Thursday, May 31, 2007

See Ya Later!

I'm off to Vancouver for a film shoot and Emerging Spirit event. Be back before you know it!


From a couple of weeks ago at the cottage.

Good Morning Toronto XII

Smog alert. Today's high will be 37 C / 98 F. Hazy, Sticky, Icky.

Did you know that 50% of Ontario's air pollution blows up from the United States?

The other 50% is all Canadian.

All together, it makes Ontario the second worst polluted place in North America. After Texas of course.

Aaron Hill Steals Home 2007-05-29

The most daring play in baseball. Aaron Hill is having a great season.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Los Dichos de Carlos Santana, Portland, Sept. 19, 2005

I've seen a lot of Santana shows, and at each one Carlos Santana offers a bit of "spiritual information" at some point in the concert. It's not what you would call orthodox, but it's always sincere and not anything like your usual concert fare. Here's the transcript from a show in Portland, Oregon on Sept. 19, 2005:

Greetings and thank you for the wonderful gift of your soulful presence.

Right now I would like to share some spiritual information for you. It's concerning the tsunami and Katrina.

We are influenced by Mother Nature and Mother Nature is influenced by us. This is not anymore about Republicans and Democrats, Bush, the Pope, or America. It's about the collective human consciousness. This is what Mother Nature is responding and reacting to. Can you understand what I'm saying?

I believe this is the time for us on this planet to co-create heaven on earth with a new way of thinking. To heal life, people, and the planet we need conscious participants. People who reason with their hearts, not with this [points to head], or this [points to eyes], and or this [points to groin]. Because this, this, and this gets you into another Vietnam, another war, which is all really about money anyway.

We invite you to become a conscious participant. First, make sacred time to visit yourself, to visit the light inside your heart. It's the same light of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Allah, Rama, Jehovah, Chango; it's all the same light. God created you and me in the same image. First we are made out of light. Before you are black, or African, or Irish, or Italian, or Mexican, or whatever; first you are made out of light in your heart.

Please repeat after me if you can: I am that I am. I am that I am.

Don't be shy, the angels are listening.

I am that I am. I am the light. I am that I am.

This is what Jesus said to become Jesus. This is what Buddha said to become Buddha, Krishna, Allah, Rama, Jehovah.

First you must unite with your light. And then everything will be at your feet. Possibility, opportunity, all the blessings from God and the angels.

I have a lot more to read, but I'll just put that aside. All I want to say is, may the heavens open up and the angels bless each and every one of you with a deep awareness of your own light. I love you. I love each and everyone of you. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


In a letter, titled, "Good Riddance Attention Whore," anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan announced that she was leaving the anti-war movement and that her son "did indeed die for nothing."

"I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful," she wrote. "Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.

"It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years, and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."

Monday, May 28, 2007

16 months old!

Our little boy is 16 months old today! Since learning to really walk a couple of weeks ago, things have really changed around the house. We have to watch him 100% of the time. He has learned how to climb out of our bed and go tearing around the house in his pajamas before we even wake up. He can open almost anything in the house---doors, drawers, cupboards, his sippy cup--but thankfully not his diaper. He's very funny and is always coming up with new jokes to play on us. The latest is to take a mouthful of water and shoot it out in a nice long stream. That's what happened in the picture above.

Yesterday we were meeting in a park with a group called "Parents for Peace and Justice." The parent who was on childcare duty took Amado and the other toddlers to a playground about 100 yards from where we were talking. We watched from afar as she took him on his first slide and swung him in his first swing. He looked so little sitting in that swing. It made me realize that the day is coming very soon when Amado will start to have a lot of experiences all on his own.

Babies grow up much too quickly.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bigger than Hogzilla

Saw this in the newspaper this weekend...I had no idea hogs this big existed anywhere, much less in the wild. But it's dead now. Nice one, kid.

By the way, he just finished the sixth grade on the honor roll at Christian Heritage Academy, a small, private school on the Mississippi border. The boy, not the pig.

