Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Woman with Dog at Fake Beach

I always find pictures like this interesting. Did they really think we were not going to notice that the beach is fake and simply a painted backdrop for the picture? The picture was taken in 1913. I wonder if it was a portrait taken for the woman, or if it was a picture intended to be used in some sort of advertisement or publicity material.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Doggie Hospital

Today's picture was taken in 1907, and it shows a woman bandaging a dog's leg. The picture was taken at the Bide-A-Wee home for animals in New York.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Woman and her Dog

Today's picture shows a woman looking out the window with her dog. The picture was taken in Harlem in New York.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dog Week

Welcome to Dog Week here at OPOD. We kick the week off with this picture of a dog pulling a cart. The picture was taken in Belgium in about 1917. I wonder if they have rabbits in Belgium and what happens when a rabbit jumps out in front of the dog. I feat the woman loses all her milk cans.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Here is another picture of a carnival "Geek" eating a snake. I find it interesting the evolution of the word "Geek" over the last hundred years. Back in the day, Geek referred to someone who would entertain by biting the heads off live chickens or snakes, perhaps drinking the blood, and then eating them raw. Because of this egregious behavior, the word geek had an element of a social outcast, one who did not behave like others and did not fit in with polite society. Nothing criminal, just a misfit. By the 60's and 70's the term was used to describe a high school student who was good in math. It was equivalent to "Nerd" in some ways. In the 60's and 70's the word Geek was definitely intended to be an insult. It was a way to make kids who were good in math feel like outcasts. As computer technology came on the scene, the word Geek was used not just for those good with math, but also good with technology. Then a funny thing happened . . . some of those computer "Geeks" started turning out to be multimillionairs before they finished college and in some cases before they finished high school. All of the sudden "Geek" became a cool thing to be. So, the word went from describing a person who bit the heads off chickens to make a few dollars to a kid living in a mansion and driving a Ferrari around Silicon Valley.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Carnival Side Show

Today's picture shows a performance in a carnival side show. For entertainment, this gentleman would bite the head off a snake and eat it raw. The picture was taken in 1938 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. In the 1970's I can remember seeing a "Freak Show" at the Texas State Fair where there was a similar act. I have to say that for a little kid, it was a pretty amazing thing to watch. I believe carnival sideshows are much more tame now-days. Wonder if anyone has seen a carnival sideshow recently and if they can share with us any acts like this still being done.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snake Charmers

Today we feature a photograph from the late 1800's. Pictured is a group of snake charmers in Morocco. If I had to work on this team, I would apply for the job of drummer. He is the furthest from the snake, and in a pinch the drum might be able to be used as a shield.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

King Cobras

Today's picture is from India around 1900. It shows multi-snake charmers. I believe if I were ever in charge of a roadside snake charmer operation, I would institute a "One Cobra Out of the Basket at a Time" policy. I feel that most snake charming disasters probably occurred from more than one snake out of the basket at a time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snake Week

Sorry I am late with my post this morning. I did something I have not done in years . . . I slept in. Yes, the drain of years of hard work has finally taken its toll on me, and I decided to sleep in till 9:00. I assure you it will not happen again, but I do feel much better now.

This week is going to be Snake Week. I will tell you up front that I do not like snakes. We have three types of poisonous snakes here; Diamond Back Rattlesnakes, Water Moccasins, and Copperheads. I will be honest with you, if I happen up on a poisonous snake, I kill it. Simple as that. Now I sit back and brace for the angry comments and hateful email.

Anyway the picture above was taken in 1934 in Tel Aviv. I have done extensive research on this photograph and can assure you that the person accidentally dropped the little mouse, and he escaped unharmed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Circus Parade

We wrap up Circus Week with this photograph of a Circus Parade. The picture was taken in New York in the early 1900's. Back in the day, when the circus came to town, they would hold a grand parade. The parade was free, and you could see many amazing things, drawing you in to wanting to see the main show. Brilliant strategy, and it worked well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ringling Brothers Circus

Today's picture is from around 1900, and shows the entrance to the Ringling Brothers Circus. I like this picture, as it captures the excitement of the people waiting to see the circus. I also like the old style cash register. Also notice most of the people are wearing hats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lion Tamer

Today's picture was taken in 1899, and shows a lady Lion Tamer. I have to admit the circus does have some pretty incredible animal acts, but I can not help but think it sad that the animals are caged up and live on the road. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Circus Tent

Today's picture shows a couple of boys sneaking into a circuit by climbing under the tent. The picture was taken in 1936 near Roswell, New Mexico.

