Corn

Corn: (n) a tall cereal plant having a jointed, solid stem and bearing the grain, seeds, or kernels on large ears.

I tried to get lost in America.

Many times.

Although I visited every large city, there were occasions in my touring, travels and interaction with the populace that I purposely placed myself deeper and deeper into smaller and smaller regions.

It was enlightening.

It was invigorating to drive down a country road at twilight and not see a building taller than two stories for ten miles in any direction.

What I could never escape was corn.

It’s everywhere.

I judged my tours by its growth.

I began each tour traveling when little, tiny green heads were barely popping out of the earth.  Matter of fact, someone would have to point out that the “field over there” was corn, because it looked like a promising acre of weeds.

Time passed.

I logged some more numbers on my odometer, and now the green weed was nearly knee high—often before the fourth of July.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

But it still didn’t look like much.

More travel, more little towns. More diners which surprised me with a particular delicacy that tickled my fancy.

The corn just kept growing.

Pretty soon you could make out tiny ears sprouting, getting ready to hear further instructions from Mother Nature.

And then—all at once—there were huge fields of it in all directions. Corn stalks blowing in the breeze, chock-full of magnificent cobs, ready for the munching.

It was delicious.

But it was also forewarning—the warmth in the air was soon to be replaced, and traveling gypsies like me needed to find warmer climates, and spend my time watching the oranges grow.


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Cork

Cork: (n) material used to make stoppers for bottles

Long before there were screw-on caps, people had to figure out a way to keep their wine from spilling. After all, it’s unrealistic to think that the wine bottle will remain upright since we, ourselves, are incapable of the  maneuver.

I don’t know who suggested the cork. But little did they know that centuries later, they would institute a phraseology which encourages funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
control: “Put a cork in it.”

As soon as this genius—whoever he or she was—carved a piece of cork to fit into the top of a bottle and was able to pull it back out, to open the vessel once again, he or she made it clear that if you don’t want to spill the contents, you’ve got to make sure the exit is dammed.

That covers so many subjects I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

For instance, every morning I wake up stuck with how I feel. Sometimes washing up, getting some breakfast or just moving around might improve my energy, but often the contents of my “bottle” is either ready for pouring—or needs corking.

I have to know the difference.

Bluntly, there are times when I am not suitable for human consumption. No matter how many aspirin I take, push-ups I do or cups of coffee I may ingest, what is inside me needs to be corked.

Then there are days when my internal splashings can pour forth like crystal blue water. Those are the occasions when I can pull the cork, and make myself available for the party of humankind.

“Put a cork in it.”

And when you do—be grateful to the person who decided to cease accepting spillage and found a good way to keep it bottled up.


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Corinthians

Corinthians: (n) either of two books of the New Testament, I Corinthians or II Corinthians, written by Paul.

Whenever I talk to young—or just new—writers, I offer a single piece of advice. And it isn’t the classic comment normally passed along, which is, “Write what you know.”

Hell, I write a lot of things I don’t know about.

But you see, the key is—I just told you. I purposely shared that I don’t know anything about the subject; I am merely giving you my reaction.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

What every writer needs to be is painfully honest—about both discovery and ignorance.

If a writer is bruised, he will post paragraphs filled with defensiveness.

If a writer is prideful, his scribblings will be speckled with condescension.

When Paul, the Apostle, who was originally Saul of Tarsus, sat down to write the Corinthians, he allowed himself to don more than one persona.

His feelings got hurt because the Corinthians found a preacher who they liked better than him, so he reminded them, in a very petty way, that he was the one that first brought the Gospel to them.

He tried to deal with a controversy of immoral proportions, which should only be handled on-site in the moment.

And he certainly was wounded and complained about their lack of financial assistance to his wandering mission.

Yes, the books of First and Second Corinthians are a study for any writer in comprehending that some mornings, when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s better to roll back over.

And yet, in the midst of that—even with the upheaval he was feeling in his soul toward these people, he still managed to write one of the most beautiful passages of all time:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not love, I am sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.”

It’s referred to as “the love chapter”—the thirteenth of First Corinthians. It is brimming with humility, passion, wonder and, dare I say, precious honesty.

It is the reason we remember Paul in history as a great teacher of peace instead of a cranky, aging Jew who was having trouble making budget.

“Now abides faith, hope and love…” but as Paul said truthfully, “the greatest of these is love.”


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Correlate

Correlate: (v) when two things affect or depend upon another

Déjà vu—that odd, often creepy sensation—that what we’re presently experiencing we have already encountered.

I have actually heard many explanations for this phenomenon, so let me tell you what I think one of the instigators may be for a déjà vu moment:

Every piece of the heart and soul inside us, loving us, tries to subliminally warn us that the place we’re in, the steps we are taking and the mood we’ve selected has been pursued before, and did not bring about much fruitfulness.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I believe one of the great gifts imparted to me as a human being is the instinct of knowing I’ve done this stupid thing before in some way, shape or form, and now would be a good time to bail out.

The present political situation seems very familiar to me. It doesn’t feel odd. Matter of fact, this is the third occasion in my lifetime when I’ve seen the United States temporarily go insane because half of the country was supporting someone the other half believed to be crooked.

Let me give you a correlation:

It would be similar to living in a house with a father and mother who campaigned to divide the affection of the children, causing brothers and sisters to be at war because they side with one parent over the other.

This is what we’re being asked to do today.

We were also asked to do this in the late 1990’s, with President Bill Clinton, and of course, in the early 1970’s, with President Richard Nixon.

