Archive for July, 2009

Where is Jimmy Hoffa? The Deep’s Grifon was a true beauty of the sea, as was Jaqueline Bissett
July 31, 2009

Take That Boy! Take That Boy!
Shaw Keeps His Eyes Forward

Shaw Keeps His Eyes Forward

Shaw wasn't making up the stuff about the Griffon

Shaw wasn't making up the stuff about the Griffon

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.

A Famous Scene from "The Deep"

A Famous Scene from "The Deep"

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 much of Benchley’s script was really ficticious. Speaking of scripts, if you can take your eyes off of the photo of Bissett, you can read the script from The Deep, here.

Where Is He?

Where is Jimmy?

On This Date in 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared.  He was last seen the previous day at a restaurant parking lot.  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.  There are many theories on what happened to him, but no one really knows.  Just a couple of days ago,  a story appeared that said a jawbone police found outside of Detroit probably was not that of the former Teamsters leader.  But, it goes to show that people and perhaps law enforcement remain on the case.  There have been stories that Hoffa is in the end zone of Giants Stadium.    There have been many searches, one in which the cops drained a lake. They didn’t find him.  I had a roommate from Pittsburgh whose father was a labor attorney.  He always told me that Hoffa’s body was in a road bed of some highway that I cannot recall.  Whatever, it is, speculation is that he was killed and it was a conspiracy, but by whom?  One of those stories that will probably never have a solution and therefore will never go away.

Ryan Makes A Point with Bob Hill

Ryan Makes A Point with Bob Hill

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 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.

Rain Totals

Rain Totals

Missed it by That Much!

Missed it by That Much!

Weather Bottom Line:   As Maxwell Smart would say, “missed it by that much.”  I had said that the reports of rain and t’storms on Thursday evening were a bit overblown and I suspected that the widespread rain would be similar to what happened the previous day, which was wide spread rain after midnight toward day break.  Well, we did have scattered activity in the afternoon but the main blob did roll through much later.  But, it was over by about 4 AM.  So, I was off by a few hours.  Anyway, the map above shows the rain from midnight to midnight on the 30th and from Louisville to a few counties north, the totals were 2-4 inches and then a few counties south of Louisville got 2-3 inches.  My sunflowers are quite happy.

NAM rain 6Z Sunday

NAM rain 6Z Sunday

The pattern will be pretty regular in terms of consistency but not for the time of year.  Frontal activity is typically limited this time of year but we just had one come through and there will be another weak one on Saturday night.  The main action should be south and southwest of our area where the new front has grabbed on to the old front.  Then another weak front shows up on Wednesday night.  If this hold true, then we’ll probably see a repeat performance of scattered stuff on Saturday afternoon with the bulk of the widespread rain overnight on Saturday into Sunday morning.   Early Sunday church may be wet.  Then the same thing on Wednesday with some scattered stuff Wednesday evening with more widespread rain overnight Wednesday.  The fronts are weak so we don’t get overly cooler or drier behind them but this pattern does not lend itself to 90 degree temperatures any time soon.  For the first time in Louisville recorded history, we did not get to 90 degrees on any day in the month of July, which is quite remarkable. 

The Deep

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Public Torture of a Dog Spurred Electrical Progress But Edison Shorted Out
July 30, 2009

Edison Kills Elephant As Part of Sales Pitch

Edison Kills Elephant As Part of Sales Pitch

On This Date in History:  In the late 19th century a technological competition was buzzing.  Thomas Edison favored the direct current (DC) as a method of transmitting electricity while rival George Westinghouse was in favor of the alternating current (AC).  AC was cheaper to transmit but the direct current was thought at the time to be safer.  In 1888, a self-taught consultant to all things electrical jumped into the arena of the battle of the titans, aka “the war of currents,” and things really got electrified.

Harold Pitney Brown

Harold Pitney Brown

Harold P. Brown was in favor of Edison’s DC method because of its safety.  To prove this, he took the Michael Vick approach.  He tortured dogs and other animals.  On this date in 1888, Brown went to Columbia University to make a demonstration.  He exposed a caged dog to 300 volts of DC, which was about the same AC voltage that the animal could withstand.  To better make his point, he increased the voltage; first to 400, then 500 and ultimately to 1000 volts.  The unfortunate chosen specimen was a large Newfoundland mix.  The beast howled in agony but survived the 1000 volt jolt.  That was not enough though.  Brown followed up by hooking up the poor dog to a 330 volt dose of AC and he fried.  The SPCA jumped in and called for a halt before another demonstration could be made.  Thus, this date in history was also the first time a dog was saved from public execution.   Needless to say, observers not only were not amused, they were downright angry.

Now, Brown didn’t know it but he was actually making a sales pitch because it just so happened that the state of New York had just formed a commission to find an alternative to hanging as a form of capital punishment.  The commission had considered electrocution and Brown’s demonstration got them so intrigued that they asked Edison for his opinion.  Since Edison was trying to promote electricity, particularly his “safe” DC current, he was against the use of electricity in bringing about a lethal sentence.  But, he opined that if they must do it, use Westinghouse’s version of the AC current.  A pretty slick way to promote his argument that AC was so dangerous that they used it in execution.

"improved" Brown Invention at Sing Sing

"improved" Brown Invention at Sing Sing

Just a few months later on January 1, 1889 New York became the first state to make electrocution the favored way to bring about death  to the condemned.  And who do you suppose they hired as their expert consultant.  Why, Harold P. Brown, of course!  And what did he do to earn his pay?  Why, he invented the electric chair.    Now, the law did not specify what  type of current was to be used. But,  Brown used AC with the hope that it would bring so much bad publicity to Westinghouse and his “executioners current.”  The first man to be executed by the electric chair was said to have been “Westinghoused.”   In spite of Brown using a Westinghouse AC dynamo for his chair, his scheme failed.  Because of the lower distribution costs, Westinghouse’s AC current eventually won the electric war.  Just in case over the last few months you forgot how capitalism works….the person who can deliver a service or product at a lower cost usually gets the job.  Besides, as long as the AC current is insulated and installed properly, it can be transmitted safely as it generally has been from the late 19th century to the present day.  There is at least one anti-Thomas Edison faction out there who claims that the only original invention of Thomas Alva Edison was the electric chair.  But, that charge is patently false.  That claim belongs to Harold P. Brown.

Artist's rendering of Kemler getting Char-Broiled

Artist's rendering of Kemler getting Char-Broiled

Now, the war of the currents wasn’t over.  See, a convicted murderer, William Kemler, was first to make it all the way to the electric chair.  None other than George Westinghouse tried to come to his rescue, testifying that electricution through the use of one of his AC dynamos hooked up to a chair was cruel and unsual punishment.  Who testified for the opposition?  Harold P. Brown and Thomas Alva Edison.  They convinced the  court everything was just fine and dandy and on August 6, 1890 Kemler became the first person to die in the electric chair.  While Kemler probably wasn’t feeling too cheerful, Westinghouse may have had the last laugh. 

deadjimYou see…they messed up the execution and Kemler did not  die with the first jolt of electricity.  Just like the Newfoundland, Kemler suffered in agony from an initial jolt.  His breathing had stopped but not his heart.  So, they gave him another jolt.  The autopsy showed the Kemler’s organs had carbonized.  In other words he burned to death…or was fried, if you like.  Again the public was not amused but Brown went back to the drawing board and “improved” his invention.  25 states followed up with adopting the electric chair as the primary form of execution.  By the late 20th century, just about all states (if not every one) had gotten rid of the electric chair because several courts had indeed ruled it was cruel and unusual punishment, as Westinghouse had said at the end of the 19th century.  Other states just did so because lethal injection was so much easier to sell to the public since it was like putting the old dog “to sleep.”  A humane death, unless you are the one who gets the same result you would get whether you’re hanged, shot, fried or injected with drugs. You’re still dead.   Edison still didn’t give up.  In 1901, he made a film that re-enacted the execution of the assassin of President McKinley.   He electrocuted an elephant on Jan 3 1904 and even filmed it (actual footage of elephant execution).  Didn’t change a thing except kill the elephant.

Thursday Evening

Thursday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  Guess when the main wave came through on Wednesday.  By the time it got out of here it had dropped about 2 inches of rain from around 1 am to 9 am.  Then there was scattered activity later in the day.  I should think from the late night Wednesday data we have a similar situation ahead but reversed.  It would appear we have some relatively minor disturbances coming through the flow on Thursday and that should kick off scattered stuff, particularly in the afternoon.  I’ve some reports that say Thursday night we get another strong wave that will bring a lot of rain.  But, the way the data looks at this time, it looks more to me like we had on Wednesday which is a period of rain and t’storms after midnight on Thursday through sunrise Friday.  Either way, it still doesn’t look like any large scale severe events on the way, just more rain and continued mercury levels way below seasonal norms.

“In God We Trust” Unconstitutional? Unjust Court-Martial of USS Indianapolis Skipper?
July 29, 2009

Unconstitutional?

Unconstitutional?

Chase Thought Motto on Money was a Good Idea

Chase Thought Motto on Money was a Good Idea

On This Date in History:  President Eisenhower signed into law a bill requiring “In God We Trust”  (link to a history on “in God we trust’)  be put on all currency and be considered the official US Motto on this date in 1956.   Since 1864, during the Civil War, the motto had been put on some coins but not paper currency under the direction of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P Chase.  Chase later went to the Supreme Court, which is ironic considering the “separation” issue allegedly begun by Thomas Jefferson. 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. Interestingly, “under God” was inserted into the US Pledge of Allegiance during Eisenhower Administration.  Eisenhower himself has been said to have admitted the he had 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.

Ike Liked the Motto

Ike Liked the Motto

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.   However, there are many who say that the founders intended on the Constitution to protect the churches from the government, not the government from the church…the proverbial freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  You make the call.  If you need some help, here are some pros and cons of both “in God we trust” and “under God.”

USSIndianapolisOn this date in 1945, the USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine. The cruiser was returning from Tinian Island where it had secretly delivered the atomic bomb. Because it was a secret mission, details of its schedule were shrouded. So much so that its late arrival went unnoticed. The Americans had intercepted a message from the sub describing the ship they had sunk. The Americans just assumed it was a boast and didn’t follow up. If you remember Jaws then you know the story as told by Captain Quint, who said he was a crew member of the doomed ship. Nearly 1200 men were on the ship.

Captain McVay

Captain McVay

About 400 died from the torpedo blast. Some 900 men went into the water but only 318 were rescued. No one showed up for a rescue for 84 hours in during that time nearly 500 men were devoured by sharks. Quint said he’d never wear a life jacket again. The Captain  of the Indianapolis, Charles B McVay III,  never sailed again as he became the only officer in US naval history to be court-martialed for losing a ship in war time.  McVay committed suicide in 1968 and many speculate he took his own life due to guilt.  But, during the Clinton Administration, Captain McVay was exonerated from fault by Congress in October 2000.  In spite of the Congressional official exoneration, the US Navy records still indicate the Captain Charles McVay was found guilty in a Court-Martial for losing the USS Indianapolis while he was in command.

Wed Evening

Wed Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  We have some consensus and also some disagreement in the forecast for the next several days.  First off, we had a lot of clouds on Tuesday and even some showers with rumbles of thunder.  That put the kabash on any chance we had of getting to 90 and it now looks inevitable that we will not get to 90 degrees for the entire month of July in Louisville.  First time since records have been kept…I think since 1872….that we have had zero 90 degree days in Louisville.  Remarkable considering that the official numbers are now kept at the airport. 

We have agreement that a front is coming through.  We have agreement that a wave will ride along that front.  The timing is the issue.  The GFS likes rain in the morning and late day, the NAM likes rain midday.  The GFS has rain again on Thursday and also Friday.  The NAM has rain Thursday afternoon into early Friday but dries it out from there.  Both suggest a relatively mild and dry weekend.  Now, the parameters for all data are not overly exciting.  There is an elevation in the Showalter Index and the Total Totals and such but nothing real alarming as the SWEAT index is somewhat pedestrian.  Strong storms with gusty winds from time to time are possible, but nothing appears imminent on the severe weather front.

Empire State Bldg and Twin Towers were hit by planes but only the Towers Fell; Why?
July 28, 2009

 

esb-crash01

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? 

pp48_kinetic_energy

Hole left by B-25

Hole left by B-25

Model of Empire State Bldg Superstructure

Model of Empire State Bldg Superstructure

 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

WTC Support Derived from Center Support and Outer Skin

WTC Support Derived from Center Support and Outer Skin

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

Wednesday Evening

Wednesday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  With the clouds so prevalent today, I suspect it will be very difficult for us to hit 90 and this was the last slight chance to do so for the rest of the month.  So,  without the unexpected happening, it appears that we will have the first July in Louisville recorded history without a 90 degree day and thats a tough thing to do considering that these days the official numbers are kept at the airport. 

