Sunday, February 28, 2021

COVID-19, Vaccine, Masks, Church, Baseball and School -- February 28, 2021

During February, the big post-Christmas surge began to decline.

Just past the middle of February, the 500,000th American died from the Trump Virus. President Biden ordered flags to fly at half mast.

At about the same time, we learned that 5% of the US population had been vaccinated. My wife and daughter, both teachers, received the first of two vaccine shots in February.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Bierstadt - Lake in the Sierra Nevada - February 27, 2021


Private Collection

I have always enjoyed the paintings of Albert Bierstadt. "Lake in the Sierra Nevada" by Albert Bierstadt, 1867

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, RIP - February 24, 2021

101 year old San Francisco icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet and publisher who founded City Lights Books, has died.

In 2017, the San Francisco Arts Commission ( set up a series of posters by artist Deborah Aschheim. "The Zeitgeist" was part of a larger series for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. The posters in The Zeitgeist represented people involved in the Spring Mobilization against the War in Vietnam on 15-April-1967.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Collision off Cape Flattery -- February 23, 2021


San Francisco Call, 14-September-1897

William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. The article from the 13-September-1897 San Francisco Call describes a collision near Cape Flattery, Washington. 

Ship Dashing Wave and Bark Topgallant in Trouble. The Former Lost Her Headgear, The Damage to the Bark Is Not Known.

A peculiar accident happened to the ship Dashing Wave and the bark Topgallant off the Straits of Juan de Fuca last week. Both vessels were lumber laden and bound for San Francisco. The tug Tyee took them in tow at Tacoma and when outside the straits blew her whistle notifying the master of the Topgallant to let go his hawser and make sail. The captain of the Dashing Wave misunderstood the signal and cast off the hawser which connected his vessel with the tug. The result was that the Dashing Wave drifted down on the Topgallant, did considerable damage to that vessel, carried away part of her own jibboom and nearly all of her own headgear. The collision took place about midnight and the exact damage done to the Topgallant could not be ascertained.

In connection with this collision the men on 'Change yesterday were coupling the news brought by the Norwegian tramp steamer Transit. The captain of the steamer reports that on the 9th instant, between the Columbia River and Cape Blanco, his vessel passed through pine lumber which covered an extent of ten miles. The lumber was not in a ten-mile mass, but was scattered in small quantities over that distance. The Topgallant was loaded with pine lumber and seafaring men think that as a result of her collision with the Dashing Wave the captain may have been compelled to jettison the deckload in order to ease the ship in the northwester that blew last week.

The only other vessel that is out as the Topgallant is the schooner Oceana Vance, also from Tacoma with pine lumber. There are others again who think that the lumber seen by the crew of the Transit came from the schooner Marion, which arrived here on the 9th inst, without a deckload and with only 20,000 feet of lumber in her hold. On January 12 last the Marion brought 350,000 feet of lumber from Grays Harbor, and then she was not fully loaded. On her arrival here the captain did not report the loss of his deckload, and as she went up the river direct there was no need of finding out whether or not it was part of her cargo sighted by the Transit.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Happy Birthday, President Washington, 2021 -- February 22, 2021

James Flexner was right when he called George Washington the Indispensable Man. President Washington was aware that everything he did established a president. Our disgraced ex-President, Donald Trump, shattered precedents in just about every area of government. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Family Excursion to Santa Cruz -- February 21, 2021


San Francisco Call, 31-July-1896

The Southern Pacific offered a family excursion from San Francisco to Santa Cruz over its narrow gauge route, the former South Pacific Coast Railroad, which ran from Alameda to Santa Cruz. 

"No Crowding! Seats for All!"

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Rush Limbaugh Dead -- February 20, 2021

Rush Limbaugh is dead. I wonder if the nation will recover from this evil presence. Our former sort-of president gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which has completely debased the award. 

"I have never wished a man dead, but have read some obituaries with great pleasure." - Mark Twain 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Quality Goes Clear Through -- February 19, 2021


Washington Evening Star, 23-February-1921

The Dort automobile was built in Flint, Michigan from 1915 to 1924. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday -- February 17, 2021

Today is Ash Wednesday.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has amended the Ash Wednesday rite for COVID. The Holy See has mandated that ashes be sprinkled on the crown of the head instead of traced as a cross on the forehead.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Join in the Revels of Mardi Gras -- February 16, 2021

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 17-January-1921

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone. The Southern Pacific Railroad invited people to take their Sunset Limited  to and from New Orleans for Mardi Gras season in 1921.

