Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 07, 2019

Previous Week   February 11, 2019 - February 17, 2019  Next Week

NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid on February 17, 1996

NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid on February 17, 1996

NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid: On February 17, 1996 the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission is the first of NASA's Discovery missions and the first mission ever to go into orbit around an asteroid.

NEAR Shoemaker (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) is equipped with an X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer, a near-infrared imaging spectrograph, a multispectral camera fitted with a CCD imaging detector, a laser altimeter, and a magnetometer.

A radio science experiment will also be performed using the NEAR tracking system to estimate the gravity field of the asteroid.

The ultimate goal of the mission was to rendezvous with and achieve orbit around the near Earth asteroid 433 Eros in January, 1999, and study the asteroid for approximately one year.

A problem caused an abort of the first encounter burn and the mission had to be rescoped for a 23 December 1998 flyby of Eros and a later encounter and orbit on 14 February 2000.

Eros is an S-class asteroid about 13 x 13 x 33 km in size. Studies will be made of the asteroid's size, shape, mass, magnetic field, composition, and surface and internal structure.

NEAR Shoemaker touched down on the surface of Eros at 3:01:52 p.m. EST (20:01:52 UT) Monday, 12 February and contact has been maintained. The spacecraft apparently came to rest with the camera and gamma-ray spectrometer pointing towards the ground and the solar panels and low gain antenna pointing generally towards the Earth and Sun. Ample power is available and data can be transmitted at about 10 bits/sec.

The spacecraft impacted at a velocity of about 1.5 to 1.8 meters/second (3.4 to 4.0 mph). The spacecraft obtained 69 high-resolution images before touchdown, the final image showing an area 6 meters across. NEAR was not designed as a lander, but survived the low-velocity, low-gravity impact, a signal continued after the “landing” using the omni-directional low-gain antenna as a beacon. The NEAR team will not be attempting to lift off from the asteroid again.

For more, see the NASA Press Release

For details of the plans for the landing, see the 31 January NASA Press Release

NASA / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / NEAR Shoemaker (YouTube) video

World War II - in support of the Eniwetok invasion, Operation Hailstone begins: U.S. naval air, surface, and submarine attack against Truk Lagoon, Japan's main base in the central Pacific on February 17, 1944

World War II - in support of the Eniwetok invasion, Operation Hailstone begins: U.S. naval air, surface, and submarine attack against Truk Lagoon, Japan's main base in the central Pacific on February 17, 1944

Operation Hailstone begins: U.S. naval air, surface, and submarine attack against Truk Lagoon, Japan's main base in the central Pacific: On February 17, 1944 a massive United States Navy air and surface attack on Truk Lagoon conducted as part of the American offensive drive against the Imperial Japanese Navy through the Central Pacific Ocean during World War II.

The three carrier task groups committed to Hailstone moved into position and began launching their first fighter sweep 90 minutes before daybreak on February 17. 1944. No Japanese air patrol was active at the time as the Imperial Japanese Navy's 22nd and 26th Air Flotillas were enjoying shore leave after weeks on high alert following the Liberator sightings. Similarly problematic for the Japanese, radar on Truk was not capable of detecting low-flying planes — a weakness probably known and exploited by Allied intelligence organizations. Because of these factors, U.S. carrier aircraft achieved total surprise.

Japanese pilots scrambled into their cockpits just minutes before TF 58 planes arrived over Eten, Param, Moen and Dublon islands. Though there were more than 300 Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and Imperial Japanese Army Air Service planes present at Truk on the first day of attacks, only about half of them were operational compared with over 500 operational aircraft among the carriers of TF 58. U.S. Navy fighter pilots in their Grumman F6F Hellcats, with the advantages of speed, altitude and surprise, achieved a one–sided victory against Japanese Navy Air Service pilots flying the inferior Mitsubishi A6M Zero. As many as 30 of the 80 Zeros sent up in response to the fighter sweep were shot down, compared with four Hellcats reported lost. Only token aerial resistance was encountered for the rest of the morning; almost no Japanese aircraft were present by the afternoon.

