Blazer: (n) a lightweight jacket, typically solid-colored

Dictionary B

In my high school days I was in a music group, a quartet of fellows who were very intrigued with the idea of being famous and not quite so intent on musicality.

We spent most of our rehearsals discussing the clothes we would wear on stage, and also whether we could get a good deal on Beatle Boots. It was very important.

Of these four young men, I was the chubbiest.

So whenever we went clothes shopping and they found something they really liked–something they thought was hot and cute, which would get the girls’ attention–they would discover that it didn’t come in “Porky.”

They pretended not to be disappointed–but I knew I was holding them back from being debonaire.

One day we came across some golden blazers.

They were so cool. Everyone tried one on, and each person looked stunning in his own adolescent, awkward way.

There was one extra-large in the blazer. I tried it on, and it covered most of the terrain of my belly but pinched me at the shoulders and looked a bit ridiculous when I stood in front of the mirror.

But the guys were so intent on purchasing the garment that they convinced me I was passable.

Back home, I tried it on again and again and again. Each time it looked worse and worse and worse–especially when I wore it with the accompanying black turtleneck.

I looked like a bumblebee with a glandular problem.

So I set out to address the situation by soaking my blazer in water and then going out to my mother’s clothesline in the back yard, hanging it up with pairs of boots dangling from the inseams, so as to stretch it.

Do you get the picture?

After it dried out, I discovered that it still failed to cover my midriff–but nearly reached to my knees.

For the next year and a half, whenever it was “golden blazer time,” the other guys looked nifty and keen–and I resembled a monk who had recently acquired a beer gut.

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Birthday: (n) the anniversary of the day on which a person was born

Find the reason.Dictionary B

There are too many things we do in life that are either absent purpose or have lost direction, but continue to be honored in some awkward way.

Because we do not understand the true value of a birthday, we come up with cakes, cards, silly gifts, and nervous congratulatory statements to cruise through the twenty-four hours, relieved that it only happens once a year.

The reason for a birthday is to establish how well we have used the blessing of 365 days.

If you find yourself discontented or embarrassed to look back on the activities of the previous year, then you know the greatest gift you can be given on your birthday is a gentle kick in the “assaroni” to do better.

Our lives should mean something.

They should not be apologies for the activity level we have selected, based upon our circumstances.

They should not be a listing of the people who love us because we have decided to love them.

A birthday is a celebration of growth in the passing of a year, instead of passing a year with no growth.

There are three things I want to hear on my birthday:

1. We’re glad you’re here.

2. You make our lives better and easier.

3. We are astounded at how many of the things you wanted to do this year that you were able to accomplish.

Now, that is a Happy Birthday.

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Besmirch: (v) to damage the reputation of someone or something in the opinion of others.

Dictionary B

I don’t often take the liberty of addressing contemporary issues in these essays, but I am greatly troubled by the way our society is handling a particular human being.

Yes, I may be the singular person in America who feels sorry for Donald Trump. He possibly is the only truly innocent person in this whole cavalcade of ridiculous parading around, while turning our Democratic system into a clown act gigging at a whore house.

After all, Donald Trump has always made it clear who he is.

One can watch three episodes of The Apprentice and understand the man. He has two personas: an entertainer who acts as a salesman, or a salesman who greatly enjoys entertaining. Therefore he has dual goals:

  1.  To garner emotion from you
  2. To get you to buy something.

Unfortunately, he has tapped a bitter well in the American culture which spews poison. Once he realized there was a great flow from this poisonous digging, he pursued it–being the salesman that he is. The fact that we are unable to cap it is our problem, not his.

Of all the candidates running for President, Donald Trump is the most transparent.

The problem lies in our own secret rooms, where we still maintain a vigil of prejudice, but try to act embarrassed because this New York billionaire thespian acts it out for us.

So be careful when besmirching the reputation of this awkward soul.

He is what he is, and by the way … that’s all that he is.

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Ball: (n) a solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, especially one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game.Dictionary B

Thirteen years old is such a fussy, giggly time.

I was at church camp and one of the counselors had forgotten to bring balls for us to play.

First of all, being thirteen years of age, when the counselor announced that we didn’t have balls for us to play with, we all had to giggle uncontrollably. (You see, that’s the problem with the word “ball.” It has so many meanings that it’s nearly meaningless.)

But anyway, back to my story.

So when it was announced that we were “balless” (hee-hee) we thought that this adult standing in front of us was going to go out and acquire us … balls. (This article is doubling over with double-entendres…)

Anyway, he didn’t.

I don’t know whether he was lazy, or figured there would be some sort of other entertainment for us that wouldn’t require balls. (Oh, my God…)

So in frustration we began a great search across the campgrounds. After about an hour and a half, in a ditch outside of the cafeteria, we found an old basketball that obviously had been discarded, which was about halfway filled with air.

In other words, it was still round, but did not bounce. When we tried to bounce it, it more or less splatted.

But this became our ball for the week.

Since no other circular objects of play were afforded us, we changed the rules of every sport to use what was provided.

So our basketball game, rather than being a dribbling affair, became more like football, where one would run toward the goal, knocking people over, and then shoot it and try to rebound and catch it before it haplessly squatted to the earth.

So by the end of the week, we had discovered that the most logical way to use our hampered ball was to play game after game of kickball.

I cannot tell you how sad we were on Day Four, when the kicked and abused sphere sported a gash and lost its remaining air of life.

