Tag Archives: snippets

SNIPPETS (7/26/20)



Plants in our small gardens rarely have the room to grow as big as they do in their native habitats. The pictures below are Ferocactus cylindraceus, the first one from my small garden and the second one from its native habitat in California’s Mojave Desert.

Ferocactus cylindraceus

Ferocactus cylindraceus


Little Queen Olivia was in one of her weird moods earlier this morning, rolling all over the living room floor showing me her Sunday morning yoga poses.

Little Queen Olivia

Little Queen Olivia

Little Queen Olivia


Seems that lots of people, including me, are doing genealogical research during their pandemic self-isolation. I think I found my roots.

Tree roots


Whenever I asked my wise old grandmother if I could do something that she didn’t approve of, her answer often was “When pigs fly!” I think 2020 is the year when we just might see pigs fly.

When pigs fly


I saw a couple of days ago that the fortune of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, grew by $13 billion in a single day. Boggles my mind that so many people are angry at unemployed workers getting $600/week in unemployment. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that capitalism needs a serious makeover. Perhaps it’s time for the people to stop fighting over scraps from the table and overthrow the damn table. How much is enough?

SNIPPETS (11/22/2019)



How come WordPress does not yet have an icon for changing text size? I still have to go into the HTML code and change the text size manually. Every other program I use has an easy way to change text size….


When I was a sophomore at Texas A&M University in 1974, I was enthralled by the Nixon impeachment. The only other impeached president was Andrew Johnson in 1868. It had been over 100 years.

Although Nixon resigned rather than being impeached, I found the workings of the United States government under its Constitution to be fascinating. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, within a mere 45 years, two more presidents, Clinton and the current president would be impeached.

Granted, the current president, whose name I have not uttered since November 9, 2016—I call him Twitler because he likes to destroy people using Twitter; Hitler on Twitter—has not yet been impeached, but considering all I have read and heard about the impeachment hearings, I believe he will be impeached before Christmas Day. It might even be faster because the people in charge of impeaching him—the House of Representatives—have to get home for Christmas. Actually, when I think about that, impeachment might happen before Thanksgiving!

Of course, impeachment simply means that the Grand Jury—the House of Representatives in this case—believes there is enough evidence to impeach (indict) him. The trial occurs in the Senate, and at this point I cannot see Twitler being convicted.


I legally changed my name in 2004, dropping my last name and taking my middle name as my last name. I’m about convinced to change my name again, this time to Doctor Doctor so that I’ll know that Robert Palmer really is singing about me.

Previously, the only group to ever sing about me was the Bee Gees with “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart”:

Did you hear it? Right at the 1:43 mark: “I can still feel the breeze that russels through the trees.”


Over on Facebook there’s a meme trending that has a woman screaming at a white cat. I find the cat’s response each time to be quite funny, so I decided to make a contribution:

White cat meme


Since I’m now making a concerted effort to do things with my photography using three business names—Russel Ray Photos, Photographic Art, and Double R Creations—I’m being more active on Instagram and with my Russel Ray Photos page on Facebook. You can follow me on those two platforms.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russel_ray_photos/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/russelrayphotos/

I’m very political, but not on Instagram or that Facebook page. I do have a personal Facebook page where I am very political. ALL. DAY. LONG.


I should have another calendar at my Etsy shop by the end of 11/22/2019, this one on birds. This picture of a peacock and a white-faced whistling duck will be my cover photo:

2020 Birds calendar, front cover

I put that picture on Facebook and those commenting were only too ready to provide captions. Two of my favorites:

    • Misplaced flirting
    • “Can’t whistle? Not interested.”

I have so many great bird pictures that I’m pretty sure I’m going to do at least two bird calendars. Possibly even three.


The rainy season arrived on 11/19/2019. So far there has been 5.25 inches of rain in three days. When I went to the garage yesterday morning in the wind & rain, a rabbit took off in front of me. It was slipping and sliding as it tried desperately to get away from me as quickly as possible. Poor thing. I looked at where it had been and found a big pile of poop. Upon closer examination, turns out it’s not poop. Just the ugliest mushrooms ever have I seen.

