SNIPPETS (9-16-2018)



Oh, dear.

I never switched to the “easier way to create posts on” because I didn’t find the new editor easier.

I just logged in to my blog and find that now is developing their “Gutenberg” editor. I was offered the choice to try it out while it’s still in development, so I did. One look at it, and I deactivated it.

Gutenberg is a “block editor,” which means you edit things in blocks. I have vast experience with block editors since most of the email programs use block editors (I have been using Mailchimp for six years); I absolutely despise them. They are the most difficult things in the world to use. Just give me a good HTML editor and I’m happy.

If forces us to use Gutenberg once it’s fully developed, my blogging days at here at Russel Ray Photos shall come to an end. Since I have an upgraded blog that costs $99 a year, if I quit paying that $99, everything I have written over the past six years will disappear into thin air.

Oh, well.

That just means I can start over again on a different blogging platform, and everything old shall be new again!


I have been looking for nice, durable, strong, good-looking outdoor furniture that I can display some of my larger plants on. Finally, at, I found a lot, and I ordered a lot. My first order arrived this past week. Here it is, a two-shelf wood/metal table with my huge Mammillaria displayed nicely on it.

Outdoor table from Wayfair

The wood is solid Paulownia, lightest-to-strongest-ratio wood species in the world, and the metal is recycled aircraft-grade aluminum pipes. Extremely easy to assemble (i.e., NOT IKEA!). I like it so much that I ordered two more.


My first experience with was several months ago when I ordered a “mushroom stool” to use as a side table outside on my patio. It is exposed to the elements, which here in San Diego means mostly sun, and still looks as new as the day it arrived. Recently I ordered three more and moved the first one to the other side of the house where I display an expensive Aloe in a custom display that I made specifically for it:

Mushroom stool from Wayfair

The rocks are real rocks from out here in the East San Diego County boondocks. They are glued together with GE 100% silicone with a hole in the middle filled with cactus soil. The pot and rocks (and plant!) weigh 53 pounds, so it really did need something strong to sit on besides the ground. When the other mushroom stools arrive, that pot sitting on the ground to the right also will be placed on one but about twenty feet down the deck.


When I win the lottery

(which will be never because, uh, I would have to play the lottery, and I don’t),

I want to buy about 5,000 acres and create a dog sanctuary with 2,000 acres, a cat sanctuary with 2,000 acres, and an “Other pets” sanctuary with 1,000 acres, and have enough money left over to hire people to manage the place so that all I have to do is walk around and give lots of love to lots of pets.

Texas A&M UniversityOf course, I’ll have 5,000 acres of gardens, too, so the cats can climb in trees, the dogs can, uh, raise their legs on trees, and I can finally use my forestry degree from Texas A&M University (Class of ’77).


Update on Zoey the Cool Cat’s diabetic diet.

End of week four.

After becoming a floor cat and refusing to jump up on anything for four months, she now has jumped up on the bed four consecutive nights and made herself at home, usually between my legs. She’s losing weight; moving about the house to find all the sunny spots during the day; jumping up on shelves, chairs, and beds; and returning to her old feisty, playful self.

Thank you Hill’s W/D prescription diet!

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat


I guess margarita didn’t fit.

Bureeto car


Found deep in in the East San Diego County boondocks, but what is it?

What is it?


Uh-oh. The chicken is heading towards the road. You know what that means but we still don’t know why.

Chicken heading for the road


I was in the El Cajon Home Depot a few days ago at 6:00 a.m. Dad and his 6-year-old son were there. Son was standing in front of the skeleton canines pointing and crying. He was frightened.

Halloween at Home Depot two months early

Dad was over at the battery rack ignoring his son. I felt so sorry for the little kid. My first question, though, was “What dad takes his 6-year-old son to Home Depot at six in the morning?” Kids should be in bed at that time of day!


Killers of the Flower MoonI have always enjoyed history, which includes etymology. I just started reading “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Gramm.

