Thursday, August 27, 2009

Point Pointers

Talking Points…Point

(by R.P.Edwards)

How dare they take their little cards
And read another’s words
Spouting questions, one by one
The process is absurd!
Who cares if facts are listed!
Who cares if problems…true!
“Plagiarism” is what I say
Against the phony…YOU!

It wasn’t unusual that someone was saying--shouting rather--something. This was the public square, after all. And, since this metropolis had a “free speech” soapbox zone…the t-shirted, sandal clad youth mounted the stump, cleared his throat and (holding a rather large black bible in his uplifted right hand) began to espouse the “gospel” to the hundred or so lunchtime bystanders who milled about, enjoying a mild September’s offering. “Listen to me!” he shouted (a few turned to do so). “Three thing! Just three things to consider, and then I’m done.” (a few more paused to hear) “Number one!” he began, holding up the index finger on his left hand. “The Bible says, ‘All have sinned.’ In other words…we’re all sinners. We’re all deserving God’s judgment. Number two!” (he turned towards a congested corner to his right [some looking, though trying hard to hide the fact]). “Since we are all guilty and unable to “save” ourselves…we needed a substitute to serve our sentence. To take “our” judgment!” (some turned away, but more began to gravitate towards the ‘preacher.’) “ That perfect, sinless substitute is Jesus!” (Facing forward once again.)“And third!” he shouted, “You!…yes you! (he began sweeping the crowd with his gaze and the bible-toting arm) have to make a decision!” Suddenly, from the back bench where a professor was munching his pastrami n cheese croissant, the PHD stood up, faced the speaker, and shouted, “I’m sick and tired of talking points! That’s all you got…talking points! How about some original thought for once!” The crowd, murmuring quietly while the two orators beheld each other, quickly turned as the old sanitation worker--who was picking up a slimy bag from the lone trash receptacle--said, “Here’s another point for ya. The Bible also says!” he continued, dropping the bag to the ground and applying a tie. “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God!””

I find it amusing that some don’t like the notion of “talking points.” These little notes, often read by attendees of town hall meetings and such, are questions of contention. Sure, they may very well come from the research of others. But, (gasp!) Nearly “all” education is so attained! You research something. You tell me about it. It raises my awareness and concern…and I repeat it! Amazing. No, the problem is not when Mr. Smith quotes Mr. Jones, the real problem comes when people don’t think…when they swallow “points” without pondering. Or when they are herded somewhere to give the impression of intent…and sometimes for pay! That, dear reader, is a problem. In conclusion, don’t be wary of the points. Be wary, rather, of the “point...pointers.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ronald's PETA Problem


(by R.P.Edwards)

What’d you eata
That makes you act…so mean?
Trashin’ Ronald’s Happy Meal
Just hear the kiddies scream!
Please be sweeta
I promise that I’ll try
Before the chickens nugget nap…
I’ll sing a lullaby

The Rep from the Animal Rights Guild (ARG!) was adamant, “Captain!” she shouted from the bridge’s hatchway. “The condition in the hold is unacceptable! The pets are suffering undo stress in these high seas. I strongly recommend we allow these precious living beings be freed from their pens and be tended to right away!” The captain, a weathered mariner of nearly sixty years, appeared indifferent as he barked commands to the helmsman and, via the squawk box, the engine room. “Captain!” repeated the resolute mistress as she stepped to, and placed her bejeweled right hand on the commanding officers nearest shoulder. Turning slowly (removing binoculars from his eyes) the gray-bearded skipper looked piercingly downward into the face of the intruder. “Madam,” he said succinctly with clenched teeth. “We have forty foot swells, only one engine, (then, loudly) and if I don’t give this “unacceptable” situation my undivided attention…we’ll all--including your precious “pets”--bloody die!” Yanking his shoulder away and reaffixing the lenses, he looked to the tumultuous future and spoke coolly, and clearly, “Boatswain mate, remove this “lady” from my bridge.” “Aye, aye captain.”

I watched with interest as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has gone toe to toe with the mega-giant, McDonalds, as to their purchasing of chickens that have been slaughtered in an inhumane way. First of all; I’m pleased--since I believe one of their goals is a vegetarian society--that they make allowances for the “harvesting” to begin with. Secondly; I’ve gone to their site, checked out some of the info and, frankly, they have a point. Dealing with “live” birds opens the door for abuse and disease. Their alternative, Controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), seems more humane and--if the facts are “so”--cost effective. The whole “McCruelty, I’m hatin’ it” campaign, however, is a bit tacky. But it did get my attention.

OK, here’s the bottom line. My Biblical Christian view is this: If every chicken from creation to eternity was slaughtered in a ghastly way…all of these billions and billions added together do not equal “one” precious human baby that is regularly ripped to pieces….just down the street.

Here’s my proposition: How about PETA (supposedly 2 million strong) using their resources to end the inhumane practice of infanticide. Then, once that is done, I’ll be glad to join in their efforts to ease the pain of the chickens.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Union Thugs?

