John Kunst was shot to death by bandits in Afghanistan and David was wounded. After returning to Minnesota to recuperate, Kunsk traveled back to Afghanistan and continued his global journey with another brother, Peter. Peter had to drop out later for health reasons, and David Kunst completed his trek alone, returning to Waseca on October 5, 1974.

American George Shilling boasted of a round-the-world journey nearly a hundred years before, but his feat was never verified. Another American, Arthur Blessitt, holds the record for the greatest distance walked and most countries visited, though he was propelled by a purpose other than record-book fame. Since 1969, Blessitt has walked more than 34,500 miles, visiting 290 countries on six continents, all the while carrying a collapsible 12-foot cross and preaching Christianity.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Dave Kunst / Minnesota Historical Society / David Kunst (YouTube search) video

John Masefield Sea Fever Poem (Poetry Foundation.org)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking, And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

~ John Masefield

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“She had blue skin,

And so did he.

He kept it hid

And so did she.

They searched for blue

Their whole life through,

Then passed right by -

And never knew.”

~ Shel Silverstein

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“God asks no man

whether he will accept life.

That is not the choice.

You must take it.

The only question is how.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Don’t place your mistakes on your head,

their weight may crush you.


place them under your feet

and use them as a platform

"to view your horizons”

~ 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)

Couple Has First Kiss When The Guy Needs CPR

Couple Has First Kiss When The Guy Needs CPR

Max Montgomery was on a first date with California doctor Andi Traynor when he had a heart attack while paddleboarding.

A doctor 'kissed' her partner for the first time - as she performed life-saving CPR after he collapsed during their first date on a California beach.

Anesthesiologist Andi Traynor, 45, was on her first official date with Max Montgomery, 56, when he collapsed after a morning of surfing.

Mr Montgomery, a tech content creator, had felt a burning sensation in his chest while paddling but didn't realize anything was wrong until he began to feel exhausted after he left the water.

Dr Traynor, of Palo Alto, California, was shocked as she watched Mr Montgomery collapse on Capitola Beach, Santa Cruz, and couldn't find her new flame's pulse when she turned him over.

The mom-of-two immediately began to perform CPR on Mr Montgomery, of Santa Cruz, California, with the help of passersbys.

Within seven minutes, an ambulance had arrived and stretchered Mr Montgomery off the beach before reviving him using a defibrillator on route to Dominican Hospital.

Doctors determined that Mr Montgomery had suffered a heart attack and he had a number of blockages of his coronary artery.

The day after his first date with Dr Traynor on October 19, Max underwent bypass surgery to repair his faulty ticker.

Ten months on he's back to full health - and he and Dr Traynor are still going strong.

Dr Traynor said: 'Two days before our first date, Max told me he had a crush on me and I was really interested.

'The ambulance got there so quick and those guys are amazing.

'We hadn't revived him and they gave him three shocks on the beach which didn't work and medicine that didn't work.

When they took him away in the ambulance, I didn't know if he was going to live.'

Mr Montgomery added: 'It was surreal.

'I woke up in the ambulance and there was a guy leaning over me. He asked me did I know what happened.

'Yeah I think I've had a heart attack, how embarrassing.'

'Who wants to date someone who just had a heart attack?'

Dr Traynor said she became tearful when she received a call from Mr Montgomery that afternoon, who immediately apologised to her.

Since their dramatic first date, Dr Traynor and Mr Montgomery have been going strong and even found a moment to have their real first kiss.

Dr Traynor said: 'A few weeks after his surgery he was recuperating and we were on the beach just talking. I said, 'You can kiss me for real now.'

Mr Montgomery said: 'My heart has been healed inside and out. I feel very blessed.'

Daily Mail (08/29/2018) video

What Is Pumpkin Spice?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Is Pumpkin Spice?

Pumpkin spice lattes officially arrived at Starbucks making their earliest ever debut. But before you order a cup, drink this in: The flavor can be composed of more than 300 elements—and pumpkin isn’t one of them.

What is pumpkin spice if it's not pumpkin? Most recipes include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and vanilla, but not every incarnation of the concoction is the same, according to the below video by Kantha Shelke, Ph.D, C.F.S., a food scientist and longtime member of the Institute of Food Technologists.

