Author Archives: joachim

The Making of Sporknik

SPORKNIK . . . is a truly new dining experience.  It has now been officially featured in THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE following an interview Heather Bellow, the Eagle’s investigative reporter, had with me in a tiny yet quite popular cafe in Great Barrington, Massachussets. Few people know the real story behind this invention.  It would take … Continue reading

Stars Misaligned

Star misalignment is a serious condition. We all want to be whole, after all. It is not tempting to sit down and relax and enjoy the afternoon in Bangalore’s Botanical Garden?

The White House

In going on the record saying I would not put my foot in the White House as long as Trump, Pence, Ryan will occupy it I exercised my right of free speech.  I’m somewhat troubled by the comments I received, which called me a hero for saying this.  What this seems to indicate is that … Continue reading

Cutting a soft version of the medal

   At Coogan’s, the famous Irish bar just around the corner.  We go there sometimes to celebrate a paper in Nature. Ming came all the way from California to celebrate.  That’s dedication! Thanks to everybody! — Joachim

American Exceptionalism

The USA is exceptional, on moral high grounds, when its presidents are one high grounds. Unsurprisingly, the moral grounds of the USA is below average when it is being led by a moron. We cannot rest until this absurdity of a leader is removed,  and we will not rest to deal with the incompetent people … Continue reading

Nobel Prize

On Wed Oct 4, 2017,  I was notified that I have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Jesus Christ. Holy Cow. I’m a different person now. Someone recognized me on the 1-Train.  How come you still take the subway?  In other words, privilege  is the immediate outcome of this new status. The most satisfying … Continue reading

The Competitor

My ferocious competitor in instant fiction, master of the flies and master of cognitive chaos, has changed the rules of the game. It is not to our advantage. We used to be able to make up stories, tongue in cheek, creating an alternative world to illuminate the real one in which we wake up every … Continue reading

Eclipse Face

So I curved my hand and left two spaces between my knuckles, and these should have produced two disks of light when exposed to the sun, but instead each became an image of the eclipse, and the incursion of the moon is interpreted as the direction of the movement of the eye.

The Death of Satire

Trump takes the wind out of my imagination, hence out of my responses to current affairs as a writer.  I used to think satire is the way to go in dealing with things that are wrong in this world.  Satire sharpens the thinking by pushing things into their extremes.  “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, … Continue reading

The Reference Problem

The reference problem is an old problem.  We do measure the actions of people by norms that have been established before.  All our actions, our pronouncements, are predicated on assumptions we all hold dear.  Even satire requires a general system of reference to be heard and understood. Rogues are by definition people who defy norms.  … Continue reading

Litfaß Säule

Seeing a Litfass Säule in Krakow invoked childhood memories from Germany in the 50s where these advertisement columns were everywhere. These were large cylindrical columns made of concrete, erected for the mere purpose of acting as walls for advertisements, such as for concerts, circuses, lectures. Now with … Continue reading


The gallery is in a new building, in Manhattanville.  I was the only visitor at that time. I took the picture from the side, to avoid glare.  (It occurs to me now that the perspective distortion is a test of three-dimensionality. Hence … Continue reading

Was it all worth it?

photograph of graffiti in Krakow, Poland In this competitive  world — and “petty” is related to “competitive” for a reason — we must find our senses and our purpose. If after exercise we feel like shit, then we should listen. What else is out there? Have we missed something we saw as entirely tangential but … Continue reading

Cowbird — Magic Weekend

. Cowbird, Jonathan Harris’ website dedicated to the narration of stories of life, ceased to exist at the end of March after running for 5 years.  I tremendously enjoyed contributing to it and interacting with people while it lasted.  The reason was that I’ve always looked for a way to express myself in a way … Continue reading


. Birkenenau in German means a “meadow of birch trees,” just as Weidenau, the name of my home town, means a “meadow of willows.”  Both conjure a beautiful, peaceful scene.  But Birkenau, the bigger one of two Auschwitz camps created by the Nazis, is the most gruesome opposite of peace and serenity one could imagine. … Continue reading

Display of Power

(Puppets in the window of a shop in Krakow) . We all, or some of us, walk through this beautiful town thinking of a different kind of life. But what would that be? A few privileged people amassing a lot of power, their lackeys following each of their steps with forced adolation? Each display of … Continue reading

On Mind and Flesh

. Following is an exchange between me and Ricardo Nirenberg, editor of the OFFCOURSE literary magazine. Not trained in the Humanities, I was unaware of the vast body of human experience found in St. Augustine’s “Confessions,” and his obsession with the flesh.  In both Ricardo’s reminiscences of himself as a thirteen year old and St. … Continue reading

He Will Always Be With Us

  In Stockholm, a Philately store bursting out of its seams.  Tons of stamps, so many that there is only a narrow path inside the store to move about. And here he is again. He follows me. He cannot be undone. He cannot be unimagined. He is a perpetual curse of our past and future.

Metro Face

  “The face is that of somebody you could come across in the Metro,” Dr. Hublin said. Dr. Hublin is quoted about the discovery of bones of H. sapience in Morocco going back 300,000 years, in today’s article in the New York Times. Now it is difficult for me to imagine such an encounter in … Continue reading

Humanity, and the lack of it

I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been busy.  But what interrupted the flow was a series of hacking attacks, which destroyed a number of posts and left me feeling violated, like after a robbery.  It got so bad that I could not login to this site for fear of seeing more damage every … Continue reading

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