Friday, November 30, 2012

Champagne Sharon

I could drink a case of Sharon, Fridays at FITK

Used by permission

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #28


Reykjavík, 2012

In the old part of town, where there are houses interspersed with commercial buildings, some of the small lots also contain small structures, some of which house little studios. Whether this one is used by an artist, is a storage room, or just a place to get away, I don't know. But it does seem to fit the neighborhood, both in scale and appearance. I am taken with the idea of living there, a completely irrational idea, but that is part of the charm of of the area; dozens of small buildings with inviting facades suggesting a new and simpler lifestyle.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sharon's Diet

If you are what you eat do you eat what you are?

Sharon's full of herself, Fridays

Used by permission

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Turkey + Sharon + Chicken = Tursharken.
Debone and serve kicking with gravy and peas.

Thanks for sharin', Sharon, yum!

Used by permission

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This is chapter 24 of Window Weather, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Sean was greeted at the airport by Sally and a man who appeared to be a customs official. Sally gave Sean his ticket, passport and boarding pass, and took Sean’s cell phones—the one from the embassy—as well as Billy’s possessions: the duffle bag, the iPhone and the MacBook.  Sally and Sean went to the check-in.

“We’ll be flying together again,” said Sally,  “First class this time. I took the liberty of giving you the window seat, I hope you don’t mind,” She spoke pleasantly, but her face lacked emotion. “We’ve got some time before boarding, did you eat?”

“No, I might be able to eat a little.” Sean’s guts still felt as if they were tied into knots.

“There’s plenty of food to choose from in the terminal, do you have any Kronur left? Might as well spend it now, you won’t get much back from the exchange.”

Sean and Sally went up to the main terminal where there was a deli-style restaurant. Sean got a sandwich and a Coke. Sally didn’t eat but did get a glass of wine. They sat down and Sally looked at Sean carefully.

“Not exactly a fancy dinner date, is it, Billy? Are you doing alright? I appreciate what a  remarkable thing it is that you’re doing. I’m not at all surprised that you are on edge.”

“I’m OK, I guess. I knew going into it that this would be a strange gig, but I never imagined it how it could turn so bad. The realization that I don’t have any say in what’s going on—that’s the thing which bothers me the most.”

“How much control do any of us have over our lives?” said Sally,  “You’re already past the hard part. The Senator’s people have seen to it that everything will be considerably easier from now on. We’ll see to it that you are kept comfortable—if you continue to play by our rules.”

“I understand,” said Sean, “Although I would be a lot more comfortable if I had a proper pair of shoes.” Picking at his sandwich, Sean’s brain was telling him that he should be hungry, but his stomach wasn’t ready for a full meal yet. “I will play the role of the dutiful son." he said. He wondered how Molly was taking the news of ‘his’ death. She must have been notified by now. “Tell me, if you can, where it is that we’re going?"

“We’ll land in Washington and then go to the Senator’s compound in Maryland. You’ll be under Secret Service protection.”

“House arrest?”

“In a sense. You’ll be taken out for campaign appearances, but your freedom of movement and access to communications will be restricted. It shouldn’t be too onerous. You should be used to it by now—look behind you.”

Sean turned around and saw that the two goons who he had seen in the nightclub and at the scene of Billy’s accident were sitting a few tables away.

“They were on your side, then?” Sean asked.

“They are on our side,” said Sally with a smile.

Sean put down the sandwich without eating any of it. Sally finished her wine then indicated it was time to go.

“Passport control is open now. After clearing customs we’ll wait in the departure terminal. Don’t talk to anyone.”

The passport officer gave a cursory look at Billy’s replacement passport and stamped it without comment. Sean and Sally went to their gate. When Sean glanced at the departure board he saw that the Seattle flight was at the next gate—with its hold open, in the process of being loaded. Amidst the usual mix of luggage and parcels was a large, coffin-sized shipping container.

The flight left on time. Sally was in the aisle seat. Sean was still queasy, both his mind and body were in turmoil due to the events of the last few days. As he looked out the window, he could see the landscape of Iceland disappearing into the fog. Sally leaned over and began to speak quietly into his ear:

“You’ll have to grow into your campaign role, Billy. You’ll be spending a lot of time on airplanes, and even more time in hotel rooms. You’ll have to perform as if you were a great actor in a poorly-written play, and remember, no ad-libbing, ever.”

“How will I be able to I pull this off?” said Sean, “Everyone will see through me. What about Billy’s half-sisters? What about the Senator’s wife?”

“The twins hardly know Billy—they were infants when he went to college—and, aside from a few drunken appearances at Christmas parties, haven’t seen much of their ‘older brother’ at all. Nora, Billy’s stepmother, already knows what’s going on.”

“What’s your stake in this, Sally? Or is that privileged information?”

“Nora and I go way back. She helped me when I needed it most, and I’ll help her, and the Senator, whenever they need it.”

The attendant brought the beverage cart down the aisle. The thought of alcohol repulsed Sean. He motioned to what looked like a can of orange soda.

“Appelsín?” said the server.

“Um, yeah, OK.”

Sally smiled, “Apple Sin? The cause of Adam’s fall.”
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day
ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Sally knew her Bible.

“You’ll be getting to know good and evil real well, Billy. Let your eyes be opened and your mouth be shut and you’ll get along just fine.”

Sean took a sip of the soda. The can said it was ‘Limonade’ but it tasted like nothing He’d ever had before. Not sweet, not citrus and certainly not apple, but it was a good match for his parched condition. He wondered if he’d ever get back to eating regular food. Leaning back in his seat, he closed his eyes.

“Before you nod off Billy,” Sally said, “I want you to know this: I’ll be on your side—but only if you’ll let me. Nora is a powerful woman, and she can be blunt with those she thinks aren’t fully supportive of her. You will have to put up with a lot of grief from her, even cruelty, and get no rewards. She can be truly awful at times. You’ll just have to grin and bear it.”

“I’m beginning to understand why Billy was on the run,” said Sean, “I can’t imagine Billy ever letting a woman like that have the upper hand over him.”

Sally gripped Sean’s arm and looked him straight in the eyes as she spoke:

“At the last Christmas party we were at Billy said this to me: ‘The only way I could make Nora Clarkson happy would be if I walked through a mile of her shit just to kiss her ass.’ That’s not far from the truth,” Sally said, lightly touching Sean’s cheek, “Pleasant dreams, Billy.”

Next Chapter: Tea for Three

By Professor Batty

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cindy Sherman

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2012

I took in the Cindy Sherman photography exhibit this weekend. Cindy has done self-portraits of one sort or another for the last 35 years. One might think that this was a narcissistic conceit, a concept would lead to a sameness. The opposite is true. After seeing over one hundred and fifty portraits, many larger than life-size, I was left with the strange sensation that she could be standing right next to me and I wouldn’t be able to recognize her at all.

Sherman's work has her assuming many personas. Her early work looked as if they were stills from European art films—plotless, with narratives supplied by the viewer’s imagination. Later works explored classical art, while the newest work brought feminine stereotypes to uncomfortable heights—simultaneously fetishtic and mundane.

Highly recommended for those readers in the Minneapolis area.

Through February 17, 2013.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mondays in Iceland - #27


Reykjavík, 2012

After Hallgrímskirkja, Perlan (the Pearl) is the most noteworthy landmark in Reykjavík. Giant water tanks, with a museum, cafe, rotating restaurant and observation deck—all tied together around a multi-story atrium. Some people think it ridiculous, but it is so over-the-top that I like it. Perched on a hill overlooking Nauthólsvík, it is surrounded by pleasant paths, a perfect destination for an afternoon walk and is a good subject for photographers.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dream Lover

This is chapter 23 of Window Weather, a serial fiction novel on FITK

... walking with mother, walking to the store in the neighborhood center—the store that sold women’s clothes on consignment... I was only four or five and mother complimented me on being a ‘good walker’... it was six blocks but I wasn’t tired... the morning sun made everything look more alive... its warmth enveloped me, like a caress from mother... we went into a store run by a strange little man and his wife... “here’s a hot number,” he said, holding up a brassiere,  I wondered what that meant... “ding, ding...” there must have been a door bell in the back of the store for deliveries... mother smiled at me, I was glad when she was happy,  the world would became a beautiful place, a place where bad memories where forgotten.... “ding ding...” it was the first day of school, the school smelled of floor wax and there were other children there but I wasn’t afraid because the big kids went in a different door... I had a pencil box with my name on it...  I was suddenly looking at a picture of myself entering school on that first day...  “ding ding...” I was late to class, the bell was ringing then I sat down across from Julie and when looked into her deep brown eyes I fell in love...  “ding ding...”
The cell phone Sean had been given at the embassy was ringing in his jacket pocket. Groggily, he pressed the talk button and heard Sally’s voice.

“Sorry to wake you, but we’ve got your flight ready. You need to be at the airport by two o’clock. What did you find of Billy’s?”  Sean looked at the phone. 8 AM.  He’d been asleep for twenty hours. His bladder confirmed it.

