Stream.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15th, 2003 by byronkho

decided to tackle the stream of consciousness thing again… decided that she really does care but sometimes the light just goes out and my light does too when i’m really just blah – not tired, just blah – and that’s how it goes… it was normal, better before she left and worse when she left, but it was still just okay… i hate it when that happens and i am thinking i am being a lazy slob tonite because i can and don’t snap out of it – it’s not easy being a story weaver, you weave in and out, your webs don’t cover up fully and when you’re caught off guard, everything can fall apart… but you know that once complete, your imagination can create incredible dreamscapes and soundscapes and things that anybody would want to hear, especially the one who you’re talking to, and so i do what i do because i can do what i do… it was a compliment from my mom, somewhat bitter, but then later proud of the fact…she called me “really a storyteller, make everybody feel so good until it goes wrong and nobody expected it.. you were born a writer”. i liked that one so much – it was complaint of a lack of communication between me and her, and sometimes, with everybody in general, but mostly because it’s hard to discuss things with the parents, like girls – authoritarian asian families are notorious for preventing a lot of things and enticing the inner liar to come out to hide relationships and things that a normal kid in a caucasian family would not hesitate to make known, but that’s the price of being in an asian family, knowing that everybody expects you to be really smart and an engineer or doctor, great at math, and not interested in girls until you’re forty which is just fucking ridiculous. of course when you’re going into premed, you’re great at math, your dad is an engineer, and the girl question was left unanswered for so many years, there’s a lot you do to make yourself different and outside of the asian stereotype – banished by showing a deep interest in history, a great skill in writing and emoting and feeling, having charm, which many asians lack, having no interest in engineering, enjoying many rather deep feelings over being a doctor and the moral goals tied with being a doctor that should be in place rather than the money thing, having lots of ‘illicit’ relationships under the guise of going to friends houses, smoking and drinking and getting high but to such a level that nobody knows until you choose to let them know; my parents and brother know nothing of anything of that sort but i know – and at school, i don’t hesitate to let the word get around, but being a master of deception, i never let people see me when i falter – when i take too much, i disappear, control myself all the rest of the time and i never contend when people think i’m drinking/smoking etc. so i was not surprised when it got around that i always smoked up, even tho i did it maybe once a week for a month and not ever after that month… all my girl questions and bursting to tell was all poured out on my girl cousin who was closest in age to me and would understand the need to be discreet, she also had the best advice to give, in any matter – since i had to deal with authoritarianism, social stereotypes, time management, grey areas in relationships, easing doubts, how to be smooth, and all that by talking maybe once a month, it really helps – then of course, i talk with all my girl friends for the same kind of advice, i don’t hesitate to go into the areas where it hurts because i know they’re there for me, so it’s really good to know that and to also let my soul let out air, just like it is now – because, back to the writing thing, i love writing. it’s such a soul cleanser, i can type it all out and the nuances, or most of them in any case, can come out of the woodwork and into the public eye. by writing in an online diary, i am also doing kind of a public confession and also something for me to remember, it also helps me to realie what slant i had on certain topics at the time of, and how it differs from the memory of the time, for example, i’d love to see what i feel about the jlm episode after the fact – hopefully, it never gets to the after-the-fact. a guy on tv just asked, what are my options? and that’s my question most days. sometimes i’ve thought about it and prepared the answer so i’m ready and smooth and everything when the time comes, but when i’m caught off guard, i spin offhand stories that sometimes work and sometimes don’t, especially when it’s in my living room – it’s so awkward for some reason when talking in my living room in the middle of doing things, because i am so aware of the thing i was just doing and am not ready – when jlm actually provokes nervousness, you know you need more time to be what she needs and what you need. i’m always amazed at how strong but particularly fragile she is – she knows what it’s all about, she knows what she needs to be, but in a social sense, she can be so trampled upon, and i feel like it’s my duty to protect her as much as i can from that. i know she needs no help on the professional front, actually i would probably need more help there but when dealing with people outside, she’s liable to get lost in the fracas. she lets people talk to her like they please and she doesn’t put her foot down, when she gets mad it’s a quiet madness and that’s dangerous, sometimes i wish she’d get mad at me, but she’ll talk about it and i can sense when she’s close to breaking down but i help ease her over it and when she’s smiling fit to break i’ll feel like mission accomplished… other people too, i’ll be counselor and best friend when they’re having problems, but i won’t necessarily feel the total closeness – i can feel the hurt and pain tho… i talked with a few people tonight about their problems and also in nights past, and they had so much to say and sometimes i had to be direct and blunt, and sometimes soft and reassuring, adapting to what people need to hear – for the guy with the distant girl, i raged at his insincerity and formality, and decided that he had no emotion invested and that was probably the cause of the distance, and to others, i felt that more emotion was needed – even tho both sides had reasons to be upset with each other – then the people with drug problems, and telling them, for the last time, that their fucking act was fucking up their lives and they better fucking clean it up, or to the drunk that you would do so much better if you weren’t like this around the people you wanted to listen to you, and that’s why i can waltz miles around you when it comes to the emotional intelligence – i can say i learned that much from my parents and from being around the right kind of people, i hope they’re proud of me – i am not wishy washy, though normally guys would accuse that when you claim to some emotional intelligence – to some, having to factor that in is kinda gay, but when they come clean when they’re drunk and don’t know any better, i know they also rage over it and feel they can’t tell anyone and thus get so frustrated… on that topic, yeah, i get frustrated, but i talk to myself sometimes (admittedly…hehe, but it helps clarify what i’m feeling because i have to think about things to have something to say, even if it’s just to myself) and then to other people directly or indirectly, and to my parents very very indirectly… that’s why this summer has been the best, because i’ve come clean to so many people and learned a lot about life, love and happiness. i read tolstoy and his visions of despair, of love, of marriage, of relationships, of courting, of political sensitivities, of political currents within personal relationships, the odd quirks and strange emotions directed at people that he acknowledges exist but you don’t realize until you read it and realize that sometimes these things do exist, like when you felt a little bit pissed when a certain guy came in though you actually did like him personally, it was just something about the expression on his face at that time, or the effect of a personal situation on your perception of the world and how much things change – i really like the russian writers because since their world is so bleak, they don’t have to gloss over things by making everything just so, because no one would want that fakery, so life is life and emotion is emotion, and no one is embarrassed to talk about it in writing, remember all those writers in political exile in siberia? with putin, i’m sure those things have come back into vogue though it’s not quite so publicized…the rule of the russian mob back in russia have probably stirred up images of the old tsarist russia and autocratic soviet rule – anna karenina shows how adultery and doubt affect each player in the story without explicitly saying “this is how this affected every player in the story”, resurrection deals with the souls of the innocent suffering for the upper classes’ sake in two different parallel cases, one being the prince judging the whore whom he first raped and drove into whoredom, and then exploitation