Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 41, 2018

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Cold War: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at United Nations General Assembly on October 12, 1960

Cold War: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at United Nations General Assembly on October 12, 1960

Cold War: Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at United Nations General Assembly:

In one of the most surreal moments in the history of the Cold War, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev removes his shoe and pounds a table with it in protest against a speech critical of Soviet policy in Eastern Europe. During a debate over a Russian resolution decrying colonialism, a representative of the government of the Philippines charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their domination of Eastern Europe as an example of the colonialism they were criticizing in their resolution.

In response, Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and began to furiously pound the table. The chaotic scene finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order, but not before the image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into America’s collective memory.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /Global Security.org / Russia Today / CBS News / Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at United Nations General Assembly on October 12, 1960 (YouTube search) video

Columbus reaches the New World on October 12, 1492

Columbus reaches the New World on October 12, 1492

Columbus reaches the New World: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his “Enterprise of the Indies,” as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /Biography / Library of Congress / Mariners Museum.org / Columbus reaches the New World (YouTube search) video

Robert Louis Stevenson, Requiem (Poetry Foundation.org)

The Old Salt’s Corner


Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will.

This is the verse you grave for me: “Here he lies where he longed to be; Here is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Today is only one day

in all the days that will ever be.

But what will happen

in all the other days that ever come

can depend on what you do today.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

~ Voltaire

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“The past is where you learned the lesson.

The future is where you apply the lesson.

Don’t give up in the middle.”

~ 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)

A Bug’s Heist: Thousands Of Insects, Spiders Stolen From Philadelphia Museum

A Bug’s Heist: Thousands Of Insects, Spiders Stolen From Philadelphia Museum

Items on a typical thief's wish list: cash, jewelry, TVs, and other electronics. Heirloom silverware, maybe.

But a Gooty sapphire tarantula?

The exotic blue spider is just one of thousands of crawly creatures missing from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, chief executive officer John Cambridge said. Philadelphia police said they were looking at three current or former employees as suspects in the heist. Cambridge, an entomologist, estimated the critters' value at more than $40,000, speculating that many were destined for resale to collectors.

The museum director said some creatures seemed to be missing on Aug. 21, but he was not immediately sure if anything was wrong, as the insects, scorpions, and other specimens are sometimes moved between the exhibit space and breeding colonies in the back, or taken out of the building, in the 8000 block of Frankford Avenue, for traveling educational shows.

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

Then he checked the security cameras, and saw employees carrying out bugs and lizards in plastic containers and boxes over the course of several days, he said. Still, he waited a day to call police, first approaching the employees to request the return of the stolen animals.

Cambridge said he did so in part because some of the creatures did not belong to the museum, but were being held temporarily at the request of federal authorities who had seized them on suspicion that they were illegally imported. That means the potential for serious felony charges, he said.

“These are young people”, Cambridge said. “We don't want to see this follow them around for the rest of their lives.”

One employee gave back a few creatures, including a Mexican fireleg tarantula, but that was it, Cambridge said. He added that there may be an “emotional” component to the theft, as he found blue employee uniforms hanging from knives that had been thrust into a wall. Police are now on the case.

More than 7,000 bugs and other creepy-crawlies were taken from the museum, but that number is somewhat misleading. Many were roaches and other insects that the museum was raising to feed the stars of the exhibit. Still, they were crucial to the operation, and their loss has dealt the 18-month-old museum a serious blow, he said.

Among the display species stolen were giant African millipedes, leopard geckos, orchid mantises, and scorpions, Cambridge said.

For now, he plans to shut down the second and third floors of the building, keeping the first-floor butterfly pavilion and gift shop open. The full museum will reopen Nov. 3 with an event called the Philadelphia Oddities Expo, featuring special presentations and a tattoo parlor.

The Inquirer - Daily News Philly.com (08/31/2018) video

What Your Handwriting May Say

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: What Your Handwriting May Say

How big or small do you write?

You’d be surprised to see what a writing analysis says about you. Did you know big, outgoing personalities tend to write in large letters, and shy, introverted types prefer to write small? If you have average-sized writing, it demonstrates a strong ability to focus and concentrate.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How much do you space your words?

People who leave large spaces between their words enjoy freedom and independence, while those who squeeze their words together tend to like the company of others. If your words are totally jammed together, a writing analysis will suggest that you might be intrusive or have the tendency to crowd people.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How much pen pressure do you use?

While a very heavy pen pressure can suggest tension and anger, a moderately heavy pressure is a sign of commitment. A soft pressure means you’re empathetic and sensitive; you might also lack vitality, according to one National Pen Company study. These are the ways doodling makes you smarter.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How do you dot your “i’s”?

