Nov 24, 2014
This weekend, Sebastian and I had the chance to tour Christ Church in Philadelphia. I had never been before at all, and he had never really been on a real tour of it.
The history there is just amazing. It’s quite humbling to realize that the baptismal font still in use today has been around since before most people have paper records of their family’s baptisms – over 600 years old and it was used to baptize William Penn in 1644. As the tour guide pointed out, the chandelier they planned to light that afternoon for a wedding is the same chandelier that was in place (and likely lit) for Benjamin Franklin’s daughter’s wedding.
Another bit of history that I did not know stuck out to me after seeing incredible artwork in the form of stained glass. One of the scenes featured in the glass is the prayer given before the Continental Congress on September 7, 1774. The delegates asked the local Anglican minister open the session with a prayer. Following tradition of the time, the 36-year-old opened with the scripture that happened to be designated for that day, Psalm 35.
1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
It’s rather amazing how that so perfectly fit the circumstances of that very day. However, the real highlight of our visit was getting to see the actual book of church meeting notes from July 4, 1776.
Nov 24, 2014
I’m really quite stunned at how Bloomberg’s money can buy at least some traction in elections when his groups encourage people to engage in behavior that makes them the family member whose invitation you hope gets lost in the mail.
Bloomberg and the moms are once again asking people to bring their Thanksgiving meal to a grinding halt by starting up a fight gun control and politics.
I’m almost afraid to give them any ideas, but I’m pretty sure their Christmas promotion will be instructions on how to tell your gun owning family members that Jesus hates them and Santa will burn all of their children’s toys. For the wedding season next year, they are probably working hard on a guide on how to insert politics into the bridal party toasts. Think your family reunion events are safe and limited to debates on how close that horseshoe really landed? Think again. Look for the Everytown Guide to Using Family History Stories to Lecture Current Descendants on Contentious Topics coming out this spring.
Even though we’re labeled the gun nuts, our holidays are filled with conversations about family, friends, and maybe that really good baked cranberry recipe I got from Michael Bane years ago (that my mom still makes every holiday).
Nov 11, 2014
Getting into genealogy has inspired me to ask many more questions about the veterans in my family. I never expected to learn even a fraction of what I have lately.
My paternal grandfather got a bug for flying as a child when he was walking home from work in the late 1920s and he went by the local airport in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A guy with a plane offered him a chance to fly. That man turned out to be Wylie Post. In college, my grandfather joined the ROTC and was called up in June 1941 shortly before he could finish his degree in Petroleum Engineering. He served in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Burma for his longest stint. He was trained to fly the B-25 and C-46, but after a while they told him to get into an unarmed P-38 and go take pictures of the Japanese. After the war, he went back to school to finish his degree and met a freshman girl who caught his eye – my grandmother. My grandfather survived a plane crash during the war and having a boat sink out from under him, but not skin cancer. He passed when I was 11 months old, so I never knew him.
My dad’s story isn’t nearly so eventful as his father’s story, but he did serve in the Navy during the later years of Vietnam. However, he was never sent over there and his job was primarily making sure people got paid and taking care of the accounting. I’m sure the men who served with him appreciated his ability to do his job. :)
(He’s the second from the right.)
The final picture I have to share was just recently obtained. It’s a picture of CASU-44, my maternal grandfather’s unit in WWII. He enlisted in the Navy, and they put him to work fixing planes because that man can fix absolutely anything. He went to Tinian behind some Marines and, from his stories, was basically working with them most of the time. He was punished for striking an officer after the fresh officer showed up and insulted my grandfather after trying to tell him that the manual said to fix the plane a certain way that my grandfather knew from experience didn’t work. He also told us about getting shot at by the Japanese while delivering ammunition to the other side of the island when he took a wrong turn in the sugar cane. Fortunately, some Marines nearby heard the shooting and pulled him out. My grandfather was put in the hospital when a storm caused the loss of most of their food supplies and they were put on different rations. He couldn’t keep any of it down at all and was no longer able to do as much as the Navy needed him to do. Eventually, he was shipped back to Hawaii and then back home.
(He’s second from the left in the fourth row from the top.)
To relate this a bit back to guns, my maternal grandfather could also shoot a squirrel out of a tree from damn near anywhere, even when other people couldn’t even spot the damn thing. His favorite squirrel gun is still kept loaded by his chair, and it was ordered from the Sears catalog.
Nov 7, 2014
Via Josh Prince, we find out that Pennsylvania’s new preemption law isn’t really law…yet. It turns out that someone sent the wrong version of the bill to the Governor.
