Although I’m calling this website “a personal memoir in flux,” it is also my hope that the various sections will be of interest to people, whether they know me or not. “Out on a Lim” shares short observations on day-to-day life. “Limerances” chronicles longer remembrances of things past. “Limoscenes” presents descriptions of the plays I’ve written to date, with production photos. “Images in Limbo” shows pictures of the aging process, of me with family and friends. “Limpets” are the non-human dogs in my life, and “Limitations” are tributes to people who are no longer with us. So here I am, past imperfect, present progressive, future tense. Let me know what you think. — Paul
November 26, 2015, by Paul
Growing up as I did in Manila, even with the all-pervasive colonial influence of the United States, the yearly gross consumption of food on the last Thursday in November simply was not part of our cultural appetite. Hard to imagine Filipinos as Pilgrims, not even as Filgrims, except perhaps on the receiving end. But, after I left the Philippines for America in June of 1968, and was invited to spend my first Thanksgiving with the kind and gracious family of Grant K. Goodman in Cleveland, Ohio, I have become a well-fed convert, proceeding to spend the next 45 Thanksgiving celebrations with Grant.
Every year, starting around Halloween, I remember Grant getting spooked by the idea that no one would invite him (or us) for Thanksgiving. Finally, sometime in the mid-1970s, vowing to be spooked no more, he decided that we would give the party ourselves, that we would gather as many “orphans” as we could around our table, sometimes alternating in our respective homes, sometimes at the Lawrence Alvamar Country Club buffet. This became a tradition among the “orphans” until two years ago, when Grant died unexpectedly in April of 2014.
Although I am not spooked by the idea of no one inviting me for Thanksgiving now that Grant is no longer with us, I was very moved when Toots and Jerry Schultz welcomed me into their home last year, and equally moved this year when David Bergeron and Geraldo Sousa asked me to join them for the traditional dinner at their home later today. I had six invitations this year, and was sorry I had to turn down five of them. I’m sure that, somewhere, Grant is relieved I am not alone on this day which meant so much to him. My only hope is that all the other “orphans” who used to gather around our table have had invitations as well. If not…
I am now resolved that, next year, thanks be to G(rant), I will continue the tradition he started.
November 26, 2015, by Paul
TOTUS (Turkey of the United States) was granted a presidential pardon amid much fanfare yesterday at the White House by POTUS. And now all eyes turn to President Vladimir Putin. Will he or won’t he pardon a troublesome Turkey shooting down a Russian plane for flying where it shouldn’t? Or will the hungry Bear gobble, gobble? Yesterday Ukraine, today Syria, tomorrow Turkey.
November 25, 2015, by Paul
I was with a group of KU retirees right outside Pioneer Cemetery in Lawrence this morning, the closest we could get to watch the 9 AM detonation and implosion of McCollum Hall on Daisy Hill. Although we waited in anticipation for over an hour, and the actual destruction of the building took only ten seconds, at this moment, hours later, my heart is still pounding, and I can still hear the fifteen or sixteen thumping blasts before the one big terrifying BANG which brought down the imposing ten-story structure. And then, suddenly, the wind brought the airborne debris in our direction, covering not just many among the living but also all our friends and colleagues who lie buried at the cemetery.
Here’s what went through my mind: Is this what Syrians experience on a daily basis as their buildings are bombarded and their lives are destroyed by the airstrikes from the west? Did it really all begin with September 11, 2001? What was it like for people in New York on that fateful day? And what was it like for people who lived near the Nazi death camps and the crematoriums during World War II? What was it like to stand beneath snow that does not melt? Ashes unto ashes, dust unto dust.
And then the following lines from Emily Dickinson: “As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow–First–Chill–then Stupor–then the letting go.” Except I cannot seem to let go. Not yet. Maybe never.
November 25, 2015, by Paul
After over forty years of teaching and seeing countless productions of Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the recent KU production of the play, but I did, and it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had in a very long time. Afterwards, my friends and I volunteered various sequels for what might have happened to Nora after she decides to leave her husband and children.
Here’s my version. With her friend Kristine’s urging, Nora takes up embroidery and sewing, then takes in laundry as well. But this cannot begin to pay for all her bills at the local sweetshop, so she falls back on her flirtatious ways and begins to show old men her sweaty silk stockings for a fee. Next, she moves to Paris where, before too long, she changes her name from Nora to Violetta and becomes a famous courtesan. She catches pneumonia from removing her stockings once too often in public, and is soon consumed by passion as well as consumption. The composer Verdi is one of her many admirers, and he writes an entire opera about her.
November 23, 2015, by Paul
I say ISIS, you say ISIL, let’s call the whole thing off!
December 18, 2014, by Paul
What if the SONY hackers in North Korea had also downloaded THE INTERVIEW in its entirety, and are now getting ready to sell DVD copies of the movie (made in China, of course) on Christmas Day? Would you buy a copy?
November 11, 2014, by Paul
Letter: Dire prophecy
By Carl E. Burkhead, Lawrence
November 10, 2014
To the editor:
This prophecy was given to me on the day (Oct. 7) following the Supreme Court’s decision that will likely make gay marriage legal in 30 states including Kansas (Journal-World, Nov. 5). The prophecy is that God will bring a sharp rebuke to the U.S. if we do not repent individually and as a nation. A part of the USA will be removed; which part, how and when I don’t know. However when it comes, it will come quickly.
I believe this potential painful rebuke with its abrupt cutting away is because gay marriage (and abortion) are a two-edged assault against God’s plan for marriage and families. God always has a purpose in his dealing with disobedient nations. It is His intent to bring us to repentance, but if we choose to ignore this warning, He will act.
Letter: Love thy neighbor
By Paul Stephen Lim, Lawrence
November 11, 2014
To the editor:
Since Carl E. Burkhead receives prophecies directly from God (Public Forum, Nov. 10), and we have now been warned that God will bring “a sharp rebuke” to America (for its evolving views on gay marriage and abortion) by an “abrupt cutting away” and removal of parts of this country, I would like Mr. Burkhead to tell God to begin the sharp rebuke by cutting away and removing all land and homes owned by disobedient Christians who do not “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
November 9, 2014, by Paul
An African-American woman will be the next U.S. attorney general. Her Name is Loretta E. Lynch. No kidding. Lynch. Is that poetic justice, or what?
August 15, 2014, by Paul
I rarely write Letters to the Editor, but I was moved to send in this one which was published in today’s Lawrence Journal-World:
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign team reportedly likes to refer to Democratic challenger Paul Davis as “the liberal lawyer from Lawrence” for no other reason than because they like the literate sound of alliterative words. This from our literally “go-for-broke governor from Garnett.”
February 9, 2014, by Paul
In a special interview with NBC prior to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi/Russia, when President Barack Obama was asked by the interviewer if there is any personal rift or animosity between him and President Vladimir Putin, Obama smiled benevolently, then said that Putin’s public style of sitting back and looking a little bored during their joint interviews is just his “schtick.” Have we ever had an American president use this word before in reference to another head of state? For the uninitiated, “schtick” is a yiddish word for “a comic mannerism or eccentricity.” Was this a coded message from President Obama that, whatever else Russia decides to do in the Middle East, America will always be Israel’s friend and ally?
In any case, as NBC coverage of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi/Russia continued on Friday night, with Putin sitting on the stage behind him, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said: “Olympic Games are always about building bridges to bring people together. Olympic Games are never about erecting walls to keep people apart. Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore, I say to the political leaders of the world — thank you for supporting your athletes. They are the best ambassadors of your country. Please respect their Olympic Message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace. Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful, direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes.”
To his credit, Putin did not jump up and rip off his shirt and smack down the IOC president for daring to hint at Russia’s new legislation against gays and lesbians. Putin stuck to his “schtick” and merely looked bored even as the whole world watched Vladimir Putin’ On The Ritz. Most impressively, he managed to put on a straight face when all the ephemeral Russian ballet dancers danced gayly to Tchaikovsky’s music—Tchaikovsky, a homosexual who was well-known for cruising the streets of St. Petersburg at night in search of male partners. And, I imagine, back in the day (or night), a nut cracking good time was had by all.
In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Obama also referred to the issue of diversity in America, and lack of diversity in Russia, and how everyone in America will be watching proudly as “the red, white and blue bring home the gold.” At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, during their award ceremonies, our African-American athletes raised their black-gloved fists in proud solidarity. What will our LGBT athletes do when it is their moment in Sochi? In recent years, the LGBT community has reclaimed the use of the word “queer.” Isn’t it time now to reclaim our limp wrists? Wouldn’t be wondrous to see our LGBT athletes dancing lightly around the podium in their loafers, then claiming their medals and raising their limp wrists? Will Vladimir Putin be able to stick to his “schtick” when that mighty moment comes?