Apple-pie order

dictionary with letter A

Ap·ple-pie or·der (n): perfect order or neatness.

When I read today’s definition, I realized I had no recollection or information on this terminology, and since I am a writer on the Internet, I am fully qualified to expound on it in great detail.

For I will tell you–I like the phrase “apple-pie order,” and I realize that it is never used in our generation simply because we find that a certain amount of disarray is necessary to convey our individuality.

If you want to lose friends and not influence people, just suggest they initiate organization. It is the classic definition of “buzz kill.”

Because even though people cannot argue with your assertion that a certain amount of prioritizing is essential, they feel very American and freedom-minded by continuing their chaos in bliss.

What is the apple-pie order of life? Does it vary from one situation to another? Or has the evolution of the human experience shown us exactly how we work best?

I think that we, as human beings, are heart, soul, mind and body creatures.

When we make our decisions based on our bodies, we normally end up in some derivation of excess or hedonism.

If we decide our life goal based on what we think, we borrow too much from our training and parents’ philosophy and never gain our own sense of purpose.

Even those who feel they’re very spiritual by promoting prayer and God-seeking in the forefront tend to sprout too much piety and not enough practicality.

So we must begin with the heart. If we don’t deal with our feelings and rectify them with reality, they will hang around and kick us in the butt if we turn our backs.

So I think the apple-pie order when attempting to place things in a realistic framework is to start out with:

  1. What do I feel about this?
  2. Is there abiding knowledge or wisdom on the issue?
  3. Can I think of a way to take what I’ve just discovered about my feelings and universal truth and come up with a great idea?
  4. Can I motivate this old bod that I’ve carried around and encourage it to perform the functions that make me appear adept instead of inept?

So it turns out that the apple-pie order is so much like the dessert itself: it works better if you take some time to seek out an a la mode.

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Appetite

dictionary with letter A

Ap·pe·tite (n): a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, especially for food.

I stumbled across a conversation on the Internet between two women, arguing with one another about food.

Each of them had posted a picture of herself, so I had a quick visual of the combatants.

The extraordinarily slender woman was piously offering advice on better food choices that her “friend” might want to select to escape the rigors of obesity.

The “friend” in this case, who was a plump lady with a big smile, lamented in her diatribe about people who judge her by her appearance, offering way too much advice on how she could become more attractive and meet their standards.

It fascinated me in this day and age, when people are so convinced that we are “born a certain way,” that we excuse all of our prejudice against one another based on the necessity of consuming food.

For I will tell you this–because I am a fat man, I know more about calories, good food choices and what is healthy than twenty skinny people. I can tell you exactly how much I overeat, and how those particular carbyhydrates or sugars affect not only my plumpness, but also my mood.

There is no chubby person in America who couldn’t apply for a license to become a dietitian.

The sooner we realize that our appetites are primal, if not genetic, the better we will be able to address them, bringing them under our scrutiny if not our control.

I have the metabolism of a sloth, so I also have to fight to escape having the exercise regimen of the same creature. In other words, I would much rather hang from a tree by two claws than fall to the earth and run about hunting bananas.

Add to that the fact that I do not eat because I’m hungry. I tend to eat because the refrigerator has not yet been emptied. It seems to be my mission.

I don’t expect someone who’s thin and burns calories by looking at a book to comprehend this dilemma. But I do think one of the more cruel aspects of human prejudice is to squint at the weaknesses in others as we smirk at our own.

Appetites are what confirm that somewhere along the line we had a merger with the jungle. Addressing them, acknowledging a problem and controlling them is what confirms that we have a divine lineage.

 

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Antipsychotic

dictionary with letter A

Antipsychotic: (n) a type of drug used to treat psychotic disorders.

I believe the old saying is that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

I don’t know if that means that fools are careless, or angels are chicken shit.

But I do know that ever once in a while, it’s important to risk appearing foolish in an attempt to focus on something that’s important.

So playing the part of the fool, let me state bluntly that America is nuts.

I know that’s not a clinical word normally used by psychiatrists, but it does describe the mishap of activity that is being presently performed under adult supervision.

Religion, politics, entertainment and corporations have lost all sense of morality and even any compass for productivity, chasing down either imaginary dragons or unicorns in the enchanted forest.

