I took this picture a few days ago. By now, some of the crop may be harvested. In other areas of the county I’ve seen corn that still has green stalks, and then, just down the road, there are fields where the corn pickers have already been.


Well, it has been a week since I was last on Facebook, and I must say that there have been no withdrawal pains. In fact, I find that I am spending more time doing productive things, such as reading books. I didn’t realize what a huge time waster Facebook was. I will admit that it helped me when I took the icon off of my smart phone. It had become a habit to check Facebook every time after I read incoming emails. Break the habit/break the addiction. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


I was watching Morning Joe this morning, and one of the pundits was saying, “That’s the recipe…” and I stopped listening at that point because when I heard that phrase I flashed on The Waltons and the Baldwin sisters cooking up batches of their father’s recipe. I have no idea why I thought of that this morning, but It gave me a nice break from all of the political blather.

Oh, and am I the only person who likes Morning Joe better when both Joe and Mika are absent from the program? People are allowed to finish sentences and thoughts without Joe jumping in a yelling the same thing he had been yelling, ad nauseam, all week. Mika isn’t mugging for the camera and declaiming how much better things would be if women ran everything, or complaining about male facial hair. It just gets old.


Since I brought up the subject of television, let me ask the rhetorical question, “Are the questions on Jeopardy, especially he Final Jeopardy question, getting easier? While I would like to believe that I’m getting smarter, reason would indicate that the show continues to dumb-down; and that is sad.

Nostalgia cues

The Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean

I’m taxing my memory with this photo. I took either on the shore in North Carolina or South Carolina. I’m not sure which it was. Neither can I recall the year when I took it. I know it was after I moved to Lafayette and before I started dating Cindy, but the exact year is a mystery to me. The only thing I’m sure of is that I like the picture.


It happened again this morning. I was listening to The Beatles; you know, the white album. Waves of nostalgia started washing over me. That has been happening more and more in the past few weeks. While it most often happens when I’m listening to music that I first listened to when I was younger, it has also been happening when I look at look at old photos. It has even happened when I saw a scene on television that reminded me of something I saw when younger. This nostalgia thing is almost getting out of hand.

I say “getting out of hand” because along with the nostalgia comes the realizations that a) things were never as good as we remember them to be (we suppress so many bad events in our life); and b) often with the passing of the initial nostalgia comes a feeling of depression. I’m not sure, but I think the depression is caused by the knowledge that life will probably never be as good again as we want to remember it to be in the past. Does that make sense to you?

Anyway, there have been so many nostalgia cues in my life lately that I’ve been feeling more depressed than usual. It doesn’t last long, but it does bring me down for a few hours at a time. Honestly, I’m getting tired of it.


On the other side, some nostalgic lapses don’t drop me into depression. Yesterday morning, on Morning Joe, they were doing a short rap-up of the previous day’s baseball games. All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, the name John R. Tunis popped into my mind. Right after that the book title The Kid from Tomkinsville popped in. Tunis, of course, wrote that book. He wrote it in 1940, even before my time, but when I read it as a young boy, I loved it. It is the first book in what turned out to be a series of books about baseball. It has been called the first juvenile fiction sports themed book. Thanks to the county library bookmobile coming to the school, and later the little one room extension library in Rolling Prairie, I was able to read the entire series.

I have to admit that I’m not sure if I became a (Brooklyn) Dodger fan because of the books, or if I liked the books because I was already a Dodger fan. Let’s see, I was eleven years old when they became the Los Angeles Dodgers, so it could have been either way.

Oh, and Tunis dealt with topics such as racial intolerance, anti-Semitism, and other social issues in the pages of his books. Perhaps if more people had read those books when young, we would have a kinder society now. I guess nostalgia can also lead us back to hope.

Farewell to Facebook

Not really the photo I wanted
Not really the photo I wanted

I took this picture in the 1970’s, but it looked better then. My print has faded into shades of brown, so after scanning it, I’ve played with it with my PaintShop Pro software, but haven’t yet figured out how to get back to the natural greens in the grass and trees. I’ll keep trying.

