2 and out

That’s what I did in the mid-season singles tourney Saturday… Losing to Dennis 0-2 and Lucky 1-2.  I guess the pinoys had it in for me or something.  Actually, I wasn’t throwing particularly well and I compounded that by making mental mistakes in both matches (throwing at a closed number for points. Duh!).  Well, my head obviously wasn’t in it for some reason.

Dolce dedicated the Friday night tourney as a celebration of my birthday.  Folks brought along some food and the sweet corn-on-the-cob was to die for.  I took a 1st and a 2nd place, but that can be attributed to my quality partners (Alastair and Seung Youb) more than to me.  Still, I had a great time.  Thanks everyone!

Last night was the draft for Fantasy Football League.  This is kinda a rebuilding year for me, but I was pretty satisfied with the outcome:

QB-Drew Brees/David Garrard

RB-Brandon Jacobs/Darren McFadden/Ray Rice

WR-Roddy White/Eddie Royal/Devin Hester/Donnie Avery

TE-Dustin Keller/Jeremy Shockey

K-Stephen Gostkowski

Team Defense-NY Giants

I think I should be competitive, so let the games begin!

Today is a military training day (basically a break for the soldiers after completion of the exercise) and a liberal leave day for civilians.  Which I’ve taken advantage of for a lazy day at home.

Darts tonight at Bless U against my former team, the Blue Bulls.

And that’s the way it is.


Busy weekend coming

Had a nice small B-day gathering at the house yesterday.  54 balloons which looked like a lot.  But ya know, it’s only my body that getting older.

Friday night darts are on tap tonight at Dolce Vita.  It’s been designated as my birthday tourney, which means if tradition holds I won’t be winning.  I might cop a free beer or three out of it though, we’ll see.

Saturday we have our mid-season doubles tournament at Bless U.  It’s in the A-B/C-D split format again, and that seemed to work out well last season.  C/D division will be held at Sam Ryan’s.

And Sunday is draft day for fantasy football.  After an embarassing season last year, I have done my homework and have high expectations for putting together a competitive team this time around.

And oh yeah, 364 days until I reach retirement eligibility.  Not that I’m counting.

Bless U Pub

Ok, time for another in the “dart bars of Itaewon” series.  This week, Bless U Pub.


Bless U is located about 20 yards up the alley from Dolce Vita.  From the Hamilton Hotel, you’d walk towards the Itaewon arch, at the first traffic signal (a pedestrian crosswalk) you turn right, head up the alley and it’s on your left.

I really like this bar and spend more time here than I do anywhere else outside my home bar Dolce Vita.  As regular readers know, I played out of here last season with the Blue Bulls.  It’s a comfortable place, good and friendly service, frosty beer mugs, and a nice menu of well prepared western and Asian dishes.


The bar sports 3 darts boards, although these two are the only ones really worth a damn (the third board is crowded and poorly lit).  That’s Alisteir the Scot warming up in preparation for the hurting he was about to put on us Monday night.


Another view of the boards.  I’m included because John Rule, one of my faithful readers here at LTG, insisted I should be in one of the dart bar reviews.  I do cut a handsome figure, I must admit.  (oops, there goes my credibility!)


The bar area is a tad small, but comfortable.  That’s Kevin Glover bellyin’ up.


The bar also hosts a regulation pool table and two teams in the pool league.  They have a team chant in the pool league that goes “1-2-3-bless u, achoo!” which seems a little bit out of order when you think about it.  Us dart leaguers don’t go in for much of that chanting stuff, becuase as everyone knows, darts is a much more dignified sport.  Heh.  That’s Jay Waddell of Cake Mix fame doing his pregame warm-up routine.


As I mentioned, Bless U has good food and it is one of the few bars I actually eat at before a league match.  Monday I had a hankering for the famous Bless U burger and was not disappointed.  Yum!

So, I do enjoy the bar and it is a nice place to play.  They host two “A” division teams and a couple of more in the lower divisions.  My major complaints are that board one encounters a lot of bar traffic and chalking from behind the oche is a bit of a pain in the ass.  Board two is ok when the pool table is closed (as it is on league night), but I don’t like the oche which is not centered on the board properly (at least the oche with the measurements on it is not, they realigned the boards and now a strip of tape serves as the oche).  As mentioned, board 3 pretty much sucks, but this season the lower divisions play that board, so no problem (or excuse) in “A” division.

