An Epitaph to a Noble Breed of Canines and Human Ingratitude

“A poop-eating dog sees only poop everywhere (똥개 눈에는 똥 밖에 안 보인다).”

I drop the Korean adage to describe the frenzy of some Democrats who still find fresh evidence of Russian collusion in everything Trump does during and since his election, even after presentation of the Mueller report to Congress on April 18, 2019, with necessary redactions.

“Eat what?” snaps S, 62, a Korean who immigrated to the States in 1975 and puts on airs as an old timer, more American than American and ardently anti-Trump, as may be expected.

“Coprophagy,” I say, betting he hasn’t heard the term.

“From Greek phagein ‘to eat’ and copros ‘feces’.” His erudition is impressive. “But what has it got to do with a mutt, ddong-gay 똥개?”

“Because the very word means poop-eating dog,” I explain patiently.

“Begging your pardon, Professor,” he spits out the honorific, “ddong-gay has 2 syllables, the first feces, the other dog, meaning a crappy mongrel.”

“No,” I protest, “these dogs cleaned up after us. When as babies we made mess, generally diarrheal, they came in and licked up the anus, buttocks, thighs, bedding. Unable to afford cloth diapers that needed washing every time most families kept dogs for the purpose, disposable diapers unknown. Then, these dogs make the ultimate sacrifice, feeding …”

I stop, noting that my historical perspective is lost on S, now busy tapping his fingers on his i-Pad.

“Look here, Professor,” he thrusts the screen triumphantly before me. “똥개 is defined as mutt, mongrel, cur, with no mention of copraphagy, certainly not on human feces.”

Deflated, I go home and look through the Korean dictionaries and encyclopedias, including the Korean version of Wikipedia. Indeed there is no mention of the real etymology for my breed of canines. Equally untraceable is the adage, based on it. In a decade or two after I left Korea my native language metamorphoses beyond recognition, at least as far as this word is concerned, the country in the meantime becoming a mini-America: dogs are pets with animal rights, fed on dog food, toilet trained, picked after, and interred in cemeteries with tombstones, while eating dog meat, once a national staple, becomes abhorrent like cannibalism.

I can now understand S’s disdain for a fuddy-duddy like me, why he twists his mouth to get out “Professor,” as the stuffy Korean code dictates, instead of being on a first name basis. Only if he’d read my post (see Donald, Champion of Political Incorrectness, Mandate the First Name Basis Across the Board by Executive Order One!, 9-11-2015,! But that’s in English. When speaking Korean, we have no option but to stay in our lanes, registers of speech determined by seniority and rank (see American English and Radical Democracy, 9-5-3025,

In defiance I start writing an epitaph: “To the memory of the noble breed, caprophagic canine servers joyfully cleaning up after babies …”

Suddenly I am struck by the incongruity of this with the maxim, “A poop-eating dog sees only poop everywhere,” the poop eater here definitely not held in high esteem.

Then I recall watching at age 5 or 6 our beloved and faithful Goldie, so named because of his glorious golden hair, being strangled for his meat, probably the only source of animal protein in those days. I still remember his glazed eyes of rebuke fixed on me.

The epitaph now reads: To the noble breed of coprophagic canines despite human ingratitude. Strictly forbidden is citation or application of that irreverent dictum about canine obsession with excrement to Russian collusion delusion or anything else, however to the point, even among the fuddy-duddies who understand its metaphor.

The Scourge of Romantic Love

“A Korean high school alum of mine, class of 1956, naturalized over half a century ago and resident in NY, is devastated,” I report. “Jilted, his grandson, 16, killed himself by jumping off a 500-foot cliff. A math genius, precociously enrolled at a ranking university, he was the hope and pride of the whole family. My friend, the 82-year-old grandpa, blames himself for coming to America to start his American dynasty. Actually, I feel partly responsible because, singing America the Beautiful, I had urged him to immigrate, though he doesn’t seem to remember.”

“The boy would have killed himself in Korea, unless the culture is different there and does not blow sex out of proportion into the hallucinogen, romantic love, that kills Romeo and Juliet,” Tom reasons.

“Not to the extent of Greek and Roman deification of love as a goddess with modern romantic sublimation via Medieval courtly love, compliments of your greatest writers, artists, musicians,” I point out.

“The drug cartel,” he snorts.

“But Korea has earthy folklore and folksong galore that takes for granted obsession with one’s object of love, which perhaps argues its universality,” I conjecture wildly, “with perhaps an evolutionary design: to snare and bind a breeding pair so they stay together long enough to raise the young and ensure the survival of the species.”

“So we end up with 7 billion and counting, 8, 10, 15, …a trillion,” he shudders. “We’ve got to reconfigure this blind engine, romantic love, before it suffocates us all.”

“Do you therefore dismiss love-engendered fatalities like my friend’s grandson as some kind of natural selection?” I challenge his seeming insensitivity.

“Not at all,” he retorts. “Romantic love reconfigured or, more correctly, gutted, will kill two birds with one stone, preventing your Romeo and Juliet tragedies.”

“Except this case is a little different: unrequited love, unlike Romeo and Juliet, the love birds.” I add, “With an American twist: the girl’s white parents didn’t care for an Asian son-in-law, however smart.”

“Poor boy!” Tom laments. “Only if he had torn off the blinders and looked around at the dozens, hundreds of nubile females available and interchangeable, white, yellow, black, brown, …”

“Unfortunately, once caught in the trap of romantic love, interchangeability is anathema, simply unthinkable.”

“There is only one way to save humanity from the monomaniac fixation of romantic love: reduction of its ultimate goal, orgasm by coitus, to excretion,” Tom declares agitatedly. “The program should start early, like preschool. The toddlers will undress and pee and poop in plain view of each other to familiarize themselves with their excretory anatomy with gender differentiation, soon to be supplemented in elementary school by physical education that incorporates induced orgasm so as to reduce it to the third dimension of excretion in addition to the two they already know.”

“But how do you induce orgasm with these little kids?” I ask aghast.

“Masturbation and communal manual excitation of the penis or clitoris of the next kid in a circle, for example, a phys ed routine like basketball, gymnastics, or what have you.”

“You are kidding, right?” I shake my head. “Parents will tar and feather you for even thinking such thoughts about their darling little angels.”

“But these angels do it anyway, only in secret and in shame, with untold psychological damage that renders them more susceptible to romantic love,” Tom shouts. “This way we bring it out into the open and trivialize it, so Romeo wouldn’t kill himself because he knows there is a whole ocean of Juliets out there.”  

“Just for argument’s sake, does the inducement of orgasm include coitus?”

“Absolutely not. Penile penetration of the vagina is forbidden and allowed once or twice after marriage in estrus strictly for planned breeding purposes upon proof of the couple’s financial capability by depositing, say, $10 million per child in escrow, to see the new born through graduate or professional school.”

“You mean only 0.1% of the population can fuck their wives and that only as many times as the number of children they can have in their whole lives?” I scream. “Now you’ll have the whole world coming after you.”

