Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auf wiedersehen, VHS.

T'is the end of an era. There will be no rewinding back to the days of VHS. The Los Angeles Times reports, with no small bit of nostalgia, that the era of VHS has come to an end, with the last load of VHS tapes being sent out from a Florida warehouse.

The story includes an interesting look at what the new format meant for home entertainment, with theater-going not only NOT dying, but with movies getting a second run as a VHS release and a third run as an addition to a home movie library. 

For about ten years in Korea I taught a very popular cross-cultural course that was a running commentary on comparisons between American and Korean culture, using news segments as the kernel of the course. Though that was only one of the things I did—and it was mostly a hobby because I loved teaching it—it was the thing that paid for all the other things, including the nascent media business I started. 

I religiously recorded all English-language news broadcasts on AFKN, which were usually ABC News with Peter Jennings (R.I.P.) and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. CNN, with its short and shallow clips, was usually not very useful, and CBS was rarely shown on AFKN (too liberal?). 

The videotape format meant that if something I wanted to use was, say, fifteen minutes into a thirty-minute broadcast, I couldn't record the next day's program before the first. That meant videotapes filled up fast. I always meant to go back and re-record the usable clips using two VCRs hooked together, but there was usually no time. It was always easier to get a fresh new tape, number it (they had codes like "9811C" or "0204D" for the third tape used in November 1998 or the fourth tape used in April 2002, respectively), and stick it in the VCR.

And that's how I ended up with literally hundreds of videotapes in my apartment-cum-office. I think at one point we used them as office furniture. A whole bunch of them, when a move had to be made, ended up being tossed, including the ones that had my old Simpsons recordings on them.

When I briefly resurrected the course in 2006, right before leaving for Hawaii, I had the news programs on Quicktime files, courtesy of BJIT (British James in Texas) who would record them and upload them for me. Much easier to deal with. 

VHS tapes made me rich (well, rich enough to buy an apartment and use it to start a small company). The Macs helped. So did my hard work, I suppose. 

Ah, VHS. There are still a lot of old VHS movies lying around my house, including the uncut version of Angel Heart, which I watched over and over and over again (well, parts of it at least). One by one I have "replaced" them with their DVD counterpart. It doesn't hurt that some DVDs are as cheap as $5 at WalMart and Borders sometimes has whole seasons of your favorite show for $15. 

I still remember, probably in the early 1980s, when my dad got us a membership at the local video store which had just opened up. It cost $50 or so for the annual membership, and then $2 or $3 for each video we rented. They often didn't have what we wanted. The proliferation of cable TV memberships and then video rental chains like Blockbuster magically turned the mom-and-pop video store into a Korean BBQ restaurant. 

My dad also paid to have his old Super-8 home movies converted into videotape, thinking that would make them more permanent. Much to his horror, he learned that videotape has a shelf life measured in a decade or so. He was also horrified that his "Married With Children" collection wouldn't last. Later he had the good sense to simply buy copies of "Desperate Housewives," his new must-see TV program. 

So, good-bye, VHS. It's been a lot of fun. But I have one question: With nothing but DVDs, can we still call them video stores? (Sure, if you accept that DVD stands for digital videodisc and not digital versatile disc.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Breakfast and virginity

A recent Japanese study of 3000 people has found a correlation between not eating breakfast and losing one's virginity earlier. They speculate that the same lack of stability that would indicate a lesser likelihood of having a morning meal before heading off to school would promote the same type of conditions in which an underage person began engaging in sex.
People who skip breakfast tend to lose their virginity earlier, according to researchers in Japan.

In a study of 3000 people, those who did not regularly eat breakfast in their early teens said they lost their virginity at an average age of 17.5, versus an overall average age of 19 for all Japanese.

Those who had a morning meal when they were younger had their first sexual experience at 19.4 years.

The study, backed by Japan's health ministry, was aimed at finding ways to curb unwanted pregnancies. It concluded that a stable home life discouraged early sex.

"Those unhappy with their parents - such as for not preparing breakfast - may tend to find a way to release their frustration by having sex," said Kunio Kitamura, head of the Japan Family Planning Association who led the research.

