"It matters not what you think, but how you think."

-- George Orwell 


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Columnists I read
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Incestuous Amplification

Incestuous Amplification:  "A condition in which one only listens to those who are already in lock-step agreement, reinforcing set beliefs and creating a situation ripe for miscalculation."

A blog about Korea, politics, foreign affairs, sports, and whatever else I feel like amplifying.

Fri, 05/21/04
A few weeks


Tue, 05/18/04
Careful what you ask for...
  • 2ID Editorial roundup

Hani:  Yankee go the fuck home...but not until we tell you to.

Donga:  Yankee don't destroy our credit rating...and come back soon.

Chosun:  Damn you Yankee for exposing the incompetent pile of worthless crap we call a government.

Korea Times:  You mean the Yankee is still pissed about candle-light vigils and foot-dragging on the Iraq troop dispatch?

Joongang:  Yankee, we truly deserve this...we only ask that you use some lube.

Korea Herald:  Yes, we realize our blatant double standard, Yankee!  When it comes to negotiations over nukes, we'll refer to North Korea as a poor victim just looking for a peaceful solution in order to support our America-bashing agenda...and when it comes to the reality of US troops leaving, we'll refer to North Korean "belligerence" and "nuclear threats" in order to support our America-bashing agenda.  Hey, we're Korean.  We divide all double standards by two and it all works out.

Hani:  Damn Fucking Yankee!  Didn't you realize we just liked the ring of Yankee Go Home in our victimized ears? We never bothered to consider the consequences of it actually happening. Let's all meet at the room salon to get stinking drunk and molest 15-year olds for some civilized discussion about the future of Korean security issues.

Donga:  Hey Yankee, what the fuck do we do now?  Any suggestions?  Yankee?

Joongang:  "Yankee Go Home" sounded so much better in theory.

OhmyCuntHurts:  Fellow Koreans, quit worrying about the Yankee.  OhmyMath taught me that 37,000 minus 3,600 equals 50,000.

Thu, 05/13/04
More Korean Kids

Tough to find any encouraging words in this article about BK.  Easily summed up in a few words:  stubborn, immature, distant, uptight.

Surprising no one familiar with the Land of the Morning Tantrum, pitching coach Dave Wallace's take involves a parallel with children:

"But you know what? It's like raising kids. Some kids have to learn the hard way. The bottom line is to learn the lesson. Hopefully he'll get there."

Don't blame the 25-year old adolescent, Dave.  He's just another victim quality example of one of the finer traditions of an ancient, glorious culture.  5000 years long don't you know.

Skip the middle man

Seriously ladies, why even bother with all the loopholes and laundering of money through "domestic companies?"  Would you just start sending weekly dumptrucks full of cash up to Pyonyang and save yourselves the time and trouble of the elaborate facade?

Just be sure and mark all the cash "For humanitarian use only.  Not to be used for nukes nor concentration camps.  감사합니다."  I'm sure that'll divert the bribes blood money brotherly allowance in the right direction.

You're fooling no one but yourselves.

DPRK Rhetoric never disappoints

There's a chance this is a mistranslation, but dear lord do I hope it's not.

In a separate report, carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, Rodong Sinmun also denounced the United States for keeping North Korea in its list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

"The U.S. aim is to intensify its moves to stifle the DPRK," said the paper. "It reminds us of a thief crying 'stop the thief.'"

The newspaper also said North Korea was closely watching the U.S. moves to build an anti-missile defense system against the its missile capability and promised countermeasures.

"Option is not the monopoly of the U.S," the paper said. "If the U.S. persistently keeps going for MD for aggression despite the warnings of the DPRK, that would be as foolish as jumping into fire with faggots on its back. Milk spilled can never be collected again."

It's times like these I wish that Rodong Sinmun commentary came with accompanying cartoons.  Maybe the Big Ho can provide us with a nice graphic of George Bush jumping headlond into a fire supporting a load of flaming queens.

Wed, 05/12/04

A guaranteed entry for PP's Korea Gaywatch files.

Men are leading fashion trends in Korea this May. They wear close fitting shirts, leaving the top two buttons open to show off their tight body. The hot color for this spring season is pink. Pink is no longer only a woman's color. Men wear pink, flower pattern shirts and strut along the street.

Right, "men" are strutting along the street in pink flowery shirts.  And by the same token, "women" are wearing crew cuts, leather jackets with choke chains, and rocking out to Melissa Etheridge.

Lee Ju-yong, a 27-year-old actor, wore a pink shirt and tight jeans while strutting down Rodeo Drive. Under his yellow sunglasses, his moustache proved that Lee was sensitive about the way he looked.

The cheesy stache doesn't so much prove his "sensitivity" as it does announce his "propensity for fondling pre-pubescent boys."  Hence the moniker "molester moustache."  The only question left is whether his van is rust brown or puke green.

Lee said that being manly and his personal tastes in fashion are totally different issues. In fact, he asked, didn't he look tougher as he was currently decked out?

Yes indeed you look tough.  Of course that's tough in a biker-from-the-Village-People kind of way.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


I don't even know what to say about this:

Berg's mother said the family had not seen the tape and were still trying to decide whether to view it. They had been having trouble accessing it because of a slow computer connection.

The image of family sitting around a computer, patiently waiting to download video of their son being decapitated, is horrific.

My advice to the family is, don't view it.  Anyone else that's able to stomach it can download it here, but fair warning, it's as brutal as it sounds.


If I weren't sick and tired of being dead solid perfect with every prediction I've made about Korean baseball players, I'd probably put more time and effort into commenting on this article about the "Home Run King of Asia" being demoted to a minor league Japanese team because he's sucking so much cock his lips gave out. 

Instead, let me send out a request to Brian Lee to go ahead and read his archive of Lee-related articles, then read mine, and then inform me of when he'll be knocking on my door with his tail between his legs, begging me to take his job and probably his girlfriend.

Let me also give a quick warning to my Korean sportswriting pals as well.  You've got excuses to dream up, get to work!  Korean master race fantasies can't grow and flourish on their own.  They need propoganda hacks like you to sprinkle the fields with seeds of victim syndrome-flavored grass.  That way the public sheep can graze in ignorant bliss knowing that Lee Seung-yeop really is the Home Run King of Asia and a sure-thing Major League Hall of Famer, as opposed to the third-rate Japanese league failure that his performance appears to indicate.

Japanese fans racism, biased umpires, Korea-hating Japanese teammates, goddamn whitey and known Korea-hater Bobby Valentine, sneaky imperialist Japanese pitchers, fucking kimUchi and not the real KKKorean KKKimchi, homesickness, Koizumi's shrine visits, Japanese textbooks, Dokdo invaders, Sea of Japan map Nazis.....see, I've even given you a headstart with all your old favorites.

Don't disappoint me fellas.  I fully expect a nice, thick, lush pasture.

Sat, 05/08/04

Michael Moore is a gigantic blubbering vagina.  Not only that, but he's built a reputation as a hero to the left based on a film that is filled with deception, malfeasance, chicanery, smoke-screens, circular logic, and flat-out liesBowling for Columbine is as much a documentary as JFK was, only less entertaining.  Worst of all, whenever I travel to Europe on business, I get Eurotrash jackasses quoting Moore like he's fucking Jesus while they're telling me BfC is the greatest film since Citizen Kane.

