My 2019 Reading non-Challenge Update #1

I am not doing a reading challenge this year. Instead I’m reading for pleasure, in an attempt to reduce the number of books that I have bought over the last few years, but never got around to reading. I’m also going back and rereading books by some of my favorite authors. As you can see by the chart above, it is going well so far.

2019 Reading non-Challenge Update #1

As you can see, I’ve read three of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales books, three of Len Deighton’s spy novels featuring Bernard Sampson, the final two books in Michael J. Sullivan’s fantasy trilogy, and  a variety of other fiction and non-fiction books. I have plenty more on my TBR bookcase to choose from.

So far this year we have had cold weather that is conducive to relaxing with a good book. However, spring is finally coming to my corner of the world. That means that I’ll be spending more time outside in the sun. Grass will need to be cut on a regular basis; the pool will need to be opened and maintained; and short road trips will need to be made. I won’t be reading books at the same pace as I have in the past three and a half months, but I will be reading.

I hope you can find the time to read a few good books this year. If you have any suggestions for books to add to my TBR case, feel free to let me know.

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Mornings & other things

April 2017

I took this picture a couple of years ago. I believe that I took it one day while I was out driving north of Lafayette. But since my memory isn’t what it used to be, it might have been south of Lafayette.

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I’ve mentioned a number of times before how I abandoned Facebook a long time ago. I got tired of the endless political debates, and the thinly veiled bigotry that was appearing for my “reading pleasure” by people who should know better, and whom I thought I knew. It got to be too much. In the past six or seven months I’ve started to feel the same way about Twitter. The Tweets have become too mean-spirited on both sides of stories. I haven’t given up on Twitter entirely, but I only check in on it once or twice a week at most. I feel like there should be more happiness in the world. I noticed how much this disheartening aspect of modern life was getting to me this morning when I realized how much I was yearning for a road trip to get away from the daily negativity. Vacation can’t come soon enough this year.

Speaking of this morning, I woke up this morning with a wisp of the dream I had evidently been having. It was a bit of a song titled My Toodleoops and I. Toodleoops seemed to be a nickname for a non-existent former girlfriend. Though, upon reflection, perhaps it was Toodle Loops, a fictional brand of boxed cereal. I’ll never know because I can’t remember anything about the dream.

And while I’m writing about waking up in the morning, what is normally your first thought upon awakening? My first thought is almost always the question “What time is it?” The second thing is usually the question “Do I need to put my pants on before I go downstairs to start the coffee.” The answer to that one depends on whether or not we have house guests. Two days ago, however, my day started in my mind with Linda Ronstadt singing I Can’t Let Go. Catchy but distracting.

That morning start was not nearly as strange as one I experienced two and a half weeks ago when I woke up thinking about the opening of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another …” and I wondered what might have I been dreaming. But before I could truly form that thought, I started remembering the novel A Hall of Mirrors which was the basis of the movie W.U.S.A. which starred Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. I must have had one heck of a dream!

Early morning thoughts. Wow.

N-N-1 February 2019

It’s time for you to enjoy another N-N-1. Once again we have people in different locales sharing their different contemporary lives with a picture and words. One thing they have in common is an interest in sharing (giving and receiving) with others. 

Natalie Garvois sent this picture and description (surprisingly not in verse). You can find her blog at Wild Rivers Run South.

A Day for Poetry

I visited Nana Julia this afternoon. She invited me to look through her treasure trove of books and pick out a few for myself. I found this textbook of poetry she had saved from college. I shall never be a Whitman; but I can read and appreciate the greatness of others. My Nana never wrote in her books. She didn’t want to ruin their pristine condition. I only wish that she had saved her notes, so that I could also have those memories. Thank you, Nana, for sharing the book and the beauty.

One of my favorite bloggers, and good friend Cupitonian, submitted this from England’s Lake District. Her blog is This Labyrinth I Roam.

Putting aside Mother Earth’s obvious cry for help (summer weather in February?!?!), I was able to inhale the stunning views while road tripping with our windows down in the land known for its rainy and bleak weather! Instead of snow and misery, we were gifted with stunningly laid out landscapes of postcard-friendly views! At some point during the trip, we lost our mobile connections and we had to use roadmaps! It was all very heady and exciting.

At some point during our drive, we came across William Wordsworth’s house. Looking at that eyesore, I couldn’t understand how he could’ve written about nature the way he did living in a place like that. And then we saw where his back garden led! His poetry now made sense. His house gave him a view of a confluence of River Cocker and River Derwent!

It made me sympathise with WW, a man I wouldn’t normally have anything in common with. Living in the moment and celebrating the little things allows you to be a 100% present in your own life as it happens! What more do you need than that?

Next is a submission by my favorite Princess; Butter be her name. She is out in California, and her blog is A Splash of My Life…to color the world

If you see an Indian girl belting out songs in her car at stop lights, with all hand movements and emotions, do say hi to me. Taylor Swift or TSwizzle or TayTay is someone who I didn’t care about until 1989 happened a few years ago. She may not technically be strong, but girl knows how to write lyrics and create music. While you may judge me for loving this popper, I will be busy singing(yelling) ‘Out of Style’! #TayIsMyBae

(Hopefully I will get to explain the context of this picture soooooon!)

And finally what I was doing at 5:30 p.m. on Friday the 21st.

Cindy has decided that she want to grow her own herbs this year. Since she was out winning the bread for us, I went to a local store and started shopping for seeds. My question is, “Why do they always put the herb seeds as low as they can?” I’m not fond of the bending and stooping. I hope Cindy gets a good crop.

There you have the February N-N-1. If you enjoyed this post, and want to participate in the future, just fill in the form below and send it to me. I will see that you get advanced notice of future events. If you think you would be willing to host a future event, just add a note to that effect in the message box.

Three questions

Boxcar #3

A third boxcar from a time past.

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When I look at the stats supplied by WordPress for Classical Gasbag, only one of them piques my curiosity. I always look at the number of views that originate in other countries. I wonder why somebody in Singapore looked at one of my posts. What drew in a viewer in Romania? The occasional view by someone in Russia causes me to wonder if it flags me for investigation by the NSA or FBI. But it always goes back to “Why?” I wish that those people would make a comment, or send me an email explaining what drew their attention. If they did that the NSA could intercept it, and explain it to the FBI. Come on folks; help a guy out.

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 The other day I downloaded an album by the late Grant Green. If you are not a jazz fan, you probably aren’t aware that Mr. Green was a prolific jazz guitarist. The particular album that I downloaded is good, and worthy of listening to a number of times. Then I realized that there was something strange about the album cover. Evidently the cover designer was not a fan, nor had any basic knowledge about Grant Green. The cover had no photographs, just a simple line drawing of a piano…for a jazz guitarist. And who approved that cover design?

***

Who is Beatrice Corval? I asked myself that question when I was going through a checklist of ideas that I had jotted down some time in the past. The ideas were mainly for possible blog posts. Near the bottom of the list I found the name Beatrice Corval. The list wasn’t exclusively for the blog, so perhaps it was the name of an author that someone had recommended that I read. Or perhaps she was an actor seen on television who impressed me. I decided to Google Ms. Corval. Nothing. Nada. She didn’t seem to exist. And then it occurred to me. I sometimes aspire to be a novelist and need a name for a character. Beatrice doesn’t really exist, so it is a perfect name. Finally! A question I can answer.

What I learned

Boxcar #2

Here is another photo of a tagged boxcar.

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One of my prescribed medications was recalled a few weeks ago. I called my doctor’s office when I got a notification from the pharmacy I use. The call I made to the doctor seemed to come as a surprise to those medical folks. They decided to research the situation and called me back a couple of days later. My prescription was changed to a different med. Today I had to go in for blood work to see how the new med was affecting me.

I learned that I should never go to the lab on a Monday. The waiting area was packed. So I checked in and then settled into a seat and waited my turn. I looked around the room and saw the normal things, such as most of the people staring at their smart phones as they played games or checked their Facebook or their Twitter feed. There were a few people who were actually talking on their phones loud enough so that the rest of us could hear their end of the (boring) conversation. As always I marveled at the number of people who go out in public dressed in a manner that seems to shout “bad judgement.” And I also once more understood why they say obesity is an epidemic here in the U.S. Judgmental you say? Yes, I agree that I am. I also agree that I am one of the obese.

I sat there for a long time. One of the Phlebotomists seemed to be having problems with the volume of people who were waiting. At one point she came to the door and called “Mary.” Two women stood up and the Phlebotomist asked the nearer what her name was. The woman said “Mary B_____.” “You’re the one I want,” said the Phlebotomist and escorted her into the inner sanctum.

Mary B_____ was drained of her blood and left. The Phlebotomist called and dealt with Fred and John. She then called Mary and the other lady went in for her blood to be drawn. The Phlebotomist came out and called “Michelle” and once again two women stood up. She asked the nearer of the two what her name was and was told “Michelle J_____.” The Phlebotomist turned to the other woman and asked what her name was. “Michelle F_____,” she was told. The Phlebotomist looked at her and said “I’ve called your name twice in the past twenty minutes. I’ll take this lady and then come back for you.”

Let me interject and say that I don’t believe she was telling the truth. I had been setting there for half an hour at that point and had never heard the name Michelle called.

Having disposed of the two Michelles, the Phlebotomist came again to the door and called, “Mary B_____.” Remember Mary B_____? She had come and gone a while back. But when the name was called a young man who appeared to be in his 20’s stood up and strode to the Phlebotomist. She said to him, “You’re Mary B_____?” He admitted that he wasn’t Mary B_____, but he thought that since no Mary had approached her, he might be able to take her place. “No” was her response. I wondered if Mary B_____’s blood was going to be tested for the right things.

Three or four people later a different Phlebotomist came to the door and called my name. Luckily I was the only Norman in the waiting area. I was in, had my blood drawn, and was out of there in under 5 minutes. On second thought perhaps I’ll continue going to the lab on Mondays just for the show.

Callout for a late February N-N-1

Boxcar #1

This is a picture that I took about two years ago. I don’t believe I’ve it published before. At one time I thought about taking pictures of all of the boxcars I saw that had different tags and art work. But I found that I tended to get blurry photos of moving trains. So much for that idea. Perhaps if I get a better camera.

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Grab a camera and a pencil, or pen, or sharpen a quill and get your bottle of ink. You too can participate in the next N-N-1. Rather than re-write what N-N-1 stands for, I just copied this from an earlier call out:  “If you are new here, you may not know what N-N-1 is. Quite simply the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time. We have had pictures from all over the world. At first the 1 time meant taking the pictures of wherever we were at the same moment, but with the addition of more time zones, that became darned near impossible, so we switched to the same time, such as 5 p.m., in our respective time zones.” That sums it up pretty well.

This time around I’m asking everyone to take a picture at 5:30 p.m. (or as close to that time as you can) on Friday, February 22nd. You then have four days to write a short (no more than 200 words) piece to go with the photo. Prose and poetry are both acceptable.  Send your picture and write up to me at houseman@comcast.net no later than midnight February 26th. I’ll combine everything and publish the final product right here in Classical Gasbag on February 28th. You can then re-blog that post if you have a blog and desire to do so. Having a blog is not a requirement.  Tell your friends because they may also want to participate. The more the merrier.

How Are Your New Years Resolutions Holding Up? A Check-In! — This Labyrinth I Roam

This is the most recent N-N-1 posted on This Labyrinth I roam, by one of my favorite bloggers. I like this one a lot!

We’re almost at the end of the first month of 2019 (WHAT!!!). All of the carefully thought out goals, ambitions and resolutions are well underway. As part of this year’s first N-N-1, we’re checking in with our favourite bloggers from around the world to see how they’re faring. READ: The N-N-1 Collaboration Sparking Joy – […]

via How Are Your New Years Resolutions Holding Up? A Check-In! — This Labyrinth I Roam