Category Archives: History

Out & About—How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brick is not widely used in Southern California but the Del Mar depot, built in 1910 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, is a beautiful brick depot located on Coast Boulevard between 15th and 17th streets.

Former Del Mar railroad depot in use from 1910 to 1995.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That depot had been in continuous use from 1910 to 1995. For many of those years it was the only passenger stop between Oceanside and San Diego, a distance of 39 miles. At the time of its closing, it was one of Amtrak’s busiest stations, mainly due to the Del Mar Fairgrounds being nearby. The Fairgrounds host hundreds of events throughout the year, including the San Diego County Fair, the 5th largest fair in the United States.

In the late 1980s, the city of Solana Beach, located two miles north of Del Mar, set about to build a regional transit center. The San Diego Association of Governments voted to close the Del Mar depot due to limited parking, the lack of handicapped access, and the poor logistics of providing for trains, buses, cars, and people. The Del Mar City Council rejected expanding the depot but hoped to keep it in operation as an Amtrak-only station; Amtrak nixed that idea and moved its Del Mar operations to Solana Beach.

Across from the Del Mar depot is one of Southern California’s prime surfing spots, so this area area is highly congested as surfers arrive by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, car, bus, and taxi. No longer do they arrive by train.

The depot now is private property so there is no access to it. I did find a walkway going above it where I got seven pictures to create the panorama show above. The picture below is looking down the tracks where you can see the depot on the right. That’s as close as you’re going to get to a trackside picture without a drone. Hmmmmmmmm. Drone. How come Santa didn’t bring me a drone?

Tracks at the former Del Mar railroad depot, in upper right.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

How come trains get to do 90 mph?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fifty years ago I wanted to be a history teacher. Then I found out how much teachers got paid in Texas. So much for that want. I still love history, though, and when I find history that has been saved, even if it means re-purposing, I get excited.

Recently I found a book titled “The Railroad Stations of San Diego County” by James N. Price. So I used it to go exploring.

I found the historic Encinitas CA depot built by AT&SF in 1887. The book has two pictures of it, one from 1910 and one from 1988, so you get to see three pictures of this beautiful structure that has been saved for others to enjoy.

1910 photo
Credited in the book to the San Diego Historical Society, Ticor Collection)1910 picture of the Encinitas railroad depot built by AT&SF in 1887

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ca. 1988 photo
No photo credit so photo probably is that of the author, James N. Price.
Ca. 1988 picture of the Encinitas railroad depot built by AT&SF in 1887

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

January 2017 photo by Russel RayJanuary 2017 picture of the Encinitas railroad depot built by AT&SF in 1887

This depot served rail passengers into the 1950s, closing completely in January 1969. Plans were proposed in 1971 to move it to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Instead, it was bought by an entrepreneur in 1972 and moved to Leucadia (annexed by Encinitas several years ago) where it was turned into a crafts/hobby center called, appropriately, The Station.

It sits at the corner of Atheena Street and North Coast Highway 101 where it currently is the extremely popular restaurant Pannikin Coffee & Tea. And while it no longer sits trackside, it is just across the street from the busy Amtrak tracks so one can watch Amtrak and Coaster trains zoom by at 90 miles per hour.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (12-19-2016)—When people run in circles

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Up until the age of 18 I had always wanted to be a history teacher. Then I  found out how much money teachers made and decided that I wanted more. I still love history, though, so each day at midnight or shortly thereafter, I head to Wikipedia to see what happened on this day in history. I continue to learn some interesting things, and I post my favorites over on my Facebook page.

For example, today is Jake Gyllenhaal’s 36th birthday. I first became aware of him in 2005 when he starred with Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain, a movie which I could identify with since I had been a closeted gay male growing up in the wild, wild west of South Texas.

