Archive for the ‘Louisville Forecast’ Category

Ginger or Mary Ann?
February 12, 2011

A Long Way From Gilligan's Island

NOT my grandmother...but it is Tatiana

On This Date in History:  If I am not mistaken, Elizabeth Carter Symon was born on this date in 1898.  My grandmother lived to see February 11, 1998.  It always amazed me that she was born in the Oklahoma Territory.  I’ve seen a photo of her and her best friend in a horse and buggy.  She and her best friend went on to marry two men who were friends as well.  They remained as such for the rest of their lives.   Think about it.  My grandmother was born in Oklahoma before it was a state, rode around in a horse and buggy and in her lifetime, the invention of the automobile, the airplane, the atomic bomb and numerous medical breakthroughs took place.  She saw her territory become a state and saw man walk on the moon.  When she began there was no radio, no phonograph, no tv and probably not too many phones or running water where she grew up.  She did go to college though, which was rare in those days for a woman.  So many other things changed during her lifetime including the notable birth of Tatiana Josivovna Chernova Blacker on this date in 1934

I Think Jonas Grumby Would Have Had a Heart Attack if he Saw This Waiting in his Hut instead of Gilligan

Tatiana was born in New York and was raised by her mother, Betty Horn, who was a fashion model.  She went by the name Tina Blacker and told her high school teacher that she was the only girl in class without a middle name.  At the age of 17, she began taking acting classes and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  At 17, she started taking acting classes and did some modeling, showing up in some old “pin-up” magazines such as Modern Man and Adam, Sir!  In 1952, Tina made her acting debut on Broadway in a Bette Davis musical revue called Two’s Company.  More Broadway shows followed as did appearances in Playboy in May 1958 and April 1959.  I guess Hef must have dug her to put her in twice.  She probably caught his attention when she gained notoriety in 1957 for her performance with future Catwoman Julie Newmar in the Broadway adaptation of Li’l Abner.  That same year, she released an album with a couple of popular tunes, “Embraceable You” and “I’m in the Mood for Love.”  I mean, 1957 alone must have screamed “Hef! Hef!” for the budding star and she seemed destined for greatness.  And you know what, she became a household name; even to this day.

As We Remember, Ginger

She had film roles in the early 1960’s as a leading lady for the likes of Robert Ryan, Richard Widmark and Robert Taylor.  She turned down a role in Operation Petticoat, which would have put her on the wide screen with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.  She opted instead for more Broadway shows.  Then, in 1964, she teamed up with Bob Denver in a beach party movie called For Those Who Think Young.  No one remembers that movie but Tina will always remember that as the catalyst that changed her career and life.  You see, Denver was set to star in a new TV Show in 1964 and she took the role that was turned down by Jayne Mansfield.  Tina had taken as a stage name the middle name her high school teacher had given her, which was Louise.  Tina Louise starred in Gilligan’s Island as Ginger Grant.  She became unhappy with the role as she feared she would be typecast.  She was right.  But, she also became a television icon.

Cast Your Vote in the Poll

She continued her career and even had a memorable role in The Stepford Wives.   But, for all the acting credentials, playboy shoots and pinups, she will always be remembered as Ginger and be part of arguments over the question that will last forever: “Ginger or Mary Anne?”  While she generally refused to reprise the role of Ginger in any of the follow up movies related to Gilligan’s Island, she did make cameos on a few talk shows with a reunion theme.  While she may have tried to run from her role as Ginger, she couldn’t hide.  In fact, in 2005, TV Land listed her as 2nd all time in that cable channel’s top ten greatest sex-symbols of TV.  I once had a job in which I got to see all 98 episodes of Gilligan’s Island as I edited and dubbed the entire series.  I could watch every show frame by frame.  An interesting way to try to analyze the question: Ginger or Mary Ann?  And, it provided answers to other questions:  The Skipper was Jonas Grumby, the Professor was Roy Hinkley, Mary Ann’s last name was Summers and Gilligan was never given a last name, though creator Sherwood Schwartz once said that Gilligan was his last name.

Weather Bottom Line:  Believe the hype; it’s going to warm up.  The oscillation over the Arctic changed last week which had been oriented such that the North Pole has been warm all season and the continental US so cold has flipped.  It takes a little while for the change to come down stream but it will come.  The jet stream will move well north and we’ll be pushing toward 60 by the end of next week. If this shift persists, then winter is effectively over…but…it could shift back..after all it is an El Nino year so enjoy it while you can.

Falkland Islands: Nothing More Than a Symbol of Pride
January 22, 2011

May 14 1979 Time Magazine Proved To Be a Prophecy...but for what?

On This Date in History:  In the early 1980’s, there was a much publicized war between Argentina and Great Britain over a tiny group of islands off the southern tip of Argentina.  It became known as the Falkland Islands War.  Britain had long maintained sovereignty over the islands and Argentina suddenly had laid claim to them.  Very few people had heard of the islands before and most in Great Britain probably had no idea that it was British property.  The islands really had little value but the honor of Britain was at stake.  As it turns out, it was really a repeat of history. 

Sir Thomas Cavendish

The Spanish had been the lords of the sea for much of the 18th century and therefore had been able to do the most exploring and exploitation of the new world.   When the Spanish Armada was routed by the British in 1588, that opened up the New World to other European nations.  Now, Sir Thomas Cavendish was an English explorer and sailor known as the “navigator” for his sailing skills.  While Magellan, Loaisa, Drake and Loyola all had circumnavigated the globe, apparently none of them set sail with that intention.  Cavendish is credited with being the first to make such a voyage as his primary, intended quest.  He achieved this at age 28 after a two-year journey in 1588.  For some reason, that was not enough because he tried it again in 1591.  By 1592, Cavendish was dead of unknown causes and the attempt has been labeled a disaster.   However, it is thought that, on this voyage, one of Cavendish’s ships was captained by a man named Davis who, either by design or bad weather, got separated from Cavendish near the Straits of Magellan and is thought to be the first to have seen the islands.  However, he did not explore then or otherwise make any observations.  While that seems nebulous on the surface, it would prove to be important for centuries. 

