Dank: (adj)  unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly:

Although many enthusiastic pilgrims insist that adventures bring the spice to life, that same spiciness often generates emotional indigestion.

I like a good turn of affairs—but my body, my being, my feelings and soul do not always concur.

Just once—a single time—hopefully never to be repeated—I found myself trapped in a house, trying to outlast a hurricane.

The storm itself was not particularly terrifying.

For the answer, my friend, was just blowing in the wind.

The struggle came when the electricity went out along with all the accoutrements afforded by such a charge.

Especially air conditioning.

Also, you can’t open the windows because of the hurricane, so you’re in an old-fashioned hot box, doing your best imitation of a TV dinner.

I sweat. Then I sweat some more. I got tired of drinking since there was no ice, but I still kept sweating.

Trying to sleep was a bit futile.

I must admit, I’m a creature of habit who deeply enjoys sleeping ice-cold. Instead, I lay naked on my bed, perspiring, with my brain gradually twisting like an exotic pretzel.

Yes, for me that kind of heat and sweat and dank surroundings were mind-altering.

I started feeling an itch in my brain that I could not scratch. It was inaccessible to me without the inclusion of air conditioning and ice.

I grew grumpy.

I was fussy.

I couldn’t sit still—but moving around seemed to be a heinous flaw.

There was a point when the air felt so heavy that I wasn’t sure I could actually breathe it. It was like I needed to cut it out of the space in the room—chop it up—before it could pass through my lungs.

I had always prided myself on being adjustable, but suddenly I was at the mercy of a deep, dark, dank hole in my universe, that was anything but chilly.

Rather, it was sweaty and tropical.

Fortunately for me, just about the time that I was ready to scream out my disapproval, the shutters were lifted, the windows opened, the generator turned on and I sat in front of a fan, blowing hot air into my face.

It was enlightening.

I always felt that in all circumstances I could find contentment.

Instead, I discovered a glaring exception.



Crude: (adj) lacking culture, refinement, tact

The reason the Golden Rule is so glimmering is that it involves us in each situation by requesting that we consider how we would feel if we were placed in the dilemma. Of course, you don’t have to do that.

No one is being executed for breaking the Golden Rule.

(Dare I say, there are some folks who would applaud you for ignoring it.)

But it reminds me of when I was a teenager in search of adventure in a community that may once have been a one-horse town but ended up selling the nag.

I usually got the car on Saturday nights.

Gasoline was cheap. So I drove around for a long time until I picked up a friend or two. Then we went out and tried to get in just enough trouble that we could escape at the last moment, giving us the exhilaration of danger without the repercussions.

There was a lake right outside the town. I discovered a small, unpaved road that went right alongside the bank of this body of water for about a mile—with bumps, foliage and a sense of “what’s going to happen next?” in every direction.

The road was precarious and scary

After a mile it opened up to gravel, climbing an embankment and placed me onto a well-traveled highway.

We were so thrilled with our adventure that night, we decided to bring along a couple of girls the next Saturday night and do it again. Being adolescents and not having well-formed brains, we failed to recognize the ramifications of the huge rainstorm that occurred in the middle of the week.

So on Saturday night, all four of us, in my Impala, headed down toward this deserted path, only to discover that once we were about a quarter of a mile into the excursion, the region that had once been bumpy, with holes, was now flooded.

There was no way to back up, so stupidly, I decided to go forward into the watery muck.

And, you guessed it—got stuck.

This incident happened long before Triple A and cell phones existed. We realized that unless somebody was going to walk back to civilization, which was about five miles, we were going to have to get out of this predicament on our own. (This included the young ladies who had come along for a lark, and now were on the deck of the Titanic.)

It took an hour of pushing, rocking, splashing, our clothes completely mud-splattered, to get free, but finally we escaped and were safely on the highway again.

It was crude.

For you see, crude is often that pursuit of adventure or comedy that soon must go too far to provide entertainment.

