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IceMelt


In its current issue, National Geographic discusses how the planet would look 5,000 years from now if all the ice on Earth melted. Life would still exist; but average planet temperatures for an iceless globe would be around 80 degrees, compared with 58 degrees today.

The melting of 5 million cubic miles of ice would cause oceans to rise by 216 feet, rearranging coastlines on every continent.

What does that bode for North Park? Would our beloved Saguaro’s taco stand be serving fish tacos to fish? Would the North Park water tank be at the bottom of the sea? Will our craft-beer breweries and restaurants still be cool? Can you be a hipster surrounded by seaweed?

Fortunately, most of North Park is safe from a 216-foot vertical tsunami, but not by much. North Park, Mission Hills, University Heights, Golden Hill (parts of South Park) Burlingame, City Heights, Kensington, Normal Heights and the College area east to the Mississippi River will be safe from the worldwide ice melt.

Most of the mid-city sits on a large plateau (300 to 400 feet above sea level) that begins around the west side of Mission Hills and goes east for miles. At its highest point, North Park sits 370 feet (about 28th Street and Dwight). That’s roughly the size of a 37-floor building (America Plaza, downtown next to the train depot).

But, parts of North Park would become oceanfront property. Low-lying canyons west of 28th and Juniper could be ocean in 5,000 years. Mission Valley would be a long, deep fjord, making Santee suddenly become bikini beach. The new ocean level would be about halfway up the Texas Street hill, with saltwater lapping under the Adams Avenue bridge.

Chula Vista and National City, as well as Coronado and all of downtown San Diego, would be far underwater. The new coastline would come down from Mount Soledad to the east ridges of Rose Canyon to the north edge of Mission Valley. I-805 would be underwater from the Phyllis Place exit ramp to the merge ramp of I-8 and I-805.

On the other side of North Park, 28th Street south to Market would be coastline. The new coastline would be just south of the municipal golf course clubhouse. Half of Navy Hospital would be underwater. And Pershing Drive would go under at the bend to start down the hill to Florida Canyon, which would reappear about Cypress Street.

The old municipal gym near Ford Bowl most likely would be on an island, with Marston Point being beachfront property. And Golden Hill Recreation Center would be an island or would be jutting out on a point of land near what used to be the 18th hole at the municipal golf course.

And, remember, this is saltwater; so that condo you’re thinking about buying near Qualcomm Stadium will be home to your finny friends. If we keep Qualcomm Stadium where it is or build the Chargers a new stadium downtown, it won’t matter except to a scuba class.

If you want to learn exactly how high your house is, there’s a cool interactive map available at sdplantatlas.org/TopoMapPdf.htm.

Thomas Shess


RainClothesline


It rained Wednesday. How odd, real drops falling on San Diego in the middle of July. An annual tropical weather disturbance in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico was the cause — or, in my fit of finger pointing, “the blame.”

“Ruined” is a good word to describe how a perfectly normal, sunny day in Southern California was a goulash of gray skies and high humidity.

Locals have adapted to rain pretty much, unless it's the first storm of the season when oil meets water and motorists meet each other via fender-bending episodes on the interstate.

If the potential for serious injury wasn’t so great, watching inattentive drivers suddenly deal with the first rain of the season could become a spectator sport. Bleachers installed atop the old Convair headquarters on Pacific Coast Highway would fill up quickly to watch vehicles careen from lane to lane.

The creator of the Allstate Insurance “I am mayhem” commercials no doubt has witnessed Californians driving in “first rains.” But did our recent July nuisance rain qualify as the first storm of the season? San Diego’s professional weather watchers log rain totals from July 1 to June 30, so, technically, the monsoon from Mexico qualifies. Fortunately, a quick check with CalTrans and California Highway Patrol indicates the storm did not yield any significant statistical deviation in the normal pattern of vehicular disturbances for July.

Yet the rainstorm did produce quite a bit of personal angst — enough so that I cursed U.S. Air Force captain Ed Murphy, the development engineer credited as being the namesake for Murphy’s law. I have no quarrel with the good captain, but I rue Murphy’s Law and the epigram associated with it, which is that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

Before I describe my experience with Murphy’s law and the sudden storm in San Diego, let’s recap how Capt. Murphy’s name was attached to the adage.

Wikipedia, which is now the modern and nicer version of the insensitive descriptor for “old wives’ tales,” points out that frustration with the failure of a technician to properly wire an experiment at what is now Edwards Air Force Base caused engineer Murphy to blurt out, "If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will.”

Someone in that military research group eventually published a paper citing the adage and attached Capt. Murphy as the source. The phrase went viral (given midcentury standards), and various incarnations have evolved to what we have today.

My experience with Murphy’s law on Wednesday after I received a call from the car dealership informing me that my first and last free detailing job on my noir sedan was complete: “Black really shines up. You’ll like it.”

Wishing to look Daniel Craig-like as I picked up my muscle car, I needed a muscle shirt. It had to be the black pullover. Of course, it was still in the laundry hamper. Quickly, I tossed it into the washing machine with a load of other clothes.

Half an hour later, I returned and noticed the water level was still half full. A yellow light was blinking, announcing a failure with the drain system.

No matter. I had other shirts.

Calling the appliance repairman quickly instead of procrastinating until Thanksgiving had me feeling better about myself. However, the repairman’s arrival delayed my trip to retrieve my freshly detailed set of wheels. He opened the washing machine and dumped my good stuff into a pile on the adjacent patio. “We have to order the part, and it will take a week,” he advised me.

Of course this wouldn’t do. I wanted that shirt. I found a ball of industrial-strength twine and worked for the next hour creating a series of criss-crossing laundry lines attached to trees and over the pool. Tying the knots for the clothesline made me recall my father’s words: “Nah, you don’t need to join the Boy Scouts, I’ll teach you all the knots you’ll ever need.” True to his word, I learned how to tie knots, including a bow tie and now a clothesline.

Carefully, I strung the wet laundry on the line and went to pick up my dream car. Not having my coolest shirt, I was forced to wear a T-shirt given to me on Father’s Day that reads, “Please do not feed.”

Driving home, I ignored the looming dark clouds, because I was now preoccupied driving through Monte Carlo with James Bond racing after me.

It was noon when I returned home to ask my bride of 28 years if she’d like vodka martini — “shaken, not stirred.” Ignoring my offer, she glanced out the window and said, “It’s starting to rain.”

I dashed to the front porch to see the new car dripping with monsoon rain. There went the detail job.

When I returned to the kitchen, she said, “The rain is causing the clothes on your lines to sag into the pool. What were you thinking?"


Thomas Shess


Newman
Salvador Dali, 1951, by Arnold Newman.
Manzano
The Siege of Aleppo by Javier Manzano.

A trio classy San Diego venues offering exhibitions of important photographic arts are close enough to each other to be visited in one day. All are showing installations that represent an aspect of each institution’s heart and soul, as well as an eye to international diversity and edgy realism.

At Jennifer DeCarlo’s jdc Fine Art (2400 Kettner Blvd.), the work of Jess T. Dugan runs through Aug. 31. Titled Every Breath We Drew, the exhibition investigates the constructs of identity and sexuality. It is a highly personal collection of portraits of individuals and couples that explore the powerful relationship between identity and desire.

Dugan earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a master of liberal arts in museum studies from Harvard University and is pursuing a master of fine arts in photography from Columbia College in Chicago.

The Museum of Photographic Arts (1649 El Prado) is celebrating 30 years as a museum in Balboa Park with two exhibitions.

Pictures of the Year International, through Sept. 22, celebrates the power of images and the people who create them. Backed in part by the Los Angeles Times, Pictures of the Year International is the oldest photojournalism program in the world. More than 48,000 images are submitted, with 240 winners selected by a world-renowned panel of expert judges.

30X: Three Decades, through Oct. 13, highlights one acquisition from each of MOPA’s 30 years, including works by Alexander Rodchenko, Loretta Lux, Thomas Struth, Lee Friendlander, Robert Adams and Marian Drew.

Arnold Newman: Masterclass, a posthumous retrospective of American photographer Arnold Newman's career runs June 29-Sept. 8 at The San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado). The exhibition includes Newman’s most famous portraits, as well as his early street photography, architectural studies and still lifes. The 200 black-and-white photographs are presented as sheets with zoom and crop marks.

Thomas Shess

Readers-Choice 2014

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