Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘Artists’ category

Robert Thurman / Buddhist Thought / The Path To Greater Realization

Robert Thurman is a funny guy and very smart, too.  He’s on my Ipod talking at great length about the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.  Here’s a joke he tells that he finds hilarious.  “Why does it take so many sperm to impregnate the egg?”

“None of them will ask for directions.”  Pretty good.  Probably an old joke but I don’t remember ever hearing it.  Certainly my Dad didn’t mention it in The Talk we had many years ago.  Although I wish he had and hope my son reads this and will, someday, pass it on to my grandson.  An icebreaker.  Be cool, Dad.

Does the name Thurman ring any bells with you?  Well, it should!  Can any of us forget the bathtub scene with Uma (his daughter) or Kill Bill (not Bob).  Robert married the Swedish Beauty,  Nena von Schlebrugge, years ago.  Nena used to be married to Timothy Leary.  I shared this information with my wife today since Uma’s Dad is my new best friend during my walks (Audible.com  Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between.  Robert Thurman).  She may have rolled her eyes.  I need to see better but at the moment bright lights are causing me some difficulty because I’m giving up the pain medication I am prescribed for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome).  Pain medications do help but they have very annoying side effects.  They amplify pain and other bodily miseries (itching, for example  and I have patches of eczema that are very distracting).  I could with some justification float around on a cloud all day but I choose to avoid this false reality and the increasing dosages necessary to avoid the “coming down”.

Besides, I’m in good shape now and don’t mind these daily wrestling matches with the body and it’s charming surprises.  But when your eyebrows cause you pain you have a serious problem.  Just saying.

Back to Robert Thurman.  He brings a poetic imagination to the table and builds visions that inspire, for instance.  New York City.  A large apartment building on a weekend evening.  How many people inside are “getting it on”?  Unborn souls are swirling around and being attracted to certain couples engaged in the tangle.  Each is identifying with a certain man or woman and “dive in” to the aforementioned struggle, not asking directions, but becoming an unborn child (male or female depending on  their focus), if they manage to reach the front of the line.  Sometimes it’s a tie (twins)!  His riff on the Oedipal connections at this moment are intriguing.  Lust will find a way, it seems, and we see why souls are drawn back into this world.  I’ve wondering for awhile why anyone would come back to this place.  Reincarnation always seemed a forced procedure but after listening to his description of romance on the East River I can sort of see why it happens.

While I walk the miles.  I’m not a Buddhist but much of what he says makes sense to me.  I was raised a Methodist in the sheltering arms of my parents and my most memorable experience there was “a first kiss” in the choir loft on an evening before we were discovered by the choir director (not a happy man).  It was a group meeting so the recriminations afterwards were diluted due to our sheer numbers.  Ah, church youth groups in the late 50’s and early 60’s were such fun.

Later I was a Baptist after an ill-fated decision to marry (Yours, Mine, Ours) in the Brady Bunch tradition.  I hope it was good in some ways for the kids because it was the Trip To Hell for me.  I stuck it out for 14 years but as you can probably tell I’m not the traditional kind of guy and the finest memories I have of this period were the communal meals with home fried chicken.  Jesus is real and I kept that in mind as I went down the road with someone who was interested only in support of one kind or another.  And still is, today.

The love of my (spiritual) life is Paramahansa Yogananda who arose in the Hindu tradition.  Robert says some interesting things about how the Hindu and Buddhist religions had a parting of the ways in India.  He notes that there are fierce Hindu deities who resemble  Buddhist deities and so forth.  Did you know that if you encounter one of these terrifying-looking forms (you can often find renditions of them in local museums like our own Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, by the way)  you should embrace them!  Don’t be afraid!  They are your protection in the unconscious mind where the great horrors of mankind (Hitler, for example!) reside.  So my guru, Paramahansa Yogandanda, has been with me since I discovered his autobiography on a book table, while in college.  I don’t associate him with kissing or fried chicken.  He has gotten me this far and through all of that.

And so my path continues as I walk every day and try to (gradually) improve.  The inner light calls me although I will admit, at this moment, the gross light of day is difficult.  I understand that life is fierce and lustful, at times, and it will lead you astray.  But I’m also confident that we can find our way.  I’m most grateful to have found a loving and supportive partner, my wife, Elizabeth, who is a gift from God and someone who enables me to reach beyond our mechanical world with it’s failing traditions.  “Betsy” is known to many as a source of strength and love.  I will call her Elizabeth, here, because it is a majestic name and were we to see her as she really is, we would see a spirit of such stature we would be in awe of the light she casts about this frightful (at times) place.

And to sum up, regarding Robert Thurman.  Once, long ago, he was apparently trying to jack up his car when the stupid thing snapped and shattered his face, causing him to lose an eye.  At that time he seemingly was a traditional guy, but after this happened, he gave up his marriage and traveled abroad, becoming the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  He studied with the 14th Dalai Lama who became a close friend, and then returned to the U.S. in 1967 where he met his German-Swedish model and gave up his vows to pursue the life of the ordinary man.

Thus, we have Uma, her siblings and so many other things including some great lectures that one can enjoy while walking and trying to do better.  Yesterday, after I gave up the prescription pain medication and walked, I was lying in bed listening to the following music and doing some breathing exercises.  Suddenly, I was filled with a blissful light and energy that made it clear this was the right path.  This is the way.  Thank you for listening.  Have a perfect day.



Rihanna Is Hot / Weekly Photo Challenge / Fleeting Moments / The Washington DC Scene


Man it’s hot out today! It’s 101 according to the Weather Channel here in Richmond, Virginia and that is DOWN from earlier. It’s cooling off! The heat is a problem but nothing like what they are enduring out west. Hell has erupted in Colorado. We have all been praying for rain and I saw a report earlier that rain has been a factor in the last day or so. Keep up those prayers. I put a word in with my alien buddies and they are apparently not too mad at me anymore. Come on guys! Just because I’m not ready for a committed relationship?!! You freak me out! But let’s be friends! Make it rain out there and put out the fire.

The heat does things to my brain. I’ve been watching Rihanna on Youtube and Where Have You Been. It’s one of those things that gets into your brain and you can’t shut it off. No wonder 68 million viewers have watched the video. Rihanna is in the stratosphere when it comes to popular artists in 2012.


There’s an interesting article about Rihanna and her life and achievements (so far) in Wikipedia. 
She has sold more than 25 million albums and 60 million singles worldwide since the beginning
of her career in 2005, which makes her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

It’s so very hot out there on the streets of DC but people are taking it in stride. So is Rihanna. And so are we, hopefully, while staying indoors with the AC and our Youtube favorites.

Miranda Lambert At Virginia Beach / No Kerosine Please / Patriotic Festival

Miranda (I think) telling the boys how it’s going to go down before the concert.


It’s a Virginia Beach weekend, boys and girls! We are here to enjoy the festivities which include several free concerts. It’s the Va Beach Patriotic Festival with the Blue Angels. Miranda Lambert will be in concert tonight and I see her bus down below near the festival site. Somebody is cooking up some grub on the grill out back and taking it into the bus for the sultry (or sleepy?) songstress. Hopefully, she is in a good mood and doesn’t take out of there with her kerosine can!


I walked 12 miles this morning because the breeze was nice and it’s a straight, level shot down the boardwalk and back. Did it twice. Never did that before. Last year at this time would have had a hard time doing it once.

I joined a local photography group and plan to meet with them tomorrow and try to get some shots of the Blue Angels. Part of the plan to “live the good life” is to meet new people, find some friends and learn to be a better photographer. Introverts have a difficult time with these issues, sometimes.

So the light was really nice last night and I took a few lenses and tried to play with it. I bought a new lens and am really pleased with it. It does really well in low light. The AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8 G. The aperture opens up to 1.8 and does nice things. It’s very light too so I can use it on the Nikon D-40 (which is also very light) and take it on walks. I took it on the 12 miler this morning and didn’t even notice it. Here’s a photo from this happy combo.

Yes, there is a huge, very fast speedboat parked on the boardwalk. I have a few more photos of it below. Hopefully, we will get to see it do its stuff this weekend.

