British

j-r-practix-with-border-2

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.

 

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


 Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Advertisements

Beggar

Dictionary B

Beggar: (n) a person, typically a homeless one, who lives by asking for money or food.

I was always curious what was meant by the word “chooser.”

You know–the classic closer on the phrase, “beggars can’t be…” culminating with the object, “…choosers.”

So much is made of choice.

We extol it as a symbol of our control, prowess and independence. But an amazing percentage of the events that transpire in our lives provide us no opportunity to choose, and often make us look like beggars.

People diagnosed with cancer have certainly not been given a chance to select a disease, and suddenly find themselves beggars to the doctor–and if they happen to be individuals of faith, on their knees, begging the heavens.

I guess we’re afraid of the word beggar, because no one wants to be beggarly. As Webster has proven in the definition provided for us today, we relegate being a beggar to the bedraggled homeless element in our society, who should be grateful for our pocket change, while no real change is ever offered to them.

Are they just destined to be poor?

I don’t think anyone is a beggar unless we treat him like a beggar.

If you have a five-year-old child and you take him to the store, and you haven’t provided a plan to give him a treat, you will end up with a little beggar on your hands.

If you’re a well-employed, successful individual who wants to purchase a house, but find yourself a few points deficient in your credit score, you may very well turn into a beggar in front of your loan officer.

So perhaps a beggar is not a position, but rather, a judgment we lay on each other when we want to feel superior and make another feel inferior.

For instance, my children will still come to me, asking for money. I have a choice. I can roll my eyes and be disgusted that they have the audacity to request finance from me, or I can make sure to remove all the elements of “beggar” from their consciousness, and let them know how delighted I am to be of assistance.

Last week I gave five dollars to a gentleman sitting alongside the road. Feeling he had a role to play, he began to grovel and feign tears in an attempt to prove to me that I was his superior and he, the dependent.

I refused to be part of the play.

I told him it was my blessing–that I hoped that in some small way he would be able to use it to brighten his day.

I took the “beggar” out of the definition … and gave him the chance to just be a man who I was able to assist.

Donate Button

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

 

Beckon

Beckon: (v) to make a gesture that summons or bidsDictionary B

“Don’t tell me what to do.”

In the pursuit of granting independence and free will to every person in our society, we may have accidentally created millions and millions of autonomous assholes.

In a season when it seems more important to have made our own decisions rather than to be enlightened and invited to a better conclusion, we are breeding a nursery of bastard ideas.

Here’s reality:

If there are 100 things to know in life–and 100 only–then I am probably acquainted with 15. (Probably true for you, too.)

Of the remaining 85 possibilities, I might have some affinity with 35 others. That leaves 50. With those, I am novice and alien.

So, if 50 percent of the time, I am going to risk my success on my gut “guess,” I am greatly limiting my possibilities for the sake of pride and provincialism.

Sometimes I need to listen to that which beckons me.

  • Maybe it’s a warning sign.
  • It could be overhearing the conversation of someone who’s obviously smarter than me.
  • Or it could be sage wisdom from the ages, written down by a concerned thinker.

But I will guarantee you, my success–and dare I say, yours–is contingent on how well we tune our ears … to the beckoning.

Donate Button

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

 

 

 

Antiquated

dictionary with letter AAntiquated: (adj) old-fashioned or out-dated.

I have never drunk alcoholic beverages nor viewed pornography.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t taken fluids into my body nor that I haven’t pleasurably released them.

It just means that I don’t like substitutes.

That’s what I think about alcohol, pornography, drug use, profanity and any number of imitators of joy, which fail to deliver the true impact of the experience.

Of course, my tee-totaling and puritanical attitudes are viewed as antiquated in this era of libertarian domination.

Old-fashioned it is, my friend.

But see, what I find antiquated is the assertion that after thousands of years of pursuing carnal futility, we still persist in advertising actions, vices, and practices that leave us, in the end, deserted and unfulfilled.

  • Why is it antiquated to try to find inebriation in life instead of a decanter?
  • Why is it antiquated to have a real flesh-and-blood lover instead of one darting across a computer screen?
  • Why is it old-fashioned to want to inhale the beauty of nature and life instead of the smoke from one plant?
  • What makes this so meaningless?

I am very suspicious of those who want me to give up some aspect of my choice and freedom in order to attain a more expansive expression.

I like being free.

It’s why, after all these years, I continue to battle obesity, even though the deck is stacked against me and it seems that I am no longer able to bluff with a poker face.

The absence of dependence is the presence of independence.

I don’t think it’s antiquated to want to be free.

I don’t think it’s old-fashioned to believe in life.

And I don’t think it makes me a grumpy old man to tell you that I, for one, am not going to bottle up my feelings and then try to find the answer … in a bottle.

 

Donate Button

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

Antagonist

dictionary with letter A

Antagonist: (n.) a person who opposes someone or something; an adversary.

I guess I should rate this particular column PG-13.

I am not the type who likes to use colloquial or street language just to be colorful, yet sometimes there is no word that communicates quite as clearly as one that threatens to dribble off into the gutter.

Here are the facts, at least as far as I know them:

Some people are antagonists for a good reason, and some folks are just assholes.

The difficulty lies in knowing the difference.

Because certainly, to over half of the U. S. in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was an asshole. He was making a stand against an institution that had cemented itself into the Southern culture, and even into the minds of many Northern politicians. It seemed like he was urinating on apple pie and had slapped Mom and America in the face.

Yet by the same token, in the 1960’s, Dr. Timothy Leary introduced LSD to our culture, insisting that it was equally as mind-expanding as the Emancipation Proclamation. But really, he ended up just being a weirdo and bringing grief to a lot of unfortunate, gullible souls.

There are many antagonists in our world today. With whom should we side?

  • Supposedly if you take into consideration the feelings of the Palestinians, you’re against Israel.
  • If you express your empathy for the state of Israel, you become a Zionist pig.
  • If you have misgivings about the gay lifestyle, you’re a homophobe.
  • Yet if you promote an entirely liberal, open-minded agenda, history may place you in the “leary” category.

Is there any way of knowing what is truly being motivated by an asshole and what is the necessary work of an antagonist, who’s come along to prophetically shake up our world and better mankind?

I have three ideas. (They are no better than yours, but since I have you reading, I guess you’re stuck with me for the time being:)

1. Great ideas don’t make us more dependent. They cause us to declare our independence from things that are not necessary.

2. Great ideas have a sense of the common good without making fun or humiliating the adversary.

3. Great ideas have appeared in history before. Even if they’ve been shoved to the rear, they still have a lineage in truth.

For instance, slaves being freed has always been a positive throughout mankind’s journey.

Drugs actually expanding our minds and making us more intensely involved have not proven to be such.

I believe this: we must question everything with gentleness, allowing the truth to come to the forefront, instead of just reading aloud, in unison, the press release.

I, myself, am an antagonist.

Will history find me on the right side–or a mental dinosaur?

We shall see.

Of course, I won’t really care … because I won’t be here.

 

Donate Button

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

Alfredo

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alfredo: (n) a sauce for pasta incorporating butter, cream garlic and Parmesan cheese.

There are very few surprises.

Well, I guess the fact that avocados are high in calories is a little alarming, considering how little taste they offer for the load. But generally speaking, you can taste–or really just look–at a dish of food and know that it is killer with everything that produces the fat and sugars which make us bounce out of the room in our “rotundness.”

Such is alfredo sauce.

It’s almost comical, isn’t it? It seems to me that the times in my life that I’ve eaten fettuccine alfredo, I have found myself screaming at the world around me, “What the hell! Leave me alone! I’m gonna go out with a fork in my hand and a smile on my face!”

  • Butter. Come on. Can anything be more symbolic of excess?
  • Cream.
  • Parmesan cheese.
  • And then, on top of that, to create a noodle that is larger and wider than spaghetti–a four-lane carb–to make sure you don’t lose one single drop of this exorbitantly-caloried sauce, is a proclamation of insanity portrayed as a declaration of eating independence.

I once walked by a plate of fettuccine alfredo–without consuming it, merely viewing it–and went to the scale, having gained three pounds. My eyeballs had absorbed the richness through visual osmosis.

It’s much like America. Watching a little piece of Dr. Oz the other day as they were discussing how to take kale and turn it into chips by baking it in the oven, a commercial came on afterwards advertising the new Wendy’s double-bacon, avocado, guacamole cheddar cheese burger.

I love this country. We talk such a good game–and then we decide never to play it.

We think putting on public service announcements about childhood obesity will cover the problem as we continue to dangle saturated fats and sugary confections in front of our children like Christmas ornaments lit up by tiny little bulbs.

They tell me people in Italy eat lots of pasta, and don’t have heart trouble. All I know is, if they’re eating fettuccine alfredo, they should be prepared … well, they should be prepared … to die.

Agog

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgog: (adj) very eager or curious to hear or see something: e.g. the tourists were all agog to see New York

I told her she did good work.

She replied flatly, “It’s just my job.”

She was my waitress at the restaurant, and she had done exceptional service to us, worthy of praise and a good tip. She just didn’t realize how valuable and rare she was.

As I finish Tour 2013 across this country, may I share with you a recurring reality? Something has died.

The carcass doesn’t stink enough yet for people to be aware, but it won’t be long. We have gone from being a nation which at least occasionally would be “agog” about our lives to being bored individuals who look at everything as “agig.”

We have lost the spontaneity, the humor, the adventure of solving problems and just the sheer joy of surviving a little bit of hassle in order to manufacture a victory which we can proudly initial.

I’m not exactly sure what we want.

  • Movies are bigger and more expensive than ever, but don’t have legs. People just don’t talk about them.
  • Music is over-produced, over-discussed and overwrought, yet does not create the simple stirring caused by a single Dylan guitar.
  • Government is more prevalent, but certainly less proficient..
  • Churches have become transfixed with the notion of “mega,” while simultaneously settling for a “mini” cultural influence.

We saw it coming. For after all, about fifteen or twenty years ago we decided to stop being impressed with anything. We called it “sophisticated.” “Laid-back.” We referred to it as “maturity.” We thought we were extraordinarily cool when we said, “I’ve seen that before.”

So on my part, I have made a conscious effort to avoid looking at anything as “agig,” but instead looking at it as “agog.”

Staying in motel rooms, I have learned to cook with only a microwave oven, making elaborate casseroles and meals. I am impressed with both the results and myself.

I am agog that people are still willing to come out from their homes and experience something new–something they’re not even sure they understand or will appreciate.

If we’re going to arrive at the full fruits of freedom, we must never cease to be in awe of the idea. For the only true way to ever lose your independence is to take it for granted.

And the only way you will ever be devoid of joy … is to stop looking for happy.