Cyclone: (n) another word for a tornado.

Do we need another name for tornado?

I think tornado is doing very well for itself.

Its letters are formed perfectly to allow meteorologists to refer to “tornadic activity.” Would “cyclonic activity” be just as powerful?

I think the first time I heard the word “cyclone” was in ancient America—watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. Yosemite Sam referred to a big dust bowl of wind as a cyclone. I didn’t like Yosemite Sam—he was mean to Bugs Bunny. So I developed a prejudice against the word based on just that experience.

Also, how old would you have to be to call it a cyclone? I have a vision of an ancient being in the Oklahoma territory, looking in the dusty distance and speaking some words in Navajo tongue, and then translating them:

“Methinks cyclone is coming.”

Yeah. That works for me. (Add some buckskins to your word picture.)

I’m just trying to imagine any of my friends using the word “cyclone” as I squint my face in confusion and disapproval, and having them pipe back, “Be cool, fool. It’s just the new millennial way of saying tornado.”

Maybe the reason this doesn’t work is because…

Who actually wants to clone a sigh?

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Cycling: (n) the act or sport of riding or traveling by bicycle

 I got my first bicycle when I was ten years old.

Although no one actually weighed me, from my memories and careful guesstimation, I would say I probably weighed two hundred pounds.

My parents were not wealthy and could not afford a heavy-duty bicycle for me, so I ended up with a lovely Schwinn.

It was suited for a boy less than half my size.

First of all, may I say that riding a bicycle when you’re obese is like perching a frog on the head of a pin.

It was not comfortable.

And I was surprised at how much energy it took for my chubby legs to pedal my weight along the road.

But I was thrilled when a friend asked me to take over his paper route for two weeks during his vacation.

It was very nice of him, and he guaranteed me five dollars a week to perform the task.

Thirty-six daily deliveries—and going door-to-door on Saturdays to collect the subscription money.

Now, the whole thing sounded completely plausible and nearly fun. But on the first day, when I had trouble getting all the newspapers onto the back of my bicycle and struggled with pedaling both my weight and the additional girth of the news, I almost lost heart and nearly gave up around delivery seventeen.

I decided to gut it out for the day and planned to telephone my friend at his vacation spot and let him know I would not be able to fulfill my promise.

But a fit of “Sunday School” possessed my soul and I concluded it was unfair to leave him hanging.

I chose to endure.

During my normal cycling, I didn’t have to stand up on the bicycle to pedal—because I avoided hills. But the paper route had three large hills, and unfortunately, on the fourth day, second hill, when I stood, the pedal broke off due to my weight.

I was not terribly embarrassed about it until I went to the hardware store, showed what had happened, and the old man behind the counter rubbed his chin and declared, “Boy, how in the hell did you break off a pedal? I’ve never seen such a thing. Maybe you oughta lose some weight.”

As I tell you this story, it’s astounding to me that his statement upset me so badly—but it did. I cried all the way home and all during the time it took me to reinstall a new pedal.

After that, every time I came to a big hill, I had to get off the bike and walk up, pushing it, because I was afraid of breaking another one and the humiliation of dealing with Gramps down at the store.

Mostly I enjoyed cycling.

But the thought of pedaling still puts a chill down my spine.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


Croggy: (n) Northern English and Midland English dialect for a ride on a bicycle as a passenger.

I’m always looking for the latest statement or question which is even more sad and desperate than the previous one I granted an award to for being most pitiful.

There have been many competitors.

Here are five of my favorites:

Shall we call them former wosers (a blending of winners and losers) until they were displaced?

  1. “Do you have a bandage I can borrow, because my wound is seeping pus?” (This one held for a LONG time.
  2. “I’m going to go vote because MY VOTE COUNTS.” (Hopeful, but tragic.)
  3. “Can I borrow a dollar? I want to buy a lottery ticket?” (Wah…)
  4. “Does anyone have any suggestions for really bad breath?” (Stay away.)
  5. “Why don’t people like me? Be honest.” (Can I email?)

As you can see, these are pretty heartbreaking.

But today I think I have found one to rival them:

“Can anyone give me a croggy?”

I now realize this is requesting a ride on a bicycle—not as the peddler, but as the rear passenger.