Due to the lack of air cover or warning, many merchant ships were caught at anchor with only the islands' anti-aircraft guns for defense against the U.S. carrier planes. Some vessels outside the lagoon already steaming towards Japan were attacked by U.S. submarines and sunk before they could make their escape. Still others, attempting to flee via the atoll's North Pass, were bottled up by aerial attack and by Admiral Spruance's surface force, Task Group 50.9, which circumnavigated Truk bombarding shore positions and engaging enemy ships.

Torpedo bomber and dive bomber squadrons from the Carrier Air Groups (CAGs) were responsible for the bulk of the damage inflicted on Japanese ground facilities. Early on the first day of Hailstone, Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber squadrons from Enterprise's Air Group 10 (CAG-10) and Intrepid's (CAG-6) dropped fragmentation and incendiary bombs on runways at Eten Island as well as the seaplane base on Moen Island. Dozens of aircraft were damaged or destroyed, further blunting any possible response by the Japanese to the strikes. Subsequent joint attacks by dive bombers and Avenger torpedo bombers cratered runways and destroyed hangar facilities.

By the second and third anti-shipping strikes of the day, carrier air group action reports listed the apparent enemy mission as “escape”. Those ships able to make for open sea steamed for the North Pass exit from the lagoon while weathering repeated aerial attacks. One particular group of warships —cruiser Katori, auxiliary cruiser Akagi Maru, destroyers Maikaze, Nowaki and minesweeper Shonan Maru – was given special attention by carrier bombers. Multiple air groups attacked these ships, inflicting serious damage. Yorktown's dive and torpedo bombing squadrons claimed two hits on Katori and hits on another cruiser and multiple destroyers; Essex bombers claimed five hits on a Katori-class cruiser as well, stating that the ship was stopped dead in the water after the attack.

At this point reports reached Admiral Spruance concerning the group of warships fleeing through North Pass. The admiral put himself in tactical command of Task Group, made up of four destroyers, two heavy cruisers and the battleships Iowa and New Jersey, which he personally led in a surface engagement against the previously damaged Japanese ships. Spruance was so adamant on engaging in ship-to-ship combat that his carrier commander, Admiral Mitscher, ordered his air groups to stop attacking Katori and her companions.

Truk, like so many other Japanese bases, was left to wither on the vine without hope of resupply or reinforcement. Army forces which had arrived at the atoll before the U.S. attacks put increasing strain on available foodstuffs and medical supplies. Dwindling ammunition even limited the ability of shore batteries to fend off intermittent attacks by Allied forces, including experimental raids by Boeing B-29 Superfortresses and attacks by Allied carrier aircraft.

Losses at Truk were severe. Stored fuel and and precious resources in fleet oilers were destroyed by the strikes. This represents almost one tenth of total Japanese shipping losses between November 1, 1943 and June 30, 1944. Moreover, the isolation of this whole area of operations by submarine and air attack began the effective severance of Japanese shipping lanes between empire waters and critical fuel supplies to the south. The ultimate effect of such a disconnect was later seen during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, when Imperial Japanese Navy forces had to sortie separately from Japan and Lingga Roads due to fuel constraints. The neutralization of Truk, and the seizure of Eniwetok, paved the way for the upcoming invasion of Saipan, which for the first time put U.S. land-based heavy bombers within range of the Japanese home islands.

Truk is renowned today as a tourist destination for divers interested in seeing the many shipwrecks left in the lagoon, many of which were caused by the Operation Hailstone strikes.

U.S. Naval Institute / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Operation Hailstone begins (YouTube) video

Electoral College elects Thomas Jefferson president of the United States on February 17, 1801

Electoral College elects Thomas Jefferson president of the United States on February 17, 1801

Electoral College elects Thomas Jefferson president of the United States: On February 17, 1801, the House of Representatives, breaking a tie in the Electoral College elects Thomas Jefferson president of the United States. Jefferson’s triumph brought an end to one of the most acrimonious presidential campaigns in U.S. history and resolved a serious Constitutional crisis.

