Saturday, September 23, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,480 miles down and 299 miles to go

Samwise Gamgee's "Oliphaunt Poem"
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday and five more yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,480 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 299 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 83.2 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo Baggins’ overall journey to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom in Mordor, I’m on the tenth day/night of the trip past Rauros Falls, which is March 5/6 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update a little after midnight on the morning of March 5, at Mile 1470, which is one mile from the point where Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and Gollum see another Nazgul fly over again, on its way to Isengard.


Five miles later, at Mile 1475, dawn breaks and Frodo and his companions are able to see guards on the walls above the Black Gate. They hide in a hollow “delved in the side of a low hill.” It’s from this vantage point that they can see an army of Easterlings arrive, then later an army of Southrons. Sam recites the “Oliphaunt” poem, and Gollum tells of a “secret” way into Mordor. Frodo decides to follow Gollum south, but not before resting during the daylight hours of March 5.


At dusk on the evening of March 5, the group resumes their journey by creeping out the west side of the hollow. Two miles later, at Mile 1477, they walked southwest, west of the road, which runs in a trenchlike valley between the mountains and the moors. It has been newly repaired for many miles.


I’ve traveled three miles past this point to Mile 1480, and the next significant milestone comes four miles later, at Mile 1484, when they reach the end of the slag heaps and take a brief rest.


For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1, 2015. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,779 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.


The folks who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound very familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,779 miles in a year.


If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, and Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.


In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out at least 10 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

Today in History for Sept. 23, 2017

Fulton, Ala. historical marker in Clarke County.
Sept. 23, 480 BC – On this day, Greece celebrates the birthday of the Athenian tragic poet, Euripides.

Sept. 23, 63 B.C. – Roman emperor Caesar Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus in Rome. The great-nephew of Julius Caesar, Augustus was named as the childless statesman's heir upon his assassination.

Sept. 23, 1215 – Mongol emperor Kublai Khan was born simply Kublai (the word Khan means ruler) somewhere in Mongolia, the grandson of the empire's founder, Genghis Khan.

Sept. 23, 1641 – The Merchant Royal, carrying a treasure worth over a billion US dollars, was lost at sea off Land's End.

Sept. 23, 1642 – The first commencement exercises were held at Harvard College.

Sept. 23, 1779 – During the American Revolution, John Paul Jones, commander of the American warship USS Bonhomme Richard, won the Battle of Flamborough Head, a hard-fought engagement against the British warships Serapis and Countess of Scarborough off the eastern coast of England.

Sept. 23, 1780 – During the American Revolution, British Major John André was arrested as a spy by American soldiers and was captured with papers revealing that Benedict Arnold had change of sides and was going to surrender West Point, N.Y. to the British.

Sept. 23, 1806 - Amid much public excitement, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis, Missouri, from the first recorded overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and back. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the “Corps of Discovery,” had set off more than two years before to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

Sept. 23, 1838 - Activist, politician, and newspaper editor Victoria Claflin Woodhull was born in Homer, Ohio, and she went on to become the first female candidate for president of the United States in 1870.

Sept. 23, 1845 - The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York, the first baseball team to play under modern rules, was formed by Alexander Joy Cartwright.

Sept. 23, 1846 – English-Australian explorer John Ainsworth Horrocks died at the age of 28 in Penwortham, South Australia from gangrene after being accidentally shot a month earlier.

Sept. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Albany, Ky.

Sept. 23, 1861 – During the Civil War, Confederates descended on Romney, W.Va. and skirmishes were fought at Mechanicsburg Gap, Cassville and Hanging Rock Pass in West Virginia.

Sept. 23, 1861 - John Charles Fremont, military governor of St. Louis and the Missouri district, was failing to heed the old saying that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. He had enraged half of Missouri with his highhanded orders, including an emancipation of slaves and threats to confiscate the property of, and then execute, Confederate sympathizers. Then he got the Union supporters just as angry by playing politics instead of going in support of the beleaguered Federal force in Lexington. On this day, the St. Louis Evening News pointed out some of these facts to their readership. Fremont's response was to lock down the newspaper printing facility and have the editor placed in jail.

Sept. 23, 1861 – Capt. John Herbert Kelly of Wilcox County, Ala. was promoted to the rank of major.

