Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dr. Seuss has a birthday, and an early automated fast food place

I was going to write about an early (1967) fast food place, the first in San Francisco, which was also really early to be computerized. 
  But then I was reminded that today Dr. Seuss would have been 109 years old.  So buckle up for the ride and the drive through.  I try to never, ever use a drive thru, I don't like them, to me they're inconvenient.

When I went by this place I put on my brakes,
and there were no Car Hops that came out on skates,
now the Car Hops are gone, and here in their place,
is a big machine and it has no face.

May I take your order, is all that they ask,
as if that by itself is a diligent task.
Where, oh where, are the girls on their skates;
I guess I'll wait to take my breaks.

And the inside there's a booth with a phone.
Yes!  This place makes you feel all alone,
call up and order, talk to the machine,
does that computer know what you mean.

And watch the food on a conveyor belt line,
burgers wrapped in cellophane, all in good time;
but there are no people with which to speak,
I should have waited another whole week.

So we now have those drive ups all over the place,
and astronauts may have them up there in space;
but, no I won't go through one in my car,
and I'm hoping the "skate girls" have their own star!

Okay, okay here's the scoop.  The photos may enlarge a little if you click.
1987 at Ott's Drive In, San Francisco.  A lot of people
didn't know what to do.
Photo: Bill Young, San Francisco Chronicle - he was there to record history
The computer, bigger than a modern refrigerator,
it was like the little ones today at McDonald's
each button was for a specific item.
Photo: Bill Young, SF Chronicle
Use a phone to order inside, and a jukebox too.
Photo: Bill Young, SF Chronicle

Friday, March 1, 2013

Phillipine pulp wood or beautiful tree?

A Rainbow Eucalyptus tree - click to enlarge
Photo: WikiCommons
  Very interesting.  Eucalyptus trees, a broadleaf evergreen, are known to have shaggy, shedding bark, they usually look like they're peeling away.
  On this particular species the new bark is green and the older dark turns orange, red and maroon as it ages.  Native to the southern parts of the Pacific Ocean it grows wild in the Philippines, and is known as a Mindanao tree.  It is also grown in plantations to be used as pulp wood for the manufacture of paper.  Useful and beautiful, this is a unique tree, at least to me.
In another view - click to enlarge
Photo: WikiCommons
Higher up (will not enlarge)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The ones that didn't work out

  There have been many aircraft designs that just didn't quite make it.  Something amiss, or just not the right time for that idea.  Right after World War Two there were quite a number of aircraft designs that someone thought were "cool" but were rejected for one reason or another.  Some never made it because jets were becoming the in thing, some were just impractical, or just not a good fit for the intended purpose, here are two. (click any photo to enlarge)
The Vought V-173 Flying Pancake
Photo: U S Navy
    This "flying square" looking plane was designed for easy control and speed.  The engines were located on the "wingtip" or outer edge of the square.  It wasn't as easy to control as thought, and jet planes were on the way.  The Navy flew this plane 190 times between 1942 and 1947.
The "Pancake" V-173 from a different angle.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  For a short time the Navy thought maybe having a plane on each ship, for protection, would be a good idea.  A number of designs were dreamed up, it never worked out, and planes were designed for carrier use only after this design proved hard to handle.
Convair XFY-1 Pogo.  At each wing tip the long "oreo strut" was for landing and moving.
Photo: U S Navy
The Pogo took off vertically and then twisted to horizontal, the pilots seat turned too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Tom Lantos tunnels; a story too

The location - click to fully enjoy
Photo: Ken James, Bloomberg News
  On California Highway 1, a most beautiful ride, just south of the San Francisco area you will find the area called The Devils Slide.  It's called that because the land is unstable and sections of it fall into the ocean on occasion, endangering the highway.
  The problem has been talked about for years and years, finally the project was started and is now in the final finishing stages.  Two tunnels bored through the hills connected by two high bridges over the valleys are ready for traffic.
  Personally I've ridden or driven that stretch many times in the past on the way to Half Moon Bay and a small beach.  The oceans actions are so strong there was always a pile of small rocks in my swim trunks!  I really enjoyed the place.  Here are photos of the work in progress.
Portals on the south end. click to enlarge
Photo: Eric Risberg, AP
The tunnel interiors will be well ventilated, and fire safety areas will
be available. - click to enlarge
Photo: Eric Risberg AP
Work in progress on one of the two bridges - click to enlarge
For more information try, Yahoo News, or just search Google News for the Tom Lantos Tunnels.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Here kitty, kitty.

