Archive for January, 2010

World War II Outlay Dwarfed Current Defense Budget
January 31, 2010

America Awakened To Sacrifice For World Peace

On this Date in History: Yesterday, I had a column on Franklin D. Roosevelt and his personal determination to overcome his polio related disability.  I spoke of how that inspiration helped lead to the eradication of polio in the Western Hemisphere and the continued effort today to terminate the terrible disease world wide.  I said it was perhaps his greatest legacy.  Well, that determination and attitude also helped raise the nation in a time of crisis.

FDR declared War on Dec 8 1941 and laid out blue print for victory on Jan 6 1942 challenging the nation to do what seemed impossible. The nation responded and then some..

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, US  military production had increased to help the British utilizing the Lend Lease program.  So, the effects of the Great Depression were starting to wane.  But, the US entry into World War II absolutely ended the Depression.  On January 6, 1942 President Roosevelt gave his State of the Union Address and set out a bold objective.  He said that the US would produce 60,000 planes, 45, 000 tanks, 20,000 anti-aircraft guns and 6 million tons of merchant shipping.   No nation had ever produced such numbers and it was especially difficult to fathom given that, in spite of the increased production of the late 1930’s, much of the nation’s industrial capacity remained underutilized.  But, as he had defied polio, President Roosevelt would not take no as an answer.  He simply stated, “Let no man say it cannot be done!”

Ford Was In Charge of the Final Assembly of the B-24 Liberator

See, the industrial capacity of the United States was far greater than any other nation in the world.  Even during the depression, the auto industry produced about 3 million cars a year.  And Washington would look to Detroit to meet its war production goals.  The auto makers had been accepting government contracts outside of their auto production business to help with lend-lease.  The corporate heads of the auto industry said that they would be glad to help but wanted to continue to produce private cars in addition to taking on additional contracts.  It’s as if the big wheels in Detroit had no clue as to gravity of the situation or the breadth of the task required.  It has often been said that World War II was the first war in which machines operated by men would determine the outcome.  Whomever could build the most and best machines would have the great advantage.  But, Roosevelt knew what was needed and he sprang a little suprise on the auto chieftans.   Private automobile production was banned.  So, they had no choice.

Chrysler Ran the Mammoth Detroit Tank Arsenal

With no more cars to build, Detroit geared up for war.  On this date in 1942, the last private vehicles from Studebaker, Plymouth and Chrysler rolled off the assembly lines.  There was some down time for labor as factories were retooled in the auto industry as well as just about all facets of American production.  Because the winners  get to write history, we often hear of the “German War Machine.”   We refer to Detroit and the United States in general as the “Arsenal of Democracy.”  The truth is, by the end of World War II, the United States of America became the biggest war machine the world has ever seen.  The numbers are daunting.  Rationing of necessary materials like tires, gasoline and sugar was implemented.  Construction of highways and roads was halted.  While the poohbahs of the auto industry might not have gotten it, the American people did as drives to collect old tires and paper sprang up all across the nation.  Not only did most Americans not complain about rationing, they also pitched in by growing personal “victory gardens” in an effort to produce their own food and allow the general food supply to be used to meet the needs of the war. 

Sparkplug factories converted to machine gun production.  Lifeboats were made by a company that formerly produced stoves.  A corset maker turned to something at least that resembled its expertise; grenade belts.  Compasses were made by a toy company, Merry-go-round production turned to gun turrets and a pinball machine company made armor piercing shells.   And of course, Detroit turned out tanks, jeeps and other motorized vehicles as well as aircraft engine plants.  As it turns out, the ambitious war time production goals set out by President Roosevelt were modest. 

Admiral Yamamoto

 By 1944, the US had far surpassed those objectives as well as adding 5000 ships to the merchant fleet.  The turnaround in the industrial might of the United States was stunning.  Winston Churchill commented that “the United States is like a giant boiler; Once the fire is lit under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate.”   Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Japanese empire was Harvard educated and had been stationed in Washington during the depression.  He had seen America’s dormant factories but noted the “industrial might” that nation had in slumber.  It is said that after he was told that the Japanese ultimatum was delivered to Washington nearly an hour after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he supposedly said, “I’m afraid all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible  resolve.”   Now it is questioned if he ever said those words but most historians do not doubt that was his feeling.  Either way it’s a good quote and is right on the mark.

US Defense spending today vs GDP miniscule compared to WW II

In 1940, the GDP of the US was $101 billion with federal spending making up over 17% and defense expenditures up to over 9% of the GDP.  Even though increased defense spending in the late 1930’s and helped the economy, unemployment was still had 14.6% or about 46% higher than it was at the end of 2009.  By 1944, unemployment in the United States stood at 1.2%.  By the end of the war, the GDP had increased 73% from 5 years earlier to $174 billion, defense made up about 37% of the GDP and federal spending represented a whopping 89% of the GDP.  During the Korean War, the US spent over 14.2% of GDP on the defense and at the height of the Vietnam War it was 9.4%.  The defense budget for fiscal year 2010 represents about 4.7% of GDP but makes up about a fifth of federal spending.  Still…4.7%.  In order to reach the level we had in World War II, the defense budget would have to increase about 900%.  That should give some perspective and allow your mind to wonder about what the true military might our nation still possesses. 

2010 US Federal Budget

The US is often criticized around the world for its military power…until some needs the US to help in the event of a natural disaster or threat from an unruly neighbor.  George Washington, in my mind, is the greatest of US presidents because he set the precedent of so many aspects that our nation continues to follow.  Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”  The founders of the nation knew this and the Great Seal of the United States reflects this ideal as the eagle holds olive branches and 13 arrows in its talons to represent “peace through strength.”  Throughout the history of the United States, it is in times when the nation had a weak military that major wars broke out.  The most glaring example is following World War I when the US had almost disarmed completely disarmed.  Many historians question whether the axis powers would have become so emboldened if the US had maintained a strong military capability. 

The Great Seal of the United States of America

What I find interesting is that its tough to find a nation in history that had overwhelming military capabilities that did not use it to conquor and dominate peoples and nations.  To be sure, the US military can be a persuasive tool in geopolitics but, no nation has ever been so reluctant to unleash its military might as the US has been.  Yes, there have been many military conflicts but, aside from the Indian Wars, it has always been used for mainly for virtuous reasons of freedom of others or defense, though there are always secondary considerations.   And after victory, the US routinely eventually returns the nation to the people, which is very odd…and something that is rarely recognized or appreciated around the world.  Let us hope that the United States never again must unleash its full potential.

Midwest Snow Depth

Weather Bottom Line:  Well, it appeared that my initial idea of several days ago that we’d get 4 inches of snow was pretty good.  Another example of why one should stick with the original thought.  I think I got about 3 inches at the old homestead and the National Weather Services put Jefferson County at about 3-5 inches.  It was really pretty interesting because we started gettting snow about 1 am but the dewpoint was still just 8.  The flakes were many but very small.  It was like a giant flurry event.  By 1:30 visibility had diminished greatly but it was still small flakes.  At 2 am the dewpoint had risen to about 11 or 14 (can’t remember which) but we were in a lull in the snow. I went to bed.  When Snow White and I got up today, our porch and door was covered as the wind drifted the snow all over our porch and the little nest we keep for our adopted stray cat Paintbrush.  He was quite upset but when he came around to see if we had fixed his bed, we gave him a whole bunch of food so that seemed to quell his anger.  Then he went out to look for the ladies.

It May Be Colder Than This

If we get clear skies and no wind, I betcha we get to the low to mid single digits overnight…someone is going to get near zero…  I seriously question the double digit lows that I’ve seen advertised on TV and I still don’t think we get above freezing on Sunday.  Looking at the longer term, while I don’t see any periods of extreme cold, overall I don’t see any days beyond the mid 40’s with most days at or below average for the forseeable future.  I don’t see it now but maybe we’ll get another shot a  good snow. But, this was pretty as Snow White and I enjoyed our trek around the neighborhood, stomping in the snow and looking at the beautiful portrait painted by nature.  You should really take time to see it.

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FDR’s Greatest 10 Cent Legacy is Priceless Gift
January 30, 2010

A Thin Dime: The Greatest Legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Legacy of FDR Lives On Today In the Lives of Millions Around the World

On this Date in History: The last case of wild or naturally occuring polio in the United States was reported in 1979.  For the most part, polio is considered to be eradicated from the Western Hemisphere and the effort continues to terminate the disease world wide.   When I was a kid, polio was just another of a handful of conditions that American kids were immunized against.  But, earlier in the 20th century, the very mention of polio brought fear to parents and children alike.  Seventy-five percent of those affected were children, but one prominent American got the disease as an adult and his fight against the disease and his perserverance left a legacy that arguably may eclipse all of his great accomplishments.

