My Newsletter
Another defunct publication, which ran from May to August, 2009.
It was where people could "keep up on all my activities,"
and had a fair bit of blogging in it as well.
(more about this newsletter)

July 25-31, 2009

Well, instead of duplicating the wheel, let me just point you to today's blog post. It summarizes most of the week's activities, so there's no need to repeat them here. (And anything that's not there is in Monday's and Tuesday's posts!)

And here's the week's stuff on

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: Choose Happiness, Look into a Microscope, Visit the Sick, Remember the Point, Visit an Aquarium, Sit Under a Tree and Just Breathe.

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: God in Us (as close as can be) and The Wishing Tree (be careful what you wish for...)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 more posts on the life of the Buddha: The Five Companions (seekers on the way) and The Mendicant Life (the hobodhisattva?)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 more posts on Campbell's ideas: Sources #8: Pop Culture (no Ivory Tower for this guy) and Sources #9: German Philosophy (especially Oswald Spengler--who?)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: I KNEW IT! (smart people go Veg) and Find a Friend (online or off, it's easier with support)

About James:

Blog Highlights: I summarized last weekend and wrote about the movie Excalibur on Monday; had dinner out and heard Indian Music on Tuesday; and saw friends Wednesday and Thursday, summarized in Catching Up.

My Bio and more: Post on Lazarus People II: Extras (living, breathing set dressing)


America: Post on Heartstone, La Cienega, NM (the end of an argument)

Japan: Post on Ueno Pond, Tokyo (from a 2006 trip with Lila)

China: Post on Tiger and Dragon, Tian Hou Temple, Sungang Village, Shenzhen (Yin and Yang)

Philippines: Post on Ruins, Fort Santiago, Manila (beauty in decay)

Asia: Post on Earth God Platform, Ping Shan, New Territories, Hong Kong (back to basics--worshipping stones)

July 18-24, 2009: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I've been going over my stats on Statcounter, and was fascinated by where in the word my visitors are coming from. Here's a little recap.

The Extremes (North, South, East, West, from a map provided by Statcounter):

  • North: My farthest north visitor came on Monday, July 20th, from the "Scandic Hotels Oy" in Oulu, Finland (65°01' N). This visitor came through the Blogger NavBar, where my "Bio" page was featured last Monday (causing a huge spike in traffic, nearly five times the usual).
  • South: From the south came a visit from the "Administracion Nacional De Telecomunicaciones" (the national phone company, an ISP) in Montevideo, Uruguay (34°51' S). Like the visit from the north, it was a bounce into my "Bio" page from the Blogger NavBar on Monday. A (literally) close second for southerliness was from Buenos Aires, Argentina (34°35' S); someone at "Prima S.a." (the nation's largest ISP) came in to look at my Joseph Campbell Reading List today, Friday, July 24. (I know I had a couple of visits from Australia, one from Melbourne, which must be farther south than this; but they weren't on the map, so I won't count them.)
  • East: My easternmost visitor was also on Monday, July 20th, from the KDDI Corporation (a phone company, perhaps an ISP?) in Tokyo, Japan (139°46' E). He or she looked, fittingly, at the Japan page, found through a Google Image search for the summer wear known as yukata.
  • West: Westernmost was a user at the ComCast Cable ISP in San Rafael, California (37°58' N) on Wednesday, July 22. This visit was to my main page from my "Fan Page" on Facebook.

Now a look at the countries represented. I have given their rank, the number of visits, and the percent of visits they represent (total countries was 43):

1. United States (304/60.80%) this one's obvious
2. China (22/4.40%) no surprise, as this is where I live, and many friends are here
3. Israel and Germany (20/4.00%) on of my friends is digging in Israel right now, and we have friends living in Germany
5. Philippines (15/3.00%) my wife's family and our friends are there
6. United Kingdom (14/2.80%)
7. India (10/2.00%) yay! We love India!
8. Singapore and Netherlands (8/1.60%)
10. Argentina and Canada (6/1.20%)
12. Japan and France (5/1.00%)
14. Taiwan and Belgium (4/0.80%)
16. Russian Federation (3/0.60%)

In the last three places:
3 visits (0.60%): Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico
2 visits (0.40%): Romania, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Australia, Hungary, Norway, Colombia
1 visit (0.20%): Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, Nigeria, Portugal, Chile, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Switzerland, Estonia, Macao

Finally: What cities were the big winners?

Oddly, the largest number (8.2%) came from Brooklyn, where I don't think I know anyone. "Unknown U.S." was next, then Arcadia, where I have family. The next city was Shenzhen, where I live, then Rancho Cucamonga, California (who?).

The rest of the top 10: Freiburg, Germany; Seattle, Washington; Park City, Utah; L.A., BABY!; Saint Petersburg, Russian (really!).

We won't bother with the rest. Fun, though, huh?

Here's what happened this week on

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: Go to a Movie Palace, Go Stargazing, Feather Your Nest, Write a Poem and Give It to Someone, Be Early, Greet Someone, and Try Something New With Your Hair

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: The Human Body is a Boiling Pot (you can guess the ingredients; where does the heat come from?) and God is the Snake and the Thief (an e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d view of God)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 more posts on the life of the Buddha: The Dancing Girls (the "last straw" for the Buddha-to-be) and The Great Departure (the Prince finally leaves the palace)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 more posts on Campbell's ideas: Sources #6: Eastern Thought (common ground for Joe and me) and Sources #7: Jung (tapping into the psyche)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "Being born in a garage don't make you a Buick" (enlightenment isn't hereditary) and "If all the other clocks are wrong..." (a reality check)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: Funny "Kindness" Quotes from Famous People and Petition for Official "Meat Free Monday" (getting governments involved)

About James:

Blog Highlights: first, my (quiet) Birthday Weekend, then on Tuesday I went to Town. I spent Wednesday Recharging the Batteries, and on Thursday discovered that the water had been turned off in my building. Finally, today (Friday) I found that we had been linked on a big Meatless Monday website.

My Bio and more: Posts on Freedom Express (a band I was in) and The Classmates Project (looking for friends from K-8)


America: Post on Bodie, CA (a genuine "ghost town")

Japan: Post on Six Mizuko (the bodhisattva who protects dead babies)

China: Post on One Day in Luohu (lock shmock)

Philippines: Post on The Redoubtable Jeepney (better than a buffalo?)

Asia: Post on Shiva Jnana Dakshinamurti, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman Temple, Singapore (Shiva as teacher of knowledge)

July 11-17, 2009 (plus a blog recap of July 7-10)

This week started in California, and ended back in Shenzhen. Let's recap all of my California blog posts:

Tuesday, July 7th (China): I left home in the morning and posted this from the airport, about how an obstruction "seemed" to be removed by the intervention of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god who removes obstacles and blesses new enterprises. Includes posts published Tuesday, July 7 (posts usually go at 9 a.m. China time, which is 6 p.m. the previous day in California).

Wednesday, July 8th: A long post about little adventures in-transit: a problem with the audio on the plane, an encounter with a Vietnamese nun, and burritos. Includes the events of Tuesday, July 7th, (on both continents) and the posts published Wednesday, July 8th.

Thursday, July 9th: I discovered that a clip on Youku was blocked in America, a turnabout on what I'm used to in China. Includes the events of Wednesday, July 8th, in California, and posts published Thursday, July 9th.

Friday, July 10th: Shopping for clothes, picking up stuff from my storage, ripping CDs, scanning pictures, and meeting old old friends, whom I knew before I started school. Includes the events of Thursday, July 9th, in California, and posts published Friday, July 10th.

Sunday, July 12th: More ripping and scanning, and some revisions to these pages (notably the addition of a search box to each page). Includes the events of Friday, July 10th, and Saturday, July 11th, in California; and posts published Saturday, July 11th, and Sunday, July 12th.

Monday, July 13th: Visits from my in-laws and old buddy David Thom and his mom. Includes the events of Sunday, July 12th, in California, and posts published Monday, July 13th.

Tuesday, July 14th: Book shopping, and my early birthday dinner. Includes the events of Monday, July 13th, in California, and posts published Tuesday, July 14th.

Wednesday, July 15th: Friends old and (relatively) new: I saw Wayne Behlendorf and Robert Smitheram today. Includes the events of Tuesday, July 14th, in California, and posts published Wednesday, July 15th.

Thursday, July 16th: On my final day in L.A., I saw old friends Kerstine Johnson and Mike Daly and his wife Akemi. In the late afternoon, I returned my stuff to storage, and did some mad scanning (and packing my bags) until after 2:30 a.m. Then a quick shower and a 3:30 a.m. pickup for my 7:30 a.m. flight. Includes the events of Wednesday, July 15th, in California, and posts published Thursday, July 16th.

Friday, July 17th: An exceptionally long post about trouble at the airport, and my only face-to-face birthday greeting of the day. Includes the events of Thursday, July 16th, in California and Friday, July 17th, in China, and posts published Friday, July 17th.

* * * * * * * *

And now, back to the routine (for a while). Check out the week's happenings on below!

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: Learn that When One Door Opens..., Get Wet, Be Someone Else, Tell a Tall Tale, Visit an Amusement Park, Visit a Historic Site, and Play a Board Game.

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: Taste the Snow (direct experience) and A Lamp without Oil ("No oil, no light")

Buddhism Simplified: 2 more posts on the life of the Buddha: The Four Sights (the young prince sees suffering) and Rahula (the birth of the prince's son)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 more posts on Campbell's sources: Sources #4: Modern Literature and Sources #5: Art and Creativity (more 20th-century shamans)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "Out of the mouths of *ssholes... " (truth comes from many sources) and "Knots in the net" (interconnectedness)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: Get "Stuffed" (a new book on the sins of "big food") and Other Mondays (more healthy ways to start the week)

About James:

Blog Highlights: You can see these, plus a few from last week, in the summary of my trip posted at the start of this newsletter.

My Bio and more: Post on The Lazarus People I (people I met on set of a TV show)


America: Post on El Santuario de Chimayo, NM (a healing place in the mountains)

Japan: Post on Roadside Statues (where abandoned saints are honored again)

China: Post on Chinese "Ethnicity" (a minority "zoo")

Philippines: Post on Malate Church, Malate, Manila (over 420 years old)

Asia: Post on The Ruins of Saint Paul's, Macau (an alternate view of the old facade)

July 4-10, 2009

(Friday 12:45 a.m. in L.A., Friday 3:45 p.m. in Shenzhen.)

This week I wrapped up some obligations in Shenzhen and hopped a flight for a ten-day trip to L.A. So most of the time I've been massively busy, but the website keeps ticking along (mostly without me, thanks to Scheduled Posts).

Hopefully, I'll see friends and Lila's family starting this weekend.

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: See a Play, Read a Poem, Hug and Be Hugged, Take a Road Trip, Get It Fixed, Go to a Farm, and Buy a Piece of Art.

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: God, Scripture, Devotees (identity) and Everything is God (no comment necessary)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 more posts on the life of the Buddha: The Wedding Competition (competing for his bride's hand) and Among the Beautiful People (another ploy to keep the prince happy)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 more posts on Campbell's sources: Sources #2: Nature and Biology (more on Campbell's inspiration) and Sources #3: Arthurian Romance (and other medieval texts)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "Rinse it now or scrub it later" (nip it in the bud) and "Even a rat's got a job to do" (non-discrimination)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: "Livestock's Long Shadow" (the effect of cows on the environment) and "Livestock's Long Shadow" (shocking truth in a government report)

About James:

Blog Highlights: Mostly stories about my trip to America, including In Transit Tuesday to Tuesday, July 7, how an obstruction was removed, how the tables are turned on Youku and a very busy day (and a visit from someone I knew before I started Kindergarten)..

My Bio and more: Post on Every Dog Has a Story (two old pals)


America: Post on Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL (see the brachiosaurus!)

Japan: Post on The Seven Lucky Gods: A Pilgrimage (actually the first of many I completed in

China: Post on The Boy Emperor's Tomb, Shenzhen (part of Shenzhen's history)

Philippines: Post on Our Lady of the Pension, Malate (everything takes longer in the Philippines)

Asia: Post on Four Generals (?), Man Mo Temple, Central Hong Kong (enigmatic figures attending dual gods)


Articles: Post on A Lifetime Reading List a la Joseph Campbell (from his Mythology class at Sarah Lawrence College)

June 27-July 3, 2009

I'm flying to the states early next week, so this week was all about getting my pages updated far in advance. In fact, from Sunday until today (Friday) I hadn't been out of the building, and only once left my rooms, to go to another floor and check out the goods being sold by friends who are moving.

Yes, a rather boring life.

But the writing has been great; I'm so excited about doing this that I don't even miss little things, like sunshine.

So here's the week's publication at Much more on its way.

Production note: As I travel, I may miss some blogs and such. But most of the pages should be posting automatically.

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 new posts: Tickle the IvoriesHave a PicnicBuy a Hat (and Wear It)Improve Your KarmaGo Play in the Mud, Give Someone Flowers, and Get Your Spiffy On

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: God in the Wicked and the Good (be discriminating) and The Voice of God (from the top of an elephant)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 more posts on the life of the Buddha: Three Beautiful Palaces (luxury can't prevent suffering) and Choosing a Bride (maybe marriage will settle the young prince down?)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 more posts on Campbell's ideas and sources: Idea #8: Transparent to Transcendence (a closer look at a provocative idea) and Sources #1: Native American Stories (one of Joe's lifelong passions)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "Lotsa mechanics in this world, not many drivers" (everybody wants to fix problems) and "If you screw around, you'll get the clap" (a crude statement of the Law of Karma)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: The Gourmet Vegan (free online magazine) and "summer express :: 101 simple vegan meals ready in 10 minutes or less™" (simply amazing)

My Photo Galleries: Gallery of Eight Immortals Paintings at San Yuan Gong, Guangzhou (a fine example of the "Ba Xian")

About James:

Blog Highlights: I finish off Season 7 of Buffy (but still have to catch up on Saeson 2), have a couple of very sedate days, read a good book, work some more, get a call from an old monk pal, and run into old friends in town.

My Bio and more: Post on Our Wedding (the great event and the surrounding activities)


America: Post on A Tibetan Mandala, Los Angeles, CA (a visual prayer)

Japan: Post on  A Bodhisattva's Camera (a rumor about photographic history confirmed)

China: Post on The Boy Emperor's Tomb, Shenzhen (last resting place of the last Song emperor)

Philippines: Post on Simbaan a Bassit (Small Church), Vigan (an evocative cemetery)

Asia: Post on Da Er Ge Ye (Older and Second Brother), Thian Hock Keng, Singapore (a smoking demon and his pal)

June 20-26, 2009

Despite another hiccup in internet connections, my project is running fairly smoothly (although I will probably delay the launches of a couple of new projects due to an upcoming trip to America). In the coming week, I'll have a bit more time (as my vacation starts) so I'll start promoting my pages on Twitter (as well as Intent, Beliefnet, Gaia, etc.)

Although it's bloody hot, I've still managed to get out a bit and see old friends, have a party with Lila and more friends, and generally maintain my placid lifestyle (I even managed to take my 2.5k walk home this afternoon, something I've been avoiding all week because of the heat).

So that's it. Nothing too exciting in the Middle Kingdom

Here's what published this week:

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: Slap Someone's Hand, Be Your Age, Count Your Blessings, Be Prepared, Thank Someone Special, Walk Mindfully, and Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: Man is Like a Pillowcase (all contain the same "cotton") and Different Qualities of Water (though equal, not all places are wholesome)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 posts: Devadatta and the Swan (in which compassion triumphs over custom, and the boy prince makes a lifetime enemy) and The Royal Plowing Festival (early inklings of he Buddha-to-be's insight)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 posts: Idea #6: Archetypes (how Campbell uses standard figures to understand myths and other stories) and Idea #7: Comparative Mythology (Campbell's forte)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "It's better to sit on your ass..." (the value of doing nothing bad) and "Keep your g*ddamned nose out of other people's business" (just plain common sense)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: A Little History (did you know the "Meatless Monday" dates back to the days of wartime rationing?) and "God Does Not Eat Meat" (a funky fantasy on a meatless world)

About James:

Blog Highlights: A new veg restaurant in Shenzhen, a small solstice party (and the weather heats up), our friend Martin Juaristi leaves Shenzhen, a forgettable meal and memorable film, and the start of my eight-week vacation.

My Bio and more: Post on Shenzhen Vice (a meeting with one of my city's many great men)

My Photo Galleries: Gallery of Polaroid Manipulations: California Missions (an unusual process)


America: Post on Virgin of Guadalupe Shrine, Baja California, Mexico (sacralizing the land through folk practice)

Japan: Post on Yukata! (the Japanese know how to stay fashionably cool)

China: Post on Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an, Shaanxi (a monument to the monk Xuanzang)

Philippines: Post on First Burial Place of Jose Rizal, Paco Cemetery, Manila (the country's national hero)

Asia: Post on A-Ma Temple, Macau (the place that gave Macau its name)


Articles: 2 Posts: On the mythological and psychological significance of The Wizard of Oz, and Transparent to Transcendence (correspondence on an idea from Joseph Campbell)

June 13-19, 2009

A little sightseeing in the heat last Sunday (as I write this it's 5:15 Friday evening, and 90F/32C in Shenzhen; summer is here). A new visa and a contract for another year. Friends. All-in-all not a bad week.

The pages are mostly up and running, with some glitches generated by either Blogger, Feedburner, or the Chinese government--but I forgive them all. I'm working hard to get way ahead on my posts, since I'm traveling in July, but Blogger's "scheduled post" feature has become a little wonky, so I've had some extra work; and I discovered that building blogs within Blogger (like posting pics, for instance) sometimes incorporates Blogspot addresses into the post, making the pictures invisible (my pages are now unblocked, but anything with "Blogspot" in the URL isn't).

Enough geekese.

I've started publishing my blog on Facebook, along with 365 Secrets of Happiness (now at over 100 fans!) and Meatless/Mooless Monday (still just a-moseying along). By the way, anyone can see these, whether Facebook members or not. The content is the same as in my pages, but you can see the comments from others who have been there (much more active than on my pages).

Two new projects are ripening: FREE online English lessons (slated to launch early July) and "a devotional practice for everyone" coming mid- to late-July.

Here's what published this week:

Wisdom Blogs:

365 Secrets of Happiness: 7 posts: Build a Bridge, Count Sheep, Break a Bad Habit, Lose Your "Religion", Find a Way of Living, Wait, and Go a Little "Martha Stewart."

At the Feet of Sri Ramakrishna: 2 posts: One Substance, Many Forms (several similes on the many manifestations of God) and One Man, Many Relationships (more beautiful similes for the multiplicity of God)

Buddhism Simplified: 2 posts: The Education of a Prince and The Prince's Compassion (about the boyhood of Shakyamuni Buddha)

Meet Joe Campbell: 2 posts: Idea #4: "Follow Your Bliss" (his most famous--and perhaps most misunderstood--dictum) and Idea #5: The Hero's Journey (one of Campbell's first and perhaps his best-known work)

Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi: 2 posts: "'Tolerance'" is a load of horsesh*t..." (hot or cold, but not lukewarm) and "Ya eat garlic, ya burp garlic" (what goes in, comes out)


Meatless/Mooless Monday: 2 posts: The Cows and the Amazon (Beppo Grillo's Blog on the cattle/forest nexus) and Meatless Monday Recipes (from the kitchen of a Facebook friend)

My Photo Galleries: Gallery of Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall, Guangzhou (from a trip to Guangzhou in May)

About James:

Blog Highlights: a trip to a Ming-period hall with a peculiar purpose; a badly mis-named URL (English consultant needed); updates on expat life here and here; funny miscommunication in an oral exam; and In Praise of Beans and Rice.

My Bio and more: Post on Meeting a Master: Venerable Ji Qun (link to an article about my encounter with one of China's great modern Buddhists)


America: Post on Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA (Thich Nhat Hanh's family in California)

Japan: Post on Statue Molesters, Japanese Style (rub that bronze...)

China: Post on Yuansheng Temple, Yangzhou (a "squatter's palace" that must have been fine 70 years ago)

Philippines: Post on Kidlat Tahimik (a cultural icon, and Lila's revered teacher)

Asia: Post on Prayer Room, Hong Kong International Airport (a quiet room in a busy place)