Sunday, May 31, 2009

Barbeque

This picture was taken in 1940, and shows a group of men at at Barbeque in Pie Town, New Mexico. Funny thins is, it looks pretty much like a Barbeque would today in Small Town, America.

It is interesting that our unscientific poll is indicating that people think that life is better in small towns. If this is the case, one wonders why so many people live in the city. I think for many people there choice of profession creates a situation where they have to live in a city. I have lived in big cities, and small towns, and find small town life to be much better.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Game Day

I hope you all are ready for a great game today. I hope you have been getting your resources ready, and are prepared for a hard contest. Did I mention yesterday was the last day of school, so I am off for the summer? Yep, I will be lounging around, and doing all the things I have not had time to over the last 9 months. So, I am hoping we have a great game today. Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gate Opener


I know you all are concerned about whether I am going to get my tractor for my birthday, so I wanted to include this update. I have little time and am trying to get as many points with Mrs. PJM as possible, so I have installed a new gate opener at the front gate. OK, I did not install it, I had the experts come and put it in. No more Mrs. PJM having to get out of the car and open and close the gate. Nope, all she has to do is drive up, and the gate will automatically open itself. The picture above shows the gate in the closed position. Mrs. PJM drives up, and you get the picture below . . . Gate Open! Notice the nifty solar panel on the gate, so we don't have to run an electric line.


Also note that daughter should be equally happy, because now when I get home I don't have to toot the horn to have her run out and open the gate for me. This is a real win-win situation . . . everyone should be happy. Also note to the right I have installed a nifty "Texas Star" on the fence. Mrs. PJM will be reminded every day when she gets home that she is a STAR in my eyes. Yep, I think this should put me over the top on the tractor. Also, notice in the picture below, another matching Texas Star on the other side of the gate. Yep, two stars for Mrs. PJM. She should be very happy when she gets home and is surprised by all the upgrades. Also, notice in the picture below that the flags have already been taken down, so she will get a good nights sleep. If you look closely in the picture below, you can see several piles of debris between house and fence. This is what is left from when I burned the brush piles a few weeks ago. You can not get rid of all the material when you burn, but if I had a tractor, those piles would be gone in no time. Yep, I think I am on the path to getting that tractor birthday present. Stay tuned.


Mustang

This picture was taken in 1942, and shows a P-51 Mustang in flight. The picture was taken near Inglewood, California. The P-51 has to be one of the best examples of American Ingenuity in World War II.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Farman Plane Readied for Flight

This picture was taken in 1908, and shows a Farman airplane being readied for flight. I find it interesting that all the bystanders are well dressed, and are wearing hats.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicago Flyover

This picture was taken in 1911, and shows an early biplane flying over the city of Chicago. What an amazing site this must have been. I am impressed with how quickly flight technology developed after the Wright Brother's first flight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hydroplane

This is a picture from 1916 that shows a very early version of a hydroplane, designed to take off from and land on water. It is a Richardson Tandem Biplane. The picture was taken on the Potomac River.

Monday, May 25, 2009

World War I Pilot

This is a picture of a World War I pilot, in front of his biplane. I find these biplanes interesting, as they were one of the very first really reliable, practical types of airplanes. After the war was over a number of these pilots bought their own biplane, and would travel the country, landing in small communities and selling rides. My grandfather told me when he was a little boy, one of these "Barnstormers" came through, and he was able to buy a ride.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Farman's Flying Machine


Well, we start a new week here at OPOD, and I think we should look at flying. The picture above was from the early days of aviation. It was taken in 1909, and shows Farman's flying machine. I love this picture because of the enthusiasm of the two men on the ground. You really get the sense of excitement that must have existed when someone achieved flight in the early days.