Although Bless U can’t meet the high standards set by Sam Ryan’s and Dolce Vita, it’s a fun and welcoming venue.  A solid B grade for Bless U Pub as a darts venue.

Dave New’s last hurrah


No, he didn’t die or anything that dramatic, but this chapter of his life in Korea has drawn to a close.  As Dave says, his 12+ years here were a nice run.

As is our tradition, we honored Dave with a going away darts tournament.  And did not let him win it (I think that would be back luck or something).  I can attest to the fact that it was a good time and Dave had many friends and well-wishers present from both his darting and photography worlds. 


Dave holding court with some of his buds..


It was good to see Jeese, his wife Kyung Mi and Grant out for the festivaties.


And of course two of my favorite Canucks of the female persuasion, Margaret and Becky.  You know, I don’t know if my fat fingers are blocking the flash or what.  Anyway, sorry for the poor quality of these shots.


Dave and Alisteir the Scot talking over darts strategy.  Hell, I don’t know what the really really discussing, but its a nice lead-in for this “incident” that occurred  during the tourney.

So, to begin, Alisteir is currently the top ranked player in SIDL, and deservedly so.  But his cricket strategy is considered by most somewhat unorthodox.  I mean, obviously it works for him but he catches a fair amount of flack about it.  An example was during our first meeting on Saturday.

Here’s the situation:  I had foolishly left 20s open by throwing a 2 mark.  My partner had closed 19s, so when Alisteir stepped up to the oche they had 20s closed and zero 19s.  His first dart was at the 20 for points which is a smart dart.  He hit a triple which is all the better.  His next dart was another triple 20, which gave them a 120 point lead.  Alisteir’s third dart was another triple 20–a ton-80 for points.

Ok, I was somewhat irked, maybe even a bit miffed, and perhaps a little peeved at this turn of events.  As much at myself for leaving 20s open to begin with as I was at Alisteir for rubbing my nose in it.  Conventional wisdom would be to take one dart for points and then work the open 19.  But that’s not the way Alisteir plays, and he made the point afterwards that when he’s on a number, he prefers to stay there.

Well, my partner and I fought back the best we could and closed the gap, but that 180 points proved to be insurmountable.  So, we exchanged some words after the match and I made some comments that were clearly out of line, because I took it personal.  Alisteir correctly noted that he plays that way against everyone and if anything I should take it as a sign of respect.  He pointed out that I’m the only one who’s swept him 3-0 in a league match.  He was right of course, and I apologized.  I don’t agree with his strategy, but if you fail to close a number, you are responsible for the consequences.  Anyway, I don’t usually let emotions flare up like that and I felt bad about it afterwards.  I certainly bear no grudge and hope Alisteir does not as well.

Anyway, the night was all about Dave anyway and I did have a good time.  Even took a second place in the follow-up tourney (losing out again to Alisteir, but there is no shame in that).

Dave will certainly not be forgotten:


This wall at Dolce Vita is devoted to photographs Dave took of some of Dolce’s regulars.  To really appreciate his talent with the camera, go here.

I guess his cake expresses the sentiments we all feel as Dave moves on to new challenges:


Farewell and good luck.  Hope our paths cross again someday.

A tough loss

Monday night we faced the league leading boys from Cake Mix at Bless U Pub.  We fought hard but came up short, losing 19-18.  Alisteir the Scot was en fuego and it seems his teammates are all working hard at keeping up with his game.  Each leg was a battle that’s for sure.

I had a decent night in singles with a 5-1 showing and a few marks.  It was good to have some game after my recent lackluster efforts.  I couldn’t carry it forward in doubles, and I take the blame for losing a leg in ’01 that included a Ton-80 by my partner Rod.  When you are playing a quality team like Cake Mix you better hit the out on your first try.

Hated to have our departing teammate Dave New take a loss in his last match as a Rubbie.  He had the misfortune to run into the buzzsaw of Alisteir, but in truth, he was probably the only one of us who could keep it close with the best player in SIDL.

So, we will carry on of course, but the Rubbies just won’t be the same without Dave and his killer 50 gram darts.


L-R Jamie, Rod, Me, Jessie, Dave and Tom

The bus trip from hell?


