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, April 30, 2012

Under the Weather

I am feeling under the weather today, so the post will be brief.  I did do my walking and exercise at the gym even though I felt like crap warmed over.  I have a stuffy nose, an itchy ear, feel swollen in my fingers and toes, my sinuses are full, and my eyes are feeling heavy and my intestines are rumbling around rather fiercely.  

I may have the start of a cold.  Or, perhaps I am feeling the after effects of eating rather differently than usual yesterday.  We went to a family gathering yesterday, and food I ate included:

hot dogs
heavy mac & cheese
ice cream

While the above is not the food I typically eat, day-to-day, I doubt that in indulgence in them has me feeling like I do right now, so I am more fearful it is a cold.  Either way, I am going to head home and rest.  This means my discussion on how to improve myself will be delayed a bit. 


Sunday, April 29, 2012


I am thinking about new ways I should try to improve myself. Ways I should proceed to try to make myself a better person. I think I may have some new paths I need to take.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Netherlands Outlaws Tourists in the Cannabis Cafes
"A judge in the Netherlands has upheld a new law to ban foreign tourists from entering cannabis cafes. While soft drugs are tolerated, there is growing concern at tourists visiting just for drugs, and foreign dealers selling illegally at home. The ban is due to start in three southern provinces next month, and go nationwide by the end of the year. A group of cafe owners argued at The Hague district court that the ban was discriminatory against foreigners."

I heard this excerpted on the BBC World News as I drove home from the U yesterday. It is a rather strange situation and issue. From my perspective, I suspect it will slow the economy significantly in those regions of the Netherlands where the Cafes are located, for I think the tourist use probably represents the lion's share of patrons.

 I have never tried cannabis. I have wondered what it is like. I even thought that maybe if some year one of the research meetings I attend is in the Netherlands, I *might* try it in one of those cafes. Now it looks like that is no longer even a pipe dream. Oh well.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading List (Authors) & Reading Habits
Billy (over at Spirits Doings asked me a question yesterday about what types of books I tend to read. That is the inspiration for this post. One easy way to flesh out my reading habits I thought, would be to list a few "trade" authors... the typical paperback writer authors that I have been enjoying lately. These are not "high brow" heavyweights.... they are just run-of-the-mill, fun reads.

Robin Cook - his mysteries all revolve around some form of science and/or medical treachery that results in mysterious drama. An excellent writer, albeit his dialogue can sometimes ring as a bit "stilted". His grasp of science and medicine and how he weaves them into his stories are excellent... he happens to be a medical doctor (retired).

Michael Palmer - like Robin Cook (above), Palmer's stories tend toward mysteries that are science and/or medical in background and scope... leading to some sort of treachery. Palmer had interesting ideas and I enjoy his books, but sometimes I feel slighted by his minimal development of even the major characters in his books.... and while R. Cook has trouble having his characters sometimes sound rather stilted, Palmer's issue with dialogue is that sometimes his dialogue is rather hokey and therefore rings untrue.

Michael Connelly - his Harry Boesch novels are well crafted and engrossing in every way. My favorite thus far is "The Lone Wolf". His genre is in the detective/police/crime arena... but he takes a psychological outlook to his writing that is very pleasing. He has a very good grasp on the dialogue... it all feels very authentic.

Lawrence Sanders - his "Deadly Sins" series of books are wonderful, as have been "Caper" and "The Secrets of Lucy Bending". He also is a detective/police/crime novelist. Unfortuantely, Sanders has died, so now further work from him. I suggest avoiding the later "McNalley" series of books by him and continued by a substitute author as well... they are VERY cheesy and basically obnoxious.

Those represent the general reading NOVELS I focus on lately. I also enjoy biographies a great deal (not about idiot pop celebrities, but those about historically relevant people.... such as Hemingway, Pasteur, Darwin, Steinbeck, etc.) Please do not get me wrong, I read a helluva lot of other things as well (a lot for my research and teaching, several newspapers, and more classic literature as well at times), but the above represents my current FUN reading material. In my past I have had other general fiction fads as well. For a long time I loved Westerns, but I haven't found any recent ones that have captured my attention. The same is true for my prior love of science fiction... I have not been able to find a more current science fiction writer who grabs my mind in quite a while.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Array of Randomness

To be frank, there are a helluva lot of things I should be working on at the moment. I am in the midst of proctoring a final exam as I type, and have brought other exams from earlier in the week to grade, I have scores to input into my grading spreadsheet, and I have three books that I have received through inter-library loan that I need to work through before their due date next week.

Yet, my mind is more than a bit  muddled and unfocused at the moment. My neurons are not being as cohesive and focused as they should be.  I feel no ambition to do anything productive.  I have been sitting and day dreaming.

About what have I been daydreaming?   Nothing particularly deep,  nor Earth shattering or wonderful like hoping for world peace, nor anything even racy.  I have been thinking about a variety of easy to imagine nonsense that I can focus on for 5-10 seconds before my mind fumbles/stumbles onto something else mildly captivating to me at the moment. Here is a sample list:

1. Imagining smoking my pipe.
2. Imagining drinking some whiskey over shaved ice.
3. Imagining bicycling around the county this Summer.
4. Imagining being in San Diego.
5. Imagining being in Churchill, Manitoba.
6. Imagining smoking my pipe again.
7. Imagining writing the novel (or two) that I have wanted to do (I have a few different plot outlines I have developed over the years I could choose from. 
8. Imagining drinking a tall gin and tonic.
9. Imagining eating a wonderfully spicy Indian Curry dish, especially one featuring garbanzo beans and lentils. 
10. Imagining Summer.
11. Imagining sitting out in the sunshine.
12. Imagining having another pipe.
13. Imagining a hazelnut pie (I have never heard of such a thing, but in my mind I have been thinking of a recipe for one that is a modification of a classic pecan pie recipe with some other flavors and ingredients.)
14. Imagining drinking a boilermaker.
15. Imagining a double cheese, italian sausage, green pepper, onion, and pineapple pizza.
16.Imagining eating a cherry red snow cone. 
17. Imagining floating in a swimming pool on a beautiful Summer day.
18. Imagining smoking my pipe.
19. Imagining sitting outside in a large field on a scorching hot Summer day and having cloud cover arrive and a cooling, gentle rain fall upon me.
20. Imagining eating a large, spicy Mexican dinner.

The above doesn't make me feel like much of an adventurer or anything exciting or noteworthy.  But, perhaps that is "ok" though, for that is where my mind is at today.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


A milestone day of sorts for me.... today is day 1313 in terms of my exercise routine.  I have walked roughly 5 miles each day for the last 1313 days.  As a record of this milestone for me, I have to state that walking is the minimum standard for me these days and on other days when I feel up to snuff, I often do other things as well, including:

1.  Averaging 4.5 trips to the U Gym each week during the last four months to strength train (primairly  my upper body to look more tone and "beef-cake" (sarcastic tone here required for proper inflection) like. 

2.  Jogging (albeit slow) the walking route probably on average twice a week.

3.  Getting my family to walk with me beyond my normal daily activity about twice a week (plans are to go hiking in the woods often on these excursions especially starting in the next week or two).

It feels very good, all this activity.  I am so glad I started the consistency of doing it 1313 days ago!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yard Work

Yesterday, I did a helluva lot of yard work. It was a good feeling, actually, for it gave me a chance to spend more time out doors, which is a rare commodity this time of year at the U. I cut the lawn, raked leaves, sketched out and planned for what I will need to paint later this spring/summer (it is unfortunately too cold to paint outside here still), and picked up all sorts of yard debris.

For the last few weeks, I have been tremendously busy... sometimes with b*llsh*t work that is dull and aggravating here at the U (political and administrative crap that is not work writing about), but sometimes with some interesting things as well. I will get to the one especially interesting thing in a moment.

But first, I want to say how I am beginning to see some personal payoff in regards to my purposefully working to extract myself from administrative b*llsh*t and being everyone's "go-to" person to try to solve their problems.  I am seeing a bit of a reshaping of my day and even more important, a reshaping of my time for the things I *DO* relish and appreciate about work.... teaching and research.  I have to keep reminding myself of these benefits so I do not slide back into the old habits of trying to help and fix all the crap.

I am in the beginning stage of what I think *may be*  a truly "revolutionary" undertaking in endocrinology research.  The work I am developing at the moment is not using rats or rodents of any kind, but this time I am working with fruit flies.  The work is highly speculative and a bit out of the normal realm of thoughts on this type of research, but that is part of why it is actually feeling very invigorating to me.  I shall try to develop a post about it with more details in the next few days.

The new Blogger interface is still feeling rather clumsy and uncomfortable for me, but I am slowly making progress in getting used to their new "improvements".


Monday, April 23, 2012

I am not overjoyed at the new Blogger navigation system for us authors of blogs. I have to say, however, that I JUST walked into this new system so everything seems foreign to me. I am sure, *probably*, that eventually I will grow to like the new system, but today.... NOT SO MUCH!

I am sure there may be some new things I will like. However, NOT TODAY! I wish Blogger wouldn't force a change like this. I *do* know it has been advertized as coming, but still it was a bit of rude awakening today when I was simply looking forward to getting back to regular posting.


Friday, April 20, 2012


It has been a long, rough week this week. I had been meaning to post, but at the U, this time of the year is rife with too many tasks. I apologize.

I am still in the midst of all the crap at the moment, but needed to take a momentary break. If I play my cards right and work like hell today, I may be able to start Monday off on a normal note and having something more interesting to say.

Let us hope!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lima Beans

Before I start, let me tell you that I think Lima Beans taste awfully damn good. I eat them plain, I eat them doctored up in all sorts of concoctions, and I make a huge array of casseroles out of them (ie. Mexican, Italian, Indian, Mediterranean, and others I have yet to create) and have eaten them roasted. I relish Lima beans. I unfortunately have a fair number of relatives who do not enjoy Lima beans like I do. Here are some of the facts about Lima Beans (BESIDES THEIR EXCELLENT TASTE) and why they should reconsider their dislike:

Phaseolus lunatus is a legume. It is grown for its seed, which is eaten as a vegetable. It is commonly known as the lima bean. Phaseolus lunatus is of Andean and Mesoamerican origin. Two separate domestication events are believed to have occurred. The first, taking place in the Andes around 2000 BC[citation needed], produced a large-seeded variety (Lima type), while the second, taking place in Mesoamerica around AD 800, produced a small-seeded variety (Sieva type).

Lima beans are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein.

Lima beans contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which prevents constipation, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. For people with diabetes, the high fiber content in Lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after eating them due to the presence of large amounts of absorption-slowing compounds in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean's carbohydrates.

Soluble fiber binds with the bile acids that form cholesterol and, because it is not absorbed by the intestines, it exits the body taking the bile acids with it. As a result, the cholesterol level is lowered.

They may therefore help to prevent heart disease, and may reduce the medical dosage required to combat cholesterol in the form of natural food.

Lima beans also provide folate and magnesium. Folate lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

The magnesium content of lima beans is a calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is present veins and arteries relax, which reduces resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

I have several relatives that have Type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistance). The way in which the Lima bean can combat nearly every one of their maladies associated with diabetes is amazing. They can help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, and reduce the incidence of heart disease.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sub Sandwhich

It is the time of the year at the U where the schedules get awfully full and unwieldy at times. I, am my beautiful wife have a system for days like these, we call them "Sub Days". Basically, when things are too hectic for me and I am not able to predict much if anything about my time for arrival home or mood or what not, we have a "Sub Day". There is a wonderful, local sandwich shop that makes absolutely wonderful sub sandwiches that are fresh and tasty. My wife knows my preference, and buys mine with extra of every vegetable available, including the jalapenos. This shop has the most wonderful RYE bread for the subs, that is beyond compare. No cheese is needed, but I am always sure to ask her to please be sure to additionally add guacamole, peas, green olives and black olives. Depending on my mood and depending upon how the turkey looks when my wife picks up the sandwiches, she will sometimes add turkey to mine.

The only thing I do to my sub when we eventually eat sometimes late into the evening is to add a good sized dollop of hummus to each half.

Unbelievably delicious!

I would try to tell you about my wife's sub, but alas, we are as different as can be... whereas I have gotten the same exact style of sub at this shop for decades, my wife never orders the same thing twice for herself. It is one of many ways I show my strong desire for routine and predictability, and my wife shows her strong liking of change.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Anger Rears its Ugly Rear

I had a bit of trouble sleeping last night... well more than a little bit of trouble. The reason for my trouble is that I had a meeting today with a person whom I am quite angry at. I am angry at her (and other fellow as well) for EXCEPTIONALLY rude, impolite, and rather verbally abusive behavior that they directed towards me about a month ago. Since this was to be the first meeting in which I have had to interact with this person SINCE that incident, I was getting aggravated all last evening about meeting with her. I ran a variety of scenarios through my head on how I was going to "tell her off" and tell her in no uncertain terms that I would not stand for the rude behavior any longer. I ended up writing down the specific points that I wanted to say (I did this, mostly because I did not want to end up getting uptight in the meeting and start yelling and hollering myself.... I wanted to be as prepared as I could be to be simple, direct, and to-the-point, and to do so with a calm, business-like demeanor.).

Well, the shortened version of this story is that this woman (whom I am still angry at), was not acting particularly rude today, and was not bringing up the prior issues. I did not want to be the one to open up the argument again, and so I let it drop for the moment. I will eventually sit down and talk with her about her behavior, but it was actually nice not needing to do it today. But, in effect, I wasted most of my evening late last night, and lost a good deal of sleep because of this situation.... and it was literally STUPID for me to do so.

I do not need to waste my valuable time running dialogue through my head for b*llsh*t like this. That is why I think the title of this essay is appropriate. If I could do this one thing, I think it would be a very good way for me to increase my happiness overall. I am still going to talk to her at some point, but I am not going to lose sleep over it.


Monday, April 02, 2012

So Damn Sick & Tired... I Give Up!

The last few days were "interesting". I am feeling about as fed up with things as Ben Bernanke is about the economy I suspect, so last night in a fit of passion, bordering on rage, I did the following:

1. Shaved off my beard and moustache for the first time since I was 19 (that is a helluva long time ago).

2. Took all my pipes out of their various locations around my home, truck, shed, office, lab, wife's car, garage, and anywhere else I could remember storing some, and then proceeded to put them in a pile on the driveway and stomp on all of them. The breaking of the stems and bowls left a messy rubble. I quit!

3. I took the "pledge" to be a damn tee-totalling abstainer.

4. I took a bottle of my wife's hair dye and proceeded to dye my hair so that the top of my head now looks like a matt of dark brown yarn.

April Fools!

Yes, I know my "joke" may not have been that surprising, and that the transparency of my "actions" were perhaps obvious falsehoods to you my long-time readers and friends.

What?!?! You didn't know? Today *IS APRIL 2nd* not April 1st. So what gives? Well, here is the best way I can put it:

You see... today may not technically be April Fool's Day, but it is the day we are governmentally sanctioned to celebrate it because the actual day was a Sunday! :) I hope you may have gotten at least a glimmer of a smile from my attempt at a joke.