Archive for September, 2007

No Bull
September 30, 2007

It was a beautiful day as expected; Cool start, warm afternoon. I was the emcee at the “Bark in the Park” at Seneca Park in Louisville which was a benefit for the Animal Care Society in Louisville. It is a “no kill” shelter and the folks there not only d0 fine work, but they are an asset to the community. There were a couple of small pools for the dogs to wade in but they were taken over by Tommy and Winston, a couple of Bulldogs that thought the spots were their own private wallowing hole. If for some reason you slept in on Saturday..perhaps too big of a Friday Night…Sunday will be equally as nice. Snow White and I had a great time on Saturday night as we hooked up with a friend at the Reds game. For some reason I had a case of the chats and annoyed everyone sitting around me, especially the Cubs fans to whom I suggested some of their players cheat. The Cubs fans numbers far outpaced those of the Reds and we may have well as been in Chicago. While the Cubs one the division, I remain convinced they will not win the World Series and extend their futility streak to 100 years.

On This Date in History: Union General William “Bull” Nelson got his name from being a big, bearish man who used his physical size to intimidate others. He had initially been an officer in the navy and somehow became a general in the army. But the Bull was butchered in the Galt House in Louisville on this date in 1862. Not only was he murdered by another Union General named Jefferson Davis, he met his demise in the presence of the Governor of Indiana.

In the summer of 1862, while General Don Carlos Buell was wandering around Tennessee with his Louisville based Army of the Ohio building railroads following the battle of Shiloh, the contingent of men left to defend Louisville was left to one of Buell’s subordinates, Nelson. Confederate General Braxton Bragg began a campaign into Kentucky and the fear was he would get to Louisville before Buell could return. So, while Buell was plodding along back to Louisville, Nelson started putting cannon on the Indiana side of the river so he could shell the city if the Confederates ever invaded. For some reason, Bragg didn’t come to Louisville…probably a blunder…though he was probably fearful of the reception he would get from the populous. So, as Buell’s army trickled back in, Nelson spied Gen. Jeff Davis of Indiana ordering his men to dig in. Bull didn’t think much of that and let Davis know.

Davis wasn’t pleased but instead of manning up and facing Bull, he ran back to Indianapolis and fetched Indiana Governor Oliver Morton and on the evening of September 29 1862 in the stairwell of the Galt House in Louisville, tough guy Davis confronted Nelson. He challenged the powerful Nelson to a duel who, in front of Morton, rebuffed Davis with a scoff and then with the back of his hand when pressed. Nelson went up the stairs and our hero Davis grabbed a pistol, ran up the stairs and shot General Nelson dead. Before he died, Nelson tried to cover all of his bases by getting baptized but that didn’t help with the post mortem scales of justice. See, Buell had Davis arrested but Buell got fired about two months later following the battle of Perryville. With Buell out of the way and the main witness being a good Republican Governor from a Union State, Davis never faced trial and so the murder of a Union General in front of several witnesses was never “solved.” And so ends another tale of courage and justice during the Civil War and it all happened at the Galt House.

No word on whether or not Davis spent the rest of his life looking on golf courses for the real killer.

The Bell From the Belle
September 28, 2007

Much of Louisville and the surrounding area got much needed rain Wednesday and Thursday. The southern part of the viewing area missed out on the really helpful stuff and that’s too bad because we’re high and dry for the next several days.
Bell Awards: Tonight we taped the Bell Awards and you will want to check it out on October 13 from 8 to 9 pm. You will hear incredible stories about people who have selflessly volunteered to help make our community better. I’ve been honored to be able to escort a recipient each of the last 10 years and I’m always amazed at what we are all capable of if we put our minds to it. These people are the best of the best and they usually don’t search for recognition but its great that these fine folks get a moment in the spotlight because their stories are truly inspiring. I had the honor of escorting Ms. Joyce Rhea who not only has devoted her life to helping kids, but also sacrificed her career to do so. Hers was one of 12 stories you will hear from people of all ages and all walks of life. Do yourself a favor and tune in, you won’t regret it. It was truly a privilege for me to be able to spend time with Joyce and her family as well as just being in the same room with those who give so much for so many.
The award is a bell that was an exact replica cast from the bell from the Belle of Louisville. The Belle is a treasure to the city and the award symbolizes the treasures of our city.

