Tag Archives: Kingsville Texas

SNIPPETS (7-29-2014)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

I recently read a report somewhere, probably on a blog, that not only is the younger generation supportive of gay marriage, but generally they don’t mind paying higher taxes for things like police protection, fire protection, emergency medical transportation, roads, bridges, teachers, schools, and libraries. Pretty much the things that make a civilized society civil.

Such was proven in 2010 when students at San Diego State University were asked whether or not they supported an extra fee—a tax, basically—that would go to tear down the Student Center, built in 1962 for a campus of 10,000 students, and build a new one for a campus of 40,000 students. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the fee.

Does that show that they were in favor of the tax, or that the old Student Center was grossly inadequate?

Here is Photographic Art based on a picture of the old Aztec Center which served from 1962 to 2011.

San Diego State University Aztec Center 1968-2011

SNIPPET #2

And just for comparison, here’s the new Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Center (click on the picture for a monster image).

The new Aztec Center on the campus of San Diego State University

Conrad Prebys is one of those good billionaires (and there are way too few of the good ones) who gives a lot of money to charitable purposes. In this case, $20 million to provide scholarships to Aztec students.

SNIPPET #3

When I was growing up in Kingsville, Texas, under the watchful eye and whip of my wise old grandmother, a second cousin came by to show us his brand new 1965 Ford Mustang. I loved that car, and I have been enamored of Mustangs ever since. I finally bought a 1989 Saleen Mustang in 1991 and drove it until 1998. Its top end speed apparently was 153 mph because I reached that speed twice, once on the I-8 straightaway between Pensacola and Fort Walton, Florida, and once on the boring stretch of I-10 from Fort Stockton to Van Horn, Texas. Don’t tell anyone, though.

Recently I saw a 40th Anniversary (2004) edition of the Mustang. Here is Photographic Art based on a picture of the 40th Anniversary logo from the side of the car:

Mustang 40th Anniversary logo

SNIPPET #4

Balloons are very popular with children, so when I go to a parade and see balloons, I’m pretty sure that’s where all the rugrats are going to be, making it difficult to get a good picture.

Following is Photographic Art based on a picture of balloons at a recent Gay Pride parade in San Diego. The children were cropped out.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

SNIPPET #5

Pelicans are my favorite bird that I’ve actually seen out in their native habitat. The awesome Julian says that Russel Ray Photos has to have the largest collection of pelicans in the world (or something like that). Here are three of my recent Photographic Art based on pictures of brown pelicans in La Jolla, a beachside neighborhood of San Diego:

Brown pelican coming in for a landing

Brown pelicans in flight

Brown pelicans in La Jolla, California

Remember in a recent post that I said I cannot be trusted? Well, the second picture is actually Photographic Art based on two separate pictures of brown pelicans in flight. I lifted the pelican from one picture and placed in with the pelican in the other picture. Twins are much better than loner birds!

SNIPPET #6

The original designers of downtown San Diego at the harbor saw fit to install lots of ugly parking lots and ugly buildings. Fortunately, the City is coming to its senses and realizing that since downtown is located directly on the bayfront, it might be a good idea to make everything look snazzy.

The following is Photographic Art one of the new water parks in downtown San Diego, this one on the south side of the San Diego County Administration Building (where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008).

San Diego Water Park

All of the trees and water you see in that picture used to be a huge, ugly parking lot for the Administration Building. So, you might ask, where do they park cars now?

A-ha! (not the group). The two water parks are on top of an underground parking garage:

Underground parking

The former surface parking lots were so ugly that I don’t even have a picture of them. Must be the only thing in San Diego that I don’t have a picture of!……….. :)

SNIPPET #7

When cruise ships used to arrive in San Diego, there was no real place for them to dock. I think sometimes they just parked in the bay and pushed people overboard. A few years ago we got a new cruise ship terminal, and it is beautiful.

