Wednesday, March 31, 2021

COVID-19, Vaccine, Masks, Church, Baseball and School -- March 31, 2021

During March, the rates of infection and death continued to decline, but epidemiologists warned about mutated strains that could cause a third surge.

By March 23rd, about 545,000 Americans had died from the Trump Virus.

At about the same time, we learned that almost 25% of the US population had been vaccinated. 50% of US senior citizens have been fully vaccinated. My wife and daughter, both teachers, received the second of two vaccine shots in March, and I received my first shot.

The SFMTA says the F-Market and Wharves line should return on 15-May-2021. Hyde Street cable cars should return this fall, and the other lines later. Most light rail lines should be back early in 1922.

San Francisco and San Mateo Counties moved to the red tier, so indoor dining is returning. Good Shepherd Church in Pacifica was able to double the number of people they can have in the gym for mass. We will continue to attend in the car until I get my second dose.

Spring training has been strange with very few people in the stands.

My wife and daughter are both teaching in hybrid situations, with some kids in the classroom and some looking at Zoom. Their schools are encouraging more students to return to the classroom.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

This Has to Stop -- March 30, 2021


San Francisco Wasp, 14-November-1883

The United States and particularly the State of California has a long tradition of anti-Asian prejudice. The San Francisco Wasp, a satirical magazine, featured many anti-Chinese cartoons drawn by George Frederick Keller. Ironically, Keller was an immigrant from Prussia, but he directed much of his wrath against immigration from Asia. Recently, we have seen many people attack elderly Asian-Americans. Other Asian-Americans are blamed for COVID-19. Some of the blame goes to our former president, who stoked the fires of hatred with phrases like "the Chinese Virus" and "Kung Flu." This has to stop.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Albert Bierstadt -- Cho-looke, the Yosemite Fall -- March 29, 2021


Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, California, US

I have always enjoyed the paintings of Albert Bierstadt. "Cho-looke, the Yosemite Fall," 1864 by Albert Bierstadt,

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday 2021 -- March 28, 2021

Renaissance painter Giotto painted Christ entering Jerusalem in the 14th Century. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

If At All Particular -- March 27, 2021

New Britain Herald, 04-August-1922

I have tried Moxie. It tasted funny, but I liked it.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

New Cat #85 -- March 25, 2021


I took the photo on 28-February-2021. She has become an aficionado of videos for cats.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Boeing SST, 50 Years -- March 24, 2021


50 years ago today, on 24-March-1971, the US Senate refused to provide more funding for the Boeing SST project. The SST may have been the first aviation story that I followed closely.  I cut articles out of the San Francisco Chronicle and pasted them into a scrap book. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Coulter -- The Comanche on Duty -- March 23, 2021


San Francisco Call, 15-March-1896

WA Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call. The Camanche (that's how the Navy spelled it) was a Civil War monitor with an unusual history. After being built, she was disassembled and loaded into the hold of a sailing ship, the Aquila, which carried her around the horn. Aquila sank in her berth in San Francisco. After being salvaged, Camanche was assembled and launched in late 1864. Here we see her turned over to California's Naval Militia. The USS Monadnock and Monterey were New Navy monitors, commissioned in The 1890s. Both sailed across the Pacific during the Spanish-American War. The USS Independence, commissioned in 1814, was a razeed frigate which served as a receiving ship at Mare Island.

She Was Successfully Towed
Down From Mare Island
First Day's Work of Her Crew— A
Public Reception to Be Given
on Board.

Lieutenant-Commander Louis H. Turner, United States Naval Reserve, hoisted his pennant aboard of the monitor Comanche at Mare Island yesterday and the old ironclad, after thirty years of idleness, went into commission. There was none of the usual formalities. The colors went up and the vessel passed quietly under the control of the State of California. Early yesterday morning Captain Turner, Lieutenant Gunn and Lieutenant Dennis, with a detachment of the battalion, in the harbor tug Markham, which had been detailed for that duty, proceeded to the navy-yard, where they found the Comanche ready for her departure. The Markham hooked on, the shorelines were cast off and the trip began.

" The monitor was a little rusty from her long sleep, and the rudder-chains raised creakingly through their sheaves, but she swung around to her helm, and the water rippled along her sides as she went out into the stream. Captain H. N. Turner, the father of Lieutenant-Commander Turner took the wheel, with two seamen, to overcome whatever tendencies the Comanche might have to ram tbe Independence as she passed down the straits. All the steam whistles of the yard blew the monitor a "good- by," and her old mooring place was vacant.

