Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 52, 2019

Previous Week   December 23, 2019 - December 29, 2019  Next Week

Worst air raid on London on December 29, 1940

Worst air raid on London on December 29, 1940

Worst air raid on London: Battle of Britain: On the evening of December 29, 1940, London suffers its most devastating air raid when Germans firebomb the city. Hundreds of fires caused by the exploding bombs engulfed areas of London, but firefighters showed a valiant indifference to the bombs falling around them and saved much of the city from destruction. The next day, a newspaper photo of St. Paul’s Cathedral standing undamaged amid the smoke and flames seemed to symbolize the capital’s unconquerable spirit during the Battle of Britain.

In May and June 1940, Holland, Belgium, Norway, and France fell one by one to the German Wehrmacht, leaving Great Britain alone in its resistance against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s plans for world domination. The British Expeditionary Force escaped the continent with an impromptu evacuation from Dunkirk, but they left behind the tanks and artillery needed to defend their homeland against invasion. With British air and land forces outnumbered by their German counterparts, and U.S. aid not yet begun, it seemed certain that Britain would soon follow the fate of France. However, Winston Churchill, the new British prime minister, promised his nation and the world that Britain would “never surrender,” and the British people mobilized behind their defiant leader.

Worst air raid on London on December 29, 1940

On June 5, the Luftwaffe began attacks on English Channel ports and convoys, and on June 30 Germany seized control of the undefended Channel Islands. On July 10 - the first day of the Battle of Britain according to the RAF–the Luftwaffe intensified its bombing of British ports. Six days later, Hitler ordered the German army and navy to prepare for Operation Sea Lion. On July 19, the German leader made a speech in Berlin in which he offered a conditional peace to the British government: Britain would keep its empire and be spared from invasion if its leaders accepted the German domination of the European continent. A simple radio message from Lord Halifax swept the proposal away.

Germany needed to master the skies over Britain if it was to transport safely its superior land forces across the 21-mile English Channel. On August 8, the Luftwaffe intensified its raids against the ports in an attempt to draw the British air fleet out into the open. Simultaneously, the Germans began bombing Britain’s sophisticated radar defense system and RAF-fighter airfields. During August, as many as 1,500 German aircraft crossed the Channel daily, often blotting out the sun as they flew against their British targets. Despite the odds against them, the outnumbered RAF fliers successfully resisted the massive German air invasion, relying on radar technology, more maneuverable aircraft, and exceptional bravery. For every British plane shot down, two Luftwaffe warplanes were destroyed.

At the end of August, the RAF launched a retaliatory air raid against Berlin. Hitler was enraged and ordered the Luftwaffe to shift its attacks from RAF installations to London and other British cities. On September 7, the Blitz against London began, and after a week of almost ceaseless attacks several areas of London were in flames and the royal palace, churches, and hospitals had all been hit. However, the concentration on London allowed the RAF to recuperate elsewhere, and on September 15 the RAF launched a vigorous counterattack, downing 56 German aircraft in two dogfights that lasted less than an hour.

The costly raid convinced the German high command that the Luftwaffe could not achieve air supremacy over Britain, and the next day daylight attacks were replaced with nighttime sorties as a concession of defeat. On September 19, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler postponed indefinitely “Operation Sea Lion”–the amphibious invasion of Britain. The Battle of Britain, however, continued.

History.com / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Museum of London.org UK / BBC / Engineering and Technology History (ETHW).org / Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum / History.com / Worst air raid on London on December 29, 1940 (YouTube) video

Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 on December 29, 1934

Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 on December 29, 1934

Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930: On this day Japan, pursuing her territorial expansions in Asia, openly refused to abide by the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

While the treaties were indeed limiting her expansion ambitions, it was more so a matter of national face. The Japanese Navy, increasingly controlled by the militaristic Fleet Faction, felt deeply offended that Japan was not viewed as being equals with other world powers such as United States and Britain. The treaty limited Japan to 315,000 in total tonnage of naval strength when the US and Britain were each given a limit of 525,000. The reasons were that the US had to protect two extended coastlines, and Britain had colonial responsibilities world-wide. Japan refused such reasoning, and refused to be treated as a second-rate power.

By end of 1941, Japan would commission the largest battleship known to man, the 65,000-ton Yamato. She alone constituted a third of what the treaty limit would be had Japan abided by it, and Yamato's sistership Musashi was by then already being fitted out in the docks. Meanwhile, Japanese naval aviation was becoming honed as well, as the early aircraft carriers Akagi and Kaga about to undergo total refitting that would transform them into two of the earliest modern aircraft carriers.

Little to Japan's realization, the Washington Treaty could had been used to her advantage. Although the limitation shamed the Fleet Faction officers, in terms of fleet sizes in relation to each nation's respective industrial capacities, the limitation on the American fleet was actually placing a much stricter cap on the United States than Japan. By dismantling the Washington Naval Treaty, Japan indeed opened the first flood gate which would eventually lead to the building of the world's largest fleet, except this fleet would belong to the industrious United States instead of Japan.

The full text of the 1922 treaty.

Work War II Database / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / United States Department of State Archives.gov / Global Security.org / Commons Eastern Michigan University (EMICH).edu / CORE UK / Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 on December 29, 1934 (YouTube) video

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

Understanding Military Terminology

Naval Advanced Logistic Support Site

(DOD) An overseas location used as the primary transshipment point in the theater of operations for logistic support.

Also called NALSS.

See also Logistic support; Naval forward logistic site; Support; Theater of operations.

Joint Publications (JP 3-35) Deployment and Redeployment. Operations - Joint Chiefs of Staff Doctrine

Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization Manual

(DOD) Series of general and specific aircraft procedural manuals that govern the operations of naval aircraft.

Also called NATOPS manual.

Joint Publications (JP 3-04) Joint Shipboard Helicopter Operations

Guarding Christmas

The Old Salt’s Corner

Guarding Christmas

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,

I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,

Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,

Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,

Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep

in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,

But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.

Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,

and I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,

A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A sailor, I puzzled, some twenty years old.

Yet he stood there, huddled here in the cold.

Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,

Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear.

“Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!

Hurry and brush the snow from your sleeve,

You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,

away from the cold and snow blown in a drift,

to the window that danced with a warm fire's light,

then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right.”

I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.

Our freedom comes first 'til the dawn's early light.

It’s my duty to stand at the front of the lines,

that separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,

then he sighed, “That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.”

“My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam

And, now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,

But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red white and blue... an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,

Away from my family, my house and my home,

I can stand at my watch through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a small rack with little to eat,

I can carry the weight of killing another,

or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers

who stand at the front against any and all,

to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside”, he said, “harbor no fright

Your family is waiting and I'll be all right.”

“But isn't there something I can do, at the least,

Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?.

It seems all too little for all that you've done,

For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

“Just tell us you love us, and never forget

To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

Have faith in our country, be bold, and be strong.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,

to know you remember we fought and we bled,

is payment enough, and with that we will trust.

That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“The time will come when it will disgust you to look in the mirror.”

“Now I am in my eighties,

and I have known the joys and sorrows of a full life.

Age, however, has its privileges.

One is to reminisce,

and another is to reminisce selectively.”

“It has been said that time heals all wounds.

I don't agree.

The wounds remain.

Time - the mind,

protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue

and the pain lessens,

but it is never gone.”

“Birds sing after a storm.

Why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?”

~ Rose Kennedy

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“As we express our gratitude,

we must never forget that the highest appreciation

is not to utter words,

but to live by them.”

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion

without the discomfort of thought.”

“Our most basic common link

is that we all inhabit this small planet.

We all breathe the same air.

We all cherish our children’s future.

And we are all mortal.”

~ William Shakespeare

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“Life’s biggest tragedy

is that we get old too soon

and wise too late.”

“Do the right thing ”

even when no one is looking.

It’s called integrity.”

“Mistakes are a great educator

when one is honest enough to admit them

and willing to learn from them.”

~ Anonymous

Second Hand News

Second Hand News (Links to Articles from Week 52 - December 23, 2019 - December 29, 2019)

Top News Stories - Photos (Washington Examiner) Congress leaves impeachment up in the air until JanuaryOne of the most popular chat apps in the U.S. is actually a foreign spy toolDemocrat silent amid calls to apologize after cadets cleared of making white supremacist hand signs

As Pelosi plays games with impeachment, what next for Republicans?'She will yield': Pence aide 'confident' Nancy Pelosi will send articles of impeachment to SenateAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez said America was turning into a fascist society in response to a heckler at a Bernie Sanders rally

GM and Ford joining push for Republican-backed carbon tax ‘Claw them back’: China threatens Huawei’s foreign customers amid warnings from U.S.'Step in the right direction': Actor Pierce Brosnan praises economy under Trump Washington Examiner

Top News Stories - Photos (Daily Mail) Taliban claims responsibility after U.S. soldier is killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan, becoming the 20th American to die in the country this year

Rudy Giuliani fuels Ukraine corruption conspiracy theory by claiming U.S. embassy - led by Marie Yovanovitch - shut down probe into alleged scheme funneling foreign aid money to NGOs run by billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros Donald Trump signs executive order allowing federal employees to take Christmas Eve off with pay for the second year running

Trade breakthrough as China lowers tariffs on 850 products including pork, orange juice, and diabetes drugs as bullish investors expect Trump and Xi to end standoffNuclear talks between the US and North Korea are 'more important than anything', South Korea tells China

China attacks the newly formed U.S. Space Force as a 'direct threat to outer space peace and security'Navy 'ignored flaws in touch-screen control system on the USS McCain that caused collision with oil tanker and killed ten sleeping sailors on the warship'

Where the billionaires are spending Christmas: Map reveals where the world's superyachts including Roman Abramovich's 533-feet vessel are berthed for winter sun Daily Mail UK

The Origins of Christmas

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: The Origins of Christmas

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. December 25 - Christmas Day - has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

The Origins of Christmas

An Ancient Holiday

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.

The Origins of Christmas


In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia - a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun.

Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25.

It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.


History.comEncyclopedia BritannicaHistory Cooperative.orgGot Questions.orgMental FlossWikipediaThe Origins of Christmas (YouTube Search) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

'I Believe' Button: A fictitious button to be pressed when complex technical details are not immediately understood, but there is not time to go into laborious explanation. “Just press the 'I believe' button for now and we'll talk about it later.”

IBM (Instant Boatswain's Mate): Term used to describe a sailor who has just failed out of a rather difficult A-School (Nuc, ET, AT) and will now head to the fleet (and obvious deployment) undesignated. Phraseology: Instant Boatswain's Mate, just add water.

Ice Cream Social: Ice cream that is typically served at 2100 on the mess decks on Sundays when underway.

ID10T: Idiot, pronounced “Eye-Dee-Ten-Tango”. Similar to “bulkhead remover”, an inexpensive way to derive enjoyment from inexperienced personnel. “Recruit, go get me an ID10T form, and step on it!”

Ikeatraz: Derogatory term used to describe the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).


Just for MARINES - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

IAW: In Accordance With, term often used to denote compliance with published orders or procedures.

IG: Inspector General.

ILBE: Improved Load Bearing Equipment, the newest iteration of personal combat gear, utilizes the PALS, replaced MOLLE.

In Country : Phrase referring to being within a war zone.

Incentive/Individual Training or IT: Physical training used as a punishment, especially in recruit training, sometimes nicknamed “incentive torture”, “indoor tennis”, or getting “thrashed/bent/slayed/destroyed” by recruits. See also pitting & quarterdecking.


Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSC-2 Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron TWO (HELSEACOMBATRON TWO or HSC-2) - nicknamed the “Fleet Angels”

United States Navy - Naval Air Station - Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia: April 1, 1987 - Present.

