Saturday, April 17, 2021

John Mac's win and loss

My friend John McCrarey, who lives in the Philippines, won a crucial darts tourney last night after a hard-won, suspenseful fight.  Alas, high from that victory, John found out that a favorite neighborhood dog of his, Buday (humorously mentioned here), had died.  Sad news, indeed.  Buday's owner apparently didn't care very much for her, so we can all wish bad karma upon the owner while mourning the loss of Buday.

May you forever chase sky-rabbits in heaven, little girl, and know all the smells of the cosmos.

we have to talk about Hans

Friday, April 16, 2021

morbid curiosity

I didn't follow the whole "Papa John racism" flap that closely; we're in the aftermath, now, and John Schnatter, the former leader of the company he'd built from the ground up, is out on his ass because he supposedly used the word "nigger" during a phone conversation.  Schnatter only recently released the transcript of the phone conversation in question, and it's clear he wasn't using the word:  he was merely mentioning that others were using it.  Today's cancel culture doesn't give a shit about the distinction between use and mention, though; Schnatter had uttered the cursèd syllables, so he had to be canceled.

This PJ Media article, which I read with morbid curiosity, talks about what we now know about the incident.  It's clear that Schnatter isn't a racist, and that the entire affair was designed to get rid of him.

BLM hypocrisy

You've heard, by now, that the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors—who has spoken out against the evils of capitalism and the white man—bought a $1.5 million mansion in a mostly white neighborhood, along with other properties, totaling $3.2 million.  She was also looking at properties out in the Bahamas.  Capitalism and white people are so evil!  Cullors is obviously sacrificing herself by plunging into the very heart of that evil, demonstrating firsthand how capitalism corrupts the soul, and white people destroy the good earth.  Let us take a moment to reflect silently on Cullors's noble self-immolation.  Ha!

Well, the left is nothing if not deaf to its own hypocrisy, but in the spirit of hope—hope that the message might actually get through to some lefties, despite all the deafness and scotosis—the rest of us should do what we can to mock rank hypocrites like Cullors.  To that end, I'm reposting the following hilarious image, seen over at Instapundit:

Fight the power!  Fight the powers that BE!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

out-Naziing the language Nazis

You know it's a good day when you're reading a book on proper grammar, and you spot some errors by the authors.  Schadenfreude!  (I'm sure people feel the same way when they spot errors I make, and I provide plenty of grist for sharp-eyed error-spotters.)  My buddy Mike very kindly sent me, as a gift, a hilarious grammar/style manual titled The Elements of Fucking Style (the actual title is more timid, bowing to the PC crowd by inserting an asterisk where the "u" in Fucking should be), an obvious parody of the intergalactically famous The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, which has been around since before the Great Depression.  Written by grammar nerds Chris Baker and Jacob Hansen, the book is exactly the thing I've been planning to do once I finish my book of movie reviews:  my very own nasty, filthy, obscene tome titled Dirty Grammar.  You can get a taste of what Dirty Grammar will be like by reading through my ongoing series of posts on commas.  

I was depressed, at first, to see that I had been beaten to the punch, but once I started reading the book and catching the author's many errors, I began to derive a certain evil pleasure from my reading.  I don't know whether this is precisely the sort of enjoyment Mike had intended for me to experience, but, hey—fun is fun.

So!  What are some of the errors I've seen thus far?  I'll show them to you and let you guess what might have caused the ol' anus to clench.  For whatever it's worth, I'll leave my thoughts beneath each error in white font, surrounded by brackets.  Simply highlight the space between the brackets to read my mind-sludge.  Now... shall we begin?

It's an inescapable fact—especially as one exits childhood and enters young adulthood—that it's cool to be smart, fun to exercise a proclivity toward intelligent conversation, and an absolute necessity to be able to translate those skills into the written form.

[What bothers me here is the faulty parallelism:  "it's COOL TO be smart, FUN TO exercise..., and an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY..." See the problem?  The list goes adjective, adjective, NOUN.  That's sloppy writing.  Every item in the list should be grammatically similar.  A truly parallel sentence would be:  "'s cool to be smart, fun to exercise a proclivity toward intelligent conversation, and absolutely necessary to be able to translate those skills into the written form." Other grammar scolds might disagree that this is an egregious error, but to me, this is a fart in a church, a turd in a punch bowl, a cactus in a vagina.]

Is the above really "an inescapable fact," though?  Only nerds think this way.  By the way, I'm also unhappy with what I see as an unnecessary "the" in front of "written form."

With a few short and concise sentences we've illustrated the grammatical rule and done it in a way that you might actually remember.

[If you've been following my series on commas, you know that you should put a comma after an introductory phrase.  Failing to do so isn't the end of the world, but it's not good form, either.  The Brits are more likely than the Yanks to commit this particular sin because the Brits have taken a Viking's delight to murdering commas in recent years, but we Yanks aren't far behind, bayonetting whatever dying commas the Brits have left for us.  Anyway, to correct the above problem, put a comma after "sentences."]

(sample sentence) My date began the evening quite listlessly. Upon introduction of the cocaine she immediately perked up.

[Same problem as above:  an intro phrase needs a comma—after "cocaine" in this instance.  Are Baker and Hansen British, perchance?]

Junior, like "the sikh" or "the fag," is restrictive and doesn't take a comma.

[Capitalize "Sikh," assholes!  To be fair, though, I think this is a typo.]

According to my Kindle app, I'm only 9% into the book, and that's four errors found already.  I'd say that I dread the number of errors I'm going to encounter as I continue reading, but in truth, I look forward to finding them, then to writing a better grammar book.  Let Baker and Hansen poke holes in Dirty Grammar if they dare!

