Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Historical marker tells of large prehistoric Native American 'capital'

'Moundville' Historical Marker in Hale County, Ala.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “MOUNDVILLE” marker in Hale County, just south of Tuscaloosa. This marker is located on the northwest side of Alabama Highway 69 at the intersection of Mound Parkway.

This marker was erected by the Alabama Historical Commission. There’s text on both sides of this marker, but both sides are identical. What follows is the complete text from the marker.

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“MOUNDVILLE: Site of a prehistoric Native American political and ceremonial center from about A.D. 1100-1500 that, at its height in the 13th Century, was America’s largest community north of Mexico. Between 1,000 and 3,000 people lived in this town fortified by a one-mile long wooden wall studded with guard towers. Moundville served as the capital of a powerful chiefdom of about 10,000 people living in smaller villages over a 60-mile stretch of the Black Warrior River Valley from present-day Tuscaloosa to Demopolis. The Moundville people constructed 28 massive flat-topped earthen mounds arranged systematically around a vast central plaza. The mounds served as elevated platforms for civic and ceremonial structures and the homes of nobles. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.”

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This marker is located at the entrance to Moundville Archaeological Park, and if you’ve never been to this park, I highly recommend it because it’s one of the coolest places in all of Alabama. The first time I ever visited the park I was in the fourth grade, and my parents took the family there because I was studying about the mounds in my Alabama History class. I can still vividly remember seeing these mounds for the first time, and they are very impressive.

The park has changed a lot over the years, and today it not only features the Indian mounds, but the park also includes the Jones Archaeological Museum, a cool gift shop, a café, campsites and nature trails. The park is open every day from 9 a.m. until dusk, and the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is charged - $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, and $6 for students and children over five.

If you visit the park, I highly recommend that you at least take the self-guided tour of the park, which takes about three hours to finish. Guided tours that last about two hours are available, but you do have to make reservations and pay for that service. For more information about the park, visit moundville.ua.edu.

Next time I visit the park, I plan to do a little geocaching. A quick search of hidden caches on geocaching.com shows that there are about 20 active caches in and around the park. Some of them sound and look pretty cool, so I’m definitely going to try to bag some of those.


In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another 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 'The Amazing Spider-Man' and 'The Legend of Hercules'

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:

- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Action, Adventure, PG-13): Directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti and Dane DeHaan.

- Belle (Drama, PG): Directed by Amma Asante and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson.

- Beneath the Harvest Sky (Drama): Directed by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly and starring Emory Cohen, Callan McAuliffe, Zoe Levin, Aidan Gillen and Carla Callo.

- Blood Glacier (Horror): Directed by Marvin Kren and starring Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Beseler and Peter Knaack.

- Decoding Annie Parker (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Steven Bernstein and starring Aaron Paul, Maggie Grace, Rashida Jones, Alice Eve and Corey Stoll.

- Ida (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and starring Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Joanna Kulig, Dawid Ogrodnik and Adam Szyszkowski.

- The Protector 2 (Action, R): Directed by Prachya Pinkaew and starring Tony Jaa, RZA, Marrese Crump, JeeJa Yanin and Ujal Thapa.

- Walk of Shame (Comedy, R): Directed by Steve Brill and starring Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright and Ethan Suplee.

- Water & Power (Crime, Drama): Directed by Richard Montoya and starring Enrique Murciano, Nicholas Gonzalez, Emilio Rivera, Clancy Brown and Yvette Yates.

- Whitewash (Drama, Suspense): Directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais and starring Thomas Haden Church, Marc Labreche, Vincent Hoss-Desmarais, Genevieve Laroche and Isabelle Nelisse.

New DVD releases this week include:

- Bad Country (Action, Crime, Drama, R): Directed by Chris Brinker and starring Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, Amy Smart, Neal McDonough and Chris Marquette.

- The Best Offer (Crime, Drama, R): Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and starring Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Donald Sutherland, Sylvia Hoeks and Philip Jackson.

- Devil’s Due (Horror, R): Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and starring Zach Gilford, Allison Miller, Robert Belushi, Colin Walker and Catherine Kresge.

- Escape from Tomorrow (Fantasy, Horror): Directed by Randy Moore and starring Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton and Denielle Safady.

- Gimme Shelter (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Ron Krauss and starring Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, James Earl Jones and Stephanie Szostak.

- Gloria (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Sebastian Lelio and starring Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernandez, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora and Coca Guazzini.

- Labor Day (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Jason Reitman and starring Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire and Maika Monroe.

- The Legend of Hercules (Action, Adventure, Fantasy, PG-13): Directed by Renny Harlin and starring Kellan Lutz, Gaia Wess, Roxanne McKee, Scott Adkins and Johnathon Schaech.

- The Rocket (Drama): Directed by Kim Mordaunt and starring Sitthiphone Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam and Bunsri Yindi.

- The Selfish Giant (Drama): Directed by Clio Barnard and starring Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne and Ian Burfield.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “The Legend of Hercules.”

