Today we ate an interesting vegetable for lunch. It was the “Hungry Jack Easy Mash’d Potatoes” with ”garlic ‘n skins”. Don’t ask me why there are missing letters needing apostrophes. I don’t know.

But I got to reading the package and noted there were probably at least 30 ingredients listed. Many of these I’ve never heard of and, for all I know, may even be fictitious. But I do know when ingredients are listed, the thing listed first is the stuff there is the most of and, of course, the ingredient at the end of the list has the smallest amount.

Miraculously, the first listed ingredient was potatoes though even after that there was something in parentheses. It was (DRIED POTATOES; MALTODEXTRIN; SHORTENING POWDER;). Then there were all kinds of mystery ingredients like DISODIUM PHOSPHATE and PYROPHOSPHATE and SODIUM BISULFATE to mention a couple. There were many others.

However, the thing that impressed me most was the last ingredient on the list, which meant it was the smallest amount. It was MALTED BARLEY FLOUR.

Now perhaps that doesn’t sound too odd but in my mind I picture a group of experts taste-testing each batch of this product. Now at some time someone tasted it and said, “I think it needs just a touch of malted barley flour.” So they put in a pinch and, voilĂ , that was it.

Strange world.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

November 21, 2007



I must have misunderstood something when I was in school. Today I read this in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 — President Bush telephoned President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan today to urge him to return his country to civilian rule as soon as possible.
“My message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform,” Mr. Bush said he told Mr. Musharraf. “You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time.”
Did he say you can’t be president and the head of military at the same time? Yes, that’s what he said all right.

It seems to me the United States Constitution spells it out in Section 2, Clause 1 where it says:
”The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
Now to me that says a person not only can be, but must be, president and the head of the military.

Maybe he forgot to add, “and do either very well”.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 7, 2007



Fairly recently another visible indication of old age appeared on my legs. Something they call varicose veins appeared. Without getting too graphic, the visible veins in my legs have become enlarged enough so my legs look like a contour map of the State of Colorado. I’m not sure exactly what long-term damage might be done if I were to just ignore these veins and wear some elastic support stockings but I decided to find out.

There are doctors who specialize in this problem and I went to see one. He explained the whole process and we decided to go for the endovenous laser treatment. If you don’t know what that means don’t be concerned. I didn’t either but the word “endovenous” means “Within the blood vessel.” Laser means "Any of several devices that emit highly amplified and coherent radiation of one or more discrete frequencies. One of the most common lasers makes use of atoms in a metastable energy state that, as they decay to a lower energy level, stimulate others to decay, resulting in a cascade of emitted radiation." As if we didn't know that

When we finished the preliminary examination and decided to proceed I needed to sign 6 or 7 papers. Most of them were giving permission and promising, if anything went wrong, I would not sue anyone and just admit it was my fault. Then, as I was leaving the office, I was handed a sheaf of papers describing just what was going to be done. That was when I had a flashback.

For more years than I like to think about I stood in front of classes and delivered a bit of my accumulated wisdom to them. I might spend an hour in front of a class explaining some highly technical aspect of the subject but at the end I always asked, “Are there any questions?”

Every time.
Without fail, someone would ask, “Is this going to be on the final exam?” In fact, I used to amuse myself be trying to guess who would be the one to ask that question. I’m afraid I never quite understood the question. Was the questioner saying, “I don’t want to overfill my mind by remembering this unless we might need it for a final exam.” I always tried to reassure the class that remembering it wouldn’t take up that much brain-room whether it was on the final exam or not.

When the doctor’s nurse handed me the papers I asked, “Is this going to be on the final exam?”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 2, 2007



Quite often I run into someone who knows I’m a professor and assumes I know everything. I don’t. As an example, last week someone asked me, “Do you know anything about italics?”

I said, “Well, I know they are responsible for some great art works and they make an excellent lasagna.”

Other Person said, “Oh no, I meant italics, like in slanty writing.”

I admitted I didn’t know much about italics at all and Other Person looked so disappointed I decided to do some research on the subject. Apparently most Other Persons have no idea it’s possible to do this. In other words, I get the feeling that if I can’t answer their question they never will know.

My research in to the world of italics showed me more things than I really wanted to know about italics but at the same time led me to a discovery about italics that I believe is groundbreaking.

Now, I assume most of us know there must be some common use for italics. Otherwise why would they make it so easy to use italics in even the most basic word processors? Note that I used one of the functions of italics there. That is to emphasize a word or words. Other not so common uses include using italics for a title as in, “Why don’t you check The Encyclopedia Britannica, you moron?” Not that I would ever say it like that. Which demonstrates another use of italics: when writing a single letter as the I in “Not that I.”

It was a surprise to me to find there are dozens, well many, uses for italics that I had never crossed my mind. For example, how many people would guess that citing legal cases should be italicized, as in the case of Ho v. Hum ? But I also made a new discovery about italics that I can’t find any reference to. In other words, I believe I have stumbled upon a major discovery about italics that in the lexicography world ranks right up there with the discovery about dangling participles and the I before E except after C rule. Or is that the other way around?

Allow me to demonstrate what led to my discovery. I will write two statements. One contains italicizing that the other doesn’t. Look carefully and see if you see any discrepancies.

1. John could see no use for italics.

2. John could see no use for italics.

Do you see the difference? Well neither did I at first. Actually in Line 1. the word italics. is different from the word italics. in line 2. The period at the end of line 2 is not italicized!

So, the new rule which should be added to all the references is, “A period or a comma can be italicized or not as the writer pleases.”

Before the rule goes before the International Punctuation Committee next June it might be a good idea to omit reference to the comma. I think the same rule applies but I haven’t researched the comma as thoroughly as I did with the period or, as some people call it, the dot.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 26, 2007



I'm hoping this will be readable because if I just told you it was in the paper this morning you wouldn't believe it but right on the front page was this little item:
In case you can't read it here is the plain text version:

Man trying to hide

from police gets

stuck inside dryer



Herald Staff Writer

A Salinas man got stuck in a clothes dryer early Wednesday when he tried to hide from the law, police reported.
Shortly after midnight, 27- year-old Andre Jameson was approached by police, who said he was sitting in a "suspicious" parked vehicle at Marin Avenue and Leslie Drive.
Police said when they attempted to do a pat-down search of Jameson, he ran east toward Natividad Road, where he tossed a plastic bag containing what officers suspect was rock cocaine and marijuana.
Surrounded by officers who began conducting yard-to-yard searches, Jameson was spotted hopping fences in the area of Saratoga Drive.
Officers said they saw him enter a residence in the 7C block of Los Coches Avenue.
After a check inside the build- ing failed to locate Jameson, one officer took a peek in the garage,
Jameson, who is 6 feet 1 inches tall, jammed himself into a clothes dryer, police said, and he couldn't get out.
Police said it took some 20 minutes before he could free himself from the tight spot.
When he did, Jameson arrested and booked on charge of drug possession, resisting a police officer and concealing evidence.
Julia Reynolds can be reached at 648-1187 or jreynolds@montereyherald.com

This can also be viewed at the paper's web site:
though it usually doesn't stay there very long.

