An interesting piece of real estate located underneath the island nation of England, somewhere between Folly Bridge and Godstow, Oxford. The entrance is a rabbit hole somewhere along the banks of the Thames River, quite near St. Margaret's Church.

Upon entering this rabbit hole, a visitor will find themselves falling for many feet past various household items, then land a bit suddenly, if not uncomfortably, upon some sticks and dried-up leaves. A long, narrow passage leads to a low hall lit by hanging lamps containing many doors. Visitors are advised to chose wisely, mainly a small door covered by a rich, velvety curtain. if one is larger than say a white rabbit in a waistcoat, then said door can be problematic.
There are various food and drink and a key located on a glass table next to the aforementioned door. Please be advised, that food and drink in Wonderland can cause growing and/or shrinking at random, proceed with caution.

The ruling hierarchy of Wonderland is The King and Queen of Hearts, with power truly lying in the Queen. She has a penchant for beheading, though her commands are rarely carried out. Their Royal Sport is an interesting version of croquet played with live flamingoes and hedgehogs, which makes the game somewhat challenging.
There are many places of interest in Wonderland that merit a visit:

One may also happen upon various wildlife refuges located in Wonderland. The fauna that reside here are quite queer in the fact that they speak english, except for a few mice who speak french. Visitors can marvel at the various dogs, lizards, crabs, guinea pigs, march hares, dormice with a passion for treacle, many birds including ducks, dodos (believed extinct), lories, pigeons, eaglets and flamingoes. A cheshire cat resides in a tree, notable for his clever remarks and ability to become invisible, leaving behind a spectacular grin floating in the air.

Should one become lost, Wonderland's visitor centre is located in The Wood, manned by a knowledgable caterpillar smoking a hookah. His information is extremely valuable and he will surely help any in need.

Television series that ran for two or three episodes during the early spring of 2000 on ABC. It was supposed to be the replacement to the critically acclaimed series Homicide: Life on the Street. It was good enough to fill that role, but it was canned shortly after it started airing, sue due poor ratings, I suspect. There was also some small outcry about stigmatizing mental patients, which is a ludicrious claim.

The show was about Bellvue psychiatric ward, and the lives of the staff and patients there. Written and directed by Peter Berg (of Chicago Hope fame), the episodes are eccentrically filmed and brilliantly paced. It was powerful, intellectual, and complex. The acting had courage and depth, rather than casting a bunch of cardboard cut-out, beautiful people. I loved this show from the second it started. I should have known it was doomed.

Little Boy Blue is blowin’ his horn
Out there on the corner of 12th South and Broadway
Underneath the hissing, spitting sodium streetlight
Wailin’ away his sorrows for pocket change.
Pausing every now and then to look in the hat at the take,
Shake his head, and play on.

And I’m trying to tell them three little pigs
That, baby, straw and sticks really ain’t
Where you wanna be hangin’ your hat.
No, Leggos won’t work either
And damned if one of them didn’t actually hear me!
Whoda thunk any of them was listening?

And Little Red Riding Hood knows that she’s
A symbol of a society conspiring to
Keep the sexual goddess in all of us
Down beneath their Nikes
And what the brothas Grimm cut out
Was that little detour off the beaten path
Hand in hand with the Big Bad Wolf.

Little Jack Horner,
Sittin’ in the corner
Keepin’ his back to the wall.
Eyes shooting around with the paranoia
That marks some substance mere plums could never hope to imitate.

And damn it all to hell if Cinderella
Didn’t throw down her scrubbing brush
And tell her stepmom and sisters, and yes, Prince Charming too
Where they could stick it
And go clubbing with me to Industrial Night at the Voodoo Lounge

Didja know that the reason Ole Mother Hubbard
Had nothing in the cupboard was cause she spent it all
On rotgut hooch the night before?
And Momma Goose and Daddy Christian Anderson
Are taking me to task for snappin’ my polaroids
Of the Dish and the Spoon in their sordid little love nest.

