Monday, October 30, 2006

All In The Name of Education, Folks!

My wife and I got a new, snazzy computer around 12 years ago. It was a Mac. We loved it.

As computers do, it aged as gracefully as it could... which was not at all. We haven't used it in at least 5 years. Fortunately, we both have high-speed Internet access at work, as well as Internet-capable laptops at home.

The time finally came, recently, to get rid of the old computer (which is so old that Macintosh hasn't supported the system for many years). There was nothing wrong with the monitor, so it went to Goodwill with a ton of books and too-small children's clothes a few weeks ago. The problem was that you hear so many horror stories about personal data being retrieved from discarded hard-drives, we didn't know what to do with the CPU.

Being the forward-looking fellow that I am, I decided to use the old CPU as a teaching aid.

I took the aforementioned CPU to my range, and decided that I would take a series of photographs showing what bullets would (and wouldn't) do to various things.

Please see below:

This is what the CPU looked like during it's life.

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This is what the CPU looks like, standing on end, with three rounds of .357 copper jacketed hollow-point bullets in it. NOTE: Although the bullets easily penetrated the casing and smashed parts of the drive, they did not penetrate all the way trough to exit the CPU.

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Next, I decided to see what kind of damage I could do the CPU with standard shotgun ammunition, so I loaded my Remington 870 (nicely modified, don't you know!) with 12 gauge, Magnum deer slugs.

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And this is the result:

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The deer slugs did the job, as usual, and penetrated so thoroughly that they even tore great chunks out of the steel bottom-plate of the CPU.

Here is what a rifled, magnum deer slug looks like after having impacted the parts and pieces of a CPU.

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The CPU is well and truly demolished, as is the internal hard drive. Not only have I properly disposed of any personal information, I have given new life to the old computer as a device to train new agents.

Stephen Covey would call this a Win-Win situation.

Some less than charitable souls might say that I was just having fun with all of this.

I assure you... it was nothing of the sort.



Friday, October 27, 2006

My Bride and Best Girl

Isn't she a sweetie?

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This was taken at The Grand Floridian Resort, at Disneyworld while we were on vacation.

I wouldn't trade her for anything.

If you are reading this, baby... I love you.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Conversations With Olivia (pt. 1)

Yesterday, walking from Target to the Supermarket:

Oliva: Daddy? Will you carry me?

Gunfighter: Not right now, baby, my hands are full.

Olivia: You used to carry me AND other things!

Gunfighter: You are bigger now than you were then, babe.

Olivia: You'd better get back into the gym, Daddy!

Gunfighter: (Silent)

Gunfighter's Rules Explained (Part Two)

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

The first part is the most important part of this rule. You can have a super-duper gun with all sorts of bells and whistles on it (we call it "cop candy"), you can have bevelled magazine wells, laser sights, tactical illumination, and blah blah blah, hanging from your gun, but it means absolutely nothing.

The only thing that counts in a gunfight is hitting your intended target with enough bullets, fast enough to make him stop shooting at you or anyone else... before you get killed!

As to the second part of this rule, if you miss, miss fast and get back on target and deliver some trauma! you don't have a lot of time to screw around here, mate!

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

In Gunworld, instructors often ride students about their shooting stance. This is fine because new shooters need all of the advantages that they can get in order to master their new art. The catch here, is that when transitioning from being a new shooter to becoming a gunfighter (never confuse a shooter with a gunfighter, they aren't the same thing) you have to understand that in a gunfight, you MUST move throughout the whole encounter, or you will likely be a corpse at the end of it.


Any questions?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Shooter: Someone who uses a gun for sporting pleasure; target shooting, competitive marksmanship; hunting; skeet shooting; cowboy action shooting; etc...

Gunfighter: Someone who constantly trains with and carries firearms for the express purpose of being able to employ firearms in personal, close-quarters combat. A trained and skilled practitioner of the most American of martial arts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gunfighter's Rules Explained (Part one)

I have been thinking about this for a few days, and I have decided that I am going to break down some of the rules that I posted a few days ago, for those of you that don't habla "Gunspeak".

I will be doing this in small doses so you can digest this, here are the first two:

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

Simply, this means that it is better to have more guns and more people with guns on your side than your opponent(s). The notion that more isn't always better can apply to gunfights... but it usually doesn't.

