Tag Archives: San Francisco

City by the Bay


Have you ever been somewhere and said, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”?  Well, that’s how I feel about San Francisco. It is a great place to visit, but I really, truly wouldn’t want to live there. I think, though, that could be said about any big city. I’m not a city person. I grew up for my first 8 years or so on a farm and have loved country life as long as I’ve been alive, so my desire to NOT live in San Francisco isn’t different than any other city, I guess.

I shot this photo a few weeks back from the top of Twin Peaks. I’d never been there before and my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter accompanied me to this place when they learned I’d never seen the view from there before. If memory serves, my daughter said that she and her husband went to the top of Twin Peaks on their first date…so it is a very special place for them.

Anyway, this view is looking somewhat northeast to the heart of the city with the bay and the east bay cities in the distance. It was quite windy and rather cold…but it was a delightful view. I hope to take my wife up there some day so she can see it, too.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1970, Sam Sheppard, a doctor convicted of murdering his pregnant wife in a trial that caused a media frenzy in the 1950s, died of liver failure. After a decade in prison, Sheppard was released following a re-trial. His story is rumored to have loosely inspired the television series and movie “The Fugitive.”

On July 4, 1954, Sheppard’s wife Marilyn was beaten to death in the couple’s Bay Village, Ohio, home. Sheppard, an osteopathic doctor, contended the “bushy-haired” attacker had beaten him as well. The Sheppards’ son slept through the murder in a bedroom down the hall. Sam Sheppard was arrested for murder and stood trial in the fall of 1954. The case generated massive media attention, and some members of the press were accused of supporting the perception that Sheppard was guilty. Prosecutors argued that Sheppard was motivated to kill his wife because he was cheating on her and wanted out of his marriage. In his defense, Sheppard’s attorney said his client had sustained serious injuries that could only have been inflicted by an intruder.

In December 1964, a jury convicted Sheppard of second-degree murder and he was sentenced to life in prison. However, after a decade behind bars, Sheppard’s new criminal defense attorney F. Lee Bailey convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to grant his client a new trial because he had been denied due process. At the second trial, Sheppard was found not guilty in November 1966. The case put Bailey on the map, and he went on to represent many high-profile clients, including the Boston Strangler, Patty Hearst and O.J. Simpson.

After being released from prison, Sheppard briefly returned to his medical career and later embarked on a short stint as a pro wrestler, going by the name “The Killer Sheppard.” No one else was ever charged for Marilyn Sheppard’s murder; in the late 1950s, however, a window washer named Richard Eberling, who had worked at the Sheppard house, came under suspicion when one of Marilyn’s rings was found in his possession. In the 1980s, Eberling was convicted of murdering another woman, and he died in prison. Sam Sheppard, who became a heavy drinker in the last years of his life, died of liver failure on April 6, 1970, at age 46. His son has made multiple attempts to clear Sheppard’s name, including unsuccessfully suing the government for wrongful imprisonment of his father in 2000.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Apple generated approximately $625 of revenue from each of the 40 million iPhones it sold in 2009. It generated $164 of revenue for every iPod sold, $1,279 for every Mac, and $665 for every iPad.


If You’re Goin’ to San Francisco…

Today I will once again venture bravely into dangerous territory: you’ll get a sense for how OLD I really am!!!

I lived through the greatest explosion of music perhaps in history, in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  The Beatles, the Stones, Herman’s Hermits, the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, the Supremes, Sly and the Family Stone, the Dave Clark Five (in my opinion, they could have been really great), the Eric Burden and the Animals…the list could go on and on for a long, long time.

I lived in a somewhat sleepy town, Antioch, CA, just in the edge of California’s great Central Valley.  That meant we were about an hour from the big city – San Francisco.  It was the era of hippies and free love, Haight-Ashbury, the poetry of Rod McKuen and flower-power.  If you don’t know what all those things were, well, you’re just a young punk kid – and you missed out on one of the most exciting periods in history.

There was a song by Scott McKenzie that glorified the times.  The title was “San Francisco (Be Sure and Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)”.  It was HUGE.  The lyrics went like this:

“If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

“For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

“All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There’s a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion people in motion

“For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there.

