Sunday, October 4, 2009
Ya, I didn't buy it when my parents said that when I was a kid either.
Anyway, here are a few of the things that I have been up to in the month of September:
- School, school, and more school.... That is really the theme of my life. I spend something like 10 hours a day up there. Actually, one day I spent 25 hours in one day up there - it was complicated and I dont want to talk about it.
- Working hard for the money - This year I am working 20 hours a week for a professor at the Bush School. I am teaching review sessions for his class twice a week, and I also am doing research about legislation. I enjoy it.
Not to be outdone, I am still working for review for the Office of Admissions and Records. I really enjoy the people I work with. They are good people. I also enjoy any situation in which I am the youngest person.
- King of the Hill's finale - one of the days that I have dreaded for years finally happened the in September. The long running comedy classic came to an end with the airing of an appropriate yet touching finale. Fans of the show will understand the sadness that certainly ensued. It is hard to say goodbye to a show that has meant so much to me over the years. Fortunately, it survives into perpetuity through the beauty of syndication.
- LSAT - I kind of kept this below the radar the last few weeks, but I wanted to take the LSAT to have a score in the record books. There are several reasons - the least of which this is the only standardized test besides the MCAT that I have not taken. But really, this summer I spent alot of times around legal issues and researching them. A number of the people I worked with and around were lawyers. This made me realize that this is a piece I might like to add to my education one day. So, it is good to have that in my pocket. However, as always, there is a story involved.... Soon to come.
- Stephanie's Birthday. We didn't do anything major for this one, but I thought that it shoudl be noted that Stephanie's birthday was this month. This is also a good time to point out that my birthday is in two and a half months, so be thinking!
- Arkansas vs. A&M - One of the biggest events of the fall is the first annual Southwest Classic - a football game between the two universities with which I have been affiliated. I think it is awful nice of them to play a footbal game to determine which school appreciates me more. You might have watched and seen that my Arkansas Razorbacks won the game. It was pretty awesome. The good news is that Stephanie still wants to marry me - the ability to overcome natural Aggie instincts is imperative.
There has been alot more going on but that is all for now....
Sunday, August 30, 2009
It is a true story. Ask my freshman roommate Danny.
During my freshman year of college, I got really interested in recycling. Well not so much for the environment but more as a weird kind of arts and crafts project. During my freshman year, I had saved the 20 oz. Sam's Choice water bottles that I drank every day in class. Feeling creative in my free time, I decided to make something - a chair to be exact.
So, using just duct tape and the water bottles, I made a chair for my room. It worked. Well enough that I almost thought about changing my major to engineering.
Unfortunately, after about two or three weeks of the chair, someone came into my room and broke it. It was not built for lateral motion.
Unable to part with my creation and unwilling to walk down the stairs to the trash room, I opted for the next best thing - leaving the chair in the hallway.
Flash forward something like a month to the end of the school year. Somehow, my roommate Danny came into the possession of some flowers. Not wanting them any longer, we decided to try the time tested method of leaving them in the hall. Sure enough, just minutes later, they were gone.
The next day, Danny was walking down the hall of another floor in our dorm when he happened to look into the open door. There in the room of girls that we did not know was what can only be described as a shrine to the stuff we didn't want any more.
There in that room was the duct tape water bottle chair, the dying flowers, and everything that we had left out in the hall over the course of several weeks.
There you have it. A shrine to our freshman year. By some girls that we didn't know.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Well, ask and you shall receive....
Let's start Aug 7:
Friday: Stephanie arrive in Northern Virginia. I had to drive over to Baltimore to pick her up which was a blast. Unfortunately, earlier that day was my last day with PF. It was a pretty sad day. It is amazing how fast you get attached to a job and the great people you work with. I just hope that I will catch up to them again one day soon.
Saturday: Whirlwind Tourism: Steph and I set out for DC to conquer as many sights as possible. We started at the Holocaust Museum before heading to the National Mall. We checked out the World War II Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, the Tidal Basin, the FDR Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial. We then made our way to the Reagan building to partake of their food court and much needed AC. Thankfully, Stephanie managed to bring some of that good ole Texas heat with her to DC! After visiting the Smithsonian American History Museum and an aborted effort to visit the National Archives, we headed down to the Washington Nationals game. I have been to three games in Nationals Park and I must say - Stephanie was by far my favorite company to go with. Sorry everyone else.
Sunday: We woke up early to head to Pennsylvania. My second epic showdown with the Mason Dixon Line. Fortunately, Gettysburg was only about an hour from my house. Unfortunately, the brand new museum was wicked overpriced. So, instead, Steph worked the map as my navigator as we headed out on a driving tour of the battlefield. The entire loop was 20+ miles and took us nearly 2 hours to drive without the CD accompaniment. I want to say that it was because they were not narrated by James Earl Jones. Really, I was too cheap. Anyway, it was a difficult sight to behold - the epitome of the war that nearly tore our nation in two. I have to say that Arkansas had a very impressive monument. After a brief stop at the hosue, we drove down to DC to walk around the White House at night. It is nice to be able to drive around DC at night without traffic or tourists. Got to love Sunday night.
Monday: Steph and I went down to see the attraction she most highly anticipated: The International Spy Museum. I was actually pleasantly surprised by what they had to offer - a great variety of gadgets from US and Commie spies. We had a great time. However, after this adventure, we realized that this was the end of our tourism - we were exhausted. We went back to my house for me to pack up and get ready for the great road trip.
Tuesday: We got up at 6 AM Eastern time for the great adventure. It was nice to see the sun rise over the mountains - a fitting goodbye to the beauty of Virginia. At a quarter til 9, we stopped in Lexington, VA - home of VMI, Washington & Lee University. More importantly, the town is the final resting place of General Stonewall Jackson and General Robert E. Lee. On this morning, we stopped to pay our respects to General Lee. Upon arrival, we stopped to take a picture of the resting place of Lee's faithful steed Traveller. We then snuck in to the unlocked basement to see the masoleum where Gen. Lee and the rest of his family is buried. Here I might or might not have taken an illegal picture of his burial place. That is still up for debate.
Resuming our roadtrip, we keep up a good pace only being slowed by a horrific rainstorm and light hail near Knoxville, TN. That was pretty appropriate. Don't worry. Neither hail nor unruly Tennessee fans can deter Neil Diamond.
Finally, by 10 PM Central, we rolled into Little Rock. Something like 17 hours of driving, stops for gas, one dinner in Memphis with Vanculen, and some horrendous storms. All in one day.
So, it all came to an end. The great summer adventure bookended by roadtrips to and from DC.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
...I would never make it as a baseball player.
When I was in 6th grade, I played on a more competitive Little League team. The step up in competition was a good way to prove my mettle as a player. This was when I learned to play third base and a few other things about life.
Two instances told me I would not make it far in the baseball world.
1. Once during a game, I decided to go for the "high sock" look. You know, the old school baseball look where you pull your socks up to your knees. Trying it out the first time, I felt confident and cool. Until my coach walked through the dugout and said, "Caleb, not with those calves."
It was 2 years before I tried the high sock look again.
2. Late in the season, my team was fighting hard for first place in our division. We had our main rival down big. Before the team went out between innings, the coach called us over to the huddle. Here is how it went down:
Coach: "Alright guys, we got them down. And what do we do when the other guy is down?"
Team: "Kick 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Me (at the same time): "Help them up!"
Coach: "That's right! Kick 'em! Keep 'em down!"
Probably should have known right there that I wasn't going to make it...
Sunday, August 2, 2009
To understand why I paid so much attention to what he had to say, you have to understand our relationship. See, when I was a kid, I pretty much worshiped the ground he walked on. Still do, it is just a little more awkward now that I am 24.
Anyway. I have made it a point that if my brother every gives me a specific recommendation about something I do it. That is how I started listening to Counting Crows - to this day, it is the only CD he has ever told me to listen to. He was the one who told me I should watch Scrubs. The one who suggested that Twins Enterprises was making cool hats. I could go on with many more examples but that is not what you are reading for...
So, on Thursday, my brother called me to hear about my adventures up here and immediately honed in on one of the biggest omissions from my list - a Baltimore Orioles game. Well, not so much the Orioles but for Camden Yards. Since the ballpark opened something like 15 years ago, I have wanted to visit the park that was responsible for putting an end to cookie cutter bowls like Busch Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium. I had been to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington several times which was supposed to look very similar, but I was ready to see the real deal.
So, per my bro's recommendation, I set out for Maryland on Saturday afternoon. Because it was the Orioles vs. the Boston Red Sox, tickets were sold out. So, I did the next best thing - got Standing Room Only. I had actually looked for tickets earlier in the week, but seeing they were sold out, I figured it wasn't doable. Again, thanks to the encouragement of my brother, I decided to give the Standing Room Only a whirl.
