Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Month of Memories Recap

So ends my look back at May, 2005.

As I stated, I had a ton of spring projects to do and I needed some time off. These posts were pretty indicative of FITK 17 years ago with posts from various contributors—it was a blog thing then—that kind of interaction is pretty much passé now outside of formal aggregators like Medium.

As I write this (in April 2022), looking back at what I wrote then didn’t embarrass me as I thought it might have. Timeless themes and deathless prose, and even some touching poetry!

I’ve been doing some soul-searching here at FITK. Readership numbers remain miniscule, but consistent. The trickle of readers from around the world is an inspiration. Any changes in this blog which may be coming will probably be at a glacial pace.

In three more years this blog will be old enough to drink—maybe a liquid version of Flippism is the Key like Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Whiskey.

It’s been a long and sometimes very strange trip.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Batty and the Devil

This is a FITK re-post

Monday, May 30, 2005

It was a middle-of-the-night session, The Professor and his trusty laptop.

Perhaps it was nerves, or too much coffee, but the Professor couldn't sleep that night. In his pine-paneled garret, that unreliable narrator worked on yet another installment in the ongoing forum known as Flippism Is The Key.

The night was warm and, while a rumble of thunder in the distance augured a storm, at that moment the air was still, with ominous, almost putrescent odors of mown grass, cloying flowers, and humus permeating the neighborhood. While glancing at the clock - 02:30 - a shadow crossed Batty’s line of sight, going from the open window to the darkest corner of the little room. "Drat! A bat is that! Scat!", muttered the Suessian Professor. He picked up a throw from the couch to gently capture that 'child of the night' before it could hurt itself or arouse the rest of the household.

He arose, turned toward the corner and then stopped. Instead of a winged mammal, he saw before him, wearing an elaborate Victorian outfit (complete with a red-lined black satin cape), what appeared to be a man.

"Allow me to introduce myself," the apparition purred, "and please forgive my brash intrusion. I am Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, or he who some may call the Devil, and I am here to make you an offer that I think you will embrace willingly, once you comprehend it in its entirety."

The dubious professor thought: I simply must get that screen replaced... then said: "What do you want with me?"

"I notice that you're blogging, and having a tough time of it tonight, aren't you? A little short on inspiration tonight?" A hint of a sneer curled the nocturnal visitor's lip as he continued; "You realize, of course, that I could help you make your blog an overnight sensation, MILLIONS of hits, book offers, screenplays, groupies, and even your face on the cover of Wired magazine!"

The professor seemed tempted for a moment, but then slowly crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head; "No, no thank you. I'll pass on that."

"My dear man, don't you realize that I can bestow to you all these things and much more?" said the demon," You don't grasp the breadth of my power, do you? It wasn't Al Gore that invented the Internet, IT WAS ME and, may I add, 'you ain't seen nothin' yet!'"

"Thank you, no, I'll stick with what I've got. It isn't much, but what goes in this blog is as true as we can make it, no matter how silly or oblique it may appear." The professor was a little irritated by Satan's boasting. "You may be the Devil," he continued, "or you may be the Lord, but this place exists for its own purposes, and is not in service to God, the Devil or Mammon."

"Truth!" snorted the Devil; "And can you be so sure of the others who appear here? What darkness lies within their nature?"

"They are who they are. They write what they see fit, and I have neither feeling nor reason to doubt their integrity." The Professor was truly angered now, "They have their own demons to deal with, and need no help or hindrance from the likes of you!"

The true nature of the interloper now became manifest, as his fine clothes turned into reptilian scales, and his unctuous voice now turned into a sulfurous hiss- "Wait and see, my ersatz professor, wait and see- you'll be on my side yet- or as I have often been quoted: 'If you aren't with me, you are against me!"

With that the otherwise timid blogger flew into a rage, throwing his copy of HTML for Dummies at the hideous creature. This caused the transformation of the stranger back into his winged form, which then flew through the window leaving Batty alone, with his musings, once again.

By Professor Batty


Anonymous said...
I always love it when old Beelzebub stops by unannounced. It really puts some wind into the old sails.

The problem is that he doesn't like to leave...

Internal Medicine Doctor said...

Here's what I'd like to know? does this mean that Glenn Reynolds sold his soul to the dark lord? hmmmm...

Professor Batty said... I have a feeling that I should know who Glenn Reynolds is... but because I don't, I may still possess my soul...

Internal Medicine Doctor said...

He's Instapundit (100,000+m hits per day)

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Truth in Packaging

This is a FITK re-post

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I was reading my milk bottle this morning (my life is a thrill a minute!) and printed upon it was this cryptic epigram: "For optimists, dreamers and the inspired...".

It was skim milk. If ever a dairy product was uninspired and not conducive to dreaming, that would have to be the one. Maybe whey would be less so, but not by much. This led to thoughts about other products and what little aphoristic phrases could be applied to them:

Coffee- For realists, disenchanted and the uninspired...
Chocolate- For hedonists, cravers and the decadent...
SUVs- For overcompensators, megalomaniacs and the insecure...
Hot Dogs- For the indiscrimminate, greasy and omnivorous...
George W.Bush- For the narrow-minded, elitist and disingenuous...
Blogging- For optimists, dreamers and the inspired...

Blogging: The skim milk of literature?

By Professor Batty


Comica said... In Richmond, we have this bottled water called "Smart Water" that supposedly has electrolytes. It's meant to "make you smarter" and designed for anyone who has ever been called a "geek, dork, four-eyes, brain..." et al.

Just thought you should know.

Is skim milk any good? I've often wondered.

Professor Batty said...

...good? Yes, nutritionally. It's just that it is somewhat flavor-challenged, if you follow me. So how is "Smart Water", or haven't you ever had any?;-)

Comica said...

"Smart Water" unlike skim milk, is much more flavorful, if you get the flavored bottles of course. Otherwise, it tastes like regular bottled water. I suppose it's a placebo because I always feel as though I could start a computer software company after drinking a jug.

Pessimistic Pollyanna said...

so what are your thoughts on soy milk?

