Archive for the ‘USA’

The meaning of the Confederate Flag

June 21, 2015 By: erik Category: USA

The following post is an essay written by my high school World History teacher, Kevin McCloy, whom I rank as one of my all time best teachers and one of my better friends. It was originally written in a private response to someone on Facebook, but he executed it so beautifully that he shared it, and has graciously given me permission to share it here. This is McCloy’s second appearance on this blog; his first was a heart-rending tribute to his friend, Chris Hondros.

Settle down, class! Everyone please take your seat. It’s time for a history lesson…
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Pinehurst No. 2

February 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Golf, Travel, USA

Pinehurst Resort - Payne Stewart StatueIf you ask any avid golfer to name the three most famous courses in the United States, chances are very good that they will name Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and Pinehurst No. 2. The second course at Pinehurst was designed by famed golf course designer, Donald Ross, who studied under The Father of Golf himself, Old Tom Morris, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The course has risen in prominence over the past two decades as the host of the U.S. Open in 1999, 2005 and 2014. My friends and I, who have done golf trips roughly every five years to places such as St. Andrews, Scotland and County Kerry, Ireland, planned to revisit St. Andrews in 2015, but a combination of losing the lottery to get a tee time on The Old Course and the birth of twins to one of the participants delayed that trip, so we elected the easiest trip to an important golf location, one only three hours drive from where I grew up and one hour away from where I went to school, in the Sandhills of North Carolina.
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Drone Terrorism: Coming to Skies Near You!

December 23, 2014 By: erik Category: Musings, Scary, USA

QuadcopterUnmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is advancing incredibly rapidly. For several years now, I’ve been a fan of the Team BlackSheep YouTube channel, which regularly displays seriously impressive videos from the point of view of their drones, zooming around places that no manned aircraft could do. It’s about as close to a first person perspective from Peter Pan or Superman that we all imagine as you can find on the internet.
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Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, USA, Videos

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2014This year the pumpkins we got for carving at home were the smallest they’ve ever been since I began this tradition six years ago. However, on the plus side, the walls of the pumpkin were very thin and easy to carve. It was a bit like playing an electric guitar for the first time after learning on an acoustic.

Like last year, we invited Nora’s friends, Carmen and Claudia. Last year, Nora’s and Claudia’s siblings, Ian and Mara, had to take a break during the party to breastfeed. This year, they were racing around like the little toddlers they are. They know each other from daycare. It was fun to see Ian interacting with a kid his own age. Although Marga is a month or two younger, she’s got several kilos and centimeters on him.
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Halloween School Pumpkin Carving 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Spain, USA

Pumpkin 2014Having done it for the previous two years, 2012 and 2013, it was assumed that I would be carving a pumpkin at my daughter’s school again this year. Now veterans at this, my daughter’s teacher and I decided it would be much better to do the “performance” in the cafeteria/auditorium, because in past years it’s been tough squeezing all the kids in. My daughter’s 5-year-old “kindergarten” class stayed for the entire process, but during the cleaning and later the lit presentation, the 3-year-old and 4-year-old classes came in to participate.
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My Rite to Bear Arms in America

October 22, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Politics, USA, Videos

Marga - Colt .22 HuntsmanDespite growing up in the American South, I’ve never liked guns. Loud noises annoy me, I grew up in a Liberal household where guns were shunned, though rarely spoken about, and, as an intellectual matter, they – pistols, at least – are clearly designed to kill humans, which is something I feel pretty strongly against. Add to that the fact that America has a “gun problem”, where every day of the year you can read about people killing each other, often by accident, with unattended guns. Plus, I’ve generally been averse to hobbies, like scuba diving, skydiving, motorcycling, bungie jumping, etc., where the first objective of the activity is “try not to die”. Firearms have just never had any appeal to me.
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Catawba Meadows – The Beanstalk Journey

October 21, 2014 By: erik Category: Travel, USA

Catawba Meadows - The Beanstalk Journey - Crazy GoProThere are many moments during the week I spent camping with Outward Bound in November of 1992, when I was 14, that I will never forget but one of them is surely the swing to get down from the ropes course. I don’t remember much about the ropes course specifically, but the ten feet of free fall from a platform sixty feet in the air before the rope pulled me into a pendulum arc, the nervousness that preceded it, and the rush of adrenaline that followed shortly after will never be forgotten. It was a defining moment for me, in that it defined me as a person who understands why people seek those thrills, but who prefers to minimize even simulated near death experiences. I never again wore a harness attached to a carabiner.

Until my 36th birthday.
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Birthday Brunch at King Street Café

October 20, 2014 By: erik Category: Food, Travel, USA

King Street CaféOn my 36th birthday, I had my first brunch. Brunch, you see, is a logical impossibility in Spain, due to the extreme sacred importance of the “midday” (2pm – 3pm) meal. Combining it with another meal has never once occurred to a Spaniard. While Spaniards do have a meal similar to a brunch, called almuerzo, lunch is still eaten afterwards.

I’ve heard talk of this restaurant in my hometown, called the King Street Café, and I was delighted to hear that my parents had scheduled it into our visit with my cousins and grandmother.
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Myrtle Beach Time Of Year

February 17, 2014 By: erik Category: Golf, Music, Photos, Travel, USA, Videos

Earlier this month, I took my annual vacation – remember: traveling with children is a “trip”, and traveling without children is a “vacation” – to North and South Carolina for our annual golf tournament that my father hosts, called the Myrtle Beach Classic. This year we played a novelty golf course called World Tour Golf Links, which has recreated many of the most famous golf holes from around the world. It’s a clever gimmick and I’m glad we played there, but it’s probably not worth returning there in the future. As expected, we had a really great time and I got to see some friends that I only see once a year, every February. I am forever grateful to my wife and in-laws for carrying my parental burden during these trips.
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Buying A Christmas Tree

December 13, 2013 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, USA

Decorated Christmas TreeI think my parents normally buy their Christmas tree around mid-December, but this year, I requested that they do it a little early, during our visit with them. As good hosts, parents and grandparents, they obliged. It’s been years and years since I took part in the Christmas tree selection process with still-alive firs in a lot. My wife, who hasn’t had a real tree since she was a little girl, and daughter also enjoyed the experience. The trees at the lot were so fresh that they still had unmelted snow on them from the night before up on the mountain.
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