Track Hurricane Gustav With Radar and Maps


As the Hurricane becomes more intense and New Orleans residents are ordered to leave I add more sites to the growing list of weather resources online to follow this situation.

Interactive Gustav Hurricane Tracker added late Saturday night.  Use this link for an amazing display.

IBISEYE has a great presentation map of the storm.

Wundermap interactive map and weather stations.

Watch water levels as they happen with storm surge and flooding interactive maps. (This one takes a few seconds to load.)

Weather phenomenon, such as Hurricane Gustav, is quite remarkable to watch and follow.  Now that the hurricane is a Category Four, I suspect many will want to be more informed about the action that Mother Nature is taking.  Therefore, I have selected a few sites from my weather faves so that you can link to them and also follow the developments.

Southeast Regional Radar

Hurricane Guide

NOAA Radars and Maps

Skeetobite Weather

Animated Weatherbug Storm Tracker  (With wind speed and the all important barometric pressure for each location)

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Saturday Song: Connie Francis “Lipstick On Your Collar”

As a teenager it seemed every other month there was a special on ABC where Dick Clark would dip back into the archives for the greatest hits of the early days of rock and roll.  One song that always made the programs was “Lipstick On Your Collar” sung by the very attractive Connie Francis.  Her hand movements always intrigued me, as I was never sure if she was dancing or just nervous, and not sure where to put them.  And then there are the audience shots of bubblegum chewers and faces just perfect for a role in a 1950’s movie.   All the way around this one is a classic!

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Crab Apple Jelly Making Time (With Recipe)

On a recent walk in Madison we spotted one of the biggest crab apple trees I have ever seen, which was loaded with a bumper crop of fruit all deep red, and pleading to be used for jelly.  The owner of the tree said that there was no one else who had any interest in the apples, so with that we started picking the small fruit.  From there the process unfolded over a couple of days, and included 43 pounds of sugar (not a typo) and produced over 50 pints of jelly.  And to imagine that we picked only a small portion of the fruit that there was to be had from the tree! 

Pick two regular shopping bags (doubled up would likely be best) full of crab apples-alone this can take up to two hours, but as a team the work becomes much easier.  Fill the bags right up, don’t be stingy; if they seem too heavy to carry, that’s the right way to fill them.

Bring the bags home, wash the apples well.  In the good ole days, one would have sat and with a knife removed the stem and opposite end of each apple before cooking.  We have discovered that it really doesn’t make any difference in the flavor so why go to the extra expense of time.

Put apples into large canners to cook.  (The pot above was in James’ family since the 1950’s and is one of those old pots that has character as a result of all the jelly making over the years!)Add water to canners, just up to the level where you can see it.  Boil apples about 5 to 10 minutes until they seemingly fall apart into sauce.  Remove from heat and cool.

Get the following tools ready…

…an old pillow case that has served as a jelly strainer since you can’t remember when and an empty canner which was likely given to your mother by a loving aunt or her own grandmother many years before; this canner will catch the juice.  You will also need a rod to hang a heavy bag from, two sturdy chairs, scissors and some twine.  If you are doing all of this in the kitchen, putting down a bit of plastic to make sure you don’t make a real mess is also somewhat advisable.

In the middle of your plastic sheeting, place the old canner.  On either side of the canner, place the two sturdy chairs with the rod balanced between them.  Put the opened pillow case strainer in the canner and add the boiled apples.  Gather the top of the pillow case and tie securely with some twine.  With more twine, suspend the bag in mid air above the canner so that the weight of the apples will force the juice out with the help of gravity.  Let hang over night.

The following day, remove the canner and the juice to the stove.  Cut free the pillow case, discard the apple mash and clean up.

Measure carefully the amount of juice that you have, calculate the amount of sugar and pectin needed to make the jelly.  For every seven cups of juice use 9 cups of sugar and one box of pectin.  In this case we had: 66 cups of juice, 42.5 pounds of sugar, 12 boxes of pectin.

Bring juice to a boil and add dry ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil and hold there for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and fill jars immediately.

