Mark Twain and friends visit San Diego!

Famous author Mark Twain and several literary friends visited San Diego today. They arrived at Heritage County Park for a very special event.

TwainFest 2022 welcomed some of the world’s most celebrated writers, delighting everyone who attended the outdoor festival. The free, family-friendly event is put on every year by Write Out Loud.

Mark Twain himself greeted visitors who wandered about…

I don’t know whether Twain realized he was standing only a block away from the house where humorist Squibob lived while in San Diego.

When I asked him, Mark Twain wouldn’t clearly acknowledge that he was inspired by Squibob. Historians say he probably was.

But we can all agree Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic of American Literature. The esteemed author must’ve been pleased when TwainFest visitors cheerfully whitewashed a fence, much to the consternation of Aunt Polly.

Soon Twain was joined by three other notable writers. Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Emily Dickinson.

Yes, a fine summer day filled with imagination–another chapter in our own never-ending stories…

Out of the blue, a friendly Charles Dickens came strolling along through Heritage Park. The author confessed that one of his favorite works was A Christmas Carol.

In another area of the park, the Red Queen of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was playing croquet. I didn’t see Lewis Carroll, but he must’ve been nearby.

In the sunny Author’s Salon, Edgar Allan Poe was talking about his life–what he remembered of it.

Then Poe began his emotional recital of The Raven.

A few steps away, what were these smiling TwainFest visitors observing?

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan!

And that scoundrel, Captain Hook!

And what was going on over here?

Alice, the White Rabbit, the (Mad) Hatter and smiling guests had assembled for a quite unique tea party!

The Dormouse made a surprise appearance at the Mad Tea-Party as well!

And who is this fine fellow over here reading a story about gallant knights and noble acts of chivalry?

Don Quixote! (And his squire Sancho Panza.)

For his first big adventure, Don Quixote encountered a terrifying number of large fearsome giants who looked strangely like windmills…

Thank you, Mr. Twain, for the twinkle in your eye and your timeless humor.

And for bringing so many literary friends to San Diego!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Hemingway in Comics previewed at Comic-Con Museum!

There’s a modest exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum that previews a much larger exhibition that is coming later this year. Those visiting the museum to see Spider-Man during Comic-Con should head down to the lower level and check out Hemingway in Comics!

I love reading literature, and Hemingway is one of my favorite authors, so I was pleasantly surprised when my curious eyes spied this comic art today.

The styles that are represented are quite varied, and the fictional stories involving the celebrated American author can seem fantastic and implausible, but that is art! And it’s all very cool!

I really look forward to seeing the full exhibition when it opens at the Comic-Con Museum this coming September.

Read the sign below to learn more….

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cool shops during Comic-Con, off the beaten track.

The Comic-Con crowds typically gather within a few blocks of the San Diego Convention Center. As you head north up Fifth Avenue you see fewer and fewer attendees–mostly those walking to and from downtown hotels.

But there are a couple of cool shops on Fifth Avenue on the block just south of Broadway that you might want to check out!

You might remember BAIT hosted a special Gundam event a few years ago. Well, they’re still there, and the store has plenty of pop culture merch, including some super sized collectible figures…

And check out a brand new shop located just a few doors up from BAIT.

Bard & Cards is a game store, with a big selection of board games, miniature games and RPGs…

I noticed as I walked by their window this afternoon they’ll be hosting several Comic-Con events, too. Check it out!

On Thursday, July 21 at 7 pm there will be a Kraken Dice Ultra-Chonky D20 Launch Event.

On Friday, July 22 at 2 pm there will be a New Game Launch. Card game Trickdraw.

On Saturday, July 23 at 1 pm there will be a signing and meet and greet with B. Dave Walters, the author of Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish.

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A secret place for High Flight in Coronado.

In Coronado, in a secret place overlooking the Coronado Yacht Club, there’s a shady nook where the human spirit can find High Flight.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England during World War II. On December 11, 1941, at the age of 19, his Spitfire accidentally collided with another plane and he crashed to his death. Learn more about him here.

If you’d like to sit on this special bench in Coronado, and gaze quietly out at the world’s beauty, make your way to the corner of Glorietta Boulevard and Ynez Place.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Dr. Seuss’s fun Boids and Beasties exhibit!

There’s a fun exhibit just inside the entrance of the Geisel Library at UC San Diego. It’s titled Dr. Seuss’s Boids & Beasties!

I stumbled upon these displays of original Dr. Seuss drawings, sketches and writings during my visit to UCSD in La Jolla today. The artwork and documents come from the university’s large Seuss collection. La Jolla is where Theodor Seuss Geisel, the legendary children’s book author, lived for much of his life.

I asked about the exhibition at the library’s nearby front desk, and was told it’s semi-permanent. So next time you’re on or near the campus, you might want to check out these fantastical Boids and Beasties!

