Saturday, January 29, 2005

I'm not usually disappointed with Ann Coulter, but this most recent column, in which she calls opponents of STML abortions a "lunatic fringe" is not like her, or at least I thought it wasn't.

I have a question. Is there any illness, weakness or infirmity in the world that a woman can have whereby giving birth will kill her but a surgically invasive abortion procedure will not? That one's been bugging me for a while.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see.

The great American desert,
The great American desert,
The great American desert,
Was all that he could see.

I've never really thought of myself as much of a naturalist, but the mountains and desert northeast of my barracks lit by the moon and nothing else are something which must be seen. I wanted to get my mind onto something more carefree, so I went up the mountains which stand uphill from the rest of the mainside base for the following reason: Absence of a fence.
I climbed up a steep sandy path (I thought the sandy route would be safer), pausing several times to catch my breath and to regret not bringing any water or wearing sneakers instead of boots. When at the top, I called my brother, who was still busy at work. After that, I decided to explore a bit. Off to the southwest was a certain trail I knew of because we had gone there on a PT run one time. I decided reaching that pass would be my goal. Along the way, I tried to climb every peak I came upon, but I still could not find this place with the naked eye. I felt like Columbus, who kept hoping that his path to the far east would appear right around the next island. Or alternatively, I felt like Balboa looking for the Pacific. Eventually, out of stubbornness more than anything, I finally found this path and took it all the way home. The whole trek, exclusive of the trip back, was probably about 1.5 miles as the crow flies, and as I climbed, ran, walked and slid, probably more like two miles, practically applied.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

By the way, let everyone, including the Old Oligarch, know that I am not 'Defuncti'.
I finally picked up class a few days ago and things are going tolerably well. We had a Master Sergeants run, and I realized I could be in better shape. It was a mere 2.75 miles, and it just took it out of me. I guess part of that is that the air is thinner out here, and they deliberately took us up as many hills and slopes as they could without going off the course.

My class is a night class, so every night we begin at about 1800 and leave when we're done with whatever lessons we need to cover. So far all they've taught us is some basic principles of electronics, and I'm barely keeping my head above water. If I could change something about my enlistment, it would be to make sure I got lower scores on the tests they gave, so I wouldn't get this school.

I suppose I really ought to get myself moving on the application to Christendom I am in the middle of. I've filled out the main form, now I need to write the three essays and get the two recommendation letters. This year, as last year, I'm having trouble deciding who I should ask to write each one.

I'm also concerned about another thing which pertains to applications and college plans as a reservist: Has my reserve unit (which I shall have to join as soon as I'm done with this school) been deployed overseas? The standard deployment is about seven months, so if it is there but has been there for only a short while, I might as well not apply, since it would avail me nothing.

Besides all that, I'm bummed out about something. I don't like being depressed anywhere, but being in the middle of the desert hardly makes the situation any better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Was this a scam?

As I was leaving the PX this evening, I saw a really cool display of swords and a few accompanying shields. I already have two swords, one of them is a Roman sword and the other is a Medieval sword with something like a Jerusalem Cross in the solid brass hilt.

I keep them upstairs in a wooden box I made and painted myself, complete with brass corners and steel hasps for the locks. Sometimes it's nice to indulge yourself a little in a wholesome way. Mom made me build the box as a security precaution, seeing as we were introducing a sword into the house. I didn't want to take any chances either. Once while horsing around, one of my brothers "borrowed" and broke my best hand-made (by me) wooden dagger (he purposely missed my other brother, and it snapped when he vigorously stabbed the floor). If they tried that with one of my real ones, it would be one of them that would get hurt, and me held responsible.

Back to this evenings topic, even though I already had two, I always like to look at other ones (I guess looking at other ones when you already have one is a problem guys have a lot). While I was looking, a representative of this company or firm accosted me and began to explain that the main thing they were selling was not the swords, but the shields. Apparently this was a combination of fine smithwork and genealogical research. They said that what they did was that they take your last name and research, over a period of twelve weeks, one or both sides of your family. The swords and shields, which I saw first hand rather than simply internet pictures of, were certainly of high quality. However, I was not all too sure of his claim that they researched your lineage going back to your European origins.