“Only the primitive antediluvian males, prior to our new phys ed regimen, but not the women, not even the antediluvians, who have never really wanted it, only enduring it all these millions of years, partly because of the faint hope during estrus for this marginal means of achieving orgasm but mainly because of their economic dependence on men who thought vaginal penetration the only road to heaven. With the new educational system in place a new era of peace and creativity dawns on humanity: with fewer of us around, population under control and freed from the scourge of romantic insanity, cooperation will be the guiding principle, not competition, and prepare us for intergalactic exploration.”

To Hunt Down the Witch Hunters or Not To, That Is the Question

“It’s like pulling teeth but he gets his words out at last,” I summarize Barr’s Congressional testimony on Apr 9, 2019, and its impact. “Spying has occurred against Trump, he says, the genesis and conduct of which should be looked into to ensure that governmental agencies with investigative powers operate properly, that is, drive in their assigned lanes, his figure of speech. Understandably, the Dems and fake media are up in arms, in a conniption fit, calling him Trump’s running dog, not the Attorney General of the United States.”

“Funny they use a canine metaphor because with his jowls and growls he looks a bit like a bull dog,” grunts Tom, the misanthrope, my nonagenarian neighbor. “He’ll bite big time, though, a new traffic cop in town. They’ll get what’s coming, these Trump haters: massive and swift indictments and prison terms.”

“But wouldn’t it create a never-ending feud cycle, Dems biding their time to get back at Reps, and so on, in the meantime national security and economy kicked aside?” I give him a synopsis of the four centuries of partisan politics in Korea which enables Japan to trample it down at will in 1592 and finally colonize it in the first half of the 20th century, to be liberated only in 1945 by the US. “Wouldn’t it be presidential of Trump to lean on Barr to go easy, content with the moral victory, burying the Dems and fake media in their eternal shame?”

“Was your Korean dynasty a constitutional democracy like ours?” Tom asks.

“No. Democracy is America’s gift, barely half a century old.”

“Then the Korean analogy does not apply. We have partisan politics, too, but in the end all parties submit to the rule of law as set forth in the Constitution, aware that the alternative, crime unpunished and justice ignored, is the road to hell. The evil-doer gloats over his escape as vindication and victory and waits for an opportunity to strike back, gathering sympathizers and fellow travelers, weakening and destroying the body politic.”

“But the fake media keep spinning,” I point out. “Unrepentant and defiant, Schiff, Brennan, CNN, NBC go on characterizing the looming Barr investigation as a Spanish Inquisition.”

“Luckily, we live in the internet age and won’t be hoodwinked by them, there being countervailing sources of information like Fox News, tweets by Trump supporters, blogs like yours, showing what these Witch Hunters have done – buying the phony Steele dossier to obtain the FISA warrant and authorizing surveillance on the Trump campaign and subsequent Mueller investigation, which violates the core American value, freedom from such tyranny. Even the hard-core Dems will recoil from the implications of the Witch Hunt and acquiesce in the culprits’ fall and punishment. Sure the convicted felons will grind their teeth and plot revenge but the public at large will ignore them and the feud cycle you fear will never get off the ground.”

“How wide should Barr prosecute, CIA, FBI, Congress, fake media?” I ask, shuddering.

“Let the chips fall where they may. You are mistaken, though, to think that Trump faces some kind of dilemma, whether to be magnanimous and forgive all those awful attacks, or clean up the house, drain the swamp, once and for all, to prevent recurrence of such misuse of power that may hamstring future administrations, somewhat reminiscent of Hamlet’s soliloquy:

To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.

He opts to oppose and end the offenders. But Trump does not have to choose. Barr will do it, not as his running dog but as US AG to uphold the Republic.”

Tom, the Recluse, My Nearest Neighbor

For four years after moving into the gated community neighbors had been telling me about Tom the Recluse, piquing my curiosity. Though sharing the same driveway I had not run into him until about a couple of months ago in February, 2019, when there was the first respectable snowfall of the season, dumping close to a foot overnight.

At 4 a.m. I came out the front door holding the garbage wrapped in a shopping bag. It was too early for the snow crew to show up. Gingerly I pulled up one sinking foot after another down the walkway knee-deep in snow, hoping it would keep the deer and other scavengers away. I needed to sleep past the garbage pickup time having worked through the wee hours to post an article on my blog, Normally, upon hearing the truck around 8, I would run out with my offering to zero out the possibility of the bag being torn up and the mess scattered. I had the Borough take back its trash and recycle bins, hating to take them back in. Catching on, a few of the neighbors mimicked my practice, though I couldn’t determine whether they had the bins returned, too. With a degree of satisfaction I had noticed Tom, the Recluse, to be among the copycats.

A thud and a yell jerked me out of my trance. A figure lay prostrate at the foot of the 35-degree driveway. Throwing down my bag I ran to him, losing my footing a few times.

The ice on the pavers must have caused the poor guy to slip and fall backward, then slide straight down on his back like a toboggan, his garbage bag flung aside.

“Let me help you up,” I whispered, thrusting my hand under his shoulder. He stirred, came to, and tried to get up on his own, disoriented, arms flailing. I helped him up. Muttering, he pulled away, picked up the bundle, and placed it by his mailbox post.

“Are you okay?” I asked anxiously. Grunting, he went back into his house through the open garage door, which came clattering down behind him.

Stung by his rudeness, though forewarned, but concerned that the trauma to his head, unawares, might have serious consequences like a concussion or intracerebral hemorrhage, I went up to his front door and knocked. No response. I banged louder, shouting his name. No sound or stir inside. Panicked that he might have collapsed, possibly on the verge of death, I came back to my house and called 911. An ambulance and two squad cars arrived. The patrolmen and medics converged on the house, some going around to the deck in the back facing the woods.

“What’s all this commotion about?” Tom opened the front door, resplendent in full nightgown regalia.

“Are you all right, sir?” one medic asked.

“Until now.”

They all turned to me for an explanation.

“But, sir, you had a bad fall and lay there, passed out,” I said, pointing at the driveway.

“What do you mean? I have been soundly asleep. I am no somnambulist like some people, seeing things,” he said, staring at me askance.

“Since we are here anyway, what if we check you out?” the medic asked.

“No,” Tom shouted back and slammed the door closed.

“Please look at this trench in the snow,” I pointed out to the medics and patrolmen carefully picking their way down the slope back to their vehicles. “That’s where he lay sprawled, flailing his arms.”

“His head would have cracked had it not been for the cushion of snow,” the ambulance driver noted, believing me.

I had just gotten back into the house after waving goodbye to the responders, swearing I’d never play a good Samaritan again, even if someone dropped dead right in front of me, when the doorbell rang.

“Came to thank you for the neighborliness, though misplaced,” Tom said. “I am pretty resilient, well-nigh indestructible.”

“But you almost got me into trouble,” I protested.

“I had to send them packing and knew they would believe you, dismissing me as a crackpot geezer. This is my peace offering,” he said, pushing a bottle of cognac toward me.

“No, take it back. There is no cause for it. Besides I don’t drink.”

“All right, then. Come around any time and we’ll talk.”

“Sure but do you have an email address? We can communicate that way.”

