Saturday, November 29, 2008

California Academy of Science -- November 29, 2008

Today we went to see the new home of the California Academy of Science. We drove to the park and found a space by Stow Lake. We walked down and found lots and lots of autos. There were long lines out in front, including one slightly shorter for the members. While we waited, an announcement said that they had stopped selling tickets for the day and that only people who had bought tickets online or members could get in.
It was too crowded. My wife pointed out that the structure was poorly laid out. The two big domes, for the rain forest and the planetarium, took up too much space. The penguins are now in the African Hall (they preserved or reproduced the old roof), but there are no bleachers to watch them. We couldn't get downstairs to reach the acquarium. We found stairs and went up to the roof. The view was nice.
I took the photo today.
We went to Target in Serramonte and did some shopping. Also crowded.
The Advent wreath was up at mass.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving #2 -- November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I'm grateful for health and life and the recent election results.

The photograph shows Barbara Kent, who is one of few surviving people who acted in silent films as adults. Thank you to Amy at It'll Take the Snap Out of Your Garters (

There have been many stories about the anniversary of the assassination of Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk. People don't pay enough attention to George Moscone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Hard Work Being a Cat #17 - November 25, 2008

I took this on 11-November-2008.
It was very cold yesterday and today. There weren't big lines for the auto show.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

San Francisco Walking Tour #2 -- November 23, 2008

Yesterday was sunny and cold. We did another walking tour for people who bid on me for the community support campaign. This year's winner wanted to hear about the Barbary Coast and crime, so we went from the Ferry Building around to Mission and Steuart, then up Market to Drumm, then over on Drumm to Pacific and Front, where I talked about Shanghai Kelly and the crimping business. Then we went over to Jackson Square and back over to Pacific to look at the Hippodrome. Then Portsmouth Square and south on Grant Avenue. We had lunch at the Irish Bank.
As we drove home from my mom's tonight we saw that some people had put up Christmas lights and trees. Far too early.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Midwinter Fair #2 -- November 19, 2008

Another postcard from the 1893 Midwinter Fair, showing the Administration Building and the Fine Arts Museum, the original De Young Museum.

If you are interested in expositions, I can highly recommend KenBlog (, which is "devoted to World's Fairs & Expositions, and other historical & contemporary subjects." It started just this month with several postings on the Midwinter Fair.

I'm having trouble figuring out what to think about the bailout that the auto manufacturers want. Is it throwing good money after bad? If we let them go bankrupt and reorganize, who will buy their cars?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Peace In Our Time -- November 17, 2008

Today I went out at lunchtime to buy my Christmas cards. On my way there, I noticed some sidewalk art in front of the Museum of the African Diaspora. I liked this one, "Peace in our time." I walked right by here on Saturday and didn't notice it. I saw people walking down the sidewalk on top of the art. When some of them noticed me looking at it, they stepped off of the art.
It was warm again yesterday and today. Way too hot last night.
SI beat Sacred Heart the other day to win the Bruce-Mahoney again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Giants Wall of Fame #2 -- November 15, 2008

In September, 2008 the Giants unveiled their Wall of Fame along the King Street side of the ballpark. The first set of plaques in the series honors early San Francisco Giants pitcher Stu Miller, slugger Orlando Cepeda, outfielder and later manager Felipe Alou and catcher and later manager Tom Haller.

I took the photo on 29-September-2008.
It was warm and sunny today. We went downtown and saw the California Historical Society's current exhibit: "California Presidential: Candidates and Campaigns from the Golden State." I liked the set of signs explaining their criteria for including or not including candidates. Adlai Stevenson was not included since he was born here, but didn't reside here. A giant poster of Herbert Hoover was scary.
We walked over to Market to go to Macys, but found the anti Proposition 8 rally was making the turn from Market to Stockton. Where were all these people before the election? There were a lot of anti-religion signs.
We stopped at Old Navy then went home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Train Station #4 -- November 13, 2008

The California Western Railroad's Fort Bragg depot. We rode a steam-powered train from there in 2006.
Yesterday they were setting up the Christmas tree and skating rink in Union Square.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans' Day #2 -- November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service to our country.
This is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day. France moved its ceremony to Verdun. France and Germany lost their last vets this year. Britain has three or four left. We have one.
Tim Lincecum won the National League Cy Young Award. He is only the second Giant to win it. Wow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

