Thursday, December 30, 2010

Of Snobs

(by R.P.Edwards)

Snobs to the left
Snobs to the right
Intellectual giants
In each others…sight
But I’d trade them all in
For the lowly and meek
Who tremble, while waiting
For their Father
To speak

       "But to this one I will look,
         To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word”
(Isaiah 66:2)

“Need to take a loan out.” It was a conversation starter.  A throwaway line while filling our mules…with fuel.  Once again I had crossed the river for the twenty cent discount and, on the other side of the Quick Trip Island was an elderly gent--and, since I’m in my 50’s, “elderly” means…elderly--who, wearing his jean overalls and flannel shirt, also sported a well-worn military chapeau; a black ball cap with the insignia “DD-something.”  Well, being a navy graduate (as in former-enlisted) I knew this meant “Destroyer” and, with another piece of commonality, I mentioned the hat, and my time in the service.  Then he said it, “I was in World War II.”

That little phrase opened the floodgate.  “One of the Greatest Generation,” says I. 

“Just doing my job,” says he.

I guessed his age.  “85?”


I then told him about my “Pop” (just turned 90) who was a ninety-day wonder (pulled from college, rushed through officer training, put in the fleet.  Apparently the Annapolis folk didn’t care for them).  Anyway, this fellow then related how the only trouble he ever got in had to do with one of “those.”

“I was in Hawaii,” he said. “A ninety day wonder came by, stopped, and said, “Don’t you salute officers?” I replied, “I do…when I see one.””  He then added, “It was the wrong thing to say.”

Before we parted I crossed the barrier and asked to shake his hand.  Said I wanted to touch…history.  Handshake done, I went back to the guzzler and remarked…again… “Thank you for your service.”  He said, again… “We were just doing…our job.”

You know, I’m not stupid (well, maybe in some ways), I realize that the passing generation--the one the Lord used to save the world--I realize that they were flesh.  Imperfect.  Subject to sin like the rest of us.  But, without question, that generation was raised…to fear God.  To respect Life.  To hold to moral tradition and purity.  To recognize evil.  To DEAL with evil. And, although some of these may have strayed from the moorings over the years, I dare say, if we could ask the millions--at the direst time of the conflict--when churches were bursting with petitioners, when gold stars popped up in windows like dandelions on a summers lawn, when school children read scripture and prayed prayers, when congressmen wept because their sons lay dead in a foreign grave; if we could ask them their opinion of what we’ve done with the freedom they paid for with blood and innocence; if we could ask them what they think of our twisting of truth, and the murder of youth; I dare say they’d reconsider their sacrifice.  Or, at the very least, they’d take each of us by the hand --away from our I-phones and “I” lives--to spend a day before their memorials.  To spend a day to perhaps consider our standing; a standing that is grounded in and on those who were “just doing their jobs.”

You know, I began this offering with a scripture.  It tells of those who get the Lord‘s attention.  Of those “He” listens to, helps, even…honors.  And today, with so many who have positions of power, prominence, or simply…the microphone; well…I just don’t see it.  Again, those who often tell us what is right and wrong; moral and immoral; these, every one, every…single…one, they did not bring us here.  It was not their sacrifice that paid the price.  It was not their useless degrees or hollow accomplishments that moved the hand of God to help a nation.  And, if we want His aid again--and oh, how we need it--then we simply must return to a time, and an attitude of heart, which will cause Him to look, and have …compassion.  But…what will it take to bring us to that place?  In the past a horrible World War caused the already God-fearing to quickly go to their knees.  But, what will it take for we…their snobbish offspring to humble ourselves?  I honestly don’t know; but I think, whatever it is…it is coming.  Yes, I believe it is coming…and perhaps…it is almost here.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Dirty Snowman

The Dirty Snowman
(by R.P.Edwards)

The dirty snowman
Tells a tale
Of season
And of place
But most of all
It speaks of joy
The child’s

Frank, the night janitor peered over his nose-specs at the photo on the Pending Board (as in, not solved yet) and, after taking a sip from the Hot-Drink machine’s fifty-cent decaf, he muttered to himself (well, not really, he knew the squad was listening), “Middle America, around latitude 38, maybe St Louis or thereabouts.”  Another sip, a nod, and then he began to shuffle towards the janitorial cubby.

“W-w-wait a minute, Frank.” It was Harv, the new junior detective assigned to this “person of interest” case.  “How can you tell all that from this snowman picture?”

The stoop-shouldered custodian slowly turned, sipped and, as the half-dozen in this brain-bank listened intently and knowingly (after all, one of “these” had placed the photo in the “see me” place) he stopped just short and, using a black Bic as a pointer, he began his mini-lecture.  “It’s a dirty snowman, obviously.  So… since, in the northern climes there is a packing of the white stuff; most “snow-persons” are white, without blemish, except for the additions of the essential modifiers of carrots and coal.  Unless, of course, it’s early in the season.  However, if you look just here (pointing to the barely edge of the figure) you’ll see the slightest colored reflection, meaning…(a pause for an answer.  None offered) meaning…Christmas lights.  No doubt a close neighbor had lights and, since only the most enthusiastic Christmas lover would decorate pre-Thanksgiving, this means a mid-America clime because--as I said before--the snowman is…dirty.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll buy that,” said Harv, coming closer to see “the reflection.” “But how do you come up with the St Louis area?”

“Look here.” the pen-point nearly touches a couple of the “dirt” spots.  “These are leaves.  One is obviously Quercus microcarpa, and the other…Acer saccharinum L.”  The puzzled look on the detective’s face begged for a little more light.  “The Bur Oak and the Silver Maple.” And, pointing to the eyes, which were “not” made of coal, he added, “Liquidambar styraciflua L., or Sweet Gum,” a colorful tree in the fall, but a downside is that it produces these nasty little balls.  A southern resident, it doesn’t tend very far north, but I happen to know it spikes…near St Louis.  If I were you, detective (a turning and sipping) I’d inform the mid-west bureau that your man…is very, very near.”

The east coast is slammed with a lot of snow, but here, in the Midwest (at least my lo-cal) only a few friendly inches.  Enough to make (you guessed it) a dirty snow-man.  The weather folk say all our white stuff will disappear in a day or so.  That’s the way I like it.  Just enough to look pretty (see last entry), build a snowman (dirty or no), throw a snowball, and then…go.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Not quite ready

Not quite…there
(by R.P.Edwards)

Not quite ready
Not quite…there
So keep the stockings hung…with care
Keep the tree up
Shining bright
Keep on singing
Silent Night
Whatever reason
Kinda slow
Just warming now
To mistletoe
So, please
One week more
Of Christmas fare
I’m not quite ready
Not quite…there

Years ago it got me a ticket.  It was evening and I was on an unfamiliar street--long and straight and dotted merrily with stoplight after stoplight.  I was on the job; driving the company van, somewhere, to do…something.  Anyway, here’s this long road and I dutifully focused on a coming light.  Problem was, it was the light “after” the nearest.  As a result I blew right through an intersection.  By God’s grace there was no traffic, but there was…a cop; of the State variety.

Well, today, on the way home from “the job” I did the same thing.  No, not the intersection “ticket” thing, but the “look down the road” thing.  And, as we had been blessed with a Christmas-eve snow (a few unassertive inches) and, as traffic was nearly nonexistent, I happened to fix my gaze just a little bit higher, and a little bit…further.  And I saw them.  Just above the common path--the always traveled from here to there roadway--there were stars; stars and angels and stars and angels, one after the other--each softened and framed with heavens glitter--for blocks and blocks and blocks.  You see, in this Midwestern town we still have some holiday decorations--the street light variety--that have not yet been sacrificed to the PCers who swarm on the edges.  Yes, an unrepentant  recognition of the season, and the season’s…reason.

It’s Christmas Day, and I’m not quite ready for it to end.  Not quite ready to give up on the feeling and the finding.  Not quite ready to shift into the non-essential…essentials.  Yes, for whatever reason--be it work or worry--I’ve been a bit slow to the warming that is the finer part of this time.  And, even though we’ve been bombarded with fashions of the message for nearly two months, I’ve been slow to turn; slow to listen. 

