Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another Bird?

Citrine Wagtail
Sun-Ae Hwang

Direct from Birdland, a bird whose name sounds rather like that of some obscure breed of dog: "The Citrine Wagtail!"

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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Holy Ghostly?

Ghostly

What ghastly 'Casper' is this who rises high enough to step onto the table, right foot forward and both hands vertically extended, as though about to give forth a loud cry and give up the ghost!?

Yes, the question is: What is this thing we see?

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Revenge: Echoes of Vengeance!


Never let the sun go down on your anger -- get revenge first!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Devil's Advocate

Devil's Tower

Give the Devil his due, for he is persistent! He's been trying to squeeze this hard, dry one out for several million years now . . .

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

From Sun-Ae's Birdland

Grey Thrush
Sun-Ae Hwang

Sun-Ae is filling a notebook with these sketches, and they look even better seen 'physically' than electronically.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

A Little Bit Cuckoo

Little Cuckoo
Sun-Ae Hwang

While I was in the hospital last week, my family back in the Ozarks was trying to find out where I was and what was wrong with me, and I contacted them as soon as I was able:
I am finally well enough to assure all of you that I am still among the living.

I was very sick, and am still recuperating, but I was nowhere near death.

The misunderstanding arose from Sun-Ae's remark that she couldn't wake me up (or that I couldn't wake up, or that they couldn't wake me up, or something along those lines).

She said to me later that I seemed to lack the border between sleeping and being awake - and that I seemed to be in a state of dreaming while awake.

At the same time, I was hyper-alert and very articulate. Sun-Ae couldn't get me to stop talking.

I recall with clarity from the other side what was happening. I felt urgently that I needed to explain myself clearly about everything.

Sun-Ae took the opportunity to ask a couple of questions. "Do you love your wife?" Without hesitation, I said, "Of course!" So, she posed a second question: "Is your wife kind to you?" At that, I hesitated, then said, "Usually."

Anyway, we finally figured out that some medicines were interacting - along with some high fever - to render me delusional.

I'm glad that's past - trying to articulate all of the world's ills is tiring!
And no doubt tiresome to those who have to listen . . .

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Another Bird For All To See

Northern Lapwing

My blog looks to be growing ever more fully engulfed by my wife's newly discovered realm of Birdland, which has powerful hegemonic forces toward expansion, more even than those expansive forces explored earlier by Hitchcock in his portion of that feathered paradise . . .

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Newly Coined Word?


My hard copy of Korea Herald for Wednesday the eleventh of October (2017) has Kate Winslet stating, with respect to the recent Harvey Weinstein scandals:
"I had hoped that these kinds of stories were just made up rumors, maybe we have all been naeurove."
Naeurove? What kind of word is that? Is it even a word? Does it belong to the set of all words having no plausible meaning? I figure this is some sort of computer glitch, but what would the original word be? Naïve?

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Gone, and Fast Forgotten

I left my throne totally unoccupied these past four days and . . . nobody noticed:



Oh, wrong throne. That's the throne of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. I must have mislaid my own.

I left under duress. I was suddenly stricken by a flu virus that hit me with the force of something like the walking pneumonia, boogie-woogie flu. The doctor immediately (Tuesday) put me in the hospital, where I stayed until today (Friday).

This pneumonia could flare up again if I don't get more sleep, so I'll to bed, to bed . . .

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Right Ruddy Kingfisher

Sun-Ae Hwang

Here I am again, relying on my wife for something blogworthy, so you get another bird, indeed another kingfisher. Must be terrible to be named "Ruddy" in England, though! Like a boy named "Sue" in that Johnny Cash song.

"Hey, Ruddy!"

"Shut up."

And so the exchange would go, back and forth, until the argument became a fight. Ruddy always won.

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Monday, October 09, 2017

Still Another Bird

Sun-Ae Hwang

Good thing that I have Sun-Ae as my wife, because if for some reason I cannot prepare a blog entry, I can always borrow one of her birds and put it on display for the world to see. My excuse this time? I've been under the weather. I still feel horrible. The flu bug has been bugging me every day since early last week, getting worse and worse. At the moment, I feel okay. But this flu is tricky, such that  every time I think it's weakening, it returns twofold.

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Sunday, October 08, 2017

Bodaciously Bold Bird

Kingfisher
Another Sun-Ae Production

As my friends know, I've been hit with the flu and been mostly suffering in bed and therefore been unable to meet obligations. (Hmm . . . I see that "been" is a four-letter word.) Anyway, here's yet another of my wife's birds:

The Kingfisher
Sun-Ae Hwang

This bird can dive underwater to catch its prey, and I'm pretty sure that it has no webbed feet, so it must be using its wings to swim, though I've not seen it doing so.