Crude is failing to use your sensibility and sensitivity to provide a safe haven for your friends to come and enjoy your fellowship.

Crude is forgetting the better parts of being a human and settling for jungle fever.

Crude is when, for some reason or another, we just decide to be a rude dude.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

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College: (n) an educational institution or establishment


I never went to college.

I have used numerous excuses and lies to disguise this fact:

  1. “Well, the experience I’ve had is very similar to going to college.”
  2. “I took a few courses but never enough for graduation. Maybe I should check into that.”

Or the outright lie:

  1. “I am a graduate of Xavier University.”

(My thought? Most people would not know how to spell Xavier and would not pursue further.)

All through my twenties I felt like a dog without a collar. You know–a mutt rolling around the town, and everybody knows he doesn’t have a purpose or an owner
because he has no tags.

Yes, without college I felt a sense of self-discrimination. I was so convinced that people were looking down on me that I looked down on myself.

Then one day I simply asked my inner soul, do you wish you had gone to college?

I immediately realized that everything I had experienced would be gone in deference to the collegiate adventure.

That would include a wife, two kids, a music group, albums and writing a book. The case could be made that I would have eventually done these anyway–just with more book learning.

But one day–I guess I was about thirty-three years old–someone asked the question about college and I responded, “I never went.”

I really felt that the Earth moved beneath my feet–that the sky was falling in to trap me. But nothing actually happened. The person who inquired was a little surprised, since she felt I was very adept at what I was doing. But we were quickly on to talking about whether potato salad was better with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.

You see, you don’t have to go to college for those kinds of discussions. Just have a heart, an idea you believe in and a willingness to be wrong.

I have found this to be the definition of higher education.


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Circulate: (v) to pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person.

I have recently been accused of being anti-social.

The diagnosis was offered because I failed to attend a party. It was assumed that anyone who didn’t want to come to this social adventure
had to be out of his or her mind.

I was supposed to come and circulate among people whom I have known for years, and read about ever-too-frequently on my Facebook page. As a matter of fact, I know so much about these folks that I could probably write personal bios for them.

But they were convinced that I had sunk into some sort of despair because I wasn’t going to come and hear the same old stories while partaking of a dip with only subtle new inclusions.

I do need to circulate–but I need to do it among people who are not necessarily related to me or benefit from me personally or financially.

A great man once said that if you only love those who love you, what in the hell is so special about that?

For instance, I just came back from the grocery store. I encountered at least twenty-five people I have never met before.

I circulated.

I conversed.

I opened up my heart to the possibility that these were good folks and I would benefit from the exchanges. I suspect about half of them thought I was crazy for being so talkative. But the other half took a risk, jumped in and, well…circulated.

We do not circulate when we only hang around those who resemble us or are friends because we buy presents for them on birthdays or Christmas.

We circulate when we allow the blood of human relationship to mingle among castes, races, genders and ideologies.

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Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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dictionary with letter A

Annex: (v) to add to one’s own, especially as relating to property or land: Ex. Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.

You have to watch words. They’re tricky, especially when uttered from the tongues of deceivers.

Often in an effort to disguise greed, selfishness or oblivion, we use language that is vicious at its heart, but drenched in a bit of honey. Or maybe it’s not vicious at all–just misleading.

  • Can I borrow a Kleenex?
  • I don’t mean to be critical, but…
  • You know me–I like to get along…
  • Does anybody else think that Bob is …?
  • It’s just the way we do things over here…
  • It may be old-fashioned but I still think…
  • I believe women want to stay at home…
  • I’ve always found men to be stupid. How about you?
  • I think the races don’t want to mix. Birds of a feather, you know…

These and many other statements are spoken daily by people trying to hide their real intentions, while annexing huge portions of human dignity, feelings and righteous freedom.

Hitler annexed part of Austria. He called it an annexation instead of an invasion. If somebody had questioned his use of the word, who knows? We might have avoided a world war.

