Friday, January 31, 2014

Calmly Taking Care of Business

I'm in serious bear mode - eating way too much, sleeping way too much, watching way too much TV.  Gaining weight.  Happens every time I get stuck inside.  I need sunlight to stay mentally healthy and being out in the sun hasn't happened much recently.

Ran through all of Tom Selleck's "Jesse Stone" movies that Netflix has up this week, despite the TV room being cold cold cold.   Stone is one of those characters who, despite problems, is good at taking care of business.  Or at least good at doing what most of us have wanted to do now and again.  Like knock some obnoxious SOB upside the head and calmly walk away.

That thought reminded me of an incident years ago.  I was down in D.C. for some reason and it was getting on towards dinner time so I called my daughter and said hey why don't you hop on the Metro and meet me at The Dubliner, which is an Irish pub just down from Union Station and the Metro.  She had just gotten her driver's license so she would have been 16ish.

It was busy, and we had to wait for a table.  There's a couple steps up from the bar to the dining area, with an iron railing, close to but not against the wall, so we slipped back in the little space created by the steps and the railing to get out of the crush as we waited.  As we chatted, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there was a guy about my age drifting around the room and staring with great interest at my daughter.  As he drifted our way I changed my stance so that I was completely blocking our little space and continued my conversation with my daughter.  He drifted off, but his stare remained focused on her.  After a bit he swung our way again.  I changed my position from casually relaxed and in the way to less casual and more clearly blocking the alcove and calmly stared back at him.  He drifted off again.  This happened several times, until I was clearly blocking, my posture was anything but casual, my stare was a glare, and I was thinking that enough was enough.  At this point on his outward wandering loop around the room he joined a group of three couples and put his arm around one of the women in the group.  A moment passed, then you could see it dawning on the group what had just happened.  And suddenly the nuisance was being rapidly propelled through the room by the scruff of the neck by one of the guys from the group.  I thought for a moment that the nuisance was going to exit by way of one of the nice stained glass windows but instead he was ejected through the door next to the window with emphatic force.  It all only took a moment, the guy returned to his party and conversation resumed, with a few smiles from those who had seen what happened.

No muss, no fuss.  Just business calmly taken care of.  The memory still makes me smile.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why Is It...?

...that no matter what night or where I serve my homeless shelter nights it's with people who don't believe in the welfare state?

Why is it that I never see the most vocal local liberals, those who most often declare their superiority to conservatives on social media, on the sign-up for the local homeless shelter or for providing meals to the residents thereof?

Why is it that the only people who will take back to back to back nights at the shelter and then get up and go to work in between are the same people that Cuomo and De Blasio have declared to be unwelcome in New York?

Why is it that so many racist homophobes who are waging a war on women are providing meals for our homeless, food for the community food pantry, clothing for the needy, diapers for baby bottoms, roofs for houses, wood for stoves, grocery cards for families, etc. regardless of race, color, creed, or any of the other things that the mavins of diversity insist we take into account? And why is it that those same racist homophobes who are waging a war on women never pay attention to all those things that the mavins of diversity insist they should?

Why is it that when I worked with setting up the Gabriel Project in Maryland, trying to provide financial and material support to women who don't want an abortion, our fiercest opponents were people who called themselves "pro-choice"?  Why did the pastors of churches who called themselves "pro-choice" refuse to participate?

Why is it that when I speak out against an organization that targets blacks for killing at a level that the KKK never dreamed of that I'm a racist and waging a war on women?

Why is it that my belief that black Americans are no more in need of the government to take care of them than they are of a good massa to do the same means I'm a racist to the nth degree?

Why is it that when I point out biological reality I'm declared to be waging a war on women or a homophobe by the same people who have declared that "the science is settled" on climate change?

Oh, wait.  Never mind. I know the answer to all that.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Love My Neighbor

I knew he was working on his driveway with his snow blower but it took a little bit for me to realize that the sound of the blower had moved.

Truths That Are Self Evident

55 million innocent, defenseless human beings slaughtered.  Anyone who thinks that legalized murder hasn't had an impact on our culture is a fool.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The garbage needed taken out.  "Out" being the attached garage.  One has to unlock the door to go into the  garage.  But apparently my hand hit the lock just right, or rather, just wrong, as I went out the door.  And the door swung closed behind me.  Locked.

You know the whole use a credit card to jimmy the lock thing?  Well, it does work - I've done it.  But your door has to be loose.  I didn't have a credit card because they were on the other side of the locked door along with my keys and cell phone but I do have a variety of putty knives and I proved that no thief is going to get through that door that easily.  Wire.  I have wire that can be bent into hooks, yes I do, but not thin enough wire to slip into the lock.  I ain't gettin' back through that door from there without damaging the door.

Yes, I do have a lock box with a spare key in it.  On the other side of the house.

Did I mention that I'm wearing flip flops?  And that there's a good 6 inches of snow on the ground?

Yeah, that was fun. 

Up The Stairs, Down The Stairs, Up The Stairs, Down The Stairs

So a friend of mine is moving to Fredericksburg, VA.  She doesn't have to have the house here cleared for a month but she has forward momentum now as everything falls into place for the move and she asked a few friends to help her pack and move a few things the past weekend.

A few things.  Uh-huh.  She is now pretty much moved.  Two very long days that reminded me that I plan to hire movers for my next move.  Or it's going to involve a can of gasoline and a match.

I'm really over stairs now, as well.  When I win that $400 million lottery my dream house will not involve stairs.

And don't ask me how much work I got done at my own place over the long weekend.

