Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coastside Barbershop -- March 30, 2014

The last time I went to the Coastside Barbershop, Frank Nash said he was going to retire in the Spring because he was going to be 83 and he had been barbering for more than 60 years.  Frank and his father opened the shop in 1956.  I went again yesterday in the rain.  Frank was working on someone else, so I got Sam, who fills in when Glenn is not there.  He did a good job.  When he finished, I thanked Frank for all the haircuts.  He thanked me for helping to feed his family.  I wish him well. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mabel Her 90 H.P. Racing Car -- March 29, 2014

Mabel Normand (her name is spelled wrong in the caption) was a pioneering comic actress in movies.  When she was in her teens, Mabel Normand starting posing as a model for artists such as Charles Dana Gibson. She started acting in movies for several studios including Biograph, where she met Mack Sennett. When Sennett left Biograph to start Keystone in 1912, Mabel went along. She was engaged to Sennett for while, but they never married. People still debate the reasons. She became one of Sennett's most important comedians, but, like his other comedians, left Sennett for other studios and more money. Mabel starred in a series of popular features for Goldwyn, went back to Sennett, but then became tangled up in scandals, for things with which she was not involved. She died of tuberculosis at 37.  The image is from the 19-September-1914 Moving Picture World.  This is probably not just a publicity shot.  Mabel liked to drive fast cars. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Big Tramp Steamships Arrive -- March 27, 2014

From the 22-September-1901 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view. 

F. S. Ciampa, Flying Italian Flag, Drops Anchor in Port.

Among the fleet that made port yesterday were the Italian steamship F. S. Ciampa and the British steamship Cycle.  Both were under charter to load wheat, but the Ciampa was twelve hours behind her canceling date, and now the charterer does not want to pay as high a rate. The matter will probably be amicably adjusted on Monday.

The Ciampa was 25 days coming from Talcahuano, while the Cycle was 24 days coming from Hiogo. The former is 4040 tons gross and 2634 tons net burden. She was built in Genoa, Italy, in 1899, by N.
Odero & Co., and is 340 feet 5 inches long, 45 feet beam and 19 feet 8 inches deep.  Captain Cafaiero, who commands her, has scores of friends in this port, as he traded here for years in the ship Francesco Ciampa.

The Cycle is 3411 tons gross and 2227 tons net burden. She was built in Sunderland. England, in 1900, by J. L. Thompson & Sons, Ltd., and is 331 feet 2 inches long, 49 feet beam and 24 feet 5 inches deep. Each steamship will take away about 5000 tons of grain.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shoreline Marker #2 -- March 26, 2014

Two plaques at Market and Battery Streets mark the San Francisco Bay shoreline when gold was discovered on 24-January-1848.  This one is on the northeast side of the intersection.  It was placed by the Native Sons of the Golden West in 1921. 

You can see the other plaque here:

 I took the photo on 25-February-2014. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Cat #5 -- March 25, 2014

I took the photo on 14-March-2014.  She no longer fits in the bed the SPCA gave her, but she still sleeps on it. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Geometric Shapes -- March 23, 2014

I was walking through the Embarcadero Center on 14-March-2014 and I noticed how many geometric shapes I could see, including the Transamerica Pyramid. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Glasshole Slocum -- March 22, 2014

"Follow Me -- I Ruin Yr Neighborhood Bar." 

I saw this sticker on a box on Drumm Street on 14-March-2014.  It took me a little while to figure out that it refers to the lady who went into Molotov's on Haight Street wearing Google Glass and became the object of the anger of the crowd who felt that she was violating their privacy.  Someone snatched the glasses from her but she got them back later.  It turned out that the crowd had a point; she had recorded the whole thing using Google Glass and turned it over to the police.  I try never to blame the victim, but Molotov's may have been the wrong place to wear Google Glass. 

Google publishes a guide to best practices for Glass wearers (  A pertinent paragraph under DONTS:
"Be creepy or rude (aka, a "Glasshole"). Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don't get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren't allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you're asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers." 

Several bars and clubs have banned Google Glass or are reminding users of existing no camera policies. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stockton Street Closed #4 -- March 21, 2014

Stockton Street is still closed from Market to Geary, but I didn't see much happening on the surface, except for a trench dug along the curb near Geary.  Work on the Central Subway has apparently passed under the Stockton Tunnel. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Saint Joseph's Day #6 -- March 19, 2014

Happy Saint Joseph's Day to my fellow Joes.

