Category: Responsibility

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Grow Your Own

Along the fence of the house from which grapevines draped over the sidewalk (August 2021), today I saw something unexpected and presumably quite new—as the Featured Image and companions reveal. Little lending libraries with books are all over my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights (Examples: One, Two, Three, Four). But this is the first seen sharing seeds. Small supply there may be but hopefully growing. I know. I know.

Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:24 p.m. PDT. The trio comes from Leica Q2, and this one is composed as captured. I chose the angled view to diminish glare and reflection off the glass.

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Don’t Fall In

On June 29, 2006, a sinkhole mysteriously opened in our backyard. We lived nearly 5 kilometers—about 3 miles—outside the Washington Beltway. I wouldn’t want to be too close to the District of Columbia this weekend, in the wake of today’s momentous, or shocking (depending on your politics or values), Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade. States will now individually dictate when, if at all, abortions may be performed.

I use the Featured Image as a metaphor, so to speak, for the sinkhole into which people praising or condemning the decision will fall into. Seems like there is no solid ground under this topic; anyone and everyone opposing your position, whatever that may be, will be pushed in and buried. To some, abortion is murder. To others, it’s a right taken away.

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Juneteenth is a Terrible Name

The second celebrated Federal Holiday of the oddly-named Juneteenth is nearly over as I write. Oh, remembering the less formally-designated but also wide-celebrated: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads. My fingers are crossed that you’re happy being one and that the kids share the same sentiment.

Back to the other, the name unruly rolls off the tongue, doesn’t at all tell anyone what the celebration is for, and—go ahead and argue—poorly respects what the holiday represents. Quickly: On June 19, 1865, the Union Army rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the end of black slavery. Emancipation deserves better.

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Someone Explain This to Me

Please forgive me for being critical, but this is what happens when a state sends mail-in ballots to all (presumably) registered voters: Citizens post on Election Day—that’s for Primaries here in California. I came across this outgoing ballot at 11:09 a.m. PDT and wondered why not mail before the recommended May 31 or take to the dropbox inside the public library, which is a half-mile walk?

Sure, the ballot is valid if postmarked today but why wait until voting day if the plan is to post? Call me confused, which wouldn’t be unusual, but still… My other question: Which is more secure—the vote mailed or cast live? I ask because the local polling place doesn’t check IDs; not today, anyway. At least the mail-in ballot envelope has the citizen’s name and signature. I dunno. You tell me.

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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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We All Need a Smiley Break

Flashback two years, to May 2, 2020: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns compelled Californians to avoid anyone and to otherwise practice so-called safe social distancing. The seeming hardship would pale compared to racial riots that would erupt weeks later.

One of my neighbors literally put on a happy face—among several encouraging, or funny, street decorations to adorn this University Heights property and/or the sidewalk straddling Meade Avenue. Seems like every time I walked by something different greeted. Thank you.

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It’s a Cultural Cold War

The United States continues to seek new punishments against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. Americans rally to the cause with good intentions that may not mean much and that may do more harm than good. For example, pouring out Vodka and evoking spirit (no pun intended) of the Boston Tea Party accomplishes what?

As Dan Kois writes for Slate: “Stop Boycotting Random Russian Things. You are not stopping the war in Ukraine”. Nutgraph: “It is dumb to boycott things that have no actual connection to Vladimir Putin or even, in some cases, to Russia. But it’s also foolish to demonize every vestige of Russian culture, and ordinary Russian citizens, and Russians abroad, as a result of a catastrophic war launched by a despot”.

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Let’s Not Save More Night for the Day

My work blog for JupiterResearch disappeared after Forrester’s acquisition during Summer 2008. I had long left the analyst firm and smartly brought a copy of all the content with me. On April 7, 2005, I griped about Congress’ plan to add two months to Daylight Saving Time, which, incidentally, commenced day before yesterday for 2022.

This afternoon, my newsfeeds flared with a report from Washington, D.C. that our, uhm, illustrious senators unanimously voted for the so-called Sunshine Protection Act, which would make DST permanent. Meaning: Year-round. I am almost impressed by their god-like gall—that they, and they alone, can protect the sun. Okay, they do need cooperation of the House of Representatives drafting like legislation and signature from the President. But aren’t they, as a collective group, one big ego? You don’t need answer.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

I came upon the strangest circumstance today: Firemen rushing into a home with water hoses to put out nothing. The residents hadn’t called for emergency services, and they were surprised to be cleared out onto the street. The Featured Image, taken quickly using iPhone 13 Pro, shows some of the gallant first responders after everyone realized that a bystander had badly blundered.

This, ah, older gentleman observed what he thought was smoke coming out of a vent, which is why he rang 911. What he really saw: Steam from someone showering. Whoops. My first inclination would be to bang on the door yelling “Fire!” Wouldn’t you? Maybe he did but there was no response because the person was in the shower and she couldn’t hear him.

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Strike That: Nine More Class Days to Freedom

Is the timing deliberate or coincidental? March 11 will be the last day that California school students will may be required to wear face masks. On that date two years earlier, the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 a pandemic. Shall we just call the crisis over, with lifting of the order that compels kids to cover up?

Update, next day: On the morning news, officials from the San Diego school district held firm to masks—meaning students and staff will be compelled to continue wearing them. Reasoning: True that the governor has relaxed rules, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the county to be high risk and the organization’s guidance supersedes that from the state.

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Russia Roars, and It’s War

Russia’s incursion into neighboring Ukraine began in the wee hours local time there. I started seeing news stories early last night; California is about 10 hours behind. A tumultuous day of military advancement, impotent response from the U.S. President, and relentless news commentary, editorialization, and misinformation followed.

I watch and wait, understanding that Russian leader Vladimir Putin acts now for many reasons—perceived, and real, ineptitude of American leadership is among them. The troop withdrawal debacle in Afghanistan demonstrated U.S. military weakness, including decision-making capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief. Surely, Putin—and other autocrats—calculate opportunity.

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The Humiliation Games

On the same day the 2022 Olympics opened, February 4, I passed by something appropriate and timely: discarded pair of thirtytwo brand snowboarding boots. Their abandonment, along the North Avenue alley in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, could be a metaphor for what’s being chucked away in Beijing right now: fair competitive spirit, human dignity, and truthfulness. It’s all humiliating.

Let me count the ways: Humiliating that, because of surveillance, athletes were instructed to bring burner phones to China—and, for their own safety, not to publicly criticize the host nation. Humiliating that China presented as propaganda a token Uyghur during the opening ceremony; what genocide? Humiliating that Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Chinese President Xi Jinping, while Western nations, including the United States, chose not to send diplomatic delegations. Humiliating that Chinese officials dragged away a Dutch reporter during a live broadcast. Humiliating that athletes quarantined for positive SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 are mentally and physically impaired by poor food quality and living conditions. Humiliating, and convenient, that some foreign gold medal contenders test Coronavirus positive and can’t compete. Humiliating that most NBC Sports commentators and hosts are broadcasting from the United States rather than China.