Given that there are so many legitimate criticisms of the man out there, there's really no reason to fight his lies with further lies

My favorite Michael Moore story is the time that he went to some awards ceremony in Tunesia. He actually showed up in a Ford Bronco as if he were a common man of the people instead of the Harvard educated whitebread rich kid that he is.

Well, at least he got the whitebread part right.  From the sound of the above, you'd think Moore grew up on a multi-million dollar compound in Connecticut, pampered at private schools during his childhood until his tycoon father made a large donation to Harvard after which the rich kid spent his college days in cardigans, sipping martinis with the rest of the lefty commies in Cambridge. 

I hate to interject facts to break up this party, but Michael Moore grew up in a blue-collar family in Davison, Michigan near Flint.  His father and grandfather both worked at a General Motors factory, and Moore was a boy scout.  Literally.  He wasn't in Andover playing polo, he was in Davison going to Webelos.

And while I'm sure Moore probably thinks he's as smart as any egghead from Harvard, he never actually went there.  In fact, Moore is a college dropout.  That is, if you consider the University of Michigan - Flint an actual college.  That's right, not even Ann Arbor....UM-Flint.  Dropout.

Harvard educated rich kid....middle class college dropout....what's the difference?  Well, one is bullshit and the other is not.  And regardless of what a dumbass Michael Moore is, anyone lying about his background in order to frame him as a blue-blood northeastern elitist to fit him into a liberal box for political purposes when in fact the opposite is true, belongs in the same category with Moore.

The story of the "Tunesian" awards show may be true, as there actually is an international film festival (Carthage Film Festival) held in Tunis biannually, but it's absolutely ridiculous to lambaste Moore for showing up in a Bronco posing as a "common man," if it did indeed happen.

Considering Moore's upbringing was in a family whose entire life revolved around an automobile factory, as well as the fact that -- before he became a Bush-obsessed numbnut -- Moore actually sold everything he owned and organized bingo games to pay for his first documentary about GM plant closings devastating Flint...Moore could show up in a Pinto at the Academy Awards and still not be considered a poseur.  Regardless of the fact that he's now a multimillionaire with a penthouse in New York City, he's a hell of a lot closer to being a common man (see hygiene and wardrobe) than the Harvard caricature that the dumbass Farker claims he is.

SEB does make it a point to say that he can't verify the story from the Farker about Moore in Tunisia, followed by a well-deserved shot at Moore's own problems with inaccuracies.  Given that, the way to battle the Moores and Limbaughs of the world is to bury them in facts exposing their bullshit.  Matching them lie for lie is not.

Wed, 05/05/04
Easy there fellas

Hate to burst your bubbles of right-wing excitement fellas...but the entire reason we're in the boat we're in now with no good options is because North Korean promises and declarations aren't worth dick jack squat.  Let's not go sucking each other's cocks just yet.

The fact that you're both willing to misinterpret and put full stock in this is obviously more a result of your desire to lump North Korea in with Libya as another checkmark in Dubya's foreign policy column and boost to his re-election campaign rather than anything remotely having to do with reality.

A few grafs from the FT article in question.

Kim Yong-nam, deputy to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, said in a two-hour interview: "We're entitled to sell missiles to earn foreign exchange.

"But in regard to nuclear material our policy past, present and future is that we would never allow such transfers to al-Qaeda or anyone else. Never."

The danger is not only in a potential direct transfer to Al-Qaeda, but an indirect one.  Nuclear cooperation between North Korea and several middle eastern countries is well documented, as are extensive links between Al-Qaeda and those same middle eastern countries.  You connect the dots.

Paik Nam-soon, foreign minister, denounced al-Qaeda and other terrorists and said George W. Bush, US president, was using the shock of the September 11 attacks to turn Americans against North Korea. But he said: " The truth is that we want and need your friendship."

And we all know the North Korean view of friendship then innit?  As long as the dollars, food and fuel (or in the South's case, military protection and direct investment) keep flowing in one direction downhill, the "friendship" is sustainable.  Think the Norks are interested in heart-to-heart discussions and walks in the moonlight?

Mr Kim rejected the notion that North Korea would never give up nuclear weapons. He argued that Pyongyang - branded by Mr Bush as part of the "axis of evil" - was developing nuclear weapons purely to deter a US attack. "We don't want to suffer the fate of Iraq," he told Mr Harrison.

The amusing part about the last sentence above is the interpretation by Glenn and Tim, both obviously wearing some quality Bush-blinders.  They took it as the Norks saying Holy shit we saw what happened to Iraq so we're going to follow Ghadafi into the surrender pit immediately and invite boatloads of inspectors in to dismantle and destroy our only deterrent!.  In fact, North Korea was saying just the opposite.  They don't want to suffer the same fate as Iraq, and they will therefore increase their production of nukes as a deterrent to suffering that fate. 

How fucking ignorant of North Korea and our history of dealing with it do you have to be to actually believe that they'll be following Libya's example by offering a painless cave?  What say you Spleenville?  Instapundit?  I'll answer for you...pretty goddamn ignorant.

Mr Kim told Mr Harrison he thought Mr Bush was delaying resolution of the North Korean issue because of the war in Iraq and the US presidential election later this year.

But he said: "Time is not on his side. We are going to use this time 100 per cent effectively to strengthen our nuclear deterrent both quantitatively and qualitatively. Why doesn't he accept our proposal to dismantle our programme completely and verifiably through simultaneous steps by both sides?"

You can see the intent of that Iraq comparison from the statement above, which they've made quite clear and apparently followed through on over the last year

Let me rephrase that.  You and I can clearly see it, but two guys named Reynolds and Blair clearly can't.

Perhaps Professor Tweed oughtn't go lecturing others about misunderstanding Korea when he's obviously afflicted with the same virus.

Seeing as how many were quick to jump on Josh Marshall, referring to him as a "partisan sock puppet of the radical left" and other such goodies...twill be interesting to see if the sock puppets of the other end of the spectrum get the same treatment.

What say you peanut gallery?  Who's afraid of big bad Glenn?

Personally, I'm predicting they get a pass for their schoolgirl naivety and cheerleading.  After all, cherry-picking and twisting with the intent of praising President Bush is always acceptable in the land of rightly-tilted blogs.  Plenty of free passes out there for that type of patriotism bullshit.

*Update 1:  Kevin Drum says pretty much the same thing I did.

*Update 2:  Glenn admits he was wrong.  Points for that.

*Update 3:  Glenn then displays further ignorance by pointing to this comment on Blair as proof of a "real change in position by North Korea."  Previous points deducted.  Seriously Glenn, if that comment convinced you, you're an idiot.  Further, if you think a quote in the FT by some senior lackeys honestly represents real change in North Korea's position, you need to do some of that there book-learnin. 

Or maybe you should just save yourself further embarrassment and just shut your wordhole when it comes to the Norks.  Thanks.

*Update 4:  Blair came around and apologized for his blatant spin.

Tue, 05/04/04
Riff O the week

Followed the waves

What I is currently listening to.  Melissa Auf der Maur.  Formerly of Hole and the Pumpkins.

Pimp in a rage

Rule #1:  Any article that includes a quote from an "enraged pimp," gets an automatic link.

Bet the under. Always bet the under.

Predictable = boring.

Korea = Highly predictable.

You do the math.

In sequence, read the following.

One, including the comments.



I was stupid enough to put the over/under at two years.  Brian guessed under one year.  The reality looks like 6 months...of a 12-year sentence mind you.