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 from SW Alabama for Wed., April 30, 2014

Temp: 65.7 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.40 inches.

Humidity: 87 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast, dark and misting rain; security lights still on in the distance; birds audible and visible; standing water in yard from last night's rain.

Barometric Pressure: 29.34 inHg

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.70 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 9.60 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 12.95 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.55 inches

NOTES: Today is the 120th day of 2014 and the 42nd day of Spring. There are 244 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 29, 2014

'Spider-Man: Family Business' takes top spot on graphic novel best-sellers list

'Spider-Man: Family Business'
Today is Tuesday, so that means it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s New York Times lists of best-selling graphic novels. According to those lists, there are two new books sitting atop the two major graphic novel lists this week.

“Spider-Man: Family Business” by Mark Waid, James Robinson and Gabriele Dell’Otto replaced “Justice League, Vol. 4” by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis as the No. 1 book on the Hardcover Graphic Books best-sellers list this week.

“The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 2” by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard replaced “Saga, Vol. 3” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples as the top book on the Paperback Graphic Books best-sellers list.

There were four books on this week’s Hardcover Graphic Books best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They (and their places on the list) included “Batman: The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland (6), “A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin (7), “Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists” by Chris Duffy and others (9) and “The Joker: Death of the Family” by Scott Snyder and various (10).

There were four books on this week’s Paperback Graphic Books best-sellers list that wasn’t on that list last week. They included “East of West, Vol. 2” by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (5), “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier (8), “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier (9) and “The Walking Dead, Vol. 1” by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (10).

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

HARDCOVER GRAPHIC BOOKS
1. “Spider-Man: Family Business” by Mark Waid, James Robinson and Gabriele Dell’Otto
2. “Justice League, Vol. 4” by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
3. “Batman ’66, Vol. 1” by Jeff Parker and Richard Case
4. “American Vampire, Vol. 6” by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and others
5. “Batman, Vol. 3” by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
6. “Batman: The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
7. “A Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
8. “The Walking Dead, Book 1” by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard
9. “Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists” by Chris Duffy and others
10. “The Joker: Death of the Family” by Scott Snyder and various

PAPERBACK GRAPHIC BOOKS
1. “The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 2” by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
2. “Saga, Vol. 3” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
3. “The Walking Dead, Vol. 20” by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
4. “The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 1” by Robert Kirkman and others
5. “East of West, Vol. 2” by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
6. “Saga, Vol. 1” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
7. “The Harlem Hellfighters” by Max Brooks and Caanan White
8. “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier
9. “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
10. “The Walking Dead, Vol. 1” by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore


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.

'Countdown City' by Ben Winters wins this year's Philip K. Dick Award

This year’s winner of the annual Philip K. Dick Award was named recently at the 37th Annual Norweson in Seatac, Wash., and this year’s winner was “Countdown City” by Ben Winters .


Other finalists for this year’s award were:

- A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock

- The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

- Self-Reference Engine by Toh EnJoe, translated by Terry Gallagher

- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

- Life on the Preservation by Jack Skillingstead

- Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ian Whates

“Self-Reference Engine” by Toh EnJoe, translated by Terry Gallagher, was this year’s Special Citation Award Winner, which is basically the award for coming in second.

The Philip K. Dick Award, which is named after one of the most influential sci-fi writers of all time, is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust “for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.” Most of Dick’s books, which included “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, aka, “Blade Runner,” were published as paperback originals.

The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society.

The award was first given right after Dick’s untimely death in 1982, and since then, a number of authors have received the award. Here’s the complete list of the winners:

1982 – Software by Rudy Rucker
1983 – The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
1984 – Neuromancer by William Gibson
1985 – Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers

1986 – Homunculus by James P. Blaylock
1987 – Strange Toys by Patricia Geary
1988 – 400 Billion Stars by Paul J. McAuley and Wetware by Rudy V.B. Rucker
1989 – Subterranean Gallery by Richard Paul Russo
1990 – Points of Departure by Pat Murphy

1991 – King of Morning, Queen of Day by Ian McDonald
1992 – Through the Heart by Richard Grant
1994 - Mysterium by Robert C. Wilson
1995 – Headcrash by Bruce Bethke

1996 – The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter
1997 – The Troika by Stepan Chapman
1998 – 253: A Novel by Geoff Ryman
1999 – Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter
2000 – Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

2001 – Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo
2002 – The Mount: A Novel by Carol Emshwiller
2003 – Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
2004 – Life by Gwyneth A. Jones
2005 – War Surf by M.M. Buckner

2006 – Spin Control by Chris Moriarty
2007 – Nova Swing by M. John Harrison
2008 – Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro and Terminal Mind by David Walton
2009 – Bitter Angels by C.L. Anderson
2010 – The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

2011 – The Samuil Petrovitch Trilogy by Simon Morden
2012 - Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery
2013 - Countdown City by Ben Winters .


In the end, how many of these books have you had a chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Tues., April 29, 2014

Temp: 63.5 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 1.30 inches.

