Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Not looking for trouble . . .

. . . but trouble
come looking
for you!

A soft answer turneth away wrath . . . but attracteth bullies.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Halfway There!

Well begun is half done - except in Zeno's scary logic!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Douglas Murray on What the Islamists want

Douglas Murray

Writing for The Spectator (May 27, 2017) in the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman concert at the Manchester Arena, Douglas Murray tells us, 'Islamists are very clear about what they want - we just aren't listening' - and he adds, 'Cries of "what can it mean?" always follow a terror attack. It seems we're incapable of learning anything.' Here's an excerpting summary of his article:
Even after all these years, all these attacks and all these dead, the West still keeps asking the same question after events like those of Monday night: 'Who would do such a thing?' The answer is always the same . . . . Yet still our society wonders: what would make someone do such a thing? The tone of bafflement is strange - like a society that keeps asking a question, but keeps its fingers lodged firmly in its ears whenever it is given the answer . . . . For their part, the Islamists are amazingly clear about what they want and the reasons why they act accordingly. You never have to read between the lines . . . . [Yet people ask, W]here does it come from, this hatred the Islamists hold? . . . Do people think this stuff comes from thin air? It was always there. Because it's at the religion's origins . . . . It's our own fault [that we keep asking why] because we have been told [the answer] . . . so many times . . . . [that we should be able to stand up] and say: 'Apologies. Turns out we do know. It was jihad for Allah.'
Murray speaks and writes often about Islamism and the danger it poses. He is intelligent and insightful, and he is worth paying attention to. Among other work that keeps him busy, he is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, and he writes for several publications.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kind Words from Professor Emeritus Kim Seong-Kon

I sent a copy of my collected poems, Radiant Snow, to Professor Kim Seong-Kon, who heads the KLTI - the translation institute that has supported much translation work done by my wife and me - and he had these kind words for my book:
Thank you for sending me your book of poems, Radiant Snow. The poems were witty and inspirational. I smiled while reading "Choke-a-Cola" or "Big Bad Wuff Rap."
To which he added:
My congratulations on the publication of your poems! Now you have become a poet!
The context to this remark is that in Korea, one officially becomes a poet when one first publishes a substantial work, usually in a debut.

My collection in Radiant Snow is something of a debut, though I've previously published a few poems here and there.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

As Wile E. Coyote comes to realize . . .

ACME Company

A man is known by the company he keeps working for.


Friday, May 26, 2017

As Lincoln might have said . . .

Honest Abe

A house divided against itself cannot stand company.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Good Ending

A good beginning makes a good ending - so stop right there!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Der Feind

Death and the Miser
Hieronymus Bosch

A fiend in need is a fiend indeed.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Strawman Argument?

Metal Drinking Straw
Clutch at It!

A drowning man will clutch at a straw - as if drinking the water will help!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Sort of like proverbs . . .


. . . but without any pretense to wisdom, as the rhyme's attributed to silly old Mother Goose:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
As a child, I used to wonder why Wednesday's child should have a life full of woe just for the accident of having been born on a Wednesday. Maybe because Wednesday is Woe-din's day?

By the bye, I disdain to even allude to any in-poor-taste puns on the word "gay."


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Difficult Proverb

Don't put off till tomorrow what you could have done yesterday but can't do today.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Forgotten Proverbs

Hurricane Grown to Galaxy Size
Wreaking Havoc in  Outer Space

"When push comes to shove, wreak havoc!"


Friday, May 19, 2017

Red grapes, however, are bloody!

Red Grapes: The Bloody Ones

We do refer to "the blood of the grape," but no proverb ever states:
"You CAN squeeze blood from grapes."
Nor have I ever heard any contrarian insist:
"You can NOT squeeze blood from grapes."
But what about white grapes? Leukemic blood?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Turnips also lack blood!

