Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 17, 2019

Previous Week   April 22, 2019 - April 28, 2019  Next Week

Benito Mussolini executed on April 28, 1945

Benito Mussolini executed on April 28, 1945

Benito Mussolini executed: On this day in 1945, “Il Duce”, Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.

The 61-year-old deposed former dictator of Italy was established by his German allies as the figurehead of a puppet government in northern Italy during the German occupation toward the close of the war. As the Allies fought their way up the Italian peninsula, defeat of the Axis powers all but certain, Mussolini considered his options. Not wanting to fall into the hands of either the British or the Americans, and knowing that the communist partisans, who had been fighting the remnants of roving Italian fascist soldiers and thugs in the north, would try him as a war criminal, he settled on escape to a neutral country.

He and his mistress made it to the Swiss border, only to discover that the guards had crossed over to the partisan side. Knowing they would not let him pass, he disguised himself in a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, hoping to slip into Austria with some German soldiers. His subterfuge proved incompetent, and he and Petacci were discovered by partisans and shot, their bodies then transported by truck to Milan, where they were hung upside down and displayed publicly for revilement by the masses.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Biography / Getty Images / National Interest.org / Benito Mussolini executed on April 28, 1945 (YouTube) video

Mutiny on the Bounty on April 28, 1789

Mutiny on the Bounty on April 28, 1789

Mutiny on the Bounty: Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty is seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti.

In December 1787, the Bounty left England for Tahiti in the South Pacific, where it was to collect a cargo of breadfruit saplings to transport to the West Indies. There, the breadfruit would serve as food for slaves. After a 10-month journey, the Bounty arrived in Tahiti in October 1788 and remained there for more than five months. On Tahiti, the crew enjoyed an idyllic life, reveling in the comfortable climate, lush surroundings, and the famous hospitality of the Tahitians. Fletcher Christian fell in love with a Tahitian woman named Mauatua.

On April 4, 1789, the Bounty departed Tahiti with its store of breadfruit saplings. On April 28, near the island of Tonga, Christian and 25 petty officers and seamen seized the ship. Bligh, who eventually would fall prey to a total of three mutinies in his career, was an oppressive commander and insulted those under him. By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had apparently handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles. Bligh returned to England and soon sailed again to Tahiti, from where he successfully transported breadfruit trees to the West Indies.

Meanwhile, Christian and his men attempted to establish themselves on the island of Tubuai. Unsuccessful in their colonizing effort, the Bounty sailed north to Tahiti, and 16 crewmen decided to stay there, despite the risk of capture by British authorities. Christian and eight others, together with six Tahitian men, a dozen Tahitian women, and a child, decided to search the South Pacific for a safe haven. In January 1790, the Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island, an isolated and uninhabited volcanic island more than 1,000 miles east of Tahiti. The mutineers who remained on Tahiti were captured and taken back to England where three were hanged. A British ship searched for Christian and the others but did not find them.

In 1808, an American whaling vessel was drawn to Pitcairn by smoke from a cooking fire. The Americans discovered a community of children and women led by John Adams, the sole survivor of the original nine mutineers. According to Adams, after settling on Pitcairn the colonists had stripped and burned the Bounty, and internal strife and sickness had led to the death of Fletcher and all the men but him. In 1825, a British ship arrived and formally granted Adams amnesty, and he served as patriarch of the Pitcairn community until his death in 1829.

In 1831, the Pitcairn islanders were resettled on Tahiti, but unsatisfied with life there they soon returned to their native island. In 1838, the Pitcairn Islands, which includes three nearby uninhabited islands, was incorporated into the British Empire. By 1855, Pitcairn’s population had grown to nearly 200, and the two-square-mile island could not sustain its residents. In 1856, the islanders were removed to Norfolk Island, a former penal colony nearly 4,000 miles to the west. However, less than two years later, 17 of the islanders returned to Pitcairn, followed by more families in 1864. Today, around 40 people live on Pitcairn Island, and all but a handful are descendants of the Bounty mutineers. About a thousand residents of Norfolk Island (half its population) trace their lineage from Fletcher Christian and the eight other Englishmen.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Historic UK / Mutiny on the Bounty on April 28, 1789 (YouTube) video


The Old Salt’s Corner


Ascending towering mountains with the greatest of ease,

laughing as foliage tickles my tummy with soft, feathery leaves.