FDR Stood Tall As James Cox's Running Mate in 1920

In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was still a relatively young man at age 39.  By that time, he had a wife and family, had served in the New York State Senate, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and as Vice-Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 1920 election with Democratic Presidential Candidate James M. Cox which was won by Republican Warren G. Harding.  After suffering his defeat at the polls, Roosevelt faced a new opponent; he contracted polio.  At first it was thought he had a bad cold.  Then the diagnosis was a blood clot in his spine.  But when his fever skyrocketed and his legs became paralyzed, doctors faced the reality that the young man with a promising political career had polio.   A lesser man may have been depressed or considered it a setback at the least.  But, the ambitious Roosevelt refused to accept defeat.

Rare Photo of FDR in a wheelchair in 1941. His strength, determination and courage led to fuller, richer lives for millions of children

There was no cure for polio and it was often fatal.  But, FDR decided to rehablitiate himself.  He exercised his upper body to such an extent that he once bragged that his legs weren’t much “but look at those shoulders!”  His upper body became so developed that many people were unaware of the toll that the disease had taken on his legs.  He wore bulky leg braces and needed help from crutches to get around.  But, if something happened to the braces or crutches, he felt helpless.  The only real freedom he felt was when he swam.  He felt especially revitalized by the soothing mineral water of Warm Springs, Georgia.  Now, FDR was from a wealthy family and in 1926, he donated a large portion of his personal wealth to establish a foundation at Warm Springs so that others who suffered from the crippling disease to have the same opportunities that he had.

FDR at Warm Springs in 1923 or 1924

Of course,  FDR did not let polio get in his way as he went on to lead the United States through the Great Depression and World War II having been elected to four consecutive term as President of the United States.  But, the plans he had laid out for Warm Springs put the facility in debt, despite his huge contribution.  Fund raisers were held but the deficit was never erased.  Entertainer Eddie Cantor came up with the idea of asking everyone in the country to send a dime to the president at the White House for polio research.  The year was 1937 and the depression held the nation in its grips but Cantor thought that the catchy name he came up with, the March of Dimes, might inspire people to make a small sacrifice.

Dr. Jonas Salk Used Roosevelt Dimes to Find a Cure For Polio

Americans love to respond to the needs of others and the White House was overwhelmed with as many as 150,000 letters a day containing dimes.  That first campaign was so successful that funds not only went to help pay for treatment of polio victims, but also to fund research that might lead to the eradication of the disease.  Dr. Jonas Salk developed the vaccine for polio in 1955 and in 24 years, polio was absent from all of the Americas.  Franklin Roosevelt did not live to see the victory but he had become so related to the March of Dimes, after his death in 1945 Congress voted to honor Roosevelt with the lasting memorial of his depiction on the dime.  On this date in 1946, the first Roosevelt dimes were issued by the US mint and they have been issued ever since.  January 30 is also the anniversary birth of  the 32nd President of the United States and serves as the annual kick-off of March of Dimes fundraising efforts.   By the time Dr. Salk discovered the vaccine, millions of Roosevelt dimes had been contributed to the March of Dimes and it was on April 12, 1955, the tenth anniversary of FDR’s death, that Salk announced his discovery.

FDR: Honored in Stone, Immortalized in Dimes

There is now a relatively little known Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington DC and that certainly will last as long as the city is there.  And the history book is filled with the actions and accomplishments of FDR in his leadership of the United States.  He is a giant in the story of America in the 20th century.  But, perhaps his greatest and grandest legacy was his determination and courage to face down a personal enemy that had affected and taken so many lives.  Others might have led us through the Great Depression or World War II.  But, I think it would be hard to find another man who could have led the fight and eventual eradication of a such a terrible disease that adversely affected all of humanity.  I believe, that if you look at the face on that small,  thin dime,  you will see a legacy that touched and served more people than any executive order or political decision ever could.  It is a legacy that is little remembered but one that,on its own, should elevate Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the highest level of American honor.

00Z NAM Snow Total through Sunday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  If TV weather was honest, this would be the exchange you would hear:

Anchor: Are we going to get snow?

Weather: Yes

Anchor: How Much?

Weather: I don’t know.

18Z Fri GFS Snow Total through Sunday Evening

When I moved here a dozen years ago, I knew just the basics about snow and snow forecasting.  I didn’t have much pragmatic experience.  See, in the real south, you don’t get snow much.  When I came here, I thought it was the first time I had lived in the North since I was a little kid in Connecticut.  Then people started telling me that this was the South, which I never figured out considering we’re 300 miles from Chicago, get down to zero or lower at least once every year and average about 16 inches of snow every year.  Anyway, one thing I was happy to learn quickly was that snow forecasting is extremely difficult.  The variables involved between a 1 inch snowfall and a 6 inch snowfall is pretty small and when you take into account those variables can be quite different over the entire viewing area, it is extremely difficult.  If we said it would rain about a half inch and we get a quarter inch,  everyone would say the forecast was right.  But, in snow terms,  the moisture that would produce a half inch of rain would produce 5 inches of snow and a quarter inch of rain only 2.5 inches.  So, if we called for a 5 inches of snow and you only got 2.5 inches, you’d say the forecast was wrong. 

18Z Fri NAM Snow total through Sunday...Not Quite as bullish as 00Z Run at top

In this case, we are on the edge of dry air.  All day on Friday,  the radar has claimed it was snowing.  But the air was so dry, with surface dewpoints in the low to mid single digits, that any precipitation that was falling evaporated.  By days end, the dewpoints were still about 8 in Louisville.  But, down in Bowling Green, the dewpoint was 19 with an air temperature of 25 and it was snowing.  The moist air is trying to push north and the big question is how far it gets and when it gets there.  The result will be a very tight gradient of snow totals with a differnce of say less than an inch to the northern extent and maybe as much as 10 inches down toward the Kentucky/Tennesse border.  So, that would be about equivalent to losing an inch every 10 miles you travel north. 

No one can forecast with exact certainty where the line of the northern extent will be. 

00Z NAM Sat 700 mb 2am Sat-saturated over Lou at 10K Feet

NAM 00Z Sat 850 mb 2am Sat-Not Quite Saturated over LOU at 5K Feet

Forecasting is really best learned through the old apprentice style of training.  You can’t learn it in a book.  Just about everything I know about snow forecasting I learned from Jay Cardosi and my own observations.  I was fortunate to be able to work with an Ace like Jay as learned all he could offer and what he had learned from some expert forecasters and his own personal education.  Now, I saw Jay do as good a job as possible in trying to responsibily explain the forecast with this particular storm.  I mean, lets face it, you can’t go on tv and say “It’s gonna snow, but we can’t say with certainty how much you will get in your backyard.”  But, what he did was show a graded map with 5-9 inchs of snow from around E-town south and 2-5 inches in the Louisville Metro and zero snow for up near Seymour.  He went even further to illustrate the difficulty with this situation though when he pointed out that he would not be surprised if we had about 2 inches near downtown Louisville at the Ohio River but five inches down at the Jefferson/Bullitt county line.   He didn’t emphatically say that would occur, but it is not out of the question for that scenario to unfold.

NAM 00Z Sat 850mb 8am-still not totally saturated over LOU at 5k Feet

GFS 00Z Sat 850 mb-8am not fully saturated over Louisville at 5K Feet

I’ll use some modeling data to support that notion.  The 18Z NAM forecast for Standiford Field called for just under 4 inches of snow.  That same 18Z NAM model showed just over 3 inches of snow for Bowman Field.  What is that…about 4 miles and almost an inch difference?  Then, on top of that, the model went and threw out an additional quarter inch of snow throughout the day on Sunday for Bowman and nothing at Standiford.  I would discount any appreciable snow on Sunday, though there could be some flurries or light snow showers.  Now, this data stands in sharp contrast with the previous NAM run at 00Z (18 hours before) that said about 1/10th of an inch.  The GFS at 00Z Friday had zero snow for Standiford and by 18Z it had gone back to what it had been saying before, which was about 2.5 inches.  Back and forth the models have gone over the past 36 hours. Snow, no snow. Snow, but more here than there. Now, if you look at the 00Z Sat NAM snow total map above, it looks like to me it has gotten even more bullish on snow totals with the southern half of Jefferson County at about 5-6 inches and the northern half 3-4 inches but it never fully saturates the air at all levels over Louisville.  24 hours before it said less than an inch.  Nor does the 00Z GFS ever saturate the entire column over Louisville.  Go figure.

