A Facebook friend just stumbled across this knickknack in a country store. It’s every wild animal’s fantasy.
Filed under: Culture and Friends and Hunting & Guns and Just For Laughs and Rednecks and Wildlife
Three years ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting a young Guatemalan man in our Virginia home for a few weeks. Andres came to the United States on a work visa for a job in Texas, but when he arrived, his sponsoring employer told Andres he had no work available.
The employer then told Andres he could use the short-term visa to work anywhere in the country. He chose Northern Virginia, in part because of the job market and in part because mutual friends introduced Andres to our family — including the three children we adopted from Guatemala.
We loved having Andres in our home. The children adored him and even took an interest in learning their native tongue, an idea they had resisted for years when Mom and Dad suggested it. We took Andres to the White House, treated him to exotic meals (by Guatemalan standards) and spoiled him as best we could while he struggled to make sense of his immigration status.
But after a trip to the Guatemalan embassy, we became concerned that Andres had no right to be in America. We paid an immigration lawyer who confirmed that suspicion.
Andres’ would-be employer had lied. His visa gave him the right to work only in Texas, only for that employer and only for a few months. He was an illegal immigrant — and living in our home. Worse, he was in a city on the prowl for illegal immigrants, with our house located just blocks from the “Liberty Wall of Truth” in Manassas.
The lawyer advised Andres to stay in our home until he could take the earliest flight to Guatemala. We bought his airline ticket and sent him home to the needy family he had come to America to support.
I thought of Andres last week as I read and watched the confession of “undocumented immigrant” Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who lied for more than a decade so he could stay in America and rise to glory in a profession that prides itself on truth-telling.
I am part of that profession. I also happen to know Jose, who cited me as a source on technology and politics when he was a reporter at The Washington Post. (I was the editor of National Journal’s Technology Daily.) And I am shocked to see him being heralded as a hero.
The story of how Jose learned he was an illegal immigrant at age 16, four years after he came to America, is heart-rending. He was a victim of the deceptions of adults he trusted, his mother in the Philippines and his grandparents in California.
But there is nothing heroic about manipulating the legal system and lying to employers to get one’s way, as Jose did time and again once he knew the truth.
Filed under: Adoption and Family and Friends and Government and Human Interest and Media and News & Politics and People and Technology and Video
Comments: 1 Comment
For 10 years, my wife and I have been living the adoption dream. After we had endured the anguish of infertility for years, God blessed us with three angels from Guatemala — Anthony (10), Eliana (almost 8) and Catherine (5 as of a week ago).
“Anthony will always be the one I cried and prayed for,” Kimberly said soon after we brought our son home. “He’s the one who filled the emptiness in my life.” And Elli and Catie filled my quiver, making our family complete. Our children are the happy ending to our adoption story.
But the rest of that story, the part involving the emptiness of children who do not know their birth parents, has not been lived. I was reminded of that unwritten chapter today when reading about our friends, Rick, Pam and Scottie Reynolds.
I’ve blogged about Scottie before. He is the star of Villanova’s basketball team. But more relevant to our family, he is adopted — and he has struggled with the emotions of loving his parents yet wanting to know his birth mother. That’s the story USA Today told.
Filed under: Adoption and Family and Friends and Human Interest and People and Sports
Comments: 1 Comment
I’m glad he’ll be back. It means I’ll get to watch Scottie make plays like this:
He’s just not allowed to make those kinds of moves against my West Virginia University Mountaineers. All other opponents in the Big East are fair game.
Filed under: Friends and People and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 2 Comments
When Brian Nutting took a stand for quality journalism last week at Congressional Quarterly, I feared that my former (and favorite) boss would lose his job as a result. Sadly, he has.
Roll Call Group, the heartless and gutless new owner of CQ, reportedly fired Nutting because he wouldn’t apologize to his new masters for doing what journalists are supposed to do — ask tough questions and demand answers to them.
The decision to fire Brian is another blow to CQ’s quickly sinking reputation as a company that cares more about journalistic quality and integrity than profit.
Thanks, Brian, for helping mold me into the journalist I am. You did the old CQ we both knew and loved proud. And thanks for defending your colleagues.
You did the right thing last week by taking that stand and the right thing this week by not apologizing. The fact that you willingly put yourself in a position where you would not receive severance proves you to be a man of the kind of character that CQ needs. It’s a shame the new owners are so blinded by greed that they can’t see that.
Filed under: Business and Friends and Media and People
Comments: 3 Comments
I came to Washington in 1991 as a reporter for a weekly newsletter at Congressional Quarterly. Brian Nutting, then the top editor at the later renamed CQ Monitor, was my boss. Nearly two decades later, I still consider him the best boss and journalistic mentor I’ve had.
That’s why I was thrilled today to see Brian take a bold, and inevitably public, stand for his colleagues.
