Posted in 미분류, Miscellany, Poetry

friends or foes?

I always feel guilty about leaving Toro alone when I go to work. It would be best to add another feline companion, but the existential circumstance prevents it. Hence the flying tenants moved in. The new parakeets are Sera (Blue) and Pippi (Green), who demonstrate that the phrase “eats like a bird” should be part of the Woke movement of removal. They are also unknowingly clever and perceptive that I wonder if they are secretly enchanted humans serving their time for misdeeds till the spell is cast off.

Toro, aka the Curious Cat, also seems to know that Sera and Pippi are a joint force to be reckoned with, so to speak, but nevertheless shows undeterred attention to every move the duo takes with feline discreetness. Timid but curious, Toro wants to touch the moving feathers of parakeets whenever they come out of the cage for sauntering. But the birds show no fear but irritation against the unwanted friendship from the lonely feline. Poor Toro. I console him after Sera pecks his little nose with her dainty beak in protest against his pawed touch. However, my original purpose of making the birds friends with Toro is still valid because both Sera and Pippi do not altogether repulse Toro with wild shrieks of danger.

I hope the birds will be warm to Toro as time goes by till we move to a bigger and better place to live so that I can bring another cat to the family.

Twinkle, emerald dreaming,
Love flocks in blue and green,
Curiosity stalks love’s gathering,
Loneliness emboldens attempting
touch of love fluttering in longing.

Posted in book review

‘Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land’ – book review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A good memoir amid the detritus of in-vogue memoirs is a gemstone, like a treasure island descried by a weary sailor. Marry Ralph Waldo Emerson’s appreciation of travails of life as the best teachers with George Orwell’s no-nonsense realistic credo for writing. You will see that Stephanie Land’s eternal spirit fills the pages at the expense of her will with a sense of purpose and a tenacious grasp on intellectual superiority. It was a tide in her affair Stephanie Land was waiting while wiping a stranger’s dirty toilet bowel due to fortune’s malice or, shall I say, whims and caprice of the supreme beings?

Land’s memoir applies to Orwell’s tenets of “Why Am I Writing?” In it, four elements of writing are (1) aesthetic purposes, (2) sheer egoism, (3) political/social purposes, and (4) historical record. Contrary to most reviews of focusing the book on her single parenthood, I deem it to be her testament to her self-worth in a society where external achievement determines your character. In fact, Americans have a Calvinistic cast of minds in a puritanical cultural foundation that poverty is a priori resultant from laziness and that it should be dealt with scorn. American Catholics are not altogether generous because of John F. Kennedy’s adage to Americans: “Ask not what your county can do for you… ask what you can do for your country….” Land feels the hostility of the skewed, confused, maligned conservatism masqueraded as patriotism in an ordinary landscape of daily life. In writing, she potently and victoriously wields her pride smothered in want of bread and roof with her daughter.

Memoirs of rags-to-riches are thought to inspire readers with can-do attitudes fused with a dangerous combination of ephemeral hope and flippant desire that Thucydides warned of his progeny. However, they are self-treaties of achievements, usually despite the biological or sociological plane, and almost always with people who help them achieve their goals. Jeannette Walls of The Glass Castle was from a low-income family, but her family was loving, and she had scholarships and went to Barnard College and became a journalist. Hillbilly Elegy was touching, but the poor white boy who had a loving mother went to Yale and became a lawyer. But Stephanie Land is intelligent and honest, down-to-earth, and her issues and circumstances are more existential and relatable than what the mentioned above have famously accounted. Forget the dialectic classicism, forget the social reform, forget the right for single parenthood. It’s all about Stephanie Land’s dignity, her right to be happy, her yearning to be what she wants to be. So be it ever the nominative determinism, and it’s in the name. All who have the name Stephanie have that feistiness. Well done, Stephanie!



View all my reviews

Posted in 미분류

the unlikely family

“So you have now the earth, the water, and the sky in your room! Awesome!” That was my brother when I told him over the phone about my recent adoption of a parakeet from a Petco. The paroxysm of excitement catapulted me into the awareness of a reality that I did bring a bird—those small but sharp beaks and those wrinkled tarsi feet manifesting the atavistic characteristics of dinosaurs, particularly the T-Rex. The truth that I now have to cohabitate with the least-likely coveted descendent of T-Rex still swivels my head in wonderment as if the ghost of Alice in Wonderland possessed me. So why the bird then?

