Saturday, July 31, 2004



few days ago, I wrote that I wouldn't be posting too often, but writing is good for the soul. There are always things I wish I could have done, should have done, earlier, sooner, promptly. These are the classic words of a procrastinator. I am president of our local chapter.


For me
in the twilight years,
life has been too short

Although this sounds like the senryu of an old man, it was composed by my father back in 1941 when he was in his late 20s at a time when he thought he was nearing death. When he returned to the US from Japan in the early 30's, there was little work, and he sought work where he could find it. He lived on a lemon orchard, picking lemons and living in a squalid shack with no plumbing. Later. he moved to Long Beach (CA) into his cousins house and began working in a fruit market where he packed more lemons. He can't say for sure, but he believes it was during these months he contracted a debilitating disease that he simply referred to as fudobyo 風土病, an endemic disease.

My father never knew the exact disease--although he was born in Idaho, he spent his formative years in Japan, and his English was never proficiently native--but it not only sapped his energy, it caused his tendons and cartilage to degenerate. As a kid, I used to stare at the parts of his body that had been affected: a short middle finger, grooves in his forearm where tendons used to be, an indentation at his solarplexes. (Maybe someone knows a name for this illness?)

In any event, he had spent most of the 1930s bedridden in hospitals and convalescent homes recovering. Indeed, this was the time when he made the fateful decision to bequeath his inheritance to his younger sister. As the eldest and only son, he was primary heir to the family farm in Fukushima, a relatively vast amount of land by Japanese standards. However, as he lay in a hospital bed wondering if he would live or die, he overheard his two elder sisters bickering over how to divide the property when he died. Furious, he wrote a letter to his father instructing him to transfer all rights to his younger sister who still lived in Japan. This, as you can imagine, infuriated my aunts, but later after my father recovered, he expressed no regrets. He would rather give away his inheritance to charity than to siblings who seemed more preoccupied by his death rather than his life.

This had a profound effect on him. After my mother had her heart attack in the late 80s, I had a new appreciation for mortality, and so asked my father a couple of times if he had a will, life insurance or any documents that laid out his wishes. He would reply by asking me if I was waiting for him to die. I stopped asking... I felt it was the prudent thing to do, but I can't help but think that he viewed me as he viewed his sisters. I would try to talk to him about it but he never responded either way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

When it rains, it pours


ou may have noticed that I haven't been posting very much lately, and I haven't been able to visit your sites as well. I feel terrible about it especially since you are all special to me. Anyway, circumstances have and will continue to keep me away from Xanga. I will probably talk about it when I get back, perhaps to play what the Vixen calls the "sympathy card." Anyway, take care all. I will try to check in every so often, but I just wanted to let you know that I may not be Xanga-ing too often.

More Baseball...


post from last week reminded me how few of my readers either are not interested in sports or follow other sports more closely. Oh well, too bad for me. But being a sports fan is one aspect that defines me. I love American sports. And while there are those who will disparage games such as football, perhaps because they use their hands, or take time between plays to create strategy, instead of animal-like quickness and instincts. But to each his or her own. Disparage all you want.

Sandy KoufaxIn any event, Hanzo questioned my attitude toward baseball's current success. Well baseball is successful in economic terms. There is no questioning the millions and billions of dollars of revenues and the incredible attendance records that seemed impossible when I was a wee lad. But to me, baseball is not what it used to be. As I tried to explain, fans invested time and energy into the game. More importantly, they invested their heart. But it is hard to invest heart in a team, I think. It is more natural to invest in a player. You can relate and feel for a player who is struggling or is doing great. Investing your heart in a team does not reap the same rewards, it would seem to me.

There was a time when I was incredibly passionate about htis sport. As a kid born and raised in LA, I was a true blue Dodger fan. God, I loved that team in the 60s. Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Johnny Roseboro, Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Jim Gilliam. They were not great athletes, but certainly above average, good enough to compete for a pennant. But what really separated them from the pack was Sandy Koufax. That man was great. Truly great. He had a short career, and indeed, the years he was effective spanned a mere five years, but man they were amazing years. Indeed, on the strength of those five years, 1962-66, he was the only pitcher to make the top fifty in ESPN's Sports Century list. Can you believe that? His last five years were considered better than the entire careers of pitchers such as Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan. During those five years, Koufax was virtually unhittable. The Dodgers won three pennants and two world series. The two years they didn't go, Koufax sustained injuries mid year and was sidelined until the end of the season. In other words, when he didn't play, the Dodgers didn't win.

Anyway, Koufax was my hero, but I loved everyone on the team. I would talk to friends about each individual player, the pros and cons.

"Koufax is the best pitcher in the world."

"But he can't hit worth a lick. Drysdale's my guy." PT used to say. And it was a tough argument. The Dodgers were a pretty crummy hitting team, and Drysdale led the team with a .300 batting average and seven home runs in 1965. They even turned to him to pinch hit. But it was this kind of discussion that we could have since we knew the individual players.

Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro
Marichal (27) brandishing his bat.
Koufax is behind Roseboro

Mays leading Roseboro off the field
Every so often, I'll meet another old-timer at a bar who knows baseball from back then, and we have incredibly fun conversations. My favorite conversations are with Giants fans. Damn, I hated the Giants. And every conversation came to a cressendo with a discussion of August 22, 1965. Juan Marichal--the SOB--was playing chin music (throwing at a batters head) with the Dodgers. So when Marichal came to bat, Roseboro decided to show him. Koufax would never throw at a batter intentionally. He never had to. So Roseboro decided to whiz a ball back to the mound right by Marichal's head. Pissed, Marichal whirled around and clobbered Roseboro on the head with his bat full force. Man, that was the worst I have ever seen one professional player hit another. I know hockey can get violent, and there have been some mean fist fights by many players in many games. But to hit someone in the head with a baseball bat? Blood was streaming down his head as Marichal was trying to get a couple more licks in. Koufax and Willie Mays eventually intervened, but man, it was scary and awesome. When I talk to these Giant fans, and we talk fervently about this incident: the Dodgers and Giants were both in the pennant race and everything was already super-heated. As rival fans, we hardly agreed with anything except for one thing: baseball is no longer the same. Today, players move around freely and rivals this year could be teammates next. Yes, I saw the Red Sox and Yankees over the weekend and saw the big brouhaha. And yes, they currently have the best rivalry in sports right now--Clemens and Piazza notwithstanding. But the fight this weekend just didn't seem based on tradition--as if fights are traditional. Okay, Varitek is a Red Sox born and bred so I can see why he would get fired up, but Alex Rodriguez? C'mon. He's been a Yankee for what? Half a season? That tells me he got pissed on a personal level, and it didn't really have anything to do with being a Yankee. Nothing compared to the rivalries of the old days. Best not to make too many enemies. But yesteryear, players stayed with one team for a long time and rivalries festered, like an open wound.

Anyway, I no longer have the passion I once had for the game. Too many things have changed: salaries, free agency, the designated hitter. Baseball as a game is still going strong and still attracts fans, but it is no longer the same for me. When Bud Selig called the All Star game a tie two years ago, it was confirmation that baseball was no longer what it was. There will be no Pete Roses barreling into Ray Fosses in All Star games anymore. While the injury Fosse sustained effectively ended his career, he never complained accepting the effort and passion all players manifested then. No one could doubt their passion, even in a game that didn't count. The played for the game and they played for there team, and I am moved by that. Today's palyers have too much to lose. Money is everything and they will change allegiances for the right price. I enjoy the game still, but I cannot feel passion for it or for the players.

Of course, I might root for a guy who wears stirrups. Does anyone know why players don't wear them anymore? That was one of the things I couldn't wait to wear when I began playing little league. Pull up a pair of white socks, then wear the stirrups over them to support the arch (I think). I used to think they looked so cool, but I suppose that's just another example of me being an old geezer.

Friday, July 23, 2004

川柳 Senryu: Comic Verse


was surprised by some of the interest in the Senryu poetry. While I expected people who participated to comment, many who did not participate wanted to try there hand at it, as well. While reading and commening takes time this is a labor of love for me, and I don't mind. As long as you don't mind giving me the time to read them. Cgran told me that he was surprised that I was taking it so seriously. Hmph! These young pups! I tell ya'. Work hard, study hard, play hard...

