Archive for December, 2007

Start of a Bright Future and End to A Bright Shining Light
December 31, 2007

After a warm end to the old year, look for a cold start to the new year. A front passes through Monday evening, increasing winds and bringing a few showers. That opens the door for an Arctic Blast with another front on its heels. Revelers will be happy with the temps in the 40’s for much of the evening until Midnight. By that time, it’s questionable if all local professional new year’s partiers will notice but the winds will have picked up from the WNW to about 15-30 mph and the mercury will fall through the 30’s. New Year’s Day we will struggle to 32 by midday and then fall all afternoon and evening. The best chance for light snow showers will come Tuesday night but that won’t be a big issue as the winds and cold will grab the headlines. Wednesday morning we start in the upper teens and low 20’s and only make it to the mid to upper 20’s. Thursday morning we’re down to the low to mid teens before sunshine helps us nudge above the freezing mark before falling again Thursday night. But, a big warm up begins Friday afternoon and won’t end until we’re pushing the 60 degree mark Sunday and especially Monday. This up and down pattern is something we’ll have to get used to as it’s pretty typical of a La Nina Pattern.

On this Date in History: Thomas Alva Edison successfully demonstrated the use of his incandescent light bulb in 1879. It had been invented about 4 decades before but Edison is the first to come up with a working, practical bulb. He made his demonstration on a street in his home town of Menlo Park, New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Railroad ran special trains so that new year’s revelers might really brighten up for 1880. Here’s the Louisville connection. In 1883, the Southern Exposition opened in Louisville with the large building, located in what is now St. James Place. The building was adorned with some 20,000 incandescent lights….the largest single display in the world up to that time. The number of bulbs in Louisville at the expo was greater than all of the bulbs in New York City.

On This Date in 1972, I cried. Baseball great Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash. He was my favorite baseball player. I had seen on TV get his 3000th hit in his final game and watched the Pirates dispatch the Orioles in the World Series the year before. On Christmas 1972, a devastating earthquake struck Nicaragua. Clemente was a true humanitarian and immediately worked to get supplies from his native Puerto Rico to the stricken area. I think it was a DC 7 that they had loaded up…loaded too much. Not only that, but the plane was in disrepair on not airworthy. Against the wishes of his companions, Clemente insisted on traveling with the supplies to deliver the personally as he had been distressed to learn that much of the aid that had been dispacthed was not getting to those in need. Witnesses say that at 9pm the plane lumbered down the runway with various spurts and noises. It reached a level of about 200 feet before exploding and falling in the sea. Clemente’s body was never recovered. On the island, many said it was the day when happiness died. His friend and teammate Manny Sanguillen was known to be smiling constantly. For the final years of Sanguillen’s career, rarely was a smile seen on his face. I cried that night when I heard the news and couldn’t stop. From then on I always tried to be number 21. That spring, I cried again when number 21 was too small. I got Babe Ruth’s number 3 and all through high school, I was usually number 3. But, to this day, I always have number 21 on my lottery numbers. The special homage from to a great man who’s exploits and efforts on the field were only topped by his love and effort for his fellow man off the field. As a little boy I cried that night and probably joined millions of kids and adults. I get weepy just remembering it. It’s too bad that more of the heroes of the kids today don’t emulate the life of Roberto Clemente who used the gifts he had been given to serve others. He was a bright shining light whose luminance should last a 1000 years.


Don’t Cross This Woman On New Year’s Eve!
December 28, 2007

Look for rain on Friday followed by a decent weekend to end 2007. Remember the drought? Well, forget about it. As of Thursday night, we were officially .04″ ahead of our average annual rainfall for the date. Over 7″ of rain in December did the trick. We’ll be slightly higher than average temperature-wise over the weekend. A front comes through on Monday with maybe a few showers ahead of it Monday morning. The high Monday will be in the early afternoon and be about average. Then the temperatures fall and the wind should pick up. Plan on a brisk way to ring in the new year. Perhaps you will want to move your party indoors because New Year’s day we will maybe get to freezing. We don’t really get above freezing again until Thursday afternoon. We may get a few flurries but in general, the talk will be about the cold, that is if you are able to talk after New Year’s Eve festivities. My recommendation is to take it easy…and it would be to abstain from the topic of…

This Date In History: On this date in 1900, a six foot tall, 175 pound, hatchet wielding woman attacked a saloon in Wichita, Kansas. Carry Nation had been married to a doctor who loved the bottle as much as he loved her…or maybe more. She tried to get him to quit drinking but failed. They separated and shortly thereafter he died. She then married a Texas minister and the couple moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas in 1889. Nation was convinced that alcohol was the root of all social evil so she took to the streets preaching a temperance message designed to close all of the saloons; first in Medicine Lodge and then in the rest of the state. Now, Kansas was emerging from its wild days of Wyatt Earp and Dodge City cow punchers and Nation soon found that her words alone weren’t enough to get anyone’s attention so she took more aggressive action. She began using her trusty hatchet to try and destroy all of the saloons she could find. On this date in 1900, she managed to shatter a large mirror behind the bar in Wichita and throw rocks at a picture of Cleopatra bathing.

The funny thing is that the sale of alcohol was illegal and she thought it was law abiding citizens duty to enforce the law that public officials turned a blind eye toward. So she gleefully hacked away at whiskey casks, bottles of booze and haranguing customers about their evil ways. It appears her favorite thing to do was destroy expensive ornamentation in drinking establishments. Local law enforcement often didn’t agree with her vigilante ways and she many times found herself in jail. Nevertheless, she enjoyed a certain degree of success as she was able to pressure Kansas law enforcement officials into upholding the law a little more.

By the time national prohibition came about in 1920, Carry Nation had been dead for 9 years and largely forgotten. But Temperance Movement folks point to her actions as a hatchet wielding woman for helping to move the nation toward its “noble experiment” that failed miserably, unless your name was Al Capone.

Merry Christmas
December 24, 2007

On Behalf of Snow White, we want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Be safe and I hope you get a chance to spend quality time with friends and family. I won’t get a chance to see my mom and dad this year so, if you see your parents, give them an extra hug for me. Don’t worry about me though, my late Christmas present typically is that I get to spend a good stretch of time with the folks after the holidays. In the meantime, my mother and father in law and my wife’s family (my adoptive family) take care of me just fine.

Many Hours; Much Wind
December 23, 2007

I’ve been working a lot lately and will continue to do so through the holidays. The snow that was earlier looked at for Christmas is off the board. The upper low still moves over us but there is just no moisture for it to work with. Another system progged to swing around now appears to be wanting to move NNE to our west and northwest which means we warm a bit too much for snow but instead we get a few showers on Thursday and Friday. We hit 62 on Saturday which was not a record. Don’t look for that again any time soon. Temps this week will be around seasonal…which I think the average high for the time of year is 44. Looks like we get in a zonal flow for the next several days so no big ups and downs in the offing.

Look for a cold and blustery day on Sunday. Even Winne the Pooh would stay in his den.

Who Says There Is No American Aristocracy? On this date in history, 1923, President Woodrow Wilson was given a new 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Pall Mall as a birthday present from his friends. I doubt if Santa could top that.

On the other side of the spectrum, a depressed and poor painter, Vincent Van Gogh must have thought Santa was bringing him a lump of coal because on this date in 1888, he took a razor and chopped off part of his left ear. I’ve never read why he chose to do that but he did end up making a painting called Self Portrait With Bandaged Ear. Though the price was never confirmed, a private collector is said to have paid $90 million for the painting. In one of the odd twists of societal history, Van Gogh had no clue he would be remembered. See, he only sold one painting his entire life! Maybe if he could see into the future he wouldn’t have felt so bad as to make him want to chop off his ear…but then again, if he had, he would never have painted a self portrait of himself with a bandaged ear…and then some rich guy would have had to find something else to do with his $90 million.

This Christmas Season, if you’re feeling down, don’t fret. Like Van Gogh, you have no idea how many people’s lives you have touched and will touch in the future. Your value on this crazy old earth is priceless…more than the richest art collector could afford.

