Thursday, April 27, 2006

History Reeking with Reality

Got this in an email from a friend, a collection of history essays from Canadian college students. Funny stuff. Maybe Leno should do some Jaywalking up north of the border if he ever runs out of idiots on the streets of LA (won't happen anytime soon).

*declared Henry Ford,* "is bunk." *And yet, to paraphrase George
those who forget history and the English language are condemned to mangle
Historian Anders Henriksson, a
five-year veteran of the university
classroom, has faithfully recorded, from papers submitted by
freshmen at McMaster University and the university of Alberta, his
students' more striking insights into Europeam history  from the Middle
Ages to the present.
Possibly as an act of vengeance, Professor Henriksson has now assembled
these individual fragments into a chronological narrative which we present


During the
Middle Ages, everybody was middle aged. Church and state were
co-operatic. Middle Evil society was made up of monks, lords, and surfs. [Ruled by the Dark Lord Sauron perhaps?]  It is
unfortunate that we do not have a medievel European laid out on a table before
us, ready for dissection. After a revival of infantile commerce slowly creeped into
Europe, merchants appeared. Some were sitters and some were
They roamed from town to town exposing themselves and organized
big fairies in the countryside. Mideval people were violent.Murder
during this period was nothing. Everybody killed someone.
England fought numerously for land in France
and ended up winning and losing.

In the 1400
hundreds most Englishmen were perpendicular. A class of yeowls arose.
Europe caught the Black Death.The
bubonic plague is a social
disease in the sense that it can be transmitted by intercourse and other
It was spread from port to port by inflected rats. Victims of the
Black Death grew boobs on their necks. The plague also helped the emergance
of the English language as the national language of
England, France,

    The Middle
Ages slimpared to a halt.[slimpared? Is that from the Jabberwocky story?] The renasence bolted in from the blue. Life
reeked with joy.
[May all our lives reek with joy!] Italy 
became robust, and more individuals felt the value of
their human beings.
of course, was much closer to the rest of the
world, thanks to nothern
Europe. Man was
determined to civilise
himself and his brothers, even if heads had to roll! It became
sheik to be educated. Art was on a more associated level
was full of incredible
churches with great art bulging out their doors. Renaissance merchants were beautiful
and almost lifelike.

Reformnation happened when German nobles resented the idea that tithes were
going to Papal France or the Pope thus enriching Catholic coiffures.Traditions
had become oppressive so they too were crushed in the wake of man's quest for
resurrection above the not-just-social beast he had become. An angry
Martin Luther nailed 95 theocrats to a church door [must have been a damn big door] Theologically,
Luthar was into reorientation mutation. [Big Ho? A little help with religious terminology here?] Calvinism was the most convenient
religion since the days of the ancients. Anabaptist services tended to be
migratory. The Popes, of course, were usually Catholic.[I looked this up and it is true, by the way] Monks went right on seeing
themselves as worms. The last Jesuit priest died in the 19th century.
[Shocking news for some professors at Sogang University, I'm sure]

   After the
refirmation were wars both foreign and infernal. If the Spanish could
gain the
they would have a stronghold throughout northern Europe
which would include their posetions in
Italy, Burgangy, central
Europe and
India thus
France. The German Emperor's
lower passage was blocked by the French for years and years.
[Just like the French to do something like that, isn't it?]

Louis XIV
became King of the Sun. He gave people food and artillery. If he
didn't like someone, he sent them to the gallows to row for the rest of their
lives. Vauban was the royal minister of flirtation. In
the 17th century was known as the time of the bounding of the serfs.
Russian nobles wore
clothes only to humour Peter the Great. Peter filled his government with
accidental people and built a new capital near the European boarder.
Orthodox priests became government

[mighty kind of the Russian nobles to go all out for Peter like that.]

enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare wrote a book called Candy that got
him into trouble with
the Great. Philosophers were unknown
yet, and the fundamental stake was one of religious toleration
slightly confused with defeatism.
France was in a very serious state.Taxation
was a great drain on the state budget. The French revolution was
accomplished before it happened. [how's that for efficiency?] The revolution evolved through monarchial,
republican and tolarian phases until it catapulted into Napolean.Napoleonwas ill
with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained.

[Napolean wets himself and decides to take it out on the rest of Europe. Unlike the Emperor of Germany, there's a man who could have used some blocking of his lower passages]

History, a
record of things left behind by past generations, started in 1815.
[for us North Americans, it might as well have] Throughout the comparatively radical years 1815-1870 the western
European continent was undergoing a Rampant period of economic
modification. Industrialization was precipitating in
England. Problems were so complexicated
that in
out of a city population of one million people,
two million able bodies were on the loose.

['complexicated'...if this guy ever immigrated to the States, maybe we'd make him our next president]

Brittian, the
and other European countrys had demicratic leanings.
The middle
class was tired and needed a rest. The old order could see the lid
holding down new ideas beginning to shake. Among the goals of the chartists
were universal suferage and an anal parliment. Voting was to be done
by ballad.

