On This Date in History: If you saw the movie The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, you may recall a scene in which Hughes is testifying before a Senate committee and the charge is brought that Hughes regularly used funds to entertain influential people in the military industrial complex to help win contracts. Hughes acknowledges the charges in a matter-of-fact manner, saying that is just the way the aviation business is done and that everyone spends money on key people, not as bribes, but as a way to influence their decisions. I’ve never read the transcripts of the actual hearings so I don’t know if that part of the script was just written to indicate the true situation. But, on this date in 1947, the New York Times broke the story, though its much more interesting.
It is more interesting because the NYTimes goes to great lengths to describe how Hughes is charged with spending over $5000 on the son of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Elliott Roosevelt, who was the guy who could make or break military contracts with individual companies. In the story, it’s not Hughes who fesses up, but instead one of his associates who, just a easily as Hughes was portrayed in the movie, admits that they did and do regularly throw parties and entertain people like Fred Roosevelt. In fact he said Elliott was just “one of 1000” that he entertained. The Times goes on to say that there was more…that Hughes Aircraft provided women to government officials! What is intersting is that no one really gets mad at the government folks accepting the gratuities. I mean, Howard Hughes could invite FDR’s son all he wants but no one forces him to go. But, that never comes up.
Now, Hughes died on April 5, 1976 amidst mysterious circumstances. He was said to have become exceedingly excentric and developed phobias to about everything, including germs. Some speculate that he was the money man behind Watergate and that Richard Nixon never would have been forced to resign had not Hughes been secretly funding White House operations. Seems, in the early 1970’s, the then richest man in the world was found in England flying around naked, which was apparently not unusual. Late in his secret life, he surrounded himself by Mormons and doctors, yet in death the only way he could be identified was through fingerprints. He was a genius on many levels, but his later life was clouded with his erratic behaviour. There are those who say that Hughes was allowed to die by his handlers who were more interested in making money for themselves than caring for Hughes, who was reportedly around 90 lbs, with long stringy hair, a beard to his waist and very long fingernails when he died on a plane over the Gulf of Mexico enroute to Houston from Acapulco. There are those who say he really died in Acapulco and the story was simply a fabrication to add to his legacy. Then, of course, there were the years sifting through all of the wills that appeared following his death.
Now, does that sound familiar? Who else can you think of that gained great fame and fortune as a youth? Who else was dubbed a genius for the innovation that he brought to his field? Who else became extremely eccentric and mysterious later in his life? Who else died of mysterious circumstances leaving a vast estate? How about Michael Jackson. And now, like Hughes, there are charges and speculation that his death was not as it seemed.
I don’t think that Jackson ran around naked all the time, but there was the weird stuff like his ever changing appearance, dangling his kid off a balcony and having young boys have sleep overs. And, his sister LaToya says that Michael was murdered by those who wanted his money. I drew this comparison on my own but I found that his father, Joe Jackson, also compared Michael’s final days to those of Hughes. So, I suspect we will be hearing more of this comparison in the media in coming days. Ad to that the fact that Joe Jackson also says that he was killed by people who plan to cash in on his death, and we have the makings of a story that will live on for years. Jackson friend, activist and comedian Dick Gregory went on a 40 day hunger strike until the “truth” about Jackson’s death comes out. Hmmm…wonder what happens if the “truth” doesn’t come out for 60 or 90 days? Or, what if it comes out in 30 days? Does Gregory go hungry for another 10 days just for good measure? The real truth at this point is that no one knows. It does seem odd that a man like Hughes was allowed to fall into such ill health, mental illness and drug addiction. And, it does seem odd that a man like Jackson was allowed access to the drugs that he was apparently addicted to. You know who else comes to mind with a similar scenario? Elvis, except Elvis is not generally thought of as a genius.
Maybe its just that the hangers on of both Hughes and Jackson were too afraid by their boss’s fame and fortune to say anything. Maybe they were yes men and did whatever the boss said. Or, maybe it is like some think….that those that surrounded the two men were complicit in each death because they stood to gain financially. I dunno. But, I do wonder sometimes if the fame and fortune that many seek is really worth the effort. I wonder, as these individuals rose in notoriety and their celebrity no longer allowed them time alone or time out of the public eye, if maybe at times each of them did not secretly wish that they could go back to being “normal.” Hughes was famously out of sight for years to escape the spotlight and Jackson had been heard recently saying he wished everyone would leave him alone. If we could ask them now, I wonder if they would say the life they lived was worth a life being cut short. I mean, is it really so good to be the king?
