Tag Archives: dad

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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Medieval Daddy DNA













The rabbit hole opens wide, gnarled and deep as the results of the Y-DNA analysis of the remains now confirmed to be Richard III of England are released, along with the results of a comparison to the Y-DNA of other men who, like Richard III, are ostensibly also descendants of King Edward III…and the DNA don’t match, folks!



John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; Son of Edward III, ancestor of living men whose Y-DNA was tested


Edmund of Langley, Duke of York; Son of Edward III, ancestor of King Richard III, whose Y-DNA is now known.

So the question is, where and when was the one or more alternative fatherings of any one or more of the 19 links between the living men whose DNA was tested and the infamous King Richard III?

My full post on this is going live at the Global Family Reunion site any time. I’ll update with a link so check back today or tomorrow for that.

In the meantime, click here for a handy chart.


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Hurts so good Pt. 2

Originally posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So I had no ride from the hospital in Walnut Creek after my scheduled vasectomy, faced my fate alone, distracted myself from a very noticeable throbbing pain coming at me from down below by reading some comparative mythology about what it means to be a man which boiled down to: don’t squander your talents and take care of those you are responsible for so that they may thrive and someday kill you so that they can carry the chain on and pay the Oedipal cycle forward.

Cool. Sorted. In to the room I go.

After signing in at the first-floor urology department I’m ushered into a little bathroom, given a little robey thing and a razor. “Shave yourself,” says the male nurse. He then points to a coat hook on the back of the door that just happens to be shaped like an inverted “Y”, points to the center, “you know, flip it up, this is the shaft up here, just get like a couple inch are in each direction.” Oh. Ohhh kay, then. How handy to have the robe-hanger shaped like an inverted “shaft” for telling patients what to do. I shave.

I am shorn.

I go in, lay down, the nurse puts those operating drop cloths down all around my lower area, slathers some iodine all over the surrounding area of me and leaves.

Total Silence.

And those fucking bright operating room lights, and a tray of sterile, shiny, SHARP instruments. (mommy?)

(the boys are getting uncomfortable just writing this, gang…I may have to take a break.)

And underneath those lights lays yours truly, my area of personal privacy scrubbed, shorn, sanitized and OUT THERE, feeling the chilly air of the operating room. I was feeling, you might say, a little frikken exposed, vulnerable even.

Minutes pass. Many. Enter the good doctor.

Then, after some small talk and jibber jabber, not nearly enough if you ask me cause I wasn’t feelin’ it, and by “it” I mean distracted. Cuz (from a primal perspective, from the point of view of your balls!) just what you don’t want to happen HAPPENS: someone enters, sticks you DOWN THERE with a sharp thing, sticks you again and then says “you’re gonna feel some pressure”.


Right then sucked. A lot.

The nurse comes in and pauses as he looks at me, the Dr. asks, “you alright?”

“yeah” I squeak out. The nurse says “man, you’re already getting really red” referring to my face, on which he then tossed a nice cold cloth. Which I promptly grabbed and bit really hard as the Doc injected me with more local anaesthetic. Then I said, not able to speak easily, “I felt some pain”.

And he said again, “Really? Sorry, guess I’ll give you more.”

damn straight, buddy!!!!!! JAYZUS!

as he injected me again, I used that precious little cold rag to squeeze with all my might and but I flinched when he injected me and my cold, vaguely soothing precious went flying to the ground.



suck it up, son, you’re a man, now!

So while the good Dr. cut to the chase, or rather, cut into the Chase, I took it upon myself to talk to HIM so that I’d stop myself from hyperventilating and running out of the operating room (that’s what the family jewels were telling me to do, anyway).

Well it worked, cuz to talk requires steadier breathing than I had been practicing, all full as I was, of Fear and Trembling.

And I’m here to tell you that even though it was SO WRONG to have blades and shit IN my scrotum — nature say: NO WAY JOSE — my mind won the day, cuz it say:

AOK, cowboy. Now,go get ’em, Tiger!


I am free. Free of the gnawing fear…what if…free of guilt, stress, worry, slipping into the ultimate irresponsibility because sex rules.

the pain went away and is but a memory, for tis a far better thing I do…

CODA: I had to tell My Soon-To-Be-Ex, but didn’t want to be direct. So I called and left a voicemail: “OK, so talk to you later. I’m about to go and make our two children even more special.”

THOSE two sperm were sacred, the rest…not so much.

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Hurts so good… Pt. 1

Originally posted Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hey gang.

A note of thanks. I have recently exercised good judgment in my personal, life-planning affairs, and I’m thankful for it. I’m also thankful for Kaiser and their Urology Department and the amazing wonders of that miracle of modern medicine known as: The Vasectomy.