Sept. 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at McGuire Ferry, Ark.; with Sioux Indians at Fort Abercrombie in the Dakota Territory; with Sioux Indians at Wood Lake, near Yellow Medicine, in Montana; and at Wolf Creek Bridge, near Memphis, Tenn.

Sept. 23, 1862 – During the Civil War, a two-day Federal operation began near Eureka, Mo.

Sept. 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln met with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, several cabinet members and military planners to discuss the situation in Chattanooga, Tenn. The decision was made to ship General Joseph Hooker and his men to relieve General William Rosecrans' army.

Sept. 23, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Bayou Meto Bridge in Arkansas; at Cumberland Gap and Lookout Mountain in Tennessee; and near Liberty Mills and at Robertson’s Ford on the Rapidan River in Virginia. The first of three days of skirmishing also began in front of Chattanooga, Tenn., and an affair took place opposite Donaldsonville, La.

Sept. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Athens, Ala. that involved Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Sept. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fort Smith, Ark.; near Rocheport, Mo.; and at Edenburg, Front Royal, Mount Jackson, and Woodstock in Virginia. The second day of skirmishing also took place at Rolling Fork, Miss.

Sept. 23, 1864 – During the Civil War, a 10-day Federal operation into the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia began.

Sept. 23, 1864 - The Blair family name runs through the history of the Civil War on the Union side. Some of their efforts were military (Frank Blair Jr. was one of the best of those who achieved general’s rank without benefit of military training) but far more important was the family’s political activities. High on the list was the name of Montgomery Blair, wheeler-dealer, consummate behind-the-scenes politician and staunch ally of Abraham Lincoln. His only official title was Postmaster General, a job he had filled well during a time when so much mail was in motion that a nationwide paper shortage occurred. But he was also a leader of the moderate faction of the Democratic Party, which made him anathema to the Radical Republicans. To pacify them, Lincoln was forced on this day to ask for Blair’s resignation. He gave it, gracefully.

Sept. 23, 1865- Baroness Emmuska Orczy was born Baroness Emma Magdalena Rosália Mária Josefa Borbára Orczy at her family's estate in Hungary. She is best known for her 1905 novel, “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Sept. 23, 1865 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought with Indians in the Harney Lake Valley of Oregon. This was the last reported hostilities occurring during the era of the American Civil War per the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Ironically, the last encounter reported has the Federals being routed, luckily escaping with only one injury.

Sept. 23, 1869 – Irish immigrant Mary Mallon, aka “Typhoid Mary,” was born in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Ireland. A "healthy carrier" of typhoid fever, she unwittingly spread the deadly disease around New York.

Sept. 23, 1875 – Silver City, New Mexico police arrested 15-year-old Billy the Kid for the first time after they caught him with a bag of stolen clothes. He was thrown in jail, but escaped two days later. From that day forward Billy would be on the wrong side of the law, though he would soon be guilty of crimes far more serious than hiding a stolen bag of laundry.

Sept. 23, 1889 – Journalist Walter Lippmann was born in New York City.

Sept. 23, 1896 – The name of the Behrman Post Office in Clarke County, Ala. was changed to Fulton, supposedly after Fulton, N.Y.

Sept. 23, 1896 - A difficulty occurred on tis Wednesday morning, on the Ridge, between the Messrs. Ross, father and son, and Atkins, father and two sons, in which Mr. Ross fils, was severely cut about the neck and face, according to The Monroe Journal. Dr. Wiggins, who attended the wounded man, pronounced his injuries quite serious but not necessarily fatal. The difficulty grew out of the depredations of stock belonging to one of the parties on the crop of the other.

Sept. 23, 1896 – The Rev. A.J. Lambert, assisted by Rev. S.P. Lindsey, closed a protracted meeting at Pleasant Hill Church at Manistee on this Wednesday night. They had a glorious meeting; 18 accessions to the church, 16 by experience, according to The Monroe Journal.

Sept. 23, 1897 - The first recorded traffic fatality in Great Britain occurred, two years before the first fatality in the U.S.

Sept. 23, 1901 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jaroslav Seifert was born in a suburb of Prague.

