Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I only heard the despicable "happy holidays" once this year. Result, as was the stunningly powerful gift of a Spyderco folder from my philosophic friend, GWB.

Shoot straight, stay on the horse and may God bless you all,


Friday, December 23, 2011

North Park Mall

Those of you who know Dallas might say that North Park Mall is "hell with the lid off" two days before Christmas. A right shopping frenzy. Not dissimilar, come to think of it, to downtown Norwich on a Saturday.

Except for the money and the shops.

North Park before the rush
Try not to stumble on those Blahniks, kids.

Note -- next year, provided there is one, get the presents before the 23rd of December.

Just sayin',


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Space Alien Flogs Dead Horse!

Space Alien
Celebrity Episcopalien, Rev. Susan Russell, well known gender politician, priestess and off-world activist, has hitched her Advent star to the dying hippy movement, "Occupy Wall Street." 

In a sermon on the final Sunday before Christmas, Russell stated, “[Occupy] is the kind of movement that we venerate in history, yet many who live comfortably fear it in the present. Occupy is no mere ‘protest.’ The brilliance of the movement is its refusal to be reduced to specific policy demands. Occupy remains an insatiable movement of liberating creativity, an irreducible process for generating justice."

Insatiable... liberating creativity?

You be the judge.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House Of Gold

As we prepare for Christmas and try to forget the impending fiscal maelstrom and the likelihood of a Deathstar Blockbuster Bonanza strike against Iran, our minds are drawn to the birth of Christ. It's easy, perhaps, for Christians who focus on the transcendent glory of the Word made Flesh to forget the tenderness and intimacy of the event; to say nothing of the Cross and Passion which the Incarnation unfolds into. Austin Farrer holds all aspects together. In The Crown of the Year he writes:

“WHEN Mary laid Jesus Christ upon her knees, when she searched him with her eyes, when she fed him at the breast, she did not study to love him because she ought, she loved him because he was dear: he was her Son. His conception had been supernatural, perplexing, affrighting; it had called for faith in the incomprehensible, and obedience beyond the limit of human power. His nativity was human and sweet, and the love with which she embraced it was a natural growth, inseparable from the thing she loved. She was blessed above all creatures, because she loved her Maker inevitably and by simple nature; even though it needed the sword - wounds of the Passion to teach her fully that it was her Maker whom she loved. The Son of Mary is the Son of all human kind; we embrace him with the love of our kind, that we may be led up with Mary to a love beyond kind, a selfless love for the supreme Goodness, when we too shall have climbed the ladder of the cross.”

I love that.


An Army Of One

Spurred on by SBW's urging to "shoot the Lee" I filled the truck with guns and headed off to a parishioner's range. It was beautiful, just me, the guns and miles of misty countryside. I set up a silhouette and my ancient adversary, a Marlboro Light box.

After a brisk .22 warm up I moved on to the more serious business of SMLE firepower and was surprised to shoot my best groups with that rifle. Shot less well with an AR, oddly. Probably due to a lack of concentration. Neat little rifle though.

Finished off with a blast of the .45. Ferocious fun to see the flaming flash of the shot. Then the heavens opened and I began to wish, and not for the first time, for something in the 4x4 line. Hopefully that will arrive before the impending 2012 apocalypse.

But the Eschaton and lack of four wheel drive aside, I love shooting. Good for mind, body and soul. What did they used to say about America being a "nation of riflemen"? I like that, even if it's no longer true. 

Keep pulling the trigger,


Oh dear... Piers.

Described by some as a "Dark Lord" and "more hated than Skeletor", Piers Morgan isn't just facing dismal ratings at CNN, he's on the hot spot for his role in the the U.K.'s phone hacking scandal.

You can read all about this sordid tale of criminality, vice and gutter journalism over at Guido and, you never know, maybe Piers will have to leave America...

Please send him back for Christmas.

The nation holds its breath.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Hitchens Is Dead

Everyone knows that Christopher Hitchens has died. He was an outstanding writer, drinker, smoker and contributing editor to Vanity Fair. VF gushed this morning:

"Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor."