ADDENDUM:  on, the blurb for The Elements of Fucking Style says, in part:

One glance at your friend's blog should tell you everything you need to know about the sorry state of the English language. This book gives you the tools you need to stop looking like an idiot on message boards and in interoffice memos.

I had a good chuckle at that.  That's precisely why I'm into proper expression:  people look foolish when they trip over language.  It's hard to take someone seriously when she can't express herself properly.  When you try to be profound, and you end up looking illiterate, you suck all the dignity out of your own good intentions.  What a waste of time and effort.  Same goes for people who try to be witty when creating memes but fail to display good grammar, mechanics, and style.  The "wit" curdles, and all that's left is verbal retardation.  Fine, I'll make an exception for a dying 90-year-old relative who can barely hold a pen or peck out a sentence on a keyboard, but no one else gets a pass.

The Buddha's final words were, according to legend, "Work out your salvation with diligence!"  For all who are inclined to write, I say:  Work out every sentence with diligence!  Take the time to care about what you write.  Take pride in your self-expression; don't be sloppy and expect others to clean up your mess.  That's the way of the mentally lazy fool.

and on top of everything else...

I just learned that Japan is planning to dump 1.25 million tons of radioactive waste water from the 2011 Fukushima disaster into the surrounding ocean.  Korea, which is always looking for a reason to despise Japan, is understandably unhappy because of the probable effects on Korean waters:  seafood is a huge industry in both Koreas.

The South China Morning Post has more, including reasons for why Japan is planning this massive dump.  My take:  Japan is bored of its current illegal whaling and wants to hunt bigger whales, hence the current drive to spread the radioactive love around.

Paul Joseph Watson on the vaccine "passport"

Daunte Wright and the bonfire of the vanities

Styx agrees (see the video below) that twenty-six-year police veteran Kim Potter is at fault for the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright (whom she shot in the chest) because of her negligence and incompetence.  Allegedly, Potter accidentally reached for the wrong weapon—her gun instead of her taser.  Styx—and I immediately thought the same thing—boggles at the idea that Potter could be so incompetent as not to know which weapon was which.  Did she not train extensively with both weapons?  

I just looked at a few diagrams of how police officers wear their weapons and equipment.  In some cases, the taser sits on the opposite hip from the firearm.  In other cases, the taser and firearm sit together on the officer's belt.  However, all the diagrams make clear that the motion for unholstering one's gun is completely different from the motion for bringing out one's taser.  Assuming proper training and good muscle memory (which a twenty-six-year veteran ought to have), there should be zero question of which weapon one is bringing to bear.  The excuses for Officer Potter ring hollow, and to me, she can only be seen as incompetent.

People will be tempted to draw certain conclusions from this incident.  Most obviously, the lunatic left will automatically play the race card (Potter is white; Wright was black).  Less obviously, some will mumble and grumble about the folly of placing women in combat situations.  Neither conclusion is legitimate or even justified by this incident.  To broaden the discussion to all women is to engage in the same identity politics as leftists do.  If you want to build a larger case about removing women from the police force (and from the military), then assemble your evidence and make a grand, sweeping case.  In the meantime, it's unwise to extrapolate from a single incident.

What seems clear (we still await more information) is that Potter was indeed incompetent.  The irony is that she was training another officer when the incident occurred.  Wikipedia says this about the aftermath:

Two days after the shooting, Potter and Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon resigned from their positions, and Potter fled her home after her address was leaked on social media.

The other side of the story is that Wright had been stopped for driving with expired plates (Wright's mother claims her son had been stopped for having air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror; such air fresheners are apparently illegal in Minnesota).  When the cops pulled his records up on their computer, they saw Wright had a still-open arrest warrant for armed robbery, and that he was likely in violation of his post-bail release because he was once again in possession of a gun.  The cops attempted to arrest Wright, who actively resisted the arrest.  This is when Officer Potter announced she would tase Wright but instead ended up drawing the wrong weapon and shooting the young man in the chest.

Even with the addition of this more cop-sympathetic dimension of the story, Officer Potter still looks incompetent.  I find it hard to sympathize with her; this was more than just "an honest mistake."  At the very least, she ought to be punished for extreme negligence.  I don't know the legal terms for this situation, but I'd say Potter is definitely culpable.  Maybe, as more facts become known, I'll adjust my opinion to the reality, but for now, the evidence surrounding Potter's actions, with its strong implication of rank incompetence, strikes me as fairly damning.

Here's Styx's take:

Responding to the death of Daunte Wright with rioting and looting is, of course, stupid.  Unfortunately, given the emotional maturity of the types of people who are given to rioting, such stupidity is predictably inevitable.  I'd have more sympathy for Minnesota if it hadn't already proven to be a shithole of a state shackled by stupid laws (air freshener?  really?) and run by a malefic asshole of a governor—Tim Walz, who, like Andrew Cuomo, shunted COVID-infected patients into nursing homes.  Walz has also been vocal about the presumed guilt of Officer Derek Chauvin, who is being tried for the murder of George Floyd.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

see beyond the corny rah-rah language and
embrace the article's central argument

Instapundit points to a Breitbart article by John Nolte:  "Rural Trump Voters Already Live in the Safe, Tolerant Utopia Leftists Claim to Want."  Parts of the article are corny as hell (I squirm at Nolte's unironically unabashed use of the term "Rural MAGA Land" to refer to the conservative hinterlands... back in the day, those were just the sticks), but Nolte's central, two-pronged argument—that (1) the left's narrative is a lie about the true nature of conservatives, and (2) it's the places managed by the left that evince the shittiness the left claims to despise—are nevertheless worth considering and even embracing.  Nolte does make some stark claims that I find debatable, but those claims, like his corny tone, don't detract from the core thesis.  I'm not normally a fan of Breitbart articles; they're often too strident for my taste, but then again, I've written some admittedly bellicose things lately, so maybe that's why I'm bothering to pay attention to this piece by Nolte.  Excerpt:

Life in Rural America (which is where Republican Trump voters live and govern), is clean, safe, and racially tolerant. Most places in America where life is dirty, polluted, dangerous, violent, and plagued with racial hate and race riots are cities that are almost exclusively populated by and governed by Democrats.

