Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
From the 23-August-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.
The Pacific Coast Steamship company's steamer Queen, also known as Queen of the Pacific, was one of the best ships carrying sourdoughs to Alaska for the next year's Yukon Gold Rush. I'm not clear if the "whaling" mentioned is actual whale hunting and killing, or an early version of whale watching.
Pacific Mail Steamship Company steamer Columbia went on the rocks near Pigeon Point on 14-July-1896. No one was killed. Saint Paul, also a Pacific Mail Steamship Company steamer, grounded at Point Pinos on 09-August-1896.
THE QUEEN ON A WHALE HUNT.
She Goes Out This Morning to Capture a Leviathan.
The Pacific Coast Steamship Company's handsome Alaskan steamer Queen started on a whaling cruise this morning. Two boats' crews went out last Friday and have been cruising on and off around the Farallones ever since.
A whaleboat and its crew will accompany the Queen, and should a whale be sighted before the other boats are picked up it will at once give chase. If a whale is not sighted the steamer will be headed for the wrecks of the Columbia and St. Paul, now lying at Pigeon Point and Point Pinos.
The work of provisioning and getting the Queen ready for the whaling cruise has been a hard one. The officers of the company have worked night and day, however, and this morning she will go out thoroughly equipped.
The caption with the image:
THE STEAMER QUEEN ANCHORED OFF MUIR GLACIER.
Among the Passengers Who Returned Last Friday From an Excursion to the Icefields of Alaska Was Manager J. A. Fillmore of the Southern Pacifc. He Grows Enthusiastic Over Muir Glacier and Says He Never in All His Life Saw a Finer Spectacle Than That of the Steamer Queen at Anchor, Huge Blocks of Ice Floating Around Her in the Placid Water of the Sound and the Whole Set Off by the Magnificent Glaciers in the Background. The Artist Has Caught the Spirit of the Scene.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
It goes without saying that Alfred Hitchcock is probably the epicentre of all things cinematic. With his uncanny sense of perspective and lighting, he effectively educated the world on the simplicity of fear. What most would never even consider as shocking or frightening Hitchcock exposed as truly terrifying. In my mind, there’s no other director of suspense that has had the good sense to tackle those subjects so banal that they go unnoticed by the trained eye.
Case in point: The Birds.
Humans have always had the desire to fly as a bird, to see the world as it is above the clouds. However, with advents of planes and instant travel, there came intense waves of claustrophobia, fear of terrorism, and an unsettling feeling of being in the hands of a complete stranger with unconscionable power over a flying, metal vacuum. As with the Wright brothers, Hitchcock had the world quaking with fear. The idea of being pecked alive by the very majestic creatures we’ve learned to adore as the freest species constructed has forever niggled away at our sense of safety.
For the first time in cinematic history (well, as far as I can tell) a film pushed the boundaries of what the audience could experience. The Birds allowed the audience to experience the power of Mother Nature at her most wrathful. Those who’ve seen the film understand the implications --a society built of the caged “other” (in this case, birds, to which there is an undying fascination) becomes hell-bent on reconfiguring the balance --the prey becoming the predator, essentially. But, there’s more to the film than the obvious social commentary.
How many times have you been at a dock, a menagerie, or any other space overrun with pigeons? Do you remember being around someone who had the instinctive urge to duck or dodge anything that made a sudden movement towards them? What an interesting revelation when you find out the source of that desire to risk bodily harm to avoid a beak came from Hitchcock’s avian classic. Every subsequent generation following The Birds has had to endure a heightened sense of unease whenever around open areas populated by an alarming amount of bird life.
The senses have been recalibrated to be attuned to the sound of wings flapping, irrational squawking noises, and overhead shadows of gangland pigeons waiting to attack. Scenes like the infamous image of a man slouched in a corner dead with his eyes gouged from his head are imprinted in the human psyche and forces certain members of the so-called “intelligent race” to react like cockroaches when the lights are suddenly turned on in the kitchen: scattering and slithering atop each other just to get out of the way and find a dark hiding spot where the killer can’t find them. It’s actually pretty hilarious until you revisit the film and find it oddly difficult to step foot outside lest a swarm of predatorial doves seeking blood suddenly swoop down from their perches.
Thank you, Alfred Hitchcock. You’ve given horror, film, and the morbid corridors of the mind new fears to consider and exploit.
As unexpected as her path was to loving all things weird, more unexpected is her ability to get attention for writing about the stuff. From Japanese horror and Korean melodrama, to the acid soaked animation of the 70s, Camiele White loves to talk about, debate, and watch film that teases, pleases, and messes with the senses. Right now, she gets her jabberjaw jollies writing about Halloween costumes. If you want to give her a buzz, she can be reached at cmlewhite at gmail [dot] com.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Just in time for Christmas, a pretty picture of Mabel Normand. When she was in her teens, Mabel Normand starting posing as a model for artists such as Charles Dana Gibson. She started acting in movies for several studios including Biograph, where she met Mack Sennett. When Sennett left Biograph to start Keystone in 1912, Mabel went along. She was engaged to Sennett for while, but they never married. People still debate the reasons. She became one of Sennett's most important comedians, but, like his other comedians, left Sennett for other studios and more money. Mabel starred in a series of popular features for Goldwyn, went back to Sennett, but then became tangled up in scandals, for things with which she was not involved. She died of tuberculosis at 37.
The cover of the January, 1918 Motion Picture Classic comes from AceCovers: http://www.magazine-covers.net/
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
AN EXPERIENCE IN VIRGINIA PRISONS DURING THE LAST WINTER OF THE WAR.
The following record of my sojourn in the winter of 1864-65 in Libby and in Danville prisons has been prepared under the instructions of the Commander of the New York Commandery of the Loyal Legion for publication in the volume of Reports of the Commandery. Forty-six years have elapsed since the winter here described, and I cannot undertake to say that my memory can be trusted for all of the details or incidents. I have no doubt that these will be open to correction on the part of comrades who may have shared the experiences of those strenuous months. I can only say that the record has been set down in good faith, and may be accepted as possessing such value as belongs to any individual experience recalled after a long interval of years...
In the course of an hour or so, these prisoners, aggregating I think ten or eleven hundred, were stood up in line, and certain non-commissioned officers, delegated for the purpose, "went through" each individual of the line with a thoroughness and precision that indicated previous practice. They took possession of overcoats, blankets, and the contents of our pockets—money as far as we had any, watches and knives; they also took what under the circumstances was the most serious loss for men who had a long march before them, our shoes. I was pretty well down on the left of the line and some time before my turn was reached I was able to note what were the articles that were being appropriated. I realized that a considerable march had to be made and I was not at all happy at the idea of being obliged to do my tramping without shoes or with the fragmentary apologies for shoes that the "rebs" were chucking back to the Yankees in exchange. I took my knife and made some considerable slashes in the uppers of my shoes. The result was that they were not considered worth appropriating and they fortunately held together during the march and for some time thereafter. The only other man in the line, as far as I noticed, who saved his shoes was a young staff officer of the 6th Corps, Lieutenant Vander Weyde. I had observed the youngster before because he had small feet and wore patent leathers with which he seemed to be well satisfied. I remembered hearing some of our boys throwing out jeers at "pretty little patent leathers" as, a day or two earlier he had ridden through our camp. The smallness of his feet saved for him his pretty boots. These were taken off two or three times by the examiners but no one was able to put them on, and with a half indignant good-nature, the last examiner threw back the articles with the words, "Here, Yank, you can keep your damned pretty little boots." As far as I can remember, Vander Weyde had the only decent looking boots to be seen that winter in my division of the prison...
The prisoners were marched south towards Richmond.
In the course of the evening, our guards remembered to scatter among us a little hardtack taken from one of our own commissary wagons, but the ration was very small for the amount of marching that had to be done with it. Sometime before midnight, in company with Vander Weyde with whom I had fallen into "chumming" relations, I made a break for liberty. We remembered the region through which we had marched not long before as "ruthless invaders," and it was our idea to strike for a ditch which was on the farther side of a field adjoining the road. We bolted just behind the nearest guard and took him so far by surprise that his shot and that of the guard next in line did not come near enough to be dangerous, and we succeeded in tumbling into the ditch which we found unfortunately to be no longer dry. There was, in fact, an inch or two of water in the bottom. There was nothing to do but to he quiet and wait until the column of prisoners and guards had passed. We were disappointed, however, to find that the sound of the marching continued for an indefinite period; and in fact pretty soon there were added to the tramp of feet sounds from a long series of wheels. It was evident that the trains, or such of the wagons as remained of the trains, were being moved southward. Then there came a rumble which seemed like that of field-guns. While we were puzzling in our minds as to whether the whole army could really be on the retreat, the question was answered in a most unsatisfactory fashion. Not only were Early's troops marching southward but they were going with such urgency that the road was not sufficient for their purpose. They were straggling into the fields on both sides, and a group of two or three, too tired and too sleepy to watch their steps, tumbled into our ditch on top of us. They said things and so did we. Our state of mind was in fact like that of South Carolina three years earlier; we only wanted to be let alone. But that privilege was not granted to us. We were hustled out of the ditch, chilled and out of temper at our failure and at what seemed to us the unnecessarily rough treatment of our new captors. We were, so to speak, butted back into the road and hustled along from group to group until in the early hours of the morning we found ourselves again in the column of prisoners. I understood later that our cavalry had pursued that column through a large part of the night and we must have done pretty lively marching to keep ahead of them, but the horses doubtless were tired on their part.
Vander Weyde had, during his experience as a working artist, been a guest at the mayor's house and had been there cared for by the mayor's wife. He had, therefore, an additional motive for desiring to make the function of surrender as gentle and as informal as possible. He found himself, however, received by the mayor with the utmost severity and with not the slightest sign of recognition. In April, 1865, the mayors of Virginia towns found it difficult, and it was quite natural that they should have found it difficult, to accept any social relations with the triumphant invaders.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
James C (Bud) Mars was a pioneering aviator who lived until 1944. We saw a photo of Mrs Mars, whose first name may have been Marie, a while back: http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2008/12/aviators-wife-sitting-in-biplane.html
"BUD" MARS MAKES MOST THRILLING DESCENT
Aviator's Engine "Goes Dead" but He Guides Machine to Earth from Height of 4,000 Feet
FEARFUL BATTLE ENDS IN THE BIRDMAN'S VICTORY
Brother Aviators Are Horrified Spectators of Daring Performer's Skillful Handling of Craft
PLANES TILTED DOWNWARD IN SWOOP TO REACH SAFETY
Special Dispatch to the Call.
FRESNO, December 18.-- Dropping from a height of more than 4,000 feet after his engine had "gone dead" and his machine had been left to the mercy of the elements, J. C. Mars, a member of the Curtiss camp of aviators, today came safely to earth following one of the most sensational exhibitions of aerial navigation ever witnessed. The downward swoop of the plucky birdman took place before 10,000 persons at the fair grounds in this city.
Skillfully Guides Craft
So skillfully did the aviator guide his frail craft, however, that a realization of the awful battle taking place did not reach the big crowd until Mars had returned to the earth.
Mars had started out to break the Pacific coast record for altitude made by Louis Paulhan at Los Angeles. Gracefully he rose into the air and as he swept around the field he mounted higher and higher into the sky until no longer could the crowd below hear the whirr of his engine.
Darts Toward Earth
Suddenly the other aviators were horrified to see Mars suddenly dart toward the earth. Involuntary cries broke from the lips of both Curtiss and Willard, and Mrs. Mars, who was seated in an automobile, shrieked with horror as she, too, realized, what was taking place thousands of feet above her. Once around the field Mars glided his machine swiftly losing its momentum. Unable to hold it in the air any longer he tilted the planes downward and swooped toward the earth.
Mechanics made frantic efforts to remove Willard's machine, which seemed to be directly in the path of the oncoming aeroplane, but Mars passed 300 feet over them heading directly for a row of automobiles which lined one edge of the field.
Saved by Cool Nerve
His cool nerve saved the daring young birdman at the last moment. Had his machine gone straight ahead it would have crashed into the automobiles, but Mars almost stood it on end as he turned it right about and glided down in perfect safety.
Glenn Curtiss described the drop as one of the most thrilling bits of aerial navigation he had ever seen. He was the first to grasp the hand of Mars when he left his machine, and congratulated him on his success.
While climbing upward Mars struck a cold strata of air which froze his engine and put his biplane out of commission for the remainder of the afternoon. Earlier in the day, however, he made a thrilling glide to earth from a height of about 1,200 feet.
Curtiss Makes Record
Glenn Curtiss added to the features of the meet today by making the fastest time for five miles ever made by an aeroplane on a circular track. The time was 5:05. Curtiss used his new biplane, and in circling the track never rose to a height of more than 20 feet at any time. Three of the miles were made in three minutes.
The crowd was also entertained, and frightened. as well, when the aviators, all made individual flights, dipping and plunging, sometimes skimming close to the ground, and other times shooting up to a height of 50 feet.
On one occasion Mars almost struck a dog that had wandered into the field, diving down from a height of about 20 feet to reach the animal.