Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Trip to Mount Vernon

Yesterday the Cosborne Road Trip set off on its inaugural adventure - Mount Vernon.

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

The Last Time I Went to DC

Do you ever have one of those mornings where you can't help but think things are too good to be true? Well, this story starts with one of those.

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.

What I'm doing this summer

This summer, I am working as a Research Assistant for Prison Fellowship Ministries. I actually work for the reform arm known as Justice Fellowship.

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.

The Travels of Neil Diamond II

Captain's Log
27 May 2009
Lansdowne, VA

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.
Then, on Tuesday, I started my internship. It was a good day. It is weird working an 8 hour day, but I will get used to it. When work was over, my dad, brother, and I ate dinner and headed back to DC to see what we could find.

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

The Travels of Neil Diamond

Captain's Log:
25 May 2009
12:58 AM

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

Farewell Wild and Crazy Guys

Now that I am in grad school, I am beginning to realize that it is about time to grow up. Since this blog is relatively new, my faithful readers probably find it hard to believe, but I was once a wild and crazy bachelor.

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

One Goofy Looking Dude

As wedding season approaches, I have begun to think about some of my favorite wedding moments. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in some really special occasions, but I will get into that later. I'm probably the best groomsman ever. Fact.

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

My Mustache Past

One of the most misunderstood art forms in the world is that of the mustache.

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

Top Ten SIgns its a College Kid

Most Americans between the age of 18 and 24 enter a unique phase in their life best identified as their "college years." This is a time of exploration unrivaled since the days of Magellan. For this brief(ish) period of time, sane individuals will passionately pursue a range of odd interests.

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

The Problem with Neil Diamond

For those of you who frequent this blog, you are quite familiar with our good friend Neil Diamond - the four-wheeled fireball that chariots me from place to place.

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.