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Saturday, May 28, 2022


This is a FITK re-post

Saturday, May 28, 2005

"...throw some more wood on that fire..."
"...so I figured it was just bad gas, the motor would die if I let the idle down..."
"...no, the labor wasn't too bad, my water broke at nine and the baby was born by 8 the next morning..."
"...Ooh, com'on and do shots with us..."
"Squeeze me? Is that T-shirt for real?"
"Sure, here!"
"You going up to the Boundary Waters this summer?"
"So do you think a 6.1 megapixel is worth the extra dough?"
...don't know why I come to these, too much smoking and drinking...
"Attention please, we're going to do the raffle now- the last three digits are 739...739...nobody?"
"...finished eleven commercials this week. That director was a real asshole though..."
"739? Okay, we'll try another...801...801"
"...do you want a piggy-back ride?"
...there she is with her new baby, I want a baby...
"We've got this new karoake set-up..."
"You play pool?" "Oh I've been known to..."
"...was stopped with a .068 blood alcohol, that was too close..."
"...so I tell my manager that I don't care if we are supposed to be nice..."
"Having a kid is really cool and really frightening."
"I always said that having a baby is like being washed out to sea, you wash ashore about five years later and resume your life."
"I'll see you, maybe we'll get that canoe trip in later this summer."
"Yeah catch you later..."

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Wedding Announcement

This is a FITK re-post

Friday, May 27, 2005

In my hands.

A crude cartoon, done in love, but grotesque nevertheless, announcing the marriage of an almost-girlfriend. As if to rub my face in it, I thought. No, it was just a sign she still thought of me. “I'll ride that Chestnut Mare someday!” - my foolish words. It’s over. not a chance. You never really had a thing going with her. You just weren’t in her league, were you? You’d need a whole lot more of everything to catch a woman like that. And now she’s up and done married someone else.

Get over it.

That was a long time ago. I got over it. I got married myself, and not on the rebound from her either. There all all sorts of different people. Some work out as a mate. Some don’t. But despite their differences, there is a commonality. You commit, they commit, you figure it out. It doesn’t exactly matter who it is, as long as you can see yourselves together. But years later, my old girlfriend and I, did get back together (platonic), and renewed a friendship we should have had all along, a frendship that I was too emotional and immature to let happen.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Looking Backward

This is a FITK re-post

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Today I printed and mounted a photographic show for the Mitchell, South Dakota, Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is an auditorium building that has the outside covered with mosaics of naturally colored corn, changed yearly to reflect a theme. Most of the pictures were made from copy negatives of old postcards. There were also three made from digital camera files. The building, excepting the mosaics, has not changed in over 80 years. There were several shots of the Palace that were dated in the twenties. On these pictures, these copies of old penny-postcards, you can see every detail of the building. You can count the bricks, the ears of corn. On the new pictures, shots of the same building, shot in the same location, you can see sort of a impression of brick-like blobs and, as the perspective recedes, just colored daubs. The corn looks like blurry confetti. That's some kind of Progress, I guess. I don't know what kind, just some kind.

By Professor Batty


Anonymous said…


I too have printed many photos of the Corn Palace. It is nice to know someone (not something) is doing my old job.

You know better than anyone I know that the last 20 years has brought photography to more people with increasingly easier access, and with increasingly less quality than ever before in the history of the medium. Seriously. Not even the introduction of the 35mm camera in the 30's or the color film of the 70's (combined with the “AE-1”) can meet with the devaluation of image quality heralded by the digital chapter.

You can rest easy at nigh knowing that there are silver loyalists like myself out there, exposing real film, and developing it in esoteric laboratories.


Comica said…

That's a-maize-ing!

Sorry I just had to!

Anonymous said…

Yup - they killed it alright:

with their $85 ink cartridges, typewriter paper, and countless hours spent in the basement at their spyware-ridden computer, they all can say with triumph:

“See! I can do it myself - without having to take the film in!” Where once only a handful of images were lost due to someone's incompetence, now thousands of cherished pictures will vanish in a blink of an eye; I can hear the wailing now...

...or worse: “Hey Ethyl! How’d that git on thee inn’er net?’


By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Looking Forward

This is a FITK re-post
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Futurism is a good way to make yourself look foolish.

The rate of change of technology has been picking up, whether it's for good or ill can be argued on a case by case basis. What seems to be accelerating the most is communications technology- cheaper, faster, not always better, but ‘good enough’ and when fads, fashions and products have the shelf-life of a gnat, it becomes very hard to predict anything, except there will be MORE.

Medicine and health care always seems to be about ten years away from that big breakthrough—rebuilt parts, as good as or better than new. Transplants and bionics have made a lot of headway, but still are not the same as new organs, with your genes. What has been done is the vast amount of research to take medicine to the next level: mapping the human genome, understanding cellular mechanisms, truly effective and application-specific drugs. I sense that our children will not suffer from many of the things we now find ourselves at the mercy of—but these changes are probably a little further off than a decade.

Transportation is another question mark. It is pretty obvious that the gasoline-powered era will be drawing to a close. If high-tech solutions can’t be found (or made effective) we might find ourselves traveling less, with the world getting bigger in a sense. That overseas vacation may become a once-in-a-lifetime thing, rather than once a year. Sailing ships? Dirigibles? When the SST jets were shut down, an era of aviation ‘progress’ ended.

Of course with the expansion of HDTV both in the mass media and over the internet, people may opt out of travel altogether and cocoon their lives away.

All of this won’t happen if the world becomes further embroiled in war. If China were to erupt, and the warfare there spread throughout the Far East, (in addition to the current Near East situation), all bets are off. A grim, Orwellian future, instead of the chaotic, technological Brave New World. Check back here in 2015, with your HD 3-D screen, and my virtual body shall update you in surround sound and Odorama.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Kristín’s Interview

This is a FITK re-post

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

My Icelandic correspondent Kristín took time out from her Wyrd existence to be so gracious as to pose these interview questions to me.

1) Why Iceland? What made you want to visit it?

Literature, certainly. Besides Jules Verne's Journey, I had a copy of Independent People by Halldór Laxness. “Who are these strange people who happen to think, mope and brood the same way I do?”, I said to myself after reading it. As a child, I was fascinated by the Ísland postage stamps in my collection. My first time there, when my wife and I went in 2000, we only had a short time for a spring break and got a good deal on one of the Icelandair packages (we stayed at the Hotel Borg!) When I returned last year, it was by myself, to photograph and be alone for a while. The Icelandic countryside in March is a very good place to be alone.

2) In comparison to other countries you've traveled to, how does Iceland rate?

I'm not much of an international traveler. I’ve only been to England and Scotland a few times, which I enjoyed very much, they were very pleasant and charming. Iceland is very severe and stunning. The people I met in Iceland were very intelligent and they all asked me: “Why Iceland?”

3) What is the greatest thing about America?

The ideals upon which it was founded.

4) What is the one aspect of your country that you dislike the most?

The hatred and intolerance upon which it was built. The American Civil War has never ended- the current international disgrace of the Bush policies is only a continuation of the old evil of elitism.

5) On your blog you mention that old clothes can become like ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you, or anyone you know, seen one?

In dreams, yes. As a sense of spirits, perhaps. Ghosts in real life, no.

6) Trains, planes or automobiles?

Trains in my part of the country are pretty much commodity freight movers, I like to hear their whistles at night when I’m half alseep… passenger jets are commodity people movers, although I did have one great flight… automobiles are commodity petrol wasters, where I live it is almost an imperative to have one—due to lack of options. I really enjoy travel by bicycle or canoe.

If you would like to be interviewed by me, reply in the comments section, we'll see if we can keep this chain going.

By Professor Batty


Kristín said…

Excellent answers, mate. Very interesting what you said about the old evils of elitism.

And yes, we all ask ‘Why Iceland?’ because we are fascinated with what fascinates others about our country/culture. I guess it's navelgazing, in a way…

Comica said…

The professor has gone from lecturing/tutoring/observing to become a roving reporter as well? I'm in!

Alda said…

Very interesting! Thanks for the added insight.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Dreamscape #2

This is a FITK re-post
Monday, May 23, 2005

… I am somewhere in Scandinavia, in a city with a group of people, some of whom I know, others are strangers, perhaps locals. It is night, it is around Christmas, buildings are decorated, shoppers hurry by with packages. We meet another group of people. She is there, this time she speaks; she says that she has to go. We do not touch. I call her name, she turns and looks at me, she is smiling, and she is crying. I speak to her: “… please don’t leave us… ”

It begins to snow…

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Bomb Boy

This is a FITK re-post

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I was afraid of Richard when I was growing up.

Richard was The Bomb Boy. He made bombs in his garage, and blew them up in the empty field by the creek. His specialty was the crafting of pipe bombs, made with sections of steel pipe and match heads. He would set them off with firecrackers, they made a big explosion. Richard was working in his garage one day, making the biggest pipe bomb yet, and he was hammering the end of it shut with a hammer.

When Richard got out of the hospital, he only had one hand and one kidney, he walked funny and was blind in one eye. The sight of him limping down the street always gave me the willies. He did a bad thing, and he paid the price. I had done things just as dumb, but I was luckier than Richard. Maybe God liked me, I thought. Maybe Richard was bad and deserved his fate.

There are hundred of thousands of bomb boys (and girls) now. None of them are any better or worse people than Richard. They didn't make their own instruments of self-destruction. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe God doesn’t like them.

I don’t know what God thinks.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Summer Suit

This is a FITK re-post

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Digging through my old clothes, filling a bag for the thrift store, I came upon my summer suit. A real beauty: imported fabric, cream-white with pinstripes, perfectly tailored for me or, rather, the man I was twenty-five years ago. I last wore it at my 30th class reunion, I had to lose twenty pounds to get into it then and it was still plenty tight.

It remains a very nice suit, it’s a luxury to have a suit that isn’t a business black or blue or a frumpy brown. I should have taken it to Hawaii. And left those pounds home.

In a sense, old clothes can become ghosts; hovering above the floor, hanging around in attics and closets, always there to silently remind you of what you once were. Sometimes they can be downright scary. Maybe I'll lose that weight, wear that suit again, and start calling myself Professor Dandy as I hit the town. Or maybe I'll exorcise that demon by letting someone else have that summer suit.

1 Comment:

Chris Fox said…

I’d wear that suit with a nice light blue t-shirt underneath, roll the sleeves and pretend you’re Don Johnson.

Weren’t 80s fashions fun!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Coast of Malabar

This is a FITK re-post

Friday, May 20, 2005

Far away, across the ocean
...with the world changing so rapidly...
Underneath an Indian star
...what was once unthinkable, now common...
Dwells a dark and lovely maiden
...inner thoughts of a stranger...
On the Coast of Malabar
...coming to me daily, planting their seeds...
In the harbour, where we anchored
...her exotic aspect tempered by her humanity...
I can see her, shy and sweet
...knowable, yet untouchable...
With a bunch of wine-red roses
...facing the same problems...
And the wild waves at her feet
...from a different perspective...
“Come to me”, I can hear her calling
...quoting Edna Millay and Liz Phair...
Across the oceans, wild and far
...while I sit here, surrounded by mindless xenophobia...
“Come to me again and love me,
... loves her parents...
On the Coast of Malabar”
...and tolerates no fools...
And my thoughts keep ever turning
...age, circumstance and geography conspire to separate...
To that far-off distant shore
...but we will meet, if only in dreams...
And the dark-eyed girl who loved me
...and this perfect love with no end and no beginning...
Will I see her never more?
...will forever hide in our hearts...

Oh fare thee well, my little dark-eyed queen
Fare thee well, my Indian star
In my heart you’ll live forever
On the Coast of Malabar

“Coast Of Malabar“ is an English ballad

For Reshma

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Broken Hip

This is a FITK re-post

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I used to be cool.


I went to dances, was a bon vivant at society affairs, and wasn’t that Jackie O beside me in that photo in the Village Voice? Frankie and Sammy, no second names needed. Henry Kissinger in my Rolodex under “Hank.”

