Circa

Circa: (prep) approximately (often preceding a date)

Circa the time that humans discovered fire, they started cooking their meat.

Circa the arrival of iron, swords and plowshares were made. (Unfortunately, our species preferred the weapon.)

Circa the revelation that knowledge could be transferred into manuscripts and eventually books, libraries were built to confirm the power of
our more docile wisdom.

Circa the season when souls from Africa were considered slaves and only two-fifths of a person, the “Abraham of America” came and made us all a great nation.

Circa the arrival of instruments came music.

Circa the introduction of music came soul-washing.

Circa the introduction of a madman, the atom was split.

Circa the dropping of a bomb, we discovered the power we have to destroy ourselves.

Circa one war after another, young men and women have learned to protest the insanity of blood-letting.

Circa the arrival of the Internet with the ability for international communication, there is a scream for moderation and a prayer for personal contact.

Circa this moment, we are in search of our heart.

Here’s hoping we find it.

 

 

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British

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British: (adj) of or relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom

A sense of doom hangs in the air whenever people discuss the Israelis and the Palestinians.Dictionary B

Because they have fought for so long–argued, battled and killed each other–we’re totally and completely convinced that any attempts at arbitration are futile.

I guess I would have a tendency to go along with this perspective, until I consider the relationship between the British and the United States.

Let’s look at it as a panorama:

The British were in charge of the Colonies, and the Colonies, in turn, were so loyal to the King that they fought for him in the French and Indian War.

But it was less than two decades later that the British and the Colonists were at each other’s throats over issues of freedom, taxation without representation and independence.

For seven-and-a-half long years, they struggled with each other, hatefully. And even when the Revolutionary War was over, the British Navy continued to conscript American sailors, claiming that they were really English citizens.

This led to another war.

This time the British burned down Washington, D.C., destroying the White House. So great was the hatred between the two nations that they actually fought the last battle of the War of 1812 in New Orleans after the peace treaty had already been signed. (No instant messaging.)

On top of that, the British government considered entering our Civil War–siding with the Confederacy against the Union. They didn’t do it, but it was touch and go.

So how did we go from this ferocious animosity to being allies in World War II, overthrowing Hitler?

Here’s the truth: we found a common enemy that was more necessary to defeat than maintaining our feud.

Is it possible that the Palestinians and the Israelis could find a common enemy to unite them, and in the process give them the chance to fight side-by-side instead of face-to-face?

I don’t know.

But we human beings are much more likely to unite for a fight than to see and agree.

 

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Annex

dictionary with letter A

Annex: (v) to add to one’s own, especially as relating to property or land: Ex. Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.

You have to watch words. They’re tricky, especially when uttered from the tongues of deceivers.

Often in an effort to disguise greed, selfishness or oblivion, we use language that is vicious at its heart, but drenched in a bit of honey. Or maybe it’s not vicious at all–just misleading.

  • Can I borrow a Kleenex?
  • I don’t mean to be critical, but…
  • You know me–I like to get along…
  • Does anybody else think that Bob is …?
  • It’s just the way we do things over here…
  • It may be old-fashioned but I still think…
  • I believe women want to stay at home…
  • I’ve always found men to be stupid. How about you?
  • I think the races don’t want to mix. Birds of a feather, you know…

These and many other statements are spoken daily by people trying to hide their real intentions, while annexing huge portions of human dignity, feelings and righteous freedom.

Hitler annexed part of Austria. He called it an annexation instead of an invasion. If somebody had questioned his use of the word, who knows? We might have avoided a world war.

So even though I occasionally make people angry by insisting they use the proper term for their actions instead of “annexing” different terminology to clean up their actual motivations, I believe I will continue to do so, and perhaps by pursuing such a noble adventure … stop a war or two myself.

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Almost

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Almost: (adv.) not quite or very nearly: e.g. he almost knocked Georgina over

I don’t want to be cynical but I must point out that we have become the Almost States of America.

“Almost” is our new favorite word. It used to be a compound word — “fries-with-that.” But now, we have embraced the message of emotional anemia, spiritual weakness, mental denseness and physical laziness.

May I give my definition of “almost?”

  • It is the universal certificate given for trying.
  • It is the party thrown for a victory that never arrived.
  • It is the hug provided for losers.
  • It is the hand grenade that never exploded.
  • It is the swimming pool without water.
  • It is the kiss on the cheek.
  • It is the “let’s be friends” in the vernacular.
  • It is the pat on the back instead of the vigorous thump.
  • It is the reassurance we give one another, that most of the time it is the lot of human beings to see the finish line and pull over well short, for a McDouble.

I am guilty of failing, but I have forbidden my addicted, crack-whore soul from going down the path to the pusher of inadequacy and getting my fix of blandness.

Yes, I am prepared to fail without being told that I tried.

I want to look at the pile of stink I’ve left behind in my endeavors without insisting that it’ll be good fertilizer for the future.

I want to admit that my “almost” was not only not good enough, but should be forgotten as quickly as possible, in a flurry of sweat-drenched training.

  • We almost have a President.
  • We almost have a Congress.
  • We almost have progress.
  • We almost have racial equality.
  • We almost have an educational system.
  • We almost have a solution for poverty.
  • We almost have drug addiction on the run.
  • We almost have figured out gun control.
  • We almost have a church.
  • We almost have entertainment.
  • We almost have excellence.
  • We almost have almost of what we need, without having almost of what it will take to do almost everything.

Don’t tell me I tried. Don’t tell me I almost got it. Let me fail. Let me suffer.

Let me rise from my ashes  … and do better.

The Almost States of America could never have won the Civil War. We could never have defeated Hitler. And we certainly would never have landed a man on the moon.

If we’re not careful, hundreds and hundreds of years from now we will be remembered like ancient Athens–a society that tried democracy … and almost pulled it off.

 

Alma Mater

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alma Mater: (n) the school, college or university that one once attended.

Through the years of deep devotion

We will ever loyal be

Love and cherish all our memories

Of our high school days with thee

And the portals we’ll remember

Friends who made our lives sublime

Alma Mater, Alma Mater

Praises be forever thine.

I have no idea why I remember the words to that song from my high school, but I had absolutely no problem conjuring them.

It is a testament to the power of the educational system–its ability to infuse lasting knowledge, and I suppose, insecurities, into its students and victims, respectively.

By the way, we thought it was extraordinarily hilarious to taunt our aging high school English teacher, who penned the words, by telling her that the tune for her verse was borrowed from Hitler’s Nazi Germany list of favs.

Such scamps we were.

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.