Starting my first full day in Bali here in the hotel restuarant taking advantage of the wireless internet.
It is really a beautiful location. Food is good and things are really cheap here. Paradise for sure.
This guys hangs outside my room. I’m not sure what the symbolism is intended to represent or why it was erected. Heh. Actually, you remove the penis and strike the statue on the back and it makes a “gong” sound. A couple of minutes later someone shows up from the hotel asking what it is you need. Felt bad about that, because this place is a series of hillside cottages, and getting around requires traversing numerous stairs. So, I’ll be leaving the penis inserted for the rest of the trip!
A river runs through it. The view from my patio.
The entrance to my room. This resort was built in 1928 and in some ways is showing its age. But, it is a nice throwback to the golden era of travel and it really quite pleasant.
This perhaps gives you a little idea of how the cottages are built into the hillside. Very quaint, is it not?
Had this great western-style breakfast delivered to the room and enjoyed it on the patio surrounded by the wonderful Bali ambiance. It tasted even better than it looks. Oh, breakfast is included in the price of the room. Which is about $60 US. Dinner for six last night was $24, including beer and plates and plates of Indonesia goodness. I cashed out $500 at the airport exchange and the challenge may be finding a way to spend that much in ten days.
Did I mention this is paradise?
Well, no need to hurry. Bags are packed and I’m ready to go. A good night sleep, then an early morning airport shuttle to Incehon and I’m on my way.
Soon I will be saying: Bali Hi!
See you on the other side.
House Minority leader John Boehner calls the “cap and trade” legislation recently passed in the House “a pile of sh*t”.
Yeah, and it also represents the largest middle class tax hike in history. Enjoy paying those electric bills folks. Me thinks “The One” speaks with forked tongue. Thank God I’m living in Korea.
I admit, I don’t really get Korean comedy. But I take it this is “very hot”.
Via: Going Places
I got bored yesterday afternoon so I went out for a cold draft beer. Most of my regular haunts don’t open until 1800 or so, but I dropped into this little open bar (meaning no aircon, but with nice street views for people watching) run by some nice Filipinas. Most bars play current music and rap, and I’m still stuck in the 70s for the most part when it comes to stuff I like. For whatever reason, as I nursed my beer a folk set came up in the rotation. I heard “500 Miles” by what I think were The Brothers Four and decided I prefer the Peter, Paul, and Mary version. Then there was Joan Baez doing “Diamonds and Rust”, which is a great tune. I was wondering if Bob Dylan might be next, and sure enough, up came “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
You know, I hadn’t actually really listened to that song for quite some time. Although as a young person I rather fancied it, of late I had just written it off as another naiive anti-war rag. But upon further consideration after contemplating the lyrics, I think it is really a powerful reminder that some things, including freedom, are worth fighting for. Stay with me on this while I digress.
I recently became active on Facebook. Yeah, I know, welcome to the 21st century and all that. It’s actually pretty cool making connections and “finding” old friends. I actually hooked up with a high school bud via Facebook. Chris and I were editors on the school newspaper together and were of like minds politically (leftist/radical). Chris pursued the dream to become a journalist and currently works for a large newspaper in the Pacific Northwest. I devoted my life to government service, which is pretty funny when I look back on just how anti-government I once was. Anyway, in response to my invite to be a Facebook friend, I got a nice message filling me in on his life and lamenting the sad state of affairs in print jounalism these days as newspapers are going bankrupt with increasing frequency. I responded in part:
I’ve not as yet heard back from Chris and I’m thinking I may have scared him away. I guess most folks think of me as a neocon these days, and hell, they might be right. I’m sure my views must strike my old friend as being as radical as they once were, but to the other extreme. But as Joe Walsh once sang “everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed”. I believe that I didn’t leave the left, the left left me, so to speak. Or maybe I always had it wrong. I certainly always believed that the oppressed in the world had a God-given right to drink from the cup of liberty. And if you stand up for human rights, be it women or gays or just freedom from tyranny, how can you turn your head to what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or North Korea and Iran? So, if that makes me a neocon, I will wear the mantle proudly and without apology.
This is the kind of “liberal” I was and remain today:
So, I think this is the proper context for considering the words of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
How many roads must a man walk down
OK, we all can agree that war is unspeakably horrible. No one hates wars more than the soldiers who fight them. BUT, Dylan is not saying war is never necessary or justified. Like all of us, he instead wishes for and dreams of a day when mankind puts such foolishness behind us forever.
How many years can a mountain exist
Now, this verse really struck me yesterday. Dylan is stating unequivocably that freedom is not just some ideal, but a birthright of all people. And for those of us who are fortunate enough to have been born free, it reminds that we have an obligation not to turn our backs on the oppressed of the world.
How many times must a man look up
Here’s the thing. The left is quick to note that many have died as a result of our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. And yet, there is little mention of the deaths perpetuated by Saddam and the Taliban. Brutal massacres and heinous acts like rape, torture and oppression. You can debate whether our intervention was warranted as a matter of national interest, but you lose me when you argue that only deaths caused by the USA are bad.
And so it goes. We are witnessing the depravity of the mullahs in Iran. It is no secret about Kim Jong Il’s death camps. How many ears must we have to hear their cries? How many deaths is too many? How long will they exist without being free?
The answer is blowing in the wind.
So they say. Still, hearing the ROKs think along these lines is encouraging.
It was a pretty good show and the crowd seemed to appreciate the effort. The LT Dan Band features of course Gary Sinise (who played LT Dan on Forrest Gump and currently stars in CSI:NY) on bass. Hmm, well to be honest, it is rare in a band for the bass player to be “featured”. Paul McCartney comes to mind, but Sinise is no McCartney and doesn’t make any pretense about it. No vocals, just plays the bass and handles the audience interactions between songs.
He has surrounded himself with some fairly talented musicians and vocalists and they keep it lively. Sinise has put together a solid cover band that tackles a broad spectrum of popular music and they appear to have a good time doing it. I give them props for being willing to cater to an audience ranging in age from 6 to 60 with their song selection. I trust not many folks have heard the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B” and Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze” in the same set!
So, it was a good time. And as always, performers who come out to entertain and support our forward deployed troops around the world deserve nothing but praise. Well done and thank you LT Dan Band!
Well, I finally had Oldboy come up in my Netflix queue. This is one of those Korean classics that comes with a can’t be missed reputation. And I have now completed all segments of the “vengeance trilogy”. If pushed, I guess you could say these are in the “Kill Bill” genre, although there is bit more meat here than in Tarentinos effort (violence being the potatos). Although you will definitely get a good deal of starch in this as well. (ok, I’ve worked that analogy about as far as it will go, don’t ya think?)
Oldboy was was by far the most disturbing of the three. It is definitely a mind bender. I didn’t see what was coming until it hit me. I’m not going to spoil this one for you. If you want to know more, go here. Otherwise just watch it yourself. It might creep you out, but you’ll be entertained as well. Hitchcockesque, but with sex and violence. Ok?
On the other hand, don’t waste your time with Flightplan, a Jodie Foster vehicle. Now, I’ve always felt Ms. Foster was a fine actress. And I suppose her acting was just fine in this picture as well. But what a waste of film this story was. Just full of holes and plot contrivances that had me shaking my head in disbelief. Which is not good, because a movie is supposed to make you believe in the reality on the screen. The entire scenario was pure rubbish, and I felt like I was being toyed with throughout the film. Well, I was not biting. Better things can be found to with those two hours, trust me.
Now, I’m pretty much a beer drinker. On those occasions when a shot is called for (someone rings the bell or otherwise buys a round) I’m faced with a dilemma. Jack Daniels is no friend of mine, and tequila kicks my ass. So, I usually get a shot that is one part Bailey’s and one part Kahlua. A tad sweet, but with a beer chaser not bad. The drink is popularly known as a “blow job”. I don’t know why.
So anyway, given that all men are basically adolescents at heart, when ordering the above referenced shot, I will invariably ask the female bartender to give me a blowjob. Yeah, puns and double entendres are always such a hoot. I know, I know, it’s beyond stupid and borderline (?) offensive.
Still, have you seen the new Burger King ad apparently making the rounds in the USA?
Seven inches? Not much of a meal.
Anyway, I don’t know if this ad vindicates me or implicates me. But the ad doesn’t make me want to rush out to BK to get my mind “blown”.
Oh by the way, we do have BK in Korea, both on the economy and on base. Haven’t seen this ad (or the sandwich) here though.
I am anticipating some interesting Google referrals based on the title of this post. I expect such visitors will be sorely disappointed. I guess they’ll say what many readers say after visiting LTG: “That sucks”.
There, I have closed the loop.
No, I am not crossing over to the dark side, wherever that might be. Last night was movie night, and as the title of this post foreshadows, the film I watched was called Crossing Over.
