The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Completely Random Crap (page 2 of 49)

Hugo Chavez dead at 58

So I guess the fun begins now.

And now for something completely different: the SS Normandie

If you’re into this sort of thing, here’s a site offering a virtual tour of the SS Normandie, quite arguably the greatest ocean liner ever built.

An Art Deco masterpiece—even the chapel was Art Deco—the SS Normandie (great site, BTW) was sadly lost when it caught fire in New York as it was being converted into a troop carrier during World War II.

The ship’s bronze doors were apparently savaged and now adorn a Maronite cathedral in Brooklyn.

BTW, the greatest American ocean liner ever built—the originally named SS United States—is still with us, albeit in poor shape, and there’s a grass roots campaign to restore it and turn it into a museum ship. Visit the campaign site here.

Iceland considers porn ban

God, I hate these right-wing Christian nutjobs.

Oh, wait.

Apparently porn is only the latest target.

(HT to kuiwon, who probably has slightly different feeling about this than I)

The dangers of the Korean Wave – at least in Thailand

According to the AFP (25 January 2013), people in Thailand are undergoing more and riskier plastic surgery because “they seek to recreate the surgically enhanced, doll-like appeal of their K-pop idols.”

Be that as it may, I really don’t think anyone can blame the Korean wave for this increase of vanity on the part of the Thais.  There has always been an effort – at least in the past couple of decades – to appear whiter. I remember many years ago while visiting Thailand that I should stay indoors during the daytime so as to keep my complexion white (considering I had just left the howling cold of winter and looked like a zombie – keeping my pasty white complexion was not on the top of my list).

Apparently, though, things have gone way too far:

Alarmingly high numbers of Thai men inject olive oil, beeswax, silicone and even paraffin into their genitals, in a misguided bid to enlarge their penises, according to one Bangkok urologist.

Skin lesions or serious infections are commonly the result, said Surat Kittisupaporn of the Police General Hospital, which sees up to 300 patients a month after botched penis treatments.

“The body reacts to the foreign substances. When there is chronic irritation or infection, it’ll be very hard to cure… it’ll be hard to even walk or take a shower,” he said, making surgery inevitable.

In the worst case, Surat was forced to remove a 50-year-old man’s genitals in November after he repeatedly injected olive oil into his penis.

In Korea I believe this is called the haebaragi (the sunflower) treatment – injecting silicon or whatnot into your small soldier so that he becomes thicker and more like a French tickler.

But it isn’t just the men:

A product promoter, or a so-called “pretty”, died in October when a gel-like filler meant to make her buttocks more shapely was injected into her bloodstream.

Her friend and fellow “pretty”, Nutchanunt Angkuttarothum, 25, said the tragedy had not deterred her from further surgery to add to a litany of procedures, including a nose job she has already undergone.

“We have to always take care of ourselves and look good, otherwise we wouldn’t look different from others”, she said after pouting for the cameras at a recent motorcycle launch event in Bangkok.

For women, the quest for bigger eyes, noses, breasts and bums is just one step in a wider bid to transform themselves.

Off-the-shelf skin whitening creams, including vaginal bleaching soaps, abound in the kingdom with many believing that a lighter skin reflects higher status and is more attractive to the opposite sex.

Vaginal bleaching soaps?  Gold, too, is used to enhance their bodies – not in the form of bling but as implants.

I like this closing quote:

“People don’t have to be white to be beautiful—good personality, having knowledge and other capacities are much more important,” Professor Suwirakorn said. “It’s better to have beauty from within.”

Two things

- Can somebody briefly explain a) what Manti Te’o did and b) why I should care?

– Here’s a photo of the sunrise from Mt. Tabaeksan that’s not half bad.

Which doomsday rider is it this time?

Well, Friday is right around the corner and, as always, the Discovery Channel is playing up the hype of December 21. I am kind of curious what all the experts are going to say on Saturday.  Of course, they are not the only doomsday prophets that have been wrong.

Here are some links to the latest threat of doom:

Toutatis – a huge asteroid and its Earth flyby – kind of interesting video and pics.

While Toutatis won’t hit us – there is going to be at least one lunar collision.

An employee lost his job warning on-line gamblers that the world will lose electricity for three days starting on December 21 and resume on December 24 – kind of an odd doomsday warning.

Were these murderers of school children influenced by the alleged impending doom?

some Chinese have been selling all they have and giving the money to poor children so that their last days will be happy.

If all of this is getting you down – you can go to the Independent and read why December 21 is not the end of the world.

Sen. Alan Simpson does ‘Gangnam Style’

(HT to Far and Away)

This is why I’ll be sending any daughters to Ewha

I’m sure there’s a lot of nonsense going on in Sinchon, but at least I probably won’t worry about any future daughters having “loud ass-slapping sex” in the classrooms.

Read this. And then read this.

Hilarious, horrifying and/or inspiring.

(Don’t blame me. Blame the reader who emailed it to me)

Speaking of Australia…

I’ve always wondered how people in Perth amuse themselves.

Read more here.

(HT to Hamel)

Free speech is great… unless it offends Muslims: Ban Ki-moon

Well, that’s what he’s saying:

I am grateful to George Washington University professor of Law, Jonathan Turley, for pointing out that a growing number of world leaders find the First Amendment’s right of free speech to be an inconvenience. He cites, for instance, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s warning that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.” Turley makes the valuable — and if you think about it obvious — observation that free speech becomes intolerable not when it is used recklessly but when one person or a group of people object to its use, especially when they object violently.

I’m guessing Ban wasn’t referring to the “Book of Mormon.”

To be fair, the guy does come from a country where prosecutors just asked for a two year sentence for a guy who jokingly retweeted something from a North Korean-run Twitter feed, so perhaps it’s just how he was raised.

(HT to reader)

Britishisms invade American language

Courtesy a reader, from the BBC:

There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.

Some find it annoying. Others do not:

“I enjoy seeing them,” says Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware, and author of the forthcoming book, How to Not Write Bad.

“It’s like a birdwatcher. If I find an American saying one, it makes my day!”

The popularity of certain Brit TV shows, the Interweb and the prominence of Brit journalists in America may be to blame. We may have to start dubbing “Downton Abbey” like we did with “Mad Max,” which—I’m not joking here—I’ve yet to watch in the original Strine.

Of course, the linguistic outrages go the other way, too—read the BBC’s “Viewpoint: Why do some Americanisms irritate people?” and “Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples.”

So, Uncle Marmot, did you get to see the Forth Bridge while you were in Scotland?

Why, yes I did—see the photos at my Tumblr site here and here.

See also the photos of this kind fellow who was shooting that morning, too.

The bridge is an inspiring sight—an engineering wonder and an architectural work of art wrapped up in one very big, very orange package. What I didn’t know until I posted the photos last night was that one of the engineers who worked on the bridge was Kaichi Watanabe, one of the first Japanese to study engineering in the UK. There’s quite a famous image of him demonstrating the cantilever principle with the two chief engineers, which you can see at the linked Wiki page.

So, I take it you’re not a fan of Psy, then?

Oh my…

And in case you haven’t seen US Naval Academy cadets doing “Gangnam Style” yet

Back from Scotland

After a couple of days in Edinburgh, I’m home again.

Edinburgh was absolutely lovely—it’s a shame I couldn’t spend more time there. Probably the most picturesque city I’ve ever been to. Got a chance to snap the Forth Railway Bridge, too, which I’d hoping to do for quite some time.

As I said on Facebook, though, say what you will about Korea, but it certain has its IT and transportation shit together. Spent a lot of time at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which I’m told is one of Europe’s best airports. To be sure, it was quite nice, the staff were very friendly, and compared to the Third World shitholes that are the United States’ major ports of entry, it was a veritable paradise. But still, it couldn’t hold a candle to Incheon International Airport in terms of architecture, facilities or ease of use.

And as far as Wifi access goes, there’s no comparison at all.

PS: Can’t say enough good thing about Xanax. I’m usually petrified of flying, but this time around, I was happy as a clam.

Was wondered what that song was…

I’d always liked this song, but never knew who did it. Which pretty much tells you how much I know about Korean indie music.

Then it was on a rerun of “Running Man” tonight, so I looked up the OST.

Video from the 2008 Pentaport Festival.

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