I often enjoy reading the “Letters to the Editor” section of our local paper. I think it’s because it gives me comfort to know there are others that may be even more off-center than I am. However, there was one today that I really enjoyed. A person by the name of Neill Gardner commented on a feature the paper ran week or so ago. This feature showed different interesting ways to serve food. I recall seeing a picture of a fruit cocktail in a wine glass. Here is what Neill said so well:

Wrong martini recipe

How many subscriptions were cancelled following your Aug. 17 full-color atrocity recommending serving mashed potatoes in a martini glass?

We try to be patient when you print the wrong solution to the crossword puzzle. It was bad enough when you cancelled Andy Capp just because the cartoonist died. We can endure your offering warmed-over Dave Barry. But now you have gone too far.

Even the most gray matter-impaired amongst us must realize that filling a martini glass with mashed potatoes will leave no room for the gin, let alone the vermouth.

Shame on you!

Neill Gardner



I’ve been fairly busy here with a situation I'm not sure I should even mentioned because it really is quite embarrassing. However, sinceI've been embarrassed by one thing or another almost all of my life I'll add this episode to it.

A few days ago I reached across my desk to put something down and accidentally gave my monitor a small bump. Immediately the screen went black. I was disturbed as this 19-inch, flat-screen monitor was less than one year old. I disconnected it and took it to Jen Chi's machine and it didn't work there either. So I took her monitor and connected it to my computer and it worked fine. Thus I had diagnosed that the problem was the monitor rather than my computer.

My next step was to return the monitor to the store where I had purchased it. They explained there was a manufacturer's warranty still in effect. That meant I should contact Samsung, the manufacturer of the monitor. I was assured they would replace it promptly and with no problem. I was given a toll-free telephone number to call.

I gathered all the information and called the Samsung people. They were very courteous and arrangements were made to send me a new monitor and a postage-paid sticker. I was to take the new monitor out-of-the-box, put the old one in and ship it to them. All was well so far until I found they were shipping it from New Jersey, approximately 3000 miles away.

Sometime later I was working on Jen-Chi's computer when I noticed something on her monitor, which is also a Samsung though it’s not an identical model. Her monitor had a little light in the corner of the frame indicating that it was turned on. I wondered why mine was different from hers. Her monitor also has a series of buttons across the bottom of the frame to control brightness, contrast and so forth. I went to look at mine and found I also had those buttons too except mine were black in color and very unobtrusive. Upon close examination I found that one of them was an On/Off switch. When I reconnected it and pushed that switch, lo and behold a tiny light lit up the up in the lower right hand corner of the monitor frame. I had never noticed this light before perhaps because it's very small and I think it was designed to not attract attention. If that was indeed the reason, it certainly worked.

Honestly, can you see that little dot in the lower right corner?
If you do see it do you notice how small it is?

Look now with the monitor truned off:

See how easy it is to miss it?

So, feeling very much The Fool I called Samsung back and canceled the arrangement. Of course, they forced me to explain and now I was very grateful they were thousands of miles away.

I’ve heard as people get older things like this happen. I wonder if this is the beginning.

Naw! Not yet!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 29, 2005



Yesterday I ran into one of those situations where a driver cut me off in a rather dangerous manner. Some people react to such things and I think they call that "road rage". I don't know if road rage was what I experienced but for just a moment I did wish that the other driver and I could play a game where he would be Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and I would be Pat Robertson.
In case you missed it, televangelist Pat Robertson, in referring to Chávez, said he believed our government should assassinate him. Of course this caused quite a furor in Latin America as well as in the US. The next day he backpedaled and said,
"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted."

Yah, right.



I can’t guarantee that this for all of my blogs but this one is absolutely true in every respect.
It happened this morning. I was getting ready for my usual R&R at the high school track. Each time I start this procedure there are two little guys who appear, one on each shoulder. You probably have seen them; one is dressed in red and carries a pitchfork and the other has a white nightgown on with a gold halo hovering above his or her head. They don’t like each other and argue a lot. Today Red Guy was winning by a mile. “School starts today so there will be lots of traffic”. “You’ve been very good all summer and deserve a break.”
White Guy could only retort weakly with “You know you should.” And “It’s good for you.”
Then Red Guy said, “Well, at least check your e-mail – that couldn’t hurt could it?”
The Nightgown replied, “I guess not – go ahead.”
So I did.
There was an e-mail from a name I didn’t recognize and all it said was,
“Keep on tracking! We admire you.
The girls”
I thought, “Wow!” and I felt good. I immediately started lacing my shoes and, in spite of the Red Guy’s protests, I went wogging.
As I did my R&R stuff I listened to Duke Ellington’s “Take the A-Train” and thought about what had happened. It seemed as though someone had said something nice and I reacted. How could this affect your everyday life? When you want “The Kids” (or anyone else) to do something do you use the Red Guy’s approach?
We admire you.” seems a lot easier and, more importantly, it works. It always works.
Thank you for reminding me Girls.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 23, 2005



People have always wondered about the origin of this planet and the creatures on it but these days there seems to be way too much attention focused on the old argument of Creationism vs. Intelligent Design. I wouldn’t presume to argue either side here but would like to comment on something I have personally observed.

