Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Today, like every day, I am thankful for my loving family, my faith and the freedom to practice it, for my health, for my friends, and for the abundant blessings I enjoy as an American. In these perilous times we should be especially conscious of our freedom and never forget how tenuous it really is.

The following prayer was shared by Father Kevin Cusick on his blog "A Priest Life." I found it especially poignant.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.

Thank you for all the graces and blessings. You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage. Our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends.

Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year.

This we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord Who Lives and reigns with You in unity of the the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New Gun Owner

Our son is no stranger to firearms. He built his own AR rifle a couple years ago and he's also an experienced handgun shooter. However, he's been looking forward to actually buying his own handgun for a while. After celebrating his first legal beer in the U.S. recently, our now 21 year old son finally made that purchase he's been anticipating for a long time - a SIG Sauer P226 Legion. Detouring by the gun store on his way home for Thanksgiving break, he picked up the gun he had already paid for online. Then on Monday he met me at the office at lunchtime and we headed over to the indoor range to try it out.

After he shot the first few magazines through the gun, I asked for a chance to shoot it. I have to admit to a bit of envy of the high end SIG he opted to start out with. He's long enjoyed shooting my "basic" P226. He's been working hard and saving for some time in preparation, so I don't blame him for "going big."

I also brought along my SIG P320 Compact. I had only put 50 rounds through it since the trigger upgrade, mainly to check function. This time I shot a more organized practice session at 7 and 10 yards. I was more than happy with the groups I was getting. After 100 rounds, I checked on my son, who was doing quite well, and was very happy with his purchase. I watched him for a while longer, much to my own enjoyment. I offered him my last box of 50 rounds, on the condition he let his dad shoot one more magazine with the new gun.

As with my pleasure over his choices for good beer, I'm also glad he has good taste in firearms too.

My son told me that when he bought the gun, the person who handled the paperwork and the person who verified the purchase, both wished him a happy birthday. When the range proprietor checked his ID he too remarked "Happy Birthday." It seems I'm not the only one who enjoys it when someone makes that first purchase.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sinkland Farms Brewery

We visited a new brewery this weekend. It's not often we check out a new place as soon as it's opened, preferring to let the kinks get worked out first. But we happened to be in the Blacksburg area for the second day open for Sinkland Farms Brewery in Christiansburg so we stopped by for drinks and food.

It was already dark as we drove down the road to the brewery, relying on the address entered in Google Maps. As it turns out, the GPS had the location a bit off and when we were informed "You have arrived" we saw nothing. Colleen noted that she saw cars in a field a short way back and we found the brewery. Unfortunately, the sign as the road was not lit and we had driven by. But, finally arriving, we were in for treat.

Passing through a large sliding door in the barn, we entered a spacious seating area, complete with several large umbrella heaters and two fire pits. Copious light strings hung from the rafters added to the festive feel. We stopped at the bar first to review the menu. After ordering a couple beers we headed outside to the food truck. The Creole That food truck was on site serving hearty cajun-style meals.

My opening beer was Sink Or Swim IPA. This "sessionable" 4.7% ABV IPA has rich citrus and fruit hops, but notably low bitterness. It made a perfect accompaniment to my Shrimp & Grits food choice. Colleen opted for the Yukon Cornelius Stout, which she enjoyed with Cajun Shrimp Mac & Cheese.

We sipped our beers while enjoying some live Blues from the Howling Mudbellies. We both remarked how the music volume was load enough to be heard, but not too loud to preclude conversation. That's a balance often lacking, and why we often avoid venues when they have live music, even if we would otherwise enjoy it.

Thoroughly enjoying the food, the music, and atmosphere, and most importantly, the beer, we opted to try out a few more of the offerings. I ordered a pint of Elvis On Velvet. This Amber Lager is described as "malt forward, barely any hops." Another well-done beer, though a little mild for my personal preferences.

We also ordered tasters of Pumpkinfest Lager and Sophisticuffs Belgian Strong. The pumpkin lager had a nice balance of sweetness and the classic "pumpkin spice." I was sorely tempted to order another, this time a full pint. Colleen drank the Belgian Strong, which I neglected to try.

John Bryce, the owner and brewmaster at Sinkland Farms Brewery brings extensive experience to the Blacksburg venture. He's served as a Manager of Brewery Operations at Starr Hill Brewery, a Production Manager and Shift Brewer at Old Dominion Brewing, and as Head Brewer at Capitol City Brewing, among other brewing experiences.

It was fortuitous timing that we were in the area for the opening weekend at Sinkland Farms Brewery. We had quite a pleasant evening enjoying a tasty dinner and several excellent beers in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. I have no doubt we'll be making return visits to the brewery during future stays in the Blacksburg area.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Now It's a Family Affair

He grew up visiting craft breweries and hearing all about good beer. This weekend our son got to do more than watch.

The beer was Right Mind Brewing Tommy Dinkus 80 Shilling Scottish Ale as we celebrated his 21st birthday with dinner and beer, for the whole family.

This dad is proud the "factory beer" stage was skipped.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Another Week Gone By

Well, shoot. (Or not.) Another week has passed in which I managed no visit to the range. After last week's meeting schedule I had even preemptively blocked off time on my calendar for this week. Alas, life intervened. I did get in a little dry fire; practicing drawing from under the heavier clothing of the season, but it's truly not enough.

This cannot stand.

I now set my sights (heh) on next week. Good health depends on it.

On the bright side, it's Friday.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Sacred Sig

I've never understood the mindset of surrender that would leave one to believe the wooden doors of a church were talismans which prevented the deranged from entering with guns, or any other weapons of mass destruction. (No pun intended.) As recent events have made abundantly clear, personal safety requires personal responsibility, no matter the location. The growing threats come in many forms.

I have mused on the topic of Catholics and guns previously. Relevant to Virginia residents, a former Attorney General also opined on the legal aspects of carrying in a church, noting that "carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there."

Yesterday, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf tackled questions on the propriety of being armed, for both laity and clergy, on his blog. Among the topics covered, somewhat tongue in cheek, was a suggested prayer to be used by a priest when vesting with his firearm before Holy Mass.

Domine, scutum noster et salvator, firma manus meas ad debellandas inimici insidias et digitos meos doce ad proelium contra omnes diabolicas potestates.

Translated from the latin, the prayer reads, "O Lord, the shield of our God and the Savior of the law, without prejudice to the hands, teach my hands to war, and my fingers against the wiles of the enemy, and cleared away all the diabolic powers."

That's rather a nice thought I think.

Read Fr. Z's entire post at ASK FATHER: Firearms at Mass, laity and priests.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Humor

Today's pre-church chuckle.
Sitting by the window of her convent, Sister Barbara opened a letter from home one evening. Inside the letter was a $100 bill her parents had sent. Sister Barbara smiled at the gesture.

As she read the letter by the window, she noticed a shabbily dressed stranger leaning against the lamp post below. Quickly, she wrote, “Don’t despair. – Sister Barbara,” on a piece of paper, wrapped the $100 bill in it, got the man’s attention and tossed it out the window to him.

The stranger picked it up, and with a puzzled expression and a tip of his hat, went off down the street.

The next day, Sister Barbara was told that a man was at her door, insisting on seeing her. She went down, and found the stranger waiting. Without a word, he handed her a huge wad of $100 bills. “What’s this?” she asked.

“That’s the $8,000 you have coming Sister,” he replied. “Don’t Despair paid 80-to-1.”

Happy Sunday.

H/T to Old NFO.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thank You Veterans

To all the men and women who have given so much to make this country great and who have fought to maintain the freedoms we cherish, today we pause to say "thank you." Your service is not forgotten.

Thank a vet today. Better yet, thank a vet every day.
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have." -- Ronald Reagan

Friday, November 10, 2017

VCDL: Legal Protection Plan Comparison

The Virginia Citizens Defense League has put together a comprehensive comparison of legal protection plans available to civilians in the event they are involved in a self defense shooting. One can face daunting expenses and legal obstacles as the result of a self defense shooting, even when it's justified. As such, these plans are recommended by many experts in the field. There are many types of protection plans available, covering different situations and levels of service. Choosing the one that's right for you can be a difficult process.

The VCDL document currently compares seven different offerings. The online resource will be updated as plans change and new products or service providers become available.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Chainsaw Bayonet?

Yep, they really are that clueless.

I have little doubt that there's a democrat Congressman clucking his tongue and planning legislation to ban such an abomination.