Sunday, January 31, 2010

Suffrage March

Welcome to Women's Suffrage Week here at OPOD. We sort of kicked things off yesterday with the picture of Alice Paul, a leader in the movement in the 1910's. Today, we continue with this picture, taken in 1917, of a march on the capitol. The picture was taken from the steps of the capitol.

The movement got started around 1850 by Susan B. Anthony and others. They finally got the right to vote in 1920. One wonders why it took the movement so long to be successful. Perhaps there are clues in this picture. Notice how the women are marching quietly in a neat single file line? No yelling, no fists in the air. Perhaps they should have taken some lessons from the thugs over at ACORN. You never see them protesting in a neat single file line. My first advise to this group would be to show up more like an angry mob. Second, notice that all the banners are very neat, but have no words on them. The few that have words are very low contrast, and the words are hard to read. I feel that better signage, and presenting their demonstrations in more of a mob like atmosphere could have potentially knocked 10 years off the effort.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Old Style Hat

OK, we are wrapping up the Hat series today with this one. I am not sure what this style hat was called, but they were very popular. You see a lot of pictures from the 1910's where there are crowds of people, and every person in the crowd is wearing one of these hats.

I find this picture a little awkward. It looks like he is seated on the armrest of the bench. But looking at the leg of the bench, and where the armrest would be, it looks like he would be falling or tipping over.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old Hat

This picture is from the early 1900's and shows a man in a suit and tie, with a nice hat. I notice he is wearing a necktie not unlike ties of today. I wonder when this type of necktie became popular. Also, I notice his eyeglasses do not have the little arms that go back over the ears.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Older Gentleman

This is another fine example of a man in a hat. I like the hat and the tie, and the Jacket appears to be a more casual fit for both comfort and style. I also like the accessories of the cane and cigar in right hand. Overall, I think this guy has pulled together a pretty good look. If it were not for the hat though, he would be just another old coot.

The one thing I don't like about this particular style is that it looks like he is wearing his pants up under his rib cage. Back then, for some reason, some of these guys wore their belt line way up around the ribs. That would drive me crazy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This picture was taken in about 1905, and shows a postman preparing to deliver the mail. I am not sure what this type of hat is called, but back at this time it was very popular. The crown has no crease in it . . . just sort of like a dome sitting up there. Anyway, he is very well dressed compared to postmen today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Western Hat

The OPOD campaign to bring back men's hats continues today with this fine picture from about 1905. The man is wearing a nice western style straw hat. I think it looks good.

Nate made the point yesterday that hats aside, men needed to dress better overall, and perhaps go back to the daily suit. Two jobs ago, I had to wear a suit every day and hated it. Suits today are not comfortable. They restrict your movements, get wrinkled easily, are easily damaged, and the tie is a natural magnet for any type of red sauce. I found it difficult to get normal day-to-day tasks done having to wear a suit. Now this guy's suit looks much more practical. First, look at the collar. There is a nice amount of space between collar and neck, so he is not getting choked by his shirt and tie. The tie is neat, and would stay in place. The jacket looks like it is made of something more like canvas or denim that would probably be easier to wear, and would probably be more rugged than modern fabrics.

Yes, I could really go for a suit and hat like this! What do you think?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Good Ol' Days

Oh, the good ol' days when our politicians wore Stetsons and carried six shooters around their office. Today's picture features Harry S. "The Buck Stops Here" Truman, and John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner. Truman is wearing a fine looking stetson, and is sporting a couple of Colt Peacemakers. I think the western Stetson was the high point of Men's hat fashion.

I have said on several occasions that I am disappointed that the hat has fallen out of favor in men's fashion. I feel that men stopped being gentlemen about the same time they stopped wearing hats. Today, pretty much the only hat you ever see men wear is a baseball cap. I do not understand this. It has all the disadvantages of a nice hat, in that it messes up the hair, but it has neither functional nor fashion value. The baseball cap shades the face, but does not shade the ears or the back of the neck. Worse yet, is when the cap is worn backwards to be cool, or worn front ways, but cocked over to the side.

So, to try and renew interest in wearing proper hats, this week we will explore men's hat styles.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Game Day

OK, game day is here. What you have to do is name the man on the left of the picutre. Now, if your initials are N.M. you must name both people. Ready, Set, . . . . . GO!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dust Bowl

Today's picture shows the son of a farmer in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. It was taken in 1936. When people think of the Great Depression, I think they primarily think of the stock market crash, and resulting unemployment. Sometimes I think we forget at the same time, we were hit with the dust bowl. During the dust bowl it pretty much stopped raining over lots of the parts of the country. Without rain, it was impossible for farmers or ranchers to survive. So, lots of the people that were see in the migrant camps and moving across the country with their families in cars were former Oklahoma farmers and ranchers who had lost their rain.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Child of the Depression

This picture was taken in 1935 and shows a tent of a migrant farm family. There is a small child in the tent. I am sure it would have been hard to raise a family like this, but at the same time I have to believe it was an incredible character building exercise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fixing Flat Tire

Dust Bowl Week continues with this picture from 1935. It shows a couple of men changing a tire on a Model T. Changing a tire on a Model T is actually very easy. The car was light, so easy to jack up. Then there are four nuts around the outside rim. The tires are lightweight, so easy to get on and off. Now days they put the lug nuts on too tight at the factory, and if you have a flat, the little Micky Mouse lug wrench has almost no chance or loosening the lug nuts, and hence you are stranded.

We had lots of spirited discussion in the comments yesterday. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and your experiences. For those of you who have been hit by a New Reality recently, our prayers are with you. Actually, I have always been very conservative in my spending. When I was in High School I had a lot of trouble finding a job. Minimum wage at the time was $2.25. I tried to get a summer job in the Cotton Gin doing maintenance, but they said they did not have a spot. I told them that I would work for $1 an hour if they would hire me. I told them I would not come back and ask for more money, but that if I did a good job, maybe next summer they would bring me back at minimum wage. They gave me the job. The Gin had no ventilation or air conditioning. With it 100 degrees outside, it got up around 120 in the Gin. I had to crawl up into the machinery, and take off the old cutting blades, and replace with new ones. There were tens of thousands of these little blades to be changed. If your hand slipped on the wrench, your hand would run into the little blades, and really cut your hand up. It was a hot and very unpleasant job. The funny thing is that to this very day, I still put purchases into terms of how many hours in the Gin it would take to buy something. So, if I am eating out, and a soft drink is $2, I think that was 2 hours of labor in the Gin, and I have a water instead.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Migrant Worker

Today's picture was taken in 1935 in a migrant labor camp in California. The people were living in small tents and shacks, while working in the fields. During the Great Depression, these families were sometimes charged ridiculous rates just for a few feet of ground to set their tents up on. It was often the case that it was a huge struggle to make just enough for a little food.

I wonder what people would do today in these circumstances. I wonder if they would actually go out and work 12 hours in the field, or if they would just sit on the side of the road and starve.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fixing Car

The Dust Bowl week continues here at OPOD with this picture. It was taken in 1935 in a migrant worker camp in California. The men look to be rebuilding the engine in their car.

Have you noticed that it has gotten to where people pretty much can not work on cars these days? Due to the complexity, electronics, and specialized equipment required, pretty much all repairs require a trip to the shop. I was never very mechanically inclined, but when I was in High School most of my friends could rebuild an engine, transmission, or carburetor. They learned this by working on cars with their Dad. It is too bad that this tradition has been lost today.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dust Bowl

This week we will be looking at a series of pictures from the American Dust Bowl. I found some pictures I had not seen before, and thought I would feature them this week. The picture above was taken in 1935 and shows a destitute family at a relocation camp in California.

It is amazing to me how we appear to have forgotten the lessons of the Great Depression. In the business class I teach, I am trying to teach to students about investing. On the first day of class, I set each student up with a stock brokerage account. The account works exactly like an etrade or ameritrade account, only they are investing "play" money. Each student is given $100,000 in the account. At the start of each class period, while I am doing roll, the students research companies, and then buy or sell stocks. There is a master page, where they can compare how they are doing vs. the other students. As the year goes on, I get into all the details of investing; picking companies, reading balance sheets, understanding earnings reports and so forth. This week, we were talking about how different things would affect the market. As a whole, the class felt the economy would probably be getting worse before it gets better. We then discussed companies that might do well in a sinking economy. Walmart came up as a company that might do relatively well if things were tough in the economy. I then made the point that if things were tough, it would be more likely that someone would buy a $15 pair of jeans at walmart, than a $150 pair of jeans at Aeropostale. At this point one student said, "I would never wear Walmart jeans". I tried to explain that conditions could dictate that . . . for example, if a family member lost a job. The response was that under no circumstances would they wear Walmart jeans. The other students jumped in, agreeing that there would never be any circumstances under which they would be caught dead in Walmart jeans. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to make them see that not only could conditions arise in which you would wear Walmart jeans, but they might be such that you felt lucky to have pants at all. While I really have a good group of students this year, even with them, I was unable to make them see that designer jeans were not an inalienable right.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Round 2

OK, I went down in flaming defeat in round 1. My diabolical scheme to fool you all did not work. So, here is round 2. Who is this woman?

Mystery Person

Got a great contest for you today. Your mission, should you decide to accept it is to identify the man in the picture above. Let the Games Begin!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fur and Feathers

Today we present the feast de resistance; a lovely feather hat complimented with a fur stole. The picture was taken in 1921.

