Monday, May 30, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #64

Viðey, 9 October, 2015

Strangers in the night.

A cold rainy island in Faxaflói Bay.

Flash of recognition.

Eyes meet, the night returns.

Imagine peace.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, May 27, 2016

More from Mount Horeb

Miscellany from my recent Wisconsin excursion.

A architect rendering of "JA Labs" or the most bizarre hop-scotch game ever:

What happens to naughty toddler shoes:

Schubert's Downtown Restaurant. There has been a restaurant in this location for over 100 years (JFK visited in 1960):

The interior of the place where we stayed:

Just kidding. This is actually in nearby New Glarus, in the Swiss Village, where I found Sap Sago (more on that next week.)

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Searching for Shoshanah

Mount Horeb is a friendly town, perhaps not quite as friendly as the postcard indicates, but my mission today was to meet up with the mysterious "Shoshanah" AKA Jojiba. The first contact was at a wool and knitting store where her book was prominently displayed:

The store's manager knew Shoshanah well, and even gave us the details on the breeding between her ram and Shoshanah's ewes. Exploring the city further, the trail had gone cold but I found some of her artwork forlornly displayed in a shop down the street:

Things were looking better (albeit a little fishy) when we finally got together at her sprawling ranch—left to right, Shoshanah (AKA Jojiba), BAH, The Weaver and yours truly:

Thanks again, Shoshanah, for the great food and drink and the sociable atmosphere, as well as years of provocative, amusing and inspiring posts!

(And thanks to "Big Z" for her photographic contribution with the composite group shot.)

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gonstead Guest Cottage

Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

We've been here before; a few random views from our current stay:

The Weaver and Owner Joyce Wall inspect the grounds:

Art lamps line the driveway:

Twilight gives the cottage a faintly sinister air:

TOMORROW: Dinner with Jojiba.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #63

The Silence of the Sea
by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
A Þóra Guðmundsdóttir Thriller
Victoria Cribb, translator

This is the sixth entry in the series centered on an Icelandic lawyer who has a knack for getting involved in gruesome multiple murders. This is the fourth book of Yrsa's that I've reviewed. They've always struck me as being competent, if somewhat uninspired. The strong point in all of these is the plotting, their weakest points are in character psychology and atmosphere. The interaction between Þóra and her assistant Bella is particularly awkward.  Because the story is fairly complex, a good deal of time must be spent in exposition and going over chronological details. This is an important consideration; if you like your mysteries to be nebulous and beguiling you won't enjoy this. Conversely, if you like to have all your "ducks in a row," you will appreciate this novel. 

It is a "ghost ship" mystery—a repossessed luxury yacht crashes into the Reykjavík's Faxaflói Bay with no crew or passengers aboard. The missing passengers, a bank representative and his wife and their twin daughters, were aboard, ostensibly to return it to Iceland, where it could resold by the bank. The story switched between the current investigation and the events aboard the yacht. There are several unnerving incidents aboard ship and as the story progresses things become gruesome. I think that this story would be better experienced as a movie. Nevertheless, it is a compelling read, although I was somewhat disappointed by its ending.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Madison Carnival

A neighborhood school held its 100th anniversary:

There were dancing girls, waiting:

They each had a moment in the sun:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Impressions from a weekend in Wisconsin's capitol city:

Homeless persons possessions under bridge, John Nolen Drive

Harley, King Street

Students, East Wilson Street

Sardine Bistro, Williamson Street

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Street Candy

Minneapolis, 1975

Umm… chocolates, almost a full tray.

Do you think it would be alright if I sampled one?

They look OK to me.

I wonder why someone left them here?

Maybe they're poisoned.

Just one bite couldn't hurt, could it?

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Vice Advice

When I retired a few years ago, one of the first places I went to was my old buddy Rich's tobacco shop.

"I need a new vice." I said.

Rich answered that he could fix me up right away. We'd been through this before, the pictures shown here are from over 40 years ago. I didn't get hooked then; I didn't get hooked now, either. Our friend Joan tried out a pipe or two, but it didn't take for her either:

Rich still has his shop; he's moved at least four times, but his store remains the go-to place for new pipes, pipe repair, custom blended tobacco, and even some of the newer nicotine delivery systems. I don't think he's aged a day:

A different sort of vice:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #62

Harbour Views - 2004

A trip to the past: On my first solo trip, Reykjavík's harbour area was undeveloped, to say the least:

The "Sea Baron" was still only a fish shop, not yet a trendy restaurant, with drying fish hung above the door:

But the fishing nets, with their flotsam, remain the same:

Nothing like the new harbour.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Wasted Days, Wasted Nights II

No idea where. From the archives, anywhere from 1976 to 1982. Maybe some other Friday the 13th. An anonymous roadhouse, I can't remember a thing about this occasion. Or why I photographed it. There must be some reason, although there were plenty of unreasonable days and nights back then.

