So England’s Royal Wedding is now history and Prince William and Catherine Middleton are now man and wife.

I didn’t actually see it but understand they were married by the Bishop of London who delivered a short sermon after the ceremony.

It brought back some memories of my first marriage. It was with a traditional Catholic mass and after the priest “Pronounced us man and wife” he leaned forward. I assumed he was going to send us off with wise advice or at least wish us well. Instead he came close to me and whispered, “Get out fast. I have a funeral coming in.”

Perhaps that had something to do with why that marriage never “worked out.” Maybe we didn’t get out fast enough.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 29, 2011



Epiphany noun • a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

Yes, I think that’s it. I recently had a legitimate epiphany.

It was last Saturday and I was sitting at a table outside a coffee shop at a large shopping center near our home. It was a warm, sunny day and I was enjoying doing some casual people watching.

At a nearby table sat three young people, one woman and two men who were enlisted personnel in the U.S. Navy. As I sat there I admired how neat they looked and how their strength and determination seemed to radiate from them. It made me feel good about the future of our nation.

A neatly dressed young woman passed by walking towards the parking area. She carried a package and I couldn’t help but notice her smooth, confident, comfortable stride.

Another young couple from a nearby table got up and walked away, hand in hand.

It was then the epiphany hit me. Each of these young people were going about whatever they needed to do and not thinking at all about how easy it was to stand up or how they could just walked along without a thought of needing assistance of any kind.

I thought how lucky these young men and women are and they don’t even realize it. I’m sure it never crosses their minds about the wonderful combination of circumstances that makes them able to do very complex things automatically.

“It’s too bad.”, I thought. “But they will learn if they are fortunate enough to live long enough to a time when these wonderful abilities are no longer there.”

Then the epiphany hit. “No. It’s not too bad they don’t realize this. It’s a good thing they don’t. Losing these abilities will come soon enough. Then there will be plenty of time to say, ”Too bad.”

It was not with envy that I thought this. It was more that I wished I had appreciated these abilities more when I did I have them.

But I suppose it’s just as well most young people are unaware of the amazing abilities they possess because if they realized how valuable these skills are they probably would spend too much time worrying about the time they might lose them. And really, that time isn’t all that bad. Certainly not worth wasting even one day of those wonderful youthful years.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 19, 2011



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 Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 14, 2011



Recently it was suggested that I might want to use a cane. A cane is touted as helping one from falling down, or so I’m told. Now I, and I assume most people, knew little about canes. So, I did what I often do when I know little about something, I started by going to the dictionary.

I discovered if one doesn’t know much about canes, the dictionary is not the place one should go to change that. It told me a cane was: “a slender stick, esp. one used as a support for plants, as a walking stick, or as an instrument of punishment.”

I suppose I knew that but it seemed strange to me that a canes' uncanny ability to disappear wasn’t mentioned. Mine must disappear half a dozen times a day and I have no idea what message it’s trying to send. Probably it would fall under that “instrument of punishment” heading.

However, I do try to keep a positive attitude towards the damned thing and attempt to make it think I am its friend. I even did some further research on canes and found they go back to prehistoric days. Originally it was a stick that some caveman picked up to take the weight off of an injured foot. But, according to the writing on cave walls, it wasn’t long before some of the wealthier cavemen began making canes fancier than just a plain stick. Eventually this trend ended up with those who could afford it, using dinosaur bones as canes. In many cases this made the user look ridiculous because most dinosaur bones were much too long and the saw hadn’t been invented yet.

Many people know that Fred Astair and Gene Kelly made movies where they used canes while dancing. However, most don’t know this! There is a cave wall in Indonesia that clearly depicts a caveman tap dancing with a stick. Of course, he wasn’t singing, “Dancing in the Rain.” That would be silly.

As time progressed the cane became a symbol of prestige and even the Bible mentioned that Eve, a notoriously bad speller, named her eldest son in honor of Adam’s walking stick. She called him Cain.

As yet I have no sense that my cane ever saved me from falling down but I have noticed several other benefits that were never mentioned to me.

The primary one right now seems to be whenever I am approaching a building and need to open the door, there always seems to be someone who wants to hold it open for me. That’s always nice.

And there is also the checkout girl at the store who, noticing my cane, says, “Would you like me to carry those things to your car?” Even though I am quite capable of doing that I always accept. I think it’s a polite thing for me to do.

The cane, no doubt, could be a weapon of self defense. If I am ever happen to be set upon by people intending to do me harm I’m sure just displaying my cane would cause them to have second thoughts. As I recall, Sherlock Holmes did that more than one time. Though, as I recall, he didn’t threaten them. He just beat the stuffing out of them. When this does happen to me I think I will just wave my cane and shout something like, “Sherlock Holmes.” I would hope my attackers were literate enough to have read those stories.

I plan on doing more research on the wonders of the lowly cane, but for now, I just give it the respect it has earned and hope when you see one, you’ll respect it too.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 11, 2011



I knew it would happened eventually. They say it always does. As soon as a person has an 88th birthday, which I did a week or so ago, everything starts to go downhill. It's normal, they say, for a person to forget things. It's also predictable that a person starts to do something and forgets what is was.

I had a point here but I seem to have lost it.

Oh, I know.

Oh, no I don't. Well, I did but I forgot.

Oh, I've got it this time. A major and obvious, manifestation of old age is when a person posts the same blog twice. It's really bad if they are consecutive posts as I did in my two previous blogs.

I think I started out to apologize but I'm not sure.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 5, 2011