Out on San Pablo Bay the tide, beginning its ebb, helped the tow, and the great mass was dragged along at a good speed. The Monadnock went by about a mill to starboard dipping her ensign in a sisterly salute. During all the way down Captain Turner, with his entire crew, worked industriously getting his mooring ready. They consist of a large float weighing several tons and a ponderous 23,000 pound sinker, which will hold the monitor against the southeaster and fierce tides of San Francisco Bay.

Notwithstanding her age the Comanche proves how well the Navy Department takes care of its vessels. The engines are as bright and clean as if they had been placed in the hull yesterday, and the roomy apartments below show where fresh paint and the scrubbing-brush have been used.

A machinist and fireman have been stationed in the monitor during her long rest at the yard, and every day the boilers, engine-room, turret and turret-chamber and the guns have been examined. The engine has been turned over, the turret revolved, the battery run out and in. Three men enlisted at Mare Island for special service will remain aboard and continue to care for the vessel and her machinery. They will also exercise diligence in guarding against fire, for which an alarm will be given by the rapid ringing of the ship's bell and the closing of the ports and hatches to prevent any draft of the flames. The steering wheel of the Comanche is on top of the turret, where is also located the iron conning-tower for the accommodation of the helmsman when shot and shell are whistling painfully near him. The turret itself holds the two big, old-fashioned smooth-bore 15-inch guns that were considered dangerous a quarter of a century ago. Their muzzles, when run out look through two narrow slots at the world around them.

The guns do not protrude through the wall of the turret as in the Monterey and Monadnock, but fit snugly against the port to fill up the aperture, thus preventing the smoke of the discharge from blowing back into the turret and suffocating the gunners. The pieces have the appearance of being sawed off like an express messenger's shotgun. The guns are moved and the turret revolved by compressors and levers from within the structure. It sweeps around on a central pivot carrying the two great guns easily ana smoothly in an entire circle at the will of the operator.

The vessel has much more deck room than the Monterey or Monadnock, being more convenient to the crew as an open drilling place. She is fitted with the four handsome black boats belonging to the battalion, besides the fine, swift steam launch received a few days ago from the navy-yard.

Besides the heavy mooring, float and sinker she is provided with a mushroom shaped anchor, which is drawn up through a well in the hull, near the stem, when the Monitor is under way. It is never visible when the vessel is afloat and its existence is only known by its weight on the cable.

The only thing in poor repair is the deck, which is rotten as punk, but as the planking is laid upon an iron deck there is no danger of tbe naval reserve going down below through the seams. An effort has been made to protect the deck by a thick coat of tar covered with sawdust, which gives the big platform a sort of prize-ring appearance.

Captain Turner and his officers and crew took charge of the ironclad like old men-of-war's men. The young fellows worked faithfully and cheerfully all day at the difficult labor of getting the cumbersome moorings ready, proving that the State's Naval Battalion has the right stuff in it and would make a good showing should they be called upon to fight their craft against a hostile ship.

Lieutenant-Commander • Turner is a master mariner, a practical seaman, and is enthusiastic in his efforts jto bring the re serve up to a high standard of proficiency, consequently, he is pleased that the naval militia has a drill snip, even if her battery and herself is of a past day.

At the entrance to San Francisco Bay the Comanche was joined by her new steam launch, having on board Colonel James, the inspector of the battalion, and Lieutenant Elliot, who brought a fresh crew to assist those aboard the monitor.

Arriving off Harrison street about 7 o'clock in the evening the vessel was moored in the berth. assigned her, the stay-lamp lighted and she was left in charge of the ship-keeper, Cockswain John Lund. To Captain Petzinger of the tug Markham, who managed his unwieldy tow so skillfully, much credit for the success of the undertaking is due.

As the battalion is desirous of making some small immediate repairs on its vessel and if possible put a new deck in her, they intend soon to give a Sunday reception on board to raise funds for that purpose. As the Comanche, though an old type monitor, is in good condition and well worth a visit, the plan of the young men will doubtless meet the approval of the public. The admirer of naval progress will then note the gap of thirty years between the Comanche and the Monterey.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Seventh Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon -- March 22, 2021

Motion Picture News, 25-December-1920

This post is part of the Seventh Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon, hosted by Lea at Silent-ology. For the first annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time in vaudeville: The 3-4-5 Keatons. For the second annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton and the Passing Show of 1917, the show he signed for after leaving vaudeville. For the third annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster's transition from vaudeville to the movies, Buster Keaton: From Stage to Screen.   For the fourth annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time in the US Army: Buster Keaton Goes to War. For the fifth annual blogathon, I wrote about Buster Keaton's time making short comedies with Roscoe Arbuckle, Comique: Roscoe, Buster, Al and Luke. For the sixth annual blogathon I wrote about Buster Keaton's First Feature: The Saphead.

