Saturday, April 21, 2018

Richtofen, Foe's Best Flier, Killed; Rival Pays Him Tribute -- April 21, 2018

New York Tribune, 24-April-1918
100 years ago today, on 21-April-1918, Manfred von Richtofen, called the Red Baron, regarded by most as the greatest pursuit pilot in the war, was killed.  There is controversy about how he died.  He was credited with 80 victories.  Flying his triplane near the Somme River, Richtofen was chasing a junior Australian pilot who had shot at Richtofen's cousin Wolfram. Canadian Captain Roy Brown dove into their midst to protect the junior pilot.  Australian anti-aircraft gunners also shot at Richtofen.  A bullet passed through his heart and lungs and killed him.  It probably came from the ground, but the RAF credited Brown with the victory.  Richtofen remained alive long enough to land his triplane.  The British buried him with military honors.  

Oswald Boelcke created many of the tactics used by German fighter pilots.  Max immelmann was a brilliant flier.  

Richthofen, Foe's Best Flier, Killed; Rival Pays Him Tribute
(Copyright by International Film Service.)

By One Who Fought Him
(Tribune Cable Service)

LONDON, April 22. -- Captain Baron von Richtofen, who was killed on the Somme battlefield yesterday, was the finest airman the world had ever seen. I fought several battles with him and I have reason to know that he was not only a good fighter but that he was the best sportsman on the German side. He had the reputation of never killing an enemy when he had him cold.

From a military point of view, I am glad he is gone, but he was a good sportsman. After driving his opponent down, he often landed beside him, helped him from his machine, and saw that he was comfortably treated.

Richtofen'a shooting was not as good as might have been expected from a man of his reputation at least I thought his shooting was not very good but what he lacked in shooting, he made up in judgment. His judgment was amazing. He seemed to divine the enemy's next move.

Richthofen was such a big man that his death is bound to make an enormous difference in the German air service. He was far above the other German airmen, whom he inspired and held together. They are bound to hold back a bit now that he is gone.

To my mind, by killing Richthofen, it is not too much to say that we have blotted out the greatest obstacle to Allied supremacy in the air. It has been said that he was credited with all the victories of his circus, but I think he personally accounted for the total number of opponents to his credit.

Richthofen Buried by British With High Military Honors
Germany's Greatest Aviator, Shot Down Behind the Somme,
Was Credited With 80 Aerial Victories

OTTAWA, April 22. -- The funeral of Baron von Richthofen, the famous German aviator, who was brought down last night by the British, was held this afternoon, according to a cable dispatch received here to-night from Reuter's correspondent at the British headquarters in France.

"The funeral was a most impressive spectacle," says the dispatch. "The airman was buried in a cemetery not far from the spot where he was brought down. Members of the air service attended."

(By The Associated Press)
WITH THE BRITISH ARMY IN   FRANCE, April 22. -- Baron Manfried (sic - JT) von Richthofen, the famous German aviator, was shot down and killed last night back of the British lines along the Somme front. Details of the death of the airman are lacking, but, as showing the temper of British officers, it may be said the correspondent heard the ardent hope expressed that Richthofen died fighting in an air battle with a worthy opponent rather than by being shot down by anti-aircraft guns.

LONDON, April 22.-- An official statement reporting aerial operations issued yesterday at Berlin said: "Baron Richthofen, at the head of his trusty chasing squadron (on Saturday) gained his seventy-ninth and eightieth victories."

Eighty Victories for Baron

Baron von Richthofen was credited with eighty aerial Victories, compared with forty for Boelke, the next most famous German flier, who was shot down in October, 1916. Immelmann, the third renowned enemy airman, is also dead.

The Germans have a system of calculating their fliers' records, which seems to give them about twice the number of victories they would have under the French system. For instance, Berlin credits an airman with a victory whenever an antagonist is driven down. The French rule is to count only cases where the adversary is brought down within, or in immediate proximity to the French line and where the enemy aviator is either killed or captured. There must be at least three witnesses for each French victory.

The most famous French flier, Guynemer, had destroyed fifty machines before he was killed last September. He was generally considered the most brilliant airman of the war. In a single day Guynemer shot down four machines, two of them in a single engagement and within one minute of each other.

Great Britain has produced some splendid aviators, especially Major Bishop, a Canadian, but their records are not made public.