Morning Play

I've been trying to get a good picture of Amadisto for days, but he is constantly on the move so it's been difficult. Here's one from yesterday morning of the kid engaged in his morning ritual! Playing!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Going Victorian

My readers outside of Canada may not be aware that this is Victoria Day weekend here. It's an amazing holiday where Canadians across the country dress up in Victorian-era costumes and gather with family and loved ones to attend huge Victorian balls and teas. Almost every small town holds public readings of the Victorian writers, especially those with Canadian connections in their work. Sporting types often participate in polo matches, horse racing, lawn bowling, or even baseball games using Victorian-era rules and equipment. Bigger cities often have large Victorian fairs, complete with India pavilions and displays from the other Common Wealth countries.

The climax of Victoria Day is a thrilling firework display to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria!

So, we're out frolicking. Be back soon!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jesus es amor

Spray-painted testimony found on the streets of D.C. Taken from the site of Daquella Manera which features a lot of interesting Washington D.C. street scapes along with a bunch of other strange stuff.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Vata Loca Bride

Here's one of my favourite wedding pictures of Wendy. It was taken 9 years ago today as she prepared for our wedding. I'm not sure if it's the hairdo & makeup, the Barrios Unidos shirt, or the grunge Levis, but she sure looks like a sweet homegirl here.

Don't worry, she put a beautiful dress on for the wedding.

Happy anniversary chica! Te amo muchisimo!

The End of One Era...and the Start of Another

The death of Jerry Falwell, the critical illness of Tammy Faye, and the lack of a viable conservative Christian in the Republican presidential race are all signs that the era of the Religious Right is fading in the United States.

It feels like the end of an era for me personally as well, since one of the main reasons I became involved in progressive Christianity many years ago is to oppose the Christian conservatives who were attempting to hijack the faith and, in my opinion, ruin the beauty of following Jesus Christ by equating it with being in lockstep with the Republican party. In many ways, that's what I still consider myself doing today.

Conservative Christianity is obviously still a strong force in the United States, but from my perspective in Canada where things are much less polarized, it appears the conflict between liberal and conservative Christians is (thankfully) waning and a political center ground is forming.

The emerging battle in the church appears to be one that is much less defined with politics. Hopefully all of us---liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans---have learned from the mistakes the Christian Right made by tying themselves to a political party in the effort to further their spiritual agenda.

In coming years, I see the struggle in the church as being between those (whether liberals or conservatives) who are asking new questions about their faith and seeking a new way to be church in the 21st century postmodern context and those who hold steadfast to the rule- and tradition-based church that reflects the era of 20th century modernism.

I'm sticking with those who believe Jesus came to set us all free.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Grand Canyon, September 1962

Here is the full picture I took the Mother's Day image of my Mom and I from (see below). It's from a trip my Dad, Mom, Aunt Beki, Bambea (who no doubt took this picture), and I took to the Grand Canyon and Utah in 1962 in my grandmother's camper.

I have this idea that my Dad only left L.A. twice during his 33 years--once on a trip to Puerto Vallarta with his mom and sister. And then this trip to the desert national parks. I could be wrong, but that's my impression.

I felt bad erasing my Dad and Aunt from the picture on Sunday, since they have both died. So I'm posting the full image here. They look like rock stars to me.

Dig those moccasins I'm wearing (click on the picture to enlarge it).


Piercing is so old school.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom!

Thank you for 40+ years of momming! We love you more than we can say!

Left: Cooper and granddaughter C.C., San Blas, Mexico 2003; Right: Cooper (aka Chris) with me, Grand Canyon, 1962.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday Afternoon in the Park

One of the most amazing things about living on "the East Coast" (as I still call it, though Toronto is far from any coast) is the annual explosion of spring. Each year there is a week of time when all of Mother Nature erupts in blossoms, leafs, and flowers. Everything natural starts humming with life. This happened this past week in Toronto.

Yesterday, I took Amado out for our "often-as-possible" trip to High Park, which is across the street from out house. I found a nice spot where the shade and the grass were just right for practicing his walking. When given the space, he's easily doing 30-40 steps in a row before stumbling. And he's very happy about it.

Now he's even toting his sippy cup along in case he gets thirsty during the hike.

Here's a picture taken with the Treo. It's low-quality, but that smile isn't.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Mexicanismos from the stunning Pedro Infante. Viva Hijos de la Chingada!

Things I Have Shared

Last night I was up past 1:00 a.m. doing laundry (when it's your turn, it's your turn.) I shared the laundry room in the basement of our apartment building with a totally weird, drugged out and deranged neighbour who carried his laundry around in a cardboard box marked "Danger!" "Hands Off!" "For Your Eyes Only!"

As I washed our clothes, I thought about some of the other things I've shared in the past:

Dirty dishes with a former Miss America, 1982. I was a busboy at Gilda's in Santa Cruz. She was Miss America 1980. "Thank you," she said in a pretty little Mississippi drawl, as I scooped up her lipstick-covered coffee cup.

A hug with Carlos Santana. Christian Life Center, Santa Cruz. 1983.

A near aviation disaster and certain death with poet Robert Bly in 1993. Everyone on our flight was asleep except me as we descended into a fogged-over Lisbon at dawn. Our plane came down out of the clouds to find a 747 sitting directly beneath us on our runway. The pilot violently jerked the plane skyward to avoid disaster and narrowly save us. Robert Bly, asleep in the row across from me, didn't miss a wink through the whole thing.

A washroom with the great Pharoah Sanders, during a break in a show by this jazz legend at Blues Alley on Washington D.C., in 1997.

A small table at House of Nanking in San Francisco. This is one of my all-time favourite restaurants and it's eternally crowded. On a packed evening in August 2001, I was eating alone and a waiter sat me at the table of another single diner who just so happened to be one of my all-time favourite performance artists, the incredible Guillermo Gomez-Pena. He chowed down his food and talked on a cell phone during the whole time I sat there. But was it art?

An arts panel with the incredible musician Michelle Shocked. She struck me as more like a creative force of nature than just a simple individual. What a beautiful person. Sojourners, Washington, D.C., 2002.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Two pictures of me from the 1979 Serrano High School skate contest. Please note the toned Chicano physique with that High Desert '70s edge.

Serrano Skate Contest 1979

I've been sick with some kind of flu bug so I haven't felt like blogging or doing much of anything. But here are some totally sick pictures from Serrano High School's first (perhaps only) skate contest back in 1979.

Three cool dudes laying down some cool berts, from top to bottom: Sol Gallegos, Vince Demaio, Tony Elfering.

Among the spectators in the background I recognize Estherly, Tyneka, and in the bottom picture maybe that's Cecelia on the right. Not sure who the guy with the skate and long blond hair is though. Anybody want to make a guess? Bosworth?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

20,000 Mexicanos Desnudas

I never thought I would see even one Mexican nude in Mexico City's Zocalo. But here you go, today almost 20,000 stripped for the photographer Spencer Tunick. And right in front of the cathedral no less. ¡Que escandalo!

It's hard for me to see these photos and not think they were shot at some kind of mass human sacrifice or a genocide or something, but then again, I have a suspicious mind.

There's video here, and an article in English here.

By the way, according to some historians the Aztecs sacrificed 20,000 people a day for three days when the Temple Mayor, which stood at this very site, was dedicated around the year 1390.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Cousin Geoffrey!

Glad to see your book is back in print.

De la Hoya vs. Mayweather

This huge fight is happening tonight and I'm hoping to watch it. I became a boxing fan because of my East LA homeboy Oscar De la Hoya, so you know who I am rooting for. But Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is an amazing young boxer, so it's going to be crazy!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Today looks like a beautiful day in Toronto. Yesterday was stunning. The day before yesterday was equally brilliant. However, the day before that was rainy. That's the day I took my new camera phone out to the park and took this picture of a tree.

Other than that fasinating news, Amado has his first big cold. He's still a happy little chap, in spite of the fact that his face is constantly dripping various liquids. He's already somewhat better than he was on Sunday, which I found myself amazed at. Much to our relief, he is actually getting better all by himself.

And our car is in the shop, but I'm sure it's not going to heal itself. Neither will it be painless.