About Carl (Me)

Dear Reader:
Thank you for coming for a look. I sincerely hope and trust this finds you and yours well. However–this might put you to sleep.

First, let’s look at the most the basic true things about me–most of which are true about all of us–including you (unless you are from another race–meaning you are an alien or another type of animal on this planet):

I’m Carl Charles Mando Atteniese II… a homo sapiens sapiens–a great ape primate mammal living prior to the Singularity, in the Anthropocene epoch on the eastern limb of the third terrestrial planet of eight (during the beginnings of its sixth mass extinction), in the Sol System—a habitable zone world—at the dawn of its second deep space age–orbiting a stable middle-aged star on the outer edge of a spiral galaxy, which my species calls the Milky Waybefore its collision with another galaxy my species calls Andromeda.

I tutor in the current lingua franca, learn as much as I can and write poems, essays, maxims, petitions, jokes, stories, and a memoir–and I take copious notes.

Here, I recite my works in podcast form–and I endeavor to interview friends, family and everyone from astronauts to zoologists, there and at You Tube, where most of my videos are. I have also read my works live at venues from New York City to Boulder, to Seoul, to Busan, to Suwon and to—well, not yet in Tokyo….

Once in a Jovian moon I draw—take and make pictures and go somewhere.

I hope you enjoy this site and my podcast and are inspired by them.Those are my goals in everything I do.

Join me and let’s make the world—the only one we’ve got right now—a better place. (Don’t yawn—unless you have to).

Thank you for reading. If you had trouble reading this, go to Ad Astra ESL to get some help from me. I’m told I am a nice guy, and after all–I am a primate like you. I must be a nice guy: I have the greatest people in the world as friends–and they are nice guys (and gals), too!

Now for a Personal Introduction:

I am Carl II “the second”, which I choose to use in my name instead of ‘junior’. I was born in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on August 11th, 1966. My parents moved to Lynbrook, Long Island, New York, shortly thereafter–where I was raised. My sisters Mary and Nancy were born in 1975 and 1972, respectively. (They still live on Earth, too.)

Like many young boys, I was enamored, first with things like trains, then with animals–particularly, dinosaurs–and then settling into a mixture of things living and not, became fascinated with spaceships and the people thrown about in them–astronauts. This stuck until–well, today.

But through my keen interest in science, science fiction and self expression, my interests, shown in drawings, poems and essays–I displayed an aptitude for sentiment–caring about people and technical detail; these orientations would compete—also until today. If you were to ask me, I would probably say I am influenced by scientists, engineers and astronauts—heavily–but as equally effectively—by very gentle people, such as Fred Rogers and the more expressive of the Buddhist Monks, like Shinryu Suzuki Roshi, Tich Nhat Hanh, Seung Sahn Sunim, and my direct teacher in Korea–Chong Go Sunim.

I think my teachers in science might have thought I asked interesting questions, but these might have been annoying to my classmates at times—those not interested in the nature of things as deeply as I was (and this was influenced by their practical concern about tests—which I never worried about and basically despise in education—except of course in terms of who decides which people administer medicine, perform corporeal surgery, fly flying machines, build infrastructure, handle weapons and decide public policy….

I didn’t major in writing, but now I write more than I draw and photograph—which would have pleased my junior high and high school English teachers, as English was a strong subject for me. They seemed to like me (luckily), and so did my art and science teachers. However, it might have disappointed my art, graphics and drafting teachers—but they wouldn’t be surprised. Yes—that tension, pulling and pushing me between the technical and the sentimental—they might say—was “distracting”. But I think these orientations inform one another. This non-single-mindedness of purpose, though, could forsake one long enough to impede achieving excellence at either.

I did eventually major in Art, however, but left the art world to become an activist and a reader of history, philosophy and finally—fascinated with culture (which I now see as the enemy of much good in the world), followed my heart and mind in pursuit of artistic interests—to New York City, then to Boulder Colorado, then back through the Mojave desert to New York City, again; finally, on to Seoul, Busan & Suwon, South Korea… and—eventually, over to Kyushu–and finally–to Honshu, Japan; I now “live” in Tokyo.

