Archives for the ‘Blog Entries.Local’ Category

Firearms Training at the Pub

Author: David From • Sep 19th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Milwaukee restaurant owner Andy Kochanski knows the life-saving value of firearms. In August of 2013 three armed thugs attempted a robbery of Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall. The businessman, who was also armed, shot and killed one of the robbers. The other two were later captured and put on trial. To ensure other citizens are properly prepared to defend their own lives, a free concealed carry course was hosted at the bar recently, attended by 100 people.

This is the second such course hosted at the beer hall. Kochanski was praised by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke for his actions in defending his and his customers' lives.

I suspect the Concertina Beer Hall is an unlikely place for future robbery attempts.

See "Imagine That: A Bar That Will Teach You How To Shoot" for more.

12th Annual Blue & Gray Oktoberfest

Author: David From • Sep 18th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
Fredericksburg's original Oktoberfest celebration is happening this Friday and Saturday at Blue & Gray Brewery. This is the twelfth year for this popular event.

The event kicks off Friday, September 19 at 5:00PM with the traditional keg-tapping ceremony at 6:30PM, with an OOOmpah band providing music until 9:00PM. The celebration picks up Saturday at noon and goes until 7:00PM. There will be stein holding contests, beer barrel bowling, and German food and music. Of course, there will be plenty of authentic Oktoberfest beer from Blue & Gray Brewing, served in a commemorative 33.8 oz maas, a 17oz 1/2 maas, and the standard 16oz pub glasses. Lee's Retreat Brewpub will also have a special menu for the weekend.

The Blue & Gray Oktoberfest is a family friendly event, with game and crafts for the kids too. 

Complete details on activities can be found here.

Drink and Live Longer

Author: David From • Sep 17th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Not only does an alcoholic drink or or two add enjoyment to your life, a new study suggests it will also add years to your life.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. 
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

The report acknowledges that there may other factors involved, such as previous health issues of non-drinkers, socioeconomic class, and physical activity. However, over a twenty year period, even accounting for those variables, the report states, "mortality rates were highest for those who were not current drinkers, regardless of whether they used to be alcoholics, second highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers."

Or maybe happy people simply live longer.

See "Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?" for the complete story.

A belated look at Sept 11th storms

Author: Chris White From • Sep 16th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
I deliberately didn't chase on Sept 11th for two reasons:
     (1) I had been to and from Blacksburg that day to provide a chasing presentation to a VT meteorology class and
     (2) It was my birthday and I didn't want to pass up dinner at home that night.

The drawback was missing the convection that fired late that afternoon. Morning runs of the short range models had indicated chances of rotating storms and this one showed up near Radford late that afternoon:
Not long after this two separate discrete cells fired in Bedford county (where I would have targeted if I had gone out) and both had radar-indicated rotation on them, meaning both likely had well-developed wallclouds underneath.

Then later that evening this storm showed up near Gretna (image captured by my son):
Thus deference to my birthday activities caused a "miss" of a decent chasing setup...but, hey, some things take priority!

Keeping my fingers crossed for one more good chase this year.

Thirty Years!

Author: David From • Sep 15th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Events
September 15, 1984. That's the day, thirty short years ago, that Colleen and I made our promise before God that we would spend the rest of our lives together. And it's been a wonderful and amazing thirty years. We've had our share of both joy and sadness. We've gone through times of plenty, as well as the inevitable lean periods. But whether we are experiencing immense happiness, or unimaginable sorrow, we have had each other to lean on.

I cannot imagine my life without this beautiful lady. No matter what trials life may bring, I am thankful she is by my side. When life brings joy, I am thankful that she is there to share it. I thank God every night for her presence in my life. I give thanks again every morning that He put us together, and gave us the son we have raised.

In trying to write this post, through multiple drafts, I came to realize that there is little I can say that doesn't sound cliché. It also made me think about how true and lasting love, and (real) marriage itself, has become cliché and even passé in our culture. Thats too bad. To my shame I am often better at describing a beer than expressing my undying love for my wife. I am, nonetheless, forever blessed by the commitment we began those thirty years ago.

The photos may fade, but love grows stronger with time. Happy Anniversary Colleen. I love you and look forward to the next thirty years.

 But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. --Mark 10:6-9

That Day You Learn That Your Dog Has Cancer

Author: Chris From • Sep 14th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local

For me, that day was yesterday. Fenway is 14, and frankly, I was shocked when he got a clean bill of health at his annual vet visit about a month ago. He has really slowed down over the last few months, and I was expecting bad news and preparing for the worst last month.

He eats in the powder room, because he eats slowly and our other dog eats like she hasn't seen food in weeks. I got a surprise when I opened the door to let him out after eating Saturday morning. The bathroom looked like a murder scene from Castle, except that the splatter pattern made it obvious the blood originated in a coughing or sneezing fit. I learned an hour later it was a sneeze. We called the vet and had him there about an hour later.

The diagnosis after the physical exam was a tumor in the sinus area, and she ordered a CBC to check his blood. It came back horrible, everything was low. His CBC last month was mostly normal. The tumor has been bleeding for awhile internally. He is basically bleeding out slowly from the inside. She said now that he was bleeding externally too it wouldn't be long. 2 months at most, and probably more like 2 weeks. She talked through my options (none that she recommended be tried on a 14 year old beagle) and offered a prescription of prednisone, which she said might reduce inflammation and help him feel better while we decide what to do. He felt so bad he actually fell asleep on the floor of the examination room while we were waiting for the blood test results. When we got home Fenway didn't even make it all the way into the family room. He laid down right at the entrance and didn't move for hours. I positioned a blanket under him to catch the blood oozing out of his nose, and called Michelle, who was out. I also gave Fenway a prednisone, which had the double effect of stopping the blood from his nose, and seemingly helping him feel better. He was enthusiastic about eating last night, something we hadn't seen in a while. He has appeared to feel better today that he has in weeks. Obviously that is the prednisone.

So that is where I am. I'm assuming the prednisone effect will fade in the next couple of days. However, he ate enthusiastically both times today, and generally seemed to be pretty happy and energetic today. However I'm not fooling myself. My dog has advanced cancer and we are going to have to put him down soon, maybe in the next week or so, The tumor in his sinuses could rupture at any time, and I think I want to do it before that happens. I'm planning to work from home on Friday, so that might be the day.

As I was thinking about this I also was trying to look inward and convince myself that my relative comfort with putting him down was coming from a place of compassion, and not a place of convenience. Although I don't quite consider myself a Buddhist, I am a fan of the Noble 8-Fold Path and the 5 Precepts. I thought if I could read a little about the absolute prohibition against causing a death it might clarify my thinking. It turns out most Buddhists agree that when the general edict to show compassion conflicts with the Precepts, compassion rules. Not that I was giving any consideration to letting nature play all the way out here. I wasn't. If I have it in my power to reduce suffering I think I should do that. However it is comforting to get a second opinion from the Internet ;)


Season’s First Oktoberfest Bier

Author: David From • Sep 14th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Even though they've been on the shelves for more than a few weeks, I had not yet opened any of the usual "fall seasonal" beers, the Harvest Ales, the Pumpkin Ales, and the Oktoberfest Bier. Colleen and I headed down to Deutschland Downtown Saturday evening to enjoy dinner in the Biergarten and to start the Oktoberfest tasting season. The restaurant's Facebook page noted they had "a few Oktoberfest biers that just arrived from Germany" and I was looking forward to enjoying a few Märzens with my dinner. Unfortunately, the European kegs need a special adaptor to hook up to the restaurant's tap system. That problem will be fixed soon I'm told. The only Oktoberfest beer on hand was the classic Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen. So that's what we ordered, it's not like that's a bad option anyway.

Yes, we poured them into glasses.

We were told the Biergarten had not yet been dried out from the afternoon's rain so we opted for a table indoors. Colleen ordered her favorite, Schnitzel, with Sauerkraut, substituting a dumpling with gravy for the Spätzle — just to try something different. I opted for Weisswurst with Sauerkraut and German Potato Salad. Both dishes were, as always, very enjoyable. We lingered over another round of Paulaners while we debated our dessert choices.

The dessert selections for the evening included Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) and Bavarian Chocolate Puffs. We opted to order one of each. The Bavarian Puffs were served with whipped cream on the side and were enjoyable. The Black Forest Cake was a surprisingly delicious treat. I often find this sort of dessert to be a tad too rich for my tastes. However, I was continually reaching across the table to snare another fork full off of Colleen's plate. The moist cake with cherry topping and fresh whipped cream made a fine finish to the meal. Perhaps we'll need to order two next time.

We enjoyed our time dining inside but we both agreed that we prefer the open Biergarten over the small dining room. We're looking forward to getting back soon, and often, before the weather turns for the worse.

I see that the post about our previous visit is listed just a few stories down. I expect the frequent report trend just might continue for a while, as there are wursts and German beers, and desserts, yet to be enjoyed in the Biergarten at Deutschland Downtown. And I'm looking forward to seeing what other German beers will make an appearance!

Five O’Clock Friday: Beer For Cold Nights

Author: David From • Sep 12th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
As the weather turns cooler, it's time to recall the sage advice of Cliff Clavin.

Have a wonderful weekend. And stay warm.

Prayers For Our Nation

Author: David From • Sep 11th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Today is a fitting day to reflect on the precipice at which we find ourselves. More so than in all of the last 13 years, our Nation sits vulnerable, with a failed leader and a citizenry afraid to confront the evil in front of us. Our enemy's tactic of crying "islamophobia" scares the meek into accepting and excusing barbarism. Too many Americans, even fellow Christians, are willing to coexist with evil. We see the result of a cooperation with evil in the genocide of Christians taking place in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Yet, the ignorant continue to make excuses and look for good where there can be none. We have seen "lone wolf" jihad in our own country for decades, without alarm. How many warnings will be ignored, how much more sway will evil be given, before there is no escape?

On this somber anniversary of Satan's attack on our country, let us pray that this encroaching evil is vanquished from our land, and that we may someday live in safety and peace.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

If we shall not live in peace, I pray we don't die "cowering in place". I make a plea to all my fellow Christians, and to my fellow Catholics in particular. Do not become complacent. "Turning the other cheek" does not mean acquiescence, it does not mean surrender. We must stand up to the silent surrender in the courts, and by those in political office. Political correctness is weakness, and weakness loses to oppression every time. The enemy is here, hiding in plain site. Innocent people are being martyred by muslims in America today. The coming battle will be both spiritual and corporal. Heed the words of Theodore Roosevelt who noted at the turn of the 20th century, "Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought." Sadly, it may now be too late for a Christian Europe. If we too fail to stand strong now, in the words of Archbishop Amel Nona, we in the West "will become the victims of the enemy [we] have welcomed."

[Portions of this rant were originally published on Gabriel Possenti Shooters.]

In Lieu of Content

Author: David From • Sep 10th, 2014
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
Mesmerizing. Watch to the end.