Thursday, December 6, 2007

Pick of the day, from back in the day

DeGarmo & Key - 666

Songs about God

John Lennon - God

U2 - God Part II

Larry Norman - God Part III

Top 5 Myths about America


reposted from
Originally Posted: Mon, 22 May 09:25 PDT
Top 5 Myths About America
Date: 2006-05-22, 9:25AM PDT

MYTH 1: The US was founded on Christian principles.

TRUTH: This is incorrect.

The Constitution never once mentions a deity, because the Founding Fathers wanted to keep their new country "religion-neutral." Our Founding Fathers were an eclectic collection of Atheists, Deists, Christians, Freemasons and Agnostics.

George Washington, the Father of our country, and John Adams (Second President of the USA) CLEARLY stated in the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli: "The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion.”

G.W. rarely attended church and instead followed a popular 18th century philosophy called Deism—a Star Wars-esque philosophy that believed in a cosmic energy or big-ass universal "Force." The dictionary says that Deism is "a system of thought advocating natural religion based on human reason rather than revelation," that had nothing to do with Christian principles.

James Madison, original mastermind of our Constitution, was an Atheist to the core who loved skewering Christianity. In 1785 he wrote, "What have been [Christianity’s] fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

Thomas Jefferson, who sat down and authored The Declaration of Independence, rarely missed an opportunity to laugh at Christianity. In a letter to John Adams in 1823, he wrote: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

More ammo: In 1814, Tommy J. wrote about the Bible's Old and New Testaments, "The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful -- evidence that parts have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds.”

In fact, it was President Jefferson himself who first wrote (to a Baptist church group in 1802), "The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State." Therefore, when Jefferson talked about “Nature’s God,” the “Creator” and “divine Providence ” in the Declaration that he wrote, he was being a hippie and referring to a general cosmic energy-- not the Christian God.

America is not a Christian nation. Period. Our Constitution derived from the post-Christian Enlightenment values of reason and truth...never from the paranoid yammerings of that otherwise compassionate cult leader who fucking died in the Middle Eastern desert 3000 years ago.

MYTH 2: US Conservatives tend to be patriotic, ethical Americans; liberals tend to hate America and are immoral.


Liberals aren't the traitors to America. In fact, conservatives who insist on sending American troops into the Iraqi slaughterhouse to watch some blood-n'-guts "towelhead" ass-kickin' are the traitors. Most of them could care less about our troops, no more than Mao or Stalin cared about the safety of their own soldiers. In the neocons' view, these young boys and girls are expendable test dummies. They're dying for virtually nothing, so that the hicks in the Bush Admin can make good on their campaign promises to their buddies from the petroleum and infrastructure-rebuilding industries. By revving up the Arab threat, these MFs can scream "national security" and "freedom" as smokescreens, while getting their hands on a diminishing resource: Middle Eastern fossil fuels, which power everything from your lightbulbs and computer that you leave on all night, to your stupid gas-guzzler pickup truck.

Pro-war conservatives are the traitors to America. With only 29% of the public approving of Bush's policies now, it took a full 5 years for America to finally wake up in bed next to this disgusting fact.

Do liberals hate America? No, in fact they care so much about the USA that they fight so aggressively to make it better. They're not anti-American; they're just anti-stupidity. Do liberals hate American policies? Sometimes, but only the self-destructive ones that threaten human rights, liberty, democracy, justice, inquiry, excellence and reason-- the values that our country was founded upon.

As for conservative moral superiority? Frauds. Think of the child-molesting priests, money-scamming televangelist preachers, Jack Abramoff's friends in the Bush Admin, gay-hating Jesus lovers, the Christians who beat up the professor who opposed intelligent design, human rights violators like Lynndie England and her Abu Ghraib hick officer pals, Tommy "Scandal-icious" Delay, Scooter "Leaky" Libby, the entire K Street Project meant to hire only Republicans, FEMA's Michael "Yer doin' a heckuva job" Brownie, and so on.

Oh and by the way, conservative Red states have a divorce rate 27% higher than the liberal Blue states, the per capita rate of violent crime in Red states is 49 per 100,000 higher than in Blue states, the top 5 states with the highest rates of alcohol abuse are Red states, and the per capita rate of gonorrhea in Red states was 41 per 100,000 higher than in the Blue states. Time to unshelf the antibiotics for our "ethical," "God-fearing" conservative friends with their "traditional family values."

MYTH 3. The US has a liberal media.


This is a paranoid Republican myth.
Reality check: the US media is a mix of liberal, centrist and conservative voices. Also, the US media is largely owned by 10 corporations who frequently push pro-conservative agendas to the American public. Evidence:

1. Even Republican Pat Buchanan confessed, "For heaven sakes, we kid about the liberal media, but every Republican on earth does that." Neo-conservative pundit Bill Kristol also said, "I admit it: the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."

2. A 2005 study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics found that "coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media." Why? Partly because only four major corporate networks control American TV news-- up to 75% of the audience share. The "Big 10" media conglomerates who control the bulk of the entire US media are: AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T and Liberty Media. Yes, we have National Public Radio, but compare its public reach to that of Canada's CBC and the United Kingdom's BBC.

3. Eighty percent of all US newspapers are owned by corporate chains.

4. Liberals are virtually non-existent on talk radio stations nationwide. Rush and Dr. Laura, eat your hearts out.

5. Conservatives are very well accomodated for across FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the New York Post, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, the Drudge Report, the National Review, etc. Even so-called "bastions of liberalism," e.g. the NY Times, MSNBC, WashPost and NPR make a concerted effort to be "fair and balanced" by bringing in right-wing views like those of David Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer and Cokie Roberts to have their say in these forums, respectively. This is in stark contrast to FOX News' claims to unbiased objectivity, which were easily demolished by Robert Greenwald in 2004.

6. Contrary to what some paranoid Republicans claim, most journalists are centrists, not liberals. A representative sample of 141 US journalists and bureau chiefs were asked in 1998, "On social issues, how would you characterize your political orientation?" Answers: Left 30%, Center 57%, Right 9%, Other 5% . Next question, same sample: "On economic issues, how would you characterize your political orientation? " Answers: Left 11%, Center 64%, Right 19%, Other 5%. Also, look at the total number of think tank citations in major newspapers, radio and TV transcripts: Conservative TTs: 7792, Centrist TTs: 6361, Liberal TTs: 1152.

7. Eric Alterman summarizes a 1999 research study from the academic journal Communications Research: "Four scholars examined the use of the 'liberal media' argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media's actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view."

MYTH 4. The US doesn’t need improvement compared to other countries; it is the greatest country in the world.

Wrong again. I'll only cite the statistics here.

