Saturday, September 30, 2017

Matt Cain, Goodbye -- September 30, 2017

Matt Cain, the Horse, retired today after pitching his last game for the Giants.  In typical Giants fashion, he left the game leading 1-0 and the bullpen blew the save.  More run support would have been nice.  He said he was proud that he had always worn the Giants' uniform.  He joined the team in 2005 and was the last active Giant who had been a teammate of Barry Bonds. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

1956 Ferrari 625 Le Mans Spyder -- September 29, 2017

We visited the Blackhawk Museum in June, 2013 to drool over their collection of classic autos.The 1956 Ferrari 625 Le Mans Spyder (roadster), one of only three built, was intended to compete at Le Mans.  It did not finish because of transmission problems.


Backup catcher Nick Hundley won the Willie Mac Award.  Good choice. 

The World Series MVP award will be named after Willie Mays.  Also a good choice. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Summer of Love Trading Cards -- Lenore Kandel -- September 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 32 of 50 is poet Lenore Kandel.  She holds a copy of The Love Book, a book of poems which the police seized for obscenity.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cal Cable Shutdown -- September 26, 2017

Muni has shut down the California Street cable line from 22-September-2017 to 29-September-2017 to replace the gearbox that drives the California Street cable. The old gearbox dated from the 1982-1984 Great Reconstruction.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Famous German Airman Killed on West Front -- September 23, 2017

Bisbee Daily Review, 03-October-1917

German ace Werner Voss, was shot down on 23-September-1917 after an epic dogfight.   This article from the03-October-1917 Bisbee, Arizona Daily Review, gives some inaccurate details.  The Germans did not find Georges Guynemer.  He is still missing.  The British did not allow their aviators to be identified. "Brown" may have been James McCudden.

Lieutenant Vosse, Missing Since Late In September, Identified. Was Killed By British Airplane Pilot

(By Review Leased Wire) 

BRITISH HEADQUARTERS IN FRANCE AND BELGIUM. -- Monday, October 1. -- The body of the famous German aviator, Lieutenant Vosse who was recently reported in a German official communication as missing, has been found within the British lines and British airmen have already dropped messages behind the German front, giving notification of his death.

Vtosse was killed September 23 while engaged in a spectacular combat with a British airman. It is a peculiar coincidence that the famous French airman. Captain Guynemer lost his life about the same time in battle over enemy territory and was reported missing until the Germans found and identified the body.

The opponent of Vosse is one of the most brilliant British aviators who for the purposes of this narrative may be referred to as Brown that not being his real name. Here is the story:

The Story.

A number of British planes were patrolling on the twenty-third, flying at a height of 7,000 feet when one of them was attacked by a German red-nosed Albatross and a triplane. It appeared later that Vosse was the pilot of the triplane. Two other planes rushed up and engaged these two, with a third enemy scout who appeared on the scene. About eleven other enemy planes were waiting at a distance to join in the fray but did not attack as some ten British planes were circling about keeping them off.

Third Enemy Joins.

The third enemy scout who had joined in the combat vanished but the Albatross and the triplane fought in wonderful form. Brown singled but the triplane and a hard fight ensued. Brown got in a number of good bursts from his machine-gun and several times had to change drums on his gun, so furiously was he firing.

Opponents Circle.

For a long time the two opponents circled, dived and maneuvered for position and so close were they at times that only a few inches separated their wings. Eventually Brown got a little above Vosse and made for triplane, the British airman working his machine gun steadily all the time.

Narrow Escape.

Vosse passed Brown's right wing by inches and dived. The British airman wheeled into position and observed the German gliding westward with his engine shut off. He dived again and got a good shot at his opponent; then followed this with a heavy burst from his gun and Vosse did a slight right-hand turn and continued to go down until he disappeared.

End Of Battle.

This ended the adventure so far as Brown was concerned. He flew away, not knowing who his opponent had been or what had become of him. Later the shattered machine was found and the body identified.

Much Fighting Lately.

There has been much fighting in the air recently and the aviators have had some remarkable experiences. One British lieutenant, flying last Wednesday, had just forced the enemy to pull down a big balloon when he was engaged by machine-guns from the ground. He dived on the gunners and fired more than a hundred rounds, dispersing the crew, who fled, leaving two of their number stretched on the ground. Continuing onward, the lieutenant had nine separate combats with enemy planes. Eight of these were indecisive, but in the other case he brought down the German.

Returns Home.

In this last combat he got right on the enemy plane, first killing the observer, then firing into the pilot and engines. The enemy plane spun down to earth. The British airman engaged in still further fighting and returned home very much shot about, one bullet having pierced the ear pad of his flying cap.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1897 Cincinnati Reds -- September 21, 2017

1897 Spalding Baseball Guide

The 1897 Cincinnati Reds finished fourth in the National League.  Manger Buck Ewing was one of the great Nineteenth Century players.  Outfielder Dummy Hoy, called that because he was a deaf mute, was an excellent all-around player. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jake Lamotta, RIP -- September 20, 2017
Former Middleweight champ Jake Lamotta has died. My wife's first comment was "I thought he was already dead." He wasn't a great human being while he was a fighter, but he was a relentless fighter with a concrete jaw and a powerful killer instinct. Today he would probably be forgotten by everyone but fight fans if not for Martin Scorsese's movie Raging Bull, which starred Robert De Niro as Lamotta.

Lamotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times and won only the first fight.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Big Show of the World! -- September 19, 2017

San Francisco Call, 05-September-1896

The Adam Forepaugh and Sells Brothers Circus appeared at San Francisco's Central Park, near 8th and Market Streets.  Adam Forepaugh was a pioneering American circus owner.    

Sunday, September 17, 2017

651 Miles Electrified -- September 17, 2017

Washington Times, 26-September-1917
This ad for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad touts the extension of the electrification of its Pacific Division, which helped deal with steep grades and tight curves.  The electrification reached Tacoma in 1920.  The Pacific Division never generated enough traffic.  The Milwaukee Road dropped the electrification in 1974.  The line went bankrupt in 1977 and most of the Pacific Division was abandoned by 1980. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

America and the World -- September 15, 2017
The cover of the 03-June-1940 Life Magazine has a beautiful image of the Statue of Liberty.  Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sales Force Tower -- September 13, 2017

The Sales Force Tower and my thumb.  The cranes are gone.  I took the photo on 30-August-2017. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

3 Great Flyers Lose Lives or Are Prisoners -- September 11, 2017

Washington Times, 26-September-1917

Georges Guynemer was France's greatest fighter ace.  He was from an aristocratic family.  He was not allowed to enlist in the war because of tuberculosis.  He was finally accepted as a mechanic and then became a pilot.  100 years ago today, on 11-September-1917, he went missing in action.  No trace of him has ever been found.  This article from the 26-September-1917 Washington Times talks about the loss of Guynemer and two other pilots. 

"Lieutenant Vosse" was probably Werner Voss, who was shot down on 23-September-1917 after an epic dogfight.   

Douglas MacMonagle, from my home town, San Francisco, was a member of the Lafayette Escadrille.  He died in combat on 24-September-1917.  

Colonel Rees, mentioned in the second illustration, may have been the Welsh pilot Lionel Rees.  He received the Victoria Cross and served in both World Wars. 


Aviation has claimed a toll of three of the moat brilliant figures that the present war has produced, according to dispatches from the front today. France, Germany, and the United States each mourn the loss of an aero star

Capt George Guynemer, famous French airman, is reported lost after winging fifty-two enemy planes; Lieutenant Vosse, leading German aviator, is officially reported killed, after bringing down fifty allied planes. Douglas MacMonagle, of San Francisco, whose daring had won for him rapid promotion, is reported a victim of an aerial engagement yesterday. 

Guynemer Only 21.

Guynemer was only twenty-one years of age, MacMonagle waa a university student, and Vosse is said to have been a young man.

Two years ago Guynemer was a simple soldier in the ranks, a place he won only after being five times rejected by medical inspectors. He was only twenty-one years of age.

Today all France mourns when it is unofficially reported that he has been lost and has possibly been killed.

Captain Guynemer was last heard from when he started a reconnaissance flight over Flanders.

After a brief term in the ranks, Captain Guynemer joined the aviation corps. He rose rapidly in rank, winning the Cross of the Legion of Honor, the Military Medal, the War Cross and almost all honors that his country could bestow.

When he marched in the Fourth of July parade, he was showered with flowers by the people and applause greeted him wherever he went. In spite of the honors conferred upon him, Captain Guynemer was considered one of the most modest men in France.

Wins Rank of "Ace."

Guynemer won his rank of "ace" in February of last year when he brought down his fifth enemy plane. In rapid succession victories followed. The young aviator participated in many spectacular flights and had many narrow escapes. In March he was wounded.

What is considered the most remarkable achievement in the air since the beginning of the war was accomplished 'by Captain Guynemer just one ear ago when he brought down three German planes in two minutes and thirty seconds.

On another occasion he displayed his daring when he descended between the French and German lines and then made his escape.

Captain Guynemer carried no gunner. He operated his airplane alone, serving both as gunner and pilot.

Along with the announcement of the probable loss of Captain Guynemer comes an official report from Berlin that Lieutenant Vosse, a leading German aviator, has been killed in an aerial flight with his fiftieth adversary. Vosse was recognized as the greatest German airman.

PARIS, Sept. 26 -- Douglas MacMonagle, former University of Callfornla student, was killed in an aerial flight Monday, according to a report from the French front. He was promoted to a sergeantcy on August i5, after only three months' service at the front.

MacMonagle Joined the Lafayette Escadrille last June, and early dlstingished himself in a number of thrilling operations undertaken by American airmen. He was decorated with the war cross for bravery under fire on August 6.

Saw Own Funeral.

Captain Guynemer, describing one of his battles with enemy planes, once told this story of how he felt when one of the wings of his machine was turn away:

"I felt myself dropping. It was 10,000 feet to the earth and like a nash (? - JT). I saw my funeral, with my saddened comrades marching behind the gun carriage to the cemetery. I pulled and pushed every lever I had, but nothing would check my terrific descent.

