Earth owed children

The sounds of the world

On this morning Sangha chanted and then ate lunch, usually donated and prepared by the community.

Under the table

And a little of the local gossip: Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva He Who Observers the Sounds of the World. In the 25th chapter of Lotus Sutra Avalokitesvara says he will take any form to deliver the Dharma to people—In India Avalokitesvara is male, in China (Guanyin) and Japan (Kannon) female. Avalokitesvara is often a part of both Mahayana and Theravada and Heart Sutra is Avalokitesvara talking to Shariputra .

The Saishi (priest) is waiting until 6:00 am to open the doors for the public to join chanting. at Sensoji, Asakuksa, Tokyo, founded in 645, and since WWII identified with Kannon.

Its a popular temple with businesses which cater to visitors, such as renting a kimono while walking around ‘or tour carts. hand drawn by young men .and Nakamise, a shopping street running through the big gate to the main temple with shops selling many things and senbei.

Temples, unlike western churches do not offer “regular group services. The monks have work to do. if large then the administration and clerical employees may be involved Temples have events, in smaller towns t may serve as like a community center, a place where local events or meetings occur.

Selfie at Sensoji—a piece of Earth was mined to provide material which went into making a consumer product—a selfie stick—which will be used for awhile and “thrown away” in the garbage.

And ten hours way in San Francisco, imagine attaching a $1000 computer-phone to a cheap “selfie stick?”

In San Francisco people come out and talk to each other; Union Square

These two were stating a business together on Market Street, the arms tell one story and the knees another.

Truth lies just outside of the UN plaza.

I spoke with this man, just to make sure, he was actually texting himself.

This gentleman was protesting something about collusion between Leo Leporte and Steve Jobs, collusion which did him wrong, so he claimed. (Leporte had a radio broadcasting career related to promoting Tech and answering questions about computers.) I liked that the strong color was in the background while the man is dressed in dreary colored clothes.

I saw her standing there in the street , bags on the side walk, it was uphill and I cold use a ret so I sat on a door entrance ledge, and watched. After about 20 minutes a big black car pulls, a young son gets out, phone-ear- hand-mouth busy, all the while as he with one free hand, he opens the trunk , loads the bags in three trips , opens t3he back door, escorts his mom in to the car, shuts the door, goes around to get in the driver’s side and drives aways, all the while talking on the phone.

A building of one first floor and one second floor apartments with a (shared?) garage and a view from the rear? Interesting living arrangements, nice if you are young.and ride a motorcycle.

Alameda Creek

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,. . .

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,. . .

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, . . .

The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of The United Nations is written in brass letters in the walk through UN Plaza in San Francisco.

Earth, wandering through the Universe, is the only human “known” location of “intelligent life.”

“Becoming Human,” the 400,000 years of human beings striving to get to today, to this moment, and then to the next moment, and so on . . .

Imagine all of Humanity as one living entity, one living thing, acting in its own interest, and each of us now and through history, are one functioning piece of a bigger whole.—I guess that would be like Earth being a Big Borg.

It does not appear to be a united well functioning effort different parts, the people, are acting against each other and if people is the measure of success, we end up killing others, many who are innocent people, for the survival of ourselves—those of “us” who are left here to read this, “they” are no long with us.

Humans have an archeological history of 300,000 years (more or less its a flexible category depending on definitions, buts its a long time compared to one of out lifetimes.). Compare contemporary tech innovations to those of (imagined) prehistory—they started out with nothing. and figure out practical knowledge such as Joinary; portable containers to hold liquid; fire and heat management; farming and many other great achievements, and all peoples on this Earth now figured out enough to survive this far. All the lives that have gone into this.moment,


For awhile my m/other lived in. a memory care facility. I used to show her photographs, here is my mother and father, I was did not know if she was able to remember.

A chart showing seasonality differences for Apple, could be product sales, gross income, who knows,

A simple design using contrasts of things to organize it—odds/evens, moving/standing , light/dark, big/small, and I always like the humor of the reflection.

