Caveat: 리듬속의 그 춤을

30 years ago, South Korea was still a dictatorship, and the GDP per capita was the same as Mexico – which is where I was living at the time.
Somehow, I never tire of this surprising, subsequent narrative about the divergence of these two economies. And it pops into my mind when I think about what Korea was like in that time. The video below made me think of that – because of the date.
What I’m listening to right now.

김완선, “리듬속의 그 춤을.”

현대 음율속에서
순간속에 보이는
너의 새로운 춤에
마음을 뺏긴다오
아름다운 불빛에
신비한 너의 눈은
잃지않는 매력에
마음을 뺏긴다오
리듬을 춰줘요
리듬을 춰줘요
멋이 넘쳐 흘러요
멈추지 말아줘요
리듬속의 그 춤을
현대 음율속에서
순간속에 우리는
너의 새로운 춤에
마음을 뺏긴다오
아름다운 불빛에
신비한 너의 눈은
잃지않는 매력에
마음을 뺏긴다오
리듬을 춰줘요
리듬을 춰줘요
멋이 넘쳐 흘러요
멈추지 말아줘요
리듬속의 그 춤을
리듬을 춰줘요
리듬을 춰줘요
멋이 넘쳐 흘러요
멈추지 말아줘요
리듬속의 그 춤을
현대 음율속에서
순간속에 우리는
너의 새로운 춤에
마음을 뺏긴다오
아름다운 불빛에
신비한 너의 눈은
잃지않는 매력에
마음을 뺏긴다오
리듬을 춰줘요
리듬을 춰줘요
멋이 넘쳐 흘러요
멈추지 말아줘요
리듬속의 그춤을 춰봐

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]

Caveat: 액체괴물

My students in the ED1 cohort had been developing an obsession with a toy called 액체괴물 [aek.che.goe.mul = liquid monster] in Korean, and typically marketed as “Slime” in the US. It’s not exactly a toy. It’s free-form goo, like runny play-dough. The kids carry their slime monsters around in buckets or tupperware containers. It’s easy to make your own at home, and many do that, apparently, but then keep the ooze like pets or something, and whip it out to play with it in the breaks between class.
The slime monsters were becoming a distraction, however. And getting on things (like the walls). They had to be banned.
The problem was that I knew, more or less, how it was pronounced, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out the Korean spelling, and I didn’t want to ask because I like to try to figure things out – I remember things better when I do that. The online English-Korean dictionaries weren’t being helpful. I finally figured it out yesterday, so now I can blog about it.
There are lots of sites with pictures of kids making and playing with slime. It’s huge. Not just in Korea, either – it’s popular in the US, too.
[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: dactylic noise

What I'm listening to right now.

Public Enemy, "Bring The Noise." This song is 30 years old. The video is dated, but the sound works, still, I think. Actually I went and listened this because it was mentioned in a discussion of dactylic hexameter, the meter of classical epic poetry (Greek and Latin, notably Virgil's Aeneid). I tried to scan a few lines and find the dactyls, but to be honest my skills are limited. I have always felt that rap and hiphop are genres wherein poetry most convincingly persists as a truly popular artform in our modern era. 


Too black, too strong
Too black, too strong

[Intro: Flava Flav]
Yo Chuck, these honey drippers are still fronting on us
Show 'em that we can do this, cause we always knew this
Haha, yeah boy!

[Verse 1: Chuck D]
Bass! How low can you go?
Death row, what a brother know
Once again, back is the incredible rhyme animal
The uncannable D, Public Enemy Number One
Five-O said, "Freeze!" and I got numb
Can I tell 'em that I really never had a gun?
But it's the wax that the Terminator X spun
Now they got me in a cell cause my records, they sell
Cause a brother like me said, "Well
Farrakhan's a prophet and I think you ought to listen to
What he can say to you, what you wanna do is follow for now"
Power of the people, say
"Make a miracle, D, pump the lyrical"
Black is back, all in, we're gonna win
Check it out, yeah y'all, come on, here we go again

Turn it up! Bring the noise!

[Bridge: Flava Flav]
Ayo Chuck, they're saying we're too black, man
Yo, I don't understand what they're saying
But little do they know they can get a smack for that, man

[Verse 2]
Never badder than bad cause the brother is madder than mad
At the fact that's corrupt like a senator
Soul on a roll, but you treat it like soap on a rope
Cause the beats and the lines are so dope
Listen for lessons I'm saying inside music that the critics are blasting me for
They'll never care for the brothers and sisters now, cause the country has us up for the war
We got to demonstrate, come on now
They're gonna have to wait till we get it right
Radio stations I question their blackness
They call themselves black, but we'll see if they'll play this

Turn it up! Bring the noise!

[Bridge: Flava Flav]
Ayo Chuck, they illin', we chillin'
Yo PE in the house, top billin'
Yo Chuck, show em what you can do, boy

[Verse 3:]
Get from in front of me, the crowd runs to me
My deejay is warm, he's X, I call him Norm, ya know
He can cut a record from side to side
So what, the ride, the glide should be much safer than a suicide
Soul control, beat is the father of your rock'n'roll
Music for whatcha, for whichin', you call a band, man
Making a music, abuse it, but you can't do it, ya know
You call 'em demos, (but we ride limos, too)
Whatcha gonna do? Rap is not afraid of you
Beat is for Sonny Bono, (beat is for Yoko Ono)
Run-DMC first said a deejay could be a band
Stand on its feet, get you out your seat
Beat is for Eric B. and LL as well, hell
Wax is for Anthrax, still it can rock bells
Ever forever, universal, it will sell
Time for me to exit, Terminator X-it

Turn it up! Bring the noise!

[Bridge: Flava Flav]
Yo, they should know by now that they can't stop this bum rush
Word up, better keep tellin' me to turn it down
But yo, Flavor Flav ain't going out like that

[Verse 4]
From coast to coast, so you can stop being like a comatose
"Stand, my man? The beat's the same with a boast toast"
Rock with some pizzazz, it will last. Why you ask?
Roll with the rock stars, still never get accepted as
We got to plead the Fifth, we can investigate
Don't need to wait, get the record straight
Hey, posse's in effect, got the Flavor, Terminator
X to sign checks, play to get paid
We got to check it out down on the avenue
A magazine or two is dissing me and dissing you
Yeah, I'm telling you

[Outro: Flava Flav]
Hey yo, Griff, get thirty S1W, we got to handle this
We ain't goin' out like that
Yo man, straight up on the Columbo tip
We can do this, like Buddhists
Cause we always knew this
You know what I'm sayin'
There's just one thing that puzzles me, my brother
What's wrong with all these people around here, man
Is they clocking? Is they rocking? Is they shocking?…

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Random Poem #120

(Poem #421 on new numbering scheme)

So let's not speak of cities' meanings till
we understand their impositions, vast
and artful, such that dreams are burned against
the teeming complications landscapes have.

Caveat: Here is reality

Hooded Night

At night, toward dawn, all the lights of the shore have died,
And the wind moves. Moves in the dark
The sleeping power of the ocean, no more beastlike than manlike,
Not to be compared; itself and itself.
Its breath blown shoreward huddles the world with a fog; no stars
Dance in heaven; no ship's light glances.
I see the heavy granite bodies of the rocks of the headland,
That were ancient here before Egypt had pyramids,
Bulk on the gray of the sky, and beyond them the jets of young trees
I planted the year of the Versailles peace.
But here is the final unridiculous peace. Before the first man
Here were the stones, the ocean, the cypresses,
And the pallid region in the stone-rough dome of fog where the moon
Falls on the west. Here is reality.
The other is a spectral episode: after the inquisitive animal's
Amusements are quiet: the dark glory.

– Robinson Jeffers (American poet, 1887-1962)

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]

Caveat: Those New Service Sector Jobs – Cactus Manager

I was with my ES2-T cohort. They're really low level. We were talking about what their parents' jobs were (i.e. My dad is a building manager). A fourth-grader named Tim insisted that his mother was a "Cactus Manager." Of course, I had no idea what a cactus manager might be. I suspected a bad translation, but even after we messed with the dictionary on my phone for a while, that was all he could come up with. I think there might be some kind of hole in the dictionary's knowledge (not unheard of). I drew pictures of cactuses and stick-figure moms managing them, and Tim thought this was entertaining but I don't think he even realized what I was trying to say. 

