Category: Photo

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Jeopardy Answer: In California. Question: Where are Bees Fish?

Yep. Last week a court basically reclassified bumble bees as fish. Where else but California could one thing that is be called something it ain’t. Hehe, it’s the craziest, but not necessarily intentional, twist on identity politics yet. Someone tell me: What’s the appropriate pronoun, so I don’t offend anything that flies or swims?

The problem, if you can call California legislative narrowness anything less, is the definition of protected species used in the 1970 Endangered Species Act. Amphibia. Check. Bird. Check. Mammal. Check. Reptile. Check. But, whoops, somebody overlooked insects. Which is how through one court proceeding and appeal the definition of fish now applies to some bees.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Coal

Surprise! Meet yet another beyond boundary beastie. A half-block into North Park along Meade, on April 10, 2022, my wife and I came upon a black that we assumed to be stub-tailed Ninja. But the shorthair had a long tail.

The kitty came close, rolled around, but accepted no pats—being skittish about vehicular noise (damn cars). But she (or he) hung around long enough for 11 photos captured using iPhone 13 Pro. The Featured Image and two companions are favorites. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/227 sec, 77mm; 9:47 a.m. PDT. The others are same but 1/266 sec.

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Yeah, But What About Diesel?

The price of gasoline is now above six bucks at my local Valero, which is one of the more affordable stations in this part of San Diego. Diesel is higher, and that’s a problem for truckers and the cost of transporting goods to retailers.

But there is another dimension that I hadn’t considered. Back home in Northern Maine, farmers are planting crops for autumn harvest. My dad reminded me that tractors and other equipment typically run on diesel. Higher costs transporting food is a bad situation, but the spike to grow food is far worse—especially if some smaller farms simply can’t afford to operate.

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Chevy Cruisers

I wonder: Are the lowriders cruising El Cajon Blvd tonight, or were classic cars merely parked along The Boulevard between Georgia and Florida streets? At 6:46 p.m. PDT, I came across a line of shiny roadsters with whitewalls. My last encounter with the cruisers—many bouncing along as they drove down El Cajon—was years ago.

Circumstance brought me to that part of University Heights on a Friday evening: Dropping off AT&T U-verse equipment at Park Blvd UPS Store for return shipment. Maybe I should get out there more often, and on the next first Friday of the month to see if perhaps there is lowrider cruising.

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The Players

Friends invited me to attend Spirit West Coast at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2008. I couldn’t guess what to expect—and, whoa, what a surprise. The atmosphere felt good and the overall ambience refreshed and enlivened. Christian musicians. Families. Young adults. All having fun at a festival where there was no alcohol or illegal substances. I was surprised. Transfixed.

I attended the following year, too. But those days are gone. The music festival no longer comes to San Diego County.

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We Say Sad Goodbye to AT&T U-verse

The Wilcox family was an early adopter when AT&T U-verse arrived in our San Diego neighborhood in February 2008. The IPTV service came with 18Mbps DSL Internet, which we upgraded to 24Mbps in May 2010. During July 2014, we switched off the service in a cut-the-cord experiment that failed; we still needed wired Internet and streaming options turned out to be cumbersome and not cost-savings enough. U-verse returned until November 2015, when we tried all-streaming once more. But AT&T IPTV won us back, not long later.

In October 2017, we moved to a different apartment in University Heights, where seven blocks changed everything: AT&T offered 18Mbps Internet (rather than the 75Mbps we then had) but no U-verse. Cancellation was the only option and switch to competitor Cox. By June 2019, the company could deliver the previous Internet speed and IPTV. We gladly returned to being customers. At Midnight tonight, the relationship ends—and I feel nostalgic about the necessary change.

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The Shredded Republic

For this Memorial Day we present a solemn sentiment reflecting the tattered state of the Republic, which is shorn to pieces by cultural and political strife. At no time since my first eligible-to-vote Presidential election have I seen such fractious and contentious state of the electorate or the representatives in Washington, D.C.

Worst of all is my profession. The Fourth Estate has abandoned its duty to protect the public interest. Subjective reporting and editorialization define modern journalism. The Fifth Estate, which includes new media and online informational utilities (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like), is worse because of rampant censorship. Patronizing tactics choose for you, because presumably you’re not smart enough to sift fact from fiction. I would mind less if professional news gatherers reported responsibly more.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Jade

We present another special guest, spotted between Arizona and Hamilton, which is about one-and-half-blocks beyond the neighborhood boundary into North Park. This fine feline calmly crossed Monroe a few meters ahead as my wife and I walked today. My feet carried me across the street, where I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/132 sec, 77mm; 10:11 a.m. PDT.

The eleventh honorary member of the series joins: Buddies, CandyChill, Envy, MonaMoophie, Ninja, Promise, and Sammy, and Tom and Jerry. Darth Mew initially belonged to the group, until later turning up in University Heights.

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Which Bee Better?

Welcome to an unexpected compare-and-contrast session. Tonight, while preparing to share a bee and sunflower shot, I came across another that is surprisingly pleasing, particularly considering its vintage and source. We’ll start with that one, from Google Nexus 5 smartphone on May 30, 2014. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/4200 sec, 3.97mm; 9:44 a.m. PDT.

I made the moment outside what was the wonderful wildlife sanctuary nicknamed the Butterfly House. The tenants maintaining the lush plants and trees moved to Hawaii in January 2019 and the sanctuary is no more.

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The More You Pay, The More You Will Pay

Funny the things you long for. On Oct. 15, 2021, I shared a photo showing the cost of gasoline as $4.94 a gallon (rounded up) at the Fourth and University Shell station in Hillcrest. Fast forward to today and you pay $6.60 per gallon (again, rounded up). That $1.66 more than the old price—high for the time—seems oh-so affordable now. By the way, cost is 33 percent more than before.

Several large hospitals surround the station, and I got to ask: Is this why medical services—like ambulance—cost so much in San Diego? Yeah, the question is facetious. That said, unless the arm is severed and shooting blood, wrap a tourniquet and drive yourself to Emergency—and hope none of the doctors and nurses treating you filled up at this Shell. Somebody has to pay, and that could be you. Yuck. Yuck.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dreamer

Backlog cleanup continues—reaching behind to Feb. 25, 2022, and the ninetieth profiled putty seen behind glass or screen. I spotted the shorthair while walking along Louisiana Street, then discretely but quickly pulling out iPhone 13 Pro for a single shot. I sometimes worry that puttering about for too long might offend a pet owner, and permanently end a cat’s window wanderings.

Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/483 sec, 77mm; 11:33 a.m. PDT. For nickname, I choose Dreamer.