Wives’ Revenge: Switching of Exteriority

It’s a pleasure to see Kenneth, a fellow countryman and Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com), always upbeat with a wry sense of fatalism, an epitome of the Korean adage, “Bounce back up the 8th time, though knocked over 7 times (7전 8기).”

“So how is your life as a homebody?” I ask, referring to the reversal of roles or polarity between himself, the “outward or exterior lord” (바깥 양반), another word for husband in Korean, describing how he goes out into the world to bring home the bacon, and his wife, “home person” (집 사람) or “interior person” (안 사람), left behind to take care of the house. Notice the honorific “lord” for the former, contrasting with the plebeian status of the latter.

Biology brings about the switch of polarity, not legislation nor cultural, social pressure. Men, too feeble to go out, get to stay home, but their mates, on average 5 years younger due to hypergamy on top of their longer lifespan by 7 years in the States, go shopping, stop at the bank, post office, gas station, and perform other necessary “exterior” activities, which may even include bringing home a paycheck, as in Kenneth’s case: Alice is a church musician.

But, as is often the case with the nouveau riche, the female “lords” can be pretty bossy toward their homebodies, putting them under strict orders to wash dishes, put out the garbage and recyclables, clean the whole house spic and span, inside and out, water the plants, and do repairs on the furniture and the house. Mercifully, he doesn’t have to cook. Nor does she do much of it anyway, ready-made Korean and Western cuisine being available at supermarkets and specialty stores. Except she spends hours cooking for Emily, their 3-year-old granddaughter, she babysits and takes to preschool.

“Alice has finally stopped bitching about having to rewash the dishes, especially Emily’s,” Kenneth replies triumphantly. “This happened one day when she gave me a frying pan coated thick with lard after pan frying steak. I couldn’t rinse it under the faucet for fear of clogging up the drain. So I scraped the pan with scrap paper, then kept scraping with more and more wads of paper until no trace of grease remained and, in fact, no water washing was needed with or without soap. Then and there I decided to apply the same method to everything else, dishes, pots and pans, utensils. Alice hasn’t figured out yet why it’s been months since she bought the last bottle of dish detergent.”

“But doesn’t it take long?”

“A couple of hours along with my eating but it’s healthy. No more acid reflux.”

Grandparent Spoiling

How do grandparents get hooked on their grandchildren and spoil them? How bad is it or is it?

In her New Year letter Margaret, my wife Young’s long-time friend, explains why she had to leave New Jersey where she had lived all her life, raising her three children, and head west: to follow her youngest daughter, her husband, and their one-year-old son Jack, who has “stolen my heart.”

It certainly rings a bell, because that’s more or less what we have done, moving east from Hawaii to be near Naomie, our then 6th and youngest new-born granddaughter. Both her parents working full time in Manhattan it made sense to terminate our second Hawaiian residence of a dozen years and come over to help with her rearing. Besides we were getting on in years, even my wife, 20 years my junior, and this might be the last opportunity to practice grandparenting, of which we had a taste with Jamie, our first granddaughter, nostalgia for which had crescendoed to an unbearable degree at times – her stayovers with us, the special room we had painstakingly furnished for her, her merry laughter, the restaurants we enjoyed, everybody gathering around her, the cutest thing in the world, our day-long trips to the amusement parks, museums, beaches, lakes. Then, in her kindergarten year, we had to pack up and move to Hawaii, too far away to do anything with her or with her younger twin sisters and two cousins.

Enlisted in our cause is Young’s mother, a 40-year-resident of Hawaii: my wife has a medical condition that limits her full-time employment and disqualifies her in one vital respect, living at her son’s house to tend to the infant waking up in the middle of the night interrupting the distance-commuters’ sleep. Not to mention our need for space, including a master bedroom suite of our own. Young’s mother, the epitome of health and energy at 88, didn’t mind, especially when promised the services of a full-time nanny and part timers for pre-midnight and weekend attendance. She goes to sleep early like 8 p.m. and is more or less awake in the small hours of the night.

In no time Naomie, half the time called Jamie by us, does to Young what Jack has done to Margaret: bewitchment.

“Oh, I miss her,” Young sighs as soon as she steps into our house, the painful separation routine still vivid in her mind when she drops Naomie off at her house 4.2 miles away from ours after picking her up at the preschool. Never directly, though, because they generally stop at a few stores, including the Palisades Park Plaza with the carousel and toy land. When they finally get to her house, she makes Young read books, a whole library of them, both English and Korean, work on puzzles, play the piano and sing with her. Gladys, the full timer, distracts her with the TV or the videos of herself Young has taken, so she can slip out but as often as not she gets caught by Naomie who runs out crying to the car.

Young tinkers a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing Naomie’s school lunch shaped into an elephant, dinosaur, horse, or something novel and imaginative, aided by Google graphics, to pass muster with Naomie who without fail demands to have her lunch box opened for inspection upon Young’s arrival at her house the next morning to take her to school.

At last, climbing into bed to sleep, Young sobs, “Oh, how I miss her!”

In the second week of February, 2019, Naomie comes over to stay with us for four nights, so her parents can take a skiing vacation by themselves in Colorado. Her 10-month old sister Naela is staying home with her great grandma, whose stay has now been automatically and indefinitely extended.

This isn’t the first time Naomie has stayed with us. Shortly after Naela’s birth the whole family had to come over for a few days while the attic was being remodeled for a live-in nanny. Absolutely to no purpose because the few they have tried out have all washed out. So this is the first time Naomie is with us by herself to be the focus of our undivided attention.

All three of us are on cloud nine. Whatever Naomie wants is hers. She pulls out all the toys from the parlor closet, brings out her table with the play dough from the study into the living room, visits the pink cloth castle with the spire in a corner of the dining room, noticing and approving the witch’s hat put on top by Young. We have fun all along. After the first dinner she even lets me brush her teeth, Young hanging over me to make sure I do a thorough job, reminding me that she was found to have three cavities on her last dental visit. I pull up her lip four times, upper and lower lip, left and right, to squeeze in the tooth brush and stroke down, first inside, then out, calculated to loosen any food particles caught between teeth, reminiscent of the precision work watch repairmen used to perform looking through a magnifying monocle over an eye. Are they tears in her eyes? Is she stoically enduring the indignity and discomfort, if not pain, of the whole operation? No, I have been extra careful not to pinch or poke. Still not sure of extricating all hiding food particles I propose to dental floss her, but Young forbids it, citing absence of the dentist’s instruction, though it seems a matter of common sense, flossing being far less traumatic than brushing. I am sure Naomie would see it my way, if explained, but who am I to argue with her majesty, my wife?

After a pleasant breakfast the next morning I smile and ask Naomie to come to the bathroom and sit on the stool to brush her teeth before she changes to school clothes.

“No!” the deafening scream is so sudden and violent it takes my breath away.

“Come and take over, honey,” I plead, vanquished, only to be struck by another thunderbolt.

“You should be able to take care of that small detail,” Young roars from the balcony. “I have to pack Naomie’s stuff and change her before getting myself ready to take her to school. I’ll be down in ten minutes with her clothes.”

“Okay, Sweetie,” I turn to Naomie and cajole her, “How about flossing?” I show her how it’s done.

“No!” She is adamant.

I almost think of forcing her, because this is an emergency. Three cavities! Then with a shock I recall a replica of the scene over four decades ago with my own children, her father included, who resist all reasonable attempts to make them do something necessary though I am in a hurry to drop them off at school and hurry to the university for my class. I was still teaching then. I would have definitely resorted to force. After a sharp slap or two I would have grabbed the chin, pulled open the mouth, shoved in the brush, and rubbed roughly, not so much to remove the food deposits as a routine. How destructive such violence would have been to their little ego, if not their teeth! I am smitten with regret and guilt. Thank God they have grown up normal, productive, creative individuals, with no grudges toward me that I can tell. Now with no class to teach or compulsion to earn money, I certainly won’t repeat such criminal behavior.

Young comes on the scene and immediately sizes up the situation. Instead of flying into a passion as I have feared, she bends down and tells her to let me brush her teeth, only to be met with another unequivocal “No!”

“We’ll take you home, then. Do you want that?”

Naomie is silent.

“All right, then,” Young says, getting ready to take her to the car.

“Yes,” Naomie says.

“Go home or brush teeth?”

“Go home.”

All hell has broken loose, the little one calling our bluff.

“Okay,” Young says. “But you are going straight to Moo-su-woon-day (Scary Place).”

It is the broom closet under the stairway to the attic, where Naomie’s mother banishes her for infractions like running around the house naked, refusing to wear her clothes after a bath, or taking forever to eat. Of course Young has never sent her there but invoked it now and then to frighten her into obedience.

“But Mommy is not home,” Naomie says confidently.

“Yeah but the Monster is there, Bad Monster, who will carry you in there,” Young growls and scowls, giving the best enactment of an enforcing monster, which impresses Naomie enough to scream, “No!”

“So not go home and brush teeth?”

Naomie nods in defeat but decides to make up for her submission. When the brushing is done and the clothes put on, she refuses to go down to the garage, and wants to keep watching the laptop at home. I have half a mind to pick her up, take her to the car, and plump her down in her seat.

“But there is a Happy Monster waiting outside to meet you, Naomie,” Young announces, looking out the window, too high for Naomie to look through. She wants to be picked up and shown, but Young suggests they go to the garage and meet him outside. Naomie follows and wants to see the Happy Monster before entering the car. Young takes her out and goes around the house to look, surprised to see him gone.

“I know,” Young explains. “He went to school first to wait for us. Let’s go and meet him there.”

Half doubtful, half credulous, Naomie enters the car and gets buckled in. At the school the first thing she asks is, “Where is the Happy Monster?” Young looks all over the parking lot and around the building to pronounce, “Oh, he must be in class with Teacher Jo Anne, waiting for you. Let’s go.” Naomie follows Young to the class to be met by a chorus of welcome, because she is popular with her peers and teachers. Young quietly leaves, unnoticed.

It’s Saturday, the day set aside for our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Wishing to leave the house by 9:30 so as not to miss the Lunar New Year parade and other events, we sit for breakfast at 8:30 and urge Naomie to eat the pieces of beef, not just noodles, in the bowl, along with boiled vegetables and milk.

“I want strawberry and banana smoothie,” Naomie declares.

“No, you have to drink the milk first,” Young counters but, fearing revolt, changes tack. “Okay, you can drink along with milk, one sip of smoothie, then one sip of milk, okay?”

Naomie remains noncommittal. When the 4-ounce bottle with the straw stuck in it is placed before her, she grabs, sucks, and doesn’t stop, until the whole bottle is drained. We let it go and plan on putting the cup of milk to her lips as often as she takes any mouthful of the solid food, except she is back to her usual trick of holding the food in her mouth like a bird’s crop. Eventually she swallows but at a glacial speed and Young is waiting with a spoonful ready to shove in her mouth at the first sign of deflation in the cheeks. It’s going to last the whole morning at this rate.

Young brings her laptop over and plays Naomie’s favorite tunes with the videos, Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald, London Bridge Is Falling Down, and so on. Diverted, she starts swallowing faster. By 9:30 she finishes about half of the food laid out. The usual resistance happens about brushing her teeth but by telling her about the trip to the city she is made halfway cooperative. At 10 we are finally on our way and I am actually happy to be driving because of the special passenger, Naomie, all excitement, taking in the gliding scenery along the Parkway, despite my declared animus against travel (see Myth of Travel, 11-10-2018, typakmusings.com).

If the start is late, the numerous errors we make on the road delay us even further. First, I think we are going to the Museum of Natural History despite Young’s mentioning the Metropolitan Museum. That’s why I’ve told Naomie that we’ll be seeing dinosaurs and mammoths. Remembering our visits there a few times with Jamie I confidently leave Hudson Parkway South at 96th and intend to turn right at either close to the park or the street before, but 96th is blocked and I have to turn left, then turn right onto 97th which only goes straight through the park.

“I have to turn right before the park but now I must cross it,” I moan.

“No, you are on the right track. Cross the park and turn right on Fifth right out of the park to the Metropolitan,” Young assures me. “Its parking garage is on Fifth at 80th.”

But even after this enlightenment I miss the museum parking entirely, not having noticed it on our previous visits by taxi or subway. I look only left, thinking that there could be no garage built on the park itself. Nor is there a garage on the east side of Fifth, either, lined with multimillion dollar residential condos. I turn left on 80th and find two garages, whose attendants of course don’t know where the museum parking per se is because people park at their garages and walk half a block to the museum. I return to the car parked at a hydrant with the hazard blinkers on to find Young on the phone talking to a human voice at the museum information. Hanging up she orders me to get back to Fifth and look right at 80th where we will see the garage.

After parking we get into the ground floor lobby, packed full with people in long lines to buy tickets. Hearing that we could go upstairs to the main lobby, Young decides to split up and, ordering me to stay in line, goes upstairs with Naomie, hoping to get the tickets quicker that way. After about 30 minutes my turn is coming up with only a couple of people ahead. I can’t buy the tickets in case Young has bought them already. In panic I call Young and the screen says, Emergency calls only. A few tries show the same results. Instead of stepping up to the counter, I leave and head for the stairs only to be told by the security to exit the building and enter by the main front entrance, unless I had tickets.

In the big lobby, milling with people, my heart sinks, the chance of running into Young and Naomie one in a thousand, maybe a million. I go to the information kiosk and ask if they can page them. They laugh and tell me to use my phone. I tell them that they should know better, calls other than emergency being blocked. Not comprehending, they tell me to try again. I dial and at least the emergency advisory does not display, though only Young’s recording comes on. After about the fifth try she answers. She is at the children’s crafts area downstairs, coloring, making paper shapes. She orders me to get the tickets and come look for them. There are dozens of machines where one gets tickets almost instantly. Why the long lines and the emergency blocking at the ground level, unbeknownst to the information one floor up? Anyway I buy one adult and one senior. Armed, I can now take indoor stairs or elevators freely and go look for my relatives.

When I find them, after going to all the wrong places, it’s 1 p.m., way past lunch time. Naomie is hungry. So we go to the cafeteria downstairs but the lines to pay for the items one places on the tray are miles long. The dining room is also full and people wait for tables to vacate. I am ready to give up, suggesting that we go out to eat and return, but Young has a better idea. We go in and find an empty table where Naomie and I wait, while Young goes back to get our lunch. Minutes pass but there is no sign of our provider. Naomie wants to go to the bathroom, which presents a real dilemma. To take our stroller, coats, bags would be giving up the hard-won table. On the other hand the stuff left behind may get stolen. Choosing the latter risk I navigate to the men’s outside the cafeteria only to stand in a line. When finally we get inside a vacated toilet, Naomie refuses to use it, saying she will wait until we get to our house. I end up taking her to the bathroom two more times and Young one time more during our lunch to the women’s thinking that may make a difference. No dice. The poor girl will hold. Such sensitivity!

After lunch we go to the Korean art room, Chinese gallery, Egyptian pavilion with the pond, etc. At the theater we line up to see a Chinese New Year lion dance. I choose to wait outside, unable to risk our stroller getting mixed up among the dozens parked, unattended. Besides I’ve seen the dance countless times. Naomie emerges well and tired, practically falling asleep. I offer to take her one more time to the bathroom but she refuses, betraying no sign of discomfort. What a feat of continence! Praying it does not damage her bladder, I eagerly second Young’s decision to head home, though we haven’t had our money’s worth. It’s 3:25 p.m. As soon as she gets into the car and buckled in, Naomie falls asleep.

As we return her to her parents, a few things cross my mind. It’s been exhausting 4 days of pure joy despite the bumps, and we already miss her. Why are we so willing to go through so much trouble for our grandchildren?

I believe our affection is an instinctual response to an aesthetic armor God puts on the young like protective coloring to disable or suspend the predatory ferocity in the adult, human or beast. Lions or wolves are known to fondle lambs or puppies. Most humans love babies, as we have confirmed time and again with Jamie and Naomie. Add to it the biological factor, our genetic torch bearers giving us biological immortality, be it only a quarter of their genetic makeup, and you have a megaton of affection.

At the same time this is extremely time sensitive. As I look at Jamie, our first granddaughter, whose name we still confuse with Naomie’s, whose earlier photos indistinguishable from the other one’s, I can’t believe she is now 21, a college sophomore, who gets A+ for a sociology paper coolly, microscopically dissecting us as the “first generation of immigrants struggling with their cultural shock in America.” I know for a fact that this brainy and stately young lady would be scandalized at the merest hint that I used to do to her what she just saw me do in passing to her much younger cousin Naomie: wipe her bottom after a toilet sitting.

Exhausted after having Naomie all to ourselves for four days we leave her at her home to wait for their parents, relieved. Upon return to our house, however, our eyes tear up at the empty bed recently vacated, leaving an imprint of her little body. We had better enjoy and spoil her as much as we can while we can, because it doesn’t last long. In fact, it ends rather quickly, when they turn kindergarten age, if not earlier, when it becomes clear to the little ones that it is their parents, no matter how uptight or strict, who have the last word on their shelter, clothing, food, what school they go to, what extracurricular lessons to take, what careers to pursue, etc. In these vital choices and commitments, whose importance begins to sink in and impress, they realize that grandparents with all their fondness, leniency, and indulgence are orbital, incidental and dispensable in a way the nuclear parents are not. Slowly they begin detaching, distancing themselves from us, the first step toward development, individuality, maturity, marriage, family, dynasty, as we walk off into the sunset, into oblivion. But that’s how it is, as it should be, no harm done, nothing to apologize for or bemoan.

Our only regret is that we will never be able to spoil those four grandchildren of ours, born between Jamie and Naomie, and Naela, Naomi’s younger sister, of whom Naomie is fiercely jealous. Whenever Young goes near her, Naomie comes around to play tackle, putting herself between them and pushing Young away. Hopefully, she will get over it in a year or two and become more tolerant of her sister, our last chance, unless their parents spring another surprise on us.

Revival of the Lunar New Year: Too Many Holidays?

Early this morning, Feb 5, 2019, I was startled by a New Year message for the Year of the Pig from a high school alum and from a Korean community leader of Metropolitan NY, both successful professionals, naturalized and resident in the States more than half a century. In the course of the day there followed altogether over a dozen, including one from a white American professor of mathematics, married to a Korean wife.

What a 180! Still ringing in my ears is the strident official motto, One New Year Only, calling for abolition of the old New Year, according to Korea’s modernization program, which decreed a wholesale repudiation of the backward hermit kingdom that had allowed its colonization by Japan in the first half of the 20th century. Naturally generations of Koreans grew up culturally conflicted with a deep inferiority complex that dogged them even when they emigrated to the US.

Until well into the new millennium many Koreans arriving in America hesitated to disclose their nationality, not minding identification with the Chinese or Japanese, already well established and in the main stream. Anxious to assimilate and Americanize they wouldn’t dream of resuscitating the Lunar New Year, discredited in their home country. Taking the math professor’s case, his Korean wife wouldn’t have demeaned her wonderful American husband with her own cultural baggage. Lo and behold, she has turned him into a militant practitioner. Assertive and demanding, she is anything but shy about who she is.

All thanks to Korea’s phenomenal economic growth. Were Korea still at the bottom of global GDP ranking, instead of near the top, Korean Americans would have been less than so enthusiastic to identify themselves as Korean. Again it is money that talks, makes all the difference. So Korean Americans have to thank their mother country for pulling itself up the ladder of success and restoring Korean Americans their national pride.

But how should we go about it? The reinstatement of the old Korean holiday creates a problem, too many holidays. Back in Korea, before my 1965 emigration to the States, I was amazed by the privileged foreigners, chiefly American military and diplomatic personnel, stationed in Korea, enjoying three kinds of holidays, UN, American (President, Memorial, Independence, Labor, and Veterans), and Korean. Were they in Korea for serious work or for a lark?

Now my countrymen in America seem headed in the same direction. Citing local ordinances for Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays, Tenafly in Bergen County, NJ, known for its high concentration of Koreans, has succeeded in getting Lunar New Year’s Day declared a holiday by its city council. Notice the change to “Lunar” from “Chinese,” as previously known, to emphasize its wider East Asian scope and thereby restore Korean identity. This has inspired other cities and boroughs in the county and elsewhere to emulate the example. Thank God they are not asking for inclusion of other holidays of theirs like March 1, the patriotic uprising in 1919 against Japanese occupation, and Aug 15, Liberation Day. Not so far anyway.

The Bounty of Ambidexterity: Life Extending and Invigorating Better Than Viagra

“How many of us are ambidextrous?” asks Paul, an Onc and retired psychologist, during fellowship after church service (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com), looking around for a show of hands.

“Nobody,” he confirms. “That figures. Only 1% of the population is genetically so endowed and there are too few of us here to produce a sample. But left handers achieve quasi-ambidexterity due to social pressure and adaptation to equipment and facilities designed for right-hand use. So how many of us are lefties?”

Albert, a retired ophthalmologist, defiantly raises his hand, though superfluously because everybody already knows.

“Good, Al,” Paul cheers. “There is one like you in 10. You should be proud of your minority, because statistically as a group you are smarter, richer, and more successful, present company included. Eight of our 45 Presidents are left-handed, 18%, which is almost double your demographic weight of 10%. Apparently what may be called the sinister bias of society has worked to your advantage, giving you the drive to overcome.”

“I wish I had known about that,” regrets James. “I had high hopes for Angela, my first born. I wanted her to be the first female President. When we found her left-leaning at about age one, we firmly corrected her, switching the spoon or fork to the right hand. Same thing with crayon or pencil as she drew or wrote, poor girl. Eventually she became right handed, probably nixing her chances to be President.”

“A top Wall Street lawyer!” snorts Tom. “You have nothing to complain about her.”

“With the 8% nudge she could have been President but that’s water under the bridge. What I don’t get is that the orientation can be modified at all. If it’s genetically hemisphere-specific, it should remain unalterably so.”

“Apparently not,” Paul explains. “Just as the shape of the head can be modified with a corrective helmet, when young, like a few months old, the hemispheric specialization of manual dexterity can be altered. Not only in infancy but after maturity, as in the case of Peter Bach, the protagonist of The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan, amazon.com. I assume you guys have all read it.”

Heads nod, the result of arm twisting by Paul, its rave reviewer.

“But you are partly right,” he reassures James. “The original genetic orientation remains, because the modification is just that, modification. The left hand gains dexterity without wiping out that of the right. In other words, it’s transition from mono-dexterity to ambidexterity, not to another mono-dexterity. Peter Bach can use chopsticks with both hands, throw and push, or write with both. I bet Angela is both handed, too.”

“Maybe in sleep. Awake, she is strictly right.”

“Subconsciously she is both, even awake,” Paul insists. “Ambidexterity enables the person fuller use of both hemispheres. Angela’s success is due to your compulsion to correct her. So you’ve done nothing wrong, which reminds me of my main point. We should all teach ourselves to be ambidextrous. That includes you, Al. You have a head start over us but have some ways to go to be as ambidextrous as Peter Bach. Can you write with your right hand, for example?”

“No, I haven’t tried,” Albert replies.

“Time you did,” Paul suggests.

“What’s the point, though?” Albert dares him. “Peter, your hero, is in prison, under solitary confinement, with nothing else to do. He himself confesses that it is on a whim, just to see if he can do it, for no practical purpose.”

“What makes him such a consummate polyglot, diplomat, administrator, and peacemaker, a phenomenon of the century as Walter Cronkite of CBS says?” Paul retorts. “His ambidexterity gives him an intuitive panoramic perspective, balance and clarity of judgment.”

“Do you have stats on the 1% congenitally ambidextrous?” James asks. “They must be off the charts as rich and famous.”

“No, but my hunch is that acquired ambidexterity or quasi-ambidexterity gives us the advantage over the congenital, the same kind of advantage the lefties get, as we have to work for it, whereas when given at birth one is apt to take it for granted. The acquired ambidexterity opens up traffic between the left and right hemispheres, mobilizing the unused parts of each, a fact confirmed by my own practice: every patient taught to use the formerly gauche hand while the dominant hand is temporarily out of commission due to injury gets endorphin-soaked, brimming over with a sense of euphoria, liberation, a new lease on life. So I urge all of you to try.”

“You are talking to the wrong crowd, Paul,” objects Tim. “We are all Oncs, the terminals, with only a few more years left, if that. Peter Bach is less than half our age, in his late thirties, and has all the time in the world to shift from one hemisphere to another. Ours are frozen stuck, each in its place, with no prospect of crossover.”

“The bridge, corpus callosum, remains open and nothing blocks it, regardless of age. Just let the traffic start and the body will take over to complete the job. Even if there is only one year left to live, we should try it, as I have, after my open heart surgery. Bed-ridden, I tried to do more things with my left hand than right, recalling my clinical experience. The sensation of pleasure was immediate. I felt better, had a positive outlook on life, and my recovery was so rapid that the cardiologist couldn’t believe it. Besides there is some evidence, according to recent research, that acquisition of ambidexterity may be life-extending and even ED-reversing, more effectively than Viagra.”

“What’s a shaft good for with no hole to shove it in?” mutters Adam, a widower, sotto voce.

“Go jerk off,” Ralph, 102, much decorated and celebrated, rasps so loud that the whole hall hisses. “Get what you can.”

Hail to America, the Melting Pot!

“I totally disagree with your article about America being anything but a melting pot (see America, the Separator, Not a Melting Pot, for Naturalized Americans, 1-13-2019, typakmusings.com),” George, a Korean Onc, dares me openly during fellowship after church service (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com). “We Koreans, for one, do not form ghettos or barrios.”

“But, George, you’ve relocated from Hawaii to Norwood, NJ, where the Koreans account for about 30% of the population,” intervenes Andrew, Lay Leader, generally conciliatory but firm upon sniffing a brawl ahead. “In fact, Park Place, the posh gated community you’ve bought into, has 12 Korean out of 19 residences and has just elected a Korean for President of the Home Owners Association.”

“I didn’t know that,” George digs in. “That Ashley my wife hired as realtor just because she was her high school alumna from Korea didn’t tell me, perhaps tipped off by Jane about my Koreanophobia.”

“Why do you hate your own kind so much?” asks Peter, the Cantor, amused.

“Because they take advantage of you, don’t know the meaning of give and take, one good turn deserving another,” George expounds. “For example, all this Ashley broad did after selling the house to us for a full 6% commission is buy a pot of palms. Promptly she and her husband take off on a two-week Caribbean cruise, which should have been ours, at the least. More properly she should have refunded us half of her commission.”

“How do you figure that?” asks Richard, a real estate attorney, retired.

“Because if we had hired a stranger, a regular American, White, Black, Latino, Chinese, anyone but Korean, we could have reduced the commission to 3%, as we did when we sold our Maplewood, NJ house in 2005 for our move to Hawaii.”

“Jane is happy and so are you with the house, a mansion, 3-car garage, 4-bedroom, 4-bath, 2-fireplace, marble and hardwood floors, 5,000 square feet, the price holding up in the down market,” points out Andrew who has been there bearing a house-warming gift from the church. “Ashley was a good choice as realtor. Maybe you should hire her back next time around when you buy or sell another house.”

“No,” George is emphatic. “I won’t let her come anywhere near. Who cares about such triviality as small talk in your own lingo, when you can save big bucks dealing with strangers at arm’s length? Thank God for America, the big melting pot chock full of strangers.”

Stat, An Immediate Moratorium on NJ Property Tax, More Than Double the National Average!

“Did you guys get the belated New Year card from the Campbells in Denver?” asks Charles.

As soon as they sold their house to the first bidder, Tom and Mary had an estate sale, Goodwill cleaning up what’s left, and drove merrily off to the high country, without a second glance at their stately 7-bedroom mansion where they had raised all their three children, thumbing their nose at Trenton, the blood suckers.

“Yeah, we did,” chorus several voices.

“The photo – our view of Denver from the 30th floor condo we’re renting for the year – about all we’ve got in this cubbyhole. Hoping our marriage survives the crunch, we wish you and yours a prosperous 2019!” reads Don.

“You think their marriage is on the rocks with all the trauma of relocation thousands of miles, practically across the continent,” worries Dave. “I hear relocation is the second most frequent reason for divorce.”

“A 100-ton power puller wouldn’t pull them apart,” dismisses Charles. “It’s just Mary howling and yowling as usual. Tom wouldn’t care and never wrote a card in his life.”

“Maybe we should relocate to Colorado or Florida or somewhere where there is zero or close to zero property tax, even though we have no children in the prosecutor’s office,” Adam chimes in. Margaret Campbell, Tom and Mary’s youngest, got the offer of city prosecutor by Denver.

“Trenton and the Democrats should wake up and declare an immediate moratorium on property tax before they lose all their good residents and businesses.”

“Have you guys noticed that big pothole on Flagstone Ave? My brand new Kia almost got swallowed up in it yesterday. What do they do with all our tax money? We should write to that strutting greenhorn Mayor.”

“Better write to Trump, a petition of all NJ residents, starting with Ridgewood and Glen Rock, so he can start cleaning up the swamp, not only in DC but here, too.”

No Eating Out, Period

“Can I take you out somewhere to celebrate your 95th birthday, Bill?” asks Adam, a junior Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com), during fellowship after church service.

“I don’t eat out,” Bill answers, staring from his untouched cup of coffee somebody has poured him, unasked, to Adam’s full plate of beef sandwich, salad, fruit.

“If it’s BM (see Billionaire Mentality, 1-20-2019, typakmusings.com), I’ll take you to the Rainbow Room in Manhattan.”

“Isn’t it private?”

“Yeah, but I can use my son-in-law’s membership.”

“Oh, the billionaire,” Bill snorts.

“At least his fund is multibillion,” Adam nods.

“I seldom eat out,” Bill declares. “Why bother? I can easily fix up what little I eat with my own hands, not anybody else’s.”

“Oh, I’ve heard about Alfonso spitting on steak (see Ask Three Times Before Taking No For an Answer: Quirky Korean Etiquette, 10-31-2018, typakmusings.com) but not every chef is like Alfonso.”

“No, my sources indicate few wash their hands after scratching their genitals or wiping their nose. In fact, to soothe their inferiority complex for catering to our digestive tract…”

“But it’s the top end, not the bottom.”

“Same difference, feeding or voiding. They spite us by dispensing their bodily discharge along with the dish they serve.”

“How long ago was it that your wife passed away, Bill?”

“Fifteen years.”

“While she was alive, you ate the food she prepared.”

