Archive for December, 2008

Light Up the New Year!
December 31, 2008

Looks Like Me Trying to Forecast

Looks Like Me Trying to Forecast

 

On This Date in History:  In 1876, Thomas Edison did perhaps the smartest thing he ever did.  He created an

Edison Invention Factory

Edison Invention Factory

invention factory.  He moved his staff of 15 people into a large clapboard building filled with all sorts of scientific equipment and chemicals in Menlo Park, New Jersey which was then just a small rural hamlet.  I’m not certain but it may have been the first research laboratory ever established and Edison proclaimed that he would produce “a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.”  At the time, many thought the claim was preposterous but 10 years later, Edison had been granted 420 patents…that averages out to one every 3.5 months.

First Edison Light Bulb

First Edison Light Bulb

Perhaps his most famous invention was the first practical incandescent light bulb.  Note the word “practical.”  See, other people had applied for patents for lights but they didn’t last too long.  They tried to “sub-divide” electric light or somehow make it weaker.  Edison for his part kept trying to use a filament to electrify and make glow.  He kept trying platinum but it kept burning up.  So, he used a sort of cardboard covered in carbon but that didn’t work so well either until he created a vacuum in glass.  The filament didn’t burn but instead glowed brightly.  On this date in 1879, Thomas Alva Edison lit up the new year by demonstrating for the first time publically his incandescent light.

A couple of other items.  First off, by June 1882, Edison had demostrated how the light could

Southern Exposition 1883

Southern Exposition 1883

be used in a system and wires were laid and a small area of New York was illuminated.  But, on August 1, 1883 20,000 incandescent lights burned brightly in the largest display ever seen in the world.  I believe that represented more lights than existed in all of New York City.  The place of this display?  Louisville, Kentucky at the Southern Exposition.  The building was a huge palacial area that stood for five years during the time of the exposition.  It stood where you will find St. James Court today.  Now, Edison gets all of the credit for the electric light and a whole slew of other inventions.  But, he had an entire staff working for him.  I’ve always wondered how many of those inventions really came about due to the ideas and work of his staff.  Certainly it was Edison’s inspiration, but I wonder about the rest.  I suppose it may be a case of those who have the gold makes the rules.

GFS Snow Accumulation Through Friday Evening

GFS Snow Accumulation Through Friday Evening

Weather Bottom Line: A little front on Tuesday night will make for a cold Wednesday with blustery conditions.  The high will only be in the mid to upper 30’s but a north wind will make it feel colder than that.  Ring in the New Year bundled up because we will fall to the upper teens and low 20’s.  New Year’s Day will feature sunshine but we will only struggle to near 40.  Now, if you look at the GFS snow depiction above for Friday, you don’t see much. The system dropping down will be moisture starved and the GFS is the most aggressive of the models so don’t count on much. In fact, the sounding shows that temperatures at all levels will be below freezing but it may not be cold enough for crystalization.  Hence, if we do see any precipitation, it may fall as sleet. Either way, it shouldnt be significant.  Now, don’t get your hopes up just yet, but the GFS is advertising cold air and a system lifting up from the southwest with a bunch of Gulf moisture.  If this feature times out right and goes on the right track, then that may be the best snow chance we have seen thus far this season.  But…its a long way out…the GFS often changes its mind this far out and there are lots and lots of scenarios and the elements have to come together just right for something worthwhile to happen…if it does, hopefully it won’t involve ice…but  in any event….its out there and really at this point is more promising than Friday.

Government Conspiracy: The Earth is Hollow! Snow Friday?
December 30, 2008

symmeshole

A little Flu Update:  If you’ve been a regular visitor to this here blog, then you can recall the information that I set forth about the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918.  That pandemic killed 50 million around the world and it has been a mystery as to how that strain of flu got so tough.  Well, researchers may have found an answer.  Somehow these guys have managed to find three genes that were specific to the 1918 bug that caused the flu to cause extreme pneumonia.  What seems scary to me is that they have recreated the virus or at least have that virus.  Maybe I’ve seen too many movies but let us hope that someone doesn’t swipe the virus or it doesn’t inadvertantly get released.  Here’s the story of the latest discovery.

