Thursday, April 26, 2018

Good Fortune

Dear Lady Luck,

The subject of my extreme good fortune has been spoken of on these pages many times, and my streak continues.  I am in the lucky acquaintance of a bevy of fabulous, charming, and creative women.  These are women that write their own scripts, make their own rules and worlds, and I can't tell you how terrific it is to be in the glow of their aureolae.   

Here is an example of their wonderfulness; a band; Arthur Watership.  Give it a listen; you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Dear Devoted Radio Dodo Fans,

For you, for today, this song.  My DJ played it for me a few days ago.  Notice the accompaniment- so sophisticated!

Friday, April 20, 2018















Thursday, April 19, 2018

Goldfields time, again.





All of it is yours and mine.

Dear Riders,

Here is your song for the day, in one and two versions.  I adore this galloping tune and the hammering, repeated lyrics.  It's perfection.  The chords are easy, so give it whirl on your rhythm guitar.

Yes, darlings, that is David Bowie la la la la la la la la-ing.

Monday, April 16, 2018

What color is that?

Dear Friends,

You know I have this part-time gig talking and reading about Color for Art, which is sometimes called Color Theory.  The word 'theory' refers to an idea or system of ideas used to explain something.  It always likes to be next to another noun.  Here are some examples:  Doughnut Theory.  Ugly Sock Theory.  Miasma Theory.

Explaining things is nice; it's fine and dandy even, but just mucking around and messing about with materials seems to stick better with folks.  They sort of discover it on their own, and I think it means more to them that way.  It's just a theory, though.

We have a lot of mucking about with color time together and we have some nice music, slides, and maybe a film, and I hand out copied pages from things that pertain.  This Spring a lot of pages are coming from this fine book:  The Secret Lives of Color, by Kassia St. Clair.  It's a delightful little history of the known world in tidy little chunks.  It's a bit like Bill Bryson's books; especially Home.

You will be delighted by this book, and so will everyone you know- it really is perfect for any reader you can find.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Dear Makers & Bakers,

A few days a week I am gainfully employed, but I always bring my lunch, because I want to maximize the gainful part of earning money (so I can buy more shoes, skates and guitars).  Sometimes I forget my sad sack lunch and I go to the feed trough cafeteria and it is all right, in a stainless steel and good intentions way.  They sell things like grilled cheese sandwiches and plastic cups filled with cubes of melon and bags and bags of chips and cans of caffeine.  I have three times purchased their Caesar salad in a noisy, clear clamshell box with 110 croutons on it.  I have tried a few other things too, a gringo burrito (which is inexplicably and universally adored by other customers), a ham & cheese, a pulled pork sandwich.  What really looked good though, and I finally tried, after 2 years of considering it, is the Big Sur Bar. 

Well sir, it is good.  Really pretty darned good, and now I have had it three times.  Three times is adding up, so now I am trying to Make My Own.  I am inventing the recipe entirely, based on reading the ingredients.  The bar has a sort of a bland base, with whole, identifiable stuff stuck to the top: coconut, almonds, oats, chocolate chips, etc.  I decided it might be held on by honey, so I made mine with honey and lemon marmalade mixed into the top layer. 

It's only my first stab at it, and I am not ready to give a review of my results, but if you'd like to get going on eating one, and then trying to concoct your own copy, here is a link:

Friday, April 6, 2018

Guiltless enjoyment.

Dear Harmonized,

Here's your song of the day....  I put another Lucius song on here somewhere, a while ago.  The thing about this cover is that it really lets you enjoy this song without the guilt and case of the nerves the original song induced. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

massive wardrobe of cowboy clothes...

Dear Girl Band Members,

I am thinking lately about Gillian Welch.  Looking at some of her songs on the internet, I couldn't help noticing that some listeners are a little confused, and they seem to have singled out What's His Name as the greater talent in their musical union.  Well, yes, he can play guitar, but it's all just facility and flourish: the soul of the sound resides in Ms. Welch.  He just rides her coat tails, but he's an affable fellow, so I don't mind if she wants to keep him around.

In listening to their songs, and after watching this video, I began another of my semi-regular searches for some really sharp Western duds with scads of embroidery; the kind that Gene or Roy would have worn.  I have wanted a suit like that since I first laid eyes on Dale Evans, when I was 8 years old or so.  There's a framed 8 x 10 glossy of Dale and Roy in the second bathroom- it's a nice room; the shower wall has a beautiful Neruda poem about a time- and water-rounded stone painted on it.

Anyway, while I was looking for the perfect singing cowboy shirt, I found Rockmount Ranch Wear.  See if you can live without some.