“If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there.”

Today’s photo reminds me of that song.  This is one more mask that I shot at the Renaissance Fair last Saturday (maybe the last one I’ll show).  This lady, instead of having barnacles or sea shells in her hair, has flowers.  Takes me back…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson triggered the explosion of the Gamboa Dam, ending the construction of the Panama Canal.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: insects exert so much energy in one hour of flying that they can lose 1/3rd of its total body weight.  What a great way to diet – if we humans could only fly!!!!


It’s Golden

My wife, like most people, has a bucket list.  I have one and I suspect you do, too.  It is important to tick things off the list when you have a chance, and also to put new things on the list to provide incentive to keep going strong!

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday.  One of her bucket list items has been to walk across the Golden Gate bridge over the entrance to San Francisco bay.  Since we will be moving in December, she decided that the time had come to cross this one item off her list.  She contacted her dear friend, Linda, and they made plans to walk across the bridge together.  (I have a horrible fear of heights…so I wasn’t real keen on walking across it myself so I was glad that Linda was happy to do it with her!)

So, on Thursday (Linda couldn’t do it on Friday on Laurel’s actual birthday), we drove down to the city and met them at the south end of the bridge.  Linda’s husband, Russ, is a friend of mine, and we’re both into photography, so we manned the cameras and played like we knew what we were doing while they were walking across the bridge.

When we first got there, there were a few patches of sunlight breaking through the clouds so I managed to get a couple shots at the very beginning where parts of the bridge were in the sunlight.  It’s a good thing we got there when we did, because the clouds came in and it was overcast soon thereafter, and then it started to rain!  But not before I got this photo for today:

The Golden Gate before the rain came in...

ON THIS DAY(IN HISTORY: in 1895, George Seldon got a patent for the design of the automobile.  He sold it four years later for $200,000.  Real smart guy….

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in 1963, Matty, Jesus and Felipe Alou became the first set of brothers to play in the outfield at the same time in a professional baseball game.  They were playing for the San Francisco Giants.  Matty just passed away on Friday of this week.

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time…. (Otis Redding, Steve Cropper, 1967)

This song was recorded on December 7, 1967 by Otis Redding…just 3 days before his tragic death in a plane crash outside Madison, Wisconsin.  It hit the charts and was #1 for 4 weeks in 1968.  If you, like me, were in high school in the late ’60’s, you know this song well.  At the time it was recorded and hit the charts, we lived in the town of Antioch, CA – about 50-60 miles from San Francisco, and the city was, as you might imagine, a great place for a teenaged boy to take a date.  I think every kid in Antioch knew about the docks at the “city by the bay” – San Francisco.

My wife and I decided to get away for a few hours today, so we drove down to San Francisco.  Laurel had always had a desire to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (not me!), and the plan was that she’d do that on the way home, but by the time we finished up with our other goofing around in the city, she decided to wait until another day to walk across the 1.7 mile bridge.

While we were in the city, we first ate sourdough bread bowls with clam chowder (Laurel) or beef chili (me).  Then we went to Rodney Lough’s new gallery (corner of Powell and Jefferson Streets by Fisherman’s Wharf) – and it is spectacular!!  If you’re not familiar with Rodney’s work, visit http://www.theloughroad.com to check it out.  From there we walked over to Pier 39 and wandered aimlessly.

One of the highlights of a visit to Pier 39 for many is to go to the western side of the Pier and watch the sea lions.  There aren’t nearly as many there as at previously, but there are still some there…and there were today.  The are rather interesting to watch – the way they bark at one another, how the young males stage battles for supremacy, even pushing one another off the floating docks from time to time.  Today’s picture seems to show one sea lion patting another on the side while it has its snoot in the air as if it owned the entire pier.  Everyone, sometimes, has to have the sense either slapped into or out of them…even me!

Sittin' on the dock of the bay, wastin' time.....

