Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Railroad Repair

This picture was taken in 1863 and shows a group of Black Men working on railroad tracks. If you look at the tracks, they are bent. This would indicate that the track had been sabotaged by Confederate Soldiers, who loved to pull up rails, and then bend them. This made much more of a mess, as the old rails could not simply be relaid, new ones had to be found and brought in. Later in the war, the North figured out ways to straighten the bent rails to speed up the repair process. I thought this was an unusual Civil War image.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Man Riding Zebra

Now this is something you do not see every day. The picture was taken in 1890, and shows a man riding a Zebra. Zebras look like a horse, but you normally don't see them with a saddle. I wonder how close they are to a domesticated horse, or a donkey.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is a picture of Teddy Roosevelt. Interestingly, it was taken just before a would-be assassin shot him in the chest. The bullet actually shot a hole in his speech, and went into his chest. What did Roosevelt do, you ask . . . he went on and gave the speech, and then went to the hospital.

I will have to admit that I might not actually be able to have the Hobo convention that we have talked about, and I might not be able to revive the Bull Moose party, but there was something I was going to ask for your help with.

Most of you know that I am a first year teacher this year. I left the rat race of Silicon Valley to move to a remote area in West Texas to teach High School. I had told you earlier that I had one class of really troubled kids. These kids had trouble at home, trouble at school, and trouble with the law. I taught them how to make WEB sites, and they built a great one (http://www.picture-indian.com/). Many of you visited the site, and they got many hundreds of email congratulating them on their work. This literally changed their lives. They learned that they could be good at something. I am happy to say that half the class is now signed up for college, and I am committed to getting the other half signed up before this school year is out. (Kudos to Paige R., the school Councelor)

I am so proud of the progress that each of these young people has made. In particular I am proud of Dustin, who came into the class with the most baggage. Dustin came up to me recently and told me that he had seen where a Utility Company was sponsoring an Essay Contest, and several winners would be chosen from around the country for an expense paid trip to Washington DC to see all the monuments and sites. He said he was not a great writer, and would not be able to win, but he wanted to know if I thought he should go ahead and enter anyway. I looked at the application, and then I asked him who he thought would win the contest. He said the person that was the smartest, and wrote the best. I told him that the contest would not be won by the person who was the smartest, and would not be won by the best writer. I told him that the contest would be won by the person who worked the hardest, and that such contests are won by people who throw their heart into their writing. I told him that he could not control how smart he is, and he could not control how talented of a writer he is, but he could control how hard he worked, and how much heart he wrote with. The Essay was supposed to be about Alternative Energy. I told him if he told his personal story, and he put everything he had into it, he could win. Well, he took my words to heart. For the next week he came in before school, over lunch, and after school. He would write, and change, and write and change. He would ask people if they liked this or that word better. He worked right up until it was time to mail the essay in.

I did not think much more about it, but this last Friday, I was teaching a class, and in the middle of class, Dustin burst into my room. As he was running up to me, I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that either his mother has been hit by a train, or he had won the contest. He came up to me and could not even talk he was so choked up. He just handed me the letter announcing he had won.

Dustin was so proud of his essay, he wrote a few introductory words, and then posted it on our WEB site. You can
While this is a huge victory, it does create some challenges. The Utility company pays for all the expenses of the trip, but it indicates that students should bring plenty of money for incidentals. The other challenge is that the other students from across the country that will be attending, I am sure, are from a different socio-economic background. The clothes that Dustin has are not ones a young man would be proud of in a group of city kids from family's with means. The third challenge is that Dustin has a summer job this summer to allow him to save for his college expenses in the fall. This trip will take him away from this job for a week, that puts a hole in his budget for the fall.

I have always emphasized with Dustin to take ownership of his own future, and to make his own way. He has tried hard, but opportunities are few in this small town. Dustin has worked to make his own opportunities. On the weekends, he goes out and chops wood. He then sells the wood to people to burn in their fireplaces. He delivers it to their home, and stacks it neatly for them. The challenge here is, firewood is a seasonal job, and firewood season is pretty much over. Dustin has found a minimum wage job for the summer, and he has committed to save all the income for college.

If you feel led to work with me to help Dustin, you can use the link below to make a contribution. The donation will come to me, I will collect it up, and then in about a week, I will present it to Dustin. If the generosity is such that it exceeds his needs for clothes and incidentals for the Washington trip, we will apply the remainder to his college expenses.

