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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Papa Hemingway

A friend of mine sent me a link concerning one of Ernest Hemingway's writings.  I was glad he sent it, for it gave me a moment to think back to when I was very much involved as a hobby with the study of Heminway's works and had amassed a whole collection of those works plus upwards of 50 different biographies about the man.  I find a lot to admire in Hemingway.  True, he had faults (But, really who does not?), but overall, he was a remakable person, writer, and man. 

From the impetus of that e-mail, I have gone to the bookshelf where I have had the amassed collection of his works and biographies about him that I have, dusted off the tomes, and have selected one work (the first I read, "The Snows of Kilamanjaro") and one biography (Fuentes, "Hemingway in Cuba") to read again.  Perhaps it will spark my interest and curiosity again like it did so long ago when I first was given a copy of his work by one of my major professors in graduate school. 

So, a thank you goes to the friend who sent me the link.  It was nice to receive, and it has surprisingly given me a very pleasant focal point upon which to devote some time. 

Boston was a nice trip.  My talk was well received.  And, as a member of the executive board of the scientific organization where I presented my research, it was nice to see some old friends I only get to see sproradically (usually at these meetings).  On one of the evenings, we were sitting, talking, and drinking some particularly robust dark beer (I do not recall the name/type, as I simply consumed each refilled mug I was given), and the evening, the talk, and the beer helped to elevate my mood.  The task is to try to keep my mood up.  That is the conundrum.  But, I must say again, that I appreciated the link, which drew me back into the world of Ernest Hemingway.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just Sad

Not much to say at the moment, other than the title.  It sums up where I am at emotionally at the moment.  I feel overwhelmed.  I feel like I am missing out on life.  I feel like I am nothing.

What would make me happy?  Sometimes that is even hard to describe in any tangible way.  I guess the only way I can think of to describe it at the moment is that I want love.  I do get love from my family, please know that I feel that love.  But when I am at work, or by myself, or driving alone in my car, or even while walking this morning.... I feel a deep, horribly strong and resonating sadness. 

The only two things I can think of to perhaps get this sadness to leave are to spend more time with my family or to sleep.  And, unfortunately neither is an option for me at the moment.  It will be a very long, hard day.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bronislaw Geremek

As I have stated before on this blog, the fellow above looks a lot like me, so I use his image as a representation of me.  He is Bronislaw Geremek, a political leader from Poland who was very important in Glasnost in the 1980s.  He also was a professor, like me.  Unfortuantely, he died in an automobile accident a few years ago.

Life is busy and hectic at the moment as I prepare for another talk, this time in Boston.  I hope it goes well.   It is just a lot of effort getting the wording down just the right way and getting the graphs and images as I would like. 


Today's (Sunday's) Goal = 0 bowls

Actual consumption (Saturday) = 4 bowls
Actual consumption (Friday) = 3  bowls

 Walking Day 1638 / SOPS Day 0

Friday, March 15, 2013

Humor Friday

I thought I would try something different here today.... humor.  It has been a while since I felt like joking around much, but I am feeling things for me are emotionally on the upswing.  Maybe it is the increased light?

Regardless, The following were "borrowed" from The Blog Fodder's site.  I have not used all of the quotes he posted, so if you enjoy these, go to the link to see some more.  They really brightened my day:

These are from a book called: "Disorder in the AmericanCourts", and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, "isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?"
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you kidding me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about 20, medium height, and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
______________________________ _______
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And, Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
I do not know about you, but I found the above quite humorous.   Final question for the day, can anyone explain the reason why I selected the image I did for this post?  The person who submits the first correct response will receive a cigar!  And, because it is just a virtual cigar, I will make it a damn good one.... a Cohiba Esplendido .   I still have the cigar band from the one cigar of that brand that I have had.  It is in my watch box. 
I was offered the cigar a couple years ago by a friend of mine who is pretty wealthy (and wastes a lot of money).  I had no idea of the cost of the the beast, but as we talked and drank some brandy and each smoked one of the cigars, I casually commented on how the cigar was quite wonderful.  He grinned as he told me all about the brand and its origins.  My buddy then mentioned to me that they were $35 a piece.  I was rather flabergasted by the price.  It was most assuredly the most expensive cigar I have ever smoked.   However, I continued to enjoy the cigar, and also the snifter of brandy that he had offered as well.  After hearing about the cigar,  you can be sure I did not ask about the brand of brandy.... I did not want to know. 


Today's (Friday's) Goal = 3 bowls

Thursday's goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Thursday) = 4  bowls

Walking Day 1636 / SOPS Day 0

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Still Very Tired

I am still feeling very tired.  It is most likely a mixture of the time change, not getting as much sleep as I would like, and it may be that I have a bit of a cold (virus) of some sort.  I flew to Chicago for a brief research meeting the other weekend, and the air circulation in planes these days is so very poor, and the level of people on planes that have some sort of viral or bacterial infection is so high this time of year, that my immune system is in overdrive trying to fight off everything that was in the plane's air.

Today's (Thursday's) Goal = 0 bowls

Actual consumption (Wednesday) = 4 bowls
Actual consumption (Tuesday) = 4  bowls

Walking Day 1635 / SOPS Day 0

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sleep, Energy, & Leslie

In a moment, you will understand better why this will be an especially brief post:

I read the current novel I am engrossed in (nothing of true literary note, it is just Robin Cook's "Nano") until about 1:30 am last night.  I did this partially because I was at an interesting part of the story, and also because I was trying to reset my circadian rhythm a bit.  I  think my extreme tiredness yesterday WAS related at least in part to the time change. 

Well, this morning, because I did not have to teach until 11 am, I decided to do something I almost never do, sleep in.  I allowed myself to sleep until 9 am, and then I quickly did my walk and then showered, shaved my neck and got to the U just before class. 

The net effect, is that I feel a great deal more energized than yesterday.  I think the working to adjust my circadian rhythms is useful. 

Although I do not plan to regularly take excerpts from comments submitted to me, I thought this comment needed a response from me:

In a moderated comment from Leslie yesterday, she stated (in excerpted form):

" Frumpster~ don't you think we all know we're a bunch of unruly brats? I don't see how it reflects badly on your blog and why you feel the need to keep order. We all "get" as good as we "give" and no one's the worse for wear."

My response to Leslie:

I can certainly understand what you mean with the above comment.  I know and agree with you that it does not reflect badly on my blog.  And, I also agree with you that you and the others do "get" and "give" fairly equally as well and that none of you are really all the worse for wear.   And, I even think I "get" and also "understand" the type of enjoyment all of you are having in the behaviors you engage in within the comments sections.  So, truthfully, that is not why I am moderating comments.   I am moderating comments a) because I personally need a space where I can come to that is away from other people's grouchy and/or angry feelings, b) because I need a place that is away from other people NEEDING something from me,  and c) I need a place that is more focused on my own thoughts and ideas, and d) because I do not like people having hurt feelings.  Basically, I want to try to have this blog space be as low stress for me as possible.   I also do not feel that I am denying you very much, if anything.  I have been told by a few people that you and ALT-F and Billy Pilgrim often times engage in biting comments and satire about me over on his blog.  And, that is of course perfectly ok.  And, it lets me know that you at least still do have an outlet for that sort of thing for you and the others as well.

Unfortunately, Leslie,  while I have often appreciated a lot of your specific comments to me (and also comments to me from ALT-F and Billy Pilgrim),  the more provocative types of comments about things outside of my post ended up sometimes adding to my stress. The stress would sometimes be because a) I could sense and feel people's anger in various comments, b) when people ended up being upset by some of the comments, I would feel a need for me to try to be helpful, c) occasionally the comments would overwhelm and obscure the dialogue about some painfully truthful thoughts and ideas I was hoping for advice on, and d) when people were feeling hurt it would make this space a place I myself wanted to visit less and less frequently.

So, I hope you can understand a bit more clearly what my intentions are here.  As I have stated several times, I have enjoyed many of your comments and many of ALT-F's and Billy Pilgrim's comments.   I have often found them helpful.  And, the other individuals I mentioned yesterday, all of you still know I enjoy your comments very much as well.  

Oh, and I guess one more thing I should say.... I do not think I am trying to keep "order" here as much as I am simply trying to have this space be a "peaceful" space for me to visit.    So, I again do apologize for having had to go to moderating comments, but it is the most helpful way for me to obtain what I need my blog area to be for me. 


Today's (Tuesday's) Goal = 0 bowls

Monday's goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Monday) = 4  bowls

Walking Day 1633 / SOPS Day 0

Monday, March 11, 2013


Before I get to today's post, I wanted to address my decision to moderate comments.  I have never wanted to moderate comments in any way on my blog, and for almost 10 years I have written here without that need.  Unfortunately, squabbling, and name calling between some commenters here has necessitated the change to moderated comments.  Writing here is a way for me to express my thoughts and emotions about life and its variances.  Unfortunately, the off-topic squabbling that has been going on for a while now was detracting from my own writing efforts.  And, the amount of time I needed to give to trying to make sure I would delete comments that were hurtful and mean spirited to others in my comments section became too large and began to take away from my time with my family and my time for my work.  Therefore, I think this will be the easiest route for me to proceed with my blog.  

In my determination of which comments to post, I will be posting those comments that are a) relevant in my opinion to the topic of the blog post I have written, b) humorous and enjoyable to me in regards to content, c) relevant to my efforts with exercise and/or pipe tobacco consumption, and d) other comments that have value and interest to me.  

I will not be posting a) comments that complain about the moderation of comments, b)  comments that attempt to be or are mean spirited towards others, and c) comments that I feel are not appropriate. 

I appreciate the time and effort you have spent in writing comments and I hope that all of you will continue.  

With the advent of moderation of comments here, I apologize in advance that there may be a delay in the posting of the comments.  I may look at and moderate comments received regularly, or there may be long stretches of time where I do not get the time to look at comments even though I may be posting new thoughts on the blog.  So, unfortunately, there may be times where it may be many hours or even a few days before comments are actually in view.  

Now, on to today's essay:


I am feeling physically quite tired today.  Some of it may be due to the time change and the change in sleep patterns as a result.  However, I think a large part of the issue is related to the time of the semester.  We are pretty damn close to the half way point in the semester, and this means that there is an especially large array of students who become more "needy" in regards to a) trying to "save" their currently failing grade, b) trying to get letters of recommendation finished for various applications they are making, c) and just a general swell in all U related work matters.

I am also feeling quite sad this morning.  I cannot determine an actual cause, so I think it is just a mood I am in at the moment.  


Today's (Monday's) Goal = 0 bowls

Actual consumption (Sunday) = 4  bowls
Actual consumption (Saturday) = 9 bowls
Actual consumption (Friday) = 3 bowls

Walking Day 1632 / SOPS Day 0

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Comments Moderation To Begin

Hello Everyone.  A very brief note to let you know that comment moderation is a new feature I am adding to my blog.  I feel it will be a help to me in my efforts to try to keep this blog space a kinder, more considerate venue.  I will give more details in Monday's post.


Friday, March 08, 2013


I am leaning towards trying to begin a focus in my life where I live primairly via experience.  This may seem a bit tautological.  However, to actually focus on the experience instead of simply being blown about in the wind by experience is a different sort of idea for me.  I am thinking it may shape my mind and my emotions in a more positive direction.  I will contemplate this during the weekend and see how I may be able to put it into practice come Monday. 


Today's (Friday's) Goal = 3 bowls

Thursday's [3/7] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Thursday) = 4  bowls

Walking Day 1629 / SOPS Day 0

Thursday, March 07, 2013


My walk today was much nicer than it has been for quite a while.  It felt fresher.  I think it is because it was much warmer this morning, almost 30 degrees!  I am trying to contemplate on how to not get so wrapped up in thinking about things.  I am trying to contemplate how to simply live and be happy.  It sounds pretty damn foolish and convoluted, but I may just figure something out. 


Today's (Thursday's) Goal = 0 bowls  

Wednesday's [3/6] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Wednesay) = 3  bowls

Walking Day 1628 / SOPS Day 0

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"Right" or Hedonism?

I am at a bit of a cross roads it seems.  I have tried for the vast majority of my life to "do" things that are right and appropriate.  I am not saying I am a saint, for I most assuredly am not.  I am just saying that I tried to live a life where I based most of what I did on the thought of "What is the better choice to do?" or "What is the more correct and fair choice to do?"  I am not so sure that those questions have served me well. 

Perhaps I should either a) not think about the meaning or significance of choices or b) simply choose what is most interesting for me at the instant.  Is that what "hedonism" is at its core?   Neither a) nor b) have been ways that I have inherently acted, but perhaps that is a fault?  Perhaps it is why I am the foolish person I see inside myself? I do not know.

I will tire myself out as much as I can physically today.  I will exercise and run my physical body ragged.  It seems to be the easiest way for me to not ruminate nor reflect on life.  Perhaps that is best.


Today's (Wednesday's) Goal = 0 bowls  

Tuesday's [3/5] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Tuesday) = 4 bowls

Walking Day 1627 / SOPS Day 0

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Comments on Comments

Unfortunately, it seems that commenters prefer to comment on their own comments and snipes at each other rather than create a dialogue where people can actually learn and grow.  However, the following comments are ones that were stated yesterday that I can comment upon.  Even though both were likely meant to be caustic, I can and choose to take both as earnest:

Leslie stated:
".....P-Frump, can you please bring back the wet beard and angst? These "bagel" and "I have nothing to say" posts are frightfully dull, even for you......"

