Climate controlled cars and developed photos

Foggy Shore
Foggy Shore

I took this picture many years ago on the shore of Lake Michigan (I think) in the northern part of the lower peninsula. I used my 35mm Minolta camera. I like the picture because it turned out despite the fog. I haven’t yet been able to get a good shot of a foggy day with my digital camera.


When I posted about DAWWDVU the other day, I made a mistake that is becoming more common with me. I forgot to check my notes before I published. You see, I will think of something that I want in the post, and I’ll put a note on my phone, or on a slip of paper. If I am in bed when it occurs to me, it often goes onto paper because my phone is charging on the other side of the bedroom. The notes on paper sometimes get lost or misplaced. That happened the other day.

In the DAWWDVU post I mentioned people in their climate controlled cars. That’s OK; I use the AC and the heater when temperatures become uncomfortable. I believe, however, that my comfort zone must be larger than that of most people, because I normally drive with the windows down in the summer, and the heat on low in the winter. I remember when I bought my first car with AC, my 1974 Firebird. I bought it in the summer, but didn’t use the AC for a couple of months because it made me feel decadent. I eventually got past that feeling and started arriving at destinations without drenched armpits.

But, that isn’t what my hand scrawled note was about. My note, which I came across last night, simply says, “Climate controlled cars and developed photos.” In my mind I made a link between the facts that people no longer buy vehicles that don’t have AC, and that people no longer buy cameras that use film.

I miss buying rolls of Kodachrome film for my 35mm Minolta camera. I was never a great photographer, but I was able to get shots with that camera that I will never be able to match with my Nikon digital camera. Granted, having built-in zoom capability beats changing lenses on the Minolta, but the zoom doesn’t really make up for the feeling that I have that I was able to get clearer shots with my 35 mm. Plus, kids won’t know what Paul Simon is singing about.

OK. That’s me being slightly Cranky Old Guy.


Good morning for a rest
Good morning for a rest

I love the peace, the serenity of this shot. It probably doesn’t fit with the rest of the post.


As I’ve been out on the roadways, I’ve noticed that most people are ensconced in their SUV’s, minivans, pickup trucks, and even automobiles with their windows firmly closed. I wonder if it is because the people don’t want their neatly coiffed hair undisturbed by wind, or if their allergies are making life hell for them, or maybe they just want to feel that they are in a womb-like environment.

It’s a shame, for a number of reasons, but mainly because they can’t appreciate some music to the fullest. There is a sub-genre of music that I call “Driving Around With the Windows Down and the Volume Up.” I admit that it is not a succinct appellation, but it gets to the point. For this post I’ll shorten it to DAWWDVU.

Some music automatically falls into DAWWDVU. Anything by the Beatles, or by the Beach Boys, or by Steppenwolf is a no-brainer. I would also include Bonnie Raitt’s Greenlight album, Sass Jordan’s Get What You Give album, Jefferson Starship’s Spitfire album and David Bromberg’s How Late’ll Ya Play ‘Til, Volume 1: Live CD. You might not think that Bullfrog Blues, from the latter album qualifies, but I do. The only real problem with Bullfrog Blues is that if you are younger than 55, you probably don’t get half of the cultural references. People my age tend to find it funny, and that makes up for the inability to sing along with the music.

There are a lot of single songs that you can burn into a mix collection of DAWWDVU, such as The Doobie Brothers’ Takin’ It To The Streets, The Eagles’ Heartache Tonight, Chicago’s 25 Or 6 To 4, Rare Earth’s version of Get Ready and Linda Ronstadt’s You’re No Good.

Some albums play better at night, such as the Big Brother and The Holding Company with Janis Joplin album Cheap Thrills. Perhaps that is a sub-genre of DAWWDUV. I need to think about that.

I would be interested in hearing what you think belongs in DAWWDVU, unless you like a more climate controlled ride.

More catching up

Beautiful country morning
Beautiful country morning

I went for a drive this morning to get a few pictures that I can use in the blog posts. I took a number of shots on my traditional themes, such as windmills, barns and graveyards. More pictures from this morning will be appearing in days to come.


