Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dr King, 2017 -- January 16, 2017
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” —
 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

We should keep this in mind as Congress marches boldly forward to repeal the Affordable Care Act, gut Medicare and Medicaid and destroy CHIP. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Human Be-In 50 Years -- January 14, 2017

Fifty years ago, on 14-January-1967, I lived up the hill from Golden Gate Park, not far from the Polo Fields.  I don't remember this particular event, but I remember later ones when I could hear the music.  I remember some adults complaining about these events.  I never got to go.

The Human Be-In was an early Hippie event in the park. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Colonel William F Cody, 100 Years -- January 10, 2017

Colonel William F Cody, Buffalo Bill, died 100 years ago today, on 10-January-1917.  He received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 for his gallantry as a scout.  It was revoked in 1917 when Congress changed the rules and had many older medals reviewed.  It was restored in 1989.  

Seattle Star, 10-January-1917

DENVER Colo., Jan 10 — Wm F Cody (Buffalo Bill) is dead. The noted plainsman and scout breathed his last at 12:05 p m. today, and with his paasing it seemed to the thousands of friends who had closely followed hi« fight for life as if the laat vestige of the old West, the "wild and woolly" West, had passed with him.

He died at the home of his sister. Mrs May Cody Decker, of this city, where for weeks he lay critically ill, fighting the hardest battle of his life.

Hope Gone for Weeks

Weeks ago friends despaired of his recovery from a complication of disease. but Buffalo Bill refused to give up. He rallied to the extent that he could be removed to Glenwood Springs for his health, but a relapse occurred and he was brought back to Denver.

Thruout his 70 years, Buffalo Bill has always been active and won the most admiration of young America by his adventuresome life. 

Killed Buffaloes

He was born William Frederick Cody, but in 1867 killed 4,280 buffalo in 18 months, and ever since
America has known him as Buffalo Bill.

Up to the civil war, Cody was a pony express rider. He enlisted with the the Seventh Kansas aa scout
and guide during the war. and became colonel.

Government Scout

In 1868 Cody tiecame a government scout and furnished the thrills of Indian warfare, of which most American boys have read. He boasts he took part in more Indian battles than any other white man.  In one he savs. he killed Yellow Hand, the Cheyenne chief, in a hand-to-hand fight.

Buffalo Bill bacame rich with his Wild West show, which he started in 1876. He toured the world with his cowboye and ponies, giving Europe its first glimpse of America's wild and woolly West.  Later he lost the bulk of his fortune.

Tried to Make Stage Star

Retiring from the show, Buffalo Bill lived on his Western ranch, where he has devoted his later years to reclamation of arid lands in Wyoming.  He turned the Big Horn valley from a barren, sun-dried  waste into fruitful, wealth-producing country. 

At one time Cody spent $60,000 to make Mrs Katherlne Clemmons Gould, wife of the millionaire, Howard Gould, a stage star.  He sued her for that amount, which he claimed he lost in the unsuccessful venture.  The suit was withdrawn, however, before decision was made.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Highway One Closed -- January 9, 2017

When the alarm went off this morning, I tuned the radio to KCBS.  They said that Highway One North was closed at Reina del Mar because of mudslides.  I told my wife, who wasn't fully awake.  She jumped out of bed and got dressed rapidly.  She was supposed to open the before school care room.  The trip that usually takes 7-8 minutes took her one hour.  They were letting thirty cars through each way on the southbound lanes.  She said it was not a nice sensation driving the wrong way.  I worked from home.

Caltrans was still trying to clear the mud and keep it from flowing back onto the road during the evening commute.  

We had very heavy rain over the weekend. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Unfortunate Bark Sharpshooter -- January 8, 2017

San Francisco Call, 07-January-1896
The drawing is from the 07-January-1896 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper.  A libel is some kind of a suit in maritime law. 

The Sharpshooter Has Been in Trouble for Over Three Months.
She Was Dismasted, Towed From Guaymas, and Now Libel Suits Are Threatened

Of all the vessels that have ever entered the port of San Francisco the British bark Sharpshooter has had the hardest luck.  She was dismasted in the Gulf of California, was at the mercy of the winds and waves for weeks, drifted past ports of safety that it was impossible to reach and was passed on several occasions by vessels which did not notice the signal of distress flying from the remains of the mainmast.  Finally the bark was picked up by a steamer sent out to look for her and she was towed into Guaymas.

The Sharpshooter was consigned to Grace & Co. and when that firm learned of her whereabouts they sent the tug Fearless to tow her to San Francisco. On her arrival here Captain Watts and his crew thought all their troubles were over.  They soon found out their mistake.  They had only just begun. Grace & Co. at once took possession of the cargo and held the freight as security for the towage bill. Captain Watts could not get a cent of money and the crew are still hanging by the ship in hopes of getting paid. For over two months the Sharpshooter has lain at Harrison street, with the captain and men hoping day after day for the settlement that never came.

