Tag Archive | kdramas

Updates for 2022

As I’m not quite done with the surprisingly funny and excellent Kdrama Hwarang about a fighting force of elite flower boys, this week I’m just going to go through some updates.

Writing: As I’m a slow writer and easily distracted, especially by the current events in the past fews years, my writing has suffered. As yet, I haven’t published Trolls for Dust, Season 3. It is still in the works, but is now in competition with a novella idea that has captured my interest. I also would like to write more episodes of Weirdgorden, as I just find the idea of a store that doesn’t sell anything hilarious and want to see where it goes. My main goals for this year are to publish TfD:S3 and the novella. See next the steps I am taking to make sure that happens.

Planning: Like many women my age I have succumbed to the trend of buying pretty, expensive planners. The trick is actually using them well and making them more than just pretty sticker books. This year I decided to use Hobonichi Weeks as a carry planner, continuing to use a Weeks as a writing planner, and using Clever Fox Weekly Planner premium edition as a goal planner. Mostly, I am really into foxes lately, and the color gold/yellow. Don’t know why, but am thrilled this planner is undated, so I can pop in and out of it as I like. It’s a hobby, basically, but so far, especially the goal planner is helping me actually write more frequently, which is awesome, and I pray I can stick with it. Also, I have stepped up and taken charge of planning for groups that I am a part of, so this helps me stay on track with that as well.

Reading: As always, I am reading multiple books. Right now really enjoying a Tesla biography I’ve owned for years, but never actually read. What a crazy time in history, the race to set up electricity for everyone. Although I made it through a couple of the LOTR movies in December, I didn’t get to start rereading Tolkien’s masterpiece, so that is on my list for this year as well as a highly recommended fantasy series called The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Agatha Christie’s will remain a staple, as will other mysteries and some Regency era romances.

Watching: As I just can’t get enough of the awesome Korean Dramas, I will still subscribe to Viki for that, and am also subscribed to Unauthorized TV to watch more LOTR lectures by Rachel Fulton Brown. She’s pretty great, with a fun, positive attitude to boot. Occasionally I do get to watch things on other apps like Netflix or Amazon, and have to say I really enjoyed The Tomorrow War starring Chris Pratt. Some of the acting needed help, but what a rush!! Also looking forward to watching Kenneth Branagh’s version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. My favorite Kdrama for 2021 is hands down the zombie show Happiness starring Han Hyo Joo (W), and Park Hyung Sik (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon). It’s got a great plot, an awesome leading couple, and a killer soundtrack. It’s worth subscribing to Viki for a month just to watch it. Embarrassed to say I’ve watched it twice now and plan to watch a third time. (As a side note, never did I finish Bossam, it just dragged after awhile and life is too short.)

Conspiracy Theories: I like following alternative news and it’s amazing to see things coming to fruition, especially regarding the Coronahoax and Plandemic. People are really starting to find out they have been fooled. It’s going to be difficult not to say “I told you so,” but I just keep in mind that God’s blessing allowed me to wake up about vaccines and the medical industry a few years ago. He gave me a love of stories that has me chase down these sometimes laughable “conspiracy theories.” I’m not really smart or right or anything, just willing to question and have a story addiction. It’s just so sad that so many people had to die for all the lies, and even more sad, will die in the future, as they now have compromised immune systems. But I am confident that God will find a way around it, at least for some, and already there are a number of doctors figuring out what you can take to neutralize the effects of the vaccines. Following Q has proved beneficial as well, for many things along that coming to fruition, like everything about Epstein and Maxwell being correct, for example. Whatever Q was it got a lot of people digging into a lot of research, and if it was just a political game/psyop, well, it was a fun one that intentionally or not, woke a lot of people up to just how much we can not trust those in authority.

Health: I’ve undergone a lot of health changes in the past year, but the most beneficial by far has been seriously increasing my Vitamin D supplements. Time will tell just how miraculous the sunshine vitamin is for me, but it’s great having increased energy, better sleep, and much improved hair and skin. I’m excited for summer to come around so I can get some actual D from the sun. In addition to that, I made the move to change from years and years of sit down office jobs to one cleaning all day. After a few weeks, my body is stronger and I have more stamina. It’s exhausting and great. I also am very glad I did not take the corona vaccines and will not do so in the future, either. Probably, I won’t take any vaccines ever again unless they are physically forced on me, which, sadly, many world governments seems intent on doing to their citizens. Whether it’s money, power, or simply ill will, those in power have declared they can make medical decisions for individual people. I do what I can to push back against this abuse, but it’s hard as so, so many I know still buy into it and really don’t realize how far our medical industry has fallen in regards to its purpose of health for patients. Also continuing with a mostly carnivore diet and trying to avoid sugar, though it’s a tough addiction to break.

Relationships: In this area, I’ve given a lot to God and have largely stopped worrying about things I can’t control. I am increasingly trying to meet people where they are, instead of having my own expectations for them and striving to be straightforward when I want or need something from people. Awesome thing is, that works, as does genuinely being there for those in my life and moving the focus from myself to them. Never will be perfect at it, but goals, goals.

Work: Work can be and sometimes is “life,” especially the good works which God has prepared for us in advance to do. A job is a different thing. I am willing to give up a job and income to stand up to tyranny, mostly because I care so, so much about the world my numerous nieces and nephews will have to live in if no one stands up. Foolish? Maybe. Satisfying on a personal level? A thousand times–yes! I do not fear, for God has never let me down yet, not once. Don’t always get what I want; in fact, I get far more than I deserve. It’s also been so rewarding to move to physical labor. It’s a good tired at the end of the day.