Some of you were unfamliar with senryu and its rules. I have written about them in previous posts but they have been randomly presented so I will again provide some info. In the Edo period of Japan--approx. 1600-1868--Japan closed itself from the outside world and enjoyed a time of peace for over 250 years. Tokugawa Ieyasu and his successors ruled Japan with an iron fist, but there was relative prosperity among the common people. And it is this time when new forms of Japanese poetry developed. Everyone knows about Haiku, I think, but few know about senryu. Senryu takes the same form as haiku, but it is less concerned about the seasons and focused on the activities and emotions of man.

As an example, here is a poem my father wrote once upon a time.


kinba ni nokoru
kako wo hime

Fallen on hard times,
a man hides a past revealed
in a gold tooth.

Composed in 1940, my dad said, that this poem suggested a formerly wealthy man who has now fallen on hard times and tries to hide his successful past as represented by his gold tooth. The effect is forlorn, according to him. And in a way, it is, as a man hard on his luck may not want to reveal the fact that he has fallen so far. In 1940, there were still many down on their luck, and for my dad, this probably was an accurate depiction of this day. While senryu is often "ha-ha" funny, it is just as effective as an expression of irony, much like the above poem: the gold tooth, perhaps surrounded my dirty teeth, are the only reminder of his better days, and yet he is compelled to hide it.

For us, even as we compose in English: we should try to maintain the stucture of the original form. It may seem limiting, but it tests your diction, your imagination, and your ability to be concise and yet expressive. This is no mean feat. And the key to being expressive is to find and use words that anyone who reads your poem will associate to your gist: a reflection of the essence of the topic. The topic of the above poem was "gold tooth," and my dad seemingly viewed the essence of gold teeth as "wealth"--as it would be in 1940--but he expressed this wealth as an embarrassing thing, by making it the only thing wealthy in a man down on his luck, trying to hide this single representation of better days.

Structurally, a senryu resembles a haiku. It is composed in three sections/lines of fixed syllable count: 5-7-5. Do not deviate. The above poem is 5-7-4, but that is the English translation. The original is in 5-7-5. Sometimes the count is overlooked by one syllable if the goro--natural rhythm--is solid. Good goro normally suggests a sentence that flows naturally. For us that would mean a number of things: Needless to say, I do check for spelling--"you are" is written "you're" not "your". Do not split infinitives--"I seem to always forget." Try to keep keep prepositions in their PRE-position. Avoid splitting them across a line--"going to see him at / the beach". Articles and pronouns--a, the, her, his, my--should never be separated from its noun across lines--"wandering to my / house". Abbreviations are fine if they sound natural (can't, don't) or represent the natural pronunciation of a word (list'ning), but avoid forced or anachronistic abbreviations (e'er, ne'er). Grammatically, inversions and incomplete sentences are fine, but these should be used to place the impact word at the end of your poem. You should not use it because you can't find the right word to fit the syllable count. Before submitting your poem, read it aloud but pause 3 seconds at the end of each line. If the pause sounds natural, then it's probably okay.

As for content, the poem must address the topic, and the gist of the poem should touch on the its essence. The poem should contain the actual topic but it's not necessary. Just make sure that the images you use unmistakably associate with the topic. Further, the essence you address cannot be a private one that only you understand. You should present an essence that reflects a kind of universality, common to most in everyday life through textual description. My dad conveyed the irony of hiding the "trappings" of wealth of one no longer wealthy. The poems can be funny as well; in fact, senryu is often translated as "comic verse". Most important is your ability to depict this essence through images. My dad always told me that senryu was a snapshot of life, a moment in time that told a story that everyone would understand and relate to. My dad was a photographer, so I guess that's his metaphor for senryu. But I once compared senryu to a Norman Rockwell illustration. Let's look at the illustration to the here. A boy is getting a hair cut. As a boy, he is interested in comics and reads one as he gets it cut. The responsible adult barber is also interested in the comics suggesting that he too is a boy, As the boy discovers an interesting frame in the story, the adult barber can't help but join in, ultimately losing focus as any boy would and cliping a groove through his customers head of hair. Yes, boys will be boys.

Now, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to compose a poem that does the same thing: Draw a picture of a moment in time through text within the guidelines mentioned above. Tough? Well, if it were easy, I wouldn't be doing this, and we wouldn't have much of a salon, now would we. What's the fun in doing something easy?

川柳会 Senryu Salon July

Since it is July, it is hot and it is muggy, the topic is: air conditioner. Be sure to use this word in your poem. Consider what the essence of an air conditioner is. Besides cooling, what does it do? Sooth? Cause colds? What is it? A machine in the window? Central air machine outside? Where is it? At home? At the office? In the train? Do you need an air conditioner? Ack! So many aspects! Which to choose? Heheheheh, good luck. And don't kill yourself. The deadline will be next week so think it over.

And be sure to submit your poem to this post. Please limit yourself to one poem. Poems must be in English.

P.S. I am having issues at home that are taking up time... again... I apologize for not visiting your sites, but I will try to do so as soon as possible. Peace, everyone.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Senryu Tsubame 川柳つばめ吟社: June

Nice poems...


an, there were many good poems as before and it was very hard to choose the best ones, but I tried anyway. For a group with with little or no experience in senryu, you continue to impress me, indeed. A reminder of the rankings: the best eight poems are chosen and given a rank. The rankings in Japanese are: 天 ten (heaven), 地 chi (earth), 人 jin (man) and 五客 gokyaku (five guests--honorable mentions). However, since there were so few submissions, I will limit the honorable mentions to three 三客. The following are this month's ranking. The other poems are listed in order of receipt.

June's topic was graduation and many of you focused on what graduation meant for you. In poetic terms, one could not ask for more, as there is nothing more personal as poetry. But there are certain rules to senryu, and as I have mentioned before, you should try to paint a picture of the moment, much like Normal Rockwell did with his Saturday Evening Post illustrations. Another point is to focus on the topic at hand. That doesn't mean to use a word or two to reflect the topic. The essence of the poem must represent an aspect of the topic that can be understood by the typical reader.

Four years of my life
Handed to me by someone
I don't even know.

by XanthochromeSum

First impression: Smooth Technical foul: None Poet's Remark: Cut me some slack, I'm a mere freshman! Comments: Okay, freshman, for a first try this was very good. There were a few other poems that reflected your sentiment, and it is a good one--four years of you life, four years of hard (?) work represented on a piece of paper. But you also pointed out the irony of the moment: Being congratulated for all this hard work by the unknown person handing out the diploma. Not your teacher but perhaps a dean or some other school official who you probably have never met. But the most outstanding feature of you poem--that which separates you from the rest--is its utter fluidity, its natural rhythm--in the Japanese term, goro. The diction the line breaks are totally artless and easy to read. Well done, freshman.

Diploma in hand,
Under the gaze of parents,
Tears fall from their eyes.

by SammyStorm

First impression: Touching. Technical foul: None. Comments: A nice view from the otherside of the stage--although I suspect that Sammy is really too young to have first hand knowledge. Still, a nice moment in time when parents shed tears when they see their baby graduating. Of course, the tears could be shed for a number of reasons: joy at seeing success, sadness at seeing the child take another step toward independence, or relief that they will finally be able to afford that second honeymoon to Tahiti.

Tassle on the right
Good little Asian boy walks
Tassle on the left

by pallyatheart

First impression: That's me! Technical foul: None. Comments: Oh, the GLOB--or in this case, GLAB--on stage, representing the image of many in mainstream society. The Good Little Oriental Boy, fulfilling expections by going to school and graduating. And the punctualilty of this model obedience is well portrayed by the oh so mundane act of flipping the tassle for the right side to the left. How absolutely boring, how completely inane, and how perfectly representing the image of the Good Little Oriental Boy.

Years of work condensed
On a single page diploma,
Don't drop it.

by whonose

First impression: Nice focus. Technical foul: Jiamari (one too many syllables) in second line. Comments: Despite the techincal foul, the poem conveys the essence of the diploma: the representation of years of work. And the last line--Don't drop it--underscores this. Not only does it describe the preciousness of this single sheet of paper, it also suggests the heaviness it represents: reams of paper for homework, research papers, and book reviews. This would have been in the top three if not for the jiamari.

Proud parents smiling,
Robed grads stride up, joyously:
School's reign completed!

by SleepingCutie

First impression: Oh, joy! Technical foul: None. Poet's remark: Blah. So hard to write within limitations. =) I like free verse better. hehe. Comments: Despite the limitations--and this is a good exercise in diction and the economy of words--you did a good job of capturing the moment of joy of graduation. Who hasn't graduated and felt that special elation of having completed school successfully when striding up in robes. I know I did...

pomp and circumstance.
a new chapter will begin;
four years on paper.

by SweetLilV

First impression: Anticipation Technical foul: None Comments: This is a special look at graduation, and a bit contemplative, it would seem to me. Despite all the pomp and cricumstance of graduation, the student seems to be reflecting--perhaps in anticipation, maybe trepidation--on her future as she stares at the sheet of paper that represents the years she spent in college.

New degrees in hand,
We thought we would change the world...
How naive we were.

by SunJun

First impression: Retrospective. Technical foul: None Comments: As my first impression indicates, it seems alike a retrospective. The say how "naive" we were suggests the poet is looking back at his graduation. As with all senryu, the poem should reflect the essence of the topic by capturing a moment that reflets it, but I think this might be to far removed. Still a nice sentiment that many of us feel.

new chapter in life
world is our playground
future awaits you

by tim00

First impression: Abstract. Technical foul: Only five syllables in seconds line. Comments: Like SweetLilV's poem, this suggests hope for the future. Unfortunately, I cannot see the "moment" that would relate this sentiment to graduation. This could easily be a poem of the birth of a new child, could it not? Stay focused on the topic and make sure there is a direct link to it in the poem.

waiting in a line
to receive a diploma
somebody farted.

by Grom

First impression: Dahahhaah! Technical foul: None. Comments: Certainly, a funny moment in time, particularly at such an important milestone in one's life. But the poem, while hilarious does not reflect an essential aspect of the topic except for the word diploma. I could be picking up my diploma at the registrars office and experience the same thing. If only there was a way to relate it to the pomp and splendor of a graduation? An almost great poem....

Twilight Zone era
Piece of paper as a means
to race with the rats

by bane_vixen

First impression: Too complex. Technical foul: None. Poet's remarks: Let me explain before you start ripping it apart in your ignorance (hehe). it's just really whack (hence, Twilight Zone era) that we slave for four years for a piece of paper that basically legitimizes the rat race (for money) disguised as distinguished occupations. feh. what a nuisance. Comments: Yes, I know I'm ignorant, but still the Twilight Zone reference seems out of place. Is spending four years in college truly "whack"? I felt my college years were well spent in that it iproved me immensely and bettered my life by providing insights I might never have gained in my small little JA community. And yet, our point is well taken: It seems odd that a piece of paper "qualifies" you as one who can contribute to society--your rat race. Have you read anything by Bourdieu? His concept of "cultural capital" was actually a small part of my dissertation, the part that suggested that capital based on cultural values--such as a college degree--led the the development of "schools" of poetry. But then, I guess that would make me a hypocrite, for while I recognize the absurdity of representing one's knowledge through a piece of paper, I myself use it to confirm my place in my small world of academia... Damn, I hate it when you make me think!

Leaving me behind
Read the books and get the grades
And I'll move on too

by imahima

First impression: Hmmmm... Technical foul: None. Comments: This may reflect my ignorance--as the Vixen pointed out--but I had to think too hard to relate this poem to graduation, which defeats the point of senryu. It should be easy to understand. The poem takes the view from the person who hasn't graduated, I think? Being left behind, but still determined to study and continue on as her predecessors. A nice sentiment, but if only it was a bit more straight forward. I think what made it more difficult was the lack of an actual image on a moment in time...

College is easy
Eight hour days in the office
New life? no, prison

by ikerton

First impression: Current dilemma. Technical foul: None. Poet's remark: haha, j/k. you know, it's tough to count the syllables in 'hour.' Comments: This to is a retrospective that looks back at life. Unfortunately, it makes reference to college life and not graduation per se. Further, the focus seems to be more on current life of working instead of on the topic. Still, nice try. I mean, who hasn't thought of work as prison?

hear thy name called out
walk towards the lights and cheers
shake hands, bow and smile

by detachable

First impression: Straight-forward. Technical foul: None... well maybe "thy". Poet's remark: ugh. i never did graduate, but this is what i imagined it to be. Comments: As I pointed out as a technical foul, the word "thy" may seem a bit too antiquated. Senryu should be contemporary, a reflection of our lives, not Shakespear's. But still a nice attempt at capturing the moment on stage when a diploma recipient revjoices at graduating.

forty-two degrees
thick gowns, wrong name on program
crap graduation

by silvermyst_ashke

First impression: Almost. Technical foul: None. Poet's remarks: (celcius, my graduation was in summer) sorry I must have given you the wrong idea, I'm not buying a gown. and if you can make ANYTHING out in the pic, I'm the one in red. Comments: Actually, this was a pretty good poem that reflects the frustrations of some when things go wrong at a graduation. Was this Silvermyst's personal experience? Maybe. The images are pure and very vivid which make for a good senryu normally. But perhaps you could have said something like "graduation in the sun". Since most graduations are in the summer, readers would know that it's hot. And avoid words like "crap", not that it's wrong to use words like that, but an expression of your feelings through images, like "head hung low", would be more effective.

Walk across the stage.
Applause, caps fly in the air.
Proud families hug.

by wildkat03

First impression: Broad view. Technical foul: None. Poet's remarks: Yeah, no so hot but I tried. Wish I could have worked "hangover" in there somewhere...I know that's what my graduation involved! Comments: Actually, this is a nice representaiton of graduation. Unfortuanately, it is a collage of the entire graduation ceremony: walking across the stage, then the applause, then the caps in the air at the end of the ceremony, and families hugging after. The goal of senryu is to portray a single moment that captures the essence of the graduation. But good first try nonetheless.

You're an art major.
Paint yourself a bright future.
Here's your brown tassle.

by ddsb2000

First impression: Abstract art. Technical foul: None Poet's remarks: It's kind of in response to graduating from FSU and how I feel like the brown tassles they give art majors sorta represents the patronizing nature of the FSU art program. hehe go easy on petey Comments: Brown tassles? okay, the FSU art program may be patronizing, but unfortunately, no one would know this unless you gave your explanation. And the goal of senryu is to provide a verse that can be understood by most. But now that I do know what you meant to say, I like your juxtaposition of the boring brown tassle with the concept of an "art" major. Perhaps you should propse a different motorboard, maybe a beret? Or would that be even more facetious? Hehehehehe.

gracious acceptance
as they mispronounce my name.
proud flower lei hugs.

by msbLiSs

First impression: Almost! Technical foul: None. Comments: If only the last line were different. Did you get the flower lei as you recieved your diploma? If so, then that would be fine but that is not clear to me or to most readers, I would suspect. But the graciousness of the moment, despite the mispronounced name, is a wonderful image. Perhaps a simple "diploma in hand" or something like that would have been better. Still nice poem.


Despite my comments, I think everyone did a fine job in their own way of describing what graduation meant for them. Senryu is a great way of painting a picture of our current lives and society.

As judge, I too am required to make a submission. You guys want another senryu meeting?

A requirement
to graduate? List'ning to
Long-winded speeches

by onigiriman

Friday, July 16, 2004

What Happened to Baseball?


he All-Star game ended earlier this week, marking the mid-point of the baseball season here in the US. I am--as many of you know--a sports fan. More specifically, I am an American sports fan. Every game I watch and enjoy is uniquely American: Basketball, football, and of course baseball. Not that I don't watch hockey or soccer or rugbyn or tennis, but they don't get my juices running like football or baseball.

Now football is alive and kicking, but the fortunes of baseball have declined significantly over the past 20 years or so. Many have pointed to the fact that baseball is just too long. The games are long and the seasons are long. Are 162 games too many? I don't think so. Football is far to physical to be more than it is. Basketball, I think, can be short because the good players/teams can still be determined in that timeframe. But in baseball, the good teams are not so obvious in say 81 games (half the season). This is a sport that deifies players that hit the ball 30% of the time. Is there a sport that honors a player for a 30% sucess rate? If you hit only 30% of your shots in basketball, you're benched. If you complete 30% of you passes, you're cut. Baseball players are judged at such a low rate of success--and their teams succuss/failure hinges on this success--I think it probably takes longer to get an accurate read with regard to which player/team is the best.

The other point is the length of the game itself and its leisurely pace. Many point to the speed and excitement of football and basketball--and I whole heartedly agree that they are fun to watch; I'm a college football junky--but that is not the reason for baseball's demise. It's free agency. The unfettered movement of players denies fans the opportunity to root for players who they feel represent them. While this is true in other sports, the nature of the game--speed, big plays--can overcome this. People can root for the team as well as any player. But in baseball, where the game is leisurely, where you sit in the bleachers with a beer in your hand and talk baseball as much as watch baseball, one needs to know his favorite team, know the players to talk about them, debate about them, and of course root for them.

