Thursday, May 31, 2018

Once Upon a Time . . .

. . . there was a father who insisted on discipline, which he applied with a belt that obediently slipped with ease from the loops of his jeans and folded over on itself one fold for even greater ease in handling, and when he was concentrated on instilling discipline through the belt that he liberally applied, he did not appreciate his word being "sputed."

One day, the wash that had been hung out in the basement to dry was discovered to be still wet and lying upon the very dry and dusty basement earth and therefore even dirtier than before its washing.

The father glanced at the fallen clothesline and the dirtied sheets, then turned to his older son and asked: "Did you knock down the wash?"

The little boy of about five years replied: "No."

The father turned his fierce attention onto his younger son and asked:  "Did you knock down the wash?"

The little boy of about four years replied: "No."

The father posed this second child a second question: "Did you do it on purpose?"

Confused, the four-year-old replied: "Yes?"

Instantly, the father's fierce face turned cruel as he pulled his belt from its loops, and the little boy, turning terrified, protested, "I didn't know what 'on purpose' meant! I didn't know what 'on purpose' meant!"

But it was too late. He knew what he had done. And it wasn't going to change a thing.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DepthFool is right . . .

"Do you want to build a Yentl?"

sounds suspiciously like

"Papa can you snow man?"

. . . or somesuch.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Higher Math

Four Me?

At higher repetitions of 2 + 2, the answer approximates 4.

Or: 2 + 2 = 4, for higher values of 2?

I never had a head for math . . .


Monday, May 28, 2018

Let Me Restate, "Nonbeing is not Being"


Since yesterday's post, I have seen a better way to express the ambiguity in the following statement:
"Nonbeing is not Being."
Possibly, the statement means:
"'Nonbeing' is not 'Being.'"
The concept "Nonbeing" and the concept "Being" are in this case opposites. But possibly, the statement means:
"'Nonbeing' is 'not Being.'"
The concept "Nonbeing" and the concept "not Being" are in this case identical.

This is trivial, of course, but my mind is second-rate.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Nonbeing is not Being"

I have just noticed an ambiguity in the following statement:
"Nonbeing is not Being."
Possibly, it means:
"Nonbeing is not 'Being.'"
"Nonbeing" and "Being" are in this case opposites. But possibly, it means:
"Nonbeing is 'not Being.'"
"Nonbeing" and "not Being" are in this case identical.

Trivial, of course, but my mind is second-rate.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Being . . . or Non-Being.

That is the question. Or is that two questions?


Friday, May 25, 2018

Nonbeing as the Absence of Being

About three years ago, my friend Bill Vallicella broached the topic of nonbeing and even used the expression "absence of being," so maybe I owe him a footnote, and perhaps this big quote will suffice:
You may recall Sartre's example of the absence of Pierre in the cafe. That is a determinate absence: the absence of Pierre. But the absence of everything that exists is also determinate. Even the absence or nonbeing of everything that could exist seems to be a determinate or definite nonbeing parasitic upon what is or what could be.

But then we are not succeeding in thinking pure nonbeing.

The Parmenidean conclusion is nigh: absolute nonbeing is utterly unthinkable and (this is a further step) impossible. Being is; Nonbeing is not.

And yet it seems that absolute nonbeing is something 'positive' as contradictory as that sounds just as evil is 'positive' in a way that makes trouble for the view that evil is just *privatio boni.*

Just as we cannot dismiss evil as a mere absence of good, we seem not to be able to dismiss nonbeing as a mere absence of Being.

And so I cannot decisively lay the follow(ing) specter: that of absolute nothingness as a threatening 'power' that cannot be domesticated or shown to be wholly negative by sheer thought.

Enter Heidegger und das Nichts.
Bill, unlike me, capitalizes: "absence of Being." The capital of "B" is correct, I think, for this is not the absence of a particular being like Pierre. This is Being itself!

Bill, however, seems to differ from me in the degree to which he distinguishes nonbeing, or nothingness, from Being. His "nonbeing" would seem to have a wee bit of Being in it. Or maybe even a lot of Being?

I wonder if that is logically possible . . .

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Kostelanetz on Poetry

Serpent Swallowing Tail

In Dichtung Yammer for an "Exchange with Richard Kostelanetz on His Poetry" (May 4, 2018), Thomas Fink asks Kostelanetz, "Why might one call your poetry 'poetry'"? Kostelanetz replies:
"What else to call such inventions with words when no other category is more appropriate, though from time to time I've heard the dismissive 'not poetry,' which I don't mind as much as others might, since I appreciate the distinguished tradition of work dismissed as 'not art' in the 20th century. 'Word games,' I've been told, though from time to time I've argued as a critic that some so-called word games, such as palindromes or tongue-twisters, represent inventive High Folk Poetry that is esthetically formalist because of its compositional rules. I suppose some of the more challenging crossword puzzles would count as well, though I don't do crossword puzzles or play Scrabble, among other popular recreations with words. (My mother was an ace at the word game called Anagrams, which she said she never lost. I know I never beat her.)"
I think that this explains why Kostelanetz nominated my One Line Poems for a Pushcart Prize. I was playing with format and meaning, and he noticed. If only my poems had won a Pushcart Prize, I'd be more generally noticed, and my writing would begin to be read, but such thoughts lead to a "what-if" game that has no end . . .


Wednesday, May 23, 2018



No. Not nothingness. This rectangle of blackness can only symbolize nothingness, as black is the absence of light. The same could be said of cold. It can only symbolize nothingness, as cold is the absence of heat. To be precise, nothingness is the absence of being.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Racist Chips Off the Old Block?

