A duke’s mixture #3

The toll of the years
The toll of the years

I took this picture back in March but didn’t get around to using it until today. I am submitting the picture to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness. She will be putting together a gallery of submissions that are based on the theme “Country.” I think this fits the bill. Click on the link above to view her wonderful website.


I have a couple more idea notes on my phone that I want to clear off. The first involves my smart phone. I saw a news report a couple of weeks ago that a few states, specifically Iowa and Delaware, were running pilot programs to make your driver’s license available as an app on your smart phone. Hmm. Would I mind handing over my phone to a police officer if I was stopped? Personally I wouldn’t, but I know a number of people who would object. What do you think about it? Oh, and the reason this report seemed noteworthy to me is because the reporter, in his summation, made a reference to Max Headroom. I wonder how many people under the age of thirty-five recognized that reference? But then I also wonder how many people under the age of thirty-five watch the news.

 In one news show that I was watching they did a tease for an upcoming segment. The tease was about a man who hadn’t showered in years. I didn’t stay tuned to hear about that oh so noteworthy news story, but it made me wonder and ask a couple of questions. First, what if he prefers baths? I know many people who choose baths over showers. Second, who cares if he bathes other than people who have to interact with him? Is it really newsworthy? And finally, why do television news shows think that they have to tease their audience into watching? Doesn’t that say something about the quality of the show? Just wondering.

That’s all of my duke’s mixture for now. Once I build up more short idea notes I’ll bring it back. Have a great weekend.

A duke’s mixture #2

Another view of the stream bed
Another view of the stream bed

I took this picture on the same day as the picture from my September 24th post. This is just a different view of the same stream bed.


Finally I’m ready to offer you a few small items that I thought were worth sharing, but didn’t deserve a post each to itself. These items are sitting in my phone’s notes section, and I want to clear them out. That being said:

1) I seldom use a shopping cart when I go to a big box store, because I think that they breed over buying. Plus I always know in advance the things that I want to buy. I always try to get a basket that will comfortably hold a few items. Wal-Mart, at least locally, doesn’t supply said baskets. If you want to purchase more than a handful of items, you must use a shopping cart. That is one reason that I shop at Wal-Mart as seldom as possible.

2) Sometimes I am forced to use a shopping cart, as when I am buying liquid chlorine for the swimming pool. I buy it by the case, usually two, so that I don’t have to go to the store often. I noticed that when I went to the Meijer store to buy chlorine the last time that the shopping carts had cup holders on them. This, of course, is a subtle encourager to buy something to drink as you walk through the store. Most stores now allow customers to eat produce and other products as they shop, and hope that they pay for it on their way out. If I had tried that as a child I would have been escorted from the store by my parents and discipline would have ensued. Today you see adults doing it. It is another change in our culture; we allow everyone who craves instant gratification to have their way. I see some logic in profit driven businesses doing this, but I can’t say that I am a fan. I live with it.

3) Cindy and I were shopping the other day and I noticed a mother and son having a brief argument. I would say that the son was between two and three years old. He was sitting on the floor and was clutching some item tightly; I couldn’t tell what it was. He, of course, was saying “I want it!” His mother was saying, “We’re not buying it.” I think she meant, “I’m not buying it.” The lad said again, louder, “I WANT IT!.” The mother said, “You don’t even know what it is.” The boy said, “I WANT IT. IT’S BLUE!”  It looks like another instant gratification/impulse buyer has been spawned.

Packing Essentials – Things You Should Never Leave Home Without

This a great post from one of my favorite writers. I felt like I had to share it.

This Labyrinth I Roam

I am a great advocate of packing light and making do with bare necessities because let’s face it, if you wanted to travel to another country to experience all the things you love at home (re: McDonalds), then you might as well stay home. To be fair, I make it a point to try the local KFC meal just because. This is what it looks like in Bangkok.

KFC Thailand (Expert’s note: When they say spicy, they really, really, really MEAN IT!)

Jokes aside (but seriously, the word ‘Spicy’ in a meal is a warning, not a description!), there are somethings that you should carry with you no matter how large or small your luggage space is. It has helped turn travels into journeys into unforgettable adventures and the best part of it all is that they are ABSOLUTELY FREE!

In no particular order, I give you my packing essential list.


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Likes and dislikes

Maely & Emma

Here is a picture of Maely and Emma enjoying the pool in JR and Trina’s backyard. I took this a number of weeks ago, but am just now getting around to adding it to a post.


So what have I been up to lately? Not much. Hence the lack of posts. Cindy and I went to Lake Monroe over the July 4th weekend. Lake Monroe is just south of Bloomington, Indiana. God’s country, as Cindy often calls it. Of course Bloomington is the home of my alma mater, Indiana University. I love it down there. We spent time in our room at the resort, and out on the lake, and we drove around downtown Bloomington. So much has changed since I was a student there. I guess I mentioned this trip in my last post, so I’ll move on.