Democratic-Republican Jefferson defeated Federalist John Adams by a margin of seventy-three to sixty-five electoral votes in the presidential election of 1800. When presidential electors cast their votes, however, they failed to distinguish between the office of president and vice president on their ballots.

Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr each received seventy-three votes. With the votes tied, the election was thrown to the House of Representatives as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. There, each state voted as a unit to decide the election.

Still dominated by Federalists, the sitting Congress loathed to vote for Jefferson - their partisan nemesis. For six days starting on February 11, 1801, Jefferson and Burr essentially ran against each other in the House. Votes were tallied over thirty times, yet neither man captured the necessary majority of nine states.

Eventually, Federalist James A. Bayard of Delaware, under intense pressure and fearing for the future of the Union, made known his intention to break the impasse. As Delaware’s lone representative, Bayard controlled the state’s entire vote. On the thirty-sixth ballot, Bayard and other Federalists from South Carolina, Maryland, and Vermont cast blank ballots, breaking the deadlock and giving Jefferson the support of ten states, enough to win the presidency.

Jefferson was inaugurated on March 4, 1801. Ratified in 1804, the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution provides that electors “name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President.”

Just three years after his vice-presidential inauguration, Aaron Burr shot and fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Hamilton, a longtime political antagonist of both Burr and Jefferson, played a key role in breaking the deadlocked presidential election in Jefferson’s favor.

Library Of Congress / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Smithsonianmag / National Archives / Electoral College elects Thomas Jefferson president of the United States on February 17, 1801 (YouTube)video

Jack Staff: a small vertical spar (pole) on the bow of a ship or smaller vessel on which a particular type of flag, known as a jack, is flown.

The Old Salt’s Corner

Jack Staff: A jack staff (also spelled as jackstaff) is a small vertical spar (pole) on the bow of a ship or smaller vessel on which a particular type of flag, known as a jack, is flown.

1. The jack staff was introduced in the 18th century.

2. The jack is typically flown from military vessels, including submarines, while at anchor or moored pierside, but not while underway.

Civilian vessels such as private yachts have also been known to fly the jack of the nation of their homeport, also from a jackstaff, while moored or at anchor.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“Why use up the forests,/p>

which centuries in the making,

and the mines which required ages to lay down,

if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products

in annual growth of the hemp fields?”

~ Henry Ford

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“There is only one way

to avoid criticism,

do nothing,

say nothing

and be nothing.”

~ Aristotle

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“Remember this:

You are always responsible

for how you act,

no matter how you feel.”

~ Anonymous

Are Addictions a Byproduct of Evolution?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Are Addictions a Byproduct of Evolution?

Addictions are a byproduct of chemical warfare.

Plants evolved chemicals like caffeine, opioids, nicotine, cocaine, and theobromine because they are chemical poisons that protect the plant from being eaten by pests. They work by disrupting signaling in the brain, usually by binding to receptors for neurotransmitters in the brain.

They’re extremely potent neurotoxins that kill insects. A plant can’t run away from predators, so it uses chemical warfare instead:

It secretes these chemicals that disrupt brain signaling, insects try to eat the plant, insects die.

Are Addictions a Byproduct of Evolution?

Animals like humans are much bigger than insects. Doses of these chemicals that disrupt an insect’s brain signaling to the point where insects die disrupt our brain signaling in ways that feel pleasant to us.

Many of these chemical poisons are effective at killing insects because they mimic natural neurotransmitters, but they are more effective than normal neurotransmitters. They grab hold of receptors and don't let go, or they persist longer than natural neurotransmitters - or both.

Your brain tries tvo maintain a normal baseline. If you take a chemical that disrupts brain signaling, it tries to work around the disruption to get things back to normal.

Are Addictions a Byproduct of Evolution?

Let’s say you take a chemical that activates opioid receptors, like morphine. Your opioid signaling system starts sending out a flood of signals. You perceive this as pleasure.

