Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Obama and the Black Vote

I've avoided blogging on Barack Obama simply because there is so much to say on this that I needed time to think about it, so I could write something that made at least a wee bit of sense.

Today I saw Blacks Shift To Obama, Poll Finds in the WashingtonPost today. It was linked via the Drudge Report with this headline "GEFFEN EFFECT? Blacks Shift To Obama, Poll Finds..."

Enough with the analysis of the black electorate and Obama! I mean unless you work for the Rand Corporation, and have some proven skill at statistical analysis, I don't really give a crap about what you have to say. I know that reporters and political pundits will opine ad nauseum about black voters and Obama. I know that it's not going to stop, so I'll just have to continue to switch the channel when that comes on CNN.

Do people really think that the section of the black electorate which is active and actually gets out to vote are really so simple that all it takes is that a candidate is black? I mean, yes, that gives him an edge but it's not the deciding factor. More likely than not he will get my vote in the primary. However, by the time the primaries reach California it doesn't really matter anyway. Regardless, I do vote.

I don't see the same discussion for white people. How ridiculous would it be to have an article going on about how most white Americans don't relate to George W. Bush. Honestly, most wouldn't. I mean how many folks grew up rich and privileged with their father as a highly placed politician and government mover and shaker and former US president? How many people got to party their way through university at Yale? How many men got a sweet military assignment when they joined or were drafted into the military during the Vietnam War? How many white Americans can relate to that? Please tell me, and then let us discuss this Obama and black electorate topic again.

Now I do understand why pollsters and analyst look at demographics and try to figure out and predict who is going to do what. However, on some level, it's just silly to think that because Obama is black we'll all fall in line. The press focusing on it so single mindfully is just irritating.

Honestly, what I'm hoping for is the Clinton/Obama ticket for the next election for obvious reasons. Think it through. The result is nice if they win and do a bang up job.


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A Boy Like Me - Bill Cosby Breaks It Down

Maybe Kenneth Eng (see the blog below) and others who think like him should do some research before spewing hate.

I've already blogged about the video short A Girl Like Me, but here is one from 1968 with Bill Cosby as the commentator:

Man, I'm glad I had the childhood I did, and I now completely understand why my parents we so protective of me.

I'm lucky, so damn lucky. I drew happy pictures.


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Warning: Idiot Writer at AsianWeek

Update: May 22, 2007 @ 7:15pm

I've been too busy writing my thesis to pay attention to anything, but it looks like I missed some choice Eng madness. I'm studying for a class, so I'll skip making comments on this. Unfortunately, the selections speak for themselves.

The Village Voice: Sharing in the Gory - Already a pariah, Kenneth Eng goes even lower
Hyphen Blog: Kenneth Eng Takes Credit for Virginia Tech Shootings
Table of Malcontents: Kenneth Eng, Author of Terrible Dragon Novels, Wants Credit for Virginia Tech Massacre
Table of Malcontents: Kenneth Eng Arrested For NYU Threats


Okay, it's on.

There is an uproar over what Kenneth Eng, "God of the Universe", had to say in his article titled "Why I Hate Blacks." I heard about Eng's opinion piece, and I realized that it's what a lot of people actually think. That's probably why it got past the editors. It was published in AsianWeek which is a free weekly paper published in my beloved city of San Francisco. AsianWeek took Eng's piece down. I've heard that the print edition is still available if you're in San Francisco.

However, I managed to find it on the angry asian man's: Who The Hell is Kenneth Eng? Thanks for posting it! BTW, the angry asian man has some other interesting and one funny link on this Eng mess.

I've managed to find a scan of it on the Vox et Machina blog, so I've uploaded that here.

Here it is for you to read:

This is some of what the angry asian man had to say about Eng's article:
When I first heard about this, I thought it was a joke... but it is indeed true. I received an email on Friday afternoon alerting me about an opinion piece in the latest edition of AsianWeek titled "Why I Hate Blacks" by Kenneth Eng. I took a look, and it was as blatantly racist as it sounds. I was shocked. ... I read it over carefully, perhaps looking for the possibility that it was some kind of joke gone wrong. But no, it's just one guy and his ridiculous hate. (emphasis added)

I, too, was waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I was hoping for that string of words that would tell me "yes, this is brutal satire and it's my confrontational way to wake us up to a problem that we need to discuss."

No, that wasn't Eng's approach at all. Instead, his approach was to take his experiences and brew some bitter stew from it rather than saying "hmmmm, what is the history and culture of African-Americans?" Instead, he harps on predictably negative stereotypes as the basis of his hate.

