Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Arty Party

After my stint at at Junior College, I returned to the big University. I still was in contact with some of the people I had met at JC (I never got to know anyone new at the U.)

One of the people I did still see was Beth, a sweetheart of a farm girl who moved up from Iowa and turned into an artist and a bit of an artiste as well. She invited me to a party at her apartment. Some of her new friends were there, as well a few others I knew from the JC. Marijuana brownies were baked (awful tasting but potent—I threw up from them the next day!) as well as some ‘lead bread’ which lived up to its moniker. While I did take some pictures at the ’arty party’ it seems somewhat sedate when I look at it now. There was a “Keep on Trucking” sign, however:
Beth was in fine form, in her pop-art southern belle attire:
Beth always had gorgeous roommates:
Lead bread being kneaded:
Rosemary, bread kneader and my art teacher from the JC. She was recently estranged from her philandering husband, but she was a little old for me then:
You don’t see dirty ashtrays at parties much anymore:

By Professor Batty

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Mondays in Iceland - #111

Four Views of Perlan (2004):

By Professor Batty

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Ancient Civilization

A scene from my childhood, from another world really, an ancient civilization lost to the vicissitudes of time. Webber Park was already a half-century old when I began to use it in the late 50s. It was actually a complex: a swimming pool; a library; a skating pond; a creek. It even had its own little waterfall (pictured above) in addition to the standard picnic tables and walking paths.

The library was a huge part of my life; I can still remember the thrill of discovering other civilizations in fiction and especially science fiction. The cool and quiet reading rooms were a sanctuary, looking over a swimming pool full of screaming children. The pool offered another form of education. Without the trappings of clothes we became closer to our primal selves there. The creek and pond surrounding the complex gave us a glimpse of the beauty of nature, while the little dam (above) gave us wee folk a taste of danger. The rest of the park was space, a concept that had had been otherwise ignored in the rigid planning of our residential subdivisions.

The park is still there, the new pool (closed due to covid-19) is now “natural” but the library, which had been torn down (as had its replacement), has been replaced with a modern facility about half a mile away. It is still technically in the park but its nexus has been lost. It was an oasis of civilization in a cultural desert.

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

In Situ - #4

More Objets d’art from Flippist World HQ.

MCM bowl marked P-49 Lane and Co Van Nuys CA 1957. This shape is also found in a turquoise glaze:
A tile with Kanji lettering (I could only make out “Heaven” on the bottom row):
The innards of a cathode ray tube:

By Professor Batty

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Mondays In Iceland — #110

More film randomness from 2004

Much more Icelandic Imagery

By Professor Batty

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Friday, April 09, 2021

Cricket Club

Purging the old archives—deciding what to keep or what to throw—is a never-ending struggle.

It won’t be a struggle when I’m gone, a dumpster will do the selecting for me.

That said, there are occasional items that surface that have some inherent aesthetic qualities that others might find interesting. This photo of an English cricket club, probably taken in the 1920s, is one such item. Perhaps a memento of a successful match (although it doesn’t appear that any of the members had been recently exerting themselves and most were spectators) or, maybe, it was just an excuse for this fraternal organization to establish a facade of solidarity. Here’s one last look at these men before they fade into oblivion.

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Elly Griffiths

The Ruth Galloway Mystery Series

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones
A Dying Fall
The Outcast Dead
The Ghost Fields
The Woman in Blue
The Chalk Pit
The Dark Angel
The Stone Circle
The Lantern Men
The Night Hawks (June, 2021)
The Locked Room (2022?)

Never had I dreamt that the adventures of an English archeologist working in a small college could be so engrossing.

I was tipped off to this series by DJ Cousin Mary and I have been thoroughly enjoying them. Ruth Galloway is a forensic archeologist living in an isolated cottage by the dismal yet beautiful salt marshes of County Norfolk in East Anglia—a location whose weather often makes its soggy presence felt in the plot. She teaches throughout the year and conducts summer digs—the novels’ archeological background adds a refreshing twist to these stories. As does the conception, birth and growth of her daughter Kate, whom Ruth is raising as a single mother. Called upon for her expertise on old bones by local DCI Harry Nelson (who also happens to be Kate’s father), Ruth becomes deeply involved with police investigations that are often related to some historical event.

This is one series that benefits from being read in order: the couplings and conflicts of the characters and how they develop are just as important as the mysteries unearthed in each installment. These antics can become somewhat soap-opera-ish at times but that only adds to the charm. Excellent action sequences are often enhanced by the appearance of Ruth’s friend Cathbad, a mysterious druid, who offers his oblique esoteric insights. This would make a great TV series (and it has been optioned by the BBC.) The overall quality is good and not too formulaic although I found The Woman in Blue to be something something of a misfire, coming off as a second-tier Midsomer Murder episode (no bones in it!) There is an installment set in Italy as well.

Griffiths also has a “Magic Men” series set in post-war Britain involving a loosely-knit group of performers (and a policeman) who had met during the war and ended up in Brighton during the end of the music hall era. It continues on into the sixties. The plots are kind of “fussy” but do work out to logical conclusions:

The Zig Zag Girl (2014)
Smoke and Mirrors (2015)
The Blood Card (2016)
The Vanishing Box (2017)
Now You See Them (2019)
The Midnight Hour (2021)

Veddy, veddy British of course; hundreds of gallons of tea are consumed in each volume. They are actually quite pleasant and humorous despite the murders. Elly also has other titles, including The Stranger Diaries, which I found clever but I haven't read any others as yet.

Highest recommendation for Ruth Galloway, a marginal recommendation for the Magic Men.

By Professor Batty

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