Impeached But Not Convicted Again -- February 16, 2021

Our so-called president has been impeached, but was not convicted again because of the spineless Republican senators.  Only Mitt Romney and six others voted to convict on the one article.  

"According to Jane Taylor, 'the central character is notorious for his infantile engagement with his world. Ubu inhabits a domain of greedy self-gratification'. Jarry's metaphor for the modern man, he is an antihero—fat, ugly, vulgar, gluttonous, grandiose, dishonest, stupid, jejune, voracious, greedy, cruel, cowardly and evil..." -- Wikipedia

Monday, February 15, 2021

Happy Presidents' Day, 2021 -- February 15, 2021

John Quincy Adams was our sixth president. He served our country as diplomat, Senator, Representative, Secretary of State and President. I have seen some comments comparing John Quincy Adams to Donald Trump. I do not think this is fair to Adams. Both men lost the popular vote twice, and both were one-term presidents, but Adams was functionally literate, understood how our government worked, had served our country for most of his adult life, and I doubt that he ever committed treason, sedition or any other crime before or during his presidency. 

After his presidency, Adams served as a Representative for several terms. He suffered a stroke while speaking before the House and died two days later. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

ENIAC 75 -- February 14, 2021


Washington Evening Star, 14-February-1946

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was a general-purpose computer that was digital, programmable and fully electronic. It may have been the first device to meet all those criteria. It was not a complete modern computer because it was programmed at least in part by configuring cables and switches boards. A group of women, called operators, did all the programming. It took weeks to enter and then debug complex problems. 

30-Ton Electronic Calculator 
Uses Ancient Abacus Principle 

By The Associated Press 

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15.—By combining the centuries-old abacus with the latest in electronics, the Army came up today with a 30-ton monster it calls “the world’s fastest calculating machine.”

It cost $400,000, including research and development work, but future models can be built “much more cheaply,” the Army said.

Known as the “eniac”—for “electronic numerical integrator and computer”—it was designed and constructed for the Army by scientists of the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering. It will be formally dedicated tonight.

Military and university engineers said the contraption, which virtually fills a large-size room, can solve in hours problems that “would take years” on any other machine.

It can compute in one second the sum of a five-digit number added to itself 5,000 times. It subtracts, divides, multiplies, extracts square roots and does complex equations. The machine originally was intended to furnish faster means of computing complicated problems in ballistics, the mathematics of weapons.

But the scientists said it might assist weather forecasters, industrial designers,' construction engineers, astronomers, medical research scientists and atomic physicists.

The machine was invented by Dr. J. W. Mauchly and J. P. Eckert, Jr. While it operates entirely by electronics and contains no moving mechanical parts it employs the basic principle of the "abacus”—a counting board still in use by some Chinese laundrymen in this country.

The “abacus” utilizes beadlike counters strung on parallel rods or wires. The “eniac” has thousands of tiny neon light bulbs, arranged in rows of 10 like the beads of an abacus.

When punched cards containing holes corresponding to arithmetical numbers are fed into the "eniac” the light bulbs flash on and off in proper combinations.

Fast-moving electrons, fed at the rate of 5,000 a second, activate the machine and an arrangement of electrical circuits determines whether a problem in addition, subtraction, division, multiplication or square rooting is to be done. Answers to problems pop out of the machine on other punched cards.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day. 2021 -- February 14, 2021

Happy Saint Valentine's Day, everyone.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Every Little Movement Means More Thirst -- February 13, 2021


Washington Evening Star, 21-February-1921

I was surprised to see so many Coca-Cola ads during the winter. 

New York Evening World, 23-February-1921

Washington Evening Star, 23-February-1921

Chick Corea and S Clay Wilson, RIP -- February 13, 2021

Chick Corea has died. I have heard his music and his name for most of my life. He played with Miles Davis' electric bands, he founded Return to Tomorrow, he collaborated with everyone and he wrote some jazz standards.

Underground comix artist S Clay Wilson, father of the Checkered Demon, has died. Some of his stuff went too far for me. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Negro Vet Beaten, Eyes Gouged Out By Georgia Police -- February 12, 2021


Detroit Tribune, 23-November-1946

75 years ago today, on 12-April-1946, policemen in Batesburg, Georgia committed one of the ugliest crimes in American history against honorably discharged Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard. Local authorities refused to prosecute the policemen. When the US Department of Justice prosecuted on the orders of President Harry S Truman, an all-white jury acquitted the policemen. 

Woodard's case helped to draw attention to the lack of civil rights in the south, and encouraged President Truman to integrate the military and the civil service. 

