12/11/2010

I DON'T GET IT

I often read things in the newspaper that don’t seem to make much sense to me. This morning I saw where, in California, there was a plastic surgeon who had been arrested and charged with molestation. It seems some of his female patients accused him of “inappropriate touching.”

I don’t get it. If he wanted to touch some part of a female couldn’t he just make one and take it home to touch it whenever he pleased?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 11, 2010

12/06/2010

DON'T ASK; DON'T TELL??

These days in the United States there is much debate going on about a military policy called “Don’t ask; Don’t tell.” This policy dates back to 1993 and was intended to prevent barring homosexuals from military service as long as nobody knew about it. Now there is a movement to repeal this policy and allow homosexuals to serve just as anyone else would.

Of course, this brings all the nut cases out of the woodwork and we listen to constant discussions about the advisability of letting “these people”, who, in the eyes of some, are obviously immoral degenerates, come in contact with our troops. Apparently these people seem to think homosexuality is contagious.

Most of the time I just keep quite an don’t voice an opinion but it has gone so far that I feel I must speak up and you, of course, may disagree with my slant on this.

I can’t even imagine the unmitigated gall of someone who would ask a person to defend his or her country, even die for it, but only if his or her sex life was agreeable to that person.

That person might ask me if having a straight person live and work with a gay person doesn’t frighten me.

My reply would be, “No it doesn’t. People like you frighten me.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 6, 2010

12/03/2010

I GET A NEW DEGREE

I finally have attained something I have always wanted. I am now a “University Graduate”, just like George Bush and other famous university graduates. And it all happened without much effort on my part. Well, actually no effort on my part.

This came about because the undergraduate degree I received back in 1948 was from a very small school in northern Massachusetts called “Fitchburg State Teachers College.” Also, that same year I earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the same school.

As time went by I read that the school had grown and it became known as Massachusetts State College at Fitchburg. Then a few days ago I received an invitation to attend the ceremonies where the school would now officially be the University of Massachusetts at Fitchburg.

So, without even lifting a finger I can now face the world as a “University Graduate” and get all the respect that carries with it. Having a “University degree” is something I’ve always wanted and I will enjoy basking in that for some time.

But first I’m being told I need to put the trash out. Perhaps my new degree doesn’t carry as much prestige as I thought it did. At least not everywhere.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December, 3, 2010

11/13/2010

A VERY SHORT STORY

There is a rather famous short story attributed to Ernest Hemingway where it’s said he wrote a short story that consisted of only six words. He wrote, “For sale, baby shoes, never used.”

I wasn’t able to write a decent one that was as brief but I did come up with a very short story I call, “How Did You Like It?

In 1968 the United State State Department sent me to Malawi, Africa to help set up a Technical School. I was there for 2 years, 1 day, 4 hours and 7 minutes.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 13, 2010

11/12/2010

A MOST UNUSUAL DAY

Most of the time my life is fairly mundane giving me little of interest to report. However, every once in a while I have a day that is so unusual that reporting it becomes a problem in that few will believe it actually happened. But I’ll swear that what I’m about to relate is absolutely, 100 percent, the truth.

As yesterday was progressing I began to sense it was going to be a different day -- a special day. Therefore I was unusually alert for details. But before I knew it the day had passed and I realized a complete twenty-four hours had gone by and nothing unusually exciting had happened.

I didn’t trip or fall down even once.

I didn’t break any bones anywhere on my body.

I didn’t go to the hospital in an ambulance.

A most unusual day!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 12, 2010

11/11/2010

I LEARN ABOUT SURGE PROTECTION

The first time I heard about “surge protection” I misheard the question and thought the subject was “urge protection.” I thought it was some kind of adolescent birth control thing.

But it was not that. Surge protection refers to protecting electrical devices from being overloaded by a surge of excessive electricity from the power company.

“Who needs that?” you ask. "This house was built about 35 years ago and we have never had a problem like that."

Until last month.

It was late one Saturday afternoon couple of weeks ago when we heard a load explosion and all the lights went out. We were suddenly without power. Subsequently we were to learn that there had been some kind of problem with one of the Electric Company’s transformers and somehow a billion volts or amps or something went coursing through our house. Almost all of our appliances suffered some kind of burnout and no longer functioned.

After having several different electricians and appliance repair people evaluate the situation it was determined that replacing ALL of these appliances with new ones was less expensive than trying to repair what was left of the old ones.

So, we now have a brand new microwave oven, washing machine, clothes drier, refrigerator, garage door opener, heating thermostat and telephone.

Oddly, my computer was located in a room that had been built as an addition some years ago and luckily was on a different circuit so it was spared any damage.

In addition, a few years ago we bought a large screen TV. (See blog of 11/9/2004) At that time the sales person convinced me that purchasing a rather expensive surge protector for this very expensive new TV set was a good investment. Ever since then I have silently complained about having been taken advantage of by this sales person. But that protection device gave it’s life to save our big screen TV set. Otherwise, a new TV set and digital video recorder would also be on the list of things that needed to be repurchased.

So now we have mostly new appliances and are in the process of gathering the extensive paper work needed to attempt to get the power company to acknowledge their responsibility for the damage and thus for the cost of the replacements.

Meanwhile, there is an electrician at work right now installing a “whole house surge protector.” So, when this happens again 35 years from now we will be protected and be able to keep all of our appliances which will then be 35 years old.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 11, 2010

11/10/2010

I GET SOME VERY WISE ADVICE

As I’ve mentioned before I tripped and broke my right hip a couple of months ago. I spent most of the month of June in a rehab facility where I was under the care of a lovely Physical Therapist named Sherry. Even though at the time I felt she was terribly mean spirited because she pushed me hard. However, today, some four months later, my left hip feels 100% and I’m very grateful to Sherry. We have become friends and stay in touch via e-mail since then.

So, not being content with being just plain normal, about a month ago I tripped and fell again. This time it was the knee on the other side that took the brunt of the fall. It turned out the knee cap, AKA, the patella, wasn’t broken but an MRI showed damage inside the knee. The orthopedic surgeon says it will be between 8 and 12 weeks before it fixes itself and I get back to normal.

So, I am back to exercise, pain and frustration. However, I did receive some excellent advice from Sherry, who you remember was my Physical Therapist during the hip adventure. She came up with some fantastic advice and I will follow it to the best of my ability. She wrote, “Stop falling down!!”

I considered this very good advice and, since it came from a medical professional, I plan on following her counsel to the letter.

It also occurs to me that this advice might benefit others too. So, if you know of someone who might profit from this advice feel free to pass it on. I’m sure Sherry won’t mind.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
November 10, 2010

10/14/2010

WELL DONE CHILE !!!

I had just about decided to retire from writing blogs. My life, including my new hip, is going very well and there was no particular reason for my deciding this. It just seemed to me that there wasn’t much interesting going on around me.
That is until yesterday.
On October 13, 2010 the whole world got to observe the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile and, to me, it was a thing of beauty. The rescuers carefully went about saving the miners in exactly the right way and the results certainly were rewarding.
These days the world could use a few more inspirational things like this.
Thank you for sharing with us, Chile.
Well done!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 14, 2010`

9/13/2010

THE SPICE OF LIFE

I recently read some advice offered to computer users who suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Apparently repeated actions using a mouse can cause various wrist problems and the suggestion was made to get a second mouse and program it to work with the other hand. This way when using the right mouse, for example, causes discomfort, one could just switch to the left mouse.

I have no personal experience with this idea of having two mice but it did make me wonder. If this works for mice would it also work for spice? That is, similar to a mouse user, would having an extra spouse also work the same way. If one had two spice and there was pain associated with one it would then be possible to switch to the other one.

Personally I have been involved with multiple spice, though not thru choice and not at the same time. I firmly believe this experience has contributed to my happiness big time. Perhaps that’s what, “The Spice of Life” really is.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
September 13, 2010

9/09/2010

FINISH THE SENTENCE

In all the years that I have been posting these blogs I can't recall ever using a blog to exercise my State-granted rights as a teacher. However, there's something I hear so often that I feel compelled to put on my teacher's cap and suggest an alternative.

My teaching background was in the Technology area and I have little formal training or understanding of the rules of grammar. I actually would not recognize an adverb if it came up and shook my hand. None the less, even though my mother never graduated from high school, she always had a keen ear for the English language and constantly, but gently, corrected us. Eventually, without knowing the rules, I became accustomed to hearing things said a certain way and anything else sounded very odd.

This was brought to my mind this morning as I listened to some radio commentator commenting on clothing styles in France. This person said, “The French really do it better than us.”

The way my mother always corrected us was to make us finish the sentence. In this case, the speaker obviously meant, “The French really do it better than us do.” This, of course, sounds ridiculous. By adding the single word “do” we get the true meaning and it becomes obvious that using “us” sounds ignorant.

So why doesn't everyone play the game of “Finish the Sentence”? The missing word is always implied and even little children are then able to know if the word should be “us” or “we” or "I" or "me".

If everyone would just remember to “finish the sentence”, even if it's only in one's mind, we could save a lot of cringing of the type one does when fingernails scratch the chalkboard.

The other one that was a favorite of my mother's was when I would say, “Billy and me are going to the playground.”

My mother would gently say, “If Billy can't go, is me going alone?” Of course, it then became obvious that I should have said, “I” instead of “me.” And this soon became a habit without my ever knowing what modified what. It's not that hard.

Exceptions might be if a person deliberately wants to sound ignorant. Apparently there are a lot of those people around but how they managed to to become employed as professional announcers and scriptwriters is a mystery to me.

The Old Professor
Carmel, California
September 9, 2010

9/06/2010

LABOR DAY

I finally managed to look up and see that it’s been almost a month since I posted my previous blog. There is only one reason for that time gap. There has been nothing blogable happening in my life. I suppose that ordinarily that might be construed as a good thing. However, in the US today is a holiday.

The first Monday in September is designated as Labor Day, which is rather a strange name because it actually became a holiday so that people who labor, don’t need to do so on this day. It would suggest that No Labor Day would be a better description.

As it is,, it already cheats a good section of the population -- the retired people. I’ll admit that when I retired the only thing I missed were the holidays when I didn’t need to go to work. I always used to look forward to those days and now I never even have one. It hardly seems fair.

But to all of you who do labor (or labour) and have no need to do so today, don’t let my viewpoint spoil your day.

Have a good one.

The Old Professor
Carmel, California
September 6, 2010

8/14/2010

PLANS FOR WHEN THE EARTH DIES?

The other day I was watching a television program which described how scientists think the earth was originally formed. It also explained how our planet has a limited life span and eventually will end up being unable to support any life forms much like Mars is said to be today. Before anyone panics, some say this is supposed to happen about 2.3 billion years from now. It is assumed that by then technology will have developed enough so that somehow we will all be able to move to a different planet before “Last Call” and the lights go out forever.

That may work out for most people but I am very certain I won’t be one of the ones moving. First, it will be a very, very long trip inasmuch as our nearest planet is Venus and distance between Earth and Venus varies but the minimum is about 25.5 million miles. That’s much more than any Frequent Flyer Miles plan would cover and, in addition, it would take a very long time and I would rather stay right here and perish with our planet than spend that amount of time with that kid kicking the back of my seat.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 14, 2010

8/09/2010

TIGER WOODS AND ME

Even if you know nothing about golf you probably have heard of Tiger Woods. Up until recently he was generally conceded to be the best golfer in the world. But then he ran into some problems. It became public knowledge that he had been involved with several rather sordid sexual adventures outside of his marriage. Eventually this led to a divorce and Tiger Woods went into a clinic for the treatment of Sexual Addiction.

After several weeks he returned to the professional golf tour and has been anything but successful. Last week he was in a tournament and finished next to last place.
He placed 79th in a field of 80 players. He played in the much same manner that I used to play when I played golf. He couldn't seem to hit the ball straight. If there was some kind of trouble he seemed to find it and when he finally did get the ball on the green he had trouble making it go in the hole.

That's exactly the way I used to play golf before I finally gave up and conceded it just wasn't my game. Any alternative reason for my poor performance never occurred to me. Now I'm beginning to wonder if it wasn't somehow related to the fact that I never was a “sexual addict” though that might have been fun.

It's possible.

The Old Professor
Carmel,CA
August 9, 2010

8/05/2010

TOO MUCH SPARE TIME?

Each morning I read our local newspaper. I find it very interesting to read the Letters to the Editor. I also enjoy, though that may not be the right word, reading the Obituaries or Death Notices. I suppose the reason I check these every morning is that I am pleased when I find my name not there.

Lately an interesting discussion has been raging in the Letters to the Editor section. One man started by strenuously objecting to the obituaries describing a person as having “passed away.” His contention was that people die and they are, therefore, "dead." As he says, “They haven't “passed away” or “gone to their maker” or any other way of describing it. He stresses they are dead and that's all, period.

In spite of the fact that this seems a rather innocuous subject, the debate has raged on for several days. Personally, I see this as an activity for people who have too much time on their hands.

But, in all honesty, I suppose that's what I'm doing right now.

The Old Professor
Carmel. CA
August 8, 2010

7/26/2010

OLD TV SHOWS

As I get older it seems to me that I keep running across things that remind me that being older means I have experienced some things that people who are younger have not. This was recently brought home to me when I ordered a few DVDs that were recordings of older television programs. One order was a collection of, “Best of TV Detectives.” Here I received 150 programs and many of them were programs I used to watch regularly. When they arrived I was delighted and proceeded to watch a few of my favorites. Then it dawned on me. These were OLD programs and considerable different than what we see every day these days.

I started by looking at a series I used to enjoy called “Mr. and Mrs. North”. I recalled that I used to watch this program in the early 1950s and I enjoyed it. But I forgot the changes that have evolved since then.

In 1949 I bought my first television set and I bought the big one. I was cautioned that trying to watch the 7 inch screen would ruin my eyes so I bought the 10 inch size. Of course, it was only black and white and a grainy black and white at that. So the first thing that surprised me was how poor the picture quality was when viewed on my 56 inch, High Definition Color screen.

In addition, it was only half an hour long. In fact, less than that because there were the titles, credits and a couple of commercial announcements. So maybe it was 25 minutes to develop a setting, let the plot unfold, supply the clues and let the detective solve the case. Eventually that type of program expanded to an hour and these days it takes 2 hours to accomplish essentially the same thing.

There was another thing I noticed. I especially noted this when watching James Garner in his old TV series called, “The Rockford Files.” He made 122 of these in the mid 1970s. One of the things I noticed was all the automobiles were so huge then. The sporty car that Rockford drove had a front hood that was longer than my Prius. I looked as though it would house the engine of an ocean liner.

I also was startled by the price of gasoline when some scenes show cars driving past a gas station and the sign advertised 25 cents a gallon. Today our price is thirteen times higher than that. No wonder I drive a small car.

My only point here, if there was one at all, is that technology sneaks up on us and we accept it as normal. Today when I watch a television program I accept the fact that I see a large, sharp picture in realistic colors. I forget that in 1949 we used to huddle around that little TV set watching mediocre shows that we thought were marvelous.

I’m sure that same thing applies to other fields as well and we accept these without thinking too. Maybe we should think about it more and complain about it less.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
July 26, 2010

7/22/2010

CHANGE OF PLANS

I made a rather startling discovery today and it has already had a major influence on my Life Plans. Since I made it into the “Over 80” age group I’ve considered myself very fortunate especially since many (most) of my friends and relatives never made it this far. And, additionally, since I am usually feeling well I saw no reason why I shouldn’t go for 90. However, after this new discovery I am amending my plans. I now have a new goal.


This morning I ran across the Mortality Charts issued by some department of the United States Government. I notice the age with smallest percentage of the population dying is the “Over 100” group.


To me the conclusion is obvious. Since I am now 87 years old I’m going to go for it! It’s a fairly short jump to 100. In fact, I can see 100 from my back porch.


The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

July 22, 2010

7/21/2010

I RECALL 1943

Since blogging the details of breaking my hip several interesting things have developed. One is my having genuine flashbacks. It seems that repairing a broken hip involves much physical therapy to get ALL the muscles back to working the way they did prior to the break. The physical therapy that I am undergoing often takes me back to 1943 when I went into the US Navy to be trained as an airplane pilot. Even after all these years it is still so very clear in my mind.


The very first thing the Navy felt it needed to do was take a bunch of young, out of shape men and get them into top physical condition as quickly as possible. There was no easy way to do this. The only way was exercise, exercise, exercise. We exercised every muscle in the body including muscles we didn’t even realize we had until they all began to ache. We used to say our hair even ached.


But the aches continued. It was joked that it was easy to spot the newcomers because they all limped and held onto railings when going up stairs. But a strange thing happened. After a period of time the aches went away and the newly found muscle strength was taken for granted.


The same thing happens when one is 87 years old except it takes longer. It’s probably close to impossible to ever get 87 year old muscles to perform as 20 year old muscles but it is possible make them stronger and more flexible. The catch is that it isn’t easy. It takes time and it takes persistence to continue to do things that are very uncomfortable. The body almost literally screams to stop but to get the results it’s important to push on through that.


That’s where I am now. It’s been about 7 weeks and I wish I were back to normal but I am not. I still feel I need to use a cane, partly for safety reasons (not falling again) and partly to ease the moderate pain I experience when walking. I know I won’t live long enough to get back to the condition I was in 67 years ago but luckily, I don’t need to. But I am going to push through the discomfort and the actual pain until I at least get back to where I was. Hopefully I will even get better than that.


The reason I am blogging this is that I have received a few comments and e-mails where individuals wished they could change their own or some loved one’s physical situation. Well, I know for sure it’s possible to improve -- I’ve been doing that. How far I can go is still a question but at least I know that if I continue to work hard I can certainly get to be better than I am now. Anybody who wants to can.


And that can’t be a bad thing.


The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

July 21, 2010

7/20/2010

PROGRESS, I GUESS

It was May 26, 2010 that a parking bumper jumped up and tripped me causing me to fall and break my right hip. After that was surgically repaired I left the hospital 4 days later and checked into a very nice live-in, rehab facility. 27 days after the fall I was home and for a few days I needed a 4-legged walker to get around, however I soon graduated to only using a cane.


While I was in rehab I had a lovely Physical Therapist named Sherry who prodded me through the various stages. At first I needed a wheel chair but soon she forced me to use a walker and eventually I only needed a cane for assistance. I recall Sherry telling me that someday I was going to get up, walk to another room and remember I had forgotten my cane. As improbable as that seemed at the time, similar things did eventually happen. In fact, I am often heard asking, “Where did I leave my cane?” But this morning I topped that.


I’m almost always awake very early and I like to get up and get going. My partner likes to sleep as late as she possibly can. So I have developed a little morning routine. I usually gather up the clothes I plan to wear, pick up my cane and make my way to the bathroom where I can get dressed without disturbing her. I did that again this morning with one major difference. When I arrived in the bathroom I discovered that I had been carrying my cane as though it might be a baby unable to walk. Not only did I forget that I needed the cane to help my walking, I carried it as unnecessary baggage.


I am pleased because it's only been 55 days ago since the event. Notice I do not refer to it as “the accident” because, to this day, I am positive that concrete bumper attacked me to avenge some act, it imagined I was a party to, which condemns it to a life of just lying there in the parking lot all day. A sad fate I’ll admit but it’s not my fault.


The OldProfessor

Carmel, CA

July 20, 2010


7/11/2010

**PUBLIC SERVICE WARNING**

This poster is now being seen all over California, USA.


***** WANTED *****

bumper3.jpg

Parking Bumper

AKA:

"Cement thing to stop car"

"The Trip Over thingee"


This bumper, often seen lurking in parking lots, is to be considered extremely dangerous.

Its modus operandi is to lurk quietly and suddenly appear under the foot of its victim causing the victim to fall and sometimes break one or more bones ordinarily essential for walking.


Has been recently seen in Central California. If seen authorities advise staying as far away as possible and do not, under any circumstances, aggravate it as it will attack.