I mentioned earlier that as a child I enjoyed the small circuses that would come to town. Over the years the smaller circuses seem to have gone away, and you were left with the two big name circuses. I never liked these, and still don't. Basically, I did not enjoy things where people appear to be in danger, or doing death defying acts. In particular, I found the high wire acts distressing. Bottom line is I don't want to see someone killed and don't enjoy watching someone do a dangerous stunt. Also, I felt like the animals were not treated in a humane manner. Elephants need to live in the open, not in trailers and small pens.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Circus Girl

Good Monday morning to you all. Hope you have a wonderful week this week, and today goes well for you. As you know, this is Circus week, and as you know, I am not a big fan of the Circus. Things were different when I was a kid. In the 1960's there were many more small traveling circuses. They would come to town, set up a tent, and put on a pretty good show. They would have some interesting animals, jugglers, and maybe a trapeze show. It was fun watching the trapeze artist, because they performed with a net, and you knew that no one would get hurt. As time went on, it seems like these small circuses went away, and you were left with the two really large circuses. Something special was lost in these huge "shows", in my mind.

Today's picture was taken in 1908, and shows a circus girl, who performed on a horse.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trick Rider

Circus Week continues with this picture of a circus "Trick Rider". Usually these folks would ride in circles doing various tricks on the ponies. I can remember finding these parts of the circus entertaining, and less distressing than most of the other parts. You can probably tell I was not (and am not) a big fan of circuses.


We have gotten several comments and emails expressing hope and interest in hearing more about the Africa trip. To be honest, I had imagined writing clever and witty little things about the trip and to share with you the adventure as it unfolded. The truth is, that what I found over there was much different than what I had expected. As you are aware, my daughter, the Lovely Ms. EAM serves as a nurse/missionary for the Mattaw Children's village. Mattaw is like a little oasis of hope in the midst of a storm of misery. The children of Mattaw are loved, well cared for, happy, playful, and healthy children. This is because of the generosity of folks like you all, who give sacrificially to make such a place possible. The sad thing is that life is very different outside Mattaw. When we got there, Ms. EAM said, "Dad, there is something I have to show you". She took us to the slum of Kipsongo. Kipsongo has to be the saddest place on earth. If it is not, it is certainly the saddest place I have ever seen. Literally, there are people laying on the ground, covered with flies, and dying. The children are malnourished, living in squalor, and suffering from a variety of medical issues. 

As you walk through Kipsongo, the children want to touch you. Five children stand on each side of you, and each child holds one of your fingers and walks with you. The homes are made from mud, or sticks and garbage bags. It is a place of hopelessness, and I can remember my thought as I walked through there . . . "This is the place dreams come to die". You could see the things that people had done to try to make a difference there. There was a well with a hand pump, someone had tried to build latrines for the people, and out front was a little shop with a faded sign . . . the dream being that the women would make beaded jewelry and sell in the little shop.

So, I am really not talking abut the Africa trip because I am still trying to digest it. I am so proud of the work that the the Lovely Ms. EAM is doing there, but the challenges are so large, and the workers are so few. So, Mrs. PJM and I are pondering how we could contribute and how we could make a difference over there. The problems require more than simply sending more money . . . the problems require boots on the ground, and new ideas. So, I will not be talking much about Africa as I try and think about the issues.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Circus Clown

Welcome to Circus Week here at OPOD. I must tell you going into this that I do not like Circus Clowns. I think it odd for a man to decide he wants to put on makeup and wear giant shoes. I am sorry if I am offending any circus clowns out there, but as a child you scared me and as an adult I find you sort of creepy. I will do my best to put my biases aside, and take an honest look at Circuses this week. Just curious . . . do clowns give anyone else the creeps?

Friday, January 13, 2012


Today's picture is from 1939, and it shows spectators at the Cimarron, Kansas County Fair. I find it interesting how much clothing has changed since then. Have you noticed that almost all the casual clothes today have some sort of graphic or text on it? I find the older simpler style here very appealing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Friends at the County Fair

Today we present a picture of Friends at the County Fair. The picture was taken in 1942 at the El Centro County Fair. Another peaceful scene from a simpler time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This picture was labeled "Skylarking". I had never heard that term before, so had to look it up. I learn it is sort of like Horseplay, or goofing around. Interesting word I had not run into before. The picture was taken in 1942 at the Imperial County Fair in California.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Girls at Fair