Big Joe Turner from Kansas City was a great blues shouter.  He worked with boogie woogie piano player Pete Johnson and they composed and recorded "Roll 'Em Pete" in 1938.  This song is one of the candidates for the first rock'n'roll record. 
Here is one version on YouTube:

Turner replaced Jimmy Rushing in Count Basie's band.  On his own he recorded "Shake, Rattle and Roll," which was a big hit with the newly growing rock'n'roll audience.  Bill Haley and His Comets covered it and made a lot more money. 
Here is a version on YouTube:

Big Joe Turner went back to the blues for the rest of his career.  He is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1955 Dodge Firebomb -- March 18, 2014

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June to drool over their collection of classic autos.  The 1955 Dodge Firebomb is a concept car designed by Virgil Exner, with a body built by Ghia.  Chrysler Corporation was not interested in manufacturing the car, so they sold the rights to  Eugene Casaroll, whose Dual Motors Corporation built the Dual-Ghia with a Dodge Hemi engine.  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other celebrities bought Dual-Ghias. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day #7 -- March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

The 25-March-1939 Liberty features an article by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sleuthathon, a Blogathon of Gumshoes -- March 16, 2014

Moving Picture World, 21-October-1916

Fritzi at Movies Silently is hosting Sleuthathon, a Blogathon of Gumshoes.  My entry for the blogathon is on my new movies-mostly blog, The Big V Riot Squad:  Sherlock Holmes Looks Exactly Like William Gillette

The first actor to become famous for playing Sherlock Holmes was American William Gillette. Arthur Conan Doyle had killed Sherlock Holmes in 1893, but, needing money, was happy to let Gillette write a four act play, Sherlock Holmes, or The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner. In fact, Gillette had to write the play twice, because the first manuscript burned in the fire at Lucky Baldwin's Hotel and Theater at Powell and Market in San Francisco on 23-November-1898.  Gillette played Holmes more than 1300 times, and his play was the basis for later films with John Barrymore and Basil Rathbone.  The play also introduced a love interest for Holmes, Alice Faulkner.  Gillette played Holmes in a 1916 feature film, which is believed to be lost. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Juana Briones and More -- March 15, 2014

We had a day off today, so we went downtown.  The weather was warm and sunny.  We parked at Fifth and Mission and walked up Fourth and Stockton to Macys.  Stockton is still blocked but there isn't much happening on the surface. 

After Macys, we walked to the Irish Bank, but they were closed to set up for their Saint Patrick's Day block party.  We walked down Kearny and third to the Yerba Buena Gardens.  As we walked along Mission, a decorated cable car went by and two girls yelled my wife's name.  The car went by so quickly, she couldn't see who they were.  We had lunch at Super Duper Burgers.  They do a nice hamburger. 

We walked up Fourth to Market just in time to see the Good Shepherd students march by in a combined Catholic schools band.  We watched for a while and saw the cable car again.  It was from the Rebel Cork Benevolent Association.  Two of her students and their mother were aboard. 

We went down Third to Mission and over to the California Historical Society to see their current show, Juana Briones y su California ~ Pionera, Fundadora, Curandera. This is the CHS' first bilingual exhibit. One of the artifacts is a section of adobe wall, which was part of her home that was recently and shamefully torn down  in Palo Alto.  There was a nice selection of documents, images and maps that traced her life from Villa Branciforte to Santa Clara to San Francisco to Palo Alto.  The show is handicapped by the lack of a verified drawing or photograph of Juana Briones.  She was too busy to pose for a picture. 

We stopped at AG Ferrari to get something to drink and a cookie.  We sat at the outside tables and watched the jammed traffic on Mission.  Traffic was fine on the way home. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Travis "Stonewall" Jackson -- March 14, 2014

Partly reposted from 15-October-2012

Inspired by the book Few and Chosen: Defining Giants Greatness Across the Eras by Giants great Bobby Thomson and Phil Pepe, I thought I would devote my nickname meme to Giants players for the next several months. 
Travis Jackson played shortstop for the New York Giants for many years in the 1920s and 1930s.  His nickname, Stonewall, was obviously borrowed from the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, but it conveys a good idea of Travis Jackson's defensive abilities as a shortstop.  Despite various health and injury problems, Jackson served as team captain for two years, appeared in the 1934 All Star Game, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Semi-Weekly Bayou LaFourche and Coast Packet -- March 13, 2014

Until 1905, Bayou Lafourche connected the Mississippi River with the Gulf of Mexico.  Many Cajuns live around the Bayou.  Thibodaux is the seat of Lafourche Parish. 

From the New Orleans Daily Democrat, 02-April-1878.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

1078 in the Rain -- March 12, 2014

I took this photo of Muni PCC 1078 on Market Street near Fremont.  We're in a drought, but 26-February-2014 was a rainy day.  1078 was built for the Twin Cities lines by the Saint Louis Car Company in 1946.  In 1953 it went to Newark.  Muni acquired it in 2004.  It has run in San Francisco since 2012, painted in the colors of the San Diego Electric Railway. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How the Southern Pacific Maintains World's Cleanest Ferry Boats -- March 11, 2014

This article appeared in the March, 1921 Southern Pacific Bulletin, an employee publication. This edition was identified on the cover as the "Steamer Division Number."

How the Southern Pacific Maintains World's Cleanest Ferry Boats

Company's Plan for Keeping Big Vessels in Sanitary Condition is Explained by California State Board of Health

Under the caption "Keeping the Ferry Boats Clean; How the Southern Pacific Maintains the World's Cleanest Ferry Boats," the California State Board of Health in its Monthly Bulletin for August, 1921, explained the system being used by the company in rendering sanitary the vessels operated on the San Francisco bay.
The article, constituting an unusual word of praise from an official source for Captain Charles F. Heath, Superintendent of Steamers, and employes of his department, is presented herewith. 

IN HANDLING its ferry service on San Francisco Bay, the Southern Pacific Company gives more attention to the clearing of the vessels, their proper sanitation and ventilation, than to any other problems except those directly involved in navigating the steamers.  The magnitude of the task may be appreciated when attention is called to the fact that in 1920 there were 26,946,439 persons carried by three Southern Pacific ferry routes, Oakland Pier, Alameda Pier and Oakland Harbor. This is an average of 2,235,536 a month, or 73,825 a day.

Crew Responsible for Cleaning

On every steamer the work of cleaning is assigned to individual members of the crew. For example, the lower main deck, as it is sometimes referred to, where the largest part of the crew is employed and which requires the most attention, is in charge of the second officer, who is responsible to the captain for the cleanliness of this part of the steamer. The second officer is the supervisory officer of the lower deck. He assigns certain portions of the steamer to individual members of the crew to clean and keep in an orderly condition. One deckhand may have assigned to him the port side amidships aft, another the starboard side amidships forward and another the toilets, and so on. In this manner it not only divides the work and makes each deckhand responsible for his particular portion, but stimulates a certain amount of friendly competition among the men.  On the saloon deck, or upper deck, as it is sometimes called, and in the main cabin the cleaning is done by two cabin men, the ladies' retiring rooms being in charge of a matron. These employees, being under the supervision of the first officer, as on the lower deck, the work is divided between the two men.  Frequently daily inspections are made by captain to see that the steamer is being properly cared for.

System is Necessary

Considering the large volume of passenger traffic between the hours of 6 a. m. and 8 p. m. between Oakland, Alameda and San Francisco, it is indeed a task to keep the boats in first-class condition as to cleanliness, and were it not for the systematic manner in which the work is handled it would be impossible.  It can readily be seen that during the day only the light cleaning can be done, on account of the short time at terminals and the passengers being aboard, so all heavy cleaning is done during the night, after boats are through running.  The light cleaning during the running time consists of sweeping the decks at a time that it will not inconvenience the passengers, polishing brass, cleaning cuspidors, cleaning windows inside, washing paint work inside. The man assigned to men's toilets after each heavy trip cleans the toilet, scrubs the paint work, washes the bowls and urinals. In the cabin the floors are swept, seats are dusted, spots removed from paint work, the ladies' retiring rooms are looked after and put in shape after each trip by the matron.  The heavy cleaning after the boats complete the day's work consists of washing down the main deck, using a large hose, lye and sand. Also the outside of boat is washed down, all windows cleaned on the outside, toilets scrubbed out with lye and water with disinfectant added to the water, cuspidors given a thorough cleaning and sufficient disinfectant put in each cuspidor. It might also be added that during the day trips, when the main deck is sprinkled, a sufficient amount of disinfectant solution is added to the water.  The crew's quarters receive the same attention as other parts of the steamer. In the cabin the linoleum floor covering is scrubbed thoroughly and cuspidors disinfected. The floor in the ladies' room also is scrubbed and toilets disinfected.  When time permits and conditions warrant, the steamers are fumigated. This is done by means of burning sulphur. Every room is closed and a burner put in each room. A number are placed in the cabin, the same below the main deck and the crew's quarters. Experience has shown that this is the most practical manner to rid the steamers of rodents, but in addition, rat poison and traps are used. This fumigating can only be done when boats are off the run at the shipyards.  In connection with proper sanitation Pacific Company maintains at the San Francisco ferry station a plumbing shop, whose employees are constantly supervising and maintaining the plumbing on the steamers.  The bilges on all steamers are thoroughly cleaned every week -- bilges being pumped dry every day, so that no stagnant water may accumulate.  The grill rooms and kitchens of the ferry boats receive the constant inspection, not only of the employes of the steamer department, but the inspection of all branches of service under the jurisdiction of the dining car department.  To maintain sanitary conditions, as well as the service, the crews are divided into three or two watches, according to the run. During the morning and evening trips, the service is heaviest. Between these periods the crews are constantly cleaning and sterilizing equipment under the supervision of the steward in charge.

Supplies Are Kept Fresh

In addition to this, the management of the dining car department has created a number of new features in the preparation of meal supplies to insure perfect cleanliness. The boats are furnished enough perishable supplies to last a round trip. On one of the piers a commissary is established, which is operated day and night to insure fresh supplies. One of the most desirable features is the butcher shop, where the meats are cut according to the particular needs of the trip, as, during regular meal service, the patrons usually order the prepared entrees, whereas, between meal periods, short orders are usually called for. This shop also prepares special articles, such as sausage, head cheese and corned meats, which insures their absolute quality, as only the highest class of supplies are purchased by the department, and inspected before being received.  A kitchen is maintained to prepare soups, entrees, sauces and desserts, giving a uniform and high standard of cooking, also serving as a means of instruction to cooks to be advanced. These articles are delivered to the boats in covered containers, specially constructed, allowing a fresh supply at intervals; also, a bakery is maintained, which supplies have specially constructed for handling. There is also a bakeshop for the baking of rolls, pies, etc.  In addition, when possible, canned goods, jams, jellies, marmalades, etc., are purchased in individual containers. Butter is specially packed for this service and cream is purchased in sealed cans.

The matron in the ladies' retiring room on the Alameda, from the original publication in the California State Board of Health Monthly Bulletin, Volume 17, No 2.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Baseball To-Day -- March 9, 2014

An ad from the 31-December-1898 San Francisco Call for baseball at Recreation Park.  Note that neither Santa Cruz nor Seattle was truly at home, but they could make better gate receipts playing in San Francisco.  Recreation Park at 8th and Market was used by many baseball teams, including the San Francisco Seals when the Pacific Coast League started in 1903. 

I'm enjoying spring training, even though the Giants lost 18-3 to the Mariners yesterday. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Just a Little Better Than Any Other Train -- March 8, 2014

This ad from the 21-April-1901 San Francisco Call extols the Santa Fe's California Limited service from San Francisco to Chicago. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Strangerhood -- Chinatown -- March 7, 2014

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters by artist Lordy Rodriquez called "Strangerhood." Rodriquez reimagines San Francisco neighborhoods as countries.  He is his version of Chinatown.  I took the photo on 14-January-2014.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kellar! The Great Magician -- March 6, 2014

Harry Kellar was one of the great American magicians of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries. Here he is featured at the Columbia Theatre in San Francisco. The ad is from the 07-November-1898 San Francisco Call.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Gram-o-phone Suggests Itself -- March 5, 2014

In this ad from the 27-December-1898 San Francisco Call, Sherman. Clay and Company offers a Gramophone.  Sherman. Clay and Company is a piano store founded in San Francisco in 1870, which is going out of business in May this year.  The gramophone was originally the name for devices which played flat records, like Berliner's, instead of Edison-type phonograph cylinders.  Chauncey M Depew was a famous New York corporate attorney who later became a United States Senator. 

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I went to get ashes at the old Federal Reserve Building. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Curtiss Navy Racer -- March 4, 2014

Curtiss built the CR racer for the United States Navy.  Bert Acosta flew it to victory in the 1921 Pulitzer Trophy race. 

The images are from the 1922 Aircraft Yearbook. Be sure to click on the images to see larger versions. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 San Francisco History Expo -- March 2, 2014

Today we attended the fourth annual San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint. There was a good crowd. There were some new exhibitors this year, including the Odd Fellows.  Here is a photo of people lined up, waiting to get in when the expo opened at 11am. 

The Friends of the Cable Car Museum were kind enough to share some of their space with the group restoring Ocean Shore Railroad car 1409.  Here are Paul Slavin and Scott Lindner, who is leading the restoration. 

The Friends of the Cable Car Museum were in a new position, as were many other groups.  I had a nice chat with Mike Phipps and Dom Holmgren, who will talk on Sunday about the Ocean Shore Railroad.  The Friends' web site has been down for over a week, but they are working on it.  Jose Godoy of the Friends designed the button especially for the Expo. 

The Market Street Railway/San Francisco Railway Museum had a nice table.  I had a good chat with young volunteers Dominic and Julian. 

They had an additional room open at the north end. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Harry Caray 100 -- March 1, 2014

Holy cow!  Harry Caray was born 100 years ago, on 01-March-1914.  Caray started announcing Saint Louis Cardinals (and Browns) games in 1945.  He was fired in 1969 and spent the 1970 season with the Oakland Athletics.  I don't remember that at all, but I have never paid much attention to the interloper Athletics.  He announced Chicago White Sox games from 1971 to 1980, and then went to the Cubs for the rest of his life.  He became nationally famous because WGN broadcast Cubs games across the country.  I remember his leading the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

 "My whole philosophy is to broadcast the way a fan would broadcast."