Lo it was a pleasant, if darkish night Monday, November 12, 2007 that I did make my way out to the Walnut Creek Kaiser Permenente Facility after work to have this amazing “walk-in/walk-out” procedure done for a co-pay cost of only $15! Oddly I could not find anyone to give me a lift home (they advised that the, ummm, pain and discomfort can be a little much and one ideally would like a ride.) Well it all seemed poetically apt, if ya ask me, so I accepted that I would face every angle of the dangle alone, as we are of course in our decisions — ultimately.

I took with my rod and my staff….whoa, wrong blog! I’ll start again: I took with me a borrowed copy of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and in my recent, highly intentional, vibrationally in-tune reading of that perfect, essential book, happened to be on the part of the hero’s atonement with the father (as part of the hero’s journey to universal mastery, ie, SELF mastery.) It was not really a huge coincidence, as I knew the book would hold some nice thoughts, which I needed badly to help me stop the increasingly painful and steady throb coming from my ole boys down south, my family jewels, the guys, the two berries, my balls!

Guys, you know how it is. Well they knew what time it was, I can tell ya. And I was gettin’ angry, red faces, raised fists, and a totally unpleasant psycho-somatic pain there which was basically the ole testes saying “What the fuck do you think you’re about to do? WE’RE in charge, here, MISTER! Or have you forgotten?” throb throb

Well I would not allow any turning back.

Atonement with the father…..

Joseph Campbell slyly points out that the word “atonement”, in this case, holds a simple way to decode the mythic truth he was elucidating. I.e., at one-ment with the father. Typical of his works, he meticulously skips through so many myths from hither and yon describing the intense meetings of protagonist heroes with their always-estranged and usually fairly beastly daddies (father as ogre). The son stumbles into the same dilemmas, the same conflicts, the same choices as the father. It (only) ends heroically when the hero-son truly realizes he IS the father; the fathers’ dilemmas are his own.


It’s then that our hero has arrived and can move forward.

Well, for those who know the details of my personal daddy story….this was Ride-to-the-Vasectomy GOLD!

backstory re: my dad vs. getting on with the story

If you already know the deal with my dad, skip to part two by (clicking here.

If you don’t know, and want to find out right now, read on, then go to part two. But hell, we both know you can skip to part two, anyway, if you want! ;-)

(short backgrounder on the deal with my dad: As a dear friend from high school always addressed me after hearing my birth story, I am a “looove child”: my parents were not married, and I was conceived the one night they spent together in 1970. They’d met in the summer of love, mom a recent college grad, dad a 40-something artist and art professor from England. She hadn’t known until earlier that night in 1970 that he was married with two daughters; he didn’t know until 9 months afterwards that she’d been impregnated and had a son. Snap! Snap!

When, in February 2005, as relations with my wife had reached a point of contention both intolerable and undeniable, our fantastic daughter a year and a half old, and both of us (former high-income earners) dealt with unemployment, my wife announced that she was pregnant and absolutely had ruled out any choice other than taking it to term (despite her exercising such choice at other times lucidly deemed unwise for introducing a new life into her own) I suddenly for the first time saw a pretty clear facsimile of what my dad had 34 years previously. A choice made by someone else as to his having a child. This is no small matter. It is the least pleasant state of mind and being I’ve ever experienced because the weight of the responsibility is so real. In other words, parenting consciously, mindfully, imparting to a baby or child unwavering faith in them, speaking to them in a way to foment confidence, watching their process in order to avoid smothering them in projections, to say nothing of the financial resources necessary to merely function…is the only way to parent as far as I’m concerned, and operating to the level of my own high standard is made orders of magnitude more challenging when both parents have no job, and are already using all their resources to focus on one child. I have no idea if that’s what my dad felt and thought about having a child he hadn’t expected or wanted, but that shape of the situation (decision minus his input) was identical.

It took little time for me to realize how to never have that happen again. But it was a while until I had health insurance. And ya know what, as soon as I did and called about vasectomies, I found out this hilarious and utterly comforting fact: I am not alone. In fact, I was at the end of a many-month waiting list for men who want to get fixed! It cracked me up.

I hope it’s needless to say, but will anyway, that I made the opposite choice that my dad did faced with the same situation. But facing that selfsame dilemma was the warmest moment I’d had in my head w/ my old man in my life. I would never again be able to hold on to any anger at his turning away from me (after the few times I’d seen him as a kid). I suppose it’s called forgiveness. And it was palpable. That darkest of emotional and mental periods in my life was of course the first part of the peace (sic) of coming to fatherhood a second time, and that second time to a son. If that’s not straightforward, in your face life lessons, as if written by Sophocles, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell, themselves, then I’m sure I don’t know what is; what could be more plain.