The picture was taken from a county road in upstate New York one year when I was on vacation. My mom liked it enough to use it in a painting she did for me. I loved the painting, but then she asked for it back to do some touch-up on it. I let her have it, and when it came back, it didn’t look as good, to my mind.


I’ve decided that for my peace of mind I have to stop going on to Facebook. Once again, this past weekend, I found myself commenting on a post that I disagreed with, and then responding to a comment made by another person. We disagreed (what a surprise) and I contemplated blocking further posts from the person who had re-posted the original post that I was commenting on. Why bother? I can better keep my blood pressure under control by just staying off of Facebook.

I thought about remarking on the offending post in this post, but I decided that the post was really beside the point. The point is that I don’t want to be seen as giving in to the general incivility that passes for commentary these days. So I won’t be making references to Ronald Reagan, MSNBC, or people who post comments on Internet newspaper articles. Can you tell that I’ve been feeling cranky?

I’ll miss seeing the photos and videos of the grandkids as they are posted, but Cindy can forward them to me via email or text message. I shall also miss updates with photos from a few friends whom In seldom see. Other than that, most of what I’ll be missing are recipes that I will never try, reviews of TV talent shows that I have no interest in, and…I’m sure there is a third thing, but I can’t remember what it is.

If you reached this post via a link I posted on Facebook, and think I’m being hypocritical, I posted the link through my WordPress blog. I haven’t had to actually view the Facebook site to do so.

I hope this action will help me maintain a better frame of mind. Maybe I’ll live longer this way.

Apple Popcorn & Mom

We're heading for the band stand
We’re heading for the band stand

Today was the annual Apple Popcorn Festival in Brookston, Indiana. Cindy and I have been going for a number of years now. We usually run into a few people we know each year, but this year there was only Cinderella and her husband Glen.

Normally we are there while The Big Swing Band is playing; we know the drummer. But this year it appeared that they were tearing down the band’s equipment when we got to the stage. That’s a shame, because they are really good, especially if you l like big band music. Well, maybe next year.


My mom called me on Thursday and asked if we had plans for this weekend. I told her that we were going to the Apple Popcorn Festival on Saturday, and planned to close our swimming pool on Sunday. She asked if Cindy and I were both going to play pool. I told her again, in a louder voice, that we were going to close the pool because the weather was getting cooler. She said, “I see.” which is what she says when she can’t hear you clearly but thinks she can figure out what you have said.

She called today while we were coming home from Brookston. Rather than have to shout into the phone while in the car, I decided to ignore the ring and to call her back when we got home. So we got home, and I called her.

She asked if she had interrupted our pool party. It took me a moment, but then I remembered our previous conversation. And told her that we weren’t having a party, but we planned to close the pool tomorrow.

“I see,” she said. “Is Cindy playing cards tonight?”

I told her that Cindy was indeed playing cards later, but that she was taking a nap right then.

“I see,” she said.

Then she said, “I’ll get off the phone now so you can get back to your company.”

I guess we’re having the pool party after all.

Another strange dream

Don't you love barns?
Don’t you love barns?

You can never have too many pictures of barns. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


As I’ve mentioned before, I seldom remember my dreams. Today is one of the exceptions. Let me relate my dream from last night.

In my dream I was a pickup player in a band that was playing at an outdoor folk music festival, evidently in a wooded area that we had to drive into on dirt roads. I had never played with this band before. In reality, I have never played in a band. Cindy drove us to the festival and stayed to enjoy the music. The festival was a weekend event, and we were there for two days. At the end of the festival, when everyone was packing up and leaving, the group leader came around passing out money to the band members. The pay was in brown envelopes. When I opened my envelope I found that money had been deducted from the pay to cover expenses and also royalty fees for the songs that we had performed. This surprised me, especially when I found that I had broken even and received no pay. As I looked at the bill of particulars I realized that I was being charged royalty fees for songs we had not played, such as If Ever I Would Leave You. I decided that I needed to talk to the band leader; but when I went to talk to him I was told that he had already left. Well, there was nothing I could do at the festival site, so I went to find Cindy so we could go home. I couldn’t find Cindy. Cars were streaming away from the venue and I was left standing alone in the car park. Where was Cindy?

