98 years ago, today, Korea declared independence from Japan, which had imperialistically annexed the country 9 years prior, in 1910. There were also a lot of Koreans in positions of power who felt they benefited from Japanese control, and the Japanese took increasingly draconian measures to maintain their control of the country, eventually attempting complete ethnocide, banning the Korean language and Korean indigenous culture. This effort was cut short by Japan's loss to the Allies in 1945. So the Koreans have an "Independence Day" on March 1st, and a "Liberation Day" on August 15th.
I posted this song quite some time ago (more than 5 years). I’m posting again because the video link at the old posting “rotted” (the so-called “link-rot” problem that long-lived blogs have), and anyway I never posted the lyrics in that old posting. It’s one of my favorites by Dylan.
Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash), “Girl From The North Country.”
[UPDATE 2020-03-24: link rot repair (again!)]
If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine
If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she’s wearing a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin’ winds
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
For that’s the way I remember her best
I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day
Pues iba caminando yo,
de paso raudo fui.
Me devoró la oscuridad.
This is a poem written in English ballad meter. It’s not so easy to write a poem in Spanish using this English metrical pattern. In particular, although Spanish possesses clear stressed and unstressed syllables, natural Spanish rhythms are strongly trochaic, so forcing it into an iambic line is quite awkward.
Del color de la vejez es el poema que a la vida insulta y a los hombres increpa llamándoles con voz de sirena hacia el desierto: qué larga es hacia la nada la procesión de los hombres con gritos y relinchos, y fuego en los dos ojos y ceniza que cae señalando el camino y alabando al abismo la página que escribo y que se dobla y se tuerce entre tus manos.
– Leopoldo María Panero (poeta español, 1948-2014)
I was teaching my beginning phonics class the difference between the words "ugly" and "pretty." I had them draw two columns on a piece of blank paper, and brainstorm their own ugly things and pretty things.
Evan (1st grade) did a nice job, I thought. At least, he channeled my cartoon alligator's spirit well.
"Its time now, look, that starship waits,"
the alligator said.
"Okay, let's travel to the stars."
The monkey bent his head.
The friends began their arduous trip;
the parsecs zoomed right by.
Their boredom grew unbearable,
and one began to cry.
"Oh, how can we survive so long?
I wish this trip would end."
The two of them, disconsolate...
The reptile ate his friend.
– An absurdist space opera in three quatrains using ballad meter. [daily log: walking, 7km]
There is a globe on a table in the entry area of our hagwon. It's been there (or on analogue tables in previous locations) for as long as I have worked at Karma. Sometimes I even have looked at it, and on a few notable occasions, I've borrowed it into my classroom.
I was waiting for coworkers last night, as we got ready to go to a hoesik (회식 = work meal), after work got out, and was looking at the globe. The globe is "bilingual" (Korean and English), which is sometimes intriguing. It dawned on me just what poor quality the English was. In the Western US, I discovered the "Rooky Mountains." It is easy to visualize a lot of inexperienced climbers plummeting to their deaths from these mountains' peaks and cliffs. Or perhaps in fact these are small mountains, not confident yet of their mountainhood, sticking up from domineering plains only tentatively.
The other day they forecast snow,
but then instead it rained.
I don't dislike a rainy day,
but snowless, I was drained.
– a quatrain in ballad meter.
I have decided to continue to challenge myself, and therefore the next poetic form I will undertake is a more native (i.e. traditional) English poetic style, called the “Ballad meter.” These are alternations of 4 and 3 (mostly) iambic feet grouped in quatrains, with a rhyming scheme a b c b. Much famous poetry in English follows this pattern, such as Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Many well known songs and hymns also follow this meter (or, also, the very similar so-called “common meter” which differs only in having a “tighter” rhyming scheme a b a b), such as the songs “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful,” as well as the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island.” I guess there is no specific name for a single quatrain of ballad meter verse, so I’ll just call them daily quatrains – or maybe sometimes I’ll try to make more.
I have never successfully done much poemifying in traditional English stress-timed meters – despite being a native speaker, the stress-timed patterns have always felt unintuitive to me, while I have been making more rewarding efforts at syllable-count-based poetry since middle school. I am much more comfortable with syllable-timed patterns such as predominate in e.g. Italian, Spanish, Japanese or Welsh. Hence my previous efforts at this “poem-a-day” blog have been on such forms as the nonnet (originally Italian) and englyn (originally Welsh), with occasional haiku back there, too.
