Category Archives: People & Interests

From opposite sides: A picture of paradox, delightful twists and turns

Even so, during that crushing time grace and joyful love surrounded me! Going each day to our local prison, I visited men and women in bitter despair. Sundays and Wednesdays, I’d sing at the church groups, trying to kindle the spirits of dear souls half dead. One day, while getting ready for Mass, I heard one of my friends in the group say, “There’s a poor guy here, in real bad shape. Just got a twenty-year sentence for rape. Tried to kill himself . . . slit his throat.” “Oh!” I gasped. My insides turned to stone. I just couldn’t leave him alone! He was going to die. I had to do something. “Lord,” I prayed, “please help me to bring him some hope.”

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A trip to the beach, Part I

One benefit of military service is the recognition that not all authority is meant to thwart our good times; sometimes it is meant to protect us, preserve us, arm us with the knowledge and skills to survive in difficult or life-threatening situations. As a result, we were open to the advice of my unit’s senior non-commissioned officer (NCO), who touted the idea of camping our way along the French side of the English Channel. He spoke of the beauty of the beaches, the friendly reception afforded to visiting Americans, and insisted that it would be the “vacation of a lifetime.”

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Small Business Spotlight: Gosh Yarn It! A store that does your grandmother proud

What I love about the shop is that it carries yarn at any price point I, or anyone else, could want. Their selection ranges from the durable and low-cost to the luxurious and dear. I asked Schwartz why carry cashmere and baby alpaca yarn when she could have a larger inventory of cheaper goods and she replied, “If you’re putting that much time into something, don’t you want it to be high quality? Don’t you want it to be worthy?” She has a point. If I am putting twenty hours of knitting into a gift (something I have done!) I want the recipient to treasure it, not only for the time invested, but also because it is a beautiful item that they are proud to adorn themselves with.

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Permaculture just makes sense

To put it simply: permaculture just makes sense. What does not make sense is dumping chemicals on food-producing plants. It doesn’t make sense to spray weed killers on food. It doesn’t make sense to use petroleum-based fertilizers — that kill the soil — to produce food. These methods do produce short-term gains, but at what cost to future generations? Permanent agriculture through the use of perennials and reseeding annuals has the potential to replace these destructive means of producing food. The future, our collective future, depends on it.

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Filming fireworks from the inside

Youtube user Jos Stiglingh has posted an absolutely beautiful video of fireworks filmed from within the the display itself. He used a DJI Phantom 2 drone with an attached GoPro Hero 3 Silver camera. The video is accompanied by equally beautiful music by Italian tenor and singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli singing “Con Te Partirò”. Have a Happy Fourth of July!

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Romancing the hopeless

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got my own issues with relationship ambivalence. From my own hopelessly sentimental, blind-eye refusals to give up on love to my unconscious strategies designed to resist love, I’ve searched for the middle ground between hopeless romanticism and ambivalent attachment. So I’ve taken notice over the years of how many of our movies focus on our “come here, go away” relationship struggles. In fact, A Place In The Sun showed us The Way We Were so that When Harry Met Sally a Whole Wide World opened up to Jerry McGuire, who finally proved that Something’s Gotta Give, convincing us that Never Again would we let An Officer And a Gentleman drive us Out of Africa only to fill us with regret Before Sunset. Don’t worry, you haven’t suffered a stroke. That was just a small sampling of how many of our classic and modern films feature our ambivalence about love.

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Gun safety is paramount

Before you purchase a firearm, educate yourself on gun safety. I have been a professional shooter for most of my adult life. Safe gun handling should be the first thing you learn. Why? So as not to injure anyone else or yourself. Sound logical? You would think. However, I encounter people quite often that have little awareness of gun safety. I have had people hand me loaded guns and tell me they are unloaded. I have had individuals fire guns down range while I was down range. I literally have scores of stories about unsafe actions that have taken place at the firing range. These are occurrences that need never happen. The NRA has great resources for gun safety study and training. There is no reason to be ignorant of gun safety, as it is a very easy topic to master — and rewarding.

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Vet of the Month: Daniel Gagnon

Daniel was sent to serve in Germany. The first two years he worked as a personnel clerk for Army Security Agency, a precursor to the NSA. This involved studying the North Vietnamese language. His daily duties included processing soldiers, both those returning from and being deployed to Vietnam. During this time, American deaths in the war reached their apex, and pressure was on to start pulling back. The ASA program was dissolved by President Nixon in the winter of 1969. During the last two years of his service, Daniel worked within the US Army mortuary system, which involved assisting morticians and funeral directors, processing the remains of the fallen, and occasionally holding funerals (though typically this was done back in the States).

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Local restaurant owner makes it to Sochi as Olympic official

At the young age of 3, William Van Gilder donned his first pair of skis and hit the slopes at Camelback Ski Area. By the age of 16, he dropped the skis completely, developed a passion for snowboarding and soon after began participating competitively in snowboard events. Thirty-four years later, Bill, as his friends call him, became an Olympic official working as a member of the Independent Olympic Committee during the most recent Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Bill at his family’s restaurant, Van Gilder’s Jubilee, located in Pocono Pines along Route 940, to discuss how he climbed through the industry ranks to officiate during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games Snowboarding and Ski events, not to mention participate in all the excitement that took place.

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