We Need Lucky Luciano In Charge of Kentucky Derby Weather
April 29, 2010

We Could Use His Help For Derby Day

Tony Soprano Tale Based on True Story?

Tony Soprano Tale Based on True Story?

On This Date In History: Remember how in the Sopranos that the FBI guys were trying to get Tony to help them out to catch terrorists? Well, in real life that sort of thing has happened in war-time. In WWII it has been said that the underworld controlled the docks in New York and that the government turned to the criminal element for national security help to prevent sabotage and capture spies. Though the veracity of the claim is unclear, US Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden was put in charge of New York dock security and said:

Lansky American Patriot?

Lansky American Patriot?

“I’ll talk to anybody, a priest, a bank manager, a gangster, the devil himself, if I can get the information I need. This is a war. American lives are at stake. ”

When the government approached the mobsters to help out Uncle Sam with domestic dockside security, bigshot Meyer Lansky, recalled not being too impressed. He said, “Everybody in New York was laughing at the way those naive Navy agents were going around the docks. They went up to men working in the area and talked out of the side of their mouths, like they had seen in the movies, asking about spies.” Now, the USS Normadie had been converted to a troop ship (aka USS Lafayette) and on Feb. 9, 1942 it mysteriously burned (video) while at the New York docks. The suspicion was sabotage and the event spurred both the mob and the Feds to get together for the good of the country and the story is that the government stayed out of the activities of organized crime on the docks in return for security.

Luciano Happy To Help?

Luciano Happy To Help?

While he never actually acknowledged that he and his cohorts helped out in the war effort stateside, it is notable though that Lansky never denied helping the government. Anyway, the real boss in the New York syndicate was Charles “Lucky” Luciano who had risen through the ranks of organized crime after arriving in the US as a poor immigrant from Sicily earlier in the century. He earned the “Lucky” moniker by numerous escapes from “hits” put out on him by his competition. In 1943, Luciano was serving a 30-50 year prison sentence. The allies were planning on invading Sicily but didn’t have much intel. Luciano is portrayed as having an allegiance to the United States but he also had a vendetta against Benito Mussolini who had cracked down on the mafia in Italy in the 1920’s. So, on this date in 1942 US Naval intelligence asked for Luciano’s help as the Allies attempted to invade Italy. Lucky eventually agreed and the results were spectacular. With the hundreds of informants attracted with Luciano’s help,

Luciano Deported 1946

Luciano Deported 1946

United States intelligence officers were able to infiltrate Italy’s naval headquarters and get all sorts of maps and documents. It is said that Luciano’s helpers were even able to convince some Italian soldiers not to fight…but they weren’t doing much of that anyway as the German army did most of the heavy lifting. Of course, the invasion was successful and the rest, as they say, is history.

The US Navy tried to cover its trail regarding the work with the underworld but eventually it came out with perhaps the greatest evidence being the inexplicable release of Luciano from prison in 1946 after serving just 10 years of his sentence. Luciano was deported to Sicily continuing his fame as being Lucky Luciano.

SPC Severe Weather Probability 7AM Derby Day to 7 AM Sunday

HPC Forecast in line with NAM with 1.25" for Derby DayKentucky Derby Weather Forecast: We’re going to need a lot of luck for Derby Day because,  if you want good weather for the Kentucky Derby, come back next year. Now, Oaks Day looks great.  But the story that I’ve been eyeballing all week is really getting lots of data supporting it.  In general, it would seem to me that we get a cold front coming close to us and it stalls.  It gets parallel to the Southwest to Northeast Jetstream flow and stays oriented from around Gary, IN to east of St. Louis to Texarkana and on through San Antonio.  At low levels, there will be lots of moisture converging up the Lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.   I think we’ll have two time frames of maximum rain as two separate jet streaks comes through associated with an upper low. 

GFS Over 2 inches on Derby Day

Oaks Day will be fine..in fact it will be great.  Oaks Day weather looks to be in the low to mid 80’s, breezy and partly cloudy.  Then the first disturbance and strong upper energy comes through bringing heavy rain from say 6 AM to Noon.  Then, I would think that we’d see more scattered activity on Saturday afternoon during most of the races and the condition of the track will be a function of how well the track drains.  The NAM follows what makes sense to me and is most likely as it has an inch of rain from 7AM to 1 Pm and then a tenth of an inch in the afternoon.  Then, the second wave comes through Saturday night with the strong upper jet winds as it may even develop into a surface feature.  If we get severe weather, it seems that this would be the most likely time and high winds would be the biggest bugaboo. But, the story will be rain.  The NAM concludes at 7PM on Sunday with a 36 hour total of about 4 inches.  I’m referring to the 12Z Thur run so it doesnt’ go beyond 7 PM on Sunday but I bet it would have slightly more rain in the offing.  This scenario seems most sensible  to me.

