Friday, May 25, 2018

Sammy and the Cheese



A novel by Christopher Moore
Harper Collins, 2018

One more San Francisco crime novel for the pile. Christopher Moore is a parody novelist, his send-ups of various literary tropes are consistently amusing and, at times, hilarious. Set in 1947 San Francisco, “Sammy” is Samuel Tiffin, a hot-headed bartender with a shady past, and “The Cheese” is Stilton, a curvaceous and mysterious blonde who has secrets of her own. The supporting cast of characters includes a douche-bag bar owner, various Chinatown denizens, a racist Irish cop, an Air Force general, the Bohemian Grove, a foul-mouthed nine year-old boy, mysterious men in black (wearing sunglasses, natch), a deadly snake and even a space alien to keep thing interesting. The writing is peppered with 40s idioms, as well as Moore’s gags and wordplay. It is very non PC and gets more and more outrageous as it progresses, even becoming juvenile at times but it is all in fun.

If this premise sounds familiar, I recently reviewed Kelli Stanley’s City of Sharks, a private-eye novel which was set in the same era and used similar lingo (and many of the same locations), albeit in a more ham-fisted fashion. Moore’s book is lighter in tone, its frivolous nature might turn off a serious reader, but if you enjoy Carl Haissen you would probably dig this.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

1964 Alamo Fiesta

My first electric guitar, bought with $27 worth of my paper route money. It had a laminated body and was hollow inside, with a very minimal set of features. Mine was a sunburst. It was playable and it actually made it to a few “gigs” where it performed adequately. The pickup was fairly weak so I replaced it with one from a salvaged Harmony H62. This guitar was traded in on a Vox Stroller. I probably should have some affection for this but, after the initial excitement wore off, I realized it was pretty mediocre. It played its share of surf songs.  Interestingly enough, when I went shopping to buy a guitar with my father, we looked at a Gibson Lap Steel (very cool, but not a regular guitar that I could play) and a couple of Danelectros, either of which would be worth something today. I have seen single pickup Fiestas on eBay listed with an extremely optimistic $600 ‘buy it now’ price.

YouTube video:


By Professor Batty

Comments: 4 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Art-A-Whirl 2018

Year of the women!

Fabric artist Candy Kuehn in her latest (unfinished) creation.

Unknown artwork and patron, but I sense a definite stylistic affinity between the two.

The rituals of phone worship continues in an industrial setting…

Ann Madland continues the rituals of phone worship in an Imperial Egypt setting…

No fashion statement is too outré…

And the Venuses of Willendorf made their appearance as well…

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, May 18, 2018

E. Kenneth Baillie

Spurred by the article I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore, the blog-anachronism which is FITK proudly presents yet another pointless search down an internet rabbit hole.

Block Print by E. Kenneth Baillie, 1933

This modest work has hung in my porch for many years. The artist was director of art at Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen, S. D..  On the back of the print was a sticker for the NRA, not the gun-crazy lobbyist group, but rather the ill-fated National Recovery Act, one of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. The idea of the legislation was to insure higher wages and uniform pricing. Outside of establishing the right to form labor unions, its provisions were counter-productive and its myriad legal provisions only frustrated citizens. Picture Molding and Picture Frame Authority, indeed!

Dr. Baillie also authored a couple of educational books, the most noted being Homespun Crafts from 1953. Relying heavily on the use of  recycled materials, the projects in this book were aimed at older children and teens:

Dr. Baillie’s son, Bruce Baillie, is an influential experimental filmmaker, here is one of his early films that featured San Francisco street scenes of the early 1960s:

Just doing my bit for slackers everywhere.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Restaurant No One Remembers

In 2015 James Lileks,  internet pioneer* and writer, wrote about the “restaurant that no one remembers”, The Anglesey, which was a fixture in downtown Minneapolis for many years. It was an old-school establishment, a modest entertainment complex of sorts, with a formal dining room (pictured above), bar, motor lounge, and piano bar. There are stories that it was a front for gangsters in the forties, it also housed a multi-floor residential hotel above. Eventually, it succumbed to Rock ‘n’ Roll and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius in the mid-sixties, changing its name to The Pink Pussycat before it was torn down in 1973.

I remember it vividly.

Recently, I came across a postcard for it, I had seen it before, but not the obverse side, with a poetic description of what was, in reality, kind of a rowdy place.

 I even remember its layout:

The dining room was a bit stodgy, but had a grand piano on top of the mezzanine, with a mirror strategically placed to offer a view of the pianists hands. A small stage faced the main dining area, but you could catch a glimpse the drummer’s posterior from the “motor lounge,” which sported models of very early automobiles displayed above a curved bar. The lounge had secretive naugahyde booths, making this room a haven for trysts. A ramp from it led down short ramp to the main bar, which had stuffed marlins cavorting over the various liquors. The cashier would gladly convert your payroll checks to liquid form, while a jukebox entertained those in the old-style booths along the wall. A flocked wallpaper room in the back hosted a small piano bar, a venue even more private than the motor lounge, conveniently located next to the rest rooms for the “ladies of the evening.”

I helped my father decorate (and un-decorate) the dining room for Christmas, I was probably about 13 years old the last time, a couple of my sisters remember it too, but almost any of its regular patrons that are still alive would be quite elderly now.

*at one time, Lileks' web site was in the top ten of all internet sites!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Two Women

Those of you coming from TOP site, welcome! Flippism is the Key is an open-themed blog which does feature photography and photo-illustration regularly. The image above was featured on Mike Johnston's “Baker's Dozen in Color” post, thanks Mike!

It was shot at The Minnesota State Fair in August of 2017. It is of two workers in a novelty shop, shot in JPG with a Pentax Q-7 with an adapted Pentax 110 50mm lens, cropped somewhat, with minor tweaks to color, contrast, density and sharpening. The smooth rendition of the 50mm and the soft north light flattered the subjects, it didn’t hurt that they are teenagers, either.

If you would care to explore this site there are numerous links in the sidebar; “Dogma” is sort of a greatest ‘hits’, “Iceland” and “California” are the most image-intensive links.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, May 11, 2018

I Live in a Magical World

All images: Anoka, Minnesota, May 7, 2018

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0