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July 21, 2005

In naval parlance from the age of sail, the term "pooped" is used to describe what happens when a ship is struck from the rear by a large wave – travelling faster than the ship itself, obviously – which breaks over the poop of the ship.

Ha-ha-he-said-poop. Grow up, people. Think "poop deck."

In those days of yore, being pooped could be a disastrous occurrence. The wave could break through into the stern galleries (which were usually lightly-built glassed-in enclosures, like this) and flood the ship, doing rather a lot of damage along the way.

Not only could the mass of water damage the stern – invariably the weakest part of the structure of the hull – it could also push the ship's stern sideways, slewing the ship around, leaving it broadside to the next oncoming wave.

This is the deadly part. Since the only time swells or waves were likely to be higher than the stern of the ship was during a storm, the next wave striking the ship broadside had a very good chance of being big enough to actually lay the ship on its side, if not completely capsize it.

With the ship laid over, cannons weighing 5500 pounds or more could break free from their lashings – thus becoming the proverbial "loose cannon" – and severely damage the internal structure of the ship or, more dangerously, punch a hole through the side. If the ship happened to be laid over by a wave and a cannon went out through the side, water would rush in and the ship would be doomed.

Even if the cannons' lashings held, and even if all the other heavy objects aboard stayed in place, the framing and planking of the hull could be sprung loose, allowing seawater to flood through the gaps. The ship would be doomed.

Clearly, being pooped was an exceptionally bad thing.

This is the kind of thing you think about when you've gone all night without a wink of sleep.

Man, I'm pooped.

Update: Wow, it's a regular link-o-rama around here. Be sure to check out all the fine blogs that have tracked back.

Update 2: Welcome, MSNBC visitors – glad to have you here. Stick around, take a look around; lots of good stuff in the blogrolls.

And if you feel compelled to hit the Amazon or PayPal tipjars, I'm not going to stop you.

Addendum: If you'd like to learn a little bit about the "Age of Sail" without cracking open a book, I'd highly recommend giving this movie a viewing.

Posted by Russ at 09:49 AM, July 21, 2005 in History & Miscellany

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And Now For Something Completely Different from The Jawa Report
If you would like to get away from real news for a moment, TacJammer has a lovely piece devoted to poop.... [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:22 PM

Poop from Vince Aut Morire
Read about it. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:24 PM

Heh from Merri Musings
He said poop. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:27 PM

Heh from MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
He said poop.... [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:31 PM

Heh from And Rightly So!
He said poop. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:35 PM

http://www.itsapundit.com/2005/07/heh_he_said_poo.html from It'sAPundit.com
Heh. He said poop. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 06:38 PM

Bishop of Yesterday Morning from NIF
Today's dose of NIF - News, Interesting & Funny ... It's Stop the ACLU Thursday (and one day closer to Friday) [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 07:01 PM

Heh-heh-heh-heh from Steal The Bandwagon
He said poop. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. [Pass it on.]... [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 08:43 PM

Heh-heh Heh-heh Heh-heh from Common Sense Runs Wild
He said poop. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. [Pass it on.]... [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 08:43 PM

Prepare the Poopy Deck, Mr. Christian from Pirate's Cove
Avast. The Dread Pirate TacJammer says poop. Heh. Heh. Indeed. Pass it around. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 09:27 PM

All about poop from Anywhere But Here
[snicker]She said poop! (and Jeff & Linda think the way I say it is amusing, with my Suthun accent)... [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 09:39 PM

So It Begs The Question... from Tributaries
a la "Fried Green Tomatoes" - what kind of manuevers have you been executing?

Gluppit the prawling springle, I always say!

*if you are an Aubrey/Maturin fan, you know... [Read More]

Tracked on July 22, 2005 02:55 PM


As promised, your reward for winning the Blog Sabbath Caption Contest!

Posted by: Eric at July 21, 2005 06:40 PM

If it wans't full of spoilers I'd trackback from my Half Blood Prince post. But it is, so here's the bit that your post brought to mind (it's not a spoiler, just amusing):

Forget about You-Know-Who!
Get U-No-Poo!
The constipation sensation that's sweeping the nation!

Posted by: Ith at July 21, 2005 08:40 PM

Wow, bet you never imagined you were so popular!

Posted by: Beck at July 22, 2005 12:33 PM

Never had a clue.

Posted by: Russ at July 22, 2005 01:02 PM

I put in a trackback, but for some reason it hasnt shown up yet.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at July 22, 2005 02:57 PM

NEVER mind!!! 'Puter is acting goofy today...

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at July 22, 2005 02:59 PM

Bet you didn't think that post would make the rounds, eh?

How could you tell with MSNBC? Surely not more then 5 or 6 people actually read their website ;)

Posted by: William Teach at July 22, 2005 03:51 PM

The number of hits I'm seeing via MSNBC would seem to refute that :-)

Posted by: Russ at July 22, 2005 04:56 PM

I figured. I actually like MSNBC on the web. Good layout, fast loading. And not impossible to find stories. I do not really like CNN or FoxNews on the web.

Posted by: William Teach at July 22, 2005 06:56 PM

Damn! I guess I ought to start entering caption contests, huh?

And yeah, MSNBC's "Clicked" is Kool.

Posted by: Beth at July 23, 2005 05:35 AM

I'll have to look around for more Naval lore, such as "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey".

Posted by: eLarson at July 28, 2005 10:51 AM