Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 -- December 31, 2011

2011 has been an exciting year, and it went by very quickly.  A family member has been ill, but he has remained fairly stable.  The Giants did not win the World Series this year.  They struggled all year with a lack of hitting and a terrible injury to Buster Posey.  The pitchers, starting and relieving, did very well considering the lack of run support.  The Cardinals beat Texas in the World Series.  Game six was one of the most exciting World Series games I have seen, with the lead going back and forth, even in extra innings.  Tony Larussa retired after the Series.

The Occupy movement sprang up this year and did some good, making people aware of the dangers of income disparity and the way the middle class has been under attack.  The Arab Spring movement has overthrown dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.  The people are still fighting in Syria.  Results in Yemen were inconclusive.

This is the 360th post in this blog for the year, the 1200th overall. I had an interesting year. I have enjoyed the regular monthly series. In the aviators series, I found some interesting people and newspaper articles. I started the year with a January, 1911 article about the deaths of two airmen on the last day of 1910.  It included a list of aviators who had died in that year.  In the train stations series, I took a side track to publish some images of Oakland train stations from an old PG and E magazine. I have posted several train station images from our trip to Nevada.  I have gotten more nice comments on the William Coulter series. In writing about the remarkable Van der Weyde (Vander Weyde, Van der Weyden, Vanderweyde) family, I found articles about Doctor Peter Henri, his son Henry, Henry's son painter Harry Faulkner Van der Weyden, and their possible ancestor, painter Rogier van der Weyden.

In January, I started a couple of new series, including one about stage magicians and one about comic books.  I posted more photos of the East Bay Terminal being demolished.

In February, we went to the first San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint. I contributed one article and some cash to the second annual For the Love of Film film preservation blogathon. This year's theme was film noir. We raised about $5,697, which will be used to restore and preserve The Sound of Fury.  I wrote about the passing of Corporal Frank Buckles, the last surviving US Doughboy from World War One.

In March I wrote about a giant release of red balloons, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and the Saint Ignatius Downtown Busiiness Lunch, which marked the founding of the Admiral Daniel J Callaghan Society. I got to meet some survivors of Pearl Harbor. and Guadalcanal.

In April, at the suggestion of a fellow blogger, I started a new series on nicknames.  I wrote about the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter.  I tried to start a new series on baseball cards, but it went nowhere.  We stood in the window of our office and saw President Obama drive by.  I started a short series on classic autos from last year's International Auto Show.

In May, US special forces killed Osama bin Laden.  We attended a Giant's game on Willie Mays' 80th birthday.  There was a big celebration.  We went to mass and a dinner at my old parish, Saint Monica's, celebrating its 100th anniversary.  I started a series on a group of San Francisco history posters called "Once Upon a Time."  The world did not come to an end on 21-May-2011.  I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

In June I wrote about the day of the funeral of two San Francisco firefighters.

In July, Atlantis flew the last Space Shuttle mission.  On our way to Disneyland, I got to ride Angels Flight, the funicular in downtown Los Angeles that had just reopened after mechanical issues.  Our time at Disneyland went by too quickly.  We drove up I-5 all the way from Disneyland to Reno.  It was a very long day.  We stayed at Harrahs.  We had not visited Nevada for many years.  We rode on the newly extended Virginia and Truckee Railway from Eastgate to Virginia City.  We visited the Nevada State Railroad Museum and saw the restored McKeen car.  Our pastor at Good Shepherd, Father Piers Lahey, left at the end of the month.

In August I wrote about some new features in San Francisco, including the Powell Street Promenade and the parkmobiles. We finally got to visit the Porziuncola at the Shrine of Saint Francis.

In September, we observed the 10th anniversary of 09/11.  I talked to groups of schoolkids about cable cars and the War of 1812.  We moved to a different floor at work.  Jason Schmidt and Marvin Benard were added to the Giants Wall of Fame.

In October, we observed the 10th anniversary of the Afghan War.  I took my mother to a big mass at Saint Monica's, celebrating the 100th anniversary.  The world did not end on the revised date of 21-October-2011.

I was happier about the results of this year's November elections. The Bay Bridge celebrated the 75th anniversary of its opening.  I attended a fundraiser for the restoration of the only surviving Ocean Shore Railroad passenger car.  I led my first Market Street walking tour, for the community support campaign at work.  The Occupy Movement grew, but police in several places tried to shut it down.  In one particularly egregious case, an office at UC Davis pepper sprayed a line of seated, unresisting students.  I started a new series on ghost signs.  With the beginning of Advent, we began using a new revision of the Roman Missal.  People were confused.  Crab season was delayed because of a price dispute between the fishermen and the wholesalers.

In December, most of our troops came home from Iraq.  I started an irregular series of photos of Odd Fellows' Halls.

I was sad about the passing of some good people: Tommy Bermejo of Tommy's Mexican Restaurant; Canadian politician Jack Layton; Barbara Kent, perhaps the last surviving person to star in a silent movie as an adult; Smokin' Joe Frazier; philanthropist Warren Hellman; actor Harry Morgan; writer and unlikely politician Václav Havel.

I reviewed several DVDs and DVD sets, including Gaumont Treasures, M Hulot's Holiday, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Miracle Rider.

My cable car website ( turned 15 years old in November.  This means it has been in operation longer than about half the cable car lines that were ever built.

The image shows actress Ruth Hall, whose best-known part was Zeppo Marx's love interest in Monkey Business. She appeared in many B Westerns.  I comes from the wonderful site LucyWho (

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