Monday, February 28, 2022


The above (forgive the poor use of commas) is apparently based on an actual quote, at least up to the word "weapons." The real dagger between the ribs, though, is the last part.

forgot to slap up this video

While walking along the Jungnang-cheon, I caught this one-wheeler:

is the Ukraine situation the West's fault?

Dr. John Mearsheimer, a political-science professor, speaks on the topic of why the Russia-Ukraine situation is largely the West's fault. This talk was given some time before the current war (the professor refers to John McCain and his warmongering tendencies in the present tense), but is absolutely relevant as a way to understand—at least from one perspective—what's currently going on. 

The professor's presentation occupies the first 45 minutes of the video; the rest is Q&A; watch at 2X speed if you're pressed for time. If I were to sum up the professor's insights, I'd say he blames neocon adventurism (something Trump, by the way, was not a fan of), which has convinced Ukraine it ought to be part of NATO when, in fact, Ukraine ought to remain a neutral buffer state to which we in the US should provide economic aid.

ructions within the Church

Interesting article from July 2021:

Why Traditionalist Catholics Are Upset About Pope Francis’ Decree on the Latin Mass

Last year, Pope Francis put out a decree regarding the performance of the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass, a.k.a. the Tridentine Mass), limiting where and when the mass could be performed. This rankled certain members of the Church, and the above-linked article deals in some depth with the history of the older mass and the implications of Pope Francis's decree. It's all very complex and not easy to summarize, but if you're in the mood for an interesting read (and, for me, a return to the weird inner workings of the Catholic Church—something I haven't considered deeply for years), then have at it.

Last week, Pope Francis upset traditionalist Catholics when he reinstated limits on where, and by whom, the Tridentine Mass—colloquially called the traditional Latin Mass (TLM)—can be celebrated. This decision was a direct reversal of Benedict XVI’s 2007 expansion of the rite. To those unfamiliar with the TLM, the resulting public frustration was confusing. What exactly does this decree do, and why are some Catholics angry?


Part of the answer dates back to Vatican II, the familiar name for the Second Vatican Council, which Pope John XXIII called to usher the Catholic Church into the modern era. In his opening speech at the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII announced: “it is absolutely vital that the Church shall never for an instant lose sight of that sacred patrimony of truth inherited from the Fathers. But it is equally necessary for her to keep up to date with the changing conditions of this modern world.”


Reaction from Catholics ranged from welcome embrace to outright rejection. Those who rejected the council believed it left behind too much of the tradition the Catholic Church has maintained for [millennia]. While there were other aspects of the council rejected by traditionalists, the dramatic change of the Mass—from Latin to vernacular—became the lodestar for anti-council Catholics.


Benedict’s 2007 decree meant that priests could celebrate a TLM without the previously necessary approval from their bishop, if it was requested by members of the congregation. At the time, Benedict wrote: “It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition.” What he meant was there were labels placed on those who celebrated the TLM, suggesting they rejected decisions made during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

The TLM is more than just a usual Sunday Mass said in Latin—it relies on the 1962 Roman Missal, which was written pre-Vatican II. The Roman Missal is the standard practice of the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church, the script of prayers and readings used by the universal church; it was significantly updated in 1969 following Vatican II and has been periodically updated since. The official text of the Ordinary Form—the typical vernacular Sunday Mass—is written in Latin, but the TLM relies on the Missal of 1962 (and occasionally those prior). This means there are reforms enacted during Vatican II that are not reflected in the TLM.

In a TLM, participants receive the Holy Eucharist while kneeling, and the host is placed directly on the tongue; Vatican II allows for people to stand and receive it in their hand (though they are allowed to receive it directly on the tongue depending on the preference of the priest). While in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, there is a standard form for Sundays, which includes a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a reading from the New Testament, and a Gospel. Pre-Vatican II, the Roman Missal held numerous formulas for Sunday Mass, rarely including a reading from the Old Testament.

It gets way more complicated. But don't be afraid: it's a good read.

Niall Ferguson on Biden and the West's ineptitude

NIALL FERGUSON: First, Biden betrayed the Afghans to the Taliban. Now, he’s thrown Ukraine to the wolves

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Western world entered a strange interlude in which we forgot about the realities of great power politics. In a way, 79-year-old President Joe Biden personifies that forgetfulness.

