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Old 01-14-2009, 03:24 PM   #29
Full Timers/Diesel power.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
"Cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey" doesn't mean what you think.

In the days of wooden ships, cannon balls had to be stacked on the deck handy for firing. The normal pyramid was 4x4, topped by 3x3, topped by 2x2, with a single ball on the top. Now of course as the ship rolled the cannon ball stack would come undone, so someone decided to build a rack that would grip the lowest level of balls like a monkey's paw.

The first "monkeys" were made out of cast iron.

But lo, there was a serious problem. The cast iron rack and the cast iron cannon balls rusted together within days in the salty sea air.

So, as sailors normally do, they decided to improve the next generation by making it out of brass - a fine seagoing metal that corrodes much more slowly.

Unfortunately, brass does have one downside, it contracts more and faster in cold weather than does cast iron, so on a freezing cold day the "brass monkey" would literally contract so much it would pop the balls off the stack. Hence, "cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey".

Good story, but unfortunately it is not true. Check it out at Snopes

It's just an expression that has no real basis in fact.

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Old 01-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #31
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Paula is close though. In the 17th century, the primitive naval cannons were refereed to as drakes, dogs, or monkeys. Some were make of brass, thus the brass monkey. There was a brass lever used to aim the cannons called the monkey's tail. One variant of the phrase is, "...cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey." The balls part probably comes from men wanting equal time with the risqué phrase, "cold as a witches #!# in a brass bra". Since the cannon had no round appendages, it was probably just made up to give equal time to the sexes.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:29 AM   #32
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I like Paula's story better than Snoops anyway. Having served a year in Iceland and 4 years on a destroyer, sometimes in the North Atlantic I can truly appreciate paula's story. It is the same story I heard from an old "salt" when I was in the Navy.

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:23 PM   #33
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It was +3F here in N. Ga. this morning. Our elevation is around 2000' so it's a little colder than Atlanta. Good sunshine and no wind though. I grew up in New England and have seen -43F. I got my '48 Mercury running and tried to drive to Manchester, N.H. to work that day. A piece of cardboard in front of the radiator didn't keep it from freezing at which point the engine boiled. I stopped and knocked on the nearest door where I was invited in and fed breakfast. When I went back out to the Merc the hot engine had melted the ice in the radiator and I got the rest of the way to work. I added more antifreeze before heading home that night. A side note: don't comb your hair with water before going out at those temps. :-)
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:46 PM   #34
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When we lived west of Denver in the mountains, we'd have periods of temps as low as -35˚ or lower every few years—at least before about 1990. It's true, -10˚ does feel warm after some of that. It isn't as cold where we live now—I don't think it's been colder than -15˚ since we've been here, though that may have more to do with climate change than locality. We used to have 100-160" of snow each winter, but here we've only had 30-73". We miss real winters. Having lived in the NE, those winters were unreal—ice storms, heavy wet snow, high humidity and winds with the cold cutting through everything. I never got used to that, but Colorado cold is fine with me.

I would prefer summer highs to be no more than 68˚. My father was born in Canada, might have something to do with it, eh?


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