Took a (rather long) trip up to Tahoe National Forest yesterday with Sarge's friend Bridge. We did some shooting for a while... really think I would rather get a carbine first, instead of a handgun, if I had the $. Too bad I live in California.
I wouldn't mind having a ranch in Lodi or in the Sacramento area. Beats living in the Bay Area.
flickr: A U.S. Army soldier with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, aims his M4 carbine over a wall while securing an open field in Char Shaka, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on April 27, 2011. DoD photo by Spc. Jacob Warren, U.S. Army.
Sarge is in town; he'll be here for a week. It's going to be a busy 7 days. Tomorrow and Friday we are visiting some of his army buddies. Ordination on Saturday, niece's baptism plus a first Mass on Sunday.
After I picked him up at the shrine this afternoon, we dropped by Costco for a quick bite. Then we headed off to SF -- first stop was at the bookstore at Holy Virgin Cathedral. (Sarge saw Mystic Monk Coffee for sale there.) Then Japantown, for a rest stop and a quick visit to Kinokuniya. We then proceeded to the primary target, the TAD store in Hayes Valley. I may be too stocky to look good in some clothes... A quick walk around Civic Center before dinner at Cafe Salina in Millbrae. Beef Chow Fun -- the thin rice noodles (like in pad thai), not enough salt/taste. The salt and spicy pork was good.
What does the general think of today's army? He has an opinion about the repeal of the so-called 'DADT.'
If we expect national institutions to reflect the country in which they are found, then it should be no surprise that the U.S. army is beset by credentialism, the bureaucratic mindset and career bureaucrats, profiteers, and ideological fads. The high-ranking officers bow to the elites, in the name of the military being under civilian control. Social engineering? Arguably it's been around for a while, ever since we began the transition from being a federation of republics to a unitary nation-state? Then there is the replacement of state militias with a standing army drawing volunteers from all over. The Union Army ceased being a republican institution long ago, despite the myth of the citizen-soldier of World War 2.
Affability is a virtue, but today I really felt like a grinning moron in the morning, because the exterior didn't reflect or signal anything interior. I can't say that I was really happy just to see some people, even some of the students. The dissonance did make me wonder if it is not affability but a defense mechanism, a shield to disguise awkwardness. What about the stiff upper lip of not broadcasting one's pain or sadness? Stoic reserve does come in handy, and one does not unburden one's self on strangers.