That little ultralight airplane I saw yesterday gave the fever to want to fly. In my former career, I had to travel usually once a week on an airplane. That is not what I am talking about. Traveling on a jet is not really flying. It is like sitting in a beer can . . . you do not really get the sense of flight. Maybe I was the only one, but when I was a little boy I would have dreams at night that I had built a flying machine, and would dream that I was flying around the property on something like a big kite. It was the most wonderful dream, and I was always sad when I woke up. That is the type of flight experience that I would want. I understand that ultralights are very dangerous. Many pilots do not have suitable training, and the equipment itself is not always up to standards. It is less regulated, and hence more susceptible to problems from lack of attention to maintenance and other things. I would really like the para-plane set up. There is something that looks like a little go cart, and it has a motor and big fan pointed backwards. The unit is hooked to a parachute. When the fan is turned on, the cart moves forward, the parachute catches the air, and the thing takes off. It is supposed to be safer than ultralights, and allows that full flight experience. Note to self; start working on Mrs. PJM that we need a para-plane and little landing strip.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Living Large, Christoval Texas


As promised, I am posting pictures from today's "Toenail Trail Days" Parade. First, a few points about our little community. It is about 400 people. It is about as close to Mayberry RFD as you are going to find these days. There are some differences . . . Mayberry had a sheriff, Christoval does not. It is not even an official town, just 400 people that happen to live in the same place. There is no police department, no mayor, and no city hall. The only government building is the post office. There is one guy who runs the water system. Trash pickup, and all that . . . well, you are on your own. Oh, and there is no newspaper, as word of mouth travels so fast here there is no need for one.

Here comes Mr. Custer in his original 1914 Case Tractor . . . one of only 3 in the country still in pristine running condition. He is a very bad man. He drives it by my house to torment me, tooting his little horn and everything.

Another shot of Mr. Custer and his tractor. He also has horses, and all types of cool things. He is my nemesis, as he somehow convinced his wife to let him get this marvelous machine.

Yes, Mr. Custer follows me around in his tractor.

"Brother Doug", a former State Trooper turned Southern Baptist Preacher at the Christoval Baptist Church. A fiery preacher. I am talking "Old School" here. Members of the First Baptist Church of Christoval can always expect an inspirational, no-nonsense message . . . well prepared, and well delivered. Also, I would suggest a man not to be toyed with.

Christoval Boy Scouts proudly carry US and Texas Flags down Main Street. Hmmm . . . just once I would like to see one of those idiots on TV burn a flag here. Folks would not take kindly to it, I tell you.


Christoval has a Volunteer Fire Department. In case of fire, the fire whistle blows, and the boys drive to the Fire Station, and depart in this well maintained, "vintage" fire engine. The Christoval VFD is made up of many dedicated men, volunteering their time.

Note to Self: Add Lamas to the Birthday wishlist.

Did I mention that of the 400 people in Christoval, 399 of them have a Tractor? Note to Self: Next time Mrs. PJM asks for the flags to be taken down at 1:00 AM, get up and do it.

I think this guy is smirking at me as he goes by in his shiny new John Deere Tractor, with front end loader. I bet he has all the attachments. I am green with envy. I will get my tractor, Oh yes, I will get my tractor.





I am really getting tired of this guy. Wherever I go he follows me in his original 1914, one of only three in the country, Case Tractors. He will rue the day when I get my Buffalo. Yes, he will rue the day. Hmm, wonder if he can tell me the secret of women? How did he convince her to let him get this. Note to Self: Stop making rude gestures at Mr. Custer, and see if he will advise on convincing women tractors are needed.




No Gasoline? No Problem. In Christoval you are as likely to see people on horses, as in a car. Note to Self: Add a fine pair of ponies to the Birthday wish list.




Oh, now this guy is really showing off. Him and his little John Deere Gator. I think he should just grow up. Note to Self: Add John Deere Gator to Birthday Wish List. Additional Note to Self: Ask Mrs. PJM tonight before bedtime is she would like flags lowered just in case wind blows.





And just when you thought it could not get any worse, this guy starts flying over the parade in his little ultralight that he built. He has his own little landing strip nearby. Every Sunday morning he flies circles around my house showing off his little airplane. He wont think it is so funny when he sees my buffalo one day soon. Note to Self: Order ultralight kit brochures.



