Can eye get a witless?

Guanyin blesses the New Year of Ox 2021
“Good Propitious, Health, Happy-吉祥安康幸福!”

Alokiteshvara (India), the self-born eternal Buddha Amitabha who is the compassion of all Buddhas may artistically be represented as male or female. Avalokiteshvara is also known as Guanyin in China,  Kannon in Japan, Chenrezig in Tibet, and Karunamaya in Nepal. 
The Heart Sutra is Avalokiteshvara  explaining the fundamental emptiness to Sariputra, a disciple of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
Drawing of Guanyin by Janney

At Sensoji (temple) in Asakusa, Tokyo, dedicated to Kannon, early in the morning local residents volunteer to keep the temple grounds clean.

Before reaching the temple is an incense burner where pilgrims can expose their ailing body parts to the smoke of healing incense. I don’t know any scientific knowledge which would support the efficacy but they do it all day, at the least it must be fun.

Visitors make a lot of photographs here; enabling people to make creative quality images was one of the visions of Steve Jobs. Everywhere people carry a personal computer around with them, who cares that is not running Word or a Excel or taking inventory, people like the small computer-phone.

Art it fun, We1 enjoy it. Would you think a man who is a murderer and also a father enjoys taking selfies with his child? Should God allow murderers to enjoy happiness? I don’t sit around and wonder about this all day, Who am I to tell God what to do? But my guess would be that murderers often enjoy being with their children and that if God wanted to prevent them from feeling happiness God would do it, or have done it at the beginning. Or how about in-between?

Alameda Creek

Sometimes it seems easy to confuse a medium’s technical qualities with an artist’s style. Like any graphic art, a photograph has its own unique technical qualities which the eye identifies by feeling—categorizes and classifiess without thinking. Technique generally has a protocol, a standard, which the eye can “feel.” When this happens the eye feels its a photograph, or a silk screen, an etching, or a tree or a house, a blade of grass, etc and the brain moves onto the content. It finishes by giving it a name and judgement.—Its danger!, its a joke. its the right moment . . .. To know something by feeling.

The eye sees what it is, and then later the brain tells you what it is. Sometimes the eye is confused and unwilling to admit the image, it may ask:
“Is this a real thing? I cannot find a match to any of the categories of things in the universe that this brain knows.

If known things can not fit, the eye declares an alarm to the brain—what is this? Think of this as visual tension. The experience of visual art usually begins with a visual tension/attraction, especially in advertising, which works to attract the eye like rubber necking on the highway attracts almost everyone and forces the others into line.

Sometimes a style can be a violation of the standard which the artist has used as a technique. In “standard photography” people expect to see “reality,” or a violation of the reality standard which is some kind of artistic statement.

Its not just black or white, there is continuum between first seeing and judging which seems like it is traversed in instant time because this human ability to respond is what it means to know some thing. What we know is more easily measured by our automatic responses which act naturally than our brain which requires human skill to use or measure.

Unfortunately our “natural knowledge” is based on our perception of experiences. Things change, and those conditions of the situation of those experiences have changed which can make the knowledge no longer applicable. All the time we are learning, and later discarding age appropriate behaviors.

Photographs can have different kinds of information and generally people are comfortable with that. With words for example, (words as things) which can have variable meanings we learn to moderate the literal meaning to fit the situation—“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” In the same way we learn to moderate our experiences with photographs.

One of the features of the photographic process is its ability to express continuous tone. Most pre-digital printing techniques needed halftones to express the photograph, but electrical media only needs light on a surface —but a different kind of media surface. As ink needs paper electric information needs it own kind of surfaces.

The film and ink image printed on paper needs the printer to bring the paper to the printing press and later to deliver the paper to the reader. The digital image can go to wherever the printer is, can be printed by many different printers inlay different locations and in the case of the cell phone, the printer may be personal property of the reader (the cell phone screen) which makes the person available anywhere and anytime . . .

. . . as long as there is electricity. Then, there are always Plan B, Oracle Bones from the Shang.

End Pieces

Real and fake people come together along the river in Asakusa.

Real and fake people again, , but if you consider the boys in the advertising photo as Fake then what about the whole image itself Is not it all fake people? A photograph is not a real person but in this image we can sort out levels of Fake people, some are more Fake than others, we understand that the photo is a Fake image of real people standing in front of Fake people.

What difference does seeing this image make in my life. I will never see this girl again, she will never have seen me . In a photograph, the subject—the photographer and the object come together as one.