(charge will show up as to payment@sonofthesouth.net, which is my paypal account)

I appreciate your consideration, and know that asking for this help is not something I do lightly. I know times are tough, and know that many simply are not in a position to help, but my hope is a few might be able to help.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Triple Play

Today we bring you not one, not two, but THREE Mystery people. To win you have to name all three correctly. I will not tell you anything other than if you got all three right. For example, if you enter and have two right and 1 wrong, all I will say it is "wrong". This makes it harder for you to just guess and zero in on it. Lets Go!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Colonel Teddy Roosevelt

This is striking portrait of Colonel Teddy Roosevelt. The picture was taken shortly before he left for Cuba for the Spanish American War.

I have mentioned before that I thought that Teddy Roosevelt was the greatest president ever. He was the one guy who really worked for the people. He set up the National Parks, he busted up the giant corporate monopolies that had gotten too powerful. At the same time, he established the United States as a major world military power. Politicians hated him, corporate titans hated him, special interest groups hated him, but he was loved by the people.

I have completely, utterly, totally lost confidence in BOTH the republican and democratic parties. I think it is time to bring back Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spanish American War

This is a picture of an American soldier in Cuba during the Spanish American War. Have you ever noticed that we never talk much about the Spanish American War? To me, it seems like the most popular war to study was the Civil War. World War II would come in second, as far as interest goes. Probably the Revolutionary War would be third, followed by World War I in forth place. Then you end up with the ones like the Mexican War, Spanish American War, and the War of 1812.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roller Skates

This picture was taken in 1905, and shows a man wearing an interesting pair of skates. They actually look pretty fun, and have inline wheels. I guess these did not catch on at the time, but look to be an early precursor of today's inline skates.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mule Pack Train

This is an interesting picture taken near Valdez, Alaska in the early 1900's. It shows a pack train associated with prospectors and mining working its way up the side of a snowy slope. One of the amazing things about the picture is that it appears that one man has a bicycle! Wow, it is hard to imagine a more useless piece of equipment, and I have to wonder who sold it to him.

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading people's comments yesterday about their first bicycles. For people like me who were born in the 1960's, getting that first bicycle was one of the most memorable events of our childhood. Today, I don't think it is much of a big deal any more.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Bicycle

This picture was taken in 1939 and shows a young boy with his first bicycle, which he has just purchased with money he had saved over several years.

Can you remember your first Bicycle? I can. I was six years old and my uncle decided I needed a bicycle. Back then, when you bought groceries or other things like that, they gave you "S & H Green Stamps". You would paste the stamps in a book, and then there was a store you went to where you could trade your stamps in for something good. Now, it took a whole lot of stamps to get anything. My uncle went around to everyone he knew, commandeered their Green Stamps, and got enough to get me a shiny new red Bicycle. It is a day I will never forget.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


This picture shows two Bedouin mothers, with their children. The picture was taken in 1900 in the middle east. Color was added by hand tinting after the picture was printed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mystery Woman

I dined with Royalty,
I consorted with the Rich,
But my name is remembered
Because of the Love of a man I never met

Friday, March 20, 2009

General Allenby Takes Jerusalem

This is a magnificent photograph of General Allenby as he enters Jerusalem. The photograph was taken in December 11, 1917. He is pictured at the Jaffa Gate. Allenby's success was due in large part to the efforts of T.E. Lawrence, AKA Lawrence of Arabia.

Last night I watched Lawrence of Arabia with my daughter. WOW, I had forgotten what a good movie that was. It should be required viewing for all participants in this blog. OK, I guess I can nor require you to watch it. I can say it is a great movie, and they just don't make movies like that any more.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This picture was taken in 1918, and shows a Caravan of Camels on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. The picture was taken during World War I.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Howard Carter

This is a picture of Howard Carter. Howard was the man who discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun. This is the very same King Tutankhamun that is NOT at the Dallas Museum of Art exhibit entitled "King Tut". OK, I know I already went through the whole story yesterday, but I am really miffed about this. Someone in the comments yesterday said that the museum WEB site clearly stated that King Tut, and his gold burial masks were not in the exhibit. My friend, this is known as Fine Print. On the place you order the tickets, and in the 4 story banner hanging from the side of the museum, the Golden Burial mask is pictured. In fact in all of the publicity material, I was unable to find a single example of the Golden Burial mask NOT being shown. In fact, it is usually the ONLY picture shown. So, with a four story banner with the words "King Tut" beside an enormous picture of the golden burial mask, one would think that you were buying a ticket to see King Tut and the golden burial mask.