Humidity: 85 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast and dark; security light still on in the yard; birds audible and visible; standing water in yard from last night's rain.

Barometric Pressure: 29.24 inHg

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.30 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 9.20 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 12.55 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 26.15 inches

NOTES: Today is the 119th day of 2014 and the 41st 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 28, 2014

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 147: Watch “Fiddler on the Roof” (1971)

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a movie I’ve heard about for years, but for whatever reason I’d never seen it. I can’t even remember seeing reruns of it on television, and I can’t remember ever seeing it in a video store. I’ve had this movie on my “bucket list” for several years, and, thanks to NetFlix, I finally watched it the other day. It was great.


Directed by Norman Jewison, this movie was released in November 1971 and starred Chaim Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Rosalind Harris and Tutte Lemkow. The film is about a hard working milkman named Tevye, who lives with his wife and five pretty daughters in the small Russian town of Anatevka. Like any father, Tevye wants what’s best for his daughters, but he encounters all sorts of problems when he tries to balance their desires and marriage plans against Jewish traditions.

Other than the fact that this movie is famous, I didn’t know much more about it. I was surprised to learn that the movie is a musical and contains a fair amount of singing by the main characters. Probably the most famous song from the movie is “If I Were a Rich Man,” which was written by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Brock.

This movie was also very funny, and very sad, in parts. I think I laughed out loud more than once, and I also got a lump in my throat once or twice too. The end of the movie is both climactic and emotional, especially if you know anything about what happened to the Jews in Europe during the early 20th Century.

I was also surprised to learn that this movie is based on an earlier play called “Tevye and His Daughters,” which was written by Sholem Aleichem in the 1890s. In all, Aleichem wrote eight Tevye stories, and in each of these story Aleichem supposedly “met” the fictional Tevye, who related the stories to him. These stories were originally written in Yiddish and were later translated into English.

Also, I’ve always wondered about the movie’s title, and I kind of always figured it had to do with the main character. Instead, I came to learn that it referred to a fringe character, a fiddler who’s seen on and off throughout the movie, usually playing from some housetop. Tevye indicates that the fiddler is a good example of many Jews, who were trying to maintain their traditions and way of life in the face of the changing modern world. I couldn’t help but wonder throughout the movie if the musician was also somewhat mentally ill.

If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It was so good that it was nominated for Best Picture at the 1971 Academy Awards, but lost to “The French Connection.” Other nominees that year included “A Clockwork Orange,” “The Last Picture Show” and “Nicholas and Alexandra.”


In the end, how many of you have ever watched “Fiddler on the Roof”? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 146: Visit Old Cahawba

Old Cahawba's "Crocheron Columns"
Old Cahawba is one of those places that I’ve heard about for as long as I can remember, but for whatever reason I’d never been there before. I’ve had this place on my “bucket list” for several years, and I finally paid “Alabama’s Most Famous Ghost Town” a visit on Saturday. Old Cahawba more than lived up to its reputation, and I’d venture to say that it’s got to be one of the coolest places in the entire state.

Located between Orrville and Selma in Dallas County, Cahawba (also spelled "Cahaba") was the state capital of Alabama between 1820 and 1826. Located where the Alabama and Cahaba rivers meet, the town once had a population of over 3,000 residents. Today, it's a ghost town similar to St. Stephens in Washington County and Claiborne in Monroe County. The Alabama Historical Commission currently maintains Cahawba as a state historic site.

My son and I visited Old Cahawba Archeological Park Saturday morning to take part in the park’s Civil War walking tour. During the Civil War, Cahawba was the site of “Castle Morgan,” a prisoner of war camp that held several thousand Union prisoners. The prison operated from 1863 to 1865, but the landscape still bears the signs of the old prison's walls.

Saturday’s tour, which lasted about an hour, was led by Dr. Jack Bergstresser, who did a great job of telling us all about Cahawba’s Civil War history. In addition to telling us about the conditions at Castle Morgan, he also explained the impact that the town’s water supply had on living conditions inside and outside of the POW camp. He also discussed the numerous escape attempts made by Union prisoners, and, best of all, he led us over the actual ground where the prison was located, pointing out where walls once stood and where guards once roamed the perimeter. 

The Civil War tour was great, but I have to admit that I’ve also always wanted to visit Old Cahawba because of its mention in Kathryn Tucker Windham’s 1969 book, “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.” According to that book, in the chapter titled “Specter in the Maze at Cahaba,” witnesses over the years have reported seeing a ghostly orb floating near the location of an old garden maze. The maze, which is long gone, was located near the home of Confederate Colonel C.C. Pegues, the commanding officer of the Cahawba Rifles, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Va. in 1862.

Of course, no trip to Old Cahawba would be complete without seeing the “Crocheron Columns.” These brick columns are all that remain of a mansion belonging to Richard Conner Crocheron, a prominent businessman from Cahawba's heyday. This mansion was built in 1843 and was destroyed by fire in the early 20th Century.

