Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Forty-five years as a photographer, beginning with yearbook staff in sixth grade.

Out & About—Eastern San Diego post-apocalyptic folk art

Out & About

I left Zoey the Cool Cat at 5:45 this morning to go find Dead Dolly Lane.

Yes.

Dead Dolly Lane.

I found it.

Happy Thanksgiving from Dead Dolly Lane.

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

Dead Dolly Lane

A Google search for Dead Dolly Lane San Diego wasn’t much help.

One bicyclist/blogger calls it “Eastern San Diego post-apocalyptic folk art.” Alrighty…..

Another blogger asks, “What is it about San Diego’s rural southeast county that attracts the fantastically absurd characters that create these horrible images?” and then ends with “I love it!”

That’s it. I have so many questions but there don’t seem to be any answers.

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

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Picture of the Moment—Row boats

Picture of the Moment

I had never seen purposely painted utility boxes and dumpsters until I came to San Diego. Around here, absolutely. everything. is painted. I do admit that they are much more pleasant to look at than the unpainted thing. Here’s the fence surrounding a couple of dumpsters at a ritzy hotel over on Mission Bay:

Real boats and mural boats

Notice that the painting of the row boats is a painting of the row boats sitting just a few feet away. I really liked that. Which is why I took a picture of it. Uh, der.

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

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