By Sunday Evening GFS dumps over 5 inches of rain for 36 hour total

HOWEVER….the GFS…has a similar solution except that it has heavy rain all day on Saturday and carries it through Sunday night.  By early Monday morning, the GFS has over 5.1″ of rain in less than 36 hours.  The biggest difference is that the GFS has substantially more rain during the races on Derby Day than the other models.  The GFS solution has been closest to what is now the consensus all week and it makes the least sense should we have two seperate jet streaks.  With two different streaks it would call for something less in between.  However, we are going to stay in a jet stream flow over the top of us and, if there is no confluence aloft to limit rain, then we would get persistent rain. 

The Derby will be wet one way or another.  The degree of wetness is the question.  For we locals, make sure that drains are clear because, unlike the South, our geology is  not conducive to supporting such rainfall….not to mention the pumps  of which I might remind the authorities only work properly if you turn them on!

Alleged hit-man murder caught on camera, shown on TV; Martian Invasion causes panic!
October 30, 2009

A MARTIAN INVASION!!!!

A MARTIAN INVASION!!!!

marlonbrando_godfatherIn the United States lately, there has been a discussion regarding the amount of violence being shown on TV.  Some groups allege that, in particular, images of violence against women have increased on prime-time tv shows.  The fear is that it may create a more violent society or cause kids to become more violent.  It’s an old argument.  30 years ago when I was in Journalism school at the University of Texas, that was one of the topics covered.  I recall a “true false” question asking if a child was exposed to violence on TV was he more likley to become a violent person.  I never studied for that class.  I don’t think I even came to class except for the tests.  Well, they’ve taken things a bit farther.  The murder of an alleged gangster in Italy, shot dead at point blank range, was captured on video cameras and the footage was shown on TV.  Wonder how that would suit anti-violence groups in the states?  The cops in Italy say they released the video in hopes of catching the shooter.  Imagine what a field day the cable networks would have with that in the US?  Would it create pandemonium on the streets?

Orson Welles did On This Date In History:

A Vicious Invader?

A Vicious Invader?

The Martians Invaded on this date in 1938…at least that’s what millions of Americans thought. A young 23 year old radio man named Orson Welles presented a show on CBS radio. He began by saying it was an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. It began at 8 pm. But a whole bunch of people were listening to Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy on NBC. Bergen’s routine ended at 8:12 and many switched to CBS. By then the radio-play was already going so they missed the opening disclaimer. Welles’ production had some sort of regular sounding broadcast with a weather report followed by some cheesy music that went on for some time before a reporter broke in with a report (I don’t think they called it “breaking news” then) and he said there were explosions on Mars. Then more music followed by another break in with a hysterical “reporter” describing ugly Martians getting into large machines that rose out of the ground with long tentacles. It reported that the machines fired heat rays and destroyed a national guard unit, dropped deadly gas bombs and they were destroying everything.

People thought it was real. Some went bananas and jammed the highways looking to get out of

Orson So Good He Caused Mayhem

Orson So Good He Caused Mayhem

town. CBS had Welles break in and remind everyone it was fiction, but no one listened. The panic was on. Reports of suicides came in but there was no confirmation. Congress naturally had to investigate and found nothing was wrong. Welles thought his career was over. Instead, he got a cinematic contract which led to his production of Citizen Kane which has regularly topped the list as the best movie ever made.

Like Welles, sometimes we create the worst in our mind when, in fact, the best is just around the corner. If you are discouraged or feeling that you’ve made a terrible mistake, keep your head up. You don’t know what the future holds and today’s set back may just be the foundation for tomorrow’s success.

qpffrisat

HPC calls for about 1.37" of rain

Weather Bottom Line:  I will dispense with the details.  Rain holds off until tonight. The amount is whatever its gonna be. I’m thinking about an inch, give or take a quarter inch. The HPC says about 1 and a third inches of rain.  We have windy and warm conditions prior to the slow-poke front’s arrival.  As I had explained previously, the main conversion zone is well to our south in the lower Mississippi Valley where they’ve had heavy rain and a few tornadoes.  With the abundant moisture, it seems likely that we will get a fair amount of rain Friday night through probably at least late morning on Saturday. This system is so slow as the parent low to the north winds down, that I might suggest that rain may still be in the area toward midday.  But, it should be dry and cooler for the afternoon and the UL game. Maybe a bit breezy as well.  The kids on Halloween should be dry but with temps in the lower 50’s, it will probably be a bit chilly for the ghosts and goblins…so give them another sheet.

Oaks/Derby Daily Double? Real-Life Tony Soprano Helps G-Men
April 29, 2008

More bark than bite to Monday afternoon’s stuff. Figured it was a bit of a stretch to get severe stuff but we did have some gusty winds for a time.  Derby Week Forecast still looks on track…sorta.  Tuesday, the sun returns and we will be cool.  Wednesday a chilly start gives way to upper 60’s and lower 70’s.  Can we say Steamboat Race?  How about a parade on Thursday? Why not. Partly cloudy and upper 70’s and low 80’s.  Now, we still have the aforementioned threat of afternoon showers and t’storms on Friday during Oaks Day.  We still have a front overnight.  Now, Sunday night we had a front followed by a break mid/late morning Monday and then another guy swung around Monday afternoon bringing rain followed by chillier air.  There is some evidence that we will have a similar deal this weekend.  Front comes through with mild air and then an upper low pivots around from the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley which may trigger some rain/t’storms Saturday afternoon.  Its a cold pool aloft like Monday but the difference would be we would be near 70 at the surface and not 60 like Monday. Hence, lapse rates increased and rain chances enhanced.  It’s still 4 days away but certainly will be something to consider.  Just like everything in life…timing will be the key.

