Caveat: Sick of Man

What I'm listening to right now.

Cold, "Sick of Man." This song is from the album 13 Ways to Bleed On Stage, which was on my constant replay in maybe 2000 or 2001 – around the time of Michelle's death. So I tend to think of her when I hear it. It's bittersweet memories, and the darkness of this album suited the epoch well.


Gave all the vampires back
To God that day
No one got raped here
But the pain's still inside
I'll never love you
But I've got words to say
No one betrayed here
But the memories lie
I said don't go away
Turned off the lights and then you
Said please don't follow me
And you cared

You stole my passion
Burned my everything
There all the same here
Locked up change deep inside
I'll never love you
But I've got words to say
You killed the feeling
But the pain's still alive

I said don't go away
Turned off the lights and then you
Said please don't follow me
And you cared

You kept your feelings hidden
Like a psycho
Burned it all down
Take me with you
Won't you let me go

So sick of man

Lately, I've been feeling kind of nostalgic for my year in Jeollanam (2010-11). I found this really great picture of Gwangju from halfway up the side of Mudeungsan – I don't think I've posted it before.

20100419_GwangjuKR_P1040219 (2)

Caveat: 거름 지고 장에 간다

거름        지고       장에      간다
fertilizer carry-AND field-TO go-PRES
Carry fertilizer and go to the field.

According to one site, this supposedly means “Jump on the bandwagon.” I couldn’t confirm it anywhere else, though, despite some searching and googling. I would need more cultural information to confirm this – as it stands, I honestly don’t feel like I know what this means.


Caveat: Cookies and Meters and Dishes…

I made [broken link! FIXME] two predictions when Andrew Sullivan announced he was taking his blog independent: 1) that I would end up paying a subscription, in appreciation for what I get from his website, which I visit every day; 2) that once the meter kicked in, my use of the site would decline, out of annoyance at being pestered to log in, having to remember yet another username and password.

The first prediction came true – I subscribed. The second prediction hasn't come true – but not for the reason one might expect.

Dish_html_m1776f200I was worried I would find the need to repeatedly log on annoying. I expected the need to repeatedly log in would arise because I clear cookies from my computer every time I close my browser, and I assumed the meter would rely on cookies to track log-on status. I think this is true, but I failed to take into account another aspect of the cookies thing: the meter also keeps track of (makes use of) cookies in order to work at all. So by clearing cookies, in effect I reset the meter every time I close my browser. I tested this, yesterday (and again this morning), and found that if I do, in fact, click seven "read on" articles in a row in one sitting, the meter kicks in and asks me to log on. But all I need to do to bypass the meter is close my browser and re-open it. Voila – I've hacked the Sullyblog, without even intending to.

That solves my problem, neatly, but I suspect it reveals one for Sullivan. He was puzzling, recently, about the seemingly large number of subscribers who have never used their log on. I'm one of them. Are we the technically sophisticated, internet-security-conscious crowd (which is probably overly represented in his libertarian and educated-leaning audience)? The ones who sweep cookies in their browsers?

I think this reinforces my earlier point – I think Sullivan would be just as well off under a strictly voluntary, "donate here!" model, rather than a meter wall as clearly permeable as his is. The meter just creates a sort of sense of exclusivity and annoyance in some subset of his fan base, without really technically preventing parsimonious fans from accessing his content without paying. A pure donation-driven model seems risky, but it works – look at Wikipedia or NPR, which both, in their highly different ways, produce extraordinary content (and I've personally donated to both).

Caveat: Baby Ostrich Karma

More strange and disturbing news from students:

An 8th grade girl: “Teacher! You look like a baby ostrich!”

I looked at her, unable to muster any kind of response.

She waited three beats. Four beats. “Very cute,” she clarified, in the same tone of amazement.

Was this a quick recovery, or a pre-planned joke? No matter. I will take compliments… such as they are.

Here is a picture I drew while a student in a lower level class was preparing a test (she’d failed to bring her pre-prepared speech from home, so I gave her time to rewrite it and practice it a bit before her speech test). It came out pretty well. Some characters my students will know, combined with a sort of happy-go-lucky feel.


There’s no baby ostriches in it, though.