My entry for the seventh annual blogathon is on my movies-mostly blog, The Big V Riot Squad:
Buster Keaton's Silent Shorts -- Reel One -- March 22, 2021

I wrote about Buster Keaton's starring series of silent two reelers. No one ever asks me, but I tell people that this series of comedies and Charlie Chaplin's series for Mutual are the two best series of silent comedy shorts ever made.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Comic Book -- Spy Smasher -- March 21, 2021

I like Spy Smasher. He didn't have fancy powers. He just smashed spies. He had a cool uniform, too. Here we see him smashing a Nazi in front of Mount Rushmore.

Spy Smasher and Captain Marvel were both Fawcett Comics characters. Each was also the main character of a Republic serial.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Joe McGinnity 150 -- March 20, 2021

Iron Man Joe McGinnity was born 150 years ago today, on 20-March-1871 (or 19-March-1871).  

Iron Man Joe McGinnity pitched professionally from 1899 to 1925.  In 1903, he pitched 44 complete games, out of 47 started, which is a modern major league record (1900 and after).  He also had two saves and pitched 434 innings.  He was the last man to pitch both ends of a double header.  These things are not why he was called Iron Man.  He worked in an iron foundry during the offseason. 

Indianapolis Journal, 01-September-1903

The box scores for his two victories for the Giants against the Phillies on 31-August-1903. This was the third time he won both ends of a double header that season. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Pulp -- G-Men Detective Stories -- March 19, 2021

FBI Director J Edgar Hoover was a frequent contributor to G-Men Detective Stories. This issue has a full-length story about the FBI countering Nazi spies. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

COVID-19 -- PFirst Injection -- March 18, 2021

I had my Pfirst injection of the Pfizer vaccine today. Thank you, Kaiser.

Transit Driver Appreciation Day, 2021 -- March 18, 2021


I am grateful to the men and women who bravely face San Francisco traffic and San Francisco people every day. Thank you all, especially during this pandemic.

I am grateful to transit drivers/motormen/gripmen/engineers/conductors and all the people who keep the vehicles clean and running and the wires and tracks in good shape all over the world. Thank you all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 2021 -- March 17, 2021


Kentucky Irish American, 20-March-1921

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

This editorial cartoon says that if Saint Patrick were in Ireland in 1921, he would have had a new set of snakes to expel. The first snake represents David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The second snake may represent Unionist politician Edward Carson, who was opposed to independence. The third snake represents the Black and Tans, a Unionist constabulary which committed many acts of violence during the Irish War of Independence. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Genuine Coca-Cola - March 16, 2021


Americus Times-Recorder, 13-March-1921

If you visited the Winsor Pharmacy in Americus, Georgia 100 years this month, Dick Brownie would have served you a glass of Genuine Coca-Cola for a nickel.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Bobby Bonds 75 -- March 15, 2021


Giants slugger Bobby Bonds would have been 75 years old today. He was both on 15-March-1946. I remember when he played for the Giants. I was sad when he went to the Yankees in 1975. I was happy when the Giants signed his son Barry and Bobby became a coach. Bobby died too young. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sutro Baths 125 -- March 14, 2021


San Francisco Call, 13-March-1896

125 years ago today, on 14-March-2021, Sutro Baths, built by Mayor Adolph Sutro, opened to the public, just up the hill from the second Cliff House and across the road from Sutro Heights. The article below, from the 16-March-1896 San Francisco Call, describes the events of opening day and other recreational activities in the city. The museum is the former museum of the Mid-Winter Fair, at this point the ancestor of the De Young Museum. It is interesting to see the Baths referred to as Sutro Coney Island. 

Sutro's Baths Were Well
Attended in Spite of the

Music and an Entertaining Aquatic
Programme— Work at the Museum.

In consequence of the weather yesterday Golden Gate Park was almost deserted. There was no music, the drives were vacant except for a half a dozen yonng cyclers, who seemed to enjoy the mud. However, John McLaren, the superintendent, was happy.

