Deep: (adv) vast, profound or intense.

It was a brilliant piece of stagecraft.

Of course, at the time, nobody was fully aware of what stagecraft was, so certainly unacquainted with how to employ it.

But since it was a small room with limited beauty in its structure—and very few people were in attendance—turning all the lights off and hitting the center of the tiny stage with a spotlight granted an atmosphere to imagine any place in the world one might want to be.

They called them coffeehouses.

I suppose coffee was consumed but eventually, tea became the favorite, and somebody always brought along some sort of crunch or sweet to go along with the brew.

The goal was simple: to sit and listen to artists-in-training sing their songs, speak their verse or simply expound on thoughts while the audience remained silent, receptive and looking deep.

Yes—deep was a “look.”

It was a concentrated, fixed glance, eyes partially closed, suspended between focus and sleepiness.

We wanted something deep.

We wanted to be able to talk about it.

We wanted to seem deep, talking about deep things.

We were willing to come out to buildings which might need to be condemned, to sift through the illumination produced by the art around us and think about better ways to access untouched feelings, wishes and hopes.

As long as you didn’t take this “journey into the deep” for too long, it was delightful.

As long as you kept the lights low, it was possible.

And as long as there was someone up on the stage who knew four chords and a basic rhyming scheme, it was plausible.


Dandelion: (n) a weedy plant, having golden-yellow flowers

It’s a very simple test—you can do it with anybody.

If you’re curious about the bent of someone’s character or the passion that drives them, just simply bring up dandelions.

You don’t have to offer your opinion—matter of fact, it’s better if you withhold.

You can say something like:

“Well, look over there. I think we’re entering dandelion season.”

Then let them go.

I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t have a strong opinion on dandelions.

I’m sure you are aware of the diversity of ideas that might “crop up” with this little crop.

Some folks were taught that dandelions were nature’s little flowers. As children, they picked them or brought them to Mother, or decorated their room or pressed them into books.

For other folks, the dandelion is a weed which takes away from the beauty of the green grass they have fastidiously planted, making sure their lawn looks like a glorious carpet.

Every once in a while, you run across somebody who lands in the middle. These are the people who don’t prefer dandelions, but sure think they’re lovely.

I did run across one fellow who was very philosophical. He explained that the dandelion is on Earth as a foretelling of the human experience: It arrives, sprouts its best bloom, it is treasured by some and condemned by others. But in the end, it dies, loses all its beauty and is blown away by the wind.

As you can see, you can tell an awful lot about folks by what they think about dandelions.

Me? I think they make a great essay.



Ayatollah: (n) a Shiite religious leader in Iran.

I would like to broaden the definition of “asshole.”dictionary with letter A

It’s not that I want to use the word more. You can feel free to change the term if you so desire.

I believe an asshole is anyone who promotes his or her peculiarity as making them better than other people.

Whenever I see pictures of clerics of all religions, wearing their costumes and establishing their dominance through facial hair, robes and funny hats, the first thought that comes to my mind is “asshole”–especially when they begin to espouse that their particular garb and gab is supreme.

Here’s what I think: if you need a costume to promote your ideas and it’s not Halloween, you are officially an asshole.

Because my understanding is that the great men of history, who truly had something important to say, were very careful to blend in with the masses, using a common head and a common thread instead of standing afar off and yelling extreme disapproval at the top of their lungs.

So to all the priests, preachers, mullahs, ayatollahs and dollies who apparently breed llamas, I pronounce you irrelevant.

You will remain irrelevant as long as you insist that you have come to save the world, which generally speaking … you choose to condemn.


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dictionary with letter A

Aren’t: (contraction) are not.

Tricky business, this game of words.

One wise men said by them we are justified, or on occasion, condemned.

Aren’t is one of those words which has caused more trouble than we can imagine. It is the favorite contraction, and verb, of prejudice and bigotry. For after all, it has no personal application. I can’t turn to you and say, “I aren’t.”

The word is only applied to others, to limit their capabilities:

  • You aren’t pretty.
  • They aren’t talented.
  • We aren’t as dumb as they are.

It is a word without a mirror, peering at other planet-dwellers with a jaundiced eye and dipping into the well of our experience to determine their value.

It is always ambiguous and never leads to a sense of understanding. Even when we say something like, “They aren’t coming to the party,” hanging in the air is a sense of uncertainty about the reason for their absence.

Beware of words that are geared to attack others and have no function in revealing oneself.

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dictionary with letter A

Ap·pli·cant (n): a person who makes a formal application for something, typically a job.

Filling out a form often has no reason.

I have done my share, as I’m sure you have.

Matter of fact, in the business world, being handed a form to fill out is often considered to be a formal greeting. Sometimes there’s a clipboard so you can sit and write on your knee, using the pen attached by some sort of wire.

They are certainly attempting to communicate that this is part of their process, and demanded if you plan to be included in their little cult of the organized.

Each application has its own personality. It also has its own level of nosiness.

At a doctor’s office, an application can include questions that go back into the lifestyles of your ancient ancestors.

Did my great-grandfather have rheumatic fever? (Honestly, I don’t know, so I make up an answer.)

If you’re applying for a loan at a bank, they want to know lots of things about your lots of things–even lots of things about your little things. And especially little things about lots of things.

Probably the most grating experience in the human panorama is watching someone peruse your application while you sit, wiggling and squirming in silence.

  • Did I answer right?
  • How was my penmanship? (Mrs. Bosley always said I made really ugly “n’s.” Of course, I was in the first grade…)

Yes, there’s nothing quite as frustrating–dare I say aggravating–as being condemned over answers scrawled on a piece of paper.

And I have made the mistake of trying to be humorous on such applications, only to have the interviewer, who obviously has no mirth anywhere within his or her soul, question me as to the meaning of my answer. At that point, it hardly seems to be appropriate to say, “I was kidding,” and saying I misunderstood the question is even more embarrassing.

No, being an applicant and filling out an application is serious business.

It demands an adult mind–one which is still childish enough to believe that such filling in the blanks is actually a microcosm of one’s life.



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dictionary with letter A

Apothecary: (n.–archaic) a person who prepared and sold medicines.

I was just thinking about these three names–apothecary, drugstore and pharmacy. Don’t ever tell me that words don’t have significance.

For if someone told me they were “going to the apothecary,” I would conjure visions of someone sitting around mixing chemicals, trying to turn lead into gold.

Unfortunately, in my twisted mind, if you told me you were heading for the drugstore, I would see some guy with slick-backed hair, two day’s growth of beard, pulling little plastic packets out of his coat to sell on the street corner.

I think that’s why we ended up with “pharmacy,” although there are no animals, barnyards or crops involved. (Please forgive that.)

Do words get tired, or do we get tired of words? Because we’re certainly justified by what words we use, and also condemned.

For the person who says he is heading to the apothecary immediately casts himself in the role of the ancient of days.

And drugstore does reek a bit of being white trash. (Not that there’s anything wrong with white trash. As far as I’m concerned, since I’m a forward-thinking human being, you can be whatever color of trash you desire.)

But somewhere along the line, the apothecary had to become the pharmacy, and someday the pharmacy will be much too stuffy and we’ll have to come up with another name for it.

But I seriously doubt if we’ll ever go back to apothecary … unless men wearing tights and pointy shoes return to fashion. 

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dictionary with letter A

And: (conj.) a word used to connect words, clauses or sentences that are to be taken jointly. Ex: bread and butter

“And” is a spiritual word.

It has to live in a vocabulary with more negative neighbors, like “or” and “but.”

“And” has a heart to include, welcome, expand–grow. “Or” is always doubtful and “but,” a bit prejudiced.

  • Jews and Gentiles can go to heaven.
  • Jews or Gentiles can go to heaven.
  • Jews can go to heaven, but not Gentiles.

You see what I mean?

It’s amazing how words are a lot like people Maybe it’s why the Good Book tells us that “by our words we are justified and by our words we’re condemned.”

“And” is optimistic. “Or” is doubtful. “But” can be negative.

I like to live in a world with “ands.” But unfortunately, I exist in a society permeated with “or” and “but,” rarely even considering … an “if.”


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Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Allegiance: (n) loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior, or of an individual to a group or cause

Feeling a bit daring today, I am going to question a staple of the American consciousness.

Honestly, I do not pledge allegiance to a flag.

To me, it reeks of jingoism, or Viking. The whole concept of pledging allegiance is a bit foreign to my soul–not because I lack patriotism or a love of my country, but mainly due to the fact that since we are justified by our words or condemned by them, I would like to be selective in my phrasings.

Because I love this country very much, I would like to pledge allegiance–but do it to things that matter–to the things that make us the people we dream to be. Here is my pledge:

I pledge allegiance to my nation and the many diverse souls who find equality within. May we continue to expand and grow in our knowledge, which has proven through the years to be the backbone of our excellence. May we remain one nation, one people, one desire and one willingness, allowing God to show us our error and encourage our efforts. In doing so, may we reject the things that separate us and embrace our similarities, offering liberty and justice to all.

There you go.

To that cause, wording and purpose … I can give my allegiance.