That’s when I woke up to pee. I told Cindy about my dream. Her first question was, “What did you play, a guitar?” The question didn’t seem relevant to me, but I told her yes, gathered a cup of coffee and went to watch Morning Joe.

While sipping my coffee I thought about the dream, looking for hidden meetings. I realized that the meaning wasn’t deeply hidden. It seems to me that the meaning is that if I stop bringing money in, Cindy will abandon me. I told her that and she laughed. Was it a nervous laugh? She told me I needed to tell our friend Mary the dream and my deduction.

I told Mary the dream, and before I could tell her my deduction she asked me, “What did you play?” Am I missing something important? What does the instrument have to do with the dream? For that matter, why do they suppose I played an instrument? Couldn’t I have been the lead singer? So much for dream interpretation.

Flowers by the roadside
Flowers by the roadside

I took this picture on a gravel road when driving home from Rockville. The flowers helped brighten my disposition.


One of my birthday gifts was a gift card for Barnes & Noble, my favorite store in Lafayette. I went in Sunday to see what I could find. Well, there was a lot, but I limited myself to 3 CDs (all on sale for $5 apiece) and a book that was also on sale. Gift cards stretch out a lot when you buy things that are on sale.

While I was in the CD/DVD section of the store, there was a telephone call transferred to the guy who was working in there. Despite my best efforts, I overheard his end of the conversation. It went thusly:

Clerk: This is ___________ can I help you?……Yes, you can return a DVD and replace it with another, just bring it in and the person working here will help you……..I don’t know if we have the DVD you’re looking for. What is the title?……..I see, you don’t know the title. Is it fiction or non-fiction?……………Non-fiction. So it’s like a documentary?……..What is it about?………………………..Teenaged boys go into space to rescue astronauts who are trapped there? I see. Well let me see if I can do a search on the computer to find it. Hmmm. Documentary, space, astronauts, rescue. No I don’t see anything……….Well, just come in tomorrow and whoever is working here will help you……That’s quite alright. Have a good day.

As I was checking out I mentioned to the clerk that the DVD the person was looking for was obviously not a documentary. The clerk looked puzzled. I said, “Teenaged boys going into space to rescue astronauts?”

He said, “Well the person working here tomorrow will help him find it.”

I used to think that B&N had high standards when hiring people.


There are words that I would like to use in a blog post; but I haven’t found a good reason to insert them. Here are two:

1) inchoate. I suppose I could use it when describing a draft of a post. But if I post it, it is no longer inchoate. What a dilemma.

2) Strumpet. It’s obvious that if I use this word I could be opening myself up to libel charges. I don’t want that.

Of course, I’ve now used both of these words, so I can mark them off of my list. Problem solved.

Funeral arrangements, part 2

Outside of Rockville
Outside of Rockville

Out of the frame on this picture is the Century 21 sign. I’m sure it is a bargain.


At some point I lost track of the phone calls from my mom and my sister, but I know there was at least one more, because I told my sister that Aunt Irene’s first name was really Harriet. That was news to my sister as well. At any rate, everything was ready for my trip to Rockville for the funeral.

I got up fairly early Saturday morning, and spent much of it as I do on most Saturday mornings. I watched some television, ate a small bit for breakfast, took my medication, and thought about going for a walk. That last item never passed the thought stage. Oh, I also printed a map and directions from the Internet. I took my shower and shaved for the second day in a row. I hadn’t done that for quite some time, and it felt strange. As I got dressed for the funeral I thought once more that it seems like the only tie I wear anymore is my black tie, for funerals. On that cheery note, I grabbed a handful of CDs, poured a travelling cup of coffee, and climbed into the car for my drive to Rockville.

I have to say that it was a beautiful day for a drive, and the route I took was very pretty for long stretches. As I drove through Waveland I mused that I could enjoy living in am small town like that. It seemed very pretty; one might say bucolic.

