Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 29, 2020

Previous Week   July 13, 2020 - July 19, 2020  Next Week

French revolutionaries storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789

French revolutionaries storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789

French revolutionaries storm the Bastille: Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress and prison that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs.

This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.

French revolutionaries storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789

By the summer of 1789, France was moving quickly toward revolution. Bernard-René Jordan de Launay, the military governor of the Bastille, feared that his fortress would be a target for the revolutionaries and so requested reinforcements.

On July 12, royal authorities transferred 250 barrels of gunpowder to the Bastille, and Launay brought his men into the massive fortress and raised its two drawbridges.

At dawn on July 14, a great crowd armed with muskets, swords, and various makeshift weapons began to gather around the Bastille. Launay’s men were able to hold the mob back, but as more and more Parisians were converging on the Bastille, Launay raised a white flag of surrender over the fortress.

French revolutionaries storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789

Launay and his men were taken into custody, the Bastille’s gunpowder and cannons were seized, and the seven prisoners were freed. Upon arriving at the Hotel de Ville, where Launay was to be arrested and tried by a revolutionary council, he was instead pulled away by a mob and murdered.

The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.

History Channel / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Open.edu / Library Point.org / Library Of Congress / National Archives.gov.UK / Monticello.org / Smithsonian / French revolutionaries storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789 (YouTube) video

“This Day in History”

This Day in History July 14

• 1789 Alexander Mackenzie Completes his journey to the mouth of the great river he hoped would take him to the Pacific, but which turns out to flow into the Arctic Ocean. Later named after him, the Mackenzie is the second-longest river system in North America.

• 1790 French Revolution: Citizens of Paris celebrate the unity of the French people and the national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.

• 1790 Priestley Riots: Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, is driven out of Birmingham, England.

• 1798 Sedition Act: Becomes law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.

• 1874 Chicago Fire of 1874: Burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago's city council.

• 1877 The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 Begins in Martinsburg, West Virginia, when wages of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers were cut for the third time in a year. The strike was ended on Sept 4 by local and state militias, and federal troops.

• 1881 Billy the Kid Is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.

• 1911 Harry Atwood An exhibition pilot for the Wright brothers, lands his airplane at the South Lawn of the White House - later awarded a Gold medal from U.S. President William Howard Taft for this feat.

• 1916 World War I: Battle of the Somme; Battle of Delville Wood starts which was to last until September 3, 1916.

• 1933 Gleichschaltung: In Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party.

• 1933 Nazi eugenics Begins with the proclamation of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring that calls for the compulsory sterilization of any citizen who suffers from alleged genetic disorders.

• 1938 Howard Hughes Sets a new record by completing a 91-hour airplane flight around the world.

• 1950 Korean War: Battle of Taejon; Early battle of the Korean War, between U.S. and North Korean forces.

Understanding Military Terminology: At the Marine Corps Museum: Norman Rockwell's “The War Hero”

Understanding Military Terminology

Organization for Combat

(DOD) In amphibious operations, task organization of landing force units for combat, involving combinations of command, ground and aviation combat, combat support, and combat service support units for accomplishment of missions ashore.

See also Amphibious Operation; Task Organization.

Joint Publications (JP 3-02) Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations

Organization for Embarkation

In amphibious operations, an organization consisting of temporary landing force task organizations established by the commander, landing force and a temporary organization of Navy forces established by the commander, amphibious task force for the purpose of simplifying planning and facilitating the execution of embarkation.

See also Amphibious Operation; Embarkation; Landing Force; Task Organization.

Joint Publications (JP 3-02) Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations

Organization for Landing

In amphibious operations, the specific tactical grouping of the landing force for the assault.