Outside of these Democrat-run cities, America is peaceful, safe, clean, and racially tolerant.

What’s more, if you remove these Democrat-run cities from our national statistics, you will find an America that is overwhelmingly peaceful, safe, clean, and racially tolerant.

Nevertheless, Democrats and their fake-media allies still blame Republicans for all of their problems.

According to them, it is Republicans who are responsible for racism, pollution, and gun violence — even though, out here where we all live, our air, water, and streets are safe and clean… We all own guns, but where we live, there is no gun-violence crisis… We are all supposed to be racists and responsible for all the hate crimes, but out here where we all live, there is no hate-crime crisis.

Read on.

the vaccine "passport": by hook or by crook

As predicted:  the federal government might be saying it won't require citizens to get a vaccine passport, but as the alt-media have been saying for weeks, now, the federal government is working in tandem with other entities to make an end run and force the citizens to use vaccine "passports," anyway.  Whether via state/local governments or private corporations, you will submit, and you will have to use a "passport."  Your medical data are no longer private, slave.  "For the good of the realm," as Varys might intone.  The Epoch Times has this to say:

California County to Launch Digital Vaccine Passport Pilot

California’s Orange County plans to launch a pilot program for digital CCP virus vaccine and testing passports, according to health officials.

The vaccine and testing credentialing arrangement will be rolled out sometime in April, Orange County Health Care Agency officials said on Twitter.

“The Digital Passport enables individuals to participate safely and with peace of mind in activities that involve interactions with other people, including travel, attractions, conferences/meetings, concerts, sports, school and more,” officials added.

While details are scant about how the digital vaccine passport would work, the Orange County health agency’s director and health officer, Dr. Clayton Chau, told the O.C. Register that the county’s existing Othena vaccine scheduling app could be modified to include a credentialing feature.

The Othena app is being used to schedule vaccine appointments at the county’s mass inoculation sites, including at Disneyland.

Chau also told the outlet that printed cards could be issued for use by people who don’t use smartphones.

Yet another reason to get the fuck out of California.  Not that leaving California will guarantee freedom from oppression:  the zombie virus continues to spread.

a comment worth repeating

Just saw this comment on Instapundit (slightly edited):

84 days into the occupation of the United States by an illegitimate power. A real, actual, honest-to-God coup took place in the fall of 2020. I'm not American, and everyone I know in this part of the world is aware of this fact. It was so obvious.

The people that staged the coup and now occupy the White House are very rapidly destroying what's left of your country. You are being Invaded.

I know people reading this on Instapundit are aware of all this. I just keep waking up every morning hoping that this is the day I read that something is being done about it.

As America goes, so goes the free world. And America, you are being governed by an illegitimate, occupying power that seeks the destruction of the West. You are well into a second Civil War, the only difference being that one side hasn't started fighting back yet.

We continue to hope.

Nothing can be done short of physical violence—an actual uprising to wrest control of the country from the insane and return it to saner hands.  (This is not, by the way, what occurred on January 6 at the US Capitol.  If you call that an "insurrection," I call you an idiot.)  Is Donald Trump necessarily the sanest "stable genius" to reacquire the reins?  No.  But he wouldn't be the worst, either, and he'd be a hell of a lot better than the malicious morons currently holding the reins.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

your dose of humor for today

"Fresh Prez of DC":

How to escape a rear-naked choke in seconds:

is China close to invading Taiwan?

This just might not be Joe Biden's day.  After screaming about Donald Trump's warmongering, of which there was none, the left now has to contend with the prospect that Joe Biden, their hero, might just lead the nation into military conflict, if not into outright war.  Sensing age, senility, and general weakness, the world's various powers are growling and rumbling, and some of them are slavering at the prospect of battle.  China, for example, may soon invade Taiwan in a brutal display of its power.  Such an invasion would be a dare to the US:  are you really going to honor your commitments to Taiwan, or will you just sit there like a good dog?  Not that I'm eager to see us pit our increasingly flaccid, increasingly woke military against the might of China and its expendable human wave, but we're going to have to figure out where we stand on the Taiwan thing, and soon.  

How likely is such an invasion?  Chris Chappell has the scoop:

Rep. Steve Scalise on "child abuse" at the US-Mexico border

A leftist will be tempted to play the whataboutism card, but this mess is all on the left, starting with Obama and his toxic border policies.  Separated families?  Kids in cages?  That all gained momentum under Obama.  Representative Steve Scalise (you may recall that Scalise nearly died after a mass shooting occurred at a baseball game when deranged Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson fired into a crowd of Republicans and severely injured Scalise) went to the US-Mexico border and tweeted video showing the horrible conditions, under the Biden administration, that illegal-immigrant children have to endure. His tweet:

The leftist media won't talk about this. My liberal buddy Dr. Steve is silent on the matter as Biden goes from one major fuckup to the next, and we all wait for the old prune to kick off. If you click on the tweet and start reading the comments, you'll see that, as I said, lefties are already playing the whataboutism card. Under Trump, though, conditions were far better. Now, many of the detention facilities are at up to 1700% capacity.  Let that sink in.  That didn't happen under Trump.  And if lefties want to say "Where was your concern when Trump was in office?"—I'd have to ask, "Where was your concern when Obama was in office?"  We could do this shit all day.

