music and warm bodies


I have a few non-billiards posts floating around so I figure it’s a good New Year’s thing (yeah, I know it’s already February) to get them done. Many of these are from previous year(s), but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

Thanks to JWCA and TFFL for the inadvertent nudges.


. . . . .


As a small(er) child, I always knew San Francisco’s Mission District as the warmest place in San Francisco, a city of many micro-climates, of which I was stuck in Cold Damp Hell on the ocean side of things. The Mission was always “sunny Mission” in conversation and I visited rarely, but all those memories were lit by gold sunshine and tinged with the smell of spices so exotic to my Chinese palate.


Fast forward a couple of decades and now, I can go to the Mission all by myself because I can convincingly portray myself as a grown-up (most of the time).
One of the most-worshipped shrines here is Bi-Rite Creamery, and, as a grown-up, I can eat ice cream for lunch any time I want. Truly, that is one of the great things about being an adult. The other stuff? Ehhh…
This is actually a picture of the Bi-Rite Market which opened in 1940. The Creamery is across the street.
As you can see from this illustration of a menu item, Bi-Rite Creamery does flavors that are not quite plain vanilla.
I got the Dainty Gent sundae, which I believe was considered one of their more popular items, because I am a Dainty Gent. Ha.



I must say, I was slightly apprehensive about trying ice cream that came with sea salt and olive oil, but–after the initial suspicion–I found it very delicious. It is a very fascinating melding of flavors that come together into a very pleasant experience. My brother went for the more traditional banana split which came with a creme brulee sugar crust on top. Also delicious.

After all that sugar, it was time to walk off the calories and learn something.


El Camino Real in California is marked by hundreds of bells.

In 1892, Anna Pitcher of Pasadena, California initiated an effort to preserve the as-yet uncommemorated route of Alta California’s Camino Real, an effort adopted by the California Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1902. Modern El Camino Real was one of the first state highways in California. Given the lack of standardized road signs at the time, it was decided to place distinctive bells along the route, hung on supports in the form of an 11-foot high shepherd’s crook, also described as “a Franciscan walking stick.” The first of 450 bells were unveiled on August 15, 1906 at the Plaza Church in the Pueblo near Olvera Street in Los Angeles.


The original organization which installed the bells fragmented, and the Automobile Club of Southern California and associated groups cared for the bells from the mid-1920s through 1931. The State took over bell maintenance in 1933. Most of the bells eventually disappeared due to vandalism, theft or simple loss due to the relocation or rerouting of highways and roads. After a reduction in the number of bells to around 80, the State began replacing them, at first with concrete, and later with iron. A design first produced in 1960 by Justin Kramer of Los Angeles was the standard until the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) began a restoration effort in 1996.
Keith Robinson, Principal Landscape Architect at Caltrans developed an El Camino Real restoration program which resulted in the installation of 555 El Camino Real Bell Markers in 2005. The Bell Marker consists of a 460 mm diameter cast metal bell set atop a 75 mm diameter Schedule 40 pipe column that is attached to a concrete foundation using anchor rods. The original 1906 bell molds were used to fabricate the replacement bells. The replacement and original bells were produced by the California Bell Company, are dated 1769 to 1906, and include a designer’s copyright notice.


Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions (there are 21 total). The Mission was founded on June 29, 1776, by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Father Francisco Palóu (a companion of Father Junipero Serra), both members of the de Anza Expedition, which had been charged with bringing Spanish settlers to Alta (upper) California, and evangelizing the local Natives, the Ohlone.


The staircase to the choir loft which also houses the organ.
This headstone/grave marker was set directly into the floor in front of the entrance. There are four of these tombs that are set under the church itself.
A little light to brighten your day. 🙂
The altar arrived at the mission around 1800 and is a very grand example of the kind of altars made at the time. It is very rich, with detailed carvings and gilding. There are altars to the left and right as well, depicting more saints.

how holy water was distributed back in the day


Here you can see the construction of the adjoining basilica.


The old mission chapel is part of the Basilica Parish of Mission Dolores. The basilica, which towers over the original mission, was dedicated in 1918. Basilica status was granted in 1952.
My camera ran out of batteries (disturbingly more and more common) so I was not able to get photographs of the basilica interior, which was stunning. In addition to the mosaics pictured on the left, there were a great number of stained glass windows, including a series on the different California missions. I will have to make a return trip.

how holy water is distributed today


The cemetary at Mission Dolores is the only one still within the San Francisco city limits. There was a plethora of tourists when I visited, so I snagged the photograph below from Wikimedia rather than post my inferior ones which were populated with far too many bermuda shorts and socked feet in sandals.

In the movie Vertigo Jimmy Stewart, as detective, Scottie Ferguson, followed Kim Novak (the central character, Madeleine Elster) through Mission Dolores and into the cemetery.



The cemetary used to be quite large, extending for the length of a city block, but was reduced in size as developments proceeded over time. Some remains were reburied on-site in a mass grave while others were relocated to other Bay Area cemetaries.


An old photograph of the mission showing the walls and buildings that would have made up the quad of the mission grounds. The cemetary is to the left.


In 1893, Father Cyprian Rubio “modernized” the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork, lengthening the windows, covering the beamed ceiling and tile floor. He demolished the quadrangle formed by the old buildings as seen in the historic photograph above.
In a major restoration under the supervision of Father Aubrey J. O’Reilly in 1956–1957 the windows were reconstructed to their original size, and the ceiling and floor were uncovered.
Today all that remains of the original Mission is the church and its garden.
This sundial is a 2012 restoration of the original.
This is one of the more charming photographs I have ever taken. The butterfly was quite patient and let me scurry around until I had a picture I liked. 🙂
The original sundial’s inscription was “Tempis Fugit”, or, “Time Flies”. Indeed it does fly, and I hope you enjoyed this post and the time that flew with it. Now that you’re done, carpe diem, and get yourself some ice cream!



Related Posts along the Pacific Coast


thanks to Wikipedia,, and the Internet for the fun facts
are ya learnin’?
knowledge is neat, ain’t it