Archive for June, 2007
Seeds of Independence Sown
June 30, 2007
Let’s Celebrate Independence!!
June 29, 2007
So…I will now dedicate myself to topics of patriotism and independence for the next several days and what better place to start than TEXAS.
Rain Chances Increase This Afternoon
June 28, 2007
On This Date in History World War I essentially began on this date in 1914 with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. He and his wife Sofie were visiting Sarajevo, Bosnia. I believe he was there in an effort to help negotiate differences between Austrians and Serbians. It seems destiny doomed him. First, his car was bombed by a Serbian nationalist who tossed the bomb at the car. Ferdinand deflected the bomb and it exploded with just some shrapnel injuring Sofie. No matter….he kept going. He gave a speech, chastised the Mayor of Sarajevo for the unfriendly welcome and ordered his driver to take the couple to a hospital. The driver took a wrong turn and ended up on a street named for Ferdinand’s father, Franz Joseph. The driver realized the mistake and stopped the car to turn around. It just happens that Gavrillo Princip was on that street. He was another Serb nationalist who saw his fortune and pulled a pistol and shot the royal couple. So, the Serb plan failed but fate helped them reach their objective. There was no proof that the Serbian government was involved but after several weeks, the Austrian army invaded anyway and the war was on.
You probably didn’t know all of this because the Great War is not adequately covered in high school history. It was a huge conflict that shaped the 20th century. It’s a crime that educators generally ignore it. So, how did this conflict grow? Silly alliances. In his farewell address, George Washington had warned the United States against getting into foreign alliances, partially for this reason. Austria Hungary had a deal with Germany and Italy that is one was attacked all would be considered attacked. Serbia had a deal with Russia. Russia had a deal with France. France had a deal with Britain. Historian John Keegan says that had Austria acted unilaterally against Serbia, it wouldn’t have triggered the war. But because it delayed and got Germany’s endorsement, all the dominoes fell. The belligerent countries really didn’t have too much of a beef with each other but felt compelled by alliances to act. The result was the ruin of Europe, over 20 million killed and the seed sown for the rise of Hitler and World War II.
Washington was a pretty smart guy and his farewell address offers other interesting bits of advice we would be wise to follow. One thing that jumped out at me when I re-read the address was his opinion regarding the importance of religion in public discourse. It may surprise you.
June 26, 2007
USAF: We said it…but its not what we meant!
June 25, 2007
As expected, we got more rain but I have to admit it was more general rainfall than I anticipated…that is if you lived in Louisville. Counties along the river were mainly cloudy and rainy for much of the day while other areas just had some passing showers. This weekend though, everyone got some rain. Not enough to bust the drought mind you, but perhaps enough to hold off the severe drought conditions that have been creeping across the state. The rain in general has been of the soaking variety, though some areas from time to time got some brief gully washers. Monday we should see more scattered activity and perhaps some isolated stuff on Tuesday as the low responsible for it all fades away….its sticking around about 36 hours longer than I anticipated and my hydrangea is quite pleased with that prospect. Next chance for rain shows up on Thursday with a fairly significant front.
On This Date In History: In July of 1947, the United States Air Force first reported that personnel had found parts of a flying disc near Roswell, NM. A furor of space invasion fever took ahold of America. So the USAF changed their story to say….uh….its a weather balloon. How one can confuse a disc with a balloon is not clear. But, it was their story and they stuck to it….after they didn’t stick with the first story. Many didn’t believe them. So fifty years later, on this date in 1997, they tried to explain it again. I don’t think too many people still believe them and certainly not those who have made a small cottage business out of the tale. If the story would go away, who would go to the Space Aliens diner or buy all of those space alien t’shirts?
On this date in 1969, the day after the Cuyohoga River burned in Cleveland, the US was without a Chief Justice. Earl Warren resigned his position. He is well remembered for his commission investigating the JFK assasination. His conclusion left almost as many people in disbelief as did the Roswell incident, giving rise to cottage industries invoking the name of conspiracy. He had been a Republican governor of California who was appointed Chief Justice by President Eisenhower. But, he ended up not being the type of justice Eisenhower had thought, leaving Ike to exclaim that it was “the biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made.”