You’d be surprised to see what a writing analysis says about you. Did you know big, outgoing personalities tend to write in large letters, and shy, introverted types prefer to write small? If you have average-sized writing, it demonstrates a strong ability to focus and concentrate.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How legible is your signature?

Sign your documents accordingly: A legible signature is a sign of confidence and comfort in one’s own skin, while an illegible signature is the mark of a private or hard-to-read person.

What Your Handwriting May Say

Which way does your handwriting slant?

Did you know you can tell what your handwriting says about you by the direction of its slant? A right slant means you like to meet and work with new people, while a left slant means you prefer to keep to yourself. Left slanters also tend to be reserved and introspective. Check out these hidden strengths of being an introvert.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How do you cross your “t’s”?

Your “t’s” have a lot to do with what your handwriting says about you. If you cap off your “t’s” with a long cross, you’re likely determined and enthusiastic, possibly with stubborn tendencies. If you use a short cross, however, it could be because you’re lazy. If you cross you lowercase “t’s” up high, you likely have many goals and aim high. If you cross them low, it could mean it’s time to raise the bar for yourself; low crossers tend to aim low as well.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How do you loop your lowercase “l”?

A widely looped “l” suggests you’re relaxed and spontaneous, while a narrow or retraced “l” means you might be restricting yourself. Check out what your go-to font says about your personality.

What Your Handwriting May Say

What do your “y” hooks look like?

The hook on your lowercase “y” is a huge indicator of personality. A broad loop means you’ve got a large circle of friends, while a slender loop suggests you’re more selective with whom you allow close to you. A short hook means you’re a homebody, while a long hook could be a signal of wanderlust.

What Your Handwriting May Say

Are your letters pointed or rounded?

Whether or not your words are rounded or pointed also plays a role in what your handwriting says about you. Pointed letters are a sign of an intelligent person who might be holding back aggression. Rounded letters signal creativity and artistic ability. Don’t miss these science-backed ways to boost creative thinking.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How quickly do you write?

If you write quickly, it’s highly likely that you’re impatient and dislike wasting time. If you take your time getting your words down, you are self-reliant and methodical.

What Your Handwriting May Say

You might have a big head if…

If you write the letter ‘I’ (as a pronoun) much larger than any other capital letter, you might be arrogant. Don’t miss this one-minute trick that will instantly improve your handwriting.

What Your Handwriting May Say

You might be lying if…

If the slant of your writing (or any other feature of your handwriting) changes dramatically over the course of a piece of writing, there’s a good chance you’re lying. Caught ya.

What Your Handwriting May Say

Are your letters connected or disconnected?

According to The Pen Warehouse, if you connect your letters when you’re writing, it might mean you’re very logical and most of your decisions are based on facts and experience. If your letters are disconnected, you might be more imaginative, impulsive, and base your decisions on intuition. Find out why writing by hand makes you smarter.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How often do you use punctuation?

Life would be pretty confusing without proper punctuation, but when is it too much? If you use excessive punctuation, like several exclamations points or periods, you might be an emotional person, The Pen Warehouse explains. Excessive punctuation use might also be a sign that you have a slightly obsessive personality. Check out these times punctuation completely changes the meaning of a sentence.

What Your Handwriting May Say

Are your o’s open or closed?

It might not be something you think about too often, but according to The Pen Warehouse, the way you write your o’s might say more about your personality than you think. If your o’s are usually closed, you probably tend to keep to yourself and are more introverted. If your o’s are usually open, there’s a good chance you’re more social and extroverted. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there are plenty of strengths of both.

What Your Handwriting May Say

How do you write your e’s??

Are your e’s narrow or large? The Pen Warehouse says that if they’re usually narrow you’re probably skeptical and uninfluenced by emotions. If you find that your e’s are usually large, you might be more open-minded and willing to try new things. Don’t miss these other small habits that reveal a lot about your personality.

Business InsiderHandwriting GraphologyQuoraReader's DigestSun Sentinel (interactive)Wikipedia What Your Handwriting May Say (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Alpha Dogs: Refers to Alpha Company, a division of vehicle operators and mechanics within the Naval Mobile Construction Battalions, also known as the Fighting Seabees.

Alpha Inspection: Formal inspection of uniforms and living spaces. Often performed with a white glove and a black sock.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Adios, Mofo.

Aluminum Cloud: The F-14 Tomcat.

Already Broke: The USS Arliegh Burke.

Anchors and Spurs: The famous dance club at NAVSTA San Diego where many a lonely Navy wife has broken the seventh commandment. Many sailors find this amusing until it happens to them. Also called “Cankers and Sores”.

Angles and Dangles (Submarine Service): (A reference to) Placing a submarine at crazy angles and in crazy positions soon after leaving port, to see if anything breaks loose. Known as “at sea” by the surface Navy.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Ant Farm: Area of an encampment where the radio antennae are emplaced.