I’ve been reading, off and on, Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Live and radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H. W. Brand for a while now. It is not taking so long because it is not interesting; it is very interesting. I just seem to let other things get in the way of my reading time. I need to work on that. In the book I came across a quote from Hugh Johnson, who was the head of the National Recovery Administration. I haven’t quite figured out what the quote means, but I love the phrasing. He said, “It will be red fire first and dead cats afterwards.” I’ve googled the quote, but haven’t come up with anything. My guess is that Mr. Johnson was talking about the people who opposed New Deal policies, but that is a guess on my part. Still, it is a lovely turn of a phrase.


Statistics show that more people read the Classical Gasbag when I post about my mother, or Cindy’s mother. They believe that my reflections on those encounters are humorous. Perhaps they are, but I’m not sure that anyone reading those posts, who haven’t met the respective mothers, find them as humorous as people who do know those ladies. I’m sure that some of my friends would rather I told stories about the mothers rather than my reflections on obscure music or books or television shows they have never watched.

This morning Cindy even invited me to spend time with her mother and some friends on Saturday morning so that I could gather material for a post. It felt like she was pimping me out so that I could compose to meet her friends craving for a laugh. Sorry, but I’m more likely to stay home and watch some episodes of old TV shows on DVDs. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again right mow, “When it comes to my blog, it’s all about me.” I admit to being self-centered.

Catching up

Barn northeast of Brookston
Barn northeast of Brookston

I took this picture a few weeks ago, but just got around to posting it. I should spend more time on this blog, and take more pictures to use.


I tried a new recipe last night. Well, it was new for me. I think it turned out pretty good, and so did Cindy, so I decided to share it:

3 large, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup Poppy Seed salad dressing

1 tsp. lemon juice

12 to 15 Ritz Crackers (Roasted Vegetable)

Salt and Pepper

 Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Crush crackers, or use a food processor, to use crumbs as breading. Mix salad dressing and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Coat the chicken breasts in wet mixture, then in breading. Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined tray that has been oiled (I used Olive Oil Pam). Bake in oven for 55 minutes. The finished chicken was moist and cooked through.

 Smaller, thinner, chicken breasts might use less cooking time.

I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. I love trying new things, and I’m glad Cindy has a grateful palate.


I don’t think I’ve related this before, but if I have, please bear with me. I went to Menard’s a week or two ago to pick up some paint for Cindy. A very attractive girl/woman, college age I would surmise, asked if she could help me. I had the color and code number written down, so I handed her the slip of paper and asked for a quart of that paint. She fetched the paint and then asked, “Do you want me to shake it for you?”

Oh, the responses that went through my mind…but I settled for a non-salacious, “Yes, please.” I was raised to be polite.


 I’ve been listening to two CDs that I borrowed from the library. The first is Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and Don Juan. I hadn’t heard Ein Heldenleben before, and found that I liked it very much.

I liked the second CD even better. It is Eiji Oue conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in Respighi’s Belkis, Queen Of ShebaDance Of The Gnomes, and The Pines Of Rome. Wow. I’ll be looking to buy this music soon. I’ve heard The Pines Of Rome before, and I was really impressed with Belkis, Queen Of Sheba. There is a lot of classical music that I haven’t listened to, so I’m glad our library has a good collection.

Hobby or Obsession?

Breakfast on the deck
Breakfast on the deck

This was my breakfast today; one slice of wheat bread, my morning pills (one is white and hard to see on that saucer, and a cup of coffee. It was my fourth cup of coffee, with two more to follow. Nutritious, eh? I tend to eat better in the winter. I suppose I’m more willing to spend time in the kitchen in cold weather, than when it is nice outside.


When does a want turn into a need? I started thinking about this recently when I realized that I was trying to find space for more books, more CDs, and more DVDs. How many versions do I need of Dave Brubeck and all of his various groups playing Take Five? I have eight versions on vinyl, CD and downloaded albums as well as a version on DVD. Oh, and I’m strongly considering another album. The good thing about jazz is that a group never plays a song the same way twice, so each version is a new experience. Still, nine or ten versions of the same song?

Do I need to keep buying music? I’m not asking just about Brubeck albums, but all music. I never seem to get tired of listening to music, old and new. While much of what I listen to is from the past, 30 years or more, I also listen to people and groups who are new (to me). Just recently I downloaded albums by Beth Orton and Sass Jordan because I heard their versions of covers on the TV show Defiance. Orton did a fine version of Ooh Child, and I love Jordan’s take on Have You Ever Seen The Rain. I like Sass Jordan enough that I will likely download more of her albums. But do I need to own more music? I don’t know. It makes it easier when I can store digital versions on MP3 players and flash drives. I even have some music stored on the cloud, though I kind of distrust storing music on something I can’t hold in my hand. I’m a fuddy-duddy about some things.