Yet another overwhelmingly strong sign of support to future South Korean politicians children looking to shovel taxpayer money up north and under the table to help pay for porn, whiskey, and nukes for Lil' Kim and his cult of victims without the slightest fear of real punishment.

Good work fellas! 

Fri, 04/30/04
Slippers and all

See there BK, Boston fans are pretty simple.  If you do your job, pitch well and don't flip them the bird...you'll get plenty of ovations.  They gave you a stander when you took the mound in the first inning, in effect forgiving you for being an asshole in last year's playoffs...and then again after you'd pitched 5 shutout innings.  Don't squander the good will.

Let's make a deal.  You keep pitching like this, and I'll try to ignore shit like this:

We're in the midst of the process, of his development and maturity. Kim turned 25 in January, but he often looks (and acts) much younger. While taking questions, Kim sat on a chair and pulled his knees to his chest. He then pulled his T-shirt over his knees, the kind of thing a teenager might do.

Please BK, keep throwing unhittable seeds.  Do that, and I won't have to spend my time psychoanalyzing your shirt-over-the-knees/goofy slippers routine.  That in turn, will allow me to avoid using your behavior to expand on broader themes of immaturity and stunted emotional growth in Korean society as a whole.

It's a win-win for all.  Except Stank Yank Bob.

Water into Gas, Faith into Cash

The lesson here is, once you've bilked 649 true believers sheep ignorant zealots God-fearing lemmings tools Christians out of $2.8 million, just leave the fucking country and be thankful for what the Almighty hath given you by way of his flock.  There are plenty of other con men who have children to feed, sports cars to buy, and belief systems to exploit.  After you've invoked the name of God in explaining your miraculous machine -- and watched the predictable chorus of "Hallelujah!  When will Jesus send my check?" -- just move along and let the next grifter demonstrate his banana peels-into-diamonds gadget to the faithful.

It's a miracle: Water as a fuel fools the faithful

You've heard about water being turned into wine. But how about into gasoline?

After swindling 649 Christians out of 3.2 billion won ($2.8 million) by saying that with God's help they had created a machine that could convert water into fuel, two men were arrested and indicted yesterday by prosecutors.

According to the authorities, the men, identified as Mr. Lee, 46, and Mr. Choi, 55, defrauded church members in Seoul, saying that the newly developed "water-energy technology" would make a fortune.

"We developed a machine that can use water instead of gasoline because of God," the two men told the churchgoers.

The prosecution said the two men demonstrated their technology in the churches. Each time, they first put liquefied petroleum gas into a small furnance and let the machine burn the gas for about 15 minutes.

They then stopped supplying gas and poured water into the machine, which appeared to continue burning, the prosecution said. The two men had actually installed solid fuel inside the furnance to make it appear that it could use water as fuel.

649 is a large flock of sheep, and spread out over several churches according to the article.  You'd think there might be at least 2 or 3 people with the sense to ask how governments, corporations, and scientists with trillions of dollars and hundreds of years of research behind them had all failed to use water as a fuel...yet two drifters named Choi and Lee had managed to pull it off.  You'd think someone might mention bringing in a government official, professor, or other impartial 3rd-party in to verify such a wondrous invention before sinking their life savings into the scheme.

You'd think, but you'd be wrong.  Such is the power of blind faith and the hand of God.

Where shamans, fortune-tellers, feng shui, superstition, and religious zealotry flourish...so also flourish an abundant supply of suckers.

Before and after

Not sure if any other Korean blog has posted these yet, but they're worth a look.  From global security.org, the first pic is Ryongchon from May, 2003.  Second is from April 27, 2004.

Three thumbs up to Jerry for the link.

Tue, 04/27/04
Brotherly ignorance

The answer to your question Brian is no, you're not the only one who feels that way.

For a perfect example of the ignorant fantasies fueling the feel-good "Wiping the tears of North Korea" syndrome sweeping the South, take a look at this cartoon from the Dong-A Ilbo.

See if you can spot the subtle changes I've made in this slightly more realistic version.

Be sure and check out the schnoz on that pilot representing "the international community" as well.  You'd think Pinocchio himself were flying that aid in.  Alas, it's just whitey in all his nasal glory.

9 + 9 = 101

I'm still waiting for the follow-up from my pal Kim Sang-soo.  You know, the follow-up article that shows the following stat comparison for Choi Hee-seop:

9 games before the article:  5 HR, 9 RBI

9 games after the article:  0 HR, 0 RBI

Season projection then:  101 HR

Season projection now:  45 HR and dropping faster than Enron.

Then:  Towering over Barry Bonds as one of the all-time greats.

Now:  Platooning with Wil Cordero.  He of the .192 batting average.

Then:  Headed for the All-Star game, single-season HR record, and Cooperstown.

Now:  Headed for the batting cage to break a slump.

All that change in only 10 days.  Who'd a thunk it? 

Oh right, I did.

Mon, 04/26/04
Still Early

Things always look so good in the spring.  Taking 6 of 7 from the Yanks this early, without Nomahhhhh and Trot, of course makes the balls tingle and puts me willy at half-staff.  Still, it's April.

I do like the cracks I'm seeing in the Evil Empire's armor regardless.  Jeter .175, Bernie .167, Giambi .204, A-Rod .257, Sheff .265, entire team hitting .217, 29th in the league and barely ahead of Montreal.  Middle relief strugglin, Mussina bad and Contreras worse.

Unlike my pals in the Korean media, I'm not so daft as to believe all the above will continue through the rest of the season.  But it does warm my heart to watch $200 million worth of talent suck copious quantities of cock, any time of the year.

A trusted source who attended the game at Yankee stadium today provides this verbatim quote from Pedro to one of Korea's finest bloggers.  While I abhor the use of such strong language, sometimes it is necessary to convey one's feelings accurately.


Get em on a plane

From Fareed Zakaria's latest piece on Iraq:

The blunt truth is that we still need more troops in Iraq. Yes, it would be nice to have foreign troops or to have well-trained Iraqi forces. But for now neither option exists. We have a choice between more American troops or continued instability.

The Third Infantry Division is apparently going back in. We have two to three divisions earmarked for a conflict in Korea that could be moved. Overall we could probably add 50,000 to 60,000 troops to the current force in Iraq. This bulked-up presence would be needed for about six months. By July there should be an Iraq government partnering with the United Nations to write a constitution and hold elections. In those circumstances, and with good diplomacy, we should be able to get some countries to contribute to an international force. Plus, six months of additional training will strengthen the Iraqi security and police forces considerably.

If you think Zakaria is the only one thinking along those lines...you is wrong.

Fri, 04/23/04
Worth at least 1000 words


Thu, 04/22/04

Rule number one of terrorist threat assessment:  Those who can't spell 'Yellow' are given a 5-point deduction off the top.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - A self-proclaimed "anti-American'' group is threatening to carry out terrorist attacks against diplomatic compounds, airlines and public transportation systems in eight U.S. allies, several of which have sent troops to Iraq, a South Korean official said Thursday.

The group, called the "Yello-Red Overseas Organization,'' warned in a one-page letter sent to the South Korean Embassy in Thailand that it will launch the attacks through April 30, embassy spokesman Ryoo Jung-young told The Associated Press.

The group described itself as "anti-American'' and threatened to attack diplomatic compounds, airlines and public transportation systems in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Kuwait and Pakistan. Several of these countries have sent troops to Iraq.