Joint Publications (JP 3-02) Joint Doctrine for Amphibious Operations

“The Odyssey”

The Old Salt’s Corner

“The Odyssey”

Book X

Thence we went on to the Aeoli island where lives Aeolus son of Hippotas, dear to the immortal gods. It is an island that floats (as it were) upon the sea, iron bound with a wall that girds it. Now, Aeolus has six daughters and six lusty sons, so he made the sons marry the daughters, and they all live with their dear father and mother, feasting and enjoying every conceivable kind of luxury. All day long the atmosphere of the house is loaded with the savour of roasting meats till it groans again, yard and all; but by night they sleep on their well-made bedsteads, each with his own wife between the blankets. These were the people among whom we had now come.

“Aeolus entertained me for a whole month asking me questions all the time about Troy, the Argive fleet, and the return of the Achaeans. I told him exactly how everything had happened, and when I said I must go, and asked him to further me on my way, he made no sort of difficulty, but set about doing so at once. Moreover, he flayed me a prime ox-hide to hold the ways of the roaring winds, which he shut up in the hide as in a sack- for Jove had made him captain over the winds, and he could stir or still each one of them according to his own pleasure. He put the sack in the ship and bound the mouth so tightly with a silver thread that not even a breath of a side-wind could blow from any quarter. The West wind which was fair for us did he alone let blow as it chose; but it all came to nothing, for we were lost through our own folly.”

“Nine days and nine nights did we sail, and on the tenth day our native land showed on the horizon. We got so close in that we could see the stubble fires burning, and I, being then dead beat, fell into a light sleep, for I had never let the rudder out of my own hands, that we might get home the faster. On this the men fell to talking among themselves, and said I was bringing back gold and silver in the sack that Aeolus had given me. 'Bless my heart,' would one turn to his neighbour, saying, 'how this man gets honoured and makes friends to whatever city or country he may go. See what fine prizes he is taking home from Troy, while we, who have travelled just as far as he has, come back with hands as empty as we set out with- and now Aeolus has given him ever so much more. Quick- let us see what it all is, and how much gold and silver there is in the sack he gave him.' ”

“Thus they talked and evil counsels prevailed. They loosed the sack, whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out to sea and away from our own country. Then I awoke, and knew not whether to throw myself into the sea or to live on and make the best of it; but I bore it, covered myself up, and lay down in the ship, while the men lamented bitterly as the fierce winds bore our fleet back to the Aeolian island.”

“The Odyssey” - Book X continued ...

~ Homer

Written 800 B.C.E

Translated by Samuel Butler

“The Odyssey” - Table Of Contents

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin”

“You are the average of the people you hang out with.”

“The house does not rest on the ground,

but upon a woman.”

“If you’re not going to drink that water,

let it flow.”

~ Mexican proverb

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“And remember each 10,000 mile journey begins with just 1 step.”

“Dig the well before you are Thirsty.”

“Teachers Open the Doors.

You Enter by Yourself.”

~ Chinese proverb

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Learned”

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.”

“Some beach somewhere,

there's a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair.

Palm trees are growing,

warm breezes blowing.

picture myself there,

some beach somewhere.”

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on,

long after our footprints in the sand are gone.”

~ Anonymous

Second Hand News

Second Hand News: Articles from Week 29 - July 13, 2020 - July 19, 2020

Top News Stories - Photos (Washington Examiner) “People will die:” Violent U.S.-China clash possible soon, senior Republican lawmaker saysPress-pummeling White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany succeeds by channeling TrumpTrump denies Minnesota governor's request for $500M to repair damage from riots

Robert Mueller speaks out after Trump commutes Roger Stone prison sentenceEx-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Republican primary runoff for Senate in Alabama.Sessions primary tests Trump influence with the Republican baseTrump backed off shipping reform under political pressure, former advisers claim

Trump wears a mask in public for first time during coronavirus pandemicsGovernor Ron DeSantis pushes back on Fauci warning that Florida is reopening too fast as coronavirus cases spikePandemic delays to elective procedures cause difficulties for hospitals, surgeons, and patients

Ohio Democrats got a PPP loan: Just the kind of thing Thomas Massie warned aboutSeattle holds training session for white employees aimed at affirming 'complicity in racism' and 'undoing whiteness' Fake News: Supposed COVID victim promoted by NBC didn't even have the virus