OK, this is the little abandoned miniature donkey Mrs. PJM saw at the vets office yesterday when she had to take little Elmo in for an ear ache. She came back really talking about this little feller. Note to Self: Try to talk Mrs. PJM into adopting this little guy . . . then say he needs a buffalo to not get lonely.



OK, what can I say? You pretty much know all about my little town. About all I can say is that if you don't live here, well, I feel sorry for you. Small town America is still alive and well. Also, you can see that I have my work cut out for me. My Birthday is less than a month away, and the list has gotten longer. Note to Self: Make dinner for Mrs. PJM tonight, and then take her out dancing at the Toenail Trail dance.
Living Large, in Christoval Texas!

Mystery Person

I am excited because today is Mystery Person Contest day. To be honest, it is the high point of my week. I have fun picking out a picture. I want to make it hard, but not impossible. I really like watching the game progress, and I try and predict who is going to win, by who appears to be getting on the right track. So, lets get going. Name this person

Friday, May 22, 2009

Anchorage Alaska

This is a picture from Anchorage Alaska from back in the Gold Rush era. As we discussed earlier, these store keepers, and sellers of supplies probably made more than most all of the gold prospectors. I like the sign that says "Everything Reduced in Price". So, I guess that sales tactic has been around for a while.

I have to admit that Alaska is one of those places I have always wanted to visit but have never had the chance to go. When I was young I had time to go, but no money. As I got older, I had enough money to go, but never enough time. I would want to really experience the great outdoors there, not just float by in a cruise ship. Hmmm . . . trip to Alaska, maybe I should add that the the old birthday wish list I leave laying around for Mrs. PJM. On the topic of birthday wish list, I am getting this uneasy feeling that neither the tractor nor the buffalo are gaining much traction. Mrs. PJM and daughter just sort of roll their eyes when they see the list.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Klondike Gold Fields

Prospectors at the Klondike Gold Fields in Alaska. This picture helps see why they called it a Gold "Rush". It is amazing to see the line of people going up the mountain, in search of riches. Probably the guy who owned the little store shown in the picture did better than most all the rest of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Prospector and Pack Dog

This picture was taken in the early 1900's near Seward, Alaska. It shows a gold prospector and his pack dog. He is preparing to leave for the summer prospecting season. He, and his dog, appear to be well equipped. I find it interesting that he appears to be wearing a necktie. I would not think prospectors would be so concerned about such a fashion item.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bear Drinking a Beer

What photo tour of Alaska in the early 1900's would be complete without a picture of a bear having a beer. This picture was taken near the Yukon in Alaska.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Native Alaskan

Today we feature a picture of a Native Alaskan. The picture was taken in the early 1900's by Edward Curtis. You remember that Edward took many of the great Native American pictures we have featured in the past. She possesses a timeless beauty.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

North to Alaska

As much as I enjoyed our time exploring the trends and fashions of Mexican Bandits, the Chihuahuan Desert was getting a little too hot, so this week we move North to Alaska. This picture was taken in 1906, and shows two bear hunters showing off their hides. Hides were nailed to wooden walls to allow them to dry, and was part of the tanning process. The men are well equipped, and really are effective in creating that Bear Hunter image. This week I am listening to old Johnny Horton music, and dreaming of hunting and prospecting in Alaska. In the left margin, select the play button under the orange chicken to hear the music, which I deem to be suitable background music for this picture.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mystery Contest






We are going to shake things up a little in today's contest. You have to identify the significance of the three items pictured above. Each has some specific, historical significance. The three items are NOT related to each other. Each is significant for a different reason. You must get all three items correct to win. Ready, Set, . . . . GO!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Sad End

Did you notice that as we spent the last couple of weeks exploring Mexican Bandits, we never ran into an old Bandit? Unfortunately, life as a bandit was fast, and many times, over quickly. Above we show a Mexican Firing Squad executing insurrectos. We hope it is not one of the men that we have grown to know and love in the earlier photographs.