Because I only travel alone when I have to, I put out the call and decided to take a buddy of mine along.
We got to the game just as batting practice was wrapping up and walked to the SRO section above the right field wall in time to have a ball hit by J.D. Drew land some 10 feet away from me - a good omen.
Things looked to take a turn for the worse when rain began to fall and grounds crew had to put out a tarp. Deciding to turn tragedy into triumph, my compadre and I stuck it out along the wall getting to the very front of SRO.
Having staked our claim, we didn't move for the next 7 innings.
On the way into the game, I had noticed that a surprising number of license plates in the parking lot had been from Massachusetts. It was pretty obvious where the loyalty of a majority of the fans lay - with the Red Sox. The stadium was completely packed. I could not find a single empty seat. It made me wish this was an important game down the stretch in September. I bet the Sox fans would have been more rowdy.
There were two Sox fans behind us that were funny to listen to. Even funnier, the drunker they got, the louder they were. Made for a great evening
Now, my younger bro is the true BoSox fan, but I have been watching them for a long time and really enjoy the team. It was definitely one of the better games I have been to see.
Dustin Pedroia - the second batter of the game - got things started with a home run. It was great. Later in the game, the man with the ugliest stance in baseball, Kevin Youkilis, went yard. In the mean time, David Ortiz showed off some warning track power to the deepest part of the park. However, he made up for it by legging out a double.
By the 7th, the Sox were up 4-0 and I had 2 hours to go to get home so we took off. It was a great game.
So, this one goes out to my big brother who once again proved he knows best. Thanks for the suggestion. It was a great game.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Insomniacs must be flipping hilarious.
That explains the majority of YouTube
My little brother got engaged tonight. That is fantastic.
I am really proud of him. He is a good man.
Did i mention that he is my stunt double.
Unfortunately, this means that there are no Osborne Boys left for the ladies of the world. That is a real tragedy. I'm sure that the Lawrence brothers (Joey and Matthew, etc) are still single and maybe those guys in Hanson... Just a thought.
So for all you ladies out there, all you single ladies, all you singles ladies, it was a nice run. I am sorry the magic didn't happen for you, but don't give up. Follow your heart.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
1. people never seem to be sure how much I weigh
2. I consistently have disasters involving pants
Today, I wanted to share a story about the first time I realized my weight problem - so to speak.
In the second semester of my freshman year, I started trying to run a few times a week down on the track where the 40 time National Champ Arkansas Razorbacks practiced - this was before the renovation when you could just walk right out on the track at any time. I called this the midnight mile as we usually only went to run late at night. Amazingly, we used to run 2 miles without stopping and did it in about 17 minutes - while that doesn't sound like much it was for me.
Fortunately, this hard work paid off a little bit as I was able to avoid the freshman 15 - or at least most of it.
So, the story picks up one day in the last month of school as I was eating in the Pomfreteria (the cafeteria in my dorm Pomfret. Yes, I named it that). I had gone with my roommate and partner in crime. It was a good move because, well, I had intentionally avoided getting to know anyone in the Honors dorm - I refused to be one of the nerds. As I found out over the course of the next three years, There were actually some really great people there. Oops.
Anyway, my roommate of course found a whole bunch of people that he knew. In this case, they were two girls that we had met at the very beginning of the year. For no explicable reason, they made it a habit of coming by our room at random hours. So, I kind of knew who they were although I did not ever talk to them. Yay for shyness!
So, towards the end of the meal, my roommate and one of the girls headed out to the soft-serve yogurt machine. As awkward silence ensued, the girl who was stuck with me decided to brave the awkwardness. Here is what she said:
Girl #2: "So, wow, have you been working out?"
Me (totally thinking of the one day a week I ran slowly and ignoring the fact it was worthless): "Oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that."
Girl #2: "Yah, I thought so cause it looks like you have lost some weight."
Me: "Oh, thats nice of you. Yah maybe a little"
Girl #2: "No, like, I thought you had lost like 50 lbs."
Me: AWKWARD STARE
Girl #2: "What? Didn't you use to be really obese?"
How do you respond to that? Well, if you are me, you don't. You stare blankly and spend the next 3 years of college carefully avoiding Girl #2. Although, irony of ironies, the next time I ran into her, was in the Elliptical section of the workout facilities...
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I have been trying out what I havn't seen since I have been in the DC-area. Earlier this week, it hit me... I havn't seen Monticello.
In order to correct this egregious mistake, I set out in search of adventure on Saturday morning. The initial plan was to drive to Charlottesville to Monticello before swinging over to Chancellorsville and ultimately to the Stonewall Jackson Shrine (where the great man died).
Instead, on the way to Monticello, I saw a huge sign for James Madison's Montpelier. Remembering my promise for adventure, I took the exit. Only to find it was 21 miles on a windy road back into the middle of nowhere. I have no clue how they ever found this place or more importantly found their way out of this place.
For example, I stopped at an ATM in Orange, VA. Mostly because I was impressed I found an ATM. Anyway, I finally made it to Montpelier.
Once there, I found out that the house had been lived in by members of the DuPont family who changed a few things up. As a result there have been extensive efforts to renovate by subtraction. Additions made to the house after the death of Madison have been removed.
I really liked the house. It was a beautiful place. The rolling fields nestled up against the Blue Ridge Mountains provided a scenic venue.
The tour wasn't shabby either. See, it was not exactly the most well traveled place that I have visited. There was practically no line. There would not have been any people there if it weren't for members of the Wounded Warrior program from Walter Reed. That made it special as well. Anyway, the point is that when you have tour guides, the middle of nowhere VA, and an under appreciated president who happened to be the primary force behind our Constitution - you get a one hour tour! It was truly remarkable. Although the house is rather bare with little furniture, the home of one of my favorite presidents made it more than worth it.
After a quick visit to the grave of our 4th president, I headed out to visit the home of president #3... Thomas Jefferson.
Back on the road to Monticello, I made it by 2:30. Unfortunately, Monticello gets alot more traffic than Montpelier and my tour wasn't until 5:10.
So, I had three hours to kill in the brand new visitors center at the foot of Jefferson's little hill. I checked out the exhibits, watched a short video, and visited the cafe. I don't think that it was there in Jefferson's time but forgot to ask - so can't be sure.
With two hours left until my tour, I decided to take a little nature hike up the trail to TJ's house. It was actually a very nice little jaunt with the exception of the fact it was more than half a mile and mostly up hill. On the way up, I stopped at his grave. Pretty cool. The cemetary is still an active cemetary for his descendants. Very interesting. So, within the course of some 2 hours, I visited the grave of Presidents 3 and 4. Both were sad moments. Two monuments of America were buried in these solitary plots - makes you think...
Finally, I was able to go into the house. It was a really cool, yet quick tour. In all fairness, when compared to Montpelier any tour is short. But, I digress.
Jefferson really was a remarkable man. His efforts in botany, architecture, education, and politics were all amazing. I loved his collection of Native American paraphenalia as well as his other examples of art from Europe. He really was making something remarkable. I greatly enjoyed the house and tried to make an offer but apparently it was not for sale.
After a brisk walk back down the mountain, I went for the Trifecta. See, President James Monroe's house is only 2 and a half miles from Jefferson's. Roughly 2 weeks travel in their time, by my estimate. Anyway, I got there at 6:08 only to find out that tours at Ash Lawn (his house) end at 6... So close, yet so far away.
To make up for my loss, I stopped in Charlottesville on my way home to check out the campus of University of Virginia (the school that TJ started). However, with storm clouds rolling in and being pretty dang confused about where I was going, I had to head back to NOVA (that is what I call Northern Virginia. Pretty cool huh?)
The uneventful trip home turned quiet eventful when it rained for the first time since roughly Noah's Flood. Combine torrential downpours, Neil Diamond's light frame and trouble with wind, and the horrrible, horrible driving of Virginians - you get a long trip home that aged me by 2 years.
Long story short, I made it home. Older. Wiser. Just as awesome.
All in all I would give this trip both a legend and a dary
Saturday, July 25, 2009
This blog got lost in the shuffle. Check it out:
I figure it is fair to warn you that I am not the same Cosborne that set out for Virginia last May. I am still the same guy - for the most part. I am still just as conservative and just as committed to the political philosophy as I was when I left. Just as committed to my God, to my family and to my country. And to my Arkansas Razorbacks.
But I have been deeply convicted of my ambivalence towards the plight of some of the most unfortunate in our society. Working every day to advocate for policies that promote true restorative justice among our nations prisoners is a daunting challenge. After almost 9 weeks of doing this everyday, I am becoming a believer.
We need prisons. We need punishment. God instituted government for that very purpose. What we don't need is a cycle that traps the young men and women of our nation in an unending pattern of incarceration and probation. We have set ourselves up to fail and from the looks of things we don't care.
