Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I took the photo on 15-August-2009.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Today we went to the Stanford Shopping Center. After mass we had dinner at Guerrero's.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde was born in Nymegen, Holland in 1813. He went on to live a remarkable life of achievement in the sciences and the arts. He died in America in 1895.
While serving as editor of Manufacturer and Builder Magazine, he wrote many articles, including the ones which gave this blog its name. In 1893 and 1894, he published a 23-part (!) memoir in the same periodical. Here is the twentieth part. He continues to talk about his interest in music.
The steam-powered calliope was the high-tech musical instrument of its day.
I assume the great exposition in Philadelphia was the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
The Roosevelt Brothers, Hillborne and Frank, were famous builders of large organs.
The image comes from the Library of Congress' wonderful American Memory site (http://memory.loc.gov/). LC-USZ62-76492, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society. It appeared in Harper's Weekly, 12-May-1866.
Reminiscences of an Active Life.
BY DR. P. H. VAN DER WEYDE.
From Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 26, Issue 9, September 1894
9th. Career as a Musician.--The calliope is the loudest musical instrument in existence, because it consists of a series of steam whistles worked by high-pressure steam, and therefore is called after that goddess who, among the nine muses of the ancient Greek mythology, was distinguished for her silvery voice.
P. T. Barnum, who was always forward in exhibiting such objects as would attract public attention, was the first to add such an instrument to his passing show. It was made on the principle of a barrel organ, and worked by the turning of a crank, while a steam boiler and furnace was substituted for the bellows, and furnished the steam to whistles of different graduated lengths. This instrument required two men to operate it, one to attend to the boiler furnace, and another to turn the crank so as to grind out the tune.
An important improvement in this construction was to substitute for the barrel a regular organ key-board, so that an organist could play any tune he desired. The practical result, however, fell very short of expectations -- the tunes played by hand on the key-board did not sound at all as well as those which were ground out by turning the crank. The reason of this was soon very clear to me. Those who make it a business to prepare the cylinder, with the projections at the proper places, are careful to give every projection the correct length, so that the tones are not sustained after the next tone is sounded, which usually causes a discord. Now, it is a prevailing defect among ordinary piano players (who have not received proper instruction from a practically accomplished teacher) to be careless in the matter of lifting up each finger at the exact moment that the following key is to be struck by the next finger, so that often two adjoining keys are down at the same time, which makes a discord when done with any organ key-board, while the discord is more pronounced in proportion to the greater loudness of the instrument. As on the piano the tones are not sustained in the full force of the first blow, this bad habit is not so unpleasant on that instrument, but becomes so when a badly trained pianist tries his hand on an organ, which sustains every tone with its full force as long as the keys are kept down, and the bad effects are worse in the direct ratio of the loudness of the instrument, which, in the case under discussion, is the loudest of all, and must therefore also be the most intolerable.
There are several organists in New York and Brooklyn whom I could name, who do not treat their organ in the right way, by not lifting every finger exactly at the correct time; this makes the organ sound badly, and great injustice is thus done to both the organ and its maker.
Organ makers should be more careful when they engage persons to show off an organ they have on exhibition. The worst case of this kind that I saw and heard was in Philadelphia at the great exhibition which some years ago was organized under the auspices of the Franklin Institute. There was on exhibition a magnificent organ made by Roosevelt, of New York, who had engaged a player who kept it going to the great disgust of the surrounding exhibitors of other objects. Why such a performer happened to be engaged, I did not understand, but I had the satisfaction of receiving the thanks of the surrounding exhibitors who complained of the annoyance caused them by the regular player, who prevented any one else from playing at all, as he claimed to be the only one who had that privilege, and was engaged for the work.
The most striking and crucial test for such a player is to let him play passages with the flute stop; for instance, the famous flute concert composed for the organ by Rink. If the player has not the right touch, and plays slovenly, so as not to lift the finger from the key at the exact moment the next key is struck, the flute effect is utterly destroyed, as, of course, on a flute two tones cannot be produced at the same time.
When, now, a player with such slovenly habits. plays the calliope, the effect is excruciating. I heard an old, sensitive gentleman give his opinion of the calliope when he heard it for the first time under the hands of such a performer as is referred to. He said: “That instrument must be an invention of the devil; I believe it is intended to torment the damned in hell -- that is all that it is good for. I never want to hear it again.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Will Clark was a brilliant first baseman and a power hitter. He played for the 1984 Olympic team. In 1987 he jumped from AA to the majors and helped the Giants reach the playoffs. In 1989 he helped the Giants reach the World Series. I miss Will the Thrill. Kirt Manwaring was a good catcher for several years. John Burkett was a strong right-handed starting pitcher. Matt Williams was a great power-hitting third baseman. In 1994, he might have set the season home run record, but was thwarted by the strike.
