Sunday, November 29, 2009

KCBS Centennial -- November 29, 2009

This morning on KCBS In Depth, the guest was Gordon Greb, a San Jose State professor who wrote a book about Doc Herrold. He interviewed Herrold's widow and several of his students, and believes he met Herrold once in the 1930's. The banner, from, advertises the station's alleged 100th anniversary. I think Professor Greb made a pretty good case for it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

White Touring Car Defeats Barney Oldfield And His Bullet -- November 28, 2009

An advertisement for the San Francisco branch of the White Sewing Machine Company describes their steam-powered touring car defeating famous racing car driver Barney Oldfield in his Rocket.

The image is from the 07-November-1903 San Francisco Call.

Today we went to Half Moon Bay to do some shopping. It got windy in the afternoon. The Advent Wreath was up in church.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Palace and Grand Hotels -- November 27, 2009

This ad for the Palace and Grand Hotels appeared in the San Francisco Call of 27-February-1905. The Grand stood across New Montgomery from the pre-Earthquake and Fire Palace and was connected by an enclosed bridge.

Today the family came downtown with me when I went to work. They shopped, met me for lunch at Chevys, and then went to see A Christmas Carol. There was a burst of heavy rain while they were at the movie. By the time they were done, I was able to leave. We walked up to Macy's so I could see the animals in the windows. Then we decided to head home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving #3 -- November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.
The photograph shows red-headed actress Peggy Shannon, who had performed in the Ziegfeld Follies and Earl Carroll's Vanities before going to Hollywood. It comes from comes from

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Hard Work Being a Cat #29 - November 25, 2009

I took the photo on 22-November-2009.

We got to watch cars being unloaded for the International Auto Show.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grauman's Chinese #4 -- November 23, 2009

Harold Lloyd left his hand and footprints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 21-November-1927. I don't know what the occasion could have been -- this was between the release dates of The Kid Brother and Speedy. DSCN4138.

I took this on 18-July-2009.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pulp #7 -- November 21, 2009

The Spider was a pulp character who debuted in 1933. Millionaire Richard Wentworth became a masked crimefighter like The Batman, but unlike The Batman, The Spider did not hesitate to kill his opponents. The Spider hates criminals and considers himself a criminal because he murders criminals, so he -- it gets complicated. In his The Spider Returns website (, Rafael DeSoto says "If I was pitching The Spider franchise in Hollywood I might say: He's a superhero. Trapped in a horror film. Directed by John Woo." The Spider stories had some wonderful titles including The Corpse Cargo, Death's Crimson Juggernaut, The Pain Emperor, Reign of the Death Fiddler, Green Globes of Death, The Cholera King, and Satan's Sightless Legion.

The image is from a wonderful site called Cover Browser:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lincecum Cy Young Award #2 -- November 19, 2009

Tim Lincecum won the National League Cy Young award for the second straight year. Good job, Timmy. I'm happy he admits that he made a mistake driving with marijuana in the car.

I took the photo on 01-July-2007. It shows Lincecum on the mound, with second baseman Ray Durham and first baseman Ryan Klesko.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giants Wall of Fame #13 -- November 17, 2009

In September, 2008 the Giants unveiled their Wall of Fame along the King Street side of the ballpark, whatever it is called this week. This set of plaques in honors two Giants whom I remember well.

Robb Nenn was a brilliant closer who helped the Giants reach the playoffs regularly.

Kirk Reuter, Woody, was a smart left-handed pitcher who was loved by fans and teammates.

I took the photo on 29-September-2008 (3075).

It started raining while I was on my way home today.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hark the Herald #1 -- November 15, 2009

I like railroad heralds, and the Northwestern Pacific's is one of the best. I took this at the Ardenwood railroad fair in September, 2009. It is on the side of caboose 5591.

It was clear and cold today. I saw a blimp over downtown.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alley #2 -- November 14, 2009

Looking up Gold Street towards Balance. I orignally said this was Osgood Place. Then I looked at a big version. I took the photo on 30-October-2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th #2 -- November 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th. The photograph of actress Adrienne Ames comes from
I went to the Wells Fargo History Museum yesterday to see the new exhibit, "Women Making Financial History." I liked the reproduction of the Women's Room, where ladies could bank in privacy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans' Day #3 -- November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service to your country.