Led the "Flying Circus"

Captain von Richthofen first attracted attention as the leader of his "Flying Circus," a squadron of gaudily painted German machines which flew in a circle when fighting, so that, when one was engaged, the next flier could sweep the antagonist from the rear.

In October last Baron von Richtofen married Fraulein von Minkwitz, daughter of the very wealthy Master of the Horse of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. On that occasion the Kaiser appointed him his "equerry airman," and it was stated that he would henceforth devote his time entirely to the training of new fighting squadrons. Apparently, however, the lure of the front was too great, and this spring the baron won a brilliant string of aerial duels before he finally met the fate of practically all the airmen who have become celebrated in the war.

As a reward for his work in the early days of this year's offensive, the Kaiser conferred on the baron the Order of the Red Eagle, with crown and swords.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Favorite Albums -- April 19, 2018

Last month on Facebook, I was nominated by a friend to list my ten all-time favorite albums. "What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list. Post the cover, no need to explain." I enjoyed the exercise, although it was tough to narrow it down to ten and not make any explanations. I thought I would use my blog to share the albums and perhaps make some comments.

My first choice, because the file name was first in the directory, was Elvis Costello's third album, Armed Forces.  This was the first Elvis Costello album that I purchased.  I love the music on the LP and the EP.  Once I saved up enough money, I went back to Tower Records and bought his first two albums.

Some don't like modal jazz; they think the musicians are just playing scales.  Miles Davis and his sextette are not just playing scales on Kind of Blue.

Last year my daughter and I were sitting in the car waiting for my wife.  I put this CD in the player.  My daughter was quiet until she heard "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?"  She said "That is warped."  Yes it is.

I had trouble deciding which Duke Ellington album to select, but "Ellington at Newport" has the 27 chorus saxophone solo by Juan Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue."

I bought my fiancée all of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks, but the Gershwin was our favorite.   We used two songs from it for our wedding reception.

I read in Newsweek that Glenn Gould had recorded a new version of The Goldberg Variations.  I saved enough money, which took a while because classical albums cost more than pop or rock'n'roll albums.

I found Janis Blesh's They All Played Ragtime at the Anza Branch Library and enjoyed it, but I hadn't heard most of the music.  The Anza and Richmond branches did not have any ragtime records, but I found Joshua Rifkin's album at the Main Library.  I later bought my own copy.

I don't own this actual album, but this image allowed me to represent Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five and Hot Seven with one entry.  I love all the recordings.  "West End Blues," "Weather Bird," "Potato Head Blues," all of them.

I didn't know about Louis Jordan until someone played "Saturday Night Fish Fry" on KJAZ.  I went looking for him at Tower Records.

What can I say about Sun Ra?  Space IS the place.  Some don't believe he visited Saturn in 1936 or 1937.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sells Brotherrs' Circus -- April 17, 2018

Daily Alta California, 25-September-1886
The Sells Brothers Circus appeared at San Francisco's Central Park, near 8th and Market Streets. The Sells Brothers Circus was based in Columbus. Ohio.  I like the part about Mrs Sells taking care of the kindergarten kids.

Harry Anderson, RIP -- A[pril 17, 2018
I remember Harry Anderson from Night Court.  I also remember him as a magician.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

San Francisco Giants 60 -- April 15, 2018

Sixty years ago today the San Francisco Giants played their first game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Seals Stadium.  The Giants moved from Manhattan and the Dodgers from Brooklyn during the offseason.  Rubén Gómez started and beat Don Drysdale 8-0.  The Giants are celebrating the anniversary this season.

Friday, April 13, 2018

For Liberty's Sake -- April 13, 2018
A World War One Navy recruiting poster features the Statue of Liberty.

Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Secret of Any Trick or Sleight -- April 11, 2018

Magic, Ellis Stanyon, Ed.
British magician Ellis Stanyon published the magazine Magic from 1900 to 1920.  Here is a 1908 ad for previous volumes.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Weird War Tales -- April 9, 2018

I did not own this issue of DC's Weird War Tales, but it sure looks interesting.  Dead German aviators from World War One appear to be fighting with a P-51 Mustang from World War Two.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pulp -- Dare-Devil Aces -- April 7, 2016

Dare-Devil Aces always had colorful covers that apparently had little to do with the stories in the magazine. I think that is a SPAD dogfighting with an unlikely-looking flying wing.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Cecil Taylor, RIP -- April 6, 2018
I was sad to learn that poet, pianist and composer Cecil Taylor has died.  He played free jazz before Ornette Coleman.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Soldiers and Sailors Off for Seat of War in China -- April 5, 2018

San Francisco Call, 29-July-1900

The drawing is from the 29-July-1900 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. The Boxer Rebellion was a nationalist, anti-colonialist uprising in China.  Many European countries and the US sent troops to relieve the siege of the diplomatic quarter in Beijing. The US Army transport Hancock was assigned to the Navy in 1902 and served as a transport and then a receiving ship at Pear Harbor until 1925.  I don't know why an army transport was carrying both Army soldiers and Marines, except that the Marines were ready to make a rapid deployment.  

The not-very-historical movie 55 Days at Peking told the story of the siege and the relief.  

East Street is now called The Embarcadero.  Ocean Wave was a ferry operated by the Santa Fe Railroad between Point Richmond and San Francisco.  Ocean Wave had just gone into service at the beginning of July.  


THE transport wharf is once more re-echoing to the martial tread of troops. Soldiers are being hurried to China and a subdued air of excitement once more permeates the waterfront. Yesterday soldiers and marines were coming and going all day long between the ferries and the troopship Hancock, while the wharf and its vicinity was crowded from early morning until nightfall.

The transport Hancock was to have got away at 2 p. m., but owing to the non-arrival of the soldiers' baggage it was after midnight before she got out into the stream, where she anchored. Early this morning she will get away for Taku, stopping at Nagasaki en route.

It is many a long day since San Francisco saw such a gathering of marines as paraded along East street yesterday. They came 500 strong from the recruiting stations at New York, Annapolis, Washington and Boston and are a very fine body of men. It required two trips of the Ocean Wave to bring them from Point Richmond to San Francisco. Companies A and C came over on the 8 a. m. trip, while Companies B and D reached this side at 11:20 a. m.

When the marines reached the transport wharf they were greeted with ringing cheers by the men o£ Batteries A. D, I and O of the Third Artillery, which preceded them an the Hancock. The Third Artillery band was also there and played familiar airs throughout the day. The favorite with all hands was "There'll Be a Hot Time." The band does not accompany the regiment, but the men went to the wharf in a body to bid their comrades good-by.

Off for the Front.

The complete list of those who will sail on the Hancock is as follows: Batteries A, D, I and O of the Third Artillery; Companies A, B, C and D of marines; Major Hugh Gallagher and four clerks; eighteen officers of the Marine Corps; seventeen privates of the Hospital Corps; nine men of the Signal Corps; ten recruits for Light Battery F, Fifth Artillery; seven recruits for the Ninth Infantry and ten nurses.

When the Navy Department determined to enlist a battalion of marines the command was given to Major Randolph Dickins. The major is well known in San Francisco and a host of friends were down to wish him godspeed yesterday. He was here for some time as captain of marines on the Philadelphia, but shortly before the war was transferred to the Oregon and accompanied that vessel on her famous run around the Horn to Cuba. He served throughout the Spanish war on the battleship and at its conclusion was promoted to be a major and placed in command of the barracks at the Washington Navy-yard.

Company A of the battalion is officered by Captain McKelvey and Lieutenants Mathews and Baxtrom. It was recruited in New York. Captain Dutton is in command of Company B. He is the son of W. J. Dutton of this city and has served in Manila. Company C was recruited at Charleston navy yard, Boston. Its officers are Captain Moses and Lieutenants McDougald and Taylor. Lieutenant Hirshinger of Mare Island accompanies the battalion as adjutant.

Lieutenant Colonel John H. Calef was to have gone out in command of the four batteries of the Third Artillery, but he did not get here in time, so Captain Charles Humphreys went out in command of the battalion.

Major Hugh J. Gallagher goes to China to be chief commissary on General Chaffee's staff. He takes his own clerks along and expects to have plenty of hard work keeping the army supplied during the march to Peking.

There were many bitter partings when the hour for sailing came along and then as the minutes passed and there was no sign of the big transport getting away the women took heart of grace and began to smile again.