of the unfairness of imprisonment for purpose of maintaining things the way they are… me and george in the lab talked about that today and he mentioned how nobody is smart enough to really think on the issues and vote that way, they’re just led like sheep to the slaughter, they’re happy if they can bring enough money home to send their kids to college, own a house, a car, and a chicken in every pot – no issue at what is exactly fair, why do some people think they deserve more recompense when the little guy suffers the most, why some things are kept secret for so long that the paper they’re written on crumbles before it’s allowed to be released, all for the purposes of national security, and why people would vote for a dumb president because they don’t want to lose their investment, and the rest because they don’t know any better, and because they give up a lot of things without knowing for one single benefit that’s actually not so helpful to them, and how some people don’t really understand the way we are governed and don’t know past history…the filibustering, the packing of ballot boxes, the quadruple and quintuple voting by tammany folks and aaron burr, and the sex scandals of alexander hamilton and thomas jefferson and the spite between presidents and all kinds of chicanery that people think were invented just today but that isn’t the way things are! or how they blak at paying taxes and want to not pay any at all – though all their freedoms and services they are used to are preserved in such a state with a certain amount of fairness because of taxes, and a Section 681 or frivolous lawsuits will not help the rest of the nation though they might intrigue you, in the avoidance of taxes… you are the little guy, but you must work through political knowledge and grassroots politics to get up to the top, for as we know, electors can be bought because they are essentially picked by politicians… like, how did we get stuck with two unfavorable choices (eg bush and gore)? pick the lesser of two evils, yeah… but true public opinion should be able to promote finally a candidate that isn’t an evil at all – that’s why when people call this country a democracy, they have it wrong – the united states is a republic, and republican politics (lower case republican, just like the lower case catholic of the protestant creeds) is an indirect use of public opinion by voting people in to represent your cause for better or worse. and then tolstory comes out with family happiness to determine what marriage is and usually becomes to a lot of people, and the kreutzer sonata to what jealousy and on the spur looks and innuendos can do to a man’s soul and what the moral representation of a generation looks like and why it may or may not be not the best thing – there’s a lot of him to go around – it was the kreutzer sonata that demonstrated that some pieces must be preserved for special occasions and that the emotions were too strong to always have out in the plain; same as his relations with his wife, his emotions shouldn’t always be the first to be laid open, his wife was responsible to help him preserve it for special occasions (read dignity, and respect for each other)… i’m glad jlm has that interest too, but it comes out only when we’re deep in thought – the last time was a huge long discussion of it all when i was kinda drunk, the next time will be when i’m not – the thing is, i can look drunk because when i’m hyper i act the same way, just my face might not be so red. i am good at self control, i refused alcohol a lot… rob was kind of surprised at that, bc he was like, you’re just an alcoholic… i impressed myself on everybody that night because they know my capacity and my wants, but when i need to have the discipline, i have it inside of me. i can go on and on about lots of things – i read an article that was good news for lots of people, including me. seems that social studies, combined with sicentific ones, showed that females were more likely to stick with more pacifist men (me mainly because even if i were warlike, i wouldnt be around to write this…i have to be street smart to survive instead of just brawn), virgins went for the big guy, but sexually mature women went for the smaller, more comfortable guys mainly because they were more mature, were less abusive in relationships, were more supportive bc they stuck around and did well for the family and all those other little reasons; they looked at fishies and found the same patterns, the sexpots stuck with the smaller fishies and the its my first time went for the r. kelly’s and kobe bryants and meatheads. and then there was that form of turtle i think, or maybe it was a kind of fish too, where the male rode ont he back of the female where it was provided with unlimited food, sex and transportation without any visible return from the male. oh yeah, it was a fish, the zeusfish…lucky bastard, him. these days i’m getting kinda poor, good thing i got all my time sheets signed today, but my boss is coming in on monday to take a look at my work, meaning i might have to go in on the weekend to find stuff to show her. that’s gonna be a little issue; i’m kinda worried about it actually. but it’ll work out if i think about it enough. i went for dinner with mike, laura and max today, southworth came in in the middle… added to the chicken alfredo, we had asparagus, salad and cokes. it was pretty good actually but the asparagus skins were a little too fibrous and chewy, and the chicken alfredo went down like lead weights because it was made with tons and tons of butter. wow. the dolphin in the basement and plexiglass…haha, and stealing internet, and making another beer pong table and hooking up all the rooms with speakers and Qing’s kitty kat with no name and the shittiness of the house in general, one drain was clogged up and the insinkerator doesn’t work, and the internet’s all ghetto, and the garbage place outside stinks because no garbage cans, and nobody washes dishes or treats the utensils with respect for the owner etc. just a ton to get through in one hour, and then laura started her car miraculously and drove me downtown to the kaplan center where all was good in practicing my skills until i got outside and it was raining all over the damn place and i walked back in the rain, all wet, and should have been miserable, but i couldn’t help grinning. ‘you look like such a cute couple’ god, i smiled into the darkness of the schuylkill and i swear i could see my reflection beaming up at me; with the most rigoddamdiculous expression on my face, i could tell, i was mumbling to myself, telling myself things no one else would ever hear, telling her things she would never hear, telling everyone else things they would never hear either, or know, until i decide to be indiscreet with them and myself and talk so loud that i have to tell myself to shut the fuck up, of course, out loud too. the rain splotches covered up my glasses but i could still sense the brightness of my spirit; i knew what it was to be happy, i knew what it was to care so much that i see it played over and over and the easy recall was so astonishing that i couldn’t help but laugh in the middle of the street and the guy that almost hit me with his car after i did that and the couple i jumped around and the tree i ran into soon after all were as if nothing to me, because i had a cause, i championed something great because ‘it’s engraved on my heart’ and ‘i would have waited all night, if that’s what it took’, i had a hanky to tie onto the edge of my lance and sword as a prize into the heat of battle – the stares from everyone made the heat rise all over, and life was good to have something to say ‘don’t punch my stomach or make me laugh….hey! no making me laugh!’ and then the smiles from all the people i passed by that genuinely understood what was happening, this was a transformation that would never be seen, it was just there and nothing would take it away, save from direct words to the contrary, and spending the night alone while poker and dave and buster’s called were nothing; mcats were good company because i had the knowledge that memories were holding me up and the scent in the air would linger a little bit more, i hope the sunlight never lightens up… as i come to the end of this ramble, i realize i’ve covered a lot and know that if you end up reading the whole thing, you will have come to the end of an oddysey, an entire trip through the psyche and rambling mind of one byron kho, esquire, sitting in his chair and wondering what the hell was the point of it all and realizing the answer was what everybody had said it was but nobody understands until it happens. love, and lots of it. for the bum who shed a tear at a hand on the shoulder and change enough for two cups of coffee, for friends and family, for the sick, for the downtrodden, for passerby, for everything that matters to anything or anyone, and especially, for that one pinnacle of faith, trust, and hope that would normally be unreachable until the last step has been reached – and it was good. and after seeing that it was good, he rested.

