Thursday, April 30, 2020

InYang walk: a quick Day 2 report

Not as long of a walk today, but it was painful. Here are a few of the 48 pics I took today.

But first, some stats:

The church that greets me as I'm leaving the Gayang Station neighborhood:

A shwim-teo in the shadow of an apartment complex:

As you're crossing under the freeway that runs parallel to the bike trail, you go through a tunnel and get your first glimpse of the Han River:

At this point, I'm in Yeouido. I've photographed the following sculpture of two kids before, but I was happy, this time, to see there was no garbage heedlessly left next to the kids:

A happy spray of flowers:

The sculpture of the monster from "Gwaemul":

Flaky the Bear-Wolf, from a different angle:

I'm always fascinated by the cathedral-like geometry of the pylons that support the bridges that span the Han River. Most of those bridges are over a kilometer in length:

We're close to where I leave the Han to turn onto the path that goes along the Tan Creek. Way in the distance, you might see the Lotte World Tower, which sits in the Jamshil neighborhood:

The footbridge that leads over a freeway and into my neighborhood:

Flowers are out everywhere, and so are the bikers and walkers. I'd been tempted to take a bunch of videos to show just how many people are on the bike paths, even on weekdays. In the early morning, it's mostly old folks who have made morning constitutionals a part of their routine. As the hours roll on, though, the younger folks come out, including plenty of Lycra-clad young ladies on bikes. I've been reining in the urge to create a Gallery of Female Asses on this blog; a 50-something introvert shouldn't be building a reputation as a dirty old creep. But hey, when I see a nice ass in tight clothing, I can't help the thoughts I think.

And a mindful Vesak (the Buddha's birthday) to you!


People are calling this "Bill de Blasio's New York":

"Dozens of bodies found in U-Haul trucks outside NYC funeral home"

Police found dozens of bodies being stored in unrefrigerated trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home and lying on the facility’s floor Wednesday, law enforcement sources told The Post.

Between 40 [and] 60 bodies were discovered either stacked up in U-Haul box trucks outside Andrew Cleckley Funeral Services in Flatlands or on the building’s floor, after neighbors reported a foul odor around the property, sources said.

The corpses were stacked on top of each other in the trucks. Fluid leaking from inside created a terrible smell and caused neighboring store owners to call the police, according to sources.

NYPD detectives were joined by several other city agencies investigating the trucks at the Utica Avenue facility Wednesday evening, with the section of the street closed off to the public.

John DiPietro, who owns a neighboring property, said he had observed cadavers being stored in the trucks for at least several weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

“You don’t respect the dead that way. That could have been my father, my brother,” he said. “You don’t do that to the dead.”

Read the rest. Damn. Bill de Blasio truly sucks:

90% no mas

What a contrast between yesterday and today. Today's total distance was about 5 km shorter than yesterday's, but subjectively, it felt longer and more arduous. A relatively small ache from yesterday, in my left foot, bloomed and magnified into something major today, and it was only after limping heavily into my apartment and peeling the socks off my feet that I got a look at the damage: I have blisters all across the bony front ridge of my left foot, from the ball of my foot to the area just behind my pinky toe. (I might even upload a nice pic of the damage for you foot-lovers.) Worse, the whole area feels tender and bone-bruised, which makes me hesitant to do tomorrow's walk to Hanam City. That walk is relatively short, being only 25 km, but the walk right after it, to Yangpyeong, is a beast at 35 km. In my current condition, I know I could hack tomorrow's walk, but I think my feet might be too tender for the longer, more brutal walk right after that one.

I'm wrestling with the notion that my feet simply aren't in the right condition for this kind of walking. If I'm honest, then I have to admit that I didn't do enough training to get my feet into fighting shape, so what I'm seeing now are the results of placing a sudden demand on my dogs. Karma is what it is, and just as the Catholic Church talks about sins of omission, karma will bite you in the ass if you're negligent in your training.

So it's not looking good for tomorrow, and if I wanted to do this four-day jaunt, I'd have to leave tomorrow because they're predicting rain on Sunday (40% chance as of this writing). Resting an extra day therefore won't work: I either go tomorrow and finish the walk, or I call it quits now, after about 65 km. I can comfort myself with the rationalization that I'm coming off a stress fracture and haven't had the proper time to condition my feet. I can also tell myself that discretion is the better part of valor. It's funny: I had thought that my right foot might prove to be a problem. Instead, it turned out to be ol' Lefty.

I'm going to sit on this problem tonight and make my decision at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. If my left foot feels as if I can walk on it, then I'll head on out. If the comforts of home and hearth prove too tempting, I'll cancel the rest of the walk and keep on binge-watching "Burn Notice." I'm a third of the way through Season 5; if I binge hard enough, I can finish the rest of the season before I'm back in the office again.

Otherwise, tonight, I might upload some more photos from today's walk. I took only 46 pics today, but I'll slap up only a few of them. If I elect to cancel the walk—and I'm 90% pro-canceling at the moment—I'll dump all of my Day 1 and 2 photos over the next 48 hours.

Did I mention my various sunburns?

COVID-19 videos to view and ponder

Tim Pool on the media's constant lying:

Richard Epstein: "Don't expect millions to die."

Nifty vid about the nastiness of germ transmission:

"Quarantine": the silly song:

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

InYang Walk: a quick Day 1 report

Long walk today. About 3.2 km from the motel to Geomam Station. Another 2 km from Cheongna International City Rail Station to the beginning of the Four Rivers bike trail. Another 30 km to my current location near Gayang Station.

