Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mystery Person

Today is Saturday, the day I post a picture of someone, and you have to figure out who it is. Every week I have made it harder, and every week someone has still figured it out. The first few times I gave a few clues, but even after I stopped giving clues, people would still figure it out. I am sure, though, that this will be the week I stump the Internet, as I will give absolutely no hints at all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black School Children

This picture was taken in 1900 in Hampton, Virginia. It shows a school room with Black Children. It is interesting to note that the picture does not show the abject poverty often seen at this period. All the children have shoes, and apparently fairly nice clothes. Nothing else is known about the children.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I send my Thanksgiving Greeting to you today with this picture. It was taken in 1900, and shows an old black woman plucking a turkey. Luckily today our turkeys come pre-plucked, at least for most of us.
I was up at 3:30 this morning getting our turkey going. I love making the turkey, and have perfected one of the best turkey cooking techniques ever. Turkey is sort of my specialty. The secret to a good turkey is to brine the turkey for at least 24 hours. Brining results in a turkey that does not dry out, and literally bursts forth succulent juice when you cut the turkey. So, my turkey has been sitting in the brine for the last 24 hours. Then this morning at 3:30 I got up and rinsed the bird off real well, and then let it sit on the cabinet for about 30 minutes to let it come up to room temperature. Then, at 4:00 AM I put the turkey in the smoker. I am slow smoking it at low temperature over some seasoned pecan wood. Pecan is absolutely the best wood to smoke turkey or chicken over. The flavor is not as strong as hickory. The result will be the most flavorful, juicy turkey you ever tasted. It really does not taste like turkey, but tastes a little like the best piece of ham you ever tasted. I cook the turkey until the internal temperature reaches about 175. This should occur at about 1:00 this afternoon. Then the turkey comes out, and goes onto the table. If you have never gotten into brining and smoking, it is something you should really try.


You can see in the comments that Al and several others promised to come by for Thanksgiving Dinner. We had things all set up for everyone, but none of you showed. So, we will just have to share a Virtual Dinner with you. Boy was it good, and I am about to go back for round two, but wanted to go ahead and share the pictures.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This picture shows a group of cowboys that have roped a Gray Wolf. The picture was taken in 1887 in Wyoming. I always wonder if there are any real cowboys left. I don't think too much ranch work is done on horseback these days, and horses for the most part are for recreation. I know a lot of people who wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats, but don't know of many real cowboys.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Liberty Bond Drive

This picture was taken in about 1917 or 1918 and shows a Liberty Bond Drive. Bonds were used to help finance our participation in World War I. Buying bonds was viewed as a patriotic act to fund a war effort, and was a form of borrowing used by the Government. Now days, most of the debt is funded by foreign countries, or large institutions. The Government does not need the support at the grass roots level to borrow or go further into debt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Damascus Gate

This picture was taken in the early 1900's, and shows the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. I have always wanted to visit the Middle East, but have never been able to. When you are young, you don't have enough money to do it, and as you get older, you don't have enough time for it. Hopefully someday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mexican Peon

This photograph was taken in 1909 and shows a Mexican Peon posing in front of a wall. The man is carrying what looks to be a Model 94 Winchester 30-30 with saddle ring. The history of Mexico is an interesting one, and is a story of one revolution after another. While Mexico is rich with Natural Resources, the country has suffered from instability and corruption in government. There are few periods of extended stability in the country. As a child, I can remember my family traveling through Mexico a number of different times. It was quiet common to get pulled over out on desolate highways by the police, basically looking for small bribes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Guess Who?

This is Saturday, and this is the day that I will finally stump the Internet. I have been unsuccessful the last ten weeks in a row, but today will be the day that I succeed. Today, you get no clues from me at all. You have to figure out who the person is in the picture above. I give you no clues, no hints, no cheats, no nothing. I will be checking the comments throughout the day, to make sure that I quickly tell you that your guesses are wrong. Mark it down, November 22, the day I stumped the Internet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Black Boy

This picture was taken in Easter Sunday in 1941, in Chicago. It shows a young black boy dressed for church. I like the picture, but it is hard to learn much by looking at the boys face. I can not tell if he is happy, sad, or indifferent. As the picture was taken in 1941, and the boy looks to be not that old, one wonders if he is still living.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New York City Firemen

This photograph was taken in 1913, and shows the New York City Fire Department with one of its first motorized firetrucks. If you look over to the right, you can see one of the earlier horse drawn ones used by the city. I always wanted to be a fireman, but that is one thing I have never done. The little community that I live in has about 400 people, and does not have a normal fire department, but has a volunteer department. If there is a fire, the whistle blows, and the firemen drive down to the station. I have always thought about being a volunteer fireman, but have just never done it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This picture was taken in 1940, and shows a farmer turning up his pinto bean field. I love the scene because the farmer is plowing with two horses. I believe they are horses; they might be mules. I wonder what productivity boost farmers got when tractors came along. You would have to be able to plow much more land with a tractor that with horses, but I don't really know what the improvement factor was.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Field Telegraph Station

This is a picture from the Civil War showing a field telegraph station. It was taken near Wilcox's Landing, Virginia, in 1864.

