Culpable

Culpable: (adj) deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.

I was born in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Honestly, the single incident didn’t do a whole lot for me except provide me life.

I was born again in a little church and got baptized.

It felt good for a while, but then I discovered that I had to keep going and scrounge out some purpose.

When I was eighteen years of age, I wrote my first musical number.

It felt mighty good to be creative. It was rewarding on that first composition and continues to be so. But it’s not the highlight of my life.

I saw sons born into my household and sons who came through my front door.

They were all amazing, but they didn’t provide the backbone and meaning for my journey.

I really became a human being the day I allowed myself to be culpable for my actions and I was not afraid to admit the wrongs I engineered.

Before that day, I avoided confrontations—even lied, cheated and rewrote history to prove I was not at fault.

This dodging of responsibility occasionally made me the “Bad Dad,” a mediocre workman, an insufficient artist, an unpredictable lover and a horrible Christian.

My life began when I was prepared to admit where I screwed up.

Any human who is not willing to be culpable for his or her own actions is not only obnoxious but dangerous to the whole tribe.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Clef

Clef: (n) a sign placed at the beginning of a musical staff to determine the pitch of the notes.

Back in the day when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, if a young man wanted to be a seafaring fellow, he had to sign up on one of the boats and stay on it throughout its journey, so at the end of the process, if he survived all the perils and diseases, he could be
considered a grizzled, rugged seaman.

Although the analogy may be a poor fit, such a journey was mine with music.

I signed up to travel the sea of notes and time signatures, but after three years of practicing my piano, I decided it was “girly-girl” and I quit in favor of a football helmet and a mouthpiece.

Yet I never lost interest in the instrument. I especially found it conducive to wooing young ladies, who were more impressed with someone who was tuneful than someone who could tackle.

Here was my problem: since I didn’t complete the journey on the “Good Ship Music” and learn all the information and comprehend the significance of each and every clef, I sometimes found myself temporarily appearing inadequate. I learned to exaggerate and lie.

So when my musical companion showed up twenty-two years ago, to join me in the construction of original compositions, I was quickly exposed by this lady with a Master’s in Music, to be less-than-adept at both terminology and technology.

I had to come clean.

I had to explain to her that I could read the notes, but when my right hand and right eye tried to join with my left hand and left eye to play both bass and treble clefs, I suddenly developed a severe case of “fumbleitis.”

Because I was honest, she was very merciful. She let me pace myself at a realistic rate based upon my true ability.

And like the young man who got on the ship to sail the Seven Seas, who decided to stay on at the first port because he favored the local rum over the ocean run, I, too, have to admit my lack of tenacity.

But because I hung around, listened, observed and learned–and was blessed to be in the presence of a really patient partner–it now appears that I have a good understanding of the working end of a clef.

 

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Anti-pope

dictionary with letter A

Antipope: (n) a person established as pope in opposition to the one perceived by others to have been canonically selected.

I am not afraid to listen to ideas or read opinions that are contrary to my personal likes or philosophy.

I am certainly not impartial as I read, but I try to comprehend what is offered to me in the composition and f out if there’s anything that can stimulate my brain to greater understanding.

Yet I have to tell you this–the article I read yesterday, which postured intellectually on the legitimacy of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, was basically the same old brick-and-mortar construction that has been put forth for years to undermine the notion, or maybe even the need, for a savior.

I guess all of us, when we’re entrenched in our attitudes (which certainly borderline on sin) are greatly displeased by the concept of repentance or anyone who would even embody such a ridiculous requirement.

But it doesn’t change the need of our species to be emotionally enlightened, spiritually cleansed, mentally rejuvenated and physically inputted to our healthier good.

I will go so far as to say that believing that Jesus of Nazareth lived is essential to our well-being as we continue to search for “jesus like” people in our own generation, to confirm the promise that we are neither as self-sufficient as we believe nor as depraved.

It’s why the Catholics have a pope. And he has a hat, which means he has a human head.

And if for some reason that pope decides to be a “company man” instead of a personal adjudicator for the masses, then we create an anti-pope.

We need human beings to confirm that we’re not just a group of apes with a mortgage.

Every time a society declines into the depths, attacking spirituality and ceasing to believe that a savior, a pope, an artist or a philosopher can arise from our midst to challenge us to better ideals, we end up in war, strife and succumbing to our latent bigotries.

So if the pope don’t work, we create an anti-pope. And if he don’t work, we look for another human in our generation who still believes in the ideals of a Nazarene named Jesus. Without this, we don’t become a secular society which is free of the intimidation of religion.

No, we become lonely travelers who believe that survival is more important than compassion.

 

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Anomymous

dictionary with letter A

Anonymous: (adj) a person not identified by name; unknown name.

Sometimes I stumble across an adage or poem that is particularly clever, insightful or even artistic, and at the bottom is the word “anonymous.”

Obviously, it’s not.

  • Somebody wrote it.
  • Somebody thought it.
  • Somebody did it.

Yet over the years, a strange transition has occurred.

Here’s my opinion on that process: some person without an agent or an ego came up with an idea which he or she shared freely among friends.

One of those people realizes how obscure their companion is and feels compelled, on a journey to a far-away city, to share the inspiration. They are surprised at how responsive everyone is to the piece, and initially give credit to the friend who spoke it.

But then they think to themselves that since this buddy is never going to actually be in this far-away city, what would be the harm in taking bows for the composition?

Likewise, someone else in the room, who travels even further, decides to repeat the same process, stealing the thunder from the thief.

After a while, at a huge party somewhere far away, three or four people hear these words, and attribute it to several different individuals, generating an atmosphere of confusion.

Since no one is certain any longer who actually came up with the idea, it is determined to call it a draw and attribute it to Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous.

It also occurs in our everyday life in America. We have a nation of laws, regulations and general compliance within the citizenry, and believe that this temperate climate is achieved by human effort, never giving any credit to the spiritual training and the moral grounding that has been infused over generations.

We choose instead to attribute to religion or politics, and everything good is a by-product of our thinking or the latest craze.

In case you didn’t know, loving your neighbor as yourself is not anonymous.

If you weren’t aware, telling the truth did not spring from nothing.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to trace back great notions to their source, and therefore sit at the feet of wisdom instead of crinkling your brow … and pretending that the power that makes life work springs from magical four-leaf clovers.

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Andante

dictionary with letter A

Andante: (adj) used as a direction in music to mean a moderately slow tempo.

I have found that a little bit of knowledge gives you just enough confidence that you can stumble into creative ways to make a fool of yourself.

It’s much that way with me and music.

I had three years of what you might call “formal training” in playing the piano, and then lots of extemporaneous encounters which have afforded me a scholastic understanding of the craft, similar to storing old papers, discarded clothing and unused appliances in a utility closet. There is no plan for organization–just a bunch of stuff.

So when I saw today’s word, andante, what popped into my mind was what I believe to be a title to a small composition I played when I was a child, pursuing the eighty-eight keys set before me.

It was called Andante Favori. Now let me explain–I do not know if this music actually exists, or if it was a cute title that my piano teacher applied to a piece she wanted me to attempt, and decided to try to make it more appealing.

But as it turns out, as I prepared for today’s essay, I looked it up on the Internet, and discovered that there actually is an Andante Favori. It was written by Beethoven, designated WOO57.

I’m not sure of the translation, but I’m pretty convinced that the title simply means, “A Favorite Andante.”

Not very clever, but in that day and age, composers had to make their living as teachers, and since there was not a lot of printed music available, they penned their own lesson tunes for the students who were given to nobility, but not necessarily talent.

So as I’m writing this today, I am literally punching in a You Tube of somebody playing the piece. I can tell you that it’s not stunning, it’s very simple, and is exactly what an andante should be: completed but not memorable.

So it is with a combination of rejoicing, awe and yet a bit of being unimpressed that I share this with you today.

It’s just nice to know that Ludwig actually wrote the song and it wasn’t an andante of my imagination.

 

 

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Aerialist

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Aerialist: (n) a person who performs acrobatics high above the ground on a tightrope or trapeze.

We will trust in something.

  • Those who do not put their faith in God find great solace in education, knowledge or science.
  • Folks who are not physically inclined are comforted by reading, writing or thinking.

It always astounds me when I watch folks working a trapeze–how they overcome their fear of heights–until I realize that it has little to do with that. I suppose it would even be possible to have such an apprehension, and as long as you placed your faith in the skill of maintaining your craft, you would be fine.

After all, an aerialist does not trust the wire he or she is walking across. The wire is the obstacle. Certainly, they are careful to maintain the integrity of the line, but they place their faith in the jungle control and well-trained connection they have with their muscles and bones.

Walking across a high wire is not about trusting the surface nor even your balance. It is having the physical tone to know that when you place your foot down anywhere, the tendons and ligaments that control that appendage are strong, firm and sure.

It’s true of anything in life.

As I write this article today, there are millions of people who would insist they are incapable of such a task. They would find it nerve-wracking, if not foreboding, to put together sentences or ideas that possess interest.

But I trust the muscle. As I think, I say.

It’s a confidence that has grown in me as I have arrived at the moment of composition, without any idea ahead of time about what I’m going to share. I dig deep into my soul and find not only a topic, but a personal insight.

An aerialist is not a person who places his faith in chance, but rather, someone who knows that his body will respond the same, whether walking in the air, or on terra firma. An aerialist is a human testimony of working what we do well until we can have total enjoyment in the experience because we have logged the hours of practice.

It’s true for all of us–or else the lack of the truth leaves us feeling inadequate or meaningless.

I cannot walk on a high wire, but I do understand what gives them the impetus and confidence to do so: it is the same muscle and moxie that grants me the window to open every day … to let the fresh air of ideas sweep through me and from me.

 

Abilene

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abilene: 1 a city in east central Kansas; pop. 6,242. It was the first terminus of the Chisholm Trail2. a city in north central Texas, an agricultural and oil industry center; pop. 106,654

Darned tootin’ if Abilene doesn’t need a song.

Phoenix has one–Seattle, too. Los Angeles has several. New York, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans…all of them have got tuneful tributes.

It seems to be my duty to write Abilene a song. I guess I will start with the A, B, C formula. In other words, go through the alphabet and find words that rhyme wiht Abilene so as to find possibilities as to where this composition might go.

Let me see now… A, B, C.  Nothing there. D gives us Dean. I don’t know what we’ll do with that. E, F… then there’s G.  You get green and glean. Possible.

H, I, J, K… they’re all a wash. L. Lean. Of course, you’ve already got that in the name of the town–Abilene.

M. Mean. Not much use. N, O. Well, I guess n-o. No.

P for preen. How would you work that in?

Here’s one! Queen! Of course, I don’t know if they allow queens in Abilene.

R has nothing. S–Seen. Either the s-e-e-n or the s-c-e-n-e. So maybe I could make the scene in Abilene with my Queen named Jean. Hey, I forgot the J, for Jean. You see how it’s building??

Teen. That’s dangerous. Because my Queen, Jean, should not be a teen, or you’re in danger of statuatory rape.

U, V. Nothing there. Again.

W has ween. That’s frightening. Of course, X, Y and Z is just like the tail that never shakes off anything of value.

So what did we end up with?

Queen Jean who’s a teen from Abilene, who makes the scene and isn’t really mean, although she spends too much time in an attempt to preen. But her looks are never obscene.

Oh, there’s an O.

You see how it works? Genius HAS form and reason to it.

But even as I look at the results, I have to admit that the Abilene song may have just about as much promise as the city itself.

It’s not my fault. I tried.