Friday, May 31, 2019

1965 Gibson B-15

I owned this guitar for one day.

Found this in a thrift store for $30, in fair shape except for the tuners. After replacing them I turned it the next day at my friendly local music store. I knew that I could have probably gotten more for it on CL but Mark has given me many breaks over the years.

This was the “dorm room” Gibson in the sixties: durable, a bit overbuilt, comfortable to hold and play—perfect for the beginner. Most students quickly gave up on learning the guitar so these are usually in pretty good shape, with the frets only slightly worn on the first three frets.

Here is a sprightly demo, in the “dorm room” style:

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Who Will Buy?

The often-threatened Flippist World Headquarters™ garage sale is now a few steps closer to reality. Although its main thrust will be the purging of guitars and related musical paraphernalia, there will also be a large amount of other items of the peculiar persuasion. Hopefully there are still a few souls out there that are still into acquiring material possessions.

While the market for crystal radios may have peaked about 90 years ago, no retro-tech nerd could resist this little beauty:

More esoteric items include electronic test equipment:

And my vintage tube amp is also up for grabs:

As well as numerous gizmos and speakers:

Perhaps the most unusual item will be this Lava Lamp™ replacement bottle, the perfect gift for those devotees whose original tube has gone bad.

Maybe a Lava Lamp™ repairman would want it?

The sale will be June 7th, 8th and 9th, 10-4.

Cash only.

Saturday’s deal: buy any two items and get an equal or lesser priced item free!

Sunday’s deal: buy any one item, get another item of equal or lesser value free!!

Be there or be a chair! (There will be chairs for sale too!)

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Working Cat

At the end of my street is a grain and feed dealer, a holdover from my town’s agricultural heyday. It manages to survive in this day of e-commerce by offering specialized products with local service. It only has a few employees, but one of them is noteworthy:

The resident cat is a familiar sight, patrolling his “beat” while looking for rodents. He is not all work and no play, however, and will trot over to say hello if he isn’t too busy. Fearless and independent, he lacks any of neurotic tics of a house cat. Living in the moment, he is a welcome sight on my nightly ambles.

By Professor Batty

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Friday, May 24, 2019

2019 Art-A-Whirl III

A final look:

Vendor in Solar Arts Attic:

Young patron, Solar Arts Attic:

Basement, Casket Arts Building:

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2019 Art-A-Whirl II

More from the crawl…

Food truck in Casket Arts patio:

Casket Arts Annex:

New restaurant in Solar Arts area:

By Professor Batty

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Monday, May 20, 2019

2019 Art-A-Whirl I

Random impressions from the studio crawl…

Weathered grand piano in the hall of the California Building:

Door ornament, also California Building:

Welcome sign in Casket Arts Annex:

By Professor Batty

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Friday, May 17, 2019


This device for generating electricity was often found in early telephones. Usually housed in an oak box with a handle protruding out of one side. When the handle was turned, the gear on the right would drive a smaller gear (below it) that would generate a current flow in the telephone system, ringing an operator who would answer and then connect the caller to the destination desired. After their phone use was over these would often end up in science or physics classrooms and demonstration aids, sometimes they were disassembled for the powerful horseshoe magnets (the five black bars in the above image.)

My grandmother used one of these phones up until the late 1960s when her phone system went to touch-tone, skipping the rotary dial era completely.

I had a rotary phone even in the early 90s (!) but we had to get a touch tone phone when playmates of the children who came over couldn’t call home—they had never seen a dial phone.

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Authority Figure

My father and Douglas B. Drolsum, at my elementary school’s closing in 1982.

The man on the left was my father, the prime authority figure in my childhood. The man on the right, however, was the first real authority figure outside of my parents. He was more than just the administrator of a typical elementary school in the 1950s, he was the introduction to the idea of a structured society. I was hardly a hellion but I did manage to spend some quality time on the bench outside the principal’s office (re: the great paper airplane incident.) Every semester his bold signature would be on my report card, further proof of his omnipotence:

He was actually a pretty mellow fellow. I saw him again when I worked at the police department evidence room when he came in for some recovered school property. He looked older, of course, and very tired. When I last saw him (image above, 10 years later) he looked better, as if retirement had restored his vigor.

