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.
This list will tell us how old you are and how much you remember. See how many of them you can recall.
"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi Ho Silver' the Lone Ranger Rides Again.
Jack Armstrong the All American Boy, battling with the evil Dr. Grood, brought to you by Wheaties (1933-1951) Listened to faithfully after school.
Dr. IQ the Mental Banker, Monday nights, tongue twisters and questions, "and a box of Mars Bars to the Lady in the Lower Balcony."
Sunday nights, the best: Jack Benny with Rochester, Jack's wife Mary and tenor Dennis Day, always 39, always stingy, brought to you for awhile by Jello, then by Lucky Strike.
Phil Harris and Alice Faye radio show
Phil Spitalny and his All-Girl Orchestra featuring Evelyn and her magic violin.
Henry, Henry Aldrich!! Coming, mother.
Dr. Brent, call surg-e-ry. Dr. Brent, call surg-e-ry.
One Man's Family
H. V. Kaltenborn
Edward R. Murrow
Tuesday night: Fibber McGee and Molly and the closet
What's My Line?
tinsel on Christmas trees
Maggie and Jiggs
Twenty-five cent milk shakes
LC Smith upright typewriters
beautiful girls with short and curly hair with saddle oxfords, bobby sox, wool skirts, and Jantzen sweater sets
boys who looked the same 75 years ago as they do today in jeans and t-shirts.
rear ends paddled in school
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows!
girls who took home ec and learned how to turn on the stove and bake brownies (bringing a plateful loaded with ex-lax to the vocational agriculture classroom one morning)
boys who took the manly classes of auto mechanics and vocational agriculture. Now girls are dominating the Future Farmers of America. Oh my. Wouldn't that have been something?
Well, we could go on forever. But maybe this list has stirred a few cobwebs in your own moldy brain and caused you to think back with fondness and nostalgia, unless you are under the age of 20. In which case the only thing you will ever have to remember is electronic media. More's the pity.
Have you every noticed how many of the negative events and characteristics of our lives are words that begin with the letter "D"? Just consider: Depression. Despair. Discouragement. Disaster. Disillusionmant. Difficulty. Darkness. Doubt. Disgust. Damage. Death. Disappointment. Danger.
Now consider that for every negative characteristic or word a positive word or thought can counterbalance it: For depression, we have sunshine. For despair, we have joy. For discouragement, we have hope. For disaster, we have recovery. For disillusionment, we have faith. For difficulty, we have ease. For doubt, we have certainty. For disgust, we can ignore it. For damage, we can repair. For death, there is life. For disappointment, there is fulfillment. And for danger, there is safety.
Overcoming and conquering the D's in our lives may not be easy and may take some time. I have been a chronic worrier all my life and I can tell you that being a worrier has never solved anything, has never helped me, but has always been a drag on the otherwise more cheerful and constructive life I should have and could have lived. Our problems run from the mundane and trivial to the serious and consequential. Many problems require professional help to resolve and help us vanish them to their rightful obscurity. But for daily help and encouragement here are a few of the watchwords and phrases that have helped me ease the stress of the D's and keep going:
One of my cardiologist's offices posted a prominent sign: Never, never, never give up.
Count your blessings. Write them down.
Prayer. If you are not a frequent prayer, it may be time to put your doubts and concerns aside and become one.
According to the old tune, "accentuate the positive." Banish negative thoughts and attitudes.
Read the scriptures. Ponder what you read.
If you need to, chart a new course and make necessary changes in your life.
Set long term goals so you don't get sidetracked by all the garbage and detritus that detracts you in your daily life in the short run. Keep your eye on the prize.
Forgive someone who has been cankering your soul.
Send out thank you cards and notes to everyone you can think of.
Remember, "it could be worse" and move on no matter what.
Smile. You'll be amazed at the power of a smile.
Be kind to everyone you see and make allowances for the difficulties others are facing.
Help someone that you know needs your help and that you may have just ignored. Or find someone to help as you go aboutyour daily work and activities.
Give your wife, husband, dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, kids, friends, whoever needs one, a hug.
Remember the healing power of love.
Economists tell you to ignore fixed costs, the stuff that happened before that you can't do anything about. Maybe you need to fix some things, but otherwise, for heaven's sake, forget past mistakes that are keeping you burdened down.
Start a journal. Write down your thoughts, goals, aspirations, ideas, things you need and want to do.
And now, you're on your own to add to this list. Best of luck and may you use a few simple but powerful steps to overcome the problems you are having with the big D's in your life. The sun will come up, if not tomorrow, soon. You can make it.
I have dubbed my little sister Ann the Costco Fairy since she has come once a month laden with goodies from Costco where she takes a tape measure to measure the width of the toilet paper so we don't get shorted, so to speak. Last week she came laden with this big pot of beautiful fall bronze colored mums. You can read more about Annie and the Costco Fairy if you go to the family blog Penrose Mornings which is linked on the upper right side of this blog. Plus you might find some interesting tidbits about my family.
If you woke up on the grouchy side of life, take a look at this sunflower and then smile, and keep smiling throughout the day. You will do yourself and all those who see your smiles a world of good. But thank the sunflower for putting you in a better mood. That is what sunflowers do.
In St. George, I can see a six foot cement block wall in my back yard. In the Salt Lake Valley, I can see the Wasatch range and watch the clouds and the rain and the rainbows and the sunrises. Being able to see such beauty and being able to watch the changing clouds has helped me in my recovery from vertigo since I have been able to do very little up until now but sit in my recliner and watch the mountains and the clouds.
For years, my wife and I attended every performance of the renowned summer Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City UT. Sadly, attending the Festival is one of many things we can no longer do. But we have many fond memories of the wonderful plays, the exceptional talent and costuming, and the beautiful summer nights in Cedar City. If you have not been to the Festival, and live anywhere in driving distance, get yourself there and be charmed and entranced by the wonderful, wonderful experience you will have there. The photo of the Shakespeare bust was taken several years ago at the theater in Cedar City.
Kate happens to be one of my granddaughters whose correct title for a few more months is Hermana Kate, since she is serving an LDS mission in a Spanish-speaking mission in Texas. She quoted my famous saying "I know stuff" in her last letter home, attributed to Dwayne (my nickname the kids gave me when they were working at our bookstore in Fort Collins CO and didn't want to call me Dad or my real name, which would have been disrespectful) aka Dwight aka gpa (for grandpa, how I sign my letters) sangre. Not knowing what sangre meant, I asked the Spanish speaking daughter of our cleaning lady yesterday, and she informed me, "sangre means Blood." Aha. I got it. I was referred to as "gpa Blood." Thanks, Kate. You never know what gems of wisdom spewed forth in moments of inspiration will go forth to inspire generations. The statement "I know stuff" will settle any argument, advance any discussion, puzzle any know-nothing, and impress all listeners. Try it some time. Out of the blue, just say, "I know stuff." You don't have to reveal to anyone what you actually know or don't know because the statement itself is overpowering and intimidating.
Long time followers of my Curmudgeonly Professor blog have likely given up on new postings by now. In early May, in the middle of the second night after returning to Salt Lake from Riverton, I woke up in the middle of the night with a severe attack of vertigo and landed in the emergency room. I stayed in the hospital for three days going through every heart, blood, MRI, and any other test they could come up with and ended up with a diagnosis of vertigo. I have learned since that several members of my family and some friends have had or now have regular bouts with vertigo. My problem was that my attack unwired my balance and it has taken weeks to at least partially recover where I was before the attack. Thanks to a wonderful physical therapist and an equally wonderful cardiologist, I am finally on the mend and, for the first time, actually feel up to sitting down at the computer and explaining my absence.
I passed every MRI test, every blood test, kidney function, echo cardiogram and EKG, and was left totally puzzled about why I felt so miserable for so long. I had to use a walker when I came home. Now, I finally think I am on the mend after about six weeks. I have whined and complained a lot but without much sympathy from my wife who has her own serious health problems. We have had a lot of help from family, friends, church members, neighbors, and health and medical professionals. We are grateful to everyone for kind thoughts, food, visits, phone calls, and for caring, help with shopping and doctor visits. planting 4 dozen petunias in our front flower garden, and so many other things. I keep hearing the words "it could have been worse" echoing through my mind as I think of friends and neighbors with far more serious and devastating health issues than I apparently have.
So please don't give up on the Curmudgeonly Professor. I have been worried that I would not recover balance enough to take photos as I have always done. Maybe, however, I might just recover enough to do that. I have a brand new fancy schmancy and expensive macro lens that I bought just before I got smashed and I am anxious to learn how to take pictures of bugs, spiders and other little bitty things. Plus I have taken hundreds of pictures 0f the beautiful mountain views just outside our windows to the east side of the south Salt Lake Valley. I hope to see you all back and will try to come up with more sarcastic wisdom to entertain and enlighten you. Thanks for enduring and for your patience.
Dear True Love: You can forget about sending me seven swans a swimming. No more graceful bird exists (the graceful white swan goes gliding along, and etc.) but swans can also be nasty and temperamental. Plus they are hard to care for. The developers of our retirement community in St. George installed a bunch of ponds and floated swans in each of them. Many of us never got to see them anyway, and every year we were all paying for the miserable things. Gradually they got too expensive and then disappeared, forever, I hope. We no longer had to subsidize the feeding and care of swans. Oh happy day!