Over 200 years later, Falklands still good for sheep

In 1771, a man named Samuel Johnson wrote a detailed history of the Falkland Islands up to that point.  Johnson seems to be opining of the uselessness of the islands.  After Captain Davis, several other people saw the islands but never bothered to stop.  When they were mapped, it was found that the islands had lots of water but no wood.  It had a good harbor and only had a benefit perhaps as a military outpost to support colonial operations.  But, even that was a dubious distinction because there was no way that the islands could ever be self-sufficient.  Spain had nominally laid claim to the islands as part of its Argentina colonization but the Spanish never did much with it.  The British did set up an outpost and provisioned it regularly and also found that sheep and cattle seemed to be more suitable for that environment than agriculture.  Around 1870, the Spanish showed up and asked the British to leave.  Mainly out of pride, the British refused.  The exchanges between the commander of the British garrison and the Spanish frigate captain is remarkable in that it is civil.  It’s as if both of them were doing their duty but really didn’t want to spill blood over something of such little value.  The Spanish eventually landed with a far superior force and the British left.  But, that wasn’t the end of it. Again, pride shows up and the crown just  couldn’t allow their claims to be challenged.  Their claim of possession was  basically that they had found it first.  The courts of Spain and England negotiated and discussed and, in the end, the King of Spain disavowed any knowledge of the actions of the governor of Buenos Aires, who apparently had directed his naval forces to take the island without orders  or permission from the King.  So, on this date in 1771, Spain ceded what was known as the Falkland Islands to the English, to the British Crown. 

Falklands More Suitable To Penguins Than People

Johnson opined on what all of this got the crown:  “… a restitution of our settlement, maintained the honour of the crown, and the superiority of our influence. Beyond this what have we acquired? What, but a bleak and gloomy solitude, an island, thrown aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren in summer; an island, which not the southern savages have dignified with habitation; where a garrison must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy the exiles of Siberia; of which the expense will be perpetual, and the use only occasional; and which, if fortune smile upon our labours, may become a nest of smugglers in peace, and in war the refuge of future bucaniers.”  Johnson hammered the point of the lack of utility of the island when he points out that, after the Brits gained the concession, they abandoned the island.  He does note, however, that “the Spaniards have stipulated, that the grant of possession shall not preclude the question of prior right, a question which we shall probably make no haste to discuss, and a right, of which no formal resignation was ever required.”  This perhaps was the underlying excuse for hostility by the Argentinians 200 years later.

Falkland Islands Map

Falkland Islands Map

On the other hand,  it is not unusual for a government in turmoil with a risk of collapse from within to create an international incident in order to unify the country against a common foe besides the government. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Argentina had been ruled by a military dictatorship that had once been popular but was rapidly losing support from the people as they grew weary of the number of political prisoners that had been taken as well as people who had simply disappeared. The economy was shrinking at 6% per year and inflation was running at 160%. The unions began to join forces with political opposition groups and the military Junta knew it was in trouble. Then, they thought a gift had been delivered to them.

The Harrier Proved Its Meddle in the Falklands

The Harrier Proved Its Meddle in the Falklands

While the Falkland and the South Georgia Islands had long been part of the British empire, the general global feeling of the 20th century was that empires needed to come to an end. However, perhaps due to the same pride that caused the British to want to keep the islands in the 18th century,  numerous attempts through the United Nations by Argentina to get Britain to cede the islands to Argentina failed. In 1979, an Argentinian businessman (Constantino Davidoff) purchased a former whale slaughterhouse on the South Georgia Islands from an Englishman(Christian Salvensen). The new owner wanted to dismantle the plant and sell the metal for scrap. The HMS Endurance was in the vicinity and the Argentine owner asked the Brits to loan him the use of their naval vessel to help him haul off the scrap. The crown denied his request. So, he went to his own Navy which obliged. This was the perfect set up for the Junta. It knew that the people of Argentina supported the idea of the nation gaining sovereignty over the islands off its coast and, if the Junta could use the situation properly, it could perhaps regain public support.  Besides, the Spanish never did acknowledge that the British had rightful claim when it ceded control in 1771.

Aluminum Ships Like Destroyer HMS Sheffield Proved Vulnerable To Missiles

Aluminum Ships Like Destroyer HMS Sheffield Proved Vulnerable To Missiles

So, in March 1982 when the Argentine Navy ship showed up at the South Georgia Islands, residents there complained to London that there was a warship with the Argentine flag floating in their waters. So, the British sent the HMS Endurance to the scene to prevent any landing by any Argentinians. Argentina responded by sending the military transport Bahia Parasio to the islands with the hope of occupying the islands peacefully. Now, the Junta had a plan for invading the Falkland and South Georgia Islands on the shelf for a couple of years. The nation had a pretty decent military and the battlefield would be 7500 miles from England. Also, they figured that they could use the weather as an ally by staging their invasion between June and October, which is the winter time in the Southern Hemisphere which would make things more difficult for England. The advantage really was with Argentina.

War Was The Big Headline in London

War Was The Big Headline in London

But…the people at home were getting restless and protests were growing quickly against the military leaders. So, they made the mistake of moving up their time-table. On April 2, 1982 Argentine ground forces of landed on the South Georgia Islands. The Falkland Islands War was on and the Argentine government appealed to President Reagan for support. The Rio Treaty of 1947 called on all nations of the Americas to come to the aid of any nation that was invaded by foreign forces. The Junta told Reagan that they were enforcing the rights of Argentine workers to legally do the job of removing the whaling slaughterhouse. I guess Ron didn’t agree because he didn’t lift a finger. After all, England was not your ordinary foreign invader. It had been our pal throughout the 20th Century and Reagan had established a strong bond with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who earned her reputation as the “Iron Lady” by calling the Argentine bluff.

Sinking HMS Conventry and other ships highlighted limitations and vulnerability of naval assets

Instead of quietly negotiating away the islands, she sent a task force of ships, submarines, sailors and over 10,000 troops all the way from England. The task force left on April 5, 1982…just 3 days after the Argentine invasion. The first encounter of the Brits and Argentines happened on April 25 and by the middle of June, the war was over with an Argentinian surrender…just before the winter got going. Many historians agree, the biggest mistake of the Argentine Junta was to attack in the fall instead of sticking to their plan of a winter assault. In the eyes of many, the Argentinians had a good case for obtaining the islands but, the military might and determination of Margaret Thatcher rendered any legitimate points moot. A little more than a year later, the Argentinian Junta was out of office and any hope of ever getting to the negotiating table with Britain over ceding the islands was doomed. They never should have neglected the weather forecast.  Or maybe they should have just agreed that the islands were of no value.  As it stands, many people died and treasure spent on a bunch of islands that no one really found  much use for except express misappropriated pride…but at last, that pride is redeemed…you see, oil was discovered a few years ago near the Falkland Islands and, once again, Argentina is claiming and Britain ain’t listening. 

Weather Bottom Line:  Yes, it’s cold.  Is your street clear of snow?  I think the Mayor is in Washington DC so maybe he’s not aware of the snow on the streets in your neighborhood.  Then again, perhaps the delay is just a money-saving tactic since it’s the weekend and they’ll just clear everyone’s road by Sunday night for the Monday start to the work week.  See, there is a model out there that just keeps throwing snow over the area for many days.  That would be the GFS.   Its been consistent in that assertion from last Thursday through early Saturday morning. I suspect that it will change its mind because it’s the outlier as most models do not have a low traversing the Ohio Valley and conspiring with one to the South to bring lots of snow, or at least several days of light snow.  Instead, most damp out the midwest low and make the southern low the dominant feature and routes it through Dixie and up the east coast.  The weather service still has a chance of snow in the forecast from Sunday night through Wednesday, but we’ll have to wait and see.  Either way, while it will remain cold for the forseeable future, we will come out of the ice bucket after the weekend.

A Case of Cherry
January 21, 2011


Sample of Gong Show Acts

Sample of Gong Show Acts

On This Date in History:

Some of you may remember The Gong Show. People came on the show and the judges would give them a score. If the acts were really bad, a judge would stand up and bang a gong that meant the act was off the show. I think the winner of the show got something like $32.98 or some such odd, low number. America loved it for awhile as they loved to watch the stupid, crummy acts, not the good ones. We love competition but sometimes we seem to gravitate to the most preposterous or bad performances. One of NFL Films most popular team biopic is on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that lost 26 games in a row and every game in a season…the only team to do so in modern times until the Detroit Lions joined them this year. And of course, there is American Idol and the infamous William Hung. He is probably more well known than most of the winners.

This is not new with America.

William Hung

Before the Gong Show and the Buccaneers and William Hung, there was the Cherry Sisters. They were so bad, they became a smash hit. The Cherry Sisters first took to the stage on this date in 1893 in Marion, Iowa. They received $250 for a one hour show. Pretty good money. In Marion, the folks must have been kind because it was in Marion that they got their only good newspaper review. When they took their act to Cedar Rapids, the local Gazette referred to their performance as “ultimate gall.” The paper also mentioned that people threw overshoes at the ladies. See…Iraqis did not invent the act of throwing shoes at people on stage. Not to outdone by their neighbors, the people of Dubuque tossed a tin wash boiler, turnips and sprayed them down with a fire extinguisher. I’m not sure what a tin wash boiler is but, who brings turnips to a show? The newspaper in Davenport, Iowa issued a warning to would be concert-goers. Rocks larger than two inches would not be allowed in the theatre! I guess Constitutional rights only go so far….one inch rocks were okay but two inches? Forget it!

Addie and Effie (One In Middle Not Jessie)

Eventually, the act was so bad, it became popular and the “The Celebrated Cherry Sisters” made their way to the big time of the Big Apple. Yup…they went to Broadway in 1896 under the guidance of none other than Flo Ziegfeld himself. People came to the theatre in droves just to hurl insults and garbage at them. Much like the Blues Brothers, the stage manager stretched a fish net across the stage to protect them from hurtling objects. But, it finally went too far.

These ladies were indeed modern women determined to move ahead the process of jurisprudence when they did a very late 20th century thing. They sued. The Des Moines Leader wrote a review that called “Addie” a “capering monstrosity of 35” and sister “Effie” “an old jade of 50 summers.” Not true…Effie lived until 1944. It was kinder to “Jessie” referring as a “frisky filly of 40.”

Hideous Creatures?

The truth is that Jessie died of typhoid in 1903 at age 31. It also called the sounds the sisters made “were like the wailings of damned souls.” I don’t know why they sued the Leader because Billy Hamilton of the Odebolt Chronicle in western Iowa called the ladies “three hideous creatures surpassing the witches of MacBeth.” I guess being a hideous creature and people throwing rocks and garbage was one thing but telling the public that Effie was 50 was too much. So what did the judge do? He had them perform in court and the case was closed. He ruled in favor of the newspaper saying that “Freedom of discussion is guaranteed by our fundamental law.” This was not just any court though…it was the Iowa State Supreme Court and, while the Sister’s act may be long forgotten, the case has become a textbook standard citation of First Amendment law under the moniker, the Cherry Case. I don’t know how much money the ladies made but if they pocketed $250 in Marion, Iowa they must have done pretty good in New York. Nevertheless, I doubt if they planned on being remembered in history for a lawsuit against a newspaper that ridiculed them mercilessly. Another case of unintended consequences.

Weather Bottom Line:  Told you there would be snow and the rest of the forecast will hold true as well with pretty cold temperatures through the weekend.  Snow White was driving to Louisville on Thursday and I told her that she would probably not get snow until about the time she it Lexington.  She reported that at the 75/64 interchange, she saw her first snowflake.  She took some issue with the conditions of I-64 on Thursday afternoon from about Shelbyville on in. Not sure why the road was not addressed since this storm was well known in advance.  On Monday, there is another chance for snow but this one probably won’t be as significant as the system is southern in nature and will be traversing the Dixie states well to our South.  Nevertheless, some over running moisture will bring at least some snow showers if not light snow  We may get back above freezing on Thursday afternoon.

It’s National Nothing Day; Celebrate in Earnest
January 16, 2011

You can even get a wristband (click image) for National Nothing Day!

Doing Nothing Meant Alot to Bon Scott and Angus Young

This Date in History: Everyone says that they are so busy these days, or at least we act like we are. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone tells me that they are too busy to do something. Do you think that you could just do nothing? There is an AC/DC song called Down Payment Blues with a line that says “I know I ain’t doin’ much, doin’ nothin’ means a lot to me.” My friends and I in high school always liked that song. I guess Bon Scott liked doin’ nothing. After a bunch of poor grades on a test, a bunch of my students’ excuse was that they didn’t have time to do the reading assignment. A few days later, I tricked them when I asked if they had seen the UL-UK football game, the VH-1 Awards or Dancing with the Stars. When they all said that they had, I told them to never tell me that they don’t have time to do the reading assignment. We use the excuse that “I don’t have time” to do a given thing when, in fact, we choose not to use our time in that way. We say that we don’t have time to visit a co-worker in the hospital but have plenty of time to watch that favorite TV show. So, the question on the table might be, could you do nothing or are you too busy?

I think that everyone’s life is an interesting story. But, I suppose society doesn’t much think so. The lives of everyday people tend to go by the wayside while instead we turn our attention to people who yearn for attention even though they didn’t do anything to really earn that distinction. Think of all of the celebrities in the spotlight today who really have done nothing except be in the spotlight. So, maybe we do like to celebrate nothing. If that is the case, then today is your lucky day. It would seem that the life of a newspaperman would be interesting but, in the case of Harold Pullman Coffin, apparently that was not the case.

One cannot find anything about the life of this journalist; not even the name of any newspaper for which he worked. Children Come First have a writing contest for the day but the link to the Smithsonian it features leads nowhere. But, you will find that he was described as a “newspaperman” and he managed to leave his name for posterity and history simply by decided to celebrate nothing. On this date in 1973, newspaperman Harold Pullman Coffin designated January 16 as National Nothing Day. I’m not sure of his motivation but he wanted to “to provide Americans with one national day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything.” Beyond that quote and the assertion that he was a newspaperman, there is nothing more. It’s too bad that Congress doesn’t recognize Coffin’s day for about half the year, then the nation might be able to get something done.

Abolitionist Coffin Related To Harold Pullman Coffin?

Anyway, I”m forced to speculate regarding Mr. Coffin but I have found that the University of Nevada at Reno is the holder of the E.B. Coffin collection. It is a set of personal papers and photographs derived from the Edward Baker Coffin family. Edward Baker Coffin was born in 1861 in California. His family was from Nantuckett, MA and his uncle or great uncle was probably aboltionist Levi Coffin as his brother was named George Levi Coffin. Edward B. Coffin married Ida Pullman of Elko, Nevada. They had 4 children, including Harold Pullman Coffin. Now, that is a rather unusual name so it’s probably our National Nothing Day founder or at least a relation. Now, the listing of Harold Pullman was fourth in the list of the children so we may presume that he was the youngest. But even so, if we assume that Edward Coffin was 30 when Harold was born, then Harold Pullman Coffin would have been 82 when he designated National Nothing Day as an Un-Event.

Andy Rooney Doesn’t think much of Birthdays

Andy Rooney just celebrated his 92nd birthday so, it’s possible that Coffin could have been still working as a newspaperman. (Rooney Bio) But, it seems more likely that the founder of National Nothing Day was the grandson of Edward Baker Coffin. But, we know nothing of the birthday of Harry Pullman Coffin and Andy Rooney says that Unhappy Birthday is a better greeting or none at all for someone looking at another year on the planet. Besides that, it’s probably better that we know nothing about the founder of National Nothing Day because, if we knew more, than that would be something.

Weather Bottom Line:  Today may be nothing…and the Seattle Seahawks seemed to have taken the day seriously…but tomorrow is something of note as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  There are lots of events around town but, unfortunately, the weather will not be very cooperative.  The good news is that we will be dancing with the 40 degree mark.  The bad news is that its going to be wet.  I would much rather have a bunch of snow than cold, dreary rain.  Well, we can’t have everything and I suspect that after the cold and rather snowy winter we’ve had so far, many of you would take the rain.  But, alas, the pattern does not change too much and it would appear that we’re in store for another pretty cold stretch after Tuesday as, after again being around 40 or so we fall below freezing Tuesday night and do not rise above 32 through next weekend.  In fact, several days will feature highs in the 20’s.  Snow returns to the forecast for Thursday behind which arctic air spills down.  At this point, the morning golf game next weekend may be tough as we’ll probably be in the single digits each morning.  Hope you’ve been nice to LG&E.

Abraham Lincoln Authorized the Largest Mass Execution in US History
December 26, 2010

Largest Mass Execution in US History Was Authorized by Abraham Lincoln and it had little to do with the Civil War

On This Date in History: The conflict between the American Indians (aka Native Americans) and European (White) settlers goes back to the original landing of Europeans at Roanoke Island and Jamestown. Just about every time the Indians tried to flip a deal, that deal was broken, most often by the Whites. Sometimes it was by design. Other times, it was not from a formal governmental policy but instead from the fact that White settlers just ignored the treaties. When the British won the French and Indian War, a policy was implemented that prohibited settlements west of the Appalachians. Settlers went into the Ohio Valley anyway. Whether it be British or later American governments, they either had no ability or no desire to enforce the treaties. Many times, it was a combination of government policy, government indifference and settler behaviour that resulted in the fracture of any given treaty. In the end, the result was the same: the Indians got screwed.

In 1851, the Dakota in what is now the northern plains states figured that their only chance for survival was to make peace. On July 23, 1851 the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux called for two bands of the Dakota to cede a big chunk of the southwestern part of the Minnesota Territory (including present day parts of South Dakota and Iowa) to the United States for $1.665 Million. A few months later, two more bands of Dakota gave up a big chunk of the southeastern part of the territory for $1.41 Million. That’s a lot of money today and was an enormous sum back then. Remember, Alaska was purchased for $7.2 Million and about 1/3 of the continental US was had for $15 Million with the Louisiana Purchase. The French and the Russians accepted a check from the US Treasury but the Indians were basically given a promise in the form of future payments and annuities. Hmmm….guess what happened?

White Refugees Escaping the Battles

The Dakota was removed from their lands to reservations but the payments were not as forthcoming. The US government decided it was best to disperse payments over time through Indian Agents. It’s hard for me to ascertain but it appears that those agents, more or less, sub-contracted out some of the work to traders. I believe that, as far as the government was concerned, payments were being made. But, the agents and traders tended to either pocket much of the money for themselves or use it for other purposes. Agents often used monies intended for the Indians to pay claims made against the Indians by White settlers. Over time, the poor guys on the reservations began to starve. As they say, the natives became restless. In 1857, a group of Dakota had an uprising that resulted in the deaths of 40 settlers in what was known as the “Spirit Lake Massacre.” A year later, the Indians tried to make nice by ceding part of their reservation lands to the settlers. That didn’t get them anything except a smaller reservation.

Harper's Weekly Somewhat Propagandized the Affair

By 1862, the Civil War was raging and the Dakota was starving. Confederate agitators were providing some supplies to the Indians and encouraging them to rise up. Johnny Reb wasn’t so much concerned with the plight of the Native Americans as much as they were hoping that they would cause such a problem that it would divert attention and resources from the Union War effort. In any event, I don’t think that the Dakota needed much encouragement. They were getting fed up and their families were starving. Rumors that the payments were not going to be made in gold due to the war really got them going. And the deceptions of the White men involved were numerous and had a long history. So, on August 18, 1862 they staged a huge uprising. Well, that’s what many histories call it. Ultimately, what the Indians were doing to leaving the reservation in search of food and if some Whites got in the way, well that was too bad. At least one group went to a settlers chicken coop and grabbed some eggs.