That Was Rain Some of You Saw Today
September 26, 2007

That stuff you felt or saw falling from the sky on Tuesday afternoon was rain. Well, at least there was a little in Louisville and upwards of an inch in Indiana. There is more where that came from but don’t build an ark just yet. The front coming through will provide some welcome rain but I suspect it won’t be enough to make you happy nor content your plants. The trees seem to be reacting adversly to the lack of rain and warm conditions as they seem to be losing interest in making for a good fall season. I have a bunch of brown leaves in my yard just like we used to in Houston…except in Houston they don’t fill your yard until around Christmas. Anyway, my prognostication for fall is lousy colors like last year. A bit here and there but not a big burst as we tend to see when we have a wet late summer with cool conditions.

On This Date In History: Daniel Boone died in 1820. He didn’t get attacked by Indians, he didn’t get eaten by a bear and he didn’t die in Kentucky. He simply died quietly at the age of 86. Today we have the credit crisis affecting real estate owners. In Boone’s day, you had to have a proper claim and it seems ole Dan’l didn’t have the proper papers for his land holdings in Kentucky. Because he failed to register his land properly, he lost his land in Kentucky and I suppose that included Boonesboro. Dan may have been gone but they kept the name. Boone in 1799 went west and settled in Missouri at the tender age of 65. He spent his final years hunting and trapping. Later, Fess Parker portrayed Boone in a TV series in the late 60’s. In the series, Parker wore a coonskin cap and there was even a reference to that in the theme song. Trouble was that Boone never wore a coonskin cap. Guess Parker had it left over from his previous TV series in which he portrayed Davy Crockett. Kept the Boone series budget costs low. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between Parker’s Crockett and Parker’s Boone as he was one of those guys who acted the same way in all of his roles. But, I must say I think Parker looks more like a Boone than Boone did. There is a statue of Boone, not Parker, near Cherokee Park.

Too Pooped For Prose
September 22, 2007

The weather is boring and will remain so through the weekend. A useless front will come through but you won’t know it unless you look on our weathercast and see a blue line on the map. Wait until around Tuesday when a front man’s up and joins with moisture from Tropical Depression 10 to bring rain. Then we’ll knock several degrees off the mercury.

This Date In History: On this date in 2007, I spent the day recovering. Snow White and I sculled up the Ohio River to 12 mile island. A guy in a kayak reports the round trip was about 15 miles. My backside is sore, my legs are heavy and my wrists don’t work. I had a spider jump in my scull and crawl about on me until he took a bite. Then I had two turkey buzzards circling very low around me. Last night Snow White had to scrape me off the floor and prop me up at a party featuring Kool and the Gang. Now I’m deaf. I was accused of getting my “groove on” and getting my “freak on.” That is how they described me basically holding up the tent pole as Snow White danced the night away. I tried to raise my hands at the urging of the singer during Celebrate but my arms didn’t work. I am still in seclusion with my fat cats, Nit and Wit, making light of my predicament. Snow White is quite amused. Yesterday, we stopped to get water from a convenience store and the clerk asked where we had been and I told him. He responded, “you must be in great shape.” I answered, “no.”

Flying Frog Eggs, No Mickey and Jim is Dead
September 20, 2007

The weather remains rather boring, but nice. Okay, we need rain and we will eventually get some. A front next week will get here by around Tuesday and its possible the rain chances will be enhanced by whatever happens with a system trying to develop in the Gulf. A fair scenario will be for it to move onshore along the Gulf Coast and get swept up in the flow ahead of the front and bring much needed moisture to the Ohio Valley. But, until then, just enjoy the warm late summer afternoons and mild nights. All the complaints will not change a thing so you might as well enjoy it.
On This Date in History:
Jim Is Dead On this date in 1881, President James Garfield died. He was shot a few months earlier by a disgruntled (love that adjective) supporter who had hoped for a good patronage position with the new President. So, he got mad and shot the President at a Washington train station on July 2, just 4 months after Garfield inauguration. The bullet lodged near the Presidents spine and he eventually got weak and died. Today, many medical professionals suggest that had he been up and gaining strength, he would have lived with the bullet in his body. If McCoy had been there, he might have said, “Jim, you’re dead.”
Nyet on Mickey On this date in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is locked out of the Magic Kingdom. Khrushchev was on his extended tour of the United States prior to a high level meeting with President Eisenhower. The authorities decided that a Khrushchev visit to Disneyland would attract large crowds and they couldn’t guarantee his safety so he was barred from visiting Goofy, though he had met Shirley MacLaine earlier in the day. Naturally, Khrushchev saw it as a capitalistic plot against his fun and was quoted to have said, “And I say, I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. But then, we cannot guarantee your security, they say. Then what must I do? Commit suicide? What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me?”
Its raining cats and Frog Eggs? On this date in 2003, hurricane Isabel moved up the New England coast. It had strong winds and very heavy rain. In Berlin, Connecticut, there were reports of it raining frog eggs. Investigators confirmed the occurrence. Trouble is, frogs don’t lay eggs in Connecticut at that time of year. The scientists best guess is that the storm picked up the eggs upon landfall in North Carolina and carried them 500 miles to the Nutmeg State. No word on what “expert” you are to call if you have frog eggs falling from the sky; biologist, meteorologist or frog chef.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read
September 19, 2007

