Thursday, June 10, 2004


The only time I ever saw him live was a brief performance on the steps of the Capitol on July 4th a few years ago. He sang "America the Beautiful" and "Georgia on My Mind." Two classics but only the tip of an incredible musical iceberg. Rest in Peace Ray . . .


Apologies to those who have already had various versions of this cross their inbox:

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either against us or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road I am now against it!

The chicken's habitat on the other side of the road had been polluted by unchecked industrial greed. The chicken did not reach the unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.

To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

I don't know why the chicken crossed the road, but I'll bet it was getting a government grant to cross the road, and I'll bet that somebody out there is already forming a support group to help chickens with crossing-the-road syndrome. Can you believe this? How much more of this can real Americans take? Chickens crossing the road paid for by their tax dollars. And when I say tax dollars, I'm talking about your money, money the government took from you to build a road for chickens to cross.

No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

Because the chicken was gay --- isn't it obvious? Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the 'other side'. That's what they call it the other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side."

Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

To die in the rain. Alone.


I recently received a personalized letter from the good folks at VANK in response to my posting on receiving several identical “letters” from earnest VANK members concerning China and Korea’s contested claims to Koguryô.
This most recent letter is clearly not a form letter (or at least parts of it aren’t) but it doesn’t really do that good a job of persuading me to toe the Korean line on this controversy. Some snippets and commentary:
I appreciate you for your opinion at your blogger site
Your opinion made a deep impression on me, and 13,000 VANK members

Happy to be deeply impressive.
Especially, your below sentence gave me a hope which we can gain the final victory
"So now that I have been enlightened and "warned, what I am supposed to do now?"
Because we think there is no Western scholars who listen carefully to our voice in the world.
My attempt at sarcasm was, apparently, completely lost in translation.
Most of Western scholars we contacted think that It is natural to support to the Chinese scheme to alter the history of these "I find this very disturbing and will not support Korean revisionism. I am a China hand and a China loyalist." and there are no "Goguryeo history" , and positive perspective of entire korea history
I would be interested in knowing which “Western scholars” ever said these things (the use of quotation marks implies a direct quote) and in what context. “I am a China hand and a China loyalist” doesn’t sound like any Western Sinologist I know (and I do know a few).
you can see below famous websites
That's why we call our campaign as "Goliath vs David".
All of the above URLs are various versions of the same text. None of them, as far as I can tell, mention Koguryô at all. They certainly offer an abbreviated sketch of Korean history (jumping from Silla unification to the Hideyoshi Invasions, for example) but I don’t find the tone to be particularly denigrating of Korea or Korean history.
I feel truth in Scholarship reading your opinion,
Good to know that someone out there still believes truth can be found in scholarship. I have all too many colleagues who no longer believe this.
Sad to say, my Western penpal friends regards korea information written the world history textbook, and website as facts.
therefore my Western penpal friends know entire history of korea as a vassel of china and japan.
If said Western penpal friends are still reading old survey texts like Fairbank, Reischauer and Craig’s East Asia: Tradition and Transformation, they might come away with the conclusion that the entire history of Korea is one of vassalage to China or Japan. But almost no East Asia survey text written in the last twenty years would repeat this claim. Rather more recent East Asia (or World History) surveys will mention aspects of Korean uniqueness and autonomy while also acknowledging significant Chinese cultural influences throughout Korea’s history (as well as the fact that the Chosôn Kingdom was explicitly and self-consciously a “vassal” of Ming and Qing China; for my take on what this actually meant, see here).
First i don't understand how these things happen to the world history textbooks, and famous websites
After i've researched for 6 years, i finally know Most Korean information in international textbooks are based to beautify the history of Japan and China (it devalues Korean history)
on a Japan-China centrist view on history.
There is, I believe, a difference between books based on Chinese and Japanese sources (primary and secondary) which will naturally lead to an account consistent with Chinese or Japanese views of history and books that deliberately try to “beautify the history of Japan” or devalue Korean history.
These inaccuracies regarding Korea in international textbooks, websites were reflected from the contents in Japanese textbooks without any verification, which were delivered to the world by Japanese scholars after Japanese colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945
All these conception of Korean history were intentional distorted by Japan to make Korean people to accept Japanese rule(from 1910 to 1945) as their destiny and it was stressed by Japan to obliterate the subjectivity of Korean people.
It is undeniable that denigrating Korean history was part of the Japanese imperial project. It is less clear (to me) how influential such works of scholarship are today.
Naturally, students in foreign countries who experienced these textbooks could think that Korea is a meaningless country between China and Japan just like "a shrimp between whales." Of course it is same to Korean people in Korea.
There is a significant difference between recognizing geopolitical reality (Korea is smaller in size and population than its three closest neighbors—Japan, China, and Russia) and declaring Korea to be a “meaningless country.” One can do the former without doing the latter.
Actually in recent days world's famous presses, government organizations, intetnet portal websites are describing the image of Korea "a cowardly shrimp" quoting the Korean proverb "When the whales struggle, the shrimp's back is broken".
Do a Google search for “cowardly shrimp.” See how many hits from world famous presses, government organizations, and internet portal websites you get. Here’s what I found.
Not even Korea related Posted by Hello
What is worse, The Chinese government launched the project in February 2002, the Northeast Asian Project, to study the history of the area northeast of ancient China under the auspices of its social and scientific academy with a budget of 3 trillion won, US$2 billion, igniting fears that it was trying to strengthen its political influence in Northeast Asia.
I say this tongue in cheek, but isn’t a good thing when the state provides $2 billion dollars for historical study (two billion dollars!)?
the Chinese scheme to alter the history of Goguryeo (BC 37-AD 668), a Korean kingdom with a vast territory ranging from the northern part of the peninsula to Manchuria, into that of a Chinese regional kingdom.

