Saturday, March 24, 2018

Query: What does "Easter" mean?

Being a well-known expert in religions and grammar, I often get this sort of question. On this particular issue, we must recognize that "Easter" is a comparative form. Here are the three forms:

Positive Form: East

Comparative Form: Easter (more East)

Superlative Form: Eastest (most East)

In other words, a place could be East of Eden, another place could be Easter (more East) of Eden, and yet another place could be Eastest (most East) of Eden.


Friday, March 23, 2018

"You are what you cheat."

If you cheat on your grapefruit diet, your eyes will turn into grapefruit halves, and you will gradually become a preying mantis and gorge yourself on insect parts no matter how much you may pray not to.

But how in the world does that illustrate becoming what you eat, you say?

Hey, I don't make these proverbs up. I just quote 'em. Your job is to fix the meaning!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Otherized Donald

Otherizing The Donald As An Other

Free speech, free expression? These words are free . . . so far. But hate speech, that's gonna cost yuh. What is "hate speech" yew ask? Nasty talk 'bout other folks. Otherizing folks who're already otherized. Hyperotherizing! Like The Donald. Look how 'others' look at The Donald. He's the othermost otherized illegal alien member of the Green Party.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Real Bird This Time

Real Bird
Unreal Feeder
Photo by Sun-Ae Hwang

I told Sun-Ae that we should make a bird feeder so that we might observe birds up close, so she found an old wooden box, I drilled four holes in it, she tied the box to the railing outside our window, and a couple of birds showed up today, initially suspicious, but soon confident in their gluttony.

More will come . . . and more! . . . and more!! . . . and more!!!

And when our numbers suffice, we shall overwhelm the world!!!!

Oops. I was supposed to keep that part secret.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Even with Fake Birds?

A Bird in the Hand
is Worth Two in the Bush
Rick Hebenstreit

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

"Well then, I'll trade them two in the bush over yonder for that there one in yore hand, even-steven, okay?"


"Hey, wait a second! These birds are fake!"

"Nah, they're just sleepin'."

"Like that parrot you sold me? The one that's still sleepin'?"

"Egg-zakly like that parrot."


Monday, March 19, 2018

Big Throbbing Feet, Or?

"A foot in the door" sounds painful.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Postmodern Postindustrial Posted Insight

"An elevator is more peaceful than an escalator."


The former lifts you up, whereas the latter makes the bad worse.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Non-Legal Non-Advice

Image Only

A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client with a charlatan for a lawyer.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Problematic Proverb: "A fool and his money are soon parted."

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

Now, I don't like to pry into some private priorities, but I can see how even though parting money is a simple and arguably good thing to do, parting a fool entails not only being not even a dubiously good thing but, in point of fact of a certainty, being a horrendous, difficult, unhappy task fraught with severe consequences for the state of one's soul.

Proverb Rewritten: "Concerning a fool and his money, parting the money is acceptable, but parting the fool is not, as it constitutes murder."


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Aphorism Explained

I learned something today from a site titled "Smart Words," the "something" being the word "aphorism":
Aphorism: A tersely, memorably phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage. [from Greek aphorismos, from aphorizein, to delimit, define. Apo- (1. Away from; off; Separate. 2. Without 3. Related to) + Horizein (limit, boundary)] Example: He's a fool who cannot conceal his wisdom.
What I learned was that the "ph" is not the letter "phi," but rather "pi" and the rough breathing mark.

Some of us like this sort of stuff -- etymology, I mean.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Boys will be photogenic boys . . .

We have photos from the WAH Center! Here's Terrance:

And here are Carter and Bien:

Two of the three boys are holding up an image from my story, The Bottomless Bottle of Beer.

You might also be interested in my volume of poetry, Radiant Snow.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

According to James Mackintosh (1765-1832) . . .

. . . who seems to have thought quite a lot about a whole bunch of stuff in law, politics, and history:
"The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks."
Ah, so, that's who says that! Well, I do need a drink. Espresso. Five shots.


Monday, March 12, 2018

As somebody once said . . .

Somebody There?

"The pears of . . ."

No, wait. Try again.

"The powers of a manx mind . . ."

Ugh. Try again.

"The powers of a man's mind are dreckly . . . tireckly . . ."


"The powers of a man's mind are directly propositioned . . ."

No! Dammit!

"The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quandary . . ."

No! No! No!

"The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffin . . ."

Once again.

"The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drains . . ."

One last try.

"The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks."

Perfect. But next time you intend to quote somebody, have your morning coffee first!

Says who?


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Will Jong-un get Trumped?

Who's the Weightier,
Trump or Jong-un?

