Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cool Limp

There really is nothing cool about a limp. Many people try to make it work (inner-city kids, pirates and Dr. House) and none of the do it well. I am one of those people. Of course, I am not trying to be slick looking, rather I am trying to get from point A to B.

I went back to the doctor on Monday. After waiting for too long and beginning to get in the "they're-ignoring-me-because-I'm-a-foreigner" mode, they brought me back. It was a different doctor than I saw last time, but honestly the booze impaired my memory that night, so who knows? He asked if I spoke Korean. I told him that "a little" and he continued in English. He looked at my X-Rays again and re-wrapped my ankle and pushed me out the door with the advice to where my cast-thing for two more weeks. Ugh!

The kids were really great when they saw me for the first time with the injury. They all were concerned.

"Teacher, are you hurt?"

I was just happy that they spoke in proper English. During one class, I had to remove my bandage and rewrap it because it was too tight. The kids immediatley started claiming that my foot smelled very bad. It didn't, but all kids assume that every foot is very smelly (interesting from a culture that prizes shoe removal). One girl named Sarah came to my defense.

"It's okay George Teacher. You are hurt." she said while patting my back.

She was very kind and I'm happy she stuck up for me.

Here's a video update of my ankle.

video

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Daily Politics

In an attempt to organize my thoughts and this blog, I am creating more and more weekly and daily features: Images of Korea, Image of the Week, News you Know and now Daily Politics. Also, check the labels. We'll see how it works.

As we know McCain won, Romney got close and Rudy folded. I'm not so sure this is as big of a win the the idiotic Media is making it. McCain has a long way to go to convince the base that he's the best way to go. The bigger story of course, is Hillary. And it's not her "win", but her attempts to seat those delegates. I don't think it will matter after Super Tuesday anyways. While this cannot be viewed as a "win" because a ton of those votes were cast long ago (before Obama was viable) and that he did not campaign in Florida because HE was following the rules, it can be a sign to the health of the Democratic party. There was a huge turnout and hopefully Florida will be so blue that the GOP can try anything in November.

Besides the possibly pivotal California debate, there will be very little action unless there is some head-butting.

My predictions:

  • Both Hillary and McCain will over expose this win.
  • Hillary will come across as pompous and smug in the debate and Obama will come out fighting.
  • Rudy will not admit that he had the worst campaign strategy ever.
  • The Media will poorly over-analyze all of this

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Past Campaigns: 1952

I thought that this would be a fun break from the presently heated campaign underway and I would take you back as far as I can find. I'm not going to get into much of the history surrounding the clips or elections outside of providing a link for you.

We'll start with the first one I could find ads for, the 1952 election. I know that only two or three of you were alive at this point, but I think it's great.

This is for Ike.



And this is for his Democratic rival, Adlai Stevenson.



Did you like the name play they did on Stevenson, "Man-you-can-believe-in, son" and "Civilians' son". I loved it! I am a staunch Democrat, but I'm not sure who I would have voted for based solely on the ads. I think Ike had a catchier jingle, but Stevenson really tried to make his name rhyme. Classic!

Here's out that played out. Solid South!






Still, I would have gone for Stevenson. Would you?

Patrick Goodman "God of the Midwest"

As many of you know, there was this fellow from Cincinnati whom I had the pleasure of working with for six months during my first year in Korea. He has since moved to Australia to study and refine his card cataloging skills, but manages to focus much of his energy into his artwork.

Still, we all know that I am a superior artist in every way.


Just look at that detail. I like to think of myself as a quasi-impressionist, but really I pull from all styles. Look how I used the eyebrows the express emotion. Genius!

Nonetheless, Pat has real talent and quite a unique style as well. I'm going to add him to my blog roll and perhaps you can click on it and make us all feel better.

Monday, January 28, 2008

To Us!!!

The Image of the Week this week stars Bill Clinton playing the sax in front of what appears to be his henchmen. I can't clearly identify any of them, but perhaps you can?





I put this up to show my desire to mend the fences that have been torn over the past few weeks and show the power of ther Dems when we unite. I hope we can do this together. I want the two campaigns to continue the fight and may the best (wo)man win, but I want it to be clean.

Here's to our great Party!!!

Images of Korea

This is an image I found in the depths of the web archives. It's an image of Korea circa 1910. It is believed to have been taken months before the Japanese occupation that would last 35 years began.



The picture is supposedly taken within 10km of where we live now and from the main street in our neighborhood, I can see this mountain range. I think it's amazing how far Korea has come from those days.

**Update** In response to a "What am I looking at?" in the comments, I should make clear that this is an old Korean village. You can see the thatched roofs and the small stream running though the center and running off the bottom left of the page.

Sneaky HRC

I'm not totally caught up on this whole thing yet, but from what I can understand, HRC is trying to challenge the DNC rules and somehow get MI and FL delegates seated. How can she do this? The only reason that Obama and Edwards didn't compete in these races is because they were following the DNC rules. Why should Hillary be rewarded with those delegates when she is the one who broke the rules and strayed from the DNC's ruling?

She is a slimy woman. She trying to downplay her HUGE loss in SC by changing the dialogue to Florida. If the DNC allows her to seat even one of those "illegal" delegates, I will be so disappointed in our party's leadership. Florida is just a disastrous place for Dems and now Clinton is joining in on the shady fun.

Luckily, Florida can deal a serious blow to McCain if ol' Mittster keeps climbing the ladder! Keep it up, Romney!

What a Coalition!

Obama did it and not only did he do it, but he REALLY did it. He received over half the vote, leaving HRC and Edwards the rest. I'm not going to get too excited though. Obama appears to be trailing in most of the big states, but the gap seems to be getting smaller. However, WSJ is a joke from what I can gather. Before the SC Primary, they claimed that a double-digit victory is the only way to prove to the general electorate it really mattered.

But with expectations set so high, political pundits say the Illinois senator faces a dilemma: He will have to win by a double-digit margin in order for voters nationwide to perceive South Carolina as a real victory.

I knew that the WJS was bad, but this blatant pushing for Clinton is not hiding their intentions at all. I think that Clinton is staying strong only because no one thought that Obama was viable until last fall. Too many people made too many commitments too long ago and they can't go back on them. It's unfortunate though. This man can sweep the GE in my opinion. The support that these two candidates are getting is impressive to say the least.

Clinton seems to be getting a big institutional backing and Obama seems to be getting the support from real people and real fighters. We'll see what it takes.

A Quick Slip

I must apologize for my laziness this weekend. I know it was a big one and, with Obama's HUGE win, it was a great one. However, I must first deliver some semi-grim news.

On Friday night, after a typical night of meat and soju I decided to return home early. I got out of the cab and since it was very cold, I jogged to my apartment building that was literally 20 meters away. I entered the foyer and BAM! I slipped and sprained my ankle soooo badly. After a few minutes of silent pain on the floor, I gathered myself and climbed the three flights of stairs. Agonizing. I made it to the door, opened it up and was greeted by 고운 who took one look at the swollen softball that had attached itself to my right ankle and we immediately headed to the hospital. It was midnight.

I went in there, took X-Rays, laid on the hospital bed and got a shot in my butt. I think this was the first time for me to be injured like this. It was pretty rough, but 고 took great care of me and now I am cruising around (slowly) on crutches and sporting a cast. It's not the same kind of cast that you get when you break a leg. It's like a hard half-cast that doesn't cover my shin, but the rest is in there. It itches today. I've never had crutches either and in a country where walking is my main mode of transportation, this will be fun. Here's an image I took of myself a couple minutes ago.



