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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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Art, by Father Andson

The kids and I are lifer fans of the Toy Story movies…as well as everything from Pixar. A true, long-lasting, and dear friend works there and had both given us a tour and had us join him at a screening of the new one, Toy Story 3 actually AT Pixar a month before its general release. Yay!

He’d also informed me of some extra special cool things that had been done for the “Art of Pixar” exhibit that is currently at the Oakland Museum of California, near downtown Oakland.

So this past weekend the kids and I were excited when we headed out to go to check it out one afternoon, on a “Free Day” at the museum.

The sign “Pixar Sold Out” didn’t bode well on arrival, though. The ticket attendant informed me that the Pixar shows have a limited number of tickets that are gone within one hour on the free day when they have the exhibit. She added that the rest of the museum was still free, of course. I waited for the kids’ responses and they howled that they were psyched to go, anyway. Yay!

It’s divided into the Art of California and the History of California sections. We aimed at the Art part. There’s a lot to say about it, but for now will suffice with: from the entrance that features various tools of artists from chalk and brushes and pencils and clay to Apple computers and more to modern art by artists, here, to mid 19th Century landscape paintings, it’s chock full of goodness.

Within the area featuring portraits — from the 1800s to the present — they have this kiosk with a mirror and a screen on which you can use your fingers to make a self-portrait that comes out looking like a water-color. All the portraits done by visitors — if saved — are fed into a whole collection that then find their way to framed screens on a wall of other portraits by famous artists.

So my daughter did one, painstakingly. She’s 7 and very practiced and I s’ppose basically coming right along in her rendering and drafting skills. My son (who turned FIVE today!) cares less for representational drawing than for putting what he feels down on the medium.

As my daughter finished hers, museum staff informed us that we had only a few minutes until it closed. My son said he wanted to do one and started in, laying down a swath of color to serve as a base. When I gently reminded him we had about 5 minutes to do it, he looked at it and erased the color, saying he didn’t want to do it rushed.

I then started quickly laying down lines to do my own face which I figured I could spit out super fast.

No sooner had I made some blue lines for my face shape & ears and some brown lines for my eyes, than my son started adding to it! I have no idea as I write this whether his additions to the picture are supposed to be bits of a representation of his face or are commentary on me or my face or my act of trying to get one in real quick or what. As I was saving it, and it came time to name it, he told me to name it with his name. I told him that I had drawn a bit of me and that it was really more both of us together and that I wanted to name it “K&Son”. He thought for a sec, and cheerily exclaimed, “Ok!” and waited for it to then pop up on the public screen.

So there it is (see top of post again.) It’s way more expressive than anything I could have done by myself. Though I believe abstract expressionism is the ultimate of what can be done with the medium of painting, I am incapable of creating that sort of thing. My son, however, has a different connection to the ancient starry dynamo in the machinery of night than I do. And thank god for that. :-)

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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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The Center DOES hold. And it’s a Dark Globe



Today I’d like to shed some light on blackness, that is, the absence of light. Yes, my pretties, Daddy’s gonna kick down some love about the places from whose borne no light returns.

Black Holes.

They’re crazy, right? We “get” them (as edumacated people, right?), but do we really GET them? It’s difficult. In writing these words to get to the super hot link below that inspired this post I came across someone’s really rather nifty animation that makes it almost impossible NOT to totally get black holes. Cool, huh? (You DID click on that hotlink, right? And watch that cool animation?? ;-) However, it is only an animation. Super cool, but still. Well so the actual point of this post is rather another video I found that absolutely made me stop and say….wow. Cuz it’s a video composite basically of real data collected from stuff that’s been happening over the last 16 years in the immediate vicinity of a real black hole. And not just any old black hole. We’re talkin’ about nothing less than the big fat ole black hole that as far as we earthlings are concerned, might as well be the Daddy of everything you and I see, hear, taste, touch, feel, beg borrow or steal. I’m talking, of course, about the black hole at the center of our galaxy. It’s about 26,000 light years away from us. That’s roughly, 156 quadrillion miles away. Pretty far. Apparently, though, right in the center, there are THOUSANDS of stars packed into an area that is smaller than the space between our own Daddy Star (the Sun, El Sol) and our nearest neighbor Star (Alpha Centauri), which is 7 light years — only 42 trillion miles — away. And deeper still toward center, is one star (SagA* they call it), that happens to currently be the object that we can see that is closest to the black hole at the center of it all. The star has been observed to be moving in an elliptical orbit around a region of space from which we detect absolutely no light radiation; a black hole as it were. But because of the unusually short duration of the orbit (15 years!!), and newfangled techniques to be able to better see into the galaxy’s center (usually obscured by clouds and other interstellar sundries) those wacky scientists have been able to offer the rest of us this totally unprecedented actual visualization of what a black hole REALLY does to space and things around it. And it’s all in such a short span of time that we human brains can easily grasp it.

It’s astounding.

The star is close enough to the hole that its orbit VERY noticeably boomerangs as it passes the closest point to the black hole’s event horizon (the border of it…from whose borne no thing not even light returns…) but far enough that it’s not going in yet. And the physical distance we’re talking about is 10 light DAYS. That’s about 164 billion miles.

That distance of 164 billion miles is only a few times farther than we on earth are at any given time from our fellow planet Neptune. So riffing on those neat hands-on-science moments our teachers used when we were young to help us grasp the scale of space: if the 30-foot high auditorium at school stands for the sun, a beebee stands for Mercury, Earth is a marble, Saturn’s a basketball, etc. So then a kid holding the marble/Earth stands 10 feet away from the auditorium, and the basketball/Saturn kid would be 80 feet further away, which is like 4 times as far as a normal sized living room, meanwhile the Neptune kid, holding a soccer ball, was a football field’s distance away from the kid holding the marble, a tiny little figure way out there on the school’s playing field, soccer ball barely discernible. OK, so now picture the whole city block where the school is, and imagine that school auditorium circling the block at 100 billion miles an hour and vroom! THAT’s the center of our galaxy!!!! lol

OK, but enough from me. To watch this video of the star’s 15 year trip around the black hole at the center of our galaxy, click on the pic below. And shhhhh. With the right kind of ears you’ll be able to see this dark globe and how its great sucking sound gives the galaxy and all that you love and all that you hate and all that is now and all that is gone and all that’s to come and everything under the sun that’s in tune its shape, warp, woofer, tweeter and extra action electrically vibrational megariffic suchness.



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