Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Which music album would you select as the 'Greatest Album of All Time'?

In yesterday’s post about Pink Floyd’s iconic rock album, “The Wall,” I mentioned that in 2003 Rolling Stone magazine had ranked “The Wall” No. 87 on a best-of list called “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Originally released in November 2003, the list was selected from over 1,600 albums by nearly 300 musicians, music critics and figures in the music business. You’ll find the complete list below, but if you’d like more information about the list itself and the albums that made the cut, visit http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531. Without further ado, here’s the list:

ROLLING STONE’S “500 GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME”

1. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
3. The Beatles – Revolver
4. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
5. The Beatles – Rubber Soul

6. Marvin Gaye – What's Going On
7. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
8. The Clash – London Calling
9. Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde
10. The Beatles – The Beatles

11. Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions
12. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
13. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
14. The Beatles – Abbey Road
15. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced

16. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
17. Nirvana – Nevermind
18. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
19. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
20. Michael Jackson – Thriller

21. Chuck Berry – The Great Twenty-Eight
22. Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings
23. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
24. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
25. James Brown – Live At The Apollo

26. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
27. U2 – The Joshua Tree
28. The Who – Who's Next
29. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
30. Joni Mitchell – Blue

31. Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home
32. The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed
33. Ramones – Ramones
34. The Band – Music From Big Pink
35. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

36. Carole King – Tapestry
37. Eagles – Hotel California
38. Muddy Waters – The Anthology: 1947-1972
39. The Beatles – Please Please Me
40. Love – Forever Changes

41. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols
42. The Doors – The Doors
43. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
44. Patti Smith – Horses
45. The Band – The Band

46. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend
47. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
48. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
49. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
50. Little Richard – Here's Little Richard

51. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Waters
52. Al Green – Greatest Hits
53. The Beatles – Meet the Beatles!
54. Ray Charles – The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings 1952-1959
55. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

56. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley
57. Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life
58. The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
59. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle
60. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica

61. Sly & The Family Stone – Greatest Hits
62. Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction
63. U2 – Achtung Baby
64. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
65. Phil Spector – Back to Mono (1958-1969)

66. Van Morrison – Moondance
67. Radiohead – Kid A
68. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
69. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
70. Billy Joel – The Stranger

71. Paul Simon – Graceland
72. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
73. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
74. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush
75. James Brown – Star Time

76. Prince & The Revolution– Purple Rain
77. AC/DC – Back In Black
78. Otis Redding – Otis Blue
79. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
80. John Lennon – Imagine

81. The Clash – The Clash
82. Neil Young – Harvest
83. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love
84. Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
85. Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

86. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The U.S.A.
87. Pink Floyd – The Wall
88. Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison
89. Dusty Springfield – Dusty In Memphis
90. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book

91. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
92. Buddy Holly & The Crickets – 20 Golden Greats
93. Prince – Sign 'O' The Times
94. Hank Williams – 40 Greatest Hits
95. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

96. The Who – Tommy
97. Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
98. Elvis Costello – This Year's Model
99. Sly & The Family Stone – There's a Riot Goin' On
100. The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle

101. Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours
102. Cream – Fresh Cream
103. John Coltrane – Giant Steps
104. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
105. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

106. Ramones – Rocket to Russia
107. Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964
108. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
109. The Rolling Stones – Aftermath
110. The Velvet Underground – Loaded

111. Radiohead – The Bends
112. The Mamas & The Papas – If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears
113. Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
114. Cream – Disraeli Gears
115. The Who – The Who Sell Out

116. The Rolling Stones – Out of Our Heads
117. Derek and The Dominos – Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
118. Kanye West – Late Registration
119. Etta James – At Last!
120. The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

121. Sly & The Family Stone – Stand!
122. Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
123. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell
124. Moby Grape – Moby Grape
125. Janis Joplin – Pearl

126. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Catch A Fire
127. The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday
128. The Stooges – Raw Power
129. Talking Heads – Remain in Light
130. Television – Marquee Moon

131. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
132. Various Artists – Saturday Night Fever
133. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
134. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
135. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted

136. Elton John – Greatest Hits
137. The Replacements – Tim
138. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
139. The Meters – Rejuvenation
140. Blondie – Parallel Lines

141. B.B. King – Live At The Regal
142. Phil Spector – A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
143. Dr. John – Gris-Gris
144. N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton
145. Steely Dan – Aja

146. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow
147. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu
148. Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy
149. Santana – Santana
150. Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town

151. Arcade Fire – Funeral
152. The B-52's – The B-52's
153. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
154. Howlin' Wolf – Moanin' in the Moonlight
155. The Pretenders – Pretenders

156. Beastie Boys – Paul's Boutique
157. Joy Division – Closer
158. Elton John – Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
159. Kiss – Alive
160. T. Rex – Electric Warrior

161. Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay
162. Radiohead – OK Computer
163. Prince – 1999
164. Linda Ronstadt – The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt
165. Marvin Gaye – Let's Get It On

166. Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom
167. Metallica – Master of Puppets
168. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True
169. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus
170. The Who – Live At Leeds

171. The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers
172. Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story
173. Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything?
174. Bob Dylan – Desire
175. Carpenters – Close To You

176. Aerosmith – Rocks
177. Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove
178. Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions – The Anthology 1961-1977
179. ABBA – The Definitive Collection
180. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones, Now!

181. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Natty Dread
182. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
183. Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
184. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection
185. The Stooges – The Stooges

186. Sly & The Family Stone – FRESH
187. Peter Gabriel – So
188. Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again
189. Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails
190. Elvis Presley – From Elvis In Memphis

191. The Stooges – Fun House
192. The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace Of Sin
193. Green Day – Dookie
194. Lou Reed – Transformer
195. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – Blues Breakers

196. Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968
197. R.E.M. – Murmur
198. Little Walter – The Best of Little Walter
199. The Strokes – Is This It
200. AC/DC – Highway to Hell

201. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
202. Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
203. Michael Jackson – Bad
204. Bob Dylan – Modern Times
205. Cream – Wheels Of Fire

206. Prince – Dirty Mind
207. Santana – Abraxas
208. Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman
209. Pearl Jam – Ten
210. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

211. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
212. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
213. The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You
214. Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary - the Best of Ike and Tina Turner
215. York Dolls – New York Dolls

216. Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley / Go Bo Diddley
217. Bobby Bland – Two Steps From The Blues
218. The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
219. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
220. The Meters – Look-Ka Py Py

221. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
222. Professor Longhair – New Orleans Piano
223. U2 – War
224. Neil Diamond – The Neil Diamond Collection
225. Green Day – American Idiot

226. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
227. Pixies – Doolittle
228. Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full
229. Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic
230. Bonnie Raitt – Nick Of Time

231. Queen – A Night At The Opera
232. The Kinks – The Kink Kronikles
233. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
234. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
235. Patsy Cline – The Ultimate Collection

236. Jackie Wilson – Mr. Excitement!
237. The Who – My Generation
238. Howlin' Wolf – Howlin' Wolf
239. Madonna – Like a Prayer
240. Steely Dan – Can't Buy A Thrill

241. The Replacements – Let It Be
242. Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C.
243. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
244. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
245. Jerry Lee Lewis – All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology

246. The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!
247. Grateful Dead – Live/Dead
248. Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come
249. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
250. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

251. David Bowie – Low
252. Jay-Z – The Blueprint
253. Bruce Springsteen – The River
254. Otis Redding – Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul
255. Metallica – Metallica

256. Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express
257. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
258. The Kinks – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
259. Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope
260. Willie Nelson – Stardust

261. Grateful Dead – American Beauty
262. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash
263. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
264. Grateful Dead – Workingman's Dead
265. Ray Charles – The Genius of Ray Charles

266. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Child Is Father to the Man
267. The Who – Quadrophenia
268. Paul Simon – Paul Simon
269. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
270. The Rolling Stones – Some Girls

271. The Beach Boys – Today!
272. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
273. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles – Going to a Go-Go
274. Labelle – Nightbirds
275. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP

276. Parliament – Mothership Connection
277. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814
278. Various Artists – Anthology of American Folk Music
279. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
280. U2 – All That You Can't Leave Behind