Endless melodies, I have played, breezing through dangling chimes,

luring enchanted fairies with an orchestra sublime.

Lifting kites of brilliant colors, I choreograph the dance.

Such magnificent, breathtaking moves, never given to chance.

Designer of vast deserts, sculpting massive, lounging dunes.

Artist of the lonely face that rises from the moon.

Donning infinite perfumes; sweetest flowers; savory food,

or the salt of seven seas, when in a traveling mood.

Ghost writer of romantic voyages, sailors and pirates tell;

beached lovers on exotic islands, my gust upon their sail.

I've swooped down through lost canyons, and valleys, emerald green;

lain in meadow's tall lush grass to nap in sun's warm gleam.

My disposition revealed by soft whispers through the trees,

or howls from the north, saddled on winter's cold, pale steed.

Old as God himself, being born of his first breath.

I fill the lungs of eternity, forever evading death.

~ Arlene Smith

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“If you pick up a starving dog

and make him prosperous,

he will not bite you.

That is the principal difference

between dogs and men.”

“Against the assault of laughter

nothing can stand.”

~ Mark Twain

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“The only person you are destined to become

is the person you decide to be.”

“What lies behind us

and what lies before us

are tiny matters compared to

what lies within us.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“Never stop learning,

Never stop learning.”

“When life gets hard

try to remember,

the life you complain about

is only a dream to some people.”

“Before you heal someone,

make sure to ask,

are you willing to give up

the things that made you sick.”

~ Anonymous

Second Hand News

Second Hand News (Links to Articles from Week 17 - April 22, 2019 - April 28, 2019)

Top News Stories - Photos (Washington Examiner) Mueller report contains claim Russia taped Bill Clinton having phone sex with Monica LewinskyHow the measles virus is infecting hundreds after being eliminatedTrump administration’s addition of citizenship question to census to be tested at Supreme CourtTrump orders crackdown on visa overstaysWhite House instructs ex-security chief to fight Oversight subpoenaFormer White House counsel Don McGahn subpoenaed by House Judiciary CommitteeIlhan Omar said ‘thousands’ of Somalis were killed in ‘Black Hawk Down’ mission Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends VA healthcare to veterans: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'

No Collusion: 10 anonymously sourced Trump-Russia bombshells that look like busts

Editor's Picks: U.S. military rules under review after soldiers surrendered pistol to Mexican troops on American soilEvidence of FBI-media 'corruption' coming out before DOJ inspector general reportNovelist Bret Easton Ellis tells “spoiled children” liberals to deal with Trump: “He was elected president. Get over it.”Boston Globe writer urges waiters to ‘tamper’ with food of Republicans Washington Examiner

Top News Stories - Photos (Daily Mail) SRI LANKA EASTER BOMBINGS: 'The terrorists don't know what they took': As death toll climbs to 310Minutes before the blast: Smiling children are pictured at Sunday school service where 14 youngsters died in attack that killed 28 peopleThe missed warnings: Bomb mastermind is ISIS fanatic who called for non-Muslims to be 'eliminated' in online rants - and Sri Lankan intelligence were told of terror plan on April 4

Trump steps up bid to strangle Iran by telling all countries buying its oil to stop or face sanctions - and Tehran hits back with threat to paralyze the Persian GulfSupreme Court to rule on Trump citizenship question on census that Democrats claim will scare off immigrants and harm accuracy of count

Nancy Pelosi tells left wing Democrats she will NOT move to impeach Trump yet - as she jokes she's all for impeaching Attorney General William BarrDemocratic House Judiciary Chair Nadler subpoenas former White House counsel Don McGahn after Mueller report reveals White House counsel refused to fire the special counsel

