La vie est belle !

SoCS | Only the Bones | -..-

Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions


This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday”  — Click and read, click and join in! 

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “bone.”  Do with it whatever comes to mind. Have fun!



Only the bones, only the bones,

X-ray will show you

Only the bones.

-..- -..- -..-

— -. .-.. -.– / – …. . / -… — -. . …

— -. .-.. -.– / – …. . / -… — -. . …

-..- / .-. .- -.– / .– .. .-.. .-.. / … …. — .– / -.– — ..-

— -. .-.. -.– / – …. . / -… — -. . …

(Click here for interesting site + translator. It’s fun!)

Yeah, weird, I know. But this is stream-of consciousness and that’s the first thing I thought of when I saw Linda’s prompt for “Bone.”  The actual SoC went something like this:

“Bone. Okayyyy….What could I do with that? Dah-dih-dih-dah. Dah-dih-dih-dah.  Yep. Only the bones. Only the bones. (picture strange girl chanting to herself as she puts clean sheets on bed.)

How strange that’s what I’m coming up with. Morse code. Bah. Doubt anyone would be interested in that!”

(goes to computer) “Well, now that little ditty is stuck in my head. Great. Thanks Linda. Just for that, I *WILL* write this into the SoCS for today.” (digs into memory…and old college notes…for name of four syllable poetic foot…Choriambus!)

So it has come to this. Here we are, chers lecteurs, at the place where I start typing dashes and dots for you. Sorry about that. When I was just a private pilot student, part of learning to follow radio navigational aids (navaids for short) is to discover that each one must be positively identified using a set of morse code letters. Simply put, an airplane has a radio receiver which can home in on ground based radio signals in order to guide you to airports or other waypoints. There is actually a very interesting history to these radio signals, which has been explained in detail Here by someone with more time than I’ve got (sorry, folks, I’ve been out of the “teaching pilot ground school” business for a while now) just in case you’re interested.  Anyway, here’s my private pilot story:

In Pueblo, Colorado, there is an airport. On this airport there are two runways, ( actually two ends of the same runway, depending upon which direction you wish to land, East or West, according to the prevailing winds) and there are two (antiquated now in the age of GPS) radio NavAids which guide airplanes to each one. When you tune in a radio NavAid, you must listen, and make sure that the morse code signal matches the letters on the chart, to assure yourself that you are flying to the correct runway. On the one end, you have one called ARUBA (all NavAids have 5-letter names) whose identifier is TF – ..-.   On the other end you have one called MERTZ whose identifier is PU .–. ..-

As a student pilot, I thought that dialing in the frequency, turning up the volume, and hearing random beeps was good enough. Oops. My clever instructor, (whose nickname is “Killer”) decided to have fun with me by swapping the frequencies when I wasn’t looking. I continued to hear dots and dashes and blithely followed the signal to the wrong runway.

ATC: “Cessna 12345, where are you going?”

Me: “To MERTZ, sir, for the NDB approach.”

ATC: “Cessna 345, it looks like you’re headed for ARUBA. Would you like a vector back on course?”

Me: <silence> (figures out what happened, punches “Killer” in the arm as he snickers uncontrollably)

Me: “Yes, sir, I’ll take the vector. Sorry about that.”

ATC: (who is used to student pilots in his airspace) “No problem Cessna 345. Fly heading 220.”


That very night I got online, and found a website with a program of mnemonics for learning the morse code alphabet. And that is how “Killer” made me learn morse code. Because the mnemonics are so invasive and annoying, I just never really forgot. And I don’t think I have ever mis-identified another NavAid. Also, because I am a mean girl, I did the same trick to many of my flight students when I became an instructor. “Killer” has created a legacy. Now, in the age of GPS, many if not most of these types of NavAids are becoming a thing of the past. GPS is more accurate, cheaper for airports to use (no actual ground-based equipment in most cases) and is becoming standard in most aircraft. I doubt that flight students these days are learning morse code. Is that a bad thing?


So I will try to leave you with a silly “choriambic” verse 🙂


Only the bones, only the bones,

X-ray will show you

Only the bones.


When I was young, when I was young,

Fell from the tree, I

Fell from the tree.


Only the bones, only the bones,

X-ray will show you

Only the bones.


“Crack” went the arm, “crack” went the arm,

Went to the doctor

On went the cast.


Only the bones, only the bones,

X-ray will show you

Only the bones.


After six weeks, after six weeks.,

Out came the buzz-saw,

Off came the cast.


Only the bones, only the bones,

X-ray will show you

Only the bones.


Don’t climb the tree, don’t climb the tree,

Mother has told me,

Don’t climb the tree!




9 Responses to “SoCS | Only the Bones | -..-”

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