Lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.
A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.

I took these unusual photographs yesterday during my afternoon walk through Balboa Park.

Each image seemed uniquely interesting to me for one reason or another. My eyes were drawn to lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, the first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Simple lines and curves, a small place in the park to rest.
Simple lines and curves: a small place in the park to rest.
Eyes are drawn in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Eyes are pulled in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.

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!

Magic windows appear in Balboa Park!

Visitors to Balboa Park see a magical landscape from a window-like balcony high in the California Tower.
Visitors to Balboa Park see a magical landscape from a window-like balcony high up in the California Tower.

Visit Balboa Park and you’ll discover many magic windows. They appear wherever you turn.

I looked through many magic windows today…

Windows at the Japanese Friendship Garden look out at the Karesansui Dry Stone Garden, where magic gradually appears for those who are still.
Windows at the Japanese Friendship Garden look out at the Karesansui Dry Stone Garden, where magic gradually appears for those who are still.
A bamboo kakei spills droplets of magic into a liquid window.
A bamboo kakei spills droplets of magic into a liquid window.
A rock window has been opened and polished, revealing the Earth's inner magic at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
A rock window has been opened and polished, revealing the Earth’s inner magic at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
Small windows to magical creativity delight the eye at the San Diego History Center. A current exhibition concerns the art of Bob Matheny.
Small windows to magical creativity delight the eye at the San Diego History Center. A current exhibition concerns the art of Bob Matheny.
Good Question, Bob Matheny, wood and enamel paint, 1967. True magic will forever remain a mystery.
Good Question, Bob Matheny, wood and enamel paint, 1967. True magic will forever remain a mystery.
A feathered subject in a magically rippling window appears for a photographer in Balboa Park.
A feathered subject in a magically rippling window appears for a photographer in Balboa Park.
A window to nature's magic at the Botanical Building.
A delicate window to nature’s magic at the Botanical Building.
Looking up toward a lath skylight full of green magic.
Looking up toward a lath skylight full of green magic.
The magical qualities of song become visible for a few minutes near the House of Ukraine at the International Cottages.
The magical qualities of song become visible for a few minutes near the House of Ukraine at the International Cottages.
This small window-like scene at the House of China contains a fantastic, magical vision carved from cork!
This small window-like scene inside the House of China contains a fantastic, magical vision carved from cork!
A magic window at the House of Charm looks forward into the future. The Mingei International Museum is undergoing a major renovation and expansion.
A magic window at Balboa Park’s House of Charm looks forward into the future. The Mingei International Museum is undergoing a major renovation and expansion.
One of many fine sculptures in the Plaza de Panama, and a window of the San Diego Museum of Art. Beyond that window are galleries full of magic.
One of many fine sculptures in the Plaza de Panama, and a window of the San Diego Museum of Art. Beyond that window are galleries full of magic.
Reflections join magically together in two very different rear windows of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Cloud reflections join magically together in two very different rear windows at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Deep inside one magic Balboa Park lamp one can find the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Beyond this magic lamp’s window one can see the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Window panes contain old magic at the Old Globe Theatre.
Window panes contain old magic performed at the Old Globe Theatre.
Another window into the future. This advanced art student is phenomenal. I didn't get his name. I am certain he will achieve great magic.
Another window into the future. This advanced art student is phenomenal. I didn’t get his name. I am one hundred percent certain he will produce great magic.
Nature's magic on Balboa Park's West Mesa, in a window formed by my camera's lens.
Nature’s magic on Balboa Park’s West Mesa, in a window formed by my camera’s lens.
A portal to the magic sky opens in a wall at the Spanish Village Art Center.
A portal to the magic sky opens in a wall at the Spanish Village Art Center.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

How to help homeless youth this Christmas!

Donations and care bags are being gathered for homeless youth this Christmas at the SDSU Downtown Gallery and the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Donations are being gathered for homeless youth this Christmas at the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

If you’d like to help homeless youth in San Diego this Christmas, donations of helpful items are being accepted by the SDSU Downtown Gallery, and the downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. School supplies, youth clothing and hygiene items would be very helpful.