During the 1990s, the West turned a blind eye to genocide in Rwanda and only woke up to the Balkans War after a great deal of dithering. In Bosnia and Kosovo, belated US intervention bailed out Europe.

After 9/11, we became laser-focused on a threat from an ideology – political or radical Islam or Islamism – not from a great power. We ‘went to war against terror’. The US led and Europe mostly followed.

In the end, we succeeded, and failed.

We succeeded in preventing another 9/11, killing Osama Bin Laden, and crushing Islamic State. We mostly failed to create a stable Iraq and utterly failed to create a stable Afghanistan.

But the real failure was to ignore the resurgence of two of the old great powers, China and Russia. Not just to ignore, but to enable their rise.

Americans helped China’s rapid growth, especially after the Beijing government was allowed into the World Trade Organisation. Americans told themselves a fairy story that China would liberalise.

As for Russia, its return to military power was enabled by Europeans buying Russian natural gas and oil and turning a blind eye to Putin’s increasingly despotic rule. Europeans told themselves a fairy story that Russia would liberalise.

We had ample evidence that we were making a mistake.


DOMESTICALLY the administration is in disarray with inflation higher than at any time since 1982, violent crime surging and the Southern border overwhelmed with illegal immigrants.

But the picture abroad is worse.

Last year, Biden abandoned the people of Afghanistan to the Taliban. This year it is the turn of the people of Ukraine to be thrown to the wolves.

There was never the remotest chance that the threat of sanctions would deter Putin from invading.

It didn’t help when Biden seemed to suggest he wouldn’t necessarily penalise a ‘minor’ incursion.

The only thing that would have made Putin think twice was the presence in Ukraine of significant military hardware, but the Biden administration slowed deliveries of arms to Kyiv.

Last year, it removed sanctions on companies building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, designed by Russia and Germany to bypass Ukraine. What’s more, Biden discovered that China and Russia are hand in glove after he tried to get President Xi Jinping to dissuade Putin from invading Ukraine.

The naivety would beggar belief if Biden was not manifestly in his second childhood.

As Donald Trump might tweet: Sad!

Russian officials condemn Ukraine invasion?

From Instapundit:

WELL: More than 150 senior Russian officials sign open letter condemning Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as ‘an unprecedented atrocity’ and warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’ while urging citizens ‘not to participate.’ “The deputies said they were ‘convinced’ Russian citizens do not back the war and blamed Putin ‘personally’ for ordering troops into Ukraine in an attack ‘for which there is no and cannot be justification’. . . . It was a surprising step for Russian officials to speak out against Putin, who usually holds an iron grip on dissent and last week televised a meeting with Moscow’s top security chiefs in which they appeared to be railroaded into backing his plans to invade Ukraine.”

For this to happen at all is an indication that Putin is seen as weak.

Speaking of weakness: I remember seeing the news a while back that Putin, who practices judo (and why not his native sambo?), was defeated on the mat by a young woman. Perhaps the vultures are circling Putin as much as they're circling our own dementia-addled numbskull?

ADDENDUM: Russia is ramping up rhetoric and apparently reposturing for a potential nuclear exchange. With whom? With European countries, I guess. I don't see why Putin skipped right to the nuclear option when he could have just closed the valves to all the gas being piped from Russia to Western Europe. That's still an option, I'd say.


about 420 hits to go

If I can get at least 420 or so unique visits today, I'll have made 20,000 visits for the month of February—a minor victory of no real consequence. Numbers are arbitrary things, but we attach psychological significance to the big, round ones. 

stolen from an Instapundit commenter

Here's a joke for you:

Biden was asleep in the White House and awoke to see Washington's ghost. He asked, "George, how can I make this country better?" Washington said, "Be honest with the people, as I was."

Biden went back to sleep and awoke again, this time to Thomas Jefferson, and he asked, "Tom, how can I make this country better?" Jefferson said, "Love the Constitution, as I did."

Again, Biden fell asleep and awoke this time to Lincoln, and he asked, "Abe, how can I make this country better?" Lincoln replied, "Go see a play."