DEMOCRAT 2020 CONTENDERS: Kamala Harris joins the call for Trump's impeachment during 2020 Democrat town halls as Elizabeth Warren pushes for Congress to start the process of removing him from officeCringe-worthy moment Senator Amy Klobuchar tells the crowd they're 'supposed to cheer' her as she touts her achievements at Democrat town hallElizabeth Warren unveils plan to cancel $640 BILLION in college debt in one-off amnesty she says would be paid for by tax on ultra-wealthy

ISIS brides are trying to recreate the caliphate within refugee camps and have reformed brutal 'morality police' - as they plead to be allowed back to their home countriesU.S. military rules are under review after two soldiers surrendered a pistol to Mexican troops on American soil, Pentagon source revealsFacebook profits predicted to fall by $300 million in rare dip in wake of fake news and privacy scandals Daily Mail UK

Top News Stories - Photos (John Batchelor) The Sri Lanka attack is a warning that soft targets are everywhere and that state security is suddenly limited. audio

In Doha, the Taliban walk out of talks with the US and the Kabul government. audio

Red China accused of stealing cancer research using NIH personnel. audio

U.S. cuts off the Iran oil wavers to friend, foe and frenemy. audio
John Batchelor (04/22/2019)

CORRUPTION CHRONICLES - Mainstream Media Scream: (Watch Dog On-Line Publications) CORRUPTION CHRONICLES: JUDICIAL WATCH SUES FBI FOR RECORDS OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PAYMENTS TO ANTI-TRUMP DOSSIER AUTHOR STEELEJudicial Watch Sues for Communications of Top FBI and Clinton-DNC LawyersJudicial Watch: Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Conviction of Veteran Fined and Jailed for Digging Ponds on his Rural Montana PropeJudicial Watch Sues State Department over John Kerry’s ‘Shadow Diplomacy’ to Prevent U.S. Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal

Ohio Asks Feds to Designate Mexican Cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations After Sinaloa BustCorruption Fuels Border Crisis, Global Economic WoesMost of the $33 Billion in Remittances to Mexico Flow Via U.S. Government Banking ProgramPublic University Charges Student Who Berated Border Patrol Agents Following Judicial Watch Complaint Judicial Watch

How Do Birds Know How to Migrate?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: How Do Birds Know How to Migrate?

Where birds go during the winter, and how they get there, has baffled people in the northern regions of the world for centuries. Aristotle suggested that birds changed species with the seasons; that redstarts turned into robins and garden warblers into blackcaps as the weather cooled. As late as the 19th century, some naturalists thought birds hibernated.

The reality seems almost as crazy as birds morphing species throughout the year. Thousands of bird species (at least 40 percent of the world’s birds) travel between summer breeding grounds and winter enclaves, sometimes crossing continents and oceans to do so. For example, every year, the arctic tern travels 44,000 miles on a meandering path between Greenland and Antarctica. However, seasonal migration is not restricted to flying birds. Emperor penguins march across 70 miles of ice each year from the sea to their breeding ground.

There are a few theories about how birds find their way between their seasonal homes, and there are still some mysteries surrounding how exactly their honing systems work. For many birds, however, migration is an instinct, a journey their bodies are prepared to take when the time comes.

As sunlight hours wane in the fall, photoreceptors in songbirds’ brains respond, setting in motion hormonal changes that cause the birds to molt, eat more, and start jonesing for the open skies. To fatten up for their arduous journey across the Caribbean Sea, for instance, bobolinks, a kind of songbird, up their food intake by almost 40 percent in order to balloon to up to 150 percent of their summer body weight. Along with the desire to gorge comes a restlessness to take flight after sundown and to keep flying throughout the night. It’s known by its German name, zugunruhe. Even captive birds, who have no reason or ability to migrate, feel it.

“As songbirds take to the sky just after sunset, the captives begin flitting against their cages, too”, ornithologist Miyoko Chu explains in her book Songbird Journeys (an invaluable resource for this article). “Their restlessness continues every night, finally ceasing at about the time when the wild birds finally reach their wintering grounds.”