This warning offered as a public service by:

Parking Bumper Awareness Association.


and:

The Old Professor

Carmel, CA

July 11, 2010

7/08/2010

IT'S IN THE GENES

I saw an article in the newspaper that attracted my attention. The headline read, “Scientists Close To Cracking Key To Longevity.” Since I am close to longevity myself I read on.


It seems there are scientists who spend their time studying centenarians, which as you know, are people over 100 years old. I was interested as that number is on my horizon and I plan on being there fairly soon. So I read on.


Apparently these scientists are examining the DNA of really old people and what they are finding surprised me. At least some of them agree that the primary reason some people get to be that old is simply a matter of genes. They say those with the proper genes kind of automatically bypass diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease and many of the other things that tend to appear in middle age.


I suppose it was reading this that caused me to have trouble sleeping that night. In fact, it probably was a dream but I thought I had a conversation with my parents.


They started by apologizing. My mother said, “We wanted to congratulate you on getting to be 100 years old but also we want you to know we are sorry we gave you so much trouble about eating sugar, and fats and carbohydrates. We only wanted you to live a long life and it turns out that didn’t have much to do with it. It was all the genes we passed on.”


My father said, “Yes.”


"You mean that cod liver oil didn't do anything?"


"Apparently not. Just genes."


I asked, “What about smoking and drinking? Remember, I quit those in order to live longer.”


“We’re sorry but apparently it’s genes.”


“And what about that girl on the next street you wouldn’t let me have anything to do with because she had “questionable morals?”


“Wouldn’t have mattered. Just genes. We really are sorry but we didn’t know.”


I sighed and admitted it probably wouldn’t have made much difference but it might have made the 100 years go by faster. I told them, “Doing it our way sure took a long time.”


In unison, my parents said, “But we didn’t know.“ and disappeared.


I woke up and thought about it. I suppose when I quit smoking and drinking I probably saved a lot of money but if that was the case, I wondered where it was.


The OldProfessor

Carmel, CA

July 8, 2010


6/30/2010

THE HUMAN BODY

These days I've been more or less forced into thinking a lot about the structure of the human body. Whoever or whatever designed this piece of equipment did a marvelous job considering it was probably designed without the use of computers as it would be had it been done today.


I’ve read that there are more than 200 different bones in the human body and they work together using what seems to me a very complex system of levers, cables, hinges, pulleys and various other devices. At first glance it would seem amazing if it worked at all.


I wonder how many models were tested and failed before one worked successfully. I’ve read the Wright Brothers failed over and over before they made a machine that actually flew. It now seems fairly simple to make something fly and compared to making the human body work, flying would seem to be child’s play. Yet there seems to be little information available about how many failures the designer had before a human body was made to work in an acceptable fashion.


All in all, most human bodies seem to work fairly well though I question the designers choice of material for the framework. Perhaps at that time some sort of calcified mineral was the only material available to use for bones. Probably things like titanium hadn’t been discovered yet. That’s too bad because a human body with a skeleton made of titanium bones would be both light weight and strong so if a body happened to trip over something in a parking lot there would probably be no harm done at all.


Still, all in all, I tip my hat to the designer. After all, how many other things do we know where the original design is still being produced using the original equipment and methods?


The OldProfessor

Carmel, CA

June 30, 2010

6/27/2010

MEMORIES OF MY VACATION

Many people take pictures of their adventures in order to be able to recall pleasant memories. Well, my memories aren't all that pleasant but I do have an image to refresh my memory of my recent hip adventure. (If you don't know what that means please see previous blog.)

Below is the x-ray showing the hunk of stainless steel that was inserted into my right leg. As I understand it, the surgeon cut off the end of the existing (and broken) hip bone and replaced it with this steel device. This picture was taken as I was on my back and the repair job was to my right hip but as you see it, it's on the left. The white color is the stainless steel.

I questioned the surgeon as to how they aligned it accurately and he told me they have jigs that take care of the alignment and so forth. He also told me another interesting thing. The steel insert is porous so as the bone grows it becomes part of the insert.

So, this is my memory of my vacation and even though it may not be for everyone, I'm happy to share it with you.

The OldProfessor
Carmel, CA
June 27, 2010






6/24/2010

THAT WAS FUN -- NOT!!

It seems like eons ago but on May 26th I tripped over something in a store parking lot and broke my right hip. Surgery followed the next day after which I moved into a Rehab House and spent almost 4 weeks there relearning to stand up, walk and other exotic things of that ilk.

On June 22, just four days short of a month, I arrived back home using a 4-wheel walker to get around. With a bunch of determination and a whole lot of pain I am now walking relying heavily on a cane. Walking normally and without pain seems a long way down the road but I am promised it is on the horizon if I work at it, which I will certainly do. I don't want to spend the second half of my life limping around.

Several of you have written sort of suggesting that I was missed and that feels good. Though I am a long way from being 100%, I am working at it and soon will be back at this place with my usual opinionated -- whatever.

Though it is difficult, I do see one bight side to this. I now have a bunch of new adventures to share with you. Hopefully some of them may discourage someone from trying to emulate the swan dive I took.

So, as another old timer once said, "I shall return." To which I add, "And soon." Thanks for waiting.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
June 24, 2010


5/17/2010

OUR NEW CAR, KIND OF

A couple of months ago we bought a new automobile. Well, it’s like a real automobile only smaller. It’s a Prius, manufactured by Toyota.






We found this car to have all kinds of extra things available and, partly because I am addicted to gadgets, we bought most of them at added cost.


So now when I get in my car it automatically detects my cell phone and connects to it. If I get a call while I’m driving, it answers for me and I merely talk to whoever called.


I also can talk to the car as I might do using the navigation system. I can suggest an address to go to and the navigation system guides me there by telling me where and when to turn. It even has a kind voice when I make a mistake. I hear sometimes hear a kindly lady say, “Continue straight one quarter of a mile where you are able to make a legal U-turn.”


I can also speak back and say something like, “Take me home.” and she will guide me safely there.


When we were offered a satellite radio channel of course we needed it. We are told this will allow me to drive across the country and never lose my radio signal. That’s impressive even though I rarely drive more than 35 miles and never have lost my radio signal. But if I do decided to take off one day, I’ll be able to listen to the same station day after day after day. Oh joy!


Then there is the backup camera which shows up on a screen whenever I start to go in reverse. This is quite handy in seeing what I am going to run over in case I might want to stop.


There was one option we decided to pass on. We could have had leather covered seats but decided we had no real use for them and did not order that option. For this, I feel the salesman acted irresponsibly. Probably legally so. When we were discussing this option he never once mentioned that spilling some kind of chocolate drink on the front seat would leave a stain that apparently will remain there for life, while leather upholstery would have made it a simple job to clean up. He never said anything like that. I had to discover that myself.