But at least I made it to the grocery store yesterday along with the other locusts.  We've moved into the upwards of a foot of white and fluffy range.  But since I'm a teleworker the government closure doesn't affect me.  Drat.  Moving my friend's house means my own house is still filthy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Last Night

It was daylight when I went in the hospital and I had a sense that I'd left my suv behind someplace about halfway there but no sense of how I got the rest of the way.  Or where the hospital was.  I was watching the TV in the waiting room, completely entranced by a movie that was an adventure interspersed with scenes of aliens in gray and red uniforms.  Comments from others watching the movie indicated that the alien part didn't seem to fit with the rest of the movie.  People kept annoying me by being noisy and getting between me and the TV and at one point a woman I seemed to know tried to talk to me but I was too involved in the movie and she left.  Then I tried to use a restroom and it was appalling - clogged and overflowing toilets and really nasty.  And every last toilet in the hospital was like that.  It also seemed to involve something that looked like algae.  So I went back out to watch the movie some more but the girl was dead and the movie over and now it was dark and I didn't know how to get back to my suv because I didn't know where my suv was.

And that was the point where I sat up with a gasp, just like dreamers do in the movies. 

I wonder what caliber it takes to deal with aliens in grey and red uniforms?  They seemed to be invading.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'll Be Down To Get You in a Taxi, Honey...

Yesterday's post got me feeling nostalgic and sent me cruising around YouTube to see if any Amberola aficionados had some uploads.  And this is how "Darktown Strutter's Ball" looks and sounds when all is well in Edison phonograph world.

I'll be down to get you in a taxi, Honey,
You better be ready about half past eight,
Now dearie, don't be late,
I want to be there when the band starts playing,
Remember when we get there, Honey,
The two-steps, I'm goin' to have 'em all,
Goin' to dance out both my shoes,
When they play the "Jelly Roll Blues,"
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutters' Ball. 

Written by Shelton Brooks and published in 1917, a version recorded that same year by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things Most of Us Don't Think About

“Imagine trying to learn biology without ever using the word “organism.” Or studying to become a botanist when the only way of referring to photosynthesis is to spell the word out, letter by painstaking letter.”
I've been asked to write an article about deaf scientists for my agency.  I have to say that I never thought about the communication issue in science fields.  There was just a vague sense of sign language without thought to how tedious and/or difficult lectures could be for both the lecturer and those in the audience.

I don't want the article to be just a listing of deaf scientists, so I've been poking around the web and trying to condense some history as well as reading biographies.  I don't recognize most of the names, of course, but one did surprise me - Thomas Edison. He wasn't totally deaf, but very hard of hearing.  The Q&A at the website of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park says this:
Was Edison deaf?
That is how Edison described himself, but in fact he was not totally deaf. It is more accurate to say he was very hard of hearing. He once wrote, "I have not heard a bird sing since I was twelve years old."
So, why didn't Edison invent a hearing aid? He often told reporters that he was working on one; sometimes he tested hearing aids designed by others. But it seems that Edison saw advantages to being deaf. For example, he said that it helped him concentrate on his work. In 1927 he told a group of 300 hard-of-hearing adults, "Deaf people [like himself] should take to reading. It beats the babble of ordinary conversation."

I guess that surprised me because I associate Edison with music, particularly with record players.  And that would be because I own one of these:

A part of my fond memories of Grandma's house, it's an Edison Amberola 30, and until fairly recently it still played.  This series was built between 1915 and 1929 - I think I traced the serial number to a manufacture date of 1918.  There's more than 100 "records" with it:  celluloid cylinders around a plaster core.  Some are in rough condition - my Dad and uncles knew that if you knocked the plaster out the right way they could play them backwards.

I really ought to catalog the cylinders properly.  And I really ought to figure out how to get it back in working order.  There's some great stuff in there - the one shown is "Alexander's Rag Time Band".  Lot's of Hawaiian - apparently that was real big in the early 20s.  A speech by Teddy Roosevelt.  "Darktown Strutter's Ball" would probably get me into trouble with the PC crowd.  

Novelty songs were popular, as well. My favorite of the ones I have has always been "Barney Google",  written for  Eddie Cantor in 1923 and based on a comic by the same name.  (Although "Yes We Have No Bananas" runs a close second.)

You can probably see why the song was written for Cantor.  My version is the Billy Jones and Ernest Hare one, I think.  You can give a listen here because I'm too lazy to try to attach it to the comic image.

Hours of listening, limited only by how often I want to crank it.  Yeah, I'd really like to be able to do that again.  Time for some more web surfing. 

Note - I know about Beethoven going deaf, but Edison still surprised me.  As did the fact that a mathematician whose major contribution was to acoustics, including giving us the word for the science, Joseph Sauveur (1653 - 1716), appears to have been either born deaf or so seriously impaired that he didn't speech until he was 7.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Murphy's Law Needs to Buy This

Well, not this exact one.  I was drooling so much I forgot to take pics of the one I'm referring to.

Since I had to wait on Blu all afternoon Saturday, I chose to go over to the old section of Leesburg and poke around the antique malls.  Having already paid the lower of the estimated costs for his tests I was feeling broke on a stunned level, but it was still more interesting that making a 50 mile round trip twice.  And I could have lunch in town, which in Leesburg is a yummy and comforting idea.

So I hit the Leesburg Antiques Emporium.  Lots of good stuff there.  Including antique guns.  This one caught my eye simply because I liked the way it looked. A lot of nice wood.  A stocky carbine - my short arms could probably handle it.  It's a Springfield "Krag", which replaced the Springfield single shot trap-door models and served as the Army's primary rifle from 1893 to 1904.

From Wikipedia:

 According to contemporary, perhaps sensationalized accounts, the Krag's complex design was outclassed by the Spanish Mauser during the Spanish American War, and proved ill-suited for use in tropical locales such as Cuba and the Philippines. American soldiers found themselves unable to match the volume of fire displayed by the Spanish 1893 Mauser rifle, with its box magazine that could be fully reloaded with clips, and a high-velocity, flat-shooting 7mm cartridge which was quickly dubbed the 'Spanish Hornet'. During the American assault on the strategic Cuban city of Santiago, a small force of 750 Spanish troops armed with Model 1893 Mauser rifles defended positions on San Juan and Kettle hills. The attacking force consisted of approximately 6,600 American soldiers, most of them regulars, armed with the then-new smokeless-powder Krag-Jorgensen rifle and supported by artillery and Gatling gun fire. Though the assault was successful, the Americans soon realized that they had suffered more than 1,400 casualties in the assault. A U.S board of investigation pinned the blame on the superior firepower of the Spanish Model 1893 Mauser rifles, although modern analysis has determined that many of the casualties were due to superior Spanish fortifications on the high ground. With the Krag's replacement with the Mauser-derived M1903, the rifle is tied for the shortest service life of any standard-issue firearm in US military history (1892–1903).
According to the seller, this particular one was actually issued to TR's Rough Riders.  Oh.  Want.  Don't care if it didn't work well in tropical climates. Don't care if Mauser's outclassed it.

The price tag is only $8,500, Murph.  You're a collector - you've got that much laying around, right?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

$ 3259 And An Entire Day At The Neurologist...

...and all we know is that Blu's MRI pics are really funny.  But the disk they gave me is bad so I can't post any.  Dang.

The good news - it's not cancer and there's no inflammation they can find anywhere.   Neurologist says it just sometimes happens and he'll go on anti-seizure meds.

And I left my book there.  I was only 100 pages from the end.  It's a 50 mile round trip.  I wonder if the library has it...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ah, Memories

You know how your mind wanders from one thing to another.  I was thinking about the Maryland weather post while doing the office commute, with certain memories standing out.

First, there was Hurricane Agnes in 1972.  It was a tropical storm by the time it got to us, but it dropped a boatload of rain.  We didn't have any streams around but clogged culverts, the topography, and railroad tracks on a raised bed that bordered one side of the community turned us into a lake.  Somewhere I have pictures of folks canoeing between the trees in the park.  And of a mostly submerged "No Parking" sign on Railroad Street.

For years we had visited Great Falls NP on Sunday afternoons, enjoying the walk as a family and finding the woods and river a relief from sultry D.C. area summer days.  The gullies and gaps on the trail to the Falls were bridged by old wooden walkways that had been there for goodness how long.  Finally, the NPS spent a gazillion dollars worth of tax money to replace the old wooden walks with concrete bridges with iron railings.  Spiffy.

And within months, Agnes arrived and demonstrated that whoever designed and OKed those new bridges had failed to take into account a very important characteristic of rivers - hydrology.  It rained and rained and the feeder streams poured more and more water into the Potomac drainage basin and that water headed downstream just loaded with tons and tons of debris.

When it got to those nice new bridges in the gorge the debris was pushed up against the railings and the force of the water behind it just scoured those new bridges out, tossing them aside as it rampaged to the Bay.  It was  a decade before the Maryland side of the Falls was accessible again.  This time, they built bridges with removable iron railings. 

Then there was the President's Day snow of 1979.  Major weather model fail.  I woke up in a dark bedroom. Looked at my clock - way too late to still be so dark.  Went to the window.  It was dark because nearly 2 feet of unexpected snow was piled on the roof, blocking the windows.

February, 1983.  Another doozy around 2 feet.  Somebody had gotten out with 4WD and that night I took a walk, following the track.  It was eery - dark, nobody out, no traffic sounds.  Just the hiss of snow blowing across the drifts.  I walked down to the main road, which was littered with lumps with aerials sticking out, buried cars abandoned in the road  and scattered every which way.  It started niggling at me that I was hearing a "tick".  Then silence.  Then "tick".  Took a minute for me to realize that what I was hearing was the traffic light that was still cycling through the signals despite it looking like the end of the world and my being the only human being out as far as I could see.  For some reason that freaked me - I turned around and hustled home.

Then there was the Blizzard of '96.  The government had just reopened after a prolonged furlough when this one nailed us and shut us down for another couple weeks.  I hadn't been paying attention, just knew that some snow was predicted on Sunday.  Decided to go to Mass Saturday night so that I wouldn't have to deal with bad roads on Sunday.  Mass was crowded and began with the celebrant saying "So who here really wants 2 feet of snow tomorrow?" What?! TWO FEET?!  Miserable grocery and video store experiances followed Mass.  Except the part where I spotted the chocolate cake that none of the other locusts noticed.  Ha! Mine!  It was great fun for a few days.  The east was paralyzed but we had groceries so we'd get up in the morning, pull the sleep sofa out, crawl into it, and watch TV and videos. And just as the area was beginning to dig out another big snow hit.  Eventually I started putting on a back pack and trudging to a grocery store that was about a half mile away, although it took a while before they had much to select from.

The last serious snow memory is 2009-2010.  The Winter of Never Ending Snow. I invited family to have Christmas at my house that year because, in my words, "we never really get Winter until February".  Yeah.  December 18.  Nor'easter.  Fortunately, I didn't park in my garage - I parked in the front yard and tied a tarp over the suv.  I didn't get back into my driveway until mid-way through March.  That first snow was a 2 footer and it just went from there.  The normal approach up here is that the ATVers often have plow blades and they plow us out.  It was too deep.  My neighbor hired someone with a front end loader to clear his driveway and cut an acess path in my yard for my suv, using the top of my driveway to pile the snow.  Blizzard One - February 5-6.  Blizzard Two - February 9 - 10.  I had at least 6 feet of snow fall in my yard that season.  They finally sent the National Guard up with earth moving equipment to dig us out.  I ran out of places to shovel snow to - I couldn't toss it any higher and had to walk each shovelfull down the street to get rid of it.

I think I may finally be getting over that Winter now.  I didn't have a nervous breakdown when patterns earlier in the season reminded me of those of 2009.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Been There. Done That.

Yeah, I’m pretty sick of the whole “polar vortex” thing. Yammer yammer yammer. It’s a cold snap. It’s only going to last a couple days. Deal.

In an age of ready access to digital information, it seems that people have removed their brains and put them in storage someplace. Or just discarded them altogether. And even those who are old enough to have experience that belies their “OMG THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!!!!” squawking still go on and squawk anyway.

As I wished that both the wind and the commentators would stop blowing, it was niggling at me that I remembered a year when I was at WVU that we had this weather day after day – long enough that there were several feet of ice on the river. Ducks, unable to feed because of the ice, were starving to death. They would sit on the ice, which then melted somewhat under them. Without strength to move, they died, and the ice would then  refreeze around their feet. The river surface was dotted with their bodies, and some of us started hauling feed down to the bank so some would have a chance.

A bit of on-line digging turned up the date – the Winter of 1976-1977. The cold was so deep and so extended that the Chesapeake Bay froze. And that wasn’t the first time. A little more digging turned up a paper about Maryland weather that details weather in the state since the first written records. That works for me – I’m just next door and I have lived all my life in either West Virginia or Maryland.

One of the major failings of the Chicken Little crew is that they have no concept of time. I don’t mean as in telling time. I mean as in how insignificant the length of their lives and their perception of normal is to the age of the earth, and therefore how insignificant their perceptions of climate are. To put it in perspective, the first documented work in weather observation appears in 340 BC with Aristotle’s Meteorologica. In America, the first systematic observations were done in Delaware in 1644. As far as government science agency observations, what would become the National Weather Service made its first observations at 24 stations in November of 1870.

So. We can take 2354 years, 370 years, or 144 years as the length of time we have weather records for, depending on if you want Greece (representing world), private North American, or U.S. government observations. The value currently held for the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years. That means, if I did this right, we’ve been measuring climate for 0.0000523 %, 0.00000822%, or 0.000000032 % of the earth’s history. If I did it wrong, it’s an itty bitty number no matter which way you look at it. So when some weather dude/dudet yaps that it's "the coldest/warmest since records have been kept" it needs to be remembered that that’s the percentage amount of the earth's history for which we have anything like weather observations. And our commentators are only referring to government records (144 years) and the U.S. 

Back to Maryland. The fossil record in the state starts in the Paleozoic, which lasted from 541 to 252 million years ago. It runs the gamut of creatures from warm weather to cold. Sometimes there were critters like crocodiles and dinosaurs:

And sometimes cold weather fans wandered there:

But if you want to fast forward into recorded Maryland weather, I found this with a little digging around, courtesy of James Dawson in 2008. If your read it carefully, it becomes obvious that it has been very hot. And it’s been very cold. And pretty much everything in between. The whole paper is an interesting read at and is only 13 pages.  I've pulled the chronological list, highlighting stuff I find of particular interest or that I specifically remember:

c. 13,000- 11,000 B.C.E., at the end of the last Ice Age, the Younger Dryas climate change rendered Delmarva uninhabitable for nearly 2,000 years due to severe dust storms, much sediment laid down. No evidence of human habitation found during this period. Chesapeake Bay created.
?, Native Americans said that Sharps and Tilghman Islands were once very close together, probably they were once both part of Bay Hundred peninsula in Talbot Co. and were later cut off by storms and erosion
1586, hurricane moves up coast, hail stones the size of hens eggs off Roanoke, Va.
1634, very mild winter
1635, extremely cold winter
1635, Aug. huge hurricane moves up coast, no specific reports from Maryland
1649, Jan. 3, Maryland's first recorded coastal storm noted by Henry Norwood, many inlets cut through along coast including probably the one at Fenwick, Del.
1667, Sept. 6, “The Dreadful Hurry Cane of 1667", hits Virginia and Maryland, many trees down. “A mighty wind destroyed four-fifths of our tobacco and corn and blew down in two hours fifteen thousand houses in Virginia and Maryland.”
1683, Aug. 23, hurricane
1693, Oct. 29, violent storm moves up coast
1703, Oct. 18, hurricane moves up coast, much damage, vessels lost
1706, Nov. 6, severe storm
1724, Aug. 23, "Great Gust of 1724" hits Bay
1727, "Great Rain and Horrible Gale of 1727"
1729, "Great Gale of 1729"
1743, Sept., coastal storm tracked by Ben Franklin showing storms can move in a direction different from their winds
1749, Oct. 19, huge offshore hurricane, tides 15 feet above normal in Bay
1752, Oct. 22, hurricane hits mouth of Bay
1756, winter, Bay freezes
1769, Sept. 7- 8, hurricane causes much damage to Bay areas
1775, Sept. 2-3, "Independence Hurricane" heavy rains and much damage along coast, dome blown off of State House in Annapolis.
1779-1780, one of the coldest winters ever, Bay freezes over down to mouth of Potomac, ice 6 inches thick, carts and carriages cross Bay from Annapolis to Poplar Island
1784, Bay freezes, Baltimore harbor closed until March 19
1785, Sept. 22- 24, "most tremendous gale known in this century" hits lower Bay, very high tides
1787, hurricane
1788, July 23- 24, violent hurricane hits lower Bay
1795, Aug., hurricane, heavy rains
1804, bad storn
1805, Jan. 11, bad ice storm in St. Michaels (Talbot Co.)
1805, cold winter, Bay frozen Feb. 3, vessels trapped in ice, people walk to shore
1805, July 9, 96° in Easton (Talbot Co.) the highest temp. in memory
1806, May and early June, army worms devastate wheat fields
1806, Aug., great coastal hurricane
1812, violent storm off coast thought to have prevented British attack of Worcester Co.
1813, bad storm
1814, very hot summer
1815, bad tropical storm
1816, "Year With No Summer" due to atmospheric dust from volcanic eruptions, coldest summer in Maryland history, frost and ice common, farmers wore overcoats and gloves during the July wheat harvest.
1817, weather back to normal
1821, Sept. 3, hurricane- eye passed directly over Norfolk, Va., much damage to coast, heavy rain inland to Baltimore
1825, June, dreadful storm, a geologist taking core samples stated that this storm created Fishing Bay and eroded much of Phillips Creek in Dorchester Co.
1828, bad storm
1830, bad storm
1833, Nov. 12-13, one of the most spectacular meteor storms ever seen. It was estimated that hundreds of thousands were seen over a period of a few hours. Harriet Tubman in Dorchester Co. remembered it as the night the stars fell, slaves, and many white folks,too, thought the world was ending.
1834, bad storm
1839, bad storm
1841, bad storm
1846, "Great Hurricane of 1846", much destruction, s.e. winds drive water into Bay, flooding
1850, bad storm
1851, Aug. 24-25, "Appalachicola Storm" hits northern Chesapeake Bay
1852, very cold winter, railroad tracks laid on ice across Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace (Harford Co.) and used for over a month
1854, Sept. 9, destructive hurricane "Horrible Gale of '54", much damage
1856, Aug. 19, "Charter Oak Storm", heavy rains
1856, Sept. 1, hurricane
1861, Oct. 28, hurricane
1861, Nov. 2, "Expedition Hurricane" batters lower Bay
1862, June, a “celebrated down pour” swept away mill dams in Caroline Co., Md.
1869, driest year on record to date statewide, Ellicott City (Howard Co.) flooded
1870, June 2, “Blackberry Storm” hits Talbot Co., cold, high winds asnd rain.
1872, winter, ice damages Love Point Light
1872, Oct. 25, heavy rains
1874, Sept. 28- 29, first hurricane ever shown on a weather map hits mouth of Bay
1876, April 1, violent storm strikes Tilghman’s Island (Talbot Co.)
1876, Sept. 16-17, hurricane "Centennial Storm" heavy winds and rain, tides 7.9 feet above normal at D. C., Sharps Island cut in two, terrible cyclone hits Easton (Talbot Co.)
1877, Oct. 3- 4, severe hurricane wrecks ships
1877, Jan., Hoopers Straight Light damaged by ice
1878, Oct. 22-23, severe hurricane "Gale of '78" moves up coast, big storm surge in Bay, much damage,barometric pressure 28.78, steamer Express sank near Pt. Lookout, 16 dead, one of Bay’s worst disasters.
1879, winter, ice damages several lighthouses
1879, bad storm
1880, hottest year on record to date
1881, Feb. 11, ice floe sheared Sharps Island lighthouse from foundation and carried it 5 miles with keepers inside
1881, bad storm
1882, Sept. 22- 23, bad storm, heavy rains
1882, Bloody Point Light damaged by ice
1884, winter, ice damages Seven Foot Knoll Light
1885, Feb. 25, Choptank River frozen over and probably other rivers as well
1885, Aug. 25, heavy rains and flooding
1886, rare June-July hurricane
1887, bad storm
1888, March 11-12, "Blizzard of 1888" or "The Great White Hurricane" paralyzes east coast, Maryland 10 inches of snow or less
1888, Aug. 21 - 22, hurricane, flooding and several deaths, tornado tracked from D.C. To Kent Co. where it killed 11 people, 4 waterspouts seen in Bay.
1888, Sept. 10, bad tropical storm passes over Bay, flooding
1889, April 6- 7, storm moves up coast
1889, Sept. 8-12, hurricane stalled off the coast causing severe flooding esp. in Federals- burg (Caroline Co.) and Ocean City (Worcester Co.) which was evacuated.
1893, Jan. 1, rain and a s.e. gale breakes up ice and drives it up the Bay
1893, Aug. 28, "Sea Islands Hurricane", heavy winds and rain in Bay area, tide in Chester River surged 9 feet above mean low tide, higher then in 1876.
1893, Oct. 13, severe winds and much damage, story surge at Chestertown (Kent. Co. 8 inches higher than in Aug., bridges washed out in Tilghman’s Island (Talbot Co.)
1893, winter, ice damages several lighthouses, temperature in Easton (Talbot Co.) -9°
1894, winter, ice damages Seven Foot Knoll Light
1894, Sept. hurricane hits mid Atlantic, much damage and flooding.
1894, Oct., intense hurricane, much flooding and damage to Worcester Co. and coastal areas
1896, Jan. 7, up to 22.5 inches of snow
1896, Aug. 21, bad storm, 17 dead
1896, Sept. 28- Oct. 3, hurricane, one of Western Md’s most destructive storms.
1896, Oct. 11 -13, bad tropical storm
1897, bad storm
1897, July 26, 14.75 inches of rain fell in Jewell (Anne Arundel Co.), a state record
1898, July, first time the temp. reaches 100º in Easton (Talbot Co.) since official record keeping began in 1892.
1899, Feb. 9- 13, cold wave, below zero temperatures across the state from -4° in Ocean City (Worcester Co.), and -15° in Easton (Talbot Co.) to -26° in Garrett Co.,10 inch thick ice on Bay
1899, Feb. 13, up to 21.4 inches of snow, and unofficial depths of over 3 feet common, entire state snowbound, said to be most snow in Easton (Talbot Co.) in 19th century, total snow for Easton 50.3 inches, month total for Easton 65.5 inches
1899, bad storm
1900, Aug. 100º in Easton (Talbot Co.)
1901, Sept. 16- 18, northeaster sinks vessels in Bay
1901 -1902 winter, total 174.9 inches of snow for season in Deer Park (Garrett Co.), a state record
1902, two tropical storms brush by coast, but little damage
1903, Sept. 15- 17, hurricane, said to be worst storm to hit Ocean City (Worcester Co.) in 40 years, hundreds of dead birds stripped of their feathers fall from sky in Old Point Comfort, Va. [or was this the hurricane of Oct. 8-10?]
1903, Oct. 8- 10, bad hurricane causes much damage.
1904, winter, ice damages Point No Point Light
1904, Sept., intense tropical storm with hurricane force winds passes over Delmarva, much damage at Cambridge (Dorchester Co.)
1907, Oct. 5, one or more fireballs in sky surprise Baltimore city residents
1908, Jan. 18, unusual and severe thunderstorm with hail hits Talbot Co.
1909, high tide in St. Michaels (Talbot Co.)
1911, tropocal storm, high tides
1912, Jan. 13, -40° in Oakland (Garrett Co.), lowest temperature ever recorded in Maryland
1912, tropical storm, high tides
1915, Aug. 4., bad tropical storm hits central Maryland and Annapolis causing widespread damage, trees down and crops ruined in Easton (Talbot Co.).
1918, Jan., Bay freezes, several lighthouses damaged by ice, oysters tonged through holes chopped in ice, battleship Ohio used as icebreaker in Bay for wartime shipping
1918, Aug. 6, 105.4° in Baltimore city, and 101º in Easton (Talbot Co.)
1918, big hailstorm hits Trappe (Talbot Co.)
1919, months of heavy rainfall cause much damage in in the Denton-Federalsburg area of Caroline Co.; a locomotive fell through a flood damaged trestle.
1920, Feb. terrific coastal storm batters Ocean City (Worcester Co.) and coast- tides 6.5 feet above normal, inlet cut through at Assateague
1922, Jan 27, "Knickerbocker Storm" up to 26.5 inches of snow in state
1923, bad storm
1924, Aug. 100º in Easton (Talbot Co.)
1925, bad storm
1925 Oct. 20, unusual early snow, 1” in Talbot Co., snow seen on baskets full of tomatoes
1926, Nov. 9, F4 tornado hits La Plata (Charles Co.), Maryland's deadliest tornado, schoolhouse with 60 children inside carried 50 feet,14 children killed, barms demolished, total deaths 17
1928, Aug, 11-12, and 16-17, bad storm batters coast, much rain.
1928, Sept 2, said to have rained frogs in Trappe (Talbot Co.)
1930, July 18- Aug. 10, heat wave- some of the highest temperatures on record. July 21 saw the record temp. for Easton (Talbot Co.) of 104º
1930, drought, yearly average 23.8 inches of rain statewide,17.76 inches of rain fell in Picardy (Allegheny Co.) record for driest place in state, driest year since 1869, Japanese beetle infestation
1931, one of the warmest years on record to date
1932, warmest Jan. on record to date, mild winter
1933, Aug. 23,”Chesapeake and Potomac” hurricane cuts inlet through at Ocean City (Worcester Co.), tides 8 feet above normal, said to be worst coastal storm since 1896. The water completely washes over Deal’s Island and many coffins floated out of their graves, Bay islands submerged, much damage in Salisbury (Wicomico Co.)
1933, Sept. another hurricane hits mid-Atlantic
1934, Feb. record cold month in many areas
1934, March 4, Bay freezes
1934, one of the hottest years on record nationally
1935, severe winter, ice damages Janes Island Light, oyster tonging through holes chopped in ice
1935 Sept. 4-6, “Labor Day Hurricane” floods Eastern Shore, 16.63” of rain in Easton (Talbot County) in three days, severe flood in Federalsburg (Caroline Co.) displaces 2,000 residents, Marshyhope Creek crested at 17.8 feet, highest ever
1936, March, "Great Flood of 1936" or "Morro Castle Storm" inundates many Chesapeake Bay areas, flooding in St. Michaels (Talbot Co.) said to be higher than in storm of 1933
1936, Great Heat Wave of June-July said to be the greatest natural disaster in the US with as many as 5,000 dead, mostly in the midwest; July 10, 109° in Frederick and Cumberland counties, highest temperature ever recorded in Maryland, also record for Baltimore city 107.4°
1936, July 29, severe wind and hail storm hits Easton and Trappe (Talbot Co.) damaging several barns and blowing a car crossing the Choptank bridge into the railing.
1936, Sept., coastal hurricane hits lower Bay.
1936, winter, Bay frozen over, possibly the worst freeze ever
1937, Federalsburg (Caroline Co.) flooded
1938, wettest June on record to date
1938, Sept. 17- 22, "Long Island Express" hurricane moves quickly up coast
1940, Jan. 24, big snow
1940, Oct. 20, unusual early snow, 2” in Talbot Co.
1941, April, warmest April on record to date
1941, Oct., warmest Oct. on record to date
1942, March 29, "Palm Sunday Snowstorm", 31 inches fell in Clear Spring (Washington Co.) in a 24 hour period a state record, up to 22 inches in other places
1942, Federalsburg (Caroline Co.) flooded.
1943, Feb., cold wave
1943, bad storm
1944, July 17, tornado hits Talbot Co. many trees down Easton, two buildings in Trappe seriously damaged, hailstone observed in Trappe 3 inches thick
1944, Sept. 14, Great Atlantic Hurricane
1944, Oct. hurricane, some damage in Bay area
1945, winter, Bay freezes, people walk across Bay from Love Pt. to Poplar Island
1945, July, 20.35 inches of rain fell in Leonardtown (St. Mary’s Co.), state record for one month period
1947, Feb. 19, big snow
1947, Oct., warmest Oct. on record to date
1948, Feb., ice in Bay
1948, 72.59 inches of rain fell in Salisbury (Wicomico Co.), state record for one year period
1949, near record warm year
1949, Feb. warmest Feb. on record to date
1950, Jan., record warm Jan., 80° in Riverdale (Prince George’s Co.)
1950, Nov. tides in middle and upper Bay highest since 1933
1951, Jan. 1 -10 warmest on record to date
1952, July, heat wave
1952, Aug. 31, Ellicott City (Howard Co.) flooded.
1953, Sept, 28, Hurricane Ida dumps excessive rain on lower Bay areas,
1954, Jan. 11 - 12, big snow
1954, Aug. 101° in Royal Oak (Talbot Co.)
1954, three hurricanes in one year, Carol, Edna and Hazel
1954, Oct. 15, Hurricane Hazel, winds over 100 mph, 108 m.p.h in Oxford (Talbot Co.) much damage statewide. Helen Chappell adds” I remember Hazel very well. I also remember going with my father to Hooper's Island a couple of days later, and how the water was still lying on the road, and sheds and houses were blown down, coffins floated up from the graves in Fishing Creek. It was scary. The water came right up to the back porch, filled the fields and blew the tractor shed roof about 500 yards into a field. We lived in a brick house, but we were afraid the roof would blow off. I was about 9 or 10.”
1955, Jan., driest Jan. on record to date
1955, July- Aug., warmest on record to date
1955, Aug. 12- 13, 8.35 inches of rain fell in Baltimore, the city record for 24 hour period
1955, Aug., wettest Aug. on record to date in many areas,18.35 inches in Baltimore, a city record for monthly rainfall 1955, Aug. 12 and 18, two hurricanes in one month Connie and Diane, Connie sank schooner Levin J. Marvel south of Annapolis with loss of 14 passengers. Both hurricanes caused major flooding in Central Md. and Potomac.
1955, Dec., driest Dec. on record to date
1955 or 1956, winter, hard freeze
1956, July 4, 1.23 inches of rain fell in Unionville (Frederick Co.) in 1 minute- the world's record
1958, Feb. 21, big snow said to be worst since 1942
1958, hurricane
1960, Sept, 10-11, Hurricane Donna "Storm of '60", serious damage in Bay area.
1962, March 6-7, "Storm of the Century" or "Good Friday Storm" or "Ash Wednesday Storm" devastates Ocean City (Worcester Co.) and coast, tides at O.C. were 9.4 feet above normal, two inlets cut through at Assateague, during the storm the famous Chincoteague pony Misty gave birth to a foal who was appropriately named Stormy
1964, Jan. 12. 8 inches of snow in Talbot Co.
1965, drought
1966, Jan 30-31, big snow, said to be up to 25 inches in Talbot County
1966, Sept. 17, 8:47 p.m. huge fireball seen in n.w. sky due to a meteor burning up hundreds of miles away 1967, Sept., Hurricane Doria.
1972, June 21, Hurricane Agnes, 14.68 inches of rain in Western Md., aquatic grasses in Bay dealt a serious blow from runoff and silt
1972, June 23, flooding esp. in Federalsburg (Caroline Co.)
1972, June 11, 47º coldest June in Talbot Co. history
1975, April, very low tide
1975, Sept. 23-26, remnants of Hurricane Eloise causes flooding.
1976, Aug. 1., devastating hailstorm near Trappe (Talbot Co.), hail the size of silver dollars, window panes broken, trees down, corn shredded, hundreds of dead birds foundon ground
1977, cold winter, Bay freezes, ice boat races on Miles River (Talbot Co.), ice floes push Sharps Island lighthouse from vertical, oyster tonging through holes chopped in ice
1978, Feb. 6-7, big snow
1979, Sept. 5-6, Hurricane David spawns tornadoes, Baltimore area sees flash floods.
1983, Feb. 11, up to 22.8 inches of snow
1985, July 25, Hurricane Bob
1985, Sept. Hurricane Gloria, heavy rains
1988, Nov., hurricane Juan, flooding in Southern Maryland
1991, Oct. 31 - Nov. 1., "Perfect Storm" batters coast, also called “Halloween Storm”
1992, Jan. worst northeaster since 1961 damages Ocean City (Worcester Co.) and coast
1992, Hurricane Danielle makes landfall at mouth of Bay
1992, Aug. hurricane Andrew floods central Maryland
1993, March 13, "Super Storm" moves up coast, lowest barometric pressures ever recorded for mid-Atlantic coast: 28.51 in Baltimore city and 28.34 at mouth of Bay, thunder snow observed in Talbot Co.
1993, Nov. 28 very high tide
1994, Jan., very cold with freezing rains in Talbot Co. on the 17th and 27th 1994, Jan. 19, temperatures near zero Talbot County
1994, Feb. 11, severe ice storm moves across southern Maryland and central Eastern Shore, many trees and power lines down
1995, Oct. hurricane Opal spawns tornadoes in Central and Southern Maryland
1996, Jan. 6-7, up to 17 inches of snow, said to be most snow since Blizzard of 1899
1996, Sept. 5, Hurricane Fran, heavy rain and flooding, storm surge 4-6 feet above normal in Bay
1998, June 2, F4 tornado hits Frostburg (Allegheny Co.)
1998, first 11 months warmest on record to date for Md., globally the hottest year on record
1999, July [23?], 101° in Royal Oak (Talbot Co.)
1999, Sept. 16 Hurricane Floyd, the eye passes over Ocean City (Worcester Co.), baro metric pressure 28.88, 10- 14 inches of rain in Talbot Co. and Chestertown (Kent Co.), flood in Federalsburg (Caroline Co.)
2002, April 28, F4 tornado again devastates La Plata, (Charles Co.) strongest tornado ever recorded in Md., 4 dead, debris carried across Bay and dropped in Talbot and Dorchester Counties, La Plata had also been hit by a F4 tornado in 1926
2002, June 6, thunderstorm fells Wye Oak in Wye Mills (Talbot Co.), the state tree was 450 years old
2002, July 6, smoke from huge forest fires in Quebec seen and smelt through Md. and as far south as Va., 2002, drought, worst on record to date
2002- 2003, winter, said to be worst winter in state's history
2003, Feb. 15-17, 49 inches of snow fell in Keysers Ridge (Garrett Co.), state record for most snow in a single storm,
2003, Feb. 19, worst storm in Baltimore city's history, 40 inches of snow in Western Maryland
2003, Feb. 81.5 inches of snow fell in Eagle Rock (Garrett Co.), state record for most snow in one month
2003, Sept. 11, Hurricane Henri, rain and flooding
2003, Sept. 18, Hurricane Isabel, bad storm surge flooding probably equaling that of 1933
2003, wettest year on record 62.79 inches state average, normal is 44”
2004, Sept. 8, Hurricane Francis
2004, Sept. 17, Hurricane Ivan
2004, Sept. 28, Hurricane Jeannie, tornadoes and flooding in central and western Md. 2005, hottest year on record globally
2006, another warm year
2007, first half of year hottest on record globally
2007, Aug. 8, hot spell, John Swaine Jr. weather observer since 1948 said high of 101° in Royal Oak (Talbot Co.) matched that of July [23?] 1999 and Aug. 1954, over night low of 82° broke record,103° in American Corner (Caroline Co.).
2008, June 4, National Weather Service confirms that a tornado touched down briefly near Preston (Caroline Co.), storm damage for county estimated at $500,000

Noteworthy facts: a severe freeze has hit the Bay about once a century: 1780, 1899 and 1977. Extreme contrasts: The winter of 1634 was unusually mild while the winter of 1635 was severely cold. 1898 saw record heat, while 1899 brought record cold. In Jan. 1918, the Bay froze yet that Aug. it was 105° in Baltimore city, then the record. 1935 was very cold, the summer of 1936 had record breaking heat, while the winter of 1936 was severely cold. 2002 was the worst drought on record, yet 2003 was the wettest year on record.
Maryland is a small state, but neither this:

Nor this:

is particularly unusual for it.  Or for any other place on the earth - if you don't like the weather, wait a few million years and it will change.

A Public Service Announcement

Please forward to as many as you can.  We can wipe out this scourge if we work together!

h/t A Train Wreck in Maxwell and ML

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Morning Giggles

Bill Cosby meets the lady from North, South Carolina.  Which is southeast of Due West, South Carolina.  I think.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Another Day...

...another seizure.  I seem to be done with my ick, finally, but Blu is not.  He's been off the suspect med since Thursday, so looks like it wasn't that.  I foresee a large vet bill in my immediate future.  Good thing I didn't place that order for emergency supplies I drew up yesterday.

And besides, he's my friend.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Ain't Going Out There

Technically today is my in office day.  Yesterday's snow turned the roads into poop within about a half hour and sent even the trained drivers of emergency vehicles over embankments and into trees:

There's about zero chance I'm going out today.  Another system is on it's way for tomorrow evening and once again our location puts us on the edge of the low so it's a guess what we are going to get.  Tad chilly - I've got the thermostat set at 64 but the heat keeps kicking on.

Blu had another seizure last night.  The vet thinks it may be the corticosteroid he's taking - that can cause blood pressure rise.  So he was probably relived not to have that shoved down his throat this morning.  He's fine once the seizure ends but each one carries risk of permanent damage.  And there's risk of stroke as well. I'm hoping the culprit is the medication and last night's is the last we'll see.  It's getting scary.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


So, I've crossed into week 3 now of the Bug That Cannot be Shaken.  At one point during Mass yesterday morning I had chills and so much joint pain that I thought I was going to have to either leave or lay down on the pew.  Either one of which would have required me to send an e-mail to Father Escalante explaining why I did that in the middle of his homily.  I give it until Monday, then I guess I better go see if maybe I've got walking pneumonia or an infection somewhere.

Multiple doses of acetaminophen and an afternoon spent on the couch with a book, and then I look over to see Blu sliding into another seizure.

He's been doing so well, back to driving me crazy with pestering and mischief.  His fur even looks better.  I thought we had everything under control.