Cloister

Cloister: (v) to seclude or shut up in

It is the universal discovery–or perhaps better stated, pursuit–of every human being: will we discover the better use of our brain before we
uncover the more pleasant use of our genitals?

It has caused parents to hide, protect, imprison, box up and threaten their children for generations.

We are so afraid that our offspring will do things just as stupid as we did–so we figure the best path is to place them on an emotional or even physical desert island, “far from the madding crowd.”

Unfortunately, other parents have the same idea, so one way or another, our children find one another, and learn to clump and hump.

What is it we’re so afraid of?

  • Unwanted pregnancy.
  • Our children marrying before they get their driver’s license.
  • Little Billy or Sally spending their whole lives on welfare, wondering whether six children is too few or too many.
  • Or perhaps having so many lovers that they eventually just dry up and blow away in a whirlwind of fornication.

Even though guiding children–and ourselves–is a very good idea, cloistering has never worked. The human animal always escapes the care of the human spirit, to roam the jungle, panting for danger.

So what should we do?

No one knows.

Good parenting has nothing to do with pursuing a path, but instead, looking down the available paths … and avoiding the dead-end streets.

 

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Belch

Belch: (v) to emit gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth.Dictionary B

“Confession is good for the soul.”

This is a sentiment obviously spoken by a monk who lives on some desert island. Actually, confession is always painful because you may personally feel release, but you have also allowed others to draw conclusions which they may bring up to you later.

So I will say, with some trepidation, that I never learned how to belch at will.

When I was growing up, there were some very impressive young studs in our gym class who could perform mass burping to the amusement of the entire gathered horde.

I could never figure it out.

People explained it to me–something about swallowing air and then releasing it…

Well anyway, because I cannot perform this art of mass belching, I will occasionally get indigestion and be miserable, contorting my body into all sorts of positions to try to simply expel some gas. I have no problem with the back door distribution. It’s the front door that gives me fits.

So unlike others, who find belching to be extremely distasteful, generally speaking … it just causes this pilgrim to be green with envy.

 

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Axis

Axis: (n) a line about which a body rotates.

What makes the world go ’round?dictionary with letter A

I’ve heard rumor that it’s love. Some people like to say that. It’s a safe statement, since nobody really has an adequate definition for love.

I can tell you what has made my life roll better and revolve as it evolves: finally coming to a conclusion that the axis of purity is, “no one is better than anyone else.”

And my God, I am tempted to be prejudiced.

But it leads to all sorts of evil. I believe we had a president who even referred to it as the “axis of evil.”

For instance, we have politicians who argue that raising the minimum wage might enable some people to make a living from their present job, but it would cause suffering to their bosses, and threaten the bottom line.

Whether we like it or not, or whatever your political persuasion is, that thinking places you in the “axis of evil.”

You have decided that this group of people over here–because they’re employees–are not as good as this group of people over there–because they are employers.

We should be looking for a compromise. How can we make sure the employee gets his or her due and still guarantee a decent profit for the employer? But we aren’t going to do that.

So we develop another axis of evil: “Those people are not as good because they don’t have enough education. If they had education, they could be employers instead of employees” (even though there is nobody who can employ without finding people who are employable.)

At the core–or at the axis–of the truth, is the notion that we need each other.

If the employer and the employee found themselves stranded on a desert island, such relegation would become irrelevant. The one who found the water and brought it to camp would be no better than the individual who collected the coconuts.

If they developed any kind of caste system, they would either die of starvation and thirst, or kill one another.

Such foolishness is only permitted in a society which has been granted the blessing of plenty.

As there are no atheists in the foxhole…there are no bigots in the breadline.

 

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Avocado

Avocado: (n) a fruit with tough leathery skin and a large stone

For years the avocado has taken great grief for being ugly on the outside and then having a pit or stone that is much too large for its contents.dictionary with letter A

I really sympathize.

Even though my skin does not resemble an alligator, I am not horribly attractive on the exterior, and being rather obese, I occasionally will take some teasing, or worse, inconsiderate advice from the meandering masses.

I think the avocado would probably agree with me when I say that the problem is not with the oversized pit, but rather, the undersized fruit.

