Monday, March 30, 2015

Avoiding Sex With Shoshanah

The professor is shocked to find his portrait on page 76.

Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen
(A Picture Book for Adults)
By Shoshanah Lee Marohn

   Another book by a blog-pal! A travelog/bildungsroman by the irrepressible author of Diary of Mindless Minion Number 2703, most of this illustrated novel was featured on her blog in 2014. This version's 117 pages are filled with a cornucopia of illustrations, digressions and even a separate portrait of every Frenchman who propositioned Shoshanah and her friends on their trip to Paris in the early 1990s.

   Better travelogs relate not only the external events and locations of a trip, but also illuminate the (usually) stranger interior landscapes of the the author. This book doesn't shy away from the tribulations of a young woman, on the cusp of adulthood, who finds herself in the situation of reality crushing a long held dream. Not that it is a tragedy—it is very amusing—her unfettered takes on France, Frenchmen and friends is based in reality (although it has fictionalized elements.) It certainly jibes with the stories I've heard from the women I know who explored Europe when they were in their late teens/early twenties. Perhaps someday I'll be able to persuade the Weaver to write down her travel memoirs (including the night she and her friend spent in a French Army barracks!) Shoshanah's previous book, A Murder of Crows and Other Woes, was for children but this book is definitely not (although it would be perfect for a teen-aged girl with a bad case of wanderlust.)

   You can get the book (paperback or Kindle) on Amazon.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Matinee #13

I heart Páll Óskar, even when he does a Taylor Swift cover:

Bonus track, Páll's 2014 holiday show with Baggalútur:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Seventy Year Itch

   In the morning, Mary was up, dressed, and out of the house while Sean was still asleep. She didn't go far, just to the spot in the meadow where she had seen the apparition of Emily on the first night of their stay at Tina's. She could sense the center of the 'spot' quite easily now; after reading the Book of Power all of her experiences began to form a coherent whole. They didn't make 'sense' in the strict sense of the word, but Mary was much more comfortable in exploring aspects of her new-found powers. She stepped into the locus and immediately felt the same coldness which had previously happened when she had been inhabited by Emily. This time, however, Emily was 'talking' to Mary, not through her.

   "Welcome to the Matriarchy," thought Emily, "I see that you have unlocked the secret of the Book of Power. I am able to communicate with you now for a limited time."

   "I am grateful for your assistance." thought Mary. "There is so much to know."

   "And time is short. You have proven to be most receptive. Listen now, and I will tell you how this situation in which we now find ourselves has come to pass." thought Emily, and she began to tell her story:
   "When I was a child  I learned the Secrets of the Matriarchy from my grandmother.  Seeing that I was receptive she instructed me, in secret, in all the powers as well as giving me the rings. She was the victim of a witch-hunt by the local minister, and was taken away to an asylum. I never saw her again. I kept these things to myself, and when I came of age I went to New York, a place where my grandmother said I would find like-minded people and be able to live without the threat of persecution from the provincials in Iowa. I landed in Greenwich Village, and fell in with a group of struggling artists who would soon become successful in the roaring twenties. Although my artistic talents were great, I soon learned that cultivating the interests of rich men in power was far more lucrative. The Regelind tobacco dynasty had grown enormously in the twenties, and I became the mistress of its founder, John Regelind, Sr., and was ultimately impregnated by him. The scandal would be bad for his reputation and so, by mutual consent, I returned to Decorah and gave birth to Tina. After a suitable time, I left her with Henry and Alice, who were childless, and returned to New York and took up with John where we had left off.

   After the 1929 crash, Regelind Tobacco was affected, but most people couldn't give up their smokes. It was one of the few industries to actually grow during the depression. When World War II broke out, John Regelind was consumed with government work, but I had became consumed with his son, John Jr.. He was in the military, but stationed in Virginia, where we could discreetly continue our affair. Again I became pregnant and again I returned to Iowa, where I gave birth to Sean's mother, Marylin. While I was there, I tutored Edwin Duddle. I thought that he and Tina might continue the line, but Tina found out about our intimacy and I went back to New York. John Sr. had died of a heart attack during the war, and John Jr. was now the head to the company. Our relationship was strained. He said he wanted to make up with me and brought me to his home in Virginia. On this pretext, he lured me into a strange round building in a remote area of the estate. When I was inside, several men grabbed me. I used the power of suspended animation—you've read about it in the book—and I was immobilized, and I have been trapped in this state since then—never aging, immune from all harm. The group of men call themselves 'The Brotherhood' and through the years have used their power and influence to oppress the masses and destroy any manifestation of The Matriarchy.

   Although my physical being is in a state of suspended animation, it is possible for me to communicate with 'sensitives'. Your awareness of the Matriarchy was triggered when you became pregnant. There are other 'sensitives' throughout the world, their time is coming soon, and you will be their prophet. Sean's children will be leaders of the new generation who will release the world from The Brotherhood's dark grip.