Are these moments of my life, the life of the person in the photo, or the moment of the two of us interacting together, never to come together again. Most of these images are not answers but questions about is being seen. Maybe I saw something, pointed the camera, clicked the shutter, and just maybe got a lucky moment.

Perservance landed on Mars and we communicated through photographs. Here are two photographs used for communication between people and Perservance. The first is a “regular human sensitive photograph”;

The second is a visual map for Perseverance plotting the danger risks for landing locations. Two images of the same place do not appear the same to the human eye while enabling precise communication between men and machines.

People have five senses and technology enables us to extend those five sensual capabilities—as quantitative extensions of a specific quality. Can we create a technology which enables us to experience a qualitatively different sense? How would we know it? Only through the technology?
And if that technology was digital, we would need electricity to use it . So if we ever established a relationship with “life from another dimension” using electric technology and then lost access to electricity!! What would happen.

How often do we do what we want to do. Is what we want to do worthy of being done? Is satisfied with everyday doing some stuff that is not satisfying, as well as doing some stuff that is satisfying satisfying enough or do we do it anyway.

Did the Universe create human beings to study itself, to see what its made of, so to speak. Suppose suddenly you are aware you are the Universe, You don’t know your history and as you evolve you are trying to learn more about yourself, or you evolve because you are trying to learn more about yourself and evolving human beings increasingly speeds that up process.

The Universe is trying to find out who it is, or what it is or even when it is, who wants to even try What is it?
Or, perhaps its seen its own death and is trying to stop it.
Wonder? Did the Universe create itself to fail?
Or did it just create itself.

It seems people have many questions which cannot be answered but if they seek an answer they will often find one, kind of the place where religion fits into human society. Why do we have questions for which we have answers? Is something wrong with our language that we have words to make questions but sometimes there no words to make answers.

Krishna and Radha—Try this, question, Why did Krishna and Radha never marry?

What happens when you compare Buddha, Krishna, Avalokiteshvara and Daruma,? Is it better to have some Gods or one God? In Tokyo there many shrines, temples, and many small shrines. Many people in Tokyo do not have cars, they often walk past, or cut through, temples and shrines. Sometimes they stop, others may just bow their head as they pass through, but their daily lives ar imbedded.

Erasing hard drives will become like book burning.

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Pilgrim’s mean reversion

Living in an apartment in a city is a reasonably anonymous experience, but in a small rural town where short term rentals may be few, every time locals visit the shopping area they see how you live. Once I lived in a such a place as an undergrad in a small rural town a half& half basement from the street side and first floor from the back.

The main street was built on the side of hill, At street level my apartment would be in the basement, but go around 180 degrees and there was the back door entering into the kitchen. The “front door” was on the side with steps down to the living room. On top, the first floor enter the local bar from the street, a hangout for college students, they did not bother me much and it was owned by a local judge.

Somewhere in New England 1970

In Maine sometimes I would drive over to this house and wonder why such a big tree was so close to the house, there was no paved road to here, only a dirt road, and there was an old tractor and a couple pieces of trailer farm equipment busy rusting nearby.

Is there something to see of the previous people who lived here or is it a lonely house left with some secret memories of once being a home. Maybe it was rejected because the occupants could not make it a home.

Imagine how long it took to establish a common set of standards for building houses. Many gothic churches began construction with a defined, incised in stone, standard measurement for every worker on the site to use. They may have been different for different sites, though I would imagine professional builders would develop their own and any ex-employees or apprentices would likely learn, adopt and adapt them.

Western Massacheusetts, 1970, I liked the contrast of the textures of the living things to the building.

Houses—perhaps homes at one time—and the questions they raise, was it a house before it became a storage building? Is there any sign of happiness happening in this house? Maybe kids slept in the attic and kept a collection of little flip books and Edgar Rice Burroughs books so and when their cousin visited he could spend hours up there reading.

One day this house just appeared beside the road, it once had electricity, were there ever shutters on the first floor windows?

Imagine how many workers were displaced by standardization of building materials, workers who might’ve used a different measuring standard for every house. Maybe at the moment it put a lot of people out of work, but in the long run it made houses increasingly affordable for more people by reducing the labor needed to create materials, standardized the skills needed to build a house, and as society changed, resulted in lower prices for houses, more houses being built and more jobs for people building houses needing less skills than before.

One August afternoon on a country road in southern Vermont, the corn is high, When its ripe the farmers often have some on a roadside stand, if its a small stand it may have been an honor-pay practice. Corn picked, brought in that afternoon and eaten the same night is a country treat never available to city dwellers.

