Monday, August 31, 2009

Mondays in Iceland - #16 in a Series

Geirsgata, 2004

An omen of things to come, perhaps. This building was a cod processing plant in the 40's, it had been slated for conversion into condos but the owners went bust.

Here's another view, courtesy of Maria at Iceland Eyes...

Comments: 3

Friday, August 28, 2009

Da Doo Ron Ron Ron

It is just a blurry kinescope from a 60's TV show- Shindig? Hullabaloo?

Written by a Brill building song-writing team,

A pop hit- intended to top the charts for a week and be forgotten the next.

But it was so much more than that.

It was a statement of empowerment for young black women everywhere:

"Here we are! Look at us!

We are full of life,

Our lives are beautiful,

Our love is beautiful,


And in millions of living rooms, millions of young people

Saw that the old ways, the ways of prejudice and hatred,

Were lies.

Thank you for giving us a taste of truth,

This bit of joy, a ray of hope.

And thank you, Ellie, for this and so many other inspirations to my youthful musical adventures.

Ellie Greenwich, October 23, 1940 – August 26, 2009

Comments: 0

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Doggone it, this Blogging business sucks! I've got to figure out a way to make this PAY. I don't mean wimpy little "'scuse me" Goggle ads either. Make a hard sell approach to the "spiritual" side of Flippism? That book deal didn't exactly pay off.
Revival meetings? Been there, done that:

There's got to be a way to promise people heaven and deliver nothing, all the while raking in huge amounts of money.


I think I have it!



Let Flippism ease your afterworld cares. Sure you're guilty as sin, aren't we all? But all it takes to erase that Karmic debt is to write a little check (for handling purposes, nothing smaller than $1000 please) to Professor Batty.

Mail to:

Flippist World Headquarters
Anoka Minnesota.

You'll sleep easier tonight for having done so.

Comments: 10

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arts Night at the State Fair

It's that time of year again: time for the Minnesota State Fair and the State Fair Art Exhibit. The Fair won't be officially open for a couple of days but the Art show preview night is always a hoot.

The walk back to the car was as much fun as the show. The fair is noisy, hot, and jarring. On this night it was quiet, cool, with a serene tableaux around every corner.

The moon was the only thing moving in the sky this night.

A few of the stands were lit up, getting things ready for the big show.

Art is everywhere.

Comments: 1

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Are They Now?

Mr Kool is always a hit with kids, and he has been known to enjoy an adult beverage on occasion.

Comments: 2

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mondays in Iceland #15 in a Series

The Opera House, Reykjavík, 2004

I had flown in on the red-eye from Minneapolis the night before, we had left late so by the time I had gotten checked in at the guest house and had walked back downtown it was nearly noon, just in time for a "Lunch at the Opera" concert. There was a lively queue of white hairs wearing furs and jewelry standing outside in the blustery March air; I helped more than a few octogenarians up over the tricky threshold into the small lobby of what was once a cinema, now home to the opera. I got my ticket and went in; the theater had never been remodeled, with ancient seats and a pleasant aura of shows gone by.

It was really just a recital, three singers with piano accompaniment, in Italian (fortunately for me the lyrics were projected above the stage- in Icelandic, of course!) The singing was first-rate, and although I was severely jet-lagged, it was a wonderful way to start a trip. Afterward, I went back to the guesthouse and fell asleep for 18 hours.

Comments: 4

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alternate Realities

There are an infinite number of realities. These "alternate" realities are all around us, we only need to shift our perspective ever so slightly and they become manifest. They may be completely different, or hardly different at all. They may exist on the other side of the universe, or in your own back yard. Or in Wisconsin.

Not to be confused with alternate realty.

But might be confused with this alternate realty.

Comments: 0

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Black Krim

Tomato, that is. This heirloom variety originally from The Crimea (Krim in Russian) has started to ripen in the Flippist vegetable garden (AKA The Pots of Horror!) They have a predisposition towards cracking and a tendency to be soft, but oh! such flavor! All that is good about a fresh summer tomato is in there- that winey aroma and a rich, tangy, slightly smoky flavor. The black juice around the seeds only makes the blood-red flesh that much more attractive. I've read that the leaves are poisonous; there's nothing like a little danger to make a BLT more alluring.

Comments: 0

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Sodbuster and the Free Spirit

Ten rolls of sod, an after dinner boulevard job, no big deal, but has to be done by sundown. Grab that hose and wet 'em down good, Sodbuster, make 'em stick.

Up walks the Free Spirit, barefoot and thirty years past girlhood but still with a gleam in her eye.

"Be needing a foot wash tonight Ma'am?"

"No thanks" she says, looking back with a laugh. "You're always working around here, making things look so nice..."

"Well, after twenty-five years I hope I've made a difference."

The Free Spirit twirls around, as if she were still sixteen, and continues on her way.

And the very capable Sodbuster, always the jobber- never the champion, loses another match.

Comments: 0

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dog Day Matinee Redux

Last week I bemoaned the lack of quality summer movies, or at least movies which held an interest for me. Part of the problem may be that we've had such a mild summer here and it's hard to go indoors when the weather has been so glorious. I have had some luck with films, however- my trusty thrift store has been getting a bunch of great DVD's in lately. Here's my rundown of three alternative summer flicks:

The Secret of Roan Inish, 1993

If you can still believe in magic, this is a must-see. A family movie, and a movie about families, but it works on many levels. I won't say a word about the plot or characters in the hope that someone will read this, rent it and watch it without any preconceptions whatsoever. One of my all-time faves. Those of you who have seen this already know what I'm talking about.

Like Water For Chocolate, 1992

Has there ever been such a successful marriage of food and passion portrayed in the history of cinema? I doubt it- but if there is do let me know! The DVD has been edited a bit from the languid film version (but not Gertudis' arousal scene, thank goodness!) and it still packs a tasty punch. If you watch this movie with a lover and some good chocolate you may find that you will need to pause it for a while. The book is just as delicious.

Back to the Beach, 1987

Annette Funicello was one of the original Disney Mouseketeers, and perhaps the first girl to go through puberty under the eyes of millions of television viewers. Her subsequent "Beach Party" films with Frankie Avalon were iconic. They featured simple boy-meets-girls plots, had tons of cameos, and had pretty much disappeared by the end of the sixties. This film was a reunion of sorts, a gentle send-up of the earlier ones, and in many ways the best of them all. Annette and Frankie (The Big Kahuna) stop by their old stomping grounds to check up on their daughter and the usual hi-jinks ensue. Any tongues in this PG film are kept firmly in cheek. The musical numbers are actually really good: that's Annette (above) showing Fishbone how to do the ska, Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughn trade licks on Pipeline, even Peewee Herman shows up- singing Surfin' Bird! Big dumb summer fun.

Comments: 0

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mondays in Iceland #14 in a series

Reykjavík harbor, 2004

For a little different view of Iceland check out this post on Chris Albertson's wonderful blog Stomp Off.

Chris is a veteran of the New York City Jazz scene and his blog contains a wealth of fabulous photos and memorabilia- absolutely fantastic stuff! The linked post tells the incredible story of how he came to America. I'll be watching this site for more stories of his childhood.

Comments: 4

Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul  (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)

Comments: 4

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Them Summer Days

End of the spring and here she comes back
Hi Hi Hi Hi there
Them summer days,
Those summer days

That's when I had most of my fun, back
high high high high there
Them summer days,
Those summer days

I "cloud nine" when I want to

Out of school, yeah

County fair in the country sun

And everything, it's true, ooh yeah

Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime

First of the fall and then she goes back
Bye bye bye bye there
Them summer days,
Those summer days

Boop-boop-ba-boop-boop when I want to

Out of school, yeah

County fair in the country sun

And everything, it's true, ooh yeah

Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime
Hot fun in the summertime

~Sly and the Family Stone

Comments: 0

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Best Of All Possible Worlds

Like a modern-day Candide, the old perfesser has got things going pretty good right now. The plumbing works, the garden is green, his dinner was fabulous (Grilled salmon, french-cut green beans on a bed of orzo, smothered in Dal Makhani) and he's finally gotten his weight under 170! Add an after-dinner constitutional taken in 75° weather with nary a mosquito in sight and he's definitely on a roll.

All of his Iceland arrangements are confirmed and paid for (knock on wood!) and the rest of his bills are taken care of.

Then, just when he thought it couldn't get any better, it did:

Wait for it...

It's coming...

Drum roll, please...

Cheetos™ flavored lip balm.

Life is good.

Comments: 3

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dog Day Matinee

A summer movie season is nearly over and I haven't been tempted yet. I think I'll have to see Julie and Julia, although critical reviews have been lukewarm, I'm a sucker for Meryl Streep. And Julia Child.
There have been plenty of the usual carnage-flicks, lightweight romances and frat-boy "comedies", but not many of the quirky independent sleepers. With more films being made than ever, and from all parts of the world, you would think that there would be a better selection. Netflicks is great, but it's fun to go out once in a while, and The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Fest doesn't come back until MAY!

Anyone see something worthwhile lately?

Comments: 6

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mondays in Iceland #13 in a Series

Nornabúðin, 2006

Nornabúðin lokar.

The witch shop on Vesturgata is now closed, perhaps a victim of the Kreppa, or perhaps closed for other and more personal reasons. It isn't the kind of place which (witch?) can be replaced by a franchise; I guess there could be a "mom and pop" witch store but that would, by definition, be a whole different thing. The store was delightful and the resident witch most enchanting. This sign was the most visible artifact (from the street at least) of what was in reality a superlative art installation.

Comments: 0

Friday, August 07, 2009

Don't Let Me Lose This Dream

Hallgrímskirkja, 2006

After hours of tedious agonizing and negotiation, I've managed to put the October trip to Iceland back on my schedule.

I'll have better dreams now.

Comments: 6

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Faded Flowers

Cut flowers are always a bittersweet pleasure.

The secret lives of these plants has now ended.

But there are lots of flowers,

A flower's beauty enhances the survival of the species;

Whether cut or not.

In their final stage they remain beautiful.

As beautiful as they were in first bloom.

Comments: 0

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Leaky Abstractions

A new phone system was installed at my place of employment recently. It has, in the modern style, no functions which are labeled in text. Instead, there are icons.
There are red and green LED lights as well- they blink on and off- who knows what they signify- Christmas? The icons are meant to be abstractions of the functions, I think, although I am not really sure. There is an old-time announcer's microphone pictured next to one button, I thought it was for paging, but no, there is some other button for that (which I couldn't find.) Perhaps it's for singing? There is also an ominous red button with a phone handset printed on its top; I think that must be the hot line for calling Moscow in case of a nuclear attack. It does have a caller ID screen, thank goodness that display is in text, so I can avoid calls I don't want to take. Once my name was on it; I started having a Lost Highway flashback. The icon that really creeps me out is the "floppy disk" for files on PCs. (On Vista even!) Why not have a gramophone for mp3 files? Or a buggy whip for a cursor? A wax seal for "save as"?

I'm going to have a theme party, where everyone can come as an outdated or ambiguous icon. We'll party like it's 1999 1899.

Comments: 5

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

One Man Band

It isn't often that I catch a plaintive refrain from a Jimmy Reed song wafting into my backyard. Over at the car show (a summer ritual in our town) this young man was faithfully recreating various primitive blues and rockabilly tunes, playing for tips:
Got me running, got me hiding,
Got me run, hide, hide, run anyway you want to
let it roll
yeah, yeah, yeah
You got me doin' what you want me
So baby what you want me to do?

Going up, going down
Got me up, down, down, up, anyway you want to
let it roll
yeah, yeah, yeah
You got me doin' what you want me
So baby what you want me to do?

Got me beeping, got me hiding
Got me beep, hide, beep, hide, anyway you want to
let it roll
yeah, yeah, yeah
You got me doin' what you want me
So baby what you want me to do?

Sometimes you find redemption in the oddest places.

Comments: 0

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mondays In Iceland - #12 in a Series

The Berserker

Flippist World Headquarters
was invaded Saturday by Rose, my fellow Iceland-fanatic-blogger. We spent the afternoon telling stories of Iceland and elsewhere as she snooped about- even going so far as to sit in the "Flippist Seat of Power" (above), a feat that few have done, and even fewer have lived to talk about.

Seriously, it was a lot of fun, as the Weaver showed off her talents - including a runner made from wool bought in Richmond last year (below) and Rose got to see the Iceland Show I did with Auður in 2005.

We did talk Laxness, of course, A Quire of Seven the next book review? Gljúfrasteinn this October? (More about that later...)

Comments: 3