First, let me iterate that riding a bicycle as a form of transportation may seem inspirational but only until you come across the first hill—or even slight rise in the road.

Then it becomes exercise posing as progress.

BUT…did you hear me?…BUT to ask to ride on the back end of such a contraption, knowing that you aren’t contributing anything but weight and pain to the person who’s pedaling in front of you, has to be the worst position a human being can place him or herself in without having a kidney removed.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Cauldron: (n) a situation characterized by instability and strong emotions.

Putting together sentences, or even the art of making sense, is not the most difficult thing about writing. Also not writer’s block, unless you get too silly about constructing the perfect paragraph.

Actually the most difficult matter is making sure that your writing hasn’t “aged out.” In other words, do people know what the hell you’re talking about?

It happened to me several weeks ago when I was working on a passage in a novel, and decided to insert the word “cauldron”–as referring to a problem that was simmering inside my plot, without people knowing how dangerous it truly was.

The dear lady who does my typing stopped and looked at me with a quizzical face and asked, “Cauldron?”

She does this from time to time. It’s her way of saying I’ve come up with some obscure word that no one will understand and therefore they will assume that my awareness of pop culture ceased somewhere between Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

It raises the question, when are we being sensitive to the market and when are we joining into the universal “dumbing down” of our society?

Is it too much to ask a reader to look up a word or search for context clues? Are we a generation that is just going to squint and opine, “I don’t know that word…”

Some words should die. Maybe they represented something evil or there’s a better replacement for them in today’s language.

But sometimes a word needs to be toted from the Conestoga wagon, onto the bicycle, into the Model T Ford, placed carefully on the airplane and finally situated safely in the rocket to outer space.


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Bicycle: (n) a vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars

Dictionary B

The old 37 hill.

That’s what I called it.

It wasn’t actually much of a rise, but for my chubby legs, trying to pedal up that incline on my bicycle was nearly impossible. Matter of fact, usually halfway up, I pulled over, got off and walked my bicycle the rest of the way up.

I always felt like a failure (well, as much as you can feel like a failure when you’re twelve).

It seemed like the whole town was watching me to see if I was going to give up on the old 37 one more time.

In never getting up, I never let them down.

One day, I decided I was going to pedal the whole hill no matter what happened. Hell to pay (though I didn’t know what that phrase meant).

I was doing so well.

I was nearly at the top when I stood up and pushed down for one final burst…and my bicycle pedal broke off, causing me to splatter all over the road in complete indignity.

I was so embarrassed.

Especially when I went down to the small-town hardware store to replace my pedal and the owner refused to put one on. He said I was too fat and I would just break it again.

I had to promise him that I would never stand up and push hard on the pedal before he would let me buy the replacement.

Because of that I never conquered the old 37 hill.

But when I got my driver’s license, I took my 1963 Impala and drove up and down repeatedly…snickering.

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Assemble: (v) to fit together the separate component partsdictionary with letter A

When I was a young father walking through a toy store with my offspring, I had one peculiar horror that lay deep within my heart, constantly plaguing me with apprehension.

It was not the fact that my children were going to beg for toys; this is their God-given right. This terror was not based upon my unwillingness to turn them down and tell them the status of our budget or that their birthday was near and they should wait; that was my God-given right.

What scared me into beads of sweat was the possibility that one of my children would pick up a reasonably priced toy, well within budget, but displayed on the front of the box would be the three most dastardly words ever printed:

“Some assembly required.”

For the record, for all time and even for those folks who think I might be teachable–I am a klutz at putting things together.

There are occasions when changing the roll of toilet paper requires some reflection, space and maybe even a bit of consternation and prayer.

I can read directions, but I can never locate A on the object, where it’s supposed to meet up with B, thus making me unable to move on to C.

  • I have tried reading the directions slowly.
  • I have had someone read them to me, trying to comprehend them from a distance.

It doesn’t make any difference.

Whenever I see a set of directions, what I view is an upset of directions.

I have disappointed my children as they watched their father fumble with pieces. Matter of fact, one day, with a particularly notorious bicycle, which touted that it was “only seven pieces,” I took so long that my son fell asleep on the couch.

And you want to know the worst part? I always eventually have to turn it over to someone else.

I do not even achieve the satisfaction, at the end of my arduous effort, of standing back and pointing to the object of my frustration and proclaiming victory. Someone mercifully steps in and takes the pain from my fevered grasp and relieves my agony.

Some people are good at one thing and some at another.

Yes. if I were ever stranded on a desert isle, my greatest problem would not be maintaining my calm or industriously finding materials to provide me shelter.

I would just have no freaking idea … how to turn it into a hut.


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAerobics: (n) vigorous exercises such as swimming or walking, designed to strengthen the heart or lungs.

  • I don’t.
  • I should.
  • I would if I could.
  • I could if I would.
  • I think about it.
  • I agree.
  • I laugh.
  • I’m curious.
  • I tried it.
  • I didn’t like it.
  • I didn’t exactly try it.
  • I kinda liked it.
  • I felt better afterwards.
  • I felt worse in the morning.
  • I think it costs money.
  • I think I’m broke.
  • There’s a program for free.
  • I pretended I didn’t hear that.
  • I’ve watched it on TV.
  • I’ve even made fun of it.
  • I’m convinced I’m the exception.
  • I guess I’m exceptionally convinced.

I am, of course, talking about aerobics.

There’s a process in the human experience in which information is either acknowledged, absorbed as truth and shipped off to the brain for storage in a cabinet, or else expelled from the emotions in a fitful desire for action.

Aerobics is one of those things that I know would be good for me and would improve my chances for longevity. But longevity seems so … well …long–when in the moment, I have the possibility of watching television with a side of chips and dip.

It’s the same way I feel about eternity. It’s really hard to get worked up about everlasting life when you have a two-hour window for watching television.

If they found a way to do aerobics without me knowing it–similar to peddling a bicycle while thinking that I’m relaxing and checking out a movie–that would be terrific. Until then I have to rely on my motivation, which, as I stated earlier, is greatly unfavorable to aerobics.

There are so many things that happen with aerobic exercise that are unpleasant. First of all, getting to your feet with the idea of movement. Secondly, taking things you would normally do slowly, but doing them fast, in order to sweat and raise your heart rate. (Don’t they usually give you medication when your heart races?? But now they want you to simulate one of the major symptoms of a heart attack…)

I guess it’s the mix of laziness, fear, aches, pains and feeling a bit foolish hopping about without the presence of hot coals at my feet.

By the way… did I say I admire it?



by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abase: v. to behave in a way so as to belittle or degrade someone.

By the way, abase is not to slide into second on your face. I just wanted to make that clear. When I read the definition, what struck me is that “abase,” “abasing” or the action of “abasement” is considered by Old Dic to be negative.

It’s something we do to other people. I would welcome it if someone could actually and legitimately belittle me.  Fat chance.

It’s rather interesting that the Bible suggests that we learn how to be abased. How does one learn the correct procedure to be degraded? You look like a real doormat if somebody puts you down and you go, “Oh! Good one!”

It’s really stupid to anticipate rejection and be flinching in the presence of others because you are prepared for them to them to swallow up all the air your ego needs to breathe. The only thing I found successful is to point out one’s own flaws, weaknesses, quirks and oddities before other people have a chance to enjoy picking the bones on your carcass. To do this, you have to have an excellent sense of self and appreciation for the parts of you that contribute in a positive way to human life. Then you can detach those portions of your personality that have decayed and are about ready to fall off.

I guess it’s hard to go into the a-base-ment when you  haven’t really enjoyed your own living room. It’s damp down there in the a-base-ment. It smells like what you think would be the odor if a book farted.

Disgusting, huh?

So it’s not recommended for anyone to be thrown down into the cellar unless you know how to ascend  the stairs with a good sense of humor and warm yourself by the fires of your own contentment. I don’t like to ridicule people. The ones who fight back are too mean and the ones who don’t are too pitiful. I don’t like to belittle anyone. I learned a long time ago–there’s always someone better than me, and having played football for a season or two and sharing a locker room with other men, i can tell you of a certainty–we are not all created equal.

Abase is something I must do to myself in a comedic way to make certain that it’s always my idea and not yours. Otherwise, I end up looking through dirty windows surrounded by decade-old magazines, a busted washing machine and a broken bicycle–trying to get a peek at the sun.