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



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



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.



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



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



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.”


“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.”


“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



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



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



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



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
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