Friday, July 21, 2017

Light Show

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017



It has been a while since I’ve featured Jófríður Ákadóttir. She has been so prolific that I hardly know where to begin describing her numerous activities. Her debut solo album, Brazil, leans heavily on the electronica side of things, with a fair amount of Björkian sprechgesang, not my favorite combination. One man’s opinion. In a similar vein, she has also done a guest vocal on the new album by Lapalux:

Recently she has been posting live performance videos on the Spanish Videoteca Bodyspace YouTube channel that are simply stunning, including a couple of Pascal Pinon songs done with an string section:

A somewhat murky full-length concert shot last March is also on YouTube.

Jófriður has posted on her Instagram account that she had returned to the studio to redo several Pascal Pinon songs with strings. If that project turns out as well as these did I think we’ll be in for a real treat.

Also done for Videoteca, an emotional performance of her autobiographical My Work:

Done in real time with a single camera and no cuts.  Shot in a Spanish farmyard (with roosters and passing cars in the background!) Although her breathy style and soft diction may put off some listeners, this is as honest a video as you will find in any music performance, it is almost too intimate to be presented to a cruel and cynical world.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Monday, July 17, 2017

This is a milestone for Flippism is the Key.

The three thousandth post!*

Thanks again to all the readers, long time and occasional, I hope that your time here has not been spent in vain.

Thanks to the contributors (listed on the Welcome Page), inspirations all.

Thanks to all those bloggers who continue to publish original material.

Thanks to Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn and Tim Berners-Lee, as well as the numerous other people who have contributed to making the internet possible. In spite of its flaws, which are in reality just the flaws of humanity, it has helped bring people of the world together. The idea of an open internet is under attack, an attack that, if successful, would obliterate sites such as these as well as any others that weren’t under the thumb of big business. For a bitter foretaste of that future:

via reddit

*Some of the posts are index pages and re-runs, but hey, who’s counting?

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Diversions

There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues… ~ Eddie Cochran
Actually, there are numerous nostrums to treat the midsummer’s malady, it all depends on how low you want to stoop. For sheer spectacle, Sophia Coppola’s latest film, The Beguiled, full of girls and women and one unfortunate man, is hard to beat:

Focus Features

Set in Virginia in during the Civil War, a wounded deserter is discovered and taken in to heal in a girls seminary where there are no men or servants (“The slaves ran off…”) Needless to say, repressed urges surface amidst the sewing and French lessons. Fascinating, in a strangely distant way. Not an action flick, and probably not her best effort, but if you’ve enjoyed Sophia Coppola’s films in the past you should get a kick out of this. If you can’t stand her work, stay far, far away.

On the literary front, I enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings immensely. A short story/poetry anthology, Neil shows his seemingly effortless skill in spinning yarns (not so smooth with the poetry, however.) This collection is a perfect summer item, with no story taking more than 10 minutes to read. There is a dazzling array of genres to explore here including: fairy tales, classic sci-fi (an ode to Ray Bradbury), a Sherlock Holmes story and even a Doctor Who episode! It is almost too much, perhaps best taken in small doses.

(Image: Painting by Caitlin Karolzak.)

On the more esoteric side is Jack Kerouac’s long suppressed (and thought to be lost for many years) first long-form writing, The Haunted Life. A coming-of-age story (does anyone ever write anything other than a coming-of-age story for their first novel?) that starts off with a diatribe from the protagonist’s father about foreigners taking over America. Written while he was associating with Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, it was evidently left in a closet in Ginsberg’s apartment and has only recently re-emerged. This is in the J.D. Salinger mode—the language is definitely 1940s-ish. Reading it makes me glad that my coming-of-age was in the sixties, not the forties. Foreshadowing his alcoholism, Kerouac’s 19-year-old protagonist downs six beers before noon in one chapter. The writing is pedestrian, even though Kerouac name-drops numerous authors and poets. With its small town setting The Haunted Life comes across as Garrison Keillor without the humor. It is unfinished, but there are several additional chapters by Kerouac describing the rest of the book, as well as letters from his father.

Over in TV-land, I've been caught up in the BBC’s The Great British Baking Show (shown in the US on PBS, back episodes are on their website.) I am charmed by the humanity it reveals: the intimidating Paul Hollywood and the grandmotherly Mary Berry are the judges, the daffy presenters Sue and Mel, and all the contestants; you get the sense that these people really care about each other. This is definitely “Reality TV” at its finest, although its chemistry has been broken—the new season is on a private network—only Paul will make the switch:

And, finally, is this super-adorable video is set to Pascal Pinon music, shot for a film class somewhere in the far east (The Philippines, perhaps?) Sit back on your screen porch with a glass of lemonade and, if you are as easily amused as I am, enjoy this panacea for the summertime blues:

UPDATE: Speaking of how low you can go, this made me laugh out loud.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Fun With Sharon Spotbottom

Sharon's summer fun checklist:

  • Tent

  • Lawn Chair

  • Coffee

  • Marshmallows

  • Knee-high boots

  • Oven Mitts

  • Spandex

  • Dreadlocks

  • Extreme deep-tanning lotion

  • Sharon sez: "Have fun and be safe this summer!"

    Summer re-run, originally posted June 4, 2010

    By Professor Batty

    Comments: 3 

    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Our Town


    A rather anemic home and garden tour was held yesterday, it has been going on for ten years now and they've sort of run out of people willing to put up with 100s of strangers traipsing through their tulips and toilets. The was some entertainment, authentic old-time music (above) and the crazy piano artist (work pictured below), who had one of his dozen pianos actually operating with a player mechanism.


    He also had a 70s Oldsmobile hearse that caught The Weaver’s eye:


    This year’s effort was sort of a “pig in a poke”, some of the houses originally slated couldn’t be seen, while another was closed due to a family obligation. I think the most we've had was 12, this year there were only 5 houses and an additional 3 gardens.

    Oh well, such is life in a small town on the prairie.

    By Professor Batty

    Comments: 3 

    Friday, July 07, 2017

    The Reader - Week 27


    Lieutenant Mitchell slowly opened the door a bit. The room was quite dark. Fumbling for a light-switch, he found and old-fashioned pull-chain and gave it a tug. The room was full of books. There were bookcases filling the three walls in front of him as well as a pair of them flanking the doorway alongside. In the confined space he became aware of a scent, something vaguely spicy but not too strong, Evelyn’s perfume perhaps.

    “Is this what you were looking for?” he asked, not bothering to turn around.  He had gotten a brief flash of arousal—a proximity effect—and he thought that he had better keep this investigation on a professional level. He had experienced many similar incidents in the past, with other women, women who had been recently estranged from their partners. The last one was a would-be stripper, at least that was the impression she gave as her wardrobe kept “malfunctioning.”

    “Ms. Thompson?” Stepping back out of the room, Mitchell realized he was alone. Listening carefully, he could hear the faint sound of a car door slam, a car starting, and the noise of tires on pavement that quickly faded away. Mitchell carefully looked around the basement, then went back upstairs and looked through all the rooms of the main floor. Satisfied that the house was empty, he went back to the basement. “Evidently Evelyn didn’t really want to find out what Andy thought of her,” he thought, re-entering the basement library.

    There seemed to be no order to Andy’s book collection, although many books had Post-it notes and other motley bookmarks sprouting from their pages. Although many of the  books were old and possibly valuable, others were modern best-sellers, of the kind you would find at a garage sale. In the center of one of the shelves was a nondescript briefcase: cheap, and a little shabby. “Unless there is some revelation in that briefcase, Evelyn was right—Andy Larson was the most boring person on earth,” thought Mitchell. He pondered opening the briefcase, there was not much of a chance that it was booby-trapped. It wasn’t worth bringing out the bomb squad. He tried the latches and they opened without resistance. Lifting the top, the spicy odor became stronger, and opening it all the way revealed its source.

    Inside there were a dozen jars of turmeric, some of them still sealed, others that had been open at one time. One of them had lost its cover and had spilled its contents. Mitchell opened one of the sealed jars to confirm that the spill was indeed turmeric. The other contents of the briefcase were handwritten manuscripts, paper-clipped in groups of four or five pages, similar to those he had found on the kitchen table. If these were anything like the other ones, this case would be over as far as he was concerned. He would let the County inventory the house and its contents, assuming that an heir didn’t show up they would auction it all off. The sad effects of another lonely guy, living a life of quiet desperation. His only crime was that of being dull.

    Lieutenant Mitchell shook the turmeric from the papers and began to read…

    By Professor Batty

    Comments: 6