I would say this man has some serious problems coming up in his life if this is the best he can do when forced to think on his feet-- so to speak.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 18, 2007



In mentioning the subject to others over the years I am guessing the most Senior Citizens still can recall their early sex education or perhaps the lack of it. I was the eldest of 4 children and I recall what my parents taught me as if it were yesterday. I must have been around 12 or 13 years old when I think my parents probably got together and my mother must have told my father, “It’s about time you had a talk with Junior about -- you know.”

Now, my dad wasn’t very talkative man. He was a man of few words but they usually meant something. I always felt if I looked up the word “taciturn” in the dictionary I would see a picture of my father.

So, one evening, out of the blue, my dad announced he had to go out for some reason and suggested I go along “for the ride”. After we had been driving for 10 minutes or so in dead silence I began to suspect something unusual was up. I was afraid I had done something and was about to get a lecture about it so I just sat there quietly waiting for what was to come.

Finally, my dad sort of cleared his throat and said, “Don’t play with yourself.”

I said, “Okay.”

Then we drove home in silence. As a youngster all I learned about sex was summed up in a 20-minute car ride and a 4-word statement.

Well, that isn’t quite true. One week before I was to be married my mother felt compelled to give me her thoughts. I can still see her dusting a table and, without looking up, saying, “I’ve been very concerned about this young lady you are marrying. (she called her by name) She seems so frail. And there’s one sure thing about a marriage; if a man doesn’t get sex regularly he gets cranky.”

I forget what I said then but it was probably something very guarded because I really didn’t want to sound cranky but then again I wondered how would she interpret my lack of crankiness.

Nowadays I think the situation might be reversed. Perhaps the son is the one who brings up the subject and while visiting his dad in “The Home” he might wrap the blanket around him and tell his dad, “You shouldn’t play with yourself in public.” Or something like that. And the father might drool a little; nod his head and say, ”Okay.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 17, 2007

Oh yeah, did you click on the word taciturn?



Some time in the past two years I exposed one of my semi-brilliant scientific ideas. I had read of the remarkable coincidence of some things that often happen in the aging process and how, when nearing the end of life, people often go through the identical stages they went through starting life. The source I read pointed out that we start out unable to walk or talk and because we have no teeth we can’t even chew food. It’s remarkable that we often end up the same way we started. It even pointed out that old age often puts a person back to using diapers just like the beginning of life.

Well, I, in my scientific exploration, began wondering what happens to older people when some one asks the how old they are. You know how it goes with children.

“How old are you little girl?”

“Free”, she says holding up three fingers. They always seem to need the fingers held up so we understand the number.

Now how can an older person do that? We only have ten fingers. This is where I came up with the solution. –- Roman Numerals! In fact, I wondered if that wasn’t where Roman Numerals came from. Way back then a person would ask that question and the answer could be given with fingers. You know, an “I” means one and a “V” stands for 5 and “X” means 10 though I found it really takes two hands to make an “X” with your fingers. All of these could be shown with 10 fingers and in combinations to cover most ages.

Now here I must apologize for making a serious scientific error and I’ll explain after this.

If a man were 91-years old and someone said, “And how old are you old timer?” All he would need to do is mumble a number and since the Roman Numerals for 91 are XCI he would hold up his fingers like this:

Do you see the error in my brilliant method?

It was several days later while testing this on some random subjects that I found my system had a serious flaw. In the example I used above the old person holds up his fingers and HE reads this as XCI with no problem but the person on the other side who is reading it will see “I” and a something and an “X” but that doesn’t make any sense.

So, right now I am researching to find other cases where other famous scientists made errors the first time. It might make me feel better if I knew I wasn’t the only one.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 14, 2000



The other day I posted a brief blog that referred to "The Fence". In thinking about it some more I came up some other interesting uh, stuff. Like this: The following is an imaginary meeting between an imaginary Government Bigshot and an imaginary Old Professor.

Government Bigshot: Hello and welcome to Washington.
Old Professor: Thank you for seeing me, sir.
GB: Well, what can I do for ya?
OP: Well, I was wondering about some of the things going on in Washington they don’t seem to make sense to me.
GB: Really? Like what?
OP: Well, I’m hearing a lot about illegal aliens.
GB: Oh yeah, them foreigners who come here and ruin our schools and hospitals.
OP: How do they ruin the schools, sir?
GB: They go to them, that’s how. They go there and they don’t know nothing.
OP:Isn’t that what schools are supposed to do; teach them?
GB: Well now, how we supposed to learn someone who can’t speak English right? You know, some of them don’t even know what illegal means.
OP: In this context, what does it mean?
GB: What? Are you one of them?
OP: One of what, sir?”
GB: One of them illawful aliens.
OP: Illegal aliens?
GB:Yup, that’s it. They shouldn’t oughta be here at all.
OP: Why is that, sir?
GB: Well, ya see ya got your country and all around the country are borders on every side. Well, we don’t count two sides because they got water there. Oceans, ya know. But these borders are supposed to keep people out. That’s what borders mean. That's in the Constitution. You can look that up.
OP: I see. But how do these borders work to keep people out?
GB: Well, there’s two ways. First we got guards waiting at the border. They stop everybody coming in and ask them if they are illegal what you called them there.
OP: Aliens?
GB: Yeah, that’s it, illegal aliens.
OP: That sounds incredible. Do some admit they are?
GB: Well, the time I was there 7 years ago there weren’t none but every once in awhile they get one who admits it.
OP: Admits he is an illegal alien?
GB: Well, maybe they don’t admit the illegal part but we got agencies that are experts in illegal stuff.
OP: But there must be many who somehow get through.
GB: Yah, but not past those guards. They sneak in some other way.
OP: How?
GB: They come across the border where the guards ain’t. Sometimes they do it at night.
OP: How do you prevent that?
GB: The answer to that is obvious. We seal the borders.
OP: How do we do that?
GB: We’re gonna build a fence 700 miles long across the US-Mexican border.
OP: What about the Canadian border to the north?
GB: It’s terrorists we're talking about.
OP: I don’t understand. What about terrorists?
GB: Oh, well, it’s the terrorists we’re worried about and they never come in that way. You see terrorists come from the Middle East and it’s very hot there. Canada is too cold for them so they go to Mexico where it’s warmer.”
OP: I see, but will that fence thing work?”
GB: Of course it will work. Just ask China. They had the idea centuries ago and they built that famous wall that’s thousands of miles long.
OP: How did that work out for them?
GB: They don’t have many Mexicans there.
OP: Well, who picks their lettuce then?
GB: They don’t have none. Ya see, over there they eat with those giant toothpick things.
GB: Yah, chop picks. They eat with chop picks and they can’t pick up lettuce good.
OP: So, as I see it, you seal the borders to protect against terrorists but what about that schools and hospitals thing.
GB: Well that too. Ya can see it ain’t easy sitting in this chair.
OP: Yes, I can see that and thank you for enlightening me.
GB: Come by anytime and say “Hi” to the wife for me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 13, 2007



Right now there are many people in the United States government who seem to be in a panic about the number of illegal aliens in the country. If one were to step back and listen to the arguments you would believe you were in some sort of Alice in Wonderland thing. Most of these people just don’t make any sense and no one even seems to notice that.

Many avoid saying it out loud but when referring to “illegal aliens” most of the time that is a synonym for Mexicans, though other Latin Americans fit in the group too. Now, most of these xenophobic people seem to think our borders are not protected and there are “illegal aliens” sneaking across. We even have pictures of some of them doing just that during the night. We must protect our borders from – uh, terrorists, that’s it, terrorists.

Everyone remembers the 9-11 Trade Towers incident and we sure don’t want to let that happen again. “So what shall we do?” ask our government officials.

The answer is obvious, “We seal the borders.”

“How do we do that?”

“We build a fence 700 miles long across the US-Mexican border.”

“What about the Canadian border to the north?”

“Oh, well, terrorists never come in that way. You see terrorists come from the Middle East and it’s very hot there. Canada is too cold for them so they go to Mexico where it’s warmer.”

“I see but will that fence thing work?”

“Of course it will work. Just ask China. They had the idea centuries ago and they built that famous wall that’s thousands of miles long.”

“How did that work out for them?”

“They don’t have many Mexicans there.”

Don’t look behind the curtain!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 10, 2007



I understand the Dead Sea Scrolls were written on papyrus so they would last a long time. And, according to what I hear, Moses, with the same idea in mind, used stone. I’m left wondering what material I could use today to assure a message would be readable many, many years from now.

You may wonder why this would interest me. Allow me to explain. Our home is 5 or 6 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. (I was about to say “inland from the Pacific Ocean” – duh) Last night I listened to a discussion about global warming and heard that it is expected sea level will have risen a foot by the end of this century. It was pointed out that a continuing rise in sea level would eventually mean great damage to coastal cities and maybe even eliminate Florida -- if that’s important to anyone.

This made me think about our property inasmuch as we aren’t that far from the ocean. I used Google Earth to see what our elevation was and found we are exactly 132 feet above sea level. That means that in only about 120 centuries from now we could be expensive beach front property. That’s a mere 12,000 years from now!

Of course I won’t be here. I’ve already figured that out but I do want to get some long-lasting material in order to jot down a note for the owners telling them just how to go about jiggling the handle on the toilet to make the water stop running. It would seem like a decent thing to do.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 24, 2007



I’m sure most people have noticed this without my pointing it out but old people walk in a different manner than younger people. In addition to being slower their stride is usually shorter and perhaps they don’t seem quite as steady on their feet. Now this is “most older people” – not all. All right, many older people. Well, some older people then.

The last time I had my annual physical the doctor mentioned that over 80% of his patients my age seem to have had some kind of a fall. I think perhaps he noticed I don’t feel as nimble on my feet as I once did. Surprise, surprise!

This led me to try to analyze what I might be able to do so I wouldn’t “walk like an old man.” So, I deliberately try to lengthen my stride and walk as though I had a purpose. I also experimented with having my feet farther apart than I normally would. This led me to a remarkable observation.

If I walk with my feet farther apart my shoulders seem to automatically move in a different way. It seems like sort of a swagger. It reminded me of the way the actor John Wayne used to stride when he went about saving the world from whatever was endangering it that day. I could just picture him walking up to the bad guy with his feet somewhat apart and his shoulders swaggering.

Then it hit me. My God, this man projects confidence but, in reality, he’s trying to keep from falling down! Could it be that one of the world’s greatest he-men is constantly on the verge of tipping over. It’s possible. Anything is possible – so they say but I can't personally vouch for this being true.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 19, 2007



This morning I climbed out of the shower and passed by a mirror. I thought what I saw was unusual enough to capture the image for eternity. So using the camera feature in my cell phone I grabbed this self-portrait. But then came the hard part. I needed to give it a title or a name otherwise it might fall into that vast pile of pictures that no one remembers.

Everyone knows about “Washington Crossing the Delaware “ or “Whistler’s Mother”. And the image of “Mona Lisa” is still easily recalled by many and that’s because they all had names that were easily remembered. I thought of an easy one for my soon to be immortal image.


The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 17, 2007



Recently it was discovered that the Light Brown Apple Moth has appeared in our area. I understand it came from Australia and is well known as a voracious eater. “The Authorities” deemed it imperative that the area be aerial sprayed with something called Checkmate OLR-F. This has caused uproar from the people who don’t really have enough to cause uproars about.

My Google search led me to discover it is supposed to be harmless to humans. In fact, it’s supposed to only affect the Light Brown Apple Moth and I found the way it does this to be interesting.

Checkmate OLR-F is a pheromone that doesn’t kill the Light Brown Apple Moth. Instead applying very low amounts of the female pheromone upsets of the distribution of pheromone and the male moth cannot follow the female’s pheromone trail, and therefore the moths do not mate, eggs are not fertilized and the mating cycle is disrupted.

I can’t help but wonder if any of this pheromone stuff had been recently sprayed around the Minneapolis Airport or possibly in some large areas of Idaho. It might possibly explain a lot that’s been in the news lately. It might even provided a defense. I doubt if it can do much for a reelection. The public is not that gullible – oh, wait a minute – Weapons of Mass what?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 9, 2007



Today I ran into a scary thing as I went for my usual wogging session. (Click on the word wogging if it is unfamiliar to you.) I was there early enough to get a couple of laps in before people started to arrive. I asked one lady what was going on and she told me there was going to be a football game for the 14-year olds.

Soon, as I was wogging down the home stretch, I saw two young men walking towards me. Since they were carrying big cases and appeared to be around 14-years old, I assumed they were carrying the equipment they were going to wear during the game. As they passed me I said, “Go gettum, guys. Good luck.”

Now here comes the scary part: One of them said, “Thank you sir.”

That’s something you don’t hear very often these days. I smiled and felt good all the way home. Maybe the future will be in good hands after all.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 9, 2007



This morning I was at the high school track for my usual wogging session. (Click on wogging if the word is unfamiliar to you) As I go around and around I find myself playing mind games to pass the time.I often wonder about things I see, hence my calling it “Wonderland.”

Sometimes I wonder about the elderly Japanese gentleman I met there a few weeks ago. He is the ONLY person who travels slower than I do. I even manage to overtake him and pass him once in awhile. He told me he was 85 years old and his doctor advised to walk a mile every day so he comes to the track to walk his mile early every morning. Each morning as I observe him I wonder about him. I wonder if I should tell him that once around the track is a quarter of a mile – not a mile. I've decided not to say anything.

Yesterday I wondered about a different man who was walking faster than I was and passed me. When I started I was the only person on the track and I was wearing my earphones, listening to music. I didn’t know this man was coming up behind me or I probably wouldn’t have been doing a sing-along with Barbra Streisand. But having the earphones on covered the sound of his approaching steps or I certainly would not have been singing for his benefit. Not only my singing isn’t that good but just as he came up on me Barbra and I belted out:

” He touched me, he put his hand near mine
And then he touched me
I felt a sudden tingle when he touched me
A sparkle, a glow”

I don’t know how much he heard but I did notice he started walking faster and left before I had a chance to explain. I wonder what he thought.

Another event that still has me wondering involves a shoe. Someone left a shoe beside the track and it’s been there for more than a week. Just one shoe.

Now I can see how a pair of shoes could be carelessly left behind but I wonder about the one shoe. How come it’s not missed? I wonder if the person has only one leg and come to the track to do hogging. (That’s a combination of hopping and jogging.) That would be with only one leg.