Your brain says “hang on, the opioid signaling system is going crazy. I’m going to turn it down to get back to normal.” So it changes the number of opioid receptors.

You take the morphine again, and you don’t feel that incredible pleasure, because you have more opioid receptors in your brain for the morphine to activate. This is how tolerance works.

So you take more. Now you feel that rush of pleasure again.

But your brain says “Hang on, something still isn’t right. The opioid signaling system is still going bonkers. I better dial it down some more.” So it changes the number of receptors even further.

Are Addictions a Byproduct of Evolution?

Now you stop taking the drug.

Your brain has turned the opioid signaling system way way down, since you were blasting it with a chemical that sends it into hyperspace. Now you’ve stopped taking that chemical that was sending it into orbit, which means now it’s underactivated. You perceive that under-activation as intense pain.

This is what withdrawal is.

Drug Abuse.govForbesMayo Clinic.orgNCBI.govPsychology TodayQuaraWikipediaWhat Causes Addictions (YouTube Search) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Brain Fart: A condition when, under stress, one cannot recall or perform something that would normally be easy or second nature.

Brain Housing Group (chiefly in the USMC): A skull.

Branch: Lowest organizational level in most naval commands. Below department and division.

Bravo Bozo: Derisive term that is the opposite of Bravo Zulu. Given for something done poorly. Also used when a sailor gets a BZ from the command, shipmates will call it a Bravo Bozo award.

Bravo Zulu: Originally, “BZ” was a signal meaning “Well Done”. It is sometimes used by seniors praising subordinates in one form or another.

Breakaway Music: Music played over the 1MC after “breaking” away from an oiler following UNREP. Can be outdated classic rock that was never really popular in the first place, or cool music, depending on the ship's commanding officer. It is played to “motivate” the crew after an UNREP, VERTREP, etc. Usually played at a level that would normally get you a ticket in town and is so distorted as to make it impossible to identify the song.

Bremerlo: A husky (large) female. Derives from Bremerton, Washington, where there is a base at and around which such females are common. The name is a concatenation of Bremerton Buffalo described as weight a 'bremer-ton'.

Bremerlo: New sailors on ship are sometimes assigned to find this mythical tool in the office of one of the ship's Bosuns (Boatswain). The sailor is then typically punched very hard in the shoulder by the Bosun in question.

Bremerton: How much a Bremerloe weighs.

Brig: Jail.

Brig Chaser: The sailor who escorts a prisoner to the brig.

Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Brain Bucket: Helmet.

Brain-housing Group: Pejorative for a Marine's head or skull.

Brain Strap: Elastic strap used for securing eyeglasses during rigorous activities; often found on BCG's.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Patrol Squadron Sixty Two (VP-69) - nicknamed the “Totems”

United States Navy - United States Navy Reserve - Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. - Established November 1, 1970.

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Saved by the bell”

Saved by the bell:”  Meaning: Saved by a last minute intervention.

History: There is a widespread notion that 'saved by the bell' originated as an expression that relates to people being buried alive. The idea was that, if someone were comatose and mistakenly pronounced dead and interred, they could, if they later revived, ring a bell that was attached to the coffin and be saved. The idea is certainly plausible as the fear of being buried alive was and is real. Several prominent people expressed this fear when close to death themselves:

“All I desire for my own burial is not to be buried alive.”

~ Lord Chesterfield

“Have me decently buried, but do not let my body be put into a vault in less than two days after I am dead.”

~ deathbed request of George Washington

“Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive.”

~ last words of Frederic Chopin

Just as real were the devices themselves, several of which were patented in England and in the USA. These were known as 'safety coffins' and designs were registered in the 19th century and up to as late as 1955; for example:

The Improved Burial Case. Patent No. 81,437 Franz Vester, Newark, New Jersey. August 25, 1868.

As well as a handy bell, Vester's device had the novel enhancement of a glass screen to view the coffin's occupant. Presumably the mourners could wave to the deceased and, if he waved back, they knew they were on to something.

