Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - December 31, 2014

In January I launched a new movies-mostly blog, The Big V Riot Squad.  I moved many of the movie-related series I used to do here to the new blog.  This is the 2,370th post on this blog. 

In January, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency.  "Freedom Industries" poisoned the water supply of Charleston, West Virginia and then declared bankruptcy.  Republicans said we need fewer regulations.  I started a new series of phonograph and record ads. 

In February, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island.  I paused two of my oldest monthly series, fire houses and train stations. 

On 08-March-2014, Malaysia Air Flight 370, a Boeing 777, took off from Kuala Lumpur and disappeared on its way to Beijing. 

In March I started a short series, Strangerhood, about a series of images by artist Lordy Rodriquez.  The Devil's Slide trail opened.  I attended the San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint.  We went to the Juana Briones exhibit at the California Historical Society.  I wrote about my last visit to my barber, who was getting ready to retire.  I launched a new series of items about New Orleans, a city I have always wanted to visit. 

In April, two Popes were canonized on the same day.  We celebrated the 75th birthday of the late, lamented Marvin Gaye.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the alive and kicking Hugh Masakela.  Inspired by something I had started to do on the new movie blog, I added Youtube videos of music by both men.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair.  My father in law died. 

In May, we marked the passing of Al Feldstein, Mad Magazine editor and great American Maya Angelou.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the debut of The Batman in Detective Comics number 27.  California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.  We celebrated the 100th birthday of heavyweight champ Joe Louis and also the 100th anniversary of the day Sun Ra arrived on Earth.  We marked the 100th anniversary of the day when the Marx Brothers allegedly got their names.  I visited the newly refurbished Wells Fargo History Museum.  We marked the 125th anniversary of the Johnstown Flood. 

In June, the excavation for the Central Subway reached its final destination in North Beach, in a hole where the Pagoda Theater used to stand.  We celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  Don Zimmer, Jimmy Scott and Tony Gwinn died.  Yosemite celebrated its 150th birthday as  a National Park.  We observed the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In July, we visited New Orleans.  It was my first time there.  Bobby Womack died.  We celebrated the 100th birthday of Billy Eckstine.  We celebrated the 225th anniversary of Bastille Day.  Our new pastor, Father Lu, started at Good Shepherd.  We marked the 100th anniversary of Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.  This was the beginning of World War One. 

In August I started posting more items about World War One.  George W Hilton died.  I posted photos of a nice history mural in the Richmond District.  We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal.  I began a monthly series of chapters from the book Over the Top by Arthur Guy Empey, an American who volunteered to join the British Army.  He later became a famous pulp writer. 

In September Siemens received a contract to build Muni's third generation of LRVs.  Joe Sample of the Jazz Crusaders died.  I spoke to the kids at Good Shepherd school about the topic of the 2014 DAR essay contest. 

In October the San Francisco Giants fought through the playoffs and defeated the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.  I spoke to the kids of Saint Anthony-Immaculate Conception School about the topic of the 2014 DAR essay contest.  We marked the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.  We celebrated the 100th birthdays of Jerry Siegel and Dylan Thomas, and the 75th birthday of Grace Slick.  The San Francisco Silent Film Festival announced that a print of the 1916 film Sherlock Holmes, starring William Gillette, had been discovered. 

In November we marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Coronel.  We attended the 2014 Muni Heritage Weekend.  I started a series, shared with my movie blog, of "News of the Week as Shown in Films" from Motography magazine.  I figured it might be interesting to readers of both blogs.  The ESA's Philae landed on a comet after a ten-year journey.  We had our first serious rain for some years.  We celebrated Joe Dimaggio's 100th birthday. 

I was unhappy with the results of the midterm elections.  The Republicans were screaming about the Ebola outbreak before the election and strangely silent after. 

The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri chose not to indict a white cop who shot unarmed Michael Brown.  This led to protests all over the country.  The protests have continued despite efforts by some police leaders to claim that everyone is against them. 

In December, the BART to OAK cable-driven automated people mover started service.  We observed the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Falkland Islands.  NASA flight tested the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.  We celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of the Falkland Islands.  Joe Cocker died.  The United States ended its active combat role in Afghanistan.  This was our longest war. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on American use of torture after 09/11.  I felt ashamed, both that America repudiated 200 years of practice and that no one has gone to jail for it. 

I was happy to see President Obama make several strong moves during November and December.  He asked the FCC to make moves in favor of net neutrality.  The president moved to normalize relations with Cuba.  After Congress failed to do anything about immigration reform, he issued executive orders to do what he could. 

Da'ish had short-term success overrunning areas of Syria and Iraq but started to show the strains of being overextended.  They murdered many captives.  We started attacking them from the air, but have not joined the ground war. 

The image shows actress Dorothy Sebastian, who was from Alabama.  She was the leading lady in Buster Keaton's last silent feature, Spite Marriage, and they remained friends.    It comes from the wonderful site LucyWho (

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Walk, SPCA Animals, Lefty O'Doul's -- December 30, 2014

I took the day off yesterday.  We drove downtown and parked at Fifth and Mission.  Walking up Fourth, we saw that Stockton Street looked different.  From Ellis to Geary, the street was covered with artificial grass and there were benches, a food truck and a coffee truck.  Signs said that this was WinterWalkSF.  Events included projections on the wall of the Macy's men store and Christmas carolers. 

We went to Macy's and looked at the SPCA animals in the windows. 

My wife particularly liked Latka, the puppy.  We hope she has found a good home. 

After some shopping, we went over to Powell Street to look at decorated cable cars.   I didn't hear the cable and didn't see any cable cars from Market to the top of the hill. We walked up towards Geary. When we got to Geary, my wife could hear the cable. I still didn't see any cars, so we went to lunch at Lefty O'Doul's.

I had corned beef on a sourdough roll and my wife had roast beef.  Very good. 

When we were finished, I saw a decorated car inbound at Geary. It was number 10, and we noticed that it carried a bunch of shopmen and no passengers. They were checking the track. They found an obstruction in the flangeway at O'Farrell. They turned around at Market and told people who waited in line that they were not picking up passengers.


I had an interesting trip home today.  My one hour commute took two and a half hours.  It was cold and windy today.  When I got to the platform at Embarcadero Station, I noticed the next train was turning back at Montgomery.  An announcement said that there was no service between 24th and Mission and Daly City because a tree had fallen on the tracks.  There were similar problems in the East Bay.  They said we could get a bus from 24th to Daly City.  I got on a train that said it was going to the airport, but they threw us off at 24th.  A BART employee on the platform said it had been down for three hours.  I went to the street and tried to figure out what to do.  There were no BART employees giving directions.  I figured out that a 14 Mission would get me to Daly City.  I missed a limited.  Two locals were too crowded.  A limited came and I couldn't get on.  A Muni inspector said there was another limited right behind.  I pushed on and got a seat by Silver Avenue.  I saw Joe's Cable Car boarded up.  We eventually got to Daly City and turned down John Daly, passing a stream of people who had caught locals and had to hike down the hill.  They didn't look happy.  An airport train came just as I ran up the stairway.  It stopped just after the stretch along the freeway.  The operator said there was a routing problem and he would have to walk back through the train.  I didn't see him, so there must have been another operator.  The train ran backwards for a while, I suppose to get on a different track.  Then we went forward to the station.  Passing all those nice taquerias on Mission, I got an urge, so we went to La Playa for dinner. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Around the Car Barns -- December 29, 2014

I thought this was an interesting ad.  From the Bennington Evening Banner, 27-January-1915. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Study in Scarlet -- December 28, 2014

Moving Picture World, 19-December-1914

There were two adaptions of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet made in 1914.  The British feature version, directed by George Pearson, is lost and anxiously sought.  James Bragington played Holmes. 

I have not heard of anyone looking for the American Gold Seal two-reeler released by Universal.  Francis Ford directed and played Sherlock Holmes.  Some sources claim that his brother John, who later became a famous director, played Doctor Watson.  I would like to see more evidence. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Over the Top -- Chapter V -- December 27, 2014

Arthur Guy Empey was a member of the US Cavalry who resigned to volunteer for the British Army during World War One. He was wounded during the Battle of the Somme. When the US entered the war, he tried to rejoin the US Army, but was rejected because of his wounds and possibly because of some disparaging comments about American draftees. He wrote a book, Over the Top, about his experiences during the war. With the 100th anniversary of the war, I thought it might be interesting to post his story. Empey later became a prolific pulp magazine author, a movie star and producer, and a playwright.

