Out & About—Mission Bay Park

Out & About

One of my favorite places in San Diego to go for a walk is Mission Bay Park.

San Diego's Mission Bay Park from the air

Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made water park in the nation, and the ninth largest municipally owned park. Interestingly, San Diego also has the largest municipally owned park: Balboa Park.

Following are a few pictures from my most recent walk in Mission Bay Park a few days ago. I was over near the skyscraper hotel at the left side of the picture above. The hotel, a Hilton, is in one of the pictures below, and the bridge pictures below are under the long bridge in the upper center of the picture near the hotel.

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Along with the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, I can highly recommend Mission Bay Park as a way to spend a day in San Diego.

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

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From my wise old grandmother: “Practice makes perfect!”

My wise old grandmother

Many decades ago when I was still a teenager and wondering what my place was in the world, Philippe Petit (b. 1949) was walking a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City….. 1,350 feet above the ground…. August 7, 1974. He did it 8 times in 45 minutes.

I thought to myself, “How do you practice for that?”

Well, yesterday, I found the new generation of high wire artists practicing their craft:

Mission Bay, San Diego CA

Mission Bay, San Diego CA So.

There ya go.

You can practice, which is good, because as my wise old grandmother always told me when I was practicing the violin:

“Practice makes perfect!”

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

Cats—Day 20 in our new home

Cats

It’s day 20 in our new home and Zoey the Cool Cat is as enamored as ever. She loves the floor, both carpet and vinyl, but she doesn’t like the two bathrooms, my room (I keep the blackout curtains drawn), or the office (also blackout curtains to cut down on glare on the 4K monitors and the 4K TV. She does have her favorite positions on the floors:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

We still are unpacking boxes, mostly books—we must have the largest library outside of an actual library. Books are heavy, and when one puts a lot of them in one box, the box becomes heavy. Uh, der. So I bring in one box in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each time I bring in a box, Zoey the Cool Cat believes it is solely for her. She can be nowhere around, but as soon as I put a box on the floor, BAM! There she is! It’s hers!

Yesterday afternoon’s boxZoey the Cool Cat

This morning’s boxZoey the Cool Cat

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

Opinion—Stop calling them Conservatives. They are Regressives.

Opinion

I was a late adopter of Facebook. I didn’t see it as being useful to me making money, and I am all about making money while I’m physically and mentally capable of making money. If I get to the point where I’m a burden on society, I’m not going to want to be a part of society….

I finally joined Facebook in 2011. Here I am. When I started getting most of my news from Facebook links and Google News, I decided to stop paying $100 a month for cable service. That was September 2013.

What is most important to me is that I can connect with like-minded people who hold similar political views to my own. I was a Republican from my first vote in 1976 to 2013, which meant that I was a gay Republican, and an openly gay Republican from 1993 to 2013. I know. Oxymoron.

Finally, after the 2012 presidential election, I gave up on the Republican party. Sure glad I did. They are not conservatives. They are simply mean, hateful people. A Facebook friend, Charles Fernandez, calls them Regressives. I think he’s spot on. Here’s Charles in his own words:

They are not conservatives but are Regressives and many Regressives are also White Nationals.

Stop calling them Conservatives!
What do they want to conserve?

Our language and political identity has been usurped and demeaned by Radical Right Wing Reactionary Regressives. The real dichotomy is between Progressives and Regressives; NOT Liberal and Conservative. We must make a winning effort to take control of the language of debate.

What are so called conservatives trying to conserve? Certainly not the 10,000 year habitable “Goldilocks’” environment for humans, nor the 224-year-old separation of church and state, nor the 49 year old voting rights act, nor the 102-year-old progressive income tax, nor the 81-year-old social security safety net, nor the 41-year-old right to privacy. These are all things under attack by ironically named “conservatives. ”Republicans are not Conservatives but Regressives; radical reactionaries seeking to return to the days of untrammeled white male heterosexual privilege, Jim Crow, non unionized – substandard living wages, gilded age extravagance, bloated military industrial cold war excesses, and a Norman Rockwell vision of America and the world rooted in fantasy.

