Contiguous

Contiguous: (adj) touching; in contact.

 There are forty-eight contiguous states.

This means they’re hooked together on a continent with imaginary, man-made borders affixed between.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So, in this season of discussing whether we require a wall to protect us from another country, we simultaneously have a problem regarding the social, emotional, prejudicial and cultural walls that have been constructed between our contiguous, allegedly “United” States.

The reason it’s difficult for the members of Congress to get along is not just because of a warring two-party system. It is also because representatives from California are convinced that Congressmen and women from Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama are ignorant. And those who deem themselves from the “Right Coast” are convinced that their brothers and sisters dwelling on the “Left Coast” want to drive the country into a socially distorted and morally ambiguous hell.

Therefore, even though focus seems to be on aliens with questionable activities invading our country, it is actually the friction among the contiguous states that is really generating the atmosphere of hateful tension.


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Brake

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brake: (n) a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle

Oblivion is the condition we find ourselves in just prior to the tragedy we refer to as “an accident.”

This was my situation many years ago when I was driving through the Sierra Mountains in California, completely enraptured in the scenery and infatuated with a gorgeous waterfall.Dictionary B

I had a car with a trailer attached to it. There’s nothing particularly unusual about that. But when you pull such a trailer, you require additional brakes placed on the rear, so that when you want to stop, it helps you instead of mocking you.

So having ascended a high peak, it was time to come down the other side. I remember thinking to myself, how fun this will be–just placing the car in neutral and coasting down the side of the cliff.

The immediate problem was that the trailer I was hauling was actually heavier than the car I was driving. As I was coasting down the mountain, I noticed I was picking up a little too much speed.

I tried to slow down by hitting the brakes. I quickly discovered that my brakes were no longer willing to brake.There was too much weight from the rear.

Faster and faster I careened, descending the precipice.

To my left were rock formations and to my right was the end of the road and a really big fall. Straight ahead were twisty roads which promised to send me into the rocks or over the edge.

I kept pumping the brakes, hoping they would at least consider a bit of grace to cover my stupidity.

To this day, short of divine intervention, I do not know how I finally got that trailer to slow down so I could pull off and stop.

There was a horrible smell of burnt rubber–and pee-pee in my pants.

Ever since then I have been a great believer in brakes, especially when they’re well taken care of … and you don’t ask them to move mountains.

 

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Blonde

Blonde: (adj) fair or pale yellow hair.

Dictionary B

I’ve always insisted on being a blonde.

Blonde is a word that is usually associated with feminine mystique. For instance, “gentlemen prefer blondes.”

It does not say, “gentlemen prefer being blonde.”

I once was very proud of my hair. I grew it long, nearly to my shoulders, washed it and spent a lot of time in the sun, hoping to bleach it out to that glorious, Beach Boys, bushy hairdo. I especially enjoyed the tug of the hairbrush as it labored through the luscious locks.

It wasn’t that I believed that women liked blonde-haired men. After all, the classic line is “tall, dark and handsome.” I was kind of medium, chubby and blonde.

I liked it, though. I liked the way it looked, I liked the way it felt, and I sensed it translated me from being an Ohio-born, rural ruffian to a transplanted California cavalier.

I nurtured it, I flipped it, I let it blow in the wind. It became my friend. Although blonde hair does not offer much conversation, my hope was that it would solicit some.

I kept it blonde, I insisted on blonde.

Until one day I woke up and it changed colors.

Scalp.

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Bartender

Bartender: (n) a person who mixes and serves drinks at a bar.Dictionary B

Most of the spirits that have come into me have entered through my soul instead of my mouth.

I am not a drinker. I am not self-righteous about it–it’s just not a part of my practice.

I do overeat.

I under-exercise.

It’s not as if I don’t participate in human activities that are capable of pleasure but also can quickly become foibles.

For me, it has always been an inability to get over the taste. Recently recovering from a throat condition, I was astounded at how horrible cough syrup is to ingest. To purposefully pour such intense fluid down my gullet on an ongoing basis is beyond my comprehension.

It started when I was eighteen years old and went on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, with my soon-to-be wife. We decided to go out to a bar to catch some lively “Music City” entertainment. This particular establishment had a two-drink minimum. That meant you had to order two alcoholic beverages to be able to sit and listen to the music. I probably could have ordered a soft drink, but at age eighteen, such ineffective communication of maturity was unacceptable. I was allowed to order a drink, so a drink would be ordered.

I asked for a Michelob. When it came to the table, I took a huge gulp, which nearly regurgitated back in my direction.

It was so terrible.

I saw other people sitting around drinking it freely, as if it were some sort of pleasurable experience. Years later, working with a group of artists in Louisiana, we thought it was extraordinarily Continental to order wine with our dinner. After a couple of weeks of this practice, I had to turn to my companions and tell them that I was ruining my hamburger by having to survive my vino.

