A couple of months ago I ran across the gadget I thought would help my domestic partner, Jen-Chi, when she goes shopping. Any kind of shopping, but particularly grocery shopping, is something she and I have never seen eye-to-eye on. Long ago I have stopped going with her. Her treks to a grocery store will run between two and three hours and if I am there I will spend most of this time leaning on a shopping cart wondering why a single tomato must be examined so thoroughly.

I felt I had moved towards solving the problem when I ran across a voice-activated recorder at Radio Shack. It's a neat little handheld gadget. One speaks into it and can record up to 125 minutes. We felt this might help Jen-Chi put together a list of things she wanted to buy before she left home and then play them back to herself in the store thereby shortening the outing considerably.

So, together we spent some time learning which buttons to push and finally she was ready to record her first shopping list. It went like this,

"I am recording this so I can take it to the store and listen to what I want to buy. I think I might like to see if I could find some vegetables. Maybe some fresh green beans would be nice or if you don't have any of those maybe something like spinach would do just as well. When I am done looking at the vegetables I want to be sure to get some yogurt, if there is any, and if there isn't I will have to go to some other store. Thank you very much. Goodbye."
Actually, it hasn’t helped the shopping at all but I think I may have purchased a new friend for Jen Chi.



The other day, as so often happens, a young man I’m guessing was in his sixties, approached me with the question I hear so often.

He said, “Old Professor, at your age you have done just about all you are going to do, isn’t that right?”

“What do you mean?” I replied.

“Well, at your age you’re to old to do anything new, aren’t you?”

“Well, no, I don’t think so.”

He went on to say, “I didn’t mean any disrespect, it’s just that you probably have conquered everything you wanted to conquer, haven’t you?”

“Not at all, son. Just last week I mastered something I have been trying to do for more than 45 years. I was just as excited as I probably was when I first rode a bicycle without falling off. It was a major thrill!”

“Wow, what was it?”

“Well, I’ll tell you what it is but I can’t tell you how I did it because I’m not sure yet. I’ve only done it a few times and I’m not sure why it didn’t work before but it works now. It doesn’t really matter because the thrill of mastering the problem still excites me.”

“What did you do?”

“I finally managed to tear a sheet of Saran Wrap off of the roll without having it attack me. I’ve done it three times now. To be truthful, I am wondering if they are making Saran Wrap weaker these days because it used to put up a much tougher fight. Or maybe it just knows when it has finally met its master. I think that’s it”



National Geographic Magazine has long been famous for outstanding photography. However, browsing their current web site shows an unusual picture of part of a large group of bicyclists in Madrid staging a nude protest against oil dependency and the overuse of cars.

For a smile, take a look at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_nakedbikers.html
(If that long line looks strange in your browser, just click on it.)

To just browse around the National Geographic photography section, which is always interesting, go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/media/photography/

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 28, 2005



I think this is the very first time I have endorsed a web site as being the best I have ever seen, bar none. I started looking for information by searching the internet in 1985 and when Yahoo appeared I thought that was great and Google is still a mainstay. In fact, there are so many search engines and library-type web sites today that it is mind-boggling but here is one that is different. It is called Library Spot and has no information at all but it does have links to other places leading to just about all of the information known to mankind. At least it seems that way to me.

As an example, if you needed some kind of image,Library Spot has Images as one item in a very long menu. When you click there you will see no images but links to dozens of other places that have more images than one could possibly need.

I think it's great!

Take a look at Library Spot. When you are seeking information it doesn'’t get much better than this. It couldn't.

Save this URL, you will love it! http://www.libraryspot.com/

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 25, 2005



As some of you may remember back in April of 2005 I discovered another OldProf. Obviously this created a bit of confusion as to who the real OldProf was. I think I finally have the answer.

First, I look at my domain name. The system only allows one www.oldprof.com in the whole world and, more than coincidentally, that happens to be the URL assigned my web site.

In case that isn’t enough, the State of California has issued me a pair of special license plates (AKA “tags”) to mount on my car proclaiming the contents of this automobile to be (fanfare with trumpets here) OLDPROF.

Now if that doesn’t answer the question once and for all what does? Would a personal letter from Karl Rove do it?

Footnote: For those of you who might not be familiar with Karl Rove, there are many in America who believe he is the man who runs the country.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 24, 2005



I recently was requested to write a blog explaining how I managed to lose so much weight. Since what I wrote has some length I’ve posted it at my web site in order that those who are not interested in that subject will not have to wade through it here.

If losing weight interests you click here.



The other day I received another one of those chain e-mails. This one promised I absolutely would get my wish if I followed the instructions.

I first was told to make my wish. I did that. Then I was to forward it to others.

Now here was the good part.

If I forwarded it to 20 people I would get my wish within a week.
If I sent it on to 10 people I would get my wish in 6 months.
If I sent it to one person I would get my wish in a year.

That’s what I did. I sent it to one person and my wish was to live for another year.

Since my wish won’t be granted for a year I figure I’ve got a lock on this one.



For a few minutes I thought I finally had it made.
For a few minutes I thought the little guy finally gets a break.

I was browsing through a publication exposing “20 Little Known Secrets”.
In the Table of Contents one line caught my eye.
It asked:
Would you like to make your heirs millionaires?
Sure why not?
My kids are all good kids and deserve it.
It’s the least I could do.
It further said:
At little or no cost to you.
Now I was definitely in and, as fast as I could, I turned to page 22.
The very first line was:
Of course, you must first have a million dollars or more in assets.
I knew there was a catch.
Oh well, back to Plan B.
That’s the one involving a lottery ticket.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 12 2005



Recently I watched a program about the history of motorcycles on the History Channel. It outlined the battle between Harley-Davidson and Indian where, at one time, each attempted to dominate the motorcycle world. Eventually, H-D won but Indian motorcycles hold a special place in my heart. Not because I ride motorcycles – I never have but my father did for many, many years. Additionally, the Indian Motorcycle Company was in my hometown of Springfield Massachusetts where my dad was a police officer.