Sept. 23, 1907 – German SS officer Herbert Kappler was born in Stuttgart, German Empire.

Sept. 23, 1908 - A game between the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs ended in 1-1 tie after a controversial call at second base that resulted in the Cubs winning the National League pennant. The officials ruled that Giants first baseman Fred Merkle was out because he failed to touch second base, and the game was called with the score 1-1 due to darkness. Because the game could not end in a tie, it was replayed on October 8, 1908. In the makeup game, the Cubs beat their rivals to secure the National League pennant and went on to beat the Detroit Tigers for their third consecutive World Series.

Sept. 23, 1909 – “The Phantom of the Opera,” a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois.

Sept. 23, 1911 – Pilot Earle Ovington made the first official airmail delivery in America under the authority of the United States Post Office Department

Sept. 23, 1915 – The Monroe Journal reported that D.L. Neville had been appointed game warden for Monroe County, Ala.

Sept. 23, 1917 - German flying ace Werner Voss was shot down and killed during a dogfight with British pilots in the skies over Belgium, on the Western Front during World War I.

Sept. 23, 1926 – Musician John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, N.C.

Sept. 23, 1927 - Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. became the site of the very first football game played “under the lights” in the South with Cloverdale taking on Pike Road High School. An estimated crowd of 7,200 attended the game.

Sept. 23, 1930 – Musician Ray Charles, who is known as the “Father of Soul,” was born in Albany, Ga.

Sept. 23, 1936 – The First ascent of Siniolchu was accomplished by a German team.

Sept. 23, 1942 - A radio version of Alabama author T. S. Stribling's story "A Passage to Benares" was broadcast as part of the “Suspense” series.

Sept. 23, 1943 – During World War II, the Nazi puppet state known as the Italian Social Republic was founded.

Sept. 23, 1946 – Construction began on new bridge over Murder Creek on the Loree Road in Conecuh County, Ala.

Sept. 23, 1949 – Rock musician Bruce Springsteen was born in Long Branch, N.J.

Sept. 23, 1951 - Sallie Covan, three-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Covan, was seriously injured on this Sunday afternoon, when the accidental discharge from a shotgun struck her in both legs. The gun went off at close range and resulting injuries caused the amputation of the right leg. The accident happened at the Covan’s home northeast of Mabank, Texas. The accident occurred as the father of the child was removing the gun from the floor of the car. The Covans were former residents of Evergreen, Ala.

Sept. 23, 1952 – Butler County, Ala. native and country music legend Hank Williams did his last recording session.

Sept. 23, 1952 – Major League Baseball third baseman and second baseman Jim Morrison was born in Pensacola, Fla. He would go on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves.

Sept. 23, 1965 - The South Vietnamese government executed three accused Viet Cong agents held at Da Nang.

Sept. 23, 1968 – The Fall Term of Conecuh County Court was scheduled to open in Evergreen, Ala. on this Monday morning with Circuit Judge Robert E.L. Key presiding. Attorneys for the state included District Attorney Ralph L. Jones of Monroeville and County Solicitor Henry J. Kinzer of Evergreen. There were 16 cases on the docket, according to Conecuh County Circuit Clerk Leon A. Salter.

Sept. 23, 1969 - The trial for eight antiwar activists charged with the responsibility for the violent demonstrations at the August 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago.

Sept. 23, 1978 – Major League Baseball outfielder Lyman Bostock, a 27-year-old native of Birmingham, Ala., was shot and killed in Gary, Ind. During his career, he played for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels.

Sept. 23, 1986 – Jim Deshaies of the Houston Astros set a Major League record by striking out the first eight batters of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This record was tied by Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets on September 15, 2014 against the Miami Marlins.

Sept. 23, 1988 – José Canseco of the Oakland Athletics became the first member of the 40–40 club.

Sept. 23, 1988 – Hungarian-Serbian explorer and author Tibor Sekelj died at the age of 76 in Subotica, Yugoslavia.

Sept. 23, 1990 - Iraq publicly threatened to destroy Middle East oil fields and to attack Israel if any nation tried to force it from Kuwait.

Sept. 23, 1991 - U.N. weapons inspectors found documents in Baghdad detailing Iraq's secret nuclear weapons program, which triggered a standoff with authorities in Iraq.

