Monday, September 29, 2008

Giants 2008 -- September 29, 2008

The Giants finished their season yesterday at 72-90 as Tim Lincecum defeated the Dodgers 3-1. He's a valid candidate for the Cy Young award.

They won only one more game than last year, but they were a lot more exciting. Lincecum did well. Bengie Molina was fun. The young players who came up, especially Pablo Sandoval, were always interesting. I have more hope for next season, if only they could find a power hitter. Peter Magowan turned the keys over to the new owner.
I took the photo of the new statue of Orlando Cepeda, on King near Second Street, on 16-September-2008.

Congress failed to pass a bailout today and the market closed 777 down. A record.
Update 01-October-2008: I forgot to mention that Omar Vizquel probably played his last game for the Giants on Sunday. He is either the best shortstop I have seen in person or right there next to Ozzie Smith.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Model T 100 -- September 27, 2008

On 27-September-2008, the Ford Motor Company started manufacturing the Model T. It made a big difference to America and the world. Many of my relative learned to drive on Model Ts.
Last night Bengie Molina won the Willie Mac award for the second consecutive year. Then the Giants beat the Dodgers after a remarkable delay. Molina hit the ball off the top of the wall in right field and ran to first. Burriss came in to run for him. Then the Giants appealed. The umpires checked the new instant reply and looked at the ball with green paint from the roof on the wall and declared a home run. Burriss ran the bases. The Giants appealed because they would rather have kept Molina in the game.
Today JT Snow got to put on the uniform and go to first base at the start of the game. Now he can retire as a Giant.
Yesterday Senators Obama and McCain debated. I wasn't impressed by either one of them.
And Paul Newman died. He was good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mutoscope #2 -- September 23, 2008

A Mutoscope at San Francisco's Musee Mecanique ( . The sign is wrong. I took the photo on 20-September-2008.
I got to visit Oracle World a bit today. They are pushing green very hard. The large sign at Third and Howard is not a video screen this year. Throughout the gardens are the three standard San Francisco cash containers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Musee Mecanique -- September 21, 2008

We decided to play tourist again yesterday. It was muggy and it rained a bit. We parked at Fifth and Mission and caught New Orleans 951 on the F line. They had fixed the roof leak. We got off at Pier 39 and had lunch. There was an enormous crowd trying to see the sea lions. We went on to Pier 45 to visit the Musee Mecanique.
I took this photo of my favorite amusement device, the French Execution. I posted a video of this device and the baseball game on YouTube:
We walked through Fish Alley and on to the visitors' center in the Haslett Warehouse. I liked it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Train Station #2 -- September 19, 2008

The Ocean Shore Railroad has been gone since 1921, but Pacifica's Vallemar Station has housed many restaurants since then. The current eatery is a sports bar with good food. It has a nice selection of railroad photos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clover the Rainbow -- August 17, 2008

The family always enjoys seeing Clover Milk ads. They have started to set up for Oracle World around Moscone Center. Tomorrow they close Howard Street. With so many financial institutions failing, mostly because of deregulation and greed, it was nice to see a columnist use TR's phrase "malefactors of great wealth."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Signs of the Times #22 -- September 15, 2008

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters representing characters from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (one of my favorite novels). Artist Owen Smith made this image to represent femme fatale Brigid O'Shaughnessy. I have always wondered whether Hammet was thinking of San Francisco city engineer MM O'Shaughnessy when he chose her name.
I took this photo on 22-August-2008 on Market near Fifth.
We finally have a state budget. They went and borrowed from the lottery. Bad idea.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Busy Day -- September 13, 2008

This 1967 VW beetle has been parked outside the entrance to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for a while. It represents the car that Huey P Newton was driving in 1989 when the Oakland police shot him. It is part of an art exhibit called October Blue Suite by Lauren Woods and William Cordova. I took the photo on 25-August-2008.
It was a busy day in Pacifica. There was a "big air" show at the Sea Bowl. Cars were parked all over the place and a motorized cable car provided a shuttle.
The head of the SF branch of the Hell's Angels got killed recently. There is a gathering tonight at a bar in Eureka Square. It was just getting started when we left mass.
Tim Lincecum got his first complete game, a 7-0 shutout of the Padres.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

09/11 -- September 11, 2008

When the alarm went off at 05:29, I remembered KCBS reporting that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. I thought it had to be an accident. After I got dressed, I went downstairs and turned on the television and they said another airplane had the other tower. Then I thought it couldn't be an accident.
When I learned what had happened, I wanted to put something on my website(s) to express my feelings. I thought of the "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a quote attributed to Ben Franklin:
The rattlesnake's "... eye excelled in brightness that of any other animal, and ... she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage ... (S)he never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her." "An American Guesser", 27-Dec-1775
I knew there would be some xenophobia, but this is the way American reacted. I was sorry when President Bush chose not to try to unify the country and the world. Instead he invaded Iraq.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Admission Day -- September 9, 2008

We don't hear much about Admission Day anymore. Today is the 158th anniversary of California being welcomed into the Union.
Today I took this photograph of Douglas Tilden's Native Sons Monument, which commemorates Admission Day. I posted a detail view last year.
Anita Page died. People are posting about her all over the place and trying to qualify their statements about whether she was the last surving silent star (usually something like "who made movies as an adult").

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reminiscences of an Active Life #9 -- September 7, 2008

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde was born in Nymegen, Holland in 1813. He went on to live a remarkable life of achievement in the sciences and the arts. He died in America in 1895.

While serving as editor of Manufacturer and Builder Magazine, he wrote many articles, including the ones which gave this blog its name. In 1893 and 1894, he published a 23-part (!) memoir in the same periodical. Here is the eighth part. He begins to discuss his training in theology.

Disputes between science and fundamentalist religion have been going on for a long time.

The image comes from the first installment, in the February, 1893 issue.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Reminiscences of an Active Life.


From Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 25, Issue 10, October 1893

(Continued from page 205.)

6th. Career as a Theological Student. The tendency toward ultra-orthodoxy appears to be in the inverse ratio of the amount of information in regard to the nature of things surrounding us. Thus, for instance, in isolated farmhouses, or in out-of-the-way places, where the school instruction is entirely confined to the three R's -- reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic -- the tendency to accept as uncontrovertible truths the theories taught by ultra-orthodox Christian instructors, are adopted without the least hesitation, and this even in utter disregard of the fact that they often are in utter contradiction with well-established natural laws, based on incontrovertible mathematical truths, and verified by the experience of every thinking being.

On the other hand, observation proves that in large cities with a numerous population, and the consequent mutual intercourse and interchange of diverse opinions, a totally different condition of mind prevails, especially when there are also schools where various branches of knowledge are taught, such as geography, physical as well as descriptive; also the products of the earth -- mineral, vegetable and animal (usually known under the name of natural history); when, inaddition to all this, there are also higher schools, where instructionis given in the events through which the principal races of mankind have passed in the course of ages, we find always a tendency to discard ultra-orthodox views, and the most intelligent of the inhabitants show not only toleration of diverse opinions, but also a tendency to contribute their share to the intellectual advancement of the human race.

I had the good fortune to live for some years (1833 to 1839) in a locality where the inhabitants, were divided in the two opposite opinions described above, until at last an open warfare broke out. Of course the war was not physical, but exclusively intellectual; however, it rose at last so high, that the general government of the United Netherlands had to interfere and compel the opposite parties to obey the law and preserve order.

It may surprise American citizens who know that in the Netherlands, where perfect freedom of religious opinion prevails, the government was obliged to take sides, and had the legal power to do so. For this reason, it will be necessary to go back to the beginning of this century, when the basis of the peculiar system now prevailing there was laid. This system is that the clergymen of all denominations -- Christians and Jews, Protestants and Roman Catholics -- are independent of the membersof their church, as they all receive their salaries from the general government and not from the members of the congregations. This system originated in the acts of the first Napoleon, who, in the beginning of this century, confiscated all church property, and sold much of it at public auction, so as to provide funds for his large armies and continue his warfare against such European governments as were not under his control. He pacified the clergymen with the promise that the same salaries would be continued at the same rate as they had been enjoying.

