Cadge

Cadge: (v) to ask for or obtain something to which one is not strictly entitled.

I did not know this word.

Sometimes when I run across a word I don’t know, I pursue it no further, figuring that if I’ve survived to this point, I will probably be safe to
ignore it for my lifespan.

But for some reason, “cadge” piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I looked it up. I probably will never use it–because people will look at me with that wrinkly face which communicates, “You’re just showing off.”

But to cadge–or cadging–is an infection in our society.

It is a mental illness, leading us to believe that we are to get something before we give something.

All of nature contradicts this assertion:

  • Seed comes before harvest.
  • Consideration breeds love.
  • And we must do unto others if we expect them to do back to us.

But somewhere along the line, we’ve begun to honor the social interaction of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

We wait to see what is available, what people are willing to give, and then we decide how open and kind we will be to them.

Case in point: People who live in the inner city, who often have darker skin, are not able to make large contributions to their congressman. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will get the potholes fixed on their streets. For after all, the politician is cadging to acquire money to re-elect him or her, and since nickels and dimes rarely add up to dollars, the poor will have to wait until someone who is not elected, elects to help them.

We tout ourselves a Christian nation while promoting a social “take and give” which is Jewish or Muslim. It is a philosophy of retaliation–an attempt to get something before we give something, so we can decide how little we have to give for what we got.

It is nasty business.

And it is doomed to failure because there are certainly people who are better at the game of “cadge” than we are.

 

 

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Cadet

Cadet: (n) a young trainee in the armed services.

When I was a teenager, we hated soldiers–mainly because we hated the war. (Well actually, the real reason was that we were all afraid we were going to be drafted into that war to be soldiers.)

Nowadays, we revere the armed services.

We not only “support the troops,” but we’re “grateful for their service” and laud their efforts.

Risking being controversial, may I say that somewhere between deeming the military despicable and granting them sainthood lies the truth.

All of us should be a little embarrassed that it’s necessary for us to have an army. We should pray for a world where such regulation and violent alternatives either decrease or cease to be.

Since that is not our present situation, we should teach our cadets to be war-ready but peace-loving.

In so doing, we will have our first line of defense prepared but not eager.

Well-gunned but not trigger happy.

And provided for without being over-stated.

I salute those who are willing to take up arms to defend the defenseless.

But I warn my country that every time we put a young man or woman in uniform, placing them in harm’s way, we risk losing the abundance of energy and power they could give us by living for their country rather than dying for it.

 

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Brigadier

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Brigadier: (n) a rank of officer in the army, above colonel and below major general.

Sometimes foolishness gets a pass, but it has to be legitimate foolishness. Dictionary BI’m talking about that fresh kind that just slipped out of your stupid brain because of your ignorance. If you’ve done foolishness before, you can’t claim that it’s “innocent foolishness.”

I did a foolish thing.

I was so young, self-inspired and full of false confidence that life decided not to punish me for my presumption.

My younger brother decided to join the army. Considering he had never even played with army men and walked with the sensitivity of a marshmallow, the idea was ludicrous. But it was in full swing before any of us realized that he had sauntered off to be a soldier.

The first we knew of it was upon receiving a call from basic training, where he pleaded for us to “get him out of there”–or he was going to commit suicide.

Now, I can discuss with you the unfairness of him placing me in that situation, but instead, I will tell you that in an attempt to be a good big brother, I called the army base where he was doing his imitation of G.I. Joe, and talked to a Brigadier General. Now, I don’t know exactly what a Brigadier General is, but it sounds a whole lot more important than me.

For some reason, he took my call. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a nice guy. Maybe he couldn’t believe that someone was asking for his younger brother to be released from basic training.

His first inclination was to laugh at me. After all, you can’t maintain a volunteer army while promising a money-back guarantee. If everyone who was displeased with the accommodations at “Fort Kick Your Ass” was released immediately, we wouldn’t have enough soldiers to march in a small-town parade.

So on the first call he chuckled.

On my second call, he took the fatherly approach, explaining how the military works.

On the third call he appealed to my patriotism.

On call 54, he asked me if I knew how powerful he was.

But somewhere along the line, on the 93rd call, he paused. This is what the Brigadier asked me:

“You’re going to keep calling me until we release him, aren’t you?”

I replied, “You can just stop taking my calls.”

“Then I would have a suicidal assistant to deal with,” he presented.

I really don’t know what happened.

I don’t know if what I said made any difference at all.

But this fine Brigadier General realized that I was sincere and that my brother was not even suited to the rigors of being a back-up in the chorus line.

They released him.

It was a miracle.

But actually, it was an expansive piece of grace … granted by a man who was trained to be ruthless.

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Beatnik

Beatnik: (n) a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.Dictionary B

Trends and fads have one thing in common: they have a commencement with no graduation, also having a beginning minus destination. For that reason, it’s difficult to assess their genesis, or comprehend their exodus.

But if you take a moment and think about it, every movement goes through three stages:

  1. Purity
  2. Parity
  3. Paltry

Our new ideas often begin with purity.

Like beatniks.

I believe the purpose of such a social awakening was to become more introspective and discover our inner selves and how we relate to the world around us.

Quite noble.

But for an idea to become popular, you have to be able to market it without promoting its more cerebral aspects. So eventually the beatnik generation sought parity by wearing black berets and turtlenecks. It was an easy way to identify a fellow beatnik.

Yes, often our greatest movements are shrunken to a simple fashion statement.

Then, once they became tired of wearing their costumes, they decided to just maintain the angst. Thus, the 1960s and 1970s.

We ended up with a paltry representation of self-realization–actually merely an adolescent temper tantrum to anything our parents did.

After all, there would have been no objection to the war in Vietnam if there weren’t a draft blowing young men into military service.

So how is it possible to keep the purity without insisting on parity and ending up with paltry?

I don’t know.

But I think it is the job of writers, who detour their material through the brain, to insist on considering such idealism.

 

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Apex

dictionary with letter A

Apex: (n.) the top or highest point.

“Getting high.”

It’s too bad that phrase has been sullied by the drug culture, because it is so rich in truth and promise.

Everything in life has an apex, even though we often settle for the valley.

  • The apex of politics is a decision to be responsive to the needs of the people instead of chasing their whims.
  • The apex of the military is to convey a strength which discourages our enemies instead of using new weapons to experiment with their lethal carnage.
  • The apex of friendship is really honesty–having someone in your life who will tell you when your breath is bad.
  • The apex of spirituality is “love your neighbor as yourself” instead of debating “who is my neighbor?”
  • The apex of education is infusing knowledge which is workable to the student who wants to go out and pursue a craft.
  • The apex of sexuality is mutual pleasure.
  • The apex of finance is having enough for your needs, a little for your desire, and the balance to help others.
  • The apex of athleticism is the payoff of being in shape, whether you win the trophy or not.
  • The apex of commerce is to make a decent profit while feeling soul-satisfaction because you’ve delivered a quality product.
  • The apex of parenting is seeing the good parts of yourself in your children and allowing them to rebel against the bad.
  • And the apex of faith is working towards having the will of God done on Earth instead continually speculating on heaven.

I am in favor of getting high–just not chemically induced.

For finding the apex in life may be the true definition of “the high road.”

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Anti-static

dictionary with letter A

Anti-static: (adj) of preventing the presence of static electricity or reducing its effect.

I will ask you in the forefront to please forgive this pensman for taking liberties with this word in order to climb up on my soapbox and postulate.

I know the word “anti-static” refers to electrical currents and the elimination of such activity, but I would like to transfer that notion to the general climate of static which is aggravating the potential sweet hum of peacefulness in our world today.

The Middle East is bound and determined to draw us into a premature Armageddon, so like little brats, we can once and for all prove there is a God by throwing such a severe tantrum that He must come and punish all of His children.

Not for me.

My message to President Obama, Congress and all those who would feel that they can live by the sword without suffering the curse of its blade, is very simple:

We should create a giant box for the Middle East and let them fight it out amongst each other until they grow tired of burying their children.

If we do not do this, the allure of war to please what can only be considered a damnable god, will prompt them, season upon season, to skirmish and hatch new rumors of mayhem.

For after all, we don’t discipline our children by entering into the scuffle and punching it out alongside them. And since we are all children of Earth, it stands to reason that it is ridiculous to try to correct our brothers and sisters by rolling in the dirt with them and trying to lay a haymaker.

So let me present this to you very succinctly:

Since we Americans have the military might and power to bomb the Middle East, might we have the same capability to surround them, refusing anything to go in or come out, and squeeze them with a gigantic world-wide siege, forcing them to the bargaining table, or causing them to no longer to provide food for their dinner table?

That’s right.

Nothing in or out.

Let them fight.

After all, they won’t kill any more than they already have, and if they do, let us realize that their motivation is not nearly as strong to destroy America and Europe as it is to punish their own religious families who don’t submit to every single precept of Koran law.

To do this, of course, we must quickly and intelligently wean ourselves off of the dastardly need for oil which trickles from such scoundrel surroundings.

I cannot honor my country for joining a war that is prophesied to be at the center of the end of the world. Even if you have no interest in the Bible, just consider it bad luck to pursue a faulty logic that places us anywhere near the epicenter of the superstitious conclusion of our planet.

Don’t go there.

We are not going to be able to stop the senseless slaughter because that execution is willed by the leadership of the people we are trying to save.

It is not in our best interest.

Dammit, it’s not in any interest, other than the spiritual ego of maniacs who have forgotten that God looks like people.

The best anti-static for this world is to refuse to leap, hop and jump in the direction of everything that goes bump in the night.

 

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Afghanistan

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afghanistan: a mountainous, landlocked republic in central Asia, pop. 16,600,000. Capital, Kabul; official languages, Pashto and Dari

We were enraged. (Well, at least involved in an aggressive pout.)

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, the US took a stand against such aggression, and even boycotted the Olympics in Moscow to express our displeasure.

Equally displeased with the invasion were the Afghans.

But what the Soviet Union did not understand, with all of its blustering bombing and Bolshevism, is that the people of Afghanistan are very adept at being invaded and repelling all would-be conquorers with both resolve and their terrain–which is extremely unfriendly to foreigners.

So candidly, when the United States came up with the notion of invading Afghanistan following the 9/11 tragedy, I was a bit startled and nervous about the conclusions. Of courrse, there was a certain amount of necessary chest-thumping which follows the atrocity of murdering three thousand American citizens on our own soil.

But history does not particularly care whether our cause is noble. It demands respect and observance.

So even though we thought we were more skilled at military causes than the lumbering Soviet Union, we found that our mission into Afghanistan was equally as frustrating, intimidating and foreboding. There are some things that shouldn’t be done because they can’t be done.

It is difficult to understand this particular axiom when we are engorged with patriotism and fueled by rage. It would have been much better to send in twenty specially trained platoons to locate Osama bin Laden and then extract them as quickly as possible when the mission either succeeded or failed.

Foot soldiers on the ground demand a footing, which Afghanistan does not adequately provide.

  • Did we learn?
  • Will we understand that justice and retribution are rarely the same thing?
  • Will we comprehend that people who are constantly invaded become more suited to repelling invaders?

I don’t know–but it is difficult to believe that Afghanistan is any better off today than it was when the American flag was first unfurled on its borders.

(And remember, it is not unpatriotic to question the actions of your nation. It is actually our patriotic duty to find better and more enlightened paths.)