Now this is the only hopper I could find on the Internet but she’s in England. Additionally, it’s the wrong foot. Of course she could have been hopping on one foot and carrying the shoe in her hand. That would make sense. Wouldn’t it?

I hear them coming. I think I need to go lie down now.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 8, 2007



This article is the ninth in a series of articles where an 84-year Old Professor attempts to find out "what it's all about" after learning it isn't as simple as putting your right foot in and putting your right foot out and then putting your right foot in and you shaking it all about. After which you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That's not what it's all about. Not even close in spite of what we've been taught all these years.

I was thinking about eating corn or more specifically, corn on the cob. Why do many people say they eat corn on the cob when even casually observing the process it's fairly obvious we are eating the corn off the cob?

Stimulated by this line of thought I began to wonder about the various ways that corn on the cob is eaten. This seems to be an area that has been largely ignored by researchers. I seem to naturally start at the left end** of the ear of corn and nibble my way to the right end. At that point I return to the left end and go across again much in the manner of the old fashioned typewriters. I have no idea why starting at the left end seems so natural when it's equally efficient to start at the right end. Perhaps it's because it's the way I read - left to right.

I'll need to investigate how my Jewish friends eat corn on/off the cob. I understand that Hebrew writing is read from right to left and perhaps corn is eaten that way too.

But then when I observe my lifetime partner eat corn and she goes about it in much the same manner I do. However, she is Chinese and lived all of her formative years in China. Their writing goes up and down so my original theory probably will not hold water although eating corn that way would be a very efficient way to do it. If one started nibbling up (or down) and continued to spiral around until all the corn was eaten there would be no wasted time or effort in going back and forth to start all over again. In controlled studies my observations have proven that 50% of the lateral effort is non-productive.

** The expression, "start at the left end" assumes the nibbler is the one viewing the corn. If an observer were facing the nibbler, it would be the right end.

I need to go someplace and lie down and rest now. This research stuff is very tiring.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 4, 2007



I wanted clearly understood that homosexuality does not bother me in any way. Would it affect my vote if I knew a political candidate was homosexual? No, not even a little bit.

However, I have strong feelings about the recent episode involving Senator Craig (R) from Idaho. I don’t care much about what happened in the men’s room that led to his arrest. What he did after does bother me. Homosexuality doesn’t bother me. Stupidity does and what he did there was really stupid only to be topped by that ultra-stupid press conference later.

The person I really felt sorry for was his wife. During that press conference she stood next to him and I imagine she was thinking; “Now everyone in the world knows I married a moron.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 2, 2007



For a couple of years now my smiling face has appeared here to the right of this text. Well, I have a confession to make. I don’t look like that. Today I actually look like this.
 My Photo
The difference is very subtle but perhaps you notice there are now 2 front teeth missing. I don’t care for the look much in spite of the fact that some think this improves my overall appearance –-- “gives me character” they say. Well, I’ve seen many characters and just looking like one doesn’t seem to be a huge plus for me. Allow me to explain how I got this look.

It was October in New England and the colorful leaves were leaving the trees and I was 12 years old. Yes, I was 12 years old once and still remember it. Well, some of it. In our neighborhood there were 2 young girls about my age who were having fun raking up the leaves into a big pile. Don’t ask me why, but at the time I thought it would be really hilarious for them to rake up the leaves and for me to run through the pile strewing leaves all over the place. I did that and received the expected reaction. The girls cried and I laughed.

But they recovered and raked the leaves up again. I decided to run through the pile again. One of the girls was against this idea and as I approached the pile of leaves she swung the rake handle at me. Her aim was great and just as I arrived at the leaves the rake handle hit my mouth breaking the 2 front teeth. Probably I would have made out better if I hadn’t been yelling with my mouth wide open. But several years would pass before I learned that keeping my mouth shut was very often the best thing to do.

So for the past 72 years I have been deceiving everyone by showing 2 front teeth that were actually manufactured in a lab and in some way were fastened in my mouth. Tomorrow I go to see the dentist. She probably will laugh and explain to me that my idea of having a relaxed retirement without having to worry about money was just a foolish dream. I wish I could remember the name of the girl who hit me. Wouldn’t it be ironic if my dentist was her daughter? Anything is possible!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 23, 2007

PS The new window was installed today and now all is well with that.



This morning I was once again wogging at the track .For those of you who were absent when we discussed “wogging” a free explanation can be yours by clicking here.

I was reminded of a rhyme we used to say when I was in the Navy long ago.
When confused
And in doubt
Run in circles
Scream and shout
Even though I don’t feel in doubt about much I found I was indeed running in circles --– well, sort of running. Maybe I was sort of in doubt about some things.

But “confused” is a different question. I’m confused about almost everything. I use this wogging time to possibly sort out some things that confuse me the most. This morning I was confused by the term “pigeon toed”. Almost everyone know this refers to a condition where a person walks with the toes are pointing inward instead of straight ahead. The confusion came in my mind when I saw a pigeon walking. I wondered if there are some pigeons that walk with the feet pointing straight ahead. If so, do they refer to those pigeons as person-toed? And do the young pigeons tease the person-toed pigeon about it? And, in school do they have to take art classes instead of gym and every time there’s a team are they the last person chosen?

So, trying to figure out things like that are part of the reason I run in circles. I haven’t got to the “scream and shout” stage yet but sometimes I do hear voices.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 21, 2007



I finally figured it out - I think.

For about 2 years I religiously wogged around the local high school track almost every morning. But for the past year and a half I've been unable to do this for a variety of legitimate reasons. There were things involving hernia surgery and other things involving walking a dog and no dogs are allowed at the track. But I finally am back to the track on what I hope is a regular basis.

During my absence I noticed that someone had lengthened the distance around the track. It seems to be longer. The sign still has it posted as quarter of a mile but it seems longer than I remembered it.

One thing hasn't seemed to change. Everyone, including one elderly woman with a cane, seems to go faster and pass me while I, on the other hand, have never passed anyone. Well, I don't count that woman with the cane as she had tripped and fallen.

But today I may have discovered their secret. While thinking about increasing my speed I decided to observe the high school track team practicing. Since they specialize in running fast I might be able to learn something. Well, I did indeed learn something and it wasn't as secret as I had thought it might be.

With my binoculars to help me observe, I took a seat in the spectator area. I was hoping to see one of the running coaches teaching a student how to run faster. It didn't take me long to find the real secret. The runners have little nails sticking out of the bottom of their shoes! I didn't notice this before because they are rather short nails and not at all obtrusive. In fact I hadn't noticed them on any of the people going past me previously. I didn't even notice them on the lady who fell but she must have had them. In fact, everyone must have been wearing nailed shoes and I never even noticed.

So today I will go to a store and buy some short nails and tomorrow I'll be the one doing the passing. I suppose I should remove those shoes before I come into the house. I'm only guessing, but I think they might be hard on the carpet.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 20, 2007



On August 6, 2007 there was a mining accident in Utah. Six miners were trapped and we all followed the rescue attempts, which so far have been unsuccessful. It was covered on all the television networks and given much newspaper space as well.