CQ has a storied tradition as a company that values nonpartisan, insightful journalism over profit. For decades it functioned as a nonprofit arm of privately owned Times Publishing Company out of St. Petersburg, Fla. Everyone who worked there knew CQ was a different breed of journalism organization — and appreciated the CQ brand.
Those days are over. Times Publishing Company sold out this year by selling CQ to the profit-hungry Economist Group, which also owns Roll Call. Today, the new CQ started acting like a company that cares more about money than the most thorough coverage of Washington possible by announcing the layoffs of a whopping 44 people in the newsroom (see a running list).
That’s what prompted Brian to ask pointed questions. Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail he sent to CQ’s leaders and copied to the entire newsroom, courtesy of FishbowlDC:
I won’t be surprised if Brian, the senior editor of votes in the news department, now becomes a target of the hatchet men at CQ. But good on him for defending both his colleagues and the company’s historical mission.
The news does not bode well for the CQ brand.
Filed under: Business and Friends and Media
Comments: 2 Comments
I love a good coin story, and this is the best one I’ve read in a while:
That news account reminded me of my favorite coin story of all time. It’s my favorite because it involved friends of ours.
Our friends regularly frequented the “Too Good To Be Trash” facility at our local dump, where people took old or broken items they didn’t want anymore but that other people might be willing to whip back into usable shape. Our friends scored some great finds over the years, including a grandfather clock that needed a minor repair but was otherwise in fantastic shape.
One day while our friend was scouring the non-trashy goods on the grounds with her daughter, they caught a glimpse of something shiny on the pavement. At first glance, they thought it was just toy money, but a closer inspection made them think it was real gold. And indeed it was.
I don’t recall the denomination or the exact year, but it was a U.S. gold coin from the 1800s. It wasn’t extremely valuable (maybe $150), but it was absolutely free — and a great piece of history. Even better, it’s now a family heirloom with a great story behind it.
Filed under: Coin Collecting and Friends and History and Human Interest
The saints at our congregation gathered a half-hour earlier than normal for worship this evening to have a special prayer service focused on praise and thanksgiving. Our ongoing class this summer on prayer life spurred the idea, and it was a most uplifting experience.
When I learned that the subject of our prayers would be praise and thanksgiving, I immediately thought of King David and the many psalms he wrote. They are filled with acknowledgments of God’s power and His character. I spent the afternoon reading several of them and picked one as my focus.
Rather than start a prayer from scratch, I tweaked the language and cadence of Psalm 103, which begins with the phrase “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (New King James Version), and read it as a prayer on behalf of the congregation as the brethren bowed.
Here is the text I used:
Filed under: Family and Friends and Religion
I returned to my redneck roots for one week this summer, serving as a counselor at Camp Appalachia in West Virginia, near my hometown.
It’s not a “church camp,” but it is run by Christians and emphasizes wholesome living and wholesome fun. We have daily Bible classes and devotionals, in addition to sports activities and recreational classes that run the gamut from crafts and chorus to archery and riflery.
I attended Camp Appalachia in the late 1970s and early 1980s during its first few years. I loved the experience then and even more this year as an adult.
I taught two fishing classes and a session on photography. The highlight of the fishing classes was forcing the students, girls and boys alike, to make “stink bait” so we could try to catch some catfish. I figured that was less of a liability than making them go “noodling.”
The highlight of the photography class was seeing my students put the simple lessons we studied into action as we wandered around the campground each day. They took some truly artistic shots, which I plan to post here eventually.
I knew the campers and other counselors had as much fun as I did, so on the final morning of camp, I asked them to explain why, for the benefit of future campers and counselors. This is a video montage of their answers:
I loved Camp Appalachia because the campers chose me as “the counselor who was the most fun to be around.” For a man who was called a curmudgeon by a colleague at the ripe, young age of 25, that award was an utter shock to me. I’m sure the stink bait put me over the top.
Filed under: Family and Friends and People and Religion and Sports and The Redneck Report and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
Last month I mentioned that Villanova basketball star Scottie Reynolds, a friend of our family and brother in Christ, might enter the National Basketball Association draft. A couple of weeks later, he decided against that path and will return to Villanova for his senior year.
I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post. Here is Scottie’s statement about his decision as published by ESPN.com:
“The best decision for me is to return to Villanova for my senior year. I’d like to thank everyone who put their time into helping me get better during these NBA workouts. I especially want to thank my teammates and coaches here for all of their support. I felt like I learned a great deal from this process. I’m blessed to be in the situation I am in. I’m happy to be back at Villanova.
The lure of a good-paying job and the fear of an injury that could hinder that career a year from now are strong incentives for any college athlete to go pro early, but Scottie made the right call. I’m glad he decided to complete his education.
I told him a couple of weeks ago that he’s not allowed to play well against my alma mater, West Virginia University, when he takes the court next season, but somehow I doubt he’ll oblige. Best of luck in your senior year, Scottie.
Filed under: Friends and People and Sports
I was raised in a small town known as the home of “the biggest little band in the land.” Everyone in the Ohio Valley and beyond knew when the Paden City High School Wildcats came to perform in a parade, on the field or on the stage, they were in for a great show.
We Wildcats did our greatest shows in 1982. We won three grand championships, six first places in our class, and 20 auxiliary awards for field commanders, percussion and more. We closed the marching season at the Marching Bands of America regional near Pittsburgh, finishing fifth in the preliminaries and seventh overall while competing against some of the largest bands on the East Coast.
Here’s how the 1982-83 yearbook entry for the band reads:
I was a sophomore in 1982 and played first-string trumpet during marching season. My memories of the MBA shows are among my clearest and fondest of high school — clearest because I remember busting my lip while tossing a football between shows and having to fake the music during the second performance, and fondest because we wowed a lot of people in that stadium who had low expectations for a band from a town of less than 4,000 people.
Filed under: Friends and Human Interest and Music and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
After I graduated from West Virginia University, I started playing golf. I worked the 2:30-11 p.m. shift at the local newspaper and a friend of mine had a similar shift in a coal mine, so about once a week, we’d play a round of golf at one of the cheap local courses.
We had a good ol’ redneck time. We took as many mulligans as we wanted; we teed up in the fairway if we felt like it; and we laughed the whole 18 holes. Save for the time my buddy drove a bit too fast on the potholed path and I had to jump out of the cart to keep from falling out on my face, we always had a blast. Who knew golf could be so fun!
We’d have been naturals for the redneck golf tournament (without the Budweiser because neither of us drink):
Filed under: Friends and Rednecks and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
Change has come to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and our family is not happy about it. The end result is that we won’t get to go for the first time in nine years.
President Obama thought outside the box and decided it was better to move the ticketing process online — and predictably, the system didn’t work as advertised. I know because I tried off and on all day to get free tickets for the event. Most of the time I couldn’t even access the system; the two times my wife and I did, we were booted from it right as we placed our orders.
By 7:45 p.m. Thursday, we were rewarded for our efforts with this message: “Tickets are no longer available for the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll.”
Filed under: Culture and Family and Friends and News & Politics and People
Comments: 62 Comments
As my wife and I considered the blessed parenthood option of adoption years ago, we investigated the possibility of foster care. We quickly abandoned that idea after being exposed to the bureaucratic idiocy of it all. Social services agencies seem intent to mess up anything worthwhile.
I was reminded of the nightmare foster-care system our governments have created when I read this note from friends who want to be foster parents:
No, it doesn’t make any sense at all. That’s precisely why social services “experts” these things. I’m beginning to think they are required to take a course called “How To Write Stupid Rules.”
Filed under: Adoption and Friends and Government
Comments: 1 Comment
Last summer, my son and I spent five days in the wilds of Montana on a camping trip with other fathers and sons. I dreaded an encounter with a bear all week, knowing that we had nothing but pepper spray and a few knives to defend ourselves.
I don’t know how I mustered any sleep because the thought of seeing a grizzly bear in the wild never left my mind. I’ve had an irrational fear of death by bear ever since high school, and my fear of grizzlies is even greater because of what I learned while researching my freshman college term paper, which was simply titled “Man vs. Grizzly.”
Mike McKinsey, a Montana native who organized the trip, assured me that there were no grizzlies near our camp outside of Lolo. He said the nearest grizzlies stayed on the Idaho side of the mountain range to the west of Lolo. He stuck to that story even after we saw the largest bear print in the history of mankind in the snow about two miles from our camp.
I never believed Mike. I’ve heard the kiddie song “The Bear Went Over The Mountain,” and in my wild adult imagination, it always ends badly for me.
I was right to be afraid, very afraid. My Dad forwarded an e-mail full of photos, like the one to the left, of a grizzly killed in Montana. The text in the e-mail says, “This grizzly was hit by a Harley on Lolo Pass. This is the pass between Lolo, Mont., and Kooskia, Idaho.”
Did you catch that? Killed between Lolo and somewhere in Idaho, where grizzlies are supposed to stay. Apparently no one told this one. He went over the mountain, Mike!
To be fair, that’s not the full story. I never take at face value anything forwarded to me by e-mail, even if it’s from my father, so I poked around Google a little. As it turns out, it didn’t take long for the weeks-old bear accident to be blown out of proportion.
Neither the parts about the Harley nor Lolo Pass are true. The bear was hit by a truck near Lincoln, Mont. But I just did the math: Lincoln is only about 90 miles from Lolo, and the home range of a male brown bear (of which the grizzly is a subspecies) can be more than 80 miles.
It’s not a stretch to think that a grizzly would travel an extra six miles just to eat me and prove me right. You coulda got us all killed, Mike!
Filed under: Family and Friends and Human Interest and People
Comments: 4 Comments
|previous posts »|