Clearly everyone in the exhibit was expecting to see King Tut. I could hear people saying as they were getting routed into the gift shop, "But where is King Tut?", so I know it was not just me.

To be honest, I have not felt this ripped off since I was 8 years old and paid 50 cents to see a carnival side show advertising a two headed man. When I went in, there was no two headed man. Same scam, just on a larger scale. You expect this type of thing from Carnival Side Shows, but not the Dallas Museum of Art. Shame on you Dallas Museum of art, for the sake of $$ you deceived and disappointed countless thousands of people. Shame, shame, shame.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

King Tutankhamun, the Boy King

This is a picture showing Howard Carter, as he inspects the mummy of King Tut. OK, so I wanted to have a nice Spring Break, so I packed up the family and got in the car, and drove to Dallas to see King Tutankhamun, the boy King. The advertisement showed the golden burial mask in brilliant color.

Now, when you arrive at the Dallas Museum of Art, there is a similar banner, only this one is four stories high, and hanging from the side of the building. Now, my friend, if you saw such advertisements, what would you be expecting to see when you went in to the museum. . . . King Tut, right?

Well, we found something very different. First, I should say that based on the advertisement we saw in the newspaper, we drove over 5 1/2 hours to get to the museum. Once there, we paid $100 for our tickets. After that, we stood in a line 2 1/2 hours long to get into the museum. Once you have stood in the line, and are about ready to go in, there is another person who comes up and wants to know if you want the audio headsets so you can hear what is going on with each display (for another $20 per person). What ????? After all this you will not know what is going on unless you shell out another $20?

So, right off the bat, this whole thing did not feel right. Well, we finally got in there. It was very crowded, and the best way I can describe it would be 17 rooms of Egyptian Nik-Nacks. The first 6 or 7 rooms had lots of Egyptian stuff only very loosely related to King Tut. As you went through the displays, the rooms gradually got more dramatic, darker, and had fewer and better items. The suspense was building. You finally got to a room that had only one item . . . a little basket that had held King Tut's liver. The basket was open, and you could look in. I can tell you that King Tut's liver was not in the basket for the display. Anyway, this had built to such a climax, you are sure the next room will have the Boy King's mummy, and dramatic burial mask. But no, the next room just dumps you into the gift shop. The way you know that it is the gift shop is that the little Nik-Nacks now have prices on them, and you can pick them up.

Wow, what a RIP-OFF. King Tut, his Sarcophagus, his golden burial mask (the one dramatically pictured in all the advertisements), his coffin, and all that stuff WERE NOT AT THE MUSEUM! You should have seen the looks on people's faces as they got dumped into the gift shop. Everyone had the same reaction, "Where is King Tut?"

You know, I might have actually enjoyed the exhibit if they had just been honest in what they had . . . 17 rooms of Egyptian Nik-Nacks, and the basket they used to hold his liver. Oh, and they had a little headband and necklace he used.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Carleston, South Carolina

This picture was taken in Charleston, South Carolina at the close of the Civil War (1865). The house pictured is the O'Connor House. I love this style of house, with its huge columns, balconies, and dual fireplaces. One can only wonder how magnificent it must have been on the inside.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

George Armstrong Custer

This is a photograph of General George Armstrong Custer. Custer actually became somewhat famous during the Civil War. He was a cavalry officer, and was known for his reckless style. He sought glory, and was not too concerned what happened to his men, as long as he got the victory.

OK, I had a lot of fun yesterday on the Mystery Person Contest. I like it when there are lots of people playing, and the game goes on for a while. Once again, my Arch Rival and nemesis Nate Maas made a mockery of my contest by winning. So far, I have only been able to defeat him by being sneaky and having a contest while I know he will be at work. Also, did you notice that he signed up on the left margin to be a "follower" of this blog. By doing this, he has his picture show up on every page of my blog. Look over on the left margin, and see the little picture of him. Do you notice the smirk on his face? It is like he is just sitting there taunting me. Every page, there he is. Well, we will see who is smirking next Saturday. I already have the picture picked out, and the text written, and everything ready to go. It will be the best contest ever. I predict that Nate comes up with some flimsy excuse like his Internet was not working or something. Anyway, next Saturday will be the best contest ever. Please tune in, and watch Mr. Maas eat a little crow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mystery Woman

OK, you asked for it, and you got it. It is the Mystery Person contest.