We have a front approaching slowly.  It should be here by Wednesday evening.  Couple of things….not totally out of the realm of possibility that we get an isolated t’storm or two popping up in the heat of this afternoon.  But, the rain chances will ramp up for Wednesday.  Right now, severe weather does not appear to be too likely but there does appear to be a wave that will run along the front as it moves through.  Not totally out of the question that some stronger storms get initiated by the wave as it rolls through.  Then it appears that the front will get hung up so rain chances with numerous clouds will remain for the rest of the week.

US Army Attacks US Army Vets in One of America’s Darkest Hours
July 27, 2009

bonuskids

Bonus Marchers at Capitol June 17, 1932

Bonus Marchers at Capitol June 17, 1932

On This Date in History:  We’ve heard that this is the worst economy “since the great depression.”   I have taken issue with that as I think it is pure hyperbole and political posturing.  In my view, our overall economic situation is more akin to the latter part of the Carter administration and early Reagan years. However, it could be argued that the banking crisis was potentially as troubling as the 1930’s but again, and argument might be made that the Savings and Loan crisis was a better barometer.  But, in overall economic terms, its hard to make such a comparison.  For instance, on June 17, 1932 a Washington newspaper said it was the “tensest day in the capital since the War.”

What was going on?  Well, 10,000 World War I vets had gathered on the Capitol grounds in Washington DC.  Across the Anacostia River were another 10,000 who had been living in huts  made of scrap metal and other junk from a nearby junk pile.  These vets also had their wives and children residing in their camp.  They had gathered to see if they would get their money.  In 1924, Congress had voted to award veterans of the Great War $1.25 for every day a soldier served overseas and a dollar for every day stateside.  But, there was a catch.  They didn’t get their “war bonus” until 1945.  These men needed it in 1932 during some of the darkest days of the Depression.  The US House of Representatives had voted to give them their bonuses then.  But, the Senate voted against the measure by a 62-18 margin.  Needless to say, the vets were pretty P’Oed.

Bonus Army Camp 1932

Bonus Army Camp 1932

So, the “Bonus Expeditionary Force” decided to stay in protest.  Aside from the 10,000 across the river, the 10,000 in the Capitol had for weeks been camped out in some 20 sites, including partially demolished government buildings.  What I don’t get is that Congress wouldn’t pony up the bonus money…today we’d call it a stimulus…but they did allocate $100,000 for the relocation of the bonus marchers any where they wanted to go.  The politicians just wanted them out of town.  But, few took up the offer and President Hoover refused to meet with them.  About 500 did leave town but 1000 new ones took their place.  The marchers started a single file “death march” in front of the Capitol and it lasted until July 16 when Congress adjourned.  By that time, 17,000 had gathered to see their less than favorite legislators exit for recess. 

Vets Used the Flag as a Weapon to Defend against Police

Vets Used the Flag as a Weapon to Defend against Police

With the politicians gone, one might think that the marchers would leave too. Nope. They stayed and the local authorities became nervous and on this date in 1932, the Bonus Expeditionary Force enjoyed their final day of relative peace in our nation’s capitol.   The next day, cops were ordered to clear all government buildings, presumably those that were in some state of demolition housing some of the vets.  The old soldiers resisted and the cops started firing their weapons.  Two US veterans of World War I who survived open warfare were killed by the police in their own country.  So…what to do? Why call out the army!   

Caesar and Ike Make Sure the Vets Get Out of Town

Caesar and Ike Make Sure the Vets Get Out of Town

By the late afternoon, a tank platoon, an infantry battalion and a cavalry squadron were on the scene to put down their fellow soldiers.  Who better to be in command of the troops that General Douglas MacArthur.  And who better to serve as his liason with the police but none other than Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, future Supreme Allied Commander and President of the United States. And if that’s not enough, why not get Major George S. Patton to lead the cavalry?  Clearly outmatched, the old vets were pushed out by soldiers with fixed bayonets and cavalrymen with their sabres drawn.   

Vet Camp Burns in Shadow of Capitol Dome

Vet Camp Burns in Shadow of Capitol Dome

The UPI reported that “men, women and children fled shrieking across the broken ground, falling into excavations as they strove to avoid the rearing hoofs and sable points.  Meantime, infantry on the south side had adjusted gas masks and were hurling tear gas bombs inot the block into which they had just driven the veterans.”  Four hours later, the camps had been set ablaze and the protesters driven across the river to the Anacostia Flats camp.  By 4am on the 29th, that shantyville was also burning and the marchers driven into Maryland.  From their, they were told to not stop walking until they got to Pennsylvania. 

Maybe MacArthur was trying to re-enact Sherman’s march to the sea.  Or maybe he was practicing for his march back to Bataan.  Well, maybe not, but it certainly was not a proud day for America’s armed forces and a dark spot on the public record of three heroes of World War II.  However, it must have been tough to follow orders to turn on your own men…tough spot to be in.  No word on where the Commander in Chief was at that time.

Monday evening

Monday evening

Weather Bottom Line:  If we get to 90 in July it would be in the next two days.  Not so much today but perhaps Tuesday.  The reason that I say on Tuesday is because there will be a front approaching late Tuesday.  A scenario could unfold that we get a decent southwesterly flow and perhaps some slight compressional warming with the approach of the front and that may get us to 90.  However, some of the models want to bring a shortwave close to the area in th e flow along a returning warm front from the southwest that would help to increase afternoon clouds and that may hold  down the temps a bit.  I’d say about a 1 in 4 chance of getting 90 on Tuesday.  After that, we have the front on Wednesday increasing rain and t’storm chances and then the rest of the week the big long wave trof that had been in over the eastern half of the nation appears to be re-established in a fashion not as deep as the previous one but broader with a greater wave length so it encompasses the northern plains as well as the northeastern quadrant of the US.  Hence, we will be in the jetstream flow or the storm track and so the models all bring through little short waves or upper disturbances now and again keeping rain chances in the forecast for the remainder of the week.

Ben Takes the Reigns at the Post Office
July 26, 2009

Young Printer Ben

Young Printer Ben

Franklin Stamp 1866-69

Franklin Stamp 1866-69

On This Date In History: The US Postal Service was founded on this date in 1775 with Ben Franklin as the first Postmaster General.   Franklin was the best choice since he had experience. See, he was the Postmaster General of the colonies(or deputy postmaster)  for the crown beginning in 1753.  Under Franklin, delivery time for mail was cut in half.  He is credited with great improvments and innovations that even continue to the present. 