A warm afternoon and birds beware.
brush painting by Janney

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svaha


He was taking shower 
and when done 
he got to fly freely
with good dreams in the sky


poem and duck photos by Janney

In the classes I teach there is always a student who announces that photographs lie. “They do ?” I ask., “When was the last time one lied to you?” The answer always turns out to be that the caption was wrong or an advertising slogan was not to be believed or the scene recorded ran counter to the viewer’s expectations.  No one has yet remembered a photograph lying on its own, but I remember the last time I was lied to by a human  who looked me in the eye and told me something we both knew was not true. I remember it vividly. I remember my reaction. 
John Loengard     Pictures Under Discussion 

We walked in Coyote Hills, Janney is an artist, with an artistic eye

I on the other hand am, or was, a designer will little or no concern fore the responsibilities of photography, or art.

Janney gets a right moment,

I’m not proud, I will do anything I want to an image, mostly because often what I see is something I feel and not something I see in the camera.

When I see a Hopper painting with people I enjoy wondering what the people are feeling and thinking, but when I see an A. Wyeth painting with people in it I usually feel I know what they are feeling and thinking but I know I do not know. Disclaimer: I like both Wyeth and Hopper and have traveled distances to see their work.

Barns are interesting places, farmers regularly remodel the insides to work with changes in their farming, practice. Wesley would have cows for a few years, horses, and sometimes needed more storage or bought a new machine and each time remodel the inside of his barn.

This ad came up when I was clicking too fast and/or the browser was working too slow—501® Original Shrink-to-fit Levis, only 59.50 . I am 75, wearing 501s all of my life, or at least since I was in the 7th grade and given a monthly clothes allowance which meant I had to learn to budget in the summer for the winter. In the 7th grade 501s cost $3.05/pair where I lived, only shrink-to-fit was available with no returns after washing.

In Ameyoko Plaza, Ueno, Levis 501s range from $125.74 to $275.28, with 10% off. (Today’s prices, photo from November 2018)

Once a work is completed it must always become the possession of others, not of the creator, This holds true for both scholars and artists. If people were truly adverse to this they would keep their most beloved creations to themselves, locked away in their minds and studios, and this would only be fitting and right. Deciding whether there is such a concealed work  is one of the key points to determining whether there is creativity or not. 
Issey Miyake Bodyworks    Shōzō Tsurumoto, editor

Just about everyday since Spring 2007—when I moved my office home—I fast walk along Alameda Creek. I get on at Beard Rd Staging , about 75 yards from my house and I can go about 7 miles either way—west to Coyote Hills or east past Niles.

Since the Covad19 the levee has become very different with more people I do not know, more people I do not recognize and as I get older it takes more time to do the four miles . . .

I listen to podcasts, for many years I listened to The Archers (BBC) and Bloomberg Surveillance, Coved19 changed the interactive format of The Archers and while Bloomberg Surveillance was good investment information by the time the market opens its generally outdated information. This year is Water Margin, and working on Three Kingdoms.

The more fine, true wool, the better the fleece. The more kemp, the coarser the yarn, since a large medulla means a coarse and brittle fiber. Furthermore, the fineness of the short wool fibers, expressed by the average diameter of the strands, and the amounf of crimp  or curd are also important. Tight, curly wool is more difficult to handspin than long straight fibers.
Old Navajo Rugs Marian E, Rodee

Every year for the past four years sheep and goats, separately of course, are hired to graze along the Alameda Creek trail. the sheep get along with each other, but the goats will pick fights.

Last week this turkey vulture discovered a dead turtle —turkey vultures do not kill prey , they lack the claws to do it . . .

. . . but they have no problem harrassing and stealing from each other .

A young man walking his dog, over the past 12 years I have met a lot of different people, he is very proud of his dog.

