Crooner

Crooner: (n) someone who utilizes smooth but exaggerated singing

Late one night, as a friend and I drove across the expanses of the American prairie, where it was so lonesome and dark that even the prairie dogs had turned in for the night, we quickly discovered that we were getting sleepy.

We tried eating.

We tried listening to the radio.

We tried talking. (I think we confessed all the sins and indiscretions from our youth at least three times over.)

While flipping around the radio, we discovered a channel set aside exclusively for old-time singers like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

We were deeply surprised at how much production was put into each and every song, and how these crooners took every single tune and made it sound the same as the others—simply by homogenizing the words and blending the tones together to develop the same consistency on every ballad.

We got tickled.

We decided to take great rock and roll songs and sing them to one another as if we were crooners. From “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, to “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues, to “Hang On Sloopy,” by the McCoys, to “Get Back” by the Beatles—each rendition was funnier than the last.

After all, rock and roll is known for separating words and lyrics, almost in a syncopated style. When you smear it all together, it not only loses its beat, but certainly threatens to remove all meaning.

Crooners are interesting vocalists.

They took a time in our history, when we wanted our background music to be nearly symphonic, and then they added cottage cheese vocals, to make everything resound with romance.

Still, I don’t think anything else could have kept us awake that night, as we drove across Americana.

It was especially funny when we decided to do our “crooner rendition” of the Kiss song, “I’m Gonna Rock and Roll All Night and Party Every Day.”

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Contaminate

Contaminate: (v) to make something impure

The first time I said a prayer my soul merged with God.

Then I went to prayer meetings. Now a sense of loss floods my heart every time I listen to over-exsggerated supplications.

The first time a woman kissed my lips and touched my face I thought I was going to melt like butter on a hot waffle.

Then came television, movies, and all sorts of insidious representations of romance, which make me sometimes wonder why in the hell we’re attracted to each funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cother.

The first time I voted I believed I was accompanied to the polls by George Washington himself.

Now, through the disappointment of the Electoral College and the tainting of civil discourse, I would rather have a 24-hour stomach virus. (Well, maybe not.)

The first time I stood onstage and sang a song for an audience, and had chills go up and down my spine as I harmonized with my friends, I thought I had pierced the heavenly gates and joined the supernal chorus.

Now I feel perplexed at a musical cacophony that shouts, screams and contorts without ever touching the human heart.

I remember the first time for many beautiful things.

And then humanity tried to contaminate the simplicity, insisting that the complexity brought deeper meaning.

It didn’t.

I have taken a brief season of my life to debug myself from the infection of religious fanaticism, entertainment porn, political grappling and music composed with a tin ear.

I feel good.

I feel simple.

I no longer feel contaminated.

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Chug

Chug: (v) to drink something in large gulps

My inexperience often leaves me intimidated, while my excesses are often overtly displayed in either my demeanor or appearance.

I’m not a beer drinker.

It’s not because I think it’s morally wrong or it’s associated with those who fart more than think. I just never started.

It’s almost like the scenario that if you don’t have sex before you’re twenty-one, you just might not ever have sex.

There are windows, am I right?

Everybody should hit a baseball with a bat before they’re six.

Everybody should ride a rollercoaster before they’re ten.

Everybody should probably kiss someone before they’re twelve.

Everybody should read a book which is thicker than a carrot before they’re fourteen.

I could go on and on.

I don’t know when most people drink their first beer. I was eighteen, and ended up sipping it. I can guarantee you that a sip of beer will probably prevent you from taking a gulp, and the lack of a gulp certainly forbids chugging.

There are many things I have drunk in my life that weren’t particularly sweet and tasty–but for some reason, that first sip of beer scared me away.

So when I watch movies and see teens chugging beer, only to vomit it up within the hour, I guess I just don’t get it.

Even though I have over-eaten to the point of regurgitating, I didn’t have fond memories of the barbecue ribs which instigated the urping. Matter of fact, for a season I couldn’t even hear someone say, “barbecue ribs” without dashing for the bathroom porcelain.

Yet people will drink beer, chug it, throw up and come right back for another serving.

Interesting. I just had a thought.

I wonder if that’s how recycling got started?

 

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Cadaver

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cadaver: (n) a corpse.

I found myself at the bedside of a dying friend, as her family came in to offer their farewells.

Even though I knew the woman quite well, her kin were a little bit of a mystery to me. But each one came to her side, said a word or two, and she shared a
sentiment. Tears sprouted, they gave her a kiss and scooted aside.

There was a girl about twelve years of age who came up, said her speech, did not receive any encouraging words, but went ahead and kissed my friend anyway. As she pulled away the nurse stepped in, took a pulse, realizing that the lady had passed away.

