A snow ball in hell

Weather two sentence with less prejudice

The facade of a building a couple blocks down Market from UN Plaza. The first time I came across it, it was new and there was some kind of small ceremony going on , I met and conversed with the father of the artist-daughter.

Where people come to eat pizza served in a cardboard box, get their own drink, napkins and plastic ware, sit at conference tables, eat and watch TV. bare walls, drab colors and high ceiling with exposed ventilation. If my memory served me right, it was a lot more fun at Durgin-Park in the 1960s.

Such a big space at the Sales Force Transit Center, above and below will be swarms of people. Most people take the elevators, still the long the long escalators are more fun

My images jump from one thing to another, the missing connection maywant to be meaningful or meaningless, but there is no more than what you see.

A little tension in the door way can go a long way each day

Alameda Creek

The evolutionary jump from primates which could communicate sounds associated with known events to a language is an interesting step.

Each little step: In this continuum of human life, some where, we try to identify the place of origin of human beings. Animals can associate sounds and things, birds warn each other of danger but only humans developed the ability to make unlimited associations of sound and “things” in time and place, and as a concept — a language.

As some “ sounds” associated some “things” became a common vocabulary among the people in the society, language begins to develop. (maybe not exactly that way, way but it probably developed slowly and incrementally as people developed ways of social interaction—rules.

On the Earth societies grew bigger and bigger in size, —imagine this evolution metaphor—families became extended families, which became intermixed groups, growing to villages towns, cities, kingdoms, to etc and then to “ sovereign geo-political nation states.

For homo sapiens to become who we are its been a long, hard road, over 300,000 years of inhuman violence and cruelty as well as times of compassion and kindness.

Culture, a field structure of human behavior is like a snowball rolling down a never ending hill, where the behaviors, especially the repeating behaviors of people attach together like an infinitely enlarging, snowball. Never stopping, always growing bigger. Peoples behaviors in the past make up this big snowball of culture.

Imagine people pop up from the surface of the rolling ball to do behaviors influencing the structure of behavior, i.e. how people behave— the snowball of culture gets larger and larger. Its an unseen force field generating a structure for human behavior, being originated by human behavior. When the behaviors we do are successful we do them again and in a society others also learn to do them. Its the natural human way of doing things.

A structure of behavior is not a material thing, you cannot see, its just the results i of various intertwined degrees of common behaviors of people as if in a gravitational field where suns and planets in outer space move around the Universe in an orderly predictable by the theory of gravity, only its the behavior of people and what happens in the relationships between people that make the structure of behavior.

As people grew in numbers, their societies became larger, geographically closer, and social human interaction increased. For most of the history of human beings migration was a common choice to deal with local problems—no passports needed. Various types of societies came and went, with cooperative and violent interaction between people, and larger and larger political units.

We now have the whole Earth divided into “nation states,” each claiming “their own history,” “national identity,“ geographical boundaries and sovereign rights. Oh, and taxpayer funded armies and a flag. to die fore.. There will be need to be some global common basis of order for societies to function together such as standard business law and standard property law.

Global economy has already teased its promise of lower prices and higher quality for more people but the structure of nation states, with ideologies of national sovereignty and political demagogues results in worldwide confrontational interactions, some military, and lots of rhetorical extremist demagoguery , people die and property is destroyed.

Earth has been divided up by people using both humane and inhumane behaviors. Its our human history, our human culture, but the benefits of this history are available to just a few. Many millions have unnecessarily died to make a better world possible for just a few. Every one born on earth should have a right to a place on Earth. Life, being alive, means you have to do behavior, do something, to survive on Earth. Of course I have no idea how to make it happen.


I do not see myself as a photographer, nor as an artist—rather a designer.

This image was photographed like you see— shadows inside of shadows— using tri-x film, the negative scanned in and the image treated as overlapped separated multi-tones in photoshop—almost 16 years ago.

Often my images are me trying to understand not my psychological self, but why I do not look like I feel.

Some people I have known decided they did not want to be around me and I never saw them again. Others just went on with their lives and I never saw them again.

I wake in the mornin’,
Hear the ding dong ring
Go marchin’ to the table
Its same dang thing.

Leadbelly, The Midnight Special

Sometimes I don’t quite know what to do with some photographs, it feels like ramming my head into a brick wall, finding no refuge in the end.