Harper's Weekly 1882 Symmes Hole Illustration

Harper's Weekly 1882 Symmes Hole Illustration

On This date in History:  This one is pretty odd.  On This date in 1823, the citizens of Hamilton and Rossville

John C Symmes II

John C Symmes II

Ohio heard a lecture by John Symmes and the following day the two towns passed resolutions that the earth was hollow!

In the late 17th Century, astronomer Edmund Halley suggested that the earth had four concentric spheres and that there was a hollow area in the center with small entrances at each pole.  Inside the hollow area, Halley said there was life and there was illumination.  He thought that the auroa was caused by gasses being released from the openings at the poles.  Well, this guy John Symmes carried on that idea and began a series of lectures designed to gain financial support for an expedition.  He said, “I ask 100 brave companions…to start from Siberia…I engage we find a warm and rich land, stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals…northward of latitude 82.”  He wanted to sail over curved rim of a polar hole into a hollow earth.  Believe it or not, Symmes not only convinced the people of the Ohio towns, but also  some Congressmen who tried to get public funding for the expeditions.  A hollow earth fellow traveler, Jeremiah Reynolds, joined the chorus by stressing the commercial potential of the eccentric expedition.  Today, Congress might hide an earmark for the funding but in 1823, it showed fiscal restraint.

Reed's Version of Symmes Hole

Reed's Version of Symmes Hole

However, that restraint didn’t last too long because, 15 years later, the Congress actually appropriated $30,000 for Charles Wilkes to sail to Antarctica.  In 1838, Wilkes set sail with 6 wooden ships to check out the South Pole.  He first tried to nose in but was rebuffed when amidst strong winds, high seas and pack ice, one of his ships sunk taking the full crew with it.  So, he decided on a different route, venturing into the South Pacific and charting Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa.  Sounds like the government funded a nice vacation in island paradises to me.  However, unlike Fletcher Christian, Wilkes did not get so enamoured by Tahiti and he sailed to Australia and then to the South Pole.  He actually ended up making a pretty decent map of the frozen continent and today there is a 1500 mile stretch of coastline in Antarctica named Wilke’s Land.

None of that would have happened without the outlandish claims of Symmes and Reynolds, who planted the seed for Congress to fund an expedition to Antarctica to find the hole in the earth.  Now, when Admiral Byrd flew over the poles(1926 and 1929), it should have put to rest the rumors of a hollow earth.  But, like those who want to chase Chemtrails, hollow earth proponents refused to  accept the facts and instead claim that Byrd actually entered “Symmes Hole” because Byrd had referred to Antarctica as the “Land of Everlasting Mystery” and said, “I’d like to see the land beyond the pole.  That area beyond the pole is the center of the great unknown.”   In 1906, William Reed took a different tact and said there was no north and south pole but instead there were entrances to the center of the earth and in 1913, Marshall Gardiner went so far as to say that there was sun 600 miles in diameter in the center of the earth.  Of course, no one has reported any holes but…the claim was it was a government cover-up!!   So, there you have it…it can’t be any more clear…Admiral Byrd has gone into the hollowed out earth and there is a government conspiracy to prevent anyone from finding out…I told you that it sounded  like Chemtrails. 

GFS Snow Accumulation Friday Evening

GFS Snow Accumulation Friday Evening

GFS Precipitation Friday

GFS Precipitation Friday

Weather Bottom Line:

We have a system that will drop down on Friday.  If you look at the GFS critical thickness,

GFS Critical Thickness Friday

GFS Critical Thickness Friday

all lines are south of our region.  However, it would appear that moisture is limited with this scenario and the GFS tosses out numerically less than a quarter  inch of snow.  That’s it.  Now, just because the GFS has all of the critical lines south, it does not mean that will necessarily  come to bear.  Instead, it would be possible that what precipitation does occur could very well do so during a time of transition and so some of the critical thickness lines may indeed not be so neatly lined up and instead there could be air at the surface that is slightly above freezing or perhaps even some layers in between the bottom and top of the atmosphere that is above freezing as it is precipitating.  So, this bottom line at this time would be perhaps a little nuisance snow at best with a real possibility that we have a mixed bag of stuff that will not bring joy to anyone.  It’ll be fun to watch and see how it shakes out but I wouldn’t break out the snow shoes just yet.  I’m really getting tired of us being cold but not getting any action.  Quite boring.  Snow White and I spent Christmas in Houston where it was in the mid to upper 70s most of the time and if we can’t have snow, then I’d rather have that than this boring, cold stuff.  But alas…in the words of US Grant..”man proposes, God disposes.”