[Laugh if you will, but voting by ballad is no more ridiculous than the electoral college system]

A new time
zone of national unification roared over the horizon. [try topping that sentence!] Founder of the
was Cavour, an intelligent Sardine from the north.Nationalism aided Itally because nationalism is the growth of an army. We
can see that
nationalism succeeded for Itally because of
France's big army. Napoleon
III-IV mounted the French thrown. One thinks of Napoleon III as a live
extension of the late, but great, Napoleon. Here too was the new
loud, bold, vulgar and full of reality.

fomented from
Europe's tip to its top. Richard
Strauss, who was
violent but methodical like his wife made him, plunged into vicious
and perverse plays. Dramatized were adventures in seduction and abortion.Music reeked
with reality. Wagner was master of music, and people did not forget his
contribution. When he died they labeled his seat "historical." Other countries
had their own artists.
had Chekhov.

World War
I broke out around 1912-1914.
was on one side of
France and Russia was on the other. At war
people get killed, and then they aren't people
any more, but friends. [Neocon logic, I suppose] Peace was proclaimed at Versigh, which was attended by
George Loid, Primal Minister of England. President Wilson arrived
with 14 pointers. In 1937 Lenin revolted
Russia. Communism raged among the
peasants, and the civil war "team colours" were red and white.
was displaced after WWI. This gave rise to Hitler.
Germany was
morbidly overexcited and unbalanced.
became the decadent capital, where
all forms of sexual deprivations were practised. A huge anti-semantic
movement arose. [this whole essay seems to have an anti-semantic feeling to it as well] Attractive slogans like "death to all Jews" were used by governmental
groups. Hitler remilitarized the Rineland over a squirmish
Germany and France.
The appeasers were blinded by the great
red of the Soviets. Moosealini rested his foundations on eight million bayonets [what a fag] and
invaded Hi Lee Salasy.
Poland, France invaded Belgium, and Russia
invaded everybody. [wow!] War screeched to an end when a nukuleer explosion was
dropped on Heroshima. A whole generation had been wipe out in two world wars, and
their forlorne families were left to pick up the peaces.


I, for one, have learned a lot.

I would like to submit my own historical essay on Dokdo island. It hasn't cleared with VANK yet, but I'm sure it will be.

Dokdo was Korean from the times of Dangun. When Dangun was a child, he went swimming in the East sea and after swimming a long time his head hit the rocky island, making a 'dok' sound so that is way it has the name. He loved the island so much he went there almost everyday and built a real good tree house there (there were lot of trees on dokdo then). Korean navy admiral Lee Sun shin used Dokdo as a secret underground lair in a big cave in the island from which his ships would sail out and kill Japaneses. Japan invaded Korea in 1905 because they wanted Dokdo and they made the dokdo seagulls for comforting their soldiers. Their policy of reorientation mutation to Japanese was most harsh and it was kind of like a Middle Evil days. This made the Korean peoples morbidly overexcited and unbalanced and they rose up and singlehandedly drove the Japanese into the East sea and took the island again and every Korean killed somebody but no Koreans died even a little bit but nobody had any fingers left. Everybodi reeked with joy and reality and a new time zone of national unification roared over the horizon. But then America was envy and came in and divided Dok island into two separate islands by using nuukulear explosions and many baby seagulls couldn't find their mother and they slimpared to their deaths and it was really trajedy and everything reeked of han. 

Friday, April 21, 2006

April Dokdo Post: Smells like Han

Despite the passion and fervor of my previous Dokdo post, I have been neglecting my duties to continue to give monthly updates of that little hate enabling rock Koreans love to love. 
This guy obviously hasn't lost any zeal for Dokdo though. Don't worry about our little warrior. He was rushed to the hospital and the word is he'll back on his feet doing more idiotic things in no time.

(Hat tip to GI Korea)

Obviously this tactic worked, however, as Japan 'called off its dogs' and cancelled (or at least postponed) the hydrographic survey/full scale invasion. 

Of course, we all know it's just a matter of time before those damn pig-toe Japanese once again cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War and Hydrographic Surveying. Patriotic Koreans, keep your knives handy!

200604200014_01_1'Aggressive Inferiority Japan!,' screamed the little black pot.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of people here really enjoy it whenever Japan does anything, regardless of how trivial, about Dodko? The politicians get to talk tough, nut-jobs without much else to do can get some attention, more newspapers and Dokdo merchandise can be sold, bloggers have some easy post material and, most importantly, attention can be diverted from the very real problems Korea faces. Everybody wins. It makes you wonder what people would dig up against Japan if for some reason Dokdo and the Shrine visits no longer became issues.

Tip to Japan: send the survey boats during the World Cup soccer matches. No one will even notice on this side of your West Sea.

