Barometer: (n) an instrument measuring atmospheric pressureDictionary B

Sometimes a barometer is just a barometer.

In other words, it is some sort of instrument that measures the pressure in the atmosphere, to let us know when it’s going to rain or whether we have at least the possibility for some sunshine (even though I am both perplexed and perturbed when the forecast reads, “partly cloudy.” Dammit, make up your mind.)

But in the passing of time, the word “barometer” has been abducted and held for ransom by writers as a term to punctuate any change that happens in society.

In other words, “the barometer of consideration on the Internet lets us know…”

Or the pollsters took some numbers, and “the barometer of the reaction was…”

So tempted as I may be to waddle down that chicken trail of pop culture jargon to make some point about humanity and our times, I will refrain, and allow the barometer to have its space and distinction.

But if I were to add any insight on the issue, I would tell you that the atmospheric pressure of our times is a pair of contentions: humanity is either all animal or is intended to be angelic.

No one seems to want to let people be human–a little classier than Monkeyville, and on the other side of the tracks from Gabriel and the angels.


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Bandstand: (n) a covered outdoor platform for a band to play on, typically in a park.Dictionary B

Summertime in Middle America is a collision of tradition and revision.

Because right in the midst of the Internet generation are the simple pleasures of small towns, gathering a handful of local musicians to hold 25 rehearsals to play 12 songs in a bandstand in the center of the town square, to the delight of the old folks, and an opportunity for the younger generation to meet together on summer vacation outside the confines of the local school.

It is a sight to behold.

The musicians are a little nervous, uncertain of themselves, yet self-possessed with the importance of the moment.

The director has dressed for the occasion and struts around like he’s Leonard Bernstein at the premiere of West Side Story.

And the old folks sit in rickety wooden chairs, turning to one another and conversing about as many inane topics as possible before being silenced by the orchestra tuning up (and never quite achieving pitch.)

The little kids run and play, and the teenagers yearn for dusk, when they can slip away from their parents and investigate the pleasure of one another’s bodies in the alcove of the staircase next to the local library.

It is America.

It is the blending of the old with the new, in some sort of temporary agreement over a poorly performed Sousa march.

It is something we must never lose, although we should never regale it as being more important than mercy and justice.

The bandstand sits quietly the rest of the year, part of the time covered in leaves and on other occasions nearly hidden by snow.

But when it is ready, and when it is time, it encircles the warmth of feelings which can only be expressed by those who awkwardly care for one another.


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Bandage: (n) a strip of material used to bind a wound or to protect an injured part of the body.Dictionary B

The reason “the truth makes you free” is that you do not have to exhaust yourself finding new hiding places for your stupidity.

During a particularly stubborn point in my life, I developed an infection in my left big toe.

I didn’t think much about it. At first it just looked like athlete’s foot. (Matter of fact, that’s what I called it. I was rather proud to be athletic enough to have a corresponding foot.)

But it got worse. It festered and then spread to my nearby toe, so I had two little fellas who were now unable to go to market.

My denial increased.

I did not want to go to the doctor with it because I felt ridiculous asking a man of medicine to deal with “my little piggies.”

It began to seep pus, having to be bandaged every day by a friend of mine, who was so gracious that she pretended it wasn’t a big deal.

After a while, it stunk.

She and I pretended like it didn’t, so as to keep propriety moving along properly. Then it started turning black.

That’s not good.

So I tried more home remedies, and convinced myself on a daily basis that it appeared to be healing. I even bought some silver over the Internet because it was referred to as an “old-fashioned antibiotic” that I could pour on the wound and believe I had discovered some great medical elixir of the gods.

My toe got so sick that it finally made all of me sick. I went to the hospital, but was too late to save the two toes, so they were amputated.

I hope I haven’t grossed you out with my story, and if you’re still reading it, you must have a great constitution.

But here’s the truth about bandages:

They were created to cover a wound while it’s healing … not disguise a wound that needs treatment.


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Audacious: (adj) showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

dictionary with letter A

I am very curious exactly how many miles one would have to run with a stick before actually tripping, falling, having the pointed end of the stick lodging in the eye.

Yet we were led to believe that such careless running with loosely held wood would ultimately most certainly lead to blindness.

We were not raised to be risk-takers.

So rather than ending up with a generation of people who are careful planners, adept at common sense, we have an “earthful” of cautious, lazy folks who occasionally rebel by actually doing things that are dangerously risky.

If you continue to avoid activities which merely demand a certain amount of skill because you think they’re risky, you’ll eventually get fed up, go out and enter a jalopena-eating contest.

Somewhere along the line we have to teach our children that the pursuit of excellence does bump up against risky endeavors, but the power of planning and the presence of practice does enable us to run with a stick without gouging our eyeballs.

I have taken audacious risks all my life.

I will tell you this–simply writing a blog on the Internet is risky business. The possibility for obscurity, criticism or being stalked by a person with a manic disorder who doesn’t like to swallow pills is always prevalent.

But it will take some risks for us to avoid greater risks.

It will take the frightening thought of negotiation to keep us from negotiating another war.

It will take risky conversations about racism to eliminate dead young men in the street.

It will take brave souls insisting on the common humanity of men and women to bring about the true peaceful interaction which will prevent us from being constantly at each other’s throats.

What is worth the risk?

Any time we have the chance to advance the cause of peace, liberty and justice, it’s well worth getting up out of our easy chair and grabbing our baton (which is just a stick)… to start running. 


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dictionary with letter A

Areola: (n) a small circular area, in particular the ring of pigmented skin surrounding a nipple.

It is a God thing.

I know it’s a little freaky to talk about sexual matters, and tie them into divine wishes, but forgive me. I feel comfortable with it.

Nowhere in the entire universe do you find the sense of humor, the passion and the sensuality of God as much as you do in the female breast.

Aside from being utterly magnificent in its form, and appreciated by men like me despite its various incarnations, it is a total blending of the practical and pleasurable.

Ninety percent of it is fatty tissue. Normally, we’re unimpressed with bulgy fat– unless it happens to land on the top of the female torso. I have some such bulges in my waistline, but no one is displaying it on the Internet for $8.99 downloads.

Pretty good sales job–to put simple fatty tissue in the correct location to stimulate lust. Remarkable.

Then you come to the nipple. Everyone in the world knows it has only one logistical use–babies really like the shape and find it easy to extricate Moma’s milk from the utility provided.

But let’s be honest. God could have just made fattened nipples. Right? In other words, a clump of extra skin and a doo-dad for baby.

But no. Not God.

Playful Creator He is, He decides to surround this practical implement with an areola. And then He inserts nerve endings aplenty for sensitivity and sexual arousal.

So you got the whole package here, ladies and gentlemen:

You got the clump of fat with the nipple for Junior

And a sensitive areola to use as foreplay

If we really just evolved based on the parts of us that are most applicable, then the areola certainly should have been abandoned tens of thousands of years ago. But since we were created, our Maker decided to give us as much pleasure as He could … without having us totally obsess over the product.

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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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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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