Monday, June 29, 2020

He Contains Multitudes



Bob Dylan.

The old “song and dance man” has been kicking up a fuss lately with his latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways. Featuring sublime dissertations on nearly every aspect of the human condition, it is definitely not to be filed under the heading “easy listening”.

But I’m not here today to discuss the album.

Instead, I’ll take a look at some of the other ways an enlightened consumer can partake of the “Bob Buffet”.

We can start off with Bob’s whiskey brand, Heaven’s Door. I’ve actually got a bottle of the rye, it is suitably enigmatic with a great bottle design by Bob (that’s important!)

If you aren’t into booze, maybe your infant would be into Bob with a baby bodysuit romper:

If you don’t have a small child there are other things you can buy to fulfill your Bob quota.

If you are inclined to literary pursuits, perhaps you’d care to read some of his Nobel Prize winning literature, but I’m not talking about Chronicles, or even Tarantula.

Here is an example of one of his seminal mid-60s works, in the vein of Erskine Caldwell. From the looks of this cover I wouldn’t mind working for Maggie:

Here are some more Dylanesque items:

There is a Bob Dylan harmonica.

Bob Dylan comforters (and you’ll need comforting after listening to Rough and Rowdy Ways).

Dylan clothing.

A Subterranean Homesick Blues Dylan action figure.

Beer.

Lingerie!

Cars!!

Supercomputers!!!

So as not to leave you with a bad aftertaste from all those ads, here is a video (audio only) of one of Bob’s greatest songs. If you are one of those who thinks Bob can’t sing you might want to take a listen, it might change your mind:



Bob on piano and vocal, Mark Knopfler on guitar.

This song contains multitudes.






By Professor Batty


Comments: 2 




Friday, June 26, 2020

Drawing the Line

This is Chapter 27 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK



Wednesday Morning, July 22, 2020, Seattle

Mary was on the phone with one of her old ADR crew, a group of misfit hackers who were now doing business as Seattle Data Work Cooperative, AKA: SDAC.

“OK Lenny, what do you have for me?”

“So Barbara Merrit has been teasing pictures of you and Sean and Jo on her twitter feed,” said Lenny, “She also has a few shots of a mystery woman, someone with you and Sean, a woman who looks like Sean’s grandmother. Not a bad looker for someone who would be over 110 years old.”

“I’ve seen some of those pictures, I think we'll have to draw a line for Ms Merrit’s conjectures. As it stands now, the cranks she appeals to are going to run wild this stuff,” said Mary, “We’ll have to dilute their impact with a TOI.”

“A torrent of information?” said Lenny, “Sounds like fun. What kinds and how big do you want to go?”

“How many photo-hackers can you get?” said Mary, “I want dozens, if not hundreds, doctored versions of the most interesting pictures she released. Put them on Twitter feeds, blogs, sketchy news sites, the trashier the better. Add people, make new backgrounds, start memes… everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

“What about the mystery woman? If you don’t mind me asking, who is she?”

“We’re going to let it be known that she was an actress we hired, looking to see if she would be suitable for reenactments for a documentary about Sean’s grandmother.”

“Do you think that will fly?”

“We've already hired someone who will fill the bill. We’ll allow ourselves to be seen and photographed with her. By this time next week all of this will be old news.”

“It’s great to be working with you guys again, Mary. Say hi to Sean.”

“Just like old times… ”



Agent Marchal had been assigned to see if there were any Seattle links to the death of Andrew Stevenson, the store-front YouTube evangelist who had been attacking Sean and Mary and Jo in his sermons. He had been found dead in his car a few days previously. Because the case may have crossed state lines, the FBI was called in. Marchal had just called Sean.

“Hello again, Sean,” said Marchal, “You must be tired of hearing from me.”

“No problem, this call is about the ‘witch riot’?”

“Sort of related. It’s more about that preacher in Arizona who was found dead,” continued Marchal, “You’ve heard about it?”

“The guy who was on our case about Mary and Jo and me?”

“That’s right, is there any thing you know about it that I should know?”

“I’ve got no proof, but I have heard that a local independent reporter, one Barbara Merrit, has been asking around about Mary and Jo and me,” Sean paused, “She’s evidently writing a book, an exposé. She thinks that between the three of us we’ve killed a bunch of people. Her brother was a reporter for techcreeper who was trying to dig up dirt on us. He died in a car crash during the earthquake of 2012 and I think she’s thinks that we are somehow responsible. She’s trying to avenge his death somehow.”