As regular readers know it’s kinda hit and miss with me and movies as I am pretty much out of touch with popular American culture. Netflix has helped a little (although I tend to order Korean movies from there, go figure), but I still occasionally pick up “street movies” which is always a bit of crap shoot in all respects (quality of the DVD and quality of the content).
Which is a long way to say I had never heard of Crossing Over. I picked it up because I recognized members of the cast–Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, and Ray Liotta. No clue what the movie was going to be about story-wise, but I liked my odds since it came with a talented cast.
Alright, so the actors acted at least up to expected standards. And the story revolves around an interesting and topical issue–immigration. But as the opening credits rolled and I saw the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detention facility in L.A., well, I pretty much guessed what I was in for–a heapin’ helpin’ of pungent Hollywood propoganda. And that’s what I got.
Let’s see how many
Are you with me so far? Good that was the easy part!
So, of course the villians in the story are those thankless rubes charged with enforcing U.S. immigration law. Now, Harrison Ford’s character is somewhat sypathetic to the plight of the illegals and is roundly castigated for his kindness by his peers. The opening scene sets the tone, as Ford inquires about the health of one of the capturees as is given a ration of sh*t about it. Then we move on to a clothing factory raid where Ford finds a young woman hiding. He appears ready to pretend he doesn’t see her until another ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agent happens along and asks what he’s waiting for “a marriage proposal”? So, of course Ford hauls her out to the waiting bus. But the women has a child staying with friends and begs Ford to take her pay there so the boy won’t be put out on the street. Ford responds that he can’t help her, and she continues pleading and just before being placed on the bus she shoves a piece of paper into his hands. His cronies ridicule him and he throws the paper on the ground telling them to lay off. Of course, that night he goes back to the factory and searches the parking lot with a flashlight until he finds the paper and rescues the child. Nice guy in the wrong job apparently.
Next up is Ray Liotta playing an immigration official responsible for approving green card applications. He’s involved in a traffic accident with the illegal Australian actress. And of course he tells her he can get her a green card in exchange for two months of sex. She agrees, but feels lousy about it. Go figure.
It gets worse. We are then introduced to a teenage girl from Bangladesh, giving a presentation to her school classmates all decked out in the Keffiyeh headwear. She is talking about the courageous 9/11 terrorists and how their motives were misunderstood. She said that these poor oppressed people were only trying to be heard, and since all anyone talks about since the attacks are Islamic extremists, they were successful. Oh she goes on and on with graphic descriptions of being “heard” above “roaring jet engines” slamming into steel buildings. Disgusting. Her classmates are going wild calling her all sorts of names (like sand monkey) and finally the teacher makes her sit down. Now, I have to admit I was just about as pissed as her classmates yelling at the TV to get her ass out of the country. But what really got my goat was that these Hollywood pukes actually tried to make this girl a sympathetic character. The failed miserably I believe in attempting to justify the senseless murder of 3000 innocents. But oh did they try!
Which brings us to the next depiction of the big baddies from DHS. See, the school principle gave a copy of the girl’s report to the folks at Homeland Security. And that night there was the proverbial knocking on the door by government thugs. Turns out the girl’s family was in the country illegally, except for two siblings who were born in the USA (no relation to Bruce Springsteen I’m sure). So, the girl is questioned harshly about her remarks and she responds with the old “I thought there was free speech in this country” routine. People tend to foget about the consequences of expressing unpopular viewpoints. Ask the Dixie
So then we meet Ashley Judd’s character, an immigration lawyer who won’t countenance this paranoid nonsense from DHS, calling it “ridiculous” that the government would consider this girl a threat based on the most “circumstantial evidence”. Only problem was since the girl was an illegal she had no due process rights and Judd was told she would be deported. Just to prove the government wasn’t totally heartless, Judd was told that if the girl went quietly with one of her parents the other could remain behind with the two natural born Americans, provided they didn’t make any trouble. Judd was outraged but powerless to do more than rage against the machine. So we are then treated to a tearful scene in the detention facility when the girl learns she must depart the country she so recently gleefully justified being attacked by sick, cowardly bastards. Funny how that worked out.
Sorry for the spoilers, but damn, I’m still pretty pissed at what this movie was trying to “sell” to the American people.