So, I'm going to the doctor at lunch today and hopefully they will give me some good news. Hopefully.



Fats Domino & Ricky Nelson - I'm Walking

Friday, January 25, 2008

News That You Know

Guliani loses ground in Florida.

Somehow this guy thought that he could just relax while the rest of the country participated in the primary? He walked into it.


The Center for Public Integrity released findings that Bushco made at least 935 false statements in the run-up to and aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

I'm happy that they did this, but why release it? We know that they have lied and honestly, I would say that 935 is a little low. I was thinking it around that number and hour. I guess we can't count claims like, "I'm a christian" and "I'm a compassionate conservative" in that tally. Imagine that number!


The masseuse who discovered Heath Ledger called Mary-Kate Olsen first.

First of all, why in the world would she do that? And secondly, anyone decent person (like Heath is presumed to have been) should have nothing to do with part of that eternal child acting duo.


The California Supreme Court declared that even if you have a prescription to medical marijuana, you can still get fired if you're high at work.

Why is that most of the people who need to have this prescription live in California? Did people actually have to be told that by the Supreme Court that smoking at or before work could get you fired? And finally, people who smoke that should be able to mask the fact that they are high. Come on! High-school sophomore's do it everyday.


Many people saw what they thought were UFO's flying over central Texas this week. The Air Force claims they were F-16 Fighter Jets.

Of course they had to be spotted over Texas or anywhere in the south for that matter. Do UFO's prefer to show themselves to hicks? Perhaps some those who have claimed to seen visitors in our sky were correct, but why does the government have to come up with an explanation for EVERY single sighting. Can't they just shrug their shoulders and say, "Beats me..."?


Korea's President-elect, Lee Myung-bak, has wasted no time and has already implemented many of his campaign promises. One being to change the educational system and force Korean students to learn every subject through English.

That includes Korean literature and history. This is laughable. Very ambitious, but this will never happen. Besides the fact that only 5% of the Korean English teachers now can barely teach a full hour of English language IN ENGLISH, I have a hard time seeing that rate skyrocket in the next couple of years. Also, what is the advantage of learning Korean literature in English? My take: They are trying to get rid of all the foreigners and keep them from stealing their women! Hahaha! Too late!

In the recent GOP debate, the candidates all agreed that Hillary would raise taxes.

This is amazing! After they all finished anonymous gay sex in the bathroom, they came up with a new GOP mantra, "The Dems will raise taxes!" These guys really seem to have the world right. America sure would be lucky to have one of these original, caring and intellectual men as it's leader.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two Days is Enough

As promised, I took two days off from the campaign. I did not miss too much outside of the bickering between both Clinton's and Obama. First of all, I think it's ridiculous that I have to pluralize Clinton or clarify which one I am talking about. I do want to mention one thing about this though. While I was doing my daily reading of dozens of papers and blogs, I came across this one at Talking Points Memo (TPM). It's the radio commercial that Clinton has been airing the past few days. I'll include the both the text and audio.


VOICE-OVER:“Listen to Barack Obama last week talking about Republicans.
BARACK OBAMA: “The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years.”

VO: “Really? Aren’t those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we’re in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street. Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama’s talking about?”

BO: “The Republicans were the party of ideas.”

VO: Hillary Clinton thinks this election is about replacing disastrous Republican ideas with new ones, like jump-starting the economy. Putting an immediate freeze on foreclosures and mortgages. Cutting taxes for the middle class. And creating millions of new jobs. With the economy in crisis, we need a president with the ideas, the solutions that get our economy working for all of us. Hillary Clinton. Solutions for America.




This whole thing is a joke. Hillary does not care about the Dems. She would not been slandering one of her own if she did. She does not care about the general election outcome. She does not care about the future of the country either. She is so intent on getting this nomination that she will ruin the chances of Obama to win the GE if he gets the nomination instead of her. It is becoming very clear that she only cares about herself.

Riding the Wave?

Outside of the occasional Korean popping into popular American television or an American movie here and there, the scope and reaches of the Korean entertainment industry was unknown to me. And the idea that there was a term for its infusion into worldwide markets came as a surprise. Be that as it may, The Korean Wave is real.

It means, specifically, the rising popularity of popular Korean culture in other countries. This has been experienced mostly in Asian markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and in China, where the phrase was coined in 1999. This wave basically includes film, music and television.

I have already discussed some of the popular music in Korea. You already know that band music does not do well here. There are a few attempts by some probably talented musicians, but the genre (metal and punk) they choose to play does not display it well. An since their is not an audience for band music, the international musicians make a habit of hitting Japan and then passing over Korea. I don't blame them. Some popular douche bags come and play like Jay-Z and all the silly GI's and teachers get to act hard, but no one with musical talent. For these reasons, I was surprised to see this flyer on my way to school.



While bands like the Wonder Girls and Big Bang continue to top the charts in Korea, they don't top much of anything outside of the peninsula. As you all know from Colbert, Rain is a very well-known Korean pop star who tours. However, his past tour faced cancellation after cancellation hinting that his popularity and possibly this Korean Wave could be faltering. Still, On May 5, 2007, a K-pop concert was held at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The theme for the night was We Are One and several big names performed, including K-Pop stars like Ivy, Fly to the Sky, Big Bang, Super Junior, Epik High and BoA. The Wonder Girls had yet to be packaged. Let me give you a quick comparison of the Korean and Japanese live music market.

Korea
only has one well-known international act coming and that is Bjork. Japan has over 80 acts coming and they range from Celine Dion and Suzanne Vega to The Police and Toto, not to mention a ton of bands that I love and would see regularly in America.

However, the mainstay of this Korean Wave, in my opinion, lies in Korea's ability to make great movies and television without succumbing to the styles and themes of Hollywood. They produce great comedy and drama in Korea and many of these films do very well in other markets. In fact many markets are making efforts to curb this trend in fear that their own markets would become obsolete.

Has this wave crested? Or is does it still have some time? Well, I'm not sure. I think that musically it has finished. I don't think there is an international market for it. However, I do think that the movie industry is going to continue to grow. There are a few obstacles though. The effect of Hollywood on Korean films and the film Quota are both issues that need to be discussed and will be on here soon.

Until then, here's a couple movie trailers.



A Dirty Carnival



Once in a Summer

We Love Our Hattie!

I know everybody claims that their child is the cutest and all of that, but most of the time it's a lie. However, I can say that Hattie really might be one of the cutest babies ever. I looked like a bug or drunk when I was a child and I can admit that it was not my best time. This was.
And while I understand that there isn't much that we can call MORE attractive than that look, I will say that this is the most adorable child ever.



Everytime I see new pics and videos, all I can do it ask for more! Come on!

**TonTon is an amazing name**

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rite of Passage

While it might not be the most pleasant topic, I think it is an interesting one. Korean boys have their own rite of passage to manhood. The Jews have their Bar Mitzvah. The Japanese have the Genpuku and the west has the Debutante. Well, Korea has their own rite of passage to manhood as well: adolescent circumcisions.

Circumcision is a religious commandment in both Judaism and Islam and most Americans have it done as well. In fact, 30% of men worldwide have had the procedure, mostly in developing countries where it is common for religious or cultural reasons. However, there are very few Jews and Muslims in Korea. Circumcision in South Korea is largely the result of American cultural and military influence following the Korean War. Still, why do they have to wait so long? If they got it from us, then why not take it off right away?