The name of this blog post is a tribute to Tyler Cowen's economics blog – he's always finding "those new service sector jobs" that are strange or unexpected.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Random Poem #116 “Love sonnet”

(Poem #417 on new numbering scheme)

An unrequited love is best of all
because there are no compromises urged
because no complications will befall
because right from the start all hopes are purged.
Imagined generosities prevent
the flowering of jealousies unreal,
and finally the heart's desires are spent
in crafting verse the voice must not reveal.
Yet all along, new meanings can be made:
from castles, pure and abstract, words are flung
and later when those ramparts start to fade,
an apophenic anthem can be sung.
It's easy, then, to pine for that that's not;
and simple, too, to leave it: just a thought.

– a sonnet in iambic pentameter.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: All Shook Up

There's been a major earthquake in Mexico City, 32 years to the day after the 1985 quake. I didn't experience the 1985 earthquake, but I moved to Mexico City in January, 1986, and the city was still full of rubble and broken buildings at that time. I experienced a major delayed aftershock during my first months there, which was a bit scary.

Now, I read through the news and see buildings with addresses that could very well be places I visited during my time living there. I'm not well in touch with anyone from that period of my life, but I hope they are OK. The Delegación Benito Juárez ("delegación" is like a borough in NYC or a 구 [gu] in Seoul) was apparently particularly hard-hit. My recollection is that that same delegación was also hard-hit in the 1985 event – I think it's related to the underlying geology combined with the age of the neighborhoods – the buildings are in the majority low-rise (5-10 story) apartment buildings built during the city's rapid growth in the 1930's-1950's. They're old, poorly built, crowded, and not well-maintained. Benito Juárez is working class.

When I lived in Mexico City, I used to take the subway to random subway stations throughout the city and then walk home (often 5-10 km distance). I'm sure I've walked many parts of Benito Juárez – the subway station names are intimately familiar to me, especially along line 3 (olive green): Etiopía, División del Norte, Coyoacán… 

For nostalgia's sake, here's a rather bad picture of me in the garden at Leon Trotsky's house (now a museum), which happens to be right on the southern boundary of Delagación Benito Juárez. I visited there with my dad in 2007. Maybe that rickety brick tower fell down?


I very much love Mexico City. In many respects, it remains my favorite city in the world. So I feel very sad.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Random Poem #114

(Poem #415 on new numbering scheme)

The woman sitting next to me at work
is very sad these days. Her sister's life
is running out because an alien
has moved in. Cancer's staked a vicious claim.
I guess she's not so happy seeing me.
She'll think, "But why was he preserved while mine
will perish? Does my fate abhor what's fair?"
I sit with awkward silence. What to say?

Caveat: The Party I Planned But Didn’t Know About

Last night we had a 회식 [hoesik = work-related dining and drinking experience, for which I think there is no useful English Translation – maybe 50's style "Business Lunch" with lots of alcohol, but late at night]. 

As is so often the case, I found out about it only because of my efforts to be attentive to the Korean-language patter around me – they just assume I understand what's going on, anymore, which places the obligation on me to pay attention.

So I turned to my coworker Kay and said I would go, but I hate these "last minute" versions – as I've mentioned before on this blog. She was momentarily quite confused. We went back and forth a few times, before she finally said. "It's not last-minute. Curt announced it in the Kakaotalk last week." 

I checked my Kakaotalk (a kind of facebook messenger type app ubiquitous in Korea) on my phone. "Uh… you mean this?" Last week, there was the following exchange, in Kakaotalk (which I'd had while still at my mom's in Australia):

Curt: Happy day jared let's have a party soon~

Jared: Thank you! We can have an English-teaching party on Monday.

Curt: Ok let's.

Kay nodded. 

I said to her, "You realize I was joking when I said 'party,' there? And I thought it was obvious."

I use the word 'party' in this joking sense ALL THE TIME, at work. I use it with my students, as in, "uh-oh, I guess we need to have a homework party," in response to a class where the majority haven't finished their homework. I use it with coworkers, as in, "We're having a comment-writing party, I think." 

I don't know where I picked up this ironic usage of 'party' – maybe during my years working in tech in Los Angeles. We would have 'coding parties' and 'testing parties' for software. It seemed pretty common in the circles I ran in.

Kay was dismissive. "I knew it was a joke. But Curt didn't. So he made it a plan for a party."

I just laughed.

And later I went to the party.

