A taste of home

Well the cook-out went well. Everything came out tasting good, except the garlic bread which I forgot about until it was burned beyond edibility. Well, that happens. Preparing a big meal solo was a bigger challenge that I imagined. Timing is key and it was touch and go there for a while as I juggled the grill, the stove, conversation, and bottle(s) of beer. I guess the bread was a small sacrafice, it could have been the steaks.

Anyway, it was the first social event I have hosted in Korea. Back home we would do this on a regular basis throughout the summer. So in addition to the food (t-bones, sweet taters, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, and apple pie) I was reminded of summer nights in Virginia, sitting on the deck and watching the fireflies dance.

Doing better

Just wanted to let everyone know I am doing better. Thanks to all for the kind words and support.

Lots of stuff happening at work and that is keeping it all very interesting. Nothing I can talk about here, but I am enjoying my work more these days.

In the non-work life there is not much to report. I got drafted to play in the Itaewon pool league. Which if you have seen me play pool would make you laugh. Seems a warm body that can’t shoot straight is better than a forfeit, although I’m not convinced. I played in my first match Wednesday night against Seoul Pub. Of course, I got soundly beaten but I accomplished my goal of not totally embarassing myself. Although I missed some shots I should have made, I never missed the ball I was shooting at, and that happens pretty frequently in my practice games. The guy I was playing was like the team captain for Seoul Pub and he was mercifully quick at cleaning my clock. Ok, I only had 3 balls on the table when he dispatched me (although he inadvertantly holed one of mine). Anyway, it was nice to meet some new people and I have continued to practice. I am slightly improved, but have a long way to go.

I invited my friends from Sweet Caroline’s over for a good ol’ All-American cookout Monday evening (only time everyone is off work, seems not all soldiers get weekends off, go figure). I’m looking forward to that. Menu: T-bone steaks, cobbed corn, sweet taters, beans, and salad. For entertainment I am going to show Team America: World Police. Sounds like fun, eh?

The Bridge

The bridge, we’ll build it now
It may take a lot of time
And it maybe lonely but
Ooh baby, ooh baby.

The bridge was falling down
And that took a lot of lies
And it made me lonely
Ooh baby, ooh baby.

The bridge was falling.
The bridge was falling.
The bridge was falling.

One day, when you talked to me
I saw myself again
And it made me love you.
Ooh baby, ooh baby.

And love came running down
Like a river on your skin
And you let me in.
Ooh babe, ooh babe.

You let me in
You let me in
You let me in

The bridge, we’ll build it now
It may take a lot of time.

–Neil Young

Isn’t life strange?

Isn’t life strange
A turn of the page
Can read like before
Can we ask for more?
Each day passes by
How hard man will try?
The sea will not wait

You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry –
Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love
Wished I could be in your eyes
Looking back there you were, and here we are.

Isn’t love strange
A word we arrange
With no thought or care
Maker of despair
Each breath that we breathe
With love we must weave
To make us as one
You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry –

Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love
Wished I could be in your eyes
Looking back there you were, and here we are.

Isn’t life strange
A turn of the page
A book without light
Unless with love we write;
To throw it away
To lose just a day
The quicksand of time
You know it makes me want to cry, cry, cry –

Wished I could be in your heart
To be one with your love
Wished I could be in your eyes
Looking back there you were:

–Moody Blues


I’m sorry I was so cryptic in my last post. I’m dealing with some issues in my personal life that will require all my energy for awhile. Posts here will likely be infrequent. Don’t worry, I intend to get through this, but it is something I am going to have to do alone.

Your kind wishes and prayers are always appreciated.

Thanks for understanding.

Checkin’ in

Everything is fine. Busy with work and just have not been devoting myself to writing here. I’ve been distracted with a pretty interesting game of Civ. I’m playing as the Egyptians and right now my biggest threat (and only remaining country on the continent) is Korea. Ironic, huh? We are maintaining a peaceful coexistence thus far (in fact, we allied against the Sumerians and eliminated them). The Koreans are more technologically advanced, have a larger army, and are starting to get a little aggressive in their dealings with me. It’s early and I can catch up if I can maintain the peace for a while longer. My big problem is a lack of resources. I’m having to import horses from the Dutch and they are charging a hefty price (spices and ivory). I don’t like having to rely on the Dutch (we fought a brief war earlier in the game that they started) but with my next technology advance I will be able to build calvary, so I need the horses. If I can build up enough calvary units before the Koreans decide to attack, my superior tactics (AI does not generally do well on offense) should let me survive. We’ll see.

I have some pictures from the rooftop I took last weekend to post, and I will get to that soon. And yes, I do miss my time here at LTG, so that is a good sign that I am going to be back with some commentary on current events one of these days.

Today we are having a spring cleanup day at the office, plus we are having a going away picnic for Lori, our admin person. I baked oatmeal cookies and brownies last night to take. I’m also in charge of the grill. Best part is I get to wear my jeans to work. And it’s Friday!

Thanks for visiting and please come back. It’s just a slump, and I’m liable to hit a homerun when I break out.

Why we are here

You know, I don’t talk about it much and it is really not at the forefront of my thoughts, but we are here in Korea for one reason: to deter North Korean aggression. It’s been working out pretty well for the last 50 years. But we are dealing with a madman in Kim Jung Il. Well, we aren’t really dealing with him, and that’s a problem. My sense of things is that the US wants to take a more aggressive posture, while the ROK is still in an appeasement mode. I think history has proven countless times what appeasement ultimately buys: disaster.

So what’s to be done? I’m all for finding a peaceful solution, but that presupposes having a leader in the North that is not insane. Allowing Kim to build a nuclear stockpile is simply unacceptable and would undermine any hopes for regional stability. But there is no easy fix, and once again we are paying the price for President Clinton’s misguided policies. I don’t know what President Bush is going to do, but he has proven he won’t sit on his hands if a threat to our national security exists. A great Korean blog, The Bass Hole, has some interesting perspectives on this situation. I hope it doesn’t come to this. But it might.

This does not bode well for anyone. If we used nuclear tipped bunker busters we risk radiating hundreds of thousands of people in N. Korea, Japan, S. Korea, and depending on a change in wind direction, China and Russia too. This could well spark WWIII. The only real alternative is a conventional bombing campaign so relentless and enduring the N. Koreans would have to be shaken senseless in order to deny them a chance to significantly respond. I’m sure they will still get off a few rounds of their 5,000 tons of chemical artillery, and the missile test Sunday showed they have improved their Russian bought Frogs to 120KM range, easily within striking distance of the US hub in Pyeongtaek (so much for fishing). Any sustained aerial bombardment would have to be followed with a lightning raid North by allied troops to take the ground and try and secure the nukes before they can be fired or relocated. This is a tar baby of astronomical proportions, but I don’t doubt for a minute George Bush isn’t contemplating ending this evil empire on his watch. If he doesn’t do it, we may very well have 8 more years of Democrats in office who would ignore the problem or strike a deal similar to Clinton’s which only bought the U.S. a false sense of security, but bought the Norks more time to conduct their clandestine nuke development.

Read it all. And pray that our leaders have the courage and wisdom to find an appropriate way to resolve this problem once and for all. The Eighth U.S. Army’s mantra is “be ready to fight tonight”. I hope we are.

Motor Show

Well, I learn from one of my favorite Korea blogs (The Lost Nomad)that the Seoul car show is (or was) happening this week. I have maybe been to one of these shows once many years ago in California. I must say that some of this year’s models are looking mighty fine indeed. I’ll post one example, but you really need to go here to see them all……….


UPDATE: It’s official! Gracyn was born at 3:30 pm 6lbs 10 ounces 20 inches long head full of
black hair -both Renee and baby doing fine.

Wow, I feel wonderful!

That’s what I should be about right now.

Daughter Renee went into labor 10 hours ago, so she should be about ready to introduce my granddaughter Gracyn Rose to the world.

Congratulations sweetheart. This whole circle of life thing is a beautiful. Wish I could be there with you, but you know that I am in spirit.

Funny, I was not old enough to be a father all those years ago when Renee was born. I am not old enough to be a grandpa either, but I am oh so ready for this.


Three sides to every story…

Don Henley wrote in his song “It’s a Long Way Home”:

Oh it’s cold and lonley here
Here in this telephone booth
There’s three sides to every story darlin’
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold hard truth…

Which is really the point of this editorial in the Korea Times. An excerpt:

Some Koreans object to the U.S. military presence because they feel American bases get a great deal on Korean land and the Korean government pays astronomical levels for troops here. Aspects of this might be true, but the U.S. has greatly helped develop Korea’s economy to internationally astronomical levels. Yes, the Korean government spends a significant amount on defense, but if the Koreans could not have relied on the Americans here then more military spending would have been necessary. If so, either Korea would not have had the required funds to develop their economic standing rapidly, or each Korean would have had a lot less disposable income as they would have had to pay more taxes. Granted, Koreans can be considered diligent workers and can be proud of helping their society’s advancement, but large degrees of the level of development in Korea and the level of affluence among Koreans is indirectly a result of America’s presence.

In addition, U.S. soldiers stationed here have paid a human emotional cost by being away from their loved ones. If people feel Americans do not pay enough for their bases or other costs, these same people should take a sobering stroll around the War Memorial and as they see the names of the multitude of dead U.S. and U.N. soldiers they should remember that freedom is not free. All of this is to protect Korea from a crazed regime in North Korea.

In all honesty, I have not encountered any overt anti-Americanism from anyone I have met during my short time in Korea. In fact, the opposite has been true. But like anywhere else, there are going to be people who don’t like you or resent the fact that you are occupying some prime real estate in their country. Regardless of the fact that your whole reason for being here is to defend that real estate.

It is unfortunate that the relatively few incidents involving bad conduct of USFK personnel get blown out of proportion in the Korean media, but you know I suspect the US press would do the same thing. Hell, they are masters at ignoring all the good news in Iraq while every roadside bomb is worthy of headlines.

Anyway, the editiorial presents some balance and that is a good thing. There is some tension between the US and ROK governments right now on how to deal with the NORKs and how to fund our presence here, but I honestly believe that the vast majority of the Korean people do in fact appreciate what we have done and are doing and respect the sacrafices we are making in their defense.

Under Construction

It is not a lack of time (oh, I have hours and hours of that) that has kept me from posting. Something more insidious. A lack of inspiration. My recent posts have all been crap, and I do want to be more than a link whore.

I sometimes feel disconnected from events at home and certainly know that others are covering those topics much more capably than I could hope to. And other than the weekends when I try and find something new to see or do, my life outside of work is just your standard hanging around the house routine. It’s hard enough to live that, I wouldn’t subject you to reading it.

So, I am rethinking where I might put the focus for LTG. If it ain’t interesting to me, it won’t be to y’all either. And I never want this blog to become a chore to write (or read). So I’m taking a breather right now. Don’t worry. I’m fine and I will be back.


Sorry folks. I vegatated this weekend. Nothing exciting to write about in my life and just not motivated to post on current events.

Tonight I must and shall write.

Otherwise, I am doing just fine. Busy at work and I expect to be busier. I have a new employee coming on board in a few weeks, and I am looking forward to that. I was very lucky to find a talented individual who is excited about coming to work in Korea. I’ve known this person for several years and I know she’ll be a good fit.

Alright, I’m off to work.