When Last Left you…. I think I said that Monday night and Tuesday looked interesting. As is often the case, distant forecasts from the GFS are overdone when it comes to snow. In this situation, typically when we get over-running moisture we don’t get the 5″ of snow that it was advertising several days ago. It looks like to me that what has changed while I’ve been away is that the cold air doesn’t dive down so far south and instead gets held up by another system to the west….the jet doesn’t dive down so far so the cold air will tend to move more west to east and not move a whole lot farther south than Louisville. Cold air is more dense than warm so it sorta oozes out at the surface and warmer air will tend to run up over the top of it. If you look at the map (00Z NAM 12.16.08) to the left of critical thicknesses, you notice that only one line is just barely south of Louisville midday on Tuesday. The other lines are farther north. That indicates that we have freezing conditions near the surface but not above. Consequently, both the NAM and GFS have precip much of the day on Tuesday but most of it falls as sleet or freezing rain. The NAM is more bullish with over .75″ from say, midmorning to late afternoon. The GFS has much less. So, this does not appear to be much of a snow event with the exception of possibly in the early morning hours. Otherwise, it has the potential to become a much more difficult sleet/freezing rain event. I suspect that the amounts will be something less than the NAM but, if not, we need to hope that its mainly sleet. I don’t want my power going out..again. Be careful on the roads. Snow White and I found driving quite difficult on Monday night as we returned home. Numerous accidents on I-64, some of which looked quite troublesome. This would potentially be the case with sleet as it falls as ice on treated roads…the ice melts but there would be the potential of it re-freezing. The workers do a good job but conditions can still be hazardous.
Where have I been? You may have noticed a gap….albeit at a bad time weather wise…but Snow White and I went
to go and have Christmas with my daughter. We had a lovely time as my getting a hug and a warm smile made the trip. But, then we had an added treat…we went and spent at day at Applehill Farm near Boone, NC. Snow White had gotten me a pair of socks woven from Alpaca wool. They are so comfortable and warm I just had to go visit the alpacas that produced the fine linen. They are so cute. They also have horse and goats and donkeys. The reason that they have the goats and the donkeys is to protect the alpacas and the llamas from predators like bears and mountain lions. It’s very ingenius and intriguing. One of the donkies, Cowboy, even ran down to greet me. Never seen a donkey run so fast in my life. And he does make a lot of noise. If you get a chance, you should go visit because the view is just spectacular. We were actually above the clouds. If not, I would encourage you to visit the website(http://www.applehillfarmnc.com/) and go through their on-line store…get the socks…or some of the other items. They are truly unique and quite useful…they have all sorts of stuff that would make great presents for someone else…or even yourself.
On This Date in History: Even in the time of depressed stock prices and all of the hubbub of a failing national and
global economy, there are still companies making money. McKesson Corp. (MCK) as of the end of 2008 has a market cap of nearly $10 billion which is a little more than half of what it had been sometime in the previous 52 weeks, but is still fairly substantial. But in 1926, when it was known as McKesson & Robbins, it wasn’t doing so well when F.Donald Coster bought the then century old business for $1 million. Within a dozen years, Coster made some aggressive mergers and acquistions of some 66 wholesale drug distributors and turned the company into the 3rd largest concern of its kind in the US worth about $87 million. Nice American success story, right?
Well…not exactly. See, Coster was seen as some genius businessman as his company had an average annual profit of 10% with the books showing products and finances running through warehouses, banks and holding companies in an orderly fashion. Trouble was…it was all phony. Coster had three business associates who later turned out to be his brothers Arthur, Robert and George. The four muskateers used the proverbial “creative accounting” to grab millions of dollars from McKesson and Robbins without any unsuspecting investors knowing a thing…that is until an employee brought the whole thing tumbling down in 1938.
Now, this all sounds like something that could be in the headlines today except for one item of intrigue. The investigation found that Coster wasn’t Coster at all. Instead, his real name was Philip Musica and was known as one of the biggest swindlers of the 20th century. He and his brothers used the company as a fascade to buy raw alcohol which they then converted into Scotch and in turn sold to bootleggers. Musica had emerged from his second stint in prison during prohibition and figured out a way to profit from the new laws. He used the name Frank Costa to obtain federal licenses to produce drugs that were laced with alcohol. After making about $8 million from bootleggers, he decided to expand his operations and he then bought McKesson and Robbins by re-inventing himself as F. Donald Coster. Musica did not go to jail for a third time though…on this date in 1938, he shot himself as the feds closed in. His brothers went to the pokey though. But, unlike today’s companies that are filled with fraud, his venture lives on today because accountants found that the corporate structure built by the master scammer was fundamentally sound. It was only the crude drugs that were lousy. So, the company built on the back of a scam continued to flourish legitimately and does so today.
This is another example of headlines today that make it seem like we’re going down the tubes are not necessarily new and one should not despair. And…like the McKesson Corp, the dastardly deeds done by some does not necessarily have to end up without a happy ending for the innocent.