So, as I was saying, the light was really cool last night. You really couldn’t see the horizon at one point. Everything was just a mellow shade of blue and the new lens had a chance to show what it can do in the fading light.

Much more to follow. Everyone have a great weekend!


The Month Of May / Francis Quarles / Emblemes (1635) /

Let all thy joys be as the month of May,
And all thy days be as a marriage day.
~Francis Quarles

It’s very cool out early on this Friday morning. It reminds me of Virginia Beach on a day like the one depicted in this photo. May is one of my favorite months. Like October, it is a mixture of many elements around these parts. And the humidity and bugs have not quite gotten here.

So I found this quote about May and see it is something done by an Englishman many years ago. Francis Quarles (Quarles rhymes with Charles).
He apparently enjoyed the month of May as well.

Francis Quarles was a seventeenth century poet best known for his Emblemes book. Each “emblem” consisted of a paraphrase from a passage of Scripture, expressed in ornate and metaphorical language, followed by passages from the Christian Fathers, and concluding with an epigram of four lines. There were also engravings which he did not do. But he may have modified some of them. So he combined different elements of artistic expression and was very popular with the masses in his time. Better poets. . . Donne, Herbert, Crashaw and others, were impressed, in some sense, by this.

What is more impressive to me is that he and his wife, Ursula, had eighteen children together!

So, in our world, Quarles could easily have been a successful blogger, or, he and his wife could have had a reality program like The Duggar’s 19 Kids and Counting! On a more serious note (is any of this serious? I’m not sure) one of Quarles descendants was Langston Hughes, the celebrated author and poet during the Harlem Renaissance.

Clearly this writer practiced what he preached and every day (or, at least, quite a few of them) was a day to celebrate his marriage to Ursula! She wrote a book about him when he died, too. That’s impressive.

So, while Francis Quarles was not the most talented guy in the world he managed to be an artist who is remembered centuries later. How many of us will be remembered and written about in the year 2400? He was popular with the masses and he had a devoted wife.

But he was not happy when he died. He was accused of being a papist. Controversy surrounded him, depressed him, and, in fact, made him refuse the help of a doctor who was a Catholic. So he died. But then, he probably would have died anyway, given the nature of medical practices during that time. And it would have hurt a lot more.

Ravinder Reddy / Hindu Art Meet Pop Culture / Art And Pulling Weeds / PhotoSunday Public Art

Ravinder Reddy began making his massive monumental heads in the 80’s. They are like nothing else in contemporary art, modeled with remarkable skill and painted in dazzling colors, Ravinder Reddy fuses the Hindu sculptural tradition with a contemporary pop sensibility mixing a reverence for traditional Indian sculptural forms with an appreciation of Andy Warhol’s portraits. In addition to creating a dialogue between traditional Hindu art and contemporary pop, Ravinder Reddy also reflects the way young Indian women are recreating the feminine image to merge a reverence for tradition with an embrace of the contemporary world. Their elaborate hairstyles are adorned with hundreds of delicately sculpted flowers. Many are gilded, giving them the effect of religious icons. ~ Initial Access

PhotoSunday’s theme this week is Public Art. One of the very fun things to do with a camera is to explore the worlds of artists who have dedicated their lives to art. I was watching a fascinating program last night on the public television channel called Art In The Twenty-First Century. It focuses on several artists each week who are working now to bring their private visions to the public. You have probably seen sometime in your life an artist working somewhere to make something. Here in Richmond we were able to watch and actually participate in the creation of stick art by Patrick Dougherty at the local botanical gardens.

VMFA’s monumental female head Krishnaveni I by Ravinder Reddy is over six feet tall. It just stopped me in my tracks when I discovered it downtown.  The colors are brilliant and it takes us for a marvelous ride in the imagination.

Thank God for art that can break up the monotonous logic of our lives. That’s what I say. Not to say that monotony is always such a bad thing.

Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative’s latest example of unreasonableness. ~Christopher Lloyd, The Well-Tempered Garden, 1973

I can see that happening too. Here’s a photo of the blogger after he had been pulling weeds in the backyard for just fifteen minutes or so.

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