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence:

 Meaning: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' expresses the idea that other people's situations always seem better than one's own. The proverb carries an implied warning that, in reality, the grass is equally green on one's own side and that you should be satisfied with what you have.

History: 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' or, as it is often shortened 'the grass is always greener...' is an early 20th century proverbial saying. However, there are variants of it, which express exactly the same sentiment, from the late 19th century.

The earliest example of the proverb in the 'other side of the fence' form that is now almost always used is from the U.S. newspaper The Kansas Farmer, February 1917:

“Some people are never satisfied anywhere. The grass always looks a little greener on the other side of the fence.”

Earlier variants exists, both in the UK and the USA, which are effectively the same phrase, as in this example from the Pennsylvania newspaper The Public Press, August 1897:

“The [Klondyke gold] mines are wonderful, but probably not so wonderful as represented. Grass is always greener, you know, further away.”

The fact that the above example is a metaphorical usage, that is, one in which the subject is minefields rather than grass, suggests that the expression was already in widespread use by 1897 and may be much earlier in origin.

Phrases.org UK

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Methane not released by wind on Mars, experts findA novel method to characterize genes with high-precision in single cellsPatterns typically observed in water can also be found in lightDense gas detected in intercore bridges in the S235 star-forming regionWant to predict if your non-violent movement will succeed? Ask Isaac NewtonThe proteins that maintain formicamycin biosynthesis fidelityDark matter search yields technique for locating heavy metal seams

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)

No E.T. Life Yet - Here's Why That's Important

No E.T. Life Yet - Here's Why That's Important

It barely got a mention in the media, but in June the U.S. Navy briefed members of Congress on UFOs. The fact that we live in a culture where this is only a minor news story gives me pause; if someday extraterrestrial life actually visits Earth, the story will least make the top 10 list of “Most Significant Things That Have Happened in Human History”. To be fair, the briefing was classified, so we don't actually know what Congress was told. But according to a 2015 survey, 56 percent of Americans already “believe” in UFOs, regardless of what Navy pilots may or may not have seen.

For many people, “UFO” is synonymous with aliens, but it's worth reminding ourselves that it literally stands for “unidentified flying object”. An unidentified object could be just about anything, because … well, it's unidentified. One of our mottos in science is that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This doesn't mean that crazy-sounding things are never true; it means that we should practice due diligence when thinking about overturning well-understood or well-tested ideas. This motto also suggests we keep an eye on Occam's razor—the idea that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true.

Are ridiculously crazy and complex ideas sometimes correct? Absolutely. Should we jump to the conclusion that they're correct without ruling out more vanilla explanations? Probably not. When it comes to UFOs, we might ask ourselves whether it is more likely that E.T. life exists, took an interest in us, traveled who-knows-how-far across the universe, buzzed through our skies, and then disappeared—or, more implausible still, crashed in Roswell, New Mexico? Or is it perhaps more likely that experimental military aircraft or poorly understood natural phenomena are responsible for things we see in the sky but can't identify?

Without “extraordinary” evidence, I'm going with the second option. That being said, most scientists I know (including myself) think that finding extraordinary evidence for E.T. life would be one of the most paradigm-shifting discoveries in all of human history. But we also have to be mindful of confirmation bias—the well-documented fact that the more we want something to be true, the more likely we are to believe it, and the less likely we are to apply a truly critical eye. But in fact, as I often tell my students, the more we want something to be true, the more critical we have to try to be. Or as Richard Feynman put it:

”The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”

In my view, even if unidentified flying objects are terrestrial in origin, they warrant understanding. Hoaxes aside, studying genuinely unidentified objects could give us new scientific insights, or provide information on threats to national security. Just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it isn't worthy of serious academic study. In fact, I would argue that the more rare a phenomenon is, the more insight it is likely to give us into how things work.

