Tuesday, February 28, 2006

We're all headed for Sgr A*

Just to keep things in proper perspective....

"The Milky Way is a member of a collection of more than 50 galaxies called the Local Group. In terms of space occupied, Andromeda, or M31, is the biggest galaxy in this posse, but the Milky Way is the most massive."

"Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way contains about 100 billion stars. Recently, however, this number was upped by about a billion after the discovery that very old, nearly invisible stars had escaped earlier detections."

"Our sun, which is 4.6 billion years old, is located 26,000 light-years away from the galactic center on one of the spiral arms. It is a location considered more suitable than others for harboring life, in part because the central region is too chaotic, and in part because the concentration of metals there is too heavy, and it’s too light in the galaxy’s outer fringes."

"The sun makes one complete orbit around the galaxy about once every 225 million years."

"Colossal black holes are believed to lay at the heart of many galaxies, including our own. The Milky Way’s suspected black hole is called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, and is thought to have between 3.2 million and 4 million times the mass of our sun."

"A black hole’s event horizon is a theoretical boundary beyond which gravity is so strong that no form of matter or energy can escape. But black holes are more than just indiscriminate and voracious gobblers of matter; they are forces of creation that help sculpt a galaxy’s shape and distribute its stars."

From "Scientists rewrite guide to Milky Way galaxy."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Soñe que...

I think this says, "I dreamt that you love me." But I'm not sure.

In any case, this photo was taken by one of my new favourite Flickr artists, Carlos Bravo from Monterrey, Mexico. You can see his more of his photos at:


(You may need to sign in...I'm not sure.)

You can see that the actual art was done by a group calling itself "Accion Poetica" or "Poetic Action." We need more groups like this today.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

More on that 1993 Santana interview

Ok, this is the LAST time I promote my 1993 interview with Carlos Santana this month! But, since it's being blogged about by none other than Bill Ives, I thought I should at least do readers a service and post the link again, this time with a picture of the actual event. Yes, that's a rare picture of me in my younger years, along with my great boss at the time, Karen Lattea (who asked Carlos the best questions of the day). We didn't expect to interview Carlos until the following day, so we weren't really dressed for the occasion. Carlos didn't seem to mind though. Interestingly enough, these outfits met the summer dress code at Sojourners back then. I'm not sure if shorts and t-shirts would cut it around that office now though.

Check out Carlos' cool Felix the Cat fanny pack he has around his waist. He kept it on the whole interview. I still wonder what he had in there. He was also wearing some really cool silk slip-ons with an image of the African continent on them. You can't see it in this picture, but he under his jacket he has on one of those super colourful shirts designed by San Francisco artist Michael Rios that he always wore in those days. This shirt had a giant image of Miles Davis' face on it. I have some other pictures from the interview that I will try to get scanned and post here one day. They were all taken by Washington D.C. photojournalist Rick Reinhard, who also happened to shoot my wedding day.

Bill Ives' website tackles the really interesting subject of blogs and knowledge management for most of the week, then switches to food, art, and travel on the weekends. Unlike my blog, his is a serious one and it appears he puts real thought into it. Thanks Bill for linking to my humble site!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

One Month Old Today!

Son, you will find that eyebrows are an important part of life in this world. Glad to see them starting to come in.

(Technically, Amado is only four weeks old today, not a month. But close enough.)

Hasta la Victoria!

I'm back from Victoria, B.C. (we stayed just steps from the scene pictured above). I was there for a couple of days to gather with my Emerging Spirit colleagues for a staff meeting. I work with a really great team and I think we're starting to get some good work done. But there's plenty more that will be keeping us busy in the months to come!

It was also good for me to get a "west coast fix" after such a long time back east. Victoria's a nice city and surrounded by a really beautiful environment. Ocean, forest, islands, mountains. Bald eagles all over the place. You wouldn't believe how dramatic mountains look after such a long time on the Toronto flatlands. Not to mention flowers, budding trees, and green grass at this time of year!

