Monday, October 30, 2006

Patrick Amiot's sculpture in Sebastopol, CA

While I was in California visiting my family earlier this month my sister drove me down Florence Avenue in Sebastopol. WOW! There is some wonderful sculpture there! Mimi drove me back so I could take these photos:

The sculptures are by Patrick Amiot and his wife Brigitte Laurent. They have a website with much more information and more pictures here: Click on "Artwork" and then "Public" on the menu more pictures of his outdoor works.
Patrick Amiot is an artist with a gypsy soul. His work ranges from quirky to folksy, whimsical to zany. In 1997, he and his wife, Brigitte Laurent, sold most all of their belongings, left behind their artists' loft in Montreal, and drove across America in a motor home with their two young girls.
Their goal was to move to San Francisco, but they were turned off by the high cost of living. So they bought a fixer-upper in Sebastopol, a haven for free spirits. It seemed like a perfect match.
For five years, Amiot toiled in relative obscurity in his backyard studio --
sending his work to three or four one-man shows a year in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Chicago and Nashville. He missed the amenities of a big city. He felt isolated and depressed. And he had to borrow money to help pay the mortgage.
Then something strange (even by Sebastopol's funky standards) happened. A year ago, Amiot built a 15-foot tall sculpture of a grinning fisherman posing with a large fish. He put the brightly painted piece in front of his one-story house on Florence Avenue. The fisherman -- made from old vacuum cleaners, a wheelbarrow and a barbecue -- was lit at night.
"I was the outsider on the street," said Amiot, glancing at his paint- spattered shoes. "I was the weirdo until I put that out front, and then I became the artist. Cars started slowing down. People began talking about it. From that, came the idea of doing others."
That is from "There's art on our lawn: Patrick Amiot takes junk to new heights and finally finds peace in Sebastopol" by Jim Doyle ~ San Francisco Chronicle ~ May 17, 2002

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My trip to California

I was in Rohnert Park, California from October 11th to 16th. That's north of San Francisco, near Santa Rosa.

It was a trip planned to see my family - to celebrate my brother's birthday on the 13th. He is 6 years younger than me and I am 54. You do the math.

Michael's wife Nita has been dealing with cancer for 2 years. She died before I got to California. I was SO hoping to see her again, but I was able to be with my family and celebrate her life.

This is a picture of Nita.

Oscar the cockatiel bird belongs to my brother Michael.
Here they are with thier cat Decker.

Here I am with Michael and our sister Mimi out for dinner for his birthday. She is about 2 years younger than me.

This is Nita's children, and Michael's: Angie, Jennifer and Ryan.

Jennifer with her husband John.

Jennifer and her daughter Layla.


Jazlyn (below) is my sister's granddaughter. She is 11 years old now. Mimi has been raising her all her life. She is a beautiful child who was born with cerebral palsy (CP) and epilepsy.

Jazlyn in her walker at her special Satruday excercise program.

Jazlyn walking with Mimi

Jazlyn with her friends Kinderlin and Colton; and with Nathan,
Mimi's other grandchild & Mimi.

Clarice is Jazlyn's working dog, and Harley is thier new cat.
Mimi took this picture before I got there. They never posed like that for me!

Clarice & Mimi's beautiful grandchild, Nathan.
Nathan is Joey's son. (I didn't get any pictures of Joey while I was there.)

Now for a day trip to San Francisco before I head home -- thanks Mimi !!
It had been a long time and it's one of my favorite places.

The Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco.

Here is a map of my old neighborhood in the Mission district. Notice on Guerrero between 21st and 22nd. There is a little alley - Ames which rus behind my house on Guerreo. Mission High School faces Dolores Park on 18th between Dolores and Church Street. And the Castro District is just a few blocks away.

Here it is ~ my old house ~ it's the one up the stairs behind the tree, squished against the big ugly apartment building. (I lived there from 1969-1972 or so.)

This is the Ames Street, a one way alley behind the house. That beautiful wooden garage wasn't there when we lived there - it was open. I don't remember a palm tree there, but it was over thirty years ago.