Flve thousand feet from the earth the wrecked machine began to turn somersaults, but 1 was strapped into the seat. I do not know what it was, but something happened and I felt the speed lessen. But suddenly there was a tremendous crash and when I recovered my senses I had been taken from the wreckage and was all right.

Washington Times, 26-September-1917

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Justice Society of America -- September 9, 2017
The Justice Society of America was an early grouping of superheroes which appeared in All Star Comics.  Here we see them saluting a soldier who has lost his arm.  When I started reading DC comics, they would sometimes bring back the JSA in Earth Two stories or reprint old stories. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Spicy Mystery -- September 7, 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. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rick Stevens, RIP -- September 6, 2017
Rick Stevens, former lead singer of Tower of Power, one of the bands I grew up with, has died.  His signature song was "You're Still a Young Man." I remember listening to it on the radio. 

I remember when he went to prison for murder.  When he got out in 2012 he worked to help other people change their lives and stay out. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2017 Ardenwood Farm Railfiar -- September 5, 2017

Sunday we went to the 18th annual Washington Township Railroad Fair at Ardenwood Farm. The weather was overcast and muggy.  Turnout was low, probably because of the recent excessive heatwave.  A volunteer on the train said that there only about 200 visitors on Saturday.  Ann Marie, an 1890 Porter 0-4-0, was there for the ninth straight year. 

The two open flats now have walls and roofs.  They were nice.  

Traffic was light going over and coming back, but terrible when we got to Highway One back in Pacifica.   After I took my mother grocery shopping on Saturday, It took me 45 minutes to get from Manor to home.  This usually takes 12 minutes.  The beach was jammed both days, and people were parking their cars along Highway One on Saturday. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Umatilla's Men Were Cool --- September 3, 2017

The drawing is from the 11-November-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. 

Umatilla was a coastwise liner that hauled many passengers to the Yukon Gold Rush. 

She Returns After Her Wreck Near Port Townsend.
Captain Hunter Pays a Glowing Tribute to the Bravery of His Men.

The Pacific Coast Steamship Company's steamer Umatilla got in from Puget Sound yesterday with a cargo of wheat. After discharging she will go to the Union Iron Works, where she will be docked for repairs. To look at the vessel as she steamed up to her dock no one would ever think that for weeks she had lain on the beach with the water up to her main deck.

Over a month ago the Umatilla left here for Victoria, B. C. On arriving at that point a pilot took charge for the voyage around the Sound and ran her on the rocks near Port Townsend in a dense fog. A big hole was torn in the vessel's bottom and she began to fill. Captain Hunter then headed the vessel for the beach and got her into shallow water before she went down. Captain Hunter and Chief Engineer Lacey are both almost worn out with the work of attending to the raising of the steamer and both are proud of the fact that she is once more in San Francisco.

"I cannot say too much for my crew," said Captain Hunter. "Every man stuck to his post, and firemen kept steam up while working up to their knees in water. There was no panic among the passengers, but none of them would go below until Chief Steward Curtis got the galley fire going at 4 a. m. and made coffee and toast. When everything was ready the gong was rung, and the boys rounded all the cabin passengers into the dining-room for a snack. That put heart into all of them, and they became more cheerful. They had hardly finished eating before the water began entering the dining-room, but the passengers did not know it. Next Mr. Curtis saw that the steerage passengers were taken care of, and then ordered breakfast to be got ready.

"By this time the water was a foot deep in the galley, but the cook and his assistants stuck to their work, knowing that the vessel could sink very little lower, and by 7 A.M. a fine meal was prepared. Then the cabin passengers were marshaled into the steerage and served with as good a meal as they would have received at sea, only the surroundings were not as pleasant. After the cabin passengers had finished the tables were cleared and then reset for the steerage passengers. I tell you a good meal puts heart into a man or a woman, and to hear those passengers laughing and joking after the tables were cleared you would never think we had all had a narrow escape from going down in deep water. All's well that ends well, however, and Curtis deserves all the credit for the inspiration that made him get that coffee and toast ready at 4 o'clock in the morning."

After the water had been pumped out of the Umatilla the tugs Magic, Tyee and Tacoma took hold of the big steamer and towed her to Port Townsend. The accompanying sketch is taken from a snap shot made by an amateur photographer while the tugs and their tow were making for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company's landing at Port Townsend. After some temporary repairs the vessel was put on the drydock and big timbers were placed over the hole and bolted to the hull. Everything was made perfectly water-tight, and then the Umatilla went to Tacoma to load wheat. It will be several months before she will again be ready for service.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Curtiss Texas Wildcat Racer -- September 1, 2017

The Curtiss Model 22 racers Cactus Kitten and Texas Wildcat were built for American oilman Seymour E Cox to compete for the Gordon Bennett Cup races.  In the diagram, especially, the Texas Wildcat looks very modern.  The Wright racer looks less modern. 

The images are from the 1921 Aircraft Yearbook. Be sure to click on the images to see larger versions.