Ryoo said it was the first time South Korean authorities had heard of the group and were investigating the threat's credibility. The letter was received Wednesday.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry in Seoul said it had not notified other nations on the list but that it had confirmed that the Pakistani Embassy in Bangkok had also received a similar letter, an official said on condition of anonymity. South Korean diplomatic missions worldwide were alerted to the threat.

Unless of course they're some offshoot cell of the infamous Mello Yello terrorist organization.  In that case we're all in deep.

Standing around til November

Nick Kristof on kicking the can down the road:

In the summer of 2001, there was a spike in Al Qaeda "chatter" and mounting evidence that a terror strike was imminent. But without precise details, it was difficult to get the attention of top policy makers or the public — until it was too late.

Now something similar is happening in North Korea.

North Korea is potentially more dangerous than the mess in Iraq. It probably has at least 1 to 3 nuclear weapons already, it is producing both plutonium and uranium, and it is on track to have close to 10 nuclear weapons by the end of this year.

Yet because President Bush's policy has failed in North Korea, Washington is determinedly looking the other way. When we next focus on North Korea, after the election, it could be a nuclear Wal-Mart.

North Korea not only has genuine nuclear weapons programs, but it is also the model of a rogue state: it gets its U.S. currency by printing it. That's right; it counterfeits excellent American $100 bills.

The latest disclosure, via David "Scoop" Sanger of The Times, is that the father of Pakistan's bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, claims that North Korea showed him three nuclear weapons in 1999. The Bush administration, after publicizing anything to do with Iraqi W.M.D., tried to keep that North Korean revelation secret.

Dr. Khan's report has not been confirmed. But this much is sure: The Bush administration has invaded a country on far less evidence.

Worse, North Korea is reprocessing enough plutonium to make an additional half-dozen weapons. It has also restarted one nuclear reactor and will soon replace the fuel rods there, producing enough plutonium for another weapon. All of that activity began during the Bush administration. North Korea is also continuing a uranium enrichment program that it covertly began in the Clinton years.

To his credit, Vice President Dick Cheney forthrightly raised concerns about North Korea's nuclear program during his trip to Beijing last week. But the administration still has no effective plan to deal with the crisis.

Soft-liners in the administration would like to negotiate a "grand bargain" with North Korea in which Kim Jong Il would accept C.V.I.D. — that's the latest hot term, standing for "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement." In exchange, the U.S. would present security assurances, and Asian countries would offer bribes of investment, energy and aid. Such a negotiated deal is the only hope, but to hard-liners, it sounds suspiciously Clintonian.

Meanwhile, the administration is playing a delaying game with six-party talks in China, and starting working-level talks in the next month through Joseph DeTrani, a former C.I.A. officer and China hand. The DeTrani channel will be an important step forward, but it's difficult to imagine a deal that both the Bush and Kim administrations could agree on — and in the meantime, North Korea keeps churning out nukes.

"The administration is just trying to kick this can down the road," said Jonathan Pollack of the Naval War College. "In a funny way, I think both we and the North Koreans are waiting for November."

Resolving this crisis is in the interests of virtually everybody on the planet, with two exceptions: President Bush and Mr. Kim. They may have nothing else in common, except that their fathers also ran their countries, but they do share an interest in delay.

Mr. Bush has his hands full with Iraq and doesn't want attention paid to the North Korean nuclear threat, which is substantially worsening on his watch. Mr. Kim figures that he may as well wait to see whether John Kerry is elected, and he'd also like to finish reprocessing the plutonium and enriching the uranium.

While the administration has steadily become more reasonable on North Korea, it still hasn't fully accepted the unpalatable truth: the only possible route out of this crisis is a grand bargain. Mr. Bush, who listened way too much to Mr. Cheney on the topic of Iraq, should reflect on something Mr. Cheney said on his China trip about negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programs: "Time is not necessarily on our side."

Wed, 04/21/04

I hadn't bothered to wander over to OhmyNews' International section of English articles until today when the Marmot threw up a link to another blog commenting on it.

When I did check out some of the stuff posted, I found this gem, in an article humbly titled The Genius of OhmyNews.

We do not regard objective reporting as a source of pride.  OhmyNews does not regard straight news articles as the standard.  Articles including both facts and opinions are acceptable when they are good.

While treating objectivity like rotten kimchi isn't exactly my idea of "genius," I will give OhmyNews credit for at least being upfront about their distortions and slant.  They're clearly biased, they're willing to accept opinion along with fact in their stories as long as it's "good" opinion (with the definition of good being 'progressive' or 'liberal' or 'anything the GNP hates'), and they despise straight news.

For that reason, you'll rarely see me fisking OhmyNews crapola (and trust me when I say there's plenty of steaming crapola).  They've already come out and told us that they're proudly producing shite, so there's really no reason to confirm their own admission, innit?

Perhaps Brian Lee and the Dong-A could learn a lesson from the OhmyNews crew. 

Lesson being:  Only poseurs get fisked.

Tue, 04/20/04
Some Fucking Perspective

There are many aspects of the Korean media that I despise.  The tabloidy-nature, the jingoistic overtones, the lack of professionalism, the vilification of foreigners, the blatant racism, the hit-jobs they do on the US military, the general anti-American tone to every story relating to the United States, the failure to fact-check, the presentation of opinion as fact, the incessant focus on Korea as victim...fuck, I could go on for days.  But the worst for me personally as a sports fan has to be the cheerleading and complete disconnect from reality when it comes to Korean athletes.

Example #683 of that is horseshit like this :

One hundred and one! This is the expected number of home runs for Korean major-leaguer Choi Hee-seop (25 years old, Florida Marins) on the ESPN internet site.

Okay, so right off the bat we're hit with the stunning information that Korean Choi Hee-seop is "expected" to hit 101 home runs, and that the source of such an amazing prediction is ESPN, so it must be legitimate.  Well, let's head over to ESPN and see what all the brouhaha is about, because any player expected to hit 101 home runs is certainly a huge story, seeing as how that would destroy the current record by 28 home runs.  Quite a feat for anyone....except for a Korean.

When we do go to the site, we find that for every major league player, ESPN has statistical projections for the entire 2004 season as part of their stat package.  The projections use a simple formula of calculating stats in the games played thus far, and then extrapolating those stats out to 162 games (which comprises the entire regular season). 

At the time the article was written (April 16), the Marlins had played 9 games, or about 5.5% of their season schedule.  In those 9 games, Choi had hit 5 home runs.  Certainly an impressive start to the season, but as anyone that knows anything about baseball will tell you, strong starts are a dime-a-dozen.  Maintaining that pace over the entire season is another story.  A story which Kim Sang-soo of the Dong-A Ilbo knows dick all about despite being a sportswriter for a major Korean newspaper.

So the dumbass sportswriter takes those projections on ESPN and truly, honestly believes that Choi Hee-sup can maintain that pace and hit 101 home runs....so he'd like to share this joyous news with his fellow Koreans...and so he shat out this abortion of an article for all to see.  He believes it so strongly that he follows up with this:

Given that his current homerun average is 0.625 per game, we can expect that he will break the historic home run record of Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants), with 73 home runs per game, which is the highest home run figure for a single season. Further, we may witness him hitting 100 home runs this season as the first player in Major League history.

