At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Professor Robert E. Kelly in Pusan, South Korea, was skyping with a television interviewer when his daughter came bouncing into the room.
A likable little girl with floppy hair and spectacles.
And then another infant enters.

It's a lovely clip, and you've undoubtedly seen it by now.

No, that's not the clip. It's a still shot from the clip. You've already seen the clip. Probably a few times. It has gone viral, as Professor Kelly feared.

What I would like you to focus on is how neat and organized his home office looks. Neatly stacked books, a map on one wall, and a book case along the other wall. And there is reason to believe that it reflects real life in his situation, because even though he looks impeccable, a professor whose young daughter comes bebopbopping into the room unconcernedly while he's doing something serious is not quite capable of stage-managing the setting. At most he straightened the books, closed the ones that he was reading a few moments prior, and put the cat out.

"Um, kiddo, I've got to do something important now, and I cannot be disturbed for a while, okay?"

That may be a conversation that didn't happen. In retrospect he probably thinks that it should have, and it will next time, but those of us who got an enjoyable little glimpse into the life of a professor in South Korea with a charming family hope that it doesn't.

How on earth does he keep his study so neat?

When I look around my "home office" what immediately hits the eye is the tall stack of papers and books in front of one of my bookcases, a bag of cigars perched on one corner, and a tray with several briar pipes in front of that, plus another stack of reading material, pipe tobacco tins, cigar boxes.
There appears to be a fair amount of dust everywhere.
More books. And even more pipe tobacco.
Some reticulated shadow puppets.
I need more space.
I envy him.

"South Korea's policy choices are..." something. We'll never know. We got distracted by a charming little girl and evidence of an organized mind.
As well as a table that appears a little rickety.
Some books fell, I believe.

[Interviewee: Associate professor of Political Science at Pusan National University Robert E. Kelly. Guests, in order of appearance: Lively elder child Marion (age four), infant James, and discreetly frantic spouse Kim Jung-a.]

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 1:00 PM, Anonymous pedantically amphibious said…

    The "table that appears a little rickety" is actually the foot of a bed, on which he had stacked a representative selection of books. It took me a good half dozen viewings to realize that, but I'm not complaining.


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