Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Weekend of Bowling and Fun with friends

Man I am sore from all of this bowling. Friday night, Kristen and I enjoyed dinner with our friends Erik and Audrey at the Downtime Bar and Grill (formerly Mangia’s) in Dinkeytown before heading over to the St. Paul Student Center for some bowling.

From Blog Photos

For those interested in the history of the game and of course Wikipedia’s page on Bowling

Kristen and I have been bowling for a couple of weekends at the SPSC because of the availability of lanes (Unlike Coffman) and the close proximity to Kristen’s apartment, plus the availability of free parking at the Gortner ramp. For most of the games, Kristen beats me giving her the nickname of “the coach”. But because of her coaching, I have been able to improve my game by working on my throw and slowing down resulting in picking up more spares.

Friday night it was packed at the SPSC, but we were able to grab a lane and get through at least one game before Brain and Katrina joined us and we played another before calling it a night around 10:30 PM. I am really glad we had the chance to hang out with our friends and I hope we can do it again soon.

^Here are some photos provided from the KU of the night's activities:

Erik in Motion
From Blog Photos

Watch yourself
From Blog Photos

I believe that was a strike
From Blog Photos

All Smiles at the SPSC

From Blog Photos

Saturday night, my brother Frank and his girlfriend Megan invited us for an “all you can bowl” at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park for their Saturday night Cosmic Rock and Bowl along with our friends Mike and Betsy. We bowled from about 10:00 PM-12:30 AM and got in 3 solid games. In the first game, 4 of my first 5 frames were a strike, and I got a Turkey (3 strikes in a row) in the 5th frame; my final score at the end was 170 probably a new record for the Caboose. However, it was all down hill from there and I didn’t break 100 the rest of the night. Frank and Mike also did well with Frank winning the second game and Mike the third. Kristen had a tough time adjusting to the light and to the differences between the balls at SPSC and Park Tavern but she still had a lot of fun.

Kristen and I had a lot of fun bowling with one another and friends this weekend as well as spending as much time as we could together. We hope we can do it again soon.

A new Definition of National Service

This has been a topic I have been meaning to write about since my return from the strong Welfare States of Scandinavia. While I was there, I met a number of guys my age that had some form of mandatory service in the armed forces of their countries. For example, Halvard, my SUST program director’s assistant, served in the Norwegian Military for 8 months guarding the Royal Family. Another student at the University of Oslo (UIO) served in the Danish Military, and said it was a valuable experience. He had considered going to Afghanistan, but when asked he declined.

Arguments for and against military Conscription aside, I think the United States would benefit from some form of mandatory national service from its citizens. In Norway, it is the form of 6 months-1 year of service in the armed forces or with a non-profit organization or government office for Conscientious objectors. This is for both Men and Women.

I am not suggesting bringing back the dreaded “Draft” of conscripted service into the Army, Navy, or Air Force; I believe these services and the special forces that are associated them: Marines, Navy Seals, The Rangers etc. should remain a volunteer army and highly trained specialized force. However, at the end of the mandatory service, citizens would have the option to pursue professional careers in the armed forces if they desire to.

However, I do think that the National Guard should be refined to as service for the homeland and not be involved in operations abroad (Iraq or Afghanistan). These Citizen/Soldiers as the National Guard often bills itself as, should remain in the United States for purposes of National Defense in the event of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina to prevent events like rapid response teams where left with little to no equipment because their units had been mobilized and deployed to combat zones when they were needed in Louisiana. The National Guard would also assist law enforcement in the event of a Domestic attack or Terrorist attack on the United States. These forces would not be deployed abroad, not even as peace keeping forces.

This would dramatically reduce instances of “Backdoor drafts” or citizens enlisting for assignments that “they didn’t sign on for” as has been heard in the media from members of National Guard units who have encountered heavy amounts of combat in both theaters of the middle east.

Some would argue that institutions already exist too train our young men and women in the realm of national service: The Boy Scouts of America and its counterpart the Girl Scouts of America. However, I personally feel that being a member of the National Guard would have more unifying power of democracy and nation building than service in either of those institutions.

I am interested in others responses to this topic especially from my friend Rory who is currently serving in Iraq and has had many debates about the roles of the US military in the current era with my brother Frank. Check out Rory’s blog: Duty, Honor, and Country .

Some may accuse this post of being socialistic or even communistic in its tone, but maybe that is what the US needs, a return to the era of the New Deal and a belief in the power and responsibility of a government of the people and not an enemy to be feared. I really need to watch V for Vendetta again.