RUC 00Z Sat 850 mb-8am Fully saturated over Louisville at 5K Feet. Bigger Snow from the RUC?

At 12Z Friday, the Japanese model called for about 2 inches of snow for Lou thru 8am Sat

Observing the satellite blob of snow to the west, it would appear that we will catch a good chunk of it.  The question is just how quickly the atmosphere moistens up.  The midday models all claimed it would happen shortly after midnight. But, as of 9pm EST, in Louisville the dewpoint was still just 8 and Fort Knox had only inched up to 11.  I think we’ll have to get to the mid to upper teens on the dewpoint to get snow.  So, I leave you with this.  Some of us will get next to nothing.  Some of us may push 6 inches.  If I had to guess I’d say I will get 2 inches or so at my house, depending on if there is an errant heavy snow burst or not. (I hope I’m wrong!) But, that’s just a guess and its the best I can do as, when its all said and done, it will do what its going to do where its going to do it regardless of what I say, the computers say or anyone on tv said.  All we can do is our best and on TV those guys have it really tough because they are required to go beyond the limits of human ability.  Someone will not be satisfied one way or another, but they should be.  Everyone from the boys at the NWS to the folks on TV have done about the best we can do.  I say let it snow.  My wishcast would be for a big pile of snow…but, I”ll probably have to wait till next time

Three Outlaws Showed America’s Early Independent Streak
January 29, 2010

Three Outlaws Who Were No One's Stooge

This Chuck Lost His Head
This Chuck Lost His Head

On This Date in History:

In 1649, there was a bit of a revolution going on in England.  Oliver Cromwell had led a revolt against the monarchy and, on this date in 1649, 59 people signed the death warrant for King Charles I who was later executed. Now, the little turnabout didn’t last long and by 1660, the House of Stuart returned to the throne in the form of King Charles II. The second Chuck called for an amnesty for all who had played a role in his father losing his head except for three men. Edward Whalley was the cousin of Oliver Cromwell and he led an army during the uprising. He and two of his officers, John Dixwell and William Goffe, signed the document with the other 56 signers. Sensing that there was a new sherrif in town, the trio decided it was best to get out of Dodge. Dixwell went to Prussia while Goffe and Whalley set sail for Boston in the New World. Goffe and Whalley did nothing to disguise themselves and made no apologies for their actions when they landed in America.

This Chuck Lost The Fugitives

This Chuck Lost The Fugitives

Chuck the younger was pretty non-plussed at the prospects of the men hiding out in the colonies and mocking his authority so he posted a pretty hefty reward for their capture. By the time an arrest warrant had made its way through the formalities, Goffe and Whalley had lit out. Off to New Haven they went where they were welcomed with open arms as they had been in Boston. But, hot on their trails was a pair of gumshoes who were loyal to the king. Even at this early time in America’s history, there was some resistance to the crown as the deputy governor of the colony was slow and was uncooperative in keeping the matter a secret. I suppose the outlaws got tipped off because they used the time bought by the authorities fumbling to escape again, this time to a cave where a farmer quietly left food for them every day.

Hadley As Quiet Today As in 18th Century

Seems Whalley and Goffe had lots of helpers who were sympathetic to their cause and they continued to get assistance wherever they went. At one point, they wanted to surrender but their advocates would not hear of it. After 4 years of futility, Charles II had enough and he sent troops to Boston to try and grab the boys on the lam. But they had moved again to Hadley, Massachusetts. While they lived in freedom in Hadley, their comrad Dixwell had left Prussia and moved to Connecticut where he disguised himself as a retired merchant. He died there in 1688. Meanwhile. Goffe and Whalley continued to live openly but did use subterfuge to communicate with their families back in the home country. Whalley never was caught and, like Dixwell, died peacefully and free in 1674.

Goffe Rallies the Town

Goffe Rallies the Town

Goffe was another matter. The story is that while the citizenry of Hadley, including some of the king’s men, were attending church when Indians attacked. From out of nowhere, a old bearded man showed up. He organized and led the town’s defense. When the danger had passed, the senior citizen disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. Some good loyalists spotted Goffe in Hartford and promptly reported it to authorities who refused to arrest him. Goffe died in 1679.

Seems old Chuck never did get satisfaction for his father’s death and I suppose the “bad guys” ended up getting the last laugh. This perhaps illustrates that America’s independent streak had begun almost as soon as the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. One hundred years after the death of the last elusive signer of the death warrant of King Charles I, the American colonies were in full revolt and revolution against the King George III…who was about as successful with America as Chuck the Second.

00Z Fri Snowfall through Saturday-Tune Change-Nothing for Louisville!

Fri 00Z GFS Snow through Saturday-Not too much

Weather Bottom Line:  I’ve been warning of the potential of getting nothing out of this. I said it was possible, not necessarily probable and I’ve been sticking with the 4 inch forecast I came up with about 4 days ago.  Well, what seemed not probable somehow has gone to the possible and maybe even close to probable.  I noticed today that our dewpoint was 8 degrees.  That is extremely dry.  I also noticed our wind was out of the northeast with a storm approaching from the west. Ordinarily, one might think of winds with a southerly component.  Well, what we have is a big fat ridge to our northwest that is driving in dry air.  That is what is keeping the freezing line or critical temperature lines to our south.  But, it also means that as moisture gets shoved up over the top of the cold airmass, then it will take a long time to saturate the column. In other words, anything that falls will evaporate.  The system is so far to the south and the moisture expected to be tossed up so minimal that the 00Z Friday NAM has zero snow.  At 9 pm on Friday, at about 6000 feet, the model claims that the dewpoint will still be about 35 below zero.  That is bone dry.  It is suggesting that there simply isn’t enough moisture to saturate the column.  The 00Z GFS is very similar though it does toss out something less than a quarter inch…probably closer to a tenth of an inch.   I still don’t see how we get above freezing on Sunday either.

NWS Louisville Late Thursday Snow Forecast-Don't be Surprised to see this change during the day on Friday

So, is this a slam dunk?  No, but its getting pretty close. Time is running out and there is sufficient real observable evidence to support this lame scenario.  We do have low level northeasterly winds and we do have low surface dewpoints.  Those are facts.  It seems to me that the only thing that can overcome those obstacles will be if the low tracks farther north.  So, I’d say we’re left with the possible, not probable scenario for the low tracking farther north and therefore, any decent snow chances in Louisville being possible not probable.  Now, we must keep in mind that this is a pretty dramatic shift from model runs of just 12 hours prior but it has been part of a trend of decreasing snow amounts.  What makes me believe this is real is that we have physical evidence right now that is actually going on and not just on some computer that supports the lesser snow solution.   From where I sit early Friday morning…we may not get much of anything in the Metro area.  Farther south? Sure.  Louisville though is not looking too promising.  I bet we don’t get nothing, but I’m afraid my 4 inch stake in the sand needs to be yanked out and put away for another time.  It’s still a tough call but evidence is mounting.  We’ll see.  

(EDIT FRIDAY MIDDAY)  The NWS has 1-3 inches areawide for Friday night through early afternoon on Saturday for area. Specificlaly for Louisville they are calling for less than an inch on Friday night and then a 30% chance of snow on Saturday.  Hmmm…seems like to me that they get to have it both ways…pretty smart because they can claim victory more easily that way.  Anyway, the 12Z GFS still has nothing.  The 12Z NAM went back to its old ways and claims something like 2.5 inches.  Two things this does is illustrate how difficult this forecast is and how tight the snow gradient will be.  With the dry air in place and the northeasterly flow, I still think we won’t get nothing in Louisville but probably wont’ get a huge amount of snow either…lets say .75 inches to 1.5 inches.  I do hope I’m wrong though and somehow the column gets saturated and we get a whole bunch…but it just seems to be a pretty tough situation for that to unfold.