Donations are welcome at both museums through December 20, 2018.

You can also join compassionate teens and big-hearted members of the community as care bags for homeless youth are hand assembled on December 20th from 5:00 – 7:30 pm.

Enlarge the above flyer for easy reading by clicking my photo. Feel free to share the flyer on social media.

You can also learn more details at the MCASD website by clicking here!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Help create San Diego’s new Comic-Con Museum!

Someone enters the Federal Building in Balboa Park during December Nights. This will be the future home of San Diego's Comic-Con Museum!
Someone enters the Federal Building in Balboa Park during December Nights. This will be the future home of San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum!

Look what I discovered today! You can help create the new Comic-Con Museum in San Diego!

For only fifty dollars, anyone can become a Tier Two charter member of the highly-anticipated Comic-Con Museum and receive tons of amazing perks, including special previews, member-only event invitations, an e-newsletter, exclusive live streamed programming (including panel discussions, talks, and creative classes), and exclusive merchandise . . . plus the ability to contribute ideas and feedback concerning potential exhibits . . . plus free admission to the museum for an entire year once it opens, and a couple of guest passes!

Your contribution will be used help fund the creation of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park!

If you’d like to contribute an amount other than fifty dollars, there are several tiers that you can choose in the Comic-Con Museum’s Charter Membership Program.

You can pay-whatever-you-want, which has lots of great benefits, including being entered on an immortal Honor Roll of Charter Members. You can also chose the most generous tier, where you receive a special invite to Comic-Con Museum’s Inaugural Gala in 2019 and your name is permanently recognized inside the museum.

Here’s the Comic-Con Museum website, where you click “Become A Charter Member” to learn more and sign up!

Not only do I live within easy walking distance to the future museum, but I just became a Charter Member!

Lots of fun ahead!

The San Diego Hall of Champions once occupied the Federal Building. In the future it will be a dynamic place where visitors can explore the popular culture!
The San Diego Hall of Champions once occupied the Federal Building. In the future it will be a dynamic place where visitors can explore the popular culture!
At every tier, people who became a charter member of the new Comic-Con Museum get special benefits, including live streamed programming and an e-newsletter.
At every tier, people who became a charter member of the new Comic-Con Museum get special benefits, including live streamed programming and an e-newsletter.
An artist's rendering of what the entrance to the Comic-Con Museum will appear like when it opens in San Diego!
An artist’s rendering of what the entrance to the Comic-Con Museum will appear like when it opens in San Diego!

UPDATE!

Woohoo! Look what arrived in the mail! A Comic-Con Museum Charter Member lanyard and pin!
Look what arrived in the mail! A Comic-Con Museum Charter Member lanyard and pin!

 

Photos inside a World War II bunker on Point Loma.

Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument enter the restored Base End Station and Battery Commander's bunker north of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Battery Ashburn can be seen in the distance.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument enter the restored Base End Station and Battery Commander’s bunker, north of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Battery Ashburn can be seen in the distance.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 caused many to fear that the Imperial Japanese Navy might attack the mainland United States.

Coastal defenses were rapidly built up at strategic points along the West Coast, including Point Loma, the peninsula that overlooks the narrow entrance to San Diego Bay. Many of the United States Navy’s remaining ships were homeported in San Diego and had to be protected at all costs.

During World War II, Point Loma’s Fort Rosecrans was the home of the U. S. Army 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Soldiers manned steel-reinforced concrete bunkers containing Base End Stations, and scanned the horizon for enemy vessels. Should the enemy be sighted, they relayed their information to a Battery Commander, who precisely calculated the enemy’s position, then issued orders to various gun batteries that guarded the approach to San Diego.

Today, almost a century later, the general public can enter one of those old bunkers overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

During my recent Saturday visit to Cabrillo National Monument, I was excited to see that the park’s restored bunker, designated Battery E Control Station, was open. I descended the steep steps into a small underground world, and experienced what life was like for those who stood watch over the wide ocean day and night during the war.