Dreaming of Sinbad and Serah

While there might be the remotest chance of using my parakeet as a divine medium to consult my future, I have recently brought Sera home with great expectation of making a friend with the lonely Toro. Toro is now one year and four months old, and his growing curiosity calls attention for a playmate to share his enthusiasm and vociferous nocturnal stamina. Of course, the kinship of feline presence is the best option to fulfill the requirement. Still, the existential circumstances of present life eliminate it. Hence the lot fell into a blue parakeet I named Sera after the talking bird Serah, a travel companion of Sinbad the Sailor, from my favorite childhood cartoon. As you can guess, Sera is a girl who spends most of her time in front of the mirror and then trills in high soprano like a pretty and prim starlet prima donna.

The crossed Sera befriends a reflection of loneliness.

My endless attempts to tame Sera to sit on my finger and her constant ignorance of my presence are both disheartening and ireful. Toro is a susceptible and timid cat who denied looking at dead fish by turning away his head from the sight. Even though Toro wishes no harm on his new friend Sera, who fastidiously avoids him with all her feathers and beaks, she defends herself from him with all her might. Toro looks at me with his large sad eyes full of liquid heartaches whenever the conflict occurs, and I comfort him in my arms. Sera then flaps her tiny pretty wings, returns to her castle, and ensconces herself on a twiggy perch with a loud and snappy chirping as a sign of victory over the feline Goliath.

I still don’t know if my decision to extra-species friendship is counterproductive amid Sera’s callous attitude toward Toro and me despite our apologies and continuous endeavor to reconcile with her. Perhaps I should not have taken Sera yet from the cage while she might have been still not familiarized with her new home. Still, there’s hope in my Pandora’s Box weaved in a rope of sparkling diamonds that promises a dazzling delight of trust and love filling the loneliness of the little hearts in our room. Who knows, one day Sera suddenly talks both Korean and English and tells me my todays and tomorrows? You never know.

Posted in Miscellany

On Aristotle and Philosopher’s Stone 💫⭐️✨

Edgar Allan Poe expressed his contempt for readers who habitually flocked to books by famous authors on the sheer merit of their popularity without an individual appreciation of the contents. Likewise, I have a handful of the famous, the great people whose celebrity I hold no regard as I am going to unveil now. I have never liked Isaac Newton, albeit his genius is doubtlessly uncontested. Cantankerous, bellicose Newton was horrible to deal with, especially when you were his servant or maid or whoever he thought insignificant in his Elysium of high intelligence. He was also a closet occultist masquerading with the face of Rational Man with long-faced gravitas adorned in a long wavy wig. So how come Newton became a votary of Aristotle, who took the virtues to be central to a well-lived life? Since I tend to disassociate any such persona non grata (Newton, obviously) from one in my high regard (that is, Aristotle), I wanted to find out the incompatibility of the sullen scientist and the benign thinker.

Aristotle’s ethics, or study of character, is constituted around the premise that people should achieve an excellent character as a prerequisite for living a meaningful life. It is an essence of metaphysics in which Aristotle holds that there must be a separate and unchanging being that is the source of other beings. Only by becoming excellent could one achieve eudaimonia, happiness/blessedness that constitutes the best kind of human life. This philosophical perspective also applies to the ideas of self-sufficiency by Ralph Waldo Emerson and of Amore fati, the intellectual love of life by Friedreich Nietzsche.

Emerson regarded two separate elements as being united to create the world inside of you for the former. They are raw experiences gained from somatic sensory stimulation transformed into ideas and thoughts in the realm of reason, a process akin to a caterpillar transforming mulberry leaves into gorgeous silk. Nietzsche’s Amore fati is theologically conceived in an attempt to manifest the presence of Providence or God’s will with his infallible existence through Immanence by which an adequate idea of simple attributes of formal essence of God is applied to an adequate knowledge of the simple truth of things. It might be akin to the Eureka moment when Archimedes started running naked around the town in the enthusiasm of knowing the weight of the gold in the king’s crown from his water-filled bathtub. Or it could be the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa captured by Bernini as a cherub was mischievously thrusting the arrow back and forth into the heart of the virgin. In sum, Aristotle was right in saying that knowledge isn’t innate or guaranteed prima facie but gained from the reports of the senses and logical inference from self-evident truth.

I still believe that someone like Newton had no regard for moral excellence any more than gaining the knowledge of the universe because studying humanity was anathema to his lofty vision of the world and beyond, such as the alchemical realm. Newton was keen on Aristotle’s theory of the 5th element on top of the earth, air, fire, and water – that is, space of aether. Methinks, Newton was trying to get Rosetta’s stone in manipulating the 5th element proposed by Aristotle. He had not known that it would have become such a magical element to turn stone to gold. Notwithstanding Newton’s beguiled ambition to be a perfect Gargamel with the help of Aristotle, so to speak, my appreciation of Aristotle’s metaphysical school of thought decides that his brilliance is brighter than Plato and on par with Socrate in the constellation of philosophers’ stars.