BTW, Mr. Eng I was in AP courses in high school. In my AP English course, the person who was cheating was the clean cut white boy who was trying to get answers from me. He's now gone on to make a ton of cash as a model and B-level entertainer. As far as I know he didn't go to university, but as his father is rich, I'm sure he would have attended a good school had he chosen to go simply due to white privilege. However, it's short-sighted people like you, Mr. Eng, who stare me up and down wondering how I managed to "cheat" my way through undergrad at UCLA, through law school at UC Hastings and how I managed to get into and excel in my master's program here in Seoul (4.05/4.30, 4.00/4.30, 4.15/4.30 GPAs respectively for my terms so far.) That was all managed because I must cheat really well, I guess.

What's scary is that I'm already frustrated enough that I have to deal with some whites on this issue. When I explained to one acquaintance that I'd quit my job and gone back to school in a program where I was lucky enough for the first year to have my tuition covered and a modest stipend, he seriously asked me what kind of scam or game I was running! I admit this white guy has a bad case of foot in mouth disease, but when you deal with stuff like that you wonder if the person would have said it to another white person. Must I really have to start this with some Asians too?

The fact is Eng is a young guy with not much world experience. So his interactions from high school and university are all he has to go on. I'm not mad he wrote the article. Clearly, the guy needs some anger management therapy. What I'm concerned about, however, is AsianWeek's decision to print this during black history month, as well as, its decisions to print Eng's other divisive opinion pieces. He's opined not only about how he hates blacks, but on how he hates his fellow Asians and whites too. He was going for a theme of hate, it seems.

You can have an opinion, but it's like what they say about a certain body part, everyone has one. Eng failed to provoke a dialogue or say anything insightful. It was like the diatribes I've heard foreigners engage in here when criticising everything about Korea. I have to admit I had a rough year or two and I said and wrote some bad things too. However, I didn't publish it. I worked through it and actually came to a better understanding of the people and culture.

I think Eng is a dolt who is pretentious to his core. Plus, sadly, it seems he just doesn't get out much and, when he does, the world just sends that hate right back to him. As they've written over at Hyphen,

“Proof that Whites Inherently Hate Us,” Eng wrote: “Most Asians know that everywhere we go, white/black/Hispanic people hurl racist remarks at us. I have already received about 10 racist remarks in the past three months and I have only been out of my home a handful of times.” Oh AsianWeek! Did you give a column to one of those crazy recluses that never leave their house and talk to themselves on the bus?? (emphasis added)
Well, unfortunately, I think they most definitely have.

Just click on some of the other links to get a feel for how Eng has chosen to behave. I really think the Table of Malcontents has the best examples. Unfortunately, there are many like him. They view their history through skewed lens which makes it easy to glorify themselves and look down their noses at others.

However, let me be honest here. The divide between blacks and Asians in California is a problem. That schism reared its ugly head during the L.A. Riots in 1992. When I decided to come to Asia to live and work, it was something I thought about. Asians aren't the only ones who are biased. I know many blacks who are just as ignorant.
  • Where is this bitterness and animosity coming from?
  • Why is it that minority groups seem to have internalized white racism and turn it on each other? Maybe humans are just stupid and we're all doomed.
  • How can both sides try to learn and work together rather than hate and throw epithets at each other?
One big reason I chose to come to Korea is because I grew up in South Central L.A. where there are a lot of Koreans. My goal was to understand the culture because I've had conversations with family members who don't know Korean culture from any of the other many Asian cultures. Yet we're the first to get up in arms when someone generalizes about blacks and African-Americans. My pediatrician's office was in the district that would eventually become Koreatown (waving at Dr. Leon Banks from cyberspace.) I actually had my first taste of kalbi when I went on a date with a Korean guy who was in one of my classes my second year of college. Yes, of course, being from South Central L.A. there was a Korean market on the corner.

The last time I was in L.A. I stopped at a store on Century Boulevard on en route to the 405. This poor lady was encased in a bullet proof counter probably because that store had been held up so many times that it was just stupid to not be. Believe me, I wasn't thrilled about driving down Century Boulevard in a nice shiny new rental car, insured, of course. I was trying to get out of Dodge before nightfall. She was clearly Korean because she was reading something written in hangul, Korean script. Imagine her pleasure and surprise to have me talk to her in Korean. I'm not saying everyone has to go that far, but people, this ignorance and, yes, the crime must stop. It's going to take more than writing about how much we hate each other. As a result of this, there is going to be a town hall meeting. I hope something productive comes of this. I really do.

Clearly, we need more people from both communities who have taken the time to learn about cultures other than our own. This is a big, stupid mess.

What this shows me is that once I get back, maybe I can help because people like Eng only make things worse.

More links:

San Francisco Chronicle: Asian paper's 'I Hate Blacks' column assailed
SFGate: Why We Hate Racists
Table of Malcontents: The Narrative Stylings of "Kenneth Eng, God"
Hyphen Blog: AsianWeek Takes The Racist Cake
Zuky: Roundup — Racist Asshattery at AsianWeek (a great summary of what a few bloggers have said on this)
Vox et Machina: Well, this is depressing (she's got a scan of Eng's article)
SFist: Kenneth Eng Around The Web (HILARIOUS)

Ohmygod...ohmygod. They interviewed Eng on FoxNews and, of course, it made it to YouTube. Thanks Andrea for sending me the link (it's down below in the comments)



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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Uncovered in New York City

Trivia: It's legal for women to go topless in New York City.