In the last 8 years, in my spare time–and due to some devastating misfortunes of evil intervention in a succession of tragic events (which better judgement or clairvoyance would have had me see them coming), I became waylaid and thrown off track, even more by others then by my own slow tension-filled pushing and pulling path—and lack of vision & judgement up to those times (not lacking in that way any longer). Some would say this is the biggest problem. And still others would say my ‘lack of a plan’ is the issue—but sadly, these people can’t see the forest for the trees; they mean well—but are blinded by the times.

My plan—and if you are one of those people, pay attention, here, if I may be so fortunate for your continued concern, good friends—is a path-plannot plan of prescribed steps on a ladder.

Suffice it to say, though, I desperately want to finish my books in progress (which you can spy via this site (and there is one not here).

In recent years I have given much attention to learning about aviation and spaceflight. In addition to the new space age, I have developed a large circle of space-enthusiast friends and professionals on Facebook–which I wasn’t exposed to while growing up in New York—when virtually all of the reading I had done (and much of it in the last few years) was in this area of interest. In fact, I started college early to improve my math grades in order to eventually major in space science.

I now feel (having felt an enormous resurgence in this interest), that if I had the proverbial “chance to do over again”, I would have taken my friend Robert Gerardi up on his invitation to join the Civil Air Patrol… which might have increased my chances of becoming an astronaut–despite my non-stellar grades in math.

So, now, I pay a lot of attention to Neil deGrasse Tysen, Brian Cox and Space Hipsters on Facebook, as well as to astronaut biographies, Scott Manley, Amy Shirra Teitel and Tim Dodd on You Tube (as well as to the philosophy channels and thinkers like Sam Harris, Andrew Huberman and others like them.

I also love comedy, so I watches many stand up comedians.

After 15 years in Korea, teaching and tutoring English–as well as doing poetry and comedic reads in stand up open mic venues—and after cutting my teeth as a voice actor for national TV and commercials—I am now finally where I used to imagine being—for my writing and art, noticing the differences between dreams and reality.

What originally drew me to Japan was Ukiyo-e, Zen, a lack of theism and 25 pleasant visits to mostly Kyushu, with a few visits to Honshu–during my stay in Korea.

I had diligently studied Hiragana & Katakana and many Japanese phrases from my late twenties and even in Korea whilst learning Hangeul.

Following my activist twenties, I now post many political statements on the internet.

In my late teens and twenties, l was an actual protester, canvassing and going to plenaries and marches over military aid to dictator governments, the degradation of the environment and against stupid and unjust wars. I was also a letter-writer for Amnesty International’s Urgent Action Program and a volunteer with them and an employee for short periods with several other non-governmental organizations.

These days I teach mostly online and do some in-person lessons. I feel my future is in writing, public speaking and eventually, on a rocket–after getting a pilot’s license. And I would love to have a PhD in philosophy and another in astronomy….

I answer philosophical, relationship and spaceflight questions on Quora and do my politicking on Twitter–where I also keep tabs on (and correspond with) scientists, journalists and celebrities.

Finally, it should be mentioned that I became a Secular Buddhist–to a large degree–in 2008. “Secular” is a determination I place on my variety of the philosophy; it’s not the designation given the sect by my preceptors’. I make this distinction because, while I do accept that meditation can transform the mind and behaviorI don’t accept the concept of rebirth. And so, the form of Buddhism I most ascribe to, then, is Zen.

I also consider myself a Modern Stoic. With ‘modern, meaning that though I don’t think we should panic over affects and results in life, over which we have little or no control, I do value love. Stoicism, to me, mirrors Zen Buddhist attitudes, whereas Buddhism provides a community and a practice of meditation for transformation.

Despite those healthy worldviews mentioned above, my humorous and comedic side keep me in tune with an inner penchant for honing wit, and a good-natured–however barbed—”snark”, for when it’s appropriate.

I feel it serves no one to sit by and allow ignorance, mental illness, corruption and bad manners to ruin things for others, without saying something about it. So that is the struggle–between a peaceful, ‘Fred Rogers-like’ loving- and Zen-monk-like kindness and an outspoken New Yorker-ism, I retain simultaneously—occasionally railing against unfairness. Thus, one of my favorite admonishments is from the late, great pugilist journalist, Christopher Hitchens:

“Never be a witness to unfairness or stupidity. The grave will provide plenty of time for silence…”

And like Christoper Hitchens, anything I says–stems from love.

Thank you for looking.

Carl Atteniese II,