CatSynth Pic: John Cage with Losa Rinpoche

Merce Cunningham John Cage tribute

A tribute to John Cage on his birthday (September 5), by the Merce Cunningham Trust.  The photo is courtesy of the John Cage Trust.

John Cage’s beloved black cat was named Losa Rinpoche.  From the John Cage Trust (on his 101st birthday in 2013):

John Cage had a very close relationship with his second black cat, Losa.  (His first black cat, Skookum, was tragically set loose on the streets of New York by a well-meaning worker on the roof. John was so bereft, Andy Culver told him we were going to have to send him back to Zen School.) One of their favorite games together was for John to put Losa under a cardboard box.  Losa would then move around the loft, the box on his back, weirdly animated.  I was horrified the first time I saw him do this. “He must be scared!” I cried. John just laughed. He said Losa liked it, and, furthermore, his new name was now Losa Rinpoche Taxi Cab.  Of course, Losa would, after a time, simply shrug the box off, look disdainfully at us both, and calmly walk away.

Happy 83rd Birthday Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter, one of our musical heroes, turns 83 today. Please join us in wishing him a Happy Birthday!

Wayne Shorter
[By Tom Beetz @ http://home.hetnet.nl/~tbeetz/index.html (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

He is still going strong, composing and performing regularly. I had the chance to see him perform last year at SFJAZZ with his quartet. This was only his most recent musical incarnation, quite different from what he had done before with the Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960s and then with his own band Weather Report in the 1970s. Weather Report is sometimes under appreciated, but their early work is great and something that deserves its own article. Most recently, I have been listening to the album Algeria which includes members of the quartet I heard last year.

Wayne Shorter Algeria

Although I’ve known and appreciated his work for years, it is only the past couple of years that it has become a stronger influence and part of the regular rotation of music at CatSynth HQ. And we hope there is still more to come.

Happy 11th Birthday, Luna!

Luna at 11!

Today is Luna’s 11th Birthday! As you can see, she is happy and healthy after all she has been through this year – and looking great!

It is a particularly sweet one for us at CatSynth, as it seemed for a little while this summer that this day might not have come. But here we are, and grateful for all the time we still have together. We’re hoping for a lot more to come.

This evening we celebrated in style. With treats, a nip cocktail, and fresh tuna sashimi!

11th birthday sashimi and treats

Luna took right away to her birthday treats.

Luna enjoy birthday dinner

The sashimi was particularly delicious, both the tuna and salmon. Quite buttery.

Although this toy isn’t new, it’s the one that Luna seems to be particularly attached to this evening while high on nip. I think it was a comfort for her at the kitty hotel while I was away.

Nipped out Luna with toy.

Yes, this is one spoiled and contented birthday girl. As she should be.

Contented birthday girl.

Please join me in wishing Luna a very happy 11th Birthday!

Fun with Highways: California Highway 41

A few years ago, I acquired several highway shields to use in photography, including one for California Highway 41. It was particularly good for photos like that one shown above. But I only knew small bits of the road itself. So when a certain birthday came to pass recently, I decided it was time to travel Highway 41 in its entirety.

Highway 41 begins in Morro Bay at an interchange with Highway 1. Morro Bay is a cute seaside town, and is distinctive for its large volcanic rock along the ocean.

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The highway heads northeast through a relatively gentle section of the coast range and crosses US 101 in the town of Atascadero. It then climbs into the hills as a narrow two lane highway. Along the way it passes the many bucolic scenes of farms and ranches. As it climbs the hills, the trees disappear but the landscape remains quite green.

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A little further north, Highway 41 joins Highway 46, a major east-west connector, and runs concurrently for a while. The change in traffic and speed was unmistakable.

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As one heads east, the land becomes a drier and more sparse. 41 splits from 46 and heads north on its own. After coming over a ridge, the highway descends into a rather arid valley, quite different from the coast and the verdant hills further south.

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We cross Highway 33 at a rather unassuming junction. There was an interesting looking roadhouse there, and I wish I had the courage to stop and try it. But I did press on across another, even more arid ridge to a junction with I-5 near Kettleman City. Kettleman City, which is not really a city or even an incorporated town, is probably the single sketchiest location along the entire route. I had been here before and taken a few photos. One of my favorite sites is still “alive and well.”

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Continuing north, we move to the interior of the Central Valley at the edge of the former Lake Tulare, once the second largest freshwater lake entirely within the United States. It has since completely dried up, leaving a very flat landscape of farms. Many fields appeared to be fallow, perhaps due to the drought. It is a beautifully bleak landscape.

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Just west of the town of Hanford, Highway 41 crosses CA 198, another major east-west highway. 198 is a freeway here, something I was not aware of. 41 itself becomes a four-lane expressway north of the interchange, and increasingly busy as we head north towards Fresno. As we pass the city boundary, it becomes a full freeway. It traverses the area south of downtown as an elevated viaduct, where it crosses Highway 99 and provides access to both downtown and nearby industrial neighborhoods.

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I stopped here to do some photographs, one of which already appeared in an earlier Wordless Wednesday. Here are some more.

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Heading north out of Fresno, 41 becomes the Yosemite Freeway, as it heads north towards the park.

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The freeway narrows and then becomes a surface road as it approaches the foothills of the Sierra. The road climbs steeply into the hills and then descends equally steeply into the town of Oakhurst. The road narrows and climbs again into more mountainous wooded terrain.

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We find the signed END of Highway 41 as we approach the southern border of Yosemite National Park.

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But this is not the end the real end. The legal definition of Highway 41 continues into the park, although it is not signed as such. It goes through a tunnel the exit of which provides spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley.

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Ultimately Highway 41 ends at a junction with (also unsigned) Highway 140 as it enters the valley.

This was an interesting road to complete beyond its numerical value in that it crossed through so many terrains and parts of the state. And a worthwhile and unique trip.

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Weekend Cat Blogging with Luna: Belated Birthday

Luna Birthday Card

Finally, we have a free morning, so we are celebrating Luna’s birthday two weeks late. But we’re having fun, and Luna is enjoying getting a bit wasted on catnip. She also received a birthday card from a dear friend of ours.

After a short time, Luna went to sit contentedly in one of her favorite morning spots, under the glass. I am quite happy with this photo (snapped with my iPhone) that captures Luna’s natural beauty in an abstract setting.

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While you’re here, please check out my report from my performance at Spectrum last month in New York. It even has a feline bit at the start.

Weekend Cat Blogging: Luna’s Birthday and Quiet Weekend

It’s a quiet rainy weekend here at CatSynth HQ. Indeed, we are expecting more nasty storms today and tomorrow. That makes it a perfect time to stay inside and catch up on things, and of course to extend celebrating Luna’s Birthday. If you haven’t already done so, go check out her birthday photos.

A friend of ours send a birthday card. Here we see Luna examining it.

With the quiet time ahead of us, it might also be a good opportunity to try a recipe from Meow Chow, particularly if it something that both felines and humans can enjoy.

I always notice how much the cat on the front of the book looks like Luna 🙂


Weekend Cat Blogging #390 is hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome. They are also announcing that the Weekend Cat Blogging round-up will be coming to an end this month. It is a bit sad, but it does seem that it’s popularity has been dwindling. We will certainly be here to mark the final one later this month.

Meanwhile, the Carnival of the Cats continues, and will be up this Sunday at .

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator. They even had Luna’s birthday up before I could post it – thanks!

Happy Birthday Luna!

November 30 is Luna’s birthday as listed in her adoption records. My ketzela is officially eight years old today. She looks all grown up and beautiful in the portrait above, but she also can still seem like a kitten, as in this photo where she receives some birthday scritches.

Please join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday!

Weekend Cat Blogging: Homecoming and Birthday

Both Luna and I returned to CatSynth HQ this week after our respective sojourns. And just in time for her 7th birthday this past Wednesday.

Luna received this birthday card from a close friend of ours in Canada.

It’s been a very busy week since returning, with both a curated show and a performance, a major application due, and a pair of shows next week as well. But we took time out to celebrate. Here Luna is enjoying some yummy food. Often she dismisses such offerings, but on this occasion she devoured it with abandon.

And then of course it’s time for play:

Good food and play. It’s just a normal day for a house cat (except for the card).


Weekend Cat Blogging #339 is hosted by Meowza.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted this Sunday by Samantha, Clementine and Maverick.

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.