Our weather remains boring. I wouldn’t put too much merit in a certain cable outlet that produces forecasts as it trumpets rain chances on Thursday. The data doesn’t support it. In fact, we will stay dry for the rest of the week through the weekend. Look for afternoon highs near 90 and lows in the 60s.

On This Date In History: In the early stages of this blog last spring I told you about the Donner Party. Well, their troubles began on this date in 1846 when they believed the writings of a charlatan. A guy named Lansford Hastings had penned a book that touted a short cut to California for overland travelers. What he didn’t write about was his vested interest in people coming to the Sacramento Valley. Jacob and George Donner had read the book and thought it was a good idea as they led their band of 89 emigrants across the plains toward the Sierra Nevada in the summer of 1846. But I guess they didn’t read the fine print, if there was a fine print to read. While it was true that mileage wise, it was a shorter route to head through a mountain pass near Lake Tahoe, there wasn’t much of a trail to speak. There were boulders and a stretch of desert. On this date in 1846, after many days of arduous travel, they were running out of food and supplies so they sent two men ahead to California who were to return with more food. Meanwhile, the “Hastings Pass” proved almost impassible and the desert that Hastings said would take two days to cross actually took six. The settlers had to abandon furniture, family heirlooms and livestock as they got gobbled up by mounds of sand.

In mid October, one of the men returned with supplies and a couple of Indian guides but the Hastings short cut had taken so much time that the expedition was doomed. On October 28, they got socked in by a mammoth snowstorm and they got stuck near what is known as Donner Pass…made infamous because the members of the Donner party turned to cannibalism to survive the winter before the few that were left emerged in late spring.

Perhaps this is the greatest example of why women should be left to the planning of a trip since men never ask for directions.

By the way, Webhog wanted me to address the OJ Simpson saga…after consultation with Snow White, I’ve decided that too would be the wrong way and my fate may resemble that of the Donner Party if I followed that path.. You can get your fill on cable tv news for the next 6 months.

The True Colors of a Sooner
September 17, 2007

We can’t say that fall is here to stay but at least we got a taste. This week will be dry with tons of sun. While we will warm up again, humidity levels will be quite comfortable and the overnight lows quite pleasant. Not much to talk about so that leaves more space for….
This Date In History: On this date in 1893, a pistol sounded and nearly 100,000 mainly white settlers dashed into the Cherokee Strip of the Oklahoma territory to stake their claim. The land had been considered to be too arid and barren for farming for much of the century. Certainly not as good as that in the Southeastern US. So, the US government forced out the native Indians from the Southeast and resettled them in what was then called the Indian Territory. The forced march of native tribes such as the Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek was known as the “Trail of Tears” and nearly 4000 men, women and children died on the march. Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson gained notoriety for defeating defiant Indians in the Florida panhandle region, though today many people shiver at the thought of honoring Jackson as his methods are seen with 21st century eyes as ruthless and inhuman.
In any event, by the late 19th century, American farming method had improved and suddenly the land deemed as useless became valuable. So, in 1889, President Benjamin Harrison opened up the Oklahoma Territory for settlement. I’m not sure what happened to the Indians whose land was taken for the second time in less than a century but it probably wasn’t good. Anyway, the entire state wasn’t opened at once but instead in sections. The Cherokee Strip was the largest section. They literally fired a pistol and everyone raced for his stake. Little did they know that some people would later find that the true treasure lay below the surface as oil was discovered in the state. Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable were in an oil boom movie called Boom Town. It’s a great movie. I like Tracy as “Shorty.” Anyway, there were some people who left before the gun…in some cases a long time before the gun…and staked their claims in order to miss the rush. Sorta like getting into Macy’s on the first day of Christmas shopping before the doors open. These people were known as Sooners. The University of Oklahoma decided it was a good idea to adopt these cheaters as their mascot and the football team has done its best to uphold the tradition ever since.
The good, honest men from the University of Texas at Austin (THE University) have defeated the Boomer Sooners 57 times in the annual Red River Shoot Out. The scalawags from OU have won but 39 times in spite of their namesake’s tradition. Unfortunately, so far it appears that the Sooners won’t need to cheat to win the game in Dallas on October 6….but they’ll probably try to do it anyway. Perhaps the always honorable Mack Brown will be able to rally his fine boys in burnt orange and defeat the bad guys again.
Matt Milosevich graduated from Oklahoma….but I don’t hold it against him and you shouldn’t either.

