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This is history, folks, happening right before our eyes

Halls of History

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Is the United States in the midst of a coup?

Britannica defines a coup as “the sudden, violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group,” differing from a revolution in that it happens quickly and doesn’t depend on large numbers of people. Instead, it requires only “a change in power from the top that merely results in the abrupt replacement of leading government personnel.”

One might question whether or not what’s going on is violent. Certainly it’s violent in a way to those who are fearful of President 45—blacks, single women, Muslims and other non-Christians, battered and abused women and children, the hungry, the poor, the sick, the elderly, non-heterosexuals…………..

A presidential election, especially one where there is a change in parties, and where the party of the new administration is the same as the party which controls Congress, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, certain provides a good time for a coup that probably wouldn’t be recognized by a great super majority of anyone in the world except for dictators and kings of other countries, and possibly their citizens.

The United States had a constitutional crisis in 1973-74 with President Richard Nixon, the most recent, perhaps only, attempt in the United States to create a dictatorship or kingship. Jonathan Aitken says in “Nixon: A Life” that of he and his brothers—Harold, Donald, Arthur, and Edward—four of them were named after kings who had ruled in historical or legendary England. It’s well known that President 45 likes kings and dictators.

I was a mere child of 19 in 1974. The crisis resolved itself because of the unique type of republican democracy that is the United States. With its three separate but equal branches of government, its reliance on the rule of law, the fact that Democrats had a 56-42-1-1 majority in the Senate and a 241-192-2 majority in Congress, and the fact that the Supreme Court had ruled 8-0 against Nixon in United States v. Nixon, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, rather than be impeached.

In a motion to quash the Watergate subpoena earlier in 1974, Nixon’s attorney, James D. St. Clair, stated to Judge John Sirica of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.” Wow. Nixon did have an ego.

What do you do, though, when the President 45 has an even bigger ego and his Republican party cohorts are in the majority in the Congress and the Senate, and the Supreme Court is at an impasse with a 4-4 split and with President 45 probably nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court as early as tomorrow?

This is history folks, happening right before our eyes. It might not end well for the United States as we have come to know it.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Alternative facts are the new fake news

I live in my own little world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since Facebook and Twitter are trying to put a stop to fake news, or at least tag it as fake news, the current administration seems to have come up with a way to get around that by calling their fake news alternative facts.

My oh my.

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, brought up alternative facts on “Meet the Press” this morning, and the world is having a lot of fun with it. Even Urban Dictionary is getting in on the fun. Their definition:

When truth is so unfavorable to a pathological liar that they must invent a whole new category of lies to describe their nakedly intentional acts of deception.

Examples: “Kellyanne Conway told CNN that the President and his Press Secretary presented alternative facts about inauguration photographs that prove conclusively how few people attended the ceremony.” #lies #falsehood #intentional lies #pathological lies

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

If these alternative facts didn’t have the capacity to do so much damage to so many people’s lives, it would actually be funny.

It has encouraged me to write two books concurrently, one about the history of railroads in San Diego County and the other a day-by-day account of this administration alternative facts.

Alternative Facts

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I might die of laughter before I die from lack of health insurance under this administration.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

If you know where to look and what to look for

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, when I was but 11, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, probably because I could spell it. Then I discovered that I would have to go to college, followed by medical school, followed by an internship. Hmmm. Too complicated, and too much schooling.

So I decided to be a teacher. A history teacher. Then I realized that I would probably have lots of little Russels in my classes. That might have caused me to become a murderer. (Actually, I discovered how much money teachers made and decided that wouldn’t be enough, especially if I had to put up with a lot of little Russels.)

Then I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I have written so many books, the best books, with really good words, lots of words, the best words, the best sentences, believe me, really good sentences, and paragraphs, the best paragraphs with the best sentences with the best words….

Well, in reality, I only have written about 50 Chapter Ones and then I quit. I guess I really am a quitter!

Writing a book is on my mind again. I’m exploring a book about the history of railroads in San Diego County. That would combine my love of history and trains with writing. I have discovered that it would also require a lot of reading, something that doesn’t bother me in the least.

A couple of days ago I was taking a video of a BNSF freight arriving in San Diego, I got interrupted by a fellow train enthusiast who works for the City repairing/repaving streets. He told me that there is a lot of evidence of the San Diego Electric Railway (SDERy) if you know where to look and what to look for. SDERy operated from 1891 to 1949. Yesterday I went out to a spot he told me about and, sure enough, evidence.

Evidence of the San Diego Electric Railray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I followed the curve and looked down the street. One can see where the railroad tracks are even though covered by asphalt:

Evidence of the San Diego Electric Railray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found a map of the SDERy system (through research and reading) and put a black arrow on it indicating where these pictures were taken.

Map of the San Diego Electric Railway

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered in my research that in the poor areas of town which don’t provide a lot of tax revenue for maintenance, shortcuts are taken. In this case, the old tracks were never removed; too labor intensive. They just poured asphalt and concrete on top of them and moved on.

I know a couple of other places where the rails are actually poking through the worn asphalt. Next on my list.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Alone but not lonely

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My dad was in the Air Force from 1950 to 1954, receiving an honorable discharge in December. After his discharge he worked for Missouri Pacific in Texas until his death by self-inflicted gunshot in 1961. Mom moved us to Brigham City UT after his death, which is where her side of the family was from.