"If children don't feel comfortable in their family environment, they tend to go out."

Young people who start having sex early tended to miss breakfast because they return home late, he said.
I'm just glad that clever headline writers didn't realize that Japanese breakfast is a lot like other meals of the day, possibly including soup rather than corn flakes, otherwise we'd have ended up with headlines like "Miso horny" or some such.

Oh, wait, there's more:
Japan has one of the world's lowest birthrates as more young people put off starting families, finding them a burden on their careers or lifestyles.

The survey also found that nearly 40 per cent of married couples had not had sex in more than a month.

Respondents said they were too tired because of work or found sex to be a pain, according to the study.
If sex is a pain, you're not doing it right.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

That would be "Merry Christmas" in the local Hawaiian, bra. 

And here's to a Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, 메리 크리스마스, メリクリスマス, and Joyeux Noel! That pretty much exhausts all the languages that I've ever spent any real amount of time trying to learn.

The photo below is the observatories of Mauna Kea, the highest point in Hawaii, on the Big Island. That's about as wintery/Christmasy a scene as you're going to find in the Aloha State. With an elevation of 13,796 feet (4205 meters), there is usually snow found on the upper reaches of this volcano, whose name in Hawaiian means "white mountain." And, yes, the intrepid really do attempt to ski there. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 may be a good year for whine, but that's all.

When the Big Three went hat-in-hand to Washington to beg for a bailout, one of the dominant ideas coming out of Detroit was that this was an unusual year. 

That is, the problems of Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford were not simply caused by their failure to move from gas guzzlers to to gas sippers (as the latest gasoline shock had set in and consumers demanded cars that didn't require a second mortgage just to go visit Grandma in Peoria), their inability to meet the ridiculously out-of-touch labor deals they'd made years ago with the unions, or anything else specific to Detroit. 

They pointed out that even Toyota was experiencing a 30% slump, and now comes news that Toyota will experience their first loss since 1938, a year after the company was founded. 

And in the same vein (and this is the lead story here) is that Korea's Big Two have dramatically cut their 2008 sales forecasts by one eighth. Per the New York Times:
Two South Korean automakers — the Hyundai Motor Company and the Kia Motors Corporation — cut their joint 2008 sales forecast by 12.5 percent Monday and said they would freeze pay for managers amid slumping vehicle demand.

Separately, a smaller rival, the Ssangyong Motor Company, said it might not be able to meet its December payroll on time.

Hyundai and Kia said in a statement that they now expected total sales to reach 4.2 million vehicles this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 4.8 million. Overseas inventories, meanwhile, are expected to reach 1.06 million vehicles, the statement said.

It's really not a good year for anybody. Unless, of course, you're one of those looking to buy a brand new car, real cheap, with 0% financing.

*KB2 would be Hyundai and Kia, even though Kia is now owned by Hyundai, which makes them the fifth-largest automotive group in the world. Daewoo is another major manufacturer, but right now I don't count them because they're owned by GM, while Samsung is owned by Renault. This is what happened when Korea's economy went into the toilet and didn't have WashingtonSeoul to bail them out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Madoff... sounds like "made off"

I only recently heard Ponzi schemer extraoridinaire Bernard Madoff's last name pronounced correctly. All this time I've been thinking it sounded like "mad off" when in fact it sounds like "made off."

As in, "He made off with $50 billion."

I can't help but think of all these charities and foundations that had put their faith in Madoff. Sure, investing any money is inherently risky, but these people at least thought their money was being invested, not used in a pyramid scheme.

I can't help but imagine that, with all these charitable foundations drastically cutting their budgets because of this loss, there are actually people who are going to die—I mean actually lose their lives because of a loss of needed help—because of this Madoff guy. 

I also can't help but recall back in 1997 and 1998 how all these investor types and economists back in the US and Europe were lecturing Korea on its terrific mismanagement. Madoff's story is just one more reason they should've all just STFU. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I learn from NPR

I once watched a movie with the current CIA director, Michael Hayden. Specifically, Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith (who by contract, has a starring role in every other movie in the 1990s and 2000s) and Gene Hackman (who had a similar contract in the 1970s and 1980s). 