“Hand on a minute there, Sally, let me get myself together,” said Sean, putting the phone down. An empty jug was on the floor near the makeshift bed. Two minutes later, he picked up the phone again.

“I found his computer but can’t use it, all his stuff is behind passwords. They shouldn’t be too hard to crack. I’ve got his phone too, you’ll want to look at that. Did you recover my computer from the police?”

“No, the Reykjavík police is holding everything from the accident,” said Sally,  “We can’t press them on it,  I think it will be sent back to Seattle with the body after the autopsy. Someone will have to ID the body in Seattle before they release any of it.”


“Your employer. She’s being notified. We’ll have her get in touch with your girlfriend as well.  I think Ms. Berenson will do whatever we tell her to,” she said. Today Sally was all business and no charm. Her bruskness  made Sean feel a bit ill. “There wasn’t anything compromising on your laptop, was there, Sean?” she continued.

“No, just some text files. All the real data is in Seattle and there’s a multi-level dynamic password system in place. I’m the only person outside of ADR who could use the operating system on that computer. If I did try to access it now, they would know I wasn’t dead.”

“You didn’t find any of Billy’s papers or ID?”

“Nothing. All he had here was a phone and computer and some clothes. There must be another place where kept his important stuff. I know for a fact that he had an ATM card, and he must have had some other ID,” Sean didn’t mention the sock stuffed with cash.

“It may have something to do with the Russians; they like to hold some form of ‘security’ from their contacts. Once you’re on the plane back to D.C. none of this will matter. Don’t come to the embassy, there have already been reporters snooping around, asking about the accident. We don’t want any information about the Senator’s son, no matter how tenuous, to hit the media. Flight 645 leaves at 16:50. You can get cleaned up at the pool. Get something to eat and a Flybus ticket, do have enough money for all that?”

“Yes, I still have most of what you gave me yesterday,” said Sean,  “I’ve only bought coffee since then.” He wasn’t going to tell Sally about the card he mailed, or Þora either.

“Once you get to the airport we’ll take care of the rest.  Just remember, you are still Billy,” said Sally, “By the way, how did you make out with that woman?”

“That woman?”

“The one in the diner… ”

“A friend of Billy’s. She was charming. I don’t think that she suspects anything.” Sean realized that they had been under surveillance, in the diner at least.

“I hope, for both of your sakes, that you didn’t do anything dumb.”

Sean wondered if he had.

Next Chapter: Terminal

By Professor Batty

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mondays in Reykjavík - #26 - Foreman

While not on the same torrid pace as it once was, demolition and new construction continues in the city, some of the older houses are being torn down for projects built in the name of development. With many apartments still empty, this aggressive real estate speculation is changing the character of city, particularly near the eastern end of Hverfisgata. All of this background mattered little to the young boy who stood transfixed by the machine's fierce claw tearing into the earth just a few feet away.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Sharon Incredible

Sharon is my superhero, FITK Fridays

Used by permission

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Mondays In Iceland - #25


Reykjavík, 2012

Vacation photo rituals haven’t changed much since the invention of Eastman’s original Kodak: stand in front of a picturesque scene and smile. Reykjavík must have the highest ratio of "snapshots per capita" of any destination, the combination of a small population, numerous tourists and lots of scenery combines in a near orgasm of photography. This Chinese couple could have used a helping hand - it is usually better to have both travelers in the shot. I was too slow on the uptake on this occasion, but the next day I did help a young Japanese woman get a nice picture (she was alone, holding her camera at arm’s length) at the Viking ship sculpture. Smiles all around.

As you can see, I’m restarting my Mondays in Iceland series. Too many new pictures to keep hidden and most will also feature a tiny story.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 6 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Iceland Airwaves 2012

Pascal Pinon, Eld Hús, Reykjavik, Inspired by Iceland

I thought I was going to skip posting about Iceland Airwaves this year, but I just can't help it. The above screenshot is from "The smallest off-venue" from the event, a tiny house in the center of Reykjavík which holds about 8 people max, including the performers. You can see the whole performance here.

There is a great photo gallery of the first night at Iðno at The Line of Best Fit, and a glowing review of Pascal Pinon has been posted at the Reykjavík Grapevine Airwaves coverage.

I've occasionally wondered if it was some strange elfin magic which first attracted me to these talented siblings in 2009.

I'm not wondering anymore, and there are more sisters on the way.

Sharon will return next Friday.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

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