The most remarkable thing to report is that there's nothing to report. My feet are achy, but otherwise fine. For a brief moment in my current digs, I thought I'd experienced a real change in my right foot: the swelling seemed to have gone down, and when I curled my toes back, I could see my tendons. That effect didn't last, though, but it gives me hope that a reduction in swelling is possible. Hooray for painkillers?

Otherwise, it was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day. Here are some pics. I took 58 of them, but I'll publish the rest later. The final image shows an elderly couple riding a trike together. There was something lovely about that moment.

COVID-19 news links

Lying by the press: what's new?

March 30, 2020: The surge is coming. It's now the end of April. Did the surge happen?

More fake-news footage from the fucking fake-news media.

You're a garbage person if you think this way.

Journalists mock Trump, then concede his point.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

apologies in advance

I'm leaving work early, this evening, so I can train out to Incheon and walk the 3.2 km to the Techno Motel, which is where I stay every time I'm in the Incheon area. Here's your challenge: see if you can find lodging that's closer than 6 km* to the Ara West Sea Lock (아라서해갑문). The Techno is the closest lodging I've found, but I admit I haven't done an absolutely thorough microscopic search for lodging within a 6-km radius of the sea lock.

Tomorrow's walk is a bit of a beast, as you'll recall from last year's hike: I start out by walking a bit more than 3 km to Geoman Station; I then ride the subway one stop to Cheongna International City Rail Station; from that stop to the Four Rivers Trail starting point, it's a bit over 2 km. The main walk, eastward to Gayang Bridge, is almost exactly 30 km, but it's another 2 km (or so) to duck back into town, away from the river, and find a motel. So for Day 1, that's probably around 36-37 km in total. Kinda brutal. The final leg of this trip, from Hanam City to Yangpyeong, is almost exactly 35 km.

A quick review of my upcoming four-day jaunt, then:

Day 1: Incheon to Gayang Bridge; stay overnight in western Seoul. (36-37 km)
Day 2: Gayang Bridge to my place in SE Seoul; overnight in my own apartment. (30 km)
Day 3: My apartment to Hanam City downtown; overnight in Baro Motel. (25-26 km)
Day 4: Hanam City to Yangpyeong City; overnight in riverside motel. (35 km)
Day 5: Train back to Seoul in the late morning. (I don't count this day as part of the walk. It's only 800 meters from the motel to the Yangpyeong City train/subway station, so it's safe to say that not a lot of walking will be done on this day.)

I think I'm going to concentrate on walking, and I'm not sure that I'll be blogging my progress every single day. If there's something to write about, I'll write about it (e.g., spiking pain levels). Otherwise, I plan to set my blog up with some scheduled posts so I can start dumping all the COVID-19-related videos and articles I've been storing up for a month. Many of these things will seem outdated, given the frenetic nature of the ever-churning 24-hour news cycle, but some of you might appreciate getting a refresher regarding what had made the news only a few weeks ago. So: apologies in advance for feeding you a load of pre-scheduled news sludge, but I think scheduled posts are better than no blogging at all. Feel free to leave comments, as always. I'll have time to respond to your comments every night, while I'm in bed and propping my aching feet up. Oh, yeah: I will be taking photos along the way, but I might not be uploading them every day.

*From the sea lock to the motel, it's an 11-km walk. As the crow flies, though, the distance is only 6 km. If you find a motel that's closer than a 6-km radius away from the sea lock, I'll mail you a tee shirt from my ever-growing Teespring collection.

"enemies of the people"

Glenn Reynolds:

Hey, journalists: Tired of being called enemies of the people? Maybe stop being enemies of the people.

the big try


I planned my big walk to start on Wednesday, but since it's after midnight and therefore now Tuesday, I'll be training out to Incheon in about 18-20 hours so I can start my walk on Wednesday morning. Since I know this route intimately, it ought to be a straightforward trek, 120 km to Yangpyeong over the course of four days. The weather forecast is for good weather through Friday, with a small chance of rain on Saturday. Easy, right?

Well, here's the thing. My walk down to Bundang two weekends ago went very well, but my walk this past Sunday didn't go quite as well. Maybe it's because I didn't take my ibuprofen before the walk, but my right foot became achy, and then it swelled up even more than usual. Somewhat disturbingly, it also seemed to turn a wee bit purple, and that gave me some pause. The purpling went away after a couple hours, and the swelling went back down to "slight swelling" status, which is where my right foot has been for two months. I'm pretty sure any bone damage has healed, so I'd really love to know why the foot is still swollen. Thanks to the pandemic, though, I'm not inclined to visit any doctor's offices, where I might be exposed to potentially sick patients in the waiting room.

So the plan has changed: instead of brute-forcing my way through to Yangpyeong, I'll merely try to walk to Yangpyeong, and I plan to stop the walk the instant things become suddenly painful. Minor aches won't be a problem; I expect those while distance walking. But if there's any severe pain at all, I'm shutting the whole thing down immediately. Being a hero doesn't seem advisable; if I do something that leads to my losing my right foot, well... that'd be pretty stupid. As always, I'll keep you all informed of my progress. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Ricky Gervais stomps on pious celebs yet again

Ricky Gervais can be a smug, self-righteous pain in the ass when he wants to be. But lately, he's been aiming his barbs in a direction that I can agree with: toward his fellow smug, self-righteous celebrities. Here's an excerpt from a Page Six article about Gervais's latest:

British funnyman Ricky Gervais again lashed out at “multi-millionaire celebs” in a new interview—for lecturing “normal nobodies” during the coronavirus outbreak.

The 58-year-old targeted “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot and a crew of other A-listers, such as Will Ferrell and Mark Ruffalo, for their viral cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” released last month in response to the crisis.

“That Imagine video, it’s not that bad, they’re probably very nice people,” Gervais said on BBC Radio 5, according to The Sun. “It was an awful rendition, but they might have been doing it for good reasons, to help these normal nobodies.”

“But they’re going, ‘My film’s coming up and I’m not on telly—I need to be in the public eye,’ not all of them but some of them,” he added. “You can see in their eye—‘I could cry at the beauty of my personality, I’m just so beautiful for doing this’ and everyone sees that—we get it.”


“For a start, you won’t hear me complain—not when there’s [United Kingdom National Health Service] nurses doing 14 hours shifts—and frontline workers carrying on and risking their health,” he said. “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me... I go for walks on Hampstead Heath, and we’ve got a garden.”

He said that privileged superstars don’t have a right to preach to the general public during the crisis.

“There are people in high rise blocks with three kids—I can’t complain,” the comedian said. “This is why millionaires in their mansions with their gym and going for a swim can’t lecture people.”

Musical humorist Charles Cornell did his own spoof of the above-mentioned "Imagine" song which, as noted, had been compiled by a bunch of stir-crazy celebrities. At first, I didn't get the humor of Cornell's video, but then I realized that Cornell was mocking the fact that every person in the "Imagine" video was singing in a different goddamn key. So when Cornell humorously imagines a band that's accompanying these singers, you notice that the band is desperately trying to keep up with all the random key changes. That's the joke. Hilarious. I hope I haven't spoiled the video for you because here it is:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

an unworthy-of-Thailand dinner

Here's the "before" pic:

Bottom row: chili peppers, green onion & sweet basil, chicken tenderloin, peanut-butter sauce
Middle row: generic SE Asian noodles, kongnamul (soy sprouts) & cabbage & green onion
Top row: crushed cashews, shrimp
Not pictured: eggses

And here's the messy "after" pic:

I obviously have a lot to learn about making any sort of Southeast Asian food. I did try to find cilantro at the local SSG Food Mart, but there was none to be found, and the staffer who tried to help me didn't understand what gosu (cilantro) was until I said the fucking word three times. Just another case in which the Korean brain shuts down when perfectly understandable Korean is coming out of the mouth of a foreigner. Instead of cilantro, I went for sweet basil.

The dish ended up tasting like something that wanted to be Thai or SE Asian, but it failed. I could have used a bit more salt, for one thing, and the cilantro was conspicuously absent. I also could have added more peanut sauce to make the dish more peanutty, and the thing that really bothers me is that I didn't add any lime juice to liven the dish up. Well, fook. In terms of prep method, I think I'll stir-fry everything separately next time instead of doing a "cumulative stir-fry" in which you dump in the more durable ingredients first, then start layering the other ingredients on top of them. So this was a failure, but it was also a learning experience. I've got more of all the ingredients except the cilantro (which I will buy next time, by hook or by crook) and the shrimp; I'll give this dish another try later this week.

Styx with an Econ 101 lesson

seen during a stroll

I'm actually fairly busy this weekend. I'm doing some work at home for the company, but I'm also making time for a riverside stroll and doing at least one quasi-Thai cooking project (messy result to be displayed later this evening). I was too busy yesterday to do the long walk I'd wanted to do, and today, I only managed to squeeze in a 21K-step walk that is about two-thirds of the walk I had originally wanted to do. Still, it was enough to learn that, yes, my right foot still hurts when walking over 15K steps, but no, nothing re-broke. I should have taken my ibuprofen before I began walking, but once I had started, commitment bias took over, so I shrugged and kept on walking.

Some flowers seen along the way as I neared the Jamshil Bridge:

This has become an almost obligatory shot—the wee little weir under the Jamshil Bridge:

This is the spot where the Tan Creek pours its waters into the Han:

And here's a video that shows how, when the weather is good, nothing can keep a Seoulite down (inwardly, I call most of these people "fair-weather pussies"):

Justin Yoshida strikes again

My friend Justin always manages to find the coolest videos online. Here, for example, is a hilarious compilation put together by a troupe of stuntmen and stuntwomen that shows them all "paying it forward," so to speak:

Justin's comment was, "Full screen, please!" Like my buddy Charles, he's probably annoyed by the vertical, portrait-format camera work.

Justin also posted about another video that pokes fun at us "smug" introverts during the pandemic. I had a good chuckle because, after all, a lot of that is true.

Styx on Piers Morgan

What Styx has to say about Trump Derangement Syndrome—especially regarding the idiotic idea that Trump seriously suggested that people should ingest non-potable disinfectants—is of interest here:

I'm stealing another image I saw over at John Mac's place:

Korean-style fried chicken

So I've discovered the channel Aaron & Claire's Korea, a YouTube show by a Korean couple based in Seoul. From what I've seen thus far, the channel devotes a lot of effort to exploring food. Below is a video about Korean-style fried chicken.

Aaron's method looks good, but I'm shocked he didn't rely on the magic ingredient that elevates Korean-style fried chicken over American-style chicken: potato starch. At 7 grams of protein per 100 g, potato starch is more proteinaceous than cornstarch (0.3 g per 100 g, and often used to make tangsuyuk, a.k.a. sweet-and-sour pork) and, while slightly less proteinaceous than wheat flour (10 g per 100 g), it imparts a somewhat different flavor to the fry. Overall, I generally like Korean-style fried chicken better than American-style, although I might make an exception for Popeye's, which shamelessly spices up its batter. (In Korea, Popeye's is weirdly bland and disappointing. I have no idea why this is.)

