Saturday, April 05, 2003

Big drag...

Sometimes present Miel reads what past Miel wrote and says: "Girl, you're kind of a big drag."

I start out trying to make a charming little point and then start whining about mass deaths and stuff.

War: Such a big bummer. I'm bummin' out your world.

And that's not fair 'cause I know you are probably watching lots of TV and it's all around us. A big ol' bummer of bombs and bloodshed.

So...Here are some links....For all the Cali people and others who want to think positive during times of crisis...and gruesome slaughter...Tryin' not to bring you down, man!

This is kind of fun...aliens take over world say "all your base belong to us"...unclear if the creator of the anime thing isn't fluent but it's believable because why assume aliens are fluent?

From Christian Finnegan

Disturbing auctions

Little. Yellow. Different. Deadly.

This will remind you of bad stuff but not too much!

Now you know where I stole my identity (the official green lady website). Please don't sue me green lady! You are the real green lady and I'm a mere pretender to the throne.

Find out what I got on the time management quiz!

Here's one of those websites that probably explains my low score...

And this bizarrely addicting game...
from Spunky the Monkey

Finally...we get a real live time traveler and they fail to find out the future. Is our government stupid or what?

Friday, April 04, 2003

Uh...just I was starting to love everyone

I wrote this thing about how I was starting to love everyone (one of those many things I write--I don't post most of the things I write--You can thank your lucky stars for that if you happen to read this thing.) Oh, God. I'll probably post this crap sometime when I get desperate for something to say. (Usually, I have too much to say but occasionally the fountain of bla bla runs dry.)

Salon article complains that we are not protesting the evil Saddam. Need I say I am 'against' Saddam Hussein...?

Saddam Hussein! I spit on you! I despise you! I hate your guts! I double hate your guts! You are uglier than a monkey and more repulsive than a hottub full of naked Republican congressmen!

OK? I really mean this. Saddam Hussein kills parents in front of their children. He employs widespread torture. He kills thousands with impunity. I can't imagine anyone worse than this bastard. George Bush is the world's cutest kitty compared to Saddam Hussein.

However, I must admit that Saddam's blog "Saddam's Cyber Palace" is very amusing. Latest entry:

So they've captured the airport. Big deal. I hate that place. The damn economy parking lots are almost all the way over in Egypt... Literally!!! Then you have to catch one of those open air cargo trucks packed with refugees and all their personal belongings just to get to the terminal building. Whoever designed that place should be shot. Or did I already do that?
And don't EVEN get me started on the airport cops! They are all a bunch of pricks. I remember one time I left my tank parked unattended in the white zone, and they towed it!! I wasn't inside even a minute!!
I tried explaining to the officer that I had just dropped off my cousin, Chemical Ali, who was catching a flight to North Korea on an important sales trip. But he accidentally left his nerve gas samples in the trunk, and I needed to catch up to him before he got on the plane. Sounded perfectly reasonable to me!
But the cop didn't want to hear it. Instead he handed me a ticket for 75,000,000 dinars and then had the audacity to tell me to have a nice day!!!

This person complains that I am not out in the streets in support of the Iranian student movement. Gee, what's wrong with me? Why don't I protest the injustices caused by other governments? Hey! Why am I not out in front of the White House with a sign saying 'Democracy In China! Now!'

Well, let's see now--could it be that this would be utterly, laughably futile? Could it be that I am in fact supposed to have some democratic 'voice' in my own lovely democracy but in fact my own country already opposes the government of Iran? I can just see the mullahs now! "Wow, Americans have come out by the millions to protest the evils of the Iranian government! They oppose our regime! Maybe we better rethink our policies! This changes everything....."

Actually, come to think of it some Chinese friends of mine who fled China after Tienemen and were in the student movement are protesting the war against Iraq as well. How 'bout that?!

The rest of my immigrant friends are not citizens and are way too scared to speak out politically for fear of being deported.

Can I say again that not only does the human rights record of Saddam Hussein horrify me but I want to weep with rage when I recall that the U.S. government was his gleeful ally for many years.

According to a reputable book:

"There are growing calls in the United States, encouraged by the government, to set up a war crimes tribunal and brand Hussein a war criminal. The Halabja gas attack, and its aftermath, are crucial in the case.

There is one fly in the ointment, however. In 1990, against all the evidence, the U.S. Defense Department alleged that Iran was also responsible for the chemical attack on Halabja. An internal Pentagon study assembled what it claimed was "conclusive intelligence" that Iran was complicit in one of the worst civilian massacres in the Iran-Iraq War. This report, leaked to The Washington Post, is being used by Iraqi officials to divert the blame."

Saddam: BAD. Let me say it again. Saddam: EVIL...Saddam: Worst dictator around right now (with the possible exception of Kim Jong Il.) I am against Saddam. Saddam: 10,000X worse than George Bush.

Me, Miel...leftist girl...let me say it: I want democracy everywhere. Democracy good. Political tyranny bad, very bad.

It reminds me of this thing my friend said his brother said to him "Why are you worried about the Iraqi civilians now? Why didn't you care about them before when Saddam Hussein was harming them?"

First of all, many people currently protesting were also opposed to the sanctions. Second, it is possible that huge numbers of Iraqi civilians are about die (I pray to God they don't) because of the attack by the United States--the country we all live in.

It's a terrible problem: An horrific regime v. a devastating war. Neither is desirable but a devastating war--particularly this devastating war, and the way it is being executed--simply seems worse. And it could end up being a lot worse--and not merely because of all the people who will be dead and never see the benefits of 'freedom.' What if it leads to widespread civil war? What if it simply leads to another horrible dictatorship? Are we now assuming that Iraq is going to turn into Switzerland?

OK, if Iraq become Switzerland and all Iraqis agree that this whole thing was a great idea I will realize I was horribly, horribly wrong.

If it happens like this can I make you kiss a picture of...oh, Gandhi or someone?

I will come back and say: I was horribly wrong! Mea culpa, mea culpa. I will put a picture of George Bush up in my living room and kiss it every day for a year.

(Again, this will also be way stupid...but I'll do it. Can I wait about 15 years to see what happens in the long term though? If a whole bunch of people in the U.S. get killed in retaliatory attacks do I get to avoid the 'mea culpa' thing?)

Why don't people protest the horrific regime in Iraq instead?

All I can say is: Duh. How idiotic would that be to go around my own country with signs protesting a regime that is utterly unconcerned with the opinion of anyone? Do you know what 'tyranny' means? It means: We don't care what you think!

I'm trying to figure out if this question can even be meant seriously.

OK, ya happy now? Can I get back to worrying about what the U.S. government does even though I have about as much chance of influencing the choices of this government as I do the choices of the government in Bejing?

Let me have my dreams...Thanks.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Some dreams are too obvious...

I'll try not to go into too much detail. I know how irritating it can be to hear someone else's dreams.

Why post your boring dream Miel? I guess I thought--why do I do this writing when lately I am merely writing for an imaginary censor?-Rather than a forum for my hidden 'inner self' under cloak of anonymity the faux sociality of the internet causes me to behave much as I do in everyday life: I am very adept at presenting an appealing mood and unthreatening outlook in social situations. (This is probably why I love to be alone so much--so much easier. But it is also why people always invite me to their parties.) I cannot think of anything but the war and the people dying and the people who will die but I find myself pretending to be happy and normal. What is happening right now is a nightmare. Human beings are going to be slaughtered. Good God can someone make this stop? Now? In fact I pray right now to God to stop this slaughter.

My ability to fake cheerfulness has been of great advantage. I don't know what it is like in other countries but in the United States the motto is: "Happy faces everyone! Happy faces!" It's socially and professionally dangerous to deviate too much. It's such an effort to pretend to act normally at work lately that I'm doing it in my off hours as well. But what the hell could you out there do to me when I reveal that I am freaking out? Nothin.' Maybe we all are? Hard to say.

In other words: Here's my boring dream but don't complain because what I write to myself and don't post is even less entertaining.

In the dream, I was in Baghdad. A nice neighborhood. I was there with my whole family. We went grocery shopping. There was plenty of food and so on. In dreams there sometimes comes a part where you want to make sense of the dream but I couldn't figure out what the hell we were doing in Baghdad. All I knew was we had to go shopping before the bombs hit but there were certain purchases we had to make. We ran around like mad as they were closing the store. A little Iraqi girl helped us sneak out with our groceries. We bought them but did not know how to leave.

We went back to our suburban neighborhood. We lived in a strange type of American-style suburban house that I've never lived in but seen once or twice. Multi-level and an open center with plush carpeting and non-enclosed stairs. One of those attached garages with an automatic door. Some Iraqi neighbors came over to warn us that the bombing would start but because we lived in a neighborhood with a lot of Americans in it we might not get hit. We were afraid anyway. We heard the bombs fall and ran downstairs to the basement. Everything rattled and cracked and we did not know how close things were to us or whether they had hit nearby.

When the all clear whistle blew we went upstairs. A water main had broken and the street was filled with small boats. Some suburban American and British women floated by. They'd been looting and had some looted items for sale. It was odd--very 1950's women with dresses and tight hairdos but also looters. Gold forks, knives and spoons. But most of it was sad, tragic detrius of poverty. Crystal salt and pepper shakers with worn-away silver tops, mismatched plates, broken radios.

I swore at them for their looting. I said I wouldn't give them a cent. Then I was afraid of retaliation for my rudeness and honesty. I apologized. I also saw something I liked. It was a set of 1950's plastic dice in a case. Inside the case were also postcards of the middle east from the 1950s. I asked how much the case was. The woman said I could have the postcards for free, the dice were $5. I was actually somewhat pleased with my purchase.

The rest of it is kind of blurry. Somehow we came under attack by American planes because they knew something about my family--we were traitors. I huddled with my family in fear. The Iraqi police came to arrest us but they spoke perfect English. Then I woke up.

I won't bother to explain what this dream means--it is too obvious. I think that my dreams are vivid because Baghdad looks like the city in New Mexico where I lived as a child. The pictures of Baghdad remind me of cities in the Southwest and Southern California I lived in as a child. Even the mosque because we lived near a mosque and it fascinated me. I remember being happy as a teenager when I discovered the middle-eastern section of town because the food in local cafes and the white minaret allowed me to imagine being someplace else, someplace older, mysterious, more beautiful.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

We Come In Peace...

On the BBC World Service Saddam Hussein's speeches sound like the speech of the alien leader when they are translated in the movie 'Mars Attacks'.

The speeches are more than a little disjointed but this might be some kind of poetic repetition? After all, our president says things that make virtually no sense at all.

The Pentagon keeps asking 'Where's Saddam?' Pretty soon they are going to demand that he hold up a newspaper with today's date on it.

Ari says: "The ways that you would know (if he's alive) is if you would see him in a live broadcast,'' said Ari Fleischer, spokesman for President Bush. ``If he was live or he showed something contemporaneous, he would speak about an event that just took place that day or the night before, then you might have information that he is alive."

``We have not seen that. ... The proof that he would be dead would be if you saw a body.''

I assume not just any body. Or not even a body with a mustache and a slightly jowly chin. We know there are plenty of those bodies to go around. A proof problem is going to raise its head at some point in the future, mark my words. But I'm pretty sure that if we don't hear from him in...oh, 20 or 30 years...well, that could be proof. Of a kind.

I suppose I'm putting all this in because I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Yes, I do. I'm pretty sure that crying is the only thing appropriate at this time but when you cry, you cry alone (or should, I suppose).

What is the character: 'Le flambeur irascible'?

What the hell are these people talking about? It sounds scary.

"We know that they're an advanced civilization that suggests very rightfully so, that they're peaceful..."

The War of the Worlds but in reverse

The prophetic nature of "Mars Attacks"? The script is strangely prophetic...OK, it's just that the martians use guerilla warfare. There are a few other things. Read it and see.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Death: I'm Against It, Alright?

Please don't rattle my china about this one. Real death is bad. The idea of death, however, is very useful to me as I live my life.

This blog has made it clear to me that I seem to have two main obsessions: Evil and Death. Honestly though, I'm an upbeat person. Truly, I am. I laugh regularly. Which reminds me that we'd have a lot fewer jokes if no one died.

There's a structural role that death plays in my life. Death lends a magic, a tragedy, an end to things. My own death that is. I dread the death of others and passively crave my own death.

I do admit that the thought I can' t stand is not non-existence but separation from those I love. That for me is the downside. So I must admit I'm very ambivalent about the whole thing.

I find it amazing that everyone is not thinking about death all the time and yet I think talking about death aloud in mixed company would bring a very ominous and terrified silence.

Of course, not with my friends. My friends always say "oh, Miel! You're so funny!" Somehow I've managed to convince them that what is probably a set of deep and horrible neuroses is actually a set of whimsical and amusing quirks.

Quick anti-therapy rant:One of the many reasons I can't stand therapy and think it's so utterly ridiculous (for me, at least) is that musing about the advantages of dying would greatly alarm any therapist--The idea of entertaining a thought about the terrible and seeing it through to the end is not something most therapists can let pass as simple mental entertainment...or an imaginative exercise.

Example: Suppose you mentioned to a therapist that you consider in your spare time ways to perform the perfect murder. The imaginative, the whimsical--anything in fact is supposed to be relevant to anything other than the fact that you are imaginative, whimsical and enjoy reading Edgar Allen Poe. All the things that make human life complex and challenging in fact are mere objects to be cured in therapy's dull and insipid world.)

But I digress. My idea was simply to lay out the interesting uses of the thought of one's own death. I've never been able to accept the idea of the death of others but I'd be lost without the thought of my own death to structure my life and to provide a certain level of complex entertainment to the daily grind.

Here are some examples of the narrative usefulness of the idea of one's own death...

(1) Getting out of things: This applies to premature death only and doesn't seem to work for those who die when relatively elderly. If you die before 50, especially (although this could work all the way up into your 80's): You get out of things. Your student loans are forgiven; Failure doesn't mean all that much--Who's to say what you might have done had you remained alive? Major projects can be forgotten or lauded only for their potential. Your faults are excused, your good qualities extolled.

(2) Tragedy and Meaning: The idea of a tragic death can make your life more meaningful. It allows you to realize the fragility, the value of the transient moment. Depending on how you die (heroically? in a nationwide tragedy?) it can make an ordinary life significant. Thinking about your death can show you how certain things matter--and show you how nothing actually matters. Don't ask me to explain this. I'm tired and had a long day.

(3) Enjoyment of the present--Suppose you are having one of those GREAT days...those one of a kind moments...Then you realize that you are conscious and your consciousness is fleeting and nothing can ever reproduce your particular version of consciousness. And that when you die you will cease to be conscious and this moment which you are experiencing will lose its last vivid record (or at least from your angle). Now, doesn't that make your day at the park so much more fun?

(4) Cheating/escaping death--My analogy of course is with parking tickets. (Here again, I remember my own idiosyncrasies and realize that other people do not use illegal parking the way I do). I park illegally by necessity but the thrill is when I can escape the parking tickets. Getting out of something makes even the most mundane activities more thrilling. So the idea of cheating death--the moment you almost died but are still alive will only lend vividness to the rest of your week (at least--you hope it will last longer but it is hard to say).

I'm not making light of the fact that people are having their lives unjustly ended right now in Iraq. The way you die matters--No one should be killed. (OK, I realize death might not be such a great topic for this week. But I suppose there is no point is succumbing to self-censorship and being polite when so much horror is going on around us.)

I've already blathered on about the idea that there have been cultures where the idea of going to war was really compelling--where wars were fought simply because fighting wars was one of those things that people (men, almost always) just wanted to do. I'm not's hard to say whether it was an end in itself or not (I doubt it--it was for the glory of Rome or some kind of glory)--but it was entered into by some people with genuine relish. I suppose it wasn't just the idea of killing others but the idea of avoiding being killed oneself. Naturally, certain rewards were involved but I also imagine that the way we 'pretend' to die--by watching scary movies, going on roller coasters, any sort of courting of danger--isn't entirely different than this.

It seems strange that this could be true--that people could do anything other than avoid death. But people court dangerous activities. Is it to avoid boredom? Or is it because we are able to do things without contemplating the contribution that activity will make to our eventual non-existence?

I'm not saying real death is not horrible. I've been writing some cultural anthropology bla bla in my spare time about my own nutty culture. I think I live in a society that tends to assume that you can avoid death, or evade it--by clean living and the posting of many public service announcements and product warnings.

The thing that would make the idea of my own death even better would be if I was the ONLY one who got to die. Ah, if only I lived on a planet of immortals.