Cordless: (adj) requiring no wire

Comparing my pioneer spirit using the examples of those who trekked West in the mid-1800’s, I would definitely let you know that I am not one of the people dressed in buckskin, who is way out in front of the Conestoga Wagons, killing buffalo and tracking beaver.

That’s not me.

Honestly, you probably would not find me in the first wave that hopped onto those wagon-beds and went off into nothingness, with nearly nothing in their possession, believing they were going to turn it into something.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

In the realm of being adventurous, I would probably be the schoolmarm. In other words, once others had gone ahead, tracked the buffalo, taken their wagons and opened up a town, I would be willing to join them to teach their children the ABC’s.

I prefaced this article with this example because I want you to understand that when cordless, or wireless, microphones became available, I did not buy one nor did I want to use one.

I heard horror stories.

You know—stuff like buffaloes trampling frontiersmen.

I heard these microphones didn’t work well, the sound went in and out, and even one strange tale about someone nearly being electrocuted.

I waited.

I persisted with cords in my microphones until one day, in a store, a guy explained to me that he had come up with a system to turn any microphone into a cordless one simply by attaching some ugly-ass apparatus on the bottom.

With my schoolmarm enthusiasm, I got one.

I used it in a production—and it lived up to all of its hype, and also manifested all of its demons. Even though the small-town audience was very impressed at seeing a cordless mic at work, when the play was through, I sold it.

I may have to revise my statement.

Maybe I’m not as wild and crazy as I think. Perhaps I am not the schoolmarm.

In the vast spectrum of the American Western, I would probably be the town undertaker.

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Color: (n) pigmentation of the skin, especially as an indication of someone’s race.

To find a real black person you have to go deep into Africa.

The only white people are albinos.

To get yellow skin usually requires liver disease.

And red skin is any one of a number of young girls in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break.

Yet for some reason we decide to take these colors and differentiate not only race–not only customs–but certainly intelligence, morality, violence and quality.

What actually is the difference in color between an American Negro and an American Hispanic, or an American housewife of Beverly Hills after leaving the tanning booth?

It can’t be about color. There just isn’t that much variation.

And of course, once you get right below the epidermis, we all pink up.

So what in the hell is this all about?

At one time we were so frightened there wouldn’t be enough squirrels, rabbits and wild turkeys in the woods, so we tried to thin the herd of our human competition by making them lesser, therefore teaching them they couldn’t eat the actual meat of the buffalo, but could have all the internal organs they wanted.

Are we still stuck in that survival mode?

Are we so terrified that we’re going to be exposed as lackers or slackers that we try to characterize one group of people as already occupying that space–and then colorize them?


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Buffalo: (n) a heavily built wild ox with backswept horns

I saw one.

I was driving across the country many years ago in my beat-up, brown Dodge van, with two other folks. Dictionary BWe were crossing the plains–I think South Dakota–and there in the distance was a buffalo.

Even though I’ve never been close to one, I’ve seem them in movies enough that I was pretty sure I was staring at the beast. We were on a back country road, so we decided to stop and pull out our old-fashioned cameras, which were not digital, climb out and take some pictures of the creature.

He–or she–was about a hundred yards away.

All at once, this hairy force of nature noticed us and started ambling in our direction. We thought it was cool.

But as it got closer and closer, it got bigger and bigger and fiercer and fiercer and faster and faster. It was less than thirty yards from us when we deicded we’d better jump back into the van, figuring we would be safe.

The buffalo actually came all the way to our position. Feeling well encased, we continued taking pictures through the window glass. The buffalo apparently became offended because it came over, took its big, ugly head and bumped the passenger door.

It was loud.

The lady sitting in that chair was absolutely terrified.

I started the van and took off, with the buffalo trying to keep up for about a hundred feet.

When we were fully away from the scene, we pulled over and got out to assess the damage.

There was a huge dent in the door, which we could never afford to fix.

So from that point on, whenever we came out to get into the van, we were reminded of our friend from the Dakotas.

Like so many things in life, it’s much nicer to see them on TV.

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dictionary with letter A

Antelope: (n) a swift-running deerlike ruminant with smooth hair and upward pointing horns, native to Africa and Asia.

Another childhood myth, shattered before my eyes: I now realize the improbability of deer and antelope playing together.

I’ve sung the song. I’ve not only sung the song, I have intoned it with complete confidence.

Home, home on the range

Where the deer and the antelope play

And now, unless this “home on the range” is somewhere in the Serengeti, and some deer got transferred there, the likelihood of such a playtime is miniscule.

Why do they do that to us? Why isn’t there a disclaimer at the beginning of this song that says, “Locales for creatures are greatly exaggerated.”

Did they think that “where the deer and the buffalo play” would have been out of the question?

And just for the record, I’m not so sure antelope would want to play with deer. I think with the presence of those little horns on the top, the antelope would feel superior and would think they were slumming it by playing with the deer clan.

Of course, maybe there is no bigotry in the animal kingdom. Basically they don’t shun one another. If there’s some form of displeasure, they usually just eat each other.

Maybe that’s what we should do. Rather than telling prejudiced jokes, we should just turn cannibal and be more obvious. Of course, I jest.

Similar to the dude who wrote Home on the Range.



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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accuracy: (n.) the quality or state of being correct or precise.

There they go again! The dictionary makes the assumption that “correct” and “precise” are the same. They aren’t. Because in defending the accuracy of my statements, I can often prove that something is correct and yet completely avoid precision. In other words, once I cross the fifty percent point on correct, I can prove it’s true, even though 49% of what I represent is not true–and therefore not exactly honest.

This happens so much that we have a series of phrases for it:

  • little white lies
  • promo talk
  • political speech
  • disinformation
  • embellishment
  • padding your resume

It has become so much a part of our society that the word “accuracy” tends to bring a smile of cynicism to the universal lips of every American hearer. After all, nowadays everyone brings their own statistics to prove their point, to convince you of their accuracy, when the other side of the coin flips over with contradictory numbers, which are supposed to be equally valid.

It has given me pause.

There are many things in my life which I’ve lied about, which at the time of speaking, I would have insisted were accurate, but not precise. In other words, there was a story behind each and every proclamation to give credence to the idea–if you understood my reasoning in the first place.

We hate accuracy because deep in our hearts, we are all ashamed of where we are. When we were younger, we had great aspirations and set out on a journey to achieve them, only to run out of funds in Buffalo on our way to New York City. So we sit in Buffalo and try to pretend that we’re still heading for New York  City–or that we’ve already been there–or that Buffalo has become our New York City.

You know what the problem with such inaccuracy is? A deceiver is the most deceived person in the room. Why? Because he or she knows the real truth. The rest of the people present are only guessing.

Yes, the worst victim of lying is the liar. He or she knows that the truth was available when the audience listening is stuck with the story presented.

I don’t know if I’m completely cured of promo talk, embellishment, disinformation and the like. I’m sure in a pinch I will squirm and come up with some sort of representation of my truth which is more pleasing to the ears of those who surround me. But as I’ve tried to become a more accurate person–precise on the details–I have discovered that most folks don’t really care one way or another, but they would certainly like to trust my portion of the truth for which I am responsible.

Remember–the boy who cried wolf ended up getting eaten by his previous lies. Why? Because nobody came. If you lie enough, people expect you to lie, so even when you come up with something important, which comes from a place of quality, no one is listening.

So here’s to accuracy, which is the pursuit of “precise” minus the ambiguity of “correct”–because being politically correct is only good if you’re looking for votes. If you’re looking for friends or the favor of God, you have to go one step further.



by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Aboral: (adj.) relating to or denoting the side or end that is furthest from the mouth, especially in animals that lack clear upper and lower sides, such as echinoderms.

I don’t know why this word made me think about the Mississippi River. I stopped worrying about the weird tendency of my mind to leap to bizarre inclinations years ago, and have chosen to believe it a virtue rather than a vice.

But the Mississippi River has a mouth. It’s somewhere up there in Minnesota, among those stoic German-Lutheran folk, who would certainly be willing to be the “salt of the earth” if their doctors had not told them to avoid too much sodium.

But the further you get away from the mouth, the less German and Lutheran the Mississippi River becomes. It winds its way through the heartland, flirting with Illinois, kissing up to St. Louis, where it throws a quick wave at the Gateway Arch, careens down through Memphis, listening to jazz and smelling the barbecue, but also remembering some of the tragedies, such as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having started at its mouth, it now gets deeper into its aboral quest, as it swims its way through the south, landing at a very un-Minnesota-like destination, of New Orleans. Desiring international credibility, it eventually dumps itself into the Gulf of Mexico.

It is a flow of water which separates this country from east to west. Yes, east of the Mississippi live most of the population, insisting they prefer wide-open spaces, while clumping together like year-old peanut brittle. West of the Mississippi, there are regions that appear to be still available for marauding buffalo and Native American tribes.

The Mississippi River is a divider without being divisive. It does something that nobody seems to be capable of achieving–dribbling from one culture to another without preconceived ideas or bigotry. As it goes from its mouth to more aboral locations, it wiggles through accents, belief systems, cultures and states with ease and comfort–absent favoritism.

It is a citizen of both Minnesota and Mardi Gras, without apology.

I’m not so sure if those at the mouth would approve of the aboral destination of the river. But the river does not ask permission. It has learned a valuable lesson:

Go with the flow.