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November 13, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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November 13, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- Public prayer The U.S. Supreme Court is currently debating whether public prayer at a town's board meeting is permissible. There is a long tradi- tion of this in public legislative entities going back to the infancy of this country. However, a case brought before the court has been presented by a couple of objectors from a town in New York. It appears there is enough support from the justices to keep the policy in some form. However the courts may conclude there should be some guidelines put forth in the matter. I have attended a lot of town council meetings, and have never witnessed this sort of thing, despite the fact our area is quite conserva- tive in nature. I am neither for or against the action, but if it is allowed it should be fair and inclusive. We are becoming such a diverse country that I wonder how a generic form of prayer could be used. Jews for instance do not believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God. Then there are Atheists who do not believe in any supreme being or religion. Although I always wonder why this should bother them if they do not believe in anything to begin with, Also world wide Christianity Ranks much lower than several non Christian religions and our country is becoming much more diverse in these non-Christian religions. Personally I would not be at all offended if a Muslim or Hindu offered a prayer before a meeting. For that matter I would not be offended even if Atheists offered something of their belief. After all most of us don't have a clue what they believe in, but then if they believed in the "Great Pumpkin" would they still be considered Atheists? In one case a town supervisor encouraged anyone of any religion to offer a prayer prior to their meetings. If the Supreme Court rules that the practice can continue, but rec- ommends guidelines preventing discrimination be put in place, then who will set up the guidelines for that? To go even further, who will set up guidelines to guide people in setting up guidelines? I really think if the practice is retained by the court it could actual- ly open up communication between our growing diverse communities. I think that people with different religions, or skin color have more in common with the so called white majority than most people realize. After all just below the epidermis of everyone, we are truly all alike. I truly hope the Supreme Court rules to allow the practice to con- tinue. However if that happens I feel a statement of some sort should be made to insure that people of all races and creeds should be made to feel comfortable attending public town cotmcil or other public govern- ment meetings at the State and Federal level as well. Of course one thing the Supreme Court or any other legislative body cannot prevent is silent prayer. It's as free as anything can be, and it can be done at anytime. Although you might not want to bow, your head while driving and praying! ;~aving said that-- Best Friend, after proofreading my column came up with a real common sense idea. She says, why can't they have a 15 minute period, before each meeting for those who wish to say a prayer, then start the meeting after the prayer session. Then peo- ple who do not wish to be present for the prayer time could avoid it by Volunteerism a self, and give in, never volun- subsidies, or any other govern- teer for anything on a permanent ment programs. (but, of course, Primer basis, always reserve the right to you deserve this!) just "not show up", because you As you might expect, we in Since retiring from my teaching wouldn't say no. rural Minnesota are largely depen- job some 9 years ago, and enter- 3. Always reserve the rightdent upon volunteers. We know ing the masses of "underage" to complain about those whom that we are all susceptible to want- retirees, both my wife and I have you've agreed to help as lazy, ing to judge others from time to taken it upon ourselves to volun- shiftless, and any other deroga- time, but that our nature is still teer for any number of jobs, all of tory term you can think of since generally good. As with any- which need doing, many of which they weren't born here and aren't thing else, if you prove to be a are otherwise, largely ignored, related to you and your family, dependable volunteer, you will These include volunteer driving, 4. Never go out of your way to probably be worked to death. I both formal and informal, vari- upset your schedule or lifestyle in was once told that a previous ous jobs through RSVP, elected order to help someone else.volunteer was" burned out" and and appointed positions within 5. If you do volunteer, be sure conveyed this to the director of a the church, community, and local to remind those around you that large community service agency. service organizations, local food- you never needed this kind of help The director simply replied, "Give shelf, etc you get the idea. yourself because your friends and him today off and call him tumor- Some former experiences in this family were always there to take row to see ifhe's better." regard have prompted me to pro- care of you. Finally, if you involve yourself mulgate the following primer for 6. If you choose to mix your in the business of helping others, others who may be interested in politics with volunteering, always the word will get out, and you volunteering, and especially for remind those around you that there