Saturday, May 31, 2014

Johnstown Flood 125 Years -- May 31, 2014

This article from the 02-June-1889 Pittsburgh Dispatch describes the horrors of the Johnstown Flood, which struck 125 years ago, on 31-May-1889.   

Johnstown. the Pretty Mountain City, Swept From the Surface of the Earth.
The first Terrible News Far More Than Verified by the Latest Reports.
Hundreds of Bodies Recovered, and the Seceding Waters Disclose Many More.

The Whole Horror an Awful Reality -- Not a Hideous Dream -- An Awful Stench From the Valley of the Conemaugh -- Aid for the Sufferers as Far as Received -- Many Prominent and Wealthy Men Among the Drowned -- John Fulton, the Father of the ttempt at Prohibition, One of the victims -- Fire Breaks Out and Adds a Climax to the Work of the Flood -- A Hotel Filled With Guests, of Whom but Seven Were Saved -- The Police Force Increased to Keep Off Thieves, Who Are Growing Bolder --
Some of the Scenes Beyond the Power of Imagination.
[From Our Staff Correspondents.]

HOOVERSVILLE, PA., June 1. -- A stench arises throughout the whole valley of the Conemaugh.  It is more awful, more fetid, as the hours go by.  "With each receding ripple of the sullen river, a score of additional corpses are revealed, with ghastly faces upturned to an unfriendly sky of clouds.

Death stares you in the eyes at every turn. You cannot escape it, nor can you stay away from the dark, haunting waters. Some strange fascination attracts you back, and there you see what was not there before, another fresh body.

Not a Hideous Dream.

It is no hideous dream. Almighty God, in the majesty of His swiftness, thrust His arm across the mountain tops and transformed the rugged scenery of the Chestnut Ridges, "Packsaddle" and the sylvan glories of Laurel Hill into a monstrous valley of the shadow of death. Push your way cautiously up the tortuous gorge and you suddenly come to a halt in a living hell.  This hell is Johnstown.

I reached Johnstown at 12:20 this afternoon, by horse, across the mountain from New Florence, a distance of 12 miles. Just at the borders of the ruined city I met your other staff correspondent, who drove overland from Somerset.

The Pioneer of the Newsgatherers.

Thus The Dispatch was the first newspaper in the United States to penetrate this hole in the Allegheny Mountains which was more completely shut off from the world than Charleston was when an earthquake shook her silent.

The nation wants the news. Well, here it is. Fifteen thousand people within a radius of two miles of the public square in Johnstown are absolutely suffering for food and clothing. Many are starving. Couriers have been sent in every direction on horseback to beg farmers to send in stores of provisions.  The Governor of the State has been telegraphed to for aid.

Butchering Blooded Stock Free.

A. J. Moxham, President of the Johnston Company, has generously telegraphed a New York firm for a train load of provisions. The Cambria Iron Company has sent a corps of butchers to its farms, two miles back in the country, to slaughter all its blooded cattle for the supply of everyone free. A formal appeal was sent out to every city of the Union, asking for food and (page is damaged - JT) quickly.

The number of cussing people can only be conjectured. It is variously estimated by some as "away up in. the hundreds and by others

From 5,000 to 10,000.

It begins to look as though the first estimate of 1,500 will not fall far short of the mark. The most discouraging feature is that no Johnstown people are found who can bring themselves to hope that the total casualties will be under 500. Nobody puts it less than that. The majority of the people say from 3,000 to 10,000, but in this, as in all other great catastrophes, intense excitement is liable to interfere with accuracy.

As to the actual number of bodies being taken from the water and debris. The Dispatch telegrams from points below Johnstown will supply figures, ranging all the way from the reported finding of over 100 bodies at Ninevah down to the sad discovery of one little girl's remains at Bolivar.