I can talk about this for a long time and tell you dozens of wrenching stories, but I will leave you with just this one that is all too common.
The average prisoner will serve the majority of his sentence in prison. When he gets out, he is handed something like 20 bucks - enough to pay for a bus ticket home - and told by a guard we will see you in two weeks.
He hangs his head and walks out of the prison a free man - sort of. In reality, the man is walking away from that prison terrified of the world around him. Not only has he spent time completely isolated from this world, he is now returned to society older and without anyone to look out for him. He will struggle to find a job because of his criminal background. Heaven forbid he has a family to take care of - beaten down, he knows he can't provide for the people that would help keep him on the straight and narrow.
A few weeks of that and he gives up. He goes back to the life that got him into prison in the first place. At least there, he gets three square meals a day. He doesn't have to worry about where the basic necessities of life - food, clothing, shelter, etc - will come from. He has lost any hope of the freedom that is inherent in humanity.
The guard was right. He came back.
This is the sad truth of what our prison system that currently houses something like 2.3 million men and women has become. At Justice Fellowship, I have been fighting all summer to help promote programs that give these men and women a chance. Helping them get a GED or teaching them some sort of vocational skill can dramatically change their world. The problem is that takes time. Effort. Sacrifice. It also takes attention.
My first two weeks at work were a struggle. They were hard because I was learning and entirely new world of policy, but also because I had turned a blind eye to a badly broken system. It took me weeks to become this convicted of what I see. So I dont want to sound preachy.
What I will tell you is that there are ways you can help and can contribute.
Prison Fellowship has a variety of ways that you can take part in being the hands and feet of Jesus to people who badly need our help.
One of the coolest ways is the Give a Shirt/Get a Shirt program. The goal of this program is to provide a dress shirt and tie for a man getting out of prison. This tiny gift is a way to help give him a leg up when he is going to job interviews. It is a simple gesture that can make life soo much easier. Being presentable is huge when making that first impression on an employer that will see himself as taking a chance on an ex-convict.
For a donation of $19, one man will get a shirt. In return, you will too. This will give you the opportunity to share your story and the greater story of how God is changing lives behind bars.
If you are intersted you should check things out at: http://forgivedontforget.org/ (Link has not worked. Try again)
This isn't an ad. It is just a way for you to get an idea where I am coming from.
Monday, July 20, 2009
My seminary bald spot.
First let me back up and tell you why I have always been afraid of going bald. See, I asked for it.
When I was a little kid and it was time to go to get a haircut, I would always ask my mom if I could get a "Papa haircut." Papa is my grandfather. While he is without a doubt one of the most interesting and talented men of all time, he is lacking in one serious area. He is bald. As a child, I assumed this was the product of his choice and that he cut his hair that way. I wanted to be like him.... Flash forward about 10 years.
When I was in junior high and working with my brothers and my Papa during the summer doing home repair on a house he owned, he sat us down one day and told us that modern science had determined that there was a 33% chance of being bald based on the baldness of your grandfather on your mom's side. As the grandfather on my mom's side, Papa felt it necessary to warn his boys of the impending doom that was certain to befall our hairlines.
The problem is...I have two brothers.
Never one to doubt the wisdom of my Papa, I began to wonder which of the three of us would go bald. I didn't have to wait long. My older brother, without missing a beat, turned to me and said "Sorry, its going to be you." Then, turning around and walking off with my younger brother in tow, my fate was sealed. I was going to be bald. Just like Papa. Now, I love my Papa very much, but at 24, I am not ready to achieve his greatness or baldness... So back to my seminary bald spot.
Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, what in the world is he talking about. Well, let me explain.
When I graduated from Arkansas I had a glorious mane. A full head of sometimes reddish brown hair closely cropped to ensure neatness and the occasional salute from people thinking I was in the military.
Anyway. It all started halfway through my senior year. I saw a spot in my hair - home to one of the most glorious cowlicks known to man - that looked a little thin. Nothing to be alarmed about but definitely a development to watch.
Well, I did what any self-respecting 22 year old would do - I ignored it. After all, I asked the guy who cut my hair what he thought. He said of course not that was ridiculous. I should have tipped him more. Anyway...
When I headed out for Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I began to notice the spot was a little more pronounced. Could this be? Yes, it was. I was developing a trademark bald spot. Sadly, it did not even have the decency to be right in the middle of my head along the back. No it is cocked over to one side. Just another excuse for someone to call me a goofy looking dude.
Anyway, I call it my seminary bald spot because well. I was sitting in chapel one day and got to looking around. Everywhere I looked there were trademark bald patches. This is no hyperbole - at least 75% of the guys had developed some sign of being follicly challenged. Then it sank in. Seminary makes you go bald. I had walked into the lion's den. My life, and hair, would never be the same.
Sadly, about this time, it became harder and harder to conceal my growing shame.
Even after I left seminary, the spot continued to grow. While the threat of bald spot expansionism still looms, it appears for now that the growth has abated. Just one place on my noggin I should probably apply sunscreen
Will I ever know what the real impact of going to seminary was on my hair? Probably not. The lesson for you is to look at your pastor in church on Sunday. There is a 95% chance that there is a direct relationship between his godliness and the prominence of hair on the back of his head.
I am glad I was able to get that off my chest...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
This week, it was time for the most highly touted event of the summer - Intern Devotions. For one day, at least, we had the run of the place. It was our job to do whatever it is we wanted to do that didn't break the law or the rules of decency and decorum that govern polite society.
I had to cross a few things off my To Do List.
It went down last Wednesday morning and, all in all, it went swimmingly.
For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook (that is probably how you are reading this), you should check out the video that is tagged of me. It is one of my finest performances. Not since the Fall Retreat 2006 video have I thrown myself into a role (that was the video in which I did a little Karate Kid from the roof of The Lodge at sunset without dying).
I had a great time making the video and only lost one pair of pants. So that is nice.
While the video, like 60% of videos that I take part in or executive produce, was a smashing success, the best part for me was the time I had to speak and actually share from Scripture. I have a copy that I am currently trying to bootleg on the internet so if that falls through maybe one day you can listen to it. Seriously though, I had an amazing time.
It was the first time that I have spoken in public since summer of 2007. It has been a long two years. Alot has gone on since then. I was pretty nervous at the start but pretty soon landed some hilarious jokes and was on a roll.
I had a youth pastor tell me once that I needed to be sure to find a way that I can scratch the preaching itch once a quarter or so. I think he had a point. I get a rush of adrenaline when I am speaking in front of a group of people that I cannot describe. The problem with talking so early in the morning was for the next 3 hours I was so wound up I could hardly sit at my desk. It was so worth it.
The comforting part about teaching Scripture is the fact that it isn't up to me to say anything. Everyone laughed at my prayer to get things started when I said, "I don't know what I am going to say so 'Good Luck God' we look forward to hearing what you come up with." While that is somewhat in jest, the truth is that it is up to God to show up and to say something. Lucky for me.
For the message, I attempted to speak some truth to my coworkers at PF about what God is doing in and through them. I think that it worked well. I focused on Num. 14 (my favorite passage in the Bible becuase it mentions the Biblical Caleb) and 1 Thes. 2:8.
I recommend you check them out. I think they say alot about not only how God wants us to see the world but how he wants us to treat the world.
As always, I found it rather ironic that the biggest blessing was not in something I said (that would be as presumptuous as it is untrue) but in what I received. Really, the biggest blessing was the feeling of knowing that God had used me to say something very specific to his people. To be used like that is truly an honor. It is a moment flowing with meaning and power in ways that we rarely see.
I guess people liked it. They told me they liked it rather than avoiding me in the hallway or making small talk about the weather.
It did spawn one awkward moment:
On Thursday afternoon around 4, I heard something oddly familiar. I had my headphones in so I could not hear very clearly what the ruckus was. I turned off my country music and just listened for a second to hear what the "racket" was. After about 20 second of listening to an unidentified voice, I realized that it was someone listening to the online version of my talk. Out loud. On the speaker of her computer. For our whole row to listen to.
I am not sure how often you or someone you love has had the opportunity to work while listening to themselves talk, but it is pretty weird. I was really uncomfortable. At the sound of my own voice - not sure what that means.
That lady still can't pronounce my name so the jury is still out on what she thought.
Anyway, following the All Star break and the Midsummer classic in St. Louis, the Cubs came to the District for four games against our beloved yet beleaguered Nationals. Because the 7 pm start was a little early for me considering I worked Thursday and Friday, I decided to head down for the Saturday evening affair.
Earlier in the week, I threw out the possibility of a game to my fellow interns who well, how do I say this, lack my consuming passion for baseball. So, I decided to make a few phone calls.
