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Brian R

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About Brian R

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  1. That was a great movie. I can't remember the source, but Patton's long-suffering wife, Beatrice, once said during one of his frequent depressive episodes between the World Wars, "Men are weak. They are not strong like women." Or something to that effect.
  2. +1 on the Gelato Fiasco. The blueberry crunch and toasted marshmallow s'mores were interesting. But definitely more expensive--$6.99 at Giant, but they have gone on sale before.
  3. Coffee Grinders

    Thanks, that's helpful. I don't have a need for any setting beyond coarse for the french press.
  4. Been awhile since I've seen an episode from that series! It was on YouTube. --- [The one on YouTube has an awful background - see it on Hulu! DR]
  5. You ask the hard questions... My opinion only, and tons of caveats: the plural of anecdote is not data; service members and veterans are, like the rest of the country, are not a monolithic group and are highly diverse in thoughts, feelings, and experiences; etc. Also, I'll point out that I have never spent any time in combat, watching the first Gulf War on CNN (but getting other briefings in the build up. Aside: The Army estimated that 2,500 servicemen would die each day of combat. My flight school group was told that if the combat continued for a couple of months or more, we would be shipped over as pilot replacements without being trained on flying via instruments.) The folks deployed are fighting for you, on behalf of an elected government that has decided military action is the most effective policy. Our wars are our responsibility. The decisions to go to war are too easy, because very few people have "skin the game." In any given action, would you be willing to send your son/daughter/brother/sister? It would have to be for a really good reason, right? Yet we seem to have little problem sending someone else's. Partly this is because we've been very successful (tactically). We win the short battles/campaigns. Partly because of the success of the all-volunteer force. Partly because we have stopped being strategic to use other tools at our disposal, and if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. I would argue that individual actions like tying a yellow ribbon, the constant "thank you for your service", and other actions, are not objectionable in and of themselves. However, they can collectively add up as a societal reaction that substitutes sincere respect for the hard thinking (and work) of why we are sending these folks overseas over and over, and how we take care of them and their families. I can't find the cite, but society pays roughly 4-5 times the cost of an actual war/deployment over decades after it's over. You can Google "please don't thank me for my service" and get a plethora of responses. To quote from one New York Times article: As they say, read the whole thing.
  6. Well, no one planned for Afghanistan and Irag to last ten years. The plan was a quick mobilization, then out. We had "Mission Accomplished", and when that did not work, it was followed by numerous surges and repeats of "the next six months are crucial." With less than three percent of Americans serving, most of the public is removed from the question of war. I would argue we've gone a little too overboard with the admiration (adoration?) of the military, as that has become a substitute for asking the hard questions. And let's face it, we have fewer casualties than with Vietnam, never mind Korea or WWII. So out of sight, out of mind is a factor. My concern is the long term. We are the best military in the world at tactics. We lacked (and still lack) any coherent strategy. "Hope is not a plan." Many vets have raised concerns, and have entered government and elected offices of both parties. The trend traditionally was for military personnel to be neutral. Some of the older officers I knew did not even vote, as that would be partisan. I don't believe that's the case now. Anyway, there's certainly lots to consider going forward....
  7. Coffee Grinders

    Throwing this out to the experts, as I truly have no idea: What is the quality of the grind on manual grinders? Several advertise that they have burr grinders, and are adjustable. They tend to be cheaper than the $200+ electric grinders. They have that old-timey, nostalgic aesthetic, if you are into that. So what are the drawbacks, other than manual work? Is it marketing, and they're actually not as good? Inconsistent grind compared to the quality electrics? For comparative purposes, the type of manual grinder I'm asking about would be similar to the ones from this company, not the grinders that look like traditional pepper mills.
  8. One of the major differences between then and now is the All-Volunteer Force. After Vietnam, General Creighton Adams purposely designed the National Guard and Reserve components to house critical support (and combat) units. This was so if the country ever went to war with the volunteer force, the hometown reservists would also have to be called up making the decision to go to war a harder commitment. Needless to say, we've figured out ways around that. Enlistments can still last 2-4 years, depending, and people still get out. Commissioned active duty officers typically have a four-year commitment, with aviation (because of a year of flight school/officer's course) at six. Two combat tours for career soldiers and officers was normal then. Today, I have several friends who stayed in who were deployed 6-7 times for a year each over 20 years. The strain on the force is immense.
  9. Third the recommendation. I've been coming here for ten years. Great family owned place, consistently good pho. I'd still put Pho 75 as slightly better, but this has been my go to place for ages here. My daughters have been enthusiastic ambassadors with their high school friends and would use this place as a late night (or pre-social night) meet up. My oldest even used the mom and the restaurant in one of her college essays, precisely because she always felt at home there. Standard go-to for takeout when the youngest daughter is sick.
  10. Boxed Wines

    I, too, have been on a quest for good European-style reds, with little success. Online, some have said that Maison Cubi Syrah Carignan is pretty good. I have not tried it, nor have I seen it here locally. I second the La Petite Frog, which has been perfect for when grandmothers visit the house and want a single glass of white. It's also a great go-to wine for cooking/deglazing if I don't have sherry. Not sure if I read it here or elsewhere, but at one point I thought Le Petite Frog was the house wine at the Inn at Little Washington (although I'm not sure that's still the case.) Although not my preferred style, I've found that Big House Red perfectly serviceable for occasions like graduation parties where I have a lot of people who don't care about wine that much, and but will happily go through a box or two.
  11. To Whom Are You Drinking Right Now?

    Aw, man. That was the Star Wars substitute for us kids living in Germany with families that refused to pay $5 for the English language version in the German theaters (versus 25 cents for movies on base). I used to play that theme on the trumpet as a kid.
  12. Virginia - Small Cities and Towns

    Front Royal, Stopped at Blue Wing Frog for a Sunday brunch. This was also mentioned upthread. Interesting place to come to visit. They try to make homemade as much as possible, including ketchup, peanut butter, bread, etc.. Beef for the burgers is local grass fed, etc. Coffee is freshly ground and a pour over, which was really good on a rainy morning. They have an eclectic set of local Virginia and California wines, plus some local ciders, beers, and even a collection of mead (meads?). Most bottles of wine go for $22-24, with the most expensive being $28. I had the the "Death by Pork" sandwich, which was a thick slice of butterflied pork loin stuffed with sausage, sage, and sautéed sweet onions, all wrapped in bacon with a fried egg on top. Interesting concept, and not bad, but not as much sausage/sage flavor that I would have expected. I made the assumption that the "Crispy Garlic Taters" were a form of homemade tater tot, but think more along the lines of large home fries. I would try it out again, and it might be worth grabbing stuff for a picnic. Do NOT expect the preparation to be quick. They are very up front about it, and we did not mind. However, as they advertise themselves as a "Picnic Market and Brew", do not expect to come and and do a quick carryout unless you are ordering pasta salads and bottled beverages.
  13. What Are You Drinking Right Now?

    Dos Maderas 5+5 PX rum on the rocks. Because the cheap wine I had earlier was not enough for the week.
  14. To your first sentence, "I've always assumed that the "correct" stance about torture is, "Make it illegal under all circumstances, and if you do it, be prepared to pay the price if you're caught." I would tend to agree. An essay against torture in all cases can be found here. This also examines the assumptions behind a ticking time bomb scenario. Another interesting article locally about the interrogation of German POW's at Fort Hunt can be found here. Many of the old timers did not approve of today's "enhanced interrogation techniques." To your first question: "So, is Dershowitz right, or not?" I would tend to say no, because he starts with the assumption that since this is wrong, but someone will do it anyway, we need to find a legal means to do it. Society can choose to make anything legal. The Constitution once allowed legal slavery. That did not make it moral. See also, Germany, Third Reich. Everything there was completely legal under German law. To make such an exceptional choice, the action must be effective. The Hersch said it best upthread: Torture is designed to give the torturer what the torturer wants. In that way, it's similar to the corrosive relationship between slave and master, in that this act affects the torturer as well as the tortured. From Thomas Jefferson: Sometimes the morals and principles are not just to protect the victims, but to protect the would-be perpetrators and society at large.
  15. Just wanted to give a shout out to Southern Skies Coffee Roasters. Two employees, including Beto, who is a member of the community here. Ordered a couple of pounds of Costa Rica Tarrazu that I have French-pressed for a few days now and have really enjoyed it. City roast, not overly done. Seems to be the only coffee available right now.
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