I’m beginning to wonder about the United States Postal System.
They recently announced an increase in the cost of first class mailing. A stamp, which now cost 37 cents, will cost 39 cents starting in January.
Okay, perhaps this in no big deal but a trip to my mailbox yesterday made me wonder.
In one day we received 13 catalogs! Most of these were from companies we had never heard of and had certainly never done business with.
Why doesn’t the Postal service increase the cost of delivering that unwanted mail?  They probably have but in my opinion they should increase it more and keep increasing it until there is room in my mailbox for mail I want to receive.

That should work.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 26, 2005



A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about a cat who had appeared at our place and then disappeared. Those of you who are cat lovers probably knew this would happen but I didn’t. The cat has reappeared.

It’s hard to miss this cat because it sits outside a sliding glass door and goes “M-E-O-W“ almost continuously. At least it sounded like M-E-O-W to me.

Last night Jen-Chi had prepared a dish of leftover chicken plus some leftover salmon for the cat to eat next time it appeared. That was this morning. I got up early to go for my wog and the cat was there M-E-O-Wing so I put the bowl in front of it. The cat took one sniff and walked away all the time saying, “M-E-O-W”.

The more I thought about it I don’t think the cat was saying, "M-E-O-W" at all. I listened carefully and I’d swear it was calling, “M-E-N-U, M-E-N-U.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 23, 2005



There was a time, many years ago, where I, as a struggling schoolteacher, worked all kinds of extra jobs to make enough money make ends meet. I even took a crack at selling. I worked for a company that sold food-freezer plans. This is where the customer would purchase frozen meat and vegetables in large quantities thereby saving enough to make the payments on the freezer.

I had never done any selling so the company sent me out with an experienced salesman and I observed as he sold five freezers without having one turndown. I seemed easy enough. Then I went out on my own and made some incredibly good deals but didn’t sell any in seven attempts. Not even one.

I knew I was doing something wrong. So, I went to the library and took out three books on salesmanship. I was amazed to learn the subtle little things that can be done to entice a sale. I then went out and sold seven in a row.

My point is this; I think everyone should read a book on how to become a salesperson. After all, the whole idea of selling is getting another person to see things the way you want them to see it and there are definite techniques for doing this. You can even see them when they are being applied to you or someone else.

Here’s what made me think of this today. A couple of days ago I was in my dentist’s aptly named “waiting room.” The dentist came to the receptionist and said something like, “Mrs. Watson has broken her upper plate. We are sending it over to the lab. Call the lab and tell them it’s a clean break and see if there’s someway they can get it done tomorrow.”

I listened as the receptionist called.
She said, “This is Dr. So and So’s office. We are sending Mrs. Watson’s upper plate over. It’s a clean break and we wonder what time tomorrow morning she could pick it up. Ten o’clock? That will be fine.”

Wow! I was impressed. If she had asked, “When will she be able to pick it up?” I’m sure the answer would involve explaining how busy they were right now.

That was a great demonstration of what salesmanship is. And that was a good thing.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 22, 2005



Just in case you didn’t know, today is November 21, 2005. Did you know there are only 34 days until Christmas? That may not seem significant because you know that is still 816 hours from now and 816 hours is a long time.
Of course, you still have 48,960 minutes to get your shopping done and that’s almost 3,000,000 seconds.
So, what’s the hurry?
You’ve got lots of time – if you count the seconds.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 21, 2005



To me it’s amazing that my wogging provides me with so much time where I have to do nothing but think. Once in a great while I solve some problem. This morning was one of those days.

For some time I have wondered about the actual difference between walking and jogging. Is a person who walks fast actually jogging? Is a jogger who jogs slowly actually walking? No, there’s more to it than that.

It’s the arms.

If you notice when people are walking they let their arms hang down at their sides, possibly swinging them a bit. Then notice the jogger. Hands are raised and the arms are bent to form an approximate right angle.

I had never thought of this before but decided I will attempt to modify of my behavior. When I go do my morning thing at the track I plan on having my arms extend straight down, or at least nearly so.

That way it’s possible I’ll overhear someone say, “Look how fast that old man is walking”, instead of, “Look how slow that old man is jogging”.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 19, 2005



I notice more and more people seem to be getting into running in a marathon. That’s more than 26 miles! I understand in early November there were more than 80,000 people who ran in the New York City Marathon. I never quite understood why people did that but I had a little insight this morning when I was doing my usual wogging at the track. There’s no way I could run, or even wog, 26 miles. However, I can easily wog one mile and I do at least that every morning. At the end of a month I have done quite a bit more than 26 miles.

I suppose it’s like most other things that happen when a person gets old. It’s still possible to do it; it just takes longer.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 18, 2005



There are a few things in life that I have become very good at doing.  Sleeping is one.  Ordinarily I have no trouble at all going to sleep and either staying asleep or waking and going back to sleep easily. Last night was an exception. At least I hope it was.
For no reason at all I woke up around 3AM and didn’t immediately go back to sleep.  To take care of the rare times this might occur I keep a small AM-FM radio, with earphones, near my bed.  I decided to listen to a Public Broadcasting System station that was carrying the feed from BBC (British Broadcasting System).  Ordinarily that is boring enough to put me back to sleep in seconds but last night I happened to tune in on the results of several cricket matches.  A man spoke as though he was an earthling but he strung together words that made no sense to me.  This was frustrating enough to keep me awake so I switched to the AM radio band.
Now, this is 3AM, Sunday morning.  Apparently most radio stations do not want to shut down even though there are few listeners. Perhaps it’s too difficult to get up and running again, I don’t know. The way many stations have solved this problem is to have a “Call In Show”.  That’s where there’s a person who invites listeners to call in and discuss just about anything. This is in California but even here that’s a strange thing to do. It is certain to attract some very strange people.  In fact, some of the hosts (the people receiving the calls) are strange people.  I listened to one female who pleaded for someone to call, anyone, talk about anything. She said she would be on the air for 5 hours!
Now add this to the equation.  In California the bars close at 2AM.  When listening to the people who call in, it’s difficult to guess if they have just come home from a long evening at the bar or is they are one of those who enjoy getting an early start to their drinking.  Most of the discussions had some kind of theme and later in the day I’m sure most of the callers will regret their participation – if they remember calling at all.
Ah, California at 3AM. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 14, 2005


Surely I can't be the only one who noticed this.

Two days after Katrina finished battering in New Orleans President Bush appeared on television and said, "I take full responsibility...” Of course, he was referring to the terrible manner which the federal government handled the relief situation.

A short time later another hurricane, Nina, ripped through Florida.  This time the president's brother, Jebb Bush, went on television and announced to the world that he, "took full responsibility" for the difficulties people were going through.

Jump forward another month or so and the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, proposed several issues to be placed on a ballot for a public election.  He had anticipated the voters would support his proposals.  On the contrary, the voters rejected every single one of his ideas.  Two days later he appeared on television and guess what he said.

"I take full responsibility"

He explained he had thought the voters would support his thinking and therefore had placed these issues on the November ballot.  It's estimated that this special in election cost between $50 and $60 million and even though he made no suggestion as to how that money should be made up, he did take "full responsibility."

Do you begin to see a pattern here?  I think it goes back to the White House when the president asked for advice on what to do about the Katrina's mess.  Probably someone said, “Just take the full responsibility, what can they do to?  You're the President.”  So he tried it and it worked.  Then his brother tried it and it worked again.  Now it seems to be a simple phrase that explains everything.

As I recall, it didn't work that way when I was working.  If something was fouled up and someone was determined to be fully responsible, that person was soon seeking another job.  I'm sure the rules haven't been changed, especially for the common man.  Maybe in government it's different.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 13, 2005



A couple of nights ago we had one of those emergency medical things involving My Lady having some heart problems. This necessitated my calling the paramedics and transporting her to the Emergency Room of the hospital in the middle of the night.  The medical problem eventfully was taken care of fine but there were a few interesting adventures along the way.

Once she was settled into a room it was decided she needed to have her chest x-rayed so a young man wheeled a portable unit into her room.  I stood beside the bed to assist and after he got her into the proper position he made a motion for me to step back.  I knew about x-rays having the power to render a person sterile so I stepped back just in case I want to have children someday.

He motioned me to step back farther. I did.

He motioned again and this time I was really far away.

He heaved a sigh and walked towards me still motioning. When he got close he whispered, “You pants are open. Zip up.”



In the late 1940s there were many silly things going on. One of the longer lasting ones was a song and a dance that was primarily for children but it caught on as a fad with adults too. It was called The Hokey Pokey. The lyrics went like this:
You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

You put your left foot in,
You put your left foot out;
You put your left foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

Now, many of us believe that after this life we might be in a situation where all will be known to us. I picture a place where I might be able to ask questions that have baffled me all my life.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if I asked, “What was it all about?” and was told The Hokey Pokey explained it all?

That’s’ what it’s all about?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 4, 2005

(If you want to listen to the song and see three dancing penquins go to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services for the music, lyrics, and the history of the Hokey Pokey.)