Current Events: August 14, 2003.

Posted in Personal on August 14th, 2003 by byronkho

This just in – human DNA more closely resembles rat DNA than cat DNA. So all you cat people…. are really rat people. Hahaha!

Of scientific importance: Junk DNA, or what is now termed junk DNA, seems to be important, because it stays almost exactly the same through many animal species.

Visit Bali, yall. Yeah, they were bombed, but we don’t stop visiting New York and Washington now, do we? Many airlines fly straight to Bali; its people are great and actually accept the tourists, treating them with warmth and respect; they perform their religious rites and live their lives under close scrutiny from visitors without batting an eye; and now – their livelihoods are being ruined by a slump in tourism after the Bali bombing. It’s like Cancun, but prettier, more relaxing, and finally, an even better place to get drunk and get laid on the beach.

Preteen hoes flourish at Mall of America; suburbia a hot recruitment post for pimps.

“The British are invading Normandy again, this time not to save it from tyranny but to buy it for themselves.”

And scary spy shit popping up again. Iran experts from the Pentagon (DoD spooks) meet up with shady liar and conduit from Iran-Contra scandal. Once can be explained as chance; but twice? And who’s leaking what? If it was really scandalous, they’d shut it down and I wouldn’t know about it – but obviously, I know. So either they’re incompetent, OR they’re playing games with someone.

Euro is a hit. Trading at around 1.30 to 1 American, it is a surprise success, lending prestige to its supporters as it raises continental trade and clears up economic confusion. England, in sore defense of its pound (under Blair, who is going to burn worse than Gray Davis out in Cali), is in a bad position – Ireland and Scotland have wholly capitulated to the euro (no more eire…close enough name though), and the British only cling to the pound by the Irish and Scottish – not to mention their hatred of Bush, who is supported by the Brbecause of patriotic reasons (in one article, this was compared to “strong military” in the U.S. Since Ireland and Scotland are enjoying booms after their acceptance of the euro, it’s with little wonder that I announce that the British WILL soon fall. Who’s going to keep away from making money? No one. As it is stuck in the middle of continental and floating Europe, this lone state will fall in soon enough. And the combined economic reasons, as well as genuine nationalistic hatred of England itish – will make Britons question their stubbornness. Fall in line. You’ll feel better.

Republican strategist: “Bush’s Magoo moment.” Mr. Magoo stumbles through accidents and always survives by dumb luck.

Not only Saddam and Al-Qaida (who seem to have no link now, as it seems – German records show that there was little evidence and a very tenuous link between this guy Zarqawi of Al-Qaeda and supposed connections to Saddam, because Zarqawi was treated medically in Baghdad one hot day; of course, this was pulled by Powell and presented to the Security Council as hard info, though the real records show nothing of the sort): we have someone new to blame for continuing American casualties down there in Iraq. A new player, al-Jamiya al-Salafiya al-Mujahida, an obscure jihadi group.

Peace Ambassadors (some of whom are Inglewood residents) calm racial tensions after failure to convict in a white cop beating of black teen case. Wow. No Rodney King this time around. No LA riots, no burning buildings, no looting and rampages…

The House of Reps votes to give US consumers access to US made drugs that are sold more cheaply in Canada and overseas. This is good, yet bad at the same time. Drug companies will lose a lot of revenue because now they have to sell so cheaply, reducing the motivation to create better drugs. However, we can get treated cheaper – with only drugs that are available now, of course. We might not have too many new ones in future. (Lots of crime involved here though: drug companies might not have to continue their inveterate espionage, brutality tactics and strong arming of native cultures with herb medicinal knowledge, and drug smugglers running cancer meds across the border won’t have so much business)

Reporter buys fake ID from big Russian who speakee no English; has all things required (DOB, for us, fo’ sure) but hologram says “genuine”. Haha. On back, it says “card data supported by truth pledge”. As if that would stop someone. Reporter then uses card to enter high security Time-Life building, then even higher security JFK Airport (which had those guys wash up 400 feet from the runway without any security people noticing them till after they were playing around by the planes), and finally, to cashing a check. Tighter security in New York? Reporter proves his point.