It was at that meat place near the cancer hospital where Curt knows the owners, I think. It's OK – though this Korean-style barbecue-at-the-table is not my favorite cuisine, anymore. Requires careful chewing.


It made my first day back at work after my vacation VERY LONG. "Party as adverse experience." Hard to adapt.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Yeets and Kates

When I was young – in high school, I guess – there was this kind of schtick I had with my mother sometimes.

It started like this. She was a reader and teacher of English Literature. So there were books by poets around the house: poets like William Butler Yeats and John Keats.

It always rather annoyed me, the incipient rationalist, that English spelling is so inconsistent with respect to pronunciation (as it does my students now, no doubt). Of course I knew the correct pronunciations of their names. But I would point to the book by Yeats, and mispronounce his name. "Yeets," I'd say.

"Yates!" my mother would insist, annoyed.

I'd point to a book by Keats. "Kates," I'd suggest, snarkily.

"Keets," she'd mutter, no doubt understanding my point, but refusing to yield.

So this went on for years. Whenever she had a book by either of those authors in her proximity, we'd play out this little drama, or even if either of those poets would come up in conversation. Given her specialization, and my own long interest in poetry, this was probably more common than anyone could expect.

Well, a few days ago, at my mother's house, we were standing and gazing at her shelf of books of poetry. So of course, there he was. How could I resist?

"Yeets," I said, a call-back to our ancient exchanges.

"If you say so," my mother sighed.

I looked at her in surprise. I paused for a moment, not sure I'd heard correctly. I pumped my fist and leaped around the room, excited. "Victory! Victory, at last," I proclaimed.

My mother looked on, dismayed and maybe alarmed. "What?"

I had to remind her of the old exchanges. I said that in all the years of those interactions, never had she yielded ground on the sacred, canonical pronunciations of those poets' names. Once reminded, she rather got the point, I guess.

She said gently, "I guess I don't see the point in arguing any more."

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Random Poem #112

(Poem #413 on new numbering scheme)

Hey, grab those verbs and make it happen - now.
Put nouns in too, to give it substance, please.
Then decorate with some nice adjectives,
and throw in function words as ornaments.

[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: On Survival

Somewhat to my surprise, my single surviving houseplant (out of the some 6 or 7 I had a few years ago) managed to survive my 13 day absence. I was quite impressed.

I had left it in the sink, with some water underneath it in a flat, wide, pan, figuring that might work like a kind of "water table" that its roots could suck water from via the holes in the bottom of its little plastic pot. I guess it worked.

Anyway, I was feeling very proud of my plant.

So I bought it a friend today. Perhaps the old plant can tell the new plant the secret tricks for surviving under my inept stewardship. Picture: old "survivor" on left, new plant on right.


[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: The Recovery

Yesterday I spent most of the day on an airplane. Although there's not much to do on an airplane except eat, sleep, read, and watch things on the video, it still always feels exhausting to me. I think it's just the rarefied air and body's intuitive apprehension of its own displacement. It's slow-motion teleportation, and it's unpleasant.

So I survived. I ran away from the airplane as soon as I got back, and the arrival, in the chaotic Korean tradition, was weirdly efficient. I am now home. I am not feeling particularly motivated.

Here is a picture from Brisbane, where I spent the night Wednesday night.


Actually, that was the first time I visited there. I thought Brisbane wasn't bad, as small cities go – it reminded me of many US second-tier cities – San Diego or Austin or Minneapolis for that matter. The one thing that was unexpected was that the downtown is actually rather hilly. I had this impression, because of the map with its meandering river, that it was probably flat, but that was clearly a wrong conception. In that way, it was like St Paul – it looks flat on the map, but really isn't flat at all. 

[daily log: living, 52years]

Caveat: Random Poem #109

(Poem #410 on new numbering scheme)

The little girl's black shirt said "optimist,"
but she was frowning with the saddest face
that one could possibly imagine. So...
dad joked, but failed to get the least result.

[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: Random Poem #108

(Poem #409 on new numbering scheme)

The central part of Brisbane seems to me
not so unlike the kind of city found
across America; not famous ones
but rather boring cities full of cars
and buses and historic buildings now
just banks and farmers' kids who've fled their towns
because the dust and sun no longer give
them any hope - the city, though, is not
so big, yet people don't know who you are.
Back to Top