Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Summary -- December 31, 2021

2021 has been an interesting year. The pandemic continues with a more virulent strain. Many people have been vaccinated, but not enough. I lost my job and I volunteered to teach my wife's Third Graders about coding.  In 2022 they will pay me to teach Kindergarten though Fourth.

In early January, our so-called president, who still claimed the election had been stolen from him, incited a mob which attacked the Capital building while Congress was accepting the votes from the Electoral College. Five people died. One seditionist was shot by a Secret Service agent. The Blue Lives Matter folks killed a Capitol police by beating him to death with a fire extinguisher. 

Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, despite the Big Lie from the Republicans. Our former so-called president was impeached for the second time, a new record. 

I talked about the Transcontinental railroad to my wife's third grade class at Good Shepherd School in Pacifica.

I noted that novelists F Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos and AJ Cronin were born on the same day, 125 years ago. George Burns would also have been 125 this year. Dolly Parton turned 75.

Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda died. 

I wrote about the 150th anniversary of the baseball franchise that eventually became the Braves. I noted the 75th anniversary of the execution of Lord Haw Haw. 

I continued my monthly series about the TrumpVirus.

British Army Photo

In February, I wrote about the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Our former so-called president was again not convicted, despite overwhelming evidence against him. 

I noted the 75th anniversary of the public debut of ENIAC. 

I wrote about the 75th anniversary of the racist beating and mutilation of Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard. 

I wrote about the 50th anniversary of Satchel Paige entering the Baseball Hall of Fame. I noted the beginning of the Year of the Ox. 

Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti died at 101. Boxer Leon Spinks died. Singer Mary Wilson died. Pianist Chick Corea and underground comix artist S Clay Wilson died. Rush Limbaugh died. 

I revived my monthly series of Coca Cola ads. 

San Francisco Wasp, 14-November-1883

In March I mentioned the ugly surge of hatred and violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders. Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

I posted a Moxie ad. 

I wrote about the 125th anniversary of the opening of San Francisco's Sutro Baths. I noted the 50th anniversary of the cancellation of the Boeing SST project. I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the first Ali-Frazier fight. 

I noted the 200th birthday of General James Longstreet. I wrote about the 150th birthday of Giants pitcher Iron Man Joe McGinnity. Mad Magazine artist Al Jaffee turned 100. I noted the 100th birthday of musician Astor Piazzolla. Liza Minnelli turned 75. I noted the 75th birthday of Giants great Bobby Bonds. 

I received my first inoculation against the TrumpVirus.

In April, I wrote about the conviction of the policeman who murdered George Floyd. I started a new series of posts about jazz. I attended the tenth annual meeting of the Admiral Callaghan Society. 

I had my second injection of the Pfizer vaccine. One Pfunny side effect. 

I wrote about the 125th birthday of Rogers Hornsby and the 100th birthday of Warren Spahn. I noted the 75th birthdays of Al Green, 

Astronaut Michael Collins, former Vice President Walter Mondale and Prince Philip died. 

Guthrie Daily Leader, 01-June-1921

In May I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which may have been the worst single instance of racial violence in US history. I questioned why I had never heard it mentioned in a US history class. 

On 29-May-2021, an employee took guns and ammunition to the Santa Clara County  VTA's light rail shop and killed nine co-workers. There have been too many shootings. 

I wrote about the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Palo Alto, the first large fight in what became the Mexican-American War. Later I wrote about the anniversary of the US declaring war on Mexico. 

I wrote about the 125th anniversaries of the Plessy v Ferguson decision and the successful flight of Samuel Langley's Aerodrome Number 5. 

I noted the 25th anniversary of the Internet Archive. 

I wrote about what would have been the 150th birthday of pitcher Amos Rusie. I noted what would have been the 100th birthday of Father Daniel Berrigan, SJ. I wrote about the 75th birthdays of Donovan and Cher. 

I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the death of Audie Murphy. 

Singer/songwriter BJ Thomas died, but I did not write about him.

In June, much of California reopened, although the pandemic still lingered. The policeman who murdered George Floyd was convicted and sentenced to 22.5 years. The same week, a 13-story apartment building in Florida collapsed. 

