Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Pirate

A Memoir by Jón Gnarr
Written with Hrefna Lind Heimsdóttir

First published 2009
Translated version published by
Deep Vellum Publishing, Dallas, Texas

This is the second volume in Gnarr's autobiography, continuing his childhood into his adolescent years. The story gets progressively wilder and weirder: more bullying, Jón’s discovery of Anarchism and Punk Rock, his confirmation woes, his success (on downfall) selling raffle tickets, and his discovery of girls and drugs (neither went well.)

This is a more substantial book than The Indian, giving a broader look at Icelandic teen culture in the mid 70s, as well as insights into Iceland as a whole. With glowing blurbs from such notables as Oliver Sacks, Noam Chomsky, and Yoko Ono, Gnarr has emerged on the international scene as a writer of note.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Indian

A Memoir/Novel by Jón Gnarr

First published 2006
Translated version published by Deep Vellum Publishing, Dallas, Texas

I thought about these names—not once, not twice, not even three times. I thought about them no more. They thought themselves into me, autocratic, ceaseless, an automatic mantra wiping everything else away, clean gone from my consciousness.

~ Þórbergur Þórðarson 

This is the first book in a trilogy by the noted Icelandic comic actor and politician. The opening quote is from another noted Icelandic author, an author who had similar childhood experiences as Jón Gnarr.  In The Indian, Gnarr describes his younger days (in the early 70s), when he was diagnosed with numerous conditions that today would be labelled ADD and dyslexia. He was simply termed “maladaptio” and was shunted from one specialist to another in an effort to get some of his wild and dangerous behaviors under control. This book is a fascinating document. Gnarr’s memories are supplemented by actual psychological reports from his childhood. Gnarr’s ADD and numerous other problems led to his being singled out for bullying which certainly didn’t help matters any.

The writing is simple and direct, often reminding me of Þórðarson, and sometimes even the sagas when it shifts into the present tense as Gnarr describes pivotal scenes. The book ends when the author is in middle school, trying to “fit in”. Anyone interested in troubled children (or in child-rearing practices in 1970s Iceland) should enjoy this book.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, August 18, 2017


Harbinger of Doom #5

One of the downsides of living near the county courthouse is that there is a steady trickle of miscreants who have just gotten out of jail. The jail ID bracelet I found on my evening constitutional had been discarded by a recently freed man who had been arrested taking a shopping cart of unpaid items out of the nearby Walmart.

Not the most imaginative crime.

A criminal record for a couple of hundred bucks worth of Walmart goods!

And then, when he got out, littering!!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Craigslist, Reykjavík Edition

Harbinger of Doom #4

Yesterday I got a hit from France, searching for "Used Bikes Reykjavík."
I checked it out and instead of used bikes, I found ads featuring these "products" on the Reykjavík Craigslist:

100% discreet!

Oddly, these were the bulk of the ads, in all categories!

I'm thinking that the Icelandic version of Craigslist is not monitored very closely.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Locked and Loaded

Harbinger of Doom #3


What will it be today: North Korea, or Iran, or Venezuela?

Or Charlottesville?

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, August 11, 2017


We are refugees
From a war only we saw,
Skinny limbs curled around one
Another as though,
Just a little more warmth
Might be had
From two than one.

We are opening our eyes
And seeing the hope of
A returning.
We are slowly,
Slowly uncurling and
Remembering how to be
Two people.

Do you feel as I do,
Drunken off deception,
Pretending I am standing
Just fine

Do you reel as I do,
Dizzy from destruction,
Pretending it wasn't me
Spending nights

We are slowly growing borders
Between where one person
Ends and another begins,
Letting me breathe,
On my own,

We are slowly learning to
See one another as people
Do, eye to eye from
Far enough away you aren't
A blur of color and motion,
Making me faintly sick
In your abstraction.

We are slowly becoming two,
Who maybe, just maybe,
Might be able to love
As people do.

~Reshma Sanyal

Summer rerun, first published August 16th, 2007

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


Harbinger of Doom #2

Popillia japonica

Caught in the act, this noxious pest is the Japanese beetle, chomping on the Flippist World Headquarters’ prize rosebushes. Needless to say, the garden patrol is on high alert: seek and destroy! These critters will eat almost anything. Once established, they can be controlled via special techniques, but they still requires constant vigilance. Fortunately, they are slow moving and can be scooped into a container of soapy water where they will drown (or you can just squish 'em, but they stink.)

Fornicabitur en flagrante

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1