Sunday, July 31, 2011
Welcome to Favorite Family Photo Week here at OPOD. We kick things off with this picture of George W. King. Once again, the Evil Nate Maas sets the bar for any competition. This is a great photograph, as the guy is showing off his Colt revolver. Nate also included some amazing background on this ancestor, which I include below.
Captain George King, my third great-grandfather, was living in Gibson County, Tennessee, when the Civil War broke out. He rode down to Mississippi to join up with the Confederate Army where it was determined that there weren't enough men back home to maintain order, so He was appointed by Gen. Forrest to be the law in Gibson and the surrounding counties.
Returning home, he put together a company of about 40 men known as King's Scouts. As so many men were away with the army, the area was beset with thieves, raiders, and Yankees. Captain King kept the law, but discovered without a regular judge that many times the criminals would escape from jail before trial. As the war progressed, there were times when he was required to assume the role of lawman, judge, jury, and executioner, all in one person. Naturally, this earned him the animosity of the relatives of horse thieves and their ilk, so in his own words, “I would sleep about eight yards from the house in an old wheat bed with four revolvers and two double barrel shot guns for my protection. Many a time I would go home in the night by myself. When I came within one-half mile of home, I would put spurs to my horse and go half speed with my pistol in my hand, expecting a thief to shoot me every minute from the bushes."
As he was also the lawman for neighboring counties, he later wrote of his activities in Dyer County, "After I had driven out all the desperadoes, thieves, pick pockets and murderers out of Dyer County – anytime I went to that place the citizens would give my men a ball if they wanted one... Everywhere we went the boys could get up a ball. Because the Company had formed such a marvelous character the ladies were not afraid of them like the others...I went to Dyer County several times after I relived them of such a heavy burden...I was treated as well as a preacher everywhere I went."
The war ended and he was eventually given a parole as a Confederate on May 27, 1865. However, years later in 1878, he was eventually ambushed and killed (most likely by relatives of one of the wartime criminals).
Friday, July 29, 2011
OK, we had some great fun yesterday at the expense of the Samsung Technical Support desk, but today we are back to Actress Week. Oh, and RTD, I was not lying to the person, I do have a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford, and I did work on developing Nuclear Weapons for 20 years, so that was not a fib. So, the picture above is of Maude Adams. She was a famous actress of Stage and Screen in the early 1900's, and she came to fame in her portrayal of Peter Pan.
And remember, keep submitting your favorite old family photos. We are going to try and feature YOUR pictures next week.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
NEWS BULLETIN! We interrupt Famous Actress Week here at OPOD to bring you this picture of a Movie Camera from 1920. The thing is, I bet this camera actually worked, as compared to some of the junk they are building today. For example, the Samsung HMX-H300, which I just purchased from Amazon.
I have some exciting events coming up in the next few weeks, so I ordered the camera. It arrived yesterday, and I was very excited to take it out of the box. I plugged it into the computer to charge it up, but the battery would not charge, and after some time the camera just shuts down, and then locks up. Once it locks up there is no way to turn it on. I found that if you took the battery out for a few minutes and then put it back in, it would reset. But, if I then try to charge the battery again, the camera locks up again. Well, I decide to call Samsung, and get a recording that I need to call back during normal business hours. I then try their "live chat" button on their support WEB site. I get a message that they are overwhelmed with requests for help right now and will not be able to chat with me. I try the chat line a few hours later and get someone. Below is the actual transcript with their support group.
I thought the transcript below is pretty funny, and shows the total lack of customer support from places like Samsung today. If you think this is amusing, please share this on facebook, twitter or any other social media you use. You can share this on facebook by clicking the little box after the article with the "f" in it. I hope as many people as possible read the following, and I hope you will help to spread it around.
Transcript of Samsung Technical Support "Chat"
Please wait for a Samsung Agent to respond
You are now chatting with 'Raven'. There will be a brief survey at the end of our chat to share feedback on my performance today.
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK564012656X
Raven: Hi, thanks for reaching out to Samsung tech support. How can I help you today?
Visitor: My samsung camera shuts off when charging through USB and then will not turn on. I have to take battery out and put back in, and then it will turn on
Raven: May I know the model number of the unit?
Visitor: H300 Long Zoom Full HD
Raven: Thanks for the model number.
Raven: Let me provide you with a link which gives you step by step instructions about how to fix this issue.
Raven: Are you able to access the link?
Visitor: Yes, and I had already read that. It is a new camera, out of box today. When I try and charge it, the charge light never turns green. The camera shuts down, and will not turn on.
Raven: Okay, no problem. Please charge the unit for about hours, then try to power on the unit and check for the result.
Visitor: yes, I have been doing that all afternoon. When I plug the USB cable in, it never shows the unit as charged (orange light stays on). Then the camera locks up and I have to take battery out to reset/restart the camera.
Raven: Please check if the cable is connected firmly at both the ends.
Visitor: I have a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford. I know how to connect a cord properly. The camera shuts down when I try and charge it from USB. It then locks up and then I have to take the battery out to restart the camera.
Raven: I understand your concern. The orange LED indicates that it is an issue with the cable. So, I request you to change the cable and check if the issue still persists.
Visitor: Yes, when I initially plugged the cable in, I checked to make sure it was securely plugged in on both ends. I used to design nuclear weapons for a living. I understand the importance of connectors being plugged in properly. It was very important in that line of work. So, I always check the cables carefully, and can assure you they were properly connected.
Raven: Yes, I agree with you that the cables were properly connected. However, the LED (orange) indicates that the cable has gone bad. Please replace the cable to fix this issue.
Visitor: The instructions say an orange light indicates that the battery is "charging", so orange would be normal, but I would not think it should stay orange, it should turn green. Also, I have had it hooked up for the last three hours to the AD adapter charger (different cord, different connection jack). I am sure I have this one plugged in correctly, and still the orange light stays on. Plus, why does the camera "lock up" on me?
Raven: Please allow me to go through the information.
Raven: Thanks for holding.
Raven: Yes, I agree with you.
Raven: May I know if the LED light is flashing light orange color?
Visitor: No, it is a solid orange color.
Raven: Okay, thanks for the confirmation.
Raven: Would you mind holding a few minutes while I gather the required information on your request?
Visitor: I do not mind. I am working on the Amazon Review for this as we speak.
Raven: Thank you.
Raven: Thanks for holding.
Raven: Since we have tried all the possible troubleshooting and are unable to resolve the issue, we need to file a service request to have the device serviced. Please provide the following information to create the request for this issue:
Raven: 1. Full name:
Raven: 2. e-mail address:
Raven: 3. Model code & Serial number of the unit :
Raven: 4. Mailing address:
Raven: 5. Phone number:
Visitor: How does service work? Would I have to pay postage to mail it in? How long would repair take? I have some very important things to videotape in the next few weeks.
Raven: May I know the date of purchase of the unit?
Visitor: I received it in the mail today from Amazon. They gave me $50 off coupon to buy it. I ordered it a few days ago. I am getting nervous about the "coupon" maybe they knew something I did not about this camera.
Raven: Okay, no problem. Thanks for the information.
Raven: May I know if you have the purchase receipt handy?
Visitor: Yes, it is in front of me
Raven: Okay, no problem. Thanks for the information.
Raven: May I know if you have registered the unit on the Samsung website?
Visitor: No, I have spent the day making sure the cable was plugged in correctly, and trying to get the camera to charge. I have not had a chance to register the camera.
Raven: Okay, no problem. Thanks for the information.
Raven: Please provide the following information to create the request for this issue:
Raven: 1. Full name:
Raven: 2. e-mail address:
Raven: 3. Model code & Serial number of the unit :
Raven: 4. Mailing address:
Raven: 5. Phone number:
Visitor: I need to understand if I have to pay shipping to return the camera to you. How long the repair will take and whether I am better off just submitting my amazon review now, and returning camera to them. They pay postage if I just return it and cancel the order.
Raven: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
Visitor: This is the amazon review I have so far:
Visitor: I ordered this camera because Amazon sent me a $50 off coupon, and the original price seemed reasonable. I had been wanting a new camcorder, and this one had decent reviews, so it appeared to be just the ticket. When I received the camera, the battery appeared to be charged, so I popped a memory card in and started taking videos. Overall, I was very disappointed. I have peacocks, so went out and videotaped the peacocks strutting around doing their thing. As you know peacocks have vibrant, brilliant colors, and so was expecting the video to be vivid. My first surprise was that the screen was useless in bright sunlight. You could not see what you were filming at all. You point towards the subject, and hope you are getting it. Since there is not an optical viewfinder, the camera is next to useless outdoors. I was very surprised at how "dull" the video looked. The colors were not vibrant at all. It had an overall gray look to it, and very low contrast and low saturation. Almost like the images were shot through a smudged lens. The second surprise was the lack of sharpness in the video. The video was made in bright light, and high contrast scene. The focus was very "soft" with details lost. This combined with the low contrast and saturation mentioned earlier results in an unacceptable picture quality, even for a low end camera. The overall video quality from this camera is more like what you get from a phone. In fact, given the quality from this camera, you would likely just leave it at home and use your phone camera. The quality of video from this camera is lower than from previous generation entry/low end video cameras. Overall this camera was a huge disappointment. I did initially decide to keep it because with a large memory card, you can record a long event. I purchased it for an upcoming event so decided to keep it. Then I went to charge it up with the USB cable. The instructions say that as the battery is charging via USB, the small indicator light will be orange. When the battery is charged, it will turn green. What happened when I tried to charge is is that the light remained orange, and would not turn green. The camera would then "shut down" where it would not turn on, and would not be seen by the computer through the USB. Taking the battery out and putting it back in appears to "reset" the camera and allow you to turn the thing back on. As this appeared to be a hardware problem, I tried to call Samsung customer support. I got a recording to call back during normal business hours. I then went to the WEB site and tried to connect to them via the live chat button. I got a response that due to overwhelming help requests, they would be unable to provide live chat support to me. The sound quality is poor as well. There is a noticeable "hum", and the sound of the autofocus and the zoom is pronounced. There is no jack for an external microphone. I also ordered the recommended extra battery. It has a different form factor than the one on the camera, and does not fit nicely.
Raven: Please allow me to go through it.
Visitor: I am actually giving up on you offering me any help.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Today's actress is Pauline Chase. She became famous by her portrayal of one of the lost boys in Peter Pan. She retired from acting in 1916 to marry a banker.
OK, several of you have turned in old family photos. I hope more of you will, so we will have material for a week's worth of work. Remember candid shots are better than studio portraits. I will kick things off on Sunday with an old family photo I have not shared before, so I am really looking forward to the week.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Today we feature a portrait of Mary Garden. Mary was a famous opera performer and silent film star of the early 1900's. Apparently, she was quiet the Diva, and was often very demanding that things be done just her way.
Hey, are you guys up to try another week of photos where YOU submit your favorite old family photos? We have not done that in a while. It seems like we always get some good material when we do that, but for it to work, we need some good participation from you all.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Welcome to Early Actress Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at pictures of the Rich and Famous from the early 1900's. We kick things off with this picture of Celia Claud. In looking into this picture, I was not able to find much informaion on Celia. Has anyone heard of her.
Much of our effort last week was helping the Lovely Miss EAM get prepared to move to Africa. With the generosity of people last week, she raised enough support to purchase her airplane ticket OUT there. Between the help from visitors at this site, and help from a church she visited, she raised about half of what she needs for the work. Many thanks to all the support and kind words from folks that visit OPOD.
The weather in Texas continues to be brutally hot. Every day since about March, the temperature has been well over 100 degrees. This is not the worst heat wave and drought on record. I am hoping that this is just a drought, and not a change in weather pattern.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
I consider John C. Fremont to be one of the more interesting figures in history, and one that is almost forgotten today. He was an explorer, and was responsible for mapping large portions of the western United States. He was friends with Kit Carson, and Kit served as guide on many of his expeditions. He was a teacher of Mathematics, and ran fro president in 1856 on a staunch anti-slavery platform, under the slogan, "Free Soil, Free Man, Fremont". He also served in the Mexican American war, and was a Civil War general. He also served as the governor of the Arizona Territory. As many men who were ahead of their time, Fremont died forgotten in 1890 in New York.
Have you noticed how terrible the movies are these days? It is like there are no good writers left. When I read about men like Fremont, I wonder why they do not make movies about true stories. There would be at least a dozen good movies that could be made about his life.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Isaac Israel Hayes was an early Arctic Explorer. In 1854, he explored as far north as the 79th Parallel North. At this time, many people believed in the Open Polar Sea. This was a theory that if you got through the thick ice you found when sailing north, you would reach a huge open sea surrounding the North Pole. Hayes claimed to have seen the Open Polar Sea during an 1860 expedition.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
George Melville was an early Arctic Explorer. In 1873 the Polaris Expedition became stranded in Baffin Bay in the Arctic. Melville volunteered for the rescue operation, serving as Chief Engineer on the rescue ship Tigress.
In 1879 he also volunteered for for George DeLong's Arctic Expedition seeking to find direct path to the North Pole. This expedition became ice bound, and the exploration party had to abandon ship for three small lifeboats. Melville commanded one of the life boats, and his boat was the only one to make it back to land safely. He then set back out in search of the other boats. He found one group dead from exposure, and the third group was never found.
I find it amazing what tame lives most of us live these days, by historical standards. Pretty boring, if you ask me.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Today's picture shows an explorer in the Amazon Rain Forest. The man's name is not recorded, and we are not exactly sure what type of business he was about in the Amazon. He appears to have one small suitcase, and what looks like maybe a tripod. Interesting picture, and we are left to speculate what he was up to.