It is amazing how much was involved in creating these old Civil War photographs. Today, photography is mainly about artistic aspects like composition, exposure, shutter speed and such. Back in the Civil War, the cameras were very large, and the negatives were large glass plates. Before each exposure, there was lots of chemistry that had to go on in a dark wagon nearby to create the glass negative. In reading the process to create the negative, prior to taking the photograph, I gained a new sense of appreciation for Mathew Brady, and the photographers working for him. Today, with digital cameras and cheap memory cards, we don't think near as much about setting the pictures up and getting the perfect shot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Steam Locomotive

A week or so ago someone posted a message expressing interest in seeing more pictures of trains. I realized I had been delinquent for some time in posting a train picture. This is a great one from 1942 showing an old Steam Locomotive. I love these old trains, and really look back with longing at the days you travelled by rail. There is a spectacular train ride that goes between Durango and Silverton in southern Colorado. It is an old narrow gauge railroad that snakes through the mountains and passes. It still uses the original steam locomotives. If you have not had a chance to take that ride, it is truly a world-class experience. Put it on your list of things to do before you die.

I wanted to thank all of you who visited the Picture Indian WEB site yesterday. The students had over 3,000 visitors yesterday, and over 25 emails congratulating them on a fine job. I will let you know tomorrow how they react today in class over the numbers. I wanted to extend a special thanks to xoxoxoBruce who provided a nice link to their site from his site, The Cellar, and the Crawfords as well, who provided a nice link. They also got a nice email from Kent Wood, a world-renowned photographer, who will be giving them a few photography tips for their upcoming field trip to Fort McKavett. I wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate your support. I wish you could see the impact this project is having on the lives of these students. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This is a wonderful photograph of a Native American on horseback taken in the early 1900's. I love these old Edward Curtis photographs of Native Americans.

Most of you know that I recently left the rat race, and moved to a very remote and rural area of West Texas, and have started teaching school. I will have to tell you that I have done a lot of interesting things, but nothing has been as rewarding as teaching school. I teach Algebra II, Business, Computers, and Multimedia.

I have been teaching now for a couple of months. I can remember my first day of class, I had one class made up of a particularly tough group of students. These students did not have a history of academic success, and struggled in a number of areas, and with a number of issues. On the first day, I threw out the text book, and told the students I was going to teach them to do something useful, and that they would accomplish something that they could be proud of, and that they would be recognized for. I then spent two weeks teaching them about copyrights, privacy rights, publicity rights, trademarks, patents, and property rights. The next four weeks I taught them to really master photoshop for restoration of old photographs. The next four weeks I taught them html and WEB site design. Just last week the class finished their first WEB site. I was so impressed with their work. The site was 100% their effort . . . I did not write anything on the site, and all the images were done by them, based on public domain material found at the Library of Congress. It is amazing to me the job they did in bringing these old photographs back to life. Also, all the text is their own writing.

I would appreciate it if you would maybe take a moment and look at their work. You can see their site at Picture Indian. If you like what you see, you might consider dropping them an email. Their email address is at the bottom of their site. A kind word from a stranger might make all the difference in these student's life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Car

This is an old picture of a small car from the 1920's. Now, I got a lot of trouble a few weeks ago for being too negative. Then I started being Mr. Positive, and then everyone started saying that I was too positive. Also, then people got mad about my sarcasm. So, today I will say absolutely nothing. Just post the picture with no commentary whatsoever. Yep, it now is Mr. Neutral. Mr. No Comment, and Mr. Do Nothing, Say Nothing, See Nothing, just post the picture and go.

Mystery Person

Today is Saturday, and that means it is Mystery Person Day. This is the day I try and stump the Internet by putting a picture up with no name. At first, I would give clues, but you all are too good, so no more clues. So, who is this?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Balancing Act

This is a great photograph from the 1920's showing a man performing his balancing act. Wow, what a good and safe thing to do. I see no risks or dangers at all in this. After all, he had never fallen up to this point, therefore it must be completely safe, and virtually impossible for him to ever fall. Yep, this is day five for me being Mr. Positive. No negativity on this blog. PARTY ON!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Auto Polo

This is a great image from the 1910's showing a friendly game of auto polo. I guess when the car first came out, people explored all the different ways that the car could replace the horse. It looks like a great game, and safe too. Nothing dangerous happening here. Party On!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Party On

Boy did I get a bunch of Angry email yesterday. You all just get to read the blog comments, but the really interesting stuff comes directly to my inbox. To be honest, the mail went beyond angry, and could best be described as down right hateful.

