People got to be free

Canada’s Globe and Mail thinks conditions are ripe for conflict on the peninsula in the new year.

“Some Pyongyang watchers expect yet another escalation as the regime of Kim-Jong-un tries to force itself – and its need for cash and food – to the top of the international agenda. Some predict North Korea will stage a spectacular military provocation, perhaps akin to 2010’s deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, to force Seoul and Washington to pay attention to its demands.

And with South Korea’s hawkish mood captured by the presidential election victory of of Park Geun-hye – whose father was a former military ruler and whose mother was assassinated by North Korean agents – there are many who believe Seoul will punch back the next time Pyongyang strikes, sending the peninsula into an unpredictable spiral.”

More at the link.  I do wonder just how much President Park would like to avenge her mother’s murder.  Maybe she’s itching for a little provocation.  But then again, I’ve always been astounded at just how much provocation the people of the ROK have been willing to tolerate in the past, what with sinking of ships and shelling of civilians and all.  Of course, it seems to me the average south Korean just doesn’t seem to give a shit about much outside their own little bubble of the good life.  For example, the general lack of compassion regarding the plight of their northern brothers and sisters has also been incomprehensible to me.

We shall see what we shall see.  Call me a Rascal if you must, but ask me my opinion and my opinion will be, People Got to Be Free.

A yen for something different…

…has led me to my first trip to Japan.  Well, outside the confines of an airport anyway.  We are in Osaka for a couple of days.  It seems like a pretty nice city so far.  I’m in a Japanese-sized hotel room (small but efficient) in a pretty classy looking hotel.


And it has this feature I’ve never seen in a hotel before–a built-in wedding chapel.  Sure, lots of hotels have wedding halls.  This is a frickin’ chapel!


Anyway, gonna doing some exploring tonight.  Maybe some darts later.  Tomorrow a tour of nearby Kyoto.

More to come!

Waxing poetic…

…lyrically speaking.

Two dart tourneys yesterday.  Ten hours later I was feeling used and abused.  So, I wrote a song about it.

(With apologies to Lennon/McCartney)

It’s been a hard darts night
And I’ve been throwing like a punk
It’s been a hard darts night

But at least I’m getting drunk
Yet when I get to the line
I think I’ll get it right this time
But I still miss the out

You know I throw all day
To win some money to buy my drinks
And when you lose it in the final leg
Well the money, it kind of stinks
And so I get home and moan
‘Cause I’m to blame alone
You know I can’t hit an out

When I practice, everything seems to be fine
In the games, I don’t have a clue at the line, yeah, yeah, yeah

It’s been a hard darts night
And I’m really having trouble
It’s been a hard darts night
‘Cause I can’t hit the f’n double
But I’ll be back for some more
Because I’m just a darts whore
And that makes me feel alright

Welcome to Scumville!

Imagine a place where people considered “offensive” by the powers that be are forcibly “relocated”. Not just the offenders but their families as well. And the length of time you spent in these camps was determined through successful completion of “work or study”.

No, this is not Rod Serling channeling George Orwell. It’s Amsterdam!

Now these proposed “scum villages” would be reserved for unruly neighbors, gay bashers, and those who otherwise offend the tender sensibilities of the “normal” populace. But it strikes me as a slippery slope, particularly when it has been suggested in one of the most liberal and free thinking cities on earth.

I spent a couple of weeks in The Netherlands a few years back.  From what I remember, I had a great time.  Especially in the coffee shops.

What the hell, as long as I’m strolling down memory lane I may as well share a story from the trip.  Like many tourists of a certain age and mindset, one of the first things we did was go in search of the famous legal weed.  It was bizarre to sit down and order from a menu of various blends of marijuana.   It had been years since I’d smoked pot and this stuff was potent!  So, it came time to walk back to our hotel and we were both pretty wasted.   The only obstacle between us and our lodging was the crossing of a thoroughfare.

And what a thoroughfare it was!  One lane for bicycles, one lane for cars, two trolley tracks, a car lane and a bike lane on the other side.  So I said “let’s wait for that pedestrian light to go green”.  And wait we did.  After about five minutes the wife said “you know, I don’t think that’s a pedestrian light”.  And she was right!  In the meantime, a rather large group of people had followed our lead and were just standing there with us waiting to cross.  We thought that was funny as hell.

Well, we eventually made it across the road but after the trauma of that event we vowed to confine our smoking to the safety of our hotel room.  So, during the day we go out and see the sights (it’s a lovely city!), and at night we’d get high and watch TV.  Now, almost all the shows were in Dutch with English subtitles.  But one night after catching a good buzz we happened upon a BBC sitcom called Coupling (you can see the whole series for free on YouTube.  It’s hilarious, even when you’re not stoned!).  So, this show was in English with Dutch subtitles.  After watching about 30 minutes, the wife turns to me and says in all seriousness “you know, I think I’m beginning to understand Dutch!”  I laughed my ass off over that.

Ah well, you should have been there.