On page 11 is the etymology of Whizbang, Oklahoma (no longer a town, just a road – Whizbang Road – on the Osage Reservation):

“….the reservation’s tumultuous boomtowns, which had sprung up to house and entertain oil workers—towns like Whizbang, where, it was said, people whizzed all day and banged all night.”

Stunning visual, but I could not find a video on YouTube…..


We get lots of beautiful sunsets in the east here in San Diego, but only after the sun goes down in the west. Something to do with the curvature of the Earth, reflections, etc. Here’s a sunset in the east taken by the dash cam in my car on September 14, 2018:

Sunset in the east in San Diego, California


Zoey the Cool Cat has something to say about the current election season:

Elect functioning adults in November 2018


“I give the fight up: let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God.”

—Robert Browning, “Paracelsus,” 1835


From a news story:

“Families help shape you as an individual, and they’re always there for you, no matter what.”

Well, if the family happens to be Mormons and Catholics, and you happen to be gay, no, they are not “always there for you, no matter what.”


From a news story:

“….[M]any corporations donate to both political parties. You never know which way the winds will turn, so you might as well have a bribe in both camps.”

Fight organized crime


This little cat often welcomes me at the back door when I arrive at Friends of Cats. It’s a Turkish Van, a breed that I had never heard of. Very beautiful!

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

Turkish Van cat at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California


Slowly but surely I’m working my way out of this severe depression caused by retirement, i.e., not having anything to do.

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend told me about San Diego Oasis, providing programs for the elderly. I checked them out and immediately volunteered to help K-6 children who have been identified as lagging behind their classmates in their reading skills.

I also proposed a new program for them, a chess club. In my proposal I mentioned my playing experience, my teaching experience, and my chess club experience. I also told them that I was a firm believer in keeping the mind active and that an active mind can prevent the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, etc. The San Diego Oasis Program Council liked my idea for creating a chess club, called me for further details, and has approved me starting a chess club with the Spring 2019 curriculum. I’m so happy!

Here is a picture of some of the members of the La Mesa Outdoor Chess Club that I helped start in August 2013:

La Mesa chess club


Every bookshelf needs a great adornment.

Zoey the Cool Cat on the bookshelf


This little one is Max. He is one of my favorite cats in Cozy Cottage at Friends of Cats.

Max at Friends of Cats sanctuary in El Cajon, California

I love his long ear hairs. Max is in Lifetime Care and is not adoptable. Usually Lifetime Care means that the owner died or otherwise had to give up the cat, possibly going to assisted living himself. Friends of Cats will take cats into Lifetime Care with just a $5,000 contribution. Doesn’t matter how old the cat is.

Max is described as a “long-hair brown tabby with white.” Since tabby is a coloring and not a breed, that probably means that Max is a Domestic Long-haired cat, or as we knew them back in my youth in Kingsville, Texas, an “alley cat.”

He’s such a sweetie.


My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother was a conservationist before it was fashionable. She constantly told me,

“Do not throw things away! There is no away!”

To this day, I recycle whatever I can because I firmly believe something else that she told me:

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

In today’s world with eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and all these groups on Facebook where one can buy or sell things, it’s amazing what people are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay. I speak from experience, both as a seller and as a buyer.

One can even buy and sell plants online, and in plant auctions. Here’s the first plant that I bought in an online plant auction, an Operculicarya pachypus:

Operculicarya pachypus

I’m not telling you how much I paid…………..

The seller was located in West Hollywood (suburb of Los Angeles), and I guessed who it was based on his email address at eBay. Since I knew him, and had his phone number, and wanted this plant badly, I called him and asked if I could drive to his place and pick it up instead of having him ship it to me.

The problem with shipping plants is that sellers almost always ship plants “bare root,” which means they take them out of the containers, shake off all the soil from the roots, wrap the roots in moist napkins and such, and ship the plants. Shipping expenses are less.

Some plants can take that, some can’t.

Because of what I paid for this beautiful little tree, I didn’t want to take the chance, especially since I was unfamiliar with its growing requirements, so I drove to Los Angeles to pick it up.

