Losing & North Korea

I believe that it is vitally important to continually seek out activities and areas where one is weak. The easy reasons are that we can learn versatility, and from weakness develop new areas of strength. But in a world where it is so easy to be continually entertained and stimulated, the shock of weakness - of possibly losing - is an expanding force, reminding us of how much isn't certain. For me, this means seeking out organized team sport, where my occasional lack of coordination is put into the spotlight, as well as my poor VO2max. I don't know if I really enjoy looking so bad, but I do come away feeling different - perhaps more alive. Sports give me another look into life.

On a mostly unrelated note I've been watching a web series on North Korea, a place where people must show devotion to the "Dear Leader" - of face death. Power over one's own life does not exist there - even the entire country is reliant on American food aid (what they label as "tribute"), and as long as it stands, with closed borders, I always want to remember how bad things could be if I had been born somewhere else.

Kim Jong Il, 1942-2011 - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic

Kim Jong Il, 1942-2011 - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic: Early this morning, North Korean state television reported the death of North Korea's longtime ruler Kim Jong Il. Kim reportedly died two days earlier, on Saturday, December 17, 2011, suffering a heart attack while riding on a train outside Pyongyang. The 69-year-old had been North Korea's "supreme leader" since 1994, after succeeding his father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist state. Kim Jong Il presided over a long-suffering, isolated nation, antagonized the western world, indulged himself while millions starved, and funneled much of the country's meager funds into military spending and the pursuit of nuclear weapons. His nominal successor, son Kim Jong Un, remains untested and the sudden power vacuum in such an unpredictable nation has neighbors, allies, and enemies on edge. Collected here are images from the life and times of North Korea's Kim Jong Il, and a few recent images from the reclusive country and those who have noted his passing