I only discovered this just today, when I was listening to last Sunday's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!", a comical news quiz on NPR. Hayden was this week's celebrity guest (yes, it's an odd program).  

The host and celebrity panelists were joking with the CIA director about how so many people thought the American intelligence services were like those depicted in Enemy of the State (i.e., spying on everyone) or in Three Days of the Condor (i.e., killing off people who got in the way), and they wanted to know which one was accurate. 

Hayden then mentioned that he had watched Enemy of the State just before getting word that he was being promoted to director of the NSA (the bad guys in the film). Specifically, he said he had watched it on the Friday night it came out at the base theater where he was stationed, at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, Korea.

"Whoa!" I thought to myself as a low-energy GE lightbulb went off in my head. "I was there!" I distinctly remember watching that movie, in part because it also starred Lisa Bonet, about whom I had had many impure thoughts when I was a lad. 

Geez, who wouldn't? (Frankly, though I'm happy to hear she's resurrecting her career in the American remake of the British hit "Life on Mars," it appears the past ten years or so have not been terribly kind to her. Unlike, say, Phoebe Cates.)

Anyway, knowing the schedule I had back then, and knowing I had watched the movie when it first came out, I also would have been there at the Balboni Theater during the same showing. I can't say I specifically remember the good general, but it's kinda cool to know this. 

Now I'm only one degree of separation from the president. My plan is finally coming together. (And that, wiretapping scribes, is meant as a joke.)

How things work: Garlic's influence on longevity

For centuries if not millennia, garlic has been used as a palliative for all sorts of things from fever reduction and gangrene prevention to cholesterol lowering vampire off-warding. 

Korean creation mythology even involves a garlic-eating bear who was turned into a beautiful woman (which is next week's topic on How Things Work), though I'm not sure what that has to do with good health. 

Though some scientists suspect it is the allicin in whole garlic that produces the reported salutary effects, no one is certain and tests are inconclusive. One connection, though, is clear, and that is garlic's apparent power to increase life expectancy. The mechanism for this goes according to the following.

Part A. For garlic obtained in its natural state, here's How Things Work™:
  1. Garlic stinks. Stinks like a muther fv¢ker*. 
  2. You consume the whole garlic in the form of ethnic food (e.g., Korean or Italian).
  3. Now you stink. 
  4. Not just your breath, but the sweat coming out of your pores.
  5. No one of the opposite sex wants to get anywhere near you, and certainly not close enough to initiate sexual contact of any kind.
  6. Decreased sexual opportunity translates into decreased exposure to risk of deadly STDs (e.g., HIV, antibiotic-resistant chlamydia, HPV, and dementia-induing syphilis that causes you to engage in unnecessarily reckless automobile operation).
  7. You live longer than the people who got any of the above disorders.
  8. You die miserable and alone (and smelling of garlic), but at least you were here longer. Woo hoo! Kudos to you and your mad longevity skills. 
Part B. For garlic consumed through supplements, here's How Things Work™:
  1. No matter how many times they slap "odor control formula" on the box, that stinks as well.
  2. Supplements enter the stomach.
  3. Gastric juices dissolve the supplement's outer covering.
  4. Noxious garlic gas is released.
  5. You stink just the same as if you had eaten a bowl full of authentic Sicilian pasta topped with a jar of kimchi. 
  6. You're too much of a gullible idiot to grasp that you now stink despite the promises on the box. The evil, lying box. 
  7. Continue from #4 in Part A.  
*Kimchi, pulgogi—pretty much all Korean food—will make you stink like an m.f. as well. The minute you open a jar of kimchi at home, your property values will go down $5000. For neighbors within a 100-foot radius, it's $2000. They should sue you. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

yesŭmaen* (예스맨)

Jim Carrey's upcoming film, YESman, includes scenes where the Cannuck funnyman takes a Korean class (apparently because, per the film's premise, he couldn't say no). 

A Hollywood figure employing Korean culture as a vehicle for laughs? What could possibly go wrong?