USA Ranking on Adult Literacy Scale: #9
(#1 Sweden and #2 Norway)- OECD

USA Ranking on Healthcare Quality Index: #37
(#1 France and #2 Italy)- World Health Organization 2003

USA Ranking of Student Reading Ability: #12
(#1 Finland and #2 South Korea)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking of Student Problem Solving Ability: #26
(#1 South Korea and #2 Finland)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking on Student Mathematics Ability: # 24
(#1 Hong Kong and #2 Finland)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking of Student Science Ability: #19
(#1 Finland and #2 Japan)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking on Women's Rights Scale: #17
(#1 Sweden and #2 Norway)- World Economic Forum Report

USA Position on Timeline of Gay Rights Progress: # 6 (1997)
(#1 Sweden 1987 and #2 Norway 1993)- Vexen

USA Ranking on Life Expectancy: #29
(#1 Japan and #2 Hong Kong)- UN Human Development Report 2005

USA Ranking on Journalistic Press Freedom Index: #32
(#1 Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands tied)- Reporters Without Borders 2005

USA Ranking on Political Corruption Index: #17
(#1 Iceland and #2 Finland)- Transparency International 2005

USA Ranking on Quality of Life Survey: #13
(#1 Ireland and #2 Switzerland)- The Economist Magazine ...Wikipedia "Celtic Tiger" if you still have your doubts.

USA Ranking on Environmental Sustainability Index: #45
(#1 Finland and #2 Norway)- Yale University ESI 2005

USA Ranking on Overall Currency Strength: #3 (US Dollar)
(#1 UK pound sterling and #2 European Union euro)- FTSE 2006....the dollar is now a liability, so many banks worldwide have planned to switch to euro

USA Ranking on Infant Mortality Rate: #32
(#1 Sweden and #2 Finland)- Save the Children Report 2006

USA Ranking on Human Development Index (GDP, education, etc.): #10
(#1 Norway and #2 Iceland)- UN Human Development Report 2005

So much for those "socialist" Europeans and those "backward" Asians, hm?
We can do better than this.

*Only 18% of Americans own passports and bother to travel outside of the US.
* 85% of US soldiers in Iraq believe that they are there to get revenge for 9/11.
* New international student enrollment in US grad schools has decreased by 6%, because of xenophobic post-9/11 US visa restrictions, jacked-up tuition fees and better educational opportunities in the EU and Asia. So no, not everyone wants to come here anymore, because it's become a land of incredibly limited opportunity, and we've lowered our educational standards.

MYTH 5: The US government loves to help other countries.

This is a myth. The US government tends to be motivated by interests, not humanitarian principles.

Denmark gives the most amount of its GDP (1.01%) to developing countries; Norway gives 0.91%; the Netherlands give 0.79% and so on until the end of list, where the USA sits. Yes, America ranks DEAD LAST in foreign aid at a pathetic 0.1% of its GDP, compared to the other 21 nations listed as developed nations. The idea that the US government is a heroic bunch that runs around the world helping the poor and the disempowered is not backed up by the evidence. We have one of the stingiest governments on earth.

Most Americans believe the US spends 24% of its budget on aid to poor countries; the actual amount is well under a quarter of 1%. Our country also ranks #5 on asylum-seeker acceptance rates (#1 is Denmark and #2 is Canada).

For you self-congratulatory, redneck-inspired conservative fuckwads who will start to say, "B-b-b-but you're anti-American! M-m-m-moonbat! G-g-g-god bless the USA!" I answer, "Go fuck yourself. We can do better." Stop blindly believing everything your president tells you. Come back to us only when you start realizing that the $400 billion your president has allocated to his Roman Empire-style military overstretch could be better spent on correcting the sociopolitical and economic problems in the arenas that I've listed above.

For you liberal shit-heels who will start to say, "Yeah! Right on!" I answer, "Grow some fucking balls." That goes for women and the LGBT community too, and don't call me a sexist either: I'm more than comfortable with being a female, but I believe balls can be useful in situations like these. Instead, stop apologizing for being the "liberal elite," and start championing un-abashed excellence in everything, not mediocrity. Help your reps and senators take back Congress, and stop dithering while the political tides are turning in your favor right now. The conservatives are terrified now; TAKE advantage of that. And don't waste time trying to explain rational things to any homophobic Christians, or hyper-patriotic losers who wave and cheapen our American flag only for a self-esteem buzz, or those testosterone-filled, gullible, culturally-ignorant military recruiter robots who lack even a basic intelligence. THEY CANNOT BE REASONED WITH. They don't understand statistics, elaborate charts, legislative proposals or complicated scientific explanations. Just let them go. Let them go.

In the meantime, stop being SHEEP and get up and do something before some bright and ambitious Chinese, Indian and the European students grow up to be international leaders and make your lazy, self-absorbed kids irrelevant on the world stage.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pick of the day

Swirling Eddies - I've Got An Idea

Wow, I didn't know there was a video for this one.... talk about weird!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pick of the day, from back in the day...

77s - Ba Ba Ba Ba

I swear that hole in the ozone layer is due to all that hair spray Mike Roe used in THIS video.

For more 77s' mayhem, go to:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

"THRILLER" 25th Anniversary

Original video (1982)

Live performance in Japan (1987)


Bollywood version, India

Prisoner version, Philippines

Lego version

Second Life version

Final Fantasy version

Seperated at birth

Robin Williams and Bono

left: Robin Williams (b. July 21, 1951)hands out bagels at the recent writer's strike in Hollywood
right: Bono (b. May 10, 1960) at some fundraiser thingy with Oprah (not pictured, thank God)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Happened To The Good Ol' Days?

by Ken Greene

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day… and we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!

Gas in Saipan now more expensive than in Hawaii

SAIPAN, Northern Marianas — Gas on America's far-flung Pacific islands is now topping $4 a gallon.

It's highest on the U.S. Northern Marianas islands of Rota and Tinian, with even regular gas going over the $4 mark.

On Saipan today, it's $3.89 a gallon for regular and $4.18 for premium. That's a 10-cents-gallon increase over yesterday.

The prevailing wage for the islands' major workforce of 20,000 foreign workers is just $3.55 an hour.

Officials of Shell Oil Co. in the region say the company has been forced to increase the retail price because their supplier in Singapore has been increasing its prices.

(Honolulu Advertiser)

Japan: One Mouthful at a Time

Shiga Prefecture’s government is calling on the public to eat enough bluegill fish to eradicate it. The “catch-and-eat” drive for Lake Biwa in the prefecture follows a rare expression of contrition from Emperor Akihito, who has admitted bringing the fish home in 1960 as a gift from Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago. The bluegill is Illinois’s state fish. It has turned into a nuisance in Japan’s rivers and lakes, steadily destroying native species.

Shiga’s Web site is offering recipes for deep-fried, marinated and chili-sauce bluegill.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two Koreas agree on rail timetable

North and South Korea have agreed a timetable for establishing cargo rail services between their two nations, the first for more than 50 years.

Trains will begin crossing the border on 11 December, connecting South Korea with an industrial zone in the North.

The agreement came after a three-day meeting in Seoul between South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong-il.

The talks were the first between prime ministers of the two Koreas since 1992.

They followed a historic summit last month between leaders of the two nations, only the second since the Korean peninsula was partitioned more than five decades ago.

The leaders signed an accord calling for greater peace and economic partnership, and the prime ministers have been using their meeting to implement some of the proposals.