Geocachers in the reading audience will also be interested to learn that this park contains a number of geocaches. After Saturday’s Civil War tour, my son and I bagged five geocaches, which allowed us to see parts of the park we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. If you ever visit this park, you should definitely hunt for these caches if you enjoy geocaching.

In the end, how many of you have been to Old Cahawba? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 145: Read “Stuart Little” by E.B. White

The novel “Stuart Little” is generally considered to be one of the finest children’s books ever written, but for whatever reason I’d never read it. A year or so ago, I added it to my “bucket list” after reading more about it on one of my favorite Web sites, “The Writer’s Almanac.” I started reading this book last week and finished it a few days ago, so now I understand what all the fuss was about.

For those of you unfamiliar with the novel, “Stuart Little” is about a small boy who looks and acts just like a mouse. He’s only about two inches tall, he’s covered with hair and he even has the face of a mouse. On the other hand, his family treats him like a small boy, he can talk and he can even drive a car and sail a model boat.

Written by E.B. White and published in 1945, this book is a quick read. The edition that I read was a 131-page paperback edition published in 1973 by Harper & Row. Illustrated throughout by Garth Williams, I finished read it in two or three days.

Even though it’s a book for children, I enjoyed reading it, and I think most adults would probably enjoy it too. Stuart gets into all sorts of unusual situations brought on by his status as a quasi-human, talking mouse-boy, and he unknowingly courts danger at almost ever turn. Plus, he drives an invisible car, and who doesn’t like invisible cars? Stuart is also a true friend, and he has many adventures after he sets out to find a missing friend, Margalo, a bird who has disappeared from his neighborhood.

Many of you will likely be familiar with “Stuart Little” thanks to the 1999 movie of the same name. The movie, which I haven’t seen, is loosely based on the novel with a screenplay that was co-wrote by M. Night Shyamalan, who is best known for his horror movies. Michael J. Fox provides the voice for Stuart, and the movie also stars Nathan lane, Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie.

The name of author E.B. White may sound familiar to many of you. In addition to Stuart Little, he is also the author of the famous children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web,” which was published in 1952. Like “Stuart Little,” “Charlotte’s Web” is considered one of the best children’s books ever written.

White, along with William Strunk Jr., also co-wrote one of the most famous nonfiction books ever written, 1918’s “The Elements of Style.” This book is one of the finest books ever published on the subject of writing, and it has influence countless authors and students over the years. It is often highly ranked on “best of” lists, and TIME magazine ranked it recently on its list of the best and most influential books written in English since 1923.


In the end, how many of you have read “Stuart Little”? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for April 28, 2014

C.T. Ivey in 1955
44 YEARS AGO
MAY 7, 1970

“The 7th Annual Conecuh County FFA and 4-H Boys Barrow Show will be held here at the Conecuh Stockyard Arena Monday morning, 81 top hogs will be shown by 35 boys from over the county.
“Charles Burt is show chairman and Dave Fleming is advisory chairman. Showmanship will be judged by Phillip Ellis, Charles Grant, Miles Covin and Roger Waller, all students at Jefferson Davis Junior College. Dr. Carl Wilson is show veterinarian.
“Boys who will exhibit hogs included Jimmy Beverly, Larry Knight, Sawyer Griffin, Jerry Daw, Anthony Preyer, Clayton Cobb, Tommy Shipp, Richard Wilson, James Traweek, Eric Pugh, Ralph Pugh, John Johnston, Sammy Brown, Herbert Brown, David Davis, Ernest Shipp, Ivon Gomes, Johnny Daw, Sandy Floyd, Jimmy Salter, Ashley Andrews, Stanley Boykin, Larry Harris, Frank Murphy, Whaymon Tullis, John Crum Sessions, Robert Ward, Eddie Reeves, Jeb Barron, Randy Coker, Hillary Harper, Eddie Ralls, Gerald Salter, Arnold Hall and Johnny R. Salter.”

“U.S. Army, Vietnam – One of the Army badges that soldiers wear with special pride is the Combat Infantryman Badge. It was recently awarded to PFC Richard D. Nettles, 20, in Vietnam.
“PFC Nettles, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Nettles, Rt. 2, Evergreen, is assigned as a machine gunner with Co. C, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry of the Americal Division’s 11th Light Infantry Brigade.”

59 YEARS AGO
MAY 5, 1955

“Pilot Club Organized Here With 19 Members: Election of officers was the main order of business at the organizational meeting of the Evergreen Pilot Club on Wed., April 27. The following officers were elected: Mrs. J.R. Taylor, president; Miss Elsie Couey, first vice president; Mrs. Dennis Majors, second vice president; Miss Eula Mae Johnson, treasurer; Miss Emelyn Reddoch, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Paul Reid, recording secretary.”

“Repton To Burnt Corn Road To Be Built Soon: The Conecuh County Board of Directors signed a contract with the Alabama State Highway Department for a road to be built by the state from Repton to Burnt Corn about three weeks ago, J.H. Tranum, chairman, said today. The road will be a little over 11 miles long.
“It is hoped that the road from Burnt Corn to state highway 83 can be black topped soon. Also contemplated is the completion of state highway 106 from Georgiana to Highway 83, probably around Antioch Church.”

