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Archive for June, 2007

Bad Night at the Casino

Posted by Brian on June 30, 2007

I went to the 7 Luck Casino at the CoEx center last night with my friend Chang-hwan. I lost 100,000W at the roulette table over the course of an hour due to risky playing. My friend did a bit better than I and was up 50,000W at one point, though he lost it all by the end of the night. To add insult to injury, I lost track of time at the end of the night and could only so far on the subway before being kicked off its last stop at Sadang; I ended up having to pay another 15,000W for the taxi fee home. And when I finally did make it home, all the comped food and drinks I took advantage of to offset my losses left me drunk and sick.

A bad night…

Posted in Gaming | 1 Comment »

Quote of the Day

Posted by Brian on June 27, 2007

From Ann Coulter, regarding her plan for Iraq:

“We need to be less concerned about civilian casualties…we bombed more people in Hamburg in two days … I’d rather have their civilians die than our civilians… we should kill their people.”

“We should kill their people.” Yes, let’s. Let’s just just go around the world killing men, women, children, the rich, the poor, the weak, the strong, and everyone else. Clearly, that would be a superior foreign policy to what we do now.

Of course, there’s no comment from the mouth of Coulter that is too offensive for her to get her VIP media pass pulled. Expect to see her on another cable news show in a week or two with an equally offensive comment to make, with nothing but cheers from her right-wing fan base.

She makes me sick…

Via Tom Tomorrow.

Posted in American Issues | 1 Comment »

Simply Disturbing…

Posted by Brian on June 26, 2007

While flipping through the channels last night, I came upon an episode of 20/20 with a very disturbing story on a poor, handicapped girl turned into a circus freakshow all in the name of religion.

Her name was (she died a few months ago) Audrey Santo. Long story short, a near-drowning accident in 1987 left her in a vegetative state with zero hope for improvement. Her mother, rather than let her daughter die a peaceful death decided to go all out trying to keep her daughter alive at home. Over time, her mother claims, Audrey was responsible for (suspicious) miracles around her house (stigmata signs, bleeding statues, etc.)  and eventually, their home became a pilgrimage sight for those who believed in the miracles. Her mother even had a new window put into her room so that people could line up outside for a view of the girl’s motionless body (not sure if they sold tickets or not). There’s also a website where people can order books and videos about the girls and other trinkets with her appearance on it. Personally, in find it all very sickening.

One of the questions Richard Dawkins asked in his book The God Delusion is why religious belief has such a privileged position among the infinite assortment of beliefs a person might have. Let’s say Joe Blow believes:

  • The earth is flat.
  • He is Napolean.
  • That roughly a 2,000 years ago a virgin gave birth to the son of god, who was later sacrificed by his own father on a cross, who now is part of a tri-partite God who is one yet three.

According to Dawkins, most people would ridicule the first belief, claim the man is crazy on account of the second one, but the third belief is considered by most to be somehow different and the usual codes of logical inquiry and criticism shouldn’t apply. Why?

Looking at the case above, rid it of the religious trappings (claims of miracles, catholic mumbo jumbo) and what you have is a woman treating her daughter like a circus sideshow and making money off of her. Would the police and child abuse authorities not be all over it in such a case? But if I do the same while claiming The Flying Spaghetti Monster is looking over my brain dead daughter and is using her as a vehicle for healing others (and improving all pasta dishes in a 20-mile radius), I have religion and that makes everything OK. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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More Paris, please…

Posted by Brian on June 26, 2007

More media coverage about Paris Hilton, please… it’s clearly the biggest news of the year, if not the decade.

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

41% still believe…

Posted by Brian on June 25, 2007

According to a new Newsweek poll, 41% of the American public *still* believes that Saddam Hussein’s regime was “directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out” the attacks of 9/11.

Read that again… 41%

I know it’s considered impolite to ask such a question… but how ignorant is the American public? Believing that Saddam had something to do with 9-11 is akin to believing the moon is made of cheese: clearly false and easily confirmed as such with the slightest bit of effort.