As important as it is to have a ball, it is much more important to have air in it.

Somewhere within, there’s a lesson for life, but since I am desperately trying to get out of this awkward column … I will let you draw your own conclusions.


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Answering Machine

dictionary with letter A

Answering machine: (n.) a tape recorder or digital device that supplies a recorded message to a telephone call and can record a message from the caller.

A “Duophone.”

You see, I even remember the name.

It was one of the first answering machines put out by Radio Shack in the mid-1970’s, for those innovative, upbeat, contemporary souls who wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls or commercial opportunities.

I had to have one.

I bought it and after about four hours of comprehensive attempts at understanding the directions, I successfully hooked it up to my over-priced AT&T phone.

I then spent another four hours deciding what message to leave, gyrating between a brief but officious speech and a more silly, fun-loving and comical greeting.

Worst of all, I decided to blend the two. I even remember what I came up with as the final product:

“Hi, there. It’s not really me, it’s my Duophone, which enables me to get your message so I can get right back to you if I end up being right back. Just kidding. I mean, not about getting back to you. About when I will be here to hear the message. Anyway, call you soon.”


Amazing, though–after you listen to something four or five times, one convinces oneself that it’s really cool.

The problem with my Duophone, other than the fact that it had a hit-and-miss quality to it, having been spawned from Radio Shack, was that one of my friends thought it was really funny to keep calling and leaving abstract, silly, or even profane messages until he totally filled up the space provided.

After a while, when other people got answering machines and it was no longer a novelty, the American public became perturbed with having to listen to a contraption instead of completing calls, so my playback upon returning was often a series of hang-ups or disgruntled complaints over my absence.

Mercifully, on one of my moves to another location, the Duophone fell out of a truck and crashed on the pavement and I selected never to replace it.

The problem with answering machines is that they really don’t answer. They just put off a much-needed conversation to a later and usually less fruitful time.



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dictionary with letter A

Anchorman: (n) the man who presents and coordinates a live television or radio news program

Can there be anything more awkward than the word “anchorperson?”

There are so many entrenched ideas in our society that when you try to edit them with more appropriate language, you end up looking like a buffoon.

But there are also so many talking heads on television of both genders, that we sometimes forget the voices and demeanors that are required to deliver the news of our day with the correct level of gravitas.

I think there are three preferred approaches. (Of course, I admit that this may be generational, and younger viewers may wish for a bit more variety. But I think sometimes what you get with variety is a lack of definition.)

What happens in our world is serious enough that we need the report imparted to us in such a way that we can be impacted without being destroyed, and educated without being influenced. (Once again, my opinion.)

So the three approaches I think work in this position–whether it be male or female–are:

1. Flat and monotone.

There are very few things in life that work with this blending, but I remember watching Huntley and Brinkley as a kid, and being totally convinced that neither one of them were capable of a frown or a smile, but that they had their features cemented in place prior to the broadcast, to ensure they would not communicate any emotion whatsoever during their assignment.

2. Fatherly.

Certainly Walter Cronkite comes to mind. Watching him was kind of like having your dad explain the facts of life to you, using a combination of scientific terms with generally accepted colloquialisms, while all the time patting you on the shoulder to comfort you over some of the more shocking details.

3. Bemused and sardonic.

I always find Brian Williams or Diane Sawyer to be this way. With the squint of an eyebrow, you feel that they are a bit confused about what’s going on with the planet, but the little smile at the corner of their lips tells you not to take things too seriously.

On the other hand, the new batch of anchor people, who sport anger, frustration, sarcasm, a political leaning or just disdain for anyone who disagrees with them, leaves me cold.

Yes, I think an anchor man, who often is a woman, needs to give us a chance to absorb what’s happening, assimilate it through our minds, and arrive at some form of conclusion … that resembles our own thinking.


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dictionary with letter A

Ambidextrous: (adj.) a person able to use the right and left hands equally well.

I think each and every one of us is always looking for bragging rights.

But to be honest with you, there are certain things that most human beings are unable to do.

Ambidextrous is certainly one of them.

When I was a kid I had this friend who treated girls really lousy. When I was much, much younger I didn’t mind, because I was in that whole masculine hornet’s nest of believing that females might actually have cooties.

But this guy was really bad. It’s like he wanted to humiliate girls all the time–hurt their feelings, and came darned close to being physically intrusive.

So what we did every once in a while was challenge his macho nature by asking him to show us how he could throw a football left-handed, even though he was a right-handed person.

He fell for it every time.

He was terrible at throwing a ball with his left hand. I would say that he threw like a girl, but actually, most of the chicks I knew threw better.

But we wouldn’t laugh at him to his face. Instead, we applauded each time he threw this awkward pass into the air–trying to convince him how much of a stud he was. And when he ran to get the ball so he could show off again, we took that brief moment to burst out in laughter, only to calm down upon his return, further pumping up his ego and make him promise to do it again.

I do not think he was ever aware that we were using his pseudo-ambidextrous claims to make fun of him the way he made fun of the other portion of our species–the ladies.

Just a footnote: as it turns out, as he got older, he turned into a real nerd, and was so introspective that he never actually had a date with a woman. Considering how he treated them, it was probably a blessing sent from the heavens, ordained by the Divine to protect His second and certainly more improved human creation.

But I will never forget, and can even conjure the image in my mind to this day–him lurching back with all his might and attempting to heave that ball fifteen or twenty yards across the grass.

It was hilarious.