"This is a glorious rain," said he, "just what we needed at this time. Yesterday afternoon the men finished planting a little forest of trees on the artificial hill south of the grand court, which is to serve as a break wind, when down came this gentle rain which will invigorate the trees."

Considerable work has been done in the court in the past week. A large number of tall shade trees have been set out and when they are in foliage they will furnish ample shade for those who will gather under them to listen to the music.

The grounds around the new lodge are being laid out by the gardeners and the designers will make them very attractive. Some of the trees that stand in front and obstruct the view of the main driva will be cut down.

Work on the annex to the museum has been delayed on account of the strike which has been on several days. This delays the inside work. As soon as it is finished the work of placing the new exhibits in position will be commenced under the suggestions of Director-General de Young, who is expected home this week.

Travel to the ocean beach in the forenoon was very light. In the afternoon the cars of all the lines were carrying many passengers, all bound for the entertainment in the Sutro Baths. During the afternoon there was, considering the day, a very good attendance of spectators and bathers. Up to 4 o'clock over four hundred had robed themselves in bathing suits and tested the temperature of the clear, invigorating water from the ocean. Colonel T. P. Robinson had provided a pleasing programme, which was given between 1 and' 3 o'clock. It was an exhibition by members of the Olympic Club and included a 100-yard race, water polo, tub-race, candle race, spring-board diving, trapeze diving and high diving.

During the afternoon tbe spectators were greeted with delightful music by Cassasa's Exposition Band, choice and popular selections being rendered until 5 o'clock. In the evening the baths were brilliantly illuminated with electric lights and there was given an exhibition of fancy swimming and diving by members of the Olympic Club and the Pacific Swimming Club. There was also a grand concert by Cassasa's Band.

There will not be any performance to-night, but there will be a gala night to-morrow, when a special programme in honor of the day will be offered.

On account of the moisture the Haight street grounds were not opened yesterday.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Al Jaffee 100 -- March 13, 2021


Mad Magazine, 14-April-2020

Recently retired Mad Magazine artist and writer Al Jaffee turns 100 years old today. He was a great influence on my sense of humor. I always liked his "Fold-Ins" and "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions." I stared at the Fold-In until I could tell what it would like if I folded it. I didn't want to crease the back cover. As a tribute, Mad did an All Jaffee issue when he retired. 

He is a veteran of World War Two. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

H.R.1319 - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 -- March 12, 2021


Congress has passed (without a single Republican vote) and President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It will provide direct stimulus to people, tax breaks to ordinary people and other actions to stimulate the economy. It will help to fund COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Many people say we are  making a return to the ideas of the New Deal and turning from the damage that has been done since 1981.

Many Republican members of Congress are trying to take credit for it. 


Liza Minnelli 75 -- March 12, 2021


 Singer actress and dancer Liza Minnelli was born 75 years ago today, on 12-March-1946. I was probably aware of her as Judy Garland. I think she really caught my attention when I saw her on the cover of the 25-February-1972 Newsweek. I didn't see Cabaret until many years later. 

She was a wonderful singer and dancer, but her movie career has been hit-or-miss. She won an Oscar for Cabaret and she was good in Arthur.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Astor Piazzolla 100 -- March 11, 2021

Astor Piazzolla, composer and bandeon player, was born 100 years ago today, on 11-March-1921. Some people did not care for Tango Nuevo, but he frequently used classical and jazz elements in his work. He mostly lived in Italy during the dictatorship but was never formally exiled. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Lynch Negro After Jury Fails to Agree -- March 9, 2021

Colorado Statesman, 26-March-1921

Richard James was lynched near Versailles, Kentucky on 13-March-1921. The governor of Kentucky, Edwin P Morrow, denounced the murder. The Colorado Statesman was an African-American owned newspaper.


Versailles, Ky.— Richard James, colored, was tried last week before Circuit Judge R. L. Stout for the murder of Ben T. Rogers and Homer Nave, two distillery guards. Owing to the evidence, the jury reported to Judge Stout last Saturday it was unable to reach' a verdict.

Deciding, a case on evidence did not please some citizens, who organized an automobile party and decided to have a big night; so a mob, composed of fifty persons, went to the Woodford county jail, took the keys from John T. Edger, the jailer, and proceeded to James' cell.

The prisoner put up a game fight (something the jailer failed to do), but “heroic action” was taken by one of the “brave” members of the mob who knocked James senseless with a blackjack. He was then taken in a machine to the intersection of the Frankfort and Midway pikes, two miles from Versailles, and hanged to a tree.