Sept. 23, 1996 – Thomas Booker served his final day as Evergreen, Alabama’s police chief before taking another job in Spanish Fort.

Sept. 23, 1998 – In “V for Vendetta,” there had been no activity from V for six months. Finch had been detached from his job since returning from holiday. Dominic speculated that V’s vendetta was over. V and Evey were now reunited, and V offered Evey a chance to avenge Gordon’s death. Transformed by her experience, Evey declined. Rosemary continued to suffer.

Sept. 23, 2001 - Barry Bonds hit his 65th and 66th home run of the season to tie Sammy Sosa for the second most home runs in a season.

Sept. 23, 2001 - In Brookwood, Ala., 13 miners were killed in two explosions at the Blue Creek No. 5 mine.

Sept. 23, 2004 - Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi gave a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Afterward, U.S. President George W. Bush and Allawi gave a joint news conference.

Sept. 23, 2008 - Alabama author Ellen Tarry died in New York.

Sept. 23, 2011 – Sparta Academy’s Dalton Baggett rushed for 263 yards and four touchdowns in Sparta's 38-30 homecoming victory over Lowndes Academy at Stuart-McGehee Field in Evergreen, Ala. Mike Bledsoe was Sparta’s head coach.

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., Sept. 23, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.10 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.85 inches.

Fall to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 72.60 inches.

Notes: Today is the 266th day of 2017 and the second day of Fall. There are 99 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Today in History for Sept. 22, 2017

John Grisham
Sept. 22, 1515 – Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of King Henry the VIII, was born in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Sept. 22, 1554 – Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, his health badly deteriorated from injuries and the toll of his strenuous travels, died of an infectious disease around the age of 44 in Mexico City. He never found the fabled cities of gold that he had sought for decades. But while he never found the golden cities he sought, Coronado did succeed in giving the Spanish and the rest of the world their first fairly accurate understanding of the inhabitants and geography of the southern half of the present United States.

Sept. 22, 1692 – During the Salem witchcraft trials, Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Willmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell and Mary Parker were hanged. Preceded by 11 other hangings, plus five who died in prison and one who was crushed to death refusing to enter a plea, these eight were the last people hanged for witchcraft in England's North American colonies. Dorcas Hoar escaped execution by confessing.

Sept. 22, 1776 - During the American Revolutionary War, Nathan Hale, a captain in the Continental Army, was hanged as a spy by the British in New York City. After being led to the gallows, legend holds that the 21-year-old Hale said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Sept. 22, 1777 – American botanist and explorer John Bartram died at the age of 78 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Colony.

Sept. 22, 1789 - The U.S. Congress authorized the office of Postmaster General.

Sept. 22, 1791 - English scientist of electromagnetics and electrochemistry Michael Faraday was born in London.

Sept. 22, 1823 – Joseph Smith stated that he found the Golden plates on this date after being directed by God through the Angel Moroni to the place where they were buried.

Sept. 22, 1835 – In Baltimore, Edgar Allan Poe secretly married Virginia, his cousin. He was 26 and she was 13, though she is listed on the marriage certificate as being 21.

Sept. 22, 1837 – Thomas S. Roach and James McCall were commissioned as Monroe County, Alabama’s Circuit Court Clerks, and Edward T. Broughton was commissioned as Monroe County’s Sheriff.

Sept. 22, 1857 – Alexander Autrey, the second white man to settle in Conecuh County, Ala. and founder of Hampden Ridge, died at his home in Conecuh County, age 77. Born on Jan. 4, 1780 in North Carolina, he was buried in the Old Beulah Cemetery in Conecuh County.

Sept. 22, 1861 – During the Civil War, a skirmish was fought at Eliott’s Mill or Camp Critenden, Mo. Another skirmish was also fought at Osceola, Mo.

Sept. 22, 1861 - John Charles Fremont was not having a happy career as military administrator of St. Louis. First, he had declared martial law. Then followed this heavy-handed maneuver with a mini-Emancipation Proclamation for the state of Missouri. This had brought down the wrath of Frank Blair Jr., not to mention the Lincoln Administration, upon his head. Over the previous week the dispute had escalated until Fremont had had Blair arrested. What Fremont was supposed to have done the previous week was fight Sterling Price’s Confederate force and rescue the Federals holed up in Lexington. The news of their surrender to Price reached St. Louis today. Even Fremont’s supporters were disgusted with his performance.

Sept. 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It stated that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863. By the end of the war, more than 500,000 slaves had fled to freedom behind Northern lines and about 200,000 black soldiers and sailors, many of them former slaves, served in the armed forces.

Sept. 22, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Vinegar Hill, Ky. and at Ashby’s Gap, Va. Federal forces also reoccupied Harper’s Ferry, W.Va.

Sept. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Marrow Bone Creek, Ky.; at Rockville, Md.; and in La Fayette County, Mo.

Sept. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Missionary Ridge and Shallow Ford Gap, near Chattanooga, in Tennessee, bringing the Chickamauga Campaign to a close as General Braxton Bragg occupied the high ground of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain surrounding Chattanooga and the Federal Army of the Cumberland.

Sept. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Centreville, Warrenton, Orange Court House and Raccoon Ford in Virginia; and an engagement was fought at Blountsville, Tenn.

Sept. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, Federal troops destroyed the Hudson Place Salt Works, near Darien, Ga.

Sept. 22, 1863 – During the Civil War, Joseph Shelby's raid into Missouri and Arkansas began and continued until Oct. 26.

Sept. 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, a seven-day Federal operation began between Helena and Alligator Bayou, Arkansas.

Sept. 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Carthage, Longwood, Patterson and Sikeston, Mo.; and at Millford, Va. The first of a two days of skirmishing began at Rolling Fork, Miss.

Sept. 22, 1864 – During the Civil War, the Battle of Fisher's Hill was fought. Sheridan had almost 30,000 men, while Early had just under 10,000. Union losses were around 500, Confederate over 1,200.

Sept. 22, 1875 – J.M. McNeil was named postmaster at Burnt Corn, Ala.

Sept. 22, 1879 – The Monroeville (Ala.) Institute opened with W.Y. Titcomb as principal and Miss B.C. McCorvey as assistant.

Sept. 22, 1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.

Sept. 22, 1889 – On this Sunday night, Monroeville, Ala. was struck by “the Equinoctial or September gale.”

Sept. 22, 1895 – John Hope Moore Sr., one of Monroe County’s “oldest and best citizens,” died at his home near Perdue Hill on this Sunday after a “long and painful illness” at the age of 69. Born on Jan. 4, 1826, he was buried in the McConnico Cemetery at Perdue Hill.

Sept. 22, 1906 – Late on a payday Saturday night, Ed Dean shot and killed Will Neville at Peterman, Ala. Dean later turned himself into the Sheriff in Monroeville and was released on bond.

Sept. 22, 1907 – Atmore, Ala. native Claude D. Kelley was born. He would go on to serve five terms as the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservations and Natural Resources and 11 years as president and headed the Alabama public parks system during the administration of then-Gov. Lurleen B. Wallace in the 1960s.

Sept. 22, 1914 - A.J. Lee of Burnt Corn, Ala. sent The Evergreen Courant “the largest boll of cotton” the newspaper staff had ever seen. Lee said the boll was taken from a stalk nine feet and five inches tall.

Sept. 22, 1914 – Charles R. Cook, a well known Monroe County, Ala. native, was shot and killed in McKinnonville, Fla. Cook ran a commissary there and one of his employees got into a fight with another man at the store. Cook apparently tried to break them up, and he and his employee were both shot. Cook’s remains were brought back to Monroe County and buried at Perdue Hill.

Sept. 22, 1914 - In the North Sea, the German submarine U-9 sank three British cruisers, the Aboukir, the Hogue and the Cressy, in just over one hour.

Sept. 22, 1916 - The Bethlehem Baptist Association closed its 100th annual session in Monroeville on this Friday. More than a score of the churches comprising the body were represented by strong official delegations, according to The Monroe Journal.

Sept. 22, 1920 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and manager Bob Lemon was born in San Bernadino, Calif. He went on to play for the Cleveland Indians and later managed the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.

Sept. 22, 1927 – National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and manager Tommy Lasorda was born in Norristown, Pa. He went on to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Kansas City Athletics and managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to 1996. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

Sept. 22, 1931 – English author Fay Weldon was born in Worcestershire, England.

Sept. 22, 1940 - In North End, Boston, a Paul Revere Statue, made by Cyrus Dallin, was unveiled.

Sept. 22, 1941 – During World War II, on Jewish New Year Day, the German SS murdered 6,000 Jews in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Those were the survivors of the previous killings that took place a few days earlier in which about 24,000 Jews were executed.

Sept. 22, 1943 - Members of Alma Martin Post No. 50 of the American Legion were scheduled to have a fish fry at Binion’s Camp on this Wednesday night. All members were urged to attend.

Sept. 22, 1952 – Army SFC Rudolph Farmer, 23, of Covington County, Ala. was killed in action in Korea. Born on Feb. 3, 1929, he was buried in the Rhoades Cemetery in Coffee County, Ala.

Sept. 22, 1961 – Congress approved a bill to establish the Peace Corps and President John F. Kennedy signed it into law.

Sept. 22, 1961 - Lyeffion High School, under new head coach Shirley Frazier, was scheduled to open the 1961 season in Beatrice. Players on Lyeffion’s team that season included Shelton Cook, Patton Brown, Larry Smith, Elmer Gaskey, Donnie Hamrac, Wadie Salter, Harold Wilson, Allen Chavers, Keith Holcombe, Ronnie Golson, Bobby Salter, Charles Salter, Don Garrett, Mickey Fountain, Hayward Salter, Guy Chavers, Homer Chavers, Mike Burt, Larry Blackmon and Don Slater.

Sept. 22, 1963 – In an incident attributed to the “Bermuda Triangle,” a C-132 Cargomaster disappeared between Delaware and its destination in the Azores. The Coast Guard and Navy conducted an intensive search for the plane until Sept. 25, but found nothing that could be identified with the missing plane.

Sept. 22, 1964 - Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, Republican senator from Arizona, charged that President Lyndon Johnson lied to the American people and that he was committing the United States to war “recklessly.”

Sept. 22, 1964 – “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on Broadway.

Sept. 22, 1966 – The Conecuh County, Ala. Board of Directors approved the purchase of 30 voting machines for use in that year’s November general election, which eliminated the need for paper ballots in future county elections, other than for absentee voting.

Sept. 22, 1968 - Cesar Tovar became the second Major League Baseball player to play all nine positions in one game.

Sept. 22, 1969 - Willie Mays hit his 600th career home run.

Sept. 22, 1971 – Captain Ernest Medina was acquitted of all charges relating to the My Lai massacre of March 1968.

Sept. 22, 1975 – Sara Jane Moore tried to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but was foiled by Oliver Sipple.

Sept. 22, 1976 - Author Hudson Strode died in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Sept. 22, 1976 – NFL offensive lineman Mo Collins was born in Charlotte, N.C. He went on to play for the University of Florida and the Oakland Raiders.

Sept. 22, 1979 – The Vela Incident (also known as the South Atlantic Flash) was observed near Bouvet Island and was thought to have been a nuclear weapons test, but remains highly disputed. The incident was an unidentified "double flash" of light detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite near the Prince Edward Islands off Antarctica. The most widespread theory among those who believe the flash was of nuclear origin is that it resulted from a joint South African and Israeli nuclear test.

Sept. 22, 1980 - A border conflict between Iran and Iraq developed into a full-scale war when Iraq invaded Iran.

Sept. 22, 1985 - NBC began airing the series "Amazing Stories."

Sept. 22, 1988 – Alabama Governor Guy Hunt signed an official proclamation at the state capitol in Montgomery that formally proclaimed the Town of Castleberry as the “Strawberry Capital of Alabama.”

Sept. 22, 1989 – At Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen, Ala., Hillcrest High School improved to 5-0 overall with a 27-7 win over UMS-Wright, the No. 4-ranked team in Class 4A. Derrick Richardson led Hillcrest with 91 yards rushing, and Russell Meeks led the defense with eight solos and three assists. Other outstanding Hillcrest players in that game included Marvin Cunningham, Fred Fountain, John Gulley, John Johnson, George Moncrease, Keith Richardson, Terrance Rudolph and Tyrone Sigler.

Sept. 22, 1989 – Ashford Academy beat Sparta Academy, 14-8, in Ashford. Quarterback Tim Salter scored Sparta’s only touchdown on an eight-yard run and then passed to Steven Gall for the extra two. Other outstanding Sparta players in the Ashford game included Jason Baker, Craig Blackburn and Jeff Brundage. Chuck Ledbetter was Sparta’s head coach.

Sept. 22, 1990 - Brit Steve Woodmore was declared the world's fastest talker, blabbing 595 words in 56 seconds. The loquacious American, Fran Capo holds the Guinness World Record as the fastest-talking female.

Sept. 22, 1991 – The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library.

Sept. 22, 1993 – During foggy conditions, a barge struck a railroad bridge near Mobile, Ala., causing the deadliest train wreck in Amtrak history as 47 people died when Amtrak's Miami-bound Sunset Limited jumped the rails on the weakened bridge and plunged into Big Bayou Canot.

Sept. 22, 1995 - Excel High School upended 2A, Area 2 rival J.F. Shields 32-6 on this Friday in Beatrice as fall-like temperatures finally crept into Monroe County. With the mercury dipping into the 50s, Excel improved to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in the area. Standout Excel players that season included Kelvin Betts, Jimbo Bishop, Lee Fore, Trevor Ledkins, Chris Lint, Kevin Luker, Bryson Martin, Maurice McMillian, Derrick Millender, Shane Moore, Steven Pharr and Travis Smith. Standout Shields players in that game included Donald Armstrong, Trenton Harrison, Rufus Hawkins, Abe Hunter, Darren Marshall, Ray Odom, Kelvin Sanders, Roderrick Stallworth, Thomas Shumake and Franco Westry. Al Bowen was Excel’s head coach, and George Coker was head coach at Shields.

Sept. 22, 2000 – A team of 14 researchers that had tracked the elusive Bigfoot for a week deep in the mountains of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state found, in a muddy wallow near Mt. Adams, an imprint of a Bigfoot’s hair-covered lower body as it lay on its side, apparently reaching over to get some fruit. On Oct. 23, Idaho State University issued a press release stating that a team of investigators had examined the plaster cast and agreed that it could not be “attributed to any commonly known Northwest animal and may present an uknown primate.”

Sept. 22, 2004 - The pilot episode of "Lost" aired.

Sept. 22, 2006 - Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants tied Hank Aaron's National League home run record when he hit his 733rd.

Sept. 22, 2008 – First baseman Andy Phillips of Tuscaloosa, Ala. made his last Major League Baseball appearance, taking the field one last time for the Cincinnati Reds.

Sept. 22, 2011 – John Grisham was presented with the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his novel, “The Confession,” during a special ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Sept. 22, 2015 – National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, outfielder and manager Yogi Berra died at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, N.J. During his career, he played for the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, and he also managed the Yankees and the Mets. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Daily Rainfall Observations from SW Alabama for Fri., Sept. 22, 2017

Rainfall (Past 24 Hours): 0.00 inches.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.10 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall:  2.85 inches.

Summer to Date Rainfall: 29.05 inches.

Year to Date Rainfall: 72.60 inches.

Notes: Today is the 265th day of 2017 and the first day of Fall. There are 100 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hours Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line and south of U.S. Highway 84, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834N Lon 87.30131W. Elevation 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Some believe that Bigfoot creature lurks in swamp off Langham Road

Langham Road in Conecuh County, Ala.
I’ve received at least two possible Bigfoot activity reports during the past month, and I’m working to gather more information about both of these incidents in hopes of passing more details along to interested readers.

Earlier this month, local Bigfoot enthusiast Ashley McPhaul, who lives between Repton and Excel, reported that a woman living in the vicinity of Langham Road told him that she believes she heard a Bigfoot-type creature early one Friday morning several weeks ago. For readers unfamiliar with Langham Road, it’s west of Belleville and runs from County Road 11 all the way to County Road 5, on the Monroe County line, coming out just south of Owens Chapel.

The witness in this case told McPhaul that around 3 a.m. she heard a “hollering” noise that “sounded like a siren” coming from a swamp not far from her home. The incident shook the woman up so badly that she immediately went back inside.

Looking at a topographical map of the area, there are a number of sizeable creeks in this area that no doubt have produced some large, swampy areas. Most of these creeks appear to feed into Burnt Corn Creek, and one of the theories about Bigfoot creatures is that they like to stick close to reliable water sources surrounded by thick vegetation.

On Monday morning, Wesley Acreman with the Southwest Alabama Bigfoot Hunters called me to say that his brother, Virgil Acreman, was told by a woman who works at the McDonald’s restaurant in Evergreen that her son had found a suspected Bigfoot track on the sandy bank of a creek off County Road 8 in Conecuh County.

County Road 8 runs from County Road 43 at Paul all the way to the Brooklyn Road, coming out southeast of the Spring Hill community. Again, looking at the topo map, there are a number of creeks in this area, including Simmons Creek, Bottle Creek and others. Also, through the woods, the east end of County Road 8 isn’t that far from the Sepulga River.

Many in the reading audience will remember that Wesley and Virgil, along with their younger brother Roman Acreman, had multiple Bigfoot encounters while living off County Road 5 at Pine Orchard. Wesley said he planned to contact the young man who found the suspected Bigfoot track off County Road 8 and question him about it to see if he could find out more information.

I told Virgil on Monday that if he could find out exactly where the track was found and if we could get permission to visit the location, that I’d accompany him on a field trip there in the near future. More than likely, the track will be long gone by then, but who knows, we might get lucky and find another one. I plan to take my camera along just in case.

With that said, if anyone in the reading audience has a Bigfoot story or report that they’d like to tell, call me at The Courant at 578-1492. You can also reach me by e-mail at or write me at The Evergreen Courant, ATTN: Lee Peacock, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401.

Hunter Norris takes over No. 1 spot in local ESPN college pick 'em contest

Jalen Hurts (2) comes up to the line against CSU.
The third week of our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em Contest is officially in the books, and when the dust settled after Saturday’s games, Hunter Norris found himself in sole possession of first place in the local standings.

Last week, Norris and Mike Dailey were tied for the No. 1 spot.

David Parker moved into second place, up from fifth place, and Dailey dropped into third place. We had a three-way tie for fourth place involving Arthur Ingram III, Drew Skipper and Mark Peacock.

Steven Newton was in eighth place while Luther Upton and Ricky Taylor were tied for ninth place. Casey Grant, Sharon Peacock and Travis Presley were tied for the No. 11 spot.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was among three contestants tied for the No. 16 spot in the standings.

With that said, if you’re playing in the contest and didn’t make the Top 10, don’t give up. The contest will run for a total of 14 weeks, and we’ve got 11 more weeks to go. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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This coming Saturday, there will be eight games involving SEC football teams, including five games that will feature head-to-head match-ups between SEC opponents. For what it’s worth, here’s how I see those games coming out. I like Alabama over Vanderbilt, Auburn over Missouri, Texas A&M over Arkansas, Georgia over Mississippi State, Florida over Kentucky, Tennessee over UMass, LSU over Syracuse and South Carolina over La. Tech. Ole Miss is off this week.

Last week: 5-5. So far this year: 28-8.

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I got the chance to watch Alabama play in person on Saturday, and Alabama’s win over Colorado State was telling in many ways.

Alabama is obviously struggling with injuries on the defensive side of the ball, so it should have come as no surprise when the Rams were able to pile up a bunch of yards against the Crimson Tide. Also, for whatever reason, Alabama seemed to substitute a little more freely in this game and perhaps a little earlier than they normally would, which may have contributed to their lack of crispness throughout the game.

On the positive side of the coin, quarterback Jalen Hurts played well and Alabama’s running game seemed to be headed toward mid-season form. Alabama also had no interceptions and no lost fumbles, which bodes well for a team that will open conference play this coming Saturday against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt is riding high with a 3-0 record, but reality will likely set in for the Commodores around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Alabama hasn’t played Vanderbilt in Nashville in around a decade, but I don’t figure the home field advantage will help Vanderbilt that much. In many ways, the “real season” begins for Alabama on Saturday, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide can get off on the right foot. Like most folks, I would be shocked if Vanderbilt upsets Alabama, but I’ll be almost just as shocked if this one is close after the third quarter.