Thursday, August 31, 2017

1929 Minerva Type AM "Clear Vision" Convertible Sedan -- August 31, 2017

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos. Minerva was a Belgian manufacturer which used Charles Knight's sleeve-valve patents to build smooth, silent engines.  Coachbuilder the Walter Murphy Company devised the Clear Vision concept, claiming that the narrow pillars would not obstruct a driver's vision.  Murphy designed the body and roof to appear low. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Blind Tom, the Musical Phenomenon of the Age -- August 29, 2017

New Orleans Daily Democrat, 22-February-1879
Thomas Wiggins was born into slavery in 1849.  He was blind, and probably also autistic so his owner's family considered killing him.  Instead, they let him wander around the grounds.  He heard the family's daughters playing the piano and taught himself to play at the age of four or five.  He composed music and began touring professionally at an early age.

Here we see him appearing at the Odd Fellows' Hall in New Orleans in 1879.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Remembering the War to End All Wars -- August 28, 2017

New York Tribune, 11-November-1918

Today I went to Good Shepherd School in Pacifica and talked to Junior High kids about the topic of the current DAR essay contest, inspired by the upcoming centennial of Armistice Day: if you were living at the end of the war, what effect would it have on your life?  I talked about the effects the war had on peoples' lives.  I pointed out that we had been at war all their lives, but it didn't have much of an effect because, from the US point of view, they are all limited wars.  I talked about total war, mobilization, propaganda, censorship, 100 percent Americanism, conscription, influenza and suffrage.  I also pointed out that in 1918 they didn't call it World War One.  People were hoping there would not be another one. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summer of Love Trading Cards -- Sly Stone -- August 27, 2017

The San Francisco Arts Commission ( has set up a series of posters by artists Kate Haug and Ivan Uranga called Summer of Love Trading Cards.  Number 43 of 50 is producer composer and singer Sly Stone.  Sly and the Family Stone released A Whole New Thing in 1967. It was indeed. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

White Supremacists Skeedaddle -- Augusat 26, 2017
White supremacists/Nazis/klansmen/degenerates planned a rally at Crissy Field.  Yesterday they cancelled it and announced one at Alamo Square.  Why Alamo Square?  I suppose the Victorians.  Today they got blocked from the square by city workers and counter protesters.  We wound up having a non-violent counter protest that included a march up Mission Street. 

Boody Rogers created Sparky Watts for newspaper syndication in 1940. Later the Columbia Comics Group picked him up for their book Big Shot. Sparky got his powers when a mad (but good) scientist zapped him with cosmic rays. Here Sparky delivers a salute to Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo.I am always in favor of non-violence, but I have a soft spot for images of punching Hitler or other Axis leaders. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Got SMART -- August 25, 2017

SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit), which has been having a soft opening, had its formal start today.  They are using DMUs on the Northwestern Pacific right-of-way. Phase Onewill go from San Rafael to Santa Rosa. Phase Two will go to the Larkspur Ferry Landing.  Phase Three will extend to Cloverdale:

The Northwestern Pacific is my favorite Railroad.  

New Cat #45 -- August 25, 2017

I took the photo on 31-July-2017. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chicago Base Ball Club, 1897 -- August 23, 2017

1897 Spalding Baseball Guide

The 1897 Chicago Orphans (now the Colts) finished ninth in 1897. 

Bill Lange was an outfielder from San Francisco.  His nickname was Little Eva.  He retired at 29 after the 1899 season and went into business in San Francisco.  His nephew Highpockets Kelly played for the New York Giants. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse -- August 22, 2017

Yesterday we saw the first nationwide solar eclipse since 1979.  It was foggy in Pacifica, but I found a nice video.  The sky did get darker around the totality.  I had the nationwide coverage from CBS on the television while I worked. 

John Lee Hooker 100 -- August 22, 2017

Bluesman John Lee Hooker may have been born 100 years ago today, on 22-August-1917.  He was born on 22-August in some year between 1912 and 1923.