“Forgive me for asking, and this is just to establish a timeline, but do you remember where you three were when her brother died?”

“Not a problem, I remember it well,” said Sean, “Mary was in labor. Jo had been a midwife’s assistant, and we both helped with the birth of Mareka.”

“So… I gather that none of you have ever killed anyone, with the exception of Jo and the intruder.”

“Jo did kill that creep,” said Sean, “It was suspected that he was a Russian agent, hired to kill her. Weren’t you were involved with that case?”

“Of course.”

An extended period of silence ensued.

“Not for me to tell you how to do your job, but you might want to examine that preacher’s car in Arizona very carefully,” said Sean, “From what I’ve heard about Stevenson’s death I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of poisonous gas introduced into the car’s ventilation system. Compare his autopsy results with Sally O’Donnell’s. If you do find something in the car check it against the canister that Jo’s intruder had.”



Jo and Mareka were in Jo’s ‘in-law apartment’, a cottage in the backyard of Mary and Sean’s house. They each had an artist’s sketch pad and were sharing a box of oil pastels.

“What is that?” asked Jo, pointing to Mareka’s drawing of an abstract landscape in multi-colored swaths.

“That’s where great-grandma Emily is, in space.”

“Outer space?”

“No, the inside space, you know, the portal space.”

“Did you see Emily when you were in the portal the other day?”

“No, but I know she’s around me, watching me,” said the child, without looking up, “I see her in my dreams sometimes. Ever since I put her painting up over my bed. She’s nice to me.”

“What are those strong colored lines going across the drawing?”

“That’s the line, ” said Mareka, “Above it the world, below it is the portal space.”

Jo watched Mareka draw a small, black, blob.

“What is that black blob?”

“That’s a very bad man. He wants to hurt you,” said Mareka, “But I won’t let him hurt you,” said the child, “I have powers.”



Next Chapter: Mountain Greenery

By Professor Batty




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Best Comment of All Time



Over the years, I have had quite the variety of comments on my FITK posts.

They are, for the most part, sincere and germane to the topic at hand. There have been exceptions of course. Most notable were those in 2005 when, for a brief time, a spate of Chinese-language commenters used Blogspot blogs as a method of ‘secret’ communication. They were soon shut down by a Chinese government internet crackdown (perhaps the only time I approved of an act of censorship.)

The other day I got a doozy of a comment. I quickly realized it was spam but it was so over-the-top that I had to save it. Here it is in its entirety (except for the email address):

1 Comment:

Christiana said...

I want to thank Dr Williams a very powerful spell caster who help me to bring my husband back to me, few month ago i have a serious problem with my husband, to the extend that he left the house, and he started dating another woman and he stayed with the woman, i tried all i can to bring him back, but all my effort was useless until the day my friend came to my house and i told her every thing that had happened between me and my husband, then she told me of a powerful spell caster who help her when she was in the same problem I then contact Dr Williams and told him every thing and he told me not to worry my self again that my husband will come back to me after he has cast a spell on him, i thought it was a joke, after he had finish casting the spell, he told me that he had just finish casting the spell, to my greatest surprise within 48 hours, my husband really came back begging me to forgive him, if you need his help you can contact him with via email: xxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com,and to greatest surprise the lady caster a love spell on my husband,am so grateful to Dr Williams and my wonderful friend.


Whew! Try reading that aloud with no periods to catch your breath.

As if this plea wasn’t enough, the spammer also posted the exact same comment to three other FITK posts. A quick Google search found many examples of this particular scam, with many other names for the ‘spell doctor’.

I have deleted them from the FITK, there is no need to encourage that kind of behavior.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 2 




Monday, June 22, 2020

Hat Trick



Ten years ago, back when I was gainfully employed, I was asked to prepare the photographs for an art exhibition. The teen-aged “artist” was not a photographer but, rather a milliner. She had committed to doing this show but really didn’t have a clue as to the amount of work it entailed. She came to the lab I worked in and, since work was a little slow just then,  I offered to take her through the steps: selection of images (she had a very good photographer who already taken many pictures), making the selected images print-ready, printing them, mounting the prints and, finally, hanging them. The only tricky thing was that she needed it done in three days!



Everything went well, she was a delight to work with, the show was a success, and I even got to meet her mother.

