Thunderdogs in Believeland

I raised a beer mug to toast to Cleveland “being this unusual town where music and sports are held in the highest regard.” I was a guest of Warren’s at a dinner populated with members of the Long Live Rock donor group, at the Rock Hall. People were checking their phones while the game that would decide the ALDS was being played in Toronto. The main course had been served, but the tenderloins just sat there until a guy at the end of the table turned out to have the phone with the least delay. As he turned to the group we instantly understood the last out had been recorded. Uproar of positivity!

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers inaugurate their defense of their NBA world championship, the first for the city since 1964. At the same time, the Cleveland Indians, initiate a world Series against a loaded Chicago Cubs team and hope to reel in a baseball crown, and bring home a title that has eluded our baseball team since 1948.

Two confluences have never happened until this year: two Cleveland teams have never played for a major world championship in the same year, and, following from this, nor has a Cleveland team played to earn the city a second major sports championship in the same year. The first has happened, and the second may well happen.

Cleveland put together a safe RNC Convention, the Cavs won a historic come-from-behind victory over the Warriors, and now the Tribe sets its sights on vanquishing a Cubs team that won 103 games in the regular season.

My mantra as a sports fan is: you have to actually play the games. In believeland, the goal is turn anything is possible into four wins in a seven game matchup.

Underdogs, thunderdogs! Play ball!

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Free Play Escape

FreePlay-10-23 _4765

We’ve managed to put together enough free play personnel to play half field. Players who were regulars during the season lose their stones and are gone, while the hard core core remains.

It seems we’re all going to vote for Hillary–so, there’s that!

FreePlay-10-23 _4761

I dislike half field, but I’ve been in the worst slump of my softball career over the last few months, and it hasn’t been because for half of those game right field has been absent as a target due to playing the half field. Meanwhile, my declining skills are so apparent as a fielder in the field that all I can do is own it. Still, the golf course, my athletic Plan B, remains far away from consideration.

FreePlay-10-23 _4762

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats, 1795 – 1821

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The Biggest Goal Is to Be Yourself


It would be somewhat illogical to make the Tribe the underdogs, but if it must be so!

After years of pain, Cleveland is four wins from being America’s sports town
We’ve seen teams go from worst-to-first in a single year before, but never an entire sports town. It’s unprecedented. And win or lose the World Series, there’s no reason Cleveland’s stay at the top – or at least near the top – of the sports world won’t continue. LeBron and 24-year old Kyrie Irving aren’t going anywhere and the Indians have their own franchise cornerstones in Kluber, the 22-year old Lindor and manager Terry Francona, who has proven he can win with any team, any payroll, anywhere.

My mom would have got a super kick out of this.

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Zeitgeist, Autumn 2016


Whoever the “rapist of Persephone,” whether it be Cephisus or Dionysus–and the Eleusinian Mysteries were carried out near the river Kephisos, indicating a link between the two gods–the disordering attack must be reexperienced and lived through, else the redemption of soul will not progress. The way is as much through chaos and death as it is through ecstacy and joy. (Nathan Schwartz-Salant, Narcissism and Character Transformation, p145.)

But, when the narcissistic structure escapes its trial, and the public figure soaks up the larger-than-life projections, projections based in the similar refusal or resistance to soul-making regression, then there is no depressive breakthrough, there is just the steady march to psychzoid splitting.


W.H. Auden:
Patriots? Little boys,
obsessed by Bigness,
Big Pricks, Big Money, Big Bangs


Without a blow to inflated phallic pride no wisdom is possible. – Eugene Monick


There’s a lot of trending collective identifications streaming wildly about as the USA aims to land its messy electoral democracy on the landing strip November 8. I ask myself what the point of my own research (into folk political economies cast under the light of archetypal psychology,) is when I also sense that it is almost pointless to reveal my abductions under the current circumstances.

