Friday, September 30, 2011

The Cat That Ate Pacifica -- September 30, 2011

The neighbors have started decorating for Halloween.  I was impressed when I came up the hill on Everglades and saw this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Her Husband's Trademark -- September 29, 2011

Gloria Swanson appeared in Her Husband's Trademark in this advertisement from the 26-March-1922 Ogden Standard-Examiner.  Look at her eyes.  The Birth of a Race, intended as a response to The Birth of a Nation, had sat on the shelf for four years.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giants Wall of Fame #18 -- September 28, 2011

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 27-August-2011 to honor right-handed pitcher Jason Schmidt.  Schmidt was one of the Giants' best pitchers from 2001-2006.  His teammates called him Shrek.

The Giants lost their last game today.  The weather was warm.  They finished the season at 86-76, in second place.  They would have done better if they could have kept Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo and many others healthy.  It would have been nice if they could have hit more to support their excellent pitchers.  Pat Burrell has probably played his last game for the Giants.  I don't know if Carlos Beltran will be back.

We were only able to get tickets for two games.  It should be easier to buy tickets next season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Once Upon a Time 1941-1959 -- September 27, 2011

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters by artist Elisheva Biernoff representing important moments in San Francisco history. I took this photo on 19-May-2011, showing a poster that depicts events from the World War II era and beyond.  It includes an African American shipyard worker at Hunters Point, jazz clubs on Fillmore, Japanese Americans being sent to internment camps, and Victory Gardens.  

Click on the image to see an enormously large version.

Monday, September 26, 2011

River Steamer Vallette -- September 26, 2011

From the 18-August-1901 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.  Read Frank Norris' novel The Octopus to learn more about disputes between valley farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad.  


First of a Fleet of River Steamers Which Will Carry Grain From
Upper Sacramento to Tidewater Almost Completed.

The farmers cf the upper Sacramento have thrown down the gauntlet to the Southern Pacific, and it now remains to be seen whether or not a cut in railroad rates on grain will result. The stern-wheel eteamer Vallette being built for the Farmers' Transportation Company is now so near to completion that her owners exp«ct to put her in commission this week. She is intended for the San Francisco and Colusa grain trade and is 176 feet long, 38 feet beam and 9 feet deep.  She will carry 7000 sacks of grain on a 3 foot 10 Inch draft, and will therefore be able to navigate the upper Sacramento at any time of the year. The Vallette came down from Benida yesterday and docked at Mission-street wharf. She is now receiving her finishing touches and will start on her maiden run about Saturday next. 

For many years the farmers around Colusa have protested at the rates charged by the railroad for transporting grain from the valley of the Sacramento to tide water. A few months ago a delegation from the Farmers' Association called upon the management of the railroad and received a most decided rebuff. Then an indignation meeting was held at Colusa and the Farmers' Transportation Company was formed. An order for a steamer was at once placed and the Vallette is now almost ready for the run.

Since then Hatch Bros., who ran the General Frisbie and the Monticello betvreen here and Vallejo, have been drawn irto the fight, and three steamers similar to the Vallette are to be built at once and will therefore be ready for next year's trade. The new steamers are not intended to carry passengers, but are specially designed to carry large loads of grain on a light draught.  With them the farmers »xpect to get their wheat to market for $1 a ten and at the same time receive a dividend each year from their investment in the steamers. The Vallette will have her trial trip during the week.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's Hard Work Being a Cat #51 -- September 25, 2011

I took this photo on 15-September-2011.

Last night the Giants lost to the Diamondbacks and lost their chance at the wildcard.  The lights went out in the seventh inning.  Appropriate.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Comic Book #9 -- September 24, 2011

The first issue of Fawcett's Whiz Comics, Number 2 (long story), introduced caped superhero Captain Marvel.  Under artist CC Beck, the World's Mightiest Mortal developed into a character with heart and humor.

After losing to Arizona last night, the Giants are no longer the National League West champions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pulp #28 -- September 23, 2011

Before the pulps, there were the dime novels. The 30-July-1898 issue of Tip Top Weekly featured Frank Merriwell. Merriwell was an upright young man, a talented sportsman who neither smoked nor drank. This is the best cover illustration I have seen from the series. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

The image is from a wonderful Stanford University site, "Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls":

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Slapstick #13 -- September 22, 2011

Ben Turpin and Phyllis Haver starred in Mack Sennett's feature comedy Married Life.  Turpin, who had a long career in silent and sound movies, was famous for his crossed eyes.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.  Note the prominent "NOT A WAR PICTURE."  War movies fell out of favor for a while in the early 1920s, but came back to popularity with movies like What Price Glory? and Lilac Time.

