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.

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Short updates

New monitor

I haven’t been writing much lately. Oh, I get ideas for topics all of the time, but I just lack the incentive to sit at the keyboard and put my thoughts out there. I haven’t even worked on my (probably never to be released or even completed) novel. I had dedicated February as my personal Na-No-Wri-Mo since I promised Cindy I wouldn’t work on it in November. I was excited about it. But I haven’t progressed much beyond sketching out two non-sequential chapters. I disappoint myself. I fear that I spend too much time thinking, and not enough time doing. Cindy could tell you that I am the living embodiment of procrastination.

I tried to stop being sidetracked by current political events by spending a week avoiding political news and commentary. There was no Morning Joe, no Meet The Press Daily on our television. I turned off the radio when NPR’s Morning Edition ran segments on political issues. I didn’t have to avoid much of the local news coverage of national politics because they severely limit their coverage. I didn’t look at Twitter for a week. I couldn’t totally avoid some aspects because the national evening news would have a story now and then, but since I usually watch NBC, they were spending most of their time talking about the Olympics. Thank goodness for sports!

And I had other things to take my mind off of politics. I treated us to a new desktop PC and monitor (see the picture above). Our old desktop was getting slower and slower, and was still running Windows Vista. It was finally time for a change. You are probably sneering and saying, “Desktop?” and I am unapologetically saying, “Yes! I use a laptop, but I prefer the desktop.” I feel more at ease with the desktop. Always have, always will as long as they are available. Plus, the older I get, the more I like the larger screen.

And speaking of my laptop, I have had to take in for repairs twice in the past two weeks. That is where it is now. Both times I have experienced software problems that don’t allow me to sign in. I have been able to get into Safe Mode each time, but nothing I did solved the problem. After the first time I took it in, the laptop worked fine for three days. But that was it. I fear that this time, rather than try to get it functional without losing data, they will simply restore it to the factory settings. At least I was able to save all my data while in Safe Mode. But I will lose some of the software that I use frequently. I’ll find out when the repair people finish with it. I would cross my fingers, but that would slow down my keyboarding even more.

***

One more update. I started paying more attention to national news on the day of the school shooting in Florida. That shooting and President Trump’s Twitter response, caused me to start thinking about writing a post concerning it. But when I started seeing the student’s statements and Twitter postings, as well as their actions, I knew that I could not say anything to match them. I recommend that you follow what the student’s are doing and saying. The young people can still teach us.

If I could I would

Summer picture for a winter day
Summer picture for a winter day

I haven’t taken many pictures recently, so I went back into my files and found this one that I took last August. I like it well enough that it is not the wallpaper on my PC.

***

This post started out as something very different from what you are now reading. The title has changed because the original one no longer fits. You may not want the background, but I’m giving it to you anyway.

I was watching a television news/opinion (heavy on the opinion) morning show last Friday. One of the topics was how the Republican Presidential candidates were handling the issue of Donald Trump’s use of salty language. At that point the female host started making fun of one of the candidates criticism of Mr. Trump. I gave in to temptation and sent her a Tweet decrying her criticism.

I wasn’t saying that the candidate who spoke up about Mr. Trump’s churlish language wasn’t being sanctimonious; he probably was. What irritated me was that the female host evidently thought that Trump’s rude language was alright, and that people who criticized it were being childish. And I thought, “Really?”

That is when I started to write another rant about the coarsening of our society. I wrote about the lack of civility, and the increase of crude language, and I went on and on. I felt a little better when I finished, but not as much as I had thought I would. That’s when it occurred to me that whatever I wrote and posted about this issue would make not an iota of difference. And I realized that it was OK that it wouldn’t make a difference.

I am aware that society changes over time, and standards of decency is one of the things that change. Maybe it really is progress. I may not be happy with the changes that occur; generally older people tend to resist change. But I can live with the changes. I’ll just grumble about the changes and go on. And I’ll try to not bore you with things that I can’t change.  (Did you notice that I used the word ‘change’ in all but one of the sentences in this paragraph?)

I’m not blogging in order to tilt at windmills. Of course I wish that what I rant about will change a mind or two, but I don’t live to hear “Well done! I’m changing my ways.” I’m not that silly. No, in fact, I blog, for the most part, to entertain people who read me. I’ll try to do better and not be morose as I watch society slide into the morass of tasteless triviality. It’s progress after all. Smile!

