Picture of a Massage Chair from the Bun Karyudo Humor Blog.

Relaxing or Not? Getting Mixed Massages

It was all rather odd. There I was, sitting in the living room quietly reading my book when suddenly my wife looked up from her computer.

“Still hurt?”


“Is it still painful?”

“Is what still painful?”

“Your back, of course. How is it?”

“My… back? I, um…”

I paused. I was finding the conversation rather disconcerting. I hadn’t been aware there’d been any recent problems with my back. On the other hand, nobody ever told me anything.

“I think… (Continue)

Picture of a cat climbing a tree from the bunkaryudo humor blog.

Climbing to the Top of the Tree

I’ve always hated goodbyes. As I stood there in the unforgiving sunlight this morning, I couldn’t help noticing how time had taken my old friends and drained them of their youthful vigor, leaving them looking tired and weak. I didn’t dare speak to my friends, of course. That would have set tongues wagging. Instead, I nodded a simple farewell to all sixty thousand of them and… (Continued)

Picture of a huge number of stars from the BunKaryudo Humor Blog.

My Number Is Up

Don Quixote is hopelessly lost. He must be, because for the last three days, the delusional would-be knight has been wandering around in my head belting out “The Impossible Dream.” It has been driving me to distraction. Goodness only knows how he got in. I’m sure I didn’t invite him. It’s not that I have anything in particular against him or his song you understand, but there is only so much “righting of unrightable wrongs” that the human brain can stand.

His dawn to dusk warbling has also been… (CONTINUE)

Photograph of an elbow from the Bun Karyudo Humor Blog

It’s a Photograph! Do I Have to Draw You a Picture?

“No, no! That one won’t do.”

“Why not? It’s nice.”

“It looks like me.”

“Of course it looks like you. It is you!”

“But everyone will know who it is if I use that photograph.”

“People are meant to know who it is. That’s why they put them in passports instead of smiley faces.”

“I need one that doesn’t look like me.”

“That doesn’t… eh?”

[Read more HERE]

Picture of tap dancing elephants in a messy bedroom demonstrating clumsiness (from the Bun Karyudo Humor Blog).

How to Handle Clumsiness

I’ve always found it fascinating the way some people will take a running jump and hurl themselves at an unwarranted conclusion.

Take all those readers who—based on nothing more substantial than my repeated assertions that my family don’t keep any animals—have assumed that my family don’t keep any animals. In reality, my younger son has…

[Read the full post HERE.]



A picture of famous quotes coming from a puddle. Picture from the BunKaryudo Humor Blog.

Amazed, Puzzled and Muddled by the Amazing Muddy Puddle

I didn’t notice it peeping out from behind the apartment buildings as I walked home the other evening. My mind was preoccupied with weightier matters. If my coworker Bob always creates obstacles, I mused with the greatest of seriousness, can I call them Bobstacles? And if world politics is on a tragic trajectory, should I talk about its tragictory?

It wasn’t until I was trapped halfway along a sidewalk – blank wall on one side, busy road on the other –  that the cloud sprang out to unleash the full fury of a late summer downpour upon me. Before I’d as much as opened my umbrella, a good part of the water cycle had taken up residence in my clothing.

Later, as I stood barefoot by the sink, wringing the rain from my socks, I happened to glance out at the evening’s glorious finale. Everywhere, stretching off to the horizon, sparkling pools of gold reflected the brilliant glow of sunset. I reached for the notebook I keep by me at all times and struggled for words to capture the magnificence. The Shakespearean phrase “the gilded puddle,” bounced eagerly into my mind. Then I remembered that it was about horse pee, so it bounced right back out again.

The next day, I surprised myself by not having pneumonia. “I guess I’ll go to work then,” I thought and headed toward my train. I wanted to shut my eyes and smile up at the sun, but my feet insisted I pay attention to the many scattered pools of rainwater, not gold now but white and blue.

One in particular caught my attention, a notably ambitious young puddle/aspiring lake in the small park just across from the station. I wondered how much water it contained, but having somehow managed to leave home without slide rule, calculator or bathroom scales, the best I could do was estimate the size at perhaps 3,500 sockfuls.

Other commuters cutting through the park skirted the puddle in an almost comically excessive detour, as though terrified of getting too close lest they be grabbed by a crocodile and dragged down to their doom. Years of appearances on prank TV shows, Youtube videos, and a memorable cameo in the movie Groundhog Day, had clearly given puddle-kind a fearsome reputation.