Fire Adds Another Awful Horror.
We also found large fires raging in Johnstown, and the unaccessibility of the interior of the city prevented thorough investigation of a report that many persons have been burned to death. A detailed account of these fires follow below.
It is true, as rumored, that nothing is left of Johnstown proper. Large churches, big hotels, substantial brick business houses, and even the beautiful public library building have been torn more completely asunder than though an earthquake had occurred. In the old city of Johnstown only one-third of the buildings are left standing. Several suburban boroughs, really composing parts of Johnstown,
are utterly annihilated.
Many Wealthy. Well-Known Men Gone.

Perhaps the day has revealed no more startling fact than that several of the wealthiest and most eminent citizens of Johnstown were drowned, with their entire families. The first is James McMillen, one of the Vice Presidents of the great Cambria Iron Works. He was about 60 years of age, and has long been a resident of the city.  His residence was the handsomest and most richly furnished in Johnstown. It was utterly demolished. He was a widower and had living with him a widowed daughter and her children. All went down the flood with the house, and have not been heard of
since. His fortune was estimated at over a million.
Prohibition's Father a Victim.

John Fulton, general manager of the Cambria Iron Works, was the second of this group. He is said to be positively drowned, with wife and children. No more popular man lived in Cambria county than he. He had become widely known all over the State as president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Amendment Association, and had been one of the people instrumental in bringing the present prohibition question to a popular vote.
Howard J. Roberts, Cashier of the First National Bank, and John Dibert, a banker, were also drowned. All of the family of Mr. Roberts were saved except his son, who perished with him.
Hon. Cyrus Elder, one of the greatest authorities on tariff in the United States, and solicitor for the Cambria Iron Company, had just returned from Chicago. He tried to reach his home in a skiff, but failed, and went to the home of his brother, Virgil, just before the deluge came down from South Fork. The house fell, but the family managed to escape to the hills.  Today Mr. Elder learned that his daughter Genevieve and his little son had been saved, but his wife and daughter Minnie were lost.
The Saddest Scenes Ever Witnessed.

Now to go from the rich to the poorer victims and sufferers. Yon find them everywhere.  The road I traveled over the mountains this morning is at best only a trail through dense forests. I met no less than a score of crazed women and broken-hearted men, trudging across that mountain in the hope of reaching Florence or Bolivar, to find their missing ones, dead or alive. Their questions about bodies and rescued people were agonizing, but they prepared me for worse to come.
Sunshine never once dispersed the clouds in the mountain country, to-day. It was high noon when, descending the eastern slope, Morrelville was seen in the distance. That is one of the suburban wards of Johnstown.  It was
Not a Pretty View.

Ordinarily it would have been an arena of hills, wavy in their alternating lines of pine, fir and hemlock boughs, that wreathed the white, trim houses of Morrelville around about, but the clouds dropped their mist of melancholy upon the landscape.
There was something about it all that even a mile away impressed one with a sense of indescribable sadness. Drawing nearer I hailed a stalwart fellow who was listlessly carrying a bundle of clothes under his arm.  He kindly gave me the desired information and then I asked him if he knew of any casualties. The same sense of sadness that the clouds overhead inspired hovered about the man's answer:
Some of the Sorrowful Stories.

"I might tell you of my own," be replied.  "My name is Gabriel Fleck. My boy, aged 12 years, my wife's mother, and my three sisters-in-law were all drowned before my eyes. But there is still a merciful God in heaven, for He has spared me my wife."
1 went a little farther. John D. Jones, a former policeman, spurred a horse in the opposite direction. Something inspired me to speak to him, too. My inquiry brought back this piteous reply: "I and a little son are all who are alive of a family of 14. I saw most of them go down."
It was still a quarter of a mile to Morrelville. But here was the next testimony, heard from a garden gate: "A friend of mine, W. S, Weaver, a prominent confectioner, was saved by us, but 20 of his nearest relatives are all lost."
Arrived at last on the Scene.

In Morrelville at last. "You want news, do you?" remarked a pale-faced young woman. "Go there to Young's livery stable and look upstairs." I did so.  There, in a long barn of a hall, were grouped some 80 people men, women and children. They were wounded from battles with the debris, or sick from exposure.  Some were lying down, others sat up, while a very few limped about. A single country
surgeon labored among them. It was an improvised hospital to make a city doctor weep.
 Over in Johnstown proper it was found that another hospital had been formed in the Parks Opera House. Thirty-three homeless persons were housed there. One of these, Edward Fisher, a young man,
tried to commit suicide three times during the previous night, because of grief over the drowning of his parents and sisters.

A Hotelfull, of People Drowned.

When the Hurlburt House fell in, it is said that 53 guests wire within its walls.  All were drowned except seven. The proprietor, Frank Bentford, was saved.

Mr. John Lowman, one of the prominent doctors here, was drowned. He was one of the earliest surgeons to advocate the system of immediate amputation, and his loss is a blow to science, he having been practicing both surgery and medicine in this county for over 50 years.

Chief Harris, of the police department, saved himself and smallest child by climbing out on the roof of a neighbor's house.  His wife and eight children in attempting to follow were all lost.

To-night twelve special policemen are hiring all the assistants they can find to stop

Wholesale Robberies that are Going On.

Thieves have grown so bold that they are now carrying chisels with them to break open safes and chests. The Cambria and Johnstown Companies have offered to pay for all police protection for three days.  It is simply impossible to attempt to count up the number of the dead. People have gotten accustomed to estimating the missing by the amount of population in the districts where loss of life was heaviest.  This is the way the number reaches a thousand or more. Still, many of the missing are known to have been rescued alive below.

Fighting the Flames and Flood.

Fire was added to the terror of the flood last night, and many, perhaps hundreds, of persons, swept down from points above, perished within sight of the shore at the big stone bridge of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  Their cries and groans could be heard from the shore all last night by crowds who were attempting to aid them. From East Conemaugh hundreds of houses were washed away and lodged against the bridge.  Perhaps fire in a stove in one of the houses started the flames.

As the houses dashed against the immense stone structure and were crushed like eggshells, the flames spread, and Johnstown last night was illuminated by them so that a person a mile away could see to read a newspaper. The victims of the flood were wedged in among shattered boards and timbers, and so became

Victims of the Flames.

Persons who were on the Pennsylvania Railroad side of the Conemaugh this afternoon say the cries of the ill-fated people could be heard issuing from the ruins as the flames spread toward them. The bridge itself was intact, hut the approaches to it on the east side were washed away by the mighty wash of water, and a boiling, roaring torrent seethed between, either end of it and the shore.
This afternoon men succeeded in reaching the ruins, but were powerless to aid. No appliances were at hand to do proper work, and the people who are wedged in among the ruins of their houses against the immense stone bridge, facing death by flood, by fire, by hunger and by exposure, are in all human probability beyond hope. How many of them are in this awful plight may never be fully known. [The only operator here completely played out.] (Telegraph operator - JT)

Stofiel and Simpson.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Whalers in Winter Quarters -- May 30, 2014

From the 13-November-1898 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. 

The whaling fleet is rapidly petting into winter quarters. It will be widely different from the season spent off the Mackenzie River and Point Barrow. This year the vessels will lie snugly at anchor in
Oakland Creek. At the present time there are over there the barks Andrew Hicks, Gayhead and Lydla and the steamers Belvedere, Jeanette, Karluk and William Baylies, while the Balaena, John and Winthrop, Grampus, Narwhal, Thrasher and Wanderer will follow them in a day or two.

