Friday, February 28, 2014

- 8°

Another attack of cabin fever. Eight degrees below zero and dropping. Heading out in the trusty Battymobile, braving the elements to catch up with some old friends at The Sociable Cider Werks brew pub:



The pub was in the middle of an industrial area but there were plenty of people out on this cold evening. Most of the people kept their jackets on; the pub was really just a glorified garage. The brews were all cider, although hopped like beer. The tunes were hot, however, as The Rich Lewis Trio fit right in with the industrial decor:



Between sets we swapped snow shoveling horror stories:



Were this trend of colder weather to continue, the temperature on my next pub crawl will be a bracing -18°!

(All temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit.)


By Professor Batty


Comments: 3 




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Box MF 973



Back in the Kerlan Collection, working on my obsession project, I found this photo of a drawing in a folio of newspaper clippings. It depicted a room with a woven bedspread on well-used bed, an open window framing a summer scene, and a stack of books and a pair of shoes in the corner.  All combining in an evocative scene. As I was trying to suss out the artist’s intention I saw this inscription in the lower left corner :



A lover of the artist.

What a priceless gift is this image, a memory of the place where their dreams once came true, so many years ago.

Carl wasn’t her only lover, but that story will be saved for another day.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 3 




Monday, February 17, 2014

That 70s Show - Country Auction


Rural Morrison County, Minnesota, July 1971

All sorts of people from miles around would flock to the country auction.



The old-timers were there, looking for household items or a rare antique.



The auctioneers kept things moving at a brisk pace.



Stylish hats were the order of the day.



"Going, going, gone! Sold to bidder number 81."

By Professor Batty


Comments: 1 




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That 70s Show - Creative Writing


Esteemed Guru Audi Gi, in his citadel of enlightenment, Minneapolis, 1973

                                 Kansas on Five Dollars a Day
   It's prayer time in America which reminds me of an inkblot I once knew. Truth be known, I would rather listen to birds sing and wind howl than recorded music but birds dump on you sometimes (record companies don't?) and wind blows dust in your eyes more often than not so recorded music is nice sometimes. Regardless, wind and birds are lovely and free (no thanks to Frigidaire and pet shops) and usually quite separate from the never-ending Sucker-cycle, which is a priceless way to be (or not, Tubby?), to say the least.

   You don't see Holy Moses written down very often, nor do you receive singing telegrams with anything approaching regularity (Har Har—nothing like body function humor, is there?), so, for the sake of diversity and what might be called Amusement, sing (to yourself and-or others): "Holy Moses, he's got the nerve to tell me he's heard something approaching decent (substitute creative, inventive or competent) music on recently released albums within the realm (ghetto?) of rock." The melody is your own (nothing you can sing that can't be sung), the motive a question of timing (nothing you can do that can't be done),the result an attempt at rhyming (all you need is love). Pro and cone, lost and found. Hash-heesh, Ahcid, leeds, spid? Ahead of time, child as a domestic pet.

   We were talking about records, rip cords, wreck cords, ray Chords, el bums, all bums.

   Numero uno, kindly Doctor Fuzz (harmless Mr. Chowdery to those who know) points his gnarled finger at Procol Harum—Snak Crapple Pox "I like these guys," then falls back into the pages of Ripley's Believe it or Not. Old Fred asks for the good doctor's shoes. At least he's honest…

Record review introduction by the Guru Audi Gi,  published in The Minnesota Daily, May 28, 1971

By Professor Batty


Comments: 1 




Monday, February 10, 2014

Wonderful Toy


Robert Janssen, c.1935

I was back in the Kerlan Collection, working on the paper trail of my mystery artist/obsession last week. I came across this loose photograph—it wasn't on the inventory and had nothing written on it. It stirred something in my memory, but I could not quite place it. I took a picture, saving the image for later scrutiny.

A few days later it came to me: I had seen something similar on my "World Tour" of 2011:


Carousel, Frank Biebl, circa 1935, Brown County Historical Society

It had been hand carved and painted by an uncle of the artist, fashioned from scraps of wood and tin cans. The two carousels weren’t exactly the same, but there was no doubting their provenance. The artist had written about her uncles in her diary:
"Uncle Frank, how do you figure the prices on your work—is it by the hour for instance?" "No—no," he has a curious hesitating speech, "No—just—just whatever it is." This was not clear to me and I asked, "Do you mean whatever they ask," "No, whatever the price of it is!" and he pointed to a Sears and Roebuck catalogue. I gasped inwardly. He was charging what ever a similar object in the Sears Roebuck catalogue came to!

By Professor Batty


Comments: 2 




Friday, February 07, 2014



    Who ever thought it  a good idea to have a studio crawl in the middle of the coldest winter in years? Oh well, there's no point sitting at home, even if it's bitterly cold, not when there's art and beer and even a food truck! The art was mostly bad but the hot, greasy sandwiches from Lulu's food truck paired well with the Rum King Stout being poured at Indeed Brewing.

   There were a few other (fool)hardy souls out as well; it appears as if I'm not the only one with cabin fever:



By Professor Batty


Comments: 2 




Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Box MC 1089

I returned to the Kerlan Collection last Monday. I was on the hunt for some missing photo albums of a noted Minnesota artist and author. The library assistant assured me that they would be there; I was optimistic but realistic. The archive was spread out over dozens of boxes and who ever had used them before me had left the materials in a shambles. I knew that the library didn’t have the staff or resources to properly re-inventory this collection; it had been assembled in 1984 and numerous researchers have used it since then.  I can’t really complain, however, something is better than nothing. I made my way through this magnificent lobby, then up to the reading room. After checking in, I went to the table where my materials were waiting.

There were two boxes, one of which I had looked at a week ago, as well as one which I hadn’t seen—MC 1089. It held two of the missing albums, but not the third. Oh well. Looks like I'll have to make at least one more trip.

What was there was definitely worth the trouble. The albums gave a look into the daily life of an independent woman in the 1920s and 1930s.  Most of the pictures were of life on her two country "estates; they were really just farm houses with a few out buildings situated on about 160 acres of land.  She built a studio on one of them, a place where she could work undisturbed, a small building with a stove, a view and a bed (for those times she did not want to be alone:



There were other pictures as well. There were posed shots, perhaps made for publicity, or just taken to capture the moment:



Or perhaps it was that she was trying to reach out to me, through the years:



Vintage images: Robert Janssen, circa 1930-1935

By Professor Batty


Comments: 4 




Monday, February 03, 2014

Superb Owl

Notification is the word of the week.

   I was notified of a "fraud action" in my credit card account a few weeks ago, it took several calls and three new cards to get it straightened out— the first replacement card was sent to the address of a registered sex offender in Texas! It's been a week now and things have seemed to have settled down. Whether this was a result of the Target security breach or not, it was a bit scary.

   One series of notifications I didn't appreciate was from Twitter.  I had a Twitter account years ago, when it was just starting to gain traction, but I never quite "got" it. Ditto for FB and Linkedin.  Recently I was intrigued by the literary site Medium so I signed up for the service—registration required a Twitter account.  I had been following a few people on Twitter already, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was still a bit leery, so I used my "junk" email address to sign up.  About the same time, I started using my MacBook's Mail notifications. I hadn't used it in the past, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Big mistake. I started getting emails from Twitter, notifying me of not just those twitterers I followed, but also a bunch of other "suggested" tweets from people I didn't know, and didn't care to know.  Spam is bad enough without inviting it in so I cancelled it again. Twitter me not.

   On a somewhat related note, I deleted my YouTube account. While hardly the most watched channel, I did have some videos which featured musical performances. With recent witch hunts by BIG MUSIC in the news I couldn't see any upside in allowing my posts to be under this kind of scrutiny. Another factor was YouTube's constant "notifications" to enroll me in Google+, yet another "service" with no upside for me.

   I did embrace some digital technology, however,  by getting my very first cell phone last week! I had resisted for years, but have finally accepted that when I am out and about, especially on my little travel adventures,  it might be a lifesaver.  I narrowed my choices down to a iPhone 5s (more chances of notifications) or a cheesy flip-phone (with no internet access).  When I ran the numbers for cost of ownership for two years the iPhone was about two grand (at least!), while the flip-phone would be about two hundred.  I'd say that's a no-brainer.

   Now if I start getting "notifications" on my little "flippist fone" (whose number only members of my family know) I will be really bummed.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 2