Am I the only one who wonders why a television commercial might try to convince me to buy a particular television set by showing me the wonderful picture it produces?
I mean, I can see why advertisers might want to show me a photograph of a new car that makes my older car look like junk but they show this new television set with the great picture and I see it on my older, substandard television set. I assume I’m supposed to notice a difference.
When I see this I do think it looks pretty good but since I can already see it without buying anything, I keep what I have.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 26, 2008



I still have many memories of World War II. Sometimes it's difficult for me to get my mind around the fact that there are people, now in their 60s, who weren't even born until after that war was finished. Some of the memories I have are quite vivid and though I'm sure I’ve forgotten much, every once in a while something comes along that brings back a memory.

One such thing happened recently. It made me remember 1945 when I was in the United States Navy training to be a pilot and stationed at Pensacola, Florida. It was near the end of the war and also near the end of my training. The program at Pensacola was scheduled to be three months long with classes every morning and flying every afternoon. The problem was the weather was uncooperative. It seems that in the summer there are thunder storms almost every afternoon. This meant that three months had passed and all classroom work was finished but much of the flying had been canceled. Since there were no more classes we were free for the morning except we were required to have some sort of Physical Training for one hour every morning. A group of us organized a softball game and each morning we would sign in and play a game. I played shortstop and a man named Steve Horvath played next to me at third base.

Now Steve was an excellent athlete and taught me many things about playing my position. I still remember some of the things I learned from him. One that comes to mind is, "Any ball that the third baseman can reach is his to play." Some years later when I was in college I played third base and I could hear Steve's words every time a ground ball came in my general direction.

When we left the Navy we lost track of each other. Steve returned to his home in Michigan and I went to mine in Massachusetts. I never knew what happened to Steve though I thought about him often. The other day I was reading our local newspaper and doing as I usually do, scanning the obituaries. (I have no real reason for doing this, as I know very few people living in this area.) Imagine my surprise when I saw Steve Horvath's picture and a brief biography so that I knew it was the same Steve Horvath. Here for the last six years I've been living just a few miles away from Steve and never knew it. I may have even passed him in the market for all I know.

I suppose there's some kind of a lesson here but I'm not exactly sure what it is. In the past I've made attempts to track down old friends and, except for one, found they had passed away. One friend had died just one week before I called. I guess the lesson to me is that we are all going to go someday so it's best that we try to enjoy every hour of every day. I do that except for that hour that seems to devote itself to nothing but political rhetoric.

Thanks Steve, it certainly was a pleasure knowing you.

The Old Professor
Carmel California
October 10, 2008



Today I had an unusual experience; not that being unusual is exactly a rare occurrence here. I needed to go to an office and that required my parking the car some distance away and walking to the office building on a nice clean, cement sidewalk. As I was walking along I noticed a strange sound coming from my shoes. Since I had never heard this before I wondered what was causing it. So I paused and flexed each shoe but couldn't seem to duplicate the sound. I concluded that it must only happen when I was walking. So I proceeded to walk but every once in a while I would skip. That is, sort of hop on one foot and then the other. Again, I couldn't seem to duplicate the sound.

So I was still rather puzzled as I approached the building with the big glass doors. Then I saw my reflection. There was a lady walking behind me and she was wearing high heels.

Obviously I had found the source of the sound. I held the door open for the lady but noticed she kind of slid in staying as far away from me as possible.

I'm not sure that I blame her for that.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 16, 2008



I read in the news that some banks are in trouble due to bad investments of one kind or another and in order to keep them banks running, the United States government is stepping up to provide some of them with money. Lots of money.

This reminds me that many years ago I decided I wanted to be a teacher. (It wasn’t until much later that I changed that to “educator”.) In my long career in education there were many times I discovered I had made some poor financial decisions and I ended up owing more money than was coming in. Whenever that happened, and it did several times, I went out and got an extra job to cover the mistakes I had made. It never even occurred to me to ask the government to bail me out.

I should have been a bank.

In addition to making some poor decisions I was the victim of a less than complete education my college provided me. I first learned there was an “unpaid vacation” every summer when I went to my first teaching job. So, for many years I went to work in industry every summer.

I should have been a bank.

It shouldn’t be that hard for a bank to balance their finances. It’s a matter of working more hours. “Banker’s hours” has come to be an accepted term in the language. I wonder why they don’t work longer or work harder to avoid finding themselves in financial difficulties.

I should have been a bank.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 14, 2008



I had a very interesting adventure the other day. It was Friday just a little before six o'clock. I remember the time exactly because I had needed to go to the bank and, as the bank stays open until six o'clock on Fridays, I just made it. I had managed to get my business done and was on the way home driving on a very busy 4-lane highway. That's two lanes each way. I was in the slow lane which I was to learn is referred to as the number one lane and I was going about 35, possibly 40 mph which might have been a little slower than most of the other people were driving. Because it was six o'clock or so most of them were probably anxious to get home.

As I approached a street on my right I saw a black car trying to get into traffic to go in the opposite direction from what I was traveling. That meant he would have to cross two lanes and turn left. I could see his head turning left and right and I think he finally saw an opening and made a dash for. The only problem was he apparently didn't see me. When I saw him inching out I eased over one lane. Just before I got in front of him he made his dash for it and ran right into the passenger side of my car knocking me and my little Prius into the very busy oncoming lane. I managed to control the car and drove off the road facing traffic but I was very, very lucky that none of the oncoming cars hit me.

I sat there for a few minutes just composing myself. I thought I had seen a black car hit me and then drive off. But I noticed there was a tan car parked on the road behind me. So I eventually got out of the car and walked some 50 feet to that car. There was a lady sitting in the car, she rolled on the window and I asked, "Are you the person who hit me?"
"Hell no. I was a witness and I just called 911 for you. I saw the car was a black BMW S. but I didn't get the license number. He hit you and took off."

So, we waited for some enforcement officers to appear and it turned out we waited more than an hour and she stayed with me the whole time. What a wonderful lady.

I decided to walk back to my car and see what kind of damage had been done to the car. As I was walking along I heard a strange clacking sound in the middle of the road and, lo and behold, there was the front license plate from the missing hit-and-run driver. As I walked back toward the lady I said, "Some days you just get lucky."

Eventually all of the paperwork was finished and luckily the car was still drivable. It wasn't until I got home that I had time to think of the experience and realized the few seconds I was in the wrong lanes, facing cars bearing down on me were probably the most terrifying times of my life.
However, as they say, all is well that ends well. I was lucky in that the passenger side seat was empty and I do have insurance to cover the damage.

I imagine there is some guy who managed, or thought he managed, to get safely home after he had hit someone. I'm getting a great deal of pleasure out of imagining his surprise when the police arrive at his door and ask if he lost his license plate. I wonder if they will arrest him for leaving the scene of an accident. That’s a crime.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 13, 2008

PS My car should be back in a week or so and there is an estimated $3,100.00 damage.



A few days ago the famous American football player and sometimes actor, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping and armed robbery. It is almost a certainty that he will be spending many years in prison. In a way, for O.J. Simpson this might be considered a plus because 13 years ago, when he was acquitted of the brutal slaying of his ex-wife and her friend, he made a pledge. He vowed to spend the rest of his life trying to find the real killer.

Since then I have seen him and read reports of him searching on many golf courses and in casinos, nightclubs and restaurants. It's rather obvious he has been unable to find the real killer so there is a real possibility he may be successful and finally locate him in prison because that's where many murderers are. There is even a chance he might share a cell with the real killer.

The Old Professor
Carmel California
September 5, 2008