Picture of the moment—Follow me.

Picture of the Moment

It’s always so much fun to visit off-leash dog parks, especially when the park is a beach.

Follow me. The pirate treasure is this way.

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

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Music on Mondays (11-20-17)—Lost on a desert island, 1969

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My Lost On A Desert Island music collection would have 22 songs from 1969 on it, 4 by The Beatles, all from Abbey Road. Original Beatles songs are not available as videos on YouTube so I cannot provide any links to such videos. I leave it to you to search out Beatles videos or simply put on your own music and start singing! Here are the 4 from 1969:

  1. Come Together
  2. Something
  3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
  4. Here Comes The Sun

Following are the other 18 songs from 1969 that I would take with me if there were a possibility of being lost on a desert island.

A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
#2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Johnny Cash’s only Top 10 hit

And When I Die by Blood, Sweat & Tears
#2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Cold Turkey by Plastic Ono Band
#30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Cotton Fields by Creedence Clearwater Revival
A non-charting single released in 1982

Day Is Done by Peter, Paul & Mary
#21 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Dear Diary by The Moody Blues
From the album On The Threshold Of A Dream

Honky Tonky Women by The Rolling Stones
#1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Kept Johnny Cash from having a #1 hit

I Can Hear Music by The Beach Boys
#24 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
One of my favorite songs by The Beach Boys

In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) by Zager & Evans
#1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Probably my favorite song from 1969

Laughing by The Guess Who
#10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Lazy Day by The Moody Blues
From the album On The Threshold Of A Dream

Make Your Own Kind Of Music by Mama Cass Elliot
#36 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Marrakesh Express by Crosby Stills & Nash
#28 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Pinball Wizard by The Who
#19 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Other than chess and 42, I have never been much of a games person.
I did, however, play a lot of pinball at the Dixie Chicken during my college days at Texas A&M University, 1973-1977.

Sugar, Sugar by The Archies
#1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
And they weren’t even a real group!

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
#4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Probably my favorite song by Neil Diamond

These Eyes by The Guess Who
#6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Their first Top 10 hit in the United States.

Undun by The Guess Who
#22 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

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

Out & About—One of only three in Southern California

Out & About San Diego

I think my last hike might have been this past June when I hiked the Lake Calavera South Trail in Carlsbad. The old body just isn’t what it used to be.

In the map below, you can see all sorts of dotted lines representing trails. If only I had discovered Calavera 40 years ago!

Lake Calavera map

Lake Calavera is the dominant feature, but I’ll have more about that a little later.

Calavera means cranium in Spanish. Skull. Wonder who named it that, and why.

Lake Calavera covers about 400 acres, and the Calavera Nature Preserve complements the lake with another 110 acres and 4.9 miles of hiking and biking trails. There is a lot of accessible land that is not in the preserve, though, with many more miles of trails.

The Lake Calavera area is home to an identified 115 plants, 49 birds, 10 mammals, and 7 amphibians & reptile. Six of the various species are classified as threatened or endangered, including the California Gnatcatcher, a bird which has had 85% of its natural habitat, the Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub, destroyed by development.

Although I love lakes, the dominant feature here, what was even more interesting to me at Calavera is this:

Mount Calavera volcano plug

That’s Mount Calavera, far more interesting to me than a lake full of water. Mount Calavera is a volcanic plug. In other words, the inside of a volcano—its throat, full of magma—which went extinct 22 million years ago. Once a volcano goes extinct, it starts eroding, leaving behind the magma plug. Mount Calavera is one of only three volcanic plugs in Southern California.

In the middle of the picture you can see some vertical columns. As the magma cools, it typically forms columns. Here’s a two other pictures of the magma columns:

Mount Calavera magma columns

Mount Calavera magma columns

From the early 1900s to the 1930s, the ancient plug was mined for gravel. Some of it has been left behind.

Mount Calavera gravel

Although the mountain is 513 feet high, there are many trails, some easy and some difficult, that take you to the top. There you’ll see several old lava flows.

