Dalmatian

Dalmatian: (n) a breed of dog with short having a white coat marked with black or brown spots

Sandra Gunderson was a dog-breeder, though she hated the term. She preferred connector, love-birther or canine dating service.

She had a very successful business. She advertised all black dogs or pure white dogs.

There were no other markings on them—no little white bowties on the black ones or dark streaks streak on the nose of the white ones.

When people wanted a black dog or a white dog, Sister Gunderson was the lady to come to, and find your dream pet.

Then one day, strangeness took over, as it often does.

While delivering the latest litter, emerging from the loins of Mama Dog was a completely different creature:

A white dog with black splotches.

Or was it a black-splotched dog with a white background?

Ms. Gunderson was so shocked by the appearance of this mutant that she decided to take it away and nurse it on her own, far from the other puppies, and maybe keep it around the barn—to scare away strangers.

But lo and behold, before she could enact her plan, the McKenzies came with their eight-year-old daughter. She was in the throes of celebrating her birthday and they planned to purchase a puppy and saw the bespeckled creature with the white skin and black splotches.

The little girl immediately fell in love with this surprise visitor.

Word spread quickly, and before too long, folks who had wanted white dogs or black dogs suddenly demanded black and white dogs.

It was very tricky. Ms. Gunderson had to wait until a spotted male came out of the black and white dogs to mate with a female from the first batch. And then—no guarantees.

All sorts of configurations appeared.

In about the twelfth generation, the exact mix were birthed and ready for sale.

She sold so many that she couldn’t keep up with the demand. She had to link with some other nearby breeders and work as a team—to make more and more black on whites.

Dalmatians–that’s the name they came up with.

They were so cute that Walt Disney made a movie about a hundred and one of ’em.

After Sandra went to see the Disney movie, she remembered how it all began. She had been mighty close to doing away with that young pup, which appeared, refusing to be white or black.

She was shocked at its look and equally as stunned when the appearance of the dog ended up being a winner.

Just like Sister Gunderson, I, too, occasionally think of the things that have come into our human lives that were first startling—out of step—and seemed to be misfit for our cause.

And now they are celebrated.

So am I a white dog?

Am I a black dog?

Am I a Dalmatian?

Nah. I’m just a mutt.

Daffy

Daffy: (adj) silly, weak-minded, crazy

Looney Tunes.

There were four or five years in my life when I lived for them.

As I look back now, I realize how intricately these cartoons were constructed—how much money was put into the music—and also how cruel they truly were.

Very recently, I’ve noticed that there was some hidden racism in the relationship between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Daffy, black, was always trying to keep up with Bugs Bunny, though the rabbit seemed to have a charmed life and Daffy appeared to be born under the sign, “Please hit me.”

It made Daffy very angry.

So enraged was he that he plotted against Bugs—and the notorious bunny innocently looked on, as if he had no idea whatsoever why Daffy was so perturbed.

As a kid, I found myself rooting for the calm, easy-going “what’s up doc?”

On the other hand, I found the black duck to be inept, clumsy, arrogant and mean.

I’m sure that was not the goal of the cartoon makers.

But in an era when racism was rampant—not that different from today—the color distinction between the light gray and white Bugs and the black, almost Southern-talking Daffy, was pronounced, and dare I say, obvious.

On top of that, when you’re given a name like “Daffy,” it’s hard to overcome the profile in a five-and-a-half-minute cartoon.

So, oppressed by color, by the fact he was a duck, and that favoritism seemed to be given to the ever-extolled rabbit, Daffy found himself spending all his time frustrated, unable to get a life and be productive.

I’m always bewildered when someone is angry when another race complains about their status. They say:

“This is America, the land of opportunity–just go out and make a world for yourself.”

But as Daffy will tell you, sometimes that is difficult to do—when the Bunny is unmercifully “Bugs”-ing you.

 

Crouch

Crouch: (v) to stoop or bend low.

I’m going to do what I don’t normally do—but when I do it, I feel free to do it at will.

I’m going to abandon this definition and tell you a story about a man named Andre Crouch.

It’s spelled the same.

Many, many years ago, when the United States was recovering from a war and an egotistical President who was a tyrant, and crooked (pause)…

Hmm.

Anyway, it was a while back.

There was a young, black soul and Gospel singer named Andre Crouch who came on the scene for a season and did his part to open up the United States to racial harmony and integration—taking the land of Dixie and the world of Southern music, and twirling it on its head.

For these old church singers did not want to accept a black man into the inner circle (which could not be broken) but also could not deny that this gentleman was one helluva songwriter, and an even greater performer.

Arguably, it could be stated that he was the father, or at least uncle, of contemporary Christian music.

He was my friend.

I had a puny little group from Central Ohio. We were desperately seeking some attention from the marketplace when I met Andre Crouch. He did something he should never have done. He took us in—pale though we were—and allowed us to be the warmup group for his large concerts.

Even though he was gradually integrating, most of his audience was of a darker skin color. Why he thought he could get away with having a white warmup group when there were probably hundreds of black brothers and sisters in the audience who sang a “choir’s-full” better than us, is a mystery.

But it’s what Andre wanted to do—his way of integrating his race—by using us.

He was an unpredictable, never-on-time, kind, flakey and humorously fussy individual.

He helped me.

I got to see firsthand how an audience is to be gently handled—loved to life.

I got to climb onto his tour bus and drive around with him, seeking good barbecue in Toledo, Ohio. (We failed).

And I was shocked one Saturday morning when he arrived at a tiny gig I had—a breakfast for about forty people. Andre decided to drive up some 150 miles from Detroit, where he’d been in concert the night before, and surprise us.

Needless to say, that itsy-bitsy audience came alive once Mr. Crouch entered the room, and soon forgot I was even there once he walked over to my Wurlitzer electric piano and banged out some tunes.

Andre died several years ago.

But as is the case with all of us, he lives on because one of the people he loved and helped is here to tell a good story.

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Correlate

Correlate: (v) to bring into mutual or reciprocal relation

My eyes popped open as I awoke this morning.

So did my black brother’s in Harlem.

I wanted to roll over and sleep more, even though I had a full eight hours.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

My sister in China agreed nodded her head in union.

I convinced myself I felt better once I got up and around.

The young man living on the Indian reservation concluded the same.

I was hungry—but picky—and only wanted a certain something or another for breakfast.

A young boy in Mexico told his mother exactly the same thing.

I started my day wanting to be grumpy but realized I wouldn’t be able to get by with it.

My black sister in Chicago, who holds down three part-time jobs, prayed to reach the same position.

My mind was reluctant to do much of anything.

Somewhere in Japan, a young girl said amen.

But once I got going, moving around, my spirit became sweeter.

That’s what the Irish gentleman driving his taxi in New York also decided.

By the end of the day, I had accumulated enough good experiences that I was able to banish the bad experiences from my mind and be grateful that breath was still in my lungs.

On this one, the Eskimo, the Aborigine, the Aussie and the Queen of England concur.

You see?

We correlate.


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Compatible

Compatible: (adj) two things able to exist or occur together without conflict.

I sat patiently listening to the young psychologist try to explain to those who had gathered for what had turned into a boring lecture about what it truly means to “be compatible.”

He was well-studied (which always guarantees a certain amount of error).

He said, “It is important for a couple to find the things they share in common and to celebrate their differences.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I don’t know whether I was the only one in the room who thought, “Oh, my God, kill me before I ever have to be in that discussion.”

But the tepid response he received and the lack of questions let me know that the audience had moved far beyond this young man’s learning–into the actual world of doing.

Having a relationship with anyone or anything is certainly about being compatible. But it is foolish to over-complicate the scenario.

Simply stated.. do your plugs fit?

If it’s a romantic situation, it will be necessary to find out if you like each other’s lips, each other’s hands, each other’s genitals, each other’s odors, each other’s habits and each other’s…others.

There will be adjustments. After all, as in the case of plugs, two identical plugs do not hook up. They require different ends to their means.

So sexually, a woman does not have to be a dynamo, nor does a man need the largest penis in the Sahara Desert. They just have to find out how their plugs hook up and work on adaptors.

Likewise, how do your plugs hook up on finance? She spends, he’s thrifty. That is completely compatible as long as she has money that is hers and he doesn’t lament how she uses it.

