Sunday, May 31, 2020

Ave, Charles!

Charles writes an educational post on the perils of linguistic and cultural incompetence, which can lead to poorly translated news items. In a time of COVID-19, accurate translation is paramount. A quick excerpt:

You may not have read all of the articles I linked to above. That’s fine. I only really want to talk about a very small part of each of those articles, specifically how they reported on the measures announced by Mayor Park. At the very top of the France24 article, in bold, it is written that the mayor “ordered the closure of all clubs and bars.” The original Vox article stated that he “ordered all bars and clubs indefinitely closed.” CNN metonymically noted that “Seoul ordered all clubs and bars to temporarily close.” There are some differences in the choice of wording, most significantly “indefinitely” and “temporarily,” which have very different denotations and connotations, but all three articles agree on the “bars and clubs” (or “clubs and bars”) part. The final Vox article I linked to above, though, is the odd man out, writing instead that “the local government ordered bars and restaurants to be closed” (emphasis mine).

It should be obvious that there is something wrong with that last Vox article. What might be less obvious is that there is, in fact, something wrong with all of the articles; not only have restaurants in Seoul not been ordered to close, but bars have not been ordered to close, either. Furthermore, neither bars nor restaurants have ever been closed at any point during this pandemic. So how did these and other news outlets get it wrong?

Charles is too polite to engage in a frothing rant about the prevalence of fake news, which is partly due to the incurious, superficial, and reality-distorted nature of "journalists," but I'd say that bullshit slips into public discourse via many routes, including linguistic and cultural incompetence. Think deeply and translate well, newsies, although at this point I wouldn't trust any one of you to report my own name to me.



Styx on the riots

It's all riots, all the time over in Styx's corner of YouTube today.

Not one mention of "riots" in the mainstream media:


Minneapolis's mayor is insane:


Democrats would rebuke the rioters if they had any dignity:






I miss Leonard Nimoy

Another Deepfake video that causes a pang in my heart:


(That's still Zachary Quinto's voice as the younger Spock.)



I really must live under a rock

Philosopher Immanuel Kant was famous for walking the exact same daily route in Königsberg every day. Locals joked that they could set their watches by him when he passed by their windows. He was a man locked into a nearly monastic routine, and while that routine may have provided him with some depth of experience (the path you walk daily is never quite the same from day to day—I know this as an inveterate walker), it also kept him from experiencing many other things that were right there under his nose. For all intents and purposes, Kant may as well have been living under a rock.

The ghost of Kant haunted me when I saw the following video, which is about a magnificent 3D image of crashing waves—an image that had been put in place specifically as a way to help passersby find a bit of peace in their currently stressful, pandemic-tinged lives. As a work of art, it's utterly gorgeous, and a magnificent demonstration of what computers in the service of artistic minds can do. What struck me, though, is that, according to the news report below, the video is practically up the street from where I live, and I somehow never got word of it. If the display is functioning at night, and if it doesn't get switched out in the next few days, I might go walk up the street to see it sometime this coming week.


The thumbnail is a bit misleading: there's almost nothing in the news report about VR laser tag or paintgun wars except for a brief, half-second flash of the scene shown in the thumbnail. The "Wave" display is right next to the COEX center and the World Trade Tower, so it really is just a matter of walking up the street maybe thirty minutes from where I live.



riot re-analysis

The new insight to come from the nationwide riots in the US is that many of them are planned. The left has, of course, gone the usual route of suggesting that it's white supremacists and Russia who are behind the riots, despite the fact that the rioters show every evidence of being pawns of the left itself. Did you see the Black Lives Matter banner at CNN HQ in Atlanta? Whoever did that wasn't a Trump supporter, given Trump's stance that all lives matter—an attitude construed as racist by people who sloppily psychologize their opponents, foolishly believing themselves to have special telepathic insight into the minds of their enemies.

Opportunism is the new buzzword. What may have started off as a protest against the injustice of the murder of George Floyd quickly morphed into something altogether different. Opportunists with a desire to "watch the world burn" jumped into the fray, gleefully sowing chaos and destruction everywhere they've gone. That's what the riots are about now: they're a roiling sea of random, undirected impulses—a monster of id raging out of control and having nothing to do with the murder of a peaceable man. Do you think I'm psychologizing now? I'd be psychologizing if I didn't have good, rational reasons to think this way. To wit:

Floyd Protests Transform Into Opportunistic Riots.

Here's a quote from two rightie talking heads:

"One of the ironies of post-Great Awokening politics is that white, lefty politicians facing violence from leftists within their own jurisdictions now have to reinterpret the violence as right-wing in order to assert the legitimacy of public order," NRO's Peter Spiliakos tweets.

"It seems like the looting of the CNN headquarters was the turning point that led pundits, political advisers, and govt officials to say 'actually, this is a white-nationalist psyop,' which is hilarious," Joe Gabriel Simonson of the Washington Examiner adds.

And here's a quote from a leftie expert:

Saagar Enjeti of the Hudson Institute sums it up: "Timeline of events so far: Dems cheered on riots and looting until they realized how bad those things actually are, and now they are desperate to blame phantom Russians and White Nationalists so they don't have to own the responsibility for the chaos they allowed."

Here's liberal Tim Pool:


People on the right and the left are sifting through the evidence and concluding the same thing: there's something manufactured about these riots. Tim Pool's video shows footage of a large stack of bricks that had ben quietly deposited in an area where no construction was going on. What might those bricks be for, if not for throwing through windows? Feel free to argue, in the comments, that the bricks were put there for perfectly innocuous reasons.

And yet the left keeps saying it's the right that's violent.

If you want to find the root causes of nationwide trouble, just look left. As Sarah Hoyt writes in all-caps: "REMEMBER THAT THE LEFT DOESN’T VIEW SETTING THE WEST ON FIRE AND CRASHING THE WORLD ECONOMY AS A PRICE TO PAY TO GET ORANGEMANBAD OUT OF OFFICE. THEY REGARD TAKING WESTERN CIVILIZATION DOWN AS AN UNALLOYED GOOD IN AND OF ITSELF."

Or is she psychologizing?



tiny whisk

If you watch enough Binging with Babish on YouTube, you'll be familiar with Babish's tiny whisk. The diminutive kitchen implement has become something of a running joke, and it's made so many appearances that I finally broke down and bought one of my own:






Saturday, May 30, 2020

it's The Bonfire of the Vanities writ large

The USA is going nuts. The White House is apparently on lockdown. CNN's main HQ in Atlanta has been attacked by rioters. The genie is out of the lamp, and he's pissed off.