Game Time
September 16, 2007

Dear Coach:

If your team doesn’t win, you can’t blame the weather or the weatherman. Hope everyone enjoys the game.

Willie and Jimmy
September 14, 2007

Spectacular weather the past few days….Snow White and I did some fine sculling…though my blistered hands reflect a life lacking in physical labor and soft hands. A man with soft hands is great for the ladies(just ask Snow White) but not so good for manning the oars. I’ll survive though I’ve learned the importance of that last layer of skin.
Some of the high clouds were rather interesting as I suspect they were produced from the outflow of hurricane Humberto. It looked real good on the satellite and radar imagery last night but I thought for sure it would run out of ocean real estate before it could become a hurricane. Well, I’m not the only one surprised. At the end of the NHC intergovernmental discussion, the remark was something suggesting that maybe someday we’d find out how it went from a depression to a hurricane so fast. As it is, the front that brought us the good weather is shunting the remnants of the hurricane to the east which is too bad because we sure could have used the rain. Now, when a strong front comes through Friday, it’s not going to have much in the way of moisture so rain chances are limited. It will reintroduce cool and dry conditions for the weekend, meaning that the Heritage Festival in Lanesville will be great and UL and UK fans can’t blame the weather if their team comes up short.
On This Date In History: Remember during the 1976 Presidential election how Jimmy Carter used his stellar integrity as a campaign club? Remember the famous “lust in my heart” comment and the focus on his Southern Baptist upbringing? President Carter was extremely bright. He served honorably in the United States Navy as a Captain directly under the command of Admiral Hyman Rickover aka the “father of the nuclear navy”. President Carter was known as a peanut farmer in campaign literature but the truth is he was a nuclear engineer of great ability. He and President Herbert Hoover are the only academically trained engineers to serve as President…you can draw your own conclusions. Anyway, all of this makes this date in 1980 all that more remarkable. On September 13, 1980 President Carter hosted a concert by none other than Willie Nelson at the White House. Willie Nelson of “Whiskey River” and “Outlaw” fame. Willie Nelson on his 3rd marriage at the time. Later Nelson went on to run up an interesting rap sheet of marijuana arrests and was convicted of failure to pay his income taxes. Not one to be kept down, Willie made a new record called The IRS Tapes: Will You Buy My Dreams? A lot of people did because Willie paid back the hundreds of thousands, if not millions(I can’t remember how much it was) in back taxes.
But, I suppose to forgive is Divine, especially if you are forgiving a country music star with some good tunes. Seems President Carter liked to listen to Nelson’s music while pondering policy and other items associated with the pressures of being President. Carter told Rolling Stone magazine, “All the good things I did as president, all the mistakes I made — you can blame half of that on Willie.” Nelson, who was a public supporter of NORMAL (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) exercised his protest right, I suppose, by lighting up what he called “a big fat Austin torpedo” while on the White House roof. That would be a giant joint for all of you lacking in the hip verbiage of the day. Carter said he never knew about it but Nelson claims the Secret Service kept a sharp eye on him while he sparked up on the Carter White House roof. Nelson has traced his lineage to the American Revolution. Perhaps he was doing his version of the Boston Tea Party as he toked away on top of the Presidential residence.

Always Remember and Never Give In
September 11, 2007

On October 29, 1941 Sir Winston Churchill gave a speech to the students of the Harrow School. At the time. Great Britain had survived the “Battle of Britain” in 1940 when the nation stood alone against the onslaught of the Nazi Luftwaffe. The US had not entered the war yet but by late October 1941, Hitler was preoccupied with his “Operation Barbarossa” which opened a second front in the East against the Soviet Union. Churchill’s speech is often misquoted and misrepresented. The following was in his closing remarks and not the entire body of the speech. However, on this solemn day, I think the words should echo as loudly as the church bells of the Old North Church to which Paul Revere looked for the signal of “one if by land, two if by sea.”

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
-Winston Churchill