Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Purcell-Cutts House

An unseasonably warm late November Sunday found The Weaver and me at the Purcell-Cutts house, a later Prairie School house designed by William Purcell and George Elmslie. This 1913 dwelling shocked the neighbors with its angularity and uncluttered exterior:
Inside, its tasteful proportions and minimal furnishings were augmented by festive holiday decor, in the style of the era:

Little cubby-holes and art glass panels are in every corner; the "window" on the right side of the image below is actually a heat grate!

The summer screen porches were closed, but one could see that they would be inviting, especially since the dining room furniture could be quickly wheeled out:

The dining room shared a ceiling with the great room, but was a half-story higher. Beautiful period furniture was in place:

The kitchen was state-of-the-art for 1913:

Up stairs, there was even a little fireplace in the children’s room, along with a pair of mismatched rockers:

Tours are being run on weekends till the end of the year, information at MIA.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 7 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Morning Poems of Love

Dark, with a cosmic dimension,

Those poems, poems of love,

Poems I used to devour with my breakfast…

Had all but disappeared.

School, work, life, and even love itself had quieted her cyber-song.

But not today.

How can she illuminate my life with her little word-lanterns

From so far away?

Expressing hidden secrets of a heart laid bare, sometimes bleeding…

Looking; an unwavering gaze, into the blinding light and the profound darkness.

Welcome back, your words are not wasted. The heart's mysteries are universal.

First posted on FITK on November 28th, 2007
in response to Reshma Sanyal's resumption of blogging.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fall Clean Up

(Not my workbench!)

The fall clean-up is complete. Leaves harvested, fragile lawn ornaments put away or wrapped, five months of no yard work (snow shoveling doesn’t count—that’s physical therapy). The holiday season is underway, all I have to do is enjoy it. It should be good, there is no familial crisis to deal with (unless you count my older sister living with us until her place in The Virgin Islands has its electricity restored) and we’re doing well.

Our old high school rock band had its first rehearsal last week in the Flippist World Headquarters studio, so I even cleaned up my work space in the basement:

Life is good—at least for today.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, November 24, 2017


Basic wired communication device, circa 1909, as found on the “cruising houseboat” The Lotus. The internet as it stands now is sort of like this, press a button and inter-communicate with someone at a distance. The FCC is trying to change it, making it friendlier for cable companies to establish monopolies on service and content. I don't think that Flippism is the Key will be “bundled” and sold with other blogs, although FITK’s Blogspot’s host, Google, might. Some of the content already posted here (on YouTube) might be re-packaged as well, effectively making the consumer pay for it twice. It has been done already in Spain and Portugal.

If any of these dire predictions come true it will be a sad day indeed. To paraphrase Woody Guthrie:

This ’net is your net, this ’net is my net,
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this ’net was made for you and me.

As I was walking that internet highway,
I saw around me those endless byways,
I saw around me that info highway,
This ’net was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my interests
To the sparkling sites surrounded by commercial deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This net was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
A million people chatting, writing, and posting,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This ’net was made for you and me.

As I went surfing I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the telecoms I saw my people,
Outside their offices I saw them standing,
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this ’net made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop us,
As I go surfing down that info highway;
Nobody living can ever make us turn back
This ’net was made for you and me.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Mountain’s High

A recent rumination on art and creation awakened this earworm in me:

The mountain's high
And the valley's so deep
Can't get across
To the other side

I was twelve when this song hit the charts. I was just old enough to grasp the sense of yearning that the lyrics suggested:

Don't you give up, baby
Don't you cry
Don't you give up til I
Reach the other side

Although I hadn’t yet been thwarted in love, I identified with the next verse, but the kidnapping aspect in the third line was truly ominous:

I was lonely, baby
I couldn't sleep
The night they took you
From my side

I was a lonely soul, but the “spark of love” would not be seen by me for a couple of years; and the stars wouldn’t “fall” for me for quite some time:

I was a lonely soul
Until you became my goal
And then I saw the spark of love
And then the stars fell from
Up above, oh, yeah

But it is a song of hope, not despair:

I know someday
We will meet again
But I don't know exactly
Where or when

Things are beyond our control:

But, baby,
If fate has it's way
We'll meet again some
Other day

And the reality of the situation is acknowledged:

The mountain's high
And the valley's so deep
Can't get across
To the other side

And never give up our dreams:

Don't you give up, baby
Don't you cry
Don't you give up ’til
I reach the other side

~ Dick St. John

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pub Fare

Merlin’s Rest Pub, Minneapolis

Traditional Irish pubs are to be found in almost any American city of any significant size. They offer, to varying degrees, the libations and comestibles found in their overseas counterparts. I’ve had limited experience in the UK with British pubs, including Yorkshire Puddings in both London and Cornwall. The Minnesota version I had last Saturday night paled in comparison. Instead of a fluffy and delightful pudding (actually more of a savory pastry) what I got what was, basically, tough bread. The chopped steak was tasty, while hint of vinegar in its mushroom sauce struck me as authentic, it had the overtones of being some sort of penance. The big surprise was the veg: broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, all fresh and perfectly cooked. I don't think you’d find that too often in an old world pub.

The pub I ate at also had a good assortment of Irish beer and ales on tap. I don't know how well they travel, but I've had several different ones and I’ve found them all lacking. I think I may have been spoiled by all the tremendous local craft brews I've had: here in Minnesota, as well as Washington State and Wisconsin. Have we surpassed the old world in this? I suspect so, and the tradition-bound brews from Ireland and the UK aren’t likely to change—they are stuck in what is truly “the old world“ of traditional pub fare.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Old School - V

One final Junior High memory.

