Category Archives: Opinion

Entitled hillbillies in the boondocks

Opinion

I grew up in the boondocks in Kingsville, Texas. In fact, where I lived with my wise old grandmother was considered the “wrong side of the tracks.” Just like Billy Jo Royal sang back in 1965.

After going off to college in 1973 at Texas A&M University, I swore that I would never live in the boondocks again. So where did I move 33 days ago? Yep. The boondocks. The east San Diego County boondocks.

I do like a lot of things about the boondocks: It’s quiet, both during the day and at night. There is more wildlife than you can shake a stick at—ground squirrels, rabbits, fence lizards, birds of every kind. No pink flamingos, though. Sad.

I do have a little friend who comes by every morning to eat, although it looks more like s/he is storing food in those cheeks instead of actually eating it.

Ground squirrel in the boondocks

Generally, it’s the people in the boondocks that I don’t really care for. About 80% of them are Regressives and Twitler supporters. They think liberals, progressives, and Democrats believe themselves to be entitled, yet out here in the boondocks, I find that the Regressives think themselves to be entitled. They seem to be out for themselves, and screw everyone else, including some of their one.

This morning I drove a mile down the road and had six near accidents. These boondocks hillbillies don’t care if there are other people on the roads.

Stop sign? “Honey, what’s that big red thing thar?”

Speed limit 35? “Honey, someone smeared that 8 so it looks like a 3.”

Traffic signal? “Honey, why’s everyone stopped? What are they looking at?”

Parking spaces? “Oh, look, honey. They made the parking lot into somethin’ artsy fartsy.”

I haven’t been carrying my camera for the last 33 days because I need both hands to carry boxes and things, but beginning tomorrow, consider my Canon to be surgically attached to my hand. The boondocks are going to provide some great pictures of these entitled hillbillies….

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

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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

AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

You, too, can have yellow teeth

Opinion

My wise old grandmotherShortly after my wise old grandmother (MWOG) adopted me in December 1965, I went to the dentist with her, not because I needed dental work but because she didn’t want to leave me home all alone since I was still quite the juvenile delinquent.

Her dentist was her brother, Dr. Bill Dismuke, and he lived in Victoria TX, about 110 miles from us in Kingsville.

Dr. Dismuke forever soured me on dentists. It was nothing specific that he did. It was what all dentists did, and still do, and I, an impressionable juvenile delinquent of age 10.75, was impressed by the amount of pain he could cause MWOG.

Thus, when it comes to my teeth (and health, really), I’m kind of a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” guy. When I started having knee and shoulder problems from crawling around under houses and in attics as a home inspector, I went to the doctor to see if it was just age-related or something more serious. It’s just age-related, nothing that a cortisone injection and some daily pain killers couldn’t help. Ultimately, though, I retired as a home inspector on December 31, 2015.

I know all the problems and potential problems with my teeth.

Back in the pre-x-ray dentistry days, I was told that I had no wisdom teeth. Didn’t bother me since everyone has their wisdom teeth pulled, causing extreme pain four times over.

I went to a dentist here in San Diego about a decade ago to have my teeth whitened since he was having a special on teeth whitening but only for new customers. He took x-rays of my mouth and told me that he could not whiten my teeth because I had a hole in my jaw that needed to be fixed before he could use the whitening chemicals in my mouth. The x-ray showed that I did have one wisdom tooth, but it didn’t come in completely. It was sitting there, hidden from view except by x-ray, messing with my jawbone and the next-door-neighbor tooth and, according to the dentist, “was causing pain.” He didn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t causing pain, little liar that I am. Nonetheless, he refused to whiten my teeth, and I refused to having anything done about the hole in my jaw.

I occasionally have pain in the area where that wisdom tooth is but nothing that Sensodyne toothpaste doesn’t fix. However, I can’t drink fluids on that side of my mouth that are colder than about 86°F, nor can I eat sugar on that side of my mouth. The pain is just too intense.

Meanwhile, my teeth were the same color yellow as that beautiful orb in the sky that I have always worshipped, so I didn’t see a problem.

Playing chess at the Classic Car Cruise in La Mesa, California, summer 2013Then, one day while teaching chess in an afterschool enrichment program a couple of years ago, a little third grader asked me my age. I jokingly told him that it wasn’t polite to ask people their ages. All he said was, “You must be old because you have yellow teeth.”

Ever since then I keep my mouth closed and often think about having lots of dental work done so that I can have my teeth whitened.AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Enter AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste by Nu Skin.

A Facebook friend was touting the benefits of AP-24. Granted, she was selling it so obviously it had lots of benefits. And it’s expensive. $20 for a little 4-oz tube, and it’s just a plain white tube. No pretty colors like Sensodyne and Crest. 😦

Interestingly, although the front of the tube says “Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste,” the back “Drug Facts” say that its Use is “Aids in the prevention of dental cavities.” That’s it. Nothing about whitening the teeth. The active ingredient is Sodium Monofluorophosphate whos purpose is “anticavity.” Nothing about whitening.

So maybe it’s one of the inactive ingredients that is supposed to get the whitening done:

Water (Aqua), Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Aluminum Oxide, Glycerin,
Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Dimethicone, Poloxamer 338, Poloxamer 407,
PEG-12, Cellulose Gum, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Saccharin,
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Flavor

I was skeptical, but $20 is just 5 happy-hour margaritas, so I decided to give it a try.

