Tag: society

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Drug Culture

Our many attempts to cut the cord finally succeeded when we disconnected AT&T U-verse and switched to wireless Internet and content streaming. Six months in, we’re satisfied with the freedom from channel surfing and the ability to choose what content from which services we want to watch.

Besides streaming, we grab over-the-air-channels using the Antop HD Smart Bar HDTV & FM Amplified Antenna, which I highly recommend. Occasionally, my wife or I will let some broadcast station fill the living room with sound and even entertain the cats. Surprising: How outrageously often commercial breaks fill with pharmaceutical ads. Their number is seemingly endless. I will walk by, roll my eyes, and wonder: Is America really such a drug culture?

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Elf Tree Peace

Typically, homeless hang out on the sidewalks along the walls outside Sprouts supermarket, located at the intersection of Georgia and Howard in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. As such I wouldn’t have seen—or been able to take the Featured Image of—the tree-hanging lucky charm, whether he be leprechaun or Santa’s elf (you tell me which). But yesterday, the space was uncharacteristically unoccupied.

What a difference 24 hours makes. This afternoon, when I strolled by: One gent lay sleeping, wrapped in a brown blanket. Someone else huddled under a makeshift habitat, of which bicycle hubs were part of the structure. Another fellow crumpled cans collected from recycle bins; he worked from garbage bags carried in, and hanging from, a shopping cart. I couldn’t see the tree, or what was on it.

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Sonic Boom of Behavioral Change

Around lunchtime today, when walking home from Von’s supermarket with cheap canned cat food, I got a hankering for a Sonic burger. We rarely eat out and the fast-food place was one of my father-in-law’s favorites. I thought to simultaneously see how the take-out experience has changed and to venture down memory lane. Surprise doesn’t enough express what I found or—stated differently—didn’t.

I stepped inside the restaurant to see chairs stacked on tables in fashion to cordon off most of the dining room. The menu screens were dark, as was the overall ambience. I could enter because roller-skating servers (e.g. carhops) exit through the same doors to deliver meals to parked vehicles. I vamoosed.

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This is Pat

A year or so before China locked down Wuhan because of SARS-CoV-2(severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, I saw someone rummaging recyclables from bins in an alley. I had a bag of seltzer cans to put out and gave them to the fellow, whom fit my stereotype of a homeless scrounger. But days later, we passed again—and then less than a week later, once more. He was a regular.

When we had amassed more giveaways and he appeared in the alley, I made a delivery and conversation. He wasn’t homeless! He lives here in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. He is perfectly housed and also nearly blind. Meet Pat. I wish more people showed as much self-reliance, even without a debilitating handicap.

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New Poster Child for the Pro-Choice Lobby

As Halloween approaches, decorations proliferate and some become quite elaborate. This caged kid in a tree had me chuckling, earlier today—for elaborate staging and opportunity for me to be snarky. Disclaimer: My sarcasm is sure to offend somebody. If that’s you, please accept my no apology.

Pro-lifers are giddy as a bear slopping honey from a fallen beehive, following the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. They aren’t too bothered by stings from swarming Pro-choicers, who are losing their minds over the 6-3 decision. Since they are absolutely crazy—uh, crazed—let’s pretend this shrieking girl is their marketing maven—warning about the horror show progeny that you could produce because you can’t legally have a doctor cut it out.

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Urban Camping

Pop-up homeless shelters are increasingly common sights around San Diego, spurred by devastating rents (e.g., many people can’t afford them) and, on Sept. 30, 2022, the end of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19-era eviction moratoriums. Many encampments are hidden away—or, when not, part of a larger grouping; the idea being safety in numbers protects against law enforcement or outraged, eh, housed residents.

So I was surprised, on October 15, to find this publicly placed standalone habitat at Georgia and Howard in University Heights. Climb the brick wall to the right and you will come out in the Sprouts market parking lot. Public library is on the same block.

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Welcome to Hellcrest

I grit my teeth and put on my persevering personality, whenever need demands walking to neighboring Hillcrest. The atmosphere reeks of hedonism, narcissism, and self-obsession. Physically, the place is dirty, gritty, and seedy—particularly along the main University Avenue corridor and somewhat less Washington Street. The community is considered to be San Diego’s gay district, which couplings confirm and the plethora of rainbow flags or others for various gender identities; fire hydrants, too.

Here’s where someone will accuse me of being homophobic, when I am not: Well-to-do residents who whoop up happy hour and late-night fling fests grimly juxtapose a sizable homeless population. For a community of residents obsessed with all-rights for all genders, the lack of regard—or even sympathy—for people lacking more fundamental rights (life and well-being) is inhumane and, disappointingly, jives with my atmospheric assessment in the previous paragraph. What? Is it liberal values for me but not for thee?

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Thinking of Daisy

I feel sentimental about our bunnies on this solemn Sunday evening. We let them go to a new home on Sept. 30, 2007, marking many of the painful final preparations before relocating from the DC/Maryland-metro area to San Diego. The Featured Image finds Daisy enjoying one final romp around the backyard, about two-and-a-half hours before her new caretakers came for her and Mayflower. Vitals: f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 70mm; 5:25 p.m. EDT. Portrait is from Nikon D200, composed as shot.

We adopted the flop-ear rabbit in August 2003 from Animal Exchange in Rockville, Md. My daughter had seen bunnies at Montgomery County Fair and asked for one. We stopped at the pet store en route and ended up taking home Daisy, who was already about six months old. She ran loose in my basement office throughout the day, or around the backyard. She stayed in her cage overnight. Daisy was a joyous, constant companion while I worked.

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The Consequences of Deceit

My University Heights neighbors started putting out Halloween decorations weeks ago. From few, now many are everywhere. Along Texas Street, today, my wife and I passed by these seasonal tombstones that stand apart from the more traditional type for Dracula or infamous persons.

The theme of lying seems so appropriate for a time when truth is the one commodity truly lost in the supply chain. Pundits can’t babble enough about impending food shortages, and I share some of their concerns. But someone should state the more pressing problem: An overabundance of deceit/misinformation and lack of honesty.

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The Empty

I do not drink alcoholic beverages and can count on one hand the few occasions of inebriation as a teenager, when booze experimentation started and stopped. My taste for the stuff is yuck, and I prefer being clear-headed, which was a big advantage during my working reporter days. People who have had a few too many, as they say, are carelessly chatty; loose lips reveal too much to sober ears like mine.

That said, I always felt uneasy being the only non-drinker in the room—like everyone looked at me oddly. Because when everyone else boozes and you don’t, the presumption is that you must be a recovering alcoholic. That’s how, ah, tippled is America’s cultural heritage. Sobriety is abnormal.

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I Know What Grandma Would Say To This

She would start by quoting Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling”. Then she would more provocatively cite 1 John 2:16,17 because, well, grandma isn’t intimidated by how other people might react.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever”.

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Will the Meaning be Lost?

So-o-o, should I presume somebody’s sidewalk message is meant to be sarcastic? According to the good folks at Merriam-Webster, a factory farm is “a large industrialized farm, especially: a farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost”. Presumption: Animal cruelty—or so claims fourteen of the first fifteen results to my search query.

Let me ask then: We should eat less food as a means of not supporting factory farming? That starvation will put the entities out of business and thus diminish livestock hardship? Timing is odd, given all the warnings about food shortages.