This is like bowling a strike in your first frame, and then announcing to the rest of the bowling alley that you fully expect to bowl a 300 game, seriously.  Or like Shaquille O'Neal going 2 for 2 from the free throw line in his first game of the year and announcing that he'll shoot 100% from the line for the rest of the season.  Or like Randy Moss catching 4 touchdown passes in the first game of the NFL season and then proclaiming that he'll surely catch 64 touchdowns because 4 TD's times 16 games equals 64.  Or like you getting a girl's phone number in the first minute you're in a bar, and confidently projecting yourself to get 180 phone numbers in the next 3 hours.  Christ, I could go on but any reasonable person gets the point.

That point being, it's a fucking retard's game to look at full-season projections so early in the season.  And when I say fucking retard, I truly mean it with all my non-PC heart.  Looking at some other MLB players projected stats at the moment we see numbers like this:

Roger Clemens - 41 wins, 0 losses, 0.87 ERA
Barry Bonds - .500 Batting Avg, 103 HR, 236 RBI
Scott Rolen - 95 HR, 311 RBI
Dontrelle Willis - 29 wins, 0 losses, 0.00 ERA

Would we ever see a journalist from the Houston Chronicle write an article saying the Astros fans should expect 41 wins based on Clemens' first 3 starts?  Would we see a sportswriter from the San Francisco Examiner tell Giants fans that Barry Bonds will probably hit .500 this year?  Would a Miami Herald beat writer ever write that he expected Willis to go the entire year without allowing a single earned run?  No, no, and no.  Why?  Because they tend to actually be connected to reality and not to uri nara's heart strings and visions of racial superiority.  No one in their right mind would be so ignorant as to venture such predictions.  They'd probably get fired, and they'd absolutely be a laughingstock among their peers.

Now ask yourself, does Kim Sang-soo run the risk of being a laughingstock?  Not a chance.  Judging by all the Lee Seung-yup/Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa comparisons we saw a few years ago, as well as the Lee/A-rod comparisons we saw last year...both equally retardodiculous...KSS is the norm.  Would he ever risk being fired for writing such a steaming pile?  Not in the world of the Korean media...he's more likely to get a promotion for being the cheerleader of the week.  Here's my problem and why I went off on Brian Lee and the Korean media last year...absolutely ignorant bullshit is the NORM.  And when you have that kind of norm, the general public becomes one big pile of ignorant bullshit artists, spewing the same crap they lap up in the sports papers and major dailies. 

End result being I hear my co-worker tell me the other day that Choi Hee-seop is a better hitter than Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa.  Or that Lee Seung-yup is one of the greatest hitters in the world, including the major leagues.  "Well Kevin, I saw it right there in the newspaper, and it's backed up by ESPN and everything."  Kim Sang-soo, do you see what kind of damage your ignorant cheerleading hath wrought?  You are personally building an army of dipshits who believe in your claptrap.

For anyone that's even semi-baseball literate, you can look at those above projections and very easily say that there's not a chance in hell of any of the above happening.  You can also say the exact same thing about Choi Hee-seop hitting 101 home runs.  It's NEVER going to happen, and anyone that even suggests it's remotely possible is an absolute, 100% jackass moron for doing so.

Choi is a guy whose career high for home runs in a season is 8.  Yes, that's right, Kim Sang-soo and apparently his editors at the Dong-A are now convinced that Choi will go from 8 home runs to 101 in one season.  Choi's career home run avg. per game before this season was 0.096 per game.  Meaning he hit about 1 home run every 10 games.  Now they're claiming that he will increase that rate by 650% based on a 9-game stretch.  Hell, in the 4 days since the article, the ESPN projection has gone from 101 down to 68.  In another 2 weeks it'll be down to 50, and in another 6 weeks it'll be down to 30 or lower.  Who knows what he'll end up with, but if there's one absolute certainty, it's that he won't even come close to approaching Bonds' 73, much less 101.  Ever.

Barry Bonds, arguably the greatest player to ever play the game, has hit more than 50 home runs in a season exactly once in his entire career (when he hit 73 in 2001), and yet Korean Choi Hee-seop, he of the .219 career batting average and 15 career home runs, is obviously someone that "we can expect that he will break the historic home run record of Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants), with 73 home runs per game, which is the highest home run figure for a single season," and "we may witness him hitting 100 home runs this season as the first player in Major League history."  Based on what?  Based on 2.5 weeks in fucking April.

Is it possible that Choi hits 30 home runs this year?  Yes.  Would that be an excellent season for a 3rd-year player on a new team?  Absolutely.  Can he hit 40?  Possible, but very, very unlikely...I'd say the odds are about 1 in 100.  Could he hit 50?  No fucking way, no how.  Now you see what the jackass sportswriter has done?  He's set the bar at 101, double what any reasonable person would stretch his absolute upper limit to.  So when Choi inevitably hits his 15 or 25 or maybe 30, it looks like a fucking disaster, which it should not.  It's a disservice to Choi just like it was a disservice to Lee to compare him to Bonds or A-Rod (well, at least the non-Yankee A-Rod).  Placing unrealistic expectations on these players just sets them up for an inevitable fall...and I guarantee you they will fall when saddled with a Bonds around their necks as a comparison.

Shall we go back to April 2003?  Yes, let's.  That's when our own Joongang Sportswhiz Brian Lee wrote an article titled "Choi's Fast Start Has U.S. Jaws Flapping."   That article, much like this one, took Choi's first few weeks with the Cubs last year -- a good solid 20 games for Choi -- and went on to predict greatness based on those 3 weeks.  Among the predictions:

The Chicago Cubs are leading the National League’s Central Division with 13 wins and eight losses, and one of the prime reasons for this success has been the stellar play of first baseman Choi Hee-seop, who is already being mentioned as a candidate for Rookie of the Year.

How'd that Rookie of the year prediction work out?  Choi didn't get a single vote.  Nada.

On Monday, CBS Sports named him the fourth-best first-baseman in the major leagues, and the third best in the National League.

Much like the ESPN ruse from above, Brian Lee claims that "CBS Sports named him the fourth-best first-basemen in the major leagues..." as if they had a ceremony and gave out plaques.  In fact, they did nothing of the sort.  CBS Sportsline has a player ranking system which they use to rank players at every position based on stats to that point in the season.  They don't name anyone as anything, they simply post the results and update them every day based on performance.  3 weeks into the season, Choi indeed was #4 overall.  A few weeks later, he'd dropped to #15 or so, and guess where he ended up the season?  #47.  Funny, we never heard an update from Brian Lee about CBS naming Choi the 47th best first baseman in the majors.  Must have been an oversight.

A question further down the road this season will be whether Choi, 24, can make the All-Star team. If he continues to put up similar numbers for the next couple of months, I’d say his chances are pretty good.

All-Star team?  Nope.  Not even close after his May nose-dive and subsequent injury.

So after all those grand predictions of success, how did Choi's season end?  In Iowa City at the Cubs AAA affiliate.  In fact, the Cubs had absolutely no confidence in Choi down the stretch so they traded for left-handed hitting first baseman Randall Simon from the Pirates to take his place for a playoff run.  Brian Lee gave us another fearless prediction in this late-season column acknowledging that he'd jumped the gun with April's love-fest:

Being solid at defense, [Choi's] prospects are bright but folks, including myself, who jumped to the hasty conclusion that Choi may be the next big thing may have to wait another season or maybe two before Choi puts up the numbers many people think he is capable of.

Okay, points for admitting you jumped the gun.  Tis good.

Unless the Cubs win the World Series, I do not think there will be anyone posing a serious challenge to Choi’s future at first base next season. Karros and Simon are journeymen, which will not last long. If I am not mistaken, the Cubs have not given up on Choi and he is still in their future.

And a few months after Brian declared that Choi "is still [the Cubs'] future," Chicago promptly traded their future to Florida.  Oh well, Brian, you may have gotten every single one of your predictions wrong, but at least...well...there's really no upside so I won't pretend there is.

Now, for those of you still with me, here's the kicker and ultimately the reason I started out to write this post in the first place.  I'm not the first to point out the cheerleading and widespread retardation dominating the Korean media, and in particular the sportswriting.  This is nothing new to people that have lived here through Olympics and World Cups and home-run races and seen the complete lack of perspective or objectivity in any article involving the hometown boys.

That in itself doesn't merit this much effort, but here's what does.  Last year after I'd written a few pretty nasty attacks on Korean sportswriters and Brian Lee in particular for this same type of ignorant cheerleading, Mr. Lee actually went out of his way to refute the cheerleading charge that I had made.  Now, I can't be 100% sure that he was responding specifically to me and my charges.  But the timing of it, and the fact that it was my letter to the editor that was printed accusing him of cheerleading make me think that it was indeed directed at me.  In that refutation of the cheerleading charge, Brian Lee said this:

One of the most common criticisms from my readers is that the coverage of these athletes in the “Korean press” is nothing but blatant cheerleading. The local media are accused of overstating the players’ talents, anointing them “stars” on the basis of one or two good performances.

You mean overstating like as in Lee Seung-yup's case?  The same Lee Seung-yup annointed by you as having surpassed A-Rod and Jimmie Foxx both with his home run records in a weak-ass Korean League?  When you say one or two good performances, did you mean Choi Hee-seop last April, or Choi Hee-seop this April?  Tought to choose I know.

If by “Korean press” these readers mean the local sports tabloids, they may be right. Like sensationalist publications the world over, they rely on provocative headlines and splashy artwork to catch eyes at the newsstand. And what headline sells better than one about a local boy making good?

Okay, so he admits some bias by the local sports tabloids, as he floats his nose in the air and pats himself on the back for not being a sensationlist.  What's next?

But the sports pages of any major Korean newspaper are different. They feature solid journalism done by people who take their work seriously. Sure, they write about the local boys (and girls, particularly in the world of golf) making good overseas.

Here we go.  This is what brought out the venom on my part.  He actually had the balls to lay down this sanctimonious, elitist crap, separating himself and the other "major Korean newspapers" as being above the biased, sensationalist fray that the lowly tabloids dwell in, when in fact they deal in much of the same rubbish.

But the major dailies don’t just print hype. Generally, it’s evenhanded analysis and strong coverage of the players their readers are interested in.

Hear that?  That's Brian Lee saying that major dailies don't just print hype.  As if every piece he wrote on the great vastly overrated Lee Seung-yup, successor to A-Rod he tells ya, weren't hype.  The same Lee Seung-yup that attracted little to no interest from major league teams and the same Lee Seung-yup that's currently struggling in Japan with a whopping 3 home runs through 20 games.

So according to Brian Lee, the Dong-A Ilbo -- a major daily I might add and certainly NOT a trashy tabloid -- was giving us "even-handed analysis and strong coverage" when it said that we can all expect 101 home runs from Choi Hee-seop.  That's right, a 3rd year player with 15 career home runs will obliterate the current record and sail far past Barry Bonds...all based on 9 games in April.

Stong coverage.  Even-handed analysis.  No hype.  Solid journalism done by people who take their work seriously.

Hey Brian.  As my boys Penn and Teller like to say....BULLSHIT!  Your "even-handed analysis" is a piss-poor joke to anyone that actually knows baseball.  The Dong-A's "solid journalism" is a steaming pile of cashew-filled shit in the real world.  And by that I mean the world in which Choi Hee-seop isn't Superman and Babe Ruth all rolled into one, but rather a young first-baseman with decent power and little discipline at the plate that hasn't proven a fucking thing in the bigs yet.

I don't mind if you, the Dong-A, and the tabloids print horseshit.  Print all the ignorant hype you want if it makes you feel like a good patriot and fools your fellow countrymen into feeling superior. 

But seriously, when you get called on it and people like myself point out what crap it actually is...just nod your head and acknowledge the obvious.  Considering the fact that you actually write some decent pieces once in a while, stick to that and quit trying to defend your fellow hacks as anything but the worthless cheerleaders they are.

At least you can say you only don the cheerleading skirt every other column.

Mon, 04/19/04
Words of wisdom

I would be remiss in my duties if I did not highlight the following from the True Father, Reverend Moon:

"It is difficult to fast or not sleep. Satan is clinging to our sexual organs and pushes us to use them. Satan's work now is to try to get us to misuse the sexual organ. Westerners may think they have much to impress me with but I have gone beyond that. We must restore the fall and go beyond the misuse of the sexual organs."

Please brothers and sisters, do not allow Satan to cling to your sexual organs.  Not only is it painful, but people may begin asking questions about the imp hanging from thine crotch.

Sun, 04/18/04

Apparently while I was writing about nosy ajumma, there was a battle royale taking place between TPM and the Marmot.   A few observations.

The argument really boils down to an elephant, its relative size and visibility.

I like Josh Marshall, I like his writing, and I like his site.  I don't always agree with his opinions, but I respect the way in which he presents his arguments.  The nimrods in the Marmot's comment section calling him a "sock puppet of the radical left" are ignint fools.  He's no more radical on the left than Andrew Sullivan or Instapundit is on the right.  But this is what generally passes for criticism from most of the partisan peanut gallery on both sides these days, referring to everyone that disagrees with them as "radicals."  Unfortunately, Marshall saying that "in [this recent Korean election,] opposition to the policies of the Bush administration became a salient, even defining issue," is false.

I like the Marmot, I like his writing, I like his site, and even though I don't always agree with his opinions, I respect the way in which he presents his arguments.  Sound familiar?  Robert saying that "These [corruption, impeachment backlash, elderly voters, Park Keun-hye, checking ruling and opposition parties] were the "issues" that decided the election, not Bush or anything else remotely American" and "Sometimes, things simply aren't about America" are not necessarily false, but certainly misleading and I believe they fail to paint the entire picture accurately.

How is it possible that both are wrong?  Because neither appears to be recognizing the middle ground.  That middle ground of reality (as I see it at least) is that America and Bush were in fact an issue in this Korean election.  They were not a salient, defining, or dominant issue as Marshall believes, but they were also not a completely non-existant issue as the Marmot seems to be implying.  They were somewhere in between.

The best analogy I believe, is that America and Bush were the elephant in the corner that no one (read: Korean media and candidates) wanted to acknowledge or talk about, but that everyone knew was there and everyone knew was an influence.  Marshall believes the elephant was large, front and center, in part because it fits his theory of anti-Bush dominoes falling all over the world.  Marmot believes that there was no elephant in the room to speak of, which I think he put forward specifically to refute Marshall.  Both are wrong.

