Archive for July, 2008

Where’s Jimmy? Remember the Grifon! The Unforgettable Nolan Ryan
July 31, 2008

Where Is He?

Rain is done except for maybe a slight chance in the next 36 hours, the ridge builds in. Its going to be hot and humid for the next several days.

On This Date In History:

On This Date in 1990, Nolan Ryan won his 300th game by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 11-3. Here is his career biography. We used to go to every game he pitched when he was with the Astros There was this old

Take That Boy!

Take That Boy!

man who always screamed out “Breeze him Nolie!” It seemed to reverberate around the Astrodome…that and the beer vendor yelling “coldest foam in the Dome!” I never liked his nickname “The Ryan Express.” We just called him “The Big Heater.” There are a bunch of Ryan tales I could tell but two stand out. Of course, one is represented by the photo on the left. Robin Ventura didn’t like the Ryan threw inside so the youngster charged the mound. Ryan was a big, tough guy and this guy about 20 years his junior didn’t scare him. Instead of backing up, he simply bull-dogged the kid by grabbing him about the neck and pummeling him. It was as if he said “come here, boy!” One of the greatest moments in baseball history. Then there was his final pitch. He tore a ligament in his arm. But, he decided to throw one more pitch. The radar gun clocked it at 98 mph. Nolan Ryan is listed among Texas’ Heroes along with the likes of Davy Crockett.

On This Date in 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. The movie Hoffa took many liberties. The Danny DeVito character was a fictitious character that was based on a conglomeration of other people. Here are the facts regarding the disappearance of James R. Hoffa.

On this date in 1715, the French ship Grifon survived a hurricane off the coast of Florida. “So what,” you ask? Well, first off when the Spanish came to the new world they were looking for booty and plunder. They wanted to exploit the region for its natural resources and send it back to the king in Spain. So they would gather up all of their gold and trinkets and send them back on ships, usually in a convoy to protect against pirates. The Spaniards were rather formidable in those days and so it was suicide for any marauding pirates to try and take on a fleet of ships. On this date in 1715, 10 Spanish ships and one French ship made its way through the Straits of Florida where they ran into a hurricane. For some reason, the French ship sailed farther off the coast from the Spaniards. The Spanish ships, filled with hundreds of tons of gold and silver, sunk. The french ship survived. That French ship was the Grifon. If you remember the movie The Deep then this ship is familiar to you. Its the ship that Robert Shaw decided had survived but later came back and may have sunk. I’ve provided a script from the scene below. But anyway, there are two things that come to mind from this. First is that Peter Benchley did a fabulous job of basing his fictitious tale on accurate history. I was very surprised that there really was a Grifon that really was the only ship to not sink in a hurricane. The other thing is that about 80% of that gold was recovered by the Spanish by 1716 but the rest did not come back to the surface until the mid 1960’s, which makes me wonder how fictitious Benchley’s tale really was.

By the way…I would have loved to have posted a photo of Jacqueline Bisset…

Government Continues Attack on Civil Liberty
July 31, 2008

The remnant of Dolly will be moving across the region on Wednesday night. A few strong storms are possible but not necessarily probable. The updated SPC OUTLOOK has a slight risk just to our west. There will probably be a fair amount of lightning and some of the storms coming out of Missouri have had a history of hail and they were rambunctious enough for the SPC to issue a Tornado Watch well to our west. However, it’s not enough for me to come in to work as we suspect the greatest problem with this may be the amount of rain we get. You can just feel the heavy moisture content. This morning it reminded me of my grandparents house on Mobile Bay. Sorta had the same smell…but maybe that was the barn. Nevertheless, it was enough for me to put the goats, the horses and the donkey in the barn for the night. I can’t afford to get those guys mad at me and I don’t think they take too well to lightning and I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate getting dumped on with rain. I hope the rain helps my baby tree named Horton. I’m sure kelsaroo the hydrangia wil be happy too.

LA Considers Banning Fast Food Establishments in Lower Income Neighborhood. While it’s often unpopular, I have from time to time opined about how we are relinquishing our freedoms under the guise of good intentions. I suppose it’s the Libertarian in me that flares up from time to time. No, I’m not talking about Federal efforts to fight terrorism and work toward better security for the nation. I”m talking about little things…and those little things are now becoming big things and may even get bigger and more intrusive. Already we’ve had governments taking people’s homes so that they can increase the tax revenues. If the government thinks that your home would make a good place for a shopping mall, they can take it. All of this starts with our willingness to allow restrictive laws on relatively minor issues and nos the government is grabbing for more. So far, we have let them and soon we may not be able to stop them.

