Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mississippi Farmer

This week we are going to be looking at farm life. We start with this picture of a farm owner in Mississippi. He is chatting with one of the children of a worker on his farm. The picture was taken in 1937.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Biltmore Mansion

Today we show what is perhaps the grandest of all mansions . . . the Biltmore, in North Carolina. The Biltmore was the home of the Vanderbilt family. Cornelius Vanderbilt made his fortune in shipping and railroads.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Georgia Mansion

Another grand mansion for your viewing enjoyment.

Several people have commented on the difficulty of maintenance and upkeep on these huge houses. The truth is, I think most of us buy more house than we need. We end up buying for visual pizazz rather than rationally looking at what we need and can afford. The burden of house payments, cleaning, maintenance, and upkeep on a "too big" house puts stress on the family. I think it would be great to seek after a simpler lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mississippi Mansion

This is a very grand and stately mansion located in Adams County, Mississippi. I like the huge columns, porch, and balcony. I wonder if the smaller house in the back is the servants quarters?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Louisiana Mansion

One of the first things that always strikes me when I see a mansion like this is its grandeur and stateliness. The second thing that strikes me is how hard it would be to paint. Look at those columns, and in particular the tops of the columns. Can you imagine trying to scrape all that paint off the intricate top part of the column? Also, there is lots of intricate work across the top, that would be hard to reach from a ladder. There is a small city not far from where I live that has some of these old grand style mansions, and indeed many of them have fallen into disrepair.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tennessee Mansion

This picture shows a mansion in Savannah, Tennessee. It shows many of the classic characteristics I expect to see in a mansion. It has a magnificent porch, with rocking chairs, and a grand balcony. I would have perhaps prefered round columns but the square ones are themselves fairly impressive.

I am always curious about the railing around the roof. It makes it look as if there is an observation deck on the roof, but I wonder if the railing is just decorative. Has anyone ever been up on one of these grand houses? I don't see how you could give people walking access to the roof without creating a leak problem.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Welcome to Mansion Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at the grand and stylish homes of the Rich and Famous. I think all of us have some image in our head of the classic mansion. For me, large columns are a key part of what makes a mansion. the photo above has some nice columns, but overall the house is a little too cosmopolitan, and I think the wicker furniture by the pool are a distraction.

Friday, August 23, 2013


We wrap up Outhouse Week with this picture of an upscale outhouse. This is one of the fancier ones we have looked at, and it appears that it was designed to match the style of the main house. The picture was taken near Folly Creek in Virginia.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mississippi River

This is a very convenient setup . . . these three outhouses dump right into the Mississippi River. No clean up or clean out of the outhouse is required . . . it all becomes someone elses problem.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fancy Outhouse

This is a picture of an outhouse in North Salem, New York. This has to be one of the more stately outhouses I have seen. The style matches that of the home, which was quiet grand.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Log Outhouse

Today's picture features a log outhouse. The picture was taken in Wyoming. It interesting to see how the styles of outhouses vary across the country. People used what was readily available in the area to build them. This looks to be in or near a forest.

Monday, August 19, 2013


In my mind I have a picture of a classic "Old School" outhouse, but funny thing is that I am having trouble finding a picture of it. This is about as close as I can find. A classic outhouse should have a slant roof, simple, unpainted vertical boards making up the body of the structure, and some sort of vent in the roof. This picture has those characteristics. In my mind though, the outhouse should have a vent cut in the side that is a moon shape and then beside it a star. Don't know how that got started, but many outhouses have moons and stars cut through the wood for ventilation. Also, in the back there should be a hinged door to enable easy cleaning.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Outhouse of the Rich and Famous

As you look through pictures of outhouses, most have a very common design. This one is different, and much fancier than what you typically see. This must represent the outdoor toilet of someone important. My guess is that it matches the architecture of the main home.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


