You may have heard of "Ben" Stein.

He's an American, writer, lawyer, and a commentator on political and economic issues. He used to be a speechwriter for American presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He also produced and starred in a documentary film with the title of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" . He was exploring whether "Intelligent Design" should be taught in schools or not. He explored the differing opinions as to how the world and the people in it originated. Some, like Darwin, contend it was a matter of evolving from lower forms of life while others argue there surely was some intelligent force that designed the whole thing.

I was not overly impressed with the film that had Ben Stein traveling all over the world seeking opinions from prominent scientists and philosophers. Personally, I didn't come to any conclusion but I did notice one thing which seems important to me. Most of these prominent people were interviewed at their desks. Every single one of them had one thing in common. Their desks were a mess! There were papers and books stacked upon each other so that there was no possible way they would be able to find anything in the piles.

That made me feel good because that's exactly how my desk looks all the time. It must be a sign of genius and, judging by desktops, apparently, I am one.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 30, 2010



I’ve heard of something called “The Age of Discovery.” I never was sure what it meant but I think I have entered it. Maybe the “Age of Discovery” is 86 or thereabouts. It seems to me I’m discovering something new almost daily. I consider yesterday’s discovery to be gigantic.

Almost everyone has experienced the thrill of calling some business and having been put on hold and being forced to listen to music, interrupted with periodic announcements thanking you for your patience and informing you that someone will be with you soon.

I may have quite accidentally discovered how to avoid this. Yesterday I had occasion to call an insurance company to inquire about a bill. After pushing several numbers I was vocally escorted to the waiting area. I was using my cell phone and after some time I finally decided I might be able to do a bit of multitasking by using the bathroom facility while waiting. You can probably see what’s coming. Shortly after I entered the Little Room I heard, “Good morning. This is Muriel. How may I help you?”

I looked around and obviously there was no way Muriel could actually “help me” so I explained to her that I had been waiting and decided to go to the bathroom and I needed to get back to my desk.

She said, “That’s a little more information than I really needed.” I suppose she’s right but none the less, I think I have found out how to force these people to talk to me.

I will experiment further but if this turns out to be the momentous discovery I think it is, I may move my computer to a smaller room and bypass the waiting all together.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 27, 2010



The following blog contains specific references to certain bodily functions that some may find offensive. If you are easily offend please read no further.

Okay, this next subject might be considered not very delicate but, as you will see, it must be explored. It concerns bowel movements which shouldn't be too shocking as everyone has them with the exception of a couple of administrators at the college where I was previously employed.

Lately I have been having some minor trouble in this area. I've tried all kinds of home remedies such as drinking more water, adding fiber and so forth. All to little or no avail. But this morning, praise be, I had a nice, regular bowel movement.

Naturally I tried to figure out why and came up with an unusual event which probably is the cause. I feel like Sir Isaac Newton when he discovered gravity by observing that apple thing. I tried to look back to yesterday to see what I had done differently and there was only one thing I could think of. That evening I had been forced to manually close our overhead garage door which usually is done with an electric motor but since a storm had left us without electricity it had been disconnected. As I closed it I neglected to get out of the way soon enough and sustained a pretty good whack on the top of my thinly padded head. It scraped off enough skin to cause some bleeding and left a red mark about an inch in diameter.

Now, it's too much of a coincidence to think these two rare happenings were not related. Wouldn't it be something if I had discovered the cure for constipation is a whack on the head with a garage door? My next step is to find some volunteers to expand the experiment. I feel pretty sure about the "whack in the head" part but I can't see why it would need to be a garage door necessarily. I would think any door might do but then I'm not Sir Isaac Newton.

Then there are several other angles needing investigation. I wonder about a person who receives the treatment to the head accidentally and didn't need any help with elimination. Would that be a cause for diarrhea? Has anyone investigated that?