I got the idea to start this blog off with that from a post at my favorite forum. Since I don't want random folks invading it, well, let's say it's linked here but that's all I'll say.

Through that post I found out about the photography of Jordan Matter. He basically went out there after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl boob flash fiasco of 2004 which I missed because I flew into SFO from Seoul that day. Anyway, Jordan went on a mission to capture pictures of bare breasts in NYC.

Now I'm from California, so I think this is a great thing. You know, California, one of those pesky blue states with lots of strange "progressive" type folks. Nudity, no problem. Global warming, problem.

Anyway, there is simply too much of a sick focus on women looking like comic book figures. Women are sexualized and objectified to the extreme. What's bad is we seem to be willing participants in this. The unhealthy side of slim is the new norm with barely any hips yet somehow having C or D cup breasts or larger that defy gravity.

There are very few women who'd naturally have those proportions. Let me tell you right now guys if a woman is rail thin and has D cups I'll bet you a month's salary that her big perky breasts aren't real. If a woman has D cup breasts that defy gravity when she's laying down without a bra, they're definitely not real (I had to inform a male roommate of this a long time ago...he wasn't happy to hear that.) I never thought I'd be writing a blog defending Jessica Simpson for anything, and I don't want to link these jerks, but since I want you to find it easily: Jessica Simpson's Saggy Yet Useful Boobs.

Jessica Simpson’s breasts normally look spectacular, as long as you’re seeing them head on. From the side, you can definitely tell they’re huge, but you can also see signs of serious overhang. At least we can safely say that she hasn’t had a boob job yet, but she may need to look into some sort of lift pretty soon. She’s not getting any younger!
Good grief...she's 26 years old not 16. "Overhang" happens you nitwits.These will be the first people who'd slam her when that breast lift goes wrong.

Honestly, I really don't have a problem with plastic surgery, so don't start commenting about me being fat, ugly, jealous or otherwise somehow unable to look at this issue fairly. I do have a problem with how it's done now. It seems to be all about cutting and pasting, Photoshopping in real life on the human form, and that's really disturbing. It's not reconstructive. People seem to not stop with one procedure. If it were healing they'd stop after getting that nose tweeked, those breasts augmented or that fat sucked out.

Anyway, this project has been on TV a few times (and there are video clips are on his website), however it was the first I'd heard of it.

To me it's art that gets you to think.
Not all of the bodies are going to be to everyone's taste. Not all of the bodies are "picture perfect", but it's that obsession with perfection that has women today feeling more objectified that ever.

Jordan, if you ever need models for the second round, let me know.

It's really time the world tries to see women as they really are because this cut and paste mentality regarding beauty is simply out of control. It reminds me of why I just don't bother with fashion magazines anymore.

Here is the link: Jordan Matter Photography") (click on "uncovered")


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Dun Lied...Bittersweet style ;-)

I'm sorry, one more post and THEN I'll get to the library.

I saw this on a forum and I had to post it.

For all of you who get down on Valentine's Day, this might be for you.

Bittersweets from


For most, there is no crueler day of the calendar year than that of Valentine's Day. While a tiny fraction of the population can look forward to a holiday of wine and roses, poetry and song, the vast majority of us can anticipate a day of nausea and grimacing, trauma and grief. A day in which minutes seem like hours, and hours like days, as we reflect sorrowfully on yesteryear's romantic indignities, today's loneliness, and the unknowable but certain heartbreak that will be visited upon us repeatedly in the years to come.

When cruelty and holidays collide, the weak-willed find solace in self-pity and comfort foods. And now, Despair Inc. is pleased to announce that we've combined BOTH into a radical new offering.

Introducing "BitterSweets™". The Valentine's Candy for the Rest of Us.

Like the ubiquitous candy "conversation" hearts, "BitterSweets(tm)" are made of flavored, chalky-tasting sugar and sport a message on their face. But unlike other candy hearts, ours are stamped with bitter musings and mockeries perfectly suited to the dejected spirits of those who will spend the holiday alone, or wishing they were.

Messages recalling an almost forgotten, unbearably painful memory of being dumped. Or perhaps of a dysfunctional, psychotic ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or of that cruel-hearted girl (or boy) in elementary school who rejected your valentine solicitations, informing you that Jake (or Holly) was "so totally way hotter."

Now available in TWO unique collections, "Dejected" and "Dysfunctional," featuring up to 37 unique sayings each!

