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I am personally bringing a gun, or preferentially, a jet plane:

The training begins on 5 a.m. The fundamental of the training is to turn the entire body into steely firmness, and the basic part is training the fist.

Punching bags and such, right? Maybe crack some cinder blocks if you’re up for it?

Mr. Im said, “You would wrap a tree trunk with ropes, and keep punching it. You throw 5000 punches day and night — do that for a month, the inside of your fist swells up until you can barely curl your fingers.” He added, “Then you open a tin can and set it up on a stand. You keep punching the sharp part. When your hand turns into mush with blood and pus, you start punching a pile of salt. Repeat it, and your hands become like a stone.” Mr. Im explained, “You punch the salt so that the salt would prevent the hand from rotting away with the blood.” According to Mr. Im, with the hand trained like this “you can easily break 20 sheets of cement blocks, and you can kill a person with three punches.” His hands would naturally make a fist throughout the interview. This reporter had to respectfully ask that he unclench his fist during the interview.

Now what if I I just run you over with my car?

The way to train shoulder and arm muscles was also unique. Mr. Im said, “You would take off your top, line up, put your hands on the shoulder of the person in front of you and put your head down. And then a car would drive on top of the outstretched arms.” He explained, “The car goes fast enough not to break your arms, but if you don’t concentrate your shoulder would be destroyed.”

And you better bring some friends along…

In a martial art called “Gyeok-sul,” the special forces train by sparring each other. Mr. Im said, “Kim Il-Sung used to say he wanted a warrior who can defeat a hundred, but honestly that’s not possible. But we get trained enough to fight ten men without guns.”

Sometimes they like to take a nice swim.

In the winter, according to Mr. Im, the special forces are thrown into the sea around 4 km [TK: 2.5 miles] away. Mr. Im said, “The ocean temperature is about negative 30-40 degrees in North Korea in the middle of winter,” and said “The salt water feels like blades; the capillaries all over your body burst out, and some people just die there.”

Cool. Co-coo-cool.

Via Hunter-Gatherer, who got it originally from Ask a Korean.

Why I Never Plan to Go to Africa

 One exacting condition of the environment that we encountered was the constant exposure to disease. Dysentery epidemics were so severe and frequent that we scarcely allowed ourselves to eat any food that had not been cooked or that we had not peeled ourselves. In general, it was necessary to boil all drinking water. We dared not allow our bare feet to touch a floor of the ground for fear of jiggers which burrow into the skin of the feet. Scarcely ever when below 6,000 feet were we safe after sundown to step from behind mosquito netting or to go out without thorough protection against the malaria pests. These malaria mosquitoes which include many varieties are largely night feeders. They were thought to come out soon after sundown. We were advised that the most dangerous places for becoming infected were the public eating houses, since the mosquitoes hide under the tables and attack the diner’s ankles if they are not adequately protected. We rigidly followed the precaution of providing adequate protection against these pests. Disease-carrying ticks were so abundant in the grass and shrubbery that we had to be on guard constantly to remove them from our clothing before they buried themselves in our flesh. They were often carriers of very severe fevers. We had to be most careful not to touch the hides with which the natives protected their bodies from the cold at night and from the sun in the daytime without thorough sterilization following any contact. There was grave danger from the lice that infected the hair of the hides. We dared not enter several districts because of the dreaded tsetse fly and the sleeping sickness it carries. One wonders at the apparent health of the natives until he learns of the unique immunity they have developed and which is largely transmitted to the offspring. In several districts we were told that practically every living native had had typhus fever and was immune, though the lice from their bodies could transmit the disease.

– Isolated & Modern African Tribes, Chapter 9, “Nutrition & Physical Degenaration” by Dr. Weston A. Price  

I Love Community Too Much

Mmmm. Movies. They are delicious, aren’t they? Every year, they make new movies, and every year, I watch some of the new movies that they make that year. They aren’t always very delicious; some might be down-right bad (here’s lookin at you, “Prince of Persia”), but then sometimes… you find something special.

I’ve found that it’s easier to the pick the winners & avoid the losers if I lay some groundwork, do some IMDB’ing, check the facts, keep up with the buzz…

So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve gone through the films that’ll be hitting theatres o’ the world in 2011, and these are the ones that were left standing.

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Thomas Alfredson. Added because: Alfredson’s “Let The Right One In” was one of the best films made in the last decade, and this adaptation of a le Carré book looks just about as lovely as it gets. Starring Gary Oldman, with Tom Hardy (“Inception”), Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock ‘effin Holmes!).
  • The Tree of Life – Terrence Malick. Added because it’s a movie by Terrence Malick, one of the United States’ greatest living directors. It stars Brad Pitt & Sean Penn.
  • X-Men: First Class – Matthew Vaughn. Coming off the hysterical “Kick-Ass”, Vaughn should be primed and ready to deliver something interesting with this film. I’m not saying it’s gonna win an Oscar or anything, but I think it’s easily gonna be the best X-Men film since the second one (which isn’t saying much, I know). I’m looking forward to seeing January Jones as Emma Frost.
  • Young Adult – Jason Reitman. “Up In the Air” was a great film, if somewhat forgettable, but Jason Reitman is easily one of the best young directors in Hollywood. This script is from Diablo Cody, who wrote “Juno”. Starring Charlize Theron.
  • Super-8 – JJ Abrams. Nobody knows what this film is about. We just know it’s from Abrams, it’s probably about aliens and maybe a train? It’s starring one of my favourite TV actors, Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”).
  • Source Code Duncan Jones. Moon” was a superb sci-fi movie, and Duncan Jones follows that with a time-travel story starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The trailer looked a bit too heavy on action for me, but I’m looking forward to this nonetheless.
  • War Horse – Steven Spielberg. Any film from Spielberg is a film that I’ll be watching. This one looks like it’s gonna be a tear-gusher.
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn – Steven Spielberg. Produced by Peter Jackson. It has a lovely cast. It’s gonna be awesome.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Fincher. This guy is a bit hit & miss with me. “The Social Network” was mind-blowing; “Benjamin Button” was the very definition of trite & tedious Oscar bait. All his films have a great vision and scope though, so I’m looking forward to seeing this re-make of sorts. The original wasn’t half-bad, you know.
  • Red StateKevin Smith. This is a horror movie from a guy whose last film was one of 2010’s worst. I don’t like horror movies, and I dislike most Kevin Smith movies, but this one stars John Goodman and… it looks kinda intriguing. I’ll have to listen to the buzz before seeing it though. Kevin Smith is on probation.
  • ContagionSteven Soderbergh. I’ll watch any major studio film by the hands of Soderbergh, and even though this one sounds a bit too heavy on the action for me, I’m intrigued by the cast: Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston, John Hawkes, Jennifer Ehle, Elliott Gould and Demetri Martin.
  • Sherlock Holmes 2Guy Ritchie. Great cast, middling film, poor story – the sequel? Looks like it. I’ll have to see for myself though.
  • The Hangover 2Todd Phillips. I have my doubts about this one, but the first one was more fun than it had any right to be, and the only cast-addition seems to be… Liam Neeson. I’ll be watching.
  • The Muppet Movie James Bobin. I like the Muppets, and I like Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller; the two guys who wrote (and the former is starring as well) this movie. One for the ages? Impossible to say, but until the buzz says different, I’ll surely be buying a ticket.
  • A Dangerous MethodDavid Cronenberg. A film about Jung and Freud, duking it out over a female played by Keira Knightley? The former two are played by Viggo Mortensen and Micheal Fassbender.
  • Hugo CabretMartin Scorsese. This will be Scorsese’s first kid-oriented film, and also his first 3D-film. Doesn’t matter though; I’d watch anything he’ll bother to make.
  • MoneyballBennett Miller. The script is by the incomparable Aaron Sorkin, and it stars Brad Pitt & Seymour Hoffman.
  • 30 Minutes or Less Robin Fleischer. “Zombieland” was one of 2009’s best films, so this comedy from the same director has my attention. The cast augurs well for its chances.
  • Your Highness David Gordon Green. I didn’t care for “Pineapple Express”, but this fantasy-romp looks like it could be great. Hopefully they manage to tell a good story with real heart between the dick jokes.
  • Cowboys & Aliens Jon Favreau. I’ve read the shit-poor comic. I’ve seen the awesome-looking trailer. Westerns and aliens are two of my favourite things, and the same can be said for Craig & Harrison Ford.
  • Kung-Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom Jennifer Yuh. The first one was more enjoyable than I ever thought it could be. This sequel has had a script polish from Charlie Kaufman. In a year without a proper Pixar film (Cars 2?!), this may be the best animated feature of 2011 until Tintin comes out.
  • PaulGreg Mottola. Following hot on the wheels from Superbad & Adventureland (two of my favourite teen-oriented comedies of the past decade), comes this road-trip film about two brits in the States that team up with an alien. Hilarity ensues, I guess. Starring Simon Pegg & Nick Frost.
  • The SitterDavid Gordon Green. Two films from this guy in one year? That’s impressive. It’ll be even more impressive if they’re both as good as they are rumoured to be. Starring Jonah Hill.
  • Drive Nicholas Winding Refn. One of the more exciting films of 2011 is “Drive”, which stars Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ryan Gosling & Ron Perlman. The TV fanatic in me is crying with delight, and if the buzz is true, the script should be awesome.
  • Cabin in the WoodsDrew Goddard. This was on the list last year, and it looks a bit iffy for 2011 as well. That’s too bad, ’cause I really like everyone involved with this, with exception of the genre they’re playing with. Fingers crossed.
  • ImmortalsTarsem. A greek myth in 3D from a real, honest-to-Gods-of-Olympus director? It may be a train wreck, but for now, I’m intrigued.
  • Captain America: The First AvengerJoe Johnston. The director may be iffy, but the early images looks great, and the cast is far from bad. I am hopeful that this won’t go down as a disaster. Some of the film is supposed to take place in Norway.
  • ThorKenneth Branagh. The trailer was underwhelming, but I’m still hoping that the end product will be interesting. Natalie Portman & Anthony Hopkins is in it.
  • Fright NightCraig Gillespie. It’s a remake written by Marti Noxon, starring Colin Farrel & David Tennant. It’s the last part that settles it for me.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger TidesRob Marshall. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It has McShane. I guess I’ll watch it. The trailer was horrendous though.
  • Sucker PunchZach Snyder. Looks crazy. Looks like a train-wreck. But maybe it’s a fun train-wreck?
  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, part 2David Yates. Only one film to go. Hopefully it has more momentum than part 1.
  • Green LanternMartin Campbell. I like Ryan Reynolds fair enough, and the rest of the cast is also quite great. The trailer was very bland though, so for now I’m very hesitant to get excited about it.
  • Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol Brad Bird. I’ve never liked an MI film, but I’ve liked every Brad Bird film I’ve ever seen.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. EvilEli Craig. This one didn’t get a theatrical release in 2010, even though it was at Sundance. Maybe it’ll be released in 2011? I hope so, because I like Alan Tudyk.
  • Rango Gore Verbinski. Looks like it could be fun, no? I think yes.
  • Rise of the Apes Rupert Wyatt. It’s got a good cast that includes the likes of Brian Cox, John Lithgow & James Franco. I’ve never seen the original, but this prequel might very well be good enough to warrant a trip to the cinema.

So, in last year’s post, I picked the three movies I thought were gonna be the year’s best. I picked: “Inception”, “The Social Network” & “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, and it turns out those are the ones I liked the best (this being said without having seen “True Grit”, “127 Hours” or “Black Swan” or “The Fighter”).

2011 is a harder year to figure out. For one thing, my favourite directors making movies this year are old-timers without great recent track-records, like Mallick & Spielberg, or relative new-comers like Fleischer, Alfredson, Mottola & Duncan Jones. The only quantifiable “big-hitters” (meaning they made more than one film that hit big with me, not necessarily the general audience) making new movies in 2011 are David Fincher, Martin Scorsese (again, not that excited for “Hugo Cabret” because of the genre) & Jason Reitman. There’s also the massive barrage of popcorn-flicks, of which I’m most excited for: “Cowboys & Aliens” & “Captain America: The First Avenger”, even though the latter seems unlikely to be a home-run.

So, to be frank? I have no idea which three films will end up high on my flickchart of 2011. And that’s quite exciting. I have a hunch that “Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy” will make it high up on my list, and I’d be surprised if I didn’t like “Drive”, “War Horse” or “Tintin”. But I can’t be sure. It could just as easily be four entirely different movies that end up at the top.


Which films are you excited for?

Pretty Pictures #16

Pretty Pictures #15

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, ‘Try to be true to me,
And I’ll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.’
Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She’s really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it’s a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d’ Amour.

(Tip o’ the proverbial hat to Ole for the find!)