But the trip west was also the coup de grace for any sleeping pattern I had left. Plus I returned with a cold, so now I'm really messed up. It was great to hold baby Amadisto again, but he probably wonders why his daddy is wearing a surgical mask when holding him. Some kind of weird Michael Jackson thing? My son, you will thank me later. And no, I'm not taking you out on the balcony.

Even after a few days away I noticed how Amado had changed. Bigger, brighter eyes, some more coordination, and of course he's a bit fatter. He's one month old today, weighs 12 pounds, and, according to Dr. Hum, he is in the 90 percentile for every other measurement they use on babies. He's a big boy! Wendy and I are sure he's advanced mentally as well, though that's harder to prove. He's still digging the jazz though. Perhaps it's a sign.

I hope I didn't lose too many of you during my blog hiatus!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'll be back...

I'll be away from my computer for a few days on work-related business (no, this blog does not support me full-time). If I get a chance, perhaps I'll post something from the field. Meanwhile, stay sweet, we'll party this summer.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Just North of Santa Cruz

Mavericks 2006

Roger Bowen

Roger Bowen
May 25, 1932 - February 16, 1996

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Roger Bowen's passing. Even though I don't feel I knew him that well, he was a big influence on me in a lot of ways. His daughter, Katie Bowen-Kosh (above, with her dad), is a very important person in my life and through her I had the opportunity to get to know her father some in the late 80s. I don't think we ever had enough time together to get to know each other really well (he lived in New York and Katie and I lived in California), but I have great and lasting memories of him.

Back then he gave me an incredible walking tour of Manhattan, offering great detail about the history of each neighbourhood we passed through. Especially because of later events, I will always remember walking with him between the two towers of the World Trade Center. The buildings seemed so incredible to me at the time. Almost a force of nature in and of themselves. "50,000 people go to work every day in those buildings," Roger told me. I was totally awestruck. I don't even think the town where I lived at that time even had a population of 50,000.

Another time, after a fellow India Joze chef, Bill Forte, and I made a big Asian meal for the Bowens, Roger gave us one of the best compliments I've ever had about my cooking. "All of the dishes were great," he said, "but the rice was absolutely perfect and that's how you can tell it was cooked by a great chef." Or something to that effect. He also once surprised me by making a trip all the way to Princeton just to pick up a book I needed for my thesis.

Of course, Roger Bowen was also a famous actor. He played Col. Henry Blake in the M*A*S*H movie, was a co-founder of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe, among many other great accomplishments (see his biography link below). But that's not what I remember him for. The most important thing Roger Bowen taught me was how to be a great father to a daughter (or a son). I will never forget the relationship I witnessed between him and Katie. I don't even think they were aware I was watching, but Roger showed me what it is for a father to be loving, supportive, and emotionally present for his daughter, while at the same time respecting and honouring her as an adult with her own creative path in life. I always felt deeply honoured to be able to share in a small part of their relationship when we traveled to New York.

Another friend of mine who recently lost his father told me that his dad was and always will be his hero. He said that seeing the pictures on baby Amado on this blog eased his pain. "Now it's our turn to be heroes," my friend told me. Now, as a new father, I am so thankful that Roger Bowen showed me something about how to do this.

Peace, love, and blessing on Katie and everyone who loved Roger as we remember him at this time.

Here's a link to one of Roger Bowen's film biographies:

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dust and ashes touch our face

On Feb. 12 Minnedosa United Church in Minnedosa, Manitoba was destroyed by arsonists. It's a terribly sad story, made even sadder for us because Wendy has known Shawn Ankenmann, the pastor of the church, from way back. The church has a blog where they are sharing their story of the fire and the slow recovery from it. Please keep these folks in your prayers.

Minnedosa United Church blog (http://minnedosaunited.blogspot.com/)

"...how do you calculate the losses of a building that has served generations of a prairie community town?"