While Grace & Co., the underwriters, and Captain Watts were discussing the situation, the wharfage bill, the grocers' and butchers' bills and bills for sundry other necessaries kept growing, and the men began clamoring for their money. The captain could not satisfy them, and the chances are that half a dozen libels will be filed on the hull to-day.

 Captain Watts finally became convinced yesterday that there was no hope of an immediate settlement, so he decided to move the bark to Oakland Creek. At 1 p. m. she was taken in tow by the Alert, and an hour later was hard and fast in the mud of the creek. The crew are still aboard, and they intend to stay there until they get their money. The greatest sufferer in the whole affair is the master.  He is the principal owner in the bark, and outside of her has not a cent in the world. He is accompanied by his wife and children, and in order to raise money to pay some small necessary expenses he has been compelled to sell many an article that was prized aboard the ship. Of course no repairs have been made to the vessel, and she is to-day in the same dilapidated condition as when she entered port.  During the months she has lain at Harrison street she has been an object of curiosity and wonderment to the thousands who have passed and repassed her. 

What the outcome of the present entanglements will be is hard to predict.  The chances are, however, that the hull will be sold and when all the expenses are paid there will be very little left for Captain Watts.

The Sharpshooter came from Peru with a cargo of nitrate. During the storm that dismantled her part of the load was thrown overboard. A curious circumstance in connection with the disaster is that when all hopes failed Captain Watts wrote a letter and putting it in a bottle dropped it overboard. It reached land and was picked up by some fishermen, who forwarded it to the United States Consul at
Guaymas. The latter appealed to the Mexican Government and it sent out the steamer that picked up the unfortunate bark.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Killed the First Day of the Somme -- Will Streets -- January 5, 2017

On 01-July-2016, I missed the opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  More British soldiers died on that day than on any other day in history.  I thought to make up for it, I would write about some of the poets who died that day.  There were a lot.

Will Streets served in the Sheffield Pals, first in Egypt, then on the Western Front.  By the time of the Battle of the Somme, he was a sergeant.  On the first day, he was wounded and reported missing.  His body turned up ten months later.  His poems were published later in 1917 in a book, The Undying Splendour.

The image is from the movie The Battle of the Somme.

April Evening: France, 1916. 

0 sweet blue eve that seems so loath to die,
Trailing the sunset glory into night,
Within the soft, cool strangeness of thy light,
My heart doth seem to find its sanctuary.
The day doth verge with all its secret care,
The thrush is lilting Vespers on the thorn ;
In Nature’s inner heart seems to be born
A sweet serenity ; and over there
Within the shadows of the stealing Night,
Beneath the benison of all her stars
Men, stirr’d to passion by relentless Mars,
Laughing at Death, wage an unceasing fight.
The thunder of the guns, the scream of shells
Now seem to rend the placid evening air :
Yet as the night is lit by many a flare
The thrush his love in one wild lyric tells.
O sweet blue eve!  Lingering awhile with thee,
Before the earth with thy sweet dews are wet,
My heart all but thy beauty shall forget
And find itself in thy serenity.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Sopwith Aeroplanes, Part II -- January 3, 2017

The 29-September-1919 issue of Aerial Age Weekly featured the second of two parts of "The Sopwith Aeroplanes," an article about the products of the Sopwith Aviation Company.  Part one is here. 


The Sopwith "Snipe"

THIS machine, brought out March 17, 1917, was produced primarily with a view to the attainment of a very high performance and exhibits characteristic of both the "Camel" and '"Dolphin." From the latter it differs in point of stagger and plane dimensions, and also in having a 200 h.p. B. R. engine in place of the Hispano-Suiza. As in the "Dolphin," the rudder is of large size and balanced, and the "Snipe," as might be expected from its general lines and arrangement of weights, was highly maneuverable. The pilot's head, owing to the deep fuselage and small gap, is on a level with the top plane, the centre of which is partly cut away and partly slotted. A double-bay system of struts is used, giving, with the relatively small span, great constructional strength. Owing to the large diameter of the B. R. 2, the rectangularity of the fuselage only appears towards the tail, and the body is more pronouncedly circular than in previous Sopwith designs. The "Snipe" did not make its appearance until well on in the middle of 1918, and had thus very little chance of introducing its qualities to the German Flying Corps. In the short time at its disposal, however, it made an enviable reputation for itself. In four days a single "Snipe" squadron accounted for 36 enemy aeroplanes, and downed 13 in one day. At this rate German aerial personnel would have become rapidly exhausted. An outstanding feat was that performed by Major Barker, who, on a Sopwith "Snipe," when attacked by 60 hostile machines, crashed four of them and drove down no less than 10 out of control.