They claim to be Economic Conservatives. But what Conservative in their right mind would budget money for buying private airplanes and yachts, hundred million dollar mansions, and 181 million dollar paintings when the roof was leaking, the car needs tires, the electricity is intermittent, and the kids can’t read. Our infrastructure, roads, bridges, rail, power production and transmission, and our schools are in dire need of repair. Interest rates are at an all time low. Is it not the essence of conservatism and good business to conserve and protect what you have and not go on a profligate spending spree with money you don’t have. And every good business knows that when interest rates are at an all time low it is time to invest and grow. Since when is living beyond your means conservative? It is the very definition of a profligate regressive.

Progressive are true Conservatives seeking to preserve the core American values:
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Life: More than 45,000 Americans die from a lack of health care. Health care is no longer a doctor with a little black bag making house calls for $5 or a chicken. In order to provide the miracles that modern medical science has conceived we need a health care system that makes it possible to provide those services to all. Conservatives demand personal responsibility. But NOT having insurance or the means to cover bills and relying on government to pay the emergency room bills is the opposite of conservative dogma. Yet they prevent a responsible system where all pay a bit more progressive tax to fund a single payer system. And such a system is economically conservative, as it would save billions over insurance costs while providing a better chance of life to the 45,000 Americans who have died each year from a lack of health care.

It is the Regressives who are cutting the social security net especially the reactionary push to drastically cut food stamps that overwhelmingly feed hungry children, the sick and the old, with very little fraud. In an attempt to undo Medicaid they cut the funding for fraud enforcement that led to a drastic increase in fraud, thereby fueling the anger at Medicaid thieves and the program as a whole. Progressives, where elected, have increased funding and drastically cut the fraud.

Since when is it NOT Conservative to CONSERVE the Environment by opposing fracking, dirty tar sands, soft terrorist targets like pipelines and unsustainable nuclear energy, resisting renewable energy etc. Of course it is the fossil fuel fueled Regressives. Clean air and water are essential to LIFE!

It is the Regressive NeoCons who campaigned for foreign wars costing thousands of American lives and in the process exploding the deficit by not putting the cost into the budget and providing for it with progressive taxation.

Liberty: Taxation without representation caused by Regressive gerrymandering congressional districts that enabled them in 2012 to win 33 more House of Representative races while losing the popular vote by 1.2 million votes. Regressives are trying their best to suppress the vote with multiple obstructionist measure’s that make it difficult or impossible to vote, in in effect denying voting rights to many poor people, minorities, women, old and young people? Denying voting rights to millions who have paid their debt to society is to exclude them from civil society. Their rational of voter fraud to deny voting rights is THE fraud, as it does not exist in any other meaningful way.

Is it not a basic right, a fundamental liberty to have dominion over ones own body? Has it not been long established that we have the right to congregate include forming unions. Regressives are attacking Unions. Regressives are suppressing free enterprise by establishing rules that empower and enable monopoly crony capitalism at the cost of millions of small family and individual entrepreneurs who both hire and buy locally, while oligarchs off-shore of jobs to low wage countries and stash the profits in tax havens to avoid taxes. Working full time and just covering the minimum costs of sustenance; a roof over your head, food on the table, and a shirt on your back, is that not the definition of slave? What kind of Liberty can one have with Regressive backed Slave wages?

The Pursuit of Happiness: Regressives are cutting funding for education and the long established right to a free public first class education that is the key to success in the modern world? Is it not a conservative right to believe in GOD in your own way, or not? Is this belief Not fundamental to personal happiness? Regressives are trying to establish a Christian America in an a-historical, anti-American “crusade.” Freedom to believe and practice a religion of your choice or no religion, unencumbered by the dictates of Government was a major reason the new world was populated by Europeans fleeing from religious oppression. It is enshrined in our Constitution. Jefferson, Adams, Madison, all wrote and supported a strict separation of Church and State. Washington religiously practiced that separation by never joining a specific church while attending many. This is a conservative tradition 400 years old and fundamental to happiness. It is Progressive’s who support this right and traditions, and religious fundamentalists supported by Regressives who are threatening it. Regressives oppose the right to marry whom you choose? What pray tell is more important to happiness than the right to love whom you choose.