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the second day of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which may have been the worst single instance of racial violence in US history.

I mentioned the 150th birthday of baseball star Bill Lange, the 125th birthday of aviator Douglas Campbell. 

I noted the 125th anniversary of the Ford Quadricycle. I wrote about the 75th anniversaries of the death of champion boxer Jack Johnson and the second Joe Louis-Billy Conn fight. 

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the death of flyer Laura Bromwell. 

In July, I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the Muhammad Ali-Jimmy Ellis fight. I also wrote about the 100th anniversary of the heavyweight championship fight between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier. I noted the 150th anniversary of a boiler explosion on a Staten Island ferry and the 125th anniversary of a collision between two trains near Atlantic City.

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the explosion of a US Navy blimp.

I wondered if American military activity in the Afghan War was really coming to an end.

I wrote about the 100th birthdays of John Glenn, Jean Shepherd and Dr Billy Taylor and the 75th birthdays of Cheech Marin and Linda Ronstadt.

I wrote about the 75th anniversary of the death of Gertrude Stein and the 50th anniversaries of the deaths of Jim Morrison and Louis Armstrong.

I wrote about the death of Jackie Mason.

In August, I wrote about the 100th anniversaries of the crash of the zeppelin ZR-2 and the destruction of a US Navy dirigible hangar. 

The Delta variant of COVID-19 caused a spike in infections and deaths. Many of the deaths took people who had refused to get vaccinated. 

Huge wildfires continued to burn in California. Hurricane Ida caused widespread destruction in the south and east. 

Our part in the Afghan War ended on 31-August-2021. 

I found an example of Krazy Kat which mentioned Harold Lloyd, so I shared it on my movie blog. 

I noted the 100th anniversary of the first radio broadcast of a baseball game. I wrote about the 100th anniversary of FDR coming down with polio. 

I posted about the 150th birthday of Orville Wright and the 75th birthdays of Larry Graham, 

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of Enrico Caruso's death. I noted the 125th anniversary of the death of Otto Lilienthal. 

I wrote about the deaths of Carl Payne, Charlie Watts, Don Everly and JR Richards.

In September, the Giants became the first team to reach 100 wins this season. They went on to clinch a spot in the playoffs. 

We went to St Mary's Cathedral to see an exhibit of reproductions of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings. 

I went to Good Shepherd School in Pacifica and talked to Junior High kids about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They are participating in a DAR essay contest on the subject.

I voted no on the stupid, useless election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. The recall failed.

I noted the 20th anniversary of 09/11. 

I wrote about the 125th anniversary of the Great Crash at Crush. 

F Scott Fitzgerald would have been 125 years old. Jon Hendricks would have been 100 years old. 

Filmmaker, author, musician and former cable car gripman Melvin van Peebles died. Dr Lonnie Smith and Commander Cody died. 

Rock Island Argus, 09-October-1871

In October I wrote about the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. 

After finishing with a franchise record 107 wins, the San Francisco Giants lost a closely fought playoff series against the Dodgers. The Atlanta Braves beat the Dodgers and went on to beat the Houston Astros in the World Series. 

One weekend, we had a rainstorm which nearly broke the all-time record. We had a five hour power outage in Pacifica. 

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Rowan. Among its passengers were Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra. 

I noted the 75th anniversary of Barney Oldfield's death. 

Colin Powell and Mort Sahl died. 

In November, I wrote about 100th anniversary of the internment of the Unknown Solider in Artlington Cemetary. President Joe Biden signed the infrastructure bill that will do us all a lot of good.
The young kid who killed two people and wounded another at a rally in Kenosha got off scot free. Groups that organized of the 2016 alt-right rally in Charlottesville received big fines. The three white men who chased Ahmaud Arbery down and murdered him were convicted. 

Buster Posey announced his retirement. 

I wrote about the 25th birthday of my website about cable cars. I received my Pfeizer booster shot. 

I wrote about the introduction of the Intel 4004 chip. 

I wrote about what would have been Rodney Dangerfield's 100th birthday and Duane Allman's 75th birthday. 

I wrote about the death of Stephen Sondheim. 