I was indifferently pouring myself a bowl-full of corn chips the other day when from the bag emerged this:

How does this sort of thing happen? No, really. How does it happen? Do the workers save a burnt chip -- hereafter known as "Burnt Chip + Number" -- that was rejected by quality control and surreptitiously toss it into a passing bag just prior to the bag's sealing? Or does quality control simply miss one of these burnt fellows every once in a great while? Whether intentional or stochastic, the consequence is a race to the bottom of e-quality, this being an online query.

But the query could easily devolve into that putatively much-needed discourse, "A Conversation on Race." For example, which runner is faster: Achilles or Usain Bolt? Neither, as we learn from Zeno, for neither of the two can take the first infinitesimally small step.

No race, therefore, exists, and since there is thus no race, Burnt Chip 1 thereby needn't worry about possible racists!

It's a wonderful world . . .

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Endless Tales . . .

Sun-Ae and I took another of our quasi-weekly walks and made a new friend:

He's rather reticent, so I'm calling him "Kaw-Lija!" Around thereabouts was also a place offering refreshments, so I drank a somewhat sour lemondae, as you can probably tell:

We then headed out on the rest of our walk, part of it along an abandoned railway line that led us to the restaurant where we had our evening meal . . . after which we returned home by taxi because we didn't know where we were and didn't want to try wandering home in the dark.

You might find this tale of the city boring, but the magpies found our wandering interesting enough to follow us around for part of our walk . . .


Sunday, May 20, 2018

When you care enough to send the very best . . .

. . . but have only half the money, try Halfmark!

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ozark Fun

Hillbilly Party: Cigars and Moonshine
"Where there's smoke, there's firewater!"


Friday, May 18, 2018

Publishing Made Easy! If Only . . .

Might Read: "Press Butt On Publishing."

Butt probably not . . .


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Teacher's Day: DIS, this time

Another Teachers' Day message today, these nice words courtesy of students in the Division of International Studies:
Hello Professor Hodges, 
We would like to express our gratitude to you for Teacher's Day. Thank you very much  for your lectures. Because you are here, we students are able to learn and grow every day. Please stay around for long so that we can thank you in the many years to come.
18th DIS Student Council
They can have me till I'm 65, four more years, then comes forced retirement, and I'm out of a job . . .


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Teacher's Day

Hot Avatar
Student  Name Withheld

A former student of mine sent me an email of praise:
Dear, Prof. Hodegs
Prof. "Hot Eggs"!?
Happy Teacher's Day!!
That came out right, as does what follows
This is one of your English class students, Hye Ji. I asked lots of questions during your English class 2016. Hope you could remember me.

I really loved your English class because I was able to learn "Real English" from you. You are the BEST ENGLISH TEACHER EVER!!!! And let me know if you publish another book. I really like how you write!

Theses days I'm trying to change my department to Korean Medicine to be a doctor. Hope I could meet you next year. Have a great day!
Thanks for the praise, which I clearly DO NOT deserve. There are far better teachers here at Ewha than I am.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Happy 14th: Yesterday, When I was Young(er)

The fourteenth was my birthday, so Sun-Ae and I took the afternoon off to head for the Itaewon area and celebrate, with my wife taking the photos since I'm no handyman . . .

Here I am eating BBQ and drinking a Slow IPA:

Both the meat and the drink were first class! After that meal, we headed uphill to a coffee shop near the Kenyan Embassy, if I'm not mistaken, and the view was marvelous:

Here, you see me ignoring the view, impatiently waiting for the buzzer to buzz and inform us that our coffees were ready. The coffee, when it came, was also good, well worth the wait. I drank an espresso, and Sun-Ae had an Americano.

Afterwards, we reluctantly made our way home because I had so much work to do for the next day's classes . . .

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Monday, May 14, 2018

I said:

Not Big BIG!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Big Irony!

A diamond is forever . . .

. . . but people aren't.


Saturday, May 12, 2018


But is it stronger than dirty dirt?


Friday, May 11, 2018

There is no substitute . . .

Spare parts are hard to come by, too!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

There ought to be a law . . .

for a

"No good deed goes unpublished!"

It's all self-praise these days!


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

An even-tempered man . . .

is the

. . . is ever the odd man out.


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Joke's on You?

He who laughs last, laughs, best he not be thought a fool.


Monday, May 07, 2018

There is safety in numbers.

Righto! Seldom does one hear of mathematicians getting killed!

Okay, there was Archimedes, who ordered the Roman soldiers, "Nōlī turbāre circulōs meōs!"

He tried to protect his circles, but his circles couldn't protect him from the soldiers.

I don't know what happened to his circles thereafter . . .


Sunday, May 06, 2018

A man's reach should exceed his grasp.

I've heard said that a woman's always does . . . but is that not an insult?

Maybe, maybe not. The decision depends on one's re-reading:
1. A woman's reach exceeds her grasp.

2. A woman's reach exceeds his grasp.
Arguably, number one is insulting, but number two is not.

Arguably, both are insulting.

Arguably, neither is insulting.

Homework: Think!

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

"Never forget what you stand for."

Namely, a woman when she enters the room - if you're a man of traditional courtesy. As Gawain is, who also knows to stand up to the Green Knight, with traditional courtesy, of course.

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Friday, May 04, 2018

Follow the Maxim

Ad Vice
Strike while the irony's hot.

Or cool . . .


Thursday, May 03, 2018


"Always obey a Maxim - it's bigger than you are."


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Genius is one percent inspiration . . .

. . . and ninety-nine percent stinky, oily, rancid sweat.


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Mr. Ferguson Had Another Saying, a Truism, I Suppose

Yeah! Truer words . . .

My eighth grade science teacher, Mr. Ferguson, liked to say this:
"Truer words were never spoken."
I once asked him after class about the saying:
"So when you say 'Truer words were never spoken,' you mean that every true statement is equally true, right?"
He smiled and replied:
"Truer words were never spoken."
I had to laugh.