Sometimes I wonder why you all keep looking at this blog. I think it might be a little bit like a car accident on the highway. You really don't want to look, but just can't quite help yourself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vegetarian in Straw Hat

Wow, sometimes I think you all just sit around and whine all day. First, you complain because the hats featured had bird feathers on them. Then I search the world over to find an old picture of a woman with no feathers in her hat, and you complain that their are critter paws in the picture.

Sheesh, sometimes I wonder why I even bother with this blog.

But, bother I do, and today I have the picture that will offend no one. The lovely lady pictured above is a Vegetarian and she is wearing a straw hat. I have every reason to believe she is wearing canvas shoes, made by people earning a living wage. The canvas was made from organic cotton, grown by free people. Deer danced unmolested through the cotton field, eating only the weeds and never the cotton. The straw hat was woven by union labor with full health benefits.

So, I hope everyone is happy today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hat with no Bird

As I have been going through all these early 1900's photographs of Women's hats, I have been surprised how many are richly ordained with bird feathers. So, I am happy to report that I found this example, which has no stuffed bird, or bird feathers on it. I was getting the impression that viewers were growing uncomfortable with all the birds sacrificed in the name of fashion. So, this picture should put everyone at ease.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Woman's Hat circa 1920's

Today we feature what I consider to be the low point in Women's Hat Fashion. I am not sure what these hats were called, but they were popular back in the 20's, and look something like a skull cap. Luckily, we don't see much of this type of thing anymore.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hat with Netting

One of the things that sometimes went with hats was a netting that came down over the woman's face. An example can be seen above. I think some of the old big hats were actually very attractive, but I never liked the face net. I would think that looking through the netting would be a distraction. This hat also appears to have bird feathers coming out the back. Overall, I will have to say I don't care for this hat too much.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bird Hat

Today is Sunday, and we start a new week here at OPOD. This week we will be looking at Women's Hats. We kick things off with this fine example. It looks like the hat has incorporated into the design an actual bird prepared by a taxidermist. The picture was taken in the early 1900's.

Well we had a little fun yesterday with the mystery person. I was surprised that it took you all so long to get it. Firestone was one of the big names in the early 1900's, right up there with Ford and Edison. Anyway, I had thought it would be an easy one, and we would get it done, since I needed to get my taxes done. Well, the contest went on for most of the day, and I got nothing done on my taxes. So, it is off to get those done.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mystery Person

Good Saturday morning to you all. It is a frigid 11 degrees here where I am. I don't know about where you come from, but around here that is bitterly cold. Anyway, it is Saturday morning, so lets get the contest going. When you submit your entry for the mystery person contest, please let us know what your temperature is. No wind chill, just the straight temperature.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Wright Brothers

We are wrapping up our Inventors and Innovators series today with the pictures above of Wilbur and Orville Wright, pioneers in early aviation and flight. Notice how I called them "pioneers in early aviation and flight", and not the first to fly? Well, first, lots of people flew before them, but it was not motorized flight. I think George Washington might have even gone up in a hot air balloon. Also, there is always controversy about who was actually the first to do something, because usually lots of people are trying, and it can get into technicalities about what counts as the official "first". Anyway, there is no doubt that these men were innovators and helped bring us practical air travel.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marie Curie

Today's Innovator is Madame Curie. She was a pioneer in the field of radiation and radioactivity. She was an early example of a woman excelling in a very deep field of science.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


OK, I am a little miffed this morning. My plan was to use this picture of Nicola Tesla as this week's mystery person, but when I put up the picture of Edison yesterday, no one wanted to talk about Edison, they wanted to talk about his arch-Nemesis, Nicola Tesla. Yes, I too have to admit having a fascination with Tesla. The feud between Edison and Tesla was one of the most famous of the last century. It was over whether DC or AC electricity should be used in developing the power grid.

I consider Tesla to perhaps be the brightest man of the last 200 years. He had the inventive talent of Edison, he had the mathematical and scientific talent of Einstein, and he had the showmanship of P.T. Barnum. He brought these three things together to envision wild and impossible sounding ideas, and then bring them to complete and practical solutions. He was responsible for inventing most of the things necessary for building a practical electrical generation and distribution system. In addition, he either invented, or played a major part in the development of x-rays, radios, and various wireless technology. While Tesla was a true Genius, at the same time he was somewhat of a madman. In some cases it was difficult to tell whether his ideas were brilliance or fantasy. He had a number of peculiar behaviors and compulsive instincts, which in later years got worse. There was a good movie a few years ago called the Prestige. The movie is not about Tesla as such, but he is a fairly important part of the plot. I found the portrayal of Tesla in the movie to be very good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thomas Edison

Innovators week continues here at OPOD with this fine photograph of Thomas Edison, taken in 1904. Edison was one of History's most prolific inventors, having patented the phonograph machine, recording machines, motion pictures, and the much loved light bulb. These are just a few of his more noteworthy inventions. Others had worked on some of these things, but he patented practical versions. Edison was interesting in that he was very much of a garage shop type inventor. He disdained mathematical analyses, and preferred to try all possibilities and keep the ones that worked. This often helped him to achieve practical inventions, as they were based on hands on work. At the same time, it sometimes led to huge inefficiencies, and tragic mistakes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry Ford

Inventor and Innovator week continues here at OPOD with this photograph of Henry Ford. Ford was the first to bring mass production techniques to the automobile, making them affordable to average people for the first time. A Model T could be purchased for about $300. He succeeded in putting America on wheels. The picture above was taken in 1938, and Ford is seated on the right side of the picture.

