Tuesday, October 20, 2020

dessert à la Dodo


Claes Oldenburg, Pie à La Mode 1962, 

Muslin soaked in plaster over wire frame painted with enamel

50.8 x 33 x 48.3 cm

Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art, LA. The Panza Collection © Claes Oldenburg

 Dear After Dinner,

This is just too delicious an article not to send you to!  If you aren't already on the Atlas Obscura and Gastro Obscura email list, you should consider adding them to your inbox- the are always interesting!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A good one.

Dear Part Two,

Now where were we?  Oh yes, "Have a good one," she said.  Whenever I hear someone tell me this, often it occurs on the telephone, it feels like a little tear, a rip, in the script we are performing:  I am saying thank you, they are saying thank you, then they say have a good one, and I say you too.  But I am really all agog at what, exactly, I just wished them one of.

Let me expand on my (a)gog.  I have a multifaceted response to being told to have this 'good one.'  I feel wary, because who is this smart aleck to tell me what to do?  And I feel a kind of delight at the sheer absurdity of having a good one: A good what, do you suppose?  And, then, there is also the weird authenticity of the wish- I am struck by the speaker's sincerity and certitude; they earnestly wish me a 'good one.'

In conclusion, there is no where to go but here:  Have a good one, dear reader!

Bonus track.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Collections


Dear Boxes, Tins, and Jars,

I took some really fine collections from my shelves and I scattered them to the winds, figuratively, and in some cases, literally.  Before they were hucked and lobbed, I took some photographs to record their loveliness.

There will be some images in the days to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Harvest Time


Dear Fields and Crops,

Look at this fine Rothko of red apple skin.  I got this unusual and delightful apple from a pal, who got it from a branch, on a tree.  And the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.  Enjoy the bounty of the season, friends.

Red and Pink on Pink, Mark Rothko, 1953.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Meet me in the middle.


Dear Sisters,

Here is your song for the day.  It's good for a lot of days, actually.  You may have already had a day where you needed this song, and there will come another day when you will need it again.

When I used to hear this song, the other pop station version, I always thought it expressed a beautiful clarity regarding communication.  I loved it's plaintive quality and its candor.  I love this version, even more, for the inversion of gender relationship, and the stripped down, ethereal, Norwegian Wood, & lamenting qualities of the arrangement.

And don't forget, even if I am too too hard to find, it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Another one.


Dear Love Song Collectors,

Here is your song of the day, another beautiful declarative song from Tom Petty; a love song to file between Brian Wilson's God Only Knows  and Billie Holiday's I'll be Seeing You.  When my Mom dies, I am going to have I'll be Seeing You played.   For my own memorial, I will have Paul Simon's American Tune.  

Bonus feature.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Salad Days


Dear Diners,

It's time for a salad manifesto.  Deal with it.  

1.  It must be composed of less than you think.  If you have 8 different things in the bowl, beyond what is making up the dressing, you should take half of them out.

2.  It must have salt.  You could skip pepper, but you cannot skip salt.

3.  It must also have oil, and unless you love your salads, you should begin by doubling what you currently put in.

4.  It must NOT taste so much of acid that your eyes water.  Begin by cutting the vinegar or lemon juice that you use by at least half, and probably you want about 1/4 of what you currently use.

5.  You may put sweet things in it, but only two at the absolute most!  You may have apples, and honey, but not dried cherries also!  That is WAY too much- see the first rule.

6.  You should be able to taste all the things you have put in, which means your dressing should not be so strong that you cannot taste the lettuce or greens.

Additionally, you may put kale or other cruciferous vegetables in your salad, but they are pretty tough, so consider always when you make a salad that your goal is a kind of almost delicacy.  Cheese and nuts are fine in salad, tortilla chips are not.  Crisped up bread in all forms is welcome in salad, beans are okay in moderation.  Minced shallots are perfect in salad.  Dried fruit is acceptable, but not if you have already poured a cup of candied nuts in!  Candied nuts plus dried fruit makes your salad into a Clif Bar.

Lastly, these are not the rules for slaws, these are strictly salad rules, and they do not apply to pasta salad, bean salad, rice salad, jello salad, tuna salad, ham salad, or broccoli salad.  If you don't like these rules, make your own!  

 :  Many thanks to Judy Rogers, whose salad rules have guided me for years, and are much of the inspiration for the manifesto.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

a rain of stitches


Embroidered coat by Lisa Smirnova

Dear Penciled,

I really enjoy an accumulation of line segments.  It's what makes a drawing a drawing, and these lovely drawings are made of thread segments!  It has me running to my needles, threads, and my closet.  I think there isn't anything in there that wouldn't look better with a bit of embroidery inspired by Lisa Smirnova on it.  Let the connecting power of stitches be our project for today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Me gusta.


