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.

Past and Present

I have tried to keep my political opinions out of this blog. But since this post also deals with music, I am re-blogging from my seldom used Politics & Recipes blog.

Politics & Recipes

I haven’t written anything of substance about politics in a long while. There have been a few Tweets, and I’ve re-Tweeted or shared other people’s Tweets that I like, but I have remained pretty much silent for quite some time. I wanted to give our President a chance to settle in.

I hadn’t planned on writing anything today, but I was listening to the original Broadway cast recording of Camelot this morning and things started falling into place.

Our Prez

I know that Camelot is closely tied to the John F. Kennedy presidency, but I also think it speaks to our current administration. I’ll warn you in advance that a new production of the show would need some minor re-writing to bring it up to date, and President Trump would have to play two roles, but other than that I think it could have a run.

Here is an updated…

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N-N-1 7-16-2017


Once again N-N-1 has brought a variety of pictures and thoughts from different parts of the world. If this is your first view of N-N-1, the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time. All of the pictures were taken by the participants at 4 p.m. their local time on Sunday, July 16th.

We’ll start with a new voice who has joined our N-N-1 family. Natalie Garvois from https://wildriversrunsouth.wordpress.com sent us the following:

I was walking along the bank of the ‘Little Elbow River’ at 4 p.m on Sunday. I was admiring the trees, and the idea for this poem came into my head.

By the Little Elbow

The trees stand stately

And true by the Little Elbow River

That runs through my town.

They witness the good and the bad,

The happy and the sad,

The wonderful and the terrible.

But they say nothing.

They just observe,

And occasionally fall though

The roof of a house,

And destroy a dream.

Next is a picture and some thoughts from cupitonians from https://thislabyrinthiroam.blog/, She is thoughtful as always.

While progress is defined by both the Brits and the Americans as a movement towards gradual betterment, us big city people think it’s a synonym destruction. Maybe we’re cynical because we see ‘progress’ being built on top of everything that’s old and beautiful. However, it’s always a lovely change of pace to see that all progress is not the complete wiping out of everything good. It is a good reminder that things can co-exist together, making something that much more magical. This picture was taken from a high rise futuristic mall that has been built in an old neighbourhood in Bangkok. You can see the Skytrain, but you can also see the houses of yesteryear and a nice community park.

Princess Butter from https://asplashofmylife.wordpress.com/ sent this delightful picture and short comment.

“You can’t sit with us!!”

Sea Lions can be such ‘Mean Girls’.

Finally I have a picture and words that sums up our past two weeks.

Cindy and I have been doggy-sitting Macon while Trina, JR, and Maely have been out of town enjoying the 100º+ weather in our great American southwest. Macon is a joy! He is still pretty much a puppy. He loves tying to unsuccessfully catch birds that he sees in our backyard. He also sniffs around the yard trying to track down the squirrels and bunnies that drop in to leave their scent. The house will be a tad lonely when he makes his joyful return home.


If you would like to participate in the next N-N-1, use the contact form below to send me a message with your email address and I will put you on our contact list so that we can notify you before the next go ’round.

We are not aging well


Grand Canyon, September 2016

Here is a picture from our vacation last year. I love the Grand Canyon. It has aged well.


A couple of days ago I went in to get my quarterly blood draw to keep my Doctor (sorry, Primary Care Provider) happy for another three months. While I was waiting my turn to be stuck and have my precious bodily fluids taken from my body, I started looking around the waiting area at the other folks who were patiently marking time. Hey! Did I use patiently as a pun? I don’t know if it qualifies.

There were about half a dozen people there. Most appeared to be around my age. That age thing makes sense. Older people who have adequate insurance are more likely to see a doctor on a regular basis. We no longer feel that we are immortal. We know better.

I noticed that most of the men didn’t appear to care how they looked when out in public. Two of them were wearing shorts. One had on a particularly ugly pair of plaid Bermudas and the other guy wore a pair of denim cargo shorts. Both were wearing T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps. Don’t get me started on men who wear caps indoors. There are a few places where it is acceptable, but I don’t believe our setting was one of them.

Along with those two were two more fellows in T-shirts, trainers, and baseball caps; but they were wearing faded jeans. That was OK except for the cap indoors. Who raised those people?

In case you are wondering, I was wearing a pair of gray denim jeans, a button-down short-sleeved shirt, and brown shoes. I failed to wear a baseball cap that morning.

There were three of us with beards. Two were scraggly, mine was neatly trimmed. Modesty prevents me from stating that I was the standard for excellence in that room.

There was another person waiting, but I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Brown slacks, baggy T-shirt, dark slip-on sneakers, with a short haircut. Your guess would be as good as mine.

One thing we all (except for the androgynous one) had in common was that we were overweight. Some showed it more than others. A tight T-shirts is not the friend of the weight conscious. Did I fail to mention that my shirt was overly large and hid my excess blubber?

As I looked around the waiting area and remembered how I looked in the mirror that morning I had to admit that we are not aging well.

Some things that I think about

Love the clouds

I took this picture while driving home from one of my granddaughter’s baseball games last month. It was, as you can see, a beautiful day.


This is another one of my posts where I gather ideas that either don’t merit a full blog post, or that I’ve forgotten the thread of my thinking. Rather than let them set and never use them, I like to toss out these nuggets so that you can think about them.

  1. Recently a commercial has appeared on television where a faceless voice proclaims that we “literally can’t live without WiFi.” Really? I admit that WiFi is a handy tool that usually makes life easier for us techno-dependent urban dwellers. But we can live without it. I can remember  time when WiFi didn’t exist, and we survived. Really, we did! We could again…literally.
  2. Little things on television and movies bother me. For instance, have you ever noticed when watching a murder mystery/thriller how the hero, when surreptitiously entering a home or business, will turn off a television or CD player or radio that is playing. The place goes from loud noise to silence. How is that helpful if you don’t want an occupant to know you are there? Why do they do that? Are they being critical of the (often dead) occupant’s taste in entertainment?
  3. Here is a phrase that I came up with for use in one of my more philosophical thought trips. “I am not one of those people who see life as a series of metaphors.” I had planned to use this to explain why I will never be a great writer. I don’t have that vision. Maybe some day I’ll pick it up and finish the whole treatise. But I doubt if many people would be interested in reading it since I’m not a great writer.

I have a few more, but I haven’t given up on expanding them enough to use. Time will tell.


Here’s a reminder about the next N-N-1. If you want t participate, take a picture at 4 p.m. your local time, on Sunday, July 16th. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. I hope you will participate. My emaii address is houseman@comcast.net.

N-N-1 callout


I will be hosting a new N-N-1 on July 22nd. If you are interested in participating, please take a picture on Sunday, July 16th at 4 p.m. your local time. Send the picture  to me along with a short, 50 to 250 word writeup (prose or poetry) and your blog address, no later than 6 p.m. your local time on Friday, July 21st. If you know of anyone else who might like to participate, please pass this information on to them with a short description of what N-N-1 is. Here is a link to a previous post that might help explain N-N-1.

Oh. The email for sending the picture and writeup, or to ask any questions, is houseman@comcast.net.