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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. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Dare

A few buildings down from where Moose lives along Adams Ave. East of Park Blvd., a shorthair—who for no particular reason earns nickname Dare—looks out on May 20, 2018. The putty-tat is the twenty-fifth window watcher among the 184 profiles since the series started in October 2016.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Focus was a bit difficult to nail perfectly. The portrait is good enough if not viewed full size. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 50mm; 10:51 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokie

Here’s the continuation of an unexpected story. In late January 2018, I met Lola, as her owner returned home with groceries. When the cat came outdoors, she spooked another kitty that neither of us humans had seen. The little grey returned, continuing to do so over the months since—or so I would learn.

Walking to my daughter’s apartment today, I observed that same frisky feline sitting in Lola’s yard. I snapped the Featured Image, using iPhone X, at 8:43 a.m. PDT, along Polk approaching Park. Late afternoon, when returning home, I saw Lola’s caretaker working in the yard and asked about the visitor. 

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My Leica M (Typ 262) Adventure Ends

This afternoon, a film student from Los Angeles bought my first digital rangefinder, acquired in early March 2018 as part of the Oberwerth Set. He graduates from the M6 film camera, which he plans to continue using.

His interest in the Leica M (Typ 262) matches the manufacturer’s purpose: Provide an experience with digital benefits that is barebones close to using a Leica film shooter. The M262 is super streamlined, with mostly manual controls, two main menu pages, and no frills. That means no video, no Live View, and no connectivity (Bluetooth or WiFi). The shutter sound is smoothly soft, making the rangefinder more discreet on the street.