This is the 91st anniversary of Armistice Day. There are three surviving veterans, one from the UK, one from Canada, and one from the US.
My daughter and I had the day off, so we took a drive to Half Moon Bay to get lunch. We ate at Subway then visited Bay Books and the Hallmark store.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berlin Wall -- November 10, 2009

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember that no more than two years before, someone had offerred "The end of communism" as an intention at Mass. I thought, sure, after a nuclear war. Then Solidarity became part of the government in Poland, then the wall fell, and eventually communism pretty well died in eastern Europe.

The East German poster is from the German Historical Museum in Berlin (

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reminiscences of an Active Life #22 -- November 9, 2009

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 twenty-second part. He continues to talk about his experiences with the calliope.

The steam-powered calliope was the high-tech musical instrument of its day.

The image shows a record album, "On Board the Armenia", recorded by a group called Calliope Fair. I wonder if the album name was inspired by the North River steamer on which the doctor performed.

When he refers to the "The Echo Waltz," I wonder if he means "The Mountain Echo Waltz" by T. Bricher, which was published in 1847.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen

Part Fourteen

Part Fifteen

Part Sixteen

Part Seventeen

Part Eighteen

Part Nineteen

Part Twenty

Part Twenty-One

Reminiscences of an Active Life.


From Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 26, Issue 10, October 1894

(Continued from page 232.)

9. Career as a Musician.-- My performances on the calliope made it very popular, resulting in one of the North River steamers -- the Armenia -- being provided with such an instrument. It was placed on the upper deck, while the key-board and performer were placed below on the main deck, which was a good arrangement, as he then was under shelter, and was not so near to the strong, loud steam whistles, which could be heard for miles around along the river shore and hills of the romantic Hudson. It made the boat very popular, and a regular daily performer was engaged, who, unfortunately, did not understand the correct style of performance, above referred to. As I had neither the desire nor the time to sail daily up and down the river, I let him have his position, and only occasionally took a trip, when I always received a welcome, especially from the crew of the boat, who soon became tired of the limited repertoire of the regular performer, while the captain of the boat asked me to bring a few friends with me, when he would give us dinners and lodging for the trip up and down the river, all free of charge, for the pleasure of hearing me play.

I need not say that I made a free use of this privilege for the benefit of my friends, especially some newly-arrived artists who had never seen the noble Hudson river, and appreciated very much the privilege I could occasionally give them without cost to myself, and also for the benefit of our health.

I noticed with pleasure the joy I created among the crew of the boat when they noticed my coming on board in the morning.

I might add that I discovered some very fine echos (sic – JT) from the rocks at several places along the river, and made liberal use of them. Among the musical novelties of the day was a waltz called “The Echo Waltz,” in which I did not imitate the echo, as was intended by the composer, but let the echo itself do its duty naturally, to the great delight of the people on board. Of course, those on shore heard nothing of the echo.

(To be Continued.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Walking Tour #4 -- November 7, 2009

Today we did a walking tour for people who bid on me for the community support campaign. They were a nice couple from the city. As usual, we met in front of Peet's Coffee in the Ferry Building and went on from there. They liked the murals in Rincon Annex and Jackson Square. We had lunch at the Irish Bank.

I was worried when it rained yesterday, but today was clear and a bit cold. Good weather for walking.

We were eucharistic ministers at mass.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cliff House Centennial -- November 6, 2009

Last night there was a celebration for the centennial of the current (Third or Fourth, depending how one counts) Cliff House. I took the photo in December, 2008.

It rained today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Train Station #16 -- November 5, 2009

The signboard on the San Carlos Caltrain station, which was built in 1888 by the Southern Pacifc. I took the photo on 27-December-2008.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Firehouse #25 -- November 3, 2009

Engine Company One on Pacific Avenue was built in 1908. The city sold it in 1958. It is difficult to photograph because of the big tree and the way it faces north.

Norton Buffalo died. I love the Christmas Jug Band.

The Bay Bridge reopened this morning.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Aviator Thomas A. Baldwin Jr. Sitting in an Airplane in Grant Park - November 1, 2009

Aviator Thomas A. Baldwin Jr sits in his airplane during the 1911 International Aviation Meet in Chicago's Grant Park. Baldwin was a popular name among early aviators, but I can't find anything about Thomas A. Baldwin Jr.

The photo comes from the Library of Congress' wonderful American Memory site ( DN-0057541, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

Last night we had pizza at Goodfellas, a new place in the Park Mall. It was cold with all the people going in and out, but the pizza was good. If we had gotten a table over by the fireplace, it would have been warmer. We'll do it again.

On a large television, they were showing Night of the Living Dead with closed captioning on. I liked "Aaaaargh."

When we got back, we did not get many trick-or-treaters.