Sunday, February 27, 2022

'nother book sold

I sold another book, and it wasn't me purchasing my own copy this time! Not sure who the mystery buyer is; Amazon doesn't offer that information for obvious reasons of privacy. I'd like to reach a point where word-of-mouth turns this into a sales avalanche, but for the moment, I'm still tickled that anyone at all might pay attention to this work. If you know anyone who might be at all interested in homeschooling and/or the basic principles of teaching, please send those folks my way.

Also: from March 6 to March 13, there'll be a promo during which the book's price will drop from $2.99 to $1.99, US. Keep that in mind!

2 articles on Ukraine and my tentative thoughts

From Instapundit, and quoted from a New York Post editorial:

Vladimir Putin’s attempted rape of Ukraine isn’t going as easily as he expected, and the determination of the Ukrainian people is why.

This is a nation that elected a comedian its president, not as a stunt but as the biggest possible middle finger to defeatism, cynicism[,] and fear. And that president refuses to flee, like countless other electeds.

How many members of Congress would take up arms, as much of Ukraine’s Parliament is doing?

The fierce resistance matters, and not just in holding off Putin’s army of conscripts. It is inspiring the world.

The West may have hesitated in advance of the assault, but it’s rallying. Nation after nation is sending materiel to Ukraine, with even Germany side-stepping constitutional restrictions to help the freedom-fighters.

Not all of Europe is yet on board with fully kicking Russia out of SWIFT, but it took a big step in that direction Saturday, blacklisting much of Putin’s banking sector.

Fear is losing. Sweden and Finland are talking of joining NATO — even knowing it was that prospect that most enraged Putin in Ukraine’s case.

Kyiv and the rest of the country remain in grave peril. But the resistance so far is also a warning that, at the worst, Ukraine won’t stay conquered. The nation’s already forced one Russian puppet prez to flee — any new one will face the same staunch opposition.

As much we can, let us all show solidarity with this nation of heroes. Fly the blue and gold flag if you can get one; wear the colors — send your kid to school in a yellow shirt and blue jeans.

Tell bloody Vlad: You are f–ked.

Also from Instapundit, quoted from Jim Bennett:

Putin’s failed coup in Ukraine reminds me a bit of the failed German coup in Norway in April 1940. Of course[,] the Germans ended up taking control of Norway, just as Putin can end up in physical control of Ukraine if he is willing to take the necessary steps and pay the price. But Hitler had wanted the same kind of clean coup in Norway that he had achieved in Denmark — the [king] and royal family held hostage and a formal surrender from the legitimate government, with no exile government or forces. He didn’t get that because the Norwegian resistance was unexpectedly strong, and one cranky old officer on the verge of retirement and a bunch of raw 18-year-old conscripts managed to sink one [battle cruiser] and put another out of action, incidentally drowning the 1000-man [special-forces] team that had been assigned to capture the [king], Parliament, and treasury. By throwing the German schedule off by six hours and losing the element of surprise, all of those targets got away and eventually made their way to London[,] where they set up an effective government in exile. The Nazis had to do with a makeshift puppet regime [headed] by the nutjob* Quisling, who had very little credibility with the Norwegians or anybody else.

Whatever else happens now, the Ukrainian forces and government have similarly frustrated Putin’s hope for a swift, nearly bloodless coup and installation of a pliant puppet regime. He can prevail militarily, of course, by the application of much more destructive military force, basically making Kiev a second Grozny. Unlike Grozny, every bloody act will be tweeted, videoed, and shared worldwide with fluent English-language narration. And he would have to maintain a [sizable] occupation force, with ongoing casualties, for the foreseeable future.

Alternatively, he could probably accept a ceasefire and maybe a recognized partition of Ukraine, keeping Crimea and some of the Donbas, but not much more — in other words, little to show for his losses, [except] something he might use to save face domestically.

I expect he will continue on the former course for a while, waiting to see how bad the international fallout is, and whether the Ukrainians can hold together. But the further he goes down that road, the harder the climbdown will be.