Caveat: Preppers and TEOTWAWKI

I learned a new term, recently: "Prepper."

A prepper is someone who essentially makes a hobby of preparing for doomsday or the apocalypse. They like to worry about TEOTWAWKI ("The end of the world as we know it"). We used to call the severe cases of this mode of social (or anti-social) behavior "survivalists" (and in wikipedia, for example, the article "prepper" redirects to "survivalism"), but this new term seems to be more inclusive of people who have survivalist tendencies but may not be as extreme in their efforts or interpretation. The concept of prepper takes a thread traditional American frontier survivalism and knits it together with the kind of clubby, fuzzy-warm, after-work enthusiast style of hobbies like scrapbooking or homebrewing. Take a look at this prepper website, which not only tells how to start a fire using three distinct, non-technology-dependent methods and how to survive the inevitable currency collapse, but also has apple pie recipes.

The thing is, if you look at the movement broadly (and not just at that crazy website, which is just an example), there are clearly a lot of preppers in the US, and even in the world. There are people I know in my current workplace who have the mentality of American preppers – they think the end of the world is nigh, and this influences their lifestyle and behavior.

Is it perhaps derivative or connected to all the millenarianism circulating in Christian evangelical circles, which the US and Korea share culturally, these days? Yet even in my own very non-Christian evangelical family, I can point to a half dozen family members which strong "prepper" tendencies – in some cases very strong. Even I have inclinations that way, though in my case I don't really act on them – instead, in my own case, the "prepper" tendencies are expressed in my "minimalist" lifestyle, perhaps, and what's missing is any interest or  obsession with  TEOTWAWKI, as the preppers like to call it.

But there's something more going on.

Caveat: Shocking News

"Oh, teacher. Your hair turned grey."

This, from a student who I had back in 2008, that I happened to see today. Did it really turn that much greyer? It was already pretty grey in 2008 – but it's hard to see the change in myself.


Caveat: Frisco

An American named Satoshi Kanazawa blogs at the site Big Think about the need for a word that means an anti-shibboleth – meaning, I guess, more concisely than the term "anti-shibboleth" conveys. Rather than trying to explain, go ahead and read his article. To understand, you need to know what shibboleth means, too.

He proposes the word "frisco" as the new term for "anti-shibboleth." As a born and raised Northern Californian, I understand his suggestion completely, and I like the repurposing of the word. So, whenever you need to say "anti-shibboleth" – and, c'mon, I know you say it often! – say "frisco" instead. I hope his terminological innovation catches on.

Caveat: 박근혜 대통령 취임

Korea inaugurated a new president today. I have ambivalent feelings about Ms Park, but I really don't see how she could do worse than Lee Myung-bak's charmless tenure, and I have come to respect the process whereby she became president – it's certainly no less democratic than what we have in the US – not that that's necessarily saying very much.

There was an interesting article at the Ask a Korean blog, ranking the past presidents of South Korea. Despite his dictatorial grip on power for almost 2 decades, Park Chung-hee, the current new president's father, received a high ranking, mostly because he propelled South Korea from "poorest of poor" to "Asian tiger" in a generation. I can see the logic of that. At the end of that article, the Korean (as the author of the blog idiosyncratically likes to call himself, always in the third person) remarks that depending on historical circumstance, Ms Park has the possibility of ending up near the top of that list, too. Arguably, that's true for any leader stepping into leadership, at any time, but I get his point – she seems to have a lot of potential to be a great president, but also just as much potential to be a sort of climax of Saenuri (conservative party) mediocrity, too (which is to say, 2MB [Lee Myung-bak] 2.0).

The Korea Herald posted a translation of her inaugural speech, which I read. It's a long speech, but here's a part that stood out for me, given that I work in Korean education, currently.

Fellow Koreans,

No matter how much the country advances, such gains would be meaningless if the lives of the people remained insecure.

A genuine era of happiness is only possible when we aren’t clouded by the uncertainties of aging and when bearing and raising children is truly considered a blessing.

No citizen should be left to fear that he or she might not be able to meet the basic requirements of life.