In LA, the Dodgers from 1973 to 81, had the same infield: Garvey, Lopes, Cey, and Russell at short. The outfield was pretty solid for a number of years with Baker anchored in left, and behind the plate Ferguson and Yeager. They were like cousins. You knew them intimately, albeit not personally. I had many conversations about the team versus other teams, and it was fun to watch any game. Loyalty to a team was based on the loyalty to players. But with free agency, that is gone.

Now, I am no union buster, and the freedom to earn as much as you want is an American right, I suppose. And the fault is as much on ownership as it is to any percieved greed by the players. They did, afterall, treat the players like slaves for many years. But still, I think Kevin Brown makes too much and Alex Rodgrigues makes waaaaaaaaaay too much.

Japanese word

Pallyatheart suggested that I add an audio component to the word. Actually, I had thought of it, but to be honest, I don't know how to do it. I need a microphone, I know, and I have a place to store the file--like my other music files. But how do I put one of those players that I occasionally see, the ones with a stop/play button. Can anyone help out this antiquated, old geezer?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Aggregate of All Our Experiences


ho are you? Who am I? Xanga is such a a strange place where we know and yet don't know the people with whom we communicate--with, of course, the exception of those we know personally. I don't want to reveal the specifics of who I am, but I do want to convey what I am, so that you may get a better feel for what I write. On the front/main page of the O-man's Xanga, on the right hand column, is random information that reveals a little bit about myself.

There are lists and short blurbs about me or that perhaps reflect how I view myself. Ddsb2000 recently commented that he just noticed some links and asked if Yeung Ling was my favorite beer. Well, my favorite beer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but that is not readily available on the East Coast at a price that I would consider reasonable. But Yeung Ling is a nice substitute, and so I make due with a product from what is apparently the oldest brewery in the US.

Also, on the front page is a short comment on my basic philosophy, of how I view myself and the world around me:

We are the sum total of all our individual experiences. As a result, everything we think, interpret and say is tainted. While we may try to offer objective "facts", these facts are inevitably arranged and presented through the prism of our own experiences, and as such it is our own subjective perspective of the truth.

Yes, I have probably mentioned this about a bazillion times. But I consistently read on other Xanga sites the attitude that things do not change. Recently, someone wrote about how the bad characteristics of people stay the same: "They just don't change." Elsewhere, another commented on how he felt the same but finds "everyone at home different" upon his return from study abroad. Because of these comments, I feel that this philosophy is worth repeating. We all change. Everytime we experience something, anything, we are changed. The influence may be big or small and the change may be big or small. Certainly, the longer we live, each new experience represents a progressively smaller percentage of the entirety of our experiences, and so changes may be slight and at times imperceptible. But the change occurs nonetheless, and who we are at any given time is a reflection or reaction or product of all these experiences up until that moment.

Now, what made me think about this was the movie 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In what turned out to be a pleasantly fun movie, a young woman, Lucy Whitmore--who suffered a head injury in an auto accident damaging the part of her brain that stores short-term memory--has lost her ability to create new memories. Everyday she wakes up thinking it's her father's birthday in October. Sandler's character, Henry Roth falls in love with this woman, accepting the stress of having to reassure her every morning for the rest of their lives that he loves her and that she loves him. The result is bittersweet. While the attempts to make Lucy's life comfortable by Henry and the others are sweet, Lucy's life still manifests a sense of melancholy. This fictional woman is a victim of circumstance, one who will never change. Her memories, and hence the experiences that created her personality, are frozen in time, and she will remain the exact same person for the rest of her life. Isn't that sad? And this is what made the movie interesting to me. It evoked a complex mix of emotions: joy with the outrageously funny scenes with Rob Schnieder, Sean Astin and the other supporting actors, a sweet sentimentality in the affection that everyone has for Lucy, and a palpable melancholy when trying to understand the life that Lucy must live. ***1/2

Which brings us to another Japanese word:

あわれ aware (ah-wah-reh). a word that is often used in literary terms, but is expressed in conversation when confronted with a situation that evokes a strong emotional response. It is often related to sadness or sorrow, but I think this is might be too simple. There is also a sense of beauty, as well as an empathetic response. Pathos is a word we use too infrequently these days, but this might be the best equivalent for aware. But I must admit rather sheepishly that I am surprised that an Adam Sandler movie--think TheWaterboy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds--would conjure up the word aware.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Another Contest


just found out that I have been nominated for another Xanga contest, Best of Xanga. What does this mean? Beats me, except that somebody must like to read my site. If you're interested in casting a vote for me, go to itsjustmargie. Since Margie deletes the comments of those who nominate/vote, I don't know who nominated me. But again, I am flattered and feel far too unworthy. Apparently, you can vote in more than one category. And the deadline is 9 pm Central time. So if you're in the mood, visit the link above and place a vote for the O-man. If not, no big deal. I just wanted to mention it since someone did nominate me, and this is the best way to express my appreciation.

I went to Eechim's and in her last entry she hd a whole bunch of German words which, of course, I don't understand. So I suggested nonchalantly that she leave a phrase for us to learn. Well, I thought that maybe I should do that too, for those of you interested in Japanese. So today's word is:

がんばって ganbatte. (gahm-baht-teh): Double consonants in Japanese romanization suggest a "stop", much like the sudden stop of breath between the "zz" when we pronounce the word "pizza". Ganbatte is often translated as "good luck", but this is sooooooooo wrong. It means to work hard, to put in all your effort. In modern American context, you would use it when someone is about to take an exam or do an interview, and you want to tell him/her "give it all you got". Ganbatte. Maybe I'll start using this on your site when I leave a comment. This is, of course, the abbreviated and so informal way of saying "please give it all you got" ganbatte-kudasai.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Review: Spiderman 2


t occured to me that part of my last entry was obscure. Sorry. Family issues can sometimes be too complicated to put into words, and I'll leave it at that. Things are up in the air for the moment, but if and when they settle down, I'll probably write about it. But for now, the issue at hand is Spiderman 2. If you haven't seen it and don't want your experience to be tainted by my opinion... see ya later, alligator...

The original Spiderman was awesome. I was a Marvel freak for many years. My favorites included Thor, Iron Man, Conan the Barbarian (especially the black and white editions), the Avengers which included the Vision. The comics I did not buy seem to be the ones that became movies, such as the Hulk (too ugly), Daredevil (too 50s) and the X-Men (just too much). I was never a fan of the Fantastic Four. I think maybe because of the names. Mr. Fantastic? The Thing? Ugh. But my favorite comic book was Spiderman. And, in its heyday, there were a couple of Spiderman storylines in different titles: The Amazing Spiderman, and Peter Parker The Spectacular Spiderman. I think there was one more but the title escapes at the moment.

As all of you Spidey freaks know, Peter Parker was a science whiz and his actual spider skills were limited to super strenghth disproportionate to his size, his spider sense (which isn't really animal intuition, but uber-heightened sensory perception) and the ability to scale walls. He created his own webbing and it was ejected from cartridges through his "web shooter" attached to his wrist. I'm not sure why they felt the need to make Peter mutate to the point of developing glands that secrete this webbing. But I guess it was okay. I didn't really mind this part of the first film. But when he lost this ability in the second film, I kinda rolled my eyes. Is Parker's spider abilities psychosomatic? Okay, maybe his glands won't secrete webbing, but what about his eyesight? Can a person lose the ability to focus all of a sudden? Oh right, Parker's not a person, he's a mutant. I know Parker had issues about being Spiderman, and this is a great part of his character, but I don't think this had to be manifested through physical traits. They should have focused more on the matters that really made Spiderman click. His decisions and the results of those decisions...

Which brings us to the issue of the anxiety he feels of being unappreciated and unable to reveal his identity. Parker's first love was Gwen Stacey, daughter of the police chief. She died in a scene similar to the climax of the first film: Spider had to choose between saving kids and saving Gwen. He tried to save both as in the movie, but in the comic Gwen dies. I gotta tell ya, that scene in the comic, the agony of making such a decision and having it turn out badly is why Spiderman was so popular: the flawed hero is so 70s! Gwen's death solidified Spider-man's role as villain in the Daily Bugle newpaper, and always raised doubts in the hearts of the people of New York, as well as his fellow super-heroes--even Superman, a DC character from Gotham (*ack, gag*), didn't trust Spidey beause of what he read. All the doubts and accusations made frustrated him to no end in the comic--and who among us don't feel underappreciated time to time. But more importantly, in Peter Parker's mind, his identity was directly responsible for her death and this becomes the overarching reason why he could never reveal it to anyone. In the movie, he says that his enemies will endanger the ones he loves. But it was not Mary Jane's or Aunt May's near death, it was Gwen's actual death. And this tragedy makes it virtually impossible for him to reveal his identity, which is why I was disappointed that he revealed himself to Mary Jane in the movie realtively easily. In the comic book, it took YEARS for him to finally do it. Mary Jane and Peter even have sex and date before he reveals himself. At the very least, they should have left it as the last scene of the last part of this soon-to-be trilogy.