I may sue that salesman for something. I haven’t decided what yet.


The OldProfessor

Carmel, CA

May 17, 2010

5/10/2010

CONVERGANCE

It’s seems strange to me how often I seem to have the word “converge” apply to something in my life. I mean "converge" where it means, “To come together from different directions so as to eventually meet.” It happened again yesterday, Mother’s Day.

Though my mother has long ago gone on to her reward I still often think fondly of her in spite of some of her very odd idiosyncrasies. Whenever I think of some of the odd, as in different, things about her I recall the time I called her to let her know I had remarried after a disastrous first attempt at marriage.

My mother and I lived 3,000 miles apart so she had never met, or even heard of, the lady I had just recently married. So, soon after we returned from our honeymoon I picked up the phone and called my mother.

“Hi, Mom. I have some great news. You now have a brand new daughter in law.”
There was a rather lengthy silence.
Then my mother casually asked, “What color is she?”

I was so startled I didn’t know what to say and it was many years later I learned the root of her question. It seemed that she still remembered a day when I was about 19 years old and came home from seeing a movie. I told my mother I had seen Lena Horne and further said something like -- well, not something like -- exactly, “She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I would marry her if she were purple.”

Thirty years later my mother remembered that and I suppose she worried that I might actually marry a purple lady.

I thought of that story again yesterday, Mother’s Day. That evening I heard that Lena Horne had died at the age of 92.

Convergence again.

Lena Horne

Rest in Peace, Lovely Lady

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 10, 2010

5/05/2010

OIL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

So here we have yet another problem and no one seems to have an answer. Currently there are several million gallons of oil floating around in the Gulf of Mexico and the prospects of doing anything about it grow more dim daily.

Some have suggested sweeping it up and taking it some other place until a solution can be found. Other have suggested burning it which seems like a massive undertaking to say nothing about the damage to our atmosphere.

Various groups are building all sorts of devices to at least keep the oil at sea where, presumably it can’t do as much harm and maybe, just maybe, it might disappear someday. Good luck with that.

I think I have a solution and, as usual, I wonder why someone didn’t think of it. Of course, everyone doesn’t have my background of experiences which enables me to solve a variety of problems. This particular experience goes back to when I was in college in the mid 1940s. I bought my first car and I’ll never forget it. It was a 1937 Buick.
This was a great car and also had some unusual capabilities. For one thing it had an insatiable appetite for oil. It seems to me that I used to put almost as much oil in this car as gasoline. Yet it never seemed to leak any that was visible and it didn’t leave big clouds of exhaust smoke. It just quietly consumed oil at a prestigious rate.

Now almost anyone should be able to see how this could solve the current crisis. If it were possible to obtain about half a dozen of these old Buicks, they could make that 50 million gallon oil spill disappear in matter of weeks, or months at the very most.

I’m not sure what I might will say if when I get called to Washington to testify about how I managed to cleanup the Gulf catastrophe so quickly.

I’ll probably just say, “You’re welcome.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 5, 2010

5/01/2010

AN ADDENDUM TO YESTERDAY'S BLOG

Today I was thinking about the blog I posted yesterday regarding words that were hidden in order to shield them from children’s eyes and ears and also to maintain the level of morality we have today. I left out one important method of doing this. That is the famous “expletive deleted” which is a great improvement over using the first and last letters and allows the reader to use his or her imagination to fill in the missing letters.

If that famous line from the 1939 movie, Gone with the Wind where Clark Gable as Rhett Butler said to Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara was, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a d--n.” the reader would be severely limited in trying to decipher what Rhett actually said. It might have been, “I don’t give a dawn.” or maybe “I don’t give a Dean.” In other words, one is considerably hampered in finding a word when limited to 4-letter words that begin with “d” and end with “n”.

If, on the other hand, one were to read, “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a (expletive deleted)” the field would be wide open. The dictionary says an expletive is a “curse or swear word” and everyone concedes the English language is very adequately supplied with those.

And those with more sensitive souls could substitute any word they found more appealing. Some might even come up with something that would make the line equally memorable. It certainly would be different if Rhett had said, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a farthing’s worth of penny candy.” I think they talked that way in those days and, if so, it would be a much different line that is quoted. today.

As if I would give a farthing’s worth of penny candy.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
May 1, 2010

4/30/2010

I WONDER AGAIN

I happen to live in a situation where everyone here does not have English as an only language. We find it helps if, when we are watching television, we have the closed caption feature turned on as well as the audio. This feature is where the words scroll across the screen as they are being spoken. It’s primarily for people with hearing problems but we have discovered it helps our situation too.

Sometimes we see things that are missing in an audio only session. A good example was the recent US Senate hearing that pitted some Senators against the Goldman Sachs executives who were being investigated for a huge stock scandal. If you read about it in the newspaper you saw that a Senator asked, “Why did you sell securities that your own company called shitty?”

Now most people listening heard a Senator ask, “Why did you sell securities that your own company called bleep?” However, people who had the Closed Caption saw, “Why did you sell securities that your own company called s- - - -y?”

Now, what is that all about? Is there anyone older than 6 years old who doesn’t at least suspect what “shitty” means? Most people don’t use it but why is it “coded”? It must be to protect young ears from hearing it, as though that answers the problem.

The answer really is in having a child ask, "What does shitty mean, Daddy?" and having Daddy (or Mommy) explain it and add that it was a word that most people don't use because it makes the user sound ignorant. That's probably better than learning from friends that it's a giggle word you don't ever use in front of your parents.

But what do I know? In fact, if truth were to be told, I really don’t give a d- -n.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 30, 2010

4/25/2010

I REALLY HEARD THIS

For the past couple of years I’ve been posting little tidbits here that I thought might interest someone. For the past few days I haven’t seen or heard anything I thought worthy of putting here for you to read. That is, until yesterday. Then I saw something on TV that startled me but I’m not sure it should appear here under my name inasmuch as it involves a couple of subjects that many people have strong feelings about.

I might as well say it, it involves God and homosexuality and I realize it might lose me a friend or two but here I go anyway.

I was half watching a television program. In the US there is an old commentator named Larry King. He interviews various people about almost any subject and he’s been doing it for years. The other evening I heard him interview two people and I don’t recall their names and that’s probably a good thing.

One was a lady who they said was a Country Western singer and, not surprisingly, I never heard of her. The other was the Parson of a church that I never heard of either. The young lady had just announced she was a lesbian. I couldn’t see why this was anything anyone should care much about but it did upset the Parson considerably because it went against God’s laws as clearly spelled out in his Bible.

Larry King, who is good at keeping the conversation from dragging, asked the Parson if it wasn’t true that the Bible prohibits Jews from eating shellfish.
The Parson allowed as how this was true but that later in the Bible it is allowed.
“How come?” asked Larry.
The Parson replied, and these were his exact words, “God changed his mind.”
I actually shouted out loud, “What?
I still can’t believe it. Whatever happened to infallibility and stuff like that?