I wrote this little bit of rumination half a moon cycle ago, and researchers at the Dodo have just brought my attention to this relevant essay.  Which reminds me of the co-incidence of my just begun Guerilla Girls manifesto shrine.  Things are being added to it regularly.  I put it in a very prominent place where I work sometimes, as what we like to call an 'instructor of art,' but my mentor would always say "a God-damned college professor." 

Make union with us.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

All you'll be is sound.

Dear Tuning In,

Here it is, your song for today.  It's really something- play it a couple times, I know you will come to love it.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Another Great Artist

Dear Reader,

Talking to yourself is encouraged here- in fact, it's all I do at the Dodo.  Yelling into the darkness of the bitter storm, while very few can hear me, and no one can answer, but I am adamant:  I do care.  There is meaning.  I want to share these important things with you. 

Today a film, about an artist I know.  This is one of those artists, those people, that really makes you want to walk like them, talk like them, etc.  I love the machines Jack Dollhausen builds, and you will too.  They are utterly charming and slightly irascible.  May they and their maker guide your every decision and thought.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In the Air.

Dear Equinox,

There have been a lot of signs, and I've meant to tell you all about them:  The geese flew North just on Saturday, and the ravens are choosing very carefully sticks for the rebuilding.  The nectarine is going from pink to green, and the very last of the almond blossom petals are dropping to the ground.  There is green too, aplenty, and the daffodils are just running out of buds to open.

There's a kind of rush, too, and so I haven't had the time to describe it all in detail.  There is also this song, for today, that I have been meaning to play for you.

I hope I am ready for the new season! 

To Clarify.


Dear Unsure,

Be thee of good cheer.  You do get it; don't believe for a minute that you don't.  If you still want convincing, though, that art is best when it is unspecified, ambiguous, and open to your own experience, then read this guy:  He's a Guy, a Published Guy, and I hope you will take all the powerful consensus and proof inherent in his Position As Such and believe this Man.  He pretty much explains everything in detail, and leaves no doubt.

I just confirmed these facts myself yesterday with a young woman artist of my acquaintance and I almost kissed her for acknowledging the intuitive, non-linear, and unconscious aspects of her own art-making, or what could be called her 'creative process.'  I am a bit fed up with the term 'creative process,' because it has too much airplay for my tastes, but it serves in a pinch.

You see, we wander around, more or less in the darkened gloom, and once in a rare while, we bump into someone or something who confirms that yes, we are wandering in the dark here, and the contact is a genuine cause for celebration, because isn't it a kind of miracle that people who cannot see where and why they are going should agree on something?  Here's to agreement on un-knowing, then, I hope?


It's nothing against guys, you know, per se, it's just a teensy bit niggling that I am still unable to persuade by methods of brute force and 'gender superiority' alone and if you think I am being a bit too flip, check the most recent stats:

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Maybe he's crying just for me.

Dear All,

Here it is- this is surely the most poignant and pretty song ever- your song for the day on Radio Dodo.  Do you hear that weeping willow?  Play it all night long.  Again & again.

Once more.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sewer, Tailor, Sewist, Seamtress.

Dear Sewists & Shoppists, and Whathaveyou-ists,

Will you look at these two beautiful people talking about making things and seeing and awareness!  It fills me to the brim with optimism.  Also, with desire, because the fabrics that they carry at Merchant and Mills are absolutely fabulous.  They are exactly what you want.  I have my shopping basket filled and my finger on what my dear friend calls the 'trigger:'  Meaning, the 'buy' button.  Yes, I am a click away from spending, spending, spending, but the film here and the window shopping are free and unfettered by shipping charges, reality, or seams that need to be ripped out.  So here's to potential!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Here's why.

Dear You,

I finally have the answer for you- I missed it before, but it was right in front of my face.  You ask, why roller skate?  And the answer:  Because you might fall.  The thrill is in the possibility of falling.  I offer this glorious snippet of 16 mm film as proof:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Under the Gun.

Dear Beloved,

These are the days of our disintegration.  Everything is broken, gone, or rusted through.  The people who shaped my thoughts, my being, are dying daily.  Who knows, now, what it means to 'hang up the phone.'  What we have now is 'call ended.'  The lack of individual will is well-noted.

The streets are sinking, the dust is piling up.  Little expressions like singing Happy Birthday feel like tiny squawks and puny gesture.  Minute bolsters against decay like invitations to tea and secret societies are too little, too late.  We are all of us living in the shadow of imminent loss- every morning I wake up and turn on the radio: when I hear Bob Dylan being played, I think, "oh hell, he's gone...."

Don't bother to check the news, it's true, because it always has been, we are only still yet dying and not dead, and so we will need to fill the time as usual.  Today I will make drawings and a little noise, wash some clothes, and maybe read again some of Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Part Two?!

Dear H.,

Get a load of this!  El Paso has a part two!  Right here, on Radio Dodo.  It's Faleena's side of the story... who knew?  My DJ just played it for me, and I send it on to you!

In The Library.


Dear Ones,

I have some of my little sculptures, some of my painter's objects, displayed now, temporarily, in a library.  They are there, among the hushed readers and the quiet books, in shadowy display cabinets.  

The objects are very comfortable in the library cases; they are things to look at where readers go- which is great, because I think my ideal looker might be a reader.  They also enjoy the chance to be museum-ized.  Their components (found objects, sticks, journal pages, old felt and casters) might get only a cursory glance in a junk shop, but in the cases they are set apart, made more precious, and the hard edges and glassy reflective surfaces of the vitrines act as a foil to their rough and tumble histories and surfaces.

They'll be there for a few months, and if you stop by to look at them, you can do some reading, too.

Monday, March 5, 2018

There's a dive I know.

Dear Radio Heads,

Isn't this about the greatest thing you've ever heard?  We are mad for these kind of songs at the Dodo- mournful, give up songs of unrequited love and loss, death and dismemberment.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Houseplants: A question of morality.

Dear Dwellers,

The living things that are here around me in pots bring me much happiness, but I worry about them.  They live, and sometimes they even grow, but very few of them go forth, be fruitful, and multiply.  Some of the succulents in pots do go forth, etc., but a lot of my other beloved, leafy companions do not.  They languish, they suffer, they are Camilles, rotting in their boudoirs feigning jollity. 

I loved Camille, absolutely loved Camille.  It's fair to ask why; and I think it had something to do with trying not to inflict suffering, or with the noble idea of self-sacrifice.  Of course, it's all a terrible disaster:  She makes her poor true lover (whose name I cannot even recall, even though it's more his story than hers) suffer endlessly, spurning him on every page.  Breaking his heart over and over, and we let her do this, because, as the reader, we accept her terrible pain, shame, and imminent mortality as a just cause for her treatment of this poor sap.  Yes, I wonder why I loved Camille.  If I had even a shred of curiosity, I'd read it again and look for clues.

On the other hand, it's very comfortable to love a thing based on a time that has gone very far by.  It's also a bit of a lie.  I had this sweater once, I loved it- it was a horrible royal blue with a red intarsia design of an outsized Cadbury chocolate bar- the Wispa, I think.  Which, for those of you who like a bit of detail, was the kind of candy bar that had an aerated texture- it was firm, but not hard, because it was filled with tiny holes.  It was not chewy, sticky, fluffy, or creamy.  The sweater had metallic yarn outlining the bar and its name.  It was, in my mind now, fairly hideous, and I loved it.  I wore it in absolute conviction.  I knew it was terrific and I knew people envied me wearing it.  I don't think I could summon even the courage to wear it to Target today.  But my love for it is still a comfort to me:  I was once a brave person who knew no adversity.

So, now what?  Is each little attempt to regain that joie de vivre a pathetic and meaningless, grasping hobby, or a talisman against ultimate dismissal of relevance?  Wait, don't answer that, because I don't really want to know the answer and you don't either.  We could look for answers another day.  Or, even look on eBay to find that sweater.  A lot of us do that, don't we?  We get the car we had as a teenager because we loved the first times, we loved the learning, the figuring out of that time.  Love is perhaps not even the right word- we felt more perhaps.  Things maybe were more pungent, more engaging, more exciting.

Yes, I think I am going to look for that sweater, but not until I consider my relationship to my poor houseplants.  What is right?  Do I let these ones die their slow, indoor, dusty death?  Do I enjoy them 'while they last?'  Put them out of their misery?  Swear off any further houseplants?  I am a poor steward of houseplants in a world that barely considers plants or sentience.  These little plants have a great deal of life churning in them, and I am aware of my position as caregiver, judge, jury, and executioner.  What mandate could make it all right to enjoy these plants?   What could I tell myself to give me the right?  Perhaps the answer is also available on eBay....  Perhaps my dilemma is that I cannot learn to love loss as an equal partner to possession as the way of the world and the nature of time and the universe.   

I see that now, copies of Camille are also titled parenthetically La Dame aux Camélias, but my copy was from a wonderful, huge, musty, dim old used bookstore, and it was embossed on its blue cover in a silver script with only a single word:  Camille.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pencil Factory

Dear Dodo-istes,

Here at the Dodo we received two suggestions for this excellent photo-essay on an American pencil factory.  I put it here, so you too can enjoy it. 

I hope you found the pencil I left for you in the Tate Gallery last month!

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Dear Sisters,

Here is a sound, here is a song, here is a woman that sounds like the singer you want to be:  Alice Phoebe Lou.  This song is not about the she of "did you see that fox fur stole she had on?" or the she of "she keeps calling me to complain about her job."  This is the She of all Shes, the one, the universal archetypal She.  This She is all of us and you too. 

As for the singer, she's quite a She herself; with hints & twinges of Nico and Patty Smith and Aretha Franklin, and she reminds me of the sweet and delightful Annette Hanshaw, too!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cakey, fudgy, gooey.

Dear Quotidian,

Today a meditation on the humble brownie.  When I was younger, brownies were made by my Mother.  She always made a recipe from Joy of Cooking, called Brownies Cockaigne.   Cockaigne is literally a land of plenty, a magical place like the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where "the houses were made of barley sugar cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing." 

I have made many batches of brownies, some even from boxes.  The boxed brownie is especially chewy, possibly because of corn sugars, but I am just supposing here.  Chewy is my favorite of the brownie's possible attributes, which also include cakey, fudgy, gooey, and dense.  The brownie debate usually divides over the cakey vs. fudgy and the darkest chocolate vs. something less dark.  For a while, I was making a Gourmet recipe for Milk Chocolate Brownies (on the sweet side; fudgy).  I also often make Petites Trianons (cakey, dense, dark) from a Maida Heatter cookie book, and a Fannie Farmer recipe, for Parker Brownies (quick, chewy).  But, there are so many recipes to consider!  Another fine recipe is the one I used to make the brownie in the image- it is a slight adaptation of a recipe from the back of the See's Candies Chocolate Chips bag.  It makes a lot of nicely chewy, sweet brownies and it is one of my favorite brownie recipes.

I think the best thing for you to do is to undertake a months-long project of trying all 5 of these recipes.   I figure you could have the whole thing wrapped up by the Summer Solstice without having to dine on brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Let's begin with Brownies Cockaigne, adapted from Joy Of Cooking.

1/2 cup butter
4 oz. *unsweetened chocolate

Melt these two ingredients in a double boiler and let cool until room temperature.

4 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a blender, whip these 4 ingredients until very light.  You can use a mixer if you'd prefer to.

Combine the chocolate and the sugar mixtures swiftly, by hand.  Then fold in:

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  If you want the squares to be neat, with tidy edges, you will have to wait until they cool to cut them.

* My Mother used to use cocoa powder and additional butter instead of the unsweetened cocoa.  To substitute cocoa, use 3/4 cup of cocoa and 1/4 cup additional butter.

Milk Chocolate Brownies, adapted from Gourmet Magazine:

•1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
•8 ounces fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
•3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•2 large eggs
•3/4 cup all-purpose flour
•1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.  Melt butter and half of chocolate in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is glossy and smooth.
Whisk together remaining ingredients, then stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate.
Spread batter in pan and bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick or skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs adhering, 25 to 30 minutes.

Parker Brownies, adapted from Marion Cunningham's Good Eating.

•2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
•1/4 cup butter or margarine
•1 cup sugar
•1 egg
•1/8 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup flour
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Butter an 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom of the pan with wax paper, then butter and flour the paper. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring to blend. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, egg, salt, flour, walnuts, and vanilla. Spread in the prepared pan and bake at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and peel the wax paper from the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in squares.

Petites Trianons, adapted from Maida Heatter's Cookies.

1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

Melt the butter with the chocolate in a medium saucepan.  Let cool a little while.  Add the following three ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Gently fold in these last two ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Spread the batter in an 8 x 8 inch buttered pan.  Bake them at 350 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes.  Don't let them over bake!  These are especially vulnerable to over baking.

See's Gooey Brownies, adapted from the recipe on the back of the See's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips package.

16 oz chocolate chips
 1 can sweetened condensed milk
 2 sticks
 2 cups packed brown sugar
 2 eggs
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 cups all purpose flour
 1 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and the butter over very low heat.  Remove from heat, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Fold in the flour, salt, and optional nuts.
Spread the mixture into a lightly oiled 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Do not over bake.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Optical Poem

Dear Audience,

During the week I lecture sometimes to students about art, composition, and color theory.  It's loads of fun, because I get to show off my (ordinarily under-valued) skill of mixing varying shades of violet.  Plus, there is often Lively Discussion and Exchanges of Ideas.  One of the young people during a recent Lively Discussion suggested this wonderful bit of animation. 


For an encore you might enjoy this small snippet.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It's in the water.

Dear Searchers,

This week you will find your song in the water, right here.  I love particularly that as a player of the lagoon, you must stand waist deep in your instrument.  It's a very lovely and poetic notion. 

Take another dip in, if you like.

Thursday, February 8, 2018