Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - December 31, 2014

In January I launched a new movies-mostly blog, The Big V Riot Squad.  I moved many of the movie-related series I used to do here to the new blog.  This is the 2,370th post on this blog. 

In January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency.  "Freedom Industries" poisoned the water supply of Charleston, West Virginia and then declared bankruptcy.  Republicans said we need fewer regulations.  I started a new series of phonograph and record ads. 

In February, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island.  I paused two of my oldest monthly series, fire houses and train stations. 

On 08-March-2014, Malaysia Air Flight 370, a Boeing 777, took off from Kuala Lumpur and disappeared on its way to Beijing. 

In March I started a short series, Strangerhood, about a series of images by artist Lordy Rodriquez.  The Devil's Slide trail opened.  I attended the San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint.  We went to the Juana Briones exhibit at the California Historical Society.  I wrote about my last visit to my barber, who was getting ready to retire.  I launched a new series of items about New Orleans, a city I have always wanted to visit. 

In April, two Popes were canonized on the same day.  We celebrated the 75th birthday of the late, lamented Marvin Gaye.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the alive and kicking Hugh Masakela.  Inspired by something I had started to do on the new movie blog, I added Youtube videos of music by both men.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair.  My father in law died. 

In May, we marked the passing of Al Feldstein, Mad Magazine editor and great American Maya Angelou.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the debut of The Batman in Detective Comics number 27.  California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.  We celebrated the 100th birthday of heavyweight champ Joe Louis and also the 100th anniversary of the day Sun Ra arrived on Earth.  We marked the 100th anniversary of the day when the Marx Brothers allegedly got their names.  I visited the newly refurbished Wells Fargo History Museum.  We marked the 125th anniversary of the Johnstown Flood. 

In June, the excavation for the Central Subway reached its final destination in North Beach, in a hole where the Pagoda Theater used to stand.  We celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  Don Zimmer, Jimmy Scott and Tony Gwinn died.  Yosemite celebrated its 150th birthday as  a National Park.  We observed the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In July, we visited New Orleans.  It was my first time there.  Bobby Womack died.  We celebrated the 100th birthday of Billy Eckstine.  We celebrated the 225th anniversary of Bastille Day.  Our new pastor, Father Lu, started at Good Shepherd.  We marked the 100th anniversary of Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.  This was the beginning of World War One. 

In August I started posting more items about World War One.  George W Hilton died.  I posted photos of a nice history mural in the Richmond District.  We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal.  I began a monthly series of chapters from the book Over the Top by Arthur Guy Empey, an American who volunteered to join the British Army.  He later became a famous pulp writer. 

In September Siemens received a contract to build Muni's third generation of LRVs.  Joe Sample of the Jazz Crusaders died.  I spoke to the kids at Good Shepherd school about the topic of the 2014 DAR essay contest. 

In October the San Francisco Giants fought through the playoffs and defeated the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.  I spoke to the kids of Saint Anthony-Immaculate Conception School about the topic of the 2014 DAR essay contest.  We marked the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.  We celebrated the 100th birthdays of Jerry Siegel and Dylan Thomas, and the 75th birthday of Grace Slick.  The San Francisco Silent Film Festival announced that a print of the 1916 film Sherlock Holmes, starring William Gillette, had been discovered. 

In November we marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Coronel.  We attended the 2014 Muni Heritage Weekend.  I started a series, shared with my movie blog, of "News of the Week as Shown in Films" from Motography magazine.  I figured it might be interesting to readers of both blogs.  The ESA's Philae landed on a comet after a ten-year journey.  We had our first serious rain for some years.  We celebrated Joe Dimaggio's 100th birthday. 

I was unhappy with the results of the midterm elections.  The Republicans were screaming about the Ebola outbreak before the election and strangely silent after. 

The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri chose not to indict a white cop who shot unarmed Michael Brown.  This led to protests all over the country.  The protests have continued despite efforts by some police leaders to claim that everyone is against them. 

In December, the BART to OAK cable-driven automated people mover started service.  We observed the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Falkland Islands.  NASA flight tested the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.  We celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of the Falkland Islands.  Joe Cocker died.  The United States ended its active combat role in Afghanistan.  This was our longest war. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on American use of torture after 09/11.  I felt ashamed, both that America repudiated 200 years of practice and that no one has gone to jail for it. 

I was happy to see President Obama make several strong moves during November and December.  He asked the FCC to make moves in favor of net neutrality.  The president moved to normalize relations with Cuba.  After Congress failed to do anything about immigration reform, he issued executive orders to do what he could. 

Da'ish had short-term success overrunning areas of Syria and Iraq but started to show the strains of being overextended.  They murdered many captives.  We started attacking them from the air, but have not joined the ground war. 

The image shows actress Dorothy Sebastian, who was from Alabama.  She was the leading lady in Buster Keaton's last silent feature, Spite Marriage, and they remained friends.    It comes from the wonderful site LucyWho (

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