Queridos Amigos que patina,

¡Esto es muy bueno!

Missing Joy?


Dear Whom it May Concern,

Did someone take your joy?  Do you want it back?  A friend of mine, a woman I have great admiration for, suggested that it might be subversive to be cheerful, to be joyful, at this time.  Another artist I know, made this film about her search and subsequent reclamation of joy in times of trouble.  I think it qualifies beautifully as cheerful subversion and subverting cheerfully.

If watching the film doesn't help you find a little joy or cheer, send 50 cents to an address in Boulder, Colo., and see if they can't mail you a replacement. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A double.


Dear Autumn,

Today, for you, and your efflorescences of yellow gold in the cottonwoods and your hazy still skies, a double: this is both your song of the day and your delight of the day.  Enjoy your season!

Monday, September 21, 2020

That ain't Jack.


Dear John,

This is, though, and it is also your song of the day.  I adore these short, simple, and declarative Tom Petty songs.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

What nests within?

Dear Radio Listeners,

This is your song for the day, but just like the Matryoshka doll, it also contains many songs.  Additionally, it is the delight of the day, because it's a real pleasure to watch these two performers ham it all up eight ways to Sunday.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Why & How


Dear Readers,

Do you know why I am here?  Did I ever tell you why I write to you?  It might be a good time to remind you, even if I did tell you before.  I write here because of time.  I saw so many things evaporating; things like bowling alleys, telephones with cords, film cameras, all kinds of stuff that maybe isn't very meaningful actually, but it seemed like a lot of good stuff was going the way of the dodo, so I thought I'd make a little list, a little collection, and give it to you, here.  But, I didn't really do that.  I started on it, and sometimes it seeps in, but I thought it was kind of sorrowful to just send you lament after lament.  So that was what I planned to do here, but that isn't what I do, and this leaves my purpose here intentionally ambiguous.  How about you?  Why do you come by?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

poem, print


Woodcut print by Bryan Nash Gill.

Dear Ones,

I bought a case, to put my odd objects into, because I felt sad that they were in boxes, and if I am not making these things for me, then who?  As an audience of one, I wanted these things presented in a vitrine, and so they are going into a cabinet.  However, some things are not going to be kept any longer.  

A shoebox of leaf skeletons, although it might be the best thing I own, will be documented and then, tossed onto the wind.  Photographing these things will have to suffice.

Also, a chocolate box filled with fabric snips.  A box of rocks.  Many boxes of shells, coral.  A stack of stamps cut from the RSVP's of my wedding invitations.  A box of conkers.  Seeds and pods.  Winged leaves.  Stems of dried bulbs.

These are the collections that are going, many more are staying: the birds' nests, more boxes of rocks.  Cut scraps of yarn.

All of this saving seems to be what gives me meaning, and that brings me to poem, which I think you should save, in a box, in a collection of poems that bring you meaning.

Tree Rings

There's no choice
near the end
but to curl in
on yourself.

That's all that
remains, but for
that around
which you curl.

- Todd Young.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

fast fwd.

Dear Concerned,

I don't actually think they were simpler times; I think we just forgot all the myriad complications.  Once in a while, I get a glimpse of it, out of the corner of my eye; a kind of 'true memory' and it is pretty awful: there is doubt in abundance, and confusion; worry & sorrow are there too.

I am suggesting a kind of fast forward, no, not to the end of the pandemic, I mean something more utilitarian than that even:  I mean, what does it feel like to tell about now in a year or a week?  Let me try:

Everyday, with regularity, I searched for good news.  All I ever found were more reasons to worry.  From the people I knew, I received comfort of all kinds- I tried to send it in return.  I wrote, I called, I sent messages and packages.  I made things to give.  Making masks depressed me, not because I didn't want to wear one, but because it felt like such a tiny little blow against the enormity of the danger.  I did not like the virtual ways we used to connect.  Looking at myself felt silly and it sapped all my confidence and energy.  It turned me into a self-conscious 12 year old, which is something I did not want to be again.  The phrases and language that blossomed annoyed me- 'at the end of the day,' 'pivoting to the new reality,' 'the new normal.'  Why wouldn't people use a language of honesty, of candor?  Why did they hide behind these rubbishy jingles?  I studied daily the numbers and data- it was like a kind of ritual, a kind of penance and a way to bear witness.  People actually took to the streets, but things seemed mired in absolute endless repetition.  Everything fell apart, but it was all just barely taped together anyway.  What was hardest, was trying not to inflict suffering on others.  This is always so, but it seemed even harder than usual: why the hell were we even trying to work 'online?'  None of this make-work mattered much.  The real scare lay in what we were going to do with ourselves if nothing was required of us- it was alternately scintillating and frightening.  There was no reason to do much of anything.  I discovered that I communicate with words, but that isn't even half of the information in a conversation.  The flattening of interactions revealed how our culture and society obscures the elemental levels on which we actually function:  smell, small tells of movement, infinite and invisible physical cues.

And that, is some of what I will have learned, later, in the future.  Back in the olden times.

Friday, August 28, 2020

living in twilight

Dear Ones,

I just got off the phone, and I wanted to send you the song for today, and to send you this amazing image of the Telefontornet of Stockholm, circa 1890.

Your song today has a touch of melancholy & maudlin melodrama, and much of the grandiose, symphonic loveliness of Electric Light Orchestra.   Not everyone goes in for that, and so, you needn't stay on the line if you have somewhere else to be, some other song to listen to today.

Oh, and one more thing, she said, when she rang off:  "Have a good one!," and that is where I want to pick up our next conversation, and soon!

Close and regular readers will notice that Dodo links to YouTube uploads of music often favor low view counts.  If you noticed, you can probably guess why: here at the Dodo, we love the imperfect, the ignored, the overlooked, and the seldom visited.  We dig the weird offshoots of the internet search that can be found on page 8 of the results.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Dear Missing Music,

It's been a while since the day has had a song, but this is undoubtedly the song for today.

Saturday, August 22, 2020


Dear Friends,

This just in from a co-worker, and oh!  It is amazing!  You will gasp, laugh, and weep at the beauty and whimsy of it all.  I am reading a book, which I know you would love, called The Book of Delights, and I think maybe this film of Polly Verity heralds the beginning of a new Dodo Feature: The Delight of the Day.   It won't be everyday, of course, just like the song of the day; you will get it when it comes, and no sooner, but, be ready to be delighted!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Dear Lucky Eights,

Sometimes I wonder why I am telling you these things.  I guess it's a sort of whistling in the dark, but I don't want to just entertain you; although, that will do in a pinch.  Would we have loved a life working as a Tele Skater Girl?  I wonder.  The old things always look so good when you are sitting here in the now with your plastic devices and your instant, cord free communication.

I heard a fellow on the radio some years ago talking about working to live versus living to work, and he said that when people made the joyful hobby they had into their livelihood, the fun quickly drained out of doing it.  I ask myself very often if that is how I would feel, looking out at a large rink full of 8 year olds having skate birthday parties on a Sunday.  I try to imagine the difficult customers I might get; Drunks maybe?  Frat boys?  Inline booted hockey hellions?  What about when the roof leaked all over the wood floor?  Would I still find joy in skating everyday to songs like this one, which would be my actual job?   I sure hope I get to find out one day.

A film to celebrate the 800th day of skating:

Monday, August 10, 2020

rough & puff

Dear Bakingest,

A dear friend lives with a beautiful backyard plum tree, and so around now, there are plums.  This is a special plum, not like those sour-skinned black things you get elsewhere.  They are small, and inside they are riotous burgundy fuchsia.  This year I made some of these rustic crostata with them.  The crostata, or, if you feel more French than you do Italian, the galette, is a homey, form-follows- function pastry.  Nothing special is needed- a plain old cookie sheet or baking tray suffices: no pie or tart pans needed.

You can see that my pastry really puffed, and threw the fruit filling plum out of the galette, but to demand symmetry in your food is quite mad.  Enjoy your baking, puffy, warty, crumply, & cracked: it will be delicious and beautiful in its own uncontrolled way.

Here is the (un)recipe that I used:

a slab of rough puff pastry dough (see below)
plums without pits - no more than 2 cups- you want the fruit to caramelize; not to stew in its juice
sugar - use as much or as little as you like

Roll out the rough puff dough, into something kind of 12 by 9 or 10 inches.  Lay your plums in the middle, leave about 2 inches of pastry to fold up to make an edge.  Sprinkle with sugar, fold up the edges, and bake the heck out of it: 40 minutes at 425 degrees.  

Rough puff pastry is a terrific thing- I got the recipe from my Judy Roger's cookbook some years ago.  Here is a link to the recipe.  This version would have you put sugar in the pastry, but, that is not necessary, and the original recipe does not have sugar in it.  Oh, it does take time to make, and a certain amount of pleasure should be taken in the smushing of the butter into the flour.  If you think you can't enjoy a buttery floury 20 or 30 minutes of tactile mud-pie action, then just get that stuff in the box from the store.  It is good, but not as much fun.

Monday, August 3, 2020

no use in trying to deal with the dying

Dear Ramona,

Here is your song for today.  Did you know, my friend, that we could have a Bob Dylan written song everyday, for a year, and there would still be half a year's more?   I haven't even written one, but I think maybe that should be a project of mine- to write a song.  I know I want to use d minor in it.  And I think 3/4 time.  It should rhyme, at least a little.  And it should be performed in a suit like Jenny Lewis wears, but in a less 21st. century unicorn color scheme.

Friday, July 31, 2020


Dear Wings to the Flame,

Look at these gorgeous painted specimens!  Each is a marvel, and their are hundreds of thousands of these kind of biological and botanical illustrations all around the world.  Think of the great and varied efforts of these naturalists painstakingly locating every little spot and smudge on these wings, just to catalog all the flora and fauna they could find. 

Isn't it a kind of funny idea?  To catalog?  Imagine, for example, if you decided as an illustrator, to draw every kind of food package you encountered in a month of groceries, say?  Or, if you decided to catalog all the hands you'd shaken, or socks you had worn. 

To see the ponderous scale of skilled illustration efforts the the 18th, 19th, and 20th, centuries have produced in the pursuit of the cataloging of species, go here, to be directed to the Biodiversity Heritage Library's collection of illustrations; available to admire and download for free.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Écoute bien.

Dear Poetry-Lovers,

This wonderful poem comes to me from the far and wide ranging tentacles of the Dodo correspondents.  To think that I have been bumbling along in the dark without this lovely poem for so long gives me a twinge of regret.  However, we have committed ourselves to looking forward, and so on we go with this Jacques Prévert poem in hand; the original French follows the Ferlinghetti translation.

To Paint the Portrait of a Bird

                                                       To Elsa Enriquez

First paint a cage
with an open door
then paint
something pretty
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird
then place the canvas against a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree
without speaking
without moving...
Sometimes the bird comes quickly
but he can just as well spend long years
before deciding
Don't get discouraged
wait years if necessary
the swiftness or slowness of the coming
of the bird having no rapport
with the success of the picture
When the bird comes
if he comes
observe the most profound silence
wait till the bird enters the cage
and when he has entered
gently close the door with a brush
paint out all the bars one by one
taking care not to touch any of the feathers of the bird
Then paint the portrait of the tree
choosing the most beautiful of its branches
for the bird
paint also the green foliage and the wind's freshness
the dust of the sun
and the noise of insects in the summer heat
and then wait for the bird to decide to sing
If the bird doesn't sing
it's a bad sign
a sign that the painting is bad
but if he sings it's a good sign
a sign that you can sign
so then so very gently you pull out
one of the feathers of the bird
and you write your name in a corner of the picture.

(translated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

 From Paroles, by Jacques Prévert

Pour Faire Le Portrait D'un Oiseau

                                                               A Elsa Henriquez

Peindre d'abord une cage
avec une porte ouverte
peindre ensuite
quelque chose de joli
quelque chose de simple
quelque chose de beau
quelque chose d'utile
pour l'oiseau
placer ensuite la toile contre un arbre
dans un jardin
dans un bois
ou dans une forêt
se cacher derrière l'arbre
sans rien dire
sans bouger...
Parfois l'oiseau arrive vite
mais il peut aussi bien mettre de longues années
avant de se décider
Ne pas se décourager
attendre s'il le faut pendant des années
la vitesse ou la lenteur de l'arrivée de l'oiseau
n'ayant aucun rapport
avec la réussite du tableau
Quand l'oiseau arrive
s'il arrive
observer le plus profond silence
attendre que l'oiseau entre dans la cage
et quand il est entré
fermer doucement la porte avec le pinceau
effacer un à un tous les barreaux
en ayant soin de ne toucher aucune des plumes de l'oiseau
Faire ensuite le portrait de l'arbre
en choisissant la plus belle de ses branches
pour l'oiseau
peindre aussi le vert feuillage et la fraîcheur du vent
la poussière du soleil
et le bruit des bêtes de l'herbe dans la chaleur de l'été
et puis attendre que l'oiseau se décide à chanter
Si l'oiseau ne chante pas
c'est mauvais signe
Signe que le tableau est mauvais
mais s'il chante c'est bon signe
signe que vous pouvez signer
Alors vous arrachez tout doucement
une des plumes de l'oiseau
et vous écrivez votre nom dans un coin du tableau.


If all this puts you in the mood for French, try this Serge Gainsbourg song to Jacques Prévert.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Secret Messages

Hand of Buddha in Mudra Abhaya, 
between 17th and 18th century, copper alloy, Thai, 
in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Dear Many,

I send you your song for today.  This is a beautiful piece of music; the kind that seems to be beyond words.  Maybe you will want to play it, while you read on.  Or, maybe you are in a hurry, and you will not stop for song or story; I hold my hand up to you in a mudra that signifies you go on with my encouragement and well-wishes.

I have been thinking of words and in words a lot, even though you haven't heard from me lately.  The thing you must remember is that I think of you at least once a day, but I don't always compose myself and address you.  I ask myself why not; and the answer is sometimes this:  I don't have anything good enough to give right now; it's just fog and murk and low-level complaining.  Or this:  I cannot pretend that I believe things are okay, and that isn't a nice rumor to spread. 

I dreamed that I stopped staying at a particular hotel, because every time I stayed there, in its beautiful old rooms with views, I was harangued by ghosts- they turned the light on and off all night; they opened and shut doors; they tried to get into the bed. 

I dreamed that I had a very lovely studio, a huge space, and for some reason, I had hung up three or four large signs in the middle of the wall.  In the course of showing someone my studio, I saw how stupid it was to put these big signs in the middle of the wall; the walls ought to be filled with visual information, with paintings:  I had wasted all these years and this space on three big signs that were just some kind of didactic information that had been on walls in exhibits of my work; they were an explanation, the written validation of the works having been shown; just artifacts and evidence, a shred of paper streamer left after a parade.

Back in the world of thinking again, now, I ask you, if we decide to eschew even more of these absurd values that press down like billowing choking clouds of smoky obligation; if we aren't trying to be good, or right, or smarter, or better, or faster, or richer, just what are we going to be doing with our days?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

A song finds its true home.

Dear Singers,

Oh!  My DJ played this song for me recently, and I think it has never sounded better!  Listen to that descending staircase of horns!  It is perfect!  To compare, and to pay our respects to the original, here is Ms. Hynde and The Pretenders.  Oh, but wait you say!  What about the uuhh aahh?  Who writes a song about being back on the chain gang?  Someone who has heard Sam Cooke, that's who.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

This thing is real.

Dear Listeners,

Oh!  Here is a song for today that you don't want to miss- it comes to our attention from the vast network of discerning Dodo listeners.  A sort of ersatz 'listener request.'  Here is another version, with just Mavis.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Submitted for your approval.

Dear Art Collector,

I send these 15 x 11 inch prints with collage elements to you for your consideration.  When I think of our long standing relationship as artist and patron, of the decades and the many pieces you have purchased from me, I am in awe, and I wonder if it is not true, that maybe I imagined it?  It fills me with satisfaction that you have wanted these works, these physical manifestations of my thoughts and hands for so long. 

Artists make things, because they like making, and they see and feel things they would like to share, but, I believe that most artists are continually surprised that someone else would want to live with these things.  It isn't that artists don't like their own work, it is more that they can see so clearly how it falls a little short of what they were hoping to say.  It comes off as a reflection of a thing, but not the thing itself.  It is much like my writing: I keep on trying to tell you how gobsmackingly beautiful one thing or another is, and I know that, try as I might, I can't quite represent it to you in all its glory. 

In any event, I have some paintings too, that might work in your new space;  I will not accept bitcoin for my work, but I am in a position to consider a payment in olives, for one of the aforementioned prints, if you find the work and the terms agreeable. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Stay close to me.

Dear Radio Dodo Listeners,

Here it is, two fine versions of one fine wine song:  One and Two.  It is your song of the day!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence from Dogma:

Dear July Fourth,

Did I eve tell you about the time an elderly French gentleman (with a tie, jacket, and cane- un flâneur véritable) met me in the door way of a Paris bistro?  Il sortait alors que j'entrais.  He was being aided down the stone step by a waiter in striped pants and a long white apron.  The staff knew him by name;  he might have been dining at that place for 60 years.  We made way for him to leave, and he asked me where we were from, in English, and I said "California," and he said "Oh!  America!  I love America!"  I think my expression must have been comme ça:  A puzzled Pourquoi?  He asked me didn't I love America?  I muttered that it was "all right," because I didn't think he meant what I might have by loving America.  He kept prodding me to to agree with him on the lovable-ness of America, and I kept deferring.  You can make your own list of what you don't like about America, but the biggest two items on my list are oppression and Capitalism.

But, what made me uncomfortable about being asked to join in a few harmless, neighborly, and kind words about my native country?  I ask you, how would you feel if asked to celebrate your country?  Would you think of the mistakes and cruelties?  Or, some other intangible, some kind of pride or idealism? 

Here is what I truly love about America:  roads, the great Native American West and South West, the rocks, the trees, the mountains, the gorges, rivers, beaches, milkshakes, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, doughnuts, bowling alleys, roller skating rinks.  I love the land and occasionally I love a few of the people, and I like some of its junk food.  But I don't love these phony ideologies, and even kind, well meaning, cultured French men from another era can't make me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

blue skies

Dear Tomorrow,

It was nice seeing you yesterday.  Here is your song for today. 


Dear Scribblers,

Of course, I was in love with this project at the mention of the name: Chalkroom.  What could that be, I wondered.  A room which can be marked and erased?  A dusty interior?  I spent several month wondering about it, savoring its possibilities, until I finally pushed the button. 

It's a treat to hear Laurie Anderson talk about anything, so don't worry, you will enjoy the film.  The idea of walking into the words of a story is a compelling and enigmatic notion.  It might be that I like the idea of the Chalkroom more than the reality of its virtual reality.  I will need to go and 'experience' it in person someday.  I wonder if virtual flight might be a little dizzying....

This channel is often tuned to Laurie Anderson; here at the Dodo we don't believe that you can have too much of a good thing.  More is more, so to speak, and here is a song for today by Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Every Day

Dear Readers,

Here is another place you can go:  Every Day for a While.  This photo of the eaves and roofline, plus trees and blue beyond seems just right to me as a place for a 'distracted thought.'  I know you will think so too!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Afternoon Delight

Dear Film Fans,

Here is a delightful film from the considerable backlog of good stuff we have here at the Dodo for your viewing pleasure.

In a related film, learn about injection-molding here, without which there would be no Lego bricks.

Friday, June 26, 2020

This lifestyle.

Elliott K. Perkins
 ceramic, 2019-2020

Dear Conflicted,

Raise your hand if you hate change, and are bored by sameness?  I was on the telephone a few days ago- an object I really revere, and you know that, because these pages have featured several pictures of telephones.  I like the cradled ear part, the phone part; and the guts, all filled with ringers and wires.  I love the dial, or the big square buttons.  I love the silly tangle-y corkscrew cord that connects the two.  I love the pocket under the cradle to put your hand into to carry the phone to another chair, or window.

And then there is the spatial facet of telephone conversation:  You are here, they are there.  I see the sky, the tree tops, the birds; you might see the sidewalk, someone walking a dog.  We might see the same things, a moon, a rocket plume, gathering storm clouds.

While on the telephone we got to talking about a song my DJ just played for me, and another song.  These songs are my project for today!  Because I have been thinking about what my job is, and for once, I think I know what it is: it is to use the space of my mind to make things in.  I can make thoughts, images, all kinds of insubstantial items, and then, if a good one comes along, I can make it manifest, like a construction paper flower, and then, I can give it to you.

Principally, I am concerned with these notions in contemplating these songs:  What are they about?  Are these songs two sides of the same coin, or are they the same side?  What does the refrain "you got it, you got it" mean in (Nothing but) Flowers?  What does the maniacal laughter at the end of Big Yellow Taxi mean?  Why do we hate change, we do we fear change?  Why do we yearn and long for the new and the novel, the yet to be seen?

Still wish you had a lawnmower?  Try another version.  Thinking about the Tree Museum?  Try this version.

Saturday, June 20, 2020



Dear Summer,

Today I send you a photograph and a poem.  It's the middle of the year, and the longest day to enjoy the season.

Stacking the Straw
-Amy Clampitt

In those days the oatfields'
fenced-in vats of running platinum,
the yellower alloy of wheat and barley,
whose end, however gorgeous all that trammeled
rippling in the wind, came down
to toaster-fodder, cereal
as a commodity, were a rebuke
to permanence – to bronze or any metal
less utilitarian than the barbed braids
that marked off a farmer's property,
or the stoked dinosaur of a steam engine
that made its rounds from farm to farm,
after the grain was cut and bundled,
and powered the machine that did the threshing.

Strawstacks' beveled loaves, a shape
that's now extinct, in those days were
the nearest thing the region had
to monumental sculpture. While hayracks
and wagons came and went, delivering bundles,
carting the winnowed ore off to the granary,

a lone man with a pitchfork stood aloft
beside the hot mouth of the blower,
building about himself, forkful
by delicately maneuvered forkful,
a kind of mountain, the golden
stuff of mulch, bedding for animals.
I always thought of him with awe –
a craftsman whose evolving altitude
gave him the aura of a hero. He'd come down
from the summit of the season's effort
black with the baser residues of that
discarded gold. Saint Thomas of Aquino
also came down from the summit
of a lifetime's effort, and declared
that everything he'd ever done was straw.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Dear Friends of the Music,

Here we have our song for today, sung by Iggy Pop with backing by David Bowie.  And here, is another version, sung by David Bowie duetting with Tina Turner (I know; we are not worthy).  If you call me right now, I won't be able to answer, because I will be playing this on Old Blue, my not very old at all green guitar.

A dance mix, too, if you can dig it.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The word.

Dear All,

What's the word?  Justice.  Equity.  Kindness.  Pick one, it should do for now.

A few days ago I asked at my workplace that we draft a position on issues of race, and this is what I got as an answer:  "Well, where would we put a statement like that?"  And that, my friends, was the end of that!

Officially, in the case of my workplace, we are going to stick our opinions where the sun don't shine. 

It is a pity that my co-workers are not ready to make a statement, but, I don't have to keep silent elsewhere, and so I won't.  We need to examine ourselves and make corrections accordingly.  Are you ready?  I will go first:  in my family, we were brought up to believe that if you treat people equally, you are doing your part.  This is nice, but ultimately inadequate.  I think I knew it was inadequate when I was 11 years old, and walking down a paved road with a rag tag bunch of kids that included people of color.  I felt a kind of child's mistrust in unfamiliar things- I felt worried about how different these kids looked from me.  They knew stuff I didn't know, and they dressed different too.  It was a long walk; we were going to a pool 4 miles away and back, so in that day, in those 8 miles and the hours in the pool, and in the subsequent meetings with these compatriots, a lot of my anxiety evaporated.  They were still much cooler than I was, and I worried about making a fool of myself in front of them, but that was something I was used to already among my white friends; used to being un-street smart, to not knowing the right songs, the right films, the colloquial names for drugs and sex.  That walk, a chance encounter really, was a start; a step in the right direction.

I still fret over making a fool of myself and I worry I will make things worse, and I bet you worry too, but we have to risk making a mistake.  We have to keep on stepping out, keep on moving.  There are lots of opportunities to say something or to bear witness, or to put yourself in a place you think you don't belong.  There is also sending your support in the form of money, and here are two places you can do that, and hopefully you will investigate the statements that these two groups have made, and then, I hope you ask your workplace, and your knitting circle, and your fly fishing club, and your families, to draft a little statement of your own. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

A poem for today.

Dear Seekers,

Are you sorting and sifting through what you had?  Choose wisely what to keep.  I was talking to a lovely woman one day, on the occasion of making some prints together, and I mentioned my keeping tickets in pockets so I can revisit the events when I find the stubs.  We were talking about the way we seem to save all the wrong things; china plates and furniture and old baby clothes, and what we ought to save is little grocery lists and diagrams of toy cars, maps to people's houses, letters, and lists on the backs of envelopes.

All these words, all these times I have written you are not very saved at all, despite the brittle permanence of the Internet.  You won't ever find this under your socks in the bureau, and you won't use it as a bookmark in Anna Karenina either.

Researchers at the Dodo have brought these fine poems to my attention, and I give them now to you, save them, or discard them.  Read them or remember them.  Keep maybe one word, or a scene from them.  Maybe put one in your pocket for later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

To the world

Dear Modern World,

Here is your song for today.  It is one to watch also.

Until soon,
au revoir.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

On the Road.

Dear Ones,

Here is a poetically relevant and formally beautiful work for you by artist Francis Alÿs.  I am totally enamored with this artist; whom I was completely unaware of until this morning when another artist sent me a link to Francis Alÿs' project titled Color Matching.  You can watch that one too, if you visit his website, here.   I offer you the standard Way of the Dodo's money-back guarantee of satisfaction with this artist's work!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Dear Makers,

Look at this wonderful tableau!  Note the artist's feet in the near center of the image.  Explore the meticulous work of paper and wood artist Ann Wood, on her website, here.  I am a fan of the crafty re-presentation of things, of course, but Ms Wood has a very good eye for arrangement and composition that we could all learn from by studying the photographs of her work until our eyes go squinty!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020










Friday, May 22, 2020

From their rooms.