Early in 1925 the Springfield police department decided to experiment by having a Motorcycle Squad. My dad was in the first squad and, of course, the motorcycles were all Indian Scouts.

In those days that was pretty rugged duty. Massachusetts’s winters are not mild by any means and the road conditions dictated that he have a sidecar attached during that season.

I’m not sure exactly how long he rode his motorcycle but he often commented he was the last one of the original Motorcycle Squad still riding, the rest having left due to accidents or other physical problems. He was eventually promoted to the detective bureau and retired as a Sergeant.

Of course, my dad is gone now and so is the Indian Motorcycle Company but both have left indelible marks on the history of Springfield Massachusetts.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 10, 2005



Did you ever wonder about this?

Quite often I read in the paper where another rap musician was arrested for something. Usually it’s a gun related thing.

I don’t pretend to know much about these people or their music but I just recently read Rapper Yukmouth was reportedly arrested for possession of the deadly weapon” and on another page was “New York rapper CAM'RON was arrested ….” for something.

Here’s my question. When as the last time you read “Violinist for New York Philharmonic arrested for gun possession.”?

There must be some connection.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 8, 2005



Today isn't a day that inspires me to write the lighthearted stuff I usually do here.
My heart goes out to all civilized people. I'm afraid our world will never be the same -- if it ever was.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 7, 2005



The good folks at Coffee Cup have made a FREE DHTML Menu Maker available. They say:

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Check a quick menu I made by clicking here.

To download the program click here.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 4, 2005



It has long been my thought that one of the primary advantages of getting a college degree is that the recipient is at least four years older and, assumedly, a bit more mature. However, in my case, by the time I entered college I had already served a full apprenticeship as a tool and die maker, had been flying airplanes for the Navy and was married. I really didn’t need any for those courses where the primary purpose was to age you one semester but I was required to take some anyway. I had to choose from several General Education electives. Since I never had any formal education in geography I chose a course called South America, which met for one hour, three times a week.

Though it was more than half a century ago I still clearly remember the textbook was cleverly titled “South America” and the author’s name was Jones. There also was a workbook with the same title and author. The workbook, I was to learn, was cleverly written to simplify teaching the course. Each class meeting ended with, “The assignment for next time is to read Chapter Whatever and answer the questions in the workbook.”

At that time I was an eager student and determined to get good grades so I did everything the workbook suggested. For example, when we would be learning about Argentina I would go to the workbook and see a question like:

“List the chief rivers of Argentina.” So, I would look in the textbook and, lo and behold, there was a cleverly worded statement that said, “The chief rivers of Argentina are the Paraná with its tributary, the Salado; the Colorado River; the Río Negro; and the Chubut.” So I would copy these names into the workbook.

At the next class we were allowed to have our workbooks and our textbooks open while the instructor asked, “Who can tell me the chief rivers of Argentina?” I would look around and since the rest of the class had a rather vacant look I would raise my hand. She would call me.

I would read, “The chief rivers of Argentina are the Paraná with its tributary, the Salado; the Colorado River; the Río Negro; and the Chubut.”

“Very good.”

This went on for the full semester and the only additional thing was to complete the workbook that contained about 40 maps and charts and we were required to color each one. Yes, color the maps the way the children do in preschool! There were maps showing the distribution of beef in South America. There were maps showing the distribution of llamas in South America. There were maps showing the distribution of tooth decay in South America. There were maps showing the distribution of macaws in South America. Each had to be colored and I did exactly that because this was my first semester and I wanted to start my college career with a good grade. I even dismantled the workbook so I could type in the answers to every single question. I must have worked over 100 hours on that workbook alone but it was a jewel and I was sure it was better than anyone else had done – probably ever done.

Eventually we got to a final exam, which was most fortunate for the instructor because we had run out of chapters in “South America” by Jones and also in the “Workbook for South America” by Jones.

We were to bring our textbooks and workbooks with us to the final exam because it was to be an Open Book Exam.

The exam was written on the chalkboard. I still recall the first question: “List 10 reasons bananas grow in the São Paulo region of Brazil.” So, I, and the rest of the class, went to the textbook and there, cleverly worded was “There are 10 reasons bananas grow in the São Paulo region of Brazil.” I copied them but particularly remember reason number 1:

1. They plant them there!

Yes, you read that right. Bananas grow in the São Paulo region because they plant them there. Who would have guessed?

Meanwhile, the instructor went through the room. Our workbooks were at the corner of our desk so she could evaluate them. As she came to mine I was prepared for her to be surprised as I was sure she never had seen a workbook that wonderful before. She picked it up and fanned the pages like a Las Vegas dealer with a new deck of cards. She said, “Very good.” And went on. The whole thing couldn’t have taken her more than 4 seconds, including the “Very good.” part.

So, even though I have my doubts as to the value of a class like this, I did learn two very valuable things. The first one was, even though I did get an “A” grade in that class I vowed I’d never do that much work again unless there was some definite purpose to it. As a result, my college record is not all “A” grades but there are a few and the rest are more than satisfactory.

The second thing I learned and have never forgotten and that is that bananas grow in the São Paulo region of Brazil because they plant them there. Unfortunately no one has ever asked me that question so I need to write essays like this. Otherwise no one would know I went to college.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 3, 2005



I recently wrote something and suddenly discovered a great way to learn Spanish -- or any other language I suppose. Click here to read more.