Lessig2016 Palo Alto, California


The British Tabloid Newspaper Daily Mail announced it, not yet in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.  We have a NEW presidential candidate.


Can’t decide, between candidates?

Don’t want to vote for any of the running candidates?

Then please consider how you would vote on the issue of…voting!

But you don’t have to do anything too extraordinary.  Just look at the website for 5 minutes, swipe the credit card, and give a buck.  That is all.

What he is saying is, how do we make the elections more about each person’s voting, whether they are very rich or very poor.  How do we put elections back to a meaningful action for each citizen.  How do we change the root problem of how elections are run, government is elected, decisions are made, laws are passed, and how our lives are dictated.

It may, or it may not make a difference.  But we can try it, no?

Do we dare to try?

Ladies, on this Labor Day weekend, before taking your card to some retail therapy, swipe the card here first!

PS The website is fun! You can even vote in for a fantasy vice president if you just donate $1!



Go on, please go get your credit card and come right back here…here is a nice glass of lemonade when you return….


Why Berlin is cool as —

Pick any bad word.

Berlin was bombed to the flat during the War so there are all kinds of parks and flat lands, abandoned buildings, abandoned air strip landings.

Only bad words, real curse words, can describe the true nature of Berlin.

Even though I don’t live there, and I don’t plan to live there, I think about the city A LOT.

Living in California now, to my huge surprise, I’m having recurrent, amazing flash backs of the month that I lived in Berlin, and I long to go back to the little studio by the train station, cabbing it to bad ass disco clubs in abandoned electricity generating plants at night and dance the night away until 2AM, where no one cares.  I saw people entering the club at 2PM on Friday afternoon and did not emerge until 9AM Monday morning…crying, “water…water…”  As I closed the taxicab door, someone reached in and asked me, “Do you have Magic?”  Maybe he was asking for the real thing, but I think he was asking for drugs.

I saw a woman dancing like no one was watching.  I saw some British young guys dancing with steps like no one’s business. I saw so many young Berliners working hard during the day like they are competing against world.

Neighbors come out and eat fork-and-knife at local pizzerias.  Teenagers get kebab sandwiches from the ‘Doner’ man by the bahn (train station).  Doner man saw me coming to buy a doner everyday because he knew that I didn’t speak German so couldn’t order from other people and he knew that I could only order from him because he spoke a little bit of English.  Supermarkets in Berlin are silent for music, just quiet and calm. Old men approve quiet.

We love Gesaffelstein.  I miss Berlin.  The only way to re-live is to have a house party!

I feel in America we don’t use our public space nearly as adventurously as we could. Maybe, maybe an old fashioned train station in Philadelphia could become the next Gesaffelstein set in Amish Country.

Lancaster PA Amtrak Station

His name is Benito – the magic cobbler in Sunnyvale California

Benito, the master cobbler in Sunnyvale California revived my favorite shoes.

The shoes had been scrapped, scratched by walking on cobble stone streets on the East Coast.

The cobble stone streets of Boston and Washington DC are beautiful to look at for but terrible women’s shoes.  The pointy heels fall into the cracks, and either you, the wearer fall, or if you drag your foot up and out you scrap the shoe heel.

It’s very strange how an email from a younger friend inspired me to write a post about those cobbled streets of Georgetown.

My younger friend has light brown hair and baby blue eyes, fair skin w some freckles, w the classic Welsh/Irish look.  But she is 1/4 Chinese.  I’ve taken her on as my younger sister.  There are just some people that I draw inspiration from their quiet mysteries.

She wants to live in the parries, wear cowboy boots, and love a blue-collar man who works with his hands.

She does’t have any attractions for men with big wallets, big power, big jobs, or big DC ambitions who fly first class.  But for me, Washington DC holds mysteries because some really spectacular things happened there to me even though every summer it is too humid and every fall the politicians threaten to cut off the budget.

It’s a nice, gorgeous email that inspired a post about a magic cobbler in Sunny California.

Lists of Summer 2015

1. Brewla ice pops.

2. Long, long naps in the afternoon, every afternoon.

3. Tart cherry juice, iced.

4. Macrobiotics dinner, Monday night.

5. Adored, not lifting a finger.  Such wonderful date.

6. Another rescue on the flight.  This time, in first class.

7. Imagining about a foldable tricycle.

8. Aiming for 530AM workouts.

9. Goals on Monday.

10. Sleep as if I died.  Eating in bed, very late at night, w bear legs.


What are my favorite bloggers doing?

1.  Niniane – is building a company.

2.  Corey – is visiting Willows.

3.  Karina – is renovating a French castle.

4.  Mie – is schooling her children in Japan.

5.  Scott – is shooting photos in Rome.

6.  Sarah is eating beauty everyday (and writing a book).


What are the people in my life doing?

1.  Joe is camping.

2.  Ariana is visiting her grandma.

3.  Mom is volunteering at the library.

4.  John is studying for a test.

5.  Hamilton is volunteering in Sunday School.

6.  Filip is growing a company.

7.  Elina is feeding a strayed cat…and threatening her 3 boys that if they don’t behave they’re going to be sent to a foster home.


Things that I will miss so much about living in California…

1.  My niece & our PJ party w summer theater at the Palo Alto Children’s Theater.

2.  Living close to my brother and SIL.

3.  90 minute massage w Linda.

4.  Sauna spa at Immersion Spa.

5.  Monday Night Macrobiotic Dinners.

6.  Highway 280, oh the view of Half Moon Bay in the misty early morning.

7.  Hot days, cool nights.

8.  Real summers.  The sun on the skin in the afternoon.

9.  Amazing salads.  (And tacos.  Sushi.  Ramen.  Clean foods.  Done right).

10.  Jin Sho

11.  Kannon Do, and our beloved abbot.

12.  Having the California license plate – just feels cool.

13.  Wearing whites.

14.  Wearing very little clothing during most of the year.

15.  Huddart Park.

16.  The hum of Woodside.

17.  Californians.

18.  Pretending to be a Californian.  Granola crunchy Sun Country supermarket on California Avenue.

19.  The cattle grazing beautiful view.

20.  Living, in downtown Palo Alto.

But I still love DC very much, maybe a little bit more because there is no threat of the ‘Big One’ or the draught of running out of water in DC.

My Dear.


It is so wonderful to be called dear.

If it’s said heartfelt. With ease.

There is a young hipster waiter in San Francisco in the Mission District who works at a hip Vietnamese restaurant, who always calls his customers, “My Dear.”

“My dear, are you all right?  Do you need more water?”

“My dear!  Your pho is gonna be coming out soon.”

Of course, there is another way to say this, with that husky voice by a man almost 4 decades older than the waiter lad.

Ice Cubes

Incessantly checking stock values in a sea of laptops

How bizarre, however now I am watching the same

Flickering above points, temperature rise

Uncertainty in the hottest period of this year

Temporary relieve is an accountant’s play

Cash loaded

Ice cubes stacked

At least sleep last night was long and peaceful

The air is so still

The detours are so long

But the quarterback knows that he needs to run to the end zone

Better create some values for the world

On the other hand a black lacy bodysuit from the 20’s resurfaces

In those arms by those whispers we will retrieve, you’re my relieve

Feb 1 2015 Super Bowl Sunday

Boston, snowed in, gray but calm, The Four Seasons, halftime, 14-14 Seattle Seahawks vs. The New England Patriots. The bar smells of truffle oil, everyone at the bar is from the west coast.  When has the burger become studded w avocado, fried eggs, bacon, and truffle oil?

Such a Terrible game for the body and the player’s brain, but awesome in every way about courage, loss, glory and taking the blow for the team, a real guy’s guy game that even a meditative woman can enjoy once a year….crazy 2 weeks. Half time 14-14.  Go Seattle, I mean Patriots, no, Seattle….errrrrrrrrrrr. Oh my God.  24-21, 2 minutes to go.  Happy 7th birthday to this sweet little blog that was started on Super Bowl Sunday 2008.

I don’t know what’s wrong with you

Increasingly, I’m seeing increasingly bizarre diseases.  What are the effects of bizarre foods and medicines that we are giving to people?  Conditions like systemic erythematous lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia are escalating in incidence and severity and they are getting more bizarre than ever

A young man shows up, complaining of 3 years of disability due to generalized, diffuse, ill described pains that started after an ankle injury.  After a simple ankle surgery he started to have pain almost everywhere in his body, back, neck, hips, elbows, hands, knees, ankles, feet.  He has had pain and discomfort in almost every joint and every muscle group in his body.

In fact he shows me a complicated drawing of a stick man that he drew, where everywhere in the body that hurts is marked by xxx’s, dashes, lines.  I look at this bizarre drawing, and it is a slightly frightening moment – because the drawing is bizarre and the figure looks like a voodoo doll.

He reports nervousness, insomnia, anxiety, anger issues, nightmares.  He has a stuffy nose, nasal congestion, tremors.  He lies on his couch almost everyday when he doesn’t have to work.  He is 33 years old.

All of this started after you broke your ankle?”  I ask.

Yeah, I guess so.”  He says.

Having seen thousands of people, from White House Chief of Staff, to Victoria Secret models, homeless people to addicts, I am strangely pulled to believe this person.  And having being doing this for over 15 years, it’s less about technical details but more about intuition and experimentation, drawing outside the box, thinking a solution that works rather than what is dictated.  In conversations like this, I sit deeply back in my chair with the arms hanging about. I might look out the window to look at the bird or the flowers. There is something that tells me to believe him even just a little bit. No, he’s not totally making this up, I decide in my head. But no, he’s not telling me the full truth either.

CNN shows a special report on COSCO, the supermarket in America that sells everything in bulk.  They show that Costco large cartons of ibuprofen containing 1000 pills. Who needs to take 1,000 ibuprofen pills for pain relief? Does anyone find that bizarre?

Why are we marketing supersize muffins, donuts, drinks, to fatten people in a multi-billion dollar industry.  And then the fattened people develop diabetes and they come back to support the multi-billion dollar diabetes treatment industry? Almost every other person that you meet at the airport is overweight. Does anyone find that bizarre?  People drive everywhere and we hire people to cook, clean, and shop for us. Then we go to the gym to have another adult to watch us to lift dumb bells and squat. Does anyone find that bizarre?

Someone once told me that whatever problem that a person has now – somewhere, sometime in human history someone else has had a similar problem.

All right.  Let’s go to the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Cannon – the classic, landmark textbook written approximately 2000 years ago, written and used by Imperial Court Scholars and Physicians who were summoned to the Imperial Palaces treat the Yellow Emperor and his Imperial family, dating 200 CE.

We read about the 72 channels, the 300+ acpuncture points, and the integrated channels that run through the body, including the 12 Primary Channels, the 8 Extraordinary Vessels, and the 12 Divergent Channels.  These have been described through the slow accretion of observation, recording and testing, over a largely unbroken period of over 20 centuries, surely one of the most remarkable recorded historical traditions in world medicine, known as Chinese Medicine.

Maybe it is hocus-pocus but maybe it’s under utilized.  But in any event the textbook describes the conversations between the Yellow Emperor (Huang Ti) and his physician (Chi Po), hence it is a historical (actually legendary) account. The Emperor was portrayed as a true Renaissance man.  He designed a cart based on the big dipper, designed a series of musical notes and instruments to play them on, but his great love was medicine, which is shown in the conversations he has with his physician, during which he asks about everything imaginable. One of the questions the Emperor asked was, “Why do we not live as long as 100 years old?

And the answer that the Court Physician gave was fantastic. 

So, I say to the young man, “So, what are we going to do?”


Free gifts


It seems to me like I get a lot of free gifts, but now I have proof.

A free $5 bill on the street


A free Canon printer/fax

Free keyboards

Free computer mice

A free candy cane

A sizable refund from Geico Car Insurance

A free night of hotel

A free shuttle ride to the airport

Free ice cream

Free meals

Free movies, free comedy shows

Free box of ripe strawberries weighing over 2 pounds

Free jar of flowers

Free eggs


Free coffee, free snacks, free lunches…free, free, free

unnamed-1 unnamed-2

Plus…all the people who make the mistake of undercharging me…like the young man who forgot to charge me for the expensive ceramic plant bowl and the lavender plant…

Today, I got a free gift from Amazon…it says

A gift from Jennie Johnson.  Enjoy your gift. 

Except, I don’t know who Jennie Johnson is.

I love this gift.


(I’m going to call Amazon tomorrow.  I bet they’ll say, “Oh sorry, it’s our packing mistake…but you can keep the gift”).

The gift is a Philips Dawn Simulator…a gentle alarm clock that simulates the moon at night and the sun in the morning.  So figuratively I’ve gotten the sun and moon for free, brought closer to 2-3 inches the head of the bed.

What wonderful KARMA.

But the biggest gift for 2014 goes to an uneventful and remarkable diagnosis for a loved one in the family.

I am so grateful.  For Palo Alto, this blessed place that I call Heaven on Earth for a transient time.



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