Still Movements Among Reflections on July 4, 1776

So yes, the presence of the past.

A few years ago I figured out how many of my kids’ ancestors were here in America on July 4th, 1776. Turns out 142 people were on these shores then from whom my kids descend! This map shows where those folks were 241 summers ago.

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18 fought in the American Revolution, or participated in some other way.

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Six of that 18 were on their mom’s side; her dad’s from Louisville, Kentucky and all his predecessors that were here in 1776 were in Virginia (typical of Kentuckians; and seen to the right –>).

1776 2.pngTwelve of the 18 patriots were on my side, clustered in Massachussetts and Pennsylvania (the next 2 maps). And some who served from Pennsylvania were within that large set of deeply religious folks that most people use the catch-all “Amish” or “Mennonite” to describe, and thus were pacificsts. Some paid fines to the colonial and then brand-spankin’ new state (and I think federal) government for not taking up arms; others helped instead by contributing blankets, clothing &/or care for the Continental Army, for instance, at Valley Forge.

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Speaking of Valley Forge…a father-son pair of my ancestors were stationed there together that infamously harsh winter of 1777. The son died, the father made it through the winter and fought on under General Washington’s washington-s-troops-winter-at-valley-forge-valley-forge-united-states+13216408848-tpfil02aw-20960command. And yet another ancestor who served from New Hampshire was a fifer in a company that included Asael Smith. My ancestor’s grandaughter moved west and started a family which helped settle southwestern Wisconsin. Smith’s grandson also moved west, but started not just a family, but the Mormon Religion!

The present, then, rooted firmly or otherwise, in the past.

And these photos…rooted firmly in actual 35 mm film exposed by yours truly in the late summer of 1988!

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Virtual Reality 1: Muzik…Non Stop

SCC 222 A

Ahh, yes.


There’s a recent author (must look this up!…update: Jennifer Sessions) who described the experience of being a SCC 222 1parent as “having a piece of yourself in someone else’s body.” ~ crxn to: “your heart running around in somebody else’s body.”

Just so, indeed!

And music, one of my favorite things, has presented an occasion that illustrates this through my little ‘uns. (Though–as the saying goes–not to little anymore.)


I consciously connected to music when I was about 16, but coverFmy intertwining with music occurred later, beginning a little before I turned 18. Certainly within a few years I became intricately lost in it to the point that I realized the truism once stated by Mike Manumission (host of a big club in Ibiza) that “if you keep finding that you’re the last one at the party, that’s a sign you should be the one throwing the Beatles-Revolver-Sessions-2party.” This has over the years taken the form of working sales for an underground music label and dance 2002_04_17_DSCN0903_Qool copymusic distribution company, DJing, producing and hosting musically based events (nightclubs), composing and producing music and being a music journalist.

Even though I’ve made music, I’ve done so with no musical training or practice on a traditional instrument as such.

And so watching my kids both engage with music through school is just the sort of thing, IMHO, that parenting is about. That is, adding to the traits, strengths, etc that your kids SCC 222 2inherited from you with things you didn’t get or have the benefit of. In my view, this works best when it isn’t forced on them, and so it is that both kids have independently chosen to participate in music and carry on with it. Big yay!

It’s like watching a part of yourself do the thing, or maybe closer to a VR experience of the thing they’re doing since the thing they’re doing is thing beyond your own actual experience. It’s the thing you would be doing, could be doing but for circumstances. The beauty of  it is that your extensions–they get to do it, are doing it and that’s just why kids exist–are had at all.

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In short, it’s quite thrilling, life-affirming and great to see, for instance, my kid in the sort of all-school concert like I did some days ago and at which these pictures were taken.

She’s 13, now, and has been playing flute for two years. They sounded genuinely terrific.



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Some Art



An artist friend of mine turned me on to an amazing mobile app several months ago that allows drawing and picture creation within a series of what you might call the parameters of digital visual rendering. I’ll explain more in another post, but for now, here are some recent things I’ve done, in two categories: Shape Ruminations and The Grid.

You really need to click on the images to see them large to see what they have to offer.

I.   Shape Ruminations


II.   The Grid…


Chakras and more


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01/03/2017 · 2:41 pm


JD n books.jpgToday, December 20 here in 2016 my dad turns 90.

Ninety frikken years old! That’s crazy! And kinda really great too, of course.

So I thought I’d showcase some pix of the old guy.

He’s dedicated much of his life to the doing and teaching of art. I admire that. And I’m JD at WHEEL STDNTS.jpgproud of him for it.

So along with that and in the general interest of longevity and of his making it that long here on planet Earth and what he’s weathered (in the last 15 years: a heart attack, broken hips, a minor stroke and this year a major one, which he unbelievably bounced substantially back from… to say nothing of also living through Nazi bombing of England in WW-II & a harsh Catholic school education, his own stint in the army immediately after the war ended, decades of the vagueries of art sales, a black widow bite and the ups and downs of almost a century of temper tantrums and human rights rollbacks and degradations by political conservatives & the intolerant on both sides of the pond)–I offer up a WooHoo! and a happy birthday to him, born lo those many years ago on December 20, 1926.

Now for the nifty pix

The earliest picture I have of him, he was 13 when it was taken, visting, apparently, Shakespeare’s hometown. The girl to his left (on the right of the pic) is his older sister Winifred (she passed away about almost a year ago).


Seven years later, he was in the British Army, stationed in Egypt; he’s the tall one.


This is how I best remember him (and had the best interactions with him).



But…we do all age, of course, and this is a more recent shot, from a few years ago, taken by my nephew.

Happy personal anniverary dude!

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Of Cats and Kings

KING CATS.jpg“Well, it’s official: cats have taken over the internet.”

That opening line from an appropriately feline angled representative of the cat-weight of the web is just too appropriate not to pluck out to start today’s message.

Because one thing I’ve never done in my life is write or really in any way go on about cats. That’s probably just a function of my being allergic to them. I love cats, but am definitely not a “cat person”.

But I recently had a relationship with a cat in my neighborhood call me to arms–or to keyboard, anyway–on the occasion of his passing away a few months ago.

He lived next door to me, my kids and I had known him for years.

So, without further ado, this is for Taz.

Of Cats and Kings

I came across Taz a few days before my kids did, but they’re the ones who learned his name when they stopped on our walk up the block to pet him some summer day several years ago.

“Taz. Cool name,” I said. “This is the one I told you about who’s the king of the block.” This delighted them and they turned their attention back to him with even more of that particular brand of warmth and affection unique to little kids. But kings of all stripes behave, it turns out, much the same, and Taz had had his fill of the oblations of these three of his subjects.

I’m a history buff and know a decent amount about kings and potentates of yore. I’ve watched newsreels of kings, watched video of Queen Elizabeth II speak, but I’m an American and frankly have never seen a king in person. But I believe pretty firmly (the author says lightheartedly) that I learned much about how kings behave–both good and bad kings–from watching Taz; as much, I believe, as if I’d spent years in the court of one of the French Louis’s…or a Chinese emperor, or even…the kings whose kingly manner shaped for all time how we two-legged types think about rulers: the Pharaohs of oldest antiquity.

The reason I preferred calling Taz our “king” (instead of just mayor) was his demeanor: 100% absolute cool. Every other cat I’ve ever seen reacts, usually somewhat skittishly, when a sound punctuates their environment, such as when someone walking appears from around a corner. But Taz did so only rarely to my observation. I got to thinking: is he deaf? No, didn’t seem like it. I then figured by sitting outside so much he would have become familiar with the people who lived here on the block, versus the large numbers of others who were just “stopping by”; he’d have probably been able to distinguish our footsteps, maybe smells, certainly voices, possibly breathing rates, etc–all those animal things that people experience less of.