"Like a gaping wound, the smouldering ruins of what was an incredible church will remind us all for coming days of the hole that this fire has formed in the life, not only of our faith community, but of our whole community. There are few families who do not call our sanctuary "my church" or who have turned to us for transitions and passages, or who have been in the building for something ... showers, socials, concerts, nursery school, marriages, baptisms, funerals, special events ... the list is as long as the history of the building ... the memories and tears are flowing thick and fast ..."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Today's Hot 35

I've had the iPod on shuffle for the past two days while I worked...here are the first 35 songs....an embarrassing amount of Santana-related tunes. I have other stuff in my collection, really! But some good songs turned up here...the standouts were Alice Coltrane's "Journey in Satchidananda" (pure, exquisite, spiritual jazz), and Joy Harjo's "Letter from the End of the 20th Century" (dub poetry, indigenous style -- the ghostly redemption story told in this song will stick with me for a long time). "I Put a Spell On You," with Buddy Guy and Carlos isn't half bad either.

1) Funny Valentine – Dylan Crammer [funny, did someone at Apple program the iPod to play this song on this day?]
2) Letter from the End of the 20th Century – Joy Harjo
3) The Final Peace – Jeff Beck
4) Obatala (live) – Mongo Santamaria
5) Cintura de Alambre – Hilaro Duran
6) I Put a Spell on You – Buddy Guy with Carlos Santana
7) The Sermon – Jimmy Smith
8) Samba Pa Ti – Ottmar Liebert with Carlos Santana
9) Paris Finale – Santana [latin rock meets black gospel to close the show in paris]
10) Go Monkey Go – Devo [don't we all need a little devo in our lives now and again?]
11) Black Manhattan – Clyde Criner
12) Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club
13) Orange Blossom Special – Johnny Cash
14) Guiro Para Ogun – Ritmo y Candela [rebeca mauleon does a great santeria chant on this one....though she's really "just" the piano player]
15) Southern Man – Neil Young [this man is incredible]
16) Dick Dogs – Santana [live @ Eric Clapton's Crossroads Benefit]
17) Come Back Jesus – Alpha Blondy
18) Fu-Gee-La – The Fugees
19) Peachfuzz – Michelle Shocked [every Michelle Shocked song is great, imho]
20) Kaya – Bob Marley
21) Boogie Woman – Santana with Los Lonely Boys [live jam from Charlotte, 2005 tour]
22) 3rd Acts vs. Scratch – The Roots
23) Swapan Tari – Santana [say what?]
24) Oh What a Situation – The Caribbean All-Stars with Carlos Santana
25) Highway Robbery – Israel Vibration
26) King of Trees – Cat Stevens [an old sentimental favourite]
27) Negro and Andy Run This Very Night Into the Rumba – Deep Rumba
28) Journey in Satchidananda – Alice Coltrane
29) The Look of Love – Willie Bobo [swoony latin soul jazz]
30) Mark of the Dub – Abyssinians
31) Bonita – Antonio Carlos Jobim
32) Yesterdays – Wes Montgomery
33) Tocororo – Los Munequitos de Manzantas
34) Angklung Sekar Jati – Sekaa Genggong Batu [bali gamelan]
35) Whip It / Girl You Want - Devo

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, first to my sweetheart Wendy, but also to all of you who have sent emails and cards upon Amadisto's birth. You all are the sweetest! I'm sorry we haven't been able to get back to you yet, but we hope to soon. Your thoughts, prayers, and love mean so much to all of us. Thank you!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Milk Drunk

For a few moments after eating, Amado gets stuck in this position, looking extremely satisfied.

Cheney's got a gun! Watch out!

But "fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him..."



Tomorrow will be another school day in Haiti. Hopefully more peaceful than in the past---that is if the rich can allow Rene Preval, the apparent democratic choice of the poor, to take power. By supporting him, it appears the folks from what The New York Times hopefully calls, "densely populated slums," are once again putting their faith into the vision of popular empowerment raised by Aristide more than 15 years ago.

For now the elections have seemed to be fair and violence free. That has to be a good sign no matter what side you're on.....

As Haiti's Votes Are Tallied, a Fragile Peace Breaks Out
"No matter what the outcome, the elections have been a major accomplishment, without the fraud and bloodshed of this country's previous political contests.

"Much of the political hostilities stirred by activists among the poor and leaders of the business elite have been drowned out by the nation's pride in pulling off an election that started out shaky but ended with heavy, some say historic, voter turnout, and without a single serious incident of political violence.

