Monday, January 15, 2018

Petite Auberge

Translated as “Little Country Inn”, Petite Auberge is a common name for informal French-style small hotels around the world. For our midwinter respite this year, The Weaver and I will be staying at one of them next month. Not in France, not in England, but rather in “that city by the bay“—San Francisco. Its decor may be a little frou-frou for some tastes, but after scanning some bizarre offerings from other hotels in the district, I think I’ll go with elegant over edgy.

This will be a car-less vacation, there is plenty to see and do within walking distance, and we’ll be only a block away from the cable cars! We’ve already got a list of things to do, but any suggestions are appreciated.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 5 

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Missing Photos Redux

Adapted from a 1-23-07 FITK post with additional material

Archiving the family photographs, unless one is exceptionally diligent, always is a bit of an imprecise endeavor. Albums are big and heavy, hard to organize, and, because they are somewhat expensive, have a tendency to “self-edit” those pictures that hadn’t “made the grade.” Shoe boxes, while inclusive and simple to use, also tend to “bury” a wanted photo- “Let me think, was it '97 or '98? It's here somewhere... ” Digital storage is the newest option, certainly more compact, but as the number of image files grows, it too becomes unwieldy. Its fate in long-term storage may be susceptible to other pitfalls as well.

But none of these issues address the situation of deliberately destroying photos that may have been deemed “unseemly” in the context of family history. In the late 1950s my parents would attend a “neighborhood” party. A group of couples converged for an evening of socialization and cocktails with no children present. A camera was present, however and, evidently after several drinks, pictures were taken of various couples in amusing situations. These couples were not married. To each other, that is.

These pictures were processed and remained in the bottom of my family’s photo shoe box for many years. I would look at them from time to time, wondering just what our parents had been thinking. And then, they were gone. There isn’t any chance of our children finding a similar cache of us; we barely know our neighbors. Perhaps it is better that those pictures have gone missing. What were no doubt innocent party games in the “fabulous fifties” have grown in the imagination to something more exotic and daring...

UPDATE: I recently discovered these pictures when scanning a hitherto unknown photo album that my sister had. Here are a couple of those “missing photos”:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Death Cleaning Convergence

          From Real Life Adventures

You would have to be living under a rock (or be me) not to have heard of the latest de-cluttering craze Death Cleaning, the precepts of which have been put into a book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning written by a 80 to 100 year-old, Margareta Magnusson. I had recently read Jono’s missive on cleaning which resonated with me in my current basement clean-up efforts. Yesterday’s January thaw found the Weaver and me in Ingebretsen’s, a mecca for all things Scandinavian. That's where I saw the book mentioned above. On the way home we stopped by an estate sale—an especially dismal affair—the effects of an old widower who had recently passed away; nothing in the house was any newer than the 70s, little of it of any value.

When my father moved out of his house, I had the job of dealing with the effects left there, they had little value as well. I have got some of it, mostly tools, and some worn-out Christmas ornaments. If I didn't live in an old house I would probably get rid of all my tools. My guitar collection is going to be culled sometime in the near future, and my electronics parts stash should go at the same time. Stamp collection? Consider it gone. We’ve got a whole cupboard of dishes we never use, they’re going too. Even the Flippist Archives aren’t safe from my culling.

So what possessions of mine will my heirs want? The family genealogies, for sure, some family pictures (slowly being archived to digital) and little else (and what about my priceless Shoshanah oil paintings?), everything else should be gone (or will go with my passing), although my life expectancy is anywhere from tomorrow to thirty or more years and I'll need at least some of that stuff until that happens! 

By Professor Batty

Comments: 4 

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Next President?

Gretchen Carlson: Maybe not the next president but, mark my works, she’ll be president someday. This is not an endorsement, only an observation. The Judy Woodruf interview on the PBS Newshour (Jan. 5) showed Ms. Carlson to be absolutely in control of her image and message. She is the anti-Trump: intelligent, well spoken, self-made and female. Her conservative credentials coupled with her recent championing of women’s rights in the workplace gives her a considerable head start over any politician. Her appointment as head of the Miss America pageant is the perfect stepping-stone to national prominence. She has already been mentioned in regards to the Connecticut Senate race in 2018. In addition, her 20 million dollar settlement with Fox news gives her the economic independence needed for the difficult ordeal of running for the highest  public office.  Her mastery of verbal communication skills easily masks some questionable conclusions- read the transcript at the link above and then watch the video.

She also grew up my hometown: Anoka, Minnesota, AKA Lake Woebegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

So she’s got that going for her, too.

I did manage to catch this glimpse of her on the street in 1989:

UPDATE: This will be her opponent.

UPDATE: Well, maybe not…

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Little Latin Lupe Lu

Talkin’ ‘bout my baby…

The Righteous Brothers song “Little Latin Lupe Lu” was a staple among local bands in the Twin Cities in the mid sixties. One such group, The Chancellors, released a cover version in late 1964. It was a regional hit and also received limited airplay in other markets. I’ve been researching the song for an upcoming reunion gig of my old high school band, The Hungry Freaks. The Chancellor’s anemic version came up on YouTube; it was about as lame as I had remembered. I had seen the band live on a couple of occasions, once at a Catholic high school dance that I attended with my old childhood friend, Kevin. In an unrelated action, the County Library had been digitizing old yearbooks from that era so I looked up the school that held the dance to see if I could find a picture of the Chancellors in action.

My search was rewarded:

The Chancellors at De La Salle High School, Friday, September 3rd, 1965

An even more serendipitous discovery was finding the face of a fifteen-year-old Batty, mesmerized by the awfulness of the band:

The song itself has an interesting history of its own—a story of cross-cultural relations that seemed so natural then—in a time before insane politicians tried to make everybody hate each other.  Bill Medley, the song’s composer, relates the story in this video:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Women Who Smoke

My generation had the highest percentage of women who smoked. A dubious distinction, to be sure, but it is easy to see how it happened. Decades of exposure of cigarettes in movies and television (as well as carefully orchestrated ad campaigns), fueled the idea of smoking as glamorous and "chic." The sexual revolution brought about by the pill and the sheer numbers of baby-boomers entering adulthood pushed the number of women who smoked even higher.

Unless you were a smoker yourself, if you were dating a girl or woman who smoked, you would have to overcome the scent of burned tobacco and the taste of “kissing an ashtray” that intimacy provided. Healthy women generally smell pretty good, but it is a subtle aroma, easily masked by the scent of nicotine and the by-products of combustion. Some women use this habit as a personal smoke-screen to discourage attention. Smoking was also touted as a way to keep slim, although any health benefits of this addiction were far outweighed by its other, deleterious, effects. Despite all the physical negatives, the image of a woman smoking in the darkness retains a definite visual appeal:

Melvyn Douglas and Greta Garbo in "As you Desire Me"

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Pulp Flippist

Original images from Comic Book Plus.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 5