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Archive for December, 2007

Gaming Year in Review

Posted by Brian on December 30, 2007

One of the nifty things about the boardgamegeek website is that I can keep track of every game I play… I now have complete records going back to early 2004. I’m currently at 1,111 games played since then.

Well, my friend Eric offered up his top 5 games played for the year, so I figure I’ll do the same:

  1. Caylus: I finally played this game for the first time this year, and it is just as good as people were making it out to be (29 plays).
  2. Apples to Apples: I can recommend Apples to Apples to anyone looking for a light, fun family game. I even played this with my parents and grandfather (28 plays).
  3. Zooloretto: This is another great family game that is both cute and challenging (15 plays).
  4. Battlelore: I played this a lot early i nthe year but not much since then (9 plays).
  5. Squint: I played this with students back in Korea… they liked it a lot (8 plays).

I’ll be doing some New Year’s Eve gaming tomorrow night so my top 5 might change a little…

UPDATE: By “top 5 games played,” I’m referring to games played rather than favorites.

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Posted by Brian on December 30, 2007

Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto is assissinated and who is picked to take her place as the party leader? Her 19 year-old son:

Slain Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto‘s son took over as chairman of her party Sunday and immediately vowed to fight for democracy as revenge for her assassination. At an emotional news conference where his father was presented as co-chair of the Pakistan People’s Party, the 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto, an Oxford University student untested in politics, said he was ready to lead.

I realize that an individual whose president goes by the name of George W. Bush is not in the best place to criticize the democratic machinations of other countries, but really, the head of a major political party in wild Pakistan is no place for a 19 year-old, I don’t care who his mother and grandfather are.

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Creepshow 3

Posted by Brian on December 29, 2007

My wife and I made the mistake of renting Creepshow 3 last night. It is, in all honesty, quite possible the worst movie ever made. Do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from it.

Part of the problem is that it came from a Redbox unit, which are automated DVD dispensers that can be found at supermarkets these days.  At any given time, they only offer a handful of decent movies, while the rest is mostly straight-to-video trash (Bring it On and American Pie sequels, for example). I try to avoid renting from it but my wife likes the convenience. Even though she often ends up complaining abotu the movies she gets there…

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Some letters in today’s paper…

Posted by Brian on December 26, 2007

A couple of letters in the Everett Herald this morning caught my eye. First:

The Friday letter addressing “liberalism” got my attention. Jesus was a liberal? I don’t think so. His philosophy, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life,” is a conservative philosophy in my book.

Now, it’s been 10 years since I studied comparative religion at the University of Washington, but from what I do remember, I don’t recollect “give a man of fish…” as being Jesus’ philosophy. I thought maybe the writer was mixing up that (Chinese) proverb with the story of Jesus passing out fish and bread to the “multitudes.” So I did some googling and found that several people actually believed that line to be straight out of the bible, while others echoed the sentiments in the quote above. I guess I skipped over the part of the Gospels where Jesus told the lepers, the sick, and the possessed to find a job, get off welfare, and to take better care of themselves.

Second, there’s this letter:

Let’s try another way to get Hillary to answer questions. If time to prepare gets her to respond, let’s give her a week or so to get answers together, and ask her some real questions, like these:

1. Consider that as far back as 1996, and as recently as this year, communist China has slipped you and Bill bags of cash (literally, in one case). Also consider that they did so risking the ire of good Americans, for these contributions are against the law. So, we would like to know, why would they take such risks to get you and Bill back into the White House? What is going on between you and China?

2. Please tell us who you spent the summer of 1972 interning for in California.

3. Do you count the time you defended the Black Panthers in your “35 years of experience working for children”? The woman they murdered had kids too.

Wouldn’t these be more newsworthy than the prattle she and the press have exchanged to date?

I had thought I had heard all of the right-wing smears against the Clintons, but this was news to me. So again, some more googling revealed that she did some intern work for a “radical” bay-area law firm that took on clients such as communists, draft dodgers, and militant civil rights activisits. The horror! The New York Sun has a piece on that period here.