Speaking of Japan, did anyone catch this article in the Chosun?

The Justice Ministry has finished the paperwork on a special ordinance
that will launch an agency whose mission is to search and confiscate
property of collaborators with the 1905-1945 occupation. In general,
that is aimed at land given to helpful Koreans by Japanese officials
since the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. The doling out
of land continued until 1945, when Korea gained independence.

What did it mean to be a 'helpful Korean' back then? Are these Koreans who turned in their rebelious brethren? Are these Koreans who spoke out in favor of Japan? Or will anyone who happened to have gained land in any way back during that time  be punished? And what if it turns out that more members of the super-duper progressive Woori party turn out to be children of these 'Collaborators?"

Now if land had been taken away from rightful owners and given to pro-Japanese collaborators, then fine, give the land back. But yet I've never heard any of these kinds of complaints. So what the hell is this really all about? Whoever 'collaborated' back then is most likely dead and gone now, so why is this government so eager to punish their children?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Photo Fun: 2006 Spring Collection

Photos courtesy of Korea Times and Chosunilbo. The best damn newspapers in the whole muddah-fuggin woild. As always, click the pictures to enlarge (especially the ones with hot chicks)

Ensor200604162101271Lee Seon-hwa, left, and Ahn Shi-hyun of South Korea, embrace Saturday
on the 18th hole after the final round of Takefuji Classic LPGA golf
tournament at Las Vegas County Club in Las Vegas.

Suddenly, women's sports in Korea just got a whole lot more interesting.


200604170005_00"A protestor holds a banner denouncing Japan’s plan to send a research
vessel into Korea’s exclusive economic zone near Dokdo in the East Sea,
in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Monday. The banner reads,
‘Dokdo is Korean Territory.’/Yonhap"


I guess the bee guy was busy that day.

Japan, look at these representatives of the Korean nation. Are you REALLY sure you want that bird shit covered rock so bad? My money is on Korea on this one. They just want it more.

CarensPretty girls. Almost makes you overlook the fact that this is one of the worst names ever for a car ("New Carens").

Joel, looking for a new car?

Ensor200604161904451Street campaign: Shinhan Bank employees hold a street campaign
to get closer to customers in central Seoul, Saturday.

Yeah, I feel closer to you guys already. Guess there wasn't much bankin' stuff to be doing today? Seriously, who the hell thinks up shit like this? My bank in Korea is Choheung, which is merging with these clowns. I think this is a sign that it's time to change banks...

"A Korean soldier sings with a Kurdish orphan during a ceremony in the
northern Iraqi city of Irbil on Thursday."

Oh, to think of all stories of the horrors of war these brave Korean soldiers will have to tell. They went to Iraq as boys, but they will return to Korea as the manliest of men. The Korean vets who survived the Korean war or served in Nam have nothing on them.

200603290006_00Speaking of the new breed of manly men in Korea, here are some students putting on makeup during a class at
Hangyang (Hanyang?) University. "More and more colleges are
organizing such classes exposing students to unusual experiences." 

Hate to think of what one has to do in that kind of class for extra credit. It's nice to see that college kids these days are finally learning something that will help them out later in life. I'm afraid to find out what classes were axed to make room for these kinds of important courses...

Park Hyo-jung shows his
picture taken after his first nose plastic operation in 2002. Park had 24
procedures on his body
over more than three years to improve his appearance, including
resurgeries after injury, adding dimples on his cheeks, and
removing blemishes and chest hair, transforming his former droopy face
into his current studly visage.

'Studly visage?' If I didn't know better, I'd say this Korean reporter is being a bit sarcastic. Anyway, I'm sure just another 24 operations will turn this guy into Lee Junki, the role model for all gender confused men in this country. I don't know, maybe he just needs to get laid once and this obsession will go away.

Models show off football-themed clothes at Lotte Department Store in Seoul on Wednesday

Because gay guys like soccer too...

200604140010_00Speaking of soccer, here's a Korean commercial for ice cream, parodying the 2002 World Cup official Byron Moreno giving star Italian player Totti a red card, a key turning point in the game.

There is no mention of whether or not the actor also parodies Moreno receiving a thick envelope full of 'thank you letters' for his services rendered to the Korean team.

Farm stay: Foreigners staying in South Korea make straw rope
Sunday in a village in Pochon, Kyonggi Province, where they
participated in a ‘farm stay’ program.

I hear that this is exactly as much fun as it looks in the picture. Really, give up your next weekend and try it out.

Aspiring Journalists: Hundreds of students listen attentively to
presentations in a job fair jointly hosted by major broadcasting and
newspaper companies at Yonsei University.

This particular lecture was titled, "How not to let standards of journalism interfere with being a patriotic Korean."

