The best eulogy ever

One of my favorite writers, Pat Conroy, pays tribute to his father, Colonel Don Conroy, aka The Great Santini.  Y’all really need to read the whole thing, but here’s the part that pertains to his service in Korea:

Let me give you my father the warrior in full battle array. The Great Santini is catapulted off the deck of the aircraft carrier, Sicily. His Black Sheep squadron is the first to reach the Korean Theater and American ground troops had been getting torn up by North Korean regulars. Let me do it in his voice: “We didn’t even have a map of Korea. Not zip. We just headed toward the sound of artillery firing along the Naktong River. They told us to keep the North Koreans on their side of the Naktong. Air power hadn’t been a factor until we got there that day. I radioed to Bill Lundin. I was his wingman. ‘There they are. Let’s go get’em.’ So we did.”

I was interviewing Dad so I asked, “how do you know you got them?” “Easy,” The Great Santini said. “They were running – it’s a good sign when you see the enemy running. There was another good sign.”

“What was that, Dad?” “They were on fire.”

This is the world in which my father lived deeply. I had no knowledge of it as a child. When I was writing the book The Great Santini, they told me at Headquarters Marines that Don Conroy was at one time one of the most decorated aviators in the Marine Corps. I did not know he had won a single medal. When his children gathered together to write his obituary, not one of us knew of any medal he had won, but he had won a slew of them.

When he flew back toward the carrier that day, he received a call from an Army Colonel on the ground who had witnessed the route of the North Koreans across the river. “Could you go pass over the troops fifty miles south of here? They’ve been catching hell for a week or more. It’d do them good to know you flyboys are around.” He flew those fifty miles and came over a mountain and saw a thousand troops lumbered down in foxholes. He and Bill Lundin went in low so these troops could read the insignias and know the American aviators had entered the fray. My father said, “Thousands of guys came screaming out of their foxholes, son. It sounded like a world series game. I got goose pimples in the cockpit. Get goose pimples telling it forty-eight years later. I dipped my wings, waved to the guys. The roar they let out. I hear it now. I hear it now.”

Here’s hoping that America will always find “a few good men” like Don Conroy when she needs them.

The truth will set you free…

Man, I wish I’d written this:

But it wasn’t only liberal illogic that caused me to dump the whole program—much of it had to do with gradual changes in liberal attitudes and behavior. I’m old enough to remember when liberals were free-speech absolutists and conservatives tended to be the book-burners. But historical forces can blur, erase, and often invert party lines.

Over the years, I watched as liberals slowly became the group most likely to flat-out refuse discussing certain topics and answering certain questions, their purportedly “open” minds snapping shut like a giant clam. They became the group most likely to try and silence their opponents by shouting them down, defaming them, assaulting them, and even urging legislation to ban the use and expression of certain terms and sentiments. They became the group most disposed toward emotional appeals, double standards, wishful thinking, and wretchedly malodorous sanctimony.

Read the whole thing.  It’s good.

Hat Tip: Spleenville.

UPDATE:  I actually found the above on a blog a rarely read these days.  Following some links on even less frequently read blogs I came across this:

The book’s French cancellation is, I realize, a rather small cultural event. Yet it gives specific color to the recent revelations on the Daily Caller website that left-wing journalists conspired to suppress scandals that might harm Barack Obama and to the brouhaha over Breitbart’s online release of a video that resulted in a government worker’s momentarily losing her job. In both stories, one thing leaps out at me: everywhere, the Left favors fewer voices and less information, and conservatives favor more. Everywhere, the Left seeks to disappear its opposition, whereas the Right is willing to meet them head-on.

Take the e-mails that the Daily Caller obtained from the now-defunct lefty Web service Journolist. Never mind the personal or psychological implications of a radio producer who lovingly imagines Rush Limbaugh’s death or a law professor who doesn’t know that the FCC has no power to deprive Fox News of a license or a reporter who wants to smear Fred Barnes and other right-wing commentators as racist in order to distract the public from the hateful radicalism of Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor. The point is not these people’s animus or ignorance or wickedness. The point is that what they desired was not victory in open debate but silence—the silence of censorship, intimidation, or the grave.

When has Rush Limbaugh ever wished a liberal’s mouth closed forever? Really, who can deny that Rush would happily argue a point with absolutely anyone anywhere? When has Fox News ever done anything to its rival cable stations but trounce them in a free competition for ratings? When has Fred Barnes ever tried to bully or intimidate someone into shutting up?

But wait, on yet a third blog, I found this:

Progressivism offers — rather, promises: less freedom; less mobility; less prosperity; less comfort; less autonomy and sovereignty for individuals; less integrity and straightforwardness; less transparency among the ruling class, oversight of their capricious usurpations, and recourse to address the wrongs they encourage; less satisfaction in life; less self-respect and dignity; less of everything that makes life living, in sum.