Alas! I have completely forgotten their names:



But I do remember that it was a very good day.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 2 




Friday, June 19, 2020

Mystery Woman

This is Chapter 26 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK



Monday evening, July 20, 2020, Seattle

Mary was with Mareka in Mareka’s bedroom, talking to her about the events of the evening.

“You have had quite a night, haven’t you?” said Mary, “Your little ‘trip’ had your father quite worried.”

“It was like the other portals, but much stronger,” said Mareka, “I wasn’t expecting that at all. I was just playing with the grass.”

“All of these things are related to each other,” said Mary, “I think that the combination of your magical thinking with the grass and the fact that the big rock in the back yard really is a powerful portal allowed you to be able to enter into another dimension. You had disappeared from our sight, but I could sense that you were still with us. That happened to me once, in Iceland. I was with your Uncle Hilmar, on the Snæfellsnes glacier,  I just vanished into a portal.”

“Did you pee your pants too?”

“No, but I think Hilmar did, when I reappeared,” Mary said, smiling, “You can ask him about that when you see him again.”

Mareka was quiet for a while.

“Mom, am I going to be alright? I mean, is there something wrong with me?”

“You’ll be fine, you just took too big of a step. Mastering the powers takes time, you’re still a kid. We’ll all be here for you: me, Sean, Jo, and even Villí and Þora and Hilmar in Iceland. Sleep now, baby girl, here’s a kiss for sweet dreams… ”



"… and now, an exclusive KWAH report on the 'mystery woman' who may have been behind last week‘s ‘witch riot’ directed at Seattle tech moguls Sean Carroll and Mary Robinson. KWAH investigative reporters have been looking into reports that the so-called 'witch riot' downtown Seattle last week may have been abetted by an unknown provocateur. Captured in numerous frames taken from KWAH’s coverage, this woman can be seen apparently directing members of the crowd in the chaotic scene… ”

Mary, Sean and Jo watched the news report in silence. When it was over and the broadcast had gone to an ad, Mary muted the sound and then spoke:

“That’s Barbara Merrit. It looks to me like she’s trying to get the protestors to pose—she’s looking for a better camera angle.”

“You’re sure that’s her?” asked Sean.

“I’ve got some pics of her from the old ADR crew, it’s her alright.”

“Why is she doing all this?” said Jo, who was searching ‘Barbara Merrit’ on her phone and had come across Merrit’s Twitter feed.

“She’s writing a book and she wants to prove that Sean and I (and you too, I guess) are responsible for her brother’s death,” said Mary, “Wait. It looks like there is more to the story… ”

Mary unmuted the TV sound as the announcer came back on.

"In what may be a related story, Andrew Stevenson, the television evangelist who had also been interested in Sean Carroll and Mary Robinson, was found dead in his car this afternoon. The car was parked behind Stevenson's TV studio located in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. There were no signs of foul play, an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. Stay tuned to KWAH for updates on this breaking story."

“The Russians. That looks like their M.O. Probably more of that poison gas they’re so fond of using,” said Sean, “I don’t know what this means exactly but with Stevenson attacking us and then ending up dead it seems as if we haven’t been forgotten.”



Barbara Merrit turned of the television.

The triple whammy of seeing herself in the riot footage, the story’s intimations that she was a provocateur, and the death of Stevenson was a visceral assault on Barbara’s sense of well-being. It would only be a matter of days before she was identified from the riot footage so her cover story of being a ‘neutral reporter’ was gone. And if Stevenson’s death wasn’t natural, it meant that she wasn’t safe either. “Do Sean and Mary have that much power, to kill anybody, anywhere?” she thought, “Since I’m going to be out in the open, I may as well use the publicity to my advantage.”

She opened her Twitter account and began to type:

Barbara Merrit
@Merritsthetruth 

I AM KWAH's MYSTERY WOMAN, searching for answers to who killed my brother…

Barbara Merrit
@Merritsthetruth

Trying to uncover the dark secrets behind Seattle’s wanna-be "Cutest Tech Couple";
Sean Carroll and Mary Robinson as well as Sean's "other woman"…

Barbara Merrit
@Merritsthetruth

Death seems to follow in their footsteps, and who is the REAL MYSTERY WOMAN, shown here with Sean and Mary, eyewitnesses place her with them before she vanishes…

Barbara Merrit
@Merritsthetruth

Get the whole story in my upcoming book Tech Triad of Doom, coming soon: ttodoom.com

Each tweet had a corresponding image.