From "Tommy's Dictionary of the Trenches" by Empey:
"Dixie. An iron pot with two handles on it in which Tommy's meals are cooked. Its real efficiency lies in the fact that when carrying it, your puttees absorb all the black grease on its sides."

CHAPTER I -- From Mufti to Khaki
CHAPTER II -- Blighty to Rest Billets
CHAPTER III -- I Go to Church
CHAPTER IV -- Into the Trench


I MUST have slept for two or three hours, not the refreshing kind that results from clean sheets and soft pillows, but the sleep that comes from cold, wet, and sheer exhaustion.

Suddenly, the earth seemed to shake and a thunderclap burst in my ears. I opened my eyes,— I was splashed all over with sticky mud, and men were picking themselves up from the bottom of the trench. The parapet on my left had toppled into the trench, completely blocking it with a wall of tossed-up earth. The man on my left lay still. I rubbed the mud from my face, and an awful sight met my gaze—his head was smashed to a pulp, and his steel helmet was full of brains and blood. A German "Minnie" (trench mortar) had exploded in the next traverse. Men were digging into the soft mass of mud in a frenzy of haste. Stretcher-bearers came up the trench on the double. After a few minutes of digging, three still, muddy forms on stretchers were carried down the communication trench to the rear. Soon they would be resting "somewhere in France," with a little wooden cross over their heads. They had done their bit for King and Country, had died without firing a shot, but their services were appreciated, nevertheless.

Later on, I found out their names. They belonged to our draft.

I was dazed and motionless. Suddenly a shovel was pushed into my hands, and a rough but kindly voice said:

"Here, my lad, lend a hand clearing the trench, but keep your head down, and look out for snipers. One of the Fritz's is a daisy, and he'll get you if you're not careful."

Lying on my belly on the bottom of the trench, I filled sandbags with the sticky mud, they were dragged to my rear by the other men, and the work of rebuilding the parapet was on. The harder I worked, the better I felt. Although the weather was cold, I was soaked with sweat.

Occasionally a bullet would crack overhead, and a machine gun would kick up the mud on the bashed-in parapet. At each crack I would duck and shield my face with my arm. One of the older men noticed this action of mine, and whispered:

"Don't duck at the crack of a bullet, Yank; the danger has passed,—you never hear the one that wings you. Always remember that if you are going to get it, you'll get it, so never worry."

This made a great impression on me at the time, and from then on, I adopted his motto, "If you're going to get it, you'll get it."

It helped me wonderfully. I used it so often afterwards that some of my mates dubbed me, "If you're going to get it, you'll get it."

After an hour's hard work, all my nervousness left me, and I was laughing and joking with the rest.

At one o'clock, dinner came up in the form of a dixie of hot stew.

I looked for my canteen. It had fallen off the fire step, and was half buried in the mud. The man on my left noticed this, and told the Corporal, dishing out the rations, to put my share in his mess tin. Then he whispered to me, "Always take care of your mess tin, mate."

I had learned another maxim of the trenches.

That stew tasted fine. I was as hungry as a bear. We had "seconds," or another helping, because three of the men had "gone West," killed by the explosion of the German trench mortar, and we ate their share, but still I was hungry, so I filled in with bully beef and biscuits. Then I drained my water bottle. Later on I learned another maxim of the front line,—"Go sparingly with your water." The bully beef made me thirsty, and by tea time I was dying for a drink, but my pride would not allow me to ask my mates for water. I was fast learning the ethics of the trenches.

That night I was put on guard with an older man. We stood on the fire step with our heads over the top, peering out into No Man's Land. It was nervous work for me, but the other fellow seemed to take it as part of the night's routine.

Then something shot past my face. My heart stopped beating, and I ducked my head below the parapet. A soft chuckle from my mate brought me to my senses, and I feebly asked, "For God's sake, what was that?"

He answered, "Only a rat taking a promenade along the sandbags." I felt very sheepish.

About every twenty minutes the sentry in the next traverse would fire a star shell from his flare pistol. The "plop" would give me a start of fright. I never got used to this noise during my service in the trenches.

I would watch the arc described by the star shell, and then stare into No Man's Land waiting for it to burst. In its lurid light the barbed wire and stakes would be silhouetted against its light like a latticed window. Then darkness.

Once, out in front of our wire, I heard a noise and saw dark forms moving. My rifle was lying across the sandbagged parapet. I reached for it, and was taking aim to fire, when my mate grasped my arm, and whispered, "Don't fire." He challenged in a low voice. The reply came back instantly from the dark forms:

"Shut your blinkin' mouth, you bloomin' idiot; do you want us to click it from the Boches?"