Josh noted on Facebook that it does mean a new effective date, but the law will still become law.
Maybe Tom Corbett could find a liquor privatization bill that the Senate seemingly forgot to send him to sign before he leaves, too.
Nov 7, 2014
Sebastian noted that Bloomberg has rated his top priorities for the next gun control ballot initiatives. The Brady Campaign is quick to follow with their promise to ride his coattails.
However, they want more. They want far more than what Bloomberg is willing to fund right now. They released this map that shows all of the states they want to target in coming years with gun control ballot measures.
Maine isn’t highlighted because the Brady Bunch decided to go with a flashing GIF that colored target states blue one by one and I didn’t quite act fast enough to capture it in time. I didn’t care enough to try again.
Regardless, I wouldn’t completely write this off if you’re in a deep red state that they have colored dark blue on this map. Plenty of gun owners are willing to believe that these laws only target “bad” people and that they aren’t really efforts to entrap otherwise law-abiding people who just get mixed up with what’s allowed and not allowed. Do not assume your state is immune.
Nov 6, 2014
The restaurant owner who expanded his law enforcement discount of 10% off to anyone lawfully carrying a gun said that he has seen a 15% increase in business since the policy was announced.
Nov 4, 2014
This is just a reminder that if Tom Wolf wins, as expected, it is now legal to drink your sorrows away at the local bar. However, you may need to stay closer to sober in order to save your bucks to pay those higher taxes he’s promising everyone.
Regardless of the sorrows you may need to drown, the linked story is an interesting history on liquor sales in Pennsylvania on Election Day. They also note that South Carolina was the last state to legalize the sale of alcohol on Election Day while Alaska and Massachusetts still allow local towns to enact bans.
I think it’s also funny that they feel the need to remind people that you can’t trade liquor for votes. The story also notes that as recently as last year, there have been problems with this with an Arkansas lawmaker who traded vodka and chicken dinners for votes.
A Democratic congressional candidate out in Western Pennsylvania posted photos of herself and volunteers with candy that they were giving out to their voters today. I wonder if there’s a law on that?
Oct 31, 2014
One day of our trip involved arguing with the Oklahoma State Department of Health for access to family death certificates and a much more exciting stop at the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Research Center. Looking for obituaries seems a little morbid, but it’s actually kind of fun to read the old newspapers while you’re searching.
This is one headline from the 18 Jan 1912 edition of The Leedey Times of Dewey County, Oklahoma that you’d never see today.
Before anyone jumps on the editor for using shotgun and rifle like they are the exact same thing, I suspect that was more for the visual space in the headline. I think rifle would have been too short and left too much whitespace. I find it hard to believe that a newspaper editor in rural Dewey County wouldn’t know the difference.
Oct 20, 2014
I actually found this article to be a very interesting read on the problems of media today. While some in media just want to pretend that it’s the financial challenges that keep things tough in journalism, Kristi Culpepper notes some other deep flaws in the profession:
There is less concern among the media for developing actual expertise in the fields they write about, capturing events accurately, or providing thoughtful analysis. Some journalists I have interacted with even take pride in their lack of seriousness, which is unfathomable to me. Reporting is less about honesty and more about ubiquity now.
Contrary to how it seems sometimes, we’re not actually completely anti-media in our household. If there’s someone out there who does reporting/writing right, we do pay for it. We have a few digital subscriptions, and we’ve even participated in a PBS fundraiser once because that particular station happens to produce and play (non-news) content we enjoy. But the problem is that many news organizations no longer value the reporting and writing done right. I’m not sure how to solve that problem when, as argued above, there are people in the industry who take pride in the fact that they are incapable of covering an issue with any sort of seriousness.
Oct 16, 2014
It would appear that Pennsylvania gun owners may need to work a little harder to educate our opponents.
I don’t mean that we need to educate them on how firearms actually work or on the historical lessons of the Second Amendment – they’ll never listen to those messages.
What our opponents need is a return to elementary school spelling classes, perhaps with a mix of middle school civics to supplement their lessons.
This tweet, with the creative spelling of amendment, went out to at least 26 Senators. I get that typos happen (don’t even get me started on how many people I see who add an extra ‘m’ to the word), but in a call to action tweet sent from a professionally staffed organization to over one half of the members of a legislative body, that’s a pretty sad mistake.
I hope that people on our side of the issue will remember to double check your tweets and messages before you start writing to lawmakers.