You requested Outhouse Week, and Outhouse Week you will get! We start with this fascinating image of a double level outhouse. I will start by saying I have dibs on the upper level unit. Just eyeballing this design, and have some serious concerns about the lower level of the unit.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Women in Slums

We wrap up Slum Week with this picture of women in the slums near the US capitol in Washington DC. Again, fairly filthy conditions, with a lot of trash and debris.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Slum Week continues with this backyard picture in Washington DC in 1935, complete with an outhouse. The picture was taken in 1935, and it was not unusual for people to still rely on outhouses at that time. Actually this yard is fairly neat compared to some of the pictures we have looked at.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Playing in the Dirt

Today's picture shows a group of children playing in the dirt. It looks to be the same group of kids in yesterday's picture. The children appear to be fairly clean and well kept given the conditions of the area they are living in. One wonders if perhaps they were cleaned up for the picture, but it looks like they have had recent and decent hair cuts.

I have been enjoying the comments related to issues and causes of poverty. I consider the issue of poverty to be a complex one. Some people are poor for reasons totally outside their control. They are born in a place and set of circumstances that are very hard to overcome. Some people don't climb out of poverty because they don't know how. No one has ever taught them how to get and hold a job, how to shop wisely, how to live wisely . . . they just don't know. Then I think there are a lot of people who are lazy and just don't care. There are a lot of people who would prefer to game the system and get as much as they can for as little effort as they can put out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Children in Slums

Today's picture shows children playing in slums. Sadly, children are often the victim of conditions and decisions that they did not create or make. The picture was taken in 1935, so one wonders if some of these children might still be alive. It would be interesting to hear their stories.

Monday, August 12, 2013

DC Slums

Today's Slum picture is from 1935, and shows a decaying area of Washington DC. 

I was curious if anyone has been to Detroit recently. I have heard it has become almost a wasteland with half the street lights and traffic lights not working. It is hard to tell what is going on by looking at pictures on the internet, because you cannot get a perspective on how widespread the rot is. I mean, you could just be taking lots of pictures of a couple of blocks in bad shape. Does anyone live nearby that could shed light on the present state of decay in Detroit?

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Welcome to Slum and Ghetto Week here at OPOD. We will be looking back through history at urban areas of decay and poverty. We start the week with this picture from Washington DC. The picture was taken in 1935 across from the Union Station.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Annie Taylor

OK, we wrap up Daredevil Week with a really good example. The picture above is of Annie Taylor on her 63rd birthday. She is about to become the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a Barrel and live. Annie was concerned about her financial situation, and did not want to end her life in poverty, so decided to do this stunt in order to generate wealth for her golden years. The funny thing is that she had been a teacher, and had never done publicity stunts like this. She did survive the stunt, but unfortunately while people found it interesting, she was not able to mount a speaking tour, or otherwise financially gain from her stunt. She died at the ripe old age 82, penniless.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Houdini is remembered as an Escape Artist more than a Daredevil, but his stunts were very risky. In this picture from 1912, he was handcuffed, chained, put in a crate, which was chained, and then lowered into New York Harbor. He successfully escaped and emerged at the surface of the water. A number of people since his time have died trying to do some of his stunts. Houdini died from complications of being punched in the stomach when he was not expecting it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lillian Leitzel

Today we feature dare devil Lillian Leitzel. She was an acrobatic artist for Ringling Brothers circus, and she performed feats of acrobatics high up on a rope. She was a superstar of the show, and a superstar of her day. She was killed while performing in front of an audience in Denmark. A clasp holding her rope shattered, and she fell to her death. Below is a video clip of her performing.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wing Walkers

Back in the early days of aviation an interesting career emerged of Wing Walking. That was where a pilot or passenger of a biplane would leave the safe confines of the cockpit and walk around on the wing, sometimes doing other stunts while on the wing. In the early days they did not wear a parachute, and had no other forms of safety gear or harnesses. Pictured above is Gladys Ingle, one of the most fearless of  the wing walkers. In this photograph she  is preparing to transfer in midair from the wing  of one airplane to another. Below is a short video clip of her taking a wheel up and repairing a disabled plane in flight.

