Friday, November 30, 2012

jocko graves

                                                  THE FAITHFUL GROOMSMAN

There are many ways the story of Jocko Graves has been told.  Here's Larry Meek's version, from his column 'Ethnically Speaking'.

The lawn jockey originated from the story of when Gen. George Washington was about to cross the Delaware River to attack the British at Trenton.  Jocko Graves, a 12-yer-old black lad, wanted to go with Washington to fight the British.

Washington thought he was too young to fight and told him to stay behind to tend the horses.  Jocko was also told to hold a lantern so the returning troops could find him in the dark.

When the troops finally returned, the little Jocko was found frozen to death with the lantern still clenched in his hand.  The general was so touched by the lad's devotion to duty that he commissioned a sculpture to be made in his honor.  The name of the statue was called the "Faithful groomsman."

While there's no record of the statue, Jocko became a familiar part of the landscape in the 1800's, and played a part in the 'Underground Railroad' as a signalman of safety or danger.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nicolas Brothers

Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov once called them the most amazing dancers he had ever seen in his life.

Fred Astaire told the brothers that this "Jumpin' Jive" dance number in Stormy Weather was the greatest movie musical sequence he had ever seen.

The eldest brother, Fayard, was a Bahá'i

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When the Victory Arriveth

When the victory arriveth, every man shall profess himself as believer and shall hasten to the shelter of God's Faith. Happy are they who in the days of world-encompassing trials have stood fast in the Cause and refused to swerve from its truth.--Bahá'u'lláh

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cat and dolphins...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cuatro niños en un burro...

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Navajo weaving from the 1930's


Two years after being discharged from the army I was called up for Ready Reserve training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  I, and seven others like me, were attached to a National Guard unit from Santa Monica, California, for their annual two weeks of training.  It was an odd outfit to say the least.  For example, four or five of them concealed shoulder-length hair under wigs, which was permitted. Joining the Guard at that time guaranteed that you wouldn't be deployed to Vietnam, and for many such an enlistment was a calculated risk against that possibility by being drafted into the Regular Army.

The most out of place among the eight of us misfits among misfits was a large American Indian, who reported in his Class A's. If I recall, he wore a RVN ribbon, among others.  His most striking feature was his nose---it was enormous.  His demeanor was stolid and intimidating.

I learned that day how a friendly word can affect a person when I asked him if he was Navajo.  His face brightened like the Sun rising over the mesa.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day, 2010

Near Ruston Way, Tacoma

Reconciliation Park

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Special

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Паллада (Pallada)





Паллада    (Pallada)



The Russian Tall Ship Pallada, out of Vladivostok (Владивосток), was part of the Tall Ship Festival in Tacoma a few years ago.

 The armada approaching Commencement Bay.

The Pallada under full sail.  The weather was perfect.

 I hadn't noticed until I uploaded these pictures that the sails were being lowered.

 русских кадетов

The newspaper published information about each of the tall ships, and it was easy to identify them as they sailed by.

The Lynx

USCG Eagle

Friday, November 16, 2012

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

Saturday, November 10, 2012


                                                                                is a head-turner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Browns Point Lighthouse, Tacoma

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mercury in Retrograde

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Principles of Bahá'i Consultation

Whenever decisions are to be made by a group, these Bahá'i principles of consultation form the most noble framework imaginable. -jt

1)  Universal participation: everyone within a body (such as a family, an Assembly, or a Convention) should participate. It is the collective responsibility of each body to ensure that everyone has the opportunity and the necessary encouragement to participate. A broadly based consultation is a healthy barrier against the opinions of the forceful.

2)  Objectivity: prayers to set the tone and perspective; clear statement of the problem; spirit of objective (scientific) inquiry; establishment of the facts; investigation of the relevant spiritual principles; full and frank discussion; consideration of alternative solutions, including the unconventional; converging to the ‘best’ solution; preference for unanimity; the apparent truth; offering of resolutions and voting if necessary;

3)  Detachment: the group acts as one composite mind; the ideas do not belong to the speakers; therefore no one has a ‘position’, no one offends, and no one takes offense; one may speak against ones own previously stated opinion.

4)  Unity: As a prerequisite of effective consultation and in subsequent support for implementation of the outcome, the final decision belongs to the body, not to any individuals.  Even though the decision may have been made by a majority vote, there are no minority opinions; unity in support of decisions is more important than correction of a possible short term mistake.

From the paper Principles of Baha’i Consultation by Farzin Aghdasi

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Glen Canyon Road, Santa Cruz

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Vaillancourt Fountain and the Embarcadero

Vaillancourt Fountain, San Francisco

I was required to write about an urban space of my choosing for a History of Landscape Architecture class at California Polytechnic State University in 1975.  I was  familiar with the Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco at the embarcadero, so I chose it as my subject.  Part of the assignment was to include an illustration, as learning to draw was integral to our studies in the School of Architecture. I can't find the report, but I still have this drawing.

Back then it was all about Magic Markers and Rapidigraph pens.

Seeing it for the first time, the sculpture looked like the ruins of the adjacent Embarcadero Freeway. To one critic, it was more like 'a pile of excrement from a large dog with square entrails', as Herb Caen passed along in his column in the San Francisco Chronicle soon after its construction.

Whatever my initial impression, the experience of the fountain was positive  The cascading water drowned out the freeway noise, and trying to stay dry was an adventure as we explored the sculpture in the manner of participatory art.

The sculpture is named Québec libre! and it echoed in material and structure the short-sighted folly of the Embarcadero Freeway.  The irony of course is that the freeway was torn down after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rendered it unsafe, while the sculpture still stands.

The name of the sculpture is obviously political, but I have never cared about nor have I been interested enough to learn why Canadian politics landed on the embarcadero in San Francisco.

As for the Embarcadero Freeway, what were they thinking? The Ferry building is an architectural treasure and a San Francisco landmark. Sometimes the form that follows a function is a colossal error.

I remember as a child looking down Market Street at the Ferry Building in the early 50's, and years later being disappointed when the freeway had been built in front of it in 1959. At the time, I was traveling with my father and my 12 year old twin brother, heading to Seattle from Burbank.  My father was looking for work and for a change, I presume, and I was happily along for the ride.  We stayed at a motel on Market Street near Van Ness Avenue.  A friend and colleague of my father visited us in our room, but I can't remember who it was.  George Lamont? Russ Coghlin?

George Lamont

Russ Coghlin

How to separate citizens from their port..

The Embarcadero Freeway was planned to improve the movement of automobile traffic through San Francisco, but sanity prevailed in time to save the neighborhoods.

As short as the freeway was, it provided a useful link on my commute from the Presidio, where I was stationed in 1970 at the Letterman Army Institute of Research, and south of Market, where my wife worked.  I took the Folsom Street exit, and it put me close to 3rd and Howard, where I picked up my pregnant wife after work at the Pacific Telephone building.

I almost died on that freeway riding with a friend in his Triumph TR3, but that's another story.

Watercolor by Dong Kingman

Tear down

San Francisco Embarcadero Fog 
     1947 Fred Lyons

In 1958, my twin bro and I were living in South San Francisco with our aunt and uncle, a longshoreman, who worked on the embarcadero a few piers south of the Ferry Building. We'd accompany our aunt when she'd pick him up in the late afternoon.  The picture is as I remember it, but we were in a '49 Plymouth.

The Ferry Building was designed as the terminus to the most important street in San Francisco.

The fountain today never looked better.

Photos I took on a trip to San Francisco a few years ago.  The Ferry Building is standing tall!

Photos I found on the web.

The interior is a friendly space with ample natural light and intimacy thanks to the delicate steel trusses. The concrete over metal decking floors provide solidity. A soon to be built high school in Salinas has been architecturally fashioned after these elements. Ask me how I know.