Mount Calavera lava flow

You also can see three labyrinths below, which you’ll probably miss on your first visit up the mountain since they are off the beaten path. No one seems to know who or why they were created.

Mount Calavera labyrinths

All in all, a great hike. Too bad that I won’t be going back again, unless it’s by helicopter.

Kudos to those who know the name of what is quite likely the most famous volcanic plug in the world. Take a guess in the comments.

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

Opinion—God’s involved in more than just sports

Opinion

In Jesus name I playThroughout my life I have always been amazed when sports stars thank God and the Lord Jesus Christ for leading them, or their teams, to victory.

With all the dying, death, and destruction in the world, and this God has time to sit back and watch sports. Not just one sport, though. Every single sport. At every level. In every country.

Note that God goes by different names in some countries. Tower of Babel and all that.

This touchdown's for you, Jesus!

Now I find out that God (and, presumably, the Lord Jesus Christ) is involved in more things than just sports.

Texas Tech University won the 2017 National Meat Judging Championship. I’m quite familiar with meat judging and the national championship because one of my rampmates (Jimmy Mazurkiewicz) during my second semester at Texas A&M University in 1974 was on Texas A&M’s national championship meat judging teams. So I proceeded to read the announcement from Texas Tech University about their 2017 national championship. I quit reading when I came to this paragraph:

“The Meat Judging Team was able to achieve perfection because they humbled themselves and trusted God and not themselves,” said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences. “They had great faith in him to deliver the victories. All of the glory goes to their faith and trust in God for this impossible perfect national championship season.”

That doesn’t say too much about Coach Mark Miller’s skills or abilities.

And just think of all those students from so many other universities who now might believe any one of the following:

  1. God doesn’t listen to them.
  2. God doesn’t answer prayers.
  3. God answers prayers but this time said, “Fuck you.”
  4. God doesn’t exist.
  5. I can’t believe someone else prayed more than me.
  6. I can’t believe I’m not God’s favorite.

Imagine if God were to put an end to human and animal suffering; to put an end to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, heat waves, blizzards, auto accidents, gun deaths…. Little things like that. Instead, he’s sitting back watching sports and rooting on his favorite players….. S.M.D.H.

Religion. The bane of humanity.

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

Music on Mondays (11-13-17)—Lost on a desert island, 1968

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My Lost On A Desert Island music collection would have 36 songs from 1968 on it, 17 by The Beatles. Original Beatles songs are not available as videos on YouTube so I cannot provide any links to such videos. I leave it to you to search out Beatles videos or simply put on your own music and start singing! Here are the 17 from 1968:

  1. Hey Jude
  2. I Will
  3. Lady Madonna
  4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  5. With A Little Help From My Friends
  6. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  7. Getting Better
  8. Fixing A Hole
  9. She’s Leaving Home
  10. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
  11. Within You, Without You
  12. When I’m Sixty-Four
  13. Lovely Rita
  14. Good Morning, Good Morning
  15. A Day In The Life
  16. Revolution
  17. The Ballad Of John & Yoko

Beatles fans will have noticed that every song from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band made the list. I’m pretty sure Sgt. Pepper is my #1 album of all time. I just love listening to it, singing along, tapping my feet, and humming songs from it whenever I need a quick picker-upper.

Following are the other 19 songs from 1968 that I would take with me if there were a possibility of being lost on a desert island.

Abraham, Martin & John by Dion
#4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
A tribute to four assassinated Americans: Abraham Lincoln,
Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy

Both Sides Now by Judy Collins
#8 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Written by Joni Mitchell

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by The Who
B side of Magic Bus in the UK and Call Me Lightning in the US
About drummer Keith Moon’s drinking problems.

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume by The Moody Blues
B side of Voices In The Sky
About Dr. David Livingstone, the famous Scottish missionary & explorer.

Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
#1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
I was 13 when this song came out. I found it sad and depressing at the time.

