Friday, November 16, 2018

Murakami knocks 'em dead

Better ways to live than by killing . . .
"Today when I awoke from a nap the faceless man was there with me. He was seated on the chair across from the sofa I'd been sleeping on, staring straight at me with a pair of imaginary eyes in a face that wasn't."
. . . but not by looking death in the face.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Norwegian Would

Murakami would . . . wouldn't he?
"I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it — to be fed so much love I couldn't take any more."
Can a man be so inattentive?


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Murmur of Murakami

Can a library whisper:
"Beyond the inner door was a shadowy corridor lit by a single flickering bulb. We stepped into the dying light."
Murakami's maybe.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Slight Murakami

Kafka? Some German-Jewish writer on the eve of the holocaust who might or might not have said these words in Murakami's novel:
"Closing your eyes isn't going to change anything. Nothing's going to disappear just because you can't see what's going on . . . . Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes."
But a true coward would stand up for what he believes in and proudly close his eyes.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Another Murakami excerpt . . .

Excerpt of an excerpt:
The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janacek's Sinfonietta — probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn't seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her eyes, and listened to the music.

How many people could recognize Janacek's Sinfonietta after hearing just the first few bars? Probably somewhere between "very few" and "almost none." But for some reason, Aomame was one of the few who could.
Good hook. Good series of hooks! I think I'll do this for a few days since I'm so busy.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Psst . . . Haruki Murakami

Even the Mike is Green

There was this great big screaming capitalized MOMENT OF INSPIRATION:
In 1978 Murakami was in the bleachers of Jingu Stadium watching a baseball game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp when Dave Hilton, an American, came to bat. According to an oft-repeated story, in the instant that he [i.e., Dave Hilton] hit a double, Murakami suddenly realized that he could write a novel. He went home and began writing that night.
The story almost seems to say a man of great screaming . . . or do I mean great scheming?


Saturday, November 10, 2018

There were echoes in there . . .

Carter's Invisible Tower
Volume 1

Carter Kaplan's Echoes has arrived, and its plural title "Echoes" makes me want to say "have" arrived, but I bend my will to the correct grammar and write "has."

It actually arrived some weeks ago, and I've been in a quandary about what to do with it, but don't say "read it" because I have -- in glorious bits and pieces over the past several years, as well as again, in part, since it arrived.

But what to do with it beyond reading is more the question, like, say, where to place it. It can't forever stand there like a tourist in the upcast shadow of Haruki Murakami's IQ84, hoping for that Japanese masterpiece -- situated just out of sight left of the lower-left corner -- to cast some good fortune over its way . . .

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Byrne still carries a flame . . .

David Byrne is currently in London's O2 Arena performing many of his old numbers in new ways, and here is how one reserved British critic, Michael Hann, lightly praises the result, the question that motivated his praise being this one: Was it good?
Yes, it was good. It was better than good. It was incredible, fabulous, dazzling. It was whatever adjective you want to throw at it. I can't recall seeing a more engrossing pop production, ever.
Like most British, as we see, Mr. Hann understates his praise:
[This is w]hy David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from his tour. This was the most engrossing pop production I've ever seen.
Michael Hann is to be thanked for his understated review, "Why David Byrne deserves every penny he makes from his tour" (The Spectator, November 10, 2018), for we know how to read Hann's scant praise for these old songs.

In short, multiply Hann's praise by a factor of five to obtain the American-equivalent praise . . .


Thursday, November 08, 2018

You mean . . . computers also have to be plugged in to work?

Unplugging or Inplugging
Big Difference!

But I thought there were plenty of electromagnetic waves left over from the Big Bang, so why doesn't some of that electromagnetic noise just seep into my computer and keep it running even when it's unplugged?


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Computer Problems

Image result for red
Seeing Red

I'm not actually angry, but my computer is on the blink . . .


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

So Sorry

No time to blog about nothing today:

. . . except this coal-black flag.


