I guess the designers of this graphic had never heard the old riddle about blondes:
Q: How do you kill a blonde?
A: Put spikes on her shoulder pads.
This heroine's days are numbered.
The collective orgasm has begun: initial reviews for "Logan" are generally wildly positive, although there have been some complaints that the "main" villain, played by Richard E. Grant, is sadly underused. This deluge of good news for the movie makes me both happy and sad: like everyone else in the known universe, I like Hugh Jackman and think he basically carried the X-Men franchise on his well-developed shoulders. Wolverine deserves a good send-off, and almost everyone is saying that that's what "Logan" is: a great send-off for a beloved character. At the same time, I'm sad because I feel this is the sort of farewell that Batman deserved but never got. The DC folks—including Christopher Nolan—borrowed many tropes and moments from Frank Miller's signature work, 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, but in their movies, they failed to recapitulate Frank Miller's hard-hitting-yet-poignant 1980s storyline, which followed Batman to the conclusion of his career as the Dark Knight. Instead DC has seemed, over the years, more interested in portraying Batman near the end of his prime, working backward from the finale that Nolan had tried to give audiences. The result is a confusing mess, in my opinion, but perhaps one day Batman will finally have his "Logan" moment.
I subscribe to Charlie's YouTube channel, Emergency Awesome, and Charlie has a rave review of "Logan" up now; you can watch it here. (No spoilers.)
A UK publication called Metro has its own rave review here. (No spoilers.)
Enjoy! "Logan" is in general release in the States on March 3. Supposedly, it's coming out on March 1 in Korea, but I no longer trust IMDb to get Korean release dates right.
The two-month book-making marathon is almost over, and I'm almost over, too. With the exception of one weekend, it's been nothing but seven-day weeks for this hunk of blubber since the year began. I managed to get a week ahead of my initially plotted-out schedule, which gives the boss some breathing room when it comes to proofing the manuscripts, so this intense period is going to end with more of a whimper (or more like a sigh of relief) than an out-and-out bang. I'll finally be able to concentrate on my own life—such as it is—which will mean doing some crucial shopping, writing Walk Thoughts, training and dieting, etc.
The boss has told me not to come in tomorrow (Sunday). I'm not going to know what to do with myself and all that free time, but I'm sure I'll think of something. Leave me alone in a room long enough, and to-do lists will start sprouting, as they're already sprouting on Google Docs: I have a whole folder devoted to personal projects for 2017. I'm determined to make this a better year than last year; here's hoping my aspirations don't get cornholed by the sudden appearance of leprosy or something.
Whoa... I might even watch "Hell or High Water" tomorrow, then write a review of it. Wouldn't that be something? (By the way, thank you all for your many comments on my "Arrival" review, which took me three days to write. It's always gratifying when a writer knows he's actually communicating with people.)
1. My buddy Charles writes a thoughtful review of "Hidden Figures."
2. One of the few right-leaning Zen Buddhists I know of writes an article (forgive the typos) that confirms something Charles wrote to me privately regarding what treason technically means according to the US Constitution. The article, by its very existence, also highlights the rhetorical and ideological contrast between Instapundit (i.e., the group blog) and Instapundit's fractious commentariat. Dipping into the comment-thread demimonde is not at all the same experience as just reading the blog posts.
The headline at right-leaning Breitbart reads: "Dalai Lama Warns Against Taking Too Many Migrants, Arab Domination: ‘Migrants Should Return’"
The article says in part:
SUBHEAD: The Dalai Lama has said there are too many migrants pouring into Europe, warning against the continent becoming Arabised, and claiming the solution is the eventual repatriation of migrants.
MAIN TEXT: Agence France-Presse has reported that the leader of Tibetan Buddhism said: “When we look at the face of each refugee, but especially those of the children and women, we feel their suffering, and a human being who has a better situation in life has the responsibility to help them.
“But on the other hand, there are too many at the moment… Europe, Germany in particular, cannot become an Arab country, Germany is Germany”.
“There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.”
The Dalai Lama added that “from a moral point of view too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily”.
“The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.”