On This Date In History:  Remember how in the Sopranos that the FBI guys were trying to get Tony to help them out to catch terrorists?  Well, in real life that sort of thing has happened in war-time.  In WWII it has been said that the underworld controlled the docks in New York and that the government turned to the criminal element for national security help to prevent sabotage and capture spies.  Though the veracity of the claim is unclear,  US Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Radcliffe Haffenden was put in charge of New York dock security and said:

“I’ll talk to anybody, a priest, a bank manager, a gangster, the devil himself, if I can get the information I need. This is a war. American lives are at stake. ”

What seems to contradict the idea that the mobsters helped out Uncle Sam is what bigshot Meyer Lansky, recalled:

“Everybody in New York was laughing at the way those naive Navy agents… ”    

It is notable though that Lansky never denied helping the government.  Anyway, the real boss in the New York syndicate was Charles “Lucky” Luciano who had risen through the ranks of organized crime after arriving in the US as a poor immigrant from Sicily earlier in the century. He earned the “Lucky” moniker by numerous escapes from “hits” put out on him by his competition.   In 1943, Luciano was serving a 30-50 year prison sentence.  The allies were planning on invading Sicily but didn’t have much intel.  Luciano is portrayed as having an allegiance to the United States but he also had a vendetta against Benito Mussolini who had cracked down on the mafia in Italy in the 1920’s.  So, on April 29, 1942 US Naval intelligence asked for Luciano’s help and he eventually agreed with spectacular results.  With the hundreds of informants attracted with Luciano’s help, United States intelligence officers were able to infiltrate Italy’s naval headquarters and get all sorts of maps and documents.  It is said that Luciano’s helpers were even able to convince some Italian soldiers not to fight…but  they weren’t doing much of that anyway as the German army did most of the heavy lifting.  Of course, the invasion was successful and the rest, as they say, is history.

The US Navy tried to cover its trail regarding the work with the underworld but eventually it came out with perhaps the greatest evidence being the inexplicable release of Luciano from prison in 1946 after serving just 10 years of his sentence.  Luciano was deported to Sicily continuing his fame as being Lucky Luciano.   

Bryan The Webhog Comes Through!
March 19, 2007

Bryan the Webhog claims he has set this up and as the benevolent dictator, I am accepting his word and I thank him for his efforts as well as those of Sally Albers. I appreciate the positive responses we’ve had but now we can dispense with the suggestions on how to make these here pages more “user friendly.”

I’m trying to get my taxes into my accountant, but we have some pretty good showers moving in and some thunder rumblers embedded. Nothing that appears too menacing but we never leave the weather center unstaffed when there is any remote possibility of something being up to no good. In this case, I seriously doubt it.

I don’t know how many of you have office basketball brakets but one thing I ‘ve noticed over the years is that the “experts” never win. Its usually a quiet person that no one even knew worked for the firm or someone’s 7 year-old child. Remember this, sports fans, the Aggies lost not once, but twice to Texas Tech. Bob Knight did not have that strong of a team so that means the Aggies have some holes. I bet Calipari finds them. If not, the Buckeyes will stop this nonsense from going too far.

This Date in History Here are three items that show how goofy this time of year can be.

In 1924, 11 inches of snow fell in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 1948, an F4 tornado swept through Fosterburg, Bunker Hill, and Gillespie, Illinois, killing 33 people and injuring 449.
In 1984, 10 to 20 inches of snow fell across parts of Kansas andNebraska.

So we have nearly a foot of snow in the southern plains, pushing toward 2 feet of snow in the central plains and in between, a big tornado in Illinois. All on March 19. March seems to be so extreme.

The press is all over this being the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Lots of American sorties were flown that day. But no one seems to be interested that on this same date in 1916, the very first sorties were flown by American aircraft. No, it wasn’t in WWI in Europe. The US was still officially neutral at that time. Curtiss “Jenny” aircraft flew into Mexico! That’s right, General John J. Pershing sent combat aircraft into Mexico to scout for the whereabouts of Pancho Villa. They never found him and after 11 months, the Americans gave up because they had bigger fish to fry as in the Axis powers in Europe. The flying missions of the Army Air Corps over Mexico proved to be valuable air time for those who would serve in Europe.

Oh, one other thing….ever wonder why in The Godfather you never hear the term “mafia” or “cosa nostra?” Its because on this date in 1971, the Italian American Civil Rights League convince the producers not to use the term as they thought it increased the perception that all Italian Americans were gangsters. Guess they were impressed with the power of words. They weren’t concerned with the action portrayed on the screen…just don’t call them that name!