Tuesday, March 31, 2020

One Final Obel.

Dear Big Fans,

By now, you can't go even a few days without Agnes Obel, so enjoy this final offering:  Agnes Obel at the Tiny Desk.

Bonus Track.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

It's Spring.

Dear Men,

You are bringing me down, a bit, today.  I know my feelings are nothing but my own, and you, Men, are what you are, but....

The whole place has been buzzing and hopping and blooming.  It has only just awaken from winter dormancy; the grasses and forbs just long enough to make wind wolves, and a few things bold enough to blossom are visited by finch and butterfly, and the insects are groggily wobbling out of holes they have spent the cold months in, and Mr. Bun (a cottontail of my acquaintance that lives up under the Cottage in the Pines) is nibbling here and there soft tender blades, and you?  What are you doing?  You are cutting, and mowing, and tilling, and scraping it all down with your horrible two stroke motors.  I can hear you from all points of the compass, revving up to mow down all of Spring's nascent bloom.

Every year, it is the same from you.   The plants grow, and you rush out to cut them, or even spray them down.  Yes, you are bringing me down, a bit, today, Men.  You are bringing me down.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Advice Column.

Dear At Home,

Today, I offer some advice.  No, I am not going to tell you to wash your infernal hands!  But it is going to be advice, and so if you aren't up for any more advice of any kind, you are free to leave the page now, without any blame or shame.

I will give you a few lines of space to make your exit gracefully and discreetly.

First, let's examine my qualifications: I was home-schooled by my parents from kindergarten (there was a short period pf preschool which I remember very vividly and with not a little unease) until age 16, when I began taking courses at the local community college.  I have also been the home-schooler:  we taught my son at home (now 19) until he began taking college courses at age 17.  I have also been writing a book on my experiences of both sides of home schooling.  It isn't anything like ready, and maybe it never will be, but these three things, plus the fact that suddenly many families have been thrust into the position of home schooler and home scholar with little prior experience of either, propels my experience into the upper echelon of experts on home schooling. 

My best advice is brief, but it isn't easy.  There are three steps, and I absolutely stand behind them.  You will achieve astounding results if you follow these suggestions!

Toss out EVERY last one of your expectations of your student.  Really!  All of them.  Be thorough.  Then throw out whatever lame curriculum the school provided you with.  Then, ask your student what they'd like to study, and facilitate whatever that is.

You are now, like it or not, a homeschool teacher.  It is a serious, important job.  It is not (ever!) a battle of wills.

My practices as teacher and student were actually more properly defined as Unschooling, and yours will be too, if you follow my three easy steps!  Also, trot this term out at your next virtual cocktail party- you will impress the pants off of your fellow homeschool teachers!  Also, John Holt is terrific; read his books to inspire you in your new job.


Obel No. 4

Dear Growing in Your Admiration,

Here she is again, your fourth Agnes Obel song, the song of the day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Falling Apart

Dear Avant Garde,

Researchers here at the Dodo have found this interesting music for you; made by time and chance, you are going to love it, just as you love the peeling paint, the streaking rust, and the eroding cliffs.

Read about it here, and listen to it here.  Or, reverse the order if you are adventurous! 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

coded & codes


A Zizzer-Zoof Seed salesman, as depicted by Dr. Seuss,
in The Sleep Book, RH Childrens Books, 2013.

Dear Language,

I have been trying to raise my awareness- I know, what else would I do with it: try to 'lower' it!?  My success or failure at raising my own awareness is not really possible to quantify at this point, but I found some things that I wasn't really aware of, so I think that is an indicator of being on the right track. 

You probably already know that people are calling out uses of language as coded, or codes.  This stuff is what I refer to as 'doublespeak;' as defined by Orwell's 1984.  This talk uses one or two words to mean a whole lot of specifics to certain groups of ears, and it takes time to establish the meaning across culture.  For example, here at the Dodo, useless things are 'Zizzer-Zoof Seeds' because nobody wants them and nobody needs them.  It is an example of what they call high context language. 

For my research on coded words, I wanted a list; I wanted something concrete, something now, and topical, so I looked it up on the Internet, of course.  I found a decent list and I offer you some of it here;  use these words with extreme caution!  They are saying more than you might intend.  To better know what your intentions might be, put your definition of these words in the blank space provided.  As a further exploration, consider how our culture and media defines these words and phrases.


Urban/Inner City

Radical Islam

Middle Class

Illegal Immigrant



If you'd like to read more about Zizzer-Zoof Seeds, visit the book online, or better yet, get The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss from your local library.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Obel No. 2

Dear All,

Here it is, the second song from Agnes Obel in our appreciation series, your song of the day for today.

Saturday, March 7, 2020


Dear Others,

I know you are out there, on a Saturday, trying to practice.  It's glacially slow, snails overtake me in my progress, I get nearly no where, and worse, I know the time when I could have improved is long gone.  I also suspect it isn't doing my knees any favors.  There is a barstool with a margarita or a beer on the counter that I could be sitting at, instead of facing my incremental improvements.

I know you could be doing stuff that needs doing, too, I mean, say, if you didn't just go and enjoy that drink at the bar.  You could be doing the taxes, or mopping the floor.  Yep, you could do a lot with this time.

Maybe though, you too are trying to do the Bunny Hop.  I am, and I think, just maybe, possibly, I have got it!  After nearly 12 years of skating and who knows how many tries.  It's a kind of a gallop step, where you jump off of one skate onto the toe stop of the other.  Sounds very simple, doesn't it? 
If you are working at it, study this and this instructional video as well.

Friday, March 6, 2020


Dear Waking Dream,

Here is a song you need.  Note the descending, spiraling sound- isn't it grand?  I have been listening to it regularly; I want it in me for good. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Discerning Listeners.

Dear Listener of Discernment,

Oh I expect you are even now listening to Agnes Obel, but in the very small chance that you are not, let's have a little series of her music.  Understand me now, I adore this music.  My ears have been waiting, preparing for this sound for years.  It sounds like my favorite choral, avant garde, folk, alternative, local, and contemporary classical, all in one sweet and beautiful package.  Enjoy this now, and stay tuned for more later....