Be sure that your jars are submerged in hot water, as well as the lids and rings, before adding the boiling hot liquid jelly.  This will prevent dangerous breakage.  To seal, invert the jar for up to 30 minutes, then right the jar.  You will hear the jars begin to “pop” as the seal takes hold.  Cover jars with tea towels so that the heat does not escape too quickly.

Yields:  over 50 pints-though you can make smaller batches!

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NBC Apologizes For Not Reporting Biography On Gay Olympic Gold-Medal Winner Matthew Mitcham

As posted here this week, NBC decided not to report on the background and life story of gold-medal winner Matthew Mitcham during the summer Olympics.  Given the compelling story that Mitcham has lived it seemed this was a made for TV moment.  Once the story of NBC’s actions made news both in print and blogs there was a decision by the network to at least make a statement about the matter, and apologize.

NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel has apologized to Australian gold-medal winner Matthew Mitcham for not profiling the openly gay diver during the network’s coverage or showing his partner in the stands at the time of his victory. “We regret that we missed the opportunity to tell Matthew Mitcham’s story. We apologize for this unintentional omission,” Zenkel said.

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More GOP Trouble: Republican Convention Might Be Delayed

This is kind of funny.  The GOP can’t hide from the memories of Hurricane Katrina.  I wonder if Bush regrets his famous remark.

Brownie, youre doing a heck of a job.’

Republican officials said yesterday that they are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane early next week.

The threat is serious enough that White House officials are also debating whether President Bush should cancel his scheduled convention appearance on Monday, the first day of the convention, according to administration officials and others familiar with the discussion.

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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Smart Pick For John McCain As His V.P.

The news this morning that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be the GOP Vice-Presidential nominee is smart politics, in spite of some who will argue that she is too young and inexperienced.  

As you read news reports from CNN you can understand why she was picked.

Palin, 44, who’s in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state’s top political job.

She catapulted to the post with a strong reputation as a political outsider, forged during her stint in local politics. She was mayor and a council member of the small town of Wasila and was chairman of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s oil and gas resources, in 2003 and 2004.

The conservative Palindefeated two so-called political insiders to win the governor’s job — incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary and former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in the 2006 general election.

Lets be honest,  John McCain needed to shake up his campaign and inject some interest and excitement into the race that America understands needs to be about a new direction for the country.  Another all stale white male ticket is not where the nation is headed, and McCain understood that.  While the entire Republican ticket is still wrong on the issues that confront the nation, there is at least now something fresh and new for the media to report on about the McCain candidacy.

There will be those who will say that McCain should have selected a “stronger” and more solid choice, in other words a male choice.  There will be those who think that Mitt Romney or some other all testosterone ticket is the only way the Republicans can win.  Check out the gender of those who say such things, and you will notice that the ones who make such claims are the ones who have had the power all the years, (white males) and are now finding that it is time to share.  I am certainly not a Republican, but this is exactly the type of pick that I had suggested was the only way for McCain to make inroads.  (Though I am surprised that he actually made the pick of a woman, as the GOP usually makes the wrong choices.)

I am not predicting that women who were for Hillary Clinton will somehow turn to the GOP ticket now that a woman is the V.P. nominee, but it will send a message to some independents and undecided voters that perhaps the GOP heard the message that was being sent about gender in the primaries this year.  And that can only help the chances of John McCain.

Having Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee in some ways helped to force diversity on the GOP, and all of this now helps America move forward in how we think about who can lead and why.  Progress is being made in America, and so even Democrats like myself can see the good in having Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket.

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What a truly amazing and inspiring moment in American history. 

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Has John McCain Decided On Gov. Tim Pawlenty As VP Candidate?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has cancelled upcoming public appearances.  Coincidence?  Or has he been selected as John McCain’s running mate?

Without explanation, Pawlenty called off an Associated Press interview at the last minute, as well as other media interviews in Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention.

Pawlenty, in Denver to criticize Democrats on McCain’s behalf, canceled without explanation an afternoon roundtable interview with the AP as well as other media interviews. Questioned about the vice presidential selection earlier, Pawlenty would only say that he is to be in Minnesota on Friday for the state fair. He had cautioned during a series of morning TV interviews that while speculation might be fun, “most of it turns out to be inaccurate.”

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