Tuesday, August 31, 2010

War is (Not) Over -- August 31, 2010

I want the war to be over, but it is not. We have declared an end to combat operations for our troops in Iraq, but 50,000 of them will still be there. Some of our soldiers will die, as will many Iraqis. The war in Afghanistan continues. Sadaam Hussein is rotting in his grave but worse people running loose in Iraq. President Obama's speech made sense -- we need to fix our economy and encourage the growth of the middle class.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Overland Limited -- August 30, 2010

An advertisement from the 26-August-1907 San Francisco Call touts the 7 daily passenger trains operated by Southern Pacific and Union Pacific between San Francisco and Chicago.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book - The American Civil War - August 29, 2010

John Keegan's The American Civil War may have been the first Civil War book I have read that was not written by an American. I enjoyed his one-volume history of the First World War and I enjoyed this book, too.

The European point of view shows up first in the title. We Americans often forget that our was not the only Civil War, although as Keegan points out, ours was the only one so far to occur in a functioning democracy.

I was amused by his comments on uniforms ("The armies of the Civil War were the worst tailored of any great conflict.") and facial hair (He points out that the fashion started in the Crimean War - I thought it started with the Gold Rush).

He made some interesting comparisons (Stonewall Jackson = Erwin Rommel) and some that were startling (George McClellan = George Patton).

Over-all I liked his approach as a military historian. He gives a thorough picture of the military geography of the United States in the two major theaters of the war. He gives a clear-eyed view of the situation throughout the war. He says that Grant and Sherman were the only first-rate generals among the many created during the war. I think his best efforts are an investigation of how the war consisted of at least one good-sized battle a day, and yet soldiers kept fight.

I felt that the end of the book was abrupt and it lacked a conclusion.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Radio Site #5 -- August 28, 2010

I took this photo of the Humboldt Bank Building on Market Street on 18-December-2009. In 1920, Lee DeForest installed an experimental radio transmitter next door in the California Theatre at Fourth Street, and ran an antenna between the two buildings. 6XC broadcast regular daily programs from April, 1920 to December, 1921.

The new tile floor was in place for 5pm mass at Good Shepherd. It was good to be home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

East Bay Terminal Ramps Demolished -- August 26, 2010

I went for a walk down Howard Street today and I thought the block between Beale and Main looked awfully bright. Then I noticed that heavy equipment was working in the corner of the block where the Temporary Transbay Terminal sits. Then I realized that the ramp across the street was gone. This is the end on the north side, leading towards the East Bay Terminal. I wonder if those are ends of tracks on the green beams. Maybe the tracks were just paved over when the Key System trains were abandoned.

It was much cooler today. I'm happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's Hard Work Being a Cat #38 - August 25, 2010

I took the photo on 11-August-2010.

It was very hot yesterday, 98F downtown. On the way home, there were BART delays because of the heat. Today was warm, but cooler than yesterday.

The Giants and Reds set a record for the number of runs scored in a series at the ballpark. The Giants won the first two and lost today, after coming back from 10-0.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Camanche Under Steam -- August 23, 2010

From the 12-July-1896 San Francisco Call. WA Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. The Camanche (that's how the Navy spelled it) was a Civil War monitor with an unusual history. After being built, she was disassembled and loaded into the hold of a sailing ship, the Aquila, which carried her around the horn. Aquila sank in her berth in San Francisco. After being salvaged, Camanche was assembled and launched in late 1864. Monadnock was an example of the New Navy monitors. She was able to cross the Pacific during the Spanish-American war. Phildelphia was Cruiser Number 4 of the New Navy. Click on the images to see larger versions.


After a Sleep of Twenty Years the Old Craft Awakes.


And the Two Fifteen-Inch Guns Frowned at the Monadnock


Lieutenant Beecher Puts the Men of the Reserve Through an Ordnance Drill.

The monitor Camanche after twenty years of sleep aroused herself Rip Van-Winkle-like yesterday and took a look around her. The old ship saw that many changes had taken place while she lay at her moorings. Fleets in evolution had sailed by her, and not even the swell of their motion had disturbed her deep rest. Steam has taken the place of sail and wooden hulls have turned to steel while her own has gathered the shell-clad barnacle and the saline vegetation of the sea.

Yesterday her long stationary turret wheeled on its pivot and her guns saw out through their narrow ports the Monadnock lying near. As she was closing her eyes twenty years ago at Mare Island they were riveting the new monitor's great metal ribs in place, and then she slumbered while her young sister was growing beam by beam and plate by plate. When the Camanche awoke she saw the noble white structure frowning at her from off the starboard beam. And the two great 15-inch guns ran their smooth muzzles out of the turret and returned the frown. The spirit of the fiery '60's lives in the ancient marine yet.

