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.

Picture of a swimming pig giving his son some advice from the Bun Karyudo Humor Blog

Teaching My Son to Swim? It’s Just Not Going to Happen

I should lie. It won’t do my image any favors to admit the truth. A request to teach my 14-year-old son how to swim? How could any father ever show anything but the greatest willingness to help? And yet, the needle on my enthusiasm meter never soared much above the dizzying heights of 1%.*

Obviously, the moment my wife noticed my lack of eagerness, she started on my guilt buttons like someone playing Danny Boy on the concertina.

“How could you be so heartless?” she asked.

I didn’t know how I could be so heartless.

“Why would you dash his hopes so?”

I didn’t know why I would dash his hopes so.

“When someone makes a promise, isn’t it only right to keep it.”

When someone made a promise, I nodded, it was only right to keep it.

“Right then,” she said, “I promised our son you’d teach him to swim. How can you possibly refuse?”

Somehow, I felt I’d missed a step in this argument, but one look at my wife’s steely countenance was enough to persuade me that some avenues of thought are better left unexplored.

Since further attempts to persuade my darling sweetheart to change her mind offered little beyond the prospect of eye injury, I decided to approach my son directly and try to negotiate. I began by craftily noting that though swimming might sound like fun, it involved a certain amount of getting wet. As someone who didn’t even like washing behind his ears, perhaps he’d prefer learning to ride a bicycle instead.

I felt certain this argument was a sure-fire winner. Irritatingly, my son insisted on dredging up the fact that I’d already taught him how to ride a bicycle seven years earlier. This shouldn’t have been an insurmountable obstacle to a couple of sensible fellows of good will. Unfortunately, my son maintained an altogether unreasonable insistence that he couldn’t just forget how to ride a bicycle so that I could teach him how to do it all over again. My wife took his side, and it was soon obvious that I’d either be swimming with my son or swimming with the fishes.

In the end, I agreed to teach him, but with much the same level of enthusiasm with which one might enter an international bang-your-thumb-with-a-mallet competition. There were several reason for my reluctance. One was that, based on comments he’d had made, I suspected my son might have slightly overestimated my ability. Whereas for him able to swim meant something like “shortlisted for Rio,” for me it was closer to “capable of reaching the nearest bank of a particularly deep puddle.” Since I knew my son had already been getting lessons of some kind at his school, it did not seem impossible that he might in fact be a more accomplished swimmer than I was.

Then there was the question of revealing my torso in all its glory to the eyes of an unsuspecting world. Let me just repeat in this post, as I have in several others, that I am not actually overweight. My problem has never been the total amount of me, merely the fact that there is far too much me in some places and not nearly enough of me in others. In particular, I tend to put on weight at the hips and just can’t seem to move it, although I’ve tried everything – except eating less or exercising, obviously.

Still, there seemed no way of avoiding the swimming lesson, so the next question was to decide where and when this sporting masterclass was to take place. My preference was for a quiet, indoor swimming pool at a suitable hour, such as 3 a.m. My wife and son soon made it known, however, that they thought it would be better as part of a weekend trip we were already planning to take into the countryside. We would be going right past a number of suitable beaches, they said, so why not stop at one for a couple of hours?

Smelly seaweed, jagged shell fragments, stinging jellyfish, toxic oil spills, great white sharks, unexploded mines – I threw everything I could think of against the idea. Sadly, it soon became clear that no mere tsunami warning or sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, however credible, was likely to deter my wife and son.

The date of our trip was chosen and the most appropriate beach selected. At this point, it is important to remember the words of the great and very nearly comprehensible Scottish poet Robert Burns:

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley [often go awry].”