Now, my background is not in Theology or Anthropology it’s in Manufacturing. I know when anything is made it goes through a design phase, a manufacturing phase and a final inspection. Now there are quite a few things on earth that would lead one to believe something went wrong. For example, take the poor warthog.

Either that was very poor design or somehow the manufacturing phase goofed. I find it difficult to accept that it was intended the warthog look that way.

An even more difficult thing for me to grasp is why the crow was designed the way it was.

For example, look at any macaw and you see an array of gorgeous colors

But then take a look at a crow. It’s black. Just plain black.

I picture the first crow being made and the assembly line running out of colors possibly because so many colors were used on the macaw. So a decision was made to make it plain black. Maybe it was late and the shift was changing and it was too much trouble to get more colors.

And, if that wasn’t enough, consider the voice of a crow. Many other birds have sweet voices and all a crow can do I shriek, “Caw, caw.” How fair is that?

So what is my point? As you might have guessed, I really have none. Surprise! I really just wanted to try out the new feature this Blogger spot has provided us where I can use MS Word to create and post a blog. Not only will it greatly simplify things but I can also freely and easily use colors and different fonts, as well change size and boldness. I like it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 20, 2005



Many people before me have noticed that human life seems to be rather circular. I use the word “circular” rather than “rotary” because circular refers to a circle that starts someplace and goes around ending up at the same place it started. “Rotary” implies it happens more than once and I don’t happen to subscribe to that particular point of view though I have no argument with those who do.

Take a look at our life when it first started. We were born with no teeth, no hair to speak of, unable to walk, barely able to see and hear and not able to communicate effectively or even feed ourselves. I addition we were unable to control our bodily functions.

As we get older most of us grow away from all of those things but as we pass the midpoint of our lives they begin to reappear. If one is lucky enough to eventually arrive at what is know as “old age" just about all of the same conditions exist. We often end up with someone taking care of us and we may even wearing diapers again.

This sometimes happens and I don’t mind that. After all, it’s better than the next best thing. However, one thing had bothered me but I think I have it figured out. I always wondered what a person who was 90-years old would do when someone asks, “How old are you?”

You all know how cute we think it is when a 3-year old is asked that question and they hold up three fingers. How the hell are you going to do that when you have to holdup 90 fingers?

I think I have an answer. Roman Numerals! The Roman numeral equivalent of 90 is XC. I think I could make a sign for an “X” and a “C” well enough to communicate my age. In fact, that may be why Roman numerals were invented. No, I guess not. No one lived to be 90 in those days.

I still think it would work provided nobody asked me how old I was when I was 89. I would need to signal LXXXIX. Too tiring.



Here is an idea that must be worth millions and, as far as I’m concerned, you can have it for absolutely no charge whatsoever. This brainstorm of mine concerns automobiles and turn signals.

You must have noticed that whenever you are driving in the fast lane of a highway you inevitably come upon a car with its turn signals blinking and traveling about 25 miles per hour less than the speed limit. When you pass this car “an older person” is always driving it. This person always has a firm grip on the steering wheel and is staring straight ahead looking neither right nor left.If there is a passenger the chances are great he or she is doing exactly the same thing without the steering wheel.

These people aren’t trying to torment you. They are completely oblivious to the fact the turn signal is blinking and cars are going past them on the wrong side. They are old people and that’s the way old people are.

I think I have discovered a way to correct at least part of this problem and it involves only a slight alteration to the car’s system. This idea came to me when I stopped at a traffic light the other day and noticed my own turn signals were tuned on and had been for some time. I hadn’t noticed this because I am, basically, an old person and old persons have diminished capacities in all areas. Of course, they will deny this but that’s only because they have diminished capacity in the ability to recognize diminished capacities. In my case, my turn signal gives off a soft clicking sound and a small red arrow flashes in the corner of the dashboard.On this day, because of the driving noises, I hadn’t noticed the clicking sound until all became quiet when I came to a stop.

Now, normally, there is a voice that says, "Your turn signals are on." But since she wasn’t with me that day it led me to wonder why some electronic device couldn’t be made that would serve the same function.

First, I would think a volume control could be added to the clicker without too much trouble.For people who found loud clicking annoying it could be made quieter but older people and other hearing-impaired people might want the increased volume.

Additionally, I see no reason why a voice couldn’t also be included. After a dozen clicks a soft feminine voice might say, “Your turn signals are on.”After twenty or more clicks the voice might change to a firm, “Turn your signals off!” Perhaps a deluxe model might even go farther and after about fifty or sixty clicks a voice would take on a spousal tone and say something like “Don’t you hear that clicking? I hear the clicking. What’s the matter with you that you don’t hear the clicks? It’s been clicking about a hundred times. Are you just trying to drive me crazy?”