The above is a 2.5-hour podcast, but you get a clear impression of the state of the nation within the first five minutes. It didn't take long for my country to turn into a madhouse—at least in the big cities of the blue states. Yikes. Tim Pool contends that the nationwide rioting has nothing to do with the death-by-cop of George Floyd. Depending on how you take Pool's meaning, he may be right. The 1990s Los Angeles riots were an act of collective stupidity that probably had more to do with larger issues than just the exoneration of the police officers who had beaten Rodney King. If black folks were upset at white police officers, why did they attack Koreatown? At the same time, though, it's come out that George Floyd was a peace activist who is on video telling black youth to avoid guns, drugs, and a life of crime. This makes the man a saint and a martyr, so his symbolic significance has exploded in the minds of the already-outraged, i.e., George Floyd might be more relevant than the pundits think.

Pool also talks about how he might have been accidentally correct to advocate for disaster prep when he was covering the pandemic. Now, however, that prep might be necessary because of the riots and not because of SARS-CoV-2. I haven't listened to the entire podcast yet, but I did see Colion Noir talk about another form of prep that should be de rigueur for all able-bodied citizens: arming yourselves. Here's that video:


And here's Styx on what he calls "a confused mess of bullshit":






one via Bill

With thanks to Bill Keezer for linking to this meme:


The "shut down everything!" crowd really ought to look at places like South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Here in South Korea, life continues. Traffic on the street and on the sidewalks remains at a normal level. Most businesses and industries are open and functioning. Life goes on here, which means that, in the States, life can go on, too. Enough with the "shut down everything!" nonsense—get the hell back to work and really make America great again.

Oh, and you idiots who are rioting and looting because of George Floyd: leave businesses alone, channel your anger into something constructive, and grow some goddamn brain cells instead of destroying your own communities.



Friday, May 29, 2020

the smash-burger cheat


Last night was the second time for me to make smash burgers.

A quick review: smash burgers have become popular in recent years, with the chain Shake Shack making the burgers a known quantity nationwide. The idea behind a smash burger is simple: much of the flavor in a hamburger patty comes from the surface char which, when combined with the patty's juices, produces an incredibly delicious, almost smoky flavor without the need for actual grilling. Essentially, smash burgers are a cheat, allowing you to avoid the grill while retaining most of the burger's wholesomeness. Making a smash burger requires literally smashing the burger patty flat against a very hot cooking surface—a cast-iron pan, a heavy griddle, or whatever. You get the surface ripping hot, as if you were about to cook a steak, but instead of a steak, you lay down these modest little patties that immediately sizzle upon contact with the hot surface. You then take your spatula (or flat implement of choice) and smash the patties flat. Depending on how "non-sticky" your cooking surface is, you may need to use a special scraper to peel the meat off the hot surface so you can flip the patty. Once smashed, your patty will be painfully thin, but that's the point: what gives the smash burger its charm is the fact that the act of smashing it creates an enormous surface area, allowing more of the burger to be charred. Because smash-burger patties are so small, they tend to be served as double burgers, and in terms of actual weight, two smashed patties weigh about the same as a single standard patty. A standard patty has X amount of surface area; a smashed patty has about 2X, which means way more flavor per bite.

Once you've had a smash burger, you may find it hard to go back to regular burgers. (I sure do.) Smash burgers, like properly done steaks, produce a ton of smoke during the cooking process, but almost everyone agrees they're worth the effort.

This is where my cheat comes in. I live in a studio, and I can't afford to trip the fire alarm for fear that the alarm might trigger the sprinkler system and ruin thousands of dollars' worth of my and my neighbors' possessions, including people's electronics. Upshot: if I'm going to make anything like a smash burger, I can't afford to produce too much smoke. The method I've used—twice, now—is super-simple but requires a bit of extra help in the form of pork fat.

The object of the game is to be able to produce a plausible char, and I've discovered that by mixing barbecue sauce into my burgers and frying them in bacon fat, I can achieve a result that, while not a true-true smash burger, is pretty damn close, and pretty damn delicious. I've enjoyed these burgers both times that I made them. My patties are a bit thicker than actual smash-burger patties, so I use only one patty per burger, but the amount of flavor in each patty is more than enough to make up for a modest amount of meat.

I don't have a formal recipe for what I'm doing, but commonsense eyeballing is enough to get me through the process. Assuming about 250 grams (a bit more than 0.5 lbs.) of raw ground beef to make two burgers, add maybe 3-4 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus some kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste. And that's it! Form your burger meat into two equal-sized spheres of potential deliciousness, then set aside. Put a thin layer of bacon grease down in your favorite skillet—one that is wide enough to accommodate two modest-sized burger patties. If you're like me, the unprofessional thing to do now is to crank your stove up to maximum to accelerate the pan-heating process. The sheen of the bacon fat will tell you when everything is hot enough, but if you need another method to verify your cooking temp, fling a drop of water off your fingertip and into the pan. If you get loud, obnoxious spattering, you're ready. Put your burger spheres directly onto the hot, greased surface of your pan, then smash the spheres down as flat as you can, but don't worry if your patties aren't super-duper flat. Immediately turn your stove's heat down to medium. If you forget and keep the stove's temp at high, you'll end up with way too much smoke. (Don't ask me how I know this.) Watch the sides of your patties to see how the brown color of cooked meat is crawling upward; once you're a bit past the halfway point, flip the patties. My method uses bacon grease, so you shouldn't have to scrape the patties off your cooking surface. If your patties are so thin that they're crumbly and prone to breakage, don't worry: this is how smash burgers are supposed to be. If you want to put cheese on your burgers, now's the time. Cheffy people will put cheese on their burgers, pour a bit of water into the pan, then immediately cover the pan with a wide lid to trap the steam. This accelerates the melting of the cheese. The entire smash-burgering process, if done right, shouldn't be much more than two minutes total. For thicker patties, like the ones I made last night, 4-5 minutes total is reasonable.

Flavoring my burgers with BBQ sauce and frying them in bacon fat is the short route to a good, smoke-minimal char: the sugars in the BBQ sauce caramelize quickly, and the bacon grease has a low smoke point, i.e., it burns easily. So you do need to exercise mindful control over the process I've described above, but it's a simple prep and a simple cook, so this shouldn't be too hard, even for someone with little skill in the kitchen. Timing is important, but if your first burgers come out too burned, well... live and learn. And try again! If smash burgers are already a cheat, my method is a cheat piggybacking on the original cheat—a metacheat, if you will. I really think you'll enjoy these little chunks of beefy heaven.

ADDENDUM: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt shows the classic approach to smash burgers (he calls them "smashed burgers," but there's room for all sorts of different designations):






George Floyd, RIP

You've doubtless seen the horrific video footage of George Floyd being pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police. An officer, Derek Chauvin, applies his knee to Floyd's neck, immobilizing him. Video of the incident includes audio of bystanders begging the policeman to stop what he's doing. Other police are visible in the video, doing nothing to help or hinder. Floyd himself is heard gasping that he can't breathe. Ultimately, Floyd dies as a direct result of his treatment by police. The video makes it pretty clear that this isn't an "innocent until proven guilty" instance, at least not in the court of public opinion. Legally speaking, Officer Chauvin is innocent until proven guilty, but like most folks on both sides of the aisle, I'd say Chauvin is obviously guilty, and probably guilty of murder. I wouldn't lose any sleep if Chauvin went down for a murder charge, nor would I care all that much if his fellow officers* were found guilty of abetting a homicide.