In December the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection subpoenaed the former White House Chief of Staff and made a criminal referral when he refused to testify, even about things he had already spoken about and written a book about. 

On 14-December-2021, Stephen Curry of the Warriors broke the lifetime record for three-point goals. 

I posted a photo of a gas station sign, noting that prices are over $5 per gallon. 

I wrote about the 100th anniversary of the first flight by a helium-filled blimp. I also wrote about the 100th anniversary of the first flight on US soil of the Army airship Roma. I noted the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the Bell X-1. 

I noted Ira Gershwin's 125th birthday. 

I wrote about the 75th anniversary of the deaths of Walter Johnson and Damon Runyon. 

I noted the deaths of Senator Bob Dole, Michael Nesmith, Joan Didion, Desmond Tutu and John Madden. I didn't write about it in this blog, but Betty White died on New Year's Eve, just shy of 100 years old.

At the top of the page is actress Ann Dvorak, who made a big impression in Scarface.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

COVID-19, Vaccine, Masks, Church, Baseball and School -- December 30, 2021

The Omicron variant of the TrumpVirus rapidly became the major source of infection in the United States. The hospitalization and death rates are spiking. Most of the deaths are occurring with people who were not inoculated.

We had 5pm Christmas Eve mass in the gym. On the day after, we went to mass by watching the 11am live stream.

I have been teaching coding to my wife's Third Graders at Good Shepherd School as a volunteer. In the new year, I will be teaching coding to Kindergarten through Fourth.

Barry Bonds is on the regular Hall of Fame ballot for the last time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Everett and Monte Cristo Railway -- December 29, 2021

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 13-February-1898

I have always liked the name of the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway, which was built in 1892-3 to haul ore from mines in the Cascades to Everett, Washington. The line also carried logs and finished lumber. It did a good business carrying tourists and outdoor people to see the beautiful mountains. It stopped running in 1933 and was scrapped in 1936.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

John Madden, RIP -- December 28, 2021

John Madden has died. I used to watch Raiders' games with my father when Madden was their coach. I remember that he seemed to retire early, but he went on to have a long career in broadcasting. I used to hear him call in once a week to Gene Nelson on KSFO and later to KCBS. While he was broadcasting, he travelled in a custom bus because he didn't like to fly. He did a lot for charity. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Desmond Tutu, RIP -- December 26, 2021

 Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died. He worked against apartheid and continued to work for peace and justice for the rest of his life. At one time or another, almost everyone was mad at him, which is probably a sign that he was on the right track.

New Cat #95 -- December 26, 2021

Happy Boxing Day, everyone. I took the photo on 04-December-2021.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas, Krazy Kat -- December 25, 2021

Washington Times, 25-December-1921

I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Ignatz Mouse gives Krazy Kat a Christmas Gift. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Washington Times, 30-June-1918

Friday, December 24, 2021

Krazy Kat -- I Can Always Count on Him in a Pinch -- December 24, 2021

Washington Times, 26-December-1921

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. 

I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Ignatz Mouse helps Krazy Kat finish a project. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Washington Times, 30-June-1918

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Joan Didion, RIP -- December 23, 2021

Joan Didion has died. I always enjoyed her essays. 

Byte Christmas -- December 23, 2021

Byte Magazine, December, 1976

I used to subscribe to Byte Magazine. I wish I had a better quality image so I could read what was on the Christmas lists. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christmas Shoppers Enjoy a Busy Day at the Stores -- December 21, 2021

San Francisco Call, 24-December-1899

Christmas shopping in San Francisco in 1899 had some features in common with 2021. I always associate The Emporium, a famous department store, with Christmas. Every year we went to ride the Roof Rides and see Santa.


Christmas shoppers put In a busy day yesterday and spent the last few hours In Santa Claus' cause in a way that will bring happiness to many. No better showing of the prosperity of the year about to close could have been made than by the city shops yesterday with their aisles all crowded with purchasers. Buyers were of all classes and conditions, all come together with the charitable Christmas spirit -- the desire to bring Joy to everybody -- and to spend money. Even the Mongolian residents caught the whiff of love and charity in the atmosphere and mingled with the vast throng of tired mothers, gleeful children, jolly fathers, happy grandparents and the big-hearted bachelors and pretty maids, all brought together with the same purpose -- the desire to buy something for some loved one.

