Crackpot

Crackpot: (n) a person who is eccentric, unrealistic, or fanatical.

 So what is a crackpot?

It may not be a word we use much nowadays. We favor asshole. But asshole has too broad a beam to it (pardon the expression).

A crackpot is something specific. A crackpot is a person who may start out well-intentioned but ends up ridiculous because he or she always makes the same mistake.

Crackpots leave out a step.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

For instance, it’s easy to find crackpots in religion. Many start out with a common theme: God created us. It’s a good beginning. But then they jump ahead to crazy notions:

God only loves us.

God wants us only concerned with worship.

God wants us to preach vigorously against sin.

God wants us to keep heaven on our mind.

God wants us to fight for Him.

They leave out the middle steps which justify our faith. For instance:

God created us all—and then here comes life.

You see? There’s a lot of living before we get about the business of dying. There’s a lot of living that needs to be done in peace and joy before we stand face-to-face in an afterlife of eternal glow.

The same thing is true in politics:

Our country needs to have its problems solved, says the politician. Well, it would be difficult to disagree with that. What makes these politicians crackpots is that they skip plans, responsibilities, taxes and timelines—and they jump straight ahead to attack their political enemies, blame other countries or try to load down great legislation with too many programs—and this brings everything to a screeching halt.

In business: “We are out to make a good product…” Then the crackpots of industry leap ahead to this statement: “…and more importantly, make a huge profit.”

Somewhere between the product and the profit there needs to be a happy consumer, a well-cared-for work force and balanced books.

A crackpot is someone who starts out with a good idea and skips all the work it takes to achieve solvency, assuming that the reward should be enjoyed right here and right now. 

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Country

Country: (n) a state or nation

I just downright don’t like the premise.

For you see, a quick look at the map of the world certainly does not distinguish insurmountable barriers that would dictate as many funny wisdom on words that begin with a Ccountries as we have conjured through our typography.

After all, most rivers don’t forbid people from crossing.

Mountains have been known to be climbed.

And nowadays, oceans are crossed with barely enough time on the airplane to serve soft drinks and peanuts.

Why do we need a country?

Why is it necessary to isolate this land mass as having this particular group of people, which follows a predetermined philosophy or form of government, and declare their sovereignty to such a degree that they are willing to go to war over violations of air space?

Perhaps it’s wise that the only way to truly cure insanity is to voraciously point it out whenever you encounter it. Otherwise, pretty soon it starts making sense to you—and by that time, you’ve hopelessly lost your ability to change the world.

I love my country.

But not because it’s located in the continental United States.

Not because I think Americans are exceptional and better than other people in the world.

No, I love my country because we espouse the principles of equality and freedom, which were hatched in the mind of the Creator when He first sat down and considered His opening line:

“Let there be light.”


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Constellation

Constellation: (n) a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern

Christmas: when the nays and yeas get together to discuss a baby born in the hay.

To me, It is the only wearisome part of the season. One group tries to convince the other group that the Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew and Luke is not only possible, but also historical.

The other contingency works really hard to dismiss the whole, ridiculous notion of a virgin birth, a Star of David and “angels we have heard on high.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I take a different approach.

I like to consider what the world needs and what the Earth craves, and then find things in the perimeter which feed that urgency.

The world desperately needs all of us to become human instead of men, women, gay, straight, family, country and culture.

So I flip to Christmas: “We bring you tidings of great joy. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”

The Earth also desires respect. Yes, we are a bratty species which thinks the environment is our personal roll of toilet paper.

And then we have the story of the Star of Bethlehem. Somewhere out there in the constellations there emerged a star. The popular belief is that this would have to be a huge star–not necessarily true since the people who followed it were star-gazers, and would not need to be “star-struck” in order to be intrigued with a particular heavenly body.

The elements of the Christmas story are concepts that we, as humans, would have to pursue even if there was no God. For example:

  1. Be prepared to do what is unusual, or expect the usual results.
  2. Don’t expect everything to come the way you predicted it. Maybe a woman will be the hero of the tale.
  3. Look to the stars. Look for some light. Look for some hope. Follow it.
  4. Listen for the better angels, who tell us to try to get along.