And if I sell them to the tabloids, I wonder
Will Papa Christmas leave me briquets
In my fishnets this year?
A circus of sorts for the arts. Wonderland is held sporadically throughout the winter and spring at Chaps Restaurant in Douglas, Michigan, near Saugatuck.

Put on by NightScape Studios, Wonderland combines poetry, acting, music, film, and booze with wonderful results, and sometimes ensuing hilarity. The only criteria for performing at Wonderland is that all poetry readings must be original work. Plays, Monologues, and Songs may be covered. For information on when the next Wonderland will be it is best to check out
Also one of my favorite books by Joyce Carol Oates. I had a friend who kept bothering me to read something by JCO, so one day in my high school's library I started looking and they only had two books. This was one of them.

After attempting, twice, to write a synopsis of the book I think it would be easier to swallow hot coals (more pleasant, as well). After finishing hurriedly (I didn't put it down for days. It was during midterms and I carried it with me and "forgot" to double-check so that I could read) I wasn't even entirely sure that I had read it at all. I turned back and looked at the dedication: This book is for all of us who pursue the phantasmagoria of personality— and I realized that I couldn't have understood it better no matter how hard I had tried because the book presented, in its astonishingly horrific form, that personality is fleeting. I came away with a sense that the book dealt with a protagonist and antagonist, but, just like real life, it kept changing them. It's the story of Jesse (Jesse Harte, Jesse Vogel, Jesse Pedersen) but not as the "good guy" or "bad guy" -- it's his life in its most concise form, with the shifting of personality that befit his situation, or situations, from terror to terror until there is nothing else to say.

And I don't remember the ending. Actually, I don't remember either ending -- she re-wrote it for the paperback version, and nothing in my library has been updated since then, so I had to hunt it down for myself to find out how Joyce Carol Oates really wanted it to end.

Wrote JCO herself: After rewriting the ending of Wonderland for its paperback reprinting in 1972, I ceased thinking about it; I did not want to think about it; of my early novels, it was the one of which readers sometimes spoke in odd, rapturous-accusatory terms—"I was eighteen years old, my roommate at college gave it to me to read, I was up all night, I couldn't put it down. Why don't you write novels like that any longer?" I did not want to write novels quite like that any longer, nor even to reread this specific one, the very thought of which made me feel faint, as if in recollection of some close call, some old, survived danger.

sources: Wonderland, Joyce Carol Oates

Wonderland is also a quite good documentary film about Levittown, the very first modern suburb, built in 1947.
The film consists of interviews with various current and former residents of Levittown, including Eddie Money and Bill Griffith (creator of Zippy the Pinhead), both of whom grew up there, and several aging inhabitants who hilariously recount their banal but very bizarre existences. One high point is the flag-burning ceremony....

Among other things, Wonderland is the name of a large chain of English-language institutes, or hogwons in South Korea. There are 62 Wonderland franchises throughout Korea, with at least one in every major city, two in Gwangju (I teach at one of those), and a plethora of them in Seoul. They teach children from about age 2 up to high school students. Their slogan is "Everyone smiles in Wonderland."

The primary rival of Wonderland is ECC, another large chain. Wonderland schools have an edge on them and other hogwons in that it has a higher ratio of foreign teachers to Korean teachers and that its classrooms all have themes (such as Jurassic Park and airport) that appeal to younger students. They also have special storytelling classes, and their regular classes have what are called "Club Acts" about once a week, when the teacher can teach something outside of the regular curriculum, usually pertaining to the room's theme.

The contract varies from franchise to franchise, but foreign teachers at Wonderland generally get paid more than they would at ECC or other hogwons(although not as much as they would at a university). Like most language institutes in Korea, Wonderland pays for its foreign teachers' accomodations, in addition to paying them a monthly salary. Some teachers complain about the presence of webcams in the classrooms, which allow parents to spy on their children (and the teachers), but I am told that this is standard practice in Korea.

Won"der*land` (?), n.

A land full of wonders, or marvels.

M. Arnold.


© Webster 1913.

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