Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Boobs: I like it.

So, art being art I have to admit, I posted the picture I took of the piece called "Boobs" because I did like it. As I said when talking about it with the artist recently, "My take on it was that it challenged a preconceived notion of what is
not only acceptable but what is pretty/beautiful when taken out of

He was kind enough to send me the original artist statement to accompany the piece, it follows, reposted with his permission. Thanks Chris!  More from the artist at chrisbacke.blogspot.com

‘BOOBS’ – art, obscene, or neither?

BOOBS is an exploration into
an ongoing debate over the display of the female breast. In one corner,
the nude is an art form that’s been around for centuries, which is
tastefully portrayed to preserve the model’s natural beauty while
allowing the artist to express themselves. In the other corner are
those that often consider the showing of a female breast to be obscene.
They may, for example, attempt to cover a statue that show anatomical
features; attempt to outlaw a person’s behavior, lifestyle or clothing
in the name of ‘obscenity’; or charge a person with a criminal act for
failing to comply with the expected behavior or clothing choice. In
other cases, a women breastfeeding in public or visiting a topless
beach has been the unwanted subject of this debate. All of these have
been done in the name of preventing ‘obscenity’.

Women are
subjected to this discrimination at an early age, when they may learn
from their parents that they must cover their chest, while the boys may
play shirt-free. Even as girls become women they may be made to feel
shame because they must be covered to be accepted.

exactly, is obscenity? According to one legal definition, obscenity
“refers to words, images or actions that offend the sexual morality of
its viewers” (1). The United States Supreme Court uses a three part
test that measures a materials appeal to the "prurient" interest (i.e.,
an unhealthy and degrading interest in sex), that depicts or describes
sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and that lacks serious
literary, artistic, political or scientific value (2). In 1964, Supreme
Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote, "I'll know it when I see
it” – a fearless, though useless, definition of obscenity. (3)

question asked by BOOBS thus comes into focus: Can you tell what is
obscene? Stripped of all other factors that may make breasts ‘obscene’,
can you tell which breasts are ‘obscene’ and which are simply attached
to someone who chose to have their picture taken? I doubt it – you may
be able to categorize a few, but the rest are difficult or impossible
to tell apart. Even I (as the artist) would have a difficult time
telling you where each photo was taken from.

These pictures were
gathered throughout the internet, on websites some might consider
obscene and on other websites displaying normal people displaying
normal anatomical features. Other pictures were gathered from websites
that consider the female form as art. Each picture was cropped to show
only the breast(s), then printed on a high-quality printer and arranged
in a random fashion.

In the end, BOOBS seeks to demonstrate
that breasts are nothing to be afraid of, nothing to discriminate
against (or towards), and nothing that deserves to be considered
obscene under the current definition. The body as a whole is a
beautiful creation – one that deserves to be seen in all its beauty.

(1) Quote taken from http://www.legalzoom.com/legal-articles/obscenity-regulated-internet.html.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Justice Potter Stewart, in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964).

piece has been uniquely created and numbered. There is no way I or any
other artist could precisely recreate any of these works. All rights
are reserved by Chris Backe, and images may not be reused or
republished without prior permission. For information about purchasing,
please contact Chris by e-mailing chrisinsouthkorea at gmail dot com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eternal Relection the Replay

I made a Kimono blouse with Japanese silk for the party. The paintings I entered into the gallery show were wild expressions of emotion in color, action painting, expressive painting, desire painting. I felt wild and free making the work.

Oddly I felt less wild and free as I walked up the stairs to the show. It was early but the room was already starting to fill with people, a crushing press. I walked up the stairs to see the paintings in the gallery, to watch some of the reactions to the pieces as people walked around. I want to know if my emotion effects others as they look.

A run into many people. I run into many artists. I stand in front of a piece of dark work, beautifully executed sketch, ink on paper. A couple walks up behind me, first to compliment me on the blouse. I introduce myself as an artist.

"Really, I'm an artist too. I did the boobs."

There was a photo piece a collage of breasts.

"I did it for more reasons than just boobs. I mean, it's not that I just like boobs, I mean I had a reason. I mean, I do like boobs, you have great breasts." I smile. He asks to see my work. I take him down the hall and explain the pieces and he takes my picture in front of "Punk". I smile and walk away down the stairs to refill a glass and meet more people.

