Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Submarine Humor

While we're waiting for Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.) to respond to my E-mail, I thought I'd fill the time by directing you to some of the best collections of submarine humor on the 'net. A disclaimer: non-submariners will probably look at this stuff as think, "This isn't funny". For those of us who've been there, though, it'll be quite funny in a desperate, "what was I doing" kind of way.

A good start is at Ron Martini's "The Golden Rivet". It starts with that old classic, "Suggestions for the ex-submariner that misses the good old days on the boat." Some excerpts:
1. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Two to three hours after you fall asleep, have your wife whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble "Sorry, wrong rack".
2. Repeat back everything anyone says to you.
3. Spend as much time as possible indoors and avoid sun light. Only view the world through the peep hole on your front door.
4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of your bathtub and move the shower head down to chest level. Shower once a week. Use no more than 2 gallons of water per shower.
5. Buy a trash compactor and use it once a week. Store garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
6. Sit in your car for six hours a day with your hands on the wheel and the motor running, but don't go anywhere. Install 200 extra oil temperature gauges. Take logs on all gages and indicators every 30 minutes.

This one is my favorite: 100 Reasons Why Working at McDonald's is Better than Submarining. (Warning: Some bad words.)

Over at, here's a collection of humorous sea stories.

If anyone's got any more collections, put 'em in the comments, and I'll move 'em up into the body of this entry...

Going deep...

Update 1120 09 Feb: From the comments -- A good source of sea stories is over at After Battery; just keep scrollin' and clickin'. A. E. Brain offers the Submarines Australia site, but warns that the Humor page (yes, I can't spell in "English") may not be for the easily offended. For those visiting from Castle Argghhh!!! , I'd like to point out that it's "Jayhawk", not "Chickenhawk".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try the "After Battery" "Dex" Armstrong

2/09/2005 5:59 AM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

From "Up Periscope", the Submarines Association Australia site :


In the beginning was the word. And the word was God and all else was darkness and void and without form. So God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and the moon and the stars, so that the light might pierce the darkness. And the earth, God divided between the land and the sea, and these he filled with many assorted creatures.

And the dark salty slimy creatures that inhabited the seashore God called Royal Marines, and dressed them accordingly and the flighty creatures of the air he called WAFUs and these he clothed in uniforms which were ruffled and foul. And the lower creatures of the sea God called Skimmers. And with a twinkle in his eye and a sense of humour that only he could have God gave them big grey targets to go to sea on. He gave them many splendid uniforms to wear, he gave them many wonderful and exotic places to visit, he gave them pen and paper so they could write home every week, he gave them make and mends at sea and he gave them a laundry to keep their splendid uniforms clean. When you are God you tend to get carried away.

And on the 7th day as you know God rested and on the 8th day at 0700 God looked down upon the earth and God was not a happy man. So he thought about his labours and in his infinite wisdom God created a divine creature and this he called a Submariner. And these Submariners whom God had created in his own image were to be of the deep and to them he gave a white woolly jumper, he gave them black steel messengers of death to roam the depths of the sea waging war against the forces of Satan and evil. He gave them hotel rooms when they were weary from doing Gods will. He gave them subsistence so that they might entertain the ladies on Saturday nights and impress the hell out of the creatures called Skimmers.

And at the end of the 8th day God looked down upon the earth and saw all was good but still God was not happy because in the course of his labours he had forgotten one thing, he did not have a Submariners white woolly jumper but he thought about it and finally satisfied himself knowing that not just anybody can be a SUBMARINER.


Be warned though: the Humour page is very un-PC and contains mostly non-submarine-related jokes. And their blue humour page (which that one links to - I won't give a direct link) shows that Submariners in their element are both Salty and Low.

One more (this is from the clean section - and compared with most, it is) :

A young punk gets on the local bus and sits down in the only vacant seat, directly across from an old man.

The young punk has spiked, multi-colored, green, purple, and orange hair. His clothing is a tattered mix of leather rags. His legs are bare and he's without shoes. His entire face and body are riddled with pierced jewellery and his earrings are big, bright red, yellow and green feathers.

The old man glares at the young punk for him for the next ten miles, as the bus travels across the city.

Finally, the punk looks across at the old man, and yells, "What are you looking at, old man! Didn't you do anything wild when you were young?"

Without missing a beat, the old man replies, "Yeah. Back when I was very young and in the Navy, I got really drunk in Singapore and had a relationship with a parrot... I thought you might be my son."

OK, one more one more :

A young Navy Officer was in a car accident, but due to the heroics of another young officer the only permanent injury was to both ears, which subsequently were amputated.

Since he wasn't physically impaired he remained in the military and eventually became an Admiral. He remained, however, very sensitive about his appearance.

One day the new Admiral was interviewing three WOs for the WO Navy position.

The first WO was a skimmer Coxswain and it was a great interview. At the end of the interview the Admiral asked him, "Do you notice anything different about me?"

The WO answered, "Why yes. I couldn't help but notice you have no ears."