I think that if I were going to be executed, and got to choose the form of the execution, I would choose the firing squad, hands down. I would be terrified of hanging, and I am afraid of needles, so that rules out lethal injection. The gas chamber would be no good, as I would be in there trying to hold my breath as long as possible. Nope, it would be an outdoor, up against a rock wall, on a dirt street, firing squad. When they asked for a last request, I would have a cigarette. Understand, I do not smoke, but feel it would be necessary in the interest of theatrics. I would then decline the blindfold, and look the executioners in the eye.

Well, with this picture, we must sadly bring to a close our investigation of Mexican bandits, and the insurrections. Perhaps, one day, we can return to the dusty streets of Old Mexico, but for now, we must move on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Band of Brothers

Today's picture features a group of insurrectos from 1912. I think there is a lot to work with in this picture. First, note that the man on the left is wearing a necktie, and appears to be wearing suspenders. We applaud this. Just because you are a bandit does not mean that you can not try and bring a little style and sophistication to the job. Don't be fooled by the nice clothes, he has a rifle, two Bandoliers around his waiste, and a nice revolver to boot. Oh yes, and thank you to Jack Hammell who pointed out to me yesterday that the bullet belts are called "Bandoliers". I knew that, but only knew how to say the word . . . I could not figure out how to spell it. So, since there is this spelling/grammar Nazi watching my every move on this blog, I felt I should just use "bullet belt", since I knew how to spell that (OK, just kidding George). The second man appears to be trying to develop the Cowboy Bandit look. He is sporting a cowboy hat and vest. He is wearing three Bandoliers around his waste. I feel this is a bridge too far, and the third one appears to be riding up near his rib cage. I appreciate his efforts but would suggest he lose the western look and get those Bandoliers up over the shoulders. The third guy just looks like a real bad dude. Real old school. Nothing fancy, but plenty of ammo, and a rifle, and what looks like a Colt in his belt. The fourth guy, now I like what he has going on. I like the long riding jacket. His hat says "bandit", but at the same time, hints at a touch of sophistication. For this guy, the vest and tie definitely work. He would be at home in the Catina in Juarez, or the finest gambling establishment in Kansas City. The fifth guy, well, this just does not work for me. My best advise to him would be to lose the sweater. He looks like his mom dressed him, gave him a peanut butter sandwich, and then sent him off the the revolution. The sixth man, the man on the right, well he is the full package. He has four, yes four, Bandoliers . . . two around the waist and one over each shoulder in classic bandit fashion. He has an exquisite hat, perfect for the business he is in, and perfect for the picture. He has a bandanna around the neck which could easily be pulled up over the face to shield his identity, or to protect him from dust on a hard charge. Yes, I have to say our man on the right has the classic look we have been searching for over the last two weeks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Insurrecto Outpost

Today we show a picture from the 1911 Mexican Revolution/Insurrection. The photo shows a group of Bandits/Insurrectionists/Freedom Fighters. I consider this photo to be a classic. The men are stationed on the point of a ridge, with what looks like greater than a 180 degree field of fire. They are perfectly positioned for an ambush on the road below. They have proper hats, and have the scruffy look we would expect in such a group. As you can imagine, I would like to see more ammunition in the form of bullet belts around the shoulders, but perhaps given that they are camped here, they have their ammo nearby at the ready. The rocks provide excellent cover, and they are definitely well positioned on the high ground.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Almost Perfect

I promise that next week I will get on a new topic, but for this week, I continue to listen to old Marty Robbins and Freddy Fender music, and dream of Old Mexico. I am very excited about this picture, and felt that I had found close to the perfect picture of a classic Bandit/Freedom Fighter/Soldier/Insurrectionist/Mexican Cowboy. First, the face definitely has the scruffy, intimidating look one would hope for. The man appears to have boots AND some sort of half-chap leather leggings. As far as weapons, our man looks to be packing the classic Winchester Model 94 30-30. As a bonus, he has a knife and a revolver in his belt. Yep, he is equipped to get the job done, and doing it in style. But wait . . . I can only see three bullets in his belt, and he is not wearing the over the shoulder dual bullet belt we have come to expect and love. While his demeanor will definitely take him far, I am fearful that he is woefully lacking in ammunition. As such, I must unfortunately conclude that this photograph falls short. The quest continues. Pardon me while I go listen to "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, and "Rancho Grande" by Freddy Fender.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Quest Continues

