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  • Abuse!

    She’s not my student—she’s my friend—and she attends one of the better middle schools in Beautiful Gyeongju. During our last conversation she revealed that one of her teachers punishes her students by, first, holding her fingers almost like a long-nailed vampire or ghoul, and, second, by raking them against the asscheeks of her disobedient pupils. She whacked one such student several times with a meterstick or a pointer or something, and he was so badly hurt he had to go to the hospital, telling my friend that his behind was covered with black and blue welts.

    They’re usually punished, physically, for not doing their homework.


  • How Far the Apple Has Fallen from the Tree

    The Story Of Gertrude Berg's Great Grandson...

    The Story Of Gertrude Berg’s Great Grandson…

    ...Living In Korea

    …Living In Korea


  • Fight The Power

    Why have I stopped blogging? Because blogging doesn’t pay. Writing books doesn’t really pay either, but it does pay something, and I decided over the last two months to devote all my creative powers toward using writing to make that something into a bigger and more substantial something that would be sufficient to extricate both myself and my family from Korea. Not surprisingly, we’re all still here.


  • Literary News

    Item. Teakettle Mountain will be available for free starting in about two hours (Around 12AM Tuesday Pacific Time / Around 4PM in Krrrreeeya) until Friday at the same time. Snap up a copy before it’s too late!

    Item. After several rejection letters, an agent I queried has requested more materials for Sorabol, which I’m currently attempting to publish via more traditional methods, after having already put it up on amazon as a kindle ebook. It’s still very possible that he’ll pass on it after taking some more time to look it over, but I think I’ve passed a sort of milestone in the authorial cursus honorum—getting a reply which is not a rejection form used for the slush pile.


  • Rules For The Korean Road

    1. Pedal to the metal at all times. Even before you start the engine. Even when you are outside of the car, you should leave a brick on the gas pedal, because speed makes men stronger.
    2. If you drive an expensive-looking black car, it’s okay to run over children and old ladies. In fact, the police will fine you if you don’t.
    3. Honk like you’re getting paid for it. Install fake police sirens to help convince other ( = lesser) people that you are in charge and know how to deal with every situation far better than they do.
    4. Since signaling causes you to lose face by revealing your intentions to your enemies, don’t signal, unless it’s a fake-out.
    5. Fill up your tank with paint thinner and then bribe the mechanic to write a fraudulent insurance form once the car inevitably breaks down to win.


  • Exercitus

    I’ve been doing the New York Times’ Scientific Seven Minute Workout for a few months now, and I’m noticing more results than I ever did just by running for an hour every two or three days, but with a few caveats—I work out for at least an hour, not for seven minutes; I record the time I spend doing these exercises, adding fifteen seconds to each whenever I do them; I eat whatever the hell I want (like a singularity, I can consume an entire pizza in less than a second); I walk or bike everywhere I go, and only get inside cars on weekends. I started this workout with a lot more dedication than usual because of its simplicity: I don’t have to waste my time or money going to a gym, I don’t have to embarrass myself in front of everyone sweating like a pig, flushed like a pig, outside, and all I need is a floor and a chair.


  • Sorabol’s Opening Lines

    Nothing was normal about the death of the monk named Ichadon. At his own insistence the execution was a public event paid for by the royal purse. Treasurer Jee of the Sixth Bone Rank wrote that the signs erected and the criers employed for advertising in the weeks leading up to the beheading cost in excess of two thousand knives, and that urgent repairs to the walls of Acha Fortress were halted for several weeks as a result. Though it cannot be said that the attendees did not get their moneys’ worth, further spending was incurred after tiered seats were constructed at the execution square, before the Great Dolmen in the center of the capital city of Sorabol. Minister Pan, also of the Sixth Bone Rank, estimates that ten thousand citizens were gathered in attendance.


  • George Orwell Sounds A Lot Like A North Korean (In Korean)

    그러면 우리는 무엇을 해야 되겠읍니까? 그것은 밤낮 없이 몸과 마음을 다하여 인류의 타도에 힘쓰는 것입니다!

    Romanization:

    Guh-lu-myon oo-lee-nun moo-oh-sul hay-ya day-ges-soom-nee-ka? Guh-gos-oon bam-nat opshee mome-gwa ma-oom-ul da-ha-yaw il-yoo-ai ta-do-ai heem-suh-nun goshe-im-nee-da!

    My literal translation:

    So we-the what-the do should? Thing-the nightdayless body-and mind-the all-for humanity-of overthrow-at strength-using thing is!

    George Orwell:

    What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race!


  • This Is The Saddest Picture I’ve Ever Seen

    Widow of slain civil rights activist Medger Evers

    This is a photograph of the son of Medger Evers, a civil rights activist who was assassinated fifty years ago in Mississippi, which I discovered yesterday here.



  • Who Is The Best Stylist?

    Shakespeare writes as if the English language itself is writing: His tears run down his beard like winter’s drops from eaves of reeds. Tolstoy writes with the voice of the earth. I was first really hooked by the beginning of Sevastopol Stories, actually. Borges, in Spanish or English, is like bathing in a sunset.

    Bruma de oro, el Occidente alumbra
    la ventana. El asiduo manuscrito
    aguarda, ya cargado de infinito.
    Alguien construye a Dios en la penumbra.

    And when Flaubert describes the color of Emma Bovary’s eyes, I don’t just see them, I am them. Madame Bovary c’est moi! Borges said that Joyce had written lines that were not unworthy of Shakespeare—


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