It has become a passage to manhood of sort. In fact, South Korea is thought to have the highest number of adolescent circumcisions in the world. (Make sure to read the section about "Natural Circumsicion". I thought the "uniquely Korean" aspect was interesting)I

In short, I feel bad for these boys. Sure, this is what they know and they don't see it in the same way I do, but the idea that they know its coming must be difficult. 고운 told me that most of the time they wait to have the operation done on a vacation so as to minimize the publicity of it. From what I understand though, most peers know when the operation is and hiding the fact that you got it done is close to impossible. When you get it done on vacation, at least you can limp around in private. And they do limp.

There are tons of people who protest circumcision is general, but I'm glad I had it done when I was a baby.



Does this guy care that much about an operation that happened when we were just hours old? Also, if he is not circumcised, how does he know what he's missing? And if he is circumcised, how is he so sure that he's missing something?

*Upon reading more on this subject (for some reason) I will have to updat this later. It's too classic!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Coding to Complacency

I tried. I really did. I set out to change the entire look of my blog by creating the code for my new layout. It was going to have more columns, more images, more widgits and all sorts of things, but after HOURS and HOURS of continous failed attempts, I decided that I'm actually quite happy with what I already have.

So, I decided to work on what I know, and this is what I did.

You'll notice the CNN Newsreel. You can click on it directly and go from there. The weather, the Obama news, the countdown and all of that is there and ready for you to look at.

How about the new title image? Nice, huh? Well, not that nice, but I like it.

I'm soooo tired of being on the computer. I've been working on this for almost 6 hours now. However, 고운 is still at the office and she's been there since 730 this morning! That's right! She works for nearly 15 hours a day!!! Work is getting busy for her right now, so keep her in your thoughts! She's doing so well!!

Let's Keep it in the Front

My Image of the Week this week is a satellite image of the Korean peninsula. We have all seen this image before, especially since the detrimental 2002 "Axis of Evil" speech, when Bush sadly included North Korea in that "Axis". I, like most people (even in Korea), react in the same way when we see this. We offer only short dismissive comments like, Wow! or It's so dark!, yet we don't see what that darkness means. We don't know how that darkness feels, but there are over twenty-million people that can feel that darkness everyday.



When we look at that image, we see a stark contrast between comfort and pain; hope and agony; life and death. We see that, but we continue to offer shallow and thoughtless reactions and, in my opinion, false compassion. How often do we all think about these problems? How often do we think that Korea is the ONLY nation that is divided like this? This issue is not one that I can or will ignore anymore. I'm marrying a Korean and this issue effects me and my future family now, and if you are part of my family now, well then it effects you too. And that's good!

We need to keep the lives that are being lived just kilometers away from where I am writing in the front of our mind. As humans we are responsible for this. They have stories and their stories and plight will be on here from now on.

Elie Wiesel's acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize puts it in perspective.

“Many Europeans knew about the holocaust when it was taking place. But nobody did anything about it. The Nazis are not the only ones responsible for the holocaust. To be silent is to side with the killers.” He added that when human lives and dignity are threatened, people should transcend borders and throw away their passive attitudes."


This type of apathy is so rampant and is easy to ignore because of how far removed we are, but you never know when a country like North Korea or anywhere else for that matter, can somehow become part of your life or family and change your perception on the current state of the world.

You've seen it before, but please take a moment and watch this.



You know how much I love Korea and the Korean people. No one deserves to go through this. Seeing those children in that video is the worst part. I've taught hundreds of Korean children and they are no different from the poor souls that happened to be north of the parallel. They deserve more. I know it will take governmental and economical cooperation to end this division and that will happen from the top-down.

Until then, we must remember, support and respect the lives and dreams that inhabit that darkness.

SC Debate and Beyond



This debate was much more lively than I had expected. Rather than discussing the specifics of the debate and subject-matter, I'd like to mention why this whole thing needs to slow down.

First of all, this is not November. Let's stop the mud-slinging and show some solidarity. The real issues that they are debating are great. They are really hitting some core Dem values, i.e., criminal justice reform, health care reform, ending the Iraq Debacle, the economy, etc. The problem is that this is the time when they should be firing up their base and bringing all of these issues to the surface for the entire electorate. They can easily put to rest the "Dems stand for nothing" myth and start swaying the rest of the country to join in the movement. Instead, they (Obama and Clinton especially) are arguing over little things that hurt the whole party.

Secondly, Bill needs to give it rest. Of course he should campaign for his wife, but he is taking too many swipes at Obama and that brings out the worst in both the Obama and Clinton campaigns.

And finally, I think that the voters need to keep in mind that two of these three candidates will probably be nominated for the Pres and VP position. I'm not going to get into who should be in what position yet, however, let's not discount ANY of these guys.

In closing, the GOP should be very easy to defeat in November if the Dems stay above the fray, shoot straight and highlight why we are Dems.

We stand for that which makes this nation great. Show us the way!

By the way, Edwards won this debate. He knows how to navigate his way around the other two and deliver a clear and concise message. Obama and Hillary did well, too. Again, I think Obama debated the best and Hillary outlined her policies the clearest.

These three guys are the best debaters we have seen in ages and we are all lucky to have such wonderful candidates. They all have amazing hearts, minds and the drive it takes to bring it home. We really are quite lucky. I just hope after this process is over, the three of them can dust off, shake hands and get to work for the country.

Snow...again.

As you can tell by my handy weather icon on the sidebar (which will be edited today), it's snowing again. That's way too many to count this winter. Last winter it snowed only twice.

While it might sound fun, it's not really. We still have to teach and I have not seen the sun in over two weeks. I need to take some Vitamin D I guess, although rickets do sound nice.

The snow is pretty though and in a sometimes drab city, it's a break from the norm.



Sometimes it's heavy, but today we'll only see a few inches at best.

Here are so very dull videos of my view.



Monday, January 21, 2008

A Little Change

I thought this might be a nice change.



Andre Bocelli Con Te Partiro

Forgive the Mess

I'm trying to create my own blog template and since I have no HTML background, it is taking awhile. The blog will change a lot over the next two days and will have odd widgits on the sidebar over there for now.

The posts will not change though and you can still read and comment as you could before.

The Macarena of Korea

So, we all remember the horrors of the 1996 mega-hit, Macarena. I will not post the video on here, but I will make a link for it. People from all over the world came together to dance to a truly awful song. Fun!

It's Korea's turn now, but with it's current K-Pop sensation and group that I have talked about on here, The Wonder Girls.

Everyone here knows and adores this song. I do not, although the dance moves are so odd that they become catchy. Also, they are much more difficult than the Macerena which constituted of simple arm movements.

Here's their and video and dance.



And here's their tutorial.



And finally, here is the reaction to the dance.



The Wonder Girls are touring America this summer, so I would suggest that you learn the dance now so you don't look foolish at the show. 고 and I have been practicing for weeks.

MLK's Dream

You certainly did not fear any man! Rest in peace, Dr. King!




His message is very much alive with me, but what about the rest of the people?

It's hard to stay away from the campaign on this topic, but I will...

In-Fighting Will Damage Us

Is this happening within the GOP? A little, but we have A LOT more to lose. Think Dems! Hillary had a teary-eyed moment and claimed that this election was personal. Obama wants to set a new and positive course for America and the generations to come. Edwards insists that he will take back Washington and let every man have a voice again. All of this is so great and I want one of them to do it! So, why are they constently ruining the image of their fellow Dems? The general election isn't too far off and the voters are going to remember all of this. So, why do it?