I continue my quest for the ultimate example of Bandit photography. This one comes close. Who is the man on the horse, you ask . . . it is of course Pancho Villa. So, we have a good subject, an essential element of a good Bandit photograph. Secondly, we have a rugged skinny horse, another important element. The hat is of proper size, and is exquisitely positioned on the head. Yes, this is getting close, but, and I must say this is a big "but", on this particular day, Mr. Villa is wearing both his bullet belts across the same shoulder, instead of one on each shoulder, as we would expect and hope for. If only he had worn one on each shoulder and crossing in the middle of the chest. The quest continues.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Man

Today we feature a photograph of the Man himself, Mr. Pancho Villa. It was taken around 1910. I hope you all will indulge me a little longer, as I would like to spend a little more time on these "bandit" type pictures. I have found that I have become fascinated with them. I sit around listening to old Freddy Fender music, looking at pictures of bandits, and dreaming of Old Mexico. I am in search of the quintessential bandit picture. What I like about this picture of Mr. Villa is he is wearing two bullet belts . . . one over each shoulder, in proper bandit fashion. The hat is properly tilted back, but I would have liked it to have a little bit larger brim. Also his clothes are a little too neat for me. The biggest drawback in this photograph is that he does not have any weaponry showing. I have the perfect picture of a bandit in my mind, but have not been able to find that perfect picture.

[WARNING: Politeness policy expired last night at midnight. Viewer discretion is advised]

Wow, I had a lot of fun yesterday with the contest. I must say it was the best contest ever. When I posted it, I thought that it would not be that hard. About two minutes after I posted it, the evil Nate Maas put in his first entry, and it was very close. He guessed Mrs. Pershing, when it was in fact Mrs. Villa. Pershing and Villa were the leaders of the two different sides. My heart sank, and I knew he was on the right track, and was anticipating that he would put a quick end to the contest in the next two minutes. I had even started queuing up a second contest. Then Nate, the bumbling idiot that he is, got off on all this touchy feely stuff about manners and Mother's Day. At first I had thought that he had gotten up early for the contest, but then realized he had probably just gotten home from a night of debauchery and lasciviousness.

Once Nate got off on the politeness angle, like mindless lemmings, most of the rest of you followed "The Great Nate Maas" right over the edge of the cliff. I was just sitting their chuckling my evil laugh watching Nate squirm.

By about lunch time I was pretty sure I was going to win. No one was getting even remotely close. Plus, my plan to distract you with details of domestic unpleasantness was working like a charm. Then along comes Ross from Maine. I note that Ross has won several contests in the past, and I am now concluding, like Nate, he is just trying to make a mockery of the contest, and humiliate and embarrass me. I think there is little doubt that he is working in concert with Nate to destroy me.

Oh yes, somewhere along the way Nate mentioned that he had seen "somewhere" on the Internet a grainy picture of Mr. and Mrs. Villa. The only place on the Internet that I am aware of that the picture is up is on the Wikipedia. Please, tell me no, Mr Mass . . . you are not using the Wikipedia as a primary source!?! Tell me it is not so. No wonder our public education system is in such a mess.
Next week will be different . . . oh yes, it will be different. I will destroy the evil alliance between Nate and Ross. I will defeat them. I will defeat you all.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mystery Female

OK, in honor of Mother's Day, which is tomorrow, our contest this week features a woman. Also, in honor of Mother's Day, I will be polite in all my responses. No snide or insulting comments from me today. I will be the fine gentleman my mom had always hoped I would be. Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines, Ready Set GOOOOOOOOOOOO . . .