2. Anyone worth shooting is worth shooting more than once. Ammo is cheap.

This is an absolute truth and is designed to make the gunfighter understand that putting one shot on your intended target is potentially life threatening for YOU. Terminal ballistics can be a tricky thing, and what you really want to do when you shoot someone is to cause multiple massive trauma to him/her. There are many documented cases of instances where a person was shot (without finality) by an officer and the wounded assailant stayed in the fight and ended up killing the officer. Most notably during the so-called "FBI shootout" in Florida twenty years ago.

The idea is to shoot your subject enough take him out of the fight. My rule is a minimum of three shots to the torso, delivered in rapid succession.

My Election Issues

When we read about politics and elections in our newspapers, we often read about national issues and polling data. We hear pundits and commentators talk about "hot button" issues that are the things that drive individuals to the polls.

I read the papers, and sometimes those national issues are the "hot buttons" for me. Sometimes they aren't.

I thought that today I would talk about the issues that mean the most to me this election day.

The War In Iraq:

For those of you that have been paying any attention to the things that I have written over the past few months, you already know that I am not thrilled with this action at all. In the Virginia Senate race, I plan to vote for the person that opposes the war. The candidate I am voting for is not what anyone could call a physical or moral coward. He is a combat veteran (Marines rule!), and a former Secretary of The Navy. He knows from whence he speaks regarding war... and war planned and executed poorly. He knows we need an exit plan, pronto. He is a prolific author, whose books had a profound effect on me as a young man. He is the father of a Marine that is currently serving in Iraq.


In Northern Virginia, as some of you readers can attest to. The traffic situation is atrocious. We live in an area where the Federal Government is the largest employer, and following closely behind the government are the companies that support the government, non-profits, associations, etc...

The Virginia counties nearest to Washington, DC (Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and The City of Alexandria), all have populations that leave their homes in the morning to commute via the woefully inadequate roads to go to work in or near, Washington. Unfortunately, we live in a state that has major anti-tax issues.

Well, guess what? Roads cost money, and since the state government doesn't want to spend any money trying to relieve some of the transportation problems, federal funding is required. The candidate that supports bringing more federal transportation dollars to this region is Jim Webb.

The Marriage amendment:

In Virginia, we are being asked to vote on the following amendment to the Commonwealth Constitution:

Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?

And we need this why? This is homophobia in drag (so to speak), to suggest that my marriage or the marriage of any other heterosexual couple will be threatened by gay people. Further, it will render domestic violence laws moot in cases of heterosexual couples that cohabitate, but are not married. Additionally, it will prohibit any future legislation on this issue.

I'm voting against those that support this assault on the legal protections of all the Citizens of our Commonwealth.

The long and the short of it, my friends, is that I will be voting for the full slate of Democratic candidates and initiatives during this election cycle. The Republican House and Senate have got to go!

So... if you live in Virginia, please have a look at these candidates, and consider giving them your votes:

Jim Webb for Senate

Shawn O'Donnell for Congress

Sharon Pandak for Chair of the Prince Wm. County Board of Supervisors

Monday, October 23, 2006

Do You Watch Television?

I do. Not a huge amount, as my time is limited, but there are a few things that I like to record on the good 'ol TiVo to watch later.

My favorite network television show is Boston Legal. I think the writing on the show is really great, but I think that the character of Alan Shorr (masterfully played by James Spader) is what makes the show a success. Add the bufoonish Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) and you have a top-notch lawyer dramedy show. My Mrs bought the first season on DVD for me recently... I told you all before that she is my treasure.

I also watch two reality shows... ok, ok, I can hear you groaning all the way here in Virginia, so quit it. I admit to enjoying Dancing with The Stars (mainly because Cheryl Burke is nice to look at), but I don't have any real emotional attachment to if... just a good way to spend an hour or so, while I am beading. This show is best viewed using the digital video recorder, so I can just breeze through the parts I don't want to see.

The only other network show that I regularly watch is American Idol... oh great! Again with the groaning!... whats that all about? Let me enjoy the show! What I like about Idol isn't how great the competitors are, rather how BAD most of them are. Watching some of this schlock is more fun than I can describe.