California State Railroad Museum -- November 9, 2008

Yesterday we took a drive up to Sacramento. Traffic was light except around Vacaville. It was cloudy all the way. We visited the California State Railroad Museum. There was not a big crowd. There was a nice exhibit of photographs taken around the Nevada Northern. The museum people appear to have finished the latest round of rearranging the exhibits. We went under the freeway and had lunch at Panda Express in the mall. Then the family went shopping. It started to rain lightly. After we went back to Old Sacramento and walked around a bit. Traffic was light on the way back except around Berkeley.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reminiscences of an Active Life #10 -- November 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 tenth part. He continues to discuss theology.

Henry Ward Beecher was a prominent clergyman and social reformer in Brooklyn, NY. I took a creative writing class from a relative of his, John Beecher. He had just been reinstated in 1977 after being blacklisted in the 1950s for refusing to sign a loyalty oath.

Herbert Spencer was a British philosopher who came up with the idea of Social Darwinism.

When he describes "Rev. P. H. Scholten", I wonder if he means Hendrik Pieter (H. P.) Scholte, who founded Pella, Iowa, and doesn't sound like as bad a guy as the Doctor describes. Holland, Michigan was founded by Doctor Albertus van Raalte.

The image comes from Manufacturer and Builder Volume 4, Issue 10, October 1872, page 233.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Reminiscences of an Active Life.


From Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 25, Issue 11, November 1893

(Continued from page 559.)

6th. Career as a Theological Student. -- The locality where I was a witness of the conflict between ultra-orthodoxy and progress, was the city of Heusden, ten miles west of the capital of North Brabaud, s'Hertozenbosch, where, as was mentioned in the February number, I gave my first extempore lecture on acoustics. This city contains the largest and finest cathedral in the Netherlands, in regard to which possessors of the back volumes of the MANUFACTURER AND BUILDER may see a fine engraving and description on page 232, October number for 1872. This structure, in point of size, is inferior to the colossal cathedral of Cologne, but the beauty and symmetry of its design is considered by experts to be far superior as a specimen of the purest Gothic style.

In the city of Heusden is also a very old cathedral of smaller size, of which, in 1832, I was appointed organist according to the rule prevailing in Holland, which prescribes a comparative examination by experts. There were some twenty candidates, each of whom had to perform the same prescribed numbers of a programme. The examiners did not know who was playing, neither had the candidates a chance to hear one another. Soon after this appointment I was also the leader of an orchestra, and began then and there my career as a musician, to which in the future I will also devote a few articles.

The preacher of this cathedral, the Rev. Pape, was almost as influential a man in the smaller circle of the surrounding cities and villages (all densely populated) as was Henry Ward Beecher in the wider circle of Brooklyn and New York. He was one of the most enlightened and eloquent preachers, and belonged to that party wbich did its utmost to keep the Reformed Church at the level of the progress continually made in natural sciences, to which party also belonged the leading clergymen of the large cities, as well as the professors of the universities and the heads of the Department of Public Worship, from the treasury of which all the salaries were paid.

It must be stated here that only those denominations partake of the government salaries which existed when the kingdom of Holland, with its old republican local laws, was established on the ruins of the fallen Napoleonic empire, by which the church property had been confiscated and transferred to tbe new independent government established in 1815.

It is evident that such a system tends to prevent the formation of new sects, based on notions about things which Herbert Spencer has so properly specified as belonging to the unknowable. Therefore they have in Holland no Unitarians or Universalists as separate sects, but thousands of church members believe in these doctrines without separating themselves from the Church in which they were born, and which they will not leave, because it tends to reform itself in accordance with the advancement of human knowledge.

Here we have arrived at the cause of the schism referred to before. In the vicinity of the city of Heusden was a small village, of which I have forgotten the name, but not that of its preacher, P. H. Scholten, who found that many of the inhabitants were ultra-orthodox, which means that they liked to hear sermons about eternal damnation in a hell of fire and brimstone, where all would go who did not believe exactly as they did. They preferred, also, to sing only David's divinely inspired psalms, as their fathers did, and not the new-fangled hymns, which they considered in conflict with the Bible, as there was one line in them which mentioned God as the creator of a thousand suns, while the Bible mentioned only one sun. Therefore the Rev. P. H. Scholten never gave out hymns to be sung, but only the psalms as inspired by God to King David, who they considered as a very pure and holy man, notwithstanding the Bible states the very reverse of this.