Just a sample…

Dr. Seuss is known and beloved worldwide. The exhibit includes some of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s early work as an advertising and commercial artist.
Dragon sketch, circa 1915, one of the earlies known Geisel drawings.
Geisel artwork used for advertising Flit bug spray.
Letter by Dr. Seuss describes how listening to a ship’s engine inspired the rhymes in his first published children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Pencil sketch for You’re Only Old Once!
Rough sketch for two pages of The Sneetches.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Books celebrated at Local Author Showcase!

The 56th Annual Local Author Showcase is presently on display at the San Diego Central Library!

Local writers whose work was published last year are being honored for their hard work and success. Every sort of book is included in the showcase: fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s picture books, poetry, music, history, religion, politics, travel guides, self-improvement . . . you name it! And eBooks, too! The authors, young and old, come from every walk of life, and their words all combine to enrich our shared culture and understanding.

I see that in 2021 books came out about Balboa Park, Ted Leitner, Father Joe, and the Padres. And I see a fun book about a visit to the San Diego Library, too!

If you want to learn more about the City of San Diego’s Local Author Program, check out the web page concerning it here.

The Local Author Showcase can be viewed on the ground floor of the downtown Central Library through the end of February.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Old Town home of Squibob, who inspired Mark Twain.

One of San Diego’s most famous houses stands in Old Town at 4015 Harney Street. It’s a modest little structure that you might easily pass by without a second glance.

For a couple of years, 1853-1854, the Derby-Pendleton House was the home of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby, an American humorist who wrote articles for California newspapers, including the San Diego Herald, under the pseudonyms Squibob and John Phoenix. It is said his style of writing, employing absurdity, exaggeration, irreverence and good fun, inspired Mark Twain, Artemus Ward, Bret Harte and others.

Derby’s Wikipedia page states: According to the newly (2010) published Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. One, Ulysses S. Grant was a classmate of “Squibob’s” and the General told Twain some stories of Squibob at West Point.

In 1856 Derby’s immensely popular book Phoenixiana was published. It contains many of his humorous pieces, including articles he wrote concerning San Diego. I like the gentle humor of his description of Old Town’s Fourth of July in 1854. It is found on page 123: At 9 A.M. precisely, the San Diego Light Infantry, in full uniform, consisting of Brown’s little boy, in his shirt-tail, fired a national salute with a large bunch of fire-crackers. This part of the celebration went off admirably; with the exception of the young gentleman having set fire to his shirt tail, which was fortunately immediately extinguished without incident.

Why was Lt. George H. Derby, a West Point graduate and engineer of the United States Topographical Corps, in San Diego? To survey the San Diego River and build a dike that would divert its water into False Bay–now Mission Bay.

While in San Diego, he and his wife rented a prefabricated house that was originally brought by ship around Cape Horn. Learn all about the Derby-Pendleton House’s complex history here. It has had many owners, including William Heath Davis and Don Juan Bandini, and has been moved repeatedly.

You can see an historical marker concerning Derby Dike here. You might note that the marker was placed by Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus.

The San Diego chapter of E Clampus Vitus, “a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the American West,” is named after Derby’s pseudonym, Squibob. The motto of Clampers is Credo Quia Absurdum, which purportedly means “I believe it because it is absurd.”

In 1962 an historical plaque was placed on The Derby-Pendleton House by the San Diego chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. I took a photo of it yesterday.

Public domain photo of Lieutenant George Horatio Derby.
From the book cover of Phoenixiana.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

How to almost touch the stars.

Stars.

I just finished writing another short story. It’s titled The Highest Seat.

This very small work of fiction concerns stars and how one can almost touch them.

The unusual concept behind the story arose from something a friend mentioned. We were talking during my Sunday visit to Balboa Park.

The story is based a little on truth, and much on imagination. If you’re a dreamer, you might like it.

Read it here!

A mystery concerning several very odd things.

An exquisitely beautiful seagull feather on the wet concrete at my feet.

Have you ever encountered a deep mystery whose solution turned out to be obvious?

A mystery like that unfolds in my new short story A Half Dozen Odd Things.

I love to walk around the city, take photographs, make discoveries . . . and occasionally write short fiction.

Do you love to read?

To solve the surprising mystery of A Half Dozen Odd Things, click here!

I hope you have a great Sunday!

Richard

Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Pavilion.

Cat in the Hat likes to walk with an umbrella in front of Scripps Clinic in La Jolla! At least, a large sculpture suggests that!

According to my online research, what was originally called the Anderson Outpatient Pavilion was renamed the Geisel Pavilion in early 2020, and this Cat in the Hat sculpture was installed in front by the entrance.

The Dr. Seuss Foundation website explains: “Audrey Geisel was a nurse by training and her support of mental and physical health led to the naming of the Geisel Pavilion at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla…” Audrey, widow of La Jolla resident and world-famous children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, was a generous philanthropist who touched countless lives around San Diego.

As I took these photos of the Cat in the Hat sculpture, I did my best to look for a plaque or any indication of the artist. I discovered nothing.

I believe a number of these sculptures were created, based on an original by artist Leo Rijn. If you know anything more, please leave a comment!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!