His comments are almost the same as those made by Europe’s anti-Islamisation PEGIDA movement, and similar to comments made by groups like France’s Front National, Germany’s Alternative Fur Deutschland, and to a lesser extent, Britain’s UK Independence Party.
The publication of an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the German media has led to some sensational headlines derived from an interview that included questions on the refugee crisis in Europe.
These representations, focusing on the Dalai Lama apparently warning against ‘Arab domination’ and Europe taking in ‘too many’ migrants are ultimately inconsistent with the well-known and compassionate approach of the Dalai Lama, who has been a refugee himself for more than half a century, and the longer-term perspective he seeks to convey.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate the Dalai Lama has for decades advocated tolerance, inter-religious dialogue and has rejected the concept of a clash of civilizations, calling it “false and dangerous.” It is ludicrous and clearly out of context to assert that the Dalai Lama would seriously state that Germany is at risk of becoming ‘Arab’ as a result of the refugee crisis.
"We know that many immigrants are fleeing from difficult situations at home, but a good heart alone is not enough to keep them all, so you have to muster the courage to say that there are now too many. Rather, [people] should intervene in the countries of origin in order to build up better corporate structures there. Simply welcoming the people here is not enough to solve this problem. We need to think in the long term to achieve a truly effective solution."
Wir wissen, dass viele Immigranten vor schwierigen Situationen daheim flüchten, aber ein gutes Herz allein reicht eben nicht aus, um sie alle unterzubringen, und man muss daher den Mut aufbringen zu sagen, dass es mittlerweile zu viele geworden sind. Man sollte vielmehr in den Herkunftsländern intervenieren, um dort bessere Gesellschaftsstrukturen aufzubauen. Einfach die Leute hier willkommen zu heißen reicht nicht aus, um dieses Problem zu lösen. Wir müssen langfristig denken, um eine wirklich effektive Lösung erzielen zu können.
The injunction Shit or get off the pot is a way of saying, "Don't be indecisive."* In life, you never expect to be faced with a literal shit-or-get-off-the-pot situation, but that's exactly what happened to me this afternoon.
I went into the restroom down the hall from where I work, locked myself in la cabine, and began to take a lusty shit. As is normal for me, the shit didn't come out all at once: for whatever reason, my ass is into dramatic pauses, so there was a lull. I filled the pot partway with my radioactive gunk, and during the pause, I hit the flush lever.
Within seconds, I knew something was wrong, and I cursed myself for not following SOP and flushing before even sitting down. (This building's toilets have a nasty habit of being perpetually clogged, but which toilet is clogged seems to alternate from day to day, suggesting that the toilets share some unspoken agreement as to whose turn it is to piss people off.) I could hear the water rising far higher than it should, and a moment after that, I felt the cold, undead caress of the shit-tainted toilet water on my ass and balls. Not even bothering to wipe, I immediately stood up and stared into the bowl to do a quick damage assessment: I knew I wouldn't be able to act until I had a read on the situation.
So here's what happened: the evil water rose almost to the bowl's rim, then everything sank down, draining completely in a slow, gentle flush. I could only guess that this was a partial blockage, and that the weight of the water in the bowl had been enough to push the blockage out of the way, thus facilitating drainage.
I cautiously sat back down. As I said before, this was the "dramatic pause" phase of my shit, so I still had more shit ready to launch. This, then, was my very own Shit or get off the pot moment: should I wipe and escape the cubicle, heading for another one to finish my shit? Should I tough it out in the hopes that my assumption about the un-blockage was correct? If I were wrong, the price would be horrific: the re-beshitted water would likely rise again, overflowing this time, releasing splattery chunks of my ass-children onto the restroom tile. And if Murphy's Law were in operation (when is it not?), the water level would remain there, creating a tableau that mocked my distress and exposed my leavings for all to see.
What to do? Shit or get off the pot?
I suspect that one of my ancestors was the Korean equivalent of a jusqu'au bout kamikaze pilot because, in the end, I chose to shit. Like a battleship commander, I fired two or three more salvos into the toilet, wiped myself, stood, examined the toilet tank's interior to see how much water was in there, then paused before enacting that fateful flush.
