You go your way and I’ll go mine?

An outstanding post from Kevin Kim over at Hairy Chasms this morning.  Go give it a read right now.

And then read this one courtesy of NPR.

Makes you think.  It did me anyway.  I left a comment on Kevin’s blog that was long enough to a post here, so that’s what I’m making it:

This was a good and thought provoking read. As one who leans right though I must say that I haven’t observed as the norm the kind of thinking on separatism that you describe. I don’t believe that folks should stay in their place, but rather we should all have the freedom to make the place we want for ourselves. It seems to me that the most extremist viewpoints on both the right and left are what gets everyone’s attention, while the vast majority of us just want to live our lives in harmony.

For example, Malkin can definitely be out there on the fringe, but the reality is most people think we should have a sensible and consistent enforcement of our immigration laws. Although Malkin used harsh rhetoric, most countries in the world, including Korea and Mexico, strictly enforce their immigration statutes.

I too fear we are losing our “unum” and that can’t be a good thing for a country that was founded on a “melting pot” principle. But having said that, it’s always been the case that Americans have lived together and yet stayed somewhat apart. Every major city has it’s Italian district, it’s Chinatown, etc. I recall when my kids were in high school our community was 50% black and 50% white. This was decades after Jim Crow mandated segregation. And yet, at basketball games the African-Americans by choice sat almost exclusively in one section of the bleachers. There was no friction or animosity, they just preferred to sit and cheer together. I guess that’s just basic human nature.

Assimilation is good and necessary but I don’t think achieving that requires abandoning your cultural heritage either. So, I think that while English proficiency is a necessary component of becoming fully “Americanized”, I don’t really have a problem with those who haven’t mastered the language. My attitude on this has moderated significantly over the years. In my hometown in California we had a huge influx of Vietnamese boat people. I’d drive down main street and couldn’t read the shop signs in the city I grew up in and I found that irksome. But after living in Korea for several years I came to really appreciate some simple courtesies like announcing subway stops in English. Now, when I encounter the ubiquitous bi-lingual (generally Spanish/English) signs, advertisements, ballots and the like, I’m okay with it. Although I still think bi-lingual education in the public schools is wrong. It seems to me that kids who are not compelled to learn English are being set up for failure and a minimum wage lifestyle. That is in no ones best interest.

After all these years I can’t converse in Korean, so maybe shame on me. I never worked on the economy there though and I did learn enough to get by (I can order my beer and ask for the bathroom for example). I do feel like a failure though when I can’t participate in the conversation when I visit Jee Yeun’s family. But many many times I’ve had Koreans apologize to me for their “poor” English. In their own damn country! And that embarrassed me because we wouldn’t have been talking at all if they relied on my limited Korean.

Anyway, I think we might be losing something that binds us together as a nation.  But on the other hand, maybe we are just evolving as a nation.  I do wish we’d have less “us and them” and more “we are all in this together”.  I imagine you may call me a dreamer.  But I’m not the only on.


This little piggy went to the market

In this exciting episode of The Adventures of LTG we go grocery shopping!

Finding the larder at the Little House on the McCrarey was in a seriously depleted mode, the wife and I took to the highway for some hunting and gathering.  First stop was the Korean market.

Jee Yeun's home away from home.

Jee Yeun’s home away from home.

It seemed we needed just about everything they sold.


One hundred fifty dollars later we loaded our burden up and carted it out.

Although two large jars of Kimchi may seem excessive, that's only a one month supply for Jee Yeun.  One radish, one cabbage.

Although two large jars of Kimchi may seem excessive, that’s only a one month supply for Jee Yeun. One radish, one cabbage.

We also scored us a nice thick slab of samgyapsal.

Bringing home the bacon!

Bringing home the bacon!

Having taken care of the Korean specialty foods, it was off to the American supermarket for the rest of our necessities.  Now, I’m a Publix kind of guy, but Jee Yeun wanted to score some galbi and Bi-Lo is the only store in town that slices short ribs in a proper Korean fashion.

galbi 005

In addition to our standard grocery list, I picked up the ingredients for my Aunt Pat’s recipe fruit salad, my contribution to the family Thanksgiving feast next week.

