Monday, April 28, 2008

Song Il Guk - Carrying the Torch

I'm carrying a torch for Song Il Guk too. :) Look closely girls! You can see his wedding ring!

Olympic Torch Relay Completed Amid Protests

Sunday, April 27, 2008 20:29:46

The Olympic torch has completed the South Korean leg of its troubled worldwide relay amid isolated scuffles between pro-China and anti-China demonstrators.

Kim Jung-kil, chairman of the Korea Olympic Committee, got the relay off to a start on Sunday afternoon at Olympic Park in southeastern Seoul, the third in the capital's history. The relay began as Kim trotted through the World Peace Gate after a ceremony to mark the event. Around 80 runners carried the torch on a 24-kilometer course.

Eight-thousand police officers were mobilized backed up by helicopters, casting an extra-tight security net along the route of the relay.

Thousands of pro-Chinese demonstrators and hundreds of human rights activists who were protesting China's crackdown on pro-independence movement in Tibet briefly clashed near Olympic Park. But the two groups were separated by riot police.

The two sides shouted at earch other, throwing plastic bottles, wooden bars and rocks. A newspaper photographer was injured after being hit with a wooden bar and taken to a nearby hospital.

A North Korean defector was stopped by police while trying to disrupt the torch relay near Sincheon subway station at around three o'clock. Two members of a group working to improve the human rights situation in North Korea were apprehended in Yeoksam subway station in Gangnam while carrying thinner apparently to disrupt the torch relay.

Lit a month ago in Greece, the torch arrived in Seoul early Sunday. The torch will then be taken to North Korea for a relay in Pyongyang late Sunday night before going to China via Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau.

Reported by KBS WORLD Radio
Contact the KBS News:

Monday, April 21, 2008


I gave in and I felt shame.

For six years I was caffeine free. From 2001 to 2007, decaf coffee all the way. I was not encumbered by my cravings, no longer a slave to my addictions. I was free.

And like Prius drivers everywhere (not inclusive of, but a shout out to the brain tail nonetheless), I was pretty smug about it too.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with coffee these last odd 30. When I first started drinking it at the age of 12 (might have stunted my growth, but I’m a swarthy 5’2” and okay with it) I embellished my joe with 1.5 spoonfuls of sugar, and enough milk to give my beverage a caramel hue. One day, we ran out of milk (yeah, on a dairy farm. We didn't drink the stuff.) and I was forced to drink without its creamy goodness. I came to like my coffee that way and soldiered on without it. Not long after, I wondered what would happen if I ran out of sugar? (I thought these things at the age of 12, didn’t you?) How could I possibly drink my coffee? Panicked at the thought of no coffee, I determined to acclimatize myself to my morning java with no sugar. Not bad, not bad. So currently, and for almost ever, I have consumed my coffee “Black, no sugar”.

Coffee without caffeine? What’s the point you ask? Isn’t that like O’Douls? I had decided to try the Atkins diet in 2001 and was strongly encouraged to not consume caffeine. So 30 years after quitting on the milk, and having eschewed the sugar, I decided to see if I could manage life without caffeine.

Detox was an effing nightmare. I can now speak to what heroin addicts must experience without the itchy blood. Bring on the methadone. I remember getting up at 2am from my little cistern in hell, deciding I couldn’t bear the headache anymore and I started a pot of coffee. I stopped myself and after a week of headaches, severe fatigue and irritability, I was caffeine free. Can you hear little angels alleluiaing in harmony?

It was a delight to wake up each day and not need to have a cup to ward off headaches. Others painstakingly made their way to Starbucks to get their small, medium or large fixes (I still refuse to call anything venti or tall or whatever – its my method of rebellion. My daughter, who has espoused the language, views me with contempt).

It’s harder to live in a caffeinated world than you would think. If you went to a friend’s house for breakfast, you’d have to bring your own. Restaurant decaf tasted like hot water. Then came the marvelous iced coffee craze – outlets never added a decaf selection – you had to ask for it to be made specially. It would take longer for them to make and like asking for extra pickles on a whopper, I was certain they spit in it.