Hitchens, unlike his brother, didn't believe in God. Now he will find out. 

I'll say a prayer for his soul.

Dies irae, but remember Farrer's words, Advent is a time when "judgement runs out into mercy."


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Round about the end of the year, with the thought of presents looming, my mind turns to rifles. One rifle in particular, the Tikka T3. It gets great reviews, it's comparatively cheap, everyone says, "LSP! Get a Tikka!." Then, just as I'm about to leap into the world of Tikka, up comes Churck Hawks' damning review. Here's a bit of it to refresh the memory:

"To add insult to injury, the Tikka T3 is a cheap rifle to produce, but not an inexpensive one to purchase. (Ditto the I-Bolt!) These things cost as much or more than some higher quality, better designed, and better turned-out hunting rifles. The T3's success is a tribute to the ignorance of the modern American sportsman--and the connivance of the sporting press upon which they rely for information."

Maybe I'd be better off browsing the 2nd hand racks...

Good shooting,


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Smallest Church You Never Saw In Your Life

In an interview with the Washington Post, The Episcopal Church's newly promoted leader, Dr. Budde (pronounced Budd-ee) had this to say:

“We’re like a boutique. We’re the most inclusive church in the world that’s the tiniest church in Christendom. . . . I’m not interested in being the leader of a boutique church.”

If the shoe fits... Budde.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Handful Of Tack

Picked up a handful of tack and headed off for an episode of ride and shoot, only to discover that JB has Pigeon Fever, which is a nasty disease resulting in an abscess. Curable, fortunately. I rode Bebop instead and we had a good old gallop along the edge of a couple of large fields.

I loved that; Bebop can fairly fly along and we had plenty of space for it. Picked up a dog too and that was fine until he decided it'd be a neat trick to bite the horse's back legs while we were running. Bebop wasn't too keen on that game and made several good efforts to kick the dog out of existence -- stay in the saddle LSP! -- but no one, horse, hound or rider came to harm. 

I like a gallop, clears the head.

In other news, Jefferts Schori, boy bishop leaderene of The Episcopal Church, has written a book. She thinks that Our Lord was like a Hell's Angel who took toys to poor people, when not "messing about in boats" or being a "party animal." Well, nothing like a bit of christology to get the mind working...

Stay in the saddle,


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hugging The Emu

After Mass (Advent II, '28 BCP Lectionary), I visited Miguel and Teresa to bless their house. They have many children and one came flying up to the gate of their 4 acre spread, shouting out "Father, Father! Come in!" Excited little chap. So I drove through and couldn't help but notice an...

Emu. There it was, stalking along, like some prehistoric beast. Miguel came out to meet me and I asked him about the bird, our conversation went like this:

"I say, Miguel, is that your Emu?"
"Yes Father."
"You can hug him!"
"Well, that's quite a thing."

I resisted the temptation to "hug the Emu" as I didn't want to chase the bird down; foolish. Next time I will test the creature's affection.

I'm proud of Miguel and Teresa. He's building their house as they live in it and she's helping him; I'd say that wasn't easy. Very faithful people and very devout. Their daughters tell me of an evil elf who steals the souls of babies.

Holy water will drive that away.


Range Day

Tired of my slothful ways and full of Advent penitence, I loaded some guns into the truck, restocked on Winchester "Whitebox", thank you Walmart, and drove off to a parishioner's 150 yard range. I like it there in the middle of the countryside around Brandon and nicely secluded. Just you and the guns.

Tested out the newly refurbished .22 Higgins (tube magazine, bolt, iron sights) from 50 and 100 yards. It's feeding problems had been solved by my Waco 'smith friend and, considering a bit of rustiness on my part, shot well. A "tack driver"? In the right hands, yes, and I was pleased to see the center of the target pretty much destroyed.

range road
Then it was time for some AR fun. Proper "little heater" that carbine; after a few magazines of target practice I practiced my walk/run and shoot skills, only to discover that I didn't really have many... childish, but fun. I'm tempted to get optics for that rifle, but haven't decided on the most useful. I like the Trijicon Accupoint, or the ACOG, but dislike the price tag. Still, maybe worth saving for.