The parts of the American right that are still trying to sell an isolationist line are looking worse and worse. Biden’s handlers are smart enough to loudly insist they will not send troops. The Ukrainians are presenting themselves well and sympathetically. (We should not forget there is a substantial Ukrainian-American and Ukrainian-Canadian population, and that the Pole and Baltic ethnic communities are pretty well engaged, too.) Lots of Second Amendment types are enjoying the sight of a government handing out AKs to everybody. But I have always felt that Anglosphere populations just don’t have the stomach for a genuinely realist foreign policy. We are seeing that right now.

Getting tagged as pro-Putin is the one thing that is most likely to derail the GOP train in November. The left is starting to see that and put out the Journolist instructions. I hope we don’t have too many idiots on our side falling into their trap.

*Quisling really was a nutjob. As Defense Minister in the 1930s, he threatened to go to war against Denmark over some claims to part of Greenland.

Trying to ascertain facts on the ground during the fog of war is a fool's errand, but it seems clear that Vladimir Putin's push into Ukraine is not going nearly as smoothly as planned: Ukrainians are resisting, and Ukrainian bravado is visible everywhere online these days, from the tweeted video of the tow-truck driver taunting Russian troops near a broken-down tank to reports of the "ghost of Kyiv" downing Russian fighters left and right to the perhaps-apocryphal story of the Ukrainian woman handing out flower seeds to Russian soldiers so that flowers will grow over their graves. Much of this is probably nonsense, but it buoys the spirit of the people. Even Ukraine's former president, Petro Poroshenko, armed and in uniform, currently holds the line two kilometers from a Russian position. Some righties have snidely contrasted this with Justin Trudeau's craven, hide-in-a-hole response to a bunch of harmless horn-honking by unarmed truckers. Poroshenko: a real man.

I honestly don't know what to think. Instapundit seems to have done a pretty clear 180 on the issue, creeping closer to Democrats who, in the spirit of anti-Putinism, are vociferously pro-Ukraine. But wasn't Ukraine the corrupt cesspit where Joe and Hunter Biden had their shenanigans? While the Ukrainian bravado we're now seeing is uplifting, I recall hearing, only a few days ago from the right, that Ukraine isn't a country where we have any real interests. How on earth did the message flip-flop so quickly?

So color me suspicious of this whole mess. I'm feeling manipulated, and I'm going to act like a typically fearful Korean politician and wait to see how this plays out before I draw any firm conclusions. I know next to nothing about the history of the region and only just learned the significance of the term "Holodomor," which sounds like something North Korea has been through repeatedly. I think it's safe to say that Putin's invasion is bad insofar as (1) it's a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, and (2) it may embolden a hungry China to make a move on Taiwan (although I expect Taiwanese resistance to be fiercer, and China's naval forces to be pretty weak and incompetent). 

Does this place me alongside the Ukrainian people? I don't know. I read up a bit on the current president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He promised democratic referenda for the citizens on various matters of policy, but he hasn't delivered. He has been targeting oligarchs who may be trying to run Ukraine via a shadow government, but some see Zelenskyy's move as an attempt at consolidating power for himself. He has only recently begun arming his citizens, but not long before that, he was staunchly anti-gun. Zelenskyy presents a mixed picture, and the most charitable thing one can say about him is that his country is currently being invaded, and he has to defend it while keeping away from Russia's grasping talons. Should Ukraine be part of NATO? To his credit, I think Zelenskyy said that that should be a matter for the people to decide, and the people of Ukraine are about 78% Ukrainian, 17% ethnic Russian, and 5% other. Most of these folks are apparently pro-NATO and pro-EU membership (another thing Ukraine seeks, although God knows why).

The topic of Ukraine is complex, and to my mind, this is not the time for "hot takes" on the matter. The US and certain EU nations have already sent armaments to the Ukrainian government; tepid sanctions are either in place or about to be put in place, and there's little else the US can do. Trump apparently told Putin that, if he made a move for Ukraine, Trump would "hit Moscow." Whether Trump actually said that or not, we enjoyed four years, under Trump, of Putin not making a move against his neighbor. Then the American people stupidly installed a senile Democrat, and as expected, world powers noticed the change and decided it was now safe to get frisky again.

