Bonchon (Korean fried chicken)

Bonchon is a chain restaurant, with franchises all over the world that specializes in Korean fried chicken. We visited the restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia.
It is best to call ahead and place your order, as the chicken can take 30+ minutes to prepare. You can get a combination of wings/drumsticks or white meat. There are two glazes—a soy glaze and a spicy glaze (you can also get your order done half-and-half).
The fried chicken is done well. The chicken is moist, and the batter is surprisingly grease free (for fried chicken, that is). The soy glaze has a slight sweetness to it, but it’s subtle and not overpowering. The spicy glaze is extremely spicy (and I say that as someone who loves spicy food). Essentially, the chicken has been coated in siracha sauce, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
We also ordered the kimchi (very good), the kimchi coleslaw (the coleslaw fans in the family loved this), and the bulgogi (highly mediocre—not much flavor at all).
The biggest complaint we had about the restaurant was the service. After calling ahead with our order, the restaurant somehow lost the order, and there was a significant delay, and only part of our order was prepared. That happens, despite any restaurant’s best intentions. The key is how to handle the mistake. Bonchon’s reaction to the mistake was to then avoid our table for the remainder of the meal. This meant no refills on drinks, no additional napkins, no service whatsoever. No one noticed the missing part of our order, as it appeared on the bill. I don’t expect excellent service at a restaurant like this, which is clearly a bare bones, minimalist restaurant (fairly typical for most Asian hole-in-the-wall places), but I do expect competent service or, at worst, an acknowledgment that service has been below expectations and an attempt to rectify mistakes.
Bonchon is a great alternative to Popeye’s or KFC for fried chicken, as the fried chicken is superior to either of those places. But have some realistic expectations about the quality of the service. I give the restaurant a C+ and plan to take our business elsewhere.

Teaching at Stanford Law School

For the months of April and May, I have been teaching a class at Stanford Law School called “Internet Torts and Crimes.”  This means I’ve been flying out once a week to Palo Alto to teach the class.

Teaching the class has been a blast!  The students have all been great, and I have learned something every week from them.  (One of the reasons I like teaching so much is that you can always learn something from your students.)  However, teaching did make our already logistically difficult lives even more challenging.  There have been a few days where both parents were in the air or in different geographical locations while the kids have been here.  Not ideal, but for nine weeks, manageable.

I love teaching the class, not least because I promise my students that every fact situation we discuss in class comes from real life.  This is not as difficult as one might think.  Let’s just say that between AOL and Ruckus (the digital music company I used to work for), it wasn’t difficult to find examples about Internet-based torts and crimes.  And let’s just say that one of the most animated classes was the discussion on pornography.  🙂

But as much as I loved teaching the class, I am glad that the class is over.  The travel was a bit of a grind, although I really have no cause for complaint, since I was upgraded on every single segment.  (And the new Continental planes are much nicer than the old United planes.)  But it’s nice to be home for an extended period and hanging out with Jim and the kids, rather than rushing off various places and being at the mercy of United, the weather, and the FAA.

Of course, it’s time for paper grading as well.  🙂

In Memory of D-Day, Part 2

These are the remarks made by Ronald Reagan commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day:

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, two hundred and twenty-five Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs.

Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.

And behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

I think I know what you may be thinking right now — thinking “we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.” Well everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren’t. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him — Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, “Sorry, I’m a few minutes late,” as if he’d been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he’d just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles, who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold; and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a roll call of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore; The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland’s 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots’ Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England’s armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard’s “Matchbox Fleet,” and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4:00 am. In Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying. And in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day; their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: “Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do.” Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together. There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to the Atlantic alliance — a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. The Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They’re still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost forty years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as forty years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose: to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent. But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It’s fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II. Twenty million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that someday that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We’re bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we’re with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

Strengthened by their courage and heartened by their value [valor] and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

In Memory of D-Day, Part I

Franklin Roosevelt’s prayer on D-Day:

My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas – whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.


Tony Stark, James T. Kirk & Mr. Spock

Over Memorial Day weekend, we took advantage of the downtime to see two movies, “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek:  Into Darkness.”

All of us have enjoyed the Iron Man franchise, which we came to late, after seeing “The Avengers.”  Sarcasm plays a prominent role in our lives, and we appreciate seeing it well done on screen.  In many ways, “Iron Man 3” was the best of the trilogy of Iron Man movies.  There was the requisite amount of explosions and fighting, but the narrative arc was surprisingly original and the character development was unusually deep for an action movie.  You see Tony Stark, the man, without his suit and at his most vulnerable.  Robert Downey, Jr is a superb actor, and he manages to convey vulnerability without sentimentality.  And his sarcasm stays intact throughout the movie.  It’s an excellent movie and a fitting end to the Iron Man franchise.  At least, I hope it’s the end to the franchise.  I am sorry to see it end, but there is nowhere else to go with the story line without ruining the narrative arc.  Marvel/Disney would probably love to see it continue, given the revenue that the movie raked in, but I hope that Robert Downey, Jr can withstand the temptation and let the franchise end as it deserves–with a logical and heartfelt resolution.

(P.S.  Make sure you stay through the end of the credits to watch the very end scene.)

“Star Trek Into Darkness” was a fabulous movie.  So, I say without hesitation that I am a huge fan of:  Star Trek, the Original Series; Star Trek, the Next Generation (other than Seasons 1 and 2); and Star Trek, Deep Space Nine (I love Avery Brooks).  I like Enterprise, and I tolerated Star Trek:  Voyager.

I also was pleasantly surprised by J.J. Abrams’s first Star Trek movie.  Even though our family mantra is “Never mess with the timeline,” which is exactly what J.J. Abrams did, the movie had a frenetic pacing and original storyline that paid respect to the original series while breaking new ground.  It was excellently done.

I’m even more impressed with his latest Star Trek movie, which I think is the best yet.  The frenetic pacing is still there, of course.  (It wouldn’t be a J.J. Abrams movie without it.)  So are the special effects and the violence.  The main characters all come into their own a little bit more.  Again, there are wisecracks that poke fun at the original series while at the same time, paying tribute to it.  It’s a fine balancing act that is done well–with respect but not adoration.  I like that.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays one of the most memorable villains that have appeared in Star Trek lore in quite some time.  Of course, the plummy British accent and the intensity he projects doesn’t hurt.   (If you haven’t seen him in the BBC version of “Sherlock,” I highly recommend it.  He is amazing in it.)  And since the timeline has already been messed with, the plotline is original and creative and excellently done.  The movie is a worthy addition to the franchise, and I highly, highly recommend it.