A Pug and a Thug


A pug is a pug
And a thug is a thug
And a pug on a rug
Is not a rug with a thug
Nor is a thug on a rug
A rug with a pug
But a thug can act like a pug
But no self respecting pug…
Will act like a thug

The Union meeting started as most; a little small talk, a joke or two, some family news, and the happenings at the favorite fishing hole-- “You should have seen it!” bellowed a rather rotund (and well lubricated) laborer as he held his hands apart to their widest span. And then…it began. With a dimming of the white lights (leaving only a slowly pulsing red) the swarm, without a sound, filed into their decades-worn wooden seats as the ancient off-white screen (squeaking in protest) lowered from the ceiling and the gruesome slide-show began. One, after another, after another, after another and another…picture after picture of workers being abused, maimed, beaten, and dying. Every so often--in an almost subliminal quickness--images of companies, fat-cats, uncaring politicians, flashed amongst the carnage and--punctuating each photo of the “enemy”--a low, guttural gong. And then, images of grave after grave after grave. Fifteen horrid and hypnotic minutes passed and, as quickly as it began, the display ended and…we were ready.

The red-shirted leader (the room bathed in an eerie silence) slowly emerged from the sideline (walking with a slow, nagging, debilitating limp from a work related accident) and, as he stepped behind the old and gnarled podium (bathed only in the stark light of the empty projector) he leaned forward and, with the piercing gaze of an Old Testament prophet…he slowly scanned every section…and every face. “Are we going to stand for this?!” he shouted. “NO!” was the immediate, unified, momentous response. “Are we going to stand for this?!” he screamed again (slamming the podium with both fists). “NO!” returned the unified mass, standing to their feet and many shaking their own fists at the image of a company leader (in a most arrogant pose) who suddenly appeared on the screen…mocking them. “Then let’s get outta here and show them what the American worker can do!!” With that final unction the frenzied mob rolled out of the hall like an avalanche and, all I can say is…heaven help those who would dare stand in their way. Yes, heaven help them.

Excuse me a moment as I pause to admire my work of fiction (above). Not bad. OK, here’s the deal: A few days ago some union guys roughed up a Mr. Gladney who was giving out patriotic flags which said “Don’t tread on Me!” outside a “healthcare” forum site. It seems that these “Union Goons” didn’t like that…so they “tread” on him. Well, naturally there are those who would use this incident to reinforce their image of unions and their members. The phrases, “Union thugs,” “Union Goons,” “Union Mob,” …they just roll off the tongue, don’t they? But, the simple truth is…these ruffians were an anomaly. Sure, they were, and are thugs and goons…but the union didn’t make them that way. Honestly, in my approaching two decades of union membership I have discovered that union people are just that…people. You may be surprised to know that many will not, unthinkingly, swallow the party line. We have many pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-traditional family members. And, aside from the left and right issues, most are just honorable, hardworking sorts who just want to make an decent wage and support the ones they love. Excuse me a minute…there’s somebody at the door. “Hi guys, what’s up?…Um, guys!…”

That's what I think.  How about you? Click comments below...and say.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Amazing Grace

Caution! Religious Content!


(by R.P.Edwards)

It’s hard to conceive
It’s rare to believe
Something for nothing
Just merely…receive
No earning
No striving
No works showing worth
No treasures of man
No toils of earth
There’s only acceptance
…and done
The gift of God’s grace
The vessel…His Son

I was at work, sitting in the break room and, as I leaned back against the adjacent wall I leisurely propped my right elbow on the table, lifted my forearm and, for some reason, gazed at the fingertips. I noticed (although this was a nearly subconscious act) that all the nails were as you’d expect, except for the one attached to the little finger…it had a peculiar crease. “Hmm…curious,” was my response and, since none of the others seemed thus afflicted, I began a somewhat shallow reasoning exercise. “Perhaps it’s a sign of a deeper malady (as you get older you think of such things). Or, perhaps the result of an injury (I am a laborer after all).” And, as I pondered the “point,” I then began slowly scanning upward to the first knuckle…and then I saw it…the scar.

It was approximately twenty-five years ago, and I was a student at a small Christian college in Fresno, California. While there a manager of a turkey farm (ranch?) outside of town had pity on “we” impoverished married students. Here was his proposition: come to the farm, slaughter some turkeys, take home some grub. Sounded simple…but, oh, it was not. First of all, for this suburban soul, I was not used to being around a maddening crowd of white-feathered gobblers. And then there was the slaughtering process [the faint of heart may want to turn away]. We students (there were a handful) were each given a club-sized section of two by four. We were instructed to bean the hapless bird (particular ones selected by the judge; one per customer) and then apply the blade (provided) to complete the kill. Well, let’s just say my “technique” was lacking and, when all was done, I “did” end up with some choice turkey breast, but the foul was not the only one who bled that day. A turkey talon to the midsection produced a nasty scratch (never wrestle a desperate entrĂ©e) and my knife wielding cut he…and me. Thus…the scar.