How do your plugs hook up about raising kids? She’s a strong disciplinarian, he’s a wimp. So when there are wimpy issues, let him head the class. When the little turds need stronger language, let Mama do the job.

Over-complicating human relationships always makes us believe that we’re incompatible.

“Black people can’t be around white people. White people like organ music and black people like tambourines.” It is possible to play the tambourine with an organ, and it’s also historical to rock your organ out a little bit.

Compatible is not difficult: check your plugs. Wiggle them around. Find a way to make them fit.

Nothing on Earth is really natural–everything requires a bit of work.

Otherwise, we all would be perniciously lazy.

 

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Black

Black: (adj) the very darkest color

  • Dictionary BA black comedy.
  • A black cave.
  • A black situation.
  • A black scenario.
  • A blackened sky.
  • Black as sin.

Sometimes we wonder why ignorance persists.

We muse over our alleged newfound openness and genteel demeanor concerning our differences while continuing to perpetuate myths.

First and foremost, there are really no black people. Even those who live deep in the heart of Africa are not actually black.

The human race is an unusually diverse palate of browns–even white people are peachy-beige. We apply hard names with hard definitions onto individuals in order to quietly segregate them in a conversational way, since we’ve made it illegal to do so in a general way.

Black is beautiful.

Black is classy.

Black is the new orange.

The truth is that human beings are neither black or white. They continue to be, and always will be, unpredictable.

 

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Batty

Batty: (adj) crazy; insane.Dictionary B

Most of the things I was taught that were “batty” and out of whack when I was a child of ten were revised by the time I was twenty-five, and then, almost universally accepted.

For instance, I often heard the word “nigger” when I was ten, which transformed into “negro” and then became “black,” making a sharp turn toward “African-American,” and now, honestly, I have no idea whatsoever what would be appropriate to say.

When I was a kid of ten years, divorce was evil, then became unfortunate, followed by common, culminating in expected.

At ten years of age, there were no gay people; then suddenly there were “queers and fags,” followed by “souls in distress who needed our prayers,” and nowadays have become the prerequisite for being a television star.

I am not offering this as a lamentation. I just feel it’s time for us to redefine “batty” and stop assigning it to human behavior.

We will save a lot of time this way, because eventually everything that at least somebody does will receive a level of acceptance and no longer be prohibited.

So what is batty? May I offer three suggestions:

  1. I believe it’s batty to think you can hold a war in an attempt to gain peace.
  2. I think it’s batty to have a human race and assume that because they’re male and female, they will never get along.
  3. I think it’s batty to worship a God who refuses to love some people because they don’t meet all the guidelines.

There you go.

I’m pretty sure those three things will continue to be batty as time goes on. Of course, I could be wrong.

After all, we live in a society that dishes out ounces of warnings … while manufacturing pounds of bacon. 

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Apartheid

dictionary with letter A

Apartheid: (n) in South Africa, a policy and system of segregation or discrimination based on the grounds of race.

If you’re an American citizen, you had little to no chance of having an understanding of Apartheid unless you allowed yourself the blessing of reading up on it and discovering all the subtleties.

In the 1980’s, when the issue was inflamed with turmoil, the communique in our country was to stay out of it or to side with the South African government by offering some sort of lame excuse for the existence of such prejudice.

Matter of fact, there were religious leaders in this country who insisted that Apartheid was necessary because without it, the natives (who just happened to be black) would tear one another apart because of their tribal conflicts. There were actually people who accepted this reasoning as being reasonable.

It is similar to those in the North and South during the Civil War, who feared that freeing the slaves would unleash an unholy terror of massacre and mayhem on the white population.

Matter of fact, throughout history we have decided to keep a bad system in place rather than risk bettering it. Of course, every time we’ve done this, the proponents of such foolishness have ended up looking like idiots–as those religious leaders of the 1980’s do today with regard to Apartheid.

I do not really care what tenets of philosophy and religion you adhere to, as long as you will agree with me that even though progress often takes time, the energy of the universe is always moving towards freedom.

There are countries in the world today which subjugate their population and terrorize their brothers and sisters with all sorts of rules and regulations, which will soon be as extinct as the dinosaurs and viewed by history as oppressive lunacy.