I'm only thought, and I want to believe this is not true, is that they are not doing it for their stated reasons. They are doing it for themselves. I am a Obama supporter and I genuinely don't think he is doing this for himself, but for us. I think Edwards is doing it for us. I can admit that I think McCain and Huckabee are doing it for us -well not me. Not for one second do I think that Hillary, Rudy and Romney are doing it for us. They are doing it because they thought they could win before they decided to announce their bid. That's deplorable!

They all calculated it well too. Rudy has his 9/11 leadership (Ha!). Romney has his faith (Ha!) and Hillary has her secret weapon and it's not women, no, no, no. It's Bill and his ability to surface and exploit that fuzzy lethargic feeling people get when they think of the nineties. It's not the nineties and the world has wildly changed. Do we want to try to undo the last eight years? Or do we want to break through them and lay the foundation for a new and improved path? I know what I want.

It's hard to watch Bill Clinton speak and think to myself, "Man, I don't like him anymore." However, this is what it has been like recently. He's doing all the dirty work for Hillary so she can claim that she is taking the high-road. She is trying so hard to be a sweet and funny woman, but it's just cheap and very unbecoming of a previous President. Still, Obama has to fight fire with fire sometimes and lash back. What else can he do? Bill need to give it a rest. He is already losing his superstar status with me and I'm sure I'm not alone. Let the two CANDIDATES battle it out, Bill!

While he is not running for President, this makes me wonder how much power he'll really have. There was always the idea that Hillary was the dominating force in the marriage, but maybe the tables have turned. Maybe he's climbed back on top of ol' Hildog and is taking the helms. Gross!

It really is genius though, especially with the economic woes that America and, subsequently, a lot of the world markets are facing. People see Bill and it foolishly takes them to the happy nineties when there was a surplus and we only bombed east Europe. Huge mistake in my opinion. Huge!

So, it's time to take "change" out of her campaign. Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton does not equal change. Man, maybe we could have Hillary win two terms and then pick up Jeb in time for the next two and then Chelsea can step up for two and so on. Really, we could have the Bush-Clinton combo for the rest of my life. That would be perfect.

Enough said!

I'm going to a few days off from the campaign unless something noteworthy occurs. I'm sure you're all sick of my biased and presumably average political opinion.

Obama and the Black Vote

Whatever you might think or want to believe about the Nevada primary, one thing is for sure and this that Obama is looking towards South Carolina with a smile on his face. However, is it a smile that will last, let alone hand him the nomination.

All the polls that I have read give Obama a near double-digit lead over Clinton. With over half of the electorate being from the black community and 4-1 lead over Clinton, that gives him just under half of the vote right there. He wants and needs this victory, but will this victory push him towards being dubbed the "Black Candidate"? I don't think so.

This would not be fair since he is doing so well with white voters and continues to perform well against a candidate who is riding the wave of one of the most popular Democrats in America.

What can he do though? Nothing. In SC, he has to hope for higher-than-expected non-black supoport and that will hopefully brush off the idea that he is the candidate for the black community.

Besides, Clinton got Rev. Butts in NYC on her side and this should say something about the lack of ethnic tension or that it's getting played up way too much.

Race is not an issue here and I want the media to let it go...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nevada

We know the results and we know how I feel about it. I think Obama should have been a little better of a sport and given a congratulations, but he did not.

The biggest story IMO is that Romney, Huckabee, McCain are all doing well. This is good because I still think that Rudy has the best shot to clean up on the 5th. With all of these possible nominees, it makes the voting impact somewhat diluted and some potentially strong candidates will lose their momentum.

We'll keep fighting the good fight.

By the wat did anyone watch McCain SC victory speech? Did you see his mother? She's still kicking!

Friday, January 18, 2008

New and Necessary

You will now be seeing me link articles and everything a little better on here. It will be cleaner. Just for the few who don't understand this ground breaking feature just click on the highlighted word. Here is a start.

There really is such a thing as a conservative online encyclopedia. It's called Conservapedia and it is insane. Check it's top searches.

I will write more, but those what kind of sad bastards sit around looking at that stuff?

Got it?

Reagan and the African-American Nation

I'm educating myself on these issues as well and this is a stirring look at Reagan and his treatment of the population. I knew he did some rough things, but this is appalling.

Stop Talking!

Apparently the interview that Obama gave the other day has been getting a lot of press. I came across it in the blogosphere and did not realize it had been getting this media attention until today. I don't know what the talking heads are saying, but I can tell you that I have listened to the ENTIRE interview. If you listen to the whole thing, then the context of some of his comments are clearer. First of all, I will give it to you again, but here is the full version.



First of all, and as I have said before, Obama has made the switch to General Election mode way too early. What he's trying to convey in this message is a solid and calculated attempt to sway independants, but this is not the time for that. He should be strenghtening his base with the Dem's and hope that the rest will follow. Now, he's risking a loss of his base.

In this potential pitfall, Obama discusses the "party of ideas" and how the Repub's were the dominating force in creating the poltical debate and setting the tone. He does this poorly by praising Reagan who did so much damage to the world, the country and the Dems. Reagans ideas were all nonsense. So, why would Obama do this?

He's trying to say that the time for change is now and that he can change the country in such a drastic was as well.

What Obama says next, about the fights still being over the topics of the 60s and 70s, is both true, and irrelevant. It's also undercuts his own happy, peace-loving message. The fights he talks about will always exsist. People will always find something new to fight about, or bring an old issue back from being settled to a new argument with a slightly different tone.

I understand what he wanted to do here, but he missed the point and it looks like he is going to suffer for it. It's better than crying and pretending to be a flight attendant though.

Weekend

It's Friday morning and I'm doing pretty well. I just took a luke-warm shower and that is no way to start the day, but it is Friday and so I'm still good. Tonight, we're all going out for dinner and drinks. That will be fun. Of course Joel is in town for his wedding which is tomorrow and that should be fun. I'm in the wedding, but I don't get to wear any cool Korean outfit or anything, just a suit. 고 has to work tomorrow morning, but she'll be out in time for the 1pm wedding.

I'm hoping to go to a Korean Basketball League (KBL) game soon as well. Speaking of that, I'm winning my Fantasy Basketball League right now. That's pretty good I guess. So, really nothing to report. I'll be watching the weekend results and probably doing the live blogging as the results come in.

Keep your fingers crossed and here's some Friday tunes to put at little bounce in your step! Have fun, guys...



Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters
"Chameleon"

Images of Korea

I'm starting a weekly "Images of Korea: Past and Present" on here. Really, it's something that will force me to learn more Korean history, while having fun writing about it. Whatever my reasons may be, I will use them to show contrast and give little bits and pieces of modern history and perspective, rather than writing a lecture on here.



A Korean girl and her brother in front of a M-26 Tank. I can't say where in Korea this was taken, but I can say that people still hold their children in this manner.


Side Note: 고's grandmother lived through this and through most of the Japanese occupation. I'm hoping to talk to her and get her personal account, but we'll see how that goes.

Brief History of the tank in Korea:

When the US Army went to war with Korea, it found itself unprepared to fight and win the first and succeeding battles. It is argued that the unpreparedness was due to massive underfunding and poorly managed demobilization after World War II.

On the eve of the Korean War, the nation's defense establishment ignored (Surprised?) much of what had been learned about the conventional tactics that had been successfully demonstrated in World War II, and instead had begun to depend on nuclear weapons delivered by air power. Like EVERY war, things a different than the one before and the Korean War was no exception.

This particular tank, the M-26, was the principal tank used in the Korean War. It was developed after the popular M4 Sherman tank had started to be upstaged in battle by the German and Soviet tanks towards the end of WWII. The tanks proved superior to the lighter Soviet-provided North Korea's tanks.

"Make Hil Human"

I guess this is another installment in the "Make Hil Human" campaign. First, we had her staged tears (imo) and now her obviously staged and scripted attempt at humor(you can see her reading the lines that are presumably taped on the wall). I think that most of the writers on strike have found employment in the production that her candidacy has become. I'm sure you've seen it, but here you go.



I know that Obama and Edwards are not making these pathetic attempts because they are already human. How sad is it that 1) she has to do these stunts to prove that and 2) she could be what the Dems offer the public.

This is too pathetic, so let's focus on Nevada and South Carolina!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How is this possible?

One question: How are caucuses legal in a democracy?

I know that there are TONS of violations of the Voting Rights Act and I don't want to get into the 2000 and 2004 elections, but I cannot believe this is allowed to happen.

The issue is obviously intimidation. I couldn't even wear a Kerry-Edwards shirt within 100 yards of a voting center, but caucuses allow blatant and possibly forceful voter coercion.

So, fill me in. How can this be?

Let Them Play!

Education in Korea is paramount. Basic schooling in the elementary schools are fine, but most families that can afford it will send their children to one, two, three or more private academies. This is why I'm here. That's obvious.

I was taking pictures today at school. We were practicing for graduation and I wanted to get them in action. I got a lot of pictures, but this one stuck out to me.



I don't remember taking this picture, but when I looked at it I noticed the contrast. Sarah, the girl in the front, looks like she is a normal cheerful little girl. Jenny, the sad one in the back, is looking down. Their faces speack volumes in my opinion.

These two girls have so much ahead of them and life is still so fun and innocent for them. However, soon they will be thrown into an educational cycle where studying and coursework is all that they know and essentially they will lose their childhood. The parents are to blame, but the parents can't be blamed.

They are trying to make their children well-prepared for a globalized world whether they know it or not. By doing so, they are taking one of the most precious things away from their children. The fun and silliness that was all of our childhoods was just an amazing time. We played, we swam, we climbed trees, we camped and we skidded our knees. We did kid things. School was never our focus. Fun was our focus. Life was our focus. Getting to know the world was our focus.

We all wanted to be firemen, doctors and astonauts. We thought that our moms and dads were our heroes. I'm not saying that Korean kids don't get to do these things and that they don't think this way too. I'm just worried that the focus of life for these kids is not going to be enjoying it, but resenting it.

Here is an example from three random kids.

Helena is an eight year old girl. She likes school and really wants to do well. She has a lot of friends and seems to laugh a lot. I used to teach her before she moved to Canada. Her typical week: elementary school 9am-2pm; English school 3-6pm; piano lessons 7-8; art academy 830-930. She did that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On her off days she studied and practiced it all.

Angela is one of my top speakers. She's getting closer to fluency and is 11 years old. She goes from elementary school to my school to math school every MWF. On her off days she only goes to elementary school, piano lessons, and math school. She typically finishes her day at 9pm.

Ben is a smart 10 year old boy. He is the cool kid in class. Everybody likes him and some want to be him. Why? Is he good at sports which usually helps popularity in America? No, he's the smartest in the class. He is super-nerdy and cool. He goes to elementary school to english to chinese to science. He finishes at 10pm EVERYDAY.

Are these kids happy? Yes. They are happy because they do not know any better. 고운 remembers this life. She is thankful for it, but sees how trivial most of it was. In high school she stayed at school until 10 or 11pm; studying and doing homework. Her biggest problem with it is that she often wonders if it was worth it? Was spending all of her time in the books worth the loss of some potenially fun childhood times?

It was and it wasn't. Education is good for everybody and if she had not done ALL of that studying, then the Korean system would have rejected her. She did study and it didn't reject her. Her intellect always amazes me. It's practical and tangible.

I'm not saying the system is flawed. America could take a few pointers as South Korea continually produces some of the brightest thinkers in the world, but maybe a little free time would be nice.

Some Like It Hot!

There are very few things that I can say I'm not too fond of about Korea. In fact, I can list them quite easily. I won't though.

I will say that I have not been able to take a long hot shower in about a year. My first flat was fine (Did I just say "flat"?). It was a large bathroom that always had unlimited hot water. Then 고 and I moved into the nice fancy second place. I remember the first time I showered there. I was so cold and just wanted to run in and sit under the hot, steaming shower. I turned the water on and waited... and waited... and waited. Finally, it started to get warm. I jumped in and within a few moments it was cold again. There is nothing worse than drying off after a cold shower. Our new place is the same. I'm not sure why it is this way and it's obviously not everywhere, just the places I seem to live.

We'll see, but next time you shower make sure that you appreciate it because I don't have that luxury.



Was that not the worst song ever? Trey love it...

Obama v. Reagan

There is a huge difference between these two men and they style of change that they offer is quite different. As I mentioned yesterday, Obama is running as a non-partisan partisan. In theory, he's trying to meld the parties and pander towards a politically disenchanted voting population. This is fine for now. He needs to win the independents to seek the nomination and then he is going to have to make a decision as to who and how he appeals to the voters.



Obama seems to think that the voters are ready for a new direction like they were in the 1980's. I, for one, can't believe that Carter got booted. I mean, that guy predicted the world we live in today and offered easy solutions back then when it STILL was easy. Either way, that time has passed. The change that came from the 1980 vote was from a different age. That was the time when people poltically came of age in the 1960s and 70s. Their points and ideas are so different from what people want today. Hillary is from that time period. Most people in the GOP seem to be frozen in that time. Alot of Obama supporters were politicized in the 80s, 90s and even the 00s. We are his core and we can change the face of the nation, but we need a leader who knows offering a Reagan style of change without Reagan tactics is futile. Pave the way for the Dems to be the party of America, Mr. Obama!

Reagan ran a divisive campaign that demonized the Dems and managed to convince the country that the GOP was somehow divine. He did it well. I agree with Obama that Reagan did alter the trajectory of the country and its history, but it landed us here in a time of war, recession, rampant global anti-Americanism, and a real chance of losing "super-power" status.

By discussing this topic, he is trying to wield some of that energy into his campaign. He still doesn't understand why Reagan did so well. If he did, then Mr. Obama would be standing up and fighting for core Dem values. As I said, he is trying to get the nomination and I am going to stick it out, but the longer he waits the harder it will be to change his tone.

Change, as they all love saying, does not come from agreeing with your opponent. It does not come from making sure everyone is happy. It does not come from being pleasant. It comes from a fight. It comes from knowing what is right. It comes from standing up and fighting for what you know it right.

Stand up, Obama!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crossroads

After a five day absence from writing, I want to return with a question:

Is there a Dem candidate that actually will fight for Dem values?

I simply don't know. Obama has a lot to learn. He is so smooth with his words and has the power to be one of the greatest, but if he gets the nomination, will he drop the unifying rhetoric and get to work? I understand that most of the country is neither Dem nor Repub, but somewhere in the middle, however, I am a Democrat and I am voting for someone who can fight for our causes. I don't want a centrist in there. Centrists don't fight. My support is with Obama because I think he has it in there, but I really hope he steps it up.