Europe's decision to help Ukraine is remarkable given Putin's gas-pipeline stranglehold over Western Europe—a weapon I expect him to use as the situation worsens. I hope Europe knows what it's doing, but I suspect a lot of us are acting more on gut instinct than on anything rational. So for now, I remain neutral. In a media-saturated world, we're sure to be bombarded with propaganda from both sides—anything to garner our sympathy. I'll keep reading commentary and learning about the situation (in which the West apparently has a measure of culpability) and will play it by ear from there.

ADDENDUM: seen in the Instapundit comments:

Trump keeps saying that Putin outsmarted Biden, so the Lamestream Press reports it as "Trump praises Putin." I mean, my dog can outsmart Biden, and he is not a smart dog.

ADDENDUM 2: Dr. Pepple on the folly of blaming Trump for the Ukraine mess.

a spooky look at Deepfake technology and the future

Will you own your own face?


Starting this week on March 1, and excepting Sundays (my traditional day of rest), I'll be doing a 24.5K walk to Bundang every day up to and including March 30, as if I were on the trail and doing a trans-Korea walk. I'll be doing some other radical self-disciplinary stuff as well, but I don't want to talk about that until the end of March, after I have my doctor's appointment on March 31. So that'll be 26 days of walking (31 days in March - 4 Sundays and March 31). 24.5 km × 26 days = 637 km, or a distance slightly longer than that of the Four Rivers trail (633 km). Since I may be doing some Saturday walks with JW, especially as the weather warms up, it won't be All Bundang All the Time.

Yes, this is a campaign to restore my numbers, which have been out of whack for two months because I've been a lazy bastard. Yes, it's only a temporary fix because I can't live my life eternally engaging in one-month challenges; I need a sustainable way to live. But at least it's a step in a healthier direction. I don't really want to go back to being 280-plus pounds.

a very bad car

In this video, a mechanic examines a poorly built McLaren racecar. But the most interesting thing about the video is what he says right at the very beginning, before he examines the McLaren: "Everybody knows Tesla has bad build quality." So now I'm interested! Do tell! I need to see whether this guy has done any Tesla videos.

more foolishness

JW likes my new book

Could there possibly be a market, here in Korea, for my book? I'm not sure; I think the book would have to be retooled for Korean audiences (the book actually contains one rather critical comment about the effect of multiple-choice thinking on Korean culture; the remark might not go over so well with Korean readers). Homeschooling isn't nearly the phenomenon here that it is in the States, so I'd have to refocus the book on things that ought to matter to Korean parents who send their kids to multiple hagweons as a way of keeping them ahead of the curve. A lot of Korean parents have no idea what goes into proper teaching.

It was during one of our rest breaks, yesterday, that I handed my phone over to JW to allow him to look at the e-book version of my book. He started reading and had trouble stopping. One odd thing he said was, "Your writing style has really changed." When I asked what he meant, he recalled trying to read bits of my 2006 Water from a Skull, which was a collection of essays about religion, philosophy, and other deep matters. True, that was a book filled with technical language, and while JW is pretty fluent in English, he's a bit like the way I am in French: perfectly conversant with "regular" English, but not necessarily equipped to handle the specialized vocabulary to be found in the abstruse dark corners of the language. Think Like a Teacher was written to be accessible to a wide audience, so the English in this new book is doubtless more "comfortable" for a non-native to read.

The upshot was that JW pronounced himself interested and even intimated that his wife might also want to get her hands on the book, so I'll be giving JW a hard copy sometime next week.

DizzieDee on the ugly trend in comics

Get woke, go broke.

linguistically annoying

When did so many people stop saying "be-all end-all" and start saying "end-all be-all"? It annoys the fuck out of me. "Be-all end-all" or "be-all and end-all" is the correct phrase. If you put "end-all" first, you can't even find it at

I think a lot of linguistic "innovations" start life as something misheard. The mondegreen is then propagated among people who don't know better, after which it's seized upon by the larger populace as A New Thing. Mishearing "kerfuffle" as "kerfluffle," for example: "kerfluffle" is now considered a legitimate alternate form because enough dumb fucks are saying it that way. Or pronouncing "aforementioned" as AFFER-mentioned instead of the correct uh-FORE-mentioned. In the case of AFFER-mentioned, though, it may not be so much a matter of mishearing as a matter of someone seeing the word on the page, mispronouncing it, and having that mispronunciation propagate among the troglodytes.

It's a sad fact of life: stupid people change language. And while I'm at it. I'm annoyed by a bunch of recent slang. Here are some examples:

1. jelly = jealous

I know that, in British English, there's that tendency to chop off word endings: hols for holiday, and rellies for relatives. (And on one British cooking channel on YouTube, spag bol for "spaghetti bolognese.") That annoys me, too, but maybe not as much because UK English isn't my English.

2. sus = suspicious, suspiciously

This is just laziness rearing its ugly head.

3. sketch = sketchy

What, you can't add a simple "y"? This is laziness, too.

4. take the L = take the loss

I mentioned this one the other day, but I didn't talk about how it annoyed me.

5. press "F" to pay respects

I had to look this shit up, and it turns out I don't know this expression because I'm not a fucking gamer. It apparently comes from Call of Duty—specifically, from a reaction to a funeral cut scene in the game.

Honorable mention has to go to good on you, a not-so-recent expression that comes from Australia as far as I know (actually, the online Collins identifies it as British English), but which, thanks to films like "Finding Nemo," crossed the Pacific (or maybe the Atlantic, or both) to find a place among dimmer minds in the US, where we already say "good for you," with the "for" being barely audible, unlike the "on" in "good on you," at least the way the Aussies say it ("good ON ya', mate!"). I'm not saying the expression itself is annoying; I'm complaining about how so many Americans suddenly and blindly adopted it without even realizing it wasn't American English. I'm also not suggesting that different Englishes should never cross-pollinate; cross-pollination is a simple, brute, unavoidable fact of existence. All I'm asking for is some level of awareness among speakers of different forms of English. God knows how much UK and Aussie English have been polluted by Americanisms brought in via our ubiquitous TV shows. I'm sure there are folks in the UK and Oz who share my sentiments in terms of wanting to preserve their mother tongue.

On a more positive note, there are some expressions that don't annoy me. I like "he flipped his shit" because it's an obvious riff on "he flipped out." And now, I can't think of any more such expressions. Ah, well: the dangers of being a curmudgeon. It's hard to stay positive.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

why go carnivore?

Your mileage may vary, of course:

slow on the uptake

It took me a while to figure out that, if I update my e-book with a corrected manuscript, then the e-book I purchased will update as well. I actually made the mistake of buying myself another copy of my e-book, but then I had a suspicion and started digging around online for what actually happens. Turns out that the e-book more or less updates automatically for those of us using a Kindle app on our Android phones. For people using actual Kindles, I think there's some sort of "download this book again" option that'll allow you to be sure your version of the book is the newest such version.

Updating the ms for your dead-tree, print-on-demand book is a different story since you're dealing with solid objects that, once printed, can't be changed. Anyway, I redid the PDF of my book, re-uploaded the ms, and bought myself another Amazon copy, which ought to arrive sometime in March. I'm also having 15 more copies of the now-revised, printed-in-Korea version of my book made; I'll be picking those up on Tuesday and distributing them to friends and coworkers. Thus far, the two egregious typos I caught in my book are the only two I've seen after several more rereadings, so I think that's that.

It's not going to be so easy with the upcoming movie-review book, which is going to be over 1,000 pages in length. That one's going to be a real pain to check over.

will February be a 20,000-visit month?

We're down to the wire for February. January sucked ass in terms of site stats, but I had a few several-thousand-visit days in February, although not enough to carry me into the end zone and beyond the 20,000-visit mark. I'm at 18,557 visits as of this writing: I need 1,443 visits over the next 50-ish hours to hit 20K. The world won't end if February ends up lame, but it might be nice to pass the 20K threshold. Should I promise my readers something, like showing off my man-titties? I'm sure you'd all love that, right? Or maybe some nice, hairy ass crack for the crackheads? Hey, I'm open (ahem) to suggestions.