Pardon the segue: Have you ever heard of the eighteenth century fellow by the name of John Newton? If not, I guarantee you that you’ve heard a song he wrote over two centuries ago…Amazing Grace. You see, although his later years were exemplary, honorable, devout; his early manhood was anything but. Described as arrogant and vile, for a time he even made his living in the cruel slave trade. However, through a series of events his eyes slowly turned to the Savior of his mother, and yielding to Him…an overflowing heart penned the words…”that saved a wretch like me.” Yes, in the person of the cross-bearer…he found forgiveness. And the lost…became found., and the blind…began to see.

Here’s my point: I fear in my intermittent railings against the sins of the nation, I may have placed an undue burden on the reader. Without apology I confess my belief that God’s blessing determines our nations future and, since nations do not have “souls”…their judgment is now. However, please allow me to remind, that it is not so for the individual. Like John Newton, and millions of others (myself included) there is a release of guilt, condemnation, torment…when our sinful lives are placed at the feet of Jesus. Whatever dreadful deeds we may have done (indeed, the scripture says “all” have sinned) God’s “Amazing Grace” is sufficient for complete absolution. Leaving, if I may, only a simple scar...devoid of the pain, and the horrible anguish of the moment and its consequences, it serves merely as a marker, a simple reminder of what was…and is no longer. Yes, God’s loving grace is amazing and, dear one, if you haven’t already, He’s there beside you…awaiting your call.

Thank you for your indulgence.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

North Korean Chess

North Korean Chess

(by R.P.Edwards)

Laura Ling
And Euna Lee
In our diplomacy
That being said
It’s fine by me
That Clinton went
And now they’re free

I’ve never been a big fan of former President Bill Clinton. Yeah, it has do with his stand on abortion and such. But, there’s something to be said for winning elections. I guess my frustration is really with a majority that favors these kinds of candidates. Which means, hearts and minds must be persuaded before other choices can be expected.

Anyway, as we were watching the moving arrival of the former prisoners I remarked to my wife, “If I was facing the possibility of twelve years hard labor, I’d be glad to see Bill Clinton there on my behalf.” It all comes down, I suppose, to the common denominator of being an American. We may not be perfect, and I certainly plan on opposing that which I deem immoral, but there’s still a nobility to the name. A hope. A dream. A possibility. And…being an ambassador in this capacity is a fine job for a retired prez. I only hope the current president can be used in this fashion….four years from now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cash for Clunkers?

Cash for Clunkers?

(by R.P.Edwards)

They call you a clunker
A beater
A heap
They wish your demise
O, see a man weep!
For you’re much more than scrap
You’re memories and miles
You’re journeys and jaunts
You’re laughter and smiles
No! You’re not a clunker!
You’re a classic! A jewel!
If I turned down the money
I’d be a…fool

The weary jurist motioned for the two battling barristers to approach the bench. “Listen, gentleman,” he whispered as the three hair styles (perfect, plateau, and pointed) merged above the edge of the lofty desk. “I can’t believe this case has progressed this far.” “Hear, hear!” chimed in the defense until the piercing gaze and pointing gavel of the judge silenced the solicitor. “Your honor,” purred the plaintiffs advocate, “my clients have been grievously wronged. Their friends, their families, their intimate acquaintances…have been egregiously slandered…by no less than the government!” The gavel turned quickly and just as quickly quieted the gush. “Counselor,” resumed the judge (leaning on his left hand while slowly twirling the gavel in his right). “There will be no monetary compensation. Other than that, what will satisfy your clients complaint?” Armed with the question, the attorney turned and, after a brief consultation with the representative from CAF (Cars Are Family) he returned and said, “Simply a name change, your honor, that’s it.” “And what might that be…hmm?” The advocate cleared his throat, adjusted his collar, and said, “Instead of ‘Cash for Clunkers,’ the plaintiffs would like, ’Cash for Classics.’” “Cash for Classics?” repeated the judge with eyebrows slightly raised. “Yes, your honor.” The jurist leaned back, looked up at the portrait of John Jay in the corner and, with a resounding clack of the gavel, nearly shouted, “So ordered!”

Concerning the program that encourages folks to trade in their old heaps for a substantial discount…I’m indifferent, leaning towards OK. I know, some say the loss of parts will hurt those who keep the older vehicles (I believer there will still be plenty of “classics” about). Some say “we” the people are paying for it (Duh, every government dollar comes from the collective “us”). On the other hand it should help the auto industry (that’s good). Which, in turn, should help the Steel business (personal interest). That’s good. And it might even clean the air a bit, and reduce dependence on oil. All good. But I have a suggestion. Instead of me taking my ancient van to the dealership, just give me “half” the discount in cash, and you can have the ol’ girl. She stops spewing, and I’ve got some spendable dough to help the economy. Win…win.