To make a long story short (er), the Indians were defeated and several hundred Indian males were captured.  They had military trials and were sentenced to death.  The trials weren’t exactly fair but it also wasn’t the total case for murder that some sources cite.  See, if the crimes of violence were indeed violations of the law, then punishment was justified.  BUT…the trials were considered to be part of a military commission and the commanders decided that the defendants therefore were not afforded counsel.  Then, the level of criminality suitable for the death sentence seems to have been pretty liberal.  If someone were to have been shown to have provided ammunition, or fired a single shot or done anything to help, the sentence was death.  And the evidence provided even for those types of charges was pretty thin in many cases.  No doubt, some of the accused had done acts of violence that resulted  in death of combatants or innocent victims.  But, the standards for trial would not have come close to passing muster in a modern courtroom; military or civil.  They took the word of some Indians and “half-breeds” who turned states evidence in return for lenient sentences, but they refused to consider testimony related to those who were said to have prevented murder and rape.  So, 303 men faced the gallows.

Lincoln's order authorizing the execution of 39 men

Well, President Lincoln had a dilemma.  If he allowed the executions, then European nations may take a dim view of the Union and in 1862 things weren’t going so well for the North and there was a real fear that France, England and Russia might come to support the South.  So, Lincoln made a compromise.  He reviewed some cases and determined that 39 executions could take placeOn this date in 1862, the largest mass hanging in US history took place when 38 Dakota Indians were hanged for their “crimes.”  One lucky soul at the last moment was given a reprieve by the military commander.  It’s a little known and sad episode in America and one that is often lost in the historiography of Abraham Lincoln.  It seems to contradict the notion as “Father Abraham” being the “Great Emancipator.”  In fact, it is somewhat ironic that Lincoln had already announced his Emancipation Proclamation that would take effect just 6 days after the execution of the Dakota.  But, it’s difficult to make judgements using present day sensibilities and try to transport them back to the 19th Century.  It was  different time.

 Also, Lincoln’s main objective was preserving the Union and so he probably didn’t take the time to review the situation as much as he might have otherwise.  But, the story itself is an interesting example in how the injustices done to the Native Americans of this nation seem to take a back seat to the injustices done to African-Americans or other minorities or immigrants.  Even today, as the Indians figured out how to take advantage of their status and open up Casinos beyond the reach of the IRS, state governments have tried to use courts to force them to break the treaties of the past and force them to pay taxes.  Some things don’t change…then again…some do because the courts of the late 20th century have told the state and federal governments that they cannot get their hands on the pocketbooks of the sovereign nation.  But, that’s little consolation for the 38 who swung at the end of the rope.

Weather Bottom Line:  The cold stretch is about to come to an end for awhile.  I see most forecasts call for temps to get to the 50’s as we head to the new year.  But, it will be interesting to see how it shakes out because I’ve seen some modeling data that wants to create a huge ridge that takes warm, moist gulf air all the way to the Great Lakes and Louisville pushing 70 degrees on New Years Day with a line of very strong storms approaching.  Hmmmm….probably wont be 70 but don’t be surprised to ring in the new year with some thunderstorms,which I suppose at this point is a nice break from rain.  I think we could do without the severe stuff though but we’ve had tornadoes in January in the past few years.  Not predicting that, but it’s not totally out of the question.  After that (I hate long-term forecasts) but it looks like we fall back to seasonal levels but nothing overly brutal temperature wise but again, i”m talking 10 days out and the models tend to trend toward climatology that far out so we’ll see.  Nevertheless, expect a thaw to end 2010.

A Christmas Thought
December 24, 2010


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

Does Snoopy Have it Right?

Does Snoopy Have it Right?

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

Take a look at this.

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

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

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

As I can attest, things don’t always go the way we want them to go and we have set backs, obstacles and difficulties in life. Christmas time is not immune from that. For the past two years Snow White were in a bit of and unpleasant, unexpected circumstance.  It was tough (especially the second year) but were thankful for what we had and for each other. We feel blessed with our circumstance whether it be tough times or the many friends we have, our families and the fond memories we have and the memories still left to make. Christmas is a time of love and hope for the future.  Two years ago,  there is no way that I could ever have imagined that we would be where are we are today.  And yet,  here we are.  While I have many people to thank, I know that Providence was at work.  Nothing lasts forever and you never know what happens when you try.  Christmas is a time of gift giving.  It is ultimately the story of the ultimate gift to all who will receive.  I have found that, if I get out of the way and stop grabbing at gifts and instead let my heart be open to accept them and to give to others, then all of the issues and problems of our world suddenly aren’t so difficult.  Everything is not perfect right now but for the first time in 12 years, I get to spend 4 days in a row with just my wife and my kitty cat, and that is a gift in itself.  Snow White and I wish to extend to you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, happy new year.

Weather Bottom Line:  You know, for the majority of the dozen or so years I’ve been in Louisville, we had a White Christmas, if one considers a White Christmas as being one with snow on the ground.  Even if it has to snow on Christmas to fit the definition of the term methinks arose from the Bing Crosby movie and song, we had a number of those over the years.  This year will be no exception regardless of how you look at it. I don’t think you get snowed in on Christmas Eve but several inches will provide an opportunity for a snow angel or a snowman and then on Christmas Day look for flurries or maybe a snow shower.  Be careful on the roads and I’ll leave you with a weather Christmas story.  Whenever it snows, Snow White and I like to go out stomping about in it at about 3 AM.  We did that one time when there was about 10 inches.  When we returned to our driveway, we noticed two snow angels had been made.  By this time it was about 4 AM and we could not imagine who could have been out and about to make them.  So, I looked for footprints that might give a clue.    There were none.  I have no idea how those two snow angels got on our driveway…but I bet that it was not Nostradamus.

The Factual Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott Flowed Like an Orchestra
December 5, 2010

Rosa Parks Was More Than a Simple Seamstress Who Wanted to Ride the Bus

Real story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is Lost in Many Historical Narratives

On This Date in History:  Often times, when history becomes part of the popular lexicon, facts get obscurred in a sanitized or abbreviated version.  In some cases, the blurring of facts is done intentionally.  In other instances, it is a result of lazy or ignorant members of the media or simply from an effort at brevity.  Most of the time, the ultimate storyline remains true at the expense of accuracy.  The process often concludes with the creation of a mythology that raises some figures to great heights while diminishing the efforts of others that history may otherwise lift to the champion pedestal.  The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 provides an example of a historical events that involve all of the elements mentioned.  Many narratives incorrectly mark the start of the 381 day boycott heard round the world.

