10 November 2022

Connecting the Dots & Finding the Hidden Truths Behind Well-Known Stories


As I mentioned in my last post, I recently shattered my ankle, damaging a lot of the soft tissue in my lower leg and foot. I have had home health nurses and physical therapists visiting my home three times a week since then to help me get to the point where I am now walking with a very cool yet functional cane

My physical therapist and I were talking about the stories behind the stories in the Bible, such as how the reason that Jesus used dirt to make the blind man see was because the blind man was born without eyes and Christ was showing us that he was God by making human organs from the dust, like he did when he created Adam in the Garden of Eden on the sixth day. 

He, being unaware of many of these connections, yet fascinated by them, asked for books that would show him more. Thus I suggested the following six books for him: 

  1. The Orthodox New Testament Volume One: The Holy Gospels (Evangelistarion)
  2. The Orthodox New Testament Volume Two: Acts, Epistles, & Revelation (Praxapostolos)
  3. The Orthodox Psalter: The Psalterion According to the Seventy, With the Nine Odes, & Patristic Commentary
  4. The Lives of the Holy Prophets: The Major & Minor Prophets of the Old Testament
  5. The Lives of the Holy Apostles: Saints Peter, Paul, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Jude, Simon, Matthias, Mark, Luke, & James
  6. The Life of the Virgin Mary, The Theotokos
I also pointed to him to the following three blog articles I wrote on this blog:
  1. The Gospel According to Saint John, Chapter Six: A Parallel of the Passover & the Exodus of Israel
  2. The Theophanies of Christ in Both the Old & New Testaments
  3. Types & Anti-Types in the Holy Bible
If you or anyone you know are interested in the connections of the Old Testament to the New Testament, or the stories behind the stories in The Holy Writ, check out these books and articles, which will help you see what previously was unseen to you. 

08 November 2022

Have You Seen Them? The Quest for Wide Skate Shoes!

Broken Bones Brigade
For those of you who don't know, I have wide feet. When getting back into skating, I found that Vans are now way too narrow (Yes, even the pro models - I confirmed with Vans that they intentionally have made all of their shoes narrower in order to save on materials, thus increasing profit). and I cannot wear them. I finally found that the vegan suede Vallelys by Cariuma stretched to fit my wide feet and stood up to a beating.

In May, I suffered a triple ankle fracture and dislocation and am finally walking after 6 months of recovery and healing with strenuous PT (physical therapy). However my left foot and ankle are now wider than before and I no longer can even get my Cariuma Vallely skate shoes on. Cariuma confirmed that the vegan suede Vallely shoes were their best shoes for wide feet and refunded the camel coloured pair I had on pre-order (I currently have charcoal and black Vallely shoes). So I reached out to the subreddit, r/OldSkaters, for suggestions for truly wide shoes. 

Have You Seen Them (Wide Skate Shoes)?
I got many suggestions and reached out to the skate shoe companies to ask what their widest shoes were. Nike SB, New Balance Numeric, and Adidas Skate Shoes were all out, as their shoes are narrow and have no wide options. Plus, I prefer to support skater-owned companies (like Death Skateboards, Film Trucks, Snot Wheels, Zealous Bearings, etc.) when I can.

  • Shoe #1 was the Etnies Marana. I was excited by its fashion-forward looks, but unfortunately, I could not even put my foot in it, just like my Cariuma Vallelys. Immediate return. Etnies Footwear confirmed this was their widest shoe.
  • Shoe #2 was the DC Court Graffiks. They looked nice, but I could get my foot in, but the toe box was way too narrow. Sent them back. DC Shoes confirmed this was their widest shoe.
  • Shoe #3 was the Osiris D3 2001s arrived and they were a chonky shoe that seemed to fit good with a wider toe-box but, while comfortable as-is, will definitely require some breaking in at the upper over the toes and at the achilles tendon area. Osiris Shoes confirmed this was their widest shoe.
  • Shoe #4 was the Globe Mens Tilt Skate Shoe. I could get my foot in with some pushing, but then it slid in nicely. It felt really good... ...until my toes hit the toe-box. Immediately I felt compressing pressure on my pinky toe. Not only on my recovering broken ankle, but the good foot too. While these looked good, there was no way I would be able to wear them. Globe Shoes did not respond to my query on if this was their widest shoe or not.
    Osiris D3 2001 Skate Shoes are Wide
And so the winner is...

...Based on my experience, for people with wide feet, your best choice is going to be the Osiris D3 2001 Skate Shoes, and I went with the Gold/Grey/Beige colorway model. If your toes are small, you might be able to get away with the Globe Tilt or the DC Court Graffik Skateboard Shoes, but the Etnies Marana is a definite no go, no way, no how. I hope this helps someone out there struggling to find good quality wide skate shoes like I was.

04 April 2022

POLL: The Pandemic & Orthodox Churches


If you are a part of any Orthodox Church (Eastern or Oriental) in the USA, please click on the link below to take part in a large national survey. It's about the effects of the pandemic on parish life, and is funded by the Louisville Institute. Your responses are strictly anonymous. Please also pass this on to any Orthodox friends or relatives; the more participants, the more meaningful the data will be! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PandemicAndYourParishNow

10 March 2022

Help and Pray for Ukraine

Are you wondering how to donate and help Ukraine besides prayer, and don't want your money to errantly end up in the hands of scammers? You can donate money that will 100% go the Ukrainian people, without any executive or administration fees to pay anyone a salary through the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at https://www.uocofusa.org/news_220224_1 marking your donations with the comment, "LET’S HELP UKRAINE". They have already used this money to get everyday supplies and medical supplies to the people of Ukraine and evacuate an orphanage of children and their teachers to Poland with the donations that they have received so far. If you prefer to donate with Facebook's own platform, you can do so at the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA at https://www.facebook.com/uocofusa.



14 October 2021

Real Cancel Culture

Cancel culture is real and both the left and right are guilty of using it against their perceived enemies. Sometimes it can be used to shutdown a harmful practice, but often times it can also be harmful to the innocent. In my lifetime I remember BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) trying to shut down D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) in the 1980's due to the Satanic Panic, which has been proven to be a false and unnecessary panic. My Dungeon Master's (referee's) parents bought into it and did not allow their son to play D&D anymore at his house. Instead we had to play a Christian RPG (Role-Playing Game) called Dragon Raid at his house. We still played Dungeons & Dragons at my house, because my parents did not buy into the panic. You can read more about the fraudulent Satanic Panic and attempts to cancel D&D at https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26328105

Recently a priest's blog was removed from Ancient Faith Radio after multiple warnings about not posting about partisan politics. This was not a case of internet opinion charging him before he was in a court of law, but a company that warned a content provider to stop a prohibited activity over and over until they felt they had to remove him. People cried "Cancel Culture" but this is NOT cancel culture. He was removed from one platform, no judgement was made upon him as a bad person, and AFR even offered to help him set up his blog at new platform. AFR only made a statement about it because the priest had made one first, claiming he was cancelled (Which he has now, thankfully retracted). I am not even a fan of AFR, but these are facts, which I will not twist because I like and respect the priest in question. 

However in the modern day, there are actual victims of cancel culture in the world. The problem is that this is done off of accusations, not someone being found guilty in a court of law. In fact, one of these cancelled creators, Zak Smith, actually ended up suing his accusers and was found that he was being defamed and that the accusers had to pay-up and/or post retractions to their accusations. But those facts were not important to the Twitter troll mobs who keep spreading the accusations (only made on social media) and as such, no one will publish Zak's work. Zak, thankfully, makes lots of money from his art, but the TTRPG is missing out by not having his Adventure Campaigns which are also works of art. There are others that are also being cancelled and it is hurting their ability to make a living for them and their family. To this end, I recently interviewed Zak, being a fan or his art and writing and wanting to get the facts of his story from his POV without the interviewer (me) passing judgement. WARNING: This interview has adult language and talks about adult situations. 

We need to be patient and let the facts come out in courts of law when accusations are made and remember, at least in America, that people are considered innocent until proven guilty. We don't need a litany of Heart Queens yelling, "Off with their head" anytime anyone is accused of anything bad. 

01 July 2021

After Almost 20 Years, I Finally Found Book 4 of "The Monastery Builders" Series


For almost 20 years I had been looking for book 4 in The Monastery Builders series, and yesterday, I finally go it! Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. This is an incredible hagiographical series that I recommend for all Orthodox Christians. They were all published and printed with the blessing of His Grace, ALYPY, Bishop of Chicago, Detroit, and Middle America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Here are links to all five books of The Monastery Builders series. Unfortunately, since it has long been out of print, they are not all available at good prices or even available at all.

  1. The Lives of the Monastery Builders [This brown book was published in 1988] 
  2. The Lives of the Monastery Builders of Soumela [This green book was published in 1991] 
  3. The Lives of the Monastery Builders of Meteora [This blue book was published in 1991] 
  4. The Lives of the Monastery Builders of The Great Cave (Mega Spelaion) [This purple book was published in 1992] 
  5. The Lives of the Monastery Builders of The Holy Mountain Athos [This black book was published in 1992] 


25 June 2021

Rejoice! Book 5 of The Philokalia has Finally Been Published in the English Language!

Philokalia I, II, III, IVPhilokalia V

The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries by spiritual Elders and Saints of Orthodox Christianity First published as a compiled manuscript in Greek in 1782, The Philokalia has exercised an influence in the recent history of the Orthodox Church far greater than that of any book apart from the Bible. It is concerned with themes of universal importance: how one may develop their inner powers and awake from illusion; how they may overcome fragmentation and achieve spiritual wholeness; how they may attain the life of contemplative stillness and union with God.

For many years, Orthodox Christians have been awaiting the English translation of the 5th and final book of the Philokalia, the first 4 books having long been translated by Bp. Kallistos Ware and Mother Maria. However, the fifth book of the Philokalia has been translated and published by Anna Skoubourdis and Saint George Monastery in 2021, in both hardcover and paperback, just like the other four volumes published in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Here are the links to all five volumes that are now available: 

This is great news for English-speaking Orthodox Christians everywhere! Glory be to God! 

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