I am not a religious person, I have had some interest in the subject, mostly because of its connection to philosophy, and, well, I like the zen stories and pictures. Buddhism is said to be humanistic, there is no God, just ending the suffering of rebirth, basically the suffering of being born back in to the world. Christianity is about getting back into (reborn) heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In Buddhism I guess each reincarnation you get another shot at it, but in Christianity this life is your only chance to get to Heaven, or to, Hell—either is eternal but at least it ends rebirth.

Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva of compassion who hears the cries of sentient beings, and who works tirelessly to help those who call upon his name. An image of Amitabha Buddha sits on his head.

Avalokiteśvara spoke Heart Sutra to Shariputra,

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svhaha

Mist beginnings fore gotten futures

Centuries ago seen from today, Gothic temples seem like phallic symbols, each new one going higher and higher competing to connect (or re-connect‚ people and God. .Our modern temples, built not for worship of God, but for secular business.

Morning reflection in the windows of the Maritime Building

Blue sky, looking up the building appears to be a pier thrusting into the ocean. or even a walkway to God.

In different places around the neighborhood the building shows itself.

A bit of this or a but of that

From up around where Monk used to touch the stop sign in the opening credits scene.

Afternoon a couple of blocks above Stockton Street.

I sometimes wonder if all this moving parts of the Earth —raw materials— from there to here, and concentrating buildings in a few geographical places does not effect a rebalance, or even an imbalance, of the earth.

Alameda Creek

That we see is profound enough, eyes get a “work-out” walking daily along Alameda Creek . . . well actually walking around anywhere., Seeing is fun.

We see light when it reflects off a “thing,” . . .

What is a “thing?” is an interesting question to ponder, seeing a “thing” is light.
If there was no light would things not exist?

It reflects light? But not all “things” reflect light—Ideas, concepts, and “generality” words which can represent many “particulars.” . . .

Ideas are often represented in writing on a medium which is made by people to reflect light and the marks on the surface— An the paper we make we can see the writing (or printing), read the letters and know the meaning.

We can also think the concept, hold it in our mind, remember it tomorrow, and we do not need light to see it nor a place to store it.

Photographs are about “things ”which reflect light. and don’t reflect light, things we can see as well as dthings we cannot see.

Often people have a common feeling about a photograph, its not just a list of the things in it but how the things fit together to express concepts such as compassion; curiosity; love; disgust; commitment..

The whole is more than the sum of the parts..

All of these images are just things that have been, or could have been or may be, seen here or somewhere else in the Universe.


‘After her stroke, Mom could not read, I don’t know what the little graphic marks of letter forms meant to her. Western letter forms are not like kanji or hanzi. embedded in their pre historical visual clues.

Mom’s was very bright, with a large sophisticated vocabulary—she knew a lot of words as well as grammar. Yet it seemed she would look at letters knowing they were supposed to mean something but no matter how long or how hard she looked at them, meaning never came to her—her mind could not make a connection with the letters.

Its very different than how people “normally ” look at lines of strange little marks —that is what writing is to the uninitiated , the ones who cannot read.

I imagine its a little like looking at a foreign language but still one knows it has meaning..Still, there were times I chose to try to communicate with letters.

We see these unfamiliar marks on paper, not only do we not know what they mean—how to read them —but when we see the marks we cannot but help notice the visual qualities of shape, texture, color, etc. —the human braind, always trying to differentiate and define sensory input.

After we can read a language when we look at the little marks we know what they mean and no longer find the shapes of the marks interesting We read for the meaning of the words and not the visual experience of seeing the little marks on the paper.. Its the meaning .

Mom was in the “rehab” facility for eight weeks , after a few weeks she was up and around a little and was allowed to sit —with seat belt on —in a wheelchair She could move with her legs which was good exercise and she explored the facility.

When we read, usually the “meaning” defines the visual experience of seeing the little marks in rows and columns. Those non-meaning visual experiences are still there to be had, but many people in modern society with its emphasis on “meaning” have become less sensitive to the sensual experience.

There is no Heart Sutra for horses, or dogs, or cats, or for any other living things. Maybe God thought only people needed it.

