Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sleigh Ride

Winter and cold weather are here for most of us, so I thought it would be good to have a week of cold winter scenery. We start the week with this scene from Washington DC of a horse-drawn sleigh. The picture was taken in 1935. I am surprised there were still people with sleighs in town at this late date.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day to you all. I hope you all have a wonderful day, and lots of good food and time with family, and time to reflect on all we can be thankful for. I am hopeful you will resist the intense pressure of turning this time into rampant commercialism. As far as Black Friday . . . JUST STAY HOME!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hunter Gatherer Week Resumes!

Despite the protests, Hunter Gatherer Week continues here at OPOD. We have this photograph from 1924 where an Eskimo has just bagged a fine looking Polar Bear. 

Yes, it appears that my post from last Saturday ruffled a few feathers. I think it was my reference to men these days being spineless woosies. This tends to not sit well with some people, who have a vested interest in men remaining woosies. I had lots of comments and emails on that one. Even the long silent Evil Nate Maas was stirred to comment, and call me a woos for being iced in and not posting for two days. Well, the ice storm knocked out power lines, so most people have not had electricity, which then also takes down internet service. Luckily things have thawed and I am again able to leave my abode.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Iced In

Still no internet here in Christoval. Hopefully we will thaw today and I can resume posting tomorrow.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bear Hunters

Welcome to Hunter Gatherer Week here at OPOD. We will look at pictures from back in the day when men were really men. Back before political correctness and before men became spineless woosies. We start with picture of Bear Hunters. Wow, what an exciting life that must have been! The picture was taken in Alaska in 1906.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter Carnival

We wrap up Carnival Week with this picture of the Winter Carnival near Upper Saranac Lake in New York. The picture was taken in 1909. Lots of interesting details looking at the clothing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A key part of carnivals has historically been the "Side Shows", although with all the political correctness, they tend to not be as interesting in the past. In looking at the picture above, I can not help but wonder what was waiting for the spectators when they went inside.

I went to several side shows over the years, and remember that back in the 1970's there were still some pretty good ones, but they have gone downhill since then. I went to one at the State Fair of Texas that had a sword swallower (man could hold his head back and put a sword all the way down his throat), a fire eater (he would put kerosene in his mouth and then spit it out over a match, spitting out a large flame of fire), the Walrus Man (a man with no arms but with hands coming out his shoulder, Popeye (could pop his eyes out of socket), the Alligator Woman (had a skin disorder and you could strike a match on her skin), and then a guy who would drive nails up his nose and put fish hooks through his tounge.  Since then, side shows are mostly great graphics on the outside, but not really much once you get in.

Please share your side show memories.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cotton Candy

If you have ever been to a Carnival, you probably remember the food. Here we have a little girl enjoying some cotton candy. This was back when it was made fresh right on the spot. Cotton candy is pretty interesting. It is pretty much fiberglass made out of pure sugar, with a little pink die thrown in. I will have to admit though, my favorite carnival food is the funnel cake.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carnival Carousel

Today we feature a picture of a pretty benign carnival ride . . . the Horse Carousel. While is moves pretty slow, these rides really make me sick. Especially the ones that have the horses going up and down. Also, it is a long ride, so I am really ready to be sick by the time it is over. The picture is from the Cotton Carnival in Memphis, Tennessee, taken in 1940.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Today's picture shows one of the main attractions of a carnival . . . the rides! I will have to say though that spinning rides like this one definitely make me sick. The picture was taken in Plant City, Florida in 1939.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ferris Wheel

OK, who does not love a Ferris Wheel? It is a fun ride that is exciting but not too scary. The lines are usually short, you get a reasonably long ride, and it does not make you sick.

This picture is from a carnival in Brownsville, Texas and it was taken in 1942.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Carnival Week

Welcome to Carnival Week here at OPOD. We will look at the old time tradition of traveling carnivals. Yes, I have been to the big theme parks like Disney Land, but to me they are just not the same as the small traveling carnival coming to town. Hopefully you all will share your fond childhood memories of the carnival.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Today's picture is from Dutch Flat, California. It was a mining town in the mid-1800's. It looks like this guy was not so much skiing for sport as he was out of necessity. Looks like a pretty cold winter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today's picture shows another past time of days gone by . . . sledding. I have never sledded because there was not much snow growing up in West Texas. Perhaps someone with some real sledding experience as a child could share with us. I do recognize the wagon in the background. We had a red wagon just like the one pictured and it was loads of fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Sporting week continues today with this picture of a Bowling Alley. The picture was taken in 1910. You can see that this was before the days of automated lanes, so each lane had a young kid at the end to set up the pins. I can remember being in bowling alleys in Mexico when I was young where this sort of setup was still used.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ice Skating

