Keeping The Ramble up and running during my stay in Korea has been a real challenge! I have internet service in my hotel room, and brought my trusty laptop with me in order to stay connected to the world. However, it soon became apparent that the world did not apparently want to stay connected to me. My internet connection proved itself to be tempermental and sporadic. When it worked, it worked great - but the service would sometimes refuse to come up, or, as in the case last night, disappear without notice.
Today I had a couple of young technicans who work for the hotel come to my room to see what was going on. Right on cue, the internet popped up on my laptop screen and performed flawlessly. They had only been gone a few minutes when my computer went blank and shut itself off. Now it won't even boot up! Perhaps that is a battery issue. At any rate, finding a computer repairman who speaks English on Okinawa will be a major challenge.
After lunch I found a set of three computers in the recreation area of this army hotel. I put a dollar in the slot and settled in for nine minutes of answering email and surfing. One of the first sites that I tried to visit was The Ramble, figuring that I would get to do a quick daily update. Unbelievably, the site was blocked with a warning "keyword hatemonger." I'm not sure if that means the army censors think I am a hatemonger, or if it is because I used the word in a column. (Acutally it is a word that I use extensively when talking about Arizona political figures or today's Republican party!) But, either way, I accept the censorship as a compliment, though it still does hurt my feelings - just a little!
So, I went on the hunt for another way to access the internet from this army hotel - and found one - a public computer that does not have my struggling little website blocked. Where is it? That's for me to know and them to try and find out!
I specifically deny mongering hate, while freely admitting that it does seem to be running rampant in our modern society. In my world it is a fair use of the World Wide Web to make observations on how the wide world functions - even if it isn't pretty. The problem does not reside in what is published on the internet, the problem rests with small minds deciding what we should and should not be reading.
I will stipulate that government does have the necessary authority to prevent certain things from circulating freely, such as material that would harm children or the disadvantaged. But government - our government - has no right whatsoever to insert itself into free-wheeling political thought and discourse. Political conversation is a basic right of the citizenry. Even Fox News has a right to air its opinion, scary though it may be.
Thomas Paine would not be pleased.
More tomorrow - hopefully!