Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Trails

This morning Clare and I dropped her brother off at National Airport for his summer adventure. Andy, aka "Shaggy Sticks," routinely keeps a trail journal, which I have linked to on the left, that is always interesting, invigorating, and inspiring.

Andy has hiked the Appalacian Trail in its entirety, half of the Pacific Crest Trail (he ran out of money) and now will be attempting the nation's least traveled North-South Trail, the Continental Divide Trail.

Andy came up from Stafford yestereve to stay with us before jetting out. Like last time, there was plenty of juice to go around regarding the expedition. It's really damn, inspiring actually. This kid's got some serious cahones and determination.

When I think about it, it's no surprise that I feel myself desiring to head out West to unseen places, park the Jeep and set up camp with a fishing rod. Perhaps next Spring it will be our turn for a great western adventure.

But that's next year. Right now, feel free to check out "Shaggy Sticks." He's someone who actually goes into REI, makes purchases and uses the shit.

Happy Trails.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fred Thompson Agrees

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Fred Thompson! And thank you CWODIES for posting and commenting on my blog.

Fred Thompson, one of the Republican candidates for President has got my vote all the way, and that was before I read his piece on Gun Laws vis a vis April 16's tragedy. You can read his compelling article here:

I didn't expect to find this over at National Review, but it helped me breathe a sigh of relief that I am not alone in my thinking, nor am I crazy for thinking it. I bravely mentioned my philosophy (see previous post) in front of a priest and the preschool director last week, when the latter mentioned her son attended the college.

I was met with a surprise and astonishment. "A gun? A gun?!!!! Are you kidding me?" Was the non-verbal response from the pre-school teacher. She composed herself and said, "So you think students should be able to carry guns?"

My answer: "When the police came, the damage was done. I can understand not wanting kids bringing guns to class, but the crazy killer who breaks the law doesn't really care about the school's policy. Something to think about." To which I received, some thoughtful nods.

I will leave you with two thoughts for now. First, one of the reasons Cho chose school classrooms for his deed is because he intuitively knew that all his victims were captive and unarmed. He may have lost it, but he wasn't stupid.

Secondly, imagine if you yourself were in that Hall, hearing gunshot after gunshot admidst screams of fear and chaos. As terrible as it might seem, how would you feel if one of your classmates pulled out of a gun to defend you and the class?

I can tell you right now, my belief is that that is the one thing Cho wasn't expecting.

Over and out.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Dark Days, Dark Measures

About two months ago, I signed a contract to work for the Diocese of Arlington. I am happy with this arrangement, to be sure, but when I began reading the list of rules and regulations, I noticed one that caught my eye. Essentially, it reads, "No firearm or weapon of any sort will be allowed on Church property."

This piqued my interest for a variety of reasons. Let me say right off that I can understand not wanting guns or Rambo knives around children. Kids are curious. Accidents happen. Most adults lack an understaning of weapon safety and training. I mean, let's face it--many of us will get uncomfortable when someone is around us and has a gun, especially when that person lacks a badge.

Now, in a parochial setting, a gun is not necessarily a regular tool for completing the day-to-day tasks. But guns and weapons do have a place in our lives and in society.

Today, 33 people were killed in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech. A crazy Asian moe-foe locked himself in a school building and went on a rampage, opening doors and systematically capping people left and right. You can hear the gunshots on recordings of the incident. One thing, however, has not been generally highlighted by the mainstream media: nobody shot back.

Virginia is one of proud states that has legalized the carrying of a concealed firearm with an appropriate permit, but on Blacksburg's Virignia Tech's campus, this liberty is denied. I can see their reasoning, sure, especially when some students are certainly prone to get drunk and violent for example. But what if someone today was in Norris Hall and shot back and killed the crazy LONE gunman? What if someone had stopped him with a gun, shooting him in cold blood. He would be a hero, wouldn't he?

You damn right he would. The irony, however, is that our institutional laws, such as those in schools, prohibit access to this type of heroism. It's in the rules and regulations. No guns.
And so the people who would call the cops for safety in a real emergency like today's end up frustrating their real objective.

