Oh dear!

building a
Waiting for a red light to turn green

I took this picture this morning while we were waiting for a traffic light to turn green. It is just the back of an older building, but I like the way it looks. I wouldn’t want to live there, but I think the picture has an artsy-fartsy kind of look.


It is probably just age creeping up on me and slapping me in the face, but I’m starting to worry about myself. Here are  couple of things that have bothered me recently.

  1. A couple of days ago I took a load of dirty laundry to the basement to give it a wash. I put the clothes in the washer, made the proper settings on the machine, closed the lid, and turned on the dryer. And stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out what was wrong with that picture. Yes, I turned on the dryer instead of the washer. It only took a couple of seconds to correct my actions, but still…
  2. This morning I borrowed Cindy’s car to run some errands. I needed my sunglasses, but since I keep them I my car, I had to unlock it to get them. I left and ran my errands. When I returned I remembered that I needed to return my sunglasses to my car, so I unlocked the door, opened it, tossed the keys into the front seat, set the lock and closed the door. As I turned to walk inside I glanced down at my hand and noticed that I was still holding my sunglasses. I had locked my keys in my car. Luckily we have another set, but still…

If you would like to make me feel better, you can tell me about something similar that you have done. You can make a comment, or if you don’t want to share it with the small part of the world that reads Classical Gasbag you can use the form below and only I will know about your embarrassment. Somehow I feel there will only be crickets around this post.


From the Back of the Bus

I bought this book when I was I high school, or maybe when I was in college. I don’t really remember. In the 1960’s Dick Gregory was helping people with a liberal social conscience laugh, and was upsetting those who didn’t. I remember watching him on TV and laughing at his jokes. I couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t change their minds about racial injustice after listening to him. I’m older now. He was strong in the civil rights movement. He was strong in the anti-war movement. He never stopped talking about injustice in the world. He died the same weekend as Jerry Lewis, who was also a fine comedian.

I also remember watching Jerry Lewis and his partner Dean Martin on television when I was young. They brought me many laughs. But at some point I grew out of my love for the type of humor Jerry Lewis brought. I never outgrew my love for Dick Gregory’s humor.

Various things

Another view

This is the third time I’ve used a picture of this structure in one of my posts. The first time was a color photo on July 23, 2012, and then again as a black and white picture on March 11, 2014. This picture was taken from a different angle.


It was one of those times when I wished I had a camera handy. I glanced out of our second-story bedroom window, moved on, and then went back to take a closer look. On the other side of our backyard fence I saw a shirtless young man standing in an apartment complex’ dumpster. He was staring down at his cell phone. I can only imagine he was reading a text message that said “You couldn’t be faithful, Kenny, so I tossed you out like the trash you are.” I went to get my phone to take the picture, but he was gone when I got back to the window. Or perhaps he just sat down, out of sight, waiting for the trash to be picked up.


I noticed the other day that when a famous person dies and it is announced in the newspaper or on television, that I start listening to how old the person was. I then mentally tick off a) older than me, or b) younger than me. I also pay attention to what the cause of death was. Was it natural or was it preventable? I know that their death has no connection to me, but I can’t help wondering if there is a lesson to be learned about how to live a better, more healthy life. There is also, probably, a smidgen of fear built into my thoughts. I feel that I still have a long life ahead; but still, there are those niggling thoughts in the back of my mind.


Coloring books for adults are very popular. I don’t understand why, but that’s probably because I didn’t do a lot of coloring as a child. Or f I did do a lot, I don’t remember it. I can’t believe that it would be a suppressed memory. I am guessing that I didn’t do a lot of coloring because my mother didn’t buy us many coloring books or crayons. Having grown up during the depression she didn’t like to buy things that couldn’t be reused. But I could be wrong about this whole topic.

The one about the bookcase

Bookcases in the basement

I mentioned in my previous post that there would be a new post about our most recent acquisition, another bookcase. This is it.

The bookcase on the left is the new one. Cindy found it in one of those shops that sells used furniture. We already had the one on the right. I bought and assembled it while we recovering from the flood last year. Both are merely pressed board with a veneer finish.

The one I had previously purchased has a black finish, while the newer (used) one had an oak finish. Cindy said, and I agreed, that we could paint the oak veneer black. Simple enough, right?

We bought the bookcase for 10 or 15 dollars less than I spent on the black bookcase, loaded it into the back of Cindy’s SUV, took it home, and unloaded it into the garage where I would paint it. I figured that the bookcase would be ready to go into the basement in two or three days.