Clinton is going to end the Dem chance of winning the general election presuming McCain gets the nomination. If he doesn't, than even Mike Gravel could have beaten the rest of the lousy possibilities.

The Dems have been demonized for not standing for anything by the Right for the last seven years and while we all know they do, when are they going to stand up and say it? It's time we fight and stop pandering all the time. Hillary will not fight for a thing and we know that. Edwards used to fight for it, but has seemed to stop and Obama has rejected it at this point.

All of this is going to lead to a blurring of Democratic values and therefore, political disaster.

So, I'm supporting a Carter-Obama ticket in 2008!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jerry Watch: The Final Frontier

I slept through the night last night. No nightmares. No sweat. I woke up feeling good. After my stretches and usual 5 mile run, I was ready. I ate a hearty breakfast of steak and eggs and then watched Obama give a speech about stripes. I was ready.

It snowed a lot last night. The snow was still coming down as I slowly skidded my way towards school. I felt really good. I went into school and immediately put down my things and gave a speech.

"Good morning. In less than an hour, teachers from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest in-class battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the 11th of January, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the the 11th of January will no longer be known as a made up holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

The teachers went wild. Tears were pouring down everyone's faces. I remained strong. Someone had to lead. Today really was our day. Our day to stand up and fight the Green Stripes on their own territory.

Without any hesitation I ran straight up the stairs. I was pushing kids out of the way left and right. I was a war charge. The kind you see in the movies.

My charge was met head on. Green Stripes wasted no time and he knew that I was going to battle to the death today. He rushed me as I rushed him!



The battle was on! He was quick and stronger than before. He had gained power and somehow mashed his green striped together and made his whole short green. I was worried, but fought on.



My mind was clear. I wasn't thinking about the battle. I was thinking about why I was fighting it. I was thinking about all the things that matter most to me.













All of a sudden I landed a blow to the beast. And then another and another. He was weakening.



He turned and ran.



He went into hiding in his lair.



That was the last I heard of Green Stripes.

It's been five years since those days and every once in awhile I can hear still his shriek. I can feel his presence. I learned a lot from Green Stripes.

He taught me about manhood, bravery and dedication. But most importantly, he taught me about life.

한복 Fun

Today was what is known at Wonderland as "Manners Day". It's where the kids learn Korean etiquette. The kids dress in their traditional Korean clothing or hanboks(한복) and bow and what not. It's always fun. Today, however, was cancelled, but I had to take a picture.




고 and I are buying our 한복 next month. I'm excited. We'll post the pics. By the way, look at Jerry. No 한복, but wearing green.

The our battle will be detailed this weekend.

Arirang

I plan on writing about the new title this weekend, but I quickly wanted to give you an idea of what Arirang is.

Arirang is the oldest known Korean folk song and I think it is one of the most beautiful songs that I have heard. There is an amazing history that surrounds this sound and I want you guys to appreciate it for what it means to Korea and me.

Stay tuned...

Here's an orchestral version of it...

Dedication

You know, and I've said it before, but 고 has so much drive and dedication. She continually gets up before dawn, studies, showers, goes to Chinese class, goes to work all day, gets home late and then does it all again. She does it with a smile on her face. She does it while always making sure I'm happy and satisfied. She does it while all the elements of life weigh down and she remains focused.

She does it for herself. She does it for us. She does it to improve herself. And this is a quality that very few people possess.

Here she is walking to class in the early morning hours on a cold and snowy Seoul morning.



While it's hard to see, she's holding an umbrella. She's looking back at me and waving with the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. She does this everyday and I love it more each time I see it!



That's her way up there on the right. She right below the light. You can see her footprints. There is only one set. No one else has gotten up yet. She never complains. She never frets. She is always positive. I love her so much.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Perfect Formula

It's late, but I wanted to share this with you. Uncle John sent it to me.



My thoughts tomorrow...

Jerry Watch: The Will to Press On!!!

The grim images haunted me all last night. I would wake up in a cold sweat and flashes of green stripes were all I could see. 고운 would wake up too and try to calm me, but it was no use.

Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in that classroom. When I was home after my first battle, I didn't think it would be worse, but I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my afternoon students, until I said "yes" to recess. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the classroom. I'm here writing now, getting softer; every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Green Stripes doesn't wash his shirts, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around, the walls moved in a little tighter.

It was a long night to say the least.

I knew that there was a good chance that I would see Jerry today. I was doing push-ups this morning before the sun came up. I was preparing for the battle. Meditation took my mind off it, but how can I forget what I saw yesterday. It was pure evil. Look away if you must.



I had to trash my blood-soaked clothes from yesterday and clean our entire apartment with ammonia. If Green Stripes catches even a whiff, then he'd be all over me again and I'm not sure I can take another encounter.

On the way to school I bumped into some elementary school students who were wearing Tae Kwon Do gi's. I asked them to show me some moves. They showed me this.



After I regained consciousness, I decided not to use that move since I only knew how to get kicked in the face. The familiar taste of blood was in my mouth, but I was already too close to school to turn back and the bell was about to ring. I pressed on.

The school was cold. I could see my breathe coming from my nose and mouth. This worried me. Could Green Stripes have gotten to the heater and turned it off? No. He couldn't have. I decided to take the elevator instead of the steps. The steps leaves me too open for ambush and I had a feeling that an early morning surprise attack might be what he was planning.

I pushed the button for the elevator. The light did not illuminate. I pushed it again and again and harder and faster each time. Nothing. Finally, it lit up and after surveying the empty elevator, I got on.

The one-floor ride couldn't have gone any slower. I thought about 고 and how this morning might have been the last time I saw her. I reached down to my pocket and felt for my phone. I only felt the cold steel on a gun barrel. I pulled it out, cocked it and put it in my belt and then retrieved the phone from the now empty pocket. I pushed the button for 고.

It rang.

"Hello." she said in a normal voice.

"고, it's me. I... I just..." my voice cracked. I took a deep breath and continued.

"I just wanted to let you know how much I love you and if I don't make it out of this alive, make sure our kids know I died for a just cause."

"Honey, we don't have kids yet AND I'll talk to you on MSN in a few minutes." she replied in a surprising calm and normal voice.

She just didn't seem to understand that I'm doing this for mankind. She thought it was all a joke or just something to write on a mediocre blog.

I had no time to sulk. The doors opened. No one was there. I edged forwards slowly and when I was out and in the open I heard the call of the great beast! The sound was awful. It was a blood-curdling shriek that I would not wish upon anybody.

I was not sure why he screamed, but just as I thought that, a sun beam pierced through the clouds and laid on the floor in front of me. It was feeding time. Usually, Green Stripes feeds alone and in the depths of a classroom, but something was different this time.

I peeked my head around the corner and looked down the long empty hallway. It was clear. I tightened my new bright white slip-on Keds, tight rolled my jeans and started the perilous journey.

I felt confident today. Maybe it was the Keds and jeans, but something was going to be different. I made it to the first classroom. I looked in and it was empty. So was the next one and the next one! They were all empty, so I decided that my time and energy would be better spent moving forwards rather than making useless stops. I let my guard down as I picked up the pace. I wanted to end this today, but Green Stripes knew I was coming. He knew it and planned for it.

All of a sudden the door in front of me swung open and I was again facing a charging enemy, but this time holding what looked like pitchfork only twenty-times the size! Look at it!




I felt a sharp poke on my arm and then piercing pain shot all around my body. I was paralyzed with fear. In the panic, I couldn't find my gun and just tried swinging. I couldn't see well, but the creature kept advancing and getting closer.



I fell to the ground and put my hand up to protect me from the blows, but he kept coming.



I could see him now. The beast before me was not the Green Stripes, but an evil spawn. I was losing ground. The advance was too fast and strong. I closed my eyes and waited for the end. Then, I heard that shriek again and the spawn retreated into a distant classroom.

I survived another attack, but could I live and function with all that had happened in the last two days? Could I forge on and fight again?

These are the questions that keep me up at night. These are the questions that haunt my dreams.

As Churchill said, "So long as there are Green Stripes there will be wars."

He was right and I will continue to rid the world of Green Stripes one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jerry Watch: A stirring look inside the dark and mysterious world of green stripes". DAY ONE

I made sure to bring my camera today to see if Jerry was wearing a green striped shirt. It was a wild story.

I walked in the door and looked for him, but he was not to be found. I thought he might be sick or something, but the school had not been notified. That meant he was wondering the halls, trying to turn other kids on to the dark world of green stripes.

I called a quick teachers meeting to discuss the threat, but it was too late. The bell had already rang and, like the students, we have to go to class.

I nervously ascended the stairs; gun in one hand and camera in the other. I saw some stripes in the corner of my eye and shot wildly, but when I gained control of my senses, I saw that it was only blue stripes. Phew!

The sweat was pouring down my forehead. My heart was beating fast. I stopped and tried to calm down. Green stripes can sense fear and I knew that if I was too close to him that that would be the end of me. I turned the corner and there he was. He was too far away to identify what kind of stripes he was wearing, but I could tell by the stench that there was a good chance of green. I cocked the trigger under my shirt in an attempt to muffle it and turned the camera flash on.

I stayed low so he couldn't see me. Green stripes are known for their vision. I had to stay low. He paced back and forth outside of the classroom. I looked away for only a moment and then, just like that, he was gone.

I looked around me and frantically starting checking my body as if there was a spider on me. I was clean and safe, but not for long. I approached a door. The smell was putrid, so I knew that this must be his classroom. I sat there for a moment pondering if this was worth it. After twenty minutes or so of crying and trying to win votes (Oh, how did that get in there?), I decided that if I didn't do this then 고's and my kids would be living in fear of green stripes or even worse, they might even cross-over and wear green stripes themselves. I had a duty to stop this. At least I had to try.

I backed up a few steps and took one last look at the door.

"This is for you, 고!!!" I screamed as I ran towards the door.

My life was flashing before my eyes, but it was not my past, but my future. This confused me because popular mythology suggests that my past is supposed to flash before me. I stopped and decided to give the flash one more try.

I changed my war charge this time.

"This is for 고 and our kids!!!

I hit the door with such power that the door flew right of the hinges. The power from my thrust made me loose grip on the gun and it fell into the darkness that surrounded me. It was quiet expect for the echoed drip of water in the distance. I fumbled around looking for the gun, but it was no good. I couldn't see a thing. I knew that my camera was my only chance. If I couldn't kill the great beast, then at least I could show the world its face.

I could smell stripes. I walked towards where I thought a wall was, but I tripped on what I hoped was an animal carcass, but I knew what it was. Finally, I found a wall. I clawed at it hoping to find a light and maybe even locate my gun.

Although I couldn't see it, I knew I was bleeding. The dampness was heavy and think on my abdomen. The cracking of my fingernails on the wall slowed me down, but I continued clawing for the switch.

Then, I found it. My adrenaline was so high at that point that I flipped on the switch without giving any thought.

Right before my eyes was the great beast. He hair was black as night. He peered at me with his empty, black eyes. I couldn't see his shirt. The mist was too thick, but those eyes I'll never forget. It was like looking into a sharks eyes. Black as death.

He didn't attack me though. He just sat there. Staring. Waiting. This gave me time to take a picture and, if I was lucky, escape with my life. I cautiously raised my camera.

*click*

I got the shot. He still didn't move; not even an inch. I couldn't figure it out. Then, I looked at the picture.



It was hideous. It was something out of a nightmare. His eyes pierced my soul and I found myself struggling to catch my breath. I looked closer. The beast before me was not wearing green. He was in purple!

I lunged at him in attack, but it was deflected. He grabbed me as if he was trying to choke me. I was surprised. Purple stripes shouldn't be this strong! As he was tossing me around like I was a pool toy, he paused. Then I saw it.

]

His collar was green! He had discovered that I was trying to study his habits and camouflaged himself. He started to tire and without any notice, I dropped me from his grip and faded into the mist.

I made it to the door, turned to handle and was out. I sat there crouching with my back against the wall and my head drooped between my legs. My blood-soaked shirt was ripped and smelled of the green striped beast. The bell rang and I stood up and limped down the hall.

I hurried because I had to check the New Hampshire totals.

What is Obama?

I was quite sad all day. So, instead of being depressed and potenially mean to some of the students, I decided to vent my frustrations and let the students discuss why they support Obama.

It was quite thought-provoking. I mean, it wasn't anything we haven't heard before, but there was some real thought in there.



Did you hear when one rather quick student said, "Teacher, what is Obama?" What do I say? He's a man; a Democrat; the next American President?

I couldn't answer. I froze. I panicked. That kind of question is too deep for me to even comprehend. I was so stunned by the scope of the question that I wasn't sure if I was happy or sad that he lost.

I also think I was dazed by the tear that rolled down the Hillary supporter's face. I mean, I understand though. She just doesn't want to see the country fall under the false-hope of an inexperienced junior senator with only three years of public breakdowns for votes instead of seven. It's hard. It's hard to appear like a strong woman who will can handle the job on day one with a tear rolling down your cheek. I'm pretty sure world leaders see that as a sign of strength.

I did gain composure though when I told the kids to "Say good-bye" and they really did walk out the door to go and vote for Obama. He even got the Hillary supporter out the door. And that last kid in the green didn't think that I said "Close the door". No, he thought I said, "Close the polls!" Obama motivated him so much that he wanted to ensure that voting stations were fair and tamper-proof!

This is what Obama does best! He crosses party lines! He motivates people of all ages and nationalities! This is just the start!

Obama! Obama! Obama!

New Hampshire Reaction

I'm at a loss of words. However, instead of attacking Hillary which I want to so bad, I will focus on Nevada and South Carolina. Two big states that can easily go to Obama.

Why he lost? I assume the women and the older people came out in higher numbers than anticipated. That, I credit Hillary for. She got her base. I wonder how her a tears changed people's image of her? I hope it didn't too much.

I want the media to stop sensationalizing Obama and level the field, because a contest is on now and I want them to let us do the thinking and the voting. Chris Matthews really needs to be taken off this election coverage. He is hurting Obama with his intolerant anti-Hillary punditry. I can be intolerant because I'm writing a blog. He can't be.

The the results tonight will force all of the Dems to appeal to Dems and Dem values. Obama will have to do what he should have already and start fighting. Hillary started already with her "teary" response. Obama needs to follow. I don't think he will risk losing his independent support and this way he can appeal to us all. A fight does not mean smearing people and hurting the other Dem chances. A fight means being strong, resolute and sending a clear message to Dems.


The righteous wind is at our backs! The Korean Obama wagon is only tightening up and the party is just beginning! The show must go on!!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A New Look... Again.

I decided that a new name and new look was needed. I will explain the new title, "Morning Calm and Arirang" is the morning!

