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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


What would it take to get you to vote for Mike Tyson?
The question perplexed me for over an hour last night.
The former pugilist had hired me to run his school board campaign. I asked him why he chose not to run for President, like everyone else, and he replied in a surprising high voice, "I want to do something for the children".
What a guy.
I pointed out that his tattooed face and rape conviction could pose problems. As we tried to steer around his bouts with madness I woke up. Easing out of bed I was still worrying the Tyson campaign. Some dreams take time to fade.

The truth is, if Iron Mike started dissing big government, global warming, and scientists he could probably get elected to anything in Flori-duh.


These summer images came from the west coast.

- As a beach bum I love exploring everything that washes up on shore. These piles of fading fire wood litter the Northwest Coast. I imagine all these broken branches falling into rivers and streams that miraculously get carried all the way to the sea only to end up on the land again. The magnificent horse sculpture in my previous blog was made from these twisted little sticks.

- Our guest room in Berkeley included a rotary phone that actually worked. How long has it been since your fingers went for a workout on one of these?

-These fat little succulents grow next to the beaches in both Oregon and Florida. I’m told they're good in a salad,

- (At top) The rain forests are filled with ferns. This is four-square-inches of a fallen tree.

Friday, September 23, 2011


There aren’t many bars or bums in national parks.
A trip like ours takes you away from that and reality in general. On occasion we’d dip into some major metropolis and run into some guy like this.

Watching Seattle’s Emery Carl, I imagined what it must be like to wake up and think, “It’s time to go to my sidewalk. Once again I must sing, joke, and play guitar behind my head while hula hooping. Another day another dollar”.

Whew! When we walked away from the frenetic non-stop musician I asked Francesca for her thoughts,

I liked his act. The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say anything commonplace but burn, burn, burn like a fabulous roman candle exploding like spiders across the stars.

I had to agree adding,
Emery did so much at once. I love it when everything happens! Like when Rolle Grebb pantomimed a Verde opera in his pajamas while rolling his neck in spastic ecstasy. The guy can hardly get a word out he's so excited with life. Excitement spews out of his eyes like one great light!

OK, I’m making this up but we had been listening to Jack Kerouac’s 1951 novel, “On the Road” and throwing in some quotations seemed appropriate. Even if you’re not on the road consider getting the book on tape from your library and listening to it when you are. Frank Mueller, “the superstar of spoke audio”, will amaze
you with Kerouac’s words and his own performance.
The book will become a movie next year.

Here are a couple more photos
I’d like to share with you.

To the right is a flower perched above Norma’s sink in Fort Bragg,

Six miles south we enjoyed this driftwood sculpture in front of the Mendocino Art Center.

It’s early on Friday morning
and off to work I go.
Another day, another dollar.

PS: You can catch Emery’s act by going to .

Sunday, September 18, 2011


When we left the melting glaciers we decided to head to Washington’s northwest corner. It’s as far from Miami as you can get without a passport.
We followed the Columbia river (that’s Francesca stretching next to it) until we got to the ever-moist Olympic National Park. Fish must love this place, the rain never ends.

Moss jumps up on everything.
If you stand still in one place too long it starts growing on you.

Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time on this journey was good but not "totally awesome". It was more like seeing a cold, old friend.

Pi liked it because we finally let off her leash. She chased seagulls until her stubby legs gave out.

This dead fish looked like he was sunning on the beach but of course, this being the Pacific Northwest, there was no sun.
Was he "clouding"?

I shot about a thousand pictures on our 49 Days of Fun. Now I am adding pictures and stories that I didn’t have time to send first time around.

I hope my web log doesn’t seem like “Woodstock II” . That movie had the music not good enough for the original Woodstock.