ARMY: Ain't Ready to be a Marine Yet - backronym used for the Army.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC) (VFC-12) - nicknamed the “Fighting Omars”
United States Navy Reserve - Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia - Established September 1, 1973

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “A man after my own heart”

A man after my own heart:”  Meaning: A kindred spirit - someone I can agree with.

History: The term originates from the Bible (King James Version):

Samuel 13:14:

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.

Acts 13:22:

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Phrases.org UK

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Microwave Weapon Blamed for Apparent Attack on US Embassy in Cuba

Microwave Weapon Blamed for Apparent Attack on US Embassy in Cuba

Why did dozens of U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba hear loud sounds and suffer neurological symptoms in 2016? There's a new, Cold War-era microwave explanation for the mystery.

The Havana-based diplomats reported hearing loud, strange sounds and feeling movement in the air around them. Those affected went on to experience months of concussion-like symptoms, including cognitive impairment, balance issues and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). And as recently as February, researchers reported that they couldn't tell what caused the problems, but they ruled out the most common early explanation: sonic attacks.

“Sound in the audible range (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz) is not known to cause persistent injury to the central nervous system”, they wrote in the journal JAMA.

Now, those same researchers have told The New York Times that microwave weapons may have been the cause.

Allan Frey, an American biologist, showed in the early 1960s that microwave beams can create the sensation of hearing noises when they hit the brain's temporal lobe. The Times reported that Soviet researchers took a keen interest in the discovery after it was announced, going so far as to invite Frey to speak and then bring him to a military laboratory. [Killer Chemistry: The Chemical Weapons of World War I (Photos)]

According to the Times, both Frey and Douglas Smith, the lead author of the JAMA paper, suspect a weapon based on this discovery may have been involved. Unnamed members of a secretive scientific panel dubbed "Jason" convened by the U.S. government reportedly agreed. However, the Times noted, the State Department has not yet settled on this explanation, at least publicly. So this is not yet the official, reported cause of the diplomats' symptoms. And, of course, it is still possible that a more banal explanation will emerge.

Live Science (08/28/2018) video

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


“Baba O’Riley” - The Who 1971

“Baba O’Riley” - The Who
Album: Who's Next
Released 1971 video

The first part of the title comes from Meher Baba, who was Pete Townshend's spiritual guru. The second part comes from Terry Riley, an experimental, minimalist composer Townshend admired - many of the keyboard riffs and sound effects on Who's Next were a result of Riley's influence. According to the Who's Next liner notes, Townshend wrote it as his vision of what would happen if the spirit of Meher Baba was fed into a computer and transformed into music. The result would be Baba in the style of Terry Riley, or “Baba O'Riley”.

The title is not mentioned in the lyrics, so the song is often referred to as “Teenage Wasteland”. The “Teenage Wasteland” section was a completely different song Townshend combined with his “Baba O'Riley” idea to form the song.

Pete Townshend spent a few weeks in his home studio putting together the part that sounds like a synthesizer on a Lowry organ. His goal: to create “a replication of the electronic music of the future.”

When he took the tape of his recording to engineer Glyn Johns, he expected Johns to alter it, but Johns left it as is, insisting it was perfect.

While Townsend's keyboard playing is legendary and brilliant, it's not quite what it seems. Townshend played a Lowrey TBO-1 organ at his home studio. He tried to run it through an ARP synthesizer/sequencer, but couldn't get the sound he was looking for. Instead, he used the “marimba repeat” setting on his Lowrey to create the arpeggiated, complex repeating pattern.

This is the first song on Who's Next, the most successful album of The Who's career. Although this is one of the most popular Who songs, it was never released as a single in America or the UK. It was, however, the perfect song for the up-and-coming Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format that was picking up steam on FM radio. Always played in moderation, “Baba” became a Classic Rock staple and remains on many playlists.

When The Who perform this live, the processed organ is played from a recording, since it would be nearly impossible to replicate on an instrument. The guitar doesn't come in until 1:40, giving Pete Townshend some time to reflect on his work. “There is this moment of standing there just listening to this music and looking out to the audience and just thinking, 'I f--king did that. I wrote that”, he told Rolling Stone. “I just hope that on my deathbed I don't embarrass myself by asking someone, 'Can you pass me my guitar? And will you run the backing tape of 'Baba O'Riley'? I just want to do it one more time.”

This marked one of the first times a keyboard/synthesizer was used to form the rhythm of a rock song, rather than employing it as a lead instrument.