The Great 1937 Flood
January 28, 2010

Big Four Bridge in Background

On This Date In History: If you remember the photo associated with this post, you are probably collecting Social Security. Those photos are from the 1937 flood in Louisville except for the one above from post Katrina New Orleans in 2005 posted to show the similarity of Louisville in 1937.  There are so many more than I can post but you can find a number of shots from the Mitchell Collection of 1937 photos made available through the National Weather Service.  The top photo is from the Confederate Monument near U of L looking back toward downtown. The lower photo is from 1st and Breckenridge. The 1937 flood is by far the greatest flood event in recorded history on the Ohio River. There really wasn’t much snow but there was bunch of rain in the Ohio Valley basin. As an example, Louisville got 15 inches of rain from the 12th to the 24th of January and 19 inches for the month. The entire Ohio Valley basin received an over abundance of rain. The Ohio River in Louisville crested on January 27, 1937.

L&N Railroad Depot at 1st Street

On this date in 1937, the water finally began to recede from record levels of over 85 feet on the lower gauge of the McAlpine Lock and just over 52 feet on the upper gauge. The flood stage is 55 feet and 23 feet respectively.

The Falls of the Ohio is the result of a geological rise. There is a fall in the elevation of some 26.5 feet over 2 miles. The rapids were said to be spectacular with one observer in 1811 saying it was “more spectacular than Niagara.” It was said you could hear the roar of the water from miles away. Trouble with this was that when the river was low, it was not navigatable. If you were going down stream, you took your cargo and unloaded it at Louisville and then reloaded on another vessel at Portland. The falls are part of the reason for Louisville’s existence. It was either at the end of 1830 or 1831 that the Louisville and Portland Canal opened up as a way to circumnavigate the falls in times of low water. Later, in 1870, the US Army Corps of Engineers embarked on a canalization of the Ohio River project. It would create over 50 locks and dams along the river to ensure consistent navigation. The final dam was the one at Louisville in 1925, though it has been updated many times. The last was in the 1960’s when they went from a wicker dam to a permanent structure across the entire river.

 

I wonder how high the river crested?

It was the greatest flood of 175 years of civilization; greater than the floods of 1773 and 1884.  I got some flack for previously posting the photo of the horse in the tree to the right, but it sure shows how high the water was, though I admit it is rather gruesome.  Seventy-Five percent of Louisville was under water and across the river in Indiana, 90% of Jeffersonville was submerged.  In 1937 dollars, the damage was pegged at $250 Million.  Today that would be about $3.5 Billion and remember 1937 was the deepest days of the Great Depression.  A calamity such as the flooding in 1937 not only brought a burden to the economy as a whole, but also it just piled on the personal tragedy that had happened to millions of Americans.  From January 13 to January 24 1937, Louisville received 15 inches of rain.  The heavy rain fell all across the Ohio Valley basin.  Over the entire month, 19 inches of rain fell in the city with zero snowfall.   According to the 1937  Monthly Weather Review, the scenario began in December 1936 when heavy rains fell across the Ohio Valley watershed and then continued into January.  Curiously, it states that there was very little snowcover over the region and the river at the outset was at relatively low levels.  As the rain continued, the ground became saturated and the runoff became extreme.    Evidence suggests that it was the greatest in geologial history. But…there wasn’t a series of dams on the river for all time.

Churchill Downs January 1937

By 1937, the canalization was complete.  I want to know if the canalization of the Ohio had any effect on the flood of 1937.  The role of the Corps of Engineers, even today, is not for flood control but strictly navigation. The absence of any mention in the NWS report is curious. Would the flood of 1937 been less if the river had been allowed to flow freely and is that the reason why in geologic time there has not been a bigger flood?   This history of the Ohio River Flood of 1937  suggests that in reaction the flood, the Corps of Engineers was charged with creating over 70 storage resevoirs.  I suppose one might take that as a stealth suggestion that maybe the dams had something to do with the severity of the flooding.  In this USGS Review of the 1997 Flood in Southern Ohio, the report makes comparisons to the 1937 flood and talks of “backwater caused by the Ohio River” but does not address whether that backwater would have existed and, if so, to what degree had the system of dams not been in place.  I dunno and in pragmatic terms I suppose it doesn’t matter.  For all intents and purposes, the condition of the modified river is in fact the condition we live with and no one will go around tearing down the navigation controls.  But, it doesn’t mean that I’m not curious.

The thumbnail to the left illustrates the amount of rain that fell over the Ohio Valley.  Notice the deepest part of the bullet point is over Louisville but really the excessive rain really fell all over the Ohio Valley.  It affected all cities along the Ohio but was probably more pronounced in Louisville due to the geography with the rise and the bend.  In essence, what happens is that when the river rises, it wants to go straight across what is more or less a peninsula on which Louisville is located.  The reason why all of Louisville was not submerged is because the river valley rises reasonably abruptly and by 1937, the city had expanded into the higher areas, referred to as the Highlands.   

Fisher Letter Page 2

Fisher Letter page 1

Like any disaster, a call for aid was sent out across the nation, and as is the case today, Americans responded.  For a time, the only way to get to Louisville was by boat and by the river.  That was also probably the most expeditious way to get here.  Now, in history, first hand accounts of a particular situation can be extremely valuable.    Brian Plain shared a letter he found from a sailor named Albert Fisher who came to Louisville after he heard the call for help.  It is very very interesting to read of the observations of someone who was actually there and hear what he was feeling.  While it is really a cool document, let us hope that in the future, there will be no need for accounts to be written about another flood.  Unfortunately,  that is probably wishful thinking.  With the buildup of urban areas along the river, it seems inevitable that it will happen again. 

NWS Fearless Snow Forecast as of midday Thursday-pretty reasonable outlook at this point

12Z Thu NAM snow total through Saturday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:   Okay…a few days ago I had guess about 4 inches of snow but I reiterated that it was strictly a guess.  This is a real close but the trend has been all along to run the low a bit farther south than earlier runs.  That has been the case for the past several days.  Yet, someone out there is spreading the idea of 10 inches or more of snow.  I know, I’ve heard that from people on the street.  Is that possible?  Yes, if the track of the storm were to be a shade farther north.  The Canadian model was the one model that seemed to be advertising that.  But, on the other hand, there were some models  indicating zero snow for Louisville.   For some reason though, tv foofs want to grab the one extreme and run with it but ignore the opposite extreme which is just as likely (or unlikely).  The truth is most likely somewhere in between.  My old pal Jay Cardosi had a typically responsible outlook on Wednesday night which illustrated 1-3 inches in Louisville with more well south and less than an inch north of Louisville.  But, he pointed out that the event was 36 hours away and that there were many variables at play.  Well, one variable is timing and it seems pretty clear to me that this thing gets started around midday on Friday and carries on to midday on Saturday.  The NAM is rather bullish with 4.3 inches of snow from its 12Z Thursday run.  The 12Z GFS Thursday run calls for 2.3 inches.    That is the supportive data for 1-3 to 2-4 inches of snow. 

12Z Thu GFS Snow Total Through Saturday Evening

Now, the European model seems to be in concert with the general scenario of the GFS and NAM.  The UK Met also seems to be in some agreement though the timing is shifted by about 12 hours and it has the heaviest snow on Saturday morning and carries snowfall until sunset.  The US Navy’s NOGAPS models is designed for tropical weather but it seems to be most similar to the UK Met.  The one guy out there that is still stubbornly holding on to a heavier scenario is the Canadian model. I can’t quantify it but it does still run the low farther north and has our area in a heavier snow fall for a longer period than any of the others.  So..what to do?  I am personally anticipating light snow perhaps by Friday afternoon and by early afternoon Saturday about 4 inches of snow in Louisville.  If I am wrong about that, in all liklihood, the total will be less.  If my guess, which for this specific micro snow forecast is all anyone can do, is wrong and we get more…then I will be happy. I like snow.  Oh..BTW…I don’t see how we get above freezing on Sunday.  So, just sit back and see how it shakes out.  It’s going to do what it’s going to do regardless of what anyone or any computer says. 

Confederate Flag Not What You May Think
January 26, 2010

There were numerous Confederate Battle Flags, not just the Stars and Bars

On This Date in History: For the past 30 years or so, during the political season a certain topic seems to come up.  In particular, whenever there is an election in South Carolina, it seems as if the old flag controversy has raises its head again. Thing is, the flag that is in question was not the real flag or at least not the one adopted by the Confederate Congress.  There are various claims regarding the Confederate flag history, with at list one source suggesting the Confederate Congress neglected to officially pass a flag act.  Nevertheless, there is not much dispute that the original flag looked the one above with 7 stars for the first seven Confederate states. But commanders on the battlefield complained that it looked like the Union’s Stars and Stripes and it was difficult to determine friend from foe at distances. They changed it a couple of times by putting what would be a square “stars and bars” shape in the corner of a white field and then the same design only with a red vertical bar on the right end.  It was suggested that commanders in the field adopt their own battle flag.   However, some histories suggest that in fact, there were different flags adoped officially during the days of the Confederacy.  None of them though feature the familiar rectangular flag.  The original flag did not come into existence until March 1861 and on this date in 1861, the state of Louisiana seceded from the union, adding what would be the 6th star to the soon to be adopted flag.

