The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Saturday, June 27, 2009



Soon to be where the walls are this color and it's normal. In New England its the color of lilies.I think it will be quite healthy to get out of the country for a bit. This is such a strange culture, it should be interesting to observe it from the outside. Frankly, my dear....

More importantly, to immerse oneself in a different culture for a bit sure helps puts things in perspective. I want to see what has happened while I've been away.So a quick flight, some molé with fresh tortillas, sounds like a good start to this one. Maybe even the smell of gardenias in the air. Pretty sweet, no? I think the plan is to visit some villages in Puebla, known for their ceramics, but who cares, long as I can feel that wind coming off the mountains, sit in the zocalo and see friends, I'm all set.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cientos miles

I love how some folks get 100,000 hits on Youtube in a day. Well, for me it took a bit longer, but I made it yesterday. It seems like my video "Machine Gun Music" has found a niche following. The demographics are interesting. I got the gun crowd. Just what I was shooting for.

This wasn't that long ago.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can't make this stuff up

Man, sometimes it is just too much. Makes one want to retreat into oblivion, ignore the news, work the land, shovel the real bullshit or abono in life and see what it produces. Yes, this is a shot of pure, unadulterated bullshit, some of the ten tons I shoveled last year.

I will spare you the screed. It's all on you - meaning it's up to you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This a been a particularly bleak month in terms of weather. Gray and wet sums it up. It is the subject of much talk and now, even newspaper editorials. So roof projects, the last thing holding me here, have been impossible. So in the words of the Great Buddha, "Screw it!" I'm on a plane outta here on Monday. This stuff can wait. I need me some Oaxacan sun.Incidentally, these shots are in the opposite direction, to the south, of the shot of Santo Domingo in the header.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Ali Akbar Khan, acclaimed Indian sarod player and composer who helped introduce the classical music of north India to the West, died of kidney failure Thursday at his home in San Anselmo, Calif. He was 87.

Listen to this beautiful performance. The comments put up on Youtube today are touching.

Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice was 1:45 A.M. EDT this morning.
The equinoxes and solstices are the markers for the year. So where are we?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ojos y ventanas

Eyes are the windows of the the soul, but what are windows?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

View from the Train

It was 39 degrees when I arose this morning, but at least it isn't raining. A few more days and I am outta here. I am just waiting for some work to be done on my roof and the weather has messed with everyone's schedules.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Explosion in the city

from e-consulta:

"Un muerto y 20 heridos, de los cuales dos se encuentran "graves", es el reporte oficial de la explosión, la mañana de este domingo, de la vagoneta Pointer blanca, placas RU-61-322 del estado, cargada con cohetones para la megamarcha de aniversario de la APPO-Magisterio.

Según versiones de testigos, los ocupantes de la vagoneta intentaron prender un cohetón, pero éste se trabó y cayó sobre la batea de la unidad de motor, prendiendo con sus chispas todo el material pirotécnico que ahí se encontraba."

(Help me with the translation if I have it wrong)
One dead and 20 wounded, two of which are in grave condition from an explosion Sunday morning. It took place near the starting point of a march by APPO and the teachers.

According to witnesses, a truck delivering cohetón (fireworks?) had one fall and it, in turn, ignited all the fireworks.

Full story

Nails in the Coffin

The main stream media, MSM, is slipping even further into oblivion. Who could imagine that Twitter and Facebook would eclipse them in coverage of world events? Just another indicator that the world is passing them by.

After pummeling us with the whole "Axis of Evil" stuff for so long, when things really begin to happen there, they feed us reruns or ignore the issues entirely. And the MSM seems to think that we won't notice or care.

To quote the increasingly irrelevant Govenator, "Hasta la vista, baby." Stick a fork in it. It's over. The times are achangin'.

Friday, June 12, 2009

All part of the package

I just finished re-watching one of my favorite films, the Korean masterpiece, “Why has Bodhidharma left for the East?” by director Bae Yong-kyun. It is a tough film to understand, but after years of watching it, thinking about it and, at one point using it in the classroom, it is starting to make sense.

Bae worked for eight years on it, waiting for the right moments to film – there is a scene in which there are floodwaters rushing through ancient trees – and then cutting and editing it himself.

It is a long film, but for some reason this time it seemed short. Parts I hadn’t understood before seemed obvious. Flashbacks and dreams, which I had not been able to place, suddenly all fit together.

As I say, it is a tough film, but it is a wonderful insight and meditation on Buddhist thought. If you can imagine dipping your hands into a large bowl of pearls, that’s how many pearls of wisdom are there for the taking.

So all the years of thinking about it, researching the material, connecting the dots, my way of working on the koan, is paying off. I had to figure certain things out. I mean, where does that ox come from and why is it suddenly there? Oh, the Ox-herding pictures. The film is filled with images, words and actions that have deep meanings, but if one is not aware of the cultural references, you miss every single one of them. Plus, who knows about the translation? It is different on various versions, but there is a new one just released. It’s on my list.

Of the many pearls, the one that jumps out at me and seems to be the crux of the most intense moment in the film, is that one must accept the world for what it is and embrace it. In one translation they use the word “shit” and in another, “garbage.” No matter what you call it, it is a part of life, no news to anyone.

But for one of the characters it is an epiphany. He has left his hardscrabble life, his family, job, everything to find “enlightenment” in a remote temple, but is racked with guilt and doubt. So he realizes that his family, job, life are all a part of his “enlightenment” and he returns to them.

And that’s the gist of this one – shootings, pandemics, corruption, injustice, poverty, insanity – compassion, kindness, children, music, talent, generosity, wisdom – all part of the same ball of wax, indivisible. To accept the one, you must accept all the others.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oasis de paz

Gardens are just that, oases of peace, restful atmospheres that give solace to the body and joy to the soul. How's that on the translation?

Judging from all that is going on, I am going to spend the day in one ... until I go to the dentist.

Monday, June 8, 2009

El esperar y el esperar

One of my favorite words ins Spanish is esperar which means both to wait and to hope. Waiting can be difficult, but hope is effortless. Who is this Godot guy, anyway?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Followup to Henry's Letter

From Narco News,
A stroll downtown on Saturday May 30 showed the streets fairly empty of traffic, but the zócalo was lively with tables of denunciation and information. The fair atmosphere still holds while Section 22 is in its state assembly to decide their next act. With vendors, graffiti and blaring music, café tables were not much occupied. Regular folks perched on the park walls.
full story