'Expand investment'

There is currently no rail service between North and South Korea. In May, two trains crossed the border in a test-run and South Korea has since been pushing for more regular rail links.

Under the deal, cargo trains will run along a 25km (16 mile) section of track linking Munsan in the South with Bongdong in the North.

This would improve access to the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint economic zone on the North Korean side of the border.

South Korea has also agreed to repair roads and railways linking the complex with other parts of North Korea, and to help with the development of a shipping district in the North's port city of Haeju.

"The agreements set the stage for our companies to expand investment in the North and substantially contribute to its economic development," the South Korean prime minister said in a statement.

The two sides also agreed to begin negotiations on setting up a joint fishing zone around a disputed sea border in the first half of next year.

The area has been the scene of serious naval clashes in the past.

The two Koreas have been divided for more than 50 years and remain technically at war, but in recent years ties have improved under Seoul's policy of economic engagement.

Pyongyang's broader international ties also appear to be taking a turn for the better.

In February, North Korea agreed to end its nuclear programme in return for aid. It is currently in the process of disabling its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

1910: Korean Peninsula colonised by Japan
1945: Divided into US-backed South and Soviet-backed North
1950-1953: Korean War, no peace deal signed
1987: North Korea bombs a South airliner, killing 115
1990s: South Korea introduces conciliatory Sunshine Policy
2000: Kim Jong-il and Kim Dae-jung hold first leaders' summit
2007: Kim Jong-il and Roh Moo-hyun hold second leaders' summit

Bike sex case sparks legal debate

The case of a man convicted of simulating sex with his bicycle has sparked a debate about human rights and the privacy of an individual.

Internet message boards have been buzzing with comment about the case of Robert Stewart, 51, from Ayr.

He was reported by cleaners at a hostel who unlocked his door and found him engaged in a sex act with his bike.

Stewart was put on the Sex Offenders' Register, which some posters said was an over-reaction by the sheriff.

Stewart admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. As well as being put on register for three years, he was put on probation for the same length of time.

More than a million people have read the story on the BBC news website and it has been hotly debated on forums elsewhere.

One contributor asked: "Would they have done the same to a woman with a sex toy?

"Apart from the fact that the sex toy was manufactured for the purpose, and a bicycle wasn't, I really don't see that the two acts are all that different."

Another blogger said: "I am more disturbed by the sheriff's ruling than the act of having sex with a bike."

Those discussing the case online were also worried about the future implications.

One person wrote: "It's bad news for privacy in the UK because of how a ruling like this could be used to support similar cases in future."

Legal experts said he would have been placed on the Sex Offenders' Register under Section 80 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

This states that a person should be put on the register "if the court determines that there was a significant sexual aspect to the offender's behaviour in committing the offence".

This is not the first legal case involving someone simulating sex with an inanimate object.

* In 1997 Robert Watt, 38, was fined £100 for trying to have sex with a shoe in an Edinburgh street
* In 2002 the same man was arrested for simulating sex with a traffic cone in front of a crowd of people
* Earlier this month, sentence was deferred on teenager Steven Marshall, from Galashiels, who admitted simulating sex on a pavement while drunk.

Human rights lawyer John Scott told the BBC Scotland news website that the case raised important privacy issues.

He said: "It certainly prompts questions about what people can and can't do behind closed doors with inanimate objects.

"However, the difficulty is that the man involved in this case pleaded guilty to a breach of the peace so these issues of privacy weren't considered by the court."

He added: "The sheriff had to act on the guilty plea and make a decision about whether or not there was a sexual nature to the offence. Clearly there was and that's why the man has ended up on the register."

However, Mr Scott said it should not be seen as a test case or one that would set a precedent in the future.

"This case should not prevent people who want to engage in this sort of activity doing so.

"What I would say to a client of mine that wanted to do this kind of thing is as long as it's behind a bolted door, with an inanimate object, then each to their own."

Man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle

A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation.

Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex.

Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years.

Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.

Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply.

"They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down.

"The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."

Both cleaners, who were "extremely shocked", told the hostel manager who called police.

Sheriff Colin Miller told Stewart: "In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a 'cycle-sexualist'."

Stewart had denied the offence, claiming it was caused by a misunderstanding after he had too much to drink.

The bachelor had been living in the hostel since October 2006 after moving from his council house in Girvan.

He now lives in Ayr.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Xian artists blog hits 50 posts!

Now includes the following:

Vengeance Rising
One Bad Pig
Valeri Barinov
Idle Cure
Rick Cua
Havalina Rail Co.
Keith Green
Altar Boys
Gospel Blues artists
Mark Heard
Bob Dylan
Lone Justice
Over The Rhine
Sixpence None The Richer
Bruce Cockburn
Violent Femmes
Leslie "Sam" Phillips
The Alarm
Sweet Comfort Band
After The Fire
King's X
The Call
Paul Clark
De Garmo & Key
Sufjan Stevens
Smashing Pumpkins
Phil Keaggy
Steve Taylor
Lost Dogs
Adam Again
The Choir
The 77s
Daniel Amos
Second Chapter Of Acts
Resurrection Band / REZ
Randy Stonehill
Larry Norman

Friday, November 9, 2007

Top 10 for women

The World Economic Forum released a Global Gender Gap Report - a list of the top counties that have managed to narrow the "gender gap":

1. Sweden
2. Norway
3. Finland
4. Iceland
5. New Zealand
6. Philippines
7. Germany
8. Denmark
9. Ireland
10. Spain

The United States, the "world's leading economy", is 31st. They were 23rd last year.

Way to go, guys. Let's all hear you now: "U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!".... "We're number... 31!" Woo hoo!

Read the full article here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New videos here!!! :-)

Both of these videos were shown at the Busan International Edutainment Expo, November 2007, in Busan, South Korea.

Promo video for Friends English Camp in December 2007:

(music: "El Nino" by Red Elvises)

Promo video for Friends English Academy:

(music: "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Political rants

So Bush wants freedom and democracy in Iraq and Cuba, eh? Should go hand-in-hand with the freedom and democracy the US installed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's worked out well, yeah....

Oh yes, Gloria Arroyo pardoned Estrada. Good job GMA. You know I used to actually have a little respect for you. Your anti-death-penalty stance and all. But now, you pardoning Erap is like Clinton lying about Lewinsky. They should kick you out of Malacanang and feed you to the dogs.

You and Mayor Lim too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Blogs

Actually, these are more like "Vlogs"....

The History Of Christian Rock
Includes promo videos and performances from: Keith Green, L.S.U., Altar Boys, Kansas, U2, Mark Heard, Bob Dylan, Lone Justice, Over The Rhine, Sixpence None The Richer, Bruce Cockburn, Violent Femmes, Leslie "Sam" Phillips, The Alarm, Sweet Comfort Band, After The Fire, King's X, The Call, Paul Clark, Vector, De Garmo & Key, Danielson, Sufjan Stevens, Smashing Pumpkins, Phil Keaggy, Steve Taylor, Stryper, Crumbacher, Undercover, Lost Dogs, Adam Again, The Choir, The 77s, Daniel Amos, Second Chapter Of Acts, Resurrection Band, Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman and many more.