“What is yours? I’ll write you, so you can answer back.”

I gave him my card. He wrote a few days later, saying he had enjoyed my blog, especially my take on Trump, a former student of his at Wharton where he had taught marketing. We hit it off right away, fabulously.

Import Korean Egalitarianism to Defuse Envy in America

Half of America, the younger misguided half, is rallying to the banner of communism. Yes, I say communism, calling a spade a spade, not a whitewashed euphemism. Actually, communism as originally proposed by Marx and Engels was a beautiful word, like utopia or brotherhood.

Communism derives its appeal by stirring up envy, hatred of those with more money than oneself and promise of equal distribution. However, its toxicity is spelled out by Peter Bach, the protagonist of The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan (2018),, pages 420-421, during his Senate hearing for confirmation as President Eisenhower’s Special Envoy to South Korea in turmoil after the Student Revolution of 1960. He calls communism

“A naive, dangerous, and ultimately self-defeating ideology, based on a misconception of human nature. Humans are most productive when they compete for a larger, not equal, share of wealth. A huge bureaucracy, installed to replace free market competition, will in time grind down and implode for lack of motivation and built-in indolence.”

The truth of this characterization has been verified beyond a shadow of doubt by the sea trials of communism, Soviet, Cuban, Venezuelan, proving it to be unfit as a practical solution. We have to work with the free market system, accepting inequality as a necessary evil or blessing. Peter goes on to warn:

“But Communism serves as a wakeup call lest a free society should lapse into complacency. It should be constantly vigilant against perpetuation of gross inequalities, leveling the playfield to forestall upheavals like the French Revolution of 1792 or the Russian Revolution of 1917?”
“The US has in place anti-trust and welfare legislations, as well as widespread private charity by the wealthy, which will serve as vents. If the balance is maintained, there won’t be any explosive revolutions to wreck America.”

In other words, with progressive taxation, social security, supplemental security income, private charity, and other leveling devices already in place, we are managing. Granted that’s not enough but we have to be patient and do what we can, in the meantime suppressing, defusing and reining in the discontent of the young and radical. To this end suggested is cultivation of insensitivity or immunity to envy, the green-eyed monster, the root cause of discontent, by looking to the Korean model.
From time immemorial Koreans have coped with their less than dominant places in their social totem pole in reliance on a peculiar brand of egalitarianism, expressed by the phrase, “a sheet of paper difference (종이 한 장 차이).” For example, a bondservant can mentally stare down at his master, while bowing and scraping to do his bidding, because it’s just the title deed that separates them. Similarly dismissive of his billionaire employer is a day laborer living hand to mouth. In time the idiom mutates to mean “paper thin,” reducing the vast differences in the pecking order to a triviality. This mentality may make them the world’s worst hypocrites, obsequious outside but arrogant inside but sure gives them peace of mind and physical health by freeing them from envy, the mental cancer that eventually metastasizes to the body and kills.
Lately the egalitarian motto has mutated again to “a click difference,” reflecting post-Information Revolution accessibility to the cutting edge of knowledge in any field, the seriousness of which cannot be overstated.

If the previous “paper thin difference” is irreverence, rebelliousness, denial, a matter of attitude, this “click difference” is substantive. By clicking the right link on line one can instantly come to the cutting edge of knowledge in any field. If knowledge is power, this click difference is none other than universal empowerment, destined to erode and erase the invidious differences in the pecking order, rendering obsolete certifications, licenses, charters as artificial intelligence and virtual training in the professions and trades advance (see The Bounty of De-Schooling, 3-20-2019,

This ultra-egalitarianism will prevent America from tilting too far to the left and keeling over and keep it on track to becoming an earthly utopia, where differences exist enough to keep competition going but not suffocate.

Soomin Kim, Miss Korea 2018, and Donald Trump, 45th President, USA

Soomin Kim, 24, the charming, refreshing Miss Korea 2018, may hold the key to the enigma of Trump’s election and success.

Dubbed the controversial or off-beat beauty queen, the Dickinson College graduate with a degree in International Business, enters the pageant competition for fun. Not expecting to win she acts and answers freely, being herself, hugely enjoying every moment of it, and thoroughly enchanting her jury.

That is exactly Trump’s style – off script spontaneity, speaking his mind, saying what he means, baring his soul, which resonates with his audience. Liking him they trust him to lead the way to the promised land and to date their faith in him has been amply rewarded by the booming economy, excision of ISIS, termination of the Russian Witch Hunt, and respect from foreign adversaries like China and Russia.

By the way the Korean beauty is one of a kind. Above all she is a multilingual. Her Korean is witty and eloquent but she floors you with her native-grade English, as well as her ease and poise during an interview with an American journalist, explainable only by American birth and education through college before moving back to Korea, reverse immigration as Koreans call it, though not verifiable by cursory search through her videos and writeups. Or she could have gone to American school in Korea or studied with totally virtual English teaching videos before enrolling in Dickinson as a foreign student. While at Dickinson she studies a year at a Beijing university under an exchange program, again learning to speak Chinese like a native. Amazing!

She has her heart set on becoming an international journalist and has already produced fabulous informational videos, but she may serve best as the first lady of any country, except she would steal the thunder from her husband, Individual One.

That term turning up in Cohen’s testimony gives rise to an impious thought. What a fine match she would make for Donald, who alone will be able to hold his own and not be eclipsed by her brilliance. Melania may actually want to call it quits and join the growing rank of his ex-wives and mistresses, giving Soomin a chance to be America’s First Lady, that is, before 2025, in view of its multiple benefits.

1. Equal Opportunity for Women

The whole thing is of course subject to consent by Melania, who may actually want to explore. After all life is short. She knows she will be financially well provided and honored like all his former wives and mistresses, except she would have the extra prestige of having been a First Lady which, on top of her own merits as a modeling star, will make her irresistible to all types of men worldwide, even other heads of state, billionaires, athletes, especially the young bucks.

2. Global Humanism

Marriage to the Korean beauty will demonstrate once and for all that Trump is no racist, interracial marriage being the true measure of one’s freedom from racial or ethnic hang-ups (see The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan,

3. Hope for the Aged

His marriage to Soomin, half a century his junior, will be proof positive of vitality and libido even when within striking distance of the century mark and will make him a hero to all the Oncs of the world (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018,

Russians in Deep Mourning as Their Best Weapon Against America Fizzles Out

On Monday, Mar 25, 2019, the best weapon Russians could have devised in their wildest dream against their arch enemy, America, at zero cost to boot, fizzles out beyond any hope of resurrection or re-deployment. American Democrats’ frenzy to sabotage the resurgence of America, otherwise known as MAGA, Make America Great Again, comes to an irreversible screeching end. Mueller, their own Special Counsel aided by a pack of highly motivated henchmen to take down Trump they still cannot accept as President, declares his zero collusion with Russia where, understandably, the belly laugh (see Russians Having a Belly Laugh, 7-19-2017, is turning into a heartbreak, as the country stares at a skyrocketing defense budget to match America’s growing might, something it cannot afford, the price of oil, its only export, hitting rock bottom (see Low Gas Price, Not Mild Winter: Time to Pat Ourselves on the Back for Stumbling into Picking the Right Guy for the Job, 1-16-2019,, a re-enactment of the post-Reagan Soviet years.

