Almost everyone who has taught school for a living has, at one time or another, found it necessary to do something else to supplement the income. I was no exception. In my early years as a teacher I did everything from manage a bowling alley to selling food freezers, which just happens to be the topic of this little memoir.

In the early 1950s I spent some evenings representing a company that sold Food Freezer Plans. The way that this plan worked had me come to your home and together we would determine your eating habits and estimate what foods you would need to purchase for the next three months. We would then, using your figures, estimate how much you would pay for this. Then I would translate this into your purchasing food from us at "wholesale" prices. I probably would have you order either a whole side of beef or perhaps just a quarter which our butchers would cut up and wrap and freeze. We also would arrange the purchase of cases of frozen fruits and vegetables of your choice. Of course, you would need a freezer to store this, which I also happened to sell -- we had several models to choose from. I would then total the cost, arrange monthly payments and demonstrate that, using this plan, you could save enough money to actually pay for the freezer.

This plan actually could work though admittedly most people's estimates were not very accurate. However, one experience sticks in my mind. I had gone through my whole explanation with a couple and the woman said she had a question. She asked if we sold frozen peas.

"Yes, Birdseye."

"How much do you charge for a package of Birdseye frozen peas?"

I consulted my book and said, "9 cents." (Remember this was in the 1950s)

"Ah ha!” she said as she jumped up and reached under her seat cushion. She pulled out a newspaper displaying a full-page ad showing a local market having a sale of Birdseye frozen food. She was certain the sale price would be less than my price. She looked disappointed and said, "Oh, they have peas on sale for 10 cents."

“Yes, ma’am.”

Apparently this really impressed her as she almost immediately signed the papers and bought a new freezer for $375, plus a three months supply of food. I've always been impressed that this woman would spend that amount of money just so she could buy a package of Birdseye frozen peas for one cent less.

I couldn't help but think that these people must eat a hell of a lot of peas.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 30, 2005



I recently blogged about how impressed I was by Google now having a map program.(March 3, 2005) For my money, they have made it even better. Previously all that was needed was almost any kind of address to get a street map.

Click on images to enlarge.

Then using the slider on the right it’s possible to zoom in.

Notice the upper right hand corner where it says “Satellite”. Click on that.

Clicking on the picture allows you to move around and here is Carmel High School where I go wogging almost every morning. You can see the track and the baseball diamond easily. It also shows the tennis courts and the swimming pool.

I think this is amazing and apparently Google and Yahoo are going at it hot and heavy each aiming to be the dominant force on the Internet. The users benefit. “Users”: That’s you and me.

Possibly one of those very tiny dots on the track is The Old Professor. If you had a powerful magnifier and could see other dots passing one particular dot all the time, that would be me – the passee.
The other day an elderly lady using a cane passed me.
I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting a sweatshirt with a sign on the back saying, “I’m 82 years old. Pass on the left.”

June 23, 2005
The Old Professor
Carmel, CA



The other day I took a few minutes to jot down an adventure I had many years ago. It was one that taught me a couple of things I still remember.
I'd like to share it with you if you have a couple of minutes. To read it please click here.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 21, 2005



I have a small file with a few old photographs from my past. I was just experimenting. If you'd like to take a peek just click here.


Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 19, 2005



For those of you who have wandered into my blogs before you probably realize they range from tongue-in-cheek to absurdity and are rarely serious. I’d like to make an exception here and make a serious suggestion. Why? Because I’m old and, in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s what old people are always trying to do.

Father’s Day is nearing and this makes me think of my father who I finally came to love dearly. But it wasn’t easy. He was of the school that believed compliments tend to “spoil kids” and therefore, they were few and far between when I was growing up. Even today, at age 82, one particular incident stands out in my mind.

I was probably 11 or 12 years old and, at that time, a skinny, little kid. Our home had a lawn that, to a kid, seemed vast. One summer day, I decided to mow the lawn without being asked. It was hot and, of course, the lawnmower was strictly manual. I pushed that infernal mower back and forth for most of a whole hot July afternoon. I was sure this would please my dad, as often he had to do that chore himself.

I couldn’t wait for him to arrive home from work. Finally, he drove into the driveway and got out of the car. I rushed to him saying, “Look Dad, I mowed the lawn.

He glanced and replied, “You didn’t trim around the trees.” and went into the house. To this day, some 70 years later I can still hear those words as though they were just spoken.

Many years later I graduated from college and was the first one in my father’s family to have ever done this. Many years later my dad had passed away and my mother told me, “The day you graduated from college your father said it was the proudest day of his life.”