I’ve been thinking a lot about politics and politicians lately. If you’ve read Classical Gasbag on a regular basis you should be aware of my feelings about politicians. If you haven’t been reading, I can sum up my feelings in a few words. They are egoists with no productive outlets in their quest for power and influence.

Cindy, unfortunately, has been working for the county government for the past fifteen years. She had the ill fortune of being a strong, competent woman who did not mind letting people know how she felt about issues and some of the local politicians; sometimes too loudly. As a result, the County Commissioners slashed her budget by 65% and forced the layoff of four people, including her. It was because the County has to tighten its collective belt. But to show that there were no hard feelings, she was sent an invitation to a golf outing sponsored by three of the commissioners. Why do I feel that the whole outing, including the printing and mailing of the invitations was paid for with taxpayer dollars?

But enough about that. I have been intrigued by the races for the U.S. Presidential nominations. The fifteen or more people who are running on the Republican side of things cover a broad spectrum of political thought I think. It is hard to tell because they all claim to be conservatives, and they probably are, but they seldom state any real ideas other than everything President Obama does or thinks is wrong. That’s helpful for decision making by the voters. For instance, they all say they would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better. Unfortunately none of them seems able to state what they would replace it with. It reminds me of Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. It was so secret that it never happened while he was President.

On the Democrats side there are at least four people running for the nominations. There is the wife of  a former President running, and a Democratic Socialist, and a farrier, and a former Senator who espouses some liberal philosophy and some conservative philosophy. At least you can draw distinctions among those running. Oh, and the present Vice President may decide to run.

It is going to be fun watching it all unfold, when I’m not screaming in anger at the TV screen.

Still waiting

Waiting for spring
Waiting for spring

I’m still waiting for spring, and the green. I took this picture a couple of days ago. When I got it home and uploaded it to our computer, all I saw were grays, whites and muddy browns. There were a couple of small splashes of color at the trailer and under one of the trees. I decided to play around with the image, so I started with colorizing it, bringing out the greens and reds. I liked the way it looked, but then I remembered that Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness was coming up, so I went back to the original image and grayscaled and brightened it. That was OK, but since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, I added a touch of green. I think this will do.


St. Patrick’s day in the U.S. is a solemn day set aside for drinking and carousing. Rivers and canals are dyed green; green beer is drunk (along with anything else alcoholic), people wear green clothing lest they get pinched ( a favorite of beer drinking men on the lookout for non-green wearing women), and parades are held in every major city. Everyone claims to have Irish blood in them, which they use as an excuse to drink more. The beer drinking men who like to pinch women also like to wear buttons that say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish.”

I never quite got into the St. Patrick’s day celebration. It isn’t an official holiday so I never got the day off work. And to be honest, I never found it necessary to have a reason to drink. I assumed that any woman who was willing to kiss a drunken lout was no one I wanted to rub lips with…well, not since college.

But that’s tomorrow (unless you are on the other side of the International Date Line in which case it is today). Tomorrow I’ll be posting about Irish music; the one tradition that I love.


Near downtown Lafayette
Near downtown Lafayette

I don’t know what it is about this house that I like so much. I just do. I am usually drawn to large, imposing houses, or old farm houses. I am sure that I wouldn’t like living in this place, but I am drawn to it.


Cindy has dubbed me the King of Procrastination, and she is right. OK, she has never said that, but I know she thinks it. In my last post I wrote about my submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness and inserted a link to her website. Then I went outside and started shoveling snow. When I came back into the house I completely forgot to send the picture and a link back to Classical Gasbag to Leanne. If you followed the link and wondered why my photo wasn’t included, mark it down to procrastination. I didn’t realize that I had forgotten until I started going through the gallery that was provided in her post.

Here is another example: I have a slew of one line ideas for posts that have been sitting on my smart phone and on paper for so long that I can’t remember what I planned to write. I am sure that there are some perfectly good ideas that have been wasted in this way. Want an example? “England is a parody of mainland Europe.” I have no idea where that thought came from or where I planned on going with it. So I’m laying it out there for you to use as you wish. All I ask is that if you do use it, please let me know that it has been put to good use. In that way I’ll have indication that my procrastination was useful to someone else.

I have plans for posts for two anniversaries this year. In fact I have spent a lot of time sitting and thinking about them. Have I put one word down on paper or in an electronic draft? Are you kidding? Don’t you think that I would rather wait until it is almost too late to get anything ready to post on the proper dates? I shall probably wait until a fear of failure induced adrenalin rush wakes me in the middle of some night and sends me to the keyboard. That is about the only way I can work past my normal procrastination.

It is an exciting life. As the quote goes, “If it weren’t for the last-minute, nothing would get done.”

Monochrome Madness revisited

Dystopian Blues
Dystopian Blues

Does this picture look familiar? It should. I posted it once in black and white, and I posted this colorized image back in August of last year. It is one of my favorite pictures. If you are wondering why I am posting this picture again, read on.

Leanne Cole has been administering the Monochrome Madness post on her blog for one year now. I started submitting pictures long after she had already started the weekly post. I soon became addicted to seeing one of my pictures in the collection each week. Then I realized that some weeks I was submitting less than good pictures just for the sake of submitting something. So I’ve backed down from that stance. This week, however, Leanne has asked us to resubmit our favorite picture that has been published in Monochrome Madness, and to add a gallery of all of our submissions to date. Monochrome Madness will be published on Wednesday down under in Australia (Tuesday in the States). But please check out Leanne’s website because there are always lovely photographs published.

So this week I am knowingly posting the same picture since I started the blog. Choosing which picture I like the best has been difficult. I like some of them because I tried doing something new, such as I did with “Two symbols of Christmas.” I like others for different reasons (You know that I love taking pictures of barns and abandoned buildings). Some I am not fond of, such as “Field and trees” because I settled to just submit something for the sake of submission. I decided to submit “Dystopian Blues” this week because it was a favorite image and it was the first that I submitted to Leanne.

I hope that you enjoy the gallery of pictures. If you want a closer look at any of the pictures, just click on it.

You are warned

The Wabash from a one lane bridge
The Wabash from a one lane bridge

This is another of the pictures that I took when I was out driving, enjoying the winter from the confines of a warm car. A little known fact: I’m lazy. Many of the pictures that I take for Classical Gasbag are taken from the front seat of my car. If I come across a scene that catches my fancy, I’ll stop the car when possible, roll down the front window, and point the camera in the general direction and take a snap or two. When I get home I upload the pictures to our PC or our laptop, and play around with them in a photo editing program. Some of the photos are easier to work with than others. This probably counts as my first secret revealed for the year.


 I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned in a past post or two that I have Type 2 Diabetes. The medication that I take for it has an unfortunate side effect of occasionally sending me into our “throne room,” to treat the subject delicately, off and on for hours at a time. It can happen at any hour of the day, but for me it usually happens in the middle of the night. This morning around 1 a.m. my body woke me up with an urgent summons to that porcelain fitted room. While I was sitting there I decided to check my smart phone for any new emails, and I found a long one from a friend in India. Among the many topics she covered, she asked how I choose which television shows and TV based DVDs I watch. That may turn out to be a long measured response for my responding email, but keep her question in mind.

I was awake, and between bouts, so I turned on the TV and decided to go to the On Demand function and watch the first episode of a new show, The Librarians. I had seen the trailer for the show and had recognized two of the stars, Rebecca Romijn and Christian Kane. This new series is a spin-off from a series of Made-for-TV movies. Three things about the first episode caught my attention and is a partial answer to my friend.

1) Obviously Rebecca Romijn caught my attention. I knew her not only from the one season TV show King and Maxwell, and more obviously the first three X-Men movies (she played Mystique), but also (and most impressively) her stints as a Sports Illustrated  swimsuit model. Some images are forever.

2) Christian Kane is an actor that I best know from Leverage which was one of my favorite TV series from recent years. It lasted for five seasons and I wish it had lasted longer. I encourage you to get the DVD sets if you haven’t seen the show. More on Leverage in a bit. I also remember Mr. Kane from his days working on Angel, the spinoff from Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

3) The name Dean Devlin caught my eye in the end credits as Executive Producer and Director. Mr. Devlin had also been a producer and director of Leverage. While watching the first episode I noticed that there was at least one similarity to Leverage in that there were four characters, including Romijn’s and Kane’s, who had specific skill sets that were useful to the team as a whole. Come to think of it, the characters in the new show Scorpion are also are like that; and if you reach way back you can cite the comic book The Fantastic Four with a similar conceit.

So I’ll continue watching this show, at least for a while because I recognize similarities that appeal to me. That is one thing that helps me choose shows that I watch.

I warned you…but I didn’t go down the rabbit hole of making connections from the other shows that I mentioned, like Buffy, to the movie of the same name but a different star, to the movie The Phantom, or to the TV show Grimm, or…well a bunch of connections that filled my mind last night.

Did I mention that Matt Frewer was in the show, you know Max HeadroomEureka, and Orphan Black to name a few. Go forth and make you own connections.

Meet Macon

Mmm! Rug tastes good!
Mmm! Rug tastes good!

We all still miss Trina’s dog, Marlin, but this little feller is bringing a lot of smiles to our faces. Today is our first chance to doggie-sit with Macon. He is from the same bloodline as Marlin, so there are a lot of similarities. Macon seems a little friskier than Marlin did at his age. For example, Marlin liked to attack my shoelaces, and so does Macon, but Marlin waited until I was wearing the shoes; Macon attacked when I tried to tie the laces. I took him outside for his first visit to the backyard. I wish there had been a squirrel there so I could see if Macon disliked them as much as Marlin.

I’ve already started taking pictures and short videos. I often said that I had more pictures of Marlin on my phone than I did of the grandkids. Macon may soon outstrip Marlin in the number count. Let’s face it, puppies are the cutest little critters.

It seems like I’ve spent a good part of the afternoon letting Macon chew and lick on my fingers. Maybe it was the cold pizza I ate earlier.

Anyway, he has already worked his way into our hearts. I think we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.