There's no evidence to show that anyone was ever saved by these coffins or even that they were ever put to use, and there's a similar lack of evidence of the phrase 'saved by the bell' ever being used in that sense prior to it having been used in other contexts.

In fact, the expression is boxing slang and it came into being in the latter half of the 19th century. A boxer who is in danger of losing a bout can be 'saved' from defeat by the respite signalled by bell that marks the end of a round. The earliest reference to this that I can find is in the Massachusetts newspaper The Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, February 1893:

“Martin Flaherty defeated Bobby Burns in 32 rounds by a complete knockout. Half a dozen times Flaherty was saved by the bell in the earlier rounds.”

There are other popular etymological fallacies related to death - notably dead ringer and graveyard shift.

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Great apes and ravens plan without thinkingScientists direct bacteria with expanded genetic code to evolve extreme heat toleranceTasmanian devils' decline has left a feast of carrion for feral catsExtremely strong and yet incredibly ductile multicomponent alloys developedHelping the blind to navigateNew device widens light beams by 400 times, broadening possibilities in science and technologyToward cost-effective solutions for next-generation consumer electronics, electric vehicles and power gridsCovert infrared image encoding—hiding in plasmonic sightResearch explores the ethical implications of creating sentient and self-aware sexbots

Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

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)

Watch a Brainless, Single-Cell Slime Hunt for Food in This Eerie GIF

Watch a Brainless, Single-Cell Slime Hunt for Food in This Eerie GIF

The slime mold, a species called Physarum polycephalum, is not actually a mold at all; it's a single-celled protist. These giant cells can grow to square meters in area, though most are a few square centimeters or inches instead. Their potential for enormous size explains the movement and flowing “veins” seen in the mesmerizing video and GIF, said Audrey Dussutour, a researcher at Universite Paul Sabatier in France who studies slime molds.

“What it's doing is compressing and contracting these veins, and by contracting these veins, the liquid is pushed forward against the membrane” of the cell, Dussutour told Live Science. This liquid movement of the cell's cytoplasm pushes the cell forward, she said. The cytoplasm veins also carry nutrients throughout the organism. [Tiny Grandeur: Stunning Photos of the Very Small]

Unlike most cells, those of P. polycephalum have many nuclei, meaning they make decisions “by committee”, said Megan Dobro, a biologist at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. This makes slime molds intriguing objects of study for scientists, who have found that the organisms can store “memories” of past events in their slimy trails, despite being entirely brainless. Chemical information stored in the slime trails can help lead a slime mold to a food source faster, one study found, because the mold doesn't waste time sending out feelers into areas it's already explored.

Slime molds can even learn, Dussutour and her colleagues have found, and then pass on that learned information by fusing with other slime molds.

Watch a Brainless, Single-Cell Slime Hunt for Food in This Eerie GIF

And they just look cool, especially for something gooey that prefers to lurk on the underside of moist leaves. In one study, researchers set out dabs of oatmeal (a favorite food for slime molds in the laboratory, Dussutour said) mimicking the location of cities around Japan. Slime mold let loose on this playground of food formed a network that beautifully mimicked Japan's rail system.

The GIF recently getting attention on Reddit is a sped-up version of an already sped-up video originally posted on YouTube in 2011. User Will Stevens made an 8-minute time-lapse video of the slime mold growing over the course of two days, sending tendrils out to four different circles of food. The slime mold advances and retreats in response to what it finds as it explores.

“It's hard to describe the slime mold's behavior precisely without knowing more about what was in the food, Dussutour said. (Live Science was unable to reach Stevens by press time.) In the wild, slime molds eat fungi and bacteria, she said. In lab dishes, the slimy cells can detect oats from about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) away, she said, and sugar from an inch (2 to 3 cm) away. When the molds run low on food and moisture, they can enter a dormant state for up to a year.

There are multiple species of slime mold, Dussutour said, but even among the same species, different strains seem to have different personalities. In her lab, one strain bought from a United States supplier is constantly escaping its dish, she said, while her Australian strain is “really quiet.”

“You get attached to them.”