Let Dead Dogs Lie and Don’t Beat a Dead Horse?: In Defense of Trump’s Comment on McCain

Grandstanders, haughtily shaking your heads and pouring contempt on Trump for attacking McCain, the deceased, during his stirring rally at the Abrams tank manufacturing plant in Lima, OH, on Mar 20, 2019:

You are nothing but a bunch of proverbial zombies, mindlessly chanting proverbs, well known for their ambiguity: if one tells you to go right, another is sure to tell you to go left.

In Julius Caesar (1599) Shakespeare has Brutus publicly denounce Caesar as too ambitious and therefore deserving to die, which is followed by Antony’s oration:

I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Does Antony just bury Caesar, as he promises? No, he doesn’t stop praising, until he masterfully demolishes the accusations, rehabilitates, apotheosizes Caesar, and turns the wrath of the masses on Brutus and his clique.

Note how Antony prefaces his defense of Caesar: the evil that men do lives after them. In other words, Brutus has every right to accuse and condemn Caesar, if only to be hoist with his own petard.

However, if any of you zombies want to be the modern-day Antony to praise McCain and bury Trump, the Brutus, think again!

First, it’s not unseemly to attack a decedent simply because he is dead and can’t defend himself. Unlike dogs or horses we are human precisely because our works, good and bad, survive us, as Antony points out.

To dispel any doubt on this score, consider whether the probate court is unseemly just because it delves into the decedent’s will and estate. Note its publicity, how typically a notice of the probate is published in newspapers inviting the whole world to the reckoning.

Trump is doing the probate, going through the deceased’s legacy to the nation, because he was a public figure. Topping the list is his instigation of the Russian Witch Hunt. It was McCain who, instead of tipping Trump off about the phony Steele dossier when he gets it, as a friend should, turns it over to the FBI and sets off the Mueller investigation that drags on nearly two years, wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and metastasizing to a Congressional investigation, now that the Democrats are in control of the House. Meanwhile fallen by the wayside is the proper work of government, America’s security and economic wellbeing and world peace and prosperity.

Next on the probate calendar is McCain casting the deciding vote to defeat Trump’s bill to Repeal and Replace Obamacare, purely out of spite because all along, prior to the vote, he had been in favor.

The Trump detractors should note that he does not talk about McCain’s reputation as an American hero, though the heroism of his Vietcong captivity has been debunked by many, including Biden, the Democratic primary front runner. In fact, burying the hatchet Trump signs off on the military transport of McCain’s body to Washington for his funeral at the National Cathedral, though with no thanks from the family or anybody else. On the contrary, unable to resist the temptation to jump on the Trump-bashing train, the Cathedral gratuitously comes out to deny the need for his approval to host the funeral, apparently unaware that by diminishing and blocking Trump out the funeral is deprived of the presidential cachet, presumably contrary to the decedent’s wishes.

The Bounty of De-Schooling

“How many hours a day do you guys spend Googling, You-Tubing, Wikipedia-ing?” asks Paul, a retired psychologist and an Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018,

“Almost every waking hour,” admits Richard, a retired tax lawyer. “A sad commentary on my education, with which there is almost a complete disconnect.”

“Inevitable under pressure to specialize,” assents Bob, a retired ophthalmologist. “In college we have to choose a major and, in grad school, a field. Then as a professional you specialize. What was your major, Richard?”

“English. The disconnect between English and law school is total. All the poetry and prose I’ve read and analyzed is absolutely useless. But there is another disconnect between law school and tax law, because you have to forget just about everything you study in law school, to learn the tax laws, federal, state, local, levied on income, payroll, property, sales, capital gains, dividends, imports, estates, gifts, fees, to make sure the government collects a quarter of the GDP. Then they revise and redact every now and then just for the heck of it to keep you on your toes and leave no time for anything else.”

“Nobody has mentioned the 12 pre-college years of elementary and secondary schooling,” Paul notes, “meaning tacit acceptance of it as useful intellectual foundation for subsequent college and beyond for what it is, I presume.”

“Are you kidding?” Richard huffs. “What rubbish I had to memorize for finals and the SAT, geography, history, math, science, and literature! What a waste of intellectual energy! Actually, I agree with the Korean system, prior to the 2007 American style reform, that allows a high school graduate to sit for the bar exam (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,”

“Ditto for medicine,” Bob adds. “You don’t need to fool around with 4 years of premed. A high school grad can go directly into the regular medical course.”

“Actually, in Korea before 2007 all professional schooling began at college level,” I weigh in, “College of law, engineering, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, agriculture, music, fine art, liberal arts, divinity, or what have you.”

“But, Richard, didn’t you say one didn’t have to graduate from law college to take the bar?” asks Bill, a retired captain and graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy. “Why, then, bother to go to law college if it is not required to take the bar?”

“For the cachet of LL.B. or BA in Law,” I say. “Many took the bar while in law college, the passage rate naturally higher than high school graduates. On the other hand, some law graduates couldn’t pass year after year.”

“That is enlightening, Ty!” exclaims Bob. “If Korean high school graduates could pass the bar, then our American kids can do the same and pass other professional exams, too, especially given the increasing sophistication of educational and professional YouTube videos, if they are allowed to watch them instead of wasting 4 years, trudging back and forth to high school classes, jumping through hoops.”

“Granted we eliminate high school, grades 9 through 12, for independent study,” posits Paul, “do we leave alone pre-high school grades 1 – 8, elementary and middle, to provide the 3 R’s necessary for them to read and understand the subjects, law, engineering, medicine, and so forth?”

“Scrapping elementary and middle school is a cinch, given the abundance of state of the art online resources to teach the 3 R’s,” I assert. “But even the traditional 3 R’s are largely wasteful, cramming the young minds with useless names, dates, places, which should be replaced by a curriculum on rules or law (see Revise the 3 R’s to 4 R’s), so that by the time they graduate from high school they’ll all be lawyers.”

“But that means the demise of my profession?” Richard moans.

“No, not everybody can be a good advocate even for their own cause and would rather hire those with greater aptitude for it who advertise themselves as Attorney at Law, Barrister, Lawyer, Esquire,” I explain. “It’s only for law that I call for this, because law is one of the 4 R’s and the entire population beyond the 12th grade should be able to access the courts as lawyers to prevent blood feuds and vendettas. The other professions, founded on the 4 R’s, are certified by some national agency to ensure the practitioners’ qualifications.”

I stop to take a breath and resume.

“That proposal, however, was on the assumption that high school existed and enforced some form of certification like a GED test on the 4R’s. Since this is no longer the case and no school exists including high school, it’s not 4 R’s any more but are open to all the professions or fields of knowledge to explore. Spared the waste and drudgery of going to elementary and middle school day in and day out for 8 years, children, not particularly precocious, can go on to prepare not only for the bar exam but for medical board exam, engineering exam, or even merchant marine test Bill had to pass at, how old were you?”