Franklin Milepost Near Boston

Franklin Milestone Near Boston

He started by making a tour of all the postal facilities, which was a tough task at that time due to the difficulty of travel.  He had routes surveyed and found established the shortest and most efficient routes between cities.  He established milestones, which would be the precursor for the milemarkers on today’s highways,  and improved mail service between New York and Philadelphia by scheduling mail wagons for both night and day.  Of course, Franklin had other interests and used his position to take advantage of his position.   He was able to markedly increase the circulation of his Gazette (either Philadelphia Gazette or Pennsylvania Gazette, depending on the source) by delivering the paper using the postal service to make his delivery.  As it turns out, the previous postmaster of Philadelphia had been a competitor of Franklin’s so I guess turnabout is fair play. 

Surveyor Goddard's ID Pass signed by Franklin 1776

Surveyor Goddard's ID Pass signed by Franklin 1776

As crown postmaster, old Ben established the rate chart, which determined postal rates by distance and weight.  Today, the postal service has a new rate for a standard box in which weight is not determined.  But, in general, the practice of using weight to determine the rates continue and I haven’t figured out why because the volume of the package seems to be more important as it takes up more space.  Anyway, its all Franklin’s fault and the system he initiated became standard.  But, for all the good he did the crown, he was dismissed from his position in 1774 because the old King wasn’t too thrilled with his vocal enthusiasm for independence.  Fired from one job, he was quickly rehired by the fledgling colonial government on this date in 1775. 

I’ll let you look at the postal service history as told by the postal service. Its probably a good idea to look for outside sources if you want the whole story because the USPS will tell you what the USPS wants you to know. Anyway, here’s the link:

http://www.usps.com/history/history/his1.htm

An interesting tidbit is that the USPS is not a direct governmental agency anymore. It became and independent agency under the Executive Branch in 1971 and stopped receiving subsidies in the early 1980’s. I think that means it is not accurate to yell at the postman and tell him he works for you or that your tax dollars pay his salary.

A Forgettable Portrayal of the Bambino

A Forgettable Portrayal of the Bambino

On This Date In Baseball: Babe Ruth made his final public appearance in 1948 at the screening of The Babe Ruth Story. Ruth died 3 weeks later from throat cancer…or at least that is the official story. I would not be surprised to find that Ruth really died after watching actor William Bendix portrayal of Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Ruth was known for many things but I didn’t know memorable quotes was one of them. Here is one worth remembering and shows that Ruth was indeed a winner and a champion.

“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

 

HPC Sunday Evening

HPC Sunday Evening

 

Weather Bottom Line:  Frontal boundary finally plods through early Sunday but then sorta gets stuck.  On the one hand, we’ll get a reinforcement of the cooler than average temps.  I checked it out and through Saturday our average high has been just a shade under 81 degrees so far in July with no 90 degree days at all.  Not sure what the record coolest July is for our area but I’ll be we’re close.  With this front coming through and nothing really looking to alter the long wave pattern that rapidly, its a fair bet that we will not see 90 this month and that will be a first.  Now, this front will not get too far from us so I would not be surprised if there are some errant overrunning afternoon t’storms…well…not exactly overrunning but at least some elevated storms on the 850 boundary which will probably still be somewhere in the vicinity…most likely the southern part of the area.  Not really paying that much attention at this point (My attention is divided between the lightning outside and the Marx Brothers on the tube)  but it would seem that the boundary gets hung up near our area for a chunk of the week ahead so a risk of afternoon showers or t’showers will persist for much of the week with lower than average tempertures.

An Historically Awful Day to Travel
July 25, 2009


On This Date In History: It wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Modern ships. Modern communications. Modern radar. A huge Atlantic Ocean. Yet, two ships managed to run into one another on

Doria Sunk

Doria Sunk

the high seas off the coast of Nantucket on this date in 1956 and what resulted was “the greatest rescue of all time.” At 11:10 pm the Swedish liner Stockholm and Italian Liner Andrea Doria collided in heavy fog. The Italians(over 1700 passengers) were coming from Europe to New York while the Swedes(just under 750 passengers) were headed home from the New World. The Stockholm was traveling a bit north of its recommended route in an effort to save time. Fog was thick. The Doria had a much more sophisticated radar and picked up the Stockholm at a distance of 17 miles. The Stockholm radar operator picked up the Doria at 12 miles. Like the Stockholm, the Doria was trying to keep its schedule and only slightly reduced speed in spite of the reduced visibility. So, both Captains seemed to have sacrificed safety in the name of speed.

Apparently, the normal procedure for ships passing was port to port. But for some reason, the Italian Captain

Stockholm Damage

Stockholm Damage

decided to turn port and make an unconventional starboard to starboard passage. It is thought the Italian Captain thought that the Swede was doing the same thing. Why these guys didn’t get on the radio and talk about it is a mystery. Or maybe they did and there was a language barrier. Whatever the case, the two slammed into each other. The Stockholm had a reinforced, ice breaker bow and just sliced the Doria.   The Stockholm sustained damage and a handful of crew members died.   Nearly 50 passengers and crew died on the Doria as the ice-breaker bow cut into passenger quarters. One man watched in horror as his wife was dragged out of the Doria never to be seen again. But one story caught the attention of the press and forever dubbed 14 year-old Linda Morgan as the “the miracle girl.” Morgan was taken from her bunk on the Doria as the two ships separated.   She was found on board the Stockholm. I do not think she was charged with being a stow away.

The Doria listed badly so only half of her lifeboats were available for evacuation. The Stockholm though lowered its boats and other liners in the area quickly answered the doomed Doria’s mayday call. It is the greatest maritime rescue in the annals of history with 1660 souls plucked from the sea.

Moral to this story: You can have the most sophisticated top-shelf equipment and technology in the world. But if you’ve got a doofus operating that stuff, its worthless.

A Uniique way to lose your luggage

A Uniique way to lose your luggage

On This Date in 2008: Remember in Rain Man when Raymond wanted to fly Quantas because it was the only airline in the world that had never had a crash? Well, I’m not sure if that is still true but the Australian airline avoided one on July 25 2008 when for unknown reasons, a chunk of fuselage ripped away or it broke open at 29,000 feet. That’s about the altitude of Mt. Everest. The plane expereience rapid decompression causing the air masks to drop in the passenger section and the plane descended rapidly. The pilot managed to make an emergency landing. Here is the story from the AP via the NYTimes’ International Herald Tribune followed by video from MSNBC. The first video does have the MSNBC anchors jibbering on and its not that exciting but it does show what it’s like in a plane full of over 300 people when an emergency occurs. It also has a nice shot of the hole in the plane. The next story is a fuller, MSNBC report and it looks pretty lame to me…but you can decide for yourself.

