Continent

Continent: (n) one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number

It is 25,000 miles around the Earth.

I suppose if you are accustomed to driving four blocks to the grocery store that number seems outrageously large. But when you’re thinking about a home space for nearly eight billion people, that 25,000-mile number suddenly appears limited, if not confining.

Living space within that circumference is seven continents, if you’re willing to let Antarctica slip-slide its way in. Since even polar bears and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
penguins are reluctant to occupy that particular Southern apartment, we’re down to six living areas.

It’s not that much.

It becomes almost comical, and then, if pursued too far, dangerous to eyeball one another as foreigners when we are such closely knit next-door-neighbors.

For instance, Africa can be considered a continent, a home for black people, or one of the six pieces of turf available. Perhaps this is why we’ve become so turfy.

There’s Europe and Asia, which have little evidence of a boundary, but continue as one whopping, huge space, peppered with cultures, when really, we’re all intended to just be the salt of the Earth.

South America is also filled with Americans, even though North America, and especially the United States, insists on claiming the title.

Australia, a country, boasts being a continent, and because they are so willing to share their “shrimp on the barbie,” we see no reason to argue with the congenial folk.

We are all within 25,000 miles of one another—when it’s 238,900 miles to the moon and ninety million to the sun.

And that is all within our solar system—when we exist in a universe that scoffs at being considered a mere billion galaxies.

Perspective.

Since the water is winning the war for Earth, as land becomes a little less every year, maybe it’s time for us to work on “neighborly” instead of weapons.


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Anti-static

dictionary with letter A

Anti-static: (adj) of preventing the presence of static electricity or reducing its effect.

I will ask you in the forefront to please forgive this pensman for taking liberties with this word in order to climb up on my soapbox and postulate.

I know the word “anti-static” refers to electrical currents and the elimination of such activity, but I would like to transfer that notion to the general climate of static which is aggravating the potential sweet hum of peacefulness in our world today.

The Middle East is bound and determined to draw us into a premature Armageddon, so like little brats, we can once and for all prove there is a God by throwing such a severe tantrum that He must come and punish all of His children.

Not for me.

My message to President Obama, Congress and all those who would feel that they can live by the sword without suffering the curse of its blade, is very simple:

We should create a giant box for the Middle East and let them fight it out amongst each other until they grow tired of burying their children.

If we do not do this, the allure of war to please what can only be considered a damnable god, will prompt them, season upon season, to skirmish and hatch new rumors of mayhem.

For after all, we don’t discipline our children by entering into the scuffle and punching it out alongside them. And since we are all children of Earth, it stands to reason that it is ridiculous to try to correct our brothers and sisters by rolling in the dirt with them and trying to lay a haymaker.

So let me present this to you very succinctly:

Since we Americans have the military might and power to bomb the Middle East, might we have the same capability to surround them, refusing anything to go in or come out, and squeeze them with a gigantic world-wide siege, forcing them to the bargaining table, or causing them to no longer to provide food for their dinner table?

That’s right.

Nothing in or out.

Let them fight.

After all, they won’t kill any more than they already have, and if they do, let us realize that their motivation is not nearly as strong to destroy America and Europe as it is to punish their own religious families who don’t submit to every single precept of Koran law.

To do this, of course, we must quickly and intelligently wean ourselves off of the dastardly need for oil which trickles from such scoundrel surroundings.

I cannot honor my country for joining a war that is prophesied to be at the center of the end of the world. Even if you have no interest in the Bible, just consider it bad luck to pursue a faulty logic that places us anywhere near the epicenter of the superstitious conclusion of our planet.

Don’t go there.

We are not going to be able to stop the senseless slaughter because that execution is willed by the leadership of the people we are trying to save.

It is not in our best interest.

Dammit, it’s not in any interest, other than the spiritual ego of maniacs who have forgotten that God looks like people.

The best anti-static for this world is to refuse to leap, hop and jump in the direction of everything that goes bump in the night.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Antic

dictionary with letter A

 

Antic: (adj) grotesque or bizarre

What happens when you use two words to define one word and the two words you apply–which were meant to be synonyms–have absolutely nothing to do with each other?

Because bluntly, I would have to admit that there were times in my life when people would characterize my actions as bizarre, but I would never believe them to be grotesque.

To me, grotesque means “ugly” and bizarre means “unusual.”

Unless we’re trapped in some 21st Century contention that if you happen to be a bit less than beautiful, you’re unusual enough to be considered grotesque. Is that the message?

And an antic is not an appearance, it’s an action–and I, for one, can think of at least four antics off the top of my head which were considered bizarre, if not grotesque in their time, but have proven historically to be life-saving:

1. John Brown attacking the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to free the slaves.

If any of us had met John Brown we would have called him grotesque and certainly bizarre, with his zealous appeal against slavery and his antic of attempting the take-over of a government installation with a bunch of church friends.

It wasn’t exactly well-planned, yet the Union soldiers went into battle singing about his antic to inspire them to destroy an antiquated and evil institution of owning human beings.

2. Jesus of Nazareth calling himself the Son of God–or if you want to be really picky, not raising any objection when others did so.

How much guts would it take to have faith in someone you were sitting next to, who had just farted, as he contended that he was possessed of divine inspiration? I don’t know if I could have pulled that off.