Dear You,

Are you in your room right now?  I am in mine, and there are two pots boiling in the room to the right, and to the left, the porch lamp holds the House Finch nest and eggs again.  This room, is nowhere near, and it is not now, but it is great, and it is your song(s) for the day.  I love this series of performances called In my Room, brought to you by Rolling Stone.  I hope it inspires you to play in your family band, because I am playing in mine.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Valuable Time

Dear Valuable Time,

Heaven knows you're miserable now.  Enjoy your song for today, with all the double entendres, subtexts, and significance thrown in for free. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

A rubber biscuit.

Dear Gumby,

I think I want to say something positive, and not because I don't want to say anything negative.  I want to say something positive because I am actually thinking and feeling it:  you are so flexible, my dear humanity!  You are capable of such remarkable pliancy! 

I applaud you and I wish you decisions that bring you joy.  Here is a song for today.

A bonus feature from the same year: 1956.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

On flight.

Dear Winged,

Here are two fine songs for today that share lyrical directions.


Saturday, May 9, 2020

A hurry.

Untitled (doll's shoe & drupe), 2019

Dear Little Ones,

I must break my pattern to send you this right away!  You have probably noticed lo these many years, that I like to send you something every few days, maybe twice a week, with a kind of flexible reliability.  I don't want to leave you so long that you get lonely, but I also don't want to crowd or overwhelm you.

I was sent this beautiful bit of writing from a valued & treasured pal, which is what makes up so much of my substance in this venue.

I know you will love it as I do!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Love & Envy

Stop Looking Like a Sweater,
wool, 142 x 65 x 5cm, 2013,
Celia Pym

Dear Dying of Envy,

Oh I know how you feel!  You plod along for years, you think you are getting somewhere, you feel, 'yes, this little square of felt with threads through it is really saying things, this is it, I have made something relevant!' 

And then.  You find someone like Celia Pym and you know that you have wasted your efforts, because here is a her that is really making beautiful, poignant, elegant, expressive objects.  The kind you have always wished to make.

Well, tough cookies.  There is nothing you can do but try to bury your hurt and soldier on making things that are not as clearly distilled as these.  A better one made by someone else is just that; a better one made by someone else, and our job here it to minimize the suffering we cause, and that includes our endless, whingeing self-suffering.  So let's rewind, and re-phrase this post:

Dear Looking Out for Beauty,

Here it is, an artist and maker who is sending me over the moon with the wonderful things she has made!  I know you will love them too.  Let's run and get our needles right now, and start to stitch together the beautiful old broken and tattered scraps.  Let's not worry about it coming out good, let's just let each stich come like a drop of rain, with only gravity to guide it where to fall.  Let's just make little marks until we have daubed out a poem of plenty, an elegant pile of eraser rubbings, a page of smudges that mean that time happened here, and it was.

Be sure you investigate a piece titled Blue Knitting.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Seven Hundred

Dear Skates,

Thank you for the days.  Which is also your song for today.

Yes, it is time again to note my total consecutive days of roller skating, today at 700.  It also signals me to invite you again to try it, to take a chance on eight wheels.  If you want to start out right, you could take this thorough and helpful lesson online. 

I really feel that you want to roller skate, and if there is a time that I could convince you, let it be now.

Oh, and let's have Petula Clark, too.  And why not have Los Imposibles also?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Chance Encounters with Fragile Materials

Dear Would-Be Gallery-Goers,

      I have made these objects, dear viewers, primarily out of leftovers, scraps, and found materials.  My mind as I am making these objects is open- I try to let the materials tell me what they would like to be paired with, or attached to.  It is a kind of visual listening.  I am thinking of how lovely these little bits are in their own right: this short stubby worn stick, this little bit of watercolor sea, this calligraphic rusted and run over wire, and how perfect this little square of dark linen is with the small pink oil paint stain on it.  I would like these to feel like they grew, or accumulated, more than they were pushed or crafted into existence.

     Transitory and temporary materials are used in building these objects: branches, powdered graphite, wool batting, string.  Many of the works will change over time:  tape will unloose, grasses will shatter, threads will break.  Some pieces may go to ground entirely over the years.
     These funny little objects seem right to me now, during this time.  They feel like the imperfect offering in Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.”  I hope you will find poetry and love in them.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
-Leonard Cohen

Thursday, April 30, 2020

More bloom.