Monday, December 18, 2017

Pierre Wolfe

Mr. Wolfe in the 1960’s at his Quorum Restaurant in Denver Colorado.

I still get surprised at the various rabbit-holes I fall into while cruising on the information highway. I was looking for a humorous image to accompany a restaurant gift card. Not only did I find one, but I also found a legend. Pierre Wolfe, now in his 90s, has led a long and colorful life: as chef to the famous, host of the world’s longest running radio show, and even author of a war novel written while he was in his 80s! Follow this link for his amazing story.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Porcelain Queen

Joan in Studio, 1984

I recently spent a weekend with some of my sister-in-laws. One constant at their three homes was the porcelain we had given them, still being used and still looking great after all these years. Joan, the potter, has retired from throwing, her last sale was about five years ago and since then she suffered a flooded basement that ruined her equipment. I miss seeing (and buying) her new stuff, especially at Christmas.

I haven’t seen anyone else currently doing what she did.

I’ve got a bunch of it, it brings me joy almost every day.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Post #25,000

One of the blogs I regularly visit is Mark Evanier’s News From Me. Mark is a real writer:  comic books, television shows, scripts, etc., he is also a curator of inside show biz miscellany. He sometimes goes where I fear to tread (i.e., comic conventions, musical theater) but he is so prolific that I just wait a few hours and he’ll be off on a new topic. He recently put up his 25,000th post, a number that that works out to be about 20 full-length novels!

Mark’s 25,000th post is an excellent overview of what it takes to create a successful blog. Everything he wrote in it is true for me except he has a readership that is a couple of orders of magnitude greater than mine. Here are some of his more notable quotes:

What I like about blogging is (a) it's writing and (b) it's writing for me.

“Here is a bit of advice for anyone who's thinking of starting a blog. Don't start by trying to figure out software and hosting and web design. Start by verifying that you can keep the thing filled because very few people will follow a blog that goes weeks without a new entry. See if you can write twelve posts of a non-time-sensitive nature in one month, three a week. That would be twelve posts of more than a few sentences…twelve posts with which you're satisfied. If you can't do that, don't waste your time setting up a blog.”

“What should you post? Well,the great thing about blogging — and really, really make sure you appreciate this — is that it's wholly up to you. You will not experience a freedom like that in many other portions of your life.”

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Found in a Snowdrift

Re-run from ten years ago at FITK…

We had a major snowfall last week-end, I had driven into Minneapolis to check out an annual art sale held in a downtown restaurant. The City of Minneapolis takes a "wait and see" attitude toward plowing the streets, usually giving everyone a couple of days to flounder about in the the snow before any plowing commences. I had parked on the street; there was a spot a few blocks away from the sale that wasn't completely drifted in; it was a one-way; I exited to the curb.

Gleaming amidst the snow was a shiny aluminum tube, with a black plastic collar. "Hmm... a flashlight..." I mused as I tossed it into the car to examine later. The next day, when I had a chance to examine my find, I noticed that it felt kind of slippery for a flashlight. It was stylish: with a conical end, a raised design that coiled around its shaft, and the aforementioned collar at the other end. But where the lamp should have been was only a small screw-head. Turning it over, I saw a sticker with the words, "MUST CLOSE CAP TIGHTLY" printed on it. I turned the collar, loosening it and it came off- there were batteries inside, but still no light. I screwed the collar back on, tightly, this time...

It started vibrating!

Oh My!

Then I remembered where it was exactly that I had parked.

Near "Sex World", a certain sort of "boutique."

Then I also remembered why I don't go downtown much any more.

First published Dec 6, 2007

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Friday, December 08, 2017


I'm becoming quite the bar-hopper in my dotage. Wednesday night I caught a performance by one of Curtiss A’s ensembles. I had seen him perform last August at the Minnesota State Fair in a Hank Williams tribute. This time, he was fine-tuning his John Lennon Tribute show, now in its 38th iteration!

I've seen him on several occasions over the years, even in his early punk-pop incarnation
as the "Dean O’ Scream” in the legendary Longhorn.  In a way, he is sort of an ADD version of John Lennon, not as focused, but certainly as intense. He's flirted with success, but has never broken into the big time. He has had health issues, its appears as if a record of every gig in his long career seems to be carved into into his rugged visage. He is now a “grand old man” of the Twin Cities music scene, with no shortage of musicians who want to be part of his latest project. Wednesday night’s Beatle songs were done with plenty of gusto, although having four guitars playing the same chords in the same positions might have sounded better in a more open arrangement. That quibble aside, the crowd certainly dug it, IT’S THE BEATLES, FOR CHRISTSSAKE!

And you aren’t going to find a better performance in a neighborhood bar anywhere!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Lately I have been reading about Luxfer Prism Glass Tiles. When I was in Mount Horeb last weekend, I noticed that one of the commercial buildings had a whole set of these across the storefront, many of them with the Frank Lloyd Wright geometric design pictured above. The tiles would refract light into the back of the shops, giving it a more even distribution, which was important in the era before electric lighting. These tiles in Mount Horeb were covered with an awning, limiting their effectiveness. Of course, the stores did have modern electric lighting. When they restored the building they actually built new panels for the corner entry; they can still be custom made.

Sometimes stained glass lettering was incorporated into the prism glass arrays:

The tiles are popular with collectors, sometimes re-purposed into light fixtures, I've even seen them used as wall tiles. They are common on eBay, at wildly varying price points.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 4 

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Blood Cookies…

… or, Visions of Shoshanah redux.

Once again I found myself in front of the imposing ”old schoolhouse” of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. It was a craft sale, various goods of  varying degrees of handcraftedness. The  vendor pictured below raised Alpaca, she had raw and spun wool for sale, as well as articles machine made from wool she supplied:

Of course Shoshanah was there, with new paintings and a whole library of her books. As one of her Patreons, I felt it my duty to attend. It was fun to see her interact with her friends, there is a lot of goodwill in that small town:

I saw some new vendors as well, “Misty” had her handmade Netchie Dolls (with additional clothes) on display:

I tried to be invisible when taking pictures but I didn’t fool everybody:

More goodwill; the sense of affection these people had for each other was palpable:

Shoshanah brought “Blood Cookies”—but I'll let her tell that story on her blog:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3