No E.T. Life Yet - Here's Why That's Important

Since 1947 there have been three (known) formal investigations into UFOs: Project Sign (1947 - 1949), Project Grudge (1949–1951), and Project Blue Book (1952–1969). As part of Project Blue Book, the Condon Committee was convened in 1966, including such luminaries as the late Carl Sagan, and tasked with carrying out an independent analysis of available data on UFOs. Perhaps not surprising, but disappointing to many, the committee did not find that any of the UFO reports they examined required extraordinary explanations. It is, however, interesting to note that roughly 6 percent of the 10,147 UFO reports the U.S. Air Force investigated were classified as “unidentified”. That is still over 600 cases.

Of these unidentified cases, the Condon Committee concluded that, “most of the cases so listed are simply those in which the information available does not provide an adequate basis for analysis.” Some cases, however, raised eyebrows. For example, the Lakenheath-Bentwaters Incident, which took place in England in 1956, involved both the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force. About this case, the committee reported, "in conclusion, although conventional or natural explanations certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high." What actually happened? Who knows? This was over 60 years ago. Our scientific technology was far behind what it is now. Then again, so was our ability to pull off hoaxes.

Much of the problem with cases like Lakenheath-Bentwaters is that they are not repeatable. When something happens just once and never again, it is really hard to test our hypotheses—and the bedrock of the scientific method is that a hypothesis simply must be testable to be handled scientifically. Another famed example of a nonrepeating and unresolved case happened in 1977 with the “Wow!” signal. An extremely strong narrow-band radio signal was detected by the Big Ear radio telescope at almost exactly the frequency of a fundamental hydrogen transition line (1420.41 MHz), which we expect an E.T. civilization might use to communicate. Fast-forward 40 years, and astronomers identify a previously unknown comet that was passing by back in 1977 and could have accounted for the "Wow!" signal. Does this new discovery rule out an E.T. origin? Nope. But Occam's razor suggests that a comet that we know exists—and we know could have caused the signal—seems a tad more likely.

Extraterrestrial life was also on the table as an option in 1967 when Jocelyn Bell Burnell observed short radio pulses coming from a fixed location in the sky - and repeating. Because the pulses repeated, it was possible to rule out conventional explanations such as stars, or Earth-based emissions. As Burnell writes about the potential of E.T. life, “obviously the idea had crossed our minds and we had no proof that it was an entirely natural radio emission.” With the E.T. hypothesis still on the table, the radio source was even nicknamed LGM-1 (“Little Green Men 1”). But the source did repeat, and more of these repeating radio sources were found, and hypotheses could be tested. What were these mysteries signals? Burnell had discovered pulsars, extraordinary dense and spinning remnants of supernova. While an E.T. life origin for the signals was ruled out, the discovery of pulsars has been of such importance to understanding our universe that they have resulted in two Nobel Prizes.

No E.T. Life Yet - Here's Why That's Important

I will admit that our repeated failures to detect signs of E.T. is a downer. One reason this gets to me is because of something called “Fermi's Paradox”. In a nutshell, given some basic assumptions about life, one could reasonably conclude that our galaxy ought to be teeming with it. So as Enrico Fermi famously asked: "Where are they?" There are three main categories of solutions: First, life could be really, really, really hard to get going. Our very limited evidence on Earth suggests this is not so; life arose on our planet almost as soon as it possibly could have. But a singular data point is not sufficient. We can't at present rule out that we are utterly alone in our galaxy, if not the entire cosmos. That is depressing.

The second class of explanations suggests that there is, in fact, E.T. life, but we just haven't detected it. That could be because we just haven't looked very hard yet, or because we are not looking in the right way, or because they don't want us to see them. Given the age of the universe and our galaxy, if life isn't super-hard to emerge, we are statistically most likely to be cosmic babies. In this context, E.T. life is likely to be millionsof years more technologically advanced than we are. Thinking about how far our technology has come in the last 100 years, it is unfathomable to think what we might be capable of in a million. If we survive that long. If E.T. life is millions of years more advanced than we are, and they don't want us to know about them, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't know about them.