Anyhow, I saw that Taz indeed noticed everything. This became apparent when I was in a hurry one day and walked briskly past without saying hi and he turned to look at me, made eye contact and then turned away: the diss. Ouch. I’m not kidding when I say I felt it. Because as the subject of a king, you want to be in his favor, you need to be. So I made amends, stating clearly that I overlooked the acknowledgment. He was cool with that. (He was most decidedly a good king, and didn’t, it seemed, demand groveling from his subjects.)
It just so happens that the English word “cat”–and basically all other European languages’ words for them–is a borrowing from the Latin word for the adorable domesticated feline: catta (later “cattus”, replacing “feles”).

But the most amazing thing about the word we all use today is that it came to Latin from the source of not only our civilization, but more importantly, of the domestication of this animal to begin with:



was the Egyptian word for this amazing creature that they worshiped as long as 5,000


years ago.

And indeed, science chimes in with recent studies of the genes of domesticated cats confirming that the world’s population of them descends from libyca01wildcats from the Near East and Africa.

Some words take wild journeys through the mouths and minds of men andhqdefault.jpg women, bifurcating into a myriad related words that diverge so wildly as to confound us for generations. But not “cat”. We’re saying basically almost the same word as any Ramses II or Tutanhkaman or Cleopatra would have.

Taz was the–very simply & with as little extra mumbo jumbo as possible–the coolest cat I or my kids have come across, and we felt honored and privileged to live in his kingdom. He even came over a few times, and that felt–I kid not–truly like a visit from a king is supposed to: like a treat and blessing unlike any other.

I never knew why his name was Taz: the only derivations I know are 1) short for Tasmanian Devil, like the cartoon character, or 2) the abbreviation for Temporary Autonomous Zone, a byword for the teeny slivers of free will that exist in life.

Taz was such a cat that I and my kids will be but three in the legion of those of us outside your family who will all be like the young boy at the end of the movie Camelot who King Arthur bades: “tell it loud and clear” that once there was a cat…

And here are my top cat videos:

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Henri – Le Chat Noir

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SloMo Guys: cat jumping

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Christmas-hood Photographick


The pictures I took this holiday ate hereby presented. More will continue to populate this otherwise empty & previously non-existent corner of the web until it’s chock full.













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Halloween Catch-up as Bridge to Thanksgiving?


EDIT1Here are the rest of this year’s pix from what to our little family is a high holy day.



The street I live a block away from plays host to a Halloween parade and trick-or-treating at the stores, lots of festival-y stuff. It’s pretty 20151031_124116awesome.


Everybody gets into it.


I try and mak20151031_124103e sure to live a block off of streets that throw great Halloween parties for me…like when I lived in SF a block off of Castro. Everbody (and then some!) got into it there…& tricks, or treating, I don’t know, but have been told everybody had fun.


They’re as different as night and …well, day. Hee hee. But the 20151031_124310dedication to costumery, play and the heart of the beast is equal.







As to nighttime Halloween, we went to Alameda top trick or treat with their friends (they go to school there). And Alameda also has quite a hoot for Halloween.




This street sign even got in on it (that stalker!)





And this guy: yup, just your friendly, neighborhood…












what the heck?






My costume was not only 3 SCARY EDIT1recognized by my kids’ friends who know the anime “Soul Eater” from which the character (Dr. Stein) is pulled, but to my deep satisfaction, also by some random woman, a fellow parent! 3 SCARY EDIT2





These are the beginning of various backlog shots that by posting sort of build some sort of “backlog bridge” to my being able to post about Thanksgiving next week in good conscience. (Cuz there’s rather a lot of backlog, ya see :-\…doh!), BOO!


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Halloween ’15 – Part II

80588This is the guy I dressed up as.

He’s Dr. Franken Stein from, as some of you may know, an anime (derived from a manga, as they frequently are) called . 20151031_124034Without going into too too much detail, he’s sort of the key teacher at a very special academy for magically adapted kids who are training in fighting the forces of evil. He’s one righteous dude.








In the parade in my ‘hood I caught a glimpse of a particularly famous little rapscallion.


More to come!

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