At the Emporium the aisles were crowded with a seemingly solid mass of humanity, which led purchasers to declare that all San Francisco was assembled there until they visited Will & Finck's or Hale's or O'Connor & Moffatts, when that opinion was changed and in the estimation of buyers it was decided that the entire population of San Francisco was out purchasing Christmas presents.

A wonderful thing about this vast shopping army was the splendid way in which the stores managed the crowds. In all the retail stores an unusually large extra staff was employed and in spite of the fact that business surpassed even the hopes of the most sanguine, no shopper was neglected and it was possible to do justice and show courtesy to all.

The day -- the last big day of shopping in San Francisco -- was not without its pathetic interests, its humorous sidelights and commercial object lesions. In the first place all the shops that have established for themselves a reputation for quality in regard to stock, fairness in regard to dealing and economy when regarded from the purchaser's standpoint were crowded with eager purchasers, who, mindful of the multitude of shoppers and the lack of time, never stopped to examine the materials offered for sale but took the firm's name for guarantee.

"You guarantee this material?"

"We do," would answer the obliging clerk. "Then send it." and the purchaser would pass on to make room for another and that is one of the secrets of how Newman & Levinson, Kohlberg, Strauss & Frohman, the Glove House. Livingston Brothers, N. Strauss, J. J. O'Brien, the Golden Gate Cloak House, and James O'Brien managed to handle so satisfactorily the large crowds of people ail anxious to spend money.

The beneficial effects of window display were also demonstrated by the enormous business done by Colonel Andrews' diamond palace. H. Liebes & Co. and the Owl Drug Company. The benefits of judicious advertising were also demonstrated by the harvest reaped by such well-known firms as C. Curtin, Ad. Kocour, the furrier, S. N. Wood, Raphael's, Brown Bros., Pauson & Co. and the Hub.

It was in the clothing stores that the majority of pathetic incidents were enacted. Ragged boys went in accompanied by sorrowful-looking mothers to come out transformed into stylish little men accompanied by a mother who looked no longer weary and heartsore on account of the great love and admiration that lighted up her faded old eyes.

To the piano houses were nearly all the merry scenes relegated. Many a man stood by in Sherman & Clay's, Clark Wise & Co.'s or Byron Mauzy's while wifey paid over several hundred dollars for a "splendid instrument." "My husband is so fond of music," each purchaser would exclaim, "that I could think of nothing that would please him better than to have a new piano in the house. So here we are." The piano salesman, however, is really the only one who saw the comic side of the purchase. To "hubby" It was no joke.

Many as are the words of praise due to the storekeepers just so many are there due to the purchasers. Each one realized what a busy day it was and tried to help along and reciprocate the courtesies of the shopkeepers. Many a dude went home with packages piled high to his monocle and many a lady who never carried anything heavier than a purse or a fan or a perfumed handkerchief left the stores with her arms laden with Christmas offerings.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Coulter -- Work of the Dredger at Beale-Street Wharf -- December 20, 2021

San Francisco Call, 03-March-1895

William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. Click on the image for a larger view. Here we have a dredger deepening the Beale Street dock, near the present site of the Giants' ballpark. Excessive run-off from the streets and silting from hydraulic mining in the foothills made it necessary to dredge frequently. 

Clearing the Waste of the
Shore From the Channels
of the Sea.
It Is a Constantly Occurring
Work That Must Be Attended To.

A mud-dredger scooping around on the oozy bed of the bay is not a neat nor a beautiful object of marine architecture, but it is attractive in all its uncouthness all the same.

The stains of its ceaseless round of toil are forever upon it, for as long as the attrition of the land goes down into the channels of the sea the huge thing of steam and metal must work. Time was when the tides coming and going swept their own tracks clean, but now the debris from the shore quickly fills the ways of navigation, and the dredger must move it on.

At least once a year on the water front of a great city the bottom of the bay must be scraped down to the hard pan and the constant drift from the streets shoveled away from the wharves.