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1784, French writer Denis Diderot died after eating an apricot his wife had warned him not to ea.  His final words were, “How in the devil can it hurt me?”  Ironically, Diderot was one of the foremost writers of the 18th-century “Age of Enlightenment.”  Seems his wife was far more enlightened that Denis!  Of course, the same could be said of all husbands and wives, I think!!!!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzeneger, paid $772,500 for John F. Kennedy’s golf clubs at an auction in 1996.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Okay, okay…so it’s the title of Simon and Garfunkel’s great song (maybe their greatest), but I couldn’t figure out what else to call today’s post.  So there.  Take it or leave it.  It is a bridge in the photo for today…and old, stone arched bridge with dual arches.  But the water?  Is it troubled?  Well, not if by “troubled” you mean wave and wind-tossed.  There are ripples on the surface (it was a rather windy day), but this was in a pretty protected area of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.  A closer look at the photo though, shows that it might be troubled in the sense that the water is very greenish!!!!  What’s up with that?  Lots of algae?  Maybe, but San Francisco is a fairly cool place, so I wouldn’t think it would be that prone to algal growth.

But, regardless, it made for a blog post.  If there are any hyrdrologists out there that know why the water is so green, let us know!

Bridge over Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1873, Jesse James and his band of thieves pulled off the first train robbery in America, taking over $3000 from the Rock Island Express, at Adair, Iowa.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the cashew is part of the “cashew apple”, a tropic fruit.  After it is picked, the cashew apple itself deteriorates after 24 hours and is unusable.

Time for Tea Garden

You know, I don’t like coffee at all.  And I barely ever drink tea – either hot or cold!  I’m just not a tea or hot drink kind of guy.  The only exception I’ve found so far is hot chocolate on a cold, wintry day!  That’s pretty good stuff.  On occasion I will drink hot cider.  And there’s one more hot drink that I have yet to try, but I suspect I might like it: hot Dr. Pepper.  It’s real – no joke – I’ve heard it recommended several times.  I’m gonna have to give it a shot, I guess.

So, why would I go to a tea garden?  I don’t want TEA!  That’s how I always felt, but then Casper (since he thinks he’s so wise now at 6 years of age!) told me that you don’t have to like tea, or even drink tea, to go to a tea garden.  In fact, tea gardens have nothing to do with tea!  So my next question then became: so why do they call them tea gardens?  To that, Casper just shrugged his powerful boxer shoulders and said, as he turned to walk away, “Who knows?  It’s really stupid, so I’m sure a cat came up with that name!”  I told you he was wise!

Anyway, since we’re talking about tea gardens, you may have suspected that today’s picture is from a tea garden…and you would be right!  This is a picture I took in the Japanese Tea Garden located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  It was taken one morning not long after sun-up when I was in the city for something and I had time to burn.  I even was let into the tea garden ahead of time when I explained to one of the groundskeepers (who nearly drowned me when she turned on the sprinkers!) the reason I was in the city: at that time, my wife was trying to donate a kidney to a friend who is in kidney failure.  Unfortunately, she was turned down.  But, the groundskeeper was touched by the story (or was it because of the water she turned on?) and said she’d let me in before the gate opened, so I had the tea garden all to myself for taking pictures.

Because it was pretty early, there was quite a range in light contrast, but I only shot this picture as a single RAW file.  Today, I finally got around to processing it through Photomatix Pro 4.0 HDR software.  I liked the results.  I hope you will, too!

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: The first transatlantic radio signal was sent by Italian Guglielmo Marconi from Poldhu in Cornwall and was received by Percy Wright Paget in St. Johns, Newfoundland.  

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 1418, women’s headgear was so tall that the doorways of the royal castle of Vincennes, France had to be raised, on the orders of the queen, to allow the ladies of the court to pass through without ducking.

Wishin’ for a Change

My first picture post and already I’m breaking the rules!  I DIDN’T take this picture today, but today reminded me of this picture…except it was the opposite!  It’s been freezing cold and raining for the past couple of days (this just doesn’t happen in California at this time of year!)  I took this picture on 5/6/10 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  It’s a HDR (high dynamic range) picture, which is one of my favorite types of photography.

Why this picture today?  Because I can’t wait for the weather to turn warm and sunny!  But alas, for now, I’m off to light the wood-burning stove to try and warm up the house!HDR of Golden Gate Park lake, 5/6/10