The American elephant may have been overshadowed by other, more immediate issues (which the Marmot correctly points out) and generally ignored by the media and politicians, but that  does not mean that the elephant disappeared.  I think the mistake the Marmot and some others are making, is in assuming that media coverage alone defines the issues of the campaign.  To me that seems to be an oversimplification, and it also fails to take into account the fact that regardless of media coverage or speechifying by Korean children, the American elephant is always a campaign issue in some form or another in Korea.  It may get less coverage and it may not take up as much space on protesters signs, but the reality is, ROK-US ties are always lurking in the background as a relevant issue of every national election.  The elephant may get all the press as it did in 2002, or it may get virtually none as it did this year...but regardless, it's always there and always a consideration for Korean voters.

In that sense, I have to disagree with the Marmot when he says that in this case, "things simply aren't about America."  As long as American troops remain in Korea (and probably afterwards as well), every election will be about America and Korea's relationship with it to some degree.  That degree will fluctuate depending on a number of factors but big or small, in the spotlight or in the corner, it is and will be a constant presence for the foreseeable future. 

The fact that the GNP is widely seen as pro-American and that the Uri Party (despite supporting the troop dispatch) is seen as the party of the young, reform-minded, and certainly an advocate of more independence from Washington...those factors are an unspoken given as an issue.  The reputations of each party as either pro or anti-American are well-known and do not need to be publicized as campaign issues in order to actually be issues.

In fact, one aspect of the election that did get a lot of press was the generational divide between the older and younger generations.  This divide has many faults, but the primary one is usually seen as the older generation being anti-North/pro-US and the younger generation being pro-North/anti-US.  No, this election was not a referendum on US-ROK ties, because any time you throw around the word 'referendum,' it implies a single-issue election.  But at the same time, it is patently dishonest for anyone to argue that US-ROK ties did not play any role in this election.

So why didn't the Korean media and politicos want to acknowledge the elephant this time around?  Because they saw what happened after the last election and it scared the crap out of them.  In other words, they were afraid of the consequences of making this election another anti-American festival like the last.  They learned a lesson (although I'm sure they'll have to re-learn the same lesson several more times) from the backlash that followed 2002.

Look back at the 2002 presidential election and how it played out.  Roh campaigned, loudly and proudly, as a candidate that would not kowtow to America.  He said he'd stand up to the Yanks, and that when he went to Washington, it would be to fight for Korean interests, and not to pose for photos and kiss ass.  In both the Korean and international media, he was acknowledged as the anti-American candidate and his victory was widely attributed to that anti-American platform.  With the election coming just a few months after the tank accident with two Korean middle school girls, the Korean media was saturated with anti-American propoganda and Korean politicians took advantage of that emotion and used it to gain power.  It was a massive public display of defiance, and the Korean public ate it up.

Then what happened?  American backlash, hard.  We saw Don Rumsfeld begin to talk about troop redeployment and withdrawals, and Koreans began to panic.  We saw Leon LePorte on 60 minutes, crying in anguish over the public displays of anti-Americanism in Korea, and Koreans openly worried about the PR impact.  We saw direct investment from the US drop and American businesses in Korea openly criticize the investment climate, and Koreans began to fret about the economic effects.  We saw an overall deterioration of the US-ROK relationship, and more Korean panic. 

Many in the Korean media attributed the troop redeployment and relationship deterioration directly to the public displays of anti-Americanism, candlelight protests, and politicians' grandstanding.  Next, they started sounding the alarm.  In editorial after editorial, they tried to highlight the positive aspects of US-ROK ties and they called for an end to the candlelight vigils and anti-American demonstrations that just a few months earlier they had applauded.  The pinnacle came when some university students broke into a US Military firing range, torched American flags, and danced on top of American tanks.  The condemnation all across the ideological spectrum in Korea came hard and fast.  The overriding message was one urging restraint in consideration of the potential damage to the Korean economy and security if such acts continued unabated.  They were afraid.  Very, very afraid.  And in my opinion, that fear was directly responsible for the noticeable lack of America-bashing in this election.

As for the spark that started it, I think 90% of Marshall's original post is spot-on, but the way that he got the 10% wrong is probably what set the Marmot off in his reply.  Marshall says:

Setting aside these uncanny parallels, there's a more immediate significance to this result. It is the continuance of a global trend in which elections in countries allied to the United States are being won by parties advocating loosening ties with America. Running against America -- or really against George W. Bush makes for great politics almost everywhere in the world.

Absolutely correct.  It is a continuance of a global trend in which countries allied to the US are being won by parties advocating loosening ties with America.  Running against America does indeed make for great politics everywhere in the world.  Outside of Israel, there isn't a country on earth in which aligning yourself with George Bush will help, rather than hurt, your chances.  Anyone who disagrees, show me some examples.

This trend is not really in dispute to anyone paying attention.  At the same time, I am also of the belief that the trend means absolutely nothing in terms of evaluating the policies of the Bush administration.  Knee-jerk anti-Americanism worldwide is by no means a valid measure of policy, regardless of those on the left that would like to spin it that way and regardless of how many foreign leaders John Kerry says support him.  The important question for this debate, is to what degree and how significant were anti-Americanism and anti-Bush sentiment in those elections?  In my view, this is the only point on which there should be any discussion, and I believe it's the only real point on which I (and the Marmot, but I could be wrong) disagree with Marshall.

We saw it in South Korea two years ago. Then later that year in Germany. Recently in Spain. And now again in Korea -- with many other examples along the way.

SK two years ago - check and a very significant factor.  Germany - check and also a significant factor.  Spain - check and again a significant factor.  Now again in Korea - check, but to a different and lesser degree than the other three.  Significant or not?  Depends on your viewpoint, and it also depends on how you decide what constitutes being a factor.

Each election had its own internal dynamics. But in each case opposition to the policies of the Bush administration became a salient, even defining issue.

Here's the 10%.  Yes, each election had its own internal dynamics and I believe this is Marshall trying to say that Bush and America were not always 100% of the issue, such as in Spain where the ruling party's post-bombing spin party and ETA blame-game were a good part of it.  But his mistake (at least with the recent Korean election) is in trying to lump all 4 elections together in the same boat to advance his agenda.  The 2002 and 2004 elections in Korea were not the same in terms of focus on anti-Americanism and Marshall was absolutely wrong in trying to imply that they were.  As the Marmot also said, it would certainly be easy to make that mistake by reading foreign press coverage of this election, but it's a mistake nonetheless.

At the same time I think the Marmot also made a mistake in his criticism of Marshall, he just made his in the opposite direction.  Marshall vastly overestimated America as a campaign issue, and the Marmot underestimated it.

Any reasonable person can argue about the relative size and visibility of the elephant in each election.  What is not reasonable, is to argue that the elephant does not exist.

Sat, 04/17/04
You does want it

There are few things I admire more than a well-constructed sandwich.  Below is the reason I wade through the annoying aji's at Costco, and why I make a weekly trip down to Hannam to stock up on imported foods.  As a side-note, putting together this masterpiece also required me to cook my first turkey, which was a resounding success.  I done basted that fucker til it could nay be basted no more.  In fact, I didn't really care about eating hot turkey when it was done...I just wanted to carve it and slap it in the fridge to prep for the onslaught of sammiches that I is been eatin' since Thursday night. 

Please refrain from drooling on me bloog.  Thanks.

Were it in fact the perfect sammich, alfalfa sprouts would take the place of lettuce and sourdough would replace 6-grain.

A few questions

Dear Ajumma in Costco,

What the fuck did you expect to see?  Did you think my shopping cart would be filled with the heads of Iraqi children?  Maybe a bakers dozen of double-ended dildos?