Japanese “Folk” Pottery

In the US there is this sense that somehow “folk art”often called craft, primitive art or “homemade,” is never to be “Art ” because it lacks an intellectual meaning component. “Great Art” is supposed to make a “statement” about the meaning of life, a statement which appeals to, or perhaps celebrates, the humans sense of “reason,” a sense beyond see, hear, smell, taste and feel and unlike our five biological senses with which we are naturally endowed, result from the additional effort of the individual—some appreciate Art more than others and we know who they are because they can express this extra sensory quality in Art. Its a little different in Japan. Craft is recognized ones as Art and the meaning of life is to be found in the doings of daily life

A guinomi is different than a choko a term also used to designate a small cup to drink sake. Guinomi means one gulp, a chokes usually smaller, more like what is used to drink sake at most Japanese restaurants in the US. There are cheap guinomi and expensive choko, but most guinomi are not cheap though not necessarily expensive and has its own individual presence while most choko are cheap and lack a presence, Generally when you drink sake with a guinomi made by a potter who has been true, you discover the meaning of the sake.

Ki-Seto guinomi (Yellow Seto), the basic glaze is yellow background with green and brown scorches,

Think of the unknown potters through history who figured out to form clay into a container, how to fire it and made the extra effort to decorate it—to make an everyday object fun and enjoyable to use. Its the using everyday that makes it have a meaning which “Art” in a museum can ever have —hell, you have to pay to see it and then you cannot even touch it, andsometimesyo have to stand-in line and then view with wit ha bunch of other people hanging around. Better to use it to eat and drink from and then wash it after and put it away to be used again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Hidasuki Bizen guinomi Pots are fired with wood ash “glaze” and while they feel unglazed they hold liquid. In the kiln the pots may be stacked and tied together with twine which burns leaving traces of the twine. Bizen is located on the main island in Okayama Prefecture between Kobe and Hiroshima on the Shinkansen.

Every culture has folk art and examples of GREAT DESIGN!!. Thee is no ”My culture has better design than yours.”
Folk art arises from the everyday experiences of small societies which share similar values and behavior and the art expresses the culture or “the common feeling of the people.” As societies grow they increasingly include more people from diverse backgrounds bringing behaviors which results in conflicts, and changes.

Aka Shino (Red Shino) guinomi. Often shino has a strong white glaze but red shino is also popular.

Bizen, Hagi, Mashiko, Shigaraki, and others are examples, and sometimes the word “Rokkoyo” which specifically refers to  Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba and Bizen Jomon pottery is considered one of the oldest pottery dating from 13,000 BCE.

e-Karatsu guinomi and Shigaraki tokkuri i. When pouring from a Shigaraki tokkuri or drinking fro m a shigaraki guinomi don’t be surprised to feel solid particles from the Earth embedded in the clay. Karatsu often has a wonderful experience of depth of transparency in the glaze, like a da Vince glazed painting.

Folk artists learn one way of doing something which works fine in a common society, but a diverse society has multiple standards and contemporary artists may find an audience in unique personal expressions where popular Ar is defined not so much by the unique individual achievement of the artist, but by its commonality to any lowest common denominator.

Kuro Oribe Chawan Kuro-Oribe. kuro or guro means black

Seto and Mino, cites in Japan near Nagoya, have a long history of kilns with some sharing of skills and techniques and some differences— Kilns in this area have been operating for centuries. Some may be referred to as Seto or Mino style which are often more personal expressions of the potter. I like the various other Seto/Mino styles which have a tradition and the potter’s personal creative expression includes the tradition—Shino, Oribe, Ki-Seto, and Seto-guro,

Often Oribe wants to challenge the pottery user in shape or in decoration, If nothing else—but there is much more— Oribe is fun to hold and use.

This is one place Japan pottery and Japanese folk art in general (and in my opinion also USA Pueblo pottery) is different than pottery traditions in other societies. There is a tradition in which potters find their personal expression within the tradition— When you see Oribe, or Shino or etc. you know is Oribe or Shino yet the great potters have also found creative and unique ways to express themselves personally. Japan has a cultural value for Folk Art which is lacking in the USA and in Japan this creates a common cultural bond, again lacking in the USA.

Thus Art, as Folk Art, in Japan is part of the common everyday experience contrasted to in the USA where the experience of Art is separated from the personal experience of most people —Look, don’t touch the Art please!and often the property of an elite.

