Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Twang Pollution

Dear Twangsters,

I keep on talking about my project for an Untrained Orchestra.  It's a beautiful idea, inspired in part by Frank Zappa and John Cage, both of whom I worship for their gifts to us of creative freedom.  It sounds delightfully fun and exciting, but responses I have received are not what one would hope.  It's an idea meant to include, to encourage, non-players of instruments and non-instruments.  I envision a room full of players holding things that they play in response to the sounds they hear.  Kind of like a conversation at a party; improvisational, but not cacophony, because the players are all listening too.  There will be areas of no-sound, and spaces of confusion, yes, but I know, I know it will be beautiful and beyond anyone's imagination.

Where are my players, though?  I think I may have recruited one person, but they are reluctant. Still, there will be a section for reluctance. I have some people who could be described as slightly horrified by the idea- I am not sure we can use them.  Maybe they can take tickets or usher people to their seats.  There have been two people who consented, although, they have been taught, trained to play, so they will have to be given some instruments they have never played.  I have a guitarist I want to get a tuba for, and a pianist that will need a violin or a cello. 

In any event, it seems I really only have six people so far, so I will continue to talk and rattle the roadways looking for my musicians.

In the meantime, I give you some local music, a band that defines itself as 'twang pollution.'  Enjoy it, and consider making some noise in my orchestra, won't you?  And don't forget to bring your bicycle!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Meteors & fireballs & bolides, oh my!

Dear Skywatchers,

Another exciting lexicographical discovery here at the Dodo:  An unusually bright meteor is known as a 'fireball!'  I have been calling unexplained lights in the sky fireballs for decades, without realizing that there was an official definition for the word.  I hope we can forgive my misuse of the term and get on with celebrating this wonderful word of meteoritic precision!

A little over a week ago I saw one of these wonderful fireballs and staff here at the Dodo discovered that I could 'report' my sighting.  You can report it too, right here at the American Meteor Society, and learn more about the bolides, too, if you like.

You'll be wondering why the people that tell us the weather are not the people who we report meteors to, and the answer is that Greek word meteoron from which meteor is taken meant 'something aloft,' or something in the sky.  Which means that the somethings that fall from the sky and are in the sky are rain and snow and hail- all classes of hydrometeors.

Here's a little more on the meteorite collection in the Natural History Museum of Vienna.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blue Teeth

Hello Darling Ones,

Look at the wonder of the world- all these things we have!  Alexa, Facebook, Siri, Fitbit, Linux, Smartphones, Blackberries:  Marvel at their peculiar names!  And, today, learn the blue tooth truth

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Poor Old Wooden Head

Dear Six Stringed,

Listen to this!  I think this might be the most perfect guitar song.  Here are some chords- play it and see if it isn't so.

Yes, there is the questionable position of objectifying Native American statuary; but, really, it's a wildly surreal unrequited love song, and I am completely charmed by the notion of the two statues communicating.  It reminds me of another tragic tale:  *The Duel.  Let it be your moral for the day.

We'd be just nowhere without my man Hank Williams- can you imagine playing a guitar without I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry?  When Old Blue (who is actually rather new, and mostly green) and I set down to play, we bring the wisdom of the old songs with us- we are every guitar and every singer and we put our selves right into the spaces that Hank and Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez and a million others have sung wide open for us to play in.  It's a really great space to be in- don't be shy about it.  Listen to Clyde Waters and tell me you don't feel good there, in that cold river with Fair Margaret. 

I found this Ted Talk the other day, and the presenter addresses this ineffable thing, this is-ness, this space of feeling that can be invoked through sound.  Give it a listen, if you have the time to contemplate such things.  If you don't have the time, then, won't you please sing along with Hank?

*The Duel
Eugene Field
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!
      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
      Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
            (I was n’t there; I simply state
            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
      Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
            (Now mind: I’m only telling you
            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
      Employing every tooth and claw
      In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
            (Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
            I got my news from the Chinese plate!

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
      But the truth about the cat and pup
      Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
            And that is how I came to know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Dear Curious,

Last year I was in a museum that had a little area where visitors could make ferrofluid photographs.  Ferrofluid is fun to say and it is also fun to watch films of.  I know you don't need another thing to watch on the internet, but maybe just take a look while you wait for the bus, or while the pie is baking?

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Latest and Skatest.

Dear Rollers,

I have been working diligently at my backwards crossovers.  It goes slowly and clumsily, on the 30 foot patch of porch concrete.  I am pretty sure I am the most fearful woman in the world on skates.  I love trying to face these scary tricks and moves, although, I do have my moments of discouragement.  Well, more than moments, really more like hours and days and months of discouragement. 

I watch these great films on how to skate when I am discouraged; here is a nice one on how to spin.  If you'd like some more from Indy Jamma Jones, she has a fine series called Planet Roller Skate; find them here.  Candice Heiden has three good lessons on backwards skating beginning here.

Ms. Heiden is shod in some super slick skates- the boots are Harlicks.  If I ever learn to spin, maybe I'll get me some Harlick boots.  After pining for a suitable space of time, I spent my wages on these boots, which I mounted on these plates, and I wheeled them with these.  I intend to take the whole gorgeous teal and white confabulation out to the ramps and get the ankles and toes all scraped up and dingy.  This latest acquisition brings my total number of roller skate pairs to six.  Just another six and I will have a dozen!  Won't that be something?!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Never say never.

Dear Little Ones,

I send you this song of the day.  It was the song of my day, actually.  I kind of love it, and I hope you will too.