The Crotchety Old Man

Dec 10, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My First Class: Reflections

The final exam included three extra credit questions. I asked about behavior changes because of the class, the impact the class will likely have on the future, and the most beneficial topics. As there are no right or wrong answers, the score was based on how  The first class I’ve taught in 30  years is over. The final exam was last week. After several days of grading, the verdict is in. Despite my tough exams, better than half the class got an A or B in the course. Consumers in Society touches on the wide variety of spending decisions made over the course of a lifetime. It’s stuff nobody tells you about being a wise consumer that everyone should know. …

Dec 03, 2018
By Michael Rupured

My Favorite Story

Friends often ask which of my novels is the best. I never know what to say. Best what? Technically speaking, my newest release at any given time is the best. Each novel is better than the one before. Every trip through the publication process is a learning experience. Whippersnapper is my favorite story. It is NOT a romance, despite the cover, blurb, and my intentions to write one. It’s a heart-warming story about relationships in Fallisville — a fictional small town in Central Kentucky. Peggy Tucker is a straight, middle-aged widow of the Southern Baptist persuasion who is determined to lose enough weight to land a new, God-fearing, honest, and sober husband. She runs into young Tellumo Magnamater at the gym. …

Nov 26, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Crotchety Goes Shopping

Some people love to shop. I’m not one of them. Other than the grocery store, my shopping excursions are few and far between. They don’t last very long, either. Git ‘er done — that’s my motto. I’m also a bit miserly. My penchant for the cheapest available option comes from Mom’s example, re-enforced by hard times in the decade or so after I moved out on my own. When the price is right, function trumps quality. New bedding has been a need for quite some time. The Bed-in-a-Bag I bought some twenty years ago has served its purpose. I’ve bought sheets lots of times, but he comforter is threadbare in spots and worn around the edges. I started my search …

Nov 19, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Weird Accumulations

I am a selective hoarder. Throughout my house are boxes, drawers, and other containers chocked full of things I’ll never use but can’t bring myself to throw away. To find out if my odd collections are universal or unique, I’m sharing them here. Beverage Containers. No event is complete without keepsake plastic cups, water bottles, mugs, thermal to-go cups, mason jars, and other containers emblazoned with some logo or message. I politely decline when possible, but still end up with more than I could ever use. Writing Utensils. Scattered around my house are mugs, plastic cups, and small boxes overflowing with pens, pencils, highlighters, and markers. Some were gifts (fancy pens mostly) and some I bought (markers for various purposes), but …

Nov 12, 2018
By Michael Rupured

No Time for Writing

There’s more to being an author than writing stories. Making readers aware of new releases is a big part of the job. “Managing the brand” across numerous social media platforms is another requirement. A boss would tell me I need to do better, or else. She’d be right too. The marketing part has always been a challenge. I put a lot of effort into promoting new releases then do no more than my weekly blog post. My writing career is on hold. I haven’t added a word to Cold Revenge (the fourth Philip Potter story and my current work in progress) since August. A blog post every week is about all I can manage — if that. I say a …

Nov 05, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Crotchety’s Difficult Exams

The verdict is in. After three tests, even students who are doing well in my class agree: Mr. Rupured’s exams are REALLY hard. Well I’ll be damned. Some would take pride in the reputation. For a different course, I might too, but this class is not supposed to be difficult. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bunny either. The content is easy to understand (says the professor), but students have to do the work. The final grade is based on assignments (20%), four exams (50%) a comprehensive final (20%) and attendance (10%). The class (Consumers in Society) is a broad overview of the field of consumer economics. It’s the only 1000-level (freshmen) class our department offers.  The class isn’t …

Oct 29, 2018
By Michael Rupured

A Winter Garden

Mild winters are one of my favorite things about living in the Deep South. Blizzards and subzero temperatures are extremely rare, and cold spells never last for more than a few days. Clear, sunny skies and highs well above freezing are the norm. In Kentucky, hard freezes in mid-to-late October pretty much put an end to the garden. November, December, and January were dedicated to plotting and scheming for the coming season. With few exceptions, nothing blooms until the early season bulbs come up in late January and early February. The growing season in Athens is much longer. Something is blooming just about all year. Camellias carry much of the load from November to March, with numerous others contributing for a …

