Crossing a Line: Two Sea Stories

This first one may be true.

The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia.

The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the result to the master, Captain John Phillips.

The Warrimoo’s position was LAT.0 degrees 31′ N and LON.179 degrees 30’W.

The date was 30 December 1899.

First Mate Payton broke in…..”You know what this means…..we’re only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line” 

Captain Phillips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving this navigational freak of a lifetime.

He called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the ship’s position.

He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark.

Then he adjusted the engine speed.
The calm weather and clear night worked in his favour.

At midnight the SS Warrimoo lay on the Equator at exactly the point where it crosses the International Date Line.
The consequences of this bizarre position were several.

The bow of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of summer.

The stern was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter. 

The date in the aft part of the ship was 31 December 1899.

Forward it was 1 January 1900.

This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different months, two different years and two different seasons, but in two different centuries all at the same time.

Rebuttal–by Phil Eakin, who is also the teller of the second sea story.

If the ship was on its way from Vancouver to Australia then the diagram needs to be adjusted.  The stern should be in the northeast quadrant and the bow should be in the southwest quadrant.  The textual description corresponds to the latter juxtaposition.
The time for the bow would have been 2 January 1900.  As you know, you lose a day when crossing the date line East to West.  All other statements are correct.  Maybe that dateline crossing convention had not been adopted in 1900.  There is a term for one who crosses the date line and the equator at the same time, but I can’t quite remember it.  I think one is then called a Golden Shellback.  I would like to be one.

Second Sea Story-Tarawa was one of 4 ships in an amphibious ready group (ARG) that was headed to Westpac. The command element for Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) carried by the ships was aboard the Tarawa, as well as hundreds of Marines, but altogether, there were about 2,000 Marines spread among the 4 ships. And the Marines in the Intel space I mentioned this to were enlisted types. So, the rumor made it up the chain pretty quick.

On one of the Tarawa deployments I was on and we were headed for Westpac and approaching the dateline in the first week in November, we had a couple Marines working in the main intel space.  I casually mentioned that we would be losing a day upon crossing the international dateline and that day looked like it was going to be 10 November.  About 40 minutes later I got a nasty call from the O-6 XO of the ship wanting to know if it was me that started that rumor.  I had to admit it was me.  The USMC  C.O. of troops standing at the XO’s desk livid at the possibility of skipping the Marine Corps birthday.

No Surrender – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

A counterpoint to yesterday’s breezy dance. Today just a working stiff.


For a double dare by Beverly Crawford, and with sympathy for Jane Dougherty, following my poem The Next Dance.

Photo: found on

“There is a grandeur in winter, stern and wild it may be, but a grandeur which speaks to the soul.” CJ Peterson.

No Surrender

The sly cocktail dress sits sublime in ice
upon the line all formal and smooth,
while my dungarees have actually taken shape
as if possessed by a ghost, all stiff and 
starched, no wrinkles or sag like the sack 
of potatoes they normally pose draped upon me, 
the ice has claimed the denim and holds it in 
its steely grip as if fit for Ned Kelly's last 
stand where there will be no surrender until
the sun breaks free.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Artificial Dilemma

I wanted to write an honest book review about a new picture book. The line drawings were cute but not consistent– the main character (an animal) was sometimes drawn with gray-scaled features and at other times just the outline. The author of this fiction book took a few liberties with the character–not that the average reader would be aware of that.

For a number of reasons, it was not a good idea to write such a review–hence an artificial dilemma.

  • If I did not write the review, nothing would matter or be changed.
  • If I wrote the honest review, feelings would be hurt and people would be upset.
  • If I wrote a positive review, only I would know it was not what I meant to write.

Given what is going on in the world, it is ironically nice to have such a simple, even stupid dilemma to waste time on.

Have you ever had an artificial dilemma?

Jumping Around

I never jumped from bed to bed;
I conspiracy jump instead.
What is left  and what  is right 
are things that keep me up at night. 

Why do my thoughts keep on changing
as what is truth keeps rearranging?
What I knew as truth just yesterday
this morning up and flew away.

Is it me or is it them
who's changed the lyrics of the hymn,
the words so mumbled in the hall
too jumbled now for clear recall?

When Upon a Time was clear
That a fairy tale would next appear
Now they lie and call them facts
To justify their side's attacks.

You can take your choice of blames
Of the groups we call by different names
But now that there is silence
Please don't resume your violence.

Lord Acton (1)

Lord Acton’s words have a relevance today.

I wish I knew why Pressing something on word press did not also include the URL.

Lord Acton (1)

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton was an English historian, politician and writer commonly known as Lord Acton.
He was born in Naples, Italy, on 10 January 1834.
The birth certificate, written in Italian, described his father as Don Ferdinando Riccardo Acton, “Lord-in-Waiting to His Majesty Whom God preserve” and English Baronet, and his mother as Baroness Donna Maria Luisa Pellina de Dalberg, domiciled with her husband in Naples at the Riviera di Chiaja.

He is famous for some remarks he made in a letter to an Archbishop of the Church of England, which was part of a larger conversation about how historians should judge the past.
The Archbishop was inclined towards a moral relativism that was uncritical of past leaders and too lenient with their crimes. On the contrary, Lord Acton argued that all people, past or present, leaders or not , should be held to universal moral standards.

In one of his three letters he made this famous statement:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

Blogging Advice: Five Tips When Serving up a Conversation

This was a blog post from two years ago. It might be time to look at it again.


