Monday, December 11, 2017

Postmodern Proverbs: Still . . .

"Still waters that run deep ain't still waters."


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Postmodern Proverbs: Moccasin Wisdom Updated

Water Moccasin

"Don't judge a man until you have walked 1.60934 kilometers in his shoes."


Saturday, December 09, 2017

Bliss-Fool Words of Encouragement

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and ends with a single step - just not the same step, unfortunately!"

(And don't walk down the middle of the road, or you'll get hit from both sides!)


Friday, December 08, 2017

Lamé Identified . . .

I always wondered what lamé meant. Now I know. Kind of heavy-metal without the heavy . . .


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Peeling Unappealing Apples Or Offering Outrageous Oranges

A Case of Apples and Oranges?

"A little bite of knowledge is a dangerous thing."


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Contrast of Wisdoms

Korean Proverb: "We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak."

Jeffery's Corrective: "We have two ears and one mouth, so we should speak twice as much to catch up."


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Semester's End Draweth Nigh . . .


Monday, December 04, 2017

Identify This Bird, Please

Some Bird or Other
Sun-Ae Hwang

My wife drew this bird and didn't have time to look up the English name, but I said no problem, that someone online would let me know . . .

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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Robert D. Stevick on Sung-il Lee's Beowulf

Robert D. Stevick

I cited Stevick yesterday in words of high praise for Lee's Beowulf, but let me add a few more, these on how perfect Lee's translation choices have been. According to Stevick:
Nothing gets in the way [of the poem]. The commonest impediments to successful translation have been theories of this and that, High Principles to be upheld, or just romantic notions about "olde tyme" English poetry. Sometimes it is a choice to imitate the general sound of the original text -- two half-lines separated by syntax but linked by alliteration. The one successful instance came many, many years ago from Charles W. Kennedy, but even this text [by Kennedy] tends to accelerate unfittingly as the rhythm continues unrelenting. Sometimes it is a decision to imitate the blank verse of the Renaissance. Sometimes it may be choice of a verse-form such as nine-syllable lines defended by reasoning rather than readability. Sung-Il Lee's translation is not trammeled in any ways like these. The syllable-count is unpredictable: it is instead the phrasings that embody the verse rhythms. (Robert D. Stevick, "Foreward," in Sung-il Lee, Beowulf in Parallel Texts, Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, 2017, p. ix)
Just the other day, I was discussing with Bill Vallicella the virtue of counting syllables vs. the virtue of measuring phrases. We didn't use exactly those terms, but that's what we were getting at. Stevick clearly comes down on the side of phrasings . . .in this instance, anyway.

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Saturday, December 02, 2017

Lee Sung-il's Beowulf

Lee Sung-il

Several weeks ago, Lee Sung-il - emeritus professor of Yonsei and expert in the English language from Old English onward - sent me a copy of his translation of Beowulf. I was already aware of the greatness of his achievement, having heard him read several lines at a medievalist conference some years back.

I'm no expert on Beowulf, but I have published a couple of articles on this ancient 'Anglo-Saxon' text, so I can perhaps be allowed a point of view in claiming that Lee's is the best modern rendering of this epic poem that we have.

But don't just listen to me. Here's what the expert Robert D. Stevick wrote in his forward to the translation:
Why read this translation of Beowulf? Because there isn't a better one to be found.
This text isn't just the translation. It's Beowulf in Parallel Texts, the Old English original on the left-hand page, Lee's translation on the right-hand page. The cover looks like this:

Go forth, therefore, to purchase it, and read . . .


Friday, December 01, 2017

For the Big Hominid . . .

Bohemian Waxwing
Sun-Ae Hwang

Kevin asked for more art, so here's another bird, one I think I haven't posted here before.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Beautiful Bird

Fire Bowerbird
Sun-Ae Hwang

More from the series of my wife's 'female gaze' upon the nature of  birds . . .


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Misheard Advice

Misheard "Doggone"

Don't put off till tomorrow what you still can't do today.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Home to roost? Don't count on it.

Those that didn't make it home to roost . . .

Don't count your chickens before they come home to roost.


Monday, November 27, 2017

No Free Lunch, Nor Free Launch

"There's no such thing as a free launch," as Kim Jong-un is perhaps discovering!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Saudi Arabian Spring

Thomas Friedman visited the Arabian peninsula recently to look into its Saudi Arab Spring into the modern world under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly called M.B.S., who tells Friedman he wants to restore a moderate Islam:
Indeed, M.B.S. instructed me: "Do not write that we are 'reinterpreting' Islam - we are 'restoring' Islam to its origins - and our biggest tools are the Prophet's practices and [daily life in] Saudi Arabia before 1979." At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, there were musical theaters, there was mixing between men and women, there was respect for Christians and Jews in Arabia. "The first commercial judge in Medina was a woman!" So if the Prophet embraced all of this, M.B.S. asked, "Do you mean the Prophet was not a Muslim?"
More power to him, if he can bring about a more tolerant Islam. I'm watching from a tolerably respectable distance. Change will be an achievement even if - to borrow from Wittgenstein - little will be achieved.

Read the entire article, "Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at Last" (NYT, November 23, 2017).

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sicilian Odalisque

Sicilian Odalisque
(A Great Lier?)
Jean Baptiste Camille Corot
(1796-1875, France)
Success Has Always Been A Great Lier Liar
Friedrich Nietzsche

As I lay lying in the hospital the first night, sick with pneumonia and mad from mixing medicaments that hadn't ought be mixed, I yelled out, "I admit that I edited for clarity, but I didn't write the document!"

I don't know why I yelled out those words - something about the danger I imagined myself to be in, I guess - but as I yelled, something in my throat slipped, and I can now hit those low notes that my voice used to crack open upon.

Silver lining, and all that jazz . . .


Friday, November 24, 2017

Have you heard the one about the two Jews who . . .

Writing a review of three recent books on Jewish humor for the Spectator (November 25, 2017), Keiron Pim asks, 'Is Jewish humour the greatest defence mechanism ever created?'

I don't know if he ever explicitly answers that question, but he does offer a typical Jewish joke that puts things into perspective:
There's a long joke that Dauber and Baum tell in different ways, which in essence goes like this.

In the Pale of Settlement Moshe and Abram are walking down the street, kvetching about being too poor to eat, when they pass a church with a sign that reads: 'Convert and we'll give you ten roubles!'

Moshe looks at Abram and says: 'You know what, I'm going to do it,' and goes inside.

Twenty minutes later he emerges looking solemn, his head bowed. 'Well,' says Abram, 'did you do it? Did you get the ten roubles?'

And Moshe looks up at him and says: 'Why is it you people only ever think about money?'
Now, that's funny! Sublime wit!

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Emanations 7 is Calling You

Emanations 7



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dance Me to the End of Love

Leonard Cohen

Soon, a year will have passed since Leonard Cohen died and took up residence in what he called the "Tower of Song," where he insisted on a room one hundred floors beneath Hank Williams, whom he can hear coughing all night long -- one hundred floors above him, in the Tower of Song.

A good song, that "Tower of Song," but I like this next one even more:

Dance Me to the End of Love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Oh, let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Simple Syllogism!

Odysseus Blinds Cyclops, Becomes Nobody

"No man is an island."
Odysseus is no man.
Odysseus is an island.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Impossible Tasks Nr. 1 and Nr. 2


If you can press toothpaste back into the tube (as shown above), then the next task should be no problem:
"Squeeze the greatest infinite into the smallest void."
There's always just a bit more room to a void . . .


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Puzzling Proverb

Wise Saying:
"Better late than ever!"
Whatever that means . . .


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Living Statue: Johan Figueroa-González

Living Statue: Johan Figueroa-González
Washington Square Park, NYC (2016)
Photo by Daniel Albanese, Artist

I read about this street performer in the New York Times, but I've borrowed the photo from the art site of the photographer Daniel Albanese because the NYT doesn't like for me to advertise their photos on my blog unless I pay royalties, but why should I support some impecunious king somewhere?


Friday, November 17, 2017

This Post is for the Birds!

Pacific Golden Plover
Sun-Ae Hwang

Another of my wife's wonderful birds . . . This one's called a "plover" because it looks as though it's wearing a "pullover." Ha! Ha! Ha! Just kidding! I don't why it's called a "plover."Maybe because "plunder" sounds worse?


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Squirt at Work




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Worth of a Picture

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but what are a thousand words worth, and isn't this picture worth more?


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Another Bird of a Hand

Spectacled Guillemot

The hand from which this image sprang is - once again - my wife's hand.


Monday, November 13, 2017

De-Radicaliztion Works!

Yeah, that Hitler dude. Good thing he got de-radicalized in prison. Uh . . . what ever happened with that guy, anyway? Was he ever heard from again? We could maybe borrow the de-radicalization techniques used on Hitler and apply them to Islamist jihadis returning to Europe from the now defunct Islamic State.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017


"Necessity is the mother of intention."


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Virtue is its own reward . . .

. . . but so is vice.