Seto Guro chawan. Guro means black, This is a large, heavy, demanding chawan needing both hands to hold it firmly

In western Art, the artist eclectically studies other artists as the basis to make Their Own Creation, separate from tradition, The Nakamura family makes Bizen, as do many others, but there is one lip to a guinomi which is Nakamura family and still its Bizen. Often in wester nart often the achievements of the“great clay artists” is referenced as non -functional pottery—a long way from the making of pots y used by people everyday sharing a common experience, and meaning, of using them.

Oribe tokkuri and Setoguro guinomi. Often Oribe has green and brown on a beige background, there may be an illustration from nature and a drip.

New Years with Shigaraki tokkuri, e-Karatsu guinmoi and small dishes.

Alameda Creek

There are days when the simple movement of the Earth traveling 67,000 mph through space fails to summarize my mind, that is when I like to walk along the Alameda Creek.

You could say its like I am spying on people, taking “secret pictures” of them. Look closely, my images are not about the people, but the line, color, shape, gesture, Well there are some that are about the people but in those its clear that I have their permission and they are posing.

What is it we do in our lives that makes living worthwhile? Walking along Alameda Creek.

For many the truth of a photograph is about about something that is real, a moment of insight into a person, but for me its just the color, shape, line, texture, how it gathers everything together to create a personal visual experience separate from the restriction of thinking—the mental differentiating and defining of the reality in the image to fit what we should think about what we saw and not enjoy the visual experience in and of itself.

Is there something about the movement of the shapes that give a feel to how things interact with other things—straight lines contrast to curved lines, dark contrasts to light.

Again you could say that its like I am spying on people, except these images are not about the people, I am not talking to them, I don’t care how they are, whether they are sick or feeling angst, are they lonely or happy, and you do not find yourself asking those kind of questions or making personal judgements about them. But I and you can experience the shape, the color, the gesture and the line without looking at a photograph and feeling obligated to even mentally ask “What is it?

Who is spying on who? There is a little parking lot along Alameda Creek at the Beard Rd trail head, which has a toilet and regular delivery persons who work this area know this place, PG&E, Amazon, FedEx, mail carriers, its a common bathroom available for free.

End Papers

Do I know who I am at any moment when I am being me? Domy photographs hold some kind of truth about who I am. or are they simply random 1/125 seconds of my life? Why did I make this image? Is a windshield one level of separation?

Sometimes its like being a Monday quarterback I should have seen this moment then and not now but after fifty years how many different time have I told myself t he same thing after seeing this or that photograph. Are my photographs memories of missed opportunities ?

My photographs can only hold truths about myself, maybe most of the time I am lying to myself in my photographs or should I have found more hope them anthem than I could. They are like Oracle Bones from the Shang dynasty waiting for a moment of divine inspiration.

What good are these images if I cannot divine some good fortune to come? Or cannot wonder and know what it is like to be sitting in front of a grocery store with my possessions asking others for money.

My father one early morning in Sparks about 2005, He passed in 2006, I see this image, it was one of the last I made of him, certainly the last using film. He was older than I am now—I’m 75—Mom and Dad retired in 1984, spending 20 years in Albuquerque and, for him two more years in Sparks. Maybe I never knew him well enough, maybe I do not know how to know somebody or anybody well enough. I remember these lines fromWoody’s song written to the tune of Irene Goodnight byHuddie Ledbetter:

My father hoped that I would be
A man of some renown.
ButI am just a refuge
As I go ramblin’ ’round, boys,
As I go ramblin’ ’round.

Ramblin’ ‘Round’ lyrics by Woody Guthrie

After his passing my mother lived in Reno at a retired facility, in 2008 sh had a stroke suffering memory loss and Expressive Aphasia and moved to a memory care facility near me, where I got to know her in another way. We used to go out, here we are at the shopping center. What use is photography if it is not fun?

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha, may it forever hide my shameless theft of Sengai.

Lowin’, Lee, Ness and me

Bones to ink—Oracle Bones to I Ching

The earliest known form of Chinese writing are the “Oracle Bones” (甲骨) of the Shang dynasty (about 1600BC -1046BC) a period also technologically associated with the Xia dynasty which preceded it and the Zhou which followed. as The Bronze Age. The writing was on animal bones, usually the shoulder of a cow or the bottom of a turtle.

These three images are CC, you can find information @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_bone.

They were used to divine answers about the weather and other subjects of concern. A hot metal rod was poked into the bone creating cracks which were then divined to gain understanding. The writing usually included the question, the divined answer and general terms of the situation including names and the date.

Traditionally it was common for farmers to sell them to the “pharmacist” to grind up as medicine. About 1900 it was determined that they were divining tools from the Shang dynasty creating the oldest connection between the present and the written past.

The characters evolved over the millenniums

With the Zhou dynasty the Oracle Bones were replaced by Yarrow stalks and sixty-four hexagrams, the work of King Wu and his brother The Duke of Zhou with the Zhou I —or centuries later came to be called I Ching, aka The Book of Changes.

Alameda Creek

As long as Covid keeps up , for me, not much changes along Alameda Creek. Keep feeling should go somewhere; think everyday its the same thing; am getting older; got to get out and do some more stuff before cannot; . . . Walking along the creek daily for over 14 years and another 14 years walking my dog, meeting different people over those years. These are my weekly images.

When I see someone, generally I make an hello gesture—say something, or wave a hand. or sometimes its a look of the eyes combined with a nod of the head. Most respond, some do not even look at me, others are talking on their phones and Iid I know know them there is usually a quiet wave of hands.

We often assign causes to events—we call it understanding and a method of knowing—which requires there to be a thing differentiated and defined from other things, another thing related to it, and a description of events during at the duration.

One could say that the Universe does not much care abut al this or any of it, it just happens. Small particles move around here and there, they have affairs with other particles to make “things” which entropy and new things are created while old things dissappear

The Universe does not care?

Yet the Universe created people who care and the people are part of the Universe so it does care. Maybe the Universe created people to solve problems it could not solve, such as entropy or otherwise known its own demise.

The Universe created people to solve the problems of its own entropy , a quality of its own making or perhaps it was damage done to the Oneness during and/or after the Big Bang.

Entropy into what? Entropy with what?

Entropy is what happens inside the Universe. If the Universe were to entropy outside the Universe that would imply there is something outside of, separate from, the Universe. Perhaps cathie one “Our Universe.” Still universe means one and to suggest there are more universes than the one we know is to suggest that the Universe is not a universe at all, but one “thing” of another set of “things” which is more properly given the letters “uni.”

How do humans fit into the Universe. Is it even an important question given our material representation —what % of the Universe is human mattter to compared o non-human matter in The Universe ? What is Human matter? Matter in the Universe which is aware of itself.

But not aware of itself as of the Universe but as separated from The Universe. We know who we are because we separate ourselves from the ting we are.

OK, OK , so what else can you show me? Stand upside down inside handcuffs?

Maybe the Universe did not make us, but we happened in spite of the hopes, intentions, dreams or efforts of the Universe. Maybe the Universe kicked us out— like the Christian God kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating the fruit of knowledge and there is not other place to go,

Humans are forever floating around in their alienation, an essential yet poorly designed part of the Great Oneness. Individuals separated from it until death, society never to find how to return because every effort only creates new things to know, to be never completely reunited again. Our endless job as a part of The Universe is not just to experience it like other forms of matter but to know it and report back, Humans are the Universe’s Department of Intelligence.

Is any of this results of conscious efforts of the Universe ? Alienation by accident or alienation by intent whatever people are the conscious effort of the Universe, whether by intention or by accident, to know itself.

A symptom of a Universe gone mad with mental illness—how can the universe be mentally ill when there is only one, it is what Is, nothing else with which to compare it, is its own standard. We are here to witness The Universe as both subject and object with no way of knowing if its gone insane.

Sometimes I think one basic problem is we have is there is no number 2, its a tool humans created to survive. Mathematics is often called the “pan-galaxy “ language but its humans that classify things into a same group and then we find they are different from each other and no matter which direction we look, bigger or smaller., there is no end to this process of differentiating and defining, What we perceive as “same things” is only because we do not know them well enough, yet.

EndPaper

Most Japanese people like to socialize while eating and drinking. Even when you just drop in on someone you might bring a present such as senbei or cake, over sencha and conversation. Outside the house you will see groups joyously eating, drinking and talking. Popular TV shows bring these experiences into the homes as entertainment often featuring the craftsmanship and culture of the food profession.

I had just finished dinner at an Okinawan restaurant with a big sign on the wall welcoming US soldiers, and within a could of blocks after leaving found a takoyaki outside window. Full as I was, could not resist, bought six and ate them.