A new paradigm of tailored welfare will free citizens from anxieties and allow them to prosper in their own professions, maximize their potentials, and also contribute to the nation’s development.

I believe that enabling people to fulfill their dreams and opening a new era of hope begins with education.

We need to provide active support so that education brings out the best of an individual’s latent abilities and we need to establish a new system that fosters national development through the stepping stones of each individual’s capabilities.

There is a saying that someone you know is not as good as someone you like, and someone you like is not as good as someone you enjoy being with.

The day of true happiness will only come when an increasing number of people are able to enjoy what they learn, and love what they do.

The most important asset for any country is its people.

The future holds little promise when individual ability is stifled and when the only name of the game is rigid competition that smothers creativity.

Ever since childhood, I have held the conviction that harnessing the potential of every student will be the force that propels a nation forward.

Our educational system will be improved so that students can discover their talents and strengths, fulfill their precious dreams and are judged on that bases. This will enable them to make the best use of their talent upon entering society.

There is no place for an individual’s dreams, talents or hopes in a society where everything is determined by one’s academic background and list of credentials.

We will transform our society from one that stresses academic credentials to one that is merit-based so that each individual’s dreams and flair can bear fruit.

It goes without saying that protecting the lives and ensuring the safety of the people is a critical element of a happy nation.

The new government will focus its efforts on building a safe society where women, people with disabilities, or anyone else for that matter, can feel at ease as they carry on with their lives, no matter where they are in the country.

We will build a society where fair laws prevail rather than the heavy hand of power and where the law serves as a shield of justice for society’s underprivileged.

It's also remarkable that someone considered to be the Korean equivalent of a Republican would offer such a spirited (and well-argued) defense of the welfare state. But isn't it always the case that in truth, conservatives in most economically advanced countries are typically somewhere to the left of the US's Democrats?


Caveat: Na’iya tehmil-me’q hay-yo:w la:yxw ‘e:na:ng’?

It's amazing, the things that can now be found online.

Hupa_Yurok_Karok_color1I have for a long time had a strong interest in Native American languages. In college, I studied Dakota (the Sioux language of Minnesota and Manitoba, and a close sibling of Lakota, the Sioux language of North and South Dakota), and later I studied Mapudungun (the language of the Mapuche people of western Patagonia, in south-central Chile and parts of western Argentina). I only remember a few phrases from each language, but I have occasionally even thought that, if I ever returned to graduate school, it would be in linguistics and that I would actively pursue various Native languages further.

Anyway, I was reading an online article at the GeoCurrents blog about the revitalization of some of the languages of northwestern California, including Hupa, Yurok and Karuk. I never studied those languages, but having grown up in those linguistic lands (California's Humboldt County, behind the redwood curtain), I have always had a strong curiosity about them. Some years ago, I had once even picked up a grammar, lexicon and story collection for Wiyot, another Humboldtian Native language that is, sadly, now extinct (i.e. it has no speakers remaining).

Apparently, there is a younger generation of enthusiasts for revitalizing the three fading languages, each of which have dwindled to less than 20 native speakers each. So the languages are being taught and studied in schools.

And then, I found this story, below, in the comments section for this article, in a comment by someone named Tim Upham. Cursory online research only explains that it's an "original composition" in Hupa – it's not clear whether by him or someone he knows or read about, but the same name "Tim Upham" has cited the story in other comments on other websites, online – it's the only online "presence" for the story.

But I like the story, and I like the fact that the original language is included – as a linguistics geek, that's half the fun. I can't really vouch for the Hupa as "real" Hupa – I played around with an online Hupa dictionary for a little bit, trying to figure out which of the words in the last line was "rain," but I failed. My best guess is that the first word of the last line "na'iya" bears a plausible inflectional or derivational relationship with the lexical entry "na:nyay" = rain. If anyone has any insights or thoughts on this, I'd be happy to hear from you.

A story in Hupa goes:

Xantehitaw ch'iqal.
Da:ywho' xontah ne:s sa'an.
Kehitsan xosing xa'k'iwhe inyektaw.
Xontak ch'ing xa:singya:wh.
Nahxa kilexich ya'ng'e'ti'.
Diydi hayde' hay tehmil?
Na'iya tehmil-me'q hay-yo:w la:yxw 'e:na:ng'?