281. Mary J. Blige – My Life
282. Muddy Waters – Folk Singer
283. Barry White – Can't Get Enough
284. The Cars – The Cars
285. Stevie Wonder – Music Of My Mind

286. Al Green – I'm Still in Love With You
287. X – Los Angeles
288. Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun
289. The Kinks – Something Else By The Kinks
290. Al Green – Call Me

291. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77
292. Bob Dylan and The Band – The Basement Tapes
293. The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat
294. MC5 – Kick Out the Jams
295. Leonard Cohen – Songs Of Love And Hate

296. The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
297. The Mothers of Invention – We're Only In It For The Money
298. Kanye West – The College Dropout
299. Weezer – Weezer (Blue Album)
300. Black Sabbath – Master of Reality

301. Dolly Parton – Coat Of Many Colors
302. Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet
303. Bob Dylan – John Wesley Harding
304. Jeff Buckley – Grace
305. Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels On A Gravel Road

306. Beck – Odelay
307. The Beatles – A Hard Day's Night
308. Frank Sinatra – Songs for Swingin' Lovers
309. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy And The Poor Boys
310. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

311. Various Artists – The Sun Records Collection
312. Jane's Addiction – Nothing's Shocking
313. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York
314. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
315. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Damn The Torpedoes

316. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
317. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
318. The O'Jays – Back Stabbers
319. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Burnin'
320. Radiohead – Amnesiac

321. Nick Drake – Pink Moon
322. Randy Newman – Sail Away
323. The Police – Ghost In The Machine
324. David Bowie – Station to Station
325. Eric Clapton – Slowhand

326. The Cure – Disintegration
327. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
328. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
329. James Brown – In the Jungle Groove
330. Neil Young – Tonight's the Night

331. The Beatles – Help!
332. Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
333. X – Wild Gift
334. Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks
335. Soundgarden – Superunknown

336. Radiohead – In Rainbows
337. Jethro Tull – Aqualung
338. Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills
339. Tom Waits – The Heart of Saturday Night
340. Black Flag – Damaged

341. Moby – Play
342. Depeche Mode – Violator
343. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell
344. Lou Reed – Berlin
345. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

346. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
347. Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
348. Muddy Waters – At Newport 1960
349. Jay-Z – The Black Album
350. The Yardbirds – Roger the Engineer

351. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps
352. Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
353. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
354. Billy Joel – 52nd Street
355. The Yardbirds – Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds

356. Randy Newman – 12 Songs
357. The Rolling Stones – Between the Buttons
358. Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain
359. Elton John – Honky Chateau
360. Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady

361. Outkast – Stankonia
362. The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
363. Order – Substance
364. The Doors – L.A. Woman
365. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

366. Johnny Cash – American Recordings
367. Madonna – Ray of Light
368. Eagles – Eagles
369. The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs
370. Mott the Hoople – Mott

371. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
372. The Police – Reggatta De Blanc
373. Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers
374. Roxy Music – Siren
375. Jackson Browne – Late For The Sky

376. Björk – Post
377. John Lee Hooker – The Ultimate Collection (1948-1990)
378. Oasis – (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
379. TLC – Crazysexycool
380. Toots and The Maytals – Funky Kingston

381. The Beach Boys – Smile
382. Modern Lovers – Modern Lovers
383. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
384. The Who – A Quick One
385. Bob Dylan – Love And Theft

386. Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic
387. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
388. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
389. Don Henley – The End of the Innocence
390. The White Stripes – Elephant

391. Jackson Browne – The Pretender
392. The Beatles – Let It Be
393. M.I.A. – Kala
394. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys
395. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

396. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
397. Massive Attack – Blue Lines
398. ZZ Top – Eliminator
399. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
400. The Temptations – Anthology

401. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
402. Nas – Illmatic
403. Lynyrd Skynyrd – (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd)
404. Dr. John – Dr. John's Gumbo
405. Big Star – Radio City

406. PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me
407. The Clash – Sandinista!
408. Sinead O' Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
409. The Doors – Strange Days
410. Bob Dylan – Time Out Of Mind

411. Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard
412. Wire – Pink Flag
413. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
414. The Go-Go's – Beauty and the Beat
415. Van Halen – Van Halen

416. Tom Waits – Mule Variations
417. U2 – Boy
418. Wings – Band on the Run
419. Portishead – Dummy
420. Buddy Holly & The Crickets – The "Chirping" Crickets

421. Various Artists – The Best of the Girl Groups
422. The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica
423. Diana Ross and The Supremes – Anthology
424. Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
425. Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel

426. Cheap Trick – At Budokan
427. Peter Wolf – Sleepless
428. The Police – Outlandos D'Amour
429. Brian Eno – Another Green World
430. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

431. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
432. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets
433. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
434. Big Star – #1 Record
435. Nirvana – In Utero

436. Beck – Sea Change
437. Lil' Wayne – Tha Carter III
438. The Cure – Boys Don't Cry
439. Sam Cooke – Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963
440. The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy & The Lash

441. Suicide – Suicide
442. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
443. Cheap Trick – In Color
444. War – The World Is A Ghetto
445. Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle

446. MC5 – Back in the USA
447. Stan Getz & João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto
448. The Police – Synchronicity
449. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers
450. Jackson Browne – For Everyman

451. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
452. John Prine – John Prine
453. EPMD – Strictly Business
454. Alice Cooper – Love It to Death
455. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive?

456. Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear
457. My Morning Jacket – Z
458. Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection
459. The Drifters – The Drifters' Golden Hits
460. Hole – Live Through This

461. Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box
462. R.E.M. – Document
463. Echo & The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here
464. Def Leppard – Hysteria
465. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs

466. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
467. Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love
468. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
469. Fugees – The Score
470. LL Cool J – Radio

471. Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
472. George Michael – Faith
473. The Smiths – The Smiths
474. Manu Chao – Próxima Estación: Esperanza
475. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Armed Forces

476. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death
477. Merle Haggard – Down Every Road 1962-1994
478. Loretta Lynn – All Time Greatest Hits
479. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
480. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…

481. D'Angelo – Voodoo
482. Steve Earle – Guitar Town
483. Gang of Four – Entertainment!
484. Mott the Hoople – All The Young Dudes
485. Pearl Jam – Vitalogy

486. Earth, Wind & Fire – That's The Way Of The World
487. Cyndi Lauper – She's So Unusual
488. Husker Du – New Day Rising
489. Kiss – Destroyer
490. ZZ Top – Tres Hombres

491. Albert King – Born Under A Bad Sign
492. Eurythmics – Touch
493. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
494. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
495. Bonnie Raitt – Give It Up

496. Boz Scaggs – Boz Scaggs
497. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
498. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
499. B.B. King – Live In Cook County Jail
500. OutKast – Aquemini

In the end, what do you think about this list? How many of these albums have you listened to? Which do you own? Which is your personal favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Tues., April 30, 2013

Temp: 60.3 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Heavy fog, visibility less than 1/4-mile; Overcast skies; birds audible, including woodpecker; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass; crickets audible.

Wind: 0.0 mph (No wind).

Barometric Pressure: 29.48 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 120th day of 2013 and the 42nd day of Spring. There are 245 days left in the year.

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

LIFE LIST UPDATE: No. 330 - Listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” from start to finish without interruption

I scratched another item off my “life list” on Sunday when I listened to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” album from start to finish without interruption.

This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but had just never taken the time to do it until this past weekend. I’d heard a number of the songs on the album before, but I could never honestly say that I’d listened to the entire album all the way through.

Many of you will be familiar with the British rock band Pink Floyd, which was formed in 1965. In all, the band recorded 14 studio albums, including:

- “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1967)

- “A Saucerful of Secrets” (1968)

- “Soundtrack from the Film More” (1969)

- “Ummagumma” (1969)

- “Atom Heart Mother” (1970)

- “Meddle” (1971)

- “Obscured by Clouds” (1972)

- “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973)

- “Wish You Were Here” (1975)

- “Animals” (1977)

- “The Wall” (1979)

- “The Final Cut” (1983)

- “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” (1987)

- “The Division Bell” (1994)

Pink Floyd’s three most famous albums are “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.”

“The Wall” is one of those iconic rock albums that I’ve know about ever since junior high school, and I added it to my “life list” last year after reading that Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 87 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003. The album consists of 26 tracks and is one hour, 21 minutes and nine seconds long. Songs on the album include:

- “In the Flesh?”