When the hymns were first introduced (after having been selected by a committee, discussed, and approved by three different synods, first in Zwoll, in 1797; then in Gorcum, in 1798; and in Leyden, 1801), there was some opposition, wherefore the classis, which is a church government, decided that every preacher should give out at least one hymn to be sung at every service. They all obeyed, and hymns and psalms were sung by the congregations, until Dominie Scholten (as they call their preachers there) refused, and made himself conspicuous by omitting the hymns. It gave him great popularity, and farmers with their families came from considerable distances to attend the services where uninspired hymns were not sung, but only the psalms of the holy David, while in addition they were edified with liberal doses of damnation for their enemies, in which Dominie Scholten only followed David's example, as is proved by the very psalms which David wrote.

As the classis had not the power to suspend the preacher for his doctrines, that body had to confine itself to his disobedience of the order of his superiors to give out hymns. Therefore he was discharged, salary stopped, and another preacher appointed in his place. Then one of the farmers offered him his large barn to preach in. This offer he accepted, and the schism was completed; the ultra-orthodox came to the barn; they were in the majority, while the newly-appointed preacher had a congregation which was in the minority in regard to numbers.

Dominie Scholten, however, saw soon tbat his influence was merely local, and that he never would succeed in making his orthodoxy spread. He saw that the intelligent over the whole land were satisfied with the hymns, and despised any retrograde steps from the road of progress which thus far had been wisely followed by the great body of Protestants; therefore Dominie Scholten, considering the hold he had upon his followers, commenced preaching about emigration to the United States, where there was freedom, and no supervision of the classis or other church authorities. It was said that Dominie Pape of the church where I was organist, favored the plan in order to get rid of a demagogue whose purpose was self-aggrandisement.

That this conclusion was correct, was proved when Scholten induced the farmers to sell out and give him the money so that he could go to the United States and buy land for them. This was done, and he selected good land in Michigan, where afterward the emigrants followed him, and established the town of Holland on the land he had purchased, and distributed among them according to the amount of money they had invested.

If they expected that they could now hear his sermons on the old faith of a heaven of bliss for the elect and a hell for the damned, they were disappointed, as he soon found out that there are more profitable kinds of business than preaching; he became a land agent, and as such is well known in the West. He is well off now, and it is said that he has given up preaching orthodox sermons.

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Firehouse #13 -- November 5, 2008

Station 10 is on Presidio Avenue near California Street. The San Francisco Fire Department Museum is at the left. I took the photo on 18-August-2008.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day -- November 4, 2008

Senator Obama has won. I pray for him to succeed. Senator McKane made a gracious concession speech.
I caught the first bus home. I had to park way up the street from the polling place. The gym at the school had a lot of people in it, with long lines at some of the precinct tables. There were no voters at my precinct. I was happy to see that two of the workers were young people. They said they were very busy today. I used the electronic machine again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Almost There -- November 3, 2008

People keep saying they wish the election would be over. I'd like that, too, but I hope the Republicans don't steal it this time. Senator Obama's grandmother died today. I'm sorry she didn't live to see the results. I understand the California State Republicans chose today to file a complaint to FEC about his recent trip to visit her. Shameless. It rained hard in the afternoon. Traffic was horrible on the way home. The driver called the dispatcher to tell him we were tied up on the 280 Extension. John Fell died. I took a film class from him at SF State. I saw many movies, like "The Adventures of Dollie," for the first time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Eugene Ely -- November 1, 2008

On 18-January-1911 Eugene Ely, a Curtiss pilot, took off from Tanforan race track and landed on a temporary deck built on the cruiser Pennsylvania. This was the first time an airplane landed on a ship. On 14-November-1910, Ely had taken off from a temporary deck built on the cruiser Birmingham at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Ely's two pioneering flights were a step towards the development of the aircraft carrier. Ely died in a crash later in 1911.

I took the photo on 11-October-2008 at Tanforan.

It rained hard today and the wind blew heavily at times.

The ad hominem attacks on Senator Obama are getting worse.