And yet, while it may sound like I'm trashing Spiderman 2, I must admit I liked it. The action and CG was great. The way he swings through the air or the way he positions himself on a crane is exactly the way he did it in the comic. It just amazed me at how real they made the comic book action feel. I swear I love Spiderman comics and have all those poses etched in my mind. To a lesser degree, the general angst that Peter Parker suffers from was presented adequately. He does like Mary Jane--and she does call Parker "Tiger" in the comic book--and he wants to get to know her better but simply cannot reveal himself to her. This was not a bad movie. It simply did not live up to ALL the nitpicking standards of this Spidey fan... ***1/2 stars (out of 5)

Afterthought: I thought the casting was pretty good. Toby Maguire was a good choice. The supporting roles were perfect. Rosemary Harris as Aunt May was just right. And Jon Simmons was an inspired choice for J. Jonah Jameson, editor of the Daily Bugle. I have to admit that it took me a while to realize that he was the same as Dr. Skoda in "Law and Order." But I wish they had found someone else for Mary Jane. In the comic book, Gwen was very feminine, and Mary Jane was supposed to be her antithesis. She was tom-boyish with a lot of spunk. Kirsten Dunst is cute, but she doesn't strike me as the spunky type. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Spiderman 2


gain, life's little crises are building up and I have to take care of business. I"m sure that you all know that I would MUCH rather spend my time with you here on Xanga, but some responsibilities take precedent over Xanga, and you can rest assured that they would have to be pretty important for me to set aside this addiction, if even for a day or two. But I hope to find some time later tonight to provide my insights to Spiderman 2 which I saw on Sunday.

What? You ask. If you're so busy, what the heck are you doing going to a movie? Well, this "function"--going to see a movie--luckily coincided with two of my responsibilities. It took some fancy dancing to convince the powers that be that a movie could be part of a birthday present for one child, as well as be stress reliever for another troubled child. But the explanation is too hard and too complicated to discuss here.

Preview: Spiderman 2 Spidey's loss of his ability is psychosomatic? hmmm... Come to think of it, his webbing isn't even supposed to be a physiological part of him...

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Hard to please


espite the O-man's strange belief in the concept of soulmates--because of what he has personally experienced--he rarely believes in anything that has not been explained through analytical reasoning and with empirical evidence. As a result, he has never believed in deja vu. Sure, there were times when he found himself in a situation that seemed very familiar, but this was once explained to the O-man as a moment when part of his mind worked faster than his sensory perception.

In a millisecond, the subconscious mind grasps a given situation, processes the information and stores it as memory, even as the conscious part of the mind is still situating itself in the environment. This allows the conscious brain to "recall" the information already stored in "memory" giving the allusion of having seen it before. This sounded incredulous to the O-man when he first heard it, but it made more sense than believing he had an out of body experience or a similar experience in a former life. And yet, the O-man couldn't shake the feeling he had experienced before the same sounds and smells and nervousness.

The rundown club located on the backroads of Xanga seemed all too familiar. The stench of stale beer filled the air, as the haze of second-hand cigarette smoke hovered over the tough crowd. Still, it was different, the O-man decided. The crowd was different. This one seemed a bit more forgiving, with some willing to laugh at his jokes. He had just finished his routine on how to create a porn-star name for yourself by combining the names of your first pet and the first street you lived on. It wasn't the most intellectual of routines, but it was vastly more cerebral than the Henny Youngman routine the O-man attempted on his previous engagement. Indeed, since the routine involved audience participation, the same black stage with the harsh spotlight didn't seem as harsh with the laughter and encouragement of young people sitting here and there enjoying the different names.

"Hahahhaahha, some of those were really good!" laughed Mimi from New York.

One hairy customer, who had been hunched over his drink at the bar in the back, closed his Law textbook and yelled, "I think my favorite is 'Skippy Balboa' Gahahaha!".

"Great! This whole post has been such a great idea! Kandie Delight sounds like a chocolate bar name too! ha ha," praised a Puffball in laderhosen sitting in front.

"Haha wohooo best male pornstar name! My mom would be proud," shouted Daz, a young man happy to join in the fun.

"Yeah, just don't forget to tell her who handed out the awards... wait a minute. I take that back. Forget it before you get home," shot back the O-man as he closed his routine.

"Well, that's it for now. I'll be back in an hour with another set. Be sure to call your friends and relatives." The O-man waved his hand as he turned to walk off the stage. Wow, he thought, this crowd was definitely more forgiving.

But his thought was soon obliterated by a voice audible only to him as he walked by a table at the end of the stage. "So, it's finally done, eh?"

The O-man paused after stepping off the stage. "Huh? Excuse me?"

"I realize this is all in good fun, and I personally have nothing against porn, except how men AND women just seem to gravitate towards it with these hungry look in their eyes... Reminds me of depraved animals," said a voice from the table.

The O-man, his eyes slowly readjusting from the bright spotlight, recognized a couple of attractive ladies with their arms folded, the universal expression of resistance and indignation.

"Well, I wouldn't go that far. As you said, it was done in good fun and all," the O-man meekly protested.

"Yup, porn is GREAT," retorted one.

"NO MORE PORN NAMES PLEASE!" the other stated emphatically.

I guess the adage is true. I mean it's true in Virginia and it's probably true where you live, too: You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people all of the... um... er... sorry. I'm having a Dubya moment here. Well, it just means that you can't please everyone all the time... I think...

Okay, okay. Porn names was a pretty shabby topic, I suppose. I recalled talking about it with some students and the creation of such a name seemed amusing. A number of you decided to play along, and some truly had some classic monikers. But I hope I didn't upset you too much, because it certainly wan't meant to be any tacit approval of this form of adult entertainment...


Anyway, Yuki Lancelot reminded me that some of you had submitted senryu poems. I was so narcissistically involved in my own one-year Xanga anniversary, that I had forgotten about it. I will get on it right away.

But for now, there will be no more porn names... until the next time. hehehehehe...

Friday, July 09, 2004

The Best and Most, Part 2


ey, Kenmore Q back again on the O-man site to continue with the awarding of the Best and Most of Porn Names. Remember, everyone's a winner.

Disclaimer: Please, keep in mind the comments below may be off color--not too much though--and are strictly for entertainment value. None of the participants--to the best of Q's knowledge--is a porn star, and this is simply an exercise in fun. All comments are tongue-in-cheek, are made in response to the made-up names and absoutely do not reflect or represent the persons who submitted them...

Best Reference to Church Sex Scandals: Fishy Cardinal
As a devout Catholic--hahhahahahaha--I wanted to have one award that related to those religious predetors of young boys, Catholic priests. Thanks to Fishy Cardinal, I was able to feel fulfillment and a sense of redemption...

Best Rock Porn Star Name: Iggy Saratoga
Hey Iggy, great name. Reminds me of Iggy Pop, y'know? Hopefully, you'll survive the summer before you go on tour in Japan, and figure out how to get your stuff back, or at least the value of what was stolen...

Best Asian-American Porn Name: Ryce Eastwood
Now, is this Asian American or what? Ryce? Nice mispelling to of our staple food for effect. And the East in Eastwood is an obvious nod to our Asian hertitage. And of course, the "wood" in Eastwood was a nice touch, especially for a male porn star...

Best Use of Middle Name: Arif Stillmeadow
Amazingly--or not--some of us have never owned a pet. As it stands, I've heard that some have used their middle name for their porn name. I've heard that for regular movie stars, so that is nothing new, so I guess it makes for a good substitute if you have been petless. But still, it seems too close to home for me to ever use my middle name... not that I plan to go public as a porn star...

The Best Three-Part Porn Names with the First Name Hanna(h): Hanna Golden Canyon, Hannah Regents Park
Now this was interesting. Only two participants submitted three-part porn names and they both had the same first name (sorta). Now that deserves some kind of recognition, no? Besides "Golden Canyon" sounds so nasty for a girl, don't you think. You may have to go blonde, girl... hehehehhe. And "Regents Park" sounds like a Korean porn star. Oh yeah, you are Korean, aren't you. Too bad Hannah's a guy. Hahahahha.