Lifestyle: Moved out of the city to a nearby lake in April. Winter weather is often terrifying to drive in, and of course I have to buy more gas now, but it’s been so worth it. It’s a quiet place where I can think and write, in a tiny apartment with windows giving me a grand view of the lake, and I love it. So much light, so much nature, so much life! And it’s sparked so much unexpected creativity like the designing of some steampunk bookshelves that are a perfect fit. The apartment is easy to clean, as well, and the small size keeps my buying books addiction more in check.

Bible Study: The first shall be last and the last, first. This is the most important one. In recent years I have found much joy and person spiritual growth in group and also personal Bible study. At my church our Sunday Bible study will be going through Galations, which I’m excited about. I’ve also been blessed with the time to attend a second Bible study during the week in which we discuss the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. This one is populated mostly by retired seniors and what amazing incites they have! For my personal Bible study, I am going through Romans, using The People’s Bible by Northwestern Publishing House and also Martin Luther’s commentary on the letter. It’s my favorite book of the Bible, so I’m super pumped.

Mood: I will soon be coming up on the one year anniversary of my father’s death. I miss him so, so much, but I know he’s having a great time in heaven telling all of his puns and jokes to anyone who will listen. This year has taught me that life is shorter than we think and time with our God and our loved ones is precious. It is foolish to let other things, no matter how necessary we may think them at the time, to get in the way. It’s never too late to start living life well and in true joy, never too late to find work that really is meaningful to you, and never wrong to be generous to others. God blesses us to be able to be generous with our time, talents, and treasure. He asks us to test Him in this and we should trust that He will provide for us. We can give boldy and without fear. Worldly truth is fleeting, God’s truth is eternal and the only thing on which we truly can rely.

Blog: Due to now working full-time again, I will be only posting once a week again, probably, but not always, on Wednesdays. Hopefully you get some benefits out of my reviews, musings, and crazy conspiracy theories. May God bless your year and make it epic.

2 Kdrama partial reviews: That Kiss!

Backstreet Rookie

Beautiful people can be funny, too. Backstreet Rookie starring Ji Chang Wook (The K2) and Kim Yoo Jung (Clean with Passion for Now) is a crazy comedy that reminds me of something Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame would come up with. Sadly, I’m not digging it for now, but both Ji and Kim are pretty funny. Kim’s character’s violence is over the top and not meant to be serious, yet it just made me uneasy while watching. Beating people up when you don’t get your way isn’t really funny, no matter how it’s portrayed. What’s fascinating to me is the setting: Ji’s character owns a 24-hour convenience store, and even though I only watched a couple episodes, it was interesting to see him struggle with keeping the store running. He’s a hard worker sort of at the top of his game, but with serious self-confidence issues who lets a girl much his junior run circles around him. Thus, the comedy. Might give it another try later on to see if both characters improve.


Although this one isn’t a fairy tale, being set in a forest gives the show a fairy tale quality. Forest stars the handsome Park Hae Jin (Cheese in the Trap) and Jo Bo Ah (Tale of the Nine-Tailed) and is about a rescue worker and a doctor who end up as roommates in a remote forest village. The acting is great in this, both leads are their characters and have great screen presence and amazing chemistry. I take back what I said about Jo needing to work on her acting. She didn’t really have chemistry with the other leads I’ve seen her with. Here, the chemistry is blinding obvious. Park is spectacular and although his character is somewhat of a bad boy, he’s still likable and quite funny to boot. That reminds me, I never finished watching Man to Man that he was in… The second lead, No Gwang Sik is fun to watch, too. This is his first drama and he looks comfortable and great on screen. His looks bring to mind Peter Pan or Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The forest setting is refreshing and the cinematographer did an amazing job. Every shot looks magical. The plot, however, is all over the place, at least up until episode 13 (there are 32 episodes), and I really think this is one show that does not benefit from half-hour episodes. Because the setting itself is more relaxed than the usual city setting, it would have made more sense to put Forest into one-hour episodes. The timing is often too rushed and throws things off. As far as where the show is going, I’m not sure if we’re to suddenly find out this is a magical forest of some kind or merely that the leads have a childhood trauma they experienced there. Or is this a morality tale about corporations infringing on nature, a la Ferngully? We’ll see.

The romance is fun and the banter hilarious, but at times it is just bicker, bicker, bicker. Always thought it would be kind of fun to have a romance where you tease each other and fake fight all day, but now I’m not sure. Peace is probably a lot better, and more relaxing. But, wow, when they finally kiss is it worth it: all that pent up passion. Probably one of the best kisses I’ve seen in kdramas, and I’ve watched a lot. The key is that she really kisses him back, which doesn’t happen often on these shows. Did I mention their chemistry is off the charts?

Intrigued to see where the story goes and if Park’s character actually turns out being a good guy for both the forest and the girl. He keeps telling her she has a confidence problem, and it’s true. Both characters have psychological issues to deal with, but Jo’s character, the doctor, has deeper problems than just panic attacks. Her character and Ji Chang Wook’s character from Backstreet Rookie should get together to form a self-help club. Despite also having bouts of mental trauma resurfacing, Park’s character has perhaps too much confidence in himself. However, I think it would be sad to see him fall, as his character is so smart. It would be nice to see him win at the game he’s playing, and hopefully, that would end up being a win for all of them. Despite its flaws, Forest is definitely a show worth watching.

Touch Your Heart: A True RomCom

Why it took me so long to watch Touch Your Heart, which came out in 2019 is this: One, it looked boring. Two, I wasn’t confident in the acting skills of either of the leads. Despite how good they were in Goblin, in much of their previous works I found both Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na rather boring and without good screen presence. However, as they’ve aged, they have improved much, and Goblin showcased that. Lee was especially good as the lead in Tale of the Nine-Tailed, so I thought I’d give him another chance.