Friday, August 19, 2007 there was another mining accident. In this case almost 200 miners were trapped and presumed dead. This was in China and I read about it in a small story on Page 7 of our newspaper and didn’t see it mentioned on television at all, though I’m sure it was and I didn’t see it.

Then today (Sunday) the Chinese disaster was mentioned again in a small item on Page 12. The Utah accident was still a big story on Page 2.

Just for my own information (which I now will share with you) I wondered what an internet search would show. I went to Google and searched for “Utah mining accident” – with the quotation marks. (If you are unfamiliar with Google, the quotation marks are important. Otherwise it would find every mention of “Utah” and every mention of “mining” and everywhere “accident” was mentioned.) My search produced 80,100 sites where “Utah mining accident” was mentioned.

Then I did the same thing again only I searched for “China mining accident”. This time I found 1,590 references cited.

“Utah mining accident” 80,100
“China mining accident” 1,590

What, if anything, does that mean? Does it mean that Utah miners are 50 times more interesting than Chinese miners? Or does it say something about all of us? Are we getting so used to death figures they are becoming meaningless? What about the hundreds of thousands who died in the Rwandan genocide and the 400,000 or so already dead in Darfur?

I won’t even mention Iraq.

Those of you who have read stuff I’ve written previously know that this blog is very uncharacteristic of The Old Professor. I apologize. I usually don’t post things this serious or serious at all for that matter. Perhaps this came to my attention because I’m closely involved with a wonderful Chinese lady but I don’t think that’s it. It’s more that I feel there’s something wrong and wonder why it is so. I’m reminded of an old movie called “…And Justice For All”, starring Al Pacino”. In one scene he was in a courtroom. He jumped up and screamed, “There’s something wrong here! Something terribly wrong!”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 19, 2007



I've received several comments and questions regarding the Infinity Razor which I wrote about on 6/26/07. I subtly suggested not buying one. Well, actually I said, "INFINITY RAZOR -- DO NOT BUY IT !!"
Shutterbug left this comment:
what bothers me about it is, if you will never need another, they why do they send you 2 of them??????????????

Oh, they explain that. One for upstairs and one for downstairs or, if a person lives on one floor, it's an extra one for the other bathroom. If that fails, it's available for a guest to use. You know how often that happens. A guy (or strange gal) shows up and forgets to bring a razor. Actually, a good way to cure them of that is to give them an Infinity Razor. Not only will they not forget the next time but there's a better than even chance they never will speak to you again and that would be a good thing.
The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 18, 2007



I’m sure I’m not the first to notice that we have much we could learn from other species. This was brought to my attention the other day when I saw a spider web. It would ordinarily be unseen except it was covered with morning dew.

A spider had chosen to construct its delicate trap across a path I often use. It was a magnificent piece of engineering and still puzzles me as to how the spider managed to construct this masterpiece, which hung suspended from one tree to another. However, though the architecture was flawless the location could have been better. By design the web is almost invisible. One morning I could see it because of the moisture condensed on it. However, usually it’s unseen and I have managed to walk into it thereby destroying the beauty as well as the functionality of it.

But the next day it was back! A tribute to the tenacity of the spider and I believe there is a lesson we all could learn.

Perhaps some of us have higher reasoning powers and have already learned this and the spider should eventually figure this out. One of the fundamental laws of nature states that no matter how well designed something is or how well constructed it is, someone will come along and screw it up no matter how often you rebuild it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 15, 2007



(This is the second blog I've posted today. Please check my other one too. It's below this one.)

I’ve never heard of this or even suspected it existed.

Last evening we were watching a television program and the telephone rang.

I answered it.

I recorded voice said, “You are being contacted by the America for Americans Committee” (or something like that).

It went on to say, “All of our operators are busy at this time. Please hold and someone will be with you as soon as possible.”

I am very familiar with this message when I am calling to ask for assistance about something but I never had experienced it when I was getting an unsolicited, unwanted phone call.

But what can you do? Think about it. The only way to complain is to stand there, with the phone to your ear and wait however long it takes until someone starts talking to you. Then you can complain and hang up.

Is the world getting weirder or am I just beginning to recognize it more? Probably both.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 11, 2007


On August 2nd I posted a blog (See below) describing how I had bumped a fairly small crystal pyramid off the top of a low bookshelf and it had slowly and methodically proceeded to destroy a very large glass windowpane. At the time I mentioned that some people believe the crystal pyramid has some metaphysical powers. I also mentioned that I uttered several metaphysical exclamations. Some people have asked about that. Specifically, a lady called riseoutofme asked how many metaphysical explanations I knew

I would have used those words in the original blog but was afraid there might be censors lurking to delete such words. However, I’ll take a chance even though I have seen censored letters during World War II and, in those days, they actually cut the words out with a sharp blade of some kind. Often the end result looked more like a piece of lace than a letter.

First I said, “Oh xxxx”. Then, in awe, I muttered, “I'll be a xxxxx

Then I called, “Look at this XXXXXX thing.”

We will need to call the “XXXXXXXX“ window man tomorrow.


So, assuming those did get by the censors, that should be enough to get most beginners started in the metaphysical exclamations business.

By the way, it will be 2 or 3 weeks before the xxxxxx glass people can get the job done and they require a XXXXX 50% deposit before they will even take the order.


The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 11, 2007



Have you ever read anything similar too this? “If everyone in the country would change just one regular incandescent light bulb to a fluorescent type it would be the same as taking 4200 cars off the road.” Those may not be the exact numbers but I’m sure they are equally valid.

Have you ever wondered who gets these figures and how?

I think someone just makes them up. I have no idea why except possibly to get their 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol’s promised.

I even think I could create one.

If everyone in America would eat one less egg a month that would mean fewer trucks would be needed to ship the eggs and that alone would provide enough gasoline to run every automobile in the African nation of Chad for over a year.

Now, I challenge anyone to prove that’s not true.

But that isn’t the way that science works or at least it isn’t supposed to work that way. One doesn’t make a statement and if no one proves it wrong it becomes fact. But now that I think of it, maybe that’s not true. It seems that Hitler did exactly that prior to and during World War II. In fact, it was well known that his philosophy was, “Make a lie big enough and repeated it often enough and people will believe it.”

Maybe we should all be careful about what we hear as it relates to what we think, especially with an election coming up because when it comes to telling the truth during election campaigns, there are no guarantees.

I must make a note to remember that.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 9, 2007



We have had quite an experience here. Or I should say we are having quite an experience because it’s not over yet.

A little background:

Our house has lots and lots of big windows. This is wonderful as it allows the sunlight in and lets us look out to the beautiful landscaping Jen-Chi has done. I realize this would be most impractical in many climates but luckily we are mild here in Carmel, CA. I especially like our bedroom where fortunately we are hidden from neighbors and therefore have no drapes on the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I enjoy waking in the morning and seeing the tall pine trees and, sometimes, blue skies.

In front of one of the exterior walls is a low bookcase. In addition to books there are cassettes and CDs as well as a small crystal pyramid about 6 or 7 inches tall. As well as being an attractive ornament there are those who believe crystals have some metaphysical powers. I know for sure they are hard because Friday night, while getting ready to go to bed, I accidentally bumped the crystal off the bookcase and it hit the base of a window which is 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Immediately a crack appeared starting at the point of impact and running diagonally across the pane of glass to the top corner. The glass is a tempered safety glass so I assume that is why the crack didn’t suddenly appear but rather traveled across the pane.

I uttered an appropriate metaphysical expletive and repeated it as a second crack appeared emanating from the same point of impact and running up the window. Then there was a third one and a fourth and so on. These cracks kept appearing one after another. As soon as one crack finished its journey to the other side another one started. These were not in rapid succession but maybe a second or two apart. The window continued doing this for about 4 hours quieting down around 1AM. By some miracle no glass fell out and the morning showed us a beautifully designed window.

We boarded it up and called the glass people about replacing it.

We also called the insurance people and here is where we learned something very interesting.

We have what is known as a "500 Dollar Deductible" policy. In case you don't know, this means in the event of some damage to our house the insurance company will pay for fixing it after we pay the first 500 dollars. There is one exception and that is for replacing glass. If that happens our policy covers all except the first 50 dollars! I know, we had trouble believing it too but have checked with the insurance company 3 times and it's true. This window alone will run over 2000 dollars and we will pay 50 and they will pick up the rest of the bill. Amazing!

Strangely, if we had a glass company boarded it up for us too it would go as a 500 Dollar Deductible. It didn't take a genius to figure out the way to go on that. We boarded it up and the glass company will do the glass. It will be interesting to watch and see how they will manipulate a sheet of glass that size up to an upstairs bedroom.

Stay tuned.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 2, 2007



I sometimes wonder what happens to scientists who almost discover something. I mean that often several people are doing the same research and occasionally one of them hits the jackpot. But I wonder about that other guy who almost made the great discovery. I think I may be that guy.

Yesterday we were eating corn on the cob. Now I don’t recall ever being taught there was a correct way to do this so I assume nibbling the kernels off the cob is an intuitive thing. But I paused and happened to notice I was making my way along the corn by starting at the left and moving towards the right. A light went off as I thought that I also read that way. That is, I start at the left side and read across the page until I get to the right side and then I go back and repeat this.

I thought it might be a worthy project to look into this further and see how Jewish people eat corn inasmuch as I understand reading Hebrew requires you start at the right side and read towards the left. Surely this could stand investigating. Visions of a Nobel Prize, or at least a nomination, flashed through my mind.

But alas my hopes were quickly dashed when I looked across the table and noticed my domestic partner, who happens to be Chinese, was eating her corn the same way I was and everyone knows Chinese reading goes from top to bottom instead of side to side. I was forced to conclude my theory of the relationship between reading and eating corn on the cob needed more study.

I think there’s a song that goes “Maybe next time …”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 12, 2007



I received a jolt the other day. I went to see our family doctor on a relatively minor matter and he saw my lower legs. My legs have a vein condition that makes my legs look much like a contour map of Colorado. The doc said, "I see you have Venus Disease."
Venus Disease?
I had never heard of that. So of course I went to the internet.
I brought up Google and typed in "venus". This is what came up

Egads! I had a disease that was going to grow breasts. To make things even worse, my arms would fall off and I wouldn't even be able to touch them. What a predicament. The guy in the picture obviously suffered from the same disease and he couldn't even pull his shirt up. I assumed that was because of the arms thing.

As I did more research I think the doctor meant veinous, that is pertaining to the vein. In other words I think the doctor should have said, "vay-nus" instead of "vee-nus" and scaring the hell outa me. Oh well, everyone can't be perfect. Only a few of us.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 3, 2007

PS After I wrote this I double checked and the word pertaining to veins is really "venous" and it is pronounced "vee-nus". So I guess what they say is true -- "nobody's perfect."
Not only that, but reading back I thought, "Who says "Egads" anymore?



I did it again. I saw the TV ad for the Infinity Razor. It said "The Infinity Razor is the last razor you will ever have to buy." Several key words here. Think about it - no one HAS to buy a new razor. Except me. I've bought every type razor invented and I think there is something deep inside me that makes me HAVE to buy new razors.

Let me give you my evaluation of the Infinity Razor. It's a cute looking thing. All of the positive comments stop here.

The first time I used it I compared the comfort level to that of one of my "Use once and throw away" razors when I was using it the second time. Not very comfortable and not very close but maybe that's the new look.

The second time I used it I could not make it through the whole shave. It was pulling hairs out rather than cutting them. Halfway through I switched to a disposable razor and it glided through the rest of the way.

I suppose some men take the offer to refund the purchase price (less shipping and handling $8.95) but to me it's not worth bothering with. However, I will take each opportunity I can to urge anyone to NOT BUY THE INFINITY RAZOR even if they offer a free carving knife, which apparently can cut though metal cans but for some mysterious reason has trouble with meat.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 26, 2007



This is interesting.

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is planning to cash in on the wind energy boom by building the world's largest wind farm in West Texas.

If things go as usual this proposed wind farm will be, as most things in Texas are, huge and will generate enough electricity to power a large percentage of the Texas homes. The problem will be getting the electricity to them.

Well, here’s an idea.

Most of us are familiar with high power electrical lines. These carry electricity long distances. Usually they are either on high towers or underground. Why not make short towers about 3 or 4 feet off the ground and string them along the border between Texas and Mexico?

It would seem like a better idea than those foolish fences we keep building and people keep climbing over. Not many people will climb over a high voltage wire fence.

Just a thought.

Here is some serious advice.

I saw a television commercial advertising the “Infinity Razor – the last razor you will ever buy.” It is supposedly made of special steel that will hold a sharp edge forever. They even show it shaving sandpaper and then a man’s face.

Of course I bought one. I don’t think there ever has been a decent razor ad I didn’t follow up on. In August of 2004 I even wrote a blog about this obsession I have. Click here if you're interested

So yesterday I tried it and I sort of agree with what they advertise. You might use this razor forever if you don’t mind shaving with a dull blade or if you want to shave sandpaper.

Now that I think of it, they never did day it was a great shave – just that it would be the last one you will ever buy. They must have meant you’ll never buy another one of these.

But I probably will buy the next gadget that comes along.

Oh yes, they also throw in a carving knife in a cardboard sheath. Printed on the outside is, “You never have to sharpen this knife.” That’s true. Think about it the next time you look at your carving knife. You don’t HAVE TO sharpen it. Only if you want to slice something.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 22, 2007



I hardly seems possible that it's been well over a month since I last posted a blog here. This time I have a better excuse than "the dog ate my blog." It has been really busy around here and, of all things, the source of a great amount of it was our Shih Tzu dog named Jake.

Even though I seem to lack the genes needed to be a pet lover I do feel this guy, Jake, is a pretty special dog that somehow gets everyone to love him. In fact, recently, a Veterinary Nurse who was looking at him said, "He's so cute I could kiss him right on the lips." I thought that was going a bit farther than the stage I am at now but nonetheless it was kind of a cute thing to hear.