Does anyone know for sure?

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Saturday, October 07, 2017

More on Friendship


My old friend replied to what I'd written:
I just don't know what to say. I appreciate what you said, but I could have said the same about you. I remember well our times together, and our long conversations. I can't think of anyone else that I talked with like that.

As to being smart, you, after all, were the Valedictorian. I ran second, maybe in part because of unwise choices I made at the time. You might remember that I was a little undisciplined. And unwise, which doesn't sound very smart to me.

I believe that anyone who read your description of us, and me, would admire you. You write so well, and that is no accident. You've worked hard for a long time to become a good writer.

I think of you a lot, though my work life has kept me from writing regularly. When I see that scary stuff on the news, I wish that you and Sun-Ae and the kids could come back.

Hopefully I'll be able to back off of business a little, after forty years in the wine business, and be better and checking in with you. In the meantime, please remember that I'm out here, and that I care about you, and our friendship. Please take care of yourself, and don't kick that bucket for a long time. And if I could ever be helpful in any way please call me.
As for unwise choices, I think we are all culpable there. What is youth, if not a time for foolishness? Anyway, we survived, and we wised up, so maybe our foolishness played a role in that process.

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Friday, October 06, 2017

On Friendship


I have been thinking quite a bit about friendship recently, not in the abstract philosophical sense, despite the Aristotle quote above, but in a concrete reflection on a particular friend, to whom I wrote the following email:
I've been thinking about friendship, lately, and I thought of something you said at the lunch during our celebration of the fortieth anniversary of our graduation, namely, that our friendship was unusual because we didn't have much in common. I had to think about that a bit, but you were right.

Except that we had one central thing in common: we were smart. Or you were. I just pretended to be.

Anyway, being smart (or passing as such in my case), we found that we could enjoy interesting conversations together, and I remember hours-long conversations on various things. We had opinions and expressed them.

We also worked together, hauling hay or doing other farm work, and otherwise helping each other, which once again gave us time to talk, and we took long walks on your folks' farm, which again gave time for talking.

Our friendship was therefore not so odd. More to the point is why we've stayed friends. I think that we've remained friends because you have the overriding virtue of loyalty. Added to that is your quality of helpfulness. When I think about your helpfulness, I realize that you were always willing to help.

You have many other good qualities, of course, many of which find usefulness in your work, and I admire you for them and for your success in your chosen field.

Anyway, that's about it, and I wanted to say it because I'd kept putting it off, kicking the can down the road, and I realized that if I didn't ever get around to telling you, I might end up kicking the bucket instead of the can, without having ever gotten around to telling you.

Thanks for being a loyal friend (and for being helpful) . . .

By the way, I'm not about to kick the bucket anytime soon - I just thought I should say some things about our friendship because one never knows . . .
Having crossed my sixtieth birthday this year - on May 14, 2017 - I find my thoughts turning to how much time remains, to which I don't know the answer, of course, except for knowing the truism that the time remaining will not be enough.

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Clowning Around Cloning Old NoZe Brothers' Relics

The NoZe Brotherhood, an underground satirical organization that I belonged to as a student at Baylor University, appears to be re-energizing, and older members are sending around emails of their own days of glory. Brother Blow NoZe sent around an email describing the glory of an unauthorized "Nose Brotherhood" decal with the original word "Nose" rather than the more postmodern "NoZe":
As you probably remember, the Baylor Book Store sold club decals, and they even had one for the Nose Brotherhood, complete with ancient spelling. I never took one to the cashier and bought it, for obvious reasons. I did swipe one or two and displayed one of them prominently on my hat, which was made out of black poster board. The hat has long since disintegrated, but I've always kept the tattered front part with the decal on it.
See decals in use below:

Decal on Car Window



Decal on Hat Fragment
Anyway, Brother Blow NoZe's remarks raised a question in my mind:
You mean, at a time when Noble NoZe members were being threatened with arrest and expulsion if caught on campus, Baylor University was actually making money off our copyrighted image?

We do have copyright, don't we?

If we don't, we should get it.
But who am I to raise such a question? I can't have been a true NoZe Brother - nobody voted for me.  Or so they all say. But that has also to have been the case with the original Nose Brother. Nobody voted for him, either. Nobody qualified, anyway, for he was (putatively) the first Nose Brother.

Clearly a chicken-and-egg issue . . .

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Graduation: Off We Went . . .


My old friend Mike Hubbeling has shown up to leave messages a couple of times on my blog this past year, but I didn't manage to locate him on the internet until yesterday.

He and I became acquainted at Baylor, mostly through the NoZe Brotherhood, to which we both belonged, but we lost contact after graduating, and went off in different directions, as described below in Hubbeling's account of what he did next:
I grew up in the too-small-for-a-stoplight town of Pomeroy, Iowa. Presented with three free choices for where to send my ACT scores, I puzzled over what to put beside Iowa and Iowa State, and thus ended up attending Baylor. I was an odd mix of practical and not-so-much in college, as I got a business degree, but spent my idle hours being a Noze Brother. That's a traditionally irreligious, irreverent secret society for those unfamiliar.

I moved to Houston after graduation, as in 1980 that was perhaps the only place to easily find employment. The job there with Arthur Andersen was an odd fit, but the obvious upside was that it put me in place to meet, and eventually, marry Teri. We moved to Austin, had fine, upstanding, well-paid jobs for a while, and walked away. Had two girls and found that to be the best idea ever. We spent 20 years making plates, sometimes for the rich and famous, but usually for whoever liked them. We produced 2 National Merit Scholars whilst home schooling. We have done a fair bit of ranch work, some of which will be reflected in the posts to this site.
Very interesting. Particularly the effectiveness at homeschooling! Way beyond my effectiveness! Anyway, if you want more familiarity with Mike and Teri's ceramic artwork plates and such, then visit a few websites they use to show their art, such as this one for Teri (ceramics) and this one for Mike (ceramics).

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Reminiscences on Education

Blue Dragon Pond

The individual who contacted me yesterday and talked about my poem "Crater Lake Blues" wrote again, this time after reading a presentation I'd given at Chung-Ang University's Storytelling Conference in December 2014:
I have just read "The Mis-Education of Horace Hodges" . . . and really enjoyed it, and I think you are spot-on about 'what a story is' in your conclusion; I particularly liked your point about laughter. And I agree, stories are built on expectations and the subsequent subversion of those expectations - even if those subversions become expectations themselves after time. (And if given enough time, does it reverse again, forming some great circle?) The points you make about Bob Dylan are interesting, too, after the chaos of the Nobel Prize last year. I never doubted that Dylan was a storyteller, but plenty of my other peers did and do, so it's a little cathartic to see you neatly point out the 'why' and the 'how' in your essay.
I was glad to receive such words of praise, even if the paraphrase of my words makes me sound more 'radical' than I am. Words of praise always make me feel better, even when I've succumbed to the flu. I could use some cathartic laughter round about now in my own laughing place . . .

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Monday, October 02, 2017

Crater Lake Blues revisited

Talking Before or After a Reading

A recent visitor to my blog left an interesting remark:
I stumbled across your poem "Crater Lake Blues" a very long time ago; I'm not sure where, now (perhaps on your blog?). I grew up in Oregon, and was a frequent visitor to Crater Lake, but have never found something that captures it quite like your poem. The last line in particular, "The blue in which all lonesome blues dissolve," was particularly resonant with me, and has stayed with me throughout the years. Thank you for sharing it; especially as Oregon burns with wildfires, I've been holding onto poems like yours that paint the beauty of the wild in words.
I'm happy to discover that a poem of mine from the 1980s would prove so resonant even in Korea some twenty years later that people would still be stopping to listen, so let's sit here for a moment and re-read that loaded poem:
Crater Lake Blues
A blue, blue, blue Olympian eye;
The blue of arctic ice, refracted sky;
The blue of coolly burning distant love;
The blue in which all lonesome blues dissolve.
That's the one, my poem written before an extended deadline, in front of a thirsty man, and after a first few drops of rain!

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Another Bird Drawn by My Wife

Long-Toed Stint
Sun-Ae Hwang

According to Wikipedia - which one should never cite in a scholarly paper - this bird has mucked about in muddy places for ages, sticking its beak into rotting gunk, in which it hopes to spear molluscs, crustaceans, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates (i.e., various cowardly vermin). It gobbles these creatures, unwashed and coated with rotting muck, down its voracious throat. It also crams seeds - probably even damp moldy ones - into its maw. It roosts not in tree nests high above the filthy ground, but down in really soggy spots or in low grass and other low-growing stuff that litter its feeding grounds. In its breeding antics, this bird blithely ranges across Russia's tundra, taiga, and open grassy bogs or swamps, unconcerned at the putrescence, in which it also nests.

So much for the Long-Toed Stint . . .

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