Guys, Need A Date For New Year’s?
December 29, 2008

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 and Things to Consider
December 25, 2008

nativity2

So, This is Christmas: This time of year, Christmas becomes a focus of attention.  Sometimes, we hear about the scrooges out there.  Sometimes we hear about the sad stories.  Other times, we hear of heartlifting stories of people serving their fellow man, giving others a hand or stories of families making long overdue reunions.  It used to be heard more often on public airwaves, but still we do hear the Christmas story of which the entire holiday has been based.  Oh….there are the fights about communities and their “holiday parades” and the politically correct argument about saying “happy holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas,” or the annual fight about public displays.  But, still the majority of Americans accept the basis of the holiday.

Now, some naysayers like to get to the root of the holiday saying that Christmas was really derived from pagan rituals

Does Snoopy Have it Right?

Does Snoopy Have it Right?

and the ancient celebration of Winter.  And you know what?  There is some truth to that.   If you read the biblical account of the birth of Jesus, you also find that the shepherds were in their fields tending their sheep, which suggests that it was not winter.  So, it seems likely that the actual birth was not on December 25th, but since no one knows exactly when the birth occured, the early Church determined that December 25th was a good time.  Perhaps it was an effort by the early Church to quash the pagan winter celebrations.  But, to me, that is a poor excuse to dismiss the story of Christ’s birth as false.  It is simply a history of the celebratory day.

Consider this.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Now, there is talk that this passage from Isaiah is flawed in that the Hebrew word used in the original text is “almah” and that literally means “young woman” and not “virgin.”  However, the bible never refers to an “almah” in connection with a married woman and the bible is clear that an unmarried woman is to be a virgin.  Therefore, the use of “virgin” as opposed to “young woman” is completely logical.

But, all of that is semantics.  Let’s  get to the bottom line.  Ultimately, this comes down to Faith and I fully accept that my Faith is not necessarily that of others and there is no reason for people to call each other names.  But, consider that the words from Isaiah were written some 700 years before the birth of Jesus.  Some people are more likely to believe in the words of Nostradomus but not Isaiah even though it takes a little more imagination to create truths about the Frenchman.

As I can attest, things don’t always go the way we want them to go and we have set backs, obstacles and difficulties  in life.  Christmas time is not immune from that.  And while Snow White and I have come upon a bit of unexpected circumstance, we are thankful for what we have and for each other.  We feel blessed with our circumstance whether it be tough times or the many friends we have, our families and the fond memories we have and the memories still left to make.  Christmas is a time of love and hope for the future.  And Snow White and I wish to extend to you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, happy new year.

Pres. Gets Expensive Gift! Cut Off Ear Nets Millions
December 23, 2008

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.

Cut Off Your Ear For $90 Million?

Cut Off Your Ear For $90 Million?

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.

GFS Snow Accumulation Through Christmas

GFS Snow Accumulation Through Christmas

Weather Bottom Line: For Louisville and points to the south, it would appear that the threat of icing is minimal as it would appear that temperatures at all levels will be above freezing by the time the rain gets going here Tuesday night.  Now, the northern part of the viewing area may be more susceptable to a brief time of freezing rain and or sleet Tuesday night.  The GFS, which you see above, does not want to paint any snow whatsoever for any part of the area through Christmas Day.  My guess is that will be the most likely scenario.  The NAM on the other hand wants to keep things cold enought that there would be snow accumulation in the extreme western and northern counties.  I doubt that will be the case.  Otherwise, Wednesday will be wet.  Christmas Day will be on the chilly side before a big warm up gets going on Friday into the first half of the weekend with somewhat cooler and seasonal conditions for Sunday.  There will be several chances for rain over the weekend.

A Not So Secret Washington Sex Scandal; It’s Cold!
December 22, 2008

There May Be a Good Reason Alexander Hamilton Got in So Many Duels

There May Be a Good Reason Alexander Hamilton Got in So Many Duels

I Told You To Expect Single Digits!

I Told You To Expect Single Digits!

