Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A-hink, a-honk, a-hink, a-honk.

Dear Skyward-Looking,

They returned!  Or, rather, they came by, on their way, again!  The Canada Geese, winging south!  Right overhead, and so low-  the morning apenglow on their breasts.  The wingbeats pressing down on us;  all overlapping hoots and whistles.  You should have been here!  You'd have loved them!

Hear it here.  There is also The Symphony of the Birds, and Cantus Arcticus.

Watch for them, maybe they are flying over you, too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Une Françoise.


Chere Yé-yé Filles,

I always wonder here, how much to say....  How much to direct your attention.  I imagine you will know what do with the lessons from Françoise Hardy.  You will think:  Ah-ha.  Yes, eyeliner for certain, and not too much of anything else, and also a reserved openness.  Plus, a very persistent posture- a quiet squaring off.  Very French, yes.  Carefully presented and not too fussy.  A cultivated knowing look. 

So, yes, some are now saying, but what of the Gypsy?  And, I don't have a 'knowing look?'  What about an abundance of things?  And hiding, a bit, behind the things?  The hair clips and earrings and gewgaws?  To that I answer that it is nearly Halloween, and time to try on someone else.  I intend to be a Business Witch this year.  Here, take my card.....

The first one is to watch (il est tres charmant), while the others could be left just to listening.


Friday, October 17, 2014



Dear Nuts,

There are walnuts ripe, and near.  A few miles away a murder of crows were feasting on them, dropping them on the hard road in the early morning fog.   The trees all yellow-green and tan leaves, falling and twisting, with a mist in-between; and hopping delighted black feathered diners all below.

Like the crows on their highway-side, let us sing the praises of the walnut, in a honeyed cake from Greece:  Karidopitta. 

The walnut is both bitter and sweet, it has a wide range of flavor within even one handful.  A friend of mine used to buy her shelled walnuts from a man who grew them, shelled them, and then packaged them according to the hue of their skins.  His dark-skinned walnuts were sweeter than the light-skinned.  If you remove some of the walnut skins, by gently roasting them, and then rolling them in a kitchen towel, you will have a more delicate walnut taste, and very little of the earthy, sometimes bitter flavor of the skins. 

This recipe, adapted from Paula Wolfert's fine book Mediterranean Cooking (Quadrangle, The New York Times Book Co., 1977),  lets walnuts lead-  will you follow?

 Karidopitta   (honey walnut cake from Greece)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened butter
4 eggs, separated

Begin by making a syrup, to be poured over the cake when it comes out of the oven:  Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, and 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan.  Stir it over medium heat until it boils- simmer for five minutes.  Add the honey, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the lemon juice.  Let cool completely.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine 1 1/4 cups of nuts, remaining cinnamon, flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream the remaining sugar with the butter until light; add the egg yolks one at a time.  Beat in the walnut/flour mixture.  In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff- then gently fold them into the batter.  Spread the batter in a buttered 8 x 8 inch square pan, and sprinkle the remaining walnuts on the top.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  Remove from oven, cut into diamond shapes, and while still in the pan- pour the syrup over the hot cake and allow it to rest, covered, until the next day.

If you don't know Paula Wolfert, she is an elegant and beautifully traveled cook:-  see her here, and learn about her here.  Another little internet item you might like is this website:  For myself, I enjoy the journey of flipping through physical volumes, torn magazine pages, and spattered index cards.

I remain, disorganizedly and analogically, 

PS  To tell the difference between the crow and its larger cousin, the raven, pay attention to what the raven quoth:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drive Right In.

Dear Sympathetic,

I know, I know, things are just things;  but they take a lot, sometimes, with them, when they go- people and time and plans.  They have closed public skating at my nearest and favorite roller skating rink:  There go the birthday parties, and the turtle races, and the numbers game, and the irrational pop songs, and the charming sistered proprietresses, and many, many, long looping afternoons of fun for me and mine. 

So, what can you do?  Same ol' carpe diem, I suppose.  Here is a thing that might leave your area with a deafening finality soon:  Your nearest Drive In Movie theatre.  Even if your Drive-In sticks around a bit longer, you'll feel an utter fool being driven there by your GoogleCar.  Let me remind you visually of the charms of the Drive-In movie:

Listening to the All-Melancholia FM Radio station a few days ago, I heard this song.  I hope you enjoy it.  Once the song ends, get in the car, and get out there, and go see what's playing three stories high in your area.

PS  Is Ray LaMontagne the new Tim Buckley?  Decide for yourself, by listening here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things that are Still Here.

Dear Dodo-ists,

Here are two things that have not entirely gone the way of the dodo:  Candy Pez and metal lunch boxes.  These are not the things one would think to build an ark for, but one can appreciate the efforts of any zealot artifact archivist of cultural remnants.  

I'll bet you have had one;  either a Pez dispenser, or a lunch box, and maybe you were even fortunate enough to have had both.  I have two old lunch boxes of my Grandfather's-   When they came into my ownership they were (and still are) filled with rocks. I think we have a Bunny shaped Pez dispenser in the butter-keeper bin of the refrigerator, but I can't be sure. 

A few years ago we visited the Pez Museum.  Now we must make plans for a pilgrimage to the Lunch Box Museum, but first I must chase my refrigerator;  I think it might be running.

PS  The Pez dispensers above are Green Hornets, from 1967.  See more at the official Pez website:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I do not like them with a goat.

Dear Sam I Am,

Attending an artist's lecture a few days ago, I determined that I wanted to remind us all to do something, or rather, not to do something- not to say "I am."  I hear a lot of this "I am blankety-blank" all over the place, not just in The Arts.  This is what we all want to hear:  I love, I like, I do. 

I would like you to try roller skating, not because I am a roller skater; but because I like to roller skate.  I love it, even, and I know you will too.  Yes, it is a little tricky and you might fall.  But this is what makes it all so compelling- trying not to fall will keep your sometimes bossy and annoying mind completely occupied, and the rest of your corpuscles will be thrilled! 

Still, some of you will resist, some of you will say "I am a person who does not roller skate."  I applaud your strength of will.

Resisters, please enjoy this short video:

ANATOMY OF... The Insane Legs (2013, Neue Massenproduktion) from Neue Massenproduktion on Vimeo.

Likers, lovers, doers, and even dreamers, sample some, or all, of this longer video.

NUMBERS (2013, Neue Massenproduktion) from Neue Massenproduktion on Vimeo.

Both of these fine films are skated and made by the Infamous Skating Couple.