Thursday, September 11, 2003

September 11

Brainy Smurf doesn't want to get into the whole commemoration thing:

I will not commemorate the second and parchly meaningless second anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It is meaningless because the first anniversary was a regurgitation, the second is a chore, and I feel that only with the third will we get some idea on how it's supposed to be passed. For now we are stuck with watching magazines and print copies turn their wheels with steely phrases to capture what they think has happened in these years, while those who actually lost someone close will rightly vigil, but the rest of us just groans. Instead of doing that, I will do nothing, mostly because I do not not know what could or can be done.

(I'm not sure what "parchly" means, but I'll look it up.)

Winds of Change, on the other hand, goes all-out and provides us with every damn link to every damn 9/11-related item out there. Also, check out their 9/11 edition of Winds of War. A bit further down is a very interesting essay on feminists and Islam.

Kevin at IA gives us some "light blogging," but links to an interesting article on alternative approaches to NK. The scenario-- pushing for regime change-- has actually been kicked around on blogs and in the journalsphere, but is worth contemplating. One lingering question, though, is what to do with a liberated-but-deeply-brainwashed populace.

Da Marmot-- keepin' it real.

Da Vulture-- lo mismo.

Anticipatory Retaliation, whom I read daily but never seem to link to (I've done it, but it's been rare... I should do it more often), writes simply and touchingly. I imagine a lot of people are in his boat.

Satan's Anus opts for a light-blogging day as well.

Andrew Sullivan writes on the case for anger and waging war.

Steven Den Beste writes on Hamas (and the silly claim that it's been restraining itself thus far), the logistics of bombing, weapons and their delivery systems, and why Hamas has put itself in an awkward position with "no ability to escalate as a means of deterrence." A morbidly fascinating essay.

The Chief Wiggles blog offers its own 9/11 meditation.

The good news is: sexuality blossoms in Iraq. Sort of. (via Drudge)

ArnoldWatch 1: Great news! Major symbolic Democratic backing for Arnold!

ArnoldWatch 2: Not-so-great news! That asswipe McClintock is going to keep Arnold from crushing Bustamante between his viselike buttocks!

I've been to Stockholm. Thought it was a great place, and would love to visit again. But apparently, if you're the foreign minister, you're shit outta luck.

ABC News manages to send depleted uranium through US Customs-- for the second time! Egads. And Homeland Security gets mad and responds by... investigating ABC! Gentlemen, get your heads out of your asses and work on security. ABC (and Peter Jennings in particular) may be annoying, but they're doing us a service when they point shit like this out.

Bill Whittle gives us a short essay titled "Happy Anniversary." I was wondering whether he was going to write anything, given his usual tendency to craft encyclopedic posts that put my long posts to shame. His essay is very to-the-point: there have been plenty of successes in the war on terror.

And at what cost? Did jackbooted storm troopers descend in the night from black helicopters to take away those voicing dissent? Or do the most vile and baseless accusations fly hither and yon, blown ever larger by a terrified and complicit media elite? Did hundreds of thousands of Muslims have their businesses torched, their families terrorized and beaten, the rest hauled off to concentration camps, or are you far safer, both physically and emotionally, as a Muslim in the US then you would be in any middle eastern country-- safer and less harassed, without question, than Jews are in France today? Have we given up our liberty and lifestyle for this perfect record, or do we still go to football games and shopping malls and fly, more or less, the way we used to?

Yes, French (or more broadly, European) antisemitism rankles me. Anyway, give Whittle a gander.

Merde in France won't bother with the French today, but points us to The Dissident Frogman, where you will see a simple graphic and a very humbling list of names that right at this moment has left me with a tight throat.

Quayle or Bust used to be a choice. Not anymore.

This article goes over why NK has become China's bete noire, but don't be fooled: it's mainly just recapping issues that have been kicked around for months. Still, it's good one-stop shopping for the summary-minded.

Proof that Koreans will never subscribe to the samurai ethic: publicly stabbing oneself in the chest!? Let me write this guy's death haiku:

knife is in my hand--
shall I slash my jugular?
why make this easy?

This is also proof that some people just can't kick back and enjoy Cancun.

Over at Amritas, we see 9-1-1 written out in Chinese characters, and a very interesting essay (as always) by the good professor, Dr. Miyake.

I mentioned some pre-Ch'useok disappointment at my inability to churn out some brushwork for my relatives. Guess what? With a bit of cheating, I was able to do a halfway decent Bodhidharma drawing this morning, with Dalma-daesa (Bodhidharma's name and title in Sino-Korean) and Bul-shim (Buddha-mind) neatly placed on the page, no mistakes. My relatives were impressed, albeit in a pat-the-retard-on-the-head kind of way. In fact, I'd brought along my calligraphy kit in the hopes that someone in the older generation might grab the brush and show me the right way to do this stuff.

As it turns out, none of the older folks has formal training in brushwork, but they all caught on instantly and wrote beautiful calligraphy. After our morning ceremony (bowing to the ancestors, etc.) and a huge midmorning meal, we settled down to watch TV and write Chinese characters. That was probably the most fun I'd had with my relatives in a while, and almost everybody (except the ladies, who were being modest) had a crack at the brush. One cousin even took a stab at drawing bamboo. Did a good job, too, for a first-timer.

Oh, yes-- how did I cheat? you ask. Well, I'm no good at holding the brush properly (and I'm left-handed), so I adopted my usual, left-handed, "choking the pen" position, which allowed me a hell of a lot more control over what I was doing. I don't want to get into the habit of doing this, because when I start formal classes in seo-yae (calligraphy), I'll just have to unlearn the habit, and that's a waste of time. I think I may be getting more sensitive, though, to the very specific demands of ink, brush, and paper. One key point is patience. Writing a character doesn't have to involve sudden, violent movements, or a lot of twitching. The masters can get away with this because they've got the basics down, but as the Maximum Leader himself reminded me privately, you crawl before you walk.

Fast forward to dinnertime. I've been home a few hours. My upstairs neighbors dropped off a huge amount of fruit and ddok and batter-fried goodies from their own Ch'useok celebration (they're Buddhist; I heard a ton of chanting and some drums around 7AM). I'm set for the next couple days. I have so many apples that I wish I had an oven: an apple pie would be nice right about now (damn, I miss those). All I have is a small gas range that takes cartridges. This makes home life a lot like camping. I might be able to find some camping recipes online to create a cobbler. But hey, if you've got a camp-style "pie" recipe on hand, I've got a gas range, apples, sugar (no cinnamon, but I could find some), butter, and a non-stick frying pan (no lid). Guess I need flour, eh? Write in if you think you can talk me through a pie.

I'll side with Whittle and say "Happy Anniversary," America. He's doing a very Korean thing, looking on the bright side. Koreans may have plenty of faults (religiously documented on these Koreablogs for your pleasure), but they also know: Bul-haeng joong, da-haeng. As Peter O'Toole said in "The Last Emperor" while teaching Pu-yi how to ride a bicycle: "Head up, shoulders back-- as in life!" There's nothing wrong with keeping a sense of dignity in all we do.

A word to my family, whom I spoke with in the morning (while it was still Wednesday in DC): it was great talking to you, and good to catch up. Thanks for everything, Happy Ch'useok, and all my love. See you in late November.

All my love to my goddaughter as well; yesterday (the 10th) was her birthday, but she's being a trouper and waiting to celebrate later in the month. Enjoy first grade, Rachael! Hugs and kisses.

Pax to you all.

The power of Christ compels you.

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