Coyote is walking.
There was a long house standing somewhere.
A bunch of girls are digging Indian potatoes. (They are an edible tuber, sometimes known as groundnuts.)
Come on up to the house.
Two boys were sitting there.
What is in that sack?
It is only Rain there in the sack.

Caveat: Skeleton’s Defense

My drawing, followed by Jack Foley’s poem:


The Skeleton’s Defense of Carnality

Truly I have lost weight, I have lost weight,
grown lean in love’s defense,
in love’s defense grown grave.
It was concupiscence that brought me to the state:
all bone and a bit of skin
to keep the bone within.
Flesh is no heavy burden for one possessed of little
and accustomed to its loss.
I lean to love, which leaves me lean, till lean turn into lack.
A wanton bone, I sing my song
and travel where the bone is blown
and extricate true love from lust
as any man of wisdom must.
Then wherefore should I rage
against this pilgrimage
from gravel unto gravel?
Circuitous I travel
from love to lack / and lack to lack,
from lean to lack
and back.

– Jack Foley (American poet, b. 1940)


Caveat: Alocatel

Ps q el muy fabuloso Mexican Institute of Sound hizo una canción que tiene título q me suena como marca de celular o empresa IT.

Lo que estoy escuchando.

MislMexican Institute of Sound, "Alocatel."


Oigan todo lo que les tengo que decir
Estoy armado y peligroso, soy puro rock&roll

Sí pones la mesa que no sea para 2
Por que somos como 14 con un hambre feroz

Sí te queda el saco póntelo pa' bailar
Por que te va dar un resfriado y me vas a contagiar

Agarra el clarinete yo tengo el trombón
y hacemos una banda que no suene a pink floyd

Aquí no soy amable ni buena persona
Ni ayudo a las viejitas a subir al camión

Espero que esperes muy poco de mí
Por que lo poco quee tengo no lo vo' a compartir

Estoy cansado de los fresas hijo de papi
Que se creen raperos, surfers, emos, indies y punks

Agarrate el palmero y yoo toco cencerro
y hacemos una banda que no suene a the strokes


Hippies & fresones con peinados modernos
Que creen que la música electrónica es lo de hoy

Mírame en la noche en todos los noticieros
Por que le pusieron precio a mi cabeza en formol

Toma ese jarrón y rómpelo en tu cabeza…
Así compruebas que tu cerebro no es jamón

Agarra el clarinete yooo tengo el trombón
y hacemos una banda que no suene a pink floyd


Oigan todo lo que les tengo que decir
Estoy armado y peligroso, soy puro rock&roll

Sí pones la mesa que no sea para 2
Por que somos como 14 con un hambre feroz

Sí te queda el saco póntelo pa' bailar
Por que te va dar un resfriado y me vas a contagiar

Agarra el pandero yo toco el cencerro
y hacemos una banda que no suene a the strokes



Caveat: 바르고 슬기롭게

The 강선 (Gangseon) elementary school, which is the elementary school closest to my apartment building, has a motto over its entrance. Most schools have mottos over their entrances, but this one, because I see it every day, sticks with me.

바르고      슬기롭게
honest-AND wise-ADV
Honestly and wisely

That's a good motto. I do ok at honest, most of the time. I'm not so wise. I think most people have more trouble with that, maybe.

Caveat: Little Red Riding Hood

Puppets_html_m3dbccf3fLast Thursday, my students used puppets (in custumes!) to perform a version of Little Red Riding Hood. I played the wolf, using an alligator puppet. The little girl is a white rat puppet and her mom is another alligator puppet, while grandma is a wombat puppet and the hunter is an ostrich puppet.

It's all just slightly incoherent, but I like it anyway. I love my classes with the little ones – basically I just play with them in English. It's a good gig.

Caveat: acoustic gangnamstyling somewhere in Asia

What I'm listening to right now.

Some Girls in the Philippines (I think), "Gangnam Style – Cover."

I like this version better than the [broken link! FIXME] original, though it does rather interfere with the satirical intent. Or perhaps one could say that the layer of sincerity supplements the satire? Regardless, I'm most impressed with these young non-Koreans' mastery of Korean pronunciation – it's really pretty good. There are other remarkable non-Korean acoustic versions floating around the internet, too.