Interestingly, Gladys lived to the ripe old age of 82, and died in 1981. Wow, would it not have been interesting to get to sit down and talk to her in her old age?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Balancing Act

I guess one way people have always used to seek fame and fortune is to take insane risks, and if you survive, you can achieve some degree of money and notoriety. This guy, J. Reynolds did it by precariously balancing on stacks of furniture high in the air on the corners of sky scrapers. Not sure how long he survived doing this, but no matter how skilled you are, this is simply needlessly risky.


OK, I know lots of you have been waiting for a domestic update, so here goes. Since I teach school, I have been off work for most of the summer, I have spent the time working outside trying to improve our yard and property. I have also spent lots of time visiting (via Skype) and encouraging the lovely Ms. EAM who continues her work in East Africa. Ms. EAM is a registered nurse, turned missionary. She lives is a remote area, and her ministry is to disciple young people, and to train people up in solid Biblical foundations. She teaches Bible Foundation courses in different remote areas which she travels to throughout the week.

One of the cultural things in the area she works is that people do not value things that are "free". So, whatever she does, she charges some nominal amount for. So, if there is a book that goes with a class she is teaching, and the book cost $10, she will buy the books, and she will charge the people in the class maybe 50 cents or a dollar for the book. She is charging not to raise money, but so that the people she is teaching will will hold what she is doing as precious. Well, recently she went to class, and one guy comes up and wants to pay with a chicken. An indigenous person she was working with then jumps in, picks up the chicken to weigh it, and then the negotiation begins on how many classes the chicken would pay for. Bottom line is that the lovely Ms. EAM ended up with a Lap Chicken she had to carry around with her for the rest of the day. Luckily the fine skills she learned growing up around Chickie Town allowed her to get home safely with the chicken still in good health and spirit.

The funny thing is that word quickly got out that the while girl would accept payment in chicken, and so now, chicken payment is about to become the norm for her. Below, she had to ride down a mountain on the back of a pickie-pickie while holding a chicken and trying to not fall off the back of the skooter.

Anyway, things continue to stay busy and always interesting for her. She is training a group of 20 people on sharing the gospel and teaching core Bible truths. This group of 20 is going out into remote schools and teaching what they learn from her. Then she disciples a number of youth each week as well. Between her, and the 20 people she is training, they are reaching over 1000 young people each week with the Gospel and foundational truths of the Bible.  So, I am excited to see the work she is doing, and the lives that are being impacted through her work.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fearless Freddie

Welcome to Stunt Men and Daredevil Week. We will be looking at the early days of men and women taking incredible risks for the hope of fame and fortune. We start the week with Fearless Freddie who did stunts with airplanes and cars. In this stunt, the airplane would fly slowly over the runway, and a car would be driving very quickly down the runway. Freddie would jump from the back of the car to the ladder on the airplane, and then crawl up into the plane. Then he would do the trick in reverse. I was not able to find out how long Freddie lived.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Antonio Meucci

This is a picture of Antonio Meucci, who died unknown and penniless. I bet you are saying, "I never heard of him". That is because he died unknown and penniless. What he did do, though, is that he invented the telephone. Now I bet you are saying, "wait, Bell invented the telephone". That is correct, Bell invented the telephone after reading the papers written by Meucci describing his working prototype telephones. Bell then took the ideas and called them his own. Meucci had semonstrated a working phone years earlier, and had written Bell with his invention in the hopes of securing financial investment to further develop the device. In 2002 Congress passed a House Resolution stating that Meucci should be recognized as inventing the telephone.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was one of the literary geniuses of the 1800's. He is remembered for his plays, epigrams, and novel. Wilde died penniless in a hotel room in Paris, living under an assumed name.