I then checked out a small museum near the bunker to learn a little more about San Diego’s coastal defenses during World War II.

Here are photographs that I took. Read the captions for more fascinating information. Click the signs and they will enlarge.

The Battery E Control Station can be entered on many weekend days. Tours are provided by volunteer docents who are members of the San Diego Military History Association.
The Battery E Control Station can be entered on many weekend days. Tours are provided by volunteer docents who are members of the San Diego Military History Association.
Walking down steps into the two-level, steel-reinforced concrete bunker is like stepping back in time. The 19th Coast Artillery Regiment manned multiple Point Loma bunkers during World War II.
Walking down steps into the two-level, steel-reinforced concrete bunker is like stepping back in time. The 19th Coast Artillery Regiment manned multiple Point Loma bunkers during World War II.
A docent in a World War II era uniform demonstrates the use of an azimuth scope, used to scan the ocean for enemy vessels during the war. These spotting scopes gave accurate readings of target positions.
A docent in a World War II era uniform demonstrates the use of an azimuth scope. These spotting scopes gave accurate readings of target positions.
A photograph inside the top level of the bunker, which served as the Battery Commander Station for nearby Battery Ashburn.
A photograph inside the top level of the bunker, which served as the Battery Commander Station for nearby Battery Ashburn.
Objects displayed include a map, helmet, canteen and pin-up girl on the wall. A WWII veteran who served at Fort Rosecrans helped to make the bunker's interior appear historically accurate.
Objects displayed include a map, helmet, canteen and pin-up girl on the wall. A WWII veteran who served at Fort Rosecrans helped to make the bunker’s interior appear historically accurate.
Diagram on wall identified the silhouettes of Japanese Naval Vessels during World War II.
Diagram on a wall identified Japanese Naval Vessels during World War II.
Marks show the direction and distance to South and North Coronado Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.
Marks show the direction and distance to South and North Coronado Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.
Phones on the wall beside a small Duty Roster chalkboard. The Battery Commander would communicate information to nearby Battery Ashburn.
Phones on the wall beside a small Duty Roster chalkboard. The Battery Commander would calculate and communicate accurate information to nearby Battery Ashburn.
Metal rungs descend into the lower level of the bunker, where visitors can see the small bunkroom and a typical Base End Station.
Metal rungs descend into the lower level of the bunker, where visitors can see the small bunkroom and a typical Base End Station.
A friendly docent shows me the bunkroom, where those who manned the bunker took turns sleeping.
A friendly docent shows me the bunkroom, where those who manned the bunker took turns sleeping.
Objects in the bunkroom include toiletries, U. S. Army rations, cigarettes, magazines and pin-ups on the wall.
Objects in the bunkroom include toiletries, U. S. Army rations, cigarettes, magazines and pin-ups on the wall.
Next to the bunkroom is a Base End Station, where soldiers continuously scanned the ocean horizon. It is one of five Base End Stations that were assigned to the Battery Commander Station directly above.
Next to the bunkroom is a Base End Station, where soldiers continuously scanned the ocean horizon. It is one of five Base End Stations that were assigned to the Battery Commander Station directly above.
Old photos above two phones show the operation of azimuth scopes in a Base End Station.
Old photos above two phones show the operation of azimuth scopes in a Base End Station.
A pair of Base End Stations would track an enemy ship's position, course and speed. Distance to an enemy vessel was determined through triangulation.
A sign describes Fire Control Rooms. A pair of Base End Stations would track an enemy ship’s position, course and speed. Distance to an enemy vessel was determined through triangulation.
Sign shows the different battery positions on Point Loma during World War II. Battery Ashburn's two 16 inch naval guns had a range of 26 miles.
Sign shows the different battery positions on Point Loma during World War II. Battery Ashburn’s two 16 inch naval guns had a range of 26 miles.
Old photos include Battery Ashburn in 1943 and Battery Point Loma in 1941.
Old photos include Battery Ashburn in 1943 and Battery Point Loma in 1941.
A sign in the nearby museum shows the ranges of Point Loma's many defensive gun batteries.
A sign in the nearby museum shows the ranges of Point Loma’s many defensive gun batteries.
During World War II, Fort Rosecrans on Point Loma was garrisoned by the 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Troops assigned to Fort Rosecrans in San Diego thought it a good duty station, with pleasant weather.
During World War II, Fort Rosecrans on Point Loma was garrisoned by the 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Troops assigned to Fort Rosecrans in San Diego thought it a good duty station, with pleasant weather.
Binoculars at the ready. Enter a coastal defense bunker at Cabrillo National Monument to experience a bit of what it was like during World War II in San Diego.
Binoculars at the ready. Enter a coastal defense bunker at Cabrillo National Monument to experience a bit of what it was like during World War II in 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!

