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.