Coming close on the heels of the successful romance fantasy Goblin aka Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Touch Your Heart snapped up the second lead couple in that drama to star in this one. I don’t know how Lee and Yoo relate to each other in real life, but on screen they are gold. And gold is gold. Both could have continued success simply starring together in romances from here on out. Chemistry like that cannot be bought or manufactured. They are actors that bring out the best in each other. They also seem to not age, which is a plus in their industry.

Despite how many romantic comedies exist, it’s rare to actually find a movie or show that is fully romantic and comedic. Touch Your Heart was both, but I was very glad for the comedy because the romance was almost too perfect and promotes unrealistic expectations–no one is that caring for the other person, right? Based off a web novel, the story follows a down-and-out actress Oh Yoon Seo (Yoo), who dearly needs a break. When reluctantly offered the lead in a courtroom romcom, Yoon Seo eagerly accepts, promising to work at a law firm for a few months as research for her role. Fortunately her agency boss is BFFs with a CEO of the law firm Always, and the CEO is an embarrassingly big fan of hers. Yoon Seo is assigned to apprentice as secretary with lawyer Kwon Jung Rok (Lee) and immediately her bright and bubbly personality clashes with Jung Rok’s prickly introvert style.

As the main characters begin to fall for each other, the minor characters come out to play, and they are hilarious! They seamlessly replace the comedy of the leads as the leads take over the romance part. The biggest standout is Oh Jung Se (It’s Okay to Not Be Okay) as the CEO, who has great and sarcastic deadpan humor. The second lead couple are also amazing, and as in Goblin, they nearly upstage the main couple. Lawyer Choi and Lawyer Dan could easily headline their own show. Choi, played by the almost too good-looking Shim Hyung Tak (Melting Me Softly), and Dan, played by Park Kyung Hae (Goblin), seem an unlikely fit at first, but by the end they’ve convinced us (and themselves) they have something together that they couldn’t have with anyone else. Shim really needs to star in his own show, already. He’s stuck on comedy, but clearly has the presence and skills to do much more. He is definitely my latest Kdrama crush.

Props to whoever chose the opening song in the first episode, which became an instant addiction for me: “Strike Up the Band” by The Kinnardlys. It’s peppy and talks about living well and sincerely, a good fit for the story we are about to watch. Both leads live life to the fullest no matter what they are doing and have solid hearts and characters. Props also to the sound effects people! They had to do a lot of work in this one, but every weird sound makes it all more hilarious. They did a great job.

If you’re looking for a satisfying and heartfelt RomCom, check out Touch Your Heart. It won’t disappoint, the lead actors are gold together, it delivers unexpected thrills, and it is satisfying both romantically and comedically.

Quick Review: Cold Eyes / Updates

Hello, world! Happy Thursday. Here’s a quick review for you and some updates on what may be coming next.

Since I love thrillers, I was stoked to watch the spy/heist movie Cold Eyes starring Jung Woo Sung (A Moment to Remember) , Han Hyo Joo (W), and Sol Kyung Goo (The Tower). Although a well done movie, and awesomely intense in parts, I found it too darkly lit and too slow. In addition, although the acting on the one hand was great, it was largely expressionless, which suits the characters’ line of work, but doesn’t make it so exciting to watch.

Detective Ha Yoon Joo (Han) is a new recruit for a special police surveillance team. She’s really good at the job, mainly due to having a photographic memory, or something close to it, and it’s amusing to watch as she grows with each case and how her supervisor trains her. Their main quarry for surveillance is catching the man and/or team in charge of various heists happening around Seoul. James (Jung) is a hard man who also has our sympathy, because he’s clearly ready to get out of the criminal business. My favorite character was definitely Chief detective Hwang (Sol), and he would be an awesome boss to have, pushing you to do your best.

The biggest takeaway I took from the movie was just how smart anyone in spying and high level crimes like this has to be. I don’t have the skills to do either, and if the real life surveillance teams are at this level, I am impressed, hats off. Other than that, Cold Eyes didn’t really bring anything new to the drama and the script was too vague to really be memorable.


Okay, time for some reading/watching updates. Don’t talk to me about writing! TfD3 is happening, it’s totally happening, it’s just going at a snail’s pace, as most of my writing goes.

Reading: Still working through my fall picks, but I doubt I’m going to review any more of those at this point, so let me share some choices I have for this year.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: It’s been awhile since I’ve read the whole series and, come to think of it, I’m sure I’ve actually read the whole series!

The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt: Been meaning to re-read this for awhile now, and I’m determined to finally do so this winter, if only other stories would stop distracting me, already! It’s a great tale about orphans rising to greatness in her fictional world of The Kingdom. It now goes by a different title, which is sad to me.

A Daughter’s Devotion/The Laird’s Inheritance by George MacDonald: This one I picked up at a thrift store last summer. It’s a giant volume of two books and is Christian fiction as well as a slice of Scotland’s literary history.

The Wanderer by Fanny Burney: Although way longwinded, Burney’s stories are pretty entertaining. I can see why Jane Austen was a fan of hers. Not sure this will top Evelina, which the BBC need to make into a drama, already!, but I’ll give it a go.

Watching: Haven’t been watching a lot lately, but I’m hooked on Tale of the Nine-Tailed starring Lee Dong Wook (Goblin). I think Lee should only do action/fantasy from now on, as he’s so much better at it than in real life dramas where he seems to suck the energy out of the screen. In both this one and Goblin, he brings energy. Full review coming next week.

Other dramas I plan to try: Signal, the Japanese version, which I think came first. The Korean one was so awesome, it will be fun to check out the original. Other thrillers I want to see are Train, Goodbye Mr. Black and Awaken. Haven’t found any new RomComs that have caught my eye yet.