Ugly mushrooms


I like to go into the gardens right after it’s rained and take macro pictures of raindrops on plants. Key phrase in that sentence is AFTER IT’S RAINED.

The rain just won’t stop, and I’m not willing to trod around in the water and mud with my expensive Canon 760d and expensive macro lens. So here’s one of my favorite macro raindrops on cactus photos. Taken on 3/23/2018 at 7:55 a.m., so it must have rained the previous day and/or night.

Raindrops on cactus macro picture

As I was focusing on that picture, I initially had wanted every to be in focus, but then I saw that first rain drop twinkling at me (just barely visible at WordPress resolutions), so I decided to focus on it and let everything else be a little less sharp.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a calendar featuring macro pictures.


Another bird from my 2020 Birds calendar. Who knew that some birds were flashers?

Great blue heron flashing


The resolution of the following picture isn’t good enough for my calendar at 12″x8″, but at a smaller size it’s fine.


Once again, Facebook users came through with captions:

    • And the great bird said, “Come unto me. Kneel, all ye who gaze upon my face.”
    • “Common, ladies. Look at this plumage! This wing span! Let’s do this!”


After I graduated from high school in May 1973, I quit celebrating holidays. I never liked them, finding them too artificial. With that said, though, Thanksgiving (when we celebrate the beginning of one of the great genocides in human history) is next week. I do believe I shall have some turkey wine for Thanksgiving this year.

Turkey wine and feeling fine


My retirement years are allowing me to catch up on movies and television shows that I have missed since 1973. For both my train friends and my history friends, I can highly recommend the TV series, “Hell On Wheels.” It’s about the building of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. People and events are historical facts with only the unknown added or minute details changed. A very intriguing series. Available on Netflix.

Hell On Wheels

SNIPPETS (4-15-18)



Yahoooooooooo! First place in the Cactus Novice category at the April 14 General Meeting of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society. Novice simply means I don’t have a lot of experience showing plants. Judges rarely comment on presentation but this one did. He was gushing over the black metal pot and black/gray top dressing sandwiched between the white cactus (Mammilaria plumosa) and the white tile. My “Reverse Oreo” look.

1st place, Cactus Novice, Russel Ray, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

I also got a third place in the Succulent Novice category. A Crassula corymbulosa (Red pagoda).

3rd place, Succulent Novice, Russel Ray, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Both plants are in Designer Pots by A+R POTTERY (that’s me!).


Thursday night, April 13, was Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat’s last night with J&R Rescue Service. She went back home to her daddy on Friday. Following is the last picture I took of Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat. She and Zoey the Cool Cat were tolerating each other but were none too happy, Ninja at being in a strange home, and Zoey at having a strange cat in her home of 10 years.

Ninja the Visiting Fat Cat & Zoey the Cool Cat


One of my favorite candies in my youth was candy corn. I haven’t eaten any in several decades, so imagine my surprise when candy corn showed up in my garden this past week.

Candy corn succulent


One of the neighborhood kids (we’ll call him Joe Bob) came by this past Friday. Turns out that he missed his school bus so, uh, he didn’t go to school. Gosh, when I missed my school bus when I was his age, my wise old grandmother drove me to school, which made her none too happy.

Joe Bob wanted to rescue bees from my Wildlife Corner pond where the thirsty bees drink after their long journey collecting pollen. We’ve done this twice before.

Normally we use sticks and leaves to rescue the little ones that are drowning and too weak to get out of the water. In this case, Joe Bob cupped his hands, dipped them in the water, and came out with a rescued honeybee which rested on his hand for a minute until its wings were dry enough to fly away. Here’s Joe Bob with his BFF honeybee on his hand.

Rescuing drowning honey bees

Although you can’t see all of Joe Bob’s face, his look was priceless, which you can kind of tell by the smile on his face.

I must admit that I was smiling, too, at seeing a young child taking pleasure in Mother & Father Nature’s creations and helping them out.

I’m always leery of taking pictures of other people’s children so later that evening,  I put the picture on a flash drive and walked it over to Joe Bob’s house, explained what had happened and why I had a picture of their son, and gave the picture to them. They seemed quite happy with me.