So even though I occasionally make people angry by insisting they use the proper term for their actions instead of “annexing” different terminology to clean up their actual motivations, I believe I will continue to do so, and perhaps by pursuing such a noble adventure … stop a war or two myself.

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dictionary with letter A

Amalgamation: (n.) a mixture or blend: e.g. a curious amalgamation of the traditional and the modern.

I love that word.

Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that our society is an amalgamation of many amalgamations–some good and some bad.

I think the best amalgamations are when an obvious need is blended with a willing spirit, culminating in a needful revelation.

Let me give you an example:

People in our country are too cynical. One of the ways we’re cynical is that we think everyone has the right to disagree with the fact that the country is too cynical.

It’s not a vote.

Cynicism is obvious because we prefer to stagnate in unworkable ideas instead of pursuing risky options that might require greater commitment. So if we admit that we’re cynical, we can concur that we need a willing spirit to consider other options, rather than sitting over coffee talking about how miserable everybody is.

Minus that willing spirit, cynicism is no longer an emotion. It becomes a philosophy.

But if you have a willing spirit, you can develop a sense of adventure to try some new things and weigh them in the balances, to see what works and what doesn’t.

Otherwise, you begin to question whether the whole process of growing and expanding is really necessary in the first place.

Politics, religion and entertainment have sunk into a quicksand of cynicism, which tells them to remain very still because if they struggle they might sink faster. But here’s the truth: even if the best reaction to quicksand is to remain still, you will eventually have to get out of the mire, or your life will be useless.

We need an amalgamation in this country–recognizing our cynicism, repenting of it and welcoming new ideas, even if many of them seem ridiculous and without merit.

Because honestly, the funniest story that could be told: Thomas Edison sharing about the experiments that failed to work … on the way to the light bulb. 


Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adventure: (n) an unusual, exciting and possibly hazardous experience or activity.

Make up your mind.

Is it unusual? Or exciting?

Is it exciting? Or is it hazardous?

Sometimes the dictionary sounds like my grandma. One of her favorite sayings, when she occupied grumpy human space, was, “I know it sounds like fun, but it also sounds dangerous.”

First of all, that’s not a great deterrent to a teenager who thinks that “fun” and “dangerous” should be the same. I think we greatly inhibit our progress as human beings–and also rob ourselves of opportunities–by trying to evaluate everything based upon whether it’s unusual. I also believe that connoting that the definition of “adventure” fits into one of those three categories is probably the most efficient way to keep people efficient–and boring.

I disagree with Webster. Adventure is just the way it sounds–it’s adding a venture.

It’s taking on something new, seeing how it flies, and making sure you don’t get TOO far off the ground–so if it crashes, there will be no loss of life or limb. Otherwise, you start believing you’ve got to do something truly weird to express yourself, or worse, totally expensive.

I have friends who can’t have fun unless they spend money. To a certain degree isn’t that the antithesis of fun? Because even as you’re enjoying the surroundings, you’re lamenting the loss of income.

No, I think “adventure” should be adding a venture to your life every week, different from the previous week, which does not involve much capital, much time or much loss of anything. For instance:

  • Once in your life you should volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  • You should probably go hiking.
  • Get on a lonely stretch of road and drive your car real fast.
  • Surprise a stranger on the street with a five-dollar bill.
  • Be in a good mood when people think you probably shouldn’t.

Just find things that are already built into nature which are intriguing and take them on, so when the subjects are brought up, you can have a story.

There you go. That’s what life is all about. Granting yourself enough ventures that you can always come up with a story … often describing how much you despised the addition.



Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acoustic: (adj.) of music or musical instruments not having electrical amplification: e.g. acoustic guitar

  • It has to be fun.
  • It has to be humble.
  • And it has to be willing to learn.

Those are the three ingredients I think are necessary to make any adventure workable, enjoyable and realistic. Whenever any group of people takes themselves so seriously that they believe they’ve arrived at the apex of all understanding or the pinnacle of all talent, they are obnoxious and in some ways, dangerous.