“Of course. She was my wife. Don’t you?”

“Of course. The other day my wife forgot to set the alarm. She jumps out of bed, tears downstairs, clangs and clatters to slap together a breakfast so we could leave the house in five minutes. Would I have cared if she hadn’t washed her hands, had wiped her nose or scratched under her panties?”

“She is your wife.”

“Exactly. Because I kiss her in the mouth and all over. But before we met and married to live 60 years together we were total strangers, like the kitchen hands at any restaurant, anyone of whom could have been my wife, under different circumstances (see Eat Others’ Leftovers: A Shortcut to the Golden Rule, Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, 8-27-2015, typakmusings.com). So we might eat out as well as in. Besides the chefs at reputable places like the Rainbow Room are proud of their professional standing, with culinary certificates in full display on the wall. I think they wash hands but, if not, consider them your wife’s before you married her. So do we have a deal.”

“I don’t know. Let me think about it.”

“Have you heard about an Arab scandalized by an American using both hands to hold and eat a sandwich”

“No, I heard they use hands, too, only hands, no utensils.”

“Yeah, but not both hands. Only the right hand, not the left reserved for the other end, to wipe off.”

“Disgusting! Are you sure you heard it right? The Arabs will sue you for racism, cultural bigotry, or something.”

“With all the oil money they forget their nomadic past when they had to travel light. Utensils would have been in the way and, definitely, toilet tissue. Moreover, using the hand to wipe off is perfectly sanitary in the dry desert, the dab drying up and falling off in a matter of minutes.”

“Minutes? You mean they carry it around that long?”

“They may wipe off on their clothes, shoes, or their camel. Won’t matter because dried up, the crust would fall off harmlessly. Likewise, even if our food preparers don’t wash their hands, the smudge of saliva, phlegm, mucus, poop, or whatever left on their hands, will dry up into minuscule strips or granules of various organic molecules you would find in dry packed food.”

“They start cooking before they dry up but, even dried up, the strips and granules, however minuscule,… It’s revolting. I can puke. No eating out, period. That’s my answer.”

No, Three and A Half!

“How old are you, Emily?” asks Peter, charmed by Donald’s youngest granddaughter. They are both Oncs (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com).

Promptly Emily raises her right hand, three fingers pointing straight up and the pinky crooked.

“Oh, you are three,” Peter confirms.

“No, three and a half,” she retorts.

“The half-bent pinky, of course. I apologize, Emily.”

Watching, Donald guffaws and observes, “What a contrast! She can’t wait to get older. Not Nancy, her Grandma, who just had her birthday. Her 39th, of course. She will wring my neck, if I told anyone how old it really makes her. The women have such a complex about getting old.”

“Not men?” I ask.

“Not as much as our women,” Peter explains, “probably victims of our sexism that sees them mostly as sex objects.”

“Female sex slavery from lack of financial independence,” Donald weighs in. “No longer, though, with more female lawyers around than male, for example. It’s our turn to be coy about our age and sexuality, the polarity turning, as it were.”

“It has turned already,” Peter declares. “The other day I went to the website of a charity and guess what I found. Its director, maybe a faggot, has put down under his age, Not telling, as if it is the cutest thing to say.”

“That’s awful,” I deplore. “There shouldn’t be any question of polarity. Emily as our role model we should flaunt every growth ring added to our trunk, proud of our advancing years. This coyness about age is dumb (see Quit Pussyfooting Around Your Age, America, 1-21-2018 and Candor About Age, 1-23-2018, typakmusings.com). In East Asia under the influence of Confucius respect for the elder was engrained in us, except it is now being subverted under American influence, actually itself a subversion of the Western ethos. Christ decrees respect for one’s parents, which extrapolates to elders in general. Granted time was when the New World had to be reclaimed with sheer brawn, the domain of youth. But things have changed with automation and robotics and our wisdom, maturity of judgment, experience should more than make up for our supposed physical infirmity (see Robotics, 9-17-2018 and 90 (85+5), the New Retirement Age, typakmusings.com).”

Any Attention Is Better Than None

“I envy Trump,” sighs W, a senior Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com).

“I thought you despised him,” perks up K, a junior Onc and a Trump supporter.

“That hasn’t changed but I envy all the attention he is getting.”

“But it’s negative attention, the kind that demoralizes and destroys you. It’s like getting dunked in a vat of Clorax, blistering, corrosive. If I got even a scintilla of the kind of criticism he gets all the time from the media and their Pavlovian dogs, I would be a goner by now.”

“No, attention of any kind is better than no attention, which is what we get at our age, no mail, no phone call, no email, a worse toxin. You are submerged and don’t even rise to the surface to take a breath, as when you get dunked in the other vat. Attention is nutrition that refreshes and recharges you.”

Korean Pastor on His Deathbed Refusing A Chaplain

“How is your new chaplaincy going, Don?” Charles asks during fellowship after service, noticing him uncharacteristically glum. A charismatic preacher in his prime at a big church with over a thousand members and bishop of a big NJ diocese before his retirement and membership in the ONCS (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) he is usually the life of the party. Recently he has accepted chaplaincy on call at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood just to do something.

“Lousy,” Don replies reluctantly. “I am trying to get over the shock I had this morning. The ER calls at about 5 a.m. to ask me over, stat, for a patient involved in a car accident on the point of death from multiple rib fractures and pulmonary edema. I run a few red lights, squeal through the gate, and park in my reserved stall in front of the ER, when Carol, the nurse who called me earlier, rings again to say that the patient refuses to have a chaplain. I tell her that I am right outside the door and will come in to comfort him and the family. Carol says no, because when told that a chaplain is on the way, the patient declares with a degree of vehemence unexpected of someone in his condition, that as Pastor Doojin Back of First Korean Methodist Church, Fort Lee, he needs no pastor. I vaguely recognized the name, a Korean, your countryman.”

“Well, Carol should have checked sooner to spare you a trip for nothing,” points out Charles, a junior Onc, indignantly. “You are entitled to the full fee.”

“No, I can forget the fee, peanuts anyway. What bothers me is that Back, a pastor, should reject a fellow pastor in his last hour of need.”

“Maybe he thought you were a Catholic,” Charles hazards a guess.

“No, I even told Carol that I was a Methodist like him but she said the patient’s order was categorical: no man of the cloth, regardless of religion or denomination. What kind of pastor is that? Believers, let alone pastors, pray for each other especially before death. Unless they don’t believe. That’s it. I don’t think he was ever a true believer. Poor fellow, to have labored all this time living a lie! To go to seminary in Korea he must have sworn he believed, right?”

“One can always lie, especially if one’s livelihood depends on it,” Charles holds forth. “Buddhism, the dominant religion of Korea right up to the end of the Korean War, was notorious for its large priesthood, scoundrels with shaved heads in grey monk’s garb. Christianity, its successor, can’t be that much different, given the same population base. But there is an important difference, the US factor, a strong motivation for ordinary Koreans to lie about their Christianity. Modernization of Korea is actually Americanization as laid down by its missionaries. Syngman Rhee, the first President of South Korea, and other so-called leaders of Korea were all church altar boys sponsored by the missionaries to come to the States for American education. Aware of this bias in the US immigration policy many aspiring Koreans became Christians overnight and went to seminary as the shortcut to the US. Even in the 1960’s when I came over, these charlatans had to just wave their seminary or church affiliation to breeze through the INS gate, whereas the rest of us had to prove our academic and professional credentials. Once here, in the land of opportunity, some of them would quickly doff their clerical vestments and go into business, but most stuck around, finding American Christianity, especially among the immigrant communities, soft and juicy for the squeezing.”

“Okay,” Don cuts him short. “This dying fellow countryman of yours has opened my eyes. I am no better than he, a parasite on the body of Christ. Too old to start over, I can’t revoke my Social Security benefit or the Methodist pension, but at least I don’t have to go on sucking for more.” Pulling out his cell phone he punches in the Valley Hospital number. “Carol, Bishop Don here. Don’t call me any more… No, it’s got nothing to do with this morning. Just tell the Board I have quit. Goodbye.”

Billionaire Mentality

I know exactly how a billionaire feels and thinks because I was one, a bona fide Korean billionaire, purchasing power adjusted, for a few months before the Korean stock market crash of 1962 (see On Republication of A Korean Decameron (1961) under a Harvard Grant: boleafbooks.com and amazon.com, 1-18-2019, typakmusings.com).

Too brief a tenure to count? No, it’s long enough, actually more than long enough, because it takes only an instant for the billionaire mentality to sink in and take hold, the microsecond you realize your net worth has hit 10 or more digits in current US dollars.

1. Miniaturization

All of a sudden the whole world looks small, especially the bugs called human beings. You know you can hire them, such a multitude of them like so many grains of sand on the sea shore, all scoopable by a bucketful and replaceable. Of course you would watch where to scoop or how much, because you don’t want to waste your net worth, large but finite, as you are well aware.

2. Trivialization

Whatever they have to say or do with passion and conviction seems so insignificant and you ignore or tolerate them, because you can make them change their tune any time, paying the right price. Moreover, if you hanker for some kind of fame as a savant or saint, you can just hire an expert in a field as ghost writer, but soon you spurn the idea, discovering how in a heart beat these experts would throw away anything of value they have to be in your place.

3. Power

You feel contented, endorphins generally at high tide, secure in the knowledge that you are unassailable, because you can blow away any adversary. If an irritant cannot be bought off, you can always sic a lawyer on it or thugs, the real professionals with pride in their reputation of un-traceability for services rendered. In my time most major Korean cities had such honorable cosa nostras.

4. Boredom

Why does sensual pleasure pale and dull? Not that desire weakens. On the contrary, it becomes more imperious, demanding instant gratification you feel entitled to as a billionaire.

My recollection after I made my first billion is that I couldn’t bear to go to old haunts where I had eaten boolgogi 불고기 hway 회 gomtang 곰탕 with gusto only the day before. In fact, I couldn’t believe I had been in those dumps. So I had to go to the top restaurants at hotels or elite private ones called yojung 요정 boasting culinary pedigrees from the royal court but the food still fell short.

To my credit, while craving for sensual nirvana, I didn’t take to drugs or drinks. Early on my Grandfather of Decameron fame had instilled in me a phobia of addiction. I wish he had done the same with the other sensuality, sex.

Instant was my dissociation with young maidens out on the prowl for husbands and stingy with opening their legs. Mature, glamorous women of a different persuasion popped up galore, wives of potentates in politics and finance who now held the family purse strings to let the husbands do their grand public things. The first of them I met naturally at the brokerage, because she had to be on hand like me to put in bids as the market moved from moment to moment. Then there were others, not necessarily stock traders. Tired of their husbands, however powerful and famous, who they knew had their mistresses stashed away somewhere, they came trotting to my pad at the Bando.

On Republication of A Korean Decameron (1961) under a Harvard Grant: boleafbooks.com and amazon.com

It is with an eerie feeling that I greet the reappearance of this book, my first, after 58 years. I might as well behold my own resurrection, not in 3 days but after a whole lifetime, Dem Dry Bones coming together as in the black spiritual.

The 41 stories included in the book are my transcriptions of the tales told me during my preteen years by Daybay Pak, my grandfather, a compulsive storyteller, to whose memory the new edition is dedicated. As described in the Foreword, it is the merest chance to which the book owes its rescue from oblivion: in 1984 Heinz Insu Fenkl, the publisher’s husband and premier scholar on Korean literature and folklore, serendipitously came upon an original copy, discolored and dust covered, at a Seoul hotel gift shop.

The book’s publication in 1961 at age 23 was a turning point in my life. Its first printing of a thousand copies sold out. Elated, the publisher ran a second printing of 5,000, which again sold out in the American PX’s, at the Bando and Chosun hotels, then patronized primarily by Americans. I had a pocketful of US dollars, the open sesame at the time. I forget the amount but it was big enough to make me cocky and flippant about money.

General Junghee Park, entitled Chairman of the Supreme Council after his successful coup, decreed a vigorous stock market as the first step toward the modernization of Korea. As translator of his book, The Path for My Fatherland, I believed in him totally and bought a large chunk of the Korean Stock Exchange shares. The next day their value jumped 20-fold.

In its infancy the Korean stock market had two types of transaction, current and futures: in the former a stock certificate is handed over for cash and in the latter shares were sold short to a long buyer. Discovering that I could leverage my portfolio tenfold by using it as security for futures transactions, I began doing nothing but futures, mostly buying long. By means of bold, more accurately reckless, moves practically every session, morning and afternoon, day in, day out, my net worth exploded more than 10,000-fold in the course of the next few months, making me a legend among traders and brokers who accosted me incessantly to learn my next move or entice my business to their firm.

One of them was a high school alum Gwangmoo Song (fictitious, especially since he is deceased), who had just started working for a stock brokerage and wouldn’t leave me alone until I transferred all my accounts to his firm, resulting in his instant promotion to VP. He said I had the most liquidity among our entire class of 1956, which was saying a lot because we had sons from the richest families of Korea at the time.

After the market closed for the week when I had again doubled my net worth Song suggested that I think of taking over the nation’s largest textile mill in Daegoo, which would launch me as a tycoon of the industry. I wasn’t too excited because I would be immediately involved in running the behemoth with its tens of thousands of employees, whereas I could keep doubling my money doing nothing. Telling him I would think about it over the weekend, I went to the Bando where I had a suite like an American for dinner and a rendezvous with a great lady, whose name shall remain undisclosed forever.

The sky came crashing down the next Monday. Park froze all stock transactions, creating the Stock Market Crash 증권파동of 1962 so he could plunder the mobilized liquidity and give it to his favorites, one of whom happened to be another high school alum of mine, who went on to become a multinational tycoon.

For a whole month or so the market was closed. Stocks traded at drastically reduced prices on the black market but they were current transactions, not futures. My entire wealth evaporated.

No longer one of them, I have nothing but utter contempt for the billionaires, knowing full well that they don’t care, because I don’t belong and am therefore nothing. So the contempt is mutual. I know sheer luck has got them where they are, just as at one time by sheer luck I was catapulted to the apex of my fortune, not any innate intelligence or merit (see The Lottery: the Equalizer, 11-3-2018, typakmusings.com). I was buying or selling on a whim which happened to turn out right. My not getting off the roller coaster in time and losing everything might argue stupidity in hindsight but how was I to know Park was such a crook? Though I attribute extraordinary street smarts to Trump (see Low Gas Price, Not Mild Winter, 1-16-2019, typakmusings.com), he is just a lucky dude with perhaps good advisors around him, though Michael Cohen makes dubious his sanity, let alone smarts.

Betrayed by Park and disillusioned with Korea, I couldn’t wait to get out of the country and come to the States to perfect my English. Resurgent was the passion that had possessed me since 12 when as 7th grader I first came into contact with the English alphabet. To speak and write English like a native I had to live in the States. Writing a column in The Korea Times, I had a fan, an economics professor from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, on loan to the Bank of Korea, who gave my name to the head of the English Department there. In a few months the invitation came through, teaching fellowship with admission to the doctoral program in English, quite a coup considering I had no English BA, not that a Korean English BA would have measured up to an American one. I didn’t have even that.

