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!