Monthly Archives: August 2017

Picture of the Moment—The monster under the bed

Picture of the Moment

Long-time readers know that I don’t have children and never wanted children.

I like to jokingly say that it’s because, being the horrible juvenile delinquent that I was, any children I might have had would probably have been horrible juvenile delinquents, too.

Truly, though, it’s because I can’t imagine explaining to a toddler that there really is a monster under the bed.

Zoey the Cool Cat, the monster under the bed

Zoey the Cool Cat has never been an under-the-bed cat, but it is her preferred hiding place when strangers come over. Today, the window tinting guys came over. Instead of installing curtains and blinds on most of the windows, which seemingly get all dusty and never cleaned, Jim & I chose to put privacy tinting on the windows. The tint keeps out 57% of the heat from the sun, allowing the cooling system to work better in this 100°F+ heat wave we’re having. It also lets us see out but doesn’t let people see in. Pretty nice. And less expensive than curtains or blinds.

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

Picture of the Moment—What fascinates Zoey the Cool Cat each day

Picture of the Moment

This is just some of the early morning wildlife action that Zoey the Cool Cat is fascinated with each day at our new home. Occurs from sunup to about 9:00 a.m., after which Zoey the Cool Cat sleeps for the rest of the day.

Rabbit and squirrels

This is day 35 in our new home and I’m close to getting everything unpacked, cleaned, and into its new space. I’m aiming for September 1 to be complete so I can start exploring Southern California again and blogging about what’s out there.

Meanwhile, if you’re coming to San Diego for any reason, remember that my annual pass to the San Diego Zoo provides me with four free passes. Give me a call when you get here and if I haven’t already given them away, they can be yours. They will get you into either the San Diego Zoo or the Safari Park. I can highly recommend going to the Zoo one day and Safari Park another day.

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

Cats—She still loves me but only under her conditions


I was worried about my relationship with Zoey the Cool Cat. She has her little comfort spots that she rotates to every 3-5 days, but at night, or whenever I needed a nappy, she was always right there with me. Not so in our new home.

I think I found the problem….


She’s got to have a window that she can see out of.

In our new place I put blackout curtains on the bedroom window where I take nappies. Zoey the Cool Cat had never joined me in that bedroom. Not even interested. Just walked on by as if the door was closed.

Until two days ago when I was so tired that I left the curtains open. When I woke up, I couldn’t move. My legs were numb. A-ha! (not the group). Zoey the Cool Cat had jumped up on the bed and made herself comfortable on my legs, oriented so that she could see out the window. I got up and left her on the bed, and this is how I found her a couple of hours later:

Zoey the Cool Cat in bed

This morning I went out at 9:00, which is usually about the time she is worn out from running around window to window to window watching the wildlife. I came back at 11:30, and this is what I found:

Zoey the Cool Cat on bed

Problem solved. Curtains shall remain open and I’ll be adding tinting to the window so we can see out but no one can see in.

Zoey the Cool Cat still loves me but only under her conditions….

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

Entitled hillbillies in the boondocks


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

Out & About—The Great Stone Church, the Wrightwood Earthquake & dubious construction methods

Out & About

During my early years as a teenager 55 years ago, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, but only because I could spell that word.

When I was in my mid-teens, I wanted to be a history teacher, but then I found out how much money teachers in Texas made. Not enough….

History, though, very much has been a part of me all my life, so when my husband told me a few months ago that he wanted to go to Mission San Juan Capistrano, well, I’m all there….

So yesterday we drove up to the Oceanside Transit Center (51 miles) and took Metrolink to San Juan Capistrano, about a 40-minute train ride. We spent six hours wandering around the city and the mission, both of which are extraordinarily fascinating.

I’ll have more about both the city and the mission in future blog posts, but today I wanted to share some pictures of the ruins of the Great Stone Church:

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

In the second picture, that long walkway was what one might call the Great Hall inside the church. A model of the church, built in the shape of a cross, provides a better perspective; the Great Hall is the base of the cross:

Great Stone Church model at Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Great Stone Church took nine years to build, 1797-1806. It was used as a house of worship for six years, 1806-1812. Mother & Father Nature destroyed it in mere minutes with one of their earthquakes on December 8, 1812. Forty people died, all Native Americans attending mass and in the process of being converted to Christianity. I wonder why the almighty god would want to kill forty of his converts………….