- “The Thin Ice”

- “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1”

- “The Happiest Days of Our Lives”

- “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”

- “Mother”

- “Goodbye Blue Sky”

- “Empty Spaces”

- “Young Lust”

- “One of My Turns”
- “Don’t Leave Me Now”

- “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3”

- “Goodbye Cruel World”

- “Hey You”

- “Is There Anybody Out There?”

- “Nobody Home”

- “Vera”

- “Bring the Boys Back Home”

- “Comfortably Numb”

- “The Show Must Go On”

- “In the Flesh”

- “Run Like Hell”

- “Waiting for the Worms”

- “Stop”

- “The Trial”

- “Outside the Wall”

Many of you will recognize many of these songs, especially “Another Brick in the Wall,” “Hey You,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Run Like Hell.” The other songs on the album are not as well known, and I actually followed along to all of the songs with lyrics that I looked up online with my Kindle Fire. I think I got more out of the experience by doing it this way, following along with the words as the album played out.

In the end, I enjoyed scratching this item off my “life list” and will like add “Listen to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ to next year’s “life list.” How many of you out there have ever listened to “The Wall”? What did you think about it? Which of the song on the album is your favorite? Which other albums would you recommend listening to from start to finish?

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for April 29, 2013


USS Hector
19 YEARS AGO MAY 5, 1994

“The official groundbreaking of the Conecuh County Department of Human Resources (DHR) building was held on Wed., April 27, 1994 at 9 a.m. on Highway 83 in Evergreen.
“The 13,281 square-foot facility will have a construction cost of $882,667 and construction should be completed by next February.
“The cost of construction is being financed by a bond issue of the county paid off over a 15-year period by the State Department of Human Resources through rent payments. Conecuh County will retain ownership of the building. The land for the new building was donated by the county.
“Officials at the groundbreaking ceremony included Mayor Lomax Cassady; County Commission Chairman Frank Pate and county commission members Jerold Dean and Freddie Stallworth; Rosalyn Skipper Sales, Director of Economic Development; Jimmy Bell, Economic Development; DHR county board members Johnnie Mack Grace, Wanda Baker, Myrtle Crosby and Keith Pugh; Mrs. Joan Jones, Supervisor-in-Charge of the Conecuh County Department of Human Resources; Katie Williams, architect; and Lewis & Associates, contractors.”

“Total rainfall (for Evergreen) for April was 6.50 inches.”

“The winners of Southern Pine Electric Cooperative’s 1994 Washington Youth Tour Program have been selected. Kelly Booker, daughter of Rogene and Shirley Booker, is the female recipient. Kelly is a junior at Sparta Academy.”

34 YEARS AGO
MAY 3, 1979

“April ends with showers: Weather-wise April ended according to the lyrics of the old popular song… with showers. Earl Windham reports .08 of an inch of rain on April 23, 1.31 inches on April 24 and .18 on April 25. He also reports temperature readings that were PERFECT… perfect temperatures are those which are high enough that heat is not required and low enough that the air conditioner doesn’t have to be turned on… adding up to lower utility bills.”

“Tobacco spitting contest set here this Saturday: Professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs will compete here Saturday in the first-ever in this area ‘Tobacco Spitting Contest’ to be held in ‘No-Man’s-Land’ and they will be competing for trophies and these cash prizes: 1st place, $100; 2nd place, $50 and 3rd place, $25. There is no entry fee.
“The contest will begin at 1:15 p.m. and broadcast live over Evergreen Radio Station WBLO, 1470 k.c. Professional judges will select the winners judging on the basis of distance, skill and accuracy. Free chewing tobacco will be given to all who attend, spectators as well as contestants.
“Admission is absolutely free, according to the sponsoring Conecuh County Rescue Squad.
“Concessions (hot dogs and soft drinks) will be available and all profits from the ‘fun day’ will go to the Rescue Squad to help purchase much-needed equipment, according to City Councilman Pat Poole, general chairman of the event.”

49 YEARS AGO
MAY 7, 1964

“Hart and Salter are in runoff for judge; over 4,000 vote: It’s a runoff in the hottest race for judge of probate this county has seen in many a year.
“Judge Lloyd G. Hart had the lead in the balloting Tuesday that brought a near record turnout at the polls as over 4,000 county citizens voted. He faces Frank T. Salter, brother of State Rep. Wiley Salter, in the runoff June. 2.”

VISITS KENYA: James E. Williams, radarman seaman, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul L. Williams of Rt. 1, Owassa, Ala., visited Mombasa, Kenya, April 20-23 while serving aboard the destroyer USS Blue operating in the Western Pacific with the Seventh Fleet.”

“Oscar Lee Hendricks, ETI, and Mrs. Hendricks are spending some time with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Hendricks. Seaman Hendricks is on leave from the repair ship USS Hector. They will return shortly to Saselo, Japan for his next tour of duty.”

“The first annual Conecuh County FFA Barrow Show will be held here Monday under the sponsorship of Evergreen Kiwanis Club in cooperation with the State Department of Vocational Agriculture. The show will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the arena at Conecuh Cooperative Stockyard.
“A total of 30 boys will exhibit 54 barrows from litters out of some of the finest commercial herds in this area.
“There will also be a showman contest judged by Carl Wilson, DVM, Evergreen.
“The show is sponsored by Evergreen Kiwanis Club.”

64 YEARS AGO
MAY 5, 1949

“Sheriff W.D. Lewis and his force are cracking down on bootleggers and still operators in Conecuh County and last week the drive gained impetus with the capture of three distillers and two bootleggers. Three were caught Saturday in the act of distilling ‘moonshine’ and over 120 gallons of mash were found, according to Deputy Sheriff A.H. Lewis.
“Sunday the county law enforcers picked up two bootleggers. Also included in last week’s haul was the destroying of one of the largest stills ever seen in Conecuh County. This still was capable of about 150 to 200 gallons a run and 900 barrels of mash were found in it. According to Mr. Lewis, this amount of mash would distill about 100 gallons of ‘moonshine’ worth nearly $1,000 on the wholesale ‘bootleg’ market.”

“Another Banded Pigeon Is Captured Here: Another banded pigeon was captured on the mill yard of Reid Brothers Lumber Co. last week according to John Reid. Mr. Reid says the bird appeared to have been completely exhausted when caught. The right leg had what appeared to be an aluminum band with the number AU-45024 while the left leg had a green rubber band with number which was not distinguishable.”

“An unidentified burglar smashed the window of Andrews Jewelry & Repair on East Front Street about five o’clock last Thursday afternoon but was frightened away before he succeeded in getting any of the goods on the inside, or at least Mr. Andrews states he has not missed anything thus far.”

79 YEARS AGO
MAY 3, 1934

“STORES CLOSE THURSDAY P.M. BEGINNING NEXT WEEK: Business houses in Evergreen will close Thursday afternoon during the summer months beginning next Thurs., May 10.”

“Fire which originated around the burners of the hatchery units at the Evergreen Hatchery early Wednesday morning did considerable damage to the hatchery equipment and the large stock of feeds and other items carried. Among the items of loss were over 1,000 baby chicks which were suffocated by the smoke.”

“The farmers of the Lyeffion community are beginning to plant a large acreage of sugar cane for syrup.”

“Atmore, Ala., April 30 – While two companions swept the streets with menacing machine guns, two men today held up the Bank of Atmore and escaped with approximately $1,500.
“When their car drew up before the bank, two of the men got out and entered, covering M.A. Collins, bookkeeper, and a customer, Miss Patsy Owen, with pistols.
“’Put that money in this sack and don’t move or I’ll kill you,’ said one of the men advancing on Collins. The bookkeeper complied with the order and the two, with menacing muzzles of two pistols on Miss Owens and Collins, backed out.
“Meanwhile Tom Stallworth who operates a store next to the bank walked out of his door to be ordered back by one of the men in the car who threatened him with a machine gun.”

Daily Weather Observations for Mon., April 29, 2013

Temp: 60.8 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 81 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy skies; birds audible and visible; cows audible; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the Northwest.

Barometric Pressure: 29.50 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 119th day of 2013 and the 41st day of Spring. There are 246 days left in the year.

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

Sunday, April 28, 2013

'Whiskey Beach' takes top spot in this week's fiction best-sellers list

Today is Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Sellers Lists. According to those lists, there are two new books at the top of the four major best-sellers lists this week.

"Whiskey Beach" by Nora Roberts replaced "Daddy's Gone a Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander replaced "The Witness" by Nora Roberts as the No. 1 book on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list.

"Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the sixth week in a row.

"The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the third straight week.

There were four books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on that list lat week. They (and their places on the list) included "Whiskey Beach" by Nora Roberts (1), "Taking Eve" by Iris Johansen (3), "A Man Without Breath" by Philip Kerr (14) and "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Anne Fowler (15).

There were four books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "LeaderShift" by Orrin Woodward, Oliver DeMille (2), "The Athena Doctrine" by John Gerzema, Michael D'Antonio (7), "Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha" by John Romaniello, Adam Bornstein (9) and "Relish" by Daphne Oz (10).

There was only one book on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that wasn’t on the list last week - "Bloodline" by James Rollins, which was No. 14 on the list.

There were two books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly (4) and "Where We Belong" by Emily Giffin (11).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Whiskey Beach" by Nora Roberts
2. "Daddy's Gone a Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark
3. "Taking Eve" by Iris Johansen
4. "Starting Now" by Debbie Macomber
5. "Don't Go" by Lisa Scottoline
6. "Six Years" by Harlan Coben
7. "Unintended Consequences" by Stuart Woods
8. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
9. "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson
10. "The Burgess Boys: A Novel" by Elizabeth Strout
11. "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult
12. "Alex Cross, Run" by James Patterson
13. "A Week in Winter" by Maeve Binchy
14. "A Man Without Breath" by Philip Kerr
15. "Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Anne Fowler

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg
2. "LeaderShift" by Orrin Woodward, Oliver DeMille
3. "The One Thing" by Gary Keller
4. "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by Haylie Pomroy
5. "It's All Good" by Gwyneth Paltro
6. "The Duck Commander Family" by Willie Robertson
7. "The Athena Doctrine" by John Gerzema, Michael D'Antonio
8. "Life Code" by Phil McGraw
9. "Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha" by John Romaniello, Adam Bornstein
10. "Relish" by Daphne Oz
11. "Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits" by Joyce Meyer
12. "The FastDiet" by Michael Mosley
13. "I Declare" by Joel Osteen
14. "Gulp" by Mary Roach
15. "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks
2. "The Lost Years" by Mary Higgins Clark
3. "Calico Joe" by John Grisham
4. "Now You See Her" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
5. "Delusion in Death" by J.D. Robb
6. "The Wanderer" by Robyn Carr
7. "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods
8. "Sand Castle Bay" by Sherryl Woods
9. "Sleep No More" by Iris Johansen
10. "The Innocent" by David Baldacci
11. "Balancing Act" by Fern Michaels
12. "You Don't Want to Know" by Lisa Jackson
13. "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
14. "Bloodline" by James Rollins
15. "Dry Gulch Ambush" by William W. Johnstone

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander
2. "The Witness" by Nora Roberts
3. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci
4. "The Black Box" by Michael Connelly
5. "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed
6. "I, Michael Bennett" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
7. "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter
8. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
9. "Waking Up in Heaven" by Crystal McVea
10. "Obamacare Survival Guide" by Nick J. Tate
11. "Where We Belong" by Emily Giffin
12. "Walking Disaster" by Jamie McGuire
13. "America the Beautiful" by Ben Carson M.D. and Candy Carson
14. "Calico Joe" by John Grisham
15. "The Guardian" by Beverly Lewis

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sun., April 28, 2013

Temp: 67.0 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 98 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast skies.

Wind: 5.0 mph out of the Southeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.56 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.1 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 118th day of 2013 and the 40th day of Spring. There are 247 days left in the year.

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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Part Five' of Grady Gaston's official statement tells of rescue

Photo of 'Little Eva' crash site.
From the Grady Gaston File this week, I give you “Part Five” of a statement Gaston made in 1943 about his ordeal in the Australian jungle during World War II.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Grady Gaston was a native of Frisco City, Ala. who died in 1998. He is most famous for having endured an epic struggle for survival after a military plane crash in the Australian wilderness during WWII. In the early days of the war, Gaston served as the radio operator aboard the “Little Eva,” a B-24 Liberator bomber that was based out of a remote airbase in Queensland, Australia. On Dec. 2, 1942, while on their way back from their first mission, their plane was disabled during a severe thunderstorm.

As the plane began to run out of fuel, Gaston and other members of the crew parachuted from the plane moments before it crashed in a remote area of the Australian wilderness. Up to that point, Gaston had never parachuted out of anything, much less a moving plane hundreds of feet off the ground, but miraculously he survived the jump. Others were not so lucky.

Once on the ground, Gaston found himself in a group of four who began making their way west toward the coast. Over time, the men slowly began to starve to death and eventually only Gaston was left alive. An extensive search was launched for the plane and the crew, but Gaston wasn’t found until April 23, 1943 when an Aborigine found him walking on the beach. Barely alive, Gaston had survived 141 days in a wilderness that would have killed experienced bushmen and Aborigines in similar circumstances.

Gaston’s ability to survive was mostly due to the fact that he was willing to eat things that his companions would not. With no way to start a fire, he ate whatever he could catch with his bare hands, including raw snakes, frogs, fish and sand crabs. He also fought off wild dogs, drank impure water and lost 70 pounds. He would later describe his experience, which led to him being featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!,” as “141 days of hell.”

Not long after his rescue, in May 1943, Gaston provided the military with an official statement of what happened to him and his colleagues in the Australian jungle, and today I provide you with the fifth portion of that official statement. This portion of his statement picks up after his discovery by an Australian ranch hand in the fourth portion of Gaston’s statement, which can be read at http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2013/04/part-four-of-grady-gastons-official.html.

The first portion of his statement can be read at http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2013/03/part-i-of-gastons-official-statement.html. The second portion of his statement can be read at http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2013/04/part-two-of-gastons-official-statement.html. The third portion of his statement can be read at http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2013/04/part-three-of-gastons-officials.html.

----- 0 -----

PART FIVE:

In the morning, the man fixed some “Johnnie Cakes” which were very good. After eating, he put me on one of his horses and started back to his house. It was 27 miles away and the ride was very hard for me but by taking it easy we arrived at his place late in the afternoon.

He killed a young goat that day and even though I had always heard that goat meat was not very good, it sure tasted good to me. He fixed a good meal of it and gave me lots of milk. The next morning, he killed a young bullock.

I guess I ate too much too soon because I got very sick. At the time of the crash, I weighed 168 pounds, but by now I was down to about 100 pounds. During this sick spell, he was very good to me and in three or four days I was able to start getting around a little bit.

My old tattered clothes were stiff as a board but he took them off of me and gave me some civilian clothes that were about two sizes too big. I stayed with him for two weeks during which time I gradually began to pick up weight and feel as though I could go on again. He sent me one of his boys to a police outpost located at a place called Boorolola, 75 miles away.

It was the first case the police had handled in seven years. At the time there were about 15 to 20 Australian soldiers on patrol duty in that section. With the aid of the black boy as a guide, they blazed a trail through country where no vehicle had ever traveled and after two and one half days of hard work they reached the place where I was.

They then went on to the cabin I had used and picked up the bodies of Lt. Dyer and Lt. Speltz after which we went to the town of Boorolola which consisted of just eight men, mostly natives. This was May 4. I stayed with the policeman for a day or two while he arranged to have a small airplane pick me up at a place called Anthony’s Lagoon.

The soldiers put me in their truck and drove 185 miles to the small field where the airplane would land. The plane arrived the next day. We flew to a place called Camoweal where we spent the night, and the next day he took me on to Cloncurry.

Everyone there was very nice to me. I had intended to keep my long beard and hair until I could join some of my former friends but the barber insisted that I let him cut it off which I did. The whole town was very good to me, giving me money, clothing or anything that I might need and taking me to their homes for meals.

I had been in Cloncurry a couple of days when on May 11, some American officers stopped at the hotel and asked for me. They gave me a bundle of clothing and told me that Capt. N.J. Foster of San Antonio, Texas (member of my organization) had sent them and made arrangements for their airplane to pick me up on its return trip the next day. That day and night seemed like a very long time to me, but at noon the following day they returned for me. I don’t believe I was any happier at seeing anyone in my life as I was that group of American officers and enlisted men.