Global Edition of New York Times-“Big Hole”

Video From Inside Plane after air masks deployed

Lame MSNBC Story

203_concorde_crash2On This Date in 2000 The Concorde made its final flight. The supersonic passenger jet was taking off from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris en-route to New York where it would take its 100 passengers to a cruise ship headed to South America. However, the plane hit a tiny piece of titanium debris, dropped on the runway by a previous plane, that punctured a tire. A piece of the tire hit and ruptured a fuel tank. Leaking fuel then ignited by a spark from the landing gear. The engine was soon engulfed and the engine failed. With only three engines, it was impossible to gain altitude or maintain control. The plane crashed and all 109 passengers and crew were killed along with 4 people on the ground. The Concorde went back into service in November 2001 but a few minor mishaps caused the public to lose confidence in the aircraft and the planes were taken out of service in October 2003. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral of this story is to clean up your mess.

Here is some video (click here for video) with still photos of the Concorde in flames on its fateful flight.

On This Date in 1832: The first railroad disaster took place. A group of 4 people were invited to see the new marvel of technology. The Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The four visitors were put in an empty car for a ride. A cable snapped on the car in which they were riding and the visitors were tossed off a 34 foot cliff, killing one and seriously injuring the others. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral to this story is you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Twenty-Eight years later, just prior to the Civil War, over 30,000 miles of railroad track criss-crossed the nation. OR…if you don’t like that moral, how about this? Don’t ride on strange trains.

Maybe the biggest moral to these stories is not to travel on July 25.

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

Tornado Risk

Tornado Risk

Weather Bottom Line:  I don’t think anyone got this right.  Last night the forecast said it would be dry until this afternoon.  I was awakened by rain and t’storms this morning.  My guess is that a line formed overnight after the late newscast because I can’t imagine that the line that was way up in Illinois got down here that fast, but perhaps it did.  I don’t have the time to look and see.  But, we can deal with what is in store.  We still have a cold front to our northwest moving down our way.  Initially, it was to come through this evening or overnight.  It would appear to have picked up a little more forward momentum and will now get here either late this afternoon or this evening. 

Now, this stuff we got this morning has robbed the local atmosphere of some of its energy and it needs time to reload.  But, by mid-morning there were still showers trying to come through.  The SPC has extended the severe risk all through our area

Severe Wind Risk

Severe Wind Risk

with the idea that perhaps afternoon heating will destablize the atmosphere sufficiently to allow for the development of a strong line of storms late in the day.  I think its a bit up in the air whether or not that will actually happen given the clouds we have left over from the morning storms.  So, if late in the day and into the evening, t’storms are coming, then keep an eye to the sky for the potential for strong storms.  But, before you panic, check out the National Weather Service to see if there is any severity involved.  The front will serve to reinforce the cooler than average conditions and almost make it a certainty that we will not get to 90 this July.

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0753 AM CDT SAT JUL 25 2009
   
  

Severe Hail Risk

Severe Hail Risk

 VALID 251300Z – 261200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE OH VLY AND
   LWR GRT LKS…
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE NRN RCKYS…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   LITTLE CHANGE IN LARGE SCALE PATTERN EXPECTED THIS PERIOD.  RIDGE
   WILL HOLD FIRM SOUTH OF THE FOUR CORNERS AS LK SUPERIOR UPR LOW
   DRIFTS SLOWLY E TO NEAR SSM AND COMPACT LOW PERSISTS OVER ERN WA.
  
   IMPULSES MOVING SEWD ON SW SIDE OF THE LK SUPERIOR SYSTEM WILL
   MAINTAIN AT LEAST WEAK LARGE SCALE FORCING FOR ASCENT ACROSS THE OH
   VLY AND LWR GRT LKS.  FARTHER SW…SATELLITE AND ECMWF/GFS DATA SHOW
   A SERIES OF WEAK IMPULSES TOPPING WRN RDG THAT WILL MOVE FROM THE
   CNTRL/NRN RCKYS SE INTO THE CNTRL PLNS.
  
   COLD FRONT NOW EXTENDING FROM NRN MI INTO THE MID MS VLY SHOULD
   CONTINUE STEADILY ESE…BUT MAY LOSE SOME IDENTITY AS UPR SYSTEM
   LINGERS OVER LK SUPERIOR AND A SECONDARY FRONTAL SURGE EVOLVES OVER
   WI/IL.  WRN PART OF THE ORIGINAL FRONT SHOULD MOVE S INTO OK AND THE
   TX PANHANDLE…WHERE IT LIKELY WILL STALL TONIGHT/EARLY SUN.
  
   …MID MS VLY/OH VLY TO LWR GRT LKS…
   MESO HIGH WITH PRE-FRONTAL MCS NOW OVER OH/KY HAS WEAKENED
   CONSIDERABLY SINCE EARLIER TODAY…SUGGESTING THAT CONVECTIVE SYSTEM
   IS CLOSE TO DISSIPATION.  NEVERTHELESS…VWP DATA AND MOMENTUM
   CONSIDERATIONS INDICATE THAT REMAINING CONVECTIVE BAND SHOULD
   CONTINUE E/ESE ACROSS ERN OH/ERN KY AND INTO PARTS OF PA/WV BEFORE
   COMPLETELY DISINTEGRATING.  ASSOCIATED CLOUDS AND DISRUPTED LOW LVL
   CONVERGENCE PATTERN WILL COMPLICATE CONVECTIVE EVOLUTION OVER THE
   REGION THROUGH THE DAY.  BUT IT SEEMS PROBABLE THAT ATTENDANT MCV
   AND REMNANT OUTFLOW BOUNDARY WILL SERVE TO FOCUS RENEWED STORM
   DEVELOPMENT BY EARLY AFTN OVER PARTS OF NY/PA AND WV.  ADDITIONAL
   STORMS…MEANWHILE…LIKELY WILL FORM AS SFC HEATING DESTABILIZES
   AREA INVOF COLD FRONT UPSTREAM ACROSS WRN OH…SRN IND…AND SRN IL.
  
   RELATIVELY RICH LOW LVL MOISTURE NOW OVER THE MID MS/LWR OH VLY
   REGION WILL SPREAD ENE WITH WSWLY LLJ INTO THE UPR OH VLY…BOOSTING
   SBCAPE TO AROUND 2000 J/KG FROM WRN OH SW INTO PARTS OF IND/KY.
   SOMEWHAT WEAKER DESTABILIZATION SHOULD OCCUR OVER PARTS OF WV/PA/NY.
    COUPLED WITH 30-40 KT DEEP WSWLY SHEAR…SETUP LIKELY WILL SUPPORT
   A COMPLEX ARRAY OF STORMS…WITH SEVERAL LOOSELY ORGANIZED BANDS AND
   CLUSTERS.  THESE MAY INCLUDE A FEW SUPERCELLS IN ADDITION TO LEWPS
   WITH BOWING SEGMENTS.  DMGG WIND SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY SVR THREAT.
   HOWEVER…0-1 KM SHEAR AND MOISTURE AVAILABILITY ALONG THE LLJ AXIS
   WILL BE SUFFICIENT FOR ISOLD TORNADOES WITH ANY SUSTAINED
   SUPERCELLS.
  
   ALTHOUGH A FEW STRONG STORMS MAY CONTINUE INTO THE OVERNIGHT…MOST
   OF THE CONVECTION SHOULD DIMINISH BY MID/LATE EVE.
  
   …ERN CO/NE NM INTO SRN KS/NRN OK…
   MODERATE INSTABILITY WILL DEVELOP TODAY INVOF CNTRL/SRN PLNS COLD
   FRONT…WITH 1000-1500 J/KG SBCAPE POSSIBLE WHERE EML PLUME
   OVERSPREADS MOIST AXIS.  STRONG CAP…SHALLOW/WEAK FRONTAL
   CONVERGENCE…AND WEAK FORCING FOR ASCENT /ASSOCIATED WITH
   AFOREMENTIONED UPR IMPULSES/ TOGETHER SUGGEST ANY STORMS THAT DO
   FORM OVER SRN KS/NRN OK WILL REMAIN ISOLATED.  MORE CONCENTRATED
   ACTIVITY SHOULD OCCUR IN WEAK UPSLOPE FLOW OVER ERN CO/NE NM.  30+
   KT DEEP WNW SHEAR ACROSS THE REGION MAY SUPPORT A FEW
   ROTATING/SUSTAINED STORMS WITH ISOLD LARGE AND LOCALLY DMGG WINDS.
   OVERALL SVR THREAT SHOULD…HOWEVER…BE LIMITED BY WEAKNESS OF LOW
   LVL FLOW IN THE HI PLNS…AND BY STRENGTH OF CAP OVER THE LWR PLNS.
  
   …WRN MT…
   A SIMILAR SETUP TO FRIDAYS WILL PREVAIL OVER WRN MT…ON ERN SIDE OF
   PERSISTENT WA UPR LO.  MODEST ELY UPSLOPE FLOW AND DEWPOINTS IN THE
   40S TO AROUND 50 BENEATH STEEP MID LVL LAPSE RATES WILL SUPPORT
   MARGINAL INSTABILITY /500-1000 J PER KG MLCAPE/.
   HOWEVER…SATELLITE SUGGESTS THAT HEIGHTS WILL RISE SOMEWHAT OVER
   THE REGION AS FOUR CORNERS RIDGE TEMPORARILY BUILDS NWD.
   NEVERTHELESS…SCTD DIURNALLY-ENHANCED STORMS SHOULD ONCE AGAIN
   FORM…MAINLY OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.  30+ KT MID LVL FLOW ON SE
   SIDE OF UPR LOW WILL MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT SHEAR FOR SOME STORMS TO
   POSE A THREAT FOR HAIL AND LOCALLY DMGG WIND.
  
   ..CORFIDI/GRAMS.. 07/25/2009

Oprah’s Harpo Studios Haunted From Eastland Disaster? Kitchen Debate Video
July 24, 2009

oprah-l1

Eastland Disaster One of Nation's Worst

Eastland Disaster One of Nation's Worst

On This Date In History: The steamboat Eastland was a steamboat on the Chicago River in the early 20th century that was built with known engineering flaws. But, they used it for ferrying passengers from the city to picnic sites on Lake Michigan. It was designed to hold 650 people. On This Date In 1915, some 7000 employees of the Western Electric Company gathered on the dock between LaSalle and Clark streets to board 5 steamers. Now, in 1913, the Eastland was retrofitted to hold 2500 people, but a naval architect that very same year said that “unless structural defects are remedied to prevent listing, there may be a serious accident.” Nevertheless, the boat remained in service and it is estimated that at least 2500 boarded the vessel and perhaps more. There is suspicion that a large group of the passengers got to one side of the boat to pose for a picture. With the big weight shift, an engineer opened one of the ballast tanks but instead of stablizing the boat, it capsized right along the dock. Some 800 died. The bodies were taken to the Second Regiment Armory.

Today, that building is the home of Harpo Studios and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Some of the employees of the studio have reported encounters in the building and claim that it is haunted by the ghosts  of the Eastland disaster! So, if you go to see Oprah you may want to consult the Ghost Busters.

khrushchevOn This Date in 1959: Vice President Richard Nixon hosted an event at the American National Exposition in Moscow. Here is a video of how the newsreels of the day covered it.  The previous year, the Soviets and Americans agreed to hold exhibitions in each other’s countries in an attempt to encourage cultural exchange and perhaps better understanding. After the Soviets had theirs in New York, the Americans held theirs and it featured a number of modern appliances and such.  Nixon took Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on a tour. As Nixon was showing Khrushchev some new color TVs, the Soviet leader launched into a protest over a resolution recently passed in the US Congress that condemned Soviet “control” over “captive” peoples of Eastern Europe and called on Americans to pray for those people. After that, he dismissed the new technology and sniffed that the Soviets would have all of the same things in a few years. Nixon chastised Khrushchev for being afraid of new ideas and told him, “after all, you don’t know everything.” The exchange escalated with Nikita telling the Vice-President that the only thing he knew was fear of Communism. From that point, they headed into the kitchen of a model home and the debate got even more testy. The exchange became known as the “Kitchen Debate” and is one of the more entertaining but insignificant events of the cold war.   However, it does perhaps illustrate the tensions between the two super powers when two of their political leaders turned up the heat in the kitchen.  I”m not sure but I think that Khrushchev was just pissed off that they wouldn’t let him extend  his trip to Disneyland.    (snopes verification)

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

Weather Bottom Line:  Today will be warm but still below seasonal averages.  A front will be dropping down through the Ohio Valley on Saturday with rain chances increasing late in the day into the evening.  Ahead of the front, we should have a southwesterly flow which will help elevate the temperatures into the upper 80’s.  The SPC puts us on the edge of the severe threat with most of the activity from Louisville to the Great Lakes.  Should the boundary approach a little faster, then the odds of us getting strong storms in the region will be increased but at this point, the expectation is that the line of storms associated would come late enough in the evening that the storms would be on the down side of their daily cycle with an abscense of heating.  With our atmosphere relatively stable, I just dont think that there will be sufficient time to destablize the atmosphere sufficiently to create a scenario that would support strong storms overnight.  So, if we get them it would most likely be if the line came through in the early evening.  If we do not get to 90 on Saturday, which is not likely, then this front will serve to bring in slightly cooler air and increase the probability that we will not hit 90 by the end of July, which would mean that this would be the first time in recorded history that Louisville did not hit 90 during the month of July in any given year.  BTW…Invest 97L is dead, Jim.

DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1245 AM CDT FRI JUL 24 2009
  
   VALID 251200Z – 261200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF THE OH
   VALLEY…
  
   …OH VALLEY/MID-MS VALLEY/OZARKS …
   AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE SEWD INTO THE GREAT LAKES
   REGION SATURDAY. SOME THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY SHOULD BE ONGOING
   SATURDAY MORNING ASSOCIATED WITH A WELL-DEVELOPED LOW-LEVEL JET. SFC
   HEATING…LOW-LEVEL CONVERGENCE AND STRONG LARGE-SCALE ASCENT
   SOUTHEAST OF THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW SHOULD RESULT IN SCATTERED TO
   NUMEROUS THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT AROUND MIDDAY AHEAD A FAST-MOVING
   COLD FRONT FROM OHIO SWWD ACROSS THE OH VALLEY. THE ACTIVITY IS
   FORECAST TO DEVELOP IN THE EXIT REGION OF A WELL-DEFINED MID-LEVEL
   JET WHICH SHOULD CREATE 35 TO 45 KT OF VERTICAL SHEAR EVIDENT ON
   FORECAST SOUNDINGS. THIS COMBINED WITH MODERATE INSTABILITY AND 40
   KT OF FLOW AT 850 MB SHOULD BE FAVORABLE FOR ISOLATED WIND DAMAGE.
   COLD AIR ALOFT AND THE VERTICAL SHEAR MAY ALSO BE ENOUGH FOR HAIL
   WITH THE STRONGER UPDRAFTS. ALTHOUGH LOW-LEVEL FLOW AND VERTICAL
   SHEAR WEAKEN WSWWD ACROSS THE MID-MS VALLEY INTO THE OZARKS…ENOUGH
   INSTABILITY IS FORECAST SATURDAY AFTERNOON FOR STRONG UPDRAFTS WITH
   A MARGINAL SEVERE THREAT MAINLY NEAR PEAK HEATING.
  
   …ECNTRL CO/SE WY…
   AN UPPER-LEVEL RIDGE IS FORECAST TO BE IN PLACE ACROSS THE SRN
   ROCKIES SATURDAY. NORTH OF THE RIDGE…SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS
   SHOULD DEVELOP IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF ECNTRL CO AND SE WY BY EARLY
   AFTERNOON. FORECAST SOUNDINGS ALONG THIS CORRIDOR SATURDAY AFTERNOON
   SHOW MODERATE VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES MAINLY FROM SPEED SHEAR ABOVE
   500 MB. THIS ALONG WITH STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES MAY BE ENOUGH
   FOR MARGINALLY SEVERE HAILSTORMS DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON.
  
   …WRN MT…
   AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE NEWD ACROSS THE PACIFIC
   NORTHWEST SATURDAY. AHEAD OF THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW…AN AXIS OF
   INSTABILITY IS FORECAST TO BE LOCATED FROM NW WY EXTENDING NWWD
   ACROSS WRN MT. VERTICAL SHEAR IS FORECAST TO INCREASE ACROSS THE
   REGION AS THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW MOVES EWD. THIS COMBINED WITH STEEP
   LAPSE RATES MAY BE ENOUGH FOR MARGINALLY SEVERE STORMS CAPABLE OF
   STRONG WIND GUSTS AND HAIL.
  
   ..BROYLES.. 07/24/2009

Drive through crime: Even by the Cops! Serial Killers are Sometimes Women
July 23, 2009

Time-To-Call-911

I’m not sure if it’s because of the economy and people’s nerves are rattled or perhaps its simply due to the age of the internet,  But, it would seem on the surface that more and more people are calling 911 when the get upset over the service they get at a fast food joint. We explored the instance of a woman who called 911  for not getting her shrimp on her rice.   

We’ve seen the case of the missing Orange Juice at McDonalds.  The Oregon man said that the clerk not including his box of OJ  with order was somehow fringing on his right to free speech. 

Gimme My Big Mac!

Gimme My Big Mac!

Snopes presents the situation in which a California woman called the cops over her cheeseburger.  However, in this case, the dispatcher decided not to send an officer and told the lady to take her grievance up with management.

How about this Jacksonville Florida man who called the cops, not once but twice. He must really want fast service.   He called 911 to complain that the sauce was left off his subway sandwich.  Then he called a second time to complain that the cops didn’t get there fast enough.  Well, the cops provided some pretty quick service when they arrived.  The caller was taken directly to jail.

 But what happens when the angry patrons at a fast food establishment are the cops!  That’s what happened in Aurora, CO when these two cops pulled a gun at McDonald’s because their food service was slow.  The clerks say the police car pulled up to the window and when they didn’t get their food fast enough, the driver flashed his badge, pulled his gun and then drove off without paying.

On This Date in History: Doesn’t it seem like there is so much bad news these days? And not just bad news but weird, scary stuff that makes one wonder if the world has just gone haywire. Jeffery Dahmer and cannibalism? What about Andrea Yates and killing her children in her Houston home bathtub a few years ago? Well, hold on just a second. Dahmer was not the first person in America to do the things he did, though he did do more of it. And Yates was not the first woman to go and kill her kids.

For instance, on this date in 1918 in Nebraska, Della Sorenson killed the first of seven people. She poisoned her sister-in-law’s infant daughter. Two years later, she knocked off her mother-in-law. Then she killed her own daughter and her husband. Four months after her husband’s death, she marries again and her former sister-in-law shows up with her new son. She poisoned him too. The sister-in-law had to have problems of her own because she showed up a few months later with another baby but this one lucked out because the poison didn’t work. After her poison tote board reached 7, Della was finally caught in 1925 when her plot to poison two neighborhood kids with cookies was foiled. She confessed to it all saying, “I like to go to funerals.”

Bush had support from other worlds

Bush had support from other worlds

Now that ranks up there with the kid who several years ago shot a bunch of people on a Monday because he didn’t like Mondays. But with modern, instant electronic news these days, stories of all kinds get flashed around the world. TV has lots of newstime to fill, talk radio has to fill its time to talk about something, there’s all sorts of space on the Internet to fill and newspapers and magazines have to come up with something to get your attention from all the other medium available.   That may explain all of the 911 call stories from fast food joints.  The sensational has worked on me as I have bought newspapers in the grocery store so I could read about the space aliens meeting with President Clinton and Rush Limbaugh!