While at Wikipedia, I clicked on the link to Jake Gyllenhaal to see what he’d been up to and discovered that he starred as Donnie Darko in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko. I have not seen Donnie Darko for some strange reason because it sounds like my type of movie. I was familiar with it, though, because of the soundtrack. One of the songs from the soundtrack, “Mad World,” was made famous by Adam Lambert on the 2009 season of “American Idol.” I had already been familiar with “Mad World” because it was written and sung originally by Tears for Fears on their 1983 album, “The Hurting,” and I had a complete collection of Tears for Fears’ music. Adam Lambert, however, said that he didn’t know about Tears for Fears’ version, instead having heard the Gary Jules version from Donnie Darko. Thus I had to go have a listen to the Gary Jules version.

I like all three versions. Each has a unique something that makes it work. So here they are. Have a listen. Later today, I’m watching Donnie Darko.

Tears for Fears, 1983

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Gary Jules, 2001

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Adam Lambert, 2009

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Let’s swing, baby, let’s swing!

Halls of History

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since Hillary Clinton is currently winning the popular vote by 2,833,224, people are calling for the abolishment of the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote. Many are saying that if we went to a direct popular vote there would be no swing states. I think that not only would we still have swing states, but we’d have swing cities, too. So I set out to prove that to myself. Quite interesting.

The main purpose of the Electoral College was, and still is in my opinion, to prevent the most populous states and cities from electing the president every four years. If one chose to ignore the least populous states, then could band together and do you in, something they could not do if it was a direct popular vote. Clinton did not go to Wisconsin at all, and didn’t set foot in Michigan until four days before the election. Two reliably blue states suddenly weren’t so reliably blue anymore; in fact, they turned a light shade of red.

What might have happened in 2016 if we had a direct popular vote? Let’s make some educated guesses.

The total population of the United States is 321,418,820 according to the Census Bureau 2015 estimate.

So far, 136,499,945 votes have been cast for presidential candidates in the 2016 election. So 42.46% of the population voted.

Of those votes, 65,788,567 have been for Clinton and 62,955,343 for Trump.

Let’s see what we would have to do to get to 65,788,567 if we had a direct popular vote.

Here are the Top 25 states by those 2015 population estimates:

California – 39,144,818
Texas – 27,469,114
Florida – 20,271,272
New York – 19,795,791
Illinois – 12,859,995
Pennsylvania – 12,802,503
Ohio – 11,613,423
North Carolina – 10,042,802
Georgia – 10,214,860
Michigan – 9,922,576
New Jersey – 8,958,013
Virginia – 8,382,993
Arizona – 6,828,065
Massachusetts – 6,794,422
Indiana – 6,619,680
Tennessee – 6,600,299
Missouri – 6,083,672
Maryland – 6,006,401
Wisconsin – 5,771,337
Minnesota – 5,489,594
Colorado – 5,456,574
South Carolina – 4,896,146
Alabama – 4,858,979
Louisiana – 4,649,676
Kentucky – 4,425,092

The Top 10 states have 174,137,154 people, 54.18% of the population
The Top 20 states have 241,671,630 people, 75.19% of the population.
The Top 25 states have 265,958,097 people, 82.75% of the population.

That should tell us enough right there that there are going to be swing states with a direct popular vote.

I am going to take some liberties with numbers here because this is not a dissertation. I’m not going to go county by county in each state or city by city. To tedious, and I’m not getting paid for this research. So I’m going to use the numbers I cited above about population, votes, and percentage of the population that votes.

How can we get to 65,788,567 the easiest way?

Presuming that 42.46% of the population votes everywhere, here are the total number of votes in the Top 10, 20, and 25 states:

Top 10 states – 73,938,635
Top 20 states – 102,613,774
Top 25 states – 112,925,808

Quite a few votes there.

So far Clinton has taken 48.1967% of the votes. Trump has 46.1211% and other candidates have the remainder.

Here is what happens if Clinton takes 48.1967% of the Top 10, 20, and 25 states:

Top 10 – 35,635,982
Top 20 – 49,456,452
Top 25 – 54,426,512

With just 25 states, Clinton is 82.72% of the way to her 2016 popular vote total. Bring in those swing states!

Let’s look at cities. I’m going to use the Combined Statistical Area because my whole point here is that candidates want to spend their money wisely, which is why Clinton didn’t go to Wisconsin. It was safely Democratic. Not so wise, in retrospect. Here are the Top 20 Combined Statistical Areas:

New York-Newark – 23,723,696
Los Angeles-Long Beach – 18,679,763
Chicago-Naperville – 9,923,358
Washington-Baltimore-Arlington – 9,625,360
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland – 8,713,914
Boston-Worcester-Providence – 8,152,573
Dallas-Fort Worth – 7,504,362
Philadelphia-Reading-Camden – 7,183,479
Houston-The Woodlands – 6,855,069
Miami-Fort Lauderdal-Port St Lucie – 6,654,565
Atlanta-Athens-Clarke-Sandy Springs – 6,365,108
Seattle-Tacoma – 4,602,591
Minneapolis-St. Paul – 3,866,768
Cleveland-Akron-Canton – 3,493,596
Denver-Aurora – 3,418,876
Orlando-Deltona-Dayton Beach – 3,129,308
Portland-Vancouver-Salem – 3,110,906
St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington – 2,916,447
Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton – 2,648,605

Total population of the Top 20 CSA’s: 145,888,257

Using our 42.46 voting number again, there are 61,944,153 votes there, and Clinton would have received 29,855,038 of them. Almost half way there with just 20 areas. And look where those 20 areas are: 6 in the Midwest, 5 on the East Coast, 5 in the South, and 4 on the West Coast. Heck, we might have SWA’s, Swing Geographic Areas!

One could just campaign east of the Mississippi River and hit 16 of those CSA’s!

But I would submit that Republicans would never have a chance if we had a direct popular vote because cities are reliably Democratic. Don’t believe me? Go check the cities in the reddest of the red states, like Utah, Alabama, and Georgia. Every other state is just like that. It’s the suburbs and rural areas that decide the elections. Ooops. Back to swing areas, aren’t we? Rural areas are reliably Republican. Go look at Utah, Alabama, and Georgia again. So really we’re to the suburbs as the swing areas.

Now if money and time are important when out on the campaign trail, does anyone really believe that candidates are going to go anywhere other than to the big metropolitan areas with their many suburbs? We would have lots of swing cities.

I’m a reliably blue guy in a reliably red city in a reliably blue state, except that my city this election turned blue. Not only that, but Orange County, a suburb of Los Angeles, has been reliably red since 1932. Ooopsy. It turned blue this election.

The more people have to live in close proximity to people who are different, the more those people are tolerant of differences, even accepting of them. So I should be all for a direct popular vote. I’m not. I will put aside my self interest for the good of the nation. Without the Electoral College, a super majority of those red states would always feel neglected. No candidate would visit them and even if they banded together, they would never have a say. The cities would be too powerful. I do believe that eventually there would be another war between the states.

So instead of going to a direct popular vote, I think we should return to the practices of my generation where each family had four children minimum and up to nineteen, the highest I personally know of—I come from a Mormon (mom) and Catholic (dad) family. The more people we have, the more progressive we become!

Alternately, we could do like Maine and Nebraska do. Each state gets a minimum of three electoral votes, two for its two senators and one for its congressional district. In the case of Maine and Nebraska, the two senatorial electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote in the states, and the congressional district electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote in each congressional district. That allows both urban and rural areas to have a say in each state. If we did that here in California, the state would be about evenly split because of our large rural areas.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Lost time (No, you can’t get it back)

Did you know?

Get off your smartphones
and pay attention
to the traffic signal.
Be prepared for it to turn green
and stomp on the gas!
I don’t want to be honking my horn at you!

I was in La Jolla recently when I saw this sign:

Jean Lowe, Lost Time

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The flyer is dated January 3, 1850, so I didn’t know what to think. Nonetheless, what it said, I found funny, and somewhat true:


Either in the City of LOS ANGELES,
or thereabouts, a sum of Time, Con-
sisting principally of denominations
of Hours and Minutes – the whole
amounting to several Days. Whoever
may have found the same, and will
leave it, or give such information as
shall lead to its recovery, either to
the undersigned, Samuel Keller, Esq.,
or to the Messers. POST & WENT-
WORTH, Alameda Street; shall be
Liberally Rewarded.

January 3, 1850.     ARVIN M. DUNKLE


When I got home and looked at it more closely, I figured Jean Lowe was an author, her book, “Lost Time,” took place in January 1850, and the main character was Arvin Dunkle.

I went to Wikipedia first. No Jean Lowe. A Google search found her though.

She is an artist, quite an interesting one, too. I found a flyer from two years ago about an art exhibition at the McKenzie Fine Art gallery in New York City featuring her work, titled “Lost Time.” According to the flyer,

….Lowe has created humorous and subversive installations that question intellectual and cultural institutions and societal assumptions. …. Lowe slyly critiques the way society assigns value, and to what, through the creation of a faux auction house showroom. …. From fictional auction houses and websites such as “Roquefort’s,” “Heritage Holdovers,” and “,“ Lowe’s paintings illustrate items from sales which feature everything from fine watches, love letters, and important old master paintings, to manuscripts and ephemera.

Some of the lots featured in these sales are on display …. These include painted sculptures of an obsolete yellow pages phone book and a volume titled, “If God Loves Me, Why Do I Need a Vibrator?” Additionally, several of the items of faux ephemera are on view:  a 19th-century broadside offering a reward for lost minutes and hours.

In this exhibition, Lowe playfully transforms the banal into the magical and makes the rarified ridiculous by transforming commonplace items into desirable commodities, all in a satirical setting of high commerce.  Through her painted and sculptured recreations the artist humorously questions what is real, what is true, what has value, and why.

Did you catch the last sentence in the second paragraph? A-ha! Obviously her exhibit “Lost Time” made it to La Jolla sometime recently and that “broadside” was mass-produced to bring attention to it.

I love the arts.


While I was searching for information on Madame Jean Lowe, I discovered that there really is such a thing as lost time.

According to Wikipedia,

Lost time is a traffic engineering term for the time during which no vehicles are able to pass through an intersection despite the traffic signal displaying a green (go) signal. The total lost time is the sum of start-up lost time and clearance lost time. Start-up lost time happens when a traffic signal changes from red (stop) to green (go). Some amount of time elapses between the signal changing from red to green and the first queued vehicle moving through the intersection. There is then an additional amount of time for the next vehicle to begin moving and pass through the intersection, and so on. The total time taken for all waiting drivers to react and accelerate is the start-up lost time. Clearance lost time is the time lost to stopping a line of vehicles at the end of a green phase. Lost time is always measured in seconds.

Clearance lost time often is not observable since some vehicles which were waiting at the start of a green phase still be waiting when the green phase ends

Perhaps a repeat is justified:

People! Get off your smartphones and pay attention to the traffic signal. Be prepared for it to turn green and stomp on the gas so all of us will lose less time! I don’t want to be honking my horn at you!

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Maybe I’ll just wonder and have another margarita.

Did you know?

An article at really caught my attention on August 29. It was titled “The Most and Least Successful States.” Wow. That’s open to interpretation. Who gets to decide which state is the most successful, the least successful? What criteria? What’s the timeline? Oh, my head was exploding with anticipation of having a few moments to sit down and read the article. Last night I had that opportunity.

Not much in the article surprised me as to the most and least successful states. What did surprise me was the extraordinary amount of data gobankingrates used to come to their conclusions:

  • the average income of the top 1 percent
  • the average income of the bottom 99 percent
  • the states’ poverty rates
  • the percentage of the states’ population in the upper, middle, and lower classes
  • the number of millionaire households
  • the ratio of millionaires to total households
  • and the number of billionaires

The Most Successful States, according to their analysis, are:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Maryland
  3. New Jersey
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. District of Columbia (technically not a State, but whatever)
  7. California
  8. Alaska
  9. North Dakota
  10. Virginia

In the last three presidential elections—2012, 2008, 2004—the top seven of those states voted for the Democratic candidate. Of the last three in that Top 10, Alaska and North Dakota voted Republican three times, and Virginia voted Democrat twice and Republican once. The article didn’t tell me any of that; my research did.