.45 followed 5.56 amusement. Total enjoyment shooting against spinners from 20-25 yards. Spent most of my effort on the dinner plate; satisfying to hear the pistol explode and see the plate swing off. Had decent success against the next size down, which surprised me because I was badly out of practice. A testament to muscle memory.

It was interesting to retrieve the rounds. After hitting the spinner they flattened off to the size of a nickel and shot off about 10 feet to my right of the target. Doubtless a moral in that if you care to draw it.

Finished off with weapons cleaning in the range's small shooting house and headed back as the sun was setting.

For me, at that moment, all was right with the world.

God bless,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deep Sea Lee

Visited a gunsmith yesterday in Waco to pick up my venerable .22 JC Higgins. The 'smith had replaced several springs, a pin and built up the lifter, all for the remarkably sane price of $35. 

So we fell to talking about Lee Enfields.

Putin - get rid of that old Mosin Nagant.
My friend thought they were OK, but only as "boat guns". Boat guns? Yes. For killing sharks. 

Now we know.



Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Add caption
Today is Black Friday. It started with Morning Prayer, followed by Mass. And now? A visit to the gun shop.

That's the ticket.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

About to pound the mahogany in Dallas and, despite my sympathy for The Cause, I found Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1863) pretty moving. So here it is:

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

Powerful words.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monsignor Stetson

Keen eyed observers of the current state of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations in the U.S. might think that this post is all about the Pastoral Provision. But no, it's just about my new hat, which I bought from Cavenders. It's a Larry Mahan, the horsehair band and "stampede string" are extras.

Some kind of sad pose? Not really, I usually wear a ball cap to ride in and that's fine but doesn't give a lot of protection from the blistering sun. The straw hat, with its wide brim, solves that dilemma. I've promised one to the Fact Compiler.

The Pastoral Provision solved the dilemma of married Anglican priests who wanted to become Roman Catholic Priests. Now that the Ordinariates are being set up I suppose the PP looks set for redundancy, but maybe not. Time will tell.

Stay on the horse,


Monday, November 21, 2011

Saddle Horn

The MC (Master of Ceremonies) at one of the Missions is a former bronc star. He won the world championship back in the '80s as pictured above.

He thinks me an "unlikely rider" and is concerned for my safety. The conversation after yesterday's Mass went something like this:

LSP: Off for a ride.
MC: Well you be careful.
LSP: Not to worry, if the going gets brisk I'll just hold on to the pommel thingy.
MC: Saddle Horn.
LSP: Ah yes! "Saddle Horn."

With that in mind, I had the Sunday afternoon fun of riding a well trained Arabian out by Waco with a group of parishioners. Fairly flew along, fast and flat over the fields, Western style. Didn't need the curious horn thing.

I want this saddle...
I love riding.

Stay in the saddle and, if you must, hold onto it - far better than bouncing off the ground, I always think.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Warrior On The Edge Of Skeet

I was just about to leave the house when I noticed a shotgun standing nonchalantly by a box of unopened clays.  "Put the gun in the truck," I thought to myself. 

don't shoot the fridge LSP, for goodness sake.
It's just a yobbish Mossberg Ulti Mag which I bought at a "Guitar & Gun Show" for $200. Why do those two things seem to go together? Whatever, the gun's been worth every penny; shot plenty of dove with it and the odd rabbit target of opportunity. It's a bit dinged up but that doesn't matter. Some people say it's no good with 3.5" shells but I wouldn't know, I just use 3" and the gun works fine.

So after a refreshing canter/hand gallop I unleashed the power of Mossberg against the hapless clay adversary.

I like shooting skeet. It's satisfying to watch them blow up.

Shoot straight,


Friday, November 18, 2011

Mariann Budde

This is the new leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC (EDOW), Mariann Budde. Her husband read a poem at the worship service which promoted her. Here's a bit, from Coleman's Bed by David Whyte:

Ghost then, to where others
in this place have come before,
under the hazel, by the ruined chapel,
below the cave where Coleman slept,
become the source that makes
the river flow, and then the sea

What does it mean? That The Episcopal Church is a ruin inhabited by ghosts who possess dozing cave dwelling congregants, before drowning them in the sea? 

The Church of England has voted overwhelmingly in favour of wimmin bishops.

Good luck with that.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wisdom of Solomon

Chickens have been making a takeover bid for my back yard, which is fine by me. I like to watch them scratch about, during the odd interlude in the fast paced, high pressure clerical lifestyle.

I was doing just that when DWN (Dog War Neighbor) knocked on the fence and asked if he could have a talk. DWN, who is a disabled vet and writes patriotic letters for me to give to George Bush - he's convinced I know him - wanted some advice. 

He used to have a small pick up truck in his drive, which a young NDW (ne'er do well) wanted to buy. DWN said "$1000", NDW offered $800. DWN accepted and NDW paid $700, on the spot, with a 'verbal' to pay the balance in two weeks.

DWN then took a working battery from his van and put it in the pick up to show NDW that the vehicle worked. NDW promptly got in the truck and drove off, with the battery, leaving DWN down one battery and owed $100. 

No title had changed hands and the pick up was still insured in DWN's name, which brings us to the present. A month after the 'deal', NDW still hadn't paid the balance and DWN was worried, on two scores.

Most importantly, for him, was the principle of the thing. If NDW was allowed to get away with casually walking off with other people's $100 he'd never learn responsibility in life. Secondly, the truck was still insured in DWN's name and he didn't want to be liable when NDW crashed the vehicle.

DWN was perplexed. He had prayed about it pretty hard and been to the police, who told him that repossessing the truck over a paltry $100 was kind of mean; DWN thought so too, but principle mattered. So he had taken the key to the truck (it was in the ignition) and the battery and left the vehicle outside NDW's house.

"Now pastor," said DWN, "what should I do?"

In the spirit of Solomon, I gave him two choices. He could keep the key with the proviso that NDW could have it back when he paid the outstanding money, at which point he'd get the truck and the title. Or, far better choice, DWN could give NDW his money back and repossess the truck.

The problem with 'option 1' is that lack of a key isn't going to stop NDW from driving the truck...

There's a moral in this, somewhere.

It's all going on in the countryside, I tell you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Place To Ride Ordinariate

There's evidently this rural myth doing the rounds of Malone about some man who walked his horse 20 miles just so he could find a new place to ride...

With that in mind, and with the caveat that the myth won't be repeated, I'm happy with the place. A good mixture of dirt road and large fields to move around in; I'd say the variation is good for the horse's mind. Doesn't do the rider any harm either.

the space is deep
In other news, Cardinal Wuerl looks set to make an important announcement about the Ordinariate in CONUS. This is Benedict XVI's arrangement for Anglican clergy and people to convert to Rome while keeping elements of their liturgical and pastoral tradition. It also allows the former Anglicans a degree of permanence and self-governance, which was perhaps lacking under the Pastoral Provision.

where's that dik-mik?
Several friends have suggested that I join the Ordinariate and I'm very sympathetic. But I'm not about to abandon Bishop Iker and my Missions while we're being sued for all we're worth by the Pelosionite followers of Inclusivechurch. I think that would be disloyal.

Perhaps as a nod in the right direction I should rename the horse -- "Ordinariate" has a certain ring for a Thoroughbred.

Stay in the saddle,


Monday, November 14, 2011

Ariat? Wolverine? Boot Review.


A couple of years ago I swapped out a miserable pair of Bates combat boots for a pair of Wolverine Wellingtons. The combat boots were hard to ride in, the sole delaminated and they trapped water; useless if you're planning on crossing soggy fields, creeks, or anywhere that involved them getting wet.

The Wolverines did well but they didn't have a lot of support, which I wanted for riding, so I invested in a pair of Ariat "Brown Bomber Heritage" crepe soled boots. Great support, thanks to their special, patented, sounds like a gimmick but maybe isn't, insole, and I thought they looked good too.