A Turnip
Hand Attempting To Squeeze  Out Blood

Turnips lack blood, but some people must not realize this because a proverb exists to remind them:
You can't squeeze blood from a turnip.
Good to know, but you and I (probably) already knew it.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Stones - Better Uses Than Lapidation

Blood Cells: The Circle of Life

You can't squeeze blood from a g*ddamn stone - unless it's a fossilized dinosaur bone!

Hmm . . . nearly a poem. I guess more than a single thing can be gotten from a stone.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

If things could talk . . .

Ry Cooder

Apparently, there's a proverb stating:
"Walls have ears."
I can't recall hearing this one, but I'm no wall. Now, I don't really mind if walls have ears, so long as they don't have tongues, because "if doors could tell who's turned the knob," that's already wall enough for me, for if doors could speak, then so would walls be able.

Now, we do say of some people:
"Talking to him is like talking to a wall!"
But is that a problem of hearing or of speaking? Anyway, I'd modify the proverb as follows:
"If walls have ears, they must lack tongues."
Ry Cooder tells us the consequences if things could talk.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Teachers' Day in Korea

Lecturing on the BBB

I received a Teachers' Day email from a student who took a leave of absence last semester due to a severe case of the flu and is still recuperating:
This is one of your Korean students at EWHA . . . . I was a student who used to ask soooo many questions during class and after class. Unfortuantely, because of my cold [i.e., severe flu] I had to go back to my home last year. And I'm still at home for a break this year.

Though, I couldn't finish my College English last year, I really wanted to thank you that being so nice for teaching me English. You are the best English teacher ever!

I also introduced your book to my Canadian English teacher and my aunt! They love your book!! One day, I'm also going to read your book too! Even though my English writing is still poor . . . I hope you could understand how much I loved your English Class!

Have a great day! And HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY!
I had no idea that I'm such a great English teacher, but this student says I am, so I must be. Moreover, she's spreading word of my BBB book! I'll have to let her know of my poetry book . . .


Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Milestone in Life: Age 60

Birthday Boy

I'm 60, and that's all I want to say today . . .

Update: Thanks to all well-wishers, and the best birthday gift would be for you to read my poems and my BBB story.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

A literary opinion from a man whose literary judgement I respect . . .

Michael Butterworth
Savoy Interviews

Carter Kaplan sent a copy of my poetry book, Radiant Snow, to Michael Butterworth, who wrote back to Carter with these kind words:
The book arrived on Tuesday — I forgot to acknowledge. Thank you very much. It's nice to have something else of Jeffery's to read. I'm a big fan of his sense of the ridiculous, the eternal, the questing soul, the existential acceptance of our lot. Very Carrollean, Rabelaisian. There are love poems too!
I hadn't thought of my writing as Rabelaisain, but I am, quite consciously, Carrollean in my writing. Anyway, thanks to Michael for his appreciation of my poems.

The other writing that he obliquely referred to as having appreciated was my Faustian, Bottomless Bottle of Beer story.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

How do you like them apples?

Apple Falling From Tree

"The apple never falls far from the tree" . . . unless the tree stands on a slope or the edge of a cliff, in which case an apple can fall quite far from the tree, so a better rendering of the proverb would perhaps read: "The apple seldom falls far from the tree."

But "never" is more fun to say . . .


Thursday, May 11, 2017

A right strawy epistle!

Strawy Brick

Okay, okay, a brick isn't an epistle, but a brick through a window will send a message.

But enough unjustified delay - on to our proverb for the day:
"You can't make bricks without straw."
Exactly . . . unless you're making the strawless kind of brick, which you usually are if you're making bricks, since most bricks are made without straw, but if you're making bricks with straw - which you normally wouldn't be doing (a point already noted) - then, of course, the proverb remains true, but a little modification is in order to make the absolutely dependable truth of this proverb more clear:
"You can't make strawy bricks without straw."
There! Enough to satisfy even a Martinet Luther!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Book of Poems: Radiant Snow

My Poetry Book

My collected poems are finally available through Amazon. Actually, they've been available for a few weeks, but I was waiting till the ebook was also available. A few days ago, the ebook was posted and I bought a copy, only to discover that Amazon recognized none of my formatting, so my poems were jammed together in such a way as to be unreadable. I will need to get this fixed sometime soon, but if you want the poems and are willing to have a paperback, you can get it through Amazon.