“The annual campaign for renewal of Chamber of Commerce memberships is now underway, according to C.T. Ivey, who is chairman of the Membership Committee directing the drive.”

“The Evergreen City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night voted to extend sewage lines to residents of Williams Street. At present, the homes on this street all have septic tanks.”

74 YEARS AGO
MAY 2, 1940

“Lightning Damages Home of Rev. E.E. Ellis: The home of Rev. E.E. Ellis at West Side was struck by lightning about four o’clock Wednesday morning and considerable damage was done, but no one was injured.
“Rev. Ellis reports that two windows were completely destroyed and others damaged. The screen wire of the sleeping porch was entirely burned up and other damage done to the walls of the building. Mr. Ellis said when he and his family were awakened by the terrific explosion they found the whole house filled with smoke. Though none of them suffered shock, they were very much frightened.
“Heavy rains fell in all parts of the county during Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.”

“AT REASONABLE PRICES – CASKETS – Wilson Hardware & Gro. Co., Castleberry, Ala.”

“Dr. Emmett Ayers, a medical missionary from China, will preach at the Baptist Church Sunday morning, May 5, at 11 o’clock.
“Dr. Ayers is well informed about conditions in China and his lectures will be interesting, instructive and helpful. This will be a rare opportunity to obtain a better understanding about China.”

“The local post office will close at noon Thursdays during the summer months along with other business places and offices observing a half holiday, according to an announcement made by Postmaster R.G. Bozeman.”

89 YEARS AGO
MAY 6, 1925

“MEAT INSPECTOR: Citizens of Evergreen will be pleased to learn that the city has recently employed a meat inspector who went on duty on May 1. Dr. B.F. Jones, a veterinarian who enjoys the universal confidence of our people, will inspect all meats that are hereafter placed on sale at the markets, as well as meats brought in from the county.”

“W.G. Riley and daughter, Miss Elizabeth, visited Capt. T.M. Riley, the former’s brother, in Monroe County last week.”

“Workmen have been busy all this week setting new poles and otherwise improving the Bell telephone service of Evergreen.”

“It is reported that a big Ku Klux celebration was staged at Andalusia on Tuesday night and that many members of the local Klan attended.”

104 YEARS AGO
MAY 4, 1910

“Halley’s Comet: The comet which makes its visit to the U.S. every 75 years is now due, and the people are getting up every morning before day in hopes of getting a sight of it.”

“The First National Bank is now occupying its magnificent new building having moved in today.”

“I.I. Ward, a former citizen of this county, was killed by A.J. Mathes at Stapleton, Baldwin County, on Monday at the election. Ward stabbed Mathes, who in turn shot him. Ward died at once and Mathes is in a serious condition.”

“Jno. T. Williams received a message a few days ago stating that a man who murdered his brother eight years ago in Louisiana had been captured and confessed to the crime. He will be tried on the 20th, inst., and Mr. Williams will attend the trial.”

“Halley’s Comet is all the talk now, but look over this and see if we can’t divide the attention. Thirty pounds whole grain head rice, $1; best patent flour, hickory hoops and staves, $6.39; seven bars best soap, 25 cents; seven packs Arm & Hammer soda, 25 cents. We sell the goods, cash prices count. F.L. Riley, The Racket Man.”

“The new Methodist parsonage is nearing completion and will be ready for occupancy in a couple of weeks. It will be one of the most attractive homes in that neighborhood.”

“James Giddens, a prominent citizen of Lowndes County, and a Confederate veteran, stopped over to visit his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Sam J. Robertson on his return from the reunion in Mobile. Mr. Giddens is a valued friend of the Robertson family and their only regret is that his visit was brief.”

“Following a long established custom, the merchants of Evergreen have signed an agreement to close their places of business at six o’clock every afternoon, Saturday’s excepted, from May 1 to Sept. 1. This gives the merchants and their employees an opportunity for recreation during the heated term.”

“No Courant Last Week: Owing to the illness of both the editor and foreman of the mechanical department, The Courant was not issued last week. This is the first issue we have missed, except one or two occasions at Christmas, since The Courant was established nearly 15 years ago.”


Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Mon., April 28, 2014

Temp: 72.5 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches.

Humidity: 85 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy; birds audible and visible.

Barometric Pressure: 29.31 inHg

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 7.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 11.25 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.85 inches

NOTES: Today is the 118th day of 2014 and the 40th 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 27, 2014

COMIC BOOK OF THE WEEK – “The Sensational She-Hulk” #7 (November 1989)

'Sensational She-Hulk' #7 (Nov. '89)
This week’s “Comic Book of the Week” is “The Sensational She-Hulk” #7, which was published by Marvel Comics in November 1989.  This issue was titled “I Have No Mouth and I Am Mean!”