I'm very excited about New Hampshire and will have a hard time sleeping tonight.

I might be playing the sing a lot during the course of this political season, but it's going to happen! Obama! Obama! Obama!


Dixville Notch


Dixville Notch is best known in connection with its longstanding middle-of-the-night vote in the U.S. presidential election.


They handed Obama a victory. While it's NOT anything big at all at this point, he still won.

Obama: 7
Edwards: 2
Richardson: 1
Clinton: 0

I understand that Clinton wants to be president, but she doesn't do anything except make people angry. Edwards might be bracing for another VP run as well. By defending Obama to the extent that he does by railing into Hillary, he is helping Obama increase his lead and therefore widen the gap. This is fine with me and I think it is wise of him. If he places third in New Hampshire, I think he should watch himself and subtly join the Obama push and help squash Hillary.

Watch this clip from a focus group who was rating their opinion of the candidates as they spoke. Hillary can not defeat the right. She is just too polarizing.

Photo Hunt

I have a student named Jerry. He likes, no wait, he LOVES to wear green stripes. I don't know why, but he does and it has struck me that I need to find out just how much he sports this look.

So, besides the daily posts, I am going to add "Jerry Watch: Am in-depth look inside the dark and mysterious world of green stripes".

I will include pictures and some over-analysis of why this boy chose stripes and why they are green. Stay tuned...

Give Me a Break, Hillary!

Does anyone buy this? This is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy about this woman. She has got to stop acting like she's seen it all and is the only one who can offer political wisdom.

I don't have time to say much, but here's her pseudo-emotional plea for votes.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"More Touching!"

Some people love the thrill of the big city subway. The millions of different people with different backgrounds all coming together to use the same mode of transportation. Maybe people will talk to a stranger and make a new friend. Maybe they'll sleep or at least close their eyes in order to avoid eye contact with an older person who they should relinquish their seat to without a fuss. I'm not one of those people. I do not like the subway, but sadly with Seoul traffic it's the fastest way to get around. No matter what your train-riding style is, people are all on it and, in my opinion, we're all equally unhappy about being on it.

I'm just complaining about the idea of the subway. That makes me agitated enough. However, in Seoul, there is a small, but highly visible group of older woman and sometimes men, who have been riding the rails for so long, that they're either hostile or the greatest crowd navigators ever. I'll go with the latter...maybe.

고 and I are walking to the station. We have decided to save the two dollars that we sometimes pay for the three minute cab ride to the station. As we walk through our little neighborhood, a passerby probably hears me moaning about my distaste for the crowded and oftentimes insanely hot subway ride that awaits us. I can't do anything about it and that makes me furious as well. Luckily 고 and I were having a good discussion about how great Obama is and the walk went by quickly. So, we get to the station, swipe our cards and wait in line for the doors to open on the next train.

Finally, the bell rings, the Korean and then English translation tells us where it's going and we get on. It's hot. The guy in front of me and behind me happen to be wearing leather jackets and their body heat is being transferred right to me and this only increases my potential to get quietly angry and complain yet again to 고 about how much I hate the train. The voice again comes over the PA and tell us where we are. The train starts to slow. I reach for the handle so I'm not the guy who falls over and then BAM!

I feel a huge force behind me that's relentlessly pushing its way towards the door. I turn around expecting to find a twenty-something male or maybe an older guy who is in a hurry, but certainly a man. To my surprise, it was a tiny little Korean lady with a sweet face and that trademark old woman hair. I was stunned. This woman could probably beat me up. She made it past the great wall that I am and continued in her pursuit for the door. She made it out and ripped a phone book in two. Seriously.


This was not the first time that this happened. It seems very common and in fact happens to me and everyone all the time. I would assume that an "Excuse me" would be appropriate even if it was in Korean. I'd understand and even if I didn't I would know what is needed of me.

This is an example of a culture that is more hands on. The general idea in America is that we are all expected to respect the idea of privacy and what's mine is mine. I think that ideology probably leads to more problems than it prevents though. Public transportation is just a quick example, but the facets of privateless space extends deeper into the core of Korean memes and mores. I think it's quite fascinating.

The dinner table is representative of this as well. As you might recall from a previous post, that I described eating dinner at 고's moms house. Her mom is a GREAT cook and I really enjoy our time there and if you look at the picture or read the post, I mention that there was one bowl of soup and most of the food is served on individual communal plates, dishes or bowls and we all eat directly from there. I really enjoy this way of eating. I think it increases conversation and overall appreciation for the dinner and brings people closer together. There are also some little rules governing how to eat and take food. There is a wonderful history that delves into the niceties and quirks of eating and how to eat with certain types of people.

Here's another aspect:

It was getting late, so 고 and I decided we needed to go home for the night. We were in one of the bustling business districts of Gangnam and surrounded by hofs, clubs and other bars. We grabbed our bill and make our way through the sea of suits and tables full of salary-men with that one boss who always positions himself at the head of the table. The were having a great time; laughing and carrying on like anybody would expect them to do. We stepped into the frigid air. It was cold. As we usually do, 고 and I began our walk with a kiss and the seemingly automatic motion towards the hand-hold. It seems normal to us and to everyone else. We were walking, but our stride was interrupted by two middle-aged Korean men. After a few drinks, they weren't really paying close attention and didn't see us. However, 고 and I did see them. We slowed our pace and the two men were directly in front of us were laughing, holding hands and having a great time. That's right. They hand-hold was just like the one 고 and I were sporting. And it wasn't what someone could call casual. It was the full blown lock. I was taken back, but 고 didn't think twice.



Being from a highly homophobic nation, this strikes me as... well... gay. It's not, but you know it's pretty gay. And it's obvious that these two men were nowhere close to being gay. They're just buddies. Girls can do this and it is a bit more tolerable, if not normal, but this particular man-hold situation is very foreign.

Since this, I've seen old men to young boys holding hands for fun. I will add that homosexuality is not really thought of here. Sure, there are homosexuals somewhere in Korea, but it's not very common and if it is present, I doubt that one would notice it because it would be masked or hidden.

One of my previous posts titled, "A Friendly Face", discusses a man that owns a nearby 711. He was very guilty of being very friendly and affection. While some of us went along with it to be nice, others joined in on the man-love. Of course, I think foreigners joining in on it intentionally, might actually make it gay.





So, in the end, a couple questions and thoughts: Would two Korean men see two Western men holding hands and assume they are friends or that they are gay? And furthermore, would the two hand-holding Korean men see two Western male friends drinking, but not holding hands, as odd?

I think the Western idea of the right to property trickled down a little too far. We see this type of resistance with taxes and social programs, but for some reason not with Women's Rights. (Hmmm... another post!) Maybe that fact that I see two men holding hands and immediately assume that they are gay is a little insane. I think personal space is an issue that too many people take way too seriously. I'm okay with a nudge or two as long as it's in jest or accidental. I have friends (Coug) that will physically freak out if they feel that their space has been "invaded". This seems odd to me hence the quotes, but it's how some people are wired.

I've been here for a year and half and still discover little quirks that I love: A communal bowl of soup that makes perfect sense; a pushy old woman who knows the ropes of subway navigation; and two men that are such good friends that they feel locking hands is the best way to publicy express it.

The best part is that 고운 is always by my side and helping me steer through the culture on this fascinating Asian peninsula.

Here's to those happy people who love holding hands...




By the way, the title "More Touching" is a quote from the great TV show Arrested Development...