Did you all notice how Nate lost the surprise one of Thursday? He showed up to the contest about 12 hours late mumbling something about seeing it in the morning, but having to go to work. Winners play no matter what, and don't let a little thing like a job keep them from a contest. Kent won, because he realized that winners play the game even if it means staying home from work. Yep, we took a little vinegar out of old Nate this time.
Stuck? OK, here is another picture of her.

And yet Another

One More

Friday, March 13, 2009


This picture shows two men fishing. The picture was taken in 1930. It is interesting that people at this time appear to have worn hats almost all the time. Not just when dressed up, but when doing everyday things like fishing. Many thanks to Heather for sending this picture in.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gentleman in Hat

Continuing our theme this week of hats, we show this picture from about 1915 of a gentleman in a hat. Like many people have indicated, I am hoping that the hat will make a comeback. I think we acted nicer when we dressed nicer. This is especially true of teenagers.
OK, want to have a little mid-week fun? Who is the person in the picture? I can not respond till after work this afternoon, but you can go ahead and put your guesses in.
Perhaps my only way of defeating Nate Maas is to have an unannounced mini-mid-week mystery person contest. Haaa Haaa Haaaaaa I will finally defeat the evil Nate Maas, and put him in his place. He will be defeated, oh yes, he will be defeated.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Glamour Hat

This picture was taken in 1903, and gives us a glimpse of Women's fashion back then. You don't see hats like that much any more. A couple of days ago you thought our new theme was going to be Hobos when in fact, it was going to be hats.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York City Crowd

This picture was taken in 1908, and shows a crowd in New York City. The group was following a Suffrage parade. Notice how everyone in the picture was wearing a hat.

Monday, March 9, 2009


This picture was taken in 1938, and shows a Hobo during the Great Depression. The man walked from place to place in search of work.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tuskegee Airmen

This picture was taken in March of 1945, and shows a group of Tuskegee airmen in a flight briefing in Ramitelli, Italy. The Tuskegee airmen were America's first black military airmen.
Pictured are: Front row, left to right: unidentified airman; Jimmie D. Wheeler (with goggles); Emile G. Clifton (cloth cap) San Francisco, CA, Class 44-B. Standing left to right: Ronald W. Reeves (cloth cap) Washington, DC, Class 44-G; Hiram Mann (leather cap); Joseph L. "Joe" Chineworth (wheel cap) Memphis, TN, Class 44-E; Elwood T. Driver? Los Angeles, CA, Class 44-A; Edward "Ed" Thomas (partial view); Woodrow W. Crockett (wheel cap); at Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mystery Couple

OK, here is today's mystery couple. You know the drill. You all make crazy guesses, and then I insult you as I tell you your answer is wrong. Good Luck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Migrant Farm Worker

This picture was taken in 1938 near Childress, Texas. The woman is a migrant farm worker. One wonders if she is thin because she is a trim person, or if she is actually not getting enough to eat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dogs of War

This is a picture of a French soldier in World War I wearing a gas mask. It is interesting to note that even his dog is fitted with a gas mask just for him. Also notice in the background, there appears to be two men carrying the wounded from the battlefield. I have been enjoying all your comments on the recent photos, and No, there is no particular reason for showing gas mask photos. Today will likely be the last on this topic for a while. I found the pictures interesting. The one with the nurses was probably my favorite.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Soldier Wearing Gas Mask

This picture was taken in 1942 in Corpus Christi, Texas. It shows a soldier training for chemical warfare, wearing a gas mask, and other protective clothing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gas Masks

This picture shows four men wearing different styles of gas masks. I am not sure of the date of the photograph, but I feel like this is probably a World War I era photograph.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gas Masks

This picture was taken in the early 1940's and shows a group of four women training for chemical warfare. The women are in nurses uniforms and are wearing gas masks. I find this to be a fascinating photograph.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This is a picture from the 1920's and shows a boy on his tricycle. I can remember getting a tricycle as a young boy, and let me tell you it was a big day. I wonder if he is following his mother, carrying her purse and perhaps groceries.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun yesterday with the mystery person contest. I went back and looked at the older contests, and found that Nate has won a lot of the contests. He really has a brilliant mind and has exemplary deductive reasoning skills. When you look at all the ones he figured out, you see just how talented he is. Anyway, I am already getting things ready for next week. Hopefully we will have as much fun next Saturday as we did yesterday.