On This Date In History: On this date in 1844, President John Tyler almost bought the farm. He was cruising on the USS Princeton the Navy’s newest and best warship that featured a 27 inch cannon. Trouble was, the cannon hadn’t been tested. Nevermind, the bigshots in Tyler’s cabinet wanted that sucker fired! So they fired it twice and it worked. The designer of the gun begged them not to tempt fate a third time to no avail. They fired it a third time and it exploded, killing a bunch of people. Now, Tyler had a wife when he took over for William Henry Harrison, whom had died after just several weeks in office. Tyler had 8 kids with the wife. No wonder she died. So, the then single President had taken a fancy to a 20 year old named Julia whom Tyler had asked to marry but she hadn’t answered. When the gun blew up, it killed her father. I don’t know if she wanted a new father or if it was a sign or what, but she then accepted Tyler’s proposal and she promptly delivered for Tyler, another 7 kids. Our most pro-creationist President went on to retire to his home in Virginia which had previously been owned by his former boss, President William Henry Harrison! Today, the home is still owned and lived in by the Tyler family. As of this writing one of Tyler’s grandsons is still alive. Snow White and I visited the home, Sherwood Forest, several years ago and the only other people there were a nice, attractive couple. The young lady turned to me and said, “aren’t you the weatherman in Louisville?” Small world.
On this Date in 1960, Richard Petty won his first Grand National race. It was 50 years ago today and it was the first of 200 NASCAR victories. Eight months earlier, Richard Petty had been declared the winner of the race but he lost after the guy who came in second protested the finish successfully. So his first victory was snatched from him by….Lee Petty…his father! Talk about tough love…While his team hasn’t done well without him at the wheel, he is still deeply involved in NASCAR and his record of victories is one of those standards in sport that is held in a lofty status, like DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak or Gretzky’s 894 career goals. It’s very unlikely anyone will ever amass 200 career victories, but they certainly will try.
On this date in 1982, the J. Paul Getty Museum was endowed. Getty had made a fortune in the oil business and he had developed a love of art so he left a third of his fortune to the museum when he died in 1976. At that time, J. Paul Getty was estimated to be worth about $700 million and was one of the richest men in the world. By the time the courts got done with all of the legal wrangling involved in big estate cases, the economy was booming and the endowment grew to $1.2 billion. By 2000, the endowment had grown to $5 billion. Three of every 4 years, the law says that the trust must spend 4.25% in order to maintain tax-exempt status. The first year that was $54 million. Today it’s more like $200 million! The trust has a hard time finding places to spend it. They don’t want to look like they are greedily hoarding all of the world’s art but they have to spend it somewhere. Such problems. Steve Burgin thinks they should give it to him since so many people consider him a national treasure.
Weather Bottom Line: I told you that I was skeptical. The low clouds did not get worked on enough from the sun to create some breaks so we didn’t get to 40. The extreme western parts of the area did get some sun and moved to the low 40′s. I’m not too enthused about the clouds breaking in the next 5 days so 40 may be a dream. Could be sorta kinda on Monday we may get some cloud breaks to get toward 40 but after that, I don’t think we get to that magic number until Friday or Saturday. At that point, it appears that there will be a pretty decent pattern change for awhile and we get some milder days. Remember, the average high this time of year is 51 so getting to average will be quite an accomplishment. Light, mainly insignificant snow showers are possible late Tuesday into Wednesday. Shouldn’t be a big deal.