My favorite Smashing Pumpkins performances. I am currently collecting the best live performances of the entire "Zeitgeist" album, with more albums to follow in the near future.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Taco Bell crosses the border ...into Mexico???

Spreading E. coli one country at a time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One of the most amazing things I've ever heard in my lifetime

The Smashing Pumpkins do a 13-minute version of "Heavy Metal Machine" on AOL. Wow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No cops in sight

Today, I was taking a break in the "garden" on the roof of our school and suddenly heard a squeal of brakes and a crash from the street below. Looking down, I discovered that someone driving a small red car hat hit a child riding a bicycle as he was crossing the street. Never mind that he was on the crosswalk, drivers in Korea pay little to no attention to crosswalks, yield signs, stop lights, pedestrians or even other motorists.

Here's the car:
Here's the bicycle:And, amazingly, there were no police, no ambulance, no witnesses, etc. Everyone just went about life as though this were a normal occurance. The woman driver eventually bundled the boy into her car, and drove off (after executing quite a dangerous U-turn into oncoming traffic), presumably towards the nearby hospital.

Any other country, the police would have shown up, made inquiries, questioned the driver, summoned paramedics, etc. In China, a crowd of onlookers would have surrounded her car until police arrived, then give the police their version of events and the crowd would decide the penalty then and there.

Why on earth should I actually expect the Korean police to do their job????

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dan from Dandan

My friend Dan Shor, as Billy the Kid, plays cards with Keanu Reeves (Speed, The Matrix) and Alex Winter (Lost Boys).

Dan tries to impress the girls at the mall. Geek!

Also, Dan in a music video by Kansas.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Recent video projects

New video I made at 3:00 am.

Watch it on YouTube

or Myspace.

See more video projects here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Price Of A Pizza In Iraq: An Eye And A Leg

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Constantine Rodriguez had just fetched chilli peppers and was going out to get some onions when he heard the siren for an incoming rocket. All he remembers was a door blasting open and a loud explosion.

A quiet man from the former Portuguese colony of Goa in southwestern India, Rodriguez was working at a Pizza Hut restaurant at Taji, one of the main U.S. air bases in Iraq, when he was caught up in an attack.

He is lucky to be alive, said Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Martin, the surgeon who treated him earlier this month at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. Shrapnel took out an eye, pulverized one of his legs and damaged his torso. He lost a lot of blood, but surgeons were able to save him.

As he lay recovering in hospital, all he could think of was the new wife he had left in India when he went to Iraq last year, and the 7 1/2-month-old baby he had never met.

"I had gotten the capsicum. And I was going to get onions," Rodriguez told Reuters from his hospital bed. "I heard the siren ... What happened after I don't know.

"I don't blame anybody. Just take care of me and my family. One leg. One eye. What can I do with my family now?"

The Kuwaiti firm that employed Rodriguez, Al Homaizi, operates 11 Pizza Huts, 13 Burger Kings and five Taco Bells on American bases in Iraq, said Joe Petrusich, who runs the firm's Iraq restaurants.

It employs about 300 workers, recruited in Kuwait but nearly all from poor countries in Asia: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines.

They are a small part of the vast army behind the army -- the tens of thousands of "TCNs" -- "third-country nationals" -- hired to feed U.S. troops, wash their laundry, build their compounds and clean their toilets, for salaries of at most several hundred dollars a month.

The U.S. military says that by contracting out tasks like cooking and cleaning, it can provide its soldiers with a better environment at a lower cost.


For poor countries, allowing their citizens to work in Iraq has been controversial and often politically sensitive.

India has told its citizens not to work in Iraq since 2004, when three Indian contractors were kidnapped and demonstrators took to the streets at home complaining the government did too little to protect them.

But there is little a country can do to prevent its citizens taking work that pays much better than jobs at home.

The Philippines now puts stamps in new passports saying they are not valid for travel to Iraq.

Petrusich said the firm still employed Filipino workers in Iraq, as long as they have old passports without the stamps.

Al Homaizi is Pizza Hut's franchise in Kuwait, with 45 restaurants in that oil-rich Gulf state, where nearly all workers are recruited from poor Asian countries. The firm offers staff at its Kuwait restaurants double pay if they go to Iraq.

For Rodriguez, that was the equivalent of about $450 a month, enough finally to find a wife and start a family back in India after 10 years of working in Kuwait. The average per capita income in Goa is about $1,100 a year.

Petrusich said Rodriguez would receive free medical care in Kuwait, including physiotherapy and a prosthetic leg, and one-off payments totaling 18,333 Kuwaiti dinars, about $55,000, if he is finally deemed permanently disabled.

"I'm very close to these guys. I've known all of them. I know we do everything we can," he told Reuters by telephone from Kuwait. "It's just an unfortunate situation that has happened."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tarantino goes local in Manila

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino was forced to hop into a pedicab to escape flood-induced gridlock in the streets of Manila on Wednesday (August 15th) on his way to the presidential palace to receive a film award from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Tarantino said he and Filipino filmmaker Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz were in a limousine that had been stuck for about 2-1/2 hours on a bridge close to Malacanang palace when Aguiluz suggested they leave the car and proceed on two separate pedicabs - one for each of them.

"It was a lot of fun. It's the way it is, I guess. ... It was wild," he told reporters later. "No worries. I've done more serious things than that."

Tarantino talks about his ordeal

About 15 minutes later, they reached a street corner near the palace gates where a car picked them up, he said.

Tarantino and Aguiluz were 40 minutes late for the scheduled ceremony but they were still 30 minutes ahead of Arroyo, who was a victim of the traffic jams in the Philippine capital's flooded streets Wednesday (August 15th).

Pounding rain from Typhoon Sepat flooded parts of metropolitan Manila, prompting authorities to suspend classes, briefly stopping a commuter train and slowing Arroyo's convoy.

Tarantino _ well-known for his films "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" _ was in a traditional Filipino formal shirt called Barong Tagalog but wore sandals. He was handed a size 13 black leather shoes because sandals and rubber shoes are not allowed inside the palace during presidential ceremonies, a staff of the National Commission on Culture and Arts said.

Tarantino, who is writing a book about the Philippine films, particularly the horror and action films he saw in his youth, was one of the three Lifetime Achievement award winners in the 9th Cinemanila, a film festival featuring foreign and local movies.

Chatrichalerm Yukol, a member of Thailand's royal family whose historical epic "King Naresuan" was shown during the festival, and Belgian independent film director Robert Maleangreau also received the same award from Arroyo. (AP)

CineManila Ad:

MANILA, Philippines -- Quentin Tarantino would not eat fish, even something as tempting as crisp-fried tilapia served at dinner on Saturday at Café Havana at Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City, where the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival is being held from Aug. 8 to 19.

He was a hearty eater and merry drinker, though. He polished off a serving of pancit luglug along with his medium-rare steak, pizza and gambas, which he mixed with his noodles. He said he had tapsilog (a combo meal of eggs, fried rice and beef) at breakfast.