Jungnang-cheon walk

Well, JW and I managed 22K of what was supposed to be a 28K walk along the Jungnang Creek, but we were stopped by rain around 3 p.m., so we left the trail and headed over to Dobongsan Station, sitting down for some local Chinese food before taking the subway home. This was a new walking route for both of us, so we spent some time sniffing around and not going as fast as we could have (JW is also still dealing with foot pain, despite now being a veteran distance walker, so we took several rest breaks for his screaming feet). A good walk in all, even if it was shorter than anticipated. I took some pictures. 

This first one was taken while I was in the subway and on my way to Oksu Station. Living in Korea, I'm always confronted with weird attempts at English-like words that often sound off-putting to the anglophone ear, but that apparently work for the Korean ear (which isn't sensitive to the way strange English sounds to a native speaker). Note how the ad below is for a product called "Toxnfill," which to me sounds as if someone is being filled with toxins:

A photo of yours truly while I was near Oksu Station and awaiting JW's arrival:

Walking along Jungnang Creek:

A stone bridge (probably rebuilt many times) whose history dates back to the 1400s:

The history of the bridge:

Puke graffito:

More Korean love of abstract sculpture:

And more still (is that one booby poking out?):

At the point photographed below, JW and I had a choice of two parallel paths, and we chose the bridge, which turned out to be the better choice (the other path was older, more boring-looking, and farther away from the water):

Interesting pergola/shwimteo:

Some signs indicating distances to various places:

An archery field (if "field" is the right word):

Naver suggests "archery pavilion" as a translation for gungdojang:

JW ends up in this pic of an archery sculpture (again, if "sculpture" is the right word):

Most of the creek path was like this as we walked relentlessly north:

Gunja Bridge, one of many, many bridges we passed:

This was a very urban path. Noisy traffic and large buildings were never far away.

"Use a leash! Bring a poop bag!" Even if you can't read Korean, the meaning of the sign below ought to be fairly obvious:

Another shot of JW, who was weird about wearing or not wearing his mask:

I had to get a shot of this below, which was a problem for both of us: portable toilets that were all closed up, apparently as a precaution against flooding. JW and I, at different times during the walk, both got the urge to use the facilities, and as we passed these huge, trailer-sized porta-potties, our frustration mounted. JW eventually had to break away from the trail, trudge through a neighborhood, and find a shopping complex. Later on, I gamely followed signs to a nearby subway station that had public facilities (which were nice, by the way). Both of us ended up dropping a few kids off at the pool, if you will. Leaving little families everywhere. It's one of the hazards of distance walking. Luckily, Korea isn't Europe, where you'd better have some loose change in your pocket should you need to do some business. Europe... land of pay toilets. Anyway, here's one of those porta-potties, all locked up:

This is apparently some sort of photo-op zone:

So JW insisted on getting a pic of himself with which to taunt his daughter (he's supposed to look as if he's handing a fifty to a toucan), who is housebound and working on her school stuff, unable to go out and play while JW and I enjoy a walk:

Soccer in a cage (one way to keep balls from flying into the creek):

Both pretty and ugly, a slick of algae (with the bonus of some pollution):

Looking backward at a bicycle track that's laid out a lot like one of those Korean-style driver's-license courses for cars:

Korea has mallards. Here's a husband and wife:


Welcome to the Noweon District! "Healing Noweon," it says. Healing no one:


The dog's look is priceless:

JW tried to explain to me what "Arisu" was all about. Near as I can figure, it's some sort of clean-water campaign (or ad?) about the quality of the city's water. The Ari part is a pure-Korean word meaning "purity" or "cleanliness" (I think); the su is from Chinese: su/수/水 means "water." This has nothing to with 90s trans sensation Harisu.

More ramps and straightaways:

I'm struck by the wooden bench:

Mother and child:

The eodo ("fish-ways"), or fish ladders:

One thing I noticed, as we walked toward Uijeongbu, was the general lack of military facilities this close to the DMZ. That felt a bit weird. I got used to seeing barbed wire, bunkers, and other reminders of South Korea's alert status during my east-coast walk last year. Uijeongbu is itself famous for its military orientation, so I was maybe unconsciously expecting signs of national defense as we got closer. But there was nothing.

JW had already taken his bathroom break, and right about here, I was finishing up my own break (during which I texted JW about giving birth to a son whom I'd decided to name Schitt):

Back on the path and still heading unfailingly north:

The most ignored sign in Korea has got to be ucheuk bohaeng, i.e., "walk on the right side." Not to put too fine a point on it, but Koreans ignore this signage left and right:

Now leaving Noweon. But if you've left no one, then no one can be sad:

A reminder of all the things you can't do creekside:

JW with another daughter-taunting picture:

And another:

I had to get a pic of this impromptu-looking bridge:

Huge eodo:

Jinggeom-dari (stone footbridge) in the distance:

A closer shot:

And an even closer shot:

A goofy duck family and a ridiculously happy couple:

JW, again with the daughter-taunting:

"You, sitting here, are the prettiest":

I'd love to use the exercise equipment below if my shoulder allowed it. Do I call this a pullup machine or a pull-down machine? Either way, it uses leverage to make the job of pulling yourself up (or pulling the bar down) easier:

One last shot of the path right as it began to rain:

We veered off the path and into town. We were right by Dobongsan Station (do-bong-san = Tao peak mountain) and hungry after 22 kilometers' walking, and while we'd originally wanted some Uijeongbu budae-jjigae (since Uijeongbu is the reputed home of that stew), we settled for Chinese, which is what you see next:

This restaurant's claim to fame is its use of rice flour instead of regular wheat flour. Rice flour is gluten-free, which is good news for the gluten-intolerant and the celiac-ridden. Otherwise, I know from my keto-related studies that you could never call rice-flour noodles nutritious or good for you because they still contain a truckload of carbs. Aware of this fact, I ate the meal, anyway: jjajang-myeon, tangsuyuk, jjambbong, and gunmandu (fried mandu). It was good, and it didn't taste much different from wheat flour (except maybe for the tangsuyuk, which is a holdover from a few years ago when rice-flour tangsuyuk was suddenly all the rage). JW paid before I realized what was happening, so he told me to treat him later. That's how it often is between friends: we don't keep special track of who pays when, but it usually works out that we both treat each other about the same amount.

JW liked the jjajang-myeon so much that he ordered some jjambbong:

Here's the mostly eaten tangsuyuk, bathed in a light, fruity sauce:

Signs proudly talking about the rice flour/gluten-free thing:

The menu:

I guess this is the restaurant's name (Rice Jjambbong):

We had first stopped in a place advertising unlimited servings of pork, but they wanted a vaccine-pass check, and since I'm unvaccinated, that was a no-go. But JW and I both knew that most Chinese places don't give a fuck, so we went Chinese. The balloon-sign below advertises the rice jjajang, but at the stairs, you see the words for "rice jjambbong." Are either of these the restaurant's name, or is the name something else entirely? Couldn't tell you.

So yes, the walk ended when it started raining at 3 p.m., otherwise we'd have gone the remaining 6 km to Uijeongbu Station. Getting on at Dobongsan Station, Line 7, was nice, though, because Dobongsan is the second-to-last station, meaning the train was nearly empty when we stepped on to head back into Seoul (I think we had technically made it across the border into Uijeongbu... actually, no: Naver says Dobongsan Station's address is still in Seoul). I fell asleep during the ride back, and when I woke up, JW had already gotten off at his transfer point. My own transfer point to Line 3, Express Bus Terminal Station, was a bit farther down the line, but I was awake in time to make my transfer and endure the ride home while nursing a swollen bladder. I had pissed once in some tall reeds during the walk, then I did a bigger deed later in the walk, but I had filled my tank with paper cups of water at the Chinese restaurant, so I was raring to evacuate again by the time I got back to my apartment. 

Once inside my own place, I sat down on the pot to micturate (yes, I'm a sit-and-pisser, so come at me with your insults), but right as I started to relieve myself, another brown snake leaped out of my ass, surprising me with its size and enthusiasm. My guess is that these were the remains of yesterday's prodigious lunch. Karma follows you wherever you go.

We'll have to do this walk again, JW and I, and maybe make it all the way to Uijeongbu Station next time, preferably when the weather is warmer and less prone to rain.