Regarding the phrase “Teenage Wasteland”:

Lifehouse is set in a time where most of England is a polluted wasteland. Townshend described it as: “A self-sufficient drop-out family group farming in a remote part of Scotland decide to return South to investigate rumors of a subversive concert event that promises to shake and wake up apathetic, fearful British society. Ray is married to Sally, they hope to link up with their daughter Mary who has run away from home to attend the concert. They travel through the scarred wasteland of middle England in a motor caravan, running an air conditioner they hope will protect them from pollution.”

As for the “teenage” bit, Townshend said:

“There are regular people, but they're the scum off the surface; there's a few farmers there, that's where the thing from 'Baba O'Riley' comes in. It's mainly young people who are either farmer's kids whose parents can't afford to buy them experience suits; then there's just scum, like these two geezers who ride around in a battered-up old Cadillac limousine and they play old Who records on the tape deck... I call them Track fans”. So basically, teenagers traveling across the wasteland to attend this concert.

The famous violin part was performed by Dave Arbus of the group East of Eden, who created what many consider the first Celtic Rock song with Jig a Jig.

According to Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time, this violin jig at the end was drummer Keith Moon's idea. In concert, Roger Daltrey would play the jig on harmonica.

The final version of the song runs 5:01, but Townshend's instrumental synthesizer demo of the song was a healthy 9:48. This demo was released in 1972 on a Meher Baba tribute album called I Am.

In an interview with Billboard magazine carried out in February 2010, Townshend discussed how he feels now that 40 years on this and other Who songs take on a deeper meaning. He explained that when he wrote the band's classic tunes:

“The music there was about living in the present and losing yourself in the moment. Now that has changed. Boomers kind of hang on to that as a memory. When I go back and listen to those songs, the Who songs in particular of the late '60s and early 70s, there was an aspiration in my writing to attune to the fact that what I could feel in he audience was - I won't say religious - but there was certainly a spiritual component to what people wanted their music to contain. There's definitely a higher call for the music now which is almost religious. U2, for example, are hugely successful with songs about inner longing for freedom, ideas.”

“A song like 'Baba O'Riley,' with 'we're all wasted,' it just meant 'we're all wasted' - it didn't have the significance that it now has. What we fear is that in actual fact we have wasted an opportunity. I think I speak for my audience when I say that, I hope I do.”

This quickly became a concert favorite for The Who. Live versions of this song can be found on the albums The Kids Are Alright (1978), Concerts for the People of Kampuchea (1979), Who's Last (1982), The Blues To The Bush (1999) and The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall video (2000).

The Who official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / The Who

Image: “Who's Next (album)” by The Who



● When he died in December, 1799, one London newspaper reported, “His fame, bounded by no country, will be confined to no age.” In Paris, Napoleon ordered a 10-day requiem, and in Amsterdam funeral music filled the air. Who was he?

George Washington.

● After water, what are the next two most widely consumed beverages in the world?

Tea (Chai) / Beer.

● The act of plucking, rather than bowing, violin strings, is known by what Italian word?


● The first U.S. President to visit a foreign country while in office was Theodore Roosevelt, who traveled, in 1906, to watch the progress of a great adventure, in what country?

Panama, to see the progress of the Panama Canal.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “A SPELLING BEE” ($200):

“Adjective for lines that are the same distance apart at every point along their whole length.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “A SPELLING BEE” ($400):

“You get one of these as a record for paying a bill; don't forget the silent letter.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “A SPELLING BEE” ($1,000):

“Some sing it, some can't spell it: Earned and is never just given. BUT, you must give it to receive it.

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

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

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

● Answer: Snort. Literary Link

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

“On film, Turner's canine partner.”

● Answer: Hooch. University of Pittsburgh

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

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

● Answer: Fruit Juice. Quora

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Ugly Baby”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Ugly Baby”

“Not Tonight Adam”

Joke of the Day

Not Tonight Adam

After a few days, the Lord called to Adam and said, “It is time for you and Eve to begin the process of populating the earth, so I want you to kiss her.”

Adam answered, “Yes, Lord, but what is a 'kiss'?”

The Lord gave a brief description to Adam, who then took Eve by the hand and led her to a nearby bush.

A few minutes later, Adam emerged and said, “Thank you, Lord. That was enjoyable.”

And the Lord replied, “Yes, Adam, I thought you might enjoy that. Now I'd like you to caress Eve.”

And Adam said, “What is 'caress'?”

So the Lord again gave Adam a brief description and Adam went behind the bush with Eve.

Quite a few minutes later, Adam returned, smiling, and said, “Lord, that was even better than the kiss!”

And the Lord said, “You've done well, Adam. Now I want you to make love to Eve.”

And Adam asked, “What is 'make love' Lord?”

So the Lord again gave Adam directions and Adam went again to Eve behind the bush.

But this time he reappeared in two seconds. And Adam said, “Lord, what is a 'headache'?”