They Say Liz Bathed in her Victims' Blood

They Say Liz Bathed in her Victims' Blood

Anyway, the result is we hear of every little tid bit of any topic that might catch our attention. I found a webpage with an index of serial killers with a list of guilty women with but a few of the gruesome, gory and idiotic heinous crimes over the centuries. There’s even one from the early 17th century in Hungary where Elizabeth Bathory was found to have killed hundreds of young girls simply for the sadistic pleasure of torture. The servants who helped her were tried and executed immediately but because she was royalty (a Countess) she was merely incarcerated. From 1660 to 1678, Catherine DeShayes (La Voisin) of Paris admitted to tossing over 2500 infants to their fiery deaths in a witchcraft ritual. She didn’t have a royal title so she was burned at the stake, and its probably good for the people of the world back then they did not have cable TV because they would probably think that their world was going crazy, just like many do today. Truth is, mankind has always had awful messed up things happen because of the awful, messed up things some people do….it’s just no one knew about and there was no one around to talk about it every second of every day. If Anna Nicole had died in 1636, would anyone know?

Weather Bottom Line:  The expected rainy day came about. I  don’t think that we had a record cool day because the official high was 79 at just after midnight.  But, for most of the day, we were in the upper 60’s.  The system is lifting out and we should be dry but still cooler than average for the rest of the work week.  Next front is on the weekend.  If we do not reach 90 degrees in the next 8 days, it will be the first time ever that Louisville did not reach 90 degrees in July. 

John Dillinger: Did the G-man Not Get the Right Man?
July 22, 2009

dillinger-wantedOn This Date In History: In the late 1920’s and 1930’s, lots of gangsters roamed the countryside. Public Enemy Number One was determined by the Bureau of Investigations, which in 1935 became the FBI.   In 1934, the man who held the title was John Dillinger.  While it didn’t take him long to top the list, he had to learn his trade through trial and error like any good craftsman.   On June 10, 1933, Dillinger pulled his first bank job in Carlisle, IN.  Two weeks later, he tried again but this one   was botched in Monticello, Indiana.   It is interesting that there is very little information available regarding the attempted hold up of a Marshall Fields in Monticello by Dillinger and William Shaw.  I suppose its because it was a failed attempt and Americans only like to hear about wins, not losses.

McNutt Thought Dillinger Capable of all Sorts of Things after long prison sentence

McNutt had a bad feeling about Dillinger due to a harsh sentence

An interesting thing about Dillinger is that, even though he was Public Enemy Number 1, his career as a criminal didn’t really last all that long. He was put in jail in 1924 following the beating of Mooresville, IN grocer Frank Morgan by Dillinger and his good friend Edgar Singleton. They had been out boozing it up and jumped the guy. Dillinger got caught when, a few days after the assault on September 6, 1924, Dillinger brought attention to himself by inquiring as to the well being of Mr. Morgan. As it turns out, Morgan couldn’t identify his attackers, but Dillinger was tricked into confessing.  Meanwhile, his buddy Ed pled not guilty. Ed was out of jail after a couple of years while Dillinger got 10-20 years for assault and 2-14 years for conspiracy to commit a felony. Some scholars think that the difference in sentences is what pissed off Dillinger and led him on a life of crime.   Indiana Governor Paul McNutt thought that the sentence was so harsh that it might cause Dillinger to do anything once he was out of jail. Victim Morgan and the sentencing judge both thought that the sentence was pretty tough.  By 1933, the pair joined 182 townfolk lobbying to let Dillinger loose and on May 22, 1933 John Dillinger was set free.

That’s the odd part. He was set free on May 22 1933 and within a few weeks,  he was committing or at least trying to, commit worse crimes than he had done prior to his initial incarceration.  Did prison create John Dillinger?

 The fact that Dillinger failed in Monticello, IN  was probably more associated with his lack of experience than anything else, but one can’t  know for sure. Even Monticello doesn’t want to talk about it. In any event,   Dillinger went on to amass some $359, 322 in loot taken and that made him the marked man at the top of the list.

Dillinger Death Made Headlines Nationwide

Dillinger Death Made Headlines Nationwide

On This Date in 1934, the Bureau got their man when it gunned down Public Enemy Number 1,  John Dillinger. Bureau agent Melvin Purvis  got a tip from brothel operator Anna Sage who gave information concerning Dillinger’s whereabouts under the threat of deportation to her native Romania on morals charges. Sage is the original woman in red, which has been also called the lady in red. The story is that she attended the Biograph Theatre in Chicago and when she emerged, she was identified from her red dress and thus the man whom she was with was to be considered Dillinger. She came out and the agents promptly shot her date. That was that, the headlines were trumpeted across the nation and the photo above was circulated to prove that Dillinger was indeed dead.

But….a supposed authority on the history of American Crime, Jay Robert Nash, says the FBI got the wrong guy. Nash says the man who was killed outside of the theatre was really a patsy. James Lawrence was considered a low level thug who was used by Sage and a crooked Indiana detective to unwittingly stand in for Dillinger. If you notice, the dead guy looks similar to the Dillinger photo on the left, but to me he looks a bit more like Jackie Gleason than the lean looking photo of the alive version of Public Enemy Number 1. The FBI claimed that Dillinger had plastic surgery and that explains any discrepancies. But the Cook County autopsy report was supposedly lost for 30 years. After it was found, the claim is that the dead guy is not the same height or weight of Dillinger. Dillinger had blue eyes whereas the corpse had brown eyes. The corpse was missing a distinguishing birthmark and had more teeth than the notorious bank-robber. Evidence showed the dead guy had a rheumatic heart. Had Dillinger had such a condition, he would have been prevented from being in the Navy.

The FBI, of course, stands by their story and claims the record, including fingerprints, support the truth that the G-Man got his man!!! I dunno…but I do know that Dillinger was never spotted again. Seems to me that if he were alive, it would be unlikely that he “went straight.” But then again, the guy was dead, they couldn’t interrogate him to determine if he was in fact Dillinger and they certainly couldn’t read him his Miranda rights. Back in those days it was “shoot first and ask questions later”….kinda like that good neighbor in Texas. Anyway, if you see a very old man that looks like the alive version of Dillinger, call the authorities immediately.

Weather Bottom Line:  Storm system will slowly plod, basically up the Ohio River Valley all day.  Severe threat is not great but look for rain and much cooler than average temps…like maybe low 70’s…all day with a chance of rain and t’storms.   Thursday and Friday look good.If you’re looking for something on Invest 97L, I’ll have that later.  We’ve got plenty of time, if we need it.