Weather Bottom Line: I would suggest keeping a close eye on Tuesday evening. The reason being is that the NAM explodes a huge shortwave to our west and then brings it through the flow ahead of a cold front. The GFS does the same thing except that it does not initialize the short as strongly as the NAM but brings it through in better shape than the NAM which has it winding down somewhat. Nevertheless, should that scenario materialize, there will be a pretty fair chance at strong storms late in the day Tuesday or Tuesday evening. Other models show the feature but none of them are as significant as the NAM or even the GFS. We’ll have to see how it shakes out. Today will be warm in the mid to upper 80’s but it should be dry. Normally, I’d think that we will be too dry to get anything overly significant with the short wave but if it comes as strong as advertised with the NAM, then it will tend to find the moisture it needs.
DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1256 AM CDT MON AUG 03 2009
VALID 041200Z – 051200Z
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS THE MIDDLE MS/OH RIVER
…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS THE NORTH CENTRAL HIGH
TUESDAY WILL BE CHARACTERIZED BY A FAIRLY PROGRESSIVE UPPER TROUGH
OVER EASTERN CANADA…WITH MULTIPLE LOW AMPLITUDE DISTURBANCES
EMBEDDED WITHIN NORTHWESTERLY FLOW ALOFT FROM THE NORTHERN ROCKIES
TO THE APPALACHIANS. PERSISTENT UPPER LOW OFF THE NORTHERN CA COAST
WILL ONLY MOVE SLOWLY EASTWARD…WITH AN UPPER RIDGE OTHERWISE
PERSISTING OVER THE CENTRAL/SOUTHERN ROCKIES.
…LOWER MO/MIDDLE MS VALLEYS TO OH/TN VALLEYS…
COLD FRONT WILL CONTINUE TO GRADUALLY SPREAD SOUTH-SOUTHEASTWARD
OVER THE MIDWEST/OH VALLEY ON TUESDAY…AS BRUNT OF UPPER TROUGH
PIVOTS EAST-NORTHEASTWARD OVER ONTARIO/QUEBEC AND THE ADJACENT GREAT
LAKES REGION. IT APPEARS THAT SCATTERED TSTMS /PERHAPS SOME STRONG/
WILL BE ONGOING ACROSS THE MIDDLE MS/LOWER OH VALLEYS TUESDAY
MORNING. AIDED BY A POTENTIAL MID LEVEL IMPULSE EMBEDDED WITHIN
NORTHWESTERLY FLOW ALOFT…THE REMNANTS OF THIS ACTIVITY AND/OR
PERIPHERAL STRONG/SEVERE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD OCCUR EASTWARD ACROSS
THE OH VALLEY/TN VALLEY THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AMIDST A WESTERLY LOW
LEVEL MOISTURE/INSTABILITY FEED.
FARTHER NORTH/WEST ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF THE MIDWEST/LOWER MO
VALLEY…THE DETAILS OF THE SEVERE THREAT ARE DIFFICULT TO PORTEND
IN ADVANCE LARGELY OWING TO UNCERTAINTIES REGARDING EARLY DAY
CONVECTION…BUT AT LEAST A CONDITIONAL CATEGORICAL SLIGHT RISK
APPEARS WARRANTED. PRESUMING A RELATIVELY
UNPERTURBED/NON-CONVECTIVELY OVERTURNED AIRMASS…ADDITIONAL
STRONG/SEVERE DEVELOPMENT WOULD ALSO BE POSSIBLE FARTHER NORTH IN
VICINITY OF THE ROUGHLY WEST-EAST SURFACE FRONT…ALTHOUGH A BOUT OF
POTENTIAL LARGE SCALE SUBSIDENCE IN THE WAKE OF THE EARLY DAY MID
LEVEL IMPULSE AGAIN COMPLICATES THE DETAILS OF DIURNAL
WITH THE NOCTURNAL REDEVELOPMENT OF A MODEST WESTERLY LOW LEVEL JET
ACROSS THE LOWER MO VALLEY…STRONG/SEVERE DEVELOPMENT COULD BECOME
MORE LIKELY BY EVENING AND/OR CONTRIBUTE TO ANOTHER ROUND OF STRONG
STORMS ACROSS THE LOWER MO/MIDDLE MS VALLEYS TUESDAY NIGHT.