What about books? I own and use a Kindle (thanks again, Lee and Michelle), but I also keep buying real books as opposed to virtual books. There is something about the way a book feels in my hands when I’m reading. It’s a feeling that I haven’t been able to reproduce with my Kindle. The texture of the cover and of the pages is reassuring to me, though I don’t know why. The storage problem with books is greater than with music. I know intellectually that there are many books in my collection that I will never read again, but parting with them is difficult.

DVDs? I have hundreds of DVDs that hold movies, concerts, television shows and documentaries. Do I need them? Probably not, but I do watch them on a regular basis. With them I can replay portions of my past. I watch movies that I first saw when I was in high school and college, television shows that are so old that they were broadcast in black-and-white, and concerts that I wish I had seen in person. I spend large chunks of time on weekends watching DVDs.

Hobby or obsession? Probably a little of both.


Cousin Bill & grandson - 6-1-2013
Cousin Bill & grandson – 6-1-2013

I took this picture last Saturday. I’m not sure whether I should say that it is my cousin Bill with his newest grandson, or with his most recent grandson. If I use the word newest, it sounds to me that he bought the grandson. But, then, the term most recent sounds oddly cold. There is probably a grammatical rule for the proper usage, but I’m darned if I know what it is. If anyone wants to pull out their Strunk & White (I almost used Funk & Wagnalls) to enlighten me, I would be grateful.

I was able to take this picture because we were at my Aunt Irene’s 94th birthday celebration in Indianapolis. My mom, who will be 94 in October wanted to go and spend time with Aunt Irene and her granddaughters Karen and Robin.  Every time they have one of these celebrations we are told it may be the last time they will see each other. Perhaps. At any rate, I also wanted to see Aunt Irene, so we went.

On the way down to Indy we ran into a little rain. It was nothing spectacular, I only had to use the lowest intermittent setting on the windshield wipers. Mom didn’t take it as sedately as I did. She told me that this rain was just like the way it had poured down when my sister and brother-in-law had brought her to our house the day before. My mother tends to exaggerate about some things, or perhaps her eyesight is so bad that it always seems like rain is pouring down.

Once we arrived at the house we were ushered into a small room that I would classify as a sitting room. There we were joined by Aunt Irene, a friend of Karen’s, two dogs and two cats. We were told there was another cat in the house, but it had the good sense (never thought I would use that phrase concerning a cat) to stay out of sight. One of the cats that we saw was larger than one of the dogs, and looked like it could take out the other dog with ease. We spent a little while sitting and talking while the large cat clawed the upholstery of the love seat.

As other people arrived it became obvious that the room we were in was not going to hold many more people…the cats took up a lot of space…so we moved into the living room. That was better. It was kind of fun watching my mom and my aunt try to talk to each other. They are both very hard of hearing. Aunt Irene would ask my mom a question, and if mom saw her lips move she would say, “Huh? or What?” At that point I would repeat Aunt Irene’s question loudly. Mom would respond and Aunt Irene would say, “What?” Then a neighbor of Aunt Irene’s would loudly repeat what mom said. It was as if they were speaking two different languages and brought us as interpreters. I felt like I belonged in the United Nations.

We ate good food, enjoyed the company, and then mom got tired and wanted to leave. We got back in good time so that mom could watch Cindy’s poker game while I watched a movie. we had a good time.

Oh, and I titled this post backtracking because I posted a more recent event yesterday.

An update on Flo

From the top: Trina, Danae & Sabrena
From the top: Trina, Danae & Sabrena – Summer 1990 (I think)

Here is a good picture of three of my favorite girls, who have grown up to be wives and mothers. They are my step-daughter Trina; Danae, the daughter of good friends; and Sabrena, a second cousin of Cindy’s.


I know you’re wondering why I haven’t posted anything about Flo, Cindy’s mom, recently. Face it, you’ve been wondering. Well, other things have been taking place, such as a short visit by mom, and I have things to tell you about that visit. But, since I spent time with Flo yesterday, I need to get that event out before I forget any of it.

Cindy actually spent more time with Flo than I did. Cindy took the afternoon off from work to take Flo to a variety of doctor’s appointments. I there were two or three appointments. She picked Flo up at the nursing home and drove to Lafayette. She drove to one of the appointments only to find out that the doctor had moved his office from one hospital to a newer hospital on the edge of town. The final appointment of the day was with an otolaryngologist on the near north side of town. Flo had started complaining of pains in her ears.