San Diego's cruise ship terminal

SNIPPET #8

Of course, cruise ships always make nice Photographic Art. The Sapphire Princess is my favorite so far because it looks like they stole the engines from the Starship Enterprise and put them on top of the Princess.

Sapphire Princess cruise ship in San Diego, California

SNIPPET #9

A mommy red river hog and her six little ones:

Mommy red river hog and her six little ones

SNIPPET #10

Smile if you can read this:

No cheating

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Leave only footprints

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, when I was but a youth of 12 or 13, my wise old grandmother took me to Padre Island National Seashore in South Texas, about 15 miles due east from my hometown of Kingsville, 60 miles if driving on paved roads.

padre island

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Padre Island was where I first saw a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Back then there were hundreds, maybe thousands of them, at certain times of the year.

As I was playing in the sand and surf, I found a mound of flowers. I picked a few to give them to my wise old grandmother.

She took them, said “Thank you!” and then admonished me for picking flowers at the national seashore. Loosely quoted, she said, “No one else will get to enjoy these beautiful flowers because they have been picked and will soon die. It is best to admire them where they grow and leave them for others to also enjoy.”

On the drive home, which was about 45 miles, the flowers sat between us on the bench seat (smile if you remember when cars had bench seats and you could slide over to be next to your loved one or, perhaps, keep some flowers between the two of you).

I felt so bad about picking the flowers and started talking about how sorry I was for taking them and preventing other people from enjoying them. That’s when my wise old grandmother told me something that I have never forgotten: “When you go to a national park, leave only footprints.”

Well, to honor the memory of my wise old grandmother, following are a dozen pictures of footprints from the beaches of San Diego.

Can you identify the footprints, like we did in Scouts?

One picture is of my footprints; which one?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays — Memories of my 16th birthday on my mom’s 84th birthday

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thomas D . Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, UtahToday would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. She died in February 2012. She put me in a troubled youth/adoption home (Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah; picture at right) in 1965, which is how my wise old grandmother (my dad’s mom) came to adopt me. I was one of Utah’s greatest juvenile delinquents, and without my mother’s action, I’m pretty sure I would be dead at the hands of a Utah police officer or spending life in prison. I was that bad. So I thank my mother for that. I also had only seen my mother twice since 1965, once in 1968 and once in 1998, but in her elderly years she did start sending me birthday and Christmas cards.

The only other thing I thank my mother for is my interest in music. At one time she was a piano and organ accompanist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She taught me piano beginning at age two, and when I enrolled in first grade, she required me to take up another instrument; I chose violin.

Piano and violinAfter my wise old grandmother adopted me and moved me from Brigham City, Utah, to Kingsville, Texas (where I had been born), I continued playing the violin but had to give up the piano. We were too poor to afford a piano; violins were much less expensive.

For Christmas in 1970, my wise old grandmother gave me a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Actually, I think Santa Claus left it for me, but Santa Claus is a fairy tale just like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God…. all fairy tales. The tape recorder sparked my interest in collecting music. By March 1971, I had recorded from radio all the Top 40 hits. My collecting was in full swing.

I mention March 1971 because that was my sixteenth birthday. While most of my friends were getting cars or driver’s licenses for their sixteenth birthdays, I got a stereo record player and three records: “Ram” by Paul & Linda McCartney, “Black Sabbath Vol. IV” by Black Sabbath, and “The Best of The Beach Boys, Vol. I” by The Beach Boys.

Since I listen to my music collection in chronological order, I listened to those three albums (and several dozen others!) this past weekend. Here is a song from each album:

“Dear Boy” by Paul & Linda McCartney

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Changes” by Black Sabbath
(not a typical heavy metal song!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1660, Texas state flag

History through Philately — Texas becomes the 28th State

History Through Philately stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1660, Texas state flagOn this date in 1845, the Republic of Texas entered the United States of America as the 28th state.