The Detroit Tribune was an African-American-owned weekly newspaper. 

Omaha Guide, 20-July-1946

Negro Vet Beaten,
Eyes Gouged Out
By Georgia Police

NEW YORK—One of the most horrible cases of southern police brutality against returning Negro vets was brought to light today when the NAACP released the facts surrounding the unbelievably barbarous beating and blinding of Isaac Woodard, 27 year old veteran of 4 years, 15 months of which were spent in the South Pacific. Woodard, 3 hours after his discharge from a demobilization center, was taken from a bus in Georgia by two policemen on complaint of a bus driver. The police immediately attacked the vet with their blackjacks and as he lay at their feet gouged out both his eyes with the blunt end of a blackjack before throwing him in a narrow cell where he was left intensely suffering through the night without treatment.

Told in his own quiet words, Woodward's story matches any that ever came out of the barbarous horror chambers of Nazi Germany. The following story is taken without embellishment from the Negro vet’s affidavit filed with the legal division of the NAACP:

“I, Isaac Woodard, Jr., being duly sworn, do depose and state as follows:

"That I reside at 1100 Franklin Avenue, Bronx, New York, Apt. 2. 1 am 27 years old, and a veteran of the United States Army,

Having served from the 13th of October, 1942 to the 12th of February, 1946, when I received an honorable discharge from Camp Gordon, Georgia. I served for 15 months in the South Pacific with the 429th Port Battalion. I served in the Philippines and in New Guinea and earned one battle star.

“I was discharged about 5:30 p. m. February 13, 1946 from Camp Gordon, Georgia. At 8:30 p. m. at the Greyhound Terminal in Atlanta, Georgia, while I was in uniform I purchased a ticket to Winnsboro, South Carolina and took the bus headed there to pick up my wife to come to New York to see my father and mother. About one hour out of Atlanta the bus driver stopped at a small drug store. As he stopped, I asked him if he had time to wait for me until I had a chance to go to the rest room. He cursed and said no and when he cursed me, I cursed him back. After I cursed him, he said, “Go ahead and get off and hurry back”, so I got off hurrying back as he said.

“About half an hour later, when the bus got to Aiken, he stopped again and got off and went and got the police. I did not know what he was doing and thought it was just a regular stop. He came back and came in the bus and came up to me and said, ‘Come outside for a minute,’ and I got off the bus. When I walked out, the police were there. As I walked out, the bus driver started telling the police that I was the one that was disturbing the bus. When he said that, I started explaining to the police that I was not raising a disturbance on the bus, but they didn't give me a chance to explain. The policeman struck me with a billy (billy club, nightstick, baton -- JT) across my head and told me to shut up. After he finished talking he said to me, ‘You won’t catch this bus out of here, you catch the next bus’.

"After that, he grabbed me by my right arm and twisted it behind my back, and walked me down the street, continually twisting my wrist. He asked me was I discharged and I told him yes. When I said yes, that is when he started beating me with the billy, hitting me across the top of my head. After that, I grabbed his billy and wrung it out if his hand. He ran behind my back and grabbed my arm again. I had him by his right shoulder. After that another policeman came up and drew his gun on me and told me to drop the billy or he would drop me, so I dropped the billy.

“After I dropped the billy, the second policeman held his gun on me while the other one was beating me as we were walking down the street. I did not see anyone on the street. When we got to the door of the police station, he hit me again and knocked me unconscious. After I commenced to come to myself, he hollered get up. When I started to get up, he started punching me in my eyes with the end of his billy. I finally got up. I could still see for a few minutes as I can remember, because I was hardly conscious.

"A few minutes after he locked me up, he came in and threw me my purse. He went back out and locked the door. I picked out a cot and lied down.

“I woke up the next morning and could not see. Someone gave me my breakfast at the bed. After that, a policeman came to the door and opened it and told me to come out. He said ‘let’s go up here and see what the judge wants’ I told him that I could not see how to come out, I was blind. He said, feel your way out’. I did not make any move to come out so he came in and led me to a sink and told me to wash my face. He then led me up to the judge, and the judge said to me, ‘You were raising sand on the bus last night stubborn' So I said to him .‘no. sir’ and then told him what happened. After I told him what happened, he said, ‘We don’t have that kind of stuff down here’. After he said that, the policeman spoke and said, ‘He wrung my billy out of my hand, and I told him that if he did not drop it, I would drop him’. That is how I knew it was the same policeman as had beat my eyes out.

