ThursdayDoors: Prayers for the Hopeless

Last week I did my patriotic duty and showed up for jury duty. Unfortunately I showed up on the wrong day. Heck, I wasn’t even there in the right month.

I blame my blunder on having to reschedule twice and, in the process, getting confused. Yeah, right.

Anyway,  not wanting to waste a morning (and because I had no desire to get back on the freeway during rush hour) I decided to wander around the small but historic town of Martinez California.

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Martinez is the county seat, thus most of the courthouses are located here. The sheriff’s deputies don’t let you take pictures of the security entrances for some reason so I took the above shot from across the street.  The men standing in front are offering free prayers for those entering the courthouse. The town is filled with signs also offering hope to the hopeless or the guilty but only if you’re willing to pay

Martinez is also full of antique stores. I’m not sure what the two have in common.  Perhaps you know.

I stopped at funky cafe down near the railroad station

where, while waiting for an egg sandwich, I picked up a black journal lying on a driftwood table.  It was filled with drawings and scribbles from patrons also waiting for egg sandwiches:

One person loved her thighs.

Another waxed philosophical.  He or she is far wiser than me.  But perhaps “My Life is a Mess 101” is a college class.

This one had a slightly more positive message.  Perhaps a bit of weed helped.

Some drew pictures describing how they felt with no words.  I’m not sure but the guy in the upper left of this scribble seems to be holding both a joint and a penis.  If I were to guess, I’d say a disgruntled teenage girl drew this picture.

Every page of the book was filled which meant I was not invited to participate. As I flipped through the pages, a young man, not more than fifteen, with torn and dirty jeans and carrying a heavy backpack entered and asked politely to use the bathroom.  The staff, themselves all young, tattooed and multiply pierced, agreed then stood beyond the counter whispering. The boy was in the bathroom for about ten minutes, then exited and asked to buy a chocolate croissant.

“Did you run away?”  the staff asked almost in unison to which he answered, “No I’m homeless.”

As I left the cafe, one of the older staff members (the manager?) was sitting at a booth with the homeless youth. The scene lightened my mind as I walked back to my car past the prayers for the hopeless brigade and the bail bondsmen’s offices. I knew that magically a blank page had appeared in the black journal for someone lost.

Please visit Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors event for more pictures of doors and their stories.

 

Two Oars Cutting the Water

A fitting post for Mother’s Day and beyond from Duke Miller.

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(Dedicated to Teresa and Marshall.)

I have never loved until now.  For years the word scarcely escaped my lips.  Women would wait and still they waited until I was no more.  In my family I only used it with my father, mother, and one of my grandmothers.  As to my sisters, the word just didn’t seem right.  Was a brother meant to love his sisters? Of course, but I was an idiot back then.  I could not see, since my eyes had been poked out with burned sticks at Christmas.

I spoke love to one of my grandmothers. Nanny was a religious woman, a piano player, and born of the depression and because I had asthma and the air was clean in the tiny town where she lived, I’d visit in the autumn and spring.  I could roam freely down the limestone rock streets.  Sometimes the tornadoes came and we…

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Losing its Rivers: following careless London #londonwalks #lostrivers

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When we moved into our house we found the end of the garden flooded at the slightest sign of a downpour. In the first summer huge cracks appeared in the path at the back when the heat rose above 22C. Eventually our neighbours told us that a river ran under the back of the gardens, either a tributary to or part of the River Effra. We absorbed that ‘fact’, gave up with some of the planting that just rotted and began to change the garden to accommodate these circumstances.

The River Effra is one of several ‘Lost Rivers’ of London. Before the massive urban sprawl, the basin of London, through which the Thames flows, was fed by several rivers. arising from springs on Sydenham Hill, one such is the Effra. On the north-side of the river the most famous is the Fleet, which gave its name to Fleet Street, home…

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Yosemite Spring

In honor of May Day, I’m posting some pictures taken recently by a friend of mine of Yosemite Park which is just waking to Spring. I always love her pictures.

Half Dome Shrouded by Carol Teltchick

I’ve been busy the last few weeks getting a book ready for publication which I’ll tell you all about later.  It’s a collaboration with two other writers: Duke Miller and Aaron Asseltine who write over at Tin Hats Blog and will be published by John’s Motorcycle Storage Unit.  I love the feeling of tranquility in this shot.  If it weren’t so cold, I’m quite sure Carol would have  jumped in buck naked and swum around.

I’m not sure what kind of flowers these are, anyone?

Happy May Day everyone!  And thank you Carol for letting me post your pictures.

 

Ignorance On Steroids

The Off Key Of Life

Ignorance always seems to find a season. It never seems to max out, regardless of how bizarre the situation might be. There are always people willing to do something that some moron decided might be a good idea.

A few days ago I read an article about a game show in the Netherlands where male contestants were asked to guess whether woman on the show are fat or pregnant.

Really.

This is the same game show that asked contestants last year to guess whether a person was Japanese or Chinese, and in another segment, whether a woman’s breasts were real.

I have a pretty broad sense of humor but I didn’t think this was funny. It was simply dumbed down sensationalism at it’s worst.

I decided not provide the name of the show because I don’t want to give it any more publicity than it has already received. But as…

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#ThursdayDoors: Hidden

This semi-hidden door actually leads to St. Augustines, a Catholic church which sits behind a wrought iron fence just off Waikiki’s main drag.  Its history dates back to 1850s when it was just a shack made from palm fronds and driftwood.  You can read more about the history here.

View from the street of St. Augustine’s statue.

The top of the church as visible from the fourth floor of the condo building next door.

As to why the church is behind a locked wrought iron fence, across the street is a beachside park that is home to many homeless people. They oddly co-mingle with tourists from around the world, primarily Japanese, taking selfies in the sunset. Some look as though they’ve spend the night in the piss-filled gutters of San Francisco even though there are public showers and restrooms along the beach. I guess it’s hard to panhandle if you look clean and neat and well-fed.

Just to the right and in front the church is a very common sight in Waikiki, an ABC Store.

It is not an exaggeration to say you can find one of these shops on every block.  You can find one of these shops on every block even though they all sell almost exactly the same stuff, which is basically everything but mostly cheap touristy trinkets.

Window of another trinket-filled store. The Hawaiian flag is similar to the Union Jack because many royals favored the Brits over the US.

You expect to see wonderful things when you travel but for me, the unexpected is what makes a trip special. This time it was a YWCA in the middle of Honolulu’s business and government district.

The Y is across the street from the Iolani Palace. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, however once past the reception area is an atrium with one of the most beautiful swimming pools I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to leap right in with this fellow.

The architect of this building was Julia Morgan, the very same Julia Morgan who designed Hearst Castle. But that wasn’t the best part of the surprise.  Inside of the atrium is the best restaurant we found in Honolulu.  It’s modestly called Cafe Julia.

One of unique things about this place, beside its menu, is the owner’s collection of whimsical liquor bottles. There were thousands but because they were behind glass, it was hard to get a picture of them. Here are a few:

So if you’re ever in Honolulu, check out the Laniakae YWCA and Cafe Julia.  Make sure to save room for the chocolate mousse! Check out other doors and unexpected delights over at Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors event.