Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 47, 2018

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First issue of Life is published on November 23, 1936

First issue of Life is published on November 23, 1936

First issue of Life is published: On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

From his high school days, Luce was a newsman, serving with his friend Briton Hadden as managing editors of their school newspaper. This partnership continued through their college years at Yale University, where they acted as chairmen and managing editors of the Yale Daily News, as well as after college, when Luce joined Hadden at The Baltimore News in 1921. It was during this time that Luce and Hadden came up with the idea for Time. When it launched in 1923, it was with the intention of delivering the world’s news through the eyes of the people who made it.

Whereas the original mission of Time was to tell the news, the mission of Life was to show it. In the words of Luce himself, the magazine was meant to provide a way for the American people “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events … to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…” Luce set the tone of the magazine with Margaret Bourke-White’s stunning cover photograph of the Fort Peck Dam, which has since become an icon of the 1930s and the great public works completed under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Life was an overwhelming success in its first year of publication. Almost overnight, it changed the way people looked at the world by changing the way people could look at the world. Its flourish of images painted vivid pictures in the public mind, capturing the personal and the public, and putting it on display for the world to take in. At its peak, Life had a circulation of over 8 million and it exerted considerable influence on American life in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

With picture-heavy content as the driving force behind its popularity,the magazine suffered as television became society’s predominant means of communication. Life ceased running as a weekly publication in 1972, when it began losing audience and advertising dollars to television. In 2004, however, it resumed weekly publication as a supplement to U.S. newspapers. At its re-launch, its combined circulation was once again in the millions.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica /TIME - Life / Old Life Magazines

“A Submarine Christmas Poem” - “Unknown”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“A Submarine Christmas Poem”

T'was the night before Christmas, he lived in a crowd,/p>

In a 40 man berthing, with shipmates snoring so loud.

I had come down the Sail with presents to give,

And to see just who in this rack did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stockings were hung, just a “poopy suit” close at hand,

On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.

He had medals and badges and awards from far and wide,

But one in particular my eye did soon find.

Why, they were Dolphins, with a tiny submarine...pinned on with pride,

Then a sobering thought did come to my mind.

For this place was different, it was so dark and dreary,

I had found the home of a Sub Sailor, once I could see clearly.

The Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,

Curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the berthing in good order,

Not how I pictured a U. S. Submarine Sailor.

Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?

Defending his country so we all could be free?

I realized the families that I've seen this cold night,

Owed their lives to these Sailors who were willing to fight.

“You've got high dust and low dust, and that overhead it needs cleaning!”

Soon, 'round the world the children would play,

And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year

Because of these Sailors, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve, under sea, far from home.

The very thought made me pause and brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The Sailor awakened and I heard a gruff voice

“Santa, don't cry for me; this life is my choice.

I'll defend the seas on this day

Then on re-inspection he explained with a huff,

And let others rejoice.”

The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,

I couldn't control it, I started to weep.

I kept watch then for hours, silent and still,

And we both shivered a bit from the night's aching chill.

It seemed like eternity until reveille sounded

I didn't want to leave, on that dreary, cold night,

This Guardian of Honor, so willing to fight.

Then the Sailor rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,

Whispered, “Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day... all's secure.”

~ Unknown

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“I expect to pass through this world but once.

Any good, therefore, that I can do

or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature,

let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it

for I shall not pass this way again.”

~ Quaker Proverb

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“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

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“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.

Nobody said it would be easy,

they just promised it would be worth it.”

~ American Proverb

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)

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween

People - young and old - got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Montesano, Washington, and points in between.

In New York City - where the tradition was especially strong - a local newspaper reported in 1911 that “fantastically garbed youngsters and their elders were on every corner of the city.”

Thousands of folks ran rampant, one syndicated column noted. “Horns and rattles are worked overtime. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians is an allowable pastime.”

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

Mince Pies And Masquerades

Of course there was the familiar Thanksgiving fare for those who could afford it - turkey, pork, apples, figs and mince pies. But there was also a widespread weirdness that has faded away over the years.

In fact, so many people participated in masking and making merry back then that, according to a widely distributed item that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 21, 1897, Thanksgiving was “the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers of and dealers in masks and false faces. The fantastical costume parades and the old custom of making and dressing up for amusement on Thanksgiving day keep up from year to year in many parts of the country, so that the quantity of false faces sold at this season is enormous.”