As I thought about it I felt better. If it is indeed possible that God can change his mind I hope He gets around to some of the indiscretions of my youth that apparently have me on the road to fire and brimstone. I could use a decision reversal or two.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 25, 2010

4/18/2010

I HAVE AN EXCUSE

I suppose someone, somewhere is wondering what happened to the Old Professor for the last few days. At least I hope so.

I have a confession to make. Even at my advanced age I've been having an affair.

It all started innocently enough. I was at a local shopping center when I first saw her. I thought she was beautiful but it didn't dawn on me that it would go any farther than my thinking that.

But I was wrong.

I found myself going to sleep thinking about her beauty and waking up still absorbed with her. I probably should have quit then or perhaps sought help but instead I decided to go back and see if she was still there. She was and I took the first steps towards getting better aquatinted and, much to my surprise I realized the more time I spent with her, the more I was in love with her. Finally there was no way to do anything other than to take her home.

Click here for as a recent picture.


Don't you agree she is beautiful. A full 27 inch, measured diagonally, iMac computer! However, as it is with most new lovers, it takes much time to get acquainted. I need to learn her ways and many of them are much different from "the way I was brought up." However, much like any relationship, it's the challenge that makes it all worthwhile.

Eventually, all will run smooth I'm sure. Then I will be able to more adequately keep up with important things, like blogging.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 18, 2010

4/09/2010

I HAVE A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

I've never been much of a believer when it came to miracles of the biblical type. That is, until today. This morning I believe I experienced a genuine religious experience.

It happened, as I understand it often does, in a very unusual place. I was in a grocery store doing some ordinary shopping. As I was pushing my shopping cart around I heard a voice. It seemed to be coming from above. It was a loud and booming voice and apparently I was the only one who heard it. At least, I looked around and nobody else seemed to be expressing any surprise so I assume I was the only one hearing this voice. But I clearly recall this strong male voice that certainly grabbed my attention even though he didn't actually call me by name. I must admit I have no idea if it was the real God speaking or someone He had appointed to deliver the message to me.

I could definitely hear this thunderous voice say, "On Aisle Three, Cascade Automatic Dishwashing Detergent is on sale for today only. Buy one and get the second one for half price." Again, I looked around and apparently no one else heard this message because as I immediately headed for Aisle Three, I noticed no one else did. When I arrived there I found that, sure enough, Cascade Automatic Dishwashing Detergent was on sale. So, of course I bought it. Actually I bought two -- the second one was at half price.

On the way home I wondered, and I still wonder, why I was chosen to receive this message especially since we don't own a dishwasher. I half expected -- no, I fully expected to arrive home and find an automatic dishwasher all hooked up and ready to go accept for the detergent. Such was not the case -- at least not yet. Maybe that comes later. They say He moves in mysterious ways.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 09, 2010

4/08/2010

I GO BACK TO SCHOOL

The other day I discovered something that I didn't realize even existed. There is a computer program called iTunes. This connects to a site where music can be purchased and downloaded. In addition, I discovered there is a place called iTuneU. That's where the letter "U." stands for "University."

I went online and visited there to see what was going on and was amazed to find out there are, literally, thousands of things available that can be downloaded for free. There's a whole bunch of classical music and there are many, many educational courses. One that caught my eye was, "How to Create Apps for iPhone." In as much as I have recently acquired an iPhone and am currently using many of the apps (applications) that are available for free, I decided to take advantage of this course which was being offered by Stanford University.

It took me about three hours to download all of the lectures in the slides that went with them.

Then I started take the course and fired up Lesson One. It turns out that I was watching a video recording of an actual class, with the actual professor, in front of an actual chalkboard. Though it seemed strange to me that the professor appeared to be about 12 years old, I decided to go ahead anyway. I then discovered there was a prerequisite to this course called "Object Oriented Programming" or something like that. My not having this prerequisite didn't bother me. After all, here I was "taking" a course with a bunch of college kids. Certainly my maturity and vast experience would enable me to not only keep up with the class but probably forge ahead.

So, I listened attentively to this young boy who was pretending to be a professor. He provided various information regarding office hours, due dates for assignments, grading and things like that. So far, no problem at all. Just as I thought. I can do this easily.

Then he started describing what I think was the content of the course. When I say, "I think" it's because from that point on I didn't even understand one word. Oh, there were a few words such as, "the" or I think I heard an "also" in there but I'm not sure. After a few minutes of talking gibberish he did say, "Are there any questions?"

Mentally I said, "Are you kidding?" That's a question!

I withdrew from the class which involved pressing the Delete Key a few times and wondered what happened to education since I left over 30 years ago. Things sure have have deteriorated. When I was the one in front of the class we put out good information that was understandable. Education sure has changed.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 08, 2010

4/05/2010

I DREAM THEREFORE I AM ......

Last night I dreamt I met and chatted with a movie star. Now, it’s my understanding that whatever I dream comes from within my mind and not from any outside source and that’s the part that puzzles me. I guess I could dream of meeting any of the glamor queens of my era such as
Ava Gardner










Or,

Rita Hayworth










Or, in my dream I could probably even marry
Elizabeth Taylor










If I’d be willing to wait in line.

So, why would I dream about Abe Vigoda?










I remember that I enjoyed seeing Mr. Vigoda as the detective called, "Fish" on the Barney Miller TV series in the late 70s. He also had a prominent role in the movie, “The Godfather”.

Though, in my dream, I had an interesting conversation with him I wonder why my psyche chose him instead of the other choices I mentioned. I wonder if it’s something I should be concerned about and perhaps seek professional help.

It’s probably just an age thing.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 05, 2010

3/30/2010

I SAVE THE GOVERNMENT MONEY

It’s a rare time when I get a chance to actually give some good advice to the US Government, or anyone else for that matter. The news today reminds us that a short time back The US Government bailed out several financial institutions that were having trouble. They actually took majority ownership of some financial institutions. Citigroup, Inc. was one of these and they received about 25 billion US dollars and today the government announced it was planning to sell back the 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup, Inc..

Here’s where my suggestion can save much money. Most stock brokers buy and sell stock at a price. This price is often a percentage of the transaction. However, there are exceptions and they are widely advertised on television. There are stock brokers that operate through the internet and they charge less than $10 for each transaction, irrespective of the number of shares or the amount of money.

So all the Treasury Department has to do is go online, create an account. A credit card is necessary but they probably receive offers for those in the mail every day. I know I do. The next step would be to transfer the 7.7 billion shares to that account. That would result in the first fee of $10. The next thing would be to put all 7.7 billion shares up for sale and that would be another $10. A total of $20 and that probably could be negotiated down to much less than that.

