High speed rail


I have to tell you that the high speed trains here in Korea are quite impressive.  And now, Korea is introducing the next generation of bullet trains.  Zipping through the countryside at 300km/hr in a smooth riding and comfortable coach is much more pleasant than the flying experience.  (Hey, click the links the videos are cool!)
It should be a matter of national shame that the USA has nothing comparable.  AMTRAK and the various commuter rail lines are still operating with 1950’s technology (and sometimes equipment).  Our rail service is a bad joke to say the least.

So, as long as Uncle Sam Obama is mortgaging the future of my grandchildren through massive and unprecedented deficit spending, they may as well gain the benefit of 21st century railroad technology.  Which made this announcement seem like something I could get behind:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will today announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is awarding $8 billion to states across the country to develop America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.  Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), these dollars represent an historic investment in the country’s transportation infrastructure, which will help create jobs and transform travel in America.  The announcement is one of a number of job initiatives the President will lay out in the coming weeks that follow up on the continued commitment to job creation he discussed in last night’s State of the Union Address.

Now, the Republic of Korea is about the size of Iowa, so I’m not suggesting that the USA develop a nationwide coast-to-coast high speed rail network.  The distances, travel time, and costs would not make such a project feasible.  However, a network of inter-city rail lines connecting major metropolitan areas within several hundred miles of each other does make sense.  I’m thinking that with all the airport waiting times associated with security screening, a bullet train would be a faster, more convenient, and energy efficient way to travel.

Think about it: The obvious Boston/New York/Philadelphia/DC corridor; maybe San Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego/Las Vegas; and Milwaukee,/Chicago/ St. Louis; or perhaps Dallas/Houston/San Antonio–and more.  Once people get a taste of how enjoyable modern train travel can be they will be hooked.  If you build it they will come!

Try this on an airliner:


Ridin’ the rails in style!

For my Canadian friends…

(at least the ones with a sense of humor)

An Englishman, a Canadian and an American were captured by terrorists.

The terrorist leader said, “Before we shoot you, you will be allowed last words. Please let me know what you wish to talk about.”

The Englishman replied, “I wish to speak of loyalty and service to the crown.”

The Canadian replied, “Since you are involved in a question of national purpose, national identity, and secession, I wish to talk about the history of constitutional process in Canada, special status, distinct society and uniqueness within diversity.”

The American replied, “Just shoot me before the Canadian starts talking.”

A perfect day for bananafish…

J.D. Salinger, dead at 91.

Out of respect for this talented man I will not attempt any kind of goddamn tribute so as not to appear phony.  Obituary is at the link.

Some may recognize the title of this post is taken from a short story written by Salinger in 1948.  Read it in high school and haven’t read it since, but it immediately came to mind with the author’s passing.  I guess that is a fitting tribute to a unique writer.

Heinz 57

Yes, for many a year now I have contemplated the mystery of Heinz’ 57 varieties.  Varieties of what?  Ketchup? (Heinz’ preferred spelling, as opposed to the Catsup produced by Hunt-Wesson).

And now, through the wonders of the internet, or more specifically the archives of James Lileks, we have the answer:


And so now one is left to wonder just how many of the original 57 varieties are still in production today.  You are on your own for that….

South Carolina: a peculiar institution

Now, I think South Carolina is a great place, probably overall the nicest place I have lived.  Although not natives, my parents and children have made it their home.  Reader Kevin shares this link which serves to remind that historically SC has had some peculiar ideas on certain issues.  Now, I ain’t sayin’ this is just about race because white folks can be poor too, but the attitude expressed by the Lt Governor does make you wonder.

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has compared giving people government assistance to “feeding stray animals.”

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better,” Bauer said.

Bauer later Friday told The Greenville News he wasn’t saying people on government assistance “were animals or anything else.”

“You see, for the first time in the history of this country, we’ve got more people voting for a living than we do working for a living.”

Later in his speech, Bauer said, “I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina,” adding, “You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s there, period.

“So how do you fix it? Well you say, ‘Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.'”

Bauer said there are no “repercussions” from accepting government assistance.

There are clearly repercussions for electing idiots to high office.  As all Americans are becoming painfully aware.