But aging takes its wretched toll; I’d wake up numerous times in the night, sleep patterns were interrupted and afternoons were spent trying to avoid and/or recover from my 3pm crash. Imperceptibly and in total denial, the masculine siren lured me back into his loving arms and on November 27th 2007, I surrendered and sank back into the dark.

The dark world of black no sugar.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Iron Man

Some run the Iron Man. Some are Iron Men.

I'm sorry I didn't post this before. I thought I already had.

HBO's Response to the Catholic League

I'm not angry that Maher called the Pope a Nazi. I'm angry because he flat out said that pedophelia was an integral part of the Catholic Church. Those are the comments for which Maher should apologize. My decision to cancel HBO stands, as does my commitment to pray for Maher. But in fairness, I have to post this, as I indicated in my letter that HBO remained silent.

They just didn't address the real issue.


Catholic League president Bill Donohue received a phone call today from an HBO executive regarding the league’s news release of April 14 on Bill Maher. Here is what Donohue had to say about it:

“On Monday morning, we issued a news release on Maher’s vicious attack on the pope and the Catholic Church that occurred the previous Friday night on his weekly show. Subsequently, many media outlets picked up on our release and pounded Maher for his bigotry. Investor’s Business Daily, Mike Gallagher, Steve Malzberg, Les Kinsolving of WorldNetDaily, Newsbusters, Newsmax, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cunningham, Cybercast News Service, Culture and Media Institute, Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani and others were justly outraged.

“Today, I spoke to an HBO official and he told me that Maher is expected to apologize tomorrow night for falsely accusing the pope of once being a Nazi. As I said on Monday, ‘Like all young men in Germany at the time, he [Joseph Ratzinger] was conscripted into a German Youth organization (from which he fled as soon as he could).’ I went on to say that ‘Every responsible Jewish leader has acknowledged this reality and has never sought to brand the pope a Nazi.’
“After researching this matter, HBO concurs with this assessment." Apparently, now Maher does as well. Ergo, the apology.

“Will the Catholic League accept Maher’s apology? Assuming it comes across as genuine, the answer is yes. But I hasten to add that what we would really like to see is for Maher to stop with his hateful diatribes against the Catholic Church. So this is a start, but it hardly puts to rest our concerns. After all, there are plenty of factually accurate things Maher could say about other groups that would insult its members, but he chooses not to go there. Perhaps he can add Catholics and the Catholic Church to that protected list as well.”

Cancelling HBO

I’m really Catholic. Seriously Catholic. A Legion of Mary attendin’, Altar Rosary Society participatin’, Parish Pastoral Council chairin’, Lectorin’, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist-in’, CCD teachin’, John Paul II lovin’, Communion receivin’, rosary sayin’ confession goin’ Catholic.

I am not an in-your-face Catholic, but it’s a huge part of my life, it always has been and I’m not afraid or ashamed to discuss and defend. For the most part, people are respectful, as I am with them. I get asked a lot of questions and sometimes I am challenged pretty directly. I’m starting to understand too that that level of faith is a gift, it’s not a decision. A person can choose to keep the gift or exchange it for something else.

The Catholic Church makes some people angry; I get that. Kind of like the Jews made Hitler angry. I get that too. Absolute truth makes people very uncomfortable and they put a lot of effort in defining shades of gray. In my experience, the ones who don’t like to think about the domino effect of their actions are the ones who get pissed off the most.

Bill Maher insulted the Pope on his HBO program recently. So what’s new. I’m not going to repeat the crap he said, I’m just going to repeat the letter I wrote to HBO cancelling my subscription.

Thank you for the direction in your advertisement about taking control of my television:

"Cable Puts You In Control Take control of your TV. It's easy."

HBO Executives:

Bill Maher's comments regarding the Catholic Church and the Pope were offensive and cowardly. HBO's decision not to apologize for his remarks is equally as offensive. I imagine the legal department would have censored him if his remarks were directed toward Jews or Muslims.

I am cancelling my subscription to HBO through Comcast and will encourage friends and family to do the same.