"Dejected" sayings include:


"Dysfunctional" sayings include:


Truly, "BitterSweets™" are the perfect gift for you OR for someone you love, especially if that special someone is one who doesn't want to hurt your feelings but just doesn't feel that way about you but still wants to be friends so they can torment you with stories about their crushes on someone who doesn't appreciate them like you do, can't love them like you can, and actually takes pleasure in corralling a herd of fawning "just friends" behind themselves as they indulge in one self-destructive relationship after another, with no hope of ever finding true love, despite an army of souls eager to lavish it upon them.

(You know what we're talking about.)

Supplies are limited. But the pain that accompanies them may not be.

Available in six different flavors, including: Banana Chalk, Grape Dust, Nappy-Citric, You-Call-This-Lime?, Pink Sand and Fossilized Antacid.


BitterSweets - Dejected

37 depressing sayings for those spending Valentine's Day alone and in a state of self-flagellation, including "U C MY BLOG?," "TABLE FOR 1," "USE ME 2HEAL," "PITY=LOVE?" and "IM HOT INSIDE".

BitterSweets - Dysfunctional

37 biting barbs for stirring up the bile in toxic relationships of all kinds, including "U+ME=GRIEF," "BE MY PRISON," "UWATCH CMT," "6WIVES OKAY?" and "P.S. I LUV ME".

It's funny. You know it's funny.


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Happy Valentine's Day

You know, I have to study for a final in that statistics cram course I've mentioned a few times already. Since the test is tomorrow, Valentine's Day was the furthest thing from my mind.

However, I got an ecard from a dear friend whom I've know for more than twenty years at this point. He always feels bad when he forgets we're a day ahead here...really, no big deal, you remember and that's what matters. I also remembered I have a big bag of chocolate with almonds in my kitchen ;-)

I'll keep this simple, and I'll just wish you a Happy Valentine's Day from Seoul! Now it's time for breakfast, a bite of chocolate and a commute to the library.


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Well, Well, Well...North Korea "Agrees" To Disarm

I've been avoiding blogging about the six party talks simply because North Korea usually comes into it with less than sincere objectives (and I've been too busy to really get into the topic). However, it seems that as a result of the many things like the North's underground nuclear detonation and lobbing missiles out to sea to China stepping stepping up to the plate and the United States clearly indicating "enough is enough" that the North has "agreed" to disarm.

Now I hate being cynical, but that's why I haven't been blogging the stages leading up to this story. It's just hard to believe anything regarding North Korea at its face value. They've shown over and over a true lack of sincerity in their negotiations and the bad habit of brinksmanship in their negotiations style.

Not that it hasn't been successful, if something works you keep doing it and it's been working. However, what it's also done is make looking at the North Korean issue hard to do without a heavy dose cynicism slipping into the analysis.

After scanning the headlines it seems that a turn just may have occurred. (...put a heavy emphasis on "may"...)

Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, is going on about how there is more leverage over the North through the six party talks and the UN's sanctions. I think it's the other way around. The North is a nuclear power now, and the other six parties are keen to mitigate that, so they're willing to bend where they wouldn't have a year ago. Plus, while there is an agreement, it still has be approved by the legislature. This is a case of two-level games, as they say in game theory. We've got an "agreement," but the folks back home have to agree too.

Here is an interesting snippet from the Washington Post:

The agreement also seemed likely to face opposition in Washington by conservatives who remain unconvinced that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, ever intends to relinquish his nuclear weapons. Similarly, the Bush administration faced criticism from Democrats who charge the administration that broke away from the Agreed Framework in 2002 ended up five years later with a roughly similar accord.

In a sample of the criticism likely to come, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said he was "disturbed" by the deal, which he said appeared to reward Kim for flouting earlier agreements.
It just seems that with so many steps and stages still left it's a bit early to say that North Korea has agreed to unequivocally do anything except accept aid. However, I'll keep following it as will the world. I will cross my fingers that this will hold through all of the steps and stages to come.

More links:


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Monday, February 12, 2007

Not Ready To Make Nice

Okay, well, I have one hell of a headache right now, so studying is right out.

However, I find that music usually helps me relax, so I've been listening to random tracks.

As I wrote earlier, I'm so proud of the Dixie Chicks and their five Grammy wins which includes a Grammy for best album of the year for Taking the Long Way and best song of the year for "Not Ready to Make Nice."

What came down on them was atrocious. Their lead singer Natalie Maines said this to an audience in London in 2003, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Because of that statement, they were blacklisted by the powers that be in country music and Natalie's life was threatened. All of this in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The backlash that they got for that was absolutely horrible. People seem to forget to in the United States we have this concept called Free Speech which is guaranteed by the First Amendment from the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

After 9/11 people forgot it and there was no debate. I honestly doubt that most Americans have even read the Constitution because a lot seem to forget it when another American has a differing point of view. I remember discussing post 9/11 issues and the possibility of a war in Iraq with others. I had some of the most ridiculous conversations, if you want to call them that, of my life. It was truly depressing.

This song also hits home for me personally because I think of someone who was really close to me but speaking my mind got me into big, big trouble. However, regarding that I'm definitely not ready to make nice.