So it was that despite my best efforts, on the day of the trip, tragedy struck. The skies were clear, the sun was shining and the seas were calm. Worse still, when we eventually arrived at the beach, I was immediately dejected to discover the sand was pristine, the water unpolluted and the facilities good. For a few brief seconds, it looked like I might yet achieve a last minute reprieve when my wife realized she’d forgotten to bring the pump for the inflatable rings. Obviously, there was no way I could allow my beloved family members, neither of whom could swim well, to wade up to their knees in the ocean without inflatable protection. I could always blow the rings up by myself, of course, but…

I gave a couple of heart-wrenchingly feeble coughs, and was just about to go full nineteenth-century consumptive heroine, when my son pointed to a free air pump next to the place where you wash sand from your feet. I struggled to contain my joy at this thrilling news, but managed it somehow.

All too soon, the rings were fully inflated, and so there was nothing for it but to make my way down toward the water, stare right in the eye of anyone who glanced in my direction, and challenge them to make something of it. Once I was safely up to my chest in the surprisingly warm and pleasant water, it was time for the quality father/son time to begin.

“Okay, let’s learn how to swim.”

“Nah, that’s okay, Dad. I’m happy just sitting here on this inflatable ring.”

And so it was that I spent the next couple of hours standing in the ocean, looking around for something to do.



* margin of error ±1%


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

(All rights reserved)

This post originally appeared on my main blog on August 10th, 2016.

Picture of a noisy guitar from the BunKaryudo humor blog.

Thump! Bang! Wallop! Thud! — Noise and the Hapless Blogger

Someone who never entertains doubts? Not me! I’m the kind of person more likely to call them up and invite them round for coffee. No matter what the anxieties in question, I’m always there, ready to lavish generous amounts of time on them. That’s why I’ve spent most of the morning doubting that I’m ever going to finish this post. How can I, a lowly blogging pleb, ever hope to topple the terrible triumvirate of Noise, Heat and Itchiness?

If I fail, it won’t be for lack of inspiration. I do have a number of ideas in my head, but they’re skittish creatures and easily startled. At the first loud noise, they up and run off. That’s why I’m attempting to write while wearing ear plugs. Unfortunately, the foam rubber irritates my skin. I try to concentrate, but all I really want to do is thread a piece of cloth into one ear canal and out through the other, and then start pulling it backwards and forwards to satisfy this accursed itching.

“Well, take out the earplugs,” you say.

Ha ha ha ha ha! That’s just crazy talk. Don’t you know what time of year this is? My kids are on their summer break. I can hear my younger son now as he introduces his new wrecking ball to every item of furniture in the living room. At least, that’s what it sounds like he’s doing. He might just be eating cornflakes. It’s very hard to tell the difference.

As I type this, I can’t quite account for the rumbles, thumps and thuds coming from my younger son’s general direction. The peeps, tweeps and cheeps, on the other hand, are no mystery. They’ve been a constant accompaniment to his every action since the tragic day several years ago when he first learned to whistle.

He whistles when he gets dressed. He whistles when he watches TV. He whistles when he does his homework. It’s comforting to know that should he never achieve much academically, he’ll always have the option of turning pro with his ability to whistle while brushing his teeth.

Doting father though I am, I have to frankly admit that my younger son is noisy. His elder brother, on the other hand, is cut from an entirely different cloth. He is much, much worse. He cannot yawn, read a book or blink at anything less than 120 decibels.

Of course, unlike his younger sibling, he has no particular love for music – a fact he proved about six months ago by buying a guitar. He now uses it at all hours of the day and night to accompany his singing. Obviously, with such constant practice, he has improved somewhat. I’d even go as far as to say that he can now sing and play songs pretty competently, just not sing and play the same song at the same time.

It’s something of a mystery where my kids get their impressive loudness from. It certainly wasn’t from me. My memories of my childhood are still undimmed after all these years, and I clearly remember my brother and I being paragons of civility and good manners. Instead of rumbling from one end of the house to the other like elephants on skateboards, the two of us sat in the living room reading our Shakespeare or quietly discussing seventeenth-century political philosophy.