One thing about Warren that many popular culture sources do not reveal is that while Warren was Governor of California during WWII, he had strongly advised President Roosevelt to pursue the course of internment of Japanese Americans. Thats why its always good to check multiple sources or read several books on a particular topic as there are some authors who only want you to know what they want you to know. Some call it lies by omission.
Told You Saturday Was the Best Chance
June 24, 2007
Well, chalk one up for the good guys. We’ve been telling your for the better part of a week that Saturday was our best chance for rain in a couple of weeks. Let it be written, let it be done! The first part of the day looked like our previous days with rain in the forecast and that is some folks got some and others didn’t. Saturday afternoon, a whole mess of t’storms started bubbling up to the southwest and moved into the area bringing general rainfall. Again, some people got a quarter inch or so and others up to 2 inches but its the first day of rain for everyone in some time. Now, Sunday, the area of low pressure to our west and the quasi-warm front over the top of us fades away but I suspect there will be enough instability to provide more in the way of scattered activity. We had a couple of severe warnings today but I doubt if that will repeat itself for Sunday. Nevertheless, it bears watching. We’ll heat up for much of the week ahead before a reasonably formidable cold front comes down on Thursday and brings another chance for rain and perhaps slightly cooler temperatures for next weekend.
On this date in history: In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was a mess. All sorts of stuff spilling into the river made it a muck of sewage and chemicals. It was yuckadoo. It was so bad that on this date in 1969, it caught fire.
Some sources say the fire was started by spontaneous combustion. Others say that definitely it did not start that way. The one below says that the cause is unknown but it suspects sparks from a passing train….I didn’t know diesel electric motor trains caused sparks. Anyway, it points out that this was the 10th time the river had ignited.
The different sources also give different dates….some say the 22nd others say the 23rd. My guess is that it started on the night of the 22nd and burned all day on the 23rd. No matter. It happened and is an example of what can happen if one ignores pollution of waterways. This was an eye opening event and the leaders of Cleveland did more than simply post signs. They got together and worked to clean up and stop the problem. Many historians point to this event as the one that got the ball rolling for the 1972 Clean Water Act
This final link has some interesting tid bits, including a Randy Newman song they claim is linked to the big fire.
Need More Rain? Let’s Call on the Railroad!
June 21, 2007
Despite the rain of Tuesday, the drought continues. While some areas, specifically Clark, Oldham and extreme northeast Jefferson (KY) counties got in excess of an inch in many cases, other areas got but a pittance. We tried the Dinka tribesman, now how about some Yankee ingenuity. In 1895, some boys with the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Ry. Co. used the above gizmo mounted on a railcar to spew all sorts of stuff in the air. A Mr. Jewell was the inventor of the gadget that released three secret gases…gases said to be similar to the mysterious gases of the Arabian Nights…whatever that is. It is said that it worked…but I suppose if it did then we’d know more about it. And who knows what they were spewing into the atmosphere. Perhaps these are the dastardly fellows who began global warming! For more, check here:
We do need more rain and there is a shot on Saturday. I told you about the potential for an MCS moving down. The boys at the Severe Storms lab see the same thing and put us on the extreme eastern flank of a slight risk for severe thunderstorms Friday morning to Saturday morning. If the data is correct, it would appear a fair bet that they get some big storms to our northwest and as the complex moves into the Ohio Valley, the energy will be dispersed such that it doesn’t have as much oomph to produce big storms but would bring a chance for rain. However, it needs to be monitored because a good MCS can last a long time. Maybe if we conjure the ghosts of the old Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific it will do some good.