Army of Northern Virginia Flag was square, not rectangular

The Army of Northern Virginia had used the common “stars and bars” for quite some time though it was a square, not rectangular flag. In fact, the proper name of the flag is the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. I suppose since that was the army of Robert E. Lee and is so prominent in remedial history and because it was associated with arguably the South’s best or at least best known general, it became dominant in lore.  If you wanted to find a retangular flag with the stars and bars, you would have to head to the high seas.  See, the Confederate navy had a couple of flags. One was a square blue field with a circle of 7 stars. Then it was a flag similar to the Army of Northern Virginia flag except it featured a different shade of blue and it was rectangular and not the square used by General Lee’s army. The flag over time ended up as what is now thought to be the Confederate flag, or the “stars and bars.”  It has the design and color of the Army of Northern Virginia, but the shape of the second naval flag.  However, by the middle years of the war, the success of Lee’s army became apparent and several armies of the south changed their battle flags to look like that of the Army of Northern Virginia.    But, again, it was supposed to be square.  The Army of Tennessee though ended up with a rectangular flag not by design, but mistake.  A square was ordered but a rectangle was delivered.

1896 Frank Leslie depiction of the capture of a Confederate Flag in 1862; notice it is NOT the Stars and Bars

So, one can only conclude that the flag that is the center of controversy was not really the flag of the Confederacy but instead was the battle flag of Robert E. Lee’s army which over the course of the war was adopted by other armies in some form.   Depending on which battle at which time of a re-enactment,  there are probably many movies out there that are inaccurate regarding the flag, though is not surprising considering how much of history hollywood misrepresents.  In many battles portrayed on film, a completely different flag was really used and the one used that is most similar was  more often a square not a rectangle. The flag has 13 stars but there were really only 11 states in the Confederacy. They added the other two to try and claim Kentucky and Missouri but claims and truth are often at odds because both “border states” remained with the nation as the Kentucky legislature even invited the Union to send troops to fend off invading rebels.  This is how US Grant ends up with early victories in the western part of the state and how the Union Army of the Ohio came to be based in Louisville. And finally, ironically, the Confederate Congress adopted the flag design above specifically because it did resemble the Stars and Stripes which was the exact reason why military leaders found the flag worthless on the battlefield.  That would not be the first time that a Congress and military butted heads.   I suspect that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia became the de-facto Confederate Flag in popular culture came about due to its use in D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, which itself was an abhorent obfuscation of history. 

Photo of Fort Sumter After Confederate Occupation; Note the Flag is NOT the Stars and Bars

So, don’t believe the hype. The flag that has become such a controversial symbol, was not in wide use  until after the war.  I think that the number of flags used is more symbolic of disorder in the Confederacy and they had more immediate concerns than a flag.    As for the controversy regarding the display of the flag, it’s really kinda silly.  I mean the Confederacy is gone and was never recognized by the United States or almost anyone else.  Some say its just represents heritage.  Heritage of what?  Secession?  Oh..what a great thing to remember.  Then there are those who say it represents slavery.  It seems a bit far fetched to me but, if that is what some think, then so be it.  I suppose one might say that since it was the battle flag used by the side that supported slavery, then..well..okay.  But, in my mind, the flag has no business any place except maybe a museum.  The reason is that it was a battle flag.  It’s use was intended to aid the members of those in arms against the Union.  To me, it represents armed insurrection against the nation.    That is not a heritage I think should be celebrated.

6 Z GFS calls for 4-6 inches of snow Friday

12Z NAM calls for No Snow

Weather Bottom Line:  Monday night about midnight it was still around 35 degrees.  That meant that all precipitation that fell was melting, leaving wet roads.    As the overnight wore on, by 5 am we dropped below freezing.   We got between a quarter and a half inch of snow on the ground but, more importantly, those wet roads froze making for a difficult morning drive.  If we get above freezing on Tuesday, it won’t be by much.  We will get a break on Wednesday with highs near 40 or maybe a couple of degrees higher. Then comes our storm system.  Right now, the only apparent continuity in the modeling data is that the critical thickness lines will be down to about the southern Tennesee border.  That should be far enough away to limit the potential for ice, though I wouldnt totally rule it out at  this time.   The biggest contradiction comes in the moisture.  The NAM has the low tracking so far south that the precip line is south of Louisville and it calls for no snow at all.  The other models are more bullish to varying degrees. The long range models want to dump a fairly significant amount of snow on our area with the Canadian model even looking suspiciously like some decent ice early on.  I would tend to think that the NAM is wrong in saying no snow at all but beyond that, the data is just too muddled and the the critical thickness lines so close to the area that any minor variation  can cause an enormous difference in the type of precipitation and the degree of that precipitation.  At this point, I would plan on a potential winter storm for the last part of the week that may create some travel issues.  Friday seems to be the day.  Then, look for a cold weekend.  I would not expect temperatures back above freezing until early next week.

Israel’s Submarine Mystery
January 25, 2010

What Happened to This Submarine?

Click Image For more photos of INS Dakar's Final Resting Place

On This Date in History:  At the height of World War II, the HMS Totem was commisoned by the British Navy.  It was added to the submarine fleet and after the war, it was modified by adding about 12 feet to its length and removing some of its deck guns.    In 1965, the Israeli government purchased 3 submarines from the British, including the Totem.  In November 1967, the Israeli navy recommissioned the sub as the Dakar.  Sea tests were done near Scotland and the plan was have the underwater boat  travel to Haifa in Israel for an offiicial ceremony in early February 1968.  But, that never happened.

INS Dakar Before Leaving for Haifa

As the Dakar traveled undersea on its voyage to Haifa, i was instructed to radio daily its position.  As it moved through the Straits of Gibralter and entered the Mediterranean Sea, the captain asked for permission to arrive in Haifa on January 28.   All seemed to be on schedule when on January 24, the Dakar passed the island of Crete and reported its position.   Just after midnight on January 25, 1968 an additional signal was received from the Dakar.  But, when the scheduled report of its position never came on this date in 1968, it became apparent that something was wrong.  All day attempts were made to reach the submarine to no avail.  An international search and rescue operaton began.  For five days, naval assets from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and the United States searched in vain.  Israel continued the search on its own before it too gave up hope on February 4.    A month later, Israel held a national day of mourning and declared all 69 members of the crew of the Dakar dead.

Click Image For More About Book Never Forgotten: The Search For Israel's Lost Submarine Dakar

But, Israel never stopped looking for them.  For 31 years they searched.  They were thrown off when in 1969, Arab fisherman found one of the Dakar’s emergency buoys.  In analyzing the buoy and the broken cable, experts determined that the buoy had been attached to the submarine for about a year before it broke loose.  They also determined that the stricken sub rested between 150 and 326 meters below the surface and was 50 to 70 miles off course.  Now, how they could be so certain of all that is beyond me and, as it turns out, they were wrong.  And because they were wrong, Israeli searchers looked everywhere except the most obvious.  Because of this “expert” report, they never bothered to check the planned route of the submarine.

Finally, in 1999, it was determined that it might be a good idea to track the planned route of the submarine and to check the area between the last known location and Haifa.  The wreck of the Dakar was found in May 1999 in 3000 meters of water.  It was ripped apart.  After a review, speculation is that for unknown reasons, the boat took on water on the night of Jan 24 1968.  It lost its trim and went into a dive.  When it reached crash depth, it imploded and the debris settled to the bottom about 15 minutes later.   The buoy probably broke away when the accident occured, which seems to have happened sometime between midnight and 3 am  January 25, 1968.  It is possible that the signal received was indeed a signal from the emergency buoy which was not able to surface properly as it was attached to 600 feet of steel cable that had broken from the boat. 