Other shows that I weatch or record include Murder City (BBC America) and Wire in The Blood (BBC America)

What are you watching these days?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Male v. Man

I am male.

I am a man.

All men are male.

Not all males are men.

Male denotes gender.

Being a man means something else entirely.

Many women know the difference.

More men should know the difference.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why Should Zanne Have All Of The Fun?

I got this from my favorite Episcopalian, who suggested giving this a try, so here you are:

1. Dated outside your race? Yes, and married too.
2. Singing in the shower? Constantly
3. Spit in someone’s drink? I've never had a drink with George W. Bush
4. Played with Barbies? Only with my daughter.
5. Made someone cry? Yes.
6. Opened your Christmas presents early? No.
7. Lied to a friend? Yes.
8. Watched and cried while watching a soap opera? I'm a man!
9. Played a computer game for more than 5 hours? No.
10. Ran through the sprinklers naked? NO!
11. Ate food that fell on the floor? "God made dirt, dirt don't hurt!"
12. Went outside naked? Yes, but not recently.
13. Been on stage? I was born for the stage!
14. Been on stage naked or close to it? No.
15. Been in a parade? Yes
16. Been in a school play? No
17. Drank beer? Good beer is th water of life.
18. Gotten detention? um... yes.
19. Been on a cruise? Does being at see on an amphibious ships with hundreds of other Marines count?
20. Broken into a house? No.
21. Gotten a tattoo? Yes, with another on the way.
22. Gotten piercings? Nope
23. Gotten into a fist fight? Yes, and they hurt... even when you win.
24. Gotten into a shouting match? Yes
25. Swallowed sea/pool water? Yes
26. Spun yourself in circles to get dizzy on purpose? Dizzy Izzy anyone?
27. Laughed so hard it hurt? Regularly
28. Tripped on your own feet? Ok, I'm sort of clumsy
29. Cried yourself to sleep?: No
30. Cried in public? I was eight, ok?
31. Thrown up in public? Oh, hell yeah... I'll tell the story some day. My Wife was way mad at me!
32. Lied to your parents? Yes.
33. Skipped class? No.
34. Cried so hard you threw up? Uh uh.
35. Had a one night stand? Many.
36. Left restaurant without paying tab? No
37. Been Fired from a job? No
38. Wanted to make out with your massage therapist, therapist OR hairldresser? My barber is kind of cute, but, no.
39. Had a drink "sent" to a stranger at a bar? Yes.
40. Been winked at and loved it? ha. I usually do the winking.

Top 25 list on my ipod revisited

I did this in August... there have been a few changes:

1. Main Title [Superman: The Movie](Royal Scottish Orchestra)
2. Darth Vader's Theme (it is my personal theme song)
3. War (Edwin Starr... Good God, Y'all!)
4. The 1812 Overture (The Kiev Symphony)
5. Beat It (Michael Jackson)
6. Black or White (Michael Jackson)
7. When You Were Mine (Prince)
8. I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man (Prince)
9. Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)
10. Adore (Prince)
11. Short Skirt Long Jacket (Cake)
12. I want You Back (The Jackson 5)
13. Fell In Love With A Girl (The White Stripes)
14. Going The Distance (Cake)
15. Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince)
16. Smooth Criminal (Alien Ant Farm)
17. Alphabet Street (Prince)
18. Let Me Go (Cake)
19. My Sharona (The Knack)
20. Let The Bodies Hit The Floor (Drowning Pool)
21. Expecting (The White Stripes)
22. Hate My Love (The Proclaimers)
23. The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues (The Proclaimers)
24. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
25. You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)

Are you listening to anything new?

Monday, October 16, 2006


Yesterday, our congregation was introduced to the new Pastor that we have called. He is a young fellow named Justin, and we will be the first parish that he serves as pastor (he has been an associate pastor for the last 5 years at a church in Maryland).

He won't start as our full-time Pastor until January, so this was just sort of a meet and greet day. We got to hear him give his first sermon, though, and this is sort of the subject of this post.

He began with Mark 10: 17-29 which tells the story of the Rich Man that wants to go to heaven. He talked about this for about 4 minutes before he went right to the theme of his sermon: Identity. Justin told us about the nick names that he had in college, and he described himself a bit, and then asked us how we would identify ourselves if given the restriction of using only 5 words.