Or seeing as I took this photo in Itaewon, maybe it’s a tour group headed for “hooker hill”.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I had a strange past few days and my mindset wasn’t conducive to blogging.  I do appreciate y’all keeping things lively in the comment section during my absence.

And Duke, it is too early to tell me happy birthday but not too late for me to wish you one!  At least on USA time.  So, hope you have a great day.

More to come.

PS.  If your life goes into the crapper, it is nice to have one of these around:


I do dearly love my trusty bidet.  Always warm and gentle.  You can rely on it.

Yes, I know how pathetic that sounds.

Cash for Codgers and Life’s a Bitch

A couple treats in the comments today.

From Fortuneate:

Democrats, realizing the success of the President’s “Cash For Clunkers”
rebate program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care

President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this
major announcement at a joint news conference later this week. I have
obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named….

“CASH FOR CODGERS” and it works like this… Couples wishing to access
health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child will be
required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them
will be fixed according to a sliding scale. Older and more prescription
dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.

Special “Bonuses” will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted
groups, such as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their
government prescribed weight, and any member of the Republican Party.

Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried
foods, potato chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussel
sprouts, or Girl Scout Cookies.

All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection. This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to keep other codgers in repair. You heard it hear first…

And from VJ:

engrish funny summer festival
see more Engrish” />

“Our Father, who art in Washington…”

Althouse has an excellent post this morning regarding Obama’s efforts to invoke a religious obligation to support health care reform.  As she frames it: “government as religion”. Pretty scary stuff actually.

President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.

“I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system.

So, now opponents of Obamacare are not just an angry mob of un-American bigots, we have also transgressed the 9th Commandment (or 8th if your Catholic).   All I can say in response is “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.  Or maybe take the log from your own eye.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation. That is that we look out for one other, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. And in the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.

Yikes.  As Althouse notes, Obama is not his own brother’s keeper (he lives in poverty in Kenya), so this is about the government being “Big Brother”.  Shades of Orwell anyone?

And perhaps scariest of all:

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death,” Obama said, according to [Rabbi Jack] Moline (paging Sarah Palin…), quoting from the Rosh Hashanah prayer that says that in the holiday period, it is decided “who shall live and who shall die.”

Ok then.  I guess I choose to be a sacrafice on the alter of Obama. 

Heaven help us all.

No More War!

When was the last time you heard that being chanted by angry un-American mobs fervant anti-war protesters?

Seriously, where did the anti-war movement go?  We are still 130,000 strong in Iraq and we are ramping up in Afghanistan.  Where is the moral outrage, the rightgeous indignation?  Oh, there is a Democrat in office, never mind.  War is cool.  Bryan York in the Washington Examiner is asking the same thing:

Remember the anti-war movement? Not too long ago, the Democratic party’s most loyal voters passionately opposed the war in Iraq. Democratic presidential candidates argued over who would withdraw American troops the quickest. Netroots activists regularly denounced President George W. Bush, and sometimes the U.S. military (“General Betray Us”). Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, became a heroine when she led protests at Bush’s Texas ranch.

That was then. Now, even though the United States still has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, and is quickly escalating the war in Afghanistan — 68,000 troops there by the end of this year, and possibly more in 2010 — anti-war voices on the Left have fallen silent.

No group was more angrily opposed to the war in Iraq than the netroots activists clustered around the left-wing Web site DailyKos. It’s an influential site, one of the biggest on the Web, and in the Bush years many of its devotees took an active role in raising money and campaigning for anti-war candidates.

Read the whole thing.

Hollywood Grill

Seeing as how our league match was postponed yesterday it gave me the chance to visit a bar I haven’t been to for quite some time.  And of course I snapped some photos for the Dart Bars of Itaewon series.  So this week I present Hollywood Grill.


Hollywood is located on the main drag of Itaewon, about half a block “up” (towards Hannam-dong) from the Hamilton Hotel.  It’s on the 3rd floor, upstairs from Kraze Burger and La Tavola.


