Saturday, August 30, 2014
Dear Cronies and Allies,
I hope you can all join me today in a cup of consideration. There are three referrals, but they will take some time, both to read and to consider. Maybe you should make a cup of tea, now, and then come back and open these links:
Canary in a Coal Mine.
The Myth of Civilization.
You probably already hear these fine and carefully curated poems on the radio, or you read them on your device (such a titillating term for a technological gizmo!), but today's poem (Seasons, by W. S. Merwin), is especially relevant; Take the time to enjoy it at the link below:
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Thinking of you today, and I send you a catchy, clever, and charming song constructed largely of aphorisms and colloquial phrases. The name of the band is Lamb's Ear and the song is Then I'm Going Home. It gives one an idea of how much can be done with pieces strung up in a line, you know? A little quilt, a counterpane of conversational quips. It will send you to your guitar and your paper, to write and play.
Extremely tangentially, there is also this treasure: Habu Textiles. A website like Habu has visitors longing for touch-o-vision.
Browse and listen with pleasure, and then go home.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Hello Again Music Lovers,
I bumped into a difference recently, and it knocked me right over. I have been listening faithfully to Pieter Wispelwey's Bach Suites for Cello Solo for 20 years. I foolishly imagined I was getting to know the Bach cello suites fairly well
And yet, I have not scraped the surface. Here is another great cellist, Pablo Casals, playing Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. Lovely, and so different from Pieter Wispelwey. Wispelwey is here, but with only a very small section of the Prelude to Suite No. 1. I am hoping, though, that you get the sense of how differently these two are playing the piece.
I am a great dilettante of classical music- in other words, I know nothing, but I attend with enormous adoration and enthusiasm. So, why is Casals so much more angular, hard, swift and sharp? While Wispelwey breezes and rounds the sounds down like river stones? I am enjoying a fanciful explanation of my own devising, where Casals was born in a steep and rocky valley, and sounds echoed off the high cliffs like bells being rung; And Wispelwey was born with the ceaseless sound of the sea roaring and the slow moaning of the fog horn. When Casals sees his page of notes, he sees staccato, distinct marks to be rapped out by his bow, while Wispelwey sees his sheet of music like a line drawing, each note connected by his bow.
Which is to completely overlook the possibility that it is the cellos themselves that are playing the piece according to their own whimsy and personality....
PS The small snippet of 'produced' video of Pieter Wispelwey talking, cannot compete with the charming and straightforward black and white filming of wordless Pablo Casals. Further study is indicated, and you must go and listen to recordings of these two and many other cellists in order to draw your conclusions.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
I write you today from the garden, where insects are moving, leaves gently waving, Scrub Jays chattering. And more! This last few weeks the yard has been crawling with Monarch caterpillars.
Big doings in the yard!
The old ones are going.
The old ones are leaving.
She is coming. It is here. It is him.
Big doings in the yard these days.
The garden is unkempt- unkept, unfettered, un-managed, un-instructed, un-pruned; wild. sexy, fertile, fecund So it grows milkweed wherever it will.
Hence the butterflies, caterpillars, and chrysalids. In pale glowing celadon and quivering singing aliveness- this cycle, this growing and changing is religious, spiritual. Here is your temple, your cathedral, your superhuman beings. Watching these little cases of changing form, my mind is helpless but to expand- these little green pods pop all the Tupperware lids off of the contained contents of my mind and all the ideas burst out of their compartments and over flow all together in a primordial soup out of which ideas grow and blossom. What change can emerge by metamorphosis in even bystanders & passersby!
A short time lapse film from Microdique.
Just one more thing.
Oh, well, there is this, too:
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Have a look, if you dare, at this vision of our brave new world. Does all this sweetness and light being made by our robot overlords make you cry? It does me. Let me offer an antidote:
Here is a recipe for a good white cake, and here is a link for a foolproof buttercream icing of Dorie Greenspan's. The cake you see here has lovely apricot jam my Mother made in between layers. Yes; still singing the same old song, but this version is also very nice.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Common Loon with Young, Owen Gromme.
Recently, I saw my first Loon. This is a bird I have been watching and waiting to see for a long while. A few months ago, I began to wonder if I hadn't seen it, in fact, but not known it.
I don't know how other people use their field guides, but I have always examined every page- even the pages on birds and flowers and trees and rocks that are not in my locale. I rate the pleasure of leafing through field guides very highly. Do you remember, perhaps, the Sears Christmas Catalog? With many pages of toys to admire and lust after? The bird field guide is a little like that. I love the drawings of the birds in flight, the close ups of lores and special distinguishing details, the maps, and descriptions of the calls, too: whe-ooo quee and hoooo-lii.
I have pored over the birds even before I find, sight or identify them. The Common Loon is one I have studied often in the guides. Now, to have seen one, I hope you will join me in celebrating the sighting, by sabering some Champagne. If a saber isn't handy, we can just open it in the usual way.
Now, with glass in hand, let me tell you a little about the Loon.... In Europe, the Loon is called a Diver, as it dives for its dinner. Its legs are pronouncedly aft, making it a strong swimmer, but fairly awkward on the bank. So much so, that it got its North American name, Loon, from Scandinavian words for 'lame.'
Loons have some curious adaptations to their diving ways- they have solid bones, and they flatten their plumage, pressing air out to decrease their buoyancy for diving in pursuit of small fish. They are also able to conserve oxygen by slowing their heart rate underwater.
Loons are fast fliers- up to 70 mph. They need at least 30 yards of open water to run across to become airborne- they are unable to lift off of the land. They come ashore to nest and hatch their eggs, but they must waddle back to the water in order to fly.
But these are mere facts- the Loon is more than these. It is the suchness of it I would like to express. It seemed solid, and not made of individual feathers, and the patterned markings were so lovely. It had scrabbled up a bank, and it lay in a heavy heap at the end of its track through the dense mud. It turned its eye towards us, but made no sound: Hear them here. See how it got its white necklace, in this charming film utilizing Native American masks to tell the traditional story.
May you also find a Loon to admire one day soon, as Mary Oliver does below, in her poem The Loon.
Not quite four a.m., when the rapture of being alive
strikes me from sleep, and I rise
from the comfortable bed and go
to another room, where my books are lined up
in their neat and colorful rows. How
magical they are! I choose one
and open it. Soon
I have wandered in over the waves of the words
to the temple of thought.
And then I hear
outside, over the actual waves, the small,
perfect voice of the loon. He is also awake,
and with his heavy head uplifted he calls out
to the fading moon, to the pink flush
swelling in the east that, soon,
will become the long, reasonable day.
Inside the house
it is still dark, except for the pool of lamplight
in which I am sitting.
I do not close the book.
Neither, for a long while, do I read on.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Good Morning Philadelphia Lawyers,
Here at the Dodo, there are three Philadelphia Lawyers on staff. Find out if you are one too, by reading AWAD's definition here.
Enjoy Woody Guthrie's song on the same subject, sung by Guthrie.
Or Rose Maddox,
or Tennessee Ernie Ford,
...Merle Haggard & Bonnie Owens.
Confused about how to apply this useful term? Let me offer an example: The last slice of cake is gone; you thought it was yours; you make inquiries of others; they explain: "Cake? Oh, no, you wouldn't have wanted that, it was getting stale, and I know chocolate isn't your favorite, plus I knew you wanted to run the dishwasher so I was just helping to clean up."
PS Wouldn't you like to hear Bonnie Owens' Hi Fi to Cry By?
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Dear Ready to Listen,
A whole lotta folks have watched this video already. One more viewing won't hurt. Plus, you could just listen to it, and not watch, because people, it is a great song with terrific tinkling spare spots and rollicking crescendos. Help yourself, with my compliments.
Until the morning comes, then.