My only regret at Christmas time, as an author, is that Matthew and Luke beat me to the publisher.

Because I’ll tell ya’–I would write that story any day of the week, knowing that it was not only needful, but destined to be a hit.

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Concern

Concern: (n) anxiety; worry.

Concern is the word we use when we want to establish that we are way too mature to be worried. After all, we are mentally balanced, funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
spiritually enhanced and emotionally stabilized to such an extent that we are able to express concern without, shall we say, losing our shit.

But this week, I have taken inventory of what should truly be concerning and what is merely passing rumor, attempting to generate fear.

I am concerned about my apathy.

It causes me to do ill-advised things for my health and also not be sensitive enough to the health and feelings of others.

I have a concern about my ego.

I’m not always certain when it shows up or if it’s the good guy of my motivation is in control.

I don’t have a concern for my family.

I took my best shot. And if that wasn’t good enough, they have had plenty of time to acquire other shots.

I do have a concern for my country.

Historically, every nation that ceases to have a world vision for the human family becomes obstructive to good will and has to be exterminated.

I have no concern for tomorrow.

There is no tomorrow until I make it.

I do have a concern for death.

I am not one of those verbose, fearless individuals who claims he is not afraid to die. If a vote were taken, I think it’s a horrible idea. Death, that is. But since my vote does not count, let me try to scare it away instead of vice versa.

I have no concern about the existence of God.

If He exists, His comprehension is so far beyond my grasp that any attempt on my part to ascertain His will must come across as a roaring farce at the Pearly Gates.

If He doesn’t exist, I will handle those “grave concerns” when they unearth.

 

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Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


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Compare

Compare: (v) to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

During a very brief stint of working in the motelier industry, I ran across a gentleman who owned an establishment, and took me on a journey of his array of available rooms.

Every time he entered one of the bathrooms, he took a deep, long, sniffing breath. I decided to ask him what he was trying to smell.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

He turned to me sternly, peering into my eyes, and said, “The beginnings of mold.”

Yes, this fellow was completely convinced that long before the mold showed up in the bathroom tile, it could be sniffed out, tracked down and destroyed.

I had no reason to argue with the man–even if he was wrong, a good dousing of the tiles in bleach every once in a while is a capital idea.

But I must be honest with you–even though I can’t tell mold from gold, I do have a nose for the beginnings of bigotry.

And long before it becomes prejudice which has lost control, it pops its little head up with the word “compare.”

As human beings, once we allow ourselves to compare what we do to what other people do, it is safe to say that we will rarely consider their approach to be better than ours.

So in attempting to establish our refinement–or should the word be “superiority?”–we somehow or another have to sully or taint other renditions.

As people sit on panels and compare one race to another, one country to another, one gender to another or one religion to another, they feel so goddamn intelligent–never realizing they often have the sniff of social mold.

 

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Citizen

Citizen: (n) a legal personage of a country

He loves his country but not to the exclusion of others.

She salutes the flag but well knows the weaknesses of her government.

He is offended but doesn’t become offensive by dishonoring the nation.

She works very hard to overcome her prejudiced training, to welcome those from all colors and walks of life.

He learns from the past, to bless the present, to set in motion a better future.

She weeps over those who have been wounded by history and joins them hand-in-hand to make sure it never happens that way again.

He doesn’t demand that everybody do things his way, but instead, tries to understand their journey, their perspective and their patriotism.

She stops complaining about inequality and every day proves through her life that she is equal to the challenge.

He freely admits where his homeland has failed.

She celebrates the times when common sense overcame political patronage.

They joined together to believe in a country that has heart and soul, and not just mind and strength.

They are citizens.

They make us great.

They make our country possible.

They are the currency of this nation’s wealth.

 

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Circumspect

Circumspect: (adj) wary and unwilling to take risks.

I have decided that the best way to protect our country from terrorists is to let moms and dads examine the bags at airports.

Think about it.

Your mother and father could always find a reason that anything you planned to do would either a) hurt you; b) make your grades drop; c)
keep you from God or the church; d) kill you.

If we put these moms and dads in charge at the airport, it would only take about two weeks before frequent flyers would grow weary of bringing along anything
that might be questionable. For after all, not only would it be rejected, but also you would have to listen to the lecture on why it was stupid to consider bringing it in the first place.