The words I had myself written for my friend’s impending, daunting fatherhood in 1994 rung across the years back to me: “Only he can say to himself / ‘it’s your job and your do’ / and be heard.” Fatherhood poetic indeed.

And in case it’s not yet crystal clear, my children are everything to me. Each a marvel of existence with their own unique spots carved in my being. My daughter is Athena, as far as I’m concerned: my firstborn, and thus sharer of a bond totally on its own among all. And my son…well, shit, he’s my check-in spot, he’s The Land to my King Arthur; being his Daddy — their Daddy — is the gravity of my inner solar system and in some beautiful way a deserved redemption of the sins of the fathers preceding us.

In settling on naming that baby boy the name I had picked years earlier IF I were ever to father a son, I began the steps that enabled me at his birth to see him extracted from my wife’s uterus (C-section) and then take him in my hands with no less love than any of you can imagine a parent having for a child as if saved from a fire, carry him to the room where they clean ’em and all that, and bond with him for a blessed hour alone before my wife and his mother joined us after being stitched back up.

I meant for this to be shorter, but the point is this: because of the choice my own father made in the face of a decision in which he had less input than he may have wanted, I could never in a trillion zillion years choose anything with regard to a child of mine than to be a fully engaged, enraptured and exultant parent. Aaaand, that very marrow-born sense of duty also dictates very distinctly that watering down resources does not for optimum conditions of child-rearing make. I also know that the pleasure principle can get the better of us. The dilemmas of the father are the son’s. But I digress…time for that goddamn vasectomy! ;-))

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Titular Poem

Originally posted Monday, October 29, 2007

Fatherhood Poetic


A Young Gentleman’s Primer


Well HOW are ya? I confess I think the title tells you everything you need to know about this blog, but here’s another ADD version: I became a dad 4 (now 7) years ago. Now I’m a dad twice over! And I’m getting divorced.

I’m over-educated, raised by a single mom who fights the good fight for public education teachers. My own dad I have not seen since 1994, and it had been since 1977 before that. He’s an artist. But more on him later. Though I was not ready in very particular ways for kids, I had a built-in component that bade me throw more or less my whole being into the task of fathering.

So the blog is what the title says.

In addition to the Greatest Hits of Fatherhood and Parenting in general that you likely know of — the unexpected detaching diaper! the kiddie’s first taste of ice-cream! the discovery of their own toes! (the coolness of seeing which is not to be understated), the raw animal realness of birth! the laughter! the tears! — my personal journey of fatherhood has included bonus features like The 1000-page book shredded by hand, the Night in Jail, the Fakest Voice in the World and oh, soooo many more. I will, of course, share Touching Moments, Light-Hearted Goofs, but this is more a forum for me to share the journey I’ve taken through the Archetypal Wonderland of 1000 Faces and to do so using various nifty toolboxes I’ve sort of informally combined and might call semiotical poetics. But tell me if you like poetical semiotics better. :-)

Into the Rabbit Hole we go…

I launch this Fatherhood blog with a poem I wrote for a friend who became a father as we neared the end of our time in college, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away from Planet Here and Now. And yet….by the gift of being very close to this friend (“very close” I define as having logged a lot of hours together no where else but here and now) as he swam in those first few months that are life with a newborn, I thought about my dad, who bagged out, another friend’s dad, who did the same, and riffed on the names of this friend in question who’d just become a father and his girlfriend (the new mom, back in 1994).

for M and M & B

Fatherhood Poetic

Children come through you —
not from you.

When Jack the Heart-Hunter
heard his whole hell hoo-hoo’d
by Horace the Owl, whole
hoards of hessians hushed
as they rushed from his heart to
his head
and back again —

He was a father.

A generation of himself meshed
tighter than any chain with that
of his hitherto separate heart.
Yes, a new person is borne through
the ancient ancient canal — the original third eye
the vertical eye opens wide and
bears that new synthesis of
a thousand-fold previous syntheses.

He was a father.

“I’m not gonna be a dick” says he.
“Love always and forever” says he…
“our child our son…” he said.


It’s not just a job, it’s a do —
only he can say to himself
“It’s your do and your job” — and be heard.

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Savoring the Nanoseconds

orig posting 01/30/2008

How many blog entries exist that begin with the following, or words to the same effect: Sorry for the lag in posts, but …

But if any of you have been reading this one with anything like regularity and were getting something out of it, then I am indeed sincere when I say, “Hey, I’m really sorry about the lag in posts, but…I can yammer on more, NOW!”