The Admiral got very angry at this lack of tack and threw him out of his office.

The next WO interviewed a WOAVN replied, "Well yes. You have no ears." The Admiral threw him out also.

The third interview was with a submariner WO. He was articulate, extremely sharp, and seemed to know more than the other two WOs put together. The Admiral wanted this guy, and went ahead with the same question, "Do you notice anything differently about me?"

To his surprise the submariner said, "Yes. You wear contact lenses."

The Admiral was impressed and thought to himself, what an incredibly observant WO, and he didn't mention my ears.

"And how do you know that?", the Admiral asked.

The submariner replied, "Well it's pretty hard to wear glasses with no frigging ears."

2/09/2005 6:59 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

LOL. I never get tired of reading that list...HIGH-larious. Thanks! --Will

2/09/2005 9:09 AM

Blogger ninme said...

Hey, it's Alan again. Hi Alan.

That's hilarious.

I have a girly question for you lads, though. If you only shower once a week, and you only get two gallons of water, and you do live in a tin can under water with no windows, doesn't it get kind of...pungent? Or has the Navy developed super advanced space-age quality air purifiers and deodorants?

2/09/2005 12:43 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

With everyone stinking the same way, you don't really notice; plus the amine smell always gave everything a nice fruity odor. Subbasket would generally just throw my clothes out after a six month deployment; the aroma never really goes away...

2/09/2005 12:50 PM

Blogger ninme said...


2/09/2005 3:48 PM

Blogger bothenook said...

damn, that's the first time i'd seen the mcdonalds vs submarine list. that's funny as hell, and i can relate to them all!
answering girly type questions: my ex used to have me strip on the back porch (my at sea uniforms were never allowed in the house. she always had a bath of really hot water drawn, with about half a box of mr. bubble in to help cut the boat crud. you just about needed a chipper to get the ring off the tub afterwards.

2/09/2005 8:40 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

The "chucking out the clothes after deployment" is no joke, it's the only rational course of action.

The main problem is that unless you shave your head bald, then no matter how many times you wash your hair, it still takes a week to get the clammy coating off.

The smell's no problem on board, even on a Donk (a diesel sub), which is rather more aromatic than a nuke. The ubiquitous, slightly slimy, slightly gritty, and always greasy coating on everything you touch, well, you get used to that too. Mainly.

When you're sleeping on top of a half tonne of TORPEX ( high explosive ) nestled to about the same mass of highly explosive Otto Fuel Monopropellant, and with up-close-and-personal views of everything from UGM-84 missiles full of rocket fuel to honking great mines, you don't worry about such things.

The cans of beer in the (decommissioned) after torpedo tubes, that's more important. Of course our new subs have adequate purpose-built beer, wine and spirits storage for a >90-day patrol, that was one of the essential design features in the "Required Ship's Characteristics" document.

2/09/2005 9:28 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Oh yes, I might add - a lot of European inshore submarines only venture out for a few days at a time, and are severely volume-challenged compared to oceangoing subs.

Good inasmuch as you're only out for 3 days, bad inasmuch as there's little in the way of creature comforts. Like beds. Galleys. Showers.

'O'-boats (Oberon class subs) and LA's (Los Angeles class SSNs like the San Francisco) are positively roomy compared to the German Type 206Bs, for example. On them, it's a case of "odd numbers breath out, even numbers breath in" then the reverse. Cosy. Snug even.

One of the advantages (?) of being a scumbag defence contractor is that you get to see many different varieties of boat. One thing's the same : they're all crewed by Submariners, and they're a breed apart. (Thank God!)

I can remember getting up pre-dawn to watch a sizeable slice of the US Pacific Fleet, including the battleship USS New Jersey, come in to Sydney Harbour at sunrise. There we were, at HMAS Watson on South Head, watching the majestic procession of awesome US military might. And all the submariners could do was drool at all the LOVELY targets, and make passing remarks to each other disputing about where to put a torpedo so it would do the most good. Even though they were on our side (I think), they just couldn't help thinking about it. Out loud. In detail. Hmmmmmm.... Battleship.....

2/09/2005 9:49 PM

Blogger ninme said...


Good heavens, you poor boys. The "skimmers" get this ( greeting, and the submariners get a quarantined bath after stripping in front of the neighbors.

Of course, if it was me, I would have thrown delousing powder on the lot of you (I saw Das Boot!).

I feel like I've been terribly underexposed to the Navy. I grew up spittin' distance from Moffet Field, which is now NASA, but used to be an Airforce base, so I feel some affinity with those guys, even if I can't tell what plane what is to save my life (except for the stealth bomber. I can pick that one out of a lineup, at least.) So. Are the Oberons the ones with the funny bumps on their heads, like a corythosaurus?

See, and I realize that only a girl would think of the smell before she thought of the beer stored in torpedo tubes (what else could a man ask for? beer and heavy ammunition, together at last.), but well, it was just a passing thought. Perhaps we should organize donations of astringent and disinfectant wipes to send to those sailing (under) the high seas. Come to that, wouldn't everyone get horribly ill?

