Vadim Ghirda/AP For my second tattoo, I wanted a dollar sign — to be irreverent. But then for reasons I don’t remember, I switched from a dollar sign to a Japanese yen symbol. Asked, I’ll tell people I’m doubly making fun of lames who get dollar sign and Chinese symbol tattoos. It’s a very long way to go to explain it in any reasonable social situation. Wong Maye-E/AP An air tour of Pyongyang, North Korea is such an ingenious form of propaganda that I’m surprised the Kim regime is so late in adopting it. A bird’s eye view of the city enables tourists and apparatchiks to marvel at Pyongyang’s manufactured urban splendor while keeping them so distant that they’re in no danger of noticing the Potemkin-like nature of much of what they’re seeing. (The skyline-dominating pyramid of the Ryugyong Hotel, which juts up in the background of this photo, stands empty after nearly three decades under construction.) The city itself is a work of propaganda meant to flaunt North Korea’s supposed modernity and prosperity, but the ruse only works if no one can get too close.

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