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A stirring preview of World War I opera All Is Calm.

Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.
Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Yesterday I sat on a folding chair inside the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park blinking my eyes. Several voices singing divinely about our essential humanity had nearly brought me to tears.

I’d just enjoyed a short but stirring preview of San Diego Opera’s upcoming production of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914. This unique chamber opera is a mixture of the spoken word and male singing unaccompanied by instruments.

Together voices relive a profound moment during the horrific trench warfare of World War I, when “soldiers from France, England, and Germany ventured into no-man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Soldiers exchanged food and gifts, swapped prisoners and performed burials, and played football and sang Christmas carols.”

The inspirational opera All is Calm contains no original music. It is composed entirely from music that was popular just before the onset of World War I, hymns and timeless Christmas carols. The actual letters of common soldiers and orders from officers are among the historical texts that are interwoven with song. Young soldiers from both sides, manning hellish trenches that were infested with rats and lice, made even more miserable with winter rain and freezing snow, are moved to walk out into the field of fire, risking their lives, to share a moment of common humanity.

The opera will be staged in early December in downtown’s Balboa Theatre, a smaller and more intimate setting than the San Diego Civic Theatre, where San Diego Opera usually performs. There is some singing in French and German, but the opera is primarily in English. Silent Night is sung in different languages by many voices, which eventually combine and rise together as one. Music moves the human heart like nothing else can.

The brief preview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 was simply amazing.

It gave me goosebumps.

These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where a few parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare's horrors.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare’s horrors.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this unique chamber opera.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this very unique chamber opera.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. It will touch your heart deeply.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. Its music touches the heart.

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!

If you’d like to read a few stories about life, click Short Stories by Richard.

100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in Balboa Park.

Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.
Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.

This Sunday will be the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

Armistice Day marks the end of World War One. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the horrifying “war to end all wars” finally ended. (In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in the United States.)

On Sunday in Balboa Park something special will take place to honor the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

The carillon inside the California Tower will chime at 11:00 am not the usual 11 times, but 21 times. After it chimes 21 times, Taps will be played. An hour later, at noon, the carillon bells will play a medley of WWI songs.

A variety of events in Balboa Park are also planned for Veterans Day weekend.

Several I’ve noted are:

Friday, beginning at 5 pm, at the San Diego Museum of Art. Free admission to the museum, where visitors can see the fantastic Artists at War: American Posters of World War I exhibition. Enjoy artwork and presentations by local veterans groups, the Air and Space Museum, a performance by Westwind Brass, and a screening of the 1938 classic The Dawn Patrol.

Saturday, 3 pm – 4 pm, at the Veterans Museum. A free preview by the San Diego Opera of their upcoming production of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which concerns a brief, miraculous “unofficial armistice” that occurred in the trenches during World War One.

Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm, at the Balboa Park Carousel. A free ride will be provided to all veterans, active military and their families, courtesy of the Friends of Balboa Park. In addition, the Historical Unit of Southern California will have a special WWI commemoration at eleven o’clock.

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!