Shiny objects. And squirrels. And pop culture. Add them up and you get a Korean artist known as Psy. I hear that with enough Psy on tap, you can live forever.
Here are three videos for you, in order of interest. The first is Saturday Night Live, and it's where I first encountered this global phenomenon. The second is the 'chick' version of Psy's hit song. The third is the original.
I stopped writing this blog for a couple months because I got more interested in Middle East politics. I had shut down my Facebook account as well. This is not to say that the Koreas have been uneventful; if nothing else, the recent international friction over Dokdo and other tiny rocks calls for some comment. I just changed my focus and spent more time with the real people in my life instead. Well, something has happened that pisses me off and calls me to blog again.
I'm a big proponent of free speech. I'm fond of mocking the overly religious. I strongly believe that anyone should be able to say any offensive thing they choose to, and that their speech should be protected with the full force of law. About a week ago, a film produced by a small group of Christian religious idiots gained global attention and royally pissed off Islamic religious idiots all over the world. | ... Read more about Innocence of Ignorance
A little piece to recognize the POWs of the Korean War. The missing Korean War fighter pilots are all dead by now. Russia and China have actively helped us track down their remains. North Korea repatriated prisoners after the war, and any POWs they may have kept have almost certainly perished in the gulags since then. Still, as the video demonstrates, it is important for the families to have closure, and if possible bury the remains.
Religion and politics make strange bedfellows. Particularly so when you are talking about the Moonies, a South Korean cult which makes bedfellows of strangers and blurs the line between religion and politics. They manage to reach across the DMZ, and seem to be one of the few groups taking even marginally effective action toward unifying the Korean peninsula.
Crazy cult or not, Moon is 92 years old. He has made arrangements to place his youngest two sons in charge of the spiritual and business arms of his empire, the Unification Church. These changes have caused controversy within the ranks, as they leave his oldest son, once the heir apparent, sidelined. Al Jazeera produced an excellent piece on the situation. I highly recommend watching this video. I've expanded on a few aspects of the Unification Church below.
The New York Times wrote about recent US-ROK vs. DPRK threats and got at least part of it right. Here, they point out how North Korea loves to take umbrage at any real or imagined slight. Unfortunately the paper doesn't provide sufficient perspective for readers to understand how weak this particular KCNA press release really was. | ... Read more about NYT Failure
The Dokdo Times is almost as good as The Onion. Good enough to be depressing to a less-inspired blogger such as myself. Dokdo Times bills itself as "English news from Dokdo’s oldest independent Korean-language newspaper." That claim is very funny if you know the background. The Dokdo islands are territory disputed by Korea and Japan. There are only two permanent residents of the islands, and 40+ coast guard and admin personnel. | ... Read more about Dokdo Times
I moved to Oregon less than a year ago. I'm still learning how to be a Northwest hick. Part of that game is regular visits to the beach. I just got my fishing and shellfish licenses. Bought a pole too. I am set to go. Things should be interesting this weekend ... | ... Read more about Clam Tide
This article has some real potential of coming out wrong. Let me start by saying that I think Asian ladies are beautiful, just as they are. For better or worse, many Korean women feel they need some enhancement. They apply glue to their eyelids in order to overcome an epicanthic fold. It's almost impossible to describe this process, so watch the video.
There is a Korean Consulate in Seattle! I'm in Portland, OR, and Seattle is a relatively short drive away. I was interested in what a consulate does, so I checked out their website. ("As part of efforts to boost the staying power of "hallyu" or the Korean wave,") they recently hosted a choir concert (that I missed), they are currently running a video creation contest (that I intend to enter), and they offer a huge amount of freeonlinetraining in learning how to speak Korean, although these highly produced pieces pale in comparison to KWOW, the work of a lone college student in her bedroom.
Lettuce opium (aka Lactucarium) is an all-natural, completely legal, strong-as-hell painkiller that you can make in your kitchen with ingredients you purchase at the grocery store. Ancient Chinese secret ... and it doesn't involve grinding up dead babies. | ... Read more about Lettuce Opium
It is difficult for outsiders to understand why South Korea caves in when North Korea makes threats and demands. Its happening again. North Korea just directly and specifically threatened to attack various South Korean media organizations.
| ... Read more about Media Threat
Son of a bitch. That's what Korea is in uproar about. A lawyer went on television and said, "Simply put, are Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il -- former leaders of North Korea -- gaesaeki? If you can say yes to the question, you’re not pro-North." (Korea Herald) What's a gaesaeki? A young dog. The insult level is much, much higher in Korean that it would be in English, but the phrase means "son of a bitch". | ... Read more about Korean Cursing
The Onion once again gets the scoop on DPRK adding another great piece to their definitive selection of North Korean parody. These people have been doing high quality fake news for many years. Unfortunately, they don't have an index of their DPRK articles, but Google knows about them all. Here's a few, followed by the Google link.
North Korea is conducting nuclear tests under a volcano. Their previous tests have been largely unsuccessful, and it turns out that might have been a good thing. They bury their underground nuclear tests at Mount Mantap, near the huge volcano Mount Baekdu*, which has been mostly dormant for a thousand years. Well, it used to be dormant, before they started using nukes to wake it up. | ... Read more about Nuclear Volcano