Sunday, July 31, 2005

19. Red Circle.

Here's a dirty joke. Before you accuse me of being the devil's son-in-law, please read this first:

Now, then...

A family walks into a talent agent's office. There's a father, a mother, a son, a daughter and a dog.

"Sorry," the agent says, "we don't sign family acts. They're too cutesy for today's market."

"Just give us five minutes," the father says. "This'll blow you away."

The agent consents. The father snaps his fingers, and he, the mother, son, daughter and dog all stand at attention. The father takes an American flag from his backpack, unfurls it, zips down his trousers, unfurling his dick, too, and proceeds to piss all over the flag. The mother next takes a can of lighter fluid from her back pocket and squirts its full contents onto the flag. The son then pulls down his pants, crouches precariously over the wet flag and deposits a shit the size of a baby's leg on it. He tags in his sister, who thrusts her index and middle finger down her throat until she has forced herself to vomit all over the sodden flag. Finally, the dog struts up and, looking around questioningly at the family, non-verbally asks for a cue. The family exchange glances, and then they, one by one, take turns jerking the dog off until he spews a meager thimbleful of cum on the desecrated flag. That task completed, the father takes a machete from his bag and cuts the dog's head off with a single stroke. He tosses the head on the flag. The mother wraps it up and sets it alight with a match. The remainder of the dog's body the family eats, the father and mother getting both front legs, the son and daughter the hind ones. After the fire has started to die down and their meal is finished, they take turns picking their teeth with the dog's tail.

"That's quite an act," the talent agent remarks, astonished. "What do you call it?"

In unison, the family smiles and says, "we're the Aristocrats!"

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Dean's List

With the 18th Letter's 2nd birthday fast approaching -- and with Grandma Sparkles coming to help celebrate it(!!) -- you can bet your sweet bippy (thanks, coach McMillan, for that gem) I'll be posting a ton of schmaltzy words and pics to commemorate the event; but for now here's a teaser, one of the photos that adorns my desk, a photo which brings a big smile to my face no matter the weather or what mood I'm in:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot.

-- Mary-Jane Watson

Having lived in Korea for the better part of five years, there's little that surprises or startles me anymore. Rare is it that I find myself astounded, instead finding commonplace what once induced speechlessness. Today, however, I got lucky. Three seperate instances occured to subtly nudge me, to remind me that, regardless of how situated or mundane I consider my life here and now to be, there's always something undiscovered, something waiting.

1) On my way to the 7-11 a few blocks from our place, some kids were huddled around a pair of miniature arcade-style games. They were playing one of those games where one has to hit the right buttons in coordination to the music playing.

And the song that guided them was Pop That Coochie by 2 Live Crew.

2) After work, I showered and went outside for a cigarette. Almost ready to extinguish my smoke, a police car rolled up. The car slowed down and then stopped in front of me. The officer sitting in the passenger's seat rolled down his window and asked me, "do you like marijuanna?"

"No," I answered, nonplused.

"Good!" he exclaimed, giving me the thumbs-up as the car started off.

3) Sitting on the sofa in the TV room, I was reading Jack London's The Sea-Wolf when the doorbell rang. I opened it to find a mother, carrying a baby on her back in one of those traditional wrap-around jobs that can't be good for the old spine. She held a white button-down shirt in her hand, and bobbed up and down like a jackhammer, comforting her roused toddler.

"I heard you lived across the street, and I wanted to ask you something," she said.

"Shoot," I intimated by my facial expression.

"Well, my husband's brother was in Thailand, and he picked up this shirt while there. He claims it's a designer shirt -- that he only paid about 5,000 won for it -- but I've never heard of the brand. I was hoping that you could tell me whether or not it really is a quality shirt."

The shirt was a Nordstrom -- whether real or fake I hadn't a clue (though the circumstances under which it was purchased have me leaning toward the latter). But I told her it was a really spiffy shirt, that the brand was all the rage these days, and she left with a happy grin, thanking me for the clarification.


In the immortal words of Ice Cube (before he started making shitty music and even shittier movies), "today was a good day."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hot time, summer in the city

There must be some relation between the hot weather and the violence -- domestic or otherwise -- that seems to thrive in the summer months. Our neighborhood is positively on fire these days with the angry shouts of men and women, and the cries of babies.

Speaking for myself, I walked outside, in the morning, and was almost instantly soaked with sweat; and certainly I wanted to maim, mutilate, or kill the first person that looked at me askance.

This post is brought to you by:

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Would I, could I, on a boat?
Would I, could I, with a goat?

Save some of the stuff left laying under a heat lamp at 4 in the morning at your local 7-11, this is the first time I've seen a green meat product. Dr. Suess would be proud.

In case it isn't clear enough, the English says "chlorella grilled ham," which is a relief, because when I first saw it I thought it read cholera grilled ham. Phew!

I don't think I'm alone in asserting that all this "well-being" shit needs to quit, posthaste. I mean, just how fucking good for you can processed meat be, anyway? I even have my doubts that it contains chlorella, whatever the fuck that is. It very well might just be Chlorox. It's probably neither; it's probably just green food coloring.

Still, it beats purple ketchup.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Iceman Cometh!