The toilet tank was full, as it turned out; it had refilled absolutely silently. The toilet bowl, on the other hand, had almost no water in it. Fist-sized midnight lumps of my foulness sat hunched at the bottom of the bowl like demonic toads, staring beadily up at me and croak-chorusing, "Hey. What's up?" while grinning malefic obsidian grins. I re-covered the tank and, whispering a prayer to the gods, I flushed, hoping to end this Stephen King nightmare.
And there were no problems at all. The water whooshed from the tank to the bowl. My shit and toilet paper were swept away, and all was right with the world. I had gambled and won. Before I left the stall, of course, I made sure to give my ass and balls a thorough wipe-down so as not to taint my clothing, but I knew I'd need to wash thoroughly once I got home.
And that's how I handled a moral dilemma. How has your day been?
AFTER LIKENING TRUMP TO HITLER, JOURNALISTS UPSET THEY'RE NOT GETTING CALLED ON FOR QUESTIONS
Hilariously, the article quotes one disgruntled journalist as saying, "The fix is in."
Oblivious to irony, that one, even after eight years of media cock-sucking.
[WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS. I can't address the movie's deeper issues without also revealing major plot elements, so if you don't want the plot revealed to you, you'd do well to stay away from this review until you've seen the movie.]
Guess which side of the aisle called Senator Tim Scott a "house nigga" and also called Joy Villa (a young singer who made waves at the recent Grammy's with her Trump dress) a "coon."
Not your brightest moment, guys.
True: dig a little deeper, and the African-American woman who tweeted the "coon" slur was herself called a "coon" by an apparent Trump fan. I would certainly never imply that only one side is racist in what passes for public discourse these days, but I am suggesting that it's hilarious when one side thinks it can occupy the moral high ground.
And while there are undoubtedly good eggs and bad eggs on both sides, it's also true that both sides each have a collective voice, and those voices aren't pretty.
Although I got the fundamentals utterly wrong during last year's election, I think I did call it when I referred to both Trump and Clinton as national-security nightmares. This article at the Observer seems to bear that conviction out. Trump needs to watch his six.
ADDENDUM: for balance, though, you might want to read the Instapundit comments in response to the article.
UPDATE: Michael Flynn, the security nightmare in question, is resigning his post. Good. May the next occupant of that position be chosen more carefully.
I cackled like an acid-tripping moron through this video, which shows a fairground organ—over a century old—playing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." God, this is excellent. The adaptation catches most of the nuances of the Freddie Mercury original. What I'd like to know, though, is where the snare drums are hidden. You can hear them in the background at certain points, but you never see them (or at least, I didn't see them).
If you're a Lord of the Rings nerd, you might enjoy these two YouTube videos:
1. "What You Need to Know About the Lord of the Rings Spinoff"
2. "False Facts About The Lord of the Rings You've Always Believed"
Both videos' narrators are at pains to pronounce Tolkien's name "tohl-keen," which is apparently how Tolkien pronounced his own name. (GRR Martin, of A Song of Ice and Fire fame, also pronounces it "tohl-keen" in interviews.)
(I wouldn't have minded the phrase "false facts" if "facts" had had scare quotes around it.)
This past Thursday was a break from the usual Golden Goose routine. I had been alerted, back in January, to the possibility of a February 9 mock-interview gig as part of Seoul National University's chwi-eop kaempeu (job camp*) for students interested in getting a leg up in finding their first job. The whole day was to be devoted to various interview-format classes—most of which would be done in Korean except for mine, which was to be done in English. The students were divided into four teams—A, B, C, and D—and those teams would rotate among different teachers throughout the seven-hour day (six hours plus an hour for lunch). My contact, Ms. Park, told me that I'd be meeting the teams in reverse order (first D, then C, B, and A); my roll sheet showed about ten or twelve students per group, but in reality, only four or five students from each group showed up. This is probably because the job camp was occurring during winter vacation, and because it was free: students on vacation, taking a course they didn't pay for, have no reason to stick with the program until the end, so it's only natural that many should flake out.