There’s really no need to thank me. It’s my civic duty.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 30, 2010

3/27/2010

THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Thanks to the thousands hundreds many friends who wished us well on our birthday. It warms the cockles of my heart even though I have no idea what “cockles” actually are. (I think I’m beginning to talk like Groucho Marx.)

Who’s “Groucho Marx?” Use Google to look it up and while you’re there, look up “cockles” and you’ll find that no one else seems to know what the word “cockles”, as it's used in that expression, actually means either.

Thanks again and, by the way, don’t let anyone kid you. Being 87 isn’t all that bad especially when one considers the alternatives for people born in 1923.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 27, 2010

3/26/2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US

Some may recall that I have a domestic partner, Jen-Chi. Our relationship goes back almost 10 years now. Coincidentally, we have the same birthday accept she is a year older and thus wiser than I.

Perhaps you noticed a slight change in the introductory message above. Today we have arrived at 87 and 88 years of age.

It makes one almost believe in miracles. Scratch "almost."

Happy birthday to us!!

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 26, 2010

PS It also seemed fitting that I should update my photo to one that was taken this month.

3/21/2010

PACIFIC

In 2001 the television production comany called Home Box Office (HBO ) had Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced the highly acclaimed TV series called “Band of Brothers” which chronicled much of World War II in Europe. Now they have produced a similar project that attempts to do the same thing for the part of World War II that took place in the Pacific area. It is aptly called “Pacific” and is currently being aired in ten, one-hour segments. I saw Episode 1 which involved the Marines landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. If the rest are as good, it will be a sensational series.

However, as realistic as it appears, I have one little criticism. I watched a short movie called “The Making of Pacific” where the difficulties of filming this series were shown. In an effort to ensure realism Spielberg and Hanks supposedly called on some Veterans who allegedly were actually there in 1942. This is where I saw something that didn’t seem right. Every one of these, supposed, veterans of that campaign were old guys. They looked old, they walked old and, I assume they did everything else old men do or do not do. Using these old men as reference was silly. Though I never was in the Pacific area, I was in the military at that time and I don’t remember ever seeing any men who looked like that. Maybe they were all Generals or something like that.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 21, 2010

3/20/2010

AN UNSOLICITED OPINION

There are many subjects I know practically nothing about. However, in the finest American tradition, that does not stop me, or even slow me down, from making judgments and dispensing advice. The following comment concerns one of those subjects.

We are led to believe that the famous golfer, Tiger Woods, is now returning to playing golf after spending some amount of time at a rehabilitation center where he was being treated for sexual addiction. What is that "sexual addiction" nonsense? After many, many years of rather close-up observation I've been able to conclude that all males, regardless of species, are sexual addicts. Nature has installed this in the male in order to perpetuate the species.

At one time I had a pet dog that, prior to being neutered, was definitely sexually addicted. He apparently felt it was his genetic obligation to perpetuate his breed by mating with anything he could find. He even was attempting to establish a new breed which would have been half Labrador Retriever and half Sofa.

Finally, he went through this mating ritual in the presence of a Ladies Bridge Club meeting. Then something most males learned in childhood was explained to him. This behavior was social unacceptable. This learning experience was further reinforced using a visual aid in the form of a rolled up newspaper. Repeating this lesson a couple of times seemed to cure his sexual addiction.

Of course, I'm not contending that the same treatment would work for Tiger Woods. Using the newspaper would be silly. Perhaps a 9-iron might work.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 20, 2010

3/16/2010

HOW I SLEEP WELL

Every once in awhile I drop in on Laura’s blog spot to see how she’s doing. She always has something interesting to say and is gifted in the way she says it. I don’t know exactly where or when I read her explanation her sleeping problem. As I recall she says that when she wakes up in the middle of the night she has trouble going back to sleep because her mind is zipping from one thing to another.

I know exactly how she feels because I used to do the same thing until I discovered my secret. Formerly I would be there in bed, quite comfortable, but at the same time my mind would be racing from one thing to another. “When I get up I need to be sure to do whatever it is I need to be sure to do. Perhaps I’ll do that tax thing and mustn’t forget to put in the deduction for the whatever.” My thoughts are generally pleasant but, not being able to find the switch to turn them off, would often have me lying in bed for several hours with this bit of nonsense. While this was not an unpleasant thing the missing sleep time would usually catch up with me in the middle of the afternoon.

But then I discovered the secret. At least for me it was a discovery. I now keep a small radio next to my bed. I listen to this radio using a head set (ear phones) so as to not disturb whoever happens to be in bed with me at that particular time. But I don’t listen to just any old thing. If I did that I might accidentally run across some political opinion pusher who disagrees with my own ideas and I’d be awake all night and not pleasantly awake either. So, I keep this radio tuned to one station. As far as I’m concerned, a one-station radio would suit me fine. I keep it tuned to a local Public Broadcasting Station and this one happens to carry programming from the BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation. If I’m lucky, I might even be listening when they reciting the latest doings in the world of cricket.

Imagine listening to this in what I consider a quiet, understated British accent:

“India claimed a dramatic win in the dying minutes of the second test against South Africa on Thursday, squaring the series 1-1 and retaining top spot in the test cricket rankings.”

Or:

“India won by an innings and 57 runs, with that big margin disguising the nerve-racking ending to the test as the visitors got within touching distance of forcing a draw, losing the last wicket with only 13 minutes of play remaining.”

Or possibly:

“South Africa's Hashim Amla, named man of the match and man of the series, remained unbeaten on 123. He lost his more accomplished batting partners at regular intervals on the final day, but shared some dogged, time-evaporating stands with the tail enders to push his team toward a draw that would have delivered a series victory and that No.1 spot in the rankings. Harbhajan Singh (5-59) claimed the final wicket, trapping Morne Morkel lbw, prompting the Eden Gardens crowd to erupt in celebrations.”

Or:

“Last man Morkel had hung on valiantly, facing 60 balls as he and Amla batted for 76 minutes in their brave but ultimately fruitless 10th-wicket stand. South Africa scored 290 in its second innings after 296 in its first, compared to India's 643-6 declared in its sole innings.”

Now, keep in mind I do not listen to the whole 76 minutes of the “brave but fruitless wicket stand”, I just take their word for that. I suppose there are people who understand this completely and, according to BBC they occasionally “erupt”. But for me it’s harmless background noise that doesn’t require anything of me and I usually drop right back to sleep.

Thank you, BBC.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 16, 2010

3/15/2010

CAREERS THESE DAYS

I’ve been thinking about the career I had as an educator. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. As I recall, when originally making my decision to go into the field of education, the job security of that career was an important factor. Teachers learn to teach, get a job and don’t mess up and they get a thing called “tenure”. We used to think tenure meant you couldn’t be fired. It actually means you can’t be fired without reason but this never bothered me. If, for some reason, any employer didn’t want me to be there, for whatever reason, I could easily move on to some other place either in the field of education or industry. I’ve done it many times and never had a problem. I don’t mean I’ve ever been asked to move on but when I chose to, I never failed to be hired for any job I applied for.