Child asked, “Does a horse have Buddha-Nature?
Joshu, still, said, “Mu.”

Gate gate paragate, parasamgate ,Bodhi svaha

Like us fore, ever

Know time connects the past to the future . . .

A moment visually captured, later the photograph grows old, like every other thing —entropy— but even as it grows old it may also have meaning for some people who see it, a meaning which stirs the memory of that moment, it brings back the feeling . . . of a moment in history.

Is a photograph better than just, say pre-camera, where the memory was stored in the mind? . . . or the memory held 一repressed or played like a video in the mind? . . . Then again the photographic image is a specific moment in time, or in the case of a film, a period of time, whereas the memory is a biological machine integrating all of the senses into one sensual moment —the body—the eyes, ears, mouth, touch and nose — a tool for the mind to sense the Universe. and the photograph using the visual sense can trigger a comprehensive sensual feeling. Where the photograph objectives the moment, the mind subjectives it.

The photograph always looks the same, but the feeling may change. Maybe we change our opinion about the recorded moment—a happy image of an old love affair gone bad—an image which once invoked happiness later bring sadness anger, or self reproach —do we rip it up and throw it out in haste?

The same image that when first seen brought happiness, later seen brings sadness, or anger, perhaps some psychological rationalizations, and insecurity, perhaps even resolve—“Lord just help get over this one, I’ll get over the next one myself.”

This young man, holding two phones, was texting himself.

Sometimes its what was not in the image, or, some thing which makes an unplanned appearance in a moment which caught the feeling of the photographer but was missed by the lens. Who is seeing, the photographer or the lens?

For some the photograph may be better than the reality—McLuhan joked about two women who pass each other on the sidewalk, one pushing a new born in a carriage. The other says “What a beautiful baby!” to which the mother replies, “Oh but you should see the photographs.”

With TV and video people do not have to know how to read.. McLuhan used to argue that print (circa Gutenberg , movable type and western world) created a world in which visual became the most used, actually over used, sense, creating a “biological imbalance” having a major influence in the networks of human relations, i.e. the social structure of human relationships of society.

Print influenced people to use the visual much more and the other much senses less altering the society as a whole. Print popularized reading and writing, and brought correct sentences, logical sentence structure, common word meanings, and popularized causal relationships expressed logically—understanding some “thing” is to know what caused it, to “know”why it happened.

Perhaps some are capable, like Mork, to see images in their hand, and lead us through this madness.

Alameda Creek

Will we, human beings, always be “like this?

Everyday people get up in the morning, they may take a walk or bike ride along Alameda Creek or may go to work, or may even rob a bank , save a life or join an army.

If you feel like you agree to the feeling of the words, even if we do not agree on what “like this” means specifically, then we share something . . . a desire for change.

Many say we all want the same things, but more likely what some want is more of the same things than others get. —its not the things that is important but the “ more.”

You may have your own unique definition of what “like this” means . . . Think of those times when someone says “Why do people do this or that . . . its human nature; he’s a bad person; she does not have integrity‚—so many reasons make logical sense.

Why do people believe lies? Why are people so gullible? Why do people make war? Why do people fall in love with someone they cannot live with? Why does she not like me?

Are people naturally good, such as Mencius believed and a great society needs to develop that seed of human nature? Are people naturally bad such as Hobbes, Thomas Aquinas or Han Fei Tzu argue, and society needs an strict authoritative individual or legal structure to control the bad behaviour—the human nature behavior—of individuals with strongly enforced laws?

Are we all sometimes good and sometimes bad, are there the good people and the bad people, are each of us some good and some bad? Hw do we know?

Is this just the way human beings are? “Human nature?” we cannot escape it, by definition anyway, it is a prison in which we are bounded, yet we do not know, or cannot agree on what it is.

What is our “Natural Self”? So many behaviors in the past of 300+ years, which were sufficient to enable human beings to survive come to be embedded in culture and as time goes on for some they become outdated, and need to be changed while for others they are something to defend as necessary to enable people to continue to survive.

Change happens,, but if there is a natural self, a human nature, by definition is unchangeable. The world changes while people remain the same? People who want to maintain the status quo usually believe human nature as unchangeable, the problems we have in society will always be with us.and we need to structure society to minimize the problems of bad individual behavior .