And so, with presents presented, and good wishes to all, I shall endeavor to hold on…just a bit longer.  Yes, just as this working-man’s town holds on--in spite of the railings of the unfeeling or forgetful--to the symbols of substance, I, too, shall seek to extend the season beyond its normal confines.  One more week should do it.  One more week with the tree still lit.  One more week with the parables still playing and the carols…calling.  And then; perhaps then I can freely let the year give way to the new.  But, if I am wise, if I am…very wise, I shall not fully…let go.  I shall, as a converted Ebenezer spoke to the final phantom, I shall… “honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Believers

(by R.P.Edwards)

I believe, in believing
The holding to unseen…more
A foundation beyond the feeling
A certain, distant…shore
But “believing,” itself, is not virtue
Unless the object, is true…and right
For believing, askew, brings darkness
A cold…and bitter…night

“This is done,” the words spoken by the Commander in Chief as he finished signing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Yeah, I watched the news conference and, I must say, I found it somewhat …inspiring.  Yes, with the well-crafted rhetoric and home-style spice, I actually found myself wanting to believe the premise that “gayness” is in exactly the same category as race, and creed.  That discrimination against those so oriented--in the military setting (even though involving youthful sex drives)--is just as wrong as singling out a black, a white, a Baptist…or Jew.  Yes, I found myself wanting to join “the cause,” the march, the movement that claims a seat at the civil rights table.  However, what hinders me from jumping on “the wagon” is…my belief in God.  And, what puzzles me, is how our “religious” leaders are so quick to discount what has always…been true.  Consider Joe Lieberman; as an orthodox Jew he honored  his God by walking to the Senate (it being the Sabbath and driving is…out), but then he went right on to add his amen to a lifestyle that the Torah condemns.  And then there’s Joe Biden; one who’s known for taking the religious step of having the Lenten ashes applied to his forehead at the appropriate time (being a good Catholic), but he too has no apparent problem with saying, “God, on this one…your wrong.”  And, of course, Barack Obama also seems to have a Bible with pages missing.  Yes, believers all.  I’m just not sure how their “belief”…is divided. And so, with the full force of their “convictions” (whatever their true source), the law is repealed, and the president adds,  “this law I’m about to sign will strengthen our national security.”  Time…will surely…tell.

As an aside:  You know, watching the President do his thing; I really think he is…sincere.  For sure, I think he’s terribly wrong; and that his unhindered leadership will tear us down, perhaps even destroy us. But, in spite of all this…I like him.  For (and call me foolish) I believe his direction is heart led.  And, I believe if he finds his foundations…faulty; I believe he will turn his affections…elsewhere.  And “elsewhere,” these days, means back…to the proven path.


Monday, December 20, 2010

"Son, don't enlist"

When America rose to Greatness
(by R.P.Edwards)

When America rose to greatness
The churches all…were full
God was in the courtroom
And God was in the school
Right and wrong had boundaries
Good and evil…had a place
And words had simple meanings
Such as Honor…and Disgrace
But today, we wayward children
The inheritance…we splurge
We dismiss our parents warnings
As we yield to every urge
And we speak of revelation
And the truths…they couldn’t see
But when “their” money runs out
Oh, how wretched…we will be

Some recent quotes of note:

"We have an opportunity not just to right a wrong, not just to honor the service of a group of American patriots who happen to be gay and lesbian, not just to make our military more effective, but to advance the values that the founders of our country articulated,"
Senator Joe Lieberman

“I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.” President Barack Obama

“I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage. And we could possibly, and probably, harm the battle effectiveness which is so vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military.” Senator John McCain

Perhaps it’s because I’m working the midnight shift, but I’ll be blunt…and brief.  To begin; I know that America…has changed.  I know that practices, and lifestyles, and deeds, and doings that would, at one time, be shunned, criticized, abhorred…are now, often, accepted.  And, with this acceptance, there is a tendency to ascribe “rightness” to the act; to say that we have “evolved” or “matured” to a place where what was once considered error is now, appropriately and openly, proclaimed as…truth.  And, since many of our old “delusions” had a foundation in our religious “faith,” this too, of necessity, has evolved, matured, …changed.

Well, the lame-duck congress has passed the repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”  The policy, enacted in the Clinton years, which allowed “gays” to serve in the military…as long as they weren’t open about their chosen lifestyle.  Believing that open homosexuality would effect the cohesive nature of our defenders, this seemed a reasonable compromise for our pluralistic society.  Some say it worked well and should have remained.  Others; especially among the left, thought it didn’t go far enough.  Thus, with the urgency of the soon to be ousted, it has been repealed and, with the President’s promised signature, it will soon become the law of the land.

Now, to the “I’m working midnights” frankness.  Without apology, I am a Christian; the kind that believes there is a God who is well able to preserve His “will” in written form.  And, as a believer so armed, it is my firm understanding that it has been God’s hand that has granted this nation…favor.  It is He who has lifted us up, empowered us, given us strength and position.  And, since no amount of “military readiness” can avail when God turns His back on a forgetful people, I believe the unnecessary action of molding our military into the image of the new-definers is just another step in a most dangerous direction.  And, since the Biblical admonition--“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”--has been soundly rejected, my advice to my young men is simply this…don’t enlist. Don’t go into the military.  For, although, in the past, the armed forces have been a source of structure, and necessary honing for young minds and bodies, they are now becoming yet another tool of transformation from those who would, inadvertently, destroy the old foundations, and replace them with the “new.” 

Oh, to be sure, I will continue to have the highest regard for those who are serving.  And, if there is a draft implemented, or an imminent and dire threat to national security, or a “calling” of God to go in (for I certainly believe in such things), well, that’s a different matter.  But, to me, our national leaders--although speaking in the highest moral tones--by their actions they display a glaring ignorance of our divine benefactor.  And, as such, they boldly invite…His rebuke.

One final, tedious, thought:  I know there are many who are vehemently opposed to this expressed opinion.  And, I’m sure that bloggers, especially, will have no problem in loosing their vitriolic best; but, to these, and indeed to all of “this” generation, a simple reminder:  None; absolutely none of our wealth and position; our freedom and  independence comes…from us.  Oh, we may move and juggle the coins, the playing pieces, but the riches; the true riches of these United States… are inherited; an inheritance earned by generations past.  Generations who, although imperfect, understood what “under God” meant.  And, although we may malign and mock them, soon the store (which “they” stocked) will be depleted, and then, my fellow citizens, we--the enlightened ones--will be required to back up…our boasting.  Let’s see if we, alone, can sustain...our cause.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Christmas reminder

Something Comes
(by R.P.Edwards)

Something stalking
Darkness, dieing, all succumb
Young and vibrant
Old and frail
All are destined
For…the veil
Hiding in the shadows, there!
Unimpressed by who, and where
None deterred by station, stead
Something comes
And someone's …dead
Oh, dear one
Perceive the ends! 
And seek the Life
That Living...lends
And bow before the “something’s” foe
Who died, and rose, and conquered…woe

Richard Holbrooke, diplomat, ambassador, author, editor, professor, husband, father, dead…at 69.  Stricken suddenly while in the service of his country. 

Just a pause to put a somber and necessary face on the Christmas season.  You see, a Savior needed to be born because the human race…needed (and needs)…saving.  Our universal and damnable offense is treason, and the penalty for the heinous crime is eternal separation from a loving God.  The judgment had to be rendered (for God is nothing, if not just) but, because He is Love, the Almighty provided a substitute to pay the penalty; to receive…the wrath.  And, since the debt was paid in full, those who are willing can find forgiveness at the foot of the blood-stained cross.

Yes, Christmas is about the birth of the Savior.  And, with all due sympathy for the Holbrooke family, this man's untimely end reminds us all…that our “individual” untimely end…is coming.  Let us remember, therefore--all who still walk this mortal plane--that the gift in the manger came…for the cross.  And,  “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)


Monday, December 13, 2010

1501 is done

Judge Henry Hudson
(by R.P.Edwards)

My, oh my
Oh, can it be
A federal judge
Agrees…with me?
To put a stop
To federal lust
To stay the beast
That kills…our trust?
But wait…he’s one
We must have more
For those who wolf
Will battle…sure
But today, at least
We pause, to praise
And hope to win
In coming…days

The mighty Achilles; fallen by a well placed arrow…to the heel.  Today a federal Judge by the name of Henry Hudson may have struck the death blow to the Monstrosity known as the Healthcare Bill.  Or, if not a death blow, at least a slowing wound to greatly hinder…the unwieldy and threatening giant.

No, I didn’t read the whole ruling.  But I did go to it directly to glean some morsels.

From Pg 1.
In the case, the Commonwealth of Virginia (the “Commonwealth”) through its Attorney General, challenges the constitutionality of the pivotal enforcement mechanism of the health care scheme adopted by Congress in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “the Act”),… At issue is section 1501 of the Act, commonly known as the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision (“the Provision”). The Minimum Essential Coverage Provision requires that every United States citizen, other than those falling within specified exceptions, maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage for each month beginning in 2014.  Failure to comply will result in a penalty included with the taxpayer’s annual return.  As enacted, Section 1501, is administered and enforced as a part of the Internal Revenue Code.

From Pg 38, 39
On careful review, this Court must conclude that Section 1501of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act--specifically the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision--exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power…the Court’s next task is to determine whether this section is severable from the balance of the enactment.  Predictably, the Secretary counsels severability, and the Commonwealth urges wholesale invalidation. The Commonwealth’s position flows in part from the Secretary’s frequent contention that section 1501 is the linchpin for the entire health care regimen underlying the ACA. However, the bill embraces far more than healthcare reform. It is laden with provisions and riders patently extraneous to health care--over 400…  The final element of the analysis is difficult to apply in this case given the haste with which the final version of the 2,700 page bill was rushed to the floor for a Christmas Eve vote.

Some thoughts:  I like the use of the word “scheme” in the first paragraph.  I suppose it’s an innocuous oft used add-on, but to us non-legal folks, it carries a special meaning.  Next, after gently declaring that this compulsory--pick your pocket--provision is…unconstitutional, the good judge alludes to the fact that there is SO MUCH MORE in the bill than just health care (400 plus additional items), and, as an added delight, the mention of the rush to judgment; as in a Christmas Eve vote on a 2,700 pg bill that could not have been read and digested by the "votees".  Well done, Judge Hudson.  Even if you are eventually “overruled,” (because, c’mon, the scales of justice are too often tipped), at least, on this day, you have…our thanks.

(by R.P.Edwards)

Fifteen O one
Fifteen O one
Because of thee
The death knell…rung
A peal of hope
The monster’s scream
A chorus rises
The people’s…dream
And when the giant
Fills the earth
Perhaps a better
Comes to birth
But now
The course, begun
It starts with thee
Fifteen…O one

Here’s a link to the ruling.   The Ruling


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is it Doe, or DOH!

Oh Deer
(by R.P.Edwards)

Deer are dear
This fact…is clear
We love each graceful beast
But when they pack
To fight the lack
On venison…we feast!

Valley Forge; once the wintering place of General George Washington’s troops; a place of battle--not of bullet or bomb or bayonet--but of the patriot’s will. Today, however, Valley Forge is under siege.  No, not by the British or their Hessian hirelings, but by Bambi and his ilk. Problem is, there are just too many darn deer for the five square mile park.  And, these graceful groupings, since there are no natural predators about, are breeding with abandon, and eating with equal gusto.  As a result, the ecosystem has become unbalanced.  In other words, sure, the deer are thriving, but other little beasties (rabbits, ground-nesting birds) are losing their homes.  Thumper would not be pleased.

So, the solution…culling. Get some sharpshooters to bring the number of deer down to a manageable number.  In other words, kill a bunch.  And, to “waste not,” the venison from the fallen is given to the poor.

However, as reasonable as this solution sounds, there are some who cannot bear the thought of one of natures graceful ambassadors dieing so.  Some even suggest introducing some predators back into the mix.  Huh? Tooth and claw, bite and gnaw, versus…a quick snuffing by a well aimed round? As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”

So, again, let thoughtful reason prevail. The deer population, there, and elsewhere, must be managed.  And, a little bit of research will reveal that “hunters” contribute much to the maintaining of a healthy balance (not to  mention the fees they pay for the privilege).  So, shoot away, brothers.  And, when the deer sausage is due, remember your couch-bound cousins who support and salute your manly endeavors.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor remembrance. Really?

Why Bother?
(by R.P.Edwards)

We say the words
We bow the head
Give mind and homage
To honored…dead
But distant deeds
Reveal the way
A speaking that our words…won’t say
The truth?…despised
Our parents worth
Yes, those who bled
And saved…the earth
But today we’ll speak
And feign our due
But actions prove
It isn’t…true

Sixty-nine years ago, today, the planes came, the bombs dropped, the torpedoes sped, the bullets ripped, the ships blew up, and over twenty-four hundred “defenders”…died.  It is on this day we remember, and honor.  But I contend, alas, that we really only do…the former.

Maybe it’s the--of necessity--overtime I’ve been working (yes, I’m thankful to have a job), or the plethora of weights that responsible men must bear, but, with my observation of society as it is, and the direction our “handlers” want it to go, and also a cursory knowledge of who “we were”…back then, well, as up-beat, and thoughtful, and inspirational, and patriotic, as I should be on this “memorial” day, I find myself in a bit of a funk, and my words will reflect it.  I ask you to treat me as the sometimes melancholy uncle who comes to the celebration.  “He’s kind of a downer.  But he’s family.”

You see, from a variety of sources (including my parents) I know that after the bombs fell and the thousands died in the Hawaiian sun and, during the four subsequent years as another four hundred and fifty thousand Americans died; I know that public school teachers led those in their charge in prayer and perhaps an inspirational scripture reading to under-gird the tender that would have to grow up…before their time.  Many, who, as the war years lingered, would also don the uniform, and then go stain a foreign field…with liberties young blood. 

And, as many in high places, even this day, clamor that the modern military accept and honor behavior that most of the near half million fallen would have found abhorrent; and, as, this day, the God to whom those heroes prayed, and relied upon, and anchored their rightness in; as He is forbidden from taking His rightful, foundational place in the education of the young.  And, as, this day, thousands of unborn Americans are ripped to shreds in a “free” society that owes its very existence to the generation that couldn’t imagine such bestiality (until they visited the Nazi extermination camps).  This day, this writer finds our celebrations and remembrances of the saviors, at the very least…disingenuous. 

So, in somber conclusion: if we want to remember them, to honor them, to recognize who they were, and what they did…then, let’s strive to be more like them. 


Here’s a link to the video, “The Stone.”  A song and photo montage which honors “The Greatest Generation.” The Stone

Also, I’ve been a bit occupied of late with another work.  This one is for those of the Christian faith who find themselves…in the test.  It’s titled, “To go Higher.”  To Go Higher


Friday, December 3, 2010

Band of...lovers?

Fire them
(by R.P.Edwards)

Ham and Mullen…hit the road
Johnson, Gates…the door
Go and take your turgid views
And trouble us…no more
And in your place…reality
Born of noble threads
Those who fathom founders faith
And reverence…honored dead

You’d think, with all the research done concerning the how and why’s of the Titanic disaster, that the “survey” would have come to light sooner.  But, due to its “embarrassment potential,” the White Star Line had all copies of the questionnaire destroyed…save one.  It, incredibly, was found in the ramshackle remains of the once great company; hidden in an underground vault.  Here’s a sample of some of the questions:  1. Do you think you will be safe on the Mighty Titanic no matter what nature can throw at you?
2. Do you think the thick steel of the mighty ship’s hull is stronger than frozen water?  3. Do you think you can have a safe voyage knowing there is floating ice en route?  4. Do you think the “unsinkable” Titanic can survive an encounter with an iceberg?

The survey results revealed that seventy percent of the passengers thought the mighty liner, and icebergs, could peacefully coexist.  It seems that opinion surveys, based on conjecture, are of little, or no…use.

Alright, just read of how the head of the joint chiefs of staff (admiral Mullen) says that if the door is opened for homosexuals to--in your face--participate in the armed forces; well, those who don’t like it…can get another job.

And, what is the basis for the good admiral’s confidence?  Why, the survey, of course.  Silly me, I thought the military was doing “research,” (as in, the effects of the homosexual lifestyle) but no, they were seeking “opinions.”  And, as the farcical first paragraph illustrates, opinions…carry little weight.  

Two things.  One: I am convinced that, since most of my parents generation--the one the Lord used to save the world (remember that?)--have passed on; I am convinced that with “the greatest generation” so, too, the source of our “greatness”…goes.  You see, as imperfect as they may have been (for they were, after all, made of flesh) theirs was a mindset that reserved a prominent place for God, and morality.   And, sadly,  we, their offspring, have filled the place of the spoiled heirs who gladly squander our parents inheritance and then dare to believe and act as if the substance of “they” belongs to “we,” as well.  It does not.  And, if Admiral Mullen and General Ham are content that an opinion poll is adequate justification for acquiescing to the ungodly oozings of academia to throw out our longstanding moral foundations in order to create another “legitimate” minority class, and then forcing it’s behavior down our military’s throat (some of whom are strongly opposed) then, let our subsequent decline be evidence of their folly.  Unfortunately, that “decline” puts our nation at risk.

Secondly: I bristle at the attitude displayed by the good admiral.  And, as so many who had prominent positions of power have, in the last election, been given their walking papers (not enough, in my opinion), I would like the “Joint chiefs” to be soon reminded that they are subservient to...the “people.”


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lonely Rice-a-Roni

Look to San Francisco!
(by R.P.Edwards)

“Look to San Francisco!”
A phrase I’ll never use
For clarity on choices
The moral path…to choose
But perhaps it could be handy
A warning for a way
“Just look to San Francisco
You’ll end up…like them…someday”

Buckets and bags…of Happy Meal toys.  Yes, those little plastic lures, dangled before the young codfish gathered around the tube.  “Come and get ‘em!” And, they do, pushing mom and dad through the cattle gate up to the golden arches in order to get that toy…and, er…some food, too.  And, since our brood is so spread out (18 years between oldest and youngest) we’ve made many a trip to see Ronald.  And, since my ten-year-old has not yet bowed to the pressure to “man-up,” even this week I heard him make a request for…a happy meal.  And, oh yes, not a one of my six…is obese.

As many know by now, The Board of Supervisors in San Francisco overrode Mayor Gavin’s (no ambassador of conservatism) veto that would have stopped the ordinance crafted by said body to greatly discouraged McDonald's from tempting the tots with toys, only to feed them high-fat fodder.  The Mayor expressed misgivings at the government’s usurping the parents role of watching out for their kids health.  The Board…knows better.

Okay, the duplicity, the hypocrisy, the incongruity…is obvious.  San Francisco, the bastion of debauchery,  dares to lecture the rest of the country on what is right; and what is wrong; even going so far as to use the people’s power to twist arms in order to keep little Brian and Beth from eating a cheeseburger and fries.  How about this, San Fran, close your bath houses and abortion clinics and drug dens.  Then, and only then, will we give partial ear to your rantings against Ronald.  For, though we agree that the continuous ingestion of fatty foods…is detrimental; so, too, the absorption of San Francisco “morality” is detrimental…in the extreme. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Babblers unite!

The Babblers
(by R.P.Edwards)

Those with mental issues
Talking…to the air
Holding conversations
With people…who aren’t there
We used to see them coming
These troubled
And alone
But now they’re hard to pick out
For the babblers on...the phone

The producer leaned back in his posh Mayline Ultimo and, with the fingers of his right hand slowly drumming the mahogany desk (index to pinkie, and then pinkie to index), he (head slightly tilted to the side), paused a moment (looking at the twenty something intern who normally was seen scooting about with files, or sandwiches, but was allowed--as a courtesy before departure--a brief conference with the “captain”) and asked the question.

“Okay, Zak, what you got?”


“Settle down, Zak. (a slight pause as the young man nodded and gathered himself) Now tell me, how long have you been here?”

“Six months…s..sir.”

[to intercom] “Alice, bring Zack one of those French vanilla things that you like." "Alright, son, now, take a deep breath…and let it fly.”

“Mr. Realismo, reality shows are big.  But, as we both know, they’re not really…reality.” [Alice floats in and hands the student a frothing Styrofoam cup and places a steaming monikered mug of Black on the desk] The twenty-year old sips, and continues.  “I mean--and I know you know this--that the element of the camera, and the lighting, and the production team, well…well, they have to influence, even if it’s subconsciously…the participants.”

“So,” the other stops his drumming and picks up the mug, placing it on his slightly protruding middle, “so what do you suggest?  Something like that Jim Carrey movie, “The Truman Show,” where the whole world is wired?”

“Well, yes…and no.  I mean…here’s what I mean.  Say, for example we shake things up, just a little.  Take for instance…our technology dependency (the young man had been noticing the intermittent bleeping of the boss's cell-phone [signifying text messages]), we could, we could, say, find someone who is so addicted to, say, their smart phone, and then, carefully, stealthily, cause it to…fail.  (He leans forward) And it will fail when they're in a position that they can’t get a quick fix.  In other words; they'll have to get by without it! Well…I think…I think it could be interesting…even funny.  And, since there’s no visible production…well…that would be real ‘reality.’”

The producer takes a sip, places his cup next to the picture of his teenage daughter, Lisa, and, turning it for Zak to see, he then pulls up his phone and shows the lad that his needy child has already sent him, this a.m., ten text messages.  “Zak,” he says, taking another sip, "it’s been done a million times.  The most famous being the old show, “Candid Camera.” But…I like it.  And, I think I know who we can use for our first show.  Now…give me your ideas.”

Yes, the cell phone.  The other day as I traveled my "nearly personal" way home [traveling by car is impersonal.  Walking, is personal (i.e. most likely for personal interaction) and biking is…nearly personal.]  Anyway, I was cruising along and there was this fellow; rather unkempt, shabbily dressed, a wild expression on his face and…and…he was audibly talking…to someone...who wasn't visibly present.  I deduced, “Not all there.”  Be it drugs, or perhaps a mental condition, or a combination, he was somewhere...outside the norm.

Now, the next day or so--again in the near-personal mode--I saw another fellow; not as unkempt, not wild eyed, but also talking…to someone.  I pondered for a moment and came to the conclusion…one of those blasted phone-in-the-ear things.  This guy was most likely talking on the go and couldn’t be bothered with a hand-held phone.  But...I could have been totally both cases.

So there we are.  Our difficult lives; where we must make snap judgments on the fly; has just become…more complicated.  And, added to the mix, "I" sometimes like to pray…out loud.  So the casual observer--in the personal or near-personal mode-- may, upon seeing me, ask, “Mental imbalance?  One of those blasted ear-phones? Or maybe a religious…nut?  Heaven help us.”


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roadside Memorial

Roadside Memorial
(by R.P.Edwards)

Teddy bears and flowers
And candles by the way
A placard filled with sentiment
The things that loved ones…say
How sad it took a tragedy
Before the words were said
For measures, dear
That comfort, here 
Bring nothing to…the dead

It was a peculiar sight.  An out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye…sight. You see, nearly a week back, in my usual two-wheeled traverse towards home I thought, as I pedaled quickly towards leisure, that I caught a glimpse of, just across the street, one of those road-side memorials.  You know, the kind we all see from time to time.  A certain “spot” decorated with flowers, and often…a cross.  Always signifying a tragic accident in which someone…died. “Peculiar,” I thought, since this “memorial” --if that’s what it was-- was next to a building and, certainly, since “I travel this road all the time” if there were an accident of consequence…I’d know about it.  “Perhaps it’s just the leavings of the homeless, or an unusual gathering of refuse…awaiting the “truck.”” And on I went. 

The newspaper gave the account.  A young man of only twenty lost control of his car and hit, literally, a brick wall.  And, such was the sturdy construct (brick “and” block), that, although the vehicle was able to break through the barrier; such was the force that the near-teen…died.

And so, having learned, I made my way to the “memorial.” I paused to read some of the inscriptions and take in the sight of gentle things.  I observed, if you will, the desperate reachings of loved ones to somehow convey, if they possible could, affection or care, or simple friendship, to the deceased.  And, as the Holidays approach I am mindful of the adage that pleads… “Give me flowers while I’m still living.” Yes, that’s when they should come.  When arms and hands are warm and able to receive…and then…give back.

The “memorial” lasted perhaps six days.  Carefully tended.  After that…gone.  But I know, out of sight, there are many, because of the loss, who are suffering.  A prayer for your comfort.  And a reminder…to us all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Veterans Day
(by R.P.Edwards)

Oh how we love celebrity
The gifted
The degreed
But these have space
To flaunt their face
‘cause others chose…
To bleed

Veterans Day.  Originally Armistice Day, a show of gratitude to those who fought in World War I; now expanded to all vets.

I’ve noticed that this particular holiday doesn’t merit the same recognition as others.  Many institutions stay open and purr along as if it was just another November work day.  Indeed, my son’s university says…“wha?“ and my job wouldn’t think of “Holiday Pay,“ for this remembrance.  And, at first I thought it might be a “peace time” diss from a sometimes fickle public.  Then I thought some might consider it redundant.  After all, we do have Memorial Day.  But today, yes, this very day, I learned the real reason.  You see…it doesn’t fall on a Monday!  Ah…it’s so simple!  For some reason it must always fall on November 11.  Thus…no long weekend.

Mystery solved. 

So, do me a favor, will you?  What say you and I pause a moment from fawning over movie and TV stars; divert our eyes from political celebs; pull ourselves away from the electronic toys that consume our free time; and say a prayer for our service men and women.  And, along with the present, let's offer a bit of thanks for all those who have gone before.  For, without question, those who are so very high--their faces reflecting the sun--these stand upon the backs of the multitude; the many selfless veterans (living and dead) who do, and have done, their job; without fanfare, without applause; and often...without thanks.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Missionaries needed

(by R.P.Edwards)

I puzzle at the pondering
While on the judgment seat
The murderer, most heinous
Awaits the jury’s…mete
For tearfully and trembling
They debate his final breath
The justice due
For someone who
Put innocence…to death

I was searching for a Christmas station.  The old Buick needed a fill-up so I cruised across the state line and put the radio on “scan.”  You see, a year or so ago a couple local radio stations went Christmas…mad.  Immediately after Halloween they started playing nonstop holiday tunes.  And…I liked it.  Well, apparently I was one of few for now…they are waiting.  I suspect “Frosty the snowman” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” will make a showing after the Thanksgiving bird…is no more.  And, as for the scan; for a moment I thought I had found my desire, but, alas, it was only the London Bach (boys) Choir giving the intro to “The Rolling Stones” classic, “You can’t always get what you want.”

Four days.  That’s how long it took the jury in Connecticut to sentence Steven Hayes to death after his grisly part in the murder of Dr. William Petit’s wife and daughters.  Of the action, the lone survivor said, "Vengeance belongs to the Lord. This is about justice. We need to have some rules in a civilized society."

And I think to myself, “What in the world is wrong with a society where life in the womb is slaughtered with abandon, and the thought of depriving a heinous murderer of “his” right to live (because, frankly, his actions nullify that right)…causes great pause and trepidation?” And I must conclude it is a malady of the soul.  A foundational drift.  A spiraling…of the spirit.  A disturbing twisting of right, and wrong…and reality.  And the solution, dear reader, is revival.  A revival akin to the Great Awakening that prepared the fallow ground of New England for the seed of Liberty.

And yes, I know there are many of “faith” who think no human act ever merits…execution.  We’ll save that debate for another day.  But for now, I “need a little Christmas…right this very minute…”


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Judging judges

(by R.P.Edwards)

When judges stop their judging
And choose to wear the crown
The rightful heir must rise up
And cast the judges…down

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
(Jude 1:6)

Just a quick note before I slog off (nearly skate [getting nippy]) to work.  I found a degree of satisfaction that, in the recent elections, three of the Iowa Judges that used their position to endorse gay-marriage; these three were told to hang up their robes…and go home.

I must admit, I like this “vote to retain” policy.  Even on my Illinois ballot there were two who were up for renewal (I said “yea” to one; “nay” to the other [both remain]).  And yes, I know there is supposed to be a “no-strings” quality to the judiciary so that they may remain impartial.  But…when the “trusted” go astray; when they follow the leanings and unctions of those who cannot win via the voting booth and choose, instead, to legislate from the bench; what are we, Joe public, to do?  Well, as in Iowa, we politely show them the door.  And, for others who are so high and secure that the citizens individual say holds no fear; for these that brazenly deem it their duty to “right the wrongs” of the ignorant; who shamelessly blaspheme against the near-sacred document they have sworn to uphold…for these, my fellow citizens, we need to become acquainted with the useful tool provided by the founders; it is known as…impeachment. 

Time for work.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some Advice for Speaker Boehner

Got a light?
(by R.P.Edwards)

“Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!”
A once common phrase
Now gone with the wind
Along with the haze
Today we love bodies
And to hell with the soul
We primp and we pamper
Till we’re laid…in the hole

John Boehner, the Cary Grantish congressman from Ohio.  Born second of twelve, growing up in a smallish house with one bathroom (ugh), started working in the family bar…at 8, elected to congress in 1990, distinguished  himself, elected speaker, then minority leader, and now to be speaker again…and…and…a smoker.

Smokes and Cokes.  That was the name of the little breaks that served as a carrot to we bald headed boys as we were relentlessly marched, and exercised, and instructed; being molded into a cohesive military unit…in boot camp.  Yes, we’re talking over thirty years ago and, although smoking was considered a vice, unhealthy, smelly, it was not the “sin” it has become. 

I learned that Mr. Boehner was a Barclay burner as an aside in the “Juan Williams” story, a week back.  Juan mentioned that his wife was a smoker and, as such, she went to the public quarantine spot outside a restaurant and got to know a congressman named John.  She liked him.

And I was thinking; and…drawing on the utter hypocrisy of the elite that constantly beat the drum against tobacco while, at the same time they joyously rip babies to shreds even as they promote a “lifestyle” that can slice twenty years off a practitioner's life; yes, I was thinking, “What could Mr. “smoker” Boehner do in the short term to counter the PC crappola?”  Solution:  Reinstate the smoking policy in the Speaker's Lobby.  You see, this comfy hall was a refuge for the “hated” class and, Ms Pelosi, when she took the reigns, she wanted to lead by example and ban the evil weed.  Mr. Boehner (although he's said he wouldn’t) should relight the smoking lamp (at least in some degree) to make a statement that “substance” has at long last arrived and, if perchance the President wants to stop by, he and the speaker can sit down on the leather chairs, share a match, and put their heads together…for our good.

Conclusion:  Do I advocate smoking?  No.  But, in the priorities of Good and Evil; what say we start with the heart (the spirit) and work out from there.

* In the above piece I alluded to the health hazards of homosexuality.  Be anti-pc, and read a substantiating article by Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.,  Homosexuality: some neglected considerations

 * Back in my “layoff” days I visited the smoker subject.  Here’s a link: The Smoker


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Vote, the prize

The Prize
(by R.P.Edwards)

Faithful escort
Hallowed head
The sacred dead
Waiting, as we leave our bed
To take us to…the prize
Bought with blood
And widow’s tears
The orphan’s cry
That lasts for years
The escort, waiting
Ever near
To take us to…the prize
And so arise!
And don thy right!
And join with deeds
The heroes fight!
Whose measure, full
Embraced the night!
To give to us…the prize
And with their leading
Sober tread
Complete the task
The joining thread
To add “amens!”
To sermons said
The taking…of the prize
And with our choice
And duties done
We bid farewell
To daughter, son
Until again, they rise…and come
To take us to…the prize

It was a simple text message from my recently married, eighteen year old daughter.  “Don’t forget to vote :p”  Reply: “Thanks 4 the reminder. Did you vote yet?” Reply: “Yup, just did”

I must admit, I felt a bit of gratification.  Although, honestly, my contribution to her “sense of duty” may have had little to do…with me.  She has, after all, married a young man--in many ways mature beyond his years.  But I hope, in a small way at least, that my “being around” caused her to take the time, this day, to be a citizen.

Yes, election day.  When we, the privileged children of heroes, are given the opportunity to validate their sacrifice.  As the poem above implies, I envision the hundreds of thousands, in dress uniform, resurrected for the day, waiting to escort each citizen…to the polling place.  Sadly, many will be left…alone.  But, on this day, many will be followed to the place of decision.  And, unlike some lands where the walking and doing…may cost them their lives, we may pass to and fro safely, because the dying…was accomplished by our fathers.

To conclude: if you haven’t done so, GO VOTE!  And then, sit back and await the results.  It’s an American thing.  An imperfect, sometimes raucous thing.  But, the privilege was paid for by the blood of patriots and I, for one, will not dishonor or disparage their gift…the prize.

In the above Poem the phrase, “And widow’s tears, the orphan’s cry that lasts for years” is from the Song, The Stone (listed in the video bar).  I’d be honored if you took a few moments to view…again.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween; how appropriate

Scary Time
(by R.P.Edwards)

Scary costumes
Scary night
Scary jack-o’-lantern’s light
Scary stories
Send a chill
With scary words of pain…and ill
How fitting then
All hallows eve
Where darkness aids
The devil’s weave
And shadows shout
And whispers…scream
And nightmares are…the only dream
Fitting here
The pundits purr
Their lying, twisting, smearing slur
A last attempt
Deceiving say
But all dissolves
With light…of day

I woke up to the phrase, “Too extreme.”  A term used liberally (pun intended) by Charlie Crist concerning the views of his senatorial opponent, Marco Rubio.  Yes, the Florida race for “one of two” is not pretty and, as the date of decision nears (Nov 2), the attacks from both sides imitate a machine gun’s rapid staccato.

“Okay,” says I, “let’s check out Mr. Rubio’s positions and what Mr. Crist says of them.”  So, I went to the younger’s website and discovered a fellow dishing out standard conservative fare: cut taxes, extend tax breaks, help job creators, reduce the size of government, support veterans, deal with entitlements, oppose Obamacare, oppose cap-and-trade, reduce crippling regulation (EPA take notice), strengthen education (yawn) and, concerning judges, “Judges were never designed to create law.” Amen.

“Well, Mr. Crist, what’s extreme about that?”  So…I go to the governor’s website and, as might be expected, he points out that Marco’s view of judges and abortion…are considered out of the mainstream and (gasp) Mr. Rubio’s desire to actually “fix” Social Security; well, that evokes thoughts of an amputating doc (never mind the solvency thing.)


Today was pick the pumpkin day in preparation for Halloween.  The “holiday” is a couple days off and we have one young’un who’s still interested.  We went to the farm; walked the maze; looked at the animals; and bought the gourd.  Soon it will be gutted and placed on display and then the scary--not so scary--creatures will come out.   It’s all so predictable.  Even so, the attempts of the “moderate” in Florida to scare people to the polls…is also ho hum.  I only hope that before some buy a ticket to the “haunted house” he’s peddling,  that they remember that the ride we’ve been on for the last two years…well…this “screamer” is no joke.  And, if this roller coaster is allowed to continue; we’ll go off the rails for sure.  And…if it takes an "extremist" to slow this runaway train down.  Then I say, “Welcome aboard, Mr Rubio. Welcome aboard.”


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newt...and me

(by R.P.Edwards)

But with the rising
And melting wings
Give believers…pause
But time brings healing
Redemption comes
We welcome back
The cherished son
And hear afresh
The founders… “We”
Of God, and truth…and liberty

I signed my name and got a round blue sticker for my shirt.  It read, “NOW.”  No, not the National Organization for Women, but an urgent call for jobs.  In smaller print above, it read, “JOBS HERE, JOBS” and then below…“NOW.”  And sure, I was interested in all that; but the main “draw” for this--when I’m not working--sedentary soul was the GOP rock star, the speaker…Mr. Newt Gingrich, himself.

It was all part of a whirlwind tour by the “American Solutions” founder; emphasizing the importance of the coming election... a time for “the people” to actively add their yea or nay to the President’s agenda; a time to hand out pink slips to the unrepresentative, and a hearty handshake to the up-and-comers.  And, on that note, we had a few preliminary talkers to warm us up (including the candidate for Gov and lieutenant). But I came…for Newt.

It was a Friday afternoon.  There were three of us. Accompanying me...son number one and, as a home-school type thing…I gently insisted that the sixteen-year-old also make a showing.  The location was ideal; a convention center merely fifteen minutes from the house.  We parked, made our way in, and stood amongst the hundreds. Yes, a conservative looking group, but hardly homogeneous.  There was some rousing music to keep interest up and, at the appropriate time, the playing of Lee Greenwood’s, “God Bless the USA.”  And, when the song cut-off midway, I was impressed when the crowd continued to sing the lyrics a cappella.  There was the leading of the Pledge of Allegiance by a local boy scout and, a member of the clergy besought “divine providence” for His blessing.

Well, if you’ve seen Newt, you know he can talk and, for a few minutes he calmly, rationally, gave us some reminders as to our heritage and our destiny.   One phrase stood out: “Freedom is based on faith and no government can come between you…and God.” And then…it was over.  And, ringing in our ears as we exited the building was the exhortation to get out the vote.  The change won’t come…without the vote.

Some final thoughts:  I’ve been a Newt fan for a long time.  True, his marital missteps have taken their toll, but I’m also a fan of redemption and second chances.  And, since I’ve been aware of the man for decades, it moved me enough to actually…move.  Another thing:  I pointed out to my young student that the give and take of politics is normal; even welcomed.  And, in fact, there were protesters standing at the parking lot entrance (why? I have no idea).  Also, I told him we might be treated to a heckler or two (nope).  But, overall, a worthwhile jaunt.  And, a week from now, we’ll have something else to talk about. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams

Juan Williams
(by R.P.Edwards)

Leftward leaning
Britt Hume’s foil
Faithful soldier
Decades toil
The liberal view
A steady say
They shouldn’t have treated Juan…that way
Panama born
To Brooklyn’s shore
Learning, leading, writing…more
Honest, upward
Into the fray
They shouldn’t have treated Juan…that way
To speak his mind
To think that worth’s
Returned…in kind
Believing words can bear the light
That truth will banish hateful night
But now…an outcast
He’s welcomed fresh
By you…and me
To air his heart
A secure…display
For we’ll never, never
Treat Juan…that way

Concerning Juan Williams and his mistreatment by NPR and other liberal entities; allow me to quote an excerpt from Justice Thomas’ eye opening autobiography titled, “My Grandfather’s son.”  The context: During the excruciating confirmation process; when Bush the elder’s nominee, Clarence Thomas, was subject to all manner of verbal, and written abuse and accusation; he recounts the following:

“The only bright moment came when Senator hatch mentioned an op-ed column by Juan Williams that had appeared in that morning’s Washington Post.  As the senator read it into the record, my heart spilled over with gratitude.  I knew that Juan had put his career on the line in order to say what he thought:

“Here is indiscriminate, mean-spirited mudslinging supported by the so-called champions of fairness: liberal politicians, unions, civil rights groups and women’s organizations…He has been conveniently transformed into a monster about whom it is fair to say anything, to whom it is fair to do anything…In pursuit of abuses by a conservative president the liberals have become the abusive monsters.””

Listen: In years past I tolerated Juan.  I found him somewhat pleasant, less abrasive than some, seemingly civil, but…but, I would still “lessen” him by grouping him into that segment of individuals that I refer to as “liberals;”  Especially those whose “social” views (i.e. abortion, gay-marriage, etc.) are not in line with my more conservative take.

However, when I read that excerpt from Judge Thomas’ autobiography, it put me on the Juan Williams bandwagon.  Indeed, I began to look at him with new eyes and, although I’ll, most likely, never bend to his political line, I find myself defining him as much more than just the guy who crosses swords with Britt Hume on Fox News Sunday.   In fact, an honest, honorable, courageous man like Juan Williams, has probably done more for the liberal cause than many who wrongfully claim the mantle.  And, as far as the NPR folk and their ilk; how sad they didn’t appreciate the gem…in their midst.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

O'Donnell teaches

The Plague
(by R.P.Edwards)

Tittering, they make their claim
Noses skyward, great disdain
Aloof in mind, the royal nod
Above the rabble, not far…from God
Yes these, with diapers barely shed
With pap and poison plenteous fed
The spawn of towers, sick and tall
They come to rule
Lord help us…all

“Where in the constitution is ‘Separation of Church and State?’” A question by Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell to her opponent, Chris Coons, during a recent debate at Widener Law School.  The context: The subject on display was “creationism” or “Intelligent Design” being taught in public school when the local populace desires it.  Mr Coons stated his opposition, citing the Constitutional bedrock of… “Separation of Church and State.”  Ms O’Donnell’s subsequent question (above) immediately produced gasps, snickers, and outright laughter from the learned audience of students and professors.  And, in the media--liberal and non--the consensus is that the lady is…oh so ignorant.

Well, a little research was necessary, so I went to Fox, C-Span, and finally got an un-editorialized viewing (except for the caption) of that portion of the debate on…youtube.  Hearing a little more than the headline, my suspicions were confirmed.  You see,  Mr Coons' view is, in my opinion, that the “Constitution” as interpreted by Justices in recent years…is how it is.  Ms O’Donnell’s view--again, my opinion--seems to mirror the thought that the founders may have had something else in mind.  Thus, her question, “Where in the Constitution is ‘Separation of Church and State?’” is valid, because, frankly…the phrase is NOT IN THERE! 

Here’s some thoughts:
On the subject of government and religion, consider: The following is taken from the Northwest Ordinance, a document drafted by the Second Continental Congress to establish government and steps leading to statehood for the recently acquired Western territories.

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

Question:  Would the congress that drafted this document, and signed the U.S. Constitution two months later, and then added the Bill of Rights (including the first amendment) in 1789 (ratified by the states in 1791), would these have changed their minds concerning Art 3 of the Northwest Ordinance?  That is:  “Religion…morality…knowledge…schools” ?

Consider: The following is taken from the Massachusetts constitution, 1780:

And all moneys paid by the subject to the support of public worship and of public teachers aforesaid shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomination, provided there be any on whose instructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid toward the support of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the said moneys are raised.

Question: Would the representatives of Massachusetts, who endorsed not only “religion” in school, but the funding thereof; would these agree to a first amendment that would eventually be used to expel God and religion from said institutions?

Here’s an excerpt from “The New England Primer,” used widely at the time of the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution to teach the young their letters.

A In ADAM's Fall   We sinned all. B Thy Life to mend   This Book attend. C The Cat doth play,   And after stay. D The Deluge Drown'd   The Earth around. E ELIJAH hid   By Ravens fed. F The Judgement made  FELIX afraid.

Question: would the drafters of the first amendment imagine, in their wildest dreams, that this amendment, which was included in the founding document to protect us “from” an overreaching central government; could they possibly have imagined that it would be twisted to eliminate such teaching materials as The New England Primer from public school?

The following is a quote from Justice Rehnquist’s dissent in Wallace v Jaffree, a case involving a minute of prayer/meditation in Alabama Public schools, 1985.

It would come as much of a shock to those who drafted the Bill of Rights as it will to a large number of thoughtful Americans today to learn that the Constitution, as construed by the majority, prohibits the Alabama Legislature from "endorsing" prayer. George Washington himself, at the request of the very Congress which passed the Bill of Rights, proclaimed a day of "public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God." History must judge whether it was the Father of his Country in 1789, or a majority of the Court today, which has strayed from the meaning of the Establishment Clause.