That’s where I met them. Cindy had asked me to meet them there and to then drive Flo back to the nursing home so Cindy could return to work. With some reluctance, I agreed to drive Flo  back to Mulberry. I arrived before Cindy and Flo (they were still making up time from the appointment at the wrong address). The wait for the doctor was a short one. After answering a few questions for a nurse the doctor arrived.

As he was looking in Flo’s ears he asked her to rate her pain on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most painful. Of course, her answer was 10 (she always answers 10). He looked startled and asked her if the pain was constant or if it came and went. I came and went. How long does the pain last…seconds, minutes or hours? Hours! He told her that if the pain was that great for such a long period of time, she would be rolling on the floor in pain. She doesn’t roll on the floor in pain, but it is a 10 and lasts for hours…she should know! Did this just start recently? It started a few years ago. How often does it happen? At least once a week. He looked at Cindy and asked her how long she had known about this pain. Cindy told him, honestly, that she had just heard about it recently. I could have told him that I had never heard about it before, but he didn’t ask me. He asked Flo, “Do you have trouble hearing?” Her response was, “Huh?” He tried again, “Do you have trouble hearing?” She said yes. He asked if Flo has ever had a head scan performed, and we decided that X-rays had been taken at some point, but nothing was found (Hush, Trina!). The doctor decided to test Flo’s hearing while she was there, and moved us to another room while we waited for the audiologist.

The audiologist came in and introduced herself and said she would place a ramp in order to get Flo into the test booth. At that point Cindy had to leave, and I was left with Flo. The audiologist returned and wheeled Flo away to the test booth. While I waited, the otolaryngologist came back and told me that a scan of Flo’s head was necessary, but that he would leave that decision to Flo’s primary care physician. He thought it was strange that we had never seen Flo in 10 level pain. I told him I thought the staff at the nursing home would have mentioned it if they had seen her in that much pain as well. He agreed. My phone rang about then. I say rang, but what it really did was play a clip from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s version of the theme from The Flintstones. That surprised me because that was the tune I have assigned to Flo’s calls. I pulled the phone out of my pocket to stop the music. I’m sure he saw the picture that comes up when Flo calls…it’s a picture of a green-faced troll. I was mildly embarrassed. He left me alone to contemplate my lack of seriousness. I listened to the voice mail, and found out that Cindy was calling from Flo’s phone. It had been left in Cindy’s car and she had driven off with it. She said I should ask Flo if she wanted it today, or if she could wait until Saturday, when Cindy was picking her up to take her to breakfast, to get it back.

At that point the audiologist returned with Flo and gave the doctor the results of her hearing test. The doctor showed the results to me and said there appeared to be nerve damage that was affecting her hearing. She asked him why that was, and he told her she had had too many birthdays. He told us both that Flo could use hearing aids in both ears. With that, I wheeled Flo out and got her into my car.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot I asked Flo is she wanted her phone then, or if waiting until Saturday was OK. Flo said she could wait as long as Cindy called Peg to tell her what time she was being picked up. Flo said that Cindy needed to start taking some responsibility. She told me to tell Cindy that she should write it on a calendar so that she wouldn’t forget. I promised that I would do that.

So that I wouldn’t seem a complete dolt, I said to Flo that I enjoyed the sunny day considering that earlier weather forecasts had called for rain. Flo told me that she had prayed that it wouldn’t rain until she was back at the nursing home, and that God had answered her prayer. I thought that she was pretty special that she had so much influence with God, but I didn’t tell her that…she would have agreed.

Then, out of the blue, she said to me, “I heard that Jackson’s daughter tried to commit suicide.” I said, “Who?” She said, “That Jackson’s daughter. I heard that both those kids were adopted, but I thought he had them by a woman. And I still think that.” I have no idea who or what she was talking about, but now I’m wondering about that Jackson.

Then she told me that she never wanted to get Alzheimer’s (she call it Oldtimers), nor have a stroke. If she gets either she wants to die. I’ll keep that in mind.

Well, that’s when we got back to the nursing home. I helped Flo out of the car, and wheeled her to her room where I left her in the capable hands of a nurse aide. I should probably have warned the aide about the pain i Flo’s ears.