So, today I am turning over a new leaf. No commentary on the future, and no more negativity. All positive, all the time. That is the new motto of the blog. Can't have those negative thoughts dragging us down. So, all happy pictures from now on. The picture above is a real happy one. It shows a group of people dancing the Charleston in front of the capitol. Not a care in the world. Party On, . . . like its 1929. Pardon me now, I have to go shop for that new 72 inch plasma TV.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Teddy Roosevelt

I had expressed my opinion some time ago that I felt that neither of the two presidential candidates was up to the task of leading the country through the challenges we are presently facing. My post last week generated lots of dissatisfied comments, and much angry email. My hope had been that it would generate a lively discussion, and some thinking on where we are headed, and what we should do to prepare for some potentially challenging times. I felt that the response, particularly from much of the email was to say that I was an idiot, and that people were unsubscribing from the blog. The facts are that in 2006, over 40% of the mortgages in the country were sub-prime or Alt-A, basically these are the ones that have a very large chance of ending up in foreclosure. These bad mortgages have yet to work their way through the system. As more of these people become unable to pay their house payments, the problem will then move to people not being able to pay their car loans, and then their credit card debt. There is simply no easy fix, and the chances are good that any effort the government makes to ease the pain will simply make things worse. The direction the government is taking is to pump more money into the system, hoping to get things rolling again. Unfortunately, this will balloon the National Debt, as we are spending more into an economic slowdown, where tax revenue will be markedly less, as fewer people are working, and fewer are paying taxes. Over 60% of our national debt is held by foreign entities, much of it by countries that are not exactly our friend. These people are not stupid, and will soon see that we are not a good credit risk, and will likely not continue to fund our deficit. This could force the government to monetize the debt, which would end in hyperinflation.

So, I post this information not to try and frighten people, but to try and get people's attention. Live within your means. Re-evaluate what is a necessity vs. what is a nice to have. Evaluate how many cars, and what type of cars you really need. Do you really need that new Plasma TV? My family lives quiet comfortably, but I will say that we do not have a maid, we do not have a yard man, we are not members of the health club, my wife gets her hair cut at supercuts, and she cuts my hair. We shop at walmart, and we buy clothes out of season when they are on sale. We do not do these things because we have to, we do them because we choose to. So, if I am writing about very tough times ahead, it is simply done in the hopes that some people will do things now to be better prepared. Prepare for the worst, and hope or the best.

OK, with that said, who do you think would be the best person from history to be called back to lead our country in these tough times. I would choose Teddy Roosevelt. I choose him because he had the courage to take on special interests. He took on corrupt politicians in his own party, and he took on corrupt power in the large trusts or mega-companies of the day. He was one of the first to recognize the importance of protecting our environment, and he believed the US should be strong in the world. That would be my choice . . . who would you pick?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mystery Woman

It is a Mystery Woman you asked for, and it is a Mystery Woman that you get. I got some comments and email that I always make the mystery person a man. Thank you for pointing out my lack of diversity, which I will rectify today (and be more mindful of in the future).

I was really surprised that anyone was able to figure out the person last week. I did give a little help in the comments. This week you get nothing. No year, no hints, and no clues. You are totally on your own.

Who is this Mystery Woman?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Civil War Wagon Train

This picture was taken near Savage Station, Virginia, in 1862. I love these old Civil War photographs, but I don' post them much, as they never get many comments. I try to mostly post pictures that get lots of comments, as I think those are the ones people are the most interested in. I have always been fascinated by the Civil War, and I enjoy collecting original material from the war. Generations in my family are pretty spread out. My father is still living. His father was born in 1866. My Father's Grandfather was a Colonel for the Confederacy. My father grew up hearing the stories of the big battles of the war from the old veterans who were there. It is fascinating to me that there are still people alive who heard first hand accounts of the battles, and life in the war.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Black Woman

This picture was taken in 1899 and shows a young black woman. The woman in dressed in nice clothes which was somewhat uncharacteristic of African Americans at this period in time. She appears more affluent than what was typical. I don't have any other information about her or her family, so her story is unknown.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Herbert Hoover

This is a photograph of Herbert Hoover. Hoover became the President Elect 90 years ago in 1928. His administration oversaw the beginning of the Great Depression.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ballot Boxes

This picture was taken in 1927 and shows Ballot Boxes being loaded onto a truck. The picture was taken in Washington DC.

Today is election day, so don't forget to vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Country Church

This photograph was taken in 1942, and shows a small country church. The picture was taken near Junction City, Kansas. This is such a peaceful scene, and one can imagine the old time church services. I am lucky enough to attend a small rural church, not unlike the one above. When I lived in the city, I attended one of the big "mega" churches, but must say there is something very special about the small country church.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mystery Man

OK, it is Saturday, and you all know what that means. I post a picture and you have to try and figure out who it is. To date, I have never been able to stump you all. In a comment several weeks ago, someone speculated that it might not be possible to stump the Internet. So, this week, I have a picture that will be much, much harder. I really doubt that anyone will get this one. The only clue I will give you is that the picture was taken in 1912. Also, if you look closely at the details of the picture, it contains a clue that could help you figure out who the person is. Have Fun!