It seems these days with an election coming, we are subjected to a lot of half-truths. I ran across one the other day that I found interesting.

We have been told that Social Security System is going broke. One of the reasons cited was that people are living longer than expected. This might be true but the statistic quoted is, “In 1935, life expectancy was 65.” This seems to also be true but it doesn’t mention infant mortality which was much higher then than it is now. Once people arrived at a working age their life expectancy was a much more than 65.

I don’t know that this proves anything except that it’s never safe to accept political rhetoric as absolute fact.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
October 15, 2012



When one gets to be my age, which is pushing 90, one finds little happening that might be of interest to anyone else. This is probably why I haven’t written a blog for several months now. But there are exceptions. So, I am posting this and hoping a few people might read my recent adventure and possibly benefit from it.

Two days ago my phone rang and a male voice said, “Grandpa?”

Now, I only have one grandchild but I haven’t heard from him in about 10 years. But I did ask, “Jesse?”

He answered by saying, “How many others are there who call you, ”Grandpa.”

So, I expressed some surprise but also mentioned being happy to hear from him.

He apologized if his voice sounded strange as he had been in an accident and there were two stitches in his lip and his nose was broken.

I asked how that happened and he replied, “You remember my friend Cliff, don’t you?”

I admitted I didn’t remember him but he went on to tell me Cliff was in Florida and getting married. He said, “He wanted me in the wedding party so he flew me down here. Last night was the wedding dinner and Cliff was pretty drunk so I drove him home. In front of us there was a woman driving a car and swerving. I think she was drunk but as I started to pass she jammed on the brakes and I ran  into the rear end of her car. The air bags on our car were activated which messed up my face.”

I said something like, “Wow.”

“The policeman checked me for being drunk and I walked the line all right but the meter showed me one point over the limit even though I had only had one glass of champagne. So, I spent the night in jail. My insurance company will take care of the damages but can’t get me the money for a couple of days. The judge says I need to have all the money to fix the woman's car before he lets me out of jail.”

Several times he interjected a plea that I not tell his parents because, "They will flip out.”

He went on, “I was hoping you might loan me the money so I can get out of jail and I’ll repay you tomorrow.”

I said, ‘Wait a second Jesse. I don’t have that kind of money. I doubt I could write a check for a hundred dollars right now.”

Just then we had a phone problem and the connection was lost. I noticed the call was from Tampa, Florida.

In spite of Jesse’s protestations, I did call his father in California. I asked if he knew were Jesse was and was told he was at the pool with his swimming coach, some 3,000 miles away from Florida.

It now is obvious that someone was working a scam on me or at least trying to. There actually was no way I was going to send him any money with that story but I did think it was clever the way the scam artist worked it. He never did actually say he was, “Jesse” nor did he even name his parents or their location. And, by starting out by saying, “Grandpa” or, I suppose, “Grandma,” he was assured of hitting someone elderly and quite a few of them aren’t as sharp as they used to be and a few lack good judgement.

I’m trying to get this out to as many people as I can and hope you might also pass it on. If enough people are aware of this rather smooth scam perhaps the man on the phone might have to get a job and earn his money just like everyone else.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
August 1, 2012



As I plod though life I seem to attract an unusual number of strange things. There was another one yesterday.

We were at a restaurant planning to have an early lunch and a tall young man I assumed was our waiter approached us and I greeted him with some form of, “Hello.”

He said, “My ferret died this morning.”

Having never known anyone whose ferret died this or any other morning I was somewhat taken aback. However, I think I did manage to say something clever like, “Oh.”

He went on, “She wasn’t eating right so I took her to the veterinarian yesterday and was told she would be all right but they called this morning and said she had passed away.”

By this time I could see the young man was seriously distressed so I asked, “How old was she?”

“She was only eight. The one I had before lived to be fifteen.”

He then took out is cell phone and I wondered if he was going to call to see if his ferret had been reincarnated but in reality he wanted to show me the picture of is beloved ferret and I will admit, it was cute.

He went on to describe at some length what a wonderful pet this ferret had been. He never did mention her name though I’d bet the little critter had one.

I suppose there was nothing actually wrong with his telling us all this, it just seemed strange and, as I said, “I seem to attract an unusual number of strange things.” In fact, for me "Strange" is getting to be "Normal."

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
April 9, 2012



I have no idea if everyone knows what a “septic tank” is. If you have doubts just click here for a detailed description at Wikipedia.

For my purposes here I’ll mention that there are trucks with huge tanks that pump out the contents of septic tanks when needed. Yesterday I stopped at a traffic light and there was one of these septic tank pumping trucks in front of me. I was impressed with how clean it was considering the dirty job it does. It was all polished chrome with the company name on the side of a huge cylindrical tank.

But the thing that attracted my attention was a message neatly painted on the back of the tank. It read: “Caution: This tank may contain political promises.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 22, 2012



I ran across a thing I wrote last year and intended to post as a blog but don't think I ever got around to it.

I don’t think there is actually a physical ailment called “coincident-itus”, but I think there should be. This would be applied to people who seem to run into more than a normal number of coincidences. If there were such an ailment I would be first in line if a vaccination to prevent it were to suddenly appear. I am a long-time sufferer.

It happened again just a week ago. Currently I’m in the midst of trying a new vitamin pill that might make me be able to leap buildings in a single bound. It’s a rather large blue capsule and I am supposed to take one, three times a day. I seem to be able to remember to do this most of the time but often the noontime dosage is missed. Luckily, I keep an iPhone in my pants pocket. One of the features this wondrous gadget is the alarm clock function. I use this to remind me of things I might forget. For instance, every day, at exactly 12 noon, “my pants ring.” I then fish out my iPhone and the screen says, “Take blue pill.”

There was nothing at all unusual about that until last week. It was while I was attending a Writer’s Class meeting and one of my fellow writers, who’s name I will keep anonymous, was reading a section of a novel he’s writing. In his story there is a married couple and they are having troubles with his “ability to perform” in bed. He tries using Viagra and even though it worked, his wife does not approve. She doesn’t like the idea of their love being based on “a little blue pill.” Just as the novel’s author was reading that section, my “pants started ringing.” To silence my iPhone I dug it out of my pocket and there on the little screen were the words, “Take blue pill.”

Now there are people who will be quick to point out that I was the one who originally programmed the iPhone to have the words “Take blue pill” appear at noon each day. This is true but the unusual part is that, until I heard the novel being read, I had no idea what color Viagra was. It’s not a thing a person would ordinarily go around wondering about.

Coincident-itus strikes again.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 15, 2012



Someone may be interested in my adding to my complainant about how children are allowed to behave in restaurants. Several people agreed with my opinion but the very next after one of the bad experiences we saw a situation that was exactly opposite.

We were in a restaurant having lunch and a young lady with two children in tow sat at a table right next to use. The children were cute girls I would guess to be 2 and 4 years old or so. My immediate reaction was to wonder if I was being repaid by some mysterious force for complaining. I was in for a surprise! The mother did not have an easy time as she was continually doing something for her girls and one time I was close enough to hear her whisper, “If you don’t put that down right now, we are leaving.”

As we left we commented to the young mother on how wonderfully her children behaved. She had no way of knowing that just the day before I had complained to the world in general about the way parents control children in public places. I was wrong in that I implied that all parents do this with all children. I am very happy to learn that is certainly not true.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 11, 2012



It’s not a new thing for me to run into something I don’t understand. It happens often but lately I’ve observed something and I really don’t get it.

Why is it that some people go into a restaurant with a young child and proceed to ignore whatever the child might be doing? Most recently we were in a restaurant and saw two women with a youngster I’d guess to be around 3 or 4 years old. During the meal this couple completely ignored the child even though at times it was screaming and actually jumping up and down in the booth.

I realize children can be, and perhaps, must be, active and I have gone through that stage with a few of my own. However, this “causing a scene” business only happened in my family once. As soon as it started we were on our way to the car in the parking lot. Of course, I wasn’t going to leave the child in the car alone but the child didn’t know that and we never had to go through that again.

I recently read a “Letter to the Editor” in our local newspaper. A woman had taken the time to write a letter to complain about the loss of manners these days. She had been in a restaurant recently and had actually seen, “two men wearing wearing hats while eating.” I wish she could have been with me with the jumping and screaming child in the next booth. I’m sure she would trade that annoying child for a man with a hat.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
March 4, 2012



It seems that of late I have been a bit remiss in posting blogs. To be truthful, I haven’t had much interesting going on in my life and additionally, I wasn’t sure anyone read my ravings anyway so I haven’t posted anything. However, lately I received a couple of e-mails asking if all was okay and indicating that at least someone dropped by now and then. So, I will try to do better and start by telling of my recent attempt at some body surfing on an escalator about a month ago.

I’m not sure “escalator” is a term used worldwide but it is one of those belts of moving, endless stairs that connect different levels of a building, though my adventure involved one that was outside of a building.

I went to an Apple Computer Store to get some help with a password problem I was having with my iPad. I left my car on a lower level, outdoor, parking space and rode the escalator up to the level I needed.

All went well at the store and I headed back and stepped onto the down escalator. As I stepped on the first step my heel caught the stair behind me and I lost my balance. I had my iPad in one hand and my cane in another so those went flying but I was unable to grasp any handrail. Therefore I fell forward and proceeded to tumble down all 30 steps and ended up in a heap at the bottom. Gratefully there were no other riders behind me or they would have ended up in heap with me at the bottom of the escalator.

I didn’t get up but attempted to assess my condition and discovered that I was first, alive though I had sustained a myriad of scrapes, bruise and cuts. A man appeared who contended he was the manager of the shopping area and he insisted that an ambulance be called for and soon there were flashing red lights all over the place and I was on my way to the Emergency Room of the nearby hospital.

Just as I was about to leave one of the medics announced, “I have your cane and iPad.” This was a bit disappointing as I had been wanting to buy the newer version iPad but really couldn’t justify it. As it turned out, the iPad survived fine but I had two cuts that required a couple of stitches each more scrapes and bruises than I could count.

Eventually that day I was allowed to go home and in a few weeks all traces of my wild ride disappeared. I now consider the whole episode was a “wake up call”. Being almost 89 years old I am now determined to be be even more careful about anything I attempt to do. It was a very close call and I am grateful and though I didn’t sustain any serious injuries and I doubt I will ever forget the day I attempted to body-surf the escalator.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
February 26, 2012



A few weeks ago I ran into another one of my mysteries. Something disappeared and nobody seemed to know how or exactly when this happened. The missing item was a wide mouth funnel of the type that is used in home canning operations. I sometimes used it to pour a thick drinks from the blender into a tall glass. One day it was gone so I decided to order a replacement.

I went online to E-Bay and found several but there was one particular funnel that seemed like a bargin that was too good to be true. It was a “wide mouth, stainless steel funnel.” The “buy it now” cost was only one dollar and twenty-nine cents ($1.29) and the shipping was free. I couldn’t pass up a bargain like that so I ordered one and began to wait. I waited three weeks and had about decided it was a dishonest seller and was preparing a complaint to file with E-Bay.

Then one day the funnel arrived in the mail and, as advertised, it was a stainless steel funnel but the size wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated.

I suppose everything in life can be a lesson. I know the next time I will be sure to check the size before I buy. But, all in all, it wasn’t a bad price to pay for a valuable lesson in life, plus getting a subject for a new blog.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 10, 2011



Around 1930 my father built a house with a rather large living room. Jutting off from that room was a dining room on one side and a room they called “The Sun Room” on another. It was “The Sun Room” because it had windows on all sides. I recall a particular Sunday afternoon when I was 17 years old and in the Sun Room doing homework for a drafting class I was taking in the evenings. As I casually listened to the radio the program was interrupted with an urgent news bulletin. Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor! We soon learned that Pearl Harbor was in Hawaii and the United States was unwillingly at war with Japan and World War II had begun.

For me, December 7, 1941 was one memorable Sunday afternoon and today, 70 years later, it seems as though it was yesterday.

The Old Professor
Carmel, CA
December 7, 2011