In my case, I have it figured this way: I am not really fat–it’s just that I was intended to be 8 feet tall. Consider it a mistake of creation or a mutation of evolution–whichever your preference tends to be.

Also the avocado suffers from the malady of occasionally being tasteless. You will find one that is sweet and absolutely delectable, but often it is as flat as bargain-brand mayonnaise.

So the only claim to fame for the avocado, as far as I know. is that it is one of those “perfect” foods.

In other words, if you found yourself trapped on a desert island and all that grew there were avocados and bananas, you could live a full, long and healthy life. You’d probably want to kill yourself on Day Nine for want of the bacon and chicken breast to go with your avocado sandwich, but medically you would be sound.

The thing I do like about an avocado is that it draws out one of the better human attributes: looking for something good to say. 

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Alike

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alike: 1. (adj) similar to each other: e.g. the brothers were very much alike. 2. (adv) in the same or similar way: e.g. the girls dressed alike

It scares the crap out of me.

And of course, anybody who would suggest that we, as human beings, are more alike than different would be pummeled by the masses and scurried away in an unmarked car, to oblivion by Madison Avenue.

For after all, if we cannot establish that we are different, how can we make ourselves special?

I don’t know when it happened for me. I think pretty early on, I discovered that the only true value in being a human being was finding other kindred and realizing how much we were alike.

  • I didn’t want to live on a desert island.
  • I didn’t want to crack my coconuts all alone.
  • I didn’t want to believe I was a snowflake and God made me unique.

No, I wanted to be part of a blizzard, falling to the earth in unison, creating a beautiful, sparkling horizon.

I’m not so sure we will make progress when we continue to tout reasons for differences among us. Our more noble adventures expel this idea as being “out of school.” Over and over again, in our more enlightened moments, we discover truth.

I’m talking about the Jeffersonian revelation of “all men being created equal.” The Good Book, establishing that there is “no temptation that is not common to us all.” We seem to stumble on the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind, and in so doing, create such a commonality that it warrants a planet-wide “group hug.”

But then, just as quickly, we become prickly. We’re not satisfied to be followers of Jesus–we need another sub-division. Lutheran. Methodist. Baptist. And that still isn’t enough. We specialize that name with a more refined tradition, until eventually we convince ourselves that our ideas have germinated solely from our uniquely inspired brain.

If it were not so dangerous, we could just leave it alone. Yet after all, Hitlers are not birthed and promoted from the ranks of “joiners.” They are alienated, bitter, frustrated individualists who keep shrinking the planet down to a tiny few who have a vendetta against the remaining plurality.

I am odd. I keep looking for reasons to be alike with my fellow travelers.

When I see a homeless person on the street, I do not view him as an alien, but rather, a possible projection of myself years earlier, had I missed one or two paychecks.

When I see a woman, I do not consider her to be inferior or even separate from my own Eden spirit. She is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.

I fear for America because we believe in the excellence of our pursuits due to our superiority over others less fortunate. But since we are only the beneficiaries of such a blessed land because of freedom, and every person who is given freedom is free indeed, we should start trying to find reasons where we are alike with the world around us … or else we may find ourselves abandoned, cuddling up to our own conceit.

 

AK-47

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

AK-47: (n) a type of assault rifle, originally manufactured in the Soviet Union.

It’s a big gun. That’s what I know.

I’ve never fired one of those. I have used a shotgun. That was pretty impressive.

Impressive… What do I mean by that?

I think guns are fascinating. Otherwise we wouldn’t want to play with them as children. After all, nobody wants a squirt-monkey or a squirt-hose. No, it’s a squirt-gun.

Being able to point something at somebody and dispel ammunition–even if it’s just water–is pretty thrilling. But you see, that’s the problem.

Somewhere along the line–at about the age of eleven or twelve–the bullets change from H2O to a helluva lot more deadly.

When would I want a gun?

  • If I were in the wilderness and a bear was getting ready to attack me, I think I would rather have a gun than a bow and arrow.
  • I guess if I was trapped on a desert island and was trying to track down game, using a bullet might be more effective than setting traps or throwing rocks.
  • I think if we’re going to insist on having wars, we should give our soldiers weapons to match the enemy’s, or be prepared to be enslaved by being “out-gunned.”