Winnifred

She liked the Art Boxes of Joseph Cornell who put objects inside his boxes. Inside Winifred’s box (about 1970) are a crucifix and three plaster molded shell shaped vaginas. In the lower window is an offset printed image of The Last Supper with press-type and press-arrows indicating clams are being served for Dinner. I may have known what, if any, religion she associated with, but I do not remember, its a work of Art, and does not make any difference.

Winnifred was my sister’s best friend in college, I became friends with her and her husband in Boston and later when they moved to Vermont where she worked a curator in a local museum and taught art. A few years later, mid 970s she moved to Los Angeles to work as a curator of an established museum and tragically, too soon after, she died in an automobile accident.
She left this piece with me before going to LA.

Inside three small plastic babies and clam shell.

Does this guy look like he is the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth and the tongue of The Universe?

We all are, whether we are paid to be here or not ,and some even get paid just have their \\photograph there.

By the end of this post are you supposed to know me better?

Shariputra,
all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
they do not appear or disappear,
are not tainted or pure,
do not increase or decrease.
Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,
no object of mind;
no realm of eyes
and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.

From The Heart Sutra

Know earthly desire

Walking along Alameda Creek

Last week on NPR’s Science Friday was a discussion with Avi Loeb, who has earned major academic credentials in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology, discussing the subject of the possibility of other intelligent life in the universe. He suggested that Oumuamua was associated with alien life.

He is obviously much more knowledgable than me in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology as well as academic achievements

As a child I had this discussion and many time over the past seven decades.

There is a difference between “might be” and“is” and science requires empirical evidence for an “is.” Agree “there might be” alien life, but it is one thing to say that the human known conditions for life are the conditions where life will exist, more accurate it is where life might exist.


There is nothing to prove there is or is not other life in their Universe. And responsible thought based on scientific knowledge suggests there might be but there might not be either.

We know conditions on Earth can support and perhaps even create life and that other planets appear—to the best of our scientific knowledge—to have the same or similar conditions as Earth. It is quite another thing to say this means there is life in other places in the universe, it means logically there might be.

We cannot know what we cannot experience through our five senses and we cannot know what does not exist. WE have never sensually —see, hear, touch, smell or taste—experienced the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, and we have never experienced any material manifestation evidence of such life . Or perhaps we have experienced it and did not “know what it was.

Alien life could be similar to humans, or quantitatively, or qualitatively, different.

Suppose aliens and humans shared some senses and not others such as between humans and bats? Or humans and aliens could share the the same set of biological senses but different quantitative capabilities such as hearing and smell between human and dogs,

Suppose they had a completely different set of biological senses which organized the same small particles we know scientifically make up the Universe into different “things”—we might presume different dimensions. but dimensions themselves are problematic, Human experience the universe in four dimensions because we are biologically constructed that way but other life forms may well have different sensor functionality. But becuase humans experience and thus organize the small particles of the Universe in four dimensions doesn’t mean other life forms will.

Think of all the stories, novels, songs, tv and movie shows about aliens, and in many of them the aliens make contact with pretty much stereo types humans —Why would aliens want to get touch in government officials only, Why would they make contact by kidnappping a human and take it to their vehicle? Why would they be seeking either peace or war? Why would there be an Area 51 where the US government supposedly has decades of research on aliens but no one else in the world knows of the aliens ? It could ijust as easily be “The Day the Earth Stood Still? or Alien?

And perhaps worse, suppose that we on Earth achieved “World Peace” and after some generations no longer had the ability to defend ourselves militarily . . . and then we were invaded by aliens. Maybe that is what they patiently waiting for.

Krishna

Over the past months I have presented images of Krishna wondering if people can get a better understanding of Krishna from looking at pantings rather than reading words. Words are ink on paper and painting are color on some medium—which tells you more.

Words seem “more objective” but pictures fill in the spaces between words and even letters . . . Krishna seems to like the girls.
Image from A festival of Krishna Harsha V. Dehejia

Mom

For 3 1/2 years I was involved with the care for my mother after she suffered a stroke, loss of memory, and developed Expressive Aphasia. She spent time in memory care facilities, hospitals and rehab-nursing care. During that time my wife and I saw her at least once everyday. with me using a small point&shoot making a photographic record,

Everyday can be a different situation. When she had to go somewhere for testing or consulting, first I made the trip alone to determine a time schedule, checking to see what parking was available, if there were stairs or other physical challenges, and whatever other problems I could foresee.