What’s the connection to the season’s most beloved orange fruit? (Yes, pumpkin is a fruit!) Flavor companies also add in skillfully designed compounds that mimic the taste of pumpkin pie. Each chemical is carefully reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and approved at concentrations of about 20 to 50 times the normal consumption level. And even though the full flavor contains 340 compounds, combining only five to 10 percent of those molecules in a mix is enough to trick our brains into thinking, “Mmmm, tastes just like Thanksgiving!”

But beware: Attempting to recreate the magic of pumpkin spice in the average kitchen isn't as easy as pie. With only the spices available at a supermarket, the final product will likely taste more like Chai than the seasonal treat found on professional menus. “Pumpkin Spice isn’t set in stone”, Shelke says. “Everyone has their secret recipe.”

All RecipesDelishQuoraWikipedia What Is Pumpkin Spice? (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang


(1) An attempt to restart an aircraft's engine(s) after in-flight failure.

(2) A blowjob.

Air Wing: The aviation element on board an aircraft carrier consisting of various squadrons.

A.J. Squared Away: (Name for) A sailor who is always “squared away”, meaning always having a perfect shave, perfectly ironed uniform, spit-shined shoes, haircut with less than 1mm of hair, spotless uniform, etc. Anyone who has been designated with this nickname is most likely a lifer who has no life outside the navy. Compare to “dirtbag”. The more derogatory “A.J. Squared the fuck Away” is often used by those that can't attain A.J.'s high standards.

All Ahead Bendix: Attempt more than full speed ahead, e.g. by bypassing limiters or subjecting the engine motors to overvoltage, on the assumption that the risk of defeat would otherwise outweigh the risk of engine damage.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Strike Fighter Squadron 204 (VFA-213) - nicknamed the “Black Lions”
Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia - Established June 22, 1955

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth”

Born with a silver spoon in one's mouth:”  Meaning: Born into a wealthy family.

History: This is commonly thought to be an English phrase and to refer to the British aristocracy. That may well be the case, but the earliest citation in print is from the USA.

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:

Deb. U.S. Congress, 1801:

“It was a common proverb that few lawyers were born with silver spoons in their mouths.”

Medieval spoons were usually made of wood. Spoon was also the name of a chip or splinter of wood and it is likely that is how the table utensils derived their name. It has been a tradition in many countries for wealthy godparents to give a silver spoon to their godchildren at christening ceremonies. That may be the source of the phrase, or it may simply be derived from the fact that wealthy people ate from silver while others didn't.

In the keynote speech to the U.S. Democratic National Convention in 1988, the Texas State Treasurer Ann Richards modified the proverb at the expense of the well-born and wealthy George Bush:

“Poor George, he can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

First-Ever Observation of Higgs Boson Decay Opens New Doors for Particle Physics

First-Ever Observation of Higgs Boson Decay Opens New Doors for Particle Physics

If you’ve been a science fan for the last few years, you’re aware of the exciting results to emerge from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which in 2012 found the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle responsible for giving mass to fundamental subatomic particles.

Physicists have another exciting announcement to add to the Higgs saga: They have made the first unambiguous observation of Higgs bosons decaying into a matter-antimatter pair of bottom quarks. Surprisingly, the Higgs bosons decay most often in this way.

The new announcement shows a strong agreement between the theoretical predictions and the experimental data, which could in turn set strict constraints on ideas of more fundamental physics that strive to explain why the Higgs boson even exists.

First-Ever Observation of Higgs Boson Decay Opens New Doors for Particle Physics

Field of dreams

n the 1960s, researchers were investigating linkages between the force of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, which is responsible for some types of radioactive decays. Although the two forces seemed distinct, it turned out that they both arose from a common and more fundamental force, now called the electroweak force.

However, there was a problem. The simplest manifestation of the theory predicted that all particles had zero mass. Even in the 1960s, physicists knew that subatomic particles had mass, so that was potentially a fatal flaw.

Several groups of scientists proposed a solution to this problem: A field permeates the universe, and it's called the Higgs field. Fundamental subatomic particles interacted with this field, and this interaction gave them their mass. [6 Implications of Finding the Higgs Boson]

The existence of the field also implied the existence of a subatomic particle, called the Higgs boson, which was finally discovered in 2012 by researchers working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory in Switzerland. (Disclosure: I am a collaborator on one of the research groups that made the initial discovery as well as today’s announcement.) For their predictions of the Higgs field, British physicist Peter Higgs and Belgian physicist François Englert shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics.