How Do Birds Know How to Migrate?

The direction of their flight, too, is instinctual. One classic study from 1978 found that garden warblers raised in captivity flew in the same cardinal direction as their wild, migrating relatives, even though the captive birds could not see the sky. Some migratory birds can sense magnetic fields and use them to navigate, though how exactly they do this is still somewhat mysterious. Bobolinks, for one, have magnetite in their nasal tissues, and studies of their brains show that neurons associated with vision light up when magnetic fields change. In 2007, researchers at the University of Oldenburg found that garden warblers also seem to be able to see magnetic fields. This may be how the garden warblers in the 1978 study knew even without seeing the sky the direction in which they needed to migrate.

That direction is partially a matter of genetics, resulting in sometimes inefficient routes. In 2008, researchers Peter Berthold and Andreas J. Helbig crossbred birds with different migratory patterns and found that the offspring could not figure out where to go when they migrated. The young birds tried to fly a route halfway between what each of their parents would have taken, following contradictory instincts.

The route itself is not preordained, though. Birds learn how to get to their summer and wintering grounds over time, and younger birds can get lost. In addition to using the Earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves, some birds use the Sun and the stars. Songbirds can see polarized light patterns and use those to find their way, too. According to a 2013 study published in Biogeosciences, pigeons may be able to navigate using their sense of smell, by memorizing certain odors in the wind. If they get lost, they can retrace their flight by flying towards odors they’ve smelled before, in the opposite order from when they were headed out the first time.

Still, some species are worse at migration than others. Whooping cranes, for instance, learn migration routes from older birds. For 15 years, a Canadian charity attempted to teach captive whooping cranes how to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida for the winter by having the youngsters follow ultralight planes because the orphaned birds otherwise wouldn't know to leave the Midwest for sunnier digs, or where to go. (The program was recently shut down after the federal government pulled its funding.)

Environmental conditions can also influence migration. Research on thrushes conducted by Biological Station Rybachy in Russia found that though they will fly through lightning storms, they only take off if weather conditions at sunset aren’t too cold or windy. If it’s colder than 69°F or if wind speeds exceed 6 mph, they’ll hunker down for the night. And if they aren’t fat enough to sustain the journey, they’ll rest up and eat until they gain some weight.

Because there are only so many optimal migration paths, many bird species in the Western Hemisphere have evolved to migrate along some of the same routes, converging on their way between North and South America at several points where wind patterns and other factors might give them an edge in completing dangerous ocean crossings.

Often, birds end up returning to the exact same territory each year. They may even return to the same area where they were hatched as chicks. Research indicates that up to 60 percent of migratory songbirds return to the same place each year. So if you see a warbler around, say “hi”. It’ll probably be back again next year.

Fish & Wildlife.govMental FlossSmithsonian National Zoological Park.eduTexas Parks & Wildlife.govHeard Museum.orgWikipediaWorld Migratory Birdday.org

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Coffin Locker: A personal storage area located underneath a sailor's rack.

Cold Shot, Cold Cat: A catapult launch from a carrier in which insufficient speed is attained to generate lift. Often fatal for the aircrew if they do not eject in time.

Color Company: The recruit company in boot camp that maintains the highest score through the entire eight week evolution; they are given three days special liberty unmonitored. Color Company is also given the honor of being the first company to Pass in Review if there is not a Hall of Fame Company that graduates Boot Camp at the same time.

COMMO: Communications Officer: The officer in charge of the Communications Division. Usually the most junior officer aboard ship.

Commodore: Historically, the designation given to a one-star admiral (presently called Rear Admiral Lower Half). Presently, “Commodore” is the unofficial title of a Captain (O-6) in charge of a squadron of ships or submarines, a wing or group of the same type of aircraft, or a group of SEAL Teams.

COMNAVSNACPAC, COMNAVSNACLANT: A sailor who stores a lot of junk food in their rack. “PAC” refers to the Pacific Fleet and “LANT” to the Atlantic.