Many states have made it mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. The excuse from most people is that they don’t want to pay for, or have their insurance premiums go up, when some gets in a wreck when they aren’t wearing a helmet. I suspect though that people who don’t wear helmets probably result in lower hospital costs because they are more likely to die and not be in the hospital at all. Same thing for seatbelts.

I’ve always worn a seatbelt and always will. I think it’s stupid not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle or go seatbeltless in a car. If you don’t wear a seatbelt, the odds increase that you die and stay off the healthcare roles altogether. But, it’s a small infringement on our freedoms under the shroud of public good. Same thing with smoking.

All of the bans go up all over the place. I don’t smoke and never have. But, if an owner of a bar wants to allow adults to use a legal product in his establishment, then he should not be forced to prevent his patrons from using the product. If it is so dangerous and so unhealthful, then the government should ban them altogether. But…they don’t. Why? Because so many states rely on taxes from the tobacco industry. It’s such hypocrisy. On the one hand, they sue the tobacco companies but on the other, they welcome the tax revenue. They prevent law abiding bar owners from allowing people to use a legal product and also require them to enforce the law. Yet, they still need desperately the taxes collected. If the public is so in favor of a smoke-free environment, then they could let the free market decide. My guess is that the smoke free bars would go out of business and the smoking bars would flourish. Just imagine if the tobacco companies decided the cost of doing business was too high in the US and they stopped selling their products in the United States. Then the states would be suing to force them to sell those products because every state would have a huge budget shortfall…and a substantially large angry portion of the electorate. the way, statistics show that smokers have more health related issues…but they also show that they die younger…again…off the healthcare rolls altogether.

I think that all of these relatively minor surrenderings of our liberty will lead the government to reach even farther. There have been some localities that have tried to make it illegal for someone to smoke in the privacy of his own home! Remember a couple of years ago when New London, CT used eminent domain to toss people from their perfectly good and safe homes to make way for a commercial establishment? The Connecticut Supreme Court said it was for the public good because it would stimulate the local economy. It seems like a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. These guys didn’t search, they just seized law abiding private homeowners property altogether. And once New London was able to ge away with it, other cities soon followed. This story got the attention of 60 Minutes , but the American people remain silent.

Now, Los Angeles will vote soon on a measure that would ban any further construction of fast food establishments in a neighborhood that is largely less affluent. The rich neighborhoods can continue to welcome new business with open arms whereas the poor are deemed unworthy of making choices on their own. What is next?

You know, if you really want to get down to it, the Global Warming issue has its base in population. If there were still about 2 billion people on the planet instead of the over 6 billion today, then the pollution and carbon emissions would be greatly reduced. If we keep on this path, then is it not totally unreasonable for one to think that some day the government would limit the number of babies a family could have? Sound far fetched? China does it today and here is a student from the University of Pittsburgh that thinks China’s one child per family rule is “sensible.”

Just some things to think about. For the record, I think the greatest danger to our losing our liberty is through the prism of good intentions and I think we are closer than many people care to think.

Here is the LA Times Story

In God We Trust; Few Storms Possible and One Tough Goat
July 30, 2008

We have a weak boundary…I won’t even call it a front..that is sagging down our way. You can make the argument that this is the leftover of Hurricane Dolly which went across South Texas and Northern Mexico, into Arizona and New Mexico before getting into the flow and moving back into Oklahoma and then has gotten stretched into the plains around a ridge of high pressure. Now, it is sagging down our way. There may be a little wave that progresses along the boundary Wednesday evening and with afternoon heating could conspire to produce some decent t’storms across the area. While there is no risk area, the SPC does have something to say about it so I have reprinted the part of the discussion that pertains to our region. For

Tough Goat

Tough Goat

this reason, I have not much more to say since I am tending to a bunch of horses and a goat and a mule. Yesterday, I was mending fences after Snow White and I had to go chase down the mule and the goat after the goat had busted a hole through the fence. I found out that I can make a donkey go where I want it to by simply grabbing its ear and then leading it to Snow White who had a lead rope in hand, whatever that is, and we returned it to its field. The goat was a different story. I wrestled the big goat and won! Here’s the SPC report:


On This Date in History: President Eisenhower signed into law a bill requiring “In God We Trust” be put on all currency and be considered the official US Motto. Since the Civil War the motto had been put on all coins but not paper currency. The “in God We Trust” bill was just two years after Eisenhower pushed for “under God” to be added to the Pledge of Allegiance. Most historians conclude this action was part of a reaction to the Red Scare of the 1950’s. Eisenhower himself has been said to have been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, while more modern accounts suggest he was raised as a Mennonite. Sources say that Ike abandoned his family religion but that religion was still important to him and in 1953, he was baptised as a Presbyterian, less than a year into his first term as President. Today people claim the insertion of God into state mottoes and the pledge is a violation of the separation of church and state. Many defenders of the verbiage mistakenly think that the inclusion of God was mandated by our founders when in fact, “under God” and “In God We Trust” did not come along until after the founders were dead and gone. I’ll let you make the call.

