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A Florist Uproots

Last night, on the NextDoor social network, I read a post about the University Heights florist moving and asking if anyone knew where. This morning, I stopped into the shop, Florabella, and asked. The 29 year-old establishment will for a time share warehouse space with a large floral distributor off of Morena Blvd. The current location is convenient and charming—inviting for walk-in sales. The temporary space is along a congested, commuting corridor.

The end of Florabella’s 24 year presence in my San Diego neighborhood is a common local retail story. At the end of May, the landlord informed the commercial tenant that the rent would triple, effective July 1st. For that month, though, the increase would be reduced to $1,000. I have heard the three-times figure often over the past 12-18 months. With a difference: The other shops closed up. The florist saunters on. 

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Darth Mew

It’s a Friday doubleheader: two beasties with Star Wars names—and real they are! We follow Princess Leia with Darth Mew, whom my wife and I met on June 10, 2018. Texas Street is the neighborhood’s designated boundary, and we saw Darth just beyond as we walked in the direction of Arizona. He is the sixth feline given special consideration. The other honorees: BuddiesChill, Envy, Moophie, and Sammy.

The Featured Image comes from iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/60 sec, 6mm. The other is an ever-so-soft-focus portrait taken with Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Composed as shot: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60 sec, 50mm. Time for both is 8:52 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Princess Leia

We celebrate this fine Friday with the start of a two-part Star Wars theme. Who would have guessed that yesterday I would meet a Calico named Princess Leia along Louisiana between Meade and Monroe. She worried me, though, with her scratchy and continuous mews, that she might be lost—or maybe just lonely. She sounded and moved like a mature madam. I regret only getting her name from the tag.

I used the Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to capture the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/11, ISO 100, 1/45 sec, 50mm; 12:30 p.m. PDT. The companion, cropped 3:2 and auto-corrected, comes from Google Pixel 2 XL, which I acquired last week to replace iPhone X. (Oh, yes, it’s gone!) Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 91, 1/4673 sec, 4.6mm. 

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Free Moose!

There are times when human relationship drama is so bizarre and intense you feel like you’re living in a TV soap opera. Thus sums up recovering Moose; the cat belonged to one neighbor but was taken away by another. I played my role.

My wife and I first encountered the tortoiseshell, running off her porch to greet us, in early December 2017—and I profiled her in my “Cats of University Heights” series. We saw her at least once more, months later, in the building’s parking lot. Thirteen days ago, someone direct-messaged me on NextDoor about the kitty. He had seen my photos and wondered if she was a stray, as she frequented his property. For the purpose of privacy, I am changing the names of all the participants. We will call this gentleman Jerry.  He asked where I had seen Moose. I gave an approximate address and expressed confidence that the tortie belonged to someone. 

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‘Fake News is the Cancer of Our Times’

New owner of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Tribune, Patrick Soon-Shiong, succinctly sums up the current state of the Fourth Estate with the right metaphor: “I believe that fake news is the cancer of our times and social media the vehicles for metastasis”. Read his letter, released today, at the start of his stewardship.

I agree: “Institutions like the Times and the Union-Tribune are more vital than ever. They must be bastions of editorial integrity and independence if they are to protect our democracy and provide an antidote to disinformation. We will continue our papers’ dedication to truth, integrity, journalistic independence, and storytelling that engages, informs, educates and inspires with care and compassion…We view the publications we acquired as a quasi-public trust…I grew up believing the best newspapers are the voice of the people”. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Little

My wife called it a “tiger cat convention”—three beasties from the same household gathered around the front yard. We had never seen such a sight, and the owner later told me that it was a rare occurrence.

Little, who is shy compared to companions Bruce and Guido, is reasonably reluctant. At about two weeks old, he pushed through a neighbor’s fence to escape several dogs. That gent didn’t know what to do with the kitten; Guido’s mom stepped in, even feeding the furry tyke from a bottle those first days in her care. 

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Be Brave, Bunny

While walking along Park Blvd today, I saw something quite unexpected on the block between El Cajon and Howard: A frantic rabbit hopping around the sidewalk looking for refuge and finding none. I snapped the Featured Image and companion using  iPhone X, being careful not to approach too closely.

But eventually the exhaust roar of a city bus startled the bunny, which sprinted from the Bruno pizzeria doorway across busy Park Blvd to the Chevron petrol station. Presumably he continued across six lanes of Washington Street traffic to San Diego school administration buildings, where there are places the little hopper could find cover and familiar surroundings—like bushes and trees.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gipper

We follow up Dare with another white furball that my wife and I saw along the Campus-Cleveland Avenues’ ally between Madison and Meade on May 22, 2018. As expressed a few days back, there is a backlog of photographed but not published cats. More are in store.

I captured the Featured Image using the Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. The companion photo is the uncropped, but edited, original. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 50mm; 10:29 a.m. PDT.