Popular get-ups at the time included heads of parrots and other birds and animals, and face-coverings of various colors. “Masks of prominent men and the foremost political leaders are made by some manufacturers, and large-sized false hands, feet, noses, ears, etc., are also new and amusing”, the California newspaper reported.

Some Americans wore masks that made fun of people of other nations “with greatly exaggerated facial peculiarities”. More refined revelers donned soft, ghostly, painted veils made of gauzy mesh that both disguised, and improved - according to the wry writer - a person's appearance.

Most of the false faces - crafted from papier-mache - came from Germany. But several U.S. companies also got in on the act.

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

Ragamuffin Day

In New York: “Newspapers advertised 'Thanksgiving masks' and 'lithographed character masks' for the tots”, The Bowery Boys blog notes. “These featureless disguises were often sold in candy stores alongside holiday related treats like spiced jelly gums, opera drops, crystallized ginger and tinted hard candies.”

Throughout the city, people wore disguises. “There were Fausts, Filipinos, Mephistos, Boers, Uncle Sams, John Bulls, Harlequins, bandits, sailors, soldiers in khaki suits”, the New York Times observed on Dec. 1, 1899. Some masqueraders rode horses; others straddled bicycles. Everyone "was generous with pennies and nickels, and the candy stores did a land-office business.”

So many youngsters in New York City dressed as poor people, Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname: Ragamuffin Day. “Parades of ragamuffins - sometimes called 'fantastics' because of the costumes - can be dated at least to 1891”, historian Carmen Nigro of the New York Public Library.

When Thanksgiving Was Weird

“Children would dress themselves in rags and oversized, overdone parodies of beggars (a la Charlie Chaplin's character 'The Tramp')”, Carmen writes on the library's blog. “The ragamuffins would then ask neighbors and adults on the street, 'Anything for Thanksgiving?' The usual response would be pennies, an apple, or a piece of candy.”

By 1930, the library blog reports, some New Yorkers were ready to move on. School Superintendent William J. O'Shea instructed administrators that “modernity is incompatible with the custom of children to masquerade and annoy adults on Thanksgiving day” by asking for gifts and money.

Others kept the tradition alive. The Madison Square Club for Boys and Young Men, for instance, put on Ragamuffin Parades in an attempt to bring order to the occasion. The 1940 parade, according to the library blog, featured more than 400 children and touted the group's motto: “American boys do not beg.”

Ragamuffin parades continued to be popular into the 1950s, but they were eventually overpowered by another burgeoning tradition catapulted into prominence by the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street. The new symbol of Thanksgiving also showcased people in fantastic masks and costumes and, in addition, hoisted giant character-based balloons. It was called Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

NPR (11/23/2014) video

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2018 occurs on Thursday, November 22. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving at Plymouth

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Did you know? Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims' menu.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” - although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving Becomes an Official Holiday

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving Traditions

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird - whether roasted, baked or deep-fried - on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving Controversies

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God”.

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning”. Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving’s Ancient Origins

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays - days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

History ChannelNational GeographicQuaraThanksgivingWikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Ball Button: The fourth button down on the new Service Uniforms, so called because it has a tendency to come undone.

Balls O'Clock: Any unspecified time late at night when it is absurd to be awake and having to do things, be on watch, etc.

Balls Thirty:

(1) The time 00:30, when there is a security sweep on some bases.

(2) Any time late at night that doesn't qualify for Oh Dark Thirty.

Balls to Two: A short watch stood from 0000-0200. Not generally seen outside of Boot Camp.

Balls to Four: A four hour watch technically stood from 0000-0400, though in practice begining at 2345 and ending at 0345. Most commonly seen on a “Dogged Watch” schedule.

Balls To The Wall:Balls To The Wall”.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

BAS: Battalion Aid Station: A unit's medical post for routine ailments and injuries; also Basic Allowance for Subsistence. See also sick bay.

Battery Operated Grunt: Combat radio operator.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) - nicknamed the “Tigers”
United States Navy - Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida - Established September, 1 1942

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Fly off the handle”

Fly off the handle:”  Meaning: Lose self control.

History: This is an American phrase and it alludes to the uncontrolled way a loose axe-head flies off from its handle.

