Saturday movie and other stuff

Absence of Malice
Absence of Malice

More about this movie further down the page.

I received a notification from WordPress that I’ve begun my fourth year with Classical Gasbag. I knew that it was about time for that anniversary to roll around. Knowing that, I made my annual change to the header picture. I also changed the title font. Did you notice? I would guess that it didn’t grab your eye. I may change the theme later if I get bored. But for now, those are the cosmetic changes.

This year I also plan on at least one post per week that will feature a movie that I watch on Saturday. Ever since Cindy started playing cards with her friends every Saturday night, I have been watching movies because…well for various reasons. I have a large collection of movies on DVD, and our local library is also well stocked.

Don’t expect an in-depth analysis of the movie. I am no critic. I’ll probably just stick to things such as my background with the movie, who the stars are, and if I like the movie or not. If I can come up with some clever graphical representation I’ll use that as well, but stars and thumbs have already been taken. I’ll accept any ideas that you may have.

Last night I pulled out my DVD of Absence of Malice. The movie was released in 1981, and, in my opinion was one of the best that year. It didn’t win any Oscars, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t deserve a couple. The stars were Paul Newman and Sally Fields, with a strong supporting cast. This was the first movie where I noticed Bob Balaban; it was probably the way he played with rubber bands. Wilford Brimley also put in a fine, though short,  performance. I didn’t see it in the theater, but I watched it as soon as it came to cable, back in my bachelor days living in the upstairs of a house in Auburn.

The plot of the story is basically how a leaked story to the press by a prosecutor can affect a man’s life and the lives of those around him. But the movie is more than that. It gives insight into the way some news people make decisions and react to the consequences. Even more, it is a study in the differences between perceptions and truth. That’s something we all need to be reminded of. Remember, don’t mistake the map for the terrain.

Now I didn’t really give anything away about the actual story, I hope, so find a copy of the movie if you haven’t seen it already or watch it again if it has been awhile since you’ve seen it. Wilford Brimley’s performance near the end of the movie is worth the price of admission or rental or whatever/however you pay.

Feel free to tell me about your reactions to the movie.

Keeping busy

When the self-absorbed get bored
When the self-absorbed get bored

I admit that I haven’t been taking many pictures lately. I must have been really bored some time ago, because I decided to take a picture of myself taking a picture of myself. I’ve titled it “When the self-absorbed get bored.”


I always have a few things going on in my life, even though I am happily retired. One thing that I have been busy with is collecting a lot of information so that we can file our taxes. I have been doing our taxes for a long time now; ever since I learned the joys of tax software and electronic filing. But this year Cindy wants to have an accountant do our taxes. It is probably because she started her own business. I understand. So I have been collecting all of the forms mailed to us, running reports on our bank accounts, and filling out other forms for the accountant. My question, at this time, is what will he be doing other than taking everything we have done for him and plugging it into a software package? I hope to find out. I’m sure that it is something quite esoteric. If it isn’t, it will be like working with a consultant.


In between bouts of getting ready for taxes, I have been uploading a lot of music to the cloud. I purchase and download music from emusic. They automatically store all of the music I have purchased on the cloud, and I can access it any time I want from anything that has an Internet connection. They also allow you to upload your entire digital music collection to the cloud. That’s what I have been doing.

Over the years I have converted many of my vinyl albums to MP3s, and I have ripped most of my CDs to MP3s. In the last year or so I have started copying those MP3s to flash drives. Now I am uploading the music on those flash drives to my emusic account. It takes time, but it allows me have access to my music collection through my smart phone. That will be nice on trips.

Emusic uses Gracenote in the upload process, and the music is sorted in a number of ways. On sort makes the music available by artist. When a picture of the artist is available in their data bank, it is put on the cover of the file holding the music. I like this, but I have detected a slight problem. The picture assigned to folder is not always that of the correct artist. For instance, I noticed the other day that a folder of music by Mississippi John Hurt had a picture of

the actor John Hurt. A folder of music by the McGarrigle Sisters, Kate and Anna, had a picture of the Pointer Sisters. And I have no idea whose picture is on the folder of music by Norman Blake. I just know that it isn’t Norman. I’ve put the picture here so that you can identify him and tell me who he is. He is probably famous, but to me he is a mystery.

Who am I?
Who am I?





That is how some of my time is taken.

Vacation photos

The view from our room
The view from our room

I finally took the time to upload pictures that I took on vacation to an album on Flickr. I took many more pictures than are in the album, but I found myself narrowing the ones that I wanted to display. The picture here isn’t one of them, though I did take it while on vacation.

We drove into Wyoming after visiting Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. Neither Cindy nor I were aware that we were there on the first day of elk hunting season. It seems that people flock to the towns, book hotel and motel rooms, and use them as their base of operations for hunting. As a result, finding a motel with any vacancies was a chore. We found one finally. I opened the drapes to look at the view, and this is what I saw.

On a brighter note, the clerk in the motel told us about an excellent Mexican restaurant. I was surprised to see the number of families of hunters who were there. I had expected to see mainly men with scraggly beards, dressed in camo, drinking beer and having a good time. There were plenty of them there, but there was also a goodly number of families there as well, talking about hunting.

As far as the album in Flickr, you can find it here.

I hope that you like them.

A niggling concern

Sign in the South Dakota Badlands
Sign in the South Dakota Badlands

I had one of those weekends when everything seemed to be going right, but I had a niggling feeling of disquiet? Something was wrong but I had no idea what it could have been. David Bromberg’s “Somebody Else’s Blues” seemed to sum it up well. I’m not saying that things were so great this weekend. I didn’t win the Powerball Lottery. No one did. But IU beat Ohio State handily. Purdue lost to Illinois. I came up with a pretty good recipe for chicken meatballs. I listened to a lot of great music recorded by Cal Tjader, for example But something just wasn’t right.

It was just bad enough that it put a bit of a damper on everything. It’s hard to get over something that you can’t identify. It’s kind of like coming across a word or phrase in a novel and not knowing the definition…and you have no dictionary or thesaurus available. You can make a solid guess based on context, but you can’t be sure. It is frustrating.

I was driving to the library this morning and realized that except for a run to the grocery store yesterday I hadn’t been away from the house since Thursday. Maybe that was it. Maybe, despite the good music and satisfactory outcome to a couple of basketball games, I was feeling the need to get out. I’m not sure that was the correct answer, but I started to feel better coming up with something.

I also decided to change the music today. I kept on my old man clothes but switched to Frank Sinatra. Even the ballads are helping my spirits. This song falls somewhere between a ballad and an uptempo song like Ring-A-Ding-Ding Enjoy.