Monthly Archives: March 2015

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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Music on Mondays (3-30-15)—Hear me roar (or see me sleep)

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

There are many babies at the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park right now, including a baby hippo born a week ago, a baby lowland gorilla, and a baby jaguar.

This is not a baby:

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big cat, an African Lion, the King of the Jungle. Doesn’t look all that ferocious to me. In fact, he looks suspiciously like another cat I know:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have never seen the African Lions at the Zoo looking ferocious, only Zoey the Cool Cat:

Zoey the Cool Cat

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Every time I see lions sleeping, I think of Robert John and his 1972 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

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Robert John peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s the version I grew up with; I was a junior in high school.

The song itself, though, is actually quite a bit older, having originally been recorded in 1939 as “Mbube” by the South African Zulu group Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds. Mbube is Zulu for lion.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whenever I think of Zulu and Africa, I think first of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, best known for singing with Paul Simon on his #1 album “Graceland” from 1986. Sure enough, Ladysmith Black Mambazo did a version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

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(YouTube and Wikipedia by far are my favorite Internet sites but they do cause me not to visit libraries as often as I should…….)

The Weavers had a #14 hit in 1952.

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I found The Weavers themselves to be rather interesting because one of their members was the incomparable Pete Seeger (1919-2014). Seeger was a prolific songwriter, having written “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”, recorded by dozens of groups throughout music history and listed by New Statesman as one of the Top 20 political songs of all time. I am most familiar with the version by Peter, Paul & Mary:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seeger also wrote “If I Had A Hammer,” a #10 hit for Peter, Paul & Mary in late 1962, as well as a #3 hit for Trini Lopez in the summer of 1963.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds also was written by Seeger and was a #1 hit for them in late 1965. The Byrds were one of three groups performing at the first rock concert I ever went to, that concert being at The Yellow Rose of Texas dance hall in Corpus Christi in 1972. (Chicago & Dr. John were the other two groups.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With that little side journey out of the way, let’s get back to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

The Tokens’ version arguably is the best known, having spent three weeks at #1 in 1961.

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I say arguably because younger readers probably know best the version by Timon and Pumbaa used in the Disney movie “The Lion King.”

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I feel like I just played a musical version of Six Degrees of Separation.

And with that, I return you to your regularly scheduled Monday programming.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Put on your best show when you have an audience

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jim and I visited the San Diego Zoo yesterday where we saw several peacocks strutting their stuff trying to find the right gal to spend a few days with this year.

Following is a video of one. As I was recording, I was thinking, “It’s always good to show your best when you have an audience.”

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14F: Congress Hall Site

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The sixth landmark, San Diego Historical Landmark #14F, is the Congress Hall Site.

Congress Hall was a one-story frame building built by, quoting the San Diego History Center, “George De Witt, Clinton, Washington, Robertson.” Note the punctuation. What does that mean? Are Clinton, Washington, and Robertson people? Why don’t they have first names if they are people? I believe they are names because the San Diego History Center tells us that “Robertson ran a saloon, billiard parlor and gambling house.”

A conflicting article, also at the San Diego History Center, states that Congress Hall “was a two-story board-and-batten hotel, erected in 1867 by George Dewitt Clinton Washington Robinson.”

I’m so confused.

Originally Congress Hall was located on the north side of the plaza (conflicting source says “northeast side”) in what is now Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Vincent Llucia bought the building around 1870 and had it moved to the northwest corner of the plaza. In 1884 the post office was located in the building, possibly because Vincent Llucia and his son, Vincent P. D. Llucia, both were postmasters.

One of the building’s claim to fame is that it served as a Pony Express office. One of the last Pony Express rode north from Congress Hall.

At various times, Congress Hall was also a wild west saloon, a gambling hall, a rooming house, a post office, and a bakery. A balcony over the porch provided a vantage point for bands and public speakers on occasion.

Congress Hall was destroyed in 1939.

