Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Say Cheese.


Dear whom it may concern,

Of course, you will have to look for some role models, some people to instruct you in what you want to be.  Advice like this comes from all over-  I mean, there are so many places to learn how you might want to be, to act, to speak, to move. 

It's a pleasure to find people to be like-  my pal in grad school and I used to walk to university looking for 'posture models'- students, staff, and faculty that stood up straight and walked well:  You know, like they had a book on their heads, not just a book on their minds.

Anyway, I found a model recently for how to be photographed with friends and family in a video slide show that backed a German song sung by Marlene Dietrich.  She was all over the people she was photographed with-  not like a cheap suit, but she leaned close and embraced or touched each person she was photographed with like they were her dearest companion.  It inspired me to express a little more feeling when being photographed, and I think I might try a little more verbal flourish with you, too, because I sincerely desire your comfort and contentment, and I'll not let a little trifle like self-consciousness come between us.

L. T.


The video was sent to me by my bandmate:  It's an accordion band with two members.  Before you die of envy, form your own band.  It's easy!  Here is what we have: 

Two accordions. 

One player who can read music and actually play accordion. 

Another player (me) who has read music in the past and does not mind playing accordion poorly.  

We have not yet played together, but this is a trivial detail, as I am sure you'll agree!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fish and candy.

Dear Ones,

You can always call on me-  I am ready to help in any way I can.  Ready to make a cake, or lend a hand.  If you need to get a message to me, leave it in the phone book, under 'M,' in the booth in Rhylolite.  I'll get it.

For today, two songs that share subject matter.  These two songs are dearly loved:  Both, because they are so plaintive; and the one because the singer is ready to negotiate, while the other just begs earnestly. Imagine a kind of compound of the two: I'll give you fish, so please don't take him just because you can.

Friday, August 4, 2017

For your consideration.

Dear Listeners,

The song for today is hard for me to judge- because it is made of local ingredients, and Jade Jackson would sing in her parents' delicious restaurant, and the train would rumble by and I would think, 'lucky, lucky again!'   In other words, I am fond of her, and her environs, so I recuse myself from determining if this song will or will not open doors for you, blare out your car window on a on a winding road, change your mind for the better, stay with you for decades of good, solid use, or hum you out of a dark alley.  I hope you will watch it and listen and decide for yourself. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Berry Good Fortune.

Dear Ovened,

If you are lucky, and it isn't too hot this week, and you have blackberries, an oven, and this recipe, you have everything you need.  Well, except for a million bucks and a fly automobile, but really, you'd soon tire of the car anyway- as I used to say to someone I knew who wanted a steam engine- "Are you kidding?  Leaking oil all over the carpet and steaming up the windows!?  I forbid it:  No steam engines in the house, young man!"  That slick automobile would sit where the coffee table is and you wouldn't even be able to put your feet up on it for fear of scratching the paint.


This simple and delicious recipe for blackberry turnovers comes from Ruth Reichl via Sunset magazine.  If you don't know Ruth Reichl, find her books, read her, and love her like a trusted friend.  She is a wonderful and disarming person to have in your kitchen.  Her recipes for fried chicken and apple dumplings are in heavy rotation at the Dodo - which is really saying something, because we don't often make the same thing twice here, mostly because there are so very many recipes to try in this huge old world!

Blackberry Turnovers

For the crust:
Put 2 cups of flour, 8 ounces of diced cold cream cheese, 3/4 cup of diced cold butter and 1 teaspoon of salt (leave the salt out if your butter is salted!) into a food processor and pulse it until you can press the little clumps together.  Divide it into two disks and chill it for an hour or more.

For the filling:
Toss about 2 cups of blackberries with 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and a smidge of salt.

Roll out the dough fairly thin- maybe 1/8 of an inch or less.  Cut out circles or squares of 5 inches across and load the pastry with whatever it can fold over, maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling.  Crimp the pastry closed with a fork, and prick it on top to vent it.  Then brush a bit of milk or cream over it and sprinkle on more sugar.  Bake them at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until they are good and browned.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

And then there were two.

Dearest Girls, Women, Ladies, Mothers and Sisters,

Hallelujah!  Now there are two of us who are publically on record as disappointed in the new Wonder Woman!  I feel much better knowing that I am not alone, but I still feel a little sad that I am supposed to like her, and that I wanted to like her.  I also feel sad that it is so clear what is expected of me, and that I am going to have to decline, once again, to give it over.  It just isn't good enough; you will find me at home, watching Xena reruns and listening to Laurie Anderson and wishing that things were different.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Dear End of July,

A bit of writing for you, today, if you feel like reading.  See, it's not just the topics, it's not just the facts, it's the telling and sharing of the space.  It's the hearing of it.  An artist once talked to me about 'permission.'  I didn't really have a clue what she meant by it then, but I kept it, I kept it as a question.  What could it mean?  Why would I need permission?  I didn't think I did need it.  Some days you don't. 

For the other days, you want an essay like this one from Dave Hickey.  He'll give you permission and plenty of it, and even a little salute as you go in through the out door.

 Press here to link to the Paris Review.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blue You Know What.

Dear Suede Shoes,

A song for you, for today.  It's from a little project I am working on: a set of blue songs.  This one won't fit for one reason or another, but you should have it anyway; it's a real treat.

Friday, July 21, 2017

It's a real plum.


Dear M,

It's a real plum to get such plums!  See meaning no. 6 here.  This Early Moonbeam Watermelon and these blackberries are pretty plum too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Elegy for Today.

Dear Dears,

I want you to know Einaudi, because I am very fond of him, and you will love him too.  It's important, too, because his is one of the voices of our mourning.  If you have been knocking around these pages you will be familiar with the Dodo's twin obsessions with Our Robot Overlords and What Are We to Do With Our Sadness About The World. 

I am still working on what can be done with our sadness, but something like this seems to address the issue.  As for the Robot Overlords, well, you know what you can do with them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Super(?)market.

Dear Shoppers,

I can't abide the supermarket anymore-  especially alone.  It fills me with self-loathing to walk the long, towering aisles.  I try to keep my equilibrium:  I walk fast, consult my list often, and try to feel 'purposeful.'  Alternatively, I experiment with a casual attitude- picking up things and 'hmming' over the label before setting it back on the shelf.  I pretend it is fun to choose from all these wonders, to browse slowly the packages and cans;  I adopt a devil-may-care personality:  maybe I won't even buy this flour, these raspberries; who knows?  I can take it or leave it- these products, these objects don't define me.

Alas, I cannot hold this presentment together for the length of time it takes to get through the check out.  I despise the supermarket because of what being a middle-aged woman in it represents:  You are the provider, you are the nurturer, you are the cook, the cleaning lady, the laundress, the pot-scrubber, the char woman.  Even if you don't do these tasks in your home, when you are at the supermarket, you are one or all of these persons. 

These tasks and roles are not disgusting to me in and of themselves; it has more to do with what you are not while in the supermarket:  You are not a fashion model, a pop star, an executive, a mistress, a spy, a drunk, a superhero, or a photojournalist; neither are you rich, busy, well-dressed, or desired elsewhere for your skills.

I dislike them mamming me all over the place, and I hate the little squints in the deli department with their low level, jejeune flirting, and the feigned cheeriness of the produce people.  As further insult, they kick you out the door with "did you find what you were looking for?"  I should say not!  But, what kind of fool would I be for seeking in the supermarket?  I wouldn't even look here if I wasn't out of food, and yes, you seem to still have hundreds and hundreds of pounds, packages, and pallet-loads of the stuff, so yeah, I 'found' what I was looking for.

And what can be found in the supermarket:?  Beat down people, mostly women, with extra large cases of cheap beer, soda pop, frozen pizza, laundry suds, boxed what's-its, enough sport drink to fill a swimming pool, awful magazines, and bushels of chewing gum-  chewing gum!  Who needs that?  Who wants it?  The supermarket is such a testimony to our excess that I flee it with my head down in shame.  It's hideous; like a carnival fun house in a horror movie.

A very few times, I have found things in the supermarket: cod in a wooden box, pretzel rolls, and a half-off bottle of French champagne once, when the supermarket was going out of business.  If you should happen to see me there, pretend you don't notice me, officiously reading my list, swaggering my cart, reading the names of cat food flavors, and humming this song.


The recording above particularly suits this dissolute diatribe, but the song is so wonderful that you might want to hear it again, with a little less atmosphere.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How's your plumbago?

Photograph courtesy of Kim Snyder.

Dear Dodoistes,

Have you seen one of these lately?  In your drawer or pencil cup?  In your glove box, or under the sofa cushions?  I set one on a curb at the beach for you, and a bench at the train station.  I hope you saw it and picked it up; it's yours.

If you'd like to sharpen up your knowledge of the history of the pencil, you might try this page, or this page.

If you haven't any time to unpack the history of the pencil, then keep on writing and drawing, and don't dilly dally here!  Until next time....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The black freighter.

Dear Readers,

Oh, I know, I have been thinking only of myself, and now I have gone and burned your toast!  It's not that I've forgotten you, it's just that I have been scrubbing all these floors, and stacking all these books, and running over questions in my mind.  But, I know what we need; it came to me in a flash as I stepped through a door this afternoon:


Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Blog.

Dear Everyone,

Once in a while I send you places that I think you might want to visit in the www.  This is one of them- this Knowledgeable & Nice Person has a very lovely blog on California's flora and fauna.  I found it in the usual way, by wandering around with a vague notion of learning something about Parry's Larkspur.  Try it, you'll like it.  In fact, when you see what a wonderful job can be done on such things as a blog, you will want to make one too!  Think of it as a kind of scrap book perhaps, or a sketchbook; not to hold every little bit and piece, not to give the whole picture, but to shine a little light here and there, on the things you love best.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cherry: jam & tart.

Dear Orchardists,

Here it is, the Montmorency cherry crop for the year!  I know you and the birds and deer have been waiting anxiously since this time last year.  It's a veritable avalanche compared to last year, and so we made jam.  Then we made a tart with the jam.



Both recipes are from David Lebovitz's excellent blog.  Here is the jam, and here is the tart.  Both were easy as pie, but I know you don't choose things based on the difficulty level or the labor-hours required to complete them.  I know that when you have cherries you let the winsome color of the fruit direct you to the appropriate use.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Oft-referenced, Much-studied Effect of The New on The Old.

Dear Bandmates,

Isn't this the bomb? 

Isn't it delightful to see someone making music with this retired technology stuffs!?  It will be our song for today, and you can hear another version here. 


You'll laugh, of course, because you are so much more mondaine and world-wise than I, but this 'novelty song' is one of my favorites from my impressionable youth, and its symphonic sound and operatic narrative always catch in my throat.  I was such a lucky one to be suckled on pop music that was so prescient and innovative! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Remember Those Days?

Dear Whoever You Are,

Pretend you just got this desperate message attached to a rock that I threw up to your window in the middle of the night.  Pretend that you don't mind and that you are happy to help me make my escape from this world where I cannot understand the words and actions of anyone.  Pretend it is okay that we are surrounded, because we have each other, and a few others now and then, to form a club or a band or a pact with, or at the absolute least, to have a few drinks with.

I am feeling so much better already- how about you?  Read this for inspiration (or instruction, if you are as youthful as that).  If the Dodo was a real thing in our culture, a thing with currency, if it was a thing that had real writers, I think this author would be one of us.

Remember, don't worry:  If you hear a thunk, it's just me with my message tied to a stone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Dear Summer,

Yesterday, driving home on the eve of your return, I thought I might have understood finally the magic of the visual effect of that hour, the after sunset time:  The light, I believe, has become equally reflected from the ground and from the sky, so the substance of the space in-between is illuminated.
It isn't very long, a matter of minutes, before the ground falls into deeper shadow, and that is another kind of time; l'heure bleue.

Until we bid farewell in September.

Friday, June 16, 2017

ghhhh, hubscam blam, fibbletak!

Dear Fixers,

You know, of course, how photography works- with chemicals for developing, and fixer, a solution to 'fix,' to hold, the silver salts in the positions recorded by the light?  So that they remain in the form of a hill with trees on it?  And if they are not properly 'fixed' they will fade; at first just a little bit, and then more and more, until the image is just a pale, ghostly pattern of smudges?

Fixing things, feeling, events, images, in my mind is of chief concern-  to be able to take these things back out and examine them, to pore over, to revisit and experience all over again; but this is so tricky, isn't it?  How do we save things, and where, and when do we get them out again to look over?  It's a pickle.

A picture of the skate park:  We went to one in a town south of here; we have gone once before, and then tried several times in between to catch it empty.  I have a great horror of looking like the elderly-you-ought-to-know-better-than-to-try-that-at-your-age roller skater that in fact, I am. 

There was only a yuppie soccer mom and her progeny present; a young boy she referred to as "Bud," but he was certainly a Forrest, Hawkins, Seamus, or some such thing, on a two wheeled folding scooter.  He was tear-assing around the place in the usual 4 year old manner, so I steeled myself for a mild losing of face and began to fall on the very wee little hillocks.  He kept on saying "it's only a hill!"  He also asked us where we got those 'roller skaters,' and why were putting on all these elbow, wrist and knee pads.  I thought, but did not say:  I am wearing them so that when I stumble over onto you I don't feel your tiny hands smashed under my knees, you little goofus!  Well, whatever, but I am a 'fraidy cat and safety, or what I like to pretend is safety, first!

I fell three times in front of this pair, and then the young dude who sweeps the rocks I'd been falling on up, arrived.  I made sure he wasn't turned my way, and once more tried to stay upright down the short, shallow slope of concrete.  Yes, you guessed it!  I did not fall!  What a triumph!  But, that wasn't enough- I next tried to get to the bottom of the real ramp, the 4 foot or so one.  It dips down, lies flat for about 10 feet and then heads back up.  I got to the bottom and threw myself on my knees to keep from continuing my madcap pace!  Twice I ditched in this manner, then I crossed my fingers and let the momentum carry me on up the opposite slope.  I wanted to shout and sing it to the rafters!  I could not believe I had managed it! 

The thing, though, that I know, is that it seems like nothing to tell it like this, especially to anyone who's done it or doesn't want to do it, and that covers everyone,  doesn't it?  Or maybe even to anyone anywhere anyplace anytime.  Phooey!  I want to tell you how fun it is, and I cannot.  I mean, I can, but it's so much meaningless gibberish.  It sounds like this:  ghhhh, hubscam blam, fibble-tak! 

Oh, yes;  I wonder, do you think this lovely photograph of a skater falling was taken at Cartier-Bresson's decisive moment?  Or was it a little late, or even too early?  I have adored and carried with me this notion of his for decades, as in a locket:  I never think about the movement of life and photography without it.  If you would like, please take it for yours also- get it here, for free, locket not included.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oh my!

Dear Wheeled,

Look at this delight- can you live without them?  I wonder if I can.  I will let you know later, I guess. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Today's Song.

Dear Clementine,

Here is a song for today; I hope it reaches you in time.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Nothing Doing

Dear You,

I’ve been thinking of you, and of course, I know I should write, or at least send a message.  But, I am busy now, doing nothing.  I was planning to meditate, but doing nothing is so much more genuine.  If you ever meet someone you can do nothing with, clear out your spare room and invite them to live with you.  Of course, no, I am doing nothing, yes, but I am thinking and seeing much.  I need all this time to do this thinking and looking. 

I am doing nothing, but not thinking nothing- I am lousy at thinking nothing, so I never bother with it.  I am thinking of the Changing Face of  Feminism, and of the birds, and the wind, and of tattered books.  Also, I am considering less lofty things, like how I just threw out all the pencil shavings I was saving in a champagne bottle.  Was that right to do?  Perhaps it was nuts to collect the shavings to begin with and now I have set things to right by tossing them?  These are the issues I confront in the pursuit of what might matter.  And besides, you were right; I did have too many glass jars.

I am watching the house finches pick up fallen seed, and as I gaze at their movement, things on the edge of vision become blurred.  Substance flattens and becomes indistinct; it all seems to be one: the space, the ground, the sky-  I knew a wonderful professor once (a feminist as it happens) and she told me once of seeing the ‘etheric web' from her vantage point on a hill, or a slope.  She described her awareness of the interconnectedness of everything in a visual way.  I am pretty sure my lack of focus could be revealing the etheric web.

I have been thinking of you, wanting to send my greeting and thanks;  I know you are up north now, or out west... I will get a message to you soon, but for now, I simply must do nothing!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Together Today Only

Dear Special Listener,

My DJ played these two songs for me recently, and I know you will want to hear them too.  I like them together, but I don't know if they might be better in reverse order.  Play the one, and then the other, and then play them again, the first last and the last first, and let me know what you think.



One more time, because there's a little more gravitas in this version.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Dear Band Mates,

Imagine the most beautiful acoustic guitar you can- of course, it has mother of pearl, and that edging, which I believe they call purfling.  What else?  A sunburst?  Dark wood, light wood?  What of the wood's character?  Bird's eye, curly, quilted, flame, bearclaw?  Is it black and from the '30s?  Is it worn, or shiny new?  I imagine a lot of nice guitars, and I think I sent you out once to pick up a parlor guitar, but now, I have a new errand for you to run:  Go and get this, because it is the most beautiful guitar I can imagine.

My desire for this thing, and I have spent a lifetime desiring, so I know what I am talking about, moves me to the ultimate act:  Saving money.  Actually, no, it moves me to wishing and considering purchasing a lotto ticket, which is what I usually do when I want something absurdly beyond my means and uses.  Still, a girl can dream, and this is about as dream worthy an item as I have seen this decade! 

On the topic of dreaming and the proper tools for the task, don't you think, don't you know in your heart, that your fingers would play better, that your voice would sing sweeter, with a guitar like this?

While we are wishing, let us play this song on our ordinary, daily use, right here right now, trusty old guitars.  The chords are easy, but don't forget to get louder as the song progresses.

While you are out, pick up a shirt to wear with this guitar:  A frilled tuxedo shirt would be grand.  Oh, and I know you are worrying that I will be too nervous about scratching this opulent instrument to play it, and I assure you that I would play it and bang it and scrape it just as heartily as I do Little Blue.  The only thing I might hesitate to do is take it camping- sitting in a hot car while you stop for tacos en route to the lake is hard on a guitar's laminates and neck.

By the way, the fifth element that the word quintessential refers to, is that element beyond the air, earth, water, and fire: that highest element which permeates all the universe; ether.  As in, "Dude, that is one sick, filthy, and ethereal guitar!"

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Space Coast







Saturday, May 27, 2017

Roller Skating Pilgrimage Site

Dear Little Darlings,

Watch this film, look me right in the eye, and tell me this isn't a fabulous world we are living in!  We visited this special place, just last week- enchanting Doris Jenkins was at the entrance, she put our money in the register, she played "Elimination," she skated with us at the end of the evening; the wooden floor was just exactly as you see it, and you can go there too! 

I am absolutely ready to begin building my roller rink.  I imagine it will be open for you to visit by 2020 at the latest.  I hope you will come by!  I think I will serve apple juice, and maybe popcorn....  Oh, and we will have Cheerwine for sale, too.  And long lost candy bars, like Ice Cubes and U-No Bars and Rocky Roads and Abba Zaba.  I simply cannot wait!

On second thought, I guess the taffy might stick to the floor, so we can't have that last one!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

AI Don't know Nuthin' about the Finer Things.

Hello Loves,

It’s car upholstery, it’s old nails; museum objects from around the world, Twombly, and Motherwell, and knitted holey sweaters, and shrubbery, and discarded lumber, and old envelopes, and pencil marks, and dripping paint on the edges of cans, it’s everything I ever saw, it’s everything that ever was:  All this, synthesized. 

Is what an artist sees and tries to paint, to make, to build, to write & to play.  Sometimes, here at the Dodo, we post an answer to a question that you may not realize you are asking, and in point of fact, it may be that very few of you are asking it, but the Dodo exists for these few- for you, in point of fact.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Temporal Lines.

Dear Stockinged,

They are making now, with their super-high-tech-plastic textile stuffs, stockings that do not run. The Brits call them ‘ladder resist,’ and I wonder if I will need to start to hoard the old kind, the kind that run, the kind that hold a record of wearing.  Of course hosiery is fragile, and short-lived, but isn't this part of what we love about it?  Would we have them 'wear like iron'?

The run in the stocking is the sexy near-end of a pair of hose- and let's pause here, to think of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’s vermillion hose....

A woman, a girl, always works a bit to hide the early runs- with a longer skirt or boots, and often just the tiniest section of a run will show as a person turns, or leans. The run is a line that leads someplace you cannot see, and it is the most titillating part of stockings, and it is also the very end of them, the most precious last wearings. The run is especially lovely in black stockings, because it is the most visible.  The wearer sometimes puts a daub of nail polish on the runs, the ladders, to stop them, and it might show as a red or pink dot on the stockings.

The thing I am considering here, as I so often do, are the traces of time's fleetness, the ineffable marks of wear, and the very nature of being.  May the mundane and short-lived continue to endure!

A place you can go to plan or make manifest your hoard.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

by People #3


Dear Everyone,

This came from People- a Person, in fact, who knew this charming folk artist.  The thing that I want you to really focus on though, is this sweet little cottage.  This painter, Maud (known, according to a Person, as Maudie) Lewis painted and sold these works right out of her little home!  It's like a lemonade stand for paintings!  Can you stand it?  I simply must have one!  I have some nice old schoolhouse redwood from a friend, so maybe I can build it and then you can come on by; I will gladly sell you a small something for your walls....

A bit more on the cottage, and a bit more on Maud Lewis herself.

Friday, May 12, 2017

by People #2

Dear Folks,

Here it is, the second in a series of ideas directed to me by People.  It's a cheery little guerrilla printmaking project that has me looking at the scene under my feet with new eyes! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

News Flash

Dear Mailbag,

Oh golly, it isn't on the regular Dodo schedule, but it is from People and it something you should see, so, here it is.

Say, speaking of the f in feminism- have a look at this method of telling the world just what you think of it.  I think you'll enjoy dreaming up two word phrases to consider for your collars!

There is a song, for today, too- it's 11:59.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Round, round, get around.

Dear Little Darlings,

The mailbag this week yielded a question you all must be dying to know the answer to:  How do we come up with all those fine and compelling ideas and issues at the Dodo?  The answer, dear Reader, is Soylent Green. 

Yep, it's people who bring the ideas to the Dodo.  Just this week there have been three interesting things brought to my attention by People.  I get around a bit, and I always have my Dodo pencil handy to jot down notes.  Once I get back to the research lab onsite here at the Dodo, I do a few tests, a bit of reading, and voilà!  Your fresh-baked post is ready and waiting for you!

Today's interesting item brought to my attention by People is this web-based little optical illusion.

Keep your eye on the next two posts, they came from People, too.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The daily grind.

Dear Ones,

Again, I can hardly believe my good fortune: see if you can credit it!  There I am, minding my own business at my job, when someone asks me for some 'ideas'!  Well, of course, I replied:  Chantilly lace, and a pretty face, and a pony tail hanging down, .... and oh baby! you know what I like!

I gave him the following ideas- I think they are fabulous, of course; really top drawer ideas; one of them is someone else's idea. I mean, that wingchair!  What a doozy!

A lilac velvet upholstered wingchair filled with a pile of pale river stones.

A secret library in the trunk of a car.

A map to the places the wee folk live.

A minotaur courts a bower bird.

Nine pairs of shoes & four mouse holes.

An atm that dispenses cupcakes all night and day.

Monday, May 1, 2017

News of the Old Ones.

Dear April 22nd.,

Have you heard this astounding news?  About how very old the old ones are?  Don't you feel even closer to what we've lost?*


Friday, April 28, 2017

tell it to me slowly

Dear Words you Want to Hear,

Your song for today is here.   Another 45 version.  Ready to play it in my new Untrained Orchestra?  Don't practice too much, or we will have to change the name!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sacred Calf

Dear Little Dogies,

You know, I could report to you every day about the marvelous things I see behind the wheel of my automobile.  A few evenings ago, I passed a particularly lovely slope, just after a sweeping horseshoe curve, that I have often seen remarkable sights in- coyote, vultures, some cattle now and then, a shrub, windwolves. 

On this particular evening it was being traversed at a complementary angle by a cream colored spotted cow with a beautiful, brand new calf by its side- the lowering sunlight shone on it's new face, and oh! what a sight!  So new, and so pale- all soft grey spottings at its head; it was an absolutely sacred cow.  This calf could turn you into all kinds of believers, it was that beautiful. 

I tried to fix it in my mind forever, so I could return to it and that moment over and over, because it was a moment that had no doubts, had no questions, no anticipations, no desire- it was a moment that was just full, just right. 

I have seen so many things like this, and I fight like crazy with my mind and senses to save them, but they often fade a bit, and they gather doubts, and they become lost often permanently.  What a terrible, awful pity this is.

PS  Are you aware that dogie (as one hears in the cowboy guitar songs) means a 'motherless or neglected calf" according to Webster's?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Let me hold your hand.


Dear Nearby,

I am trying so hard to funnel the goodness of my words into the touch of my hand.  I figure that if I say nothing, I cannot be misunderstood.  If I say nothing, I cannot offend.  If I say nothing, I cannot wound accidentally.

When you feel the light of the sun or the moon, do you receive the ages also?  Does that light shine on you with the force of all the world that came before?  The ancestral beings?  Are they also contained in the air we breathe?  My success in reaching you depends upon so much that I do not know.

Perhaps the life I have is actually in large part yours.  Perhaps all those people over there are responsible to us.  What we say here may matter very much.  Take extreme care and please use caution in speaking.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Song for Today

Dear Old Enough to Know,

Gaze a gazely stare at the gayageum, here.  I wonder if we can get one on Ebay?  It might be just the thing for our all girl band.  Although, I think we will need two of them, to get those layers of sound- or a thingummy that can record one track and add it to another.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017


Photo credit: Kimberley Bursic.

Dear Watchful,

Oh, I know, I know, the charm of French bread!!  What a world, and what marvelous people are in it, right now, this minute, ready to show you something you simply must see.  This last few weeks I have witnessed so many things you would love to see, but not everything is easily sent to you electronically.  Just this morning, on the dried stalk of the sunflower, the mating pair of Scrub jays were sharing a moment so intimate that I blushed at watching.  There was the 611th page of giant ball of yarn novel with all manner of different ends sticking out from the windings.  There was a Tiger Swallowtail on a lavish blue violet iris.  And, oh! the wildflowers this Spring!  What can I say that might fit their immensity?

Ah, but what of what I can send to you?   A colleague and I have begun a little platform, a venue, a space for things.  We call it the Idea Lounge, and it Pops-Up, like things do these days.  It's a kind of free college, and it recently featured a screening of excellent animated shorts by
Jan Švankmajer.  Here are the links to the five films, plus a bonus film by an animator that influenced Švankmajer.

A Game of Stones, 9 min 1965:
Meat Love, 1 min 1988:
Flora, 20 seconds, 1989:
Dimensions of Dialogue, 12 min, 1982:
Darkness Light Darkness, 8 min, 1990:

Charley Bowers:
It's a Bird , 1930, excerpt:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Who can you be now?*

Dear Flâneurs,

What have you been lately?  I have been here, mostly trying to be a sort of maverick dilettante.  I discovered, by accident of course, a new thing you can be, if you tire of strolling the city streets: a gypsetter.  Give it a try. It's more or less what it sounds like: a self-styled gypsy with the bucks to really get around (the jetset part of gypset).  I found it in the usual places I haunt; the gin joints, the two-bit hotels, the roller skating tutorials.  It might just suit you.

*Who Can I Be Now?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Get a guitar into your parlor today!

Dear Little Darlings,

Today on Radio Dodo we have a song that my DJ played yesterday while I drove through the glorious Spring from the east to the west.  I remember first hearing another version of this song, many moons ago, and I loved it from the start.  A less extravagantly virtuosic version is easily played on guitar, here are some chords.  Perhaps your hesitation is a lack of a good guitar?  Try here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Theme Song

Dear Listeners,

The song for today was chosen from a whole slew of really fine Chuck Berry tunes:  Memphis Tennessee, You Never Can Tell, Havana Moon, Maybellene, Johnny B Goode, Nadine:  But this particular song could be the Way of the Dodo's theme song.  Yes, you guessed it, because the both of us, happily, have No Particular Place to Go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lichen it or not....

Dear Naturalists,

I've been meaning to talk you about Ramalina menziesii.  It's the California State Lichen now, and it's known more commonly as Spanish Moss or Lace Lichen.  It's a lovely gray green one that drapes from tree branches, looking like tattered curtains. 

Lichen is not a plant, but a peculiar and charming combination of algae and fungi; not exactly just two things living symbiotically together, but two organisms that have become one.  R. menziesii is sensitive to atmospheric pollution, and it can reproduce by spores (sexually) and asexually, when broken fragments become a new organism.  Birds use a lot of it in their nests, I wonder if those pieces become a new lichen, too?

If you are keen to know more about Spanish Moss, look here, and if you hanker to join the fans of California lichens, join the Society.