Badlands

Badlands: (n) extensive tracts of heavily eroded, irretrievable land with little vegetation often found in the Southwestern U.S.Dictionary B

As much as I believe that God is a person, during my journey here on Earth, I value Him mostly as a concept.

What I mean is that since I am living in an atmosphere which determines quality by results, I must look for mortal conclusions instead of insisting on eternal ones.

I’ve learned this from dealing with conservatives and liberals.

In both parties there are certain issues, regions or individuals they have deemed “bad”–dare I say, irretrievable?

So sitting in San Francisco, talking to some of my more liberal acquaintances, I will relate to them about my journeys into Mississippi and Alabama as they roll their eyes and wonder what I could possibly hope to achieve by peddling my thoughts to the ignoramus.

In like manner, I have conversed with my conservative friends in Georgia, who heard that I was heading to Southern California, as they told me they would pray for me, hoping I would be able to do something to enlighten those “fruits and nuts” in the Golden State.

The greatest danger in the human experience is accidentally trying to transform one group of humans to divinity while forcing the remnant to live with the apes.

  • There are no badlands–just regions with a lack of vision.
  • There are no good lands–just territory where they use their talents.
  • There are no chosen people–just folks.

We will finally reach a sense of true spirituality when we take a hint from our Creator and stop living our lives peering at the outward appearance, and instead, begin to ascertain what is possible in the heart.

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Badger

Badger: (n) a native of WisconsinDictionary B

How fortuitous for me to actually find myself in Wisconsin, sharing with you about the badger.

The word actually has three definitions. Primarily it refers to a weasel-like creature which can be extraordinarily aggressive if cornered. Also, along with “a resident of Wisconsin,” it means to be so pesky that people find you annoying.

Honestly, I don’t find the people of Wisconsin to be anything like the badger. Actually they are much more like the other representation tied to the state–cheese.

Not cheesy, as in pretentious, but just a solid block of cheese–aged well, mellow and ready for you to take a slice if you so desire.

It’s not so much that different areas of the country are devoid of emotion, because on any given Sunday, you can go to Lambeau Field in Green Bay and the cheeseheads scream and holler for their team with amazing manic energy. They also do it down in Madison, for the college Wisconsin Badgers.

But when you spend at least seven months a year living in an ice box, it takes a while to thaw out. I have learned to be patient with Badgers–to never corner them and accuse them of being dormant.

Instead, I just take my time, give them their space, and allow them a chance to crawl out of their surroundings and to quietly sniff me.

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Bad Debt

Bad debt: (n) a debt that cannot be recovered.

“Free credit report dot com.”Dictionary B

I have never seen a time during my human history when there is such obsession with one’s credit report.

It used to be a subject whispered in the hallowed halls by those who were fairly confident that they had achieved acceptance in the realms of financial security but still occasionally wondered if their unknown credit score might someday, like a nasty asp, lurch up and bite them in the ass.

Now all we have to do is punch a few buttons and discover how well-accepted we are in the banking community.

As one who has had a very high credit score number and a very low one, I will tell you that neither numeral enhanced my being.

I didn’t become a better person when I soared to the heights of reverent dollar-wise security, nor did I become a devious devil when the same number plummeted, flirting with entering the gates of hell.

To me, it falls under the universal banner of what seems to be so important in our society today: shallowness.

  • Let’s not talk about important things because they’re too serious.
  • Let’s not consider our frailty because that’s too depressing.
  • And please, dear God, give me a number that confirms that I am four points higher than the son-of-a-bitch sittin’ next to me.

So rather than excelling at goodness, gentleness, kindness and creativity, we have selected to be evaluated by a mythical number that can be accidentally changed … through a clerical error entered by a high school graduate who got a D in data processing. 

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Bad

Bad: (adj) of poor quality; inferior or defective.Dictionary B

Speaking of bad, Mr. Webster, that is really a bad definition.

Truth is, something can be very high quality and still be bad. And we also have to consider what is generally bad versus what is bad for the human race.

General badness, if you’ll pardon my phrasing, is pretty obvious. Noticing that something is defective usually requires only the cooperation of the eyeballs.

But what is bad for the human race demands that we use wisdom while applying a sense of history.