There seems to be a national sense of neurotic.

Now, what is the difference between being neurotic and psychotic?

  • Neurotic is when you’re afraid that you’re going to go out on the street and get robbed, so you end up staying at home.
  • Psychotic is when you stay at home and have a visceral experience of being robbed by imaginary thieves named Imogene and Darnell.

Here’s my concern: neurotic people can become psychotic if their neurosis is not talked out.

I believe we’re already on the verge of finding imaginary enemies that are chasing us down instead of having the good cheer and wisdom to tackle simple problems in our everyday lives. So more than ever, people are being prescribed medication for conditions that should be handled among our peers with comedy and conversation.

Yes, if we stop talking to each other, only texting and posting on Facebook, the little demons will start crawling out of the closet and begin to gnaw on our ankles.

So let me be foolhardy and tell you that social networking, the Internet and cynicism are tempting us as a nation to leap from neurotic to psychotic. Then we scratch our heads and wonder why somebody would ever go into a school and shoot a couple dozen little kids.

I know we’re concerned about tragedies like this, but I’m much more worried about the loss of humanity, the missing link in our species that creates brotherhood instead of culture wars, and the rejection of a gregarious nature, forcing us back into our caves, where we scrawl on the walls, admiring only our own artwork.

We will become psychotic, and then will probably become so alarmed that we’ll prescribe a national antipsychotic for the water system if we don’t learn to deal with the neurotic notions that make us feel superior to each other and afraid to merely use our abilities the best we can.

 

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Ante

dictionary with letter A

Ante: A stake of value or money placed by players in a poker or similar game prior to the beginning of the game.

I do believe it is one of the three things that everybody contends they do pretty well. At least they would not allow you to speak disparagingly of their effort.

The first one of these is love-making.

If you were to believe the populace as a whole, every one of us is a great lover. Obviously this is impossible, but I’ve even counseled people who have committed adultery, who were sorry for the action, but also wanted to make it clear that they “blew the mind of their lover.”

I think the second one of these self-concluded abilities is singing.

Even though you run across people who admit they can’t sing, if you listen to them warble and then laugh, insisting they were correct in their assessment, some offense will ensue. Yes, most people think they are “shower” recording artists.

The third one may surprise you. I believe it’s poker.

Nothing will get you more ridicule than admitting that you don’t totally understand the game of poker or that you might find yourself clumsy while participating. For after all, that usually is the persona of a card shark.

So when I am invited to join a poker game, I have to immediately run to the Internet and catch up on the rules, especially when it comes to the realm of “ante” and betting. Honestly, sitting here writing this essay, I don’t exactly remember how the process of placing money into the pot really works.

I know some of you will write to me to explain it in vivid detail, and I appreciate your knowledge on the subject, but it will not prevent me from being tense when the cards are dealt in my direction.

Somehow or another, I can’t figure out how you can make money at poker when you can be “called” at any time. How does the betting continue, enabling you, if you have a good hand, to procure more money if everyone else has folded?

It baffles me.

And I, for one, have found myself in situations where I pretend to know things that I don’t, only to be exposed later as both a fool and a charlatan.

So in a sense, I am going to “ante up” this morning by admitting my lack of comprehension of poker.

Yes, and I feel so candid that I will include singing and love-making, too.

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Another

dictionary with letter A

Another: (adj & pron) a word used to denote an additional person or thing

I have just learned to go with it.

People often ask me how I’m able to write a column every day on the Internet. They think it’s impressive.

For me, impressive is someone digging a ditch on a ninety-five-degree day, or my food server remembering my exact order, complete with a side of horseradish.

But the reason I can write is because I don’t fight the first sensation that comes to me and try to improve on it too much. Most of the people I know who are writers fail at the task because they’re waiting for another idea.

They become too critical of their first instinct or try to complicate it or embellish it too much and lose the beauty of what I refer to as “slapping your face” inspiration.

Two immediate examples came to my mind when I read the word “another.” Both of them are comical in nature because they show how ridiculous we become when we are either too analytical or feel too entitled.

There is a story in the Good Book about the character John the Baptist sending his friends to ask Jesus the question, “Are you the one or should we look for another?”

