The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, January 22, 2018

99-Word Essay - "Boots"

This entry is for the 99-Word Essay in flash fiction.  The group I belong to is called  "The Carrot Ranch Literary Community" ,  and the topic this week is "boots".  My submission is below the asterisk line.  I hope you enjoy my effort:

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The harsh wind rattled windows of the room, as he slowly worked his aching fingers into unlacing his snow-encrusted boots. 

“There was a helluva lot of snow to shovel,” he remarked to his wife, “...damn near seven inches fell in the last couple hours.”

He slowly carried his boots to the hearth of the fireplace.  She could see and feel his utter exhaustion. Snow still clung to his beard and mustache.

Walking slowly to the cabinet, he poured himself four fingers of whiskey.  Taking a deep swallow, he grimaced as he waited for the liquor’s magic to warm him.  

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Even if you are not part of the Carrot Ranch, I would enjoy any comments you may have about my flash fiction. Your comments will help me to try to improve as a writer.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Knights of Columbus

I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus for several decades.  I originally was encouraged to join by my uncle, who thought I would enjoy it. 

For those who may not know, the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization.  A fair amount of community service is done by the K of C.  I have participated in several aspects of this community service over the years. 

It has been several years since I have been very active.  Perhaps I should get more involved again.  They do have a bar. :) 


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Popular Music

While I AM a big fan of music (I even play a few musical instruments), and I listen to a wide array of music, I have not really talked much about my favorites in terms of what is generally called "popular music".

Most of the time, I tend to have classical music or jazz music playing in the background in my office and in my laboratory.  In terms of classical music, I tend to prefer the horn based music more than string or piano.  Similarly, for jazz, I prefer the horn based jazz to that of string or piano.... and I have a strong preference for the more melodic forms of jazz as opposed to the "free-form" styles.

But, in terms of what is typically deemed "popular music" I think I can safely say that to me, ONE particular band stands out clear and away as my favorite more than ANY OTHER GROUP.  Please know, however, what I do like much of popular music and could name at least a dozen to twenty groups that I appreciated.

But..... if I were to exiled to a desert island for the rest of my life with only ONE "popular music" group that I could listen to, it would have to be......

CHICAGO (originally known as "The Chicago Transit Authority").

Words cannot adequately express how the majority of their music will invigorate my mindset and help me be in a better mood.  Instead, I will give you links to a few of my very favorites from them:

"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

"25 or 6 to 4"

"Make Me Smile"

"Colour My World"

"Saturday in the Park"

But, there are so many, many more incredible songs from this group, so do not just limit yourself to the few above.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fruits & Veggies

While I regularly eat a veritable bushel of vegetables every day, I know that without a conscious effort, my consumption of fruit is more modest.  When I do not try to boost my consumption of fruit, almost inevitably what I end up consuming on a day-to-day basis is simply a banana and a serving or two of blueberries. 

The one especially easy fruit that I relish adding to my daily intake is grapefruit.  And, this is the time of the year when grapefruit is especially abundant, plentiful, and less expensive.  The bonus is that also, during usually January and February, these the are the months that we have available in my neck of the woods, WHITE grapefruit, which is my favorite of all the varieties.  I am not sure why, but white grapefruit seems to have have a much more narrow window of availability than the red grapefruit.

I am also going to work with my wife when we go grocery shopping next to pick up a variety of other fresh fruits from the array that may be available (guided by cost effectiveness as well).  I am hoping for pineapple and cantaloupe if they are not too pricey.


Monday, January 15, 2018

99 Word Essay - "Wet Ink"

I am writing again for the 99-Word Essay for the flash fiction group I am joining.  This flash fiction group is called "Carrot Ranch Literary Community" The topic this week is "wet ink".  My submission is below the asterisk line.  I hope you enjoy my effort:

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“I used to write with these damn things all the time!”  he huffed, looking at the smear of the still wet ink that obscured his words on the page and had blued the edge of his hand. 

Grimacing in a way that turned his broad, bushy mustache downward at the ends, gave his face a sour expression.  Casting the fountain pen aside, he instead picked up his trusty pipe.  Swiftly lighting the crumbles of leaf in the bowl, he squinted through the smoke, down at the ruined page.  He furrowed his brow in frustration.

“I cannot write this again!”

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Friday, January 12, 2018


Other than one very small glass of wine on New Year's Eve, I have not had a drink (of alcohol) since my elderly father-in-law went into the hospital in October.  My wife is not fond of drinking at all, and is "not particularly encouraging" of my drinking at home, so I do not do so. 

My elderly father-in-law has been my "drinking buddy" of sorts, and it has been a long standing ritual for us to get together for libations and pipes (usually on a Friday afternoon).  Now, with him being in a rehabilitation facility, he is not allowed to drink or to have pipes.  And, even though he is showing some improvement, he is also currently not his traditionally talkative self at the moment either.  In fact, most days he is relatively non-talkative with everyone who visits him.

So, I feel a bit sad.  Obviously I feel sad that my father-in-law is having such a rough time and that he is having to work to try to get back to a "normal" state of health for himself, and I am of course very sad that I am not sure if he will continue to work to do so.... it depends on how his mood affects him at the moment.   

But, and I do not mean for it to sound selfish, but it probably does sound that way and it probably is.... I am also sad that I do not get to have a drink with him, have a pipe with him, or chat with him in the ways we had grown accustomed to over the years.  Is this a "pity party" for me?  Probably.  And, that makes me mad at myself too. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some Modest Improvement

It is happy for all of us that my elderly father-in-law is showing a little bit of improvement.  He has taken to eating significantly more food, his disposition is less negative, and he has shown a modest amount of willingness to try during his physical therapy.

I do not know if there will be a good outcome yet, or not, but at least we can have a little bit of reason to hope currently.  In the best case scenario, he may start to feel even better as he gets more adequate calories and may try even harder.  If he does try, he has every potential to be able to strong enough to go back home.  I hope that is how things proceed.