Thursday night I was a little frustrated at the lack of response - who wouldn't want to hang out with me? - and becoming worried that I wouldn't be able to get into the game which was nearly sold out. Laying in bed, I threw a hail mary. Well, sort of. I told God that I really wanted to see my beloved Cubbies play and that I needed someone to agree to go with me because that is awkward going to a baseball game by yourself.
Friday morning about 8:30 am (I was up. True story), my friend Jon sent me a text asking if I wanted to go to the game Saturday night that he had tickets from his work. Not a huge baseball enthusiast, I had talked to him about going on Thursday, but he wasn't sure. Anyway, he showed up to work that morning to get an unsolicited email asking him if he wanted the tickets - no one else did....
I was pumped. Answered prayer, Check. It was virtually a lock that the Cubs would win.
So, after watching Tom Watson's magical Saturday, I made my way down to DC for the Cubs game.
Now, I have been a big fan since I was probably 5. I don't watch them as much as I used to, but I try. I felt like a little kid when I got to my awesome seat just in time to watch my Cubbies finish batting practice. It was so amazing to see Soriano, Lee, Fukudome, Theriot, Fontenot, Ramirez, and most of all - Lou Pinella and his awesome manager's gut.
Because God had answered one prayer already, I kind of figured this one was in the bag and sure enough, and thanks to the help of a three-run homerun by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs pulled it out.
It was a perfect night for baseball in a nice new stadium. We had great seats and a great view. Derrek Lee hit a ground rule double - the coolest thing short of being a homer. Soriano hit one out. I was within 20 feet of a foul ball - never have caught one but it was a sign they are getting closer.
One of my favorite moments was during the 7th innning stretch when we sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame - some of the many Cub fans in attendance root root rooted for the "Cubbies." I laughed and mouthed the words. It is what Harry Caray would have wanted.
All in all it was a great night. I am thankful for the seats but more importantly excited that I saw my Chicago Cubs play ball.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
July 7 - Intern Day on the Hill
I joined the other interns for a trip into DC. We posted up in the Rayburn House Office building where we met with some individuals who have been involved in all levels of the public policy process. I learned several lessons that I think will serve me well during my career. After a brief trip to the Supreme Court building, we met with Congressman Frank Wolf (the district in Virginia where our offices are). Overall, it was a great experience and a great chance to sneak a peak into what it means to be involved in the political process.
July 10 - Lunch with Chuck Colson
One of the highlights of every summer for interns here at PF is the chance to sit down for a lunch with Chuck Colson. Well, for me it was pretty much a day spent with the man who inspired me to come for this job.
My day started like this: I walked in the door to have the receptionist tell me that if I hurried I could ride the elevator with "him" aka Mr. Colson. Trying to play it cool, I moseyed on over to the elevator where sure enough I ran into the Founder. I was so nervous to be trapped in the elevator with him. He was kind and gracious to talk to me early in the morning. I was still awkward. I was so glad I decided to forgo Casual Fridays in favor of a suit and tie.
At lunch time, we made our way over to the Guesthouse for lunch. On the way downstairs, the Founder rode the elevator with the interns. We had a nice simple chat. Started off slow. It was good.
At lunch, he talked to us about his passion for Christian worldview and spoke about the need for our generation to embrace objective truth. Personally, I found it challenging that this man could so seamlessly move from regular conversation to a deeply philosophical debate without batting an eye. It was evident to all that we were in the presence of a true intellectual. When we were done, I had the chance to ask a question about the role of Christians in politics. It was a great chance to hear his input and a very thoughtful answer.
After lunch, we made our way back to the office where he had invited us to sit in on a session in which he was taping for a documentary. On the way, I cracked a joke about having to swipe a badge to enter the building and how he shouldn't have to. He laughed. Maybe he is going to start liking me.... Watching him tape the session was a remarkable opportunitiy. He answered questions with tactical precision and a clear feel for what made remarkable soundbytes. In short, he was a professional. But, when it was over, he was glad to talk to us and autograph a copy of his book... "Caleb," he wrote, "Defend the faith."
Watching this lion of the Christian faith write this in a book he gave to me made me wonder at what point in my future will I look back on that moment for encouragement and inspiration. (For those of you working on the Screenplay for a movie about my life, HINT!)
July 11 - Centurions Weekend
We had the opportunity to once again spend some time with the Founder in a session that he taught about Christian worldview. We were sitting in on a session with individuals who have dedicated a year of their life for equipping in ministry. It was a great opportunity.
After a long lunch, we sat in on a session about Christian Community Development. I was a tremendous fan of this way of changing a community. I think that it is not as popular as the government-run version because of the tremendous cost in terms of personal investment.
July 15 - Intern Devotions
Every summer, there is a day in which the Interns coordinate and lead in the weekly devotions at PF. It was a great opportunity to take a leadership role and share a bit of our perspective of PF and of what God has done in our lives. Our theme as that of unity. We felt it was a logical choice for a group such as ours that comes from across the country and from a wide range of fields.
My favorite part was that I was able to bring the message. I loved talking in front of a large group of people - as I always do. It was pretty intimidating to be sharing from Scripture in front of a group of people who have not only been Christians for years but have been surrounded by the preeminent teachers in the nation. I did my best. I trusted God to take care of me. I think it worked out. I had alot of nice comments from folks. I have the recording but am not sure how to post it.
I know that was a whirlwind but that is what I have been up to for the last week or so.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
See, I crossed the Mason Dixon Line...
Katie, my copilot for the trip and resident expert on Montanan culture, did not seem to understand why I was so upset when I crossed into Pennsylvania. She also didn't seem to understand why I started singing Dixie... She also did not understand my reference to the Stars and Bars or why I teared up while driving through Gettysburg, mourning Robert Lee's only great loss.
As I rode along US 15 into the heart of Union country, I had an epiphany - the Mason Dixon Line is my security blanket. It was that thing that always made me feel safe and at home. Like Linus, it was always there wherever I went.
This was the first time since I was five that I ever crossed the line. I was never as happy as when I got back to Maryland (a poser Southern state, but that is neither here nor there).
While it was great to spend a day in the Cradle of Liberty in Philadelphia, I was ready to get to my people.
One incident in particular brought it home to me.
While in Philadelphia, I did what any great Philadelphior would do. I ate a cheesesteak. While mine did not have the grilled peppers and onions I wanted, it was nonetheless a good sammich. However, to get this culinary delicacy, we had to fight our way through a crowded restaurant that looked like it has been remodeled out of an old utility closet from colonial times. Point is, it was small.
So after forcing my way to the cash register where a rude man who looked like an odd combination of Steve Buscemi and Ray Ramano took my order and yelled at me to sign the check after swiping my debit card.
I then moved to the only unoccupied spot in the microscopic eatery. Minding my own business. Being quiet and a polite Southern boy. All of a sudden, someone grabbed my hip and shoved me out of the way physically moving my solid 250 lb. frame. I looked behind me to see an aging woman who is a dead ringer for Anne Meara (Ben Stiller's mom). Trying to look offended she grunted at me with an "out of the way."
Shocked. Horrified. Offended. Impressed at her upper body strength. I moved out of the way.
Feeling my Southern charm was wearing thing, I decided to put on my best Yankee face. I proceeded to scowl for the next 12 minutes while I waited on my food. It must have worked becuase the Romano/Buscemi stunt double who took my order began giving me updates of how long until the food was ready then apologized for it taking too long. The waitresses even established a makeshift no-fly-zone.
I was worried my face would freeze that way.
Why by all rights I should have been proud of myself, I wasn't. I had stooped to a level I never wish to stoop to again. Rude Yankee.
As I made my way back to the comfortable embrace of genteel Dixieland, I realized how much I appreciated my security blanket.
And a piece of me likes to think I was missed too.
Monday, July 6, 2009
- If you are British, I recommend that you stop reading here because this is quickly going to devolve into something reminiscent to one of those "USA! USA! USA!" chants. Also, the odds are pretty good that there will be more than one reference to the Miracle on Ice...
So for you Americans out there, this one is for you.
Friday night, I decided to head to Philadelphia to celebrate the birth of our nation in style - PHILLLY STYLE! This is all I could think about on the way up...
About an hour into my adventure, I did something I am not proud of. I crossed the Mason Dixon Line... More on that later.
As luck would have it, my route took me through the tiny hamlet of Gettysburg, PA. Home to Robert E. Lee's only outright defeat and on the weekend of July 4, the world's largest collection of Civil War Reenactors. Bad choice: two lane road through a tiny town with alot of twists and turns, national cemeteries, and copious numbers of minivans driven by the aforementioned reenactors. While the beards were impressive, the traffic was not.