“24, but I see your point,” Bill nods. “We now do most of our navigational training virtually and I can imagine a teenager or even a preteen getting the hang of it just as well as a 24-year-old, provided he learns all the other stuff.”

“So you make them start working that young?” Richard asks, astounded.

“Certainly,” I reassure him. “I envision the average professional working age to be 15, which, combined with the retirement age of 90 (see 90 (=85+5), the New Retirement Age, Incorporating the Mortality Constant, 11-16-2018,, will multiply the working population, stanching Social Security hemorrhage.”

“I have just one concern,” Paul interjects. “What about cutting-edge scientists, writers, thinkers, typically ensconced in the ivory tower of academia?”

“They’ll find their niches in industries, the majority of them small, one-person outfits of self-employment and, unencumbered by academia, civilization will take off like a rocket.”

Stop Admission Scandals by Abolishing Elite Universities!

This is a corollary to abolition of schools across the board from elementary through graduate and professional, proposed earlier (see New Education in Response to Developments in Artificial Intelligence, 12-23-2018,

Kindergarten and even preschool children amaze us with the rapidity with which they learn intricate games and follow Sesame Street and other children’s shows online. As they grow older, they can connect online to the best video programs for different subjects, far surpassing any elementary through high school classroom presentations.

Some are concerned that clicking a laptop or iPad may deprive the child of vital classroom socialization. Baloney! The child has enough social exposure at home, in the neighborhood, at church, birthday parties, sleep overs, concerts, parades. Besides slouching at desk in rows watching or pretending to watch the teacher hardly qualifiess as socialization. But even that can be adequately supplied virtually online.

However, preteen children, especially those whose parents both work, may be sent to neighborhood daycare centers strictly to gather and have fun, not to learn. For this purpose a medium-sized home will suffice to service a city block or rural village, not a typical multistoried building with long hallways and series of classrooms, to be demolished if not converted to other productive use.

Online self-education is made to order for college and beyond, as the student is now an independent adult with tremendous mnemonic and intellectual prowess, agility, creativity. There isn’t a single discipline, liberal arts or science, that cannot be learned online, including a virtual biology or physics lab. However, virtual expertise may be confirmed and supplemented by field trips to actual facilities.

In this educational system no degree, academic or professional, will be handed out. An employer will advertise a position and video-examine a candidate’s competence. No inquiry will ever be made to the nonexistent college one went to. Professional qualifications will be similarly certified by passing a bar, medical board, or professional engineering exams, with practical demonstrations as needed.

Nor is one-time certification the end of self-education. To excel in their work professionals will be Googling diligently till the end of their lives, as will anybody who enjoys learning and does his or her share in advancing civilization.

Uproar Over the College Admission Scam: An Epitome of Myopia

America’s recent uproar over some 33 parents being indicted for bribery, laying out a total of $25 million, to get their children into elite colleges is the epitome of myopia, ignorance and hypocrisy.

Only $25 million? Peanuts and that’s where the problem is. They were cheap and also dumb, choosing the back door, bribery, a low-grade crime, to give their children a break. The real offenders achieve the same purpose by going through the front door and shaking hands with the college president to stick a big check on his palm. With the billions, trillions so collected over the years these colleges build cutting edge science complexes, libraries, auditoriums, theaters, endowed chairs, becoming elite indeed.

Instructive in this regard is Cohen’s congressional testimony on the business negotiations for the failed Trump Tower across from the Kremlin (see Cohen, a Dream Witness for Trump, 3-3-2019, Offered right off the bat is the best suite in the building for Putin, a bribe to be sure but also a cost of doing business: a distinguished patron boosts its goodwill. It’s a win-win deal benefiting both parties.

Every college in the world will welcome Trump’s children among its alums. But lack of such fame can be amended by money, a lot of money.

Much has been said about Trump being not bright enough to have gotten into Wharton on his own. If that is true, Fred Trump, a dime a dozen multimillionaire, must have made a substantial donation. Democrats, where is your diligence, not digging into his ancestors’ graves?

Is this obsession with a prestigious college diploma really good for civilization? No, because it is a travesty of real knowledge and competence, nevertheless religiously maintained so long as an employer’s first inquiry is an applicant’s alma mater.

More in the next post.

Global Grassroots Movement for Rat Extermination

This is a follow-up to An Open Letter to the Mayor of NYC (2-28-2019, and is motivated by a communication received from a friend whose son has spent over $1,000 hiring an extermination company to get rid of rats and mice gnawing and scratching in the walls and ceilings of his house, the goal still elusive.

Predictably, De Blasio has neither replied nor complied, forfeiting the historic opportunity to lead the global movement, eradication of this scourge as old as the beginning of our species. It is time for homeowners here in America and worldwide to take over and let their grassroots cause culminate in a miracle as epochal as the extinction of polio.

Recommended in the open letter are pipe bombs, that is, anticoagulant bait blocks placed in the middle of a 6-inch length of 1.25-inch diameter PVC pipe, to prevent pilfering by cats, dogs, or birds. Subsequent research has come up with an even cheaper and more copious method of deployment: the gallon milk jug, with an 1.5-inch diameter hole cut on each of its four sides halfway above the bottom, packed with double or triple layers of bait blocks, the lid off unless exposed to the weather. The jug is secured by burying into the soil up to the base of the 4 holes so the rodents can enter at ground level or, in the absence of soil, held down with brick or stone up to the holes. Set outdoors in frequent rodent traffic areas, the jug or jugs may be camouflaged or even dressed up aesthetically, if readily visible.

Concern has been voiced about the possibility of poisoned rats crawling into the house and dying, fouling the air indoors for weeks. This has never happened in my own experience. Nor have I found them dead in the open, leading me to believe they seek and die in more natural outdoor burrows. At least they have time, 4 or 5 days, to pick their own mausoleum after ingestion and awareness of their fate.

As mentioned in the letter rats have a superhighway of communication and come to feed on the bait from all over, including from inside the house.

A Discourse on Precocity

My granddaughter Naomie, 3 years and 3 months old, goes to a preschool that charges as much as an Ivy League college. Because both her parents are at work, my wife Young takes her there in the morning and picks her up in the afternoon and hears the mothers, especially Korean mothers, talk in awed whispers about their children playing the piano, reading books, drawing, or doing something phenomenal way ahead of their age.

Each such exposure depresses Young. Though she knows Naomie to be smart and articulate, with the largest functional vocabulary according to her favorite teacher Joanne, she is yet to learn to spell a word or read. Though an organist, Young hasn’t been able to teach her granddaughter to play the piano: Naomie (featured in Grandparent Spoiling, 2-14-2019, doesn’t have the patience.

“She is precocious in a way few others are, if any,” I comfort her.

“What way?” she asks.

“Social sensitivity, awareness of socio-dynamics, everybody’s place in society and interaction, that is, human existence and relationship, in stasis and in motion, microscopic and macroscopic.”

“Gobbledygook! Is she special or not?”

“Extremely so. You saw it nearly a year ago, when she hugged your Mom’s legs protectively after you chewed her out for something trivial.” See Innate Sense of Justice at 2.5 Years of Age, 1-9-2019,

“That was cute of her,” she concedes. “But something like that is not what people mean by precocity.”