I say all this to admit to you that talking about a mixologist–or a bartender, in this case–is really beyond my scope. The only bartender I actually knew was a fellow I met in California. He was a minister who tended bar part-time in order to counsel and help folks who were drowning some of their sorrows in liquid refreshment.

I doubt if he’s a typical purveyor of the intoxicants. I’ve often admired bartenders in movies, mixing their blends together with such style and speed.

But I am the worst person in the world to write an article on bartending.

So I think I will stop.

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Ballot

Ballot: (n) a process of voting, in writing and typically in secret.Dictionary B

It’s not important unless it’s honored.

Simply believing something is valuable does not grant it worth unless it has proven itself to have integrity and brings progress to humanity.

So even though many people consider the ballot to be the symbol of our freedom, the true symbol of our individuality is the liberty to speak out.

Until we reach a time when everybody in America over the age of eighteen is able to vote in whatever framework is comfortable to them, the elections can be manipulated and twisted to the advantage of the most devious candidate.

We also cannot insist that the ballot has great power when electing a President comes down to the electoral votes of a half-dozen states. When a vote in Rhode Island has the same weight as a vote in California, then we will truly have unleashed the power of the ballot.

Until then, we’re allowing pernicious, well-educated pundits to find evil ways to limit the authority of one group while promoting the predominance of another.

I think voting is a beautiful idea–if it is allowed to be purely a head count.

But when we divide it into districts, states, and then place restrictions on citizens, we are lying to ourselves and the world around us.

Let the ballot be the ballot.

Then count the votes, and from that tally … derive a leader.

 

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Albuquerque

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Albuquerque: city in central New Mexico on the Rio Grande, pop 448,607. It is the largest city in the state.

A plan is when we attempt to connect two things which seem to be related, but after we’ve made our agenda, they end up surprising us with unknowns.

That’s why we’re so funny. Human beings are determined to put life in order when the experience of living was never meant to be orderly.  It happened to me in California about five years ago.

I needed to get across the country–to Nashville, Tennessee–in about seven days. I decided to schedule some gigs along the way, to break up my journey, meet new people, and of course, cover some expenses. Sitting right along the main route was a town called Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  • It was perfectly placed.
  • It was perfectly timed with my driving concept.
  • It was perfect.

What made it even more special was the fact that I quickly discovered someone eager to have me and my traveling buddy come in and put on a show. It was one of those junctures in life that we call “ordained, blessed, miraculous, destined, or unbelievable.”

I was going their way, they were coming my way, things were going to be wonderful, and I would end up with a stop off in Albuquerque with the potential for memorable, if not eternal, consequences.

Arriving at the venue, I did my setup, went backstage to my green room, and emerging at the hour of showtime, discovered there were four people in the audience. Apparently the populace of Albuquerque had not been sufficiently cued in to the amazing nature of this well-conceived plan. So what started out to be an inspiring notion, with earthly possibilities and heavenly overtones, ended up being an evening for six, with clever–though it be awkward–conversation.

Albuquerque taught me a lot.

You can plan until your planning seems to be immaculately conceived by an overshadowing spirit, but when you get down to it, human beings don’t really care about either your organization or even your feelings.

We are selfish–which is no problem at all … as long as we remind ourselves of it.

 

Alabama

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alabama: (n) a state in the southeastern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico, capital Montgomery, statehood, Dec. 14, 1819.

A state of mind.

Even though I must tell you, having traveled all over this country, that there are nests of belief, custom, culture and theology that persist or flourish in their particular homeland, the hatchet job that has been done to our fifty states to promote causes, newspaper articles and political agendas is abominable.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the perception of Alabama.

I would be amiss if I merely portrayed the “sweet home” aspects of this particular state. Like every other principality which has ever existed on earth, it is riddled with mishaps, bad judgments and incoherent ideas being fostered as “normal.”

But to personify Alabama–or any part of the south–as the hotbed for bigotry, ignorance and inequality is not only short-sighted, but comes from a place of arrogance and a desire to limit the qualities that these dear folks can offer to our country in faith and hospitality.

Some of the worst memories I have of my journeys have been in the south–especially Alabama–and also some of the golden treasures of people and discovery have also been found within its borders.

Here’s the truth: people live where they were hatched, take the best parts of their surroundings and mingle them with tolerance and love to form a workable way of being. No matter where they abide, if they accept the portions of their culture which alienate them from the rest of the world, they have gone down a foolish path. But if they set aside childishness, they gain eternal perspective.

Prejudice was not born in the south. Long before slaves were brought to this country, there were slaves in Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and every corner of our globe. Those who were intelligent, historical and also spiritual learn to recognize the limitations of their upbringing in deference to the mercy that the God of our creation requires of His children.

I love Alabama. I love Massachusetts. I love California–not because of the history book or the spouting of their individual Chambers of Commerce. No, it’s because I have met people in each of these locations–and many others–who have overcome their ancestors to be born again … to newness of life.