A week or so ago, a building on 11th and Spruce had an electrical fire which promptly burned the entire building, leaving only the structure standing but everything else entirely unusable, as well as having a whole chunk ripped out of it. Thirty tenants were left with nothing and need new places to stay; two girls who just moved in before the fire lost everything (they were on the same floor as the fire start location). An area covering 20 blocks or so was blocked off for a while pending decisions on what to do and when to do, as well as how to do. News from Jen, leasing agent and humany sympathizer extraordinaire.

Bush declares Illinois student (a Qatari) an enemy combatant. First, Justice files criminal charges against him. A high priced law firm comes back at them, paid by Qatar. Then – where it all becomes very very much obvious that Bush is running a police state (along with Guantanamo Bay, where no word comes out of – ever. That’s still in Cuba too, where Fidel is still buddy buddy wink wink with Bush even through his gross human rights violations), this kid is thrown into a military brig in Charleston. Held indefinitely, with no access to lawyers or opportunity to contest charges against him. Are we still in a time of war? Because that’s what you do in times of war, in the place of war – run military kangaroo tribunals and summary judgments. But we are out of war, as Bush has said many times, and we are still in America. Terrorist he might be, but with no access to anything that could help establish if he was guilty or innocent (beyond the “suppressed evidence”), he’s been pronounced guilty, and destined for the chair with no possibility of return.

In another police state story, Faris – another accused “sleeper agent” like the Illinois guy – was “implicated” by the September 11 mastermind but never charged, whereupon he suddenly disappeared. Communications with friends and relatives stopped, he never showed for traffic court (he had parking tickets), and his phone number was deactivated. Speculation from this point on: he is in “limbo detention” with a small number of other terrorist suspects. This is done, supposedly, to limit interference from lawyers and the public (shady enough as this reason is….no chance for defense at all). They are being strongly encouraged to cut deals and snitch on their friends. Strongly encouraged? We’ll up the voltage on your balls if you don’t sign, Mr. Faris. Ow, ow, ok, stop, I want my mommy. They say that these guys are technically free to go, but not really. What does that mean? This is America, again, and people are innocent until proven guilty. But in Ashcroft’s eyes, we are all guilty until proven innocent. And even then, we are still guilty. His reasoning? Prevention of future crimes (hint of Pre-Crime etc.). We all have the capabilities to be future criminals, so of course anybody we find within our scope – they’re guilty. Or they will be.

Humanitarian intervention in Liberia? Where it’s needed? And don’t tell me we can’t. We went into Iraq to help the good guys in the Middle East out, right? Or was that joke “I need your help getting all that Iraqi oil for me” letter really true?

Current Events: August 13, 2003.

Posted in Personal on August 13th, 2003 by byronkho

So this just in – An Evening with Joe: Stalin the Musical, is appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, written and directed by Cambridge student James Stevens. Songs include the Gulag Rag, Mrs. Stalin Regrets and Sweet Stalin, I’m In Love Again! This seems to be really funny, and not without reason, it’s being lambasted and drawn up as rather too cheery support for Stalin, that mad Russian who was our ally in World War II. Stevens notes that they’re missing the point. In not so many words, he tells the public that Stalin is much funnier than Hitler, because Stalin was a way better mass murderer. Even we’re afraid to blacken his name now.

The Daily Express, a London tabloid, reports that “William the deer killer sparks fury.” Apparently he can not only cause preteen girls to keel over at the mere sight of his royal personage, but also vanquish small antelopes in the Kenyan wilderness merely by – oh wait, he cheated. He used a spear.

Ben Affleck: “In fact, probably after the towering success of ‘Gigli,’ I suspect Miramax will find a way to sell it as other than a ‘Me-and-Jen’ movie.”

Ooh, ooh. Another reason not to drink those crazy Chinese and African home medicines…”folk remedy may raise cholesterol, not lower it.”

Now I know what happened to Steve! Researchers recently discovered a correlation between patients being treated with a Parkinson’s drug and a sudden compulsive gambling habit. As soon as these guys stopped getting the drug, they immediately changed their address from Atlantic City to debtor’s prison and filing Chapter 7’s in local court.

Penn students less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Everybody except Whartonites, that is. Keeping the mind active protects against the debilitating disease – more intelligent and better educated people use their brains differently than farmboys from Iowa and their relatives.
Amanda wanted to go to Sweden for study abroad? Why not Denmark? They’ve got a newly opened driverless subway. They’ve got Hans Christian Andersen. They’ve got huge flower gardens. They’ve got a gazillion hours of sunlight. They have Christiania (hippie town in an abandoned military barracks, created in 1971 by flower power Danes pushing nudity, free mary jane and no rules), the first country to legalize pornography then follow that up with a widely celebrated international sex fair. They’ve got hot Nordic chicks who smuggle themselves across the border from Sweden. Their guys aren’t all porn stars with bushy mustaches. And – they have a figurehead queen (Marguerite) that everyone actually loves. Wow.

Try North Korea. They are open to tourism, but, according to Lonely Planet, “if you’re from the U.S. or South Korea you can pretty much forget about it.” Trips cost around $2000, and obviously, things are a little tight. No pictures of slave labor, no making Kim Sr. or Kim Jr. look like the perverts and crazy dictators that somehow, maddeningly, stabilized North Korea and depressed the population so that even though they’re all starving, none of them want to rebel and all the money is still spent on buying nuclear weapons. And tour guides for the silly tourists who might get thrown in jail for 10 years for something ridiculous – like poor Mohammed something-or-other who returned home to Iran and was arrested and thrown in jail for 50 days or so by Islamic clerics, for the crime of gyrating on straight-to-video (and satellite TV, on rare occasions) that Islamic women are buying by the ton.