Los Angeles Earthquake Details and Videos
July 29, 2008

Here are the Los Angeles Earthquake details.  To find what the earthquake time that corresponds to the time in your time zone, consult THIS LINK

There are lots of sources for video from this as the quake hit while news crews were out and about. Even though there wasn’t major damage or fatalities, this is being played up big time.  So instead of posting a single video source or maybe two, here is a link to a site that has numerous video reports from all across the country.

Multi Video Source (truveo) For California Earthquake July 29, 2008

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 5.4
Location 33.955°N, 117.765°W
Depth 13.6 km (8.5 miles)
  • 4 km (3 miles) WSW (240°) from Chino Hills, CA
  • 7 km (4 miles) SE (135°) from Diamond Bar, CA
  • 8 km (5 miles) NNE (16°) from Yorba Linda, CA
  • 12 km (7 miles) S (184°) from Pomona, CA
  • 46 km (28 miles) ESE (104°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles)
Parameters Nph=095, Dmin=9 km, Rmss=0.34 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=S
Event ID ci14383980

UFO Gov’t Cover Up! Virgin Mary Seen In A Drain; Cop’s Close Call with SUV
July 29, 2008

The Heat is On:  Interesting weekend….Snow White and I are house sitting.  The folks have literally a barnyard of animals, with the dogs spending much of their time indoors.  The air conditioner died the first day we were there.  Then one of the dogs passed away.  Then the hot water heater in my own house went out.  Then my car door opener died.  Then I messed up the forecast after I was absolutely perfect with my illustration of how an MCS would miss us to the west as it moved from St. Louis to Paducah.  I said it would be a quiet night, which it was…then the sun came up and what had been the left flank of the MCS as it expanded re-developed and some people got rain.  I was a bit happier though because it was cooler in the morning so when I was doing grave digging duty, it wasn’t too bad….but don’t expect that to last.  Heat on Tuesday…low to mid 90’s.  We’ll probably be capped so t’storm activity would be slim and none.  

Wednesday, a front sinks down and gives us a chance for t’storms.  There might be something left over for Tuesday but that’s about it.  On Sunday, the models all agreed on a trof over the east bringing down cooler air. That was a change from the previous few days.  Today, they all flopped back the other way and even more dramatically than it had before.  A ridge builds in and for the weekend, our temperatures approach the triple digits.

On This Date In History: I couldn’t find anything worthwhile except that today William Powell’s birthday.  He was born on this date sometime in the 1890s and died in 1984.  I liked him best in Life With Father of which featured a teen-age Martin Milner of Adam-12.   So with nothing better to post, I’ve found some rather interesting stories with video.  The first of which relates to a previous post I had regarding UFO’s!

Apollo 14 veteran Edgar Mitchell says that the government is covering up information about UFO’s.  He says he has no clue as to why Uncle Sam wants to keep the lid on word of intelligent life but I suppose it may have to do with the fact that no such discovery has been found in the halls of Congress.  Here’s the story. I believe there is some video associated with it.

Ed Mitchell: Uncle Same Keeping Mum on UFO’s

Remember those stories about people claiming to see the Virgin Mary in a potato chip or a donut?  Well, a plumber in Salinas, CA was working on a drain while renovating a restaraunt and discovered what he says is an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the bottom of the sink.  The local diocese has not said whether or not they will send a sleuth to investigate the rusty vision nor does the man say why Mary would reveal herself to him in a drain.  Here’s the story, complete with video so you can judge for yourself whether he’s right or if it’s all a clever ruse to keep him from having to scrub the drain.

Man’s Claims Vision of Virgin Mary in drain

So, this cop in Minneapolis pulls over a driver for suspicion of drunken driving.  The officer is investigating when along comes some guy driving an SUV.  WHAM! the SUV slams into the rear of the car. It’s all caught on tape.  The officer survived and maybe got credit for two arrests because, you guessed it, the guy in the SUV was drunk too!  If you are in the Twin Cities, perhaps its safest to stay off the road.  Here’s the story and the video of all the action.