It’s pretty funny. After all, there weren’t a lot of people doing miracles and railing against the religious system, while preaching a universal message of love.

But Jesus didn’t fuss. He just went out and did a good day’s business. Then he told the messengers to go back and report to John what they had seen. He left it to John to decide for himself if there was another.

On the other hand, there is the advice you get from people, usually older adults, when you’re a teenager, about romance, after your girlfriend breaks up with you.

“There are a lot of fish in the sea,” they proclaim.

You see, that’s fine if one fish is as good as another, but if you were thinking about getting a bowl and having a fish of your choice to be your lifelong pet, then some specific attributes would be required. (There’s a reason they call them “gold-fish.”)

Human beings are not like buses. You can’t miss the opportunity to love one and think another one is going to be coming around the corner real soon.

“Another” is a dangerous word. If we use it too often, we begin to believe that we are merely consumers who are being wooed by God and our fellow-humans with their wares.

If you ignore blessing too often and miss out on the moving of the Spirit … you might find yourself stuck with something much less satisfying than what was originally offered.

 

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Anecdote

dictionary with letter A

Anecdote: (n) a short and amusing or interesting tale about a real person or incident.

There are things that are true–yet truth has a responsibility to stay contemporary.

What I mean is that simply because something was true in a certain way a hundred years ago does not mean it can be heard as truth in our present society by pursuing the same method.

For instance, people used to tell stories.

Back before radio, television, Internet and downloads, the bearer of news relied on speech instead of Podcasts.

Folks actually sat around a fire for hours, spinning one yarn after another, giving examples, and in the process, created both understanding and fellowship with one another.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get nostalgic. I’m perfectly satisfied living in a world where the anecdote has been set aside, or only applied as a means of an opening monologue for a Rotary Club speaker.

But in the pursuit of truth, we have to learn how to take the better parts of the past and mingle them with the new awakening. The only danger, of course, is losing the intimacy once possessed between human beings, and ending up with phones that have their own “I”-dentity and think they’re “smarter” than us.

So what should we do?

I think it’s the responsibility of the creative people in every generation to keep the warmth of great ideas and heat them up on the burners of our time.

It’s one of the reasons I write this essay. I can take words, insert my anecdotes on subjects a bit beyond the realm of my true perception, and therefore interact with you blessed people.

So the next time you come across some grandfatherly individual who begins his conversation with, “It reminds me of the time when I was a young man…”–instead of rolling your eyes and quietly texting under the table, find an ingenious way to come up with two questions to ask him about his experience, and see if it doesn’t change a mere story … into an encounter.

 

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Andante

dictionary with letter A

Andante: (adj) used as a direction in music to mean a moderately slow tempo.

I have found that a little bit of knowledge gives you just enough confidence that you can stumble into creative ways to make a fool of yourself.

It’s much that way with me and music.

I had three years of what you might call “formal training” in playing the piano, and then lots of extemporaneous encounters which have afforded me a scholastic understanding of the craft, similar to storing old papers, discarded clothing and unused appliances in a utility closet. There is no plan for organization–just a bunch of stuff.

So when I saw today’s word, andante, what popped into my mind was what I believe to be a title to a small composition I played when I was a child, pursuing the eighty-eight keys set before me.

It was called Andante Favori. Now let me explain–I do not know if this music actually exists, or if it was a cute title that my piano teacher applied to a piece she wanted me to attempt, and decided to try to make it more appealing.

But as it turns out, as I prepared for today’s essay, I looked it up on the Internet, and discovered that there actually is an Andante Favori. It was written by Beethoven, designated WOO57.

I’m not sure of the translation, but I’m pretty convinced that the title simply means, “A Favorite Andante.”

Not very clever, but in that day and age, composers had to make their living as teachers, and since there was not a lot of printed music available, they penned their own lesson tunes for the students who were given to nobility, but not necessarily talent.

So as I’m writing this today, I am literally punching in a You Tube of somebody playing the piece. I can tell you that it’s not stunning, it’s very simple, and is exactly what an andante should be: completed but not memorable.

So it is with a combination of rejoicing, awe and yet a bit of being unimpressed that I share this with you today.

It’s just nice to know that Ludwig actually wrote the song and it wasn’t an andante of my imagination.

 

 

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