Aaron speaks English very well; if I spoke Korean at that level, I'd love to try my hand at making cooking videos in Korean. He does, however, make some goofy grammatical errors, such as when he says "it's way much easier and simpler." That's a minor quibble, though; Aaron's English is pretty impressive. You could pick way more holes in my Korean.

I might try out Aaron's recipe someday. Maybe when I'm finally ready to celebrate zeroing out my debt much later this year.

increase your "flagspertise"

Here's JJ McCullough on a bunch of esoteric flags. I confess that I'm not a flag nerd by any stretch, but I still found the video interesting, especially when McCullough talks about late-1980s revolutions in Eastern Europe, some of which happened while I was studying in Switzerland during the 1989-90 academic year, thus making them personally relevant to me.

Schrödinger's fat

When truth is in limbo, all you can rely on are your senses and your ability to reason. Take the current question of whether Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, is dead. The NK government will do what it can—if KJU really is dead—to keep that fact from coming to light anytime soon. This is precisely what the Chinese government did for the first few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak: hide the truth, obfuscate, and thereby prevent others from acting.

When Osama bin Laden was declared killed, the American public wasn't given any concrete evidence of bin Laden's death. We heard about a burial at sea, but we saw no pictures of the body, which was fodder for the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists to declare that Osama must be alive. But over the years since bin Laden's death, we've seen and heard nothing to indicate that the al-Qaeda leader is alive. This makes it rational to conclude that bin Laden is indeed dead. The dead don't make ripples when it comes to current events.

Biblical scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth use a similar logic: a first-century movement very obviously started, so there had to have been something or someone who acted as the catalyst, as the generative force, for that movement. As one of my theology professors put it, it's a bit like reasoning backward in time upon seeing the trajectory of a rocket: you can trace the rocket's path backward to when and where it was launched, and for the rocket to be in flight now, it had to have been launched then and there. Early Christianity spread quite rapidly along the rim of the Mediterranean; if you reason backward in time, you end up in the Nazareth/Galilee region. True, there is no actual direct evidence that Jesus even existed: we have no bones, no hair, no clothing, no documents written by his hand. The Bible offers one spooky passage in which Jesus uses a finger to write something on the ground before he picks himself up and takes on the question of an adulterous woman (John 8:3-11). If, in our search for evidence of Jesus' existence, we narrow our focus to 28 CE, then we're not left with much to work with. But the globe-spanning movement that arose after Jesus' time can, like the Big Bang, be traced back in time to something, and while that something doesn't qualify as solid evidence that Jesus existed, it is, at least, evidence in favor of Jesus' existence. People make ripples through spacetime; we all leave some sort of historical footprint.

So how can we know Kim Jong-un is in fact dead? Pretty much the same way we used reason and empirical evidence to speculate about Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was thought to be dead several times, but on occasion, videos of him would surface that showed him talking about certain current events. This allowed experts to determine approximately when those videos had been made, and when that footage was matched up in the timeline against claims of bin Laden's death, we could retroactively determine whether Osama might have been dead at the time he was claimed to be dead. So it goes with KJU: if his public appearances stop completely, and if no videos surface that show him talking about current events, we'll have a pretty good idea that he's dead.* And if years pass, and he still hasn't surfaced, then as with Osama, we'll know almost certainly that Kim is gone for good. Of course, North Korea could save us the trouble by announcing KJU's death in a fit of public weeping and wailing, with blubbering newscasters and a flailing, writhing crowd of onlookers who are forced to assemble and look miserable for the world's benefit.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un exists in a Schrödingerian state of uncertainty: he's dead/alive until someone makes the truth public, thereby collapsing the probabilistic wave function and reducing Kim's ontological status to one side of a binary either/or situation.

*Deepfake videos have come into prominence since bin Laden's time, so yes, it's possible that North Korea could extend the charade a lot longer by using tantalizingly grainy Deepfakes to make the world think the Dumpling Tyrant was still alive. But Deepfake technology isn't quite at the point where faked videos are airtight, so using Deepfakes would be risky.

ADDENDUM: Styx is also in a Schrödinger frame of mind.

ADDENDUM 2: TMZ (which no one should ever trust) is pushing the Kim-is-dead narrative. It'll be hilarious if all these crank news sites (including CNN) turn out to be right.

Friday, April 24, 2020

anything can be a mantra

The strangest thing you'll see today:

My buddy Dr. Steve would love this. It's a perfect example of the pastiched spirit of postmodernism. I mean, how intertextual can you get?

two from Pool

Here are two Tim Pool videos for your delectation:

Of course, the spineless Cuomo immediately denied he bore any ill will toward CNN. The viewing public, which has gotten used to this level of bullshit by now, blithely moved on.

Second vid: a black Dem representative has endorsed Trump. Facing blowback from fellow Democrats who can't stand the notion of a black man leaving the liberal-Democrat plantation, the rep resigned.

I'd like to say this is a kick in the nuts of the Democratic party, but I think this is more like the people chained inside Plato's cave who, even after having been told by the one guy who freed himself that there's a greater truth out there, snarl that they want to remain where they are, in chains and still ignorant. The Dems and the left have reached a point where the momentum is just too powerful: they simply can't help what they do anymore.

ADDENDUM: here's one from Styx about Trump's 90% chance of victory.

seen at John Mac's place

Saw this over at John McCrarey's blog and had to steal it:

vacation update

I just got news that we won't be getting seven straight days of vacation, after all: it'll be six. I had to make a deal with my boss regarding May 5, which is Children's Day in South Korea. I'll be working on the 5th so that I can take Monday the 4th off and have a block of six calendar days. This means I can still do my four-day walk from Incheon to Yangpyeong, but instead of recuperating for three days before going back to work, I'll have only two days to rest and recover. That's not tragic. It's also not surprising to find out that our HR department did the old switcheroo and took away one of our vacation days. Par for the course in nonlinear Korea. The only thing you can be sure of is that you can't be sure of anything.