I rarely complain about the weather. In some masochistic way, in fact, I like the harshness or discomfort that ill weather sometimes brings. For instance, last Sunday after basketball, I walked home in the pouring rain, and I felt positively cleansed when I arrived home sopping wet. I consider sweating a homeopathic cure (although, ironically, I can't stand saunas. Go figure). My only weakness is that I can't stand sub-zero temperatures -- but that's because I am somewhat underweight and significantly lacking in insulation.

So this summer hasn't been a big problem. Neither was the last one, nor the one before. Shit, we only just bought an air-conditioner this year, holding off for so long partly because my wife has an apprehension towards them (her being Korean and all, inherently afraid of the mortal danger that cooling devices such as air-conditioners and electric fans possess), and partly because of my aforementioned masochism...with maybe a little bit of "when in Rome" thrown in for good measure. See, back home the folks keep the a/c running full blast for most of the day and night, but here it seems that, though many Korean families own air-conditioners, they hardly ever use them. A/C units in Korean homes remind me a lot of the finely-upholstered couches I'd likely find at my aunts' and uncles' homes: they're purposeless, more for show than anything; you can sit on them, but only with their plastic coverings. If I leave the a/c on for more than an hour or so, you can bet your sweet bippy I'll get admonished for it.

But who cares? The weather hasn't been that bad, has it? I mean, in Arizona the temperature is climbing so high that if someone spontaneously combusted it might not be that big a surprise. Today here it was 35. Hot, yes, but nothing to drop dead over -- old folks, the homeless, and people wearing polyester notwithstanding.

Nothing an electric fan can't fix, right?

I woke up today, as I usually do on Fridays, late. My wife had just finished cooking breakfast. After we took the little girl to nursery school, I headed home to do some work. It was a little muggy, I noticed, though nothing too unbearable.

Around noon I started to feel the heat. Due to the humidity, my chest, back and face became itchy. I thought about taking a quick shower, but nixed the idea. After all, if the heat started to bother me too much I could simply close all the windows and turn on the a/c.

I wasn't feeling too peckish come lunchtime. I ate a pastry I found in the fridge, and some plum juice. To tell the truth, all the humidity was making me a tad nauseous. Finally I told myself that after finishing what I was presently at work on, I'd watch some TV in the bedroom, which is where the a/c is located.

Urgh. Two minutes later my wife arrived. I could hear her from outside. I opened the window to say hello to the little girl, and that's when I noticed that my wife had a posse. She was like the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

An acquaintance of hers was today moving into our neighborhood, so she had offered to look after their one year-old daughter. She had also offered to look after the 3 year-old daughter of another friend. In addition to these, on her way up she bumped into the mother of the family that lives across the hall, who asked her if she wouldn't mind watching over her 4 year-old son for an hour or two. Of course she said "no problem."

I just wish someone had told me. Not fun is it to be enveloped when one least suspects by a phalanx of rugrats. This undoubtedly drove my body temperature up a few degrees. So when my wife suggested we turn on the a/c (hallelujah!) I was more than willing. The problem, as I've mentioned, is that the a/c is in the bedroom, so everyone was initially piled into the room to try to cool off.

I don't know if freon is known to cause giddiness in children, but that was the effect it seemed to have caused this afternoon. The kids were like rioters, minus the Molotov cocktails. And since I couldn't exactly toss them out, I hypothesized that turning off the air-conditioner would likely make them tire out pretty fast, which, after putting my theory to the test, it did; but I was again hot and sticky, like a piece of toffee on asphalt.

Fast-forward to this evening: my daughter is set to go to bed, but she wants to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's room. Naturally, as dictates popular Korean logic, I can't have the a/c running while the little one is directly near it. So we put the angel to bed, and I sit in front of the PC with a beer dripping with condensation, even though I pulled it out of the fridge just moments ago.

And I'm beginning to feel itchy again, like a drunk with delerium tremens.

So I pick up my battered copy of Jack London's To Build a Fire and Other Stories. And you know what? Reading those tales of the Klondike sort of help make me feel a bit cooler.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Random Tuesdays, Ladies Get In Free!

The similarities between last Tuesday and this one are eerie -- and since I won 10 million won in the lotto last week, I'm posting another (albeit brief) collection of random thoughts. If you send me a check for 10 dollars (or cheque, if you prefer) I may just make this a regular feature. I realize that may sound crass after mentioning that I recently won a shitload -- to me, anyway -- of money, but you have to realize something: I have a family to feed.

- 3 years ago I got my first wisdom tooth. Just last week my second poked through. Does this mean I'm a slow learner?

Also, Koreans refer to wisdom teeth as "love teeth." But whose love? The dentist's? The tooth fairy's?

Fidel Castro's?

- A note to everyone I know, should you see me tomorrow: I'm not angry, and I'm not drunk. I stayed out in the sun too long again today, and I have a sunburn.

I look like a gochu.

- Finally, here are some bible exerpts with the surname 'Malone' added after every mention of 'Moses':

And the Lord said unto Moses Malone, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

-- Exodus (ch. X, v. 21)

And Moses Malone said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work."

-- Exodus (ch. XXXV, v. 25)

Next week I plan to show passages from the Torah, substituting that book's deity's name with Jayhova. God, I'm witty.

The Sports Guy Raped My Childhood!

No, wait, that was George Lucas.