Caveat: Are You a Laissez-er or a Faire-er?

of the smart people I know want nothing to do with politics. We avoid
it like the plague—like Edge avoids it, in fact. …We expect other
people to do it for us, and grumble when they get it wrong. We feel that
our responsibility stops at the ballot box, if we even get that far.
After that we're as laissez-faire as we can get away with. … What
worries me is that while we're laissez-ing, someone else is faire-ing." –
Brian Eno (Musician/Composer)

I like this quote partly just for the way he innovates linguistically with the French phrase laissez-faire.

What I'm listening to right now.

Talking Heads, "Listening Wind." (Produced by – guess who? – Brian Eno).

Caveat: 님의 침묵(沈默)

님의 침묵(沈默)

님은 갔습니다. 아아 사랑하는 나의 님은 갔습니다.

푸른 산빛을 깨치고 단풍나무 숲을 향하여 난 작은 길을 걸어서
차마 떨치고 갔습니다.

황금의 꽃같이 굳고 빛나던 옛 맹서는
차디찬 티끌이 되어서 한숨의 미풍에 날아갔습니다.

날카로운 첫 키스의 추억은 나의 운명의 지침(指針)을 돌려 놓고
뒷걸음쳐서 사라졌습니다.

나는 향기로운 님의 말소리에 귀먹고
꽃다운 님의 얼굴에 눈멀었습니다.

사랑도 사람의 일이라 만날 때에 미리
떠날 것을 염려하고 경계하지 아니한 것은 아니지만,
이별은 뜻밖의 일이 되고 놀란 가슴은 새로운 슬픔에 터집니다.

그러나 이별은 쓸데없는 눈물의 원천을 만들고 마는 것은
스스로 사랑을 깨치는 것인 줄 아는 까닭에,
걷잡을 수 없는 슬픔의 힘을 옮겨서
새 희망의 정수박이에 들어부었습니다.

우리는 만날 때에 떠날 것을 염려하는 것과 같이
떠날 때에 다시 만날 것을 믿습니다.

아아 님은 갔지마는 나는 님을 보내지 아니하였습니다.
제 곡조를 못 이기는 사랑의 노래는 님의 침묵을 휩싸고 돕니다.

– 1926, 한용운 (韓龍雲)

220px-Korean_poet-Han_Yong-un-01This is one of the most famous poems in modern Korean. I ran across a reference to it in my ongoing history-book reading, and decided to pursue it.

Han Yong-un was a Buddhist monk and independence leader, also involved in the March 1st movement of 1919 (I think). His pen-name was Manhae (萬海). Poetry is always hard to translate – I wouldn't dream of trying to translate this – I can barely understand it, in Korean.

I found three quite different translations. One unattributed translation I found here. I found another unattributed translation here. There is a third, quite formal reading, that emphasizes the religious dimension of the poem, at the English wikipedia entry about the poet.

I prefer the first of the translations I ran across. Note that the "you" of the poem might be a lover, or the Buddha, or Korea – or all three mixed together.


You have gone. Ah, my love, you have gone.
Shattering the green brilliance of the mountain, hard as it might
      be, cutting off all ties, gone along the narrow path that opens
out to the maple grove.
The old vows, firm and splendid as flowers of golden metal,
      have turned to dust and flown odd in the breath of a sigh.
The memory of a sharp first kiss reversed the compass needle
      of my fate, stepped backward and faded.
I was deafened by your perfumed sounds and blinded by your
      flower-like face.
Love too is man's lot; even though we have prepared with fear of
      parting at meeting, parting comes upon us unawares and the
startled heart bursts with a fresh sorrow.
However, since I know that to make parting the font of needless
      tears is to shatter love, I have transferred the irresistible power
of sadness and poured it over my brow to quench the old ill
with fresh hope.
Just as we fear parting when we meet, we believe we will meet
      again when we part.
Ah, even though you are gone I have never said good-bye.
The sad melody of my song of love curls around your silence.