I tried to get some of friends who liked soul music to listen to John Lee Hooker, but I guess he was a bridge too far.

I always liked his socks.  And his hats.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sells-Floto Now the Greatest Circus in the World -- August 21, 2017

Variety, 13-April-1923

The Sells-Floto Circus visited Chicago in April, 1923.  I would like to see The Great Schubert, "The Aerial Enigma." 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dick Gregory, RIP -- August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory has died.  I don't remember him as a comedian, but I remember him as a consistent advocate for civil rights.

"I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr., stamp – just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man."

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Big French Railway Gun on Its Way to the Front -- August 19, 2017

Railway Age, 14-January-1918

A railroad gun is a large piece of artillery that is mounted on a rail car for transportation and often for firing.  They were common during World War One, but are no longer used because they are too inflexible and vulnerable to air attack. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hail, Liberty -- August 17, 2017

The cover of the 14-July-1986 Time Magazine is dedicated to the Statue of Liberty, which was celebrating its 100th birthday.  Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Señorita Rio -- August 15, 2017

The cover of Fight Comics number 45, from October, 1946, featured a cover drawn by Lily Renee, one of the rare female comic book artists in the early industry.  Her character, Señorita Rio, a spy, was beautiful and fun.  Fiction House comics were famous for having lovely women on the covers. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlottesville -- August 14, 2017

A bunch of idiots went to Charlottesville, Virginia for something called the Unite the Right rally.  The rally was held to protest the removal of statues of Civil War traitors including Robert E Lee.  One of these superior people used his car to plow into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19 others.

Why do these people hate America so much?  They adopt the emblems of historical losers like the Confederacy and the Nazis.  They take inspiration from our so-called president. He can't bring himself to call this domestic terrorism.  He tries to blame both sides. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Spicy Detective -- August 13, 2017
The Spicy pulps from Culture Publications, Spicy Mystery , Spicy Detective, Spicy Adventure and Spicy Western, were too intellectual for some people, but they remained popular for several years. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

American Bark Erskine M Phelps -- August 11, 2017

San Francisco Call, 18-October-1900
The drawing is from the 18-October-1900 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. 

"bbl" = barrel  
"cr" = crate?
"cs" = case 
"gal" = gallon
"pkg" = package
"sk" = sack
"tierce" = cask, 42 gallons

"1 cs horns" -- I wonder what that was.  

Large Cargo for New York. 

The ship Erskine M. Phelps cleared yesterday for New York with the following cargo:
39,595 cs 5640 bbls 500 tierces salmon, 4353 pkgs scrap iron, 501 gals wine, 40 sks cement, 200  bbls fish oil, 1 cs horns, 100 bales rags, 10 crs machinery, 2299 sks mustard seed, 15 cs drugs, 911 sks bone black, 100 bbls pickled cherries, 115 cs books, 3384 sks silver lead ore, 85 cs copper paint, 28,780 sks brewing barley.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Glen Campbell, RIP -- August 10, 2017
Glen Campbell died.  I remember his television show when I was a kid.  My dad liked country and western, and Glen Campbell often turned up on the radio.  I have several of his songs that get stuck in my head.  I later learned that he had been a member of the Wrecking Crew, which backed nearly everything recorded in Southern California. 

Some years ago, he announced that he had Alzheimer's disease and would do a final tour.  This helped people to be more aware of the disease.

He was good in True Grit with John Wayne.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Battleship New York at Full Speed -- August 9, 2017

Bay St Louis, MS Sea Coast Echo, 04-August-1917
USS New York (BB-34) had been commissioned on 15-May-1914.  She patrolled with the British Grand Fleet during World War One.  She served in the Atlantic and the Pacific during World War Two.  After the war, she was one of the ships used in the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

California State Railroad Museum, 2017 -- August 8, 2017

Today we drove to Sacramento.  Traffic was light going up. The weather in Sacramento was pleasant, not too hot.  The California State Railroad Museum had an exhibit of autos from the California Automobile Museum, which used to be the Towe Ford Museum.  I wanted to visit that place, but it is closed on Tuesdays.  Here we see a high speed rail mockup with a 1914 Stanley Steamer. 