Granddad also worked on Missouri Pacific, and the two of them often let me ride on the trains with them, either in the engine or the caboose (my choice!), between Kingsville TX and Bishop TX, a round trip distance of 10 miles. It was just a switch engine switching cars on tracks in rail yards in the two cities, and between them, so track speeds were not high.

The fascination with T&T (Tracks & Trains) had infected me, and northern Utah was a hot bed of activity for the Union Pacific Railroad. I was a fan.the-box-car-children

When I was in first grade in 1961 in Brigham City I read a book published in 1924 titled “The Box-Car Children.” I sooooooo wanted to be a Box-Car Child, and I did everything I could to make it happen, hanging out on the UP line between Brigham City and Ogden. I often walked the tracks down to Ogden and hopped a box car ride back, a round trip of 50 miles. Mom never knew because she was always too drunk. The life of a child with no love or discipline. The life of a box-car child.

The picture below, although taken in San Diego, very much reminded me of a time and a place 56 years ago, a time when one could walk the tracks, stand on the tracks, wait for the trains, no one else around, alone but not lonely…….

Tracks at sunset

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

I’m going all the way to the end

I live in my own little world

I have been an avid reader since about the age of five, at least. I had started piano lessons under mom at the age of two, and she told me when I was five that when I started school “next year,” I would have to take lessons for a second instrument. Before she would approve the second instrument, I had to write a research paper on the instrument or someone proficient with the instrument. I chose the violin and decided to write my paper on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I was a big fan of The Nutcracker. Mom was always taking me to the library so I could work on my research, and that’s when I fell in love with libraries.

I go often to the various branches of the San Diego Public Library and the San Diego County Library. If I’m ever homeless, just look for me at the new San Diego Central Library. Looks like this:

New San Diego Central Library on February 2, 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Throughout the years, Stephen King has been my favorite author. Sadly, though, I gave up on the last two books of his that I tried to read, “Bag of Bag of Bones by Stephen KingBones” and “Lisey’s Story.” I gave “Bag of Bones” 227 pages before calling it quits, and “Lisey’s Story” got 100 pages; 100 pages is normally my standard for giving a book a chance. I had started “Bag of Bones” first, and since it was by Stephen King, my all-time favorite author, I kept giving it “one more chance” before I finally said, “No! Enough is enough.” When I became disenchanted with “Lisey’s Story,” I figured that if I could call it quits on one Stephen King book, then none of his other books deserved any more chances than I was willing to give anyone. So “Lisey’s Story” got 100 pages and that was it.

I still have quite a few King books to read but with two consecutive disappointments, I have decided to take a break from King.

My husband, who has worked at bookstores all his life—Borders, Brentano’s, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Warwick’s—gave me a pre-published advance reader’s copy of a Lee Child novel, “Night School,” a Jack Reacher novel. It’s so new that it’s not even in Wikipedia yet! I liked it so much that I decided to read all of the Jack Reacher novels before returning to Stephen King.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee ChildMy second Jack Reacher novel was “Gone Tomorrow.” Took me three days to read it. It’s very good and Child’s writing style with lots of dialogue means that it’s easy reading, too.

So, back to the library.

I decided to check out two books. First time I’ve ever done that outside of research. I came home with “61 Hours” and “Nothing To Lose.” I started “61 Hours” yesterday morning and finished the day on page 74. I already know I’m going all the way to the end.

61 Hours by Lee Child

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (11-21-16)—On the rebound with one way love

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I currently have 1,565 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds of digital music in my non-classical music collection. I started piano lessons at the age of 2, violin lessons at 6, voice lessons at 10, and music collecting lessons at 11. Actually, though, I’m self-taught with music collecting.

When I left College Station, Texas, in the dead of night on April 15, 1993, I had 5,000+ vinyl albums, 500+ vinyl 45s, and about 400 CDs. I took 100 CDs with me and left everything else behind; I just needed enough music to get me to where I was going on a one-way trip. I never got there, instead winding up in San Diego where I would choose to live and start my music collecting all over. Those 100 CDs gave me a good basic collection to start with since I had a complete collection of Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Black Sabbath.

I actually didn’t start my music collecting again until eight years later, mainly because, although I lived in San Diego, I was a consultant in the wireless telecommunications industry, so I was working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Tampa, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, and 17 other cities. I was only home in San Diego two weekends a month for several years.

Fast forward to 2007. I had a room full of CDs, several thousand of them. I had a complete collection of all the #1 singles and #1 albums from 1955 to 2007. Since I was born in 1955 and the rock ‘n’ roll generation started in 1955, it was just something unique for me to do. I finally quit when I couldn’t take all the rap and hip-hop with cussing worse than my grandfather…. still collect music, though, always looking for something to add to my collection that makes me move.

Long-time readers here know that I have a method to everything in my life, and my method here is simply to go line by line through Joel Whitburn’s book “Top Pop Singles,” currently in its 15th edition, subtitled “1955-2015.” Checking out the pop singles sometimes leads me to an album that I like, which sometimes leads me to a new group that I like.

Currently I’m in the B’s. Following are two songs I recently discovered that are now in my collection, and, so far, each artist also now has at least one album in my collection. Might be more as I continue to listen to their albums.

On The Rebound by Russ Ballard (1980)
Peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One Way Love Bandit (1979)
Peaked at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat