Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm thankful for...

Last week, as many of you may know, was American Thanksgiving, where families (in accordance with American holiday tradition) gather together to stuff their faces and general remind each other of why they only do this once a year. Thanksgiving is, to me, a very important and special holiday for just that reason, so it's a pretty big bummer for me to not be with my family on Thanksgiving.

It was worse for me during my senior year in college, when I decided it wasn't worth the expense and time to fly to Houston (from DC), drive to Dallas, drive back, and fly back to DC all in the span of about 5 days, so I elected to stay in my apartment for the holiday. Of course, I was surrounded by all sorts of Thanksgiving stuff, so it killed me a little to not be with my family. (Thanks to a friend of mine staying in the city as well, there was still a wonderful dinner at a lovely restaurant.) This year, however, being in Korea made it a bit better, as I wasn't completely surrounded by American Thanksgiving (except in my classes, but that was all brought on by myself). That, plus my Korea family over here, made for Thursday that went by with only a small pang of homesickness.

That said, I DID have a thanksgiving with a family (albeit one to whom I am not related by a shared ancestry), and that's just one of the


  • I am thankful for bit torrenting and relatively fast download speeds. This way, I can keep up with my stories from afar and continue the slow, inevitable melting process that is consuming my brain.
  • I am thankful for the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo, for reminding me just what a good person I really am.
  • I am thankful for Regretsy (and specifically this post, very NSFW), because when you see it, you will shit bricks
  • I am thankful for Sesame Street and the fine folks at PBS and the Children's Television Workshop, for making their content readily available on the internet, taking care of so much of my lesson planning for me.
  • I am thankful to Korea for providing me with a cheap but fascinating place to live, endless sights to see, an abundance of delicious food, and a daily reminder of the importance of personal hygeine.
  • I am thankful to the inventors of "time zones" for providing me with a wonderful experience in time travelling, so that I can live in the future (relative to people back in the States)
  • Most of all, I am thankful to the amazing people I have met here, who have become, with no hyperbole, my Korea Family.
  • What I'm really thankful for, however, was the Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. 
I arrived at my friends Lionel and Mel's place on Friday evening to begin our American culinary adventure. Armed with (what seemed like) hundreds of pounds of groceries, a determined will, and Good Old-Fashioned American Ingenuity, we commenced our foray into creating a Thanksgiving in a country that does not cook western food. And Thanksgiving is, of course, ALL western.
    Friday night started out...with some difficulties. Though our intention was to grab a quick bite to eat before heading up to Songtan to start baking, Jill's interesting bus ride (going the wrong way, finding the wrong bus terminal, taking seventy billion years to get to the Liomel's place) quickly nixed that plan. "Fine," I said to no one in particular (and likely worrying the natives about my mental state), "I shall simply head directly to Melionel's househome and hang out with them. And possibly eat dinner."

    As a testament to what good friends they are, they even shared some of their dinner with me. 

    The three of us - Lionel, Mel, and myself - lounged on the couch watching Arrested Development (the best show ever created) as we waited for Jill to arrive from her journey of terror. Finally, she made it, and I announced that the baking was indeed to commence.

    Note the time: 8pm

    The pie crusts started out fairly smoothly. The dough was made with little difficulty (but giant mess, as pie crust often makes), and I left the dough to cool while Melanie and Jill made their fillings for the pies. The first batch of pie crust came out beautifully. It rolled smoothly on the floured formica countertop, behaving completely appropriately as I lovingly laid it into the pie tins. The second dough...well, the second dough was made with a suspicious flour. It was NOT Gold brand all-purpose flour, but rather the Korean "Beksul" brand, which (though I am not sure) is likely made out of something ludicrous like dandelions. This dough simply would not roll. I cajoled and harassed, begged and pleaded, but NO DICE. Fortunately, there was enough dough left over from the first batch to complete the other two pie shells.

    And then it was time for the macaroni and cheese. Naturally, I became completely unable to open a bag of pasta, and my first attempt successfully spilled about a half a cup all over myself, the counter, and the kitchen floor. Fortunately Lionel and Mel have a dog.

    At some point, Meg showed up and bothered everyone (and also made stuffing, which was delish, and mashed potatoes (though those came later), which were also delish), and a pie was baked and another pie started and then it was 2:30am and OH EMME GEE IT IS TIME FOR BED. This was the plan: We would go to bed, and wake up at 8am to finish cooking in just enough time to put the turkey in at 9am. So I set my alarm, fully expecting other humans to wake up as well.

