Upon spending an inordinate amount of time inside

Wall art #17

I took this picture in pre-hunker down times. I want to go back to this area of town because there are a number of murals. Unfortunately I was in a bit of a rush that day, and only had time to snap a couple of pictures.


Let’s face it, most of us who are of sound mind are spending more time at home, inside. When the weather is nice we go out into our yards, or take walks (maintaining proper social distancing), or just sit on our porches or decks. I can’t speak for you, but Cindy and I spend most of the gloomy days in the house. She usually binge watches home improvement shows on TV, while I am spending more time reading and listening to music. Most evenings are spent watching British mystery movies.

For some inexplicable (to me) reason I find myself listening to songs that I haven’t listened to in a number of years. In some instances they are considered One Hit Wonders. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the people who purportedly read this blog are too young to have heard some of the songs unless their grandparents played them. I mean, how many of you have heard Art & Dotty Todd’s version of Chanson D’Amour, or Danny O’Keefe’s Good Time Charley’s Got The Blues, let alone Art Pepper playing Patricia

I have also started posting links to music (almost) daily on my moribund Twitter account. While I believe that all of the songs are worthy of being listened to at any time, most seem to speak to me as being appropriate for the times we are in. Some of the songs that I chose to put forward are The Pozo Seco Singers’ Keep On Keepin’ On, Bill Evans’ You Must Believe In Spring, and especially John Prine’s Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow).

If you are interested in listening to any of the songs I’ve mentioned in this post, they can be found on YouTube. If you are interested enough, you can find my daily song selection on Twitter at @NormHouseman.

Stay safe.

More Little Things

Leaves from my neighbor’s tree, our yard

I finally took a picture of autumn leaves. Now I have to get them out of the yard. The leaves on the trees in our yard have barely started to fall.


In my last post I commented on a trope found in murder mysteries. Well, I have another to discuss today.

Perhaps you have noticed those mysteries where the hero/heroine surreptitiously enters the home of someone. Often there will be a television or sound system playing. The protagonist, who doesn’t want to be caught, immediately turns off the sound coming from the electronic device. Why? Wouldn’t that notify the occupant that someone had entered their domicile?

We know that nobody will notice the lack of background noise because they are (GASP) dead. Gosh, we never saw that one coming. The only person surprised by this development is the body finder. It makes one wonder about the script writer’s skill.

I would be glad to hear any movie/TV tropes that cause you to sigh and shake your head. Feel free to comment.


I attended a concert by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet a few weeks ago, and it was great. If you like jazz, you should see them if they come to a venue near you. Everyone sitting around me had good things to say about the group. But I must admit that while I eavesdropped on their conversations during the intermission and after the concert, I felt that they were saying some of the most inane things I had ever heard.

But while I was driving home I realized how unkind my thoughts had been. I’m sure that if I attended a classical music concert, other people might find my opinions, while positive, vacuous. We all come to music in our own way. For me, I base my musical likes and dislikes on the skill of the artist(s) as well as their choice of repertoire. Others might have different criteria, and that is fine for them.

I’m still working on being a better, more tolerant person. I have a lot of work to do on that project.

What the? and wonderment

It’s almost time

I put the tree up so that it would be ready for our party last weekend.


Talk about strange dreams! A few nights ago, in a dream, I found myself laying on a couch in our living room. Only it wasn’t our living room. It was similar in layout to the living room in my parent’s house, and Cindy and my first home, as well as our present house. The couch was facing a picture window onto our front yard. But the front yard was not one I had ever seen before, because there were tall, hedge-like bushes in front of the window.

Also in the room with me were two women whom I did not know. They said nothing. I knew that they were friends of a non-carnal nature. They were just sitting there.

Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from somewhere behind me. I arose and walked into the back of the house. I saw nothing unusual, so I looked out a window into the back yard. I saw a maple tree sappling and beside it was a bird bath and a wheelbarrow. On the ground was a very large log. I instinctively knew that the log had been dropped there, and that was what I had heard. I saw no one in the yard so I went back to the living room and once again lay down. The women said nothing and neither did I.

All of a sudden I heard another noise in the back. Once again I arose and rushed to the back. I looked out the window. Again there was no one there. But the log was now balanced in the wheelbarrow.

I went back to the living room and resumed my place on the couch. The women said nothing, and I said nothing to them.

I glanced out the picture window at the hedge-like bushes. Wait. I thought I saw something move in the bushes. I stared where I thought I had seen the movement. And then I saw a man standing in the bushes. He was wearing a fedora and had a camera strapped around his neck. And then I could make out another man over the first’s right shoulder. The second man was wearing a pork pie hat and appeared to be holding sound equipment. I looked back at the man in the fedora and clearly saw his face. He knew that I had seen him. He wasn’t smiling, exactly; it was more like a sheepish grin that had gone wide.

I started to get up to confront them. That’s when I woke up.

I have no idea what that dream was about. I would be happy to hear your theories.