MOST READ: Appeals court stays decision ordering judge to dismiss Michael Flynn case'Trump denies Minnesota governor's request for $500M to repair damage from riots

Police seize rifle from St. Louis couple who waved guns at protestersFive Guys employees fired or suspended after refusing to serve Alabama police officersMSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace: Expect 'rumors' about William Barr nearly resigning Washington Examiner

Top News Stories - Photos (The Federalist) Democrat Senator Robert Byrd - Ku Klux Klan Organizer, Remains Virtually Untouchable: West Virginia Democrats Silent About Memorials To KKK-Supporting ColleaguePolice Seize Gun From St. Louis Couple Threatened By MobMichigan’s Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer Signs Sweeping Mask Order Threatening Violators With $500 FineAlexander Vindman Cries ‘Retaliation’ While President Promotes Another Impeachment Witness

Statue Destruction Is ‘Always Followed By People’Phoenix Democrat Mayor Peddles Misinformation About Hospital Morgue Space To Pick Partisan FightBaseball Rules Changes Will Harm The National Pastime’s ComebackDisparate Treatment Of Drew Brees And DeSean Jackson Reveals Insanity Over Acceptable Speech

MOST READ: NBC Contributor Reveals He Never Tested Positive For COVID After Network Followed His Alleged RecoveryBrazen Lying Is Media’s Latest Escalation In Campaign Against TrumpBlack Lives Matter In Public Schools Is Turning Kids Into Little MarxistsWhy We Can’t Trust Anything ‘The Science’ Says Any More

Why Do So Many White Women Hate Themselves?The Progressive Left Is Becoming Blatantly RacistTrump Was Right All Along: The Fake News Media Really Is The Enemy Of The PeopleShootings And Killings Surge In Democrat-Run Cities Across the Country The Federalist

Top News Stories - Photos (CORRUPTION CHRONICLES - Mainstream Media Scream: (Watch Dog On-Line Publications) CORRUPTION CHRONICLES: Samantha Power’s Massive Unmasking Effort

“Investigating the Investigators:” Judicial Watch Victory: California Court Rules Taxpayer Lawsuit Against Gender Quotas for Corporate Boards May Go Forward

Judicial Watch and Daily Caller News Foundation Sue for Joe Biden Senate Records at University of Delaware

The Fight For Joe Biden’s Senate Records

The Supreme Court Abortion Ruling & the FDA’s Organ Trafficking Judicial Watch

OUTING FAKE NEWS OMISSIONS and DISTORTIONS: On MSNBC: Joy Reid Regular: Biden Should Pardon All 78,000 'Non-Violent' Drug CriminalsHere’s How the Washington Post Lied About Trump’s Mount Rushmore SpeechsUnhinged New York Times: Trump’s Facebook Posts ‘Hateful and Violent Speech,’ Harmed ‘Civil Rights’On CNN: John Berman and Alisyn Camerota: Ana Navarro Goes On Insane Rant Against Trump Supporters

MSNBC Evening Shows Gave 137 Minutes to Expert Who Said He Had Coronavirus (He Didn’t)ON MSNBC: Lawrence O'Donnell Touts Democrat Conspiracy Theory, Tosses Softballs to Biden VP HopefulOn MSNBC: Andrea Mitchell Mis-Corrects Trump Over Fauci Mask Flip-FlopOn MSNBC: UNHINGED Rachel Maddow Fumes: Trump Election Was ‘a Crime’ News Busters

Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop? Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop?

Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop?

Going to the zoo can be a great adventure, especially if you find poop hurtling in your direction. The likely perpetrators, chimpanzees, are known to sometimes throw their feces at visitors. But what's the reason behind this behavior?

And, more importantly, should you consider yourself lucky to be the center of their attention?

Throwing feces is not a regular occurrence for primates, at least not most of them. Primates in the wild don't normally throw feces, Karen Strier, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Live Science. It's typically observed in captive populations of chimpanzees, although other primates, such as wild howler monkeys in western Belize, are also known to throw poop.

Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop?

In her research, Strier studies the northern muriqui (Brachyteles hypoxanthus), which may be one of the most peaceful primates in the world. These animals live in the forests of Brazil, and they don't have social hierarchies in their groups. This even-footing might make aggression unnecessary, at least for those monkeys, Strier said.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), on the other hand, do have hierarchical social groups. They are known to drag tree branches or throw rocks when they are frustrated or annoyed or when they want to display dominance.

“They're capable of expressing so much … they're really good communicators”, said Ronnie Steinitz, a doctoral student in the Integrative Anthropological Sciences program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Throwing rocks and branches is part of how these animals communicate, and being a good communicator can be an advantage in their society. For example, a male chimpanzee who can get back on the good side of an alpha male after a fight - meaning he's likely a good communicator - might not get shunned from the group. Experts think that in male chimpanzees reconciling after an aggressive conflict leads to social bonding and helps to establish the hierarchy.”

Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop?

Moreover, a 2012 study published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B suggested that chimpanzees that are better at throwing objects have more developed brains.

In zoo environments, especially if groups of people are staring at them, the chimps may get riled up or frustrated, and they may decide to convey that emotion to their captive audience.

“Since they're usually deprived of rocks, or branches, or any small objects like that, for this exact reason, they opt for the next best thing that they have within reach, which is usually poop”, Steinitz told Live Science. “This explains why you might need to take cover next time you're at the ape house.”

However, there is a silver lining: If you're not bothering the chimpanzees, you should be flattered that these primates consider you worthy of their poop-throwing attention.

“Think of it as another intelligent being trying to communicate with you”, Steinitz said.

Why Haven't All Primates Evolved into Humans?

Why Is Poop Brown?

Why Do Some Animals Eat Their Own Poop?

Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop?

Live Science / Wikipedia / Encyclopedia Britannica / Jane Goodall / Phys.org / Quora / Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Poop? (YouTube) video

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Non-Comm: A non-commissioned officer, E4-E9.

Non-skid: A rough epoxy coating used for grip on weather decks.

Nonskid Wax: A fictitious substance used for waxing non-skid decks, something junior sailors are sent looking for.

Non-Qual (Submarine Service): A sailor who has not yet earned his Submarine Warfare Qualification (Dolphins).

Noodle: Commonly referred to as a goofy, borderline retarded sailor with a big head (like a meatball) and a small body like a noodle. Sometimes used especially of the sailors from the USS Mathers.

Noodle-winger: Helicopter pilot.

Norfucked: What you are when you get orders to Norfolk, Virginia. “[I/You] just got Norfucked!”.

Noted Usually passed down from an officer to a blue shirt, when the blue shirt tells the officer of something that will have little or no positive effect on the officer, but may have a great effect on the blue shirt. “Sir, if we do this thing now I can go home as soon as it's done.” Officer: “Noted.” Can also be said to an officer, but beware of over-usage.

No-Shitter: A sea story which is mostly (never completely) fictional, and unverifiab-shitter, I gole as well. Examples: “Hey, this is no shit, but I once blah blah blah...” or “Hey this is a not a buddy who once blah blah blah...”


Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

HSM-71 Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron SEVEN ONE - nicknamed the “Raptors”

United States Navy Naval Air Station - Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Base Coronado, San Diego, California / Coronado, California / Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron - HSM-71: January 1, 2007 – present.

Where Did That Saying Come From

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Where Did That Saying Come From? “The more the merrier”

The more the merrier:

Meaning: The more people who are present, the better an occasion or situation (especially a party) will be.

History: The proverbial saying 'the more the merrier' is first found in John Heywood's 1546 glossary “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue”:

“Haue among you blynde harpers (sayd I.)

The mo the merier.”


Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complexStudy reveals a role for jumping genes during times of stressA fast and inexpensive device to capture and identify virusesAstronomers study peculiar kinematics of multiple stellar populations in Messier 80 Phys.org / MedicalXpress / TechXplore

Our favorite Science photos of 2019Watch a NASA spacecraft probe the mysteries of the martian atmosphereAs coral reefs suffer around the world, those in French Polynesia are thrivingTop stories: Dinosaur lice, mysterious Egyptian head cones, and the importance of grandmother whales 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)

First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star

First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star

Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Summary: Comet 2I/Borisov is a mysterious visitor from the depths of space - the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. Hubble images capture the comet streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It's only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

When astronomers see something in the universe that at first glance seems like one-of-a-kind, it's bound to stir up a lot of excitement and attention. Enter comet 2I/Borisov. This mysterious visitor from the depths of space is the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. We don't know from where or when the comet started heading toward our Sun, but it won't hang around for long. The Sun's gravity is slightly deflecting its trajectory, but can't capture it because of the shape of its orbit and high velocity of about 100,000 miles per hour.

These two images, taken by Hubble, capture comet 2I/Borisov streaking though our solar system and on its way back to interstellar space. It is only the second interstellar object known to have passed through the solar system.

November 16, 2019, photo

The comet appears in front of a distant background spiral galaxy (2MASX J10500165-0152029). The galaxy's bright central core is smeared in the image because Hubble was tracking the comet. Comet Borisov was approximately 203 million miles from Earth in this exposure. Its tail of ejected dust streaks off to the upper right. The comet has been artificially colored blue to discriminate fine detail in the halo of dust, or coma, surrounding the central nucleus. It also helps to visually separate the comet from the background galaxy.

First identified comet to visit our solar system from another star

December 9, 2019, photo

Hubble revisited the comet shortly after its closest approach to the Sun where it received maximum heating after spending most of its life in frigid interstellar space. The comet also reached a breathtaking maximum speed of about 100,000 miles per hour. Comet Borisov is 185 million miles from Earth in this photo, near the inner edge of the asteroid belt but below it. The nucleus, an agglomeration of ices and dust, is still too small to be resolved. The bright central portion is a coma made up of dust leaving the surface. The comet will make its closest approach to Earth in late December at a distance of 180 million miles.

“Hubble gives us the best upper limit of the size of comet Borisov's nucleus, which is the really important part of the comet”, said David Jewitt, a UCLA professor of planetary science and astronomy, whose team has captured the best and sharpest look at this first confirmed interstellar comet. ”Surprisingly, our Hubble images show that its nucleus is more than 15 times smaller than earlier investigations suggested it might be. Our Hubble images show that the radius is smaller than half a kilometer. Knowing the size is potentially useful for beginning to estimate how common such objects may be in the solar system and our galaxy. Borisov is the first known interstellar comet, and we would like to learn how many others there are.”

Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered the comet on August 30, 2019, and reported the position measurements to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, working with the Minor Planet Center, computed an orbit for the comet, which shows that it came from elsewhere in our Milky Way galaxy, point of origin unknown.

Nevertheless, observations by numerous telescopes show that the comet's chemical composition is similar to the comets found inside our solar system, providing evidence that comets also form around other stars. By the middle of 2020 the comet will have already zoomed past Jupiter's distance of 500 million miles on its way back into the frozen abyss of interstellar space.

Science Daily (12/12/2019) video

Second Hand News

Second Hand News: Articles from Week 29 - July 13, 2020 - July 19, 2020

Top News Stories - Photos (Daily Mail) NBC's Dr. Joseph Fair - who claimed he caught COVID-19 on a plane through his eyeball and has appeared on Meet the Press to update viewers on his progress - admits he has tested negative and NEVER had it

Scientists from Wuhan virus lab have 'defected' to the West, Steve Bannon claims - as FBI gathers evidence that coronavirus pandemic was caused by an accidental leakSecret CDC document says full reopening of schools and universities places Americans at the 'highest risk' of spread of coronavirus

Two Texas cops are ambushed and shot dead responding to domestic violence call before 23-year-old gunman turns the weapon on himself - as police chief says officers 'did not stand a chance'Florida homeowner shoots and kills two 'extremely violent' burglars and injures another after they broke into his house during the night