might be put upon to do more than those who are not. are too many dependent upon the you want. If so, you will be the 1. Rule number one is the same government and the "system". one who will benefit the most. as it was when I entered the mil- 7. Ignore that fact that the "sys- Dennis Phelps itary nearly 50 years ago tem" is largely responsible for Westbrook, MN never volunteer for anything, your situation, in general, whether 2. If you can't help your- it be through social security, farm . "Stories from tne BaH Cave" MAD Magazine I was a mere urchin when my brother gave me a gift subscription to MAD Magazine. My mother worried I'd become a knucklehead because I considered the films of The Three Stooges to be documentaries and I read MAD. I was familiar with the publica- tion thanks to New Richland Drug. It was a Rexall drugstore. Rexall was a chain of North American drugstores, having as many as 12,000 drugstores across the United "Are you going to buy that maga- zine?" I wasn't going to buy it. I was as broke as a joke. All I had was the emergency dime that I carried in case I had to make an emergency phone call from a pay phone. In case I needed to drop a dime, so to speak. If they didn't want people to read in the drugstore, they shouldn't have put in a library. "Are you going to buy that?" he repeated, not for my benefit. That was like yelling "Whoa!" in the middle of a horse race. Ray, Emie Kovacs, Wally Cox, Orson Bean, Henry Morgan, Dave Berg's Lighter Side Of and Spy Vs Spy, a divine satire of the Cold War. Don Martin's cartoons capti- vated me. He was MAD's maddest artist. His onomatopoetic sound effects, such as "BREEDEET BREEDEET," "FAGROON klub- ble klubble," "PLORTCH," and "SHTOINK" delighted me. Later, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Don. He was a treat to write for. Mother wasn't keen on the maga- zine. She suspected it was the end States from 1920 to 1977. Only one was in New Richland. The "Rex" in There was art awkward silence as =of civilization. She scrutinized the name came from the common" if'we were in an elevator. I under-i,each issue before handing it to me Rx abbreviation for drug prescrip- stood that the druggist was tired with the caveat, "Just read the good tions, and grumpy from trying to read the parts." I visited the drugstore while scribbles of doctors. I showed her AI Jaffee's Fold-In, waiting for my parents to transact I put the magazine back in its a drawing on the back cover that business in town. Sometimes I'd proper place and fled the drugstore I folded vertically and inward to coming into the meeting at that time. Makes sense to me. have to wait five-ever. That's even under the glare of the druggist and reveal a hidden picture and new lu, e~ mna~l"- '~m~eve. some innocent bystanders. The caption. I hoped that spatial magic looks were like being hit by a clue- would convmce her that MAD was Have a great week and do good! ~ i ne aruastore was an euucauonat ^:,: ~ ^,~. ~ by-four Crime did not pay teaching me the science ofengi- faunlty, it wu~ wneie i Ulle " " vnnncr mnth~r qnva In nnnthar, ,!.It was cool to have my very own neermg. In the drugstore, I d teed welco~me going to the dentist. It ma.gazine delivered by the rural to fold it without creasing the back -':" ^- m^" chance +" -'ut m- fe^" mall earner. MAD gave me a break cover. ~|vc~ c ** tu P y cut . . . from bemg me. Mother wasn't qmte I had mother nearly convinced ~'N ~e rl I D 1 up. . . so exceed about MAD She thought that MAD was the intellectual enunel J 11/ll 1 lovernearoasmumgmanteu ^ ~ : ^~a~a ~.: ~ it a subversive publication that superior to "Middlemarch" by the utu~l~t, x neeueu ~un,cu|m~ to make me fieel better. Doc Olds woum put we,re mouglats in my ueorge trout, when ]t came m me r'l'q -- .t.^a ~ :.^a: ~,head. I wanted to assure her that marl. lip II Anumc "'i" upu. ~cemg'"- ~.:o t.- ~ u there were so many wetrd thoughts. . it was an issue of MAD that "" ' muttered " 'rima m~v not nay but m my head already, there was no included a square, cardboard "'" ."7~" ";' ~ -. -,~, " ~' room for new ones. But I'd learned record. It was labeled "Real 33 1/3 nelmer ooes iarmlng. If you see news happening or have a story ~ .~ ~. a. ~ o .n.~ that there were thin~s that mothers RPM record." Alfred E Neuman Th~ utug~tul~ n~u ~t uutaty iu~ ~-~ " t. ^ ,t.- t were better offnot knowing,sang, "It's a Gas". It was an instru- idea call our News Tip Line. o o. . e e " s e MAD was filled with snarkymental track punctuated with loud h sold ma azme . Durm a t~me . . wh-n all w~bsi'~- inwlved s-iders parodies, amazmg cartoons, and belchmg. e Le~ U 13 - ~ we didn't kn~w what was featured momc cover boy Alfred One of us found ~t amusmg. 274-6136 or 1-800-410-1859 o Due to staff limitations we may not always be gluten free, I pretended to look for E. Neuman, who flashed,a gap- in in i r The toothed smile and had a What, me AI Batt 2013 able to respond to your tips or ideas. However we magaz es my pr ce ange. y 9, i i 1 "i" worry motto The self-described 71622 325 St . will do our best to give every call full regard. . taunt ex st. I reau penou ca s unt [ ' !. a~kad hv the laoalizad druo dealer "The Usual Gang of Idiots" wrote 1-1, MN 56042 Thank you for your help and consideration. ~ "- - " -- = - - ' it. I adored the writings of Bob & "1 ~q~ ~ ~r~ (ISSN 8750-3905) Thomas Merchant Managing Editor Junette Merchant Office & Production Joan Spielman Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00. Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. Newstand price is $1.00 per copy. 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