The issue’s creative team included John Byrne, writer and artist; Bob Wiacek, inker; Glynis Oliver, colorist; Jim Novak, letterer; Bobbie Chase, editor; and Tom DeFalco, editor in chief. Byrne was also the cover artist for this issue, which sold for $1.50 at newsstands.

The story begins in the Star Stop, a deep space “truck stop,” which is supposedly the best placed to get “a good cup of java” in 12 systems. The last issue ended with She-Hulk and a group of friends having to deal with a large, hairy Yeti-looking monster (with no mouth) called Xemnu the Titan. Xemnu has made a mess of the place, and then says that he’s there to get the baby of She-Hulk’s friends Mary McGrill and Ulysses Solomon Archer.

Xemnu seeks out children as part of a project to repopulate his home world, but he hasn’t had much luck with children who’ve already been born. She-Hulk and her friends attack Xemnu, but he puts them in a trance that stops them in their tracks. When She-Hulk and her friends awake, they’re tied up and hanging upside down.

Mary’s in worse shape. Xemnu’s got her tied down to a high-tech dentist’s chair and he’s placing a psycho relay helmet on her head so he can begin transmitting metamorphological data to Mary’s unborn child. She-Hulk regains her sense and breaks out of her bonds.

She knocks Xemnu for a loop while her friend, the superhero Razorback, also breaks free. Xemnu eventually gets the upper hand and puts She-Hulk back in a paralyzing trance. When she wakes up, she’s strapped to a chair and covered in green fur.

While she was knocked out, Razorback destroyed the machine Xemnu was going to use on Mary’s unborn baby, so he went to Plan B, that is, turn She-Hulk into the “Bride of Xemnu.” Xemnu launches into a time-wasting monologue that’s interrupted when a fleet of spaceships shows up to help She-Hulk and her friends.

In the aftermath, Xemnu fled, and it turned out that the fleet had arrived in response to a distress signal that had been sent by Archer. Maybe best of all, She-Hulk is back to normal, hairless once again, thanks to laser-olosis the alien named Al’s wife gave her. She learns later that Xemnu has been captured, and his trance-inducing powers have been subdued thanks to a “hypno-damper.”

Xemnu mentioned earlier that he wanted to make She-Hulk his bride because he was lonely. This gave her friend Poppa Wheelie and idea – they decided to hand Xemnu over to Big Enilwen, an large humanoid alien that collects teddy bears.

In the end, Archer and Al show She-Hulk a supped-up 1959 Dodge that is capable of making one space flight back to earth. Once it arrives, it’ll be just a regular “run of the mill flying car.” To boot, it’s green just like the She-Hulk.

This comic (unless I’ve sold it) and others are available for purchase through Peacock’s Books on Amazon.com. If you’re interested in buying it, search for it there by title, issue number and date of publication.


'History of Brooklyn, Alabama' tells of area's Civil War experiences

Pinckney D. Bowles
(In 1982, The Evergreen Courant newspaper published a six-part series called "A History of Brooklyn," which was originally written by the late R.G. (Bob) Kendall Jr. The fourth installment in the series, which you'll find reprinted below, was originally published in the April 22, 1982 edition of The Courant. Other installments of the article can be found in the April 1, April 8, April 15, April 29 and May 6 editions of The Courant from 1982. I plan to post those installments on this blog in the coming weeks, so if you enjoy reading Part IV, keep you eyes open for the other installments in the near future. Without further ado, here's Part IV.)


“A History of Brooklyn: Part IV” by the late R.G. (Bob) Kendall Jr.

One of the area’s early and interesting small industries was a leather tanyard built in the Pea Ridge area by Julius G. Robinson, son of Edwin, the founder of Brooklyn, in the late 1850s. Robinson constructed 24 small wooden vats, as well as a number of larger ones, all served by branch water. By 1860, this operation had become substantial with some 30 employees working at the tanyard and factory that was added to make boots and shoes. A contract to supply the Confederate Army was in effect during the Civil War.

During the years immediately prior to the Civil War, Brooklyn along with the remainder of Conecuh County was engrossed in two public questions, the sectional conflict over slavery and the desire for a railroad to serve an area that was starved for transportation. Brooklyn did her part in both endeavors. Many of her sons perished in the great conflict that began in 1861, incidentally, the year that the Montgomery and Pensacola Railroad began service through the county.

Brooklyn citizens took an interest in the project and Asa Johnston, Caleb Johnston and Wilson Ashley were among the early large subscribers to the project. The story is told that the railroad was constructed simultaneously from both ends, but final completion was held up by an extensive cut necessary in the Garland area at Dilly Hill and a shortage of funds for the work. The final work on the cut was said to have been done by farmers who donated their own efforts in order to finally get a reliable way to market. Brooklyn community doubtless did its part.

With the coming of the Civil War, the Brooklyn area gave of its blood and its treasure, along with most of the rest of the South. For reasons not understood today looking back over 105 years, the Convention called in Conecuh to elect and instruct a delegate to the Alabama Secession Convention reversed its earlier vote in which Wilson Ashley, who favored immediate secession, was elected, and chose instead John Greene of Burnt Corn, a highly respected citizen who was a cooperationist. This implied that all efforts toward conciliation should be exhausted before secession was resorted to. As a result, Conecuh was the only South Alabama county not voting for secession.