In addition it might be mentioned that a "Snipe" fitted with an A.B.C. engine attained a speed of 156 m.p.h. and climbed to 10,000 ft. in 4'/2 minutes.

The Sopwith "Dolphin"

Two principal objects were borne in mind in the design of this single-seater fighter—firstly, to make good use of the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engine (which had reached a productive stage), and, secondly, to afford the pilot a range of vision greater than that of any other existing aeroplane. The former necessitated a departure from the usual lines of the Sopwith fuselage, the upper surface of which in the rear of the cockpit is more pronouncedly arched than in previous types. The span of the planes was increased beyond that of the "Camel," and a double-bay arrangement of struts adopted in order to provide great structural strength. At the same time the gap was slightly diminished, and, what forms a srong characteristic of the type, a negative stagger was adopted, with the object of placing the main spar extensions of the top plane in such a position as not to interfere with the complete freedom of movement of the pilot, who occupies the rectangular space formed by them. On these tubular steel spar extensions—which are supported by four short vertical struts from the fuselage—arc mounted two Lewis guns, capable of being aimed independently of the direction of the machine. Two fixed Vickers' guns firing through the propeller are arranged along the top of the engine, and are partially covered in by this cylinder fairing. The general arrangement of the front part of the fuselage is particularly neat, and its formidable appearance is well supported by the "Dolphin's" offensive capabilities. The radiator is divided into two portions, each carried on one side of the fuselage level with the pilot's cockpit. In front of each radiator is arranged an inclined and adjustable deflector, allowing the whole or any part of the cooling surface to be obstructed. Among other features of the "Dolphin"' will be noted an empennage design differing markedly from that of previous Sopwith types. The fin is of a more upright shape and the rudder is balanced.

The 300 h.p. "Dolphin"

In connection with this type it is of considerable interest to note that at the signing of the Armistice it was being built in quantities by the French Government, for themselves and the American Government in France. It is fitted with the 300 h.p. Hispano-Suiza, and an adjustable tail plane is employed, since the variable load is considerable, the French and American Governments calling for a very large quantity of petrol to be carried. The machine was reinforced in certain respects to allow for the considerable addition of power, and it had every promise of being an extremely formidable proposition.

In general outline it was very similar to the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza "Dolphin." The guns were completely concealed under the cowling, being fitted in tunnels, and the air intake of the carburetor was fitted with a telescopic-type gas tube direct into the front cowl, considerably diminishing the risk of carburetor fire.

The Sopwith "Cuckoo"

There is a genuine humor in all the Sopwith type-names, and in none more so than in the ''Cuckoo," which was encouraged to lay a very splendid egg in any German nest that could be located above the surface of the sea. The egg in this case was a special 18-in. torpedo, which the "Cuckoo" carried strung underneath her fuselage and between the wheels of the landing carriage, which, it will be observed, consists of two independent wheels, each separately mounted, and not, as is usual, united by a common or articulated axle.

This machine was built at thec request of Commander Murray Sueter, R.N., and was of considerable dimensions. The treble-bay arrangement of struts will be noted, as also the installation of the 200 h.p. Hispano-Suiza geared engine, with the elliptical radiator surrounding the propeller shaft.

The "Buffalo"

This machine, fitted with a B. R. 200 h.p. engine, was designed primarily for reconnaissance and contact patrol work, with a view to armouring the pilot, observer and fuel tanks against enemy attack. The construction of the fore part of the fuselage was similar to the "Salamander." It was fitted with one synchronized gun firing forward and one Lewis gun on a Scarfe ring mounting firing aft. The experiments with this machine were highly successful, and it was on the point of being put into quantity production when the Armistice was signed.

The "Salamander"

In general lines this formidable aeroplane is modelled upon its prototype, the "Snipe," but its function is of a totally different character, as it was designed primarily as a trench fighter, for which purpose it is armed with two fixed machine guns and protected with armor plating. The latter forms the front of the fuselage from a point immediately in the rear of the engine (a B. R. of 200 h.p.), and extends to the rear of the pilot's cockpit. This plating was not added to an existing frame, but had a structural as well as a protective function, and itself formed the front portion of the fuselage. It will be noticed that the faired cowling behind the engine is added above the armor. A small variation from "Snipe" detail is seen in the tapering spine serving to fair off the pilot's head. The being bullet-proof, gave him a considerable means of protection against attack from the rear. The total weight of the armor is 650 lbs., and, in addition to this extra load, 2,000 rounds of ammunition were carried for the guns.