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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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Midday Mourning Cloak

While Annie and I walked yesterday, she delighted about a butterfly fluttering by. It stopped long enough for me to get off a couple quick shots using Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Featured Image is best of the set.

I grew up collecting and studying insects and quickly recognized the Mourning Cloak. Certainly, I know the butterfly from Northern Maine and assumed that, like many other Lepidoptera, Mourning Cloak was limited to the East. Wow, my big mistake: The range is broadest among the block of 11 continuous Western states.

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What Happened Here?

My wife and I walked around Mission Valley Mall—no longer a Westfield property—today. More stores are local small businesses, although some big brands are present—like Target.

The big surprise: The apparently permanently closed Temple Custom Jewelers and the mysterious signs you see in the Featured Image and companion. I knew that the establishment was black-owned but have no idea what were the circumstances leading to the signs. Googling gave no answers, tonight.

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The Farm

Today would be my father’s eighty-third birthday, but he died on April 16, 2024. Rather than commemorate him, I celebrate what he took away. Secretly, sometime during his 40 dying days, he signed over title to a large portion of the family farm to the co-pastors of his church.

They say 75 percent. But other documentation indicates that he only had control over 7/12ths of the nearly 100 acres. Regardless, as I begin to grasp the extent of subterfuge and lies, presumably unprompted (but who knows) on his part, my feelings about him darken. My great-grandfather purchased the property in 1895.

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Games We (Poorly) Play

Yesterday, one my neighbors expressed surprise about filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office, where she was presented with choice of a dozen genders. I would think that a medical practice would stick to the science: Humans are biologically either male or female. How people feel about themselves is something else.

All through the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, we kept hearing about the science—physicians and researchers following it, and we should, too. In 2024, should a doctor’s office do no less? Meaning: Put basic biology before social culture?

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The Cats of University Heights: Rainbow

Meet the one-hundred-second kitty seen along Alabama Street, somewhere between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. On May 5, 2024, my wife and I saw two shorthairs chasing one another, playfully. Mittens we immediately recognized, but not the grey. Oh, and how Mittens has grown from a kitten, in two years.

I used Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra to capture the Featured Image and companion. The first isn’t sharp, but the rainbow colors make the moment, nevertheless. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 40, 1/60 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 3:49 p.m. PDT. The other is the same but one minute later. Both are composed as shot.

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Croak or Caw?

Along Adams Ave., at the end of the bridge above Texas Street, I spotted some huge birds in the trees below. The vantage point presented another opportunity to see how good (or bad) Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could be shooting distant objects.

Unlike the S23 Ultra, which packs 10x optical lens, the newer model relies on 5x optical and in-camera close-cropping 50-megapixels to produce something that is supposed to be as good as, or better than, the last-generation smartphone. You judge.

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I Found It!

The Bat Cave! Hiding in plain sight. Who would have guessed? I should have believed the angry TikTokers whining about the Dark Knight fleeing crime-infested Gotham for San Diego. What good is capturing criminals when the DA won’t prosecute and they return to the streets in mere minutes? No wonder he headed West.

Problem: Catch-and-release policies are rampant across California. Prosecution deferrals are increasingly commonplace. Can the Caped Crusader save us? Please!

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Who, or What, Is Buried Here?

What an unfortunate day for me to run an errand out to Ocean Beach. Congestion and traffic marked the afternoon. Wonderful weather—sunny and 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit)—was one reason. Kite Festival was another—and what a crowd! Then there was the Pro-Palestinian protest along Sunset Cliffs Blvd to the corner of West Point Loma.

While waiting in traffic on I-8, something odd piqued my curiosity. Where there was nothing but greenery along the highway, a mound rose covered in pink and white flowers. Why there and nowhere else? I wondered. The mound’s shape and size made me think grave—and the flowers, too. Dare I suggest fertilizer?

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I am a Pixel Owner, Once More

May 8, 2024. In my news feed, several tech blogs spotlighted Google Store’s sudden, shocking trade-in offer for Pixel Tablet: Up to $399—equivalent to the price of the 128GB variant—in exchange for one of many, many iPad models. Free plus sales tax is a rather compelling offer.

The device launched a year earlier, making so little positive impression that I ordered two Samsung Galaxy tabs—one for my wife and another for me. Pixel Tablet looks even more inferior than 12 months ago, coming right as Apple released new iPads packing M4 chips. But they do cost mountains of cash more. Got an organ to sell? Kidneys fetch a good return, I hear.

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The Cats of University Heights: Bear Bear

Sharing recent finds does little to profile the kitties lost in the backlog queue. Yet here we are. The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra on May 14, 2024. Vitals: f/3.4, ISO 40, 1/120 sec, (synthetic) 230mm (digital and optical zoom); 5:07 p.m. PDT

Initially, I thought this black might be Rick roamed to another street on his block. But near as either my wife or I could see, the cat had either little or no tail. As such, given apparent shape, I want to nickname Bear, but that one already appeared in the series. Hence the doubling, which actually is better.