A short trip…part 3



Day 3, 4/12/207

from our trip album

Clockwise from the left there is a shot in the French Quarter of New Orleans, a picture of Cindy, and the front of Preservation Hall.


On the third day of our trip, Wednesday, we went to New Orleans. It wasn’t completely a smooth trip there. We had to turn around and go back to Abbeville. No, we didn’t forget Barbara. It was for a different reason.

When we got to the city we parked in a lot in the French Quarter and set out on foot. Jenna and Cindy traded off pushing Barbara in a wheelchair. That wasn’t an easy task in the crowded streets. Shame on me for not offering to push her.

There were two objectives we wanted to meet during this visit, one for me and one for Cindy. I wanted to see Preservation Hall, where the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs. We saw it from the outside, but couldn’t go in because there was a private event going on inside. Maybe on our next trip we will get inside.

Cindy wanted to go on a Voodoo/graveyard tour, Unfortunately, if we had stayed in the city for the tour we wouldn’t  have able been to leave New Orleans until around 11 p.m. or midnight. Then we would have had about a two-hour drive ahead of us. We didn’t want that. Oh, and pushing Barbara through graveyards didn’t really appeal to us. Perhaps on our next trip we will spend a day or two and nights in New Orleans.

What we did do was some window shopping. In one case I went beyond the window and bought a nifty T-shirt to memorialize the trip. We also had a delicious lunch at the Napoleon House. And finally we were ably to watch a scene for N.C.I.S. New Orleans being prepared for shooting. We saw Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, and Vanessa Ferlito. Ms. Ferlito scowled as much out of character she does when in character. Cindy only drooled a bit when she saw Mr. Bakula.

Thus ended our visit to New Orleans.


A short trip…part 2



Day 2 4/11/17

Ah. Memories. I took this short sequence of photos during our first stop while on our second day on the road. I hoped that it wasn’t a foreshadowing of the rest of the trip.

from Our trip album

I had originally planned on titling this series of posts A short trip to New Orleans and return but that seemed in retrospect to be misleading…like the first sign in the above album page. You see, based on things Cindy had told me about her previous trips to Louisiana when she visited friends, she had left the impression that they lived in a suburb of New Orleans. They didn’t. In fact they live in Abbeville which according to Google Maps is about a 150 mile drive from New Orleans.

My first clue about the location came when I woke from a nap while Cindy was driving. I had driven all morning and traded off with Cindy after lunch. I woke up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when we were approaching the bridge that crossed over the Mississippi River heading west. I know enough rudimentary geography to realize that we were heading in the wrong direction if we were going to New Orleans. I pulled out my smart phone and Googled Baton Rouge to Abbeville and found that we were driving in the right direction but still had about 80 miles to travel. That is when I realized that we wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in New Orleans.

We arrived in Abbeville and drove to Barbara’s apartment where we would be staying. After we unpacked the car we drove over to Michael, Jenna and Hudson’s house. Michael had been cooking all day, preparing for our arrival. He was barbecuing ribs, chicken wings, and sausage. In addition there was home-made potato salad and a tossed salad. If there was more, I forgot about it in a cloud of subsequent satiation. It was quite the welcoming dinner.

We ate a lot, and talked a lot. And when we were done, we climbed back into the car and drove back to Barbara’s where we collapsed in exhaustion. Thus ended day 2.

A short to trip to Louisiana and return



Cindy decided that we had to take a week out of our lives so that we could drive to Louisiana to visit some of her friends. They are special friends. One, Barb, is the sister of Cindy’s best friend, Marilyn, who recently died. The others are Barb’s son Michael and his family. On any other occasion I would love to go to Louisiana, but let’s face it, this trip was going to involve a lot of crying.

I didn’t want this to be a totally lachrymose occasion, so I planned on taking at least one photo each day that had no wet tissues or hankies in sight. I also wanted to document anything that caught my fancy or curiosity.

Day 1 4/10/2017

from Our trip album ~ an almost empty restaurant despite the good food

There were few opportunities to take pictures on the drive down. We were booking it. Do people still say booking it? I took this when we stopped to eat dinner in Southaven, Mississippi. We covered a little over 500 miles on the road that day.

Two things of interest happened on the drive. The first was when we pulled in to the Trail of Tears Rest Stop in Illinois. I knew that the Trail of Tears refers to the forced move of American Indians from their land so that it could be taken by immigrants and children of immigrants. But I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that the Trail of Tears might also refer to parents taking very young children on their first long car trip.

There were the usual amenities at the rest stop, plus a couple of picnic tables. We had packed the fixings for sandwiches and took this opportunity to have some lunch. Cindy and I alternated using the facilities and insuring that nobody stole our sandwiches. When I was returning from the clean restrooms I noticed a pickup truck in the parking area, and beside it was a girl lying face down on the asphalt. I guessed that she was alright since there were two adults walking around her and the truck. After a bit she popped up onto her feet and walked around smiling. Very curious.

