This is a personal message from me to all you “undecided” people.


This electioneering has been going on seriously for months now. What more do you need? Do you plan to go into the booth and make up your mind then?
What’s in there that you don’t know now?

They say this election is so close that you “undecided people” will determine who our next president will be. So, please make up your mind.

You’re scaring me.

Please, at least think about it.

Interesting fact: When I typed my question,
in MS Word the spelling checker made a suggestion that I should say,
Maybe that’s the answer.

This is The Old Professor and I approve this message.



This has been one spooky time and I’m not really sure what it all means.

Last night there was a lunar eclipse. I guess this is a big deal in some circles but it got a big yawn around here.

I was interested to read one columnist in the local paper who pointed out one of the values of observing this eclipse was that it by observing the earth’s shadow there was proof positive that the world was round. Thank God that turns out to be a fact.

Then during this breathtaking event the Boston Red Sox won the World Series of Baseball for the first time in 86 years.

Thank God for that too. I was beginning to get a little bit impatient after the 1946 debacle against these very same St. Louis Cardinals. That was the series where my hero, Ted Williams, arguably the best hitter of all time, only managed to bat .200 and the Red Sox lost in 7 games.

Then this morning, I looked to the east and just as I have always predicted would happen if the Red Sox ever won a World Series, I saw these three Wise Guys, riding on camels and bearing gifts of frankincense and

I have no idea why they chose those particular gifts except I suppose the variety of gift selections are fairly sparse in the camel-riding part of the world these days.

By the way, my prediction 'that they would come from the East' wasn’t exactly brilliant. To the West is all ocean and camels are not known for their swimming abilities.

Anyway, they wanted to get a peek at the miracle baby to see what all the fuss was about.

They took one look and left. One of the Wise Guys wanted his myrrh back but the other two talked him out of it.

It was quite a memorable day.



The Chinese culture and many traditions date way back to before the Boston Red Sox won their last World Series. Even before that.
My domestic partner, Jen-Chi, has explained much of this to me but I was surprised when I learned about the Chinese Zodiac.

When I started these blogs and created a profile I was told I was “Born in the year of the boar.”
I had no idea what that meant so I asked and learned a little.
It appears the Chinese celebrate years and name them for animals. They occur in repeating 12-year cycles based on a lunar calendar. Those years start at the Chinese New Year, and this year (2004), the Chinese New Year was either January 21 or January 22 depending upon what time zone you happen to be in at that time.
People born in certain years have certain characteristics. I wanted to know that kind of a person was “Born in the year of the boar”. I found out that person is:

Honest, chivalrous, gallant, with tremendous fortitude, the Boar person is affectionate and kind to loved ones, has a great thirst for knowledge. Boar year people mate well with Rabbit and Ram year people.

I don’t know about that mating with rabbits and rams stuff; I've never tried that. But other than that, isn’t it remarkable that the rest of it is so accurate? Anyone reading that description would know right away that I was the one being described. Remarkable people, these Chinese.



I don’t know why, but every once in awhile a word pops into my mind and I feel I must “look it up” even though I think I know what it means.
Today the word was “ironic”.
I think maybe it applies to my life.
Allow me to explain a little.
I’ve always been fond of using tools.
In high school I took shop courses at a Technical High School.
Then I worked as a tool and die maker.
Then I went on to teach thousands of students to use tools.
I even built a boat. Well, most of a boat.

Then two things happened:
I broke my shoulder and it never healed properly.
On top of that, I got older, but I suspect that didn’t have anything to do with the shoulder.
I had planned on getting older anyway.

But now things are different.
I can pick up a hammer but no longer can hammer.
I can pick up a saw but no longer can saw.
I can pick up a plane but no longer can plane.
I can pickup a screwdriver but no longer can use that either.
Well, at least not very well.

Now that’s ironic.

It’s “3. Poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended.”

Now I have to look up poignantly”.

poign·ant (poin'yÉ™nt) adj.

1 a. Physically painful: “Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward” (Ambrose Bierce).
b. Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings: poignant anxiety. Profoundly moving; touching: a poignant memory. See synonyms at moving.

Yah, that’s it all right, “1b. Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings.”

Or both.



While walking early this morning I saw one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. The sky was baby-blue, streaked with a few pure white jet trails. Also featured were a few rows of lamb’s wool clouds that were tinted with enough pink to almost be red. I wished I had brought my camera.

It made me think of The Bible where it says, “God hath created beauty to celebrate and rejoice in all things wondrous”(John: 9:15)

I wondered what “wondrous” thing was about to happen. Then I remembered an old poem I'd heard many years ago:
Red sky in the morning,
St. Louis take warning.
Red sky at night,
Cardinals' delight.

