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



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



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



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