We have not talked a lot about this, but West Texas is in the midst of the worst drought in on record. At this point, it is worse than the Dust Bowl. Pretty much all the ranchers have had to liquidate the herd, as feed is unavailable and unafordable. This picture is of a lake nearby, the O.C. Fisher Lake, and it shows that the lake is now completely dry, save for one small little puddle.
If you look closer at the red puddle of water, you can see it is filled with dead fish.
These two photographs were taken by Mark Stull. Mark is a local guy that designs and builds ultralight aircraft, and he took the photos from one of his aircraft.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Explorer week would not be complete without a picture of Admiral Robert Peary, shown here in 1907, prior to his expedition to the North Pole. Admiral Peary has often been credited as being the leader of the first expedition to the North Pole. Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole in the prior year, but most people believe that he did not make it all the way there. Similarly, many claim that Peary did not actually make it to the North Pole, and that he never provided sufficient data to show he actually got there. So, the matter of who the first man to the North Pole was remains a controversy.
I wanted to thank you all for your generosity in supporting the Lovely Miss EAM's work in Africa. Of the $5,000 she needed for the effort she raised $2,000 yesterday. She received generous contributions from visitors to the blog, and she visited a church, and they provided generously as well. We are hopeful that in the next few weeks the remaining resources will come through, so she can begin to focus more on preparing for the trip. I will keep you posted as things progress.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Welcome to Explorers' Week here at OPOD. I am really looking forward to this week. You see, most of us choose to live life under rather normal and safe conditions. Explorers choose a different life, one filled with danger and adventure. I think many of us dream about a more adventuresome life, so we enjoy reading of the exploits of explorers.
Today's picture is of Frederick Albert Cook. He was one of the early Arctic Explorers. He was part of Robert Peary's 1891-1892 Arctic Expedition. He served as physician for the exploration party. He was also on the Belgian Arctic Expedition of 1897-1898.
Cook led an expedition in 1909, and got near the North Pole, but today it is generally believed that he did not reach it on that expedition.
As discussed above, there are always a few people that decide to make their lives an adventure and to not fall victim of the Rat Race, and simply spend their days slogging through the work week. As it turns out, my very own daughter, the lovely Miss EAM has decided to live life as an adventure. She recently completed her education for her nursing degree, and passed her RN board certification exam. Nursing is a great career field right now, and all her friends are finding high paying jobs in area hospitals. Miss EAM has decided, however, to use her nursing skills to serve the orphans of Africa. She has accepted an offer to become a nurse at the Mattaw Children's Village in the East African country of Kenya. Mattaw is a village that takes in orphans, and raises them. The goal of Mattaw is to raise a new generation of leaders for Africa. Miss EAM is presently preparing to move to Mattaw, and will embark on her journey in September.
Mattaw presently does not have a nurse, so she will become the primary health care professional for the village. While she is there, she will help them establish a small health care clinic. Presently Mattaw is unable to take in infants, as they do not have the facilities to nurse starving infants back to health. One of the primary goals of establishing a clinic will be to allow Mattaw to take in infants, and children in very poor health, and then to make them well and raise them.
As you can imagine, the orphans of Mattaw have no money or resources, so this is not a paying job. Also, Miss EAM must raise the money necessary for her to travel to Africa, and her living expenses while she is there. She intends on staying there for between six months and one year on this initial mission.
I wanted to share her plans with you, and make it possible for you to invest in her mission if you like. She needs to raise $5,000 for her airfare and living expenses while she is over there. She will not receive a salary, and all money directly goes to her work for Mattaw. She will be sharing her work with you through her WEB site www.kenyanurse.com and her Daily Blog. You will be able to track her progress as she prepares for her trip, and then once she is there you can receive daily updates, and watch the fruit of your investment in her work. You can use the button below to invest in this project.
(Click Donate below, after entering amount, you must click "Update Total")
Also, the video below gives more information on the Mattaw Children's Village.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
We bring Criminal Minds week to a close today with this picture of the sad end of two train robbers. The picture was taken near Sanderson, Texas in 1912. The men were killed during their attempted train robbery in the area. The men were Ole Hobek and Ben Kilpatrick.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Good Thursday Morning to you all! Criminal Minds week continues here at OPOD with this picture of Eddie Guerin. Eddie was a notorious thief of the late 1800's. In 1888 the New York times described him as a "not so successful" criminal, but at the same time "daring and industrious". In 1888 he was tracked to a saloon, and an officer attempted to make an arrest. Eddie shot the officer and made his escape. He then went to London, where Scotland Yard was soon on his tail. He was captured in London after a high speed chase. He then escaped again. In 1901 he was captured in the US, and accused of robbing an express office in Paris. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Today's Criminal Mind is Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. He was a mobster who was in charge of the mafia's Murder Inc. He was a pretty nasty hit man, and was responsible for a lot of crime in the 1920's. He was caught and brought to justice, being executed in the electric chair in 1944 in New York's Sing Snig prison.