I went to Mission High School for my senior year, and graduated (barely!) in 1970.
Before I was there two of the alumni were Maya Angelou and Carlos Santana.

This is Dolores Park across the street from Mission High School.


Here are some photos from the Castro district:


And an Orthodox Russian Church we saw
in the Russian district on our way home.

I came home to Olympia with a cold (which I shared with Alec of course.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Black Panther Party: 40 Years Later

"My job was one of the most secretive," writes Flores A. Forbes adding, "and to this day most of the people who were in the Party over the years had not a clue as to what I really did…" Years ago, Flores A. Forbes was the youngest member in the Black Panther Party's central committee. Aaron Dixon was the head of the Party's Seattle Chapter. We'll talk to both of them today on Weekday.

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, we take an intimate look inside the operation. How did it run? What actions did they take? How are they changed?

Join us to hear their stories.


Flores Forbes is the chief strategic officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation in New York City. He was a member of the Blank Panther Party for 10 years, starting at age 16. He is the author of a new book titled Will You Die with Me? My Life and the Black Panther Party.

Aaron Dixon is the former head of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party and founder/executive director of Central House, a non-profit youth development organization. He is also the Green Party Candidate for U.S. Senate in the upcoming election.
Hear it on KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio:
Black Panther Party: 40 Years Later

Monday, October 9, 2006

Steve Schalchlin on "How To Subvert American Democracy"

I took part in a discussion board featuring mostly conservative Christians a few weeks ago and one of the men I got into a long discussion with is a pastor of a Reformed Lutheran Church.
Read How To Subvert American Democracy by Steve Schalchlin ~ 10/09/06

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Yesterday October 7th was my 54th birthday. Yow.

Alec and I met Catherine for an early breakfast at Darby's restaurant downtown.

Later Alec and I went to some politial events.

First in the early afternoon we went to a debate between three 'minor party' candidates for the U.S. Senate: Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon, Libertarian Party candidate Bruce Guthrie, and Independent Robin Adair. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell and Republican Mike McGavick were also invited but declined to attend.
Dixon said the United States has a history of terrorism against American Indians and African slaves and has continued with its foreign policy agenda of colonization during the past 150 years.

"We have to create a policy that truly wants to reach out to other cultures," he said.
Read the article: Minor parties debate issues - Senate candidates sound off on war, outsourcing and more ~ by Diane Huber ~ The Olympian ~ October 8, 2006

Later yesterday Alec and I a went to the "Meet the Candidate" party social will be held at Plenty! restaurant downtown where we got to chat with Aaron and others and where E. Mandisa Subira (a spoken word artist), Native American singer "Sunshine" performed wonderfully.

I'm supporting Aaron Dixon.


See Elect Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate (G-WA)
Aaron Has a MySpace Page!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Video: Molly Ivins on the Texas sex toy ban

Ann Friedman, Alternet October 4, 2006:
Some states just don't know what to do with an "obscene device."
In The Dildo Diaries, Texans describe how they have to use the "it's for educational purposes" excuse to justify their purchase of adult toys.

The Dildo Diaries, edit is an eleven minute edit of a sixty three minute full documentary. More information on the documentary is available at

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Lincoln Weeps

If democracy can be said to have temples, the Lincoln Memorial is our most sacred. You stand there silently contemplating the words that gave voice to Lincoln's fierce determination to save the union—his resolve that "government of, by, and for the people shall not perish from the earth." On this latest visit, I was overcome by a sense of melancholy. Lincoln looks out now on a city where those words are daily mocked. This is no longer his city. And those people from all walks of life making their way up the steps to pay their respect to the martyred president—it's not their city, either. Or their government. This is an occupied city, a company town, and government is a subservient subsidiary of richly endowed patrons.
The only way to counter the power of organized money is with organized and outraged people. Believe me, what members of Congress fear most is a grassroots movement that demands clean elections and an end to the buying and selling of influence—or else!
Read all of Lincoln Weeps by Bill Moyers ~ October 03, 2006 ~ in