Tonight the world series opens!

Go Red Sox!!


Todaythe 2004 Word Series of baseball begins with the New York Yankees playing the Boston Red Sox at Boston.

My daughter, Meggiecat, writes me that she would love to root for the Boston to win the series but she has a dilemma because she has always heard me say, “When Boston wins a World Series it will be the end of the world.”

Oh well, we all have to go sometime.

Go Red Sox!



I was doing something that almost always proves disastrous, I was thinking. This time I got wondering about a word. The word is crastination.

Apparently people are divided into two camps on this word. You are either for crastination or you are against it.

The anticrastinators point to the efficiency of their method by claiming that with people opposed to crastination in charge, things get done.

The people who support crastrination point to the sorry state of affairs in the world today and blame it entirely on the anticrastinators.

I suppose both sides have valid arguments but for myself, I support procrastination and have had remarkable success following the basic principles of procrastination. There are many, many of these principles but I have only read a few. I’ll probably read the rest soon.

To just give one example of the positive side of the Procrastination Movement, if we had a procrastinator in the White House today, there would be no war. At least not yet. Maybe tomorrow, but not right now.

At the last meeting, our banner hung proudly above the speaker’s platform for all to see our motto: “There’s No ‘I’ In Procrastination”.

After the sign was made someone noticed there really was an “I” in procrastination and a committee was formed to look into fixing that. Someday. That was eight years ago. The motto has been officially changed but the banner will be printed soon. Maybe tomorrow. The new motto is, “ A Procrastinators Best Friend is a Committee”.

Please click here.



While I was attending college I somehow, managed to convince some people that I had a great depth of knowledge in the field of English Literature. Nothing could be further from fact. I didn’t then and today I still don’t, understand the imagery and references in most poems of early England. However, I did learn there are people who contend they do – many, many people. A great number of these people have written books to demonstrate to others that they do know. These books are in abundance in most libraries and my college had many. Hence, with some reading it was possible for me to appear to have knowledge that, in reality, I did not have.

My very first challenge was when the assignment called for the reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge around 1800.

Now to begin with, the word “rime” meant, “rhyme” back in those days. Like in "Mary Had a Little Lamb". I didn’t know that but they people who wrote those books knew that.

It starts out with:

It is an ancient Mariner
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long beard and glittering eye
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

Now as any fool can see, this says there’s these three guys and this old sailor stops one and that guy says, “Wadda ya stopping me for?”

So in each class I would just repeat what I had read in these books even though it still didn’t make any sense to me. It seemed to work.

Then one day our assignment was to read a particular poem by Robert Browning called “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix”.

According to what I read, Ghent was place in Belgium where some kind of conflict had taken place. Three guys had jumped on their horses to attempt to ride all the way to Aix, which is in France, to carry the news there had been a victory. It was a long trip and only one horse made it and even he died in the town square. The rider gave his horse a sip of his wine but it didn’t help. The horse died.

The critics I read seemed to think this was as simple poem about horses that Browning had written just for the fun of it. So, that’s what I thought too. But it wasn’t that simple.

At lunch, just before the English Lit class, I sat at a table with other class members. They happened to all be girls in the 19-year old range. One blonde girl is memorable because she said everything twice. No one knew why.
As I got to the table she said, “You’re good at this. You’re good at this.
Did you read the poem? Did you read the poem?”
I said I had read the poem and didn’t mention the library work. I never did.
“What did it mean? What did it mean?”
For some reason I really can’t explain, I gave a playful answer. I told her, (well, actually I told all of them) “I saw this as a poem about man, racing though life searching for God and then, the wine at the end, that was his attaining it.”
“Oh, thank you. Oh, thank you.”

We went to class and there was a quiz. We were asked to write our opinion of that poem. I wrote something that started with, “Having been brought up on a farm, I know how devoted a horse can become to his master.” Of course, I wasn’t raised on a farm. I only knew what a farm looked like from pictures.

I thought nothing more about it until the next class when our professor told us the test results.

She said, “I know I’ve told you that whatever you read into a poem is what it is, but in this case so many of you thought the horse represented man, racing towards his immortal goal. I didn’t see it that way at all.”
Then, actually using my name, she said that she tended to think along the same lines as I did and it was simple story about a horse. She felt it was nothing more than that.

From behind I heard a soft voice say, “You son-of-a-bitch. You son-of-a-bitch.”