Live Science (12/03/2018) video

Second Hand News

Second Hand News (Links to Articles from Week 7 - February 11, 2019 - February 17, 2019)

Top News Stories - Photos (Washington Examiner) Democrats reject backup plan to fund government if border talks failHouse Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes: Task force combing through transcripts for criminal referrals in FBI bias investigationICE official says Democratic detention cap would create new 'pull factor' at borderSheriffs storm Capitol Hill to demand border wall, ICE fundingSecretary of State Mike Pompeo warns Europe against partnering with China on telecom Washington Examiner

Top News Stories - Photos (Daily Mail) Shutdown compromise falls apart as Democrats give Trump ANOTHER hurdle to clear - but Trump calls them 'crazy' and says he won't budge without a wall and 52,000 detention bedsTrump's private schedules are leaked AGAIN despite hunt for White House 'mole'Trump's approval rating among likely voters soars to his best in 23 MONTHS at 52 per cent after State of the Union address as border-wall shutdown talks intensifyDemocrat Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar issues apology for using 'anti-Semitic tropes' after House Democrat leadership join Jewish lawmakers and blast her for her 'it's all about the Benjamins' tweet

Claiming 'manufactured crisis': California Democrat governor to withdraw hundreds of National Guard troops from the Mexican border as he slams Trump and says his state 'will not be part of this political theater'Virginia Democrat lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax's law firm puts him 'on leave' and two of his three state-office aides QUIT as investigations launch into a pair of rape accusations 'Virginia needs someone that can heal': Blackface Democrat Governor Ralph Northam explains why he's not resigning as Gayle King lectures him on slavery after he describes them as 'indentured servants from Africa''I can be tough': Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar does NOT deny accusations that she mistreats aides and makes them wash her dishes and do her laundry

Thousands of Denver teachers go on strike for the first time in 25 years after failing to reach a pay deal leading to canceled classes for 5,000 children but city schools remain openJussie Smollett has still not turned over his phone for police to check that he was talking to his manager when he was attacked as neighbors say they don't believe it happened the way he says it didKaty Perry's controversial 'blackface' shoes are to be pulled from retailers as the pop singer comes under fire for the offensive design Daily Mail UK

Top News Stories - Photos (Deutsche Welle) Munich Security Report sees world as a broken puzzleIran marks 40 years since Islamic revolutionWomen press ahead with change in IranOpinion: The revolution in Iran that became a nightmareIran unveils new ballistic missile at underground facility Deutsche Welle

Top News Stories - Photos (Times of Israel) Iran slams U.S. as huge crowds mark 40 years since revolutionIran’s revolution: Political quake still shaking Middle EastIran foreign minister visits Lebanon, offers support for new governmentMossad pulled its agent out of Iran, MI6 smuggled him to UK on dinghy - report

Palestinian suspect arrested for murder of Israeli teen Ori AnsbacherPolice: Forensics at scene led to Palestinian suspect in murder of Israeli teenThe forgotten Jewish woman of nuclear physics who was denied a Nobel Prize Times of Israel

CORRUPTION CHRONICLES - Mainstream Media Scream: (Watch Dog On-Line Publications) El Paso a Major Smuggling Route for Mexican Drugs, Illegal Aliens, Islamic Terrorists Judicial Watch Exposes Another Sanctuary CityVA Evicts Groups that Help Veterans; Dog Park, Baseball Stadium, Prep School Athletic Fields, Upscale Store Parking Stay

Inside Judicial Watch: The Border Crisis, Election Integrity in California and the Clinton Email ScandalJudicial Watch Inside Report: How the Deep State Risked National Security over the Awan Brothers ScandalSuddenly Strategic GuyanaTHE SUN CITY CELL Judicial Watch

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


“Ice Ice Baby” - Vanilla Ice 1990 “Under Pressure” - Queen & David Bowie 1981

“Ice Ice Baby” - Vanilla Ice
Album: To The Extreme
Released 1990 video

Famous Cases of Alleged Music Plagiarism

Vanilla Ice vs. Queen and David Bowie (1990)

Vanilla IceIce Ice Babyvideo

Written by Queen, David BowieUnder Pressure”) video - (sung by Queen, David Bowie (1981)

Nothing really comes from scratch anymore, and music is no exception. The first thing bands talk about when they form are their influences, and they typically start off by (and never really stop) playing other people’s music.