The plan was simple. Use the Wolverines for getting out in the field after rabbits, dove and low level hunting. Use the Ariats for riding.

Great plan; how did it work out? Two years into the experiment I have the result and I've got to admit I'm surprised. The Wolverines win. Why? 
Cheaper, waterproof, don't spread
Because they haven't spread, they're far more waterproof and they're cheaper. 

After a year, I found that the Ariats were becoming too wide to fit into English style stirrups. They had mystically grown by at least a centimeter. With Western stirrups, which are generally wider, it wasn't a problem, but with English? A disaster. If your boot gets caught in the stirrup and you have to get off the horse... well, who likes being dragged behind a charging animal.

Mad horse
Also, even in Texas, you're going to come across water when riding. Perhaps when you hose the animal down in the searing heat of the summer, or maybe when you get off at the stock tank for a bit of target practice and plinking. Whatever, the boots will get wet. The Ariats failed. They leaked and started to squelch with even a little exposure to the rare and valuable Texas water. Now, I really dislike a squelching boot and I don't like knowing that my feet can't get out of the stirrups if necessary, so it was back to the Wolverines.

After all this time, two years, I've found that they actually offer more support than the Ariats because they haven't spread. They're more waterproof and don't trap water, perhaps because they're unlined and, this is important for people on a budget, they're cheap.

At a little more than $70 I have a boot that works on horseback and is perfectly adequate for beating about the countryside. A great all round, inexpensive, durable boot. The Ariats are fine as far as they go; they look good, they're tough, the strange widening doesn't matter for Western style riding -- and I'll continue to use them for that, but in the end, the Wolverines are simply better bang for your buck. 

God knows we all need more of that.

Sorry Ariat.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mark Of The Beast II

Following alarmist end-times reporting on the turbulent state of the market and with the caveat that "numerology is a mrk (sic) of the truly loopy!" I feel it's only right to point out that the Bank of Italy believes it can bear an 8% yield. Many would argue that this absurd and superstitious obsession with so-called "mystical numbers" is little short of insane.

But an Ontario reader has this to say:

"Worth remembering though – it wasn’t long ago that no Government could borrow for as LITTLE as 8%. The modern era of low interest rates is quite a recent phenomenon, and it’s one of the things that made the huge superboom from 1992-2008 possible. No-one would have borrowed money for sub-primes at historic interest rates. Ironically low IRs followed from low inflation... and everyone borrowed, Texas consumers to Italian politicians alike..."

Interesting. Perhaps our worship of Mammon has destroyed the West's collective memory? Still, as the annoying phrase runs, that was then, this is now...

God bless,


Mark Of The Beast

According to Reuters, the Elephant Bar and everywhere else, the yield, or interest rate, on Italian bonds hit a 14 year high this morning, surging to an apocalyptic 6.66%.

Italian bonds are now well within the 6 percentile "danger zone", reflecting an increasing lack of confidence in Italian debt. If this trend continues Italy will default, sparking a fiscal Armageddon not seen since the days of Ancient Rome.

Ancient Rome
Noted Anglican Divine and genius exegete, Austin Farrer, comments on the mystical sixfold numeral; bear in mind that Solomon is both a type of Christ and of Antichrist also.

"From the queen's (Sheba) departure onwards the King (Solomon) breaks the law of kingship clause by clause."

After going against the divine interdict concerning multiplication of horses (LSP beware) and wives to himself, Solomon proceeds to contravene the final kingly rule given by God, "Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." But what does Solomon do?

"The weight of gold that came to King Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold." (1 Kings x, 14)

Farrer has this to say, "The damnable number appears in the very next verse after the withdrawal of the Queen of Sheba. The root of all evil begins the King's downfall. St. John's use of Solomon's history as a source-book of numbers makes it virtually certain that he found the number of the Beast here... Why is it so deep and so blasphemous a mystery?"

To find out, you'll have to read  chapter nine of "Rebirth of Images."

Bond Traders, Frankfort Cabal, you have been warned.