Politics: So the US now has a fraudulent president who’s also going senile. It’s sad, really sad for our country, but the fight for freedom and fair elections continues. This is not over by a long shot and I’m really glad that whatever Q was it woke a lot of people up to the awful corruption around us.

More reading: I knew I posted this too soon! Also plan to reach The Once and Future King by T.H. White as I’ve never read it and like the whole King Arthur tale, and also Wizard, the Life and Time of Nikola Tesla, which I bought about ten years ago and also haven’t read yet.

Secret Love Affair: A Work of Art

It’s rare that one comes across a TV show that is a work of art. Artsy movies abound, as do some many series, but hours and hours of a TV show? Well, it’s just not that common. In fact, I don’t really know that I’ve ever watched a TV show I would consider a work of art–up until now, that is.

Something about affairs, whether it’s the illicitness or the adventure, something about affairs is often involved in the art of story. This is something you can find right across history, from The Bridges of Madison County to the Illiad and that whole thing with Helen of Troy. Maybe it’s just the fact that in an affair there are likely to be high emotions and also retributions from the injured or cuckolded party–plenty of dynamics and fireworks possible.

Although publicly society generally doesn’t condone affairs, in our entertainment and art, they are everywhere. Sadly, few of the fictional stories about affairs truly touch how wrong it is to break one’s vows of marriage. The Korean drama Secret Love Affair is no different in this, and that’s because the sin it focuses on is not the affair itself, but the reason for it: The main character is living in an awful environment and denying her true self any agency.

A trend in K-dramas in recent years has been pairing older women with younger men. I’m sure real young men would be a bit horrified at this, but it’s just a reversal of the standard in visual storytelling, which for decades has been older men with much younger women. In real life one sees age gap pairings, but they are not nearly as common as TV and movies would lead us to believe. In my own experience, couples, married or not are two people of roughly the same age or within a few years of each other. The older I get, I realize that age doesn’t really matter that much when it comes to a relationship, but biologically, it can. Older women, for example, have less childbearing years ahead of them. That in itself may give a young man who wants a lot of biological kids pause. In Secret Love Affair, this aspect is not even a consideration, though the age gap is 20 years.

As a women who is in her 40s, I can’t even fathom dating a man of twenty or even early twenties. That aspect of this story grated on me throughout, for the young man was way too much of a boy still. He hasn’t even had time to think if he wants kids in his future or not. He was, essentially, a way for the female lead to change her life, and she also helped him change his life, but beyond that, it was a bit creepy. I don’t know how big an age gap has to be to be creepy–everyone probably has a different threshold–but for me, 20 years is too much. So, why did I continue watching? Hands down, for the music and the sort-of redemption story.

Secret Love Affair (aka Secret Affair) stars Kim Hee Ae (Mrs. Cop) as Oh Hye Won, a director/personal assistant to the Seohan Arts Foundation. In her job she is wedded deeply and dangerously to the family who owns the foundation. These are not nice people. Her husband, played well by Park Hyuk Kwan (Six Flying Dragons) is a do-nothing hanger on who has no music or teaching whatsoever, but somehow got a spot at the music school the foundation owns. Their marriage is one of convenience, both wanted to be a part of the foundation and saw that they could if they were together. This was the biggest sin Hye Won made in her life, for it led to her entanglement with the foundation and a life of walking on glass. When we are first introduced to her, we see that Hye Won has great talent at her job, that she has tact and guile and has helped the foundation succeed. It seems unlikely that she herself has musical talent, but we soon discover she does.

During preparation for a big concert, a young, lowly delivery guy happens upon the scene. Lee Sun Jae, played very well by Yoo Ah In (Chicago Typewriter) is a quiet, hesitant man in his early twenties. He quickly gets into trouble stealing some piano time on the schools expensive grand. The kicker is, that his performance is recorded and immediately Hye Won’s husband sees the young man as his ticket to greatness at the school and beyond. He pesters his wife to give the kid a listen and declare him someone who should be admitted to the school right away.

The couple’s real first meeting is at this audition at Hye Won’s home, and as a first meeting, it’s amazing. Few couples get to spend this much time together, ever. Ok, I exaggerate, but it’s unusual one gets to spend so much time with a person upon first meeting them. Hye Won listens to Sun Jae play and is immediately hypnotized. You see, she has musical talent at the piano. Back in the day, she could have been a star, but she was convinced to work in administration instead. She listens to him for hours and then starts to play along with him. The two immediately connect emotionally, spiritually, and physically through playing together. Their style of playing is very similar, their appreciation of music, as if they are one heart. It’s instalove, but spread over a few hours.

Inevitably, they do have an affair, but though they sort of attempt to hide it, it’s really not a secret to anyone. Hye Won is really the only one surprised, but it’s hard to see oneself and how one changes and flowers under real love and real passion and emotion. That takes an outside view. Everyone else could see how obviously she was changing except herself. Through her relationship with Sun Jae, Hye Won starts to realize what a truly toxic environment she’s been living in. Her life isn’t really her own; her husband’s life is barely his own. To save herself and also Sun Jae’s future, Hye Won embarks on a path of intrigue in order to take down the family and the foundation.

This show is a great, intense watch. All of the actors are spot on, especially Park as the irritating husband. He is so perfectly loathsome, he brings Hye Won down with him. What kind of women is she really to have entered into a marriage of convenience with him? The writing and directing are also top notch. Each episode feels like a film, and it reminded me most in style to Heartless City (also a great watch, but hard to finish). The music is all consuming and nearly ever present in the background. This is classical music, but stepped up to ten in its emotional impact. Contrast that with the awful school and the owning family, and the parts where the characters experience real joy in their practice and performances become jewels to be treasured.