Having loaded the shopping cart to near capacity, it was time to check out.  Now, I’m not going to rant about it (much) but one thing that I find irksome about the American shopping experience is that stores are going big on this “self checkout” system.  As a matter of principle I refuse to ring up my own groceries.  But the bastards make you suffer for your insolence by only manning the bare minimum of cashier operated checkouts.  Today they had two lanes open and one of those was for fifteen items or less.  One person was in the 15 item line, and there were several in the regular lane.  So, a manager walks by and observes my frustration and directs me to the short line, despite the fact that I was several times over the stated maximum for items.

I sensed there would be trouble, but I followed the manager’s instructions.  The customer in front of me was an older (than me) woman with two items that had already been rung up.  So, we proceeded to load the conveyer belt to overflowing with our 100+ items.  And waited.  And waited.  I’m not sure what was going on, but the woman was fumbling around in her purse for what seemed like an entirety.  I guess she was looking for her Bi-Lo discount card.  Finally, the cashier tried to look her up in the system without success.  And then a discussion ensued as to whether the purchased items were even eligible for a discount.  The woman finally decided that she would pay, and proceeded to count out the correct amount at a pace that seemed to make my head want to explode.  And I’m talking about the bills.  When she went rummaging for her change purse and then started counting out each individual coin I was reduced to reciting the serenity prayer repeatedly.  To no apparent effect.  Meanwhile, customers with 15 or fewer items were coming up, looking at our pile, and giving me the evil eye.  I know what they were thinking, because lord knows, I’ve had those same thoughts when I was on the wrong side of a misbehaving customers.  When you don’t follow the rules established for the grocery checkout the very fabric that binds society together begins to unravel.  Yeah, there was definitely murder in the hearts of some Bi-Lo customers today.

But here’s the kicker.  When the old woman was finally done with her transaction, she turned to me and said “I thought this line was for 15 items or less!”  Now, I might have just ignored the comment, but then the checker said “yeah, I know.”  So I remained relatively calm but gruffly pointed out that I had been directed to this line by the store manager.  They both then professed to have only been “joking”.   Yeah.  Ha ha.  Good one.

Anyway, as my purchases were rang up I had to do my own bagging (another downside of the 15 item line).  I had bought two bottles of wine on sale and the cashier said if I buy four I get another 10% off, plus a nifty little carry sack.  So, I sent Jee Yeun running for two more.  As she placed the wine in the nifty little carry sack the cashier asked “now will you smile?”  So, I mustered up my best fake smile ever and rolled on out of there.

And to think that some people believe retired life must be boring!

I’m not unmindful of the fact…

…that drinking alcoholic beverages is not generally conducive to enhanced hand/eye coordination.  And yet, many (most?) dart players insist that they play better after a few beers.  They even say witty things like “I need me some more aiming fluid.”  And as illogical as it seems, I’ve seen guys throw a mean game that I wouldn’t want to see behind the wheel.

Personally, I’ve thrown completely sober (usually in the morning matches at tournaments) and as is more normally the case, after consuming some icy cold liquid bread. Frankly, I don’t see a real big difference in my results.  Well, on a normal dart night I will drink five or six beers over the course of 3 or 4 hours.  And generally speaking, I get a little sloppier with my throws towards the end.  So then I switch to diet Coke.

I throw best when I’m “in the zone”–relaxed and focused and not “over thinking” my game.  Darts is basically about repetition–muscle memory if you will.  I get in trouble when I start consciously aiming as opposed to making a more natural throw towards the target.  So, to the extent that two or three beers calms the mind and eases nervousness, there could indeed be some benefit I suppose.