Their names were C.O. Roy Schultz, pilot of San Antonio, Texas; F.O. Henry C. Ellis, Co-pilot, New Boston, Texas; Lt. James R. Laughlin, navigator, Covinth, Mississippi; Lt. Jabobson, intelligence officer, Boston, Mass.; S.Sgt. Warren Fuhrman, engineer, St. Paul, Minn.; Cpl. Leroy Nolan, radio operator, Long Island, N.Y.

We took off from Cloncurry at about 1:30 p.m. May 12 and arrived in Townsville at about 5:30 p.m. where Capt. Foster met me and brought me to the hospital, where I now am slowly recovering. I have since seen my former pilot, Lt. Grosson, who told me there was Sgt. Roy L. Wilson, Columbus, Ohio, one of our gunners who had been picked up with him on Dec. 18. I was very happy to know that at least some of our crew had been saved.

----- 0 -----

Today’s post completes a five-part series of weekly posts on Gaston’s official statement, and if you’d like to read his entire statement, you can view it at www.dropbears.com/a/aviation/docs/SgtGradyGaston-LittleEva.pdf. If you’re interested in more details about Gaston’s ordeal, I’d also encourage you to read “The Crash of Little Eva: The Ultimate World War II Survivor Story” by Barry Ralph, which was originally published in November 2004 by the University of Queensland Press in Australia.

In the end, how many of you remember Grady Gaston? Do you have any memories of Gaston that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sat., April 27, 2013

Temp: 57.0 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 79 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy skies; birds audible; security lights still on in the distance.

Wind: 0.0 mph (No wind).

Barometric Pressure: 29.72 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.1 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 117th day of 2013 and the 39th day of Spring. There are 248 days left in the year.

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

County mourns passing of USS Ommaney Bay attack survivor

USS Ommaney Bay
Conecuh County residents were saddened to hear the news this week of the passing of Emmett Eugene Darby, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 88 at his home in Montgomery.

Darby, a member of one of South Alabama’s prominent pioneer families, lived a long and interesting life, and was without a doubt a member of “The Greatest Generation.” Coined by journalist Tom Brokaw, the term “The Greatest Generation” applies to the generation of people who grew up in the U.S. during the Great Depression and then went on to serve in the military during World War II. After the war, many of this generation returned home, where they lived lives of service to their communities and changed the world for the better.

On this week’s front page, you’ll see a full story about Darby’s life and his many accomplishments, but if you read it closely, you’ll see where his life was almost cut short during WWII. Shortly after his graduation from Evergreen High School, Darby enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 and went on to serve aboard the USS Ommaney Bay.

The USS Ommaney Bay was an escort carrier that was launched in December of 1943, a little more than two years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Named after Ommaney Bay in Alaska, this ship saw combat service in the Pacific, including fighting off the shores of Peleliu, the Anguar Islands and Samar.

On the afternoon of Jan. 4, 1945, with young Eugene Darby on board, the USS Ommaney Bay found itself in the Sulu Sea when a Japanese suicide plane, commonly referred to as a Kamikaze plane, slammed into the carrier’s starboard side south of Mindoro in the Philippine Islands. Before it crashed, the plane released two bombs, both of which went through the flight and hangar decks and exploded deep within the ship. These explosions knocked out water pressure, power and communications on the ship and ignited a terrible fire that resulted in heavy black smoke and exploding ammunition and torpedoes below decks.

The order to abandon ship was given at 5:50 p.m. and at 7:45 p.m. the carrier was sunk by a torpedo from the escort destroyer, USS Burns. Presumably this was done to prevent the wreckage, including sensitive wartime technology, from falling into Japanese hands. In the end, 95 men died in the sinking of the USS Ommaney Bay, but Darby was fortunate enough to count himself among the survivors.

Darby was honorably discharged from the Navy in April 1946, and many in the reading audience can remember Darby telling of his harrowing escape from the burning USS Ommaney Bay. In the ensuing years, he kept in touch with many of the ship’s survivors and enjoyed attending ship reunions when they were held.

According to a 2011 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimate, we lose an average of 670 World War II veterans a day, and it’s a sad fact of life that we’re losing so many of “The Greatest Generation” with each passing day. With that said, take the time this week to thank a World War II veteran for their service. It’s the least we can do in exchange for what they gave to the world decades ago.

Daily Weather Observations for Fri., April 26, 2013

Temp: 52.9 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 66 percent (Normal)

Conditions: Clear skies and sunny; birds audible and visible; cows audible.

Wind: 1.5 mph out of the North-Northeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.80 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.1 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 116th day of 2013 and the 38th day of Spring. There are 249 days left in the year.

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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who would you select as the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL Draft?

Personally, I'd go with Leon Sandcastle.
Alabama and Auburn football fans will have good reason to tune into the NFL draft this week as a number of former players from both schools will be up for selection by NFL teams.

Draft eligible players from both schools include:

- Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner

- Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack

- Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker

- Alabama running back Eddie Lacy

- Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams

- Alabama center Barrett Jones

- Auburn outside linebacker Corey Lemonier

- Alabama inside linebacker Nico Johnson

- Alabama strong safety Robert Lester

- Auburn running back Onterio McCalebb

- Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker

- Alabama tight end Michael Williams

- Alabama defensive end Damien Square

- Alabama defensive tackle Quinton Dial

- Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen

- Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake

- Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley

- Alabama fullback Kelly Johnson

- Auburn offensive guard John Sullen

- Auburn strong safety Daren Bates

- Auburn cornerback T’Sharvan Bell

Other in-state players in the mix include:

- Alabama A&M offensive guard Jamaal Johnson-Webb

- UAB offensive tackle Chris Hubbard

- West Alabama free safety Otha Foster

- West Alabama outside linebacker Ridge Wilson

- Troy wide receiver Chip Reeves

- Troy strong safety Brynden Trawick

- Alabama State offensive guard Terren Jones

- South Alabama inside linebacker Jake Johnson

- Troy running back Shawn Southward

- South Alabama strong safety B.J. Scott

- Alabama State wide receiver Gregory Jenkins

- North Alabama strong safety Rod Woodson

- West Alabama outside linebacker Deon Lacey

- Alabama State strong safety Kejuan Riley

- Troy fullback D.J. Taylor

The first-round of the draft will be held today (Thursday) with the second and third rounds to be selected on Friday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds will be selected on Saturday.

Who will be the No. 1 pick overall? Your guess is as good mine, but if I had my choice, I’d go with Leon Sandcastle.

----- 0 -----

The NBA playoffs tipped off this past Saturday, so pro basketball fans have a lot of good basketball to look forward to. Teams from the Eastern Conference that made the playoff cut included the Miami Heat, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls, the Indiana Pacers, the Atlanta Hawks, the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Teams from the Western Conference that made the playoffs included the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the L.A. Clippers, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Denver Nuggets, the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs and the L.A. Lakers.

At this point, I look for Miami to win the East, and for Oklahoma City to win the West with Miami to win it all in The Finals. The Knicks and the Spurs could also make strong playoff runs, so I’d consider them to be a pair of dark horses.

With that said, we’ll have to wait a while to see if I’m right. The NBA playoffs are notoriously long. The first round started this past weekend and the last possible date for the NBA Finals will fall on Thurs., June 20. That’s a grand total of 57 days from today, that is, a little over eight weeks.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for April 25, 2013

11 YEARS AGO
APRIL 25, 2002

“Mary Hamilton Robinson was the recipient of the first Wayne Peacock Sportsmanship Award at Sparta Academy’s Sports Banquet held Thurs., April 18, 2002 in the school gym. Wayne Peacock passed away several months ago and his family established this award in his memory. Wayne was very dedicated to the girls basketball program at Sparta. During the 1980s, he was the girls basketball coach and as long as his health permitted he volunteered many hours at the school helping in any way that he could. This award will be given annually to a senior girls basketball player who demonstrates qualities of sportsmanship, leadership and academic excellence.”