“After that, the judge spoke and said, ‘I fine you $50 or 30 days on the road’. I said that I would pay the $50 but I did not have the $50 at the time. So the policeman said You have some money there in in your wallet’. He took my wallet and took all I had out of it, which was a total of $40 and took $4 from my watch pocket. I had a check for $694.73 which was my mustering out pay and soldiers deposit. He said to me ‘Can you see how to sign this check—you have a government check’. I told him ‘No sir’ so he gave it back to me after that.

"He took me back and locked me up in the jail. I stayed there for a while and after a few minutes he came in and asked me if I wanted a drink of whiskey—if I took a drink of whiskey I would probably feel better. I told him no sir, I did not care for any. He went and got some kind of eye medicine and came back and poured it in both my eyes. He went and got a hot towel and spread it across my head. I stayed for the rest of the day until about 5:30 that evening. I could tell about what time it was because I asked a policeman and he told me it was late. I do not know if that was the same one or not. At that time he came in and got me and told me that We're going t otake you to the hospital’. I did not hear anyone else In the room.

"He took me to the Veteran’s Hospital in Columbia, S. C. When I got there, the doctor was not in at the time so he laid me on a bench. A nurse took my name and asked him what was the matter. The policeman told him that I was raising a disturbance on the bus and drunk. The doctor asked the policeman was I drunk then, and he said no. So the doctor had an attendant carry me in a room and the attendant undressed me and put me to bed.

“About 5 or ten minutes after I was in bed, the nurse came and started giving me shots in my arm.

‘One of the contact men came around one day and told me they were going to take out a pension for me. I believe that the doctor who cared for me was named Dr. Clarence. I told him what had happened to me. He made no comment I but told me I should join a blind school.

"I stayed in the hospital for two months. I went in on the 13th of February and came out on the 13th of April. My sisters came down to see me, and since they discharged me while they were down there, they brought me back to New York to my father’s home in the Bronx, where I am still staying."

Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, who as a war correspondent and special observer for the War Department visited Negro troops in both the European and Pacific Theatres during World War II stated: "For sheer bestiality and fascist terror the terrible story told by young Woodard is without parallel in all my experience. This man served his country for four years, fifteen months of that time in the South Pacific where he managed to live through and accept all of the horrors of jungle warfare only to return to what he had been told was a grateful nation. Here in the homeland he’d fought for and protected he was given a taste of that gratitude by southern policeman who maimed him for life”.

Dr. Chester W. Chinn, well known eye specialist who examined Woodard’s eyes at the request of the NAACP declared that there was absolutely nothing that medical science could do for the vet. “The boy’s eyes are completely hopeless”, stated Dr. Chinn.

The War Department which was asked to conduct" an investigation into Woodard’s case by the Natiinal Association for the Advancement of Colored People in May, has had nothing to say in the case.

The Year of the Ox -- February 12, 2021

In honor of the beginning of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox, here is Buster Keaton in Go West, with Brown Eyes, who I think was his best leading lady in a feature film. 

Happy Birthday, President Lincoln -- February 12, 2021

Today is Abraham Lincoln's 208th birthday. My favorite president.

An anonymous quote about Abraham Lincoln: "It never occurs to some politicians that Lincoln is worth imitating as well as quoting."

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Comic Book -- The Saint -- February 11, 2021

The Saint is a suspected criminal who steals from bad guys and solves crimes. Leslie Charteris wrote countless novels, novelettes and short stories from 1926 to 1963. The stick figure on the left is The Saint's calling card.

The Saint appeared in print, on radio and television, in movies, and in a comic strip and comic books. Charteris wrote many of the scripts for the radio and comic strip adaptions. He also wrote a play, which has never been staged.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Mary Wilson RIP -- February 10, 2021

Mary Wilson, an original member of the Supremes, has died. The Supremes were one of Motown's most successful acts. Diana Ross came to dominate the group, but Mary Wilson carried on after Diana Ross left, and then had a successful solo career. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Satchel Paige in the Hall, 50 Years -- February 9, 2021


Lincoln, Nebraska Voice, 26-August-1948

Fifty years ago today, on 09-February-1971, Satchel Paige, who may have been the greatest pitcher who ever lived, became the first Negro League player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The committee that had studied the question said that he had to be first. 