More Evidence For My Soapbox
December 18, 2007

Look for a warm up this week. Not 74 like we had last Tuesday but warmer than average. We may see a few t’storms late Saturday with the passage of a front then we chill down for Christmas. For the last few days it has appeared that the some data supports the notion of wrap around moisture providing the source for some flurries or snow showers on Christmas Eve but that seems to be a bit of a stretch right now and anyone claiming that in a forecast is a bit on a limb at this point.
On This Date in History: For all intents and purposes, slavery ended with the official Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. However, in an odd twist, that only freed slaves in the Confederate States. Slave states that had remained loyal to the Union, like Kentucky, still has slavery after the war. On this date in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that ended slavery in all the states took effect. I believe that Alabama was the 27th state to ratify the amendment, thus making for the three-fourths necessary for the amendment to be passed. That left 9 more states to ratify it, if they so chose. Mississippi finally got around to it in 1995…Kentucky was the second to last state in 1976 after it had rejected the amendment in February1865. Better late than never.
But, here’s my biggest bone to pick for the day. While on the one hand we hear news reports of how cold it is and on the other hand we hear about Global Warming….what I think is more significant news gets left to the back pages. An Associated Press story today got my attention. Since people are turning to corn for ethanol to fight global warming, corn prices have gone up thus affecting everything from corn at the grocery store to anything produced by livestock that feeds to grain. The focus of the story though concerns the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico and other bodies of water. The Dead Zone is an area that encompasses about 5900 square miles of ocean in which the oxygen level is so low that fish, crabs and other wildlife cannot live. It says that this is caused by the runoff of fertilizers into the rivers that empty into the Gulf. As more corn is produced at levels not seen since World War II, more fertilizer is being used and so the Dead Zone will increase.
Fisherman have had to go farther and farther out to sea to make their catch and crabs are just hard to come by. Snow White and I this summer spent time on Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay and the crab fisherman on that island were having a difficult time making a living due to the lack of crabs. They said it was from fertilizer run off. This is more fuel to my fire. We are in fact making the ocean inhabitable…and doing so more rapidly because we are looking for fixes to a problem that may or may not be happening, that may or may not be man’s fault and may or may not be able to be fixed even if it is man’s fault. Global warming will change climates and growing patterns in various countries. Water pollution IS poisoning our water environment and potentially poisoning the water cycle. We need water to live. Our very bodies are made up of about 68% water…yet no on seems to pay attention that we are in fact potentially killing ourselves. Guess the movie producers don’t think it would make a very sexy film and no politicians haven’t figured out a way to make money trying to do something about it.
The photo above shows the area of the Dead Zone. I’m not certain but I think its a recent photo. Apparently the zone varies and, in fact, in 2003 it had shrunk…but now I think it’s bigger than ever.
We need to wake up.
Here’s a link to the article:

Farewell to the General of the Armies
December 14, 2007

Snow White and I went to Chicago just to play. We wandered about up and down the Magnificent Mile and went to the Navy Pier. In a first for both of us, I sprung for a carriage ride. Now, the folks in Chi-town were saying it had “warmed up.” Yet, it was about 31 degrees which is 4 degrees below average. Then one woman told me it had been a “warm season.” Well, winter doesn’t start until next week. Whatever. Anyway, the wind blowing made it feel much colder than the thermometer but it was a good Christmas-spirit trip nonetheless.

The weather around here is challenging. Here’s the bottom line. Look for some rain late tonight carrying into Saturday. Perhaps some wintry mix around here…northern parts of the viewing area may be more winter than mix. But it will all get washed away with rain during the day. Saturday night it switches back to snow. We are looking at something less than an inch. But, a bit of a jog…very slight jog…in the track of the low could conceivably result in something more than that. But it won’t be huge in the way of snowfall regardless. The biggest concern that I would have (and so should you) would be the wet roads and sidewalks freezing over. Icy conditions may be problematic Sunday so take care on the roads and around your residence. Naturally, we’ll be keeping tabs on it at the station so we’ll have updates as necessary.

This Date In History: On this date in history, the father of the country passed into immortality. General George Washington succumbed to what most scholars think was something we face every year: cold or flu. However, more recent analysis indicates the notion that he died from acute epiglottitis.

Washington kept very meticulous journals and had reported to be in great health. But, on December 12, 1799 his entry included the details of his daily evening check of the plantation. He was out for about 5 hours in miserable weather which he described as rain, snow, hail and wind. My guess is that it was sleet and not hail. In any event, his clothes were wet and his hair filled with ice and snow. Instead of changing clothes after he came in, he instead had dinner. The next day he had a sore throat and other signs of a cold. In spite of this, he went out on Friday the 13th in more crummy weather, that included sleet, to mark some trees that he wished to be…you guessed…chopped down. Not sure if they were cherry trees. That evening he was quite hoarse but insisted on reading aloud to Martha and his secretary. The next day he had a high fever and felt awful.

I’ll spare the rest of the details except that his condition worsened and he eventually died on this date in 1799 at the age of 67. I’ve read it was the flu or a cold. This new report says it was acute epiglottitis which is a viral infection that causes swelling at the base of the tongue and larynx and makes breathing and swallowing painful and difficult. I’ve also read over the years that he may have bled to death. The accounts I have read says that the medical treatment of the day called for opening wounds to bleed out whatever the infection or disease. It has been suggested that Washington himself told the doctors to bleed him some more even though the doctors said it was too much.

