Brass Monkey joins Weight Watchers

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 09:57
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Our local Brass Monkeys suffered a suudden weight loss this morning when the temperature dropped to -5. Plenty of evidence that Jack Frost has been visiting extensively but no sightings of Brass Monkeys missing appendages.
Day will be beautiful when the sun climbs further into the sky.
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:01

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:01
Same here Des.....biggest frost I've seen in Kadina.....sorta like the old days in Cooma 7 or 8 years ago. bbrrrrrrrr
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Reply By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:05

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:05
Spare a thought for the Kiwis on the South Island. Snow storm and no electricity. Bet the sale of generators goes up there.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:12

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:12
A few cows not beeing milked down there F'loosie
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:13

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:13
John, trust you to worry about the cows, I'm usually more worried about their sheep :))))))))
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:37

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 10:37
hahahha, I don't know their cows get the same treatment. At least beeing close to the sheep they would have wollen doonas under them. I did see a sheep on TV last night shaking a layer of snow off the top, I guess that was ready for a nephew.
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Follow Up By: Mr Fawlty - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 18:56

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 18:56
Are these the sheep with "cliff edge function"?
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:35

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:35
Now don't you be disparaging about electricity
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:48

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:48
Think your sparking skills may be needed Mr Bonz. Pedal power, AAA batteries?
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Reply By: PK Eildon (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 13:45

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 13:45
Just as an aside. My understanding for the origins of "freeze the balls off a brass monkey" has nothing to do with primates. It is a naval term. When they used lead cannon balls they would be stacked on the deck in a pyramid shape inside a brass triangle. If a temperature drop was severe enough, the brass would shrink faster than the lead allowing the cannon balls to break free and roll all over the deck. Hence the saying.
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Follow Up By: PK Eildon (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 13:47

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 13:47
The brass triangle was called a monkey (mung key).
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Follow Up By: Des Lexic - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 14:31

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 14:31
You are correct regarding the origin of the terminoligy however the modern interpretation is probably more widely understood.

cheers

des
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Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 20:32

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 20:32
just learned the brass mun key story a few days ago.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:36

Tuesday, Jun 13, 2006 at 23:36
I always thought it was "Freeze the walls of a Bark Humpy"
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Follow Up By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 00:22

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 00:22
Almost correct ..............
The original triangles upon which the ball rested had feet in the shape of a monkeys foot [similar to claw-foot baths?] hence the refernce to a "brass monkey."

And further to Naval tradition.....
The toilet in ships is usually referred to as the HEADS ............which emanated from the old sailing ship days .... the common sailor went forward to the bowsprit net and "did his duty" there, underneath the figureHEAD, which adorned all large sailing vessels. Paper was generally not available [the captain frowned on using his charts and bills of lading for this function !!] so "natural bidet activity" from the waves was utilised.
Spare a thought for those poor sailors who traversed the frigid Atlantic Ocean !!

and that's no bum steer !

aqnd we regarding THE GOLDEN RIVET ....well, we just wont go there, will we !!
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 22:44

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006 at 22:44
"...the brass would shrink faster than the lead allowing the cannon balls to break...."

Minor tweak, the cannon balls were actually made of iron. Lead balls would have deformed under their own weight.
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Follow Up By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 00:36

Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 00:36
OOOOOOOPs !
Correct, my oversight there....... the cannonballs were indeed of iron! Thanx Gary.
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 09:32

Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 09:32
...and for further reference it was the Spanish armies that it happened to when they were trying to conquer the northern parts of Europe (Netherlands/"Holland", and the Scandenavian countries). Strangely unsuccessful attempts LOL........
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Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 10:01

Friday, Jun 16, 2006 at 10:01
As a Navy bod, I was always told the cannon shot theory as well, but it is more than likely a myth for several reasons.

Most importantly, shot was not stacked in this fashion because in rough seas the stack would collpase and the shot would roll loosely around the deck. In action, gun decks were carefully cleared to ensure that the crews could work unhampered. Shot was stowed in shot racks (or shot garlands) available for ready use. Gun Captains were very particular about how the shot was treated as any imperfections (including rust) could affect the ballistic qualities of the shot. As such it would not have been left stacked and exposed but stored and maintained fairly carefully.

Outside my area of expertise, but I would imagine that physics has a role to play. Even given the different contraction rates between iron and brass, it is hard to picture the monkey (a general term for anything that is useful) contracting sufficiently to dislodge a heavy stack of iron balls.

I have heard that the brass monkeys were used for ceremonial occassions, but again, the possibility of loose shot rolling around the deck is not one that the Mate would welcome. In any case, tradition requires that all weapons are secured and not available for use when entering foreign ports and readily available stacks of ammunition would run counter to this.

Matt.
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