“They should. In terms of its importance it should rank the highest. But few ever achieve it and so is not noticed or discussed. Not even Toddler Jesus. Only in his adolescence he amazes his elders and priests with his intelligence and wisdom.”

“Don’t use Naomie for your blasphemy,” she warns severely. She silences me for now but another occasion soon pops up to prove my point.

We take Naomie to her third pediatric dentist to have her cavities filled. The two previous ones couldn’t get her to open her mouth. A little over half an hour away from our house, Edgewater, NJ, nevertheless feels like the other side of the moon, given my aversion to driving. No, Young doesn’t drive if we are in the car together, a violation of her gender according to her code. Thankfully, Naomie doesn’t make an issue of her Grandma sitting in the front passenger seat instead of in the back next to her, aware that the driver, too old to follow GPS, needs help with the directions.

I drop them off in front of the building. Luckily another car is pulling up behind me and, hastily telling her I’ll let her know where I am parked so she can find me when done, I drive off before Young can object.

“Why aren’t you here?” she sounds distraught, when I call.

“Walk out the building by the Manhattan-facing front door and keep walking straight toward to the Hudson. I’ll stay in the car and take care of some business and do some writing.” I hang up.

They arrive, Naomie composed enough to show me a happy face drawn with white filling composite on her right index fingernail. That’s how Dr. Rose has coaxed her to sit in the mini dental chair. Rose then asks her to open her mouth so happy faces can be put on her teeth, too. After a little hesitation she does as told. Instantly the nurse holds it open, probably inserting some kind of bite block. Discovering the trickery Naomie starts balling, biting, and flailing to get out. Holding her hands down Young sings a whole repertoire of her favorite songs. Thank God, her resistance does not rise to denial. If she really makes up her mind to oppose, she can kick and writhe so violently, as it has happened with her two previous dentists when her parents took her, that there is no way to overcome except by traumatizing brute force. Perhaps she felt sorry for her Grandma, singing louder and louder to match her clamor, and decided to comply, though under protest.

Apparently exhausted by the stress she is nodding off on our drive back and by the time we reach her preschool a little past 11 we have to wake her.

“I don’t want to go,” she starts balling. Young cajoles and wheedles. I am running out of patience. Every hour is costing her parents so much tuition money that shouldn’t go to waste. Besides I have some unfinished business myself at home.

“I’ll never let you come to my house,” I shout, regretting immediately.

She stops and stares at me, then obviously deciding that I don’t mean it, goes back to her resistance mode. Young names her favorite haunts one by one, including our house, as the destination after school, to no effect. Young slips and nearly falls on the patch of ice the car is parked on, the March temperature hovering in the 20’s to make up for the mild winter. After steadying Young, I lift Naomie out of her car seat and plump her down on the ice. Sliding she almost falls and grabs my legs, the close call delighting her. I pick her up and, ignoring her protests but gingerly lest we collapse a broken heap, carry her to the class and open the door.

“Tell us about the visit to the dentist’s,” the teacher invites Naomie, leaving the large communal table where the toddlers are having snacks. Naomie is still inconsolable but some of her friends come over and the teacher and Young take turns to change Naomie’s mind. I leave, because both doors on the passenger side have been left open, the car parked in a no parking zone. After closing the doors I back up and reposition the car, leaving the engine on and wait, so Young can get into the warmth. I see her come out the door, walk all the way down the path to the car, then walk right back, open the door half an inch to peek, reclose and return.

“The teacher is shaking her head as if in disbelief, though she knows I always check back,” she anticipates my query.

“Is Naomie okay?”

“Yes, she is with her friends.”

At 3:30 p.m., Young goes to pick her up. Naomie is her cheerful self again and the first thing she says is, “Thank you, Grandma, for dropping me off at the school.”

“You are certainly welcome, my precious little princess,” Young replies.

“Also thank you, my precious little Grandma, and Grandpa for driving me to the dentist’s.”

That floors Young and also me, hearing the report. Quickly recovering I seize the opportunity. “Now do you believe her precocity? What child of her age could think of thanking her grandparents? We have a rare gift from God.”

“But I can’t tell anybody about it. A precocious pianist can be a Beethoven, a precocious reader a Shakespeare, but where does her precocity take her?”

“All places. First off, she’ll be a leader, because social sensitivity draws people like a magnet. She can be a political leader like Trump or even a religious leader like Jesus.”

“Stop blaspheming. He is the Son of God.”

“Daughter of God, then. About time you Feminists woke up to it.”

Cohen Elevates “Racist” to “All American” by Counter-Euphemism

By lifting up Cohen, the Rat, as their oracle, the Democrats have succeeded in setting off a phenomenon, best called “counter-euphemism,” that is, exaltation of what used to be offensive.

For example, “poop room” being called “rest room” is euphemism, but when the reverse happens, as it does, it’s counter-euphemism. Suppose “poop” is shouted and trumpeted by an odious Judas Iscariot as something he hates, our oppositional instinct kicks in and reappraises the object until it loses its stench and even transmogrifies into fragrant manna fallen from heaven.

Conspicuous among the many targets of counter-euphemism unleashed by the Rat to stab and gore Trump, German on his father’s side and Scottish on his mother’s (see Cohen, a Dream Witness for Trump, 3-3-2019, is the word “racist,” which undergoes a sudden lexical shift into a complimentary attribute of every American, consistent with their long-standing compulsive-obsessive search for ancestry and identity that climaxes in recent explosive genealogical DNA testing and matching, motivates and reinforces family, tribal, ethnic reunions and celebrations:

St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals, wearing green attire and shamrocks; Scottish Tartan Day singing the Tunes of Glory and marching through the streets of New York with pipes and drums; Mexican American Cinco de Mayo fiestas; Chinese and Korean Lunar New Year festivities, etc.

America is America because of its racial, ethnic, cultural diversity, not erased in the melting pot. Red, blue, white, and many other colors, as many as there are in the different continents we come from, together we produce a spectacular kaleidoscope of endless achievements and possibilities, a grand, majestic harmony.

Long live Racism, counter-euphemized, compliments of Cohen and his groupies!

Cohen, a Dream Witness for Trump

“Trump is toast now,” cheers Steve, an avowed never-Trumper, jabbing at the New York Times front-page article on Cohen’s Congressional testimony, Feb 27, 2019.

“What makes you think so?” asks Paul.

“Read it for yourself,” Casey shouts indignantly, thrusting the paper towards his friend.

“No need,” Paul sidesteps. “I’ve watched the whole dog and pony show on TV, a coronation, an apotheosis of Citizen Trump, an American icon. The ratting jackass is a dream witness for Trump, the best ally imaginable.”

“A racist, con man, cheat, mobster, bruiser is an American icon?” Casey stares, shocked and incredulous.

“Item One. Every American is a racist, proud of their racial, ethnic heritage, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Scottish, Anglo-Saxon, French, German, Spanish, Black, Arab, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. But they are also fiercely American and fight to the death for America against any of them, their own kind included.