Finally back on the road, I made it made it through an unending row of tiny farms and cows arriving in Downingtown, PA. After taking in some small town fireworks, we made camp in my fellow intern Sarah's parents house. I have never slept that well on a couch. Ever.
Sidenote: there is a very good reason they call it Penn's Woods.
Early Saturday morning - anniversary of our nation's birth and annual day of the nation's premeir hotdog eating contest - we set out for Philly. Yes, I can say that I took the slow train to Philly...true office fans know what I'm talking about. I have never ridden on a train - so that was nice. As I watched the conductor work his way through the car punching tickets, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like. Riding the rails. Using a specially designed hole punch that probably requires hours of training. Dare to dream.
Then it happened, our train reached the last stop in Central City - aka patriotism a go-go. When we exited Market Station East, I saw something I never thought I would see - a Big Kmart just blocks from the birthplace of American Independence...but that is neither here nor there.
You can say alot of things about Philly, and I probably will while I am at it, but one thing is for sure - they do a great job of marking the path for tourists...
After a brisk walk in the unseasonably cool air, we were greeted by throngs of patriotic Americans who chose to indulge their love of parades to celebrate Jefferson's opus. Fearing long lines after the crowdes disbursed, we made our way to the Liberty Bell's state of the art facility which only required a 6 minute wait in line to get inside. Once in there, I made my way to the back, laying eyes for the first time on the icon of American freedom. I could not believe how close they let us get to the bell. It was so tempting to reach out and touch it... Did I touch it? That is for me and a few of the National Park's finest to know and you to find out.
By the way, if you are still reading this, kudos. You get a hearty colonial Huzzah for your efforts.
With patriotism levels surging, we quickly made our way to Independence Hall - the Cradle of Liberty. I will always remember the cool breeze that blew across the windy plaza in front of Independence Hall. It was brilliant. Another short wait in line got us into one of the top places on my list of things to see. One of the best parts of the adventure was the fact that the tour guides were all jacked up on America. It was incredible. They clearly brought their A-game.
One surprising trip was to the building where Congress met from 1790-1800. It was where Adams was sworn in as President and Jefferson presided over the Senate. A happy detour.
After being sure to stroll around Philly for a while, we grabbed cheesesteaks before stopping over at Betsy Ross's house and the site of Ben Franklin's old house. All were pleasant and great opportunities. I saw the place where Franklin is buried. Apparently 20,000 people showed up at his funeral - not too bad. That is a new personal life goal for me.
The Old City of Philadelphia was a great place to be. It is amazing to walk in the footsteps of our forefathers.
There were two of those events that will always stick out in my mind:
First, we passed the tiny colonial cottage on the corner of Market and 7th just steps from Independence Hall where Jefferson was living when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Across the street today is a Dunkin Donuts. No lie. America does run on Dunkin. While part of me was disappointed, it is true that time marches on and we as a nation are truly great in that we have thousands of chains of dount places around with infinite variety of donuts. Maybe Jefferson would be proud. Probably not. But it was fun to make you think about it.
Second, as we were hiking around the city for no apparent reason other than exercise or being lost, we passed some people loitering on the street. As we walked along the sidewalk, one of the men standing against a building said in a high pitched near falsetto: "Happy Birthday Americaaaa" There was no one particularly close to him. It was pretty amazing. Such a poignant, unprevoked, and awkward phrase.
That is what I will always remember the Fourth of July for..."Happy Birthday America."
In all honesty, I have to admit that I am hooked on a performance enhancer - his name is Neil Diamond. Not the greatest singer/songwriter of this or any other age, but my ride, sidekick, and maybe my best friend and Jeep. This piece of all-American machinery may have a straight six under the hood but has the heart of a roaring lion. He is the only car I know of in which the driver has to wear sunglasses so as to not be blinded by the brilliance of his own car. I once drove for three hours without my headlights on - I didn't notice. The car is so bright it illuminated the country side... And that is just the start of it.
But what you need to know is the others who tag along.
First, we have Brad. My first and only Canadian friend, Brad is always up for an adventure. While he comes from North of the border, he shares my affinity for finely tuned chilling. He has also convinced me to say the word "house" as "hoose" That has to mean something.
Second, we have Amanda. Amanda is my only fellow Southerner here at PF. Quiet and unassuming, she has a passion for Chacos and Union University. I have forgiven her for being from the state where they sing Rocky Top. We became friends when I found out she wanted to visit Mount Vernon first.
Third, Katie. She is the only person I know of who has a working knowledge of the Montana featured in A River Runs Through It. Hailing from Montana by way of the Twin Cities, she uses her extensive knowledge of Native American culture to help us navigate the Middle Colonies.
Fourth, Sarah our resident adventurer. Hailing from Philly by way of Northern Ireland, she is the first person I have ever met who told a story about meeting Gerry Adams. She was disappointed. She and Brad enjoy my affinity for Wes Anderson cinema. Plus she is going to play Juliana Marguiles' character in our intern remake of ER.
Fifth, Bekah. Bekah is the hometown girl who opened her home to us early in our adventure for ribs that her mom made. Yes, I repeat...ribs that her mom made. She instantly became a critical part of the team. I like her because of her journalism background. I like the way journalists think - scrappy.
Six, Kevin. We are looking forward to a strong second half from Kevin now that the majority of his work with the web team is coming to an end. His dry sense of humor has some serious potential. He is seriously a prospect.
Seventh, Rebecca. She is our HR representative and resident Toby Flenderson fan. Not sure if that is really true, but if it is, that is awesome. She is cool and gets major points for posting up on the first floor with ease.
Eighth, Michele. Last but not least, Michele is the newlywed of the group - as in took a week off work to get married. That is clutch. Michele is the glue that holds the group together. Crucial for team chemistry, her presence was sorely missed.
Supposedly, there is a new intern named Julia. That is TBA.
Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
That same weekend fifteen years ago a young Cosborne watching golf for the first time. I am not sure what happened but somewhere over the course of the weekend I fell in love with the game my dad had worked for years to get me interested in.
I havn't looked back since.
While we are telling the truth, I should mention that my love affair has been purely televised - I've never seen it in person - until last Friday.
My host family and I set out early in the morning hoping to catch Tiger (8:15 AM tee time) somewhere around the turn.
Unfortunately, it seemed half of Washington DC and northern Virginia had the same idea. We had to wait in line for an hour and a half to get on to a bus for the 45 minute trek to the course. But once we arrived at Congressional, all that was behind us all that mattered was what the Scottish like to call "GALF."
We arrived in time to watch Tiger play No. 6. By jumping ahead of the crowds, we put ourselves in position to see the entire green. It was remarkable feeling the crowd surge as Tiger drew near.
I have never been a huge fan of his, but I am afraid that I am becoming one. It was really impressive watching him out there playing. He is a big man with ample power but plenty of touch. He missed a short putt while I was watching. Could have birdied. He gathered himself and parred. The crowd followed him. We had been in the presence of greatness.
We spent the rest of the day wandering the course - Congressional was beautiful. The pros were great. So fun to watch them hit the ball.
I saw: Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, Boo Weekley, Anthony Kim, Fred Funk, Davis Love III, and many more.
I had so much fun. I was mad that I do not go to them more.
So if you ever want to go to a golf tournament. Give me a call.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I approached slowly. Each step showing the aging bricks were more than meets the eye. If the bars over the door were not a good enough indication, the razorwire left no doubt.
We approached heavy iron gates. Freedom on our side. Something different on the other.
Making my way through security, a series of gates opened letting me into the yard. I was on the inside.
Scattered across the yard were men of all shapes and sizes. Some exercising. Some chatting. Others in their own world. Almost to a man, they smiled and nodded as we walked by. With each passing face, I felt more and more comfortable.
We entered another aging building finding a classroom where we were met by a group of men who are involved in a Prison Fellowship program that focuses on Biblically based character development.
There was something heart warming about offenders of all ages walking into the room with Bibles, pencils, highlighters, and notebooks. As they opened the notebooks to their place for this week, I couldn't help but notice the the copious notes the pages contained.
As the speaker began, I almost feel the men soak up every last word. It didn't take long before I realized they were listening for their lives. They knew that every word was insurance against a lifetime behind bars. They admitted they had tried it before. Did their time. Came home different but the world around them was different.
What was different now was most of the men had found Christ.
For nearly three hours, my fellow interns and I listened and interacted with the men. Each side shared what God was doing in their lives. I'm not sure who got the most out of it.
I was proud to be part of Prison Fellowship. I was proud that everyday I work for a cause that fights for these men. I was proud to serve a God who can really change these lives.
After the class, one of the offenders asked the leader if we could join hands and pray. As prayers made their way around the chain, I realized the building surrounded by barbed wire was a place of worship. No one could take that away from these men.
Time to go. We made our way across the yard passing a separate group of men on a prayer walk. As we passed through the gates into freedom, I was overcome by the reality of the fact that I could leave.
In physical terms, I was free. But I knew that inside those men were too.
Monday, June 22, 2009
But I didn't listen. Oh was I wrong.
Things started off well. Immediately after walking in, I was in a chair ready to get my haircut. Everything was going alright. The lady cutting my hair seemed to have a good idea of what she was doing. It felt nice to have my haircut - it was way overdue.
Then, things started to deteriorate - fast.
Not two minutes into my haircut, the lady said "You should know that we offer a wonderful selection of dandruff shampoos." That was all she said. Just left that hanging out there.
After a good ten minutes and obviously undeterred, she decided to strike up conversation. This is seriously what she said:
Her: "You remind me of a friend of mine."
Her: "Yah, he died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago"
Me: (awkward silence)
She then proceeded to talk for like five minutes about how a friend of hers died of pancreatic cancer several years ago and his sister died a month after him... A really horrible story, but what did that have to do with me?....
So I responded: "That is really sad. I'm sorry about that."
Her: "Cutting your hair makes me sad."
Sidebar: What do you say to that? How do you respond? That is a major league party foul!
Needless to say, I didn't say anything for the rest of the haircut. When I finally got home, I checked out my hair in the mirror only to find that I had a distinctive line in my hair due to a poorly executed fade...
This is the stuff blogs are made of.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I am working with the group called Justice Fellowship. We are the policy reform arm of PF. In my job, I research what is going on in the world of criminal justice reform both in the states and in the federal government. It is a very interesting topic. I am intrigued by working on an issue that I have typically thought of as liberal.
It has been a great learning experience, but things got interesting this week when I met the man that makes it all happen.
See, PF was started by Charles Colson, the well-known Christian author who famously worked in the Nixon White House. Mr. Colson went to prison after pleading guilty to an obstruction of justice charge. As a result of the Watergate investigation, God was able to get Colson's attention and use it to bring him to salvation. As a new Christian, God used the time in prison to show him the need for change in the way the United States handles incarcerations.
I should also mention that my first real interest in political science - and my first serious look at politics as a career - came after reading his autobiography Born Again. He is on my short list of people I have to meet.
Flashforward to last Thursday.
Although Mr. Colson no longer works in the day to day operations of PF, he is still a very strong influence in the organization. Oh, and he was in town.
Let me start by saying that I was very professional in everything I did on Thursday. I even wore a tie. Not for Mr. Colson. Just because...
Anyway, first thing, two of my friends and fellow interns ran to my desk to tell me that they had met Mr. Colson. They recounted every last detail of their conversation. Needless to say. I was jealous.
So, extremely nonchalantly, I meandered over to my supervisor's desk - which just so happens to be right outside the door to Mr. Colson's office. And there he was. Signing books at his desk. I played it cool. Don't worry. I moved on before his assistant caught me snooping.
After lunch, it had been something like 5 hours in the office with Mr. Colson - he didn't know I existed. Epic failure.
Well, things started turning around for me when I went back to my supervisor's desk with a legitimate question. I repeat LEGITIMATE. After she answered my question, she took me in to talk to Mr. Colson.
As we made the 2 foot walk to his office, I realized that I was chewing a piece of gum. How unprofessional! I couldn't let this be the first thing he saw. So, I did what any 24-year old who is about to meet his hero would do in that situation - swallowed it. Unfortunately, my gum decided to hang around somewhere in the neighborhood of my esophagus. Just keep that in mind as you think how awkward it was.
I was nervous at first. My knees were doing that trembling thing that they used to do when I played baseball and knew I couldn't hit a certain pitcher... But I played it cool so that he would not know I was nervous. I probably had a weird look on my face something akin to someone on laughing gas.
We had a nice little chat. He asked where I was from and where I went to school. When I told him I went to the George Bush School at Texas A&M (Whoop!)
"Where you go to school"
"What do you study?"
"Is that more theory or application?"
"It is more on the application side."
"So you want to go into politics?"
"Thats good, the government is always getting bigger."
I wasn't sure what to think, but he must have liked what I said because when I ran into him later, he not only remembered my name he said:
"You like politics. So I remembered your name."
PS. The second encounter was classic. If you are lucky, one day I will share it with the blogosphere.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Arlington Cemetery: We started off by catching the Metro down to Arlington National Cemetery. It was one of the most appropriate and touching memorials I have seen. I was overcome by the proximity of the landmark to the rest of DC. It is easy at times to forget how close it all is together.
I couldn't help but imagine Robert E. Lee looking towards the White House his last time at home wondering what the future held for his life.
I was able to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the memorial of the USS Maine, a memorial to those who perished in the Challenger, those who perished in the Columbia, John Kennedy and the eternal flame, where Bobby Kennedy is buried, and many more.
It is an amazing testament to this nation.
Watergate: Next, we took a stop near the campus of George Washington University where we ate a Potbelly's sandwich at the student union and walked the three or four blocks to see Watergate. That has to be the ugliest office building/landmark I have ever seen .
U.S. Capitol: We then made our way down to the U.S. Capitol where we took a good look at it doing a lap around the entire building before heading into the newly completed Visitor's Center. We lucked into a few of the last tickets for a tour of the building.
I was able to see the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and the Crypt. I was excited to find out that there is now a Ronald Reagan statue in the rotunda. I also enjoyed the subtle irony of the Jeff Davis, John C. Calhoun, and Robert E. Lee statues. It is a beautiful building that is truly the Temple of Liberty.
Other miscellaneous sites:
We made it to the Library of Congress via the underground tunnel that was added along with the new visitor's center. This exchange actually happened:
Random Lady: "How many people use this tunnel (speaking of the mysterious underground tunnel)?"
Security Guard: "Definitely not $60 million worth"
Then, we walked by the Supreme Court building and stopped by the White House to round out all three branches of government.
Mission 3: Success.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
As the huge crowds made their way across the National Mall, I loved to stop and watch them pause and take in the beauty of the newest memorial.
As I watched, they began to emerge. It was kind of hard to see at first, but they were there.
Hunched and aged, some with walkers, canes or wheelchairs, it was easier to see the veterans.
One man that stuck out to me was an elderly gentleman sitting by himself on a park bench staring at the memorial. I couldn't help but imagine what he had seen and what he saw.
I was touched by their resolve to make sure they came out to honor the memory of those who served them.
More than that, I couldn't help but notice the miracle I was witnessing. These men who as boys left for war grew up to be old men. They saved a continent and came home to make a nation strong.
I hope that they felt a modicum of the thanks they deserved.
Read more of my thoughts here.
Our first stop was the Holocaust Museum where we got tickets for a tour before heading out to the National Mall. We ended up making it to the museum and taking the tour. It was a moving experience for everyone.
Then, we headed out to the Mall again to check out the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and what I think was the John Paul Jones Memorial. We also had some spectacular views of the White House, the Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial.
Despite some early cloud cover, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful days in a week or so. The sun came out which was really a treat!
We then made our way to the Smithsonian's American History Museum where I got to see the Star Spangled Banner - the original from Ft. McHenry. It was really remarkable. So amazing to see such a treasure.
We then made our way to the military history museum. They had George Washington's sword, a piece of the battleship Maine, Sam Houston's rifle, and much much more. I was doing good until I saw William Tecumseh Sherman's hat and other pieces of his uniform. I am not a fan... We then went to the Presidency gallery before heading to the Air & Space Museum.
After realizing that we were about to die from all the walking, we took off for the Washington National's game. We got there early where I had a huge Philly cheese steak. Then, we enjoyed a great ball game in a really nice modern stadium. From our perch, we had a great view of downtown DC and the navy yard.
The best part is that I was the lucky charm for them - the Nats finally won a game!
We finally made it home, and I went to bed for a well deserved rest.
This morning, I went to a Methodist church for the first time. I went along with my host family. It was interesting to be in another denomination. I ended up knowing most of the songs as they were popular praise songs. I was a little stumped when it came to communion but moved to the back of the line so I could watch.
Then tonight, I went to the little league game of my little brother for the summer. It has been a long time since I went to a little league game. Funny how none of that has changed. HA
now, it's bed time.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Let me back up: The first real book that I ever read was a biography of George Washington. There has always been something about him that fascinated me, and thus, I have always wanted to go visit his home at Mount Vernon. The closest I ever came was in September of 2001 which was derailed before heading out to Mount Vernon.
So, for the inaugural voyage, I saddled up Neil and headed out for the home of the greatest American. A Rendezvous with Destiny if you will.
After getting lost somewhere near the Pentagon, which by the way it is nice to see it without a hole in it... see my last post for an explanation, I finally made it through Alexandria to Mount Vernon. Once you get on the right road it is hard to miss - it dead ends at Mount Vernon.
As I purchased my ticket, I noted the awkward looks on the faces of those around me. Apparently some people find it odd that a 24-year old is wide-eyed and smiling is big as he possibly can. Walking around the lobby of the visitor's center, I was almost shaking I was so excited. Fortunately, the 18 minute introduction video hosted by Pat Sajak - yes THE Pat Sajak - got my nerves under control.
I walked around to every building I could possibly get into reading every placard and taking pictures of pretty much everything. I waited as long as I could to enter the mansion - I wanted to savor the moment.
The rest was a flash - the big dining room, the bedrooms, the key to the Bastille, paintings commissioned by Washington, original furniture, his desk, his bedroom, the stairwell that he had to duck every day walking down because the clearance was 5'7".
It was everything I could have imagined. It was hard to look in on the bed that he died in. What a sad place.
I lingered outside for a while. Alternating views of the Potomac and the front of the house. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. At first, I was a little disappointed. I had waited so long to see this but now it was over. But looking back on it, I am grateful that I got to see it. I made my way to the tomb where he is buried. I made it in time for a special ceremony where a tour guide made a speech, a man placed a wreath on the crypt, a man read a prayer given by the General, and a woman led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. I was able to get some good photos of the crypt. As close as I'll ever come to my hero.
I lingered for a while. Watching people pass by. Young and old. Foreign and domestic. It was quite a sight. When they were gone, I waited for some 15 minutes. I watched them close the tomb and lock it up. Then, it was time to go home.
There on the land that he loved and was willing to give up a lifetime appointment as president or even king for. I can understand now why he was able to walk away. It was really some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen.
I made my way to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center - yah, I didn't make that up. I probably spent 3 hours in there looking at every card and artifact. It was so cool. I loved the sword he wore in the French and Indian War, his false teeth, the muskets that Lafayette brought with him from France, and many more things.
I really enjoyed the displays that were set at the right height so that you could look the General in the eye. Apparently, he was 6'2" when he died - made me wonder how big he was during the war...
As I drove from Mount Vernon past DC as I made my way home, I could not help but enjoy thinking about how all of this is becuase of that man. I think it is important for everyone to recognize what truly makes this nation great. There is not better place to start than Washington himself.
The Inaugural Cosborne Road Trip = success!
If you have any ideas where I should go next, let me know. comment me here or email me.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
It was early fall. The sky was so clear and blue it almost hurt your eyes. The air was warm but comfortable.
He woke up early that morning. He couldn't sleep. Although rarely so organized, today was different. Clothes were laid out carefully. Everything had to be perfect.
As the rest of his friends rolled out of bed, sleepy, tired, he was up. Anxiously running around. A ball of energy that could not be tamed.
Dutifully, they all stepped on the bus, found their seats and settled in for the road trip. Although strangers to this city, things were beginning to make sense. Signs grew familiar. Something felt right about it.
They were early. A rarity in this city. Unsure what to do, they killed some time wandering.
He anxiously checked his watch. Second ticked by in an unending cycle. Finally! It was time! Time to meet the destiny that he had waited for for years. With each step, he grew more excited. His quick pace contrasted with the lethargy of his friends. Barely able to stand it, he had to wait in line.
As they made the trek across the grounds, he heard something he didn't like. A girl in the group had her cell phone for some odd reason. Why would she need it? Oh well, that didn't really matter. She handed the phone to the chaperon who had a puzzled look on his face. It was easy to read him. His mustache twitched as his speech hurried.
"A plane," he said. "A PLANE?"
Apparently the voice on the other end answered in the affirmative. Then something bad happened.
"What? Another plane? Yes, yes, call me back," the chaperon grew anxious.
The group moved on. Steadily. Was he the only one that heard that? How could that be? The adults were muttering something. Something was wrong.
Some say that when you are about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. Well, he was about to learn that when your childhood dream dies, all those memories flood their mind.
The first book he ever read, it was about George Washington. Telling his family and friends he would be president. Waiting patiently since 6th grade to get to go on the junior trip. Always having one place he wanted to go visit - Washington D.C.
Then, life began to happen fast and furious - moving by like a scene from a film with only actions - no words or music. A horrendous scene played out on the White House lawn. Life wouldn't be the same.
Guards appeared. First regular police. Then guards with shotguns, Then, he saw something odd. Men in all black carrying assault rifles. They began to stream out of a small guard house. His dream was dying.
The guards said something. Back away from the fence? Ok. Leave the White House grounds? Ok. Run? Ok. Wait! Run! Dont' worry about being orderly? Get out as fast as you can?
The group assembled by a fountain - all accounted for. As they looked at each other, scared and confused, they saw an elderly woman hurtle a row of shrubs - no simple feat. Some claimed to see a gardener pull an automatic weapon out of a satchel. Things got real.
Another miracle - they were on the bus and on the road in a blink.
They did not have time to be scared. They did not have time to process what was going on. They saw a hole in the Pentagon - a familiar sight on the Beltway - it didn't faze them. Then, they were in their hotel packing their bags.
He could not understand why he could not go to the US Capitol the next day. Surely, something would be open.
Oh, if he only knew.
They fled. They hit the road tracing the backroads of Virginia. Hour turned into hour. They listened to the radio, but it could not sink in. They knew something bad happened but could not understand the enormity of it all. Each town where they stopped was a ghost town. People acted weird. Didn't say anything. No one was around.
It didn't hit him until he got home. some 14 or 15 hours of driving later, they arrived at the church. There were his parents, but who else was that. The principal, most all of the high school, his entire family, and a TV news crew were there. What was going on?
Then, it hit him. His world had changed. He had gone to DC to fulfill a dream, but he had learned another lesson. In the days and weeks that followed, his nation went to war. He remembered the night stop on the way home when for the first time he considered whether or not he would be called up to serve in the military.
He changed. It wasn't just his world that hand changed. Life was now about what he could contribute to his nation.
So much of that is how I got here.
Pretty much, my job is to monitor what is going on on the state and federal lelve with regards to criminal justice reform - this includes things such as better sentencing practices, drug treatment programs, mental health treatment, and overcriminalization.
The heart behind the ministry is extending biblical justice to the "least of these."
While this is an explicitly Christian program, many of the issues that we study and support are secular in nature. It is going to be a fascinating study of an extremely important policy issue.
Pretty much, we are advocating for prisons - they are necessary. However, we are looking for better/smarter alternatives when dealing with prisoners that cater to their individual need whether for substance abuse, mental health, or some other problem. In addition, we support the idea of restorative justice which seeks to include victims in the resolution of a crime in such a way that doesn't simply put an individual away but returns peace to a community.
I look forward to updating you on what goes on this summer. I recommend checking out this site and finding out how you can be involved in your own community.
27 May 2009
In case you were wondering, it takes exactly 1020 miles to get from Little Rock, AR to Lansdowne, VA.
After two days of driving, me, my dad, and my brother all made it to Prison Fellowship's Hospitality House sometime on Memorial Day. I'm not going to lie to you. It was a roadtrip that tried men's souls. There was a point - called Tennessee - where I never thought we would make it. At one point, I foolishly told dad to "be quiet."
After driving across Tennessee and nearly falling off the edge of the earth, we stopped in a town called Lexington, VA. After leaving the hotel and motorcycle game, we drove by Washington & Lee University and VMI. It was pretty awesome. I enrolled.
After dropping our stuff off in our lodging, we struck out for DC. Somehow, we made it in time to see the Air & Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the National Archives, and the Vietnam Memorial.
- The Vietnam Memorial: One of the most moving things that I have ever seen. It was heartbreaking to see men standing their looking at names like they knew more and hurt more than they could ever tell. It was particularly moving being there with my dad. It made me thankful that God didn't send him over there.
- The Lincoln Memorial: I wasn't exactly busting down the door to get there. I am not a huge Lincoln fan, but That was an impressive statue. It was just a really cool building. Regardless of my opinion of the man, it was a great place.
- The Washington Monument: I did not go up. But I thought it was a tremendous monument. George Washington is my hero so of course I loved it.
- Air & Space Museum: I saw this the last time I was in DC, but I loved seeing it again. Such a cool place. I loved the Spirit of St. Louis. Plus, I thought I saw Ben Stiller. Ok not really.
- The National Archives: This was one of the most amazing things that I saw. I saw a 600 year old copy of the Magna Carta! Then I saw an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I know I am a schmuck, but it is true - I was overwhelmed and wanted to cry at the glorious sight in front of me. Those were the handiwork of some of the greatest minds of all time and changed the entire world. Wow.
After driving in without the help of a map or having any idea where we were, we managed to find the White House. We parked and walked up to the gate as close as we could. It is amazing. Regardless of who that occupant is, it is amazing to behold. We managed to park on each side of the buildling and walk up. I think all of us really enjoyed that. Plus, I got to show my dad where we were on Sept. 11. Plus, we saw some cool cops who talked to us about baseball.
I should take a second to tell you that sadly, there is no photographic evidence that Neil Diamond made it to the White House. Apparently, his charisma and energy were too much for the security guards to handle. Also, the batteries in my camera died.
Then, we headed for the capital and parked it on the front steps, well as close as we could get. We hiked up to the stairs and marveled at the glorious building.
Unfortunately, we were so tired we had to head home for bed. Then, this morning, I dropped dad and Micah off at Dulles Airport. It was a bittersweet moment. I knew they needed to go home, but I had enjoyed one of the most epic roadtrips of all time.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
25 May 2009
A wise man once said the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Or how about 850 miles.
For those of you who don't know, I saddled up Neil Diamond today and struck out for adventure and whatever comes my way during my internship this summer in DC, well Lansdowne, VA.
Sidenote: So far, it is unconfirmed that Virginia is for lovers. We will revisit this later.
So, my brother, dad and I set out on the adventure of a life time.
We learned a few things such as:
1. Tennessee is infinitely long. It has no eastern or western border they go on for eternity.
2. Virginia is as long as Tenn when you drive diagonally across.
3. Don't ever, ever, ever tell your dad to be quiet aka shut up
4. Jeep Cherokees are the single worst possible vehicle for road trips.
5. Never lose faith in Neil Diamond.
So 850 miles down. many more to go.
To boldly go where no Cosborne has gone before.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It was a difficult life. Staying up late. Playing hard. Living fast. However, I have finally found the Jessie Coulter to my Waylon Jennings.
Gone are the days in which I can lounge around the house in my zebra robe, playing golf in beautiful polyester pants while in the dorm, or even being awoken while snoozing in a sleeping bag over a bluff on camping trips.
So for now, I say goodbye to my old ways. To celebrate, I thought I would post a few of the most memorable pics.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
No, I think it is appropriate we start with one of the first step in the wedding process for a groomsman.. No, not the awkward moment where your buddy is awkward and uncomfortable so you think he is going to tell you that his mom died or something horrible while you can hear his fiancee in the background yelling at him and finally whispers something about being a groomsmaan.
No, this is the tux rental.
One summer, I was in two weddings so I was able to double on on my measurements.
Well, I went and got my measurements taken and called them in to the place that I was supposed to get the tux from.
This is the actual conversation:
Me: "Yah, I need to give you my tux measurements for the wedding."
Tux Guy: "Shoot."
Me: "So I need the 17" Neck, 36" Waist, and -- inseam with a size 12 shoe."
Tux Guy: "So I have a 14" neck and a 48" waist."
Me: "No" Then repeated the measurements
Tux Guys: "Wow, I'm glad you cleared that up. I was thinking you must be one goofy looking dude."
The second one was for my buddy Craig. Well, Craig asked me to be a groomsman in his wedding 5 months after everyone else in the wedding. I thought I wasn't going to be asked. Apparently it was a joke to him.
Anyway here is how it went giving Craig our measurements. Bo, my roommate and fellow groomsman called Craig with his measurements and then told Craig that he was going to guess mine. Craig took them down and ordered the tux, without asking me about that.
Fortunately, Bo had my real measurements. But where this gets interesting is the fact that when my tux came in my pants came in at a size 58.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Think of the last reputable person you met who had a mustache. Now, have they had that mustache since the 1980s? The answer is yes 87% of the time. My point is that the mustache is a dying art form. In fact, to many it is a sign of an unsavory character and shady past.
How do I know this? Well, for a time, like two days, I had a mustache.
Lets back up.
My junior year of college, I decided to go to the Fall Retreat for Campus Crusade for Christ. At this time, I was cultivating my annual fall beard. See, when I went back to school in the fall, I began a strict regimen of not shaving. Well by September I had a beard for the ages.
The day that me and my friend Danforth left for the retreat, I decided to turn my beard into a mustache. What a great way to meet new people I thought! I thought wrong.
What I failed to mention is that on our way out of town, we stopped at a Taco Bell. I was wearing camo pants, a t-shirt that said "It's a kid thing" on the back from when I worked at a church nursery, cheap aviator sunglasses and a trucker hat.
Word to the wise: When the cashier at the Taco Bell laughs at you before you open your mouth - things have gone terribly wrong.
So, we were in the restaurant. In came a mom with her teenage daughter and a little kid. Everything was fine until they saw me. Obviously freaked out, they sat at the other side of the place and left in a hurry.
At the retreat, I couldn't get any girls to talk to me... I wasn't sure why. Eventually, my larger than life alter ego I named Bear Bryant won them over, but not without a fight.
Another word to the wise: when decked out in aviators, a trucker hat, and a manly fu manchu don't approach every girl you meet and drop the line "so, come here often." It is a retreat. No, they dont' come here often.
Fortunately, we are all Facebook friends to this day.
Since that time, I have made it a habit to watch people with mustaches. While as a former mustachioed man, I know the tough life they lead, I can watch others to see their reaction. Sure enough, most people will go out of their way to avoid a mustache. I guarantee it.
The moral of this story is remember mustaches belong to people too.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Here is a list of a few signs you have a college kid on your hands:
10. Looks for any excuse to not wear shoes or at least will wear a form of outdoor sandal despite never having gone on a hike.
9. Knows the closing time of every restaurant in town specifically of IHOP, Waffle House, and Taco Bell.
8. Never start any social event before 10 PM
7. Begin to explore various hairstyles
- announce they are growing dreadlocks and do not wash there hair for a week before giving up
- grow a scraggly beard
- grow sideburns
- consistently miss a spot shaving and call it a soul patch
- for girls this includes either the dreads, or a change from long to short hair or vice versa
6. Listen to their ipod in social situations not realizing it is odd or rude
5. Have a period of almost a year in which they listen almost exclusively to Dave Matthews Band and OAR
4. Drop the backpack in favor of a form of a messenger bag
3. Those who are not barefoot or in Chacos wear flip flops year round
2. Become physically ill when removed from their cell phone, also can often text message without looking.
1. Only own clothes with the university name and/or greek letters on them
Sunday, May 3, 2009
As we have also noted, he is a bright shade of yellow made exclusively for his model. The shade: surface of the sun yellow. One of his cousins is pictured here.
For the most part, he is an awesome ride. Sure, the straight-6 doesn't have the pop it used to, and maybe he has lost some acceleration. But one thing is for sure, he is still number one in my heart.
Anyway, since I moved to Texas, I have become aware of an increasingly troubling problem. Apparently in a crazy scheme to turn a buck, Chrysler made more than one Yellow Jeep Cherokee. While there is only one Neil, this leads me to the logical worry that there are look-a-like's out there sullying his good name and reputation.
Even worse, statistics show that 87% of drivers of yellow Jeep Cherokee's are female.
In my town, there are three confirmed duplicates. I have named them Carly Simon, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell. All are driven by women between the ages of 18 and 28.
This leads to an increasingly troubling situation in which I face a significant risk of dudes checking me out at stoplights. While I am easy on the eyes, this is still not acceptable.
So, the problem with Neil Diamond is that he turned out to be a chick car. I guess it is appropriate that he is named after one of the finest entertainers/lady magnets in the world.
Consider this your public service anouncement. Be careful before you check out that awesome yellow Jeep next to you. It might be a dude. And he might be very sexy and very macho.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
1. Anyone who claims a favorite band/singer and can't spell their name is Highly Suspicious
I am a fan of authenticity. And honestly, I can not trust someone who can't spell the name of their favorite singer. Think about how many times you see their name if you listen to them regularly. Especially in our ipod age, it is something like ten million.
So, if you are a fan, be able to spell it!
Lynyrd Skynyrd (If they put a vowel in there, walk away); Beetles (That is a bug not a band); Red Hot Chili Peppers; Willie Nelson; Bruce Springsteen
2. Any male pre-med student who claims his dream is to be an ObGyn is Highly Suspcious
3. Any girl that claims her favorite books include any two of the following:
- Redeeming Love
- Boy Meets Girl
- I Kissed Dating Goodbye
- Passion and Purity
Guys, if you are reading this. Heads up. Highly suspicious.
4. Anyone who has updated their Facebook status more than 8 times in one day is highly suspicious.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have done this. Yes, I felt lame.
5. Any white person that rolls up their windows while listening to rap at an intersection
I have also done this.
6. Anyone who will go out of their way to make fun of the current or past president
A. It is soo played out
B. You probably don't know what you are talking about becuase if you were an expert in the field they would come up naturally
7. Anyone who says that Slumdog Millionaire is their favorite movie
If you say that in five years, I might actually start to believe you