Category: People

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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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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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Microsoft, Copilot This!

Yesterday, I dropped by Best Buy for a quick looksee. My local store, in San Diego’s Mission Valley district, is undergoing changes that started with remodeling last year—or, gasp, was it 2022? Oh, how we lose track of time. Regardless, a dramatic change greeted me.

What can best be described as an Apple mini-store occupies some of the space once dominated by Microsoft, Surface devices, and OEM laptops. The newer setup is all about digital lifestyle, with all-Apple devices gathered together in one area. If there was space being made for Windows Copilot+ PCs packing Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite and Plus processors, I couldn’t find it. But nobody could miss all that fruit-logo fare.

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Seven Movies Every Journalist Should See

Periodically, I update my picks for must-see movies about news reporting. More than eight years have passed since the last list, in February 2016—before the tumultuous Presidential election that thrust Donald Trump into the White House and precipitated disastrous changes across American newsrooms.

Editorialization of news, once taboo, is widespread. Many stories are subjective and slanted, pushing progressive—or, to lesser degree, conservative—values over impartial presentation of facts. The changes are evident in headlines or deks but more earnestly descriptive modifiers used for emphasis, where none should be.

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What Real Camping Looks Like

Welcome back to the North Maine Woods, circa mid-1970s. I am the skinny, short kid to the far left; my father, in the red hat, is to the far right. Next to me, my cousin Dan looks at something; my guess is an insect.

His sister Debbie, sitting up, came along with two obnoxious friends. I spent several weeks as object of their abusive taunts and teasing. Wicked women, they were.

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After the Pond

My father was a controlling, jealous, and quick-tempered man. The distance between Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies separated our personalities. He and I shared little in common, so much that if not for some physical resemblance my only conclusion must be illegitimacy. But Mom was faithful; he was the one who slept around, which precipitated her divorcing him.

Ah, the day she confided in me was joyous. I was relieved that he would be gone and me freed from his anger, curses, and putdowns. My sisters suffered loss at his departure. I thrived in his absence. Even during the lean teen years, when we had no Christmas presents and often were hungry, I wouldn’t want him around. Mom was a single mother with four children; he contributed nothing. She suffered for her brood; he looked after himself and his new family.

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Grampy and Grandsons

We aren’t finished with the family photos. The Featured Image is another, provided by my cousin Dan, who sits playing checkers with our mutual granddad. I am the kid with the dorky grin. The photo was taken sometime in 1970, making me either 10 or 11, depending on when.

My Uncle Glenn made the portrait; camera unknown. Where: The Wilcox Family Farm—the majority of which my father unexpectedly deeded to the co-pastors of his church. A long-time family friend sent me a copy of the Quickclaim Deed, dated March 27, 2024. He died almost exactly three weeks later.

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My Uncle and His Camera

Now a blast from the past: 54-years-ago this month, meaning May 1970. My Uncle Glenn holds his gorgeous Yashica Mat-124. The newer G model released that year; I don’t know how long he owned the medium-format twin-lens reflex camera.

Wow, what a beauty she is (oh, and my uncle is handsome, too). The Mat-124 packed two—count `em—lenses at one of my three favorite Prime focal lengths: 80mm (28mm and 135mm are the others).

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The Sleeper

I rarely photograph San Diego homeless, as a silent sign of respect. But, today, one gentlemen so surprised me that I felt compelled to take the shot—well, several. Walking East on Meade Ave., I saw him sleeping on the sidewalk across the way, where Mission cuts diagonally—think 45 degrees—from the intersection at Park Blvd.

The sleep mask is what intrigued me. He looked so unusually comfortable, lying on the cement, which was surprising, too. Foot and vehicular traffic is fairly brisk, and noisy, on a Friday afternoon; then there is the bus stop—a couple meters away, at most. Yet he looked so serene and lay motionless, but in an open space where homeless are otherwise uncommon.

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Pop Pie at Night

T long-delayed ophthalmologist appointment finally occurred today. That meant massive dilation to check my optical implants. My pupils were massively large, such that the iris in each eye rimmed so thinly that my best analogy is the muted corona around last month’s total solar eclipse.

As such, I spent most of the day indoors, hiding from sunlight, and only ventured outside after dark—and what a glorious evening, too. Mild: 16 Celsius (61 Fahrenheit). Despite temporarily impaired vision, I brought along Leica Q2 Monochrom.

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Daughter and Mother

Why wait for Mother’s Day (May 12, 2024) to celebrate mom? While rummaging through Google Photos, I happened upon a portrait of my sister Nan with our most beloved parent. Date and locale is unknown to me, but presumably sis could identify both.

I had some fun with the Featured Image. One of Google Photo’s mischievous editing options is something called “Color Pop”. You can see how everything around the women becomes monochrome. But not without imperfections. Look at mom’s left hand and some fingers on her right hand. Color is gone.

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The Beachcomber

We return to Mission Beach for a final time, from my April 29, 2024 quickie visit. Subject of the Featured Image is the person working the sand with a metal detector, as two other folks stop their walk to watch.

Once again, I pulled out Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to make the moment. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 32, 1/1900 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 10:39 a.m. PDT. In post-production, I started to lighten up the dark areas, but instead decided to leave the photo as shot. Moody is better, and everyone is considerable distance away.