Friday, December 02, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #90

Special Friday Edition


This is the "high" church in Reykjavík, the seat of the Bishop of Iceland. Danish in design and decoration. It sits in the center of town next to Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi. Since 1845 each session of parliament has begun with a Mass at the cathedral, and from there the dean of the cathedral leads the members of parliament to the parliament house.

Not to be confused with Fríkirkjan, the “free” church that is independent of the State.

Draw your own conclusions.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Ekki vanmeta

Don’t underestimate…

All four of the Ákadóttir sisters had a part in the creation of this surrealistic video from 2010.

Hann setti á sig húfuna
og hélt heim á leið
það er enginn stígur
þar sem hann gengur

öll orkan sem umlykur hann
er vopn í myrkrinu
fuglinn leiðir hann
aftur til baka

hann á heima nær en þú heldur
ekki vanmeta fjarlægðina

takturinn tekur hann
og leiðir hann heim
hann setur á sig húfuna
og heldur heim á leið.

hann á heima nær en þú heldur
ekki vanmeta fjarlægðina

he put the cap on
and walked home
there is no lane
where he goes

all the energy that surrounds him
is a weapon in the dark
the bird leads him
back again

he lives closer than you think
don’t underestimate the distance

rhythm takes him
and leads him home
he puts the cap on
and walks home

he lives closer than you think
don’t underestimate the distance

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #89

Special Wednesday Edition - Various venues at Iceland Airwaves, 2009

Waiting for the Show

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dylan Eulogizes Castro

Well, I couldn't leave unless the old man chased me out
'Cause I'd already promised that I'd milk his cows
I had to say something to strike him very weird
So I yelled: "I like Fidel Castro and his beard"
Rita looked offended, but she got out of the way
As he came charging down the stairs Sayin', "What's that I heard you say?"

I said, "I like Fidel Castro! I think you heard me right"
And I ducked as he swung At me with all his might
Rita mumbled something 'Bout her mother on the hill
As his fist hit the icebox He said he's going to kill me
If I don't get out of the door In two seconds flat
"You unpatriotic Rotten doctor Commie rat!"

~Motorpsycho Nightmare, Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #88

Bolstaðarhlið 8

The guesthouse had little to distinguish it from the other homes on the street. Most held four or more apartments, clad in a glittery stucco that couldn’t quite conceal their drab concrete construction. Nothing special. I stayed there in 2004, on my first solo trip to Iceland. On the second day of my stay the house filled with student teachers from the US. I shared breakfast with them, but didn’t see them much as we all had many things to do during the day. Thursday night, when I had just gotten into bed, I heard a tapping on my door. It was a young woman, one of the students, asking me if I wanted to join them in drinks and discussion. I got dressed and went up to the third floor, to a commons area under a dormer, where they had gathered. I could see into some of their “rooms”, they just cots and a couple of bed-stands, pretty basic compared to my “luxurious” accommodation, which was on the second, with a private entrance and still furnished with artifacts from its previous tenant. As the “party” progressed, the young woman and I began a long talk; mostly about Iceland, but it was also about other things: careers, education, music. She was intelligent and perceptive, qualities I found in short supply among the other students.

The guest house evidently went out of business soon after, when I planned my return trip in 2006 there was no mention of it on the internet. There is currently a link to the address but it looks to be inactive. Residential housing in central Reykjavík has become  extremely scarce in the last few years, if this house was reconverted to apartments they would be immediately rented. A recent Google Maps survey shows that it hasn’t changed much. It is just a place where I once shared a nice talk with a young woman, and that makes it, for me at least, special enough.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, November 25, 2016


Not Flippist World Headquarters


Thanksgiving is as much about sitting around, stuffed, as it is giving thanks.  It is one of the few non-religious holidays (in that it coincides with no specific religious rite or celebration) and has little patriotic connection as well. In recent years, it has been associated with the start of an intense Christmas shopping season, but the day itself, outside of a dinner, and the Macy’s parade,  remains remarkably free of commercial contamination.  So sit back and enjoy your day off. If you’ve been pressed into cooking service, I hope you’ll get your just desserts.

Here is an alternative look at the foods of this peculiar holiday:


By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Great Minds Think Alike

Lately, I’ve been reading a massive 5 volume collection of the writings of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1894-1959. As you can imagine, it contains numerous insights, beliefs and other interesting tidbits. As I was working my way through volume 4, I found this picture:

Photograph by Deiner

It is a pleasant, if somewhat stiff, shot of Frank and his third wife, Olgivanna. The thing that really caught my attention, however, was on the book shelf behind Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Almost exactly between the couple, on the top shelf, sat a dark book with a distinctive, 5-stripe design above a cartoon figure on its spine :

Where had I seen that before?

After 1903—What?, is a collection of short essays by the humorist Robert Benchley.  I’ve featured the book’s sublime illustrations (by Gluyas Williams) here a couple of times. The book, as a whole, is only sporadically funny today; it was a whole different world back then.

At any rate, I’ll take the coincidence as proof of the noble spirit I share with FLLW.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 9