Next chapter: Drawing the Line

By Professor Batty




Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Miss Iceland

A Novel by
Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
Translated by Brian FitzGibbon

Iceland in the 1960s.

Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman.

After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces’s Ulysess and a Remington typewriter, Hekla heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. She moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theatre, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla’s opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two friends feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world.

And yet that world is changing: JFK is shot and hemlines are rising. In Iceland another volcano erupts and Hekla meets a poet who brings to light harsh realities about her art. Hekla realizes she must escape to find freedom abroad, whatever the cost. - from the Amazon review.

The above blurb doesn’t address style. Miss Iceland is tersely written (there seems to be a lot of that going around these days) yet full of dropped names, places and 1960s references. A reader without a background in Icelandic culture and the layout of the City of Reykjavík would quickly find themselves overwhelmed by all the information. I could suss out most of the references and I could appreciate the dramatic arc of the book (Icelandic country girl goes to Reykjavík and discovers herself and a whole new world), which was and is a real-life experience for thousands of young Icelandic women. That part is fine. I found that the relentless references to 60s culture were just a bit too much baggage for a novel this slim to bear. There is also an egregious howler of an anachronism in the middle of the book that shattered my suspension of disbelief.  Previously, I really enjoyed Auður’s Hotel Silence and also liked Butterflies in October but Miss Iceland left me cold.

This just might be the last Icelandic book I’ll read for a while, at least until Sixty Kilos of Sunshine by Hallgrímur Helgason is available in an English translation.

In the broader scope of things, I find that I have pretty well exhausted all my Icelandic cultural pursuits. That fact, coupled with the Covid-19 travel restrictions, makes the prospect of my returning to ‘the rock’ dim. After having said all that, it may well be that  by this time next year things will be completely different.

My experiences with 20+ years of Icelandic culture made for a pretty nice ride, however.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 4 




Monday, June 15, 2020

A Tale of Two Women

A Fist or a Heart

A Novel by
Kristín Eiríksdóttir
Translated by Larissa Kyser
Amazon Crossing, 2019

Another Icelandic book read during my Covid confinement is the exceedingly melancholy A Fist or a Heart, the story of two Icelandic women: Elín, an elderly prop-maker and Ellen, a nineteen-year-old aspiring playwright who also happens to be the illegitimate daughter of a notable but deceased Icelandic author. Elín takes an interest in young Ellen at the initial table-read of Ellen’s play, Feathers and Sinews, to be performed at the city theatre. Unbeknownst to Ellen, Elín was the person who discovered Ellen’s father’s body when he died on a Reykjavík street some years earlier.

Got that?

There is a lot of carried baggage in this slim book. Elín’s memories start to overwhelm her at the same time that Ellen’s life also starts to disintegrate. The Icelandic locales add to the appeal of the book and the writing is fine; Kyser’s translation is subtle. Despite its positive attributes, the novel is somewhat diffuse. I read it twice and still felt that I missed the point of it all.


Wednesday: Miss Iceland



By Professor Batty


Comments: 0 




Friday, June 12, 2020

Lost and Found

This is Chapter 25 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK



Monday evening, July 20th, 2020, Seattle

After dinner, Mareka went out to sit on her ‘throne’, the big rock in the backyard. She had begun conjuring patterns in the grass with her new-found power. After a few minutes of this she started to feel the same tingling that she had experienced at the Ice Cave in Decorah. She also began to hear the music that had accompanied her earlier vision. Then things really began to change: the sky; the air; the earth; all of it swirling in a melange of sound and light. Everything was glorious.

Instead of Mareka looking for a portal, the portal had found Mareka.

In the kitchen, Sean was cleaning up and Mary was going through her social media contacts on her iPad when Jo walked in.

“Hey,” said Jo through a half-smile, “Sup?”

“Looks as if we’re trending again,” said Mary, “Trouble seems to find us. Have you been following the Tweet storms?”

“My lawyer tipped me off when I was signing the papers for my mother’s estate.”

“Oh, Jo, I’m sorry, I forgot about your mother,” said Mary, “My condolences on your loss.”

“She’s free of her demons now,” said Jo, “What is the latest, besides me an Sean being a couple, and where did that come from?”