That the potential battle of all against all is fantasized by ‘white nationalist manly types’ as arriving at an extremely violent battle of all against all, at a literal civil war, because this is the only way the joined forces of global finance, Democratic and GOP party establishments, non-white races and ethnicities, feminists, so-called social justice  warriors, cultural marxists, environmentalists, may be finally defeated, stitches together a prospective tyranny of what is, by definition, a minority.

Practically, then what? Psychologically, might such warriors actually contemplate being killed for such a cause?

I remind myself that those with the time to fantasize always are pointing at the conflict between different utopian wishes for be-all and end-all social engineering. On a blog I have been visiting for over a decade, the ethos of its main commenters decries the utopian dreams of Mrs. Clinton ‘and her kind,’ without any ability to sense that all anti-utopias are nevertheless prescriptions for utopian engineering.

Those utopian dreams are, obviously, projections. The infantile /nobody is going to tell me what to do anymore/ is joined in our body politic with the masculine’s damaged feel for its lost potency.

So it seems that the ultimate fantasy is to return to manly swordsmanship. Not in the least incidentally, this mimics the dream and aims of another ripping collective of damaged men, daesh/ISIS.

‘obsessed by bigness, big wins, “winning so much winning will become boring.” Tyranny of the chaotic masculine, of the paradoxically powerful impotent tiny men, would beckon, except this collective thrust is about to be turned back.

Whether this particular collective complex will turn back into its self enough to own this new trial, and to begin to individuate, is the deeper question.

Numerous complex specifics of the current societal context in the USA aren’t supportive of this psychological shifting in the underlying currents.

(To me, there are significant questions about whether the archetypal framework for understanding conspecifics of collective change can actually do developmental duty here.)

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Legacy Art Post #4 Why I Am Not Camping Tonight

Why I'm Not Camping Tonight

That this piece jumped out of the generative stream and its title was discovered immediately makes it a fitting post on the cusp of halloween.

My non-mirror symmetry Legacy Art in the old artist’s blog are having their links archived at the Legacy Art Page.

My curation of my current catalogue of finished symmetry pieces is available at

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Spontaneous Dialectics In ‘Problem Depth’

Familiar Matrix series-blank

Problem-solving oriented version of a four-square matrix.

Familiar Matrix series 2

I’ve added (and overlaid,) two valence drivers–these are the typical pairing used to deploy evaluation of antipathy and sympathy, a basic starting point.

Familiar Matrix series 3

An intention for learning is articulated.

Two dichotomies are randomly drawn from the master set of 96 dichotomies, a part of the tool, Playing With the Opposites. These are next plotted, with Plot #1 placed first.


The obvious location of a dialectical tension first jumped out from the upper left quadrant.

Bring creative work to the world pushes away the mysterious element in the actual problem, yet, this antipathy is conjoined with a sympathetic mystery located in the setting.

The question for further wandering or exploration is to, I propose, locate the nature of the sympathetic mystery in the setting of the problem, in the art world. This mystery’s nature would be something deeply obscured yet attractive as a matter of what little is known about it.

The other drivers, familiarity/unfamiliarity might serve as kernals for winding up/down the dialectical reflection.

In each quadrant of the matrix there are two dialectical loops given by each pair of valences. For example, in the lower right quadrant are:

Problem / toward / inner masculine // (2) Setting / away from / inner masculine

Problem / familiar / inner masculine // (2) Setting / unfamiliar / inner masculine


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Beneath the Surface

Sally Mann

Sally Mann Photos at Edwynn Houk

All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
?—Oscar Wilde

The Disturbing Photography of Sally Mann

Instill Life The Dark and Light of Sally Mann

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Direction of the Possible


Man can live the most amazing things if they make sense to him. But the difficulty is to create that sense. It must be a conviction, naturally; but you find that the most convincing things man can invent are cheap and ready-made, and are never able to convince him against his personal desires and fears. — C.G. Jung, The Essential Jung: Selected Writings, p. 90

Teaching Cartoon-Possibilities

One day the Nasruddin went with some men a-fishing. They cast the net into the sea, and the Nasruddin cast himself into the net. ‘O Nasruddin,’ said they, ‘what are you about?’ ‘I imagined myself a fish,’ he answered.