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mexican Bandit

This picture was taken in about 1911, and shows a Mexican Bandit on horseback. I really like looking at the detail of the picture, and try to see what all is on him and his horse. I notice that he is wearing his bullet belt around his waste. I consider this to be poor form. I much prefer the bullet belts over the shoulder, and I would consider the ultimate in bandit fashion to be two bullet belts, one on each shoulder, and crossing in the middle. I would give him high marks on his hat, both in its style, and the way he wears it somewhat on the back of his head. He definitely carries himself well on a horse, and has mastered the facial expression needed for the job. I believe in this line of work, having the right look would be as important as other skills such as shooting and using a knife. Again I note, with the long string of revolutions in Mexico, it is a matter of opinion who the good guys were, and who the bad guys were. So, understand the word bandit is simply referring to his appearance, and I do not mean to suggest he was on the wrong side of the struggle.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mexican Insurrectionist

This picture was taken in 1911, and shows a Mexican Insurrectionist on horseback. The man was Captain Castello. Again, I am not sure about the details of this insurrection, and I think to this day their is debate about who the bandits were, and who the freedom fighters were.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mexican Insurgents

This is a picture of a group of Mexican Insurgents. The picture was taken in 1911 in Juarez, Mexico, which is across the border from El Paso, Texas. Throughout its history, Mexico has had difficulty establishing a stable federal government. There have been a number of revolutionary movements and wars dating back to the early 1800's. I am not sure what revolutionary movement was going on in this picture, in 1911.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mexican Wealth

This picture was taken in about 1920, and shows the interior of a wealthy families home in Mexico. The stark contrast between this picture and the picture from yesterday illustrates one of the challenges in Mexico. There is not much of a Middle Class in Mexico. A few people are extremely wealthy, and then many, many desperately poor people. Perhaps now there is some emergence of a middle class in cities, but certainly in rural areas people are still living in abject poverty. A few years ago I had a chance to give a presentation at a University in Monterrey Mexico. About 2,000 students showed up for the talk, and after the talk I was literally mobbed by hundreds of students wanting to ask questions. I had never seen such enthusiasm from engineering students in this country. That experience gave me hope that perhaps young people there are appreciating the importance of higher education, and that through a number of excellent universities, Mexico will continue to build a broader professional workforce.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mexican Street Scene

This is a picture of a street scene in Mexico in about 1890. It is interesting, in that it looks exactly like what I remember as a typical street scene in the 1960's. Even the dog looks like the familiar dog always around the local markets. The picture was produced by the photochrom process which was an early version of color photography which allowed affordable printing of color pictures.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mexican Police

This picture was taken in 1913, and shows two mounted Mexican Policemen. The picture was taken in Mexico City. When I was a boy, we would often travel to Mexico. Most people think of Mexico as a dry and desolate place. This is true in the Northern part, which is mainly the Chihuahuan Desert. As you go further south, into the tropical region, it is very different. There, it is beautiful mountainous rain forests. It is much more like what you would think of South American rain forests. We would pull a trailer, and go way down into the pretty parts. Back when we would go, the people there were desperately poor. Many of the small kids would have no clothes at all, and a few might have an old shirt, but no pants or underwear. Kids literally walked around naked they were so poor. My parents would fill the trailer and car with clothes, and as we went around on the trip, they would give clothes to the people who did not have anything. We very much enjoyed these trips, but it was striking the differences between there and back home. The police were very corrupt. You would be driving down a remote highway, and the police would pull you over for no reason and want a bribe. You could either pay them, or they would hold you there all day asking questions, or rummaging through your stuff. Usually the bribe they wanted was very small . . . maybe what amounted to 20 or 30 cents, but yet it was annoying and intimidating. Also, the roads were very poor. There would be very narrow roads through mountainous passes with no guardrail, and no shoulder on the road. To make matters worse, the trucks would drive down the center of the road, so you would go around a tight curve, and find a truck coming straight at you, head on, with no way to pull over. In the end, we stopped going to Mexico because of the dangerous roads, and the corruption was getting so bad. It is shame that a country that is so rich in natural resources and culture is plagued with such corruption, and today, lawlessness. I would be afraid to go to Mexico today.