It was his fourth day in the country, and he was having dinner with Wieland Speck, director of the Berlin film fest's Panorama section and chair of Cinemanila's International Competition; Robert Malengreau, founder of the Brussels independent-film fest and chair of the Asean Competition; and Tikoy Aguiluz, Cinemanila founder-director.

Tarantino, the international film icon behind such relentless genre-benders as "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill," is here to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the festival. He is also premiering his latest movie "Death Proof," which could have been inspired by Russ Meyer's raunchy and foxy female posse.

In a strange twist, he brought for screening at the film fest a few films from his collection of Philippine B-grade movies: Cirio Santiago's "Ebony Ivory & Jade" and "The Muthers," and Robert Vincent O'Neill's "Wonder Women."

This is Tarantino's first trip to Southeast Asia, which he had promised Aguiluz three years ago he would undertake, saying he wanted to meet his movie icons Santiago and National Artist Eddie Romero. He finally met them on Friday in a film forum they moderated.

Another icon was the late National Artist Gerry de Leon. "I'm a huge, huge fan of Gerry de Leon," he revealed to film students in the four-hour master class he conducted before dinner.

He could hardly contain himself from raving over De Leon's "soul-shattering, life-extinguishing" movies on vampires and female bondage, particularly "Women in Cages."

"It is just harsh, harsh, harsh," he said, and described the final shot as one of "devastating despair."

Asked why he was so deep into B-grade movies to the point of making his own appear like one, he said those movies he enjoyed in his youth were no longer being made so he was just giving back to a generation that had missed that stuff.

"My relationship with Filipino cinema is that I find the movies beyond interesting—they're fascinating," he said. "Nowhere else in movie history can you find this kind of cinema. There are two Filipino movie industries—the movies of Bernal, Lino Brocka, Tikoy, and the alternative film industry that produced the movies of Cirio Santiago not intended for the Filipino public, those war movies and vampire movies of Gerry de Leon and Eddie Romero made for American viewers. In this, Philippine cinema stands alone."

The most exciting revelation Tarantino made at dinner was that he was now starting to write a book on these B-grade Filipino movies, to be called "Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Wonder Women."

We thought he was just in a jocular mood after several drinks, but he added he had just finished writing the introduction that morning. (So that was why he didn't arrive for lunch at Cibo.)

He even found the time to watch Weng Weng in "For Your Height Only." The screening of such movies at Cinemanila was just his way of giving back to Filipino audiences this rich film heritage they had missed. And, in a kind of symbiosis, he said he was taking home DVDs of the films of Brocka, Bernal et al.

"To further immerse myself in Philippine cinema," he said. "I'm taking my lifetime master's in cinema, and the day I die is the day I graduate."

Philippine Inquirer

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quote of the day

"If you're watching "Rush Hour 3," you obviously didn't have anything better to do."

-Roger Ebert

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Smashing Pumpkins in Asia

I've compiled a list of Pumpkins dates in Asia - it seems nearly every two years since 1992 Billy Corgan and gang have shown up here in Asia and last time he came here was as a solo artist in 2005. So I think he is due to visit over here again on the new Pumpkins tour......

Billy Corgan

(with Smashing Pumpkins)
1992/02/21 Club Quatro Osaka, JP
1992/02/23 Club Quatro Nagoya, JP
1992/02/24 Club Citta' Kawasaki, JP
1992/02/26 Club Quatro Tokyo, JP
1992/02/?? [Japanese TV] Tokyo, JP

1994/02/09 Sun Plaza Tokyo, JP
1994/02/11 On Air West Tokyo, JP
1994/02/12 Club Quatro Nagoya, JP
1994/02/13 Club Quatro Osaka, JP


1996/02/19 Archaic Hall Osaka, JP
1996/02/20 IMP Hall Osaka, JP
1996/02/21 Aichi Kinro kaikan Nagoya, JP
1996/02/23 Todoroki Arena Kawasaki, JP
1996/02/26 Todoroki Arena Kawasaki, JP
1996/02/27 Shibuya Kokaido Tokyo, JP
1996/02/29 Thai-Japan Bangkok Metropolis
Youth Centre Bangkok, Thailand
1996/03/02 World Trade Centre, Singapore

James Iha

1998/06/23 (unknown venue) Tokyo, JP
1998/06/23 Nihon Budokan Tokyo, JP
1998/06/24 Koyakuin University Hachioji, JP

2000/06/20 Pacifico Yokohama, JP
2000/06/21 Kenmin Hall Sendai, JP
2000/06/24 Koseinenkin Hall Hiroshima, JP
2000/06/25 Zepp Fukuoka, JP
2000/06/27 Castle Hall Osaka, JP
2000/06/28 Koseinenkin Hall Nagoya, JP
2000/06/30 Budokan Tokyo, JP
2000/07/02 Kokusai Forum Tokyo, JP
2000/07/04 Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium
Seoul, Korea

Melissa Auf der Maur

(with Zwan)
2003/02/01 Zepp Tokyo, JP
2003/02/02 Zepp Osaka, JP
2003/02/05 Club Diamond Hall Nagoya, JP
2003/02/06 Liquid Room Tokyo, JP

(Billy Corgan solo)
2005/08/01 Namba-Hatch Osaka, JP
2005/08/03 Club Diamond Hall Nagoya, JP
2005/08/04 Shibuya-AX Tokyo, JP
2005/08/05 Shibuya-AX Tokyo, JP

(with Smashing Pumpkins)
2007/09/01 Hezarfen Airport Istanbul, Turkey

Jimmy Chamberlin
pictures from the Japanese Smashing Pumpkins fan site

Monday, July 23, 2007

Smashing Hotel Rooms? What Visiting Stars Do in Korea

A bevy of international music stars will come to Korea for concerts this year. They will make a deep impression on numerous Korean fans with their performance, but what impression will the stars come away with? The Chosun Ilbo asked sources in the performance industry for a glimpse of the life some famous musicians enjoyed during their visit to Korea.

Can’t live without booze

Many (mostly Rock) musicians proved that they couldn’t live without alcohol by spending every spare minute here drinking. The now-disbanded heavy metal group Pantera would have won the competition for the hardest visiting drinkers. The group enjoyed themselves at the Walkerhill Hotel casino all night on the night before their gig, drinking two or three 500 ml bottles of liquor a head. After getting a bit of sleep at the hotel, they gave the planned concert, with the help of more liquor stored in 10 beer glasses at the corner of the stage.

The British singer Sting kept a low profile by enjoying some wine privately in his hotel room, but he spent as much as W4 million (US$1=W938) on meals and wine during his four-day stay. Of course, he paid for it himself. Another heavy metal group, Rage Against the Machine, spent W2.5 million on wine here.

Counter-intuitively, according to a staffer with event organizers Access Entertainment, Metallica, who have been nicknamed “Alcohollica” for their dedication to booze, did not touch a drop during either of their two Korea visits.


Sharon Osbourne, the wife of Ozzy Osbourne, showed what a shopaholic is like during their Seoul visit. She bought knockoff bags and watches worth some W5 million in Itaewon, the well-kwon pirate brand district in Seoul. Craig David brought home a Korean-made MP3 player he bought at the TechnoMart shopping center and about a dozen antiques including paintings and stone statues from Insa-dong. A staffer with Private Curve said many pop and jazz musicians like to look around Insa-dong and buy antiques to take home.

Out walking

When British rock group Oasis visited, they encountered some young fans of the Korean boy band TVXQ in front of the group’s agency SM Entertainment in Apgujeong, Seoul. Some of them recognized the world famous group and followed them. Some 10 minutes later, Noel Gallagher asked them why they kept following and gave them his autograph to send them away.

Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst also spent some time in Korea walking around Apgujeong. He ran into a cable music TV crew team who were doing street interviews and, feeling a sudden urge for fun, shouted in front of camera, “I, Limp Bizkit, have come to Korea.” Failing to recognize him, a reporter was dumbfounded, and Durst, now also confused, went on his way. But a producer recognized him belatedly and drove after him, succeeding in landing an interview.

When Eric Clapton was in the country for his first concert here a decade ago, he bought three pairs of socks for W10,000 from a street vendor while strolling around the busy streets of Seoul’s Gangnam. The elderly vendor threw in another pair for free saying, “You have grown old gracefully.” Clapton thanked him and left.


When Boyz II Men came to Korea in 2005 to give a joint performance with Korean girl band Big Mama, they got into a fight over music. It was resolved magically by getting them to play poker for US$1 stakes. Smashing Pumpkins was so notorious for discord between members that they sat separately on the plane and had separate meals in Seoul. A source from event planners Yellow Nine said members also went to separate bars after their concert.


All bad boys the Prodigy really wanted in Korea was a sauna. When they came here in 1999 for the Triport Rock Festival in Incheon, their performance was canceled due to heavy rain. The group’s manager called the festival organizers and asked to change the hotel because the place where the Big Beats combo were staying would not allow them into the sauna because of their tattoos. The firm had to decline, saying no hotels would tolerate body art of such dimensions.

The Hip-Hop group Black Eyed Peas, who attended the Pentaport Rock Festival in Incheon last year, were unwilling to wear their expensive shoes costing W2-3 million on the muddy stage, so they bought Wellington’s boots worth W4,000 on the spot and performed in them instead.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Smashing Pumpkins are a Christian rock band?

We all know that Billy's been writing lyrics with religious overtones for many years now, but did you know that current guitarist Jeff Schroeder used to be in Christian rock bands like Violet Burning and Lassie Foundation? Or that new bassist Ginger Reyes was in the all-girl Xian band the Halo Friendlies? Or that new keyboard player Lisa Harriton played on a lot of praise and worship albums for Word Records?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

List of Lasts

Last Movie I saw: Casablanca, it was on TV the other night with Korean subtitles.

Last Book I read: The Man Who Ate Everything, by Jeffrey Steingarten.

Last Meal: the aforementioned Huevos con chorizo and horchata at Taco Amigo in Seoul.

Last spin in my Ipod: Bullet With Butterfly Wings, by The Smashing Pumpkins. I played this about 12 times, while riding the KTX from Cheonan and subway in Seoul last night. I'm still blown away by the intensity of the playing on this song. Tarantula, off their new album, while a good song, seems to just TRY TOO HARD.

Last phone call: from Lisa about 30 minutes ago, saying she apologizes but she's too hung over and can't get out of bed to meet me for coffee. :-)

Last email: 5 days ago, to Mark who lives in PDX.

Last time I was infuriated: before lunch thinking of how much Americans don't really care about politics and health care, only about who won American Idol or did Paris Hilton get out of jail too soon/too late, etc. (but maybe that was just from low blood sugar)

Last really great day: today is the greatest, day i've ever known.....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Yes, Mexican food DOES exist in Korea....

Taco joint I went to last night in Seoul.


Burrito I had there. Ingredients: Beef, beans, rice, lettuce, onions, jalapenos, cilantro (yummy!!!!) and cheese. Price: 5,000 won (about $5.00 US).

Another place down the road I went to for breakfast/lunch today served a very nice horchata.

And here is the huevos con chorizo platter I had today.

Sign on the wall at the joint I went to last night.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

IM ANGRY!!!!!!!!!

by Linda Strawberry

the problem is i dont know where to begin. all i know is im upset right now. not even so much at the state of things as the state of people. people saying things like "i dont follow politics..ignorance is bliss" "i dont like paying attention to what's going on because it fills me with negative thoughts" ignorance might be blissfull but its still ignorance!! what has happened to us that we are so afraid and complacent... that we are so broken down that we would rather keep quiet and not tip the balance. what about freedom of speech? what about freedom of information? freedom of the press? are all our freedoms gone?

it takes so much courage to look straight into the ugly face of things. to acknowlege whats actually going on instead of what we wish was going on. everything's fucked up right now and this is supposed to be a democracy. power of the people. so why is everyone so afraid of the government? is it because we have tracking chips in our passports now? is it because we say a couple of words into our phones and we appear on some security list? that the government can bug us and track us if they want to? that we can get thrown in jail without the right for an attorney if the government decided we are a possible 'terrorist'?
is our government the real terrorist?

i cried while watching 'sicko' micheal moore's new documentary. ive been really sick since the beginning of june. i am currently struggling as a DIY independent artist so i dont have health insurance and a strong bank accont. i fear going to the doctor or hospital. i finally just went because i was worried and i wanted to get checked out. now i have a 3 thousand dollar billfrom 2 hours of medical care!! the only alternative is a free clinic and they arent always reliable and its hard to get in. it is so demoralizing. it makes you feel like you dont matter. that no one cares if you get sicker and die. in this country they only care about money. they make more money for NOT taking care of you when you are sick. watching 'sicko' made me so mad. i want to move. i want to go somewhere where they care if my stomach hurts or if i need an x-ray. i want to go somewhere where i know my money is going to help other people who are sick too. an environment where people arent losing their homes and lives just to pay for their prescription drugs.

i feel so dubious about the upcoming elections. its not like we are going to have another abraham lincoln. or someone who isnt being bought by all the lobbyists and rich people. i dont even see the individual parties anymore. they are all equally corrupted. what has happened to america.. what has happened to americans. at least my idea or what i was raised and conditioned to think america was.... people here dont want to know things. overall here in america we are just getting fatter stupider and lazier. our fda is corrupt. they approve harmful things like splenda but wont approve stevia which is harmless. i heard something like.. gas is going to be FIVE dollars by the end of summer... oil companies are making more money than ever! we are slaves. especially here in los angeles where people dont walk anywhere.. and there's no real effective public transportation.... who can afford five dollars a gallon!! fuck us. and fuck the atmosphere i guess.. as long as the rich are getting richer!

we are an overworked overtired oversaturated overeating culture. but we cant be bothered to care about what's happening to us. we'd rather turn the tv on to watch the latest reality tv show or read a magazine about paris hilton. we are just marching ourselves straight into a nightmare..
how many people know about the document our president signed to eventually combine canada and mexico and the u.s. into one nation with the "amero" as currency... isnt that alarming? what about these new id's they are going to give us by 2008 that will have all our personal information scannable on the strip? what about when they start microchipping US?
its terrifying how many things are wrong with our country. i dont want to sound like a conspiracy theorist... but what if its true that it was a government scheme to further the agenda of the richest people in the world that REALLY run things and are moving us around like pieces on a chess board? obviously those buildings werent knocked down by planes.. it was a planned demolition..

people just dont want to open their eyes. they dont want to look around and see. its like the game that my cat plays.. he will hide his head under something and i swear he thinks we cant see him then. are we just osterich's sticking our heads in the sand? our media is totally corrupt too. they just say what they are told to say. i guess everyone can be bought in this country.
someone wrote me a message saying "welcome to the truth movement" is there really a truth movement? can i be a part of it? i am not going to be afraid to look at things under the harsh light of truth. i care. i care about myself and i care about my family and i care about you. i will say whatever i think and i will care about what's happening. im not scared of the old rich fucks that run the music business. im not scared of the old rich fucks that run our country either....
if i end up on a list somewhere then FINE!!! bring it on!!!!

im not trying to be a greedy rich corrupt human. im not going to live my life just to stockpile money and things. im just trying to be a healthy happy productive human being. i want to make my art... i want to sing my songs... i want to do what i can for the people i love.. i want to be loud and obnoxious about the things i stand for.... THAT is what freedom means to me. and dont anyone dare call me unpatriotic.... im patriotic BECAUSE have the balls to care about whats ACTUALLY happening to my country. im not anti republican or anti democrat or anti anything. im for all of us as human beings. we all have to care about each other and stick together or we are doomed.

i want to live in an educated sentient fearless society. where people love themselves enough to take care of themselves and other people. where the rich and poor get the same health care. because no one is more valuable than anyone else. im asking you... what are you afraid of? are you afraid of the government? are you afraid of the truth because its hard to hear? are you afraid of terrorists? are you afraid to go to the hospital? fear is a corrosive disease. it gets inside your heart and starts to freeze you.

ive got to go now and get on the phone and try my hardest to fight for an appointment at a free clinic just so i can know if i need an antibiotic or not. since that's my only option in our fucked up health care system. i only wish i was in canada where my grandmother and aunt are so i could walk into a hospital and actually feel like someone cares about me getting better...
god bless..

Linda Strawberry is an independent songwriter and musician who lives in Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Korean Police Uncover ATM Scam

Suppose you use an ATM and the machine shows a message saying it is short of cash after you have entered your PIN number. A sensational case before the courts this week suggests you had better check that the machine is genuine, or else your money may be gone.

Busan Metropolitan Police said a man identified as Kim and seven accomplices who had known each other from jail, pooled W220 million (US$1=W938) to build two fake cash machines. They bought parts of an ATM, a card reader and a CCTV camera from China and installed the devices on second-hand ATMs that were used in Korea three to four years ago.

They made them look genuine by putting a sign saying “CASH-BANK” and a list of domestic financial institutions’ names on the machines. As soon as anyone inserted a credit card, the information was stored in the machine and the PIN number recorded by the CCTV camera installed right above the keypad. The fake machine then displayed a message saying it was out of cash.

Kim and accomplices withdrew about W70 million by illegally copying some 100 credit cards over the last four months. Busan police arrested Kim and one of the accomplices and is chasing the other six. Police are investigating whether there were further such crimes since a similar scam was reported in China.

( )

Guam International Airport

by Jeff Turbitt

Out in Micronesia , just a small radar blip in the Pacific, sits Guam International Airport. Like many airports, it is a vast, packaged, neon vestibule of unhealthy, overpriced fast food, the mind boggling curiosity of duty free shops, and a more common currency: aggravated Asian travelers. One notable difference is that Guam is an America much closer to Hong Kong and Tokyo than New York or Los Angeles .

Guam is a full blown U.S. territory like Puerto Rico and a common transfer hub for Asian travelers to Hawaii , other Micronesian islands, Australia and other locales. Guam has two well known monikers. Fiscal conservatives noting the federal dole that Guam , and other Pacific Islands survive on, say Guam stands for Give Us American Money, while retired military expats familiar with the more lascivious, neighboring locations of Thailand and the Philippines say Guam stands for Give Up And Masturbate.

A traveler doesn’t have to visit Guam , a popular beach vacation site for Japanese honeymooners, to feel the hysteria post 9/11. A mere transfer will suffice for this dog to bite, as America continues to expand global alienation on a more personal front: airport security. I speak from recent personal experience.

I get off the plane in Guam after getting a quite thorough screening at Palau International Airport . Palau is one of the most renowned scuba diving locations on the planet, its main tourist draw and the one that brought me there, and is in Free Compact of Association with the United States , which basically means Palauans can enter the United States without visa issue, and the U.S. provides them with economic aid. The U.S. in return gets a claim on a place that is famously part of the “Coalition of the Willing” from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

The first thing I have to do in Guam right off the plane from Palau at 4 am : Welcome to the United States . “Take your shoes off sir, belt, all metals, and are your nuts still attached, if not, please place them in this basket for inspection.” I've only been married a few years, so they are still connected, sorry, use the wand, and tickle a little bit since it's 4am , I'm on the redeye from hell, I'm stuck in your shithole airport and I need a cheap thrill.I just got off an airplane, I didn't go anywhere near an unchecked civilian, so this begs the obvious question of why do I have to go through the shoe bullshit again, not to mention another x-ray, take off your belt, shave your pubes routine in case you're hiding some well placed plutonium in your sac region? Why again!!!! Is Guam security so much more thorough than the last airport? One idiot tried something with his shoes years ago and people the planet over have to go through these shoe theatrics without end in sight. Please. I've had times when there have been like three shoe checks for one trip. I saw this one Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) officer examine my flip flops with the wrapt attention of Howard Carter opening King Tut's tomb.

Leaving Palau , the existence of shaving cream in my checked, not carry on, luggage caused a literal ten minute investigation. I might be the only one with a toothbrush coming from Palau , but I can't be the only one who shaves. Throughout Micronesia locals suffer massive dental issues from their love of a tree fruit called betel nut, which is generally stuffed with cigarette pieces, mixed with powdered lime to break it down for easier chewing, and wrapped in a pepper leaf to provide a nice buzz. There are probably more cigarettes chewed than smoked in Micronesia . Betelnut is a common addiction in Micronesia and has similar health, dental and aesthetic issues as chewing tobacco.

The war on terror, I mean hygiene continues, though. I had deodorant in my carry on, which is legal, but that still entailed a Nuremberg type deliberation since somehow Old Spice equals Al Qaeda. At some point someone needs to snap and say, “Use some sense, you soulless automaton!” I’m convinced they must electroshock all vestiges of independent thought and common sense out of these people at TSA Academy .