In any event, General George Washington died and left a legacy that the nation still follows today. When looking back for role models, people often turn to FDR, or Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln or perhaps JFK. But, it seems to me that when one studies the life, accomplishments, ideals and most importantly, the actions of General George Washington, it is clear to me that he is rightly and justly called the Father of the Country. He is a man whom we would all do better to emulate and certainly someone whom our politicians should look to for any guidance from the past. I believe that without George Washington, it is possible, even probable, we would not have the United States. He was that important, that unique and that towering a figure in life, and if viewed closely, in death as well.

Congress finally recognized this notion in that, in the mid to late 20th century. In the early part of the century, General John J. Pershing was designated as General of the Armies but he never wore more than 4 stars. He is the only person to have held the rank in life. In 1799 shortly after Washington’s death, the rank was established by Congress posthumously by Congress. In the late 1970’s, Congress officially designated General George Washington as General of the Armies of the United States of America and will forever hold that designation. Congress wanted to make clear that Washington is the nations senior general officer. In other words, no one can outrank George Washington.

Interesting Look Ahead and Back
December 11, 2007

A Look Ahead: We have been stuck in the longwave or jetstream pattern for the last several days. That is with a big trough down in the Desert Southwest and the jet flowing up across Texas and generally right over the Ohio Valley. This has resulted in fluctuating temperatures and persistent clouds and rain. Now, this pattern should open up a bit and the rain will get shunted southeast and colder temperatures moving in for the last day of the week. Provided this general pattern stays in place, and we think it will, a wave of energy could sweep south and then up northeast from the Gulf. That scenario would provide us with a potentially wintery weekend. There are still variables to be dealt with but that is how it appears to be shaking out at this time.

A Look Back To This Date In History when the Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed ending the Spanish-American War. As part of the spoils the US got Guam and Puerto Rico and Cuba became a US Protectorate. The Philippines were acquired for $20 million. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Filipino insurgents who had fought against Spanish rule suddenly turned their guns on the US troops. The US then became occupiers who promised to leave the country….and the US finally did some time after WWII but we had a Naval Base at Subic Bay until Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the 1990’s and hastened the Americans’ exit. But for years afterward, the insurgents fought the Americans. Thousands of Americans were killed…some estimates say 10 times as many soldiers died fighting the insurgents than died defeating the Spanish. While Teddy Roosevelt is remembered as a “Rough Rider” in Cuba during the conflict, history has forgotten the drubbing he took in the press for not bringing home the troops in what was seen as a Civil War halfway around the world. Sound familiar? But, he persisted and the Philippines became a independent democracy and US Allie. In my view, the current conflict in Iraq has much more in common with the aftermath of the Spanish American War than much in the Vietnam War. Its just that in school we tend to not be taught much about the turn of the century while Vietnam gets much more attention and there are people still alive who remember Vietnam. But….again in my view….the Vietnam comparisons are generally too simplistic and tenuous while a study of the Philippines draws much more remarkable comparisons.

Never Forget This Date of Infamy…And Remember The Birthday Boy
December 8, 2007

Snow White and I were out of town the last few days…so I’m a bit out of the loop on the weather. But I would tell you to be careful. We were driving back in and were heading into Lexington at about 4 AM when there was a huge traffic jam. Fortunately for me, we were at an exit and so we took it, went through Lexington and back on the freeway. I might still be there right now if we hadn’t done that. As it turns out there was a multi car accident at the 64/75 interchange that appears to have closed the freeway for a time. The incident was the result of sliding on the slick road surface. I’m not sure if it was icing or just wet but it is an example of what can happen when you think you are the king of the road. We’re going to be damp the next few days. Even if its not icing, be careful on the roads and give yourself extra time. Unfriendly driving in questionable conditions can lead to danger for yourself, anyone riding with you and anyone on the road around you. And you also tie up traffic for others…like me.
On This Date In History: The Japanese Empire attacked the United States of America in a sneak attack on the naval and army installations in Hawaii. Some 2500 Americans lost their lives. I will spare the details of the “date that will live in infamy” but I will say that I think there are many who have forgotten to choose to ignore history. As we saw in September 2001, similar incidents are still possible. Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the event had lived in the United States and knew of the nation’s industrial potential, even though it had been mired in depression for the previous decade. He feared he had awakened a sleeping giant and “given him great resolve.” He was right. The attack ended with the destruction of Japan. I do wonder though what it takes for this nation to have great resolve today. In 1945, the US and its allies eliminated the threat of further attacks by those who attacked us to ensure that they could not do it again.
On this date….a long long long time ago….when the dinosaurs ruled the earth, Mr. Steve Burgin was born. He has served Louisville honorably and admirably for many years. He has received recognition on the national level for his work. Feel free to email Steve and tell him happy birthday. It would be a fine way to acknowledge his efforts to serve the community in so many ways…..besides that..the fire department has outlawed anymore birthday cakes for him due to the potential fire warm greetings would be appreciated I’m sure.
Happy Birthday Steve….and here’s to many more ahead!