This week we are looking at pictures of leisure sporting activities people used to do. Today's picture shows ice skating. Growing up in West Texas, I never did a lot of ice skating, but it does look like a lot of fun. This picture was taken in Washington DC. Perhaps if there are any leisure skaters out there, they could shed more light on the activity.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Sport Week continues today with this picture of a man with some pretty fancy mechanized skates. I am not sure exactly how they work, but it looks like that by creating a running type motion the wheels on the skates are made to spin. I can certainly say that I have never seen anything like this, and would like to know more about how they work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cambridge Crew

OPOD continues to encourage people to get off the couch and do something! Today we feature a picture of the Rowing Crew from Cambridge University. The picture is from about 1910.

All kidding aside, it really concerns me how obese we are becoming, and particularly our young people. It is this terrible combination of terrible eating habits and complete lack of physical activity. When a child weighs over 200 pounds in 9th grade, where do they go from there? It is frightening to me. We need to get off the junk food, eat healthy, and get off the couch!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Last week we looked at the toys of bygone days, in the hopes that we would once again give our children our time and attention, and toys that would spur their imagination and creativity. This week we continue with the idea of people needing to get off the couch and outside doing things. So, we will be looking at sporting activities. We start with this wonderful picture from 1908 of a woman golfer. I love the grand clothes from this time period.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Another past time that you don't see too much with young people today is Kiting. Growing up, there were few things more fun than building and flying a kite. There were a wide range of options, from simple dime store kites that could be assembled in a few minutes to large, high flying, elaborate designs. The one shown above was being used to study wireless radio and telegraphy. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Erector Sets

Another one of the great toys from my childhood was the Erector Set. The Erector Set contained a variety of metal beams and other pieces that allowed you to build various mechanical structures. I think they still make erector sets, but I don't think that they are very popular.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Train Set

When I was growing up a Train Set was probably pretty close to being the ultimate toy. Kids would not just put the train set together, they would build elaborate models of little towns and country scenes to make the train more real. I think this hobby is another one that is pretty much left to the old timers at this point.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I think one of the often overlooked educational toys is a microscope. A microscope can provide children with an exciting learning experience. It spurs curiosity about science and nature. This picture was taken in 1943 at the Bethune-Cookman college in Florida.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Model Airplane

Today's picture shows a boy playing with a model airplane. Back in the day, model building was a favorite past time of young boys.Building a flyable airplane such as this one took time, patience and attention to detail. The models were typically built out of balsa wood and then covered with tissue paper.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Soap Box Derby

This week we are looking at the things children play with, and more specifically, we are thinking about what children learn from the things we give them. Today's picture shows a "Soap Box Derby" car. These were typically small push cars that children built, with help from their parents. The cars were used to push around the neighborhood, or used in down hill races or rallies that were held periodically in the community. The good thing about these was that Children learned to image, create, and build. It also provided quality time with the parents or grandparents.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ham Radio

Welcome to "Toy" week here at OPOD. We will be looking at things children play with this week. We start with this picture from 1921 of a young man playing with a HAM radio set. I can not think of any more educational toy or hobby than HAM radios. In order to set up and operate these things, you really have to learn a lot of electrical engineering. The objective is to talk to people very far away under a variety of conditions. This requires careful design and construction of radio equipment and antennas. The kids that I knew growing up that did HAM radios have all become very successful engineers and businessmen.

I am really surprised these days how little thought we give to the toys we give our children. It seems that Xbox is a very popular one, and parents often put little thought into exactly what children are learning when they spend 14 hours straight playing a game where the objective is to maim, kill, and destroy. It is as if parents are really purchasing a free "baby sitter" when they get such consoles.

Friday, November 1, 2013


We wrap up Space Week with this picture that I consider to be the pinnacle of human history . . . July 21, 1969. It was the day that Neil Armstrong to the first steps on the moon. We have never done anything bigger, and we are presently not able to repeat it.