“Item Two. Every tax-paying American is a con artist and a cheat. Haven’t you gone to the Bergen County Tax Commission to get the assessment on your mansion reduced from $10 million to $3 million?”

“Yeah, but that’s different. It’s a down market here in New Jersey because of its insanely high property tax rate, hurting high-end properties most…”

“Exactly what Donald’s accountants have done, resonating with any home owner. This has also an unintended consequence: inflation of Trump’s net worth way over the publicly stated figure, maybe by a factor of 10, making him richer than Bezos or Gates. They like it that way, their President the richest billionaire, not just a billionaire. Moreover, his wealth is real estate, so much more tangible than something you read on paper.”

“But he lied about the Moscow Trump Tower, where Putin was promised a suite, a clear proof of collusion,” Casey retorts.

“Any American would have been proud to see an American hotel, the largest in Europe or the whole world, go up right across from the Kremlin. Cohen revealed that the offer of the suite as a gift to Putin is a calculated commercial ploy to upgrade the property, something done all the time, not a national security issue, driving the final nail in the coffin of Mueller’s witch hunt. Too bad the whole thing has come to naught because they couldn’t get the land to build the Tower on.”

“But what about his mobster tactics, threatening his enemies with retribution 500 times?”

“In the same breath the jackass brays that he has never heard him actually order anyone, including himself, to physically hurt someone, because he doesn’t have to do that, the implication being that knowing his unsaid wishes his minions, an army of them, takes care of it. Again pressed whether such a wish would include taking out someone physically, Cohen’s answer is a resounding No, the harm threatened being mostly a lawsuit, a notification, as it were, which is totally legal. Desperate to salvage something a Democrat asks whether Trump has ever told him to lie to Congress and Cohen categorically denies it, reiterating the implicit code of the cosa nostra, which Cohen, the enforcer, carries out. In other words, it is his, Cohen’s, understanding and decision. That just about insulates Trump completely, because it would be a Herculean burden of proof to raise such understanding to the level of criminal witness tampering.”

“What do you think of his cheating on Melania and fighting with her in the elevator?” asks Casey, changing tack. “I don’t understand how she could stand living with a multi-timer like him.”

“Very easily. He is the Emperor and no woman, no matter what her public or conscious protestations, refuses to be an Empress. The crowning moment of that narrative was when Cohen was asked by another Democrat, eager for confirmation, whether Donald struck Melania. Cohen shakes his head vigorously and declares he is not that kind of man. So Donald is not a wife beater, which redeems him in the eyes of most upstanding American males.”

“What about his cheating, incorrigible, pathological sex addiction?”

“Living the fantasy of every red-blooded American male, which makes him their secret hero, though publicly condemned and denounced.”

“I bet Democrats will impeach him, nevertheless,” Casey predicts defiantly.

“Spinning their wheels for nothing, because the Senate will defeat it,” Paul concludes. “Trump will have his second term by an overwhelming mandate, the country divided as ever but held together, tranquil and prosperous as never before.”

An Open Letter to the Mayor of New York: Launch a War of Extermination on Rats!

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

Dismayed and embarrassed to see big brown rats scurry across subway tracks or hear them scratch and squeak in the walls and attics, sewers and drains of your great city, the UN-headquartered capital of the world, I urge you to launch an all-out war of extermination, which will be followed not only by other municipalities of the US but also by the rest of the world, ridding humanity of this ancient pest.

The war is a moral imperative and brushed aside should be the false sensibilities of animal lovers, who should be asked whether their love extends to cockroaches, mosquitoes, bedbugs, lice, fleas, ringworms, polio, malaria, plague, syphilis, small pox, leprosy, and other scourges. Likewise twisted individuals who want to have rats as pets should be invited to sleep with a bedbug or flea. The pampered rats can escape and undo all previous efforts with their astounding reproductivity: 2 to 15,000 in a year. Only those necessary for scientific or medical research will be allowed to live strictly under guard.

The cost of the war is negligible as the warfare consists of liberal city-wide deployment of bait stations, accessible only to rats, not cats, dogs or children, which can be a simple DIY device like a 6-inch length of thin-wall 1-inch (ID) PVC pipe, into the center of which is shoved a chunk or block of long-acting anticoagulant bait, the total price tag under a dollar with room to crunch upon mass production.

Fortunately, rats haven’t figured out that it is the bait that kills them, perhaps because subsequent death from unstoppable bleeding occurs a week or two later, too far apart for their intelligence to make the causal connection. Given their huge number, however, a Newton among them might make the discovery any minute, which would soon become common knowledge among the entire species as they have an uncanny communication system. Hence the urgency of this war.


Ty Pak
Feb 28, 2019

How Beautiful the Trees of New Jersey!

“Do you know much about trees?” asks Jay, a Korean Onc, during fellowship after service (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018,

“Not much, except they enhance a property,” I say, visualizing his yard, practically an arboretum of majestic oaks and Norfolk pines, skirting which a graveled driveway leads to a spacious parking lot before an ornate garage. “Any problem?”

“I’ve trimmed the low hanging branches on the fringe of the parking lot, lest they brush and scrape the top of SUVs or other high-profile vehicles. Now I am worried. I may have overdone it. What if the unbalanced trees topple over?”

“If they didn’t when you cut off the branches, probably they wouldn’t, but let’s see what an expert has to say about it,” I suggest, waving to Charles, a retired forester, who comes over. “How does a tree manage to keep standing straight when it is off balance as a result of overzealous pruning?” I ask, explaining Jay’s problem.

“It balances by adjusting cell growth to gravity, pressure resistant on the heavy side and pull or tension resistant on the light side.”

“Even when shorn of branches entirely on one side?” Jay asks.

“Gravity adjustment affects the root system, too, as far as I know. It’s practically impossible to knock over a tree by imbalance. They’ll get over the crisis and keep standing, regaining balance, even growing back the lost branches over time.”

“Well, you are off the hook, Jay,” I reassure him.

“How do they tell apart pressure from tension?” he shakes his head unbelievingly.

“Just as you feel it when you are off balance, except you take corrective measures with whole body motions, whereas the tree does it on the cellular level.”

“But I have the brain that orders the limbs to move,” Jay persists. “Where are the equivalents of the brain, nerves, and limbs in a cell? And not one but zillions of them working in concert so the whole comes out as a unified, directed action. I just can’t understand.”

“That’s the mystery of life where God comes in, though you can choose to remain in ignorance, if you can handle the desolation, bleakness, fear.”

“Doggone it!” Jay swears. “You sound like our pastor.”

“We are all cowards, I guess,” Charles reflects.

“Okay, Reverend Doctor Charles of Arboriculture,” I interject. “What do you say about the trees around my house at the foot of a wooded hill? Beyond a grassy sloped clearing about 100 feet wide stands a line of trees even taller than that like a bulwark against the forest that rises steadily all the way to the Palisades Parkway to overlook the Hudson. Lately I noticed quite a few trees fallen over behind the rampart, scaring me with the possibility of the same fate befalling it and sending the trees crashing down on my roof.”

“When’s the last time you saw a tree fall over?”