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Homo Non Intelligit

Aquinas Triumphant

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Triumphant


I forget when the following happen, yet it happened sometime during the time I was an elementary school student. This event occurred at some point during third, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade. Although both my twin brother also went to the same school, we rarely walked together. He much enjoyed taking shortcuts and running to school. Whereas I preferred to take the sidewalk to the light, turn left, and make my way the third of a mile to the school itself. As it turns out one day I could have used his protection.

Everyday, coming in the opposite direction and headed toward the large Catholic school located three quarters of a mile in the opposite direction, were its denizens. One day, walking alone to school, I was jumped by two boys, tackled to the ground, and roughed up a bit. I ended up with one of the boys sitting on my chest, with my upper arms pinned to the ground. He looked into my face, spat in my eyes, and told me,

You know you’re going to hell!?

It was shouted in a combination of mockery, exhortation, and, at the same time, it retained its questioning facet. I have no idea if I answered, and tend to think almost fifty years after the fact that I likely did not answer affirmatively. I didn’t understood what my brusque antagonist was even speaking about.

Although my family wasn’t the least bit religious, I do recall asking my parents about what the question meant. Most of the time, questions like that caused both my dad and mom to send me back to the 1960 World Book Encyclopedia, (whose many volumes served as my closest early confidant, in a autodidactiv sense–ever since I had skimmed/read my way through each volume.) I read about the Catholic Religion, the Holy Roman Church, The Bible; who knows–maybe this is why religion came to interest me so much.

Scroll ahead thirty years or so and its the nineties and I’m in my forties. By this time I have a fairly modest, and nevertheless, informed, grasp of the situation of Christianity as a world religion. My principal fascination was with religious experience and, what I came to term, artifactual religion. My curiosity was fulfilled by my learning a bit about how the different religions came to be constituted into their multi-various forms from, as-it-were, scratch.


As a matter of my own arm chair interests, this anthropological frame is for me the central primary feature of religion in historical context. Religions arise from their historical-sociological antecedents. So, for example, if one scrolls backward in time from the arrival of the Summa Theologica (1274 CE) of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the overall scheme of worldly time, one scrolls back before the time of the eventuation of the Old Testament, and, soon enough one scrolls back through those antecedents. Up to a point such antecedents would be specific to the historical development of the Abrahamic religions in a particular location and at a specific time, and then past this point, older antecedents would seem to a knowledgeable traveler (gone back in time, or, simply competent with the evidence,) to become more primitive and increasingly unhinged from what are the recognizable domains of (what strike we contemporaries,) to civilized religions and sophisticated religiosity.

Then, around (very roughly) 500,000 years ago BC, the evidence, so far, for anything resembling symbolic behavior disappears. However, 4.5 billion years of planetary history, prior to this disappearance, remain unscathed by symbolic or religious behavior.

Stephen Calhoun artist


Related to the anthropological perspective is religion’s manifestation as a consequence of human behavior, cognition and experience, for which the frame expands to encompass psychology and sociology. Although I became interested in the work of the psychologists William James and Carl Jung for reasons unrelated to my interest in religion, each in their distinctive ways came to deeply influence my working through to a modest extent the constitution of religion as an intentional individual and social phenomena.

Then, moving to the next viewpoint, the historical, the careful investigator inspects the timeline for religiosity as it unfolds locally over thousands of years in manifestations so brilliantly diverse that it would be ridiculous to then groan that the constituent religions are ‘at odds with one another.’

The fact of the usefulness of first and second order religious behavior is apparent, and at the same time, the investigator’s  second order framing and third order analysis is off the side, removed from the local social phenomena. However, to note that a social behavior with a religious motive or objective constitues a “ritual,” “tradition,” or, going farther, reflects the structuring of human purpose in accordance with a priori “propositions, “principles,” or “laws,” is to choose from some menu given by a third order framework.

This is crucial to teasing out the differentiation between the local phenomena of pragmatic mythologizing, and, the properties of “Mythology” as a category of human culture and its intentional artifactual life.

The blunt ramification is simply derived from the basic understanding: as one goes back in time, very soon, the idea and representation of God, or of Gods, of of the sacred, or of the divine, goes “poof!”



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When Is A Single Run Not One?


Sunday, Free Play Soft Ball league enjoyed a funny game amidst: the mildness of early autumn, the goose shit, the late rolling ballers.

My ‘worst ever since 1970’ hitting slump continued, yet, because I can play all fielding positions in a mediocre manner, I pitched a scoreless inning. Lost a one run game–that is a win in my book.

Never will you reach that silver mountain which appears, like a cloud of joy, in the evening light.

Never can you cross that diamond of dirt which treacherously smiles at you in the morning mist.

Every step on this road takes you farther away from home plate, from flowers, from spring. Sometimes the shade of a cloud will dance on the way. Sometimes you rest in a ruined caravanserai seeking the truth from the blackish tresses of smoke

Sometimes you walk a few steps with a kindred soul only to lose him again.

You go, and go torn by the windy disputes about what actually happened, burnt by the sun, and the shepherd’s flute tells you “geese have flown”

until you laugh no more

until the puddles in the grass is only your dried-up tears which mirror the mountain of joy that is closer to you than your mitt.

apologies to Ms. Schimmel, for this version adapted from:
~Annemarie Schimmel ‘Nightingales Under the Snow’ Variations on Rumi’s Thoughts

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Legacy Art Post #3 A Green Man


A Green Man 12×12″ Stephen Calhoun 2013

A Green Man (2013)

The journey of Moses with his servant Joshua is a life­journey (it lasted eighty years). They grow old together and lose the life-force, i.e., the fish, which “in wondrous wise took its way to the sea” (setting of the sun). When the two notice their loss, they discover at the place where the source of life is found (where the dead fish revived and sprang into the sea) Khidr wrapped in his mantle,48 sitting on the ground. In another version he was sitting on an island in the midst of the sea, “in the wettest place on earth,” which means that he had just been born from the maternal depths. Where the fish van­ished Khidr, the Verdant One, was born as a “son of the watery deep,” his head veiled, proclaiming divine wisdom, like the Babylonian Oannes-Ea (cf. fig. 18), who was represented in form and daily came out of the sea as a fish to teach the people wisdom. (pp 197-198, C.G.Jung, Symbols of Transformation)

CF 18 p199

CF 18 p199

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Success & the Infinite


(originally published on LinkedIn)

The following question was pitched my way recently: how long does it take you to produce a finished piece of art?

Obviously there can only be a generalized answer to this question. On average. . .

The query motivated me to consider how long different steps take, to break the total time down, even if the exercise ends up a matter of estimating an average or mean time.

But, soon enough, being a systems’ thinker, my reflection wandered toward more vague territories, and then into territories where concepts such as interval, or beginning-and-end, come to be defeated close to the outset.

Back up from the moment of one of your own greatest successes. If someone asked you, ‘how long did it take you to produce this success?’ what would go into your answer?

My own reflection on this question-and, for me, a produced art work is always a moment of great success–wandered soon into intriguing considerations which take into account crucial aspects that tend to break apart mere regard for the time interval mechanical elements required.

I’m going to mention a few aspects. Before I do so, my hope is you’ll do a short exercise and reconsider an example in your own life under the light of the following different lenses.

An aspect of any success clearly is defined by all the learning from experience, and, learning from mistakes. If asked how long something took, do we usually sever from our consideration all most necessary but unplanned prior preparations?

Similarly, how much of a time factor in a great success is all of our formal and informal training?

When I turn to the fact of inspiration, and so turn to the genesis of a great success, and consider its origin and the starting point given long before this success was assured, I cannot help but be impressed by how discrete time is inadequate to the task of measuring inspiration.

My brightest ideas emerged from an unfolding story and its colorful conditions. This becomes doubly impressive if we then regard the nature of inspiration to have been a collaborative effort and see, then, a streaming of stories, and, conditions about conditions, all unfolding through a kind of mysterious coordination until these flex and fulminate together into the emergent a-ha, and, up and out comes the bright idea. Tell me, how long did this take?

I next bring into resolution the aspect of the spontaneously fortuitous contingency, what we of course better know as serendipity, and instantly the inadequacy of even the concept of intervalic time, is defeated. At this point our greatest success is seen to be an aspect of an almost cosmic element of lucky timing, of not only being in the right time and place in the concrete sense, but in the right time and place in the sense of an ecology of timing and various places, and, grooved by precedents both planned and unplanned.

Finally, look at the relational genealogy of a success. This is what is meant by the trope, standing on the shoulders of giants. This element is woven into serendipity too, because if we track a success backward in time to where its eventual subject is founded in the past by our: interest, or obsession, or mission, or capability, it is inevitable that we will see these centering commitments to have themselves a founding story. Very often the creation story in the background of our future devotion starts with the happiest of accidents. Those accidents land us: in the right community, around the right people, bring us to our mentors/teachers/guides, with the supporting partner, living amidst the most terrific, and helpful, neighbors, colleagues.

We also see that we can no more separate out from our current success, any of these required prior successes, and failures, and, any small yet required learning, and any chance yet required encounter or precedent.

So it is a web of relationships comes to the front and center, in our regard of what was required for this small or major success. The genealogical current defies both time itself and timing. It provides the awesome “just so” in the deep background of every success.

Yes, one should count themselves a little bit lucky, or maybe, a lot lucky, to stand at the apex of a great success. You and your great success are at the summit of an iceberg, whereas the hidden, necessary, contingent assembly of elements cannot be temporally measured.

To rephrase a Zen aphorism for my purposes here:

the infinite is in the finite of every success

– – – – – – – – – –

|| Stephen Calhoun’s creative successes are being exhibited in a one man show of his photographic and generative art work, The Grasp of Order, at The Gallery At Gray’s, 10717 Detroit Ave – through September 30. open 9/24 noon-4pm – open during the work week, call 216-226-3300 for hours.


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FB-Stephen-Calhoun-African Alchemy Totem #3-48x72

All of us are watchers–of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway–but few are observers. Everybody is looking, not many are seeing. P.M. Leschak)

The Gallery At Gray’s is located on the west side about 30 minutes from where I live in Cleveland Heights. Over the past five months my one man show, The Grasp of Order, has been installed, I haven’t spent very much time hanging out at the gallery. Yet, I did so on Saturday.

I knew some friends were going to stop in, and, I hoped some complete strangers would also drop in too. Several of this latter type did indeed stop in and the encounters were both gratifying and edifying.

Certainly, I like to talk about my work and creative processes, but I much more enjoy hearing people tell me about their experience with my experiential art work.

My art works, by intention and by design, provide open ended opportunities for experiencing their effect, rather than for deciphering their import. My work doesn’t enjoin any authoritative import at all.

Laura and Gary Dumm are longtime, well known, Cleveland artists; and their collaboration includes being married. I didn’t know them. However, in a rather audacious act of social media hunting and gathering I started to request connections to artists and others–for which Facebook reported to me numerous mutual friends.

As a consequence, the Dumms showed up at the gallery. This affirmed my social media move was worthwhile. What great people, what a pair!

Gary Dumm wrote this later on FB:

Today Laura and I stopped by Grey’s Auction House to view the large digitally enhanced photographic works of Stephen Calhoun. They are, in general, mind-blowing: a symphonic collection of the debris and detritus of nature and civilization restructured by the artist in such a way that these supposedly dead things dance energetically. Simpler designs are mandala-like. Some (like the attached image) appear as Bosch and Bruegel inspired dreams while others vibrate, figures destroying and reforming themselves as in the “Matrix” movies. To me they are pictures of the dancing Wu Li masters, where physics meets mysticism: all is energy, and nothing is ever lost.


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Legacy Art Post #2

Stephen Calhoun, artist (2005)

(2005) Painterly

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Legacy Art Post #1

Stephen Calhoun, artist 2008 Quinttych On Essentials (2008)

Starting with this post, I have established a page LEGACY ART (1993-2012) on this blog that in turn provides links to a selection of my art work from 1993-2012. Other art works will be removed from the old My Naive Art blog. Posts link to the older posts.

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In the Age of Plasticene

Henry Hudson: Anger, Anxiety and the Apocalypse (Gallery S|2)
h/t Sotheby’s

Bonus: more Lori Nix

What Would the Room You’re In Right Now Look Like In the Apocalypse

Nix + Gerber from The Drawing Room on Vimeo.

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Most Interesting Man



Two notes: yesterday the game was won when a throwing error on a successful force out at home allowed three runners to score in the top of the first extra inning. This is the kind of unusual stuff that helps make Free Play Softball Great, again.

I’ve mentioned before that as far as I know, in our core group of twenty or so players, two have earned pages in Wikipedia, an astronomer, and an educator/theorist, (the “DaVinci” in his field.)

But, I will put my money on Andre being the most interesting man in our world. He is a chef, actor, director and wicked left handed pull hitter.

Andre, one of his daughters, grandkids

Andre, one of his daughters, grandkids

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Poetry Of the Tear


Kenneth Warren (1953-2015)

To be in different states without a change
is not a possibility (Charles Olson)

I visited, with Dan Slife, the Saturday 9/3 event in Buffalo, A Celebration of Ken Warren. It was held in The Poetry Collection of the University of Buffalo, at Lockwood Library. The brutalist University architecture led to an initial ‘esoteric’ moment, as we tried to find the The Poetry Collection, and the room given over for an afternoon to the legacy of the great esotericist/American poetics/guardian of the punk hole/and master of the House Organ.

You see once in the Lockwood Library, the friendly fellow at the service desk had no idea where The Poetry center was located. We found a flyer and saw it was in Capen Hall, but we understood that Lockwood Library itself occupies Capen Hall. Luckily, for a moment, we noted it was in room 420, so we hopped into the elevator and took it to the fourth floor. No room 420.

We returned to the ground. A co-ed had stopped at the bottom of the stairs and we confessed our minor desperation and asked her if she knew where The Poetry Center was, or was room 420 in the very building this exchange was taking place within.

I have no clue about the poetry stuff, but room 420 is probably accessible by either the front elevator or the elevators down the corridor that reach another section of the fourth floor.

Dan and I gave each other a look. Sure enough the second set of elevators reached a corridor on the fourth floor that was inaccessible by way of the elevators facing the front doors.

Ken Celebration (1)

Cube O’ Olson

A probe generated by Stephen Calhoun April 13, 2014. I did two random rolls in series. This was submitted to House Organ in April 2015, six weeks before Ken Warren suddenly died of a heart attack.

Learning Intention:

Tell Charles Olson Something He Needed to know, But, Alas It Is Too late

submission to House Organ April 15, 2015 - unpublished

submission to House Organ April 15, 2015 – unpublished

Steve Lewandowski wondered if I would like to get in line and speak to Ken’s memory. As it happened I went last. In this very good spot I spoke a little bit of how Ken’s interests and my own overlapped, told a Sufi teaching story, and reminded everyone that Ken’s sincere interest in how you are doing often first met a fresh report with the temporary observation,

You’re fucked.

Parker and Beckett spoke, a high point, Dan played a song, and a long line up of poets and literary types brought some A Game to the afternoon’s delightful, and bittersweet proceedings.

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Roger’s Blues

Without wishing it, we human beings are placed in situations in which the great principles entangle us in something, and God leaves it to us to find a way out. C.G. Jung (Good and Evil In Analytical Psychology, Civilization In Transition)

My neighbor Roger Talbott recently retired from his post as a Methodist minister. I’m following his new blog Fear Not Online. At the moment he understands it will be concerned with the second half of life.

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Artist Stephen Calhoun


My new web site features my art, art based in symmetries and surprise. It’s live today!


I’ll be highlighting some of its features over the next few days and on twitter.

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