The barks Alice Knowles, Horatio. California and Charles W. Morgan will not go into winter quarters, but are fitting out for another cruise in the southern seas and the Sea of Okhotsk. Their cargoes of oil have all been discharged on the Howard street bulkhead and it will be some time before all the barrels have been carted away. The catch of sperm oil this year was not up to the standard and in consequence the price of that article is on the advance. The four vessels named are going sperm whaling and their crews will spend Christmas and New Year's on the ocean.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou, RIP -- May 29, 2014

Many people who loved and admired Doctor Maya Angelou as a poet, a playwright, an author and a fighter for civil rights will not know that she was also the first female African American streetcar conductor in San Francisco.  When she was 16, she decided that she wanted to be a streetcar conductorette because of the cool uniforms.  During World War II, when there was a shortage of men, the San Francisco street railway companies started hiring women.  But they had not hired any African Americans.  The Market Street Railway would not let her apply, so at her mother's advice, she sat in an office all day every day for two weeks until someone asked her why she wanted the job.  "The uniform," she said. 

Her mother drove in her auto behind the streetcar every day, with a pistol on the seat next to her, until the sun came up. 

Doctor Angelou tells the story in an interview with Oprah Winfrey:

We're going to miss Maya Angelou. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 -- May 26, 2014

On Memorial Day it is fitting and proper to remember the men and women who gave their lives, who continue to give their lives, to give us the country we deserve.

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. -- Winston Churchill

I took this photo on 14-December-2007 at the National Cemetery in the Presidio. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Cat #7 -- May 25, 2014

I took the photo on 14-May-2014.

As a bonus, here is a photo my daughter took on 19-May-2014.  All rights reserved. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

While in New Orleans Visit the Cosmopolitan Hotel -- May 24, 2014

This ad, from the 05-November-1915 Saint Tammany Farmer, promotes the Cosmopolitan Hotel in New Orleans and the Bourbon Restaurant, "House of Epicures" and the Royal Street Café, to hear "the highest class music in the city." 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cal Cable Car 60 -- May 23, 2014

I was testing the camera on my new cell phone on 07-May-2014 and I came across Cal Cable car 60 laying over on California between Davis and Drumm.  I was lucky because it was in the sun and there were no taxicabs parked in the curb lane. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sun Ra 100 -- May 22, 2014

On 22-May-1914, Sun Ra arrived on Earth.  People say he was called Herman Blount, but he denied it. His trip to Saturn in 1936 or 1937 marked a major change in his life.  He made wonderful, mind-opening music with various iterations of the Arkestra.  "Space is the Place." 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Strangerhood -- Castro District -- May 20, 2014

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters by artist Lordy Rodriquez called "Strangerhood." Rodriquez reimagines San Francisco neighborhoods as countries.  This is his version of the Castro District.  I took the photo on 14-January-2014.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ferries Mendocino and Intintoli -- May 18, 2014

We had some warm weather last week.  On 12-May-2014, I took a walk by the Ferry Building.  High speed catamaran ferry Mendocino prepares to leave the Ferry Building for Larkspur.  In the background, high speed catamaran ferry Intintoli has just arrived from Vallejo.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wells Fargo Museum is Open -- May 17, 2014

The Wells Fargo History Museum in San Francisco closed last August for renovation.  It reopened on 28-March-2014.  I was able to visit today and enjoyed it immensely.  The beautiful Abbott Downing stagecoach still sits in the front window, but much has changed.  The skeleton stagecoach that people can sit in has moved downstairs.  There are more interactive exhibits.  I liked the telegraph key connected to a key in the Portland, Oregon museum.  Nobody responded when I tried it. 

I liked the display case with a model of a Clay Street Hill cable car and mementos of Andrew S Hallidie. 

Today after we took my mother grocery shopping we went downtown and parked at Fifth and Mission.  We walked up to the Irish Bank and had a nice lunch.  We stopped at Macy's on the way back to the garage. 
We came home and watched California Chrome win the Preakness. 
I took the photo of the Seabiscuit statue at Tanforan on 05-December-2011.  Seabiscuit was born and raised in Kentucky, but he had his greatest success while he was owned by Charles Howard, a San Francisco auto dealer.   