I love the Sports Guy's (pka Bill Simmons) columns for, but I have to admit that this guy makes some valid points:

The misogyny part I can kind of see, but I don't really care (sorry, ladies); what bugs me, and which the writer makes a valid point of, is that lately Simmons's stuff has been (when he actually writes something, although I am aware he is busy writing a book, which I will of course buy) pretty blah, ranging from god-awful (the new intern contest, the winner of which writes like he's imitating the old intern -- who imitated Simmons -- poorly) to not bad (his take on the NBA Playoffs, portions of which mirror my own comments -- check the post commenting on the Undertaker's theme music being used to introduce the Pistons before game 2 --, making me wonder if he reads this blog).

(If you made it all the way through that herculean, run-on sentence, by the way, congrats.)

And let's not mention the Sports Guy cartoon, possibly the dumbest, shittiest...wait, I said let's not mention it, didn't I?

I just wish the guy would stick to a schedule. He started a series of articles about the greatest sports movies, but so far has only written a handful of reviews. Plus, his mailbags and random thoughts columns have reliably been his funniest -- but he hardly ever does them anymore.

I sure hope when I'm big and rich and famous I don't become tardy and forget what helped make me a household name: having a penis longer than an anaconda's entrails.


Sunday, July 17, 2005


Connor MacLeod: I've been alive for four and a half centuries, and I cannot die.

Brenda: Well, everyone's got their problems.

Three years ago, on a visit home to Canada, the wife (then girlfriend) and I went into Rogers Video (and, boy, I sure don't miss paying 5 bucks to rent a DVD). I selected Halloween, one of my favorite films. I stepped up to the counter and handed the movie's box to the young girl working there. She asked me for my membership card, then, a little shyly, whether I was over 18 years old.

"Yeah, I'm 24. Do you want to see my driver's license?"

She shook her head, taking me at my word.

This was by no means an isolated incident. Since I turned 19, I have had numerous hassles buying beer or cigarettes. Once -- and I swear to god this is true -- I was refused addmittance to a nightclub in Hull, Quebec because the bouncer said my license was obviously doctored. I tried to put up a fuss, backing down only when he threatened to "kick my fucking ass." Hell, I've even been asked to show ID here in Korea. During my second year here, trying to buy some beer in a small corner store, the ajumma who worked there asked me my age. I told her, but she just laughed and shook her head until my wife (then concubine) came to the rescue and helped me out. Upon leaving, the ajumma apologized, saying that she honestly believed I was some high school-aged army brat.

I thought that maybe all that was behind me; that, after getting married and having a child, some age definition had finally touched my features. I guess I was wrong.

Today I went to play basketball. The forecast was for cloudy skies (I could see that much simply by looking out the window) and a 40% chance of rain. I took that chance. Sunday basketball is as sacred to me as Sunday church service is to my folks.

It drizzled off and on for an hour and a half, though nothing heavy enough to stop play. The court, regularly bare despite its quality, was today swarming with players of all ages and talent levels. Too bad it had to start pouring at around 3 o' clock.

Shortly before then, one of the guys whom I was playing on a team with asked me my age. I told him. Actually, my first instinct was to lie. I had an inkling that he wouldn't believe me were I to state my true age, and I imagined briefly that all incredulous looks and widened eyes could be thwarted by one small white lie.

Instead I told the truth; and, reliably, he was shocked (though I was, too, when he told me he was 20; I had thought he was a high school student perhaps in his freshman or sophomore year).

When I was in middle school (which I used to refer to as junior high before moving to Korea and becoming an English teacher), my parents first discovered that I was smoking fairly regularly. One of the warnings my mother, uh, warned me of was that smoking stunts one's growth. I don't know if it's true, but if it is, maybe smoking (along with the occasional tiger penis and rhinoceros horn ) has fortuitously been my Fountain of Youth.

Which is all well and good. Everyone would like to look young, especially when they start approaching middle age. But it does get annoying not being taken seriously as an adult because of my looks. Because of work I dress semi-professionally most days, yet still I get treated like a teenager, both here and back in my home country. Plus I have this fear that when I approach 40, or maybe 50, I'll look like Ron Howard, who still looks somewhat like he did when he starred in American Graffitti, only with a heroin addiction.

Then again, maybe there's some longevity for me as a narc. I could infiltrate high schools like Peter Delouise and Johnny Depp used to do on 21 Jump Street.

Which would be pretty fucking cool.

For those curious, here is a photo of me taken last Christmas:

Saturday, July 16, 2005

"I Need a Haircut."

Just an encroaching, stiflingly humid day. Which, compounded by the fact that I was roused from my Saturday morning sleep-in by the sound of my co-worker calling my loud-as-hell cell phone (I keep it that way so that I can hear it ringing when I'm out on the street, keeping my hoes in check), didn't make the earlier part of today that much fun. I got up, turned on the PC and made some emergency phone calls, and ate bibimbap, prepared by the wife.

Lethargic to the point of unconciousness, and suffering from stomach cramps (too much gochujang and indigestible "vegetables" in the bibimbap), I lied in bed for most of the day. I finally resolved to get up at 4 o' clock, because, if I didn't, my wife would probably have had my head cut off and cured -- to adorn the wall beside the others in her growing voodoo collection. Saturday is a day for recreation; barring that, it's a day for housecleaning. It definitely isn't a day for rest. What's rest?