Earthquakes also have fascinated me throughout my life so I went to find out more about this one. Records are poor (which is just one of the many reasons why I don’t take anything literally that is in the Bible; records from 200 years ago are poor but somehow records from 2,000 years ago are complete?). The earthquake involved here is called the Wrightwood Earthquake or, sometimes, the San Juan Capistrano Earthquake in recognition of the death toll.

While the exact location and size of the earthquake are unknown, evidence from sediments along the San Andreas Fault, as well as analysis of tree rings of pines growing near the fault, has led to the earthquake being identified as one along the Mojave segment of the San Andreas Fault, possibly resulting in as much as 106 miles of surface rupture, and a theorized epicenter near Wrightwood. The magnitude has been estimated at Mw 7.5.

The Great Stone Church was built completely of stone; ergo, its name. The earthquake caused the mortar to fail and the church collapsed. No surprise to me. Look at the stone—no rhyme or reason as to size and placement:

Ruins of the Great Stone Church at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

Here a stone, there a stone, make it big, make it small…. Each stone will conduct stresses differently, so while one stone might be great at absorbing stresses, another stone might be great at concentrating those stresses. And of the stone and mortar, the mortar will be the weakest part of the construction. Of course, I have the advantage of an extra 225 years of construction knowledge and experience….

The Southern California Earthquake Data Center states:

That even a magnitude 7.5 on the San Andreas fault could have such dire consequences on a structure as far away [about 80 miles] from the fault as the mission church seems unusual, but it was reported that the construction of the church was of dubious quality.

So now I’m wondering why this almighty god would let his people build a church using construction methods of dubious quality…………….

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

Out & About—Mission Bay Park

Out & About

One of my favorite places in San Diego to go for a walk is Mission Bay Park.

San Diego's Mission Bay Park from the air

Mission Bay Park is the largest man-made water park in the nation, and the ninth largest municipally owned park. Interestingly, San Diego also has the largest municipally owned park: Balboa Park.

Following are a few pictures from my most recent walk in Mission Bay Park a few days ago. I was over near the skyscraper hotel at the left side of the picture above. The hotel, a Hilton, is in one of the pictures below, and the bridge pictures below are under the long bridge in the upper center of the picture near the hotel.

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Mission Bay Park, San Diego CA

Along with the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, I can highly recommend Mission Bay Park as a way to spend a day in San Diego.

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

From my wise old grandmother: “Practice makes perfect!”

My wise old grandmother

Many decades ago when I was still a teenager and wondering what my place was in the world, Philippe Petit (b. 1949) was walking a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City….. 1,350 feet above the ground…. August 7, 1974. He did it 8 times in 45 minutes.

I thought to myself, “How do you practice for that?”

Well, yesterday, I found the new generation of high wire artists practicing their craft:

Mission Bay, San Diego CA

Mission Bay, San Diego CA So.

There ya go.

You can practice, which is good, because as my wise old grandmother always told me when I was practicing the violin:

“Practice makes perfect!”

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

Cats—Day 20 in our new home


It’s day 20 in our new home and Zoey the Cool Cat is as enamored as ever. She loves the floor, both carpet and vinyl, but she doesn’t like the two bathrooms, my room (I keep the blackout curtains drawn), or the office (also blackout curtains to cut down on glare on the 4K monitors and the 4K TV. She does have her favorite positions on the floors:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

Zoey the Cool Cat

We still are unpacking boxes, mostly books—we must have the largest library outside of an actual library. Books are heavy, and when one puts a lot of them in one box, the box becomes heavy. Uh, der. So I bring in one box in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each time I bring in a box, Zoey the Cool Cat believes it is solely for her. She can be nowhere around, but as soon as I put a box on the floor, BAM! There she is! It’s hers!

Yesterday afternoon’s boxZoey the Cool Cat

This morning’s boxZoey the Cool Cat

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

Opinion—Stop calling them Conservatives. They are Regressives.


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….


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