Monday, December 31, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #33 - Review and Recap

Song of the Vikings
Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths
Nancy Marie Brown
Palgrave Macmillan, New York

As befitting my "Iceland Year" I end with a review of a book about Snorri Sturluson, the Icelandic storyteller and writer who wrote down most of the Nordic myths and Sagas which survive to this day. This isn't a heavy tome, the writing is light and concise, but it is fully annotated for those who would like to delve further. The author gives a detailed history of the life of Snorri and attempts to link later works such as Wagner's Ring Cycle and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings with the original Icelandic sources.

For the most part Brown succeeds, although  the end of the book tends to be more of a list than an analysis. In spite of this it remains a good introduction to the somewhat unsung man and his work.  It would be a great help to anyone who was beginning to explore the "old stories."

Also fitting, on the last day of the year, is the ending of my "Mondays in Iceland" series. There will still be pictures and stories of Iceland, but I'm reverting to a less structured form of blogging.  Structure imposes its own limitations;  I feel as if I've been losing the spontaneity which was always a feature of FITK—consciously, right from its beginning. 

The serial fiction will be wrapping up in the next couple of months as well, read it for free while you can, I will convert it into some kind of e-book—if I can figure out how.

See you next year!

Comments: 2

Sunday, December 30, 2012

   All good things must come to an end.

   This marks the last of the Sharon Spotbottom posts to be featured on Flippism is the Key. The Professor extends his heartfelt thanks to artist Karen Heathwood for allowing Sharon to grace this site for the last two years. Sharon speaks to me in ways I still don't understand, but I guess that comes with being "nothing if she is anything."

There will always be a place for Sharon as long as my Flippist heart remains beating.


I <3 br="" sharon="" spotbottom="">

Comments: 1

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sharon's Nightmare

Sharon dreamt her mamoo went mad and unleashed
a mighty reign of terror over the land.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sharon Plays Dead

The Spotbottom kids love playing this trick on their parents.
The Spotbottom parents like to pretend they care.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sharon's Divertimento

An unconventional upbringing fraught with tradition.
Here wee Sharon enjoys the sweet serenade of French crows.
Later they will all meet for teacake and square dancing under the harvest moon.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spotbottom Sleepover

As the family sleeps, Sharon sweeps.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Comments: 2

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mondays in Iceland #32

Greeting card by "Theo", circa 1950

Comments: 0

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sharon Fashions

Featuring her men;s line of Spotswear modeled by Baron Von Spotbottom himself.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 1

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sharon and Grindle at Play II

Look, up on the Shire, it's a Spotbottom...and two others.
It's the semi-annual-if-we-feel-like-it-when-the-melons-are-ripe-melonball-race-across-the-shire-for-no-good-reason.

Except for a laugh.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sharon Sitting for Ding Dong

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sharon Annoying

Grindle's in her room and she won't come out.
Flick, ping, ow...SHARON, quit it!

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Sharon's Pendulum Conundrum

Sharon's state of mind often swung perilously from Clodagh to Baron.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Belly of the Beast

   Sally was right.

   The reception was full of young women who were interested in me. The twenty-somethings were well represented, many of them were casting surreptitious glances my way. The thirty-somethings just boldly stared. Clothes make the man? Herbert, who had been assigned as my valet, had certainly known what he was doing. Billy's closets contained quite the collection of designer clothes and Herbert could really coordinate them. It took some talking on my part but I was finally able to ditch the wingtips. I idly wondered if my appearance was inspiring thoughts of a White House wedding. It made me realize that I was starting to think the same way as Billy.

   We were waiting for the Senator in the foyer and adjoining rooms of a sizeable mansion in suburban Richmond. His plane was late; he was flying in from a rally in Miami. My appetite had finally returned, so I ravenously devoured the rich hors d’œuvre (as discreetly as possible) while the staff made sure my champagne glass was never empty.

   Nora and Sally kept their eyes on me, as if the were making sure that I looked as if I was enjoying myself. I was seated on a sofa by the fireplace with a stupid PR grin plastered on my face when one of the thirty-somethings came down and sat beside me. She was slim, in a black cocktail dress and flats. She held an expensive-looking clutch and her stud earrings must have been at least three carats each. Her black hair was short, but becoming.

   "You're looking sharp, Billy, your maturity suits you. Did you pick out those clothes?"

   "I'm afraid not, it's my man Herbert who has the fashion eye."

   "Herbie's still around? He's the only person who had any class in that house. So where have you been hiding since you dumped me seven years ago, without so much as a phone call?"

   "So sorry about that. Mea Culpa." I didn't have the faintest idea who she was, but I knew Billy's M.O. and tried to mollify her. The champagne was starting to affect me; I was getting quite relaxed. "I've been abroad, still trying to find my place in the world, I guess."

   "Your place in world. Ha ha, Billy. Always the kidder. Tell me, what is my name?"


   "You heard me, what is my name? Say it. Say my name... You don't even remember my Goddamn name, do you?"

   "No." This wasn't the place to start a fight with one of Billy's old girlfriends. "Forgive me if you can, but I'm not the man I once was."

   "As if that were true. I've seen you looking around. Who will get "the treatment" tonight?"

   "Look, I didn't come here to make a scene. Let it go. Now. Please excuse me."

   I got up and turned around. The room kept on turning. I was a lot drunker than I had thought I would have been. Suddenly, there was a commotion outside. No doubt the limo with the senator had arrived. The whirling of the room around my head was moving down to my gut.  I asked one of the serving staff where the bathroom was. Everyone in the house was rushing to the foyer to greet the Senator, everyone except me.

   I made it into the bathroom and managed to have the wherewithall to hang up my suit coat before I 'assumed the position' in front of the toilet. Between purges I could hear applause from the crowd outside the house. Then a great roar went up and at the exact same moment I felt an excruciating pain in my belly. Everything went dark. My abdominal pains redoubled with each new spasm. I could feel a wetness seeping through my shirt, and when I reached to touch it I could feel the handle of a knife.

   I heard a muffled voice speak:

   "You bastard."

   And then I passed out.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spotbottoms Sweep

Everyday, Clodagh sweeps her dust to Sharon's side.
Sharon sweeps it back.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #31 - No Photos Please!

U.S.Embassy, Reykjavík, October, 2012

Iceland is a photographers dream— majestic scenery, colorful cities, and an abundance of unusual buildings in the Capitol. But the one place you must not photograph is the U.S. Embassy. I was out on a fine Sunday in October taking pictures in the dramatic afternoon sunlight. When I walked by I took another shot. A guard, a young Icelandic man came out and nicely asked if I would delete the picture. "They are very strict about this in the Embassy."

I said sure, no problem, and deleted the image for him. We got to talking, wanted to know where I was from and why I was interested in Iceland. The talk soon turned to Halldór Laxness, of course. We said good bye and I went on my way. Looking through my files tonight, I found that I had not deleted all the image files of the Embassy. I can understand the need for security, although if someone really wanted a picture of the embassy, they could just do a Google Image Search.

And despite what the fictional Ambassador in my serial may have done, the real U.S. Ambassador is really a very cool guy.

Comments: 0

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sharon's Yoga Class

That's Sharon's brother with the yoga teacher.
There's just no way she'll be staying for class now.

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sharon and Grindle at Play

'Tis the season for Sharon

Used by Permission

Comments: 0

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sharon's Grand Swat

Sharon's baby-doll tennis uniform is patterned after
those worn by the mighty Sharapova.
With Sharon's good looks the comparison is unavoidable.

Sharon's family
will be featured here until the end of the year.

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sharon in Trouble

Uh Oh, Sharon and Grindle got caught playing with fire again!!

Sharon's family will be featured until the end of the year.

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sharon's Family

Sharon's Dadoo:
Baron Von Spotbottom is a lovely man who enjoys his pets and tinkering around the house.

Sharon's Mamoo:
Clodagh Spotbottom is prone to chasing Sharon with a broom. Sharon has her fathers nose.

Sharon's sister:
Grindle once led a bus load of Girl Scouts over a cliff and then went home to eat all their cookies with Sharon.

Sharon's brother:
Ted Spotbottom hums and smiles when he reads.

Sharon's family
will be featured here almost daily until the end of the year.

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Coffee for Two

   "Mrs. Robinson, where is Sean?" Molly whispered to the striking black woman who sat beside her. They were in the balcony of a coffee house in the Fremont District of Seattle. "I haven't heard from him for three days."

   "We have been out of touch with him as well. How did you get my text number?"

   "Sean left it in a letter, only to be opened in an emergency. What do you know?"

   "Sean's project is extremely sensitive. I don't want you to know very much at this time, for your own safety."

   "My life doesn't seem to be worth much lately, I was taken in by Federal agents two days ago, they threatened me with prosecution for being in the WTO protests in 1999."

   "A little late for that, I think, no?" The black woman stared into her coffee, avoiding any eye contact. "Evidently they let you go. Do you think you're under surveillance?"

   "I had been, until they brought me in, but not since then. I borrowed a friend's phone to text you, just to be on the safe side. Sean told me how to be careful in his letter."

   "Molly, how did you get here? Did you drive?"

   "No, I took a bus and walked the last three blocks, just to be sure I wasn't being followed."

   "My car is around the corner. Let's go for a ride, and I'll tell you what I know."

   "It isn't good, is it?"


   The women left the shop via the rear entrance, when they were in the car Mrs. Robinson looked at Molly for the first time. Molly saw that Mrs. Robinson's eyes were rimmed with tears.

   "Let's go out somewhere, Molly, somewhere by the ocean."

   "We could go out to Golden Gardens, it's usually pretty private there." Molly felt a surge of nausea. "Do you know where it is?"

   "Yes, I know the way."

   As they drove the clouds, which had been sputtering all day, began to break up and by the time they reached the park the bright sunshine was reflecting from millions of water droplets on the dune grass. After they had walked away from the parking lot and were nearing the shore Mrs. Robinson stopped by a small grove of trees.

   "Molly, Sean was in Iceland, he went there to meet an old friend from college. His friend was the subject of a search. This morning I received word from the US State Department that Sean had been killed in an accident."

   Molly crumpled to the ground and began to softly weep. Mrs Robinson sat beside her and cried as well. After a time Molly quietly spoke:

   "H-how? Sean never told me it would be dangerous."

   "He was hit by a taxi when crossing a street... it was at night... it was raining. It had nothing to do with his project."

   "I don't believe it. He said he'd come back. "

   "His body was flown in last night. I'm going to the morgue later to identify it. Will you come?"

   Molly slowly regained her composure.

   "Yes, let's go now."

   They rode to morgue in silence. When they arrived Mrs. Robinson spoke with the attendant. He had them sign forms and then brought them into the examining room.

   "His head was severely damaged; just giving fair warning" the attendant said.

   He slid the gurney out of the cold vault. He pulled the sheet down, and Molly moved next to the battered figure. She looked closely at his chest, it was relatively unmarked. She said nothing and turned away. Mrs. Robinson nodded and the attendant covered the corpse and returned it to storage. Back in the office, Mrs. Robinson signed more papers and then they left.

   Back in the car, Molly remained quiet until Mrs. Robinson stopped in front of her apartment, and then spoke:

   "It's not him."


Monday, December 10, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #30 - Ghost Suburb

Near Krikar, October 2012

Collateral damage from the 2008 kreppa, several unfinished housing projects dot the countryside around Reykjavík. Nestled in picturesque surroundings these "new ruins" catch the eye with their melancholy beauty.

Comments: 0

Friday, December 07, 2012


Some Sharons make you smaller
Some Sharons make you....tea

I get all mushy when I think Sharon

Used by permission

Comments: 0

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tea for Three

   "I hope he isn't a dumb."

   Nora, the Senator's wife, my 'new' stepmother, was talking about me to Sally as if I wasn't in the room. We were 'taking tea' in the dining room of the main house of the Clarkson compound. It was really an inspection of the goods. I felt as if I was a piece of livestock.

   "Nora, he's gone through a lot in the last few days. When he's settled in I'm sure you'll find him to be quite capable. How are you feeling now Billy?"

   In fact, I was feeling thoroughly disgusted with myself. Nora was the kind of woman to whom I took an immediate dislike, yet I was compelled to sit here,  smile pleasantly, making chit-chat about the flight and the house and the election. I usually never took politics seriously and after seeing Billy's report on the Senator's activities my disinterest had turned into revulsion.

   "I'm doing better, thank you. Once I get my inner clock reset I should be as good I ever was." Once I got my life reset, perhaps.

   "William, and I will call you William, that Billy nickname is absolutely juvenile, tomorrow night is the big rally in Richmond. It will be the first time in the campaign that the whole family will appear with the Senator. It's a big thing." Nora's hand had a slight tremor as she held her cup and saucer. "The clothes in your closet should fit you: wear the dark blue suit, a white shirt and a red tie. Those shoes you're wearing will do. I'll send Herbert down to help you dress."

   "Thank you Mrs. Clarkson." The wing-tips! As if! I hoped that Herbert had better taste than Nora.

   "Be ready by 4. We'll have a reception at a donor's house before the rally- remember: smile, agree, don't comment. They're our people, act as if you belonged."

   "I will do my best."

   "Damn right you will. We are the best. Don't forget it, not even for a second."

   Nora looked at me through a frown of distaste.

   "And William, there will be young women there. Don't encourage them. They don't want to help you, they only want to use you."


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Sunday Night Shopper

Coon Rapids, Minnesota

It was a dark and rainy night.
Batty's the name.
Groceries are my game.
I like Sunday nights- no crowds, no noise, plenty of parking.
A man can think.
About turnips.
And toothpaste.
The important things in life.
When it is time to check out the cashiers are part-timers or students.
Sometimes we talk.

"Did you find everything you were looking for?"

"Yes, thank you. Pretty quiet night."

"It was busy earlier, most folks stay home Sunday nights, I guess."

"Kinda peaceful."

"Yeah, it's not so crazy. That'll be $153.78."

"Yeah, not so crazy. I like it."

Comments: 2

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #29 - Dog Show

Hljomskalagarður, October, 2012

Dog ownership in Reykjavík is on the upswing. I had read that as recently as 2005 it was frowned upon in the city, and had even been banned in the past. No longer. Dogs with their owners are commonplace now, one Sunday I even found myself in the middle of an event for dogs, complete with a brass band! The dogs were well-behaved, and many sported little embroidered badges of their club.

Hljomskalagarður, October, 2012

Comments: 1