By the way, the Han'gŭl (한글; Korean text) on the chalkboard is rather odd. The largest letters on the left (그, 느, 드) looks like someone meticulously drew how those characters would be printed on a serif typewriter, while the large characters to the right (시옷) look like someone without much experience with Han'gŭl tried to mimic serif typewriter characters (what Burger King would call a Han'gŭl virgin). 

Meanwhile, the horizontal sentence at top (청주 날씨는 어때요?, meaning "What is the weather like in Chongju?") looks like it was sloppily drawn by the same Han'gŭl newbie or possibly a really, really tall kindergartner. 

Anyway, it's not the first time Hollywood has employed Han'gŭl to make things cool.

And just how is the weather in Chongju? Well, over the next couple days highs will be in the upper 30s (Fahrenheit) with lows in the 20s (also Fahrenheit). Click here to check the weather right now.

* When writing the McCune-Reischauer Romanization for "yes man" (which is now an acceptable Konglish term), this is a good time NOT to leave out the breve [˘] over the u, since the breve-less yesu maen would be "Jesus man."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This time they've gone too far.

CBS's Survivor is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for new reward and immunity challenges.

This season contestants vying for the $1 million prize in Gabon were tasked with invading a local native village, finding out in which hut the chief lived, and then torching it.
Seriously, though, I think this season's crop of contestants was not that good. Survivor has long been the only reality show I even think of watching, but CBS is getting away from what I've always liked about the show: it was real people with normal backgrounds in this situation that was extraordinary but also reflected the way people act, plan, plot, and make decisions in the real world. 

That is, selfish people interacting with the full knowledge that unmitigated selfishness will not earn them the support they need in the end. 

This time around, the show's producers chose an Olympic athlete, a pin-up model, a professional online gamer (from Orange County!), and a bitch who was proud of being a bitch and despised people who were nice. It seemed clear they were going for sparks over reality.

By the way, pin-up model "Sugar" has some serious daddy issues and Kenny Hoang, in addition to being pathologically afraid of women, seems to have quite a White girl fetish going. Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

I haven't watched the final results, so I don't know who won the $1 million. I'm just glad that none of the total jerks were in the final three this time. Anyway, CBS, take note: It's the ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances that makes the show tick; don't fudge the results by picking wild or unusual people with whom we can't identify.

The two with the most votes were the physics teacher, who will go away with $1 million, and the part-time elementary school teacher, who wins a $100,000 consolation prize. Which just proves what we've known all along: The only way teachers in America will ever get rich is on game shows.

Let's be honest here: Under Saddam Hussein, would he have had the luxury of an extra pair of shoes he could toss away to make a political statement?

Holy crap! This man did what loads of people around the world (including many Americans) wish they could've done. I hope when this guy gets out of prison he still has motor function in both his arms so he enjoy all the drinks folks will be buying him for the rest of his life.

Say what you will about Korea and its supposed high level of anti-Americanism (which is not that high compared to many other US allies), but I can't imagine this happening in Korea. 

Two things I noticed about Bush when the shoe was thrown at him. First, that famous smirk never left his face. Maybe he thought it was an old Yale prank. 

Second, he has good reflexes, especially for someone in his sixties. See, kiddies, this is one of the benefits you get when you quit drinking. 

The video below is of the same incident, but provides more newsy context. I like newsy context. 

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Hold on... Can you hear me NOW? The reception's no good here... I'm driving through a gulag.

The impoverished and hermetically sealed fearocracy (that's rule by fear) known as North Korea is upgrading to 3G network cellular service.

The service is being implemented by Egyptian telecom giant Orascom, not Verizon, so North Korea will still be full of dead zones for quite some time. (In case you missed it, that's dark political humor; you see, North Korea's leadership routinely uses torture, imprisonment of whole families, and summary executions as a way to terrorize its own population in order to keep them under control. Hmm... maybe terrocracy would be a better word to coin here.)

But don't expect the average Cho up in North Korea to be using the latest iPhone or Blackberry (give a North Korean prole an anything-berry and he'd probably eat it). My guess is that upgraded cellular service will only mean two things: North Korean authorities will be more efficient at brutal authoritarianism, and Kim Jong-il will have an easier time downloading porn while on the road when he's visiting cooperatives and factories to dispense his wisdom.

But if you do find an average North Korean with a new 3G phone, remember these common shortcuts for texting in North Korea:
screaming out loud

rolling on the floor being tortured

rolling on the floor because I'm being electrocuted

mindlessly shouting praises about Dear Leader Kim Jong-il


I've been beaten so badly by the police that I can't open my eyes.

family all together in political prison

No matter what I just saw, I'm keeping my effing mouth shut!

No matter what I just saw, I'm keeping my effing mouth shut! (with glasses)


I was keeping my mouth shut, but they clubbed me in the head anyway, just to make sure I kept it shut.

Those bastards broke my glasses! What the hell's the matter with them?! I was going to keep quiet!

Those shitheads hit me again! As soon as I defect, I'm getting LASIK.

' ' '
I've consumed three grains of rice today.

' ' '/7
I'm down to three grains of rice per week.

' ' '/30
(Don't make me explain this one; it's just too sad to think about.)


My neighbor has starved to death.

o<-<  >->o  o<-<  >->o
The authorities came to the village to teach us a lesson about what happens if we smuggle in DVDs of South Korean television dramas from across the border with China.

I'm searching the ground for anything even remotely edible.

Please, please, please, for the love of God, come and save us.
[In all seriousness, life in North Korea is not a joke for most people. The ruling elite has a stranglehold on the general population which lives in fear of Pyongyang because of what would happen to not just them but their families if they were to show dissent. Humor can sometimes highlight how we ignore an ongoing human catastrophe or find ourselves powerless to do anything about it, but it should never be used to allow us to mentally dismiss what's going on.] 

Okay. I'm back to thinking nuns are sexy

How did I miss Megan Fox playing Mother Teresa? If that's not Exhibit A that I'm studying too hard, I don't know what is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Korea, Japan, and China hold trilateral talks

The leaders of South Korea, Japan, and China all met in Fukuoka Prefecture on Saturday to discuss ways "to enhance coordination to counter the global economic turmoil." The Japan Times says it was their "first-ever trilateral summit." (The Korea Herald has the story here; The Korea Times has it here.)

With the Korean won (KRW) hovering around 1400 won/dollar—and as bad as 1500 won/dollar recently—there is genuine concern that the volatility of the KRW's value will adversely affect their own economies. This represents a 30% drop over the last year, with most of that coming in the past few months. A "natural" level for the KRW is about 1000 won/dollar.

Toward that end, Japanese prime minister Taro Aso agreed to increase Japan's currency-swap agreement with South Korea to US$30 billion. Aso believes that the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative, set up in 2000 to enhance multilateral currency swaps, should be expanded in order to help weather the economic meltdown.

This is all a good sign. I'd especially like to see Seoul and Tokyo get their act together, in the spirit of the Obuchi-Kim agreements of the late 1990s, and move forward as partners instead of pandering to nationalistic elements in both countries. 

And if China wants to get on board with economic and political stability, that's fine. As long as Taiwan isn't left hanging out to dry and the United States is still playing a major role. 

The three leaders also talked about maintaining the six-party framework aimed at denuclearizing North Korea. This trilateral meeting is to be an annual thing—barring a Tokto-related meltdown in relations, I suppose—with the three meeting in China next year and in South Korea in 2010. They can take the Arex all the way to Seoul Station.  

House: Viewer Discretion Advised (Or, "The episode about lactose intolerance")

Warning: Although this is probably the stupidest thing I've ever written, it does contain actual useful information about lactose intolerance, which you can easily find if you just scroll down and look for stuff in red. Doesn't this color arrangement look so Christmasy?
In an earlier post I commented that one of my first posts, about lactose intolerance, still gets a lot of hits, enough that I thought I should expound my own discovery about how my disparate symptoms were caused by low production of lactase enzymes that break down milk sugar.