From the 25-February North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Door #14 -- September 21, 2011

A beautifully crafted door on Virginia and Truckee caboose/coach 4, which was built in 1873 by Kimball in San Francisco.  I took thephoto during our July visit to the Nevada State Railroad Museum (

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alley #23 -- September 20, 2011

Looking down John Street from Mason.  My mother's family lived on John Street when she was born.  I took the photo on 14-September-2011.

Update 21-September-2011.  This was the 1100th post on this blog.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day -- September 19, 2011

The photograph shows red-headed actress Peggy Shannon, who had performed in the Ziegfeld Follies and Earl Carroll's Vanities before going to Hollywood. It comes from comes from the wonderful site LucyWho (

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nickname #6 -- September 18, 2011

San Francisco Union Labor Party Mayor P H (Pin Head) McCarthy is seen in this image from the 25-December-1910 San Francisco Call, with Madam Luisa Tettrazini after her Christmas Eve performance at Lotta's Fountain:

I suppose anyone who goes by the initials P H runs the risk of being called Pin Head.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

DVD: Adventures of Captain Marvel -- September 17, 2011

Today I finished watching a DVD of Republic's 12-chapter Adventures of Captain Marvel.  Tom Tyler resembled the original lean Captain Marvel rather than the later Big Red Cheese.  As with most mystery serials, I could not tell apart most of the suspects, and I have no idea which one was revealed to be the mysterious Scorpion.  I felt bad for the Scorpion, who had to run around holding up the front of his robe so he wouldn't trip.

When Billy Batson turned into Captain Marvel, it was interesting to see how Captain Marvel was curious about his powers.  He smiled while walking towards hoodlums who were emptying their guns at him.  He threw one villain off the roof of a garage.  When he broke bonds or smashed doors, he looked happy.

I had seen the Lydecker Brothers' flying effects in the Rocket Man serials, but this serial contains their origin.  Knowing that most of them used a dummy, it was possible to see the difference in its features, but the leaps and falls made everything believable.

I was confused about the part of the world in which this was supposed to be taking place.  At first, based on the tomb, I thought it might be Egypt.  Later, it seemed more like Afghanistan, except that the locals, led by Rahman Bar, were not Muslims.  They worshiped a scorpion deity and a volcano.  I liked Rahman Bar.  He blew up all sorts of things and at the end (SPOILER), killed the Scorpion.

I can see why this is considered one of the best serials next.  Next up:  The Miracle Rider with Tom Mix.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Parking Day #2 -- September 16, 2011

Today is Park(ing) Day ( These people were celebrating in front of SPUR headquarters on Mission Street. At work we moved from the 4th floor to the 5th. Throwing things away goes against my nature.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

War of 1812 -- September 15, 2011

Today I went to Good Shepherd School in Pacifica and talked to grades 5-8 in three periods (5 and 7 were together) about the War of 1812. They are participating in a DAR essay contest on the subject. They asked good questions. One kid wanted to know why countries go to war. I told her that is a very important question. I made sure they all learned and understood the phrase status quo ante bellum. It should be a hit in the essays.

I took the photo on 05-October-2008.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cable Car Barn -- September 14, 2011

I talked to a group of 6 to 12 year olds from Brightworks School ( about cable cars after a walk around the cable car barn. It was too loud to talk inside. We took a walk up to Huntington Square so they could eat lunch and I could talk a bit and then answer questions. They enjoyed the noon bells at Grace Cathedral. They had some good questions like "What is the difference between a cable car and a bus?" and some interesting questions like "Has a cable car ever had a toilet?"

Their favorite part: a crew was shoveling muck out of the sheave room and a crane on the street was pulling it up in barrels. I had a very good time.

Today I took the shot of car 3 on the Powell-Hyde line, crossing Mason at Jackson.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bunsen's Burner -- September 13, 2011

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde wrote the series of articles which gave this blog its name. This article, from the 16-June-1860 Scientific American describes a meeting of the Polytechnic Association of the American Institute where Doctor Van Der Weyde performed an early demonstration of the Bunsen burner. Robert Bunsen had published a description of the device in 1857.

The image comes from the first installment of his memoirs, in the February, 1893 issue of Manufacturer and Builder.

Dr. Van Der Weyde exhibited "Bunsen's burner," which is chiefly used by chemists for producing an intense heat. The common Bunsen burner is a gas jet, over which is placed a tube (open at the top), about six inches high and one-half inch in diameter; the tube terminates at the bottom in a foot, through which the gas passes to the inclosed jet. The lower part of the inclosing tube is pierced with three or four holes, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, for the supply of air to the gas. In this burner, the gas burns with a blue flame, giving no more light than alcohol; but if the air-holes be stopped, the light becomes whitish and smoky. When a large volume of heat is desired, two or more of these burners are combined on the same foot. The doctor also exhibited the gas blow-pipe by which the gas is burned from an annular aperture within which is an air jet. If oxygen be used instead of air, the most refractory substances—as platinum, for example—are melted with ease. The Bunsen burner and the gas blow-pipe are now in common use among chemists, and have taken the place of the spirit lamp and mouth blowpipe wherever gas is convenient.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Train Station #38 -- September 12, 2011

The current Carson City terminal of the Virginia and Truckee Railway is Eastgate Station. Eventually they hope to extend the line into the canyon of the Carson River. Porta potties are hiding behind the false front in the background. The end of the line waiting for the train is just visible.

I took the photo during our visit in July.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

09/11 #3 -- September 11, 2011

The alarm went off at 05:29. I switched the radio from FM to AM and tuned into KCBS. They reported that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. Thinking of the bomber that hit the Empire State Building, I said it had to be an accident.

After I got dressed, I went downstairs and turned on the television, which I very rarely do, and they said another airplane had the other tower. Then I thought it couldn't be an accident, but I didn't understand how hijackers could force a pilot to fly his airplane into a building. Later on we learned that the hijackers had been flying the planes.

There weren't as many people as usual on the bus to work. I think I heard about the plane that hit the Pentagon while I was there. My manager told us that we could go home if we wanted to. My wife was working and my daughter was in school, so I didn't see a reason to leave.

We couldn't get any news on the internet, but I plugged in my radio and we all listened.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Psycho, the Automaton Wonder -- September 10, 2011

Presented for the Benefit of the Witchita Hospital was a collection of illusions and mechanical wonders. From the 27-March-1898 Witchita Eagle.

Psycho was an automaton created by John Nevil Maskelyne and George Cooke, famous British illusionists.

Today our daughter had another class at the chancery, so we went to Stonestown, then drove out to Laurel Village and around the Presidio.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Admission Day #2 -- September 9, 2011

We don't hear much about Admission Day anymore. This image from the 09-September-1900 San Francisco Call shows the naval parade held for the 50th Admission Day in 1900.

I was happy to see Ryan Vogelsong get the Willie Mac award. Good choice.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Firehouse #47 -- September 8, 2011

Liberty Engine Company #1's Nevada State Firemen's Museum. Virginia City hosts a big firemen's muster every summer. I took the photo during our visit in July.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Aviator To Make Debut In Fresno -- September 7, 2011

This article from, the 24-April-1910 San Francisco Call, talks about aviator Whipple S Hall. Hall was injured in a crash about a year later (I'm looking for the article) and became an aviation promoter. I found it interesting that he is described as the heaviest man to fly. Charles K Hamilton was an early aviator who died in 1914, but from illness rather than a plane crash.


Whipple S. Hall Will Show His Skill as Birdman With Hamilton Machine

[Special Dispatch to The Call]

FRESNO, April 23.— Whipple S. Hall, son of Judge Hall of the district appellate court, who is to make his debut as a professional aviator in Fresno April 30, has been a student of Charles K. Hamilton for the last four years. For four months he has been almost continually with Hamilton and during that time he learned to drive an airship.

When Hall purchased his machine he made a few trial flights near Tacoma and then brought it to Mendota, where he has made many successful flights. This aviator weighs more than 200 pounds and has the distinction of being the heaviest man who ever rode in an airship.

After his performance in Fresno he will leave for San Jose, where he is scheduled to fly at the rose carnival. Hall intends to follow aerial navigation as a profession and takes a keen delight in the sport.

"It beats automobillng all to death," he declared recently, in speaking of his

"Until the aeroplane is automatically balanced it will never be a conveyance of common use," declared Hall. "For some time I believe it will be used only for sport by young men who enjoy taking risks."

Hall is enthusiastic about his work and his machine and shows no hesitation in talking about it. He is particularly gratified because of the success he has had thus far in the heat fields near Mendota and believes that he has mastered enough of the art of aerial navigation to be able to give a good public exhibition. He will make experimental flights daily until April 30.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ardenwood Farm Railroad Fair - September 6, 2011

Yesterday we went to the 11th annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. It was cold and overcast when we got there at 10am, but the sky gradually cleared. There were no horse-powered train rides this year, but two steam locomotives operated, Antelope and Western 1, an 1889 Porter 0-4-0, which had visited from 2005-2008, and Anne Marie, an 1890 Porter which was there for the third straight year. A&W 1 pulled a three car train: a flat, the covered car usually pulled by horses, and another flat. Anne Marie pulled 1010, an 1882 combination car that last ran on the Southern Pacific narrow gauge.

While A&W 1's train loaded at Ardenwood Station, Anne Marie would arrive from Deer Park and pull its train past on another track and into the yard behind. After A&W 1 left, Anne Marie would push her train into the station. When A&W 1 arrived at Deer Park, she would run around to the front of train. When Anne Marie arrived, she would run around on the other track and A&W 1 would leave. Back at Ardenwood Station, A&W 1 would pull back around to the front of the train. So A&W 1 always ran around, while Anne Marie would push and pull.

The line at Ardenwood Station kept getting longer and longer during the day. Kids were having a great time.

There was a big Garden Scale display, and a modular N-Scale display. A steam calliope played in the gazebo. I didn't see the Oakland horse car, which was supposed to be on display.

This video shows A&W 1 backing onto its train at Deer Park. A brakeman drops the pin to couple the locomotive to the train. The locomotive pulls the train to Ardenwood Station.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day #4 -- September 5, 2011

Harry Lundeberg, born in Norway, was a sailor and a leader of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific and the Seafarers International Union. He led the unions through difficult times in the 1930s, when maritime labor issues often led to violence against the working people. The monument stands in front of the SUP headquarters on Rincon Hill. The plaque reads "He was indeed a man who crowded into a short life no glittering promise, but unselfish service and general achievement for the course he called his own."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing Tourist #4 -- September 4, 2011

Today we showed family around Chinatown. It was fun to see people go through the shops with fresh eyes. We went to the fortune cookie factory in Ross Alley and got some nice samples. We had lunch at the Irish Bank.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Giants vs Diamondbacks -- September 3, 2011

Today we parked at Fifth and Mission and caught an N Judah at Powell. They threw us off at Embarcadero. I forgot the N got cut back on weekends. Muni should change the signs. We crammed onto a T and got off to have dinner at Red's Java House. I had a double cheese dog and french fries. Very good.

It got cold at the ball game. Tim Lincecum struggled and the Giants lost 7-2.

We caught an L back. It was very crowded. It got stopped before going into the tunnel and sat for a long time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ardenwood Farm Railroad Fair Coming Soon -- September 2, 2011

If you are looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, I can recommend the Eleventh Annual Washington Township Railroad Fair at Ardenwood Historic Farm Regional Park in Fremont. Every year, the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources brings in a steam locomotive to join their regular horse-drawn rail operation. There are rides on steam-drawn trains and handcars. There is a large garden railroad display, and all the regular animals and farm equipment and the beautiful Patterson house.

For the third straight year, there will be two visiting steam locomotives, 1889 Porter 0-4-0T, Antelope and Western 1, which visited in 2005-2007, and 1890 Porter 0-4-0T, Cortez Mining Company 1, which visited the last two years.

It's well worth a visit, and it's just across the Dumbarton Bridge.

I took this photo of Antelope and Western 1, on Labor Day Weekend, 2006.

The SPCRR is building a car house to provide shelter for its collection.

$6/Seniors (62+);
$5/children (ages 4-17)
children age 3 and under are free

Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources:

Fair flier:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sales Force -- September 1, 2011

Yesterday on my way to work, I saw a sign on New Montgomery that said Howard was closed at Third. They closed the street for, the same way they close it for Oracle World. There were a lot of people during the day. I got a free badge to visit the exhibits. Today the street was open, but they will close it again this weekend for Oracle World.