I have survived so many end-of-world predictions that I have lost count. The latest prediction is that the end of the world will come by the end of April 2018. I shall wash & dry every day through the end of the month to make sure that I have clean underwear.


This morning I drove by a church out in the boondocks. This message was on their marquee:

“There is nothing too hard for God.”

“Hmmm,” I thought. “The Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, slavery, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, cancer, just to name a few.” I continued: “If there is nothing too hard for God and s/he’s not doing anything, I don’t want to be associated with that God because s/he’s cruel, mean, and heartless.”


Who knew that the Easter Cactus grows little beards after the dead blossoms fall off?

Easter cactus


My new Echevieria ‘Dondo’ planted in a Designer Pot by A+R POTTERY.

Echevieria 'Dondo'

The San Diego platform base actually is attached to the pot using 100% silicone.


Many plants respond to sunlight by turning various shades of red. Here’s an Aeonium which spend a lot of time in the sun and has morning mist drops on it.

Aeonium with raindrops


Baby ducky season is upon us but who knew that daddies could dance? And on water?

Male Mallard dancing on water


And here are a few baby duckies, two of them trying to clamber up the concrete wall of the pond to reach momma and the other little baby duckies.

Baby duckies


Huge, monster, gigantic, big, really really really really big soap bubbles seem to be the latest rage here in San Diego. Tide pods?

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

SNIPPETS (2-7-17)



I’m reading an article on LED vs. CFL vs. incandescent light bulbs. The average life span is 22.8 years for LED, 9 years for CFL, and 1 year for incandescent. So if I replace all my bulbs with LED’s, how are the big corporations supposed to make money? Wouldn’t they be making 22 times less money? If President Bannon finds out, he’ll issue an executive order making LED’s illegal, I’m sure.


Please let me know when and where the next paid protests are. I’m available 24/7 and I don’t charge more for overnight protests.

Inclement weather protest surcharge: rain, 10%; snow, 25%; hurricane, 50%; tornado, 100%.

25% discount if the protests involve women, blacks, queers, animals, children, health, veterans, homeless, or immigrants.

50% discount if the protest involves black lesbian immigrant women with minimum one pet, minimum one child (preferably sick but not required), and dating a homeless veteran.

Thank you for your consideration.


In this new world of alternative facts, here is a picture of Zoey the Cool Cat in her new home, a box I brought home from Costco. She loves these Costco boxes.

Zoey the Cool Cat's new box


Favorite Facebook comment yesterday:
“I learned about the Bowling Green Massacre in my alternative history class taught by Betsy DeVos. Angry grizzlies were involved.”


I would like to do more videos for my YouTube channel but I’m not encouraged because I uploading a 22-minute video last night. Two hours and 9 minutes just to upload it and then another 27 minutes for processing. How do people upload 2-hour concert videos?


Did you know that the longest YouTube video is 596½ hours long? If it took me 156 minutes for a 22-minute video, it would take 253,784 minutes to upload and process 596½ hours. That’s 176 days and 6 hours. I guess if I were going to do something like that I would hire someone to do the work for me, which would make me a job creator, yes?


My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day. This new administration is adding to much laughter to my day that I’m afraid I’m going to have a hernia from laughing so much. Then, since the Republicans will have taken away my health insurance by that time, I’ll be finished.


Sean Spicer, President Bannon’s Press Secretary, argued that Bannon’s policies to protect this country, to create jobs, to grow the economy do not receive the same amount of coverage as protests. Spicer believes that members of the media don’t cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered. Protests, for example, get blown out of the water with all-out coverage yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t get the same coverage.

One could argue that the press coverage of a certain person was all blown out of the water during the last two years, that another person’s coverage did not receive the same amount as his, and all that free coverage of alternative facts resulted in said person now being president…………….smh


So for every $1 that California sends the federal government, it gets 78¢ back in terms of federal funding. I’m thinking that if President Bannon defunds California, as he threatened to do Sunday in an interview, California should just defund the federal government. As my wise old grandmother said 50 years ago, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”


I need a margarita. You will join me, yes?

Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPETS (12-11-14)—I rest my case


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts


I see that people are starting to say things like, “One of my New Year’s resolutions will be…..”

I have never made New Year’s resolutions. I always thought that making New Year’s resolutions was simply a way to procrastinate. If you need to do something, start today! If you need to quit doing something, start today! The best time is always NOW!


Many decades, when I was but 12 (I’m 59.75 now), I had a fight with a good friend. My wise old grandmother told me to write him a letter and tell him exactly how I felt. I did. Then she said, “Now put it in the bottom drawer of your dresser under your socks and leave it there for 24 hours.” Well, drat. I was all excited, ready to put it in an envelope, mail it to him, and never see him again. By the end of 24 hours, I had already forgotten about the letter. My wise old grandmother had not. She made me get it out and read it. After I finished, she asked, “Do you still want to send it?” “No,” I answered. “Do you want to rewrite it?” “No.” “What do you want to do with it?” “Throw it away.” And I did.

I still have the occasional need to write a letter to someone, but I always put it in the bottom drawer of my dresser under my socks. (Yes, I still keep my socks in the bottom drawer!) I leave it there for 24 hours and then re-read it to see if I really want to send it, to really say those things to someone that I usually like, care about, or even love. In 47 years, I have only sent one letter.

That applies to proofreading, too. If you’re working on something significant—a poem, a book, a term paper, a public announcement, a speech, a video—once you’ve finished, put it in a deep, dark place and leave it for 24 hours. Resist the urge to think about it, get it out, and make changes. If you have those urges, simply make notes to look at 24 hours from now.

If only I could get this secret to everyone in the Republican party because they publish so many falsehoods. Hmmmm. Maybe they want to….


I read a lot. I always have a book or magazine (both made out of real paper!) with me so that if I have to wait, I can pull something out and read a little. Makes waiting at the doctor’s office so much easier as the second hour of waiting rolls around….

chimeraWith books, I usually read for 30 minutes or 30 pages, whichever comes first. With Stephen King books, it’s usually 30 minutes.

Recently I finished reading an August 2013 uncorrected proof of Chimera, by David Wellington, published in April 2014. Since Jim has worked at bookstores (Borders, Barnes & Nobel, B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, Brentano) for 45 years, he has lots of uncorrected proofs. They are fun to read because they have typos and other inconsistences that always get corrected before the final book is published.

Chimera made it onto my “too-good-to-put-down” list. I usually read until I could read no more. It’s a science fiction thriller action book but the science fiction is something that’s probably not too far off. Might even be possible in a secret research laboratory somewhere.

In science, a chimera is a single animal organism with genetically distinct cells from two different zygotes. In this book, the chimera are humans with a few genetic modifications. Quite interesting, and a very good read for those who like a science fiction thriller or are fans of David Wellington.


Just before reading Chimera, I read The Crusades, by Zoe Oldenbourg. It was easy to put that book down because the period of the crusades was really an ugly time in world history, not to mention religious history. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other religious terrorist organizations are just the modern version of the crusades.


The Rackateer by John GrishamSo what am I reading now? I’m glad you asked.

John Grisham has always been high on my favorite author list—The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, The Last Juror….

My current read is The Rackateer, published in 2012. I have read 254 pages but I’ve only been reading since Monday. In other words, it has made it onto my “too-good-to-put-down” list.


I love scouring the Internet for stories about criminals in action, especially if the criminals seem a little incompetent. Here’s my favorite from this past week:

In February 2014, Carlos Ruiz broken into a home in New Jersey and stole many items, including a sound system. He had gotten away originally, but a half hour later he was arrested after returning to the scene of the crime to retrieve the remote control.

I remember someone saying that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime.


Another example of the criminal returning to the scene of the crime:

Christopher Miller, also of New Jersey (what is it with New Jersey?) was arrested after robbing a Stride Rite shoe store. He had just finished serving 15 years in state prison for robbing, uh, the same Stride Rite store 15 years ago.


Lastly, in the incompetent criminal category:

Colten Green was arrested in Illinois (It wasn’t New Jersey!) for robbing a Circle K gas station. According to police, it was easy to point the finger at Green because he was on probation for robbery and was wearing an ankle monitor.