“Rusty Salter was the recipient of the coveted Jerry Peacock Memorial Trophy at Sparta Academy’s sports banquet held April 18, 2002 in the school gym. The Peacock Trophy is given each year to the best all-around senior athlete who participates in football, basketball and baseball. It is named for the late Jerry Peacock, who was a standout athlete in Sparta Academy’s Class of 1977.”

“Derrick Williams was the recipient of the D.T. Stuart Sportsmanship Trophy at Sparta Academy’s sports banquet held April 18, 2002 in the school gym. The Stuart Trophy is presented each year to a senior football player that best exemplifies the true spirit of sportsmanship in games and also in practice. The players vote on the award.”

26 YEARS AGO
APRIL 23, 1987

“Warriors win 3 games, lose 1: The Sparta Academy Warriors won three baseball games and lost one in recent action.
“Sparta defeated Fort Dale-SBA, 10-7, in Greenville on April 7. Jeff Walker was the winning pitcher, giving up six hits and seven runs. Sparta had 12 hits and 10 runs. Walker, Tim Wilson, Johnny Brock and Brad Watts had two hits each.
“Sparta defeated Crenshaw Christian Academy, 12-2, in a game played in Evergreen April 10. Lee Wild was the winning pitcher, giving up four hits and two runs. Watts had two hits, including a triple. Jeff Carrier, Walker and Brock also had two hits each.
“Wilcox Academy defeated Sparta, 10-4, in Evergreen April 14. Walker was the losing pitcher. Wilcox had 10 hits and 10 runs while Sparta had six hits and four runs. Mike Osban had two hits and Carrier and Wild one hit each.
“Wild hurled a three-hitter in Evergreen April 16 as Sparta blanked Escambia Academy, 10-0. Sparta had 13 hits and 10 runs. Jeff Walker had a single, a double and a triple. Kenny Bledsoe, Robbie Bolton and Brock had two hits each.”

From “The Colyum” by Bob Bozeman – “I have just finished reading ‘Bowl, Bama, Bowl’ by Al Browning and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are a football fan, I heartily recommend it. If you are a Crimson Tide fan, it is a must for your library.
“Al Browning is a native of Brewton and some of you may know him. He is a 1973 graduate of the University of Alabama and served nine years as sports editor and columnist with The Tuscaloosa News.”

41 YEARS AGO
APRIL 27, 1972

“Tommy Yearout, co-captain of the 1971 Auburn Tigers, will be the speaker at the first annual athletic banquet of the Sparta Academy Quarterback Club tomorrow night at the Holiday Inn. President James Ansley said only a few tickets are still available. Yearout, a 210-pound defensive tackle from Birmingham, is considered the finest speaker on the Auburn team. His talks are humorous, but he also gets across an inspirational message. A senior, he was a three-year starter for the War Eagles.”

“Col. Lee F. Smith presents the Evergreen Civil Air Patrol’s award for Best Lineman to Whalon Oliver who also received the Best Sportsmanship Trophy for football. Wayne Caylor presents the Station WBLO Best Back Trophy to Wavie Ausby who also won the Most Valuable Player Trophy for basketball which was presented by Coach Charles Branum. Marshall Davis received the Best Sportsmanship Trophy for basketball. Frank Murphy received the Evergreen Jaycees Best All Around Player Award. The awards were presented at the Evergreen High School Athletic Banquet Friday night.”

“Principal John Floyd presents a special award to Coach Wendell Hart to climax the Evergreen High Athletic Banquet. Hart retired from coaching at the end of the 1971 season ending one of South Alabama’s longest coaching careers that spanned 26 years.”

56 YEARS AGO
APRIL 25, 1957

“Uniforms Are Ordered Player Auction May 17: Uniforms for both the minor league and major league are being ordered, for all boys who will play, according to Junior League President Ward C. Alexander.
“’The big auction, where trading for players will take place, will be held on May 17,’ he said. ‘To keep trouble down over the players, we have invited Sheriff Shorty Brock,’ he added, with tongue in cheek. Bidding on the best players is expected to be fast and furious, with each manager trying to improve his team.
“Minor league tryouts are scheduled for May 1, May 8 and May 15.”

Daily Weather Observations for Thurs., April 25, 2013

Temp: 52.3 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.1 inches

Humidity: 84 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast skies; birds audible.

Wind: 3.1 mph out of the North.

Barometric Pressure: 29.75 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.1 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.45 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.35 inches

NOTES: Today is the 115th day of 2013 and the 37th day of Spring. There are 250 days left in the year.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Historical marker describes old school at Perdue Hill, Ala.

This week’s featured historical marker is the “PERDUE HILL INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL” marker between Perdue Hill and Claiborne in Monroe County, Ala.

This marker is located between the communities of Perdue Hill and Claiborne on the north side of U.S. Highway 84, about one mile west of the intersection of that highway and Monroe County Road 1. The marker is located in front of a small park area that includes a covered pavilion where reunions are held periodically. The GPS coordinates for the marker are 31° 31.514′ N, 87° 30.131′ W.

There’s printing on both sides of this marker, both sides are identical. This marker was erected by the Alabama Historical Association in 1996. What follows is the complete text from the marker:

----- 0 -----

“PERDUE HILL INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL: The Perdue Hill Industrial School was founded by Patrick J. Carmichael after he moved to this area in 1918. Carmichael acted as both the principal and teacher during the early years of the school, which was originally a one-room structure serving 11 students. The State of Alabama provided $75 annually towards school operating costs, and students paid a tuition of $25 each year. When money ran short for the African American children that the school served, tuition was often paid with chickens or cans of syrup. Over the next 46 years, Carmichael was instrumental in the growth of the school, which ultimately reached 12 rooms which provided educational space for 250 students and 10 teachers. The school closed in 1964, and Carmichael was honored in 1968 by the Alabama State Senate for ‘outstanding accomplishments and contributions to humankind.’”

----- 0 -----

For those of you unfamiliar with Perdue Hill, it’s an unincorporated community in western Monroe County. It’s the current home of the oldest building in Monroe County, the Old Masonic Lodge No. 3 building, which was originally located at Claiborne. Claiborne is another unincorporated community in western Monroe County, just a few miles west of Perdue Hill. It’s the quintessential “ghost town.” At it’s peak, in the early 1800s, it was the home of between 5,000 and 6,000 residents. Due to the decline in riverboat traffic, the rise of the railroads and yellow fever, the town dried up over the years. Today, the community is sparsely populated.

The historical marker mentioned above is in the vicinity of a number of other historical markers. There are two markers at Perdue Hill and also a couple at Claiborne. The two at Perdue Hill describe the Old Masonic Lodge No. 3 and the home of William Barrett Travis, the ill-fated hero of the Alamo. The markers at Claiborne describe the old military fort that was located there in the early 1800s and the town that was once located there.

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another local historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below.

This week's movie picks are 'Kon-Tiki' and 'Gangster Squad'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue or pick up at the local Redbox.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Arthur Newman (Comedy, Drama, Romance): Directed by Dante Ariola and starring Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, Anne Heche, Kristin Lehman and David Andrews.

- At Any Price (Drama, R): Directed by Ramin Bahrani and starring Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens and Clancy Brown.

- The Big Wedding (Comedy, Romance, R): Directed by Justin Zackham and starring Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried.

- Greetings From Tim Buckley (Drama): Directed by Daniel Algrant and starring Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, William Sadler, Norbert Leo Butz and Frank Wood.

- King’s Faith (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Nicholsa DiBella and starring Lynn Whitfield, James McDaniel, Crawford Wilson, Kayla Compton and Kristen Royal.

- Kon-Tiki (Action, Adventure, PG-13): Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg and starring Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgard, Odd Magnus Williamson and Tobias Santelmann.

- Mud (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConqughey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson.

- The Numbers Station (Suspense, R): Directed by Kasper Barfoed and starring John Cusack, Malin Akerman, Liam Cunningham, Hannah Murray and Lucy Griffiths.

- Pain & Gain (Comedy, Action, Crime, R): Directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub and Ed Harris.

- The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Suspense, Drama, R): Directed by Mira Nair and starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Live Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland and Adil Hussain.

New DVD releases this week include:

- Any Day Now (Drama, R): Directed by Travis Fine and starring Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva, Frances Fisher and Gregg Henry.

- The Central Park Five (Documentary): Directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon.