Yes, believing in the resurrected Christ is certainly easier than following the unkempt Galilean.

3. Winston Churchill.

When Adolf Hitler had taken over most of Europe and had set his sights on the British Isles, Churchill and a few of his cronies decided to make a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Berlin. It wasn’t popular and certainly the bombing of Londontown was grotesque and bizarre.

But the action halted the progress of the Third Reich, allowing time for the United States to rally and help chase the bully back into the bunker.

4. And finally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,. who by the way was raised in an era when Jim Crow was not only tolerated, but was considered to be evidence for how the Old South was resolving the colored/white issue.

What a bizarre notion, to think that people of all colors should be able to ride on a bus together, when in your entire life you had been taught by your elders that separation was inevitable, if not righteous. And how grotesque it was to see little girls blown up in churches because your antics were being objected to by the white plurality.

I think the definition offered by Mr. Webster portrays that antics are displeasing and therefore perhaps should be shoveled away.

Yet without antics, we don’t have any of the practical nuts and bolts that somehow or another, miraculously hold this contraption together. 

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Acculturate

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acculturate: (v.) to assimilate or cause to assimilate to a different culture, typically the dominate one: e.g. an acculturated Cherokee.

What IS a dominate culture?

I guess in this day and age it would be the loudest one–or maybe it’s the one that can get the most votes.

Perhaps the dominate culture would be the one that has the most money to buy commercials on television to promote its cause.

Could the dominate culture be the local color of choice?

Is the dominate culture what we feel in the moment, because we are wracked with guilt, teeming with vengeance or overwhelmed with responsibility?

Perhaps the dominate culture is just the one we learned around the kitchen table with those folks who sprouted the seed which became our lives.

Maybe when we use terms like “dominate culture” we are setting a bit of nastiness in motion which can only be resisted by those who object to such foolish wording. I am not suggesting that “acculturate” should be removed from the dictionary, but truly, the only acculturating we all do is the knowledge that we have arrived on a planet called Earth instead of a three-square-foot  space dubbed “me.”

So I can’t acculturate without recognizing the preferences of my Chinese brothers and sisters. And merely calling some nations our “enemies” does not eliminate them from consideration when we’re trying to find ways to cohabit a planet which is shrinking with each and every new advancement in speed.

This is why I’ve discovered that the only viable principle of acculturation which transfers from one border to another, is the statement: “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

Of course, that particular premise may eliminate the need for a personally devised culture in the first place. Since my ideas and your ideas have equal footing, there is no need to act like your ways are slippery and mine are on solid rock.

Do we really want people from Mexico, Central America, Europe or China to come over here and learn how to speak our language with a mid-western accent so we’ll be comforted by their willingness to be “truly American?”

Would I be willing to go to China, learn the language and imitate the local dialect? Of course not–because I’m American and believe that everybody should acculturate to me. And even though the Chinese outnumber us about four to one, it becomes their duty to be more like us rather than we like them.

It’s not just conceit, it’s just unrealistic.

The more we can find things that are free of taste and preference and are brimming with commonality, the better the chance that we will be able to talk with one another–or at least not blow up each other’s lives

Acculturate–I guess it’s finding the dominate culture by first realizing that it won’t be just ours.

It’s going to be what is earth-friendly.

 

Abroad

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abroad: (adv.): 1. in or to a foreign country or countries: we usually go abroad for a week in June 2. in different directions; over a wide area: the seeds were scattered abroad.

I always wanted to say “abroad.” Unfortunately, you must have a certain amount of money, clout and look good in an Ascot to be able to mutter the word. I once tried wearing an Ascot, but it ended up looking like I had tied a fancy piece of cloth around my neck to cover up an ugly goiter.

“Abroad” is one of those words people used when I was a kid to refer to countries that were not nearly as freedom-loving as America, but had much prettier stuff. It amazed me that the United States was the greatest nation on earth but you had to go to Greece to see the Parthenon, Paris to check out the Eiffel Tower and London to hear Big Ben ring his chimes.

Maybe that’s the whole problem–we settle for mediocrity in our own lives while maintaining comfort, but yearn to go “abroad” to check out the really cool stuff. I don’t know when “abroad” became “overseas,”  or then changed to specifics like Europe, Africa, Australia.

But I still think if I ever became wealthy, I would be tempted to rub it into people’s noses by telling them I was going to the ambiguous nation of “abroad” so as to make them wonder for a longer period of time, exactly how exotic my destination might be.

I did try it once. I was going on a trip to Toronto, Canada, and informed some friends that I would be out-of-pocket for a few weeks because I would be “abroad.” Looking at me like I had just registered a really loud belch, they inquired exactly where “abroad” was going to be.

I wanted to lie. I really wanted to make up some country that none of them would be familiar with, but frightened to question lest they appeared ignorant. But my nasty penchant for telling the truth, mingled with my lack of creative spontaneity, caused me to blurt out, “Canada.”

They all thought this was hilarious. For after all, EVERYONE knows–Canada is not abroad. It’s attached.

There’s the rule. You can’t say you’re going abroad if where you’re going is hooked to your homeland.  So “abroad” is anything that requires you cross a body of water.

And I think that would mean an ocean instead of a creek.