Well, I had a great time with you all over the Christmas Break, and had some fun on the blog. But, today it is back to work.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Calling Dr. Bell

Welcome to a brand new week in a brand new year in a brand new decade. We kick all this off with Inventors and Innovators week here at OPOD, and we start with this picture of Alexander Graham Bell. He is remembered as the inventor of the telephone. Interesting that both his mother and his wife were deaf. Also, he apparently did not like the telephone much, as he refused to have one in his office.

Now, last Sunday we did an experiment to see if it is possible to judge a book by its cover. We showed 4 pictures of nurses, and asked you to simply look at them and determine who the scoundrel was. By a 2-1 margin, Angel of Mercy #4 was chosen as the scoundrel. Initially, there was some unease with #1, but then people decided that she was just a stern woman, and maybe not a very friendly woman, but perhaps a tough woman in a tough job . . . not a scoundrel. Sure enough, #1 was Mabel Boardmen, who became director of the Red Cross, after Clara Barton. Certainly not a scoundrel. #2 and #3 were two worker nurses in the Red Cross. No scandals there. Now, #4, she was Ethel Langdon Drake, and she was the scoundrel. She was collecting money in World War I for her ambulance service to bring aid and comfort to our boys on the front line. She would also set up schools to train nurses, collect $175 per perspective student in tuition. Come to find out, she had no ambulance service, and would skip town after collecting the $175 tuition from students. Interesting well over half of you picked her, and she was picked with a 2-1 margin over any other candidate. So why did you pick her? When I saw her picture, it sort of gave me the creeps, so I looked into her, and found the items mentioned above. For me, it was sort of her self-pious look in the picture.


Thought I would give you a quick domestic update. Yes, I survived that great furniture buying expedition, but just barely. I learned some new stuff on the trip. While our household governing system in the past had been the "King of my Household" system, apparently, without anyone telling me, we moved to the "majority rules" system. I also noticed that my wife and daughter formed a unified voting block, and hence in all cases on the trip, I was voted down. I like the old King of My Household system much better. Will see if we can move back to that one in the coming weeks.

Also, quick update on Chickie Town. I have purchased a scientifically developed feed for the peacocks. It was developed based on years of research to guarantee beautiful plumage, healthy flock, and overall vitality and robustness. I also purchased a scientifically developed feed for the chickies to guarantee robust growth, exceptional egg production, and overall good health and balance for the chickens. Now, when I go out in the morning, I let the peacocks out of the peacock palace, and fill their feeder with the specially formulated feed. Then I go let the chickies out, and I throw their feed on the ground, as they like to scratch around and eat it off the ground. Well, as soon as the chickies start eating, Handsome Jack comes around the corner, and flairs his feathers up, and starts doing this menacing dance. He herds them under the chicken coup with all types of fearful moves. He holds them at bay there until the rest of the peacock flock comes in and eats all the chickens food. The chickies have an escape route on the other side of the coop, and they sneak out, go over to the peacock palace, and they eat the peacock food. When handsome catches on to what is going on, he goes over and gives them the evil eye again, but he has trouble keeping all the chickies in check. Anyway, the bottom line is that the chickies are eating the peacock food, and the peacocks are eating the chickie food.

I feel like if I had a tractor I could build an earthen berm between the two coops and solve the problem.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mystery Man

Good Morning everyone. This is Saturday, and that means Mystery Person contest. Hope you all are ready for a hard one. You must identify the man in the picture above.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Grace Coolidge

We wrap up Angel of Mercy week here at OPOD with this picture. It was taken in 1927, and shows Grace Coolidge at a meeting of the Society of Nurses.

Well, hope you all are having a great New Year's Day. My new year's resolution is to try and make OPOD more fun, and more interesting. Over Christmas Dinner with my extended family, half my family members said that they had stopped reading OPOD because since this fall they said it was not very interesting any more. I will admit, that I had been pretty busy once the school year started, and had not put the effort into it that I should have. The other thing they told me was just day in and day out I was too mean, and needed to turn my meanness dial down about two clicks. They also said I was lazy, and never do any real work. They said they were amazed that I was not a homeless person. Then we all had big piece of pecan pie and ice cream.