D-day

D-day: June 6, 1944, the day of the invasion of western Europe by Allied forces in World War II.

When I was thirteen years old, my dog died in the middle of the night—without warning.

Well, that’s not true.

There was lots of warning. She was a toy dachshund and had put on immense amounts of weight. Her belly scraped the ground when she walked—that is, if she walked.

She was miserable.

Being miserable and being a dog, she felt no compulsion to avoid bouts of grouchy, growly and incontinent.

When we first bought the dog, I spent most of my time petting the animal, but by the end of her life, my encounters were primarily cleaning up her messes and yelling at her for dribbling.

Her name was Yogi Gretta.

It’s not one we gave to her, but rather, the one affixed to the papers, assuring us that she was pure-bred.

We probably should have put her to sleep earlier. It’s difficult to decide to kill something when you’re so emotionally attached.

I know it may seem strange, but that is the thought that crosses my mind—the decision on what to do with my house dog—when I think about President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill contemplating sending tens of thousands of beautiful, intelligent, vibrant Allied soldiers to hit a beach in Normandy, France, to try to take back the European continent from a madman named Adolph Hitler.

One thing was certain—many of these brave human beings would be killed.

They would cease to exist.

They would become memories.

Even though I was skittish and tearful over the demise of my pet pup, what was it like to pick a day in June and decide that it was going to be the end of the line for thousands of mortals?

Was there another way?

Could Hitler be left in power to rule over Europe, terrorizing the lives of the citizens?

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill asked General Dwight David Eisenhower to plan the landing to free Europe.

Now it’s a piece of history.

Then, it was an agonizing, horrifying proposition to terminate human life, to save other human life.

Neither men nor women were meant to make such selections. It is beyond our comprehension and certainly, overly burdensome to our soul.

May we pray that when we see tyranny—even if it shows up initially just as stupidity—yes, may we confront it and curtail it before we’re forced once again to set aside a D-day, to lose countless brothers, to rescue us all.

 

Comeuppance

Comeuppance: (n) a punishment or fate that someone deserves.

Sometimes I’m convinced that there are no history books. Matter of fact, I’ve gone on the Internet to make sure they still sell them.

Sure enough, there they are.

So my second supposition is that they just must not be very popular.

Because it does not take too long when perusing a history book, to realize that if you’re going to cheat, lie, steal, abuse or kill, you’re going to get your comeuppance.

You may do it for a while, with authority, seemingly uncontested.

But there is always someone, or sometimes it’s a whole clump of people, who will rise up and stop the foolishness before the human race ends up in the ground with its bones being eventually studied by some other species in ten thousand years.

You just can’t pursue evil and succeed.

That’s enough reason right there to at least consider the option of good.

Yet all of our entertainment, our politics, and even our religions are so power-hungry that they present the illusion that evil might just have a bad enough day to have a good day, and beat the crap out of righteousness.

It doesn’t seem to bother people that it’s never happened.

After all, Adolph Hitler, who thought his Third Reich was going to last a thousand years, fell a bit short. Thirteen years were all he got.

Oh, yes–he destroyed a lot of people along the way and maybe he should have been stopped earlier, but you will notice, he’s not around to take interviews on the subject.

It’s something I need to remind myself of from time to time. I can go ahead and tell that little white lie, and maybe even think I got by with it.

But after a while, the feeling of self-confidence about being nasty catches up with me.

And I do get my comeuppance.

Even worse than that, I end up looking like a fool to have pursued such a retarded, unfulfilling and doomed process.

 

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Brussels Sprout

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Brussels sprout: (n) a vegetable consisting of the small compact bud of a variety of cabbage.

I was thinking about tough jobs:

Being the promotion agent for O. J. Simpson.

How about this?

Social media guru for the Facebook page of Adolph Hitler.

Or …

The marketing representative for Brussels sprouts.

This is a vegetable that has a public relations problem at nearly every turn. (Or turnip, for that matter…)Dictionary B

It is often described as a very small cabbage–not that cabbage has a great following itself. So being deemed a smaller rendition of an “also-planted” vegetable is not a “heady” proposition.

Brussels sprouts are fussy about being cooked. Some people like to keep them crisp and others, well-done. For those who like them kind of soggy, crisp is inedible. Likewise, the crispers choke on the “softies.”

Brussels sprouts also suffer under the dubious honor of being healthy. It would be a wonderful world if people were actually concerned about their health. Most people become interested in their well-being just about the time they grab their chest with a heart attack.

So it becomes an issue of taste. It’s gotta taste good. To accomplish that, we cover them in butter. Butter can make almost anything taste good, including snails.

But the problem is, when you put butter on Brussels sprouts, it’s like sending a choir boy to a maximum security prison to hang out. That which was good will certainly be tainted. The butter turns the Brussels sprouts into liquid death.

Do I like Brussels sprouts? Yes.

Would I serve them at a party? No.

Why?

Because deep in my soul, I really like people.

 

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Auburn

Auburn: (adj) (chiefly of a person’s hair) of a reddish-brown color.dictionary with letter A

My granddaughter thinks I’m over-sensitive.

Whenever she giggles about being isolated and having jokes told about her red hair, being referred to as a “ginger,” she thinks it’s cool.

I don’t.

When I read today’s word, auburn, I thought about the fact that people who have that unique coloration in their hair, would now be lumped in with those considered red-heads, and therefore dubbed “gingers.”

Prejudice is sneaky.

In the “olden days,” when black people picked cotton, no respectable white person would walk up to people with brown skin and call them “dumb niggers.”

They probably just joked about their “nappy hair.” All good-natured, you know–which opened the door to mentioning that their “black friend” also had large nostrils.

All the observations were accompanied with chuckles and maybe even a slap on the back.

The individual with black skin was disarmed by the jocular nature of the interaction. And so, what started off as seemingly harmless bantering moved into segregation and eventually with one person being the slave of another.

I’m sure Adolph Hitler did not walk into his first meeting with the Gestapo and say, “We need to kill the Jews.”

He probably joked around and said, “Don’t they have funny hair, and a hooked nose?”

For I am of a mindset that once we begin to focus on one another’s physical differences, in no time at all we are expressing our superiority.

I don’t like the “ginger” movement.

It’s where all the bigots against blacks, Mexicans and Asians have run to hide–since those forms of prejudice are now unacceptable.

Why can’t we say she just has beautiful auburn hair instead of finding a derogatory way of expressing it … insisting it’s all in fun?

 

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Attack

Attack: (n) an aggressive and violent action against a person or placedictionary with letter A

Several weeks ago I had an overwhelming sensation creep into my soul and for a brief period of time, render me baffled and helpless. Perhaps I’ve overstated the sensation, but it was certainly an eye-opening experience.

I was watching a special on Nazi Germany. I like history shows so it drew my attention. But for some reason, the layout of this broadcast took me deeply into the mind and circumstances of Adolph.

For a very brief moment, I absorbed the sensation of power that surged through his veins from 1938 through 1940, when he dominated the world by attacking all of his enemies, and for that two years, made himself appear invincible.

I thought about the parties, the victory celebrations, the awarding of medals, the touting of “the super race” and all of the bravado that went into creating the Third Reich.

He worked on a simple principle: if I can attack and win, it proves that I’m right.

As I watched the documentary, I also felt what it might have been like when this all began to unravel, and the attacker became the attacked–until he finally found himself in a cramped bunker beneath his holy city of Berlin, surrounded by his enemies, forced to either surrender or take his own life.

It made me wonder why the premise of “attack or be attacked” is still so prevalent in our society. For after all, is there any conqueror who did not end up destitute, denied power, and usually assassinated or self-destructive?

How does the “attack mentality” continue to gain support, when all of its advocates are proven to be foolhardy, buried in inglorious graves?

I don’t get it.

This is what I know: if you attack, you will be attacked.

Granted, not attacking does not guarantee you a free pass … but the karma associated with aggressively attempting to dominate another person always circles back to destroy you.

 

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Assailant

Assailant: (n) a person who physically attacks anotherdictionary with letter A

It happens every time without fail–especially when I’m watching some sort of special broadcast about the assassination of John Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln.

It’s the idea that one isolated human being can literally become pickled in his or her own thoughts, leaving such a sense of nastiness inside that the poison must be released in some manner to keep them from disintegrating right before our eyes.

When my children were much younger, one of them asked me why people did such evil deeds to one another–why an assailant would viciously and brutally mutilate another human being.

I gave a very simple answer–one I hoped my son’s young mind could understand.

“You’ve got to take care of your crazies.”

Whether we want to admit it or not, every family has one crazy, and maybe more. It’s just a human being who’s born a bit emotionally mis-shapen, spiritually vacant and mentally twisted.

This kind of individual never learns to absorb the beauty which comes in life and is stored deep inside of us, to protect us from the despair that often fallows.

If we don’t watch out for the crazies we know, and instead pretend it’s none of our business, we will soon find ourselves interviewed by CNN, asking us when we knew that our loved one or friend had taken a turn for the worse.

What would have happened if the sane people in Lee Harvey Oswald’s life had quietly cornered him and disembowled his hatred and diffused the ticking bomb in his heart?

What if the family and friends of John Wilkes Booth had kept him busy with conversations, or even family projects, which would have preoccupied his mind, away from the insanity of killing Lincoln?

What if the young friends of Adolph Hitler had curtailed his insanity in the early days of his youth, using peer pressure, intimidation and positive reinforcement?

It’s just too easy to call evil “satanic” and to refer to everything good as falling from the heavens and the hands of God.

We have a responsibility to extol the good and the best in one another and smother the monsters inside the crazies of life–before they have a chance to grow.

 

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April

dictionary with letter A

April: (n): the fourth month of the year, in the northern hemisphere, usually considered the second month of spring.

“I just love the seasons,” she proclaimed to me in explaining why she lived in a tiny town in Michigan.

I assume she was talking about spring, summer, autumn and winter. But since I have lived in a collision of communities all over the country, I will tell you flat-out that no one gets four seasons.

When I lived in Ohio, the situation basically was that somewhere along the line in the month of May, it went from winter to summer. I was aware that April was supposed to be springlike, with temperatures in the fifties and sixties to prepare us for the Vernal Equinox. But there were Easters when I had to slide on my snowboots.

Living in Nashville, Tennessee for a while, I was also promised by the Chamber of Commerce that there would be four seasons, only to discover that spring was often swallowed by winter and fall would be consumed by a lingering heat wave from the summer.

The only two seasons which actually seem to have dibs in the pecking order are summer and winter.

Even in our climates which purport to be “tropical,” you get “summer” and “wet.” And I suppose “wet” can be spring, fall or winter.

So April, to me, is always a month filled with the celebration of Easter (except when the calendar screws us up and puts it in March).

Somebody jokingly told me that April is unique because it has the dubious distinction of containing the birthday of Adolph Hitler. (I don’t know why I included that.)

So although I believe that April really wants to bring the showers to provide the impetus for May flowers, it is just as likely to provide the “building fluff” for Frosty the Snowman.

 

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Apologetics

dictionary with letter A

Apologetics (n.): reasoned arguments defending a theory or belief.

Living in a world that wants to debate the power of argument and argue over the rules of debate, I find myself retreating in self-defense.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to make a stand, nor that I lack evidence of a personal nature on what I hold dear. It’s just that when I am limited to the power of mere articulation, I lose the majority of the beauty of my human emotion and faith.

We are not better people when we are convincing. For after all, Adolph Hitler was able to make a case for his Super Race.

What makes us viable and appealing is the stream of evidence which oozes from our pores as the proof of what lies within.

So a politician who is jaded and angry off-camera fails to convince me of his or her sincerity.

A corporation which revels in its slick advertising, capturing a market, is not nearly as appealing to me as one which takes responsibility for inferior products and sets in motion the research to improve.

And the religionist who mocks the simplicity of a child-like faith in favor of a theology with so many twists and turns that it produces a pretzel logic is not the mind of God to my weary ears.

Here’s what I want to know:

  • Can you tell me the truth?
  • Is it working for you?
  • What can you share with me that confirms that assertion?

Many centuries ago, a blind man who was healed by an itinerant preacher was mocked by the intellectuals of his day because the so-called miracle didn’t make any sense nor follow any acceptable form of religious practice.

His response was precious.

He said, “I don’t know about all your opinions and learned ways. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see.”

Amen.

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Anschluss

dictionary with letter A

Anschluss: (v) the annexation of Austria by Germany

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if somebody had caught little Jack before he became the Ripper, and told the lad never to play with knives?

Or maybe if there had been somebody in the house of little Johnny of the Booth clan, saying that black people aren’t really meant to be slaves?

It would have been nice if someone would have caught Jeffrey Dahmer yelling at a cat and mistreating one before he went on a killing rampage.

There are moments reserved for the brave.

They happen to all of us.

Yes, each and every one of us have “crazies” in our lives.

For instance, several people were responsible for Adolph Hitler–and because they didn’t want to interfere or be judgmental, they decided to let him proceed in his growing insanity.

It would have been wonderful if the British and the Americans would have made a big deal over Hitler annexing this little piece of Austria. Why? Because Hitler wasn’t ready for war at that point.

He thought he was. But what created his war machine was the confidence that grew in his troops as they conquered Europe.

Yes, by the time he got to annexing France, he became nearly unbeatable.

I thought about this a lot when I was a father, raising my children. Sometimes I was tired and it was easier not to make the object lesson, calling out bad behavior. Matter of fact, sometimes it seemed noble to “let one slide.”

But I rarely did.

Because facts are … the little confrontation you have today always eliminates the war which could rage later.

 

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Ankh

dictionary with letter A

Ankh: (n.) an object or design resembling a cross but having a loop at the top instead of the top crossing arm; used in ancient Egypt as a symbol of life.

Insanity is tricky.

Sometimes it’s obvious. A five-year-old boy who slaughters cats and dogs probably has some problems and is on his way to being a serial killer.

Yet some insanity temporarily is considered to be current practical thinking, or even spiritual.

This creates a dilemma. Folks who are considered to be spot on do temporarily lose their minds in preference to gaining popular favor.

Several examples come to mind:

  • How about all the people who wrote astounding essays on the value of slavery for the plantation in the Southern states?
  • Those who contended that Prohibition would eliminate drinking and alcoholism in our country.
  • A contingency who had great faith in the existence of witches in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • Politicians who tried to negotiate with Adolph Hitler.
  • Good god-fearing Americans who waved flags in support of the Vietnam War.

Well, I could go on and on.

Case in point: at a certain juncture in my own personal history a friend of mine gave me an ankh. It was beautiful and I thought it was so cool that I wore it around my neck constantly, only to be attacked by friends of the Christian persuasion, who contended it was an Egyptian demonic symbol and that I was welcoming evil in my life by donning it as an accessory.

They were quite insistent. For some reason, the cross coming to an oval at the top apparently created an opening for the entrance of evil spirits.

I did not believe any of this.

But because I didn’t want to lose friends, appear too different or create some sort of Stargate for Beelzebub into my heart, I took it off and threw it away.

I’ve always regretted that. Matter of fact, I used that experience as a point in time where I decided to start thinking for myself, tapping my own spirit and common sense.

For I will tell you: it is rather doubtful that any object in and of itself perpetuates evil.

As history reveals, it takes short-sighted people to truly usher in … the essence of hell.

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