I could find no free pictures on the Internet but the San Diego History Center has some that one can purchase, the cost of which is beyond my lowly blog…. Here are a couple of links to pictures:

Congress Hall remains, ca. 1930—Obviously a one-story building

Congress Hall, no date but obviously a two-story building

Currently, the Congress Hall site is occupied by the Barra Barra Saloon in Fiesta de Reyes.

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fiesta de Reyes comprises 19 locally owned specialty shops, three restaurants and, a 10-room boutique hotel.

Barra Barra Saloon is a period saloon representing the merging of Mexico with American traditions after the Mexican-American War. Barra Barra bills itself as an “Old World Mexican dining experience with traditional Mexican fare made from recipes that span generations.”

Barra Barra’s furniture and décor includes authentic Mexican artifacts as well as reproduction collectibles, providing the ambiance of a ranch home in Old Mexico. Along with the saloon there are two indoor dining rooms and a large patio dining area with two fire pits.

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Barra Barra Saloon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (3-27-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

A collection of Photographic Art stamps made from pictures taken this past week.

If there is no plant name on the stamp, that means I ain’t gotta clue what the plant name is.

Iceland poppy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Kangaroo paw

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Unknown flower

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Unknown flower

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Unknown flower

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Unknown flower

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Iceland poppy

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Pelargoniuim

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Aloe

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Unknown flower

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Lady slipper orchid

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Downtown San Diego at night

Out & About

One hundred years ago San Diego, a city of about 40,000 people, hosted the Panama California Exposition to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.

The first stop on the voyage through the Canal and up the west coast of the United States would be San Diego.

The Exposition began on January 1, 1915, and lasted until January 1, 1917.

To help celebrate the centennial, San Diego is beautifying the city, as if it weren’t already beautiful….

Many of the highway medians near downtown are getting new landscaping. Potholes are being filled but apparently to me only on streets near downtown and Balboa Park, and new lighting is showing up on many of the buildings in downtown San Diego.

Recently I went downtown after the sun set in the west to get some time exposure pictures of the new lighting that has shown up these past six months.

This first picture is of the San Diego County Administration Center where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

San Diego County Administration Center stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Both the north and south sides of the Administration Center used to be ugly parking lots. Those lots are now underground two wonderful water features and a playground for the children. I was down there around 8:30 p.m., and the playground was full of children and parents having late night fun. This pictures is of the water feature on the north side:

Downtown San Diego at night

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The south side is were the children’s playground is, so it’s more popular than the north side. Here’s the south side water feature with Wyndham’s new lighting; the blue adds nicely to the downtown visual experience:

Downtown San Diego at night

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lastly, here are two skyscrapers with new red and green neon lighting stripes. Quite nice:

Downtown San Diego at night

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you’re flying into San Diego for business or pleasure, try to get a window seat on the left side of the plane. Day or night the view is spectacular. Note that occasionally the fierce Santa Ana winds force the planes to come in off the ocean to land. If that happens to you, both sides of the plane offer great views—SeaWorld, Mexico, downtown San Diego, beaches. That might happen about ten days a year, so your best bet is to get that left side window seat.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Sea Lion Dance

Out & About

Photographic Art stamps based on pictures of the wildlife at La Jolla Cove this past Monday.

Seagulls at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wading bird at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pelican at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

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Pelican at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cormorants at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

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La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea lion at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I love the little girl dancing for the sea lions in the last picture. I’ll call it the Sea Lion Dance.

I’ll end with another sunset picture from Monday’s trip to La Jolla:

Sunset at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla is a great place to visit at any time. The tide pools and beaches are more accessible during low tides, and the there seem to be more wildlife, probably due to the sea creatures stranded in the tide pools.

You can find tide schedules here: La Jolla tides.

The best place to see the tide pools is at Rocky Point, shown on the map below.

Parking throughout La Jolla, especially during Tourist Season (Memorial Day to Labor Day), is scarce so be prepared to drive around for a while looking for a parking spot or park the first place you see a spot and walk to Scripps Park. A walk through downtown La Jolla is a great experience all on its own!rocky point la jolla map

Go to Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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