They built a fire against the side of a great log twenty or thirty steps within the somber depths of the forest and then cooked some bacon in the frying pan for supper and used up half of the corn “pone” stock they had brought. It seemed glorious sport to be feasting in the wild free way in the virgin forest of an unexlplred and uninhabitated island, far from the haunts of men and they said they never would return to civilization . . .

. . . “Its just the life for me ” said Tom.  “You don’t have to get up mornings  and you don’t have to go to school and wash and all that blame foolishness.”
Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  © 1920 Mark Twain Company. Grosset & Dunlap  Publishers by arrangement with Harper & Brothers —my copy, eat your heart out, its letterpress and deckled edges.

San Francicso along Market Street, maybe ten years ago, and I think all my life no matter how much I stretched I could never sit like that
, no , actually just kidding, I wonder what he is doing now. Every time I see my photos of kids I remember the moment and I think how old is the image and I say a prayer of hope for their lives.

A Japanese gardener in my neighbor, he used to be my neighbor until he moved but he still works around the neighborhood. We bought a pine tree, a Japanese maple and a Japanese plum tree from him. He told me when he moved I could have all the “Japanese small stones ” I could carry from his driveway for the path in our Japanese garden. He has a lot of patience, he worked on this little pine for over an hour, I think he knows every needle.

When I see someone like this, I am thankful they are doing this job, she directed me to the bathroom . . .

. . .you could say I no what I am looking fore, but it took me until 12 years after I graduated from high school, another three years of design school, one year at a Boston printer to learn about ink being placed on paper, then 35 years as Steve Naegele Design. Often when I was on press check looking for small little things like broken type, is the screen mix tint the same across the flat and other things to make the page more perfect, earning more in one hour than many people on this earth made in month . . . and for some in a year.

. . . or we could just hope to hear someone say:

Gate Gate,

The artless dodger

All through human history its obvious that people like Art— paintings, drawings, music, decoration, poetry, dance, sculpture, and so on. While different individuals may have different “tastes” in Art or they may argue what is or is not Art, people like Art.

Here I am stepping on a piece of Art, off to the side there is a sign that says “Please take off your shoes“ but I did not. Not intentionally, but when I realized it, I did not come down immediately, it was too much fun.

In pre-digital graphic design, art (small “a”) referred to anything which was pasted up on a board, photographed using high contrast film which was used to burn an offset printing plate to be put on a printing press.

Along Alameda Creek Levee , I walk everyday, well not exactly everyday, but very close . . .

We know the universe through our five senses, and and, maybe in some part, reason—another human created tool. In Art sensual feeling is another way of knowing. The eye of the visual artist feels information about the qualities of things and expresses those qualities.

Its been over five months since Covad 19, everyday walking along the creek levee with my little Nikon 8200 camera.

Where for most people what they see goes through the eye to the brain which defines what they have seen—I see a house!. But for the visual artist the image does not go to the brain, but stays on the eye and is known visually as line, texture, color, shape, gesture, and the relationships between them —the visual qualities.

Art does not have to be anything in particular, it can be political, it can be decorative, it can have hidden meanings or superficial meanings, it can serious, it can be light hearted fun. Its often said that Art is in the eye of the beholder and rules are made to be broken.

But there are some rules to Art. Visual Art, like music, is about creating tension and resolving it, visual art creates a visual tension and resolves it visually; music creates an audio tension and resolves. it.
In visual art, the tension— a visual question which seeks an answer— attracts your eye like an accident on the road attracts rubber neckers. The resolution is when the visual question is visually answered, and when this process is successful the viewer feels it instantly. for and if this is not resolved the reader moves on.

Design is different than art . . . Design is how how the pieces fit together and often what the pieces are.

Design is a part of Art, but also it is its own distinct and separate thing. Artists are often good at design, but not necessarily and designers are designers, not artists by intent. Art may often pose visual questions but commercial or graphic design, such as in designing an advertisement, or a brochure is not about posing visual questions, but eliminating visual questions. NO reader of an adorable a brochure should ask “Is this an ad Isthis a brochure? Where do I start reading? or How do I read this? What is going on here?—yet all may be legitimate questions for the Artist .

On weekends its crowded with bike riders, and a general increase in dog poop.

For the commercial designer, design is an end in itself. In marketing communications design, marketing has an objective (hopefully) and a strategy to realize that objective (hopefully). The work of the designer is to visually implement that strategy to realize the marketing objective—the feel of the visual experience of the ad should communicate through feeling any questions about how to read the ad—such as this is an ad (its not an editorial or article) ; where to start reading; where to go next; where to end reading; where is the message—it wants to get you to the message which you may accept or reject.

The goats are back again along Alameda Creek. A goat herd is hired to eat up the growing stuff along the creek and sides of the levee. Sheep were there last month.

The designer wants to minimize the time spread between the moment the viewer initially experiences the ad and the viewer getting to the content of the ad—unless the strategy of the visual experience of the ad is make that difficult. These are decisions made instantly by feelings. This is when you are reading a magazine and you turn the page “without thinking” —you are not “thinking ” but you are “knowing by the feeling of the page and instantly have made a decision to go on that honest page. The opposite is true too, if there is something on that page that interests you, you will know that by the feel of the page and make a decision without thinking.

Maine is cold in the winter time

A painting or drawing hanging on my wall would be very boring if everyday I had the same visual experience with it. Visual Art needs to have a visual experience which grows with the viewer.

When I see images of the cold in Maine I remember the fun snow is , but then the memories of the reality are automatically recalled.

Photographs as Art have their own situation, people commonly associate a photograph as a visual record of a real moment in time. If they do not recognize what they see, they begin thinking about What is it? and alienate themselves from the visual experience.

Finding out who you are can get very competitive and introverts like myself tend to try to hide among the feelings —if yuo saw me here you would think I was someone else.

On the other hand an advertisement wants to create a common visual experience. The purpose is not to encourage the viewer to have their own independent experience but to have the same experience as everyone else an dwhen that works is that common experience positive towards the content.

At the cross roads where both choices go up

We may expect the artist have the skill in their own hands to create their vision. For the designer its the vision that matters and the designer, as art director, may use others for their skills to realize their vision. This is reasonable as the designer is a “commercial artist,” their vision is to design a solution which works for others while the artist is about creating their own vision. How close do you think the artist should be to the skills needed to produce the art?

Before I came to California in 1979 I lived in Cambridge MA. Once a year Philip Guston would hold an evening presenting works, comments and taking questions,— I attended once, he showed his klan series. Link to a new exhibition of Philip Guston. In his early career before this style he was known as an abstract expressionist.

The artist practices their skill to respond to their feelings without thinking.

Daruma is the historical character of the man who brought “zen” from India to China in the 6th century. More specifically he brought Dhyana to China which became Chan and in Japan is Zen. A KnoWay Daruma .

When Japanese get a new Daruma “doll” there are no eyes in it, just two white circles. Make a wish, draw in an eye, if the wish comes true draw in the second eye. Many people buy a Daruma at New’s Year or at Jindaiji Temple Daruma Doll Fair where people come to buy a new Daruma and burn an old one.

Sometimes to much of a good thing makes yo stop wondering.

There is another interesting use of the word “art.” When a skill or profession for which there is very specific training yet some individuals have a special “knack” outside of and beyond that specific training is described as “the art of” —the art of the medicine ; the art of sales; the art of carpentry. In the West that is what often some use to separate Craft from Art.

An Acoma bowl, maybe 1950s or later? Acoma is one style of Southwest Indian pottery. If you are ever about 45 miles west of Albuquerque on Highway 40 stop and buy some pottery. If you take the tour you may get the opportunity to purchase inperson from the artist.

The sense of Art is that its a meaningful human expression beyond the ability of words. Except that using words is an Art, or is the writer just a craftsman with unexplainable word abilities, a wordsmith, theocrat of writing and only some of them have the Art of writing? (That’s a joke.)

Gary Holt , chawan, Berkeley potter, It was one of his early “soluble” (I think that was his term) chawans. It felt like Miro to me.

Last night I broke a piece of pottery, every once in awhile it happens, it tears out a piece of my heart, it reminds me how impermanent is my life—but then there is the zen of it, I buy a pottery because I like it, I enjoy using it, when it breaks, because it will, get another one.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, bodhi svaha

From my collection of “functional pottery ” which includes work from Berkeley potters during the 1980s, other local areas of San Francisco, four Chinese bowls with hand painted roosters, one bowl from Roswell NM, purchased as a set of four from the local Art Museum and one bowl from an Old Town pottery store which featured local potters around Albuquerque.

Whatever is Art, knowing what Art is is not as important as having it.

Know place phore zen

“All questioning is a way of avoiding the real answer, which as Zen tells us, is already known.  Every person is enlightened but wishes he or she was not.” 
R. H. Blythe

I do not know what others think about the Zen related publications by Blythe. He also did a series of books on haiku; I do not know what others think about those either.

A monk asked Gensha, “The Supreme Doctrine—is there any explanation of it recently?’ Gensha said, “We don’t hear such a thing often.”

I am fortunate to live near Alameda Creek where I can often walk along the levee, This was last week; one thing I like  about where I live is the weather.


Mumon wrote:
If you understand the first word of Zen
You understand the last;
But these two words 
Are not one word.
Mumonkan    CaseXIII   The Verse (Blyth translation0


Blyth’s Mumonkan was the third complete translation into English, but the first one which was accompanied by extensive interpretive commentaries on each case.


They can be enjoyed for their place in time . . .every year it is different.

alamedaCreek0827_24%ppi100D800.jpgEveryday I walk, it seems my own commitments are all I ever have, Do they have any meaning,? Why get up in the morning, “These songs of freedom , they’re all I ever have,  Redemption Songs.” (Bob Marley).


When I take myself too _________________ (insert word), I remember that one reason I am here is because my neighbor does not kill me, and I do not kill my neighbor.


I will go unbounded standing outside at your door.
(words taken from a song by Eric Anderson)


This belonged in the series in the previous post but I did not know it when I made it. You will see what I mean if when you get to the end of this post you continue to scroll to the previous one.


On the wall in the Shibuya station there were eight continuous digital screens, each 10 feet wide, maybe 8 ft high.  In this image you see two screens with four vertical images, total twenty feet long.


sometimes a single image would appear across all on eight screens, about 80 feet . . .this probably shows almost three screens of a building against the sky, a single image  which extended across ten screens.


Different 8 foot screens would have different images. Perhaps as in the first example two vertical images per screen, or any combination as you like it, even to make a story  unfold to someone as they are  walking  past. What an interesting medium to work in!


Margaret Tafoya used bear paws, the kiva step, mountain, clear sky and buffalo horns as designs on her pottery. While many “great artists” get exhibitions in museums, you have to go there, pay, stand up, and you look at something and try to figure  out what it means— I find it  kind of a bother. But design of our everyday functional things, its just a part of our life. In Japan “good design”  is part of the everyday life people.

What you do, who you are, in your working life makes a difference in this world. Integrity and ethics matter.


In the western world there is fashion, not that Japanese  do not have fashion, but its within design.  In the west  fashion is or may be, outside of design and success is not about the meaning  of design but generated by money—purchases in the market  by people with little sense of design and too often find their “design appreciation” in the publicly exposed  label.

For most people the daily stuff they interact with often lacks meaning, whether it costs a lot or a little, whether its high fashion or common fashion.


A block from Yasukuni Shrine, surrounded by tall buildings . . .


Torii at entrance to Yasukuni Shrine. Torii, the gate people walk under at the entrance of a Shinto shrine, and smaller torii at entrances to smaller shrines within the grounds. They are generally red or concrete.


Yasukuni Shrine is politically controversial, however it is more of an international political issue than a domestic one.  Shinto and even more so this shrine, are connected to traditional feelings of national unity and sovereignty.


Last week there was an article in the newspaper on “to who does art belong,” my gut response was What is Art?  First you have to know what Art is before you can determine to who it beings.

. . . Then I remembered my thought on this question from about eight years ago . . .


Know foe tow too, day

As a child in the 1950s  my family visited Mackinac Island, there was no bridge then , you tooth ferry from the mainland to the island, We drove up there, camped out, woke up at 3AM to get in an automobile line to get on the ferry. Sometime this line of cars on the road could be very long, no cars were  allowed on the island but I cannot remember where cars were parked or why they would even on be the ferry. Maybe there was a parking lot where people left their cars  and then got on the ferry.

People would start lining their cars up about 3AM, often with thermoses of coffee and  maybe something to eat, there might even be people with  the ability to cook—there were not enough motels for the tourist season, it was not an urban area and there were campgrounds—tourist time would be summer, and in the hours between sun rise and opening of the ferry service, people would put their car in line, turn off the ignition, get out  of the car with coffee, maybe a donut or something home cooked and stand around and talk to each other. As the ferry opening time approached while  talking with others they would be increasingly  sneaking glances watching for some tell tale movement in the line—having conversations where  the story you tell cannot be too long as it might not be finished.

But this image was in Cambridge, MA, 1971


Someone made pottery  with their hands and fired it, some one attached it to the wall, straight, somewhere SOMA in San Francisco


Memorial Day Parade, 1970, Marshall MN. When I was young there would a parade, usually local  groups involved in community affairs and/or representing some local interest  would have a contingent  walking in the parade. At the end  would be kids with their bikes decorated with  colored crepe paper.


Cambridge Wall circa 1972, probably somewhere between Harvard  and Central  Squares


James 1970, Haymarket, one afternoon


James before or after beard,


James 2015


James in San Francisco, 2015


Myles, 1973,  photograph by James. I have had this image for many years . . . to me  it feels like the 1960, or maybe what they could have been or graciously were not.  it usually hangs on a wall somewhere in my house, though not now—when we installed a new floo, everything got packed into boxes and moved to the garage, stuff had been accumulating for 20+ years and it is coming back in slowly, sparingly and cautiously.


Brooklyn,  photograph by James. He walked around, met people and made a photograph. jamed002_800

Last week  on national news there was a crime event reported which occurred in  Strong, or Farmington ME and  also mentioned Franklin County,   I forgot, nor could I find it on one google search,  but its the same time of the year as this image, County Fair,  circa 1970.


The busy street, late afternoon shadows from tall buildings,  and people strangers to each other but sharing a reason  to be in the same area at the same time—here no one is attacking or abusing  an other person.


They were discussing money outside her place of employment, or maybe she owned it, there was not enough time  to assess the situation and while it probably  was none of my business they were speaking loud enough to make it my business  . . .


The new Sales Force building attracts  people,  three young women and a baby  but if you are walking around, and listen, you ar  just as likely to hear three women walking and talking about business  strategies . . .


One afternoon, the end of my day walk , somewhere down on Market street near a BART station entrance  this man was texting himself, or thats what he told me, I did not look at the screens . . .   the arrows point up, the sign says “from above” but he is  not seeking something from above.


“A potter should start with an intuitive concept—he/she  thinks of a combination of shape, pattern, and color which will answer a given need futility and beauty at one and the same time.”

 Beyond East & West   Bernard Leach

Maybe it applies to whatever you do, including making mannequins for store window displays. Personally  I  prefer A Potter’s Handbook  to his memoirs.


Mom lived in a memory care facility  for a few years,  after lunch we would sometimes retire to her room, sit and talk . . . the wall hanging is from South Africa, the design uses simple contrasts to express  the visual experience— 7 sheep, three trees,  four houses with one house bigger and lighter contrast to 3 smaller, but the same shape and color, and the mountains contrast pointy and round.