TORNADOS IN DALLAS. The annual Orionid Meteor Shower occurred during the weekend — especially Sunday night — so naturally here we had overcast skies, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, high winds and tornados.
But maybe a few lagging Orionid meteors will struggle through our atmosphere later this week giving us some skywatching consolation. I swear, every time there’s supposed to be some kind of awesome celestial sight, our weather goes south.
This particular meteor shower is made up of debris that is drifting along in the wake of Halley’s Comet.
There was a time when us southerners only worried about tornados in April or May. And only southerners had the good sense to worry about tornados.
Now we’ve got tornadoes at the end of October and downtown Minneapolis has even been hit recently by a twister. Minneapolis? Isn’t it above the Arctic Circle? Wonder if there were whirling igloo cubes?
I know all about igloos because I watch ‘The Last Alaskans’ and ‘Life Below Zero.’
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THE VALUE OF A GOOD EDUCATION. I turned onto Park Street just in time to see something memorable, last week.
Neighbors Gail Milum and Tempie LaMothe were standing in Gail’s front yard looking up into Gail’s smallish but heavily-laden pear tree.
I watched Gail give the tree a good shake. And then I watched as a bushel of pears fell on two heads.
Gail offered me a pear if I wouldn’t put anything in my newspaper column.
“Of course, don’t worry,” I lied. And then I accepted a fine, large pear as a bribe. No, Gail, I won’t give it back.
Tempie was mostly quiet. Maybe she was teetering on the brink of unconsciousness from being pummeled by fresh fruit.
Gail was unhurt. She’s a retired teacher which means she’s much tougher than a bushel of falling pears. I don’t think she ever taught students about gravity, though. It’s their loss. I would have loved to learn more about the Leaning Tower of Pepperoni Pizza.
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ANIMAL CRACKERS. I made the mistake of leaving two of my buggy windows down overnight When I got in, next day, there were about 300-400 little bitty bugs circling the overhead light. You’d think that I could shoo at least a few out, but they really really liked staying inside. I practically had to catch and release each of the little darlings, and I’m now afraid that some of them merely went to another window and returned to their newfound home. Don’t leave windows down.
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A NATIONAL NEWS item last week reminded me of one of my own experiences of youth. A oceanic research team has discovered the hulk of one of the Japanese aircraft carruers that was sunk during the Battle of Midway in WWII.
I can’t imagine the hell of being on an iron ship in the middle of a battle like Midway, and even though they were our enemy, I can’t help but sympathize with the Japanese sailors. And our own.
On my Navy helicopter squadron’s WestPac cruise, back in about 1963, our aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, sailed over the exact spot where the original USS Yorktown was sunk by the Japanese. Our country didn’t want the Japanese to know that they had sunk the carrier, so we changed the name of a new aircraft carrier that was about to be launched. The new name for the new carrier became Yorktown. Don’t know if it tricked the enemy, or if it did any good.
At any rate, when we cruised over the spot where the first Yorktown was sunk our captain had everyone put on dress blue uniforms and ‘Man the Rail,’ which is an exercise in which sailors literally line up along the outline of the ship in order to pay tribute to a port the ship is entering. In this case, we did it for the ‘old’ Yorktown. Pictures were taken and we had some sort of ceremony in which we remembered the brave sailors who died in that fight. The carrier was big enough so that it actually had a brass band, and they played some patriotic tunes for the occasion. (I always wondered what those guys did during the 99.9% of the time they weren’t playing for a ceremonial event.)
The Yorktown was nicknamed the ‘Fighting Lady,’ and occasionally a movie by that name is on late night television. ‘My’ Yorktown, CVS 10, had a crew of about 3,000 and it was just a little aircraft carrier by today’s standards. Had a swell band, though.
There was a sailor from Dierks in the ship’s company, and we got together once for a downhome visit. I am ashamed to tell you I cannot remember his name. But we were like Hornets and Outlaws. He was ship’s company, and they looked down on those doggone ‘airdales’ that strutted around the ship (me). I’m exaggerating, of course.
The Yorktown was always Navy home for the Dierks sailor; my own Navy home was split between the Yorktown and Ream Field Naval Auxilary Air Station in Imperial Beach, Calif.
Ream Field was so far south of San Diego that we could see the brightly colored streetlights of downtown Tijuana, Mexico, at night.
The Yorktown took me to Hawaii so many times I can’t count them. Also, to Midway, Guam, several different ports in Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong. A great experience for a Howard County boy who thought driving to Camp Albert Pike was exotic.
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HE SAID: “How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.” St. Thomas Aquinas, theologian
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SHE SAID: “You just keep a positive attitude no matter what comes in your way – challenges, roadblocks – don’t let it faze you, and you can overcome anything.” Rose Namajunas, mixed martial artist
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SWEET DREAMS, Baby