Monday, July 31, 2017


I'm off to America for three weeks.  Blogging will be light to non-existent.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Totally Wired

The Fall, "Brillo De Facto"

Does the world really need a new Fall album?  Not really, but so what.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chicken Soup For The Insanely Ridiculous Heat And Humidity

Daegu, South Korea.

Here's my first bowl of samgyetang, ginseng-chicken soup, of the summer.  I still think boiling a whole chicken rather than frying or roasting it is a waste of good poultry, but the overall experience has grown on me.  I’ve lived here long enough to appreciate how a bowl of steaming hot soup can actually cool you down on a ridiculously hot day.  And a few shots of ginseng liquor helped out.

The inside of that little fellow is stuffed with rice which kind of melts down into a porridge, along with jujubes.



I'm off to America next week for summer vacation.  This week was the last of my adult courses, so this being Korea I've had a lot of free meals lately.  Yesterday was cold soy bean soup with some outrageous mushroom pancakes, tonight is good ol' chicken and beer, and tomorrow for lunch it's the traditional hot-weather dish samgyetang, or ginseng-chicken soup.

In my humble opinion, samgyetang is kind of a waste of chicken.  It's boiled.  Boiled chicken is about as boring a protein as possible.  But then again, the overall experience with friends kind of elevates the whole thing a bit, as does a shot of ginseng-infused liquor.

Fried chicken is always welcome, of course.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"a conversation that I've never really stopped having"

A very cool Pitchfork interview with Jonathan Lethem.  On The Beatles:
"It’s a conversation that I’ve never really stopped having with my mother. After she died, I just kept having it in my head. For her, living through those transformations, it was like night and day, like when Dorothy goes from black-and-white to color in The Wizard of Oz. She was like, 'Once you’ve heard Sgt. Pepper and everything that came after, how could you ever care about those early Beatles records?' It was part of her coming of age—discovering sex and drugs was concurrent with the Beatles going from being square, short haired, black-and-white pop stars to being these revelatory counterculture geniuses.
She kept trying to nudge me into the paisley world. But I felt and still feel that the songs on the brink are better—Revolver and Rubber Soul—which, of course, are the records being pillaged for Yesterday and Today. To me, 'Day Tripper' was the greatest song that anyone had ever created. I loved the convulsive energy and slang. It’s got this great double reverse where John Lennon is trying to catch up with her, but he doesn’t know the lingo. If only he’d known, if only he’d got the memo—she was a Day Tripper, but it took him so long to find out."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Some Humble Thoughts On The State of Democracy In The United States

Either Trump and his crime family go down or America is over. It's as simple as that.

Just How Old and Lame and Boring Is James?

I got offered free tickets to tonight’s Samsung Lions game and I turned them down.
Even for a night game, the thought of sitting outside for three hours in Daegu’s heat and humidity without air-conditioning literally frightens me.
All the cold beer in the world can’t fix it, and I don't take the power of cold beer lightly.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"no money, no culture, no time"

Bamseom Pirates, "Uber Oui"

"'Korean society continually asks you the question of, "Whose side are you on?" and forces you to really come out and reveal what stance you have whether it’s politics or whatever,' Jung said. 'And I really feel like that also shows quite a violent side of society.'"
They don't shy away from politics either:
“When you take a look into the South Korean society, there are a lot of other issues beneath the surface,' he told me. 'There’s a lot of class struggle and economic struggles and generational conflicts as well.'
The refusal of Korean society to address these very real issues in favor of 'communist vs. anticommunist' rhetoric has left Korean youth pissed off. (In the film, Jang describes the three big issues facing Korean youth: no money, no culture, no time.) They are tired of the zealous performative nationalism and capitalist-driven misery imposed on them. In fact, they threw a president out of office over it."
I can't claim to understand the entirety of the political situation in South Korea, but the song and video are rad.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Game of Thrones!

The season seven premiere was excellent, hitting high notes at both the beginning and the very end. (I'm starting to warm up to Emilia Clarke's performance which until recently had been kind of flat and lifeless).

And more Lyanna Mormont, pretty please.

Also, there've been some tortured attempts to draw analogies between the Trump Family Mafia and the Lannisters.

Nope.  Not gonna happen.

The Lannisters are way smarter and more stylish and humane.

Trump is, at best, Vargo Hoat.  Or Shitmouth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

(this is good)

The Black Person's Guide To Game of Thrones:
"Wait. Is everything about white people?
Exactly! But Game of Thrones teaches us that not all white people are the same. That’s what I’m trying to show you, if you’d stop being so racist!
Me? How am I being ... OK, so are there any black people on the show?
Yes. There is a group of castrated warriors who were once slaves, called the Unsullied.
What? Let me guess, they were freed by ...
White people. Yes. A blond lady named Daenerys, who is impervious to fire, was born with the ability to ride dragons and was gifted at birth with dragon eggs that would eventually hatch. Daenerys rode the dragons (or her privilege) to save the slaves. And of course, after she frees them from lives dedicated to fighting in wars for their masters, they decide to spend their lives fighting for her—their 'queen'—and help her ride her privilege dragons all the way to the Iron Throne."