I got drove in to Rockville about an hour before the funeral, which was a half hour before the viewing. Why do they call it a viewing when it is closed casket? So I decided to drive around, find the funeral home, and get a bite to eat.

First I drove past the funeral home. There were a number of people standing outside, in front of the establishment, and I assumed that there was more than one funeral on Saturday. I went around the block and came upon a more motorcycles and riders than I had seen in many years. Oh, and there was one lad proudly riding his moped down the street as well. I’m not sure what was going on, but there was something going on, and it appeared to be centered on a restaurant/bar.

I drove around a while longer, ate some fast food, and returned to the funeral home a few minutes before the viewing was scheduled to begin. When I got there I found the same group of people I had observed earlier, plus I saw my cousin Bill and his wife getting out of their car. So I parked my car and joined them.

We said hello to first, second, and third cousins, and other folks as we moved inside. After chatting with people, we took our seats. My second cousin, Robin, one of Aunt Irene’s granddaughters, officiated at the ceremony. She explained that Aunt Irene had moved from Rockville seventy years earlier, and that none of the local clergy knew her. So Robin, who besides being a lawyer is a lay Episcopal minister, decided to speak since she knew Aunt Irene better than any of the clergy. That makes sense to me.

It was a good ceremony. I left for home afterwards, rather than go to the grave yard. I wanted to take back roads and listen to music. I made sure, however, to drive through Waveland again so that I could recapture the senses of peace and contentment that I had experienced on the way down. Evidently I only experience those feelings when passing through town from north to south and east to west, because I didn’t feel them again on the way home driving west to east and south to north. The rest of the drive was relaxing and enjoyable.


 You may wonder why I’ve titled this post Funeral arrangements, part 2, since there is scarcely anything about the arrangements for Aunt Irene’s funeral in the above. Well, I had planned on going on about the arrangements I want to make for myself, but I have probably bored you enough already.

Suffice it to say that I want cremation, followed by JR scattering my ashes on his garden plot. That way he and Trina can think of me every time they eat a cucumber.

I’m pretty sure Cindy wants burial over cremation because she has more than enough hot flashes as it is. I could be wrong, but I think that I am right.

Funeral arrangements, part 1

Looks desolate to me
Looks desolate to me

I see this building every time I go to the grocery store. It seems more desolate in black and white.


My mom called me Wednesday night and told me that my aunt, Irene, had died. Aunt Irene was about six months older than mom, so she was ninety-four. Mom and I had gone to Aunt Irene’s birthday party in June. She was looking very frail, so it wasn’t a great surprise. Mom had just talked to Aunt Irene on the telephone on Monday. My sister and Mom didn’t want to go to the funeral, but I did. They told me they would call me again when they had more information.

The next day, Thursday, my sister called me gave me the name of the funeral home, told me the funeral was going to be Saturday afternoon,  and asked me to send flowers for us all. Of course I said I would take care of it.

I looked up the funeral home on the Internet so I could get directions; no problem there. The first problem I had was that I couldn’t remember Aunt Irene’s last name. She had been married to my Uncle Fred, and I knew that name, but she had remarried and I couldn’t remember Jim’s last name. OK, I thought it would be easy to find the name, I would just look in the Indianapolis obituaries on the Internet. The only obit that I found with a first name of Irene was obviously not my aunt, the woman was too young. So I called my sister back and asked her Aunt Irene’s last name. I could almost hear the puzzled look on my sister’s face when I asked her, and then I heard her say, “Mom, what’s Irene’s last name?”

My mom couldn’t remember it either. She thought it might be Anderson, but she wasn’t sure. My mom suggested that I call my cousin, Bill, because he would surely know. That was a reasonable suggestion, but I also knew I could call the funeral home and that they would tell me. I just felt silly calling and asking the name of the person they were going to bury on Saturday. I decided to wait another day before calling, giving the newspaper another day to print the obituary.