Once the die was cast, however, the county was in the forefront of the action, and the Brooklyn area supplied many men for the Confederate forces. Among the Conecuh units were:

Co. E, 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment (The Conecuh Guards commanded by Col. Pinckney D. Bowles, long time Probate Judge, who commanded a brigade at war’s end.

Co. D, 16th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Co. D, 23rd Alabama Infantry Regiment (Cary Rifles).

 C. H, 23rd Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Co. I, 29th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Co. E, 38th Alabama Infantry Regiment (Miller Guards).

Co. E, 42nd Alabama Infantry Regiment (The McCullach Avengers).

Co. F, 65th Alabama Infantry Regiment (Conecuh Reserves).

Co. F, 23rd Battalion Alabama Sharpshooters.

Co. F, First Battalion Hilliard’s Legions.

Although no cavalry units were formed in Conecuh, a number of county men served in units raised in other counties.

The war did not bring an actual Federal incursion into the Brooklyn area until March 21-26, 1865, in the closing days of the conflict, Col. Andrew B. Spurling advanced at the head of a regiment of cavalry from Milton, Fla. to Andalusia, Ala., using a line of march slightly to the east of Brooklyn. He then moved westward to Gravella, now Owassa, just north of Evergreen, captured a train and cut the railroad. Advancing southward through Evergreen to Sparta, the depot at Sparta Station and the jail at Sparta were burned.

Spurling’s movements from Sparta on his way southward are not well documented. However, it is well established from the stories told by those living at the time that a portion of Spurling’s command went into the Brooklyn area by way of the Wilson Ashley plantation, now owned by the Horton family. My grandfather told me of the cavalry raid in the Johnstonville area just west of Brooklyn when the Federals raided the cribs and the smokehouses and drove off the stock that had not been hidden in time.

An interesting anecdote of the war years concerns Amanda Floyd who married Alexander Travis Henderson at Brooklyn in the early days of the Civil War conflict. She was notified shortly after her husband’s death on Dec. 17, 1863 that he had been killed in action near Claiborne, Ala. She immediately set out for Claiborne with her infant daughter, Mary, with her trusted slaves by wagon drawn by two mules and taking with her several shovels.

Upon arriving in Claiborne she inquired of the burial place of the soldiers who were killed in the battle. It is said that “she dug until she discovered his body,” then brought his body back to Brooklyn for burial. Later, Mrs. Amanda Floyd Henderson married William T. Sills and ran a boarding house at Brooklyn, which was famous for its good meals.

All the drummers and traveling men would endeavor to get to Brooklyn late in the afternoon, so that they could have supper and breakfast at The Sills Hotel. After Mrs. Sills’ death, her daughter, Mrs. Tom (Mary) Liles operated the hotel, and after her Mrs. Bessie Cary, all of who were always careful to maintain the reputation established by Mrs. Sills.

(To be continued)


'A Dance with Dragons' returns to paperback best-sellers list this week

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.

"The Collector" by Nora Roberts replaced "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Mary Higgins Clark as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the third straight week.

"Never Go Back" by Lee Child remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the third week in a row.

"Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo remained the top book on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list for the second week in a row.

There were four new books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. Those books (and their places on the list) included "The Collector" by Nora Roberts (1), "The Husband's Secret: by Liane Moriarty (13), "Sycamore Row" by John Grisham (14) and "William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back: by Ian Doesher (15).

There were six new books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that wasn’t on the list last week. Those books included "Players First" by John Calipari (6), "The Confidence Code" by Katty Kay (8), "Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet" by Mark Hyman (9), "The Divide" by Matt Taibbi (11), "Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Gold Book" by Diane Muldrow (12) and "Stronger" by Jeff Bauman (15).

There were two new books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. Those books included "The Panther" by Nelson DeMille (14) and "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin (15).

There were four books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "Skinny Meals" by Bob Harper (5), "The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen Eds. (8), "Minecrafter 2.0 Advanced" by Triumph Books (12) and "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan (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. "The Collector" by Nora Roberts
2. "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Mary Higgins Clark
3. "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt
4. "NYPD Red 2" by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
5. "Carnal Curiosity" by Stuart Woods
6. "Keep Quiet" by Lisa Scottoline
7. "Missing You" by Harlan Coben
8. "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd
9. "Power Play" by Danielle Steel
10. "Blossom Street Brides" by Debbie Macomber
11. "The King: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood" by J.R. Ward
12. "The Bootlegger" by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
13. "The Husand's Secret: by Liane Moriarty
14. "Sycamore Row" by John Grisham
15. "William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back: by Ian Doesher

