Category Archives: Did you know?

SAVED!

Did you know?

My hometown for the last nine years used to have a beautiful downtown area called The Village.

There were mature trees every three to five parking spaces, and I do mean parking spaces, as shown in this photo from Google Maps:

la mesa village trees

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that the two red-arrowed trees are actually planted in the street! It made for a unique downtown experience and provided lots of shade on a hot day.

La Mesa, California, The Jewel of the HillsSadly, about a year ago the City of La Mesa started removing all the trees with the last trees removed a few months ago. The citizenry was in an uproar when it was announced that the trees were to be removed but, as usual, elected representatives and other powers-that-be know best…………………..smh.

Since I have a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Texas A&M University, there’s a special place in my heart for trees. I’m always saddened when the electric company comes along and tops trees near electric lines, virtually killing them, or when apartment and condominium complexes decide to remove trees due to “maintenance issues.” In other words, they don’t want to maintain the trees, preferring concrete or dirt.

When I go to extraordinarily rich neighborhoods, though, it’s a pleasure to see that the inordinately wealthy seem to understand how much trees add to the beauty of the environment.

While I was up in a wealthy La Jolla beachside residence recently, I found evidence of the care that some people exhibit toward their trees.

In this first picture, many people would simply have chopped that pine tree down in order to have their view of the ocean. These people, however, did exactly what I like to do—they laced the tree so that they could see through it, making the tree look like a monster bonsai.

img_3025 tree la jolla stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice the bottom center of the picture where it looks like a huge branch is coming out of the wall. It looks like that because that is exactly what these people did, saving the huge branch by building the wall around it:

img_3027 tree wall stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those are my type of people!

When I was a senior at Texas A&M University, my senior project in Urban Forestry was to determine how much value trees added to real estate. My group chose to do our research in River Oaks, the wealthiest area in Houston at the time, and probably still. After eight weeks of monitoring the real estate market there, we were able to determine that a mature tree (usually Texas Live Oaks) added between $50,000 and $75,000 to the value of a home in River Oaks. That was in 1977!

Trees need carbon to survive, so while we humans are breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon, trees via photosynthesis are using carbon and expelling oxygen, one more reason why we need our trees, especially the mature ones! Plants are the air-purifiers for planet earth. So, please, if you have a mature tree on your property, find a way to save it instead of chopping it down!

Here is another mature tree, this one a coral tree, in the same neighborhood:

img_3040 la jolla tree stamp

SAVED!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Creepy, just creepy

Halls of History

When I was 10, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, but only because I could spell it. What I really wanted to be was a history teacher. Fifty years later, I still want to be a history teacher. Alas, I teach chess in after-school enrichment programs………

Rebel YellI just finished reading an Advance Reader’s Edition of “Rebel Yell—The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson” by S. C. Gwynne. Advance Reader’s Editions usually are full of typos and errors, and this one was no exception, including it noting that Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) signed the Constitution in 1887…….

Notwithstanding that, though, I learned about a horse that is 165 years old! Its name is Little Sorrel (1850-1886) and it was General Jackson’s horse from the Civil War. “How,” you might ask, “is General Jackson’s horse 165 years old? Well, I’m glad you asked!

The Appendix, titled “Other Lives, Other Destinies,” includes this bit about Little Sorrel:

Lost after the Battle of Chancellorsville [which is the battle where General Jackson was wounded, wounds which eventually caused him to contract pneumonia, from which he died about nine days later] the horse Jackson called ‘Fancy’ was eventually recovered by a Confederate soldier and sent to Virginia governor John Letcher, who in turn sent him to live with Anna Jackson [Stonewall’s wife] in North Carolina. The horse became a much-loved pet, famous for using his mouth to lift latches and let himself out of his stable. In Anna Jackson’s memoir she said that he would ‘go deliberately to the doors of all the other horses and mules, liberate each one, and then march off with them all behind him … to the green fields of grain around the farm.’ Fences proved no obstacle to him, either. He would use his mouth and muzzle to life off fence rails until the fence was low enough to jump over. He later lived at VMI [Virginia Military Institution, where Jackson taught before the War], where he grazed on the parade ground and was a favorite of cadets, and spent his last days at the old confederate Soldiers’ Home. His hid was stuffed and mounted and can be seen today at VMI.”

Of course, I had to search the Internet to see if Little Sorrel still was at VMI. Indeed, he is:

Little-Sorrel-VMI

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Personally, I think that’s creepy.

My dad killed an 18-point deer when he was very young. Granddad had the deer head stuffed, and it hung on the wall of the living room. I despised that thing. In 1968, my oldest uncle from Los Angeles, California, came home to visit Kingsville, Texas, for Christmas. He took the deer head back to L.A. with him. I was never so happy to see something gone.

Stuffed heads and animals are common interior decorations, especially in the South. Unfortunately, my favorite restaurant here in San Diego County, Famous Dave’s BBQ in Vista, has some stuffed animal heads in their restaurant. Fortunately, when I go with Jim and his mom and boyfriend, we always get seated far, far away from those stuffed animals.

Maybe I’ll have Zoey the Coot Cat stuffed when she dies….

NOT!

Creepy, just creepy.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosI'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

I might be in for some interesting times

Did you know?

Occasionally one of my home inspection Clients appreciates my work so much that s/he will send me a gift after escrow closes.

A gift I got several years ago was three volumes of “Messages and Papers of the Presidents” by James D. Richardson (1843-1914), copyright 1897. Richardson served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Tennessee, from 1885-1905.

The pages are in excellent shape, although yellowed on the edges. The bindings, however, are in very poor shape

IMG_2190 books

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thus, I had never opened the volumes until yesterday.

Printed on tissue paper and inserted at the beginning of the first volume I opened (Vol. V) is this priceless gem:

IMG_2189 how to open a book small

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I miss the days when the captions for photographs were printed on tissue paper, as these books have.

img_2191 picture caption on tissue paper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I remember many of the books that my wise old grandmother had, had tissue paper picture captions in them. They were fragile, yet awesome.

I don’t know when such tissue paper captions ceased but I suspect it was shortly after World War II when the world took on a faster pace. My suspicion is derived from the fact that all of the books I have with tissue paper captions were published before the War.

Until yesterday, I never knew that each sheet of paper in a book is called a leaf, and the two sides of the leaf are called pages. It also took me a while to find the definition of start relevant to books. After much searching (which means I’m now behind in unpacking!), I found this definition way down in a list of definitions for start:

to spring, slip, or work loose from place or fastenings

The fact that the definition was so far down the list probably indicates that the word it not used much anymore, if at all, to mean that.

My intent is to keep these books and eventually have the bindings restored. I have never done that before, so I might be in for some interesting times.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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photograhic art taking pictures making art

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The queen’s sun deck

Picture of the Moment

Yesterday was the first day since May 24 that I was able to visit blogs, do a little reading, and leave a few LIKEs and comments.

On any given day, I normally visit a minimum of 100 blogs. I visited 13 yesterday, so I’m not back in the blogosphere at full strength yet. I’m heading that way.

If you’re one of the 137 people who have visited my blog since May 24 and either liked one of my posts, commented on one of my posts, or possibly even followed me, AND I don’t know you, rest assured that I will be getting by your blog soon to see who you are and what you’re about, leave a few LIKEs, maybe some comments, and perhaps even follow you. I can tell you, though, that if your blog is 100% religious or 100% pornography, I won’t be LIKEing, commenting, or following. That’s just the way it is.

Of course, everything is dependent on how much quality time Zoey the Cool Cat demands. She’s patiently waiting for me out on the balcony after having requested that we rename the “balcony” to “The Queen’s Sun Deck.”

img_2089 zoey the cool cat sunshine stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Do Republicans participate in Earth Day?

Did you know?

Today is Earth Day!

Here is what Zoey the Cool Cat is planning on doing today:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When the first Earth Day occurred in 1970, I was but a sophomore in high school. My first period “class” was Student Government. I was the representative from the Chess Club.

During the couple of weeks leading up to Earth Day, a friend—we’ll call him Ken since that’s his name—came in every morning and tried to get Student Government involved in that first Earth Day. I don’t remember if he was successful. I recently reconnected with Ken on Facebook. He is a minister with the Church of England and lives and works in Germany.

Here is my Photographic Art contribution to Earth Day 2015:

Bicyclists

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to Wikipedia, Earth Day events are held “in more than 192 countries each year.”

Which begs the question, “How many more?” One? Ten? A hundred? A thousand?

One hundred and ninety-two is a pretty exact number, so I’m thinking that, at the time the Wikipedia article was last updated, it was exactly 192 countries. Why not just say that Earth Day is held in 192 countries? Alas….

Earth Day events are meant to show support for environmental protections. Sadly, there is no proof that any Republican in the United States supports, celebrates, recognizes, or otherwise participates in Earth Day………

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Clothesline Project

Did you know?

My wise old grandmother taught me not to air my dirty clothes in public. So imagine my surprise when I’m walking around the campus of the University of San Diego, a Catholic university, and see two clotheslines full of laundry in front of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Here’s one of them:

The Clothesline Project

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Clothesline ProjectI noticed writing on the shirts so I went over to have a closer look and discovered that it was “The Clothesline Project,” a program started in Massachusetts in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women.

According to sources, “The Clothesline Project is a vehicle for women affected by violence and those that love them to express their emotions by decorating a shirt.”

“The shirts on the clotheslines give testimony to the problem of violence against women and serve as a call to put an end to the silence around sexual assault.”

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Hey, Google! Analyze this!

Did you know?

Google has decided to require (force) web sites to be mobile friendly. I’m not even mobile friendly, so why would my web sites be? Nonetheless…..

Effective April 21, 2015, Google is implementing its new mobile search algorithms. Thus, if your web site is not mobile friendly by then, it might not show up in Google searches, which could affect you if you rely on your web site to help provide income, as I do.

Fortunately, most WordPress themes are mobile friendly, especially if you got your theme from WordPress.com and are hosted by WordPress.com.

If you want to be sure, though, Google provides a mobile friendly analyzer. Use it now so that if your web site is not mobile friendly, you can make changes before April 21.

Here is the analyzer:

Google Mobile Friendly Analyzer

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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