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.


Friday, November 10, 2017

The Unexpected Spanish Inquisition: My Descent into Madness

No Brainer

"Well, it makes me feel insignificant, buster!" (Retorted one man to another as they gazed up at the starry heavens.)

When I came down with pneumonia some weeks back, I found myself in a strange frame of mind. I had been on strong flu medicine for a week, and the same medicine, in larger quantities, was used to fight off my pneumonia. Whether the larger quantities did the job, or my own immune system finally kicked in, and kicked butt, I still had to stay in the hospital for a few days to recover completely, and this was partly due to some over-the-counter medicine I was taking to clear up my sinuses and relieve pressure headaches.

Unfortunately, this medicine reacted with some other medicine I was taking, and I descended into madness for three or four days until one of my kids checked the bottle's fine print on THINGS NOT TO DO, and determined that I'd better stop taking that stuff immediately.

What kind of madness?

In a dream-like, but conscious frame of mind, I imagined that a woman - from Southeast Asia, maybe from the Philippines, but the southernmost part, where Islamist are in rebellion - was claiming to be my wife. I thought and talked about this issue endlessly, arguing that I couldn't be married to this woman because I already had a wife, but the woman's family seemed to be Muslims, indeed Islamists, and they had no problem with multiple wives (though I didn't recall 'reverting' to Islam). Anyway, the family claimed that I owed a bride-price of two oxen and four missiles.


I wondered how I had ever gotten into this mess - you must understand that I was taking all this very seriously - and I even feared for my life. (Those missiles!) As I was going over the details again and again, I suddenly remembered that I had never been to the Philippines, and with great relief, I concluded that I could not be married to that woman.

Sun-Ae, however, decided to test my romantic attachment with two questions, which she recorded.

She first asked me, "Do you love your wife?"

I immediately replied, "Of course!"

She then asked, "Does your wife treat you in a kindly manner?"

I hesitated, but then replied in honest words, "Usually."

That seemed sufficient. In fact, I appeared incapable of lying, as if I'd been injected with truth serum.

The Spanish Inquisition (yes, really) seemed to play some role in my madness (though no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition). Still, there they were. They had apparently approved of a brain operation to be carried out on me in the interest of truth, and this had been done before my difficulty with the Islamists. I looked at the images of my brain, before and after, and I was so upset because my 'after' brain was diminished, clearly smaller than my 'before' brain (the neocortex having been shaven thinner). As already noted, I was very distraught, and I complained that thinking had been difficult enough before, but would now be impossible.

This story might sound rather tame, little more than a bad dream, but I thought that everything was really, truly happening, though in my final words of madness, during my first night in the hospital, I did scream out the following:

"I admit that I edited for clarity, but I didn't write the document!"

Which sort of puts the madness in perspective . . . and sort of doesn't . . .


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Twill Twiddle Your Thumbs

Twill (Twill Not!)

If anything can go wrong, I twill . . .


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

What happened to Paul?

Rob Peter to PayPal.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Folk Wisdom: There are more fish in the sea, my son . . .

There's always more fish in the overfished sea.

(Just not very many more . . .)


Monday, November 06, 2017

How the Cookie Crumbles . . .

Wisdom of the Ages: "The husband is always the last to know."

Husband: "Huh? Wha? Last to know what?"


Sunday, November 05, 2017

Academic Humor

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


Saturday, November 04, 2017

Dolphin Humor

"There's none so blind as those who will not hear."


Friday, November 03, 2017

Flipped Out Christian Jurisprudence?

"Judge not, that ye be not judged."

Not exactly Flip Wilson . . .


Thursday, November 02, 2017

A Right Fat Ol' Bird

Siberian Blue Robin
Sun-Ae Hwang

I didn't know that Robins come in blue, nor that they range in such cold territory, but I've never claimed to know much about this sort of thing, anyway.


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Generalizations are only generally true!

Without exception, there's an exception to every rule.