Sunday, August 31, 2008

making Obama into a sock puppet

You didn't think the GOP would just let it go when every other media outlet drags out the pictures of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin as Miss Wasilla 1984, did you?

It turns out that future junior US Senator from Illinois Barack Obama had a stint as a sock model for Hane's. The good news: He's ultra soft but double tough.

Grab him, squeeze him. You know you want to.

[The above picture, by the way, was taken with my iPhone.]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And you thought it was cold in Alaska

All right. If they promise to stick this picture up in every post office in America, I'm voting for Sarah Palin... and that old guy she hangs out with.

(Just so you know what this is about, the newly anointed GOP vice presidential candidate was Miss Wasilla in 1984, and not just because Wasilla is one of those typical Alaskan towns where there are only two or three women. Google it, people, since I'm tired of finding links.)

Things just got interesting in a year of almost "firsts"

Barack Hussein Obama would be the first African-American to be president, after defeating Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (if we're going to write out BHO's full name, we must do the same for the others) in the primaries. She would have been the first female president, and she defeated (deafened?) my man New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who would have been the first Hispanic president (the media chose to ignore that in their love fest with Obama and Hillary). 

Now John Sidney McCain III, who would not be the first anything (not first old guy to be president, but maybe the first Vietnam War veteran) has done what Obama wouldn't: he has chosen someone who would be the first female VP and someone not all that far from being the first president (the vice president's sole duties being to step in for the dead or out-of-commission president, break ties in the Senate, and coach the White House youth soccer team).

When I read that, I said "Wow!" to my Mac. My Mac is used to that, since it's a Mac. But this time it had nothing to do with Panther or Apple hardware. 

[above: the happy couple. Pictures like this baffle me. Don't they realize the audience is behind them? Are the Republicans so out of touch with the general public that they can't even see where they are? Maybe Senator McCain is having a senior moment and Governor Palin is just politely going along with it: "No, John, I can't find them either." By the way, for a very disturbing play-by-play of what's going through Senator McCain's head at this moment, see this YouTube video (warning: you may never respect the future leader of the free world ever again).]

According to the Mercury News, he chose Sarah Palin because she's a bit of a maverick, like himself. She's also kinda hot for a politician (though that can work against female politicos, I suppose). In fact, she almost looks like the president in a made-for-TV movie, which is what politics nowadays is, I suppose.

Some people have said picking an unknown from a state with few electoral votes is political suicide. But, hey, when Bush41 picked Robert Redford's stunt double for VP, he still managed to win. Bill Clinton picked a wooden puppet and won twice! Bush43 picked a fat, bald guy from a state with as few votes as Alaska and a serious heart condition, and while he didn't win the election, he still became president!

I'll have to check Sarah Palin out a bit more. So far all I've seen is that she's tough on ethics issues and her husband is one-eighth Eskimo/Inuit. I'll have to see how she feels about security issues in Northeast Asia and free-trade agreements FTA like the one between South Korea and the United States which is awaiting ratification. That issue alone may make me vote for McCain-Palin over Obama-Bi(nla)den (ha! couldn't resist!). 

The only time I have ever voted Republican in a major race was in 2006, when I voted to re-elect The Gubernator™ (Arnold Schwarzenegger) as a reward for him bucking the GOP to bring us Californians environmental goodness. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Kushibo the apologist" on Korean soldiers in Vietnam

My critics have long labeled me as an apologist for Korean stuff. That would be true if you ignore all the constructively critical things I've written about Korean society, politicos, etc. Below is something I wrote at the Marmot's Hole in 2005 about alleged atrocities committed by Korean soldiers in Vietnam.

This was in response to the usually whacky Baduk, who said (with the kind of amazing lucidity one doesn't expect from him):
It is high time for us to admit those acts as they come out and truly apologize to [the] Vietnamese people. Hiding them only makes us look Japanese.
I wrote:
I’ll go one better: hiding them only allows for the recurrence later on.

During World War II, while it is true that hundreds of thousands were serving the Japanese involuntarily, some of these conscripts and some of the volunteers did commit atrocities, particularly in the POW camps. A couple dozen Koreans, in fact, were executed for war crimes (a tiny percentage of the Japanese imperial total).

But because the issues and circumstances never really came to light for the general public, it was easy for them to be repeated, not just during Yugio, but also during the Vietnam War. And in the future, who knows? Maybe the way a lot of Korean factory heads run things in China and Southeast Asia is due to a lack of reflection on the capabilities of some Confucian-oriented Korean people in authority to do violent harm to their underlings.

