War has changed. Cigarettes and girly mags have been replaced by digital media as the commodity of choice. Again, what I am doing is far from what the marines do in a new conflict or army guys on the front lines, so the aforementioned may have maintained their value there. But behind the wire, where power is pretty much constant, thanks to the legions of generators clicking 24/7 in several veritable power-fields around base, laptops are ubiquitous, and the portable hard drives are replete with thousands of movies produced in the past 20 years.
When you are within a minimum security prison, there is not much to do. Excursions involve walking to the BX, working out, and going to eat (and the Cadillacs). So, you end up watching lots of movies. The military encourages this, and even provides several public HDs full of movies. I reckon it is part of the plan to keep the natives from getting restless. If you are not working or working out, they want your eyes on the tube, sedated. And while it is less true in a deployed environs in which the best view stations are procured at the expense of individuals (see Man Cave Part I from March), the military has gone on a wide-screen television Blitzkrieg buying spree back in the states. Again, part of the hypnosis, I gather.
To that end: Once, while preparing for the deployment I was on one of my 27 trips to the comic-ironically named, Readiness office, completing my 3 page scavenger hunt, and I decided that they sure had a lot of TVs down there. I counted 33 people working in the department, and I counted 27 televisions. All of them were larger than 40" or larger. Surely, some of them are necessary for presentations, and whatnot, but 27? I cannot imagine that tax dollars to keep Airman Snuffy and Private Duffy entertained with Oprah while they work is within the best interests of national security.
Anyway, there are a veritable cornucopia of movies available here on HDs. I have seen far too many to count, but I have also read 11 novels. I have not done as well keeping up with my reading in medical journals, but have done more pleasure reading than I have since pre-children. The remainder of my free time not in the gym, writing blogs, or reading is spent keeping up with my beautiful wife and kids. So, the time away from them, while impossibly painful, is passing. I am nearly half-way done with my 6mo, and have caught up on all of the pop-culture (and other) I have missed being a busy physician and father back home. Maybe this will help me to avoid watching my boys roll their eyes when I try to be suave. Actually, probably not.