House Of Four Doors by The Moody Blues
From the album In Search Of The Lost Chord,
very likely my favorite album by The Moody Blues

I Started A Joke by The Bee Gees
#6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
This was the song that introduced me to The Bee Gees.

I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You by The Bee Gees
#8 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
A man, awaiting execution for killing his wife’s lover, begs the prison chaplain to pass a final message to his wife.

Louisiana Man by Bobbie Gentry
From the album The Delta Sweete

Master Jack by Four Jacks & A Jill
#18 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Written by David Marks while working in the underground
Free State gold mines in South Africa.

One by Three Dog Night
#5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Written by Harry Nilsson while listening to the busy signal on a phone.

Only A Boy by Jan & Dean
Jan’s father worked as an engineer for Howard Hughes
and flew with Hughes on the only flight of the Spruce Goose.

Ride My See-Saw by The Moody Blues
#61 on the Billboard Hot 100 
Played as the encore at most Moody Blues concerts.

Shield by Deep Purple
From Deep Purple’s second album, The Book Of Taliesyn.

Stormy by Classics IV
#5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Their biggest selling single.

Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) by Manfred Mann
#10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Written by Bob Dylan.

The Unicorn by The Irish Rovers
#7 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
At my junior high school’s talent night,
I played my own arrangement of this song on the violin.

Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell
#3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Has sold 357,000 downloads in the digital music era.

Words by The Bee Gees
#15 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
According to Robin Gibb, Words was written after both he and Barry had been arguing with other people about absolutely nothing. They were just words. Words can make you happy or words can make you sad.”

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

Halls of History—The woman belongs in the home….

Halls of History

When I was young and living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, I looked forward to the days when the Fall and Spring catalogs arrived from Sears. We also received the Montgomery Ward catalogs, but there was nothing like the catalogs from Sears. Dreamland….

Of course, catalog offerings changed over the years, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I discovered kit houses, a common name for the Sears catalog homes sold as Sears Modern Homes.

Sears reported that more than 70,000 kit homes were sold in North America between 1908 and 1940. More than 370 different home designs in various architectural styles and sizes were offered.

Although sold mostly along the East Coast and in Midwestern states, they have been found in Canada, as far south as Florida, and as far west as Alaska and California. Which takes us to Ocean Beach, a neighborhood of San Diego. Recently I discovered that there might be a Sears kit house at 4921 Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach. Looks like this:

4921 Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

4921 Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Sears Modern Homes offered the latest and greatest technology available to home buyers in the early 20th Century, including electricity, indoor plumbing, and central heating. Eventually, asphalt shingles and drywall (instead of the messy lathe and plaster) were offered. Kits were usually shipped by railroad and included most of the materials needed to build the house. Perhaps this is where the great Christmas adage—Some assembly required.—came from….

A few years after Sears quit selling kit homes, all sales records were destroyed in a corporate house cleaning. Sad. Since many of these kit homes were not documented when they were built, finding them today usually requires detailed research for correct identification, especially since there were competitors: Aladdin (which offered the first mail order kit homes in 1906), Bennett, Gordon-Van Tine, Harris Brothers, Lewis, Pacific Ready Cut Homes, Sterling, and Wardway Homes.

Sears issued its first specialty catalog for houses in 1908, Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans. It featured 44 house styles costing $360 to $2,890.

Sales grew, and Sears expanded production, shipping, and sales offices to sites throughout the United States. In order to meet demand and lower costs, Sears purchased lumber mills in Cairo, Illinois, and Port Newark, New Jersey, as well as the Norwood Sash and Door Company in Norwood, Ohio.

Sears first offered precut and fitted lumber, pioneered by Aladdin, in 1916. Prior to 1916, the Sears-supplied lumber had to be cut on site to appropriate lengths. The pre-1916 houses are considered “catalog houses” but are not not considered to be kit houses. A Sears Modern Home kit could have 25 tons of materials and over 30,000 parts. Yep. Some assembly required….