200604070005_00A member of the Korean Confederation of Trade
Unions lies in a ditch after being pushed off the road by riot police
during an attempt to block delivery trucks headed for the site of a new
base for the U.S. Forces.

For the record, I condemn this fascist state that oppresses the working man. In no way whatsoever do I derive any pleasure from this. Yes, I might have giggled when I first saw it, but in my culture we smile and giggle when we see upsetting images (it's how we cope). And not once did I ever say that I hoped that for at least 30 minutes every time this guy tried to crawl back out of the muddy ditch the riot police pushed him back down. That would be mean and insensitive. And that's not what this blog is about.

By the way, why is a member of a North Korean stooge trade union protesting the moving of the US army base?


Finally, some art I hope to proudly show on this blog often. The picture on the right courtesy of the big Ho, and the statue on the left most likely sculpted by one of Kevin's ancestors on his mother's side.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Early English

Oranckay turned me on to this study supposedly showing that Korean kids who get early English education are less creative than kids who only learn the mother tongue.

I myself am more than a bit wary of the way Koreans push English (and other subjects) on their children at very young ages, but the study raises some red flags.

The report does not give a lot of details on how the study was conducted, but basically they compared two groups of children: one group that had attended for at least a year and a half a day care center/pre-school which taught English, and a second group who did not receive English education.

The groups of  children were shown a picture and asked to describe it. The English educated children could provide no more than 2 answers/responses, while the non-English kids provided as many as 11. Next, the children were asked to draw freely and the English educated children just drew simple pictures while the non-English children drew elaborate pictures of ponds with flowers and trees.

I know it's a bit rash to say this without seeing more details on how the study was conducted, but I smell 'agenda' here. What motivated them to start this study in the first place? Did they think the results could go either way initially? Is there any evidence that children who get early English education are failing later in life in some way?  It just seems  a little out of the blue to single out early English education for this kind of study. Why not study children who are forced to study ANYTHING intensively at very young ages rather than just being allowed to play? Might it be that this same kind of study would show similar results whether the students had been studying math, Chinese characters, or anything else? Isn't the main issue here most likely the crime of depriving children from just being free to creatively play on their own (like normal children)?

So when agenda comes into research, it's scary how easy you can get the results that you want. You can get choosy with your study subjects (find reasons to exclude those who probably won't give you the results you want), you can give the group you want to succeed some subtle encouragements ("Is that all you want to draw? Are you sure you don't want to draw some more things?") that you don't give to the other group. You can choose tasks that you know one group already does well (most likely these 'non-
English' kids were doing a lot of drawing already. They had to be doing something in the pre-school all day if they weren't practicing English).

I suspect the way the research was set up was based on activities that the non-English students were already very familiar with and knew what was expected.

When a study produces shocking results like this study, you need to be skeptical and look for flaws (if not outright fraud). The English speaking children produced 2 responses to the drawing as opposed to 11 from the Korean-only kids. That gap is just too big to be believable. It is extremely rare for this kind of study to find that kind of gap between two groups with only one differing variable of this magnitude. It's like finding that babies who listen to Mozart have double the IQs of babies that grow up listening to country music (in reality, that difference would probably only result in an IQ difference of 20% and a tendency to vote Republican later in life, based on my personal observations).

By the way, is there something special about the number '11' in Korea? It seems like that number has been popping up a lot lately in questionable/fraudulent research...

I do know a guy how has a guitar amplifier that goes up to 11 though. Too bitchin...

What real research in this field has shown repeatedly for decades is that children learning a second language for a few hours a day doesn't have much of a lasting impact in any way (good or bad). Unless children can get true immersion in a second language, a few hours a day is not enough for them to truly acquire the language like a native speaker. Yes, children can learn languages better than adults, but only if they are in the right kind of environment.

So what is this possible 'agenda' of the researchers that I am referring to? It's the agenda of a group of scholars and nationalists who fear that English is destroying their pure Korean culture. They have some good arguments, and I agree that Korea goes overboard with English education, but from what I've seen they use mostly fear tactics based on questionable research and wild speculation rather than facts. It's just like the 'English-only' crowd back in the States. Behind a few good arguments is an underlying motivation based on xenophobia and racism.

Finally, despite my suspicions that this study is unreliable, I don't think it is a good idea to teach Korean children English unless the parents know what the hell they are doing. Too often it's just a lot of wasted time and, as I mentioned earlier, kids should be allowed to be kids and have time to play. I have also heard of many Koreans who did not study English as children but became interested in English in middle school or high school and quickly caught up (and passed) their peers who were drilled in English since they were 5. Forcing children to study anything often turns out to be counter-productive in the long run.

Comments on original post

Great post. I remember a couple of studys I read for my M.A. that basically said the same thing you did in the last paragraph regarding older children starting later but surpassing those who had started years earlier at a much younger age.

Posted by: EFL Geek | April 15, 2006 at 04:48 AM

How uncanny.... why only today I was discussing what research the learned doctor might be working on now!

