Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Butterfly

It looks like the theme of the week is "wild things" and so, here we present this gorgeous butterfly that seemed to be posing for us on purpose as we sat by a stream enjoying nature. Photo by Mark Schulze.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hummingbird Chicks Emerge From Shells - Photo and Story by Patty Mooney

I noticed that Mom Hummingbird was not on her nest, so I sneaked on over with my camera and shot a couple of photos of the newborns. It is amazing how fast life happens. From two smooth white eggs to two fluffballs in less than a week. They both raised their heads, but I was too slow on the "trigger" to catch that action. Really, I feel honored to be able to get as close as I have, and share this birds-eye view with the world!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When cops attack

David "The Water Man" Ross, aka "CEO of H2O" and "Gandhi of the Ghetto" has been handing out water to the San Diego homeless for many years now. He's been through two stabbings over the last couple of years, and now, this altercation with a police officer.....

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Hemp is the Economic Stimulus & Green Jobs Solution we need - by Dara Colwell

Hemp Is Not Pot:We can make over 25,000 things with it. Farmers love it. Environmentalists love it. You can't get high from it. So why is it still illegal? While Uncle Sam's scramble for new revenue sources has recently kicked up the marijuana debate - to legalize and tax, or not? - hemp's feasibility as a stimulus plan has received less airtime

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Girl wearing a hemp hoodie on EBay

An Interactive View of Picasso, "The Old Master"

Pablo Picasso's "The Kiss"

The New York Times is featuring this interactive site with photos and discussion about an ongoing exhibit of the works of Pablo Picasso, one of the most interesting artists of the last century.

Check it out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Art of Airom Bleicher - by Patty Mooney

I came across the art of Airom Bleicher several years ago and now I am on his email list. It so happens that a gallery called Audis Husar Fine Art, will be exhibiting his work from late April through May, so if you happen to be in Beverly Hills at that time, go check out Airom's work.

What I like about it is that it's raw with primitive undertones, and it reminds me a little of Joan Miro's work. I appreciate most of the surrealists, for that matter.

I wish I could paint like Picasso, Gauguin, Cassett or Matisse (who is my favorite), but I don't, so I will continue painting in words and video, and I will continue to appreciate those who can evoke such feeling with their palettes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"The Invisible Ones" Documentary Garners Third Award

"The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans" has won its third award. This documentary is one that should be seen by every American, especially the ones sporting those little yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbon magnets on their vehicles. People need to know that nearly half the homeless population is comprised of veterans.

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The Memorial of Emilio Ramirez - Story and Photos by Patty Mooney

The day began with a glance out the bathroom window at Hummingbird Mom who was patiently warming her two perfect eggs.

At St. Theresa's there was a long line of people waiting to enter the church. Inside, every pew was packed to capacity and people were standing in the aisles and crammed in the balcony. Over 1,000 came to mourn the passing of Emilio Ramirez.

The pastor knew Emilio and his brothers from their days as young altar boys, so he gave a personal and heartfelt eulogy. This was nice to hear, as the priest who officiated at the funeral of my aunt really butchered her name and seemed to know nothing about her, even though she had faithfully attended church every Sunday for her entire life.

Lonnie, Nico and their friend, Dana Vincent, deliver a heart-rending eulogy of their dear brother, Emilio. I was happy my mother-in-law had brought Kleenex to share with me.

At a reception following the service, our friends, Scott and Judy, showed a lovely slide show of photographs and video of Emilio's life set to music. Then teen friends of Emilio, from the Christian Youth Theater, appeared on stage to sing songs in Emilio's honor. They ended with a beautiful rendition of "Seasons of Love" from the Broadway hit, Rent. Emilio would have loved it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Bell by Stephan Smith - A Music Peace Video by Patty Mooney

Here is a peace music video I made two years ago. Even though Bush Jr. is no longer president, the sentiments remain the same. I post this in honor of Emilio Ramirez.

People Want Peace - by Patty Mooney

This weekend marks the 6th anniversary of the War on Iraq. The Ground Zero Players stand vigil on along Park Blvd. just before the marchers arrive from Hillcrest. I remember when 7,000 people came to march against the war six years ago. Today it is a much smaller gathering.

Camera operator, Mark Schulze, goes to videotape the marchers who numbered just over a thousand. Cindy Sheehan would later comment that there were more marchers in San Diego than in San Francisco. This alarmed my friend, Bridget, who said that it seemed evident that many people who normally come to marches had decided to sit back complacently and say that "Obama's on it" when indeed we are still in Iraq, we have sent more troops into Afghanistan, and now Pakistan seems to be on the horizon.