Turns out that my friend, the Wizard of Google, only coughed up about 85,000 entries to explain seven swans a swimming. Major emphasis on Google is the poor lady on Wheel of Fortune who allegedly prounounced swimming as swimmin' when presented with most of the letters for Seven Swans a Swimming, and therefore lost a whole bunch of bucks. This episode sparked a hailstorm of gripes. All of the entries in the Twelve Days of Christmas have a religious connotation, but we will skip those for now and rely on the straightforward explanation without any hidden meanings. We have to assume that the pear tree is on a pond and that the partridge, the turtle doves, the French hens, and the calling birds have hunkered down to wait out the end of the song so they can fly off to greener pastures. Only five more days go go!
Meanwhile, can you believe that nine days have passed after Christmas? Have you taken down your Christmas tree? Have you boxed up your Christmas decorations? Have you finished eating your Christmas goodies? Have you cleaned up after your New Year's party? Are your kids sick of the expensive toys they cried and whined for and then promptly ignored to go and play with a big cardboard box? Have you paid the bills for your Christmas extravaganza? Have you answered all of your Christmas cards? Are you ready for thrills on the new season of Downton Abbey? Are you anxiously awaiting the next food binge on Super Bowl Day so you can augment the 5-10 pounds you have already gained between Thanksgiving and January 1? Have you figured out how to dispose of your Christmas tree? And, since you ordered at least half of your stuff online, have you considered how you are going to get rid of all of the big cardboard boxes the stuff came in? Have you bought a carload of batteries to keep all the stuff running? We offer these points to ponder on the ninth day after Christmas, being January 3, 2014, to help keep you fine tuned and up to snuff, so to speak. We hope your New Year is indeed happy as you buy wrapping paper for 75% off to save until next Christmas.
The Curmudgeonly Professor apologizes for getting two days behind on counting the Twelve Days of Christmas. However, he has been busy cleaning up the mess from the partridge, who ate all the pears on the pear tree, the turtle doves, who got tired of behaving themselves, the three French hens, who were studying English, and the nasty, raucous blackbirds who felt superior because they were called calling birds. As if.
Now down to business. Have you ever been around a goose? A goose can be a nasty, mean bird and attack you if it doesn't like you. Or even if it does like you. Besides, goose droppings are the worst, the very worst, trust me, droppings in the barnyard. I know whereof I speak. Canadian geese were frequent visitors to our neighborhood in Salt Lake. Some one started feeding the geese because they thought geese were cute so one lady goose set up a nest in the front bushes of a neighbor's house. Trouble was, the nesting goose was nesting in a nest on the way to the mailbox. We got so we hardly dared step outside the front door without this nasty, miserable, wretched, mean, honking, snapping, unruly, vicious, unfriendly, threatening, flapping, noisy creature from Hades just daring us to walk down to get the mail. True, we enjoy the big Vees of flying Canadian geese moving grandly through the skies. But only when they land on the ground are they a nuisance. You do not want to go near a pond or a lake where geese laze around all day. Trust me.
Seeking further information, the Curmudgeonly Professor called upon his trustworthy Wizard of Google. The Wizard of Google coughed up a paucity of information related to six geese a-laying, with a miniscule 2,960,000 entries. What's more, I had to dawdle around for a full 0.35 seconds twiddling my thumbs waiting for this information. Turns out, get this, 6-Geese-A-Laying is a Belgian strong dark ale style beer brewed, not in Belgium, please, but in Placentia, CA! I bet you didn't know this factoid unless you are a strong dark ale style beer connoisseur or have been to or reside in Placentia, CA. If you are a beer drinker, which I am not, you may prefer the strong dark ale style beer over the six actual geese a-laying. What's more, Six Geese A-Laying is also the title of a chick-lit book about a lady named Ginny awaiting the birth of her first child. If you wish further clarification and light, check out the other 2,960,000 entries that the Wizard has proffered.
Before we leave this scholarly analysis, we ask ourselves, "Just what do geese lay? Of course, they lay goose eggs!" The Wiz kindly offered 6,170,000 answers to this query. We might think that a goose egg is a big egg laid by a lady goose. But as we all know, a goose egg can have a pejorative connotation, signaling zero, nada, nothing, zilch when evaluating a numerical outcome. Or it can be a bump on the head where someone conked you if you became, heaven forbid, too obnoxious.
The Curmudgeonly Professor hopes that he has provided enough factual information for you to reach your own conclusion as to whether you really, truly, in your heart of hearts, want six miserable honking geese a-laying. Or whether you just want to sing the song and be done with it. Happy New Year.