Today we have a picture of girls at the El Centro (Ca.) county fair. The picture was taken in 1942. Again, a peaceful scene from a bygone era.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Boys at County Fair

Today's picture is from 1942, and it shows Boys at the County Fair. The picture was taken near El Centro, California. What a wonderful image this is. When was the last time you saws boys just laying on the grass, being still, and just visiting. This scene very much reminds me of my childhood, and makes me realize that there is something very special most young people today are missing . . . being still.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


County Fair Week continues with this picture of a Sideshow. The picture was taken in the early 1900's at the Westchester County Fair in New York. The booth is advertising the Wild Rose and Rattlesnake Joe show. Honestly, I really with I could have seen it. I can remember going to the midway and side shows of the 60's and 70's and the shows were really pretty entertaining. Political correctness has led to the shows being pretty lame now days, but back in the day, they were pretty interesting. Can you remember seeing any really interesting carnival shows. (You can always post as anonymous if you don't want to admit you found it entertaining)


Today's domestic update is related to three of my favorite things in life . . . my students, the Lovely Ms. EAM, and Africa.

As you know the Lovely Ms. EAM is now living in Africa and is serving as the Missionary/Nurse for the Mattaw Orphan Village. The time zone is very different, so early morning here is late afternoon/evening for her. So, I go to school early, and when I get there is an excellent time for me to talk to her on Skype. Many times my students come in early to work on homework, so they hear me talking to her, and join in the conversation. They became greatly enthused by her work, and they wanted to help and become part of what she was doing. They decided to start a service learning project to help support her work. Most service learning projects are really lame, like picking up trash around the courthouse, but these kids came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea.

My daughter had shared that one of the children, Peter, that she had recently helped rescue off the streets of Kitale had a fascination with her camera. He would grab her camera and run off with it (not stealing, but in fun), and would take all types of pictures of the village. She said he actually had a knack and took some really interesting pictures. The picture above actually shows the Lovely Ms. EAM chasing Peter, trying to get her camera back, as he snaps a quick self portrait.

The students had this idea . . . they would build a WEB site based on photographs that Peter takes, and sell greeting cards based on the photographs. The proceeds from the card sales would be used to purchase vitamins to help further improve the diet of the orphans at Mattaw. The WEB site sold enough cards that when Mrs. PJM and I went to Africa we were able to take a three month supply of vitamins for the village. 

I have really been impressed with the heart, hard work, and dedication of the students on this project. I am hopeful that you will check out their site. I am sure it would be a huge encouragement to them if you left a comment on their site, or perhaps even considered purchasing a card. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

County Fair

Welcome to County Fair Week here at OPOD. I find myself longing for days gone by when life moved at a slower pace, and we took more time to just sit and visit. Perhaps nothing represents those days better than the tradition of the County Fair. So, this week we will be looking at County Fairs. Did you ever go to one? Did you enjoy it? Share your memories.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dust Storm

We wrap up Texas Week with this picture of a Dust Storm. The picture was taken in 1936 in the Texas Panhandle. The photo really captures the grim specter of the Dust Bowl in Texas.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Black Gold

Texas week would not be complete without a picture from the oilfield. Today's picture was taken in 1901, and shows drilling going on at the famed "Spindletop". This was one of the early oilfields that ushered in a long period of prosperity for Texas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snaking a Log

Today's picture is from 1939 and was taken on Sabine Farms near Marshall, Texas. That pretty much far East Texas. The picture shows men using mules to clear land. They are dragging off felled treas. This type of work was called "Snaking a Log".

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Barbed Wire

Texas week continues with this picture featuring Barbed Wire. Barbed Wire, along with the windmill and the Winchester were critical to taming the west. This picture was taken in 1939 in East Texas.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Texas Farmstead

OK, I hope you enjoyed our travels through Africa over the last two weeks, but we are back home now, so to get back into the swing of things I figure it is a good time to have "Texas" week. We will be spending the week looking at a bygone era of the Great State of Texas.

This picture is from 1913, and shows a farmstead near Corsicana, Texas. The family is a sharecropping family growing cotton. In 1913, the family produced 20 bales of cotton, and everyone in the family worked to make it happen.

It is great to be home, and in the next few weeks, I hope to give you more updates on the things I learned in Africa. Right now, I still trying to digest it all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye to Africa

We say Goodbye to Africa today with this photo of Thomson Falls, in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It has been an incredible experience, and I hope to fill you in more on the adventure in the coming weeks. Thanks for traveling along with me. I hope you enjoyed it!