A Minneapolis connection for the composer of the Independence Day soundtrack: John Philip Sousa
As we settle in to the Independence Day holiday, one of the things that happens is that we hear all of the John Philip Sousa marches on the playlist. While his most popular marches like The Stars and Stripes Forever, Semper Fidelis, or The Washington Post get played a lot, there’s an obscure march of his that has a uniquely Minneapolis connection.
In 1929, at the opening of his eponymous tower in downtown Minneapolis, the businessman Wilbur Burton Foshay (1881-1957) commissioned a march from Sousa, called the “Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March.” At 447 or 607 feet tall, depending if you count an antenna on top of the building, the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis from its 1929 opening until the nearby IDS Center surpassed it 43 years later. The building was built not only because Foshay had money, but it was to pronounce to the world that Foshay had money. (Most things built in this time did that.)
The run of good luck for Foshay was short-lived: Six weeks after the opening of the building, Foshay’s company was thrown into receivership. The $20,000 check to Sousa bounced, and Sousa ordered that the march penned for this occasion was never to be played until the debt was settled up. In 1932, Foshay was convicted of running a pyramid scheme with shares of his own stock, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Even in marching band circles, few knew of this mysterious 135th Sousa march.
It wasn’t until 1988 when a group of Minnesotans paid Foshay’s debt to the Sousa estate, allowing the Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March to be played again.
As it’s been a few months now, I guess I should fill in my blog readers (all four of you) of some major news
As it’s been a few months now, I guess I should fill in my blog readers (all four of you) of some major news. In April, following a whirlwind recruitment process, I joined the staff at Meda, the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, in Minneapolis. That meant that I had to relocate from Phoenix, the up-until-now subject of this blog (and the only place I’ve called home) to Minneapolis, in somewhat great haste.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll highlight some of my adventures in my new city, share some observations and photography, and some thoughts as I can about being back in my element – IT within the nonprofit realm.
Want a rolling feed of National Weather Service warnings and watches for an area? Check out the IEMBot Monitor!
As we’re getting some actual weather in the Phoenix metro area this summer, I thought I’d share some of my online weather resources that I use to keep track of weather events.
My favorite site is the IEMBot Monitor. It’s run by the Iowa State University’s Iowa Environmental Mesonet program. But don’t worry: It’s not just for weather for Iowa! On the IEMBot Monitor, you can pick a National Weather Service local office and get a running list of weather watch or warning products issues for that particular area.
If you’re in Phoenix, you’ll want to select “[psrchat] Phoenix” from the Available Rooms picker and you’ll get a running list of the weather products
I should say at this point that this isn’t a substitute for getting severe weather alerts, just another tool to have in your tool belt.
Editor’s note: Due to ongoing systems and networking upgrades, the weather dashboard is temporarily offline.
The second COVID-19 vaccine knocked me out for a couple of days, so while I was recuperating from that, I created a Grafana dashboard with data from my weather station. The station is perched atop a building in midtown Phoenix. The dashboard is still quite a work in progress, but I’m pleased thus far with how it’s coming along.
For those who aren’t in the IT world, Grafana is a software platform that creates visual dashboards from various sources, including time series databases (TSDBs). TSDBs work by collating discrete metrics over time, and they’re usually found in the world of information technology. Instead of network I/O or CPU usage, the principle works for weather statistics: At this time, it was this temperature or the wind speed was that.
With February 2021 now in the books, it’s time to rewind on the past twenty-eight days to see what weather we had in midtown Phoenix.
With February 2021 now in the books, it’s time to rewind on the past twenty-eight days to see what weather we had in midtown Phoenix. From the roof of a tower in Midtown Phoenix, here are the weather statistics from a dry and average month:
Please note that these data are not the official Phoenix weather statistics. The official Phoenix weather is taken at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by the Phoenix office of the National Weather Service.
With August 2020 in the books, here’s a snapshot of the month in weather from a weather station perched in midtown Phoenix.
As many of you may know, I maintain (in conjunction with Tapestry on Central) a weather station on the rooftop of one of our buildings. Since the books have closed on August, here’s a look at the August 2020 weather statistics:
HIGHEST: 118.4º F / 48.0º C (August 14 at 4:19pm)
LOWEST: 101.1º F / 38.4º C (August 31)
HIGH TEMPERATURES ABOVE 110º F / 43.3º C: 25 days (of 31)
HIGH TEMPERATURES ABOVE 112º F / 44.4º C: 19 days
HIGH TEMPERATURES ABOVE 115º F / 46.1º C: 8 days
AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE: 112.2º F / 44.6º C
LOWEST: 76.5º F / 24.7º C (August 30 at 10:29pm)
HIGHEST: 92.7º F / 33.7º C (August 2)
LOW TEMPERATURES ABOVE 90º F / 32.2º C: 10 days
LOW TEMPERATURES BELOW 80º F / 26.7º C: 2 days
AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE: 87.3º F / 30.7º C
AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE: 112.2º F / 44.6º C
AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE: 87.3º F / 30.7º C
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE: 99.7º F / 37.6º C
RAINFALL, WIND, AND SUCH
TOTAL AUGUST RAINFALL: 0.04 inches / 1.02 mm (1 day of measurable rainfall)
DAYS WITH STORMS IN THE AREA: 8 days
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR MIDTOWN PHX: 2 (August 17 and 20)
PEAK WIND GUST: 42.1 mph / 67.8 kph (August 20)
AVERAGE WIND SPEED AND GUST: 2.4 mph gusting to 4.5 mph (3.9 kph – 7.2 kph)
AVERAGE WIND DIRECTION: from the WNW
NOTES FROM THE NOTEBOOK
Saturday August 1: Dew Point peaked at 71.4º F at 12:22pm, heat index was 121.9º F an hour later
Friday August 14: hot!
Sunday August 30: Lowest temp of 76.5º F was lowest temperature recorded since July 1
Although this news is not surprising to hear, it is still a bit of a shock to hear the finality of it. The mall opened in 1973 with a record-setting five anchor store positions and 1.4 million square feet of retail space on two floors. For those who came of age in Phoenix in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, it was the place to see and be seen. It reached new appreciation in the 1980s when Metrocenter stood in for a mall in southern California in the 1989 science fiction film, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Since 2014, I’ve frequently wanted to bring it back. I am definitely biased, I know, but it was an important project to bring these stories out of the shadows. But every time, there was always a hiccup that kept it from going.
In light of what’s happened to our community in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, it’s certainly no understatement that things have fundamentally changed. That’s why I am going to bring back The Downtown Phoenix Podcast: to capture our stories from this time. It’s part podcast, but part collection of oral history.
This is going to be a team effort, however. Unlike the 2014 run of the Podcast, this isn’t going to be me talking all time time and offering my commentary essays on the relevant matters of the day. This is going to be about you. It’s going to be about our communities. What’s happening now? What are our fears for the moment? What are our hopes for the future?
If you or someone you know is a business owner, a community leader, an artist, or someone who’s life or livelihood has been upended in the past few weeks, get in touch with me. (Like the name of the Podcast suggests, the objective is to share stories from central-city Phoenix.) Email [email protected] or fill out this online form to get in touch.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions but learning more about these different apps–and what they do–on my computer is a goal of mine in 2020.
Each day when I use my Mac, I have these six icons staring at me. They’re the icons of six pieces of Adobe software for things like photo organization and manipulation, graphic design, and audio and video editing. (They’re also reminders that I have to spend the full amount on the Adobe Creative Suite because I need Acrobat in addition to Photoshop and Lightroom, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I figure that, since I have access to them, I ought to learn more not just about these pieces of software, but about the different things that they’re supposed to accomplish. I have said, perhaps as a crutch, that I’m not a graphic designer. And although that’s true–I’m not–why should that mean I shouldn’t know anything about graphic design?
With video editing, the cameras I use for still photography all have a video mode. Why should I limit myself to half of what the cameras can do? And for audio editing, how could I use that to make a future run of that silly little podcast thing I did, The Downtown Phoenix Podcast, even better? (Hint, hint.)
I’m generally not one to make New Year’s resolutions but I think I’m going to challenge myself to do some learning in 2020 on these things. Because, hey, learning is good, and learning might be important to future things that I’m doing. So join me on this journey, won’t you?
Before I get into this, I’m just going to write here that your results may vary and that I’m not responsible for any loss of data you may have as a result of this. Be sure to practice good data hygiene and backup responsibly.
My solution hinges on the “Microsoft exFAT/NTFS for USB by Paragon Software” app available on Google Play. Whilst the app is free to download, exFAT support requires a $5.99 in-app purchase. This app is unique in that it’s not a standalone file explorer, it’s an interface mechanism between the USB SD card reader and some other apps, including the default Files app on the Pixel. Here’s how it works:
If the captions aren’t viewable, the steps are as follows:
Step 1: After connecting your SD card reader to the USB-C port, launch the Microsoft exFAT/NTFS (etc.) app. Tap on MOUNT. (The UNMOUNT button is shown after the device has been mounted.)
Step 2: In the Files app, you’ll see that a new option is there: the Paragon File System. That’s your SD card.
Step 3: You can now browse your SD card and copy/move/whatever files from the card to local storage or cloud storage.
Step 4: When finished, go back into the Paragon app to UNMOUNT the device. Unplug the SD card reader and you’ll be good to go!
My explorations are still continuing because although I can easily copy-and-paste the SD card files, there is no mechanism that I have discovered so far that won’t copy duplicate files. By default, if you ask the Pixel to copy a file, if it’s a duplicate file name, it will just append a (1) next to the file name before the file extension.
Explorations are continuing! Isn’t that the great part about learning about new technology?