Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holes in Paper

I know many readers of these Musings will understand the satisfaction of an afternoon on the range. Personally, I find it a relaxing diversion. This afternoon, after yard work and errands, I was able to get in a quick visit to the range before it got dark.

In playing around with my cell phone camera, I realized there was something mesmerizing about the holes in the target too.

There were no drills or intense training involved, just loading mags and shooting — some slow, some fast, at 15 yards to keep it interesting. I put 200 rounds down range, enjoying the satisfaction of not thinking about anything but the shooting.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Flying Dog Sea Salt Caramel Brown

As is often my first thought when I see a new Flying Dog "Brewhouse Rarities" beer, when I picked up Sea Salt Caramel Brown I wondered just what sort of flavor experience the brewery had come up with this time. I do love caramel. And salt. And ale. So, we'll see...

The beer pours the deepest brown color with a beige, frothy head. The aroma is quite strong, with caramel, toasted bread and a distinctive saltiness. The flavor brings more of the same. There’s also a notable alcohol warming aspect, almost like sherry, that is more than expected from the moderate 7% ABV. The beer has a thick mouthfeel and a dry finish.

Sea Salt Caramel Brown paired well with a Hot German Potato Salad and Sausage skillet dish Colleen made for dinner. I found it to be an interesting and enjoyable beer. It reminded me of one of those rich, boozy, desserts one might order after a fancy dinner out. Like such a treat, one in a sitting was sufficient for me.

This review was made on an unsolicited sample from the brewery. The drinking was done of my own free will.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Range Trip

In what's become an annual tradition, I was able to enjoy a trip to the range on Thanksgiving. This time was made even more special since my son, who was home from college, came along for the fun.

The early weather predictions were calling for cool weather with rain on during the day, but it turned out to be a beautiful day; sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60°. We couldn't have asked for much better on a November afternoon. Even with the good weather, we had the pistol range to ourselves.

A Thanksgiving Table

We spent a couple hours shooting and talking. What a great Thanksgiving treat to spend some time with him, doing something we both enjoy. It was a most enjoyable afternoon that left me with a smile the rest of the day — so much so I even volunteered to clean the guns afterwards.

We're already making shooting plans for Christmas break.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Classic Thanksgiving Humor

This one never gets old.

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is the day Americans set aside to give thanks for the many graces and gifts that bless our lives. Thought, deleting the dozens of emails this morning promoting "3 Day Black Friday Deals" makes me hope that people are still taking time to remember the reason for the holiday. (Though I did take advantage of some good ammo deals.)

For myself, I am thankful for my wonderful and loving family, for the freedom to worship as I choose, for true friends, and for a roof over my head, food on the table, for this great country, and much, much more. These are things I am thankful for every day, not just on the fourth Thursday of November. To be truly thankful is to be aware of our many blessings everyday. But today, I'll try to think about those gifts just a little more. Let's also keep in mind those selfless Americans who are separated from their loved ones while working to defend our freedoms.

I wish everyone a safe and peaceful day.

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'"
-- George Washington, National Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1789

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Remembering Blessed Miguel Pro

[Reposted from November 23, 2013.]

November 23 is the Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Pro. Born on January 13, 1891, in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Pro was ordained a Jesuit priest in Belgium in 1925. He returned to his home country in 1926, in the midst of that country's Cristeros War. After being falsely accused of an attempted bombing, Father Pro was executed by government forces without trial

Blessed Miguel Pro's final request was to be allowed to pray to his heavenly Father.

After which he refused a blindfold and faced the firing squad bravely, proclaiming ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Father Pro's executioners initially failed at their task, and the deed was finished at point blank range.

I am saddened, but hardly surprised, at the ignorance of the American public regarding the persecution of Catholics, and of the Cristero War that took place in Mexico in 1926 through 1929. Some 250,000 people lost their lives in a persecution that was supported by the government of the United States with both funds and air support. Given the ever-growing intolerance towards Christians, especially Catholics, in the United States, we would do well to remember.

Christ the King, by the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, I beg you to answer my prayers. Give me the grace and the strength necessary to follow your heroic example and to live my Catholic faith in spite of all temptations and adversities. Amen.

