Friday, March 31, 2023

to do/done/diy


Minoan Snake Goddess

Dear Darlings,

You have heard already, of the stacks of lists, notebooks, scrap paper of to do's that are scattered like stars over all horizontal surfaces here at the Dodo.  It might seem like things are humming along on schedule from your side of the digital interface, but, from my viewpoint, it sometimes feels like despair.  

Let me be plain; I want to send you some messages about fairy eggs, Anthony Gormley, Edna Lewis, honeycomb mould, Renilde de Peuter, and Julie A. Hersh.  The delays in getting these great things to you are varied like the bunting:  Attention issues, insecurity, muddleheadedness, etc.  If you just can't stand the wait, you can sniff out some of these topics, a DIY blog post, if you will.  If you won't, have patience, and also, let's talk about Julie A. Hersh, and how she came to me, as everything does,


Several quarters ago, I watched, in the course of my duties as Dodo writer, a documentary on book shops in NYC.  I don't really recommend the film, it's presentable, but not great.  If you are a doc film zealot (six modes!), then, okay, knock yourself out.  For the rest of you, know that in my search for something of deeper substance in this film, I watched some of the bonus/extra junk, and a Sci Fi 'zine was mentioned: 

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet:

When I say that this magazine is good, and you should get it, I mean that it comes only quarterly, it's on nice, plain paper, it is crammed with interesting voices, and you can get it in a special 'chocolate bar' package.  Yes, they get you! and me, and they ship it to you with a large, enjoyable chocolate bar!  In number 45, from last year, there was a delightful tale titled 

Snakes and God, by Julie A. Hersh:

The hitches in getting this information to you have been the aforementioned mental issues, including the additional fact that I kept on misspelling her name, and thought also that she was Jane, not Julie.  Once I overcame these banal difficulties, I still had the biggie: it's not digitally available.  So, we come again to the DIY portion of today:  Search out Julie A. Hersh and her writing, and read some of it, it is really good, and curious, and filled with thin membranes, and it fluctuates in a satisfyingly pluralistic way between point of view, category, mood, & place.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023



Dear Bakeists,

As you can see from my faux military blog post naming convention, I am working on a not so top Secret Project.  My mission is to re-create the Goat Cheese Shortbread cookie that I get from the lovely Buttercup Bakery.

I won't bother you with the details of the first attempt, but I will tell you where I am at, and, then, if you are called, you can try to make some yourself.  The GCC at Buttercup is made with goat cheese and pecans.  I am leaving those out for now, because I want to work at getting it right from the ground up.  The cookie at Buttercup also has a ring of coarse sugar adhered to it.  This I do include, because it isn't a very sweet cookie, and the crunchy crisp ring of sugar seems key.

All shortbread is made with floury stuff (wheat, rice, cornstarch, sometimes potato four), sugar, and butter.  It's really your Ur cookie.  The ratios of these three things are variable, and that is where one gets into X-GCC point one, point two, point etc.  Here is what I did for this attempt:

1/2 cup butter (salted is fine, but add less salt if you use salted butter)

3.5 ounces of goat cheese

1/3 cup powdered sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla

some salt

1 cup of pastry flour

(you will also need: egg yolk, granulated sugar)

Get all that dairy out of the fridge earlier, so you can mix it more easily.  Beat the butter and cheese together, but don't go for fluffy.  Add the sugar, the salt, the vanilla; beat, but not to fluffy- just get it combined.  Add the flour.  Make a baton of it, as for refrigerator slicing cookies, and chill it for a while.  2 hours to 2 days.  Beat an egg yolk up, brush it onto the log, press granulated sugar into the egg wash, slice it about 1/2 inch thick, bake it about 12 to 15 minutes (or longer) in a 375 oven.  

That is it.  To get in on the experimenting, vary the amounts of any ingredient, and add or swap some out.  Brown, date, or maple sugar, less goat cheese, more goat cheese, almond flour, no vanilla, you know what to do!

Thursday, March 23, 2023



Dear You Again,

Here's the thing, you are sticky, and not in a good, cinnamon bun way.  I wish you no ill, but whenever we have contact, I regret not telling you off, as it might have prevented our meeting.  I can make no use of your friendship. It does sound harsh, but, isn't this whole thing about you, actually?  Aren't you calling me so I can tell you that you are good and whole and socially acceptable?  Well, you may not be any of those things.  Also, I am not an expert, so getting my approval should be cold comfort.

And so.  Now what?  Do we agree to keep our distance?  Do we pretend this never happened?  Do I keep on crossing to the other side when I see you coming?

Yes, it is a pickle, that is sure, but, I guess I will go with one of the half-truths: my road is out, my dog is sick, and my car has carburetor trouble, but you be sure to have a nice day and we'll catch up one of these days!

Monday, March 20, 2023

smaller, bigger


Smaller oak tree, camera, & photographer (me).

Bigger oak tree, camera, & photographer (Ansel Adams).

Friday, March 17, 2023



Still Life with Garlic, 1949, oil on canvas, William Scott.

Dear Fairies, Merrows, Kelpies, Banshees, & Pookas,

Meet in the meadow, make a community stew, dear ones!  Play this on your radio, and later on, when you are back at home after the celebration, check out fabulous artist William Scott, your countryman, and my latest crush!  


Viewing tips:  Notice the way his beautifully observed still lives flatten into dynamic abstraction.  This, friends, this indwelling of two worlds, the 2 and the 3 dimensional, is the glory of painting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

value study


Dear Looking,

Oh!  Regard this lovely formal exploration of rectangles, texture, and value:  isn't it terrific?  

I love finding these amazing compositions that just happened from actions of an entirely different nature.  This wall has a long bracket of some kind, which used to hold something (a sign?) that is long gone.  There is also a lovely dark stain around some kind of placard that was attached to the wall with maybe thick double sided tape?  All that is history, of course, and it hardly matters that someone might have been quite frustrated over weeks and months, trying to keep a stuck up onto this rough stucco.

The staining of water and time and wind, and the tapings and signs and brackets are now just exactly what they are: a very lovely composition.  They interest me for their poetical connotations, yes, but also because they are the kind of marks that happen in the course of life, they are not self-conscious marks.

Sticklers & shutterbugs might argue that they are self-conscious now, here, as I have 'taken' them and 'presented' them to you, but, I think we can enjoy them together with or without semantics and semiotics.

Thursday, March 2, 2023



Dear Reader,

To the Bat Cave, Robin, I must write!   Because, you were always on my mind.  Sometimes, I ask myself:  what goes here?  In fact, it might be my most asked question of myself.  What an awkward sentence!  

A week or so ago, I led a little group in a meditative drawing exercise, and I felt so clearly the wave of concentration and, hmm, what is the thing?  Not just concentration, not just intention, not just care, but maybe, maybe it was love.  It was ecstatic like that, so it might have been.  A little field guide would be handy here, wouldn't it?  With a cross-reference of 'feels like' and then a page with what it is you might be experiencing?

On the topic of my writing you, I think you should know that I never use auot correct when I write you here, be cause it would be less true for my hurrying, let alone what denigration partnering with a machine might feel like when you are reading.  This is funny, of course, but also, my true feelings on the matter.  I think we get some out of whatever we put in.  

Which leads me to two things: this digital tool is not a threat to anyone, or any notion of quality or honesty.  If you don't want to use your thumb to scumble out 't h a n k  y o u' on your device, I still believe you meant it.  And if writing is a chore, or even tortuous for you, I give you permission, utterly and completely, to use as much AI as you you like.  I won't even complain that it tastes like canned.  It's all Gide* anyway.

Second thing, is that I have some old blue ink on lined paper writing of mine, and I love to note things like this:  BE cause.  Now, that doesn't look like it is; I used (and still do use, but less) a weird (& expedient) mix of capitals, lower case, and cursive in my penned writing.  If, as a human, it is possible to lift our self loathing even a tiny bit, I would do so, in order to tell myself how sweet and charming a mistake BE cause is.








*Toutes choses sont dites déjà; mais comme personne n'écoute, il faut toujours recommencer.

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.