Monday night at Blue Frog

Last night we played the last place team in our division and barely escaped with a 12-7 victory. Actually, we all threw pretty decent darts, but “The ‘B’ Team” has either really improved since we last played them, or they were throwing awesome. Or both.

I had a 5-mark, two 3BCs, a ton-20 and a ton. And I wound up 3-3 for the night. My own damn fault, because I blew both of my cricket games in singles. I was playing a strong player and threw six darts that didn’t count for anything plus some one marks. That ain’t winning darts. How I could be on bulls but miss three throws at the 19 just blows my mind.

Three weeks left in the season against three tough teams. Eberhardt (Scrooge Pub) at home, then Alley Ratz at 3 Alley Pub and our long anticipated rematch with the Blessed Bulls at Bless U Pub. Should be interesting. We have a lock on a playoff spot already, but it would be nice to sneak past Alley Ratz for first place. Probably gonna need some help to do that at this point.


It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then–
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came,
But we have lived enough to know
What we have never had remains;
It is the things we have that go.

–Sara Teasdale

View from above

I rather doubt that there are many people who visit LTG (and there aren’t many period) who do not also read a meaningful and well-written blog like The Lost Nomad. But on the chance that someone missed it, here’s an image taken of the Earth at night:


You will note that from this vantage point the Republic of Korea almost appears to be an island. That’s because our neighbors to the north are so bankrupt (financially and morally) that they lack the resources to provide adequate energy to light their cities.

Here’s a crappy zoom I did of the above photo to further illustrate the point:


It is easily forgotten the difference that freedom and democracy makes in the lives of ordinary people (yeah, yeah, I know China is pretty well lit up, but China is another story for another day). Of course, lacking abundant electricity is the least of the problems of the average Joe in the DPRK. Starving in the dark just underlines the misery.

I guess I’m still thinking about the remains of those six soldiers recently returned from North Korea. Their sacrafice did make a difference for 44 million people living in peace and comparitive wealth. And the soldiers today who are all too frequently disparaged while serving in a land far from home are here for only one reason: to keep it that way. It’s a good thing to remember.


Last Saturday I lost my glasses. I looked all over the house for the damn things to no avail. I figured if they were at the house the cleaning ajumma would find them. Alas, it was not to be. I even went back to the last bar I had visited that night but no luck (they didn’t speak English there so I had to do that whole hilarious pantomime routine). Anyway, this morning they appeared out of the blue in the gap between my nightstand and the bed. A place I know I had looked for them at least twice. That’s the thing about losing your glasses, you need them to find them.

Yeah, I know this is without a doubt the most lame post I have ever written. Don’t hate me because my life is full of such wonder and excitement.

Actually, I have been wearing my three year old glasses all week. Other than having no depth perception and barely being able to read typeface on the computer monitor they still work fine.

Funny thing is I went 11-1 in dart legs this week and threw enough marks to move back into the top spot in my division. Hopefully I am out of my slump as we have the stretch run coming up and our team is 8 legs out of first. Now I just have to decide which glasses to wear Monday night.

On a topic that is more interesting than my eyewear (to me at least) I am hosting a small dinner party tonight. I am having the Korean friends who took me to the soju hut a couple of weeks ago over. Menu includes tossed salad with all the fixin’s, sweet taters, and grilled rib eye steak. Appetizers will be polish sausage (also cooked on the grill) and boiled shrimp. For dessert I am baking a carrot cake which I will serve with vanilla ice cream. My plan is that they will leave knowing why Americans are so fat.

For our fallen heroes

Today I had the honor of attending a very solemn and moving repatriation ceremony for the remains of six soldiers returned from North Korea this week. General B.B. Bell, Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea, made the following remarks:

Fifty-seven years ago, in response to an unprovoked attack by North
Korea, twenty-one contributing nations sent tens of thousands of Servicemembers to the aid of the Republic of Korea.

In the three years of bitter fighting that followed, millions of civilians and military personnel lost their lives and the Republic of Korea was left with fractured families and destroyed infrastructure — but also with its freedom.

In the five decades since, this great nation has become a technologically advanced, world economic power with a modern democracy. The Republic of Korea is the envy of much of the world.

This is the reason we honor these heroes who lie before us today. It was their selfless service and ultimate sacrifice that saved this nation, giving the people of the Republic of Korea an opportunity to forge their destiny and achieve their dreams.

However forensics determines their nation of origin — the United States, Korea or other United Nations contributing nations — these Servicemembers were great patriots, rising to the call to defend liberty and justice in the face of aggression.

Today, we are honored and humbled to receive their remains. The word “repatriate” – to return to one’s own country – has a very special meaning for American Servicemembers, who today often spend many years overseas separated from their families. They have been promised that should they lose their lives in a foreign land, we will honor their sacrifice, keep faith with their fellow warriors and families, and bring them home. This morning for these warriors, we are keeping that promise.

It is also fitting that we give our deepest appreciation to our United Nations Command Servicemembers who continue to serve on the Korean peninsula in defense of the noble principles of liberty and democracy. Your presence is an enduring legacy to those who fought and those who lost their lives in securing this nation’s sovereignty. Your duty is testimony that freedom is not free and demonstrates your willingness to sacrifice to preserve our freedoms. Your selfless service is honorable and laudable and we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

Finally, to our gallant fallen warriors before us – we mourn your loss; we salute your sacrifice. Your heroic fight freed a nation and its people. It was just and proper. The Republic of Korea has honored your deaths by becoming a shining beacon of hope for all nations struggling for freedom and democracy. May your spirits now be comforted as you begin your final journey home. Our thoughts and prayers follow your journey.

Godspeed brave ones. May god continue to bless your souls. Thank you.

Also in attendance was Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico who was part of the delegation who retrieved the bodies.

Each of the countries who make up the United Nations Command was represented at the ceremony. It was interesting to see the dress uniforms of the Aussies, Canadians, French, Swedes and others all in one place. I didn’t realize before today that even Colombia had a contingent in Korea.

After General Bell’s remarks, the soldiers were honored with a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, and pall bearers from several nations carrying the caskets from the auditorium.

I have been to several Honor Guard ceremonies in my time here, but this was a very different experience. It really brought home the fact that so many made the ultimate sacrafice in defense of freedom. It is easy to forget as we make our way about this vibrant and fascinating country the price that was paid so that the people of the Republic of Korea might live in peace. This gift is the legacy of all who fought here and all that have followed to preserve what we all too frequently take for granted.


I was proud and honored to bear witness to these brave soldiers that their deaths were not in vain.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old…at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

–Lawrence Binyon

Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC

Spring has sprung

Well, today it is raining some but it has been pretty damn pleasant these days. Springtime in the land of the morning calm is definitely the prettiest time of the year. Jendalay and gaenalee are in bloom and the cherry blossoms are at their peak. Here’s a picture taken near my office on the Yongsan military base:


Ok, so I actually took this photo last spring, but they look the same this year, trust me. Now, with the yellow dust blowing in from Mongolia the sky is not usually that blue, but we do have our days.

There really is a lot to love about this country.

It’s all about the darts…

Sunday we played our makeup match with Jeckles from Gecko’s. Everyone played well and that resulted in us giving them a 15-4 spanking.

Last night we hooked up with the team from Hollywood Grill, FFOD. These guys have gotten to be our nemesis–not in a bad way–they are good sports and all, just they always seem to find what it takes to beat us. We came out of singles down 9-3 and wound up losing 11-8. I was proud of the guys for not going down without a fight, but we just couldn’t get the winning darts going last night.

On a personal note, I am starting to work out of my slump. I know I’m throwing better when the 5-marks and tons start coming, and I had a couple of each last night and several more on Sunday. I’m still way to inconsistent though and can’t quite figure out why that is. Nothing to do but keep on keeping on.

We probably had the most fun when the Bless U Blessed Bulls guys showed up after their match and we just threw some games for the hell of it. League games are very intense for me. I love the competition but I do tend to get wound up a little bit. Just relaxing and throwing for sport (and rounds of beer) is a nice way to relax and remember why we love the game. Now, I will admit that in my games with the Goat I am playing for pride as well, but still. The Goat and I teamed up in doubles later and we were unstoppable (ok, I only played the one game in doubles, but we done good).

So, it is coming down to crunch time. Take it Easy is clinging to second place and after next week we have three tough match-ups to finish the season: Alley Rats, Eberhardt, and Blessed Bulls. Then a single elimination tournament where the pressure is really on.

Yeah, its all good.

The future is comin’ on…

An item in OpinionJournal quotes some “experts” who believe our success against the al Qaeda terrorist network is a cause for concern about our long term security. Here’s a taste:

Our favorite, though, is the closing quote in the piece:

IntelCenter chief executive Ben Venzke said the chance of an al Qaeda attack on U.S. soil has grown based on the militant network’s increasing references to the American homeland in public messages.

“Our leading thinking is that we are closer now to an attempt at a major attack in the United States than at any point since 9/11,” Venzke said.

There is no denying Venzke is right. If an al Qaeda attack is in the future, then it is closer now than at any point since 9/11. Venzke has stumbled onto something profound: the linear and sequential nature of time.

There are other disturbing implications as well. If you survived 9/11–and this is true no matter who you are–you are more than five years closer to death now than you were then. Reuters should look into this aspect of the story. No doubt they can find some experts to explain that it’s President Bush’s fault.

Not to mention that today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. (Where did I read that? Must have been one of those daily inspiration calendars).

Anyway, when success is spun as failure by the MSM it is certainly a brave new world. Or 1984.

A hard days night

Today was my first day back in the office after a four day weekend. No, it was not a mini-vacation, it was sick leave to deal with a minor medical issue. No worries, all is well.

So I had the normal chore of catching up with email and the like, but thankfully nothing real stressful to deal with. I knew going in that I had to be at work for a teleconference with the Office of Personnel Management in DC at 2100. What I didn’t expect was a Video Teleconference from 2200-0100 with the Pentagon. Around midnight I figured out that what they were talking about didn’t affect our function, so I skated on out of there. Now I am home trying to unwind. The good thing is my boss said I could stay home till noon tomorrow. Woo Hoo!

In between I had my first level two Korean lesson. I am going to like this a lot more because I am getting one-on-one tutoring, which is what I need. Tonight we worked on double vowels and double consonants. There is apparently a distinction between many of these sounds, but damn, I am struggling to hear it. I don’t have Hangul software (yet) so I can’t show you the symbols, but let’s just say that we and wei sound the same coming out of my mouth at this point. Anyway, my tutor (a nice high school lad) thought my pronunciation was generally good and he didn’t seem as frustrated as I was at my inability to replicate the nuances in articulating those combinations.

Kevin from Hairy Chasms left a helpful comment on things I can do to work on my reading. Things like reading maps and menus Korean. A useful tip that I will incorporate into my learning activities. I have also started reading random signs and the Hangul versions of the subway stops. It does help with the pronunciation and builds confidence. I’m probably too hard on myself, but language acquisition doesn’t come easy for me. At least Spanish was familiar, but Korean is totally outside my realm of experience (yeah, yeah, I have been here two years, but mostly in Itaewon which is of course nothing like Korea).

I have been resisting writing in Hangul, prefering to Romanize my translations. I know, I know. But honestly, I can’t read my own writing and I think it helps me pronounce when I can visually see what I am trying to say. We’ll see.