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199 All Saints: Edgar, the Cabbage
“Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.” ~ Psalm 43
Edgar, the Cabbage
A novel for adults who wish they were kids, kids who wish they were adults, and all assortments of broccolis and cauliflowers.
Chapter the First: Cabbage in the Sky Edgar was a boy. He was not a cabbage. Now, this is not to say that a cabbage is something one would never want to be. Edgar spent not a few balmy summer afternoons dreaming of nothing more than spreading his roots in a warm pasture of mud, rocketing his leaves to the glorious light of the sky, and basking in the power of chloroform. Still, as real as that may have been to your imagination just now, it must be maintained that Edgar was not at all actually a cabbage, because Edgar was a boy. Aside from dreams of being a cabbage, or perhaps well in line with them, Edgar was mostly like any other boy you ever met. Except for the fact that his best friend was a delicately crimson-speckled newt named Ringo, who may or may not have truly existed in space-time, but who all the same always makes a splendid entrance at parties. Yes, besides this, or maybe because of this, more than anything else, whoever you are, Edgar was more or less just like you. Unless you’re a girl, of course. In which case he was just like you, except for the unavoidable fact that you are exceptionally different. There are girls in this story too, and they don’t only need saving, though, sometimes they do. That’s why, together, like raspberry jam and chocolate covered walnuts, Ringo, the newt, and Edgar, the boy, (who, seriously now, you must understand, contrary to the title of this book, is not a cabbage,) spent their days gandering about out in the wooded field behind the backyard, where they couldn’t bother anyone else, and where no one else much bothered them. Here, everything was solved by a good fight, a good run, or the thought of hot pizza. Here, there was no beast a sword could not slay, no mountain a ranger could not climb, no vice the virtuous could not overcome. This was as it should be. Everything in its place, like a truly excellent coleslaw. But, if you would like an excellent slaw, you must be willing to kill a cabbage. Eggs, too, if you’re doing it right. Except that eggs can’t die, silly piglet. In any case, I’ll remind you this one last time that Edgar was not a cabbage, nor a slaw, nor an ogrea, nor any number of other things he’d at one time or another imagined being. No, Edgar was a boy. And that, he thought, was that. Until, as it happens, he died. And, then, you see, it wasn’t this, nor that. But the funny thing about it all is that he sure as heaven still was. One beautiful morning, Edgar was thinking hard. (Truth be told, it was not so very beautiful a morning, and he wasn’t so much thinking hard as thinking about things that others said were hard.) Outside his window it was downright dreary and miserable. The overcast sky descended like gloomy soup, a sparse mist that was more or less a glacial, hanging rain. This “terrible” weather was precisely such and such the thing. He found the entire spectacle outside his high bedroom window quite marvelous. But, it was most assuredly not beautiful. He knew that for a true fact because his mother told him so. His mother was always right about these things. You just had to think about it. That’s what she said, at least. “You can’t go out in that. Just think about it.” You see? This, then, is what Edgar was doing. He was staring out the window at the lovely fall day and thinking about it. That is why it was not his fault when Ringo decided it would present a good time for all if he learned how to ride on (as it turned out) the underside of a basketball. Edgar’s room was hardwood, just like the floor at the school gym. To his surprise, his mother did not find this a good reason for the game. To even greater wonderment, all his wildest dreams were thusly fulfilled as motherly wit outfitted him in a rain slicker so that the “atrocious day” would not “destroy” him, and shoved them both toward the back door. Edgar was somewhat more thankful for all the prudence than Ringo, who found himself stuffed awkwardly into Edgar’s breast pocket, a mysteriously both dry and sticky place. The newt was not as yet fully emotionally recovered from the experiment with basketball riding, which, truth be told, had not been entirely his own idea. But now, as Edgar tromped down the back steps, he found himself in what his generally risk-averse newt-self once heard mention of as a “tight spot.” It was not only that they were going out in this storm, which was not the kind that tropical, amphibious pets tend to go in for. That, too. But Ringo, on his best days, was only a newt, after all. So even were Edgar’s slicker pocket warm and cozy, which dry and sticky most definitely are not, such a place is never where a conscientious newt would want to be. Not one to take anything sitting down, for, you see, newts cannot sit, Ringo eventually made his way around to poke his too-dusty newt nose out the top of the pocket. The chill wind whipped, though the moisture was worth the deep breath. What more could he do? Edgar and Ringo’s was something of a one way conversational relationship. That’s the way of newts and boys, you see, and I’m really quite surprised that you don’t know that. No matter how cute and smart newts might be, they do not talk. Like cabbages. So Ringo sniffed and peaked and waited as Edgar plodded further in and farther on. It was “horrid,” and that was the best part about it. It was like going to sea. For some, the call of the song and the salt on the air are a siren to the heart. For others, like newts in jacket pockets, it’s more about being sea sick than anything else. So, it was both a surprise and a pleasure when Edgar suddenly came to an abrupt and immediate stop. Edgar may as well have been asleep at the helm, for, as he walked, his mind wandered further still, not only on matters of nice days and not nice days, but on far superior matters such as what he would illustrate next in his journal, or whether it was worth it to tell his sister about the catch of berries he discovered, or if popsicles could perhaps be used to deliver medicine. But, all matters so very far from where he actually was, for the reason he suddenly stopped was that he unexpectedly realized that, for the first time in his countless escapades behind his house, he did not know where he was…at all. Ringo popped his head all the way out. The wood was eerie and deep. Like Something. You know what I mean? Like it’s own thing. Like A Thing. “Where are we?” Edgar said to Ringo, shivering as his eyes darted about. Gray clouds overhead threatened more than just wet, and now they were not so lovely as he had earlier thought. Is that what “atrocious” meant? There wasn’t time to stare and think for it was getting “more atrocious” by the moment. The trees were not staying still, but growing, swelling, reaching, pressing in on them. They were behind them now too. It was like a window closing, like a door slamming, like a night alone, screaming hopeless in the dark. There was no escape. All directions fled. All seeing merged. Fear. Fear is the mind killer. It kills by the lie. Edgar screamed. He cried out. He called. And then it happened.