I thought about it for awhile, and I've been thinking about it ever since (ok, I tend to fixate sometimes... gimme a break).

So, here goes, in no particular order, my five descriptors:


These things are the most important things that embody who I am (or at least who I see myself as).

These things are the major parts of my psyche. I figure if I continue to focus on those things, I'll never go far wrong.

If you are reading this and care to share, I'd love to hear about your descriptors. If I may ask you, by way of quoting The Who: "Who Are You?"

The Doctor Is In!

Saturday evening, I entered a new phase in my working life: The practice of pediatric dentistry.

Like most parents, I have pulled out some of my little one's teeth when they have become loose, but this was different.

One of Olivia's upper canines had started to loosen over the summer, but wasn't quite ready to come out, so we figured we would wait for it. While we were waiting, the new tooth started to grow. "Well," we thought, "...this sort of thing happens all of the time". So we figured the tooth would probably come out while we were on vacation. It didn't.

We thought that giving Olivia apples to take to school for snack would loosen it further. It didn't.

We thought that having her wiggle the tooth regularly would help work it out. It didn't.

So, with all of these "didn'ts" piling up, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I like to consider myself a fairly handy fellow. I can change a light switch, install light fixtures and ceiling fans, I can repair cracked drywall or install a garbage disposal. In aid of all of this, I have a rather decent toolbox and an nice assortment of tools. With all of my tools, my favorite, and most used tool is my Leatherman. Yes, my Leatherman. The one that is on my belt as I type this. Why am I talking about my tools? I am sure that you already suspect whats coming next.

With Olivia starting to feel some real discomfort because of her tooth, I decided that it was time to force the issue, and just give it a yank, myself, but the little white tooth was too small for my big ol' fingers to get a decent grip. After several attempts, I decided to make a different approach. As I have opposable thumbs going for me (which is nice), I decided to make use of TOOLS. Enter the Leatherman (drum roll please). I established a good firm grip on the recalcitrant tooth (don't you just love the word recalcitrant?, I certainly do!) and gave a firm twist/pull, and before anyone could say "ouch", there it was! Olivia didn't even know that I had gotten it out.

We celebrated with high fives and bloody napkins and then my patient scampered off to tell mommy the good news.

I don't mind telling you that I was feeling pretty good about myself about the whole thing.

Bonus points if you can name the movie reference.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Blame Clinton! (and other news)

Been reading the news lately?

With all of the bad press that Dubya has been getting over his handling of the possible nuclear weapons test North Korea, he has taken a new tack in his responses: It is all Bill Clinton's fault.

Mr Bush and his surrogates (most notably Senator John McCain) are screaming to everyone that will listen that the only reason that things are bad in North Korea is because Bill Clinton's policies were failures. Somehow, I don't think that this is going to play this time.

It is time for the administration to face up to it's own failures, and past time to quit Blaming Bill Clinton.

NEWSFLASH: Bill Clinton hasn't been President for many years now. You are on your own here, pal.

In other news, there is some suspicion that North Korea's recent nuclear test actually wasn't. Apparently there aren't any radioactive air samples consistent with even a low-yield test to verify that a nuclear device was exploded. Additionally, seismic evidence places the disturbance in the 0.2 kiloton range, which is extremely low.

By way of comparison, the first U.S. test was about 20 kilotons, and the first French test was about 65 kiltons.

This doesn't mean that the NK's weren't trying to bust a nuke, what it means is that the test was most likely a failure.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gunfighter's Rules

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

2. Anyone worth shooting is worth shooting more than once. Ammo is cheap.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

9.5 Use a gun that works EVERY TIME.

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Always cheat; always win. There ain't no such thing as a fair fight.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don't drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

19. Be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH (there is no such thing as "too aggressive" once the fight is on!).

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. Be prepared to kill everyone you meet.

22. Train like you plan to fight; Hard and dirty.

23. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a ".4"

God Be With You... because you'll probably be alone when it all goes bad.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How Now, Mr. Bush?

First, there was the "Axis of Evil" speech, wherein you explained the Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were the most evil regimes in the world, and must be confronted with American strength.

Second, there was what you considered to be the easiest pickings of the three: The invasion of Iraq.