I took the photo on 29-September-2008 (3077).
We looked out the window this afternoon and saw the sidewalks in front Moscone Center covered with thousands of suit and tie-wearing cardiologists. They all got evacuated from their conference. I don't know why.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I took this on 18-July-2009.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
We went to Five O'Clock mass at Good Shepherd.
I took the photo today at Grant and California.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I took a walk at lunch time. On Howard as I approached the night club I heard very loud music. Then I met a guy who was handing out sliders. I resisted the temptation. A couple of parking spaces and part of the sidewalk were taken up with artificial grass and lawn chairs. There was a DJ at the other end.
I stopped at the East Bay Terminal to shoot some video. I recently realized that it won't be there much longer.
Later I saw the group above out in front of the SPUR Building. The music was not as loud, but they appeared to be having a good time.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Larry Gelbart died. My parents took me to the Orpheum to see Jackie Gleason and Cleavon Little in "Sly Fox."
Jim Carroll died of a heart attack at 59. Another person who died.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
We walked on the to ballpark. The Giants were have a fiesta in the plaza by the bridge, but we decided to go in and watch batting practice. The Fiesta Gigantes was intended to honor their Latin plays of the past and present. Unfortunately, they lost for the first time at home while wearing their Gigantes jerseys. The pitching fell apart and they scored only one run.
It was cold and windy outside the park, and the flags were whipping inside, but we did not get particularly cold. I thought back to Candlestick and my thermal long johns and wool socks.
We rode an N train back to Montgomery.
The Giants are doing better today, so far.
Update: The Giants won 7-2. In the Richmond District, it started raining about 4pm and continued on and off until we came home.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The mood of the 09/11 commemorations was different this year, with Bush out of office, although some people were screaming that the National Day of Service and Remembrance, proposed by families of 09/11 victims and passed on a bipartisan vote, was a plot by President Obama to politicize 09/11 and desecrate 09/11. How about that?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
The Bay Bridge work has been complicated by the discovery of a crack in the cantilever section. News stories kept referring to an "I-beam," but they meant an "eye bar."
Saturday, September 5, 2009
We went to the Ninth annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. The weather was on the cool side. For the first time ever, there were two guest steam locomotives. For the second straight year, they had Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4, Deanna, an 0-4-2T built by Baldwin in 1891 for the Kaiwiki Sugar Co. in Ookala, HI. It is now privately owned in Coto de Caza, CA. The other locomotive was Anne Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0T.
There were some difficulties in figuring out operating procedutes. We got aboard #4, pulling the regular train and the picnic car, for its first run. When we arrived at Deer Park, most of the passengers got off, so we moved up near the front of the train, where we could see into the cab. After offloading, the train backed through the station, so the other train could pull in. We waited while it came from Ardenwood, then let off passengers, then left. We pulled back in. The crew had a vigorous discussion about better ways to do it. They decided that two trains were running more slowly than one, and that they would have to have one train pull around.
We rode back and I took this video. We had lunch then walked around and looked at the model train exhibits and the farm animals. Sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, and chickens.
Back at Deer Park, we watched the train pulled by #4 pull in, offload, then pull through the station. As the other train, pushed by the Porter, arrived, #4 pulled around on the passing track and headed back to Ardenwood. We got on 1882 Southern Pacific combination car 1010 behind the Porter, and it pulled through the station and we waited until the other train went to Ardenwood and came back. We pulled around and headed back. Two volunteers on the car told lots of stories about local history.
There were no horse-drawn train rides this year. The new horse is still in training, and Jiggs can't do it all by himself.
There were nice model train layouts and the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association had a collection of internal combustion engines running by the barn.
Friday, September 4, 2009
It's well worth a visit, and it's just across the Dumbarton Bridge, which should not be too badly affected by the Bay Bridge closure.
I took this photo of Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4 on Labor Day weekend, 2008.
Today I took a walk to look at the closed freeway entrances leading to the Bay Bridge. This is the first time the bridge has been closed on a workday since 1989.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I took the photo on 15-August-2009.
Pacifica did a full volume test of its tsunami warning sirens yesterday. People complained that they were not loud enough.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Charles F Willard was a pioneering aviator who learned to fly from Glenn Curtiss and later designed airplanes for Glenn Martin. He managed to live until 1977.
The photo comes from the Library of Congress' wonderful American Memory site (http://memory.loc.gov/). DN-0056125, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Germans invading Poland and starting World War II, if you don't count what the Japanese were doing in China.