We went to the emergency room a few times. Mom was naturally curious and liked to be out and about, both before and after her stroke. Going to the ER could be an impromptu adventure, there was no planning for the event and once we were there for over 16 hours. The emergency room has a main desk with one or more rooms some of which may have more than one patient separated with a fabric curtain.

One long night in the ER—not because of Mom’s situation but there were too many serious emergencies that a doctor could not take the time out to sign her her out. We were alone enclosed by a sheet, for hours and behind the neighbor’s sheet was a loud-self-pitying- feel-sorry-for-himself drunk yelling at the top of his lungs that he wanted to die.

Waiting rooms can be a challenge, Mom may not have patience for a long wait, if someone else in the waiting room e is offensive to her she might speak her mind out loud. Generally “most” people were tolerant, but remembering the venue is a doctor’s office and at other times two patients with memory loss and whatever problems would have little patience and a discussion might develop.

My sister (Skype user) lives out of the US so we put a phone in Mom’s room in the first memory care facility, Generally my sister called when I was there, we scheduled it, it seemed to work better. I also used personal photographs to stimulate her mind and see her response to measure, I am not quite sure what, at least it felt like I was understanding her more.

“In the dementia field” the person receiving the care is generally referred to as “ loved one.” Mom was in the hospital a few times, its a different schedule. There is a doctor assigned to the patient, and I wanted to talk to the doctor directly. If I was there and the doctor was in the hospital and I tried to contact the doctor, usually by phone and usually had to leave a message and even in those rare times when you got the doctor on the phone, he or she phone might not remember the specific details. Or even if you made an appointment sometimes the doctor could not make it because of the normal other things that arise daily in the hospital.

But usually the doctor has a regular schedule which gives a window of time that you can plan a visit and generally, not always, you will have a face to face, all-in-one-place with the doctor, with the patient and with the patient’s record. Same with food, there is a schedule for lunch and dinner and the nurse at the desk can tell you.

During her life Mom was intelligent and curious, and after her stroke it seemed to me that she knew her life had qualitatively been altered, but she did not understand it—And she was determined to understand it. We would talk about it, I don’t think she ever found an understanding, just some way to forget abou it t for periods of time.

The first memory care was also an assisted living facility, Entering one would pass the check in/out desk and then the general room of the assisted living often with residents actively sitting around interrelating, Next walk down a hallway past rooms of assisted living, often with their doors open, to the locked door of the memory care facility.

As we walked down the hallway Mom would always see and want the independence of the assisted living.

For a while she seemed to believe it was something she had to earn and she loved a challenge. Other times she wold put up a tantrum in the hallway but after getting her past the locked door in 10-15 seconds he would have forgotten. But it was a very poor architectural design for its function.

She had a slight hip fracture, underwent an operation and spent two months in a rehab/nursing facility. In a California nursing facility the patient can be restrained without their permission, there is a doctor on staff who can legally “prescribe” a medical justification. Patients in memory care facilities can not be restrained without their permission and usually they cannot legally give their permission. State laws may may even consider bed rails an unacceptable restraint in memory care.

She had liked shopping before her stroke, and sometimes I would take her out to a mall and do fun things—You can look at a store as a place to buy things or you can experience at a store as just another place to walk around and have fun.

Like Dorian Gray, olde memories don’t die, they just fade away. or go out of focus. Not in focus, or not to the point??? but still fun and what else does a photograph need to be?
Filene’s Basement, about 1971

Sing, me back, ho, ummm drums


On top of Tokyo’s Asahi Beer building is a 300-ton stainless steel sculpture designed by French architect Philippe Stark. It was meant to look like foam rising from a beer mug. The Japanese have their own name for it, kin no unchi, Japanese for “Golden Turd. ”

Its within walking distance across the river from Sensoj, though I am not sure if the visual experience gets any better when you get closer but if you take a leisurely walk from Asakusa to Sky Tree, you will find it.

And in the window of the Sky Tree McDonald’s you might find enlightenment—McDonald’s uses a possessive apostrophe and “Finnegans Wake” does not— or wish you were not alone.

Earth is estimated to be 4.543 billion years old,
Life has been on Earth for about 3.5 billion years,
Homo sapiens about 300,000 years of that,
Automobiles been around since about 1900,
Personal computers since 1980s, and,
Smart phones (IBM’s Simon) since 1994.
Human beings have had a very minimal time on Earth.

Before humans this Earth was a “utopia,” a “Garden of Eden” one might say—oh, I guess someone already did. Humans with all their “intelligence” & “Superiority” are in the process of destroying their own “Garden of Eden.” And not just destroying it, but intentionally and knowingly destroying it.