When all the church property and the cash value received had been placed under the control of a newly-created department, that of Public Worship, to which Napoleon (with the sagacity which even his bitterest enemies admire) appointed the most suitable men, it turned out that a great saving was accomplished, as it was proved that the income of the property, sold or unsold, was far more than the salaries to be paid. The only losers by the new system were the different persons who in each church had the control of the funds and made the payments to the clergymen.

(To be Continued).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

DVD: Georges Méliès First Wizard of Cinema -- September 6, 2008

I finished watching Flicker Alley's ( 5-dvd set Georges Méliès First Wizard of Cinema. This is a remarkable collection of more than 170 movies, ranging from "Une Partie de cartes", Star Film catalog #1 from 1896 to his last, "Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon" from 1913. The shortest complete film, "La Vengeance du gâte-sauce" from 1900 is 33 seconds. The longest is "A la conquête du pôle" from 1912, which is 30 minutes and 22 seconds.
I had worried that watching so many Méliès movies in a relatively short time would give me indigestion, but I never felt sated. I enjoyed observing patterns over time, like the cakewalk step that turned up in 1903's "Le Cake-walk infernal" and many other movies in the same period.
I saw many examples of Méliès' performing abilities. I was sad on disk four when I realized that I had not seen him appear for a while. It was nice on the last disk when I saw him in "Les Illusions fantaisistes", which looked back to his earliest trick films. This was followed two films later by "A la conquête du pôle", where he has the leading role, and even something close to a closeup. I first read about this film in a library book when I was in grammar school. I had seen the schene with the monster before, but never the whole movie.
The picture quality varied greatly, but is understandable because many movies only survive in one print. The musical scores varied but most were appropriate. The one for "Le Tonnerre de Jupiter" was very funny.
The menu for "A la conquête du pôle" offerred a choice of German or translated English, but both options give the German. I was happy to see that the Flicker Alley site offers the translations.
Michael Brooke has embarked on a brave project to write a blog entry about each movie on the dvd. As I write this, he is taking a breather; I look forward to more entries:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Firehouse #11 -- September 5, 2008

Another view of Company One on Howard near Third Street. I took this on 11-September-2003, as the company was lined up to commemorate the anniversary.
The Republican convention was short on positive proposals and long on personal attacks. I thought it was interesting how they cancelled most of the first day so they could look concerned about New Orleans and the hurricane. It makes a big difference to have a hurricane in an election year. They seem to have a plan to denounce any question about Governor Palin as being sexist.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Signs of the Times #21 -- September 4, 2008

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters representing characters from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (one of my favorite novels). Artist Owen Smith made this image to represent the fat man, Kaspar Gutman, and his associate, Joel Cairo.

I took this photo on 21-August-2008 on Market near Fourth.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aviator Lincoln Beachey Sitting in an Airplane -- September 3, 2008

Lincoln Beachey was an early stunt flier. He was the featured performer at San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition, where he died on 14-March-1915.

The photo comes from the Library of Congress' wonderful American Memory site ( DN-0062741, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day - September 1, 2008

We went to the Eighth annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm. The weather was good -- not as hot as last year ( The guest locomotive this year was Sandstone Crag Loop Line #4, Deanna, an 0-4-2T built by Baldwin in 1891 for the Kaiwiki Sugar Co. in Ookala, HI. It is now privately owned in Coto de Caza, CA.

There were no horse-drawn train rides this year. Here is the note from the program, saying that they "will not be offered this year due to the loss of Tucker, one of our two wonderful Belgian draft horses. Jiggs, his partner, is in mourning and not up to giving rides this Railfair, but will be in attendance and receiving visitors."

There were nice model train layouts and the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association had a collection of internal combustion engines running by the barn. This year they did not have the locomotive run around the train.