Oct 22, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Countdown to Finals

My first semester teaching a college course in more than thirty years is rapidly drawing to a close. The weeks since school started have flown by. The last day of class will be here in no time. The teaching I’ve done for more than thirty years is dramatically different from teaching a college course. Participation in the workshops I’ve taught in the past is voluntary. There are no grades, and I rarely see anyone twice or for longer than a few hours. Seeing the same students every Tuesday and Thursday for 15 weeks is a nice change. I look forward to each and every class. A few of my 46 students show up only on test days — if then — …

Oct 15, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Gaydom’s Golden Age

Never has there been a better time to be a gay man in America. Well into the 1960s, homosexuality was a sin, a mental illness, and a crime. Police routinely raided gay bars and often published names in the local newspaper of anyone arrested. Gay liberation has been one of many fronts in the decades-long fight for equal rights. We’ve come a long way in my life time. Police stopped raiding bars (mostly) in the early 1970s but continued to publish names of men arrested in sting operations. Local gay bars became a safe place to meet other gay men. By 1979 when I exploded out of the closet, Lexington’s gay bar was packed six nights a week.  The crowd …

Oct 08, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Grateful

Floods, fires, tornadoes, terminal illnesses, and other ugly events have recently impacted the lives of more than a few dear friends. My heart goes out to them. Their misfortune reminds me  just how lucky I am. Yeah. I said lucky. So I’m slowly going blind, recently lost someone very close to me, and am dealing with a diabetic chihuahua. There are far worse things. So much good luck has fallen my way I consider my life to be charmed. Sure, I’ve worked hard, but — subject to change without notice — bad luck has mostly passed me by. Any adversity in my life has largely been the result of my bad choices. I hit my low in the early 1980s. After …

Sep 17, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Orchid Redux

Since purchasing the first in 2012, my orchid collection has grown. I’ve bought a few. Friends have given me orchids they gave up on too. The result is a kitchen table overflowing with them. I blogged about my success with orchids late last year. You can see that post here. It even has pictures! Bragging is asking for trouble. Problems appeared almost right away. In addition to the wrinkled leaves I’d seen in the past, leaves on a few plants had turned black in the center. Root rot may have been the cause. Inconsistent watering may also have played a role. On rainy days I’ll sometimes drag all my plants outside. They may not care, but I feel like the fresh …

Sep 11, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Crotchety in the Classroom

Everyone I know has heard all about the class I’m teaching. My colleagues — most of whom have taught for years — know as much about my class as their own. I’m guessing they find my enthusiasm more amusing than tiresome — for now, anyway. I’m grateful for heir sage advice and helpful suggestions. I glanced over the required text before agreeing to teach the course and used the table of contents to create the syllabus. I never got around to reading the text before school started. The publisher provided presentations for every chapter. Except for the teaching, my work was done. [Pauses until experienced teachers all over the world stop laughing.] Sticking to the script doesn’t work. Many of …

Sep 03, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Southern Heritage

I grew up in Kentucky and have lived in Georgia for twenty years. My ancestors have lived in the South for centuries. By any standard, I am a a bona fide Southerner. Pride for our Southern heritage is universal in my family, but stories about the Civil War weren’t part of my upbringing. I heard we’re kin to Robert E. Lee and John Wilkes Booth, but nobody in the family has any old photographs, letters from the battlefield, or other Civil War memorabilia. My DNA results shattered the myths I’d believed all my life. We are not related to Lee or Booth, and records linked to my family tree reveal ancestors who fought for the Union, but none who sided …

Aug 27, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Family Tree

Several years ago I joined Ancestry.com, and for months clicked on leaves like they were going out of style. My mistake was accepting as gospel every tidbit of information I found. The resulting family tree dates back a thousand years, but is too riddled with errors, duplicates, and other problems to be believed. I learned a lot about my family, but my research raised more questions than it answered. Two branches came to an abrupt end — I never found my mother’s maternal grandfather or my father’s paternal grandfather. Missing two of eight great-grandparents leaves huge bare spots in the tree. In January I sent some spit to Ancestry DNA for analysis. Found out weeks later the sample didn’t work …

Aug 20, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Teaching without Fear

When I taught class in grad school, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I outlined the text, read the outline to my students, and lived in fear they’d discover how little I knew. Somehow, I pulled it off. Thirty-plus years of experience has made me a better teacher. The kind of teaching I’ve been doing is different, but teaching is teaching. To prepare for the first* class I’ve taught since grad school, I spent the summer going over the required textbook. Two weeks before school started, I found out the textbook I’d planned the course around was no longer in print. Fortunately, the tables of contents for the 15th and 17th editions are identical. Shew. Switching …

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