Posted by: Leone | April 15, 2006 at 05:51 AM

Hmm...I was going to say that it's not the subject matter, but rather the form of instruction (i.e. teaching style) that chokes creativity out of the children. But, the control group was 5-year-olds who had also been enrolled in a formal educational institute for at least 1.5 years and the video apparently shows the children in the English school doing "regular" activities that most children do except in English. I find it plausible that forcing the children to use a second language may stunt the development of their creative mind. However, I'd be curious to see if there are any long-term side-effects (I doubt it)...that is, before the Korean educational system makes the question totally moot. In fairness to the article, the reporter does qualify his conclusion to "지나친 조기 교육."

Posted by: Paul | April 15, 2006 at 07:00 AM

Good comment. I wonder if the English group has been conditioned to give short responses in the kinds of tasks used in the study, as they are used to doing them in a second language that they haven't mastered. Even when going back to Korean, they still might think those kinds short responses are expected from people at their school. Anyway, I'm still suspicious of the study design. I've seen too many researchers here approach a study in a way guaranteed to get the results that matches their predisposed expectations. It's much more common than people realize.

Posted by: partypooper | April 15, 2006 at 04:35 PM

I wonder if they based their study on this one:

Westerners and Easterners see the world differently

Chinese and American people see the world differently – literally. While Americans focus on the central objects of photographs, Chinese individuals pay more attention to the image as a whole, according to psychologists at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, US.

Rest of article here:

Did they ask the questions or give the students (the ones that had English ed) instructions in English or Korean? I would think if it was done in English, they would have limited vocabulary which would be reflected in their answers and drawings.

Posted by: Cynthia | April 15, 2006 at 10:29 PM

Interesting article: this part seemed particularly relevant:

"Psychologists watching American and Japanese families playing with toys have also noted this difference. “An American mother will say: ‘Look Billy, a truck. It’s shiny and has wheels.’ The focus is on the object,” explains Nisbett. By contrast, Japanese mothers stress context saying things like, “I push the truck to you and you push it to me. When you throw it at the wall, the wall says ‘ouch’."

Nisbett also cites language development in the cultures. “To Westerners it seems obvious that babies learn nouns more easily. But while this is the case in the West, studies show that Korean and Chinese children pick up verbs – which relate objects to each other"

If the teachers of the children were westerners, perhaps this was how the kids were trained to respond when shown pictures . Even if the teachers were Koreans, when teaching a second language one might focus more on the central object (as this is the target vocabulary word to be learned) and ignore anything else in the picture. For drawing, this overt focus on the target object could also condition the children to focus on drawing one object, rather than a picture with many objects.

I'd like to see how the English taught kids would do if they observed even one other child giving the 'creative response' that the researchers were looking for. I'd bet after seeing this example, these kids would have no trouble responding at length.

Posted by: partypooper | April 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM


I haven't followed the above link, but I have Nesbitt's book, "The Geography of Thought." Interesting and readable, though perhaps a bit too general and fuzzy in its conclusions. I think the book makes plausible claims, but they aren't surprising: in philo & religious studies, people have for years focused on how linguistic constructions act as a filter for perceptions and can govern which concepts we deem relevant to living.

Probably the most important psych term in Nesbitt's book is "field dependence," which refers to whether or not you need to perceive an object PLUS its background in order to make a determination about the object in question (how big it is, whether it's completely vertical, etc.). Westerners tend not to have very high field dependence, whereas many East Asians do. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles of perception, Nesbitt says. Nesbitt also focuses on East-West bicultural people and how they perceive the world.

I'd recommend the book. It's available in Korea.


Posted by: Kevin Kim | April 16, 2006 at 08:26 PM

pardon me for saying this, but that kind of study is a big load of crap. kids are kids, their young brain absorbs just about anything that are taught (or not taught) to them like a sponge. that said, a kid's ability is only as good as the quality and amount of information that's given to him. garbage in, garbage out. anyone who refutes such natural law must have something else in mind.

Posted by: littlebrownasian | April 16, 2006 at 08:45 PM

Maybe they forced the English-learning kids to answer in English. :-)

Posted by: Iceberg | April 17, 2006 at 06:38 AM

Or maybe it's just the fact that kids who tend to get shoved into hakwons at an early age -- math hakwons, science hakwons, Chinese or English hakwons -- don't get enough time to play and goof off like kids need to do. It might not be that it's the *subject* of study that matters... ie. if this study were to be creditable, which, yes, is questionable, the correlation might not equal causality.

And I'd suppose that with the widespread obsession with English specifically, most kids who do get hakwonized get English lessons, and that kids who have *no* English probably mostly don't go to hakwons in general. (ie for other subjects). There sample group is probably not characterized by what they think it is -- they're saying, "It's kids who learn English!" when in fact it's probably just kids who go to hakwons and have much less free time than other kids. A correlation that could be studied more closely is probably being hijacked by culturally-rooted attitudes, such as the anxiety about people remaining "Korean" while having foreign languages, customs, ideas, and values introduced to them at an early age.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Posted by: gordsellar | April 20, 2006 at 11:34 PM

Gord, my sentiments exactly.