Hollywood features two dart boards, although you would have to rearrange some furniture to comfortably play the board on the right of this photo.  I’ve not actually thrown at Hollywood since my “B” Division days, but back then it was not a great place to play.  From my observation, not much has changed.  There is an aircon unit next to oche on the far board (which is what we played in those days).  Some darters complained about the breeze created by the airconditioner, others didn’t like throwing with cold, numb hands.  What I hated most was the lighting.  Not that great to begin with, but the fixtures where almost on top of the board and shooting for the double top (20) was sometimes an adventure as it seemed you were as likely to hit the light as the board.  I note they have definitely improved the lighting in that regard, which is a plus.

But note how there is some shelf like thing directly above the boards.  I don’t remember that from before and it certainly creates the same type problem.  You can see from the damage that many darters have been missing “high”, but with this setup, it doesn’t take much of a miss to be in the wood.


As I don’t frequent this bar at all these days, I can’t say much about what attracts the customers.  I surmise from the football jerseys and banners (that would be soccer for you Yanks) and the numerous TV monitors, they must be big on sports.  To the left of the above photo you can see a pretty impressive collection of wines.  So, I guess there’s that.  I also understand they show Hollywood films on Sundays.


This is the front half of the bar area.  The bar arcs around to form a full half circle, so there is ample bar seating.  On the other side of the bar is a regulation pool table.

Overall, I’d say this a pretty comfortable place to quaff some brews and watch sports and movies.  As a dart venue, not so much.  I believe Hollywood only hosts a “C” division team this year, and I guess the setup is adequate for that.  I’d rate this bar a C- for competitive darts.

Having some free time on my hands on a Monday night, I indulged in a little norebang…


I look better than I sound, if that gives you any indication of my singing ability…


So, in other news…

Found out Monday night that the best player on my dart team, great photographer (see my masthead), and one of the good guys, will likely be leaving Korea soon.  He’s a contractor with a company whose contract was not renewed, so after 12 years in Korea it appears he will be moving on.  He’s got an offer in DC already and interviews in Germany, so he’ll do fine.  But Dave will definitely be missed in these parts.

Watched a downer of a movie Tuesday night called Two Weeks.  It was about how the siblings dealt with the final two weeks of their cancer-stricken mother’s life.  Sally Field played the mother and gave an outstanding performance.  But the film pulled no punches and it was just plain ass sad.   Made me think of my friend Linda’s final days and what Kevin of Kevin’s Walk is dealing with now.  Mortality bites, that’s for sure.

Darts on Wednesday at Dolce.  Just for fun and practice.  Good turnout though.

Thursday I watched an old Robert Altman film called Short Cuts.  I hadn’t remembered seeing it before (it was released in 1993), but it was all vaguely familiar and by the end I knew what was coming.  Still, it was well made with an all-star cast (before they were stars) and if you ever wanted to see Julianne Moore naked, this film is your chance.  Damn it was long (over 3 hours) but it was good nonetheless.

Friday was Dolce Vita again for the dart tourney.  I managed to take first place money twice, so there was that.  I am still not all the way back to form, especially on the bull shots, but as I said previously, I’ve decided to let it be.  I would love to be a great darts player, and I will continue to work at it.  But truth be told, I’m a good player who occasionally plays great.  Nothing wrong with that.

Saturday was just be lazy, which is something I am great at (see, practice can pay off!).  Sat on my ass most of the day playing CIV IV: Beyond the Sword.  It’s a new (for me) version of the game with a few new wrinkles and lots more civilizations.  You know, my first 3 or 4 plays I couldn’t be beat and had my highest CIV scores ever (including one of 20,000 points).  I thought I was ready to move up to the next difficulty level but have subsequently had my ass kicked like 10 times in a row.   No comprende.

I had an interesting experience at the gas station saturday.  My gas tank door wouldn’t open.  Screwed around with it for ten minutes or so, but without someone to push the release while some other hands were prying the damn open, it was hopeless.  Took it to the nearby auto care place and together we popped it open.  Spayed on some WD-40 and tested it a few times and it seems to be working again.  Gassed up, so I won’t have to worry about it again for a month or so.

Had some Korean friends over last night and grilled up some ribeyes.  One of them said (through an interpreter) that he had seen American movies with folks barbaqueing and he had always wondered what that was like and he thanked me for “making his dream come true”.  Heh.  My pleasure.  I must admit the steaks came out pretty good this time.

No darts tonight.  We are missing two team members because of the exercise, so we had to reschedule.  I’ll probably go out and take some photos for the dart bars series in lieu of playing.

And there you have a slice from my pie…