Category Archives: Thoughts

Wanna buy a cup?

AP_chinese_cup_kab_140407_16x9_992

That’s an expensive cock. Vincent Yu/AP Photo

Then why not pay $36 million for this one? You don’t have $36 million? That’s a damn shame because your loss is Chinese billionaire collector Liu Yiqian’s gain as he paid that $36 million you donn’t have for the above pictured, Ming-dynasty, porcelain wine cup. 

Let’s put that purchase into perspective. Here are some other things he could have done with that ridiculous amount of money:

  1. He could’ve just kept it in a bank. At a low, low annual interest rate of just 2.8% it could be making him a million-fucking-dollars a year.
  2. He could’ve won the lottery; twice. Assuming that in a standard 6/49 lottery a single selection of 6 numbers costs him $1 and knowing that in such a setup the chances of winning are 1 in 13,983,816, he could take his $36 million and purchase the nearly 14 million combinations of numbers necessary to cover every possible outcome more than two times over (you would also, of course, have to ignore any ticket-buying limitations and the horrible impracticality of having to purchase said number of tickets). Sure, he would probably end up losing money on it since most jackpots are only worth a paltry few million, but being able to say you won the lottery twice would be pretty cool.
  3. He could’ve purchased a dozen million-dollar homes in 12 beautiful locations around the world and a midsize Gulfstream private jet to fly him between those homes.
  4. He could’ve  turned 36 random people into millionaires. How awesome would that be? Just walk up to someone give them a check for a million dollars and tell them not to spend it all in one place.
  5. Or he could’ve done something really great by providing 18000 Cambodian children with a full 4-year scholarship to college or university. 18000! According to some sources I found, a complete post-secondary education in Cambodia costs around $2000. “I could potentially improve the fortunes of an entire nation by creating 18000 skilled and educated young people OR I could buy a CUP!”
  6. And finally, he could’ve gotten himself 36 million one-dollar bills, put them all in a big pile and burnt them. Because yeah, he might as well have.

Any other suggestions?

 

The Murder of James Boyd

As you can see in the above video, police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico murdered a man by the name of James Boyd.

There was so much wrong with this situation that it is hard to know where to begin.

Wrong 1: The officers who shot and killed the man have not been charged with murder despite proof in the form of clear video evidence of said murder.

That is how untouchable the police have become in the United States; they can kill someone who was not a direct threat to them, video-tape it, voluntarily release that tape and not face any punishment for it.

Wrong 2: The police were there in the first place.

As this report by KOAT the local ABC affiliate for Albuquerque shows, someone called the police station and reported “some homeless” had been living in the hills behind his property for a month. (Apparently living or sleeping or camping on what I presume is public land is illegal in New Mexico. Wrong 2b: Illegal camping is a thing.) I could understand that if Boyd had been threatening hikers in the area or something to that affect, which I concede is definitely within the realm of possibility given his apparent background, then sending officers to check it out was the proper thing to do. Nowhere, however, in any of the news reports I’ve read does it state that he was causing any trouble in those hills, so yeah, “illegal” camping and fear of property-value depreciation were the reasons for the police being there and eventually killing a man.

Wrong 3: James Boyd was not receiving care in a mental health facility.

Why was a man who clearly needs help and potentially posed a threat to the public not being helped? Because America’s you-can’t-tax-me attitude means that the United States has probably the worst social welfare network in the western world.

Wrong 4: There was at least one military veteran involved.

Weapons manufacturers and security consultants are constantly trying to sell their wares and tactical plans to police departments around the US and they have been quite successful in doing so. This is why some police departments now own APCs, use flash-bangs, wear body armor and carry assault rifles. So, what better men for these police departments to hire than those who are already trained in the use of those weapons? Having that always-protect-never-betray-your-brothers mindset that the police love already drilled into them plus experience in killing people makes them good candidates, too. At the very least, these ex-military bros and wannabe green berets seem to be the type of people who don’t mind using violence against others as evidenced by the “booyah” in the video.

Wrong 5: There was a K9 unit on the scene.

Dogs should work with the police for one reason and one reason only: to find some thing or some one. If your goal is to have someone calmly submit to being handcuffed then bringing a large, vicious-looking dog to the scene and then having that dog jumping and barking aggressively right in front of the person you are trying to talk to is the dumbest thing you could do. This will automatically escalate the situation. Especially if the person you are trying to apprehend is mentally ill. In this case the dog seemed to be involved specifically to ratchet up the intimidation and general threat of violence. I don’t know at what point the dog was introduced to the scene (apparently this standoff lasted some 3 hours) but doing so at any point was a mistake.

***

Well, let’s stop there. I’m not going to get into the numerous other horrible, inhumane and stupid things these adrenaline-junkie-asshole-paramilitary-cops did because they all produce the same headache-inducing, soul-crushing why?

As for offering alternative strategies or ways of resolving the situation that would have prevented the death of Boyd, I’m sure there are a hundred ways that could have happened. I’m sure that even children know enough about tasers and riot shields that they could come up with a smart solution. So, why then, could several grown men who we trust with our safety and protection not devise a single, non-fatal, solution?

Beyond the shock and rage felt over a sick man being murdered by police officers, there is the continuing tragedy that none of the root problems that led to this situation are going to disappear anytime soon. The mental health care network is not getting better, homelessness (and the criminalization thereof) is an ongoing, serious issue and the militarization of policing steadily marches on. I’m certain, sadly, that James Boyd’s life will not be the last one taken by this idiocy.

Things That Piss Me Off #1/#2

  1. Assholes moving my scooter. Nothing sends me into a murderous rage quite like going outside to find that someone has messed with my ride. Seriously, it makes me want to kill someone. It happened for the dozenth time the other day. And this time, not only did they move it, but they also damaged the side panel by pinning it up against a wall made of cinder blocks, scraping the shit out of it in the process. So, basically, unless you want something bad to happen to you, stop touching my fuckin’ bike. Here, I’ll let Leighton Meester further explain the concept to you:
    http://vimeo.com/33742179
  2. Outdoor speaker systems. Why in-the-hell would city authorities think it’s a good idea to set up speakers in parks and along every bike or running path in the city? Does a lack of noise make you uncomfortable? Tired of silence, calm, and serenity? Don’t they know that forcing music on people is used as a form of torture in some places? When I’m sitting in a park or walking along the river I sure as shit don’t want to have to listen to some crappy K-pop song, some random classical piece, an old Elvis song or Somewhere Over-the goddamn-Rainbow; I want to hear nothing besides the melody that nature provides. If other people want to listen to music, they can bring along a friggin’ mp3 player.

    speakers

Game of Thrones: Follow Up

Game-of-Thrones

I did it. I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones and, sadly, I shan’t be watching anymore.

Thanks for the effort, HBO, but watching your show didn’t give me the same amount of enjoyment as reading the books did. Everything just felt wrong to me; the characters, the settings and the dialogue all seemed out of sync somehow. As with other books that are adapted for the big or small screens, internal dialogue is a huge part of George Martin’s books and the context which that dialogue provides cannot easily be expressed visually.

Maybe the show gets better as it goes along. I don’t know, but I’d rather just wait for the next novel to come out.

Fact

Fact: North Korea is not a threat to anyone, let alone the U.S.

Every year the U.S. and South Korea hold war exercises, the North makes all sorts ofNorth Korea Teaching Hate crazy threats, the international media spreads these threats and like the seasons coming around again every year, people who don’t live in this part of the world fail to remember this same series of events happened 12 months earlier (hell, even people living here in Korea forget) and react with fright at how the North might launch nuclear weapons at them. This nuclear fear is laughable for many reasons and gives us a perfect example of how the media sensationalizes stories in order to make more money.

Continue reading

Books vs Moving Pictures

At one point last Friday night, while at a bar downtown, a friend of mine turned to me and said, “Have you seen Game of Thrones?” His question had a lot of enthusiasm behind it, and I laughed inwardly because I was immediately reminded of something I had seen earlier that day, which was this:

Now, I of course didn’t yell at my friend like the bearded fellow in the video. I just explained to him that I had read the books long before the tv show came out and I didn’t want to ruin, by watching a filmed version, my self-imagined images of the characters and settings in the book.

A couple days later I found myself thinking about that idea again. Does watching a dramatized version of one of your favorite books really kill the images you’ve created in your head? When I tried to pull up images of the characters from the book series I discovered that I don’t really have any clear images of any of them. Instead, what I have, are vague notions and blank faces. I can picture the places quite well but the characters remain illusive and ghost-like; lacking detail and shadow. Take for example the character of Jon Snow. He is a major character in the books and yet all I could say of him appearance-wise is that he’s a fair-haired, somewhat handsome teenager who looks older than his actual age. Very generic. Even a character with a very distinct look like the dwarf Tyrion, who is described with a lot of detail by Mr Martin, does not hold a strong image for me. The best I can come up with is a very cartoonish-looking short man with straw for hair and a pot belly; and even that image is influenced by a childhood memory of some old cartoon movie the title of which has long since departed my mind. Unable to escape the promos for HBO’s Game of Thrones, I have seen the live-action Tyrion and although I think he is a little too good looking a dwarf to be playing the disgustingly ugly Tyrion I have to admit that he was probably very well cast.

What, then, is the problem? Why am I so reluctant to watch the tv series? I have no reason to think that watching the show will impact my life in a negative way. I mean, why would it?

Back when I was in university, the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings came out. Previous to them coming out, I had read the three-book novel 3 times. It was and still is probably my favorite book. I remember at that time that I felt exactly how I feel now. I very much wanted to watch the films but was afraid they would disappoint me and ruin the images I had gleaned from Tolkien’s words. And then a friend of mine scored tickets to the midnight opening of the first film and gave me one. I thought to hell with it and gladly went to the theater. I liked the movie. I wasn’t impressed with the portrayal of the main characters and various casting choices but the masterfully done CGI and the amazing natural scenery of New Zealand, which matches the landscapes of the book so well, trumped the negatives. Those movies were obviously made by people who cared A LOT about the novel and didn’t want to mess things up. Turned out that watching the movies didn’t kill my perception of the books after all, nor did seeing the characters on the big screen replace my own mind-made images of the characters and the settings.

So, why this hesitation again? If the television series is good enough for the author of the books, then surely it should be good enough for me. He actually works on the show for chrissakes. I suppose I’m just being a book snob. But, I think that by writing this post, I have convinced myself to give the tv version a go.

Imagination, be damned.