Best Allusion--Female Porn Name: Lobsty Delta
Well, you're too young to be a porn star, but you have a great name for future use. Lobsty has that seaside fishy smell, and Delta is, well, triangular, right? *gulp*...

Best Allusion--Male Porn Name: Yuki Lancelot
Yuki, in Japanese, means snow and can suggest a cute image, but that's not the allusion I'm refering to. It's rather obvious, isn't it. Lance-a-lot? I mean, I think there was actually a porn star with that name, but he was--duh--a guy. hahahahaahha.

Best Nature Porn Name: Meadow Lily
The name, for a porn star, is rather pastoral. But it has a nice lilt to it, don't you think? You're too young to be here, too, but if you were a porn star, you'd be stretched out in the open fields or under a starry night sky... maybe...

Best Onanistic Image: Willy Solitude
A great name for you lonely souls out there. Lonely Willy. A Willy in Solitude? Hahahhaahha. If you don't understand the name of the award, you need to study more--new word for the day: Onanism. In fact, this is where the Japanese got the word onani. Man, the things you learn here...

Best Japanese Porn Star Name: Crystal Tama, Momo Hillcrest
This is a tie between two of my favorite writers: In Japanese, tama means "ball", so this guy has some pretty classy tama, I suppose. I wonder if it rings when you flick it? Of course, that would connote a high lead content, and that would be very bad. The other winner: momo means "thighs" and thighs juxtuposed to the top of a hill? A mound as it were?

Man, my mind is in the gutter... which is, of course, just in time for the announcement of the top winners.

Best Female Porn Star Name: Brandy Cherry
Is this a beautiful name or what? When things are going poorly, when things don't seem to be going like we want them to, a bit of Brandy is always a nice thing to savor. And not only the Brandy, but the Cherry, as well! Gawd, is there a better last name for a female porn star? I'd better shut up. With my luck, she'd have a 275 lbs. gorilla of a brother chasing after me...

Best Male Porno Star Name: Daz Peachtree
And here's the perfect male porn star name. The allusions are subtle, as you will see. Peachtree, as a tree, suggests a sturdy man, but the peaches suggest youth and a couple of other things that also contain seeds that don't need to be mentioned here. But the name Daz is what really caught my eye. Can you imaging this actor squeezing his peaches and Dazzing all over the place? This name is good enought for a dog!

The Best Porno Name Period: Kandie Delight
Oh man, I'm sorry, but this gave me a woody. Let's say it all together: Kandie Delight. A name that oozes sweetness, but is misspelled, typically, to suggest a slightly different kind of sweetness. There is also the promise of a light and fun time. What warm-blooded heterosexual wouldn't want a date with a girl named--let's say it together, again--Kandie Delight. Man, I'm glad Kandie is not a guy. That would have been embarrassing...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Best and Most


ello, this is Kenmore Q, on the O-man site, here to announce the Best and Most of Porn Names. The names submitted were absolutely fabulous, Darlings, and I would like to thank all those who were kind enough to participate. Without Onigiriman's permission--and, Darlings, who would need it?--I took the liberty of switching the order of some of the names if I thought they might better fit a specific category. Some were incredibly funny and some were suspiciously droll. But, you know, Hon', everyone's a winner.

Disclaimer: Please, keep in mind the comments below may be off color--not too much though--and are strictly for entertainment value. None of the participants--to the best of Q's knowledge--is a porn star, and this is simply an exercise in fun. All comments are tongue-in-cheek, are made in response to the made-up names and absoutely do not reflect or represent the persons who submitted them...

Best Numbered Name: Mimi 55
Since a part of the name had to be the street you first loved... I mean, lived on, I was worried about numbered streets, but it turned out that there was only one participant from a numbered street.

Victor Victoria Award: Queenie Elvina, Pookie Broadway
While this is about porn names, these two names just reminded me of drag queens. Queenie Elvina is pretty obvious, but doesn't Pookie Broadway sound like a name that a guy in a dress would pick. The funniest part is that these two are female. Like the movie Victor, Victoria--starring Julie Andrews--they are women pretending to be men pretending to be women.

The Most Suspect: The Last Super Power, Marinated Meatball, Long Duk Paiky
Okay. I have my doubts about these three. Where is there a street name and the name of a pet? If "Power" were a street name, would any one have a name of a pet "The Last Power"? And "Meatball" could be the name of a pet, but a street named "Marinated"? And Paiky, well, you obviously inserted your own name... Of course, I could be wrong. Let me know if I am...

Best Male Porn Star Name in a supporting role: Chronicle Dale
The name is straight-forward, but Chronicle sounds like a great name for a guy in a supporting role. It's as if he's "chronicling" the antics of the lead actors.

Best Gay Porn Star Name: Max Crane
"Crane", as in that thing that lifts heavy things--like maybe other guys?--is such an obvious metaphor for the nasty nasty, and "Max" suggests big, huge, maximum size and/or power. Now, seriously, how can this name not be gay?

Best Female Porn Star Name in a supporting role: Maggie Moonstone
Moonstone is sooooooooo 80s. So is Maggie, as in Rod Stewart's song. But it would look perfect on the marquis under the leading actors names: "Also starring Magie Moonstone."

Best Transexual Porn Star Name: Princess Bob
This could have been included with the Drag Queens, but there is something about the name Princess and conjures up the feminine rather than the outrageous. And a feminine "Bob"? Must be a pre-op just beginning his regimen of hormone shots.

Best Porn Producer's Name: Executive Genki
Exectutive seems a bit mundane, but when paried with "Genki"? Wow. "Genki" in Japanese means "spirited" or "full of energy". When applied to a man's sexual prowess, it suggests... well, you get the image, I think. Of course, our Exectuive Genkin is female, and a genki female would undoubtedly delight and exhaust the best of us in the business...

Most Frigid Porn Name: Kimmy Coldstream
Man, talk about taking a cold shower! As any guy will tell you, a dip in a cold river, or a swim in a cold pool would make even the most excitable among us as limp as a... uh, um... well, you get the picture.

The I-can-pass-as-a-regular-person Porn Name: Charlie Kilbourne, Jeanette Rubin, Kelsey Guernsey
Yeah, this is pretty amazing. Some people like to personify their pets by giving them real names? Charlie? Jeanette? Kelsey? KELSEY?

Best Porn Snackfood Name: Bisney Puffball
Alright, for Onigiriman's sake, I had to make at least on reference to food. And I have it on good authority that he likes Cheetos. Of course, instead of the soft puffy ones, he likes the crunchier type. I am wondering, however, what's a Bisney? That is an unusual street name. Of course, I'm just presuming that it's the street name, unless of course there's a street name called Puffball! Hahahahaha

Jailbait Porn Name: Baby Saxon
The name, Baby, brings to mind a sweet young thing! Maybe, maybe... TOO young! Ugh. But it would be a cute name for a young-ish porn star. Speaking of cute..

Cutest Porn Name: Skippy Balboa
Dwahahahhahaha! Skippy! Must be Rocky's cocker spaniel. I wonder if he knows how to pilot a boat or a plane?

Cont'd tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004



y favorite read, Sammy, is having a crisis of sorts. Apparently, he is going X-treme, deciding to talk about things like sex and minorities. Hahahah. I think he's just joking, or perhaps he just swallowed his dog license by accident. But he is right when he says that many sites who talk about sex, or spew politically incorrect opinions about other ethnicities seem to get all the attention, as attested by the great number of comments and e-props they get.

Well, I'm not worried about e-props, as you guys know. And I get all the comments I can handle for now. But I do like sex. And yet, I am hesitant to talk about it because many of my students read this page."Sensei! You did what?!?" Yup, sex is probably out of the question. But I do have a porno name.

A couple of weeks back, I went out for a beer (or five) with some students. We were talking about nicknames they had given to some classmates. Some were pretty mean, albeit funny: You guys should repent. The conversation soon turned to the creation of nicknames, and then porno names and how to come up with your own. This, according to them, is how. You take the name of your first pet and the name of the first street you lived on. I think the pet name was supposed to be first, but we decided that the better combination was okay. The first street I lived on was Kenmore Street. My first pet, the one that died on me, was Kyu-chan, named after the singer Kyu Sakamoto who sang "Sukiyaki" (Jp. Ue wo muite). I thought that Kenmore Kyu sounded better than Kyu Kenmore. And the name Kyu sounded too Japanese, so I replaced it with Q. And voila! Kenmore Q... Or should I make it Kenmore Cue? Or Kenmore Queue? Any advice?

So what would be your porno name?

EDIT: Man, there are some great names so far. C'mon, people, lets hear it from ya'. What's yours?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Personal Questionaire


ilvermyst_ashke recently asked herself a bunch of questions that revealed a little bit about herself. I thought it was a group of interesting questions, so I decided to borrow it, with her permission of course...

What is your middle name?
No comment. Let it be said that my middle name cause me much grief when I was growing up because it was my "American" name. The Japanese name my parents gave me was my first name. My middle, American name was the name of the priest who married them. He was the pastor of the Maryknoll parish/mission in Los Angeles after WWII. So if you have the time and interest to follow this lead, be my guest...

When you were a child what name did you want to have?
William. Believe me, my middle name, the name that everyone knew me by was not typical. All I wanted was a regular American name, and William was it. In fact when I was confirmed in the Catholic church at 16, I chose this name, so I have two middle names.

What Parker Posey movies have you seen/do you own?
Actually, I don't know who Parker Posey is so I had to look her up on IMDb and I found I had seen a few movies in which she had appeared. Interestingly, they are all movies I could care less about: Josie and the Pussycats, Best in Show, You've got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle. Okay, I admit it. I've seen all these movies. And I didn't like any of them. Never listen to critics. Yeah, right, Best in Show was a great movie. Sleepless in Seattle was a great vehicle for Tom Hanks... GAG! Sorry, just not my type.

How many TV's are in your house?
Three. One in the living room (the new one), one in the bedroom (12 inch), and one in the basement where I run and work out (the old 20").

If you could eat anything right now what would it be?
Taquitos from Manuel's. It's on Evergreen in East LA (just north of Brooklyn/Cesar Chavez) and it's known as El Tepeyac. But we used to refer to it as Manuel's, the owners name.

Song/Artists you would sing at Karaoke?
My #18--which in Japanese means my best song--is Wakare no machi by Suzuki Masayuki 鈴木雅之. You can hear it playing if you go to the Comments page.

Do you screen your calls?
Yes. It used to keep the telemarketers at bay. I subsequently learned that I could control phone calls that I should take but didn't want to deal with at the moment, hehehehehhe.

What CD's are around you at this moment? Books?
CDs: Joni Mitchel's best hits and Komeguny by Komekome Club. Book: The Tale of Genji translated by Royall Tyler.

If there is a magazine around you what celebrity is on it?
Hmmm... Is Bush a celebrity?

How many people have you kissed?
Cannot count. There have been passionate kisses and nice to know you kisses and it's-a-wedding-so-I'm-supposed-to kisses...

What is your style?
Late 60s, early 70s casual. This means jeans and T-shirt, preferably without design except for that which I have a personal connection with. Usually, this means universities I have attended or visited. Maybe if I lose some of the weight I want to lose, I'll be able to dress up again. I can't fit into some of my better suits! What a waist... uh, I mean waste...

Do you have any deformities?
yes. My right eye has a scar on the cornea so I can only see with my left. As a result--as many of my readers already know--I have no depth perception. Other than that... is being short considered a deformity?

Can you roll your tongue?
Are you kidding? Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

What is the grossest thing that has happened to you recently?
Grossest? Hmm.... There are a lot of things happenening around me that are bothersome, but gross? The grossest thing was watching a squirrel eat a cicada. Those cicadas--they're gone now--must have been scrumptious, because even those skittery squirrels wouldn't scamper away when I approached when they were snacking on a cicada. It would munch it's head, then work on the body. When it got a mouthful of wing, it would turn its head and *pui* spit it out. then continue eating. I must admit it was pretty disgusting, but mesmerizing at the same time...

What are your most recent purchases?
I just bought three pairs of cotton chino pants for school this fall. Black (pleated), black (non-pleated) and navy.

New TALL Xangan

I have a student who is new to Xangan, LaMangust, which I think she told me meant some kind of rat, a nickname she received when she lived in Italy. But believe me when I tell you that she is not a "rat", far from it. The only fault that she might have that I can see is that she is TALL. But then, that's the perspective of a very short person, so maybe she ain't so tall to others. Anyway, please visit her and give her some encouragement...

Monday, July 05, 2004

A few responses


trawberriesNCream311, thanks to you for actually understanding me! I joked that I was stroking myself, and your the only one who realized that I was stroking my ego. These other guys thought I was stroking... what? I have no idea what they were thinking. They seemed to think I was being nasty, so the only thing I could think of is... um... uh... huh? you mean... eeyuuuuu ... I think I just figured it out. Shame on you! I'm so embarrassed now!

Anyway, I must tell you how flattered I was by your comments regarding your impressions of me. When Bane the Vixen asked the question, she responded to the comments she recieved, but I don't think I will as they were generally very nice comments and its hard to be sarcastic when people are being nice... But I will say that I never considered myself to be a good writer as many have remarked. I write, as KF observed, just like I speak. So in a way, you can get an idea as to how I talk or lecture in class. The sarcasm and joking are, for me, my way of making students comfortable in class so they will participate more, feel like a part of the class, and a part of my life, which they are, as I think they would tell you...

Many of you noticed that I enabled the e-props for that day's post. Now, I didn't change my mind about e-props, as I have disabled them again. But Sekura81 and a few others commented that they actually discovered me through the Featured Content on the Xanga main page. The thought that good people might come my way via this route made me think that perhaps Featured Content is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, the only way to get on it is to have a large number of e-props. So I will enable my e-props occasionally, not because I like them, but because it might get me on Featured Content and allow me to meet nice people; emphasis on the word might, as it takes a large number of comments, usually of a course of a two or three days. So if you occasionally see that I have my e-props on, that will be the reason. Don't think too little of me...

Green card

When I talked about how M was having problems getting through immigration because her green card expired, Eechim expressed surprise: "how can your green card expire? If she is married to you, then that's ok, no?" Well, actually, M came on a "fiance" visa. This is one in which the soon-to-be spouse comes to the US for the express purpose of marrying a US citizen. The persons involved must prove knowledge of each other--photos, letters, plane tickets--prior to entry, and then get married within 3 months of entering the US. M came in June 2000, and we got married in 3 days. Only then could we submit papers for a green card. Then we waited 18 months for our interview. She finally got her card in 2002, but it was only temporary. The US government wants to make sure that those, who applied for permanent residency under the pretext of getting married to a US citizen, are still actually married. It makes sense, I suppose, especially in this post 9/11 era, but M came before 9/11... Anyway, after obtaining the green card, I guess we gave a collective sigh a relief and kinda lost track of the time. We were supposed to submit reapplication papers for a green card along with proof that we were still married after two years. I wonder if these Xanga posts would be proof?

Anyway, it was a pain in the a$$. And to answer ChiisanaHoshi, marrying me does not automatically make M a US citizen. If only it were that easy. To become a citizen, she must be naturalized by taking an exam and being sworn in. But she must be a permanent resident for at least two years, which she is now. After we clean up this mess--we have a court date in August--she will apply for US citizenship, I think. We'll see...

Personality Quiz

The personality quiz was kinda interesting. But ultimately, it just goes to prove that the conclusions of these online quizzes--like astrology and palm reading--are so general that any subjective reading would make it applicable to anyone. First, I should point out that "sober" doesn't mean just "not drunk" as many of you seem to think. It can also means serious, marked by self-restraint, devoid of frivolity and excess. Thanks a lot, you guys. Anyway, the "analysis" stated that I was an SRCL--Sober Rational Constructive Leader. This is a flattering conclusion, and some of you thought that the first paragraph fit me. Maybe, I was "born to lead" and as a teacher, many would see me as such. It's probably more true that I am not "particularly exciting," and this is perhaps the truest of all the conclusions. It is certainly nice to think that I might have a "strange charisma--born of intellect and personal drive--that people begin to notice when they have been around you a while." But, unfortunately, this charsima only exists on Xanga. Does it exist beyond the virtual world? Only those of you who know me can answer that--don't be bashful, leave a comment! Hehehehehe. And indeed, I "don't like to compromise," but "recognize when you have to." But this probably fits everyone, except for the incredibly weak or sociopathetically egotistical.

The second paragraph is sorta, kinda true, as well. It said that I "care absolutely nothing what other people think, and this somehow attracts people to you," I took this to mean that I am, in some respects, selfish and at times reckless in my disregard for what others think. Of course, I don't disregard others to hurt them, I am simply so focused on what I am doing that sometimes I forget those around me. But that focus, that striving toward a particular goal could, perhaps, be charismatic. Anyway, as I said, any of us could twist the analysis to fit ourselves pretty easily.