Later we learned that the word, "No challenging or firing, wiring party out in front," had been given to the sentry on our right, but he had failed to pass it down the trench. An officer had overheard our challenge and the reply, and immediately put the offending sentry under arrest. The sentry clicked twenty-one days on the wheel, that is, he received twenty-one days' Field Punishment No. I, or "crucifixion," as Tommy terms it.

This consists of being spread-eagled on the wheel of a limber two hours a day for twenty-one days, regardless of the weather. During this period, your rations consist of bully beef, biscuits, and water.

A few months later I met this sentry and he confided to me that since being "crucified," he has never failed to pass the word down the trench when so ordered. In view of the offence, the above punishment was very light, in that failing to pass the word down a trench may mean the loss of many lives, and the spoiling of some important enterprise in No Man's Land.

Next: CHAPTER VI -- "Back of the Line"

Friday, December 26, 2014

News of the Week 26-December-1914 -- December 26, 2014

The 26-December-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"French and Algerian troops advancing near Ypres, Belgium.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The French used many colonial troops in Europe. 

"Scotch regiment in last drill before leaving for front.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The highland regiments seemed to turn up in a lot of newsreels, probably because of their distinctive uniforms.  Kilts were not practical on the cold, muddy Western Front. 

"King George leaving Buckingham Palace to visit Parliament.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  We saw the Hearst-Selig version last week.

"T. M. Osborne millionaire philanthropist now Warden of Sing Sing.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Thomas Mott Osborne tried to reform the prison, but was thwarted by enemies who tried to destroy his reputation. 

"German cruiser Leipsig sunk past week by British.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Light cruiser SMS Leipzig was sunk at the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 08-December-1914:

"Wreckage at Seabright, N. J. after big storm.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  A major storm on 07-December-1914 destroyed the seawall and flooded the New Jersey town of Sea Bright. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, 2014 -- December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, everyone. Peace on Earth and goodwill to men (women, and children).
A cartoon by Clare Briggs from the 25-December-1914 New York Tribune

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let the World's Warriors Pause a Moment for the Message of Peace and Good Will -- December 24, 2014

Daily Missoulian, 25-December-1914
This cartoon from the 25-December-1914 Missoula, Montana Daily Missoulian hopes that the armies fighting in Europe will pause to remember the Prince of Peace.  Coincidentally, this is the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce on the Western Front. 

Daily Missoulian, 25-December-1914
An article from the same issue says that San Francisco celebrated Christmas Eve with an open air concert at Geary, Market and Kearny, in front of the San Francisco Chronicle building.  The performers were John McCormick the famous Irish tenor and American soprano Madame Bernice de Pasquali.  Mayor Sunny Jim Rolph sent a message. 

Read about the famous 1910 concert by Madame Luisa Tettrazini:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hanging the Mistletoe -- December 23, 2014

Liberal, Kansas Democrat -- December 25, 2014

Hope we all meet someone we love under the mistletoe. 


RIP Joe Cocker. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Cat #14 -- December 22, 2014

I took this photo on 20-December-2014.  This year we tried diluted orange extract to keep her out of the tree.

I took this photo on 16-December-2014. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

One of the Practical Uses of the Automobile -- Decmber 21, 2014

The Waterless (air-cooled) Knox automobile was manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts. I like the name Waterless Knox. It reminds me of a Doctor Seuss character. This image, of a Knox truck comes from Outing Magazine, November, 1911.  The driver would have a good view forward.  Note that there are no mirrors and no windshield. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

1906 Cadillac Model M Tulip Tourer -- December 20, 2014

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos. When our daughter first saw the 1906 Cadillac Model M Tulip Tourer on an earlier visit, she said "It's a Mr Toad car." I saw her point and told her about brass era cars.

The Model M had a one-cylinder engine rated at 10hp.  (051/dsc_0090)

Friday, December 19, 2014

News of the Week 19-December-1914 -- December 19, 2014

The 19-December-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"King George en route to open Parliament.   Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The opening of Parliament used to take place in November or December.  The monarch or a representative gives a speech.  King George V opened Parliament on 11-November-1914. 