More come in, I run into new friends and direct them up the stairs, I get a glass and head back up drunk on the ego stroking moment. In the room with my paintings to girls sit dressed from head to toe as 1920's molls. They are lovely. I take their picture in front of my paintings. Surreal moment in the room that is so far from 1920's feeling.

Australian Chickie stands in front of my pieces. "I don't get it. I mean, it's good, but I don't get it." We move down the hall and stand in front of an interesting collection of nudes.

"I hate this." She says.


"Because, it's just...It's just not art. It's just someone with a camera. I don't think it's pretty."

"Look at the composition, the positioning of the body. Read the title, see the interaction between camera, model, photograph and the concept."

"It's just like porn. And I really hate that. That's just disgusting." She points to the breast collage.

"Why in the world do you like my art?" I ask her.

"I don't understand it. To me that's what art is. Something I don't understand."

I think about that as I walk back down the stairs and get lost in the crowd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And they Said: The Artwork

My camera is now fixed. These are the five new pieces that went into the art show. Part of a series titled: And they Said...

And Ramon Said, "Transiency."

And Psyche said,"Psyche."

And Michael said, "Punk."

And Marla said, "Empty."

And Tom said, "Jesus."

Me at the Eternal Reflections 2 art show with the excellent graffiti art background. More to come on that end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Korean Advertising, Gods Love It!

Okay, at first I thought this Ad campaign was kinda of stupid but enjoyable to watch.

And then I fell in love with the girl in the green shorts.

Now I want to eat something here, but I'm not sure it's the chicken. I did not think it would be possible to be jealous of Korean office workers.

But, man, I am right now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Like a Virigin

I got out with Pakistani girl who has returned from here year running a Korean Guest House in Islamabad. She's a young Korean girl, only twenty five, and I've been in love with her for about as long as I've known her. I take her to the Pakistani restaurant in town that she didn't know about it. She teaches me how to say the food is good in Pakistani and we eat until we both feel we can barely move. Stuffed on curry and nan we head downtown for a few drinks and to take in the live music at the lonely hearts club.

At the bar we sit and start out drinking still talking quietly amongst ourselves. We are early and the night is young. She complains about being an Hajuma and I tell her she is not. Her complaints of being old make me feel older. I buy another round and we settle in between her pigeon English, my pigeon Korean, and the music that overplays it all.

As the night moves further on we are joined for drinks by The Noise. I explain to Pakistani girl that The Noise produced a wonderful live noise show on Wednesday night. I enjoy noise music. We all three talk now as apples are passed around and cut up by the girl. It is at this point that the Old Friend enters the bar.

I was happy to see him. I was sad to see him. He was gruff, he was projecting anger. Maybe angry, maybe not, but it is impossible to miss that what those in his presence are to feel is anger. I'm not angry.

He joins the table for a drink. I ask him a question about how he is, and the response is gruff. I try then to talk to Noise, or Girl, but his presence is like a dead weight now at the table. My friend, the loneliest heart in the Lonely Hearts, with an anger so readable it is hard to deny. I try to believe that it is just an act, but am struck by the knowledge that eventually the act becomes the reality. If this is all that is seen, does it not become the all?

So I try asking questions, trying to engage in a conversation. Trying to move from anger to just general misanthropy which is both more interesting and slightly more palatable on a Saturday night. It's just not there. After four questions Anger responds "Why are you interrogating me?"

"I'm not, I'm trying to have a conversation."

"Maybe I don't want to."

"So why are you out tonight."

"To have my beer and go home." At which point the beer is downed and Anger leaves the bar.

And I fret. I personalize it, I make it about me, I wonder what I have done to cause this. It's irrational. I feel guilty. I worry. I spend the next two hours thinking about Anger rather than about the night, and the music, and what should be a good time. And I try to figure out why the Anger, but in the end all I can come up with is that I do not understand it.

I don't have life. I don't have the ability to be irrationally angry about life to the nth degree anymore. I've given it up to some extent. I still have my moments, but more and more I see balance with each passing day. And I think it is this that upset me most. I miss the varying facets of my Old Friend. The wit, the charm, the paranoia, the happiness and the sadness. I miss it all, so many sides of friendship, so many ways to interact. Now all boiled down to a single mote in this existence, the least interesting mote, the least relate-able.

The Lonely Hearts fills with more people and the Noise and I enjoy with the Girl the musical musings of a good Korean cover band. They play at some point Like a Virgin and as they all jump up and down and croon about how they will give all their love to a boy I think of it. To be Virginal, to understand and enjoy simple pleasures, to let go and indulge in what is being offered, all the experiences you can take it.

