Map of the Interplanetary Confederation in El Cajon!

Perhaps you remember a past blog post where I shared photos of a UFO mural outside the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon. Or another post that included a photo of a large flying saucer on the roof of an unusual automobile that I spotted in Coronado.

Well, during my weekend walk through El Cajon, I paused outside the Unarius New World Teaching Center to read various displays in their windows.

The first thing that caught my attention was their Map of the Interplanetary Confederation, with its 33 planets that form a spiraling vortex emanating from a spiritual sun. And how in 1973 Uriel contacted the leaders of these planets, learning of their Master Plan.

Another display concerned the lost civilization of Atlantis, and the coming arrival of the Space Brothers, advanced scientists who will teach humankind interdimensional physics.

Fascinating, to say the least!

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!

Is this what the Wise Men saw?

See that tiny, tiny dot in the night sky directly above the photographer’s knuckles? People are calling it the Christmas Star. Astronomers call it a great conjunction, when the two largest planets in our solar system–Jupiter and Saturn– appear very close together to eyes viewing from Earth.

Today is December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice. I took this photograph with my little camera from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park shortly after dark. That’s downtown San Diego you see on the left.

The last time Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction this closely (and could be seen in most of the Northern Hemisphere) was the year 1226. You’ll have to wait sixty years to see it again. I suppose I won’t be around.

I’ve read and heard conjecture that the biblical Magi were guided to Bethlehem by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the year of Christ’s birth. Some believers claim the timing would have been about right.

Can you make out that miniscule dot? Is that the same “star” the Wise Men saw?

Another good question might be: Is a light from far away what the wise see?

Jupiter and Saturn will continue their orbits around the sun, as will the Earth, long after you and I and every worldly thing we have done and hold dear has vanished, turned to dust, to be swirled by an unseen finger, transformed into something else.

Great conjunctions will continue hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the future. A billion years from this moment–give or take a century–there will be another Christmas Star.

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

The remains of Mardi Gras, and glitter ashes.

Mardi Gras has come and gone. Today some of the revelers will be observing Ash Wednesday.

I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter this morning and saw the remains of Mardi Gras.

Then I spotted smiles and glitter ashes at the Old Town trolley station…

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!

To read a few philosophical bits of fiction I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Photos of Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession.

Catholics from across a large area of Southern California gathered today on B Street by San Diego City College for a special event. The many parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego took part in the annual Procession to Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the late morning I watched as the faithful gathered just east of Park Boulevard. The annual procession would head west to Civic Center Plaza, where a ceremony would take place.

I took some photos as people busily prepared each parish float, attaching religious banners, flowers, flags, and a special spot where a young lady would pose as a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Then the procession began down B Street, into the heart of downtown.

I saw colorful Aztec dancers, and black-garbed priests, and the Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, and smiling queens, and joyous mariachis and baile folklórico dancers.

Members of Catholic churches across San Diego County and beyond walked behind the parish floats, singing and rejoicing and holding banners, celebrating the miracle appearance of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, all those years ago outside Mexico City.

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!

Christmas Around the World at Balboa Park.

Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.
Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.

Christmas on the Prado is being held today in Balboa Park. The event, while not nearly as large as December Nights, is special to many in San Diego because it is primarily religious, celebrating the birth of Christ.

This afternoon I wandered randomly about the International Cottages, seeing what I might see. Most of the cottages were open for the event and many contained Christmas trees and unique decorations.

I photographed a variety of crafts and beautiful displays, which are said to represent Christmas Around the World.

People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.

Making paper Christmas tree ornaments at the House of Norway.
Making paper Christmas ornaments at the House of Norway.

A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.

A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.

Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.

Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.

A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.

Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.

A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.

Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.

Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!

A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.

Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Happy needlework at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Joyful needlework at the House of Germany.

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!

VEND-o-MATIC supplies Faith, Hope, Peace, Love.

