Archive for November, 2009

Read aloud at this year’s Thanksgiving

November 28, 2009

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


November 24, 2009
– The coughing daughter of the sausage maker from Nepal squatted on the board.
– The rude bull was chewing on my new fruit pudding when I shoot him.
– I heard an absurd bird chirping on my perch about a murder of an earthworm.
– The Sergeant covered his bizarre onion with a dozen honey hearts.
– Ruth’s cushion proved to look like a wooden tulip screwed to a bush.
– Many camels send apple petals in granite chests crashing lemon jam jars below. 
– The bald Austrian last called me roaring on the lawn last autumn.
– A starved duck was shovelled onto the path by chance.
– A whipped weeping widow weeded secret sick beans tinned for teens.
– My student Rupert Worcester moved the tool with a hook through his foot.
– Leonard, Sam, Ken and Harry mended charity berry crasher in a weathered tavern.
– A first class flood clerk won some Panama double baskets at the bazaar.
– Funny Fanny shut a shattered mongrel in an Avon oven bundled badly in a ragged rug.
– The good human wolf could have put food with a spoon in June.
– The silken seal digs deep a field filled with licked leeks and beans in bins.
– Ten fantastic friends travelled west handling heavy sandwiches.
– Moose fairies cease to crease gloves when dogs are loose in the houses.
– Polly hoped sobbing that hopping on a holly pole will clog coal robbed from the hole.
– A mat rod dubbed “stilt” prodded into the felt emitted a subtle pitiful sound.

Creating pronunciation exercises is fun 🙂


November 21, 2009

Shumei Okawa, the author of “Japan and the Way of the Japanese”, published 1926 and reprinted 46 times by the end of the war, was considered class-A war criminal by the Americans but wasn’t sentenced as the judge, seeing his behavior during the trial (patting ex-PM on his bald head, shouting in German etc.) thought him to be insane. Declared mentally unstable from syphillis, Okawa spent the next two years in a mental hospital, where he finished first Japanese translation of the entire Quran.


November 21, 2009

The “Jewel Voice Broadcast”, which took place on August 15th 1945 and announced the surrender, was the first time the Japanese could hear the voice of their emperor on the radio. Unfortunately, Hirohito used highly formal court language and practically no one understood him. So maybe the participants of the attempted military coup d’etat of 14/15 August needn’t have bothered to try to intercept the recording after all. It was successfully smuggled out of the palace hidden in laundry and the rebels comitted harakiri within palace grounds forty minutes before the announcement was aired.

The recording was soon translated into English by Tadaichi Hirakawa, later known as “Joe” T. Hirakawa or “Uncle Come Come” (1902-1993). He studied drama at the University of Washington and became cult figure after the war as the author of daily radio English conversation classes, “Kamu Kamu Eigo”, broadcast for ten years on NHK.


November 21, 2009

The surrender of Japan and its subsequent occupation is a fascinating chapter in the world’s history. A relatively large country with millions of inhabitants not only surrendered with the enemy miles away from its borders but also let the invaders seize power without a single outbreak of violence. How strange it must have been for the Americans to arrive there – in large quantities and armed to the teeth to be sure, but still not knowing what kind of welcome is awaiting them.

On August the 28th 1945 the American armada guarded by fighters and dive bombers entered Sagami Wan and two days later first marines landed in Yokosuka. On the same day C-54 airtrains appearing at four-minute intervals at the Atsugi Airfield, which had been left undamaged specially for this purpose, brought around 4200 troops from Okinawa and Iwo Jima. 

“Ceremonial completion of the surrender was rounded out on September 3 by the raising of the actual American flag which had happened to be flying over the Capitol in Washington on December 7, 1941, and which had subsequently been raised over Casablanca, over Rome and over Berlin. (…). The surrender was complete”.  [in: Linebarger, Djang, Burks. Far Eastern Governments and Politics. New York 1954. p 448].

By the end of October 7,9 million Japanese soldiers gave up their weapons.

There is still no army in Japan. And the American army is still there.

For detailed description of Love Day and the whole of the period see where NPS stands for… National Park Service.


November 14, 2009
kendo stachura

It's like, hello? Did I miss something?

Wait for me! Wait for me!

[Source: “Logo”, February 2007]



November 12, 2009

I’ve waited for so long, desired him, yearned for him… Finally, I made a decision and now… he’s with me. It was so simple! He’s thirty nine and perfect. I’m in love. I think I’m going to go to bed with him tonight…

And in September – or sooner – we are going to fight 🙂



November 9, 2009

„La Petit Train” music video was my first glimpse of Bollywood. I adored it – loved the colours and the dance moves – but as it was Eastern Europe in 1989, I had no idea what Bollywood was and thought that the song was… Georgian.

I rediscovered it around 1997 when I watched all of my dad’s music videos recorded on video tapes looking for something interesting and unusual to copy onto audio tape. Those video tapes of his were my Last FM in that pre-Internet era. Now I was big enough to know that the lyrics were in French. The memory of the video must have faded quickly though, as I can’t recollect being surprised by this multi-culti combination.

In 2004 or so I recognised the female voice from “La Petit Train” in an equally energetic song called “Cool frenesie”. That’s how I learned about Rita Mitsouko.

And today I finally watched the “Georgian” video on Youtube and (surprised by the barbed wire fence I completely forgotten about) looked for the lyrics to have them automatically translated into English. And it turned out it’s no Dan TV but a song about concentration camps!

I wonder what Kishore Kumar is singing about…


November 1, 2009

BLONDES. Hotter than brunettes. (See BRUNETTES.)

BREAD. No one knows what filth goes into it.

BRUNETTES. Hotter than blondes. (See BLONDES.)

CELEBRITIES. Concern yourself about the least details of their private lives, so that you can run them down.

COMPROMISE. Always recommend it, even when the alternatives are irreconcilable.

CONCERT. Respectable way to kill time.

CONTRALTO. Meaning unknown.

CONVERSATION. Politics and religion must be kept out of it.

COOKING. In restaurants, always bad for the system; at home, always wholesome; in the South, too much spice, or oil.

CROSSBOW. The ideal occasion to bring up the story of William Tell.

EXERCISE. Prevents all diseases. Recommend it at all times.

GUERRILLA. Does more harm to the enemy than the regular forces.

ORIGINAL. Make fun of everything that is original, hate it, beat it down, annihilate it if you can.

RAILWAY STATIONS. Gape with admiration; cite them as architectural wonders.

STOCKBROKERS. All thieves.

STOCKEXCHANGE. “Barometer of public opinion.”

TEETH. Are spoiled by cider, tobacco, sweets, ices and drinking immediately after hot soup.

TOYS. Should always be scientific.

by Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)