There is a seeming of reason in the mere mechanical movements of the great arms that dip down to grope in the unseen deeps. One forgets that the mind of the machine is in the hand that manipulates the chains and wheels of the clumsy affair, and for the time being the dredger itself is apparently the mind that guides its motions.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Bierstadt -- Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast -- December 19, 2021

Seattle Art Museum

I have always enjoyed the paintings of Albert Bierstadt. He painted "Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast" in 1870. It is in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Want a Battleship? Bid and Buy One Cheap! -- December 18, 2021

Bismarck Tribune, 15-December-1921

100 years ago this month, diplomats were arguing about a proposed naval arms limitation treaty. The US was already starting to tidy up by offering some pre-dreadnought battleships and other ships for scrap. USS Wisconsin (BB-9), Maine (BB-10) and Missouri (BB-11) all sailed as part of the Great White Fleet. Wisconsin and Maine were built in San Francisco by the Union Iron Works. 

The "famous cruiser Olympia" did not get sold for scrap. She still survives, on display in Philadelphia. She needs much expensive repair work to stay afloat. 


Washington, Dec. 15 — Uncle Sam is offering for sale, to be broken up for junk, 13 navy vessels, totaling 85,189 tons.

A second lot of about 15 probably will be announced for sale before December 20.

The first lot includes three battleships, three cruisers, four monitors, one destroyer and two small auxiliary vessels:

These include the battleship Maine, successor to the ill-fated Maine which was blown up in Havana Harbor, and the cruiser Brooklyn, flagship of Rear Admiral William S. Schley in the battle of Santiago.

The Maine and her sister ship, the Missouri, both built following the Spanish war, were considered marvels of naval design. They each displaced 13,500 tons and carried four 12-inch guns.

So rapid has been naval development that these ships would be virtually impotent' in any major naval engagement.

So, stripped of guns, they are offered at public sale to be broken up, their parts to be made available for peaceful industries.

In advertising, the vessels for sale the navy department suggests they "should be considered from the standpoint of a nucleus to get into the ship breaking-up field far some far-sighted concern."

These vessels constitute about 10 per cent of the total tonnage the United States would scrap under the Hughes proposal to Great Britain and Japan.

The total cost of the 13 vessels now up for sale, $25,00,000, is little more than half the cost of one modern, electrically driven super-dreadnaught.

Exclusive of armament the Maine cost $2,885,000.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Jazz Kar/Jazz Jr. -- December 17, 2021

Weekly Iberian, 03-December-1921

Christmas is coming.

The influence of jazz spread to kid's toys. The complete ad, with some neat stuff:

Weekly Iberian, 03-December-1921

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Opening of the New French Hospital - December 16, 2021

San Francisco Call, 29-June-1895

I vaguely remember big brick buildings on Geary Boulevard that my parents said were the French Hospital. Despite my young age, I wondered why there was a hospital for French people. Later, I learned that some Basque-French-American schoolmates went to French Hospital for their medical needs. 

People of French descent formed the La Societe Francaise de Bienfaisance Mutuelle in 1851. The hospital moved to the current area, Geary between Fifth and Sixth, in 1895. I remember the brick buildings being torn down and replaced by a modern building, which was dedicated in 1963. Some brick buildings still survive on Anza. Kaiser Permanente now operates the hospital as the Kaiser French Campus.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Biggest Air Vessel in U. S. on Trial Trip -- 15-December-2021

Alaska Daily Empire, 30-December-1921

When it was built in Italy in 1921, Roma was the largest semi-rigid airship in the world. She was purchased by the United States Army, which had her dismantled and shipped to Langley Field, Virginia. Roma made her first flight 100 years ago today, on 15-December-1921. On 21-February-1922, Roma crashed and killed 32 people.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Have a Bubbling Bottle To Go With It -- December 14, 2021

Rock Island Argus, 17-December-1921

Christmas is coming. 

Santa urges readers to drink "A Big Bubbling Bottle" of ginger ale or soda water.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Pause ... Have a Coke -- December 13, 2021

Roanoke Rapids Herald, 19-December-1946

Christmas is coming. 