Why do people continue to buy into this myth?

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Poker Night

Posted by Brian on June 24, 2007

I did pretty well at poker last night.  Iwas up 47,000W by the time we went home.  Iwas helped by some pretty good cards… such as not just one but two instances of pocket aces in Texas Hold ‘Em.

I’m going to try to play a higher stakes game some time before I leave. Just need my mates to agree to give it a try…

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Thank God for that!

Posted by Brian on June 21, 2007

Washed up actress Chae Jung-an is getting a divorce! But don’t jump out the window quite yet:

Actress Chae Jung-an is coming back to the television screen — without her husband. Local media confirmed that she got divorced from her husband Kim Sang-cheol, a businessman at a public relations company, this month. Her abrupt divorce is not expected to alter the comeback schedule.

I guess I missed the mobs of heartbroken fans in the streets with baseball bats and pipes demanding her return to acting.

Whenever I hear about “comebacks” by Korean entertainers, it strikes me as an incredibly egotistical notion. As if people are waiting for bated breath for these people to return from oblivion.

Posted in Korean Issues | Leave a Comment »

Just wanting to be left alone…

Posted by Brian on June 18, 2007

I go to Itaewon occasionally for a cool kettle of soju and some private time at Polly’s Kettle House up on the hill. I enjoy sitting outside with a drink in my hand while observing the strangeness that goes on around there. It provides me with a much needed break from being surrounded by students and co-workers during the rest of the week. I was there last Saturday night at about 10 pm and had an unfortunate experience this time, though.

As usual, I was sitting outside quietly drinking a grape soju kettle and enjoying the solitude. It had been a long day because  I was roped into doing a double Saturday shift at work that day… I had spent 8 hours in classes with students. I really needed to unwind.

So  I was just sitting there minding my own business when an incredibly out-of-place-looking Korean guy asks if he could sit next to me. I acquiesce and scoot over a bit, making room for the guy, though I felt a slight twinge of worry about where this might go. A few moments after sitting down, the interrogation starts.

“I’m Korean. Is it OK if I go inside?” he asks me in low-level English. “Sure,”  I tell him, and go back to my drink.

“Can we go in together and drink beer,” he asks. “No thank you,”  I respond.

“This is my first time here, it is very strange,” he says. I smile politely.

“I live in Shinchon. Do you know Shinchon?” he asks me. “Yes I do,” I tell him, deciding it’s better to stop there rather than tell him that I too live in Shinchon.

“I want to meet a foreign girl,” he tells me. “There’s some over there,”  I say as I point in the direction of a couple of foreign girls.

“What do you think of Korean girls?” he asks me. Gritting my teeth at this point, I tell him I like Korean girls. I’m close to bailing at this point.

He hit me with a few more questions that I curtly, though politely, answered. Eventually, I guess he got the idea and said goodbye and left. Thankful to be left alone again, I smiled inside.

The problem with this sort of situation is that I really, really don’t want to be rude. But at the same time, I just wanted to be left alone and this guy wouldn’t allow me that pleasure. What to do? Keep in mind that I had just spent 8 hours of my Saturday being the dutiful English teacher who listened carefully and with great interest to all of my students; I really wanted my teaching time to be over.

I told a co-worker this story and he mentioned he might be a case of differing cultures. Koreans tend to dislike doing things on their own, so perhaps he saw me drinking by myself as an object of pity. Maybe in his view he was being polite by trying to provide me company.

I, on the other hand, see nothing wrong with being alone and find that sort of unwanted, intrusive questioning as a violation.

Would I have been out-of-line saying, “Look pal, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and I really don’t mean to be rude, but I just want to be alone”? Or would that be a tad rude directed at a person who was just trying to be friendly?

This is a serious question for me because, as the result of a difficult person I had to deal with a few years ago, I’ve learned that I need to be more assertive about my own feelings. 


Posted in Personal | 7 Comments »