Later during the trip, while Cindy was driving through a part of Arkansas, she determined that we were getting very low on gasoline. It was so low that she decided that she needed to get off of the Interstate at the next exit to fill up the tank. Unfortunately when we got off the Interstate there were no gas stations at the intersection. So we turned east and headed for the nearest town a few miles away. We arrived at the hamlet and found that there were no gas stations there, so we turned around and headed back towards a town west of the intersection.

Before we got to that town Cindy spied a young man walking, so she pulled over to ask him where the nearest gas station was located. He thought for a moment and told us to turn onto a dirt road. He said that we should follow it until it came to a T intersection and to turn right. In a couple of miles we would find a gas station in a town that he named. So off we went down the dirt road. In the meantime I Googled the town he had named. Google told me that we should turn left rather than right when we got to the T intersection. Against her better judgement, Cindy followed Google Maps rather than the young man.

Around ten or twelve miles later we arrived at the location Google Maps had led us to only to find an empty field. In fact, at the arrival Google Maps provided a photograph of the empty field.

By this time Cindy was split between panic at having a gas tank that was almost empty, and anger at me for convincing her to believe in technology. The sensor in her gas tank indicated that she only had enough gas for a few more miles. We started searching frantically for another nearby town with hopes of finding gasoline. We came to another small village with no gas station. We saw a gentleman using a weed whip in his front yard and pulled up to ask him the location of the nearest gas station.

He asked us where we had come from. I told him and emphasized that we just wanted the nearest station. He gave us directions  for which we thanked him, and set out on our renewed quest. A couple of miles down the road, the electronic gas tank sensor decided that we were out of gas, but we kept purring along. We went on for another ten miles or so before we got to the gas station where we filled the tank and returned to the Interstate highway.

Cindy praised God for keeping the car running. At first I thought that maybe it was similar to the fishes and loaves, but upon reflection realized that it was more akin to the Hanukkah Miracle concerning the oil that fueled the Temple’s menorah. I, on the other hand, decided that the sensor was faulty and that we couldn’t trust it to be accurate. You can decide for yourself.

Thought streaming


A graveyard

This another photo that I took last month when I was driving around Linden. I really need to go out and get some new shots. Perhaps I’ll do that this afternoon.


I started this post with one definite idea that I wanted to state. But my mind wandered and my thoughts started drifting. I think that there is something of a logical sequence, but I may be wrong. I leave it to you. Oh, and I hope I don’t offend anyone…too much.


I was reading a short story last night, and in it there was a reference to people out for an evening jog. This story was published in the 1990’s, and it occurred to me that running and jogging was more than a passing fad. I guess that until there is definite scientific proof that taking a nap is better for your health than strenuous activity, I shall forever be clucked at sympathetically by those who bow at the altar of physical fitness.

Save your sympathy. I don’t need it; neither do I want it. Another thing that I don’t want is spending money on special shoes and clothing. I’m old and often grumpy and cheap. I am not going to wear a spandex track suit or sweat pants. Sweat pants are probably the ugliest fashion statement perpetuated upon the public. Not even a supermodel or leading man actor can make them look good.

I don’t feel that I am overly vain, but I refuse to be seen in public or, even in the privacy of my home, wearing them. Plus, I think they are uncomfortable. “What?” you say. “You don’t think looking and being slovenly is comfortable?” Well, maybe slovenly is a bit of a stretch. I’ll narrow that to just looking slovenly. Does that satisfy you?

I suppose I have been a tad too nasty today.I am sorry. I’ll try to end on an upbeat thought. May the unicorn in your garden fertilize your tomato plants.


What do you do at 2 a.m.?



In downtown Linden

I took this picture a little over a month ago. I have been meaning to stop and get a picture of this building for a long time, but that day was this first when the stars were properly aligned. I had my camera, the camera batteries weren’t dead, I wasn’t in a rush to get somewhere, and there was break in the traffic so that I could get the shot.


I’ve written before about waking up in the early morning hours and being unable to return to peaceful slumber. What do you do? Unfortunately for me, I think. This morning I awoke at 2 a.m. My eyes popped open and I tried to suss out why I was awake and why it felt like I would be awake for a long time.

Had I been having a strange dream? No; not that I could remember. I had a strange dream a few days earlier about a nefarious group who had surgically implanted bombs in the stomaches of the members of a water polo team, but that had not recurred. By the way, I couldn’t remember why they had messed with the team’s collective stomaches. But it proved to have a spectacular result in the middle of their game. Red, frothy water spewing from the pool, etc. But there was no memorable dream this time.