Showdown at Trump Tower: MAGA supporters clash with protesters outside president's Manhattan home on site of BLM mural, while anti-cop demonstrators brawl with a Blue Lives Matter march in Brooklyn'They are killing our nation': Goya Foods CEO slams boycott of his brand and says protesters are same people who are tearing down statues of Jesus Christ as he doubles down on Trump support

Two elderly men are stabbed in shocking NYC subway attack amid surge in violent crime in the Big Apple and Mayor de Blasio's $1bn NYPD budget cut - as NY sheriff says 'We're starting to lose control''Known gang member' puts an NYPD officer in a headlock in the Bronx while he tries to make an arrest and is cheered on by the watching crowd before fleeing

The Biden family rap sheet: How Joe's relatives have been busted for drug possession, credit card theft, fights with the NYPD and multiple DUIs - but have never served any time Epstein's other 'recruiters': Four more women accused of supplying young girls for him to abuse face probe as it's revealed Ghislaine Maxwell moved house 36 times in a year before she was caught

Green Beret, 34, described as the real 'Captain America' who served six tours in Afghanistan kills himself in front of his wife after landing job at PentagonJohn Wayne exhibit is being REMOVED from the University of Southern California after students call out the film legend's racist and homophobic statementsOrnithologists and birders want McCown's Longspur to be renamed because it honors a Confederate army officer who also fought against Native Americans Daily Mail

Top News Stories - Photos (John Batchelor)

#NewAmericanCivilWar: The elitist Never-Trumpers (Trotskyists / Neo-Conservatives) denounce Republicanism as inauthentic. audio   #NewAmericanCivilWar: Self-denunciations by the elite Church of Woke. audio  

Washington corruption persecutes Michael Flynn and threatens to undermine trust without a resolution of the Russiagate abuse of power. audio  

The pell-mell pursuit of the vaccine by the risk-takers among us; and farewell and well done to John Paulson. audio  

#TheScalaReport: The Sino-American decoupling of software, hardware, currency, expectations. audio  

#SmallBusinessAmerica: What about making employees wear masks and takes regular tests? audio   #SmallBusinessAmerica: How to watch for signs of the recovery; and don't overlook S B A 7(a) loans. audio   John Batchelor (07/13/2020)

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


“Eight Miles High” - The Byrds 1966

“Eight Miles High” - The Byrds
Album: Fifth Dimension
Released 1966 video

Many people believe “Eight Miles Highvideo is about drugs, but the band claimed it was inspired by a flight where singer Gene Clark asked guitarist Roger McGuinn how high they were in the sky. McGuinn told him six miles, but for the song they changed it to eight.

This story was likely a smokescreen to keep the song in the good graces of sensitive listeners. The band had been doing a lot of drugs at the time, including LSD, which is the likely inspiration. If the band owned up to the drug references, they knew it would get banned by some radio stations, and that's exactly what happened when a radio industry publication reported that the song was about drugs and that stations should be careful about playing it. As soon as one station dropped it, others followed and it quickly sank off the charts.

When Songfacts asked McGuinn in 2016 if the song was really about drugs, he replied:

“Well, it was done on an airplane ride to England and back. I'm not denying that The Byrds did drugs at that point - we smoked marijuana - but it wasn't really about that.”

In his book Echoes, Gene Clark said that he wrote the song on his own with David Crosby coming up with one key line (“Rain gray town, known for its sound”), and Roger McGuinn arranging the song with help from Crosby.

In the Forgotten Hits newsletter, McGuinn replied:

“Not true! The whole theme was my idea... Gene would never have written a song about flying. I came up with the line, 'Six miles high and when you touch down'. We later changed that to Eight because of the Beatles song 'Eight Days a Week'. I came up with several other lines as well. And what would the song be without the Rickenbacker 12-string breaks?”