It was Assistant Engineer Read of the Monadnock, with a fireman and a coal heaver, that stirred up the old fighter yesterday. They turned some bay water into an empty boiler, shoveled a couple of tons of coal into three furnaces, and soon the steam was hissing in the auxiliary engine and the great black funnel was smoking like a blockade runner. Then Lieutenant J. M. Roper of the Monadnock took his place in the turret and threw back the revolving lever. There was an ominous movement in tbe cylinders, a trembling down in the machinery, a groaning of the great steel central abaft on which the heavy mass turns, and the iron structure which the Confederate tars on the Merrimac called a cheese-box when they first sighted the original monitor coming at them, swung around.

The motion was slow on the first revolution, but after the machinery got limbered up it whirled easily and swiftly with its own great weight and that of tne two big 15-inchers.

Lieutenant Roper trained the guns on the Philadelphia and then on his own vessel and seemed to enjoy handling the old-fashioned war toy.

"Turn on the steam again, Read," he yelled to his brother officer after a short pause, "and let us give her another whirl. I haven't had so much fun for years. It's good as a 'merry-go-round.' Get aboard and let's have another ride."

So Engineer Reed opened the throttle again and the lieutenant swung the turret, himself and his passenger through all the points of the compass.

Later in the afternoon Lieutenant-Commander Turner and a number of the officers and men of the Naval Reserve came aboard. They were formed into crews for the two great guns and instructed in ordnance by Lieutenant A. M. Beecher of the Monadnock. The young fellows went through the drill of loading, running out the pieces, firing, sponging, reloading and training the guns of the revolving turret with all the serious "make believe" of battle.

Down in the wardroom Lieutenant Turner entertained the officers and newspaper men at lunch and questioned Lieutenant Roper upon the remaining warlike possibilities of the old monitor.

"Keeping the men aboard of the vessel as much as possible," said the lieutenant, "will make them thoroughly acquainted with the monitor and their general ship duties. I was talking with your signal quartermaster when I first came aboard and I found that he knew more about the Camancbe than I did and gave me a deal of information. This craft is not by any means a useless old hulk, for her machinery is in good condition and she affords an excellent drilling-place for the battalion. Those two guns could be used at close range with considerable efficiency.

"To fire a shell charge from them would rip up the old deck planking under the muzzles of the guns, but powder charges could be fired in saluting easily and safely."

Engineer Read stated that the boilers and engines were in splendid condition, and a comparatively small amount of coal would drive her through the waters at a fair speed.

Later in the evening the fires were drawn, the steam died down and the old craft was left to rest from her spurt with only the anchor watch walking the deck.

The old and new style of the Monitor were brought sharply into contrast. The Monadnock that took twenty-one years to build is nevertheless a modern ship in every detail, but the Camanche that was built in 1862 is now obsolete. These two warships and the cruiser Philadelphia form an object lesson. The latter shows speed in every line, while the Monadnock is the symbol of strength. The Camanche shows old age and decrepitude in every part, but nevertheless she is built of the material that will stand repairing, and at a pinch the old boat could be fixed up and put in condition to fire another gun for her country. Yesterday the three warships presented a remarkably handsome appearance as the boats carrying the members of the Naval Battalion passed to and from the Camanche.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Waterless Knox #10 -- August 22, 2010

The Waterless (air-cooled) Knox automobile was manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts. I like the name Waterless Knox. It reminds me of a Doctor Seuss character. This ad for the "thoughtful" Model H is from the 07-April-1907 New York Sun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beauty and the Beast -- August 21, 2010

We went to the Golden Gate Theatre to the the stage version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. We enjoyed it. The little kids in the audience generally behaved even though it was a long show. A lot of scenes were done behind a scrim, but it was often hard to see.

After the show we went to Chevy's in South San Francisco for supper.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Transit Tunnel -- August 20, 2010

I took this shot looking down into Pioneer Square Station from the mezzanine during our July visit to Seattle. The transit tunnel is shared by Metro Transit buses share the tunnel with Sound Transit light rail trains. This was the first time I had seen such an arrangement.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pulp #15 -- August 19, 2010

Before the pulps, there were the dime novels. Beadle's Half Dime Library made the second printing of Edward Ellis' early science fiction novel The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies in 1882. Steam punk is off and running.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grauman's Chinese #13 -- August 18, 2010

Widely loved singing cowboy Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, left his hand, foot, and revolver prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 21-April-1949. His trusty steed Trigger left his hoofprints. Roy's wife Dale Evans wrote his theme song, "Happy Trails." DSCN4149.