Conversation is an informal exchange of ideas.  Many bloggers recommend it as a way to tennis-quote-john-mcenroeconnect with your followers.  Start a conversation with them and invite them to respond.  Communication becomes a  two-way street.   So you serve up a topic like a tennis player does with ball, expecting the conversation or ball to behave in a particular manner.

Unlike tennis, conversation is not always played out on a smooth surface.  You may get a vicious backhand or perhaps a backhanded compliment.  Some people respond with a swift overhead slam sending your clever serve zinging in a direction you never anticipated.  Sometimes they lob troll-like retorts dripping in inuendo.  If you are lucky, your reader will set up a nice volley with you that can be enjoyed by the audience and people who may want to join in the game. Will this fortutious conversation be a game, a set, or a…

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Happy International Typing Day-January 8, 2020

As a typo queen, aka Typonista, this is a holiday I discovered by chance this morning. It really resonates with me.

Typing Day was created to encourage people to express themselves via written communication and to promote speed, accuracy and efficiency in this type of communication. It is marked with various events and activities.

From the webpage

Typing Day, also referred to as World Typing Day or International Typing Day, is an annual event that originated in Malaysia in 2011. It is held on January 8.

Typing Day was established to commemorate the Malaysian Speed Typing Contest of 2011. It was originally conceived by Team TAC (Type Auto Corrector), a group of young professionals that has designed and developed SecondKey, a tool for automatic correction of typing mistakes in any type-written interface. Team TAC is one of the two main coordinators of Typing Day. The other is Speed Typing Contest Team from JCI Mines.”

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is an English-language pangram—a sentence that contains all of the letters of the English alphabet. Owing to its brevity and coherence, it has become widely known. The phrase is commonly used for touch-typing practice, testing typewriters and computer keyboards, displaying examples of fonts, and other applications involving text where the use of all letters in the alphabet is desired.

The qujick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. I just tayped that and left the errors in to demonstrate my lack of typing proficiency.

How is your typing? Did you learn in school or are you self taught?

January 2021 (Finally the end of 2020) Days to Celebrate

January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.[1]

Did any of us predict how last year would end up?

January 1 is New Year’s Day. For many people. it is a time to make (and usually break) New Year’s resolutions.

January is National Braille Month. It celebrates the birthday of Louis Braille, who was born on January 4th, 1809.  We now celebrate National World Braille Day on January 4th in honor of his legacy.  We invite you to play the Louis Braille Timeline Game and sing the “Louis, Louis” song in celebration!  Download the game and lyrics in print and braille to share with your students.

January 6 is Epiphany Day. (It also marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas). Many Christians around the world annually celebrate Epiphany on January 6. It is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

January 18 is Martin Luther King Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only national holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, according to the corporation for National & Community Service.

January 18 is also Winnie the Pooh Day. A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh was born on this day in 1882.

An offbeat way of looking at the Winnie the Pooh characters is to identify which mental disorders they represent.

  • Winnie the Pooh: Impulsive eating disorder. His near-obsession with honey indicates an eating disorder and his habit of repetitive counting shows evidence of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD.
  • Piglet: Generalized anxiety disorder. Piglet is in a perpetual state of worry and can often be heard saying “Oh, dear.” He has also developed an ear twitch, common in overly anxious individuals.
  • Eeyore: Depressive disorder. He always has a bleak outlook on life, and never feels any positive emotions like happiness and excitement.
  • Rabbit: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Rabbit is very orderly and obsessive, mostly with regard to his garden.
  • Owl: Dyslexia and narcissistic personality disorder. While he is exceptionally bright, it is frequently shown that Owl has trouble reading

January 20 is Inauguration Day. If you are a federal employee in Washington, DC you normally get the day off because of the expected Inauguration Day crowds. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on January 20 at noon. Inauguration Day has been held in January since 1937. The Corona virus will affect many of the ordinary inaugural events. One of the big questions is whether or not Donald Trump will attend the Inauguration. If not, he will be the fourth president to skip the Inauguration of his successor

In the past, three outgoing presidents — John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829 and Andrew Johnson in 1869 — refused to attend their successors’ inaugurations.

Data Privacy Day is January 28. One of the major ways that you can help protect yourself is to go into the security settings on the equipment and apps that you use.


Say what?

During Vietnam, there was a saying, “In order to save the village, we had to destroy it.” Do some Republicans feel the same way about Democracy?

Did Senator McConnell finally recognize Joe Biden as President-Elect because

  1. Biden won the Electoral College vote?
  2. Putin called Biden to acknowledge his win?

How many people have to hurt before one can feel their pain?

Why does time pass quickly when you’re having fun but not when you’re waiting for results?

When is “enough is enough”?

Is COVID worse than

  1. a cold?
  2. the flu?
  3. the social distancing requirements?
  4. getting the vaccine?
  5. electing a Democrat as president?
  6. the cost of doing nothing?

What Do We Want from the Coronavirus?

I think most of us can agree that we really wish it would leave immediately. COVID-19 disagrees.

Many people do not want to be inconvenienced by this situation:

  • Lock downs that affect our ability to work
  • Social Distancing
  • Mask Wearing
  • Group Limitations
  • Freedom to travel when and wear we want
  • Life events such as graduations, funerals, weddings, holiday gatherings
  • Sporting, musical, theatrical and other events
  • Getting a vaccination

We want somebody else to solve this problem yesterday but many of us do not want to follow any of the guidelines that have been offered.

If you were in charge, what would you recommend or mandate that we do about COVID?