2013-04-20: A recent commenter (see also the comments section, below) found both
attributions. The first link appears to be broken now, but my commenter points
out that the first translation is by Sammy Solberg, and appears in the Columbia Anthology of Modern Korean Poetry. The second translation is apparently by Jaihiun J. Kim.

Caveat: Break in the sun till the sun breaks down

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

– Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas is one of the most amazing poets. I have come to consider him one of the greatest of the English language, though when I was younger I didn't think much of him.

Caveat: me aplastas hasta el final

Lo que estoy escuchando en este momento.

3637530Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, "En mis venas." Es del album Bares y fondas, que fue el primer CD del conjunto argentino que compré.


En mis venas hay alcohol,
y en tu cara hay deseo
en tu cara hay deseo
y en mi cuerpo hay dolor
Pero no te vas y te quedás atrás
y me pisas y me pisas me pisas el corazón
me aplastás hasta el final….
En mi cara hay dolor
y en tu cuerpo hay deseo
en tu cara hay deseo
y en mi cuerpo hay alcohol
Me gusta gritar pero no me dejas,
y me cerrás, me tapas, el corazón,
me aplastas hasta el final.

Caveat: 가르치는 것도 배우는 것도 소중한 인연입니다

가르치는 것도    배우는 것도     소중한            인연입니다
teach-ACT-TOO learn-ACT-TOO be-precious-PART karma-is-FORMAL
Both the act of teaching and the act of learning are precious [parts of] karma.

Newsletter 001This isn't a regular proverb or aphorism. It's the "motto" at top right of KarmaPlus's monthly newsletter (image at right – click to embiggen). I'm not sure if the boss got it from somewhere, or if he made it up himself. On the one hand, it ties together the mission of the hagwon – teaching – with the name of the place, since the concept of karma in Korean is often 인연 (destiny, fate, cause). On the other hand, it's a subtle (almost coded) reference to his Buddhism. One can find equally subtle coded references to the religious affiliations of other businesses, in Korea – especially hagwon. I can sometimes guess a hagwon's "affiliation" just by considering the references of their advertising copy – if I can figure it out.

I sometimes wonder how aware Koreans are of these references, and whether they make consumer decisions (such as what hagwon to send their children to) based on them, the way that American evangelicals, for example, will intentionally take their business to the "Christian Fish." e.g. 
Symbol-of-christ-26252 – or the way that non-evangelicals, for that matter, will avoid businesses flagged the same way. 

Caveat: Guns of Brixton

What I'm listening to right now.

The Clash, "Guns of Brixton."

I like the "oh-ohhh, guns of Brixton."

The Clash makes good bad-mood music.

When I was looking for a video to post to show this song by the Clash, I ran across this awesome cover of "Guns of Brixton" by Arcade Fire. I think I like it better than the original in some ways.

Arcade Fire, "Guns of Brixton."


When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting in death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, Guns of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin'
At the end of the harder they come

You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh-the guns of Brixton

When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
And even shoot us
But oh- the guns of Brixton

Shot down on the pavement
Waiting in death row
His game was survivin'
As in heaven as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton

Caveat: Hellbridgier Than Ever

I knew when Karma took over Woongjin that there was some risk that the prey would overtake the predator. It hasn't really unfolded the way I expected, but work is nevertheless definitely reminding me of LBridge (which was taken over by Woongjin), lately. Mostly it's an issue of poor management of administrative tasks, combined with boneheaded curriculum decisions and too much work load. So. I worked for 10.5 hours today. And not a thing to show for it except a splitting headache: not even a "job well done" or "thanks for working late." I know, I know… Korea doesn't really work that way. Sigh.

Caveat: Simple Line Drawing

The other day in my little-ones class, we were drawing our current story – a derivation of Disney/Pixar's "Brave". I posted about this [broken link! FIXME] last week. But in going through my notes for that class last night I ran across this picture of the character Merida, that I drew (I do a lot of drawing in that class, both to show the kids what to do, as well as to entertain them). Considering it was a sketch done in two or three minutes, I was pretty happy with this drawing of Merida working.

Merida 001

Caveat: US Slavery Didn’t End in 1865

Punishment_200-6c85aa6aefa3ffa7992bd336f66b87482b634064-s3I suggest reading this excerpt, from a book by Douglas A. Blackmon entitled Slavery by Another Name. I recall reading about his before, but this article (and book) appear quite in-depth. I think it's a very important component of US history, that is far too neglected.

I've been on a history-reading kick these most recent years – much more than the fiction I used to read. So I'm going to try to find this book if I can. The image at right is from the book. It's from the 1930s. Yes, those 1930s – not the 1830s.

Caveat: Active Sleeping

I have been sleeping very restlessly, lately. These days, I sleep Korean style, on a blanket on the floor. This makes the floor my bed. Normally, I sleep fairly stationarily – at least as far as I can tell. I will wake up in the same basic spot on the floor where I started, which is typically along the wall of my one-room apartment where I have lined up my bookshelves. But yesterday and today I awoke in unusual positions and locations, well away from where I started. Sunday morning I woke up scrunched into a ball in the center of the floor, and today I had somehow rolled to close to under my desk. Both times, I'd abandoned the blanket I use as a sort of very thin mattress (again, this is just Korean "old person" style of sleeping), and was sleeping on the bare floor, with only the blanket over me.

What is this restlessness?

Caveat: 처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아

해에게서 소년에게

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
때린다 부순다 무너 버린다.
태산 같은 높은 뫼, 집채 같은 바윗돌이나,
요것이 무어야, 요게 무어야.
나의 큰 힘 아느냐 모르느냐, 호통까지 하면서,
때린다 부순다 무너 버린다.
처얼썩 처얼썩 척 튜르릉 꽉.

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
내게는 아무 것 두려움 없어,
육상(陸上)에서, 아무런 힘과 권(權)을 부리던 자라도,
내 앞에 와서는 꼼짝 못하고,
아무리 큰 물건도 내게는 행세하지 못하네.
내게는 내게는 나의 앞에는
처얼썩 처얼썩 튜르릉 꽉.

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
나에게 절하지 아니한 자가,
지금까지 있거든 통기(通寄)하고 나서 보아라.
진시황(秦始皇), 나파륜*, 너희들이냐.
누구 누구 누구냐 너희 역시 내게는 굽히도다.
나하고 겨룰 이 있건 오너라.
처얼썩 처얼썩 튜르릉 꽉.

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
조그만 산모를 의지하거나,
좁쌀 같은 작은 섬, 손뼉만한 땅을 가지고,
고 속에 있어서 영악한 체를,
부리면서, 나 혼자 거룩하다 하는 자,
이리 좀 오너라, 나를 보아라.
처얼썩 처얼썩 튜르릉 꽉.

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
나의 짝 될 이는 하나 있도다.
크고 길고 넓게 뒤덮은 바 저 푸른 하늘.
저것은 우리와 틀림이 없어,
작은 시비, 작은 쌈, 온갖 모든 더러운 것 없도다.
조따위 세상에 조 사람처럼.
처얼썩 처얼썩 튜르릉 꽉.

처얼썩 처얼썩 척 쏴아아.
저 세상 저 사람 모두 미우나,
그 중에서 똑 하나 사랑하는 일이 있으니,
담 크고 순진한 소년배(少年輩)들이,
재롱처럼 귀엽게 나의 품에 와서 안김이로다.
오너라 소년배 입 맞춰 주마.
처얼썩 처얼썩 튜르릉 꽉.
Choinamseon02141999120300105130_001– 최남선 (1890 ~ 1957)

From the Sun to a Boy

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
Beat, Break, Destroy
"Mountains as high as heaven, Rocks as big as a house
What is it to me, What is that to me
Do you not know my might" – bellowed the Sun
Beat, Break, Destroy
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
"I fear nothing in this world.
The mighty and the powerful of this world,
They all shrivel before me.
The great machineries, how great they are, are no equal to me."
"To me, To me, Before me"
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
"If there was a man who has the courage to not prostrate before me,
Come out before me.
Qin Shi Huang, Napoleon – are you the one.
Even you have bowed before me.
Anyone who can wrestle with me – Come."
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
"You, with your small mounts,
You, with your small isles and lands,
You, who are so satisfied by your own intellect
You, who are conceited with self-righteousness,
Come before me and behold."
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
"In this world, there is only one thing that is worthy to be my companion.
The Blue Sky – who covers this world with all its splendor.
No doubt it is our equal,
As it is not corrupted by those small quarrels, small fights, and all the smears
Of that world and the people who occupy it.
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.

