Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ronny Mumf and the Dance Festival

Ronny Mumf woke to a textbook perfect Spring Day. Golden sunshine filled his room. A light lilac breeze drifted through the bedroom window stopping to dance with a cobweb spanning two walls over Ronny’s head. Birds chirped in merry talk inquiring into each others health and the location of the juiciest worms. The occasional car passed his window. The sound of the tires against the road seemed out of place in this symphony of nature.

Ronny reluctantly looked at the clock. It was nearly time to get ready for school. He didn’t want to go to school. Today was the dreaded Dance Festival. The Dance Festival was held every year at Confederacy Elementary. The school's classes perform for each other and nearly 500 parents. That was bad enough, but Ronny's dance required hand holding. Ronny doesn't like holding hands. And if holding hands wasn't bad enough, Ronny had to hold hands with Eve Matthews. He didn't like Eve Matthews. He told the teacher but the teacher didn’t listen. “Grow up,” she said. She was stressed during dance practices and wasn’t very friendly. Ronny understood women's moods. His mom was like that when she was stressed. Ronny blamed the dance festival for everyone's bad mood. He concluded a dance festival was a bad thing for everyone.

Ronny turned away from his alarm clock, pulled the covers away and sat up. He thought long and hard about his problem. He didn’t want to dance. He didn’t want to hold a girl’s hand. He didn’t want to perform like a monkey in front of hundreds of parents. He was back to his original thought. He didn’t want to go to school.

Ronny was a clever boy. He knew if he put his mind to it he could figure a way to stay out of school. He could claim a stomach ache but didn’t think his mother would fall for that one again. He tried a headache last week. The lie resulted in a Children’s Tylenol and a kick out the door with his backpack. He could ‘pretend’ to fall down the stairs but knew the danger of going that far. A pretend fall could lead to a doctor’s visit and that could result in discovery. If the doctor uncovered the lie it could lead to some pretty terrible things. Ronny labeled that idea a non starter.

Then, a new idea entered his brain though his nose in the scent of lilac. Allergies! Ronny put his clothes on and quietly opened his bedroom door. he tiptoed down the stairs and listened for his mother. She was in the kitchen making breakfast. He unlatched the front door and stepped through into the sunshine. He ran to the backyard, found his accomplices, sat on the lawn and inhaled the scent of the yellow flowers. He took several large smells making sure the pollen reach the very back of his brain. He waited. Nothing yet. He took several more smells. A moment later he felt a sneeze taking shape in the top of his nose. One more sniff and it exploded. His eyes watered and his lungs tingled. He was ready to present himself to mother.

Ronny was wheezing by the time reached the front door. He was in a full scale asthma attack when he walked into the kitchen.

Ronny stayed home from school that day. He missed the dance festival. He was spared exposure to girls’ germs. Living through an allergy attack wasn’t fun but well worth the price.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Recession Strikes the North Pole.

The worldwide recession hasn’t spared anyone - not even Santa. We have it from a reliable source that Santa Claus’s North Pole Workshop was forced to lay off several hundred elves due to a lack of capital. The remaining elves are working one shift a day instead of three. Several of the unemployed elves are looking for work elsewhere until recalled in October for the Christmas rush. The Polar Express is making daily stops in Los Angeles, bringing many elf families to sunny California to look for temporary employment There is word Hollywood will be hiring small people for a remake of The Wizard of Oz. There is also work in a few upcoming Christmas movies.

Santa is summering here in Cloverdale. He earns extra cash working as a master craftsman for his cousin Hans Tinkle of Tinkle Miniature Toys. The extra cash will be welcome this year as the bills come due - there are reindeer to fed, the workshops must be heated, toy building material must be purchased, and the Elves must be paid. Elves don’t work for free you know.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dunce Reasoning

This is the kind of reasoning you'd expect from a Dunce. It all makes sense to me. How about you?

Evolution Vs. Creationism. The Battle of Faith over Reason.

Samuel Jeremiah Teal

The hottest ticket event in Cloverdale is the debate between two students from Cloverdale Middle School. Samuel Jeremiah Teal will debate fellow eighth grader Chase Kofferd. Their topic is Evolution vs. Creationism. The event begins at 8:00 P.M. Wednesday in the Middle School’s Theater. According to my sources the line to obtain free tickets started forming at 9:00 A.M. Saturday.

Samuel is the son of the Reverend Teal of the United Brethren, a small congregation of Christians who believe the Bible is to be understood literally. Chase is an agnostic and son of Dr. and Kim Kofferd. Doctor Kofferd is an emergency room doctor at Cloverdale’s All Saints Hospital.

Chase Kofferd

Two weeks ago the boys’ science class began a unit on evolution and natural selection. At first Samuel held his tongue. After all, a Christian is to turn the other cheek. But as the unit progressed Samuel became agitated. His distress reach the breaking point when the teacher, Mr. Chappel, lectured on the famous Scopes Trial in America. The Scopes trial took evolution off the back burner and into the international spotlight. The teacher was clearly bias toward Darwin and evolution. That day, Samuel closed his textbook and slowly rose to his feet.
“Mr. Chappel,” Samuel said with his head bowed and chin nearly touching his chest. “I take exception to everything you’re saying. I do not believe in evolution. I believe in the Bible. I believe men did not evolve from apes. I believe the world was created in seven days because with God all things are possible. I believe that man is created in God’s image. I feel there are others in this class that believe as I do and I think our beliefs should be respected.”
With that Samuel sat down. He raised his head and looked at his teacher. His eyes held him firmly in their gaze.
Mr. Chappel stopped the lesson. He knew there was risk in teaching evolution but the national curriculum required it and he agreed.
“Does anyone else feel that way?” he questioned the class.
The room was deathly quiet. Then Chase rose to his feet and turned toward Samuel.
“Sam,” he said quietly. His tone in his voice was serious, “Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the masses. Like opium, religion dulls your senses and destroys one’s reasoning ability. I see the effect it has on you. Look at you, a boy with a modern education who believes that everything you see around you, this planet and the universe itself was created in seven days! Think about it. What you’re saying is a fairy tale people like your father have taught as truth for the past two thousand years. There is no observable evidence for anything you preach. You expect everyone to believe it on faith. You want them to shut off their reasoning and follow you blindly. Where does that lead? Think about it! I’ll believe in God when you prove his existence to me.
Many in this room are believers and some are not. I rise today to speak for those that are not. We will not sit by and watch our education become trivialized and diluted by nonsense. Nonsense supported by faith alone.”

The room was silent. Chase sat down. Samuel stood.
“Chase, God loves you and wants you to know the....”
“Stop,” Chase interrupted. “Don’t use the word truth. Don’t do it!”
Both boys were on their feet staring at each other. The classroom was charged with emotion.

“Boys,” Mr. Chappel said as he stood and walked to the center of the classroom. “I propose a debate on the topic both Samuel and Chase so eloquently started this morning. Let us once again, as they did so long ago, debate the merits of creationism and evolution. Do you both accept my invitation to debate?”
Chase was the first to accept. Samuel considered the invitation and its implications. If he said no then creationism would be thought of as the loser by default. If he said yes then where was the evidence he needed for a debate besides relying completely on faith. He wondered what his father would say. After weighing all options Samuel agreed.

Samuel’s father helped him prepare. Chase did his preparation alone. Word of the debate spread throughout the Shire. Hundreds are now in line for the few remaining tickets. It is a debate not soon to be forgotten in the Confederacy of Dunces. But in the end, many wonder if anyone will be swayed. Most believe the truth lies somewhere in the center. Most believe in God and most see the merits of evolution. Most believe that God knows all truth and our duty is to use logic, faith and reasoning to find that truth using the evidence He placed around us. Most believe that at the end of the day science and religion will blend into one, and then all will see the true grandeur of the one called God.