Author: Joe Wilcox

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I Wonder Which Will Flatten First: Us or the Curve?

Today, the global number of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, infections topped 1 million and 50,000 deaths. As I write, based on data collated by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University: 1,015,709 confirmed cases; 211,615 recovered; 53,069 dead.

One month ago, there were eight reported Novel Coronavirus cases in the United States. This moment, according to John Hopkins: 245,213. The dramatic rise is part increased testing, part exponential community spread of the virus. This USA Today headline, regarding April 1, makes the point better than I could: “More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from Coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu”. That number doesn’t include collateral casualties—people who, being treated for something else, might otherwise have lived if not for overwhelmed hospitals in hot zones like New York.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tang

Walking outdoors is challenging, with so many businesses shut down, and, as such, a large number of San Diegians trying to “shelter in place” but, understandably, going out with their dogs or to grab some fresh air/exercise. The other order for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, pandemic: “social distancing“, which for the Wilcox family means mostly walking in alleys behind streets, where fewer people go and making space from them is much easier than would be along cramped sidewalks—or even stepping into bike lanes.

Unsurprisingly, I am discovering a fresh batch of indoor kitties looking out onto the alleys. That brings us to the third consecutive feline that is behind window or door and was seen along/behind Alabama Street—sixtieth and forty-ninth, respectively, for the series to date. On March 22, 2020, I spotted the cat on the stretch between Madison and Mission.

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Flickr a Week 14: ‘St. Anthony’

The only April Fools today are the people that haven’t come to grips with the new world order—not one made by cultural, military, or political forces but by contagion: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19. The viral infection has shattered economies, driven a wedge between people (so-called “social distancing”), isolated entire nations (government-imposed quarantines), and turned cities into scenes from post-apocalyptic movies.

Based on data collated by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, globally there are 860,181 confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus in 180 countries. Only 178,359 people have recovered, while 42,345 are dead. Number of identified infections has increased nearly 10 times, from about 90,300, on March 1, 2020. Currently, in the United States: 189,624—up from 98 during the same time frame.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mustachio

The Alabama (number forty-eighth) and behind window or door (fifty-ninth) kitty run continues with the second of three—and maybe four. This handsome second-floor looker earns nickname Mustachio, for what should be obvious reason. While first-in-the-set Mercy looked out onto Alabama, this beastie has a view of the alley from an apartment building on the street.

On March 3, 2020, I spotted Mustachio watching workmen renovate a building on the other side of the alley and facing Mississippi. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image at 11:24 a.m. PST. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/781 sec, 52mm (film equivalent).

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Flickr a Week 13a: ‘Selfie’

Self-titled “Selfie” easily takes the Sunday spot for character, clarity, composition, and expression (of the subject and his artistic presentation). Chris Bird used Fujifilm X-T1 and Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens to capture himself, on June 22, 2016. Vitals: f/13, ISO 200, 1/180 sec, 35mm.

In February 2014, Chris joined Flickr, where he posts a vibrantly, intoxicating Photostream. His website is as dynamic.

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Someone Tried to Steal Bruce

As my wife and I walked along Monroe today, a voice called from behind: “Hey, there’s something I have to tell you about Bruce“—not an exact quote but the gist is right. She approached, with her dog leashed and the tabby trotting behind. He was profiled for my “Cats of University Heights” series in May 2017.

Three days ago, someone came pounding frantically on her door, agitated: “Something happened to Bruce”. The tiger tabby likes to hang out and watch the kids at a nearby daycare, and he had stretched out on the sidewalk waiting for them to come outdoors to play. They didn’t, as the place is temporarily closed—along with most other businesses in the city because of state and county orders that everyone should “stay at home” as a means of slowing spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19.

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I Agree

Along several sidewalks in the neighborhood, kids who have been forced home by school closings express in chalk positive sentiments about beating back or overcoming the global crisis presented by the conjoined pandemics: Viral—SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19—and socioeconomic. One message moved me more than the others, for being affirmative against adversity.

“We Can Do This” is a proclamation of will, of determination, of taking responsibility—with the plural meaning everything. We can be two or more all the way up to collective humanity. But the importance is greater, as the sentiment explodes in context: In California, like a handful of other states, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million citizens to “stay at home” and practice so-called “social distancing” behavior as a strategy to slow spread of the contagion. All businesses, but a handful considered to be “essential”, are closed. We are apart physically—separated by six feet or more—but we are close in desire.

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Flickr a Week 13: ‘La Rambla Ice Cream’

Stop if you are easily tempted by icy, smooth, sugary sweets. Close your eyes! Rick Schwartz captured self-titled “La Rambla Ice Cream” on Oct.27, 2018. Is your mouth watering yet?

Rick, who chimes “Through images, I see”, made the moment using Sony α7R III and FE 85mm F1.8 lens. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/500 sec, 85mm. The portrait takes the week for bokeh, character, color, and composition.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mercy

Our fifty-eighth kitty looking out window (or door) also is the forty-seventh seen on Alabama—and first in a series of three (or four) from the street; all of them behind glass (or screen), too.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, on March 19, 2020, between Adams and Madison. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1083 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 11:20 a.m. PDT. The nickname comes from my reaction to seeing the Tuxedo peering out from behind a closed window with bars. “Have mercy, and pardon this poor prisoner!”

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Flickr a Week 12a: ‘The Starting Grid’

Vroom, the race is on, in self-titled “The Starting Grid“, which Dennis Freeland captured on July 13, 2016, using Olympus OM-D E-M10. Vitals (incomplete): ISO 1250, 1/1600 sec. “If my time comes for a scooter, I will have a camera built in”, he chimes. Sentiment I share, if, and hopefully never.

The street shot is a no-brainer choice for our Sunday spot. This is a moment that could only work in black and white; colors would distract from the three gents. I got to ask about the last: Why is he considerably younger? His presence gives more sense of a race than would a trio of geezers riding about. Why does the lead rider look so miserable? The answer to these and other questions is the kind of storytelling that this series seeks to spotlight with each and every selection.

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The Cats of University Heights: Digger

My wife and I continue to take guarded walks, mostly along neighborhood alleys, as we attempt to practice so-called “social distancing” behavior whenever taking relief from our otherwise apartment lockdown. Actually, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million Californians to “stay at home“—a desperate strategy to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19. Today, as we crossed Mission Ave., I spotted a black shorthair digging into a lawn. Hence, the nickname.

The home is next door to the place where lives Luna. Presumably, Digger is a relatively new resident—as the property where she foraged sold last year. Annie and I had a look during an Open House—not that we had interest in buying beyond our means, which describes, or perhaps described, most every property in San Diego (before contagion-containing tactics devastated the U.S. economy, among other nations).