Colion Noir on the Canada massacre: redux

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Bill Maher vs. Dan Crenshaw: analysis by Viva Frei

Great analysis by lawyer David Freiheit (is that his real surname? Freiheit is German for "freedom"), a Canadian YouTube vlogger with the moniker Viva Frei, as he discusses a recent video exchange between liberal comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher and GOP representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas. Thanks to the pandemic, Maher is podcasting from home(?) without the benefit of his leftie studio audience to cheer him on (as Freiheit notes). Freiheit picks apart Maher's sloppy, juvenile debating technique in a way that only a trained lawyer can (yes, Virginia: some lawyers are useful), and that may be more fun than watching the original exchange (see here if you're a glutton for punishment).

Basically, Maher debates in such a way that he ends up being a winner in his own mind. Freiheit gives excellent psychological advice about how to handle oneself in a debate situation, so do watch the video to benefit from that advice.

big-ass practice walk coming

This coming Saturday, I'm going to walk out to the Gwangnaru Bike Certification Center and back. That's close to a 35K-step walk, which ought to be good practice for the upcoming four-day walk starting on April 29. I've bought some extra painkillers to take along with me on my upcoming trek from Incheon to Yangpyeong. First, though, we'll see how Saturday goes. After my seven-day break is over, I do believe I'll start a program of Everesting. 102 times up the staircase, from the B1 level to the 26th floor, ought to take 51 calendar days. If I start on May 6, walking up the staircase twice a day, I'll finish on Thursday, June 25. By that point, I ought to be a bit thinner and a lot healthier, cardio-wise. And I'll be frank: if I plan on doing the stairs twice a day, it's highly unlikely I'll be distance-walking during the Everesting period. Twice a day up those stairs is enough torture for this poor fat boy.

Tim Pool worries about World War 3

I'm not quite as worried as Tim Pool is. I think we need to see how various countries handle the post-pandemic situation before we get truly worried. If, once the pandemic is over, certain economies (like the US's) take off running and reestablish themselves while other, clunkier economies (like China's) end up being left in the dust, that would be worrisome, and that might be a sign that war could be on the horizon. Many have speculated that China's release of the Wuhan virus was a way to bring other, richer, stronger countries down to its level. War would do much the same thing. So over the next few months, watch for economic disparities among large economies. That's your harbinger.

how rotten is the Chinese state?

This might not tell you anything new about China, but it's a fascinating video to watch, in the same way that a ten-truck pileup is fascinating to watch: I think this is a pretty important video, and it deserves your attention for what it says about the psyche of the CCP government:

guess who

Can you guess which person the following series of images represents? Leave your answer in the comments section.

Try not to cheat.

your grammar PSA: hyphenating phrasal adjectives

For phrasal adjectives, the normal rule is to hyphenate such adjectives if they come before the nouns (or noun phrases) they modify. Examples:

a hard-working, tax-paying earthworm
a gun-toting toddler
a six-foot-long paramecium
a one-ton cricketburger
a five-year orgasm
a twice-cooked testicle
a now-liberated nipple
an African-American cashew

We hyphenate phrasal adjectives to avoid ambiguity. The classic example:
a violent weather seminar (ambiguous: is the seminar violent, or the weather?)
a violent-weather seminar (unambiguous)

However, there is one major exception to the hyphenation rule: if the first word of a two-word phrasal adjective happens to be an adverb ending in "-ly," we do not hyphenate.
a vomitously delicious pizza
a frighteningly romantic evening
a disturbingly attractive midget
a historically significant fart
a subtly insulting turd
a monstrously unsatisfying episode of "Game of Thrones"

So remember: hyphenate your noun-preceding or noun-phrase-preceding phrasal adjectives unless they begin with an "-ly" adverb. If there's an adverb in initial position that doesn't end in "-ly," then you're free to hyphenate. Compare:
a fast-moving sequence of events (hyphenate)
a rapidly moving sequence of events (do not hyphenate)

We good? Good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

seen on Instapundit

exactly three years ago

Exactly three years ago, on April 22, 2017, I stepped out the door of my apartment and began a walk that took me all the way down to Busan. I blogged that adventure here at the Hairy Chasms, but then, long after that walk was over, I transferred those blog entries via copy-and-paste to a separate blog devoted only to the 2017 walk.

Reread the adventure here. Start specifically at Day 1 here (pics) and here (insights).

I recall that walk as being both very painful on the feet and very educational regarding what and how to pack for a long-distance trek. I've since come to the realization that I can do 95% of the Incheon-to-Busan walk with almost no equipment, now that I've mapped out almost every waypoint where I can stop and stay at a motel, hotel, or pension for the night. When I did the full-scale route last year, I camped only two days out of twenty-nine. If I can figure out a way to avoid camping on those two days, I'll have solved the puzzle of how to cross the country without needing any special equipment at all.

In the meantime, I will always have fond memories of that first jaunt along the Four Rivers bike path, following the country's circulatory system all the day down to the sea. What an amazing experience that was. Can't wait to do it again, or something like it, next year.

my favorite restroom will eventually kill me

I'm back to working in a very old, dilapidated shopping complex called Mido Jonghap Sangga (미도 종합 상가). "Mido" (미도) is the name of the neighborhood; Jonghap (종합) means "integrated" or "put-together"; Sangga (상가) means something like "store," "mall," or "shopping center." A jonghap sangga, then, is a shopping complex in which a bunch of different little shops and emporia are housed together. It's not as large or ambitiously scaled as a department store (that's called a baekhwajeom [백화점] in Korean), and while it's not as small as a grungy mom-and-pop store, it might contain a mixture of mom-and-pops and small chain stores. A jonghap sangga will also normally house things like real-estate offices, stationery stores, groceries, butcher shops, clothing-repair shops, downscale hardware stores, eyeglasses/contacts stores, doctor's offices, pharmacies, clothing and shoe stores, and sundry other shops selling knickknacks and esoterica. Mido has all of the above, but for all its variety, it's still an old, run-down place on its last legs. A couple years ago, I'd heard rumors that Mido was due for demolition and reconstruction (there is, of course, no guarantee that the stores occupying the building, pre-demolition, can come right back once the new building, with its more expensive property values, has been constructed). Nothing has happened yet, but if we get word that it's time to scram because the wrecking crew is here, I won't be surprised.

Old buildings have dark, dank corners and stinky-ass restrooms. That may be the worst aspect of working in an old building: the ambient filthiness that is most prominent around the plumbing. Mido is built a bit like a maze, but it doesn't lack for restrooms: there are at least two on every floor. The restrooms, at their cleanest, look and smell grungy; the one down the hall from where I work constantly smells rancid—like the piss of a being that isn't quite human. My favorite restroom, mainly because it receives so little traffic, is located on the B1 level. There's no rancid smell, but the restroom smells musty and ancient. I don't mind that, but the restroom also holds a horror that I'll show you now:

That's the ceiling-mounted ventilation. You can see that it's covered in a legion of dust bunnies and other unimaginable filth. The photo doesn't convey the true horror of the thing; you need to see it up close for yourself. I've taken to imagining all the microorganisms softly and invisibly raining down from that infernal, upturned pit of demonic malice—the little creatures that are only too happy to take up residence inside my lungs' alveoli. So I'm in a bind: I plan to keep visiting my favorite restroom, but my favorite restroom plans to kill me. Is this what it feels like to be a smoker?

NB: the above problem can be solved in ten seconds by using a powerful vacuum cleaner that has a hose attachment.

Vader's origin story has been fair game for years

Hilarious! "It's Hard to Convince Anakin Skywalker," Parts 1 and 2:

When I tried to type "Anakin," the browser suggested "Anacin."


Spring continues to spring. It's been windy and cool lately, but the flowers are out, and vernal aromas are in the air. Here are some shots of flowering bushes close to where I work:

Blame the wind for the blurriness in this shot:

Note the weirdness of the red flowers popping up among the purple ones:

Le monde végétal is gettin' funky. Joyeux printemps!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ROK Drop finally weighs in on the brain-dead KJU


Excerpt from an excerpt:

Speculation is rising on the physical condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following reports of a suspected cardiovascular surgical procedure.

While South Korean online media dealing with North Korea issues reported he was recovering from the recent operation, CNN reported he was “in grave danger.”

Citing a local source in the North, the South Korean media outlet the Daily NK reported Monday that Kim underwent the surgery at Hyangsan Medical Center near Mount Myohyang in North Pyongan Province, an exclusive hospital for the Kim family, April 12, and has been receiving treatment at his vacation home nearby.

According to the Daily NK, the procedure was performed by a surgeon from Kim Man Yu Hospital, the North’s most up-to-date medical facility in Pyongyang, attended by other renowned doctors in the country who were mobilized to Hyangsan. Most of them were sent back to Pyongyang, Sunday, as Kim’s condition was improving and only a few are still there to check on his condition, the source said.

And this is why you should never trust CNN. They will always, always get the story wrong. True: we need to wait for other sources to confirm what's going on, but I don't think it's too much to expect to see pics, very soon, of Kim the Rotund waving to the crowds or giving a bunch of flunkies instructions on how to build a better missile.

ROK Drop remarks, in its usual typo- and gaffe-filled way:

In 2014[,] this same thing happened[,] and it [turned out that] Kim Jong-un had [had] ankle surgery. He could be having the same issue again [because] his obesity [has been affecting] his ankles. I guess we will see what happens.

Joe Biden: cringemeister

China doesn't want to share

There's a sense in which greedy corporatism has caused, or at least contributed to, the current problem. And what is that problem? China controls the world's medical supplies, from medicine to equipment, which means they have much of the developed world by the balls. Why? Because China was willing to produce these things for cheap using labor that is practically slave labor, and corporations turn a blind eye to this fact. 90s-era Democrats ought to feel some vindication as this situation plays out. The problem is that 90s-era Democrats don't seem to exist anymore. Instead, we have 2020-era leftist Democrats who side with China, in word and in deed, and who are now against President Trump's attempts to bring jobs and manufacturing back to America. It's a weird world that we live in. Personally, I'd be happy to wave a wand and magically Thanos-dust every China-sympathizing leftist reporter, politician, and citizen out there. Poof. Won't happen, but it's a gratifying thought. Here's China Uncensored on the current pickle we find ourselves in:

Colion Noir reacts to the Canada mass shooting

your KJU rumor for the day

Take with a huge grain of salt (seen here):

ROK Drop hasn't written a thing about this, which makes me wonder how reliable such news is. The tweet itself mentions NBC and CNN, two very untrustworthy news outlets. Sorry for committing the genetic fallacy, but since I personally have no way of verifying this claim, my default mode is Hermeneutic of Suspicion.

But just for the hell of it, let's engage in some sci-fi-style speculation. If KJU really is brain dead, then he's not coming back from that condition, and North Korea will need to fill its leadership void. Who might fill it? KJU's sister? The military? Surely not KJU's trophy wife. If the man has any kids, they're all too young to assume power.

Let's go further into conspiracy-theory territory. Could KJU's current condition have been... prompted by someone else's action? Is this a power move? Assuming the truth of KJU's plight, this can certainly be seen as either a power move or as necessitating a power move.

It could be that things on the peninsula are about to get exciting. But we'll see. Skepticism first. US news agencies are as bad as Pyongyang when it comes to truthfulness.

some damn fine cheeseburgers

Monday night. I need to use up the last of my bread, and I've got more ground beef to play with. No bacon tonight, but I'm using a different approach to burger-making: we're going for smash burgers.

A smash burger is thin and flimsy, with a crisp outer layer that's been charred thanks to high heat on the grill (and in my case, a lot of help from some leftover bacon grease). My typical burger—like the ones I'd made on Sunday—incorporates salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and some red-chili flakes. Sunday's bacon double cheeseburgers were okay, but disappointingly well-done. Monday night, I wanted something better-cooked and better-tasting, hence smash burgers.

Instead of prepping these burgers the usual way, I glopped in two tablespoons of my homemade barbecue sauce plus a bit of salt, then fried those babies in the pan. Result: amazing. I may have found a new approach to burger-making. It's a bit frustrating that I've made several meals in a row in which I've gotten things right on the second try, but in this case, the trial and error were worth it.

A shot of the burgers, open-face-style, with my homemade sauce on this time:

And a more food-porny angle:

Trust me—these were amazing. Not a bad way to finish off a batch of homemade bread. The buns died with honor. Any Klingon would have been proud. And arguably thanks to the bacon grease, I didn't miss the absent bacon.

bacon cheeseburger

What I ate Sunday night: (almost) two bacon double cheeseburgers.

Frying up two of my four remaining buns:

Double burgers, on the plate (with cheddar slices):

Buns, facing upward:

With bacon and KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce:

And now with fixins:

The food-porn angle (but the burgers still look dark on camera):

Decent enough burgers, and I couldn't finish them, so I took one leftover burger to lunch with me on Monday. Ate it at the office along with leftover corn slaw, coleslaw, and the last few bits of brisket from Friday's event. Not bad, all in all.

they got plenty o' guns in Canada, too

At least 16 people are dead in Canada shooting rampage that spanned 12 hours.

by Ryan W. Miller, USA Today

At least 16 people are dead after one of Canada's worst mass shootings when a gunman dressed as a police officer went on a more than 12 hour killing spree, authorities said.

The alleged shooter, who is also dead, donned a police uniform and drove around in what appeared to be a police cruiser as he set fires to homes and went on a gun rampage starting in the small, rural town of Portapique in Nova Scotia.

A police officer was among the dead in the assault that began Saturday night. Authorities said the gunman may have targeted his first victims then attacked randomly.

"This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history," said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.

Here's what we know:

The assault began late Saturday as Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned residents in the area to stay home with their doors locked.

Sunday morning, police tweeted a photo of Gabriel Wortman, 51, who they warned was "armed and dangerous."

As Wortman moved through the area heading south, police continued to tweet his location. They also shared a photo of his vehicle that appeared to be a police cruiser.

At one point, there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police, said RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather.

By 11 a.m. Sunday local time, police said Wortman had switched cars. The pursuit spanned more than 50 miles to a gas station in Enfield, where he was shot dead by RCMP officers. Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team, independent of the police force, said it was investigating the shooting.

Might help to be armed in such a situation. Just sayin'. My opinion notwithstanding, I offer my condolences to the Canadian people, who normally don't have to deal with mass shootings—at least, not to the extent that we do in the US.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Covfefe-19 tee-shirt ad!

A new tee design!

Click here to go directly to the design shown above. Otherwise, click on my tee-shirt sidebar image to visit and browse through the entire tee shop. The above design is available in both white and black tees. We don't discriminate here.

on Trump and politics (email excerpt)

On March 29, I sent an email to a friend, part of which is reprinted (in slightly edited form) below. Read, enjoy (or despise), and feel free to comment.

re: Trump

I don't know whether you read my "mea culpa" blog post from 2016, after Trump got elected. That post talked a lot about my intellectual blindness, which was largely aided by a mainstream media that had been determined to give us a pre-prepped narrative instead of simply reporting the facts. I know this makes me sound like some sort of rightie lunatic, but after the way the media kept chanting "Hillary in a landslide!" until a day before the election, I simply can't trust the regular media anymore. They lied and lied right up until they couldn't, and then they manufactured a bunch of nonsense about Russia and Ukraine. Several official investigations later—by Democrats, no less—and no substantive evidence was found... but you'd never know that if all you listened to was the mainstream media, which swore up and down that Trump—was—guilty! Sigh...

So these days, I ignore pretty much all the "alphabet soup" outlets (e.g., ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, etc.) in favor of the so-called "alt media." This alt media has nothing to do with the "alt-right," which may very well contain—as liberals claim—a high percentage of Nazis and bigots. The alt media is composed of people from various political leanings who are all committed to relaying facts and engaging in evidence-based speculation and commentary—a far cry from the trash that CNN is relentlessly peddling.

One of my favorite alt-media commentators is Tim Pool, who is unabashedly liberal. He regularly voices his dislike of Trump, but he's absolutely disgusted with what the left has become in recent years. Pool is constantly critical of the shoddy journalism happening around him, and that's one of the reasons why I bother listening to him (his YouTube channel is here if you're interested). Pool is regularly accused, by the left, of being a rightie wolf in leftie sheep's clothing because he is so consistently critical of the left, but the way I see it, he's constantly critical because elements on the left constantly act in a way that merits criticism. Were they to stop being so duplicitous, Pool would be left with nothing to complain about.

As a middle-of-the-roader myself, I appreciate the Tim Pools of the world who try to strike a balance in how they view news and politics. Unfortunately, the left has pulled so far left that we middle-of-the-roaders aren't seen as moderate: we're seen as nasty, bigoted alt-righters. I may have already lost a couple leftie friends because their extremism causes them to see me as extreme. (Losing friends over politics has to be one of the dumbest things ever. Politics should never be a substitute for religion.)

Anyway, Pool's take on Trump—and I happen to agree—is that the left has spent more time and energy trying vainly to take Trump down than trying to find solutions to major problems, e.g., gun violence, border control, Syria and Afghanistan, and now the virus. So the way Pool sees it, Trump is going to skate to reelection, probably with a much larger electoral-vote margin than in 2016. While some people on the right are confidently predicting a victory on the order of Reagan/Mondale, I don't think it'll be quite that huge of a margin. Still, it seems pretty likely that, because the left can't help itself when it comes to un-constructive Trump-bashing, it's going to lose big in November, and the GOP will also win back the seats it lost in the House of Representatives, which means Trump won't have any more obstacles to receiving funds for his pet projects.

It's good to remember, though, that as fractured and chaotic as the left is these days, the right was in the same situation under Obama for eight years. It seems to be the fate of the loser party to spend a lot of time in internal conflict, then to get its act together and refocus after the eight-year period of darkness is over. So my prediction is that, after Trump wins a second term, the next president will almost definitely be a Democrat, and we'll have eight years of that. And the right/GOP will be back to being chaotic again. Back out in the wilderness.

Sorry for the rant. I don't actually like Trump as a person (he's a vain asshole, as far as I'm concerned, and if it turns out he did assault any of the 24 women currently lined up to accuse him, I won't shed a tear if he's punished), but I'm also objective enough to realize that he's not Satan or Hitler, the way so many on the left insanely claim. If Trump truly were Hitler, people would be terrified to say that out loud because they'd be worried about being tossed into a black van and carted off to a concentration camp in the desert. If Trump truly were such a dictator, then the journalists who openly accuse him—to his face—of racism would be tossed in the deepest, remotest prisons. Instead, the press is free to continue to loudly and proudly misinform the public. That's not what one finds in a dictatorship.

Upshot: I take it for granted that Trump will win reelection. Joe Biden seems to have creeping dementia, not to mention a reputation as someone who gets too "handsy" with women and young girls (see parody website here). Even most Democrats are terrified of Bernie Sanders's overt socialism, and Sanders is way behind Biden in the current delegate count, anyway. I hear rumors that Andrew Cuomo might be "drafted" into the presidential race, but it's not going to look good for a governor—who's currently handling a major epidemic—to leave his duties in order to campaign. Whatever admiration Cuomo has now will go down the toilet if he throws his hat into the ring.

Fookin' politics. My take is that I can fundamentally disagree with someone politically and still be friends with that person. I don't view my liberal friends as enemies just because I think they might be wrong or misguided. They're free to view me as wrong or misguided as well! That's the beauty of having an opinion and thinking freely, in the spirit of tolerance.

Over at Instapundit, a libertarian blog, it's been observed several times that most normal Americans are not like what you see on Twitter: people of different political stripes actually get along just fine, thank you very much. The country isn't really as polarized as all that, and when disaster strikes, fellow Americans will do what they can to help each other, not leave each other hanging because one is (D) and the other is (R). Or so I want to believe, anyway.

I think we'll all get through the pandemic, and we'll all get through the election. Feelings will be hurt; long resentments will simmer. But in the end, we'll hang together as a country because ultimately, we all want to make this project work.

Styx on not trusting polls, and not trusting hype about polls

Unbelievable, and yet also unsurprising: the left is trying the same stupid shit again regarding polls and how to interpret them. Do they ever learn?

Here's a new person to listen to on YouTube: Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, a recent inductee to the #WalkAway tribe who wrote an article about her experience—as a liberal at the time—visiting a Trump rally, where she discovered to her surprise that Trumpistas are good, kind, open-minded folks who don't spew violence, hatred, and bigotry with every breath. Borysenko received plenty of threats of violence, expressions of hatred, and eruptions of bigotry from her then-fellow lefties for having written that article; since then, she has established herself as a Tim Pool-esque presence on YouTube: a liberal-ish person who has seen the light regarding the true nature of the right, which turns out not to be the festering citadel of evil that the left makes it out to be. Borysenko's videos have been relentlessly critical of the left and where it has gone, and while I think there's a slim chance she might return to the left if that side of the aisle were to calm down and regain its sanity, I suspect that Borysenko is pretty much done with, and utterly disgusted with, the left. In the video below, Borysenko talks about the issue I mention above: that the left never learns its lesson. It's sad and funny at the same time, but the left truly does seem incapable of learning from past mistakes because (1) it's utterly divorced from reality, and (2) it has too much hubris and too little self-consciousness even to acknowledge that it has made any mistakes:

Alienating voters with insults isn't a good campaign strategy, especially when such a stance alienates the middle, i.e., the swing voters. People like Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard understood this. Joe Biden might have understood this, once upon a time. Not anymore, though, and that's going to cost him this election. Luckily, Biden's old enough, now, that we won't ever have to worry about him campaigning for president again, thank Cthulhu.

reopen all the things!

Tim Pool and Company on the need to restart the economy:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

PowerLine Week in Pictures: some selected images

I saw these and had a chuckle: