Friday, January 31, 2014

TODAY… THE MIDDLE OF WINTER IN SAN DIEGOWe need rain; but other than that everything is appropriately connected to everything else and as close to perfect at creation can be… sea gulls sit and look at people looking at them, whales off shore spy-hop and spout, pelicans preen and fly in formation, seals bark, and squirrels ice plant.  Nancy is here for Margaret’s birthday.  Life is good.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Erythrina x sykesii is a hybrid, commonly called Australian Coral Tree; but it is actually not a native of any country.   A Balboa Park gardener told me it came from somewhere else to Australia, but botanists can’t agree on where it was first developed… probably as a Erythrina lysistemon cross. After it had been planted all over Australia, it was adopted by gardeners from coastal warm climates all around the world. Propagation is by cuttings only because it doesn’t make seeds.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today I did some digging (the Internet search kind of digging) to try to learn the geologic history of the area where I rode my bike yesterday through Torrey Pines State Reserve between La Jolla and Del Mar.  I was particularly interested in discovering the compositions and the geologic ages of layers of rock and sediment that were exposed when the road bed was cut to make what we now call Torrey Pines Grade. The layer of rocks is identical to a layer of rocks partway up the hillside where I live in the Linda Vista district of San Diego above Mission Valley. I learned that a geologic formation called Lindavista Formation dates a million years ago to the middle of the Pleistocene period. I’ve also learned that the Lindavista Formation extends from the Del Mar area in California to Ensenada, Mexico.The Lindavista Formation was laid down on Delmar Formation and Torrey Sandstone which are both middle Eocene (48,000,000 years old).
Torrey pines (Pinus torreyana), America’s rarest pine trees, are found in only two places on earth, the area just north of La Jolla and Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara. 

In my Internet search I found information about a San Diego based ‘institute’ for Creation ‘Research’ managed by a church-related group called “Young-Earth creationists.”  They take students from their school on field trips to the Torrey Pines area and tell them that all of the formations there were laid down within the last 6,000-10,000 years.  Anybody interested in what the creationists are trying to persuade young people to believe about the age of the earth and everything else can go to the following WEB site:

I was especially puzzled by the rounded darker "spots" in hardened lighter sediment.  I learned that  they are fossilized logs from a long, long ago time.  I'm determined to learn more about those spots when I make another visit to the Torrey Pines Reserve. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today I biked from Solano Beach along a road that passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes and seascapes in America.  Of course, the trees begged to be photographed… and pelicans and seals. From mid-morning to early afternoon fuzzy fog lay sleepily over everything; but as I rode close to downtown San Diego by the airport, the sun broke through and pushed the haze back out to sea.  What a day!

And what an evening this was… The President’s State of the Union address was one of the best in many years.  It’s still hard, I guess, for some Americans to believe what happened five years ago when this Brilliant African American son of a single mother and an African father whom he never really knew was elected President of the United States.  Beliefs and commitments of citizens to different economic and political ideologies can be managed successfully in a democracy; but bigotry, racism, and ignorance don’t wash out easily from people in whom they have been engrained for a long time. We’ll see in the next few months if this reluctant Congress can get itself together to do the business of government that it was designed to do.

As I listened to his address, I felt fortunate to be a citizen of the United States and glad to have voted with the majority of Americans who elected Barack Obama.

These energetic eucalyptus trees seemed to be getting it on near the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Could anything be more alive and vibrant
than the old scrub oak at the end of the trail
where I walked for awhile this afternoon?

or the flowering pear tree on the hill where I live?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I love these monsters who live at the edge of a garden in Old Town, San Diego… hiding in plain sight in the root system of pomegranate trees.  The first one, Punica, is my favorite…Her full name is Punica granatum.  

Pomegranate, Punica granatum,  is one of the oldest known cultivated fruits in history. It originated in Persia and is known and loved by people all around the mediterranean region.  One of my favorite writers is the Armenian American, William Saroyan; and one of my favorite short stories is his “The Pomegranate Trees.”  Saroyan works the young boy  Aram into several of his stories, and at the beginning of “The Pomegranate Trees” he lets Aram describe his uncle who is determined to grow pomegranate trees in California desert land at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where even cactus doesn’t grow very well… and in spite of the fact Americans at the time didn’t particularly like pomegranate. 