"As the nation waited for final results, there were scattered apprehensions about what was perceived as the probable victory of Mr. Préval, a man so closely linked to Mr. Aristide, who was forced from power by an uprising two years ago and lives in exile in South Africa. "

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Come back Rupert

Did you know an average of almost 50 unique or returning visitors like "Rupert Curly" (pictured above) check out this blog EVERY day? That's almost 500 already this month. I'm amazed. Who are you? I created this site primarily to share baby pictures with my family in California. Things have really gotten out of hand! Perhaps I should consider going after some advertising?

Love is a Force of Nature

The quote below is from an op-ed by Dan Savage in The New York Times. (Click here...you may need to register.) Though a lot of the topics in his "Savage Love" column fall into the category of "too much information," I've always thought Savage was a great column writer. In this New York Times article about Brokeback Mountain, End of the Spear, and "ex-gays" he's right on spot too. (Chad Allen, who he refers to, is the gay actor who plays a Christian missionary in End of the Spear. And, no, I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain yet. Cowboys just aren't my thing.)

"Evangelical Christians seem sincere in their desire to help build healthy, lasting marriages. Well, if that's their goal, encouraging gay men to enter into straight marriages is a peculiar strategy. Every straight marriage that includes a gay husband is one Web-browser-history check away from an ugly divorce.

"If anything, supporters of traditional marriage should want gay men out of the heterosexual marriage market entirely. And the best way to do that is to see that we're safely married off — to each other, not to your daughters. Let gay actors like Chad Allen only play it straight in the movies."

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Shot of Love?

Whoa. This picture I found on the Internet is just too cool not to post. Somehow it goes with the music we are playing at the moment to calm Baby Amado (some "lounge" music called, appropriately, Buddha Lounge. I also found this music on the Internet---where else?). It seems to be working a little.

Amado had a rather finicky morning, but then we took him to the doctor for his two-week check up and he calmed right down. A sign, perhaps, that he has an inclination to the healing arts. I mentioned this to Dr. Hum, but she said that he won't like the medical profession much after she starts giving him shots in a couple of months. The whole question of vaccinations makes me queasy. I've heard some bad stories, but perhaps that's just Internet generated "wife's tales." Or perhaps vaccinations did cause some problems in the past, but now the situation has been fixed? I don't know....I tend to trust the numbers which show a very low possibility that Amado will experience anything adverse from a vaccination. Still (and I realize this may be shocking to some readers), I know people who didn't vaccinate their children because of concerns about the medicine.

"Big Science. Hallelujah." --Laurie Anderson

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Samba Para Ti

Amado busting a move to the groove.

Sound Experiments

Word on the street is that babies really like to listen to Mozart. It's said that the composer's phrasing is short and resolved, it's music filled with harmony and movement but at the same time simple. It's said babies could even grow smarter just by hearing Mozart. Even Albert Einstein called Mozart's music "so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master." (That quote is from an amazing "art-meets-science" essay in The New York Times on the parallels between the work of Einstein and Mozart that is definitely worth the read---though too bad it's now moved into the "pay to read" category. If you're really interested, you can find it at the link below.)

But while Mozart did work to calm the nerves of Amadisto's frayed parents, the baby only seemed mildly amused by the music. He definitely heard it---his face widened and his eyes opened up looking the for source of the sound---but he didn't appear to be very moved. "Probably too simple for him," noted his free-jazz-loving father.

However, when we played Native Dancer, a wonderful 1975 Brazilian jazz fusion album by Wayne Shorter and Milton Nascimento, the child really lit up. He would actually stop what he was doing (which was likely eating, pooping, or sleeping because these are Amado's primary hobbies) and you could see in his eyes that he was listening and trying to figure out what the music was. It may be my imagination, but I thought Amado was most interested in the songs "Ponta De Areia" (which is a sung by Nascimento and sounds like it was originally a lullaby) and "Joanna's Theme" (which features beautiful harp-like piano soloing by Herbie Hancock).

Both Wayne Shorter (sax) and Milton Nascimento (voice) have a beautiful, ethereal, child-like sound to their playing and this may have something to do with why it appealed to Amado. It could be that Native Dancer has that stunning beauty common to a lot of the Brazilian music I hear. Either that or (watch out) jazz fusion is making a big comeback with the youngsters!