Robinson May Have Been the Original Force Behind the Boycott

The general story is that a seamstress, Rosa Parks, got on a public Montgomery bus and sat in a seat toward the front and was arrested for doing so and that sparked the boycott that many people point to be the initiation of the Civil Rights Movement that culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  But, there was much more to the story that really had its roots many years before.  You see, all the way back in 1943, Rosa Parks had an issue with the bus service when she paid her fare only to see the bus drive away before she could board through the back entrance as the  driver had instructed her to do.  However, there was another incident in the 1940’s that involved a woman who has been lost to history but whom Dr. Martin Luther King described in his 1958 book Stride Toward Freedom  as “indefatigable”  and whom he acknowledged was “perhaps more than any other person, was active on every level of the protest.”   The person of whom King referred was Alabama State College professor Jo Ann Robinson who in 1949 boarded a sparsely occupied bus and inadvertently sat in the front seat.  The driver unmercilessly screamed at her until she fled the vehicle in tears.  Her response was to attempt to start a protest boycott.  But, when she approached her fellow members of the Woman’s Political Council with her story and proposal, she was told that it was “a fact of life in Montgomery.”  A year later, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church pastor Rev. Vernon Johns, whom is referred by some as the “father of the Civil Rights movement,” refused to give up his seat for a white passenger and was subsequently evicted from the bus.  He asked other African-American riders on the bus to leave with him in protest.  The other passengers rebuffed his urging by  telling him that he should have known better.  It’s worth noting that Jo Ann Robinson was part of Vernon Johns’ Dexter Avenue Baptist Church congregation.

At 15, Colvin Could Have Been Parks Before Parks

So, you see, many historians suggest that the Montgomery Bus Boycott had its origins well before 1955 and it actually involved persons of some prominence.  The circumstance also was not just happenstance.  After the US Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 that struck down the concept of “separate but equal” in public education, Robinson, who had ascended to the position of president of the Women’s Political Council,  informed the mayor of Montgomery that some 25 local organizations were considering a bus boycott to protest the city bus system policies.  The following year, the same Women’s Political Council that told Robinson in 1949 to forget about a bus boycott,  decided to listen to the call of their president and determined that  such a protest was in order.  But, leadership in the African-American community recognized that they needed a catalyst that would outrage Black bus riders enough to the point that they would respond affirmatively.  They wanted to find a person who was “above reproach” and who would agree to challenge the segregation laws in court.  They thought that they had found their person when 15 year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested in early 1955 for refusing to give up her seat.   Miss Colvin was active with the NAACP Youth Council and  NAACP Montgomery Chapter President Edgar D. Nixon thought that Ms. Colvin would be the perfect person to get a boycott plan started.  His hopes were dashed, however, when it was learned the teenager was pregnant.  That brings us back to Rosa Parks. 

Photo Part of Effort to Portray Parks as a Simple Seamstress When In Reality She was Very Involved With the Organizers of the Boycott

Miss Parks was not just a simple seamstress.  In reality, she was a well-respected, educated woman with an unassailable record who had attended the laboratory school at Alabama State College; the same college for whom Jo Ann Robinson was a professor.  Parks was a seamstress but only because she could not find a job that fit her skill set.  However, for many years, Miss Parks was also working for the NAACP, serving as the volunteer secretary for President Edgar Nixon since December 1943.  She and her husband became members of the Voters League in 1944 and, for a brief time, she held a job at Maxwell Air Force Base where there was prohibited.  She often rode a desegregated Trolly on the base and she told her biographer that “Maxwell opened my eyes up.”    By the end of 1955, she had returned from Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, TN where she completed a workshop on race relations.   That trip was encouraged and sponsored by a politically liberal white couple, Clifford and Virginia Durr,  for whom Parks worked as a seamstress and housekeeper.  When the young Colvert was arrested early in 1955, Parks took a keen interest in her case.

Nixon Also Was Arrested During the Boycott

Many narratives suggest that, since it was known (and Parks had experienced first hand) that the bus driver on Park’s chosen route had strong racist tendencies and used harsh measures to enforce Montgomery segregation policy, Parks was encouraged to create an incident that would serve as a catalyst for a planned boycott.  Other narratives imply it was simply a coincidence that it was Parks who got arrested.  In any event, on Thursday, December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks found herself on the 5th row of a crowded bus.  The rules were that Blacks and Whites could not share a seat and that Blacks could only sit from the 5th row to the back of the bus.  The first 4 rows became crowded with Whites and a white man was left standing in the aisle.  The driver instructed the Blacks on the 5th row to move to the back of the bus.  The other riders on Parks’ row complied but Rosa did not.  She was arrested and NAACP President Nixon called to find out on what charge his secretary was being held.  After has was told to mind his own business, Nixon called a white lawyer who was sympathetic to the plight of African-Americans in the hope that the Civil Liberties lawyer would help.  Nixon probably knew that the lawyer would give his assistance since the lawyer was none other than Clifford Durr, Rosa Parks employer and benefactor. 

Parks' Arrest May Have Been Part of the Plan All Along

Professor Jo Ann Robinson that night pushed for a one day bus boycott on the following Monday to protest the arrest of Parks.  She persuaded her students to distribute flyers on Friday announcing the boycott  all over town.   A group of ministers and Civil Rights leaders met to discuss the boycott but the meeting quickly fell apart and many attendees left.  Those who remained decided to spread the word of the planned boycott through word of mouth and from the pulpit.  Initially, it was thought that the boycott would be a one-day affair but they decided to meet again on Monday night to determine the effectiveness of the protest and to determine what their next move would be.  So, on this date in 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.  Dr. Martin Luther King, who by that time had succeeded Vernon Johns as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, determined that a 60% participation in the boycott by African-Americans would be considered a success.  To his surprise and that of others, the busses on Monday that  rolled by his house were nearly empty.  King wrote in Stride Toward Freedom that it was a miracle and that “The once dormant and quiescent Negro community was now fully awake.”  Many leaders wanted to end the boycott and declare victory but Nixon addressed the crowd at the Monday night gathering quite forcefully.  The vote was unanimous to continue the strike. 