- Deep Dark Canyon (Action, Suspense, R): Directed by Silver Tree and Abe Levy and starring Ted Levine, Spencer Treat Clark, Nick Eversman, Martin Starr and Matthew Lillard.

- Gangster Squad (Drama, Crime, R): Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena, Emma Stone and Sean Penn.

- A Haunted House (Comedy, Horror, R): Directed by Michel Tiddes and starring Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Cedric the Entertainer, Nick Swardson and David Koechner.

- The Impossible (Action, Drama, PG-13): Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast.

- It’s in the Blood (Horror, Suspense, Not Rated): Directed by Scooter Downey and starring Lance Henriksen, Sean Elliot, Rose Sirna, Doran Ingram and Jimmy Gonzales.

- Promised Land (Drama, R): Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook.

- Wasted on the Young (Drama, Suspense, R): Directed by Ben C. Lucas and starring Oliver Ackland, Adelaide Clemens, Alex Russell, Nathan Coenen and Patrick Cullen.

- Wuthering Heights (Drama, Romance): Directed by Andrea Arnold and starring James Howson, Kaya Scodelario, Shannon Beer, Solomon Glave and Oliver Milburn.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Kon-Tiki,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Gangster Squad.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Wed., April 24, 2013

Temp: 60.1 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 83 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast skies; Heavy fog, visibility less than 1/4-mile; birds audible and visibile; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 0.0 mph (No wind).

Barometric Pressure: 29.59 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.35 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.25 inches

NOTES: Today is the 114th day of 2013 and the 36th day of Spring. There are 251 days left in the year.

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'TKAM' falls out of ALA's Top 10 List of Frequently Challenged Books

The American Library Association recently released its annual State of America’s Libraries report, which includes its annual list of Top 10 List of Frequently Challenged Books for 2012. This list was compiled based on the 464 challenges reported to the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The previous year’s most challenged books included:

1. “Captain Underpants” (series) by Dav Pilkey

2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

3. “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James

5. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

6. “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

7. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green

8. “Scary Stories” (series) by Alvin Schwartz

9. “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls

10. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison

This year’s list of most challenged books is very different than last year’s list of most challenged books, and I thought it was especially interesting that “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee fell out of the Top 10 this year. It was in the Top 10 in 2011 and in 2009. It is often challenged due to offensive language, portrayals of racism and its suitability for age groups, according to the ALA.

The 2011 most challenged books list included:

1. “ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series)” by Lauren Myracle

2. “The Color of Earth (series)” by Kim Dong Hwa

3. “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins

4. “My Mom’s Having a Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy” by Dori Hillestad Butler

5. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

6. “Alice (series)” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

7. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

8. “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones

9. “Gossip Girls (series)” by Cecily Von Ziegesar

10. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

The 2010 most challenged books list included:

1. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

3. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

4. “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins

5. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

6. “Lush” by Natasha Friend

7. “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Stones

8. “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich

9. “Revolutionary Voices,” edited by Amy Sonnie

10. “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer.

The 2009 most challenged books list included:

1. “ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r” (series” by Lauren Myracle

2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

3. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky

4. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

5. “Twilight” (series) by Stephenie Meyer

6. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

7. “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult

8. “The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler

9. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

10. “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier

In the end, how many of this year’s most challenged books have you read? What do you think about them? Did you find them offensive or objectionable? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Tues., April 23, 2013

Temp: 58.8 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 81 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy skies, almost overcast; birds audible and visibile; standing water in yard from recent rain; security lights still on in the distance; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the Northeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.63 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.35 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.25 inches

NOTES: Today is the 113th day of 2013 and the 35th day of Spring. There are 252 days left in the year.

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

Monday, April 22, 2013

LIFE LIST UPDATE – No. 389: Plant a vegetable garden

I scratched another item off my “life list” recently when I planted a vegetable garden for the first time.

On and off as a kid, I’d helped my grandparents with their gardens, but my parents never planted one, and I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever planted one myself. That changed a week or so ago when my wife and teamed up to plant a small vegetable garden in our back yard.

Before I get into the meat of this thing, and in my defense, I have to say that I’m not a complete novice when it comes to gardening. It’s hard to grow up in Southwest Alabama without picking up some knowledge of how gardens work. Also, I took Ag in high school and occassionally read about gardening.

With that said, the first task in our recent vegetable garden project was to select a plot for our garden. We knew that we only planned to plant a few vegetables and that we wouldn’t need much room. We eventually picked a patch of dirt about 15 feet by 20 feet adjacent to our backyard shed and close to a water spigot.

Next, we borrowed my father-in-law’s gas-powered tiller and began breaking up the ground. This took a couple of days as we took the time to let the ground dry out from recent rains and picked out all of the lose grass and weeds. Our house sits on an old peanut field, so the ground wasn’t packed hard and tilling it wasn’t difficult once I got the hang of using the tiller.

Once the ground was prepared, we laid out our rows. We only needed three because we only planned to plant a few tomatoes, squash plants and cucumbers. My mother-in-law provided the plants, and the kids helped me and my wife set them out. That took an hour or so, and we then gave them a liberal dose of water from the nearby garden hose.

Between the tomato plants, my wife planted a few dandelions with the idea that these flowers will attract insects, which keeps them away from the tomato plants. I’d never heard of doing this before, but being no expert on the subject I kept my mouth shut. So far so good because as far as I can tell, the tomatoes are insect free up to this point.

A few days ago, my mother-in-law also donated some wire tomato cages and fertilizer to our project. I don’t have the fertilizer container in front of me, so the exact name of the product escapes me at the moment. According to the directions, you just apply a few balls of the fertilizer to the plants every few days, and the fertilizer absorbs into the ground, nurturing the plants.

Only time will tell as to how our first foray into vegetable gardening will turn out, but if we have any success it’ll mostly be due to the efforts of my wife and in-laws. In the end, how many of you have ever planted a vegetable garden? How many of you have a garden at home now? How big is your garden? What do you have planted in it? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for April 22, 2013

Pinckney D. Bowles
11 YEARS AGO
APRIL 25, 2002

“Members of the Pinckney D. Bowles Camp 1840 of the Sons of the Confederacy placed flags on Bowles Grave Monday morning in honor of Confederate Memorial Day. Members pictured are Lee F. Smith, Mitchell Anthony, Ed Deabler, Bill Hart and Michael Lambert.”

“James E. (Jimmy) Warren has qualified to seek re-election to the House of Representatives. He presently represents the 64th District, which includes Baldwin, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties.”

“Frank L. Johnson Jr., 74, of Pearl, Miss. died Mon., April 22, 2002 at Hospice Ministries, Ridgeland.
“A native of Evergreen, Mr. Johnson served in the U.S. Air Force during the Berlin AirLift at the time of the Korean War. He was an Air Traffic Control Specialist in Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska and Florida.”

“The Conecuh County Commission passed a resolution at the meeting Monday morning to execute an agreement with the State of Alabama for a resurfacing project on County Road 29. The paving will go from Dean’s Store to the county line, according to County Engineer Winston Foshee.”

“On March 28, 2002, Knud Nielsen Co. held its annual awards ceremony. Each year employees are presented with company pins for their years of service at KNC. The above employees were recognized with having over 25 years of service: Julian Katz, Joann Knowles, Jerry Scott and Jim Rigby. Not pictured: Colonial Pitts.”

26 YEARS AGO
APRIL 23, 1987

“Earl Windham reports no rain during the week.”

“Little business council meeting: Mayor Pat Poole read a letter he received from the Navy. The Navy is giving the city an F-86 fighter plane to put on static display at Middleton Field Municipal Airport. The Navy will also repaint the airplane at the airport and put an insignia on it to give it its original appearance.”

“The first Strawberry Festival will be held Sat., May 2, in Castleberry. In the early 1920s, Castleberry was known as the Strawberry Center of Alabama. With the flood of 1924, three years of late freezes and the depression, the strawberry business was wiped out. So with all of this in mind, it was thought it would be appropriate to have a Strawberry Festival in Castleberry.
“The proceeds from the Strawberry Festival will be used by the Town of Castleberry for improvements and repairs on the sidewalks downtown.”

“Construction is moving along on a new substation in Evergreen Industrial Park. The substation will serve firms in the Industrial Park and also serve Polyfelt, Inc. and Florida Favorite Fertilizer on Miller Sellers Drive.”