Splash, Splash, Splat, Swash.
Among that wretched world and all those hateful people,
There is one thing I love.
It is when those innocent boys with their great dreams
Come into my bosom.
Come, boys. And I'll greet you with all my love.
Splash, Splash, Splat, Smash, Boom.
    - Choe Namseon (1890 ~ 1957)

[Translation by Jae Paek, found at his blog, for which I will express thanks and due credit.]

3_copyI've been reading the third volume (cover at right) of the history of Korea that I've been working on ([broken link! FIXME] first and [broken link! FIXME] second volumes completed). The author, Han Young Woo, says that the above poem by Choe Namseon "was the first modern-style poem ever written in Korea." So I found it online, and read it.

I definitely agree with his assessment of its modernism. It reminds me, vaguely, of Huidobro, for some reason. I can't be certain it is, in fact, the first, but it certainly was early. I really like the onomatopoeia.

Caveat: inquieto vaga-lume

Círculo Vicioso

Bailando no ar, gemia inquieto vaga-lume:
– Quem me dera que fosse aquela loura estrela,
que arde no eterno azul, como uma eterna vela !
Mas a estrela, fitando a lua, com ciúme:

– Pudesse eu copiar o transparente lume,
que, da grega coluna á gótica janela,
contemplou, suspirosa, a fronte amada e bela !
Mas a lua, fitando o sol, com azedume:

– Misera ! tivesse eu aquela enorme, aquela
claridade imortal, que toda a luz resume !
Mas o sol, inclinando a rutila capela:

– Pesa-me esta brilhante aureola de nume…
Enfara-me esta azul e desmedida umbela…
Porque não nasci eu um simples vaga-lume?
– Machado de Assis

Estou pensando também em círculos.

Eu estou ouvindo agora mesmo.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Batidinha."

Caveat: 겉똑똑이

A person smart on the surface.

Some site had this as "Penny wise, pound foolish." I suppose a person behaving that way is a superficially smart person. But I don't see the specific link to that English proverb – it really just seems to mean exactly what it says: a superficially smart person.

I'm worrying about if I should go to the dentist. But last week when I had time one morning I didn't think about it – I hate going to the dentist.

Caveat: The Mysteries of Motivation

I was talking to a student in hallway. I happen to think this student is somewhat smart, but she doesn't try very hard, and she gets low scores on tests and such.

She had impressed me, a while back, with a speech in one of my new intermediate-level debate classes which she'd penciled on some scrap paper in class in the few minutes before it was required. The speech was entirely compatible – in clarity, understanding and detail – with speeches the other students in the class had spent the last several weeks preparing (writing essays as homework and getting my feedback on them), but she'd done it in the few minutes before giving the speech.

I have a long history with this student, too – she was one of the elementary students I taught at LBridge, in 2009. I remember thinking the same thing about her then: a kind of stealth intellectual, under a facade of lazy, dumb teenager.

I asked her why she pretended to have lower ability in English than she really did. I can't remember exactly how I phrased the question, but this is a level of discourse that most students nominally at her level wouldn't even understand, in English. She just shrugged, and said "It's easier."

Following a hunch, I asked, "You understand everything I say, but you pretend not to?"

"That's right." She grinned sheepishly and sauntered away.


Caveat: 50 States

This map is intended to be thought provoking and/or simply as art – it's not a real political project. But I really like things like this – I call this category of things "speculative geopolitics."


If I were doing this, I would take it another step, and imagine if the borders with Canada and Mexico didn't exist – if they were included and we could compose something taking the 96 North American 2nd order polities [51 (US States + DC) + 32 (Mexican States + DF) + 13 (Canadian Provinces and Territories)] and making them even by population or by land area: maybe 100 polities. What could be done?

Just daydreaming, I guess. Certainly not meant as a political project, either. It's just interesting.

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