But there are in fact some things they offer us more of: more government; more taxation; more overweening bureaucracy to exercise more control over our lives; more intolerance for differing ideas; more restriction; more strangulation.

Wow.  I’ve been saying this for the longest time…liberal, progressive, whatever you call it, is in fact just the opposite of what those terms have historically meant.  I am still the liberal here.  The rest of you have gone mad…

Back on the oche again

Opening night of the new dart season kicked off last night.  It was good to be playing again and especially nice to rejoin my old team Take It Easy.  Although we were defeated by 3 Alley Pub 16-9, it was a fun and competitive evening.  It’s been awhile since I could say that.

It’s all good

No worries, just limited access to the internet here in Subic.  Something is wrong with my wireless on the laptop.  Pain in the ass to come down here and use the computer in the hotel lobby.

Anyway, I am a tad disconcerted right now but I’m going to see it through and wait until I get back home to decide what the hell to do.

But I’m good.


Filipino style.

Ate dinner at Tequila Reef in AC and was more than satisfied with the quality and quantity of my platter.  Shredded beef taco, shredded beef enchilada and chicken enchilada, plus beans and rice.  Set me back 360 pesos, or about $7.50.


Definitely the best Mexican I have experienced since leaving the USA.

Into the great wide open

Open air darts that is.  Spent some pleasant hours yesterday at the Blue Boar Inn chucking darts in the upstairs open air dart bar.  The temp was hotter than my darts, which actually doesn’t say much because the same statement would be true if it were December in Alaska.  But actually I played alright.

The proprietor of the Blue Boar is Jimmy Dale, who is known around town as Harry the Horse.  You can read his monthly newsletter here if you are so inclined.  Great guy and enjoys the game of darts.  Even invited me to play on his team.  Which I might consider if I’m willing to make a weekly trip down from Subic.  We’ll see…


Jimmy and his upstairs open air dart bar at the Blue Boar…


We played a nice 9 leg set (cricket, 301 DIDO, and 501) of which I managed to eek out a 5-4 victory.  Then he called in an Aussie teammate who put a pretty good ass-whuppin on me.  I had a great time though.

Takin’ care of business…

…and workin’ overtime.

Well, not really.  But I am getting some things done.  Had a good meeting with the Special Resident Retirement Visa (SSRV) representative and came away with a whole new list of things to be done.  Some I can do now, others will have to wait until I return in September.

Right now I’m fixin’ to head over to the medical clinic for the exam required for all SSRV applicants.  Then I’ll go to the mall and have 14 2×2 photographs made of my handsome mug.  12 for the SSRV, and two for the bank.  I need to open a Philippine bank account in order to make the required SSRV deposit.

Anyway, I’m getting about by the most common* means of transport in the Philippines (and my least favorite)–the trike.


This is my happy driver from yesterday, anticipating charging me the foreigner tax for a short ride (about twice the fare he could get away with for a local).  Ah well, we’re talkin’ the difference between 50 cents and a dollar here, so I don’t sweat it.  My problem is folding my oversized body into the sidecar.  It ain’t pretty or comfortable, trust me on that!

*I guess the Jeepney might be the most popular means of mass transit, but the trike takes the place of taxi’s, generally.  Although taxi do exist, just not so much in AC.

In the Philippines…

I arrived safely and without incident at midnight.  Drank some SML’s and went to bed.  Woke up, ate, exchanged some dollars for pesos, walked to the mall, bought a cell phone (Samsung!), walked back to the room, and now I’m posting this play by play account of my exciting trip.  Next I’m going to take a trike to the Perimeter road area and meet with the SSRV (retirement visa) counselor.

Needless to say, it has been an outstanding trip thus far!

One of the highlights occurred on the bus to the Airport.  I just love some of the English naming conventions adopted by Korean businesses, both large and small.  Like this:


Perhaps their motto is “we take the convenience out of convenience store”.

At the mall today I was reminded that wherever you go in the world, you are never far from Korea.


More great stuff like this to follow…

I’m off to see the wizard…

…the wonderful wizard of immigration for the Republic of the Philippines.  Among other things.

10 days of adventure in AC, Subic/Olongapo, and Manila.  If you call house hunting and dealing with bureaucrats an adventure. 

Well, it won’t be all work.  I’m taking my darts and looking forward to quaffing a couple a few San Miguel Lights along the way…

I’m taking along the camera, so chances are you’ll see some photographic evidence of the trip here at LTG soon enough.

See y’all on the other side.


I fought the law…

…and the law won.  Don’t it always?

My first traffic infraction in nearly six years in Korea.  And my last ticket before that was back in 2000.  It seems that one of the ubiquitous traffic cameras caught me doing 76 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.  Actually, I don’t tend to be a lead foot driver.  I’m guessing this occurred during the transition from a 80 km/h speed limit.  Yep, the age old speed trap appears to be a global phenomenon.

It appears flaunting the law is going to set me back 70,000 won.  

“It’s a contraction, not a possessive”

So says Glenn Reynolds regarding Obama’s Katrina.  Hard to argue the fact that there seems to be one common denominator to the problems we are facing in America these days.

Well, according to Bill Press, the problem is not Obama.  The problem is Americans.

I think this says more about the American people than it does about President Obama. I think it just shows once again that the American people are spoiled. Basically, spoiled– as a people, we are too critical. We are quick to rush to judgment, we are too negative, we are too impatient. Especially impatient. We want it all solved yesterday, and if you don’t, I don’t care who you are — get out of the way.

And again, basically spoiled. To the point where it makes me wonder if it’s even possible to govern today. I gotta tell you, I don’t think Abraham Lincoln — who certainly didn’t get everything right the first time — could govern today. I’m not sure Franklin Roosevelt could govern today, the way we are again. Just about like spoiled children. And it’s Americans, and it’s the media, and if we don’t get instant gratification, then screw you is basically our attitude.

Well, ok then.  I’m spoiled for wanting competent leadership.  Mianhamneeda.

Then again, Charles Krauthammer takes a look at the man behind the curtain and finds an empty suit.   All I can say in response is: Krauthammer, grow up and stop acting like a spoiled child!”

And pass me some more of that Kool-Aid.

What made me what I am today?

Hell if I know, but looking back at these old advertisements I’m just wondering why I am even alive…


See, it is probably not my fault I love beer so much, I might have been raised on it…


…and maybe this explains my cravings for Diet Coke…


Well, thanks to the Internets I can now download all my favorite TV shows and watch them continuously without commerical interruption.  Thanks Mom!


Hmmm, coincidentally or not, Mom quit smoking right about the time I moved out of the house…

Hey, as Sawyer Brown said:

I’ve got to thank momma for the cookin’

Daddy for the whoopin’

The devil for the trouble that I get into

I’ve got to give credit where credit is due–

I thank the bank for the money,

Thank God for you!


Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, gave a commencement address at Princeton that I found moving.  Perhaps you will too.  The talk was entitled “We are what we choose” and one of the points he makes is that it is easier to be clever than kind. He concluded his remarks with:

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

Go read the rest, it is well worth your time.

Sorry about that

I’ve kinda fallen off the posting wagon of late here, haven’t I?  Not to make excuses (as I proceed to do so) but I’ve just been a tad out of sorts here of late.  When the going gets overwhelming, my tendency is retreat into numbing mindlessness.

So these past several days have found me escaping into the world of CIV IV (and doing pretty well, thank you) and watching countless espisodes of House (I’m halfway through season six now!). 

That hasn’t left much time for the blog.  But what’s to write anyway?  Politics is not exactly a bore, but I find it increasingly difficult to watch Obama and his team of clowns and fools systematically deconstruct everything that once made America great.  Which is not to say that politics is not in the future here at LTG, but I’m waiting for something inspiring.  Hey, maybe the elections in November will bring good cheer…

But really, I think it is my impending retirement and move to the Philippines that has put me off my game.  I have a great job and the career has been so much more than I ever imagined possible.  Lucky I have been!  Still, I do know it is time to let go and do something else (or nothing at all) for awhile.  I just don’t have the passion for it anymore.  I think this passionlessness is most notably manifested in my escalating inability to tolerate bullshit.  And trust me, working for the government is the Kingdom of Bovine Excrement.  Although I will miss the people and the security of a well paid position of responsibility, I can let go and move on.  I really can.

So, moving on means moving on to the Philippines.  But oddly enough, I can’t seem to generate as much excitement for the reality of that proposition as I could for the dream.  I’m not exactly sure why that is and that fact has created a sense of foreboding and dissonance of late.

Well, there I’ve said it out aloud.  And no, I don’t feel particularly better for having done so.  The fact is I have built a very nice life for myself here in Korea.  As the days dwindle down I’m realizing just how much I’m going to miss living here amongst the friends I have made.  So, there’s that.

I’m going to be heading out to the PI on Thursday and will stay for 10 days.  It’s really a business trip.  Taking care of the business of securing a visa, a house to live in, and a sense that I am moving to a place where I belong. 

I told myself I’d give it a year and see what happens.  And that’s what I plan to do.  I’d just prefer that the year feel like time spent in paradise rather than jail. 

It’s a hot day.  And the lake is dark and cold.  It’s a little scary to contemplate jumping in, because the shock of hitting that water is bound to be…what?  Painful?  Perhaps, but once I’m aclimated I expect it will be refreshing.

And if I’m wrong?  Well, I reckon I will just get my ass out of the lake and go look for a hot tub. 

Or something.


(Mt. Pinatubo in Northern Luzon nearby where I expect to be living in September)