Today, as the year comes to an end, I received a surprise. I can’t imagine why you should, but maybe you will remember a blog I posted in late April of 2006. It concerned my writing a Letter to the Editor department of our local newspaper. If you want a peek you can click here.
I had forgotten this letter since it concerned a section of rough pavement that has since been repaired. However, I was pleased to see that, once again, it was recognized as the splendid piece of literature it is. In the final issue of the paper for 2006 the editorial staff republishes about a dozen letters they received and enjoyed the most during the year. Now consider the paper publishes 365 days a year and there are always about 10 letters each day. Roughly that means there are more than 3,000 letters printed each year. So you can imagine my surprise when I turned to that page this morning and found my letter reprinted there. Not only was it there, it was Number 1.
For a short time it will be available at the paper but in case you miss it I’ll stick it in here also.

Letters to the editor

A Converted letter writer

Until now I haven't had much faith that letters to the editor ever accomplished much more than make the writer feel better. I may have changed my mind.
A short time ago someone wrote a letter taking the highway department to task for the stretch of Highway 1 going north between Carpenter Street and the turnoff to Pacific Grove. I agreed with the writer that this road is in terrible condition, but I couldn't see how a letter could change anything. I was wrong.
Apparently the highway department took heed. Now, as you drive north, just before Carpenter Street there is a neat, orange triangular sign that says in bold, black letters, "ROUGH ROAD."
Ah, the power of the press.

My name was here

I wonder if any letter to the editor ever won a Pulitzer Prize.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 31, 2006



I saw a headline on the front page of our local paper and thought, “How ironic.”

It read:
“Bush taking more time to craft new Iraq policy”

It might have been even better if he had taken more time in the first place.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 29, 2006



I know it must seem incredible to some that a couple approaching their mid-eighties would come across many romantic moments. Yet one happened to me the other day.

The lady who is the Love of my Life and I happened to meet, face to face, as we passed in a hallway. As we paused there for a moment I looked into her beautiful brown eyes and thought how lucky I was that such a lovely lady would be part of my life.

As this warm thought rolled around in my mind she continued to gaze into my eyes and whispered, “Your glasses need cleaning.”

Oh well.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 18, 2006



I’ve been seeing many television commercials about a product called Cialis. As I understand it this is supposed to assist males with erectile dysfunction and they say it will work for 36 hours. In the commercials there usually is a couple who are getting into a romantic mood when the doorbell rings. Lo and behold, there’s whole gang of people and they have come to visit. Any thoughts of romantic adventures obviously must be delayed. Here Cialis comes to the rescue because since using this product produces results that will last for 36 hours, the couple can get back to what they were planning as soon as the inconvenient crowd leaves.

In my opinion the advertisers are missing a great opportunity with this product. The 36-hour concept is great but why not advertise it as a product for elderly people who start out to do something and forget what it was but remember the next day?

That should work.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 17, 2006



President Bush has expanded the number of African nations receiving special U.S. aid to combat malaria. Mr. Bush says there can be no turning back from his goal of cutting the number of malaria deaths in half in the 15 hardest hit African countries.
Call me cynical but I visualize this announcement possibly coming after an earlier discussion President Bush might have had with his Press Secretary, Tony Snow. It might have gone like this:

PB: Ya know, Tone, these poll things aren’t looking as good as they were before.

TS: I know Mister President. It seems we are involved with some things that are rather unpopular these days.

PB: Well, there must be something out there that isn’t so unpopular.

TS: Yes sir.

PB: I saw a newspaper today and there was something about Israel. How about if I make a statement about Israel and Christmas or something?

TS: Respectfully sir, I think whatever you might say is going to offend someone and with your poll numbers you can’t affords to lose even one percent.

PB: Yup, I suppose you’re right about that. What about this malaria thing? Could we do something there that wouldn’t hurt the polls?

TS: That’s possible sir. You could issue a statement about that.

PB: Should I be for it or against it? What would be best in the polls?

TS: For or against malaria?

PB: Yah.

TS: Well, as far as the polls go it would be good for you to be against malaria.

PB: Okay then. You write it up that way and tell it to those reporter guys but be sure to emphasize that I am against malaria. In a few days we can take another poll and see how I’m doing.

TS: Yes sir.

Well, it could have happened that way..

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 15, 2006



I think it was around 1947 that I saw my first television set. I remember it clearly. It was at a bar in New York City and the television set measured 9 inches diagonally across the screen.  It was showing a hockey game in progress live.  Picture that, a 9-inch black and white TV showing a hockey game and I was behind the bar so I was about 10 feet away and I was hooked. I thought it was the most sensational thing I’d ever seen.

From then on I watched television develop to larger screens, then color pictures and now huge screens with high definition.  As this progressed I noticed watching sporting events kept getting better and better as the networks attempted to make the television viewer have the same experience as the person attending the event.

Now while watching football games I notice that almost all stadiums have now installed giant television screens at one end of the field in an attempt to make the ticket purchaser have the same experience as television viewer at home.

Wait a minute.  That means that a person can now buy a ticket, pay for parking, sit in the middle of crowd (often in bad weather) and not miss anything he could have seen if he stayed home.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 5, 2006

P.S. I just remembered something the viewer at home doesn’t have.  He doesn’t get to experience that big fat guy with the beer who sits in front of you and jumps up to obstruct the view every time something exciting happens.



I made it – I think.

It’s the day following Thanksgiving in USA and as you probably are aware, many people eat too much that day. I was one of the many with emphasis on the TOO in ‘too much’. Way too much!

However, by some miracle of nature my body seems to have managed to process enough food to feed a small nation though it was touch and go there for awhile. Today I am a bit wiser, not that it will matter next time.

I’m not sure if I imagined this or it was a dream but last night I saw a newspaper headline proclaiming: CARMEL MAN EATS SELF TO DEATH.

Never again. Probably Well maybe.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

November 24, 2006



Today is the last Thursday in November, which is a national holiday in the United States. It’s called Thanksgiving Day and it’s traditional that friends and families gather around a table bearing huge amounts of food. We all overeat and give thanks that, in spite of there being millions who are hungry and starving, we are not one of them.