Rita and Erin are representing for the Mooney clan. Rita is a veteran like my mom and dad.

Danielle Lo Presti performs at the peace rally. What I love about attending peace marches is that there is usually some form of entertainment. We've seen many different bands, comedy troupes, puppet shows and other artful expressions at the peace marches we have attended for - wow, has it been 20 years already? Danielle is a very passionate and outspoken activist for peace, freedom and dignity. She makes it clear how outmoded the very idea of war is.

If you have not heard her work, check it out: Danielle LoPresti & the Masses.

Bree Walker, a former San Diego newswoman who went north to LA to make her fortune, came back to town this weekend so that she could comment on her feelings about peace, and how we all need to work together toward that end. She then introduced the notorious peace activist, Cindy Sheehan. You may remember that Cindy became a burr under the saddle of ex-President Bush Jr. when she purchased a ranch in Crawford, Texas, where hundreds of supporters gathered to pay tribute to Casey Sheehan, Cindy's son who had been among the first to perish in the Iraq War. Since then Cindy became an outspoken Mother Against the War. And she wanted the answer to her question, just what was the "noble cause" that had robbed her of her son, and the sons of other parents, as well. Thousands of other parents. Tens of thousands, if you count the Iraqis.

Just as we had been leaving to attend the march, Fernando, the father of Emilio, came out and gave us these two orange feathers, asking us to wear them at the peace march. Because that is where Emilio would have been, if he had still been alive. Emilio was, of the triplets, the one who leaned most left, towards hugging trees and living green. So we proudly pinned them on our hats and Emilio was with us when we met Cindy Sheehan, someone I have been wanting to meet for a long time. On my MySpace page, I listed her as one of the people I would love to meet in my life. (Next, Oprah!) I told Cindy that the feathers were significant because of Emilio, a nineteen-year-old who had died in his sleep a few days ago, one of three triplets. Cindy immediately offered condolences, as she endures the pain of the loss of Casey every single day of her life.

Cindy reminded us all why we had come to the march, and that is so that we can put an end to not only the war, but the causes of war. "We've got robber barons robbing us of our land, our wealth, and our children," she said. "It's time we all rise up and do something about it. Stop letting them take our land, our wealth and our children. It's time for a revolution." She has a new book coming out called "Myth America: The Case For Revolution."

We gave Cindy a copy of our documentary, "The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans." She graciously posed for a photo with us.

The Arlington West display of crosses was spread out on the lawn in front of the Veterans Memorial Building. In this shot I liked the juxtaposition of the American flag, the crosses, the police car and a mother rushing her child past this moment.

While heading home in the car, we spotted this happy couple riding by on their motorcycle. My fingers were still itching from all the photo-taking at the peace march, so I just snapped this one. I like the unadulterated joy and the man's peace sign.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House - by Marian Burros, New York Times

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, left, and Dale Haney, the White House gardener, at the site of the new vegetable garden on the South Lawn

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.

See the rest of the story.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lessons of the Hummingbird - by Patty Mooney

According to bird enthusiast and writer, Judy L. Evridge, "The hummingbird being the tiniest of all birds is thought to bring "special" messages. What is the hummingbird's message for us all? It is thought that the hummingbird teaches us malleability or compliance. To "roll with the punches" and adapt to whatever life may hand us! To accept life as it is, and make the most of a bad situation! And to never, never look back at what might have been."

Mark and I have noticed a mother hummingbird guarding two eggs in her nest perched in a jasmine bush beside our home. Her presence coincides with the passing of Emilio, our young neighbor. I know that this lesson of "rolling with the punches" and "accepting life as it is" is easier to impart than to practice, as family and friends grieve this senseless loss.

When I move close to the jasmine bush to capture mother hummingbird with my camera, at first she is startled; she flits and hovers. When she realizes that I mean her no harm she quickly resumes her post atop the eggs. She's a protective and vigilant mom, imparting her warmth to the eggs.

Her eye is on me until I have backed away and disappeared into the house. And so it is with any dedicated and loving mom, like Emilio's. No parent should ever have to see their child die before they do. It's a rip in the silken fabric of time.

At a memorial service for those lost in the horrors of 9/11, Queen Elizabeth said, "Grief, terrible grief is the price of love." We who mourn our loved ones know this to be true. And the greater the love, the heavier is the price.

Emilio's friends have created this expression of their love for him

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sad Goodbye to Emilio - by Patty Mooney

The Triplets: Emilio, Nico and Lonnie

We are all suffering a stunned silence right now, after learning that our across-the-street neighbor, one of the triplets we have known for ten years, Emilio, passed away last night in his sleep. Every one of these boys has been like a comet, a burst of energy zooming in and out of our sphere, as they matured from boys to men in the time we have known them. All three of these talented triplets have been singing, dancing and performing in theater musicals for many years, bringing joy and laughter to those who have had the opportunity to see their work. We all thought they were clearly candidates for "America's Got Talent."

I thought it would be nice to share a youtube video called "Rama Lama" in which they all perform, as an homage to our friend, Emilio Ramirez, who would have turned 20 on July 24. Emilio, we will all miss your exuberance and your loving smile.

Happy St. Patty's Day! - Photographs by Patty Mooney

Guinness For Strength

Morning in Kinsale

Patty at Trim Castle - Photo by Mark Schulze

Seamus Says: Have a Bulmers, Have a Guinness, It's St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Ireland's Greatest Drinkers & Thinkers

Alcohol-soaked words of wisdom.

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Serious Guise Covers Joe Satriani - A Pocket Production by Patty Mooney

This is a little music video I pieced together with a clip from San Diego's best cover band, Serious Guise, along with "snap videos" taken with my Canon Powershot which fits in the palm of my hand. Thus, I call it "A Pocket Production" and I will from time to time upload these video sketches from my life as they are so much fun to piece together. This one shows you a bit of night life and overall good times along with some behind-the-scenes production shots. Featuring MacGyver (aka MaGruber), Hugh Jackman and Beau Bridges. I hope you enjoy it! Be sure it plays in the "High Quality" mode.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Poet Carolyn Forche Reads "The Colonel" - A Pocket Production by Patty Mooney

Award-Winning Poet Carolyn Forche reads her poem, "The Colonel"

Back in 1973, Carolyn Forche was my poetry teacher at Michigan State University. She mentored me and helped me get into the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont, on a working scholarship. There I met some of the world's leading poets, including Galway Kinnell and Mona Van Duyn.

Just after that she won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her book of poems called "Gathering the Tribes" and her career began to soar. She became a "Poet of Witness" finding herself present at important crossroads at crucial times all around the world. You can learn more about her simply by googling her name.

The only photograph I have from Broadloaf, Middlebury, Vermont, 1973; it was a double-exposure of a group of my fellow writers, from a roll of 35 mm film, its outcome completely unintentional

Italians unearth "vampire" in Venice plague grave

"This is the first time that archaeology has succeeded in reconstructing the ritual of exorcism of a vampire," Borrini told Reuters by telephone. "This helps ... authenticate how the myth of vampires was born."

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100+ Funny Photos Taken At Unusual Angles (PICS)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes this ain’t exactly right. Distance overlapping, positions, and timing can sometimes create a brand new perspective of a photo.

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The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Self-portrait

The One-Minute Writer: Today's Writing Prompt: Self-portrait
This is a great little site for writers. It gets the cogs in your brain to start rolling and can be very inspirational. This prompt inspired me to post a small collection of my photographic self portraits.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Fisherman - by Patty Mooney

Mark and I spent many years traveling around the world in the late '80's and early 90's. One morning, in a place called Hervey Bay, Mark and I walked from our tent site into town. There was a shark museum boasting two sharks over twelve feet long in tanks filled with formaldehyde.

Mark read the sign. "Six bucks to get in. What a rip-off."

"Yeah," I agreed. We had to watch our finances carefully now. Our campsite cost us seven fifty a night. Six dollars seemed frivolous just to ogle two dead sharks. So we handed our camera to a passerby and asked him to snap a photo of us pretending to be swallowed by the jaws of a red-lipped shark, which is what the front entrance of the museum was built to look like.

On we strolled to the waterfront where we came upon a park and marina. Near the marina a man approached us. He seemed anxious but not dangerous.

"How youse doin'?" he wanted to know.

"Good," we said.

"Tourin' the area, are you?"

"Yes, how could you tell?"

"I've lived here all me life, never saw youse two before."

"That makes sense," I said.

"How would youse like to go on a shark-fishing trip?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" said Mark.

"On my boat. You charter me and my boat this evening."

Mark and I looked at each other. "We're interested," Mark said. "How much?"

"Twenty-five apiece. We goes out for four hours on me boat I supply the fishing gear. You bring food and drink if you want it."

"How big of a shark are we talking about?" asked Mark.

"The kind that can leave a mark like this," said the man as he lifted his T-shirt. A keloidal scar zig-zagged around the left side of his waist where something had tried to take a big bite. Maybe it had proved to be too big a mouthful, since the man was standing here talking about it.

"What happened to the shark?" I asked.

"Dead. So are you interested in tonight's excursion?"

"Why not?" Mark said, looking at me. Although the guy had just given us a graphic display why not.

"Well good. Then I'll meet youse here at 6 PM tonight and bring the fifty in cash." He turned to leave.

"Oh, by the way, what's your name?" I asked.


"I'm Patty and this is Mark." We all shook hands.

"Okay, see youse at six," said Forest, moving away.

I watched him go. Was he limping? This was going to be a definite adventure.

Mark and I spent the rest of the afternoon walking, eating and sight-seeing. When 5:30 rolled around, we found ourselves dragging our feet towards the marina.

"It's starting to get a little chilly," I said. "Don't you think it'll be even colder on the water?"
"Maybe he'll have blankets on the boat."

"He didn't seem like the kind of guy who caters to his clients' comforts."

"Are you saying you don't want to go?"

"Well, it's fifty bucks. Do you want to pay that kind of money for a shark to get a big chunk out of you?"

"Having second thoughts, eh?" Mark grinned. "To tell the truth, when I saw his scar, my enthusiasm definitely waned."

"What do we do?"

"Well, I think we ought to go over to meet Forest like we promised, and tell him we changed our minds."


Dusk was settling on the marina, on sailboats motoring towards their slips, and recreationists packing their day away.

"Everybody's coming in, nobody's going out," I said.

"Yeah, I know."

"Well, guess Forest didn't make it," I said, but before the words were all the way out, we spotted Forest on a 12-foot skiff which he was tethering to a pier.

"Do you think that's the boat that takes you out to his big boat which is anchored in the bay somewhere?" I asked Mark.

"I have a bad feeling that is his big boat."

Forest's eyes lit up when he saw us, and he almost cracked a smile. "So youse came. Didn't know if ya would. Got the fifty?"

I looked at Mark, master negotiator. Mark said, "Fifty's a little steep for us. Would you accept forty?"

My heart lurched. I didn't want to get into that toy boat and provoke sharks. At night.

"Sorry, mate, it's fifty or nothing. It's me overhead, you know."

"Oh!" Mark looked disappointed. "Well, if that's the way it is, I respect your decision. Good luck to you, then." Mark took me by the hand and we walked away.

When we had covered enough distance to leave Forest well enough behind, Mark and I turned to each other and laughed.

"I think that was brilliant," I said. "But what if he'd accepted your offer?"

"Oh? Then we'd be joining that poor sucker." He pointed out at Forest's boat where a lanky man was stowing some things aboard.

"It's not too late," I said, tugging on Mark's hand. "Fifty's not much. For the last money you'll ever spend!"

Mark laughed. "Let's get something to eat." He tugged me back towards town. "Shark tacos, anyone?"

Timeless Lincoln Memento Is Revealed - by Robin Pogrebin

I found this interesting story today in the digital issue of New York Times about my favorite president, Abraham Lincoln. - Patty

WASHINGTON — Confirming a rumor that has circulated for generations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History opened a gold pocket watch that belonged to Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday and discovered a message secretly engraved there by a watchmaker who repaired it in 1861.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Flying Wing Man, Brigadier General Bob Cardenas - by Patty Mooney

I had the opportunity to meet General Bob Cardenas while producing our documentary, “The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans.” He is one of many good souls who appear in the show, talking about the topic of homeless veterans.

Bob, at 89, is still very sharp and remembers minute details about his flights from the past. He told me about his most memorable adventure as a “fly boy” during World War II. While flying as command pilot on his 20th mission, his B-24 “Sack Artists” was shot down over Switzerland. Cardenas, suffering a head injury, landed on the shore of Lake Constance, on the German side, and immediately swam to the Swiss shore. He mentioned that it was nearly as dangerous in Switzerland for American soldiers as it was in Germany, and that a woman he met helped him sneak into France. Shortly thereafter, he was flown to England.

After the war ended, he continued to serve in the Air Force. His prowess as a commander got him designated as Principal Project Pilot for the YB-49 “Flying Wing” test program. He was to fly evaluation tests and make a report as to whether this aircraft should be built en masse. He said that he wanted to see how she handled when he put her into a controlled spin. As soon as he tried it, the wing started tumbling backwards. Here is how Bob explained it to Joe Godfrey, a writer who profiled Bob on AVweb (an Independent Aviation News Resource) in 2001:

“The G forces put my rear end in the air, my feet off the rudders, and my hands in the air. There was no seat ejection — you got out the same way you climbed in, through a door in the belly. Instead of putting the throttles by your knees — where they belong — the designers put them in the ceiling — like a PBY. My hands were locked in the air, and I was able to reach over and apply full throttle to the four engines on the left side, and that broke the tumble. It put me into an inverted spin, which I knew how to get out of. I recovered about 800 feet above the ground. I wrote a one-page report saying that the airplane should be placarded against any voluntary stalls.”

Bob happened to be on a road trip with his new bride, Gladys, to meet his parents, when he heard on the radio that the Wing had crashed, killing five men. He was livid that his report had been disregarded. He was ordered to continue testing the Wing as the Air Force did not want to shelf the project.

On February 9, 1949, Cardenas set a new transcontinental record when he flew the YB-49 nonstop from Muroc to Andrews AFB in four hours and five minutes. President Truman happened to be on the tarmac that day, and stuck his head in the cockpit where Bob was. The President turned to Bob’s boss and said, “General, it looks pretty good to me. I think I’m going to buy me some of these.” Bob was thinking it was not a good idea at all, but kept his mouth shut about it. Then the President added, “I want this whippersnapper to fly this thing over the White House.” Bob thought, “Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen!”

And sure enough it did. As Bob put it, “The boss told me, ‘Bob, go fly this thing down Pennsylvania Avenue and don’t hit anything!’ Pennsylvania Avenue was lined with tall radio towers that were hidden by trees. And the White House was also hidden by trees. I slowed it to about 350 miles an hour and flew a low pass down Pennsylvania Avenue with a careful lookout for towers. Next thing I knew, I looked up and the Capitol Dome was straight ahead and I had to pull up to miss it.”

Bob pointed to a photograph in his office with a photo of the Wing over the White House signed by President Truman.

Soon enough, however, the Air Force cancelled their contract with Northrop to produce 30 Flying Wings, and ordered all those on the assembly line to be scrapped.

Even though Bob is no longer a pilot, he is still active in working on veterans’ issues. His pet project is securing a new satellite burial site near Miramar to bury our vets, as the Fort Rosecrans Cemetery is nearing full capacity.Happy Birthday, “Flying Wing” Man! It has been our honor to meet you!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm on Word San Diego!

Found out just now that I am listed on "Word San Diego" which is extra awesome. This is an example of getting the "word" out!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Two Awards in One Day! Wow! - by Patty Mooney

Wow, this is an unexpected pleasure!

Toni at Seaweed and Gardenias bestowed this excellent award on me today. I feel like I am embraced as a bona fide member of the blog community. Whooo hooooo!

The rules for this "Fabulous Blog" award are: You must pass it on to 5 other Fabulous Bloggers in a post receiving the award.You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them. You must list 5 of your Fabulous addictions in the post. You must copy and paste these rules in the post.

Five "Fabulous Addictions:"
1) Mountain Biking in Mother Nature
2) Creating beaded jewelry
3) Photographing new people, places and things
4) Hanging with my friends
5) Sushi


And later that same day .....

Mark and me with Platinum Ava and Gold Aurora Awards - Photo by Martin Shapiro

Guess what?! The award from Toni was like a precursor to the notice of another award we won, a Gold Aurora, for our "The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans" documentary. How cool! Plus we had lunch with a couple of great folks from UCSD who want to screen the documentary for their veterans' organization. Plus we are now officially incorporated as a company. I will probably write about that later in my other blog, "My Life In Business." It was quite an interesting process!

Now "Invisible Ones" has won three prestigious awards and will be screening at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival in May. If there's anyone in that area reading the blog, go and check it out! At some point we want to get it online so anyone can see it for free.

My goal in producing and editing this documentary was to make Americans aware of the fact that 1) nearly half the homeless are veterans; 2) many of these veterans are suffering from PTSD among other problems; 3) they served our country and we are obligated to help them; 4) they want to be acknowledged as human beings.

The people with those yellow ribbon stickers on their cars - well, you know what to do!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

A landfill in its relative "infancy" at Sycamore Canyon - Photo by Patty Mooney

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Every human being needs to see this! Every little thing we do has an impact on our planet. This enthralling site is the result of Annie's ten years of research. Share it with your friends.

Exhibitions of the Soul - by Patty Mooney

"Smile If You Can" - by Jan Beran

Our friends, Biljana and Jan Beran own an art gallery in La Jolla, California called Galeria Jan featuring some wonderful art by world-renowned artists. If you love art, it's worth taking a look at these virtual exhibitions they have created featuring some truly wondrous works. If you live in the area, check out the exhibition of Joze Ciuha opening on March 21st.

Taylor Marie Prendergast - "Hommage a Egon Schiele"