After the foiled UK plot a few months back, the liquid and hygiene situation is the latest overreaction. The silliness over water continues unabated. If you can drink it, and demonstrate that it isn't some Mission Impossible liquid bomb, let it go. It's water, like 80 percent of the human body. Chill out Nurse Ratched. We don't examine most any cargo coming into the states, but three shoe checks and no water, so we’re supposed to think we're safe. What a bunch of babies we’ve become, not to mention that this American airport in Asia is as welcoming as a punch to the stomach.Then Guam security sets up this rope to subdivide the airport and actually block you from your gate. This is designed so they can give the new arrivals the stare to march them along like lambs to the slaughter for the pointless Guam immigration check in counter, and if you, the already harassed, step on the wrong side at the wrong time, they threaten you with a fresh round of shoe checks, X rays and quite possibly a trip to Guantanamo Bay. Even an American traveler like me feels cowed from asking the obvious question of why do I have to clear immigration in Guam when I am not staying there, or not be able to head to my gate yet because others need to go through this ridiculous routine? Doesn’t my name go down on the easily identifiable “previously manhandled” list?

With all this security you’d think Guam International Airport would be a hub for all travelers, but nope, they won't let Filipinos, and others from less prosperous countries, transfer through without a full blown U.S. Visa.

It is still the middle of the night, I've got a long layover in Hades, and there is hardly anyone in the place, so sleep seems in order. I'm not expecting the Ritz Carlton, just to sack out in peace on their mangy carpet. Naturally, sleep is hard to come by with a blaring announcement over the loudspeaker every fifteen minutes not to leave your bags unattended and to report any suspicious activity to the Guam Gestapo.

These security pros clearly find travelers annoying, so they briefly held me hostage on my initial layover. I couldn't exit without a Continental representative to walk me through immigration like it was my first day of kindergarten. I ate at the lousy food court, so I wasn’t exiting completely within the allotted time. Since this was inconvenient to security, I had this bozo airport cop on a power trip interrogating me on whether my green tea in a cup was beer. What am I twelve, what if it was? His invented regulation: “You can't take green tea out onto the streets of Guam sir.” I'm sure the teeming masses of Guam appreciate that kind of protection. I was going to mention that I saw one guy with an apple, and if he could stop him, he might get a Homeland Security appointment in the Bush administration, but I really wasn’t in any mood to undergo extraordinary rendition and be re-routed for less comfortable questioning in Syria, so I merely smiled and sheepishly surrendered my $3.00 beverage before heading out of the Taliban’s new headquarters.

Guam Airport is the United States government in microcosm: reactionary, bullying, lacking common sense and self-important. The terrorists have already won since we are a bunch of drunk on fear ninnies, alienating both Americans and citizens of the world’s fastest growing economies with our bullshit.

American Fast Food

by Randy Stonehill

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

By Gil Scott-Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag
and Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, the tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Even a U.S. Senator Can Botch a Recipe for Success

By Mike Royko
November 21, 1995

This simple little quiz is directed at those who love hot dogs. Not any hot dog, but the true, classic Chicago hot dog. The finest hot dog known to man.

Look at the following recipe and see if something is wrong. If so, what?

Chicago hot dog: Vienna beef hot dog, poppy seed bun, dill pickle, jalapeños, relish, mustard, ketchup. Place dog in bun. Cover with jalapeños, relish, mustard, and ketchup. Serve with dill pickle.

The flaws are so obvious that by now those with civilized, discriminating Chicago taste buds are snorting and sneering and flinging this shameful recipe to the floor and spitting on it.

It deserves nothing less.

But not merely because it includes ketchup and omits sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, and that miraculous dash of celery salt.

No, I won't condemn anyone for putting ketchup on a hot dog. This is the land of the free. And if someone wants to put ketchup on a hot dog and actually eat the awful thing, that is their right.
It is also their right to put mayo or chocolate syrup or toenail clippings or cat hair on a hot dog.
Sure, it would be disgusting and perverted, and they would be shaming themselves and their loved ones. But under our system of government, it is their right to be barbarians.

The crime is in referring to the above abomination as a "Chicago hot dog."

And who did it?

Brace yourselves for a real shocker.

Some time ago, a hot dog recipe book was put together by the American Meat Institute, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, and other groups that promote the eating of dead animal flesh.

They got their recipes by calling the offices of United States senators. Being publicity freaks, most of the senators responded.

Most of the recipes are ridiculous, since most senators are ridiculous.

And this shameful recipe was contributed by Senator Carol Moseley-Braun.

Yes, Senator Moseley-Braun, who claims to be a Chicagoan, actually told them that a Chicago hot dog includes ketchup. And that it doesn't require chopped onion or sliced tomatoes or celery salt.

I don't know what could have possessed her to do such a thing. She is a liberal Democrat, so I can understand her deep yearning to seize our money and throw it hither and yon like so much political confetti. That's part of the natural order of Washington creatures.

But to publicly state that you put ketchup on a Chicago hot dog? And overlook celery salt? It is said that power corrupts. I didn't know that it brings on utter madness.

Apparently Senator Moseley-Braun pays little or no attention to my efforts to maintain standards in those things that are unique to Chicago.

If she did, she would have noted a column that appeared here in July of 1993. In it, various hot dog experts commented on ketchup.

Maurie Berman, who owns Superdawg on the Northwest Side, where I've been eating classic hot dogs for about 40 years: "I see more and more desecrations of the Chicago hot dog. Yes, we provide ketchup, but we have the customer defile it himself.

"We say, 'Sir, the ketchup bottle is on the side. We'll ask you to squirt that yourself.'"

John Miyares, who serves hot dogs at Irving's near the Loyola University campus, says: "No ketchup, no kraut. That's the law. But when you're younger and your mom lets you put ketchup on the hot dog, you get used to it, I guess. The people about 35 and over, they get upset if you mention ketchup, especially if they're born and raised here. And even more if they're South Siders.

"But we get a lot of students from out of town, and they all want ketchup. Except if they're from New York. They want steamed sauerkraut."

Pat Carso, manager of Demon Dogs on the Mid-North Side, said: "You have to ask for it. And more people are asking. I don't know why. Maybe parents think it is better for their kids. But we choose not to put it on. Even if they say 'everything.' In here, that does not include ketchup. We don't even keep ketchup up front. We have a little bottle in the back if people ask for it."

These men are keepers of the flame. They are cultural and culinary descendants of the short Greeks who used to take their pushcarts into every Chicago neighborhood and would have thumbed the eyeballs of anyone who dared ask for ketchup.

But here we have a United States senator, allegedly representing Chicago and the rest of Illinois—even the Downstate yokels—and she shames herself and the rest of us by displaying her ignorance of what makes a hot dog a true Chicago hot dog.

I'm sure Senator Moseley-Braun has the usual excuse: Someone on her staff did it.

Well, forget it. That only proves that senators hire boobs.

No, the buck and the hot dog stops here.

There is time for Senator Moseley-Braun to mend her ways. But if the election were held today, I'd have to vote for just about anyone running against Senator Moseley-Braun.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Larry Norman in 2007

"The Rock That Doesn't Roll", Skudneshavn, Norway, June 2 2007.

"Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?", Frauenfeld, Switzerland, May 2007.

Friday, June 8, 2007

More pics from my trip

Sign on the subway platform in Busan, Korea.

Very large dog in the KTX train station in Busan.

Dunkin' Donuts in Cheonan, Korea.