Wow! You were right! That WAS easy! Thanks HBO! And God Bless Bill Maher; let him know I will pray for his filthy soul. With any luck, that'll annoy him. Quite frankly, I hope that really pisses him off.

"Cable Puts You In Control Take control of your TV. It's easy. Parents should decide what TV content is appropriate for their family. The cable industry understands that parents need the right tools to help protect children from content that may be inappropriate. And we recognize that while most cable customers already have the tools to block unwanted TV content, many people don't know how to use them."

Oh, I know how to use them. And I am. Take care.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ginned Up Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

Erin - just listen to it. Juuuuuust shut up and listen to it.

No, I know! It is NOT possible improve on Stayin' Alive! As music goes, the song is as iconic as the Black Madonna.

Well, no. I can't really say that. That's just wrong. Our Lady of Czestochowa will accept my abject apologies. But this version kicks a.... see, I can't even swear now because I've invoked Our Lady.

Anyway this version of Stayin' Alive is awesome - it's the (Teddy Bears Remix) by the Bee Gees. I can understand the words!!

So all of my friends who have the Bee Gees on their ipods out of deference to me, their "Jive Talkin'" or the original version of "Stayin' Alive" can just go download this kickin' version too. Someone on imeem remarked "Hot lava. It's time to get someone pregnant."


Ginned Up Bee Gees - How Deep is Your Love

When Guest Blogger (who? who is that even? does she even exist?) gave me "The Bee Gees Greatest Hits" for Christmas, I was delighted. Mind you, I think I have owned that album, cassette tape and CD probably 4 or 5 times in various applications throughout the years. Many moves and playing the songs until you wear them out lose the hardware.

This iteration has some seriously awesome remixes on the second CD. At first, being the Bee Gees purist I am, I was offended and horrified. You can't improve on the Bee Gees. It is high blasphemy to do so.

I was wrong.

"How Deep is Your Love" is one of my favorites; it's a beautiful song and the original is ethereal. The remix has a salsa-y, dance floor feel. I love the bongos and the grand piano; I can close my eyes and see a tropical getaway, me and Mr. Obscenely Wealthy are in our dinner attire on the dance floor, our palms touching, drinking each other with our eyes, a scented breeze wafts in, we are in perfect step, in perfect union, cha cha chaaaaaa.

Hmmmm. Might be the tequila. Darn good remix though - How Deep Is Your Love [Supreme Beings Of Leisure 2007 Remix].

Black Day

See, I think this is fun. Today in South Korea, “Black Day” is being (or has been) celebrated.

South Korea's Black Day for love
By Jon Herskovitz Mon Apr 14, 3:18 AM ET

SEOUL (Reuters) - It was a Black Day for love in South Korea on Monday with lonely hearts trying to ease their pain by diving head first into bowls of noodles.

South Korea celebrates Valentine's Day, where local custom dictates women give gifts to men. It has taken on a popular event born in Japan but sweeping Asia known as White Day on March 14 when men return the favour with gifts for women.

But Black Day, on April 14, is a South Korean original. It is marked by people who have not found love dressing in dark colours and commiserating over meals of black food, with the dish of choice being Chinese-style noodles topped with a thick sauce of black bean paste.

OK, this is cool. Those of us who endured Valentine’s Day and all the attendant and annoying flowers and roses and CRAP get a day for us. We singles – some may be mourning our singleness, some may be enjoying it…but we should get a day too and the South Koreans have provided it to us. Of course, I say, of course.

I’ve never had jajangmyeon (black bean paste noodles), though I could probably find some in DC if I wanted to. I am wearing a black sweater today! I might go get some thai food tonight! And have it served to me by my little Vietnamese buddy! That close enough? Probably not. But I am single. And I will be hanging out alone. While I do my taxes tonight. How apropos that Black Day falls just before I have to file my income tax.
Eh. Huzzah anyway! Happy Black Day!

Friday, April 11, 2008


I. Am. So. Tie Tie.

That’s how my daughter used to say she was tired when she was a baby. In the manner of billions of parents the world over who repeat the cute things their kids babble; my family and I still say that when feeling markedly sluggish.

No idea why I’m so tired...well my sleep patterns have been interrupted this week. I was still exhausted Monday after driving home from NY on Sunday. And then one horrific night in particular occurred Wednesday, after having consumed caffeine-laden soda after 9pm. That was mistake #1. Wide awake, I stayed up watching television, deleting shows on my dvr. At 11:30 pm, since I was still unable to nod off, I finally decided to engage my bedtime ritual and read until I fell asleep. That was mistake #2. I was this close to finishing Stephen King’s Duma Key and was at a critical juncture; the last 100 and creepiest pages of the book. No way was I going to fall asleep until I finished.

But damn it, it was a work night, and at 2:30 am the effing book wouldn’t effing end, so I closed it, shut off the light and was determined to get three hours of sleep anyway. Huzzah! Success!

No, that was mistake #3. Not that it was foreseeable, but I had a highly disturbing nightmare. Once I realized I was inside a dream I forced myself to wake up from it…and it was all of 3:00 am. Thirty solid minutes of disturbed sleep. For what it’s worth, the dream left a gruesome feeling in its wake that I’m still, two days later, having difficulty shaking. I might have been able to let go of it if I didn’t learn that Guest Blogger (who? Who is that even?) had a dream that included some similar elements on the same night. I’m still creeped out.

After that, the night was pretty much a bust. Mistake #4; I dozed a few minutes each half hour after that, but I kept waking up to check the clock.

It used to be that I could manage a sleepless night and still run on fumes the next day without any ill effects. I could juggle a job, young children and a lusty marital bed; sleep wasn’t too big a deal. Now, it takes me several days to recover if I don’t get enough shut eye.

Just another sign of aging. Nearer my God to thee.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jerk Encounter at Wegmans

I went to New York this last Saturday to tend to some business. Since my son’s birthday is on the 18th, I planned on putting together a box of “stuff” for him. “Stuff” included an array of things that a 22 year old man would appreciate, sans condoms. He can spend his own money on condoms of he wants to go to hell, I'm not going to grease the spokes for to speak.

Anway, Saturday morning, my daughter and I got up early so I could go to Wegmans and buy additional stuff. She and I had great fun picking stuff out and being silly. One of the more expensive items was a bottle of port to go with the cigars that were procured from a generous benefactor. One of the reasons I love Virginia – you can buy alcohol in a grocery store at 7:30 am.

We made a stop at the bulk section, picked up some gummi bears, pistachios et al. I didn't realize that there were tags to put on the bags to make it easier to run stuff through the register.

My Bad. My Very Bad apparently.

In line. Young Mr. Checkout Man WhoSeemedToHaveSocialization Issues was struggling to find the items in his magic book of codes. Man behind me says, "You know, they have tags that you can just place on the bags so you can swipe them through more easily," I thought he was being informational and I appreciated this until he continued, "It makes it go a lot faster for you AND THE PERSON BEHIND YOU TO GET THROUGH THE LINE MORE QUICKLY." His tanned leathery face got particularly ugly as he towered over me in his attempt to express his displeasure at being held up. At 8:30 am. On a Saturday.

@sshole. I gave him an "Are you kidding me” face and said, "Sorry." in my youareaf*cktard voice and turned away. Eight years ago, his attempt at intimidation would have withered me. This day, I was smooth as glass.

After I had paid and was waiting for my tape to print, Butthole pushed his cart up almost touching me. Interpreting the language of @sshole, (having raised two teenage boys, I am fluent), he was clearly alerting me to the fact that it was time for me to move on. I am little if not passive aggressive, so I stayed where I was until I had taken the register tape, carefully put my card back in my wallet and slowly thanked Mr. Checkout, telling him sweetly to have a good day.
My daughter wanted to die. Methods of snappier retorts occurred to me much later, which I still hope to eventually employ. Like, “Pick another lane you f*cking retard.” Sadly, I'm just not quick enough.

Later on in the day, I found myself irritated with a woman at the gas pumps. I suck as a human being.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Breathe. Breathe. I’m trying not to panic. The AZN network has been the one that carried my Korean Drama. Emperor of the Sea, Jumong, Coffee Prince, Hwang Jini, Thank You, My Name is Kim Sam Soon, Jang Hyuk, Song Il Guk, Kim Sun Ah, Hyun Bin.

Think. Think. I have already researched plan B. Another cable carrier that includes some Korean shows. I just need to price Plan B out. Or I could go to Plan C - go out and buy all the Korean Drama I can find. I’m stinkin’ with severance right now. Plan D – give up Korean Drama altogether, go back to watching Lost. HA! Plan E; go out more, find an ajussi, I mean, a gentleman friend, maybe see a movie or two. Maybe it should be a combination of a few plans.

And I should be less selfish; aren’t all those people that work for AZN being displaced? I know what that feels like.
I hope they are OK.


I keep a secret journal. I have mentioned this before, I think. I talk a lot and I write a lot but I need a place, a room, where I can write candidly about my pain and disappointments. My dreams and their interpretation. I can be silly and uncertain. Bold and still completely unsure of myself. It’s a diary but a grown up one. For the last five years I’ve gone to that little room with that little book and I’ve been able to say anything I wanted without fear of reprisal or rejection.

The beauty of that place is that it’s honest. It’s bare. It’s raw. It’s real. I don’t have to weigh each word I type. I just let fly. Grammar be damned. There is no manufactured anything in that place. It’s stupid, it’s vulnerable, it’s open. It’s password protected. I’ve poured a lot of tears into those pages, but I’ve poured a lot of hopes too. There’s more uncertainty in there than definition, but that’s a function of me when I need to process something. When I’m feeling good, I don’t need to articulate that. Isn’t that funny?

The magic of having a room like that is that it helps. Putting my inconsistencies and hurt on to a digital piece of paper; the physical act of the movement of my fingers, the turning of my mind and the stirring of my heart acts as a balm.

When I glance over those 44+ pages of Arial font size 10, I see a progression. I see that I was able to live through years of loneliness and disappointment and frustration. I did not die when I wanted to dig my guts out by hand to make the pain stop. I’ve hated. But I’ve forgiven. I’ve cried. But I healed. I despaired. But I was loved and lifted out of it.

I hope everyone has a place they can go to like that. Maybe it’s someone that they can confide in with complete trust. Maybe it’s a pillow in their room that they scream into. Maybe it’s their car on the commute to and from work.

I still have disappointments, and I’m still working through them in the same way. And I’m still ok. And I’m still loved and being lifted up.

Red Winged Black Birds

I haven’t written anything in a while and I’m feeling guilty about that, so I’m going to write. It might be crap, but write I must! Yes, dammit, I must!

I woke up this morning to one of my top ten favorite sounds in the world. Birds trilling their wake up songs. It starts with one early riser. I’m guessing that 95% of the remaining birdy population hears him and thinks, “Ohhh kaaaayyy. Time to get up.” 2% think, “Sh*t! He beat me again! Connie, I told you to wake me up!” And the remaining 3% of the birds think, “F*ck. Can’t someone shut that little f*ck up?”

There are lots of cardinals where I live, and that makes me happy; they make me think of my Dad. Last month was the earnest honking of geese as they made their way back up north; they remind me of my Gramma.

I was in New York this weekend and heard one that I miss; the red winged black bird. They make such a sharp impatient sound. I was told once that they are the true harbingers of spring (thank you Dona) and I’m reminded of childhood springs in upstate New York - nothing had quite warmed up yet; dirty piles of snow defying the sun’s attempts, the cold smell of mud, the bite in the air. But no matter what snow fell at that point, you knew it was sort of a pointless exercise, one didn’t even need to wear a coat. Daffodils were right around the corner, the brown grass would turn green any day.

But I’m in Virginia now. It’s been green for weeks, there are daffodils everywhere; cherry blossoms too. I just don’t hear that many red winged black birds. I miss them. I miss New York.

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