I further felt safe in that I actually had two possible careers. I was a journeyman tool and die maker before I became an educator. This background was very handy for picking up some money during summer vacations. There was always some manufacturer in need of my machine shop skills and I was always in need of some extra money. There were even times I was able to go out and find a part time job in the evening. I never had a problem. I might have even been cocky about it. In fact, I know I was cocky about it.

But now all of a sudden I look up and see that these days the whole picture has changed. There just aren’t enough jobs in the manufacturing sector to employ the people already there. So, thinking of that as a backup career or a part time endeavor is no longer feasible.

In my particular field of teaching things have changed too. I taught courses in Machine Tool Technology or, simply, Machine Shop. For years and years my mantra was, “You are unemployed, come take my class and you will soon be employed.” And it worked. It always worked. But now things have changed. Now taking a course and learning new skills doesn’t insure employment in any way. There are no jobs available, period.

In addition, schools everywhere are looking for ways to cut back their spending. At my school anyone with the least amount of common sense would look and see there was a large shop filled with very expensive equipment and it wasn’t really doing anything very useful. Even I would be hard pressed to argue for continuing such a program.

So, as I look back, I feel so very fortunate to have been in the education business at the particular time that I was. I guess I was just lucky. Lucky the same way I was during World War II when I entered the Navy flight training and was almost finished with the program after which I would be expected to go forth and shoot people and, of course, have people shoot at me. But instead, the war ended and I was allowed to go home, attend college and get my degrees. I was very lucky. I should say the timing was very fortunate.

Today my heart goes out to young people trying to make a decision as to what their future lives will be. It seems like a tough row to hoe and, selfishly, I’m grateful I didn’t need to hoe it.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 15, 2010

3/08/2010

MY DAUGHTERS AND ME

Ever since I learned that the word “juxtaposition” referred to things being next to each other I’ve been amazed at how many times that word perfectly describes some situation I happen to be in.

For example, I enjoy reading Jerry Mann’s blog. I like what he writes about and I like the way he writes about it. A good example is his recent essay on having dinner with his adult daughter.

Recently I noticed that he also highly recommends Laura’s blog. I went there and read “Dear Dad,” which is this lady’s beautiful tribute to her late father. Laura is an excellent writer and she caused tears to actually run down my cheeks.

There it was again; the juxtaposition of two powerful essays about the special relationships between fathers and daughters.

So why does this seem so special to me? I have three adult daughters who, even though it pains me to think about it, are or are soon to become, Senior Citizens. Though we live several hundred miles apart I feel very close to them thanks to e-mail, Skype and the telephone. These three ladies have, at times, literally represented my reason for living and believe me, I fully understand the meaning of the word “literally”.

These three now-ladies were created in my first marriage. The marriage didn’t last long but not for any of the usual reasons you read in the tabloids. It’s just that two young kids married each other for probably all of the wrong reasons and eventually we decided to go our separate lives. In fact, these days my girls tell me that as they grew older they never could see what the two of us saw in each other in the first place. Sometimes I wonder about that too.

When the separation took place the girls were very young and for many, many years I picked them up every Sunday afternoon and we “did something”. It wasn’t always easy finding something that would entertain three young girls and also fit a budget that was already pushing the elastic limit, but somehow we did it and always enjoyed our time together.

Reading Jerry’s and Laura’s thoughts about the father-daughter relationship made me realize something. I think I may have been taking this relationship I have with my daughters for granted. They must know how much I love them and how important to me they are. Don’t they? Have I told them? Have I told them lately? No, I haven’t and I don’t want to wait any longer.

Kathy, Patty and my baby, Betty, you girls represent everything I know about love. You will never know, you couldn’t possibly know, what the privilege of being your father has meant to me. I look at everything else I’ve done in my life and all of it doesn’t add up to even a smidgen of the pride I have in being your father. Ever since I was a young boy I always wished I would grow up and do something significant -– something important. Well, I did. I helped create and bring up three ladies who are a gigantic plus in the world. I always thought my teaching career was a positive influence to society but all of the classes I taught never improved the world to anywhere near the degree that helping you three be the image of perfection that I see these days.

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. It’s an honor I treasure more than you could possibly imagine.

Your loving father,

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 8, 2010

3/05/2010

HELLO.!! IS ANYONE LISTENING?

A study of history is a study of the past. The philosopher, George Santayana, in his, “Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Those who paid attention in History classes know that centuries ago Emperors used to gather huge armies and attempt to conquer the world. Education was only for the wealthy. That didn’t work.

Napoleon did much the same thing. That didn’t work.

Within the memory of many of us we know that Hitler conscripted almost all the German youth in his attempt to take over Europe and Africa. That didn’t work.

Today it appears something similar might be happening. At least in the United States many states are having budget problems and it seems the popular method of balancing the budget is to cut money from the education programs.

Doesn’t anyone remember how the era sometimes called “The Greatest Generation” came to be? Most historians attribute this to the US government creating the G.I. Bill of Rights which, among other things, enabled millions of World War II veterans to attend college who would not ordinarily have done so. I happen to be one of those veterans.

The years that followed were prosperous and creative. I wonder what will happen to the next generation when we, almost deliberately, are taking steps to make higher education a privilege only available to the wealthy.

Hello out there. Isn’t anyone listening to the lessons of the past?

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 5, 2010

3/03/2010

THIS JUST DOESN'T SMELL RIGHT

I’ve mentioned this before but my father’s lifetime career was in law enforcement. More than half of it was as a detective. I don’t know if it was an occupational thing but he had extraordinary powers of deduction that enabled him to spot when something wasn’t right, including several times with me.

I recall numerous times when he would be reading the newspaper and say, “This doesn’t smell right.” He might be looking at a story of the robbery of a jewelry store and, sure enough, the next day it would be revealed that it was a fraud and there was no robbery at all.

I wonder what he would say with the headlines I saw today.

In the same paper I saw:

Toyota faces federal, congressional investigation
And
General Motors Co. says its February sales rose 11.5 percent compared with the same month last year

Am I the only one who sees that, “This doesn’t smell right.”?

Here we have Toyota, finally displacing General Motors as the largest manufacturer of motor cars in the world.

And we have GM that has been having all kinds of financial problems and rapidly losing its leadership position in the industry.

Are these two headlines unrelated? In a couple of years I won’t be surprised to see a movie starring George Clooney exposing the chicanery going on within this competition. It should make an interesting story.

It just doesn’t smell right.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 3, 2010