When the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, the U.S. attempted to include Texas in the Purchase. In 1819, after sixteen years of dispute, the boundary was set at the Sabine River, which is the current border of Louisiana and Texas.

Scott #776, Texas centennialFrom 1819 to 1836, Texas was part of Mexico. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, becoming the Republic of Texas. As most declarations of independence do, this one resulted in a war between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, including the Battle of the Alamo, lost by the Texans, and the Battle of San Jacinto, which resulted in the Texans soundly defeating the Mexicans.

Scott #1043, The AlamoTexans elected Sam Houston as President of the Republic but also endorsed Texas entering the Union as a State. The likelihood of Texas joining as a slave state delayed formal action by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade. Congress agreed to annex the territory of Texas in 1844, and on December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state. A dispute involving the southern boundary of Texas resulted in the Mexican American War, which the United States won.

Scott #1038, Texas statehoodThe Mexican American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico ceded the current lands currently comprising California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The southern boundary of Texas was set as the Rio Grande river.

Other interesting facts about Texas:

  1. 3738 Texas greetingsThe south Texas farming and ranching community of Kingsville welcomed me to the world on March 11, 1955. Kingsville is located in the disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.
  2. Texas is pretty much a red state, which is one of the many reasons why I don’t live there anymore. I left on April 15, 1993, and arrived in San Diego 12 days later, taking a circuitous route to Fargo, North Dakota; over to Seattle, Washington; and down to San Diego.
  3. Scott #1995, Texas mockingbird and bluebonnetTexas has a gross state product (GSP) of $1.307 trillion, second behind California’s $1.936 trillion. If Texas were an independent country, its gross domestic product (GDP) would rank as the world’s 11th largest.
  4. Texas does not have a State income tax. Its money comes from property taxes and sales taxes.
  5. Texas has a population of 26,059,203, making it the second most populous state (behind California).
  6. Texas is the second largest state (behind Alaska), with 268,820 square miles.
  7. Scott #2968, Texas statehoodTexas is headquarters for 57 Fortune 500 companies (tying for first with California).
  8. Texas has three cities ranked in the Top 10 for population: Houston at #4, San Antonio at #7, and Dallas at #9. (California also has three cities in the Top 10: Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.)
  9. Kingsville, TexasMy hometown of Kingsville has an average high temperature of 65°F in December. However, on Christmas Even 2004, six inches of snow blanketed the city.
  10. Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States.
  11. Texas leads the nation in livestock production — cattle, sheep, and goats.
  12. Texas leads the nation in cotton production.
  13. Texas A&M UniversityMy alma mater, Texas A&M University, is the state’s first public institution of higher education and has the state’s largest enrollment at 53,337 students (fourth largest in the nation). It is the nation’s only land grand, sea grant, and space grant university. Texas A&M also has the largest main campus of any university, with 5,500 acres.
  14. Two presidential libraries are located in Texas: Lyndon B. Johnson in at the University of Texas at Austin and George Bush at Texas A&M University. A third one is in the workds, George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
  15. Scott #1742, Texas windmillThe Texas healthcare system is ranked third worst in the United States by the Commonwealth Fund; 25% of Texans do not have health insurance, the largest percentage in the nation.
  16. Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state, with Port Arthur (a heavy oil refining locale) having some of the dirtiest air in the United States.
  17. I survived many hurricanes and tropical storms while living in Texas, the most significant of which were Beulah (1967), Celia (1970), and Allen (1980).
  18. The deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people.
  19. My childhood home in Kingsville, courtesy of Google Streetview:

420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas

I planted the two oak trees after Hurricane Celia in 1970. They were just a foot high.

Scott #2204, Battle of San Jacinto

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scott #1242, Sam Houston

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Young flamingos for Obama

Thank you to my Family!

I livew in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seahorse at Birch AquariumPlease, sit down. Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about discrimination, hatred, and prejudice. It’s a story about me.