Here is the link to the Einstein - Mozart pay-to-read essay:

You can check out Native Dancer at this link:

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Already rooting for the underdog.

Here's our little amigo.

(I believe the sign behind him says "Go Seahawks" in Korean.)

Super Sunday Media Scrum

Miles to Go

Miles Davis looking as tired as we are.

This is really just a test post, because everytime I've posted something in the last day the previous post has been deleted. I suppose there is a certain Zen-like quality to this situation, but I'd just like to know if these posts will stay put or if there is something wrong with the blogger system.

I was up most of the night with the baby, and Wendy didn't get a lot of sleep either. Wendy did the first feeding this morning while I was asleep. I woke up at noon, something which I haven't done for many years.

Amado's Uncle Tim and Aunt Michelle came over this morning (well, it was morning to me, actually it was about 1:00 p.m.) with Amado's cousins Ben and Caleb and we all had squash soup and fancy pastries for breakfast/lunch. Delicious!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Play your prayers...

Cultivating a spiritual environment....for my child, my wife, and myself---as well as for the rest of you, as I hope you're also doing for us.

Sometimes the only way to get a new perspective is to put the headphones on and watch one of your favourite music DVDs at full concert volume. This is a screen shot from Santana's "Sacred Fire: Live in Mexico" (1993). It's a great video of Santana before the Supernatural hey-days, when Carlos was making amazing music even if he wasn't in the spotlight of the mega-music industry. Better, more spiritually connected music in my opinion.

Amado, Wendy, and I are all doing better today. Hints at patterns developing, trust building, and awareness rising. Not to mention Wendy's milk has started to arrive. Now that really changes everything.

Here's some corresponding info:

Here's a blog that I haven't read too much of yet, but it looks very interesting. I stumbled upon it and it gave me the idea to break out the Sacred Fire DVD:

And, at the risk of self-promotion, here is the link for the interview I did with Carlos Santana in the same year as Sacred Fire (1993):

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Could you not watch with me one hour?

Ok baby lovers, I've posted the latest pics of Amadisto in the Flickr tab on the right. Click on that and you should be able to see a slideshow of the latest baby pictures, plus pictures of my family that I haven't figured out how to get rid of (not that I would want to!).

You will also notice that I've gotten pretty good at typing with one hand as I hold Baby Amado. He really doesn't seem to want to sleep anywhere else but right on Wendy's or my chest. Wendy's out like a light after all that she's been through, so it's just me and the A-boy blogging away. At least until he wakes up, which should be soon, because he hasn't been sleeping more than an hour or so except at night when he's been sleeping about 3 hours straight, but still he insists on sleeping ON one of us, with the preference of being jiggled at the same time. Makes for a long night, and day, and night...

Should we just let him cry and not pick him up? I suppose that's a question the all parents face, as well as all spiritual traditions in one way or the other, except expanded to include all people or even all life. Do I stop to help somebody who is in distress? Or do I cross to the other side of the road? What if the person is not so much in distress but just can't express themselves in any other way? What is the ethical way to engage them? Whoa, I'm out on the deep end here...better just do what comes naturally...and try to get some sleep while you are at it.

Aquarius: Source of all waters

Amado's first bath a couple of days ago at the hospital. He seemed to like the water, or at least wonder what it was.

Holding our baby made me realize that if you can find one small space for spirituality in your heart, do what you can each day to nurture it and help it grow. The future of all of us depends on that. As my favourite musician Carlos Santana occasionally says from stage, "I know you can do it. I believe in you." I believe in us too. And I believe in the Spirit who makes all things possible.

It's been a crazy 24 hours...a cycle of feeding, changing diapers, and holding and rocking Amado as he cries. There's been some sleep for everyone too, but here and there. Not much to speak of really. So you blog readers begging for more photos will have to be patient for a bit. I'll post a bunch of 'em as soon as possible. Right now I feel thankful to have time to just butter my toast without interruption (which I attempted for 3 hours this morning with no success).

Amado is so beautiful.