I thought (and probably said) something like, “That was a well kept secret.”

So what’s my point? It’s simple this: if you have children, or if you ever will have children, please find something to praise them about and do it often. It’s not hard. It can be anything. It doesn't even need to be exactly true. “I never saw anyone tie shoes as well as you do.” “Your hair looks wonderful again today.” They will remember that for many, many years, just as they will remember that you didn’t.

Thus spoken and saving a whole generation, I will now shift back to my normal state where I look at our world as being a huge joke being played on humanity.



The other day I learned how to divide a banana exactly in thirds without any kind of measuring. I saw this in a recent Marilyn vos Savant’s column in Parade Magazine.

How can you divide a banana into thirds without measuring it in any way?
—Freeman McGlothlin, Covington, La.

Use a knife to neatly cut the banana off its stem. Then peel the banana about halfway down. Hold the banana in one hand while you gently push your littlest finger into the center of the cut end. With a bit of careful wiggling, the banana will literally come apart at the seams and begin to split into three equal pieces lengthwise. (Peel the banana as it splits more and more.)

When I happened to mention this to some other people they said something like, “Why in the world would you want to know something like that?”

Then it came to me. This is probably why the world is in such a mess. People do not plan for unexpected future events. Just for a minute imagine you and two strangers were stranded on a desert island someplace. (Hey, that might make a good TV show. Well, a TV show anyway). And suppose you were cut off from all civilization and had no food and were getting hungry. Then imagine an airplane flew over the island and dropped one banana.

What would you do then? Yah, right! Then you would wish you had paid more attention to what the Old Professor had been trying to tell you and stop being so damned practical all the time.



Many years ago, when television came into our homes, lives were changed forever. People would spend endless hours staring at a box and the only exercise people received was getting up and walking to the TV set to change the channel. This was the beginning of the dire situation a great percentage of the population finds itself in today regarding physical conditioning.

All was not a complete loss until the remote control was invented. Then the only exercise people got was eliminated, or almost eliminated. It did take some effort to pick up the remote control unit, which often was lost between the cushions, but at least there was that much exercise.

Now that has gone too.

I saw an ad at Brookstone for a remote control unit that is controlled by voice!

No longer does one need to reach for the remote control unit and push various buttons. A person merely leans back and says something like, “Change to ESPN” or “Increase volume.”

Now we don’t need to move at all. Isn’t technology wonderful?


Ah fame! The story of how Jen-Chi and I met using the Internet is beginning to spread.

There’s a great website called Citizen of the Month written by Neil Kramer who is a writer and web producer living in Los Angeles. Click here to give his page a peek and see the great write up Neil gives us.

We certainly are honored to be among his Citizens of the Month.

Thanks Neil.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 12, 2005



In my previous blog I promised to report on the efficiency of our newly installed SlugX slug eliminator that uses beer to entice garden slugs into a trap. That was three days ago and I can now report that we have yet to snare our first slug and I think I have figured out why.

We live in Carmel, California, USA. If you are unfamiliar with Carmel it is widely known as an art center with almost 100 art galleries located within its boundaries. What was I thinking? When was the last time you went to an art gallery and beer was served?

I have been saving a bottle of fine Chardonnay and I am going to try that. That should work and it probably will attract a better class of slugs. It’s bad enough having slugs in the garden without having those beer-drinking types.

Details to follow.



Anyone who has tended any kind of a garden probably has run
into the ugly slug that, along with the snail, seem intent on destroying every living plant.

At last, we have just received a product all gardeners have been waiting for. It’s called SlugX and is manufactured in England. We haven’t had a chance to actually try it yet but certainly will report if it lives up to its claims.

Basically, it is a green plastic box with a removable lid. Inside is a cavity shaped like a bowl with two more half-sized wells, one on each side. The instructions for use are:

Place SlugX into position. The trap should be placed in or close to ground cover i.e., long grass - clumps of permanent plants or anywhere where slugs can rest up during the daylight hours. Remove lid and fill all three wells with beer to within 5mm of the top. Replace lid and the trap is set. Any spillage should be wiped off. The trap should be emptied every 4-5 days. Remove lid, empty contents and flush out with watering can or hose
Now I’m not making this up. Notice the bait is beer! Now what is that all about? Apparently the slug gets bored and goes off to the local tavern for a beer or two. Then, as often happens, he loses track of time and after some more beer he has no idea where he is or how to get back to here he was. Furthermore, he probably doesn’t care and, realizing it’s free, just wants another beer.

The part that puzzles me is why the slug goes to the beer in the first place. A slug is a hermaphrodite. That is, it is both male and female. Why in the world would a slug go to drink some beer if the Significant Other needed to be brought along? Not only that, if this did happen the S.O. would be saying, “You’ve had enough. Let’s go home now.” long before the beer had a chance to do its job properly.

Obviously, there is much about slug behavior I do not understand and I’m sure the slugs feel the same way towards me. However, assuming this device does work, I wonder if it wouldn’t even be better if there was a small neon sign advertising “Free Beer”. It seems that would entice more slugs.

Also, I would think there should be some way to allow a few of the slugs to leave so they can go back to wherever slugs go, and tell the other slugs about this wonderful free beer place.

Footnote: As I was researching SlugX on Google I came across several web sites selling this product. Many had instructions on how to use it. Most were copied from the box. However, there was one place I saw and especially enjoyed the instructions. They were basically the same except they began with:

Open a can of beer and drink up to 90% of the contents (beer not included) then
Later the instructions said:

… fill all three wells begrudgingly with beer to within 5mm of the top
Whoever wrote that caused me to smile.

Watch for more news on the effectiveness of SlugX later.



It must have been around 1990 that I first attempted to get involved with “get thin movement”, which was gaining popularity at the time. I somehow became aware of the growing need to have an organization dedicated to helping members become slim and trim and stay that way.

So, I founded a group and appointed myself to head it temporarily. Thus was born the

At the onset it was decreed that this organization would have no rules governing diet or exercise. Hopefully, there would be no rules at all excepting the usual “Dues must be paid” rule.

At that time it was well know there were many people who paid no attention to any dietary or exercise rules and still remained trim and slim. The primary FATASS goal was to attempt to determine how these people did this. Thus was born the first FATASS committee. This first meeting ran in the typical committee fashion in that its first action was to establish some more FATASS committees.

There was much discussion about the titles officers should hold. Was the head person to be called Head FATASS or President FATASS or what? It was decided to pass this decision along to the FATASS Ways and Means Committee but since there was no such committee one was established immediately and it became the official committee to pass things on to.

A subcommittee was formed to design a suitable FATASS emblem which might be made into a badge or at least appear as the heading on the FATASS stationary. There was even discussion about eventually having a FATASS line of clothing with perhaps even a chain of FATASS stores. It was even imagined that someday there would be thousands of FATASS employees.

Eventually some committee selected a date for the annual FATASS banquet. The first one was probably the most successful FATASS affair ever held. We met at the local “All U Can Eat” restaurant and as we ate we could look in any direction and see another happy FATASS at the next table or booth. The FATASS Ways and Means Committee determined it was so successful we should have one every week. That went well until some members began to complain and suggested we have a FATASS banquet every other day. I think that’s when the organization began to fall apart. The “Once a Week” faction of FATASS squabbled with the “At Least Daily” FATASS people and soon there were more committees set up and the organization began to fail because so many committee meetings needed to be scheduled there was no time left for the banquets.

Even so, it is with great fondness that I look back to those days when, by acclimation, I was elected the Head FATASS and even awarded the “FATASS of the Year” trophy. Ah, those were the days! Perhaps, someday, all the FATASS people will rise again and once again we can proudly display the banner of the



So now you know what I have been telling everyone for as long as I can remember.

I am not now and never have been Deep Throat!

I’ve said it over and over but no one ever believed me. At least no one said they believed me. Everyone just nodded and looked at me in a way that’s hard to describe but I could tell they didn’t believe me.

Now at least I can rest in peace.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 3, 2005



As I mentioned in P'butter Apples and Plasma TV a week ago I somehow managed to drop an crated, 42-inch plasma TV set on the big toe of my left foot. Inasmuch as I wasn't wearing my hard-toe sneaker, it hurt. But, as each day went by it got a little better and then it stopped getting better and I found it a little difficult to walk the way I wanted to. So I yielded to in-house pressure to have a doctor look at it.

I have a lovely lady podiatrist. In fact, most of my medical people are lovely ladies. Why not? If the cost is the same I would always go for the model that is easier to look at.

Her approach was to look at the foot and say, "Wow! You really bruised that thing."

I lowered my voice an octave or two and said, "Oh, it doesn't hurt that much. It's just that I didn't want to aggravate it by doing my usual morning wogging and wondered if you might have a suggestion."

She did have a suggestion. "Don't do that for awhile."

I couldn't get a firm prescription from her but suspect she meant I also wouldn't be able to cook or wash dishes or anything like that "for awhile". In fact, I'm sure she just forgot to mention it.