Aram recalls, “My Uncle Melik was just about the worst farmer that ever lived.  He was too imaginative and poetic for his own good.  What he wanted was beauty.”

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The San Diego River isn’t much to shout about; but I love it. Only 52 miles long, it originates in the Cuyamaca Mountains and discharges into the Pacific Ocean at Mission Bay.  Without the river, Mission Valley would be a dreary stretch of asphalt and shopping centers.  With the river running through it, the valley is a refuge for a great variety of birds and other wild creatures.

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's Bird of Paradise Season in San Diego

FROM WORLD NEWS TODAY: Anybody else noticing a pattern here?  

At least 40 members of a religious minority in MYANMAR were killed by security forces and Buddhists in the western village of Du Char Yar Tan last week, a human rights group said. Fortify Rights, a group based in Southeast Asia, claims the attacks against the Rohingya Muslims were carried out after the suspected killing of a police officer, who is still missing. Most of dead were women and children, the group said.

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(Reuters) - EGYPT: A wave of bomb attacks targeting police hit Cairo on Friday, killing six people on the eve of the third anniversary of the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and raising fears that an Islamist insurgency is gaining pace in Egypt.  In the most high-profile attack, a car bomb exploded at a security compound in central Cairo early in the morning and killed at least four people, including three policemen, security sources said. They said the blast was the work of a suicide bomber. But footage broadcast on an Egyptian television channel showed a man getting out of a van and moving into another vehicle. Minutes later the van exploded.  Another blast in the Dokki district killed one person. An explosion near a cinema on the road to the Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo also led to one fatality.
SOUTH SUDAN STRIFE: White Army soldiers in Lankien are still ready for a fight They have a youthful, confident swagger, ammunition belts draped around their necks, roaring into town in their open pick-up truck. "The White Army", as they are known, calls the shots here. An ad hoc militia formed originally for cattle raids, they are part of the rebel movement that has been fighting troops loyal to the government for the past five weeks.
An ad hoc militia formed originally for cattle raids, they are part of the rebel movement that has been fighting troops loyal to the government for the past five weeks.
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Bodies were sprawled in public squares along the streets of Bangui, capital of the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, after a one day free-for-all between Muslim soldiers and Christian militias left more than 100 dead in December.

There was short-lived dancing in the decimated streets of Bangui after a makeshift parliament announced there was a new president in the Central African Republic, where anarchy and bloodthirsty religious fighters have brought the country to its knees.
Catherine Samba-Panza, a 59-year-old corporate lawyer, thrust her arms into the air Monday to declare victory, then immediately begged for calm.
"I call on my children … to put down their arms and stop all the fighting," said the first woman to lead the landlocked African country with a staggering history of coups, dictators and mass atrocities.

"I don't want to hear any more talk of murders and killings," she admonished citizens of one of the poorest countries in all of Africa. When the screams of joy and jubilation in the burned-out capital of Bangui subsided Monday, the killings and torture resumed. In the countryside, it never stopped.  Despite foreign accolades for the new interim president, there is little hope for quick peace, experts told the Daily News.


ISRAEL AND PALESTINE: Kamal Shaban, a farmer in the West Bank village of Sinjil, is watching workmen repair a local family’s house that had recently been firebombed by settlers in the middle of the night, forcing the parents and five children asleep inside to flee to the rooftop. As for himself, Shaban says that during the autumn olive harvests, settlers have stoned the laborers in his fields, turned over a tractor, stolen sacks of olives and once broke a worker’s arm with a big rock – all under the eye of Israeli soldiers required by the Supreme Court to protect the farmers.

Why can't we all just get along?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Riding back home from Balboa Park this afternoon I got reacquainted with a tree I hadn't paid much attention to lately... and naturally, I took pictures.  You'd think the tree is giving up... dying; but it isn't. It's surviving, almost flourishing... in spite of everything... YES!

Once again the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is happening in San Diego at the Museum of Photographic Arts.  The New York Times declared it the “cinematic conscience of the world.”  I went to the opening tonight to see Yoruba Richen’s film THE NEW BLACK.  Wow!  Human Rights Watch description says “The film tells the story of how the African American community is grappling with LGBT rights in the light of the marriage equality movement and the fight over civil rights.”  It’s a disturbing look at how all of America is dealing with the issue.  The film will eventually be shown on television, probably on public television stations.  Don’t miss it.