Searching through these old negatives is a search for myself.

Some of the answers are illegible.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Mark Zuckerberg is getting more aggressive in his plan for Facebook's world domination. Sites I could visit last month with out interference are now obscured by pop-ups, ala Pinterest style.

Alda's Iceland Weather Report is blocked for non-FB viewers:

My old buddy Rich's Facebook page for his band is now obscured as well:

Even the naughty pleasure, Classical Art Memes, is blocked:

So long FB sites! Oh, and Mr Zuckerberg—thanks for being an asshole!

UPDATE: So as of May 18th, they are not visible. Maybe my grousing paid off?

NEW UPDATE: As of May 26th they are back. 

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 09, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #61

A different perspective on Perlan.

In reality, its just my way to disguise yet another post about Jófríður Ákadóttir, pearl of Iceland and the core of Pascal Pinon, shown here with her sister Ásthildur with a sample from their upcoming album:

Jófríður has been quite the globe-trekker of late, her Instagram feed has featured locales as diverse as Dublin, Berlin, L.A., Jamaica, Brooklyn, Seattle, and, lately, China. She is currently traveling without her sister, who is studying in Europe. Jó's musical partner for this stage of her sojurn is Kari Jahnsen, AKA Farao:

Jó is also working with Kristján Eldjárn of the group Sykur:

A new Samaris album, Black Lights, will be released on June 10th:

And she's been playing on her own:

No exact date on the new Pascal Pinon album, I'll be watching for it.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 4 

Friday, May 06, 2016

For the Birds


by Paul V. Champion
Bruce Publishing
Milwaukee Wisconsin

There are only a few dozen riverfront houses in my hometown. They don't come on the market very often and when they do they are quickly snatched up. Last weekend, I saw a Craigslist posting for an estate sale and when I looked up the address I saw that it was one of the properties situated on "The Rum."  I primarily went to see the house and yard; any "finds" from the sale would be a bonus.  The house was obviously hand-built, almost all wood (a real fire trap), and stuffed with a lifetime of household goods, curios, and tools. The yard was overgrown with trees and the river was at the bottom of a steep bank, not visible from the house. Not the most inviting landscape, but it had potential. I picked up a few things at the sale but, for the most part, there was nothing special. Even the books, which I always find to be a good way to judge an estate, were bland. The most recent volume was a Sarah Palin bio. But one book did manage to catch my eye, a little 96 page treatise on the construction of birdhouses, written by a shop teacher in Illinois in the 1930s.

   "Boys in the grades, junior high schools, bird clubs, and boy-scout troops have made birdhouses for several years according to the plans presented in this book. Many of the plans given have been worked out by the boys themselves, proving that this type of work is of great value in developing thinking workers. It shows that there is a desire on the part of many of us for a companionship with these feathered friends, and that this work stimulates interest in the aesthetic and economic value of bird life."

The book lists physical requirements for different species with suitable plans, and even has instructions on how to scavenge old fruit crates for free wood. It is definitely from another era—a time when a teen-age boy could be happy pursuing "aesthetic" pleasures.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


The area around the river has become a focal point for my hometown:

It isn't really a park, but it has attracted a wide variety people who enjoy an open space with a background of a waterfall:

The fisher-folk have always patronized the area:

And now artists have discovered it as well:

And have graced it with their presence:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Mondays in Iceland - #60

I recently mentioned that I had been in communication with New York Times writer Dan Kois about swimming pool culture in Iceland. His story has been published, and it is great. So many of the stories I read about Iceland are full of baloney but he actually did research and it shows (I steered him toward Alda Sigmundsdóttir, who knows these things.)

Another Iceland story comes to me from Karen Heathwood, mastermind of the Sharon Spotbottom character that brightened this blog for several years. Karen hails from "down-under" and she sent me a link to a great two-part story on Australian radio about The Sagas and one man's personal saga. Part one is here. Part two is here. I'm usually allergic to podcasts, but this one is exceptional.  And if that wasn't enough, Karen sent me this Berserker-Sharon:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

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