Dakar Memorial in Haifa

So, they found the boat and to this day, a Memorial Service to honor those lost on the Dakar is held annually.  Part of the conning tower of the Dakar has been placed at the front of a naval museum in Haifa as a permanent memorial.    But, this is a great example of man thinking that he has the technology to conquer all.  Because of the experts, for 3 decades, searchers looked in the wrong place and, in the end, all of their conclusions were wrong.  We should keep this in mind when we consider taking drastic measures simply because experts think that they have all of the answsers.  It also is an example of how common sense should never be dismissed by technology, calculations or anything else.  It is when analysts dismiss possibilities that bad mistakes occur. 

GFS claiming between 6 and 10 inches of snow by end of week

Weather Bottom Line:  The story remains the same.  Look for much colder conditions on Monday with the high of the day being just after midnight.  It will only be in the mid 30’s or so on Monday afternoon and in the evening we should start to see some snow showers, which will stick around through much of Tuesday but I’m not so sure that accumulations will be all that significant.  It should only be about an inch or so over 36 hours and the ground wont be cold enough.  Now, a potentially bigger story may unfold for the latter part of the week.  It will be dependent on where the storm tracks and how much cold air we have.  It would not be surprising to see 6 inches of snow.  Then again, we may have rain turning to snow.  Guess here is we get some rain and then some decent accumulations as most indicators show a pretty good looking snow event, though I’m not so sure at this point we can hang our hat on the 18Z GFS which wants to put 6-10 inches of snow over our area.  Hopefully, there wont be any ice, but no guarantees. Just keep in mind that late Thursday and especially Friday may be a bit dicey.

Price of Gold Can Fall to $000,000,000
January 24, 2010

The Power of Gold

The Power of Gold

Haiti remains in great need and destitute. People are asking for donations but you really aren’t too sure how your money will be used. Help support a group who is bringing clean water to Haiti now and in the future. You will know where your money is going, who is using it and how it is being used and being used NOW to bring hope and literally life to thousands.  Click on the link to find out more.

A Tragic Gold Rush Story

Marshall: A Tragic Gold Rush Story

On This Date in History:

From the time that the first bit of gold was found in California through the next 50 years, some $2.5 billion in gold was taken from the earth and streams. James Marshall was born in 1810 in New Jersey to a wheelright and went west in his mid-twenties. In 1845, Marshall ended up at a remote outpost in the Sacramento Valley of the California Territory. Just 85 miles to the southwest lay a quiet seaport with just a few hundred residents. It was called Yerba Buena. Soon, that quiet town would be known as San Francisco and it would become anything but quiet.

Marshall At The Mill
Marshall At The Mill

The outpost where Marshall took up residence was owned by a man named John Sutter, who is a distant relative of mine through my mother’s father. In 1847, Marshall and Sutter became partners in a sawmill operation along a creek that ran through the property. On January 24, 1848 Marshall was doing an inspection of the mill when something caught his eye in the water. He reached down through six inches of frigid water and fetched a small gold nugget worth about 50 cents. News spread quickly but skepticism ran rampant until Sam Brannon showed up on the scene. Brannon operated the store at nearby Sutter’s Fort and in May, while newspapers were calling the gold rumors “all sham…got up to guzzle the gullible,” he arrived in San Francisco waving about a bottle filled with gold dust. That was a great advertising ploy because Brannon had already bought every iron pan in town for just 20 cents a piece. After showing everyone he could the gold dust, he returned to his store where he just happened to have iron pans available for the low low price of $16 a piece. That’s a nice 8000% mark up!

Good Thing For These Guys the EPA Wasn't Around

Good Thing For These Guys the EPA Wasn't Around

Now, Brannon couldn’t have asked for a better spokesman than the President of the United States and when President Polk mentioned the gold strike in a December speech, every tin-horn miner and serious prospector descended on Sutter’s land, destroyed land and stole his livestock. After a year, one meat company in Sacramento made $60,000 selling Sutter’s stolen beef. Now, Marshall could have made a tidy profit without doing one bit of mining, if it weren’t for his incompetence. You see, he was the partner in the saw mill and lumber was going for $500 per 1000 board feet. Instead of cashing in, he got caught up in a dispute between miners and the local Indians and he ran off. He came back a few weeks later but decided not to protect his land claims and instead became a prospector.

Quite A Statue For A Peasant

Quite A Statue For A Peasant

Trouble was, he was no good at it. But others were convinced that he had the Midas touch and so they followed him wherever he went. At one point, tag-along miners threatened to string him up if he didn’t spill the beans about whereabouts of the next big gold strike. I guess his followers finally decided that Marshall was a crummy prospector because Marshall ended up doing odd jobs and becoming rather eccentric. Then, he hit the booze. I don’t know how he came up with the figures; perhaps he was drunk when he estimated that his discovery had brought “Yankeedom $600 Million…Myself Individually….$000.000.000.” In his despair, he convinced the state of California in 1872 to grant him compensation. He received a $100 a month pension. But, in 1878 he came wandering drunk into the state assembly and his pension was revoked. When the man who discovered the first gold of the California Gold Rush died in 1885, his estate was valued at $218.82. He was laid to rest on a rise that overlooks the place where his gold discovery ultimately destroyed his life. He is honored however as in 1890, $9000 was spent on a statue that was placed at his grave. The caretaker of the grave and statue did better than James…he was paid $75 a month, which was less than the Marshall pension, but I don’t think it got revoked.

So, next time you hear of a big lottery winner whose life gets turned upside down and they end up broke, think of James Marshall. The story is nothing new. And I leave this question on the table…why is gold so valuable? Who decided it was a symbol of wealth? You can’t eat and and can’t build a shelter with it nor can you you drink it. All you can do is look at it and for some reason, covet it.

Saints: Best Football Song Ever, Drink That Dixie Down
January 23, 2010

Outside the Haitian Community Hospital, which is overflowing and running out of water. Edge will be installing a water filtration system this week for the hospital.Wednesday scenes in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 21, 2010 (cj/cj)

Haiti remains in great need and destitute.  People are asking for donations but you really aren’t too sure how your money will be used.  Help support a group who is bringing clean water to Haiti now and in the future.  You will know where your money is going, who is using it and how it is being used.  Several years ago, New Orleans had too much water in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  All was thought to be lost, especially the football team.   But, as a beacon to Haiti that recovery is possible, the Saints stand on the doorstep to the Super Bowl.  If they make it, Hell will certainly freeze over. 

A great new song about the New Orleans Saints and their quest for the elusive Super Bowl is out.  It’s called, The Night We Drank That Dixie Down and is fabulous.  To truly appreciate it, one might want to know the history of the Saints.

Tom Dempsey had half a foot and no hand but still perservered to the record books

New Orleans was awarded a franchise on November 1, 1966, which is All-Saints Day.  They went 5-1 in the preseason of 1967 and on the opening kickoff of the first game in Saints history, the kick-off was returned for a touchdown.  But, that first game kinda set the stage for the franchise.  Hope rises every year followed by disappointment.  The Saints lost that first game, but did manage to win 3 games that year.  The next two years saw improvement with 4 wins followed by 5 wins in 1969.   Their 1970 first round draft pick became a star for…the Houston Oilers.  The team fell to two wins but the season included the most celebrated event in Saints’ history for years to come.  Tom Dempsey kicked an NFL record 63 yard field goal(video)  to beat the Detroit Lions.  That record has been tied by Jason Elam of Denver kicking at the Mile High altitude of Denver, but it has not been surpassed.  

Archie Manning Loved In New Orleans But Saints Never Won Much

In the 1970’s, the Saints won a total of 42 games…an average of just 4 per year.  1979 was the first non-losing season in team history as they finished 8-8.  The first 5 years of the 1980’s were a little better with 29 wins.  By that time, the Saints had gone through several big name players such as Billy Kilmer, Jim Taylor, Archie Manning, George Rogers, Earl Campbell and Ken Stabler.  They also had headline coaches such as Dick Nolan, Hank Stram and Bum Phillips.  Still the highlight of the Saints remained Dempsey’s 63 yard field goal.  The team then went from sad sacks to not too bad and hope was born when Jim Mora took over in 1986. 

Mora asks, "Playoffs?"

After going 7-9 in Mora’s first season, the Saints won 12 games and made the playoffs.  Both the win total and the playoff appearance were firsts for New Orleans.  But, they lost in the playoffs.  The next two years were teasers with 9 wins coming in ’88 and ’89 but they did not make the playoffs.  Still, Saint’s fans were optimistic. In 1990, they were a .500 team but still made the playoffs and promtly lost.  Double-digit wins in 1991 and 1992 led to first round playoff losses.  Saints fans though, remained loyal.  For the next few years, the Saints were mediocre, did not make the playoffs and when the team began 1996 at 2-6, the loyal fans still showed up, but did so wearing bags on their heads that said “Aints”.  That was it for Mora. 