But my most vivid memory of Mr. Drolsum was at a talent show at our school. It must have been in late 1956 or early 1957, Douglas did a killer impersonation of Elvis Presley:

By Professor Batty

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Shepherd’s Harvest 2019

Continuing on from last Friday’s wool fixation, on Saturday I attended the annual Shepherd’s Harvest, an event where all things wool are celebrated, in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. There were sheep, of course:

And vendors of wool:

As well as sellers of other handcrafts:

There was even a yarn just for me:

Some of the most impressive fur was not on a farm animal:

At any fair the people watching  is worth the price of admission:

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Two For One

#1: Purchased from the Goodwill store, 99 cents. This small vase was stuck in with the usual Chinese junk:

What caught my eye was its abstract expressionist decoration. It just screamed “mid-century modern” but when I turned it over I was surprised to see that it was dated somewhat earlier:

So who was this “Roy Boe?” He certainly wasn’t the east coast sports team owner. I did manage to find this reference, which fits into the time period and has a local connection. Evidently he went on to a career in academia, with stints at the University of Minnesota, the University of Mississippi, and ending at Moorhead State in Minnesota. As for the value of this piece, maybe 99 cents is just about right.

#2: Purchased from the Value Village store, 99 cents. An elegant triple bud vase with sensuous curves and an attractive glaze:

Turning it over, its provenance was instantly apparent:

I held a piece of genuine Van Briggle pottery. This business was founded in 1901 by Artus Van Briggle with his wife Anna taking over when he died (of TB) in 1904. Over the years it had several owners (retaining the Anna Van Briggle name) and was still operating in Colorado Springs, Colorado, up until 2012.

The early Van Briggle pieces are worth enough to inspire forgeries; this piece from the 1960s would be worth over $100 if it was perfect (it isn’t).

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 06, 2019

1950s Sherwood K51

A thrift store keeper.

This guitar was made by Kay for Montgomery Wards sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. It needed a fair amount of work. It was missing its bridge and pickguard. Its solid spruce top(!) and flamed maple back and sides(!!) were covered in peeling brown paint. The top had several cracks which needed gluing, the tuners were shot, the fret board needed planing where it the neck joined the body, and the tailpiece needed to be replaced—the original one caused the top to crack where it pressed on the wood. I installed the ebony pick guard and a TOM bridge. It weighs less than 4 pounds.

It has the stamp 8340-K51 inside.

UPDATE: I installed a GFS thin pickup and a volume pot (with vintage knob from the National Bolero), it was a tight fit fit, but it worked.

Here's a YouTube Video of the deluxe version of this guitar:

By Professor Batty

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Friday, May 03, 2019

Home on the Range

Wherein the professor’s foray into consumerism continues.

It seems as if the torrent of durable goods flowing into Flippist World Headquarters is inexhaustible.  Perhaps the situation is more accurately described as “catching up.” Most of the things in the household have been replaced in its thirty-five years of existence, some of them more than once.

Not so the gas range—the modern hearth—which has been soldiering on, repaired multiple times, and finally given up on. The new one, pictured above, is definitely more modern that the older one, with some features that do make a difference in the preparation of food: five burners—each with different outputs that can burn both hotter or cooler than the old ones, electronic oven temperature controls and, most notably, the entire stove top is made up of grates, an improvement(?) that requires some thought as to the placement of pots and pans (and griddles.) The timer chime is actually worse than the old one, almost inaudible to anyone with even mild hearing loss.

I think we’re done with home improvements for now, at least for a while. Any thing further would be conspicuous consumption.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Back Up!

recent tweet from an old blog-pal spurred me to back up all my recent image files. I hadn’t done it in a couple of years so the backups managed to fill a dozen DVDs. As I was doing it, I wondered if they would ever be used.

The recent Forbes article Your Top 10 Things Your Kids Don’t Want lists, at number 3, Paper Ephemera. I am one who does have a fair amount of paper in my archives, except for maybe a box or two I don’t think my progeny will be interested in any of it. I’ve posted some of it here over the years, complete strangers have found some of it very interesting. But not my kids.

The most interesting things there are those that tell a story. Taken out of context a photo or  other memento has to have some pretty compelling imagery or other information to pass the test of time. A digital archive is space-saving but prone to irreversible “digital rot” which, despite what hi-tech thrillers imply, is usually gone forever. But these “stories” have some intangible worth. That is one reason I continue posting here, assuming Google doesn’t pull the plug on Blogger, these things will endure in some form, at least for a while. In the long term, of course, it doesn’t matter, but the long term is beyond human existence:
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes forth: but the earth abides for ever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

~Ecclesiastes 1, 2-12

By Professor Batty

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