Entire genres, like folk, blues, and hip-hop, are based upon liberal borrowing out of either tradition or necessity. Simply put, every artist you love, no matter how unique, innovative, and game changing they may be, stands on the proverbial shoulders of giants.

With that in mind, famous instances of alleged music plagiarism. Some cases went to court. Others got shrugged off. Sometimes we think we’re listening to the same song twice. Other times we just don’t hear it that way.

The Case: To anyone with functional eardrums, it's clear that Vanilla Ice's pop-rap crossover hit sampled the bass line to the 1981 Queen/Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure”. But Ice famously insisted that the two melodies are distinct because he added a beat between notes. Ice later claimed that this rationale was merely a joke. Representatives for Queen and Bowie weren't laughing and threatened a copyright infringement suit.

The Verdict: The case was settled out of court, costing Ice an undisclosed sum and earning him a not-insignificant amount of public scorn. Bowie and members of Queen all received songwriting credits on the track.

Why It Matters: “Ice Ice Baby” sparked discussion about the punitive actions taken in plagiarism cases. While copyright laws do a fair job of protecting the financial interests of artists, there are fewer measures in place to protect their creative interests. In this instance, Vanilla Ice willfully used a classic hook without permission. Though he paid the price, some argue that isn't enough to make up for the potential credibility lost by Queen and David Bowie, who are now linked to him through a collaboration they had no choice in joining.

Moreover, Ice's weak defense makes this one of the most hilarious copyright cases of all time.

For the most part, the lyrics are a boastful rant about rocking a party, but there is a semblance of story starting with the line, “Rollin' in my 5.0.” We hear about Vanilla rolling through Miami, checking out the lovely ladies when a shooting breaks out. Vanilla is armed (with his 9mm), but doesn't use it, instead hitting the gas and getting out of there. When the police show up, they ignore him (“They passed me up, confronted all the dope fiends”).

Problem solved.

Ice says that he wrote the lyrics in 30 minutes, and they the are based in fact. He told Entertainment Weekly in 2016: “The song tells you the story. It's me, with my top down, in my 5.0 Mustang, cruising down A1A Beachfront Avenue. It's a weekend experience that turned into an amazing song. It's timeless. I still love singing it, and it never gets old.”

This samples the 1980 song “Under Pressurevideo by Queen and David Bowie, but Vanilla Ice never got permission to use it. No lawsuit was filed, but it is likely that Vanilla Ice agreed to pay Queen and Bowie a settlement. According to industry insider Hans Ebert, Brian May of Queen first heard this song in a disco in Germany. He asked the DJ what it was, and learned that it was #1 in the U.S.

A rapper for Death Row Records, Mario “Chocolate” Johnson, claimed that he wrote part of this song and was not given credit, leading to a story that has become hip-hop lore. Label boss Suge Knight, along with Johnson and a football player for the Los Angeles Raiders, visited Vanilla Ice and convinced him to sign over the publishing rights to Death Row. It is rumored that part of the convincing involved hanging Vanilla Ice over a balcony by his ankles, but Ice denied it, saying the story got exaggerated and that Knight was polite in his request. Knight made a lot of money from those publishing rights, which went into Death Row Records and the development of artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac.

On the liner notes of the album, the composer credit is given to Vanilla Ice, Earthquake (his producer, Floyd Brown), and M. Smooth (collaborator Mario Johnson). They also thank MC Hammer, Ice T, Public Enemy, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Cash Money, EPMD, and 2 Live Crew, but there is not mention of Queen or David Bowie. However, Bowie and the members of Queen were later added as composers on the official credits.

When Ice raps about proceeding to “A1A, Beachfront Avenue”, he's referring to the section of State Road A1A in South Beach, Miami where fast cars and beautiful people are found. “Beachfront Avenue” is the nickname for this section, which is officially Collins Avenue. It runs along the famous beaches in Miami and is very much a hot spot.

“Ice ice baby too cold, too cold” is a chant used by the black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha as seen in the 1988 Spike Lee movie School Daze.

Vanilla Ice's original bio, sent to music critics and other industry folks, was fake, claiming he was from Miami and went to high school with Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew. This bio stated that the chorus of this track was “a chant that's done by the Alpha fraternity”. This acknowledgment was removed from all further press materials, which didn't help his standing in the black community.

Vanilla Ice was discovered by Tommy Quon, who owned the City Lights nightclub in Dallas. Quon surrounded him with a black backup crew (the VIP Posse) and hooked him up the the club DJ, Earthquake, who produced two sides of a single for Ice. Distributed by Quon's label Ultrax, the A-side was a cover of “Play That Funky Musicvideo by the disco band Wild Cherry, and the B-side was “Ice Ice Babyvideo. A DJ named Darrell J on the Columbus, Georgia radio station WAGH flipped the single and played “Ice Ice Baby”, which led to a record deal with SBK records. “Play that Funky Musicvideo was released as the follow up, reaching #4 in the U.S. (Ice didn't credit that song's writer, Wild Cherry frontman Rob Parissi, who sued, collecting over $500,000 in royalties.)

This was the first single by a rapper to hit #1 in the U.S. It is not, however, the first #1 hit with a rap - Blondie earned that distinction with “Rapturevideo, which hit the top spot in 1981.

This was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Rap Performance. The award went to MC Hammer's “U Can't Touch Thisvideo. It was only the second year a Grammy was given in the category, and the first was won by DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) for “Parents Just Don't Understandvideo. These choices didn't go over well among many in the rap community who felt they were awarding irrelevant songs that could hardly be considered rap; Public Enemy was nominated along with MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, and protested the show. Ten years later, attitudes changed and Eminem was a big winner at The Grammys.

Vanilla Ice, official website / Rolling Stone / COS / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Vanilla Ice

Image: “To The Extreme (album)” by Vanilla Ice



● Which 1878 Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was subtitled “The Lass that Loved a Sailor”?

Answer to Trivia

● Name five popular dance styles with five-letter names.

Answer to Trivia

● True or false: Those beautiful peacocks, distinguished by their crested head, brilliant plumage, and long spotted back feathers, are always males.

Answer to Trivia

● In 1997 a movie theater was set up in a remote region of northern India, so that the Dalai Lama could view what motion picture starring Brad Pitt?

Answer to Trivia


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IN OLDEN TIMES” ($200)

“Before 100 A.D.: manuscripts are stored in caves, to later be called these scrolls named for a body of water.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer Smithsonian.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IN OLDEN TIMES” ($600)

“5th century B.C.: Athenians carry out an ambitious building program on this hill with a name meaning 'upper city'.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer UNESCO.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IN OLDEN TIMES” ($1,000)

“Around 313: this Roman emperor starts championing Christianity.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “CAPTAINS” ($200)

“This pirate of the Caribbean says, 'My vessel is magnificent and fierce and huge-ish'”

● Answer: Captian Jack Sparrow. Forbes

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “CAPTAINS” ($600)

“This rum calls itself 'the original party spirit'.”

● Answer: Captain Morgan. CaptainMorgan.com

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “CAPTAINS” ($1,000)

“In some versions of the maritime legend, Vanderdecken is the captain of this spectral ship.”

● Answer: The Flying-Dutchman Encyclopædia Britannica

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“George Washington Chopping Down The Cherry Tree - Outhouse In The River”

George Washington Chopping Down The Cherry Tree - Outhouse In The River

“Married Four Times”

Joke of the Day

Married Four Times

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time.

The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation.. “He's a funeral director”, she answered.

“Interesting”, the newsman thought... He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.

She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years.

After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now - in her 80's - a funeral director.

The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

She smiled and explained, ... “I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”