My mom called me about an hour later and asked me if I had called my cousin Bill yet, and I told her no, I planned on calling the funeral home. She said, “OK.” Mom called again about two hours later and asked me if I had called my cousin Bill yet. I told her no, and that I would call the funeral home if the obituary wasn’t published the next day. She said, “OK.” And then she told me that she thought Aunt Irene’s last name might actually be Alexander, not Anderson. That sounded right to me.

The next morning I checked the obituaries, and found Aunt Irene’s. Imagine my surprise when I found out that her first name was actually Harriet. I never knew that. Thank goodness mom had come up with the correct last name.

I decided to go to a local florist to order the flowers through FTD. I drove to a florist’s shop that I had used before and found that the florist had gone out of business. That surprised me, but I knew of another shop, so I drove there, and found that they were also out of business. What the? I used my smart phone and checked for other florists, found one, and drove there. That store was still in business. I went in, looked through their book of arrangements, and chose one. The woman behind the counter looked it up on the computer, but couldn’t find it. She called to a woman working in the back, and asked her to come out and help her. The woman did, but couldn’t find it in the computer. She thought that maybe they were using an old book. But, since I liked the arrangement, they could describe it to the local FTD florist in Rockville, and something similar would be put together. It was at that point that I realized that I could have/should have just gone online and ordered an arrangement on the FTD website. It would have been quicker and cheaper. Too late. On the upside, I helped a local business scrape by for another day. That was worth the effort.

Feel free to check back tomorrow for the rest of my story…

Musical Musings

Another picture of young Trina
Another picture of young Trina

This is another photo of Trina from when she was still living with us on Eastland Avenue. I don’t know that she ever wore this dress in public. My memory isn’t that good.


This is not the post that I planned on doing today, but it is what I’ve been thinking about for the last hour or so. I decided to inflict these thoughts on people who read Classical Gasbag, instead of just internalizing the whole process. Well, it is my blog.

Yesterday evening Cindy and went to watch our grandson, Mason, play football. We had a good time watching him play. After the game we gave our oldest granddaughter, Macey, a ride home. Cindy had one of my Kingston Trio CDs playing. It was their Time To Think album; their first with overtly topical/political songs included. At one point Macey, who was probably oblivious to the existence of The Kingston Trio, mentioned that they sounded similar to Mumford And Sons. She ‘s right, of course.

After we dropped off Macey and headed home, Cindy confessed to me that she had no idea who Mumford And Sons were. That made me feel somewhat superior since I did know…I take my feelings of superiority where I can…they come around so seldom. Then she said that I should burn a CD of folk music for Macey. I told her that I didn’t know what Macey would like. Cindy then started listing songs that I should include. Most of the songs were either on the CD we had playing, or were Peter, Paul & Mary songs. It was pretty obvious that what Cindy wanted was a CD of folk songs that she liked, and that she assumed Macey would also like. She might be right. I have no insight into Macey’s likes or dislikes musically. I did take it as a positive that she had listened to Mumford And Sons, but beyond that???

Still, I enjoy burning CDs for people whom I like, and I love Macey. However, I like putting my own stamp on the CDs I burn, so I didn’t want to be limited to Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul & Mary recordings. How could I burn a CD of folk songs from the 60’s and 70’s without including songs by The Weavers, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Limeliters, The Brothers Four, and the list goes on. Of course I couldn’t do a reasonable overview of the music in just one CD, I would have to have multiple CDs so that I could also include some of the other individuals and groups such as Tom Paxton, The Journeymen, Judy Collins, Malvina Reynolds, Joe & Eddie, and the list goes on.

Also, Macey is in high school, so some of social/political references in the songs wouldn’t be known to her, so I would have to write notes to go along with the artists and songs. That would only be fair (don’t get me started on the lack of liner notes on albums today). Yes, this would be a fun project; one that would keep me busy for months.

But then I wondered, do high school students even listen to CDs unless their parents are playing them? I don’t know, but my guess is that they are more likely to listen to their iPod. So, in effect, I would be creating these CDs more for my enjoyment than for Macey’s.

That is as far as my thought process has reached. I’ve reached that internal philosophical point where I need to decide on whether to go ahead, or to drop the idea. Maybe I’ll just burn a CD for Cindy.