I took this on 18-July-2009.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson, RIP -- August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson, the Flying Scot, the man who hit the Shot Heard 'Round the World to beat the Dodgers and complete the Miracle at Coogan's Bluff, has died. Thank you, Bobby.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mutoscope #4 -- August 15, 2010

I photographed Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand on a Mutoscope card in the Penny Arcade at Disneyland in July, 2010.

Abbey Lincoln died. A voice for justice.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Door #2 -- August 14, 2010

The impressive doorway of Seattle's Pioneer Building, at Yesler Way and First Avenue. It was built after the Great Fire of 1889. I took it on our visit in July, 2010.

Today we went to the Great Mall in Milpitas. Big. Not very interesting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rocket and Torpedo -- August 13, 2010

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship (http://www.raygungothicrocket.com/), a sculpture by a collection of artists, appeared on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission Street last week. Here it stands near PCC Streetcar 1053, in Brooklyn livery, sitting on the sidelines of the F line. There are similarities in the style of the two vehicles. I took the photo today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Alley #10 -- August 11, 2010

I can't find the name of this Seattle alley on a map. We are looking south from Yesler Way, near First Avenue, across from Pioneer Park. I took the photo during our July visit to Seattle.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

East Bay Terminal Closed -- August 10, 2010

I took a walk by the new Temporary Transbay Terminal and saw a bunch of people squinting with confusion at the signs. I was looking at a big bus map covered with multicolored lines and said to the man next to me "That's easy to read and digest." He said "Do you feel like a tourist in a foreign country trying to figure out where to go?" Then I walked by the now-closed East Bay Terminal and took this photograph.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patricia Neal -- RIP -- August 9, 2010

I was sad to hear that Patricia Neal has passed on. She was an actress whose characters always seemed to be smarter than all the characters and she gave a lot of hope to stroke survivors. I borrowed this photo of her sitting on a New York Central baggage cart from http://www.fanpix.net/.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

William Manley Van Der Weyde on Flickr -- August 8, 2010

There is a set of William Manley Van Der Weyde photographs on the George Eastman House photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/george_eastman_house/sets/72157607377134096/

Photos in the set include baseball players (Joe McGinnity among others), Navy ships, and a train wreck.

Now we have to find some of his grandfather's Daugerrotypes.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hark the Herald #10 -- August 7, 2010

I took this fuzzy photo of a drumhead logo for Santa Fe's Super Chief at the California State Railroad Museum in April, 2010. The drumhead includes the Santa Fe herald.

Friday, August 6, 2010

East Bay Terminal Last Days -- August 6, 2010

Today was the last work day for the East Bay Terminal, which opened in 1939 to serve the electric trains of the Key System, Southern Pacific's Interurban Electric Railway, and the interurban Sacramento Northern. I took this photo of the tower on 07-July-2010. The tower operator used the N-X (Enter-Exit) interlocking system to control the track switches for trains of the three companies.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Train Station #25 -- August 5, 2010

King Street Station is Seattle's only active train station. The tower was modeled on Venice's Campanile de San Marco. The station was built by the Northern Pacifc and Great Northern railroads and was finished in 1906. The interior was being restored when we visited. Amtrack trains, including the Empire Builder, the Coast Starlight, and multiple Cascades stop there. Sound Transit commuter trains also use the station. Union Station, which is no longer an active station, is next door to the left. I took the photo when we visited Seattle in July, 2010.

It was very cold and windy today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Giants Wall of Fame #16 -- August 4, 2010

In September, 2008 the Giants unveiled their Wall of Fame along the King Street side of the ballpark, whatever it is called this week. This plaque was added on 01-August-2010, to honor recently retired Rich Aurilia. Aurilia was a scrappy shortstop who played any infield position when needed. I was happy when he returned to the Giants after an absence.

It was very cold this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Firehouse #34 -- August 3, 2010

Here is a view of Seattle Fire Department Station 5 and fireboat Leschi. Behind the fireboat is Ivar's Acres of Clams, which was a fun place to eat. Behind the station is the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which will be replaced by a tunnel one day. I took this during our July, 2010 visit to Seattle. I was standing on ferry Tacoma as it left Colman Dock.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Caproni Ca.20 -- August 1, 2010

Another highlight of our July, 2010 visit to Seattle was the Museum of Flight. It is an enormous collection that we were not able to finish going through in three hours. I took this photo in the Personal Courage Wing, which features airplanes, mostly fighters, from World War One and World War Two. This is the only Ca.20 built, which was saved in a barn by Gianni Caproni and his family. Built in 1914, the Ca.20 was one of the earliest airplanes designed as a fighter. The machine gun sits on the stand above the single wing so it can fire over the arc of the propeller. The propeller seemed too short to me, but perhaps that was to make it easier to fire over.