This is true of musicians.

Music, which was meant to be a heartfelt explosion of joy, intimacy and emotion, has become, God forbid, a craft. And as craftsmen, we sit around and discuss the subtleties of the use of particular implementations which hold our delicate treasures together.

Thus the word acoustic.

So the rock band, which was once willing to admit “they only knew four chords and that’s why their music sounded the way it did,” pretentiously now does a documentary film, sharing their music acoustically instead of using electronic assistance. We’re supposed to stand back in awe of these cave men, who have discovered that there is some little world outside their enclosure, and mull over their genius simply because … “they’ve unplugged.”

I love music.

  • Music was God’s way of saying life should be tuneful.
  • Music was God’s apology for conversation.
  • And music is our way of expressing ourselves without insisting that the whole room listen to us pontificate.

So we should HUMBLY pursue it, realizing our limitations and ceasing to make excuses for our frequent bobbles.

But instead, we proclaim some people who compose to be “masters,” and everyone else mere “minstrels.”

So rather than enjoying the fact that other people have picked up our instrument and exceeded our efforts, we instead attempt to tear them down because they are not purists and don’t honor the traditions of syncopation or structure.


I don’t care if you rock, jazz, square dance, hillbilly, rap or insist on Mozart. Be humble about it and have some fun. You’re not a better musician because you play an acoustic guitar instead of an electric one. It’s not a better auditorium because it’s acoustically adjusted to the high A-sharp on the first violin.

It’s supposed to be joyful. “A joyful noise”–remember that? So unless you plan on giggling and dancing, don’t come my way.

Acoustic set.

Somebody needs to take off the rubber nose and the big floppy shoes.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accomplice: (n.) a person who helps another person commit a crime.

I have a piercing memory of the word “accomplice.”  In this recollection, I see the crimson cheeks of an angry principal at a high school, huffing at me, insisting that I was a criminal and that I had turned my ten-year-old little brother into an accomplice to my law-breaking.

At the time I believed that he was overwrought, but I was still intimidated by the dramatics.

You see, what happened was that I was supposed to get into the high school to set up some equipment for a performance. When I arrived, the janitor had not showed up. Being sixteen years of age, I patiently waited four minutes and then began to figure out the best way to enter the school without breaking glass or brick.

Someone had told me there was a window down near the back staircase where the boiler room was located which was always open, although it was extremely small and difficult to enter. Fortunately for me, I had brought my little brother who was more than willing to be on an adventure with his cooler older sibling.

I had no trouble finding the window and as promised, it was open. But there was no way in any kind of physical world of my awareness that I would be able to get MY frame through the tiny hole.

On the other hand, my little brother fit perfectly.

Here was the problem: the inside of the room where my little brother would be entering was dark, so it was impossible to determine how FAR it was from the window to the floor beneath. This did not deter me. After all, what good is a ten-year-old brother if not for experimentation?

So I lowered him through the window, holding his hand and reaching down as far as I could to suspend him. He whined up at me, “I still don’t feel the floor…”

My thought was, how much further could it BE? So I yelled back, “Hang on!”

And then I let go of his hand and he dropped.

Now, this younger brother was not a good athlete. He hit the floor hard, fell back and bumped his head on a nearby metal something-or-other. (After all, it was dark. Who could know?) He was dazed but was able to get to his feet, stumble up the stairs and open the door for me to enter.

But I didn’t consider that when the janitor DID arrive, he would be curious about how I entered the school without his key. I attempted a creative lie on the spot, but honestly, needed more time.

So I found myself standing in front of a screaming educator who wanted to impress on me that I was a renegade and a rascal and had involved my brother, making him an accomplice in this hideous crime.

Even though I did not believe it was nearly as serious as the principal insisted, I have since refused to participate in such capers and have never, to my knowledge, made anyone else an accomplice to my misdeeds.

That is, unless you want to count my wife–and the four mischievous sons we conjured.