2/09/2005 11:03 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Re : De-lousing : the only de-lousing that our boats did involved making sure there were no hostiles in an area something valuable was about to transit.

Re : poor boys : Girls too, now. Submariners are so scarce and valuable, we in Australia can't afford to waste half the natural talent out there. I'd bet long odds that a certain female midshipman who I taught at ADFA (the Australian Defence Force Academy) will one day be a sub skipper. Very switched-on, and that was her ambition. One of the few people of either gender who in my opinion could pass a Perisher.

Re : De-lousing again : after a week or so on patrol, any louse or other parasite within 10 metres of a submariner would drop dead, if downwind.

Re: O-boats. Correct - that bulbous housing was for a CSU-83 cylindrical-array sonar. Not a bad bit of kit, even today. The USN uses massive spherical-array sonars, which are unbe-freakin-lievably more expensive (and the cylindricals cost plenty). Alas, I can't talk about such things too much (advantages, disadvantages) for obvious reasons. (See Urick if you're interested). There's a bit of my software (and rather more of my design) in the CSU-90, the CSU-83's replacement.

Ah, the two Icks, Ur and Skoln. The two Bibles for those of us who make Naval Combat Systems.

2/10/2005 7:05 AM

Blogger ninme said...

See, I saw a picture of one of those (Oberons) and the first thing that popped to mind are the big protruding bunk areas on RVs and campers, so then the ridiculous image popped in my head of the grey on grey interior of a sub, with all the dim lighting and bleeping screens, circular doors and crouched men (and women) trying to get around, but then this sort of James-Bond-Villain-Worthy bachelor pad for the CO, complete with silk sheets and jacuzzi and nice high ceilings.

Now that I know specifically what was in them, it'll be easier not to be so silly.

This is the first picture I saw, btw, the other day when you linked to it:

Now can't you just see the shag carpet and velvet curtains?

Okay, another stupid question:

Since there are so few submariners, and they are a "breed apart," when you join the navy, do you just hold up your hand at roll call and say "I'd like to be a submariner, please, sir" or do they do all sorts of personality and stress tests and interviews and classes and stuff? Or like in the airforce, to be a pilot you need a graduate degree, right? Some sort of restriction like that, to make sure you're capable of handling all the different jobs. If you get my drift.

2/10/2005 12:18 PM

Blogger John of Argghhh! said...

Rock, chalk, Chickenhawk, S*rew KU!

Is how it's s'posed to be...

2/10/2005 12:48 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

John has inspired me to sing: "Far above the golden valley, glorious to view... Stands our noble alma mater, towering towards the blue... Lift the chorus ever onward, crimson and the blue... Hail to thee, our alma mater, Hail to old K - U...". Thank you very much.

2/10/2005 2:46 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Wait a minute, did someone here go to KU? My dad got his graduate degree there.

2/10/2005 3:53 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes, I did -- originally went to school at Nebraska for 2 1/2 semesters, enlisted in the Navy (due to the 1/2 semester mentioned above), got picked up for a commissioning program, and spent 3 years getting my degree in Lawrence. Graduated in 1988, the year of the Jayhawks' last NCAA title (until they get another one this year).

2/11/2005 1:04 AM

Blogger ninme said...

Dad really liked the Jayhawks basketball program. Now he's switched his allegiance to Gonzaga basketball, since I went there, even though they haven't been quite as impressive as they were those two years I was enrolled.

So, wait, did you just wake up one morning and realize you were failing OChem, and decide you'd enlist in the navy to get out of it? Or was that 2.5 years part of a grand scheme?

2/11/2005 1:00 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

It was actually more pathetic than that. The half semester part meant that I decided that chasing after this one psycho girl was more important than going to class, so I kind of quit going after midterm exams. Lost my National Merit Scholarship and everything. Talked to some people and decided that I needed to do some maturing, so that's when I enlisted. It's a good thing I did, too -- the psycho girl is apparently on her third marriage (her second husband was a heroin addict), while Subbasket and I, who probably wouldn't have met had I not been stationed in Idaho with the Navy, are coming up on 20 wonderful years together.

2/11/2005 1:15 PM

Blogger ninme said...

Eh, there's a navy base in Idaho, eh? What, is there a sub in Lake Coeur d'Alene? Or Lake Pend Oreille? Hehe. Sorry.

2/11/2005 4:28 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Actually, there is a submarine in Lake Pend Oreille; it's the Cutthroat (LSV-2). They use the deep water of the lake as an acoustic test range for new submarine designs. A picture is here: . (I've got to learn how to use html tags to put a hyperlink into comments...)

2/11/2005 5:23 PM

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10/25/2005 5:22 AM

Blogger muralcr said...

Hi its nice to meet submariner here

Nun of you guys ever saw Sovit Built Faxtrot class submarines least sail on board these sovit built rusty buckets.i was qualified as a submarine engine room artificer and served on board thease submarines for seven years

ex-submariner Indian Navy

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