Here's my first point: Ms O’Donnell was criticized because she challenged the very bedrock of secular academia. And, since she is, apparently, unschooled in the “obvious,” she must be somehow…less of brain.  However, methinks it displays the opposite.  Yes, rather than following in mindless submission to the redefiners; she is a part of the new-breed that will question the legitimacy of “their” conclusions and not settle for the parental admonition, “Because we said so!”

Second:  My revulsion in regards to the hotbeds of liberalism (Secular Universities) …grows.  They take our children, mold them in their own godless image, and then loose them into positions of prominence. If I had my way I would drastically defund these institutions. Teach what you will...but not on my dime!

Finally: The wisdom of the founders as expressed in the Northwest Ordinance…“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged,” was the recipe for our early success and rise to a place of prominence.  But, since modern “minds” reject the key ingredients of “religion” and “morality” …are we then surprised that our current conditions tend towards  “bad” government...and “unhappiness?”

Following are some links you might be interested in. Rehnquist's dissent (well worth a look!)

A portion of the O'Donnell, Coon debate


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Go-to Guy

The Quick Fix
(by R.P.Edwards)

A little tape
A little glue
A little patch
“Now, that will do!”
And off you go with merry heart
Till down the road
It falls…apart

“Looks like he bled out.”  The statement (concerning the obvious) caused the senior detective to gaze up from the gooey puddle (where he had temporarily stooped for a sample) and glare at his donut chomping associate.

“Huey,” said captain “Rick” with an air of unbridled disdain  (after all this was as gruesome a scene as the two had seen in quite some time), “don’t you ever stop eating?”

“A man’s got to keep his strength up, ain’t he?” with the speaking the junior officer offered his glaze covered right hand to help the boss to his feet. 

Reluctantly, the older grabbed the shiny paw (his knees weren’t what they used to be) and, standing and retrieving a handkerchief to wipe off the sticky, he grumbled in passing,  “You disgust me.”

“Wha? (urp)”

Brought the old Buick to Rick, the expert mechanic who has a side job at a local Auto part store.  He’s the go-to guy when you want the straight scoop on what’s wrong, and the best (and cheapest) way to fix it.  He looked at the weeping organ for about two seconds and said, “You need a new radiator.” 

“Well, couldn’t I, you know, patch it with some J-B weld?”

“You could, but then it will give out all at once.  Here’s a number to a place that will give you a much better deal than we will.”

The next day, after I took a short (I mean just a couple miles) trip--looking for some, er, J-B weld--the radiator “bled out” in the grocery store parking lot.  “Ol’ Rick knows what he’s talking about," says I.

Good thing I had some mighty putty to stuff in the hole.  Now the old girl's in the driveway...waiting for a transplant (and perhaps praying for a new owner).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Advice for the President

Please, just go…
(by R.P.Edwards)

Back to the classroom
Back to the halls
Back to the towers…of ivory, and gall
Back to the land
Of fantasy’s tread
Where learning, and liberalism, and lunacy…bed
Away from the podium!
Away from the stand!
Away with the megaphone that cleaves to your hand!
Away with the speaking
The words without end
While the nation…in spiral
To Hell does descend
Yes, go back!
They’re all waiting
With arms open wide
They’ll receive you with joy!
They’ll embrace you with pride!
And your visage and vision
Will grace every hall
Please go back to the towers
Of ivory…and gall

I admit it…I’m a bit drained; a bit wearied and worried and just plain…worn out.  Like most I have a myriad of obligations and “must do’s” and the swing shift doesn’t really add to my “chipperness”  (“You seem kind of grouchy,” said one).  Then I read the snippet of how my president, once again, spoke for God.

It was a town hall meeting--a forum the great communicator seems to enjoy--and the question put to him was whether he thought gayness was a “choice” or not.  Mr. Obama, self-proclaimed Christian, said,  “I think that people are born with a certain makeup, and that we're all children of God.” Sigh.

I recall, further, the great compromise where a few pro-life Democrats sold their vote because they bought into the president’s executive order promise (concerning abortion and federal funds) and, with their added weight; Obamacare passed.  Then, a short time later the “order signer,”  Mr. Obama, tried to sidestep barriers preventing federally funded mini-abortions (embryos destroyed). Sigh.

And then I recall how coolly our commander-in-chief has treated our staunchest middle east ally, Israel.  And how hints of little or no aid (or incredibly, actual physical opposition to) will come concerning Israel's efforts to blunt the threat of a nation that openly declares their hatred and desire for the Jewish state's destruction.  Sigh…again.

Listen.  I have no animosity towards Mr. Obama.  I didn’t vote for him, but he is my President.  We pray for the man.  But, I truly believe the nation, under his leadership, is spiraling ever downward.  I believe, if his business-strangling plans come to fruition, our economy will tank.  I believe, if his international indifference (especially concerning Iran) continues, my two older sons may very well be drafted (I’m not overtly opposed to the draft); why?  Because, I don’t care how polished our front line troops are, a nuclear blast sweeps the floor…completely.  And, I won’t go into his efforts to bend morality.

So, here’s my advice.  Mr. President, I’ve heard you’re contemplating reelection. Why not consider the following instead?  Understanding, (I know you know this) that with the coming influx of conservatives your agenda will advance at a snails place (if at all).  Why not, then, politely and honorably…bow out?  Why not say, after the midterms--and a brief period of fighting the good fight--that since you cannot do what you want to do; what “we” need (wink) to do, you’re only going to be a one term president.  Then, proudly, honorably--after the swearing in of Mike Huckabee--go back to the Ivory tower where you will be hailed as a hero and can spend much of your time hopping from one University to the next, giving speeches, teaching short single-credit classes (“An evening with the President. One credit hour!”) and schmoozing with the elite; agreeing with each other over hors d'oeuvres and cocktails; lamenting how the nation “is not quite ready.  Yes, a pity, they--the masses--are not quite ready.”

So please, Mr. President, please…just go.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Miners Gold

(by R.P.Edwards)

Mortar and pestle
Fire…and time
All bring reduction
To purge…and refine
And life is no different
The wear…and the years
The grinding…and growing
From cloudy…to clear

And so, the thirty-three, no, thirty-four…come up from the mine.  Thirty three ordinary men; ordinary no more. And a silent…all important…essential…other.

In recent days the Chilean--world captivating--drama concluded.  The story of thirty-three miners trapped nearly a half mile below the surface of the earth. As you recall; there was a gold and copper mine; a terrible cave-in; and a leader who stepped up to guide the others…to survival.

Sure, there are a lot of angles to this story and, no doubt, in the coming weeks and months we’ll see the movie, and there will be books, and many, many interviews.  Yes, we’ll learn of the exact why’s of the collapse; the history of the company and the mine and every intimate detail of every person involved:  the miners, their wives (one mistress), the children and each and every contributor to the rescue.  I suppose even God will be given his due.

And, it is here I want to pause for just a moment.  For, you see, the miners--diggers of gold, mind you--in one horrible moment the monetary value of the lusted after metal fell to…nothing (contrary to the media salespeople who say it never reaches that point.)  Yes, in a loud, frightening, stopping of the clock moment, their lives began to take on the worth they always had, but the perception of which was blocked, clouded, cluttered by the endless non-essentials that consume our time.  And, I imagine, as the thought of a quick rescue faded (remember, it took seventeen full days to confirm their survival), I imagine, with each successive hour, that their thoughts began to be grounded even more; perhaps even to the point of pondering life’s passing, and their ultimate relationship with the thirty-fourth man.

Well, I’m sure other, more able writers will lend their talents to this momentous event and, when we eventually read or see their work we‘ll be touched anew.  But, let me just conclude with this simple thought:  These thirty-three "ordinary" men were given the rare gift of undiluted time; time to discover, or reacquaint themselves with what’s really important in this brief span we call…life.  And, if you will, after the roof fell, and their hands were constrained from their vocation; they continued to be miners (albeit reluctant); miners...digging the depths of their own individual souls. discover the most precious element…of all.

 “I've been a miner for a heart of gold” 
 Neil Young


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Perils of Paladino

To Wash a Brain
(by R.P.Edwards)

When we teach them…over and over
That such and such…is true
Don’t be surprised if eventually
The children learn…and do
Then boys will grow…and blow up
While babies…are thrown away
And anything goes in the bedroom
For “marriage” is straight…AND gay

Carl Paladino, contender for the head job in New York State, said the following to a gathering of orthodox Jews: “I don’t want them (children) to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option (as opposed to traditional marriage). It’s not.”

Well, hell ensued; and in the few days since the utterance--in various venues--he has felt the need to explain his obvious declaration.  Following is a quote made on Fox and Friends:  “We wanted to make a clear statement: Schools have no business teaching children about moral questions.  That’s reserved to the parents. And young children, and their minds, should be handled very delicately.”  On the Imus radio show he said his stance mirrored that of the Catholic Church.

My take: for this little offering let me focus on the one word: brainwashed.  Now, usually we associate this term with POW’s who, after cruel and extended mistreatment, have had their thinking altered to come into line with their captors.  Taking a phrase from the classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, they get their “mind right.”
Well, that kind of brain washing may be effective upon a set-in-their-ways adult, but for children it’s much simpler.  Simply tell them, over and over and over, what the “truth” is and, it just might stick.  Is it surprising then that in some cultures strapping a bomb to your body is considered a good thing?  After all, they’ve been taught that from itty-bitty.  And, there are some sub-cultures (even in the U.S) where polygamy is considered…godly.  So, they grow up, gather a harem, and create a reality show. 

Now, Mr. Paladino’s point is obvious:  The public schools should stay out of the “religion” business.  For, although God and his requirements (the Ten Commandments) have been officially expelled, there is, never-the-less, a new secular belief system of right and wrong.  And “it” is sliding ever away from our Judeo/Christian roots.  So, Mr. P thinks schools should return to teaching the basics, and leave the moral right and wrong stuff…to mom and dad. 

Conclusion:  The other “me” works in a Steel Mill.  We make Steel.  My co-workers come in various shapes and sizes and, no doubt, some have sexual mores that differ from my own.  These “differences” however, don’t come into play because…we make steel.  That is our priority.  Is it too difficult to understand, then, that public schools should at least have as much sense as the steel industry? That they should focus on the final product--an educated and able citizen--and not waste time wading into the waters of moral ambiguity?  How about this: let’s let the parents teach by word and deed the moral essentials of life and, if, upon reaching the conclusion of their twelfth public-school year the young man or woman then wants to explore the fantasy land known as the University; then, so be it.  But, before that time…Hands off!

The Perils of Paladino
(by R.P.Edwards)

Poor, poor, Paladino
Troubled by his views
Vexed by his invectives
Neglecting schmaltz and schmooze
Though some find him…abrasive
Preferring that he lie
I say hooray for honesty
Let’s give this guy…a try!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Pondering the AP Poll

Don’t lecture us
(by R.P.Edwards)

Incestuous Academics
Perpetuate the tale
Definers of our destiny
The Ivy League… “All Hail!”
The truth?
They didn’t bring us here
We owe them simply…squat!
So when they teach
Their tortured truth
Respectfully say…NOT!

“Working Class Whites Shun Democrats,” so said the headline after the results of September’s AP-GfK poll came out.  Seems the “unschooled” (i.e. no college sheepskin) have moved a whopping 22% in the direction of the elephant since the last election.  The “more learned ones?” Not so much.

I must admit, when I first heard the results a couple days back--and the implied derogation, by some, of the regular folk--I was livid.  As you might surmise, the beginning “poem” was birthed then.  And, if I had written this piece at the same time I probably would have used--in reference to our modern Universities and their progeny--phrases like, “Subsidized secular sewers, campuses of conceit, godless academics,” but, since I’ve had time to cool…and reflect…and realize that I, myself, do not care to be included in a broad-brush generalization (i.e. Union Thug.  I’m a union guy, but I’m an anti-thug) I’ll pause a moment and ask the all-important question instead… “What does ‘AP-GfK’ stand for?”  Sure, AP means “Associated Press,” but GfK?

Simply, there was this German fellow, Lidwig Erhard, who, in 1934 (no, he wasn’t a Nazi) started this research company called Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, which translates to, “Society for Consumer Research.” Apparently these fellows are pretty good (Vince, the ShamWow hawker says, “You know the Germans always make good stuff.”)  And they “asked the questions.” 

Well, I looked the poll over (took a while) and there’s another statistic that you might be interested in.  Here’s the question, and result:

Overall, please tell me whether you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president.    Results: (then) Total Approve December 08--73%  Total Disapprove--14%, (Now) September 2010 Total approve--49%, Total Disapprove--50%

Alright, a moment on my beginning ire.  I’ve said it before and it rings ever true…the greatness of this Republic…is inherited.  I, and those who currently teach “us” from the Ivory towers have and had no part--none!--in how we got here.  Yet, these and their offspring (many of the prominent among us) proceed to tell us what is, and isn’t correct; what is, and isn’t proper; what is, and isn’t…true.  And, since their foundation is faulty…their conclusions often follow suit.

Conclusion: You want to know why the unschooled have changed their views?  Because, frankly, obviously, the many promises that were made before the last election…have been proven FALSE!  It’s something we regular folk refer to as “common sense” or “street smarts” and, sadly, you won’t find it in the curriculum of many, if not most, Secular Universities. 

The AP-GfK Poll




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Mess on the Mall

The Mess on the Mall
(by R.P.Edwards)

A tale of two gatherings
A tale of two views
Two visions to strive for
Two versions of true
And two groups of speakers
Two clarion calls
But the proof in the pudding
Was the mess…on the mall
The spinners did spin
And the talkers did talk
But the evidence, clear
Was the trash…on the walk
For one crowd, respectful
Let no refuse fall
But the others
Left a mess…on the mall

I read the scripture…and had to laugh.

The back story:  Saturday, last, was the “if Glenn Beck can do it, we can do it better” rally, also known as “The One Nation Working Together Rally,” also known as the 10-2-10 rally (as opposed to Mr Beck’s invitation, designated as 8-28, Restoring Honor Rally.”  I wasn’t particularly interested in the “message” of October's child, as I, though a union fellow, am decidedly conservative in my leanings.

Anyway, from here and there I’ve gleaned some information that’s worth a shallow rehash.  The size: the ten twoers said theirs was bigger.  Photos prove…it was much, much smaller.  Glenn told the comers to leave their signs at home and the rally was non-political.  The other?  Signs and political opines.  I’ve learned the “lefters” also had a huge teleprompter to streamline their message.  Glenn’s group? Not. And, at the end of the day, the Restore Honor folk…cleaned up after themselves.  And the others? Slobbish.

Now, I suppose I could expand on the who came and why; the orchestrated “pushing” as opposed to the universal “drawing,” but, the two scriptures involved…speak volumes.  First, Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Was this scripture reference part of the dating process?  Don’t know.  Don’t want to dig to find out. But I did hear a minister read it at the rally.  It fits.  I like it.

Now, the other scripture: Just for the fun of it I looked up a Biblical reference from the same book, with corresponding numbers, Romans 10:2. It made me laugh. 

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

The context: the apostle speaks of a people who are zealous for God, but their enthusiasm is misplaced, misaligned, misdirected.  I found it strangely…funny…and strangely…appropriate.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's all gonna burn

It’s all gonna burn
(by R.P.Edwards)

“It’s all gonna burn”
The fatalist phrase
Reflecting reflections
On ending…of days
That time in the future
The certain
The stop
When all fleshly fancies
Will sizzle…and pop
Yes, palaces, proud 
To the box on the street
The pompous and poor
Their atoms will meet
With keepsakes
And curtains
And four oh one K’s
All gone in an instant
In sulfurous waves
It’s all gonna burn
What you value…on earth
So cling to the thing
That gives heaven…it’s worth

“It’s all gonna burn.” A simple, almost thoughtless (though oceans deep) response.  “It’s all gonna burn.” Little more than a quip when spoken, yet laden large with tethers and tendrils that reach…into eternity.

I was sharing some small talk with my second oldest.  He, who has long had dreams of world travel and wanderings; as the end of his “anchored to home” education is finally approaching we delved a bit into his particular and peculiar…past.  You see, he was the child who would take things apart and, on many occasions…break them.  He, in the discourse, brought up the word “heirlooms” --as in being destroyed--and then I, as we continued to walk and talk, said the phrase.

Of late I’ve been quite occupied with the doings of my daily existence; the job; the things we use and rely on; the acquiring, and fixing, and finding; the much “stuff” that we stuff our lives with.  But, if I’ll pause for just a moment; pause and reflect upon that which lives within; upon that which is born from above because of the gift--the received gift of a Father’s love, and a Son’s substitution--well, then I remember that so many of the tangibles that we put so much value in here, are, in the light of forever…worthless.

You see, we really are more than just an evolutionary chance-baby.  We, each one of us, are so much more than the many gatherings of years.  And indeed, each one of us has a reserved invitation and place in the open arms of the eternal God. And, frankly, in the coming maelstrom…that’s the only safe place to be.  For, in the eventual “today,” everything we see with our natural eyes…will be no more.  Yes, “it’s all gonna burn,” but you, the real you; you don’t have to.  So, before your next project, or purchase, or all consuming pursuit, you just might want to take inventory…of your soul.  And, if it is found lacking in the eternal, fireproof stuff, you might want to check out the “link” on the side.  The one titled, “Of first importance.”