I was ripping music from of my favorite albums for a dear friend the other day. When I came to my albums by The Beatles, I started looking through the songs from their early albums through Abbey Road. As I went through those albums I marveled once again how quickly their music evolved. I liked The Beatles the first time I heard them. That wasn’t true of many of my high school classmates. But, back to The Beatles’ (R)evolution; while I liked music from all stages of their career, I do have two albums above all of the others. In my opinion, Revolver and Abbey Road are the best. Feel  free to argue with me, but you won’t change my mind. Which album(s) do you prefer?

Fun times

What we did Saturday night
What we did Saturday night

We don’t often go out on Saturday nights because for years Saturday night was card playing night for Cindy. We broke the pattern yesterday evening.

Our evening started with having dinner with friends at a good Italian restaurant in downtown Lafayette. I decided to be less adventurous than normal when eating Italian, I had the baked ravioli. It was great!

From there we moved on to the concert at The Long Center. We knew right away that the audience was excited to be there. How did we know? Well, the director of the center came out to welcome the crowd. He started ticking off the improvements that had been made since the previous season. New curtains had been installed to reflect the original curtains from so many years ago. The audience applauded the curtains. The sound system had been upgraded. The audience applauded the sound system. A new concert grand piano had been purchased. The audience applauded the piano. He mentioned the roses in the vase that had been supplied by a local florist. The audience applauded the roses. By then I was sure that the audience was starved for entertainment. Finally he advised the audience that we were in a cell phone free zone for the duration of the concert. And so the concert began.

I’m sure that many people who read Classical Gasbag have no idea who Judy Collins is. If you are interested, she was a famous folk singer in the early 1960’s. She expanded her repertoire to include show tunes and pop music. She is now in her 70’s and is obviously still performing. As I looked around at the rest of the audience, I noticed that there was only a handful of people there who were under the age of 60. I may be over estimating the number of people younger than 60.

Judy Collins certainly has good pipes for a woman in her seventies. The songs she sang progressed from her early music to the most recent recordings. She interspersed the songs with stories of her early and later career, dropping names of famous people as she went on. We in the audience found it charming.

On Sunday afternoon I went to the movie and saw Logan with my grandson Mason. Over the past few years we have gone to a number of superhero movies together. It is something that we both enjoy. At least I think he enjoys doing it with me. I can’t think of a reason why a high school senior would want to hang out with a geezer like me rather than spend time with a high school girl. I hope we can continue spending time together like this for a long time.


The Big Lie
The Big Lie

I got this in the mail the other day. It is from our insurance agent who has failed to return any of the last four or five calls we have made to her office. I believe it was Joseph Goebbels who said, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘If you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it.’ Well, Verna, you can tell us how much you care as often as you wish, but I don’t believe it.


So I went to bed reasonably early rather than stay up watching election returns. When I turned off the TV the returns were trending in a direction that I didn’t like, but I had hopes that I would wake up to more cheerful news. Alas, that was not to be. Actually, I woke up at 3 a.m., needing to pee and made the mistake of checking Twitter before I closed my eyes again. Well that ended my sleep.

I spent some time trading texts with a friend in Thailand; expressing my woe and receiving kind words of solace in response. I tried watching the early newscasts but just couldn’t handle it. So I decided to go for a drive and listen to happy music.

Since Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature I have been listening to a lot of his albums. I started buying Dylan albums in the 1960’s and have been listening ever since. Today I had planned on listening to The Times They Are a-Changin’ but knowing the contents as well as I do, I decided against it. I can accept that the changes we may see won’t be to my liking. I can abide with the song’s dictum “Get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand” since I’m also pretty sure that no one in the new Republican party would want my help. But that wasn’t the reason I didn’t listen to the album.

I was feeling depressed and decided that I didn’t need to listen to “Ballad of Hollis Brown” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RfJhIT1_h4 which is a song about a mass murder/suicide. Nor did I want to listen to “Only A Pawn In The Game,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbL2PpBwQmY about the murder of Medger Evans. And “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUrqRDjAt4w always makes me feel sad. All of the songs on the album are worth listening to, but not for me, not today.

So I picked, at random, an early Kingston Trio album from my CDs to play in the car during my early morning drive. I put it in the player as I backed out of our driveway, and “M.T.A.” came on with Dave Guard quoting Thomas Paine. “These are the times that try men’s souls.” It is going to be a long day.

Geoff Muldaur

Wall art #14
Wall art #14

I went back to pictures I took last month for today’s picture. I didn’t want it to languish in photo limbo while I used more recent pictures. It didn’t seem fair,and I like wall art. Left click on the image if you want a better view.


I have been having trouble coming up with ideas for posts recently, so I decided that I should take a look at the Draft posts that I have stored in WordPress. There are three, and this is the one that has been hanging around the longest. I started writing this a little over two years ago. I didn’t get far. All I had was a YouTube link that no longer goes anywhere, and a joke that doesn’t make any sense when I look at it now. I’ll spare you the joke. Here is a link (that works) to the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXCkdNibmJw&list=PL5sOGnHh9XvH2n0g-asu3O5AO_XWoVAea.