I think all three of us -- myself, my wife and our daughter -- willed ourselves to go out, though none of us particularly wanted to. There's only so much loafing about the house one can endure before cabin fever sets in. I flipped endlessly through one inane TV program after another; my wife did the same in a separate room; and the little girl shifted between the two, hauling her books and toys around the apartment, as listless as her parents were.

Finally, I entreated that we head over to Seohyeon. Everyone was in mutual agreement that my suggestion was for the best. 15 minutes longer in our apartment and one or more of us was apt to look first like this:

And later like this:

We arrived and, not having a plan, decided to kick up dust in the Seohyeon bookstore, which, after recent renovations, is 25% less suckier. They've added more English-language classics (and, man, was I ever tempted to purchase the collected short stories of Hewlett Packard Lovecraft), and have placed all of their check-out counters on the ground floor, which I resent as a browser, (because it tricks me into picking up more books and items than originally intended), but love from a marketing standpoint. I'm torn, conflicted between my loathing and admiration of the new design.

After spending far too much on things I likely won't get around to reading until after my 110th birthday, we left. My wife asked where I'd like to go next, to which I responded "well, I kind of need a haircut."

I hate getting my hair cut. Not as much as I hate being kicked in the balls by hairy dwarfs in high-heeled stilettoes (and boy was that a bad least I hope it was a dream), but it's pretty close. And I have no reasonable answer for why I don't like it. Maybe it's like my fondness for devouring human flesh: a primeval instinct I still possess yet can't shake. Whatever the reason, I don't like having my hair cut.

Especially if it's a guy doing the cutting. Because, for one, I have to be extra careful that my elbows are tucked in, so as not to have the barber's balls rub against them as he semi-circles me (is that a term, semi-circle? I mean, you can circle a person, so it stands to reason that you can semi-circle them as well), which invariably occurs. Admit it, whether intentional or no, it happens.

Still, I needed a trim. My hair wasn't that long, but I have this condition...see, I sort of have wild neck hair. It drives me mad. My hair length can be pretty short, but I still will need to have it cut because of the creeping neck hair which, as I age, I'm afriad threatens to wrap around my throat and strangle me while I'm sleeping.

I've more than a few times considered electrolysis to rid myself of the problem. Along with occaisionally trimming the grass around the coconut tree, that's as far as I'm willing to tread into metrosexual country.

We first entered a proper salon, but because the wait was 10 minutes (translation: close to an hour), I opted to head across the street and have my head -- sorry, hair -- cut at an unassuming place with the betraying name Nice Guy.

One for the archives: if a haircut costs a measly 5,000 won, chances are you're not going to get the best trim of your life. In fact, you're probably going to get a fucking shitty haircut.

The experience has helped me formulate a new rule: never pay less for a haircut than you would for a McDonald's combo meal.

The dude that cut my hair didn't even spray it with water before cutting, meaning that my face was covered with tiny hair clippings -- which, of course, he didn't bother to wipe away (though I could plainly see that eraser-like thingy with which hairdressers do so). Nor did he completely trim away my malignant neck hair, the sole reason why I wanted my hair cut.

Finally, to top things off, I was ushered into a room at the back, where stood two sinks. It was explained to me that there I could shampoo my hair and wash my face. The former I did, apprehensively (I imagined that at any moment a Candid Camera-style film crew would emerge from a hidden door); the latter I passed on after seeing, resting near the sink, a bar of soap so flecked with the multitudnous hairs of past customers that it looked not unlike a small -- albeit a considerably soapy -- rodent.

I may never be the same. Can I be blamed if I never again cut my hair, growing a mane like Howard Hughes instead and isolating myself from the outside world?

Maybe I should have stayed at home after all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's official!

Gary Sheffieild has officially become the dumbest athlete in sports. Of course, given the average intelligence of professional sports players, coupled with their increasing knack to say stupid things, that honor will undoubtedly be snatched from him -- sooner rather than later is my guess -- in the near future by the likes of a Latrell Sprewell, Rasheed Wallace, or Randy Moss.

Here's what holds sausages together:

The World Baseball Classic is "made up"?

Newsflash, Gary: everything in sports is made up. Until fixing a flat on the Interstate or delivering a pizza in 20 minutes while riding a moped becomes a demonstration Olympic sport, it's going to stay that way.

Also: Mark Twain is a liar. There never lived a Tom Sawyer, nor a Huckleberry Finn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

All thoughts are random...

"I just flew in from Paris. I masturbated on the flight over and boy are my arms tired."

Today I had the afternoon off, so I decided to carpe the diem and hit the basketball court down by the river. It's been raining almost non-stop for the past 2 weeks, so I haven't had a chance to play in a while. God, being a basketball fan, saw that I had the day off and miraculously cleared the skies. Thanks, God.

I played for 2 1/2 hours, then, smelling like an old dishrag, decided I'd spare the citizens of Bundang who ride public transit the torture of sitting near me on the bus, opting instead to walk home. Hell, the day was mine to do whatever I liked. And it may shock some of you to learn that I actually like walking. It gives me a chance to think about stuff such as what would happen if everybody on Earth jumped up and down at the same time, or what the streets would look like if you could see fluorescent yellow footprints wherever someone had stepped at any time in history.