Chili con carne

Typical Sunday for me.  A little internet, a little exercise, a nap, and a meal hot out of the slow cooker.  Wanna watch me cook?


The basics.  Regular readers here at LTG know that when it comes to the kitchen, I am firm believer in the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple system).


Now some folks like the onions raw as a topping but today I went with the saute method.


Then I browned 2 pounds of fresh ground beef with the onions.


Then put all the ingredients together in the slow cooker…


…and set it on low heat for 8 hours…longer than necessary but what the hell.


So as the urge to eat began to set in, it was time to mix up a batch of corn muffins…


…and pop them in the oven.


And while the muffins bake, I’ll grate a little cheddar cheese.


Muffins hot out of the oven…


…chili hot out of the pot.


Dinner is served!

Compare and contrast…

Ok, so over at Huffington Post they are making some point or another about Senator Scott Brown’s wife having appeared in this “racy” music video from 1984.  Now granted, the song sucks but Mrs. Brown looks pretty hot to me.

Here’s a still from the video:


I just hate the double standard, that’s all.  I mean, no one gives the President crap for having a beautiful wife:


Can’t we all just get along?

Olbermann on race


Commenter Kevin asked for this Olbermann link:

“The Republicans and the Tea Partiers will tell you what happens tonight with Scott Brown tonight, whether he wins or comes close, is a repudiation of Obama policies, and surely one of Obama’s policies from the viewpoint of his opponents is that it’s okay to have this sea change in American history, to have an African-American President. Is this vote to any degree just a euphemism the way state’s rights was in the 60s?”

Yep, Keith that explains it alright.  The fact that Obama carried Massachusetts 62% to 36% in the 2008 presidential elections doesn’t mean those Bay State voters aren’t closet racists.  Rather than a repudiation of Obama’s leftist agenda the vote was about keeping the black man down.

Oh and Keith, how’s the weather on your planet?

UPDATE: You must see Jon Stewart’s takedown of Olbermann!

White guys can’t jump

But that won’t matter in the All-American Basketball Alliance.  Because only “all-American” white guys are allowed to play:

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color.” He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

Alright, there have been so many unsupported charges of racism lately (including Olbermann call Massachusetts voters racist for electing Brown) that the word is losing all meaning and impact.  So folks, just in case you forgot what “real racism” looks like, this league is it.

From the comments at the linked post:

And after ‘fundamental’ basketball, we’ve got lined up the return of: ‘fundamental’ restaurants, ‘fundamental’ schools and of course, ‘fundamental’ public transport. After all, who wants to be accosted by ‘street’ eating while dining out, ‘street’ ideas while learning and ‘street’ attitude while taking the bus.

Have a nice and ‘fundamental’ day.

Yep, that’s about right.

5-year Yoja

Today marks the end of my fifth year in Korea.  Or the start of my sixth.  Or the beginning of the last.  Or all of those.

So while I have no great insights to offer up on this momentous occasion, how about a special tribute to a popular actress, Han Chae Young, as the Yoja of the Week.


Oddly enough, I understand she married some rich guy and now lives in America.  And I live in Korea.  What are the odds?

Oh, and if you missed the link above you can watch Lady Han in a cute little yogurt commercial.  Ain’t she sweet?

Put a Trojan on that Cock

Hey, when I say Trojan what immediately comes to mind?  So what’s up with this crap?

The University of Southern California Trojans have prevailed in a trademark suit in which the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks sought to use the letters “SC” on baseball team clothing.

Apparently winning wasn’t enough for the Trojans’ attorney, who took the opportunity to talk trash:

“[Edelman] also suggested that the letters were more deservedly linked to the Trojans’ warrior image than to “a goofy little chicken.”

“I think they wanted to move away from the gamecock logo,” Edelman said of the school in the South. “Something that is totally understandable.”

Warrior image my ass.  Cheap ass condoms that are unworthy to sheath a genuine ‘Cock from South Carolina…
You know what though, that west coast school has Lane Kiffin now and I suppose that’s punishment enough.

And by the way, the University of South Carolina was founded in 1801, 49 years before California achieved statehood.  So, we all know who we mean when we say THE USC.

Hat Tip: Patterico