Groovy baby.

But now my ‘hip’ is broken. Young women think I am the janitor. Teen-aged punks sneer: “old man.” My former tonsorial splendor is but a memory, gray and going, going, gone.

Enough of this wallow in the sty of self-pity.

What assets do I have?

#1. Wits- at least half of them at any given moment.
#2. Family- the kids are alright.
#3. Wife- restricted topic.
#4. God and Country- well one out of two ain’t bad.
#5. Real friends- and none so close as to want to borrow my tools.
#6. Imaginary friends—some are more so than others—just who are these strange people that keep popping up in this blog?
#7. Health- my middle leg neither drips nor droops.
#8. Money- enough for a six-pack of German beer once in a while.
#9. Home- yeah, Ok, I’m a homeboy, not a player.

So, I’ll trade stability for glamour.

Frankie and Sammy and Jackie aren’t looking so good themselves right now.
I’ll pop open a Spaten and kick back.

It could be worse, I’ll put off that 'hip' replacement for a while longer.

By Professor Batty

1 Comment:

Comica said…

I maintain that you don’t have to be a certain age to be trendy and “with it.”

It’s your attitude on life that’s important, and as far as I’m concerned you’re a happenin’ hipster!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Magic Moments

This is a FITK re-post

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

“… and the charms o’ the min, they fade and wither awa, mon…”
~ Robert Burns

This bit of grim philosophy has haunted me over the years; I have always felt it to be a little disingenuous, especially coming from a poet who certainly had his share of fleeting pleasure.

It seems to me that the very nature of ephemera gives these simple moments of beauty their value.

I'm not advocating living for the moment as a constant state, but am merely suggesting that those who can never enjoy the lighter side of existence are missing its point.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Modern-Day Saint

This is a FITK re-post

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Marilyn Monroe

What would your definition of a saint be? Someone who has led an exemplary life, a performer of miracles, the leader of an enormous organization? Or perhaps it would be a humble hermit, a seeker of truth whose quiet example shows us all perfection? There are the saints of old, saints of minor interest (St. Ives?) and even mystic-warrior saints (Joan of Arc). The Roman Catholic church had made sainthood a growth industry in the last few decades, and there will soon be another one. But all saints have to have an iconic presence. They, and the lives they led, must symbolize some aspect of humanity’s struggle between existence and fate.

Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jean Baker, is certainly an Icon. An actress, a woman, a sex-symbol unequaled. But in her life, as in most of her movie roles, she also shows us the missing part of Christianity, she is Mary Magdelene, worldly, sexual, misunderstood and misused by the males in love and life. Always searching for a good man, always disappointed, maintaining a strong moral center that held in spite of betrayal and degradation. A single woman. Was her death a new crucifixion, with her as the Daughter Of God, dying for our sins? Was her death necessary to enable us to appreciate her life?

Her light may fade: she wrote no philosophy, she left no church, there is no Gospel of Marilyn. But she was. She left a body of work that may survive. It shows an actor in a role. The role that billions of women must play, to some degree or another. A role that is half of humanity, without which we are lost. The promise of her sexuality is the promise of love, of new life. As Venus and Aphrodite fulfilled that role in classical times, so does Marilyn in modern times.

Image: Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol, Princeton University

By Professor Batty

1 Comment:

Lady of the lake said…

The light of Marilyn (and Diana) will always burn brighter then most any “recognized” saint. (IMO)

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Door

This is a FITK re-post

Monday, May 16, 2005

Come. The door is open.
We’ll cross the threshold
Through that door. The bed awaits.
The bed is inviting, even
more so than he

Now is the time.
This event was
Years in the making

We've waited long enough.
Someone knows what he's doing
and I think I know it too

I won’t pull you in.
Am I pushing him
or is he pulling me?

In or out, it's up to you.
Should I? Will I? Why wouldn’t I?
The door is open.
We’ll cross the threshold
You said you wanted to, now you don’t.
Where’s my confidence?
Uncompromised virgin.
I am virgin, see me shudder
Uncompromised you will remain—virgin you will not.
I won't let him see me wince
Or will you?
I want this, I think...
We've already begun.

By Comica and Professor Batty

1 Comment:

Comica said…

Collaboration is fun!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Eagle Has Landed

This is a FITK re-post

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Apollo astronauts were ready to make the final descent from lunar orbit to the surface.

The '63 Ford came to a halt in the darkened country lane.

They had been in lunar orbit for several hours, preparing for this event.

The young couple had been seeing each other for several weeks, spending their time together in closer and closer intimacy.

"Mission Control, we are ready for our approach trajectory adjustment."

"Let me push the seat back all the way, we'll get a little more comfortable…"

Grasping the joystick, the pilot's firm touch, developed with years of training, maneuvered the tiny craft into the proper attitude.

His eagerness, already expressing itself, needed a careful rearranging, so as not to be deployed too soon.

The tiny lunar excursion module enveloped the explorers on their way toward touchdown.

The family sedan became a love-nest for the excited couple.

As the moon's surface neared, the astronauts breathing and heartrate increased dramatically.

The lovers gasps were coming quicker now, their pulses raced faster and faster.


The crew prepared for their lunar exploration.


The lovers’ caresses now reached intimate areas.

"Mission Control, this is Tranquility Base. The eagle has landed."


"Roger, You've got a couple of guys down here turning blue."

Later, the young explorers looked up at the rising moon.

The lunar explorers looked up at the earth-rise.

"It's really beautiful, isn't it?"

"It's really beautiful, isn't it?"



By Professor Batty


Prashanth said...

hhahahahahahahahahhaha that was incredibly funny....had a ball reading it...ROFLOL

Sarah said...

Call me naive, but I didn't think it was funny at all. I thought it was beautiful.

Comica said...

This is perhaps my favorite post by the Professor yet !

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Rocket Fuel

This is a FITK re-post

Saturday, May 14, 2005

One of my joys of adolescence was creative destruction.

It seemed that nothing was safe from my urge to dismantle, blow-up and otherwise ruin my immediate surroundings. I was encouraged in this behavior by that bastion of middle-class America, The Reader's Digest. In between abridged novels (Gone With the Wind - in only 200 pages!) and helpful health related features (I am Joe's Colon) the editors (who must have been drunk that day) published a story about teenaged rocketeers—including a formula for rocket fuel! Well, after my buddy Tom and I read that, it was only a matter of time before we put it to a proper “scientific” test. The science room at our junior high had the proper ingredients so we mixed them together during “science club” after school one day. Now you may ask: “Where was your faculty advisor?” and the answer would be: “Who knows?” Unlike the virtual lock-down conditions of many of the schools today, in the innocent sixties students often spent a great of time unsupervised. At any rate, we had procured a tin can to be our test vessel (so as not to damage any of the schools equipment!) and proceeded to ignite what we assumed to be a small amount of fuel.

What did we learn from this experiment?

#1. Rocket fuel has A LOT OF ENERGY per mass.

#2. When you ignite rocket fuel in a tin can, the can immediately turns red-hot.

#3. Any combustible material adjacent to aforementioned tin can will be immediately charred.

#4. It takes a long time to sand out char marks from a wooden table-top.

#5. Science club was canceled for the rest of the year.

Well, at least they did allow us to continue our studies—I’m sure if we were students today and tried a stunt like that we would be incarcerated until our twenty-first birthday, and then would have to begin a lifetime of crime.

Somehow I think that The Reader’s Digest doesn’t publish rocket fuel formulas anymore.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Fine, I won’t walk around at night…

This is a FITK re-post

Friday, May 13, 2005

The rain had begun to fall. Luckily, I was wearing the new rain jacket and was apathetic. In fact, the jaunt now had purpose. Let the rain wash away my restlessness and let the jacket catch the extra droplets of relief. The bars on West Main were hopping most metaphorically, and thanks to a sharp eye, I know where to catch one of my former professors in case I have a question on the shapes of galaxies or wormholes (sometimes I do, y’know).

It’s Finals Week here, but you couldn’t tell with the number of college students skipping to and fro to various apartments, smelling of Miller Lite, Jack Daniels, and that once deceased Bohemian spirit, now urbanized and modernized. The atmosphere was pretty carefree. It was like the night before a festival, and only the rain hinted otherwise (rain normally comes the day of festivals)…

People on their cell phones, some with Slurpees,and others with girlfriends. Truly fascinating spectacles for a Monday night romp.

I had just gotten to the section of West Main where I'm between FanTastic Thrift and Family Dollar, and the rain fell harder. A luxurious car was slowing down as the others were speeding past, and I knew what was coming. First came the greeting.

Three males, obviously out-of-towners seeking a bit of fun.

“HEY! Do you know where the strip bars are at?!”

“No, I'm sorry I can't help you there!”

“Where are YOU going? We stopped to talk to you!”

“I’m just out for a walk!”

“Where are you from?”

“Oh, five hours away from here.”

“Oh, we’re farther away than that. We’re from California!”

“What are you doing all the way over here then?”

“We came to D.C. and we thought we’d drive through here!”

“Ah, I see!”

"Do ya' need a ride?"

“Oh no, I’m fine, thank you though!”

“Are you suuuure?”

“Yes, yes. I’m just out for a stroll.”

“You need a ride to that home five hours away?”

“No, no. I’m fine, I’m fine really! Thank you! Go have fun!”

The driver didn’t look older than 16, so it was tough for me to take them seriously. I felt so much older than him. He had a light, cheery voice, whereas his comrades looked to be in their late twenties.

I continued on my walk, not giving the three a second thought. I was approaching another intersection when I saw that same luxurious car pull out from a side street, and zoom off. At first, I thought they had finally found a bar to their liking, but then I realized that wasn’t the case. I saw the car keep going into the distance, but it was slowing down.

West Main is a one way street, so I decided not to finish my romp, but to turn around and go back the way I came.

The rain stopped the moment I turned around, and campus was soon in sight again.

Lesson learned.

By Comica

1 Comment:

Professor Batty said…

… and so the three stooges’ freedom to drive around in a gas guzzler and harass women squelches your freedom to enjoy a healthy walk… grr.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Weight

This is a FITK re-post

Thursday May 12, 2005

Take a load off Fanny,
take a load for free…
Take a load off Fanny,
and put the load right on me…
-J.R. Robertson

Man, nothing could get me down today; I flew into work singing, breezed through my shift on overdrive, came home, made supper for the Weaver, and I still felt great. Now it isn’t that I am never down, and it’s not that I had any particular reason for my happiness, it was just a great day.

So, in light of this situation, I give you this no-obligation proposition:

I am now accepting and will willingly bear your burdens, funks, foul moods, and any of your other minor ailings. Com’on! Pile ’em up! Here’s a chance to drop some of that baggage that you’ve been carrying around. I promise not to give it back! A deal like this won’t last long—act now! That old heartbreak? Give it here. A sense of not belonging? Drop it off pal, no prob. Feel that you can’t talk when you really need to? I’ll pry that cat off your tongue. Feeling a little better? Good. That’s all there is to it! LET IT ALL HANG OUT! I saw that little smile! You don’t have to suffer that way—let it be me. Self esteem issues? You’re alright by me. I’ve got Karma to burn, baby, burn: toss your bad vibes on my pyre. It’s here. It’s now. It’s free. It’s just for you. Why do I do it? Because I like your style and I hate to see it cramped. Now go’on. Have a ball. It’s your turn.

I’m bleeding.

By Professor Batty


Comica said…

You’re just too cute sometimes!

RS said…

Does the offer still stand?

Anonymous said…

Just a quiet, friendly chat about guitar amps and old recording gear will do just fine, thank you…

… and yes, thanks for all of those times - you’ve brightened my day on more than one occasion.