Read the rest of Rev Fisk’s story at madpxm.com
From the Mad☧Tank
Catch Meridith Fisk’s sweet reflection on the simple life! To get extra Mad content straight in your inbox, sign up to be an insider and support Mad Monday! If you would like to submit your writing to be published by Mad☧Mondays, please reply to this email. We would love to hear from you!
Odds and Ends
Marriage, Sex and Family
Two Finnish bioethicists argue that humans should “go against their programming” and stop having children. The pair argue that it may even be “morally wrong to have children” and that making ourselves extinct would solve all our problems. It would be funny if it weren’t so serious – the anti-natalist message has some purchase amongst comfortable Western elites who fancy themselves climate allies. While Solomon knew death comes for everyone “under the sun,” only hopeless nihilists believe that death is better than life. (Mercator)
Deaths by assisted suicide in Canada continued to rise during 2022, with policy analyst Michael Bonner writing that the much maligned “slippery slope” has become reality. (National Post, City Journal)
America’s desire for large families is at its highest in fifty years. (Gallup)
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit has requested copies of any documents connecting President Biden with Hunter Biden’s business dealings. This has resulted in the National Archive flagging 82,000 pages of emails under three pseudonyms. (Newsweek)
Rep. Dean Phillips, (D-MN), has launched a bid for the US presidency, saying he felt it necessary to challenge President Biden’s run for a second term. Although Rep. Phillips’ campaign is unlikely to gain any traction, his hope was to draw attention to the President’s low approval rating and advanced age. (WNG)
Former President Donald Trump has attempted to get the gag orders placed on him lifted. Judges in two of his legal battles have banned him from “speech that would target those involved in the case.” In the Georgia election interference case, an appeals court has paused the ban while the Trump team make their case for lifting the order. If denied, Trump’s team say they will appeal to the Supreme Court for relief. In the NY fraud case, Judge Arthur Engoron expanded his gag order to include Trump’s legal team, citing safety for his staff. (The Hill, The Federalist, The Hill) Trump’s sons have testified in New York, distancing themselves from their father’s financial affairs. (The Hill)
Twenty-eight nations have signed up to “resolve to sustain an inclusive global dialogue” about artificial intelligence and its impact on the world. The AI-safety summit known as the Bletchley Declaration discussed the “potentially catastrophic risk” posed by new AI-powered technologies. (The Guardian, UK Gov)
An ChatGPT-trained bot has raised more questions about artificial intelligence and ethics after it opted for a trade it knew was illegal when presented with financial scenario. The bot then lied when asked about the trade. “Honesty is a really complicated concept." (The Blaze)
Apple would like to expand further into healthcare tracking but is concerned about the “high stakes” ramifications of getting it wrong. (The Verge)
The discovery process in an anti-trust trial has offered a rare glimpse into Google’s most lucrative searches: insurance, flights and lots of iPhone queries. (The Verge)
A case which claimed that “Florida’s voter registration process violates federal law” has been dismissed. (The Federalist)
A Judge has ordered a new mayoral election in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after a Democrat official is found guilty of ballot stuffing. (ZeroHedge)
Congress has approved $14.3bn in aid for Israel last week. However, President Biden has threatened to veto the bill, as the money would come out of the monster Inflation Reduction Act passed last year, specifically as a cut of the cash pegged for the IRS. (Just the News)
Low demand for covid vaccines saw Moderna racking up a third consecutive quarterly loss. (CNBC)
US mortgage rates have dropped for the first time in almost two months. (CNN)
Climate and the Natural World
Advocates of eating insects are not giving up, so brace yourself for “celebrity buy-in and a steady drum-beat of experiential opportunities” sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Also, look out for buggy ingredients in pet and human food. (Ambrook)
Farmers have a hard time keeping up with viral diet trends. (Ambrook)
A new study claims that the true costs of an electric vehicle are disguised by state and federal subsidies. (Just the News)
Courts, Crime and Policing
A Pennsylvania nurse has been charged with killing her patients and is now linked to 17 deaths. (The Blaze)
Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty on seven counts of fraud and money laundering. He faces 100 years in prison. (ZeroHedge)
Is it crispy? Apparently you can tell a lot about a person by the way they pronoun the letter “R”. (Atlas Obscura)
A Florentine vault covered with drawings by Michelangelo will open to the public for the first time. Michelangelo reportedly hid for months in the small room after getting tangled up in Medici family politics and receiving a death sentence from Pope Clement VII. (History Blog)
How much does “reading level” matter? The majority of Americans are reading at a third-grade level, but simple and interesting writing is the way to go. (Linked In)
Then again, Puritan John Bunyan only had a third-grade education and he did a bang up job. (William Farley blog)
The US infant mortality rate rose 3% last year, the biggest increase in 20 years, according to the CDC. This follows news from earlier this year that maternal deaths have reached their highest in 60 years. (The Guardian, Not the Bee)
Improving deep sleep significantly reduces dementia risk, a recent study finds. (Medical Express)
And, the state of sleep in the USA. (US News)
Researchers were surprised to find that light can evaporate water without heat. Researchers said the information would affect understanding of the formation of fog and clouds and was “important to incorporate into climate models to improve their accuracy.” (MIT News)
Recently declassified satellite images show remains of Roman forts in Syria. (ArsTechnica)
The US has imposed more sanctions on Russia, targeting its energy sector. (Reuters)
A Ukrainian general says their efforts to recover occupied land are proving harder than he had hoped. Valery Zaluzhny told the media he “had underestimated Moscow’s tolerance for losses of troops” and that a breakthrough is unlikely. (Semafor newsletter)
Leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah have warned Israel (and the US) that it must stop the “aggression” to avoid an escalation of conflict in the region. (Reuters)
According to a recent poll, young TikTok users believe Hamas was justified in its brutal attack. Rep. Mike Gallagher links Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s lackluster statement on Hamas to anti-Israel sentiment promoted by TikTok’s algorithm. “Allowing a CCP-controlled entity to become the dominant player in America would be as if, in 1962, right before the Cuban Missile Crisis, we had allowed Pravda and the KGB to purchase The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, and NBC.“ (The FP, ECFR)
Some thoughts on Israel and Hamas from Frisby:
Stories from Far Away
🇪🇸 Spain has sworn in 18 year-old Princess Leonor. The princess pledged fidelity to the constitution which is a prerequisite to becoming queen when the time comes. (ABC News)
🇵🇦 Panama’s Canal Authority will reduce the amount of ships crossing due to drought-induced low water levels. (CNBC)
🇨🇦 Truck crash results in pyrotechnic display after its cargo of fireworks ignites
Your favorite pixelated hero will return when EDH has returned from a well-earned rest..
John Michael Jones Gets a Life is produced for Mad⳩Mondays by E. Darwin Hartshorn. Episodes can also be found on Tuesday, along with previous episodes, on Bunny Trail Junction at bunny-trail.com.
Quick Hits for the Eyebuds
🎶 Enjoy oil and soap swirling around to a Chopin soundtrack
👽 When did humans first begin thinking about aliens?
😍Real life rocking horses
🧀 Why does Swiss cheese have holes?
⚙️Photos from US auto factories, almost a century ago
🐕 Yoga dog
🔎 Extreme macro of everyday objects
⚔️Knights Wanted: Venture into a Tale of Guarding Young Minds from the
🐉 Evil Foe, lurking within the pages of children's books. Rewards Await Your Enchanted Quest
The Quest for Safer Storytimes
ScreenItFirst Announces Screen-A-Thon 2023 Rewards Program
As a proud sponsor of this week's newsletter, we invite you to join us in crafting safer storytimes for our little ones. Thanks to a generous contribution from the BeatIRS guy and our win at a pitch competition at Boise Entrepreneur Week's Veteran's Track we're able to offer a few tokens of thanks to our friends doing their part to let kids be kids. Share your insights of good and/or questionable content in children's books and earn up to $750 in gift cards and other rewards.
Subscribe, share, and tag us in your storytime adventures. Your noble contributions not only safeguard young minds but also bring you delightful spoils.
Visit: screenitfirst.com/screen-a-thon to get started
A Good Word: Links from the Show Notes
This week’s edition of Stop the White Noise (YouTube, Rumble) began with an energetic discussion of ergonomics, nail clippers and throwing things away. But tune in for thoughts about symbols, baptism, recovering our language and the wonderful ways Jesus fulfils Scripture. Some resources mentioned in the show:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (Note: written from a pagan philosophical view)
Grab a CPH commentary from your church library -outlines for the books of the Bible can guide your scripture reading!
The Horner Method of Bible reading
The Fall of Jerusalem as told by Josephus
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking by Sönke Ahrens
Without Flesh by Jonathan Fisk
And don’t forget to visit the Mad Christian’s own Substack for all sorts of good stuff.
Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached:
Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
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