Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 46, 2018

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

Skylab launched on November 16, 1973

Skylab launched on November 16, 1973

The Night of Broken Glass: Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched into an orbit around the earth. Eleven days later, U.S. astronauts Charles Conrad, Joseph Kerwin, and Paul Weitz made a rendezvous with Skylab, repairing a jammed solar panel and conducting scientific experiments during their 28-day stay aboard the space station.

The first manned Skylab mission came two years after the Soviet Union launched Salynut 1, the world’s first space station, into orbit around the earth. However, unlike the ill-fated Salynut, which was plagued with problems, the American space station was a great success, safely housing three separate three-man crews for extended periods of time and exceeding pre-mission plans for scientific study.

Originally the spent third stage of a Saturn 5 moon rocket, the cylinder space station was 118 feet tall, weighed 77 tons, and carried the most varied assortment of experimental equipment ever assembled in a single spacecraft to that date. The crews of Skylab spent more than 700 hours observing the sun and brought home more than 175,000 solar pictures. They also provided important information about the biological effects of living in space for prolonged periods of time.

Five years after the last Skylab mission, the space station’s orbit began to deteriorate faster than expected, owing to unexpectedly high sunspot activity. On July 11, 1979, the parts of the space station that did not burn up in the atmosphere came crashing down on Australia and into the Indian Ocean. No one was injured.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / NASA / Skylab launched on November 16, 1973 (YouTube search) video

Fort Washington Is Captured on November 16, 1776

Fort Washington Is Captured on November 16, 1776

Fort Washington Is Captured: On this day in 1776, Hessian Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen and a force of 3,000 Hessian mercenaries and 5,000 Redcoats lay siege to Fort Washington at the northern end and highest point of Manhattan Island.

Throughout the morning, Knyphausen met stiff resistance from the Patriot riflemen inside the fort, but by afternoon, the Patriots were overwhelmed, and the garrison commander, Colonel Robert Magaw, surrendered. Nearly 3,000 Patriots were taken prisoner, and valuable ammunition and supplies were lost to the Hessians. The prisoners faced a particularly grim fate: Many later died from deprivation and disease aboard British prison ships anchored in New York Harbor.

Among the 53 dead and 96 wounded Patriots were John and Margaret Corbin of Virginia. When John died in action, his wife Margaret took over his cannon, cleaning, loading and firing the gun until she too was severely wounded. The first woman known to have fought for the Continental Army, Margaret survived, but lost the use of her left arm.

Two weeks earlier, one of Magaw’s officers, William Demont, had deserted the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion and given British intelligence agents information about the Patriot defense of New York, including details about the location and defense of Fort Washington. Demont was the first traitor to the Patriot cause, and his treason contributed significantly to Knyphausen’s victory.

Fort Washington stood at the current location of Bennet Park in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, near the George Washington Bridge, at the corner of Fort Washington Avenue and 183rd Street. Fort Washington Park and Fort Washington Point lay beneath the site along the Hudson River.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /Civil War.org / British Battles / Battle of Fort Washington (YouTube search) video

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Mobilization station

(DOD) TThe designated military installation to which a Reserve Component unit or individual is moved for further processing, organizing, equipping, training, and employment and from which the unit or individual may move to an aerial port of embarkation or seaport of embarkation. See also mobilization; mobilization station; Reserve Component.

Joint Publications (JP 4-05) Joint Mobilization Planning - Joint Chiefs of Staff

Understanding Military Terminology: Scout of Many Trails (Sea Scout and Boy Scout look at globe with old sailor) ~ Norman Rockwell

Understanding Military Terminology - Mobilization station

(DOD) The designated military installation to which a Reserve Component unit or individual is moved for further processing, organizing, equipping, training, and employment and from which the unit or individual may move to an aerial port of embarkation or seaport of embarkation. See also mobilization; mobilization station; Reserve Component.

Joint Publications (JP 4-05) Joint Mobilization Planning - Joint Chiefs of Staff

“The Secret of the Sea”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Secret of the Sea”

(from Seaside and Fireside, 1850)

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me

As I gaze upon the sea!

All the old romantic legends,

All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,

Such as gleam in ancient lore;

And the singing of the sailors,

And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad

Haunts me oft, and tarries long,

Of the noble Count Arnaldos

And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,

Where the sand as silver shines,

With a soft, monotonous cadence,

low its unrhymed lyric lines:

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,

With his hawk upon his hand,

Saw a fair and stately galley,

Steering onward to the land;

How he heard the ancient helmsman

Chant a song so wild and clear,

That the sailing sea-bird slowly

Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,/p>

And he cried, with impulse strong,

“Helmsman! for the love of heaven,

Teach me, too, that wondrous song!”

“Wouldst thou”, so the helmsman answered,

“Learn the secret of the sea?

Only those who brave its dangers

Comprehend its mystery!”

In each sail that skims the horizon,

In each landward-blowing breeze,

I behold that stately galley

Hear those mournful melodies

Till my soul is full of longing

For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean

Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(from Seaside and Fireside, 1850)

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I’m not afraid of storms,

for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles

or spongy grass is more welcome

than the most luxurious Persian rug.”

~ Helen Keller

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.

So, love the people who treat you right,

forgive the ones who don’t

and believe that everything happens for a reason.

If you get the chance, take it.

If it changes your life, let it.

aNobody said it would be easy,

they just promised it would be worth it.”

~ Dr. Seuss

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over,

she began to fly.”

“A diamond is merely a lump of coal

that did well under pressure.”

~ 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)

Vladimir Putin Goes Bare-Chested (Again) For 2019 Calendar

Vladimir Putin Goes Bare-Chested (Again) For 2019 Calendar

The much-anticipated 2019 Vladimir Putin calendars have been revealed, showing the Russian leader bare-chested holding a fish, cuddling a puppy and shooting a gun.

And his 2019 batch of propaganda shots feature a similar amount of skin as the Russian president is seen taking a dip in icy waters, shooting a pistol, working out, playing ice hockey and rolling around in the snow with two dogs.

The calendar has become a cult phenomenon in the West after being shared millions of times on social media and featured on thousands of memes mocking the 'strong man' showing his tough but gentle side.

It is also said to be popular in Russia with residents and tourists alike clamouring to get their hands on the calendars.

He is often pictured holding animals as well as taking part in sports, riding horses and motorbikes, firing weapons, as well a performing state functions.

One of the pictures shown Putin taking the plunge in ice water to commemorate the Baptism of Jesus at Lake Seliger north of Moscow in January.

Some copies of the calendar have already found their way onto eBay, with sellers cashing in on demand for around £11.99 each.

Vladimir Putin Goes Bare-Chested (Again) For 2019 Calendar

This year's cover shot, which shows him cuddling a Persian leopard cub, was actually taken in 2014 at Sochi National Park and also featured on last year's calendar.

Russians have been given a full range of typical Putin action shots in the newly-published annual calendars featuring the Russian leader.

Emblazoned across the front is a Putin quote, 'I admire Russian Women!' "Oh, and there's Vladimir Vladimirovich, my love!'

Some Russians were delighted to see the pictures, while others remained sceptical.

Anya, who did not want to give her last name, said as she inspected the cover of one calendar, 'It's really lovely!'

Anya said she was from Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 and was happy that her home region was now part of Russia.

It is not known if the calendar is sanctioned by Putin or the Kremlin.

Daily Mail (10/02/2018) video

Why Is It So Dark in Outer Space?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is It So Dark in Outer Space?

Why is it so dark in Outer Space? is a question that many scientists pondered for many centuries - including Johannes Kepler, Edmond Halley, and German physician-astronomer Wilhelm Olbers.

There are two things to think about here. Let's take the easy one first and ask “why is the daytime sky blue here on Earth?” That is a question we can answer. The daytime sky is blue because light from the nearby Sun hits molecules in the Earth's atmosphere and scatters off in all directions. The blue color of the sky is a result of this scattering process.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is It So Dark in Outer Space?

At night, when that part of Earth is facing away from the Sun, space looks black because there is no nearby bright source of light, like the Sun, to be scattered. If you were on the Moon, which has no atmosphere, the sky would be black both night and day. You can see this in photographs taken during the Apollo Moon landings.

So, now on to the harder part - if the universe is full of stars, why doesn't the light from all of them add up to make the whole sky bright all the time? It turns out that if the universe was infinitely large and infinitely old, then we would expect the night sky to be bright from the light of all those stars. Every direction you looked in space you would be looking at a star. Yet we know from experience that space is black! This paradox is known as Olbers' Paradox. It is a paradox because of the apparent contradiction between our expectation that the night sky be bright and our experience that it is black.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Is It So Dark in Outer Space?

Many different explanations have been put forward to resolve Olbers' Paradox. The best solution at present is that the universe is not infinitely old; it is somewhere around 15 billion years old. That means we can only see objects as far away as the distance light can travel in 15 billion years. The light from stars farther away than that has not yet had time to reach us and so can't contribute to making the sky bright.

Another reason that the sky may not be bright with the visible light of all the stars is because when a source of light is moving away from you, the wavelength of that light is made longer (which for light means more red.) This means that the light from stars that are moving away from us will become shifted towards red, and may shift so far that it is no longer visible at all. (Note: You hear the same effect when an ambulance passes you, and the pitch of the siren gets lower as the ambulance travels away from you; this effect is called the Doppler Effect).

Live ScienceNASA.govPhys.orgQuoraSpace.comWikipediaWhy Is It So Dark in Outer Space (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Bag (noun): Flight suit.

Bag (verb): To issue demerits at the Naval Academy.

Bag it: Hit the bricks, take off. “Liberty is down.” “Let's bag it.”

Bag of Dicks: An unwanted or extremely tedious task, e.g. one that is given one hour before shift change and will require at least 3 hours to complete. Someone who has been given a “Bag of Dicks” has been “bagged”, which is quite similar to getting 'sand bagged'.

Bag Nasty: A pre-packaged bag lunch usually consisting of a cold cut sandwich, piece of fruit, and juice box or can of soda. Served at galleys in lieu of regular chow for sailors on the go.

Bagger: A sailor who is chronically late for watch relief. Also known as a “shit bag”.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Barney-style: To perform strictly according to regulation; idiot proof; simplified for the benefit of mental underachievers; often said as “Breaking it down Barney-style” or “Mr. Potato Head style”; Bert and Ernie for the 1980s and 1990s Marines.

Barracks: On base housing for Marines who have no dependents, any dependents living with them. Military dormitory rooms.

Barracks Cover: Fabric-cover frame cap worn green with the service uniform and white with the dress uniform; traditionally officers wear this cap with quatrefoil and gilt devices that increase with rank.

Barracks Rat: Guy who stays in the barracks instead of going into town.

Barracks Bunny: Common term for Female Marines that tend or are rumored to sleep around in the barracks, also referred to as “hopping from room to room”.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5) - nicknamed the “Mad Foxes”
United States Navy - Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida - Established January, 2 1937

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread:”  Meaning: The rash or inexperienced will attempt things that wiser people are more cautious of.

History: 'Fool' is now a more derogatory insult than it was when this proverb was coined, in the early 18th century. At that time a fool wasn't a simpleton, lacking in intelligence, simply someone who had behaved foolishly.

Fools rush in...' has a precise derivation, in that it is a quotation from the English poet Alexander Pope's An essay on criticism, 1709:

“Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true,

There are as mad, abandon'd Criticks too.

The Bookful Blockhead, ignorantly read,

With Loads of Learned Lumber in his Head,

With his own Tongue still edifies his Ears,

And always List'ning to Himself appears.

All Books he reads, and all he reads assails,

From Dryden's Fables down to Durfey's Tales.

With him, most Authors steal their Works, or buy;

Garth did not write his own Dispensary.

Name a new Play, and he's the Poet's Friend,

Nay show'd his Faults - but when wou'd Poets mend?

No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr'd,

Nor is Paul's Church more safe than Paul's Church-yard:

Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead;

For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”

The 'fools' that Pope targetted there were the literary critics of the day.

The line has been taken up by a string of notable writers since:

~ Edmund Burke, in Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790:

“What ought to be the heads, the hearts, the dispositions that are qualified or that dare, not only to make laws under a fixed constitution, but at one heat to strike out a totally new constitution for a great kingdom, and in every part of it, from the monarch on the throne to the vestry of a parish? But - 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread'.”

~ Thomas Hardy, in The Woodlanders, 1887:

“He felt shy of entering Grace's presence as her reconstituted lover - before definite information as to her future state was forthcoming; it seemed too nearly like the act of those who rush in where angels fear to tread.”

~ E. M. Forster - the title of his first novel - Where Angels Fear to Tread, 1905.

~ James Joyce, in Ulysses, 1922:

“And later on at a propitious opportunity he purposed (Bloom did), without anyway prying into his private affairs on the 'fools step in where angels' principle, advising him to sever his connection with a certain budding practitioner.”

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

F-35 Fighter Sees Combat For First Time - A Marine Corps Joint Strike Fighter engaged a Taliban target in AfghanistanRussia’s MiG-31 Spotted With Possible Anti-Satellite MissileHow Putting A.I. Brains Into 3D Printers Will Change the Game for the Navy'Red Dead Redemption 2' Trailer Shows Off Your Gunslinging SuperpowersIndonesia's Tsunami Warning System Hasn't Been Operational Since 2012The True Story of the Russian Kursk Submarine Disaster

Popular Mechanics

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Tiny Hawaiian Gecko Accidentally Calls 'a Bazillion' People from Hospital Phone, Wins the Internet

Tiny Hawaiian Gecko Accidentally Calls 'a Bazillion' People from Hospital Phone, Wins the Internet

If you have never been prank-called by a lizard, you probably don't live in Hawaii.

Dr. Claire Simeone, the director of the Kei Kai Ola hospital for Hawaiian monk seals, definitely does. Earlier this week, Simeone had just left work for lunch when her phone started ringing. A lot.

“I thought maybe someone had a seal-related question”, Simeone wrote on Twitter. “I picked up. Silence.”

Seconds later, Simeone's phone rang again — and then again, and again. Each time she answered, there was nothing but eerie silence. After receiving nine identical calls in 15 minutes, Simeone “started to panic”, she said. The calls were apparently coming from inside the hospital, so she rushed back to work, worried that a “seal emergency” was transpiring in her absence.

There was no emergency (thankfully), seal or otherwise. In fact, Simeone's co-workers said nobody had tried to call her at all.

“Meanwhile”, Simeone wrote, “several other people call the hospital, asking WHY WE ARE CALLING THEM INCESSANTLY?”

When Simeone called the hospital's phone company to get to the bottom of the phantom calls, a technician confirmed that "a bazillion calls" had indeed been dialed from one particular line in the hospital. Simeone hunted from room to room until she finally tracked the mystery dialer to the center's laboratory. There, she caught her perpetrator red-handed … or rather, green-footed.

THERE IS A GECKO SITTING ON THE TOUCH SCREEN OF THE PHONE, MAKING CALLS WITH HIS TINY GECKO FEET!!! This gecko has called me 15 times, and everyone in our recent call list. *Actual photo of telemarketer* @TMMC @GEICO @HawaiianTel pic.twitter.com/USyKeOiDbE

~ Dr. Claire Simeone (@Claire_Simeone) October 5, 2018

“THERE IS A GECKO SITTING ON THE TOUCH SCREEN OF THE PHONE, MAKING CALLS WITH HIS TINY GECKO FEET!!!” Simeone tweeted. “This gecko has called me 15 times and everyone in our recent call list.”

Mystery solved. Simeone said she "immediately hired the gecko" and drafted an apology to everyone on staff who may have gotten a call from the tiny, green menace.

Live Science (10/05/2018) video

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


“All Along the Watchtower” - The Jimi Hendrix Experience 1968

“All Along the Watchtower” - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Album: Electric Ladyland
Released 1968 video

All Along the Watchtowervideo was written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan in 1967, but it was the Jimi Hendrix cover that made the song famous. Many other artists have covered it, including Eric Clapton, Neil Young, U2, Dave Matthews Band and The Grateful Dead. Dylan was so impressed with Jimi's version that Dylan for years played it the way that Jimi had recorded it.

This was Hendrix' only Top 40 hit in the U.S., where his influence far outpaced his popularity. He charted a few times in the UK, where he rose to fame before making a name for himself in America.

This was recorded while Hendrix played with the Jimi Hendrix Experience: Hendrix on guitar, Noel Redding on bass, and Mitch Mitchell on drums. For this song, however, Redding was not on bass; Hendrix did it. Redding was also the guitar player for his band Fat Mattress, which Hendrix referred to as Thin Pillow. Hendrix often felt that Redding did not put his heart into the bass and was concerned that Redding concentrated more on Fat Mattress than he did on the Experience. Things like these led to him being replaced by Billy Cox

The original version of this song is very slow. Jimi Hendrix' version had a large impact on Dylan which made him make his own version “heavier”.

Hendrix: “All those people who don't like Bob Dylan's songs should read his lyrics. They are filled with the joys and sadness of life. I am as Dylan, none of us can sing normally. Sometimes, I play Dylan's songs and they are so much like me that it seems to me that I wrote them. I have the feeling that Watchtower is a song I could have come up with, but I'm sure I would never have finished it. Thinking about Dylan, I often consider that I'd never be able to write the words he manages to come up with, but I'd like him to help me, because I have loads of songs I can't finish. I just lay a few words on the paper, and I just can't go forward. But now things are getting better, I'm a bit more self-confident.”

Hendrix had been working on and off with the members of the band Traffic as he recorded Electric Ladyland. Traffic guitarist Dave Mason caught Hendrix at a party and the two discussed Bob Dylan's newest album, John Wesley Harding, containing “All Along The Watchtower”. Hendrix, long fascinated with Dylan, decided to cover the song on the album. On the resulting track, Mason plays rhythm on a 12-string acoustic guitar.

In Songfacts interview with Mason, he explained: “Hendrix just happened to be sitting in one of those semi-private clubs in London. He was there one night just sitting alone, and it was like, “F--k, I'm just going to go over and say hi and talk to him.”

Mason recorded the song himself in the Hendrix arrangement for his 1974 self-titled album. He also made the song a mainstay of his concerts. Mason says it's a deceptively simple song: “It's just the same three chords, and they never change.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience official site / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Image: “Electric Ladyland (album)” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience



● Long, long, long before Harry Potter was conceived, what book written in 1865 was the most widely read English-language work for children?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

● 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.

● The most famous paintings of this French post-impressionist artist who lived from 1839-1906 include Mont Sainte-Victoire and The Card Players. Who is this artist?

Paul Cezanne.

● Which actress achieved early fame as a child performer in the 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial?

Drew Barrymore.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE BIBLE” ($200):

“This third gospel is the only one that mentions the Roman emperors Augustus & Tiberius.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE BIBLE” ($600):

“The 26th of these biblical poems begins, “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity.”.

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer King James Bible Online

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE BIBLE” ($1,000):

“Zechariah predicted the new king would arrive in Jerusalem on one of these animals, & Jesus later does.

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S COLD, MAN” ($200):

“Relax, calm down, this 5-letter word 'out', dude”

● Answer: Chill. Urban Dictionary

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S COLD, MAN” ($600):

“Stiff or formal, it also precedes "-aire" in an appliance brand.

● Answer: Frigid. Urban Dictionary

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THAT'S COLD, MAN” ($800):

“It's slang for an isolation cell in prison; Alaska was 'Seward's'.

● Answer: Ice Box. Urban Dictionary

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Five Birds”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Five Birds”

“Speeding Ticket”

Joke of the Day

Speeding Ticket

A driver is pulled over by a policeman. The police man approaches the driver's door.”

“Is there a problem Officer?””

The policeman says, “Sir, you were speeding. Can I see your license please?”

The driver responds, “I'd give it to you but I don't have one.”

“You don't have one?”

The man responds, “I lost it four times for drink driving.”

The policeman is shocked. “I see. Can I see your vehicle registration papers please?”

“I'm sorry, I can't do that.”

The policeman says, “Why not?”

“I stole this car.”

The officer says, “Stole it?”

The man says, "“Yes, and I killed the owner.”

At this point the officer is getting irate. “You what!?”

“She's in the boot if you want to see.”

The Officer looks at the man and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes, five police cars show up, surrounding the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.


The senior officer says “Sir, could you step out of your vehicle please!”

The man steps out of his vehicle. “Is there a problem sir?”

“One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.”

“Murdered the owner?”

The officer responds, “Yes, could you please open the boot of your car please?”

The man opens the boot, revealing nothing but an empty boot.

The officer says, “Is this your car sir?”

The man says “Yes”, and hands over the registration papers.

The officer, understandably, is quite stunned. “One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.”

The man digs in his pocket revealing a wallet and hands it to the officer. The officer opens the wallet and examines the license. He looks quite puzzled. "Thank you sir, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, stole this car, and murdered the owner.”

The man replies, “I bet you the lying officer told you I was speeding, too!”