So, I found out the other day I get to go to college again. Yeah. I’m thrilled. It’ll be with my daughter. Yeah, we were talking about something the other Saturday and I offered, “…bla bla bla, when you’re off at college, you can bla bla bla bla…” She says to me, “Dad, I don’t WANNA go off to college!” And forgetting that she is not a miniature full-grown person but a kid, thus possessed of Kid-Think and Kid-Mind, I slipped into “OMG, Here’s An Opportunity to Seize the Moment and Instill the Right Virtues About Education” mode, ie, earnest, shit, maybe even sanctimonious. I said, “Why, honey?” not wanting to lead her yet with my opinion but find out why she’d say something that I was mistakenly hearing as the sort of thing that is as close to apostasy as my kids could say, in my book.

Her lower lip curled into the sad lip and she almost cried, “cuz I don’t wanna go off away from you!”

Joy! Rapture! I was totally wrong and my daughter LOVED me! Woo hoo! Well there was lots of “ohh, honey”s and such, hugs, good stuff, and then, still being a literal minded IDIOT, I started to say, “Well ya know honey, there are lots of great colleges right here in the Bay Area! Why, you could…” I heard myself and FINALLY clued in. “Well can I come with you to college?” I asked her, at last parlez vous’ing.

And …SHE SAID YES!!!!!!

Hot damn! She was totally stoked! She settles into happy mode and says, as if already planning the way we’ll (she’ll) decorate our (her) dorm room and says, “Yeah, you’ll go off WITH me to college.”

I asked a few times, because, well, I wanted to be sure.

So friends, family, countrymen, I’m gettin’ all college fevered up! Packin’ some bags, listening to college radio, boning up on my Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, and some other cool kid type stuff, too. Oh, I know it’s still about 14 years away, but dudes! College! “Hey, who’s that…DUDE hanging out w/ you,” the kool kidz will ask my cool-as-all-hell daughter. “Oh, that’s my Dad!” And they’ll all think it’s soo cool. Me, livin’ there. Chillin/ Makin’ sandwiches for our housemates. Keggers. Sittin’ in classes with her. (this last one was the source of some good laughs as I related all these exciting ways we’d get to share her college experience and pretended as if the chairs would still be too small for me — as if college was to be attended by her 4 year old self, and I bunched myself up as if stuffed into a child’s desk; she loved that, we ran with it for a few moments, laughed a lot…moved on..)

She assured me that yes, I would have to go with her to college so we could be together. She sort of immediately segued right back into animating the toys she held in her hands, and I remained sitting on the floor smiling at her, savoring the nanosecond of the reality where she wants me with her always. The reality of the next moment where she wasn’t even thinking about it anymore had already begun its surrender to the reality of me standing up to respond to requests for lunch from her and her brother within a few seconds.

Remaining silent about what you and I know that she doesn’t know about what will really happen 14 years from now when she does in fact go off to college is simply part of a parent’s job description. Violating that particular part of parenting I can only compare to this: imagine you have a candle, a small candle, and the sun is setting, it’s getting very dark, very fast. The candle is lit, and you have to walk down a hallway carrying that candle in order to light the other candles and lamps that will light and warm the house with its flame, which is so small that as you walk you actually have to move slowly and keep your hands guarding it from the wind. Telling her how it’s really going to be would have been exactly like removing my hand from the candle, and knowing that it’s the only way to light the rest of the house and see at all or make it through the cold night, watch it dance and flicker in the gusts before being quickly and thoroughly extinguished. I’ve never been one at all delighted by the act of destruction, so clearly there was nothing that was going to make me share what will really happen then. I’m hardly in any rush. Every single second that ticks by also talks: bye, it says. I’m growing more and more and am growing up up and away. So please, Mr. Time, it’s ok, you can go as slowly as you want.

Plus, it’s not like as her Dad I have the right to violate her innocence and natural growth of understanding. Only Life is entitled to tell us those type of things, and it’s only life’s voice we hear anyway on such matters.

Sooooo as it stands now, I’m still planning on a second go at college with my daughter in apx. 14 years. Wish me luck!

Here’s a poem for today. Thanks to my friend Tim Orr, also a dad, for directing me to it. It’s by a fairly renowned fellow named Li-Young Lee.

A Story

Li-Young Lee

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can’t come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world
of stories, he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees
the day this boy will go. Don’t go!
Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!
You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.
Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,
he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,
the man screams, that I sit mute before you?
Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?
It is an emotional rather than logical equation,
an earthly rather than heavenly one,
which posits that a boy’s supplications
and a father’s love add up to silence.

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