Images from Wikipedia.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November Rivanna IDPA Match

This weekend was the final IDPA match of the year at Rivanna. It was also the annual Top 10 match where the Top 10 shooters from the year compete to determine the top shooter of the year. The Top 10 shoot as a group and the rest of us watch while they shoot through.

All four stages at this match were stages which were shot previously during the year, and they were all memorable. Stage 1 started us seated with the loaded gun and all mags on a table. Seven targets were arranged in front of us, to be shot in tactical sequence. One target was placed much further down range than the others to break up the rhythm. It was a fun fast stage, one that I completed -0.

Moving on to Stage 2 we found a stage I remember well from an earlier match. There were three targets engaged while backing up. Then moving behind a wall, we dropped to a prone position and shot through a ground-level port. In that opening we found three open targets, two more targets partially blocked by a non-threat, and two steel plates placed right in front of non-threat targets. I recall shooting the plates successfully previously, which added to the pressure to repeat that feat. In the end, it all worked out, and I shot this challenging stage just -2.

The third stage tested our shooting from behind low cover with eight targets that were all reduced by hard cover and non-threats. The targets were to be engaged in tactical sequence. After my reload I was momentarily confused as to were I left off, but picked up again without skipping a target. I was -5 on the stage, though given the tight shots was not overly disappointed.

The final stage I recall from last month, when we shot it in the opposite direction. This stage started on the right side with three targets shot in tactical sequence. We them moved to the center to engage two targets from cover with two body and one head shot. These two targets were partially blocked by high non-threats, which made getting the body shots a challenge. The final left side position was another tactical sequence group of three targets. This was another -0 stage for me.

There were only 5 shooters on our squad and we moved through the stages quickly. We completed our stages before the Top 10 squad caught up to us. We never had to pause to let them shoot through, but we also didn't get to see the top guys shooting the stages.

I was very happy with how I shot a this match. My accuracy was good — no misses and no hits on non-threats — and I felt that I shot at a decent pace too. In SSP - Sharpshooter I finished first, and despite not qualifying for the Top 10 squad, managed a 7th place finish overall. The combination of interesting stages, good weather, and fun folks to shoot with, made for a great wrap to the season at Rivanna. I think I may be able to get to one more match in 2016, but if I don't, this certainly makes a great finish for the year.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

How Much Longer?

I can't help but wonder, how much longer will good people continue to stand by and watch their neighborhoods burn? How much looting and destruction will hard working shopkeepers tolerate? How many more flash mobs will attack innocents before people start fighting back? How much longer will righteous people stand by and watch anarchists violently oppose free elections?

Good men can only be pushed so far...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This Text Made My Day

I'm sitting in endless meetings when Colleen sends a text message...

Suddenly the day seems so much brighter.

Monday, November 14, 2016

There's Always More Virginia Beer To Try

When I'm out for a beer, or two, I always look for beers from Virginia breweries, putting my focus on ones I've not tried previously. With well over 200 breweries in operation in Virginia, that search is generally successful. Yet, I am still amazed at the number of new beers consistently showing up on the menus at my favorite craft beer haunts.

This weekend Colleen and I stopped by Capital Ale House on Sunday afternoon. Perusing the draft list, I was faced with numerous options from Virginia breweries. I settled right away on VIPA Virgindia Pale Ale from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. This is a very tasty, citrusy IPA brewed with local ingredients; "Virginia-grown hops from Piedmont Hops, LLC, Huguenot Hops and Misty Mill Hops at Rockmill Farm, as well as two-row barley grown by Bay's Best Feed in Heathsville, VA and malted at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, VA." How good was it?  When Colleen took a sip from my glass, she asked. "Can we get this in the store?"  (Yes, we can.)

As tempted as I was to enjoy another pint of VIPA, there's alway another Virginia beer to try. In this case, it was Christmas In June from Fair Winds Brewing Company. This hoppy lager features a tropical citrus and pine flavors balanced by grassy bitterness in the finish. This is only the third beer I've had from the brewery, but I've yet to be disappointed. One of these days we need to make the trek up I-95 to Lorton and pay them a visit. 

There were still more Virginia beers listed on the menu, including a few more I've not tried. Those were left for another outing. Fortunately, there's will always be more interesting Virginia craft beers to try.