The Least Successful States:

  1. Mississippi
  2. New Mexico
  3. West Virginia
  4. Arkansas
  5. Kentucky
  6. Alabama
  7. South Carolina
  8. Louisiana
  9. Tennessee
  10. Arizona

In the last three presidential elections—2012, 2008, 2004—all except New Mexico voted Republican all three elections! New Mexico voted Democrat twice and Republican once.

The most successful states are predominantly Democratic states and the least successful states are predominantly Republican. Interesting.

Here is a map I created based on the 2012 presidential election; blue states voted for Obama and red states voted for Romney. The number in each state is its place on the most successful state list; low numbers are successful states and high numbers are unsuccessful states.

Most successful states

Look at the South. How depressing, IMHO. Using the Mason-Dixon line as the dividing point, the southern states rank 22, 31, 35, 40 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, and 51.

Interestingly, along with the least successful states being Republican states, they also are the most religious states. Here’s the Top 10 most religious states, all red Republican states:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Utah
  3. Alabama
  4. South Carolina
  5. Louisiana
  6. Arkansas
  7. Tennessee
  8. North Carolina
  9. Georgia
  10. Oklahoma

So what gives? Are the religious Republicans not praying for success, for financial well-being? Is that not a goal of theirs? Wouldn’t their greater success and their tithing mean greater success for their churches and religions? I’m just so confused.

As I was pouring over maps and data, I found that the southern states were pretty much blue Democratic states from 1952 to 1976. But there was a change taking place, and it took only one generation for that change to fully occur, starting in 1960 when Alabama and Mississippi voted for a third party candidate.

In 1964, the whole nation except for Arizona and five southern states voted Democratic. Was it a sympathy vote after Kennedy was assassinated?

In 1968, George Wallace, he of Alabama segregation fame (or dishonor, if you will), won the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It should be noted that Wallace considered himself a Conservative Democrat.

In 1972, the whole nation except for Massachusetts voted Republican, and 1976 was the last time that the South voted Democratic. In 1980 the South turned reliably Republican. Only a few states have broken from the Republican fold since 1980, most notably Florida in the 2012 and 2008 elections.

So the generation that came immediately after World War II effectively changed the outlook of the two parties. Look at the following meme of the 1956 Republican Party platform, exactly the opposite of the GOP’s goals the past 20 years or so.

1956 GOP platform

Of course, politics is not a top down event; there is no trickle down politics. Politics start locally.

What I would love to do is see who was in charge of the cities, counties, and states since World War II. That would probably be much more telling than the presidential election. Unfortunately, I have to work and pay my creditors, and doing wonderful research on who has been in charge of America locally since World War II probably is not going to pay my bills.

Hmmmm. Maybe YOU would sponsor me? Or perhaps I could create a GoFundMe account. Or maybe I’ll just wonder and have another margarita.

If you’re interested in the ranking and how the states voted from 2012 all the way back to 1952, I created that list, too:

Most successful states by presidential vote, 1952-2012

Got margarita?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (12-21-15)—Rise & shine, rinse & repeat

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This being the first Christmas since 2001 that I have had a new job that requires at least 40 hours of my time each week, I thought we’d explore songs about work.

Everyone probably knows Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit, “Take This Job & Shove It,” a sentiment that definitely does not apply to my new job working with Amazon.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Huey Lewis & The News is one of my favorite groups from the ’80s. Here’s a minor hit from 1982:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1980.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tennessee Ernie Ford had a hit the year I was born, 1955, with “Sixteen Tons.” I sang this song in the school talent show when I was in seventh grade.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Best guitar solo in a working man’s song goes to Aleksandar Živojinović, better known as Alex Lifeson, of Rush in a song titled, coincidentally, “Working Man.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A good song about what to do after work: “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Five O’clock World” by The Vogues, released in 1966, probably is the first time that I can remember hearing the phrase “it’s five o’clock” and understanding what it meant.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Perhaps my favorite of all the songs I considered for this post is Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business” from 1974. Rise & shine, rinse & repeat, day after day after day….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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