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.


Awake! all phin, agains

Whom is seeing whom? Circa 1970;  Being out in the snow is a great memory, We— all of the people in the world—understand the word “season”  —  its winter; Its spring; its summer; its fall —but its a different real experience depending on where you live.

Walking around Boston, Back Bay one weekday, mid morning, snow covering the ground and still falling, Fifty years gone by, I remember that moment.

A photograph is both light and sight—sight in lightenment.


Somerville dog—A monk asked Joshu. “Does dog have Buddha-Nature?” Both Christianity and Buddhism have  similar base— Life is suffering. Where Buddhism  suggests discovering, stumbling, inviting, forgetting, killing,  your  Buddha , perhaps through meditation, the four truths, the eight-fold path,  Christianity says . . .


God was bored so he created the universe, including the world  and still he was bored, so he created Man who was also bored, so he took a “piece” of Man and created Woman, who was not bored but was very curiou about  this universe and our world  which was so boring to God and Man .


God, being bored and  seeing Woman not being bored, but  behaving so curiously could have thought,  “Gee., maybe this universe,  with this world,  with Man and Woman in it is an interesting place,”

Or maybe God got jealous—“Why could Woman be having fun while I am bored?”


Or maybe God got angry that Woman was doing something God  never thought of doing, or,  doing something  which God  did not tell her she was allowed to to do, even  though God never thought of being curious before,


Whatever was going through God‘s mind—if it can be said the God has a mind— God decided to command Woman not to yield to her base emotional desire of curiosity—perhaps the part of Man that was not included in the part God  used to make Woman was the part that enabled the ability to control a base emotional feeling such as curiosity, from being expressed in behavior.

God Commanded, “DO NOT EAT THE APPLE!!!”


Well of course,  after such a command from the “Authoritarion of all Authoritarions,”   Woman could not control her curiosity, she was too weak, not like God who was perfect  nor like Man who was strong



Or maybe it was  just a normal human response to the word “know”

I don’t no.


God, ingrate passion, or perhaps like an immature three year old having a temper tantrum, yelled. . . . “Your Fired”  . . .


and stormed off the stage. Who Won?


Like Joshu learning upon returning, or perhaps returning upon learning?  that Nansen’s cat was killed, had I been there when God had this temper tantrum I would  have nown  what to do . . .


But I was either 5,000 years too late or 6,000,000,000 years too late, or even four or five kalpas,  it depends on who’s  story.

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But It’s  all, —right mom?


Still it could have been worse . . .

She took a small silver wreath and pinned it on to me
She said, “This one will bring you love”
And I don’t know if it’s true
But I keep it for good luck

We are nowhere, Lyrics by Conner Oberst,

You never know why to expect when you open God’s “can,”
maybe just more lightened insightment. Curious works for me.







Remorseless refractions reframed

Marshal McLuhan tells the story of  two women approaching on a side walk, one pushing a baby carriage.  They meet, stop, the single women says “What a beautiful baby!” The mother replies, “Oh, you should see the photographs.”


Professionally I was a graphic designer working both periods of pre computer and computer creating  logos,  corporate communications , B2B packaging and consumer packaging. Photographs were about visual representations of reality.  Sometimes I made them myself, pre-computer I would sketch out the images, get client approval and then hire a professional and post computer royalty free images became the dominant source, 



Even way back when, before I became a designer,  circa1970, I wondered why  was  I here and  not there, even though I did not know where there was, much less understood where was here.


I had not learned the word when or why yet, so I enjoyed meeting people I did not no . . .


and seeing friends through my lens lightly


Everyday I walk on the Alameda Creek trail, I enter at the Beard Rd staging area, mostly I go east but sometimes I go west, and I walk four miles at a fast pace . . .


but at 74 years the pace gets slower and slower.  Its different every day,


But my memory gets sharper even while the reality becomes increasingly  blurry.


Its fun when I am in a store and someone approaches me to say “You are that persoa who I see walking on the trail every day.”


I saw these Rune-like  markings in San Francisco at what looked like a sleeping place for homeless people,


Perhaps a forgotten  Rothko moment in San Francisco, South Beach area, and over the top of the wall  which you cannot not see  in the photograph, you can see the Sales Force building.


I read in a book that the reason  I look at my feet is  because  it just makes me feel good inside to look down on other people or myself  . . .


An at least its an acceptable  reason for not doing the work on time


But some would say we live in a different time from when I grew up, a time calling for new answers to the same old problems . . .


Or old answers to knew  problems or maybe  just stop seeing problems.

















Sum thymes satrite know thymes

Be careful what you wish fore, it makes you vulnerable  in bilateral groups. Daruma was the 28th Patriarch of Dhyana  in India, he  traveled to China where his presence established  Chan which was later to be called Zen in Japan.  In his quest to pacify his mind Huiko consulted Daruma,  to impress Daruma Huiko cut off his own arm, at least we have Sesshu’s painting  to attest to tell his story, where Daruma, after the snow had reached Huiko’s knees, replied “Bring your mind here and I will give it a rest. Huiko replied “I have searched for that mind and I cannot find it,” to which Daruma replied , “Then I have put it to rest.” (from Mummonkan , Case 41, Blythe translation which may not be “scholarly” but it sure is fun which may b more in the spirit).


In Japan the Daruma doll is made so that if it rolls over it returns to upright, seven times  fall down, eight times get up”七転び八起き . You can visit a temple and get this ema (絵馬) .


Two see or knot to see,  Two be or knot two be, whenever, sometimes its never too late, but other times its always too late, pieces of my self strewn around the wondering path of my life, some lost forever, . . . some just never to be found again


We lived just side  the city limits, a small town of  about 25,000, two high schools, one  large company, I did not realize how terrifying it was to me until I  could not find my self, or perhaps the self I found  was terrifying to others . . . who in turn just reflected my self back to me  . .


and as I found out even more terrifying to  the ones I kneaded in my life,


Some just thought it was funny, as if my life was a  comedic movie  that they paid to watch for a while  and then  halfway through concluded  it was not worth the price they paid . . . 


For many there is always hope, I hope that’s true . . .


but too many  some times the distance seemed too overwhelming, that I let that seem become a  knot try, which is worse, I don’t no.


and I had too much outsight  which at the time I thought I was protecting my self . . .


a cloak of   false  rationalization  as if  my only strategy to defend this self from the  effort to be that self I wanted  me, this he,  to be, know me.







Dog day memoiries

Some images from the past,


When what seemed like fun was fun


though at the time were  just passing time


The older we got the more Augusts passed by without swimming


Ok, to some its might have seemed  boring…


The same  daily routine, the same chores, the same faces, the same old nothing new


but we just wake up in the morning and do it again.