The young girl lurched back in horror, and before she considered what she was saying, proffered, “Yuck! I kissed a dead person!”

It made me think.

Moments before, this was her great-aunt but because breath had left the body, she had instantly become a frightening cadaver.

It’s why we all work so hard to stay alive. The breath that the Creator breathed into us is what really makes us valuable.

Once it’s gone, we just become kind of yucky.

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Bribe

Bribe: inducement offeredj-r-practix-with-border-2

Tit for tat:

  • If you will do this, I will do that.
  • If you give me this, I’ll give you that.
  • If you believe in me, I’ll believe in you.
  • If you kiss me, I’ll kiss you back.

We are constantly bribing each other. We withhold blessing, generosity and affection as hostage while we negotiate our deal.

We need to be self-motivated. We should do things because we want to, not because we have to or we’re trying to get something off of someone else.

Truth is, if I love myself, I can do a helluva lot of good things. In order to love myself, I need to believe I have enough resources through my talent and faith to sustain success. That way I don’t have to negotiate bribes to acquire my sense of worth.

Dictionary BDoing things of our own volition is the secret to contentment.

Otherwise, you and I will continue to bribe each other, only satisfied when we feel we get the better end of the deal.

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Bomb

Bomb: (n) a container designed to explode on impact

A red woodpecker.Dictionary B

I can close my eyes and envision such a creature. Maybe it’s because as a kid I watched “Woody the Woodpecker.”

A sirloin steak covered with mushroom gravy with a side order of garlic shrimp.

That’s easy for me to imagine. I have experience. I have eaten all of these foods.

A moist kiss on the lips with a mixture of musky breath and a hint of mint.

Once again, all in the annals of my personal history and awareness.

A bomb.

I have no experience.

I have seen more bombings on television than I have red woodpeckers, but because I have no real sense of the horror, the heat, the explosive range and the demolition, I am dealing with an idea rather than a reality.

It is why, when considering our enemies, I choose not to scream with the careless crowd, “Bomb the shit out of them.”

 

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Age of Consent

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Age of consent: (n) the age at which a person’s, particularly a girl’s, consent to sexual intercourse is valid by law.

I am thoroughly convinced that a conservative philosophy would work beautifully if those who pursued it were actually faithful.

Likewise, I have no doubt that a liberal agenda would be equally as positive if the people adhering to its tenets would not swerve from their conviction.

The problem is inconsistency–and nowhere does this show up in our society any more than in our dealings with our children–and especially with our teenagers. Let me give you an example.

Teenagers are supposed to have the wisdom to study for school, take care of their lockers, drive a car, decide what college they want to go to, study for the SAT, make good choices on not drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, and control their hormones.

Yet by the same token, we turn right around and say they are irresponsible, childish, silly, that their brains don’t fully develop until they’re twenty-five years of age, and that they are just as capable of lying as they are of breaking out in acne.

We have to make up our minds.

If our children are able to drive a car down the street, are they not also mature enough to make decisions about their own sexuality?

We don’t want our children to be drug dependent, while simultaneously living in a society that has a free flow of alcohol and is discussing legalizing marijuana–to further deaden their personalities.

They can’t drink until they’re twenty-one, yet in every movie or television show, we see high school students freely consuming alcohol products, as if they just stopped off at the local party store and picked up a bunch.

Somewhere along the line, we need to get a handle on what we really believe the young humans are capable of achieving and what we think they aren’t.

I firmly believe that the teenagers who came through my house were capable of doing anything at all–as long as they were adequately motivated and supervised. I believe they were nearly worthless if left to their own initiative.

I don’t know whether that is a positive or a negative–it’s just my finding. To me, young humans are very similar to guns. In the hands of the right individual, who is responsible and willing to point the implement in the correct direction, there can possibly be a powerful use. But guns left lying around will always fall into the wrong hands.

Such is the case with the teenager.

So it is time for our society to realize that when puberty is striking people at the age of twelve or thirteen, to ask these individuals to withhold their urges for ten years in order to complete a college education is not only ridiculous, but may be the definition of impossible.

So what am I saying about the age of consent? I know we have to have a legal number so as to run our society in a prudent way–but I do think it is the duty of all parents to sit down with their children and candidly walk through the entire process of human sexuality–and let them know the consequences of all actions.

So what is the age of consent?

I really do not think human beings are able to consent to their own choice in sexuality until they have been taught what is destructive and what is valuable. For some folks, that means they probably shouldn’t kiss until they’re thirty. But for other kids, it could be much younger.

Our culture is desperately in need of some consistency. I welcome the concept of freedom … as long as it is intentionally and ferociously linked to responsibility.