This list could go on for pages but one thing is certain, it is emphatically not Progressives standing in the way of the Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I suggest that we start using this terminology,

Stop calling them Conservatives. They are Regressives.

Thank you, Charles.

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

Opinion—If I have to use it….

Opinion

Many decades ago in Tomball, Texas, I helped my uncle build a beautiful brick mailbox to match his brick house. A month later he called to tell me that the homeowners’ association told him that he would have to remove it and put a stick mailbox in its place to match all the other stick mailboxes in his rural subdivision. He was furious. I had no monkey in the circus but his experience did convince me that I would never live in a community that had an HOA.

I have plenty of HOA horror stories from my years in real estate….

Along with homeowners’ associations telling you what you can and cannot do to a property you own, sometimes the city gets involved, too, most of the time concerning zoning ordinances. No one wants to buy a beautiful home only to have a brothel built next door….

One of the different ways that the city can get involved is with historic properties. Here in San Diego County, if you buy a historic property and agree to keep it historic, you get a pretty good tax break. With real estate prices being so astronomical, a tax break on property taxes can be significant.

Recently, over in Coronado, the City of Coronado got upset at the owner of a historic property because she had replaced the old windows with modern dual-pane windows. The house currently looks like this:

Historic home in Coronado CA

Notice the windows. That white bar at the bottom of each window is the old, wooden window apron, usually indicating that the home had wooden windows at one point.

Aluminum window on an old historic home in Coronado CA

Now they are aluminum windows. The city is upset because the aluminum windows just don’t match the architecture of the home. Perhaps if she had installed white aluminum windows….

Actually, one can get aluminum windows that look like wood, but they are custom windows, so they are quite a bit more expensive than standard aluminum windows. The City has given her options but she’s still not happy because all of the options require her to remove these windows, which already have been installed and paid for….

Although the property tax breaks can be significant, I’m pretty much a modern guy when it comes to using things, so you’ll never find me buying something historic. If I have to use it rather than just admiring it, I own the latest and the greatest….

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

Picture of the Moment—My, what big ears you have!

Picture of the Moment

There are two main reasons why I have an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park:

1 – I don’t have to try to get my money’s worth whenever I go.

2 – Not all critters are out at all times of the day or all days of the week, so on any specific visit I might see something that I haven’t seen before, or perhaps get a better picture.

The Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) is a great example.

Fossa

This little one is located in the children’s zoo at the San Diego Zoo. Since I never had (never wanted) children, I used to never go into the children’s zoo. One day I did and found all sorts of interesting critters that are not in the “adult” sections of the zoo. Now I always make a trip into the children’s section to see what’s new.

The Fennec Fox rarely is visible, preferring his little hideaway hole in his exhibit area. This time he was just laying out on that pad and watching me. I told him I was going to make him an Internet star; I’m sure he heard me with those big ears but he just looked at me with those little eyes. Meh.

The Fennec Fox is the smallest of the world’s foxes. It lives in the sandy Sahara Desert and surrounding areas in North Africa. They are nocturnal, which helps them deal with the desert heat. And if you’re wondering why such a small fox as such big ears, it’s the better to hear you with…. Actually, their large ears radiate body heat to help keep them cool. Their long, thick fur insulates them during cold nights and protects them from hot sun during the day. They also have hairy feet which act similarly to snowshoes, protecting them from the hot sand.

Fennec foxes live in communities of about 10 individuals in underground dens. Males mark their territory with urine and are quite aggressive when mating season arrives.

They are opportunistic eaters, which I guess one has to be if one lives in a desert, preferring plants but also eating rodents, eggs, reptiles, and insects. As with most desert dwellers, the fennec fox can go long periods without water. Little is known about the status of wild fennec fox populations; I mean, who wants to live in the desert for an extended period of time studying little critters that live underground?

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