China has always been an authoritarian political structure. Confucian philosophy is about what is the “correct” behavior of the ruler. Dan, Duke Wen of Zhou ( 周文公旦) is perhaps the most recognized example of admirable behavior

“Will China become less authoritarian in the future”—that’s like saying “Will the United States become less racist in the future?” Its unchartered territory, things we never have been able to fix or change before. Great leaders will look forward to a better world; authoritarian demagogues will convince people that a past which was not so great was actually great and better than anything the future has to offer.


People are waiting, patiently,

Looking for leaders to bring them home.

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone
. . .

. . . If I knew the way I would take you home.
Ripple Grateful Dead

But its not “If you go” —we all do go,—that is what it means to be born and have a life.

There are as many paths in life as there are people.

Imagine working here, spending 8 hours a day in this little box??? Where do you poop and pee? Then again imagine being a wood pecker, whenever you are eating you are banging your head against a tree trunk.

Looking across the bay from the end of Montgomery Street towards Berkeley. or more likely, the angle is towards Oakland.

When standing in front of a two dimensional Art, I like to ask the question, What is the artist doing here? . . .

Most of the images of Tom and Nance were not planned, we would be somewhere and a picture would come up and we made it,

And answer it with a grin.

Gate gate paragate, parasamgate Bodhi svaha

Abotherless place

SF’long way from home

Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.

Photography brought the world to the world.

The smart phone has made it even more ubiquitous, and someone’s sense of humor.

The world is about 7.75 billion people. Its likely most of those people—us—understand what is a photograph.

The “photograph” has a common meaning, not in its content, but its form which defines the meaning of the content. . Show someone a photograph and they will identify it as a photograph.

They may not have a common interpretation as to what they see in the photograph . . .

but they agree this is a photograph and when they ask What is it? , they expect to find an answer.

When they ‘know‘ its a photograph, the mind generates an image of what it should look like, and when its different, the mind wants to know who manipulated the image. “Who Photoshopped it?”

Alameda Creek

What kind of changes did public education bring to this country? And/or to the world?

There are federal laws, mandates, rules, guidelines, and state laws, mandates, rules, guidelines, and local laws, mandates, rules, guidelines,

And there are individual personalities distributed throughout each bureaucracy . . .

each individual twisting and turning their network of influence in directions not necessarily compatible with the purpose of the bureaucracy

The idea of public education is that life has changed, where in early history education occurred in families through chores, tasks, and responsibilities, apprenticeships;

as humans evolved with increasing technological advances, divisions of labor and complex economic interrelationships . . . A standard set of adult skills was identified and came to be taught in schools.

Basic language, basic math—As society keeps changing, these skills are constantly being redefined.

Public education meant that kids attended, compulsory attendance, public schools in an orderly fashion.

Student socialization experiences increasingly occur with other students of their own age. The situations of the schools—locations, finances, etc— come to play an important part in the socialization experiences of the students. They develop their own norms based on their social experiences with each other, semi-independent of family or village elders.

Students develop their own norms and a more commonsense of reality based more on their experiences with each other, and less with family or village elders, but still in the presence of adult professionals with a more common standard across the country than local communities.


Looking west from Albuquerque NM, the land is flat desert and the path of the late afternoon sun light can be relatively closer to the Earth without being blocked.

Minnesota plains are windy, upon arriving it quickly becomes an unconscious habit to make sure anything you put down is weighted enough not to blow away.

Driving down the driveway/road to the house, the second floor windows are seen. It was an empty house used as a barn for storage by the couple that lived in a trailer at the turn off. He had stored a barrel of salted fish only to return later to find a bear had broken in and ate the fish. Revenge— so he bought another barrel of fish, put it in place and started spending nights there, with a firearm.

An old farmhouse with a small apple orchard in the front yard, a wood stove and a pump in the kitchen, a gas refrigerator and gas lights.

Somerville neighbors on a warm afternoon

Rolling a joint in the 1960s, everyone patiently waiting . .

Fifty years later holding moms hand in rehab.

Each story has its own picture , don’t push back.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi svaha

Mythchievous inconceptions

I see, thus I be

Sewer on a Tokyo Street

Toyodo City, used to be Obara-mura until Toyodo City increased its tax base by merging . Obara is the only place in Japan where 10,000 rare shikizakura (四季桜, “four-seasons-cherry blossom”) cherry trees grow, which bloom twice a year in spring and autumn. 