First-Ever Observation of Higgs Boson Decay Opens New Doors for Particle Physics

Finding the bottom quarks

Higgs bosons are made in high-energy collisions between pairs of particles that have been accelerated to nearly the speed of light. These bosons don’t live for very long — only about 10^minus 22 seconds. A particle with that lifetime, traveling at the speed of light, will decay long before it travels a distance the size of an atom. Thus, it is impossible to directly observe Higgs bosons. It is only possible to observe their decay products and use them to infer the properties of the parent boson.

Higgs bosons have a mass of 125 gigaelectron volts (GeV), or one that's about 133 times heavier than a proton. Calculations from well-established theory predicts thatHiggs bosonsdecay into pairs of the following particles in the following percentages: bottom quarks (58 percent), W bosons (21 percent), Z bosons (6 percent), tau leptons (2.6 percent) and photons (0.2 percent). More exotic configurations make up the remainder. One of the key results of today’s announcement was to verify that the prediction was correct for bottom quarks. [Strange Quarks and Muons, Oh My! Nature's Tiniest Particles Dissected]

When physicists announced the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, they relied on its decay into Z bosons, W bosons and photons, but not bottom quarks. The reason is actually extremely simple: Those particular decays are far easier to identify.

At the collision energies available at the LHC, Higgs bosons are made in only one collision in every 1 billion. The vast number of collisions at the LHC occur through the interaction of the strong nuclear force, which is (by far) the strongest of the subatomic forces and is responsible for holding the nucleus of atoms together.

The problem is that in interactions involving the strong force, production of a matter-antimatter pair of bottom quarks is really quite common. Thus, the production of bottom quarks by Higgs bosons decaying into bottom quarks is totally swamped by pairs of bottom quarks made by more ordinary processes. Accordingly, it is essentially impossible to identify those events in which bottom quarks are produced through the decay of Higgs bosons. It's like trying to find a single diamond in a 50-gallon drum full of cubic zirconia.

Because it is difficult or impossible to isolate collisions in which Higgs bosons decay into bottom quarks, scientists needed another approach. So, researchers looked for a different class of events — collisions in which a Higgs boson was produced at the same time as a W or Z boson. Researchers call this class of collisions "associated production."

W and Z bosons are responsible for causing the weak nuclear force and they can decay in distinct and easily identifiable ways. Associated production occurs less often than nonassociated Higgs production, but the presence of W or Z bosons greatly enhances the ability of researchers to identify events containing a Higgs boson. The technique of associated production of a Higgs boson was pioneered at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located just outside Chicago. Because of the facility's lower-energy particle accelerator, the laboratory was never able to claim that it had discovered the Higgs boson, but its researchers' knowledge played a significant role in today’s announcement.

The LHC accelerator hosts two large-particle physics detectors capable of observing Higgs bosons - the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and A Toroidal LHC Apparatus (ATLAS). Today, both experimental collaborations announced the observation of the associated production of Higgs bosons, with the specific decay of Higgs bosons into a matter-antimatter pair of bottom quarks.

First-Ever Observation of Higgs Boson Decay Opens New Doors for Particle Physics

Theoretical Band-Aid

While the simple observation of this decay mode is a significant advance in scientific knowledge, it has a much more important result. It turns out that the Higgs field, proposed back in 1964, is not motivated by a more fundamental idea. It was simply added on to the Standard Model, which describes the behavior of subatomic particles, as something of a Band-Aid. (Before the Higgs field was proposed, the Standard Model predicted massless particles. After the Higgs field was included as an ad hoc addition to the Standard Model, particles now have mass.) Thus, it is very important to explore the predictions of decay probabilities to search for hints of a connection to an underlying theory. And there have been more recent and comprehensive theories developed since the 1960s, which predict that perhaps more than one type of Higgs boson exists.

Thus, it is crucial to understand the rate at which Higgs bosons decay into other particles and compare it with the predicted decay rates. The easiest way to illustrate agreement is to report the observed rate of decay, divided by the predicted rate. Better agreement between the two will yield a ratio close to 1. The CMS experiment finds excellent agreement in today’s announcement, with a ratio of predicted-to-observed rates of 1.04 plus or minus 0.20, and the ATLAS measurement is similar (1.01 plus or minus 0.20). This impressive agreement is a triumph of current theory, although it does not indicate a direction toward a more fundamental origin for the Higgs phenomena.

The LHC will continue to operate through early December. Then it will pause operations for two years for refurbishing and upgrades. In the Spring of 2021, it will resume operations with considerably enhanced capabilities. The accelerator and detectors are expected to continue to take data through the mid-2030s and to record over 30 times more data than what's been recorded so far. With that increase of data and improved capabilities, it is quite possible that the Higgs boson still has stories to tell.

Live Science (08/28/2018) video

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


“Sweet Child O' Mine” - Guns N' Roses 1987

“Sweet Child O' Mine” - Guns N' Roses
Album: Appetite For Destruction
Released 1987 video

The lyrics came from a poem Axl Rose was working on. He wrote the song about his girlfriend, Erin Everly, who is the daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers. They married in 1990 but divorced a month later.

Appetite For Destruction was Guns N' Roses first album, and it took a while for the band to catch on. This didn't hit U.S. #1 until a year after the album was released. It was the third single, following “It's So Easyvideo and “Welcome To The Junglevideo, which both flopped, although “Welcome To The Jungle” became a hit when it was re-released in the wake of “Sweet Child”'s success.

Slash came up with the riff when he was playing around on his guitar. He thought it was silly and wanted nothing to do with it, but Axl loved it and had him keep playing it. Izzy Stradlin added some chords, and the song came together. According to Duff McKagan's 2012 autobiography, Slash always considered it the worst Guns N' Roses song.

Slash told Rolling Stone magazine: “It's a combination of influences. From Jeff Beck, Cream and Zeppelin to stuff you'd be surprised at: the solos in Manfred Mann's version of 'Blinded By The Light' video and Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' video

Axl listened to a bunch of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs before recording his vocal. He liked their down-home, genuine sound and wanted to duplicate it on this track.

This won Best Single, Heavy Metal/Hard Rock at the 1989 American Music Awards. The group performed “Patience”; video at the show with Don Henley sitting in on drums for an ailing Steven Adler.

In 1989, this won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Heavy Metal Video.

Guns N' Roses official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Guns N' Roses

Image: “Appetite For Destruction (album)” by Guns N' Roses



●According to legend, around 900 years ago Lady Godiva rode nude through which town and for what reason?

Coventry / Tax Protest: To Persuade Her Husband, Ledfric, Earl of Merica, to Lower the Heavy Taxes - Basically as the Result of a Dare.

●What 3rd century Bishop in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey, who is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, is commonly identified with the holiday season?

St. Nicholas.

●In the 1930's, when asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton replied, “Because that's...” what?

“... Where the Money Is...”.

●The most popular National Park in the USA, the one which attracts the largest number of visitors yearly, is located in the eastern half of the U.S. What is the name?

Great Smoky Mountain National Park.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “SLANG FOR LIQUOR” ($200):

“Lewis Carroll coined chortle by combining chuckle & this word.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “SLANG FOR LIQUOR” ($400):

“On film, Turner's canine partner.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “SLANG FOR LIQUOR” ($1,000):

“The label of Hawaiian Punch says, “Contains 5%” this.

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

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: Hansel and Gretel. Literary Link

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

“A big steal from a big bank.”

● Answer: The Hen. 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: Cinderella. University of Pittsburgh

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Hoshimota ”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Hoshimota”

“A Young Couple On Their Honeymoon”

Joke of the Day

Just Married Reality Check

A young couple, just married, were in their honeymoon suite on their wedding night.

As they were undressing for bed, the husband - who was a big burly man - tossed his trousers to his bride and said, “Here, put these on.”

She put them on and the waist was twice the size of her body. “I cant wear your trousers”, she said.

“That's right”, said the husband, “and don't you ever forget it. I'm the man who wears the pants in this family.”

With that she flipped him her panties and said, “Try these on.”

He tried them on and found he could only get them on as far as his kneecaps. “Hell”, he said. “I cant get into your panties!"

She replied, “That's right, and that's the way its going to stay until your attitude changes.”