Eight Miles Highvideo is often cited in discussions of “Acid Rock”, a term that got bandied about in 1966 with the release of Bob Dylan's “Blonde on Blonde” album. The genre covers a kind of psychedelic music that became popular at the time, and also the look and lifestyle that went with it. “Acid Rock” was hailed as a pathway to higher consciousness and derided as senseless drug music. At the end of the '60s, the term petered out, as rock critics moved on to other topics for their think pieces.

The band recorded this on their own, but Columbia Records made them re-record it before they would put it on the album, partly because they had contracts with unions. The Byrds liked the first version better.

For decades, the story went that “Eight Miles Highvideo was a commercial failure because it had been banned from radio due to its perceived pro-drug messages. Research presented by Mark Teehan on Popular Music Online challenges this theory. Teehan instead blames the song's failure to chart on three factors:

First, its sound was too far ahead of its time, and radio stations didn't know what to do with it.

Second, the departure of Gene Clark led to Columbia Records significantly shrinking the scope of the band's advertising campaign.

Third, the success of Paul Revere and the Raiders' Kicksvideo further diminished Columbia's support for The Byrds and “Eight Miles Highvideo.

The Byrds official site / Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Billboard / All Music / Song Facts / The Byrds

Image: “Fifth Dimension (album)” by The Byrds



● Manfred von Richthofen is better known as which legendary wartime figure?

Answer to Trivia

● Which Middle Eastern river gets its name from an Old Persian term meaning “the fast one”?

Answer to Trivia

● Over half of South America’s western coast is occupied by which country?

Answer to Trivia

● The adjective “cutaneous” relates to which part of the human body?

Answer to Trivia

● What does the H stand for in the medical abbreviation ADHD?

Answer to Trivia


A Test for People Who Know Everything

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS” ($200)

“'You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'.'”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS” ($400)

“'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.'”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS” ($600)

“Page 001 (not 007): 'The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.'”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS” ($800)

“'All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'”

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

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS” ($1,000)

“'Roy Hobbs pawed at the glass before thinking to prick a match with his thumbnail.'”

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

Answer to Last Week's Test

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MONTH OF JULY” ($200)

“It's Ice Cream Month & add these colorful berries - in 2003 the Agriculture Department proclaimed July their month too.”

● Answer: Blueberries. Food.University of Nebraska Lincoln.edu

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AD COUNCIL CLASSICS” ($400)

“This war of legend is considered the end of the Greek Heroic Age.”

● Answer: the Trojan War. History Channel

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “THE MONTH OF JULY” ($600)

“This 'canine' period begins in July & relates to the star Sirius' appearance to the ancient Egyptians before Nile floods.”

● Answer: the Dog Days. The Old Farmer's Aalmanac

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AD COUNCIL CLASSICS” ($800)

“A 1983 campaign introduced the phrase “Friends don't let friends” do this.”

● Answer: Drive Drunk. Ad Council.org

From the Jeopardy Archives Category - “AD COUNCIL CLASSICS” ($1,000)

“The Council's 1960s recruiting campaign for this JFK program called it 'the toughest job you'll ever love'.”

● Answer: the Peace Corps. Brookings.edu

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day


How does an attorney sleep? Well, first he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.

You’ve heard that one, along with a million other lawyer jokes that people have sprung on you from the moment you first announced you were going to school to be a paralegal. Some of them probably even get told around the law office. Even lawyers like to laugh and there are a lot of aspects of legal practice that are ripe for a little deadpan humor.


Joke of the Day

“What Does DUMB Stand For?”

While serving jury duty, I noticed that the defense attorney seemed a bit nervous.

At one point, he picked up a piece of evidence and asked his client, who was on the witness stand,

“I see an acronym on this receipt. What would CAR stand for?”

The defendant replied, “Car.”

“Six Dumb Questions Real Lawyers Asked In Court”

“How many times have you committed suicide?”

“Were you alone or by yourself?”

“Was it you or your brother who was killed?”

“Without saying anything, tell the jury what you did next.”

“Was that the same nose you broke as a child?”

“Now, doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?”