OVERALL…DAMAGING WINDS/SEVERE HAIL WILL BE THE PRIMARY HAZARDS
ACROSS THE REGION…AND ULTIMATELY SOMEWHAT HIGHER CALIBER SEVERE
PROBABILITIES COULD LATER BE WARRANTED.
…NORTH CENTRAL HIGH PLAINS…
EARLY DAY REINFORCING FRONTAL PASSAGE WILL CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASING
MOIST UPSLOPE TRAJECTORIES WITHIN THE POST-FRONTAL ENVIRONMENT
ACROSS THE NORTH CENTRAL HIGH PLAINS ON TUESDAY. UPPER HEIGHTS MAY
GRADUALLY RISE DIURNALLY ACROSS THE REGION WITH LIMITED BACKGROUND
FORCING FOR ASCENT…HOWEVER BY LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING…TSTM
DEVELOPMENT WILL BECOME MORE PROBABLE GIVEN COMBINATION OF A WEAKLY
CAPPED/MOIST AIRMASS…LOW LEVEL UPSLOPE/HEATING OVER THE HIGHER
TERRAIN…AND POTENTIALLY ONE OR MORE MID LEVEL DISTURBANCES
CRESTING THE SOUTHERN ROCKIES UPPER RIDGE DURING THE EVENING. VEERED
WIND PROFILES THROUGH THE LOW TO MID TROPOSPHERE AND 40-45 KT OF
EFFECTIVE BULK SHEAR WILL SUPPORT BOTH SUPERCELLS AND WELL ORGANIZED
MULTICELLS CAPABLE OF SEVERE HAIL/DAMAGING WINDS AND PERHAPS A
TORNADO…MAINLY ACROSS PORTIONS OF EASTERN WY/SOUTHWEST SD/WESTERN
NEB TUESDAY LATE AFTERNOON/NIGHT.
…KS/FAR NORTHERN OK…
CONVERGENCE/STRONG HEATING IN VICINITY OF SURFACE LOW/TRIPLE POINT
MAY CONTRIBUTE TO ISOLATED STRONG/SEVERE TSTM DEVELOPMENT TUESDAY
AFTERNOON ACROSS KS INTO FAR NORTHERN OK. LIMITED FORCING ON THE
LARGE SCALE MAY LIMIT THE COVERAGE OF TSTMS…BUT STEEP LAPSE RATE
ENVIRONMENT/AMPLE INSTABILITY MAY YIELD A FEW BOUTS OF SEVERE
HAIL/WIND GUSTS THROUGH SUNSET.
…SOUTHWEST/CENTRAL MT AND ADJACENT ID…
THE COMBINATION OF THE STALLING SURFACE FRONT AND DIFFERENTIAL
HEATING OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN…ALONG WITH A RELATIVELY MOIST
AIRMASS AND MODERATELY STRONG WESTERLY FLOW ALOFT…MAY PROVE
SUFFICIENT FOR STORMS CAPABLE OF ISOLATED SEVERE HAIL/WIND TUESDAY
UPPER HEIGHTS WILL LIKELY FALL OVER WESTERN/CENTRAL ORE ON TUESDAY
AS PERSISTENT UPPER LOW MIGRATES SLOWLY EASTWARD TOWARD THE NORTHERN
CA COAST. WITH LITTLE CHANGE IN THE OVERALL PATTERN…A
MOIST/UNSTABLE AIRMASS AND MODERATE SOUTHERLY FLOW ALOFT WILL AGAIN
FAVOR THE POSSIBILITY OF DAMAGING WINDS/HAIL WITH THE STRONGEST
STORMS TUESDAY AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING.