Tag: 2021 May Group Writing

How to Make a MAYDAY Call


You probably do not imagine yourself making a Mayday or SOS call, but it is good to know how to do so in an emergency. In an amazing act of government reasonableness, anyone can call on any band in a real, life- or limb-threatening emergency. I could use my handy-talkie on a military or police band, or the dedicated marine radio band regardless of my license. If you are asked to call in a distress signal by a pilot or ship captain in an emergency, you are in the clear.

Before you start calling on the radio, make sure any emergency distress beacons are activated. Ships should have an EPIRB available – never go on open water without one. Planes can set their transponder into distress mode. If you are going into the wilderness, it is probably a good idea to carry a personal distress beacon and familiarize yourself with other distress signals.

The first thing to understand is that radios are not like phones. You need to select the frequency/channel. For marine radio, you want channel 16 (156.8 MHz), for an airplane you want 121.5 MHz. If you are on a distress channel, do not talk over another person. Once you get a hold of someone, they will likely ask you to change to another channel if you can, just in case you are not the only one having a really bad day.

Celebratin’ This-Yer May Day With The Jumping Frog


Happy May 13,  National Frog Jumping Day!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to reprint here the story which started it all, Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.  It was his first significant published work and appeared as Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog in The Saturday Press (a weekly New York literary newspaper) on November 18, 1865.  Over the course of several years, as the story was published in other magazines and in anthologies of humorous stories, Twain changed its name back and forth, at one point titling it The Notorious Frog of Calaveras County, sometimes calling the frog’s owner “Jim Smiley,” and sometimes “Jim Greeley.”

The story was immensely popular from the first, and also appeared in several unauthorized versions during Twain’s lifetime.  At one point, he discovered it in a French translation and subsequently published a tri-partite volume consisting of the original English version, followed by the French, followed by Twain’s translation of the French back into English, in the course of doing which he retained the original French syntax.  And so you get passages like