COMNAVWIFEPAC: A male sailor's wife.

Comp Time: Compensation Time, time/days off during week for shore-based sailors who had weekend assignments, above and beyond mere watch-standing.

COMRATS: Commuted rations pay.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 (VRC-30 Det 3) - nicknamed the “Crusaders”

United States Navy - Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California / Coronado, California - Established October 27, 1942.

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Tooth and nail”

Tooth and nail:”  Meaning: A fight, undertaken with all one's efforts and with the intensity of a wild animal.

History: 'Tooth and nail' clearly alludes to the fights that are undertaken by wild animals when hunting prey.

The expression has a long history and is one of the older phrases in English that is still in everyday use. The original form when referring to a 'no holds barred' fight was 'with tooth and nail' and it was used that way in the earliest example that is known in print - Sir Thomas More's In A Dialogue of Comfort and Tribulation, circa 1535:

They would fayne kepe them as long as euer they mighte, euen with tooth and nayle.

More is one of the very few English noblemen to become a saint of both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. His refusal to toe Henry VIII's line concerning religion ended with him being tried for high treason by Henry's court in 1535.

More wrote the above line as part of an imaginary dialogue between an old man and a young man who feared he would be executed if he didn't renounce his Christian faith.

Clearly More's text related to his own situation and he stoically refused to change his position, even though he knew it would end in execution. In the Dialogue he advised the young man that, if he held to his faith he would be:

Hawsed [a.k.a. 'hoisted'] vp into heauen, and bee with God by and by.

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Top stories: Voyager 1 probes dark matter, life’s explosive origin, and monogamy’s genetic basisThe bacteria in your gut may reveal your true ageAstronomers still can't decipher the ‘Cow’, a mysterious explosion in deep spaceSurprise: These termites are good for treesThe gluey tentacles of comb jellies may have revealed when nerve cells first evolvedHow an ancient cataclysm may have jump-started life on EarthThese 1000-year-old teeth belonged to a skilled female artist, pigment remains reveal

Science AAAS

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)

Spinning Black Holes Could Open Up Gentle Portals for Hypersonic Spacecraft

Spinning Black Holes Could Open Up Gentle Portals for Hypersonic Spacecraft

One of the most cherished science-fiction scenarios is using a black hole as a portal to another dimension or time or universe. That fantasy may be closer to reality than previously imagined.

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious objects in the universe. They are the consequence of gravity crushing a dying star without limit, leading to the formation of a true singularity — which happens when an entire star gets compressed down to a single point yielding an object with infinite density. This dense and hot singularity punches a hole in the fabric of spacetime itself, possibly opening up an opportunity for hyperspace travel. That is, a shortcut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.

Researchers previously thought that any spacecraft attempting to use a black hole as a portal of this type would have to reckon with nature at its worst. The hot and dense singularity would cause the spacecraft to endure a sequence of increasingly uncomfortable tidal stretching and squeezing before being completely vaporized.

Spinning Black Holes Could Open Up Gentle Portals for Hypersonic Spacecraft

Flying through a black hole

My team at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a colleague at Georgia Gwinnett College have shown that all black holes are not created equal. If the black hole like Sagittarius A*, located at the center of our own galaxy, is large and rotating, then the outlook for a spacecraft changes dramatically. That's because the singularity that a spacecraft would have to contend with is very gentle and could allow for a very peaceful passage.

The reason that this is possible is that the relevant singularity inside a rotating black hole is technically “weak”, and thus does not damage objects that interact with it. At first, this fact may seem counter intuitive. But one can think of it as analogous to the common experience of quickly passing one's finger through a candle's near 2,000-degree flame, without getting burned.

My colleague Lior Burko and I have been investigating the physics of black holes for over two decades. In 2016, my Ph.D. student, Caroline Mallary, inspired by Christopher Nolan's blockbuster film “Interstellar”, set out to test if Cooper (Matthew McConaughey's character), could survive his fall deep into Gargantua - a fictional, supermassive, rapidly rotating black hole some 100 million times the mass of our sun. “Interstellar” was based on a book written by Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Kip Thorne and Gargantua's physical properties are central to the plot of this Hollywood movie.

Building on work done by physicist Amos Ori two decades prior, and armed with her strong computational skills, Mallary built a computer model that would capture most of the essential physical effects on a spacecraft, or any large object, falling into a large, rotating black hole like Sagittarius A*.

Spinning Black Holes Could Open Up Gentle Portals for Hypersonic Spacecraft

Not even a bumbpy ride

What she discovered is that under all conditions an object falling into a rotating black hole would not experience infinitely large effects upon passage through the hole's so-called inner horizon singularity. This is the singularity that an object entering a rotating black hole cannot maneuver around or avoid. Not only that, under the right circumstances, these effects may be negligibly small, allowing for a rather comfortable passage through the singularity. In fact, there may no noticeable effects on the falling object at all. This increases the feasibility of using large, rotating black holes as portals for hyperspace travel.

Mallary also discovered a feature that was not fully appreciated before: the fact that the effects of the singularity in the context of a rotating black hole would result in rapidly increasing cycles of stretching and squeezing on the spacecraft. But for very large black holes like Gargantua, the strength of this effect would be very small. So, the spacecraft and any individuals on board would not detect it.

The crucial point is that these effects do not increase without bound; in fact, they stay finite, even though the stresses on the spacecraft tend to grow indefinitely as it approaches the black hole.

There are a few important simplifying assumptions and resulting caveats in the context of Mallary's model. The main assumption is that the black hole under consideration is completely isolated and thus not subject to constant disturbances by a source such as another star in its vicinity or even any falling radiation. While this assumption allows important simplifications, it is worth noting that most black holes are surrounded by cosmic material — dust, gas, radiation.

Therefore, a natural extension of Mallary's work would be to perform a similar study in the context of a more realistic astrophysical black hole.

Mallary's approach of using a computer simulation to examine the effects of a black hole on an object is very common in the field of black hole physics. Needless to say, we do not have the capability of performing real experiments in or near black holes yet, so scientists resort to theory and simulations to develop an understanding, by making predictions and new discoveries.

Live Science (01/07/2019) video

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


“Because the Night” - Patti Smith 1992

“Because the Night” - Patti Smith
Album: Easter
Released 1978 video

Despite her large cult following and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career (she was inducted in 2007), this was Patti Smith's only hit, making it an anomaly in her discography, which was aimed at a far more narrow audience.

For many not familiar with Smith's career or the history of punk, this is the only recognizable song of hers. The producers of the 2013 movie CBGB played to this audience when they portrayed Smith singing this song at the famous club in 1975 - two years before she recorded it and a year before it was written. In the film, Smith is played by Mickey Sumner, who is Sting's daughter.

Bruce Springsteen started writing this song in 1976, but he couldn't come up with verses. Even if he finished the song, he couldn't record it because he was embroiled in a legal battle with his manager, Mike Appel, that kept him from recording for almost three years.

The song lay dormant until his producer, Jimmy Iovine, convinced him to give a copy to Patti Smith, who eventually got around to filing in the verses and recording the song. Iovine was also producing Smith's Easter album and convinced her to record it for the set.

Smith wrote the verses in one night in 1977 while waiting for her boyfriend, Fred “Sonic” Smith, to call. Fred, a founding member of the MC5, lived in Michigan and performed with his band Sonic's Rendezvous; Patti was in New York. They relied phone calls to stay in touch, but they were both poor and long distance calls were very expensive, so they limited their talks to about once a week, always at night when the rates were cheaper. One night, Patti was expecting his call at 7:30, but it didn't come. That's when she played Springsteen's cassette demo for the first time, listening to it over and over while she wrote lyrics about her yearning love. She got rather specific:

“Love is a ring, a telephone”

By the time Fred called around midnight, the song was done. This was very unusual for her, as she typically took a lot longer to compose lyrics.