My brother did have a talent for extravagant sneezes, I admit. Whenever some random dust particle provoked one of his explosive outbursts, there followed a day and a half of telegrams from distant lands reading, “Bless you!” Given that his sneezes were an involuntary reflex, however, I think they can hardly be held against him.

At this point in my post, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, I’m clearly more than halfway to my target of around 800 words. The only reason I’ve reached this far, though, is that I’m writing during one of the quieter moments in the day. You see, both my children are busy doing their homework, which means the background volume has reduced to approximately that of a Civil War battlefield.

Noise of this magnitude is perfectly possible to get through without permanent hearing loss provided I take a few simple precautions. One is to wear earplugs. A second is to remove myself and my computer to the bedroom and close the door. This has the tremendous advantage of getting me – and more importantly, my ears – away from the source of the noise.

Unfortunately, with it being summertime, it also comes with a few significant drawbacks. For one thing, the air conditioner that works properly is in the living room. Without access to it, the temperature in my bedroom quickly becomes oppressive. I could compromise and open the door, but I seldom do. Bad though I am at concentrating when it’s hot, I’m even worse at concentrating when it’s noisy. Instead, I keep the door closed and continue typing away, trying desperately to finish my post before the keyboard melts and drips onto the floor.

Today, I’ve taken my electric fan and put it on my computer desk about five inches from my face. Although this has cooled me down slightly, it’s a lot like attempting to type in the middle of a hurricane. Perhaps, then, this is a good place to stop. I could attempt a few more paragraphs, but I think that might be pushing it.

I’m hot, I’m tired and my earplugs are driving me crazy. My fingers feel perilously close to mutiny. Any moment now, they are likely to ignore orders, abandon the keyboard, and begin scratching my ears clean off my head. If I try to continue with the post in such circumstances, I’ll have to type it with my elbows.

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

(All rights reserved)

This post originally appeared on my main blog on August, 3rd 2016.

Photograph of a preying mantis on his wedding night from the Bun Karyudo Humor Blog.

A Feastful of Dollars or Why I Don’t Trust the Word “Feast”


The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

It’s a phrase that brings wry amusement when said by a great aunt, startled apprehension from a cardiovascular surgeon. Context, in other words, is everything.

And the context in which I first heard it may well be the reason I’ve always distrusted the word feast. You see, for an embarrassingly long time, I thought the great King’s name was Wences and the Feast of Stephen was when he last looked out.

As a child, I’d often imagined the scene. There on his deathbed lay the saintly king, exhausted after a long life of wrestling impoverished peasants to the ground and forcing alms upon them. Turning his weary head to look through the window one last time, what should he happen to spy through his ancient, yet surprisingly well-focusing eyes but a poor man collecting firewood! “Page! Page!” he called, and struggling to his feet, he staggered out into the chill December winds to bring a little seasonal comfort to the peasant in a gallant final act of piety.

Only the Feast of Stephen wasn’t when Wences last looked out at all. I’d simply misheard the name. It was just as likely when Wenceslas first looked out, or any one of the innumerable looking-out incidents in between. For all we can tell from the song, the good king might have been a strapping fellow younger than I am now. In other words, far from the heroic last deed of my imagination, Wenceslas’s trek out into the snow may have required approximately as much effort as my popping across the road to 7-Eleven to buy coffee and a doughnut.

A quick check of Wikipedia confirms my worst fears. The real king Wenceslas of Bohemia, Vaclav the Good, was without doubt a young man during his peasant-helping days since he died at the age of just 28. Ironically, he was murdered by his younger brother Boleslaus the Cruel during a feast. (Thanks, incidentally, to Disney Studios for their groundbreaking work on devising the epithets for these monarchs. Presumably Boleslaus also spoke Czech with an upper-class English accent and had a wise-cracking animal sidekick.)