But this is certain: I will strive to treat you guys "well" and "wisely". Heheheheheheh...

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!

Despite news like this (from NukemVomit), everyone have a safe and sane 4th of July celebration!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

20 Questions to a Better Personality


he 4th of July weekend is upon us and I am still busy with a lot of family stuff. It is taking way too much of my time. I'd rather spend it with my Xanga family, at this point. But then, I'm not married to any of you--okay, I heard that. Who just exhaled a sigh of relief!

Anyway, I feel bad about not going to your sites as I should, so I will forgo a "real" entry--sorry Vixen, you shall forever be the Bane of my existence--try to use that time to visit you guys. Instead, I will give you the results of a personality quiz I found on a number of different Xanga sites. Being the narcissist I am, I decided to take it. Some of you know me better than other. Indeed, some of you know me personally. In any case, who agrees with the following analysis? BTW: I got the same result as gyjcwang.

You are an SRCL--Sober Rational Constructive Leader. This makes you an Ayn Rand ideal. Taggart? Roark? Galt? You are all of these. You were born to lead. You may not be particularly exciting, but you have a strange charisma--born of intellect and personal drive--that people begin to notice when they have been around you a while. You don't like to compromise, but you recognize when you have to.

You care absolutely nothing what other people think, and this somehow attracts people to you. Treat them well, use them wisely, and ascend to your rightful rank.

Is this close to me? I have an opinion, but I don't want to influence anyone who might respond. Anyway, I see you on your site sometime today or tonight. I promise!

Friday, July 02, 2004

Passion and Soulmates


hanks for the kazillion comments. Even those of you who were gagging--SweetLilV, ZettonV, hmmm, maybe its the Vs. As always, I am unworthy. There were a number of comments and questions that I wanted to respond to, but I think many of you are tired of the Q & A format, so I'll just write an entry that makes reference to them.

I must admit that this topic of soulmates is not one that I often write about. I have an opinion--and a strong one at that--but it is, as Paikey pointed out, a girly topic. Hahahahah. But I wront it not becuase I 'm running out of topics, but because Simply_Marie asked me a specific quesition and I didi want to share my opinion.

M's photo

Anyway, most of my regular visitors know M, but for those of you who are recent guests--yes, that is a pic of M. And yes, SweetLilV, Andine, and EndlesSkye, I think M is pretty good-looking. She also used to be an aerobics instructor so her body is fit and very flexible and that silvermyst_ashke does make her a bit hot at that. She really doesn't mind that I put her face up ZettonV, just as long as it is inconspicuous, her name is not online and I it is associated with me.


With regard to passion, I think everyone understood what I was getting at: an intense emotional response. It does not equal sex or lust, although that too is a part of it. In a way, we are still in the "honeymoon" phase of our relatioship, and I don't expect it to stop anytime soon, Bane. M is not necessarily "needy" and I am not anyone's knight in shining armor, but we have a need for each other. I think since we both realized that we are soulmates, we are totally devoted to eacah other. I will not go anywhere without her. I'd rather stay at home than go out "with the boys." It sounds pretty pathetic, and indeed, I would have pegged me as a pussy-whipped guy, but that is not the case. This is my preference. And the devotion we feel for each other has never suffocated either of us. It's hard to explain, and I never believed that I could feel this intensely for anyone until I met her. But believe me when I say that our passion is real.

And this is, to me, the most important aspect of my relationship with M, certainly more importnat than sewing, as ddsb2000 pointedly--and perhaps a bit sarcastically--commented. In fact, it is THE most important aspect of the relationship, for it covers any other deficiencies within the relationship. I don't rely on other aspects of our relationship to to sustain it. Indeed, it is just the opposite. For me, it is only the passion that keeps us together, the intense emotional bond that I feel for M, and this covers any problems or pitfalls that may appear. And as far as I'm concerned, Sammy, it will never fail. If it does, then the passion wan't strong enough and perhaps she wasn't the soulmate I thought she was...

The first major "test" of our passion for each other was the four years we spent apart in different countries at the beginning. Long distance relationships are difficult, as SillieeeBunnieee alluded to, but we never felt the distance. Sure we wanted to be with each other, but the devotion was strong enough to overcome even this major obstacle. Yes, the passion is real...

Soulmates just are

But the bottom line is that the reason why this passion exists is because I believe that M is my soulmate. Again, I never believed in this kind ao crap previously. To me, a soulmate, no, wait, I'll go even further... Once upon a time I didn't think love awas a real emotion. To me, Love was a complex amalgamation of human tendencies. Roughly speaking, I viewed love as finding its seed in loneliness and the need to feel appreciated, then being triggered by physical attraction and the joy of shared interests, and then ending up ideally with mutual trust and respect. It is more complex than this, but as I said, this is a rough outline. And this was basically my formula when I met K's mother, my first wife. But I now believe that these things exist to satsify our basic human urge as social animals, and that there is a higher plane, a greater existence. The emotions discovered between soulmates transcends anything I have experienced in my life...

And because of it I consider myself to be a lucky man, sekura81 (don't cry!) and iluvpajun, wrote. Indeed, iluvpajun knew her beau was her soulmate by holding his han too! Punch king! (Okay, maybe you have to be a tad older to know what I just said...)

Now, there are the doubters. And I don't blame them. As I mentioned above, I was one of them. Certainly KF focuses on the development of relationships, something one would have to believe in if and arranged marriage is the basis of a long-lasting relatioship. And of course, any questioning of my opinions would be incomplete with bane the vixen: "so why do you love this woman other than the passion and the whole soulmate thing?" As stupid as this sounds, there is none. I just know that I do. She will occasionally ask me and I tell her, in all honestly, "I don't know." I could make a list of things like intellect and cooking and others, but then that would be what I did with my first wife--well, I shouldn't put everything on her as I was doing this way before my first marriage. Anyway, there are many things I love about M--sense of humor, physical attributes, the ability to drink me under the table, etc.-- but these are not the reason WHY I love her. I just do...

But for me, at least, the kind of love between soulmates is not developed, it just is. And apparently, its not just me. Besides simpy_marie (yes, I trust you.) and iluvpajun, cgran (he's someone I know and he's new, so go visit him and say "hi"), and to a degree scslider and even *gulp* ekin believes they just exist, waiting to discover each other. But dont get me wrong gyjcwang. As I mentioned before, this doesn't mean that our life is always a bed of roses, for even that has its thorns. I, too, believe that relationships require time and effort to make it last. And so we would certainly have to be married to strengthen the bonding and closeness we enjoy. But the difference is that because of the intensity of the bond, it doesn't feel like work, I do not toil. I happily make the adjustments necessary. And I'm glad that msbLiSs has something to grasp--old love letters?--to remind her of the discovery of her own soulmate, despite the intrusion of the banalities of life--those times when we must work a bit at the relationship. Those of us who have found our soulmate are like perfectly matched links. Maybe we have to polish off the rust or other debris that accumulated before we met, but still we are the perfect match. We just need to work sometimes to make the link fit just right.

And so, I have come to believe that we all have soulmates, and that it just takes time to meet them. I met M when I was 40 years old. Perhaps, we weren't supposed to meet until then. Perhaps there is a reason for the timing. I don't mean to get all mystical and esoteric, but I am beginning to think that science and hard empirical evidence has not figured out everything. Maybe someday someone will find the reason for what I feel. All I know is that I feel it. And in the obvious but thoughtful words of scslider: Glad you've found your happiness. hopefully everyone eventually finds theirs.

Outside the box

Fongster8, that pot stirrer, alludes to a good point: Not all soulmates are marriage partners. They can be really good friends as well, the kind that you would never abandon, the ones who will stick with you through thick and thin.

And s_yuki (another newbie), I don't know if "most intelligent asian guys hold that view", mostly because since I'm not an intelligent Asian guy, or an intellignet anything, I couldn't speak for anyone, Hahahahaha. But I am speaking from my own experience, as shallow as 48 years or experience can be. And I have nothing "against engineers" and MBAs. I am a humanities person--language and literature, to be precise--and I sometimes cannot understand how those whose lives revolve around numbers and equations think. Those that I have met think in absolute terms--2+2=4 no matter what--and that is anathema to my way of thinking, and vice-versa. So while I do know and have friends who are numbers-crunchers--my sister is an MBA, too--I doubt that one would be my soulmate. Of course, this is a deficiency on my part, not theirs.