   "How will I know what paths I should take?" thought Mary.

   "Make the 'sensitives' aware of their powers." thought Emily. "Protect Sean and his children from harm. Find me and release me from bondage, for that will begin the destruction of The Brotherhood."

   "Sean and I will have more children?" thought Mary.

   "You and Sean will have a daughter. Sean's son has already been born, in the tribe of Auður the deep."

   Mary began to feel the coldness lift from her shoulders; she knew her time with Emily was coming to an end.

   "When will I speak with you again?" thought Mary.

   "At the time of my deliverance," thought Emily, "When we share a naked kiss."


   When Sean woke up, sunlight was streaming into the bedroom. He walked over to the window and, looking out, saw Mary standing in the meadow with her head bowed. He watched her for a time until she raised her head and began walking back to the farmhouse.  By the time Sean was dressed he heard the kitchen screen door slam. Going down the stairs and into the kitchen, Mary and Tina were preparing breakfast. 

   "You were with Emily?" said Tina.

   "She was there." Mary said. "We had a conversation. She told me about what happened in New York: about her life, about The Matriarchy and The Brotherhood, and about Sean's children."

   "Children, in the plural?" asked Sean.

   "The boy in Iceland is yours, Sean. And he's part of this as well." said Mary.

   "Oh dear." said Tina.

   "Emily told me that her body is in a state of suspended animation, held prisoner in a round building, on the Regelind estate in Virginia." said Mary.

   "Regelind, the tobacco dynasty?" asked Sean.

   "Yes.  The Brotherhood is affiliated with it." said Mary. "And she told me who your father is, Tina, and who Marilyn's father was."

   "Do I want to know?" Tina nervously asked. "It's all tied together, isn't it?

   "John Sr. was your father, Tina. He was the one who wrote those love letters." said Mary. "But John Jr. was your mother's father, Sean. No wonder they didn't want it to become known, you are both heirs to a fortune."

   "And so my mother was killed. I suspect that she found out and was threatening to expose the Regelinds. Is there a John the third?" said Sean.

   "It wouldn't surprise me if he is the current leader of The Brotherhood." said Mary. "All the secrets are being revealed. Emily had been waiting seventy years to tell them."


   After breakfast, Mary and Sean went into town to check in with developments in Seattle and to allow Mary to visit the final power center.  It was in a church yard, not far from Tina's place. The church was on a windswept hill with a small adjoining cemetery dotted with gravestones, most were new, but there were a sprinkling of older ones as well. Mary found the 'spot' with little trouble, it was behind a larger monument, she sat down it its shadow. Sean wandered among the rows, keeping an eye on Mary.

   Mary began her trance.


    Molly Berenson, in Seattle, hesitated a moment before phoning. She felt as if she was signing her own death warrant. She did press the call button, however, and when Sally O'Donnell answered, she simply said:

   "Coffee today?

   "Same place, same time?" answered Sally.

   "OK, see you then." said Molly, and then she hung up.

   And then she threw up.


By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Obscure Track of the Month - #1

   This is my first record - an audio vérité capture of a crazy summer night nearly forty years ago. I had been following a group of high school chums who had been erractically following their musical muse in the form of a 8 to 10 piece band which played a mix of old time and alt-country tunes interspersed with classic R&B and soul music. They were definitely not what would be called a 'jam band". The gig was at a small supper club in Becker, Minnesota, about 45 miles north of Minneapolis. The club owner had skipped town between the time of hiring us and the night of the performance. The employees who remained said that the band could play for drinks. That was a not a good idea in a band with several substance abusers. With no advertising (and no local reputation) the attendance that evening was sparse. Still, the band played on and by the third set things had gotten pretty loose. Out of nowhere this spontaneous jam emerged, serendipitously recorded by yours truly, and released on vinyl as the 'A" side of a 45 (the "B" side will be the subject of a post at a later date) a year later.

  So sit back, fire up a "doobie" or pour yourself an adult beverage of choice (it helps) and take a trip down memory lane with the Professor on a "Steamboat From Becker."

By Professor Batty

Comments: 5 

Monday, March 23, 2015


   When I was about eight I was allowed to see some of the sideshows at the State Fair.  Even at that age, I knew that some of the freaks at the fair were fake or augmented in some way. Some, like Voltara, were just hoary illusions from the 1920s. One show I do vividly remember featured conjoined twins. They were boys, a few years younger than me, and unlike some of the acts, these 'freaks' were real.

   They had their own show, with a separate admission. They were exhibited in a room about 12 feet square, furnished with a TV set and toys. There they sat, attractive children, normal in appearance except that they had four arms and two heads. It disturbed me greatly. I was at the age when I had just begun to figure out that all creation was not perfect. My little brain thought long and hard about them. It may have even given me a touch of empathy.

   I have wondered, from time to time, what became of them.

   The other day I found out.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Matinee #12

Mike Shannon, 'Sure Feels Good' singing and drumming.

With The Explodo Boys, circa 1976

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Book of Powers


   When Sean and Mary returned to Tina's, Mary went straight up to her bedroom. Sean went into the kitchen where Tina was beginning to prepare supper.

   "Can I help?" asked Sean.

   "Certainly, you can peel the potatoes, here." said Tina, handing him the peeler. "How did your trip into town go?"

   "Well, we've got some news from Seattle, it appears that we've had a stroke of bad luck—we have to go back to work."

   "Really? I thought you two were retired?"

   "It isn't really a job, just some things at ADR that need our attention. We thought that there might be a rough transition period, that's why we 'hid out' here, so we could at least have a couple of weeks to ourselves." said Sean, "On a serious note, there have been some developments in the Billygate affair, some information about who tried to kill me in Virginia."

   "Are they going to arrest someone?" asked Tina.

   "No, the man who I think stabbed me has died. There is some other information, information about the connection of that man to a group of men who were probably behind my mother's death as well. They may be dangerous."

   "Are you going back to Seattle then?" said Tina. "Do you think they might try to attack you again?"

   "I don't know, but we should be able to find out more about them when we get back." said Sean, "We'll let you know what's going on. We plan on heading out Wednesday morning and driving more or less straight through, with only one overnight stop."


   Back in the bedroom,  Mary had opened one of Emily's books. The session at the park bench had made her aware that she now had knowledge of the hieroglyphics contained in the books. The cryptic symbols, which had been meaningless, were now understandable. Mary read the first page:

            The Matriarchy and the Fulfillment of Human Potential

   Throughout the millennia, there has been an underlying current of greater awareness, sustained by a matrilineal succession, emerging from time to time in Women of Distinction. Sappho, the Oracle at Delphi, the great women mystics of the middle ages, Auður the Deep, as well as the thousands of unheralded seers and witches: all have nurtured the secrets of this understanding in the face of massive hostility. This is The Book of Powers, which describes the applications and responsibilities bestowed upon those who are possessed with the capability to use these forces. The companion volume, The Book of Keys, will allow the holders of this awareness to utilize the powers described here. In that you, the reader, are able to understand these words is proof that you hold these powers. Use them wisely.

    There was a list of 17 chapters; the titles were indicative of many of the things Mary had already experienced: The Animal Mind, The History of the Organism, Speaking Through Others, Heightened Sensation, Vision of the Past, Thought Transference. Other chapters concerned things she had yet to undergo: Suspended Animation, Material Discorporation, and the most intriguing of all, Birth and Death.

   She began to read.


   Þora had been watching her son Vilhjálmur carefully since his episode early Sunday morning. He had calmed down after she cleaned him up, no fever and otherwise seemed to be normal, even taking a long nap Monday. That evening her uncle Hilmar had stopped in. Over coffee, she had told Hilmar of the odd behavior which the child had exhibited. Hilmar took a keen interest in her comments.  When Vilhjálmur toddled into the kitchen he picked up the child and held him in his arms.

   "Yndisleg drengur," said Hilmar, as he gazed into the child's eyes, "hvað er leyndarmálið á bak augunum?" 


   At dinner, Mary was ravenous.

   "I'm afraid the I've been possessed by Mr. Creosote." she said after her third helping of mashed potatoes.

   "My goodness, who is that?" said Tina. "Is that one of Emily's lovers?"

   "No, it's a character from a Monty Python sketch."

   "Monty Python?" Tina drew a blank.

   "I'm sorry, it is a British television comedy troupe. Mr. Creosote was a patron in a fancy supper club, who ate everything on the menu."

   "And what happened to him, dear?" asked Tina.

   "He blew up." said Mary, "I won't follow in his footsteps."

   "Don't forget the projectile vomiting." said Sean.

   "That doesn't sound very funny." said Tina. "It must be a generational thing."

   "What have you been doing upstairs?" said Sean. "Besides developing an appetite."

   "After this afternoon's session, I found that I am able to read Emily's books." said Mary,
"It confirms a lot of what I've been going through. If the 'magic' is as powerful as it appears to be, there's an almost unlimited power I've been granted in several areas. I'll be visiting the last two sites tomorrow; there are still some things I don't understand."

   "Use the powers wisely, dear." said Tina, "We wouldn't want you to explode."

   Molly Berenson opened her email to find the message Mary had sent from the coffeehouse:

Molly, OK to proceed, but be careful. Pick a neutral site for the data exchange, upload the info to the dropbox and then return the media to Sally. The less you know, the better. We'll be back Saturday, and will contact you after we examine the data. Thanks for sticking your neck out on this, it could be a life-saver for us, and perhaps put an end to this affair.



By Professor Batty

Comments: 0