archive for December, 2005

Friday, December 30th, 2005

#40: Luisa Tetrazzini and Christmas eve

“I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing in the streets, for I know that the streets of San Francisco are free.” It was 1910. San Francisco was still in a bad way following the great earthquake and conflagration of 1906, and in fact, the whole decade had been kind of rough. […]

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Friday, December 16th, 2005

#39: The Great Diamond Hoax

It was 1871. William Ralston had become one of the richest and most powerful men in California, partly on the strength of his shrewd business maneuverings, but largely on the fact that he was an incorrigible gambler, a exemplar of his optimistic age. He lived so largely, and spent so lavishly, on his beloved city […]

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Friday, December 9th, 2005

#38: Rudyard Kipling in San Francisco

In 1889 this talented young writer, the son of a British colonial schoolteacher and future winner of the Nobel prize for literature, visited San Francisco on his way from India to England. It was not only his first visit to the city, but his first time in America — he was on assignment to record […]

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Friday, December 2nd, 2005

#37: Philo T. Farnsworth

Riding around the chilly streets of San Francisco this week I spotted a bumpersticker that I hadn’t seen for some time: “kill your television”. The rich irony of seeing that particular message displayed in San Francisco struck me as it always does. Why? Because television was invented right here in fog city, a fact most […]

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