Saturday, August 29, 2015


Dear Ambulant,

I am sitting here, today, with my minimalist music, and my picture window:  I see dragonflies, cabbage whites, sulphurs, monarchs, tarantula hawks, wasps, and many smaller insects that I do not know by name.  They are whizzing by urgently, and I see that the leaves are quite yellow, too.  I am always sorry to see the Summer give way to the Fall, although I am fond of Fall, so I don't  know why I should feel so.  I suspect it is a sort of blanket melancholy in seeing things change, grow, move along.  The speed that things slip away at astounds me, but you know all that, you know that is why I am here, trying to tell you a little bit of what I see, as it dashes past, and away from me.  My only puny defense against all the endings, all the passings, is to have another plan, another date, another schedule, another something to look forward to.

And what of the record of the days, the events, the times?  Do you long to make a mark that records your witnessings?  To collect a smidgeon of information and set it down for the future?  Here are two very fine projects to contribute to:

I will wander out, now, beyond my picture window, to see the great sunflowers bending low their massive heads, because their bloom is nearly over, and the time of their feeding birds is nigh.  In a few weeks, perhaps I will record the sounds of small beaks snapping open the shells....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's a Name in?

Detail of The Impossible Black Tulip, Matteo Ricci,
woodblock print, published by Zhang Wentao, 1602.

Dear Friends,

As you ponder your existence (and I know that you do- and you should know that I am with you, and that we are doing it together, even though we never mention it out loud), and you wonder just what you are, you could, at the very same time, have the letters that make up your name encoded on a microchip, and sent, with all of the blessings of space flight technology, right up to Mars.  Does that sound compelling, albeit in a rather remote and virtual way?  Well, step right up folks, and come inside....  Here is a link to the blog of a friend of mine, and it will be your gangway to the planets.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Butterfly, Little Ear, al Limone.

The Lemon, Edouard Manet, oil on canvas, 1880.
In the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris France.

Dear Able,

Wonder at this amazing film of a factory machine making farfalle.  In the time it took to watch that you could have made some by hand, so here is a super snappy clip of making pasta dough, exactly as we do it here, at the Dodo. 

But that is not all:  Watch this woman's hands fly in Bari!  And here is a clip that demonstrates a little more fully how to work that magic.

One more thing, a recipe: spaghetti al limone.  You can even use a packet of spaghetti, made by the big machine which is operated by the big company, because imagining that Sophia Loren wants you to eat it will make up for how little you touched or handled the noodles.  I think, however, if she was to dine tonight, at your home, you might find the time to get your hands into the dough.  Your own dinner might be worth as much effort as that, no?

PS  Do you care for more little ears?  If you make these with semolina flour, oh! you will not be able to look the packets in the face again.  If you were to combine these little ears, made of semolina, with some tomatoes from your garden, and ceci beans beans from the beautiful Palouse.... 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Song to Sing Today

Dear Voiced,

Dash outside, to your parked cars, to your group of peers, to your waiting bicycles; stand around and sing this song.

Keep singing, until we meet again.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Way of the Subway.

Dear Modern Marvellers at Innovation,

Is your subway old?  I'll bet it's older than you think, and we all know what that means:  Yep, it may be going the way of the Dodo.  You might not even notice that your subway has changed:  it's more of a refurbishment than an extinction.  Learn about it here.

Perhaps you are watching this clip, while you wait for your train.  Take care not to drop your phone onto the tracks!  Don't sleep in the subway, either, but do take the A train.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Dear Reader,

Here I find myself, again, pleading with you, enjoining you, to read a particular book.  I know, you aren't really looking for a book right now, and you already have three others started, and you really ought to read some of the *classics you've been promising yourself you'll get to, but, if you read only one book that I suggest, let it be The Summer Book.  I know, I know, I said the same thing about The Dud Avocado, and The Animal Family, and The Writing Life, and Lolita, and those wonderful Irish mysteries about the pig, too, but this is a book you will absolutely love- don't wait another minute to read it.

What makes you want to read in the first place?  Do you want a sense of place, or a flavor of the exotic?  A fine turn of phrase?  A compelling narrative?  A world of believability?  A character you can identify with?  A handmade miniature Venice flooded by a storm?  Oh, please read it.  Please read about Berenice's beautiful hair, and loving Moppy the murderous cat harder and harder, and drinking Verner's sherry even though you hate sherry.  Do read it, dear reader, do.

If I cannot convince you, read about the authoress here, and maybe the fascinating details of her life, as delineated by content writing professionals, will compel you to try it.

* Exempli gratia: The Mill on the Floss, The Grapes of Wrath, Catch 22, Anna Karenina, Centerburg Tales.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015