I hope you had a nice day.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 23, 2006



I’ve noticed I haven’t been posting any blogs lately. There’s a reason for this. Up until today there really hasn’t been anything worthy of passing on.

Today that changed and I made a major discovery. Like most of my fellow famous discovery people my discovery came about quite by accident. I don’t feel I need to apologize for this as you may recall they say one of the most famous discoverers of all time, Sir Isaac Newton, discovered gravity by noticing an apple falling from a tree. I don’t contend that my discovery ranks with that but it certainly is worth sharing with you and might earn me a place on the Famous Discoveries TV program.

Most people know that dogs need exercise and walking usually takes care of this. Most people, except a few who pass our house, know that walking dogs often pause to take care of a physical elimination situation. Most people, except a few who pass our house, know the courteous thing to do is clean up after your dog finishes its business. This often accomplished in a rather simple fashion. All that’s needed a small plastic bag. The size of the bag is somewhat dependent upon the size of the dog. While staring off into space the dog owner puts his or her hand inside the plastic bag and then, using it as a glove, reaches down and picks up the stuff the dog has left. The scientific name for this stuff is dog poop.

After picking up the dog poop the plastic bag is usually twisted and folded some way to make sure the poop stays inside the bag. This step is fairly critical. It is then taken to wherever unwanted things are taken and disposed of.

Now I realize there isn’t anything there that could possibly be described as a great discovery. Many people already knew that. But here’s something no one I know of has ever mentioned. It is very important that poop picker-upper closely examines the plastic bag prior to using it. One must make sure the bag does not have any holes in it! If it’s clear plastic these holes are difficult to see but I have found that dog poop has an affinity to these holes and, if allowed, the poop will somehow find the hole and be well on its way to your hands. Furthermore, if you decide to transport the twisted and folded bag in your jacket pocket you will have a jacket that may have no future use other than possible attire for attending dogs shows.

I realize this discovery does not really put me in a class with Newton, Columbus and all the other great discoverers but I certainly wish someone had discovered it before I did.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 19, 2006



There is a rather simple reason I haven’t posted a blog here in quite some time. There just hasn’t been anything in my life I considered bloggable. To my mind whatever I write should be important enough to be of interest to someone or at least seem humorous to me. Everything passing through my life in the past few weeks has been as bland as baby food. That’s not a complaint. In fact, I rather like it that way.

All was as dull as usual until this morning. I was listening to the radio while out walking with TDD (The Damned Dog). I heard that China was working trying to help Africa get on its feet and there was a big meeting in Beijing, the capital of China, and there were representatives from 48 African countries. Not too unusual so far, but wait.
Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with officials from African countries at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China. The Councilor shook hands with 40 delegates one at a time.

Now the Chinese are known for being responsible for many creative ideas but this idea of shaking hands with people one at a time – who came up with that? Even assuming the reporter meant “one person at a time” rather than “one hand at a time” it still seems rather an inefficient way to do it. You would think someone would have suggested having the delegates stack their hands up, maybe ten to a pile but certainly not “one at a time”.

So that’s how exciting things have been in The Old Professor’s life. Sad isn’t it?

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

November 4, 2006



There is a family living near us who have parents visiting from China. I often run into this elderly couple when I take our dog for a walk each morning. We never have spoken much as they don't speak anything but Chinese. However we do nod and smile. The other day as I approached the elderly gentleman he smiled and said, "Hi." The lady was few steps behind and she said the same thing. I replied, "Good morning."

When I got back home I was anxious to tell my domestic partner about this and inasmuch as she's Chinese I knew she would know what they were saying to me. I announced, "I learned a Chinese word today"
"What word is that?" she replied.
"Hi", I said with some pride.
"Hi", she said, "What was the word?"
"Hi. That's the word I learned. What does it mean?"
"It means like an informal hello."
"But what does it mean in Chinese."
"Nothing. There's no such word as 'Hi' in Chinese."

We finally concluded that our neighbor had taught her parents a little English, just enough to greet someone one the street.

I still think "Hi" should be a Chinese word because it sure sounds like one.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 20, 2006



I have often heard someone say, “I never was any good at math.”  I always contend that math, in the beginning, is very simple and understandable to everyone. One plus one equals two.  Everyone got that far. The next step is two plus three and that’s simple enough. Well, it’s like that all the way to the end of math unless you miss a step somewhere. Then it all falls apart.

But most of us handle math well enough to buy something, pay taxes and everyday things like that. So, we do use math a lot whether we think of it or not.  Sometimes it can even be fun.

For example, it was prominent in the news that US population hit 3 hundred million today. The US Census Bureau maintains a Population Clock at http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html and one can see the US population grows about one person every 11 seconds.  This shows more than just births because it also considers that people die but in general there are many more being born than dying, hence the population grows. So, maybe there is a baby being born every 5 or 6 seconds.  Of course, that means there was a baby conceived somewhere in the United States every 5 or 6 seconds, 24 hours a day.

Now most people know how babies are conceived and also know it involves some physical contact between two people and that a baby is not conceived every time, or even most of the time, this contact takes place. So, if we move into the area of math dealing with percentages we might be able to estimate some things fairly accurately. If we start by subtracting working time and sleeping time there seems to be a helluva lot of physical contact being made in a fairly short time span. We can then subtract a fairly large chunk for people who are too young to create babies and a few more that are too old.  Then we take away the gay and lesbian groups and divide by 2 because it usually takes 2 to start the process. Take away (subtract) women who are already pregnant therefore are not now starting the creation process. We find we are left with a rather small percentage of the population who are creating these babies and it’s obvious those people must be very, very busy. Do the math.

But what I wonder is with all this baby-making, who the hell is working and keeping the wheels of industry turning? Who is left to make all these wonderful technological and scientific discoveries? Who is not busy and has time to create the art and literature we need? If I stop and think about it, that might be the answer to why it takes a plumber 4 days to get to a house or why a TV set can’t be fixed until the owner is crawling the wall. It also so explains why the telephone repair person will be here between 1 and 4. Everyone is busy making babies and it’s difficult to be precise as to how long that might take.

