Thursday, November 11, 2010

"This Is How Michael Caine Speaks" - Brydon VS Coogan.

Brydon takes it, imho. Though Coogan's 'loud' & 'broken' is spot on.  Too funny.

Best review of GWB's memoir - "Astounding as it appears, we misoverestimated him."

Hilarious & on point.

Matthew Norman: How did this wastrel ever find his way to the White House? - Matthew Norman, Commentators - The Independent:
"...It takes a certain minimal intelligence for the truly dim to have a notion of their own dimness, but this is denied him. Unlike Mr Tony Blair, who emerges from his well-calibrated if often chilling memoir as a man of colossal cleverness (though not intellect), W has the self-awareness of a bison. There seems even less to him than met the eye, and there was precious little of that. Astounding as it appears, we misoverestimated him.

...For the two imbecile wars he began, for condoning torture by denying waterboarding was torture at all on the grounds that his lawyers said it was legal; for turning the surplus he inherited from Bill Clinton into the crippling deficit that is bringing the age of American hegemony to a startlingly abrupt end; and for being the pitiably Wagnerian fool who stumbled on to the grandest stage without any apparent clue why or for what earthly purpose, there he will forever remain."

Japan's 'homogeneous' recalcitrance to change.

Some excellent points made in the full article, at the link.

'Homogeneous,' 'unique' myths stunt discourse | The Japan Times Online:
"Last month I attended an international lecture by one of Japanology's senior scholars. I'll call him Dr. Frink. Decorated by the Japanese government for his contributions to the field, he talked about Japan as a 'unique' state that never really changes, even as it slips to third place behind China's economy.

One reason he gave for this was that 'Japan is still the most homogeneous society in the world.' He defined homogeneity by citing Japan's tiny percentage of resident foreigners.

That was easily disputed after a quick Google search (the lecture hall had Internet; welcome to the 21st century). I raised my hand afterwards and pointed out that some 60 countries were technically 'more homogeneous' than Japan, as they have smaller percentages of foreigners, foreign-born residents and immigrants.

...this column will focus on a much deeper problem in Dr. Frink's school of scholarly discourse: The fixation on Japan's "uniqueness," and how a cult of Japanese homogeneity interferes with good social science.

Search academic databases for publications in Japan Studies. Quite a few of them (some with Japanese authors espousing their own uniqueness) toe the line of "Japan behaves this way because it is homogeneous, etc." Scholar Harumi Befu has written books on how this has crystallized into a pseudoscience called Nihonjinron, affecting debate worldwide.

There is a political dimension to all this: the politics of maintaining the status quo.

The Japanese government funds chairs and departments (especially in Japan) to influence the direction of Japan Studies, and is nowadays attracting students to focus on "soft power," "cool Japan" cultural exotica.

The point is, ruling elites in Japan are perfectly happy with Japan being portrayed as preternaturally intransigent — due to historical, cultural, geographical or whatever reasons — because they like Japan as it is.

However, for the rest of the people living in Japan, this status quo is sending us down a road of obsolescence..."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh god, have officially decided when I'll miss Japan the most - KFC @ Christmas.

Sigh. Tears. I now live in a country without a single KFC. It's just wrong, is what it is.

Fried Chicken + Christmas in Japan | Japan Probe:
"The Christmas season is approaching, and in Japan that means it’s time to eat some fried chicken! Kentucky Fried Chicken is the traditional powerhouse of x-mas chicken in Japan..."

"Put me in the gas chamber - and watch me inhale..." Ice-T Old School FTW.

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers - Atheists Don't Have No Songs.

Having Sundays Free WIN.Via Steve Martin's gospel song for atheists - Boing Boing

Japan remains a magical place.

Bloody Samurai - V8/Vodka/Wasabi/Worcestershire/Salt&Pepper - I'm a genius/you're welcome.

Obviously a variation on the classic Bloody Mary.  And while there are versions called Bloody Geisha/Bloody Ninja - where you replace the vodka with sake [must try, btw] and Bloody Shogun - replacing the horseradish w/wasabi and the worcestershire w/teriyaki sauce - I haven't found a variation [online, at least] of what I've thrown together.

So, first we take the classic Bloody Mary (cocktail) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"...recipe as taught by the New York School of Bartending:
1 oz. to 1.5 oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
Fill glass with tomato juice
1 dash celery salt
1 dash ground black pepper
1 dash Tabasco sauce
2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
Dash of lemon or lime juice
Garnish with celery stalk.
May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired."
Then, we adjust for the lazy Japanophile. Omit the celery salt, the tabasco, the horseradish, the lemon or lime juice & the celery stalk. Use V8 or tomato juice, vodka or sake [see below], worcestershire, salt & pepper. Fewer ingredients, the better. And it must be shaken, not stirred, especially since you're omitting the celery.

So now, the official recipes for the:

"Bloody Samurai"
V8 or Tomato Juice [to taste]*
Vodka [to taste]
Wasabi [to taste]
Worcestershire Sauce [to taste]
Salt & Pepper [to taste]
Shaken, with ice.
"Bloody Samurai's Revenge"
V8 or Tomato Juice [to taste]
Sake [to taste]
Wasabi [to taste]
Worcestershire Sauce [to taste]
Salt & Pepper [to taste]
Shaken, with ice.
*All ingredients "to taste" because who am I to tell you what to do? You know what you like, ignore me.  Besides, I don't measure anything. [I have this recurring memory of Dom DeLuise, in his cooking stint, appearing on some daytime talk show shouting "Measure Everything!" while throwing ingredients around haphazardly like a madperson. Defines my cooking and drinking styles, that - And Dom DeLuise was a funny dude.]

All I know is I dig the saltiness of the tomato juice, the savory feel of the worcestershire and the spicy kick of the wasabi. Plus, you know, the alcohol doesn't hurt.