Shooting with Sons

Shooting, including hunting, tactical training, and target practice, is both enjoyable and educational. It is a good way to enjoy friends and family, and to provide for and protect yourself and those you love in times of need. Safe shooting should be a core skill for all interested Americans.

Last week I went to the gun range to shoot with one of my sons. Over the years, members of our family have spent many hours on ranges and hunting grounds from Alaska to Germany. Shooting is a useful skill and a pleasant pastime, and we were glad to find the range open again after COVID-19. As we use our weapons, we try to keep several factors in mind:

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Communion on the Moon

The first food and drink ever consumed on the moon was bread and wine in a Christian communion

No matter the opposition, the testimony of the Lord will not be denied. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins on Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969. He was the second human to walk on the surface of the moon. The following recounts the personal communion he took on the moon:

Almost 50 years ago (July 20, 1969), two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon.

But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. I’m talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine.

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Strataca

The Kansas Underground Salt Museum is a family friendly salt mine and museum to explore near Hutchinson, Kansas.

When Emerson Carey founded the Carey Salt Company to mine rock salt in Hutchinson KS in 1923, he could never have imagined that his mines would also turn into a popular tourist attraction and a storage vault for irreplaceable documents and films. Nonetheless, they did. The 650-foot-deep mines are now owned by the Hutchinson Salt Company, and produce up to 500,000 tons of rock salt for deicing roads, livestock feeding, and other uses per year.

Strataca leases space in the Hutchinson mines to provide an interactive place for adults and children to explore the mine, and to teach them about salt mining past and present. Visitors begin by descending 650 feet in a mining elevator. A mine guide greets guests as they exit and gives them an overview of the mine and mining.

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My Favorite Runs

Enjoyable walking, running, and cycling areas in the USA

After retiring from the US Army on 1 September 2016, I took a new job in Tennessee. My schedule prevented me from doing one of my favorite things, running, since 12 September. Today, however, I took a glorious 5-miler in the Wolf River Nature Area outside Germantown, TN. Running there reminded me of some of my favorite places to run, bike, or walk, throughout the United States. These trails are relatively easy, and located close to urban areas. Unlike some of the trails considered “Best in the US” for running, these are short and accessible to casual walkers, runners, bikers, and hikers.

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Moving with Little Trace

How to move in a natural environment while staying quiet and hard to track.

My family loves the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings (LOTR), even though it has many unlikely moments. One of my favorite unlikely moments is in The Two Towers, when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are tracking the orc pack carrying the Hobbits Merry and Pippin to a gruesome fate in Isengard.  Gimli complained, “Three day’s and night’s pursuit… no food, no rest, and no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell.”  Aragorn’s tracking is masterful to the point of unbelievable, as he pieces together the orcs’ movement, their midnight battle with the Rohirim, and the escape of Merry and Pippin. Experts can track people with remarkable accuracy, but Aragorn’s feat fits Hollywood better than it does the real world.

As a combat veteran, outdoorsman, and martial artist, I have moved more than once while trying to avoid being seen, heard or tracked. While hiking in the Poconos of Pennsylvania this month, I thought of what I had learned over the years from scout to soldier, and decided to write some of it down. People have been tracked by predatory animals and by other people. Before beginning, let me be clear that it is impossible to be completely silent, invisible, and untrackable. Readers also need to remember that not being seen, not being heard, and not being tracked are three different objectives; doing one can make it harder to do the others. The goal of this article is to help readers make themselves harder to see, to hear, and to track. We will focus on the natural world but say a little about indoors as well.

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Soccer Tips from Coach Mark

How to give your players a fun and developmental soccer season.

I have coached soccer for school aged boys and girls for about three years and served as a sports medicine physician for a wide variety of sports for six years. Whether I am the team coach, the team doctor, or just a fan, I always have five goals for the game, in order of importance:

  1. No one gets hurt.
  2. Kids have fun.
  3. Kids learn leadership, teamwork, and character.
  4. Each child gets to play every position.
  5. Our team wins.

To accomplish those three goals in soccer, I have included some information for players and parents to learn. Practices are twice per week and games once per week. Players should practice at home five or six days per week.

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Archery and the Christian Life

Sports like archery can teach us a lot about life as a Christian. Really, anything can, if we only have eyes to see and ears to hear. 

During a recent flight to San Antonio I was reading Marshall Hodgson’s classic The Venture of Islam (V1) and considering the spread of Islam in the world. I pondered the Muslim Arab victories over the Byzantines at Yarmuk (636 AD) and the Sasanids at Qadisiyah (637 AD), and the Muslim Berber victory over the Visigoths at Guadalete (712 AD). Many factors contributed to the success of The Faithful, and one of the greatest was their use of archery.

Just as something as simple and powerful as the bow and arrow can transform the political and religious world, it can also inform the Christian life. The purpose of the bow is to propel an arrow accurately and swiftly into a target, whether a hay bale, a deer, or a man. There are several steps to do this effectively:

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The Year in Music, Art, Literature and Drama History

16 Jan – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes was published in Madrid, Spain (1605).

17 Jan – Popeye the Sailor, a comic character created by Elzie Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theater comic strip (1929).

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Archery – Foundational Skills

Want to shoot like Robin Hood? Here are some tips to get you started. 

Archery is a fine, fun and relaxing sport. During our courtship, Nancy and I would spend hours at the outdoor range just shooting, talking, and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature around. She would pack a lunch and the days were delightful. I highly recommend picnics at the range rather than expensive restaurant lunches and movies during which no one talks to really get to know a person.

For those interested in learning the basics of archery, here they are.

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Medical Preparation for Humanitarian Missions

Going on a mission trip or a humanitarian event to a developing country? Prepare yourself by doing this.

“Doctor, this will be a very long war if for every division I have facing the enemy, I must count on a second division in hospital with malaria and a third division convalescing from this debilitating disease.” General Douglas MacArthur to Colonel Paul F. Russell, US Army malaria consultant, May 1943.

Just like soldiers going to war, people on humanitarian missions anywhere in the world can fail to accomplish their mission due to illness or injury. Whether missionaries seeking to advance the gospel of Christ, secular humanitarians trying to dig a well and build a school in a rural African village, or a combination of both, medical problems can inactivate the best intentioned and most capable teams. This article is intended to help people medically prepare themselves to go overseas on humanitarian missions. You can also watch the video.

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The Year in Adventure, Leisure, Sports and Travel History

14 Jan – Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen on a British expedition under Edward Fitzgerald made the first recorded ascent of Aconcagua, at 22,837 ft the highest mountain in South America, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere (1897).

18 Jan – American pilot Eugene B. Ely landed his Curtiss Pusher on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylania in San Francisco Bay, the first time that an aircraft landed on a ship (1911).

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Useful Quotations on Aviation and Space

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

“There’s a historical milestone in the fact that our Apollo 11 landing on the moon took place a mere 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight.” Buzz Aldrin

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skills.” Frank Borman – Apollo 8

“I’m going to fly this thing, then I’m going to set it afire and never have another thing to do with aeroplanes.” Clyde Cessna, after an unsuccessful 1911 attempt at flight

“The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly.” G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci

“If you’re faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible” Bob Hoover, former test pilot and airshow performer

“Always keep an ‘out’ in your hip pocket.” Beverly “Bevo” Howard, aerobatic pilot and entrepreneur.

“Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee.” William Kershner, test pilot, flight instructor and author.

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” Simon Newcomb (March 12, 1835 – July 11, 1909), Canadian-American astronomer and mathematician.

“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” Eddie Rickenbacker

“A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the study of so vast a subject. A time will come when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them.” Seneca, Roman philosopher, 1st century AD

“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives”. Socrates

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” Henry David Thoreau

Reflections on the Martial Arts

Martial arts are good for fitness and self-defense, but they are better for building character. 

My hands ached and my forearms were a little bloody as I gave the final bow to the master of our dojang in my test for the black belt. An odyssey that began as a second grader in karate class to deal with bullies was complete.  My childhood karate ended when the money ran out, so I tried again with tang soo do and kenpo in college and tae kwon do in medical school. In both cases my training was cut short. During my first tour in Germany, I started tae kwon do once more, but stopped after only a few months. I had tried four times to learn an Asian martial art, made it as far as blue belt, quit, and started over again.

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