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis
2. "The Doctor's Diet" by Travis Stork
3. "Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
4. "The Women of Duck Commander by Kay Robertson
5. "Grain Brain" by David Perlmutter
6. "Players First" by John Calipari
7. "Thrive: The Third Metric" by Arianna Huffington
8. "The Confidence Code" by Katty Kay
9. "Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet" by Mark Hyman
10. "10 Percent Happier" by Dan Harris
11. "The Divide" by Matt Taibbi
12. "Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Gold Book" by Diane Muldrow
13. "The Hungry Girl Diet" by Lisa Lillien
14. "Face the Music" by Paul Stanley
15. "Stronger" by Jeff Bauman

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Never Go Back" by Lee Child
2. "Starting Now" by Debbie Macomber
3. "Daddy's Gone A Hunting" by Mary Higgins Clark
4. "Forget Me Not" by Fern Michaels
5. "Alex Cross, Run" by James Patterson
6. "Best Kept Secrets" by Sandra Brown
7. "Doing Hard Time" by Stuart Woods
8. "The Hit" by David Baldacci
9. "Tell Me" by Lisa Jackson
10. "The Devaney Brothers" by Sherryl Woods
11. "Winds of Change" by Nora Roberts
12. "Kill Crazy" by William W. Johnstone
13. "North to Alaska" by Debbie Macomber
14. "The Panther" by Nelson DeMille
15. "A Dance With Dragons" by George R.R. Martin

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo
2. "Shadow Spell" by Nora Roberts
3. "Four Blood Moons" by John Hagee
4. "Whiskey Beach" by Nora Roberts
5. "Skinny Meals" by Bob Harper
6. "Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline
7. "King and Maxwell" by David Baldacci
8. "The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen Eds.
9. "Four Friends" by Robyn Carr
10. "Mistress" by James Patterson and David Ellis
11. "Fly Away" by Kristin Hannah
12. "Minecrafter 2.0 Advanced" by Triumph Books
13. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo
14. "The Last Bride" by Beverly Lewis
15. "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan


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 from SW Alabama for Sun., April 27, 2014

Temp: Not recorded.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches.

Humidity: Not recorded.

Conditions: Not noted.

Barometric Pressure: Not recorded.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 7.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 11.25 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.85 inches

NOTES: Today is the 117th day of 2014 and the 39th 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 26, 2014

Singleton describes memorable trip to 'Nancy Mountain' in December 1984

George 'Buster' Singleton
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Mountain offers peace, inspiration,” was originally published in the Jan. 31, 1985 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)

During the closing days of 1984, when everyone was glued to television sets watching the final playoffs of their favorite football teams, I decided to slip away for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

Since December is the month of “The moon of the popping trees,” according to an Indian legend, I decided to go to a spot where time and setting would be appropriate.

I chose one of my favorite spots, atop Nancy Mountain overlooking the river and the great valley through which it flows.

I carried my usual equipment: a small survival stove, a coffeepot that makes only one cup of coffee, and a canteen of water. As an afterthought, I hung my binoculars around my neck. I mounted my trail bike and headed north.

A graceful bird

As I arrived atop beautiful Nancy Mountain, the warm sun suggested a quick nap there among the trees. But I decided against this and proceeded to get my stove and coffeepot ready.

As I settled back waiting for my coffee to brew, I noticed a huge bird sailing gracefully over the valley below me over near the river. Its movements were not that of a common vulture that is seen in abundance throughout the area.

I reached for my binoculars and focused them on the huge, sailing bird. To my amazement, I realized that I was watching a large, golden eagle. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

The eagle would sail slowly across the flats, gracefully riding the air currents, maneuvering its way to great heights. Then, like a reckless child at play, it would fold its wings and plummet straight down toward the earth at great speed.

Across the valley

At the last moment, when I thought maybe it had forgotten to open its wings, the eagle would spread its beautiful, golden trimmed feathers and sail at a reckless speed at treetop level across the valley. The graceful creature would then gradually let the currents return itself to the desired height, where it would repeat the previous performance.

This breathtaking performance went on for almost 40 minutes. It seemed that the great bird was performing just for my entertainment and pleasure.

I had become so involved in the great spectacle before me that I completely forgot about my stove and coffee making. Needless to say, my coffee had boiled over, putting out the fire and messing up my stove.

I knew that there would be other times for making coffee, but I knew that another such performance as I had just witnessed would be rare and a long time coming. I realized, too, why many of the biblical writers had used the great eagles in their comparisons of strength and beauty.

Isaiah’s inspiration

That day I didn’t see any of the football playoffs on television. Neither did I hear any on the radio. But I witnessed something far greater and more beautiful than all the halftime performances combined. And I knew, too, that day, where the prophet Isaiah had received his inspiration when he wrote the following:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”


(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)

Daily Weather Observations from SW Alabama for Sat., April 26, 2014

Temp: 61.2 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.00 inches.

Humidity: 79 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Partly Cloudy skies and sunny; birds audible and visible; jet contrails visible in the sky.

Barometric Pressure: 29.50 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.00 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 7.90 inches

Spring to Date Rainfall: 11.25 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 24.85 inches

NOTES: Today is the 116th day of 2014 and the 38th 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.