I suppose I could do what I usually do, journaling about what’s going on in my life. Truth is, at the moment it’s probably not interesting enough to write about.
Here’s a sample:

Francesca and I are beginning our fifth weeks of teaching manana.
Thanks to Governor Rick “Skeletor” Scott we have many more students in our classrooms. I used to teach 650 kids every week. Now its close to 900. One class has 58 kids, another 53, and so on. Every hour a tide of ten-year-olds sweeps into my art room, I teach as best I can for then another hefty group takes their place. This happens all day.
Yes, it sucks, but at least I have a job. Most Florida schools got rid of their art/music/drama programs a long time ago. Its not just the economy; Florida has always been near the bottom of the "money spent on public education list”.

I wish I had time to get to know each of my students. Some are little more than a smiling blur. When some ask at the beginning of the school year, “Do you remember my name?”, I just quip, “Of course. I’ll never forget your name and I hope you don’t either”.
Now, let me tell you about the outstanding art lessons I’ve planned for this week.

Whoa, too bad. As you can see from these fading letters I'm running out of ink.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We set up camp near this lake on the east side of Glacier National Park.

For 25 bucks the Little Chief could take you on a tour.

We wanted to cross the mountains but could not because of snow blocking the road.
Two days later (July 12) they finally had The Road to the Sun cleared. Slowly we passed what looked like giant piles of marshmallow.
We were happy to be seeing the few glaciers that remain in the park. A hundred years ago there were 135. Now there are just 30.

It is fitting that today is “24 Hours of Reality Day”.
It is meant to get us focused on the realities of global warming (

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I suppose it has something to do with our fingers, how we gather things in groups of ten.

Knowing today, September 11, 2011, was important, my K-8 school came up with a plan last week.

Students would write poems, two trumpeters would learn “Taps”, and I’d help turn four boxes into the Twin Towers.

It came together Friday morning in a solemn ceremony.

Later a few kids asked me to settle a rumor, “Did I have two skinny students standing inside our twin towers to keep them erect?”

I just answered with a shrug and a smile.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Two months ago we were approaching Glacier National Park in northern Montana.
I wrote earlier about stopping at a historical marker that told us the Lewis and Clark expedition had killed two Indians while camping nearby.

A mile further we came upon what
seemed like a contemporary memorial to the two who had died.

A descriptive sign had been pried off so that was our best guess.

Further down the road we were tempted to stay at a teepee motel.

An hour later were we surprised to find the road blocked by colorful, angry men.

The guy on the right asked us if we were Republicans and when we said , “No!”, they smiled and let us pass.

We drove on enamored by clouds.

Glacier Park, which had seemed too far north to visit on any previous journey, was now just an hour away.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


It’s off the beaten track, the one near airports and interstates, but Yellowstone National Park is worth the extra effort.
Where else can you watch angry, boiling water shooting up like skyrockets or have these shaggy beasts grazing next to your car?

The Yellowstone river winds through the place picking up more water along the way. When it reaches Yellowstone Canyon (fifty feet to the left of this photo) it falls hundreds of feet into the gorge.

Imagine someone wading into the edge of this water to pose for a picture.
A few days later we read about two young tourists who did that above a similar waterfall in Yosemite National Park.
The women were swept over the falls as was the young man who tried to help.
It took days to recover their bodies.
It seems strange that people ignore the multiple warning signs and climb over railings to put themselves in danger.
The rangers describe them as being in the “stupid age zone”.

Consider this photo taken by a Martian probe as it approached the Red Planet... wait,
Mars doesn’t have boardwalks yet.
This must be one of the park’s thermal pools. They have many warning signs too but somehow people manage to fall into them.

When Francesa and I were walking around this one we talked like excited kids visiting Disneyland, “Can you believe this place? “Oh, the colors!” and “Isn’t it great that the obnoxiously loud Harley people had not discovered this place y-"

Suddenly we heard the flatulent roar of large motorcycles and were soon surrounded by the Sons of Armageddon.
Anyone wearing tight, black leather on this
hot summer’s day had to be from Hell, the Armageddon, or possibly Texas.

After taking another look at Yellowstone

Canyon we repaired to our campsite.
The evening concert featured two madrigals on recorder and lute.