An unusual VEND-o-MATIC vending machine on El Cajon Boulevard near 52nd Street dispenses Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. Place your hand where indicated, make the selection of your choice by pressing a button, and the goodness is beamed directly through your arm into your heart.

From the way the paint has aged, I guess this VEND-o-MATIC has probably seen a great deal of use.

You can never have too much of good things.

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 few short stories about light in one’s life.

To an ancient person, light is a life-sustaining gift from a distant bright god. To a modern person, light is electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the eye’s retina. To an artist, light might be some of both . . . and much more.

When I write, I’m never certain what precise thing light represents. In many stories it seems to symbolize a life-sustaining hope, or a radiation of the spirit detected by the heart. It might signal a burning love, living with eyes wide open, or intangible rays from beyond that define life’s shape. A glimpse of ultimate truth. A bright gift that is magical, momentary, precious.

I don’t know. What is light to you?

Following are seven short works of fiction where light is an integral part of the story:

Light at the Edges

The Firefly

One Lone Candle

One Strange, Shimmering Dream

How to Paint Angels

A Dance in the Lightning

Walking on Light

Photos inside the historic Ohr Shalom building.

On Sunday I enjoyed a tour of the Ohr Shalom building in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood. The historic 1925 building, acquired by the Ohr Shalom Synagogue in 2002, was one of many sites around the city that were open to the public during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

The Ohr Shalom building was designed by architect William H. Wheeler, who is also known for downtown’s iconic Balboa Theatre building.

According to description provided by the San Diego Architectural Foundation: “With its dominant Moorish-style dome suspended high above an octagonal sanctuary embellished with Middle Eastern decorative motifs, the Synagogue . . . is one of the foremost examples of Mediterranean Revival, an architectural style that caught momentum around the mid-1920s.”

I learned that the synagogue was originally built for Congregation Beth Israel by M. Trepte & Son. It is constructed of steel-framed concrete and hollow clay tile, which was innovative for its time. Inside the sanctuary, which features a free-standing balcony, the lines are clean and simple, and worshipers are touched by light shining through the dome and a variety of stained glass windows and panels. Illustrations in the beautiful glass include the Ten Commandments, the menorah and Star of David, and a depiction of the twelve tribes of Israel.

During our tour we were allowed to stand near the pulpit. We were privileged to view one of the Torah scrolls and hear a sample of its reading.

Here are some photos that provide a feel for what it’s like to enter the Ohr Shalom Synagogue.

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!

History and faith at St. Agnes Catholic Church.

On Saturday I stepped inside St. Agnes Catholic Church. It was one of three sites I visited in Point Loma during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Donna Alves-Calhoun, author of the book Portuguese Community of San Diego, told me a little about the history of this church and the people whose lives are deeply linked to it.

I learned that an original church was built in 1908 by Portuguese fisherman families that had settled in La Playa, near the entrance to San Diego Bay. It was difficult for them to travel to Old Town or La Jolla to attend church services, so they built a small mission church in Point Loma.

In 1933 the new Mediterranean-style St. Agnes Catholic Church was built at the same location, using funds donated by the crews of local fishing boats.

The beautiful church’s bell tower was decorated with an illuminated statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage, which could be seen at a distance. Like a beacon it guided the Portuguese fishermen safely home. I also learned the extraordinary stained glass windows were made in Ireland, and the religious statues placed in corners of the church are from Italy.

After I moved around the church, looking up at the ceiling and its dark wooden beams painted faintly with tulips, Donna explained that many Dutch settled in the Azores. Like many who have descended from San Diego’s Portuguese fishermen, she herself possesses a measure of Dutch ancestry.

During the annual Festa do Espírito Santo celebration, a crown kept in a glass case near the altar, symbol of the supreme dominion of the Holy Spirit, is brought with other holy objects in a ceremonial procession from the U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and Hall to St. Agnes Catholic Church. The bringing of the “Coroa” remembers an historical gesture of compassion by Portugal’s beloved Santa Isabel, the Peacemaker and Holy Queen.

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!