That should certainly work as far as the turn signals go but I have no idea of how to speed up an older person in the fast lane. I don’t even know how to speed an older person up when shopping for groceries.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 15, 2005



I happened to run across a TV program discussing why some women are attracted to infamous people and even marry them while serving life sentences in prisons that don’t allow conjugal visits.
A particular case made me frown when they mentioned Lyle Menendez. He and is brother were convicted of murdering their parents. Lyle married his pen-pal girlfriend, Anna Eriksson, in a telephone conference call from jail on July 2, 1996, the day he was sentenced, but the marriage didn't last; Eriksson found out that Menendez began corresponding with
another woman and filed for divorce.
Did I read that right? She divorced him for cheating on her by writing to another woman while he was in prison!
Is that weird or is it just that I’m weird?
That’s a rhetorical question and needs no answer, but if you answered “Both” you're probably very close to being right.

The Old Professor
August 11, 2005



It’s been 60 years since the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki essentially ending World War II in 1945. Today there is much written about the 140,000 to 200,000 deaths this event caused. Many people think the use of a weapon that destructive should never be used under any circumstances. In fact, a recent poll showed only 57 per cent of respondents approve of using the atomic bomb on those two Japanese cities. In 1945 it was 85 per cent. Why the big change?

I have an opinion here.

World War II was not anything like the wars most of us are familiar with these days. We did not go looking for a war. We were not trying to protect our oil supply. We were not trying to spread democracy. In fact, on December 7, 1941 most Americans were enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon when planes appeared and showered havoc on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and almost overnight, we were in a war with Japan. Most people who personally experienced that day are not living today. Those that are still here will never forget. I am sure there are very few people still alive who, in 1945, had sons or daughters fighting on the beaches in the South Pacific. I would be surprised if you could find even one of those parents who would say that bomb should never have been used. Of course, we have sympathy for all the innocent Japanese people who perished then but, to use an expression from the playground, “You started it!”

So my opinion is this:

Unless you actually lived through those days or you spent a lot of time seriously studying those days (and I don’t mean watching the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” three times), YOUR VOTE DOESN’T COUNT!

Whether we should have or not, it happened. The whole war should have never happened, but it did, so we live with it. The atomic bomb was a little late to save my two closest friends at the time but it probably saved the lives of many who later replaced them as friends of mine. Who knows, it may have even saved my own life.

As you might guess, I am an admirer of Harry Truman who faced a gigantic decision and made it. I, for one, strongly support his decision so let’s get on with our lives.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 10, 2005



An anniversary slipped by last week. One year ago I was introduced to blogging. When I pause to think about it, it’s been quite a year. There were the Olympic games in Athens, followed by the Boston Red Sox not only getting to the World Series but also actually winning it. Then, before we could catch our breath the election was upon us. Bombs were exploded and, of course, the Iraq thing still goes on.

The past year certainly provided a lot of bloggable material in addition to the regular nonsense that seems to be happening everywhere, every day.

It even was a year for vocabulary expansion. Who would have thought there would be a term like “bloggable”?

Personally, I had a chance to meet new people from all over the world and some even told me things that made me feel good about doing this. For that I would like to thank them – both of them.

I hope the coming year will be as bloggable as the past and seriously, thank you for dropping by. Please come back.

The Old (even older now) Professor
Carmel, CA

August 5, 2005



A couple of years ago we received a letter telling us about a kid in Bangladesh who was hungry and also in need of clothes. Feeling sorry for the kid we sent enough money so he could get to a McDonalds once in awhile. As you know, there is no dress code at McDonalds so we just sent enough money for a Big Mac.

As it turns out, apparently this kid has a big mouth and he told all his friends and then they, in turn, told all their friends and the first thing we knew we were getting piles of mail daily. At first we were just being asked to feed most of the world south of the 26th Parallel, wherever that is, but then it branched out and we were expected to cure most diseases also. Obviously this was impossible for us to do so I made a unilateral decision to ignore the whole thing and started making use of one of Nature’s great gifts to Man – the shredder. I soon was be able to identify these pleas in all their various disguises and take them directly to the shredder unopened.

That took care of that situation for a while but those kids (and diseases) don’t give up that easily. However, as their skill at getting me to open the mail improved, my skill at identifying this mail improved also. So for some time it was a standoff with the only winner being the compost pile, which, by the way, thrives on shredded, pathetic-type mail.

However, I think the kid and his club have finally won. The latest technique is to enclose a coin in the request and make part of it visible.

Not too bad. The kid spends 5 cents and I can either open the dammed mail or destroy my shredder. OK, kid, you win. I give up but I’m keeping the 5 cents in a special jar and when I get enough of them I’m going to buy myself a Big Mac.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 2, 2005