If you think doing your taxes is are complicated, it might have something to do with the state you live in. Vertex, a tax software company, reports that tax-heavy states like Massachusetts (“Taxachusetts”) often have the simplest tax systems. States like Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Texas have the most complicated.


Many decades ago I went to see George Carlin (1937-2008) live in Houston. Almost every day I see a Carlin meme on Facebook, and they always are worth the read. Here’s the funniest one I found this past week:

George Carlin

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?

Zoey the Cool Cat

I’m free! I’m free! I’m scared!


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Several years ago I downsized from a 4,000-SF house into a condominium. I was tired of constant maintenance on the house, taking care of two acres of landscaping and sprinkler irrigation, and maintaining a 55,000-gallon pool and spa. With all the work I was doing around the home, I had no time to go to the Zoo, SeaWorld, Safari Park, Los Angeles and Palm Springs………. Heck, I didn’t even have time to simply go swimming in my own pool!

In June 2000, my gas and electric bill was a whopping $4,700. No one knew until six months later that Enron was manipulating the energy markets west of the Mississippi River. Because of that lack of knowledge, I thought my monthly utility bill going into perpetuity would be $4,700 or more. Jim and I decided to sell.

Now I have a comfortable enough space and am only responsible for inside maintenance. I have a huge swimming pool but no pool maintenance; a huge spa but no spa maintenance; beautiful landscaping but don’t have to prune trees and hedges, plant seasonal flowers, or fight the gophers on a daily basis; a large patio with my favorite plants and flowers. I have time to go outside, to visit the Zoo and SeaWorld, to do some traveling again.

At the front of the condo, I have a huge ledge along the main window for plants that like a lot of sunshine (cactus and succulents). That main window happens to be in my home office. Since I’m self employed, I do a lot of work from the home office. Zoey the Cool Cat likes to mount herself on my desk in front of the computer monitor and stalk the birds on the ledge outside the window.

Zoey the Cool Cat on the desk

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat and five mourning doves

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday Jim and I went out for several hours. When we came home, this was what we saw from our parking spot:


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Oooops,” I said as I put the car into PARK. Jim had some other words to say.

Obviously Zoey the Cool Cat had launched herself from the desk toward the birds. Just one problem: that screen window. Ha! No problem at all!

Zoey the Cool Cat was free!

She didn’t go far, though. We found her under the ledge and behind the bushes.

Zoey the Cool Cat doesn’t like the trucks that come through daily — plumbers, Cox Communications, UPS, FedEx, trash pickup. If she’s on the desk, she’ll run to the back of the condo. I think once she got outside, she wondered where all the birds had flown to. She probably sat there until the first big truck came by, and then she jumped down to the ground and found a hiding place.

She was meowing, which is how we found her, and her eyes were dilated, huge. Her meows and her eyes told me she was frightened. When I finally was able to pick her up, she was shivering with fright. It took about 30 minutes inside for her to calm down, but she is happy as a cat again now.

I have noticed that she is staying away from the desk and the window, and not stalking the birds. I do wonder how long that will last, though, before that hunting instinct takes over again………….

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS #1: If you like to eat free….


Today I introduce SNIPPETS,
short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will also have a picture.
Can’t have a Russel Ray Photos post without a picture.
Uh, der.

If you like to eat free, meaning at all those restaurants you pass by all the time, check to see if they are online. If they are, then check to see if they have an email club or a birthday club. Then join!

Several years ago I joined every email club and birthday club I could think of and, with my birthday being this coming Sunday, March 11, the birthday discounts are arriving by the dozens.

Yesterday evening I had a free entreé at El Torito. Today I’m eating a free lunch at Souplantation. Tonight I think I’m going to Taco Tuesday at On The Border and have a free bowl of their delicious queso.

The only problem with doing this is that your birthday discounts will expire, some just a week after your birthday and the rest 30 days after your birthday. So save some money during the year so you can have a drink with your meal, or maybe take someone with you. After all, you don’t want to eat alone!

Unknown orange vine flower

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat