Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When I was much younger, I used to sit in dread fear, at funerals; for the folks who choked and stammered out their eulogies; the pitiful bereaved who sang their songs and read their poems, saying final goodbyes to their beloveds. How could they face all these people in their deepest sorrow? So raw, so vulnerable; where did they find this courage?
A little window opened for me, many years ago now, in my grief, and I saw that it was an honor and a privilege to be the voice of our farewells. To be left as the ones that remain is our duty.
Sing, then, for Pete Seeger, as an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure. And if you won't have a hammer, if you refuse action, then read about his remarkable life.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Dear Viewers of Distinction,
I attended, a few days ago, a screening of the Internet Cat Video Festival. You might be thinking... "Cat videos? We needn't visit the Dodo for those- there are ten forwarded and unwatched ones sitting in my email in-box right now." How about a little tune to put you in the mood?
It is an intriguing inversion- a crowd, an audience, a huge loud and messy tumbling group of people who elected to get out of their pajamas to watch You Tube videos together? A 'curated' selection of cat videos? This really turns the isolated loneliness of our living in the ether on its ear. Doesn't everyone cringe at the phrase "online community?"
Needless to say, the cat videos said a lot more about humans than they did about cats. So, from the Walker Art Center's 2013/14 festival selection, I bring you just one clip: Rufus Tower - It isn't the funniest, and it isn't even the cutest one, but I represent it here for two excellent reasons: It is sweet, so sweet, to build such a thing for a pet; and it is enjoyable to watch these towers of Hanoi rise before us, in curious speed-o-rama video.
We have five on staff at the Dodo. Feeling like more songs about cats? Try this collection.
By the way, The Cat Came Back is another fine choice for guitar; only 4 easy chords, and the delicious themes of death, destruction and dismemberment. Don't you want this to be the song you hear kids singing? Instead of the unbearable contemporary misogynist anthems of Robin Thicke or Psy?
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Hey all you Music Lovers!
How is your King of the Road coming? I bet you are playing it like a house on fire by now. Here is something you might add to your repertoire:
Side by Side
Now, don't forget our prime directive... you forgot it, didn't you? Our prime directive, our highest goal, is to play the song, no matter how poorly, no matter how slowly, no matter how many 'mistakes.' This is not a stage, it is a living room, and no one need be in it while you play. You, me, we, are just makin' some noise, and ain't nobody gonna stop us now.
Side by Side has 6 easy chords. Find them right here. This fine fellow, Rob Hampton, has a terrific website for learning guitar. He is your pal, in the apartment next door, who plays great, and is happy to show you a few tricks. He has a particularly useful section on strumming... but remember, you don't have to learn all that to be in our band- just smack the strings now and then in a way that feels right. We don't have to play by the rules, you know.
Friday, January 17, 2014
At Skateland, where we attend afternoon sessions as often as we can, there is a wide range of ages.
There is a wee lass who is just 4, and there is a gentleman who told me last week that he has 42 and a half years on each leg. Isn’t that just grand? I am about in the middle of 4 and 85, and I know you are thinking, sure, L. T., but how do I begin to roll? What is the first step? I am SO glad you asked! For me, the first step was getting skates- this doesn’t have to be your first step, but I did not want to fall in the company of a crowd, so my first step was to buy some skates. My second step? Watching how-to videos! Here are some first lessons for you and your new skates:
Ready to Waltz Jump with Gypsy, yet? You might want this, too.
See y'all on wheels real soon!
Monday, January 13, 2014
Dear Marzipaned Ones,
You'll recall I mentioned a cookie recipe to use your lovingly made marzipan in? Today is the day your marzipan has been waiting for.
This is a cookie with a colorful name- Napoleonshatte, or Napoleon's Hat. The peculiar thing is, the hat I found claiming to be one of Napoleon's own, is one corner shy of looking like Napoleonshatte cookies. Why, then, are the cookies tricorne and Napoloeon's hat bicorne? I have no answer, dear ones; I can only offer that the tricorne predates the bicorne.
More on Napoleon's hat, here.
To make these three-cornered beauties, use the almond paste from an earlier post, and this recipe for Napoleonshatte from Gitte.
If you prefer to make your almond paste into marzipan (recalling that the main difference between the two is in the ratio of sugar to almonds), add confectioner's sugar to your almond paste. Knead it in, or use a food processor. For the "best" marzipan, you would want to make a fondant, and then add that to your almond paste. Making fondant requires spotlessly white kitchen garb, so that absolutely no specks of lint will discolor your silken fondant. I had to make four batches before I got a successful one, and it wasn't terribly white, either! As I said, confectioner's sugar works very well indeed.
While you are working on these excellent cookies, listen to My Hat It Has Three Corners/Carnival of Venice performed here by Andre Rieu.
As an aside, rumor has it that Andre Rieu is playing a 1667 Stradivarius. Andre Rieu is a sort of a pop-star phenom of Strauss Waltzes; which is a bit of a purple cow for the classical music world, meaning, it would rather see than be one.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Dear Doormats of Doubt,
At the bowling alley yesterday, two nice young college boys with clever T-shirts were talking about what songs they ought to learn on their guitars. The one said to the other he thought certainly "Let it Be." I thought, silently, "yes, he ought to learn that one." And today, I thought of another he should learn: Changed the Locks.
This song is here to pump you up. When self-doubt dogs, answer with a verse or two of this. If you are still unsure, repeat.
Those two songs should get you through the entire year, come what may.
Oh, if you do decide to change the kind of clothes you wear, I hope you will consider this shirt:
If this one isn't your color, look at these other Scully shirts. Get one, even if you don't have a guitar.
And, Rock the Boat, too; it's imperative.