Ditka Williams Marriage Ended Sour

Mike Ditka showed up and Saints’ fans once again were optimistic.  The team went 6-10 in Iron Mike’s first two years, but after Ditka traded all of the team’s draft picks in 1999 for RB Ricky Williams and the team tumbled to just 3 wins, the Aints bags were back out and Ditka was sent packing.  The 2000’s showed improvement but still, they were back to being almost good enough.  It was the make the playoffs and out routine or just missing the playoffs routine.  Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and the Saints were forced to play their home games in San Antonio, TX.  Rumors were that  owner Tom Benson, who was from San Antonio, would move the team.   The population of New Orleans fell by the thousands and there was question as to the city could still support the team.  But, those naysayers underestimated the heart of a Saints fan. 

Drew Brees Has Saints on the Super Bowl Doorstep

I can tell you…if you live anywhere in the state of Louisiana, there is no other game on TV besides the Saints, regardless of their record.  Well, in 2006, Drew Brees led the Saints all the way to the NFC Championship game where they lost, again.  After a couple of good but disappointing years, the Saints now find themselves with home field advantage in the NFC Championship Game again.  They play the Minnesota Vikings who have a soap-opera storyline themselves with 4 Superbowl losses in the 1970’s.  And this year they have the journeyman future Hall of Famer Bret Favre.  But at least the Vikings have made it to the Super Bowl.  The Saints are one of only three teams to not be in the big game or an NFL Championship game.  The other two are the Jacksonville Jaguars who did not enter the league until 1995 and the Houston Texans who only have been around since 2002. 

So, let us all hoist a Dixie Beer to the Saints and their loyal but long suffering fans and see what fate befalls the team after 43 years of futility.

NWS Louisville graphic

Weather Bottom Line:  We did not get any sunshine today but it was still rather mild with highs in the mid 50’s…sorry you had to go to Bowling Green to find 60.  I will give you one certainty. It will be colder next week.  Beyond that, it gets kinda muddled.  Saturday night will be a good chance for rain and possible t’storms, though nothing too exciting.  Same is true on Sunday.  A cold front comes through on Monday and then a secondary trof may bring some snow late Monday with some flurries or light snow.  I think the snow total comes to about an inch on the most aggressive model and that is over about 36 hours.  The ground probably won’t be cold enough for much accumulation  initially so it really wont be that big of a deal though driving may be tough Tuesday morning.   After that, we have another system by Thursday or Friday.  Some data suggests a guy coming from the Gulf and other ideas are it comes across the southern tier of states.  We may get above freezing from time to time during the week but not much and by late Thursday or early Friday, the issue of the track of the next system will determine how much snow we get. I can draw a scenario of 6 inches and another of rain with a little snow and then another with some ice mixed in, which I don’t like.  So, we’ll have to wait and see.

Help Haiti Get Clean Water Now
January 23, 2010

Outside the Haitian Community Hospital, which is overflowing and running out of water. Edge will be installing a water filtration system this week for the hospital.Wednesday scenes in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 21, 2010 (cj/cj)

Louisville Edge Outreach settled down in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and started the groundwork to setting up water purification systems at the Red Cross. Edge group found two large bins that they will be using to purify the water near the Red Cross. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 20, 2010

HELP BRING RELIEF TO HAITI AND KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING AND WHAT IT IS BEING USED FOR:  The information at the bottom of this page  is from the website Survial Topics.com  There  is much more information concerning water and the human body.  We are made up of about 68% water.  Not only is it necessary to sustain the body itself, but also is necessary for vital body functions.  On the island of Hispaniola, in the best of times, there is a need for clean water.  There are many people living in an ecosystem that does not readily have clean water available.  Snow White and I are friends with a couple who sold everything they owned to move their family to the Dominican Republic to do mission work with the goal of digging water wells so that small, impoverished communities in isolated parts of the country could have a permanent, reliable source of clean water.  Literally, they gave up their own comfortable lives in the United States to bring hope and the basics of life to those in need.  I don’t know many people who would make such a self sacrifice.

Louisville Edge Outreach settled down in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and started the groundwork to setting up water purification systems at the Red Cross. Bowin Tichenor talks to the group about some logistics. Tim Borrson, left, and Hugh McCulloch on right. Tichenor has been on the ground since last Thursday getting set up with the Red Cross to start Water Purification when Louisville Edge arrives. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 20, 2010

Lindsey Tichenor helps care for their three small children and manage the activies of her husband Bowin who is out in the field daily using his knowledge, sweat and hopefully not too much blood to not only develop the wells, but also to train the people of the villages to operate and maintain the equipment.  When they left last summer, little did they know that they would find themselves on the edge of the biggest disaster in the world for 2010.  They live about 60 miles from Port Au Prince and when the earthquake struck at 4:53 pm on January 12, 2010 it shook the ground but they had little in the way of effects.  Very quickly though, word spread of the devastation in Haiti.  Without hesitating, Bowin and his team from the Edge Outreach organization went diretly to the epicenter, not knowing of the dangers in their path or what they would find.  The Louisville Courier Journal has been following their efforts.

Louisville Edge Outreach settled down in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and started the groundwork to setting up water purification systems at the Red Cross. Group leader, Bill Parker, left, talks with Bowin Tichenor after landing in Haiti. Tichenor has been on the ground since last Thursday

Edge Outreach has gone into relief mode for Haiti and you can too.  Lindsey does not know when Bowin will return as he is one who tends to get the job done.  Edge Outreach is efforting to dig at least 100 wells in Haiti to bring clean, life-sustaining water to thousands of Haitians.  The devasted area will need new sources for clean water for months to come.  The work is difficult and laborious.  Digging that many wells will take time, but they will perservere until everyone in the country can have access to clean water, one way or another.  There must be a long term solution for basic needs before the government and global community can rebuild a new Haiti.  Not only will it take time, but also funding to provide those wells.

Louisville Edge Outreach settled down in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and started the groundwork to setting up water purification systems at the Red Cross. The group from left, Hugh McCulloch, Tim Borrson, Ed Walters, and William Ward, said a prayer when they landed for safe travels while doing their work here. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 20, 2010

There are many relief efforts going on with numerous organizations in need of funding for their particular effort.  Edge Outreach did not ask me to solicit funds for them.  I just think its the least I can do to try to help our friends, Lindsey and Bowin, as they do the work on the ground.  They are in country and are on the ground as we speak.  They just need to be adequately supplied with equipment and supplies to bring the precious water to so many in need.  If you would like to give direct aid to Edge Outreach that will use the funds to buy the materials for the wells.  These wells are not a bandaid, its real long term help.  But time is short.  These people need water now and will need it tomorrow.  Shipping water in is only feasible for a limited time.  The best solution is to help the people of Haiti help themselves.  Edge Outreach and people like Bowin and Lindsey are there, they just need some help from home. 

If you feel as if you would like to help the people of Haiti and know exactly where your money is going and for what reason, just  go to the Edge Outreach website and follow the instructions to make a tax deductable donation.To make a donation and find out more, CLICK HERE.  Edge Outreach accepts many major credit cards.”All funds raised in response to the Haiti earthquake will be used immediately to provide clean water for children and families affected by this crisis. Any funds raised in excess will be stewarded by EDGE OUTREACH for additional and future disaster relief efforts.”

Crumbled walls and buildings near the Red Cross in Port-au-Prince, Haiti . Louisville Edge Outreach are starting their groudwork for water purification in this area to the thousands of people that have not had clean water since the earthquake. (Kylene Lloyd, The Courier-Journal) January 20, 2010

Importance of Adequate Water: When faced with a survival situation, clean drinkable water is often the most important consideration. People have survived without food for weeks or even months, but go without water for even just one day and the survivor will be in desperate straights indeed.

Knowing that water is by far the most important nutrient for the human body (besides oxygen) and, in particular, during a survival situation when finding potable water may not be easy, the question becomes – just how long can the human body survive without adequate water?

To maintain a high level of health and efficiency even in ideal environments, a minimum of two quarts of clean water per day per person is the generally accepted rule of thumb. In very hot or cold or very dry environments, or if you are physically active, two quarts of water a day may not be enough to sustain life over a period of days or weeks.

Tune Out and Turn On…Laugh In
January 22, 2010

Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin Were Cool

On this Date in History:  When I was a kid, I had a lunch box.  My sister had a Get Smart lunch box and I wanted one that was cooler.  So, I got a Man From U.N.C.L.E. lunchbox.  I cried though when the thermos broke.  Most of the time the glass broke inside them but mine, for some reason, had the insulating cork inside the top come out as the top somehow came unraveled like a corkscrew.   The demise of my thermos in my lunchbox was probably about the same time that the show was cancelled.  The last episode of  The Man From U.N.C.L.E aired on NBC on January 15, 1968.  The end of my lunch box thermos and Napoleon Solo was the beginning of one of TV’s most iconic shows.  On September 9, 1967 NBC aired a one hour special.  It was called Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.  It was a very loosely formatted comedy-variety show.  The hosts were the comedic team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.  I loved Dick Martin.  He was right up there with Jonathan Winters and George Carlin as the funniest guys I had ever seen. 

Goldie Hawn

They would begin the show, sometimes dressed in tuxedoes, doing a brief introductory routine.  Rowan was the straight man and Martin came across as a fun-loving, partying, lady-chaser who just seemed to show up without any idea of what was going on.  It was up to Rowan to keep him in line.  From there, they would go to the cocktail party, which was a  set with just about the entire cast.  There were girls in bikin’s with words and phrases written on the exposed part of their bodies and they, along with everyone else would dance.  Periodically, the music would stop like musical chairs and someone would serve up a short joke. 

The show lasted an hour and had numerous skits and routines.  The special did so well that NBC used  it as a replacement for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which had a pretty successful 4 year run.  On this date in 1968, the first episode of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In aired on a Monday night.  It was a tough spot because it was going up against The Lucy Show and Gunsmoke.  I mean, we’re talking about Lucille Ball and Matt Dillon. 

Dan Rowan

But, in fairly short order, Laugh-In rose to the top of the ratings.    Television in the late 60’s had begun to address modern social issues, politics and tried to embrace the hippie culture.   Shows like Sonny and Cher and the Smothers Brothers really pushed the censors and the polical commentary by the Smother’s Brothers eventually drove CBS to cancel them even though it was a very highly rated and successful venture.  But, NBC seemed to give Laugh-In a longer leash.  When Dan Rowan did his news report from the desk (something Saturday Night Live picked up on later) he regularly made anti-Vietnam and anti-Lyndon Johnson references.   He also did something clever called “news of the future.”  I remember once in his news of the future, he referred to President Regan.  At the time, Reagan was governor of California. 

Verrry Interesting

Now, aside from the showing of consumption of cocktails at the party and the political commentary, the show also featured regular jokes of a sexual nature.  I suppose NBC must have figured they had nothing to lose with the show going up against two powerhouses like Lucy and Matt Dillon, so they just let it go and told the network censors to take a hike for an hour.  Like the early version of Saturday Night Live, the show was a showcase for the talents of many young comedians.  Lilly Tomlin made her mark with her recurring character Ernestine the operator and the little girl in the big chair named Edith Anne.  Ruth Buzzi also began a reasonably successful career.  Judy Carne seemed to have a british accent and gained fame as the “sock it to me” girl.  She would say “sock it to me” and a bucket of water would be tossed on her.  Throughout the five year run of the show, “sock it to me” became the popular catch phrase.  Henry Gibson had a number of sketches with regular characters including a weekly bit of poetry.  Then there was Arte Johnson and his dirty old man who constantly harrassed the little old lady played by Buzzi.  Johnson also had a recurring segment as a german soldier who would say “very interesting.”  Jo Anne Worley…well..was Jo Anne Worley.

Click Image to See Tiny Tim and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips"

After awhile, big named celebrities would make cameo appearances with typically just a one liner.   John Wayne showed up, which was a big deal because he was so conservative and had been a big supporter of the Vietnam War.  Dan Rowan had a character called General Bullright who advocated constant war, so it was a little odd that the Duke would show up.  Frank Sinatra showed up now and again as did others.  Sammy Davis, Jr. did more than just make a brief appearance as he came on as the judge and did his “here comes the judge” routine. Flip Wilson’s career show skyward after appearing on Laugh In and and an overnight sensation was born with Tiny Tim singing “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.”

Click to see Nixon and Sock It to Me?

Perhaps the biggest splash of the time came when Richard Nixon during the presidential campaign in 1968 thought it would loosen up his image by appearing. By that time, actors in Hollywood had become more openly political and politicians began to chum up with Hollywood.  But still, no one would ever imagine the stodgy Nixon to show up on Laugh-In.   He did and simply said “sock it to me” though I recall it was more delivered like a question.  I believe it only lasted just 4 seconds but some think the echo lasted much longer and,  it didn’t hurt.  Nixon won the 1968 election.   His opponent, Hubert Humphrey had declined his invitation and some think that really hurt Humphrey but helped Nixon secure the win in November.

Click Image to See Goldie Hawn Explain Everything

Just like Saturday Night Live, the cast members who gained some fame moved on to exploit their new fame.  Goldie Hawn was portrayed as a silly blonde and she went on to make movies that portrayed her in a completely different light.  I had always thought that Arte Johnson would go on to great things but he never seemed to catch on, though he may have done some writing.  Dick Martin not only wrote for many successful comedy shows, he also was a director of many popular shows.  He also served as the Executive Producer, along with Dan Rowan, for Laugh-In.  One thing that was a constant was Dan Rowan’s cigarette.  That wasn’t a big deal back then because people regularly smoked on TV.  It wasn’t until the mid 1970s that smoking became a taboo.  He died from lymphatic cancer in 1987, about two weeks past the 20th anniverary of Laugh-In’s first special.  There was another woman, Theresa Graves, whom I thought would make it big. I thought she was hot.  She died too young at age 54 in a house fire.  Not sure what happened to Alan Suess for that matter.  They tried to strike lightning twice and come out with a new Laugh-In in the late 1970’s but the atmosphere was different in the country and on the show.  It was a disaster.  But, one of the new young, unknown comedians from that show was Robin Williams, who landed on Mork and Mindy shortly after the revised Laugh-In died in 1978.

I'd stay up late just to see Theresa Graves

Laugh-In came on during the last time slot in prime time.  My mom and dad usually made me go to bed but I sometimes coaxed them into letting me watch.  They would laugh at things that I didn’t understand but I would laugh anyway to try and make them think that I was all grown up.  My sister charged me with laughing at things I didn’t understand.  She was right, but I pretended that she was stupid. But, the parts that I did understand, I thought was funny.  But, when I look at it now, it seems kinda dumb.  I suppose part of the appeal to the show was the novelty and the change in represented from a more innocent, controled structure of television to entertainment television that had a social or political message.  Now, we’ve gone to reality TV.  What seemed so revolutionary back in 1968 now seems to represent the innocence of  a time gone by.  If TV is so good today, how come we continue to see reruns from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s and then…not much.  Could be because the actors of those shows do not receive royalties.  But it also could be that, aside from shows like MASH or All in the Family (which began around 1970), that television today really isn’t good enough for anyone 10 years from now to want to watch.

Severe threat Sat Night Well South Southwest of the area

Weather Bottom Line:  In the near term, the forecast is pretty much on schedule.  Temperatures will remain pretty steady with clouds sticking around.  We may get close to 50 by late in the day.  As I’ve been saying all week, Saturday looks to be the best we will do this week and in the forseeable future so enjoy temperatures in the upper 50’s to near 60 while you can.  We get affected by all of those storms in the west and colder air starts coming down.  Saturday night, we may have thunderstorms but the severe risk is well to our southwest.  Sunday again is mild in the 50s but there will be a chance for rain.  Then a cold front comes through and by Monday afternoon or evening, snow shows up in the picture.  Now, the NAM is silent on snow.  But, the longer range models all have a secondary trof that swings through and provides a snow chance.  The GFS wants to have light snow from late Monday through Wednesday with totals of around an inch.  But, others cut us off for Wednesday and reintroduces snow on Thursday.   Most of the models want to form a low or inverted trof along the Gulf and run that through the SE US throwing snow back over the cold air our way.  The feature itself is pretty consistent but the timing and direction is all messed up with the computer models.  So, we’ll see.  While it’s not set in stone and not as drastic as we saw earlier this month, I think its entirely possible we stay below freezing after Monday evening through the rest of the week, but again, there are some variables at play….either way…you’re not going to see temperatures anywhere near what we have this weekend so get out and about on Saturday.  Just beware, it’s a false spring.