In the lobby there was an exhibit of images showing Southern Pacific employee sports teams, including baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and bowling. 

We walked under the freeway to the K Street Mall to get lunch.  The K Street Mall was closed.  They are redeveloping it.  We were hungry, so it was fortunate that Macy's had a cafe on the ground floor.  We had a nice lunch there. 

We walked through Old Sacramento and back to the car.  We stopped at the Nut Tree to have sundaes at Fenton's.  Traffic going home was pretty light, except around Emeryville. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Barry Bonds, 756 10 Years - August 7, 2017

Ten years ago tonight, on 07-August-2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, breaking Hank Aaron's record.  Bonds was at the ballpark tonight.   Here is a rerun of my post from 07-August-2007:

Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, to break Hank Aaron's major league record. He hit it at Pac Bell Park, off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik, in the fifth inning. There was a nice celebration, including a video comment from Hank Aaron. Bonds took his position in the field for the top of the sixth, then left the game.
Now I hope the Giants will go on to win the game.

Sadaharu Oh, watch out. 2,000 rbis and 3,000 hits may come first. 

I took the photo of Bonds standing in left field at Pac Bell Park on 09-June-2007, during a game against the Oakland Athletics.

Battle of Guadalcanal -- August 7, 2017
Seventy-five years ago today, on 07-August-1942, American Marines landed on Guadalcanal, an  island in the Solomons.  Japanese naval troops had occupied the island to block communications between the United States and Australia.  The Marines quickly captured an airfield which the Japanese had been building.  The fight for the island lasted six months in miserable conditions.

The movie Guadalcanal Diary was made and released the next year. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Playing Tourist -- August 6, 2017

We got a late start today but we drove to Fifth and Mission and parked on the fourth floor.  We walked up Fourth Street and saw 1051 picking up passengers.  The motorman wouldn't open the front doors, and it was pretty crowded, so we decided to wait for the next one.  Unfortunately, while we saw a few cars going the other way, there wasn't another F car headed for Fisherman's Wharf.  We walked down to Third and caught an 8 bus.  My wife had never been on it before.  It was fun to ride through Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf.  It was sad to see the empty building that held Caesar's Italian Restaurant.  We got off at the end of the line and walked to Pier 39, which is celebrating its 39th anniversary. 

We had calamari and chips, then went to the Christmas shop.  We went to hear and smell the sea lions.  It was so crowded that we couldn't see them.  Walking along Jefferson, we found that it was so crowded that we could barely move along.  We haven't seen Fisherman's Wharf that crowded since 2001. 

We went to the end of the F line where we just missed a Milano car.  Nextbus said the next F car would be 21 minutes, so we walked to Bay and Powell and caught another 8 bus.  It got very crowded going through Chinatown.  We got off at Market and went to the Palace Hotel.  We visited the Ghirardelli shop and had Quake Shakes.  We walked on Mission back to Fifth and Mission.  We listened to the Giants on the way back home.  They beat the Diamondbacks for the second day in a row. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Latest Model of French War Tank -- August 5, 2017

Bay St Louis, MS Sea Coast Echo, 04-August-1917
The St Charmont was a pioneering French heavy tank produced by FAMH.  The tracks were too short and narrow for the vehicle, so it didn't get around very well.  It carried a 75mm cannon in the nose. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Men of Nerve -- August 3, 2017

Topeka State Journal, 08-August-1917
Some sources say that 100 years ago today,on 03-August-1917, elements of the United States First Aero Squadron arrived in Europe, but I can't find any references in contemporary newspapers.  Here is an article from the 08-August-1917 Topeka State Journal about the country's plans for aviation.  Raoul Lufbery (only one r) was born in France to an American father and a French mother.  He served in the Foreign Legion and then as a pilot in the Aéronautique Militaire.  When the Lafayette Escadrille was formed to allow American volunteers to fight, Lufbery, an American citizen, was transferred.  When the US entered the war, he joined the Army Air Service.  He was killed in combat on 19-May-1918. Howard E Coffin, an automobile engineer and manufacturer, served as chairman of the Air Board. 