 

From one thing to another

Finally it is getting green
Finally it is getting green

The sky is overcast today, but that didn’t stop me from going out to get a picture of greenery. The grass is green, most of the shrub growth has started to leaf, and some of the trees are blooming and starting to leaf out. I had to take some pictures to show that it is finally Spring. I would be cutting grass today if it hadn’t rained earlier.

***

This has been one of those mornings when my mind was ignoring what was happening around me and just skipped from one thing to another with no discernible rhyme or reason. Of course there wasn’t much going on around me because it was 3:30 a.m.; I was wide awake and laying in bed in a dark room. So of course I started reflecting on the fact that most prime time TV dramas are merely soap operas that are shown after the sun goes down (unless you record them and watch them during the day). By the way, the shows are called soap operas because their early commercial sponsors were soap companies.

You may be too young to remember, or to disinterested to care, but soap operas were born as radio shows in the 1930’s in the U.S. Soap operas are never-ending stories that surround a group of characters. They migrated to TV and are still alive and kicking. They are produced and shown in many other countries, including most of Europe, Australia, India and Mexico.

And thinking about the soaps led me to think about comic strips that were continuity strips rather than gag-a-day. Continuity strips actually appeared before soap operas were first broadcast. Thimble Theater, the strip where Popeye first appeared was a continuity strip. I grew up reading strips such as Steve Roper and Mike NomadDondi, and Apartment 3-G. I loved Alex Kotzky’s artwork on Apartment 3-G. I don’t know how long it took me to figure out that the apartment number, 3-G, was a joke about the strip’s three girls (actually women) who shared an apartment.

But then my mind jumped, for no reason, to trying to remember the name of the girl who Tiny Tim married on the Johnny Carson show. I kept wanting to say that it was Miss Piggy , but I knew that Tiny Tim wasn’t strange enough that  he would marry a muppet. At that point I opened my eyes and turned on my smart phone. A quick Google told me that the woman was best known as Miss Vicky. What I hadn’t remembered was that after their divorce, he was married twice more.

Since I was searching for information, I returned to Wikipedia Apartment 3-G listing to check on the spelling of Mr. Kotzky’s name. It was then that I found out that the strip still exists. I decided to check it out. I have to say that compared to Mr. Kotzky’s artwork, the strip that I saw looked like it had been drawn by a junior high school student…on a bad day. Oh dear.

On that low note I’ll end today’s post. I hope you have a good day.

What’s on my mind this morning

Finally!
Finally!

After what seemed like weeks, the recalcitrant daffodils decided to poke their heads above ground level on Sunday. It was a welcome sight. I’ve been searching for green things for quite a while now, and only finding pine trees. Yesterday, Monday, we got a bit of snow in the afternoon. While it was only a trace, it seemed like some cruel joke.

***

I have another medical appointment today, but it won’t involve the old “bleed and pee,” because it is with my ophthalmologist. Today I’ll be going in, getting my eyes dilated, having pictures taken of the interior of my eyes, and getting a reading from the Doctor. I am hoping that the AMD has remained stable. At some point between the checkups, each time, I have a day or two of worry because vision seems blurry in one eye or the other, but it passes. I have been aware of the AMD for about three years now, and after the first two treatments (injections into the eye) there have been no real problems. I don’t expect that there will be any bad news today.

***

This morning the Germanwings Airbus crash occurred in France. This is very sad news. Each time something like this happens I realize that families and friends will be mourning the people that they love. I never have the right words to say.

I am becoming irritated with the “news people” who are trying to report on the crash with very little information. I gave up on actually listening to them after about fifteen minutes as they scrambled to find something “new” to say about the crash. Rather than say that there was nothing more to report at that moment, and promise to come back when there were substantiated facts, they continued to repeat the few things they knew as if it was something new. They called people on the telephone who were supposed to be experts asked them to speculate on what might have happened. To the credit of the people called, they would not speculate. The last straw for me was when they called an”expert” who was obviously reading from the same sheet of paper that the news reader was using. Is air time so hard to fill that they have to resort to these ploys?