“I haven’t seen any. It must have happened before we moved in four years ago.”

“Natural selection, again divinely ordained,” Charles concludes. “When there is over-forestation, the weaker trees lose out, unable to compete with the more robust. As far as I know there is no fungal or other epidemic nor any insect infestation afoot in the northeastern hills of New Jersey. But for your peace of mind communicate your concern to your home insurance company. They’ll send out an arborist to check out the soil as well as the health of the trees. At their expense because it’s in their interest to inspect and take preventative measures, if necessary.”

The Smollett Hoax: Hubris in an Aristotelian Tragedy

How pitiful the sight of the fake media eating humble pie after falling hook line and sinker for Smollett’s hoax on Jan 29, 2019! We recall the subsequent field day CNN and its cohorts had, center-staging Smollett prime time, lapping up all that garbage spilling out of his mouth, dancing and clapping at the imminent collapse of the Trump regime.

“It’s a typical Aristotelian tragedy, the hero undone by hubris, hoist by his own petard,” observes Peter, a scholarly Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2019,

“Yeah, Smollett is out on bail for multiple crimes,” I agree.

“Who cares?” Bob explodes in exasperation. “He is nothing. It’s the fake media, the hubris their conceit that their pen is mightier than the sword, even when wielded by the likes of Trump. They almost succeed, using toxic fakery to poison half of America with Trump hatred. But this success is the petard that blows them up: it inspires two-bit copycats to turn the trick on the fakers themselves with low-grade inventions like two men in ski masks putting a lynch noose around his neck and shouting MAGA.”

In-Law Syndrome: Its Etiology and Cure

The moment they hear their son or daughter say the wedding vows of total commitment and exclusive love to their bride or groom the parents’ hearts sink and ache. The child they have raised is no longer theirs alone to have but must be shared, if allowed, with the usurper in-law. Resentment, if not outright hostility, is the reaction, which in turn sets off a counter-reaction in the newcomer whose disappointment in finding something less than total acceptance turns into bitterness and anger at the parents-in-law, which, perceived as disrespect, intensifies the latter’s ill disposition toward the daughter- or son-in-law. In no time the self-feeding vicious circle spins out of control and wreaks havoc, the prevention of which is of paramount importance.

(1) Long Maturation

The basic cause of it all is that humans take an awful long time to mature, 3 decades, give or take, if you add graduate schooling and professional training. So far no 3D printer has been invented that stamps out on demand a fully functional adult human.

Sexual intercourse still remains the primary method of fertilization, that is, combination of male and female gametes into the zygote with 23 paired chromosomes which must gestate 40 weeks in the mother’s womb for live birth. Artificial insemination may replace sexual intercourse and in vitro gestation the womb, which however takes just as long.

But birth is only the beginning. The helpless infant must be brought up through childhood, adolescence, and puberty to become physically mature, which, however, is a far cry from social maturity to function as an independent productive member of society. Who carries them during these years of dependency? The parents, who devote all their energy and resources to their upbringing, deservingly earning their gratitude and affection, as well as social recognition of parental authority, absolute and exclusive. But at one stroke the wedding vows obliterate this relationship, the wedding couple now seemingly dedicating their love entirely to each other with nothing to spare for anybody else.

No owner gives up his right to his property without a fight. Hence Archie Bunker’s perpetual meanness to his “dumb Pollack” son-in-law in the 1970’s sitcom and the brutality of Korean mothers-in-law to their daughters-in-law in 90% of current Korean drama, all striking a sympathetic cord.

(2) The Cure

But sympathy should not translate to acquiescence which is the recipe for disaster. We must stop it at the source, the parents who refuse to let go their obsessive love for their child. As a parent who has had three children married, I have this to say to them.

First, understand that it is nothing but sheer ignorance that perceives as your loss when your child pledges all his or her love to their spouse, the inability to distinguish the different shades of meaning in the English word “love.” The Greeks weren’t so dumb and any half-baked seminarian will tell you that “love” could mean, among others, eros sexual (romantic) love, ludus playful love, philia deep friendship, or agape cosmic compassion, as embodied in Jesus. What the bride and groom are promising each other is obviously eros with a touch of ludus and even philia, because eros in the long run matures into that. The relationship between parent and child is definitely philia, perhaps with a touch of ludus. Granted there are some overlaps on the fringe but the essential parent-child relationship cannot possibly be threatened by the child’s romantic relationship.

But if this intellectual leap is too difficult, let’s play a game: put yourself in your child’s place and your parents, whether living or dead, in yours. You must have done to your parents exactly what your child is doing to you by marrying your spouse. You broke their hearts then and it’s only fair that this time around it’s your turn to get yours broken.

Moreover, way back when you married, you didn’t even suspect that you were hurting your parents’ feelings the way you are hurting now. If you had been told that, you would have laughed it off as the most ridiculous thing. All you wanted and expected was your parents’ unreserved acceptance of your bride or groom.

The romantic love you promise your bride or groom is categorically different from the deep affection (philia) you feel for your parents and does not in any way compromise or diminish it. Besides they should know that what you’ve got with them can never end the way marriage can by divorce.

Returning to the present – bear in mind that your daughter- or son-in-law is some other parents’ dear child, just as valuable as your own is to you. Don’t ever think your child deserves a better mate. We are truly all equal, regardless of position, power, money (see The Lottery: The Equalizer, 11-3-2018, Be content that you have done your best to bring up your child so as to be acceptable as a mate to someone else’s.

Because it is philia you have with your child, it doesn’t matter whether he or she and their spouse live under the same roof with you. Sex being its primary element, eros can be best enjoyed in private space, as you know. So if they want to set up house by themselves miles away, don’t take it as your rejection. Bless them, though you’ll miss seeing them around, and help them with the furnishing. Be gracious and generous with your gifts and loans, because you have more resources now, though the young ones will hopefully soon catch up and surpass you.

On this score remember you are getting on in years and won’t be able to go on carrying your child as a dependent the way you used to. You are lucky that your child, married, has a spouse to support and depend on.

Turning now to the children, the other branch in the in-law dichotomy, I have no special advice for you. If the water is clean upstream, so is it downstream, the Korean saying goes (웃물이 맑으면 아랫물도 맑다). I have straightened your parents out, so you won’t have any more grief from them. Just carry on, make love, and support and defend each other in all things. Your marital harmony and peace means everything to your enlightened parents. Please do not fight, because that hurts them worse than dagger thrusts. Once in a while call your parents and tell them you love them, sending cards on their birthdays. That will put them on cloud nine every time.

Wives’ Revenge: Switching of Exteriority

It’s a pleasure to see Kenneth, a fellow countryman and Onc (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018,, 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 avowed animus against travel (see Myth of Travel, 11-10-2018,

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,, 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, 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,,” George, a Korean Onc, dares me openly during fellowship after church service (see Immortality Club, 8-2-2018, “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,, 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,, 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, 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, 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,

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, 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,”

Any Attention Is Better Than None

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

“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, 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: and, 1-18-2019,

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: and

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, 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,, 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

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, 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, 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, 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,

“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, “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,

“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.