Humans are the only species which knowingly, intentionally and enthusiastically, with an idealogy of justification—its now a political position— attempt to change their situation by changing their environment that gave birth to them—the Earth.

Basically other life forms are satisfied adjusting to the requirements of their existence while accepting their “natural” limitations and the slow adjustments and adaptions of evolution. They do not wax philosophically on race, or income inequalities or complain about not having things others have.

But humans have used their capabilities to carve tis earth apart, subjugate and destroy other life forms as well as the natural environment. Think about how much of this earth has been moved from one place to another —all these cars. trains, airplanes used to be bits of Earth in the ground. We get oil from the earth, burn it for energy, and release what is left into the air moving it from the under the ground into the atmosphere. We mine minerals from one place and use them to build concentrations of tall buildings in another.

Plastic is an example of some things which had a natural process on this earth being converted into to something unnatural, something much less bio-degradable which will not integrate as a part of Earth’s natural process for a very long time and its poisonous to many other life forms.

With all of this going on has the mass of the Earth changed or just the where the stuff is located. How about the distribution of that mass on the earth? while look at us??? Obesity, high blood pressure, war, hate, poverty, mental illness, some live in splendor while others starve, Oh!! The see me tree of it all.

Not an uncommon sight in Tokyo, authoritarian nationalists with their sound truck.

and just as common, people pay little attention to them.

Tokyo police just down the street from a sound truck but no heavy artillery, no riot gear, no guns and no large bellies hanging over the front of pants,

Japan has capitalism, a free market, democracy and a helluva lot less Japanese are murdered.

Waiting for Godot, a factory girl, enlightenment or a green light, not much different difference.

Or advertising makes you want to buy stuff you don’t want to help you communicate to others who you want them to think you are.

I would settle for a warm welcome from Plastic Man

It could be worse, you could find your loneliness on a windy prairie or . . .

in a two dimensional world where the sky is blue all day

and its still an EmptyPage—the page of no page.

Alameda Creek

Alameda Creek never goes away,

I have watched people progress through dementia along this creek, break the law, not pickup their dog’s poop, was present at the death of a friend’s dog,

Its a place to spend the pandemic . . .

with friends.

And its a place to raise your kids . . .

while you let others take care of it . . .

while the cycle of life goes round and round while one day each us find ourselves on it, and later, off it, to never know again.

“To Judy who made me live with a broken heart”

When I lived in the Boston area I would go to Fort Hill, this image was made when the Lyman family had a presence there.
The section title-quote is from the dedication of Mel Lyman’s book Mirror at the End of the Road which I read, one afternoon while standing for about an hour at a bookstore sidewalk cut out bin—it was a moving book, and I couldn’t move until I I finished it. I like Mel’s harmonica, especially his cover of Will Shade’s Jugband Waltz.

Later I met a man who workedat the type house in the building where I rented my design office whose wife had been a part of the Lyman Family, lived at the house in Fort Hill, and raised he daughter there, who gave me a couple copies of Mel’s family music audio tape made in the 1960s— one was a collection of blues songs, and the other was a children”s tape ,both were outstanding music collections.

On a clear day you could see Boston without hearing it feel the wind blow on oyur face— a peaceful easy feeling. Once when mother visited I tookher up there for an afternoon, we sat and drank a class of wine and talked.

Now the second tallest building in San Francisco, it looks like an interesting challenge for a skateboarder.

At a farm auction it might be a bankrupt fellow farmer , or perhaps its after a death of a friend , and you watch the process, one by one, of someone’s life be publicly bargained off so the wife can have a retirement off her husbands efforts and the generosity of neighbors who may well find themselves in the same situation one day.

This Krishna image uses shape, repetition and a limited palette of flat colors, even though nothing in the painting resembles reality, you instantly visually understand the painting. Its not the same as if it were a photograph of two people, trees, flowers, fruit, leaves and birds. It has beauty to it, its feels good to look at.

You have a limited amount of time in your life and you take some of that time to look at this image. is it because you have nothing better to do? or do you choose to spend an amount of your limited time on this painting for a another reason? Note in the piece of cloth that runs from the tip of the head to the bottom where the little white crosses give a feeling of cloth.

Oh Yes, the feeling of happiness when you are with Krishna.

My hands off policy keeps my hands clean as well as keeps m from going insane, like a drop of paper on a sheet of water.

Excerpt from Heart Sutra brushed in Seal Script by Janney.