The song above was from the first Geoff Muldaur album that I bought, “Geoff Muldaur Is Having A Wonderful Time,” back in the late 1970’s. The album was vinyl and I found it in a cut-out bin (that means that it was on sale) in a Karma Record store. I was living and working in Auburn, Indiana when I bought it.

Another song, actually a medley, from that album is I Want To Be A Sailor/Why Should I Love You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLyzGw0T6kE

I’ve shared that song with people over the years. Some get it; some don’t. I hope you get it. For that matter, I hope the link works.

After I bought that first album I did a little research and found that Muldaur had been married to Maria Muldaur. The truth be told, I was already a Maria Muldaur fan and bought this album because they had the same last name. I discovered that they met when they were both playing in Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band. Raise your hand if you recognize any of those names.

Here is a song from the album, “Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gZMotDFPL0. This is an example of why Richard Thompson’s said of Muldaur, “There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them.”

I admit that Muldaur is not everybody’s cup of tea, but he is a great cup of Earl Grey for me.

Two different days

Not the Taj Mahal
Not the Taj Mahal

This is another picture that I took when out scouting for photo worthy spots. You may not think this is photo worthy; it isn’t the best kept yard in the county, but on the day I took the picture, just about everything looked good to me.

Tuesday was another day similar to the day I took this picture. The bright sky and the air seemed like an early spring day, and that is always good. rather than go out looking for pictures, however, I sat at our laptop and searched for music. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just something that was new to me. And I found it.

Have you ever listened to McKendree Spring? I must admit that I don’t remember hearing them before yesterday, but I probably did back in the 1970’s, because the group name was familiar. And it wasn’t familiar just because the group is mentioned in the Pure Prairie League song “You’re Between Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLr4qQWOzZI. I may not remember any of their songs, but I remember the name.

So I decided that I would download one of their albums. I ended up choosing one that was released just last year, Times Like These, When I listened to the album it seemed just right for the day. Here is the title song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVu5nlZAGmQ. You may not think that this is an appropriate song for a bright, sunny day, but it seemed right to me. I think that maybe everything I listened to Tuesday would have seemed right. It especially seems right with our current social and political landscape.

That takes us to the second day, yesterday, when I went online and downloaded another of McKendree Spring’s albums, another from more recent years, Live at the Beachland Ballroom. Wednesday was not as bright and sunny as Tuesday. The weather didn’t make me feel as happy. That’s the reason I chose another McKendree Spring album. I hoped that the music would once again work magic on my psyche. Again, I enjoyed the music, but for whatever reason, the music seemed to fit Wednesday’s weather. Here is a song from the album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psrH9so7muA.

If you are a fan of McKendree Spring, you are probably asking why I didn’t choose a more upbeat song from that album. Well, hey! I’m trying to make you feel what I was feeling. Still, you make a valid point. If I had chosen “Train to Dixie,” you would never have gotten my emotional base. You may still not get it. I’m just saying that you can’t strip personal emotion from music when you hear it for the first time. You may add layers to it as time passes, but the underlying emotion will always be there.

So, I have two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, with different personal feelings on those days, and two albums by the same group that will spark different emotions in me whenever I listen to them. Got it?

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.

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” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE_lXJyHlSI 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opdtYnUsvmc. 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  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oUfGdtA9-A. Enjoy.

An Oxpecker pecks again

Back yard devastation
Back yard devastation

I took this picture through a dirty second story window. I did my best to clean up the picture, but I’m not sure that it is a good enough job. Read on to see what it is all about.

Because Cindy felt that there was too much shade on the pool (just to the left of the picture), she set one of her oxpeckers the task of alleviating that supposed problem. He hasn’t finished yet, but this is his progress as of around noon today. I had to force myself to look out of one of our windows to take this picture. I’ve closed all possible curtains and blinds to keep from seeing the devastation to the trees.

It doesn’t help me that we are experiencing a power outage as I write these words using a pen and paper (what a concept!). I’m destroying my hearing by using my MP3 player at top volume to shut out the sound of the chainsaw. I’m also hoping that the music will help lighten my mood. The first song is helping, It’s the Moody Blues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wDHvmCVRxU. At least the tempo is helping. The lyrics are kind of a downer.

OK, the next song by Lou Rawls is definitely a downer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phpaq7E_Xs4. It fits my mood, but I was really hoping for something happier. I may need to rethink having the player on a random shuffle setting.

The damned MP3 player is conspiring to lock me into a foul mood. Even Linda Ronstadt is in on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfMNnZL-YuM. At least my mood isn’t bad because of a failed romance. Those days are thankfully far in the past.

Two hours later and the power is back on. According to the power company, the problem was about a block from our house. If there had been power lines near our back yard I know who I would have blamed. I guess that I’ve got the rant out of my system, but it will be some time before I can bear to go into the yard, or even set on our shade free deck.