I walked without the slightest hesitation right up to the edge and peered in. The depth was not great, perhaps an inch or two. Suddenly, and completely unbidden, a memory popped into my head of a day long before when a five-year-old boy in new rubber boots had tripped and tramped through muddy water, chortling gleefully with each splash. For the merest fraction of a second, I entertained the idea of doing the same again now.

Yet the puddle in front of me was far bigger than the puddle of my childhood and the Bun Karyudo of the present was far larger than the Bun Karyudo of my past. Perhaps jumping in was not such a good idea. Who could tell how much destruction might be wrought if so great a mass of blogger hit so vast an extent of water? With uneasy thoughts of the Chicxulub crater and the extinction of the dinosaurs, I tried fast forwarding several times through the likely reactions of my fellow commuters, but in no version of my imagined future did any of them slap me heartily on the back and buy me a beer.

I contented myself with looking back into the grimy waters and wondering whether any of the molecules from that childhood puddle might be in front of me now. The part of my brain that deals with statistics and probabilities immediately pooh–poohed the idea and pronounced it completely impossible. But then, I’d be a twenty-five-time lottery winner if that smug charlatan had the slightest idea what he was talking about, so I knew far better than to listen to him.

Instead, I recalled celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s amazing observation that since water molecules can spread freely around the planet and the number in even a small amount of water is stupendously huge, some of molecules in every cupful of water we drink will have passed through the kidneys of Napoleon Bonaparte. I looked down at the dirty grey pool in front of me and considered the fact that a certain proportion of it was made up of long-dead French emperor.

I wondered who else could be found in those few inches of water. Was Julius Caesar down there somewhere? How about Stalin? Queen Victoria? Aristotle? Gandhi? Joan of Arc? It seemed strange to think of molecules once belonging to soldiers and poets, philosophers and politicians, tyrants and saints, all swirling about together. I wondered again if such an outlandish notion could really have any truth to it.

That was when I remembered John Boehner, the perpetually tearful 53rd speaker of the US House of Representatives and a man who couldn’t put a new battery in his wristwatch without twenty minutes of inconsolable grief over the passing of the old one.  He genuinely did seem like someone well on his way to puddle-dom.

Nor was his case a solitary one. Award recipients regularly blubbered their way through entire telephone directories of people they had to thank. Beauty pageant winners shed tears at such an alarmingly high rate, it was often very difficult to see how they’d left themselves enough time to bring world peace and cure cancer before they disappeared into a pool of brine.

I began walking forward again, on through the puddle and toward the station. The non-stop festival of mirth and merriment that was my regular working day awaited in the city. Yet odd thoughts kept cycling round in my head. My haul of Academy Awards and beauty pageant titles was modest, yet somehow in life I had still managed to weep my share of tears. Where had they all gone?

And what of the future? I knew that as an adult male, I was about 60% water. What of that? What city puddles, desert oases or ornamental bird baths would I end up a part of in five hundred years’ time?

Text and picture © Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo.com blog (2016)

(All rights reserved)



Text and picture © Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo.com blog (2016)

(All rights reserved)

This post originally appeared on my main blog on August 31st, 2016.

A dog thinking about all the better smells humans have from the BunKaryudo Humor Blog.

Flunking the Smell Test

I apologize for the shock that is likely to accompany my next sentence. Suggestions have been made over the years – and I hope you are sitting down – that I am prone to exaggeration! This is something that I’ve been reluctant to mention in my writings up to now. With a revelation of this magnitude, who can tell how my millions of outraged and grief-stricken followers around the world might react? Burning down buildings? Overturning cars? Throwing themselves from bridges? Obviously, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for such tragic consequences – particularly if they came with any kind of financial liability.

So what, you may wonder, has prompted my change of heart now? The fact is, I’ve come across a statistic so mind-blowingly improbable, I fear being accused of making it up. I therefore swear to you, hand on heart, that whatever wild exaggerations, outrageous fictions and hyperbolic flights of fancy I may (allegedly) have been responsible for in the past, what follows is a genuine scientific claim made by actual scientists, some of whom may even wear white coats.

“According to research published in the highly-respected journal Science on March 21, 2014, humans can discriminate over a trillion different odors.”

It may be worth rereading that last sentence to make sure you’ve fully taken it in. That’s trillion with a T rather than million with a typo. Unsurprisingly, this claim was attacked by other scientists, who were themselves then attacked, so the issue has not yet been fully resolved.

This means that while the world’s foremost experts on olfactory transduction remain locked in the laboratory, hurling electron microscopes and mass spectrometers at each other, the rest of us have been left with no option but to wait excitedly to discover whether we really can distinguish a trillion different smells or have to make do with the previously accepted estimate of about 10,000.

As someone blessed with a fairly generous supply of nose, I would love the one trillion figure to be true. Given that I can’t even lift logs or shell peanuts with it, I’d like the satisfaction of knowing the hulking great presence on my face is good for something. And yet, it’s uncomfortably obvious that the prowess of my proboscis falls some way short of the lofty claims being made for it.

Now, I’m not complaining that I can’t do anything with my nose. I’m perfectly capable of distinguishing between, say, a 2003 Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux and a bucket of pig manure – a skill that comes in very handy at dinner parties. I’d even be prepared to accept that I can differentiate a couple of hundred other smells, perhaps even a thousand or so – but a trillion?

This shortfall in scent discrimination is deeply worrying, for I can’t help noticing it means there are 999,999,999,000 smells available to everybody else that are not available to me. The smell of victory, of success, of defeat, of fear – I’ve often heard people talk about such things, but assumed they were merely using figures of speech. (Admittedly, the last of these odors always seemed somewhat more plausible to me than the others, but even in that case, I was never convinced it was actually fear people were smelling.)

Yet perhaps I have been mistaken my entire life. Perhaps such abstract entities really do have a smell. If so, how many times might victory or success have been mine for the taking? Perhaps victory turned up to perform Riverdance in front of me every evening for years. Perhaps success has on numerous occasions, strode right up, stuck its tongue out, and then bopped me on the nose a couple of times for good measure. With my defective smelling ability, I’d have had no chance of catching either of them at it.

It’s also very likely that of the over 999 billion smells I can’t detect, some of them at least are associated with things that are dangerous. Imagine the peril this puts me in! After all, smelling a gas leak may prevent an explosion, smelling burning insulation may avert a house fire, and more exotically, smelling bitter almonds — as every Agatha Christie fan can tell you — may prevent death at the hands of almonds with a grudge.

There’s also the possibility that my ability to detect only some smells and not others has put me at an extreme social disadvantage without my realizing it. For example, the deodorant I use every morning is described on the container as being “lightly scented.” But could it be that all those people who nod and smile so pleasantly when I arrive at work in the morning, immediately begin exhaling and gasping for air the moment I leave the room? True, I can’t remember seeing coworkers slumped unconsciously over the furniture or scorch marks left on the office wallpaper as I walk past, but how can I be sure?

Then there’s the suspicion that I might have found romance much easier in my youth had I had a properly functioning sense of smell to tell me what was going on. You see, although I was never one of those unfortunate young men burdened by excessive good looks, I did attract a certain amount of interest – but I only ever found out about it when it was far too late.

For example, there was one perfectly charming young lady who worked in the office down the hall. She’d often come in with a query for me about paperwork or the use of office equipment. Indeed, she struck me as a little slow on the uptake because she’d ask almost the same questions again and again, as though she wasn’t paying much attention to the answers. I didn’t really mind, though, since it was nice to have someone who giggled her way through all of my jokes.

Sometime later, I found out to my very great surprise that she had taken quite a liking to me, but had never given me the slightest indication. This was puzzling, since she’d had plenty of opportunity to say something, such as when I’d gone with her to watch The Lion King at her request. At the time, I thought she was just being friendly. Now I suspect that all the way through the movie, she may have been wafting pheromones at me in industrial quantities. Sadly, I didn’t detect so much as a phero-whimper.

Of course, this was a good thing in the long run because it allowed me to meet my present wife. I’m not sure why things have worked out so much more successfully with her. Perhaps she also has a substandard nose, and so we have had to rely on other subtle clues as to how we are feeling, such as words. Despite our olfactory challenges, however, we’ve been together for a couple of decades so far, and with luck may enjoy several more – barring gas leaks, faulty wiring and vengeful nuts.


Text and picture © Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo.com blog (2016)

(All rights reserved)

This post originally appeared on my main blog on August 24th, 2016.

Two boxers fighting as though they were taking a commuter train, from the Bun Karyudo humor blog.

Coping with Rush Hour Has Meant Years in Training — (Bun Karyudo Humor Blog)

It’s never a nice feeling to be caught in public with a finger up your nose. Somehow, it’s so much worse when it’s someone else’s finger. Perhaps this is why I harbor such a dislike of traveling on public transport at the height of rush hour.

Crowded commutes are something we city dwellers loathe, and it’s easy to understand why. Crammed together in a bus or train in a more or less random collection of knees, rib cages, shoulders, buttocks and elbows, we live in the knowledge that squeezed together in such a limited space, nothing but the law of averages protects us from catastrophe. If by some tragic fluke we all inhale at the same time, we will meet our doom together in the resulting explosion.

Given all of this, it may seem strange that I ever undertake rush hour travel without, at the very least, some goose-stepping thug pushing a machine gun into the small of my back. And yet, duty compels me to my local train station day after day, Nazi guard or no. Sadly, as my boss has made clear to me on many occasions, Western Civilization absolutely depends upon my showing up to work at particular times throughout the week and will not long survive without me.

It’s not that I haven’t tried thinking creatively about other alternatives. I’ve looked into the matter thoroughly, taken measurements, pored over maps and timetables, crunched the numbers. But the simple fact of it is, no matter what route I investigate, my getting on a train and visiting a workplace is virtually always less expensive than putting the workplace on a train and bringing it to me.

Of course, much as I hate commuter journeys, I have by necessity become gradually better at dealing with them. By far the best solution, and the one I always take if it is available, is simply to avoid the busiest part of rush hour by catching an earlier or a later train. Very occasionally during these slightly off-peak periods, I may be lucky enough to get a seat, an event always met with thankfulness, joy, and three days of tearful celebration in the Karyudo household.

Such happy occurrences are, however, vanishingly rare. Far more often, all the seats have been claimed by passengers whose bottoms then remain fixed to them limpet-like throughout the rest of the journey. Nevertheless, traveling at slightly off-peak times does mean having just enough personal space to afford me a few simple luxuries, such as being able to turn my head slightly, scratch my nose and breathe.

Of course, the relative freedom of hand movement that comes with traveling at this time can bring problems of its own. Passengers sitting along the aisle, for example, have long been in significant danger from anyone standing nearby who is attempting to read a newspaper. As irritatingly smug as limpet-bottomed passengers can sometimes be, it’s hard to argue that they deserve a swift right hook every time the person standing over them tries to turn to page three.

Luckily, this is a problem fading in importance now that the majority of commuters spend their entire journey staring at a smartphone or tablet. This gives seated passengers the peace of mind they need to sit back and enjoy their bottomly comfort, secure in the knowledge that a savage right hook is no longer a threat, and at most, they can expect a few pokes in the eye with some sort of hand-held electronic device.

Much as I prefer trains like these that somewhat avoid the very busiest times of the morning, there are occasions when I simply have no choice but to face the full-blown rush-hour commuter train. Many a young country-dweller confronted for the first time by these eight cars of horrifically compacted humanity has recoiled in terrified astonishment. The possibility of survival in such a hostile environment seems miraculous to him. Hardened city commuters, the life-form capable of this astounding feat, he holds in the same bewildered awe with which biologists regard bacteria that thrive in volcanoes or boiling acid.

Of course, I was once such a country-dweller myself. It has taken many, many years of bitter experience to learn to cope with the rigors of rush-hour commuting and the mass of bodies pushing against me from every side. One of the things I still find difficult, however, is watching helplessly as less experienced travelers stumble into danger. Oh, how many times have I seen a hapless tourist trapped next to a someone who likes garlic sausage on their breakfast toast? How often have I watched as a newly-hired graduate is poked, rapped, and whacked by one carelessly wielded umbrella after another? I’ve wanted to help, but with my left cheek flattened against the window pane and my right elbow pinned behind my head, I’ve found my options for action rather limited.

I took just such a train the other day to visit the offices of another company. My commute was more complicated than usual and involved changing lines. However, this can be easier said than done at popular stations. More than once in such circumstances, the train doors have opened and I’ve found myself bobbing along like a cork in an unstoppable wave of humanity, all heading in the wrong direction.

Thankfully, on this particular day, I made the change smoothly, got to the station in good time, and arrived at precisely the exit I wanted – only to discover that the company was not where I thought I’d left it. This was a puzzle because when I’d visited the offices for the first time about a month earlier, I’d taken careful note of significant landmarks and used them to create what I thought was a highly accurate mental map of the neighborhood. It took several slow, careful circuits of the station, and much popping in and out of exits, before I realized what had happened. My mental map was indeed highly accurate, but my brain was holding it upside down.



Text and picture © Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo.com blog (2016)

(All rights reserved)

This post originally appeared on my main blog on August 17th, 2016.