I also like the way the writer brings up her intern work in 1972 while at the same time accusing the media of focusing on “prattle.” Yes, nothing is more important to American voters than the internship Hillarcy Clinton had in 1972!

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Huckabee knows the score…

Posted by Brian on December 24, 2007

In an interview with David Brody, Huckabee said:

There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street and they sort of live in their protected world, and frankly for a number of years many of them thought of people like me – whether it was because we were evangelicals or because maybe we were out from the middle of America. They were polite to us. They were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates, appreciated us putting up the yard signs, going out and putting out the cards on peoples doors and making phone calls to the phone banks and – really appreciated all of our votes. But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were, as one article I think once said “the easily led.” So there’s been almost this sort of, it’s okay if you guys get a seat on the bus, but don’t ever think about telling us where the bus is going to go.

This has been a left-wing talking point for a couple of years now, at least (probably best express in Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas?). The religious-cons are finally waking up to the fact that the GOP does not represent their interest and, as a matter of fact, actually looks down on them. This is why Huckabee’s rise is so troubling to the right-wing establishment. To borrow Hucks’s metaphor… one of “the easily led” has hijacked the bus and is barreling ahead.

I don’t think much of Huck as a candidate, but I do admire him for being able to see through the lip service and insincere pandering.

Via Kevin Drum.

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Grades are in…

Posted by Brian on December 19, 2007

My first quarter grades are in:

Foundations of the Student Affairs Profession – 4.0

Multicultural Perspectives – 4.0

Intro to Educational Research – 4.0

I never imagined getting a single 4.0 in my first quarter… let alone three. I need to celebrate!

Posted in Personal | 1 Comment »

Looking on the bright side…

Posted by Brian on December 19, 2007

I had no idea that our military was so full of sunny optimists:

From the WaPo:

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of “occupying forces” as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

Bad news, no? Don’t be such a negative nancy:

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some “shared beliefs” that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.

In other words, it’s like this:

Joe Kurd: “I blame America for the death of my family.”

Joe Sunni: “I blame America for the death of my family.”

Joe Shiite: “I blame America for the death of my family.”

American analyst: “See, the Iraqis hold some shared beliefs that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.  We’re winning!”

Those with common sense: “The fact that all these groups hate us is in no way, shape, or form a good sign. Put down the crack pipe.”

Via Salon…

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Lee Myung-bak

Posted by Brian on December 19, 2007

Well, it looks like the GNP finally has their dirty little mitts on the South Korean presidency: Lee Myung-bak won the South Korean election.

The expression “lesser of two evils” is often tossed around during elections, but really, this year’s choice was clearly a case of settling on the candidate that turned your stomach the least.

President-elect Lee is a former right-hand man of Hyundai founder Chung Ju-young, making him utterly tainted by all the dirt that Chung did. He’s a cornerstone of the establishment base, and will no doubt do everything the chaebols want him to do. No doubt that Chung, who ran for president but lost in 1992 and passed away in 2001, his celebrating from his grave, as a pro-business, pro-Hyundai politician/businessman finally gets to call the shots from the Blue House.

Not that the alernatives were much better. Chung Dong-young of the whatever-the-name-his-party-is-this-week party has long pissed me off because of his constant kow-towing to North Korea. The third candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, who I didn’t even know was running until a few weeks ago, is a two-time loser with his own ethical issues from previous campaigns.

Roh Mu-hyun hasn’t been all that great as a president, but at least I could support him as an outsider who didn’t go to the same schools and didn’t have the same business ties as the other candidates

Anyway, despite my disappointment in the losers offered to the Korean voters this year, I must admit their system is a model of sanity compared to the election system here in America. They use a radical popular vote model, meaning that the candidate who gets the most votes wins (I know… revolutionary). Furthermore, the official election system runs for about a month, which keeps the cost of running down. And election day is a holiday, which I imagine contributes to greater voter turnout.

As always, the Marmot’s Hole as more on the election.

Posted in Korean Issues | 3 Comments »