None of the members of the mob was identified by Jailer Edger. The two guards were killed while defending the distillery from an attack by a party of armed men who were attempting to remove whisky. It was thought by local authorities that James might have been a member of the party.


Frankfort, Ky.— March 14. —Governor Edwin P. Morrow today offered a reward of $5OO each for the arrest and conviction of each member of the mob that early yesterday took from the Woodford county jail and lynched Richard James, colored. He also issued a proclamation removing from office John H. Edgar, jailer of Woodford county.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Ali vs Frazier I, 50 Years -- March 8, 2021


Palm Springs Desert Sun, 15-March-1971

Fifty years ago today, former champ Muhammad Ali met heavyweight champion Joe Frazier for the first of three times. Many people called it the "Fight of the Century," and they may have been right. Joe Frazier won a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds at Madison Square Garden. I was a Smokin' Joe fan for some reason ;0) 

In these ads we see that two theaters, a drive-in and a hardtop, were showing the fight the next week in Palm Springs. I suppose this was a repeat of the closed circuit coverage.

International Women's Day, 2021 -- March 8, 2021

Happy International Women's Day. #InternationalWomensDay #ChooseToChallenge

I'm happy that we have our first woman Vice President, Kamala Harris. . 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

They Carried the Car Over to the Water -- March 7, 2021

Perth Amboy Evening News, 28-March-1921

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

Washington Times, 03-June-1918

Friday, March 5, 2021

James Longstreet 200 -- March 5, 2021

James Longstreet, Lieutenant General, CSA, was born 200 years ago today, on 05-March-2021. He was a West Pointer who served honorably in the Mexican War. Longstreet met Ulysses S Grant at West Point and they remained friends for the rest of their lives. After the attack on Fort Sumter, he joined the Confederate States Army. When Robert E Lee became commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Longstreet became one of his corps commanders. Longstreet led his troops to many victories.

After the surrender at Appomatox, Longstreet became a pariah in the south because he supported the Republican Party, supported Reconstruction, and accepted offices from President Grant. Lost Cause advocates attacked Longstreet's record, claiming that the defeat at Gettysburg was his fault. 

I need to read his memoirs. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

I'll Go While the Going is Goable -- March 3, 2021

Washington Times, 03-March-1921

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

Washington Times, 03-June-1918

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Vernon Jordan, RIP -- March 2, 2021


Civil rights leader Vernon Jordan has died. I have been hearing and reading about him my whole life. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

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

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

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

It includes some new items:
1. Picture of the Month:  An outbound car of the Sutro Railroad heads towards the terminal above Sutro Baths. The second Cliff House is visible in the background. (Source: OpenSFHistory / wnp4.1055).
2. On the Cable Car Lines in San Francisco page: A new article about the opening of the Sutro Railroad, including "The New Road to the Cliff", three 1896 San Francisco Call articles about the opening of the Sutro Railroad and the dedication of the second Cliff House.
3.On the Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: A ten year update about Cincinnati's Mount Auburn Cable Railway</a>, including the 2021 demolition of its powerhouse. 

4. Added News items about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Carl Payne's illness

Ten years ago this month (March, 2011):
1. The picture of the month: A Cincinnati cable train lays over on the Blair Avenue loop at the outer end of the Mount Adams and Eden Park Railway.

2. On the new Cable Car Lines in Ohio page: A new article about Cincinnati's Mount Adams and Eden Park Railway. Also a newspaper article about an 1887 accident: CABLE CAR ACCIDENTS.

3. On the Who page: A new article about Henry M Lane, engineer on the Mount Adams and Eden Park and other cable lines

4. On the Motion Pictures Which Feature Cable Cars page: Thanks to Jack Tillmany, I added Chinatown Squad

5. Added Bibliography item about filmmaker and former cable car gripman Melvin Van Peebles

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 April, 2021:

On the Cable Car Kitsch page: 

More cable car collectibles.

125 years ago this month:

On 13-March-1896, the cable on the former Boyle Heights line of the Los Angeles Cable Railway/Pacific Cable Railway was shut down.

On 23-March-1896, the Citizen's Traction Company began operating the former cable cars of the San Diego Cable Railway, converted to electric traction

50 years ago this month:

On 22-March-1971, a press release from the San Francisco Municipal Railway announces the purchase of 40 new grips that are of a revised and more easily maintained design.

The Cable Car Home Page now has a Facebook page:

Joe Thompson
The Cable Car Home Page (updated 01-March-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)