It is first found in print in Thomas C. Haliburton's The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England, 1843 / 1844:

“He flies right off the handle for nothing.”

Fly off the handle:

1. to react in a very angry way to something that someone says or does.

2. to suddenly become very angry.

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

3-D printing hierarchical liquid-crystal-polymer structuresVaccinating humans to protect mosquitoes from malariaToo much sleep bad for brain, study saysInvasive breast cancers punch tunnels into neighboring tissueReduced Sierra Nevada snowmelt runoff to threaten California agricultureClean Water Act dramatically cut pollution in U.S. waterwaysResearchers identify common molecular mechanism in two skeletal disorders

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The 'Vapor Wake’ Dogs That Protect the Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 'Vapor Wake’ Dogs That Protect the Thanksgiving Day Parade

As many as a million spectators turn out for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Another 200,000 show up the night before to watch the enormous balloons inflate. Keeping New York City safe on an ordinary day is challenging enough; locking down a massive parade route is all the more so. But the New York Police Department has recently deployed a new secret weapon to counter body-worn bombs: A team of Labrador retrievers who have graduated from patent-pending "Vapor Wake" security training. These are good dogs.

Researchers developed Vapor Wake dog training at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in part as a response to Richard Reid's attempted shoe-bombing in 2001. For the last decade or so, Auburn has honed a process to breed and train labs that can detect faint whiffs of explosive particles in the thermal heat plumes humans create as they walk. Combining genetics with rigorous training, the dogs learn to identify different levels of explosive odor, so they can tell the difference between, say, a concealed firearm and multiple pounds of explosives. That level of discernment matters, especially in a situation like the Thanksgiving parade, where the Vapor Wake dogs will need to ignore the weapons law enforcement will be carrying.

The 'Vapor Wake’ Dogs That Protect the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Super Sniffers

Vapor Wake dogs are born at Auburn, receive environmental and socialization training for their first year, and then receive specific Vapor Wake training through VWK9 until they're about 18 months old. Then they're paired up with a handler for a seven-week joint behavioral training course. Finally, the dogs are ready to help save the world. Or in this case, one of the world's biggest parades.

“We will have our typical counterterrorism overlay for both the balloon inflation and for the parade”, NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said at a security press conference Monday. “You will see our Vapor Wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route.”

The dogs work efficiently and calmly in large crowds, and can rapidly screen dozens of people at a time. And if they smell something, they follow the scent trail. Last year, the NYPD deployed eight Vapor Wake dogs for the parade. This year, they've upped the pups to 14, according to Paul Hammond, the president of VWK9, the Alabama-based company that works exclusively with Auburn on the commercial side of Vapor Wake.

“People will try to beat a metal detector or sneak things into luggage at airports, but when it comes to a dog they don’t try. They do not want to take on a canine's sense of smell.”

Paul Hammond, VWK9

Vapor Wake dogs don't replace traditional bomb-sniffing dogs, which focus on assessing stationary objects like baggage and vehicles. Instead, Vapor Wake pups are trained to have their heads up, sniffing the air. One dog can sniff out someone wearing or carrying a bomb in a sea of tens of thousands of people.

“The reality is that the terrorist is always evolving and the new threat is the smaller device being body-worn and hidden and transited into an event”, Hammond says. “And these bombs are only emitting a small amount of explosive particles. So traditional bomb dogs really struggle to protect against a bomber in transit.”

The 'Vapor Wake’ Dogs That Protect the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Paw Patrol

Major police departments like New York and Chicago have already incorporated Vapor Wake dogs, as have railroad police forces like Amtrak and ViaRail in Canada. The dogs work at concert venues and sports stadiums, at Disney World and Disneyland, at megachurches, and even at Apple's major events and product launches.

VWK9 exclusively uses Labradors for Vapor Wake because of their approachability. “The public perception of a Labrador is such that people don’t mind walking past them," Hammond says. "What we don’t want is people making a 'U' around us trying to avoid the canine. At the same time, because these dogs are front of the house there's a huge deterrent value. People will try to beat a metal detector or sneak things into luggage at airports, but when it comes to a dog they don’t try. They do not want to take on a canine's sense of smell.”, NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said at a security press conference Monday. “You will see our Vapor Wake dogs and other canine dogs on both the balloons and during the route.”

Because the technique requires refined sniffing, VWK9 reevaluates and re-certifies every Vapor Wake dog every year, whether they are still part of the company's contract business or are owned by other institutions. “No matter who you are, if you’ve got Vapor Wake dog, they have to be evaluated by us on a yearly basis”, Hammond says.

They may not have the brute power of the sand-filled dump trucks and heavy weapons teams that will also be out in force at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, but Vapor Wake dogs provide a more elegant approach to anti-terrorism work and crowd security. It doesn’t hurt that they’re they cutest canines on the block—no disrespect to the Snoopy balloon.

Wired (10/05/2018) video

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


“My Sweet Lord” - George Harrison 1970

“My Sweet Lord” - George Harrison
Album: All Things Must Pass
Released 1970 video

This was Harrison's first single as a solo artist, and it was his biggest hit. The song is about the Eastern religions he was studying.

Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna... Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant, that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” - he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.”

In the documentary The Material World, Harrison explains: “First, it's simple. The thing about a mantra, you see... mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable. It has this power within it. It's just hypnotic.”

This was recorded at Abbey Road studios using the same equipment The Beatles used. There were some familiar faces at the sessions who had contributed to Beatles albums, including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton. Bobby Whitlock was friends with Harrison and Clapton, and played keyboards on the album. When we spoke with Whitlock, he shared his thoughts:

“That whole session was great. George Harrison, what a wonderful man. All the time that I ever knew him, which was from 1969 to his passing, he was a wonderful man. He included everyone on everything he did because there was enough for all.”

“All during the sessions, the door would pop open and in would spring three or four or five Hare Krishnas in their white robes and shaved heads with a pony tail coming out the top. They were all painted up, throwing rose petals and distributing peanut butter cookies.”

When this song was released, the phrase “Hare Krishna” was associated with a religious group called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, whose members would often approach passengers in airports, seeking donations and trying to solicit members. Individuals in this group became popularly known as “Hare Krishnas”, with a generally negative connotation.

Artists who record chant music often face a negative reaction from listeners who don't understand the mantras. When we spoke with Krishna Das, the leading American chant musician, he explained:

“My Sweet Lord' is very clear and very beautiful, but the problem is that English has been appropriated by Western religion and it's very hard to talk about spiritual things in a song that doesn't get too 'organized religion-y,' you know? And then you get a lot of people who have a negative reaction to that as well. You can get a lot of negativity from the organized religion people. Like, 'This isn't our Jesus. This isn't the way it is.'”

In 1976, Bright Tunes Music sued Harrison because this sounded too much like the 1963 Chiffons hit “He's So Finevideo. Bright Tunes was controlled by The Tokens, who set it up when they formed the production company that recorded “He's So Fine” - they owned the publishing rights to the song.

During the convoluted court case, Harrison explained how he composed the song: He said that in December 1969, he was playing a show in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the group Delaney and Bonnie, whose piano player was Billy Preston (who contributed to some Beatles recordings). Harrison said that he started writing the song after a press conference when he slipped away and started playing some guitar chords around the words “Hallelujah” and “Hare Krishna”. He then brought the song to the band, who helped him work it out as he came up with lyrics. When he returned to London, Harrison worked on Billy Preston's album Encouraging Words. They recorded the song for the album, which was released on Apple Records later in 1970, and Harrison filed a copyright application for the melody, words and harmony of the song. Preston's version remained an album cut, and it was Harrison's single that was the huge hit and provoked the lawsuit, which was filed on February 10, 1971, while the song was still on the chart.

In further testimony, Harrison claimed he got the idea for “My Sweet Lord” from The Edwin Hawkins Singers' “Oh Happy Dayvideo, not “He's So Finevideo.

The trial took place February 23-25, with various expert witnesses testifying. The key to the case was the musical pattern of the two songs, which were both based on two musical motifs: “G-E-D” and “G-A-C-A-C”. “He's So Finevideo repeated both motifs four times, “My Sweet Lord” repeated the first motif four times and the second motif three times. Harrison couldn't identify any other songs that used this exact pattern, and the court ruled that “the two songs are virtually identical”. And while the judge felt that Harrison did not intentionally copy “My Sweet Lord”, that was not a defense - thus Harrison was on the hook writing a similar song without knowing it.