Fsrmhouse in Obara-mura

Thinking one and two dimensions are not real, they do not exist in Nature; they are concepts which we use in daily life. A shadow has no depth, its not a “normal “thing, it has no material substance but its not a concept–we can see it. Its the absence of light. If you stand in one place the shado moves around you, naturally.

From Shado Series

No one is being fooled? In Tokyo subways there is no talking on the phone, Internet and texting, ok, as long as it}s quiet Once on BART there was a guy talking personal stuff on the phone with a therapist,–loudly– his mother had just died, –that morning– and he1 was not there. After about 15 minutes of this, the subject changes to he has cancer and he is dying.. We had about 45 minutes of this.

Alameda Creek

Is what we see a matter of biology?

Many life forms have eyes, ears, mouth, taste and smell and while they use the same physical senses as we do some use their same senses for knowing differently than upeople

When the camera is adjusted properly, it creates a photographic image meaningful to the human eye,

Meaningful means people look at the photograph and unconsciously, without thinking, by feeling, know what the things are in the photograph. and what is their relationship to each other.. When the unconscious has questions about this a warning alert activates “conscious looking.” as it begins to form words and make a literal question in the mind.

Knowledge and skills are learned from others..

One quality of humans in general is that individuals naturally differentiate “things” from each other. and give them a name. For example, what can be eaten from what cannot be eaten? Berry–a logical step in evolution and those that did it naturally would survive,

Sometime people see the same photograph, can admit it has not been “photoshopped” and still have different descriptions of the photograph.

Humans not only differentiate one thing from another but give it a name–a sound or a written symbol –to be used as language. Language ,at its very root of existence, is a social quality, Humans learn from each other doing the normative behavior of survival ,

Many of the words we use are not really the thing in itself, but just sounds and words which over time people came come to use. This s a tree, not because it is a “tree as named by the Universe” but because people agreed in the past and by using the word are daily agreeing in the present to call it a tree.

We did not have a name for it before, and there was no dictionary, no manual, and no youtube with do-your-self videos. People have language, which differentiates us from other animals which may have developed sounds with have common meanings

Little birdie, little birdie
Come and sing me your song.
Got a short time to stay here.
And a long time to be gone.

Over 20 years ago in spring and fall, the migrating red-wing blackbirds used to appear in tens of thousands along Alameda Creek . . .then they disappeared for over 10 years maybe global warming changed their migration

But a person being able to say or write a word does not mean that person understands its meaning,

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.

Through theLooking Glass Lewis


Science is a tool for finding knowledge., for knowing . Many people seem to believe that science, like The Bible, should have answers for any and all problems, . . .

But Science is not a storehouse of knowledge as much as a process, a method of knowing to understand the Universe . In our society Technology uses science to do things. such as solve problems.

When a new problem occurs, science may not have an answer–such as the Covad virus– and Science seeks to find it, . . using a specific behavior called the scientific method.

The problems science has found answers to are no longer problems, or perhaps thought of as “problems solved.”

Unlike a religious text which has “answers” for any and all problems–though the reader has to mix in some of their fears and hopes– the scientific method is not magic. Answers do not magically appear without disciplined practice– empirical method, hypothesis, experiment, data, analyzation and concept/theory development, trials. and peer review.

There are failures along the way, and often “critics“ of science are all too eager to point at failures in research as proof that the process of science itself is a failure. But failure is an essential part of scientific knowing, ,it sorts things out.

And in science, even when some success has been achieved, knowledge has been established which is acceptable to science, even then future criticism, using the scientific method, may find changes to be necessary.

Even only a couple hundred years one way we knew “things” was because of the empty space –air– between them, such as between a mountain and a tree. Now, because of science we know that “air” is not “nothing,” but a bunch of small particles we cannot see with the normal human eye.

Photographs began as things we see with the human eye, recorded with a cameras, Now cameras are able to record images beyond the light sensitive to the human eye giving us a view of the Universe which was off limits to human biology. A photograph is our material record of a moment between the past and the future. Until humans came along the Universe just went on doing things with no records of itself and its achievements.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi svaha