I saw, on my attendance sheet, that one student in Team C was a French language and literature major, so I was excited to practice some French with him. Alas, he proved to be one of the no-shows, the bastard. Still, I had fun with the students who did make it. I explained the format for the class as each team walked in: we'd be doing one-on-one sit-downs for six minutes—three minutes for the mock interview, then three minutes for feedback and any questions the students might have. I had decided on the six-minute format based on the team sizes listed on my attendance sheet. When I saw that the actual team sizes were smaller, I chose not to extend the interview times, thus allowing the students to finish early. One big pedagogical mistake is thinking that you always need to run out the clock. You don't. While I do believe in the No Dead Time rule (i.e., never leave the students with nothing to do), I don't believe it's necessary to draw out the pain of being in class for purely bureaucratic reasons. When you're done, you're done. Let the kids go. They have lives, too.
Each 90-minute session with a given team began with me saying a few words and breaking the ice. Some of the kids were nervous; most of them were, frankly, clueless about what they had to do. Once I gave them a concrete procedure to latch on to, however, they became more comfortable, although some of the more tightly wound students remained nervous. When I'd finished my one-on-ones with the whole team, I spent some time going over some of the bigger issues involved with job interviews, then I let the students leave early. Ms. Park, who would pop in at the end of every session, was fine with my letting the students go early; she understood that attendance was woefully low. One student hung around close to lunch hour; he and I talked a bit. Another group of students asked me for my email address so they could send me their résumés to look over and evaluate. I know from experience that most of these students won't bother to email me; I've had people ask for my email address in the past, and nothing has ever come of that. No follow-through.
Lunch was awkward. I had been told to go to Room 207, a lecture hall next door to the closet-like classroom that I had been placed in. Lunch was held late because the class going on in 207 ran overtime (as is common with Korean profs, who seem to have little notion of how to budget time for lectures). After the lunch area was set up, I went into 207 and saw that a single long table had been placed in the very center of the large lecture hall; four Korean profs were already seated at the table and talking quietly with each other when I entered. We all politely bade each other a good meal ("mashitge deuseyo"); I said little, but I noticed that the men I was sitting with all looked a lot like some of the TV stars I've seen on certain Korean dramas. The guy who was obviously the stud/hero of the group sat across from me; he was very clearly the alpha—the manly man. Next to him was a guy whose earnest face looked perfect for the role of the hero's best friend—the guy who normally dies in an action movie, thus motivating the hero to exact revenge. The other two gents, fairly nondescript, looked like background extras—the actors who play characters that get run over by cars during street-chase scenes.
When I came into the hall, the profs were complaining about how the building's central heating system had shut off during the lunch break and wouldn't come back on until classes resumed. I joked that this was terrible for thin folks, which got a wry chuckle. The hero asked me one or two perfunctory questions about what I was teaching my students, then he left me alone for the rest of the meal, preferring to speak with the other Korean men. Can't say I blame him. I didn't want to be sitting with anyone, anyway, but the lunch setup left me with little choice but to take the empty chair at the table in the center of that large, empty hall. Lunch itself was mediocre: a box meal with cold bulgogi, Korean-sauced chicken wings, various banchan (sides), and a lukewarm cup of seaweed soup. Better than nothing, I suppose, although I wouldn't have minded skipping lunch altogether (something I may do next time). Soon enough, I finished my meal and headed out. Never saw any of those profs again. They seemed nice enough, but the atmosphere at lunch was about as warm as my food had been.
I was scheduled to finish my final session at 5PM, but since only five out of twelve students showed up, I ended up finishing shortly after 4PM. I packed up around 4:20, said goodbye to Ms. Park, hailed a cab, and headed out to Itaewon to pick up some items for my gyros. While I was at High Street Market, I spoke in Korean with the very cute Korean cashier, who told me she had learned a lot of her English from watching "Friends," and that Ross—the sad-looking one—was her favorite character. It would've been nice to get this pretty lady's phone number, but she was far too young for this graying old man. (Clint Eastwood, who was pushing 90 when he separated from his latest 30-something wife, would beg to differ, I'm sure.)
After finishing my shopping, I then hopped into a cab for the ill-fated cab ride that I've already written about here. When I got home, I could feel myself fading away, but because I had promised gyros to my boss and coworker, I slaved away into the night, prepping the meal, containerizing everything, and finally collapsing into bed and falling into a blessedly dreamless sleep. An eventful Thursday was finally over.
Some shots of today's gyros lunch:
More and more people are leaving Twitter, variously named "Twatter" and "Sick Blue Pigeon" by the haters. Thanks to my buddy Mike, I'm on Gab AI (see feed link on sidebar).
My impression thus far is that it's true that Gab is a freer community in terms of unrestricted speech. That said, I don't think the lefties are wrong to view Gab as a sort of "safe space" for righties. The point of the leftie criticism is, of course, that righties are usually the ones who mock the concept of a safe space, and yet here's Gab, which acts as a haven for righties who feel harassed and oppressed.*
As I predicted, I haven't been anywhere near as active on Gab as I used to be on Twitter. Gab is still in beta, a fact that's obvious once you're there. The interface is ugly and clunky, and there aren't anywhere near as many functions available to you, the user, as there are on Twitter. You can't self-retweet, for one thing, and you can't retweet-and-comment, for another. On Gab, both "like"s and "dislikes" are visible (I don't think you can down-vote on Twitter), but they're not shown separately, as on YouTube: instead, you see only a single number of "points" that equals all "likes" minus all "dislikes" for a post. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Gab's two main advantages are (1) the freedom-of-speech thing (although speech is still policed there), and (2) the 300-character limit when posting. Aside from that, I'm finding it a bit boring, but maybe that's because I haven't posted enough to have any social momentum—not that that's my goal on Gab. In fact, I'd say my only goal on Gab is simply to explore the environment, build a humble network, and let whatever happens happen.
As Gab improves itself and becomes more of a challenger to Twitter, expect more people to jump ship. Whether the Gab newbies become a welcome addition or bring their onerous, Twitter-related mental baggage with them is something that only time will tell.
My old friend Dr. Steve writes on Kellyanne Conway and the nonexistent "Bowling Green massacre." If it's true that Conway made the incident up out of whole cloth, then that's mighty disturbing. I see that she has backpedaled and claimed to have misspoken, but many folks aren't buying this, given her earlier insistent repetition of the meme. Conway has proved to have a quick and devastating wit when it comes to pointing out hypocrisy on the left. That she might be caught up in her own fake-news moment would be ironic, if that's what this is.
Here are Instapundit's takes on Conway and Bowling Green.
Sad to say, but my friend Bill Keezer is closing down his blog, which had a good thirteen-year run. I, for one, will be sad to see the blog go, but Bill has his reasons for closing shop. Ever the gentleman, he offers a goodbye here, then offers some acknowledgments here.
Sometimes, a dashboard GPS works great. Sometimes, it sucks balls.
After leaving my Seoul National gig, I cabbed over to Itaewon, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, to buy some cumin, naan, and other materials necessary to make gyros for tomorrow's office lunch. It's my ritual to take a cab back from Itaewon to Daecheong Station, mainly because I'm lazy and don't want to lug groceries on the long subway ride. You pay extra for a cab because you're paying for a measure of privacy and comfort, but normally, you don't expect to pay through the nose for a regular ride.*
I fell asleep partway through the ride to my place, but I could see, once I woke up, that the cabbie—who had punched my destination into his GPS—had gotten himself lost. We were somewhere in Gangnam, on the back streets, going in random circles and ignoring one-way signs painted on the asphalt. Too tired to feel stressed, I looked at the meter, saw I was already a few dollars over what this ride would normally cost (even in rush hour), and quietly shook my head. The cabbie was in his seventies; yelling at him when he already knew he was lost wouldn't help the situation.
Initially, I had mentally praised the cabbie for using the GPS. Most Seoul cabbies have these navigation devices on their dashboards, but those same cabbies tend to be old-school drivers, too proud to rely on GPS and preferring to fly by the seat of the pants. This cabbie, in his seventies (the average age of a Seoul cabbie is, incredibly, sixty), was humble enough to refer to his GPS when he didn't recognize the name of the station I mentioned, so I tipped my invisible hat to him. Turned out his GPS had other plans; it led us on a wild-goose chase of random and useless back-street turns, which is how we ended up in the ruelles of Gangnam.
I'm deducing that the GPS was at fault, more than the driver, because when we did finally straighten out, I saw the GPS go nuts when we were half a kilometer from our destination. It tried to direct the cabbie to a neighborhood away from where I lived, way off to the right, so I had to tell the cabbie to go straight. It could also be, however, that the cabbie had gotten in trouble while I was sleeping by ignoring the GPS when it had been giving legitimate directions. I did see the cabbie ignore the device a time or two, so really, it's impossible to know how much of this mess was the cabbie's fault and how much was the GPS's.
We eventually got to my apartment building; I guided the driver during the final leg. My fare was W19,000—a good bit more expensive than the usual W13,000. "Expensive ride," I joked as I was leaving the cab. The driver chuckled but said nothing in return. He knew what I was referring to.
A dashboard GPS can be a godsend as long as the map data are up to date and the real-time navigation system is quirk-free. But add some quirks and some out-of-date maps, and you've got a recipe for anger and frustration. I can see why some people refuse to rely on GPS: not only are you allowing your own common-sense-based navigational skills go flabby, you're also putting your life in the hands of an inanimate object. But when a GPS device works, it works amazingly, undeniably well. Many have commented on how GPS navigation is proof positive that Einsteinian relativity is valid: for real-time navigation to work, minute instances of time dilation need to be accounted for: the satellites whipping by overhead at 14,000 kilometers per hour are moving through space and time differently from those of us here below—and the satellites in the GPS network have Einsteinian issues relative to each other as well. The whole thing is quite elegant and incredible, and generally speaking, I trust GPSes to deliver—yes, despite tonight's fiasco.
I'm doing a mock-interview gig at Seoul National University this morning and afternoon. This is the same gig I did back in 2015, but I've done about a tenth of the prep this time, now that I know the ropes and know what I don't need to prep.
We start at 10AM and finish at 5PM.
Charles, now settled in Boston, writes about his experience at the Extreme Beer Fest that took place just last week. If you're a beer connoisseur, you'll thoroughly enjoy his piece. As a beer troglodyte, I discovered that people who name their own beers have a cringe-inducing sense of humor. But Scott Adams might argue, from a persuasion standpoint, that it doesn't matter if a name sucks: what matters is that you remember it and continue to associate it with the correct beer. By that standard, then: the more cringe-inducing, the better.
Guess I should get back to brewing my Pikachu's Hot Load—a special blend that incorporates healthy doses of saffron, lightning, and rabbit semen.
I'm beginning to realize that, as this upcoming walk takes up more and more of my attention and energy, I'm going to have to roll back on all the other things I normally blog about, i.e., news topicality, politics, humor, movie reviews, and—very occasionally—religion. While I'm sad to do that, I just don't see any other recourse.
Have no fear: we'll be back to the fun stuff once the walk is over at the end of May. In the meantime, my final two gifts to you will be movie reviews of "Arrival" (yes, yes, it's coming) and "Hell or High Water." After that, it'll likely be All Walk Thoughts All the Time, with the occasional non-walk-related post just to keep me from becoming over-focused.
Here. Adams writes in part:
The left has done a stellar job of demonizing Trump supporters and Republicans in general. Their excellent persuasion involves conflating the bad apples with the entire group. Both sides do it. The right calls everyone on the left selfish snowflakes, and the left calls everyone on the right racists. They do it because it works. The brain likes to conflate things. And if the shiniest object in our view involves headlines about racists, or lefty rioters, those images stick in our minds and taint our impressions of the entire group.
So let’s try this thought experiment.
I have yet to write that review of "Arrival" (very busy at work, not much energy when home—please bear with me), but I did find this excellent piece that compares 2016's "Arrival" with 1997's "Contact" in smackdown form. The writer does a fine job of listing the various parallels and differences between these two largely overlapping films—so good a job, in fact, that I'm tempted not to write a review at all. But I'll write one—I promise.
Meanwhile, enjoy the above-linked smackdown.