There's something I'd like to ask of you,
and it would be a right answer "what I am supposed to do now?" which you are looking for

We really want you to write support letter our campaign like below Western scholars, Thomas Duvernay

like this ?

1. why Throughout entire history of Korea, Goguryeo is meaningful, and Significant to all Korean.
Koguryô has indeed been meaningful to subsequent generations of Koreans and remains to this day. Of course the North Koreans have traditionally made more of Koguryô than Silla-philes like Park Chung Hee. But the general point remains valid.
2. why It is a shame China is trying to rob 700 years of Korean history,
which could seriously damage Korea’s roots and heritage.
My understanding of the Chinese take on the subject is not actually the denial that any aspect of Koguryô was “Korean” but rather asserting that the “Korean” period of Koguryô began in 427 A.D. when Changsu moved the Koguryô capital from Kungnaesông (in present-day Jilin Province) to P’yôngyang. Before that, the Chinese claim goes, Koguryô was just another happy minority in a long traditional of multi-culturalism in China. The idea that “China” is/was a multi-ethnic polity owes as much to the imperialism of the Qing Empire (1644-1911) as it does to any long-standing Chinese tradition of rule. The claim that Koguryô was “Chinese” is problematic no matter how you slice it. But I suspect that what is at stake is less perceived “damage” to “Korea’s roots and heritage” and more the future of Korean irredentist claims to territory in present-day Manchuria.
More problematic to me is the more general claim that one can affix contemporary national labels on peoples and places of the distant past. Historians say this ad naseum but it just isn’t that simple. Did the people of Koguryô consider themselves to be “Chinese?” Probably not. After all Koguryô did battle with the Han commanderies and with Sui China. However, by the same standard, Koguryô also did battle with the “Korean” kingdoms of Paekche and Silla. Does this mean that Koguryô people didn’t see themselves as “Korean?” Right on. They saw themselves as people of Koguryô. Many of their descendants became the people that are today known as Koreans. Others of their descendants became known as “Jurchen” and “Chinese.”
therefore your support letter could be a "lighthouse" to lead the world by the "Truth in Scholarship"

of all things, your support letter give us a hope to 13,000 VANK members. and they can have strength, courage, and perseverance to find another "lighthouse"

Lighthouse/ivory tower; truth in scholarship/supporting contemporary national agendas . . .just thinking about it makes me tired. I think I’ll pass and spend the evening cheering for the Pistons against the evil Lakers instead.


