Conductor

Conductor: (n) a person who directs the performance of an orchestra or choir.

I have a friend who has played oboe for many years.

I got a hankering to write some pop-classical music, and thought it would be wonderful if we could start a symphony orchestra in a medium-sized Southern town. (On another occasion I will go into the details of what it was like to promote such a high-brow idea in a town where thefunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
Cracker Barrel is always packed to the gills.)

But the thing we immediately discovered was that female conductors and symphony orchestras do not necessarily coincide–and also that symphony orchestras and innovation have been separated for quite some time.

So rather than easing our way into the marketplace, we took a radical approach. Perhaps the most outlandish idea was placing the conductor in the middle, at the rear of the orchestra, facing the audience, so those who came to the hear the symphony could experience seeing the symphony conducted, right in front of them.

It was ground-breaking, and my friend was a natural.

We did this for about eight or nine years, and then grew weary of the tedium.

One wonderful thing about life–if you get tired of what you’re doing, you can go “conductor” yourself in another activity.

 

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Blow

Blow: (v) to create an air current.

Dictionary B

Although I was greatly impressed with the poetry, I have to admit that when Bob Dylan proffered the idea that the answer is “Blowin’ in the Wind,” I was incredulous.

I do believe the Earth speaks to us.

I think there are obvious ways of thinking and acting that overall prosper a bit better than others. But God gave us a brain because emotions wear thin and souls can be too ethereal.

There are those who make my acquaintance who must “feel” everything to believe it’s real, and I have many friends who are convinced that prayer is the only way to receive lasting peace and tranquillity.

Yet I will tell you–that brain sits up there, begging to be used and certainly needing to be renewed with fresh insight every day .

I like the word “blow” because it has so may different representations.

It can be a burst of wind.

Or it can be an admission that we screwed up. “I blew that.”

It also has one or two naughty implications, which keep it even more intriguing.

But the answers we seek are probably not going to blow in our direction. They will require us to take a breath of air and release it, giving our brain enough oxygen… to blow forth some innovation.

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Began

Dictionary BBegan: past tense of begin

If you acknowledge the source, you can avoid remorse.

Even though it’s very popular to talk about how to begin, the celebration is much more powerful if we first commemorate how we got to where we are now.

Yes, our “begin” is much more efficient if we laud our “began.” May I explain?

I began several years ago to stop being so fussy about trying to get my personal avenue in life. Yes, I have preferences. No one cares. Lamenting their apathy only makes me aggravated and grouchy. So I began to take care of myself and not require that others do it for me.

A decade ago, I began to be self-critical about my projects instead of waiting for the criticism of others. I would much rather be overly analytical of my personal affairs rather than having to recoil from critique.

I began to realize that financial responsibility is not optional.

I began to give independence to my children, so they could have a life separate from their allegiance to my fatherhood.

I began to talk less and think more.

I began to celebrate that intervention by problems is the only way to coax innovation.

I began to begin.

And in beginning … I can now celebrate what I began.

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Aviation

Aviation: (n) the flying or operating of aircraft.dictionary with letter A

Although I am surrounded by the mob which extols the beauty and intelligence of innovation, my perspective is much more cautious. Here’s what I have discovered.

Innovation has a very short shelf life before it is interrupted by human inconsistency, selfishness and ineptness.

I am positive that Wilbur and Orville Wright, when they flew their little contraption on the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were overjoyed with the sheer brilliance of invention–breaking through a barrier to birth the beginnings of flight.

Never did they envision or comprehend that it all would eventually come down to inconvenience, stale peanuts and cramped seats.

I remember the first time I ever flew in an airplane. I thought I was a god. But in typical human style, over the years we have succeeded in taking something truly remarkable and making it miserable.

Here is the reason:

All the bratty, stupid kids who sucked up to the teachers in high school grew up and ended up in middle management, where the only power they have in their lives is to usurp authority over other people and create obstacles.

They aren’t smart enough to become CEOs. And they’re just a little too smart to be menial laborers.

So the only joy they get in their lives is exactly what they had in school: being the tattle-tales and the jerks who really insisted that you weren’t allowed to take more than one milk in the cafeteria.

So when you go to the airport you are immediately greeted by these soulless authoritarians who want to make your experience as painful as possible.

This is true whether it’s the baggage handler who is convinced that your satchel is over seventy pounds, the TSA agent who thinks your shoes look suspicious, or the flight attendant who wants to argue with you about whether your I-Pad will be suitable for use on the journey through the sky.

Add the fact that some cranky manufacturers created seats more suited to the buttocks of an 8-year-old and you have a torture chamber of inefficient nastiness.

Even though most people realize this to be true, no change is introduced because it is all glossed over with the well-rehearsed statement: “Well, it’s still the best and safest way to travel.”

I still think flying is amazing.

I just wish all the former hall monitors and teacher-ass-kissers would be permanently grounded.

 

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Again

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Again: (adv) another time; once more

It’s all about french fries.

For a very brief season, french fries lost their appeal–they became an afterthought: “Would you like fries with that?”

Having already selected my sandwich of choice and determined my milkshake preference, I had french fries thrust upon me by my server, giving me the sensation that they were trapped in the back, toasted brown, desperately lonely. Matter of fact, in that era, not much care was put into them.

They began to taste like fried sticks.

So you had to decide if you were gonna have french fries AGAIN.

You see, the trouble with the word “again” is that it threatens to become repetitive, bringing sameness to our lives, which causes us to become bored, robbing us of entertainment.

Thus french fries.

Matter of fact, I am not sure they could have survived this season of doldrums if someone had not come along to smear them with cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and I don’t know…maybe even whipped cream. Then french fries gained interest because they brought along friends and a fresh outlook. They were welcome–even flirting with the possibility of bumping the main course.

It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with “again,” but normally when we use the word, our voices trail off into the great pit of despair:

  • “I have to go to school … again.”
  • “It’s Sunday morning church … again.”
  • “I’ve been married for thirty years. I guess it’s time to kiss my wife … again.”

If we don’t do something to spice up the side dishes of our lives with innovation and flavor, having something “again” will never be pleasant. It will become the kind of march to blandness that convinces us that we’ve been cheated rather than blessed.

I’m going to write my essay again …but I’m going to make it cheesy and spicy.