Professor Batty said…

Comica- I’ll do cute, if I have to…

Reshma- of course…

DJZ- just picked up a Tascam 40-4 at the thrift store for $50- it was dirty but works 100%, are you looking for a free Teac 3340?

lab munkay said…

“… karma to burn… ” I love that Batty.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

First Lady

Eliza Reid (left), who I first heard of from the Iceland Writers Workshop, was in town at The ASI yesterday, giving a talk on Secrets of the Sprakkar, her new book, (subtitled “Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World”.)

Eliza’s book discusses Sprakkar, an ancient Icelandic word meaning extraordinary or outstanding women, looking at Iceland as a whole and focusing on several individuals.

As I listened to her speak, I realized that her book's subtitle has been a major theme of my life over the last twenty+ years. There are dozens of Icelandic women who have influenced me: directly, indirectly, even at a personal level. It may have started with Björk, but has grown far beyond that.

Eliza’s talk was humorous and  informative, going into many of the quirks and features (both good and bad) of Modern Iceland and its people. She did bring up “pool culture” as the great equalizer; my many hours in the “hot pots” can confirm that.

One unique aspect of Eliza’s life is the fact that she happens to be married to the President of Iceland! She did have some stories about that as well as showing several scenes from her life as “first lady”, a non-official position but one that she enjoys, with some misgivings. Her New York Times opinion piece lays out those paradoxes in some detail.
Here’s the story of her serendipitous rise to prominence:

And here is another version of the lecture:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Happy hour

This is a FITK re-post

Wednesday May 11, 2005

Yeah. Uhu. Is that right? Aha. Ummm. Yeah. Ok. Oh really? Ummm. Right. Aha.

I look at her as she over-eagerly nods her head and takes notes from all that I’m saying. Then she stops and looks at me with her penetrative stare. I feel as if I should have something to say but I know I can’t say the things she wants to hear. Avoiding her eyes I stare out the window and play with my headphones like there is no tomorrow.

Tell me something about you. Aha. Umm. Ok. Uhu. Right. Yeah. And how does that make you feel?

I carefully dodge her questions even though I know she needs to know the answers to be able to help me. I don’t know how any of it makes me feel. I don't know what to tell her. I sink lower and lower on her couch and while she waits for me to open my mouth I wander off on to the other side. To the other side where everything is good and you don’t have to tell middle-aged head bangers how various situations make you feel. To my kingdom, my own little haven, where I decide who I let in and who not. I sometimes wish I could spend all my time there but at the same time I know the day that happens is the day they have to lock me up at some mental institution. Because as much as I like the other side, life is happening on this side. Right here, right now. So I better start coughing up the answers.

Aha. Uhhh. Ok. Right. Aha. Wait. Why? When in doubt, buy a sweater? Uhu. Road Trip? What?. Foreign Mafia? Yeah, we need another session. Next week? Good.

By Little Miss Loopy

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


This is a FITK re-post

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Not needing, not needing you. Or boys. Or girls. Needing myself and no one else. Drinking water. Being messy. I think not. Not caring. Not trying for this. Just happening. Just doing. For once. Not watching. But knowing. It'll be the right thing. It'll be therapeutic. New and exciting. Butterflies over someone new everyday. Being sexy, desired, wanted, available but unable to be reached. Smart, in a non-overwhelming way - just know how able I am. So appealing. It's 9:22 AM in May. Wishing it was December. Wishing it was innocence. And that way forever.

That would be absolutely B. E. A. U. T. I. F. U. L.

Agree? Only myself. You couldn't possibly understand me. Or any of this. The desires, wishes, wants, needs, loves, hates. Only me, only me and you. Me single, alone. The most appealing thing. Catch eyes. Blink. Flirtatious eye-batting. Lively. Ravishing. Me. Why yes! This is merely the beginning.


By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 09, 2022

Fun in Montana

This is a FITK re-post

Monday, May 09, 2005

1958 was a watershed in my childhood.

It was the year of the great western family vacation: South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota, in our brand new ’58 Ford. The Dakotas and Wyoming were fine, with all the usual picture-postcard scenery and the tourist traps (yes, we did stop at Wall Drug!) But the high point of the trip, what made it transcend the ordinary, was a stay in Chinook, Montana, where one of my dad's brothers lived with his family, and where my dad’s sister-in-law, the widow of another of my dad’s brothers, lived with her son.

Now Chinook is a small town, a little east of Havre, on the north central plains. My Dad's brother had four or five kids, two boys, two girls and some other boy, now grown up, who had some kind of unexplained relationship to us. All of us cousins had fun together, visitors to this part of Montana were somewhat scarce at that time, none of my other relatives ever went out there. Montana was a lot wilder than Minnesota, we did things that were unheard of for this eight-year-old: playing poker till 2 a.m., fun games with liquid mercury(!), shooting off fireworks (and not ladyfingers either!), target practice, dropping water balloons on unsuspecting townsfolk, teasing their “pet’ magpies, and many other pranks. After three or four days of this, we went home and forgot all about our country cousins.

Ten years later. I was a student at the University. On Thursdays my last class was over at noon; I took the bus home. I was home alone, everyone else was at work or school. The phone rang. The operator's voice said: “Will you accept a collect call from ____, in Havre Montana?” It was my uncle. In a trembling voice he explained that his younger son, the one my age, had been ‘out hunting’ with his cousin… something happened… he had been shot to death… it was an accident.

As I grew older, the missing parts of the story began to get filled in. Montana was a wilder place than Minnesota. Fun with cars, and booze, and guns. My cousin who pulled the trigger spent the next thirty years drunk, and finally died from a fall, also while drunk. 45 years earlier his father had also died drunk, found frozen to death in a feedlot. His grandfather - my grandfather - had died drunk.

My uncle and aunt never got over my cousin’s death. When they’d come to visit they’d look at me closely, commenting that I was the same age as the son they lost.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Farmer Me

A FITK re-post
Sunday, May 08, 2005

Yup, took in the first hay of the season today. That bare spot on the south acreage isn’t getting any better, s’pose I’ll git some fertilizer in there or nothing will grow. My spread is not so big as some, I can get my hayin’ done in ’bout an hour. The old Toro does a nice job. Big thunderstorm brewin’, guess it taint the smartest time to be on the computer… the rabbits t’were into the garden this spring, munchin’ on the veggies… “Ma! You seen my .22?”

Well, I'll sign off now, afore the next bolt of lightnin’… ZKX#W?@ZZZZZAP!

By Professor Batty

1 Comment:

Comica said:

I’m suddenly back home!!!!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Father Knows Best

A FITK re-post

Saturday, May 07, 2005

As the second-born, my childhood perceptions were always colored by the example set by my older sibling—my big sister. At every step of our lives she was there first, doing all the things I would do later. Some things that happened to her I could not understand, and I still have trouble with.

The biggest thing was her relationship with our father. For some reason, her transition into puberty brought out the worst in him. Abusive behavior, some physical, some psychological, imprinted indelible scenes in my child-memory. I knew it was wrong then, and I never forgot it. She never speaks of them. What caused him to act this way? Her rebellious demeanor? She was no saint, but she was hardly a problem child. Was it that she was becoming a woman? I vividly recall him repeatedly slamming her head against a closet door, telling her: “You’re fat! You’re fat! Say it to me! You’re fat!” What is a 13 year-old girl to do? (And she wasn’t fat.) She cried of course, and said it - anything to get out of that humiliation. What could have been his justification for such behavior? Was he threatened by her budding sexuality? That he was losing his control? Control issues were very big with him. And never a reconciliation. Father knows best. End of discussion. The rage. Always just below the surface, ready to explode with the slightest provocation. He pulled stunts like that on all of us as we grew through adolescence. We all got over it, sort of.

Of course, there might be some who say: “The world is a hard place, you need to be tough, spare the rod and spoil the child.”

But if you can’t rely on your father, who can you rely on? If there can’t be at least one stable intermediary between you and the storms of life as you pass through to adulthood, is it any wonder that so many people grow up fearful and distrusting of any relationships? The mother, of course, is the nurturer—if only by her innate biological relationship to her child. Her actions can be just as bad. And the failure of so many fathers to understand their potential role in a family is not a modern phenomenon although the freedom offered by modern life makes it more common. It is one of the central problems of the human condition. Or is this issue cultural, something that is transmitted, generation to generation, in some sub-conscious ritual, satisfying the father’s need to assert his dominance in a changing relationship?

Whatever the answer (if there even is an answer), the result is a weaking of the family bond, a sense of alienation of both father and child, and a loss of human potential.

By Professor Batty


Alda said…

What a horrifying scenario! I'm not sure anyone really ‘gets over’ such a thing, except with some very hard work. Make no mistake, though, what you describe is hardcore abuse. Whatever your father‘s issues were, they don’t matter - what matters is that he inflicted some serious abuse on a very vulnerable human being, and that is what needs to be addressed.

Our Fanny said…

Before Dad died, I had a conversation with him about his behavior. He could not recall any instances that I brought up. I sometimes wonder if he slipped into a surreal world that he could not remember, but then I realize he was just a prime candidate for better living through chemistry (e.g. Zoloft).

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Silent Spring

This is a FITK Re-post

Friday, May 06, 2005

Buster, the king of the feral cats of Anoka, stands, or rather lies, on guard at the feral cat compound. His job is easier this spring. All the cats have been neutered, and the overall tension level has dropped considerably. No more yowling, hissing, fighting over mates and social position. Once in a while one of the younger cats will approach Buster, perhaps to curry favor, or probe for weakness. Buster will dispatch them with a grimace, or perhaps a quick bat of the paw. Peace is restored. No kittens this year. None the next year either. With about 20% mortality annually, it will take about five years to eliminate the colony if the trap-neuter-release policy continues. Then the colony area will revert to raccoons, rabbits and vermin.

Some may infer that the application of such an approach may prove applicable to the control of the males of other species, notably homo sapiens. Any volunteers?

By Professor Batty


Comica said...

In the midst of my daily IM session with my mother, she informed me that we have six new kittens romping all over the yard back home.

That makes around thirty strays that dwell around my home. Egad!

Professor Batty said...

...do feral cats cause Flippism? Another strange parallel in our lives… hmm.…

Anonymous said...

sorry about that

Tykho said...

This cat is so beautiful! Thanks for the amazing image. It quieted me.

lab munkay said...

My pole barn full of gypsy cats is the reason I'm here? Brilliant! Thanks for the fantastic pic. and insight Batty.

Anonymous said...

Well it is now October 2015, there looks to be 4 of the original bloodlines and 2 to 3 newer adults. They are all fixed. There were new signs put up this week, saying not to feed the animals. It all has to do with an organization that bought one of the builds, one of people running it, tried to convince me that the cats are dangerous. Oh yeah, the small fluff balls, that run away if they don't know you, are the dangerous ones, not the sketchy humans walking around. I have yet to read in the media how cats torture and kill humans. Then there is the other irony to it... it is a human homeless shelter that doesn't want us to feed the homeless cats. Even though the sign is up, we will feed them, until they get relocated soon.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Dialogue Appropo Of Nothing

A FITK re-post

Thursday, May 05, 2005

“… of course there can be no true monolog.”

“What? What of Hamlet's soliloquy?”

“A solitary actor, to be sure - but his lines shared with the audience, each in their own minds delivering a reply.”

“I disagree, surely there is the interior monolog we all have running, as a background to our lives… ”

“Our conscience? Jimminy Cricket, our guardian angel or perhaps a tempting dæmon, Goofus or Gallant? Are we not talking to God? Is God talking back?”

“What is the sound of one voice, yapping?”

“So it boils down to this. If there is an omnipotent force, all knowing, then everything is known, heard and interpreted.”

“Or not. Then it is nothing.”

“How many people live inside/outside of your head?”

“Real or imagined?”

“Does it make a difference?”

“There is a reality, and if you believe it an illusion, place your hand on the table and I will stab it with this ice-pick.”

“I get your point.”

“Point, set and match.”

“Violence never proves anything… OUCH!”

By Professor Batty

1 Comment:

Comica said…

Whenever I have little arguments with myself, it normally doesn’t end in violence, but this particular dialogue sure made me sit and ponder.

I was going to argue that if we talk to ourselves, that would be a true monologue. But no, we’re hearing ourselves, and what of the higher beings? Surely they would be an audience with attentive ears.

I guess it's true then. There is no such thing as privacy!

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Losing My Religion

A FITK re-post…

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pick one. Pick the right one and you win.
Pick the wrong one and you lose.
Like the lottery, you pays your money and you takes your chances.
Pick any one.
One's as good as the other. Like buying a car, there are differences, but you end up where you wanted to get to anyway.
Pick two (or more.)
Not allowed. If you aren't with us you're against us.
Pick none. You're on your own. Now what are you going to do?

As a teenager, I wrestled with the question of religion. Not the question of faith so much, I accepted the daily miracle of existence at face value: what ever it is that's going on has been going on and will continue going on, with or without me. Try your luck, you're already in the game, you might as well play. The question of which religion to follow is harder. You can examine articles of faith, see how each faith works in the world, and try to come to an acceptable conclusion. The active faiths (Christianity, Islam) are built on bloodshed, intolerance and tyranny. I'm not saying that's bad, that just happens to be how a organized faith maintains its existence. The passive faiths (some forms of Buddhism and meditative disciplines) seem to be so disengaged from the world that there comes a time where life becomes meaningless (indeed, that is the aim). There are a few that mix 'n match and others based more on social structure (Mormons) that lacked appeal for me. The big idea that is missing is the old religion, the White Goddess, Astarte, Venus or any of the other suppressed early religions. Naturism, Animism, Paganism, ways of belief that have been nearly squelched, but whose principles underlie most of our religions. What I became aware of then, and have continued to see, is the failure of modern religion to come to grips with sexuality, and the inherent complementary equality of men and women. Through a long biological history, we have become the human organism, in two parts, but each essential to the other. Jesus was close to breaking through the emnity that had been established after the Goddess had been overthrown. Mary Magdelene, currently a very controversial figure in biblical history, could have been the completion of a unified religion. History, of course, shows otherwise. Perhaps one problem of the feminist movement is that it has been primarily political, whereas it is really a religious issue.

But men and women do meet, fall in love (is love a religious belief?), and some couples make it together, some better than others, some longer than others, some not at all. Children are born, the world is renewed. So, are you on your own? Or must you be part of a larger 'body of faith' to be complete? Whatever your choice, you have to live with it, you have to die with it.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Godless Sinner

A FITK re-post…

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Living a life without god is a conscious choice. You learn about the religions of the world and if nothing appeals to you, decision is made to do without it. You don't judge those who do believe and you can only ask of them to do the same for you. As you get older and you experience more you start questioning your decisions. Did you get it all wrong? Maybe there is a god and he is punishing you for abandoning him. Do your skeptic thoughts mean that maybe you do believe in more than you want to acknowledge?

You look at those who have faith with envious eyes and you wish you could find it within you to believe as strongly as they do. Their faith gives them answers you so desperately seek and for a brief moment you consider converting.

You then realize you can't make up faith not matter how strongly you want it. It's wrong to disown something when things are going well and come crawling back when things are bad. Either you believe or you don't. Something else needs to fill the emptiness inside and that becomes your quest. Who provides you the answers?

By Little Miss Loopy


lab munkay said...

Yes, Miss Loopy, always question everything. As a believer, I sometimes look at ones without and wonder if I am not buying into whoey. Give me some proof, and make it rock solid. It has been my own personal miracles that gives me my faith.

Anonymous said...

In my eyes I see God, and faith as an energy. It's human nature to want to believe in something, or someone, it helps to get through long and trying days. People that have faith, either it be God, or the Pope etc. have energy. When I see someone in despair, I close my eyes and say a silent prayer, am I talking with God? or am I sending a positive energy towards that person? I guess its up to one's opinion.....

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Little Scars

A FITK re-post

Monday, May 02, 2005

Not the big ones, like those from surgery or a major accident. Just those little nicks that most of us have here or there, from a moment’s carelessness, or a freak mishap. There are a couple of straight-line ones on my right wrist left by the cat of my childhood, the only marks he left in the world. I see them everyday, reminding me of a creature that was more than a pet, he was a true companion, we shared so much together, I am almost overcome with sadness/happiness as I write about him. There are other marks, each with its own story, most of them pointless. Then there are the hidden scars, all the minor traumas that befall one on the trip through life - the poets speak of the ‘heart’ and its affairs. The heart is pretty resilient, whenever I thought love was breaking it, it was only being tested. Making it stronger.

The heart’s little scars define it, not defile it.

By Professor Batty


Comica said…

I also have the darndest scar on my right hand from a cat attack. It was a stray that had dashed into the house early one morning. My attempts to guide it back to nature weren't appreciated.
A few bruises here and there, a few cat scratches, and a couple of band-aids on the heart.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and we end up with these interesting little conversation pieces to relate with other souls who have been hurt.

Anonymous said…

man! i have acne scares smaller than a inch and smaller than a meter, but visible. A boy asked me out surprisingly and I was a fraid to sho my face. plz i need to know how to get rid of them by this week!!

Katelynn, sad girl

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

Sunday, May 01, 2022

May Memories

Due to the late spring (and his own laziness) the Professor’s precious blogging time is presently consumed by home improvement projects.

All of the posts this Month will be re-posts from May, 2005. The above screenshot shows what FITK looked like in its early days. Similar, yet different, in that I had three contributors (Comica, RS, and Little Miss Loopy) and a fairly large cast of regular commenters. Since then I have actually met several of them, it has been a very rewarding experience.

At that time most of the posts didn’t have images, the intention being that the imagery was in the writing and posting images was laborious (I was still using a dial-up connection!) and I didn’t even own a digital camera! This situation soon changed but I think that these early posts still retain some value.

I’ll be posting them with the original comments, and I may add additional comments, looking back with 18 years of hindsight.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

                                                                                     All original Flippism is the Key content copyright Stephen Charles Cowdery, 2004-2024