Told you it would be cold.  And I also told you that we’d get to the single digits but it was even

Monday Morning Forecast Lows

Monday Morning Forecast Lows

colder than I expected.  It’s gonna be tough to get above 20 on Monday.  Tuesday will be cold but a warm front will lift up and bring showers in the afternoon.  The concern would be that the low layer air and freezing ground will result in icy conditions.  However, both the GFS and NAM do not want to start putting out precipitation until Tuesday evening when the mercury has already moved above freezing.  Should this pan out then one would think that icy spots would be minimal though I suppose that some roads may be a bit slow to get above freezing so there may be a slight risk of a few isolated icy spots.  After that, temperatures will be at or above seasonal averages for the following several days.  Sorry..no White Christmas here.

A Philandering Father?

Hamilton: A Philandering Father?

On This Date in History:  Alexander Hamilton’s face is on the $10 dollar bill.  He was a confidant of General Washington and served as the first Secretary of the Treasury.  He had a strong political disagreement with Thomas Jefferson as Jefferson favored a weak central government and Hamilton wanted a strong central government in relation to the power of the states.  But, Hamilton had a way of rubbing people the wrong way beyond politics.  He was known to duel to end disputes and was eventually gunned down in a duel  by Aaron Burr, who was the sitting Vice-President at the time.    What caused Hamilton to get in so many scrapes and raise the ire of so many people?  This little tale may shed some light and make one ponder how he got to have his face on our money.

Hamilton apparently had flowing red hair and deep blue eyes and ladies found him quite aluring.  He was married with children but his reputation as a ladies man persisted.  In 1791, a woman came to his door asking for money, claiming that her husband had left she and her child destitute.  Maria Reynolds did not receive money during that visit.  Instead, Hamilton went to her boardinghouse room with $30 and then proceeded to take advantage of the situation.  That was the beginning of a long affair.  Eventually, she even visited him at his home when his family was away.  All was fine until Mr. Reynolds showed up again.

Reynolds demanded financial satisfaction for his wife’s favors.  On this date in 1791, Alexander Hamilton paid

Enquiring Minds Wanted To Know About Hamilton

Enquiring Minds Wanted To Know About Hamilton

Reynolds $1000 to keep quiet.  This did not end the affair though as Reynolds even encouraged Hamiton to continue as he wrote, “I find when ever you have been with her she is Chearful and kind.  but when you have not in some time she is Quite the Reverse.” (note the grammatical errors)  All was still fine until Reynolds got arrested for his involvement in a scam involving phony veterans claims.  In an effort to gain his freedom, he hinted that the Secretary of the Treasury had been involved.  Three Congressmen, including James Monroe, confronted Hamilton who produced 20 blackmail notes as a way of showing his innocence, claiming that he had but one mistaken dalliance.  Hamilton must have had some pretty good bull because they bought it and the matter was dropped…until a drunken publisher who was not fond of Hamilton, James Callender, printed a widely circulated pamphlet detailing the sordid affair. 

Curiously, Hamilton did not have a duel with Callender but instead published all of the blackmail letters.  That did nothing but elevate suspicions that extend to this day.  While the letters did have some grammatical and spelling errors, the vocabulary used was of a very educated indivicual which Mr. Reynolds was not.  Speculation is that Hamilton may have forged the letters in an attempt to cover up his own corruption.  Nevertheless, I suppose that all went away with the gunshot from Aaron Burr.  All was forgotten and Hamilton ended up on the $10 bill.  It is quite interesting what scandals are remembered by history and which are forgotten.

Grinches Want Christmas; Elvis Wants a Badge
December 21, 2008

Elvis Admired Nixon Who Was A Skeptic

Elvis Admired Nixon Who Was A Skeptic

Grinch Stories: Every year, there seems to be some stories that tend to defy the Christmas spirit.  In the past few

Grinch Stories

Grinch Stories

weeks, there have been some that will leave you scratching your head.

Bad California Dreamin’: In California in 2004, a woman crashed her car into a lightpole after a night on the town.  Her friend pulled her from the automobile, claiming that she thought the car would explode.  The driver is now paralyzed and wants to sue her rescuer.  The California Supreme Court said recently that’s okay by them.

A Not So Smart Grinch:  Another one from California….remember how the Grinch went into Whoville and tried to steal Christmas?  Well, a neighborhood in Westminster, CA knew how the folks of Whoville felt when, each night, someone elses Christmas displays disappeared from their lawns.  Then one night, the police responded to a disturbance call.  When they entered the home, they found all of the stolen items and promptly arrested the resident.