Friday, May 16, 2014

Chicago in Less Than Three Days -- May 16, 2014

"Double Drawing-Room Sleeping Cars, Buffet, Smoking and Library Cars, with barber.  Dining Cars -- meals a la carte.  Daily Tourist Car Service and Personally Conducted Excursions every week from San Francisco at 6 p.m.  The best of everything."  This ad from the 21-October-1901 San Francisco Call promotes service from San Francisco to Chicago in less than three days via Union Pacific and the Chicago and North Western.  Southern Pacific would be in there, too. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

International Day of Laughter, 2014 -- May 15, 2014

100 years ago, on 15-May-1914, vaudeville monologist Art Fisher allegedly gave the Marx Brothers, Leonard, Arthur, Julius and Milton and became Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Gummo.  The baby of the family, Herbert, later got the nickname Zeppo.  Fisher may have been inspired by Gus Mager's comic strips like Knocko the Monk, Sherlocko the Monk and Groucho the Monk

This John Decker cartoon, from the October, 1924 Motion Picture Classic, shows the brothers in their first Broadway show, I'll Say She Is.  Zeppo is identified as Beppo.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Columbia Graphophone -- May 14, 2014

The original graphophone was a cylinder machine designed by Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter as an improvement on Edison's phonograph.  Instead of using tinfoil wrapped around an iron cylinder, they recorded sound on a layer of wax around a cardboard core.  This produced better sound reproduction and more durable records.  The graphophone eventually became controlled by Columbia Records.  Columbia continued to use the name even after they began producing disc machines. 

This ad, from the 16-April-1905 Omaha Bee, offers a Columbia Disc Graphophone "Practically Free to Omaha Bee Readers."  Columbia Records offers "3,000 Different Selections From Grand Opera to Rag-Time." 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Joe Louis 100 -- May 13, 2014

Happy 100th birthday to Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, who was perhaps the greatest heavyweight champion.  I think he had a better range of opponents than Muhammad Ali.  Here he is just about done demolishing former champ Max Schmeling in two minutes and four seconds in their second fight on 22-June-1938.  Schmeling had won their first fight, Louis' only defeat up to that point.  Schmeling was never a Nazi, but once he had become heavyweight champion in 1930, the Nazis adopted him as a symbol of Aryan supremacy.  Joe Louis had other ideas about supremacy.  In later years, they became friends.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers' Day, 2014 -- May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers' Day, everyone.  I'm grateful for my mother and my wife and my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law and cousins and friends. All excellent mothers.

I took the photo at Good Shepherd School in Pacifica on 05-October-2008, during the school's 40th anniversary celebration.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

National Train Day 2014 -- May 10, 2014

Happy National Train Day, everyone.  Among the events being celebrated across the country is the 75th birthday of the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. 

Los Angeles Union Station, now called Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, which opened in 1939, was one of the last union stations built in the United States. We visited it in July, 2011 on our way to Angels Flight. We got off the Gold Line on an open platform. We saw heavy-rail commuter trains on other tracks. The lower levels reminded me of a cleaner version of the old East Bay Terminal. The head house was beautiful, as seen above in this front view. The inside was nice, too. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Death of General John Sedgewick 150 -- May 9, 2014

150 years ago, on 09-May-1864, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Major General John Sedgewick was killed by a sniper.  His alleged last words are famous. From Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume IV