Kevin Kim recently posted his skepticism about the up-coming NK-USA no-nuke talks:
[C]all me a yuge skeptic when it comes to the idea that Trump can succeed where others have failed. I'm reminded of Ellis, the doomed character in 1988's "Die Hard," who thinks he can negotiate with a killer and somehow come out on top because, hey - it's all deal-making. You might say that's disanalogous because Trump's the one [who has the desk] with the "bigger button."
I then staked out my position, basically conforming to Kevin's position, but querying whether Trump's the one whose desk has the bigger butt on it:
How can President Trump know that "he's the one with the 'bigger butt on'" his desk, compared to President Kim Jong-un? The North Korean president is grossly overweight, so his butt could easily cover more desktop area than Trump's. President Trump is likely assuming that his own far larger girth will translate into a "bigger butt on" area covered on his own desk. If such a test is to be undertaken, each of the two leaders had better come prepared with an ass-covering explanation for his loss, for one of the two men will of necessity lose in this bare-assed, butt-faced, bum-caked competition.
Well, we'll soon enough see the results of this up-coming arselogical contest . . .


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Quixote as a Ghostly Charles V

I referred obliquely yesterday to the ghost of Charles V, so here's some more obliquity:
Don Quixote's names and actions hide a . . . secret. Following [the literary theorist, Tzvaten] Todorov, there is a double movement toward and away from the revelation [of that secret]. In the end, all that can be said is that the play of genre and narrative may point to a specific hidden mystery, one that deals with a clash of civilizations and the anxieties it causes the protagonist. This secret both complements and contrasts with the vision of a knight as a ghostly Charles V. Don Quixote as a new Charles is deprived of all power except that of the imagination as he rides through the genres. He personifies an emperor who upon abdication has become 'the ghost of all power.' While the emperor repeatedly walks the halls of the monastery thinking of his past achievements and hollow present, the knight rides through an impoverished Spain, seeking the power that Charles discarded, only to find visions less substantial than his emaciated body. It may be that his haunting is there to warn those who sympathize with the knight that the imperial pursuits of the narrative are flawed, that the secret must be revealed. (Frederick A. de Armas, Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres, 2011)
There. That ought to raise more questions and eyebrows!


Friday, March 09, 2018

The Ghost of All Power?

Consider: "A countenance more in sorrow than in anger."

The word "countenance" means the expression on one's face, and we might wonder if the phrase is a reference to Don Quixote, the "Knight of the Woeful Countenance," but this in fact is a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet (1602), a scene in which Horatio (Hey, that's me!) describes the emotional state of the ghost of Hamlet's father.

But for now: "Knighty-Night."


Thursday, March 08, 2018

This makes no sense!

A Male Dog is Not a . . .

Nor is this a . . .
I bitched because I had no shoes,
then met a man who had no feet,
which made me bitch still more because
he didn't worry over shoes.

Vocab Words:



Student: "This is a very hard test, Teacher. Can we have more time?"

Teacher: "No, but I'll give part credit for being wrong."


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Beyond our Ken

But what, then, does "Ken" mean?

Meaning: Understanding

As in: Beyond our Understanding

Humpf, I knew that already.

As for the name "Ken," from "Kenneth," see here.


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

All Greek to Me . . .

Thirty years ago, I shared a poem with a Greek friend of mine, and she pointed out that the title, "Anamnestic Dementia," mixed Greek and Latin. I didn't much care at the time, so I didn't change it, but now that I will be publishing the poem, I want to get it right, so I contacted her again, to ask about using "Anoiosis" in place of "Dementia" and she replied:
"Anoiosis​" does not sound right to me . . . When I check the dictionary, "anoia" is the word used there for dementia in Greek. So either "Anamnestic Anoia" or even leave it with the mixed "Anamnestic Dementia."
I prefer the pure Greek, so "Anamnestic Anoia" it shall be! But if any of my readers who are experts in Greek want to weigh in on this, please feel free to add your voice . . .


Monday, March 05, 2018

Spilt Spelt "Spilled"?

Is it: "No use crying over spilled milk." Or is it: "No use crying over spilt milk." But in either case, why no use crying? Should one rather cry over unspilled/unspilt milk? And what about spoiled or spoilt milk?

So much conventional wisdom to unpack . . .


Sunday, March 04, 2018

It's cliché to say so, but . . .

. . . "cliché" is so often described as an "overly commonplace, banal, or trite saying, expression, or idea."

Can't anyone offer something different, something good to say about clichés?


Saturday, March 03, 2018

Don't Angrify the Blood

Today's idiolectual idiom: "Mad as a hater."

Note: The rare word "hater" rhymes with the common word "tater."

What? Not "hater?" "Hatter?" Okay, "Hatter" it is!

Mad as a "hatter,"
That's whatsamatter.

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Friday, March 02, 2018

Review of Vitasta Raina's Novella: Writer’s Block

Vitasta Raina, urban planner and architect, lives and works in Mumbai, India, where she composed her novella, Writer's Block. The pun on block as "impediment" and block as "city unit" is intentional, and writers living in the block might or might not experience writer's block. Some do, some don't, but for the most part, the writers living there seem sufficiently ruly and productive.

But the city Chalet and its residents, the so-called charlatans, are about to undergo a crisis.

However, I don't want to reveal many plot spoilers. I will therefore offer a few thoughts. The story covers about 64 pages and focuses on the lives of eight writers, who are called "CAST," and distributes them across eight chapters (8x8=64), the last of which is titled, "While the Credits Roll," as if the novella were a motion picture. The first seven chapters are identified as "epiphanies," which would make them divinely inspired insights, and the subtitles read like a continuous poem of free verse style with occasional rhyme, as here on the first page:
I am if I choose to be
But I have no choice
In these million years of evolution
I have finally lost my voice (page 1)
The chapters are prose of native speaker quality, the sentences often of complex length, but nevertheless concise and clear. For example, here is a sentence describing a model of the city:
"Representing a city that in the last decadal cycle of the City Census estimated almost sixty percent of the inhabitants as parasite slum dwellers, the model displayed high rise residential estates, office complexes, shopping arcades, golf courses and a meandering network of transit corridors, flyovers and flyunders connecting the ends, the edges, the fringes and the cores of Chalet." (page 9)
The model is of an idealized Chalet, and mickle are the ways this city could be represented, extremes of poverty and riches, of asceticism and gluttony, of good and bad, of weak and strong, a list that could go on and on.

But the electricity abruptly stops working, and so does everything else, most significantly, the elevators. At that severe inconvenience, Chalet is turned upside down, literally, as the rich pour into the streets and the poor ricochet up to the penthouses. Still, life goes on, for most of the writers, who are stuck in the middle, neither rich nor poor, and Chalet goes on as well. This is all along expected as one reads this slender volume, but the details make for the difference, and for the unexpected.

Five Stars out of Five!

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

Misunderstood Sayings

At a workshop to prepare for the upcoming semester, another instructor there used the expression "to know from the get-go," but I heard "to know from the gecko."

But maybe that other instructor is - with my help - on to something, as the image above would seem to show, so go to the gecko for to be in the know-know . . .


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More Photos from Gangneung

A Myth of Falling

Ambrosia, for the gods alone,
but I take some for myself!

My punished powers weakened,
I find I can no longer
even tip to sip a cup!

The crown of creation,
now a bloodied mass of thorns
upon my brow . . .
plus a fire extinguisher.

Eve and Adam dwell
upon their fallen future because . . .

. . . heads will roll!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Paradise Lost

Sun-Ae and I took a long walk yesterday in Gangneung, the city where some of the Winter Olympics took place, and here's a photo that she shot at my request:

Yes, those two are - reading from left to right -  Eve and Adam, and they serve as remainders of our fallen state, for the Korean title says "Paradise Lost" (1999). The artist is Oh Sang-il (오상일).

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Famous Mishearings

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
lend me your rears."


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Christina's Better Hairstyle?

Christina's New 'Do' Under that Cap?

Some days ago, I left a humorous message at Glasstire imploring Christina Rees to change her hairstyle from a recent one that reminded me of a bushel. My comment didn't pass moderation, but I think Christina got it because you see her much improved in the photo above as she self-consciously touches her cap and looks directly at me in a silent challenge that I find fault with this!

In fact, I like this cap, but I hope it's not just hiding that bushel of hair she was sporting in the previous photo . . .


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lying to Women?


Let me see if I understand this. You can lie to women, but not to men. Strange rule! And it's stated outright, as if the rule-maker doesn't care that women can read it, too. But maybe the rule-maker figured men wouldn't let women learn to read.

Or maybe it's all just a joke. The term "Lev." is obviously an abbreviation for "Levity," that funniest of all humorous Old Testament books.

You'll laugh your ass-embly right off of you . . .


Friday, February 23, 2018

Comparisons are Odious?

Comparisons are odious? Isn't that like saying analogies are abominable?


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Proof of Error!

Here are the Photos Substantiating Yesterday's Blog Post
Korea Herald of February 19, 2018
Click on Images to Enlarge

(Okay, so it's only wrong one time out of thrice.)

(But this one's wrong one time out of once!)

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