"I can see your life disintegrating / Into ashes in your hand"

Husker Du, "Friend, You've Got To Fall"

And no, I'm not exactly giddy about Fredo coughing up the family secrets.  There's still a long ways to go, and at the end of the day as long as Republicans can push through further tax cuts for Paris Hilton they do not care about guarding the integrity of our democratic institutions.

But I'm cautiously optimistic.  More leaks are coming, both from within the White House (spite, jealousy, back-stabbing) and from outside (revenge of the deep state).

Monday, July 10, 2017

It Comes As No Surprise

A majority of Republicans now think universities have a "negative effect" on the U.S.:
"A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years."
George W. Bush went to Yale and Harvard.  Mitt Romney?  Harvard.  For fuck's sake, even Cheeto Hitler went to Penn.  Not just four year degrees, but four year and graduate Ivy degrees.

As others have noted, this major shift has happened within the past two years.

America is truly in a race to the bottom, and 35 percent of the country is actively cheering on our collapse into a third-world plutocracy.

"Dumbfuckistan" indeed.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Friday, July 7, 2017

"world’s most obvious Oberlin alum Lena Dunham"

Drew Magary is almost always good.  On Lena Dunham and her insane dog story, he's golden:
"HOLY SHIT. She’s going toe-to-toe with a no-kill shelter! WHO DOES THAT? I’m ready to question everything now. Is there REALLY an L.A. facility called Zen Dog? Why was Lamby drinking his own piss when he arrived? 'Wow, this unstable dog that I’ve been the custodian of for four years was definitely traumatized by the PREVIOUS three owners, yessir.' Did Lamby REALLY find a new home? Where is Lamby, dammit? WHERE IS LAMBY, LENA?! Tell you what: that facility is gonna get two crazyass breeder dogs dumped on it four years from now."
"Walking New York Times hateread" is good.

"World's most obvious Oberlin alum" is better.

Go Kenyon!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


National Public Radio re-tweeted the Declaration of Independence in 140 character bite-size capsules.  "Real" Americans responded as only they can:
"For the past 29 years, National Public Radio (NPR) has broadcast on-air readings of the declaration.
This year, the NPR Twitter account decided to do things a little differently but the exercise was lost on many.
Clearly unaware of what the tweets were, a number of Twitter users slammed NPR for tweeting 'trash' and accused the organisation of trying to push an agenda."
But hey, if only out-of-touch libruls like me had been nicer to these people they wouldn't have been forced to vote Trump.

Baby Steps On Employment

The new president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, is trying to make a dent in the country's notoriously nepotistic and elitist hiring system for government workers:
"Public institutions under the central government are reportedly planning to make new hires of 10,000 employees in the second half of this year. 
This includes Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), which plans the number of new hires: 718. The health and welfare sector is planning 1,250 new hires followed by the energy sector with 929. 
The new job application form will not have a space for a picture or ask where an applicant was born, family relations - such as who their father is and where he works - or height or weight. 
Companies that hold exams will be allowed to require applicants to post photos in order to identify the applicant during the testing process. 
In job interviews, companies will not be allowed to ask personal information of applicants."
This is very good news for a number of reasons, but as with many things here there's a good chance of back-sliding into the old ways.

First off, government jobs (like ones in the US) are generally quite stable and offer good benefits.

Unlike the US, government jobs are also quite prestigious.  The testing process is rigorous and the positions are held in fairly high regard.

As for resumes, I've mentioned that I do a fair amount of mock visa interviews, which includes helping students with them and also their cover letters.  What's still striking to me is just how different Korean resumes are from American ones.

For starters, a head-shot is mandatory.  This would be borderline illegal in the US outside of the entertainment industry.

Second, one of the first things you list are the names of your parents and grandparents.  I obviously don't understand all of the intricacies, but your immediate family connections are crucial to finding a good job in Korea.  This happens in America as well, obviously, but it's much less blatant.

So, I'm all for these changes but, as mentioned, let's hope it's not another decent idea that gets ignored when put into practice.  It would be easy enough to save the family / physical appearance issues for later in the interview process of course.

Pressing Life Questions

Medeski, Martin, Wood, w/ John Scofield live 2015

Is enjoying the hell out of MMW and John Scofield too close to enjoying jam-bands for me to retain my hipster card?


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Wish This Wasn't A Serious Question

Happy Fourth of July!

X, "4th of July" live

/insert snarky post about how, despite its many flaws, America has a lot of good things going for it just kidding it's a fucking dumpster fire filled with hateful, racist idiots and we'll all be dead soon so fuck it all