    THIS DID NOT HAPPEN (I know, it's shocking). I woke up at 8:30...and no one else did. I threw the last pie in the oven (the tiny, tiny oven that could only hold a single pie at a time, but thank goodness it existed at all), and noticed our savior: the Butterball directions, which shaved two hours off our terrible estimate of the turkey cooking time. I sent Lionel back to bed (when he finally dragged himself out of bed), and collapsed on the couch to wait on the pie to finish.

    The alarm buzzed and I checked the a cold oven. JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.

    Long story short (too late!), we put the turkey in the oven, and one by one the guests arrived. And you arrived and you arrived and you arrived and you arrived and--


    Picture it: the turkey finishes to a delicious golden brown, and I am passed the drippings. I open the cornstarch to get started on the gravy, and BAM!

    Cornstarch everywhere.

    Chalk that up to another of Nolen's Thanksgiving (minor) Disasters.

    The gravy's done, the table's set, and the 16 of us dig in to an incredible Thanksgiving feast. Special thanks to Andrea for her delicious cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, rolls and CINNAMON BUTTER.

    The feast was amazing, the company better. Crashing on the couch after a marathon two days of cooking never felt so sweet. 

    So the last thing I'm thankful for: I'm thankful for everyone who made this Thanksgiving the best Thanksgiving in Korea, EVER.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    North vs. South, again

    The scene on Yeonpyeong-do late this afternoon. Photo via

    I know it's right after a Foreign Lands roundup, but this probably shouldn't wait until next week. So, kids, here's the deal. The North fired some shells on an inhabited island near the disputed maritime border between North and South Korea today. This was ostensibly in response to a provocative exercise by the South Koreans, though the South Korean government is denying the claims that any shells came close to the boundary. This is a fairly big deal because instead of firing upon a military target, the North Koreans fired on civilian targets - homes and businesses on the island of Yeonpyeong. The South Korean and American militaries are on heightened alerts, with South Korean fighter jets being (apparently) scrambled near the border and South Korean troops at the ready. More can be read here, here, and here.

    Of course, most of this information is fairly shaky at best - South Korea is not exactly known for its stellar journalistic practices (barest foundation for this fourth-person hearsay? LET'S PUBLISH AS UNQUALIFIED FACT!), and that goes double for the shitty Korean English-language news outlets, so the precise situation is not exactly known, and probably won't be known until tomorrow morning. But I figured some of you might be curious, so I am going to go ahead and give you my gut reaction to all this.

    To me, this feels like the sinking of the Cheonan, which happened back in March of this year. It was one of the most deadly attacks on South Korea since the cease fire in 1953, and was a real tragedy for this country. But ultimately, in the grand scheme of things - nothing happened. Well that's not precisely true. Most of the last vestiges of the Sunshine policy of President Roh Moo-hyun (which had largely been gutted by current president Lee Myeong-bak in previous years) were reversed, and business continued on as normal in the South. The GNP talked big, but, as expected, did little.

    Nor, on the other hand, did North Korea. Really. Nothing - and I mean literally nothing - came of the Cheonan incident other than people talked about what to do with a problem like North Korea. My gut reaction is that this incident will ultimately be similar - North Korea putting on a show of violence that is as much to shore up support amongst the top-ranking party officials for the impending transition of power from Kim Jong Il as it is to regain international attention as they seek to restart the 6 party diplomatic talks.

    That's sort of the beauty of this strategy. While I'm not 100% sure that the talks would go their way, they have pretty much forced the other five nations (Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the US) to agree at least in principle in order to avoid further violence. I'm betting that sometime during 2011, we'll be hearing about new rounds of talks between the six nations. Neither South Korea nor North Korea really wants all-out war - it would be way too destabilizing in the north, and I'm not sure the south is convinced it could win in a war with North Korea - 700,000 troops vs 3 million is a fairly daunting disadvantage.

    So there you go - I believe, at this moment, that this was a one-off, isolated incident. The problem, though, is North Korea sees these isolated incidents as viable ways to get the rest of the world to pay attention, and will almost certainly continue to do them whenever they need something. The key here is to stop treating North Korea like a petulant child - it just reinforces their behavior. What's more, I think it does us a real disservice in terms of our own abilities to understand and think through situations involving North Korea when we write it off as a child. It would behoove us to put ourselves in the shoes of Kim Jong Il and do a bit of critical thinking to try to figure out what they want and what they would be willing to sacrifice to get it. Only then will the outside world be able to come up with a workable strategy to successfully interact with/contain/isolate/solve North Korea.

    Oh yeah basic message: I'm fine over here, guys. No need to worry.

    Foreign Lands Roundup

    Okay guys here's the deal. Last week I didn't do a foreign lands round-up. Which you should probably get over because a once a weekly updated blog about foreign lands should not be your primary resource for learning about The World Around You. BUT ALSO IN MY DEFENSE: basically nothing had happened. There really was only one event of any real importance, the G-20 meeting in Seoul, and basically nothing happened there. I'll try to summarize for you:

    • CURRENCY WARS!!!!!!
    That's not really what happened. What really happened was that the United States and everybody else has been worried for a really long time that China has been keeping its currency artificially depressed, which is doing any number of bad things to the world economy, not least of which being hurting current account balances and trade deficits. So everyone has been all like "Ugh CHINA just let your currency rise already!" and China has been like "Um dudes hellz to the naw, we likes being net exporters plus also hello inflation much??"

    Then, a few days before the G20 summit, the US Feds decided to enact a program of Quantitative Easing, in which they attempt to ease some numbers or whatever (just kidding, they are putting more dollars into the market by buying their own bonds back). The problem with this, some people are whining, is that it will have the same overall effect on the US Dollar as China's policy of artificial deflation - in essence, the value of the dollar will be kept down. So everyone else was REAL upset with both the US and China, so people were all like "OMG G20 CURRENCY WARS, Y'ALL!" because they expected everyone to fight everyone else about dollars and yuan and other monopoly monies.

    Of course, this didn't happen. Because things like these rarely happen, especially when something as important as artificial depression of currency values is on the line. I MEAN.

    So that was the G-20 summit in Seoul. Moving right along to the present day, here's this weeks

    Foreign Lands Roundup

    No, Mr. Cowen, we don't think the PIGS name is a good idea either.

    •  The moronically named PIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) experienced a bit of a setback in their quest to no longer be the World's Worst Developed Nations. Ireland, a country with a fantastic current account balance (government expenditures relative to income are, in fact, some of the lowest in the EU) if you ignore the whole "we have pumped ludicriously large amounts of money into propping up the failing banking system" thing, finally admitted that its economy was basically in the shitter. Following the unilateral announcement (Taoiseach Brian Cowen would like me to stress that they absolutely did NOT ask for this) from the EU that a bailout package would be offered, world markets were in a scramble last week, all but certain that the European economy was on the verge of crumbling into a pit of despair. As of  publication, this has not happened. [BBC News]
    Not this Madagascar. Though the politics are sometimes just as funny.
    • Madagascar (the country, not the children's animated movie franchise) experienced a coup this week, or possibly it didn't, depending on whom you ask. Yes, that was the correct usage of the word whom. Take note, failed American high school students. Madagascar is no stranger to coups, however, so it came as no surprise to find out that Mr. Rajoelina had been ousted just a year and a half or so after a coup brought him into power. That the two coups were led by the same human was only marginally more shocking. Here's the thing about this coup, though: turns out it wasn't. A coup, I mean. Within a few hours,  Mr. Rajoelina showed up to smile, wave, and prove to everyone that he was just fine and not couped out off office, thanks very much. So it turns out there was actually no news from Madagascar, except the referendum on the Malagasy constitution which will probably end up letting Andry Rajoelina stay in power until forever. [Economist]
    She is beautiful. He looks like a horse. What is this, an American sitcom??
    • Debate the newsworthiness of this all you want, nerds, but I'm talking about it anyway! That's right, here's your post about the impending nuptials between Kate Middleton and Prince William. This has spurred the usual remarks about the relevance of the British monarchy, the importance of marriage in the modern age, and whether or not Kate Middleton will be the next Princess Diana. All of which is, to a fairly large extent, useless. But what is not useless is this: it will be nice for the world to have something that is just pleasant to focus on for a while. Seriously guys. We hear so so much about the bad crap that goes on around us that I for one am unabashedly looking forward to gratuitous articles about wedding planning, who will be wearing what, and who is going/who got snubbed. Deal with it, and mazel tov to the happy couple. I shall have to get a new hat. [BBC News]

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    No Ma'am November

    Okay, okay, so it's two weeks into this thing. But let's just pretend I had a reason for waiting this long that isn't "laziness" or something similar, alright? Let's go with "I was trying to make sure I would actually stick to this plan before writing about it." I think that sounds pretty good.

    So it's November, and that means a couple things: the weather turns colder, the leaves fall off the trees, and everything around you dies (seriously, that's why autumn is the season of tragedy, not winter. Winter is irony). November is also the month where the holiday season looms large - a season filled with excess and indulgence - and this year, I wanted to make the most of this last month before it all goes straight to hell (not that I dislike Christmas, it's actually my favorite holiday because it lasts for SO LONG).

    This year, I decided it would be time to institute a "No-ma'am-November" policy, entailing three things:
    1. No Spending Money
    2. No Drinking Alcohol
    3. No Shaving
    Let's take them individually.

    • No Spending Money
    This one is fairly simple. Do not spend money unless you absolutely need to. Now, this is kind of difficult - do I really need that sweater (it is getting fairly cold, after all), or do I just want it? Can it wait until December? The answer here is difficult to determine sometimes, so I've set myself a budget. I won't disclose numbers, for judgment, but suffice it to say that I'll be going on less than half of what I've been spending in previous months. The added side effect of this is that a) I'm saving up boatloads of money and b) I am finding new things to do with my time. Like Japanese dramas! Sidebar: everyone needs to start watching The Liar Game NOW.

    Related to no spending money is the next - and perhaps most difficult - part of No Ma'am November.

    • No Drinking Alcohol
    Drinking alcohol in Korea is a bit swimming in water for a fish. It's how you relax and unwind and finally let go of the stresses of the work week. It's enjoyed by natives and expats alike, and deciding to take an ENTIRE month off generally elicits reactions of "what's wrong with you? are you an alcoholic?" and faces that make it seem as if you'd just announced you were going to put a casino on the moon.
    Jim Gaffigan - People Who Don't Drink
    Jim Gaffigan Hot Pocket VideoJim Gaffigan Bacon VideoAll Jim Gaffigan Videos

    But so far, I've managed to successfully not drink this whole month. It's had some great effects - I've been losing weight, and I've been saving a TON of money. In addition, I haven't really had to give up time with my friends, though being the sober one can get, well, tiring. For want of a more judicial word.

    It's been 16 days since my last drink. Do I get a chip or something for this? I am pretty sure I deserve at least a gold star or something.

    Last, but not least (well maybe least), is:
    • No Shave November
    This is exactly as it sounds. It is a fairly common trope for this month to not shave - as the weather gets colder and clothes get longer, it becomes okay to stop shaving those parts that most of the year people expect to be clean shaven. In this spirit, I am not shaving for the WHOLE month, and it's becoming incredibly itchy.

    On the plus side, though, I am growing a FANTASTIC beard. Check me out!

    You're welcome.
    So that's No Ma'am November. It's been going well so far, and I'm over the halfway hump. I'm pretty proud of myself so far, and I'm considering carrying a few of these things over into December. Definitely the beard, for sure.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Foreign Lands Roundup

    Happy Daylight Savings Time, America! I hope you remembered to set your iPhones back an hour, or the LeprechaunWitchFairy will come and steal your first born! Or possibly give you a dollar. I forget which.

    You may not know this, America, but not everywhere has your fancy Congress with its power to effect the space-time continuum with a single legislative vote! Well two legislative votes. And then a Conference Committee from both chambers, and then two more votes and then the presidential signature. So it turns out it's quite a lot. But still! Not everywhere can do this, and one of the places that cannot change time via magic or whatever is Foreign Lands, where your author is currently residing. So keeping that in mind (and thus recognizing that you are currently another hour behind Foreign Lands), I give you the roundup of what happened this week! Hooray!

