Saturday, December 15, 2018

Fats Waller 75 Years -- December 15, 2018
75 years ago today, on 15-December-1943, great American composer and performer Fats Waller died of pneumonia while riding the eastbound Super Chief.

I remember when my parents bought a box set of LPs with songs by famous performers.  The two that really got to me were "I Have a Right to Sing the Blues" by Cab Calloway and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" by Fats Waller and his Rhythm.  I listened to both tracks repeatedly and learned the lyrics, at least the ones that I could understand.  I went looking for more music by both men, but I found more by Waller.  I'm sorry I never took piano lessons.

I learned that he was a great performer, pianist, organ player, singer and entertainer.  I'm sorry he died at 39. "One never knows, do one?"

""Your pedal extremities are colossal"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Nancy Wilson, RIP -- December 14, 2018
Singer Nancy Wilson has died.  I love her singing and speaking voice.  I always enjoy listening to Jazz Profiles on KCSM.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Broncho Billy Rag -- December 13, 2018

Gilbert M Anderson, Broncho Billy, was the first western star. With George K Spoor, he had founded Essanay (S and A). In 1914, Nell Wright Slaughter published "Broncho Billy Rag," a charming tune. I can't find much information about the composer except that she lived in Texas and was also known as Nell Wright Watson.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Professor Longhair 100 -- December 19, 2018

Professor Longhair, Harry Byrd, was one of the great singers and pianists from New Orleans.  He influenced many younger musicians like Allen Toussaint and Doctor John.

Joe Williams 100, Grover Washington, Jr 75 -- December 12, 2018

Singer Big Joe Williams was born 100 years ago today, on 12-December-1918.  He sang with Lionel Hampton in the 1940s and Count Basie in the 1950s.  He had a powerful voice.

Christmas is coming.

Sax player Grover Washington, Jr was born 75 years ago today, on 12-December-1943. He often played jazz-funk. "Just the Two of Us" with Bill Withers was a big crossover hit.

Both Joe Williams and Grover Washington, Jr died in 1999.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 100 -- December 11, 2018
Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born 100 years ago today, on 11-December-1918. He grew up during the Russian Civil War.  He was a decorated officer in the Great Patriotic War.
During that war, he began to doubt the righteousness of the Soviet Union.  In early 1945 he was arrested and sentenced to eight years because.

I first read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in college. Years later, I came across The Gulag Archipelago in the library and remembered that I had read the reviews with interest.  Later I worked with a programmer who had left the Soviet Union and he highly recommended August 1914 and The First Circle.

I remember when the Soviets expelled him and he came to America.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Comic Book -- Black Cat -- December 9. 2018
Christmas is coming.

In 1941, Harvey Comics introduced The Black Cat, a Hollywood actress whose father was a silent Western star and whose mother was a stuntwoman.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Jim Morrison 75 -- December 8, 2018
Singer, poet and songwriter Jim Morrison would have been 75 years old today.  He was born on 08-December-1943.  I remember hearing The Doors on the radio and being impressed by his voice.  I don't remember being impressed by his lyrics, but they were catchy. I liked Ray Manzarek because he wore glasses and played keyboards. He died in 1971, around the time that Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin also died.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pearl Harbor Day, 2018 -- December 7, 2018
77 years ago a sneak attack by forces of the Japanese Empire sank or damaged much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The Japanese Empire came to regret doing this.

Dreadnought USS Nevada (BB-36) was commissioned in 1916.  She went to Ireland to protect convoys during World War One. She was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in 1941. She was damaged, but was repaired. She was at D-Day and again protected Atlantic convoys.  She was at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Motography, 30-November-1915
"A scene from Hearst-Selig News Pictorial showing the U. S. S. "Nevada" making its first trip. Copyright 1915, International Film Service Inc."

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Pete Shelley, RIP -- December 6, 2018
Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks has died.  I used to hear them on KUSF when it played punk and related music.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Pulp -- Air Stories -- December 5, 2018
"Capt. Kidd Rides the Skies..."  By the time this was published, there were not a lot of full-rigged ships sailing the seas.

Monday, December 3, 2018

British Ship Balclutha Nearly Goes on Rocks -- December 3, 2018

San Francisco Call, 16-June-1900
William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. Square rigger Balclutha is preserved at the San Francisco Maritime Museum at the Hyde Street Pier. Right now she is in a drydock receiving maintenance. 

Owned in San Francisco.

The British ship Balclutha, which arrived in this port from Newcastle, N. S. W., last Sunday, is now a San Francisco-owned ship. The well-known house of J. J. Moore & Co. are now the managing owners and the vessel will run between here and the colonies in the lumber and general merchandise trade. Captain Hatfield of the Balclutha is an old-timer in San Francisco. He Is part owner of the Lancing and his son-in-law is master of that well-known ship. On his reappearance on the coast last Monday Captain Hatfield had to signalize his return. Owing to the fog and absence of all signals the Balclutha was almost on top of the Farallon rocks before Captain Hatfield knew where he was. The lead, however, told the old navigator that he was close to land and by the time the seals and sea fowl gave a warning the Balclutha was on the other tack and the danger was past.

I took the photo of Balclutha on 19-October-2010.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December, 2018 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- December 1, 2018

I just put the December, 2018 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server: 

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: The Emporium, a now gone-but-not-forgotten department store across the street from the turntable at Powell and Market used to sponsor a yearly Christmas parade. Muni would decorate cable car 504 Santa's sleigh. Santa would ride down Powell Street in his sled atop the roof. That must have been a thrilling ride. Here we see "conductress" Mary Ball and "Jimin-E," an Emporium employee on the back platform. (source: Trolley Topics, December, 1950).
2. With Christmas coming, it's a good time to visit the late Joe Lacey's article Christmas on the Cables (20th anniversary this year), and the Decorated Cable Cars page. Added list of cars decorated for Christmas, 2018.
3. On Walter Rice's A Photo Album of 1970s Cable Car Supporters: Added a Hughes Airwest advertisement car card from the cable car centennial.
4. Added News item about a podcast interview with Val Lupiz, Frank Zepeda and Jeremy Whiteman
5. Added News and Chronology items about cable car crews being issued masks because of smoke from a fire in Butte County and then the cars being taken off the street and the Cable Car Museum being closed because of unhealthy air quality
6. Added News and Chronology items about the Cal Band riding a Blue and Gold cable car to promote the Big Game.
7. On the UK page: Updated the status of the East Cliff Railway in Bournemouth in the Cliff Lifts article. Added News story about the current situation.
8. On the Cable Car Lines in Colorado page: An update about the current status of the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, a cog railroad

Ten years ago this month (December, 2008):
1. Picture of the Month: A Val Lupiz night view of car 60, which he had decorated for the holidays, at California and Drumm on 04-December-2007.
2. On the San Francisco page: Articles about the 1886-1887 strike against the Sutter and Geary Street lines, which include reports about the Sutter Street superintendant's plug uglies shooting at people in the street and at least two grip cars, one from each company, getting blown up with dynamite
3. With Christmas coming, it's a good time to visit Joe Lacey's article Christmas on the Cables (10th anniversary this year), and the Decorated Cable Cars page.
4. Also on the Cable Car Models page, more information about Norm Pythian's cable car simulation
5. On the Cable Cars in the Pacific Northwest page, Peter Ehrlich took a photo of a sign telling the history of the Yesler Way line. Thanks to Peter for the photo

Twenty years ago this month (December, 1998):
1. Picture of the Month: "A Sunday Load"
2. Add excerpts from article "The Parks of San Francisco" and "A Sunday Load" picture to the SF Miscellany section
3. Add California & Powell accident to news & bibliography
4. Fix some typos
5. Added "Christmas on the Cables" by Joe Lacey to the SF page.

125 years ago this month, on 04-December-1893, In New York City, the Third Avenue Railroad's Third Avenue line opened for service

Coming in January, 2019: On the Other California Cities page: A ten and twenty year update on the Second Street Cable Railway, the first cable traction line in Los Angeles

On my San Francisco Bay Ferryboats page: I added an item about a Golden Gate ferry that rammed the wharf at the Ferry Building:

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-December-2018)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 30-November-2018)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 30-September-2018)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)