Category: Photo

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Democracy Under Fire

Somebody sure seems set on changing up the Democrat and Republican candidates running for President. I am not one to peddle conspiracy theories, but, gosh, there are suspicious activities at work that shouldn’t be ignored when evaluated one against the other.

Early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, Donald Trump survived an assassination attempt by a whisker, as the saying goes, during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa. Watching local news coverage from a TV station in Pittsburgh, I listened to an expert explain that three inches left would have been Trump’s nose, rather than his ear. The gentleman explained that, from the shooting distance, the difference was the slightest shift in the wind.

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Sound Sentiment

Now that I am (cough, cough) sixty-five, shock and awe rankle me. I always thought of people this age as being old; ancient, really. Now, here I am—one of them. I don’t feel old, but age is apparent from my reflection in the mirror or when walking outside. What seems like a fast pace to me can’t keep up with that of the younger folks; not even close.

Sometime recently, Ron Howard-directed Cocoon came to be available on one of the streaming services. The film released in summer 1985, and I was 25 at the time. I easily identified with the Twenty- and Thirty-something aliens, and I chuckled at the absurdity of the elderly folks hoping to regain some youthful vitality. Gasp. Now I am their age, and that realization caused eerie, queasy emotions while rewatching Cocoon.

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The Farmhouse

I continue to mourn loss of the Wilcox farm—the majority of which my father unexpectedly deeded to the pastors of his church during the last weeks of life. He died on April 16, 2024.

The deeding deed was kept secret from immediate family until after he had passed. I attempted to contact the main pastor—twice. He ignored me. Inaction has shaped, or reshaped, my perspective about the incident, which won’t be publicly shared here.

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Do you Feel…?

You may want to rethink that yes, if the answer. We have come to perilous times, where conspiracies make more sense than commonsense. Take, for example, Joseph Biden’s debate debacle with Donald Trump. An astute observer should have seen Biden’s cognitive decline years ago. I am no expert, and it was obvious to me—and plenty of other folks. Now, post-debate, Biden’s brain, and the continuation of his campaign, are the dominant topics seemingly everywhere. But something smells fishy here—and it ain’t good.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization, is responsible for organizing the face-off between candidates, which typically starts some time following each respective political party’s convention. CPD had scheduled four debates, with the first slated for Sept. 16, 2024, at Texas State University in San Marcos. In a statement, the organization explains that it received a “letter dated May 15, 2024 from Jen O’Malley Dillon, Campaign Chair for the Biden-Harris Campaign, in which the Biden-Harris Campaign informed the Commission that President Biden will not agree to debate under the sponsorship of the Commission during the 2024 general election campaign”. The B-H campaign decided to organize its own debates, and Trump agreed to participate.

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Street Preaching

The Featured Image, taken by an unknown photographer, puts me on a New York City street in either the summer of 1980 or `81—I don’t recall which. That would make me 21 or 22 years-old, with hair!

Good friend Andy Morris looks on. My recollection of him is his infectious, and friendly, smile. Where is it, Andy? Was I that boring? Looking at how stiff I appear to be, maybe I wasn’t so good a street preacher.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chippy

The month ends, and we close the first half of the year, with the one-hundred-second kitty seen along Alabama Street, somewhere between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the series‘ start in October 2016. My wife and I came upon this fine feline on June 15, 2024.

I used Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to capture the Featured Image and companion. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 50, 1/125 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 10:34 a.m. PDT. The other is same but ISO 40, one-minute earlier.

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Requiem for the Farm

Two months ago, or thereabouts, on March 27, 2024, my father signed over title to a large portion of the family farm to the two pastors of his local church. The transfer of ownership was quite unexpected and was not disclosed—to my sister—until after he died on April 16. We all understood that he intended to will the property to the couple, but his estate would pass through the typical legal process first.

Since my grandfather’s will hadn’t been probated, the older document might supersede the other—something I presumed a lawyer and judge would sort out. That process would be opportunity to also open a discussion with the pastors about final disposition of the approximately 100 acres. The unexpected transaction nullified everything—unless the older will is legally enforceable. I wouldn’t know.

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Politics Stress Relief

As I write, the first Presidential debate, between presumptive candidates Joseph Biden and Donald Trump, is underway. For now, my intention is not to watch. Later, I will start with clips and possibly peek at a recorded version through which I can fast-forward and pause. The live event promises to be pure poison.

Or stated differently: Various manifestations of elder abuse. Seriously? You ask. Yes, Biden for his sheer presence and demand to stand and be mentally present for 90 minutes or so. Trump, for the abrasive handling by the hostile CNN moderators.

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To Whom Do These Belong?

For three days last week, we watched seemingly good personal belongings appear along an alley in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. The frequent deposits of stuff seemed like someone being evicted or the result of some relational breakup.

Night before, police cars filled the same alleyway, and a helicopter circled about with bullhorn blaring about the search for a five-foot, seven-inch white male. Could the events be connected? Unconfirmed local gossip put the gent inside a convenience store, where—armed—he was apprehended the following day, about when stuff started stacking up.

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Goodbye Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, Hello Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge

Neither I nor my wife looked back with much regret when we escaped the Apple socialist computing lifestyle and adopted Android smartphones and Windows PCs. Can you say freedom?

In December 2022, I bought Surface Laptop Studio for me. Config: 14.4-inch touchscreen (2400 x 1600 resolution); quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core H35 i7-11370H processor; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics; 32GB RAM; 2TB SSD. She got Surface Laptop 5. Config: 13.5-inch touchscreen (2256 x 1504 resolution); 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1255U processor; 16GB RAM; 512GB SSD.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Pussyfoot

Happy Caturday! We venture beyond boundaries of the neighborhood for yet another honorarian. This fine feline is the thirty-second member of this esteemed group, joining: AI, Boo, Buddies, Chill, Coal, Comber, Cotton, Envy, Esther, Fancy, Floofy, GuapoLibertyLonesomeJadeMonaMoophie, Mousy, NinjaOliver, Too, PromiseQueenie, RascalRavenSammyShakey, Tag and Tig, TimberTom and Jerry, and Tula.

For cautious, stealthy movement along an Arizona-Texas alley in North Park, the cat earns nickname Pussyfoot. I used Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to capture the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 32, 1/640 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 10:55 a.m. PDT, June 12, 2024.

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Bee Passionate

The crazy thing about San Diego is the way flowers, plants, and trees grow. Anywhere. Everywhere. Unexpected places. Along an alley across from fencing where grapes grow, I passed passion fruit today. That’s two different neighbors’ fence lines.

I initially whipped out Galaxy Samsung S24 Ultra for a shot of four fruits lined up. But busy bees brought my attention to the flowers, where luck delivered good-enough composition and a bee in flight. What’s not to like about that?