I realize that whitey with a shopping cart is a novel concept, but seriously...what the fuck is so interesting about what I'm buying?  Is my pasty white skin really enough to justify you sticking your goddamn nosey head halfway into my cart?  Are you so fascinated with the waygook saram that you'll endure severe whiplash just to get a peek at his food selection?

Sorry if I seem a little harsh aji, but it aint just you.  If it were, I'd let you slide.  Fact is, the entire batallion of ajumma I face off with every time I go to the grocery store pull the exact same bullshit, and I'm done fed up wivit.

Step 1:  Recognize whitey.
Step 2:  Swivel head and stare incredulously into my cart.
Step 3:  Nudge husband to make sure he doesn't miss the excitement.
Step 4:  Make comment about how much cheese is in my cart.
Step 5:  Tell kids "That's why Americans are so unhealthy."

Is it not possible to mind your own fucking business?  Wait...don't answer that.  Dumb question. 

Given that everything is your fucking business, are you unfamiliar with the concept of peripheral vision?  Do you realize that it's possible to get a full scan and inventory of what's in my cart without me ever noticing?  Wait...don't answer that.  Because really, why would you care if the circus monkey notices?

See aji, I'm really just trying to help you out.  I'm trying to spare you the embarrassment that occurs when the circus monkey gets sick of being stared at and lashes out.  Because honestly, I could tell you were mightily embarrassed when I stopped my cart, walked over to yours, and stuck my head inside it in apparent amazement at all your kimchi and veggies.  You were surprised at first, and then I saw the recognition in your eyes that your rude staring and my exaggerated monkey act appeared to be connected.  I knew by your sheepish look and by the fact that you sped up and tried to run away.  You were ashamed, as well you should have been.

 I don't enjoy resorting to such tactics...but I will continue to do so as long as it's necessary.  The next time you look in my cart, you just may see the entire thing stacked with tampons and feminine hygiene products, as I did a couple years ago in Carrefour just to see the looks on the aji's faces when they inevitably stuck their fat heads in where it doesn't belong.  Or you may see a piece of paper on top of my groceries which says in Korean in big, bold letters: "WHY ARE YOU LOOKING IN MY CART AJUMMA?!?!?"  I used that sign a few times at the old Midopa up in Nowon with satisfactory results.

If I'm really in a pissy mood, you just may find me actually rummaging through your cart, manhandling all your food like a bum searching through a dumpster.  I've done it ajumma, so don't believe it can't happen to you.  The one aji that suffered that indignity fully deserved it I might add.  She was so anxious to see what whitey was buying that she actually pried open a grocery bag of mine when my back was turned at the check-out counter.  She just couldn't stand it...with that black bag obstructing her right to know what I would be consuming.  So she waited until I'd turned to dig some change out of my backpack and bam!  She done reached her grubby little mitts into my cart and jostled the bag open just enough to see an 8-oz brick of cheddar, confirming her suspicions I assume.

You should've seen her when I turned back and caught her.  Like a little girl with chocolate chips and cookie crumbs all over her face, but she was 40 instead of 4.  Her expression went from embarrassed to flummoxed when I started rifling through her groceries.  She didnt try to stop me, just kept saying she was sorry.  Still, I put in a solid 10-15 seconds of molesting her cabbage and I'm pretty sure she got the picture.

Don't think I won't go that far again aji.  I will.  If the fancy strikes me I may very well stuff some of your onions down the front of my pants and ask you to dig them out with your teeth.

See aji, my starring role as your monkey/clown/cheap entertainment is up in 4 months, and I just don't give a fuck anymore.  Don't give a fuck about keeping the peace with rude locals, and don't give a fuck if Costco bans me for vegetable assault and desecration.  Beware the clownmonkey that doesn't give a fuck, aji.  It's a dangerous combination for both you and your groceries.

Mon, 04/12/04
Korean Law Enforcement in a Nutshell

A glimpse into the thought processes that occur when the children control the parents and laws are enforced if and only if there's no fear of "citizen protest."

Gov't to Establish Model Streets With Orderly, Artistic Signboards

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- Culture and Tourism Minister Lee Chang-dong said Monday his ministry will soon designate model zones in Seoul and Busan where smaller and more orderly signboards will be attached to buildings.

Important part of that sentence: "in violation of relevant laws restricting their size." Nice job on explaining the rationale behind building owners consistently breaking the laws too. And here I thought they used signboards for aesthetic reasons.

The measure aims to get rid of excessively large and flamboyant signboards which have been criticized for ruining city landscapes, Lee said while briefing Acting President Goh Kun about his ministry's policy agenda for this year.

Seems well-intentioned enough. Haven't been to Pusan in a few years, but Seoul north of the Han is basically one big outhouse signboard anyway, and certainly needs a Sally Jessy-style makeover.

Most buildings in the country have large outdoor signboards in violation of relevant laws restricting their size, as building owners use the signboards as part of their marketing strategy for tenants, such as shops and offices.

The government has been reluctant to order removal of the illegal signboards in the face of strong protests from shop and building owners who installed them.

Read it again.

Problem: Illegal signboards fucking up the city landscape.

Relevant laws in place: Check.

Enforcement of relevant laws: Non-existant.

Reason for lack of enforcement: "Strong protests from building owners who installed them."

Lesson for Koreans: Laws only apply to the dipshits who don't strongly protest them.

"Changing the disorderly signboards means transforming the space for more substantial life," Lee said.

The ministry will soon have artists and designers arrange a model street in Gwangbok-dong, downtown Busan, the country's southeasternmost port city, with artistic signboards in harmony with road lamps, trees and other aspects of the surrounding area, Lee said.

You know what idiotic parents do when their spoiled little fuck of a 5-year old won't eat his lima beans? They try to get him to follow their example. They eat the limas in front of the brat, and then feign rapturous delight in order to convince the kid that eating lima beans are "good for him." They're too intimidated by the 5-year old to spank the bastard and reinforce the idea of who's actually in charge, so they debase themselves and figure that if they just give little Ralphie a dramatic demonstration of how great lima beans are, that he'll surely cave in and eat them.

The Korean government is the parent here. The shop owners are the spoiled 5-year old brats. These "model streets" are the lima beans.

"We are trying to make shop owners realize the renovation of disorderly signboards benefits them," the minister said, adding the second and third such model streets will be established in an apartment complex and near a Buddhist temple in Seoul by the end of the year.

"See these great model streets? (See daddy eat the lima beans?) They're beautiful! (Mmmmmmm...gooooooooood lima beans!)"

Guess what? Ralphie won't ever eat the fucking lima beans unless you shove them down his throat or pound his spoiled ass for refusing, and these shop owners will never voluntarily emulate the more visually pleasing but less profitable model streets unless they're forced to or they get their illegal signs torn the fuck down.

Lee said his ministry will not mobilize administrative power to order shop owners to replace their illegal outdoor signboards with smaller ones, fearing strong protests from owners of shops and buildings.

Listen really hard. That sound you hear is Mr. Lee's vagina rubbing against his skirt. That other sound you hear is millions of Koreans having a good laugh at the rule of law and anyone who dare enforce it.

"Instead, we are gradually expanding model streets with orderly signboards," he said.

Good luck with that asshole. If you're expecting a domino effect of good will to topple all those store owners you're deathly afraid of confronting, you best prepare yourself for disappointment. They're gonna keep on cornholing you as long as you keep pulling down your pants and lubing yourself up.

Count on it.

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