If you haven't heard the song in full, you can go here to the Dixie Chicks' MySpace page and it's right there in their player for you to hear.

Streaming formats:

"Not Ready To Make Nice" - Quicktime
"Not Ready To Make Nice" - RealPlayer
"Not Ready To Make Nice" - Windows Media (high)
"Not Ready To Make Nice" - Windows Media (low)
(links from Dixie Chicks - "Not Ready To Make Nice" Streaming Audio at

Here are the lyrics to "Not Ready to Make Nice" - enjoy!

Forgive, Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I'm through, with doubt,
There's nothing left for me to figure out,
I've paid a price, and I'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and I kind of like it

I made by bed, and I sleep like a baby,
With no regrets and I don't mind saying,
It's a sad sad story
That a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting*

The Dixie Chick's performance of "Not Ready To Make Nice" at this year's Grammys:

I won't get into the politics behind country music. All I'll say is I did grow up listening to it and remember, for better or for worse, watching Hee Haw with my parents. Not everyone who likes country music fits the know which one I'm alluding to. Then, again, I like all sorts of music, so I'm just confused.

Here is the trailer for their documentary Shut Up & Sing:

More links:
*Lyrics from


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Congratulations y'all - Part 2!!!

I am watching the CBS west coast Grammy Awards broadcast via the TVUPlayer. I have to say thank God for broadband Internet. I'm watching it hours before it airs here on regular TV.

However, the nominee list has been updated and the winners are highlighted in gold, so I already know who took what home.

  • John Mayer, John Mayer, John Mayer!!! Congratulations my dear on your two wins! Nice tux and sneakers!

  • The Dixie Chicks! Damn girls, you showed them! Five Grammies!!! I'm so proud of you!
  • Mary J.! You're a queen and congratulations!
  • The Chili Peppers, congratulations! You're legends and, for me, you're hometown legends! Here is a deep bow of respect to you all the way from Seoul! I love you guys!
  • John Legend, Gnarls Barkley, Ludacris, Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake and the rest of y'all big congratulations.
  • Congratulations to young Robyn Troup for winning a duet with Justin Timberlake.
  • Take a bow! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I have say that this is one of the best Grammy Shows I've ever watched!

The Police!!! I don't even need to say anything else.

I think it helps that there was a recognition that Don Henley and the Eagles were one kick ass band!

The merit award winners!

I was a lucky kid because I learned about all types of music ranging from country, because my parents were from rural Georgia, to classical, because I was lucky to go to school when teaching about the arts was still valued.

This show was great because of the recognition of excellence in all types of music. Maybe it's simply because I haven't bothered to tune in to one for awhile. No matter what, it is a great show. (I'm still watchin' it as I type...)

Thank you artists for the great music!

The Police at the 49th Annual Grammys:

Justin Timberlake performing "What Goes Around" and going Blair Witch Project on us:

Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer (this performance brought tears to my eyes - they killed it - bravo):

Beyonce performing " " from the Dreamgirls soundtrack with Prince introducing her!!!:

Shakira with Wyclef Jean peforming "Hips Don't Lie" - just fierce (loved her since I heard the Ojos Asi track back in the 1990s):

Gnarls Barkley performing "Crazy":

Mary J. Blige peforming "Be Without You" (some tears here too - what she had to say got to me):

Rascal Flats and Carrie Underwood in their tribute to the Eagles singing "Life in the Fast Lane"

Good Lord! Christina Aguilera Ripping up the stage in tribute to James Brown - "A Man's World" (I was a sobbing again - I thought she sung a great tribute to a great artist):

The Red Hot Chili Peppers "Snow ((Hey Oh))"

(Clearly, a lot of the sobbing has to do with me being majorly homesick, but that's another blog post for another time.)

Clearly, these are not in any particular order.


Moi: Congratulations y'all (Part 1)
The Recording Academy:
Launch!: (why they have it listed as the 48th Annual Awards, I don't know. Hey, Launch folks, clearly you need some me.) Grammy Moments
Crunk + Disorderly (funny comments): The Afterburn
MSN Music: 2007 Grammys - Best and Worst
NYTimes: Dixie Chicks, Mary J. Blige and the Red Hot Chili Peppers Win Grammys
LATimes: The Envelope - Grammy Coverage


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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Putin Speaks Out

I lost it! Dammit, I lost it!!!

I'm so mad right now because I was typing up a comment on Putin's diplomatic A-bomb.

I was essentially finished and was just clicking around to add my list of helpful links when my Netscape browser froze, and I'd not saved a draft!

I'm being conservative now because, you know, bloggers are getting in trouble for acting up over at the Edward's camp. Not that anyone has offered me a job. I think I don't swear enough to get attention...oh well.

I woke up at 3:45am or so, read the news and started writing. Because I want to go back to sleep, I'm just going to outline my points.