Springsteen didn't release a studio version of this song until 2010 for his The Promise album, but he often played it at his live shows with different lyrics. The first time his version was released came in 1986 on the boxed set Live 1975-1985.

As Springsteen was struggling to finish this song, he agreed to Jimmy Iovine's request that Patti Smith could complete it. Springsteen explained why to Mojo magazine August 2010:

“It was a love song and I really wasn't writing them at the time. I wrote these very hidden love songs like “For Youvideo, or “Sandyvideo, maybe even “Thunder Roadvideo, but they were always coming from a different angle.”

“My love songs were never straight out, they weren't direct. That song needed directness and at the time I was uncomfortable with it. I was hunkered down in my samurai position. Darkness… was about stripping away everything - relationships, everything - and getting down to the core of who you were. So that song is the great missing song from Darkness On The Edge. I could not have finished it as good as she did. She was in the midst of her love affair with Fred “Sonic” Smith and she had it all right there on her sleeve. She put it down in a way that was just quite wonderful.”

Smith's producer on the Easter album was Jimmy Iovine, who would go on to great things as a producer and entrepreneur, but was still getting started in the business at the time. “Because The Night” was his first hit as a producer, and he credits Bruce Springsteen for granting him the opportunity. Iovine had worked on Bruce's 1975 Born To Run album, and Springsteen gave him the song to deliver to Smith. This “really launched by career”, Iovine said.

Smith was hesitant to use a song written by someone else, and even after writing the verses she wasn't sure she would record it. Jimmy Iovine and her band members helped convince her to give it a go. “In the end, we were a good match for that particular song”, she told Billboard. “I could have never written a song like that. I'd never write a chorus like that.”

This wasn't the first time they shared a stage: Springsteen joined Smith onstage several times from 1976-1977, while legal battles kept Bruce from recording.

Smith bought her dad a new 1978 Cordoba with the money she made from this song.

Patti Smith, official website / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Patti Smith

Image: “Patti Smith Easter (album)” by Patti Smith



● This substance with chemical formula C1O H14 N2, is considered a poisonous alkaloid, and is used as an insecticide. Millions of humans worldwide consume it daily, voluntarily. What is it called?

Answer to Trivia

● A syndicated TV show is one sold by the producer to TV stations to be aired at any time, rather than being aired nationally at the same scheduled time. According to the Nielsen ratings, what were the three highest rated syndicated TV shows over the past years.

Answer to Trivia

● Which human organ secretes bile, forms blood proteins, and stores vitamins for later release into the bloodstream?

Answer to Trivia

● Which British bacteriologist, who discovered penicillin in 1928, won the 1945 Nobel Prize for this achievement?

Answer to Trivia


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S A TRAP!” ($200)

“The National Motorists Association has a website that monitors these “traps” so you can avoid them.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S A TRAP!” (DD: $2,000)

“The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History says more patents have been given to this device than any other.”

Answer for People Who Do Not Know Everything, or Want to Verify Their Answer The Wire Cutter

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IT'S A TRAP!” ($1,000)

“That restaurant with the fries you love probably has installed this, also called an interceptor.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MARVEL UNIVERSE” ($200)

“His marvel.com bio says he's 'highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat, swordsmanship and hammer throwing'.”

● Answer: “Thor”. Marvel

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MARVEL UNIVERSE” ($600)

“Drax, Gamora & Rocket Raccoon make up part of this team.”

● Answer: The Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MARVEL UNIVERSE” ($1,000)

“In the comics, Natasha Romanova, known by this 'colorful' superhero name, was instructed by the Winter Soldier.”

● Answer: Black Widow. Marvel

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“A Burglar Broke Into A House One Night”

Joke of the Day

“A Burglar Broke Into A House One Night”

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said,

“Jesus knows you're here.”

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze.

When he heard nothing more, after a bit, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard:

“Jesus is watching you.”

Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice

Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

“Did you say that?” he hissed at the parrot.

“Yep”, the parrot confessed, then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you that he is watching you.”

The burglar relaxed. “Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?”

“Moses,' replied the bird.

“Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?”

“The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.”