He managed to gain a little of my confidence when he immediately identified my last name as a German one. However, my bogometer started acting up when he said, in response to my expression of uncertainty that my family had a coat of arms, that every family has a coat of arms and in fact some, because of intermarriage, some have several mixed together. I studied a little bit of heraldry when I was little*, and I was fairly sure that the only families with coats of arms were noble families or ones with a knight or war hero somewhere back in the line. One fact that stands out particularly in my mind is the fact that in most of Europe, a go-ahead from the king or sovereign was needed before a coat of arms could be made. If I have a coat of arms anywhere in my background, it would be on the Irish side, since Mom has from time to time told us that somewhere, long ago on the Irish side of the family, there were some high kings and perhaps other clan rulers.

Whether they were on the level or not, there is plenty of room for dishonesty in that sort of trade, considering that customers must take your word for it that you are not simply telling them something cool about their family that you made up, and handing them a coat of arms you designed yourself.

Eventually, money was the deciding factor. Military discount brought it from $1500 down to $1000. As my active duty ends in May, and so does the active duty pay, I simply can't afford that. Though, if they're still around when I have a little money to blow (and perhaps a mid-life crisis to ameliorate) , I might buy their package deal it they could prove that it was genuine (like, for example, if they could show me some sort of medieval record or stone carving proving this is older than last month).

By the way, what a politically incorrect thing to be selling. Surely they must realize the feeling of isolation and exclusion which African-Americans must feel at not having a coat of arms to speak of, not to mention the fact that their last names are probably younger than 400 years old.

*For those of you that do not know me, when I was young, I gravitated towards obsession. When other boys were interested in dinosaurs, they just bought toys and made roaring noises, whereas I actually studied them and knew them better than I knew living animals. I can still remember things like the difference between a Saurischian species and an Ornithischian species. Likewise, when other little boys were interested in knights and things like that, they just got those little plastic sword and helmet sets and hit each other, whereas I actually studied medieval chivalry and heraldry. I still know all sorts of things like chevrons, cross-quarterlies, and the names of the four different positions in which lions are depicted in heraldry (rampant, passant, sejant and couchant).

Monday, January 10, 2005

"It's a small Marine Corps" - Senior Drill Instructor Ssgt. Wooten.

Very true. I had known for a while that an acquaintance of mine, John Williams (who lived in Northern Virginia and whom I knew by way of Opus Dei) had joined the Marines. I didn't quite expect to run into him at mass in this rather small, very remote base. He spent some time in Okinawa before going to Iraq. He then came back and now he is going to Iraq again. He is currently a Lance Corporal.

Not only that, but in our conversation, I found that he was also in Golf Company, only about wo cycles before me, and that he had the same drill hat (second drill instructor in command) that I did.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

This morning during his homily, Father read us paragraph 841 from the CCC, which says that Muslims adore with us the one true God. He did this to beat down what he saw as the regrettable tendency for Christians to believe that muslims are going to Hell unless they get their ticket changed.
All well and good, but let's look at Paragraph 987: "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification", emphasis added.
Let us further review. Muslims believe:
That Jesus is not God.
That Jesus is not the son of God.
That God cannot have a son.
That Jesus did not die on the cross.
That Jesus did not rise from the dead.
That we are not God's children.
That a pederast like Mohammed, so far from being a pederast, was very holy.
That Mohammed came and, on behalf of Allah, established a new and pure religion in the midst of a sinful world, and that Abraham was also a Muslim almost 2,000 years earlier.

I'll call this one "What Muslims Believe" after a Rich Lowry collumn of similar name.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Speaking of tidings of great joy, congratulations to Shalon Spring (Admissions director at Christendom) and her boyfriend Mark, who got engaged on December 4th.

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