My exit from Korea still pending, a dicey proposition without completion of military service, the publisher of my book wanted me to write a second volume. I did and had a book signing party at the house of a US Army Colonel, whose wife was another fan of mine, in Yongsan where the Eighth US Army Headquarters was based. However, once in the States, busy teaching and writing, I forgot all about it. Now, after publishing the first volume, Bo-Leaf Books wants to issue the second one likewise but not a single copy of it has turned up to date. The serendipity for the first volume doesn’t seem to extend to the second. So if anyone reading this has a copy of A Korean Decameron, Volume II (Seoul, 1963), please contact me at typakmusings.com@gmail.com.

Low Gas Price, Not Mild Winter: Time to Pat Ourselves on the Back for Stumbling into Picking the Right Guy for the Job

The recent (Jan 12-13, 2019) snowstorm that paralyzed parts of the mid-Atlantic states, particularly around Washington, D.C., may have cramped the style of Global Warming Alarmists who had been triumphantly pointing at the mild winter, though to me, a near 3-decade resident of Hawaii, the weather along the Eastern seaboard is anything but mild, the thermometer hovering around freezing.

But this doesn’t faze me a bit. All I have to do is set the thermostat at 80 to bring Hawaii back into the house, if not outside. Nor do I hesitate to throw windows and doors wide open to let the slicing cold air rush in (see Winterize but Ventilate: Korean Winter Pallor, 1-1-2018, typakmusings.com). What a contrast to the way I used to behave on the continental US where I had also lived previously nearly 3 decades. Come winter, I literally battened down the hatches, putting on layers of clothes and setting the thermostat at 69, tops. To set it at 70 or higher would take a grim resolution like a kamikaze pilot getting into his plane for the final mission, rarely in deference to extraordinary company.

But I am not the only one to be so relaxed about the thermostat. Throughout the continental US most homeowners are no longer uptight and set the thermostat nonchalantly in the upper 70’s for a “mild, pleasant winter.” Gone is paying through the nose for heating. Also pleasant is outdoors as on a whim they dash off on drives for nothing, heaters on full blast, or fly off to Timbuktu, as air fares are bargains.

But no American is talking about this, certainly not the media, preoccupied with the government shutdown, trying to put the blame on Trump. There is no mention of the root cause of the “mild winter”: rock bottom gas price about $2 per gallon, less than half of what I paid in Honolulu scant 3 years ago.

I am the last person to idolize Trump or anyone else for that matter (see Manifesto of Radical Democracy, 5-25-2014, typakmusings.com). In truth, I like the vitriol the press hurls at him, day in, day out, and hope it to become the pattern going forward for all future American presidents, so as to cut them down to size, our size, because they are not that different from us. With one proviso, though: no distorting nor hiding of the facts.

Trump may be crude, vindictive, narcistic, childishly boastful of his high IQ, not unlike an overgrown adolescent. But where it counts he is mature, his street smartness about getting rich quite off the charts. Knowing he can’t go on being rich unless America is, he extrapolates his personal money-making skills to the global arena for America. His instincts were right about fracking and America is now the premier oil producer in the world, transforming an ordinary frigid winter into a global warming threat for the Green Peace militant.

Incidentally, his oil policy is benefiting the whole earth. The CO2 content in the oceans has been found slowly depleting, portending an eventual extermination of life. So CO2 emission by internal combustion engines may be a blessing in disguise after all. Fortunately, we have a few centuries worth of fossil fuel to burn during which we will figure out solarization or fusion to meet our energy needs, while supplementing CO2.

In the meantime let’s give credit where credit is due and compliment Trump on a job well done, not to magnify his ego, which is already huge, but to pat ourselves on the back for stumbling into picking the right guy for the job through the much maligned electoral process.

America, the Separator, not a Melting Pot, for Naturalized Americans

Even after naturalization foreign born immigrants have a hard time melding into the American melting pot. Feeling excluded they keep associating among themselves with a vengeance, more than they’ve ever done back in their old country, often torn with regional, tribal, political, or other dissension.

Fortunately, this alienation, due to the language barrier which prevents them from living fully American, does not survive their generation. Their children and grandchildren, born and raised here, are right at home in their workplaces and neighborhoods, marrying across the racial boundaries as much as not. Hurray, America, the melting pot! United we stand.

But can we extrapolate this to the rest of the world, realizing true globalism? No, unless Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Russians, French, Germans, Mexicans, Hondurans,… are all born and raised in America, an impossibility, as the imperative for the southern Border Wall shows, though falsely denied by the fake media and the Dems, just to spite Trump.

The new mega-caravan just forming, bent on storming the border, wall or no wall, hell or high water, may well be warned about the sobering fact that at least in their generation they will endure segregation and isolation, however successful they may get in America, huddling among themselves, if not in ghettos or barrios, then socially, spiritually.

A case in point is the Korean compulsion to attend school reunions. For example, K Boys’ High School in Seoul boasts alum associations, often subdivided into graduating years, my class of 1956 having 8 declared local chapters, Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago. The dozen or so members belonging to the New York Chapter travel hours, crossing state lines, to come to their biannual get-togethers. CG, a retired ophthalmologist living in Lancaster, PA, drives 3 hours with his wife to come to the restaurant in Flushing, NY. KS, another Pennsylvanian living in the Poconos pays an Uber cab $150 one way to come to the Mecca taking a couple of hours. YI, a retired cardiovascular surgeon, comes from CT also taking nearly 2 hours. A few live scattered in NJ but their travel time is well over an hour. Those living in New York don’t get much of a break, either, as many live scattered in Long Island or upstate, and must travel at least an hour. In fact, YM lived in Buffalo where he was law professor at SUNY before his move to NJ upon retirement and didn’t miss a single pilgrimage driving over 6 hours.

“Maybe we should meet only once a year,” suggest I, recently relocated from Hawaii to NJ to be near my children and still baffled by the maze of roadways in Metropolitan New York.

“Twice a year is half of what it used to be, quarterly,” observes YT, part owner of a brewery in Korea and current President of the NY Chapter. “Nobody seems to mind.”

“Night driving is getting harder,” I murmur.

“I let my wife drive,” YW points out, brightly. “Her night vision is still good, as it should be.” His wife is his junior by 10 years, mine bettering with 20.

“But she won’t drive,” I blurt out.

“Can’t she drive?” asks JC, the former oil man, surprised.

“She can and does when alone, but, when we are together, I must drive. To do otherwise is violation of her gender, according to her feminism.”

Incidentally, according to the hallowed Korean custom, wives have their own table and talk among themselves out of earshot of their husbands.

“Count your blessings,” interjects SS, a retired psychiatrist, who lives in Montauk at the tip of Long Island. “My wife’s Class of 1962, E Girl’s High, still meets every other month, in Fort Lee, NJ, so I end up going to 8 reunions a year, hers and mine, me driving like you. For a different reason, though. Her vision is much worse than mine and she cannot be trusted with distance driving, day or night, though she still has a valid license.”

“Do they meet as often in Korea as we do, YT?” I ask feebly, giving up my cause.

“No, once a year but attendance has been dwindling to less than a quarter of the survivors,” answers YT.

I recall that only about 300 of the 500 of us are still around, the US mortality rate about half of that in Korea, for which perhaps we should thank America after all, eternal strangers though we may be.

Laotzu, The Great or The Gross

Recently circulated among the members of the ONCS (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) is the portrait of an old Asian male, white haired and bearded, shoulders wrapped in a blue-striped shawl, against a backdrop of mountains, “The Clarity of Philosophy” written across the top, and the lower half filled with the inscription: The Great Lao-Tzu said: “It is only when you see a mosquito landing on your testicles that you realize that there is always a way to solve problems without using violence.”

“Typical Oriental mumbo jumbo,” explodes JS, a Korean Onc and CEO of a mega-fund. “You swat the bug as soon as you eyeball it before it injects you with malarial or encephalitic virus.”

“But remember where it lands, on his testicles,” counters KS, a Korean who came to the States in the early 1960’s and is now a hermit in the Poconos after retirement from banking.

“Scrotum, because the nuts are exposed only by slashing deep through the rather thick resilient layers of covering,” corrects JC, a retiree from oil prospecting. The trio have been featured in a previous post (see Innate Sense of Justice at 2.5 Years of Age, 1-9-2019, typakmusings.com).

“Same difference,” KS dismisses. “The swat may cause serious collateral damage. Haven’t you seen a boxer sag and fall, breath knocked out, following a low blow, that is, testicular blow? So naturally we have to think twice before whacking the mosquito and look for some other nonviolent means of control.”

“I won’t shoo it away because it will fly to other victims like my family or neighbors,” counters JS, impatiently. “Extermination is the only way and there is no such animal as nonviolent extermination. Not to use violence is either selfish or dumb. By not destroying the pest when he can because of his squeamishness to use violence he puts the whole community at risk. But more probably he is dumb, thinking he can persuade the bug to go away somehow, not knowing that it can contaminate him almost the instant it lands. His shillyshallying in deference to his dick may cost his life.”

“Maybe he is an epidemiologist and knows there is no malaria or encephalitis going around, that the worst thing that can come from it is a sting and itch, whereas he knows testicular trauma can be really bad, maybe even fatal,” conjectures JC. “So after all he is a great thinker.”

“But certainly not that clear,” KS points out. “Look how long it has taken us to come to that conclusion.”

“That’s why it’s called the clarity of philosophy, satirically,” JC adds. “Deep thinking is not readily transparent to nitwits like us. It takes smarts to figure it out.”

“No, I don’t think he is a scientist or philosopher,” JS puts his foot down. “He is either a victim early on of a low blow that nearly knocks him out, poor guy, or is just dick-driven, like most of us, and panders to the gonads, throwing caution to the wind, come hell or high water.”

Innate Sense of Justice at 2.5 Years of Age

“Did you hear the puke spill out of the mouths of the Muslim and Latina freshman Congresswomen after their swearing in the other day?” asks JC, a junior Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com). “What is the world coming to? We should have stricter qualifications for the House.”

“What do you suggest?” KS, another Onc, chimes in. “Certainly not lawyers. See what mess they have made of DOJ and FBI, their reputation in the gutter after the Steele dossier fiasco. Nor doctorates, because they get dumber with more education. Maybe membership in ONCS, because at least age burns out all the bugs, greed, vanity, vengeance. That’s it. All applicants for public offices, including the President, should be 80 or older.”

“What if we reverse the polarity, so we pick them before the bugs get to them?” declares JS, another Onc. They had all gone to the same high school in Korea, JS known for his offbeat brainstorms.

“What age does that make?” KS asks, guardedly.

“Two and a half years old, my granddaughter Naomie’s age.”

“You are off your rocker,” JC chuckles. “They can barely walk.”

“No, she jumps and runs, much better than any of us. What counts is her judgment.”

“Judgment? At that age, she is a genius if she knows her ass from her elbow, begging your pardon for my French.”

“That’s not as important as the sense of justice, which she has innately. Lately my wife Nancy took her along with her Great Grandma, Nancy’s Mom, to a Korean restaurant. Both Naomie’s parents work and the two older generations look after her, Great Grandma living at their house and my wife commuting from ours. After lunch Nancy announces their next destination for desserts to be a fashionable Korean bakery, Naomie’s favorite. On the way she asks Nancy what they are having and is told that everybody is getting a big bowl of either shave ice or smoothie. At once Great Grandma objects, saying she would take Naomie’s leftover. Though appreciating her motive to save her money, Nancy doesn’t like her mother’s negativity and chews her out. As soon as she is unbuckled upon arrival at the parking lot, Naomi runs to Great Grandma, hugs her legs, and won’t let go, watching Nancy warily. Both the elderly women have a belly laugh at her protectiveness toward the weak and oppressed, a sense of justice absent in the Department of Justice.”
“Validity of her perception of oppression in this particular case aside, her scope is limited,” reasons JC solemnly. “It will be a while before she sees beyond her immediate family and functions as a credible Congresswoman with the whole nation, nay the whole world, in her purview.”

“She knows which is her house and which mine, and makes sure she doesn’t leave anything of hers in mine, once making Nancy drive all the way back when she discovers she has left her teddy bear behind. We can expand her scope in no time. What are advisors for? Believe me she will intuit and act correctly and justly, farther and deeper than you and me or any of the jokers in the House or Senate.”

Cruelty, Thy Name is Humankind: The Dying Cry of “A-i-go 아이고” from Korean Galley Slaves

“No nostalgia, no lingering memories for the country you left 55 years ago in 1965 when you were 27?” asks Marcia Noh, incredulous, a 2nd generation Korean American reporter with a major national newspaper.

“No,” explodes Dr. Charles Song, an eminent pathologist, retired. “I’d seen enough revenge killings between North and South Korea during the War (1950-53), my father its victim, then the smoldering hatreds, jealousies, discriminations, machinations afterwards. I can puke just thinking about them.”

“I didn’t mean to distress you, Dr. Song,” she says, pushing the box of tissue on the table toward him. “I apologize for having been so insistent on the interview. Our generation, your children and grandchildren born and raised here, are still slope-head, slit-eye Koreans to the rest of America, and need something to be proud of about their ethnic heritage. As a prominent Korean American I thought you would be able to help. But I understand. Your generation has been through a lot. So forget it. We’ll find something on our own, like looking up Admiral Sun-sin Yi (1545-98) in Wikipedea. When asked, after imprisonment, torture, and demotion to a private due to false accusations by his jealous enemies, he still steps up to the plate and saves his country from Japanese occupation by defeating their navy battle after battle. He redeems Korea, however irredeemable it gets.”

“In his War Diary (1592-98) there is a curious footnote to his great victory at the Myungnyang Strait on Oct 26, 1597,” Charles recalls, brows knit. “Moments before the burning Japanese ships sink he hears a group of men, galley slaves finally unshackled from their oars, bring up the rear after all hands had abandoned ship, and jump off, screaming A-i-go, the Korean lamentation before death, in utter despair, facing the sea roaring and rushing up in pitch darkness.”

“Koreans snatched by the Japanese marauders, the waygoo, 왜구, a constant scourge throughout Korea’s history, raiding not only coastal villages but deep into the country, capturing Koreans left and right,” Marcia notes. “Doesn’t that enrage you as a Korean? No wonder some consider your friend Ty Pak an anti-Korean traitor whose novel, The Polyglot, calls for the union of Korea and Japan.”

“You might as well fume and rage at a tornado, drought, or meteor strike. They raided the coasts of China, too. The Japanese were the Vikings of Asia. Do the British or French hold it against the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians today after these many years? Besides the Japanese pirates were probably like the Somalian bandits today, no money, no food, at the end of their rope. Need for survival drives humans to extreme cruelty. I bet Koreans would have taken to piracy just as readily under the same circumstances which governments have a duty to prevent.”

“So you are full of understanding and compassion for the Japanese, Scandinavians, Somalians, but not for your own people, Koreans.”

“It’s harder with people close to you. Look how Sunnis and Shiites can’t get along, nor South Koreans and North Koreans.”

“But you are now here in America and should detach yourself from the bitterness of the bygone days. I thought Koreans from both halves should all be brought over here to give them some perspective so they can embrace and unite, but there is no point in that, if they are anything like you, Doctor Song.”

“Okay, you win, you and your Soonshin Yee. By the way, the other spelling is all wrong. If he can forgive and serve that lily-livered moron, coward, and joke of a king Sunjo who almost kills him, I guess I should be able to do the same with the current inhabitants of Korea, North and South, like Ty Pak’s characters vis-a-vis the Japanese. Read the book more closely. He is no traitor to his heritage.”