ON May 8th, 1864, the Sixth Corps made a rapid march to the support of Warren, near Spotsylvania Court House. We arrived there about 5 p. M., and passed the rest of the day in getting into position on Warren's left. After nightfall General Sedgwick rode back into an open field near General Warren's headquarters and, with his staff, lay down on the grass and slept until daylight. Shortly after daylight he moved out upon his line of battle. We had no tents or breakfast during that night or morning. The general made some necessary changes in the line and gave a few unimportant orders, and sat down with me upon a hard-tack box, with his back resting against a tree. The men, one hundred feet in front, were just finishing a line of rifle-pits, which ran to the right of a section of artillery that occupied an angle in our line. The 1st New Jersey brigade was in advance of this line.
After this brigade, by Sedgwick's direction, had been withdrawn through a little opening to the left of the pieces of artillery, the general, who had watched the operation, resumed his seat on the hard-tack box and commenced talking about members of his staff in very complimentary terms. He was an inveterate tease, and I at once suspected that he had some joke on the staff which he was leading up to. He was interrupted in his comments by observing that the troops, who during this time had been filing from the left into the rifle-pits, had come to a halt and were lying down, while the left of the line partly overlapped the position of the section of artillery. He stopped abruptly and said, '' That is wrong. Those troops must be moved farther to the right; I don't wish them to overlap that battery." I started out to execute the order, and he rose at the same moment, and we sauntered out slowly to the gun on the right. About an hour before, I had remarked to the general, pointing to the two pieces in a half-jesting manner, which he well understood, "General, do you see that section of artillery? Well, you are not to go near it today." He answered good-naturedly, "McMahon, I would like to know who commands this corps, you or I?" I said, playfully, "Well, General, sometimes I am in doubt myself"; but added, "Seriously, General, I beg of you not to go to that angle; every officer who has shown himself there has been hit, both yesterday and to-day." He answered quietly, "Well, I don't know that there is any reason for my going there." When afterward we walked out to the position indicated, this conversation had entirely escaped the memory of both.

I gave the necessary order to move the troops to the right, and as they rose to execute the movement the enemy opened a sprinkling fire, partly from sharp-shooters. As the bullets whistled by, some of the men dodged. The general said laughingly, "What! what! men, dodging this way for single bullets! What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." A few seconds after, a man who had been separated from his regiment passed directly in front of the general, and at the same moment a sharp-shooter's bullet passed with a long shrill whistle very close, and the soldier, who was then just in front of the general, dodged to the ground. The general touched him gently with his foot, and said, "Why, my man, I am ashamed of you, dodging that way," and repeated the remark, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." The man rose and saluted, and said good-naturedly, "General, I dodged a shell once, and if I hadn't, it would have taken my head off. I believe in dodging." The general laughed and replied, "All right, my man; go to your place."
For a third time the same shrill whistle, closing with a dull, heavy stroke, interrupted our talk, when, as I was about to resume, the general's face turned slowly to me, the blood spurting from his left cheek under the eye in a steady stream. He fell in my direction; I was so close to him that my effort to support him failed, and I fell with him.
Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, chief of the artillery, standing a few feet away, heard my exclamation as the general fell, and, turning, shouted to his brigade-surgeon, Dr. Ohlenschlager. Major Charles A. Whittier, Major T. W. Hyde, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kent, who had been grouped near by, surrounded the general as he lay. A smile remained upon his lips but he did not speak. The doctor poured water from a canteen over the general's face. The blood still poured upward in a little fountain. The men in the long line of rifle-pits, retaining their places from force of discipline, were all kneeling with heads raised and faces turned toward the scene; for the news had already passed along the line.
I was recalled to a sense of duty by General Ricketts, next in command, who had arrived on the spot, and informed me, as chief-of-staff, that he declined to assume command of the corps, inasmuch as he knew that it was General Sedgwick's desire, if anything should happen to him, that General Horatio G. Wright, of the Third Division, should succeed him. General Rieketts, therefore, suggested that I communicate at once with General Meade, in order that the necessary order should be issued. When I found General Meade he had already heard the sad intelligence, and had issued the order placing General Wright in command. Returning I met the ambulance bringing the dead general's body, followed by his sorrowing staff. The body was taken back to General Meade's headquarters, and not into any house. A bower was built for it of evergreens, where, upon a rustic bier, it lay until nightfall, mourned over by officers and soldiers. The interment was at Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut.

Condensed from a letter to General J. W. Latta, President of the Sedgwick Memorial Association. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wonderful Chinese Illusionists and Magicians -- May 8, 2014

This 1908 bill at San Francisco's National Theater featured the "Best Show of the Season." It included the Okito Family, "Wonderful Chinese Illusionists and Magicians ." Dutch Theo Bamberg, member of an old family of magicians, created the Japanese character Okito. He later switched the character from Japanese to Chinese, but kept the name. Theo was an excellent magician and the creator of many illusions.

Note that the theater was managed by Sid Grauman, who later went to Los Angeles and opened some famous theaters, including Grauman's Chinese:  

Theo's son David grew up and created a character called Fu Manchu, which was no relation to Sax Rohmer's master criminal character.
One year after this show, Theo sold the Okito act and character to a plumber who wanted to go into magic.

From the 16-July-1908 San Francisco Call.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Military Supremacy of the Air -- May 7, 2014

The cover of the 29-December-1912 Scientific American featured "dirigibles of the leading European military powers."  The note next to the German Zeppelin at the top says that the German Empire had 20 dirigibles.  Great Britain had three dirigibles.  France had 16, Russia had 10 and Italy had 7.  I need to look for a copy of the article, "The Military Supremacy of the Air" by Theodore M. R. von Kler. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Monday night, the Giants played the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  At one point the Giants were down 8-2.  They tied it at 10-10 in the top of the 9th.  The game went to the 13th when the Giants went ahead without getting a hit.  Tuesday night, the Giants tied the Pirates late in the game.  In the bottom of the 9th, a Pirate got a triple and then tried to go home when the throw got past the third baseman.  Buster Posey tagged him out, but the Pirates appealed.  The replay umpires in New York ruled that the runner was safe, so the Pirates won.  This was the first replay walk-off win.  All the replays we saw on television were not clear and decisive.  The Giants lost again today. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo #6 -- May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone. General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín led the Mexican army which defeated the French invaders at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. "The national arms have been covered with glory" General Zaragoza wrote in a letter to President Benito Juárez. Some people credit this defeat with preventing French interference in the US Civil War.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

California Chrome Wins the Kentucky Derby -- May 4, 2014

Yesterday we were excited to watch California Chrome, a beautiful chestnut horse with white markings and a distinctive black mark on his blaze, win the Kentucky Derby.  He was the first horse bred in California to win since 1962.  He won by five lengths.  His owner lives in Yuba City. 

I took the photo of the Seabiscuit statue at Tanforan on 05-December-2011.  Seabiscuit was born and raised in Kentucky, but he had his greatest success while he was owned by Charles Howard, a San Francisco auto dealer. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Batman 75 -- May 3, 2014

Thursday was the 75th anniversary of the debut of Bob Kane's The Batman in Detective Comics number 27. I've been a fan of Batman since I first saw the television show and read the comic strip and the comic books back in the 1960s. Superman has his powers because he was born on another planet. Spiderman has his because he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Batman is a self-made man.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Al Feldstein, RIP -- May 2, 2014

I was sad to learn of the passing of Al Feldstein, who edited Mad Magazine during the entire time that I read it.  He was still in high school when he was hired by the Eisner & Iger shop to work on their many comic book projects.  After serving in World War II, he freelanced until he joined EC in 1948.  He started as an artist, then became a writer, and then an editor. 

Harvey Kurtzman left EC's Mad, which had become a slick magazine, and Feldstein took over as editor.  Mad  helped to shape my sense of humor and helped me learn about many movies which I could not get into theaters to see. 

Kurtzman retired in 1984 and took up painting and ranching. 

The image of Mad Number 166 from April, 1974 is from Doug Gilford's  My copy probably resides in a box in my mother's basement.  I should dig it out. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day #4 -- May 1, 2014

"The most dangerous woman in America" looked like a kindly schoolteacher.  After her husband and children died of yellow fever and she lost her dress shop in the 1871 Chicago Fire, she began to serve as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and then the United Mine Worker's Union.  "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."