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


20 thoughts on “SNIPPETS (9-16-2018)

  1. Pit

    Good morning, Russel,
    First of all, I’m so happy about the good news re Zooey and yourself!
    As to that new editor on WP: I hope that they’ll still keep the (very) old one, which they a long time ago promised nevere to abolish. I, too, am afraid of losing everything I have written over the years, should I decide to quit WP. That’s why I use “HTTtrack Website Copier” to save a copy of all my blogs on my computer. I must admit, it takes a long long time to copy my blogs, and I haven’t gotten around to copying my “Fritztown News” at all yet, but I’m determined to.
    As to #3: I really like that stool. Thanks for the link. We’re looking for one or two “special-looking” coffee tables, and also for some pedestals or stolls to present sculptures. Maybe we’ll find something on that website.
    Have a wonderful Sunday,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colltales

      I agree, Pit, the prospect of losing years of hard writing working is pretty scary. That’s why I too have been looking for a reliable way of copying my blog into an external archive-like setup but without much success. I haven’t tried this HTTrack Website Copier, though, so I’m grateful for your suggestion. Wish me luck. Cheers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Pit

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed. It’ll take a long time, though. I had to keep my computer running for more than a day for my “Bilderbuch” blog, and that’s not even my largest. What I need to figure out is if I can just update these records, only adding new content, or if I need to do the whole kit and caboose all over.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          I started blogging in 2007 at Active Rain. When I moved to WordPress in January 2012, I spent a week copying everything I had done at Active Rain. I never used it. I have all my pictures and, since perspectives change over time, I found it more exciting simply to start over again as far as the text was concerned.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Colltales

          I know, it should be an easier process. I’ve got thousands of texts on my site, and even considering transposing them to a more controllable, physical mean, discourages me a bit. Ought to try it, though, before they decide to ‘disrupt’ it and thrown years of hard work into an unrecoverable ‘cyber’ dustbin. Cheers


  2. Colltales

    I’m glad you’ve expressed some of my feelings about every new addition WP heavily promotes to add to its platform, Russel. And like you and Pit, I fear for the worst about the preservation of our online stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the efforts WP designers put on form, to have the most advanced features developed for the medium, not to mention the dedication of its volunteers. But what I really care about is content, not format. In fact, considering that I’m using WP for almost 10 years now, I know much less about its technical specs than I suppose I should. It doesn’t impact much what do, though. Yes, I want to have better tools for editing, to enhance pics and give proper credit to every photo and link I may use on the site. But mostly I want more people to read me, and I doubt that new software contributes to that. We’re living in the days post-Net Neutrality, and I may be mistaken but I haven’t seen WP as an active defender of a free Internet, which ultimately is what allows people to get to know and follow blogs such as ours. What’s the point of having sophisticate software running the site, if readers simply can’t access it as fast as paid for sites? At the end of the day, I do not want to learn an entire new way of publishing, and that’s why I too never touch the new, slicker, but downright cumbersome ‘new’ editor. I do hope they keep their word and never get rid of the old one. Sadly, like most platforms, after an initial push to help new users adopt it, WP gives clearly priority to nerdy, code-driven approaches to blogging. That leaves us, orphans focused on the editorial, journalistic even, approach, out in the cold. We do what we can, though, so keep on blogging. Also very glad that Zooey is doing fine. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      That was my first guess based on my real estate experience, but there is absolutely nothing out there that would need pumping. It’s so isolated and deserted that I don’t even think there was anything there decades ago. Just undevelopment. I love a good mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marcus Ampe

    Block editors area disaster, not practical at all.I also do hope WordPress shall keep the old editor going, because the so called new editor is not practical and when the Gutenberg is a block editor they are going the wrong way, instead going forwards going backwards. They may think it would be easier for the folks, but those who are blogging or writing on WordPress have totally different reasons of blogging than the so many other blogplatforms.


  4. Marcus Ampe

    What those technicians may think to be the most advanced features developed for the medium is bringing something what other blogsystems have already for years, but which are not practical to h



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