“The Thirty-Second Anniversary and Retirement Service for the Rev. H.J. Hawkins, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, 129 South Main St., Evergreen, will be observed Sun., April 26, at 3 p.m.”

41 YEARS AGO
APRIL 27, 1972

“These are the folks who provide police protection in a most courteous manner to the people of Evergreen. They are Arthur Mason, Robert Peavey, Mrs. Demphsey McNeil and Bill Davis, radio operators, Assistant Chief Tal Smith, officers Ronald Seale, Kenneth Godwin and Milton Hooks, Albert Salter, Chief Tom Melton, Mayor Henry Sessions, Mike Trahan, Herbert Clyde Rabren, Jimmy Haskew, Sgt. James Ellis and Larry Morrison.”

“Ellis Wayne Golson, son of Mr. and Mrs. M.T. (Tal) Golson of Rt. 2, Evergreen, will continue a tradition of Army service that runs strong in his family when he reports to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
“His father served with distinction as an Army officer in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. His older brother, Ronnie, has already distinguished himself as an Army officer.
“Ellis is a senior at Lyeffion High School where he has been an outstanding student and athlete.”

“James Henry Witherington, 76, died suddenly Sun., April 23, in a Mobile hospital. He had undergone surgery earlier in the week and was apparently recovering well when stricken by the fatal attack.
“Mr. Witherington was a member of a prominent and pioneer Conecuh County family. He made his home in the old family place near Lyeffion on Highway 83.”

56 YEARS AGO
APRIL 25, 1957

“The Conecuh Implement Co. was sold this week to W.I. Cook, Billy Wayne Cook and Jimmy Cook, by Peterman Agricultural Co., according to an announcement made this week.”

“The ladies of the Eastern Star will have a bake sale at Wild Brothers Hardware Co., Sat., April 27, the proceeds to go to the Masonic Building fund.”

“The local National Guard unit, Battery C, will take part in the 117th Field Artillery Battalion howitzer exercises at Ft. Rucker this weekend, according to Battery Commander Capt. Randy Moorer.”

“Marine Pvt. Ward C. Alexander Jr. was selected ‘Recruit of the Day’ for April 3 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Paris Island, S.C.”

“Petitions Are Circulated Here Favoring Whynot Site For Base: 3 County Groups To Fly to Washington: The Evergreen Steering Committee on the Jet Base met Monday morning and drafted plans for the circulation of over 100 petitions endorsing the ‘Whynot’ site.
“Also discussed at the meeting were plans for presenting the petitions before Congress and the Secretary of the Navy by groups from Conecuh, Escambia and Covington counties in Washington on Tues., April 30. The delegation will fly to the capitol with Gov. James Folsom to talk to members of the Alabama Congressional delegation and to present the petitions.”

71 YEARS AGO
APRIL 23, 1942

“At the regular weekly meeting of the Evergreen Rotary Club last week the annual election of officers was held and W.O. Henderson was elected president; D.T. Stuart Jr., vice-president; P.L. Pace, secretary-treasurer.”

“Judge Chauncey Sparks, candidate for Governor of Alabama, is scheduled to address the voters of this county next Saturday afternoon, April 25 at 4 p.m.”

“Any able-bodied man or woman in Conecuh County, 18 years or older and with good hearing and eyesight, is eligible to apply immediately to the nearest forest ranger or to the State Personnel Department at Montgomery for immediate work at $60 per month as a forest towerman.”

“COPE FUNERAL HOME – UNDERTAKERS AND FUNERAL DIRECTORS – DAY OR NIGHT – PHONE 44 – AMBULANCE SERVICE – Capable, Sympathetic Service In Your Time of Greatest Need. W. Sam Cope, Prop.”

“Dr. E.L. Kelly, County Health Officer, announced this week that S.G. Spann had returned to this county to resume his former work as sanitation officer connected with the health department.”

“A wedding of much interest to their many friends and relatives here and elsewhere was that of Miss Ruby Nell Ellis to Mr. Talmadge Golson on Monday evening, April 20, at eight o’clock at the home of the bride’s uncle, Rev. E.E. Ellis.”

Daily Weather Observations for Mon., April 22, 2013

Temp: 53.6 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 76 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Partly Cloudy skies; birds and dogs audible; standing water in yard from recent rain.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the Northeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.67nHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches.

Month to Date Rainfall: 6.35 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.25 inches

NOTES: Today is the 112th day of 2013 and the 34th day of Spring. There are 253 days left in the year.

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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Mary Higgins Clark book takes top spot on best-sellers list

Today is Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Sellers Lists. According to those lists, there is only one new book at the top of the four major best-sellers lists this week.

"Daddy's Gone a Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark replaced "Starting Now" by Debbie Macomber as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the fifth week in a row.

"The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the second straight week.

"The Witness" by Nora Roberts remained the No. 1 book on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list for the second consecutive week.

There were five books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on that list lat week. They (and their places on the list) included "Daddy's Gone a Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark (1), "Don't Go" by Lisa Scottoline (2), "Unintended Consequences" by Stuart Woods (4), "The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer (13) and "Tapestry of Fortunes" by Elizabeth Berg (15).

There were seven books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by Haylie Pomroy (2), "Give and Take" by Adam Grant (7), "I Declare" by Joel Osteen (9), "Nature's Fortune" by Mark Tercek, Jonathan Adams (12), "The One Thing" by Gary Keller (13), "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos (14) and "Unsinkable" by Debbie Reynolds (15).

There was only one book on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that wasn’t on the list last week - "You Don't Want to Know" by Lisa Jackson, which was No. 14 on the list.

There were two books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "Waking Up in Heaven" by Crystal McVea (12) and "Quiet" by Susan Cain (15).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Daddy's Gone a Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark
2. "Don't Go" by Lisa Scottoline
3. "Starting Now" by Debbie Macomber
4. "Unintended Consequences" by Stuart Woods
5. "Six Years" by Harlan Coben
6. "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson
7. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
8. "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult
9. "The Burgess Boys: A Novel" by Elizabeth Strout
10. "Manuscript Found in Accra" by Paulo Coelho
11. "Alex Cross, Run" by James Patterson
12. "A Week in Winter" by Maeve Binchy
13. "The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer
14. "Lover at Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood" by J.R. Ward
15. "Tapestry of Fortunes" by Elizabeth Berg

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg
2. "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by Haylie Pomroy
3. "It's All Good" by Gwyneth Paltro
4. "The Duck Commander Family" by Willie Robertson
5. "Life Code" by Phil McGraw
6. "The FastDiet" by Michael Mosley
7. "Give and Take" by Adam Grant
8. "Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits" by Joyce Meyer
9. "I Declare" by Joel Osteen
10. "Gulp" by Mary Roach
11. "Shred" by Ian K. Smith
12. "Nature's Fortune" by Mark Tercek, Jonathan Adams
13. "The One Thing" by Gary Keller
14. "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos
15. "Unsinkable" by Debbie Reynolds

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks
2. "The Lost Years" by Mary Higgins Clark
3. "Delusion in Death" by J.D. Robb
4. "Calico Joe" by John Grisham
5. "Now You See Her" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
6. "The Wanderer" by Robyn Carr
7. "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods
8. "Sand Castle Bay" by Sherryl Woods
9. "Sleep No More" by Iris Johansen
10. "Balancing Act" by Fern Michaels
11. "The Innocent" by David Baldacci
12. "Dry Gulch Ambush" by William W. Johnstone
13. "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
14. "You Don't Want to Know" by Lisa Jackson
15. "And Then She Fell" by Stephanie Laurens

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "The Witness" by Nora Roberts
2. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander
3. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci
4. "I, Michael Bennett" by James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge
5. "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed
6. "Walking Disaster" by Jamie McGuire
7. "Beautiful Ruins" by Jess Walter
8. "Obamacare Survival Guide" by Nick J. Tate
9. "America the Beautiful" by Ben Carson M.D. and Candy Carson
10. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
11. "The Guardian" by Beverly Lewis
12. "Waking Up in Heaven" by Crystal McVea
13. "Fever" by Maya Banks
14. "Calico Joe" by John Grisham
15. "Quiet" by Susan Cain

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.