See you see, it’s all math.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 17, 2006



Dear President Bush,

I’m fairly sure someone must have mentioned that one of our munitions dumps recently exploded in Baghdad. I know you don’t like the NY Times but you can read about it there if you haven’t heard about it.

But that being said, don’t you think this might be a good time to get out of Iraq? What better reason would there be? Just announce that since we are out of ammunition we may as well go home. After all, we can’t expect our military people to throw rocks at the insurgents.

Now, I’ll admit to being no Karl Rove but as a bit of political advice I would suggest such a move will help your team in the upcoming election but you will need to hurry. It won’t do your image any good if you decide to do it after the November election. Then again, maybe it’s to late to help that anyway.

Sincerely yours,

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 11, 2006



Just recently there’s been yet another scandal in Washington, DC. This time it involves a member of the House of Representatives and an under-age page. Many are charging that Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), had knowledge of this but did nothing about it. To which he replied, “As the Speaker I take responsibility for everything in the building. The buck stops here. The safety and security of the students in the Page program is imperative.”

That’s wonderful but, as I recall, George Bush eventually went to New Orleans and publicly stated that he accepted full responsibility for all the mistakes that were made regarding the hurricane Katrina fiasco. Of course, not much, in fact nothing, changed but he did accept responsibility. That was nice.

So, it would appear that all that’s needed to make any mess go away is admitting full responsibility. To me it’s regrettable that my world doesn’t seem to function that way. A short time ago I was involved in a minor traffic accident and I admitted I was responsible. My automobile insurance company paid the claim but when it came time to renew my policy I found my rates had doubled.

Washington, DC must be a nice place to live. When you screw up the procedure is simple. Admit your mistake, take full responsibility, and turn yourself in to a alcoholic rehabilitation center. When you get out it will have all gone away.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 9, 2006



A couple of days ago I posted a blog about getting my yellow t-shirt with the Chinese writing on the front that translated to "I can't speak Chinese". (If you missed the explanation it's back a couple.) I've had great reactions to this little gag and several people indicated they would like to own one also.

This led me back to where I had it made at Café Press. They offer to set up a "store" for me to sell my creations. I was interested. In fact, I thought it would even work in Japanese or Arabic or any other language for that matter. I decided to investigate the existing "stores" to see if this idea had already been done.

The answer is, "I have no idea." I began looking at all the t-shirts and there were some with very clever graphics. Some, were not so clever. They showed 10 at a time and I quit looking when it said I was seeing numbers 30 thru 39 out of 184,000. For those of you who find Numbers is a Second Language, that's one hundred and eighty-four thousand! There are 184,000 different t-shirts being offered for sale at Café Press! Wow!

So for now, I'll just hold off and delay my search for riches until later. It's just that my life expectancy is not such that I should get at the end of a line that's 184,000 people long. I don't even go to some fast-food restaurants simply because there often are 3 or 4 people ahead of me.

However, if anyone wants to copy my shirt and have one made for yourself, go ahead. When you make your first million dollars please don't tell me about it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 8, 2006



A new television program premiered last week and we rather enjoyed it. It was called "Ugly Betty". The story is about a particular girl named Betty who is somewhat less than a raving beauty. She happens to get a job working for a fashion magazine where everyone else there looks like fashion models. It's sort of a modern-day Cinderella story.

I have one thing I don't like about this program and that is the title. It seems to me the adjective "ugly" is particularly -- well -- ugly. I don't know why that word seems more repulsive to me than the many other synonyms. To me it wouldn't seem as bad if they had called her "Homely Betty" or something like that but she certainly isn't really "ugly". The actress, whose name is America Ferrera, is anything but ugly if you check her website by clicking here.

So, I think in the future I will think of this program has having the title of, "Pretty Good-Looking Considering Betty".

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 5, 2006



Some time back I mentioned having an idea that should, or might, make me very wealthy.
Well, this morning I launched my first field test.
To begin with, I had the t-shirt made.
You may recall the writing is Chinese and I’m told it means, “I can't speak Chinese.”
So this morning I had an appointment with my podiatrist, as it’s important for diabetics to have their feet checked often.
I wore my new yellow t-shirt.
When she (the doctor) came in I pointed to the inscription and said, “Chinese.”
Right on cue she said, “I can’t speak Chinese.”
I replied, “Right.”
She said, “What does it say?”
I looked down and said, “I can’t speak Chinese.”
She replied, ”It must mean something.”
To which I again said, “I can’t speak Chinese.”
This went on for several exchanges before she said, “Oh!” and started laughing so hard I felt she might faint.

All in all, the first road test was considered a success.
Upward and onward.
Or is it onward and upward.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 26, 2006



Well into the fourth day of being without television and I think I’m holding up fairly well. Once in awhile my heart races and my hands do tremble a bit when I think I heard a TV voice in the other room but other than that I think I’ll make it.

This TV fasting period did get me to thinking about the addictive aspect of television, or I suppose most anything else. I know when I studied such things I learned that man made a big jump forward when the wheel was invented. A long time after that another big step happened around 1455 when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type that made printing possible. Prior to that the only things to read were handwritten by monks.

I understand that Guttenberg printed big, 2-volumn bibles so reading was much like the early days of television when there was only one channel to watch but some people watched it even when the only thing visible was the station identifier picture. These people would stare at the screen and after a while something would appear. I really believe that they thought the staring caused the picture to appear. I’m sure some of them did. I knew them. One of them was my boss. Of course that was before I was teaching at the college. I was teaching at a high school.

I suppose back in Gutenberg’s day parents were always nagging their kids with things like, “When are you going to get your nose out of that bible?” Or, “Why don’t you get up and help your mother churn the lard – it’s good exercise for you.” Or even the well-worn, “There’s nothing good going to come from you looking at that junk all day.”

We seem to have survived that era and even though we can waste time much more efficiently now I suppose we’ll survive this one too. At least I hope so. I know I’m 4 days ahead of everyone else so that’s a start.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 18, 2006



**This is rather lengthy but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time**

I was a little surprised at the reaction of several people when I mentioned that I had flown airplanes in the U.S. Navy during World War II. I had many interesting experiences but find many of them hard to describe to someone who has never flown. For one thing, there's a matter of terminology. So today, inasmuch as my television set is broken I would like to describe some things that I learned about flying and, at the end, something I learned about life in general.

There are basically three things that control the movement of an airplane as it moves through the air.
Stearman biplane
Usually located at the rear of the plane there is the rudder, which the pilot controls by moving it left or right much the same as the rudder controls the direction a boat moves.
Also at the rear of the plane there are a pair of elevators. These move up and down and control the attitude of the plane with respect to its climbing or descending.
On the wings there are ailerons, which are synchronized so that when one moves up the other moves down. These are essential when banking the plane to make a turn.
Now this is where the fun begins. If you can picture using the ailerons to cause the plane to bank 90° you can see that, at that time the other control surfaces take on a different function. At this angle the rudder, which was controlling the direction, is now in the position of the elevators and therefore controls the up or down attitude.
If we continue using the ailerons to bank another 90° the plane is now in an inverted position and the elevator is back to controlling the up and down attitude except the controls are exactly opposite. That is, in an inverted position the control that ordinarily makes the plane climb would make it descend.
The reason I mention this is that we were all required to master several aerobatic (acrobatic) movements such as a simple loop where the plane dives down to pick up speed and then pulls up to an inverted position and then back to where it was. This is a fairly simple move except we were required to end up at exactly the same altitude and heading from where we started.
The one that was most difficult was called a "slow roll". In this maneuver the plane maintains its heading an altitude throughout the maneuver. It begins similar to a simple turn except the controls are worked against each other so the plane does not turn but rather rolls to an inverted position. As mentioned before, at this time all of the controls work the opposite from normal flight. This isn't too bad except that during the roll the controls have to constantly be controlled and changed from normal flight to something abnormal. When the roll is completed you’re expected to be heading the same direction you started and at the same altitude.

To this day, my logical mind tells me this is impossible for a human being to do that. Yet, I did it and, if I say so myself, I did it very well. I would hate to be required to do a slow roll today but then again there are quite a few things I would hate to be required to do that I routinely did 60 years ago.

All of this does lead to a short story with a moral. It happened in December in sub-zero Indiana when I was flying in open-cockpit planes that looked exactly like the picture above. At various times during our training we were required to undergo "check flights". At these times an instructor went with you and you are required to perform the required maneuvers on a pass/fail basis. The most difficult of these check flights was at the end of the aerobatic phase. Everyone dreaded the Aerobatic Check Flight.
Mine was scheduled for a particular Sunday afternoon at one o'clock. That Saturday evening a group of us were "on the town" having a good time. I was practicing drinking some kind of alcoholic beverage I had read about in a novel about naval aviators. After we returned to the base we passed the schedule board where I noticed my Sunday afternoon check flight had been, for some unknown reason, moved up to 7 a.m. The time I noticed this was after 3 a.m. I knew I was a dead duck for sure. The Aerobatic Check Flight was the most difficult part of the whole training and there certainly was no way I would be in shape to pass that at 7 a.m.
I did show up on the flight line and met my Check Flight Instructor. I was relying on the fact we were allowed to fail a test once, but only once. We took off and when we had reached the appropriate altitude I heard, "Okay, give me a slow roll."
“Yeah right. Well, here's your damned slow roll" I thought and started the maneuver. Oooh -- that was not bad. It amazed me! Then there was the loop and the snap roll and all the other maneuvers and they all seemed to work well.
When we were finished the instructor said to me, "That's the best flight I've ever checked."
So what did I learn? It wasn't that you go out drinking the night before something important but I did learn that if you'd need to do something and you do not get uptight about it you will do it better.

Trust me. It’s true.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

September 17, 2006



Probably big trouble lies ahead. My magnificent, high-definition television set has stopped functioning. It comes on with about 30 seconds of sound and then shuts off. It rests awhile and repeats the show. Since there is no picture at all this doesn't make for pleasant viewing.
Luckily we have an extended warranty. Unluckily, it will be "up to 48 hours", not including weekends before a technician will call to set up an appointment to repair it. Since this breakdown occurred on Friday it will probably be Tuesday before the technician calls to tell me they are very busy and they won't be able to get out to our place for another week or so. Then, I suppose, he/she will find there is a part that needs to be ordered and the only one available is in the backcountry of China.
So what does one do without any television? I seem to remember there were these stacks of paper with cardboard on the top and bottom that people called "books". I may have to look into that to help pass the time. Of course, I don't know if there will be any book that I can read on Sunday afternoon that will satisfy me as much as watching a football game.
Oh well!

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

September 15, 2006



Yesterday I wrote about seeing the geese flying south for the winter. I commented on the wonders of these creatures knowing when it was time to head to warmer weather. Once again, I was mistaken. The past two days are close to the warmest we have had all year in spite of the fact that summer is supposedly a thing of the past.

Maybe geese aren't as smart as I thought they were. Perhaps that's where the term, "Silly Goose" came from as in, "Why would you want to leave this lovely, warm weather, you silly goose?"

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 12, 2006



Almost every year I get the privilege of watching one of nature's mysteries. Yesterday, while driving along the coast, I saw two formations of geese heading south for the winter. I understand a group of geese is called a "gaggle".

One of the reasons this annual migration seems so awesome to me is my experience while flying in the U.S. Navy. There we were taught "formation flying" and it was almost exactly what these geese and their ancestors have been doing for centuries. That is, there would be one leader who would decide the altitude, speed and direction the whole formation would follow. The reasons we flew in these formations were the same reasons the geese do. That is, most of the fliers don't have to be concerned with navigation which, it would seem to me, is only one of the difficult parts.

One of the things I have always wondered about was who makes a decision as to who will be the leader? This would seem important to me because the leader not only gets to the right destination but also decides when it is time to rest and when it is time to start out again.