One aspect that was almost too much to handle, was the supporting cast of women in the show. Many of these characters were prone to scary violence, and it’s quite possible that Hye Won herself could’ve one day become like that had she not turned almost all her emotion off.

It’s interesting at the end how Sun Jae keeps calling Hye Won to be good, but she knows she has to callously take down the family first or neither of them will ever be free. In some ways, Sun Jae is content to stay as he is with Hye Won almost as a stand-in mother figure to him (yeah, creepy), but she nudges him, gets him to spread his wings, and soon he’s making new friends all on his own and leading secret jam sessions. By this point we barely miss the cuckolded husband, though we are maybe shocked at how upset about the affair he actually is, as they seem to have had a loveless, sexless marriage. More likely, he finally realizes just how much of a loser he is on all levels. So Hye Won gets her redemption story and Sun Jae has hope for a future. Will they stay together? By the end, it doesn’t really matter, for they’ve fulfilled whatever was needed for the other by the end of the show.

Sad the story revolves around an affair, but I suppose these types of plots are signs that at least some of modern society still takes marriage vows seriously. And that’s a really good thing. It was shocking to see how isolating a loveless marriage can be. If Hye Won hadn’t had a couple of good friends, she would likely have had a total breakdown at some point. Your spouse should be your best friend and lover, someone you can confide in and be yourself with. She found that with Sun Jae and he with her. The piano music sort of packaged everything together.

Secret Love Affair is a worthwhile watch, and there are moral lessons in the story, though probably not the ones you’d expect. This show is a work of art on all levels.

Long-Nose-Hiccups-Pants-on-Fire: Kdrama Pinocchio’s media redemption fairytale.

What is a journalist?



Pinocchio, a Korean TV drama from 2014-15, seeks to answer this question. It follows the story of a boy whose family has been irrevocably wronged by reporters, and a girl who has an unusual syndrome called “Pinocchio” syndrome. The fictional syndrome doesn’t refer to a wooden puppet with a long nose, but a person who is unable to lie without hiccuping. Tailor-made for a show about reporters, being a “Pinocchio” means one also hiccups when withholding the truth and even when one merely has doubts. In the real world, a person plagued with Pinocchio syndrome would be hiccuping nonstop. In the show, Park Shin-Hye and the writers make it fairly believable.

Choi Dal-Po is the main character and played by Lee Jong-Suk. Lee adds such heart to his acting, making it easy to connect with his character, who balances between being the scared and angry little boy that he was, and the brave and thoughtful young man he has become. Park Shin-Hye plays his best friend Choi In-Ha. The first few episodes deal with a lot of back story and their time in high school and then the show launches into high gear when both decide to be reporters, In-Ha because her estranged mother is a famous reporter, and Dal-Po, because he wants to answer the question of what a journalist is.

Pinocchio is real and surreal at the same time. It’s a story attempting to get at real truths while highlighting its own fairytale aspects, from the slightly exaggerated characters to the episode titles, to the magical winter setting. As a person who has read countless books and watched an embarrassingly large number of movies and TV shows, I can tell you that in my view it is a near-perfect story. If there is a misstep it is only in the beginning episodes in which it first appears to be a high school knock off of Slumdog Millionaire. The cast is huge, due to the number of reporters and journalists from the fictional broadcasting stations, MSC and YGN, but a few of the smaller players manage to steal all of their scenes, especially Lee Yoo-Bi as feisty rookie Yoon Yoo-Rae, and Min Sung-Wook (No Tears for the Dead) as veteran “stick-it-to-the-man” reporter Jang Hyun-Gyu. Other standouts are Lee Joo-Seung, who rocks as a young world-worn police detective, Kim Hae-Sook (The Thieves) as business chaebol Park Ro-Sa, and especially Jin Kyung, whose deadpanned expression is vital to reporter Song Cha-Ok.

Pinocchio is not so much the story of all reporters, but that of reporter Song Cha-Ok. Song is a successful reporter who has sold her soul to get where she is. Throughout the show, the question changes from, “What is a journalist?” to “Can dishonest journalist Song Cha-Ok be redeemed?” The Pinocchio angle comes into play when Song’s estranged daughter, In-Ha, a Pinocchio, decides she wants to be a reporter. This is not possible, in Song’s opinion, because the very nature of the job requires her to lie from time to time, even if the lies are lily white (as in needing to be undercover for a story).

Choi Dal-Po, who has been very, very wronged by Song’s irresponsible past reporting and by another “Pinocchio,” has a more scathing view of not only journalists, but also Pinocchios unable to lie: In one early scene he excoriates both as not comprehending the enormous duty they have to the public. By default people will always assume that both are telling them the truth, and that is not a status to be flippant about. Throughout the series both Dal-Po and In-Ha learn just how complicated it can be to tell the truth with no agenda.

Although the show delves only shallowly into the full political ramifications of what the News media’s lies do to society, it is a relevant story in our time of constant media spin, obfuscation, and outright falsehood. These days more and more people are waking up to the fact that the media as a whole has its own agendas apart from just giving us the truth or facts. They exaggerate and make false claims in order to get more viewers or readers, they outright campaign for certain candidates while at the same time proclaiming that they are not biased, they insert themselves into the story where it is not pertinent, and so on and so forth.

My Take on the Media

The second time I watch Pinocchio, this time in order to review it, it struck me how timely the stories is in this age of news media, mass media, social media and new media.  Truth and lies are simultaneously rampant.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being a kid when I thought the reporters I saw on TV every night were giving me facts and truth. I wish I could go back to a time when I had no idea I was being lied to, but I can’t. Once you see the media’s lies and bias, you can’t un-see them. I now know that a lot of the American news media not-so-secretly (anymore) detests the regular, hardworking people of this country. I now know that many, if not most, reporters are in it for the fame or the money or to further an agenda, but not in it for sharing the truth. The news sources I read and listen to now, openly share their biases and their agendas. I like that honesty and I think its better than media pretending a false neutrality they do not possess.

This U.S. Presidential Election cycle has been interesting largely due to Donald Trump. Had he not run, it would have been same old-same old, and the Republicans would have folded to the media’s lies as usual. He’s done a great service highlighting (for those who have eyes to see) just how untruthful and agenda driven most of our news is. In addition, he brilliantly decided to run as a Republican, effectively showcasing those who claim to care about conservative ideals and the country, but really are only concerned with their own power and sphere of influence. He’s also laid a death blow to political correctness, the media’s biggest weapon in their agenda against anyone who, well, disagrees with them.

Over the years I’ve found some news sources or interesting perspectives that cover a different view of the world than the MSM, or mainstream media. More importantly, these sources point out the inherent, usually Leftist bias in most of the MSM. The sources I go to are biased, but openly so, and I respect them for that. They don’t pretend objectivity, like CNN, or Fox News, or any of the other major cable networks. The truth is that all news sources and all reporters and journalists have bias. A good consumer of the news should gauge to what degree bias affects what stories the news source covers and how the story is related or “spun.” Each person has to decide for themselves whether a news source is trustworthy—and often this takes time to tell—and whether the spin is helping to accurately understand the stories shared, or whether it is promoting a narrative (Hillary must be elected! for example) only.

Today, because of political correctness, the greatest danger in any reporting is what people have coined as “virtue signaling,” that is claiming to care about something only for the sake of those in earshot. It’s a quick ego boost that we are all guilty of from time to time, but lately, is running rampant, especially in the news media. We can see it everywhere from the push to continue bad, expensive programs to “save the poor!” or “save the planet!” despite factual evidence that the programs are not realistic and often harm those they intend to help. Pushing on despite the reality is virtue signaling, not actual virtue. This is a big reason the current presidential campaign has been so torn and bitter. People care more about a “nice” tone than the facts a candidate is presenting. Vice-versa, if a candidate is well-mannered, for many that covers over any multitude of sins and I can’t help but think of all those people who knew serial killers and say, “Oh, but he was such a nice young man.” What does it take to wake up from this?  How do we get back to substance?

Here’s my story:

In 2006 I was living and teaching English in China and went to friend’s house in Hong Kong for a few days. They had cable, which I hadn’t watched in a few years. During breakfast Headline News (at least I think it was that) was on with a guy named Glenn Beck. I always assumed (because of past experience) that any MSM outlet was liberal or Leftist in bias (thought I still didn’t know how much it affected their reporting), so I was surprised to find him saying and talking bout things that I was interested in and agreed with. Beck became a hit on talk radio and eventually landed a show on Fox News. His popularity largely stemmed from discussions and facts on history, things that put into perspective the upheavals in tradition that still are being overthrown in America and around the world. The great political struggle of the world was presented not so much as Right vs. Left, but Liberty vs. Tyranny.

For the first time, I really contemplated that the Nazis were national socialists, what that meant, and, why for so many years they had been painted as right wingers. And then I couldn’t stop seeing it, I, and many others. We couldn’t stop seeing the obvious Leftist bias in nearly all of the mainstream media’s reporting. This is something we intrinsically knew, but had never really faced head-on. I give Beck much credit for sharing a lot of these things and also promoting the American ideal, the American dream, and so on. For the first time, I understood why everyone in college was obsessed with Che Guevara, why by default, most college student were perceived Socialism as good, why everyone had a desire to show how “multicultural” they were, and why everyone seemed so concerned with the sins of America, their own country. I finally understood that all of the media was lying every single day, and that their lies slanted sharply to the Left because that’s where the power is.

The kicker was, it wouldn’t have been such an big failing if the media had simply been willing to self-evaluate and be honest about their views and how it affected their reporting. I also saw a bigger issue behind that: culture. American pop culture is now almost always for big government and always, again, slanted to the Left.

If the news media has a problem with virtue signaling, don’t get me started on pop singers, Hollywood stars, artists, and the like. (So many Christians in the early 00’s near-worshipped U2’s Bono due to cultural virtue signaling. I was floored to find out that he’s only give 1% – one percent!! – to charity.  This, for me, is Leftism in a nutshell, it sounds so moral, so virtuous, but in the end, it’s just a cash grab not much different than selling indulgences for a ticket to heaven.

Back to Beck. I don’t listen to Beck now, and it’s same for a lot of former listeners. It wasn’t just that he betrayed his message, he fell prey to virtue signaling of the worst kind. And I’m left having to consider that he never really cared at all. People who never liked him to begin with will probably snicker and say, “see, told ya,” but they likely never listened to him anyway, only swallowed the articles and stories biased against him. I don’t say this to be mean or bitter, I say it because it’s the truth. Few people (largely on the Left, some on the Right) who disliked Beck and his message a few years ago actually took the time to listen to him and to understand why people thought his show was appealing. Many who did like him found his show informative and entertaining. I can’t go back in time, to see, knowing what I know now, if I would have that same opinion. I have to say his constant crying first started to turn me off. It’s not that men should never cry, it’s just rare that anyone, male or female, would regularly cry on a cable news TV show. I had hoped the tears were evidence of his sincerity. That hope proved false.

