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!

World-famous author investigates mystery in San Diego!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, legendary author and creator of Sherlock Holmes, is in San Diego this Halloween weekend attempting to solve an ages old mystery.

Today I saw him at the Maritime Museum of San Diego examining clues concerning the mysterious disappearance of the ship Mary Celeste. Nobody knows what happened to the Mary Celeste back in 1872, when it was discovered adrift in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands without a soul aboard. And with nothing touched. Not even its cargo of alcohol in barrels.

Did evaporated alcohol create a flash explosion that left no discernable trace, but caused the captain and crew to desert ship? Did their lifeboat somehow end up lost at sea?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was examining charts and considering a strange variety of clues as I and some other Maritime Museum visitors looked on with bewilderment. I suggested a kidnapping by denizens of Atlantis. No better explanation seems to exist.

The celebrated author and novelist affirmed that he will be at the Maritime Museum of San Diego tomorrow–Halloween Sunday. Perhaps you can help him solve this intractable mystery!

Learn how the actual Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is connected with this mystery here!

Kids who are 12 and under are invited to write down their own theories. Winner of this contest gets four free tickets to an adventure aboard the historic tall ship Californian!

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!

Ghost wind, a walking house and moon stones.

A magical look west toward sails, clouds and the descending sun.

I published another short work of fiction a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t sure I wanted to publicize it on Cool San Diego Sights, but I read the story again this morning and I still sort of like it. So here goes…

Ghost Wind is the title. It’s about life. Your life, my life, everybody’s life. How invisible wind fills our sails. Read it here.

While I’m at it, here are two more that I also published not too long ago. You can find them all on my website Short Stories by Richard.

Night Walking is a story about a walking house. And dreaming.

The Specimen is about throwing moon stones. And yearning.

There.

Have a great day!

More cool sights are on the way!

Richard

People tricked by Tom Sawyer at TwainFest!

Tom Sawyer tricked several people at TwainFest today.

I was walking nonchalantly though Heritage Park near Old Town San Diego when Tom Sawyer passed by in a big hurry…

Did Tom Sawyer steal the school bell? Why the hurry? It appears Mark Twain’s beloved character is playing hooky, running through Heritage Park during TwainFest.
Uh, oh! Aunt Polly has spotted Tom and is giving chase!
Tom tries to hide behind a fence, but Aunt Polly is familiar with his antics and quickly finds him.
Aunt Polly tells that mischievous boy Tom he has a chore to do. He must whitewash the fence!
He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. –Mark Twain from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Here comes Becky Thatcher, looking for Tom.
Becky observes poor suffering Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence.
Tom explains to Becky that it isn’t every day a person gets to whitewash a fence. In fact, it’s quite a privilege.
Becky Thatcher gives Tom a whole apple for this rare opportunity to whitewash the fence!
Several visitors to TwainFest are lured into Tom Sawyer’s scheme. They happen to find small objects on the grass nearby, and offer them to Tom so that they, too, might whitewash that fence!
Tom’s basket fills with contributions.
The TwainFest visitors and Becky get to work while Tom takes another bite from his apple.
Whitewashing the fence is such fun!
Tom Sawyer lies back with his apple and enjoys the fruits of his trickery.
Here comes Aunt Polly! Uh, oh! She’s searching for Tom!
Tom Sawyer’s in big trouble…again!
Tom does his best to explain this rather unusual situation, but Aunt Polly has heard it all. She isn’t easily fooled.
Tom shouts and points his finger into the distance, causing Aunt Polly to turn in surprise. That clever Tom Sawyer takes full advantage of his distraction! Run!
Tom Sawyer makes his escape!

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!