Mommys and Daddys are circumspect–careful to a fault.

In the process they possibly spare their children some potential danger, but also plant seeds of suspicion and “Mommy-and-Daddyism” inside them, until such an hour that these children are in charge of their own little offspring, who likewise need to be ferociously protected.

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Church

Church: (n) a building used for public Christian worship.

Sometimes I need to laugh. I require a place for that.

Tears are often demanded. Once again, having a location where I can share them with others would be beneficial.

I need to go somewhere and know that I’m not the most important thing in the world. Where’s the address?

I like good music. I’m a little bit country; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

I need to see that I’m not alone. Difficult to do if you don’t gather somewhere.

Over and over and over again, I must be reminded to “love my neighbor as myself.” There should be some sort of joint that advertises that.

I know my money is to cover bills, but every once in a while, I need to think about the “Bill” that’s on the street. Any group of people willing to teach that?

I need to find agreement in the midst of a disagreeable world. Let the conversation begin.

In my moments of clarity, I do understand that I’m lost–in need of a Savior. Any candidates?

Even if I find out after I die that there is no heaven and no hell, I need to live my life as if heaven is available.

We sure could use church if church were what it’s supposed to be. If it’s merely an overblown expression of appreciation for some particular definition of God, then basically, it’s more of an annoyance than a bounty.

Let’s find the church.

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Chickpea

Chickpea: (n) a round yellowish seed, used widely as food.

Imagine my shock when I discovered that garbanzo beans were also known as chickpeas.

For years, when I traveled with my friends, had brief attempts at weight loss and hovered over salad bars, I wondered if the garbanzo beans
were calorically low enough to be included in my pile of greenery and anemic salad dressing.

One day I asked the waitress at the local Ruby Tuesday’s in Alabama if they had garbanzo beans. She stared at me as if I were a Yankee who had come to ransack her plantation.

“What’s that?” she said in utter disgust.

So I described it, as much as one can manage wording to verbally recreate a non-descript object.

She replied, “You mean chickpeas?”

At this point, I was trying to be patient. I am fully aware that people from the Southern part of our great nation often have different names for things–usually with a country tinge to them.

“Chickpeas?” I questioned. “I’ve never heard them called that.”

As we were conversing, a lovely woman, gracious and well-spoken, came up and added, “Both names are correct.”

She had an English accent.

I was aggravated. I thought I had a young southern girl trapped in a language faux pas–and then this agent straight from the throne of the King’s English steps over to thwart my enthusiasm.

“See, I told ya’,” drawled the girl, strolling away.

I glanced over at the dignified Englishwoman and said, with great conviction, “I will always be a garbanzo man.”

 

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Ambassador

dictionary with letter A

Ambassador: (n) 1. an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country 2. a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specific activity

I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

Word has it that many of the people standing in line, waiting their turn to become ambassadors for the United States, have proven themselves to be less than experts on the nations they are going to visit and “diplomat.”

What’s the big deal?

Is there a real advantage in showing up in a country acting like you know everything about it? I mean, can you imagine them taking you on a guided tour and you keep interrupting their spiel, spouting off your own knowledge on the subject?

There’s a great balance if you’re going to do something important in your life: know enough to get yourself started and be willing to learn enough to make yourself appear to be growing.

Yet I think anyone who is going to be the ambassador to Norway should know how to spell it. Also it might be good if he or she could locate it on a map before the confirmation hearings.

But I think there’s something absolutely adorable, powerful and human-loving about showing up to work wondering what you’re going to learn today.

I guess for many years, I have been an ambassador of common sense–and the wonderful thing about my subject matter is that you never stop discovering new batches of it. Because just about the time you think you’re smart enough to know what you’re talking about, common sense runs away and if you’re sharp, you’ll end up chasing it.

There are so many nations in the world that it would be very difficult to know something about all of them, and if you tried, you’d probably end up looking like a walking Wikipedia instead of an actual fount of knowledge.

Yes, I think the most important thing you could do if you want to be an ambassador for anything, any place or anyone is to be thrilled about what you’ve already learned … and thirsty to get more.