Coca-Cola suggests a pause in the arduous work of wrapping presents.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Michael Nesmith, RIP -- December 12, 2021

Michael Nesmith, my second-favorite member of The Monkees has died. I liked his deadpan humor. I have fond memories of the Pre-Fab Four. Many years later, I saw Elephant Parts and I still remember parts of it. He composed some wonderful music.

Wanton Murder, As It Is Applied in the Great State of Arkansas -- December 12, 2021

Rock Island Argus, 08-December-1921

The Cotton Belt was officially known as the St Louis Southwestern Railway. I covered up a word in the newspaper headline that I hope never to print in this blog. 

As It Is Applied in the Great State
of Arkansas.

Whose Only Fault Seems To Be That They Were Working for Their Living -- The Usual Talk of Bringing the Murderers to Justice

Little Rock, Ark., Dec. 8. -- A special to The Democrat from Malvern, Ark., says: What may be regarded as reliable information has Just reached here that on last Tuesday afternoon at a point about midway between Camden and Rearden, on the line of the Cotton Belt railroad occurred one of the foulest and most damnable massacres of negroes that has ever blackened the record of that locality. At the place mentioned a gang of section men composed principally of negroes, with a white foreman, was engaged in the labor of improving the road bed, when a gang of unknown persons made its appearance upon the scene and without warning began immediately to fire into the crowd of helpless and unsuspecting negroes, resulting in the death of five of them.

Have Heard the Same Story Before.

The foreman claims that he did not recognise any of the assassins. Many believe that he knows who they are, but on account of probability of personal danger to himself he is afraid to give out any information that would lead to their arrest. The section where these last murders occurred is occupied almost entirely by the mills and is filled with lawless characters. The sheriff of Ouachita county is exerting himself in every way possible to apprehend the guilty ones, and the Cotton Belt railroad company has offered a Belt Railroad company has offered a reward of $250 for the capture of the murderers. If they are captured it is believed the courts of Ouachita county will mete out swift justice to them.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Comic Book -- Green Lantern -- December 11, 2021

Christmas is coming. 

The Golden Age Green Lantern was Alan Scott, who had a magic ring and a lantern that had to use to recharge the ring every 24 hours. His sidekick was Doiby Dickles, a rotund cab driver.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Damon Runyon, 75 Years -- December 10, 2021

Washington Evening Star, 11-December-1946

Author Damon Runyon died 75 years ago today, on 10-December-2021. I have read many of his stories and seen many of the movies based on his work and enjoyed all of them. 

Damon Runyon, 62, Creator
Of Broadway Characters, Dies

Sports Writer Made
His 'Guys' and 'Dolls'
American Folklore

By the Associated Press

NEW YORK, Dec. 11. -- Damon Runyon, newspaper columnist and author, who made the "guys" and "dolls" of Broadway -- the gambler, fight promoter and small-time actress -- a part of American folklore, is dead at 62.

The famous sports writer who created Little Miss Marker, the Lemon Drop Kid and Harry the Horse died last night in Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted last Friday for treatment of a liver ailment. He had been ill for a long time and for the last year a throat ailment prevented him from speaking.

Paul Small, his agent, who was at his bedside, said Mr. Runyon died of a cancer.

There will be no funeral services and Mr. Runyon’s body will be cremated at an unspecified time and place. Friends said he had requested this.

Son at Bedside.

Others at his bedside when he died were his son, Damon Runyon, Jr., and Eddie Walker, a companion. Mr. Runyon was best known as the fiction chronicler of Broadway who created a whole library of new fables in slang woven about the nocturnal characters who frequented the restaurants in the forties and fifties. He once said he made a half million dollars writing about "one little section of New York."

Mr. Runyon was as much a part of the New York scene as his creations. Consuming quarts of coffee -- he was a teetotaler -- he would sit for long hours in Lindy’s Broadway restaurant, playing host to a long procession of characters, who later found themselves part of a Runyon short story.

He was born in Manhattan, Kansas, October 4,1884. When the Spanish American War broke out he professed to be 18 and served in the Army in the Philippines for two years. After the war he went to Colorado and entered newspaper work.