But I just don’t believe that guns are the answer to everything. It’s like so many other things in our society–the solutions we come up with seem to create their own dilemmas instead of alleviating conflict.

Putting a gun into the hands of a common man who, at this moment, is rational, does not mean that this person will be logical under the influence of alcohol, anger, frustration, or just dumb stupidity.

I guess what bothers me is the idea that law-abiding citizens require guns to protect themselves from non-law-abiding citizens. It begs the questions:

  1. When should I pull a trigger and release a missile of death to terminate the life of another human being?
  2. Should I do it because they have entered my home to steal from me?
  3. Should I shoot them because they are walking on my sidewalk, speaking threats in the direction of my domicile?
  4. In my frivolous and often unpredictable nature, should I be trusted to decide who lives or dies simply because I have a weapon to determine the outcome?
  5. Or are all these questions moot–because we have a Constitution that allows us to be “gun-toting,” so that’s all the justification we need?

There’s no doubt–guns are cool. I would be greatly fascinated to look at someone’s gun collection. I just wonder how we can determine how these weapons are used, or … how we can trust one another to make that decision.

 

Aalto, Alvar

by  J. R Practix

dictionary with letter A

Definition of Aalto, Alvar (1898–1976), Finnish architect and designer; full name  Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto. He often used materials such as brick, copper, and timber in his building designs to blend with the landscape. As a designer he is known as the inventor of bent plywood furniture.
Come on. The dude has four names. Let me give you a scale on numbers of names:
People who go by one name are divas. Beyoncé. Kermit. God.
Two names: Hard-working folk. John Deere. Jack Daniels. Martha Stewart.
Three names: Serial killers, authors and mascots. John Wayne Gaycee, Henry David Thoreau, Smoky the Bear.
But four names or more?  Really?? Fruitcake. And I don’t mean any disrespect.
Also, what’s the big deal about blending into the landscape? Isn’t that what cavemen did? “Hey, look, Buck! There’s a hole in this rock. We can live inside there without changing the landscape or ambience!”
And by the way…bent plywood furniture?? I have done that many times–just by sitting on it suddenly.
I’m sure Mr. Aalto is a nice guy, and probably came up with his own idea on how to blend things together…ala Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and army intelligence. But if you ask my opinion, making furniture out of plywood is what causes many young married couples to end up purchasing living room suites that wear out long before the payment stops.

Aardvark

by  J. R Practix

dictionary with letter Aaardvark: a large, nocturnal, burrowing mammal, Orycteropus afer, of central and southern Africa, feeding on ants and termites and having a long extensile tongue, strong claws and long ears.aardvark

Let me get this straight. Aardvark is just a really fancy, British way of saying “anteater.”

I once thought about eating my aunt. Actually, it was an assignment in my sociology class. Our teacher posed the question: if you were stuck on a desert island with your family and you were starving to death, which member would you eat first?

I decided it couldn’t be my mother. Let me not get into the reasons.

My father would be tough and taste like cigarettes.

My little brother would be an option, but it would take days to wash him off.

I thought about my uncle, but I didn’t want to eat him because he’s humorous. At least that’s what my parents said–he was a “funny uncle.” I was nineteen years old before I realized he did not own a comedy club.

I decided the best option was my Aunt Mary, even though I feared she would be a bit sour. You could always sweeten her with sugar, add a dash of cayenne pepper and the flavor would be tolerable.

I also noticed that aardvarks have long noses, but they do keep them to the grindstone instead of poking them into the air. Of course, it would be hard to be superior if you had really big ears and a really long tongue.

No, I guess if I had to, I could be an aunt eater–not the little black bugs, though. Wouldn’t they try to sting you on the way down as their last protest to being consumed? I’ll have to go over to England and ask an aardvark sometime.

Now I know what an aardvark is. It’s a funny looking creature with its head hung low, embarrassed over its appearance which likes to eat ants with its long tongue.

Good information. Just be careful discussing it too much, or it conjures a very unpleasant vision … of family dinner.