Room 308 was The Science Room, filled with neat equipment, including a stock of chemicals and workbenches in the back, next to some isolation booths.

The science instructor, Mr. Hoel, was a great guy and let us have a a lot of leeway. His demonstrations never went to well, his use of a Slinky to demonstrate wave actions found the toy getting impossibly tangled and ended with its being thrown in the trash. 

Miscreants were sent to the isolation booths to chill out. One time, Mike H. was sent there, and he ventured out on the 8" wide railing outside the window. Three floors up, with pavement below. Mr. Hoel caught him before he fell.

We used the workbenches in our science club experiments. They did not go well either.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Old School - IV

Let’s get physical.

The PE wing of the school was a whole ’nother world. Our budding sexuality, coupled with an imperfect understanding of basic physiology, made for some interesting times. The physical layout of the annex, with its perfect symmetry (excepting the urinals in the boys’ locker room) allowed the boys and girls to be together only during “social dancing”, when the gym’s massive dividing wall would be rolled away. We would then be together, thankfully in our street clothes, not in our gym unis. One thing I recall learning in those sessions was that girls had sweaty palms. I would explore the phenomenon of female secretions in depth at a later date.

The locker rooms offered another kind of “physical education.” After the initial problem with the showers was corrected, we showered; the nakedness of our variously developed bodies (and the occasional embarrassing boner) was something that had to be endured, as well as the welts from wet towels being snapped.

The locker rooms were dangerous places: slippery floors, crowded conditions, and, in my case, a locker door. I was reaching for my shoes and my index finger brushed against part of the door that had a razor sharp burr. I received a gash that went nearly to the bone. I went to the gym office, bleeding all the way, and received a bandage, but not much in sympathy. The gym teacher acted like it was my fault. It eventually healed, but I really should have had stitches: it is still the deepest scar I have.

The swimming pool was barely heated so all the kids who weren't fat turned purple in about five minutes. My swimming progress went backwards in those three years; the chronic ear infections I suffered from the pool didn’t help either.

Above the locker rooms were two classrooms, they were used for health and sex ed. I did get to make out with a resuscitation doll, so I guess I the class had some practical value.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Old School - III

Looking a little closer at my old junior high's floor plan, you will notice to the left of the Band and Chorus rooms a undesignated space. This was used for a variety of functions: staging for auditorium shows, special events, even polio vaccine clinics. For those who never experienced a mass vaccination (could that even happen now?) when the polio vaccines were first perfected, there were mass inoculations. The Salk vaccine was  administered via an injection, there had to be a medical staff on hand. Later, the Sabin oral vaccines were developed and could be done in an informal setting, such as the above mentioned hall.

But the thing I most remember about this area is its use as a dance hall during lunch periods. It was generally pretty low-key, although there could be problems at times.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Old School - II

This section of my old junior high played a critical part in many of my youthful discoveries. The cafetorium was where we ate, and, with a change of seating, where we had our auditorium programs. I was on stage crew, I spent many hours in the control room (at the left side of the stage.) The cafetorium was where they held teen dances.  I saw my first live rock band there, and it was where I first danced with a girl (Marvis Jenkins’ older sister.) The stage was also where my band played its first concert-without me-I was sick at home with German Measles!

I seem to remember an intense make-out session at the right side of the backstage area, that is a story for another time. 

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My Old School - I

My junior high was brand new in 1962. I was in the first seventh grade to ever use the school. Finding this plan brought back memories, almost in every room. 206 (lower right corner on the second floor) was my homeroom, English class and History class—two hours and ten minutes, consecutively, with the same teacher. And me sitting in the same seat. Mr. Gundberg was the teacher, a WWII vet, with plenty of stories. It was the height of the cold war, Mr. Gunberg kept us enthralled with his war stories, nothing gruesome, mostly about the incongruity of a country boy finding himself in rural Germany, the only man in his troop who knew how to milk a cow. I had this classroom and teacher in 1963 as well, it was where I first heard of the assassination of John Kennedy.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Farmers Market

I'll conclude the coverage of my recent Seattle trip with these images from the University district’s Farmers Market.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds never sounded eerier:

Lots of kids made the market an enjoyable all-ages affair:

Any boarded-up buildings in the U district soon sprout instant art:

Pretty Poison (I can’t eat peppers):

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, November 03, 2017

More from Seattle


Pike Place Market

Nordic Heritage Museum

Anderson School Restaurant

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The Snow is Falling…

A week ago we were basking in Indian Summer, we extended it another week with a trip to Seattle where it was glorious everyday. Now, the chickens of winter have come home to roost. Things could be worse, three of my blog-pals (Darien, Shoshanah, and Sharon) have seen their childhood neighborhood consumed by fire. Sharon even sent me this selfie, escaping from the flames:

Shoshanah has started a new endeavor with her Patreon Account (lots of good stuff) and her “Magic Theater”, a true one-to-one artistic experience. I received my first original art postcard from her on Monday:

Last month’s flurry of Icelandic-themed posts was probably due to the 2017 Iceland Airwaves that started yesterday. I'd buy a ticket just to see the the Saturday night show of a reunited Pascal Pinon, with strings at Fríkirkjan (video trailer at the link.)

UPDATE: Video from the show:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sleepless in Seattle

Just back from an extended weekend in Seattle. With all the activities, the flight home, laundry, groceries and Halloween, I haven’t had time to do much in the blogosphere. Here are a few processed images from my trip to tide you over until I can produce something more substantial:

Frye Museum

Pike Place Market

Washington Park Arboretum

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

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