Posted by: partypooper | April 22, 2006 at 04:40 AM

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Lifestyle Coach

It's not every day that you run across an article that literally (as opposed to figuratively?) changes your life. I found such an article in Korea Times, aptly titled "Flowers, Nature Make the Man."

This is an article on one Lee sang-il (affectionately known to others as 'Lee Sang-hae'), a hair stylist, interior designer and 'total lifestyle coach.'

Here's the first piece of advice from the total lifestyle coach:

'When a person is feeling down or lonely, I suggest that they touch and feel flowers.'

Now that's what I'm talking about. Don't just make time to stop and smell the roses, get some fondling time in as well. After I read that, I just knew Sang-il had something say that we all should listen to.

ManflowerHere's a picture of Lee Sang-il kickin it with the very flowers that have made him the man he is today. According to his pool boy, Sang-il's wife was unavailable for the photo.

More about the man that nature and flowers hath wrought:

Lee’s childhood was in the small, country village
of Tangjin, South Chungchong Province: ``A place where there was only
one commuter bus a day.’’ But it is memories there _ gathering
shepherd’s purse and wild rocambles to put on the dinner table and
picking azaleas that were exchanged with lady-finger cookies with the
old man at the brewery _ that drives his creative side.

Gathering flowers for the dinner table, now that's one sure-fire way to make any dad proud. And that's a real sweet story about trading flowers for lady-finger cookies from an old man who works at a brewery.  Don't we all have fond (and/or blocked) memories of the old guy in the neighborhood we grew up in who used to give the little kids candy in return for various fun favors? You know, the kind of guy who had nicknames like "Mr Tickles" who always seemed to find time to hang out near elementary schools and parks? I bet Sang-il and the 'old brewery guy' used to play that cute little game where the old man would hide the sweets in various places on his person and Sang-il would have to go and find them.

An interesting choice of childhood memories to mention as a life-forming event, no?

Let us return to the words of wisdom and inspiration from our new lifestyle coach. 

``One should not be so fixed on having a formula
or a set theory in designing flowers,’’ Lee said. ``A formula can make
you rigid. Confidence is what you need, to go along with your
inspiration of the moment.’’

Truer words have never been spoken. How many of us, in our never-ending quest for the ultimate flower arrangement, have been needlessly bound to formulas and inhibiting traditions? It was just the other day that I was slaving over a classic tulip and dogwood arrangement, when the craziest thought occured to me: why not throw in some begonias just shake things up? But then, before I even dared to follow my whimsical muse, I discarded the notion as foolish and returned to the classic pattern. Every time I look at that arrangement now I can only wonder what might have been...

Perhaps, one would argue that it is easier for
Lee, as he is an artist/designer, to ignore the rules.

Too true. Just follow your own inspiration and whims when designing dining room flower arrangements for a Sunday brunch with friends, knowing that one mistake could spell disaster? Far easier said than done I'd say!

But ask anyone
with an iota of sincere interest in flower arrangement and they would
say the same thing: Go with what you feel. can I argue with that? I know in my heart it is true. It's time for me to stand up to that big bully Fear and just follow my heart and not my head. I've been denying myself far too long. If I don't find my courage to arrange flowers as my heart and soul dictate, how can I ever become the man I know I can be?

Here are some random pics from Hancocks' Dafodil Catalogue (where you can make your own magical spring garden!).

Sang il is quite the total lifestyle coach, is he not? He can give guidance on everything from how to arrange your flowers to....hold on, let me read over the article again....ah yes, to how to arrange your flowers. Oh wait, Sang il also seems to have some good advice on how to spend your money:

He did not disclose a specific figure as to how
much money he spends in providing flower art in every corner of his
beauty parlor: ``I would say about 5 percent of what each customer pays
goes to these flowers.’’ His assistants gave a rough estimate of about
400,000 to 500,000 won per week.

400,000-500,000 won makes up 5% of his weekly take?  Pardon me while I step out of character and say,  Damn, that is one rich fruitcake. 

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And honestly, if you had an extra 400,000-500,000 won (400-500 US dollars) a week to blow on anything you'd like, who here would NOT spend it all on flowers?

Comments on original post

thank you for celebrating this wonderful man.

Posted by: Paul | April 08, 2006 at 10:28 AM

Thanks, Poop. You know I've been feeling pretty down lately. I think I'll put on a mask and go outside to caress a flower. I might even go to the flower market by the bus terminal. I know I'll be okay now.

Posted by: wanderer | April 08, 2006 at 03:25 PM

What a great sounding 'pick me up' - all that pollen - runny nose, itchy eyes... Hayfever heaven!

Posted by: leone | April 08, 2006 at 08:36 PM

LOL--"lady-finger cookies"

I'll be they played "hide the pickle" too.

Posted by: Giant Panda | April 09, 2006 at 07:13 PM

Another post proving why we worship the Pooper.


Posted by: Kevin Kim | April 09, 2006 at 10:48 PM

"One should not be so fixed on having a formula or a set theory in designing flowers," Lee said. "A formula can make you rigid."

Hunh, hunh. He said "rigid"!

Posted by: Iceberg | April 10, 2006 at 10:44 PM

Classic, classic, classic.

Remind me next time NOT to read your blog while drinking coffee (or any other beverage). My keyboard and monitor can't take the abuse :)

Posted by: Nomad | April 10, 2006 at 11:46 PM

Hehehe Mr. Tickles. Bet there's more to Pepperoo day than just plain eating...

Posted by: littlebrownasian | April 11, 2006 at 01:16 AM

Looking at his picture I just got to ask this question. What the hell do you need chaps for to do flower arrangements?

Posted by: Curious | April 11, 2006 at 02:45 AM

"What the hell do you need chaps for to do flower arrangements?"

Hmmm...let me guess...titillation...*cough!*...I mean, inspiration?

Posted by: littlebrownasian | April 11, 2006 at 04:15 AM

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Three Ways to Waste Both Time and Money

Another old post salvaged from the former Pooper site.

There's an article in the Korea Times that came out today called '3 Simple Suggestions for a Healthy Body' (link now dead, but I've copied most of the article below) that I'm not sure was meant as an April Fool's Day joke or not. In addition to having the normal ridiculous content on 'alternative' ways to be healthy (for those believers, I guess every day is April Fool's Day), the writers name is 'Roar Sheppard.' Seriously, who (other than Frank Zappa) would name their kid something like that?

Some choice selections of the article, along with my own commentary:

Let me make three simple suggestions for a healthy body. The first is exercise... I'm referring to Korea's traditional taoist teaching on stretching call Doinbeup. Long before there were doctors in Korea, [and the average lifespan of Koreans, including Doinbeupists, was about 40] Korean taoists learned how to manage the joints of the body through simple movements to maintain the vigor of the organs. Each joint is related to a different organ and, by understanding the simple connection and flow of energy and of course doing the exercises diligently, one can sustain a healthy body.

"Each joint is related to a different organ." There's only one joint, by the way, that is related to the part of your brain that makes you believe this kind of shit, and I understand it's getting far easier to find in Canada these days.

Let's look at an example. Slowly turn your wrist in a circle, clockwise then counter-clockwise. Do you hear any clicking sounds? The wrists may be overtired from clacking on the computer all day. [that, or you forget to remove your watch] The wrists are linked with the lungs and large intestine, and the heart to some extent, so diligently turn them. Also, lift a foot off the ground and twist your ankle. Does it rotate well? If not, lie down on your back and kick your feet together, thus strengthening your kidneys, bladder, and spleen. In this way, learn to know your body.

And that's all there is to it! Don't do something silly like quit smoking or moving out of Seoul to save your lungs, just twirl your wrists around diligently everyday. Sure, you might look stupid doing it, but then again, you are, so it all works out. And then rather than cut back on drinking, you can just lie on your back and kick your ruby slippered feet together until your body magically cures itself.

Doinbeup specialists also realized the body is composed of two energy systems, blood and energy. Western doctors only know of the former [the morons!], but it's the latter that contains the mind, body, and soul. The energy system is made up of 12 meridian lines and 84,000 acupoints. By lightly tapping, pulling, extending, stretching, twisting and turning the joints, the blocked parts slowly open up and a feeling of clarity, clairvoyance, and crispness fills the body.

But perhaps I was too quick to scoff. 12 meridian lines, 10's of thousands of acupoints. How can something that sounds so complicated NOT be true?

And naturally, this stuff is all well researched and tested. What, you think these people would devote their lives to something that is just based on superstition and wishful thinking? I did some intensive research and found this 20-year study, conducted some 1,000 years ago or so by a bunch of bored Taoist monks (I mean really, what the hell else did they have to do all day?).

Apparently, to really make sure their health treatments actually did something, they got 500 subjects and randomly assigned them to four different experimental groups.

Here are the details of the treatments:

Group A 'The twirly-bird group:' Subjects in this group spent 30 minutes a day rotating and twirling various parts of their bodies (while humming popular tunes from musicals).

Group B: "The jerky-boys group" This group spent 30 minutes a day jerking on various parts of their bodies. (the most enthusiastic subject group, they later found).

Group C: "The pokey-group" This group spent 30 minutes a day poking themselves with pointy sticks in various parts of the body.

Group D: The Ro Sham Bo group: See appropriate Southpark episode for the details of this intensive medical practice.

It turned out, in contrast to most people's expectations, that Group A and B subjects were much healthier than those who repeatedly poked themselves with sticks or kicked each other in the nuts daily.

So rotating and jerking were prescribed by Taoists for some time (the original origin of the term 'circle jerk', for all you trivia buffs out there). Eventually they realized that most boys don't really need to be encouraged to do the jerking stuff, so they later focused mostly on the rotating.

Back to Sheppard's mighty roar...

The second method is a psychological one. No matter how much money you spend on fixing a broken faucet, if you don't fix the leak inside the pipes it can't be fixed. It's the same with the body.

There's a ``normal’’ method and a wise method to fix the body. The normal method fixes a headache with Tylenol, the wise method reflects on the internal cause of the headache: What am I worrying about? What habits or behavioral patterns are unsuited to my being? What uncontrollable thoughts are weighing on my mind?

This is great, because I just happened to have woke up with a headache this morning so I decided to try out Roar's suggestion (I wonder if he felt any pressure growing up to yell everything he says, by the way). So rather than take a few tylenols, I asked myself some hard questions and realized that I am not at peace with others around me, and this stems from my inability to really accept and love myself for who I am, and not try to be the kind of person that others wish me to be.

Oh, and the 9 beers and 6 tequila shots I had last night probably didn't help much either.

The wise method is not promoted well in society today. Reflection is hard and painful, as is changing the habit that caused the pain. First recognize that comfort neither exists nor is desirable. With comfort, growth is impossible. It is through pain and conflict, whether large or small, that you develop as a person.

Allow me to paraphrase that for you: Comfort does not exist, and despite not existing, it makes growth impossible.

So you see, when you are in pain, you need to reflect, and this in turn leads to more pain which is great, because now you are a better person because of it. I guess this is why I should be very pleased right now because after reading and thinking about this article, my headache has gotten a helluva lot worse. If someone would just come along and Ro Sham Bo me right now, I'd probably attain instant enlightenment and/or nirvana.

Well, we've come a long way in a short time, from traditional taoist Doinbeup exercises to release blocked energy and tense joints all the way to facing our worst fears _ our own mind.

Keeper_of_the_rainbowYes, we've come along way, from ancient superstition to modern new age psycho-babble feel good bullshit.

This calls for a happy new-age rainbow picture.

Lead us to the final Oasis of Wisdom, oh great Sheppard.

Lastly, I will briefly mention a palatable method: Ttum. What's that? It's a basic treatment, also know as moxibustion (to burn something), to warm the body. As you know, all sickness originates in coldness.
[you did know that, right? That's why the real serious diseases like malaria and typhoid are so common in places like Siberia] Ttum [pronounced 'dumb', I think] is made up of mugwort. Mugwort, whether as a food, tea, or as moxi (in this sense a small candle) is a traditional method [read: untested and unproven, see also 'superstition'] to heal the body, and promote circulation through heat.

5098Moxibustion: That smell of charred flesh means it's working!

Moxi is burned on the hands. Oriental doctors burn would also burn it on thee [I think the proofreader was on a smoke break at this point in the article] stomach or knees, but these often leave scars. [no shit?] Instead find a local sujichim, Koryo Hand Acupuncture office, and buy moxi for the hands. Traditional Korean hand acupuncture claims that hand acupoints stabilize the organs.

Wait a minute. I thought we had already established earlier that the joints were related to the organs. Now points on the hands are related to all the organs?

Perhaps we should believe that everything OTHER than the actual organs themselves are related to the organs? Sounds good to me.

I'd love to hear you guys give advice for auto repair some day. 'What's that? A problem with your engine? No sweat, just rotate your tires and you'll be as good as new. Oh, and clean out your ashtrays too."

Just place them anywhere on the center of the hand, from the palm up the 3rd finger to the top, front and back. Make sure to place something under them as they are hot! A small box a day will heat cold bodies and balance over-heated ones. Oh, one last thing.

[the paragraph ends there. Perhaps that is the way 'Roar' likes to finish paragraphs, or maybe he thinks that works as a smooth transition to the conclusion paragraph. Or maybe the proofreader just couldn't get through this entire shitty article and quit working on it after the fourth paragraph.

Anyway, I hope that 'one last thing' that got cut out of the article wasn't some crucial information like "Oh one last thing, the nurses there also give complimentary hand jobs."

Cheer up. Korea's a beautiful place. Just with the fact you are in such a lovely place as northeast Asia, should make you content. How lucky you are!

Kind words, but if Korea is the kind of place that should make us content, and contentment, being the evil twin brother of 'comfort', can deny us personal growth, wouldn't that make Korea a bad place?

RoarHe is Sheppard, hear him roar!

Thanks for the best April Fool's Day article I've read in a long time Roar. I'll be looking for more of your stuff in the future.