On This Date in History: First, on an interesting note relating to baseball and Bonds as well as a recent post, I found out that Hank Aaron’s birthday was February 5. The man he passed as the all time home run king, Babe Ruth, celebrated his birthday on February 6. That’s kinda unusual. Then, I got to thinking…which is dangerous…I had a post regarding the Great Baltimore Fire on Feb 7-8 1904. Speculation is that it started from a carelessly tossed cigarette or cigar. Now, Ruth would have just celebrated his 9th birthday and his father’s bar is located close by to where the fire started. I don’t think that Ruth had been sent away to St. Mary’s Orphanage when he was 9, so what about the possibility that the fire was started by the juvenile delinquent George Herman Ruth!
That would make a good story line for our feature of the day…Kentuckian David Wark Griffith. He was born not far from Louisville in La Grange and became famous for the first full length feature film, Birth of a Nation. The film opened on this date in 1915 and Birth of a Nation is widely regarded as historic and monumnetal and such. I could never figure out why because it’s stupid and it’s biased and racist and inaccurate. I believe that the notorieiity comes, not due to the content, but instead for the techniques that Griffith used and pioneered that gives the film its place in history.
Griffith was born in 1875 to an Ex-Confederate. Now, much of the nation today thinks of Kentucky as being in the South. But, when I moved here, I couldn’t believe I was moving so far north. I thought I was in Yankeeland. Kim Stevens is from Alabama and she married a guy from Louisville. Her family said that they thought they could accept that she was marrying a “Yankee.” People who are really in the South don’t think of Kentucky as being in the South. Oh…the anger I get from people about that. I tell people to move to Jackson, Mississippi if they want to find out what the South is like. I point out that about 25,000 served in the Confederacy from Kentucky while over 130,00o served in the Union. I point out that Louisville was home to the
Army of the Ohio and 75,000 Union Troops who were invited into the state by the legislature in late 1861. I point out that Louisville averages over 15 inches of snow a year and often gets below zero. I point out that St. Louis is exactly 250 miles due west, was a major city in a border state yet no one calls them the South. My thesis had to do with Loiusville’s true roots being with the North but that they purposely realigned themselves with the South for economic reasons after the war. That’s where the myth of the Kentucky Colonel comes from. Louisville had the only working railroad into the South after the war and wanted to capitalize economically for the rebuilding south and so they basically said, “why, we wuz with ya all the time boys!! Do business with us, not them Yankees!” Never mind that Braxton Bragg came into the state with an Army of 45, 000 hoping to get Kentuckians to join the Confederate cause. Kentuckians declined, leaving Bragg to refer to Kentuckians as a bunch of “shuffling middlemen.” Now, there were no book burnings, but Kentuckians simply left out all references to the North when they wrote the history of the state, specifically the Memorial History of Louisville to 1896. They had a whole section on the Southern Exposition but said not one word about the National Industrial Exposition that lasted twice as long. They made no reference to a huge event that became national in scope in 1885 celebrating the birthday of US Grant. It’s on Grant’s Tomb in the form of a plaque but is found nowhere (except my published article…Ohio Valley History Fall 2008… and thesis) because they wanted no one to find out about it. It messed up their story.
Well, DW Griffith was part of the mythmaking when he made Birth of a Nation. For the first month of its release, it was called The Clansmen and was a biased view of the Civil War and Reconstruction. It portrayed African Americans in an awful light and as evil and bad. It created the illusion of the Ku Klux Klan as some heroic figures. Now, US Grant had crushed the Klan in the 1870′s. But, not long after Griffith’s stupid movie, the Klan re-emerged to be a scurge on the land for decades to come. There is little doubt that Griffith’s film helped sway public support toward the reborn group that became “anti” all sorts of things, not just African Americans. It’s an idiotic film. It was censored in some cities and sparked riots in many northern cities. The newly formed NAACP tried to have it banned. Griffith did agree to cut out some particularly offensive scenes. But, the film itself is largely historically a fraud and I suppose it set the stage for historic movies to come as most Hollywood historically based films are not accurate…don’t believe everything you see.
There are some interesting things about the film though was that Griffith began the idea of feature length films. He also was the first to make actors rehearse before shooting scenes, thus increasing the quality of the acting. Griffith helped pioneer the use of zooms and close ups and panning camera shots. He also had breakthroughs in editing techniques that are still used today. His work with the actors helped launch the big careers of people like Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish. He later went on to form United Artists with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. So, Griffith does have a place in film history….just don’t buy his work of propaganda and foolishness AS history…its nonsense.
Weather Bottom Line: Well, I’m breaking out Colonel Klink because this is pretty close to an “I told you so” as I’ve had in awhile. Then again, maybe I should wait until this event actually happens before I claim victory because it’s still not a slam dunk. But, I like Werner Klemper so there you go. What am I prematurely crowing about? First off, I’ve been saying for days that I didn’t see how we were going to get above freezing today or any other day this week. At 5pm we touched 31 in Louisville. Hmmm…I suppose it’s still possible that we move warmer but at this point I claim victory. Then, I’ve been telling you since last Wednesday that we could see a pretty decent snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then, I let you know that some data was trying to bring in rain in between the snow, thus decreasing our snow total. Well, the morning run from both the GFS and NAM both call for all snow and run something more than 5 inches. OK, now the reason why I may be jumping the shark with Colonel Klink.
The storm coming has some similarities to the one a few days ago in that we have a southern and northern stream somewhat in sync. The southern system though is farther south and it is driving the warmer air farther north. Graphically, almost every model almost every run since last Wednesday has put the 500mb to 100omb thickness line south of the area, but close at times. Yet, numerically, the past several days both the GFS and NAM were insisting on some snow followed by rain and then closing with snow. But, the 12Z run of both models both kept Louisville as all snow and both came in with an excess of 5 inches. Now, the 18Z NAM is backing off with just under 3 inches. I’ve been thinking all along that we would get all snow but the rain/snow line will be close…say around E’town and that’s not far from Louisville.
So, I say the same thing I’ve said all along. Plan on snow beginning after midnight early Tuesday morning and continuing with perhaps 3-4 inches. Then, things should back off but then pick up again lightly for Tuesday night into the first part of Wednesday as the northern system behaves more as an upper low to the parent southern low; again very similar to last week. I would think that this secondary guy may bring an additional inch or so. An obvious fly in the ointment would be if that rain/snow line drifts just a shade farther north. The earth is 25, 000 miles around and so a difference of just 30 miles is a small fraction of the world’s surface but is a huge difference regarding snow totals. If we do in fact get a little rain between periods of snow. Not only will Colonel Klink have egg on his face but also the driving conditions will be more difficult as icing may become an issue.
The other potential problem with a 5-6 inch snow would be in the event we stay all snow but there are big thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast, that may serve to limit some of the moisture coming up from the South. And you know what? The Storm Prediction Center does indeed call for possible thunderstorms from East Texas to south Mississippi through Tuesday morning. So, it’s not that far fetched. They don’t have a severe risk but I’m telling you, some decent storms are possible and I would have concern that it messes up our snow potential even if the rain snow line behaves itself and stays south. Now, if those storms don’t materialize (the probably will to some degree) and we do stay all snow, then maybe we’d get more than 5 inches…but I doubt that will happen. The other issue is temperatures. I’ve seen some national forecasts call for highs above freezing on Friday through the weekend. I don’t get it. Well, I suppose that they are coming around and have lowered that high on Friday to 32 but they have teens for Friday morning then mid 30′s for highs through the weekend. I still don’t get it. I just don’t see how we get above freezing through Sunday. And, I’ll tell you what…the Wednesday winds should have backed off by Friday morning and if we get clearing for that night..even partial clearing…it will be colder than the teens.
Regardless, its still a very difficult forecast and there will be great differences in snow totals between the southern part of Kentuckiana and the northern part. Somewhere in between is the rain snow line and to say for certain exactly where it will be is above my pay grade and I believe above that of any human….except maybe Chuck Heston and he’s not tellin’.