For no particular reason I was thinking about football games when I was in school back in the 40s. My high school was Technical High School, known as Tech High.
At football games our cheerleaders would have a big megaphone and they would holler, “Gimmee a Tee” and for some reason everyone would shout “Tee”.
Then, “Gimmee an Eee” everyone would shout “Eee”
Gimmee a “Cee” and everyone would shout “Cee”.
Gimmee an “Aitch” and everyone would shout “Aitch”.
“TECH” and everyone would shout “TECH” .
I never was exactly sure what this accomplished other than letting the other team know we had at least minimal spelling skills.
My brother went to Yale University and they did the same thing there only with a “Gimme a “Y” and an “A” and an “L” and an “E” so there must have been some kind of value to it.
But lately I’ve been a little concerned. A new college is under construction near where we live. It’s the California State University at Monterey Bay.
How in the world will those cheerleaders handle that?
“Gimme a “C”.
“Gimme an “A”
The game would probably be over and the spectators gone by the time the cheerleaders were yelling, “Gimme a “Y”.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 30, 2009



Perhaps you were astute enough to notice a small change in the heading here. Where it used to say an 85-year old brain it now says an 86-year old brain. Those of you who are good at math will deduce that I am a year older now!

Those of you who know my partner, the lovely Jen-Chi, know that she has the same birthday and we both seem to have successfully completed another year. Well, more or less successfully. We’ll take it, whatever it was.

But this second half of my life got off to a strange start. Several things happened that I found to be hilarious. Maybe things seem funnier at this age.

Is it funny that the Borders Bookstore sent me an e-mail expressing birthday greetings and, as a birthday present they gave me a coupon that is worth 25% off of any one one item I buy? Not really funny but in the same e-mail group there was a message from Borders Bookstore offering everyone a 40% discount.

Then does anyone else think it’s funny that I offered to go to a store and purchase some refill brushes for Jen-Chi’s electric toothbrush. I took the device with me to be sure I got the right size. As I parked in front of the store I shut off everything I’m suppose to shut off and opened the car door to get out. The car started buzzing. I checked all the devices, doors, etc and all seemed right but the buzzing continued. As I mentally planed to take it to the dealer as the problem was beyond me I reached into my pants pocket. There was an electric toothbrush running and when I shut that off the car problem was solved. Wasn’t that funny? I thought so but at the same time I didn’t realize my mental faculties would go down so fast.

When I got home Jen-Chi showed me a jar of black seeds. She told me her daughter had given her these poppy seeds and we soon would have many flowers. I looked at the glass jar and saw the seeds but also noted the label was written in French. Now I don’t know much more French that is needed to get crossword puzzles done but it seemed to me I saw words like “milk” and “skin”. So I took the label to my computer where I have a translation program and I typed in the French words. In English it said regular use of this would give smooth skin. So, I went back to Jen-Chi, told her what the label said and asked how you go about rubbing those on the skin. When she finished laughing she explained they were poppy seeds to be planted in the yard and the old glass jar was just a way her daughter used to deliver them. Oh.
Wasn’t that funny too?

To be serious for a moment, I was touched by the several e-mails I received from my blog-friends and I thank you all. We plan on doing this again a year from now but without the toothbrush thing. Hope you'll be there too.

The Old Professor
Camel, CA
March 27, 2009



Recently an airliner leaving New York ran into a flock of geese and was forced to land in the Hudson River. All of the passengers were safely evacuated and the crew was highly praised for having saved so many lives. In fact, the pilot appeared on several television programs and I read he has been offered a book deal to write his life story.

I don’t get it.

This pilot and the crew are being highly praised for doing exactly what they had been trained to do for years. I thought that's what they were supposed to do. I thought that was one of the reasons they are paid so well.

I can clearly recall being taught what to do in emergencies very early in my flight training program with the Navy. The typical drill was to have the instructor cut the power unexpectedly and the student needed to go through the procedure for an emergency landing.

First, look for something indicating wind direction so you could land going into the wind. Then look for an open space and glide the plane to it.

The first time this happened to me was with my civilian instructor in upper state New York. I only had a couple of hours of instruction under my belt at that time . I was with an instructor doing some kind of “How to Make Turns Without Falling Out of the Sky” exercise when all of a sudden the instructor cut the throttle and shouted “Emergency!”

I began to look around.

I saw a flag pole with the flag indicating which way the wind was blowing and I turned the plane to head into the wind as we were taught to do. Then I looked around and saw a nice green patch of grass with no trees and, as the plane was descending, I headed for it. I was all lined up and going down nicely when the instructor grabbed the controls, accelerated the plane and veered off. Then at the top of his voice he screamed, “That was a school yard you dumb son-of-a-bitch!” He threw in a few more comments questioning being able to win a war with people like me involved. Then, at the top of his voice yelled, “Didn’t you see the kids down there?”

I hadn’t seen any kids down there. I was humiliated and we flew back home in silence.

As I think of this episode some 60 years later I realize I certainly would have seen kids if there had been kids. How could anyone miss that? The fact that he veered off made it impossible for me to double check. I had to take his word for it and these days I’m inclined to think there were no kids there at all. In fact, it may not even have been a school building. There are other buildings that might have flagpole in front.

However, I did learn something and I never landed in a school yard with children playing there. In fact, I never landed in a school yard period.

These days I’d be willing to make a small wager that this instructor took all of his students to that area and played the same game.

The son-of-a-bitch!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 20, 2009



Almost every time I leave the house to drive someplace She says, “Drive carefully.”
I always reply, “I will.”
Today there was an addendum
She said, “Drive carefully.”
I replied the usual, “I will.”
Then just as I was going out the door She shouted, “Don’t take anyone else’s grocery cart.”**


The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 10, 2009
** If this doesn’t make any sense to you see the blog below, “Things Old Professors Do.”