Monday, September 14, 2009

Federer and Williams

In the last two days, Roger Federer and Serena Williams had remarkably similar and uncharacteristic incidents.

Federer lost a critical point when his opponent was given way too much time to challenge a call, costing him his service game and his likely going up 2 sets to none. Serena was serving 5-6 15-30 in the second set, and was called for a foot fault. After berating the line judge, she was assessed a point penalty that ended the match.

They were both wrong to yell at the officials, which is out of character for them. What has been lost in the controversy is that I believe they were both robbed by bad calls of matches that they were probably going to win. Bad calls are an unfortunate part of all sports. It is just a shame when they affect the outcome of a tournament, especially when the players are setting records that will impact the history books.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Right To Take Three Days Off From Work

The 2nd amendment to our constitution guarantees "the right to bear arms". It seems that people often comment how easy it is to purchase and license a firearm. However, I have found that it actually is not easy at all.

In Pennsylvania, it was very simple to get a firearms permit. I filled out a form and brought it to the Sheriff's office with a small fee. I was fingerprinted and picked up the license a week later.

Ironically, it is much more difficult to get a permit in the "conservative, pro-gun" state of Virginia. First, make sure I don't meet any of the 20 categories that disqualify you from obtaining a permit. Next, I need to fill out a detailed form and get it notarized. As part of the form, I need to "demonstrate competence to handle a firearm". This requires taking a 4-hour course. (Having a license from another state is of no value for this requirement). The cheapest course I found after a moderate search is $80. Next, I need to submit the form in person with a $40 fee. After a background check, I need to submit the form again a week later to another office.

Grand Total: A minimum of $120 and I need to go to 3 separate places (2 of which are only open 9-5 on work days). In my opinion, only the most dedicated people would go through this process.

I understand the reasoning behind each of these requirements. My point is that it is certainly not a simple process.

Final note: even though I work within walking distance of NRA headquarterts, I have found this fact to be useless in finding courses or getting any of the above information. And their website does not help at all with finding rules or local training courses.