Frankly, I don't give a damn about the miserable conditions in the detainment facilities, which are the natural consequence of a perverse immigration policy (and yes, even Trump wasn't as strict as he could have been).  If children pay the price for their parents' unwise decision to illegally cross the border, then blame those parents.  What I do care about is the larger picture of a rapidly eroding nation that is stupidly at war with itself over the obvious question of whether or not an organism requires a skin to survive.  A country's border is its skin.  Is this even a debate?  I've used the potato-peeler analogy before; maybe the anti-borders people really ought to get together and start peeling off their skin in protest.  Hell, I'd watch that.

Monday, April 12, 2021

cake, iced and served

The icing started life fairly solid.  It was more or less the same icing I'd used on my chocolate cake, and it had sat firm and unmoving for over a week.  For a Bundt cake, though, you need pourable icing that solidifies when it cools.  Not knowing what else to do, I put my icing into a double boiler to melt it... and it began to separate, releasing the water content of the butter that had gone into the icing.  Well, fuck.  I added some powdered sugar to sop up the extra water, then added some Nutella to thicken the icing, then resorted to a tiny amount of cornstarch slurry to make sure everything stayed emulsified.  The result was a chocolate sauce that still vaguely tasted like the original icing and had become, in the meantime, very runny.  I turned off the heat, poured the thin sauce into a plastic measuring cup, then let it cool for nearly fifteen minutes to give the sauce a chance to thicken up.  I then drizzled the sauce over the Bundt cake, and sure enough, most of the sauce ran to the bottom of the cake, pooling both inside the cake's central hole and around the outer circumference.  In the end, more icing was on the plate than on the cake, and while plenty of icing did stick to the cake, so much ran off that you could see the cake through the icing up on top.  I tried pouring a second layer of icing after allowing the remaining icing in the measuring cup to cool, but that icing, too, ran down the cake's sides.  Sigh...

Anyway, here are the final photos of the cake—after it got iced, and after it met its fate at the hands of my ravenous coworkers.  The interior, which I'd been curious to see, was a lot lighter in color than the completed rum cake's had been, which tells me that the rum cake's internal suntan was largely due to the rum-butter sauce.  The cake's outer suntan, though, was probably due to my not having gotten my baking time and temperature down pat.  It could also be that I should have followed my friend Charles's advice re:  baking pies:  I should have put down a layer of tin foil, reflective side down, to deflect some of the heat.  One reason why I didn't do this was that the Bundt pan was already sitting on a solid metal tray; I'd thought that that would be enough to keep the cake from overbaking.  I might've been wrong.

As you'll see in the cross-section photos below, the cake's interior was overcooked along the top edge (which had been the bottom edge during baking).  The result was a cake that was edible enough, but a bit too dry and crumbly for my taste—nothing like the gloriously moist chocolate cake I had made twice before.  That recipe was a real winner.  This cake rates an à peine mangeable (barely edible).

Here are the pics.

Completely iced with runny icing:

Kind of hilarious, how much icing is on the plate and not on the cake.

Next:  my two thin slices:

I had added yellow food coloring, but the cake's interior was still deathly pale.

You can blame my American coworker for the messy pile of utensils below:

See what I mean about the top (bottom) being overcooked?  Most of the cake is fine, I guess, but the top is rather dry.  The rest of the cake isn't as moist as my chocolate cake, either.

So this new cake experiment led to a somewhat comestible result.  I'm not sure I want to use this recipe again; it just wasn't moist enough for my taste.  (The use of buttermilk as an ingredient also proved to be an inconvenience; I'd had to make my own buttermilk.)  The next time I try baking a Bundt cake, I'll reduce the temperature, increase the baking time, and maybe use a sheet of tin foil as further shielding to prevent an overly browned, dry cake.  At least it wasn't rubbery this time.

vanilla cake: a new attempt

After what I saw as the failure of my rum cake, I decided to try making a simple vanilla Bundt cake.  I found a recipe online (and had to make my own buttermilk along the way) and baked the cake.  At the recommended baking time, the cake was still way too soft on top, so I reduced the temperature and baked the cake another ten minutes, turning on the oven's top burners during the final two minutes of baking.  A wooden skewer poked into the cake came out clean, so I took the cake out and let it cool.  When the time came to release the cake from its Bundt pan, the release went perfectly.  Alas, the cake's exterior (excepting the very bottom) was as disappointingly dark as before, but this was one reason why I chose to make a simple vanilla cake:  I wanted to see what differences or similarities there might be with the rum cake.  The cake is still cooling as I write this, so I can't apply the chocolate icing until the morning.  More photos to follow, of both the iced cake and a cross section once I serve the cake at work.  

Stay thou tunèd.  Meanwhile, here are pictures.  We start with a wide shot:

And now a food-porn shot:

Wide shot (note the suntanning):

Food-porn shot:

Maybe the cake will look better after a chocolate drizzle.  We'll see.  I'm thinking that the solution might be to adjust the temperature downward by 10-15% and increase the baking time by 10-15%.  I'll need to look into the relationship between baking times and baking temperatures.  I doubt the relationship is as simple as I've described it.  After all, recipes give their particular times and temps for a reason.

my blasterz

Here are some shots of my foot blisters:

Painful, but not crippling.  I barely feel the dark blister on my right foot; it's the left one that's a bit troubling, but the pain will fade over the course of this coming week.  I'd been hoping to go do my "crazy walk"—i.e., my annual 60K walk to Yangpyeong—given how nice the weather has become, but that might not be possible if the left blister doesn't subside by Friday.  We'll see how things go.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

"fuck-boy Jeopardy"

Enjoy.  I thought this was hilarious.

Look up "fuck-boy," "fuckboy," "fuck boy," or "fuckboi" in Urban Dictionary if this term is new to you.  Basically, it's an eternally horny guy who lives life as a series of bangs, not caring what girl he's with or whether she's gaining any sexual satisfaction from the "relationship."

everything I hate about aegyo culture in 25 seconds

In Korean culture, the term aegyo refers to the super-saccharine, sickeningly cute manner of certain women—especially women in their twenties—who speak with exaggeratedly high-pitched voices and singsong intonation, and who make pouty faces as if they were five years old.  My theory is that this is a response to what certain Korean men find sexy—a super-juvenilized prepubescent female.  Just why this is sexy is a mystery to me, and while I'd normally say "further research is needed," I have zero desire, frankly, to pursue the topic any further.  Maybe I should appreciate the aegyo culture:  it seems to cater to Korean men's pedo instincts while keeping those men away from actual little girls.  (If you pay attention to the news, though, you know that middle-school girls do get assaulted in this country.)

I found, thanks to YouTube's bizarre algorithm, the following video, which is a perfect demonstration by a Japanese-speaking Bulgarian chick of what aegyo looks like.  The girl switches instantly into "Japanese mode," and the aegyo pours painfully out of the screen.  Luckily for you, the experience lasts only a few seconds—just enough time to inject a painful dose, but not enough of a dose to smooth your brain out and put you into a coma.  Disgusting aegyo aside, I admit I'm impressed by the girl's Japanese proficiency.  Here's the vid:

A couple things to note in the interest of fairness:

1. Korean women get married, have kids, and the role of wife/mother banishes most, if not all, of their aegyo spirit.  Korean women often see themselves as mothering their husbands as well as their kids (for many Korean women, husband = big, wayward child with no common sense); in most Korean households, it's the wife who manages the finances and dictates what counts as responsible spending.  (Expat husbands of Korean women from rich families, however, tell me that their wives don't have a very developed financial sense, so it's up to the hubby to manage the finances.)  Anyway, marriage is the sudden lurch into maturity for Korean women, not because those women were actually immature before marriage, but because they've put up a pretense, via aegyo, of being shy, conflict-avoiding, and unwilling to express opinions (true:  much of that is changing if my observations of dating couples have any validity).  Along come the roles of wife-hood and motherhood, and suddenly, the woman finds herself needing to exercise authority, both for the family's integrity and for her children's safety and edification.  This is why Koreans believe a quiet, diffident agashi (young woman) becomes a loud, assertive ajumma (an "auntie") once she's married.  Upshot:  aegyo is just a phase.

2. The male fascination with girls too young to be women isn't uniquely Korean.  In the States, porn fantasies involving girls dressed as cheerleaders or private-school students abound.  (The common link seems to be the erotic quality of short, pleated skirts, which project a sense of innocence and—cough—purity to Western guys.)  Western women have, among their bag of tricks, the heart-melting use of doe eyes and cute pouts to get men to do what they want.  While not fully aegyo-ish in nature, these tricks do swing close to the aegyo zone.  Men everywhere are attracted to a combination of perceived innocence and sluttiness, and even though all parties are aware that the combination of qualities is a sham, men are suckered by it all the same:  men know they're being fooled, but they just don't care because, well, it's their dick that's doing the thinking at that point.  And dicks don't think.

So if you find yourself even a little titillated by the Bulgarian chick doing her aegyo thing, seek help.  You obviously need it.  Me, I want a woman to be and act like a woman.

(In the above vid, the girl says she's a high-schooler, doesn't she?)

from the PowerLine Week in Pictures

Saturday's hike

I got a nice, fat blister on my left foot after our 25-kilometer walk from Yeoju City to Gangcheon Island and back (yes, we stuck to my original plan, despite JW's best efforts at messing everything up).  The scenery was beautiful; the segment we did today was part of what is normally Leg 6 of my Four Rivers hike down to Busan.  Here are some pics from today.

I've seen the boat below when it was docked by the riverside,  but I've never seen it in motion.  Sharp-eyed JW saw the boat's name: the Great King Sejong, acclaimed inventor of the Korean alphabet hangeul.

A Korean War memorial seen during the early part of our walk:

JW in the distance, taking a time-costing detour on a whim:

A wide shot of the Gangcheon Dam (taken on our return leg):

"Life is art," the graffito says:

It was a great day for a walk, but JW vacillated on whether he wanted to stick to my original plan or continue forward despite my warning that any other stopping point would leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere, with a long taxi or bus ride to the nearest bus terminal or rail station in store.  JW, apparently not trusting that I had scanned our route closely enough, did his own cell-phone-map reconnoiter and concluded—as I had—that pushing onward wasn't worth the trouble.  JW is often that way:  he gets an idea in his head, I explain why it won't work, he ignores my advice, then discovers for himself that I was right all along.  We've done this time-wasting dance many, many times since I've known him; I think he's just wired to be stubborn and untrusting.  He eventually comes around to the correct point of view, but he has to explore and make his own mistakes first.  It's an exhausting process for those around him (like yours truly), and as I said, it wastes time.

Anyway, JW eventually saw reason and agreed that we'd just do the round-trip walk.  He figured all this out as we sat in a shwimteo on Gangcheon Island while two little girls, one barely a toddler, ran around inside the shwimteo and sang out random annyeonghaseyo! greetings to us.  Despite JW's having resolved one problem inside his mind, there was another problem:  how much JW's feet hurt.  That was a mite alarming to me:  by this point, JW has walked very long distances with me, and it was weird that, today of all days, he began complaining of foot pain when we hit the 12K mark.  That's pretty early to be experiencing foot pain.  Then again, I ended up with a nice blister on my left sole, so maybe we were both suffering from a lack of conditioning after spending the past few weeks doing little or no distance walking.  For me, a few more walks will toughen me up.

All that said, the day was gorgeous, the scenery was lovely, and JW has now been inspired to revisit the area just past Yeoju with his family.  After our hike, we took an express bus back to Seoul's Express Bus Terminal, where JW guided me to a restaurant he likes.  It's called Fun Beer King (what a name), and while I didn't drink any beer, I did enjoy the food, which was slightly fusion-style and made to the standards of a family-dining restaurant like Bennigan's or Outback Steakhouse.  JW ordered us a half-and-half portion of fried chicken; some golbaengi somyeon muchim (골뱅이 소면 무침), or snails with thin noodles, fresh vegetables, and sweet red sauce; and some bizarre "pastry" pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like:  pizza whose crust is made of puff pastry.  I found the latter dish a little perverse, but it was good.  It, too, was a half-and-half combo:  bulgogi and pepperoni.  The restaurant's atmosphere was old-school and reminiscent of family dining in the 90s, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and told JW that I'd be back to this place again.  There are a lot of interesting menu items to try.

And that's the story of Saturday.  I'm tired, my feet hurt, and I need some rest, so I guess it's going to be a fairly lazy Sunday.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

pics from a Friday walk

I'm a day ahead in terms of my work schedule, so since I had little to do on Friday, I left early and took the long way home, strolling alongside the Yangjae Creek, which is something I haven't done in forever.  Here are pics and videos from that stroll.  I was delighted to see that the frog ponds are back, and we're smack-dab in the middle of tadpole season.  I took four videos of the tadpoles, which I've also uploaded here (the videos, not the tadpoles).

The pink cherry blossoms struck me as more stubborn than the white ones; they held on more tenaciously during the recent rain and wind:

To be clear, these white petals are not cherry blossoms:

I photographed these steps several years ago; I don't recall them being so covered in algae.  I'll have to go back and look at the old photo.  Different or not, there's still something eldritch about this tableau, though.

And now for the tadpole videos!  See how the little boogers cluster in their thousands:

I filmed this last video landscape-style to make my buddy Charles happy:


Britain's Prince Philip has passed away at the ripe old age of 99.  See more here.  The United States fought a war to release itself from the shackles of monarchy, so from an American perspective, I'd say that the prince's death is only of peripheral concern to me.  That said, the man seemed to be a decent chap whose tongue would occasionally outrace his brain, and he had the additional burden of being husband to Queen Elizabeth (currently 94)—a burden not because he didn't love her (by all accounts, the marriage was rooted in love), but rather because he was always second fiddle according to the British rules of succession.  Philip chafed at this reality in his youth, but he grew into the role as time went on.  

I see there's a lot of talk about how, with old, long-married couples, when one spouse dies, the other follows soon after (Barbara Bush died in April of 2018; GHW Bush died in November of the same year).  Along with that talk is the dread expressed at the thought of Prince Charles's becoming King Charles.  Well, the British monarchy is what it is, so what will be will be.

RIP, Prince Philip.

Friday, April 09, 2021

doing a walk tomorrow

I'm stepping out tomorrow with pal JW to do a 20-some-kilometer walk from Yeoju to... not sure, exactly. JW apparently didn't like the route I had originally planned, so in typically nonlinear JW style, everything's now up in the air. We'll be discussing the route while we're on the bus to Yeoju. I'm going to insist on sticking to my original plan, but we may end up doing something else. More later. 

2 more via Bill

seen on Instapundit

Some version of this joke has been floating around since forever:

But you can see why:  the joke is evergreen.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Biden, Musk, and Trump


Zee quiche, she eez gone now.

but remember: Trump is the bigot

whoops—I guess I lied

Dammit—quiche again!  I had leftover custard and frozen (homemade!) American breakfast sausage in my freezer, so why not throw in some shredded cheese, onion flakes, and dried parsley and make one last quiche?  Sorry if you're sick of that word by now.  Believe me, I understand.  I'll be bringing in the following quiche, which is less suntanned than my previous ones, to the office—mainly for me to lunch on, but also for others to snack on if they want to.

First pic:

Click on the pic below to enlarge:

This one baked for 35 minutes at 200ºC, then for 20 minutes at 150ºC, then at 200ºC for the last 5 minutes, but now with the top burners on, acting like a broiler.  The crust looks sloppy but otherwise perfect, and the quiche itself has set nicely after cooling.  I think this'll be a good one.  Oh, yeah:  the pie crust is handmade this time—no food processor involved.  I did use one tool, though:  my spanking-new pastry cutter, which helped me prep the dough.  To be honest, I think I prefer the food-processor method, which is easier in terms of both food-prep and cleanup.  One regret this time:  no Gruyère.  Sadness.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

four via Bill

What I find interesting about the fourth meme is that it's saying two things: (1) the left-Dems are pathologically obsessed with identity politics, and (2) Republicans are too dumb to realize how much the game has changed.  The GOP isn't called "The Stupid Party" for nothing.

some COVID news to chew on

Seen on Instapundit and presented for your consideration:

1. Texas Has Fewer COVID Cases Than Michigan—Despite Nearly 20M More People and No Restrictions.

2. Increases in Coronavirus Cases Are Happening Mainly in States With Stricter COVID-19 Rules.

3. The States Without Mask Mandates Have Lower COVID Rates.

4. As more states drop mask mandates, comparing CDC data between states with mandates vs those without is very revealing.

5.  Wake up, people: Science shows mask zealots were very, very wrong.

The narrative is that masks, social distancing, and all the other trappings of security theater are actually effective at slowing the spread of the virus.  The reality is that the virus is going to run its course no matter what we do, and if anything, our vain precautions tend to make matters worse.  The essential self-delusion is the same as it's always been:  man can somehow master nature.  The harsh truth is that man can only wait for the tidal wave to strike; rebuilding is for the aftermath.

You might reply that fatalism is the wrong attitude to adopt:  people have made enormous progress in terms of personal hygiene, public sanitation, and infection control over the centuries; raging diseases can be fought and managed.  All true.  But look around you:  does any of that "progress" amount to mastery of one's surroundings?  No.  So hunker down, keep practicing—at the basic level—that commonsense hygiene, sanitation, and IC that you're so proud of, and don't worry overmuch:  if the destroying angel comes for you because of age, comorbidities, or other weaknesses, then... it's just your time to go.  So be stoic and accept your destiny.  That's about the best you can do.  Meanwhile, go live a life unruled by fear.

interesting claim: Biden might continue Trump's wall

I am highly, highly skeptical of this, given what I know of the Biden administration, but Instapundit has linked to an article titled "More Vindication for Trump as Biden Admin Considers Resuming Border-wall Construction."  Excerpt:

In what might be the most stunning admission that there’s a crisis at the southern border of the United States, the Biden administration is considering resuming border wall construction.

According to a report from the Washington Times, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told department employees that while Biden had cut off funding for border wall construction, there’s still “room to make decisions” to finish some “gaps in the wall.”

“There are different projects that the chief of the Border Patrol has presented and the acting commissioner of CBP presented to me,” Mayorkas said. “The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of DOD funds to the construction of the border wall is ended. But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”

President Trump’s border wall may have been his most controversial policy. Approximately 460 miles of border wall were completed during his presidency.

Mayorkas’s consideration of filling gaps in the border wall comes a couple of weeks after President Trump slammed the Biden administration’s handling of the southern border, and called out the DHS secretary for his poor performance on the Sunday talk shows.

“We proudly handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history,” Trump said in a statement. ” All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a just few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster.”

My stance is:  I'll believe it when I see it, and the quotes from Mayorkas aren't exactly reassuring:  he never says point-blank that Biden is seriously considering finishing the wall.  But there's this: the Instapundit post that linked to the above-quoted article also linked to another article whose title is:  "Biden Should Finish the Wall—or the Next Trump Will."

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

your dose of Freddie Mercury humor

Really awesome sound editing:

if this is true, then... good?

From The Epoch Times:

Fauci: Federal Government Won’t Mandate ‘Vaccine Passports’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the federal government won’t mandate the usage of so-called vaccine passports for travel and businesses, after White House officials said the Biden administration is working with private firms to potentially advise on such a system.

The concept of a document or app that could be an individual’s proof of vaccination or a negative test result for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, has become a flashpoint in what civil liberties groups say would be significant overreach and a violation of Americans’ privacy.

Fauci told Politico on April 5 that “I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept.”

“They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably,” he said, “but I doubt if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that.”

This is not exactly the news I want to hear.  Fauci is simply saying that the federal government probably won't be the main force behind the implementation of a vaccine "passport."  In other words, the "passport" might still happen, but it'll be put in place by state/local authorities and/or private corporations.  So maybe this bit of news really wasn't worth mentioning because nothing substantive has changed.

ADDENDUM:  Styx weighs in on the "passports":

your dose of Christopher Nolan humor

I generally like Christopher Nolan for his attempts at making cerebral films, but from "Inception" onward, the man has wrapped himself in an aura of pretentiousness, so he deserves to be taken down a few pegs for—as Scotty put it in "Star Trek III"—overthinking the plumbing.  In that spirit, here's a hilarious satire of how abstruse and mentally pretzeled a Christopher Nolan film can be: "That Scene in a Christopher Nolan Film When You Give Up Trying to Follow the Story":

Monday, April 05, 2021

via Bill Keezer: "Don't be so smug, America" (Don Surber)

If you think I'm being anti-trans by displaying the above, see here for my nuanced take on trans folks.  I think displaying the above image is consistent with the opinions I've expressed.

ADDENDUM:  one disanalogy is noteworthy, however:  in the above joke, the "Iran" example shows what happens when religious righties win; the "US" example, meanwhile, shows what happens when cultural lefties win.

seen on Tim Pool's show: the Brits made sex illegal??

On Tim Pool's "Timcast" show, the claim was made:  the British have made sex illegal (presumably as a pandemic-related measure).  Here's the article that Tim cites (it came out last year, during the early summer):

British government faces mockery over coronavirus sex ban (June 2020)

From the article:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government faced widespread mockery on Tuesday over coronavirus rules which were cast by some media as a “sex ban”, though a junior minister said the regulations were aimed at keeping people safe.

Under amendments introduced to English rules on Monday, no person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place indoors and consists of two or more persons. Britain’s tabloid media cast it as a “bonking ban”.

“What this is about is making sure we don’t have people staying away from home at night,” British junior housing minister Simon Clarke told LBC radio when questioned about the ban.

When asked if the rules allowed couples to copulate outdoors, Clarke chuckled and said: “It is fair to say the transmission risk of coronavirus is much lower in the open air than in internal space, but obviously we do not encourage people to do anything like that outside at this time or any other.”

On Twitter, #sexban was trending in the United Kingdom.

So it sounds to me as if the "sex ban" notion is an interpretation of the actual ban.  While the ban probably does result de facto in a lack of sex, the point of the ban wasn't specifically to prevent copulation.  Interpretation or not, this doesn't worry me; I suspect the Brits are clever enough to figure ways around this incovidenience.  After all, if you use a condom, you're technically not touching your partner.  (Just refrain from all other skin-to-skin contact.  This gives new methodological meaning to "wave your hands in the air like you don't care.")

the ultimate battle

the replacements

I redid the rejected artwork, and it got accepted.  I had to suck all the joy and humor out of the pictures, but if that's what it takes to make something publishable and scandal-free, then that's what it takes.  So here are the new pics for the "Joan of Arc" and "Heart" chapters:

Nice, solemn, and boring—the way we loykes it, Precious.*

This is why serious artists don't do design-by-committee.


*In case you're wondering whether there are copyright issues, the image of Joan comes from a picture done way back in 1903, so I'm pretty sure we're past any 50-year statute of copyright limitations.  As for the background image of the Battle of Agincourt (Joan of Arc would've been three at the time, so yeah—anachronism)... I couldn't find the date for that one, but it was described by one site as a "vintage carving."  Emphasis on vintage, I'm sure.  I've also altered both images rather significantly, so there's no danger of my being accused of trying to purvey the original versions of these images.  In other words, I don't think we're going to get an angry knock on the door anytime soon.

art update: two rejected!

The two graphics that I thought would be rejected did indeed get rejected by my boss:  the Joan of Arc pic (with the studly dude standing sacrilegiously in the baptismal font) got nixed, and so did the "Temple of Doom" picture—the one with the evil priest reaching into the prisoner's chest.  My boss suggested changing the Joan of Arc pic to Joan praying in the aftermath of a battle, and changing the heart-themed pic to EMTs doing CPR on someone.  This will make it easier for students to think about "What happened before this moment? What's happening now? What do you think will happen next?" questions.  I think the boss is right, so I'll be changing those pics today or tomorrow.

Well!  Back to the old drawing board.

seen over at John Mac's

I love this.  (Found here.)

Monday arachnid humor

Sunday, April 04, 2021

the next 5 out of 10 images

And here's the final batch of images done today.

First up:  my pic for the chapter on UFOs, where the joke, very much in the style of "The Far Side," is why the aliens would be more interested in a cow than in a human being:

Next up is my favorite of the bunch:  the pic for the chapter on vegetarianism.  This, too, is very much in a "Far Side" vein.  Gary Larson loved scenarios in which nature gets the upper hand, and man/nature turnabout is fair play.  In this case, a guy about to eat a stalk of celery is in for a rude awakening.  I often think that, should we ever discover plants are sentient, the argument for ethical vegetarianism will go out the window:

Some instinct told me that the chapter on Joan of Arc would need to be less cartoony and more in the style of a Photoshopped meme.  In my head, I knew the scenario I wanted, but it took a few tries to get something down on paper, so to speak.  I had originally freehanded a drawing of a kneeling, praying Joan torn between spirituality and carnality.  In that scenario, she's vacillating between a sexy guy and the voice of God.  I ended up ditching the "voice of God" concept as perhaps too offensive.  (I suppose the picture you see below might be offensive to some French folks, but I doubt it:  the French are radically secular, these days, and they have a sense of humor that would make most stick-up-the-ass, cancel-culture leftist morons blush).  Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Yeah, the guy is standing in a baptismal font, so I guess that could be offensive to certain churchgoers, and my boss might end up telling me to change the scenario to something blander.  Of note:  I had to Photoshop the dude's eyes to make him look (somewhat) toward Joan.  Dealing with eyes is always dicey; there's that whole "uncanny valley" effect to watch out for.  I think the result is passable, but you be the judge.  Like the Oracle talking to Neo, I have to ask:  would you have noticed had I said nothing?

Below is my pic for the chapter on trees.  Again, this is unimaginative and cliché:  a treed cat is one of the first things one thinks of when one says "tree."  The abstract background is meant to suggest a forest, but I might not have succeeded in that.  This pic is probably the most boring of the lot, but at least the colors are pleasant.  Sort of.

Lastly, a two-frame scenario that will probably have to be redone after my boss rejects it.  The chapter that this will go into is titled "The Heart," and it deals with the physical human heart, not with the lovey-dovey, abstract-but-globally-known Valentine's Day symbols.  I stole this straight from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," but I tried to keep it from being graphic.  Advanced students who have to write about "What do you think happened after this moment?" can say things like, "The prisoner felt better after the evil priest massaged his heart."  The story doesn't have to end with heart-removal and human sacrifice to Kali.  And, yes:  the priest in the Indiana Jones movie was Indian and brown-skinned, but in my scenario, he's just as white as his captive.  We live in an era where the depiction of dusky people doing bad things is automatically considered racist, and simply saying, "Well, I borrowed the idea from a movie" is no defense.  Political correctness spills everywhere and ruins everything, so a humble employee has to be on his guard.  But as I said, I'm probably going to have redo the image for this chapter, anyway.

Drawing toons is a constant struggle to (1) balance colors, (2) make sure different graphic elements don't get in the way of each other or become too distracting, and (3) avoid unintentionally funny scenes when aiming to be humorous.  I really need to take some art and graphic-design classes so I can do a better job of designing my images.  I also need to become faster and more efficient with art- and design-related Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.  (My Korean coworker, who is our in-house graphic designer, uses Adobe InDesign for the most part.  The program is perfect for publishing things like workbooks.)  Anyway, I'm slow at what I do; each of the above drawings took around 90-100 minutes to finalize (not to draw; that's a separate issue).  This is why I'm in the office during the weekend.

Hope you had (or are having) a Happy Easter.  The work week awaits.