Unfortunately, I likely am dull.  I wish that were not the case, but in my own psyche, I do believe that to be true.  Yet, the change in my posts during the last few is not related to any sort of change in my inherent "dullness" quotient, for it has remained stable.  Instead, I have drifted from an emotional state of great worry, sadness, and fear into an emotional state that perhaps described as being "null" or non-existent. 

ALT-F stated:
"Is the Pscyholgoy Expemirent oevr now Herr Prosefsor? Is taht why teh tone and cadence of yuor posts has drtfied itno the banal?"

Likewise, my banality is not something that changed.  Unfortunately, I am likely banal and will always be so.  With a rather emotionless frame of mind at the moment, the tasks of day-to-day living take up most of my time.  I can assure you that there was no "psychology" experiment.  The emotional outpourings to which you reference were all very intensely real, and deeply heartfelt.  My wife and I discussed our options very intensively for weeks leading up to the time of my peak emotional writings.  What we have decided at this time is to take route of "semi-stasis" about the issue.  In a nutshell, this means that neither of us felt wholly comfortable with the riskier option were were both contemplating, and have decided at this time to not venture forth with the riskier endeavor, while at the same time keeping the option to revisit it at any time.

Also, ALT-F, I did not ever learn of your reason for the semi-randomized, inverted spelling order.  If I were to hazard a guess, it may be in response to my occasional typographical errors and/or inversions that I have on this site.  If so, I apologize that my errors are grievous enough for you to want to make such a punctuated statement about them here.   In my day-to-day work at the U, I am always needing to be a careful editor of my work and my writings.  I have always taken the position that my blog posts can be a bit looser.  I do not purposefully try to incorporate errors, but neither do I spend great lengths of time in any form of editing process.

Also, in another of your comments yesterday, you suggested my choice of image for the post was puerile.  I can grant you that it was indeed so.  Yet, I see nothing inappropriate about a rather childish frame of reference if the mood strikes, as long as it is not hurtful or harmful to others.  I suspect the image I have chosen for today is especially silly and childish.  Under normal circumstances, I would have NEVER selected this image as I rather dislike these sorts of pet/statement images that are all over the place on the Internet.  However, this one captured my attention, and I would be interested to see how you rate it on your own internal scale of puerility. 

*     *     *     *     *

 As stated above, I feel as if I am in a state of no emotions at this time.  It is modestly better than feeling despondent, sad, or angry.  But it isn't a whole helluva lot of an improvement.  Without trying to ruminate on it all day, I am simply going to try to do things and get involved with things that I have found enjoyable previously.  I will see how a course of action, instead of a course of thought leads me.


Today's (Tuesday's) Goal = 0 bowls  

Monday's [3/4] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Monday) = 4  bowls

 Walking Day 1626 / SOPS Day 0

Monday, March 04, 2013


Today is Monday.  Not really much else for me to say.  I am feeling neutral.  This is better than some of the alternatives. 


Today's (Monday's) Goal = 0 bowls  
Sunday's [3/3] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Saturday) = 3  bowls

Sunday, March 03, 2013


I am curious about who left comments and then deleted them.  It seems a surprising thing to do.  Oh well, perhaps someone will let me know.  I ended up having a nice time at the elementary school where I did the science demonstrations.  The kids were very enthusiastic.   I am going to go out to a bagel shop and have bagels, cream cheese, and perhaps even lox with my family right now. 


Today's (Sunday's) Goal = 0 bowls  

Saturday's [3/2] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Saturday) = 4  bowls

Friday's [3/1] Goal = 3 bowls
Actual consumption (Friday) = 3 bowls

Walking Day 1624 / SOPS Day 0

Friday, March 01, 2013

Science for Kids

Once in a while I take a traveling show on the road to one of the nearby elementary schools and give the kids a demonstration where they will build one or another activities about biology.    The kids tend to be very excited about these activities and I do it as a way to encourage them to think about science.  Today, I am going to spend the day at one school teaching the kids about the environment and recycling.  The project they will each get to work on is messy and fun.  They typically have a great time.  It should be fun. 


 Today's (Friday's) Goal = 3 bowls   

Thursday's [2/28] Goal = 0 bowls
Actual consumption (Thursday) = 3 bowls

Walking Day 1622 / SOPS Day 0