Here's what my old friend Natalie Macris wrote as a preface to these poems:
Years ago, my friend Jeff told me he had started to write some poetry. He remembers showing me a few lines and me teasing him about writing "dirty poems," but I recall being more encouraging. We were in our twenties, students at Berkeley – why not dabble in poetry? And while I might have been surprised – Jeff didn't fit the stereotype of a dreamy poet – I had learned to expect surprises from him. He came from the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas – commonly and derisively known as "hillbilly country" – and yet he was a scholar in what seemed the most esoteric of fields. At first meeting he was serious, almost severe in demeanor, but as I soon learned he was also kind and had an earthy sense of humor. And while he could match intellects with anyone at Berkeley, he liked to seek out rough bars where we could drink beer with non-university people.

Not long after that first mention of his poems, Jeff read some of them to me. I don't know much about poetry, I thought, but these seem very good. I especially loved "Water Witching," how it evoked images of Jeff's Arkansas homeland and the grandmother he had mentioned so often. And it expressed nuances of thought and feeling that I couldn't imagine putting into words, let alone such beautiful words. Again, he surprised me. Who knew such delicate emotions lurked beneath the surface?

In what seemed like just a matter of months, Jeff won the university's Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize in Poetry, and I was watching my friend standing on a stage under a spotlight, reading his work to an auditorium full of people. Once again I was surprised, although perhaps I shouldn't have been. He may have been writing poetry only a short time, but of course he would go on to win a major award. It was an early sign of his versatility, which would eventually produce a diverse body of work ranging from scholarly articles and a Korean-English translation of Yi Kwang-su's novel The Soil with his wife, Sun-Ae Hwang, to a novella titled The Bottomless Bottle of Beer.

It was only recently that Jeff told me I was the first person ever to see his poems. Yet again I was surprised, but this time also flattered and honored – and so glad he has compiled them to share with the world. Everything I've known about him is here: his subtle grasp of life's mysteries; the sensitive observations about love, lust, and human nature; an appreciation of the natural world, of Arkansas and the many places he's been since then; an ear for language, especially the language of his native Ozarks; the moral and Biblical underpinnings; the salty humor; and even his love of beer. They create a perfect portrait of a unique and talented man.
As can be seen, Natalie herself is a good writer. In fact, she is also an editor - and has even published a book on clear writing. Here's her website.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in my poetry, go to Amazon and see the free preview.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

On Second Thought

Adopting an Attitude

You can choose friends, but not family . . . oh, right, forgot about adoption.


Monday, May 08, 2017

The Great Truth: Time Is Money.

Gary Larsen

But just try spending time to pay for something . . .


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Questionable Proverb Nr. 2 - "Tut-Tut!"

King Tut-Tut
Can't take it with you?
This guy did.

You can't take it with you - so spend it like the Devil while you still can!


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Questionable Proverbs

King Wren

Where there's a will there's a way . . . even if you have to cheat like the proverbial wren to win!


Friday, May 05, 2017

Almost a Proverb?


You sew what you rip.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Has this ever been put to a rigorous test?

Marxian Theory

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar is merely anecdotal.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Sportsmanship: What They're Really Thinking?

Be Sort of Sporting
(Since You Can't Be Winning)
Google Images

You can't win 'em all . . . loser.

This attitude brought to you by Suspicious Minds.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

A Transgenic Posssibility?

Transgenic Silk Ear Sow?

You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear . . . yet.

Note the piglet checking for an ear-ly appearance  of silken hair .

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Monday, May 01, 2017

On Not Learning from History

Questionable Academic Attitude

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it next semester.