You can’t take freedom away from people without being viewed a tyrant.

So when I heard about Apartheid in the 1980’s and listened to both sides of the issue, I realized that it is a God-given right (of course, by God) for people to be as foolish or intelligent as they want to be, as long as they are free to do so.

We cannot control the actions of human beings. What we can do is provide the liberty, without question, for them to play out their philosophy quickly.

Anything written on paper that proclaims a truth will surely need to be amended … by the spirit of liberty.

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Anderson, Marion

dictionary with letter A

Anderson, Marion: (1888-1959): U.S. Opera singer initially barred from giving concerts in the United States because of racial discrimination. She gained international success and became the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

It is the great lie that leads to the perpetual delusion: a pound of effort brings a pound of result.

This delusion has created a society of expectant, demanding and frustrated participants who spend more time complaining about the rejection of their efforts than they do devising more intelligent angles.

When I see the definition of a pioneer like Marion, it nearly brings tears to my eyes. Not only did this woman have to go through all of the training, education, struggles, auditions and vocal exercises to become an adept opera singer, equal to those around her, but because she was a woman and had dark skin, she had to exceed the quality of her peers.

Hers was a life that required one hundred pounds of effort for every one pound of result.

I am both humbled and encouraged by such a story.

  • Humbled because I realize how unwilling I am to endure tribulation and difficulty to acquire what I perceive to be my just share.
  • But I am also encouraged that there is within the human heart the passion and energy to overcome persecution and dispel bigotry through the display of excellence.

The Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her sing at their convention because she was black. Eleanor Roosevelt scheduled her to perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a much better gig.

But you see, sometimes you must be willing to endure the loss of a present possibility to gain a future bonanza.

What caused Marion to do that? What gave this woman the spunk and spiritual moxie to ignore the ignorance around her and sing like a bird?

I don’t know.

But I’m glad it’s not magic. I’m glad it’s not limited to the black race or just to women.

It is available to anyone who is ready to shed the delusion of equality and persevere with great energy … by continuing to do what we do when others say we don’t.

 

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Anachronism

dictionary with letter A

Anachronism: (n) a thing that belongs in another period than the present, usually referring to old-fashioned.

One of the more rib-tickling moments in my recent life was when I overheard two seven-year-old kids discussing how Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners used to have better cheese–when they were younger.

It was both endearing and enlightening.

It made me realize that it is possible at any age to reflect back on a previous time, which you have convinced yourself contained more promise, power or purpose.

It got me thinking.

What are anachronisms? What makes something old-fashioned? Just because some individual promoting an agenda wants to claim that a particular attribute is old-fashioned doesn’t make it so, Joe.

Because the things I find to be anachronistic are the causes put forth in our society which have historically proven to be errant or stupid:

1. Drug addiction.

We may want to debate whether drugs should be a crime or a freedom, but it doesn’t change the fact that any time you suck in smoke, swallow a pill or ingest a fluid to change your mood, you’re admitting that you, personally, do not have the ability to be happy without props.

2. Cultural appreciation.

I know some people think it’s important for black children to learn black culture, Chinese children their particular rendition and Hispanic offspring to pay their respects to Cinco de Mayo, but candidly, it’s just another subtle form of racism. It’s a way of distinguishing differences in the human race which only pull us apart instead of joining us together.

3. An aversion to manners.

Yes, there are folks who insist that being a lady or a gentleman–courteous–is too up-tight or phony. What is phony is thinking that you can treat people like crap and not end up being considered a turd yourself.

4. And finally (at least for this list), there is an ongoing belief that there is a battle between God and science.

Matter of fact, we’re choosing up sides again.

If we really believe there’s a God, then His creation certainly instituted scientific fact and Earth’s physics. If there is no God, then we’d better cuddle up to science, because it’s our only chance.

So since I believe in both, I consider it intelligent to keep them friendly.

  • An anachronism is something from the past that we cling to.
  • Tradition is a practice that we continue because of reputation.

But wisdom is an anachronism that needs to become a tradition because it offers human beings a chance to overcome our jungle … and plant a new garden.

 

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