  1. Putin has tolerated Bush. However, it seems that Putin has decided "fuck this"
  2. Putin showed signs of this "fuck this" attitude at last year's G8
  3. Putin is dead on right
  4. Putin is no angel - I'm not saying he is (gas being switched off, reporters and agents turning up dead...yeah, we know some stuff is messed up in Russia too)
  5. Although Putin and his government have their issues, that doesn't make what Putin had to say any less true
  6. Bush's approach to policy has been schoolyard bullying and not even smart schoolyard bullying
  7. Even conservative presidents have recognized the value in engaging and sitting down with the enemy: Nixon traveling to China in 1972 and Reagan simultaneously stirring up the Cold War via the Reagan Doctrine and engaging the USSR
  8. Americans seem to be more keen to continue to focus on tragic Anna Nicole Smith and other celebrity mess while ignoring much more important issues. This is why we have the government we have because last I checked the people ruled democratic governments. However, the people have been out to lunch for years now

I'm not even going to link the articles (my sources were the NYTimes, Washington Post and Deustche Welle). Go look it up what he had to say for yourselves.


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Friday, February 9, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Update: March 9, 2007 (after a week of a bad cold and two insulin reactions leaving me unconscious, I found something cool on the web.)

I went onto YouTube today and it now says "Final Version". Outside of the change in the tempo of the music, I'm not sure what else has been changed. If you spot something, let me know. I'll leave them both up.


As a blogger, I dig this.

I don't think it needs much more than that for an introduction.


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Korean Fried Chicken

This is the thing, people seems to think that in Korea there are no trappings of home. In some ways, they're right. However, in many ways, as I said in my No Offense post, that's just not the truth. One example of this is food.

Koreans like African-Americans have had a hard time of it, so our foods are very similar in some ways. This is particularly true in terms of the cuts of meats that are in some of our traditional dishes and meals.

One thing that is really similar is Koreans love of fried chicken. I won't go on too much about as the Koreans Share Their Secret for Chicken With a Crunch article does a great job of explaining it. It's just another verification what I've been telling folks all along.

I'll paste a good quote and then I'll leave it up to you go click on the link above and read more.

When Joe McPherson moved to Seoul in 2002, he thought he was leaving fried chicken behind. “I grew up watching Popeyes training videos,” Mr. McPherson said. His father managed a Popeyes franchise near Atlanta and fried chicken was a constant presence in his life.

“Living in the South, you think you know fried chicken,” he said. But in Seoul, he said, “there is a mom-and-pop chicken place literally on every corner.” Many Asian cooking traditions include deep-fried chicken, but the popular cult of crunchy, spicy, perfectly nongreasy chicken — the apotheosis of the Korean style — is a recent development.
It's excellent! I'm glad to hear that Koreans are bringing their style of fried chicken to the States. That means it will be there when I get home.


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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Damn, Anna Nicole Smith is dead!!!?

You know, I woke up this morning ready to dig into statistics. No, really, I've psyched myself into it after a class that wasn't so bad yesterday. Plus, if I don't dig in I will fail.

Anyway, I was checking my messages, clicking through MySpace and Facebook, and got the news that Anna Nicole Smith had died.


I mean after all of the scandals and tragedies this happens? She just had a baby!

I think this sums up why EVERYBODY is talking about this. In the blurbs on this on Soulful writes:

This is gonna be a hot topic because everyone wants to know WHAT happened to her. Was it drugs? Was it suicide? Was it murder? (gasp!) Only time will tell...

That's the thing. After years of fighting for her claimed share of J. Howard Marshall's estate and possibly getting almost half a billion dollars, Daniel, her son, ends up dead after Anna has a daughter, Danielynn. Of course, Danielynn's paternity is in dispute. Also, Anna was named as a defendant in the TrimSpa class action suit for false advertising, a diet drug she endorsed. Now Anna is dead!

Unfortunately, this isn't a prime time soap opera. It's a real life soap opera and everyone is tuning in to see what happens next.

However, unlike a soap opera, there probably won't be a clean ending. That's a son who died under strange circumstances. That's a baby that doesn't have a mother and now potentially stands to inherit half a billion dollars. That's a mother who is also dead under strange circumstances.

Unlike TV soap operas, Danielynn won't be all grown up next season. What we're in for is a cliff hanger that will leave us hanging for years.

It doesn't seem like she got much peace in life, so Anna Nicole, RIP.


More links:

L.A. Times: Anna Nicole Smith timeline and Anna Nicole Smith: A look back in YouTube video
Chicago-Sun Times: Roeper: In the end, Smith wins
Google News: links on Anna's life and death
People: Anna Nicole: A Look Back at Her Life


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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Commentary: The Racial Politics of Speaking Well

I'm procrastinating because I'd rather eat nails than study statistics. To that end, I just read the article Definitions - The Racial Politics of Speaking Well by Lynette Clemetson for the NY Times.

You see my mother stressed that I needed to speak "proper English."

She made that such a priority that one time I recall spending the day with some cousins, and I must have picked up a phrase or the cadence of their speech. I repeated whatever it was after they left. That was a mistake because my mother let me have it, and I never made the same mistake again.

My cadence is very Anglo which made me the prime target of ridicule for the other black kids that were bused with me to the white side of town, but it endeared me to my teachers and white classmates. I didn't see the politics behind it then, but now I wonder how things would be different had I just been the smart black kid that sounded like all the majority of the other black kids.

Anyway, how I speak has made for some awkward meetings because people assume that all blacks have a certain tone and rhythm to their speech. I've had many a situation where someone has seen my resume and has spoken to me on the phone but when they meet me they're looking past me expecting a white woman to approach them. It's always something that is so common that, unfortunately, I expect it.

However, the thing is with so many African-Americans who are well-spoken ranging from merchants to hip-hop artists to talk show hosts and scholars that this shouldn't really be a surprise.

What brings this to the table is when Senator Joseph Biden referred to Barack Obama as "articulate", "bright", "clean" and a "nice-looking." He went on to explain himself.

“Look, what I was attempting to be, but not very artfully, is complimentary,” Mr. Biden explained to Jon Stewart on Wednesday on “The Daily Show.” “This is an incredible guy. This is a phenomenon.”

What faint praise, indeed. Being articulate must surely be a baseline requirement for a former president of The Harvard Law Review. After all, Webster’s definitions of the word include “able to speak” and “expressing oneself easily and clearly.” It would be more incredible, more of a phenomenon, to borrow two more of the senator’s puzzling words, if Mr. Obama were inarticulate.

That is the core of the issue. When whites use the word in reference to blacks, it often carries a subtext of amazement, even bewilderment.
That's the thing. It's that people's frame of reference is so small, that I'm still viewed as an anomaly. However, the fact is I've got a whole address book full of anomalies because they're my acquaintances, friends and former classmates.
It’s like an educated black person is a rare sighting, like seeing a spotted egret. We’re viewed as a fluke. How many flukes simply constitute reality? — Reginald Hudlin, president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television
The fact is there are many whites, like Biden and President George W. Bush who are inarticulate, but are presumed articulate because they're white. If a black person is articulate, it's worthy of a news flash and copious compliments.

The article also points out that cadence isn't the only measure of someone being articulate or not.
“Al Sharpton is incredibly articulate,” said Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. “But because he speaks with a cadence and style that is firmly rooted in black rhetorical tradition you will rarely hear white people refer to him as articulate.”
I agree. He can speak and he can express himself easily and clearly. Again, that's something a lot of white people I've met can't manage, yet these same people will compliment me when I'm sitting there thinking they really should have taken a couple of speech courses in high school.

As the article says, it's not that we don't like the compliment if it's truly a compliment. The problem what's usually being said is this:
“When people say it, what they are really saying is that someone is articulate ... for a black person,” Ms. Perez said.

Such a subtext is inherently offensive because it suggests that the recipient of the “compliment” is notably different from other black people.
What's funny is this is now an international problem as the Metropolician says in The Racial Politics of Speaking Well.
One thing I've noticed even since 1994, when I first came here, was that Korean people always seem much more surprised to see me speak in Korean than the white person I'm with, if it's a group of foreigners w/o anyone who looks ethnically Korean.
I'll let Ms. Clemeston bring it home:
But here is a pointer. Do not use it as the primary attribute of note for a black person if you would not use it for a similarly talented, skilled or eloquent white person. Do not make it an outsized distinction for Brown University’s president, Ruth Simmons, if you would not for the University of Michigan’s president, Mary Sue Coleman. Do not make it the sole basis for your praise of the actor Forest Whitaker if it would never cross your mind to utter it about the expressive Peter O’Toole.
I know I'm articulate. After all these years in school and the fact that I teach English for a living, I dammed well better be.


This issue is similar to the stories I've been told by some of my Asian friends who were born and raised in the States or other English speaking countries. Let them talk to someone who assumes all Asians are immigrants and they might get the "you speak English really well!" comment. Good grief! When will it end?

It's just sad no matter the color of the person it happens to.


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Monday, February 5, 2007

Kimchiman - Arirang Canada Guy

This is too funny...

A man who goes by the name of Kimchiman has uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube where he speaks and sings Arirang.

Now Koreans seem to think that foreigners just can't comprehend their culture, so when you speak two words of Korean you get "oh, you speak Korean very well." To which I say I don't. Then you go back and forth with the person because they say you do.

Anyway, here is some info lifted from Wikipedia on Arirang just in case you don't know what it is.

First, "Arirang is arguably the most popular and best-known Korean folk song, both inside and outside Korea."

And here are the lyrics:

Hangul (Korean)

아리랑, 아리랑, 아라리요...
아리랑 고개로 넘어간다.
나를 버리고 가시는 님은
십리도 못가서 발병난다.


Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo...
Arirang gogaero neomeoganda.
Nareul beorigo gasineun nimeun
Simnido motgaseo balbyeongnanda.


Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo...
I am crossing over Arirang Pass.
The man/woman who abandoned me [here]
Will not walk even ten li before his/her feet hurt.

In the first one he just speaks Arirang:

In the second one, he speaks a bit and then sings a really bad version of it with his wife (not sure but probably wife since she addressed him as "yobo"/"여보" - the Korean equivalent of "honey" or "darling" which is used between marrieds):

Short translation by me -

Kimchiman: Hello. My name is Kimchiman. I am Canadian. I speak a little Korean. Therefore, I want to sing a Korean song. I will sing the song "Arirang"*

Kimchiman and woman sing Arirang (see above)

Kimchiman: Thank you!
Woman to Kimchiman: Thank you!
Kimchiman: You're welcome
Woman to Kimchiman: Honey!
They kiss...
*The last two lines of the part before the song I needed someone to verify if I was right or not (I was close, but not completely right). I'm so lame. Thanks Michael.


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Well, here is a new website created by my friend Michael, the Metropolitician.

It's a new site called SeoulGlow. Instead of paraphrasing his words, I'll let him speak for himself. This is from the About section of the SeoulGlow site:

This is the video podcast that will break new ground in mixing different segments – from vox pop to social documentary, from trips to cool places to interviews with society’s movers and shakers, and including pieces submitted by you.

Our podcast is subtitled in Korean and English. We will not be making the mistake of believing that the interests of 20- and 30-something Seoulites are inherently different because of mere language barrier. We will break new ground by showing that regardless of nationality or race, young Seoulites merely want smart, fresh information that tells them something new about this great city.

We don’t pull punches, we don’t condescend, and we know what you really wanna watch. And if we don’t, we’re gonna ask. Along with our own segments, we will also be encouraging user submissions as we build the most truly dynamic video podcast the world has ever seen!

And don’t forget to “let your Seoooooul glow!
Yes, I'll probably be behind the scenes and/or featured in one. I'll let you know when that happens.

In the meantime, here is the first episode: SeoulGlow #1 - Resolutions/결심 It was shot on New Year's Eve.



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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Black History Month Eve and Whitey Gras


I'm up late, and I just finished watching The Daily Show (International Edition).

One piece featured Larry Wilmore who suggests that we should just celebrate Black History Month Eve on January 31st and have "Whitey Gras." It was so funny that I have to share it.

It's pretty funny in a very un-PC way, so brace yourself.


I'm all for the casinos solution too...


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Friday, February 2, 2007

Where The Hell Am I? On A Warming Planet

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children... - Ancient Indian Proverb
Here we go. I was chatting with a friend today who works at the United Nations in Bangkok. She had to go off to a meeting to watch this report. I'm watching it from home on CNN International. Right now, Dr. Susan Solomon, the IPCC's working group co-chair, going over why they've come to the conclusion that global warming is "unequivocally" due to human action.

What does this mean? Well, those who have been calling for scientific evidence have it. It means those arguing that global warming is just an upswing in a natural cycle are going to have an uphill battle. I've seen these guys on CNN, and I wonder if they'll be on later today or tomorrow? I'm sure they will be. I've already seen attacks on the report.

However, I believe, that there is simply no reason to risk the results of inaction at this point.

For people like me, it means there is no reason for anyone to not curb their wasteful behaviors. I always got bent out of shape seeing friends purchase an SUVs when, like me, they lived in the big city where a compact car, mass transit, a bike or walking would do. However, I got to Korea and purchased a compact car that I honestly could have done without. BTW, I got rid of it before I moved to Seoul. Anyway, I know I've slipped as I've gotten older, so it's time for me to get back to being mindful of conserving more.

However, that applies to everyone. It's not just individual choices and changes, but we're going to need to lobby our governments to react to this news. Also, we're going to have to force businesses to react by changing our consumption habits and preferences. Business leaders were mobilizing last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This report will only propel their actions forward and now governments have no choice but to respond in kind.

This requires knowledge, so folks, stay informed because we can't just sit back and rely on those in power. Also, don't feel like the science is too much to take action. We know things are getting worse, therefore, we must act.

To that end, I'll step down from the soap box and provide you with some links:
  1. The Report: Working Group I - The Physical Basis of Climate Change This is in .pdf format, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader if you don't have it.
  2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  3. Press Release - IPCC adopts major assessment of climate change science
  4. TreeHugger's - How to go green guides

News stories:
  1. Google News: Google News Links on this report - over 1,400 articles as I type.
  2. CSMonitor: Global Warming - What Can We Do?
  3. ABCNews: 46 Nations Back Body to Protect Planet - 46 Nations, but Not U.S., China or India, Call for New World Body to Protect Warming Planet


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