Yesterday in my advanced TOEFL cohort of 8th graders, called HS2B, we were doing a listening unit. The book is structured so that along with the multiple-choice questions, there are fill-in-the-blanks dictation scripts of the listening passages. I do a kind of low-key "game show" format as we go through the dictations. The scripts are pretty hard, and the blanks span full phrases, not individual words, so the chances of getting the individual blanks filled in correctly aren't that good. Sometimes I go from student to student, as we work out the the exact wording. The Korean students get hung up on the differences between "a" and "the" (indistinguishable in rapid, natural speech in many phonological contexts), on the presence or absence of past-tense marking, on plurals, etc. I'm a total stickler, because the points determine pay out at the end of the class. If the speaker says "He walked to the office," and the student says "He walk to the office" (phonologically identical in normal speech because of the following /t/ phoneme), they don't get the point.
We were doing a particularly hard phrase. I don't actually remember the phrase – I didn't take note of it.
Several students guessed and gradually they got closer. We went all the way around the room, and Seunghyeon (who insists his English name is Señor Equis i.e. Mr. X – I think the Spanish is a tribute to me, specifically, which is appreciated) finally got it right. I got pulled off topic by some question, so I didn't write the point on the board immediately. When we resumed the dictation passage, I asked the class, "Who's point was that?"
Seunghyeon and Gijun both raised their hands. They argued as to who got the point. Gijun was more plausible, since he is quite good at these exercises, while Seunghyeon is not. But I said, "I think it was Seunghyeon."
Gijun protested. "I should still get the point."
"Why?" I queried.
"Because my wrong answer made it possible for Seunghyeon to get the right answer," he explained. He was referring to the process of elimination of wrong possibilities that we go through for these.
I was dumbfounded by such clever sophistry. I laughed. "I should give you a point for such a clever argument," I told Gijun. "But I guess I shouldn't encourage you."
Gijun acquiesced. He's actually a very nice kid, but sometimes too smart for his own good.
As is typical, I sit and watch Korean TV, and it’s mostly whatever is on, as I channelsurf my basic cable.
One show that is in saturation mode at the moment is 보이스, a show that shares some characteristics with the popular American “police procedural” genre. I don’t always understand what exactly is going on, but there are a lot of psychos and serial killers. I think far more than there really are, in Korea. At least… I hope so. I don’t actually have a particular liking for the show. My point here is only that it part of my daily milieu, at the moment.
These shows always have sound-track tie-ins, and the sound track videos get played during breaks in the programming schedule, so you get repeated doses of the series’ theme songs at times other than just when the show is playing. Hence…
What I’m listening to right now.
김윤아, 목소리 (보이스 OST).
시든 꽃도 숨 쉰다
깊은 새벽은 푸르다
노랫소린 더 작아질 뿐
So if you know the right way
멈추지마 또 걸어가
많은 사람 스친다
매일 눈빛이 다르다
계절의 끝 그 길 위에
So if you know the right way
돌아서서 또 바라봐
Without any words spoken
기억 속 짧은 시간을
I'm actually pretty sure that the new Space Emperor's reference to an incident (presumably "terrorist incident") in Sweden last week was just a syntactic mutilation such as routinely emerges from his mouth, rather than any kind of premeditated prevarication.
Nevertheless, the media reaction has been entertaining. One thing I ran across, that was amusing, was this cartoon originally posted at a site called The Postillon (although the cartoon predates the reference made to Sweden at the news conference):
I wonder if the numbers of pieces listed (e.g. 3,772,896 connector screws) is accurate, or if the cartoonist just made the numbers up.
By “collateralized,” I’m referring to the concept of “marketing collateral,” a concept I became familiar with in my years working at Paradise Corporation (my private pseudonym for ARAMARK). For a person to be collateralized means for a person to be used for marketing purposes, I guess. I have been “collateralized” twice before, in 2009 at LBridge, and in 2012 at Karma. So recently Curt hired a new marketing service for his hagwon, and a very dorky picture of me was used in some newpaper advertising copy.
One of my students saw it and gravely shook her head, saying, “Don’t be too proud of that picture, teacher.”
I’m inclined to agree. I look like a doofus with an alligator fetish. Maybe that’s not so far from the truth.
Here is a scan of the newspaper page in question – it’s one of those local newspaper advertising circulars that are one of the most common ways for hagwon to adverstise. [daily log: walking, 7km]
Last September, I posted on this here blog about my fictional city-state of Tárrases, and the online mapping I’ve been doing for it. Recently, that website’s owner has been experimenting with a “3D viewer” of the topographic data. If you were interested in that map, before, then you might be interested to play with this viewer, too. Note that it is a bit glitchy, with some performance hitches, and also that the data (which are my creation and responsibility to maintain) might have some issues too. Also note that the initial view you see has the vertical scale exaggerated. The controls at the lower left of the window can change the degree of exaggeration, as well as manipulate for “pan,” “rotation,” and “zoom.”
So at least my hobby is interesting to me. [daily log: walking, 7km]
Run The Jewels, "Report to Shareholders." The lyrics to this song are quite dark – but we are living in dark times, perhaps?