"Steamer 'Hanalei' wrecked off San Francisco.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The steam schooner SS Hanalei, en route from Eureka to San Francisco, ran aground on Duxbury Reef near Bolinas on a foggy day, 23-November-1914.  23 passengers and crewmen died. 

"The 'Old Guard,' New York's veteran battalion.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The Old Guard of the City of New York is a ceremonial battalion which was formed in 1824. 

"King Albert and President Poincaré at Furnes, Belgium.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Albert, King of the Belgians refused to surrender even after the Germans had overrun most of his country.  Albert and French President Raymond Poincaré reviewed the troops in Furnes on 02-November-1914. 

"U. S. troops from Vera Cruz land at Galveston, Texas.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The United States invaded and occupied the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico because of the Tampico Affair. 

"Richard Croker and his bride, who was an Indian princess.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Croker had been the boss of Tammany Hall.  He was 71 and his second wife, Beulah Benson Edmondson, was about 30.  She was allegedly a member of the Cherokee tribe. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Zat You, Santa Claus? -- December 17, 2014
The 22-December-1928 issue of Detective Story Magazine features Santa Claus and a curious cop on the cover. 

The image is from Phil Stephensen-Payne's wonderful Galactic Central ( 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Carl Hubbell -- December 16, 2014

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. 

Left-handed pitcher Carl Hubbell was called "The Meal Ticket" and "King Carl" because of his dependability and his overwhelming screwball.  He pitched for the Giants during his entire major league career, from 1928 to 1943.  He worked for the team as director of player development and scout for the rest of his life. 

In the 1935 All Star game, Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, all future Hall of Famers, in a row.

Monday, December 15, 2014

An A 1 Fast Sailing Bark -- December 15, 2014

New Orleans Daily Crescent, 04-April-1854

A ship was going to leave New Orleans "on or about the 20th of April, should sufficient freight offer."  Packet lines operated on schedules.  Most ships waited until there was something worth carrying. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Orion Tested -- December 14, 2014

NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle made its first flight test on December 5. It made two orbits and landed successfully in the Pacific.  It was exciting to see NASA taking a step back towards manned flight.  There may be a manned flight in 2021.  NASA photograph. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Car 56 Decorated for Christmas -- December 13, 2014

We were out playing tourist in December, 2012 when I took this photo of car 56 at California and Drumm. Its Christmas decorations were sponsored by the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which was right behind me when I took the photo.

Friday, December 12, 2014

News of the Week 12-December-1914 -- December 12, 2014

The 12-December-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"Jeff Coolidge's 95-yeard run for a Harvard touchdown.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Harvard beat Yale 15-5 at the Yale Bowl on 21-November-1914. 

"New type of boat invented by John Hays Hammond, which can be controlled by wireless from shore.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  John Hays Hammond, Jr was a pioneer in developing radio control.

"Annual Rugby footbal contest between Leland Stanford and California universities.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  In the 1914 Big Game, Stanford beat Cal 36-8 at Stanford.  The schools played rugby from 1906-1914.  This was the last Big Game till 1919, when they started playing American football again. 

"Indians unloading equipment to encamp in France.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The British brought soldiers from India, but they did not do well in the European winter climate. 

"Jackies aboard a German warship pulling in anchor chain.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  "Jackies," from Jack Tar, was a common term for sailors. 

"Underwangen, in East Prussia, lasid waste by Russian shells.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  Early in the war, the Russians threatened East Prussia. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Impression of Herrmann's Hand -- December 11, 2014

Alexander Herrmann was born in France. Alexander's father Samuel started the family in the magic business. Alexander's brother Compars (Carl) carried on the business and taught it to Alexander. Alexander toured the world, but chose to settle in America and become a naturalized citizen. He married Adelaide, who became his collaborator. Herrmann the Great was the most popular magician in America until he died in 1896. Madame Herrmann carried on the act, joined by his nephew Leon, who assumed the title Herrmann the Great. From Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography, edited by Albert Allis Hopkins.


We had a big storm last night and today.  Yesterday school districts all around the bay said schools would be closed today.  Traffic was light this morning as I drove slowly up One to the Colma BART station.  I was fine till I reached the corner of Market and Fremont, and then got hit with wind and rain driving straight at me.  My shoes and socks got soaked.  I saw several doorways with sandbags.  I worked all day.  It wasn't too bad getting home, except the ramp to get back on One from the BART station was flooded. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ferry Tales 24-July-1912 -- December 10, 2014

Lindsay Campbell's column "Ferry Tales" ran for many years in the San Francisco Call. This example is from 24-July-1912. The colonel was Theodore Roosevelt and the "crime of Chicago" was the Republican convention, where Roosevelt was denied the nomination.