If any of you out there lived through these experiences, you should allow your brain to give you a beautiful déjà vu, and begin to correlate, in your thinking, the similarities and traps—and thereby avoid being sucked into a war of insults and lies, and instead find your identity, maintain it, and laugh at the ridiculous fiasco.

Here are things that correlate: telling the truth, honesty, repentance and change

On the other hand: lying, cheating, denial and destruction.

Truth will always end up on top. It’s not because God is controlling the Universe and killing off all the liars. Rather, it’s because people like you and me begin to correlate and come to agreement. As painful as the truth may seem, it does free us from the need to defend dangerous lies.

Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace.

Bill Clinton is still regarded as a flirtatious womanizer.

Whoever continues to lie in our present circumstances in America will join these two in obscurity.


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Core Gender Identity

Core gender identity: (n) a person’s inner sense of being male or female

A couple of weeks ago I woke up convinced I was handsome. It was magnificent.

It lasted until I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom. Then I was conflicted. Should I believe what I woke up with? Or should I deal with funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
what I see? And is what I see what is really true, or rather, my perception of what I think truth should be?

After all, maybe I am handsome and my inner thinking about being handsome has been tainted by years of being deemed average.

Which notion in my brain should I follow?

Which path seems to have the most promise?

I remember when I was a young boy, just eight years old, I heard a performance by a man playing piano. After the concert hall cleared, I slipped back in, walked up onstage, sat down at the instrument and began to move my fingers the way I had seen the man perform. It didn’t sound a thing like what he produced. At first, I was angry. I wanted to be a piano player. (At least, right at that moment I did.) But it seemed that nature, or God, had favored this man over me.

I remember the first time I asked a girl out on a date. She said no. As did the next three in a row. It crossed my mind, “I wonder if they think I’m gay? Am I gay? If I can’t get a date with a girl, maybe that’s just Earth’s way of telling me that I’m gay.”

This thought quickly disappeared when the fourth girl said yes, and we went and made out like two fish swimming in the bayou.

Turns out I wasn’t gy—but maybe I was gay until I wasn’t.

I saw a man lift weights. He grunted and groaned but was very successful at it. I thought, how hard can this be? I walked over and tried to lift one end of the bar. Could not budge it. Does that mean I’m weak? That I should go out and buy protein powder to build up my muscles, or else I will be overcome by an enemy?

In the process of one day, the human brain of every person alive goes through so many contortions, so many questions, so many different ideas, that it is very difficult to land on true identity.

I don’t think we should ever deny, ignore or reject someone’s core gender identity, faith proclamation or personal belief.

But I also think if we are to be kind to one another, we will allow each other the chance to be dreaming, wondering or even confused—without holding each other to the present whim.


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Core Curriculum

Core curriculum: (n) a collection of courses with a central theme

I tend to run out of the room in a bit of horror when I hear voices raised and people begin to stomp around sharing their opinions with more energy than wisdom.

I know it may be popular to be sold out on your convictions, but too often I see people’s convictions sell them out, leaving them ignorant or inept.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Every once in a while, you’ll stumble across a discussion laced with some humility—and the participants will admit that the reason a conversation is necessary is because knowledge is lacking.

For instance, what does an eighteen-year-old American teenager need to know, think, believe and feel upon graduating from high school? Candidly, college offers new choices the student can take advantage of if he or she is so inclined, but I do think we should be very interested in what the average eighteen-year-old already knows upon completing the core curriculum in the American educational system.

And in a sense, it does boil down to “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic”—but may I add a fourth “R?” Rationality.

Reading is necessary because if you’re eighteen years old, and you insist that everything you need to know you’ve already learned, then you are certainly a danger to those around you.

‘Riting because if you’re only going to use words in vague half-sentences or tweets, then you will often leave the world around you bewildered as to your intentions. Can you write a decent paragraph that conveys what you’re trying to say?

‘Rithmetic—because entering the adult world, you must understand that things need to add up, and if they don’t you must subtract something and learn to divide up your efforts to grant you the possibility to multiply.

And finally, rationality. Teaching an eighteen-year-old that most of the time, he or she is either wrong or deficient of the data necessary to make a good decision will calm things down, with a bit of needed uncertainty, instead of becoming overwrought, chasing unrealistic dreams.

Yes, there is a need for a core curriculum—where we start out agreeing on common sense principles.


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Core

Core: (n) the center of anything.

“At the core…”

I’ve used this phrase all my life.

To me, the core has always represented the purity—the genesis—of an idea or substance.

Yet an apple core is tossed away.

The core of the Earth is ablaze with fire and molten rock.

But without the core of the apple, you have no seeds for future apples. And from my understanding, without the molten core of the Earth, the whole balance of our ecosystem is upset.

I’ve heard people talk about core values. What are core values? Are they things I think are important, that you might not? Or are they things that are important to everybody? And what would those be? And if they do exist, why aren’t we talking more about them?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

For instance, are there a variety of ways to tell the truth?

Is there a core approach to being accepting of others?

I would love to sit down and chat about what produces the seeds of life inside us and keeps the fires burning.

I have two core values—two cores to my center, two central intelligence agencies within me, which are irrefutable and cannot be changed.

The first one is that I am often wrong.

Without this core, I naturally begin to believe I am right. This is not only obnoxious but has historically proven to be dangerous.

The second core is no one is better than anyone else.

I have been around people who argue this point. They believe some people are born evil, others blessed.

But I contend that allowing ourselves this piece of nonsense always leads to bigotry, anger and war.

Yeah—I guess those are my two core values:

I’m often wrong.

And we’re all the same.


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