Sears started offering financing in 1912, with early loans for 5-15 years at 5-6 percent interest. Sales peaked in 1929, being hit hard by the Great Depression, which led to payment defaults and strain on the catalog house program. Sears even stopped selling homes for a short time in 1934 and, after liquidating $11 million in defaulted debt, quit financing altogether by 1934.

4921 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

The home at 4921 Voltaire Street was built by William Feigley, recently arrived from Kansas. The city has dubbed it the William and Ona Feigley Spec House #1. Sadly, the life of the Feigley House appears to be coming to an end. It has been vacant for years after having been gutted in the 1980s to convert it to a doctor’s office. The doctor left in 1989, and records of its use since then are spotty. There have been lots of complaints about squatters and trash, though.

The new owners of the property want to tear down the Feigley House and build a two-story building with commercial space on the ground floor and two apartments on the upper floor, and a rooftop deck so they can see the ocean. The Ocean Beach Planning Board gave near-unanimous approval after the original design was altered to present a more Craftsman look. It appears that a portion of the front entrance might be retained and incorporated into the new building. However….

In October 2016, the Historic Resources Board recommended designating the Feigley House as a historic resource, which would pretty much prevent its destruction. According to the Board’s report, the Feigley House has maintained integrity in terms of design, materials, and feeling. Assistant Planner Suzanne Seguer, one of the report’s authors, said, “Nearly a century after its construction, the prized characteristics of its Craftsman-style architecture continue to shine through. Specifically, the resource exhibits a gable roof with wide eave overhang, wood cladding, decorative beams, a partial width porch with tapered square columns, wood-frame sash windows, and decorative attic vents,.”

Interesting, the owner’s representative charged that its kit house origin didn’t enhance but actually weakened historical value. The “Historic Resource Research Report,” prepared by the architectural firm Brian F. Smith and Associates for the owners, asserted the Feigley House bears a telling resemblance to a “Crescent” kit home, one of the 120 models described in the Sears “HonorBilt Modern Homes” 1921 catalog. Thus, the home is “not architecturally significant,” according to Scott Moomjian, an attorney who has represented owners with historic properties, told the board. He continued, saying that even if the Feigley House had not been damaged by insect infestation, neglect, and weathering, it would still be nothing but a “common, undistinguished, and ordinary Craftsman home” that falls far short of being “considered an important architectural specimen.”

Neighbors seem to agree with Moomjian, which isn’t really surprising considering the condition of the house. Which would you rather live next door to, a brand new building or a decrepit old buildng?

The Feigley House’s status as a Sears home is not 100% certain, though, which possibly caused only three Board members to vote for historic designation, short of the required six votes. Personally I find kit homes to be intriguing, interesting, and important.

The Crescent, on page 29 of the 1921 catalog (between the Ardara and Martha Washington) and costing as little as $1,704, was described as being for “folks who like a touch of individuality with good taste.” The cost included “all the millwork, kitchen cupboard, flooring, shingles, siding, finishing lumber, building paper, eaves trough, downspout, roofing, sash weights, hardware, porch screens, painting material, lumber and lath.” Everything except “cement, brick and plaster.”

I found it interesting that the Sears Modern Homes plans were “passed upon by women experts.” “Architects and women advisors plan economy of space…. We plan the arrangement of the kitchen to save steps for the housewife.”

Ah, yes, the woman belongs in the home….

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

Out & About—Oceanside sunset from the pier on 11/6/2017

Out & About

Pictures of beaches during King Tides, which are the highest of the high tides and the lowest of the low tides each year, can be quite beautiful, especially if there are people, buildings, piers, boats, and sunsets (or sunrises) to provide reflections on the wet sand and make it that much more beautiful.

Yesterday the sun set at 4:53 p.m., the exact time of the second-to-the-last King Tide for 2017. Check out the beautiful pictures from the Oceanside pier.

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Most of the people in the wet sand were taking pictures,
and most of them were members of the Pacific Photographic Society,
to which I belong and the reason I was there yesterday.
Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Ooopsy. A couple of photographers forgot their tripods!
Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017

Sunset from the Oceanside pier in Oceanside, California, on November 6, 2017