TO the man who travels on the Southern Pacific ferry boats with his ears open it would seen that the railroad officials launched a boomerang when they limited the elasticity of the commutation ticket by marking it with the sex of the purchaser.

The new regulation is regarded as an invasion of the purchaser's right to do as he pleases with his own and as one more sacrifice to be laid on the altar of the high cost of living.

In discussing this latest sex problem the commuters have decided that instead of curtailing its patrons' rights, the railroad company should adopt a more generous policy. As a result of all this discussion a movement has been started, which has for its object the presentation to the railroad, commission of a demand that the bay ferry companies be compelled to issue commutation tickets, at present rates, and good for 30 round trips, irrespective of date.

Now will you call us girls "females?"

* * *

Here is a chance for some budding ornithologist to make the colonel forget the crime of Chicago. Everybody that crosses the bay regularly acquires an interest in the seagulls that follow every boat. Some of the commuter tales of seagull intelligence are calculated to arouse suspicion that the menace of the big stick did not entirely rid the land of the nature faker.

Here is the latest:

The Key Route steamers pass close enough to Yerba Buena to give those on board a fairly intimate view of the parade ground at the naval training station. There every morning the naval apprentices may be seen at drill. It was only a few days ago that a sharp-eyed commuter discovered that the passengers on the steamer were not the only interested spectators. Between the ferry fairway and the parade ground is a sheltered bay in which thousands of seagulls spend the daylight hours. The parade ground is in plain view from the bay. The seagulls, knowing that their only chance to feed is when the meal pennant flies, give their undivided attention between meals to the doings on the parade ground.

The gulls have absorbed the spirit of military precision and can be seen from the ferry steamer every morning going through a drill of their own. When the bugle calls the sailor boys to their drill, the seagulls, enough of them to make several full brigades, draw up 50 feet or so from shore in faultless formation. As the blue-jackets go through their paces so do the seagulls maneuver about the bay.

Of course, the commuter gets but a fleeting glimpse of the performance and everybody on Yerba Buena is too busy drilling to watch the bay, but it would seem that an ornithologist in sympathy with the seagull could get some really interesting field notes in the vicinity of Yerba Buena. If any body will explain this sudden desire for military display on the part of the larus family he will confer a favor on about 80,000 wondering commuters.

* * *

The Sausalito boat was approaching its slip on the Marin shore. The wind was blowing a small gale, but outside, on the forward deck, the seats were all filled with blue but determined fresh air fiends, old and young. From the cabin into the blast stepped three young folks, two pretty girls and a youth. Up the stairway from the lower deck the wind was blowing, like a blast from a 12 inch gun. The youth and one of the girls started down stairs. The other girl, noting the breeze, hesitated and in a shrill voice called to her friends:

"I can never make it in the world. I have the widest skirt!"

When the young folks had first appeared not a fresh air fiend, old or young, cast as much as a glance in their direction. Nobody heeded the struggles of the pair that started down first and even the girl that was left behind wrestled with the wind unnoticed until she explained so definitely why she feared the descent.  

Like well drilled troops at the word "Attention!" every masculine fresh air fiend, old and young, jumped to his feet and if anything happened to that young lady on her way downstairs she would not have lacked for witnesses, old and young.

Was it gallantry that prompted that rush, or just ordinary, or as the colonel would put it, sheer, curiosity? Some light on the subject was shed by one highly respected and white haired resident of Marin county who remarked to an elderly neighbor as they both sat down:

"She fooled us!"