New York Times (Joseph Kahn and Susan Chira, "PRC OFFICIAL CHALLENGES US STANCE ON NORTH KOREA," Beijing, 06/09/04) reported that a senior PRC official said Tuesday that he had doubts about the Bush administration's claim that the DPRK had been trying to build nuclear bombs using uranium, and he urged the Bush administration to stop using the allegations to hold up nuclear talks. The official, Zhou Wenzhong, the PRC's deputy foreign minister, said in an interview that the US had yet to persuade the PRC that the DPRK had both uranium and plutonium programs to develop fuel for nuclear bombs. "We know nothing about the uranium program," Zhou said. "We don't know whether it exists. So far the US has not presented convincing evidence of this program."
This is potentially very significant. The alleged HEU program really is the linchpin of the hawkish approach to the DPRK because it demonstrates endemic and irrevocable bad faith on the part of the North Koreans. However, if the HEU program does not actually exist, then China can make a reasonable case for arguing that the U.S. is as least as big of an obstacle to progress on the North Korean nuclear issue as the DPRK is.

So, in the end, much rides on American intelligence estimates of a secretive dictatorship's WMD programs. Hmmm . . .

UPDATE: Here's the U.S. response to China's allegations:
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington that the evidence presented to China was clear.

``We find the assistant foreign minister's comments somewhat puzzling,'' Boucher told reporters on Wednesday. ``We have made clear over time that there is very conclusive information that North Korea has a covert uranium enrichment program.

``We've certainly briefed the Chinese,'' he said. ``This picture of North Korea's uranium enrichment programs has, in fact, become clearer over time, as opposed to anything else.''


Here's the G-8 leadership strolling through the sand at their annual summit meeting. Aside from the absurdity of a bunch of old guys wearing sport coats to the beach (but ever so casually and stylishly) and the absurdity of China's absence at the G-8 (Canada and Ireland are included but not China?) the other thing that hit me from this photo is that the leaders are actually arrayed more or less in accordance with their ideologies. Move Putin over more to the right and the correspondence would be complete. Note also Bush separated from the pack with close allies Koizumi and Berlusconi close but not too close.

Looks like a J-Crew catalog Posted by Hello
UPDATE: More fun with G-8 photos here.


James Lileks considers one facet of Flav-R-Ice I hadn't thought of before:
A group of my friends and I are quite addicted to Flav-R-Ice; to the point that we have affectionately coined them "crack-sickles."

My favorite has always been blue.

According to the ingredients, the blue tint is provided by a chemical named "Blue #1." Somehow, that's comforting. They got it right the first time. When you see "Red #6" you wonder what happened to the people who tested Reds 1 through 5, and whether there's a walled-off compound in the Nevada desert populated entirely by crimson-skinned telekinetic giants who must be constantly sedated lest they snap their chains and destroy the world.
I prefer Klondike Bars to Flav-R-Ice or Otter Pops any day.


If this news article is to be believed, we're far closer to developing such sci-fi weapons than I thought.
Test subjects can't see the invisible beam from the Pentagon's new, Star Trek-like weapon, but no one has withstood the pain it produces for more than three seconds.

People who volunteered to stand in front of the directed energy beam say they felt as if they were on fire. When they stepped aside, the pain disappeared instantly.
Thanks to Virginia Postrel (who sees the disturbing potential for stuff like this to be used to torture people) for the link.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Un-stinkin-believable. If you think about the Phil Jackson-coached Lakers over the years, there have been any number of similar improbable victories. Don't know how he does it.


The Lakers are truly amazing. The luckiest (best?) team in NBA history.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


(see here for the original post). Today's total: Kerry 2-Bush 1. But with some interesting twists: one of the pro-Kerry bumper stickers was in Spanish. The other one wasn't so much pro-Kerry as anti-Bush: it read: "Re-defeat Bush." Clever, but I wonder whether the casual driver will simply skim over it and assume it is actually a pro-Bush sticker. In the end, will it make a difference?


This series may be for real.


Folks, you can't make this stuff up (except of course for the fact that Taco Bell sort of did make up something like this with their "drop the chalupa and back away" commercial of a few years back). Thanks to Big Arm Woman for the link.

Monday, June 07, 2004


It displays the work of the wife of a former student of mine. Check it out here. I like this piece and this one.