Then there is the third set of solutions to Fermi's paradox. These go along the lines of the following: Life has formed and evolved elsewhere. Maybe lots of times. But it doesn't exist now. There are lots of ways the universe could kill us, for example a major asteroid impact. If we were sufficiently technologically advanced, however, I give us a fighting chance. Or we might kill ourselves off. This is where Fermi's Paradox gets really depressing. We are in our technological adolescence, by which I mean we are smart enough to destroy ourselves, but maybe aren't smart enough not to do so. It could be that any civilization that becomes sufficiently technologically advanced is doomed to destroy itself.

For the time being, as far as we know, we are the only sentient life capable of trying to understand the universe. If we screw up, it doesn't look like anyone is going to come to save us. I kind of hope that E.T. life is out there, millions of years more advanced, and just waiting for us to grow up before it stops by for a visit. And I hope that headline actually makes the front page above the fold.

Live Science (08/05/2019) video

Second Hand News

Second Hand News (Links to Articles from Week 52 - December 23, 2019 - December 29, 2019) - Part Deux

CORRUPTION CHRONICLES - Mainstream Media Scream: (Watch Dog On-Line Publications) CORRUPTION CHRONICLES: Judicial Watch Sues Rep. Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee for Phone Subpoenas Targeting Trump

“Investigating the Investigators:” How Judicial Watch Inspired Durham to Investigate Brennan-Clapper-CNN Communications

Pelosi Coup Update

U.S. Gives Haiti $21 Million to Bear “Socio-Political Impasse” After Billions in Aid Vanish

California Law Spurs Companies to Add Female Directors Judicial Watch

Top News Stories - Photos (John Batchelor) FISA court demands answers starting January 10. audio  

Impeachment delayed: Cannot rule out stupid. audio  

The very odd twist along the impeachment trail. audio  

Deduction: it’s Brennan who’s leaking - for cause. audio  

Impeachment and the Supreme Court. audio   2 of 2 audio   John Batchelor (12/23/2019)

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


“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” - The Beatles 1965)

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” - The Beatles
Album: Rubber Soul
Released 1965 video

This was the first pop song to use a sitar - George Harrison played it. Harrison was new to the sitar and took many takes to get it right. He bought the instrument, which he described as “crummy”, and taught himself to play. It was David Crosby of The Byrds who introduced Harrison to the sitar shortly after the folk musician Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. A few months later, Harrison studied the sitar with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who helped Harrison explore Eastern music and religion.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1971, John Lennon explained why it was decided to use the sitar on this song. He recalled:

“I think it was at the studio. George had just got the sitar and I said 'Could you play this piece?' We went through many different sort of versions of the song, it was never right and I was getting very angry about it, it wasn't coming out like I said. They said, 'Well just do it how you want to do it' and I said, 'Well I just want to do it like this.' They let me go and I did the guitar very loudly into the mike and sang it at the same time and then George had the sitar and I asked him could he play the piece that I'd written, you know, dee diddley dee diddley dee, that bit, and he was not sure whether he could play it yet because he hadn't done much on the sitar but he was willing to have a go, as is his wont, and he learned the bit and dubbed it on after. I think we did it in sections.”

John Lennon said of this song:

“I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences - girl's flats, things like that. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn't want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I'd always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair, but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn't tell. But I can't remember any specific woman it had to do with.”

Norwegian Wood is a fake wood that was used to make cheap furniture. John Lennon claimed he had no idea where the title came from, but Paul McCartney said he came up with it, inspired by the Norwegian Wood in the Asher household, where he was staying. McCartney was dating Jane Asher, and was good friends with her brother, Peter Asher from the duo Peter and Gordon.

There are not many lyrics in this song, but they tell the story of a man who gets invited to a girl's house. When she won't let him into her bed, he sleeps in the tub. When she leaves the next morning, he sets the place on fire. It was one of the first songs Lennon wrote that told a complete story.

The Beatles recorded this on October 12, 1965, the first day of the Rubber Soul sessions. The first take of the song, which is included on the Anthology 2 CD and includes George's sitar much more prominently, was originally going to be put on Rubber Soul until a remake was made a week or two later. The notes in the Anthology 2 album verify this.