So how did Beck fall? I, along with many of his former listeners, would say it was back in 2014, the summer we had the big crisis of children arriving at our Southern border from Central America. They came by the thousands and it was at this same time that I began to see friends and acquaintances post that they cared so much about those kids. They cared more for those kids than their own families and countrymen, more than their neighbors’ welfare and safety, more than the rule of law, and more than our national sovereignty. It was a great time of PC rearing its ugly head. If any of us had forgotten that PC dictated our daily lives, bleeding-heart virtue signaling brought us back to remembrance with a jolt. It was surreal to see people I thought I knew fail to critically consider our open border situation. I think they just wanted to sound like nice, caring people, the trouble is, it was just a veneer, but they couldn’t seem to see it, and were untroubled by their flippant disregard for the very real and serious safety concerns of their fellows citizens.  And anyone who called them out on it was not playing “nice.” I began to recall that the original meaning of “nice” was “foolish,” and since then have become increasingly suspicious of calls for “niceness” or criticisms that people who are telling truths people don’t want to hear are not “nice” enough in manner or tone.

At first Beck stuck to his previous line. America’s sovereignty and the safety of its citizens is more important than letting anyone and everyone in across the border.  He indicated to have disregard for our borders was not kindness, but reckless both regarding our safety and the safety of those trying to get in illegally. And then something switched and he was all of a sudden concerned that he was encouraging all of his viewers to hate these kids, or something. Maybe he read too many troll internet comments? Who knows. At any rate, it became his mission to show that conservatives were not heartless (giving in to Leftist claims that we were heartless), that we cared about these kids, and that caring meant letting them stay at the border instead of sending them home.

This was such an about-face it left people baffled. Just a few weeks, perhaps even a few days earlier (I don’t really remember) he’d been proclaiming that we needed to have a realistic view of the situation. That simply letting the kids in would only mean more would come, etc., and so on. That we shouldn’t let our emotions overcome the facts in the situation. Then he jumpstarted a plan to bring soccer balls and teddy bears to the kids being held at the detention centers along the border. This was to show the Left that, see, conservatives care. Although the detention centers were a bit overwhelmed, none of the kids or people held there were being treated inhumanely, yet suddenly Beck seemed to think they were. Even more troubling was that he started to turn on his listeners, saying that those who disagreed with what he was doing didn’t care about the children. He started using Leftist arguments against his own followers and even crowed about those Leftist celebrities and journalists who gave him a shoutout for appearing so nice and caring (I stress “appearing”).

Beck had stepped up into the self-labeled cool club and, I think, never looked back. Even more alarming, was the fact that Ted Cruz joined him on his gift-giving trip. This was a big judgement fail on the part of Cruz, and it was the first time I questioned how smart of a politician he really was.  It also made Beck’s early professions early in the 2015 primaries that he hadn’t yet chosen a candidate to back, ring a bit hollow. I doubt few were surprised that he ended up becoming a spokesperson for Cruz. That Cruz allowed him to become so despite his increasingly erratic behavior, was another glaring error in judgement. After that incident, I didn’t listen to Beck quite as much, though I did still follow him on Facebook and also read his news site The Blaze from time to time, because they often had stories no one else did.

Enter Donald J. Trump. Still mostly a fan of Cruz, I rolled my eyes when I heard Trump was running. But, what I knew of Trump up to that point, was what the MSM had told me. He wasn’t something the more right-sided news sources I’d started listening to had covered much, save for his strange quest to weed out Obama’s long-form birth certificate. Even today, I’m not really sure what was going on there. Was Trump already beginning to run for president at that point? Did he truly have insider information the rest of us did not? It ended with no revelation from Trump, but in Obama releasing a document some say is forged. Who knows? It was strange, and that was my opinion of Trump. He was strange.

And then I listened to his speech on the border and immigration, and I was fascinated that he seemed to get it. That he seemed to get that something was really wrong with the U.S. not securing their southern border. And he also offended Mexicans and virtue signalers, most of whom did not take the time to examine what he actually said or why he said it. Suddenly Trump wasn’t “nice” and that was the same (for many) as being Adolf Hitler. Trump also, interestingly, refused to go on Glenn Beck’s show, and thus began months and months and months of Beck tearing down Trump every chance he got. For some reason, Trump made him lose his mind. Beck lost any and all objectivity when it came to Trump, as did many, many others.  And it lost them readers, viewers, and followers in droves.

Their anger of those against Trump seemed not fact-based so much as it was virtue signaling. People who had, say, a basic understanding of business, seemed to lose that understanding when Trump’s bankruptcies were mentioned. It was as if no one in business had ever failed, and one failure was a terminal failure of a person for the rest of their life. Okay, not “a person,” Trump. Beck began to bleed, and bleed, and bleed viewers, and in response he doubled and tripled down on how nasty Trump was.

At this time Beck and others, formerly pretty decent to their fellow man, turned with an onslaught of hate, spite, and anger directed not at Trump, but at his supporters. This was because Trump supporters were not being good little children and doing as they were told, to support Cruz or Rubio or anyone on the ticket but Trump. That Trump was fulfilling all of their hopes and dreams at bringing more people to the Right, that for the first time someone running actually seemed to care about the country and its citizens, vs. the rest of the world, didn’t seem to matter. And suddenly, for a lot people, figurative scales fell from their eyes.

The conservatives nearly spitting mad didn’t really care about their country, and they had no respect for someone choosing a different candidate, instead painting them as “angry” and “crazy,” not necessarily in that order. These Never Trumpers preferred virtue signaling and pretending that everything would continue as normal when our country was hurting and wounded on multiple fronts. That people didn’t agree on Trump being a candidate wasn’t really a problem (that happens all the time in politics), what was unusual is the outright anger against those who supported him. Gone was the previous “nice” ideal that even though people supported different candidates for the Republican ticket, they were generally on the same side as far as concern for the country. For some baffling reason it became important to many not only that Trump say the right things, but that he say it a certain way. A “nice” spin was wanted where brutal truth is what we needed.

And Beck could not be trusted.

These days he’s spending his time still targeting Trump and encouraging people to “vote their conscience” (code for not-Trump) in a race where if Clinton wins, it really could be the end of liberty in this country. We’ve seen fact after fact after fact of her dishonesty, her treason, and her disregard for anything but her own power and wealth. But we mustn’t vote for the man who could stop her, oh no, we must vote for “nice” people, people who will continue to sell out this country’s wealth and sovereignty for political correctness and money for themselves. I now doubt Beck’s sincerity. I doubt his trustworthiness, and I really doubt his claims to moral superiority (being “nicer” than Trump) because in the next moment he plasters Cheetos on his face trying to turn his skin as orange as Trump’s. Because that’s what “nice” people do, I guess.

The relaying of this is not to bash Beck, but to show how extreme bias prevented him from looking at Trump critically, but fairly. I tell it also as a way of explaining how trust in a media source is lost. It happens in a variety of ways and is different for everyone, but that’s one way it happened for me. The rest of the media lost me largely during the Bush years when I realized they just didn’t care about the truth. They cared about putting Democrats in power. No quarter was shown to Bush, while people on the Democrat side were given endless benefits of the doubt. All while the media pretended it was objective.

Bush himself didn’t impress me in the fact that he seemed to think if he never addressed their attacks, they would just go away. He did this even when it gave the Left more and more fuel for the next presidential race. McCain and Romney ran, neither of them putting up much of a fight, though, making sure to appear “nice.”

This, I think, is the big reason Trump ran as a Republican. A lot of people knew that something was wrong with the party, we just didn’t know what. It took Trump to show us what we couldn’t see: Many Republican politicians will not fight even with the country’s welfare at stake. They are too happy to go along to get along, too happy to think that the gravy train will never end for them, too happy to continue to believe their fellow Republicans are suckers, too happy to believe that nothing is worth rocking the boat for, too happy to believe that nothing is worth ticking off the media for, and too happy to believe that “nice” lies are more important than the “offensive” truth. Trump is a fighter and he knows that America is something worth fighting for and that is why he is winning the support of millions of his fellow citizens.

If you’ve read this far, my hat’s off to you, and if you’ve read this far and are not a Trump supporter, double thumbs up for at least reading a different perspective. I can’t ultimately tell you who to trust, either in the media or in politics. I can, however, tell you with certainty that both the media and politicians lie to you all the time, and they do it on purpose. Pinocchio plumbs some of the depths of deception, but not all. It considers that news reporting can be redeemed, but the reality is, it can only be redeemed if reporters and journalists are dedicated to telling the truth, and first and foremost, the truth of their own biases and agendas. It can only be redeemed if journalists begin to consider that the truth is more important than the political correctness of the day. It can only be redeemed if journalists consider the real power allotted to them. By default, people believe journalists and reporters are presenting them with facts and truth. The internet is rapidly shattering this default, as insta-news from fellow citizens now showcases the constant spin and obfuscation the media puts on everything. People are getting new narratives, and starting to question the old ones, like why, CNN, for example, should have any claim on their trust at all.

To end, here is a list of some of the sources I follow. They are nearly all Right Wing and/or Libertarian, but they give different perspectives on things than the MSM, and can be a good place to start in comparing sources. I trust them for the time being, but it’s always possible they will do something to break that trust. Some I used to trust, like Beck, lost me because they couldn’t report fairly on Trump. Their anger against him clouded their judgement. If they are critical, but fair, they are still on my list. The general media is, by default, on the side of the Left. I don’t know if this is because Leftists are currently in power or if it has always been so. I think the best shift for news media would be for both sides to be represented more equally. This shift is happening, not by force of government, but by the blessings (and curses) of the internet, by Youtube channels, and blogs. Because New Media threatens government power, be on the lookout for calls to suppress many of these people and the views they hold.

One final rule of thumb in deciding who to trust: Follow the money. Monetary gain is the first order of business in the news business.

In no particular order:


breitbart.com – One of their heads has now joined Trump’s campaign, so I will be checking to see that their bias for Trump doesn’t take over in holding him account if he does become president.

Breitbart writers I like:
Milo Yiannopolous
Raheem Kassam
James Delingpole
Allum Bokhari
Brandon Darby
Lee Stranahan
Ildefonso Ortiz

Rush Limbaugh – Great at highlighting MSM bias, has been more or less fair to Trump, even though he doesn’t appear to be a huge supporter. Realizes it’s more important to defeat Clinton.

Michelle Malkin – Twitchy

Thomas Sowell – Okay, he lost his mind a bit over Trump, too, but is still good on other matters.

Charlotte Iserbyt – Eye-opening research into government-run education — see YouTube

Dennis Prager – Prager University – thought-provoking videos.

Stefan Molyneux – “Not an Argument!” – Educating on how to debate – big on the facts.

Sargon of Akkad – This Week in Stupid

Paul Joseph Watson – Infowars

Alex Jones – Infowars

Vox Day – Alt-right – also, fantasy writer

Rebel Media – Canadians! – free speech!
Lauren Southern
Ezra Levant
Gavin McInnes

Gad Saad

Adam Carolla

Dave Rubin – The Rubin Report

Tommy Sotomayor

American Thinker – offers a variety of articles from different writers. Pro-Tump or Anti-Trump depending on the day

The Conservative Treehouse – This site is unabashedly for Trump, thus they have very enlightening articles on media bias against him and for Clinton.