As often happens, some things remind me of experiences I had with my military flying. We had two slightly different formations. The one the geese use we called echelon. That is, there was a leader and each plane that followed was to the right or left and slightly lower than the plane ahead of it. Then there was one we called "step down". That was like one half of an echelon. It was in this step down formation that I had a memorable experience.
We were practicing night landings. In this exercise one of the planes took off (in the dark of course) and the other planes followed. The lead plane had an instructor and a student and I think there were about six other planes that followed keeping the step down formation. These other planes contained student pilots and I was in position 2, just behind the instructor.

We would take off, or rather the lead plane would take off and we would follow, and climbed to an altitude of 500 feet. Then the lead plane would make a U-turn and fly back parallel to the runway until it reached the point where it started. At that point the lead plane would bank and make a sharp U-turn at the same time descending to touch the runway and take off again to repeat the process.

Now, I was solo and following the lead plane, which in reality was only three dots of light. All went well until I started to make the turn to land the first time. At that point my plane is banked at an angle and the airplane wing obliterates my view of the lead plane. For a few seconds the lights disappear then as I straighten out to land the lights are supposed to appear in front of me again. They did not! There was no plane ahead of me! I had no leader! So, I got on the radio and called the tower to tell them I had lost my formation. I imagined the tower personnel roaring with laughter and eventually telling me to join up at the end of any other formation I could see. Since there were several, that was no problem. I made several practice landings and eventually taxied back and parked the plane.

It wasn't long before I saw my instructor coming towards me. I asked him what it happened that caused him to disappear. Controlling himself as best he could he said, "I was right underneath you! You could have killed me."

"Sorry, sir."

That was the answer. I had been coming in to a beautiful landing right on top of my instructor's airplane. Not exactly the way the to win friends and influence people. For some reason I never will understand, he did not report me and for that I'm was, and still am, grateful and think of him every time I see a gaggle of geese heading south.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 11, 2006



Yesterday I happened to notice that it was two years ago that I posted my first blog. I didn't count the archives but am assuming that means somewhere around 700 pieces of my drivel have appeared on the Internet. I couldn't help but wonder if anything worthwhile had been written. I imagined what it would be like if some historians dug up these blogs a thousand years from now. What would they learn?

They might have learned a few unusual things had happened during these two years. They might have noticed, for instance, that a man had been elected president. That it was a male would probably strike them as unusual but I'm sure he would take them some time to figure out how that happened when he didn't even get most of the votes.

As archaeologists and historians do, they probably would try to tie together different events to accurately establish dates. I'm sure they would be puzzled when they found that the Boston Red Sox had won the World Series as by then it would be common knowledge that was impossible.

If they happen to read the blog describing how I found my lost cell phone inside my shoe they might be puzzled. I'm sure that by that time cell phones will be small enough that people will lose them in their shoe under regular basis. In fact, it may be possible that the phone would be implanted in the shoe. (Do you remember Don Adams, in the 1965 TV series, "Get Smart" where Maxwell Smart was an agent who often talked into his shoe?)

Anyway, I think it gives me quite a bit of comfort to know that anything I write here won’t make a damn bit of difference a thousand years from now. In fact, now that I think of it, it won’t make any difference tomorrow.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 2, 2006



The other day I spotted something in a newspaper. It seems there is a man who is compiling a history of the interrogation of Nazi prisoners during World War II. There was a special compound where these prisoners were held and interrogated by special members of the United States Army. These interrogators were sworn to secrecy and even after they were discharged from the military service they were not allowed to speak of what they had done or were they had been. One man, who is now well over 80 years old, said that all of the time he was married his wife never knew what he did when he was in the Army. According to the historian, he needs to hurry his research because, in his words, "These men are quite frail and disappearing rapidly."

It seemed funny to me that I had never thought of myself as "frail" and I mentioned this to one of my daughters. Her reply was a questioning, "Really?" So I wondered if I really knew what "frail" meant. As usual I went to the dictionary.

Possibly I do meet some, or at lease one, of those definitions and I certainly don't feel that way. This made me wonder, "Why not?" For some reason I thought of how a sword is manufactured. In case you didn't know, to make a sword you start with a piece of steel and heat it up until it is a nice glowing red color. Then you take some sort of a large hammer and begin pounding on it trying to flatten it out. After a while the red glow disappears and you reheat the metal until it's red again. Then, once again, you take the big hammer and beat the hell out of it.

In order to make a good strong sword this process must be repeated several times. In fact, the more times the metal is beat up on, the stronger it is. This made me wonder if it might not be the same for people. If so, I certainly have been through that process often enough. Perhaps that's why I feel stronger. Maybe it's just that I've had the emotional hell beat out of me enough times that I have finally attained the strength of a good sword.

That explanation was sufficient for me for a while but then my background in manufacturing came to mind. There is one very important thing I didn't mention that's required to make a good sword. You first must start with a piece of metal that has some good stuff inside. If that isn't there to begin with you can beat on it from now until eternity and you will never get a sword -- at least not a good sword.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 26, 2006



Since wearing a sweatshirt with some kind of printing on it seems to be a popular thing to do, I think someone could make some money selling a sweatshirt that looks like this.
Basically I feel it’s a rather attractive design with the Chinese characters across the front. In addition, if you were wearing this someone would certainly ask, “What does that mean?” You would just reply, “I don’t understand Chinese.”

Since that is what it actually says (or so I’m told) imagine the interesting conversations that might follow.

I wish I could say this was 100% my idea but it wasn’t. I heard some stand-up comedian mention it as an idea for a tatoo. I’d give him credit if I knew his name but unfortunately the age factor is apparently moving in and I don’t remember it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 17, 2006



I have a friend in Scotland who recently told me she had visited Drummond Castle Gardens. This place has a really nice website with many good pictures of the gardens. However, there was one thing that caught my attention. There was a notice of what the admission charges were for 2006.
Admission 2006:
Adults £4.00
Superadults £3.00
Children £1.50
10% discount for groups of 20 or more
Limited disabled access

I think I finally have found an appealing description of what I am. I never quite bought into "Senior Citizen" or any of those other terms but now I can proudly admit to being a Superadult!

The Super Professor
Carmel, CA
August 9, 2006



As you may recall we have a very small dog named Jake. We also live in a house where our bedroom is upstairs and we would prefer that Jake did not come upstairs during the night. I tried to explain this to Jake but occasionally finding him nosing around the bed at 3 a.m. required I take additional steps.

First I stapled a small piece of Velcro on the face of the bottom stair.
Then I found on old mailing box and cut it to fit and glued on a matching piece of Velcro. I then pressed the box against the bottom stair.
To be sure there was no misunderstanding I painted a sign on it.
This sign explained that there were to be NO DOGS UPSTAIRS.
I was amazed that this dog, with little or no formal education, was able to read that sign and he didn't come upstairs.
I decided to test him further and got another box.
This time I wrote the message in French.
I know you'll find this hard to believe, I find it hard to believe myself, but that dog can read French just as well as he can read English.

Amazing! I may test him in other languages too.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA
August 6, 2006



I think I may have accidentally stumbled upon the answer to a question people have been asking for many many years. What happens at the end? The way I discovered this was quite accidental which is how most great discoveries are made.

Not far from here there is a country club called RANCHO CAÑADA. I personally speak very little Spanish but almost anyone can see this means, "Ranch that isn't in Canada". Every once in awhile they put on a thing and they call a Crab Fest. It actually is a wonderful buffet dinner with an all-you-can-eat meal. As the name indicates there are heaping piles of fresh Dungeness Crab as well as prime ribs of beef and almost endless tables of other wonderful food. It was a fantastic dining experience!

I had never been to RANCHO CAÑADA before but we went with friends who guided us there. This is when I discovered what happens at the end. We turned off the main highway on to a straight narrow road that came to an abrupt end. Just in case one didn't know the road had ended there was a sign posted that read END.
When we looked to the left we saw the entrance to RANCHO CAÑADA.
When we look to the right there was a driveway to a church.
Underneath the END sign there was another sign that seemed to me to indicate what one should do at the END.
PLAY or PRAY. Those were the only choices.
There wasn't any preference indicated so I assume when one gets to the end it's a matter of individual choice.
We always want to do the right thing but this time we turned left.
And a great time was had by all!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 5, 2006

By the way,
I think RANCHO CAÑADA really refers to a ranch located in a small valley between hills.



I wonder when this happened and how long it was before I noticed it.  Has anyone else noticed that somehow the earth has moved farther away from our feet and it hasn't even been mentioned on the news?  I noticed that especially today when I needed to do a small job involving some tools that were on the floor.  I found that picking up those tools seemed to be a lot more difficult than it used to be.  The only thing I can attribute this to is the fact that the earth must of somehow moved farther away from my feet than where it used to be because I can clearly remember being able to bend over and pick up a tool with one hand while doing something else with the other.  The present distance makes that impossible.  

I can only wonder what kind of an effect of this will have on the economy inasmuch as people such as carpenters, car mechanics, plumbers and so forth are constantly picking up things from the floor.  Now it will take them some time longer, which of course translates to more costly.

I don't know how they did it and I don't really even have any objection to them doing it I just wish they had told me either before they did it or at least after they did it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 4, 2006



I’ve mentioned previously that we have a small dog named Jake. He’s a Shih Tzu we adopted from an animal shelter. He’s a great dog but has some kind of problem that has him scratching all the time. We started out trying to get help from our regular veterinarian with no luck. We even went to a Veterinary Acupuncturist with zero success. So a couple of months ago we ended with an Animal Dermatologist. One wouldn’t think there would be sufficient patients for such a specialty but the waiting room is fairly full whenever we go there. They even have Animal Ophthalmologists but thankfully Jake’s eyes seem good so far.

We are still working on trying to determine and fix what’s bothering the little fellow but I ran into an interesting thing this morning. The Animal Dermatologist we are working with is only one of a group. The name of the group is Dermatology For Animals, which they abbreviate on all their stationary as D4A. I was writing about them and made a typographical error. I meant to type D4A but accidentally held the shift key down while typing the number “4” so the actual name came out to be D$A!

In perusing the bill I think that D$A is a much better title -- especially in Red.
My only suggestion would be that it be D$A.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 31, 2006



I wonder if anyone dies anymore.

Each morning I read the local paper and even though I know very few people in this area I always read the obituaries. I think it’s mostly to be sure I’m not listed in there yet and also a little of the morbid curiosity factor.

But lately I notice almost no one around here dies. They mostly “pass away” or “pass”. A few even “went to the other side” while one very confident person was “now in the arms of Jesus.” Some even seem to have “deceased unexpectedly”. I’m not sure if that’s better that deceasing expectedly or not. I suppose it’s a matter of preference. I know for me it’s going to have to sneak up on me and I’m damned sure I may be waiting but it won’t be with much expectation.

Eager anticipation: eyes shining with expectation.
I hope mine reads something like: “Old Professor, born 1923 died smiling in the arms of a lovely woman in 2040.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 29, 2006



A few days ago we watched a 1989 movie that open my eyes to some things. The title was “Chances Are” and it starred Cybill Shepard and Robert Downey, Jr. The plot was about Cybill Shepard becoming a widow due to an accident her husband was in. Some 20 years later she falls in love with her daughter’s boyfriend who she is convinced is her late husband come back to life.
Okay, parts of the story are a little far-fetched including the fact that Cybill still looks pretty much as she did 20 years ago but, still, there was some very informative stuff in there too. For example, they had an actual scene in Heaven were these people were all strolling around and the surface they were walking on was white, fluffy stuff almost knee-deep. Now, no one actually said what the white, fluffy stuff was but anyone who has seen (or even heard of) Al Gore’s new movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” certainly recognizes it as carbon dioxide. Yes, that same carbon dioxide which is creating the greenhouse effect even reaches into Heaven.
Now if this greenhouse effect has the side benefit of keeping Cybill looking that good maybe we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that everything about it is bad. It wouldn’t hurt to look into it a little more before we all dump our automobiles and get bicycles.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 19, 2006



Yesterday I went to our on-the-street mailbox.  As I pulled the door open I saw a business-size, white envelope addressed to me and the return address was simply DICK CHENY.