I think to myself, yes, to be Like a Virgin is a far better goal and one that is infinitely more enjoyable.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And they said....

When I reached the top of the stairs the door was open so I walked on in. I had a couple of bottles of wine and some crackers and cheese for dinner. I also had about three gallons of paint with me in the other hand and some new brushes.

The studio was full of people, the musicians who rent the back room and have built a recording studio were up and were going to be there for a late night jam sessions. They said my music would not disturb them. I said fine. Their being there was kind of annoying because it meant I couldn't strip down completely to paint but finally they all went to the backroom so I was at least able to change into something more paint worthy.

Paper stared at me, and I stared back.

The theme was slow in coming but it did come eventually and so I started to work on it. Words a collection of words from different people. The words became real and the real became the colors leaving my hands and imprinting on the paper. I asked for words and I thought of words. Psyche came to mind and she said herself, to think, to be, and so I breath life into color and color into Psyches word on paper. I think of myself and who I fixate on the most, the inspiration for my madness, I think a word Escape and so I bring it to life and let it flow over and under me and through my bones until I escape out of the colors and the mash up.

I sit with Ramon in the bar and we talk about a number of things, I ask him for a word and he says Transiency so I look at the paper and I will it into being, I find color and a muse it together, fusion, and fuck up, and freedom, and change, it all goes on the paper and comes out changed.

I asked around in the bar and Tom says Jesus, then he changes his mind, then he says, no, Jesus, and so I think about Jesus and suddenly the paper is alive with this word. Why Jesus, because it is the word that pops into being the start of so many problems, the answer for the problems of so many others. I think of my gods and their gods and I wonder about which gods will duke it out in the end to find their own personal Jesus. The thought of a god with a personal Jesus amuses.

Marla thinks on her word and her word is empty and so I grab colors and think, I can do empty, nothing, nowhere, here is empty, empty is when it call comes out, and there on the paper is a mass, a wall, and there is nothing but emptiness. John looks at the words and he says Mourn, and so I paint the loss, I paint to lose, I paint for the sadness and the lack and of all the pieces I put together it comes out the most violent and random. I look at the pictures today and think that it is not done yet. I will need to revise that word a bit more.

In all I have six words from six people, and I still want more.

If you had your word as a living representative, what would your word be?

*pictures will come but I have to get my camera fixed and my cell phone does not do great pictures of art.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rain Rain: Flashback

This happened about a year ago. Sometimes my life is more interesting then I am.


The rain has not stopped coming in Korea for a while now. Rainy season which is usually a few weeks from the end of July to the end of August has lasted well into September. People stay home in the rain, no one will venture out, the shops will close, you are stuck in, you can't help but to be stuck in. It just keeps coming down, hard, heavy, storm rains, and when the storm rains stop it continues with a light falling dampness, a misty disgusting, moist that pervades everything. My laundry hangs drying for a week and still is not dry from the lack of dryness in the air. After having spent the better part of a month in my apartment I could not take it anymore and began venturing out in the rain, damn the consequences. It was Sunday afternoon and I was going to give up and stay in, but then Monolycus called and I was prodded to get into a cab and meet him for coffee and a zombie movie.

I grabbed my smaller umbrella and opened the door, It was not raining at all and the streets were actually dry. I took this as a good sign. I felt silly for bringing the umbrella since I would maybe not need it. But not foolish enough to leave it at home with the dog. No, I took it anyway, grabbed a cab and went to a movie. The movie pleasant and when exiting the DVD bong it was starting to drip a little rain and I was glad for the umbrella. Dinner it was decided would be Italy Italy the design your own pasta place. We had a window seat about ten feet from a party of American GI's doing their best to give Americans a bad name. They were loud and unruly and try as one might to ignore them they made sure they could not be ignored.

At one point the Korean waitresses were consulting about what to do as people would come in, take one moment to listen to what was going on, and then turn around and leave. I almost wanted to go ask them to be quiet to help the horribly embarrassed Korean staff but in the end decided that this was a classic SEP and I need to relax and enjoy my dinner. Mono and I did try to have a conversation mostly about my lack of zombie preparedness and after eating decided to take a trip to the bar for some pool. At this point it had started to rain in true earnest. This was not a little rain but a nice steady streaming downpour of heavy rain.