    Kathryn Bigelow presents: Greece (photo via)
    • Greece last week was terrorized by a series of bomb scares. "So what who cares?" you are probably saying to yourself, "Why just last week, we had our OWN bomb scare and THAT ONE WAS FEDEXED." Well you are right, America! Who cares indeed! Mostly, the people who care are the people at various embassies in Greece (any of whom happen to be looking for new staffers, I am mostly not scared of opening the mail! HINT, HINT!) Also scared of this nonsense are probably the people who open the mail for Sarkozy and Merkel. I guess the Greek wannabe-bombers did not want other, less messed up European leaders to feel left out, so he or she was kind enough to send some bombs to the French and German presidents. Being too badass to be deterred by something as small as a "mail bomb", Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel continued to open mail like a bandit this week. [RTE]
    Be careful, Mr. President! Do not wear a hat, or you will show everyone your secret Muslim identity!  (photo via)
    • Following the serious drubbing/tail kicking/better than expected showing in the congressional elections last week, Ol' Barry Bamz took his emo self and did what most of us would do when the guy we THOUGHT liked us but was really just using us for our hope/spare change for tolls: he hopped on a plane and jetted for someplace warm. Of course, for most of us, that place would be somewhere like "the south of France" or "Tahiti" or "Pensacola Beach, FL". But not ol' NObama. No he decided to go to a place of "strategic importance" or whatever (meaning filled with poor people and also guns) - India. Naturally, when one goes to India, one goes to various Eastern-flavored temples, and when one goes to these temples, one often has to wear headgear. Kind of like when I went to the orthodontist in 8th grade! Of course, we all know what this means: OBAMA IS A MUSLIM. So it's up in the air whether or not he will actually go to said temple. Also apparently the Indian security is concerned about murderous coconuts trying to kill the president (most likely sent by John Boehner). ALSO ALSO: Guys chill. This trip is NOT costing $200M per day. The WAR IN AFGHANISTAN does not cost $200M per day. [BBC News]
    This man is a douchebag dictator. He is also a winner. (photo via)
    • Burma held elections for the first time in 20 years this week. OH NO, you say, HE IS GOING ON ABOUT ELECTIONS AGAIN.  Yes that's right! I am! It's my blog and I like elections so deal. ANYWAY. Burma held elections, and HERE COMES THE JOKE...Do you know how we can tell Burma is NOT a democracy?

               ...Because it's run by a fairly brutal dictator named General Than Shwe and actively engages in              oppression of its citizens. THeir party-backed candidates are set to sweep the elections. Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week. Tip your waiters, they probably have family in Burma who need the money. [Reuters]

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    A sample lesson, in play format.

    THE SETTING. A run-down classroom in a run-down school in a Seoul exurb. 

    THE PLAYERS. A beaten-down teacher and the group of fifth graders he tries to teach.

    Curtains up on the classroom. We start in the middle of the lesson, about present continuous verbs.

    TEACHER: Alright kids, let's open our books to page 113. Do you see page 113?


    TEACHER: Page 113? Yes?


    TEACHER: Okay really guys, page 113.

    STUDENTS: (mumble something incoherently in Korean)

    TEACHER: Great. Now please read the first sentence aloud. 3...2...1!

    STUDENTS: (on cue, as this is the only way to get them to speak) We are going to the jew to see the ryans.

    TEACHER: (blanching just a little) Okay...let's try that again. Repeat after me, "zoo".

    STUDENTS: Jew.

    TEACHER: Zoo.

    STUDENTS: Jew.



    TEACHER: (with a resigned sigh) Fine. Let's try another one. Repeat after me, "lions".

    STUDENTS: Ryans.

    TEACHER: (holding the 'l' for exaggeration) Lllllllions

    STUDENTS: (mimicking) Rrrrrrryans.

    TEACHER: (jumps out the window)

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Politics, she is a harsh mistress

    I haven't really done much actual political speaking on this blog. Sure I've got the foreign lands round-up, and from that you probably should have guessed that I'm fairly left-leaning in my own personal politics. So when I woke up this morning and turned on my computer, it was with the heavy sense of dread that had been looming over me for the last several weeks. Glued to my computer screen throughout the day today, I watched with sadness as a whole host of politicians I admire - and a few I didn't - lost their races for re-election. There was the whole host of midwestern politicians, from Earl Pomeroy and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin of the Dakotas to, well basically the whole Ohio delegation. Add to that, the surprise (and surprisingly painful) losses in a couple Virginia races, as well as a few important politicians in the Southwest (I say important because their input would have been invaluable on any immigration reform legislation). Though there are still a few outstanding races to be called, it was an unambiguously bad night to be a Democrat.

    But sitting here in my classroom in Osan, South Korea, I take heart in a couple of things. First, American politics is, as it always has been, a regression towards the mean. This cycle, the pendulum swung - hard - to the right, but I truly do not believe that it will stay there. The economy will perk back up, people will become happier with their lives, and it will be far harder to tap into the fear and anger that I believe drove (at least in part) the dynamics of this election. Hopefully (for supporters of the Democratic party), this election will serve as a wake-up call to the party, reminding us that the optics of the situation matter just as much as the actual facts - sometimes, the message does indeed get lost in the medium, and we would be very wise to wake up to the media.

    Second, while things will be tough for Democrats in the House, the fact is they still control the Presidency and the Senate. What's more, when you look at the Republicans who have won Democratic seats - guys like Mark Kirk of Illinois and John Hoeven of North Dakota (yes there's a lot of Midwestern politician love, deal with it) - these are not the fringe candidates we've seen in the media. These are intelligent, moderate gentlemen with good heads on their shoulders and an actual ability and desire to work across the aisle.

    Third, I look at my peers, the members of my generation, and specifically my group of friends. I grew up a liberal in the state of Texas, living in one of the reddest of congressional districts - I quickly and instinctively developed an ability talk with, work with, laugh with, and most  importantly understand people with differing political ideologies. I developed an ability to articulate my beliefs and an ability to accept opposing viewpoints in others. What's more is that when I look at my closest friends, I see the same thing. We are not all liberals, or conservatives, or libertarians, or Neo-Nazis or Pagans or Socialists or Islamofacists or Gun Nuts or White Supremacists. In fact, I would argue that NONE of us are any of those things (excluding the political ideologies)'s all just too extreme for us. We - this generation as a whole - are a group of people who oppose extremism, who look for the middle of the road, but who are willing to stand our ground when it comes to our beliefs. We talk with each other, we compromise, we are diverse, and we do not let that stop us from having personal relationships and what's more, we eschew those people would try to push us to one extreme ideology or the other. And that is the future. That is where America is heading and it is my generation who is going to lead us there.

    A final note: I am a political junkie. I readily admit this. I LOVE elections more than I care to admit in polite conversation, and I look forward to my next opportunity to work on one. But politics is a harsh mistress. Because you go through nights like this, or '08 for my Republican friends, and you feel hurt. You feel like you've been punched in the gut or hit in the face with a brick. The thing is, it hurts so good. You can't get enough of it because you know that the high of winning is a high like none other. You crave the long hours and sleepless nights, and you can't understand the concept of "free time in October". Politics - elections in particular - beats you down. And you keep coming back for more.

    And I wouldn't have it any other way.

    See you all in '12.

    [EDIT: 4:11pm] Sorry, I feel like a terrible jerk to all my friends out there: I did, in fact, intend to add a mention of congratulations to all my friends whose blood, sweat, and tears poured into these campaigns made them a success. Enjoy your evening, and get ready for the hard part.

    No, not the governing, the waiting until the next election season...


    Look. I've been busy. And preoccupied! What with "having a life" and "watching elections", it's been a pretty busy past couple of weeks for me. Plus it's freezing in my classroom which makes typing hard. But HERE YOU ARE, INGRATES.

    President Dilma Rousseff. A lady with lady parts running Brazil.

    • It was a pretty scary week before Halloween. The American midterm elections rolled into their last week, which in itself was terrifying, especially with all the mediocre comedy playing out in a situation filled with so many possibilities. Brazil, on the other hand, actually had an election, Their second one, in fact! And this time they actually CHOSE A LEADER! Which is just crazy talk. Who even knew that would be possible? Not only did they choose a leader, but it turns out they chose a lady leader! Hopefully she will be able to overcome this disability (being a lady) and actually lead a country. Good for her!
    Pretty sure God is actively trying to destroy Indonesia.
    •  Apparently God Hates Indonesia. ON THE SAME DAY, this country had not one, but two major disasters strike - the eruption of the volcano Merapi at one end of the archipelago, and an earthquake triggering a tsunami at the other end. There's really not much comedy to be found just sucks. So probably you should all just throw some money at Indonesia. And remember how much worse off some people have it than you.
    Good night, sweet prince. And may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
    • In ACTUAL tragic news, however, PAUL THE OCTOPUS, the famed psychic who successfully predicted the outcome of the FIFA World Cup this summer (doesn't that just seem like a lifetime ago?) has died! This is terrible. Now we no longer have an animal to predict outcomes for us...whatever shall we do?? Let us mourn the loss of this beloved creature, but celebrate his life, and remember the fond times we had this summer when an octopus ate food and predicted Germany's loss to whomever it was.