I also said that my convolutedly lengthy journey to discover the source of my ailment and symptoms is truly a homeric odyssey worthy of a "House" episode. So just to help out the good folks at the Fox network, I have written part of the script for what would no doubt be a gripping episode. Of course, the rest of the episode (e.g., the opening, the secondary plot, etc.) will have to be added, but this is an excellent beginning.

I could play myself, but I'm sure Fox would attract more viewers if Keanu Reeves plays me in a groundbreaking television role. My girlfriend at the time (my ex) would be played by Jenna Fischer of The Office, who looks exactly like how I wish my then-girlfriend looked.

Although this is a dramatization, there is some serious information in here. If you don't care to read through what is no doubt a very, very silly piece of writing, just look for the stuff highlighted in red, because that contains real information about lactose intolerance.

Too many people have suffered. If retelling my painful journey will help even one LI sufferer, it's all worth it. (NOTE: lactose intolerance is a distinct condition from milk allergy; though many people mistakenly believe they are the same thing, they are definitely not.)

Scene: In the examining room.
All the doctors are standing around KUSHIBO and KUSHIBO'S GIRLFRIEND (KG), who is sitting on an examining table wearing a hospital gown, his muscular physique apparent through the flimsy cloth.

So the subject has had wickedly painful stomach and intestinal cramps since very early adulthood, sometimes in the middle of the night, forcing him awake and unable to get back to sleep. These nighttime pains are sometimes accompanied by diarrhea.

When I wake up in the morning, I'm completely okay. It's not until later in the day that I start getting the cramping pain, which feels like someone or something is squeezing my stomach hard. There's also some bloating.

Bloating? Cramps? That sounds like your monthly visitor, cowboy.

His stomach also makes weird gurgling noises. At first I thought it was cute and I poked fun at him for it, but then it got really annoying. I mean like, damn, can't you turn that off for a while? You're drowning out the TV!

[sarcastically responding to KG's passive aggression and interpreting it as her subconscious desire to end the relationship] I can just tell you're both soooo in love.

What can I say? He's great in the sack.

Scene: House's office
The doctors have left KUSHIBO and KG in the examining room while they brainstorm about what could be causing these symptoms.

So, House, what do you think it is? Stomach cancer? Ulcer? Alien life form surreptitiously implanted in his gastrointestinal tract? Parthenogenesis?

Obviously we'll have to rule each of those out one-by-one. I just sent the patient to the endoscopy room to get an endoscopy.

[heard screaming off camera] Oh... dear... Mother of God...! Get that thing out of me! You're scraping the insides of my stomach! Oh, make it stop! Make it stop! [sobbing] Make it stop!

Wow, was my statement ever redundant! What else would you do in the endoscopy room besides get an endoscope shoved down one of your orifices?

[looking at charts that were just brought in] Well, the results of the endoscopy show no signs of an ulcer.

What about the possibility of lactose intolerance?

Well, the patient's sister is lactose intolerant, but the patient says he doesn't usually have the flatulence which often accompanies lactose intolerance.

[suddenly appears, in order to offer eye candy to the viewers] And he said he gets the same pains even on days when he consumes no milk, yogurt, cheese, or ice cream.

In that case, I think we can rule that out... for now. What else have you got?

Supersize tape worm swimming around his upper intestine?

I don't think so. We would have noticed its tail during the endoscopy. Ditto with the alien life form.

Should we send him back for another endoscopy?

Sure, why not. He looks bored. Plus I'd like to get his totally hot girlfriend alone for a while so I can playfully flirt with her while simultaneously insulting her.

Scene: Endoscopy room
KUSHIBO is wheeled back in. He lies down on the table and starts talking with Remy, who is performing the procedure.

Hey, I know my girlfriend's just outside, but I wanted to tell you that I think you're totally hot.

Um, thanks. [waits in awkward silence for the topical anesthetic applied to KUSHIBO's throat to kick in]

By the way, I loved you in The Black Donnellys. That was a great show, one of the best on television. They never should have cancelled it.

Yeah, but what are you gonna do? NBC executives are clueless dicks who wouldn't know a quality show with potential if it bit them in the ass.

I'm trying to make sure this blog stays "SafeSearch"-friendly, so when you say "dick," can you say it with the little cent-sign over the c, like this: di¢k.

You're a di¢k.

FYI, you're on my laminated list, so if you want to hook up after work, I'm technically unattached.

I think now is a good time for me to shove this camera tube down your gullet.

Scene: examination room
KUSHIBO is wheeled back into the examination room. He's lying there, reeling from the pain of a second endoscopy. DR KUTNER enters the room to look at his charts.

By the way, Kumar, I'm glad you finally decided to fulfill your potential and went on to medical school. Your parents must be proud.

My name's not Kumar, asswipe. It's Lawrence Kutner.

Um... Yeah. Right. Okay.


Scene: House's office
All the doctors have reconvened to discuss the case.

I don't think we'll ever figure out what's wrong with this Kushibo guy. Maybe if we do something totally mundane and routine we'll suddenly have an epiphany about what's causing this ailment, although that will leave the audience feeling a little less confident in our collective abilities since we couldn't figure out the obvious solution when we were actually trying to brainstorm.

Sounds like a plan. Here, let's have some sandwiches I made. That's pretty mundane and routine.

You know I don't eat bread that's not 100% whole wheat.

This is 100% whole wheat, you anal-retentive cripple. Look here on the ingredients panel of the loaf of bread, which for some reason I happen to have on me right now.

Foreman, you're a genius!

I am? Why?

If you don't know why you're a genius, then clearly you're no smarter than a broken clock that happens to be right twice a day and I retract my earlier compliment. [points to loaf of bread ingredients panel] The answer is right here. It's lactose intolerance after all.

I don't follow.

Of course you don't. You're an idiot. Read the ingredients panel: bread is often made with dairy products. [HOUSE starts walking toward the examination room to tell the news to KUSHIBO and KG]
All this time when you thought you had eliminated milk products from your diet, you'd been consuming bread all day long!

You mean... Those bastards at Orowheat have been trying to kill me?!

Probably. And Roman Meal, too. You strike me as someone who has a lot of enemies.

Of course, we'll have to run some tests to verify this diagnosis, but we're running out of time, so I'm sure that's what the results will be. You'll have to drink a lactose-rich beverage, after which we'll test for methane gas in your belches to determine if the flora in your GI tract is breaking down the lactose instead of your own body doing it through lactase production.

A lactose-rich drink given to a potentially lactose-intolerant patient? Won't that cause tremendous cramping?

Yes, but sometimes we have to destroy the patient in order to save him.

Oh, look. We got the results back... at a rate of speed so fast it would only be possible on television. The results are positive: You are lactose intolerant.

That doesn't sound very positive to me.

That's why we're medical doctors and you're just working on a PhD.

So what do I do?

That's simple. Either lay off dairy products, be sure to read ingredients labels carefully since Big Dairy literally has its utters in everything. Or head down to the local drug store and buy yourself some lactase pills, which you take whenever you consume dairy. The lactase in the pills will break down the lactose for you into harmless galactose and glucose. I recommend Costco, since they're the cheapest. You strike me as someone who lives on a budget.

Oh, and lactose-free milk is also an option. Lactaid™ produces a whole line of products, but a lot of grocery store chains like Safeway have their own store brand, which might cost a little less.

Switching to soy milk could also work. The slight aftertaste might take some getting used to, but after a while you might start enjoying the nutty flavor. Plus it's rich in soy protein, which is good for lots of things I can't remember off the top of my head since I'm not a public health specialist.

Kumar, are you saying you're lactose intolerant, too?

Yes. Studies indicate that about ninety percent of Asian-Americans, including those of Indian descent, are lactose intolerant. Blacks, too. Right, Foreman?


And Hispanics, too. Right, Hadley?

I'm not Hispanic. I'm just a really odd-looking Irish girl.

Thanks, Dr. House. I learned a real lesson today.

[KUSHIBO and KG leave the hospital, walking hand in hand; KG turns to KUSHIBO]

Who knew Stuart Little's father could be such an ass?