Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t leave you a message. I was too busy yelling at my cats(Nit and Wit) while I did my taxes. Then I was yelling at the TV and the Texas Aggies. And of course, I was dealing with this chilly weather. But you know…even Al Gore has to admit it is still winter. Highs in the mid 40′s in the Ohio Valley and snow storms in the Northeast is really not unusual nor unexpected, unless you ‘ve been caught up in all of the hype in the media lately. Old Man Winter just wanted to make sure we knew he was still alive and well. But the old calendar says that Spring starts in midweek. First part of the week we’ll be like Morris the Cat…kinda finicky. Warm front-Cold Front-Warm Front will be the story for the first few days with the temperatures flopping around and shower activity until Wednesday with the start of spring and the mercury will jump. If you like to plan when you will be using your sick days, try Thursday and Friday this week.
On This Date In History Henry Wells and William Fargo in 1852 started their freight service via stage coach. These guys weren’t California boys or even Western frontiersman. Nope…they were east coast entreprenuers who exploited the fact that all of those 49ers in the gold rush needed supplies. It was a long way around South America by boat and the railroad wouldn’t get there for another couple of decades. Wells & Fargo got rich while most of the miners they sold to went bust. We now know of their little enterprise as a big fat bank. In 1766, the infamous Stamp Act was repealed. The Act went into effect the previous November and the Crown got tired of hearing the American colonists making all sorts of noise for four months. Funny thing is that it wasn’t the first Stamp Act. There had been others in 1689, 1712, 1724 and 1743 but they didn’t help spur a revolution. The folks just got their stamps and went on with their business. However, this Stamp Act was on the heels of the Sugar Act and the Currency Act, both in 1764. Never mind that the reason for the new taxes was to fund the protection of the colonies. I can argue that the reason why this one was such a big deal is because the wealthy, educated colonists were getting more and more restrictions and grief from the British government that threatened their wealth. Men like John Hancock. So, they went to the commoners and told them how a Stamp Act was taxation without representation. The final straw comes in 1774 with the Quebec Act, which threatened the land assets of the wealthiest of colonists, like George Washington. Its no coincidence that the American Revolution began not long after the Quebec Act. As anything else, just claiming the rich and smart guys riled up the commoners for their own desires is way way too simple. For instance, there was also another little act that got folks a bit upset. That was the requirement that citizens put up British soldiers for the night. Hows that for a “guess who’s coming to dinner moment?” This whole paragraph gives rise to another notion which I may deal with on another day which has to do with obfuscation by omission. However, I don’t feel like getting into that right now except to say that if one only mentions the Stamp Act of 1765 as a cause of the Revolution, it would be correct to some degree. But when one presents it in the context with the other acts as well as the personal interests and biographies of the principals involved, then you get a somewhat different picture. Bottom line is things are rarely as simple as they may seem.
Nevertheless, the big story on this date in 1925…the TRI STATE TORNADO. Its called that because it may very well have stayed on the ground over 3 states…Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Twisters usually are on the ground for a few minutes. This guy supposedly was on the ground for over 3 hours and some 219 miles. It definitely was a big bopper…an F5….and when it was all said an done, 695 people lay dead across those three states. The storm at times got to be a mile wide and it swallowed entire towns. Tragically, many of the dead were school children. Several schools were wiped clean while in session. There is some debate now as to whether it really was a single tornado and not perhaps a series or twisters. There is some thought that if it was one tornado that it may not have really been consistently on the ground that long. But thats a matter for egg head meteorologists and pondersome historians. Bottom line is that it was the worst tornadic storm in American recorded history. And look here…it happened in Mid March. Another example of why we take tornado drills now. In less than a week, the anniversary of Louisville’s worst tornado comes up. But for now, here is a link to the the Tri State Tornado information as well as a list of the Top Ten big tornadoes.
Link here for Top Ten Tornadoes
Back to the Aggies…told you they’d have a nice run. But, their fans are confused. The ball doesn’t have points on either end and with only 5 men on the court, they don’t know how they can be the “12th man”. So, my fearless forecast is that the Aggies will get lost and not make it to the Final Four. But, be aware that I’m in trouble because I had Wisconsin going to the elite 8 and John Boel’s Badgers let me down. Should’ve known better.