The Korean immigrants had a son who got involved with some local Korean gang bangers, and the Iranians murdered a daugher for disrepecting the family by becoming to Western in her world view (she was sleeping with a Mexican-American boyfriend,
Ok, other than that I really liked this movie. Seriously. I thought it was well made, pretty well written, and entertaining. And the best thing is I think it had the opposite impact from the one intended. I believe most people would agree after seeing this movie that people who come to the USA illegally had best mind their P’s and Q’s. Americans are not sympathetic to scofflaws, especially those who think crashing airliners into buildings is a cool way to be “heard”.
Watch it yourself and see what you think. I didn’t spoil *all* the good parts. Promise.
Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…
Well, actually I didn’t comb my hair. It was Saturday and that’s what ball caps are made for.
Did my weekly grocery shopping at the commissary, got home and put the stuff away, then settled in for a relaxing play of CIV IV.
Loaded the game to my new Sony Notebook. Pretty cool, eh?
After suffering a frustrating defeat, I showered up and headed out to Manila Bar, the venue for my friend Becky’s birthday celebration.
The birthday girl, a nice gal from Canada.
Natalie gave the darts a throw…
While Margaret, another Canuck, stylishly smoked a cigarette.
Becky and her main squeeze Mike, a nice guy from the Philippines.
That’s Teddy, owner of Manila Bar in the middle. I don’t know the name of the cute Korean gal (I should).
A couple of sweet Filipinas, Jovie on the right is Teddy’s wife. The other is Jovie’s sister. But I don’t recall her name either (I should).
The Korean on the left used to tend bar at Bless U, but I hadn’t seen her around for the last year or so. Guess what? I don’t remember either of their names.
Anyway, it was a nice time. I always give Becky a half dozen bottles of Blue Cheese dressing as a birthday gift. Apparently she eats it with just about everything. And she is always pleased with her present, which makes it easy for me.
So, it was time to head over to Dolce Vita for the International Dart Tournament. We had a rather disappointing turnout with only six teams participating. I was really sorry that none of the outstanding Filipino players turned out to play for national pride. I think most of them were hanging out in Manila Bar for Becky’s party.
So, with only six teams we played a round robin format with the total number of legs won determining the champion.
Dave and Alisteir represented Great Britain.
Dustin and Jay proudly represented Canada sporting Maple Leaf flights.
Seung Youb and YS played for the Republic of Korea.
We also had three American teams turn out:
Me and Colonel Dan waved Old Glory…
Lonnie and Jim, a couple of fine Americans.
Dave and Rod were the other Team America entrant.
So, there was a lot of darts to be played and we commenced to play them. As it turned out, it took ten legs won to play for the championship. Dan and I struggled all night for consistency, but we had our moments of greatness and won some tough legs. We also let a couple slip away, and that made the difference as our 9 wins was one short of what we needed.
This was perhaps our high water moment, taking a clutch leg from the Canadians. As you can perhaps tell, it was a point war. For some reason, I lost my ability to hit a bullseye and Dustin and Jay took full advantage. We matched their bulls with points on the open 20 in a seesaw battle until we finally got up and closed the bulls for a win. Unfortunately, the Koreans took us down 2-1 ruining our hopes for a money finish.
Turns out the Brits and Yanks (Dave and Rod) both had ten legs won, so it was a playoff for the championship. Kind of a replay of 1776 (without the bloodshed) and the outcome was the same, with the Americans victorious! We couldn’t resist a raucous chant of USA! USA! at the conclusion of the match.
Dolce Vita closed after the match for renovations. So I will have to find a new home for the next few days. I live for Bali in a week though and when I return it should be back to business as usual in the new and improved Dolce Vita.
Finished the night with a dinner of samgyapsal and bulgogi at Don Valley with Dan and his wife.
And yes, by the end of the day I was feeling no pain.
I hope you like the change here at LTG.
Yes, I’m talking about the new masthead design. And yes, that was the change I mentioned was coming a couple of weeks ago. Not anything major like some of you speculated perhaps, but after nearly 5 years I thought it was time for a new look. I always envied the K-blogs with a cool Korea photograph as their masthead. It just seems appropriate somehow. So, when I saw this photograph:
I thought “hey, that would make a great masthead for my blog!” If I am not mistaken, this bridge is called Hangang Taegyo (The Great Han River Bridge). Originally built in 1917 and destroyed in the early days of the Korean War. Rebuilt in 1958. It is certainly not the most impressive bridge crossing the river, but there is an understated class and elegance about it, don’t you think? Like an aging movie queen who maintains her dignity and grace. Eh, I think that might be a tad over the top. I just like the photo ok?