Some wily waterfront rats hit on a great scheme to make money and did a land office business in flasks of whisky until the police found them out. They secured a Whitehall, loaded her with the whisky, and getting under the wharf passed up twenty-five cent flasks, charging fifty cents for them, as fast as they could be handled.

Police Stop the Game.

Soon a number of the soldiers and marines began to get hilarious and then the police "smelt a rat." They secured one of Henry Peterson's boats and made a search under the wharf, but the whisky traders saw them getting into the boat and easily made their escape. No more liquor got on the wharf by that route.

Many of the men attempted to take large bottles of whisky aboard the transport, but in every instance it was taken from them by the officer on watch and smashed against the. side of the ship.

The next transports to get away for China will be the Meade from this port and the Garonne from Seattle. Both vessels leave on Wednesday, August 1. The Meade is to take away one battalion of the Fifteenth Infantry, one squadron at the Third Cavalry and one company of engineers; in all sixty officers and 1071 men. The Garonne takes away two squadrons of the First Cavalry and 100 recruits; in all thirty-five officers and 950 men.

Loving Cup for Bradley.

Prior to the sailing of the Hancock a very pleasing Incident took place. Captain Bradley, quartermaster captain of the transport, was presented with a magnificent loving cup. It came from the members of the Philippine Commission that was sent to Manila on the Hancock by the Government. Captain Bradley was of great service to these gentlemen and they wished to remember his kindness and courtesy.

When the members of the Commission got back to New York they sent the silver out of which the cup is made to Shreve & Co. of this city. A design accompanied the silver. Shreve &. Co. made the loving cup and yesterday it was presented to Captain Bradley. It is a massive affair of chaste design and Captain Bradley is justly proud of it.

More Soldiers Coming.

Word was received at army headquarters yesterday that Lieutenant Colonel Williams, with companies A, I, K and L of the Fifteenth United States Infantry, would arrive in this city this evening. Company E of the battalion of engineers is expected to arrive here this morning. The home battalion of the Twenty-third Infantry, which came from Manila on the transport Warren, reached the Presidio late yesterday afternoon on the McDowell. They were met at the wharf by the band of the Third Artillery and a detachment of the Eighteenth Infantry, commanded by Captain P. D. Evans, who escorted it to the camp vacated by the Third Artillery, which they will occupy until ordered East.

Four troops of the Third Cavalry are due here Monday night.

The general hospital received forty-six patients from the Warren. Seventeen patients -were discharged yesterday and assigned to duty with the convalescents.

Thirteen insane soldiers now at the Presidio are booked for transportation to Washington, to be confined in the Government hospital for the insane.

First Lieutenant Leigh A. Fuller, assistant surgeon. U. S. A., is in this city waiting the arrival of the Third Battalion of the Fifteenth Infantry, to the commanding officer of which he will report for assignment to duty.

Captain Charles Wilcox is assigned to duty with the Ninth Cavalry on its arrival in this city.

Acting Assistant Surgeons H. C. Many and W. W. Reno are assigned to duty at the general hospital, Presidio, awaiting transportation abroad.

San Francisco Call, 29-July-1900

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr King 50 Years -- April 4, 2018
50 years ago today, on 04-April-1968 Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was murdered in Memphis.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Great Curtiss Flying Boat -- April 3, 2018

Washington DC Evening Star, 29-December-1918
Lieutenant David McCullough flew this Curtiss flying boat with fifty people aboard.  It is a precursor of the Navy Curtiss airplanes which made the first flight across the Atlantic. 

McCullough later piloted the NC-3, one of the airplanes which tried to make the flight, but did not reach Europe.  Forced down by bad weather, she taxied and sailed backwards 250 miles to reach the Azores.  Of the three airplanes in the attempt, only the NC-4 made the complete flight.  

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter, 2018 -- April 1, 2018
Happy Easter, everyone. Here is the cover of the 04-April-1953 New Yorker.  The Easter Bunny is having trouble crossing the road.

Royal Air Force 100 -- April 1, 2018

Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force, which was formed on 01-April-1918, by the merger of the British Army's Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy's Royal Naval Air Service.  The RAF is the world's oldest independent air force.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

1939 Frazer Nash/BMW 328 Sports and Touring Two-Seater -- March 31, 2018

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos.

BMW built the 328 from 1936 to 1940.  One of the few chassis to survive the war was imported into Britain by AFN, which created an aerodynamic body.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pearl Bailey 100 -- March 29, 2018
Singer and actress Pearl Bailey was born 100 years ago today, on 29-March-1918.  I remember seeing her on television.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Henry Adams, 150 Years -- March 27, 2018

Historian Henry Adams died 100 years ago today, on 27-March-1918.  I think I first heard of him in a history of American history class at San Francisco State.  I keep thinking I read The Education of Henry Adams for another class, but I can't think of which one.  Perhaps I just read it during the summer.  I think I read "Mont Saint Michel and Chartres" during the summer.

Nowadays I don't read many references to Henry Adams.  I should read some of his books again.

Yuri Gagarin 50 Years -- March 27, 2018
50 years ago today, on 27-March-1968, Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly in space, died in a plane crash.  We didn't learn much about him or the rest of the Soviet space program when I was in school.
On 12-April-1961 he rode Vostock I into space and orbited the earth before returning safely.

Monday, March 26, 2018

March For Our Lives -- March 26, 2018

On Saturday, people all over the country, led by school kids, protested gun violence in schools and elsewhere.  I'm proud of the kids and everyone who helped.  I am disgusted by the National Rifle Association which has been spending lots of money on ads since the Florida school shooting.
updated 28-March-2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Magician Killed During Act -- March 24,2018

Variety, 29-March-1918
American magician William Robinson adopted the identity Chung Ling Soo for most of his career.  On 23-March-1918, he did the bullet catch trick at London's Wood Green Empire Theater.  Due to a mistake, he was shot in the chest and died the next day.  

(Cable to Variety.)
London, March 27.

Chung Ling Soo, Chinese magician, was accidentally shot at Wood Green Empire, March 23, during his performance and died March 24.

Two trick muzzle-loading rifles with secret chambers were used in the act of the magician. Loaded by members of the audience they were fired by attendants, Chung Ling Soo apparently catching the bullets on a plate held in front of him. By sleight of hand he showed flattened bullets after the flash and report from blank cartridges.

Faulty mechanism is believed to have been the cause, with the real charge exploding instead of the prepared one.

Chung Ling Soo was reported in the Monday dailies as having been killed Saturday night in London while doing the Hermann bullet-catching trick. The papers reported his name as Chung Lung Soo, stating he was a Chinese magician.

Chung Ling Soo was an American, William E. Robinson, 59 years of age and the first to do "black art" over here. He was an assistant to Hermann, the Great and Keller. In '99  when Ching Ling Foo, the Chinese conjuror, appeared at the Union Square theatre, an offer was made of $1,000 to anyone who could duplicate his tricks. Robinson offered to accept the challenge, but the opportunity was not secured.

In 1900 Ike Rose, then in Paris, heard of Robinson assuming Chinese dress and name. Rose booked him at the Folies Bergere, Paris, where he opened under a contract for two weeks at $800 gross. The opening performance while doing Ching Ling Foo's bowl trick, the bowl slipped to stage from under Robinson's flowing robe, breaking up the act that evening, although Robinson continued throughout the engagement.

He received in England, at his death, $1,500 weekly in the halls besides a percentage of the gross in the provinces.

The bullet-catching trick, first done by Hermann, the Great, is the holding of a plate, by the hands, extended before the breast while permitting anyone in the audience to shoot from a rifle at the magician on the stage. As the shot sounds, a bullet appears upon the plate. The rifle in the audience of course holds blank cartridges, palmed, after the loaded ones are shown the audience, and the bullets dropped into the plate arrive there in the same way.

Just how the accident occurred to Robinson during his magical act is problematical without further information. An investigation by the London authorities may develop some insight into it.

The magicians of New York have their surmises, hut are without authority for any belief they may hold.

Robinson is reported to be survived by a widow and three children.

Mrs. Adelaide Hermann, widow of Hermann, the Great, said this week the trick as first done by her husband was always considered a dangerous one. Robinson had been doing it a long time, Mrs. Hermann added, and she knew of no probable explanation of the accident.

(The cabled information received by Variety from London appears at variance in the manner of performing the trick as understood by magicians over here.)

Mme. Adelaide Hermann said the trick was always considered dangerous. Robinson had been doing it a long time, she added, and she could offer no probable explanation of the accident.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Face of Liberty -- March 23, 2018
An image taken while the Statue of Liberty was under construction.

Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

George Benson 75 -- March 22, 2018
Happy birthday to guitarist George Benson.  He was a musical prodigy from the Hill District of Pittsburgh.  I remember hearing his stuff on KJAZ.  In the 1970s, he went for the crossover market with the album Breezin'.  I remember jazz purists complaining about his singing, but I didn't have a problem with it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Germany's Offensive on West Opens -- March 21, 2018

Bemidji Daily Pioneer, 22-March-1918
The German Army began its Spring Offensive on 21-March-1918 with Operation Michael.  The Germans wanted to strike a heavy blow and settle the war before American soldiers and industrial production became fully available in Europe.  In Operation Michael, Erich Ludendorff sent his troops against the British in an attempt to break through to the English Channel. The Germans used stormtrooper tactics on a large scale. The Germans broke through the British front line and made long advances, but faltered as their troops tired and they outran their supply lines.  



Berlin Reports Success.

Berlin, March 22. -- (Official) -- The Germans stormed broad sectors from a point southeast of Arras, southward to Lafere, and everywhere captured first line enemy trenches.

"Holding." Say British.

With the British armies afield, March 22. --
British troops are holding the Germans everywhere and driving them back in some places. The enemy has not reached a single objective.

(By William Phillip Simms)
United Press Correspondent

With the British armies afield, March 22. -- British troops, with their customary coolness, bobbed up after the German barrage of gas shells and high explosives at the starting of the big enemy attack and met the first rush wearing gas masks and machine gunning the first advancing waves of the invaders.

Hand-to-hand fighting is not frequent. It is too early to state whether, this is the. herald demanded of the offensive.

Berlin Bombardment.

London, March 22. -- The Germans shortly before dawn yesterday morning began a heavy bombardment over a wide section of the British front, it is announced officially.

The statement follows:

"A heavy bombardment was opened by the enemy shortly before dawn this morning against our whole front from the neighborhood of Vendeuil, south of St. Quentin, to the River Scarpe.

"A successful raid was carried out by us last night in the neighborhood of St. Quentin. Thirteen prisoners and three machine guns were brought back by our troops. Prisoners also were taken by us in patrol encounters southeast of Messines and in another successful raid carried out by us south of Houtholst forest.

"A raid undertaken by the enemy in the neighborhood of Armentieres was repulsed."

Sammies "Over" Again.

With the American armies afield, March 22. -- American troops at dawn this morning went over the top in a wooded and fog shrouded sector for the second time within twelve hours and entered the German second line trenches. They were accompanied by French units.


British Are Holding
(By United Press)

London, March 22 --
General Haig today reported, "We hold the enemy in our battle positions."

Editor's note: Battle positions are defenses directly behind the first line trenches. This would indicate that German preparations were limited.

Start of Offensive.

Washington, March 22. -- Germany's big offensive bombardment and attacks on the west front are generally regarded here as the starting of the long advertised major offensive. Military men are not discouraged on account the offensive met partial success at the outset. They cite the British have not yet ascertained just what the Germans intend doing.

Berlin is Quiet.

Berlin, March 22. -- News that the big west front drive had begun was received here quietly. Herr von Stelner, Austrian war minister here, promises that the Austrians would hold the eastern front and furnish a few troops and many guns for the west front. A few Bulgarians are on the west front.

Mav Mean War.

Washington, March 22. -- Berlin reports that Bulgarians are fighting on the west front. If so it may lead the United States immediately declaring war upon Bulgaria. Officials think only a few Bulgars are on the west front and may fight only the British. If they face the Americans it means war with the United States. It may mean that they are Maygars instead of Bulgars.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Saint Joseph's Day, 2018 -- March 19, 2018
Happy Saint Joseph's Day to my fellow Joes.

Joseph Conrad (Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) was born in Poland while much of the country was claimed by the Russian Empire. English may have been his fourth language (Polish, French, Russian, English).  His family had worked for Polish independence, so he had no future in Russia.  He joined the French merchant marine, and later the British.  I read somewhere that his shipmates called him "Polish Joe."  He began writing fiction in English and then had to give up the sea because of his health.