No Grammy here

Wall Art #8
Wall Art #8

Clint Eastwood in downtown Lafayette. Need I say more? Well, alright, this is my favorite mural in this section of town. That says it all.

***

I admit in this semi-public forum that I, a music lover, have never watched the Grammy awards on television. I don’t enjoy watching a group of people, whether actors or musical talents or any other group, take so much pleasure congratulating themselves over how wonderful they are. It isn’t seemly. So I don’t watch the Grammy or the Oscar or the Emmy or any other award show. I stopped watching Inside The Actors Studio because of the egos displayed by some of the actors. I guess that in some respects I have a weak stomach.

Having said that, I do believe that some music is worthy of being shown as superior to other music. Outside of jazz  and classical albums, I think that there are very few albums that meet my definition of great. What is my definition? A great album is one where every song makes me stop and listen and enjoy. The enjoy part is very important. These would be the albums I would want with me on a desert island (assuming that I had the means to listen to them). Today I’m going to list three of my all time favorites. I have excluded any “Best Of” and “Greatest Hits” albums because those albums seem like cheating. And truth be told, there are only a few of those types of albums that would be included.

The first album on my list is Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel. Over the years I’ve told a few of my friends that I believe this to be a perfect album. Here is a link to the full album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt5YsCGX-UQ. Listen and appreciate. The album was nominated for a Grammy, but wasn’t a winner. I don’t understand why.

The second of my albums today is L.A. Woman by The Doors. Again, I have a link to the entire album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRVkG2JUlEk. This was the last album recorded by The Doors before Jim Morrison’s death in Paris. I’ve heard The Doors described as being an American version of The Beatles. I don’t agree. I would compare them to The Rolling Stones, only The Doors were better. Who knows what they could have produced if Morrison could have been lured back into the studio or on tour. Again, this album didn’t win a Grammy. Go figure.

My third album that is worth listening to is Bud & Travis’ Latin Album. I can’t find a complete album link, nor was I able to find a link to my favorite song on the album. Here is another excellent version of the song, Malaguena Salerosa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMzNjTdbybE. If you like this song, please search out a Bud & Travis album and listen. If you have a problem with two American white men singing songs from Mexico and other Latin American countries, I understand; but they were my introduction to the music and I haven’t stopped listening. As far as I can determine, Bud & Travis were never nominated for an Emmy.

If you plan on watching the Grammy show, I hope that you enjoy it. Perhaps I’ll slip in a DVD of West Side Story.

Three years and counting

Wall art #7
Wall art #7

Here is another of the murals in downtown Lafayette. I will admit that I have no clue to what this mural represents, but it is colorful enough to warrant a viewing. I took this picture a few months ago. There are still more murals in that area that I will post pictures of as time goes by. I’m also looking for wall art in other parts of town.

***

Today marks the start of the fourth year of Classical Gasbag. The concept of what I planned for this blog has changed since I began posting, and I’m sure that it will continue to change. After all, I have changed since I began this project. Change is good.

You may have noticed that I changed the header today. I decided to go with something simpler. I had planned to change the previous header for about a year, but I never seemed to find time to do so. This is another good change.

***

Our cable went out yesterday around 4:30 p.m. We not only get cable TV, but also use a cable modem for Internet connection. I called the cable company to report the loss and got a recorded message that it was a problem in our area, and that service should be restored at approximately 6:18. That seemed like a very specific time for an approximation. The message went on to suggest watching for updates on the company website. That would have been fine if I could get an Internet connection.

Since I had no plans to watch TV until later that night or to surf the net, I wasn’t overly concerned. I tried the TV at 6:30 to watch the news, but the system wasn’t up yet. I got back on the phone for an update. I got the same canned message except now the expected time for repairs to be complete was 8:10. Well, that would be OK if true. I wanted to watch the IU basketball game against our arch rival, Purdue. The game was scheduled to start at 9.

I checked the TV again at 8:15. The system was still down. This time the recorded message said that it would be down until 10 p.m. Perhaps I could see the second half.

10 p.m. No system. System expected to be up around 11:15. No game for me.

On a whim I checked the TV at 10:20. It was back! Hallelujah! I turned the game on in time to see the last eight minutes or so. IU got trounced. Why did I bother watching?

Welcome to my fourth year of blogging.