  I like cats.  While we no longer have a cat, we have had a number of them and I grew up with always, or most always, having a cat around.
  People, some people, like cats and that's been around for a long, long time.  I recently found on the web page of the San Francisco Chronicle some historic photographs.  Of cats, of course.  These are old photos, some of them are older than me or even Wilbur.
A Royal Photographic Society photo from 1896 - click
Photo: Getty Images via
A 1926 photo from the Monty Fresco collection
Photo: Getty Images via
I've never known cats who listened to the radio but here we have proof!
From Fox Photos, this photo from 1930
Photo; Getty Images via

Monday, February 25, 2013

More about middle America

  Maybe I've figured out the photo thing, of course it will change again in a few days, never leave well enough alone; that's how things are done on the World Wide Web - just an opinion.  I made another visit around the USA newspapers, I'll share what I saw today and tomorrow.
A screech owl family, Mom is sleeping, 3 young ones awake. - click to enlarge
Photo: Phoebe Janzen via The Wichita Eagle
  The 50 best Reader Photos are still posted on the Wichita Eagle website.  I must say that area has some very good amateur photographers, again that's my opinion.  Yes! I'm aware that many other places do too.  I like the owls at lot, I've very rarely seen one, but used to hear one while on my early morning walks.  Those walks seem like a life time ago, but I am working my way back.
In Rocky Mountain National Park - click to enlarge
Photo: Amelia Doyle via
  Amelia is 15 years old, and she just thought other people would enjoy this view. It's a beauty, melting snow make for fast water.  Miss Doyle was traveling with her family to Colorado a neighboring State.
Wheat Cemetery - click to enlarge
Photo: Laura Bergman via
  The wheat field is tight against the fence of an overgrown cemetery in Kanopolis Reservoir, Kansas.  Great photo of one of the chief crops of Kansas, and a sad reminder of many forgotten family cemeteries.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Basketball and bloging

The winning shot! Hampden freshman shoots final second basket! - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Public Broadcasting via Facebook
  The past week has been Tournament Week here in Maine, the cities of Bangor, Augusta and Portland have been busy places.  I'll just talk about the Bangor part of things.  Maine is split into two "divisions", East and West; the "big" schools, class A, play in Augusta.  The East Class B, C, and D schools play in Bangor, The Mecca, and the West B, C and D schools play in Portland.
  The Mecca is a nickname for the Bangor Auditorium, and tournaments have been played in the present building since 1954-55, this is the final year - a new facility opens next summer, games have been in Bangor since the end of WWII, or before.  It's history, it's fun and it's basketball at it's finest.
  My favorites are the C and D schools, those with less than 250 students, oh the fun it is to watch those games, or listen on the radio; I've never been in person, even though I've planned on it for 25 years!
  Next week the State Championships will be played, all in Augusta it's considered more central for some reason.  Bangor is actually more in the center since the geographical center is near Dover-Foxcroft which is 30 miles away.  Augusta is center because it's the Capital and because most of the population lives south of there - it's the big city folks against the "people in the sticks"!  I love being in the sticks.
  The school teams in Maine are named for a large variety of animals, raptor birds, and groups of people, or in one case a single person (the Red Eddies or Edward Little in Auburn).  There are some names that a few people find objectionable, the Witches, Redskins, Warriors, and Crusaders; I'm not dis-liking any of them, it's a matter of acceptance for me.
  My problem is use of the word "Lady" as in Lady Witches or Lady Bears!  There are female and male bears, yes.  I thought we had pretty much reached equality in Maine high school sports, girls are allowed to wrestle or play baseball (in some schools is necessary), so why do some schools continue the use of the word "lady"?  Even my favorite college team are the Lady Bears which are part of the Baylor Bears.  It's kind of easy to know it's a girls game, they introduce the players and if names like Emily, Suzy or Rachel are used it's probably a girls game.  On the radio it's the same.  The only confusion might be if the players are named Taylor, Madison, Jordan, Yvon/Yvonne or Francis/Frances - then it might be hard to tell on the radio.
   I find the use of "lady" to be objectionable - maybe that a little strong - but un-necessary for sure.  Just my opinion.

  Now we'll write about blogs.  I have been doing this for nearly four years, it started in May of 2009 and it's been daily except when I was hospitalized or traveling - not too many missed days.  My problem now is with loading photos, identifying photos and general photo bull crap. 
  In the "old days" I could just show photos from my own computer but now I load photos from my computer - after I've found and identified them, to which along with blogspot is a part of Google.  This week picasaweb has made it even more difficult to upload photos by adding an extra step or two, and making it difficult, period.
  In short, it's getting to be a bit of a pain in the ass!  I intend, for now, to continue but to be honest it is getting tiresome with all of the extra steps - you may find more days without photos, for instance, or maybe a few more days missed (painful to even think about).  We will see.