My tube arrived a month ago but I did not rush right into the bathroom to brush my teeth with it. In fact, it sat unopened for a couple of weeks. One morning I opened it and read the instructions. Nothing out of the ordinary except this:

If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.

No more eating the toothpaste, I guess.

Since it is quite expensive, and since I need my Sensodyne for my jawbone pain, I have only used it twice, notwithstanding the instructions that say,

Brush teeth thoroughly, preferably after each meal or at least twice a day, or as directed by a dentist or doctor.

I’m here to tell you today that, although there is no pretty tube and the stuff is expensive and it has no flavor, this is the best whitening toothpaste in the world. Remember that I have only used it twice. Third time will be after I publish this blog post.

Currently my teeth are whiter than previously by a factor of at least 10. I’m pretty impressed, and it’s fairly difficult to impress me.

If you’re interested in teeth whitening without the cost of a dentist and without all those chemicals that dentists use, give it a try, and I’d be very happy (although not compensated) if you’d buy it from my source, P.J. Stratford. She’s at 480-326-6552 or pjstratford@me.com.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

A post-modern triumph or a regrettable hodgepodge?

Opinion

My husband earns money each day by working at Warwick’s at the San Diego International Airport. Warwick’s is a bookstore. Occasionally he brings home free books for me to read. Recently he brought home a pre-published proof of the new Dean Koontz book, “The Silent Corner.”

Koontz and his wife live in “Southern California.” In other words, he doesn’t want us to know exactly where, but I suspect it might be closer to San Diego than Los Angeles since the book takes place in San Diego County—Alpine, San Diego, and La Jolla, so far (I’m on page 74).

On page 33, Koontz calls our new San Diego Central Library (opened in September 2013) “a post-modern triumph or a regrettable hodgepodge.” That’s the first time I have ever heard of the new library being called anything except “beautiful” and synonyms for “beautiful.” Thus, I have to presume that Koontz considers it a regrettable hodgepodge.

Here are some pictures of the regrettable hodgepodge:

San Diego Central Library stamp

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on February 2, 2013

Price Reading Room at the San Diego Central Library

Lobby of the new San Diego Central Library

The Central Library building is 9 floors, but the sixth and seventh floors are accessible only to students, teachers, and others affiliated with E3 Civic High School, which according to sources is the only high school in the nation (probably the world) housed within a library. Imagine going to high school in a magnificent library. I want to live my life again….

The library cost $184.9 million, comprises 366,673 square feet, houses 2.6 million items, has a circulation of 7.2 million, and 6.6 million visitors each year. There is free WiFi at the Central Library and all 35 branch libraries; in fact, the San Diego Public Library was one of the first in the nation to provide free WiFi at all locations. It also houses the second largest collection of baseball memorabilia in the United States. The dome on top is claimed to be the fourth largest in America and the sixth largest in the world.

Here’s a picture of the old library which served from 1954 to 2013:

Old San Diego Central Library on August 13, 2012

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

I’m going to call animal abuse on that

Opinion

I went up to Carlsbad this morning, to 83 Degrees restaurant at 660 Carlsbad Village Drive, to get a picture of a new mural. Here it is:

img_4663 cecil the lion stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

83 degrees location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I am not a fan of guns. It might have something to do with my dad killing himself with a gun.

I understand that in some areas of the world animals are killed for food. Heck, even here in America animals are killed for food. I even eat those animals that were killed for food.

I like bacon. I like chicken. I like turkey. I like beef. I like barbecued anything.

As a friend in Texas told me about animals raised for food and the abuse that many of them suffer (loosely quoted): “Even though their purpose in life is to be food for us, there’s no reason why we can’t respect them and treat them right while they are alive.”

So when it comes to trophy hunting or killing any animal for sport, or mistreating living animals simply because they are going to become human food, I’m going to call animal abuse on that.

RIP, Cecil.

img_4662 cecil the lion stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Look how children are being indoctrinated

Out & About

One of the things I noticed while teaching chess in elementary after-school enrichment programs is the beauty of the schools.

Sadly, though, they are fenced, locked, and secured after hours so one can’t just wander the school grounds to look at the beauty.

That’s where I come in!

I wandered and took pictures to share.

These really show just exactly how the students at this elementary school are being indoctrinated.

The following is Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla, an enclave of the rich in San Diego, California.

birdrock location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it’s interesting that each graduating class, and sometimes other grades as well, present a gift to the school.

My elementary school, Charles H. Flato Elementary in Kingsville, Texas, was no beauty when I was there in 1965-1966, having been built in the 1930s or so, and we certainly didn’t give anything back to the school when we left….

Click on the pictures that are NOT stamps and you can get a bigger version.

img_0623-0624 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0604-0606 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0607 and 0610 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0612 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0615 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0616 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0617 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They make use of all their space. For example, the following two pictures are of the back of the wall that holds the basketball goal.

img_0618 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0619 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

No, I did not put these words on the steps using Photoshop…….

img_0621 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0620 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0625 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0627 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0628 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0629-0632 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0622 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_0611 mural birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0613 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the third picture above, the text reads, “If we are to reach real peace in this world…. we shall have to begin with the children.”—Gandhi

How wonderful it would be if our children were indoctrinated first with things like logic, reasoning, and science before being indoctrinated with religion. That’s my opinion, and at the age of 60, I’m sticking with it.

Child abuse isn't always physical

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift for a special occasion?

Use code YLNNRX for a $40 discount on
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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