I read a lot of Conrad in college.  I took a summer class dedicated to him.  I got to operate the projector to show Lord Jim with Peter O'Toole.  It was my first experience with an anamorphic lens.

Conrad's books and stories show few signs that English was not his first language.  My final paper for the Conrad class was about a play he wrote, based on The Secret Agent.  I found traces of less-careful writing in the stage directions.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wilfred Owen 125 -- March 18, 2018
Wilfred Owen, army officer and war poet was born 125 years ago today, on 18-March-1893.  While leading his troops on the Western Front, he was severely wounded and shell shocked.  At the Craiglockhart War Hospital, he met fellow war poet Siegfried Sassoon.  After he was discharged from the hospital, Owen could have spent the rest of the war on light duty, but he insisted on returning to the front.  He felt that it lent weight to his reporting on the terrors of the war.  He was awarded the Military Cross for an action at Joncourt.  He was killed on 04-November-1918, one week before the Armistice, during an action at the Sambre-Oise Canal.

Most of his poems were published after the war. Siegfried Sassoon helped to get them into print.


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 2018 -- March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

I took a photo of this statue of Saint Patrick in the back of Good Shepherd Church in Pacifica while I was setting up the collection baskets for 5 O'Clock mass.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Transit Driver Appreciation Day, 2018 -- March 16, 2018

I am grateful to the men and women who bravely face San Francisco traffic and San Francisco people every day. Thank you all.

The Wonder Show of the Universe -- March 16, 2018
Magician Howard Thurston established himself as a successful vaudeville performer, then joined with Harry Kellar on his farewell tour. When Kellar retired in 1908, Thurston carried on as his successor. Thurston continued performing until he suffered a stroke in 1935.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sly Stone 75 -- March 15, 2018
Happy 75th birthday to Sly Stone.  He was a disc jockey for San Francisco's KSOL.  He produced records for The Great Society and the Beau Brummels.  About 1967, he formed Sly and the Family Stone, a bend which was racially integrated and included men and women.  Sly and the Family Stone released A Whole New Thing in 1967. It was indeed. They recorded much successful music and put on some wild live shows, but he ran into trouble with drugs.  He is still with us and still making music.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking, RIP -- March 14, 2018
I was sorry to learn about the passing of physicist Stephen Hawking.  I enjoyed A Brief History of Time.  I admired his stubbornness in surviving so long and continuing to work.  He reminded me of my father, who was also in a wheelchair.  Hawking's sense of humor also reminded me of my father.  I enjoyed his appearances and the references to him on The Big Bang Theory.

Booth Tarkington 150 -- March 14, 2018

Time, 31-December-1929
Indiana author Booth Tarkington was born 150 years ago, on 14-March-2018.  I don't think people read his stories and novels much today.  When I was a kid, the only thing I knew about him was that he wrote the novel that Orson Welles used as the basis for The Magnificent Ambersons.  I was already in college when I learned that F Scott Fitzgerald was a great admirer of Tarkington.  Inspired by this, I went to the Anza Branch Library and took out Penrod: His Complete Story, a collection of stories about a boy who grows up.

Seattle Star, 23-January-1915
Booth Tarkington and Harry Leon Wilson wrote a play called Cameo Kirby.  It has been filmed several times.  Dustin Farnum, who had played the role on stage, starred in the 1914 version.  John Gilbert played the part in a 1923 version directed by John Ford.  Irving Cummings directed a 1930 version which starred J Harold Murray.  I have never heard of him, either.

Motion Picture Magazine, February, 1922
As far as I can tell, 1922's Penrod, starring Wesley Barry and directed by Mickey Neilan, was the first movie based on a Penrod story.  Ben Alexander played Penrod in a 1923 adaption of Penrod and Sam, also directed by Mickey Neilan.  Ben Alexander played Jack Webb's first partner on the television version of Dragnet.

Billy Mauch played Penrod in three talkies, Penrod and Sam (1937), Penrod and His Twin Brother and Penrod's Double Trouble, both in 1938.
Monsieur Beaucaire was a play by by Booth Tarkington and Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland.  Rudolph Valentino and Bebe Daniels starred in a 1924 version.  Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield appeared in a 1946 adaption.
In 1942 Orson Welles based his second feature film on The Magnificent Ambersons, but the movie got butchered by the studio after he left for another project.  There was also a television adaption in 2002.