And this is another reason why I find the right-wing Japanese rhetoric so disturbing. Painting the atrocities as little more than a huge fabrication or the war itself as a defensive war derails important Japanese attempts in the past to come to grips with the horrors committed by people from their culture, even themselves. By denying it, watering it down, or rationalizing it away, you make it more likely to happen in the future. And that is why at least some people are nervous about the rhetoric coming from Japan’s right and Koizumi’s lack of concern about some of these issues.

I would like to see the evidence that Korean troops committed these atrocities. My guess is that many of them are true, but that that morphed (by design maybe) into a legendary behavior that exceeded actual incidents. That’s NOT an excuse for any of it, but it would easily reconcile the two major sides of the issue.

Korea cannot demand that Japan come clean if it doesn’t come clean itself. That “the other side” has 100 or 1000 times more atrocities to atone for doesn’t let your side off the hook.
Baduk later wrote that he agreed with me 100%. One of those rare moments.

Rant and/or Diatribe #37

During a discussion with a Croatian friend here at H 대학교, I warned my Balkan buddy that Croatia may want to start shaking in its boots as Russia starts looking to shore up its once mighty empire. They are angry at the Croats (and the Bosnians, the Montenegrins, the Slovenians, and the Macedonians) for rejecting the benevolent hegemony of the Russian Bear. 

That was fifty years ago, he said.

No, I explained. I mean in the early 1990s when you went independent, splitting yourselves off from the Moscow's Slavic allies in Yugoslavia.

But we're Slavs, too, he said.

But you're not Orthodox Slavs. You went Catholic centuries ago, and it's soon going to be time for payback for slapping down the benevolent paw of the Russian Bear. 

We also talked about how Vladivostok used to be a Korean village. Maybe Korea should be careful too. Or maybe Korea should be looking to take back Vladivostok, the way a bear's gall bladder is excised and gobbled down. 

Ah, but this won't happen. Every one is afraid of Russia. Everyone is afraid of Russia cutting off energy supplies. 

It's high time we start focusing on alternative energy sources (not alternative sources of oil) so we won't have to rely on evil nations like Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Canada.

That's right: I said Canada. Nefarious Cannucks trying to push their socialized medicine. It's no wonder they try so hard to place Canadian actors in Hollywood. It's systemic brainwashing. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic opening ceremonies

Rather than debate whether I would be a hypocrite or not for watching the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I just reminded myself that the event was at 2 a.m., way past my bedtime. (And who schedules a major television event for two-freakin-a.m.?! I guess the Johnny Carson-esque skit would answer: "Hu schedules a major television event for 2 a.m." The Hu part of the YouTube link starts at 2:48, but you should watch the whole thing from 1982).

It's dangerous to be a South Korean in China right now. The Chinese are pissed off that SBS showed clandestinely shot footage of the rehearsal for the opening ceremony, which networks around the world showed because South Korean TV had essentially given them the green light. I myself saw it on "Good Morning, America," where they said they were happy that South Korean television had given them this taste of what was to come.

In the end, the North and South Korean teams did not walk in together. Relations are strained, particularly after the shooting death of Kumgsangsan (Diamond Mountains) tourist Park Wangja by North Korean soldiers. Plus the North doesn't like new president Lee Myungbak at all. 

Or just maybe the North Koreans got advance word of some nasty stuff the Beijing crowd was going to do to the South Korean team when they walk into the stadium. (Even if it was just booing, for North Koreans to see a joint team getting booed on television might cause their heads to explode, or maybe get them to question Juche philosophy and all it claims to have done for them).  

But the South Korean athletes should maintain a professional and respectable composure about them, no matter what. But it would be tempting, if they had gotten booed or bombarded by a mob of nationalistic stadium-goers, to stand up during the opening show and shout, "Boring! Got anything besides reruns?" 

재방송, ㅋㅋㅋ...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hey, lady. Ever hear of an animal shelter?

Straight out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Sixth Day," the disgraced Dr Hwang Woo-suk from the cloning scandal of 2006 is in competition with one of his former hubae in the lab to clone dogs. At $50,000 a pop, er... pup. You've gotta be stupid rich and totally in love with your dog to pay that kinda money. Note title above.

The woman in this picture looks like she loves her dog. Or maybe she loves to eat dogs whole. Speaking of dogs as consumer meats, if the procedural costs end up coming down significantly, we could see McDonald's serving your kids SnuppyMeals sometime in the future. 

Monday, August 4, 2008


Okay. Here I am in Mickey D's enjoying a Filet-o-Fish (just because you can't have one in Korea). And I am typing out this entire post on my iPhone. Jealous? (not just because I have one but also because I have enough free time to finger out an entire post on this tiny keyboard)? The best part? 한글 입력도 가능해요! Okay, must stop now. The carpal tunnel is starting to kick in.