“Barbara Merrit. An independent researcher. She’s got the idea that the three of us are responsible for the death of her brother and she is trying to portray as an immoral troika of killers, going all the way back to Billygate,” said Sean, “She’s evidently got some internet evangelist preacher in Arizona in on it too.”

“Some of the guys from my old ADR team are looking into her connection with the guy in Arizona,” said Mary, “It looks as if there are some other players in the game.”

“Mary, has anyone in the media mentioned Mareka?” asked Sean.

“Not yet,” said Mary.

“By the way, where is she?” asked Jo, “I missed her… ”

“She was wondering when you’d be back.” said Mary.

The three of them went out on to the patio.

“Hey Kiddo, Jo’s here,” shouted Sean.

There was no response, and no sign of Mareka either.

“Mareka, Mareka,” Sean went out into the backyard; his worst fears began to creep into his consciousness, “Where are you, Kiddo?”

“Wait a minute, Sean,” said Mary, “She’s here, she’s very close, I can sense her.”

The grass blades in the lawn were swirling in large fractal patterns, creating an arc coming from the glacial erratic. Mary placed her hand on the large stone.

“Mareka, baby girl, come to mama, come home… ”



William Preston at KWAH had just finished editing the updated report on Barbara Merrit when his assistant came over.

“You’d better check this out… ” he said, pointing to a crawl on Preston’s monitor:
Andrew Stevenson, controversial internet preacher, found dead in Arizona.
“Okay… how do we tie this in to the Merrit story?” said the assistant.

“Tack it on to the end, without comment, until we know more we’ll let the viewer’s imagination decide what the link is.”



Barbara Merrit had just posted a picture of Sean and Mary and the woman who DuPage said was Sean’s grandmother Emily to her Twitter feed.

Who is the mystery woman with Sean Carroll and Mary Robinson, and where has she gone? Another death?



Mareka had been swept up in a vortex of raw sensation. She was frightened, but fascinated. She wanted to go deeper into the glorious chaos but, in the back of her mind, a voice kept repeating “… come home, come home… ”

And then, suddenly, there she was—out of the mælstrom and standing on the patio with Sean and Mary and Jo.

She had wet herself.

“Come on, girl, I’ll get you cleaned up,” said Mary.

“Welcome back,” said Jo, “I missed you.”



Next chapter: Mystery Woman

By Professor Batty




Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Anoka Nature Preserve

One of the more subtle perks of living in my hometown is the Rum River, a meandering waterway that makes its way down from Lake Mille Lacs to the Mississippi River. Because its somewhat amorphous nature, there is a fair amount of land adjacent to it that is not suitable for commercial development.  The northernmost part of the river in the city abuts the Anoka Nature Preserve, a refuge with miles of hiking trails in it and links to more.  Since the stay at home order has been lifted, we’ve been spending more time hiking there. Part of the preserve is wooded and there is a pavilion for picnic-ers, although the tables shown here have been since transported to become “social distancing seating” for downtown restaurants:



There is also a farm field in part of the preserve with corn and soybeans in crop rotation. Numerous birds also use the  field as a stopover. I saw these Sandhill Cranes gleaning the stubble last week:



Toads and turtles also thrive in the swampy backwaters that adjoin the preserve:





There is even a hill, a rarity in these parts, that the school children have named “Iowa”:



A bucolic view of my home town (with the Weaver):

By Professor Batty


Comments: 0 




Monday, June 08, 2020

Yard Concert

Saturday I saw the first performance of my old buddy Rich’s band in nearly three months! The last time they played was the night before the covid-19 stay-at-home restrictions went into effect.



Social distancing and mask use was observed, albeit inconsistently:



The band was a little rusty but they still managed to pull off this Boz Scaggs cover with aplomb:



Things are getting better…

By Professor Batty


Comments: 0 




Friday, June 05, 2020

Tweet Storm

This is Chapter 24 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK



Monday afternoon, July 20th, 2020, Seattle

Mary was sitting in the kitchen monitoring the flurry of social media feeds that mentioned her and Jo and Sean.

A link to the sermon by the preacher from Arizona had been retweeted numerous times and its number of YouTube views were already over 100,000. Also trending were tweets from Barbara Merrit. Mary found those to be more troubling in that Merrit had made insinuations that Mary and Sean were involved in the deaths of numerous people. KWAH’s feed said that people should tune in at ten for an exclusive story on Seattle’s romantic ‘Tech Triad’. Mary was just about to set her phone down (as the updates were starting to recycle) when she received a notification from Jo:

Hi mary m on my way back be home by six.

Sean walked into the kitchen holding his phone. He had a grim look on his face.

“You’ve been following this?” he said, “I just got a call from Agent Marchal, wondering if we knew what was going on. I told him no, and he said that we should call him if there were any developments.”

“I’m going to get an update soon from the old ADR crew about that preacher,” said  Mary, “As far as Barbara Merrit is concerned, the lawyers are preparing a C&D against her if these attacks continue.”



In the studios of KWAH, William Preston was puzzled. He had already committed to running an exposé of the relationship between Mary and Sean an Jo. There wasn’t much new in it—just the picture of Sean and Jo at the riot—but the tweets from Barbara Merrit’s account were, if true, something altogether different. He pulled up the picture of Barbara Merrit from her website and while he was looking at it, something clicked. Merrit had been at the riot, clearly visible in the footage the station had shot. Looking at the footage again, Preston realized that she was a provocateur, not an observer. He called the story desk and ordered a rewrite.



Jo Sanford had just pulled into a Union 76 station on the outskirts of Ellensburg, about halfway between Spokane and Seattle. As she filled up her car with gas she noticed a small deli behind the station. When she had finished pumping she drove over to the shop and went inside. She ordered a sandwich and then sat down and took out her phone. She made a short text to Mary, and then started to look for any of the Twitter feeds that her attorney had mentioned that morning.

She didn’t have to search long.



Stepping out of the back door of his Phoenix strip-mall chapel, Andrew Stevenson was feeling good about himself. His latest sermon had just gone viral and, if the experience of the previous few days were an indication, he would be getting a lot more cash donations within the next few days. He opened the door of his brand-new Mercedes GLS 450 and got in. “It’s a nice SUV,” he said to himself, “and worthy of one who practices the Lord’s work.” As he settled in he noticed an odd odor, “Probably some out-gassing from the upholstery,” he thought.

Then Stevenson’s world began spinning around and, after one final gasp, Andrew thought no more.



Next Chapter: Lost and Found

By Professor Batty




Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Two Out of Three

Snare
by Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Translated by Quentin Bates
London: Orenda Books, 2017

A pair of Icelandic crime-thrillers today.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir (sister of Yrsa?) is a new ripple in the wave of Scandinavian crime-fiction writers. Her writing is definitely in the Elmore Leonard vein—taut, no nonsense, and to the point. Sonja, a single mother in Reykjavík, becomes enmeshed with a smuggling group that includes her estranged husband who is trying to wrest all parental rights away from her. Sonja also has a love interest in Agla, a woman being prosecuted in the aftermath of the 2008 Icelandic economic meltdown. Sonja also enters in a economic relationship with Bragi, an aging customs inspector who is willing to turn a blind eye to make some cash to help take care of his ailing wife. All of this leads into the next book:

Trap
by Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Translated by Quentin Bates
London: Orenda Books, 2018

Taking up where Snare left off, Trap gives us the further adventures of Sonja and Agla, as both the smuggling and financial capers ratchet up in intensity. The mastermind of the smuggling ring, Mr. José, takes a special interest in Sonja, and Agla plans the biggest fraud yet to cover-up the smaller ones that she had been perpetuating. All of this is well and good, although the money laundering schemes are fairly abstruse and the smuggling incidents begin to lose appeal after the third or fourth iteration. There is also a third book in the series, Cage, which has just been released. It leaves the drug smuggling behind and focuses on the banking shenanigans. I might skip that one.

The translator for all three of these books is Quentin Bates, who is also a writer of Icelandic crime fiction. It is a serviceable translation but, like the rest of Bates’ work, unexceptional.

By Professor Batty


Comments: 0 




Monday, June 01, 2020

Halloween in May



There was a Halloween Parade on my street yesterday.

Really.

After the chaos of the previous few days, it was a welcome, if somewhat incongruous event. Evidently it was a ‘prize’ in a local contest where the winner had a short parade go through their neighborhood. A ladder truck from the fire department led the procession, followed by Princesses on a float (wearing masks) and a couple of convertibles with more masked princesses. Another firetruck wrapped up the end of the short procession and then life returned to normal in my sleepy little town.



(Pardon the image quality, they were shot on my laptop camera.)

By Professor Batty


Comments: 0