Since I know of only one Dick Cheny I obtained a long stick and poked it several times.  Nothing happened so I went to the kitchen and got some tongs. Eventually I managed to get the DICK CHENY envelope to the shredder but shredding it wasn’t easy. I pushed the unopened envelope in, started the machine and ran as fast as I could, which at my age isn’t very fast. Luckily there was no explosion or anything of the sort.

Just the same, one can never be too careful.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 18, 2006



This morning, as usual, I checked my e-mail and was surprised to find one unusual Subject listed. It said, "Thank you for being a Pain"
Thank you Corel for being so honest. Even so I enjoy using your Paint Shop Pro graphics software.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 17, 2006

PS Later I found the entire message said "Thank you for being a Paint Shop Pro user." Oh well.



You might have heard of the trouble with tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts. It seems that a huge concrete section of the ceiling weight about 3 tons fell on a car and killed one of the occupants. According to Associated Press the Governor is investigating.
Gov. Mitt Romney took control of inspections of the troubled Big Dig highway project Friday, pledging that he would not reopen a tunnel where a woman was killed until engineers resolve problems with heavy concrete ceiling panels that collapsed.
Romney said the tunnel could remain closed for weeks, until he is confident the 3-ton panels will not fall on motorists.
''And at this stage, you just have to cross your fingers that they don't come down,'' he said. ''The people who are working in the tunnel are wearing hard hats for a reason.''
Yes, Governor, Ill be sure that when that 3-ton concrete slab falls on me I'll be wearing a hard hat.

Am I the only one who sees these idiotic statements?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 15, 2006



In reading about dyslexia I think I discovered something about our dog, Jake.

I read that one form of dyslexia is when attempting to read letters and words they might appear to be reversed. As this definition said:
“dyslexia (dĭslĕk'sēə) , in psychology, a developmental disability in reading or spelling, generally becoming evident in early schooling. To a dyslexic, letters and words may appear reversed, e.g., d seen as b or was seen as saw.”
This might be the answer to something that’s been puzzling me for some time now. I know dogs lack the ability to read but they do recognize things and I’m wondering if our dog might be dyslexic. You see we know that Jake is a DOG but perhaps in his dyslexic brain he sees it as GOD.

At times he certainly behaves that way.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 8, 2006



July 5, 2006

Dear Mr. President,

You probably have heard about what’s going on in North Korea these days. If you haven’t, maybe someone has mentioned that Kim Jong-il is off his medications and playing with missiles again. Of course, you must do something and I have an idea that will surely help you and it’s easy.

You send some troops into North Korea. There doesn’t need to be many and, as usual, they will only be there a short time.

  1. Have someone find that big statue of Kim Jong-il. There always is one someplace.
  2. Have some people tie a bunch of ropes around the statue and tip it over. Hopefully it breaks but that’s not a necessary thing.
  3. Now the important part: Tell the troops to go home. Tell them it’s over, done, finished.
  4. Now you go find your old flight jacket and get someone to fly you to an aircraft carrier where you can stand in front of a big sign that says, “MISSION ACCOPMPLISHED”.

Isn’t that simple? It shouldn’t take more than a day or two at the most.

By the way, you’re doing a heck of a job.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 5, 2006



I am fortunate enough to live with a woman who loves flowers. Her specialty is orchids but there also are about 80 different roses on the property.

This morning I was struck by the image of two beautiful orchid blooms in our bathroom.

Is that cool or what? Orchids in the bathroom!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 2, 2006



There must be something about my appearance that draws strange people to me.  This morning I was in a pet supply store and I had our dog, Jake, on a leash.  A rather large man wearing some kind of delivery person's uniform stopped and said, “Hi” to the dog.

Nothing weird yet. Many people do that.  However, afterward he turned to me and said, “That's a nice dog. I saw one just like that get run over by a truck – the truck ran right over him. He just got up and ran away.”

Okay, a little different but then he said, “If God can do that for a dog, why can't he do it for a person?”

Then he turned and walked away. I hadn't said a word.

Now that's a little bizarre even for me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 30, 2006



(Please excuse the image overlapping on the right but I wanted to be sure you could see this.)
The other day I ran across a software program that was new to me. It promises to take any text I write and dress it up. That is, it’s supposed to catch any grammatical errors, suggest better word usage or, in general, make what I write more
elegant. I figured I could use a bit of elegance so I bought it. In order to test it I wrote this rather inelegant sentence.
I ain’t going to no movie with nobody.
Then I pushed the magic key and saw these suggestions.

Ah ha, so “movie” ain’t such an elegant word.

The program suggests I might want to use “picture” or “feature” to enhance my word.

Okay then but I still ain’t going to no impressive feature with nobody.

Pass the champagne please.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 27, 2006



It seems that LIFE magazine now appears in my Sunday newspaper as a small supplement.
This past Sunday it contained an article that addressed Global Warming and offer 5 steps that anyone can do to help correct this situation. I was amazed and more than a little amused by selection Number 1.
That is Number 1?
I guess all this talk about alternative fuels is just nonsense. As long as everyone brings a garment bag to the dry cleaners the problem is well in its way to being solved.

At least I’m doing my part. I haven’t been to a dry cleaner in several years now. Perhaps that should be the Number 1 suggestion: Don’t buy things that need dry cleaning!
That’s probably impossible because the dry cleaners probably have a powerful lobbyist in Washington and he wouldn’t like that.
The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 25, 2006



Way back around 200 BC there was a Greek man named Archimedes. He lived on the island of Sicily, which is now part of Italy, but then it belonged to Greece. Archimedes was an inventor and scientist who discovered many things we take for granted these days. Much of his work was around hydraulics and pulleys and other work-saving devices.

The other day I was listening to a program where they were dramatizing various scientific discoveries and they had different voices imitating what they assumed each scientist would sound like. I was amazed that Archimedes spoke English as well as he did even though he had a heavy accent.

He actually said something like, “You a givea me a lever an a placea to stan an I canna liffa da worl.” It sounded just like a line from some movie version of a mafia leader.

On the other hand, if he had spoken Greek and said, "Εάν μου δίνετε έναν μοχλό αρκετό καιρό και μια θέση στη στάση, μπορώ να ανυψώσω τον κόσμο" I wouldn’t have understood.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 24, 2006



I’ve always been interested in how things are made. I recently watched a TV documentary showing how bathtubs are made. Bathtubs, at least some bathtubs, are actually made out of cast iron. However, cast iron is highly susceptible to rust so they are coated with hard, non-porous enamel.

That in itself isn’t a terribly exciting thing to know but I was also reading about teeth and they are much the same. Not from the rust angle but from the outer coating being a hard, porcelain-type enamel.

So if you see the similarity between bathtubs and teeth you will see why I was excited to see this new product.

It’s called SCRUB FREE and is really intended for cleaning bathtubs without any scrubbing. You just spray it on and rinse it off. Though I’m sure the inventors didn’t have this in mind but it should work great for teeth too. It does say something about wearing gloves but that’s not too difficult if it would eliminate that old-fashioned tooth brushing routine. Do you realize how much time you could save over a lifetime?

There is one detail I haven’t worked out yet and it concerns the fumes that apparently are generated. It suggests if vapors bother you leave the room. I haven’t quite got that part worked out but I’m working on it. So far I think it’s OK for denture wearers.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 23, 2006

P.S. Do not try this at home as it is still in the experimental stage.



From 1966 to 1968 I was working for the U. S. State Department as part of a program that was then known as AID, which stood for Agency For International development. I was part of a team that went to a small country in Africa called Malawi. We were there to train Malawians in some of the modern technologies such as electronics, machine tools, welding, etc. The goal was for this very poor country to be able to get out of the primitive age and into a thriving modern society.

I recently went online to check and see how they were doing these days. The simple answer is, “Not so good.” They still rank near the bottom of the ladder in almost everything.

One thing in particular caught my eye. At birth today the average life expectancy in Malawi is 37.6 years for a male and 36.6 for a female. Though that is one of the lowest, it seems all of the countries in that general area have very low life expectancies. For a comparison, in the United States a man can expect to live to better than 77 years of age. In Japan it’s over 80 and for some reason the people in the small country of Andorra can expect to hit 83. I wondered why Andorra was so great so I did some research and found that Andorra is a tiny country tucked between Spain and France. In looking at all the statistics I could find I didn’t spot any obvious reason for their longevity until I read, “Many immigrants (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes.”

Ah ha! No income taxes. I’m guessing here but it’s possible that the amount of income is so small it’s not considered worth bothering with. Be that as it may, I was still considering moving there until I read the main industry is “tourism because of skiing”. As I recall skiing and snow usually go together. The first 38 years of my life I lived with snow, which leads me to wonder if they really do live longer or it just seems longer.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 21, 2006



We live on what is know as the Monterey Peninsula. This means we are, more or less, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean. Almost any direction we look we see endless expanses of water. Yet one of our largest problems is water. That is, usable water. There currently are experiments going on to get more water by desalinization but for now our water is in short supply and expensive. If a watering hose is left on accidentally overnight our water bill is huge. However, our water is very drinkable and I am constantly amazed at the amount of bottled water that is sold and the price people will pay for it.

My amazement soared the other day when I saw some 1-gallon, glass bottles on the shelf and noticed where it came from. Using the equally amazing power of my cell phone to take photos I snapped this picture.

NEW ZEALAND!!! New Zealand is almost 7,000 miles away from here and yet it’s possible to ship water and sell it at a cost people are willing to pay. Amazing.

I wonder if the people who buy this are the same ones who complain about the high cost of gasoline.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 20, 2006



I’m not really sure what the recommended protocol is these days for teaching your children about sex.  However, I do clearly remember the way my parents did it for me many, many years ago. My parental sex education took two sessions.  The first one came when I was in my early teens.  For some reason my father needed to go out one evening on some work-related thing. He asked if I wanted to go along for the ride.  Since this was such a rare occurrence – like never – I accepted.  We drove for about ten minutes in complete silence. This was not unusual as my dad was not a very talkative guy anyway.  Finally he spoke one sentence.  He said, “Don’t play with yourself.”

That was it. My complete sex education was delivered in four words.  Well, five actually because I replied “Okay.” and that subject was never mentioned for another ten years or so. Then it was my mother who decided to complete my sex education.

It was just prior to my getting married and I can see her now, dusting the dining room table.  Without stopping or looking up she said, “I’m concerned about your marrying this young lady. She seems rather on the frail side and there’s one thing for sure, when men don’t get sex regularly they get grouchy.” That was it!

Now you may think this is dumb for me to write this here but frankly, I don’t care what you think. I never asked you to read this in the first place. If you don’t like it, get the hell out of here and don’t come back. Sheez!



Every now and then something happens to me that further convinces me there is some power watching over me and keeping me out of trouble most of the time. Well, some of the time anyway. I don’t have a name for this though I realize some people call this power God and others call it The Force but I know it’s there. It really saved me a couple of days ago. I had written a blog on June 7, 2006 and went to post it only to get the message that the “system was down – try later”. I did try later and it still wasn’t working so I temporarily gave up the idea.

By the time I did manage to get connected I had decided not to post it at all. I had written about the date June 6, 2006 which some people were interpreting as 6-6-6, which, according to The Bible (Revelation 14:9-11) is The Mark Of The Beast.

In the blog that I decided not to post I was pointing out that the Bible was a collection of stories, poems and essays written a long time ago by some people who weren’t even high school graduates. But I eventually decided not to post it at all since it might offend people who are strong bible believers.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 10, 2006



In yesterday’s blog (see Previous Posts to right) I came up with the idea of putting our small dog, Jake, in the clothes drier set on low. This would give him exercise instead of my walking him each day. The only drawback that I could see was Jake being in the dark. So I came up with this miner's hat.

I haven’t actually tried it yet but it should work fine.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 1, 2006

PS This blog reflects my own personal opionions and experiences. Do not try this without consulting a trained professional.