How Not To Steal a Christmas Tree: At the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Michigan, they decided to put up a Christmas tree.  On December 2, the tree disappeared.  It didn’t take Columbo to find this Grinch…he left his checkbook behind.

Bus Riders Benefit from Anti-Grinch:  How about a little Christmas cheer to wind up this segment?  A bunch of folks in Spokane, WA were settling in to take a ride when a woman appeared and handed each one an envelope.  She quickly disappeared.  Inside each envelope was a $50 bill.  The cards simply said “from a friend, to a friend.”  That’s more like it.

Elvis' Letter That Gained Him Audience With President

Elvis' Letter That Gained Him Audience With President

On This Date in History: In early December, 1970 the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley met with Vice-President

Notes Show Nixon Skepticsm Of Elvis As Secret Agent

Notes Show Nixon Skepticsm Of Elvis As Secret Agent

Spiro T. Agnew to offer his celebrity status to help in the campaign against drug use.   Apparently, Elvis was non-plussed with Spiro because on this date in 1970, Elvis simply showed up at the White House gate and handed the guard a note to the President that said that he did not agree with nor associate with the Black Panthers, the Drug Culture or the Hippies whom he thought hated America.  The note said that he wanted to “help the country out” and asked that he be made a “federal agent at-large.”  I’m not sure if there is such a thing but the guard phoned it in and Elvis was whisked in to see the President.  I guess kings can just show up unannounced to see the President.

Probably star-struck, the guard failed to do a proper security check and Elvis met President Richard Nixon and presented him with a Colt .45 from World War II!  He and Nixon chatted and Presley again said that he wanted to do what he could to influence young people, get musicians to reject drugs and help oppose anit-Americanism.  The odd couple posed for pictures and Elvis ended by giving the President a hug.  Nixon never did give the King of Rock and Roll a position as a drug agent, but he did write him a nice note.

Elvis died in 1977 of heart failure….which is suspected to have been caused in part by his abuse of prescription drugs.

Monday Midday NAM Temps Upper Teens

Monday Midday NAM Temps Upper Teens

Weather Bottom Line: The weather story remains on line…after a cloudy and chilly Saturday with temperatures in the 40’s, an area of low pressure swings through Saturday night bringing some light rain.  But, it doesn’t have much moisture to work with but does have plenty of cold air behind it.  Sunday will be lousy.  We go below freezing probably around 5 AM (just before the onset of Winter at 7:04AM)  and don’t come out of the freezer until Tuesday night.  There may be an early flurry but the real story will be temperatures falling to the low to mid 20’s by late afternoon and winds blowing some 12-25 mph with higher gusts.  Wind chills will be brutal.  The winds relax and some folks will be in the upper single digits Monday morning.  I still think that some people will have a tough time getting to 20 on Monday afternoon with maybe a maxima someplace of say…26 or so.  I still don’t like the idea of a White Christmas either.

Odd 2008 Events; Arctic Blast Coming
December 20, 2008

Some Things Are Just Odd

Some Things Are Just Odd

Odd Events of 2008: I’ve compiled a few things from published magazines that are interesting…

Leave it to the hired help: just last week hockey player Joe Sakic broke 3 fingers and damaged tendons in his

Joe VS the Snow Blower

Joe VS the Snow Blower

hand.  No big deal, right? I mean he’s a hockey player.  He did it clearing snow from his snow blower.  He’ll be out at least 3 months.  That brings to mind the injury of Robert Parish of the Boston Celtics in 1994 when he missed game time after hurting his back shoveling snow.  His teammate Dee Brown suggested that with all the money Parish had, that he should hire someone else to do the shoveling…then he had a second thought: “But, I guess that’s why he has that money still.”  Good point, Dee.  Guess Joe Sakic must have a nice bank account too since he’s doing his own snow removal too but he’ll have to count it with one hand for awhile.

Better late than never? In Texas, a man convicted of murder asked for an appeal.  The judge scheduled an appeal…two days after his scheduled execution date.

Be careful what you ask for : In Michigan, country singer Pat Green asked the audience if anyone had a beer during one of his concerts.  A can of beer came flying from the crowd, hit Green between the eyes, knocking him out cold.

Sounds Like A Future Congressman: A man in Fort Worth was grabbed by the cops for trying to cash a hot check.  It was written for $360 Billion.

On This Date in History: Very odd thing this December 20….in 1892 the inflatable tire was patented.  Before that

Posters Taken Down Dec 20, 1945

Posters Taken Down Dec 20, 1945

tires were often just solid rubber…rather rough ride especially considering the roads were either dirt or often in cities cobblestone.   Very interestingly….on December 20, 1945  the rationing of tires in the US came to an end…53 years to the day that they were patented.  Since World War II, the US has really never been in an all -out war.  Since then, we’ve had Korea, Viet Nam, Persian Gulf and now Iraq and Afghanistan.  All of the conflicts has resulted in the sacrifice of the precious blood of the nation.  But, there has not been a general economic sacrifice as we had in World War II when cities were often in black out, gasoline was rationed, tires were rationed and people were encouraged to plant “victory gardens” so that food supplies may be maintained for the war effort. There were no new appliances or cars or anything.  Everything went to the war effort.  While any war is tragic, we are truly blessed in this nation and most of us have never lived to experience the effects of a real all out war…let’s hope we never find out.

NAM Is Very Cold Midday Monday

NAM Is Very Cold Midday Monday

Weather Bottom Line: The weather warmed up Friday as expected.  But, I confess I said to near 60 and I was way off as we climbed all the way to the upper 60’s on the wings of very gusty winds.  Snow White and I went out Friday night to walk about Cherokee Park and look at the Christmas lights.  With all that wind today and how cold we’ve been, I can’t figure out how some trees still have their leaves.  Anyway, we opened up the windows Friday and I even went out in my flip flops.  The UPS guys came to the door wearing their shorts.  Just another bit of proof that Louisville is not in the South.  People in the South do not wear flip flops or shorts with temperatures in the 60’s.  I’ve seen folks in South Florida in jackets!  We’ll…you’ll be a knucklehead if you don’t have a heavy coat handy over the next few days.

The cold front Friday afternoon came through and the mercury tumbled.  We’re only going to get to the mid 40’s on Saturday.  Then Satuarday night, an area of low pressure swings through the flow almost right over the top of us and drags down very very cold air behind it.  We’ll start out just under the freezing mark on Sunday and will probably be in the low 20’s by the end of the day.  Should be pretty brisk too.  There may be some showers Saturday night with maybe some useless snow early Sunday morning.  By Monday morning it is entirely possible we’re sitting in the single digits in many areas and I wonder if too many people make it very far past 20 in the afternoon.  If you’re looking for a white Christmas, you may need to hit the road because a warm front comes through and our temperatures move to the 40’s for Wednesday.  There will be some showers with another low passing by but it won’t drag down cold air like the one earlier in the week.  Without the cold air, it will be tough to have any snow for Christmas Day so leave the sleds in the garage.

First In War, First in Peace; First Indian Bible
December 19, 2008

General of the Armies Forever

General of the Armies Forever

 

On this Date in History:  General George Washington was eulogized on this date in 1799 with words that have come to describe him in American lore ever since.  The ailing former president had died at his home, Mount Vernon, on December 14, 1799 and Congress chose a Virginian to deliver the eulogy.  The man had been a close associate of Washington for much of his life and served with distinction under Washington’s command in the Continental Army.  The eulogy went as follows….you’ll recognize the beginning:

First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble

Different Writing But Words Last Forever

Different Writing But Words Last Forever

and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere—uniform, dignified and commanding—his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting. . . . Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues. . . . Such was the man for whom our nation mourns.”

Who was the man who delivered those memorable words?  “Light Horse” Harry Lee, who served as a general during the American Revolution who had a son named Robert.  Robert E. Lee went on to establish quite a legacy himself.  The mourning period for Washington went on for a couple of months (click here for details) with “mock” funerals and processions held in cities all across the fledgling nation.  The official day of mourning was what would have been Washington’s 68th birthday, February 22, 1800.  If you’ve been a consistent reader of this here blog, then you can tell the high regard that I have for General Washington.  We often hear of lists of the “greatest presidents” and most often, you find Washington’s name at the top, even above Lincoln.  People tend to forget that, without George Washington, we would probably not have a country.  Many of the traditions and policies, even today, of the nation can be traced to George Washington, whom in 1976,  President Ford posthumously appointed George Washington General of the Armies of the United States (history of title) and specified that George Washington would forever be considered the highest ranking American General Officer, past and present.  Nobody does it better…not even Bond.