Yesterday, October 16, 2004 the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox -- again. For a long-suffering Red Sox fan and confirmed Yankee hater, I felt this was humiliating as the score was 19 for the New Yorks and only 8 for the Bostons.

I lay part of the blame for this directly on Harry Truman. You recall that he was the President who decided to drop the first atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He could just as well have gone a few miles north and wiped out Kanazawa. If this had happened the radiation would probably have left the whole Matsui family sterile and Yankee oufielder, Hideki Matsui, would never have been born and obviously would not have hit two homeruns to help destroy the Red Sox last night.

Losing a game that way may have put the Red Sox away forever and their fans probably can never again look forward to the day they might, just might, possibly beat The Yankees.

And it's all your fault, Harry Truman.



I realize this subject might sound trivial and not have the scholarly depth of my previous blogs but I think it needs investigation.

Who decides how acronyms are pronounced?

I heard a different one on the radio this morning and it started me wondering if there are rules and, if so who makes them?

Take a simple acronym such as NASA, like the space people. Using my own non-standard phonetic symbols, I think most people say like NAH-SUH or maybe some say NAH-SAW. Maybe some Bostonians might even say NAH-SER.

However, if we look at what NASA is an acronym for we find it’s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. So, to pronounce NASA we would start with the “NA” as in “National”, and hence the “NAH” seems about right for the first part. But what about the SA? Wouldn’t the ‘A’ be from Administration and pronounced like beginning of “Administration” or sort of like “AH”. So you end up with the “AH” and the “AH” giving you NAHSAH.

That even confuses me, so let’s try this. Say out loud, “National” and then again but only the first syllable – the “NA” part. Now say “administration” and say it again dropping all but the “AD”. Throw in the “S” now and you have NA-S-AD. Now drop the ‘D’.
You now are pronouncing it one way and even though it seems logical, I have never heard it that way. I wonder why.

So, as I said, what actually got me thinking about this was a pronunciation I heard on the radio. A woman said, “For further information go to http://www.xyx.org/.” [Don’t click on that: it’s a dummy address] Now, the way she pronounced the “org” was as it would be in “George” or “orgy”, where as I've always thought it was like the “org” in “organization.”

Maybe her web site is an orgy web site. I’ll have to check it out.

All this has given me cephalalgia. Or as NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) defines it, “a headache”. I think that’s pronounced “nin-duz” but it could be “n-eye-dis”. Whatever it is, they suggest I go someplace quiet and lie down. Actually, they said, “lay” down but according to NAEP, that’s pronounced – Oh, the hell with it, I’m going to do it.



Way back when I was 18 years old, I was living in Springfield, Massachusetts. A frequent Sunday activity was borrowing the family car and driving 25 or 30 miles to the State Theater in nearby Hartford, Connecticut with some buddies. Every weekend the State Theater would have one of the popular orchestras or bands featured on-stage. I saw most of the best. Harry James, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway, and the list goes on and on. I even saw a 19-year old, scrawny-necked kid named Frank Sinatra when he was the vocalist for Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra. Yes, the girls screamed though I couldn’t understand why. To this day, I don’t know why.

But to me, one of the most memorable shows was Duke Ellington with his orchestra. I clearly remember him strolling on to the stage dressed in white tails. He sat at the piano, flipped the tails back, threw his hands in the general direction of the keyboard and began to play beautiful music. Not only that, he looked around and smiled. He was also conducting the orchestra as well as chatting with them. He even spoke to members of the audience. The best I could tell, he paid little attention to the piano but yet, the music was great.

After seeing that show I occurred to me that it might be nice to be able to do that. We had a piano in our house, though no one knew how to play it. I thought it would be nice if I could learn to do that. I didn’t have the white tails or an orchestra but I could do the rest. Anyone could; it was easy.

I contacted a local piano teacher and made an appointment for my first lesson. Since I was working many extra hours at my apprentice tool and die maker job, as well as attending Northeastern University three nights a week, Saturday afternoon was the only time I had free, so I went to my first lesson.

When I first met my teacher I took some time to explain carefully what my goals were. I had absolutely no aspirations or interests in becoming an accomplished concert pianist. I just wanted to play for fun. I didn’t even need to learn to read music unless that was absolutely necessary for some reason I couldn’t imagine. He kept nodding even when I told him, “I just want to learn to play like Duke Ellington.” He didn’t even smile. He just nodded.

For my first lesson he showed me where to place my hands. Apparently pianists don’t just throw their hands up there any old place, although Duke Ellington did it that way.

Then he demonstrated how each finger hits a key. He had me repeat what he did with my right hand. There were five fingers and, starting with the thumb, it was “dah-doh-dee-dum-di.” In a very Unellingtonian way he had me repeat this several times.

Then we went the other way. Starting with the little finger it was “id-mud-eed-hod-had”. Pretty soon he had me doing “dah-doh-dee-dum-di-id-mud-eed-hod-had”

An hour went by and then we were finished until the next Saturday afternoon. I was to practice what I had learned at home. All I had learned was, “dah-doh-dee-dum-di-id-mud-eed-hod-had”. I was pretty disappointed. I couldn’t see that as much fun at a party and I was sure Duke Ellington didn’t do that. Ever.

Due to work schedules, and probably a moderate lack of interest, I was unable to practice at all when, all of a sudden, it was time to go to my next lesson. I was sure it wouldn’t matter much as it certainly didn’t take any skill to do what I had learned. I decide not to mention that I hadn’t practiced during the week.

He asked me to show him what we had learned last week. I did and he looked incredulous as he said, “Didn’t you practice at all during the week?” I explained about the work and how I didn’t want to really be a pianist and, because apparently he hadn’t understood me the first time, I repeated that I just wanted to be able to play like Duke Ellington.

Lesson Two consisted of the same thing as Lesson One except it was with the left hand. My teacher promised that soon we would do that with both hands.

As I drove home from Lesson Two a gnawing suspicion began to creep up on me. I didn’t think my teacher even knew who Duke Ellington was.

I cancelled my next lessons and I never did learn to play the piano with both hands at the same time. One blessing was that I hadn't done as I had planned and bought the white suit with the tails.



Doing my walking exercises each morning gives me much time to ponder; sometimes too much. Recently I got to thinking about the promises of what life would be like in the Hereafter. I wondered if there really was such a place and if so, would I be willing to make many sacrifices in order to eventually get there. So, hello Google; I looked it up.

Hereafter, Arkansas is a small town in the northwestern corner of the state south of Hiwasse and north of Eagle Corner and about 32 miles off of Rte. 59.

It has 12 miles of road, 6 of which are paved, with plans to add another paved mile soon between Reverend Martin’s home and the store. Reverend Martin is just a nickname as he not really a man of the cloth. It’s just that he used to go around saying, “My Gawd”, all the time so people nicknamed him Reverend.

The population is 39, of which 9 are children under the age of 16. There are 2 other young men who are 17 and 18 years old. They alternate driving the 1992 Dodge Station Wagon, which serves as school bus.

Hereafter has no schools but there are two lady schoolteachers who have lived out on Robbins Road for more than 30 years. People used to talk about them but not anymore; they’re too old now to be doing anything sinful so nobody pays any attention to them.

There is one combination store and filling station. There also is an auto mechanic there but sometimes he doesn’t show up for days at a time and often when he does show up there is no work to do for days at a time.

The post office is in Farley Graham’s camper, which is parked near the store most of the time. Farley is the honorary postmaster since there is no real post office. Mail is often sent to the school with the children and Farley usually picks it up there too. Farley’s name was given by Lou (Louise) and Lou (Louis) Graham, who have both passed on now. They once shook hands with Jim Farley, the Post Master General under FDR. Hence, Farley was a logical choice to run whatever there was of a Post Office. During holidays, when all post offices are closed anyway, Farley usually takes off. So, it isn’t only that the post office is closed on weekends and holidays; there isn’t even a post office there at all. This was particularly true during fishing season because Farley loved fishing and she would take off for fishing whenever she had a chance.

You can go to movies but you need to drive down the mountain to Rogers. Not many people do this because it takes about 45 minutes to get here and another hour and a half to get back. With icy roads in winter it only takes 30 minutes to get there but then it’s close to 3 hours to get back.

Taxes are very low because there is no law enforcement and only one town employee who works in the Town Hall, which is one small room and part of the store. The turnover at that position is high due to the salary being very low and the duties broad. Right now, Janice Selby is serving as Mayor, City Clerk and Town Council. In addition, she takes care of the janitorial duties. This is were the conflicts set in when Harold Crock, who owns the store, felt that Janice should clean the floors of the store. They argued and she wants to let the Town Council settle it. Harold doesn’t think this is fair inasmuch as Janice is the Town Council. So, most of the time the floors are not very clean.

Since 1918, when Hereafter was founded, there have been several noted people who claim Hereafter as their place of birth. Perhaps the best known is Jack Warken whose name appears on a plaque in the store. It was Jack, who one early morning on May 18, 1927, helped wash the airplane that Charles A. Lindbergh flew to Paris two days later.
For several years there was an annual Jack Warken Day parade but since most everyone was in the parade, there were no spectators and if they stayed out of the parade to be spectators, there wasn’t anyone to be in the parade. So that celebration was abandoned and a small plaque was made. Well, it actually it’s a Post-it note on the store bulletin board but serves the purpose.

A disclaimer: Since I am not clear as to the source of this information, Lawyer Morton, of Hereafter, Arkansas, insists that I hereby state, “I cannot, and will not guarantee the accuracy of this report.” This is because I’m not sure if it came from Google or in a dream.
By the way, Lawyer Morton isn’t a real lawyer. He really is Andy Morton, the auto mechanic, but he always goes around saying “I object to that” so everyone calls him Lawyer. For more click here.



In 1982 I was diagnosed as being diabetic. Ever since then I have carefully followed all the special instructions given to diabetics. However, I ran across one potential problem diabetics might face and want to alert any who might benefit from my experience.

All people with diabetes face possible neuropathy in the lower extremities. In fact, Medicare approves visits to a podiatrist every 2 months since diabetics often develop foot problems and aren’t even aware of it. It’s quite possible for some diabetics to step on a sharp object and not even feel it. Hence, we are constantly warned to not walk barefooted and observe similar cautions.

But there is a new hidden danger that no one ever mentioned to me. Just happened to discover it a few days ago and consider myself lucky to have made this discovery.

I often wear some old, friendly slippers around the house.

One day I thought these slippers might have reached the end of the road as one of them was making my toes feel slightly uncomfortable.

Before I went to bed I looked inside the slipper to see if there was some kind of flaw.

There was a flaw all right. The cap for my pen, which had been missing all day, was in the toe of the slipper and I had been walking that way almost all day.

Now this wasn't some small cap. It was full-sized.

So now, when anything is missing, the first place I look is in the toe of my slipper. Yesterday I couldn’t find the keys to my car and I thought, “I’ll bet I know right where they are.” I looked in the slipper and they weren’t there. But they could have been.

So, my new rule for diabetics is, “When anything around the house is missing, look in your slippers”. Not a bad rule for non-diabetics too.

Of course common sense must be applied. I wasted a little time one day when I went upstairs and looked in my slipper to see if the toaster was there. It wasn’t.


Note: Clicking on bold text might elaborate.

It was Sunday and I was at the track doing my exercise stuff. I was alone and wondered where all the other people were. I realized many people devote that particular part of that particular day to piety. With some, it’s only on that one day. So, since walking alone gives plenty of time for figuring out the mysteries of life I began wondering if the fact that I exercise “religiously” qualifies as a legitimate Sabbath activity.

In the bible I knew that Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
Well, I didn’t actually remember it but Google did. When it came to what I knew personally, I wasn’t even sure what Sabbath meant. “Sabbath?” What was that? But Google knew.

It turns out it isn’t that simple. Different religions have made their own determinations as to what and when Sabbath should occur.

In Judaism the last day of the week (Saturday) is observed as a rest day for the twenty-five hours commencing with sundown on Friday. In the biblical account of creation (Gen. 1) the seventh day is set as a Sabbath to mark God's rest after his work.

On the other hand, early Christians had a weekly celebration of the liturgy on the first day (Sunday), observing the Resurrection. Hence, among Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, Sunday is a liturgical feast; Protestants, applying the idea of the Jewish Sabbath to Sunday, forbade all but pious activity.

And then there is Islam, which decrees that Friday is the weekly day of public prayer.

So, in addition to not knowing if I was observing Sabbath properly, I wasn’t even sure I was on the right day. Again Google led me to learn about WWJD. As you no doubt know, this acronym stands for What Would Jesus Do? Apparently followers of this movement believe all problems can be solved by asking, “What would Jesus do?”

We happen to be lucky. Jesus Sanchez is our part-time gardener. So I asked him what he does on Sundays. He replied, “If I got no lawns I watch football on TV.”

That’s OK with me; I got no lawns, so I watch football.

Sabbath problem solved.



I see where Mt. St. Helens is erupting again.

I don’t know what governmental department might be in charge of such things but I saw a commercial on TV that might help control it. It’s a product called Cialis, which promises 36 hours controlling dysfunctional eruptions. One would think it might be a good time to apply this to Mt. St. Helens.

I checked this on the Internet and there apparently is one problem which area residents should be aware of. The company clearly states
: “Although a rare occurrence, those who experience an eruption for more than 4 hours should seek immediate medical attention”

So, Washingtonians and Oregonians, consider yourselves forewarned.