ED: A New Era of Conjugal Harmony and Bliss

“I should have waited until I was 30 or 40 so I could marry someone much younger like you,” declares Duggyoo Chay, 65, a successful Korean American realtor. “As it is, Moonhee and I are the same age. Always competitive going to the same high school and college in Korea we’ve been downright belligerent since our marriage there in our early twenties. I bet it’s peace and quiet at home with you, a figure of elderly wisdom respected by your gracious wife.”

“Respect?” shouts Dr. Wilson Jung, 85, a Korean American cardiologist, born in Korea but raised in the States. “Even a god forfeits his divinity upon grinding away at a woman’s groin. Remember Socrates and his shrewish wife, Xanthippe, who so despises him that she pours a piss pot over his head? He must have been one hell of a fornicator.”

“Was she younger than Socrates?”

“Yeah, her behavior fits the pattern. After marrying older men for security or whatever they soon feel shortchanged for trading off their youth too cheap and go on goading and needling their old husband to exact their pound of flesh.”

“Gee, I am glad Moonhee is my age.”

“Don’t bet on it. My wife says Japanese women now clamor to marry men at least 10 years younger to compensate for their shorter life expectancy, some even calling for another extension of 10 years as potency makeup.”

“What the hell is that?”

“ED! While theirs goes on receiving indefinitely, the wood starts quitting the pecker once into the 6th decade, right?” Wilson stares at Duggyoo pointedly.

“I am doing all right so far,” Duggyoo retorts defiantly. “10 plus 10 is 20. I don’t know whether I can deal with a wife that much older and pruny.”

“Yeah, that’s what I tell my wife. Older wives would get as much grief from their younger husbands as the other way around. Actually a lot worse as I see it but they’d have asked for it. First off, they are lying through their teeth when they complain about our impotence. At heart they are relieved to be spared the pelvic assault and battery, day in and day out, by Neanderthal oafs equating their ejaculation with female orgasm.”

“But cessation of intercourse will deprive them of the endorphin bath only orgasm sets off.”

“Who said cessation? The nourishment continues, purified, enriched. From the ashes rises a consummate artist, a mighty warrior, with a brand new arsenal and skill set, manual, oral dexterity to stroke the clitoris, G-spot, or other erogenous zones with unerring accuracy. Contented, the younger wife catches on and reciprocates in kind. So dawns a new era of conjugal harmony and bliss. Forget about riding up to her rescue as the knight in shining armor.”

“I wasn’t thinking anything of the sort.”

“A general statement. Nothing personal. The first thought that occurs to any young buck coming face to face with a younger wife yoked to an older husband is personal intervention to right what he perceives as a mismatch.”

“I am no young buck but let’s drop the whole thing and get back to where we started, age difference in marriage. If neither parity nor disparity in either direction seems to work, how can we marry?”

“Not to worry. They’ll fall in love, however delusional, and mate and breed, always thinking theirs is a union made in heaven, unique and special. Fumble along they will, disgusted or aggrieved, full of regret, feeling trapped, trading potshots at each other. If they can’t bear it, they divorce, which however is still only about 15% of marriages according to the most reliable statistics. The majority sticks it out, because the cost of divorce is prohibitive. So tightly woven gets the web of ties and connections after a few years of living together, even without children. Add that complication to the mix and you are a goner, beyond redemption.

“But I have strayed,” Wilson brings himself up short. “If disparity there must be, the wife should be the youthful partner, at least until women attain total equality to men not only financially and socially but also in brute strength by some genetic engineering. Never mind the life expectancy and potency shit Japanese women bring up. As a medical practitioner I hate to see hospitals inundated with serious injuries inflicted on older women by their disgruntled younger husbands, who won’t stop at goading and needling or pouring a piss pot but will act out with physical violence.”

How Your 3-Year-Old Granddaughter’s Gloves Can Tweak Your Heart Strings

New Year coming on apace winter is here with a vengeance, erasing the mildness of the last few weeks. Prior to venturing out, I make sure my 3-year-old granddaughter is well protected in her coat, boots, hat with ear flaps, though her free hands are doing most of the work, even to the extent of pushing my clumsy hands away to do the zippers herself, showing off her independence. All set and finally it’s time to insert her small hands into her knit gloves, soft, salmon colored, five-fingered, so tiny, the wrist hardly wide enough for two of my fingers.

Hastily I blink away the incipient tears, lest she should notice and think me weird. What is it that is so touching about this miniature joke of a pair of gloves? Not only has it melted my heart of stone but turned me, a rank skeptic, scoffing atheist, into a fervent believer:

“Lord in heaven, spare her, this little budding seedling, the frost, hail, storm, the grazer’s tongue, so she grows into a magnificent tree, dwarfing and replacing me soon to upend, fall, decay, a distant memory, …”

A Discourse on Postmortem Decomposition

“What part of our body do you think will go first, that is, decay, when they inter us in midsummer?” asks Big Bob, a senior Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com).

“I don’t know,” grunts Charles, a junior Onc. “I’ve never thought about it. What difference does it make, summer or winter? Sooner or later they’ll all go, leaving only bare bones.”

“I think it would be the dick for us and the bean for the chicks.”

“Why those? Aren’t the softer parts like the liver or brain more likely to go first?”

“No, destruction will be prioritized according to the intensity of pleasure they have given us.”

“Who does the prioritizing? Certainly not us, dead and buried.”

“God, the jealous one, who finds offensive even a relic of our earthly heaven.”

The Myth of the Pre-Death Panoramic Epiphany

After more than six decades I still remember the gut-wrenching shock of despair and protest at the end of Ambrose Bierce’s short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1890),” when the vivid idyllic narrative of Farquhar’s life as a Southern planter, caught in the crosshairs of the Civil War, snaps shut just as he runs into his loving wife’s arms after making good his escape from his Northern captors, revealing him hung and dead. Pounding the desk top, I wept and yelled, No, No. The beautiful panoramic epiphany had been nothing but Farquhar’s hallucination, instantaneous in the few seconds prior to his execution. After that shattering experience I took pre-death epiphany for granted, thanking Bierce for the enlightenment.

Subsequently, however, I was surprised to find many people entertaining similar thoughts on the subject though they hadn’t read the story and had to conclude the notion to be pretty universal, probably because it agrees with the sense of closure we all need, with a bit of wisdom, even an insight into eternity, at least for our own individual satisfaction, though not sharable with any other soul. Bierce is probably a modern practitioner in this ancient belief system, not its originator.

Primeval or innate though the belief may be, I am now convinced that it is a myth, wishful thinking that has no basis in fact, after witnessing my wife’s aunt, a few years my senior but vivacious, charming, articulate with a razor sharp mind, pass away recently from lung cancer a few months after diagnosis. When told it was terminal, she declined rapidly. We called her daughter who had been staying at her bedside 24/7 to let her know of our plan to visit over the weekend but were told that she might not last that long. We went over right away.

A breathing tube in her nose, eyes bleary, she didn’t seem to know what was going on around her.

“Aunt, it’s me and this is my husband,” my wife was choking with tears, pulling me closer. “We love you and want to see you up and about…”

There was no sign of recognition. Then she started gurgling.

“Oh, that’s something new,” her daughter said and called the doctor, who came over, checked her out, and left, telling the daughter to keep an eye on her.

The next morning we heard that she had passed away, her daughter sobbing and blaming herself for leaving the room briefly to go downstairs for a cup of coffee. Upon return she found her no longer breathing.

No, our sweet aunt had never regained consciousness. Her cells had been shutting down irreversibly one by one all over her body and couldn’t have suddenly rallied for an epiphany. Had it been otherwise and she had been alert all along, she would have thought about her children, grandchildren, and sundries that normally occupied her or whatever pain or discomfort that she feared might fell her, hardly conducive to a panoramic epiphany. We just drag on and then stop, none the wiser than in our prime.

New Education in Response to Developments in Artificial Intelligence

Humanity is said to face an existential crisis, even after World Government becomes a reality (see An Open Letter to Chairman Jongun Kim, North Korea: Be the Savior of Humankind, 12-7-2018, typakmusings.com), because of replacement by human or superhuman robots according to pundits of AI, artificial intelligence. How real is this prospect and what should be our response?

1. AI, Weak and Strong

Every human tool is a device of artificial intelligence or robot that obeys our commands and amplifies our brute strength or skill. It has been the dream of humanity to have an alter ego of our self that can take care of our chores. With advancement in computer technology so-called weak AI has become common place like robots performing automated, repetitive, even complicated jobs in assembly lines. Human ingenuity being what it is, however, robots are now given more open, wider capabilities, or strong AI, by programming them with complex algorithms as in face recognition, driverless cars, drones that deliver packages, or Alphago Zero.

It is a favorite pastime of commentators on this strong phase of AI to exaggerate and frighten us by calling it “machine learning” which might eventually lead to robots with human or superhuman intelligence that would replace humanity altogether (see Hirari’s Histories: Incoherent Fantasy, 9-2-2018, typakmusings.com). Often Alphago Zero is given as an example, a robot that can master as many moves as 10 to the 170th power, and can take the appropriate move and defeat the human opponent every time. This is indeed mind boggling since all the atoms of the observable universe numbers only 10 to the 80th power.

But the basic rules of the game Go are simple: surround the enemy stones completely (see Sport, Not War: MMA and East Asian Game of Go (Weichi, Badoog), 3-7-2015, typakmusings.com). The necessary winning algorithm is therefore rather identical in all those myriad situations with adjustments to fit the topography, the shape and location of the enemy stones to be surrounded and captured with a view to maximizing one’s overall territory. Indeed the calculations to be made are enormous, millions, billions, but the computer can perform them almost instantaneously, 3 million times faster than the human neural network. It is therefore a leap of logic to conclude that this algorithm is fundamentally different from the algorithm in other weaker AI.

Unfortunately or fortunately, AI will never be human strong, let alone superhuman, and replace humanity, however wild the fantasies of its devotees. Curiously, they always keep pushing their deadline, a century, a quarter century, 5 years, 2 years hence, which never shrinks to zero. Nor will it ever.

For example, they have no clue how to make robots carry on small talk, because the variables are infinite, higher than the Go moves mentioned above. Just as prime numbers are infinite, because you can always create another by adding 1 to an alleged last prime number, small talk is unbound because you can always jump outside whatever boundary may have been drawn. In other words, there are always the odd ones who think and talk outside the box. The very concept “outside the box” is foreign to AI, firmly encased in its box, the circuit board.

When it comes to emotions, the limbic region of the brain, again there is an infinity: you can always have weird emotions, outside the box. Infinity is also the hallmark of the cerebral cortex. There is no such thing as exhaustion of reasoning: one can always cogitate outside the box. AI cannot rise to human intelligence, let alone superhuman or divine: there can be no genesis of algorithm without its pedestrian human creator with an unpredictable brain.

But, as shown in Alphago Zero, strong AI is getting stronger by the day and is getting almost human, making questionable the rationale for traditional education with a curriculum designed to produce so-called intelligent humans.

2. Redefinition of Intelligence and Education

Intelligence, as underlies the concept IQ, Intelligence Quotient, is quickness of perception of a meaningful structure in a given set of stimuli, something AI can be programed to perform extremely well, literally zillions of times faster than humans and goof proof. Why, then, do we go on drilling our children through the conventional schooling system to do what the high-grade robots can do in seconds? It is simply insane to turn them into inferior copies of what can be mass produced to replace human labor, which makes demographic flexibility imperative (see Robotics and Population Control, 9-11-2018, typakmusings.com).

Even more imperative, however, is reformation of education worldwide. Instead of condemning our children to 20 years or more at hard labor, jumping through hoops to get a Ph.D., we should do away with schools altogether and teach them how to Google or do other internet search to obtain cutting edge knowledge in any field and manage the population of near human robotic servants (see Humanity in Transition from Epoch 1 to Epoch 2, 11-28-2014, typakmusings.com, in particular Section 2, Abolition of Schools and Degrees). So liberated, with time on their hands, they can follow their creative instincts, predilections, penchants, fancies outside the box, pushing the envelope of technology and the arts.

Fortunately, we are well on our way. Most toddlers know what button to push to open the garage door, where to click on the TV remote or on the iPhone to get to their favorite games. As responsible parents we should guide them to gain literacy, master the 3 R’s or 4 (see Revise the 3 R’s to 4 R’s and Make America the First All-Lawyer Nation to Root Out Violence!, 11-22-2018, typakmusings.com), learn more about the universe, and interact constructively with other humans to build a global civilization robust enough to outlast the extinction of the sun 4.5 billion years from now.

A Veiled Threat of Retribution for Complicity in the Obama Forgery?

A reader writes: “In your last post you sincerely hope no harm comes to either of the women, that is, Ah’Nee or Booth. Coming from the writer of The Slaying of North Korea’s No. 2, the King-Maker, 12-2-2013, typakmusings.com, it sure sounds like a veiled threat of dire retribution for complicity in the forgery of Obama’s fake birth certificate. Is it?”

My answer is No, definitely not. There is a radical difference in timing. Generally, the king slays his benefactors right upon ascension for fear they might exact an exorbitant reward that threatens his royalty, but in this case the reign is over. Obama is no longer the President. Even if he were and we were at the beginning of his reign, say, 2009, and his election is being contested in court with the Hawaii duo as possible witnesses, I doubt Obama has the stomach to send assassins to do away with them, though looks are deceiving. As it is, his presidency is over and his name as the 44th President of the US is carved in stone, indelible for eternity.

On the other hand, can the Congress or Supreme Court invalidate and dis-enroll even a completed presidency? That certainly would make history.

The more likely scenario is that Arpaio or some concerned civic group may persist and bring the matter to court and win, resulting in a decree of forgery with criminal penalties for Obama and his agents, like the two Hawaiian duo, witting or not. In that case, they may serve some jail time, which is nothing compared to the cruel death Jongun Kim’s uncle has met.

Forgery of Obama’s Birth Certificate: a JPEG Document Created in the White House

America has decided not to question the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, released on Apr 27, 2011, despite Arizona Sheriff Arpaio’s conclusive proof of its forgery (see the Youtube dated Dec 15, 2016). What was posted on the White House website and widely copied and circulated by the media was a JPEG document digitally created in the White House by copying and altering the birth certificate of one Johanna Ah’Nee, born in Hawaii on Aug 20, 1961, 16 days after Obama’s alleged date of birth.

Eight days after release of the Obama certificate Arpaio’s investigators accessed Ah’Nee’s birth certificate, lent to her friend Mickey Booth, and had forensic and digital authorities of international repute declare it forgery unequivocally. We sincerely hope no harm comes to either of the women.

That such a simple matter is still allowed to go unsettled in this day and age of digital technology is unbelievable but is explainable, given the unique political, social dynamics of Obama’s presidency. The nation as a whole but particularly the politically correct media does not want to appear to have a racist bias against the first black president of America. In addition, there is determined local resistance to any serious probing. The State of Hawaii government doesn’t want its incredibly messy vital statistics in the 1960’s to be exposed to global derision. Then there is the pride of the Hawaiian population to have produced a US President.

This may be all to the good, though. Finally, Americans may realize the unnaturalness of the natural birth requirement, its unconstitutionality and utter inconsistency. It is unconstitutional because the first Presidents including George Washington had to be naturalized, not natural born. It is also inconsistent because no such requirement is laid down for a whole lot of public offices, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, or Cabinet members, who are in line of succession in the event of presidential incapacity, death, resignation, or removal (see Ty Pak for President, 6-1-2014, typakmusings.com).

Voice as an Aphrodisiac: Love between Stella and Peter in The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan, amazon.com

Why is it that one lapses into romantic or erotic fantasy about the unknown person of the opposite sex on the phone after exchanging only a few words?

Because, disembodied, the voice is a mating call and acts as an instant, powerful, irresistible aphrodisiac. Once caught, the parties must meet, overcoming great odds like intercontinental distances, and consummate, barring extraordinary wreckers like obesity, wrinkles, twisted nose, limp, bad breath, body odor, etc., as the case may be.

That’s what happens in my novel, The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan, amazon.com. Stella Sullivan falls head over heels in love with Peter Bach after talking to him only a few seconds and flies over before the day is out to Honolulu from Washington, DC, in Air Force One, lent to her by President Eisenhower.

An Open Letter to Chairman Jongun Kim, North Korea: Be the Savior of Humankind! (Korean version attached)

Dear Chairman Kim,

Wishing to look down on a beautiful earth, not a nuclear wasteland, after their passing, sooner rather than later for some of them, the Oncs (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) call on you to immortalize yourself, not with an ephemeral Nobel Peace Prize but with the title, Savior of Humankind, that will endure through the eons in the cosmic calendar, as long as the sun shall last and beyond, by giving Trump what he wants, denuclearization of North Korea subject to

(1) Verification by a detect-and-destroy team (DDT), comprising experts from all the national or supranational entities with nuclear capabilities, current or potential, namely China, England, France, India, Iran, NATO (composed of Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey), Pakistan, Russia, and USA, empowered and equipped with the means necessary to search and demolish, unless recyclable for industrial use, all known or suspected nuclear weapons, ready or in preparation, with local cooperation whenever asked for, and to continue monitoring by on-site inspection or remote surveillance to prevent any attempt at resumption on whatever scale; provided

(2) A similar DDT be decreed, with adequate manpower and means to perform member-specific DD work for each of the 9 entities noted in (1) and sent to their capitals, namely, Beijing, London, Paris, New Delhi, Tehran, Brussels, Islamabad, Moscow, and Washington, DC, to coincide with the arrival in Pyungyang of the North Korean DDT, while, simultaneously, the heads of the 9, namely, Xi, May, Macron, Modi, Rouhani, Stoltenberg, Alvi, Putin, and Trump, gather in Pyungyang to meet with you and form the Council of 10 to sign a Nuclear Eradication Treaty (NET), replacing the previous Nonproliferation Treaty, limited in scope and discriminatory in spirit, which will be the signal for the 10 DDT’s to set to work.

Trust us, Chairman Kim: the NET will be signed unanimously and promptly at that, because they have all been waiting for this escape from the nuclear dilemma. A knows he won’t be the first to use a nuclear weapon for fear of mutual assured destruction (MAD), because he is not suicidal or filicidal, having children and grandchildren. Nor is anybody else, B, C,…, least of all you despite your bluff that fooled everybody but us, made wiser by some of our number with Korean ancestry. So the fraternity of 10 goes on holding onto something no one will ever use but can’t dump either for fear of creating an exploitable weakness. Unless everybody dumps at the same time. But who will bell the cat? No one wants to be the first to propose it lest he be perceived chicken. “Stuck, unable to push or pull,” goes the crude Korean saying to describe the canine “tie” after mating. The absurdity of the nuclear dilemma deserves no better metaphor. Hail Chairman Kim, untier of the obscene gang tie. As a corollary to your epochal master stroke there will follow

(3) Cancellation of all sanctions against North Korea and Iran. Moreover,

(4) The Council will endorse the Charter for World Government, following the example of the NET, inasmuch as

(4.1) Denuclearization still leaves huge armed forces, which may spark conventional wars, perhaps almost as deadly as nuclear, considering the advances in technology, killing hundreds of millions, maybe billions. Here again you may take the initiative in undoing the gang tie: unleash DDT’s to reduce and ultimately abolish conventional weapons and armed forces by excision of their basic motivation: take a neighbor’s territory or repel invasion. The Charter will show the futility of territorial obsession: wealth is in technological innovation, not territorial aggrandizement, as shown by Singapore. Freezing the status quo of all border disputes for referral to a Supreme Court countries will have their defense budgets freed up for investment in infrastructure, housing, health, space exploration.

(4.2) To protect the world from violation of the NET or Charter, however, a sufficient police force will be maintained by recruiting a crack militia of volunteers from each nation to be placed under a Supreme Command comprising 7 Regional Commanders based on different continents.

(4.2.1) East Asian Command (China, Taiwan, Russia, North and South Korea, and Japan, headquartered in Pyungyang)

(4.2.2) Southeast Asian Command (Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia, New Zealand, headquartered in Singapore)

(4.2.3) South Asian Command (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan headquartered in Colombo)

(4.2.4) Middle Eastern Command (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and Israel, headquartered in Jerusalem)

(4.2.5) European Command (all the EU nations plus Britain, headquartered in Brussels)

(4.2.6) African Command (Egypt, South Africa, and all other nations in between, headquartered in Malta)

(4.2.7) American Command (both North, Central, and South America, headquartered in Panama City)

(4.2.8) The Supreme Command, combining (4.2.1) through (4.2.7), will be headquartered in Honolulu.

(4.2.9) To ensure the globalism of the Supreme Command all the personnel in the Command structure will be rotated from region to region.

(5) Modification and Eventual Repeal of National Sovereignty

Gone is the specter of war, nuclear or conventional, and the world will have a new lease on life, resolving all issues by negotiation and compromise, not force. For example, the current trade war between the US and China will be resolved with give and take on both sides. North and South Korea will tear down the dumb DMZ and unite separated families. Similarly, Korea and Japan will settle the comfort women issue by negotiation. If not, off they go to the Supreme Court, whose decision is enforced by the Supreme Command.

Nations will become individuals in a civilized, peaceful community ready to go to court (see Revise the 3 R’s to 4 R’s and Make America the First All-Lawyer Nation to Root Out Violence, 11-22-2018, typakmusings.com) without resorting to violence. National sovereignty where a country is supreme and bows to no authority will be a thing of the past, a distant memory. The Supreme Command will be the world government of, by, and for the nations and peoples of the earth, the long dream of humanity.

A whole new chapter in human existence and civilization begins the moment you share this letter and tell Trump, uniquely capable of thinking outside the box, to come on over to Pyungyang.

Yours truly,
ONCS, Ridgewood, NJ
Dec 6, 2018

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북조선 김정은 의장께 드리는 공개서한: 인류의 구제자가 되시라!

친애하는 김의장,

죽은 뒤 핵 황무지가 아니라 아름다운 지구를 내려다보고 싶은 간절한 심정에서 특히 갈 길이 촉박한 동료들의 초조감을 감안하여 고령자회 ONCS (typakmusings.com, 8-2-2018 기사 “불사 클럽” 참조) 회원들은 김의장이 트럼프가 원하는 북조선 비핵화에 선뜻 응 함으로서 흔한 평화 노벨상이 아니라 태양이 비취는 한 또 그 이후로도 우주 달력의 영겁을 통하여 빛날 불멸의 칭호 인류 구제자가 되시기를 호소하는 바 그 비핵화는

(1) 중국, 영국, 불란서, 인도, 이란, NATO (벨지염, 독일, 이태리, 화란, 터키로 구성), 파키스탄, 러시아, 미국, 현재 또는 잠재적 핵보유 국가 내지 초 국가 단체로부터 파견된 핵 전문가로 조직 되여 필요하면 현지 협력을 받으며 알려진 또는 의심되는 완성 또는 준비단계 핵무기 일체를 수색하여 산업용 재생가능의 경우를 제외하고 이를 완전 파괴하며 현지 답사 또는 원격 감시를 통하여 어느 규모로 던 핵 재개의 기도를 방지하기에 필요한 모든 권한과 수단이 부여된 탐지 파괴 단 (DDT)에 의하여 확인하며;

(2) 이와 비슷한 DDT가 (1)에 열거된 9단체 각자에게도 배정 되여 그에 적절한 탐지 파괴 DD 역활을 하기에 충분한 인력과 장비를 갖춰 북조선 DDT가 평양에 도착함과 동시에 베이징, 런던, 파리, 뉴데리, 테란, 브랐셀스, 이스라마받, 모스코, 워싱톤 등 그들 해당 수도에 도착하며 또 같은 시간에 시, 메이, 메크론, 모디, 루하니, 스톨톤버그, 애비, 푸틴, 트람프가 평양에 와서 당신을 만나 10인 협의회를 개최하고 제한된 범위에 차별적이던 과거 핵확산 방지 조약을 대체하는 핵 박멸 조약 (NET)을 체결하며 이를 신호로 10개 DDT가 각자 해당 지역에서 작업을 개시 하는바

김의장, 우리를 믿어 주시요: 다들 핵 디레마에서 빠져 나올 기회만 기다리고 있었기에 NET 는 만장 일치로 더구나 신속히 조인 됩니다. 자살 성향이거나 자녀 내지 손 자녀를 가진 자로 자기 자손 살해성 정신 병자가 아닌 한 갑이 상호 확증 파멸 (MAD)을 겁 내여 핵 무기를 먼저 쓰지 못할 뿐 아니라 을, 병,…도 그리 못하며 더구나 세상 사람은 다 속더라도 조선인 핏줄을 가진 회원이 있어 우리는 안 속은 당신의 엄포에도 불구하고 당신도 물론 그러지 못합니다. 그래서 10인조는 아무도 영영 사용 못할 것인 줄 알면서 없으면 약점이 될까 봐 못 버리고 움켜 쥐고 있습니다. 단 모두가 동시에 버리면 되겠는데 고양이 목에 어느 쥐가 방울을 달겠습니까? 아무도 겁쟁이로 보일까 봐 이를 제안 못 하고 얼빠져 있음은 마치 개가 교접 후 빼지 못하고 묶여 있음을 형용하는 막된 조선어 표현 “빼도 박도 못하는” 교착이며 핵 디레마의 어리석음을 꿰뚫는 비유입니다. 김의장, 당신이야 말로 이 해괴 망칙한 집단 교미 교착을 푸는 해방자가 될 것이며 당신의 절묘한 이 기원적 처사로

(3) 북조선과 이란에 대한 모든 제재는 해소 될 것이며 나아가

(4) 협의회는 NET의 본을 따라 세계 정부 헌장을 체결할 것인바, 그 까닭은

(4.1) 비핵화 하더라도 핵 무기 못지않은 파괴력을 가진 고도 기술 장비로 무장한 거대한 군대가 확산 되여 있어 수억 아니 수조의 인명을 앗아 갈수 있는 전통적 전쟁의 유발이 가능한 만큼 여기에 다시 한번 집단 교미 교착을 푸는 선두 주자로서의 당신의 역량을 발휘하여 이웃의 영토를 뺏으려는 공격이던 빼앗기지 않도록 침범을 막겠다는 방어이던 군비의 근본적 동기를 없애고, DDT를 동원하여 남은 모든 전통적 무기와 군대를 주리고 마침내 소멸되게 하소서. 씽가포르가 보여주듯 기술 혁신에 부가 있지 영토 확장에 있지 않음을 헌장은 명시하고 모든 국경 분쟁은 현상에서 동결하여 최고 법원에 의뢰 하며 나라마다 국방 예산에서 풀리는 돈으로 기반 시설, 주택, 보건, 우주 탐험에 투자하게 될 것인바

(4.2) NET 와 헌장의 위반으로부터 세계를 보호하기 위하여 각국에서 발탁된 정예 자원 민병대를 각 대륙에 기지를 둔 7개 지역 사령관이 바침하는 최고 사령부 산하에 두는 바

(4.2.1) 동아세아 사령부 (평양에 본부를 둔 중국, 대만, 로시아, 북 남 조선, 일본)

(4.2.2) 남동 아세아 사령부 (씽가포르에 본부를 둔 피리핀, 월남, 라오스, 캄보디아, 마레지아, 씽가포르, 인도네시아, 브르네이, 태국, 먄마, 호주, 뉴지랜드)

(4.2.3) 남 아세아 사령부 (코롬보에 본부를 둔 스리 랑카, 방그라데시, 인도, 파키스탄)

(4.2.4) 중동 사령부 (예루살렘에 본부를 둔 아프카니스탄, 이란, 이락, 씨리아, 조단, 터키, 싸우디 아라비아, 예먼, 아람 에미리트, 이스라엘)

(4.2.5) 유럽 사령부 (브라쎌스에 본부를 둔 EU국들과 영국)

(4.2.6) 아프리카 사령부 (몰타에 본부를 둔 에짚트 와 남 아프리카 및 그 사이와 옆으로 있는 모든 나라들)

(4.2.7) 아메리카 사령부 (파나마 시에 본부를 둔 남, 북, 중앙 아메리카)

(4.2.8) 이상 (4.2.1) ~ (4.2.7) 지역 사령부가 호노루루에 본부를 둔 최고 사령부의 관할 하에 운영 하며

(4.2.9) 총사령부의 세계적 참여를 확보하기 위하여 사령부 인원은 지역에서 지역으로 순환 근무 함으로서

(5) 국가 주권은 수정되고 궁극적으로 철폐 되는 바

핵이던 전통적이던 전운은 가시고 세계적으로 모든 분쟁은 힘이 아니라 협상과 타협으로 해결하는 새로운 역사가 시작, 예를 들어 현재 미국과 중국 사이의 무역 전쟁은 쌍방 양보로 해결되며 북조선과 남조선은 멍청한 휴전선을 타파하고 이산가족을 결합시킬 것이며 마찬가지로 조선과 일본은 위안부 문제를 협상할 것인바 안되면 최고 사령부가 그 판정을 집행하는 최고 재판소로 가게 될 것임으로

개인들이 쉽게 재판소 출입하여 평화로운 문명 사회를 이루듯 (typakmusings.com, 11-22-2018 기사, “읽기 쓰기 산술 3 기본에 4차 요소 법을 첨가, 미국을 최초 전국 변호사 국가로 만들어 폭력을 발본색원 하라” 참조) 국가들도 폭력을 폐지하고 국가는 최고이며 어느 권위에도 굴복하지 않는다는 주권 개념은 과거 유물, 먼 기억으로 제쳐 놓고 최고 사령부는 지구상 모든 국가와 인민의 소유이며 그들을 위하고 그들에 의하여 운영되는 인류가 오래도록 꿈 꿔온 세계 정부가 될 것인바

김의장, 유일하게 틀에서 벗어난 파격적 사고가 가능한 트럼프에게 이 편지를 보이며 평양으로 오라고 이르면 인류 존재와 문명의 획기적 새 아침의 동이 트리다.

2018년 12월 6일
미국 뉴저지 리지우드 고령자 회 ONCS올림

Parenting: Straighten Its Horns and You May Kill the Ox, a Korean Adage

Editor’s Note: A Korean Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) is writing to Wilson (48), his award winning film composer son, who has been in Korea since 2015 teaching music at a Korean university, and his new wife, Audrey, his high school classmate, who has flown over from California to join him after their private wedding a couple of months back.

Dear Wilson,

Glad to hear that you are inundated with new film projects and musicals. Work is our salvation. Everything else is just a bit of inconvenience to be lightly dealt with, especially with Audrey at your side. What a blessing that you have found each other after so many years, detours, Audrey twice divorced herself! Lucky she has no children of her own, because the integration would have been doubly harder.

Dear Audrey,

I welcome you to the family, though with a twinge of guilt for dumping on you all Wilson’s baggage, his teenage children, Nicholas (17) and Jane (14) from his previous marriage, doubly so because I hear you already feel so much affection for them, a God-given opportunity to realize your latent maternity “welling up like magma,” your words, as you wedded privately in sight of the Kilauea Volcano.

Older, understanding, and busy preparing to ace ACT and get into the college of his choice in the States Nick is no problem. But Jane is. She has “rough” edges that may need to be smoothed over and polished. I want her to grow up a refined lady with all the social graces, whose company is sought, not shunned.

The work of shaping her, however, may need tact and patience. The Korean saying goes: “Straighten its horns and you may kill the ox.” But I am counting on you to turn the challenge into a splendid victory.

Parenting is an art, at which I have bungled miserably. Thank God my children have grown up to be good productive individuals nevertheless. Nor do I learn: given an opportunity I fail all over again. The year before last all four of them flew over from Korea, that is, with Wilson’s ex, and we had a big party at our house. At the buffet counter Jane was loading her plate up, beyond what she could possibly consume. Inwardly fuming at her parents I intervened and told her to come back for seconds, thirds. I fear I have forfeited her love forever as the memory of my correction rankles in her. Only if I could have done it with more tact.

Too preoccupied as he is with work to think much about parenting Wilson has needed you to come along to the rescue. His ex has also been too career oriented. Of course you are a professional, too, but I feel as a successful startup consultant you’ve got what it takes. Your not being their biological mother would help you approach the daunting task with detachment as well as love.

75th Anniversary of Marriage: Conjugal Bliss?

It is the gala 75th anniversary party for Peter and Cindy, both senior Oncs at our church (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com), hosted by their children.

“It’s a great achievement to keep your marriage going so long,” observes Richard, 25, with a furtive glance at Dorothy, 23, his wife of 3 years, talking away to other women at the bar, their 2 children left at home with a babysitter. “We quarrel so much I doubt we’ll see our 4th.”

“You’ll get to celebrate your 100th for all I know,” chuckles Peter. “We were getting divorced almost every day of our married life but on the day set for filing, one of the kids gets pneumonia and must be rushed to the emergency. Almost everyone of them comes down with chicken pox, asthma, whooping cough, mumps, you name it. Then there are their birthdays, piano lessons, fencing, swimming. Not to mention the pressure at work. You just don’t get around to filing.”

“But you have had nearly 4 decades of retirement from your job, all children grown up, married, and on their own.”

“There are the grandkids and great grands who just grip your heart strings and don’t let go. The worst part of it is that we enjoy it so much. We just melt hugging these little monsters. Actually, a few weeks back, I was thinking of filing at last when a contingent of them came around to drag us all over gift shopping, photo shooting, and so on in anticipation of this business today. I couldn’t get away.”

Radical Reduction of CEO Salaries

Approaching is that time of year when American companies announce obscenely fat remunerations for their CEOs but in view of the urgency to compete with China, innovating and producing full bore on technology stolen from us, they should rethink the policy which demoralizes their employees, the real innovators and producers.

How about 1.5 times his second in command, who should in turn be on a par with the creative staff or only a few percentage points more, the figure 1.5 suggested by the salary scale of the US President and Vice President, $400,000 and $243,700, respectively. Presumably the CEO is a big shareholder of the company already and his dividend should be more than enough pay.

Nor should the dividend be excessive in spite of the pressure to attract capital. In its relentless quest to maximize profit by minimizing the cost of labor, capital digs its own grave by destroying its consumer base: with little money in their pockets the workers cannot buy the company’s products, the built-in principle of self-destruction, noted by Karl Marx.

You can avoid this pitfall by tempering the profit motive, by sharing more with your workers. It is not Christian or other religious or ideological noblesse oblige but sheer realism for survival in obedience to the axiom of reciprocity (see Revise the 3 R’s to 4 R’s, 11-24-2018, and The Axiom of Reciprocity, 9-12-2017, typakmusings.com).

Revise the 3 R’s to 4 R’s and Make America the First All-Lawyer Nation to Root Out Violence!

Noting the perennial mass murders, violent protests, upheavals, revolutions, genocides, wars, with the heightened potential for human extinction due to advanced weaponry, the Oncs (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) propose to expand the 3 R’s, reading, writing, and arithmetic, the conventional school curriculum, to 4 R’s, by supplementing “rules,” in order to make all Americans with high school education lawyers so as to serve as role models for the rest of the world in the crusade to tame humans into nonviolent law-abiding individuals.

1. Two Dimensions of the 3 R’s

The 3 R’s are actually two dimensional: personal and interpersonal.

1.1. Personal (Cosmic)

Swimming out of the fog of infancy, a child immediately realizes the utmost urgency of arithmetic perception and organization of the overwhelming abundance of stimuli impinging on its senses, space and time, size, quantity, frequency. Arithmetic is the survival tool of an individual confronting the external world.

1.2. Interpersonal (Social)

Simultaneously it becomes aware of its total dependence on other humans, with whom it must communicate, speak, read, and write.

Vital though these communication or social skills may be, they are often self-centered and geared to self-aggrandizement, losing sight of the community at large, which needs strict rules to survive and work just as any organism that to live and function must obey biological principles like avoidance of poison. The social skills previously honed by reading and writing may incorporate the communal rules tangentially or incidentally, which, however, is obviously not enough in light of the rampant violence in today’s world. Hence the need to articulate rules as a separate discipline, the 4th R.

2. Outline and Purpose of the 4th R

2.1. Axiom of Reciprocity

As arithmetic has the multiplication table, rules have a foundation, presumably the axiom of reciprocity (see The Axiom of Reciprocity, 9-12-2017, typakmusings.com), expressed by Jesus, Do to others as to yourself, and by Confucius five centuries earlier with a double negative, Don’t do to others what you don’t like for yourself (see Confucius, 12-10-2013, typakmusings.com).

Both articulations of the axiom spell out the fundamental tenets of criminal law, Don’t hurt others, and contract law, Keep your promise.

2.2. Zero Tolerance for Violence and Submission to Court Decision

2.2.1 Submission to the Blind Lady Justice with the Scale

The axiom has no tolerance for individual resort to violence to have his or her way. Anyone seething with outrage is directed to an impartial arbiter, generally the parent in a family situation, monitor or teacher in school, alderman or council of elders in a village, and the court, provided their nonpartisan impartiality is guaranteed like the blind lady Justice with a scale.

When impartiality seems compromised, the 4th R provides a series of appeals, upon exhaustion of which ultimate submission to the Supreme Court or its equivalent is required.

2.2.2. Prohibition of Retaliation and Vengeance

Surprisingly, the barbarity of lex talionis, an eye for an eye, is embraced by some Christians in reliance on the Old Testament. Some time ago a Korean pastor was heard proudly recounting how in his youth his tank battalion had rolled over and razed to the ground the camp of a neighboring special forces unit whose commander had beaten up his commander in a bar room brawl. One can only imagine the kind of discipline prevailing in the South Korean military. Apparently unpunished, the narrator went to seminary and rose in the hierarchy of his denomination, perhaps still deaf to Christ’s dictum to turn the other cheek.

2.2.3. Prohibition or Minimization of Self-Defense

By the same token self-defense should be most narrowly interpreted.

2.3. The 4th R to Precede Other Courses

The content of the 4th R should be progressively amplified and finessed as the child advances through the school system, so that by 12th grade he would know as much law of the land as any law school graduate. The enormous mnemonic prowess and intellect required of a high school graduate to learn history, geography, biology, physics, etc. and take SAT to advance to college is more than adequate to learn criminal, contract, and other laws and procedures. It is utter waste of the youthful mind to be forced to learn stuff they soon forget because of disuse, while remaining ignorant of what most counts, namely law, because of its daily use throughout life.

2.3.1. Inclusion of the 4th R in SAT

Moreover, legal knowledge should be part of SAT, which would very much resemble the current US bar exam. If this burdens the young minds beyond the breaking point, one or two of the inessentials may be taken out of the curriculum.

2.3.2. Anomaly of the US Law School

The feasibility of law education in secondary school is shown by what went on in Korea prior to a 2007 reform to mimic the US law school. Korea had undergraduate (13th through 16th grade) law college, patterned on the German and Japanese model, that handed out a purely academic BA in Law. To practice law one had to pass a national bar exam, open to all high school graduates, the passing ratio hovering around 1%. The rationale was obvious: a high schooler can learn enough law to pass the bar.

What is proposed here is therefore based essentially on the pre-2007 Korean mentality regarding legal education. With the proviso: there won’t be any bar exam. Given the 4 R’s, every high school graduate is a dyed-in-the-wool lawyer, who, bred on the 4th R like arithmetic for a dozen years, can competently file a lawsuit and argue in court for himself and for others (see Overhaul of DOJ and Government Staffing: No Lawyers, 7-5-2018, typakmusings.com).

2.3.3. Re-Education of Court Employees

The standard response from an employee at a court office to an innocuous inquiry from the public is: We are not allowed to give out legal opinion. Delphic Oracle, eh?

Under the 4 R’s regime a visitor to court will not be asking stupid questions but, whatever the nature of the question, the employees, servants of the people, should provide their best considered reply, including legal opinion, which is common knowledge after all, just like an obliging librarian at a public library who goes out of her way to give directions, provide enlightening information on a book, and so forth.

2.3.4. Demise of Legal Profession and Rise of Legal Scholarship

It would be absurd to license lawyers for such basic and general knowledge as law, as it would be to license arithmeticians for their knowledge of trigonometry. On the other hand, there is need for pushing the envelope for advanced legal scholarship, for which students can major in law for their B.A. and go on to graduate school for Ph.D. to provide expert knowledge above and beyond the common knowledge of law as practiced by laymen.

3. Disappearance of Violence and Neutralization of Insanity

Every American a lawyer, the Constitutional guarantee of access to the courts will now be a reality, not a phantom as at present with expensive licensed lawyers blocking the way. With easy access to Justice one will not think of righting a wrong by self-help, unless deranged, any sign of which should be detected early and treated by stepping up mental health care nationally.

90 (=85+5), the New Retirement Age, Incorporating the Mortality Constant

Noting the crescendo of national resentment against the aging (65 years or older) as their number swells to one fifth of the population and their Social Security and Medicare benefits, worth three times their contributions and taking up half of the Federal budget, snowball the national debt, the Oncs (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com), a proud lot mortified by their parasitism, propose to raise the retirement age to 90 in the Social Security Act.

1. Original Legislative Intent: Incorporation of the Grim Reaper’s Scythe

This complies with the original intent of the Social Security Act of 1935 when the retirement age was set at 65, that is, 60, life expectancy at the time, plus 5, the Mortality Constant or Grim Reaper’s Scythe. Its legislators led by FDR, products of the American worship of youth, believed that, given the Constant, there would be few geriatrics around to collect and drown the nation in debt.

Of course none of them had foreknowledge of the enormous extension of American life expectancy a scant three-quarter century later to 85, upon adjustment for opioid and other aberrant deaths that mostly strike down the young. The amendment therefore merely changes 60 to 85, leaving the Constant 5 in and arriving at 90.

2. Fitness of Seniors as Workers

Longevity being a concomitant of health, the majority of American seniors, especially the advanced ones, are in good shape and can hold up their end alongside any young buck in carpentry, masonry, or what have you. With advances in robotics and artificial intelligence few jobs require brute strength and more in demand will be coolness of disposition and maturity of judgment, which seniors are better equipped to provide. Shorn of erstwhile ambition and aggression, they’ll work reliably and with dedication till death.

By the same token no discrimination by reason of age will be tolerated. Pay roll tax contributions to Social Security will be continued unabated and medical insurance at work guaranteed.

3. Stringent Merit-Based Immigration and Accelerated Entrepreneurship

Immigration should be strictly regulated to permit merit-based admissions only until the job market absorbs senior labor and entrepreneurs rev up Yankee ingenuity, coming up with inventions and breakthroughs for ever more employment opportunities.

4. No Early Retirement

There is no justification for the current early retirement at age 62, before full retirement at 66, a criminal waste of young seasoned labor force. Moreover, it imparts the false and laughable illusion of achievement, seniority. No early retirement even at, say 85, will be considered under the new regime of 90 as retirement age.

5. Disability Retirement

The proposal does not touch current disability retirement for renal failure or ALS and may expand it to include other debilitating conditions, regardless of age.

6. Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare also starts at 90, as seniors will have health insurance at work until then. Those not so lucky may be eligible for need-based Medicaid, which, along with liberal disability retirement mentioned above, will be well funded with the money saved by extended senior employment across the board.

Go Home, Caravans of Migrants!

Turn around and go home! Harnessing the momentum that has brought you this far and enlisting many more of your countrymen to join your ranks, march on your capital and overthrow your corrupt, dysfunctional government!

What kind of government stands idly by, letting its nationals stage a shameful scene in plain view of the whole world, openly declaring their determination to break into another country, come hell or high water, because theirs is worse than that?

I speak as someone who has been where you are. After its war (1950-53) which killed as many as 20% of its population according to some estimates, Korea was a hell everyone wanted to escape, America the destination of choice though out of reach: the Pacific stood in the way, not to mention the near zero Asian quota. Most gave up and hunkered down to remake their nation, South Korea, and they did succeed after decades, as their current prosperity shows.

But those irreversibly disaffected did not give up and clawed and hammered at the door of the US Embassy to be told to go through the procedure, legally. They did, waiting in line, taking years, decades in some cases.

Don’t let the land connection fool you. Consider it the Pacific Ocean. The US border, walled, barb-wired, and guarded, effectively with military combat readiness, is simply impenetrable. No amount of banging your heads against it would make any difference and your exhausting trek across Mexico would have been for nothing. Go back and reform your nation, or come in legally.

Myth of Travel: The Opium for the Poor

The Western myth (of Enlightenment vintage) that one must travel widely to be cultured and refined has gripped the whole world, international tourism arrivals since 2011 exceeding 1 billion or 15% of the world’s population and the receipts $1 trillion per annum, as mega-hotels spring up, jumbo jets roar and soar, and cruise ships blast off. But is the hustle and bustle really worth it?

Not in this day and age of virtual experience. In the comfort of home just click the zillions of YouTube travel videos with expert narration and you are instantly transported to any part of the world, however exotic or remote, and experience the wonders, natural or man-made, in all their macroscopic grandeur and scale, microscopic detail and depth, apt to be missed when trudging along on location. Uncaring, obsessed for travel, the poor throw away years worth of savings only to return home as unenlightened as ever, battered, barely remembering the names of the countries or cities they have visited.

Why bother to spend money, time, and effort to fly, sail, or ride to these places, even if they are fully developed with decent security and sanitation? Forget the underdeveloped, especially the Middle East or Africa, where one easily catches ebola or is kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. Amazingly, plunking down $10,000, some still go on an African safari, risking bites by snakes and malarial mosquitoes or attacks by hyenas and lions. Why should one sleep in a hotel room, even the swankiest, known to have bed bugs, leaving his own home with 5-star amenities or so upgradable with the money saved by staying home?

As citizens of the USA whose computers have ushered in the Information Age, Americans should take the lead in weaning the world from travel addiction by going virtual. The starting point should be their own country with its breathtaking parks and cities. Zillow and Trulia give tours of houses from room to room and their environs, the whole block or city. Their inventory may soon expand to Canada and other countries.

If there still lingers skepticism about the efficacy of virtual reality consider situations where physical reality is no option. A young couple, both professionals, decide to have a baby and, after their maternity and paternity leaves, engage a team of baby sitters on different shifts so they can keep working, uninterrupted. To see how the hired help is doing neither of them need to quit and go home before the end of the work day, because there is a perfect solution: installation of surveillance cameras inside the house, as cheap as $20 each, connected to their cell phones. For an investment of a few hundred dollars, they can be home virtually.

Prediction of the Midterm Results, Nov 6, 2018: A Repudiation of Socialism

This is no brainer: a persuasive Republican majority for both chambers of Congress and Governorships to carry on the Trump agenda. All you have to do is look at the ever larger Trump rallies with raving fans, of which there were three back to back on Nov 5, culminating, after Cleveland, OH, and Fort Wayne, IN, both behemoths, with the climax, Fort Girardeau, MO, at 10 p.m., literally on the eve of Election Day, the crowd going wild, hooping and hollering, roaring, raring to go to the polls. Nobody in America, no politician, evangelist, singer, or other entertainer or spellbinder has pulled off a string of love fests with one big crowd after another on such a scale. No wonder Hollywood is hopping mad jealous, let alone the deep state in Washington.

But one may fail to see the obvious, blinded by socialism, espoused by the Democrats to depose Trump by making use of the inequality factor. The top 20% of Americans own 86% of the country’s wealth, the rest, 80%, owning the balance, 14%, of which the bottom half, i.e. 40% of the nation’s population owning less than 1%. Anti-Trumpers count on the certainty of revolt by the dispossessed 40% but also probably the other 40%, the so-called middle class, whose slim slice of the pie, 17%, is enough to infuriate them, the Antifas and other extremists.

But the Trump victory proves the error of the calculation. Equal net worth for all sounds good but is simply unworkable, because everybody wants more for himself. Greed, thy name is humankind, Shakespeare would have said. Capitalism, its other alias, drives us to compete, to work and innovate.

Suppose inequality is so heinous that it ignites a French Revolution or Bolshevik Revolution, killing off the billionaires, “enemies of the people.” What comes afterwards?

Abolition of capitalism requires a huge bureaucracy with enormous power, which naturally corrupts. Let’s assume it doesn’t and the enforcer is honest and benevolent. For all that trouble, what results is a nation of lazy bums with no motivation to work. Why should they? Ironically, the USSR might not have imploded if its enforcers had been more corrupt than they were and allowed the system to revert to capitalism on the side, as it did in China.

But the recurrence of revolutions at such cost gives us pause. Capitalism always overheats and in a generation or two extreme inequality results. The trick is to control and manage this biology of capitalism.

For the time being America will be spared a revolution. The 2018 Trump victory is proof of that. With home ownership at 60% the pitiful middle-class Americans still want to hang on to their home, be it ever so humble, to leave to their children so they have a better chance of winning the competition.

Another safety valve is public and private charity, like food stamps, meals on wheels, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, etc. To extend the longevity of American capitalism, however, the top 1% should participate in a more drastic charity program, not out of charity but greed, their own long-term dynastic survival, as suggested in Billionaire Hall of Fame, 4-12-2015, typakmisings.com.

The Lottery: The Equalizer

No sooner has B bought a lottery ticket on impulse, when the jackpot soars through the billion dollar mark, than he regrets it. Instead of fantasizing about his winning, a long shot, too depressing to think about, his mind dwells on the certainty of some lucky dude X, probably a bum, winning and becoming an instant aristocrat. How X would preen and strut, with what airs! B can well imagine it, knowing A, a relative, school alum, coworker, church member, as the case may be, who lives in a mansion, owns a yacht, an airplane…, and has a circle of friends that excludes B. All because A’s net worth is $15,000,000, which is however only 1% of X’s.

What if X turns out to be someone B knows, a loser he has loathed and avoided all these years? B is startled by the polar reversal of their relative positions. Such a probability is actually quite high. In his time B has crossed paths with quite a few deadbeats and these lotteries will go on in every state, because the government gets to withhold a big chunk, nearly half of a jackpot, easy revenue without taxation.

Is it time he revised his attitude toward these lowlifes, especially because the world’s billionaires are lottery ticket winners in a different sense? Most of them make it that big in the stock market, a huge gambling arena, so-called investment but a euphemism for speculation, gambling. So is opening a restaurant, going into construction, buying a house or doing anything at all in life.

What about scholarship and research, successes and achievements built on many years of hard work and dedication? They are not all that different, B discovers. Every one of the inventors, scientists, writers has gambled. Luck dictates their career choice and inertia takes over. Then they pursue a hunch, which pans out, and they get to go on to win the Nobel prize, beating others to the punch.

B concludes the lottery ticket worth it for the insight, for teaching him to moderate his jealousy and anger at the billionaires and Nobel laureates, as well as his contempt for the also-rans of the world, including himself, and swears to extend the same courtesy and respect to all the next time around.

Ask Three Times Before Taking No For an Answer: Quirky Korean Etiquette

My dear natural born American friends, don’t be too annoyed if I, a naturalized Korean American, now and then forget to take no for an answer and keep pressing on you second helpings or a gift! Ingrained in my psyche is the Korean etiquette: Ask three times to afford a chance to refuse and be polite. Actually, I hear one has to ask five times now in Korea before desisting in the belief: the more of a good thing, the better. Lately, however, I have been shocked into rethinking the wisdom of this cultural quirk, though seemingly reaffirmed by a venerable bona fide native American.

I took to the best steak house in Manhattan Bill, 93, an Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, typakmusings.com) and my mentor. Before his retirement in 1995 at 70 he had circumnavigated the globe dozens of times as captain of huge tankers and freighters weighing hundreds of thousands of tons, then worked as vice president of operations at his shipping company’s head office in Manhattan, keeping track of scores of these megaships in the sea lanes and ports of the world at any one time. This evening’s treat was to thank him for his indulgence whenever I pump him for his seafaring tales, partly hoping to verify the likelihood of a rogue wave as in the movie, The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

“Let’s have the steak replaced,” I suggest, seeing the filet mignon almost burnt through.

“No, it’s okay,” Bill declines. “It’s all my fault. I told them well done. The charred tips can be cut off.”

“You’ll be cutting off half or more of it. They should replace it three times over.” For the price they are charging, $125, I almost say.

“No, it’s okay. Actually, I like it this way, crisp and chewy.”

“No, it’s a matter of principle,” I insist, raising my hand to wave to the maitre d’.

“Stop it!” he almost shouts with uncharacteristic vehemence that floors me. “I said no the first time and I meant it.”

Suddenly I realize my lapse unawares into the Korean mode.

“Sorry, Bill!” I apologize and explain, attributing it to the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms where King Yufei goes to meet Chuko Kungming, the sage, at his humble dwelling in the boondocks to beg him to be his advisor and commander in the struggle with the rival kingdoms but is refused and sent away twice. Undeterred, Yufei comes back the third time to plead, whereupon, moved by his sincerity, Chuko joins him and helps him unify China, though at the price of his own death in the process.

“Well, one confession deserves another,” Bill says. “I’ve never complained and had a plate replaced at a restaurant in my whole life, that is, since I saw what Alfredo, chef at my Dad’s restaurant, did to the replacement. I was 9. That day, hiding behind racks, I had sneaked into the kitchen, off limits to outsiders. A waiter plumped on the counter in the partition wall a plate of half eaten steak, customer complained and replacement demanded. Muttering and swearing Alfredo hastily prepared a new plate. On his way to the counter for pickup by the waiter he spit on the steak and spread it with his finger. I slipped away unnoticed, not knowing whether to report or not. Even if I did, Dad would have confronted the accused, who would have denied it. Nothing would come of it and in the meantime Alfredo might come around and kill me as a snitch. But my quandary did not last long. He got thrown in jail for manslaughter while driving under the influence and Dad had to hire another guy. Ever since I never complain at a restaurant, even if there may be a dead cockroach in it. I knew you were right and meant well but I am just too old to change. There’s nothing wrong with your culture. I think it’s cute. The good will is obviously there and Americans may as well adopt it. It’s just my bad luck to have run into a weirdo and skewed my perception of food preparers in general.”

The Florida Mail Bomber’s Speedy Arrest A Cause for Grief!

To Whom? Brennan and other Democrats of his ilk who must have figured they had at least a few months, if not quite 18 years as in the Unabomber case (1978-96), to go on grandstanding on CNN and other obliging media platforms and accuse Trump of inciting terroristic violence! What a shock it must have been to have the rug pulled out from under them with Sayoc’s arrest on Oct 26, 2018, exactly 4 days after the first deliveries on Oct 22.

Of course their disappointment is in sharp contrast to the sense of relief most Americans feel, who feel reassured by the efficiency of their law enforcement. Granted, with no triggering device, the so-called bombs were essentially harmless, but they were just as unsettling: in the hands of professionals they could have been made fully functional, investigation dragging on indefinitely, especially with the increasing high-tech sophistication of criminals with easy access to the internet.

Incidentally, the arrest goes down as another promise made and kept for Trump who on the first day, Oct 22, vowed speedy resolution.

Unless they want to keep losing, the Democrats had better rethink their strategy, heeding what Trump says at the Oct 27 mega-rally in Charlotte, NC: he and his followers have never blamed the Democrats for instigation of the assassination attempt on Scalise or other extremist mischief.

Democrats Screaming at Violence: A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Bombs have been mailed to some vocal Trump haters who come out swinging and screaming in denunciation, predictably putting the whole blame on him for inciting such violence, though he can’t be more explicit in its condemnation, promising punishment of the culprits and urging civil discourse and submission to the ballot.

What a contrast to the smug silence of these outraged accusers, some of them even encouraging “collateral damage,” when their partisans knock down statues, break store fronts, set fire to buildings, smash cars, hold up traffic, assault pedestrians, harass McConnel or Collins! In comparison, the crude home-made devices seem harmless pranks, perhaps intended to be detected, to serve notice on Soros, Holder, Waters, Clinton, Obama, CNN, Biden, De Niro, and other agitators and abettors of Antifa and other extremists, that the long-enduring conservatives are only human and can give back as much as take.

And let this noble experiment, government by the people, for the people, and of the people, on which hang the hopes of the whole world, go up in flames? No. For once let’s listen to Trump as an old man giving folksy counsel from lifelong experience: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me. Let’s fight with words, not fists, and vote on election day, Nov 6, 2018.

CNN in Denial: See, Hear, Speak No Evil

CNN is doing what the Three Wise Japanese Monkeys do: see, hear, or speak no evil, in the belief that it would vanish. As of Oct 22, 2018, 5:40 p.m., the Google list of CNN’s latest news headlines does not include the caravan, now swollen to 8,000 strong, on its relentless march to the US southern border. How can CNN sink this low?

But, a jealous Korean (see The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan, amazon.com), I am mostly miffed because CNN chooses to obey a Japanese maxim, instead of Korean, which says, “Close your eyes and roar like a tiger and you’ll scare it away.” No, its MO is Japanese through and through.

Simply, mum is the word and business as usual the motto for CNN, ignoring the mounting tension and anxiety of every American, all eyes on the horde growing by the hour like a swarm of African army ants on the move, trampling down the token Mexican barricade and inexorably heading for the bigger prey, United States.

I am getting gas at a BP station and the attendant comes over, flashing a professional smile. Presenting a Visa I tell him to fill up with regular. Instead of jumping to it he asks for “hip coh” or something similar. Getting over my perplexity I supply my zip code. When he returns with the card and receipt I ask where he is from. Proudly he declares, “Honduras.”

“Oh, what do you think of your countrymen, thousands of them, coming over to our country?”

“Terrible!” he shouts, face reddening. “We should stop them. President Trump should stop them. Right away.”

“But don’t you want more of your own countrymen here?” I ask but never hear the answer as he rushes off to another customer just pulling in.

Wait! There is a squeak. I have found one casual reference to the approaching tsunami, buried among the heap of trivial headlines.

Flake: Trump’s caravan tweet a ‘fear tactic’.

Unbelievable! So it’s a trick of some sort manufactured by Trump? Sounds very much like the Democrat Congresswoman who suggests the possibility that Trump may be paying for the whole thing. On the Fox News at that. When vehemently denied by another panelist she dismisses it as a joke. Is it time for jokes, though? The squeak is not meant to be heard, certainly not a roar. CNN and the Democrats simply don’t get it.

Surprise Gifts Rolling Down the Home Stretch for Trump: Obstructionist Self-Destruction

Paraded in the 11th hour before the watershed Nov 6, 2018 referendum on MAGA (Make America Great Again) is one disgusting spectacle after another: (1) Kevanaugh demolition, (2) Latin caravan, (3) Elizabeth Warren’s DNA, and (4) terrorism of Antifa and other extremists, to name a few, leaving moderate Americans, compassionate, egalitarian, globalist, no choice but to huddle around Trump, no matter how much they despise him.

1. Kevanaugh Trashing

Among the grotesqueries like Christine Ford’s “compelling” confession should be included one idiot Democrat Senator parsing a teenager’s yearbook notation on flatulence. Is he really a Senator? We should make it mandatory for all candidates to submit to an IQ test prior to filing.

2. Caravan of Thousands

Finally laid bare is the sentimentality of throwing the door wide open and embracing “your tired, your poor, … the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, the homeless” (see The Statue of Liberty, 9-20-2018, typakmsings.com). Surely no Lazarus or loving American has expected a horde to descend on them. A town like Glen Rock, NJ, would be wiped out (see A Tribute to 911: Paul Sharar ad Glen Rock, NJ, 9-17-2018, typakmusings.com). Nor do the caravanners look that shabby, either. In fact, they look well-fed, well-dressed, travel-ready, in high spirits. They want to take over America, its streets, malls, work places, now booming. Look at that woman flaunting her 12 children, triplets, quadruplets, maybe, head held high, cocksure of her status as the emblem of the American soft-hearted. Build that wall. Bring out the military with combat gear.

3. Warren with 1024th Cherokee Blood

This total phony has made a career of exhibiting her native American heritage, ultimately moving up to the Senate, making super suckers out of Massachusetts, Boston, Harvard, proud of their multiculturalism. However, she has served a purpose: her destruction is coterminous with the demise of identity politics in America based on race or culture. Henceforth Americans will be just American, not White, Black, or Asian, all government documentation erasing ethnic and racial classifications.

4. Black Masked Hooded Hoodlums

These punks openly admit why they mask themselves: to hide their identity so they can rally and march, break windows with clubs and stones, spray paint, overturn and burn cars, set off bombs with impunity. Little do they suspect that their cowardice hiding behind anonymity is despicable and abominable to Americans across the board. Law enforcement should swat like bugs these overgrown teenagers out for a lark, rip off their costumes, slap them around and throw them in jail to cool their heels until they shape up. But what about Hillary and Pelosi who condone, nay encourage, the deviltry as expression of discontent with “collateral damage”? Boot them out of office and lock them up!