Try Reading This

Try Reading This

Prior to that, in 1663, the Indians were brought to Christianity.  The Massachusetts Bay Colony founded the first college in America in 1636 with a primary purpose being to educate Puritan ministers.  Two years later, it was named for John Harvard who had left the college his personal 400 book library and half of his estate.  Harvard’s first president had a dream of educating Indians to preach Puritanism to their fellow Indians.  Several Indians were chosen to attend Harvard’s “Indian College” but only four attended as the others died of “hecktick fevers.”  Joel Iacoomis was returning from a trip to Martha’s Vineyard when he became shipwrecked on Nantuckett, where he was done in by the natives who apparently  didn’t appreciate his education.  One, named simply Eleazer, died after he wrote a elegy in Greek and Latin.  John Wompas didn’t die but instead quit after a year and bought a house on Boston Common.  He got thrown in jail for not paying his debts but escaped to be an interesting real estate agent…he sold an entire town he didn’t own!  It’s unclear if he brokered the deal for Manhattan. It must be noted that John Harvard’s Journal in 1997  said that Wompas became a “mariner.”  I like the real estate story better.   Only Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck graduated.  He spoke Greek and Latin.  But, then he died of tuberculosis when the next spring rolled around.    I suppose that the Indians figured that attending Harvard was not a recipe for a long life because no one else signed up. 

 The Indian College sat vacant for many years, housing just a printing press.  It was on that press that John Eliot produced the Algonquian Bible.  It was 1200 pages and was called, “probably as good as any version that has been made…in a previously unwritten and so called barbarous language.”  It took three years to print and its no wonder considering the english word “begat” translated to “wunnaumonieu” in Algonquian.  A rare first edition turned up and was sold at auction on this date in 1986 for $220,000, which seems like a paltry sum to me for something so rare…but then again, there’s probably no one left who can speak Algonquian so it’s really just an expensive conversation piece.

NAM Snow Thru Mon AM...Not too Enthusiastic

NAM Snow Thru Mon AM...Not too Enthusiastic

Weather Bottom Line:  Really, nothing has changed from the previous thinking.  We jump to near 60 on Friday then a cold front brings some showers and we only get to the 40’s on Saturday.  Early Sunday, a low runs up from the Southwest almost right over the top of Louisville.  We’ll get some rain that may turn to a little snow but the real story will be the very cold air that gets dragged down behind it.  It’s kinda tough to get to single digits without snow on the ground but both the GFS and NAM take us to the upper single digits on Monday morning and struggle to get us to 20 in the afternoon.  It’s going to be cold.  Probably below freezing from before sunrise Sunday until Wednesday morning.  We’re a little warm on Christmas Eve with another little system wandering across that will bring in another cold shot, though not as cold as earlier in the week, but may produce a few light snow shower.  Really, a White Christmas doesn’t look all the likely.

Nixon Calls The Play-Bombs For Christmas! Snow?
December 18, 2008

Bomb-Em Into the Stone Age Until they Negotiate!

Bomb-Em Into the Stone Age Until they Negotiate!

 

for weather stuff….look at the bottom for the “weather bottom line.”

On This Date in History: President Richard Nixon was an avid sports fan, particularly football.  On December 26,

'Skins Number 1 Fan

'Skins Number 1 Fan

1972 the Washington Redskins lost a playoff game to the San Francisco Forty-Niners 24-20.  If I recall, the ‘skins were led by the tandem old fat guys Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer while the Niners were led by John Brodie.  I think the Redskins had Larry Brown as the running back and the 49ers had Vic Washington with Gene Washington at receiver.  In November, Nixon showed up at a Redskins’ practice to give the team a “pep-talk.”  Anyway, The Redskins lost 13 yards on a play that Washington Head Coach George Allen said that the President had designed.  Later, it is found that the statement was false; it is an effort on Allen’s part to inspire the team, which I don’t get because the game was already over, unless he told them at halftime.  If that was the case, then it seems like it would be demoralizing to find that the coach is calling plays sent in by a fan at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Allen, however, told the team that Nixon designed the play only after getting the President’s approval.  After the game, Nixon called Allen and tells him that the entire city is proud of the team since it was the first post-season appearance by the Redskins since 1945.

