A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Anyone know when this photo was taken? I have no date. The awful floral living room couch was still there, so that should be a clue. What are they so happy about? Who told what fib? Or joke? We need to know.
You are probably sick and tired of the Curmudgeonly Professor telling you what to do each and every day. After all, who does he think he is? What does he know? And you can't remember one task, let alone 91 of them, so who cares? The Curmudgeonly Professor, you may feel, is worse than your mother ever was in bossing you around and telling you stuff to do that you don't want to do and can't make an effort to remember anyway.
Well you can rest easy today. Your task today is to do whatever you want to do. Eat whatever you want. Drink whatever you want. Lounge around on the couch for hours watching mindless TV. Don't smile. If you have been smiling since January 1, the corners of your mouth are probably frozen in an upward direction and you need to relax them. Try frowning today. Take second and third helpings. Eat more, not less. Move less, not more. Focus on instant gratification. After all, you only live once and you are certainly entitled to do just exactly whatever you want to do. Stay off the scales. After all, you won't want to feel bad after you make a pig of yourself today on Oreos, potato chips, ice cream, 64 ounce sugary caffeinated sodas, triple mammoth burgers, super-sized french fries, whipped cream desserts, apple pie ala mode, and whatever else you can think of. Go out and buy this stuff if you don't have it at home. After all, you have nine months to repent of whatever dumb mistakes you make today and that is plenty of time to repent and recover. You might as well enjoy today while you have a chance. Right?
You certainly won't want to record anything in your food journal today, and you will probably want to ignore your short and long-run goals, since all of these things will interfere with your day of pure enjoyment. Forget about your family, your neighbors, your dog, and your cat. After all, aren't we all supposed to take care of ourselves?
But maybe, just maybe, you will realize this parody of my 2015 Do List was meant to entertain you on April Fool's Day and you will stop before you are tempted to do anything at all on the above list. Our time is precious, each day is precious, the people we are most concerned about are precious, and our willingness to make small changes and follow through on them can be a life saving and life altering experience. Some times we have to be hit over the head with a 2 x 4 piece of wood before the reality of what we need to do sinks in. We get an angiogram, an X-Ray, a mammogram, a battery of blood tests, and then reality sinks in. Here is what we wish we would have done. What we should have done. And postponed doing and forgot about because we didn't think we needed to bother. April Fool's Day is a good day to help us remember not to be gullible, not to fall for miracle cures, quick fixes, expensive solutions, false promises, and lying promoters. April Fool's Day is a good day to separate the April Fools from those of us who choose to stay on our chosen path of working toward a better, healthier, happier life. April Fool's Day teaches us not to be the April Fool.
Task Number 91: Welcome to the 90s. And your task is to ignore and do just the opposite of all the suggestions I made on this April Fool's Day in the year 2015. Good luck, stay on course, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Two photos taken during our first trip to Hawaii in 1974. I only took about a dozen photos on this trip and they were all almost pitch black. Nonetheless, I saved and scanned them and these two photos emerged. Rather miraculous, isn't it, considering I haven't seen them in the 41 years that have elapsed since I took them? The top photo was taken at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the bottom photo at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This trip was the first of many that my wife and I, and some times some of our family with us, took to Hawaii and Maui until we had to put the Hawaii chapter of our lives in our memories. Jack Davidson had been my close friend since University of Wyoming days and he was on the faculty at the University of Hawaii for many years. Our trips to Hawaii to see Jack and his wife NaDee remain among our most cherished memories.
I don't remember what kind of a midget camera I had in 1980 when I took photos of our family stay in Hawaii when I was on sabbatical from BYU at the University of Hawaii. I wish I had known then that I needed a few more megapixels but, of course, we didn't have today's cameras then. I am on the left, my wife Velna is on the right, our son Ron in back, daughter Carolyn in the middle, daughter Kim in the front.
This is the view that my colleagues coveted who had dwelt on the inner corridor and had looked at the bottom of the atrium and the offices across the way for many years. This office was my reward for having been at BYU for 20 years.
The inner portion of the Marriott School of Business building was a hollow core with an atrium seven stories high. My office was on the sixth floor on the outer corridor where, thankfully, I had a view of the football stadium and Mount Timpanogos. As soon as it became obvious I was about to retire, various colleagues with less desirable offices began visiting me to check out the office in hopes that they could inherit it.
Part of my duties each day is to troll my photo archives and find hidden gems that have never seen the light of day. And so today, I stumble across this photo of about a fourth of a money and banking class from a century ago. Sadly, this photo is the only known photo I have from the thousands and thousands of students who sat through my various economics classes, from principles of economics to regulation economics to public finance to consumer economics to state and local finance and to whatever else I taught. As you can tell from the facial expressions from these students, they all feel inspired and anxious for me to continue with my enlightened and inspiring analysis of the Federal Reserve System and how banks create money. Note the stifled yawn in the back row, the clenched jaw of the student with the necktie in the back row, the look of disgust on the face in the second row from the student wearing a T-shirt that says "commitment", the nice smiles on the faces of the female students, and the looks of utter amazement on the faces in the front row.
Now 25 years later or so, I can imagine that most of these students are married and have a whole batch of kids, have sent some off on LDS missions, that some completed MBA degrees, others completed law degrees, many are spending time right now finishing people's tax returns which serves the students right since they decided they wanted to be an accountant. Perhaps some of these students have sent their offspring to BYU to take money and banking from whoever is teaching it today. And, possibly, more than one student has taught her 11 year old daughter how to read the financial news and reports in the Wall Street Journal, as the former student who wrote me recently told me.
I think about my students often. I hoped the best for them when they graduated and went into the world, on to school, into marriages, as they fulfilled countless LDS church assignments willingly and cheerfully. I am just sorry that they all vanished into obscurity and that I know so little about so few of the many thousands I was privileged to teach. I just hope some of them have a kindly thought about the teacher who taught them, and that not too many are still bearing grudges for giving them a lower grade than they thought they had a divine and unmistakable right to receive. Teaching was my life for 45 years and I am forever grateful that I was given this wonderful privilege and opportunity. I cannot imagine that I could have ever succeeded being an accountant. I had a hard time distinguishing between debits and credits.
Today is March 31 2015. We have reached the three-month anniversary of the Curmudgeonly Professor's 2015 Do List. I'm not sure I knew what I was thinking when I wrote the first Task on this Do List on January 1 2015. I didn't know how I thought I could ever come up with 30 tasks, let alone 365 tasks to fill in the entire year. Yet, going from day to day, one post at a time, I have been able to keep my Do List going. Some days are easier than others. Some days, the thoughts are prolific, the words are smoother and come easier and I feel that perhaps I have made a contribution toward giving someone a helpful idea or suggestion. Other days, I just really do not want to write anything and yet I know that I would break a promise to myself and to my readers if I didn't write something. After all, if I can't keep my word and write a few words about another task, how can I expect either myself or my viewers to follow through on making changes and consistently following new and beneficial habits on a daily and continuous basis?
My wife has been my most faithful reader, critic, and source of support in writing this series of tasks. I show her what I have written each day as soon as I have written it and then she gives me the encouragement and direction that I need to keep going. So I am not doing this job strictly on my own.
I wish I knew whether my Task List has been helpful to anyone. I would greatly appreciate comments, suggestions, stories, and ideas about what I am writing and about what I might write about. Then this Task List would be more of a cooperative and interactive process instead of viewers just reading my daily pontifications and pronouncements from my writing pulpit.
At any rate, after three months it is time for all of us to take stock, to take inventory. What have we accomplished in the first three months of this great new year 2015? What have we tried and fizzled on, and what have we tried and succeeded in doing? Most of the things we need and want to do are obvious and, in general, we know what we need to do. We need to eat less. We need to move more. We need to smile, to be kind and considerate, to help others in any way that we can. We need to stop making feeble excuses and do the things we know we should do to improve our health, help our families, improve our performance on our jobs, and listen to the needs of others rather than telling them what we think they should do.
We started January 1 with the suggestion that we smile. I can't tell you the number of times since January 1 that a smile from either a stranger or someone I know has brightened my day, started a ripple of better feelings, and given me an example of what I might do. If you haven't started a journal or a food diary, start one today. It won't kill you. You might find the few moments you spend writing to be highly therapeutic. Identify two or three, more or less, of the tasks I have written about that you feel would be helpful in your own life. Set some goals for reaching these tasks. Then keep track of your progress. The more clearly we think about our lives and our situation, the more clearly the road ahead is marked. The stronger our resolve to change, the more likely we will be to stop being wishy-washy and actually do some of the things that have been holding us back.
Thank you to my viewers who have followed my Task List. I hope you will continue to follow me and throw in a comment or suggestion or a word of encouragement once in awhile. Yes, the Curmudgeonly Professor needs encouragement just as much as anyone else. So Task Number 90 is to take inventory. Know where you are. Know where you want to go. Know what you need to do to get there. Then do it. Not just once. Not just twice. But every single day from now on. You will always be happy that you did whatever you set forth to do. Good luck, keep going. take your inventory. The Curmudgeonly Professor. Now we are ready for the next three months. Stay tuned to see if I can come up with another list of 90 or so tasks.
Some days you may wonder how smart you were to spend $3500 on a camera and a lens and then just take pictures of flowers right under your nose. Then you park on top of a bluff ten or twelve miles away from the bluffs just east of St. George UT and turn your camera loose on them and then you develop and crop and blow up picture segments and then you say Oh My Gosh! What a miracle today's cameras are in producing pictures like these. These photos are blowups of segments of the photo of Dixie Regional Medical Center posted below. Please double click these photos to really appreciate what they show.