We are gregarious beings.
Therefore, enjoy yourself with your friends.
Don’t wait for your fiftieth class reunion.

85 Poof!

My painshtaking research into cosmolology has finally paid off!
After pre-paring the subject (myshelf) with copious quantities of distilled shpirits, the subject was ex-posed to a chinese film (!) by Steven Chou. When the fog had cleared, the subject re-ported that he had understood 85% of the Chinese dialogue!
I concludehhh that : there is a PARALLEL UNIVERZE in which I understand Chinese.

I don’t have absolute proof yet, but 85 is good enufff for me.




For over two-thousand years we have known
Don’t Attack Afghanistan!

We can see that violating this rule will have painful consequences.
Especially when you don’t wear pants…

An Unsolved Crime


The sad little kitten was weeping; her mother had disappeared.
Was it the CIA, the KGB, or MI6 who had thrown mom under the big bus?
We will never know.
It might have been the cruel crime-boss Nicoletti…

Fortunately the sad kitten found a cute baby mouseling,
tortured it to death and ate it.
Immediately it felt better!


The Truth About 12-25


On 12-25 supposedly
My true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

We’ve all seen the videos of a partridge flying into a pear-tree and WHAM! the whole thing collapses.
That defies the Laws of Physics, doesn’t it? No bird has ever brought a tree down by landing in it.

Let’s look at the evidence: Where are the pears? This is definitely bamboo.
And that sorry bird, painted in a blurry manner (that painter needs some lessons!)
does that look like a PARTRIDGE to you???

Some people say, there never was a partridge; those are the despised “Conspiratorialistas”.
But what then, pray, are these blue explosions in the upper left ?
Looks like a controlled demolition to me…

If Santa Claus ever finds out about this, we can scrap the remaining Eleven Days of Christmas.

Every Day Is A Good Day


“Every Day Is A Good Day” sings the Deer.
That’s why he is so deer to us…

Seeing Red


To Europeans the color red symbolizes blood and rage—and therefore danger.
In Asia red denotes joy and happiness. It is the garment of brides.
In the Taoist dialectic of Yin and Yang, the former is black and female, the latter is bright red and male.
These two colors (yes, they both are colors) complement each other and are meant to induce harmony.

You might find this strange; but life in America is stranger yet.
Here you don’t want to be Red or Black.
They’ll shoot you.


The Big Bang, bang, bang…


According to Stephen Hawking “a random variation in nothingness” made a big BANG—and there we have the world!

Now, if nature does anything, it will do it again and again and again…
All it needs is some nothingness, and then it will randomly bang around again.

Since I just cleaned up my sock-drawer (kind of), there is now a lot of dangerously empty space.
To forestall a Cosmic Catastrophe I have put in place the following

--------------EMERGENCY PROCEDURE--------------

• As soon as you smell something funny in my sock-drawer,
• get a pan of water and put it out!


Beantown Got Hammered


This is the situation in Boston.
No busses, no street-cars, no airplanes.
Everything has disappeared under a blanket of snow.
The only visible landmark is my house, close to the Charles River.
Fire-wood is long gone.
Have set fire to my mattress.
Longing for Spring…

Men In The Kitchen


The reason why we men are such great cooks is, we operate on logic and reason.

Get ready: 2 gloves, 1 apron, 1 six-pack of Pilsner and 1 wooden spoon (to keep the cat off the counter)

Light a cigarette, pop a Pilsener and put on your eye-protection.
They don’t know anything about the Laws of Physics!
Many of them have never even heard of Entropy or of Sir James Jeans’ Ultraviolet Catastrophe. Just ask them, if they know how to carbon-date this here fried chicken. Nada.
They look at you, as if you were stupid and then say something like:
“I think your shirt is on fire…”

Scientific Investigation


They say, people married for a long time begin to resemble each other.
Well, here is a portrait of my wife and myself.
Can you tell who is who?
That proves my point; doesn’t it?

The Nuclear Family


The Nuclear Family is not only the primary unit of society, it is also a potentially explosive device. With unlimited energy, mom roots around for bamboo shoots and takes care of Photon, the baby. Photon is all over the place, at the speed of light. He just doesn’t seem to have any rest-mass.
Dad is a Quantum Mechanic, but not very competent. He can never remember where he put his wrenches, and his overalls are in the laundry. His wrenches, too.
I’m afraid, mom is just about to go off!



Qi Bai-shih painted this topic about 1950.
I admired it for the first time in 1955.
In 1979 I copied it for the fist time.
Since then, I painted at leas twenty-five more or less accurate versions.
Now, 2014, at the age of 73 I created perfection.

Rabbit & Tiger


Rabbit and Tiger are the best of friends.



Important information should be copied and preserved.
By copying Wang Yüan’s* painting I have preserved it—in my mind.
Now it is safe.

*Wang Yüan, (ca. 1280–after 1349) an accomplished artist who pretended to be an amateur.
In his youth he had studied with the great painter-official Chao Meng-fu.



We men have always enjoyed killing each other.
The moment a new campaign was announced, everyone had to be in it!
You ride into battle, with a cry that expresses solidarity and unnerves the enemy. At that moment your mind is suspended between terror and bliss.
There is no past or future, neither being nor non-being, only freedom.

The invention of fire-arms changed all that.
The thrill is gone.
I’m staying home.

Long Distance Sumi-E


I have been asked to teach sumi-e over the internet.
The answer is : no.
Am I cruel, or just stupid in an old-fashioned way? I don't think so.

Let me tell you how I learned sumi-e:
I would go to the house of my teacher, he would pick a book from a shelf, open it at some illustration, and say "paint this." Then he would disappear into the kitchen and drink tea. Occasionally he would return and clap his hands, really loud, behind me.

A Lesson:  "This is not a good eye you painted," he said, "give me a piece of paper. I'll show you how to paint the eye of a bird."
(Since he only wants to demonstrate a bird's eye, I give him a paper that somehow got a tiny dot of ink on it.) He takes the brush and paints a bird around the dot, in such a way, that the dot turns out to be the eye of the bird.

Sometimes he would paint something; but frankly, I don't remember a single technicality he might have taught. I do remember that something noble was going on, even sacred. We hardly ever talked. And quite naturally I felt that the accomplishments of the last thousand years were within my grasp.

After three years he gave me his japanese students and made me sensei, teacher.
"What shall I do?" I asked.
"Participate," he said.
One word. To teach students that had studied with the master longer than I had. Also, they didn't speak English; and since I don't speak Japanese we understood each other perfectly.

Looking for Bananas

banana-sparrows 2

In our country the Wisest Men are elected to the Supreme Court. Five of the Wise Men ruminated that a piece of paper very much resembles a human being—and therefore it IS one! That put these sparrows in a chirpy mood, for, certainly, they too, were now bona fide humans.

But the Wise Ones can’t stop thinking. The latest result of their introspection is a law that says:

“Any human walking around without a bicycle-bell must take his pants off, bend over and spread his cheeks—so that the officials can look for contraband bananas.”

Our feathered friends are horrified! First, they don’t have bells; and second they have no pants. They were sure to get the death-penalty!
Last week they escaped to an (unnamed) banana republic bereft of Wise Men. There they eat contraband bananas.

Bad Dog!


Humans are so capricious!
They want me to guard, but when I chew on the furniture, they get upset.
Don’t they realise how sinister the couch is?
And FYI, that puddle under the table was an ACCIDENT! Can happen to anyone.
If they let me back on the bed, I promise not to, ever again, touch any stupid vase…

Climate Chcange


Hotei, the mythical Chinese saint, represents the freedom and joy of Zen attainment.
The glaciers are long gone. Greenland is melting, the ocean is rising and Hong Kong, Bombay and New York have disappeared under the waves.

Does this man look alarmed, frightened, or panicked?
Does he recycle his shopping bags to save the world?
Come on, folks—we passed that point fifty years ago.

If you don’t laugh now, while your head is still above water,
you are missing the joke.

Every Man Is A Tiger


Every man is aware that underneath his conventional exterior lurks a dangerous beast, a heartless tyrant, a king of the jungle.

There are women who believe this! Some, anyway—and most of them in therapy.
The others have realized that the animal can easily be trained
to fetch a stick.

The Travels of Fernauo Mendes Pinto


Above is a true and authentic painting made by the Portugese adventurer Fernauo Mendes Pinto, who in 1543 was the first European to see Japan. He swears, this is what it lookes like.
Those two olives on tooth-picks are his ships. The thing in the background is either a big nose or a mountain of sorts. We just don’t have any details.

Senhor Pinto “introduced” firearms to the Japanese.
That might explain the lack of detail; he was an international arms dealer!

Energetic Play


When I was a child, there were still an abundance of dragons.
During the day they would be dozing on their cloud-pillows.
But as the sun moved closer to the horizon, they would eat pickled eggs,
light cigars, and begin a game of cards.

Bottles would be opened—and more bottles.
By midnight you could hear chairs splintering;
then chaise longues, canapes and other decorative accessories
such as curtains and carpets, seemed to fall out of the sky.

One day we found a table leg that had been bitten off!

Memoirs Of A Furtive Gourmet


One of the best kept secrets among cat lovers is that you can train felines to hunt.
Instead of going to the market, I unchain Gargantua and Goliath, after dark, and tell them what I want. Of course, they don’t pay any attention to what I say; after all, they are cats. So, I eat a lot of little song-birds for breakfast.
But occasionally they do bring in a plump little dog which goes right into the broiler.

And then the exotics.
You won’t believe this, but I’ve had everything, even antelope liver. To subdue the gamey flavour of my Cape Steaks, as I call them, I smother them in a sauce made from Camembert and Mendoza, a robust Argentinian Cabernet.

I won’t mention the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
I didn’t realize what it was, until I had finished the second drumstick.


Noblesse Oblige


Last night—to keep his feet from freezing—this hawk caught himself a sparrow to hold as a foot-warmer.
When the sun rises, the noble bird releases his frightened victim. Then he hunts opposite to the direction the sparrow took.
Don’t you just love the aristocracy for their virtuous ways?

As long as they will eat someone else for breakfast
we will worship their feet.


The Wonderful and Beneficent Toad


For an animal that lives in a diet of flies, the toad has remarkable attributes.
All you have to do is kiss one and BAM! you start hallucinating.
That, by the way, is illegal in Arizona, where most of the toads live.

Every now and then, instead of visions and delirium, you get a good-looking prince, who immediately proposes Holy Matrimony.
Accept it! Especially, if you live in Hawaii, where such things are now legal.

I, myself, live in Massachusetts; and for eleven years I have tried–unsuccessfully–to understand The State Tax Code.
So, now I do what everyone else does:
I hire a toad to fill out the forms.
The results, I must say, are most gratifying.

Name and Form


You can create the world by naming it. We call that Poetry.
You can create the world by using the form of things. We call that Painting.
You can create the world by through motion. We call that Dance.
Or you can create the world by sounds. We call that Music.

I have given you the Secret of Art.

Notice, that I did not use the verb to describe.
The poet does not describe an experience.
He has one.

Ballet by Tshykomskie


She was aiming for the highest. And the highest was to play the leading role in the Nutcracker.

After the audition the director sidled up to to her : “ Sweetie, you just don’t have the neck for a dying swan.”
“A neck?: she shrieked, “what do I need a neck for?” (She had pictured the nutcracker to be a sexy, divorced bird.)
“I din’t come here to play no wooden soldier, mister. Can’t we re-write this scene?
We call it THE SAFECRACKER. We blow that dying swan out of the water in the first act, and then we steal the jewels!”

“That’s a movie,” he said. “Have you thought of starring in a low budget action film?
You got the legs, baby; and, hey, that is some good-looking tail…”

The Endless Journey


The Little Moth longs to spend Thanksgiving with its relatives. With the titanium stent in its aorta and the stainless-steel kneecap-replacement, it can’t get through airport security apparatus. It’s a long way to Petoskey, Michigan, especially when you have to wing it in inclement weather.
But at the end of the road there is a hot cup-o-noodles! Moths, as you know, don’t eat turkeys.
And for dessert a glass of home-made Khrenovukha*.
Powerful but just the thing to take away the cold.

*a drink made by steeping horseradish in vodka


Inner Peace

Sesshu-2-travelers-in-mountains 2

It fills me with great joy to copy a painting by Sesshu (1440 — 1506).
It is a meditation to calm the mind.

Not that I think the fifteenth century was calm, oh no!
The country was torn by civil war. Every man became his own defender. Feudal lords ruled with their own private armies, tax collectors and serfs.
So where does the peace come from?
From the mind of the Zen monk Toho Sesshu.

When you copy his paintings you exchange your mind for his.

The Party Last Night


Behind in everything.
Procrastinating. Lazy.

…and that’s just how I feel today

Portait Of My Self


Last week I sat down to paint a self-portrait. Disaster.
“Maybe I should look into a mirror”, I thought, Even worse! Immediately I started making faces at this thing I am dragging from one doctor’s office to the next. I realized my self was missing!

Finally I located it again. My self was sitting in the sixteenth century playing the Ch’in.
The Ch’in is an ancient instrument, capable of harmonizing with the breeze in the pine tree.
It can play the characteristic melody of noble rocks and the transcendent tune of the void.

I’ve been thinking of ordering my self back (sic) to the twenty-first century; but what do we have to offer?
Global warming and…and…well, you know what I mean.

And where would you get a thirteen year old girl—she smells so nice—to make tea for you?

In The Beginning Was What?


“In the beginning was the word…”
This statemet is simply not true.
In the beginning were grass-clippings. I stumbled upon this when I was making the earth. Being humble I started out small: grass-clippings, leaves and the odd vegetable peelings piled up in my back yard make : THE EARTH.

Soon I will step up my operations. If anyone is in need of a mid-sized asteroid or a small planet, please email me immediately!
Stars and galaxies are still in the experimental phase, but will be added as soon as I can get them off the ground.

Reasonable fees.
Cash only.

In The Beginning


My research into the origin of my family has taken me all the way back to a certain Adam Zaremba who lived in the vicinity of Bhagdad. Of course, Bhagdad—The City of Light”—wasn’t there yet. We have to thank this ancestor of mine for naming all the animals. He correctly named the ant “ANT”, and the zebra “ZEBRA”, without making a single mistake! He even named the RHINOTZEROSS, even though it is very difficult to spell.

Did he get payed for this? No.
On the contrary, The absentee landlord—a Mr. G. (who has more aliases than a dog has fleas)—accused him of stealing apples and threatened him with a flaming sword.
I ask you, what is a man to eat, when he doesn’t get payed and is so poor that he has to construct a pair of pants from fig-leaves???

A Thousand Years of Happiness


On their thousandth birthday deers turn white.
That explains why a white deer is a symbol of longevity.

So where does the happiness come from?
From a peculiarity of the Chinese language.
The word for happiness (fu) happens to be the same as the word for bat (fu).
Logically, whenever you see a painting containing a white deer and bats—if it is in English—it means “Oh Dear, you are going batty!”;
but if it is in Chinese, it means “A Thousand Years of Happiness”.

The bats, by the way, are dancing around the moon.
Some personages have complained that those thingies look suspiciously like ink-spots.
These people lack true understanding.
Those are BATS!
If I say so.

I Tried to Copy Myself…

…but I fell asleep.
Instead, I dreamt two new paintings.

”A Painting Larger than itself”


“A Gordian Bird Contemplating Not”

When I wake up, I’ll explain to you what it means.

And You Can Eat It, Too.


There exists a mistaken notion that Art is useless.
Well, not my art!
You could actually eat this painting without suffering any bad effects.
Really! It’s mostly fiber with a bit of inert carbon (that’s the ink).
The glue—a secret wheat-paste which I cook myself— is really nutritious!

So there are a few unknown minerals in the color.
Isn’t that what you are supposed to take, mineral supplements??

To pre-empt the possibility of constipation I suggest a spot of Beluga Caviar
and a flute, or two, of the bubbly…

A Word To My Admirers

sumi-e, japanese, ink, brush, painting

In this universe there is only one method, which is no method.
A single brushstroke can describe even that which lies beyond the border of the universe —
and you want to control the brush?
Are you mad??
You want to control the endless transformations of nature???

Lookie here, you spongy-brained barnacles,
concentration—the mother of creativity—has nothing to do with control.
It has something to do with wanting something worthwhile.

Welcome, Our Big Nosed Foreign Friends!


You can’t swing a cat without hitting someone with opposing views.

Daruma went to China to start a new religion. Looking for investors he approached Emperor Wu singing:

“Hey Woo!
If ev’ry Chink buys a shoo
we could be wealthy,
me and yoooo!”

The Ruler of the Liang Dynasty, felt insulted by this racial epithet.
“And where did you get your big nose?” he fired back?
Daruma, thinking this must be some kind of a Koan, answered

“The cool refreshing evening breeze”

That ended the interview. He was politely asked to leave—and never come back.

As he rose, he mumbled the s-word. That’s what some people say.
Others say he used the a-word.
Others, again, were quite sure it was the f-word he kept repeating.

Thus the Origins of Ch’an are shrouded in Mystery.

No matter how many times you kick him, he always gets up again, our hairy, round-eyed friend, the big-nosed foreigner.

Musings of a Sandal-Maker

sumi-e, japanese painting, ink painting

I buy the best rice-paper in the world—Red Star Shuen from China. Then I paint on the wrapping paper of the parcel; because I’m a burly-headed, penny-pinching gudgeon. The painting method used here consists of random accidents.

Since I couldn’t bring myself to pay real money for real shoes, I hiked the Himalayas in a pair of huaraches made by a hasty-witted hugger-mugger in Afghanistan. Custom made, they only cost two dollars; but for that they would break down, at least, once a day. No problem; every village has a sandal maker who lives in an abandoned crate on Main Street. By watching the repair every day, I became so good, that I could sit down in the crate on Main Street and do the job myself.

By the time I got to India, my footwear had become indestructible—
and was promptly stolen, while I was saying hello to God in a temple.

Whoever has put himself into my shoes is hereby encouraged to mail the precious items to me for a tune up. No questions asked.
All my work is guaranteed.