I put up my umbrella as we started to walk down the streets the five blocks to the bar and the pool game. As we neared the bar we saw two of the other bar flies about to go up and then saw them standing in front of the bar without going up. It was then that my umbrella decided to spring a leak. This was not a polite little leak to be ignored. This was a hole that had a nice stream of water coming in on my head. I ducked under an awning and figured that once we got into the bar I'd just wait out the worst of it and head home.

However the bar owner, after receiving calls from his favorite barflies, decided he was not coming in the rain. "Are you people crazy? There's a typhoon." Oh, well, that would explain the rain now wouldn't it. In my defense I actually knew there was a typhoon but it was not supposed to hit Korea, just lightly graze the southern coast then swing around and eat Japan, as typhoons are accustomed to doing on this part of the globe. However apparently the typhoon had changed courses a bit during dinner and now it was going to go pretty much over JeJu island and it was big enough that we were going to suffer for it. The eye was not going to pass over Korea, but we were going to see at least half of the storm pass over.


It was decided to abandon the bar and go to another bar, but after walking the block in the rain with the rain pouring in my umbrella I decided that it would be a better idea for me to go home. I said goodnight to Mono and made my way with good haste to the nearest cab stand. On the way I passed an umbrella stand. I stopped for a second but then felt silly. I'd be in a cab in a few minutes and then I would be home and wouldn't need the umbrella. So my head was a little wet and the splash back from the streets had me wet up the hips but not all the way wet, I'd be fine.

I made the cab stand about two minutes later. There was a line. Not a little line but fifty Koreans all huddled together in the street trying to get a cab. This did not bode well. The Koreans were fighting for cabs. The line of people stretched two blocks up the street with people jumping in front of cabs to get them to stop. Cabs that already have passengers were slowing to take more going in the same direction. I waited a few minutes in the rain with the steady drip, drip, drip of the umbrella on my head and decided to walk up the street a little in hopes of better luck at the next cab stand.

There was no better luck and now the rain was not failing out of the sky but instead whipping around horizontally and I was getting soaked. I walked up to the bookstore and ducked under the awneing, dropped my umbrella and was immediately deluged by a waterfall of rain that I had failed to distinguish with my umbrella up. A whole in the awning. I was now wet like a drowned rat with a broken umbrella and no hope for a cab.

I weighed my option. I could try to hit a pc bong and wait out the storm but I was more then a little wet and did not want to sit around in an over air conditioned PC bong in the rain. I could go to a movie but same problem. There was not going to be a cab and I was so wet most of them wouldn't let me ride. I finally decided there was only one thing for it at this point. I'd have to walk. I was standing in front of Kyobo bookstore and from this point my apartment was two miles away. I've walked this route on several occasions in about twenty minutes. I knew I could do it. I would get wet, but decided to use the umbrella as a shield as much as possible from the rain.

The most important thing at this point was to get home, get changed, and keep my wallet as dry as possible. I was, as usual, carrying identification that I could not afford to have soaked. I started walking. It was cold, I was miserable. I thought about hitting the umbrella stand again, but a quick look down the street made me realize that walking down there would add extra time and annoyance to my walk and I wanted to walk fast. It was about 8:40 and I didn't want to get pneumonia.

At first it was not so bad, when the leak got to be to much I shifted I to my back. I knew I was going to get wet at this point so I would just shift my umbrella leak around choosing the lesser of evil places to be soaked through. I walked and shifted and walked and shifted. I entered the bell park and the water was starting to really come down. On the streets there was a pretty steady stream about ankle high. The storm drains were pumping water back onto the street. There was so much water and no where for it to go. I reached the long concrete skate park that surrounded the bell in the bell park. As I walked towards it through on the tree lined path I could see what can only be described as a waterfall. It was running with water into the street, fast moving water. Flashing flooding, I thought. But it wasn't quite that high and there was no choice, I had to get home at this point.

The water was ankle deep and I walked through it. The light to cross the road was blinking green and I wanted to run for it, but that would have been supremely stupid. First there was no way I was jay walking in this kind of weather, the cars were having trouble stopping. I could smell on the air the scent of engines that were choking up with water. I associate that smell with badness, a car about to go. I walked to the corner and realized I was just going to have to wait for the light. There is a tree and then some bumps to prevent sidewalk driving. I walked up to the tree and the water came up to my thighs. This was not good.

The water from the park was rushing in and the water was pouring on the streets and pooling up at the indentation where the crosswalk lowers to allow the handicapped to cross. It had become a pool. I huddled along under my umbrella feeling supremely unhappy and wanted to cry but figured it was pointless as it would just make me wetter. I waited higher up on the sidewalk for the light to change not wanting to wait in the pool. When the light finally did change I used the tree to balance so I would not fall off the sidewalk. I felt it out carefully with my foot. The timer came up on the light, I had twenty seconds to cross. I walked into the pool, up to my thighs, then it hit my waist. I actually felt quite scared and almost turned back but I had no choice at this point if I turned back there was no way to get home, I pressed on through the water. I made it to the halfway point of the street after ten seconds had passed and the water disappeared as I reached high ground and crossed just in time.

I was shivering and walking down the sidewalk. A manhole cover had turned into a fountain and was tipping and spinning, and spitting up water. I was still half a mile out from home but was on a slightly graded elevation now. From here on out I would see water on the streets but shouldn't see any massive pools. And I was lucky that I did not. It was just me and the horizontal rain, and the broken umbrella. I tucked my wallet under my chin since it was the only place dry and kept walking. Of course the rain and the stress and I had to pee. Nothing like a crisis.

When I got home with the typhoon drenching me I tossed my umbrella up to the storm a broken sacrifice to the thundering rains appreciation of its power. I ran for the bathroom leaving a strip of wet clothes behind me. My legs were burning from walking through the foul water so I turned on hot water and took a shower with an antibiotic soap in the hopes of not contracting anything too foul from my walk. By the time I excited the shower, now wet but clean, it was ten. In the time it had taken me to walk home it had only started to rain higher. A quick check of the news showed the typhoon coming almost straight over and a prediction of up to 40cm of rain expected before the morning came.

I let in the poor puppy who was as drenched as I was and gave him a thorough drying and we curled up in bed together and crawled under the covers looking for warmth. The rain poured all night and I could hear it and see it in my dreams. Rain and zombie dreams.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Walk on Down the Hall

A friend of mine had been riding my ass for a while about going to the doctor. The
primary reason being that he, like everyone else in my life, is tried of witnessing my day to day self abuse. The abuse is in the form of three hour daily gym sessions and an insanely restricted diet. I don't see a problem with these things. Sure, I only eat about three hundred calories per meal at each meal, I've eliminated fats, sugars, and carbs, and I do workout seriously hard, but why are all these things bad? Okay, fine, yes, I have a serious problem, and it's not anorexia.

I've had this conversation before I go out with someone and they watch me pick around food and ask if I want more and I say no. I get stuffed fast because I don't eat enough. It's kinda of gotten to an insane point though because all the dieting and exercise in the world is not doing a damn thing. So I keep going. I found a new way to get personal
trainers, I work out harder, faster, longer. I spent this entire summer eating very small meals and spending three times my regular amount of time in the gym. Do you know what the result was? I gained weight.

This is my life.

My friends have been urging me to go see the doctors so I have finally agreed and let the Captain, and the driver of my car pool, set me up with someone he knows. I don't want to go. I hate going. I'd rather cut off my left nipple then go. But I let him make me an appointment and drop me off at the hospital on the way home from work.

Nothing more fun than walking into a Korean hosipital in the middle of a busy afternoon. Korean can't help it. They stare. I understand I'm here and can provide a bit of distraction from the otherwise general dullness of hospital life. The staring doesn't help my hospital frame of mine, but it comes with the territory. I walk down the hall and find a booth here there are two orderlies and a computer and think they might be able to help me. I walk up to the booth and they look at me like deer trapped in headlights.

In Korean I ask them for the doctor's office and they both sigh as a wave of relief passes over them. They start to write things down for me and then a nun walks buy. The nun is waved over and they explain to her what I am looking for and the nun kindly takes my hand and walks me out to show me the way. At first she just points and tells me to go straight and I say thank you and start to work in the right general direciton, but I guess nuns are programmed for self sacrafice everywhere as I barely leave her side before she comes and gently takes my hand and leads me down to where I am going.

The second information desk has the same reaction as the first only worse because now I'm saying the Doctors name and for some reason it sounds like Greek to them. We talk for a few more minutes and finally I write it down so I can get somewhere. They take a look at the note and are able to figure it out and off down the hall we go.

I walk into the doctor's office and she says hello. She's been expecting me.

"So," she says, "you have very severe PCOS.*" She knows this without having to give me an exam. She can take one look at me and know exactly what my problem is.

"You're hair is thinning, your overweight, you have really bad acne, hair on your face, your legs are hairy too?"

"That is the one symptom I don't have to deal with, actually."

"That's unusual. But good."

I hate that I walk into this office and she can just look at me and know something is wrong with me. I hate that she points out all the things that I hate about myself so desperately and work out and eat right in a vain attempt to fix. The problem is, though, that my body is working against me on this one and that's why I'm at the doctor.

My new doctor takes one look and knows all of this without even hearing the history, and there is a lot she needs to know before I can start a treatment. That she knows is a good thing. In Korea the doctors are great if you have something that Koreans commonly deal with. Part of the whole homogenous society, everyone gets the same kind of sick. PCOS is not common in Korea so not many doctors don't know what it is or how to deal with
it. She does. This is a bonus.

So we make a plan that among other things will include a consult with the male doctor who is an expert on PCOS. She will do the exams and they will consult together (let's just say I have more than a hundred issues with male doctors) and then they will plot a course of action. I already know what the course of action will probably end up being but I'm at my wits end. I miss food. I really used to like eating and I'd like to be able to have
food again without fretting (last week I nearly started crying when I realized the snack I brought for lunch had seven grams of fat in it because I read the Korean wrong, damn fat filled Sun Chips).

While it sucks if the treatment goes well all that time in the gym my start adding up to
something. Granted I am already pretty freaking hot in a t-shirt and jeans but anything to boost my ego and let me eat again will make me happy.

I still hate going to the doctors though.

*About PCOS:

If you are not familiar with PCOS it's polycystic ovarian syndrome and I'm about as bad as it comes. Basically it means I get cysts on my ovary. This happens to a lot of women. But if you get to be special like me you get more than five or ten at a time. And when this happens you have entered your own special level of hell. Ten years ago they didn't know nearly as much about it as they do now. So hopefully I'll be able to get some treatment this time around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Thoughts from the More Eloquent: McCain Palin

This is one of the single most stirring things I've seen in a long while.

I wish I could have written this: From Ana Voog of Anacam.com



camille paglia, so called revolutionary feminist, brings the point home why palin is so dangerous.
even people like camille, who pride themselves on being edgy free
thinkers, are so quickly and easily bamboozled by palin's easy

by this i mean, because we know virtually
nothing about palin, and because of the way she looks, she is the
perfect screen to project our wishes and desires on.
over and over i read "i like palin because she reminds me of....

1. my hardworking grandmother
2. my feisty next door neighbour
3. my loud talking but loveable aunt
4. a pioneer woman
5. annie oakley
6. a domanatrix librarian who is going to spank your naughty self
7. a VPILF *vomit*
8. a *insert animal or man suffiently feisty* (pitbull, pig, reagan) with lipstick or high heels
9. or the worst and BEST one "she's just like ME!"

etc etc ad nauseum

for camille and others, palin is the perfect nobody/everybody fodder for her to project her wet dream:

Palin seemed perfectly normal to me because she resembles so many women
I grew up around in the snow belt of upstate New York. For example,
there were the robust and hearty farm women of Oxford, a charming
village where my father taught high school when I was a child. We first
lived in an apartment on the top floor of a farmhouse on a working
dairy farm. Our landlady, who was as physically imposing as her
husband, was an all-American version of the Italian immigrant women of
my grandmother's generation -- agrarian powerhouses who could do
anything and whose trumpetlike voices could pierce stone walls. Here's
one episode. My father and his visiting brother, a dapper barber by
trade, were standing outside having a smoke when a great noise came
from the nearby barn. A calf had escaped. Our landlady yelled, "Stop
her!" as the calf came careening at full speed toward my father and
uncle, who both instinctively stepped back as the calf galloped through
the mud between them. Irate, our landlady trudged past them to the
upper pasture, cornered the calf, and carried that massive animal back
to the barn in her arms. As she walked by my father and uncle, she
exclaimed in amused disgust, "Men!"
Now that's the Sarah Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism...."

weee ha! *wank wank wank*

here's another of her wet dreams:

another example of the physical fortitude and indomitable spirit that
Palin as an Alaskan sportswoman seems to represent right now. Last
year, Toronto's Globe and Mail reprinted this remarkable obituary from

Abigail Becker
Farmer and homemaker born in Frontenac County, Upper Canada, on March 14, 1830:
tall, handsome woman "who feared God greatly and the living or dead not
at all," she married a widower with six children and settled in a
trapper's cabin on Long Point, Lake Erie. On Nov. 23, 1854, with her
husband away, she single-handedly rescued the crew of the schooner
Conductor of Buffalo, which had run aground in a storm. The crew had
clung to the frozen rigging all night, not daring to enter the raging
surf. In the early morning, she waded chin-high into the water (she
could not swim) and helped seven men reach shore. She was awarded
medals for heroism and received $350 collected by the people of
Buffalo, plus a handwritten letter from Queen Victoria that was
accompanied by £50, all of which went toward buying a farm. She lost
her husband to a storm, raised 17 children alone and died at Walsingham
Centre, Ont.

Frontier women were far bolder and hardier than
today's pampered, petulant bourgeois feminists, always looking to blame
their complaints about life on someone else. "

wee ha!
annie oakley get yer guns out!

seriously? this is rational thinking???
this is cutting edge feminism?

who cares that she doesn't agree with her policies.
who cares that palin would like to force women to carry the fetus of their rapists and pay for their own rape kits!
palin makes me live out my pioneer fantasy! i wanna get my gun out and drill baby drill!

just being from alaska doesn't make you a frontier woman.
and just having a vagina and being able to shoot with the boys doesn't make you a feminist.
palin not bourgeois? LOL. get real.


so much for cutting edge feminism. *yawn*
no wonder rush limbaugh loves her.

camille needs to come out of her white priviledged female world of academia fantasy land and get real.
in touch with the mainstream of american life" involves more than
saying "i frequent fast-food restaurants, shop at the mall, and
periodically visit Wal-Mart (its bird-seed section is nonpareil)."

how embarrassing.

the entire article is embarrassing.
i've only scratched the surface of it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nasty, Bruttish and Sara

"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

I walk through the muggy Korean evening towards the Lonely Hearts Club with a T-Shirt on proclaiming Nasty, Brutish and Short.

Over my shoulder is an Emily Strange bag stuffed with blank voter registration forms, Obama buttons, and a book that will help me to register voters in any state or territory of the Union. I walk with me stuffs towards my appointment for Wednesday night voter registration drive at the Lonely Hearts Club.

I wore the t-shirt for a reason.

I keep thinking about the country I've left. The country I want so desperately to love again. A country which has fallen so desperately towards the brink of being lost forever. I wonder if the Romans ever felt this way as their empire fell. And I think of Hobbes. I think of the world Hobbes outlines, a world in which society no longer participates in supporting that which is good, that which is possible, but instead breaks down into bitter infighting with lives cut short but a thousand abuses.

I think this and still I go down to register Americans abroad to vote. I've had friends cynically tell me "Why bother, our votes don't count. Don't you know they just through away absentee ballots."

"The right of nature, which writers commonly call jus naturale, is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto."

"Let me see your shirt." Says the Jogger and she reads it out loud.

"Sexy." She says.

"Are you familiar with Hobbes?"

"No, what's that."

I take over a table to get ready for the registration.

"Let me see your shirt." Says another. And they read it out loud.

"I like it."

"Have you read Hobbes?"

"No, what's it about."

I order a drink and I put out the forms and prop up the sign and start passing out buttons, particularly to those who have volunteered during my vacation time to take voter registration.

Koreans come in and ask for Obama buttons, Canadians, Gi's from the South, and the Russian stops in and says, "Sara, long time, almost three months."

"Yes. How have you been?" I ask him in return.

"Yes, I've been home. I went to Russia last month, in Russia yes. It's not so good a time to be in Russia."

"Yes. War. Retaliation. It must be difficult."

"Do you play chess?" He asks.

"A little."

"Move. Counter move. Every move means you have to move. Da?"

"...yet in all times kings and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealousies, and in the state and posture of gladiators, having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms, and continual spies upon their neighbours, which is a posture of war. But because they uphold thereby the industry of their subjects, there does not follow from it that misery which accompanies the liberty of particular men."


He stares at me and notices the letters on my shirt and reads them.

"Mmmmm. Hobbes. Yes. You read Nietzsche too, da?"


We talk for a while discussing politics and philosophy.

"What's this?" He asks pointing to the buttons.

"Obama buttons. For people who want them."

"Da, I'll take two." And he picks one up and pins it to his shirt.

Several more people read my shirt during the night. I receive compliments on the wit but no on is familiar with themeaning with the intent;the reasoning behind creating social contracts, upholding social contracts, understanding how society interacts in a peaceful way for the good of all.

I registered another six people to vote before Hyun looks at me.

"Sara, that looks like politics."

I check the time, it's after midnight.

"I'll put it away for tonight."

"I like your shirt." He says. I smile.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday Nights

Here it comes around again and I realize that as I have been working madly and almost non-stop for a month that I have barely noticed the passing of time except that it is now Friday night and I want to go to dinner with a friend.

And as it happens that time of year has come again when those friends I've made and gotten to know and gotten close to in the last year and a half have gone again. Most notably my infrequent but fun Friday night date who spent a lot of time volunteering the Daegu Animal Shelter.

The Volunteer, as it were, has left Korea with the hopes of journeying to China, then home to England, and the finally to stop in Italy for a year of teaching in Milan. An excellent idea and one I will have to try myself at some point.

During the month I was in front of a lot of people trying to do my helpful part in introducing others to Korea. So Friday night I go by myself, realizing that my dinner plans are moot and I will simply have to find someplace nice to eat by myself. The one restaurant I wanted to go to would not seat me.


"Chay-sung-ham-ni-da. Jiggun-um, du-saram....chany-sung-ham-ni-da."

Tonight we can only serve two people at a table. We don't have enough tables for you to eat alone. I'm not thrilled about eating alone. I'm less thrilled about being turned out of one of my favorite places because I am alone.

I stumble until the cool but somehow muggy streets and I think of all the friends I've said goodbye to as I work my way to the Lonely Hearts Club. On my way down the stairs I run into teachers who were in one of my lectures. They say hello and I'm polite.

I head into the bar which has roughly twenty people sitting around a bunch of tables gathered up. They each separately find a second to come up and introduce themselves, attendees at one of my lectures, happy to see me again, thank you.

Each walks away and I'm left at the bar alone.

The Lonely Hearts is crowded with people who know me and still I sit isolated with them all. Even more so because of my erstwhile fame.

I say goodnight to Hyun and go home early.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politics: I have a vagina, yet don't go into $19 Million dollars worth of debt

Sarah Palin

So I really need this. Sarah, like you, Sara, you're like McCain's VP pick.
Yes, thank you random Korean student. Sara is now a name in the media. Aren't I lucky. Can we go back to comparing me to Abraham's wife and asking me if I'm submissive to my man? Cause really, that's less annoying.

Why did McCain pick Palin?

Aside from editing in the clever thoughts that video has not been touched up. And notice how he plays with his wedding ring and actually slips it off at one point.

But no, he didn't pick her because of the hot hot ass? No, it's was because of her great experience leading as mayor and leading the state of Alaska.

Like during her six years leading the state she hired a lobbyist to get earmarks for her city of Wasilla.


And she raised taxes so the city of 8,000 could get their own sports stadium.

"Palin Supported Increasing Wasilla Sales Tax From 2 to 2.5 Percent to Build $14.7 Million Sports Center.
"Wasilla residents have given the go ahead to building a new multiuse
sports center in town and to raising the city sales tax to pay for it.
With the final votes counted Friday, residents voted 306 to 286 in
favor of a measure to raise the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5
percent to pay the estimated $14.7 million cost of building the
center...Mayor Sarah Palin, who
supported the measure, said the tight vote will motivate city officials
to keep a close eye on the budget for the center." [Anchorage Daily
News, 3/9/02]"

Not to mention leaving that city 19 million in debt. And some other special things you can read all about here:


I mean, really, Troopergate? Corruption? Ethics? Science? Common Sense? Even protecting teens from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy?

I'm sorry. I'm disgusted.

In the meantime, my voter registration drive here in Korea is going like gangbusters!

Last night we actually ran out of registration forms. So go me. Plus I'm trying to help out some teachers in Seoul with the registration. Also plans are in the works for a Democrats Abroad party here.

So yeah, that's basically how I'm feeling at the moment. Sorry for failing in eloquence today.

Only In Korea

The Body Circus was a gala event, of course. And only in Korea will you
find on the buffet at a gala event a giant plate of squid and stale

Add to that that only in Korea will you find the ever swanky for any event
cheese slices still in plastic wrap served on a tray next to stale

And, alas I did not get a picture of this one at the festival, red wine in a can.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Body Color

Body Circus: Highlights

Body Magic and the Organizer of Doom

The Jamaican and her fantastic paint job.

Body Circus