This Weekend in Weather History


Florida Keys, September 1935, Death toll: 423

The “Great Labor Day” storm was the most intense category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States. Its winds were strong enough to derail a train sent to rescue World War I veterans who had been working on a government building project in the Keys.

Magical Weather Notification

Rick Klau pointed out Disney’s Magical Gatherings software. I hadn’t thought to use it, since I’m just planning for my immediate family’s trip into the eye of the storm.

I’m a bit more critical than Rick is. Tinkerbell’s lantern glowed as I noted my favorites, but there’s no easy way to see what the new information is. By “easy” I mean something I spot immediately. There are a number of areas for improvement which rely on data integration in Disney’s backend: cruise and resort reservations, dinner reservations, operating schedules, and so forth. I’m asked to login to the site, when I’ve already identified myself to the application. The chat function uses AIM’s port assignment, tcp/5190, though I would have expected them to use Jabber.

One item that I’d like given the current situation is notification of weather events with helpful links to Disney emergency planning. “We see that you’ll be arriving on September 4th. Did you know there’s a hurricane? Disney World rarely closes, but we will gladly change your reservation if you’d like.”

Monterey Streetscapes

I spent many a summer day drooling over the candy counter in the H & H Cash Store, run by the Herrold family. It sits on the corner of Main and Spruce Streets, across from the courthouse. They stocked the best cheeses; large blocks of Colby or Monterey Jack, from which Jack or Gaye would cut a pound, or just a hunk so we could see if we liked it. Jack died just before we visited Highland in July.

The Highland Telephone Cooperative found a new building, and the former offices have become The Stone Hearth. They put on a good spread. I had the rainbow trout.

Looking southeast out of town on U.S. 250, you can see what I think is the residence of the owners of the Montvallee Motel, and the new post office.

One of the newest structures in Monterey is the Family Dollar. Approved earlier this year with little objection, the building shot up — and then some realized that it might not mesh with the neighborhood. But this unsavory trend started with the Monterey branch of the Blue Grass Valley Bank, between the Family Dollar and the post office. The post office built up to the sidewalk, with parking on the side. The bank didn’t.

More photographs of Monterey are in the Virginia Film Office‘s catalog. We lived here.

#1 Roller Coaster

Boulder Dash, image by We spent Saturday at Lake Compounce, in Bristol, Connecticut. The tots enjoyed the water and shows. Overall the oldest continuously operated amusement park was a blast.

Lake Compounce has two items of note. The first is a kick-ass wooden roller coaster, the Boulder Dash, which is built on the slopes of Mt. Compounce. The ride is fantastic.

Second, the trolley stop is still there, featuring a trolley car on loan from the Shore Line Trolley Museum.

Luggage, Avoiding the Act of

Denise is not the only one who can talk about baby gear.

I have an aversion to lifting large, bulky objects, especially in tandem with other large, bulky objects, so when it comes time to decide whether or not the stroller should fly with us to Florida, I tend to favor leaving it in the parking lot for some lucky finder. But stroller rentals in the Magic Kingdom are a trifle inconvenient as well.

What to do then? Buy a double umbrella stroller and strap it to the bags? Or two umbrella strollers and a stroller connector? Or just let them walk?

I think the latter option would probably be the most painful.

Lost Patents

On the Engines of Our Ingenuity this morning, John Leinhard talked about 10,000 patents lost when the Patent Office burned.

By 1836, it housed ten thousand patents and seven thousand patent models. That’s when the government authorized a new Patent Office. Just then, as if on cue, a fire destroyed the old building, and all the patents in it. Only after that, did we begin numbering patents. Patent Number 1 was issued to John Ruggles for a new railroad wheel, meant to gain better traction.

One of the lost patents was granted in 1826 to Samuel Morey for an internal combustion engine. Makes you wonder what might have been if it weren’t for the fire.

There are lots of citations on Google.


In what could have been a tragically ironic twist of fate, Deena performed the Heimlich maneuver on the Little Sister this afternoon. The girls were out looking for houses with Nana. While they were stopped on the curb waiting for a realtor, Deena happened to look in the back and see Olivia gasping for air: She was choking on a miniature pretzel.

She tore her out of the car seat, performed the Heimlich, and all was well and good.

The Big Sister was busy with something else and didn’t notice; we were lucky.

Take this, and eat it, in remembrance of Me

I saw this expression of dogma in the paper this morning, but it cleared the buffer before I made it back to my desk. Thanks for the reminder, Eric.

BRIELLE, New Jersey (AP) — An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.

Wheat is a special grain, with deeper significance than most people realize. Though rice has played just as great a role in the Orient, wheat is the staple of the Eurasian diet.

Or as the Vatican puts it in Redemptionis Sacramentum

[48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.[123] It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.

It is possible to contest this within the Church, and to introduce an exception to the Canon, or revise the requirements for the host, or one could do as another family did.

In 2001, the family of a 5-year-old Massachusetts girl with the disease left the Catholic church after being denied permission to use a rice wafer. [emphasis mine]

If the Church will deny your participation in its most precious sacrament, why should you stay? Or, perhaps more to the point, what kind of God would care?

TiVoing the Fencers

I finally caught one of the fencing broadcasts, of the men’s sabre finals on TiVo. If you don’t have TiVo, or another high-quality DVR, and you are a sports nut, I highly recommend it. The pause feature is essential, as are slow motion and instant replay. Because, let’s face it, everybody poops.

I hate to recommend the POS NBC site, but they have video from Sada Jacobson‘s and Mariel Zagunis‘s bouts. The clips require the first six digits of your Visa card (hiss!) and Windows Media Player (boo!).

While NBC is only interested in broadcasting chances at medals, the U.S. Fencing Association has been watching all of the bouts. Not only do they have a guide for the media, but they have one of those blog things as well.