But a better explanation may be that avoiding too much “mindfulness” is the key to throwing better darts.  This article in Scientific American makes the argument that at least for some activities “those with a low degree of mindfulness scored higher on pattern-finding tests than those who were further along the pathway toward enlightenment. (Mindfulness is defined here as attention to what is happening in the present moment in one’s surroundings.)”

It makes a certain amount of sense I suppose.  To be effective at the sport you can’t afford distractions.  There is actually quite a bit of etiquette normally expected during a match intended to avoid unduly distracting a shooter from the task at hand (scorekeepers must stand absolutely still, the opponent stands out of the thrower’s line of sight, and loud talking or shouting “miss it!” are also frowned upon).  Still, the game is generally played in a pub atmosphere, which means distractions like loud music, boisterous drunks, and pretty waitresses are difficult to avoid.  A little less mindfulness can be a good thing in these circumstances.

I reckon the next time someone throws a good game to beat me I’ll congratulate him by saying “you must be out of your mind!”

(I originally saw a link to the Scientific American article on Instapundit and immediately saw the potential applicability to darts, but was too lazy busy to blog about it.  But when I saw that the Big Hominid had also tweeted (twittered?) the link, I got motivated!)



Tweet for tat

Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I don’t use Twitter.  But I sometimes encounter “tweets” as I plumb the depths of the internets in my daily quest for photographs of scantily clad women a broader understanding of the issues of the day.  One of the minor controversies taking shape of late revolves around this column by Richard Cohen in The Washington Post.   Now, I don’t read much of what Cohen writes and I care even less about what he thinks.  I find him to be an intellectually dishonest sycophant whose opinions are little more than a regurgitation of left wing talking points.  But I guess even mindless liberals can stray too far off the reservation at times.  In the column linked above Cohen talks about how the extremist Tea Party types are little more than misogynist, homophobic, racist hatemongers.  Eh, what else is new was my reaction.

What makes this kerfuffle somewhat interesting is the reaction of Cohen’s fellow travelers.  In penning his vitriol some folks on the left believe Cohen inadvertently outted himself as, well, a misogynist, homophobic, racist hatemonger.  And the tweets started flying.  I find it all mildly amusing.

Long time readers will know that I generally support what the Tea Party represents.  Essentially, that means less taxes (we are after all Taxed Enough Already) and a smaller, less intrusive federal government.   Those issues have nothing to do with interracial marriage, gay rights, abortion rights, or any other form of bigotry.  The fact that some on the left (and right for that matter) want to demonize the Tea Party and its adherents tells me that the powers that be are truly terrified of this increasingly popular grassroots movement.

Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers who doesn’t weigh in much on political topics lists his tweets in the sidebar.  And that is where I found this gem: “I’m not a Tea Partier myself, but I find the blind slagging of the Tea Party to be evidence of great ignorance.”  He also included a link to this piece on the Cohen controversy which pretty much captures where I stand.

Now, you may be thinking “if that’s the case, why didn’t you just link to that article and be done with it?”  To which I can only respond “because”.  Which also explains why I don’t tweet.  Why limit yourself to 140 characters when you can say the same thing in 400 words?

Oppa Columbia style

Ventured out to the annual Korean festival here in Columbia.  As close as I’m going to get to the real thing for awhile.  Apparently.


Where ever I go these days it seems I’m surrounded by fans…

Jee Yeun had some bulgogi and rice...

Jee Yeun had some bulgogi and rice…

...and ddukbboki.  Me?  I had chicken on a stick, just like the old days on the mean streets of Itaewon...

…and ddukbboki. Me? I had chicken on a stick, just like the old days on the mean streets of Itaewon…


A lonely singer performing a mournful Korean song…

What's a festival without a fan dance?

What’s a festival without a fan dance?

Didn't know they even had a Korean school in Columbia.  But it was nice to see so many hanguk-saram in my midst again.

Didn’t know they even had a Korean school in Columbia. But it was nice to see so many hanguk-saram in my midst again.


The highlight of the day for me was nailing parallel parking on my FIRST try!

The highlight of the day for me was nailing parallel parking on my FIRST try!