There Were Many Players in the Montgomery Bus Boycott

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t clean.  There was violence and bogus arrests.  Edgar Nixon’s home was bombed, dozens of Blacks were arrested under on old city ordinance that prohibited boycotts.  Blacks who rode the bus suffered threats of violence and violence from other African-Americans.  But, on November 13, 1956 the US Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down the desegregation laws of the Montgomery Alabama bus system and on December 21, 1956, African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama returned to the city busses.  While the Supreme Court ruling actually stemmed from Colvin’s arrest,  the story of Rosa Parks was born and soon hers would be elevated to mythical levels and while the myth perpetrated in popular culture got the end correct, the created perceptions leave the uninitiated to believe the story was something that it was not.  The truth is that the story surrounding Rosa Parks revolved around the NAACP, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the Women’s Political Council and the Voters League and the principals were all connected through these organizations.  It’s pretty clear  that the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the story of Rosa Parks was largely orchestrated and not a case of a simple woman refusing to give up her seat on a bus.   Nevertheless, I suppose the outcome is all that really matters.

Snowfall through 8pm 12.4.10

Louisville Weather Bottom Line:  It would appear that I was pretty prophetic.  Over in Frankfort, snow totals ran over 4 inches while around Louisville it was more like 1-2 inches and in Southern Indiana it was more like 1 inch.  Now comes the cold, which will be the story for the rest of the week.  We may not get above 40 until the end of the week with wind chills wreaking havoc through Sunday.  By next weekend, we could be talking snow again because the pattern will be generally the same and another system should be diving down from the northwest.

1st Thanksgiving Had No Pilgrims and Was More Famine than Feast
December 4, 2010

The Bird Was Safe On The First Thanksgiving

The Bird Was Safe On The First Thanksgiving

FDR Wanted Everyone to Cut the Turkey A Week Earlier Than Abe Proposed

On This Date in History:  Thanksgiving has come and gone and Black Friday is in the record books.  I”m not sure how the day after Thanksgiving has turned into such a big deal.  I suppose that its been coming for some time.  Previously, I had outlined the genesis of Thanksgiving and related how President Franklin Roosevelt had once tried to move Turkey Day to a week earlier in an attempt to add an extra week to the holiday shopping season.  Sorta a disguised depression era stimulus plan. It didn’t work and the experiment was scrapped after one year.  I’m not sure what is taught now, but when I was a kid, we were taught in school about how the Indians hooked up with the Pilgrims near Plymouth Rock to have a big feast in 1621.  Today, we sit around stuffing ourselves with Turkey (not the vegetarian Snow White) and watch football games with our eyes closed and belts loosened.   Trouble is, the Puritans on the Mayflower didn’t call themselves Pilgrims; they referred to themselves as “Saints” which seems a bit presumptuous considering not too many years down the road they were burning “witches” at the stake.  The other thing is that the real first Thanksgiving was on this date in 1620 and it was in Virginia.

1st Colonists in Jamestown

The first permanent English settlement in the New World was Jamestown in 1607 in the Virginia Colony and it wasn’t doing too well. The settlers didn’t know what they were doing and the winters were harsh…remember this was during the mini-ice age. Anyway, by the spring of 1610, the colonists were coming off a tough winter and only 60 of the original 409 were left. Sounds like a good time for prayers to me! And that’s what they did and when help arrived in the form of a ship with food and supplies from mother England, they gave thanks with a prayer service. I guess they weren’t a sentamental lot because they never did anything to commemorate the event.

Fast Not Feast On 1st Thanksgiving

Fast Not Feast On 1st Thanksgiving

Two other groups came to Virginia. They were supposed to arrive in Virginia but one(the Mayflower) ended up in Plymouth in 1620. The other (the Margaret) made it to Virginia on December 4, 1619 and their charter read “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival…in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” On December 4, 1620 they commemorated their first year in the colony, not with a feast, but instead they did the opposite and fasted as they prayed. Guess we got that part wrong too. The colonists who landed at what they called Berkeley Hundred didn’t get a chance to mark their second anniversary…some were all killed by Indians and the rest retreated to Jamestown. Maybe they were upset that they weren’t invited to the First Thanksgiving.

ETA Thinks You May Need a Snow Shovel

GFS Thinks It Will Just Be a Pretty Weekend

Weather Bottom Line:  We have another pretty good shot at some snow and this time it will probably be more substantial than what we got on Thanksgiving night.  The long wave pattern is such that there is a dominant and persistent trof in the Eastern half of the US.  The reason why its persistent is because there is a big fat high, or ridge, in the middle of the Atlantic.  There is also a big trof on the front side of that ridge.  That forms a pattern that looks like the greek letter Omega, which is why its called an Omega Block.  Typically,  the Omega pattern is one that puts the breaks on progressive change in the long wave pattern; hence the name Omega “block.”    So, England has been getting slammed with big time snow along with much of the rest of western Europe.  And on this side of the pond, there is the persistent trof with the storm track running from the northern plains throgh the Ohio Valley to the Carolina Mountains.  So, we have another strong shortwave zipping down the storm track through the area.  We have some moisture to work with too.  The heaviest snow will be to the left of the core of that shortwave or “upper low.”  It will be impossible to forecast exactly who gets the biggest snow until about 12 hours before its arrival.  The ETA advertises some 4-5 inches for our area.  The GFS has the track about 50 miles farther east or northeast and so it only has about 1-2 inches.  Take your pick.  My guess is that both will be true for the area, but not for everyone in the area with folks over toward Frankfort having a better chance of 4 inches than the people in Lanesville, Indiana.  After that, the cold air will spill in behind and it will remain chilly for the forseeable future until the Omega Block decides to move.

Abraham Lincoln Was But An Afterthought to the Organizers of the Gettysburg Battlefield Dedication
November 19, 2010

Not Many Photos Exist From Gettysburg

Not Many Photos Exist From Gettysburg

Closer Look at only photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg

Close up of above photo with only known image of Lincoln at Gettysburg

On This Date in History: I have a few words concerning the events of November 19. 1863 but anything that I could say would pale in comparison to the speech reprinted below. It is the the Gettysburg Address and it was delivered 146 years ago today. The president was not invited until about two weeks prior to the ceremony. He was not the main speaker. Edward Everett, a noted statesman from Boston and Harvard President, was given two months notice to work on his speech, which took about two hours to deliver. Mr. Lincoln’s speech was but 270 words. It has been accepted that Lincoln wrote the address on a scrap of paper while on the train to Pennsylvania because it was reported that way in a novel. However, historian Stephen B. Oates points out in his biography, With Malice Toward None, A Life of Abraham Lincoln that the train was too crowded and noisy for him to work on it. Instead, Oates says that he wrote part of it on White House stationery before he left and finished the rest on the morning of the event in Gettysburg.

Verbiage in Invitation to Lincoln Very Interesting

It has been reported that the president was sick. While I find nothing to confirm that he was ill during the proceedings, I suspect that people have made the assumption, perhaps accurate, because after he returned to the White House, he was diagnosed with varioloid, which has been described as a mild for of smallpox. I’m not sure about that one because it seems to me that a “mild form of smallpox” is akin to being “a little pregnant.” Also, it is widely reported that his speech was panned in newspapers across the land. The Chicago Times and paper from Harrisburg, PA certainly show that there were some. However, not all papers were non-plussed by his remarks. In fact, the Chicago Tribune was sharply in contrast to its rival and even Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune recognized the greatness of the speech. I believe I recall a quote from Edward Everett who remarked afterward, “Mr President, you were able to say in a few minutes what I could not in two hours.” This is probably not a direct quote but something reasonably close.

Last Lincoln Portrait Apr 4, 1865

Words of Nov 19, 1863 Long Remembered

Harrisburg Patriot and Union: “We pass over the silly remarks of the President; for the credit of the Nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.”

Chicago Times: “The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances.”

Chicago Tribune: “The dedicatory remarks by President Lincoln will live among the annals of man.”

Horace Greeley: “I doubt that our national literature contains a finer gem than that little speech at the Gettysburg celebration, November 19, 1863… after the close of Mr. Everett’s classic but frigid oration.”

Leaving Gettysburg For the Cemetery

Leaving Gettysburg For the Cemetery

I think what may be lost regarding the speech is what it shows. It is an early indication of where Mr. Lincoln was heading in terms of after the war. Even on a battlefield well north of Washington, Lincoln was confident of victory. What often gets overlooked is that on the same day, US Grant had forced the capitulation of Vicksburg which essentially gave the Union full control of the Mississippi River and effective cut the Confederacy in two. The victory at Vicksburg arguably sealed the deal for the outcome of the war. Mr. Lincoln was aware of that that and if you read carefully, you can see the hints of what his notions were regarding his intentions. He does not give a rah-rah victory speech with talk of retribution. He does not discriminate between the allegiances of the soldiers and speaks of the “unfinished business” and a “new birth of freedom.” Clearly he is talking about concluding the war but he is also referencing a nation of freedom for all. This speech is not just one of honor but also one of reconciliation. It has always eluded me of how differently our nation’s history might have been had the 16th president been allowed to conclude the “unfinished business.” How would he have handled Reconstruction and the reconciliation of the former enemies. John Wilkes Booth lives in infamy as the man who deprived the nation of “what might have been.” There are 5 known drafts of the Gettysburg Address. Each seems to have some variance. Here is a version of the Gettysburg Address:

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Unfortunately, it seems that the youth of America seems to be as uninspired by Mr. Lincoln as did the organizers of the dedication at Gettysburg or some scribes who critiqued the President’s message.  Recently, I was at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and I spotted several student groups.  It appeared as if the students thought that they were at some social gathering. Most were not paying attention to the tour guides, instead generally talking and cutting up while playing what my old football coaches used to call “grabass.”  There was no sense of reflection or respect for the memorial or the man to whom it was built.  It was only older visitors who took the time to read the words of the Gettysburg Address and the text of the President’s second inaugural speech which are etched forever in the marble.  Maybe I’m getting old, but that ain’t right.

Weather Bottom Line:  After a rather dreary and damp day, look for early fog to give way to loads of sunshine that will persist through the for periods of darkness.  Conditions will be quite pleasant so get out and enjoy the great weekend weather.

Not Wearing a Hockey Goalie Mask on the Ice Can Leave One Always Ready for Halloween
November 1, 2010

Playing Goalie in Hockey Without a Mask is a Sure Way to Get No Dates

Plante Without Mask

Plante Without Mask

On This date in History:   Today, hockey players all wear helmets and goalies all wear masks.  In fact, many goalies have developed masks with creative designs on the front.  However, masks and helmets were not always the norm.  It wasn’t until the late 70’s or early 80’s that players were required to wear helmets and even then, veteran players who began playing before the rule was put in place had the option.  Gordie Howe played hockey until he was 51 years old and he never had his head covered.  Goal keepers were a little ahead of the game and it wasn’t by rule.  On this date in 1959, Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante first wore a mask in a game. Prior to that, goalies did not wear a mask and routinely they were hit in the face by a puck flying at what, up to 100 mph? Maybe faster. And those pucks are made of hard rubber. I’d say that a flying puck left a mark or two.  I suspect that  goalies in the NHL at that time did not have hottest girlfriends on the team. But Plante wasn’t the first to try a mask. The first was Clint Benedict of the old Montreal Maroons who wore a partial leather mask in the 1930’s for a brief time but he said it obscured his vision so he stopped using it.

Plante With Mask

Plante With Mask

Now, Plante had used a white fiberglass mask in practice all season but his coach wouldn’t let him wear it in a game.  But, in a November 1, 1959 game, he got hit in the face as a puck screamed across his nose and mouth. The blood poured.  He went to the locker room for stitches.  It took more than 20 minutes, which was a long time for stitches in a hockey game. Seems that the delay was not due to a slow doctor but instead was a result of  Jacques arguing with the coach about his returning with a cream colored mask.(not sure why it wasn’t the white one) He told the coach either he wore the mask or he didn’t play. Later, Plante explained, “I already had four broken noses, a broken jaw, two broken cheekbones and almost 200 stitches in my head,” he pointed out. “I didn’t care how the mask looked.” See, Plante was so good that he could do just about whatever he wanted. He even knitted his own underwear….hardly a manly, tough goalie sort of thing. But he said it calmed his nerves.

Plante courageously put on a mask, to the chagrin of his coach, after he was pummled on Nov 1 1959

It seems pretty courageous for anyone to go into the goalie box without a mask. And Plante did just that. But, it took perhaps even more courage to enter the box wearing a mask. He was jeered and mocked by other players and the fans for years. I’m sure “sissy” wasn’t the only word that he was called. But, after a few years, other goalies thought it might be a pretty good idea and since one of the best did it, why not? The practice of wearing a mask became the norm across the league and today goaltenders embrace the mask as they put all sorts of wild designs on the apparatus to express their personality or show loyalty to the team.

Jacques Plante: A profile in courage. You don’t suppose that the other goalies decided the mask was a good idea when they saw Plante, after wearing the mask, with the best looking dates in the league?

Weather Bottom Line:  Look for a big change for the end of the week as a big fat area of high pressure comes down from the north driving Arctic air our way with perhaps a little hurricane moving up off the east coast to help drag down the cold air.  I could argue that a couple of models want to give us snow on Thursday…but I won’t make that argument now.  No weather excuse not to vote though…should be seasonal with a fair amount of sunshine on Tuesday.