[Verse 1: El-P] Beware of horses I mean a horse is a horse of course, but who rides is important Sitting high with a uniform, barking orders, demanding order And I'm scared that I talk too much about what I think's going on I got a way with this, they might drag me away for this Put me in a cage for this, I might pay for this I just say what I want like I'm made for this But I'm just afraid some days I might be wrong Maybe that's why me and Mike get along Hey, not from the same part of town, but we both hear the same sound coming Woo! And it sounds like war Woo! And it breaks our hearts When I started this band, didn't have no plans, didn't see no arc Just run with the craft, have a couple laughs Make a buck and dash, yeah Get a little dap like "Yeah I'm the fucking man!", yeah Maybe give a little back like, "Here, I do what I can" It's all jokes and smoke 'till the truth start schemin' Can't contain the disdain for y'all demons You talk clean and bomb hospitals So I speak with the foulest mouth possible And I drink like a Vulcan losing all faith in the logical I will not be confused for docile I'm free, motherfuckers, I'm hostile
[Verse 2: Killer Mike] Choose the lesser of the evil people, and the devil still gon' win It could all be over tomorrow, kill our masters and start again But we know we all afraid, so we just simply cry and march again At the Dem Conven my heart broke apart when I seen them march mommas in As I rap this verse right now, got tears flowing down my chocolate chin Told the truth and I've been punished for it, must be a masochist 'cause I done it again "Ooh, Mike said 'uterus'" They acting like Mike said, "You a bitch" To every writer who wrote it, misquoted it Mike says, "You a bitch, you a bitch, you a bitch" Add a "nigga" for the black writer that started that sewer shit I maneuver through manure like a slumdog millionaire El-P told me, "Fuck them devils, Mike, we gon' be millionaires" I respond with a heavy "Yeah" Big bruh says "Fuck that, toughen up Stay ready, write raw raps, shit rugged rough" The devil don't sleep, us either El spits fire, I spit ether We the gladiators that oppose all Caesars Coming soon on a new world tour Probably play the score for the World War At the apocalypse, play the encore Turn around, see El, and I smile Hell coming, and we got about a mile Until it's over I remain hostile
Part II: "Kill Your Masters"
[Verse 1: Killer Mike] Mere mortals, the Gods coming so miss me with the whoopty-whoop You take the devil for God, look how he doin' you I'm Jack Johnson, I beat a slave catcher snaggletooth I'm Tiger Flowers with a higher power, hallelu' Life'll get so bad it feel like God mad at you But that's a feeling, baby, ever lose I refuse I disabuse these foolish fools of they foolish views I heard the revolution coming, you should spread the news Garvey mind, Tyson punch, this is bad news So feel me, follow me Devil done got on top of me Bad times got a monopoly Give up, I did the opposite Pitch perfect, I did it properly Owner killed by his property
[Verse 2: El-P] This life'll stress you like Orson Welles on the radio War after war of the world'll make all your saneness go And these invaders from Earth're twerkin' on graves you know Can't wait to load up the silos and make your babies glow It's so abusive you'll beg somebody to roofie you They'll snatch your hope up and use it like it's a hula-hoop And it's a loop, they talk to you just like their rulers do These fuckin' fools have forgotten just who been foolin' who
[Hook: Killer Mike] Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters (kill your masters!) Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters (kill your masters!)
[Verse 3: Zack de la Rocha] Killer children of men on the throne, roving with no atonement Got me feeling like I'm Clive Owen rowing through a future frozen The flow's a burning wind, blowing to your coast Now in cages 'cause we rode the waves of your explosions Done appealing to our killers, man, to stop the bleedin' This song's a dirty bomb for they dirty dealings Boots on the roof, I'm Charley Mingus dumping through the ceiling Master P-in' on these lost Europeans thievin' Shit be grim, and De La born a reaper Born in the beast and fixin' feast tearin' its features The world surges, the nation's nervous The crowds awaken, they can't disperse us We ain't at your service Won't stay sedated Won't state our numbers for names and Remaining faceless We dignified, they can't erase us We ain't asleep, we rope-a-dope through the flames Man, the world gonna ride on what's implied in the name Run 'em
[Hook] Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters (kill your masters!) Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters Kill your, kill- kill your kill your, kill- Kill your, kill- kill- kill your, kill- Kill your masters (kill your masters!)
성인도 시속을 따른다
seong.in.do si.sok.eul tta.reun.da
saint-TOO local-mores-OBJ follow-PRES
Even a saint follows the local mores.
I think this means “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” But it might also refer to the fact that even the most high-minded person will succumb to a poor ethical environment. Maybe this could explain the more disappointing aspects of the Obama administration. [daily log: walking, 7km]