But now I'm beat like a cameraman at the hands of Kenny Rogers. Knackered, as my non-North American friends might say. I feel like the elastic band in an old man's boxer shorts that has been stretched too far and won't snap back (how's that for an analogy?).

So I've decided to scrap my planned post on which 19th century literary figure I'd most like to have a homosexual relationship with (it's Thomas Mann), and am posting the following random thoughts while drinking beer instead:

- I got a sunburn today, and was wondering what the Korean version of "you're as red as a lobster" is.

"You look like a gochu." ?

- Common (nee Sense)'s new CD, Be, is being hailed by many music critics as a classic. Now, I know my classic hip-hop, and, I'm sorry, Be isn't a classic. It's good, great even; but I have to wonder what kind of cocaine XXL magazine and are snorting when they gave the album their highest possible rating. Again, it's a good album, but it's more a good Kanye West album than a good Common album (West's The College Dropout IS a classic, by the way. Stop hating).

If you want to hear a classic Common album check out Resurrection, an album I'll go on the record as stating is better than Illmatic. That album has the best lyricism on a single record by a solo hip-hop artist ever. Be, however, continues in the tradition of Common's past 2 efforts in that the witty wordplay and double entendre is almost non-existent. In fact, it's nowhere to be found. What happened to the Common who penned lines such as "I'm as able as Kane to get raw" (translation: "I'm as Abel as (co)Caine to get raw"), "I dilate pupils that're cornea (cornier) than the retna," and so many others? Everytime I listen to Resurrection, over 10 years after its initial release, I still find something new, some wordplay I finally catch after the billionth listen.

Be is a good listen -- although a little too smooth at times -- and it's worth the purchase. I'm glad to see that it's selling like mad. After so long in the biz, dude deserves to go platinum. But while a lot of people are just now discovering him, Common's original fanbase sits and wonders if the Common of Resurrection (and to a certain extent both Can I Borrow a Dollar? and One Day It'll All Make Sense...) is gone for good. Sadly, it appears the answer is "yes."

But even though Be is "Common-lite," it's nowhere near as bad as his last effort, 2003's Electric Circus, which is shit on a shingle*

- From the "don't do" file: if you're sitting around on the PC late one night, bored and a little inebriated, and you happen to find out that seasons 1-3 of Quantum Leap are available on DVD, by no means should you order them on your wife's credit card while she's sleeping. And you also shouldn't add on the Millenium Edition of Night of the Living Dead and the Ultimate Edition of Dawn of the Dead, especially when your wife has her cell phone set up so that she instantly receives a text message whenever her card is used.


- I know some people like dragonfiles. Some people like caterpillars. Some people even like spiders. But show me a person who honestly likes mosquitoes, and I'll show you a base, evil human who doesn't deserve to live.

(Before I take things too far, I should state that I actually liked The Matrix sequels. Please put down that knife.)

- My Mid-East Peace Plan:

My apologies if you somehow find that offensive. I truly do think that boobies can save us all. Maybe that's because I was breast-fed. Yesterday.

* this from

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

"You got a bad name like Dick Butkus."

Remember that Seinfeld episode where George tells his fiance that, if they have a child, he'd like it -- boy or girl -- to be named Seven?

Did you know that the son of Andre 3000 and Erykah Badu is actually named Seven?

It's a silly name, in my opinion, but nowhere near as silly as this:

Now, anyone who knows me might find it hypocritical to criticize the tragic naming of a child after a Japanese actor and the director of Star Wars. I, afterall, named my daughter after a comic book character. But here's the thing: since I was about 12 years old, I always loved that name. It wasn't the character (who is second-tier and pretty mediocre), rather the name. It's spelled beautifully and it sounds beautiful (anyone curious enough to know my daughter's name is encouraged to post a comment; I'll send you an e-mail if you're nice). I'm sorry, but "Toshiro Lucas McWeeny" just sounds dumb.

Don't get me wrong, I like Toshiro Mifune. If someone were to ask me who my favorite non-Hollywood actor is, it would without a doubt be him. And Lucas is my third-favorite Corey Haim movie. But, come on now, let's be sensible.

Drew McWeeny, aka Moriarty, writes regularly for Ain't it Cool News. He's an OK writer who sometimes comes off as a little too invested in the stuff he reviews, and, like all movie critics, he sometimes gives good press to horribly shitty movies (his positive review of the awful The Punisher (2004) springs to mind). He's thirty-five and lives in Los Angeles; he wrote the screenplay to the unfilmed Mortal Combat 3; he gets a lot of info -- often legit, often total bullshit -- on upcoming films and films in development. He writes with a knowledge of and genuine passion for movies, which sometimes obscures his credibility. He has been banned from George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch (an ironic middle name for the kid then, huh?) and has been called not-nice names by directors such as M. Night Shamalyan and fellow Internet movie critics (is that an oxymoron?).

Apparently he also has a penchant for giving goofy names to his offspring.

I like to think I'm a liberal-minded fellow, and that anyone on this planet should be able to name their child whatever they please. But for a white American to name his first son "Toshiro," that just reeks of dumbassedness. "Toshiro." Boy, he must have a very, very understanding wife.

Plus, with a surname like "McWeeny," you have to be extra careful when naming your kid. I'm sorry, but dude dropped the ball on this one. And telling the world via the Internet, especially via a site whose visitors are for the most part super-obsessive fanboys (myself not included, of course) who are quick to insult any and everyone, well, that's just downright stupid.

As a father, I wish him well. I sincerely hope his child grows up to become an intelligent and successful person. But someone has to put an end to this insane (and brazenly self-indulgent) trend of naming children after your favorite sports star, musician, actor, etc.

Especially if they're Japanese and you are not.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Book Store Kid

A guy walks into a bar at the top of the Empire State Building (assuming that they have bars at the top of the Empire State Building). He has a few drinks to fortify himself, then walks up to a table by the window, where sits a lone business man.

"You know," says the guy, "tonight is a very special night, meteorologically speaking."

"Why's that?" asks the business man.

"Well, the wind is just right here in the city tonight that I could, concievably, jump out that wondow...and the wind will lift me right back up so I can climb back in."

"Bullshit," says the patron.

"If I try it first and succeed, you promise that you'll do the same?" the man asks.

"Sure thing, bud. It's your life"

The man opens the window, hoists himself out onto the ledge, and leaps. 10 seconds later he drifts back up, much to the astonished amazement of the business man.

"Told you so," says the man. "Now it's your turn."

Apprehensively, the business man climbs out, loosens his tie, and leaps 102 stories to his death.

As ambulances swarm toward the gruesome scene below, the bartender approaches the man and says "Superman, you're a real asshole when you're drunk."

Today I finished work early and decided to kill some time before dinner browsing the shitty bookstore near Samsung Plaza. I wasn't there two minutes when some bespectacled high school kid approached me and started asking me questions.

"Where are you from? Do you like Korea? Have you been to Everland?"

Then he told me I looked like JC from N'SYNC (are they even a group still?), and that's when I knew he wanted something.

"Do you mind if I ask you a question? I have it written down here. You can take it home with you, think about it, and then e-mail me back with your response."

"Sure, I guess so," I said, knowing I would do no such thing, only wanting the little jackanape to bugger off so I could waste time in peace.

"OK, thanks. Here's my question." He handed me a torn half sheet of notebook paper. It read:

How do Jem and Scout change during the course of the novel? How do they remain the same?

Now, this little fucker didn't bother to tell me that his "question" concerned the characters from Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. The little bastard wanted me to answer his fucking essay question, but didn't bother to ask whether I was familiar with the novel.

So, me being the insufferable cunt that I am, I wrote back:

Jem is forever changed after his coming of age menage a trois with Calpurnia and Miss Maudie. He becomes a bigger stud than Secretariat, and bangs more hoes than a retarded farmer. Scout, on the other hand, becomes introverted and meek after she is raped by Mr. Ewell. Later, she dons a ham costume to protest being treated as a piece of meat, and also to express her newfound vegetarian outlook.

This is a powerful, moving novel. A novel which, in the hands of a lesser talent than the prolific Harper Lee, would come off as trite and unemotional. The changes are what make the characters of Jem and Scout great. There aren't enough changes in books these days, I think.

In conclusion, I like toffee. Elephants are big. So I'd like to know where you got the notion. Said I'd like to know where you got the notion.

Don't rock the boat baby.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Video Store Girl

My wife is pretty tight with the ajumma who runs the local video store. When we moved into our new place two months ago, for example, she was kind enough to babysit the little girl for almost three hours while the wife and her mother cleaned (no mean feat: the people who moved out left the place grimier than a snot-caked nostril) and I did all the heavy lifting [pats self on back].

The owner of the aforementioned video store has a son and a daughter who both tend the shop from time to time. I go in there a lot less often than the wife (they only rent out shitty, mainstream DVDs), but on the few times I've been in there, the daughter is sometimes manning the desk. Actually, reading comic books, chewing gum and talking on her cell phone is a more accurate description of what she does, or at least what I've seen her doing.

The first time I saw her I noticed that she was pretty average-looking. That's definitely not the case now.

She appears quite fetching as of late, due to her recent plastic surgery (nose and lips, maybe a few other areas I'm not allowed to glance at or mention). Is this a bad or a good thing? I mean -- and I know I'm taking this somewhat to an extreme here -- if someone has, let's say, a bum leg, back or psyche, it's socially accepted (unless you're Tom Cruise) that they should right it through either surgery or prescription medication. So why is it so frowned upon, at least in the West, that an ugly person or a plain Jane or John have cosmetic surgery to hopefully make them more attractive?

Of course, one might end up looking like Mickey Rourke or Melanie Griffith; but there's risks in everything. Cojoined twins risk death so that each can lead a better life when they're separated, though they're usually too young to make the decision themselves. Maybe they'd be happy together, like the twins of Siam...

...or maybe not. Maybe they'll live a life of depresion, climaxed by a 26-storey dive off an apartment complex. Who's to say?

So, I say to thee, Video Store Girl, you go. Do yo thang.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Mr. Mom

Me and my big mouth.

A few months ago, my wife had to attend a Saturday teaching seminar, and I took care of the little girl while she was away. It was a breeze...but of course I shouldn't have told my wife that when she arrived home that evening.

"Piece of cake. And I managed to do the laundry, wash the dishes, give her a nap, tidy up, and we went to the park. It was awesome. One of the most memorable days of my life. I don't know why you're always complaining that it's so hard and exhausting. If I didn't have to work, I could do this every day."

Big mistake. Ever since, my wife has been trying to break me. I think that when she returns tomorrow morning she may smile with the satisfaction that she has finally done so.

See, last week I went out drinking (as chronicled in the Hungover Eye For the Drunk Guy post), and since then I knew that sooner or later I would have to pay up, so to speak.

When she came home from work on Friday she asked "you don't mind taking care of The 18th letter (not her real name) for the weekend, do you? I was planning to visit my family and some friends in Daejeon, so if, you know, you haven't made any plans..."

Hold on; that's not exactly right.

When she came home from work on Friday she told me "you're taking care of The 18th Letter (not her real name) this weekend. I'm going to visit my family and some friends in Daejeon. I don't care if you made plans. Remember last weekend?"

No problem, I thought. I've done it before, and I can do it again. It'll be fun.

Fast forward to the following morning, 7am. I'm comatose in bed, having just stayed up until 4 reading the Watchmen trade paperback for the umpteenth time. I'm awoken from my Mumraesque slumber, hearing the cries of the little girl. She's at the front door, feebly trying to put on her sneakers, umbrella in hand.

I pick her up, soothe her as best I can, and call my wife on her cell.

"What's up? Why did you leave without waking me up?"

"Well, I knew you had a late night, and I didn't want to disturb you."

"...You could should have...oh, forget it."

I poured some coffee and tried to snap back to reality. Tired as hell, I prepared breakfast (cereal, the staple breakfast for lazy fathers to make). When the little girl was finished, three hours later (joking), I didn't have a plan. It was raining, so going out was not really an option. But the princess was obstinate; she wanted to be entertained.

"Do you want to watch a movie? Star Wars?"

[Nods head]

Five minutes later...

Daddy, LEGO!

10 minutes later:

Daddy, puzzle!

2 minutes later:


15 minutes later:


15 seconds later:


Aside from the first time I smoked marijuana, time has never passed so slowly. By 11 o' clock I was like a boxer pummeled for 15 rounds. After lunch, a girl who lives downstairs knocked and asked if The 18th letter (you know the drill) could play. Sure, I said, just as long as you play here and keep it quiet.

God bless that girl. For 30 minutes they played, and it seemed like an eon. Then she was called home, and the little snowflake was once again mine to entertain.

When she's with my wife, her afternoon naps generally range between 1 and 3 hours. This one lasted roughly 45 minutes. Not good.

(I would be remiss to mention that she's recently toilet trained and the 300 or so times she told me she had to go pee -- 70% of which were false alarms.)

The rest of the day is pretty much a blur. I made dinner (if the FBI were to question me I wouldn't be able to say what it consisted of), played, played and played some more (one goal I did accomplish was giving the angel an obsessive compulsion for 'Star Wars,' so at least I got that going for me, which is good)...and when she finally fell asleep at 9:30 I was so tired I thought that perhaps it was for the best that I do the same.

But it was not to be. All work and no play makes Tiberious aka Sparkles a dull dad.

I stayed up until 1:30, watching 'Princess Mononoke' and playing Puzzle Bobble on the PC (thanks JB).

After a short stay in Slumberland, where the trees are leaved with slices of pizza and the grass is made of deep-fried cheese, the little angel woke up at 2:30.

Afraid of the shadows on the wall (seriously), she kept me up for another 2 hours. I finally fell asleep, but it was far from restful.

This morning, she woke up at 8. Nothing too dissimilar from the day prior occured -- except that she had to go to the toilet maybe 400 times, and she made some commendable bowel movements.

Chatting on-line with my mother (the only way I can convince the little girl to eat her meals is with the promise that she can talk on MSN with her grandmother afterwards), she noted that The 18th letter (*_*) looked as happy as she's ever seen her. A very small consolation, believe me.

I was as tired as a rubber wheel. I still am. Her afternoon nap today lasted only a half hour. To my very being I hope that she's as tired as I am, and that she'll sleep as soundly as a hibernating squirrel. But we both know that's not true. She's finally in bed, but I have the esteemed pleasure of going through it all over again tomorrow morning.

Wifey, you win. It's not as easy as I sometimes say it is.

On second thought, scratch that. I think I'm getting my second wind.

But I'm wise enough now to never admit it.

Friday, July 01, 2005

How's life in a bigger prison, Tiberious aka Sparkles?

For relaxing times, make it Suntori time.

-- Bill Murry, Lost In Translation

Bear with me. Some nights, after the little girl has gone to bed and the wife has situated herself feet up on the sofa and with a bowl full (or, if you prefer, a bowlful) of plums, amidst the onslaught of creativity that is Korean dramas, I myself tend to put on some music, crack open an imported beverage of some alcoholic fortitude, and get nostalgic.

Beware: though I am far from drunk, this is going to be disjointed and jumbled.

Exibit A:

Charlie Sheen and his brother, Emilio Estevez (who has heaps more talent in my opinion, but who may have died without my knowledge, because he's been absent from films for almost 5 years --No, wait, he co-stars in a film with Snoop Dogg about the LA riots:


(And this is the fucking dude who starred in Repo Man, The Breakfast Club, Young Guns and its underappreciated sequel (appropriately titled Young Guns II), and, most notably, Men At Work? A sad, sad day for Hollywood

... )

I say, Charlie Sheen and his far more talented brother -- who was once Paula Abdul's husband, for you younguns out there with no appreciation of World History-- made a film in my backyard. I kid not.

Here's the jist of a phone conversation between me and my best friend, who lived four houses up the street, on a summer's eve, 1999:

Gus (not his real name): Dude, did you know that Charlie Sheen and his brother (Emilio Estevez) are making a movie up at the rock quarry?

Me: ^^

Gus: I'm serious, dude.

Me: ^^

Almost two years later, I'm with the girlfriend (now wife) in a video store near Sinchon, Seoul, when I espy a movie titled Rated X. I rent it under the impression that my latent homosexual fantasy of seeing Charlie Sheen and his brother in an incestuous tryst will soon bear fruit. Instead, what I get is a scene of the brothers Sheen/Estevez parading about with a camel, not a 10 minute walk from my back porch.

I don't have a reasonable answer for why I don't own that movie on DVD.

See, the woods behind my home in Burlington, Ontario, Canada is where I first learned the joy of nature, of forest life -- and of the pleasures of underage drinking and, to a lesser extent, drug-taking.

Part of me wishes and wonders that, just maybe, Charlie Sheen himself blew a few lines of coke and got busy with a by-the-hour gal not a few feet from where I as a young know-it-all had once consumed illicitly-procured beer and spirits. I bet he did, that sly bastard!

It's probably a local urban legend, but the story goes that one time a police officer chased a drunk teenager through those woods and the teen ran over the edge of the quarry, falling nearly 100 feet to his death. Regardless, the cops never interrupted our ad hoc drinking activities up there, no matter how popular nor how boisterous the gatherings we held there became.

I know -- much as I know that some of the spectacular shots in Martin Scorsese pictures were superseded by films prior -- that we weren't the pioneers. Teenagers before us blazed trails, scorched level land and cracked dime-size holes in discarded beer bottles so as to make efficient tools to smoke hash with. But we defined the genre, so to speak. When I was 14 and my brother and LD (not his real name, but his real initials) surveyed the woodland and built a passable two-bench and garbage can-cum-fireplace forest lounge, we saw it and knew that it was good. When it was corrupted and became obsolete a year later, we reformed and built another. In fact, the forest as it stands now still bears the stamp of our progress. For almost 10 years we had many adventures; and I believe the story continues still, though I nor my former cohorts have anything to do with the current shape of things.


Must be Friday

I work from home on Friday, and because it's generally not a busy day, I have a lot of free time. So I decided to reprint the lyrics to Masta Ace's Soda and Soap, a clever song that encorporates the names of various soft drinks and soaps (hence the title). Sounds corny, right? It actually works really well. If you like intelligent hip-hop, do yourself a favor and pick up Ace's A Long Hot Summer. Or be a filthy criminal and download it off the Net.

I met this girl named Fantasy on Wall Street
From Tahiti, a real Tahitian Treat
She had a lot of Pepsi honey was peace
And she told me she liked my smile like Shanice
She danced at this club and made the guys holler
And in a Minute Maid like a thousand dollars
The club that was run by Mr. Schweppes, he had a rep
And everybody watched they step
Cuz word on the street was he was no joke
Had everything from crack, marijuana to Coke
Later at the club saw this guy named Wayne
Who always bettin’ money on the Giants game
As soon as it’s on yo I stayed away
Cuz he the type who Welch's a bet and won’t pay
I keep tryin’ to tell him be a straight stepper
Somebody gonna Slice him and send him to Dr. Pepper
Went to the bar checked the score
Got the bartender told him what to pour
He put it on my Tab as he filled my cup
And told me the game was tied 7-Up
Around 12 o’clock she came out to dance
Had all the guys pushing just to have a chance
To spend a little money trying to see the rest
She was blessed, in an Orange Crushed velvet dress
But I stayed by the bar cuz I already know how it go
I already saw the show
See I went to a club like this in Toronto
And came back from Canada Dry with no dough
And ever since then I C&C clear
You never find love in this atmosphere
Sometimes you gotta find a better place to be in
Maybe go to a Mountain Dew a little skiing
So I finished up my drink and I said goodbye
And got home before the Sunkist the sky
No matter where you from or which way you leaning
Now goin’ pop got a whole new meaning

The Y2k is a brand new Era
I’m tryin’ to make hits like Yogi Berra
I wonder how long I’ll be in this biz
Cuz it’s not All Cheer like you think it is
There’s a whole lot to Gain but a lot to lose
Just ask any rapper who paid dues
Everybody now and then bound to struggle
I just grab my wife and we lay and Snuggle
We talk about the Ivory Coast, how one day
We gonna sail on the Tide and get Whisked away
Look up at the stars ‘til the crack of Dawn
Hold up I never leave your side for long
But for now I keep on making you Bounce
And make Sure somethin' in my checking accounts
Grab my cell phone and then start to Dial
Take a look at my life and start to smile
It’s funny how the game make you change your tone
Cuz the Joy of my life is the microphone
So I straighten up my act and keep doin’ my thing
Gettin’ the green, nahmean getting it clean

And while you're being a pirate, you should also try to get a copy of the Hide Ya Face Remix by Ghostface and El-P, quite possibly the best song ever.