First New York Job.

In 1911 he got his first sports writing job in New York, on the American. Working for the Hearst newspapers in 1916, Mr. Runyon accompanied the punitive expedition to Mexico. In World War I, he served overseas with the 1st Army. Later he became a columnist and feature writer for King Features and International News Service and motion picture writer-producer. Many of his stories found their way to the screen.

Characters of his fiction had such picturesque names as Harry the Horse, Little Isadore, Spanish John, Dave the Dude, Apple Annie, Light Finger Moe, Broadway Rose, Frankie Ferocious, Feet Samuels, Madame La Gimp, Joe the Joker, Meyer Marmalade, Broadway Sam, Regret, the horse player, and Sorrowful, the bookmaker.

Once when Runyon was ill, a real life Broadway Sam said: "I am all broken up. My heart is broken for him and everybody along Broadway is likewise."

Wrote in Present Tense.

It was that type of speech that Mr. Runyon captured and wove into his lively, humorous, touching writing. His stories invariably were in the present tense from start to finish. His dialogue, like his background and action, remote from the grammatical, carried a clear overtone of sincerity in company with lightness and breeziness. There was sincerity behind every split infinitive, every mispronunciation, every slang expression.

Mr. Runyon had his own descriptive style that portrayed such things as a dour expression as a "castor oil smile," a pretty girl as a "very tasty-looking young doll," a no-good fellow as "a guy I consider no dice." The locale of many of his stories was "Mindy's" restaurant on Broadway. Sometimes he would be sitting there eating or standing outside "thinking of practically nothing whatever" when the action started.

Was Fashion Plate.

He was author of "Guys and Dolls," "Blue Plate Special," "Money From Home," "Best of Runyon," "A Slight Case of Murder," a play (with Howard Lindsay); "My Wife Ethel," "Take It Easy" and "My Old Man." Earlier he had published books of verse.

His success as a fiction writer allowed him to fulfill an early ambition to be a fashion plate. His clothing, although somewhat more conservative, was equally as interesting as that of his lingo-talking friends. His shirts had no standard buttons -- he wore jeweled studs that matched his shirt and tie. He bought and wore a fortune in jewelry. His suits were expensive. And he never paid less than $48 for a pair of shoes.

There is a short story in itself about his shoes. After buying a pair he would turn them over immediately to Hype Igoe, a New York sports writer who would break them in "and," Igoe once recalled, "when I gave them back to Runyon, if there was anything wrong with them, he would give them right back. I’ve been wearing $50 shoes for the last 15 years and never paid a cent for them."

Name Was Shortened.

When Mr. Runyon got his sports writing job on the American he signed one of his early stories "Alfred Damon Runyon," but his editor struck out the Alfred and said: "From now on you are Damon Runyon." And he was.

In 1936 Mr. Runyon began his column, "Both Barrels," which was carried in the American. The following year he wrote a new column, "As I See It," which was syndicated to 16 Hearst papers. Later King Features distributed a column under the title "The Brighter Side," in which Runyon wrote both seriously and humorously on subjects that interested him.

He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1941 as a writer-producer, and some months later signed another with 20th Century Fox. The first movie he produced was "The Big Street."

Mr. Runyon was married in 1911 to Ellen Egan and they had two children, Mary Elaine, now Mrs. Richard McCann, and Damon. Mrs. Runyon died in 1931 and the next year he married Patrice del Grande, an actress.

Walter Johnson 75 Years -- December 10, 2021

Wilmington Morning Star, 12-December-1946

Walter Johnson, one of the greatest pitchers of all time and an original member of the Hall of Fame, died 75 years ago today, on 10-December-1946. There are many legends about the speed of his fastball. 

Millions Of Sports Fans Pay Tribute To Walter Johnson;
Fight For Life Typical Of "Big Train’s" Pitching Career

Washington, Dec. 11. -- (AP) -- President Truman joined millions of other sports fans Wednesday in paying tribute to Walter Johnson, possibly the greatest baseball pitcher who ever lived.

Johnson, desperately ill with a brain tumor since April, died late Tuesday night in a local hospital. He was 59.

Funeral services will be held (at 2:30 p.m.) Friday in the Washington Cathedral. Pallbearers will be chosen from the players who helped Johnson rewrite the record books.

Mr. Truman said he was "Greatly grieved" to hear of Johnson’s death. He added that the former star pitcher of the Washington Senators had been one of his heroes.

"Mr. Truman admired Johnson both as an athlete and a man," Presidential Secretary Charles G. Ross told reporters. "Like millions of other fans, He was sorrowed by Mr. Johnson’s death."

Around Washington Wednesday, wherever fans gathered, the talk was of Johnson.

People who never had seen him pitch explained exactly how he did it.

People who never had heard him talk were busy quoting him.

This town has seen the greats of all nations come and go, but Walter Johnson, who knew how to throw a baseball, was something special.

Just what was it that the "Big train" had that so endeared him to the customers?

Well, he was a superb pitcher, of course.

He pitched in 803 major league games and in two world series. He was victorious in 414 games, and in 113 contests his opponents couldn’t score a run.

He struck out 3,497 batsmen, and once pitched 56 consecutive shutout innings.

But the Johnson legend is made up of far more than that.

In many of those games he was pitching with a second division club, for a team whose hitting was puny and whose fielding was embarrassing.

But through all this Johnson managed to give his uncomplaining, courageous best, always ready to give the other fellow credit, always willing to take more than his share of the blame.

And that’s the reason, said the old-timers here, that the fans realized they were seeing more than a great pitcher. They were seeing a great gentleman as well.

Pallbearers will include such former teammates as Roger Peckinpaugh, Sam Rice, Ossie Bluege, Joe Judge, Nick Altrock, "Muddy" Ruell and Jim Shaw. Another pallbearer will be Mike Martin, for 40 years trainer for the Senators.

The Very Rev. John W. Suter, Dean of Washington Cathedral, will officiate, and burial will be in Rockville (N.D.) Union Cemetery. That’s where Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1930, was buried.

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11 -- (AP) -- President Will Harridge of the American League, visiting in San Francisco, said Wednesday, "Walter Johnson will be remembered not only as one of the great pitchers of all time but also as one of the finest gentlemen in the history of baseball. We of the American League and all baseball fans are saddened by his passing.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

First Powered Flight of Bell X-1 75 Years -- December 9, 2021

Washington Evening Star, 29-December-1946

Seventy-five years ago today, on 09-December-1946, test pilot Slick Goodlin made the first powered flight in the Bell X-1, a rocket-powered airplane built to break the sound barrier. Almost one year later, on 14-October-1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the X-1.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Pulp -- Secret Agent X -- December 8, 2021

Secret Agent X was a man of a thousand faces who fought crime as a secret agent. His real identity was never revealed. I wonder what the gorilla is up to.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Pearl Harbor Day, 2021 -- December 7, 2021 photo 09410403

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

When the attack began, seaplane tender USS Curtiss (AV-4), which had just returned to Pearl Harbor after taking reinforcements and cargo to Wake Island. Curtiss got underway and fired her guns at the Japanese airplanes. A Japanese midget submarine fired a torpedo at Curtiss, but missed. Curtiss was damaged by a crashing Japanese airplane and a dive bomber attack. Curtiss went on to serve in the Pacific throughout the war and for years after.

Curtiss was named after aviation and flying boat pioneer Glenn Curtiss.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Ira Gershwin 125 -- December 6, 2021

Lyricist Ira Gershwin was born 125 years ago today, on 06-December-1896. He was one of the masters of the English language. He wrote many standards with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin. George died at 38, but Ira lived to be 86. After George died, Ira worked with other composers, including Kurt Weill, Vernon Duke, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Bob Dole, RIP -- December 5, 2021

Senator Bob Dole has died. He served as a young officer in the Italian campaign during World War Two. He was severely injured and fought through problems caused by it for the rest of his life. I did not vote for him when he ran for President in 1988, but I liked him a lot better than any current Republican officeholder.

Toonerville Trolley -- At Least Once During the Holidays -- December 5, 2021

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 27-December-1921

I love Fontaine Fox's The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains.

Washington Times, 30-June-1918