The thing I find fascinating about the picture is that he "looks" like a criminal. I bet that if I showed you this picture and asked you what you thought about the person, you would say he was a criminal. What is it about him that makes him look like a thug? Also interesting is that if you did not guess he was a criminal, you probably would have guessed he was a politician.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Criminal Mind week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a couple of members of the "Wild Bunch". Is it just me, or were criminals more respectable back in the day? Pictured above are Harry Longabaugh (A.K.A. the "Sundance Kid") and Etta Place.
Etta Place disappeared from history in the early 1900's. The big question, of course, is whether Butch Cassidy and Longabaugh were in fact killed in Bolivia in 1908. Some speculate they faked their deaths in order to live out the rest of their lives in peace and quite.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Welcome to Criminal Minds week here at OPOD, where we will examine some of history's most interesting criminals. In researching for this week, it appears that the most remembered outlaws are not necessarily the most successful ones. Books and movies are made about the criminals who ride up to a bank with guns blazing and demanding that the cash be handed over. The careers of such bandits was often times short lived.
Less known, but much more successful, were men like Adam Worth, pictured above. Adam is remembered as the "Napoleon of Crime", and people speculate that he was the inspiration for the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle figure of "Dr. Moriarty". He used careful analysis, planning, and stealth to become of the most successful thieves in history. He got his start in the civil war as a bounty jumper. He would sign up for a regiment in the civil war under an assumed name. After receiving the signing bonus, he would defect, go somewhere else and do it again. After the civil war, he organized a band of pickpockets in New York City. One of his first big crimes was to rob the Ocean Bank. He broke into the bank at night, and cracked the safe. He then cleaned the vault out. Soon after, he robbed an express wagon of over $100,000. This would be in excess of $1,000,000 in today's dollars. He was also successful in stealing jewels, fine art, and other rarities. He died in 1902 in London.
I am pleased to announce some degree of success with my summer project. I was able to get one of the Model T's started. Below, I am taking the lovely Miss EAM for an afternoon drive.
We made about 3 laps around the front of the house, and then disaster struck. We had a simultaneous multi-tire malfunction. The rear tire went flat, at the same time the front tire came off.
Luckily I had several extra tires for just such an occasion, and had the car up and running again in a few minutes.
With my confidence up, and a willingness to live dangerously, we then went for a spin around town.
Below is a short video, so you can hear what the car sounds like:
OK, the car is running and nominally drivable. There is still more work that needs to be done. The car seat needs to be recovered, and some hoses in the engine need to be replaced.
The biggest issue is relining the bands in the transmission. There are three transmission bands. One for forward, one for reverse, and one for braking. The reverse is very weak, and there are NO brakes at all. So, these bands need to be relined. I have the band liners, but do not have the expertise to install them. This is a tough one, as there are not many Model T mechanics around.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Good Friday morning to you all. I hope your day is off to a good start, and you have some fun things to look forward to this weekend. Today's picture is from 1890, and it shows an antelope hunter. You can see he was successful, as he is packing the antelope out on his horse.
One of the striking things I notice about the old pictures we enjoy every day is how trim people are. Have you looked around lately and noticed that most of us are overweight. What is really sad is the number of really overweight kids there are. What hope does a young teenager have that is already pushing 200 pounds?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
As we look at all these old pictures, we forget how different photography was back in the day. Today's picture is from the Harris and Ewing news service, and it shows a typical portrait camera from the early 1900.s While bulky, these cameras took excellent pictures.
I don't know if you have ever noticed this, but the little "Brownie" cameras that everyone had in the 1920's through about 1940's took excellent pictures. When I look at old family snapshots, I am amazed by the clarity and contrast that most of the pictures had. Then somewhere about the 50's or 60's the "instamatics" and "poloroids" came out, and the pictures were TERRIBLE! The low point of photography came with the 110 instamatic, and with the color polaroid that spit out a tiny picture that developed in front of your eyes. Those were dark days indeed for photography.
With the advent of the modern digital camera, photography has gotten much better. I am amazed with the quality of picture that you can get from a $100 camera these days. I also believe that people are starting to become better photographers, thinking more about the pictures that they are taking.