The Lincoln, Nebraska Voice was an African-American owned weekly newspaper. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Leon Spinks, RIP -- February 8, 2021


Leon Spinks, Marine, Olympic gold medalist and heavyweight champion, has died way too young. A lot of people regarded him as a joke, but he beat Muhammad Ali to take the title. Ali later took it back. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Pulp -- Detective Fiction Weekly -- February 7, 2021

This issue of Detective Fiction Weekly features a novelette about The Saint, a suspected criminal who steals from bad guys and solves crimes. Leslie Charteris wrote countless novels, novelettes and short stories from 1926 to 1963. The stick figure is The Saint's calling card. 

The Saint appeared in print, on radio and television, in movies, and in a comic strip and comic books. Charteris wrote many of the scripts for the radio and comic strip adaptions. He also wrote a play, which has never been staged. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Passengers View Lynched Man From Train Windows -- February 5, 2021


Chicago Whip, 12-February-1921

The Chicago Whip was an African-American owned weekly newspaper. 


VICKSBURG Miss., Feb. 9.-— Passengers on the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad early Friday morning were regaled by the sight of an unidentified colored man, whose dead body was seen dangling front a tree on the side of the railroad track. No details are known about the lynching. Several autos were seen in the neighborhood during the night. It is thought they brought the victim from a distance.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Captain Sir Tom Moore, RIP -- February 4, 2021


British Army Photo

Captain Sir Tom Moore has died. Rest in peace, Sir Tom. 

On his 100th birthday, 30-April-2020, Britain and much of the world celebrated Captain Tom Moore, a veteran of World War Two. While still recovering from injuries suffered in a fall, he decided that he would walk 100 laps in his garden. He hoped to finish the walk by his birthday and raise £1,000 for the NHS. He kept going and made 200 laps and raised £32,795,065. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Ye Got This Car Leanin' -- February 3, 2021


Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 15-February-1921

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

Washington Times, 03-June-1918

Monday, February 1, 2021

Exit Ignatz -- February 1, 2021


Washington Times, 17-February-1921

I love George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Washington Times, 03-June-1918

February, 2021 Version of the Cable Car Home Page -- February 1, 2021

OpenSFHistory / wnp37.00580-L.jpg

The Cable Car Home Page will be 25 years old in November.

I just put the February, 2021 version of my Cable Car Home Page on the server:

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month: The Baldwin Hotel stood at Powell and Market, about 1888. We see the Powell and Market turntable in the foreground. (Source: OpenSFHistory / wnp37.00580-L.jpg).
2. On the Ferries and Cliff House Railway page: Two photos of the Baldwin Hotel at Powell and Market.
3.On the Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: A ten year update about Cleveland's Brooklyn Street Railroad/South Side Railway, both owned by Tom L Johnson, one of which had an experimental cable installation using the Johnson Ladder Cable System. Including a new ad for bonds.
4. Added News items about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Ten years ago this month (February, 2011):
1. The picture of the month: "Cable Car Belle": A clipping from the 03-June-1973 Palo Alto Times, shows Miss Cable Car, Barbara Jean Davies, posing on a cable car and holding a model of a Powell Street cable car.

2. On the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest page: Barbara Davies Walsh, Miss Cable Car 1973, shares memories and clippings from her exciting reign. Also added information about Kathy Cooper, Miss Cable Car 1971

3. On the Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: A new article about Cleveland's Brooklyn Street Railroad/South Side Railway, both owned by Tom L Johnson, one of which had an experimental cable installation using the Johnson Ladder Cable System

Twenty years ago this month (Winter, 2001):
1. Picture of the Quarter: Market/Hayes cable car by IW Taber

2. Roll out More Market Street Pictures page.

3. Add "The Los Angeles Cable Railway" article from Scientific American, courtesy of Tom Ehrenreich.

4. Ray Long provided two photographs of the Industry Hills Incline, one of Sacramento/Clay car 16 on the Emporium roof and one of Cal Cable 56 at Washington/Mason.

5. Add section on The Electrical System to How Page.

6. Add Beebe book and article about ergonomic adjustments to turntable to Bibliography.

Coming in March, 2021: On the Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: On the Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: More about Cincinnati's Mount Adams and Eden Park Railway.

125 years ago this month:

On 01-February-1896, the cable on the former lines of the Los Angeles Cable Railway/Pacific Cable Railway on West Seventh and Fort was shut down.

Also on 01-February-1896, San Francisco's electric Sutro Railroad began service to Sutro Baths.

25 years ago this month:

New California Street cable car Number 52 entered revenue service after a ceremony at the Washington-Mason cable car barn.

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-February-2021)
San Francisco Bay Ferryboats (updated 31-January-2020)
Park Trains and Tourist Trains (updated 31-July-2019)
The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion (updated spasmodically)
The Big V Riot Squad (new blog)