Released by the ROK National Statistical Office. Highlights:
According to 2001 Population Projection, the proportion of persons aged 0 to 18 occupied 25.1 percent with 12,099 thousand persons and that of persons aged 9 to 24 occupied 23.3 percent with 11,242 thousand persons, as of July 1st 2004.
More than 90 percent of the youth responded that their parents should be responsible for their whole or partial college education expenditure. More than 80 percent of the youth responded that their parents should be responsible for their whole or partial marriage expenditure. Over 70 percent of the youth responded that their parents should support for their whole or partial house purchases.
In 2002, 64.7 percent of 20 to 24 years old people were for marriage. 32.2 percent of the respondents aged 20 to 24 thought marriage could be a choice. 1.5 percent of 20 to 24 years old people were against marriage.
In 2003, 99.7 percent of 15 to 19 years old youth were computer-literate and 99.2 percent of 20 to 24 years old youth were computer-literate.

87.0 percent of the 15 to 19 years old youth used computers for¸PC communication and Internet, followed by¡¸games and entertainment(71.1 percent),education-related(42.8 percent), and¸management of information data(39.5 percent.
Those young-uns don't know how good they've got it. Why, back in our day we had to .... (drifts off into predictable generational ranting).

Sunday, June 06, 2004


LA was entirely a 2-man team. The other half of the vaunted 4 future-hall-of-famers didn't bother to show up (or were superbly defended). Of course the last time LA lost a game one in the finals, it won the next four in a row. This is far from over, but what a nice way to begin!

UPDATE: Mark Stein notes what I already feared:
This is the fifth time the Lakers have lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals at home. The bad news for Detroit: L.A. has gone on to win the championship in each of the previous four occurences, including the 2001 Finals against Larry Brown's Philadelphia 76ers. Only once, after those previous four Game 1 losses in the Finals, did the Game 1 winner take the Lakers to seven games: Detroit in 1988. The three other times it happened, L.A. went on to win the next four games.


Ronald Reagan will naturally be the object of any number of laudatory eulogies over the next few days. I have little trouble with this because speaking well of the newly-departed is a long-standing American (human?) tradition. I don't think that anyone except for the most committed of followers really believes that praise and eulogy tell the whole story about the person. But just in case you really can't stand to hear the Gipper praised thus, AlterNet has helpfully re-published David Corn's "66 (Unflattering) Things about Ronald Reagan"

Thanks guys. I'm sure that if I searched through their archives, I would find a similar article, "33 not so nice things about Paul Wellstone" (to choose a fairly recently departed figure from the other side of the aisle).

UPDATE: Somehow I'm not surprised that Ted Rall responded to Reagan's death this way.
A real piece of work, Reagan ruined the federal budget, trashed education, alienated our friends and allies and made us a laughing stock around the world.

Hmmmm...sounds familiar.

Anyway, I'm sure he's turning crispy brown right about now.


Robin Burk finds it both in the parking lot and in the aisles.


Do we dare hope?


James Martin Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review has one of those moments whose coming most of us dread:
Very Attractive Twenty-something Woman: Hey, why so glum?

Me: Oh, I don’t know, nothing really.

Very Attractive Twenty-something Woman (handing me some sort of coupon): Come to Coyote Ugly tonight. You’ll have fun!

Me: Uh, okay, thanks. [You know, it’s just that sort of lame response that has kept me from scoring with the really hot chicks for two decades now.]

Twenty-something Man on a Bicycle (swooping down on me): Hey, what’s she handing out?

Me: I don’t know, something for a bar or a club or something. Have it.

Twenty-something Man on a Bicycle: Cool. Thanks, old man.
Hang in there "old man"!


Ugly basketball. If Detroit could hit a lay-up (or a free-throw) the Pistons might be up by ten. Sigh.


Matthew Yglesias argues that nuclear power it is necessary component of any reasonable energy policy.
Much as liberals may think we should increase our use of clean fuels like wind, solar, and hydro power -- and we should! -- it's simply not feasible to meet current electricity demand through these routes, much less meet current demand plus the additional demand imposed by economic growth plus the additional demand imposed by the need to move away from gasoline.
Makes sense to me.

UPDATE: Mark Kleiman has more.


After one quarter. Does it matter? Probably not. The Lakers are masters at not playing terribly hard or well but just well enough to hang around until Shaq or Kobe turns it own and blows the opposition out. Laker-haters can hope though.

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