Assessing damages in the case, the judge determined that “My Sweet Lord” represented 70% of the airplay of the All Things Must Pass album, and came up with a total award of about $1.6 million. However, in 1978 Allen Klein's company ABKCO purchased Bright Tunes for $587,000, which prompted Harrison to sue. In 1981, a judge decided that Klein should not profit from the judgment, and was entitled to only the $587,000 he paid for the company - all further proceeds from the case had to be remitted back to Harrison. The case dragged on until at least 1993, when various administrative matters were finally settled.

The case was a burden for Harrison, who says he tried to settle but kept getting dragged back to court by Bright Tunes. After losing the lawsuit, he became more disenfranchised with the music industry, and took some time off from recording - after his 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3, he didn't release another until his self-titled album in 1979. He told Rolling Stone, “It's difficult to just start writing again after you've been through that. Even now when I put the radio on, every tune I hear sounds like something else.”

George Harrison, official website / Biography / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “All Things Must Pass (album)” by George Harrison



Thanksgiving - Fact or Fiction

Fiction: In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. in 1939, after a request from the National Retail Dry Goods Association, President Franklin Roosevelt decreed that the holiday should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month (and never the occasional fifth, as occurred in 1939) in order to extend the holiday shopping season by a week.

Fact: In a letter to his daughter sent in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States than the bald eagle (which had earlier been chosen by the Continental Congress). He argued that the turkey was “a much more respectable Bird”, “a true original Native of America”, and “though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage.»

Fiction: The Philadelphia department store Gimbel’s had sponsored a parade in 1920, but the Macy’s parade, launched four years later, soon became a Thanksgiving tradition and the standard kickoff to the holiday shopping season. The parade became ever more well-known after it featured prominently in the hit film Miracle on 34th Street (1947), which shows actual footage of the 1946 parade.

Fact: According to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, one of the country’s oldest farmers’ organizations, Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, including “pemmican” (a nourishing, high-protein combination of crushed berries, dried deer meat and melted fat). They also used it as a medicine to treat arrow punctures and other wounds and as a dye for fabric. The Pilgrims adopted these uses for the fruit and gave it a name “craneberry” - because its drooping pink blossoms in the spring reminded them of a crane.

Fact: Turkey does contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is a natural sedative, but so do a lot of other foods, including chicken, beef, pork, beans and cheese. Though many people believe turkey’s tryptophan content is what makes many people feel sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal, it is more likely the combination of fats and carbohydrates most people eat with the turkey, as well as the large amount of food (not to mention alcohol, in some cases) consumed, that makes most people feel like following their meal up with a nap.

Fiction (kind of): Domesticated turkeys (the type eaten on Thanksgiving) cannot fly, and their pace is limited to a slow walk. Female domestic turkeys, which are typically smaller and lighter than males, can move somewhat faster. Wild turkeys, on the other hand, are much smaller and more agile. They can reach speeds of up to 20-25 miles per hour on the ground and fly for short distances at speeds approaching 55 miles per hour. They also have better eyesight and hearing than their domestic counterparts.

Fact: The turkey trot, modeled on that bird’s characteristic short, jerky steps, was one of a number of popular dance styles that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States. The two-step, a simple dance that required little to no instruction, was quickly followed by such dances as the one-step, the turkey trot, the fox trot and the bunny hug, which could all be performed to the ragtime and jazz music popular at the time.

Fiction: The American tradition of college football on Thanksgiving is pretty much as old as the sport itself. The newly formed American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day in 1876. At the time, the sport resembled something between rugby and what we think of as football today.


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “HOLIDAY DUETS” ($200):

“Through digital magic, Carrie Underwood sings “I'll Be Home For Christmas” with this late king of rock & roll.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “HOLIDAY DUETS” ($600):

“In a classic but odd pairing, Bing Crosby crooned a medley of this carol & “Peace On Earth” with David Bowie.”.

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “HOLIDAY DUETS” ($1,000):

“Good grief! Sarah McLachlan & Diana Krall dueted on this song 1st heard in ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas”./p>

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

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

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

● Answer: Luke. 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: Psalms. 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: What is a Camel? - An Ass (a Donkey accepted). Messianic Prophecy

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Moon Hunting”

“Eli's Dirty Jokes - Moon Hunting”

“Reasons Why The English Language Is Hard To Learn”

Joke of the Day

Reasons Why The English Language 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 that 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 is 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 about how to row.

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

14) The buck does funny things when the 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?