Observation Aviators Must Have Keen Eye for Detail.
Mastery of Machine Guns, Telegraphy, Camera, Requisites.
Greatest Reservoir in World, Says Aero Director.
Allies Sacrificed Best Airman Material in Trenches.


Paris, Aug. l8. -- Work to be done by American aviators which may mean success or failure of artillery and infantry was described by Lieut. Raoul Lufberry, premier fighter of the Lafayette escadrille. today, as he outlined to the United Press further qualifications the "cream of American youth" must have to carry the United States to success in the air.

"Mcn working in machines carrying two or more passengers must have many of the qualities of the chasers (described in a previous interview)," said Lufberry. "They can weigh 200 pounds, but success depends less on perfect physique for this type of air man, than on perfect nerves.

"Tho constantly under fire the air man must develop a painstaking eye for detail. He must have persistence and an enormous sense of self-discipline.

Observations Must Be Accurate.

Observations made from his machine may mean success or failure in his artillery or infantry.

"His nerves must hold him steadily to his task regardless of the guns that will be trying to bring him down.

"The observers carried in such machines are generally young artillery officers who have mastered the handling of machine guns, wireless telegraphy, and even photography.

"The pilots of these slower, heavier machines can be men lacking in the qualities of eye and temperament necessary to the faster game.

"The third general type of aviator is the bombardier. He must be capable of rapid, accurate handling of machine guns and small cannon, and be proficient in the extremely complicated art of aerial warfare.

On a Battle Plane.

"In this there are three principal factors. He must be able to gauge his own and his enemy's speed, and the velocity of the wind.

"It is frequently necessary to aim 100 feet in front of an enemy machine to make a hit.

"All on board a battle plane depends upon the bombardier's eye, his coolness and his ability to shoot. If he becomes rattled all is lost. For example a German gunner recently lost his nerve and hid in the body of the machine. The pilot became rattled, gave up and landed inside the French lines."

U. S. Can Meet Demands.

Washington. Aug. 8. -- America is ready to meet the precise aviation demands outlined in statements by Lieut. Raoul Lufberry to the United Press in France. Howard Coffin, chairman of the government aircraft production board, today, after reading Lufberry's comment, declared this country will furnish both the men and machines desired.

"One great point of advantage which must be borne in mind is that America is an almost inexhaustible reservoir for this particular type of men needed in the. air service," Coffin said today. "During the first year and a half of the war all allied countries and to a great extent even enemy countries were stripped of this type of men because of losses sustained in land fighting. These were men who were first to enlist at the outbreak of the war. The value of the air service had not then been demonstrated or appreciated and a vast quantity of human material which should have been reserved for air service, was sacrificed in trenches. So. we must remember, in considering the strategic advantage of the United States that this country is today the greatest reservoir of the world, not only for the material from which to manufacture aeroplanes but of the men of the particular quality to man them "

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sonoma and Pacifica -- August 2, 2017

I had the day off so we took a leisurely drive to the town of Sonoma.  We parked behind the Plaza and had lunch at the Cheese Factory.  We bought some Pesto Jack for our daughter.  The weather was in the mid-90s.  We took a walk around the Plaza, and then decided to head back.  Traffic was heavy above Sausalito. 

The blessed fog was still here in Pacifica.  We went to dinner at Pedro Point, where I took this photo. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Western Girls Train for Air Service -- August 1, 2017

Bay St Louis, MS Sea Coast Echo, 04-August-1917
People who owned boats often volunteered to serve as auxiliaries, patrolling bays and rivers looking for submarines, saboteurs or mines.  These six young ladies of Los Angeles offered to do the same with their airplanes.