The first time I ever heard the word feast was when singing this popular carol as a child. Given that this initial encounter involved a serious misunderstanding of the story in which it was embedded, perhaps it’s not surprising that I’ve always regarded it with a certain amount of suspicion. Over the years since then, my issues with the word have only deepened. I now see it as a blustering fraudster, sitting somewhere in the dictionary between fatuous and flannel, and making grandiose claims about bringing joy and cheer.

“Ho ho ho,” the word seems to bellow heartily. “Food, wine, revelry – that’s what I offer. Come and know me better, man!” Then it gives a cheery wink and claps a hand on our shoulder like a jolly fellow. Yet for all its promises, it remains strangely silent about the cost.

When I was a child, turkey and Brussel sprouts, trifle and ice cream seemed to appear magically on plates in front of me (although luckily not on the same ones). Afterwards, the dirty dishes vanished into thin air, or at least, out of my TV-centered field of view. It wasn’t until I became a little older that I began to notice my mother’s lengthy absences from the living room on such feast days, or the soft sobs coming from my father’s bedroom a little later in the month when the bank statement arrived in the mail. Yes, feasts are not to be trusted.

Of course, there are some for whom the colossal excess involved in feasting is precisely what attracts them to doing it. On the slightest pretext, they’ll organize a banquet simply to show everyone they can. I’m well aware that the many Russian oligarchs and billionaire windbags among my readership like nothing better than to throw a lavish banquet to celebrate the weather or the fact that tomorrow is Thursday. But I believe even they are being duped and should watch out. After all, what is feasting but gluttony plus an excuse? They may have hundreds to toil in their kitchens for them, but who can they pay to burn off their excess calories?

Feasting wouldn’t matter if we were designed like iPods or tablets and could simply stop charging up when we were full. Sadly, this is not the way it works. The more we put in, the more we continue to expand. If electrical devices handled energy in the same way as we humans, we’d plug our smart phone into the power supply overnight and wake the next morning lying next to the Death Star.

Now it may be that my tone has surprised you. Can this really be a post from that happy-go-lucky, sweet-toothed young blogger Bun Karyudo? Since when did he become so puritanical about food? It’s possible I am being a little oversensitive at the moment. My younger son is insisting that I take him to a pool during the summer vacation and teach him how to swim properly. My wife is standing behind him with folded arms and a frown, which means I’ll have to do it.

Since I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any pools that allow fathers to enter the shallow end while fully dressed, I now have just under a month to turn myself into a god among men. It’s tough: no jam on my toast, no milk in my coffee, and the only part of doughnuts I’m allowed to eat is the hole in the middle. This really was not the best day for me to have to deal with the WordPress Daily Prompt “Feast.”

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

(All rights reserved)

Written in response to the Daily Post for July 19, 2016.



This post originally appeared on my main blog on July 21 2016.

Funny joke picture about desert from the Bun Karyudo Humorous blog.

Deserted by Inspiration, Inspired by the Desert


This is the WordPress Daily Prompt in front of me as I sit at my computer to write this post. It could hardly be more appropriate. In the mental landscape between my ears, there is only a vast barren expanse with the occasional bit of tumbleweed blowing across it. A signpost has been hammered into the sand. “Welcome to Inspiration. Population: zero”.

I’m doing my best to think of something to say about this topic, but I’m clearly at a profound disadvantage compared to more adventurous bloggers. Faced with the same prompt, Sue and Dave of the Travel Tales of Life, for example, could no doubt turn out a highly entertaining account of the time they journeyed by pogo stick across the Kalahari or list ten delicious home recipes made with sand.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been anywhere near a real desert. The shocking truth is, in other words, that I’m about to expound at length on a topic I know almost nothing about. This may or may not make for a successful blog post. It will, however, stand me in very good stead should I ever run for public office.

I do have a vague idea what a desert might feel like from my occasional visits over the years to greenhouses in various botanical gardens. Impressively hot as these generally are, I suspect they are much diminished versions of the real thing. I base this belief on several key observations:

a) Real deserts are extremely dangerous places in which people die.

b) The botanical greenhouses I’ve been to didn’t seem particularly hostile environments

c) Most botanical gardens prefer not to kill their visitors.

Obviously, I could be making some outrageous assumptions here. For example, my impression that deserts are ferociously difficult places in which to make a living is derived mainly from hours of dedicated study of Roadrunner cartoons. I have no personal experience to fall back on. It may well be that real deserts are not so very different from botanical greenhouses after all and usually come with air-conditioned restrooms and a gift shop.

Similarly, I have taken the non-homicidal nature of botanical gardens rather for granted. If cross-examined under oath in a court of law, I’d have to reluctantly admit to knowing very little about their policies for dealing with excess visitor numbers. I could not absolutely deny the possibility that their management guidelines are rather more robust than I’d anticipated.

Still, if I’m going to write about deserts, I have to concentrate on what I do know rather than what I don’t. Certainly, if I were typing up an application for the position of Desert Blogger in Chief, I’d try to make the most of my extensive experience of day trips to the beach with my elementary school.

During my formative years, sand and I became very well acquainted – sand in my hair, sand down the back of my neck, sand in my socks. I also have some inkling of the extreme hardship involved in trying to find sustenance in a sandy environment. On more than one tragic occasion, contamination by tiny grains of silica made it necessary to throw away my jam sandwich.

Of course, I’m the first to admit to small but significant differences between my local beach and the desert. Yes, my treks over the endless dunes were in the finest traditions of Beau Geste, but I can’t deny he faced far greater adversity in the form of flying bullets, unrelenting sun and a horrifying lack of Saharan ice cream trucks.

Luckily, there is at least one other way in which I can claim some acquaintance with desert conditions. This is through my recent horticultural triumph with my cactus plants, Fluffy and Shortly Withering II. Now I’ve never been the sort of person prone to vulgar boasting. This is why I feel no need whatever to crow about the fact that though I’ve been solely responsible for looking after them for almost six months now, I’ve managed not to kill either plant even once.

I admit things were difficult at the beginning. For the first ten weeks, the pair saw nothing of the sun since I kept them on a shelf at the opposite end of the room from the window. I did point my desk lamp in their general direction, but surprisingly, despite being cacti that never received much in the way of education, Fluffy and Shortly seemed able to tell the difference between a 2 billion billion billion ton nuclear inferno and a 40W bulb.

I then decided to move them to a shelf near the living room window where they would receive much more sunlight. The effect was immediate and obvious. Both plants developed a deep, healthy tan, albeit a dark green one.

They also grew taller. Fluffy in particular now has an excellent chance of selection should the local residents’ committee ever decide to set up a five-cactus basketball team. (His admittance to the squad would definitely be on size alone, though. His dribbling is poor and his passing skills need a lot of work.)

Yet despite this phenomenal, if not earth-shattering, success with Fluffy and Shortly (which modesty prevents me talking about at any greater length), the most important piece of information I know about deserts has nothing to do with my little cactus buddies at all. Instead, it is a survival tip I once picked up on Discovery Channel, but which might nonetheless be true.

If I ever happen to take a couple of wrong turns on my way to the supermarket and find myself lost and in the Sudan, I now know that the one thing I must do is STAY WITH THE CAR! Now this is not particularly easy for me because – and I advise you to sit down before reading the remainder of this sentence – I don’t actually have a car.

I’ve thus been forced to amend the advice slightly to STAY WITH THE SHOPPING BICYCLE! Although I couldn’t find any mention of precisely this technique in any online guide to desert safety, I’m nevertheless confident it would help me to survive my harrowing ordeal. I keep my bicycle in the basement of my apartment building, so staying close to it at all times would not only afford me some welcome shade, but allow me to trot over the road to 7-Eleven to buy some iced tea if the heat became unbearable.

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

(All rights reserved)

Written in response to the Daily Prompt for July 10, 2016.



This post originally appeared on my main blog on July 13, 2016.