About a month ago Jake developed a slight limp in his right forepaw. Not much I thought but apparently enough that a visit to the vet was called for. This led to some medication and some advice to keep him quite for a while. There was not hint given as to how to keep him quiet and apparently it wasn't explained to Jake either. That night we were at the 24-Hour Emergency Veterinarian's Office, as he seemed to be in more pain. You didn't know there was a 24-Hour Emergency Veterinarian services? Oh yes, if you are willing to pay. From previous experiences we also were aware there are Animal Dermatologists and we learned there are also Animal Ophthalmologists. I wonder how they do that "Read the chart thing" and how do they do that "Is this one better or is this one better?" thing. It was at that office we saw a magazine as advising us of the availability of a "Pet Psychic." Hmmm.

However, it was that Emergency Veterinarian who did suggest the problem was actually in Jake's neck and suggested X-rays at our regular Veterinarian in the morning. Sure enough it was and several hundred dollars later we were on our way to a city about an hour's drive north of here where they have a special animal hospital that does surgery. After arriving there and meeting with that Veterinary Surgeon it was determined he did need spinal surgery and he should have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) only they didn't have the MRI equipment so we headed out for another hour's drive to get there just before they closed.

We left there and returned to the vet surgeon with a CD of the images. That was two images at $700 each but we probably could keep a copy of the CD to watch on evenings we wouldn't be able to afford to do anything else. Surgery was scheduled for the next day and we drove the last hour to home.

Of course we drove back the next day to be sure to greet Jake when he came out of surgery. That was a wasted trip except we did see he was still alive. The next day we did take him home but only for a day. The poor dog was in such distress we were unable to get his medications into him so we took him back and left him there as a hospital patient for the better part of a week.

He now is home but still not out of the woods. He sleeps a lot and when we tries to walk he has trouble. I describe his walk as looking like a drunk walking on slippery ice. He falls down quite a bit but each day seems to get better. Our trips back and forth to the hospital are finished for now and our bank account is severely bruised enough that we no longer dream of building a girls school in Africa like Oprah did.

Which finally brings me to the point of this blog. I was talking to my eldest daughter who has had a lot of experience with animals. She told me something that I thought was quite profound and was the main reason I wrote this thing. She urged us not to be too concerned over details and reminded us that things which seem important to us might not be important to Jake. Then she said, "A three-legged dog is just as happy as a four-legged dog." That phrase kept going over and over in my mind and I even thought it would make a great title for that book I'm going to write someday. "A three-legged dog is just as happy as a four-legged dog." I think we could all learn from that and if we could apply it to ourselves it's just possible we might just be as happy as Jake even if we can't do all the things we want to do.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 16, 2007



I wonder if there is such a word as "wower". If not there should be. You know, like, "Wow, look at that!" Whatever "that" is would be a "wower". Well, we recently had a genuine wower.

Where we live is near the vast Pacific Ocean and often look out to see water as far as the eye reaches. Ironically, on land, water without the salt is in short supply and we need to be really miserly when it comes to water usage. The water company provides us with incentives to do so by increasing the per unit cost as the amount used increases. Our monthly water bill usually hovers around 20 US Dollars, which is about 14.7 Euros or 27.3 New Zealand dollars or 2400.91 Japanese yen.

We don't consider this too bad unless we were paying in Japanese yen, which would involve a lot of counting. However we did get a bit of a jolt when we opened last month's bill. The total for the month of April was 408.92 US Dollars, which is about 300.63 Euros or 554.43 New Zealand dollars or 49,090.44 Japanese yen!

I suppose we should be grateful we don't live in Japan but on the other hand, if we lived in Great Britain we would only need to pay 205.12 British pounds.

So, you may wonder how we got to use that much metered water in one month. That puzzled us too and we were about to run a test to see if there was leakage some place when we remembered an obscure event. Our house has an artist's studio attached to the garage. It has a small bathroom. We don't use it often but last month someone used the bathroom. We had forgotten it has one of those "Jiggle the handle to stop the water" features and the water ran there for a few days. That put our water usage up to 30,000 gallons or 113,562.35 liters for that one month. That's a helluva lot of water. $408.92 worth to be exact.

Since we don't want to move just to find a better currency system we have decided to stay here and in the future we will try to remember to "Jiggle the handle."

An expensive education indeed. Wow!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 7, 2007

PS.I just checked the dictionary and found the definition of "wow" to be "Used to express wonder, amazement, or great pleasure." I want it clearly understood that my "wow" only expressed "wonder and amazement" and in no way should be interpreted to mean anything near "great pleasure".



Recently I’ve read that using the fluorescent type light bulb uses less electricity than the standard incandescent bulb we are so familiar with. Formerly the fluorescent light was mainly in the shape of a straight tube but now they make bulbs shaped like a corkscrew, which can be screwed into any ordinary light bulb socket. They are available everywhere. One article I read was advocating replacing our incandescent bulbs in the home with fluorescent ones. Since they use much less electricity, less electricity needs to be generated. Hence this would create fewer atmosphere-polluting emissions. The article sated, “If only one bulb was replaced in every house in the United States the reduction of emissions would be the same as taking 6.5 million cars off the highways.”

Impressive indeed.

Then about a week later I read, “If only one bulb was replaced in every house in the United States the reduction of emissions would be the same as taking four hundred thousand cars off the highways.”

Wait a minute! Is it 6.5 million or four hundred thousand cars?

Either way it’s a significant amount but my point is where is the data backing this up? I’m sure there’s a valid point in there but not backing up the statement with valid information weakens it.

I had the same problem with Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth”. Many statements made: very little scientific evidence citied.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 25, 2007



There is a small and almost unnoticeable change in the heading of my blog. Those of you who are sharp-eyed regulars will have noticed I no longer say, “You get to see the workings of an 83-year old brain that doesn't seem to view the world as most others do.” As of now it says, “You get to see the workings of an 84-year old brain that doesn't seem to view the world as most others do.”
I made it! Monday, March 26th, was my eighty-fourth birthday and all is going well.

It’s also Jen-Chi’s birthday. Incredibly she and I have the same birthday but she is one year older. For those of you who might be math-impaired, and you know who you are, that means she turned 85.

In my wildest dream I never thought I’d be sleeping with an 85-year old woman but then again, I doubt her fantasies involved an 84-year old man.

Faced with the problem of what one buys for an 85-year old woman who has everything I came up with an idea – flowers.
I bought her some roses.
85 roses.
One for each year.
Here she is trying to hold the bundle together.

Judging by her enthusiasm I’m led to believe the choice of gift was a great one.

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

March 27, 2007



My father was a cop. I was the son of a cop. I was always reminded of this. We didn’t have father-son conversations very often but a newspaper item the other day reminded me of one of the rare ones we had. I suppose the term “father-son conversation” is not quite accurate. My dad talked and I listened.

One particular time he and I were riding in the car for some reason. He expressed his opinion on what kind of a career his son should have. Here again, that’s not quite accurate. What he said wasn’t exactly an opinion it was something like, “I’ll never let my kid become a cop. You see nothing but the seamy side of life.” He further went on to rule out being a fireman because “They have too many heart attacks due to those bells going off in the middle of the night.”

So, you can imagine my surprise when, some 70 year later, I saw a headline in the newspaper that proclaimed, “Study Shows Firemen Prone To Heart Attacks. I’ll be damned. My dad knew that 70 years ago.