The photographer, Dave New, is a guy I’ve played darts with for years and in fact we will be teammates this season on the Rubbies. He is *almost* as good at darts as he is with the camera. Check out his impressive work here. Thanks again Dave for allowing me to use your photograph!
So, what do you think about my new look?
For your consideration:
Senator Barbara “don’t call me ma’am” Boxer.
Congressional aide Elizabeth “don’t call me Liz” Becton.
VP spouse Jill “call me Dr.” Biden.
Meanwhile, Rome is burning.
I understand that there’s a saying in Texas something along the lines of “big hat, no cattle”.
Hey, if the name fits…
UPDATE: Gomer Pyle weighs in…
I came across this defense of JRR Tolkien and his work and found it quite fascinating.
I’m a big fan myself, having first read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy as a teenager. And many times since. Including out loud to someone, which is a whole ‘nother to get into the story BTW.
After reading the books the first time me and my buddy Rod Headlee got it into our minds that we should have a Bilbo-like adventure as well. So we hitchhiked across the Pacific Northwest. Visited the 1974 Spokane World’s Fair and had an amazing time in Big Sky Montana. That was also the trip where I was not allowed to enter Canada. And I’ve never been back.
Assuming you like this sort of thing. I do. Sue me.
1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, ‘No change yet.’
17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
18. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
19. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
20. A backward poet writes inverse.
21. In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
22. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
23. Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects.
But I surely do miss the competition from our Monday league matches. Looking forward to the new season which kicks off July 13. Which is good timing because I will be spending 10 days in Bali June 29-July 9.
Until I start my new career as a Rubbie, I will whet my darts appetite with tourneys here and there. We did a little “between the seasons” tournament last night at Bless U Pub. I partnered up with a Filipino guy named Norman. Hadn’t seen him throw before but he is quite a good darter. We managed a second place finish, behind Chris B. and Dave New. Some nice matches to get us there and it was a good time.
Saturday we are having an “international tourney” at Dolce. The concept is you partner up with someone from your home country and play for national pride. I’m throwing with COL Dan and although we likely won’t be the top ranked players, if we throw like we are capable of I like our chances. I expect strong competition from the Korean, Canadian, Filipino, and British entrants. Bottom line, it’s something a little different and it’s darts.
As you might have surmised from this post, it seems there is not much more to life for me than darts these days. Hell, it could be worse. And has been.
Friday night I attended the U.S. Army Birthday Ball in celebration of the Army’s founding 234 years ago today. You can read all about that glorious history here.
This was my first time attending an event of this nature, and it was pretty cool. All the military folks dressed out in their formal uniforms and the civilian contingent in our tuxedos. I had my tux tailor made three years ago for my last formal event, the Commader’s Mess. I didn’t need a scale to tell me I’ve gained a few pounds since then. So, it will be back to the tailor for some alterations before my next ball!
Anyway, the event was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul. A great venue and convienent as well. We started with a cocktail hour where I mingled with the brass, which was my real motivation for attending. You know, showing “the flag” and demonstrating that our civilian workforce is part of the formation and supportive of our brothers and sisters in arms and all that.
Then the signal was given to enter the dining hall and we all took our assigned seats. Now, if I had known better I would have arranged to get assigned to sit with some folks I actually know. Instead I was seated with some Korean civilians there to show support. Which is all good, but we didn’t have much dinner conversation if you know what I mean.
I never had the privalage to serve in the military, but I never fail to be impressed with the traditions and pomp and circumstance. We began with the presentation of colors, singing of the ROK and USA national anthems, and assorted toasts. Then something I had never seen but found fascinating to witness was the placement of campaign streamers on the Army flag. Army streamers ave been awarded for participation in the various wars and military engagements throughout the Army’s history. The had soldiers dressed in period uniforms solemnly presenting each streamer from that era to be attached to the Army flag. Good stuff, and a reminder of the debt we owe those who have served honorably in defense of our nation. Here’s what the flag looks like with streamers:
We then sang the Army song, which I always enjoy:
Oh, I met a traditional Korean woman at the event and she even consented to have her photo taken with me. She didn’t have much to say however.
I guess you could call that a good night. Happy Birthday to the U.S. Army!
UPDATE: The movie Jenn and I were trying to remember is Final Destination. and yeah, it’s a lot like that.
Places I Go
John McCrarey: That's the plan. It