Ooh, more problems with the “Axis of Evil”. For some reason, Cuba ain’t on this list, though they’ve been the Communist nation closest to our borders all through the Cold War, almost provoked a nuclear war between us and Russia… The rest comes with more Bush complicity (another reason to question Bush’s wisdom in international politics). The many Cuban Air Force pilots who shot down American planes in international air space were never sought after by the Bush government. Jamming of US broadcasts to Iran (Iran rears its ugly head again) have not been protested, though the jamming comes from the Iranian Embassy in Havana which cannot operate without the complicity of Cuba. American citizens, by a Bush order, cannot sue foreign speculators who profit off of stolen American properties in Cuba. A Cuban arrested for skyjacking was denied permission to testify in his defense that he feared for his life if he surrendered to Castro. And then the final straw. The 12 Cubans who hijacked a boat to come over to America were not given a chance for a trial – by secret agreement with Castro, the 12 were immediately given ten years jail time. The all important Florida vote was won by Bush because of the Cuban American voter turnout – and I think he just lost their support. Thanks to Creative Collective.

Now for some problems with real Axis countries. For the record, I oppose the title Axis of Evil, but it’s useful to get at what I’m trying to say. One of the human shields who went to Iraq to protest and stop the American war effort (which I hold in extreme contempt, seeing that all the proof – as supported by at least three sources in Britain, including that dead guy and the reporters – that Iraq had WMD’s were just bullshit… and that we are spending more money, losing more men and angering the Iraqis and the rest of the world more than what happened in Gulf War I) is now being aggressively pursued by the Justice Department for non-payment of thousands of dollars in government fines, all of which she refuses to pay. If she continues, the officials say, the fine will increase and the money taken from her retirement paycheck, Social Security and her assets, forcibly. Now put up your hands if this is grossly unfair. I think the US is trying to make a pariah out of this woman, in the hopes that we will learn a lesson if we cross our government. 1) She didn’t do any overt violent actions against the government. All her “actions” were words and mere presence. Apparently, it’s illegal for her to go to Iraq when the government says so. Other than my opinion that the war was and stil lis wholly unjustified, why do they pursue this old lady, who wasn’t even actively helping the enemy? 2) We have our rights. Unfortunately, Bush and Rumsfeld and Ashcroft have improved on our National Security Statutes so much so that anything I say and do can and will be used against me because the government can do anything under the guise of national security. And then, not have to tell you, ever, because it’s National Security. So, our rights under the Declaration and the Constitution are not really our rights. But that’s ok – I can survive the present. I can see, though, how easily the Bush government’s “progress” can be twisted and abused.

Caligula was really a crazy old coot. New evidence shows that Caligula utilized the Temple as part of his palace, saying “I live with the gods. To get to them, you must pass me.” (in paraphrase of someone else).

You can’t cancel the spam you receive through Ticketmaster, when you buy tickets.

All the big companies send spam – they do it by hiring lead generators or affiliates, who outsource the spamming so that no dirtiness touches their hands. The solution to spam? Everyone in the world has to stop replying to them, then it would be very unprofitable to send any at all. After all, the spam only makes our email services more expensive or slower, makeas the ISP’s rich (who charge for traffic) and makes the big companies subtly richer.

Shortage of monkeys. We’re gonna have to recruit all those incoming freshmen now… but seriously, scientists are running out of rhesus macaques to test out new drugs and therapies on. Please donate yourself to science.

I read a Clive Cussler book called Blue Gold the other day. The madman in the book takes control of the world’s water because she knows there will be a water shortage..then, I read this. 2 million tons of waste are dumped into our water sources every year, and 7 million people eventually die of waterborne diseases. On top of all of this, a half century will see the entire current world population count suffering from water scarcity.

The ultimate prank. Put a virus on someone’s computer that downloads porn (and worse, child porn) and illegal materials before sending it to everyone on their mailing list. It makes the unwitting computer user look guilty and really screw around with proving guilt when web surfing is in the picture.

Denver, Colorado. A city with some really retarded people. Take Jeff Peckman. he collected 2500 signatures on a petition that asked the city to do more to reduce stress, which forced city council to either implement the measure right away or get the city to vote. The city is going to vote, and council members are complaining. I would. What the hell is the city going to do? Solve all my problems? ALlt he taxes in the world wouldn’t do that. Playing mood music in the park? I’d get pissed at the bad music selection and shoot out the speakers. Free yoga? Bunch of pansies in office. I’d vote them out, after taking a free yoga class. Peckman, in support of his petition, said “give peace a chance.” What the hell does that have to do with his petition? What did I say? Retarded. Yup.

One last thing. RIAA is going to now sue student downloaders despite fear of PR backlash. They think that by making an example of a poor unwitting student who will be scarred for the rest of his life by huge fines and jail time, a newly minted criminal record and no possibility of getting a good job, all for something that the rest of society has accepted. Our society is described as a democracy, yet it is actually a republic, where representatives do most of the decision making for us, in our best interests, rather than us doing it directly. We are built as a capitalistic society – yet, we support the Democrats (I do too) and offer a lot of human services, thus defeating the capitalist ideals. So what’s the big deal? It’s not like we’re really in support of the “let the artist not suffer.” The artists that deserve attention get the attention, and we still buy the artists whom we truly love. The ones that we don’t really love but just want to have, we download and “steal”. This is stealing from the recording companies they say. The artist already makes so little because the recording company steals most of it away. And for those that actually do see most of the money? They make too much! So really, it’s just lower profits for the recording industry to take home. Don’t tell me the artist needs all that money; it never makes it all the way there. Personally, I am a hardened criminal. Along with every single one of my friends, I have taken part in this “criminal” enterprise, and along with everyone under 40, have become thus sueable, if the RIAA can poke out every one of us. If one of my friends becomes a pariah to the RIAA, I would be very mad. Mad enough to start an organization to fight the RIAA and expose the hypocritical nature of society’s stance. Music should be free – we create it, we listen to it, we enjoy it. When we feel it is warranted, we pay. But do we shoot the people that climb in trees to watch concerts from farther away? No. They merely have an obstructed view.

And ClearChannel is way too big. Megacorporations are somehow… wrong. There is just something scary about huge monopolies. Comcast is another, as is AOL Time Warner. All this concentrated media power; we can get brainwashed without realizing it. I know I am fooled most of the time.

Poetry.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9th, 2003 by byronkho

memory

passing of a poet to the end of time
a mote in the eye of the unknown
wondrous beauty and romance wrapped
as a dying rose to its thorn, partnered
in death, in life and futures hence
black shadows cross her face, a tear
to that which she never knew, gone
forever, and ever, for better days
have past and all that remains
is heartache, loss and loneliness.

When Lord Byron died, it is astonishing the remembrances left by his passing. Mary Shelley writes: “Can I forget his attentions and consolations to me during my deepest misery? Never. Beauty sat on his countenance and power beamed from his eye – his faults being for the most part weaknesses induced one readily to pardon them.” His former lover Caroline Lamb broke down at his funeral procession, as did Mary Shelley. Poet John Clare writes that “when the train of funeral suddenly appeared, on which a young girl that stood beside me gave a deep sigh and uttered ‘Poor Lord Byron’… I looked up at the young girl’s face. It was dark and beautiful, and I could almost feel in love with her for the sigh she had uttered for the poet.” He went on to compliment Lord Byron by saying that the “common people felt his merits and his power, and [they] are the best feelings of a prophecy of futurity.” His commemorative stone at Westminster Abbey (his body was refused in 1824) reads “but there is that within me which shall tire, Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire.”

Why poetic memory in this case? I sit back and contemplate exactly why a lot of modern day poetry does not appeal to me – after reading an editorial on poetry, I have come to realize that the author may be right. She mentions that “poetry is not merely a booster for self-esteem. Now it’s specifically written for a certain audience.” To me, writing – not only poetry – is a booster for self-esteem and when I write, it is not for an audience. When I pick up a modern poet, it seems to me that it really is written for a specific audience, because one always refers to this or that person as the foremost female poet, the African American voice, the folk element, the angst of all those singer songwriter poets and therefore, they should be talked about, parsed and chopped into pieces for consumption through Oprah and pc and culturally sensitive media outlets of that sort. The author then goes on to say this.

“Most of life is detritus. It has to be, and it’s often enjoyable. But there are moments when we need something beautiful and true and meaningful. It could be a kiss from the love of your life, or watching the stars at 3 am, or walking around your neighborhood, or listening to your favorite song, or – perhaps – reading a poem. A poem. A genuine poem. A work of art which takes you outside yourself and makes you think and feel in unexpected and magical ways.”

I am proud to be the namesake of Lord Byron – why? Was it because he was a notorious womanizer that slept with the most attractive women in England during his day, even while they were married to important personages? Was it because he inspired mad devotion from his slavish lovers? Was it because he was a young nobleman in search of glory and grandeur? Was it because of his passions, or his heroism, eventually dying on a Greek beach in the Greek rebellion? Or was it because he too, was an inner outcast and full of regrets?

His personal history aside, it has become evident to me that it is his poetry that really calls out to me, and the closeness of his passions to my own that draws me to reading his work. In the Atlantic Monthly, author Pyre mentions this: “Byron’s liveness, Byron’s directness, his intellectual dauntlessness, his ethical cogency, his wholesome contempt for social and artistic futility, his reckless valiancy of spirit, his very faults even, will be educative always, will always cry rebuke to the putterers and patchers of poetry.” His regrets and sorrows are evident throughout his writing, and even his most famous poem, “she walks in beauty.”

alternative

angry, lashing out, stop watching!
stop telling me what to do, i’m sick,
i can’t take any more of these things,
can you stop laying it on so thick?
i play my guitar, break some strings,
scream my heart out to make you feel
that what we had was more than a fling
and i can’t move, i can’t heal
what can i do? every beat of the drum
marks out my heart breaking again
this is the worst day, i’m getting numb
to the sight of those other men
the crackle of this mic can’t hide
your broken voice, and all the pain there
you tell me that i’m on my own side
it’s the end of the whole affair
but if the love is long over and done,
why do i see you in the limelights?
why can i see your shadow, and the sun
ready, after the show, for one more fight?
i do all i can to forget about what was,
but you won’t let go of my hand,
you sing, i play, we lust
it’s the end, the end of our band.

Lord Byron wrote this poem, “My Soul Is Dark.”

My soul is dark – Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o’er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
‘Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.

But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ached in sleepless silence, long;
And now ’tis doomed to know the worst,
And break at once – or yield to song.

Politics.

Posted in History and Politics on August 6th, 2003 by byronkho

So ya hear about the new wave of terror bombings? There was Bali, then there was the Phillippine ambassador’s residence, and then now, the Jakarta Marriott. The hotel was leveled and many Indonesians and 88 Australians were killed or injured in a blast of potassium chlorate set off by cell phone; Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was held responsible. The leader of JI is in police custody and the trial of the JI mechanic who bought the car and materials for the Bali blast is just getting going. JI is linked by money to its parent, Al-Qaeda. Apparently, the terror network has a firm footing down in Asia. Now I’m worried because I have relatives that live in Jakarta, and this new menace is disturbing, especially to Christians and businesspeople, whom they and the religious fanatics are apparently targeting. In a country of 99.9% Muslims, it is a significant danger to be foreign and/or a Christian, as evidenced by the Time pictures a couple years ago that trailed a religious riot through a village on Sumatra (I think). Australia has apparently sent a lot of personnel to help the investigations and Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of President Sukarno (the general that held absolute power over Indonesia during the 60s and 70s), as Indonesian president with Golkar, said that she was putting all efforts into uncovering JI and the other terrorist cells and smashing them.

As for patriots, I must applaud Yang Jianli – who went home to China a true patriot, and was jailed for a year without a charge, and finally charged with espionage (based on some academic financial support from a Taiwanese foundation and sending a tiny sum of money to a Taiwanese friend) for his efforts. May you prove a thorn in China’s frosty abusive feet.

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — The mayor of Hiroshima has criticized the U.S. for pursuing new nuclear weapons technology, as he marked the 58th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack. Tadatoshi Akiba said Washington’s apparent worship of “nuclear weapons as God” was threatening world peace. “The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central international agreement guiding the elimination of nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse,” Akiba said during the annual ceremony held Wednesday at the Peace Memorial Park. “As the U.S.-British-led war on Iraq made clear, the assertion that war is peace is being trumpeted as truth.” … the Bush administration wants Congress to approve $68 million for research into advanced nuclear weapons technology, including research on a ground-penetrating nuclear warhead, known as a bunker-buster, and smaller, so-called mini-nukes, of less than 5 kilotons.

Now why is Bush trumpeting so publicly for more nuclear weapons research? This is really a slap in the face of Muslim countries, incensed that Bush started a war on the basis of possible WMD’s in Iraq that haven’t shown up, who think that he’s keeping everyone else down. Not only them, but Asian countries, taking from the example of North Korea. They refuse North Korea the right to create their own nuclear weapons because they are a threat; while they might be a threat, the US doesn’t have the moral high ground any more with its own breakage of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. What in hell is it going for? Bush is trying to be a moral man, a good Christian – getting himself into trouble with his fundamentalist standpoint on gay marriages – but his hypocritical stand on global power structures and defensive capabilities is really really WRONG. Which aslo means he has terrible PR. Fire your press secretary and learn how to do things more secretly. You passed that Official Secrets Act anyway, so use it. I dare you to.

Charles Krauthammer writes in Time that many don’t want American military presence around. For example, old Europe who wants free of the American presence. He writes that Eastern Europe would welcome the US because they remember who saved them. Who saved them?? This guy is a consummate horse’s ass! he wants Empire Lite – fine, a good idea – but not when his backup for Empire Lite is the fact that many don’t want us around, so we must be nimble, mobile and undeterrable. Just like mosquitoes that everyone swats but misses. Huh, nice going Mr. Krauthammer. Good points, but you’re still a snobby, arrogant ass. I don’t think I’ll read his column again.

More on Iraq. Another article reminded me of something: “Under Security Council Resolution 1483, legal authority in Iraq is held not by the U.N. but by the occupying powers, the U.S. and Britain. As long as that is the case, nations like India, France, Russia and Germany won’t send in their troops.” No wonder! Help out, but your people are puppets in our hands while they’re here. We order them around, not you. And not the UN either. Damn! The article suggested that the UN do what it had in Sierra Leone: keep the peace in the peaceful areas surrounding the war torn place, like Kurdistan which always supported the war, and let outside independent forces crush rebellion elsewhere. This is to deal with the problem already there. Iraq needs its own leaders, which are in short supply, because America isn’t letting them breathe independent air. They do not identify America as their political master. Unless we want to be dictators in the middle of the Middle East, we have to cede Iraq to its own leaders, and whether it be a good or bad thing, it has to happen, or we will be reviled, our soldiers will rebel and forcibly run home, we will spend more money on taxes going to Iraq and Bush will get more flak than he might if he lets go and watches what happens. If he didn’t want the consequences, why did he go in?

And then Americans who abuse their own freedoms… the love for lawsuits and an egregious socialistic pursuit of companies who make money – the fast food companies – is a really disgusting American trend that is hardly replicated at such a scale anywhere else in the world. Where else would you sue and win because you spilled coffee on yourself and it was “hot”? Or spill your drunk and then slip on it, suing for negligence for not cleaning it up? Or suing the owner fo a dog that hurt you after you kept on poking it with sticks? Or getting locked in a house and getting “mentally anguished”, all while trying to rob that same house, and winning millions of dollars for it? I’m telling you, these jerkoffs who file frivolous lawsuits are really abusing freedoms that are hard to come by elsewhere, and they make me really mad. So back to the fast food stuff – Judge Sweet first threw out the case filed by fat teens against the fast food companies for not telling them food was fattening. He ruled that customers knew the dangers of eating Big Macs and supersize fries – but ridiculously, that he questioned whether customers understood the risks of eating McDonald’s chicken over regular chicken. This brings in a new lawsuit by the same fat willing-to-admit-they’re-that-stupid-so-they-can-get-lots-of-money-from-McDonald’s (and their lawyers, who were kin of the laywers who enjoyed stealing all of the settlement money from the tobacco I-didn’t-know-they-could-kill-you lawsuits). The lawsuit alleges deceptive advertising, failing to adequately disclose additives and processing methods that make its food less healthful. Other such lawsuits allege hyperactive marketing to children – these are SO retarded. OMG (i don’t use that much, but this requires it) HOW the HELL can our legal system work well with cases like these clogging up the system? Time mentions this: “Lawyers claim, for example, that some fast-food restaurants deliberately raise the temperature at which they cook their fries to increase the amount of fat absorbed.” This is because obesity is now seen as a societal problem, and your eating problems are the fault of all those advertisers and marketers who trick you into getting fat (as opposed to all the media asking you to be stick thin?? these dumbasses are pulling any excuse they can out of nothing!!). These lawsuits are “justified” by the fact that they cost the country more than $100 billion to combat – but what are we spending the money on? Tobacco – um, smoking patches for everyone? Obesity – fat camps? OK, fine, heart disease and heart attacks and such, but most of this money comes from taxes that we pay to have people take care of us when we need to. And yes, it’s a little unfair that sometimes we pay a little more and we don’t reap the benefits; people who have all the health problems do. But it’s your own fault if you’re fat, unfit, unhealthy and unloved. Not McDonald’s – yeah, they advertise to kids, but do they force you to walk in their doors? Next, the urban poor. Sue all the clothing companies, marketable good companies rather, the municipal and federal governments for allowing you to get poor by letting you pay taxes and buy all these pieces of crap that you don’t really need, and justify it because we pay for welfare in the billions of dollars. Give them a couple hundred million, take a lot of people out of the running, and everyone’s happy. No? Oh, I thought that would work. Oh, actually, it’s more money in the lawyer’s pocket, because he gambled on winning, and look, there’s only one winner. Him. There’s one lawyer loving this, and also all of his students. In the interests of the public, he is supporting and creating more cases against McDonald’s and related companies because they promote unhealthiness. John Banzhaf, legal activism prof at GW University – dumb bastard, he boasts about a 12 million dollar settlement with McDonald’s…”that was a bunch of legal students. think what a legal firm could do.” He also threatened lawsuits against Seattle school boards who were going to renew contracts with Coca-Cola if they went through with it. The school boards went through with it, against his threats – but that threat was just totally, morally wrong. He was promoting public safety but yet, he was threatening to pull money away from the public by embroiling school districts in his little grudge matches. Farther along in this Time article, they mention that a lot of people are heading toward this arena, fresh out of law school and wanting to create a career out of roasting these companies over a slow, hot fire. These guys try to hide out under the public protection and safety umbrella, but this member of the public doesn’t buy it. Get off your high horse and get your hand out of the till; we don’t need more fools burdening our already burdened legal system, with the highest concentration of criminals in the world.

Ugh, and suddenly there’s a movie about Jessica Lynch. While she did indeed suffer much trauma, I don’t think any movie could do her justice; I think it will just make her ashamed inside, when viewers will undoubtedly get a distorted view of her tragedy. And – since Iraq is hardly over – don’t you think it’s too early for one too? This is just getting ridiculous. The full story’s not even over and TV movies are getting railed out, over and over and over. I don’t watch TV movies any more (“The Story of…”) because they’re predictable, they’re horrible and they don’t tell the story as I think it did happen. Which says a lot about the other people watching these movies.

Characterization.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5th, 2003 by byronkho

Something came to me today that hasn’t hit in a while – a real need for characterization. It’s a little weird to say just like that, but let me describe. Most people we pass by are just that – people we pass by. They don’t need any description because you can usually tell what they are, though that’s usually a stereotype. Like the really bad ones about Asians in the science departments and Russians in the math department… of course, you know what I’m talking about, so I don’t need to clarify that. Or the overworked mom with 50 children in quadruple strollers, some of which are commandeered by Dad and the little one hanging and crying on Mommy’s pant leg and crying, her chocolate stained face screaming “I want Button, my button, play ON button!” Or the little old man who is forced to walk 10,000 miles from the bus stop to his post at Logan Hall. Well, fine, it’s not miles, but he’s old, tottering and unsure whether his heart is still ticking. Or the club princess, or the late twenties grad student trying to live the early twenties life and not quite making it, or the middle aged grunts working on the billion and a half construction projects all around campus, complaining over soggy lettuce on soggy rye bread with mayo and sardines that his wife can’t handle it any more and wants a divorce and i so need a beer, and remember that pistons game 3 months ago, why did they want to trade him, and damn my check came in under usual pay rates and my taxes were raised and my aunt’s getting hip surgery again and the plastic pool in back split and broke, and my house in south philly is still double mortgaged and ownership after i give up the ghost reverts not just to the bank but to the republican party, martha stewart and the devil. well, see what it is? it’s characterization – because sometimes their lives are worth remembering. Actually, they always are, but we choose to forget about that. I looked at a few people and wondered how they came about being at penn, and why they looked so sad, and what their interrelationships were with the various denizens of philadelphia that i see as i walk the streets every day… why does that guy in the suit shake hands with the smelly bum? why do none of his friends want to look at the bum, and why do we always call them the homeless rather than bum, or vagrant, or hobo? If I was in that situation, I wouldn’t mind being called any of those names, but homeless softens all the raw anger and desperation in the situation. Why does the bum settle for a friendly handshake in the morning and never asks that guy for any money, and why does he ask everyone else for money? And why does the nurse sitting under the trees by the emergency exit at HUP start crying some days, the tears washing away some of her mascara? And why does that sophomore, more mature than the ridiculously hopeful freshman suddenly lose all confidence that he or she built up in the past two years and want to run and hide, and lament the passing of the time-when-i-didn’t-have-to-decide-the-rest-of-my-life? I’m interested because I suddenly understood that there’s a story everywhere. Looking at it from a critical writer’s viewpoint and that of the watchful observer (rather like me watching TV, involved but not involved, ya know) opens up the world so much and then I feel that my pain is rather insignificant; that there is so much more pain and anger and raw human emotion in the million people that surround me than my feelings of frustration or maddening rage or loneliness or depression. I start feeling everybody’s pain and I stop for a second to let my soul catch up with me. Then for a while, I block it all out. Before I finally fall asleep, I’ll remember things and than it’ll all come back – the sadness or the happiness, whichever, and all of a sudden, there’s hope because tomorrow, tomorrow, well…. zzzzzz.

Ode to the Milk in the Fridge

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4th, 2003 by byronkho

The way the light shines
off your frothy surface,
I imagine it spiraling
its way into space,
Illuminating the means
by which you came around.
“She walks in beauty,
like the night,”
and porcelain fingers
curled about your handle,
does this emptiness realize
what it means to me?
Flowery strips, guarding
sheaves of wheat standing
Still and straight on
lazy days in June.