So I will tell you right now, there are three things that are bad for human beings: anything that kills, steals or destroys.

I don’t care how high its quality may be or how much pedigree it may carry or whether we really enjoy it–it ultimately is bad.

That would include some things we deem to be good.

No one would consider it bad to be religious, but religion has certainly done its share of killing, stealing and destroying.

You would receive great criticism if you suggested that culture is a bad thing, but every day of the week culture is used as a motivation to kill, steal and destroy.

So what does it mean to:

  • Kill: Taking that which is living or is headed for life and terminating it.
  • Steal: Removing from someone’s possession a gift, attribute or portion that belongs to them.
  • Destroy: Eliminating something that has been accomplished and bringing it to nothing.

So I find bad things in religion, politics, entertainment and even in what we consider to be patriotism.

Bad often arrives with a promise of innovation and good quality–but it takes innovative people with a good quality outlook on life to identify the bad … before it kills, steals and destroys.

 

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Bacon

Bacon: (n) cured meat from the back of a pig.Dictionary B

Bacon is the religion of the fast food industry:

  • It is the communion which is needfully placed on the menu of every item.
  • It is the salvation for pink-slime hamburgers which would be rejected by the masses if standing alone.
  • It is the heaven we seek in pursuit of artery clogging and eternal life.

I have never seen a time in my life when bacon is so important to everyone. It’s the flavor, the crunch, the aftertaste, the texture, the sweetness, the saltiness and the fact that eating it is considered to be naughty that draws us deep into the hind quarters of the pig, for pleasure.

I am not immune.

It’s just that at my age, and being a male, I must opt for turkey bacon and convince myself that it resembles the “pig-out” product.

Of course, it does not.

Turkey bacon can perhaps slightly fool the taste buds, but when you pull it from the skillet or the microwave, there is that ever-present fragrance … of Thanksgiving morning.

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Backyard

Backyard: (n) a yard behind a house or other building, typically surrounded by a fence.Dictionary B

One of the most startling events in one’s life is to return to your childhood home as an adult and discover the obvious shrinkage.

As a kid, I thought we lived on a property that was at least twenty acres. I used to roam our backyard, and would literally become exhausted by walking from one end to the other and back again, due to the fact that it had a slight downward slope, which insisted on being upward on the return.

But many years later I stood and stared at our house, which was more like a cottage, with a backyard that barely exceeded the definition of postage stamp.

By the way, it was now overgrown with trees which had been mere saplings, and seemed cramped, due to the fact that the new landowners had placed a swing-set in the yard, creating obvious clutter.

I tried to close my eyes and envision it as I saw it as a boy of ten, but the minute my peepers were open again, I was startled with disappointment.

It does grant hope.

For those parents who are concerned that their children do not have enough yard to play in, and move to the suburbs to accommodate the lacking, I will tell you: if you give a kid six square feet of grass, he will be convinced he’s on a football field.

 

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Backward

Backward: (adj) having made less than normal progress.Dictionary B

They are the two “S words” slung by liberals and conservatives at one another to degrade the character of the opponent, rendering them emotionally mortally wounded.

For it is the liberal who declares that the conservative is “stupid,” and the conservative who insists that the liberal is “sinful.”

I, for one, am weary of the ill-doing.

As a soul who travels the country in search of my lost innocence, I encounter people of every persuasion. There are foreign nationals, natural-born Americans, religious types, atheists, female, macho men and children of all shapes, sizes and dispositions.

I don’t find those who are politically bent towards the right to necessarily be stupid, nor do I find the “left-turn crowd” to be wracked with sin. Conservatives are not backwards and liberals are not forwards.

Actually, the human race is divided between those who are humble enough to give a damn and those who believe there is no one beyond tip of their nose.

I have members of my family who are convinced that anyone who lives south of the Mason Dixon line is buried deep within the intellectual groin of our country.

And I do meet people living in more reclusive areas who are sure that the politicians in Washington, D.C. who do not place an “R” after their name are Satan’s imps.

So my mission is simple: ignore the titles and deal with the hearts.

Because if there is a Judgment Day that comes along, none of us will be able to produce any of our pedigrees, but instead will be stuck with our deeds.

And my understanding of the Judge is that He has great mercy for those who believe that no one is better than anyone else.

 

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