Tim Pool noted the weird irony that liberals scream about the need for big government but despise the police (who are, after all, a branch of government in a very literal, physical sense), while conservatives tend to deplore big government even as they defend law enforcement. I'm pretty sure I've remarked on this same apparent paradox on this blog, years and years ago.

Tim Pool's discussion of the incident is here:


Styx sees Officer Chauvin as clearly guilty of murder:


Meanwhile, parts of Minneapolis are, unsurprisingly, in flames.

Dr. John Pepple has some interesting insights here. Excerpt:

Looting businesses in your neighborhood may bring some short-term satisfaction, but as far as I know, no neighborhood that experiences looting ever recovers. Businesses will flee, for understandable reasons.

Moreover, as I understand it, the looting has spread from the rather lower-class area it was in last night to Uptown, the hipster area, and even to St. Paul and to the suburbs.

So, is Trump to blame? Of course not. This happened in a Democratic-run city. If this police officer is some kind of white supremacist, what does that say for the Democrats in charge? They are the ones who hired him, and they are the ones who should have been screening to check for the occasional fascist, Nazi, white supremacist, or whatever. Somehow he slipped through. Why? Was that because they didn’t do any screening? Here’s what they might have been thinking: background checks are fascist. (I was told this by some leftist friends once.) If they think of background checks as fascist, then they will think that a progressive city shouldn’t do background checks on police officers. But that means that the occasional fascist will end up on the police force. On the other hand, if they do do background checks, then they are fascist simply for doing them. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, but that is their problem.

Anyway, the Democrats are to blame, if anyone other than the officer in question is to blame. They are the ones in control of the city, and it is completely unfair to blame Trump for this incident.

Read the rest.

In other, more lighthearted news, Joe Biden let loose a nasty, wet, juicy fart on camera during an interview—possibly a shart:


What is the country coming to? is the question to ask in the midst of police-sanctioned murder and Biden lustily passing wind.



*Officer or officers? Video from different angles makes it clear that there were at least three officers on site.



"Section 230"

There's been a long-running debate over whether big-tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube should be considered platforms or publishers. The difference between those two concepts is like the difference between, say, a phone company providing a service that everyone uses (platform) and a company that prints books (publisher). If you, as a publisher, choose to print a book that is somehow inflammatory, deeply offensive, or injurious, then in today's climate, you might find yourself staring down the double barrels of a lawsuit. Publishers are liable for what they publish because—with some notable exceptions—the act of publishing something generally indicates support for the thing published. If, however, you use something neutral like the phone service to spew Nazi rhetoric, the phone service isn't liable for what you say: it's merely a platform for all to use, and this clear from the beginning. The further logic is that, if you're merely a platform, then free speech ought to be close to absolute, and no one should be policing anything that anyone says.

The problem for big-tech firms is that they're trying to have it both ways by acting as both platforms and publishers. On the one hand, they invite everyone to use their services, which is in the spirit of a platform. On the other hand, they unjustly police the content that appears, usually in a way that indicates liberal/leftward bias. Conservatives who merely state that "a trans woman is still chromosomally male," for example, are cited for hate speech and promptly deplatformed. This happens routinely on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. To use social media of any sort is, effectively, to support the left. So-called "free speech" services like Gab (the alternative to Twitter) and BitChute (the alternative to YouTube) exist, but they enjoy only a tiny percentage of the total market.

In the video below, Tim Pool discusses an executive order regarding "Section 230" that, according to Pool's writeup (edited):

[targets] social-media censorship. [The order] has leaked, showing impending action, and it seems Big Tech is scared.

The order directs the FCC to clarify what constitutes certain phrases under Section 230 and could see Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube lose liability protections if they run afoul.

Democrats currently want to outright revoke Section 230 protections because they don't like conservatives' ability to communicate, but conservatives don't like Big Tech getting it both ways, being a publisher that can censor, but also a platform that can't get in trouble.

Many people, like Ben Shapiro and Robby Soave, feel that this could blow back on the right and end up generating more censorship.

I disagree, however, as this EO would restrict what could be censored.






textbook: dummy page

For the textbooks we're working on, we did a dummy page for a sample chapter before actually putting in real content, so as you'll see below, I made a six-panel comic strip by using two separate Garfield strips, stitching them together to form a story.






wake up: voter fraud is worse than you think

Here's Tim Pool:


I may have mentioned, several weeks ago, that my buddy JW scoffed at the idea of mail-in ballots for overseas expats. He zeroed in on the notion that cheating with such ballots would be easy. As it turns out, mail-in ballots are indeed easy to cheat with, but what's the alternative? If we have voters identify themselves via biometric markers, that's a violation of privacy/anonymity. Voting via email is fraught with potential problems since all encryptions are ultimately breakable. JW's idea was that US embassies should set up voting stations for expats. I think that's not a bad thought, but I can imagine the overworked embassy staff possibly staging a revolt because of the sudden influx of voters.

Now that I'm thinking more deeply about the question of voter fraud, I'm wondering whether my vote might even mean anything. Should I even vote this year? Like my buddy Mike, I'm torn, albeit for very different reasons.



probably the last graphic for a while

I've used Photoshop for years, but I'm molasses-slow at any sort of graphic design. Never having been tutored in the program, I'm unaware of the hundreds of nifty shortcuts that modern artists use in order to create designs in any sort of Adobe program. But I don't let my slowness stop me: as I've told my boss on many occasions: I can't work faster, but I can work longer. So here's the next graphic for a different chapter of the textbook we're working on:


You can guess the five scrambled sentences, but if you really want them displayed, I'll display them (although I probably shouldn't with proprietary material). Feel free to finish the story. I hope it involves a random pterodactyl.

Note: we've hired a graphic designer who starts next week (Korean dude whom I met in 2015—very friendly, hard-working, talented guy), so he'll be taking over the job of creating these comic strips. Thank goodness: I've been staying at the office late because of these illustrations. It's after midnight as I type this.



Thursday, May 28, 2020

cartoon made for work

We're working on several textbooks right now, generating material on a chapter-by-chapter basis. One chapter is devoted to the Salem witch trials, and since we're working off a content-based curriculum, everything we do is rooted in the reading passage that starts the chapter. To that end, I was tasked with creating a "put the sentences in the correct order" page. The idea was to have a six-panel cartoon whose sixth panel was left blank. The other five panels would tell a story, and it was the job of the student to look at five scrambled sentences and put them in order in accordance with the sequenced pictures. The student would then (1) draw his or her idea of what happens next in the sixth panel, and (2) supply the sixth and final sentence to finish the story.

Here, for your entertainment, is the paneled comic strip I drew last night, using hand-drawn line art and Photoshop to fill in color and detail. I've also included the five scrambled sentences so you can work the story out for yourselves. Feel free to leave a sixth and story-ending sentence in the comments.



The pictures below tell a story. The sentences below the picture tell the same story, but the sentences are out of order. Rewrite the sentences in the correct order, then do two more things: (1) draw a sixth picture showing what happens next, and (2) write a final sentence describing what happens in your picture.


The man changes into a frog.
The insect pulls the man-frog through the air and over a high cliff.
The man-frog, hungry, sees an insect flying past.
An evil witch uses her powers on a man.
He leaps after the insect, catching it on his tongue.



Enjoy!



unmasked

How fucking dumb do you have to be, as a reporter, to go around accusing everyone around you of not wearing masks while your own cameraman is also not wearing a mask?

From Instapundit:

PASSERBY’S OWN FOOTAGE OF NO-MASK-SHAMING MSNBC REPORTER CAL PERRY MAKES MSNBC’S FACEPLANT EVEN MORE SPECTACULAR (VIDEO).

INSTANT CLASSIC FROM @MSNBC:

ANCHOR: “Are the people there just not worried about it? Are they not worried about their personal safety?”

REPORTER: “I haven’t met anybody who is… you can see here, nobody’s wearing them [masks].”

GUY ON STREET: “Including the [cameraman].”

Videos at link of both Perry’s segment, and the footage from the man who walked by with a cell phone camera showing that two of Perry’s three crewmen weren’t wearing masks.

D'oh. And duh. Fucking idiots.



COVID math


The issue of credit or blame is complicated. Trump ought to be credited with adopting the federalist strategy of allowing each state's governor to decide for him- or herself how to handle the pandemic. Beyond that, though, I think the individual governors deserve the credit or blame for their responses. It seems that red-state governors generally enjoy lower morbidity and mortality rates in their states than do blue-state governors. (Trump continues to be blamed because certain Americans are idiots who don't understand how federalism works.) This style of thinking works in reverse, too: Trump doesn't deserve credit for "saving the country" since he left the actual saving up to the state governments. He deserves credit only for opting to go federalist, as well he should have. And in so doing, he has once again exposed which ideology hews more closely to reality. I don't give Trump credit for saving 1.9 million lives, but it's certainly true that 1.9 million people who ought to be dead, according to wild-eyed projections, are not dead. And that's primarily thanks to certain state governors.

ADDENDUM: regarding my claim that red states are generally faring better than blue states, there's this from Instapundit:

As states began reopening their economies a month ago — led by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — the media’s favorite “experts” predicted doom. We were told to expect a deadly “surge” of new cases, a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections.

And then . . . it didn’t happen.

The per-capita death rate in Georgia remains 88% lower than New York’s; Florida’s rate is 93% lower and Texas is 96% lower. In Florida last week, there were 264 coronavirus deaths, an average 38 deaths daily, which is about half of what they were averaging two weeks ago. In Texas, 151 of 254 counties have never reported a single COVID-19 death. While Georgia reported an increase last week in the number of identified infections, officials say that reflects greatly increased testing, and the daily number of reported COVID-19 deaths in Georgia has continued trending downward after peaking at 55 on April 16.

The media don’t want to accept the reality that has become apparent, namely that this disease will never become as prevalent in the rest of America as it has been in New York and New Jersey, which combined have 40% of all U.S. coronavirus deaths. The specific conditions that gave rise to the epidemic outbreak in March and April — when the New York/New Jersey region was racking up hundreds of deaths daily, week after week — simply do not exist in Texas or Florida, and are not going to exist in the future. “Experts” have been reluctant to admit this.

And see here for how the media dupe you into thinking the opposite is true.



Wednesday, May 27, 2020

chicken pot pie redux

I made the filling with Béchamel plus heavy cream this time, and it was so much better than last time, almost a year ago. Bottom crust was slightly burned, but not inedible.







Apologies for all the blurriness. I thought my camera's auto-focus would do a better job than that, but I guess not.



SARS-CoV-2 hates the color blue

Over at Instapundit: a post titled "The Pandemic Seems to Be Hitting Trump's Enemies." The post focuses on California's plight: the state appears to be taking fire from many different angles as a result of the pandemic. Most of this can be chalked up to over-regulation, stupid laws, and a leftie tendency to shoot oneself in the foot. Glenn Reynolds makes the point that Governor Gavin Newsom is demanding aid from Washington now, but not so long ago, he was trumpeting California's status as a "nation-state." You can't have it both ways, Newsom, you idiot. As far as I'm concerned, you and your failed state can sink to the bottom of the ocean.



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

a #WalkAway perspective on Creepy Joe

This young lady doesn't come off as a Trump supporter, nor does she seem likely to vote Republican, but she's obviously disenchanted with the current Democratic party, and she's definitely not going to be voting for Joe Biden.


I do disagree with her claim that people who refuse to vote "don't give a shit." As I've repeatedly argued on this blog, not voting is a live option for people of conscience who refuse to sit at a restaurant where the only thing on the menu is shit sandwiches. A person should have the right to get up and leave such a restaurant, and that's what a refusal to vote is tantamount to—at least for people of conscience. Are there people who won't vote because they're lazy or mentally befuddled? Of course! But my point isn't to argue statistics or game theory or "wasted votes": all my arguments about voting are rooted exclusively in the idea that voting is an act of conscience, first and foremost.



more flak re: Biden's latest gaffe

A veteran speaks out:


I hope the disgust that this guy is talking about is pervasive throughout the various black communities in the US. It really ought to be, given Biden's (and the left's) cavalier treatment of black voters. My fear, though, is that not enough black voters are disgusted. The leftist media are waging a thoroughgoing war to distort perceptions. This is why so many voters think New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been doing a great job handling the pandemic while Florida governor Ron DeSantis has not. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that messages like the one above are not finding an audience in the communities where such ideas desperately need to be heard.



one side is consistently right; the other is consistently wrong

So! At this point in the pandemic, would you rather live in a red state or in a blue state?


Don't expect the Dems to admit how disastrous their policies have been. Reality-denial is their thing. They obviously take their cue from the Chinese Communist Party, which also likes rejecting reality and substituting its own:






attack of the Karens

Just saw this on Instapundit:

Video of white woman calling cops on black man in Central Park draws outrage

As well it should.

A video of a white woman calling the cops on a black man because he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park Monday is drawing outrage on social media.

The footage, posted on Twitter by the man’s sister, begins with the masked dog walker marching toward the man and demanding that he stop filming.

“Please don’t come close to me,” the man, who doesn’t appear on camera, is heard responding several times.

She continues to ask him to stop filming — and then threatens to call 911.

When the man invites her to “please call the cops,” she says: “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

“Please tell them whatever you like,” he responds.

The dog walker then pulls down her mask as she gets on the phone and says: “I’m in the Ramble and an African American man with a bicycle helmet, he is recording me and threatening my dog.”

She pauses before repeating that “there is an African American man. He is recording me and threatening my dog.”

After an other pause, the woman appears suddenly shaken up as she cries: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear!”

“I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately.”

Throughout the clip, the woman is seen grabbing her struggling dog by a neck harness and holding a leash, which she eventually attaches to the harness.

At that point, the man says “thank you” and stops filming.

I bet the lady considers herself a liberal, too. In my experience, white liberals often tend to feel more threatened around black folks than white conservatives do. Why might that be?



Monday, May 25, 2020

a scene from this past Saturday

I walked out to the Jamshil Bridge and back this past Saturday, after my unpleasant meeting.


I slapped the above pic up over at Instapundit, and one guy gave a pointed reply:

South Korea put ankle bracelets on Covid patients. They traced all their contacts with their phones. That is the only way they have flattened the curve. None of this would be legal in the USA. We can’t compare apples to oranges if we can not ever recreate the apple here because we can not use the same techniques.

Annoyed by his illiterate spelling of "cannot" as "can not," I replied to this joker at length:

Miller,

If I understand you correctly, you're not saying you're necessarily against certain draconian measures; you're saying that there would be an uproar if someone tried to implement these measures. Is that a fair reading? I don't want to go haring off after a straw man.

I see two major claims in your response:

(1) Korean authorities have used ankle bracelets to track infected patients.
(2) Tracking measures that violate civil liberties (specifically, ankle bracelets) wouldn't work in the US.

Business Insider has written a series on South Korean measures. Here's what one article says:

To wrangle the nightclub-linked outbreak, officials tried to get in touch with every single person who'd visited any of the clubs where the infected people went. That was possible because bars and nightclubs in Seoul required partygoers leave their names and contact information before entering, Time reported.

But not all of them left accurate or complete information, so police worked with telecommunications companies to use cellphone data to confirm who was in Itaewon that weekend.

According to Seoul's mayor, officials were able to get in touch with about half of nightclub visitors by May 10.

South Korean contact tracers also use interviews, GPS tracking, credit-card records, and video surveillance to trace people's travel histories, The Washington Post reported.

It doesn't stop there: After a clear picture of where an infected person went is established, the South Korean government then publishes that anonymized information on a public website so others can check to see if they have been exposed.

Unlike China and the US, South Korea never implemented large-scale lockdowns, though it did shut down schools and impose a curfew in some cities.

According to a South Korean government report called "Flattening the curve on COVID-19: The Korean Experience," more restrictive measures weren't needed because the government could easily alert people about whether they've come near someone who tested positive.

Officials in the country are constantly updating national and local government websites that track the numbers of cases and residents tested. That way, they can communicate to the public how many people are infected in each geographic area in real time. Then smartphone apps send people emergency text alerts about spikes in infections in their local region.

This is generally how the ROK government has been handling things. I know because I live here. Ankle bracelets might be being used, but if they are, they're rare, i.e., they're not the first go-to method for contact tracing—the above-cited methods are. I've also heard the authorities are using wrist bracelets and requiring incoming visitors to the country to have a tracking app placed in their cell phones. If you're contending that these measures violate basic civil rights in some way, I won't argue with you. As a long-time resident of South Korea, however, I've been completely untouched by any of these measures. At best, they exist at the periphery of my (and most other people's) consciousness, so I wouldn't make the mistake of assuming ankle bracelets are somehow representative of how the ROK is handling the crisis. That's a wild-eyed exaggeration. As for a person's right to privacy: when infected people are found, the authorities don't doxx them. Instead, announcements are sent out via text message saying that a "confirmed infected person" (hwakjin-ja in Korean) was in such-and-such district and visited such-and-such places while there. The ROK is trying to strike a balance between being draconian and having a light touch.

You might be interested to know that some US states are, in fact, considering using ankle bracelets.

Reuters: "To keep COVID-19 patients home, some U.S. states weigh house-arrest tech."

Miami Herald: "Ankle monitors, wrist bands, cell phones: How states might track coronavirus patients"

So maybe you're right to point the finger at South Korea and talk about apples and oranges, but it seems to me that it's becoming more apples-to-apples by the minute. Does the fact that US states are also considering ROK-style measures make it right? No, of course not. Although, again, I gather that your argument has less to do with rightness and wrongness and more to do with how Americans might react to such measures.

Which brings me to your second claim: Americans would #Resist if told to wear ankle bracelets.

Would they, though?

From my faraway perch in Seoul, it seems to me that huge swaths of the country have already proved willing to submit meekly to any authority. I think you have an overly optimistic view of many of our fellow Americans. Human behavioral tendencies tend to fall along a bell curve; most people are average Joes and Janes who aren't going to take up arms at the first whiff of oppression. If anything, most of those good folks will take up arms only after it's too late, like the overused metaphor of the frog slowly being boiled to death.

This isn't to say that many American's wouldn't resist oppression outright, but from what I'm seeing, the folks in the blue states seem mostly okay with the restrictions being placed upon them. In that context, what's an ankle bracelet? Many of us are willing to trade freedom for more security; that's a sad fact of life. Consider, too, the "Karens" who are willing to rat on their noncompliant neighbors. Such people would love ankle bracelets.

If you can argue that most Americans are, in fact, resisting government oppression with all their might, I'll happily concede your point. But observation and common sense lead me to believe that Americans are as human as everyone else, and they'll trade their freedom away if it means being safer... or at least feeling safer.

So the burden of proof is on you: show me the massive #Resistance—on the scale of millions—of people who are tired of government oppression (especially in the blue states), and show me, too, that ankle bracelets for the infected in the US are an absolute impossibility. Show me those two things, and I'll happily concede your point that freedom-loving Americans would never tolerate the contact-tracing methods allegedly used in South Korea.

Miller hasn't replied yet, but because he's a man, I expect him to (1) reply with greater emotional force because, well, now it's a pissing contest; and (2) attempt to dodge the burden of proof in some way, because it's the male tendency to try to escape from boxes when feeling boxed in, and to counter stark A/B binary choices by stubbornly choosing Option C. Few men are brave enough, in arguments and discussions, to counter a point head-on; the dodge is much easier. I'm guilty of it myself.

UPDATE: still no reply from Miller. I think I swamped him with my prolixity. Or maybe he's just "Biden" his time.



when the grasshopper comes a-begging

The ants do all the work, and the grasshopper just wants to freeload:


(Gavin Newsom is governor of California, a blue state that decided to strangle its own economy by overreacting to the pandemic and locking down for the long term, along the way depriving its citizens of the right to visit parks and beaches. Blue states need to pay for their stupidity. People in red states have no obligation to shovel their tax money to the blue states. Why make everyone pay for the obtuseness of a fraction of the country?)



Mike Rowe's "dirty jobs" commencement speech

This is not bad:


If anything, Koreans ought to listen to Rowe: the peninsula is obsessed with four-year degrees and grad school. The idea of going to a trade school to learn a skilled trade is utterly anathema to a country that idolizes white-collar workers. There are plenty of blue-collar workers in South Korea, but they're made to feel like an inferior caste. Back when I taught at Dongguk University and lived in the Chungmuro neighborhood, I appreciated the fact that the neighborhood was thoroughly blue collar: those good folks all worked for a living, and when they got home from work, they were tired—they just wanted to have a decent dinner, relax a bit, and go to bed. As a result, my old neighborhood, for all its grungy outward appearance, was quiet and sedate, not littered with beer and soju bottles, not noisy with the sounds of overprivileged white-collar assholes drinking and partying. I liked that neighborhood, and honestly, I sometimes want to move back there, right next door to Namsan.

But, yeah: Koreans need to stop obsessing about the white-collar way of life and start looking seriously at high-paying alternatives to the beaten path.



prep that lie before you need it

Tim Pool notes the Dems are prepping their latest lie to explain a Trump victory this coming November: he cheated. Well, given that it's still May, I guess the proper verb tense should be the future perfect: he will have cheated. That is, after all, the only way Trump can win, given the inevitability of a Dem victory, yes?


If only the Dems looked in the mirror to see who exactly has been refusing to concede defeat for four years, and who exactly has been engaged in a four-year-long campaign of lying and cheating. But being an unreflective Dunning-Kruger twit has its benefits, I guess: you're never plagued by pangs of conscience.



stay tuned

I've got a series review of "Burn Notice" coming soon, and a "frank" post about my Saturday meeting to write. Expect both of those sometime this coming week.

Meantime: summer is upon us. With the imminent arrival of June, we here in Seoul can expect the heat to crank up a few notches, and July will bring the monsoon. That means most of my upcoming distance walking will have to be done at night; once fall is here in a few months, I'll be at liberty to walk at any time of day. For the rest of May and the early part of June, I'm going to condition myself to do some Everesting. In my current shape, there's no way I can walk up my building's staircase from the B1 level to the 26th floor, so I'll be working up to the full distance in stages. This might take me to about mid-June; once I start Everesting, I'm thinking I'll finish the whole thing by sometime in August. It'll be the worst time of year to be hitting the stairs; I'll try to hit them at night and in the late morning, before the sun has a chance to turn the stairwell into an oven.

I'm also going to ask my boss about the possibility of doing another cross-country walk during the October time frame. We're in a crunch period at work right now, though, so that might not be possible. More news on that as it happens.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

finally back to square one

Since I got my laptop repaired, I've taken my sweet time reinstalling software. Some of that slowness is attributable to laziness; some of it is attributable to unforeseen obstacles. Here's a good example of the latter: I had wanted to reinstall Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 on my computer, but Amazon wouldn't let me re-download. I had bought a fresh new CD-ROM copy of Elements 2020 for my Windows machine at work; the package came with two discs, one for Windows and one for Mac. I tried installing the Mac version on my laptop, but my laptop informed me that I needed to update my OS beyond Yosemite. Apparently, the best OS for a 2011-era MacBook Air is not the most current OS—which is Catalina—but an OS called High Sierra. So I spent a big chunk of today downloading that OS. I had to download it twice, but I'm not too worried about how much space the double-download takes because I have almost four times the storage space on my laptop than what I'd originally purchased (in 2011, the laptop came with 64 GB of storage; it now has about 240 GB). Once I figure out how to get rid of the first, abortive download, I'll do so. Anyway, I did the OS switchover so that I could install Photoshop Elements 2020, and it worked. But it took a lot of time.

At this point, I've installed everything I've wanted to install. MS Office was easily re-downloadable (Microsoft is apparently less persnickety than Adobe about re-downloading purchased software). Photoshop Elements 2020 is in place. I had to re-purchase Adobe Acrobat 2017 for Mac, God help me, but that's now in place as well. Mac OS High Sierra is installed and purring along. An updated version of Chrome was one of the first things I installed when I got my laptop back and updated my OS from Mountain Lion to Yosemite. iTunes got updated as well, which is why I'm only three episodes away from finishing "Burn Notice." I haven't reinstalled Norton Security or Clean My Mac; I'll reinstall those once I start having storage-capacity problems again; that shouldn't be for another several years, assuming this poor laptop can stand the testicles of time.

Now that I'm finally back to square one, I can restart my book project, which got destroyed when my laptop's brain died. A friend of mine advised me not to create a single gigantic tome of movie reviews, but to divide my work into smaller volumes. I might take his advice; that would certainly shorten the amount of time from now until the actual printing of my self-published work. Whatever I decide to do, it's good to be back in the saddle.



Creepy Joe once again chokes on his own dick

Near the very end of a recent radio interview, Joe Biden daffily said to interviewer Charlamagne tha God:* "Well, I tell you what: if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."

Tim Pool finds the gaffe-tastic situation hilarious:


Styx actually sympathizes with Biden and agrees that Biden was probably joking. That said, Biden's dumb comment and the furor around it expose all sorts of hypocrisy:


Many on the left seem not to recognize just how arrogant the left, as a whole, can be toward black people. There's a racist assumption on the left that blacks will automatically, reliably vote Democrat, and when a black person declares him- or herself a conservative or a Republican, then out come the racial slurs—the very same slurs that liberals claim to deplore. As I've written before, the right definitely has a bigotry problem and needs to clean house, but the same is just as true for the left. I'd understand any black person who says "Fuck you both" and walks away from both the left and the right.



*Charlamagne [sic] tha God is the same interviewer who gained notoriety for grilling Elizabeth Warren about her attempts at passing herself off as Native American. Charlemagne accused Warren of being another Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who identifies as black. Warren, who isn't adept at discussion or debate, was left temporarily speechless.



Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dr. Karlyn on why she walked away from the Dems

Dr. Karlyn Borysenko became famous after she wrote an article about her positive experience attending a Trump rally. Borysenko was a confirmed liberal/leftist at the time, but she was becoming disenchanted with the liberal left and was simultaneously curious about whether all the horrible rumors regarding the right were true. Were righties truly the closed-minded racist bigots they'd been made out to be? Borysenko, to her surprise and delight, discovered that the rumors were wrong, and this helped her step fully out from under the oppressive shadow of left-liberalism. While she still calls herself a liberal, I'd say she's fairly "Tim Pool-adjacent" in terms of her politics—i.e., highly critical of the insane left—but unlike Pool, she has no trouble saying she definitely plans to vote for Trump this coming November. In the video below, Borysenko lays out her reasons for leaving the left. I do wish more lefties—especially the ones afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome—would watch videos like this, but my fear is that she's largely preaching to the choir.






Tim Pool on voter fraud

Remember my post here? Here's Tim Pool on the same issue:






unpleasant meeting with unsavory person in an hour

I'll tell you all about it when I get back, but I'm meeting someone I really don't want to meet in about an hour. The writeup of the meeting, and the background for why I feel the way I do about this person, will probably appear as a "frank" post. Stay tuned.



Friday, May 22, 2020

the GOP will lose to the coming blue wave!

Pardon me while I snicker. Tim Pool tackles the wild-eyed prediction that the GOP is in for huge losses this November because of the sorry state of the US economy. As Pool notes, this assumes that the public is stupid enough to blame the current economy on the president when, in fact, it's the blue-state governors—the ones leaning on a lockdown strategy—who are killing off their states' economies and dragging down the nation.


Pool notes that the liberal media have failed to learn any lessons from 2016. "Do these people not remember? Perhaps they have the memory of a goldfish."



the left: "Election fraud is a rightie fantasy!"

From Instapundit (here, too):

Philadelphia Judge of Elections Pleads Guilty to Committing Election Fraud To Help Democrats.

(transcript) Good morning. I am here to announce that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has unsealed criminal charges against Domenick J. DeMuro, a former Judge of Elections for the 39th Ward, 36th Division in South Philadelphia.

DeMuro has been charged with two counts: first, for conspiring to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights by fraudulently stuffing the ballot boxes for specific Democratic candidates in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections; and second, for a violation of the Travel Act, which forbids the use of any facility in interstate commerce (here, a cell phone) with the intent to promote certain illegal activity (here, bribery). DeMuro has pled guilty to both of these charges.

You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you. With all the double-counting, the votes from dead citizens, the votes from non-residents (including illegals), and all the other instances of voting fraud, you'd think people would treat this like the scandal it is. But, no: it's all cooked up by the febrile imagination of the right. Right?

My inner dicator says, Catch all the fuckers, line 'em up at the edge of a long ditch, and shoot 'em one by one. It'll never happen, of course.

Oh, yeah: the left doesn't actually believe election fraud doesn't occur. It believes the right perpetrates it with the help of foreign countries like Russia. I'm not sure how you simultaneously maintain the thoughts that "the right is making this up" and "the right is behind all the fraud," but collectively speaking, that's the left for you.



Etymonline on "Janus words"

Very interesting article here on Janus words, a.k.a. contranyms and auto-antonyms.



Thursday, May 21, 2020

how the current lockdown hurts the environment

Uh-oh:

You might be forgiven for thinking that the global lockdown measures keeping us all at home can only have been good for the environment ... But in the world’s tropical forest regions, it’s another story. Environmental agencies have reported an uptick in deforestation during lockdowns, as well as increases in poaching, animal trafficking[,] and illegal mining worldwide. The trends are alarming, environmental experts say, and could be hard to reverse.

“This narrative of nature having been given a break during Covid, it’s not entirely accurate. It’s accurate in cities and peri-urban areas,” says Sebastian Troeng, executive vice-president of Conservation International. “But unfortunately in the rural areas, the situation is almost the inverse.”

So the air and water are getting cleaner, but enviro-pillaging is getting worse.

Also from the above-quoted blog:

In my old African stamping-grounds [sic], this is particularly evident. When so many people are surviving on the ragged edge of starvation, any added burden like the coronavirus pandemic will drive those barely "making it", now deprived of what little opportunity they had, to turn to anything available—even if that means destroying nature around them. It's that, or die, as far as they're concerned.

Upshot: people still suck, but sometimes the suckage is not by choice.



an important Twitter thread

Found at ROK Drop:



Click the above and read the rest of the thread, which is sickening once you grasp the pervasiveness of the problem. As ROK Drop points out, the mainstream media won't talk about all these traitors* in US academe, so it's up to others to point them out in the hope that we can do an end run around the wall of silence and get the word out. As far as I'm concerned, these people should all be hanged with thick ropes so that they die slowly and in great fear.

Cabot Phillips writes, later in his thread:

We had almost zero evidence of foreign interference in our elections, and half the country freaked out. Now, we have endless evidence of foreign interference on our campuses, and no one is batting an eye.

People on campus are afraid to question China's influence efforts for fear of being labeled xenophobic or racist. Colleges are so concerned about being called "intolerant" that they let a communist regime exploit our country.

People will call you a conspiracy theorist if you question why China is secretly spending millions on buying off American professors. Ask those people if they believe China is just doing all this out of the goodness of their hearts.



*In truth, some are Chinese nationals working in the US, not American citizens. The label "traitor" might not apply to them in a technical sense if they've been consistently loyal to their mother country. The label might apply in a non-technical sense, though, if we're talking about a fundamental betrayal of trust (see here).



ululate!

A belated ululate! to bland, ubiquitous Everyman actor Fred Willard, who died this past May 15th at the age of 86. Willard often played roles in which he portrayed a normal guy who finds himself in bizarre, surreal, or even dangerous circumstances. Occasionally, Willard would play seemingly normal guys who had certain kinks in their personalities. He did it all with a cheerful smile and a palpable sense of self-deprecation: if one thing was true of Willard, it's that the man never took himself seriously, and that was part of his charm. A glance at his TV and movie filmography shows that he was in just about every show ever made—often in comic roles, but sometimes in more serious roles. The world is a dimmer place now that he's gone; I'll miss Fred Willard's cheerful, humble demeanor and—now that I know just how extensive his résumé was—his ferocious work ethic. RIP, Fred.



subtle message

Photographed while walking home last night (sorry for the blur):


I guess someone really, really, really doesn't want us using that weight bench.



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

"Burn Notice": on final approach

I'm finishing my binge-watching of Season 6 of "Burn Notice" tonight. Season 7, the show's final season, is only thirteen episodes long as opposed to eighteen, so I'll make short work of that in a few days, after which I'll likely write a series review. It's been interesting to see what I remember from my patchy, random watching of the show back when I was in the States. Following the storyline straight through, as I'm doing now, has been very educational. Many gaps in my always-unreliable memory have been filled.

More on "Burn Notice" later. Meantime, entertain yourself by watching this very short interview with star Jeffrey Donovan:










"truth over facts"

Currently making the waves is a funny parody website that mocks Joe Biden's weird and senile-sounding utterances. The site is called Truth Over Facts, a phrase taken directly from an infamous Biden quote that attempted to belittle Donald Trump.

Journalists, stupid twats that they are, apparently forgot that Biden had used this phrase, and they now have their knickers in a twist over the parody website's existence.

On Monday, the Trump campaign launched a hilarious new parody website called “Truth Over Facts.” It mocks presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s numerous gaffes by launching an “investigation” into their hidden meaning. The website’s title comes from Biden’s notorious declaration that, unlike Trump, “We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.”

The website is genius — and hilarious! Yet more hilarious still was the reaction of left-leaning journalists — some of them Pulitzer Prize winners — who not only took it seriously but condemned the Trump campaign for allegedly spouting “Orwellian” “propaganda.”

The least bit of true investigation would have demonstrated just how much of a parody the website truly is. For example, here is the “Truth Over Facts” launch video, displayed prominently on the website and the very first result on Google. Warning: this is not safe for serious people. It had me in stitches. Do not watch if you are not in a position to laugh your arse off.


Tim Pool and his gang were already mocking clueless journalists before the above-quoted article came out:


Humorless and stupid is no way to go through life, journalists.



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

more paintings from #3 Ajumma

I think my #3 Ajumma is feeling a bit depressed. She was sounding tearful on the phone tonight when I called her and talked with her for a few minutes. She said she misses me, and she'd like for me to visit. Thus far, I've been meeting friends outside the apartment, but I haven't been visiting any people in their homes. I'd rather forgo such visitations until the crisis is officially declared over. I guess Ajumma is dealing with the pandemic by staying home and painting her heart out. She just texted me her latest:









fuck China

As much as I respect Chinese history and culture, I have to say that the wave of leftism that washed over the Middle Kingdom pretty much plunged the entire country into a diarrhea-filled toilet, and things have been shitty ever since. Here's the latest example of Chinese shittiness, found over at Instapundit (edited for space and style):

HEADLINE: China slaps an 80 per cent tariff on drought-affected Australian exporters starting TODAY as brutal punishment for push for COVID-19 inquiry—just hours after saying it'll support inquiry when pandemic is over

·China imposed [an 80%] tariff on Oz barley exports from May 19
·In May, China claimed Oz dumped barley & subsidised farmers
·Oz strenuously denies claims & will consider fighting tariffs
·Oz may now look toward supplying produce to Saudi Arabia
·It comes after China vowed to support a probe re: origins of COVID-19
·President Xi Jinping said China would support inquiry after pandemic
·Diplomatic relations b/t nations deteriorated as Oz called for probe
·Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Go read the article. What a clusterfuck.

It occurs to me that, with much of the world now contemplating some sort of divorce or divestment from China, South Korea is going to be in an awkward position as one of China's few remaining cheerleaders. Why? Because China is South Korea's largest trading partner, and especially under the China-suckling Moon administration, I can't imagine South Korea ever growing a backbone and pivoting toward India in a show of independence. Korea used to be a vassal state of China, so the history of this unwholesome toadyism goes way, way back.



Ave, Matt!

Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling writes an important post regarding the 40th anniversary of the Gwangju Uprising. Fascinating material. I'm ignorant of most of this history.



Monday, May 18, 2020

randomly generated beef pie

I had some leftover skirt steak, so I bought extra ingredients (peas, carrots, celery, potatoes) and made a couple pies that I took to the office:







The pie filling tasted great when I put it all together last night. Today, though, the whole thing was good but kind of bland, and the muted reactions of my coworkers signaled the truth of the matter. I'd say the pie needs a bit more salt, and maybe some help with a little hot sauce. (I did add some cayenne and red-chili flakes, but only sparingly, and I guess that wasn't enough to pep the dish up.) I had added a can of beer to the filling as well, but when I asked one coworker whether he tasted the beer at all, he said no. Alas. The beef, at least, ended up the perfect texture for this kind of pie. I deem the pie edible, but little more than that. I should try making that twisted version of a Scotch pie again. That was damn good.



awesome discussion of special effects

Corridor Crew comes through again with another fascinating look at SFX:






Sunday, May 17, 2020

Larry Elder: the truth-twisting MSM, Part 2


Elder offers an excellent quote from Teddy Roosevelt at 4:18 (click here).



out with the old...

On Saturday, my faithful, three-year-old power pack finally gave up the ghost, so I went out to Yongsan Jeonja Land today and bought a new one:


I think this is supposed to be a power pack that can charge wirelessly, but I won't be using that function as I have no wireless-charging facilities. I'm still getting used to how the new power pack works; it's rated at 10,000 mAh like my previous one, but this one cost me only W25,000, which is about half of what I'd paid three years ago. I'm not complaining.

It's kind of sad to have to commend the old power pack to eternal rest. That pack saw a lot of road miles; it was, in its own humble way, a travel companion, going with me to Busan twice, and accompanying me on many shorter trips to Incheon and to Yangpyeong. The little guy logged in least a couple thousand kilometers before it suddenly kicked the bucket. I hate to part ways with it, but this is, alas, goodbye.



forgot to upload this

From the first half of my InYang walk on April 29, at 11:54 a.m.: it's now a tradition for me to take a video of at least one plane approaching Gimpo Airport, so here you go:


I filmed it in vertical "portrait" mode just to annoy Charles.



viral terminology

Some recurrent terms in the current conversation over COVID-19:

viral load: a numerical expression of the quantity of virus in a given volume a body fluid, usually blood plasma. It is often expressed as viral particles, or infectious particles per mL depending on the type of assay. (Wikipedia)


host reservoir, disease reservoir, reservoir of infection: the population of organisms or the specific environment in which an infectious pathogen naturally lives and reproduces, or upon which the pathogen primarily depends for its survival. (Wikipedia)

herd immunity:


Annoyingly, the narrator goes from calling the university "John Hopkins" to "Johns Hopkins."



destinkuishing myself

Over the past month, I think, a nastiness has grown and festered inside my apartment: a rotten stink that seemed to be coming from the cabinet underneath my kitchenette's sink. The stink was getting so bad that it began to smell as if a large rat had crawled into the space and died. The odor went from annoying pong to nauseating miasma, and at first, I was wondering whether I needed to call maintenance to see what the problem might be. I had no idea how the various pipes and tubes were connected between and among my sink and my washing machine (in Korean studio apartments, your washer is often located in the kitchenette—a fact that you get used to after a while), and no idea what sort of flaws and gaps in the piping might be letting this odor out. My tentative diagnosis was that there was a bunch of accumulated food-waste-turned-gunk in the pipes, rotting away.

Instead of calling maintenance, I decided to see what I could do on my own. Armed with a huge bottle of bleach that I had recently bought from the local No Brand store, I filled my kitchenette's sink about halfway up with warm water and dumped maybe two cups' worth of bleach into it. I popped the sink's drain open and let the bleach-water run down. In the meantime, I took my grungy-looking kitchen sponge—the one I use when washing dishes—and soaked it in a 50-50 water/bleach solution. In both cases, the results were immediate and fantastic: (1) my sponge lost all of the nasty, encroaching brown color that had begun at the sponge's edges and had been working its way inward for weeks, and (2) when I opened up the cabinet directly under my sink, I was no longer greeted with a blast of noxious putrescence. The space smelled a thousand times better.

I performed the purge on my sink a second time, just to be sure. I have no illusions that this will keep the stink away forever, or that I somehow managed to dislodge all the scum and goo lining my kitchenette's pipes and hoses. But I now know that, should the stink arise again, I have the perfect method for getting rid of it in a jiffy.