I grew up as the product of a large Mormon family (mom) and a large Catholic family (dad). Both religions taught me about discrimination, hatred, and prejudice at a very early age. They are the main reason why I am not affiliated with any religion 57 years later.

I was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1955, and lived there until 1960, best I can tell. We lived in Tyler, Texas, from 1960 to 1961. After my dad killed himself with a handgun, my mom moved us to northern Utah (Logan, Brigham City, Wellsville, Hyrum) to be closer to her Mormon side of the family.

Union Pacific 844 steam engine in Southern California, November 2011I was a juvenile delinquent, and eventually either my mom and stepdad decided to get rid of me, or the State of Utah took me away from them. Either way, in September 1965 I wound up as a ward of the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah.

At “The Dee,” I met Barbara Hunt, an 18-year-old woman from Bakersfield, California. She also was a ward of the hospital. Barbara befriended me and helped me write a letter to my wise old grandmother (MWOG), my dad’s mom. We couldn’t send it because I had no idea where MWOG lived. However, that night an address came to me in a dream: “Mary Agnes Kirk, Kingsville, Texas.” That was it. We sent the letter. It arrived. By Christmas 1965 I was living in Kingsville, Texas, having been adopted by MWOG.

Barn owlWithout that adoption, I’m convinced that this juvenile delinquent would either be dead at the hands of a Utah law enforcement officer or spending life in prison. MWOG gave me what all children need, regardless of who they get it from (mom & dad, mom & mom, dad & dad, mom & friends, dad & friends): love AND discipline.

MWOG laid down the rules, and she told me what the punishment was if I broke the rules. After I broke a rule and was punished, MWOG would let me cry for five or ten minutes, then take me to the bathroom where she washed the tears from my face with a warm wash cloth, dried my face, gave me a kiss, and then told me that the same thing would happen if I broke the rules again. It only took twice to understand that she meant what she said — I wasn’t exactly stupid.

Women and dogs at the beachDuring my formative years in Utah I was exposed to the N word; blacks were not welcome in our
all-white Mormon neighborhood and school. When I got back to Texas in 1965, the Catholic side of the family continued with the N word but also introduced me to other disparaging words for Mexicans, Spanish descendents, Chinese, women who worked (i.e., were more than just a person to cook meals and provide sex to the man of the house), etc.

When I went off to college at Texas A&M University, one of my ramp mates in Puryear Hall was a black guy from Nigeria (I’m pretty sure he has nothing to do with all the email scams coming out of Nigeria). I acquired a newfound respect for people of different colors, nationalities, and ethnicities.

Blacks Beach in San Diego, CaliforniaI arrived in San Diego in April 1993 and camped out on the beaches for eleven months studying the world’s great and not-so-great religions to see if there was a place for a coming-out-of-the-closet gay person. I determined that there wasn’t. At best, there were a few tolerant religions, such as Church of Christ and, to a much lesser extent, Episcopalians and Presbyterians. The latter two have taken a few steps backward since 1993. I remain unreligioned.

In March 1994, I put myself back into the work force. Eleven months doing nothing but laying out on the beach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I hired on with a temp agency, and the first job they sent me to was a
foul-mouthed old man. I stayed for the morning but did not go back after lunch. For my next job I was supposed to report to a person named Alana Infantino. Being a naive country boy, I had no idea what kind of a name Alana Infantino was, but since the job paid exceedingly well, I went.

Unknown flowerAlana was a woman. Ack! A working woman! Ack!

Alana and I hit it off, and eventually I took a full-time permanent position with her company. I was to be the legal word processor/project database manager/network engineer in Detroit, Michigan (Farmington Hills, actually). Alana took me out to eat and gave me a verbal introduction to the Detroit office. I found out that in the Detroit office there were working women, working blacks, and even working black women! Ack!

I made friends with everyone. Learned a lot about the world, too.

That was 1994. Here in 2012 I have a new family. None of them are related to me by blood. That family has been summarily dismissed. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. My new family comprises Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, Poles…..well, take a look at my WordPress flags from yesterday:

Flags

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My new family also comprises women, men, gays, lesbians, straightees, married, divorced, single, old, young…. It’s a wonderful family and to my current way of thinking, much better than my old family. So here’s a “Thank you!” to my new family for keeping me involved in the world, and learning.

Young flamingos for Obama

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat nap

I’m a cat napper…. So there! (cat napping pictures included)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Snippets

 

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napThroughout my life I’ve never been able to sleep well. Or so I thought.

I’d be in bed at night, but after falling asleep for a couple of hours, I’d wake up. Not being able to immediately go back to sleep, I’d read a book….. under the bed covers…. using a flashlight. Man oh man was my wise old grandmother upset the first time she caught me. But just getting caught and punished didn’t stop me from reading. Besides, why punish a child for reading? It’s not like I was getting up at night and sneaking out the bedroom window to carouse the town. That didn’t start until a few years later. I wonder if there’s a correlation between being punished for reading and sneaking out instead. Hmmm.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napAt Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, I learned to schedule the late lunch (12:30; early lunch was 11:30), P.E., and Study Hall in the afternoon so that I wouldn’t fall asleep in an important class.

At Texas A&M University, I scheduled all my classes for 8:00 a.m. to noon, 1:00 at the latest. Then I could go home and sleep for a couple of hours. The nice thing about early morning classes is that all my final exams were on Monday and Tuesday. I was out of school two or three days early each semester over those people who always scheduled afternoon classes.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napIn the work world after college, I would never go out to eat lunch with co-workers, choosing instead to take an unknown-to-them nap in my car. Eventually the world found out about people like me and started calling our naps “power naps.” Whatever. They always made fun of us, though, for “always being tired.”

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napNow comes David Westcott writing an article, “Do Not Disturb,” in the April 23 2012 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek. Westcott quotes Ronit Rogoszinski who describes herself as “an expert ‘practitioner of the power nap.’ ” Rogoszinski says, “By noon, my brain starts to fry.” What does she do? She heads to one of her favorite hideouts, her car, “to recharge” (code for taking a nap).

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napWestcott found that on Wall Street Oasis, an investment banker Internet forum, people were obsessed with daytime napping. He found tips on “sleep hacking” (developing “polyphasic sleep schedules“), lists of places to nap, and tips on how to act if you’re caught napping.

One commenter discussed napping on the toilet, saying that it’s best if you have your pants up and the seat down. The toilet stall is one place that I never tried. Maybe later today.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napThere is a difference, though, between using naps to make up for lost sleep, such as when you have a newborn child, or a close family member is in the hospital. There are some people — like me! — who have no specific reason for losing sleep and needing to make it up during the day. We are called lazy when we’re caught napping during the day, or, at best, “short sleepers” or “sleep pros” if we still get more accomplished than our non-short sleeping colleagues.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napWestcott quotes Dr. David Dinges, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, who encourages workday napping, or “multitask relaxing” (can’t we just call it what it is? Cat napping!). According to Dr. Dinges’s research, one’s “cognitive ability depends on how much sleep one accumulates over a 24-hour period, not just overnight.”

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napDr. Dinges encourages people to work for short periods followed by a nap — “sleep reinforcement” he calls it. “Rather than fighting to stay awake at your desk with diminishing cognitive returns, work on it in your sleep.” And I wasn’t even part of his research!

Whenever I have a particular problem to solve, I have found that a quick nap, a cat nap, helps me solve it, often to the point that I will dream about it and various ways to solve it, including benefits and problems relating to different scenarios. These are not REM dreams because I never reach REM sleep, according to the sleep research Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napthat I have been involved in (Boston Medical Center, Houston Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Texas A&M University).

We cat nappers are gaining acceptability, but since we’re only one to three percent of the population, we need to “come out” to our family, friends, and
co-workers as what we are:
cat nappers. I’m a cat napper….
So there!

 

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos