In my dreams

I suppose it is fair to say that no one is really interested in hearing about another person’s nocturnal dreams. Except maybe their shrink. Having said that, let me share what I remember of my dream last night.

I was the only American with a group of South Koreans that infiltrated North Korea. Not sure what our mission was and we weren’t being all that discreet, because we were openly hanging about some market-like place. Then out of nowhere, Kim, Jong Il spots us. Turns out we were armed with axes. One of the South Koreans who was our leader had this long handled axe and I noted mine was better suited to chopping kindling than a Norks’ head. Didn’t matter because our leader promptly whacked Mr. Kim and declared himself the new ruler of the North. Not sure if that was going to result in the long anticipated reunification, but it did have a feeling of mission accomplished.

Shortly thereafter I encounter the senior Mr. Kim Il Sung, apparently returned from the dead. I pushed him down a long flight of stairs and he was dead (again) by the time he hit the bottom.

I reported this fact to my comrades and received nods of approval. Then I woke up.

You know, where else on the internet are you going to find crap like this? It’s my pleasure to bring it to you.


It’s the end of the world as we know it

At least according to Igor Panarin, a Russian academic quoted in in this ariticle from the Wall Street Journal.

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media.

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Mr. Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

And we all know that Russia has been the model state for promoting peace and stability throughout the world. Just ask a Georgian.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

Heh. I guess Sarah Palin will be able to see Russia from her front porch after all.

He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.

Well, the current People’s Republic of California is already more communistic/socialist than China, so that part seems like a good fit. Texas a part of Mexico? But what claim does Mexico have on Texas for crissakes. And oh yeah, remember the Alamo?

Canada will “grab” a group of northern states? With what, the RCMP? I have much respect for my Canadian cousins, but last I looked they don’t have the military capacity to grab their ass with both hands. I suspect a combined force of deer hunters from Michigan and Wisconsin could pretty much conquer all of the Great White North over a long weekend. Well, except for Alberta. Those guys are still scary tough.

From what I’ve heard, Hawaii is already pretty much a vassal of Japan and New England has my blessings if it wants to join the EU. Them damn Yankees are way to European in their thinking anyway. Who needs ’em?

“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.

It’s all about the oil. No blood for oil!

The professor says he’s convinced that people are taking his theory more seriously. People like him have forecast similar cataclysms before, he says, and been right. He cites French political scientist Emmanuel Todd. Mr. Todd is famous for having rightly forecast the demise of the Soviet Union — 15 years beforehand. “When he forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1976, people laughed at him,” says Prof. Panarin.

I know I’m taking this seriously. Who in the hell is going to pay my federal pension after the breakup? THIS WILL NOT STAND!!!!

Professor Panarin provides this helpful post-apocalypse map so we can all study up on our U.S. geography. Oh wait, we never studied the old geography. Ignorant Americans!


Since I’m scheduled to be in Korea until January 2011 I guess I’ll miss all the excitement. Good luck, y’all.

Great Danes!

Well, if their television commercials are any indication, Denmark is clearly an advanced society. (and if I am misreading and this isn’t Danish (and I don’t mean pastry), well then feel free to have a laugh at my expense as well.

Enjoy (but probably not at work!). Unless you are in Denmark that is. Er, I guess if you were in Denmark you would see it on TV. Ah well, here it is:

Link: Fleg Master Tlpizza

One of those nights

The weather has been cold, but that’s nothing compared to my darts. I played in three tourneys at Dolce last night, although showing up and getting my ass kicked is more accurate. Started off ok in the first round of the singles tourney. Threw a Ton-80 and an 85 out. Then I ran in to CH who was en fuego. Two legs against him and out.

And that was my high point for the night. CH and his partner waxed us in both of the following doubles tournaments. Pretty frustrating night all and all.

Tonight is the Christmas tournament at Blue Frog. Here’s hoping a change in venue will wake my darts from their winter slumber.

Check back tomorrow for the results…

The day after…

back home it’s the day after Christmas now too. Tried to call the folks but was foiled by voice mail. Alas. Apparently the family is gathering in South Carolina on Sunday so I will call them Monday morning. This International Date Line thing is a trip, isn’t it?

Spent most of the day playing CIV IV. Heh, my other hobby. I usually manage to win, but I can’t seem to figure out how to build a respected score while doing so. I’m likely to keep trying.

Yesterday went fine. I love it when people specify how they prefer their steaks cooked. Like that’s gonna happen cooking on a grill that flames like the sparks of Satan. Gawd, that was a tortured metaphor, wasn’t it? And it was dark out on the balcony too. Anyway, most of the steaks came out more or less medium, except for the guy who asked for well done. His came out the rarest of all. But, it was blackest on the outside. Go figure. The cake (the one I added 1 1/4 cup too much water too) was not fit for serving, so I didn’t. Everyone was full up anyway (or so they professed) so we skipped the dessert all together.

Tonight its the regular Friday dart tourney at Dolce. I always look forward to that. I think this is the night we say farewell to Eric as well. Yep, another soldier blowing town. Good guy, he’ll be missed.

Egads, I’m really trying to do the “post a day” thing, but this drivel is mind numbing. So, I know Duke, Jim and Jenn are still dropping by. I will try and find something worthwhile to say but I’ve been saying that for about four years now, so don’t hold your breath.


Holiday Greetings

Merry Christmas to each and every one!

I am far from a “bah humbug” frame of mind, although I can’t say I’ve caught much of a holiday good cheer kinda buzz. I did put up a Christmas tree this year. And played a Christmas CD. Last night threw some darts at Dolce with Jim, Eric and Natalie. Then went to Manila Bar for some Videoke. Butchered a few Christmas tunes but no one seemed to mind.

Stopped at a little dive on the way home for some galbi (marinated grilled pork) then home to be snug in my bed in case Santa stopped by. He didn’t, but no worries. I wasn’t that naughty!

This evening I’m having some folks over for dinner. Making steaks. Not exactly your traditional Christmas feast, but I wasn’t up to trying to bake a ham. Making a carrot cake for dessert, but I added to much water so I’m waiting to see how that’s gonna turn out.

And that’s my Christmas day. Hope yours is merry and bright.


Too funny!

My reader(s) know me all to well apparently.

I was catching up with Jenn over at “I’ve got 2 shoes” and she had a post mentioning that my blog had “disappeared”. Not disappeared in the sense that I haven’t posted jack shit in weeks, but disappeared in the sense that you could not reach it through the mysterious vagracies of those Internets. She updated to say that my blog was back (again, meaning accessible). There was one comment on Jenn’s post:

i was able to get into Long Time Gone’s blog but nothing has been updated. I think John is in another of his moods.

Well and aptly put NYinKorea!

I can’t leave comments at “I got 2 Shoes”. No, I haven’t been banned. Just that google ID thing won’t work for me. I mean I got one and all, but either I don’t remember something or I am just too stupid for Blogger. Sorta like when I was asked “are you really that ignorant or are you just apathetic?” I replied “I don’t know and I don’t care”.

ba da bing.

So, this makes two posts in two days. And who says quantity don’t beat quality?

Let’s see how long it takes someone to notice I really am back.

It’s been a long time comin’….

and I guess I’ve been a long time gone…

I’m kinda sorta thinking about resurrecting this here blog of mine. Not that I expect to have anything profound to say, but I do miss the connection writing here gives me to the outside world. No question about it, I’ve been deep in my cocoon living a very, very insular life of late.

That may not change anytime soon, but what the hell. It’s probably just me here by now anyway.

So, what’s been going on with me? Pretty much the same old, same old. Least that how it feels. But I guess when you are living for the day, one day starts to seem like all the others somehow. No complaints and no real worries to express. I’ve been blessed I know, and even if things are not how I would most want them to be, they ain’t too damn bad either. So, that’s about as profound as things get here at LTG.

My new job has really turned out to be quite the challenge, although that was not unexpected. What surprises me a little is how I’ve responded. I guess it’s fair to say I’ve been pretty much coasting career-wise these past several years. Lost the fire if you get my meaning. This job doesn’t allow just “showing up”, there are high demands and high expectations from command leadership and it is not in my nature to let my bosses down. And this stuff is much bigger than me, there are many people impacted by decisions I make and I’ll be damned if I am going to fail through lack of effort. Which is the long way of saying I’ve been working hard lately.

I really don’t (and can’t) talk about work specifics, but I’ve been taking on some pretty high profile taskings which require direct interaction with many general officers, including the commander. I actually had to step up and tell him he was about to take a path that would inevitably end badly. I got one of those 4-star stares and a rather blunt response, but to his credit, he listened and took a different course of action. That was a day I went home feeling like I’d earned my pay for sure. Of course, being two years out from retirement I’ve got enough job security that courage comes a little easier for me than it might for others. What are they going to do, take away my birthday?

I do find the interactions between these general officers quite fascinating to observe. I have tremendous respect for these leaders who are for the most part quite brilliant. They could certainly be executives or CEOs in the private sector making big bucks, but they have devoted their lives to military service and I can’t help but honor that. At the end of the day, they are just like the rest of us with all the human quirks and warts, but they also have a special quality about them. Confidence in abundance to be sure, but what really impresses me is the ability to see the big picture and quickly grasp the myriad details of complex issues and to make generally sound decisions and provide direction. Leadership at its essence.

Anyway, work is hard but it has its rewards. My personal life will remain for the most part personal, but I’ve weathered a rough patch and think I came out of it pretty well for the most part. Even after four years here though I still struggle with the annual ritual of saying goodbye to people I’ve grown rather fond of. C’est la vie.

Had a rather difficult dart season. My illness mid-season affected everything in my life, and it took me several weeks to get back on my game. I did manage to finish 8th in the league, which was satisfying given the way I had been playing.

This was my last season with Sliders, as the team is breaking up. In part this was no surprise. Matt returned to the States, and Alistair went back to Scotland. They were the top two players on the team. One of the other guys apparently had some issues with our bar sponsor and decided not to return. I’m not sure what other dynamics were at play, but I really don’t care for the bullshit, I just want to play darts to the best of my ability and have fun doing it.

Anyway, I tried to hook on with the other Dolce Vita “A” division team, but they had (or thought they had) more players than they needed. So, I finangled an invite to play with the neighbor bar, Bless U. I really hate leaving Dolce, but the Blue Bulls are a bunch of good guys and I enjoy hanging out with them, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.

So, I guess that pretty much brings you up to date on my so-called life. It’s in my mind to get regular again as far as posting here. But I’ve promised that before, haven’t I?