Bomb Prepared for "Christmas Bombing"

Bomb Prepared for "Christmas Bombing"

With all of this in mind…and perhaps football was on the mind of the President in 1972…one might consider what was going on in Vietnam at the time.  Nixon had campaigned  in 1968 that he would bring the war to a close with his “secret plan.”  It was so secret that he never told anyone what it was.  He won the 1972 election in a landslide but really wanted to end the war…”peace with honor” is what  he called for.  Well, peace talks were ongoing in Paris and had been for sometime when, on December 13, 1972 the representatives of North Vietnam walked out of the negotiations.  Nixon warned them to return to the table within 72 hours, “or else.”  They did not do so and on this date in 1972, President Nixon put into effect his “Operation Linebacker II” which was an all-out aerial bombardment of areas

MiG21 not as effective as SAMs

MiG21 not as effective as SAMs

around Hanoi.  (Operation Linebacker was an aerial interdiction mission to disrupt supplies from May to Oct. 1972)  Over 700 B-52 sorties and 1000 fighter bomber sorties were flown over an 11 day period in which 20,000 tons of bombs were dropped. The anti-war crowd called it the “Christmas Bombing” but, as is often the case, naysayers fail to look at things beyond the surface.  Nixon’s plan seemed to be effective…more effective than the play he “called” for George Allen.  He had told the North Vietnamese that the bombing would stop when they returned to the peace talks and released all prisoners of war.  He got the first half of the demand, the bombing stopped and less than a month later, the Vietnam War was over for the Americans.  Of course, what is often left out of the story is that after the Americans left, the South fell quickly and millions of people in Vietnam and Cambodia were slaughtered by the communist regimes.  Over 1300 Vietnamese civilians were killed in the bombing with 15 B-52’s shot down along with 11 other US aircraft.  Most were downed by surface to air missles but 3 B-52’s were shot down by MiG fighters.  Nevertheless, “Linebacker II” is seen by most reasonable observers as a success.

It’s also interesting to note that two MiG fighters were shot down by B-52 bombers.   Yes…B-52’s.  The B-52 doesn’t

Jurgensen Not As Accurate As Tailgunners?

Jurgensen Not As Accurate As Tailgunners?

have a lot in the way of defenses, certainly not like the World War II bombers that bristled with guns.  But, it did have a tailgunner.  Two MiG’s were shot down during the Vietnam War by tailgunners in B-52’s and both occured during Operation Linebacker II. Staff Sgt. Samuel O. Turner and Airman First Class Albert E. Moore both knocked down MiG-21’s with a blast from their rear mounted .50 caliber machine guns.  If Jurgenson and Kilmer had that kind of accuracy instead of the wounded ducks that they tended to throw, perhaps the Redskins would have been more successful. 

GFS Snow Through Mon Midday (probably a little aggressive)

GFS Snow Through Mon Midday (probably a little aggressive)

Weather Bottom Line: Look for us to start a bit of a warm up for the next few days before the bottom falls out again.  A warm front will approach late Thursday bringing a chance for showers by Thursday afternoon and then when the warm front passes, we jump to perhaps the upper 50’s on Friday…just in time for another cold front.  That front will make us cool but not too terribly cold on Saturday after some rain with perhaps some rumbles of thunder late Friday.  Then we get a low swinging by early Sunday.  All indications are at this time that we get some rain prior to temperatures falling sharply by midday Sunday.  We’ll probably be below freezing from at least midday Sunday through Tuesday with Monday night being pretty doggone cold.  But, at this point it appears there may be some nuisance snow on Sunday at best and that’s probably a generous assessment, though the GFS is trying to be a little more bullish than that for the northern counties Sunday into Monday.  Now, the GFS shows another system lifting up late Tuesday, warming us a bit on Christmas Eve providing rain before maybe a little snow Wednesday night but nothing overly significant.  This makes sense.  But, it should be noted that the Canadian model wants to keep the cold air in place and swing the low around without drawing up much warmer air; hence, it advertises snow Tuesday into Wednesday.  I’m not buying it at this point and think the prospects for a White Christmas around here are minimal though it should be chilly.  But, the Canadian is out there with its solution…again…doesn’t make much sense to me at this time.