Ringo played the finger cymbals on this track.

Bob Dylan wrote a parody of sorts to this song called “Fourth Time Aroundvideo, which appears on his 1966 album Blonde On Blonde. His song uses a similar melody; it also tells a story about a strange encounter with a girl.

It was Paul McCartney who came up with the album title Rubber Soul. Lennon told Rolling Stone that he supposed it was a pun meaning English Soul. He added:

“There is no great mysterious meaning behind all of this, it was just four boys working out what to call a new album.”

The Beatles, official site (The Official Top 50 biggest selling Beatles singles revealed) / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / Ultimate Classic Rock / Wikipedia

Image: “Rubber Soul (album)” by The Beatles



Eight (no Rudolph!) reindeer are featured in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

A Charlie Brown Christmas: In dictating a letter to Santa, Sally ultimately asks Santa for one gift - “Just send money. How about tens and twenties?”.

In the early 1800s, the first gingerbread houses were reportedly inspired by the famous fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”.

Coca-Cola has been using Santa Claus in its advertising since 1931.

The Nutcracker a Christmas-themed ballet premiered in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1892.

The Christmas edible Fruitcake is known for its long shelf life.

● What Christian group banned Christmas in Boston from 1659 to 1681?

Answer to Trivia

● Before becoming associated with Christmas what was Yule?

Answer to Trivia

● What Roman holiday held from December 17th to the 23rd had a large influence on how Christmas was celebrated?

Answer to Trivia

● Among Christians who lived in the East, when was Christmas originally celebrated?

Answer to Trivia

● In what century was the first written use of Xmas?

Answer to Trivia

● The modern Santa Claus is mainly a mix of what two figures?

Answer to Trivia

● What political cartoonist is largely responsible for defining what the modern Santa Claus looks like?

Answer to Trivia


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ACCORDING TO BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY” ($200)

“'Parental' this is 'given on a minor's behalf... for the minor to engage in or submit to a specified activity'.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ACCORDING TO BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY” ($400)

“The act...of officially nullifying punishment or other legal consequences of a crime.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ACCORDING TO BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY” ($600)

“A person who settles on property without any legal claim or title.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ACCORDING TO BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY” ($800)

“A writ... directing a law enforcer to make an arrest, a search, or a seizure.”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “ACCORDING TO BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY” ($1,000)

“The judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be a valid will.”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IDIOMS AROUND THE WORLDS” ($200)

“If someone gets upset in France, this condiment “got up his nose” - Dijon, I expect.”

● Answer: Mustard. France Travel Planner

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IDIOMS AROUND THE WORLDS” ($400)

“The Cheyenne ask, “are you still riding the goat?” to see if you are still on the outs with this person.”

● Answer: Your wife. Cheyenne Language.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “IDIOMS AROUND THE WORLDS” ($1,000)

“In Russia if you're kidding me, you're hanging noodles from my ears; we use this idiom related to a lower paired body part.”

● Answer: You're pulling my leg. Phrases.org UK

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

“The Sanity Clause - A Night at the Opera”

Joke of the Da

The Sanity Clause video

Joke of the Da

What do you call Santa’s little helpers?

Subordinate clauses.

How did the ornament get addicted to Christmas?

He was hooked on trees his whole life.

Why do mummies like Christmas so much?

They’re into all the wrapping.

What do you call a blind reindeer?

I have no eye deer.

What do you call an obnoxious reindeer?


What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?


What do you call a scary looking reindeer?

A cariboo.

What do reindeers say before they tell you a joke?

This one’s gonna sleigh you!

What’s the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet??

The Christmas alphabet has No-el.

What did Adam say to his wife on Christmas?

It’s finally Christmas, Eve!

Viking named Rudolph the Red

One night a Viking named Rudolph the Red was looking out the window when he said, “It’s going to rain”.

His wife asked, “How do you know?”

“Because Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”