Presidential Nuptial Date in History On this date in 1810, 26-year-old Zachary Taylor married 31-year-old Margaret Smith right here in Louisville! He became famous in the Mexican War as a big shot general and was then elected President in in 1848. But his term only lasted from 1849 to 1850 as he died of acute gastroenteritis. It is said he ate too many sweet potatoes and he was buried in Louisville. You can visit him on Brownsboro Road. His wife hated public life and insisted that their daughter perform all of the customary First Lady duties at the White House. 130 years later, Richard Nixon married Pat Ryan. While they weren’t in Louisville, perhaps we should look to see if there were any weddings today to see if we see a future first couple. Another coincidence of sorts… One of Taylor’s daughters married Confederate President Jefferson Davis. One of Nixon’s daughters married former President Dwight Eisenhower’s grandson. Perhaps June 20th presidential nuptials is a disease passed on to future generations.
One more thing…Sammy Sosa hit his 600th homerun tonight. I wonder if he is still crediting Flintstone Vitamins for his homerun prowess.
Singin’ In The Rain
June 20, 2007
Is It Time To Call On The Dinka Rain-maker?
June 18, 2007
Perhaps we could use the skills of this chap. He was a Bor Dinka tribesman named Biyordit who was seen as a rainmaker. Next to him is a pole called a Rit on which the carcass of a sacrificed animal is hung. This photo was taken in the early 20th century. He apparently had a sacred spear used in the ceremony to help produce rain. You can read more about him here:
Somehow he got shot in the face and apparently, since his miraculously recovered, he was held in even higher esteem. Well, I’m not so sure our current situation calls for taking a bullet in the chops, but it does call for some relief. And we have lots of moisture moving up from the south and it will help to perhaps cause some passing showers tonight and tomorrow. A frontal boundary will move through on Tuesday enhancing our prospects for rain to levels not seen for a couple of weeks. But before you put away the sprinklers, keep in mind the ole computer models only think a quarter to a half inch of rain will fall out of this whole thing. I would think some people may get more but in any event, this little rain event may wet the ground and help the flower garden, but its not going to really impact the drought situation too much. So, I’ll see if we can’t find one of Biyordit’s relatives and check on his availability.
On this date in history: Paul McCartney was born in 1942…that makes him 65! Will you still need me when I’m 64? Apparently he didn’t need Heather Mills when he was 64 or 65. Report from the tabloids say she was not invited to his birthday party. He probably has a few million reasons why she was left off the invite list.
The war of 1812 began on this date when Congress declared war and President James Madison signed the measure into law. Why we call it the War of 1812 is lost on me because it wasn’t over until Christmas of 1814 and the biggest victory for the United States occurred after the war was over. Seems Andy Jackson and his boys in New Orleans didn’t get the news and met the British in a famous battle around Lake Borgne. The battle took place in January of 1815….so officially, one cannot say there was a battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 because it was 1815 and the war was over. But, since Cleveland had already taken the moniker “the mistake by the lake” I guess they had to call it something. Wouldn’t that be pretty bad luck if you fought and died for your country in a battle of a war that was already over?
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I Told You So
June 16, 2007
I’m tellin‘ ya…if we don’t pay attention to what is going on for real instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the latest environmental controversy, we all may deserve to be sent to the cooler or perhaps the front!
For flag day, I complained about the lack of action or caring about polluted water….the very essence of life. I did allow though it was not just a Louisville or Ohio River problem. Well, on that day, news started hitting the wires about reports, perhaps originally derived from the Hindustan Times earlier this year, that told of the Ganga River in India. A very sacred river….it is now not only too polluted for bathing or drinking water, its so polluted due to sewage that it is no longer suitable for irrigation.
Its a dying river that is now not only useless for wildlife, but also for humans and agriculture. There is a saying that in Venice, no one did anything about the flooding problems until the sewage was flowing in people’s houses. While we spend money going to movies that spotlight theoretical potential or spend time discussing conspiracies like chemtrails….the very source of our existence….the substance that makes up about 2/3 of our bodies….becomes less and less user friendly. And no one seems to care. If you can’t go the waterfront in Louisville and read the signs warning of swimming due to polluted waters following a rainstorm, then read the Hindustan Times and other stories below. They may not have any signs on the rivers in India and their problem may be worse than ours for now. But the result will be the same for everyone if we don’t wise up. Who knows, perhaps the next war will not be over oil or another valued commodity, but instead over clean water…the natural resource we most take for granted.
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