Snow Chance Minimal
December 4, 2007

We’ve got a fast moving little “clipper” moving through the flow from the Northwest that will be affecting the area. As of midday on Tuesday, it still looks like to me that the low will pass almost directly over the top of us. Most of the data supports this scenario. Wednesday the high will be midday and we could see some light showers Wednesday morning into midday. Then the low passes by and cold air starts flowing it. In the afternoon, the tail end of the moisture should wrap around to give us some afternoon flakes in the form of light snow showers or flurries. I doubt if anything will be that significant except that this may occur during drive time and sometimes this scenario leads to problems on bridges and overpasses. Extreme north and northeastern parts of the viewing area may get some accumulations but for most people it will be a near miss. Cincinnati may get about 3 inches or so and that’s pretty close.

The tricky thing with these guys is that a little shift in the projected path to the north would give us less chance and a shift slightly south would increase the chances. At this point, the National Weather Service out of Indy, Wilmington, OH and here in Louisville seem to agree with my assessment as the Louisville office has issued no snow advisory, the Indy office has a snow advisory for counties north of the viewing area and the Wilmington office..well, it looks like they just issued a snow advisory for their entire watch responsibility so it includes Jennings, Owen and Carroll counties. These advisories go for tonight through tomorrow evening.

The NWS boys do have some talk of light snow in the bluegrass overnight but I just don’t see it. Keep checking on our web page and on the regular newscasts. Jay will evaluate the latest data this afternoon and issue and update to see if there are any wrinkles. But, in general, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Typically, the first hint of snow in the area gets everyone buzzing. If this were in January everyone would give a collective yawn. But again…I think the biggest concern would be driving conditions in the Metro area and points north and east during the evening rush.

Should Have Used the Cone of Silence
December 3, 2007

We told you all week that it would be around 60 on Sunday with rain and then the mercury would plunge. First part of the promise is fulfilled now for the second. Look for a brisk Monday. It matters not what the temperature will be because the wind will make it feel cold. It’s not completely clear cut at this point but we may see a bit of a warm up next weekend. The week looks chilly. A cold rain on Wednesday may turn to some largely insignificant snow but other than that I doubt if we see 50 degrees until next weekend.

On This Date In History: The British could have used Control’s Cone of Silence. By this time in 1777, General William Howe had his army occupying Philadelphia. When his headquarters proved too small, he commandeered an upstairs room across the street at the Darragh home. The story is that Mrs. Lydia Darragh, a nurse and mother, would eavesdrop on the conversations and sew her notes into her coat lining. She would then pass the notes on the colonials. On December 2, she found out that Howe was planning an attack on General Washington’s army nearby. She sewed the message into the lining and went through British lines saying she was getting flour. She passed on the information to Lt. Col. Thomas Craig who forwarded the information to General Washington. When the Redcoats marched toward Washington’s position, they were surprised to find the Continental Army facing them down. A three day event of skirmishes made Howe return to Philadelphia to think up another plan….presumably from a new headquarters.

On this date in 1954, Senator “tailgunner Joe” Joe McCarthy was condemned for his snooting about for communists in the government. An ironic twist to the story not typically told; many historians now suggest that there were in fact a number of communist influences in the government. Maybe if McCarthy used honey to attract flies instead of…well….you get the point.

On this date in 1942, Enrique Fermi produced the first nuclear fission chain reaction in Chicago. The place? Under the grandstands of the University of Chicago football stadium. Fermi’s work led directly to the development of the atomic bomb and later nuclear power. Thing is, Fermi wasn’t exactly certain that the reaction could be controlled and many physicists were concerned such an attempt would result in an uncontrolled reaction which would mean an explosion….as in an atomic explosion. I don’t think that the Bears were playing for that day or they may have had two potential disasters in one stadium.