Monday, November 05, 2018


My wife and I refurbished our apartment's only true closet yesterday, and it looks nothing like this:

Of course, the one depicted  above is not really a water closet anyway (nor is ours) . . . except during the rainy season.


Sunday, November 04, 2018

Franklin Again!

"Early," said Fred,
"Early," said guys
to the man who'd left them
but wise.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

My wife and I have just returned with our younger kid En-Uk from the film Bohemian Rhapsody, and I found it better than I had expected after reading a somewhat critical review that said the film merely played out on the surface of Mercury's flamboyance.

I don't agree with that critic, though the film didn't go to great depths in any attempt to explain Mercury . . .

Anyhow, the hour has grown late, so I will head for slumberland and leave you with encouragement to go see the film!


Friday, November 02, 2018

Drinking Problem? Not so long as we don't run dry . . .

I helped a former student in editing parts of a text that she had translated from Korean into English, and she returned the favor by getting these snapshots of me drinking my usual five shots of strong brew, as you see below:

She called it my hemlock

Like Mithridates, I drank it up!

Ah! Caffeinated! And still drinking!


Thursday, November 01, 2018

Snotty News

Editing: Good or Bad?
Korea JoongAng Daily
October 31, 2018

Whether a joke that went awry, or one that didn't go far enough, the headline's "it snot" would better have read "its snot."


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

American Arians?

In "Christian, What Do You Believe? Probably a Heresy About Jesus, Says Survey" (Christianity Today, October 16, 2018), Jeremy Weber notes some of the heresies that evangelicals express, and here's a classic:
When it comes to Americans with evangelical beliefs, the survey found that a majority say that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father (78%). However, this is contrary to the historic Christian faith, and 97 percent of evangelicals do believe that there is one true God in three persons, but 3 out of 4 of them attempt to give Jesus first-place honors even though that belief has been rejected by the church down through the centuries.
This is a fairly close paraphrase, almost a quote, but I don't have time to paraphrase it better. I would add only that these evangelicals are conflating statements about Jesus with biblical traditions about wisdom.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ozark Cherokee

One of  my aunts who is part Cherokee was speaking with an outsider who'd moved into the Ozarks some years earlier, and the man  happened  to refer the racism of people in the Ozarks.

My aunt tore into the fellow. "Listen," she told the outsider, "a lot of the old-timers here have Indian blood. You start calling them 'racist,' and they'll go on the warpath!"

The man shut up.

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Monday, October 29, 2018


Tinkle, tinkle, little bat,
how I wonder where you shat,
down beneath the dirt so low,
like a dungeon in a hole.
Tinkle, tinkle, little bat,
how I wonder where you shat.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Once and Future King

King Arthur

The quote below comes from T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King (1958), but in searching for the quote I found many misquotes. The purplish-pinkish word "which" was often left out, so I had to check if the word "which" was original, and it was (though without being purple pink), so do read without misgivings Merlin's wise words to the future king:
"The best thing for being sad . . . is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you." (page 186)
Sound advice. I would add only that when one lies awake in bed in nighttime's darkest hours, then arise, go forth from thy bed to thy library, and, in that insomniac time, learn something.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Transforming Love

Bonobo's Lament
I wish I were orangutan,
for that brav nam would turn you on,
and straight from here, I'd be right gone.

We'd make a happy couple, us,
and never curse, nor ever cuss.
(We're not so verbal, all that much.)

We'd argue only over who, must
love whom most, and whom the mostest,
and who'd be best termed mostly mostness.

But dialect is wee too weak,
to utter what my heart should speak,
so I can give no proper speech.

Yet you, dear miss, and missing one,
could dialogic turn me on,
with that brav nam: "Orangutan!"

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Don't think of even one!

Trying not to think of a green monkey, not even either of those two seemingly fake-news ones in the photo just above . . . he decided not to blog today (due to feeling under the weather):

"See you tomorrow, and may your dreams
be free
of the
monkey . . ."


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Been Germane Franc Lend

We see here Franc Lend's theory of electricity as being composed of two colors - the red and the black - a theory reflected in the red and black wires used in electrical wiring today (along with a variable third color that Franc Lend didn't know about because the anti-Americans of Franc Lend's day kept the color a secret from him.)

We thus see how important Franc Lend's theory is even today, once again evidence of American technological and scientific superiority!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Vampire Love

The nonsense verse of the following is my surreal poem to vampire love:

Vampire Lover

I’m a bit
in love with you,
a bit more
a bit less,
more or less.

But less is more,
so a little bit less
is a little bit more
is therefore a little bit
less and more.

I trust I have sufficiently clarified the topic of vampire love.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Photo by Jae-Uk

Just a belated birthday poem for my wife, whose birth date was October 8th, nineteen hundred-and-some-thump-paddy-other:


Sunshine of my life,
under the heavens,
need I thee alone,
alone thy leaven's
enlivening, wife?

How might I, my life,
withhold from heaven's
angels thee, alone,
nor leave thy leaven's
grace, enlivened wife?

You will have noticed that the first letter of each line, settled in a sequence, spells out my wife's name "Sunae Hwang."


Monday, October 22, 2018

Garden of Eden Invitation

I was sent the above invitation to the Garden of Eden and the following information below, along with a 'poem' by Peter Moore offering dubious advice.

I wonder why I was sent this material - I'm rather far from NYC! Maybe these people read my Bottomless Bottle of Beer story? If they haven't, they should! And so should you!

Go here!


Sunday, October 21, 2018

There Is No Race

Racing Against the Clock

Race Against Time

Earlier bread
earlier rice
keeps a man
healthy, and nice will suffice.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bed Wedder

Honeycomb Moon


Already bedded,
already wed,
sugarplum visions
still dance in his head.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Overheard in the English Lounge

Gingerbread Man

Interlocutor 1: Next time, let's do gender roles, okay?

Interlocutor 2: Sounds great! Shall I bring the ginger rolls?

Interlocutor 1: Please do! Bring lots of examples!

Interlocutor 2: Lots of samples, right!

Interlocutor 1: Looking forward to it!

Interlocutor 2: Me, too! See you!


Thursday, October 18, 2018

A German Joke: Will Cause Laughter

The German Joke

Interlocutor 1: Why is 10 afraid?

Interlocutor 2: I don't know. Why?

Interlocutor 1: Because 7 8 9!

Interlocutor 2: Oh.

Interlocutor 1: Why is 4 filled with fear??

Interlocutor 2: Because 1 2 3?

Interlocutor 1: No, idiot! Because 4 is a German!

Interlocutor 2: I don't get it.

Interlocutor 1: The number "4" is a German! Hence "Vier," which sounds like "fear."

Interlocutor 2: Okay, but why is 4 a German?

Interlocutor 1: Because it's the punch line dammit!

Interlocutor 2: Oh. Very funny. Hah-hah. No wonder they say German jokes are nothing to laugh at.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Shallow is Here

Probably Good

I went to see A Star is Born this weekend and I like the theme song. Its lyrics are the words you see below, and you can click on the title to hop over to the song itself:


Tell me somethin' girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more
Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for?

I'm fallin'
In all the good times
I find myself longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

Tell me something boy
Aren't you tired tryin' to fill that void?
Or do you need more
Ain't it hard keepin' it so hardcore?

I'm falling
In all the good times
I find myself longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

I'm off the deep end
Watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface
Where they can't hurt us
We're far from the shallow now

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
In the sha-sha-la-la-low
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
We're far from the shallow now

Ooooo aahaaa ooou
Ooo ouo oooo haaaa

I'm off the deep end
Watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface
Where they can't hurt us
We're far from the shallow now

In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
In the sha-sha-la-la-low
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
We're far from the shallow now

One thing that strikes me in reading this song is how important music is in giving poetic force to weakly poetic words. Imagine listening to somebody recite Shallow. Wouldn't work.

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