I need to go lie down now.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 22, 2010



Many years ago the magazine Reader’s Digest used to feature an article called “The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met”, or something like that. If that were available today I would submit that Beldon Jackson meets that criterion. About sixty years ago Beldon Jackson (would I make up a name like that?) was the Assistant Principal at Technical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts where I was, at that time, a young high school teacher. In those days there was a room that was set aside as a “Faculty Lounge”.The main activity in this room seemed to be smoking. That is where faculty members went to “get a smoke” after lunch or during an occasional free period. Mr. Jackson used to visit there often and his visits were never ordinary.

His routine was always the same: He would enter the room, produce a king-sized, unfiltered cigarette, put it between his lips, light it and inhale deeply. Then he would start a frightening period of coughing and choking and gasping for breath. Then, as though nothing had happened, he would sit down and utter one of his comments on life that made him memorable to me.

I recall once when he announced, “Today Mary Ellen had to withdraw because her boyfriend didn’t.”

Another time he contended that someone had asked him what the difference was between the job of being Principal and that of being Assistant Principal. He said his answer was, “If someone were to find a rose in the corridor they would take it to the Principal. If someone found horse manure in the corridor, they would take it to the Assistant Principal.”

Another time I recall his wondering about the new shoes he was wearing. “People comment on my wearing new shoes and it makes me wonder if they look that good or the old ones looked that bad.”

Certainly Beldon Jackson was unforgettable to me. I can still visualize him walking in and coughing followed by something that was always interesting to hear. A character? Yes. And as evidenced by the fact I still think about him some sixty years later, he certainly qualifies as unforgettable

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January19, 2010



Nothing seems more important than what's going on in Haiti.

I've just logged on to www.redcross.org to make my donation.

Please join me and the millions of others right now.
Note: The web site apparently is very crowded and slow. It took me several attempts so please be patient.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 16, 2010



I have no idea why but I seem to hear things other people miss. I think when people speak it’s only natural to assume certain familiar words follow. For instance, if you meet someone and they say, “Isn’t it a beautiful …” it is often assumed the next word will be “day” but sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it might be “morning” or even “football game.”

I don’t seem to make that jump but rather hear all the words which apparently has me sometimes hearing things others miss. There was an announcement on the radio the other day. No one seemed to notice when he announcer for the “Suicide Hot Line” said, “If you ever commit suicide or have thoughts about committing suicide, please the Suicide Hot Line at blah, blah, blah.”

“If you ever commit suicide call ..”? That would be a neat trick. I assume he meant if you ever tried committing suicide but it did generate an interesting picture.

There once was a comedian name Bob Newhart and he had several routines where he was on the phone to some imaginary character. Well, with apologies to Mr. Newhart I imagine the following could have taken place.

“Good morning, Suicide Hot line.”
“I just committed suicide.”
“Oh, how did you do that?”
“I jumped off a very tall building.”
“Oh, then what happened?”
“Caller? Caller? Then what happened?”
“I guess he hung up.”

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 14, 2010



Has anyone noticed the renewed popularity of publicly admitting responsibility for some oversight? I first noticed this in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Almost everything intended to provide relief was messed up somehow. Finally, President Bush flew over the site of the damage and admitted many mistakes had been made. Then, as I recall, he said, “I take full responsibility.”

Then what happened? Nothing happened and now, here it is again. There was a messed up attempt at bombing an airplane in Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. After a suitable time it became clear many errors were made in allowing the near disaster. President Obama finally came forward and admitted mistakes had been made and said, “I take full responsibility.”

What is this all about? When I used to be in the work field it seemed if there was something that went very wrong, a determination was made as to who was responsible and that person was reprimanded or even fired. But these days it seems all that is needed is for someone to say the magic words: “I take full responsibility.” And that’s the end of it.

Keeping that in mind I’ll admit I haven’t been posting any blogs for quite a few months now. For that, I take full responsibility.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the many of you who wrote telling me you missed the regular dispensing of my particular brand of nonsense. That was nice. I am going to make a serious, but not too serious, attempt to keep in touch on a more regular basis. I hope you’ll forgive the lapse especially since, I take full responsibility.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
January 10, 2010