This is part of a comfortable mindset that deals in double-realities. It's like playing "let's pretend." Let's pretend the world is sanitized, peachy, and trouble-free. But when an unspeakable tradgedy like this occurs, we mourn over it and shake our heads and wonder why this happened. God forbid, we might even get angry, but we certainly wonder why and how.

Maybe it was the guns? Bad people. With guns. Bad people with guns, but definitely the guns.

No, it was that the psycho who did this was possessed by a demon. We are lucky it wasn't a bomb.

The upshot is even more interesting. As the Catholic Renaissance takes shape, and real men of all types are emerging--you know, the ones who are likely to have a copy of Wild at Heart on their bookshelf--Catholic men are forced to face some serious questions: A.) Do I own a gun? B.) Do I carry it outside my house? C.) Do I carry it inside my Church or School?

These are valid questions, to which every man will have his own unique answer. Today's incident is more than proof.

I will leave you with a brief story which I believe illustrates the right attitude. Fr. Deusterhaus, when he was with St. William of York during the time of the D.C. sniper shootings, gave an insightful answer to this quandry during a Sunday homily. He mentioned that certain parishoners were cautioning him not to stand outside while he was shaking hands, speaking with and blessing people as they exited Church after Sunday mass. His response was the absolute best and totally unforgetable: "Are you kidding? At this parish I am expecting you to actually return fire!"

Now that's what I am talking about. That's one great priest. Notice he didn't say who, but he knew some men should be gettin' it done.

Peace out, yall.


Friday, April 13, 2007

I got that Monday Feeling

Hey, what's up. It's Friday, but I feel like it's Monday, if you know what I mean. I'm listening to some Blues on Rhapsody, just sorta tuning out the rest of the world.

I feel remorse today. My helper was fired today. Well, maybe "let go" sounds better, but he was fired none-the-less. I understand the reasons behind this move, but it doesn't make it easier. Jeffrey is a 19-year-old from Nicaragua. He's a good kid and sort of drifting along. I wish him the best. He will be on for another two weeks and then get a stipend. I feel bad because he has done such a good job for the most part and I have trained him in both English and fixing stuff. It sucks to see him go.

Perhaps it was the way he was let go. He honestly wants to work. Because his replacement, Fernando, now an "ex-seminarian," is more skilled "and is such a hard worker," Jeffrey is getting canned. I was told of this idea when I was hired, but it is my feeling that this isn't the most prudent path. It also makes me wonder how much I am valued even though I am told "good job." Here today, gone tomorrow. Damn.

Anyway, life goes on. It must and will until the end of time. A Magic Hat "9" brew and some blues does help some.

Ok, I am going to sign off. I hope my post wasn't to depressing. I just needed to vent into the ether. Kick some ass, juicebags.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

First MOD: KC FogLights Status: Added

Ok, so I've given in. The Monday Update has moved back to it's original home outside the CWOD. Part of that is because I can easily post images up here to make my Blog look more interesting with the added benefit of making myself look cool. (At least I can try!) Also, since the rest of CWOD is using blogger, it only makes sense for me hop on the bandwagon. Kick ass!

As you know, I've always got tons of stuff to talk about, everything from my favorite pipe shop to finding the ever-elusive spot to dwell.

But first, I would like to announce that I have personally and successfully added to our 2001 Jeep Wrangler our first aftermarket modification (mod): KC Fog Light Replacements. Here's a pic:

Notice the KC emblem on the grilled fog lights. This, my friends, is power--candle power. For you off-road enthusiasts and/or wanna-bes, check out

After experiencing the sweet, sweet victory of putting these babies on, Clare and I decided to hit the road and trek out west. While we missed our friends Ben and Anna, we did explore some of the more remote areas around Front Royal and Page County. We even checked out a plot of land in remote Fort Valley. Actually, it was more like a fire pit off a long dirt road. I guess I shoulda known.

Anyway, we had a nice trip. The Shenandoah is truly unique and beautiful.

Until next post,