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Father of two, woodworker, writer and teacher
Recent Activity
Can't think of another movie that has a stronger plea with modern society to drop media-based understandings of each other, and be generous on a personal level. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
We were nobodies making beautiful things. Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
We live in an age of frivolous reading. It hasn’t been since the 1970’s that readers publicly enjoyed a satisfying challenge, or even looked for them. Nowadays, reading is entirely for simple pleasures, such as confirmation of bias, indulgence in delicious guilt, or the illusion of self-improvement through platitudes. We are happy with trivia, and the easy pleasures it affords. Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
The world can be a sad place. It doesn't have to be. Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
The email, sent to everyone in my building, was to the point: Sheriff's deputies were here yesterday to officially evict anyone who might have been living at XXXX-2. That was one more step that had to be taken so that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Dear France, I am so sorry for the damage to Notre Dame. Your cathedral means so much to so many people, not just at home, but across the world. The fire hurt us all. Personally, I was physically ill when... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
It occurred to me, as an outgoing introvert, that Bartending might be an enjoyable, profitable sideline of work. I know how to make a good dry martini. I enjoy dispensing life advice to strangers, especially those too inebriated to realize... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Tokyo at dawn, from the 27th floor, looking West towards Shinjuku, the sunrise reflected in the nearest office building. From the lights on several floors, it looks as if groups of workers are already at their desks, practicing karoshi (death... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
A block from my apartment, there is a place I go and sit to watch the lake. Depending on the time of day, the water changes color. I probably wouldn't notice unless I took a photo to remember. At night,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Why, just yesterday, I asked the 20-something cashier if she liked working at Trader Joe's. It has such a festive atmosphere, I wondered if the good humor was commanded by management, or natural. "Sometimes," she said, with a slightly pained... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2019 at Mondaugen's Chicago
The camel asked the maker, ‘Why did you take away words from the dog?’ ‘Words are the devil’s maze, camel.’ And so, somewhere around page 402, a cat owner reads a children's story that explains how dogs became the best... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2018 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Today I have something to say. ​From everyday activities to the heights of craftsmanship and technology, working and creating with our hands defines our humanity as much as mind and language do. Our ancestors came out of the trees and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2018 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I haven't blogged about my furniture work, but it seems time I start. At one point, I tried to start a furniture blog, but that fell apart with time demands. But I have started to add recent work with commentary... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Shortly before leaving Japan, I told one of my students that I was moving to Chicago. His eyes grew wide and he stared. "You will be killed!" was all he could say. I was very proud that he had used... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
When Le Client, C’est Moi, it's L'Art Nouveau I design and build furniture tailored to a client's desires and needs, a bit like making a bespoke suit. I measure the space it will go, note the client's taste in other... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
And I did not come to Japan to have my forehead shaved. Frankly, I haven't gone anywhere to have my forehead shaved. As an item of personal hygiene, it has never crossed my mind. It’s just not shaveable territory. Walt,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Every day I walk to school past the Noda Mountain Cemetery. It is very large and very old. And on my way back at night, I pass it again. The cemetery is set in, or has become, a very old... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
And I did not come to Japan to be gored by wild boars, either... Frankly, this notice, which arrived in our mailbox this morning, was kind of the last straw. I feel a bit as if the universe is making... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
First of all, I did not come to Japan to be a model. Secondly, I did not come to Japan to speak French. Nor did I come to Japan to eat at a Denny’s or its equivalent. And yet…. I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Tsutsujigaoka is a little suburb of Kanazawa, a collection of maybe a hundred or so houses pinched between a very large cemetery uphill and another suburb downhill. It’s not a particularly affluent area, but in my meanderings around Kanazawa I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
When civil dudgeon first grew high, And men fell out they knew not why; When hard words, jealousies, and fears, Set folks together by the ears, And made them fight, like mad or drunk, For Dame Religion, as for punk;... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I’ve just learned about Anpanman, and thought to share.... Anpanman is a beloved Japanese cartoon character for very young children whose name roughly translates as “Red-Bean Paste Bun Person.” He is famous all over Japan and is really big with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
We are walking home after the last class at about 10 pm, bundled up and under umbrellas. It’s dark and a light rain comes down, mixed with patches of snow. The temperature hovers around 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. Thankfully,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Wyrd oft nere∂ unfægene eorl, þonne his ellen deah Fate often spares an undoomed man when his courage avails Being doomed suggests someone is paying attention. That has never sat well with me. After all, their neglect is your freedom.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I am staring at a sign, which I believe represents the train I am supposed to get on. But it is all in Japanese. And I cannot understand it. The train number is right, but the time is wrong. Is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago