Friday, August 15, 2008

리빙 인 코리아/Living in Korea

안녕하세요. 리빙 인 코리아 MP3 다운 받으세요.

쩌우 먼델로 - 리빙 인 코리아

지난 4년반 동안 한국에서 잘살았습니다.
내가 한국에서 제일 즐긴것 중에 몇개 뽑아서 이 노래를 만들었습니다.

Download 'Living in Korea

Joe Mondello - Living in Korea

For the past four and a half years I have lived in Korea. This is a song about some of my favorite Korean things. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Paint Roller runneth dry

I've decided that it's time to move on to greener pastures. I have exported all my posts to their new home, The Joshing Gnome. I have also decided to abandon Blogger in favor of Wordpress, for many reasons, but one in particular: it is actually easier to export blog posts from Blogger to Wordpress than to a different blog within Blogger. Wordpress allowed me with one click to turn 316 Paint Roller posts into the Joshing Gnome archives.

Other reasons for the move include built-in stats and ease of applying tags and creating a header image at Wordpress. As for theme, I've opted for one almost identical to the white-on-black of Paint Roller.

And so from now on I will be posting to Be sure to change your bookmarks and RSS feeds.

To: Metropolitician Re: Yr Proposal . . . I do!!

Ah, Metropolitician! A passionate man with strong opinions, and I like that. I just read his proposal for a new 'elite visa' for long-time, well-behaved English teachers intended to increase demand for better teachers, improve the treatment of English teachers by school owners, and reward good teachers with more rights in order that they may 'take a bigger part in Korean life'. Since my comment is longer than eighty percent of my blog posts, I figured I'd reprint my comment here, for my own reference and yours.

Re: A Realistic Proposal

I find it highly unrealistic that anything will be made of this proposal for several reasons.
  • First of all, all your proposed system does is make life easier for foreign English teachers living long-term in Korea. It fails to address the supposed threats that foreign teachers pose to Korean students and Korean society. What good is making life easier for English teachers who've been in Korea for three or more years without doing anything about shorter-term teachers, transients with no ties to Korea? This is like reacting to a tainted beef scandal by introducing a new super-premium Grade Double-A beef designation. It simply doesn't address the problem at hand.
  • Second, the whole proposal's a crazy quilt of unrelated gripes that leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. What Korean would want to read a constellation of complaints about topics as diverse as the Busan amateur theater bust, the guy from the Host getting deported, the way foreigners are treated like 'walking dictionaries', and the illegal black list. Few Koreans would have any idea what half of these incidents were about.
  • Third, your focus on yourself and F-4 visa holders in general as a standard of comparison is confusing. First of all, your mother is Korean, which, like it or not, matters in Korea and will continue to do so. It remains to you to explain to Koreans why any foreigners should have the luxury of choosing to quit and work multiple jobs at will, because the benefit to students is not as intuitive as you may think it is.
  • Finally, and most important, this proposal fails to make it clear why Koreans should care about the foreign teachers' legal status. From their point of view, English teachers have a pretty good deal. They are in the country to teach English and they are paid handsomely for it. This proposal describes the following benefits for Koreans should they choose to follow it:
  1. Fewer foreigners will go back to their home countries with hagwon hell stories.
  2. More poetry, art, and exhibitions in the foreigner community.
  3. Foreigners taking a bigger part in Korean life.
This proposal fails to address:
  1. Perceived crime and drug use by foreigners.
  2. Unqualified teachers.

I would say that taken together, the strident tone, poorly reasoned premise, and ineffectualness of the proposal itself will probably turn off most of the people who read it.
Now if you could come up with a proposal for a visa reform which would provide tangible improvements for Korean English learners and Korean society as a whole while at the same time insuring better conditions for good teachers and weeding out the bad, then I would say you're on the right track.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Michael Savage's "The Savage Nation"

I just started reading The Savage Nation: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on our Borders, Language, and Culture. First of all, let me explain what I already know about Michael Savage. He is an intellectually dishonest flim flam man, a peddler of patent medicines who claims that he's cured cancer with "a special nutrition program" (page 12). He has written about improving children's IQ with food and so-called "holistic health", whatever that may be, in previous books. I see no difference between his current career as a fiery conservative radio host and his previous one as an ethnobotanist and seller of potions. The way I see it, he has no respect for his customers in either endeavor, and would just as soon feed his listeners a load of ire-raising rhetoric as he would convince his patients to treat cancer with a nutrition program.
Michael Savage's shtick can be summed up as follows: Savage, an New York Jew who lives in San Francisco, presents for his audience a demon-haunted world of anti-family, anti-American boogeymen. His message comes draped in nostalgia for a simpler, manlier time. Being an urban Jew, he allows his sub- and ex-urban Christian audience to focus their hatred more specifically on an urban liberal landscape often populated by Jews and homosexuals. Reading Savage's criticism of "the Dianne Feinsteins of the world, the Charlie Schumers, the subway senators" allows one to despise liberals without seeming to despise Jews.
The straw men that Savage constantly conjures up form the soul of the threat to "our borders, language, and culture". Here's a short list of the ones I could find in a quick perusal of the first chapter of the book:
  • "The liberal fools who can remember every law book they ever read, but they don't know what they're talking about or where they've dragged the nation."
  • "The teacher's union [which] has just about eliminated testing."
  • The fathers of today, who " if a kid brought home a record from a foreign nation . . . would have to be like Mr. Rogers: "Oh, son, that's just so sensitive of you. How multicultural of you, son." and say "Oh, look at that, dear, he smeared feces on the wall. That's modern art."
  • "The bums today whose hands are always out--you know the type. Those card-carrying 'victims' who only know how to suck the nipple of Aunt Sam."
  • "The greedy, legal profession, and those with fake handicaps who hide behind a charade to cover their laziness."
  • "Homosexualized, feminized America" where "women are afraid of angry men."
  • "Mr. Liberal", who "finds the man who gets furious and really wants to change things" and "tells him he's a psychotic and he needs anger management."
  • "Demagogues like Al Sharpton, Jesse Hijackson, and Tom Daschle"
  • The "liberal entitlement message being passed down in our society. Just sit on your fat behind, watch TV, swill another drink, and be sure to wait for your welfare check on Friday."
  • Ultraliberalism that is killing San Francisco and filling it with "a human plague". This ultraliberalism begets "Hatred for anything normal . . . law and order . . . decency . . . for mama and apple pie and the roses in your hand."
  • Democrats, libs, and Commu-Nazis who rule the courts, because of whom "America's meatballs are small, hard, and tasteless.
Next time, the nostalgia, or maybe more straw men. Or not. I'm taking a lazy, sloppy Michael Savage approach tonight.

