Coming just hours after hundreds of thousands of bottle rockets were launched by fathers going through second childhoods all throughout the U.S. to little or no effect (including our very own child-like father George W., who launched his own bottle rocket of sorts), North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il not surprisingly failed to resist temptation and punched his launch button, sending 7 missiles menacingly into the Sea of Japan in a show of geopolitical wackiness. As the BBC reported:

The only thing to give some comfort to North Korea’s nervous neighbours and the United States is that the Taepodong-2 failed after 40 seconds while still in its first stage.

Five other missiles were also launched in the sequence, but these appear to have been mostly well-proven Scuds. Then, in another gesture, a further missile was fired the next day.

According to Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the Scuds were fired in order for the North to cover itself in case of a failure by the Taepodong-2.

“They were there simply to cause a bang,” he told the BBC News website.

In related news:

  • Russia was shocked — shocked! — that North Korea would actually fire missiles that Russia helped them develop a few decades ago, calling it “an ambiguous event that cannot help the six-party process”;
  • China urges all parties to remain calm (which is easy I guess if Krazy Kim’s not pointing his pop gun at you!);
  • South Korea’s bond rating is an impressive “four steps above ‘junk,'” according to Moody’s, with no immediate change in sight; and
  • Gold is the new pink.

Meanwhile, check out Japan’s Cerebral Soup, which liveblogged the missiles.