You gave us several versions of your logic behind the invasion... most of which have had massive holes punched in them. As it turns out, most of America has figured out that you instigated this confrontation with Iraq solely because you had the political capital to get away with it. Unfortunately, this self-inflicted crisis has had more wide-reaching consequences than you and your chickenhawk henchmen had counted on.

"Mission Accomplished", you boasted from the deck of an aircraft carrier, in a Tom-Cruise-in-Top-Gun like moment. You were wrong, and thousands of American men and women (and uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians) have gone to their deaths because of your arrogance. You and your advisers neglected the best advice of your Generals concerning realistic goals and aftermath scenarios, and apparently, you don't give a good goddamn about it. I guess I shouldn't be shocked as you and your kind never have to send your children off to fight for big oil.

I don't know how you sleep at night.

OK, forget Iraq. Big mistake... but hey, we can't hold you responsible for everything, eh? Let's move on:

Iran. The next member in your Axis of Evil triumvirate. Since the lion's share of our armed forces are bogged down in Iraq, participating in their civil war (which you started), Iran has become emboldened to start, or restart their nuclear program, which your administration says is all about nuclear weapons. Now, in the beginning of this situation, you were threatening the Iranians with military action if they didn't halt their program. They refused, and now all you can do is talk about it. Let's scan that, shall we? You invade Iraq because of some non-existent program, and when Iran calls your bluff, all you can do is bluster? Make up your mind? This situation is still evolving, but it brings us directly to the third member of this elite group.

North Korea: "Dear Leader" (and megalomaniac) Kim Jong Il has a nuclear program that is active, his people starve from time to time while his well-fed army continues to threaten militarily and economically close allies of this country. His regime is potentially the most volatile of all of our countries potential adversaries, and we do less than nothing about it. We have gone as far as having "Sound-Bite Condi" Rice promise that we will take no military action against North Korea, even though they are in direct violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Let's recap, shall we?

Iraq: A great big friggin' mess that will only get worse. If our armed forces left tomorrow, they would take ten years (or more) to recover. A nation that will almost certainly become an Islamic Republic in the very near future. A haven for terrorists and outlaws that YOU created. No amount of American military presence will prevent it.

Iran: Laughing at our Iraqi debacle, while providing arms and training to whomever will take it, as long as the takers kill Americans and cause us more grief. Oh, and trying to build nukes while you do essentially nothing.

North Korea: Also laughing about our Iraqi debacle, while gleefully building nukes and ignoring your threats.

Mr Bush, you will be leaving office in two years (and good riddance), and will have left this country weaker and more threatened than we have ever been.

So much for Republicans being all about national security.

You have royally screwed the pooch, Mr Bush. My faith says that I have to pray for you, and I do so, daily... but my God, you make it difficult for me not to wish for the damnation of your soul.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Date Night For Gunfighter

Sunday evening, my best girlfriend took me out for a night on the town.

We went to the Mount Vernon Food and Wine Festival and Sunset tour. What a great time!

Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate, is about 15 miles from our house and occupies a really beautiful spot on the Potomac river. We go to Mount Vernon a few times every year because not only is it a nice place to visit, but because we are both history geeks.

When we go to Mount Vernon to spend a day or an evening, we usually have Olivia in tow, as she enjoys the place as much as we do. This sunday, however, was special. This time it was just the two of us with our lawn chairs, some bread, cheese, and wine, a beautiful view, and a pretty good blues band.

As we had a babysitter that had to go to school the next day, we only stayed from 6 to 8 P.M., but it was a lovely evening, just enjoying the music in one of my favorite places, with my favorite person.

We got home at 8:30 and had a nice quiet evening after a certain someone went to bed @ 9. ;)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The Republicans are Unfit To Govern

The Republican Party is Unfit to Govern

Let me say that again for those of you that aren't listening:

The Republican Party is Unfit to Govern

By now everybody in the country who is paying the slightest attention knows about the growing scandal surrounding disgraced former Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida.

In the last few days, all of this has grown from a few "inappropriate" emails to a young Congressional Page, to what appears to be a large-scale cover-up orchestrated by the Speaker of The House of Representatives, and various officials of the Justice Department.