Yakub and other amazing beliefs

From Wikipedia:

According to the Nation of Islam (NOI), Yakub (also spelled Yacub or Yakob), was an evil scientist responsible for creating the white race — a race of devils, in their view. . . This was achieved under a despotic regime on the island of Patmos. The reasons for Yakub's actions are unclear. According to NOI doctrine, his progeny were destined to rule for 6,000 years before the original black peoples of the world regained dominance, a process that began in 1914.


According to Joseph Smith, what is now Jackson County, Missouri was the location of the Garden of Eden and will be the location of the future New Jerusalem, and God has led numerous groups to the western hemisphere in search of freedom, including several groups of ancestors to the Native Americans whose stories are told in the Book of Mormon.

And furthermore:
Concepts about deity are diverse among UUs. Some believe that there is no god (atheism); others believe in many gods (polytheism). Some believe that God is a metaphor for a transcendent reality. Some believe in a female god (goddess), a passive god (Deism), a Christian god, or a god manifested in nature or one which is the "ground of being". Some UUs reject the idea of deities and instead speak of "universal spirit" or "reverence of life". Unitarian Universalists support each person's search for truth and meaning in concepts of deity.


Why did I never hear this in Korea?

This (courtesy of Slate) is the kind of factoid I came to expect in Korea:
[K]ids adopted from Korea outscored the U.S. average by two to 12 points, depending on their degree of malnutrition. In a third study, Korean kids adopted in Belgium outscored the Belgian average by at least 10 points, regardless of their adoptive parents' socioeconomic status.

Go read the whole unflinching article.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The attack of the 9/11 movies

I saw The Mist tonight. Nobody told me it was all about 9/11. The previews included The Poughkeepsie Tapes (like a serial-killing Blair Witch, with video purported to have been filmed in September of 2001) and Cloverfield (another disaster movie with lots of superrealistic shaky-cam "Oh my God, I've got to capture the carnage of New York being destroyed for posterity"). It just hit me like a tin of bricks how 9/11 and War on Terror-soaked our culture has become.
Incidentally, imagine how much easier it would have been to make Starship Troopers and The Siege after 9/11. It would have required half of the imagination at most.
Here's a little list of the 9/11 inspired movies I've seen. Incidentally, in making this list I checked out Wikipedia's 2002 through 2007 in film pages, and was tickled to find that some patriotic Korean had gone through them all and put all the big Korean movies on the lists, which are otherwise almost completely filled with American and British movies.

  • 28 Days Later - Remember the "Have you seen my Timmy?" wall, soon to become the easiest, most emotionally resonant shorthand that lazy writers could use to relevance up their project.
  • War of the Worlds - Features New York's destruction, followed by scenes of society breaking down. Relentlessly pessimistic in its view of mankind, the movie is typical of post-9/11 movies in that the characters are completely helpless to stop the events shaping their lives (see also the Final Destination, Hostel, and Saw series).
  • Hostel - Helpless Americans killed in an unforgiving, non-understandable foreign world.
  • V for Vendetta - Fascism and plenty of it; terrorism grapples with and justified (see also Battlestar Galactica season 3)
  • Babel - More Americans misunderstanding foreigners and vice versa.
  • Children of Men - Civil liberties crushed, hysteria over foreigners, people everywhere adrift in a world that has spun out of their control, torture by intelligence services, terrorism, etc.
  • 300 - Didn't see it. I assume it is 9/11 influenced because it has Persians in it.
  • 28 Weeks Later - Green zones, naughty military men, and more helpless people being terrorized.
  • Hostel: Part II - Helplessness!
  • The Mist - Disaster followed by helplessness, logical reactions confronted with an emotional/religious mindset, dissention and inability to form consensus on the proper response to the tragedy.

What does the future hold for us? Judging from the above list, the continued trend in torture-based horror movies, and the trailers for Cloverfield, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and I Am Legend, plenty of desperate helplessness. Get ready to squirm!