G. L. C.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Battle of the Falkland Islands -- December 8, 2014

100 years ago on 08-December-1914, a British squadron led by Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee encountered the German East Asia Squadron led by Vice Admiral Count Maximillian von Spee in the South Atlantic off of the Falkland Islands. Spee had abandoned the German base at Tisingtao, China when the war started because he knew the Japanese would soon attack and overwhelm it. Spee spread confusion across the Pacific. Admiral Christopher Cradock had been sent to find him, and on 01-November-1914 lost his whole squadron except for one light cruiser and one auxiliary cruiser off the coast of Chile near Coronel:

The sacrifice made by Craddock and his men forced Spee to expend much of his fuel and ammunition. The British sent a much more powerful squadron, including two modern battlecruisers, HMS Invincible and Inflexible, to the South Atlantic to hunt Spee. One of Sturdee's officers, Captain John Luce of the Glasgow, which had survived Coronel, persuaded him to head towards the Falklands earlier than he had planned. The British squadron was in the harbor when Spee's squadron approached, having been told that the islands were unguarded. A shot from a 12-inch gun of the pre-Dreadnaught battleship Canopus told Spee that the islands were guarded. Spee's squadron turned and ran, but could not escape the superior speed of the battlecruisers. Spee died in his flagship Scharnhorst. The only German ship which survived the battle was the light cruiser Nürnberg.

From the 09-December-1914 Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

EXTRA -- British Fleet Smashes the German Squadron -- EXTRA
Cruiser Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Leipzig Sun
Biggest Naval Battle of War is Fought Off Falklands Yesterday

The Star-Bulletin received the following Associated Press cablegram shortly before 1 o'clock today:

"It is officially announced that Sir Frederick Sturdee's fleet sank the German cruisers Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Leipzig and captured two German colliers oft the Falkland Islands at 7:30 o clock yesterday morning.

"The cruisers Dresden and Nurnberg fled, hotly pursued by the British vessels.

"The British casualties were slight. Some survivors of the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst were rescued. The fate of the German admiral, Count von Spee, who was aboard the Gneisenau, was not mentioned.

Battle Was Foreseen Some Days Ago

The "official announcement" referred to by the Associated Press evidently means an official statement by -the British admiralty.

The German cruiser squadron defeated by the British is the same squadron that fought and won what has been until now the most important naval engagement of the war with the British trio off Coronel on November 2.  In that engagement the British warships Monmouth and Good Hope were lost and the Glasgow, escaped. Admiral von Spee was then in command of the Germans.

For some weeks after that the movements of the German squadron were veiled in mystery. It was reported as steaming up the South American coast toward Lower California. Then a few days ago came the report that a big powerful British fleet was off Montevideo, on the east coast of South America, and that the German fleet was believed to be near the mouth of the River Plata, not far from Montevideo.

The Falkland islands, in the-vicinity of which the British victory of yesterday is reported to have occurred, lie about thousand miles south of Montevideo. They are British possessions.

The considerable size of the fleets involved and the decisive nature of the fight, according to the brief report received today, make this the most important naval battle of the war so far fought. 

The local cable office said this afternoon that there is a cable from the Falklands. Where the news was first sent from has not been stated.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor Day, 2014 -- December 7, 2014

73 years ago a sneak attack by forces of the Japanese Empire sank much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The Japanese Empire came to regret doing this.

USS California, built at Mare Island, commissioned in 1921, was one of the dreadnaughts parked in Battleship Row when the Japanese attacked.  Her crew fought hard, two were posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, but she sank at her moorings.  California was refloated and patched so that she could sail under her own power to Puget Sound, where she was extensively rebuilt.  She returned to battle in June, 1944 and participated in the island-hopping campaign. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Sunniest Winter Way to California -- December 6, 2014

Life Magazine, 22-November-1937

This Southern Pacific ad touts its four routes for visiting the west during the winter:
1.  The Shasta Route
2.  The Overland Route
3.  The Golden State Route
4.  The Sunset Route

Friday, December 5, 2014

News of the Week 05-December-1914 -- December 5, 2014

The 05-December-1914 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"Indian troops en route to camp at Lyndhurst, England.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  Indian cavalry did not have many opportunities to operate in Europe.  Later they served in the Middle East.  Lyndhurst, Hampshire is a town in the New Forest. 

"Some of the Canadian troops snapped in England.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Canada had several regiments of Highlanders. 

"Germans massing troops at Brussels.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  The Germans trampled Belgium on their way to invade France. 

"German wounded being taken from Ostend to Brussels.  Copyrighted 1914 by Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  I'm not sure why the wounded are riding in the tender of a steam locomotive.  I can't tell if they are prisoners, but I don't think so. 

"Belgium's bicycle corps which has distinguished itself.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The Belgians did everything they could to resist the German invaders.  The British and German armies also had bicycle infantry. 

"One of the Turk mobilization camps near Constantinople.  Copyrighted 1914 by Universal Animated Weekly."  The Ottoman Empire entered the war in 1915. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014