From what I hear it's possible for me to use my cell phone to watch movies or television programs. Thinking about the small screen reminds me of the early days of television.

The year was probably 1949 when I saw my first television set. I was visiting someone in New York City and we stopped at a bar. I noticed there was a small screen behind the bar and it was displaying a hockey game. I not only was intrigued, I was hooked. Even though there was no logical way my budget could afford it I had to have a television set. So when I bought my first set I was advised not to buy the 7 inch screen because it was too small and would ruin my eyes. Therefore I bought the 9 inch General Electric television set in a huge, ugly black, plastic case. Of course, the picture was in black and white and required that an antenna be mounted on the roof of the house.

Even at that small size we thought it was wonderful and I even had groups of my more sensible friends come to the house to watch things like the World Series. Of course, by today's standards the coverage was extremely poor. There usually only was only one camera. In fact, I recall watching golf matches where there was only one camera set up at the 18th hole and while waiting for the next golfer to get there, a professional golfer gave tips.

Eventually they made bigger picture tubes which meant I bought a 12 inch screen. And then a 14 inch screen and then an 18 inch screen,. And so it went as we inched our way up to larger screens and color television. Then came High Definition Television and my present 52 inch screen.

So now, if I understand it correctly, we are starting small again. As I see it, there is no possible way this can work. As people want larger and larger pictures on their cell phone it will soon be impossible to hold the thing up to your ear. I don't think that would work even with my old 9 inch TV.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 30, 2008



From people I talk to and hear from, I gather most are pleased, or at least satisfied, with our new President Elect, Barack Obama.

One e-mail I received commented on how nice it will be to have a president who speaks in complete sentences. I mean real sentences with subjects and predicates and verbs and all that good stuff.

I do note he occasionally has a bit of trouble with that "I/me" thing but that is so common these days that acceptance may have changed by the time he finishes his term. If so, he will attain a rank with the other great presidents who have left their marks on the language of our society.

For example, Abraham Lincoln is still remembered for his “Fourscore and seven years ago...” speech. Up until then no one had any idea that a “score” was twenty years. Now even school children recite that.

Or Franklin Roosevelt, in 1933, when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Up until then most people didn't fear anything. They were too busy worrying where they were going to get food for the next meal or sleep that night. Now even school children recite that.

And of course, President Bill Clinton’s famous speech where he redefined what sex meant as he did with his famous “I did not have sex with that woman!” speech. Now even school children recite that. Well, high school kids anyway.

Perhaps in eight years it will be accepted practice for everyone to say, “Michelle and me are grateful...”. That, of course, assumes everyone will have a wife named Michelle and will actually have something to be grateful for.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 24, 2008



It has happened again! I can’t count the number of times I’ve come up with a worthwhile idea and someone else steals it. It happened again today.

On October 14, 2008 I posted a blog I titled "CAREER DECISIONS". In this blog I called attention to the fact that many banks were receiving government handouts to compensate for money they may have lost from making unwise financial decisions. I explained that the many, many unwise financial decisions I’ve made always resulted in my working a second job to get the money needed. Over the years I have earned money selling food freezers, managing a bowling alley, being a public opinion survey worker and even worked one long day picking apples. As I concluded several times in my blog, I should have become a bank.

So the news today announced the American Express Company has applied to be classified as a bank in order to qualify for some government monies. Where did that idea come from? Do you suppose some highly paid executive just happened to be in his office on October 14th and just happened to be cruising the Internet and just happened to come upon my blog? You don't think so? There's more here than meets the eye.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 11, 2008



Around our home there are many birds but one particular one has been getting my attention lately. It’s a magnificently colored blue jay (cyanocitta cristata) but apparently not too heavy in the brain department.
We have a small glass room where plants are grown. For the past few days this particular blue jay has appeared and stood on the ground, outside, in front of the glass, pecking at his reflection. He must like what he sees because he comes back again and again and repeats the same scenario.

Because the noise is annoying I’m thinking about getting a large picture of a cat and putting it on the inside of the glass. If he would keep trying to get some action from a cat I will know he has progressed from being not too bright to dumb as a rock.

Also, since he is a male and the image he sees is a male, he may be gay. I wonder how many gay blue jays there are. Of course I wouldn’t be counting the one (or ones) that may be part of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 10, 2008

PS I don't want to pretend to be any kind of a bird expert or any other expert really. I just happened to run across the term cyanocitta cristata while looking for a picture.



The other day I saw something that was accidentally funny. As most people know, many television sets have a setting where the text of what is being said is scrolled across the screen. I assume this is primarily for people with hearing difficulties and there probably is some computer word-recognition program.

I happened to have my TV set for that scrolling when they were in Chicago setting up preparing for a huge crowd assembling to hear the final announcement of the election winners. I clearly heard the announcer say, “There’s definitely a carnival atmosphere here.”
A few seconds later the words scrolled across the screen but they said, “There’s definitely a carnal atmosphere here.”

I wonder what the deaf hearing impaired people thought.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 6, 2008

PS I received a note from rednikki who left an interesting comment:
"It's not an automated computer program. Real humans type it, as fast as they possibly can. I have friends who are or have been professional closed-captioners in Los Angeles."


Well, the election is over and the people in the United States have chosen a new president. Even though he is the man I voted for, I am very disappointed today.

The day following the election l the television news programs were saturated with various people expressing their happiness about the outcome of the election. The most common phrase I seemed to hear was, "I never thought I would live long enough to see a black man as president of the United States." Even a man I respect very much, Gen. Colin Powell, made what was essentially the same statement.

Wait a minute! I didn't vote for a black man to be president. I voted for the man I thought was best qualified and he just happens to be black. I suppose I realized in the back of my mind that his skin color would be a factor but I didn't realize until recently that for some people it was the only factor and in my mind that is no way to select the leader of a country. That's not even a good way to select a leader of a Boy Scout troop.

I can only hope that someday people will look back at the new president, evaluate his accomplishments and say, "Oh yes, by the way, he was black."

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 6, 2008



I was a big fan of Adlai Stevenson. In 1952 he ran against Eisenhower for the first time. Not being very politically astute in those days (not to imply that I am today) I felt he would be a shoo-in. Why not? He thought the same way I did so naturally he would make a great president. Perhaps then was the first time I had my eyes opened as to what politics was really all about.

At that particular time I was a high school teacher in Springfield Massachusetts. I happened to be in the downtown area one Saturday afternoon and unbeknown to me one of the candidates for President of the United States was coming to town. I doubt I will ever forget accidentally being there standing on a street corner as a motorcade came by. The image is burned in my mind even today more than 50 years later.

I saw a long, four-door Cadillac convertible sedan with the top down. Sitting in the back, raised up so his feet were on the seat, was a man wearing a tan gabardine suit. The sun shone on his white hair and emphasized his sun-tanned face with the big smile as he waved to people, first on the left and then on the right. I suppose he actually waved to me or the group I was standing in, though I certainly wasn’t there for that reason. I didn’t even know he was coming to town.

That was Dwight D. Eisenhower. As soon as I saw him I muttered, "Oh,(expletive deleted)!" I knew right then that I was looking at the next President of the United States. It was sort of an epiphany. It was my first awareness that a bright sunny day, a big smile and a long Cadillac were more important than anything else when it came to being President of the United States.

It’s said that years later someone asked Adlai Stevenson what advice he might offer a young person wanting to get into politics. He replied, “Never run against a war hero.”

Now, for advice I present the biggest lie you have heard during this political campaign. It goes like, “I don’t care who you vote for but vote.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 3, 2008