You probably have also heard about Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Ca) and his conviction for taking bribes, or the Jack Abramoff scandals, or Big Oil making energy policy with Vice President Cheney.

There is also President Bush who has illegally and immorally used our armed forces to invade a sovereign nation, and is bungling the aftermath. Oh, and there is the unlawful domestic spying , searching without warrants, and gross violation of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Here in Virgina, one of our Senators has made racial slurs in public, and had the odd little quirk of wearing a Confederate flag lapel pin (he is from California, and his mother's side of the family are from Morocco). Whats that all about?

I could go on and on... but I think you get the picture here. It all boils down to the point of this post.

The Republican Party is unfit to govern.

What happened to the Party of "morals & Family Values"? What happened to the Party of "Fiscal Responsibility"?

It was all a sham. All of it.

I really don't think that this country can take much more of the Republican Party, so I urge you, whatever you do for the rest of the year, please consider voting for your Democratic candidates.

It's important.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that none of my ire about the Foley/Hastert scandal should be construed to mean that any of my feelings about the leadership of the GOP has to do with sexuality. It doesn't.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Jesus and The Dog Next Door

"I believe every creature is important. The love we give to a pet, and receive from a pet, can draw us more deeply into the larger circle of life, into the wonder of our common relationship to our Creator."

Kevin E. Mackin, O.F.M., is a Franciscan of the Holy Name Province.

I couldn't agree more with Brother Mackin.

If you read my 100 Things post, you already know that I love dogs... all dogs. My wife and I used to have two retired racing greyhounds. Even after we had Olivia, these dogs were very much part of our family, as are most house dogs in this country.

Sadly, both of our hounds eventually got sick (about a year and a half apart) and I had to do what all responsible pet owners must be prepared to do: Had them euthanized.

I'm still not over it, but at least now I can think about them without getting all weepy.

I still love dogs.

My next door neighbor has a dog. A gorgeous pit bull named Darla. Darla and I have a close relationship... we're best pals. When my neighbor has to travel (she is in the Air Force) I often take care of Darla by walking/feeding her and giving her some attention so she won't feel lonely.

Saturday evening, Danielle called to say that she would be working late, and could I give Darla her evening walk. I did, and after her walk I fed her. After she ate her food, darla came over to me for some petting, so I petted her and talked to her and massaged her shoulders while her tail wagged mightily.

While all of this was going on, I was thinking about the unconditional love given to us by our dogs, and what a great gift it is. Before I even formed the thought I looked into the face of that pooch and said aloud: "Well, I never thought I'd find the face of God here, but I have."

I thought of how in most societies dogs are considered the lowest of the low. We even say things like "I wouldn't feed that to the dogs" and things like that. While spending time with this dog I wondered where my regard for these animals intersected with my faith.

My answer came to me immediately in the form of the 47th verse of the 9th chapter in the Gospel of Luke, where Christ said: "...And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. The least important person among all of you is the most important."

Am I making any sense here? Probably not, but it has been on my mind since then, and I can't shake it.

I guess, for me, it boils down to this: Anyone that is cruel to animals or mistreats them is guilty of a grievous sin.

Dogs are people, too.

Saturday Soccer

My God, did we destroy the other team or what!?!

OK, done gloating.

The girls beat the opposing team quite handily this Saturday. One of our hard charging forwards scored 4 goals in the first five minutes of the game... which really mentally wrecked the other team, so we took her out.

Debbie's daughter (Debbie is the coach, remember?) scored next, and then my daughter scored(her first of the season), and then another girl scored her first since she started playing (this is her second season), then my daughter scored again (yay!), and lastly, our only first year player scored her first goal (I thought her dad was going to have a stroke!)

The little girl that I mentioned last week, didn't score any goals, but had a fantastic game of defense. Although scoreless, she was as happy as could be for having been an important participant.

After the game, her mother was all weepy with apologies to Debbie for being so unpleasant after last week's game. Apparently, there were other things going on in her life that made her particularly prickly for a time.

What made this win particularly sweet was that the coach of the other team really beat up on us last season, and then kept her best player in the game and ran up the score.

In this week's game we only let one player from out team go into their zone in the second half. We didn't score any more and still kept them to two goals.

After the game, the other coach only grudgingly shook Debbie's hand.

After the game, it was time for milkshakes.

What fun!