The next morning I drove to a home improvement store and bought a quart of paint that boasted that it was a combination of primer and finish paint. Only one coat was needed. I had the helpful clerk mix the black tint into the base paint, and took it home.

I figured that it would only take about an hour to paint the bookcase. I was wrong. As started to apply the paint it immediately started to bead on the surface of the veneer. There was no way that one coat, let alone two or three coats would be sufficient. Rather than waste my time, I went back to the store to explain the situation and ask fr assistance.  I approached the friendly young man who was working in the paint section and told him that the paint I had purchased was beading on the veneer finish. He said, “Veneer? What’s veneer?” I sensed that there was going to be a problem. I explained to him what veneer was. He nodded wisely and said, “Hmm” turned to another young man, obviously his superior, and said, “He needs paint that won’t bead on veneer.” 

His superior said, “What’s veneer?” Yes.There was definitely a problem.

After much discussion they brought in a third helpful young man who thankfully didn’t ask what veneer was, and they decided that I needed to put on a coat of primer before using the black paint. One of the young men took me in tow and we wandered the aisles of paint looking for the appropriate primer.

At last he found what he felt was the correct paint. I paid for it, went home, and started to paint. The gray primer started to bead on the veneer, but not as badly as the black paint had. It was going to take more than one coat of primer.

When all was said and done, and done again, and again, It took two coats of primer and three coats of black paint to get an acceptable black finish. I say acceptable, but if you look at it and don’t smile, it starts to peel. I can live with it. The basement is kind of dark.

In case you’re wondering bout the books, the top three shelved of the painted bookcase hold biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs arranged alphabetically bu author. The next shelf is mainly graphic novels.

The other bookcase holds books on historical subjects, also alphabetical by author. The third shelf holds books and magazines with reprints of newspaper comic strips.

Neither case is full yet, but I have plenty of books on those subjects in my to-be-read bookcase. Someday they will be full. Oh, and the silver box holds DVDs of old movies.

Little things mean a lot…make that too much


Counseling while waiting

I took this photo in New Richmond, Indiana on July 4th while we were waiting for the fireworks to begin. Cindy took the time to counsel a friend who called. There never seems to be time off.


We bought another bookcase about a week ago. The bookcase deserves a post all to itself, so rather than go into the details, let me just say that I have begun filling it. Since filling it meant moving some books to the basement I took the opportunity to also catch up on cataloging our books.

The bookcase we added, along with the one already in the basement and the file cabinets, should hold all of my graphic novels, our biographies and autobiographies, and our books on historical subjects.

Cataloging the books and arranging them on the shelves should be simple, don’t you think? If you think that, you have never dealt with me. It isn’t just a matter of plugging information on the books into a data base and then ferrying them to the basement where I’ll just put them on shelves and in drawers. It is more involved than that.

I have been using a database software program called Data Crow. I like it very much. Up until recently I loved it. It used to be that all I had to do was enter the ISBN or the title of the book into a search field and the software would search the Internet, primarily Amazon, and fill in data fields for which it found information. Lovely!

But that function has stopped working. I could just enter the name of the book and the author into the data base and let it go at that, but I have grown used the program finding a graphic of the cover, the publisher and other information. So now I look up everything and enter it manually. It has added a lot of time to the process.

And there are small things that bother me. For instance, there is the problem of the distinction between an autobiography and a memoir. I know that an autobiography generally covers a person’s life from birth to whenever it is being written, and that a memoir just covers a specific portion of time or one subject. I can make that distinction when I list the genre, but sometimes the author or the publisher has trouble doing so. For instance, True Compass. the autobiography of Edward Kennedy tracks him from birth to imminent death, but the book is subtitled A Memoir. What the? In my case I call it an autobiography. When putting it in the bookcase it makes no difference because I mix biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs together.

That leads me to the next little thing. When arranging the biographical books should I do it alphabetically by author or by the person about whom the book is written? Keeping all of the books about President Franklin D. Roosevelt together on the shelf seems to make sense, but I also see the argument for arranging by author. What do you think?

If I keep everything by one author together, how do I deal with genre’s? Thomas Hardy wrote novels and poems. I have a half-dozen or so novels by Vladimir Nabokov, but I also have his autobiography, Speak Memory. Or is it a memoir? His novels are in a different part of the house. Should I move Speak Memory from the basement? What do you think?

No big deal, you say. Perhaps for you, but I was thinking about these things at 5:30 this morning. Let me know what you think.