Was I worried about finances? No more than normal. That means almost constantly. But those worries seldom keep me from sleeping. I ran the finances through my mind anyway. I’m caught up on the bills we pay on a regular basis. Taxes are due in a couple of weeks, but they seem payable. We haven’t invested heavily in any competitive water polo teams. It wasn’t finances.

Am I worrying about my health? No, that isn’t it. I saw my ophthalmologist the other day and he said the macular degeneration hadn’t gotten any worse, so no injections into the eyeball were necessary, and I didn’t need to see him for another year. I’ll be seeing the podiatrist in a couple of weeks, but I’ve had no new problems with my feet or toes. I’ll also be seeing my primary care physician that same week. There I expect to hear that my blood sugars are in order. But I may hear that I need to lose more weight (the ongoing battle). I hope that he doesn’t recommend that I take up water polo.

All of that thinking exhausted me and I was finally able to go back to sleep.

The NN1 stories – part 1

When Pins volunteered to host this go-round of N-N-1 I assumed that it wold look a lot like past incarnations. Boy was I wrong! She has brought her own vision to N-N-1 and I am impressed. I’m looking forward to the next installment. View, read and enjoy.

Vaayadi Pennu

Part laziness, part procrastination, part how do I make a shorter post, and then I decided why not divide the picture tale post into two and post it on different days/two-three posts.

Some of you may remember thepicture story posts I was hosting last month, ababy ofNorm… A group of us decided, and the rest volunteered and a few were bullied into taking pictures at 6pm their time on the last Saturday of February. Here’s the first set from Govind,Pixie,Akhila&Bikram.

You are free to cross post it, like, comment and share on your blogs and spread the happiness of 4 people at 4 different places clicking at an appointed time and writing a snippet about what they felt about their click.

PS. To read the stories in larger font, click on each picture. Enjoy. Thanks guys for participating ! 😘

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2017 Reading Challenge update #2



True Compass

True Compass

The sixth book I read for the challenge was True Compass by Edward Kennedy. I am using it as the book recommended by a friend. In this case, the friend was Cindy who loved the book and kept telling me that I would love it as well. My story is that I bought this book shortly after it was published in 2009. I wanted to read it and so did Cindy. I told her that she could read it first so she took the book and started reading it. Then she put it down. After a while she would go back to the book, and then put it down for one reason or another. This pattern kept repeating. She finished the book in late 2016. I spent a week reading it.

Kennedy collaborated with the respected Ron Powers in crafting the book. It was released shortly after his death. It gives insight into his life and beliefs. Two things shine through it all, he was a man dedicated to family and he was a man of faith. Together they molded his life. I only wish that he had started working on his memoirs earlier in his life, because there was enough content that he could easily have filled three or more volumes. I would have gladly read that much.

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror

The next book that I read was the graphic novel The Rocketeer:Hollywood Horror by Roger Langridge and illustrated by J. Bone. The Rocketeer was an independent comic book hero from the 1980’s. The comic was created, written and drawn by the late Dave Stevens. I was a big fan of the comic, and when I saw this new story was available I wanted the book. I haven’t actively collected comic books for a couple of decades, so I wasn’t aware that other Rocketeer stories have appeared since those days. But on to this one. It is set in the same time period, the 1930’s, as the earlier comics and The Rocketeer movie. I was a bit confused since I hadn’t read any of the stories since the original Stevens’ works. I was also surprised to see Nick and Nora Charles with a cameo by Asta; as well as  “Monk” Mayfair, “Ham” Brooks, and Doc Savage. The story was enjoyable, but I am not a fan of J. Bone’s cartoonish art and found it a bit off-putting after Steven’s detailed work. I guess, for me, the book was not a hit, but a near miss.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island

I have a number of books in my “to be read” bookcase that would have fit the reading category From Page to Screen, but while browsing in my favorite bookstore I came across Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson. I’ll fit the other books into some other category.

First the book. It was first published in book form in 1883, so even I couldn’t fit it into a book published in a decade that I was alive. It was written as a book for boys, though it was quickly apparent that adult men were also drawn to it. Considering the number of murders and other deaths that occur, around twenty I believe, today’s overprotective parents probably wouldn’t consider it appropriate reading for their children. Considering that it is a story of pirates, buried treasure, and with a boy hero I found it a rollicking good tale. I’ve always wanted to use that phrase, and finally found a place for it.

Now, a bit about the movie versions. I saw two of them on television when I was much younger, but can’t remember enough to say if they were true to the book. What I do remember are the characters of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins. In the 1934 film (again before my birth) Wallace Beery played Silver, and Jackie Cooper played Jim Hawkins. In the 1950 Disney version Robert Newton played Silver and Bobby Driscoll play Jim. I have to say that Newton’s portrayal of Long John Silver is the one I best remember, To me, he is Long John. There was also a television show in which Newton played Silver that I watched as a child.

The Undoing Project

Next I read The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis. It is the book that I chose for “a book of any kind.” It probably is best described as a book about science, but it is much more than that, IT is also about the lives, the collaboration, and the friendship of two Israeli psychologists. They studied the way people make decisions, and how “rule of thumb” is not as good a choice as using statistical analysis. I have to admit that I didn’t understand all that they were positing. For me, the more interesting parts of the book were the sections that dealt with the lives of the two men, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and how they interacted with each other. The book was written by Michael Lewis who has also written The Big ShortMoneyballLiar’s Poker and other well known books. It is an interesting book, and I recommend it.

Savage Season

And then I read Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale. I had originally bought the book as my choice for “from page to screen,” because I had watched the first season of “Hap and Leonard” on television. The first season was based on this book. But since I decided to use Treasure Island for “from page to screen,” and I already had used another book tor the 1990’s, this book is now my choice for “part of a series.” The television show is faithful to the book, which made the reading of this already short novel a very quick read. If you are not a fan of violence and bad language, steer clear of both the book and TV version. Though there is a bit more gratuitous violence in the TV show.


In this year’s reading challenge I still need to read 1) a biography or autobiography, 2) a mystery, 3) a book on an historical subject, 4) a book of science fiction or fantasy, 5) one book each first published in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s 1980’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, and 6) a book of short stories or essays.

What have you been reading?

Fun times


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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 purpose of social media


Is it spring yet?

Is it spring yet?

I took this picture last week when I was out searching (unsuccessfully) for early signs of spring. If I went out today I would be able to find those signs. Our grass is starting to green and the daffodils have poked through ground. Yesterday I noticed that our tulips have also started to sprout. I guess the season is changing.


A few days ago I was listening on the radio to a panel discussion of the use of social media by people in government. While they were concentrating of the use and misuse by all levels of government officials of Twitter, they also talked a bit about Facebook. One of the panel participants said that the purpose of social media is to gather followers.

I was surprised that no one on the panel questioned his statement. I know that some people try to gather followers because their egos need stroked on a regular basis, and that collecting followers provides those strokes. Others try to gather followers because they are selling something. I don’t believe that most people on social media are simply trying to gather followers.

I suppose that I am looking at social media though my perspective, and perhaps it s a narrow perspective, but for me social media is a means of communication. Some of that communication is high level, some is low. As I’ve written many times, I got off of Facebook some years back because of the inanity and lack of civility of so much of that conversation. I prefer Twitter where I can more easily choose what to read and what to ignore. I also subscribe to a few email newsletters. And of course I read blogs as well as write this one. I prefer the longer form of communicating provided by this blog. I can write as much or as little as I please, and I can comment on the blogs of other people.

I would like to know your main purpose in participating in social media, and so I’ve added this poll, or you can just add a regular comment.

I love to write…but


Still waiting for spring

Still waiting for spring

There is no green grass and no leaves on the trees. It is just slightly foggy on a warm February morning. Mother nature keeps teasing us into thinking spring has arrived. Hmm, there’s an idea for a story, Mother Nature the Tease.


I can hear you saying to yourself that nobody blogs who doesn’t love to write. Except for those people who only have a blog to share pictures of kittens. I say to those people, “Get an Instagram account!” I mean really. Kittens? OK, I’ve got that out of my system. Back to my topic.

This morning I was dividing my concentration between watching a morning news magazine and reading the introduction of the next book in my reading challenge. I was making mental notes from both of these activities for future inclusion into Classical Gasbag posts. Ideas, both good and bad, are never a problem for me, whether for a blog post, a short story, a novel, an email, or even a snail mail (I love sending and receiving letters). There are so many ideas for the taking. You might call taking ideas thievery of a sort, and you might be right. Or you might consider that I take another person’s idea and build upon it. That is certainly the way that I like to look at it.

With that happy thought I realized that for the past several months I have been spending so much time gathering ideas and planning posts and letters and stories that I haven’t been spending much time actually writing. I’m lucky if I remember to jot down the ideas, let alone build an idea into something useful. When I do complete writing something. the finished product is seldom what I had originally planned. For example, this post was originally planned as an exercise in listing all of the things I would rather be doing than writing (look at the title). Maybe I’ll write that one some other time. I’m too busy enjoying my time at the keyboard writing a small bit about the process.

It is true that often when I start banging out a post, that my brain seems to guide my fingers in directions I hadn’t considered when I started. Sometimes the end result is good, sometimes bad, often just mediocre.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, I would like to know about your process for writing. You may comment or complete the form below. If I like your process, I might steal it.