Cop Nearly Smashed by Smashed Driver

Typhoon Fung Wong Blows Through Taiwan, Hits China
July 28, 2008

Typhoon Fung Wong made landfall in Taiwan on Monday morning and by the night it was in China. I tried to find video from Taiwan but it’s all pretty lame. People took video from their hotel rooms. One guy showed water dripping on his side of the glass. The BBC had some pictures of waves on a jetty or sea wall but it was pretty much a yawner. I found one story that talked about people standing in 3 feet of water because they had opened the floodgates at a dam, I suppose out of fear that the dam wouldn’t be able to handle additional rain after they got nailed by Kalmaegi a week or so ago. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track is to the left. I



have no idea what the black triangle symbols are. And there is a chart with 3 different forecast modeling data. If you recall, I posted yesterday from a site from China called Chinaview in which they said the storm was going into the Philippines. I had speculated that they were calling Taiwan the Philippines since China doesn’t recognize Taiwan, though I wondered about that because, from what I understand, China considers Taiwan part of its territory. I’ve never heard of the Chinese claiming it was part of the Philippines. Well, today’s story about it making landfall on the east coast of China now refers to the initial impact on Taiwan. So maybe I just gave the writer too much credit and the guy was off on his forecast track by 300 miles. If he had checked out these here pages, he would have found the error of his ways. In snooping about I have found that the locals refer to Fengshen as Frank and Fung Wong as Imge. I have no idea what they called Kalmaegi. Anyway, here’s the Chinaview story as well as one from the BBC.


BBC-Fung Wong in Taiwan

Typhoon Hits Taiwan(again) Bomber Hits Tallest Building
July 28, 2008

Look for a hot day with reasonable humidity, though probably not as palatable as Sunday.  A warm front will begin to lift north and as it does, a little disturbance may move down that would provide the opportunity for a few t’storms in the afternoon.  Tuesday will be hot and humid  with isolated t’storms and the same is true on Wednesday, though the storms may be more numerous with a frontal system approaching.

Typhoon Fung Wong struck Taiwan early Monday with winds in the 105 to 115 mile per hour range. There will probably be flooding and stories of destruction.  This is interesting…the first story linked below is the AP story as the storm made landfall.  The second is a preliminary story from a Chinese New Website talking about the storm’s predicted landfall.  It says it will hit the Northern Philippines!  My guess is that since China doesn’t officially acknowledge Taiwan, the writer is calling the island part of the Philippines.  That gives me pause because I had thought that China considered Taiwan as part of it’s territory, officially.  The Chinese writer couldn’t be THAT wrong in geography…especially if he had looked on these here pages for the Fung Wong track and forecast.  Here are the two stories:

AP-Typhoon Fung Wong makes landfall

China View: Typhoon Fung Wong Intesifies, Moves Toward Philippines 

On This Date In History: At about 9:49 AM on July 28, 1945 a B-25 Mitchell hit the 79th floor of the world’s then tallest building, the Empire State Building.  Two crew members and a passenger were killed in the bomber and 11 people in the building were killed as well. The building was largely empty because the accident happened on a Saturday. 

Now, why did this building not collapse like the Twin Towers? 

 First off, the B-25 was a relatively small plane by today’s standards.  It was also not full of fuel.  The 767’s flown into the World Trade center weighed about 10 times that of the B-25 and was flying about 4 times faster.  The chart at the left shows that the kinetic energy of a fully loaded 767 at impact was about 160 times that of the B-25.  I have linked below to the article that goes with the chart as well as an accompanying article writer with Aerospaceweb used numbers that concluded the energy was 60 to 100 times greater. 

The Twin Towers were built with a superstructure unlike any other.  The main support system was internal with the outer skin actually acting as part of the support structure.  The Empire State Building is built in a more traditional honeycomb type system.  When the B-25 hit, much of the energy was absorbed by the outer walls whereas the Twin Towers not only had the destruction of the outer skin compromise the integrity, but the energy went all the way through to the main interior structure.  Many engineers found it amazing that the building was still standing at all.  The impact dislodged much of the heat protecting insulation on the steel in the support structure of the World Trade Center and so the voluminous amounts of hot jet fuel eventually weakened the floor supports, causing a collapsing pancake effect of the floors which resulted in catastrophic failure of the entire structural integrity.  Similar incidents with very dissimilar details and results.  Here is the complete story from Aerospaceweb which outlines the incident in 1945 and makes a detailed comparisons.

Why Empire State Building Did Not Collapse After Being Struck By B-25 Compared with WTC

Explainer About Differences in WTC and Empire State Building with Commentary & Graph

Typhoon Fung-Wong Taiwan Bound; Find Dolly’s Remnant
July 27, 2008

Today is on track. Tons of sun, a little less humid. Temperature will get toward 90. If you want to find the remnant of Dolly, check out the interactive radar and then move the grid to New Mexico.

Typhoon Fung-Wong: Typhoon Fung Wong is gaining stregnth and will hit Taiwan in the next day or so with winds of at least 115 mph. Wasn’t too long ago those folks got slammed by Kalmaegi. Remember, that part of the world gets more tropical cyclones per year than any other. I want to say that they average something like 21 named storms per year. I believe the North Atlantic, in comparison, averages about 10 or 11. Above is the track and sat pick and below is the text provided by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center:

Joint Typhoon Warning Center Text For Typhoon Fung-Wong

XM-Sirius Merger; Giant Rabbit and Giant Panda On Prowl; Useless Presidential Cinematic Trivia
July 27, 2008

if you liked this post, feel free to CLICK HERE and check out some other recent items that may be of interest. just scroll down and you may find something else that suits your fancy

Our Weather Remains Boring: A front quietly sneaked through on Saturday evening. It will lower the humidity a bit and make Sunday afternoon more palatable. Monday we may get an isolated t’storm in the afternoon but I’m not too enthused.

Since the weather is so boring I am feeling a bit silly. I dunno why, but I just felt like looking into the story about giant rabbits. The picture above is real. As it turns out, there is a breed of rabbit known as, funny as it sounds, a German Giant Rabbit. I think that they can get to 20 or 30 pounds. Apparently, its not just found in Germany. Here’s a story of how one went on the rampage last year in England:

Monster Rabbit Stalks UK Village

And here’s the video of a German who loves his rabbit so much, he decided not to eat it.

Giant Rabbit Video-nat sound is in German

Well, if that wasn’t entertaining enough, how about this Giant Panda that last year went after a tourist’s jacket as if the bear is the school-yard bully. I kinda like it. The bear really seems to be into the threads.

Giant Panda Takes What he Wants-Video

Snow White gave me a Sirius Satellite Radio a few years ago for Christmas. I love it but I can’t get Major League Baseball. That is on rival XM radio. Well, the long talked about merger between Sirius and XM cleared the FCC hurdle and will be allowed to go through without too many strings attached. I don’t think there are any anti-trust problems. But, there is one wrinkle that should be interested. A condition of the deal is that they have to sell subscriptions on an a-la-carte basis, which means that you only get the stations that you want to pay for. This is the type of set up the cable companies have been fighting for a long time. It will be interesting to see if the company will be viable with such an arrangement and if stations like Air-America, which has failed on terrestial radio, will go completely the way of the goonie bird if no one subscribes to the service. Here’s the story.

XM-Sirius Merger

And Finally: As you know I often have bits of Presidential history on these here pages. Well, a local blogger, Charles Andrews, has chimed in. He has compiled a couple of lists of worthless trivia that seem to fit in well with the musings on this here blog. I guess he had time on his hands and decided to find out which actors played the role of President the most times and which Presidents had been portrayed in cinema the most times. See if you can name the top 5 in each category before you check out the results of Chaz’s exhaustive research. My favorite is seen at left…who can forget Chuck Heston as Andrew Jackson in The Presidenet’s Lady? Heston also played Jackson…though he was only General Jackson then…in The Buccaneer, with Yul Brynner as Jean LaFitte!

Top 5 Presidential Actors

Top 5 Presidents Portrayed in Cinema

Major Minor League Brawl; Heatin’ Up Saturday
July 26, 2008

Look for a hot and humid Saturday. Perhaps some afternoon t’storms popping up in the heat of the day. Nothing to terrible is in the offing, though any storm that does pop up will have the ability to posses some brief ferocity. I’ll have more about the rest of the weekend later.

Now to the big Story

Two minor league teams squared off on Thursday night.  The Reds single A affiliate in Dayton took on the Cubs single A affiliate from Peoria.  The Peoria club was managed by former big leaguer Carmelo Martinez who was subbing for Ryne Sandberg who was off to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame ceremonies.  Good thing Rhino wasn’t there.  Watch the pitcher…he throws the ball at the opponents dugout.  But, there’s a reason he’s  in single A.  He missed the entire dugout and the ball went into the stands, injuring a fan.  He was hauled off to jail.  Don’t bet on his major league future.  Here’s the story followed by some video.  The long version is something  you probably didn’t see on TV because its over 5 minutes long and is shakey and a bit blurred as it was shot by a fan behind the screen.  The audio from the fans talking is funny and disturbing at times.  The short version is one that sounds like its from ESPN and is less than a minute and one that has probably been seen on most TV’s.


Dayton Daily News Story

Long version video-shaky and not as clear but over 5 minutes of stuff.

Short Version video-much more clear but less than a minute with professional commentary