As I read the article I found his conclusion was correct but, according to this study, the reason was different. The scientists concluded the cause often was lack of proper exercise and poor dietary habits. They rightly observed the fact that firemen are sometimes called upon to do extremely strenuous physical tasks and therefore need to be in excellent physical condition.

It was nice to know that 70 years ago it was possible to reach valid conclusions even without the latest scientific data. I’m guessing that’s how they managed to raise kids without Dr. Spock and all the other child-raising experts. Nice going Dad!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 23, 2007



I seem to hear things like this a lot. Someone might say, “I was going to the ATM machine but I forgot my PIN number.

As common as this is it doesn’t make sense. When we use letters to represent words in an acronym such as ATM we really are using a shorthand method of saying “Automatic Teller Machine”. Also the acronym PIN means “Personal Identification Number”.

That means a person who said, “I’m going to the ATM machine but I forgot my PIN number.” really is saying “I’m going to the automatic teller machine machine but I forgot my personal identification number number.”

Why would a person want to say “machine machine” or “number number”? It's another one of life’s mysteries I probably won’t live long enough to figure out. Oh well, I really don’t care care. It doesn’t make any difference to me me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 22, 2007



It’s almost impossible to pick up a newspaper without reading that scientists have agreed on something. Sometimes it’s, “Most scientist agree” or even “More than 90% of the scientists agree” about whatever it is the writer want you to agree with.

It happened again this morning when our morning paper proclaimed, “Scientists generally agree that no research has suggested a direct human danger from drinking milk or eating meat produced by clones and their offspring.” In this case scientists generally agree.

In case you haven’t noticed, it really doesn’t make any difference what scientists believe or think. Remember back in the 15 hundreds? Of course you do. That’s when Galileo was ridiculed for his theories. After all, agreed most scientists, the sun does go around the world. They could see it start its orbit every morning and end it every evening. All scientists agreed. All but one and he was “That Galileo nut.” He was even renounced by the church for his goofy views. But, of course, he was right and every grade-school child now knows the sun does not rotate around the earth.

The big cause going on now concerns global warming. I suggest you prick up your ears when you hear, “Most scientists agree …”. It might be true and again, it might not. Look for your own information and draw your own conclusion. At least look to the back of the book or the bottom of the page to check the source of this kind of statement. For example, when I peeked at a copy of Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth” I did that just because I wondered where the figures were coming from. I never found out because there are no citations noting the source of any figures stated in that book. I saw none. Not one.

I’m not saying the global warming premise isn’t valid; I just tire of hearing opinions generalized by some vague quote about “All scientists …” or “All anything else …” for that matter.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 16, 2007



I had a minor surprise this morning. I visited our local post office and found they were acting as an agent to distribute and collect various forms.I paused a few minutes and filled out the IM1-2 form, which is the formal application to be considered the father of Anna Nicloe Smith’s baby. There was a rather lengthy paragraph explaining that since there are so many applicants it might be some time before I hear anything official. I don’t mind and think my application is just as valid as some, probably most, others.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 15, 2007



Someone once observed that the ability to anticipate future happenings based on actions we take now is a sign of maturity. Lately I’ve noticed several Letters to the Editor calling for the resignation or impeachment of President Bush. While I feel these suggestions have a certain amount of merit I can’t help wondering if these people have given any thought as to who would replace George W. Bush. Do they think would Dick Chaney be an improvement?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 1, 2007



In glancing back to several of my previous blogs I note there are one or two, okay, several, where I more or less poke fun at the White House and/or the occupants thereof. I want it clearly understood by all who may read those gibes (including any Secret service agents) that it was all in fun. George W. Bush is known for having a great sense of humor and though I haven't heard from him I’m sure he just chuckled.

I want this clearly understood at this time after reading
an Associated Press item
in the paper today.

Pennsylvania Man's Letter Brings Secret Service

By Associated Press
Posted January 22 2007, 9:15 AM EST

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- An elderly man who wrote in a letter to the editor about Saddam Hussein's execution that "they hanged the wrong man" got a visit from Secret Service agents concerned he was threatening President Bush.

The letter by Dan Tilli, 81, was published in Monday's edition of The Express-Times of Easton, Pa. It ended with the line, "I still believe they hanged the wrong man."

Tilli said the statement was not a threat. "I didn't say who -- I could've meant (Osama) bin Laden," he said Friday.

Two Secret Service agents questioned Tilli at his Bethlehem apartment Thursday, briefly searching the place and taking pictures of him, he said.

The Secret Service confirmed the encounter. Bob Slama, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Philadelphia office, said it was the agency's duty to investigate.

The agents almost immediately decided Tilli was not a threat, Slama said

"We have no further interest in Dan," he said.
Tilli said the agents appeared more relaxed when he dug out a scrapbook containing more than 200 letters that he has written over the years, almost all on political topics.
"He said, 'Keep writing, but just don't make no threats,'" Tilli said of one of the agents.
It wasn't Tilli's first run-in with the federal government over his letter writing. Two FBI agents from Allentown showed up at his home last year about a letter he wrote advocating a civil war to unseat Bush, he said.

You knew I was only kidding Mr. Bush, sir. Didn’t you?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 22, 2007



Okay George, now that’s it!

The other day I posted a blog about people who “take responsibility” are supposed to pay some price. Our local newspaper even thought the idea was sound enough to publish it. Apparently you either, did not see it or chose to ignore it. Now this morning I pick up the paper and read you were on PBS’s NewsHour with the respected reporter Jim Leher. From what I read you said:

''We should have found troops and moved them,'' Bush said. ''But part of it was that the Iraqis didn't move troops. And I take responsibility for us not moving our own troops into Baghdad.''

Enough with just saying you're “taking responsibility”! This time go to your room and you don’t get to use Air Force One for a week!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA

January 18, 2007



As I was getting dressed I thought about this business of “Intelligent Design”. I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments many times but in case you were out shopping or something one definition from Wikipedia, is:

Intelligent design (ID) is the modern concept, presented by the Discovery Institute, that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a version of the ancient argument for God called the teleological argument, reframed with the assertion that it is a scientific theory finding signs of design by an unidentifiable intelligent being.

Mostly this can be simplified, or perhaps oversimplified, by saying there are many people who do not believe in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution but believe God designed everything.

Without becoming too involved with this let me present my thoughts based on many years of being closely involved with the design process.

If some identity did design the human body there were, and still are, many design flaws. For example, as I thought this morning, why are the feet so far away from the hands when the hands need to put socks on the feet? Even a student in Human Body Design 101 would spot that.

And why can’t humans see what’s behind them? Even my little Toyota automobile has a camera so I can see when I’m going backwards. Yet the human body can’t do that.

The examples of poor design are endless though I agree that some parts are well designed. I have theory that really should satisfy both the evolutionists and the ID people. I think there is a source of the design. Most likely it’s a committee but they do as most designers do. They make a prototype to see if it works. Then they make another one to patch the things that should have been done in the first model until they finally end up with what we call a human. This can’t be the end of the design process. They can’t stop now anymore than they could when they designed the giraffe and someone noticed the neck was a little long. It isn’t that we rose from the slime but rather we are just another newer model.

I can’t wait to see what the next model looks like. I mean that literally. I won’t be around because the process takes too long but the new and improved model should be great and putting socks on will be a lot easier too.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 15, 2007