Corsica: (n) an island in the Mediterranean, Southeast of France.

I don’t know a lot about Corsica.

I am not going to insult you by looking up a few details and making it seem as if I’ve done an exhaustive study. After all, the purpose of these funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
essays is to give you my immediate, often ignorant, and sometimes humorous take on the words of the dictionary as they stumble out in order.

I know one thing about Corsica—it’s the birthplace of Napoleon.

I don’t know whether Corsica would advertise this. Napoleon is an enigma. If you study him as a general, a leader, or even as a French Emperor, he may be considered one of those overly zealous tyrants who come along every once in a while to shake things up and let us know that we need to be on the lookout for “rampagers.”

But in many ways, Napoleon Bonaparte was an Adolf Hitler without the compulsion to kill off Hebrews. He took advantage of the French Revolution, leaving the Francos trying to imitate the Americans, and ending up with a “spaghetti mess.”

He stepped in, established his authority, claimed himself to be the leader of the Holy Roman Empire incarnate and even took the crown from the hands of the priest who was trying to coronate him, and placed it upon his own head.

Thousands and thousands of people from Africa, to Asia and all across Europe were killed because of this man’s desire to conquer.

So intent was he on paying for his wars and ongoing struggle with the English, that he ended up selling the United States—from the Mississippi River all the way west to the Pacific Ocean, in a deal dubbed “the Louisiana Purchase.”

He sold it for pennies, even though it was not his land, and it belonged to countless tribes of Native Americans, who were not privy to the deal and received no remuneration.

But that was Napoleon.

I do believe, even though the average Corsican is probably willing to claim Napoleon as a son of their land, that the smart ones have discovered not to follow in his violent manner.

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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Aboral: (adj.) relating to or denoting the side or end that is furthest from the mouth, especially in animals that lack clear upper and lower sides, such as echinoderms.

I don’t know why this word made me think about the Mississippi River. I stopped worrying about the weird tendency of my mind to leap to bizarre inclinations years ago, and have chosen to believe it a virtue rather than a vice.

But the Mississippi River has a mouth. It’s somewhere up there in Minnesota, among those stoic German-Lutheran folk, who would certainly be willing to be the “salt of the earth” if their doctors had not told them to avoid too much sodium.

But the further you get away from the mouth, the less German and Lutheran the Mississippi River becomes. It winds its way through the heartland, flirting with Illinois, kissing up to St. Louis, where it throws a quick wave at the Gateway Arch, careens down through Memphis, listening to jazz and smelling the barbecue, but also remembering some of the tragedies, such as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having started at its mouth, it now gets deeper into its aboral quest, as it swims its way through the south, landing at a very un-Minnesota-like destination, of New Orleans. Desiring international credibility, it eventually dumps itself into the Gulf of Mexico.

It is a flow of water which separates this country from east to west. Yes, east of the Mississippi live most of the population, insisting they prefer wide-open spaces, while clumping together like year-old peanut brittle. West of the Mississippi, there are regions that appear to be still available for marauding buffalo and Native American tribes.

The Mississippi River is a divider without being divisive. It does something that nobody seems to be capable of achieving–dribbling from one culture to another without preconceived ideas or bigotry. As it goes from its mouth to more aboral locations, it wiggles through accents, belief systems, cultures and states with ease and comfort–absent favoritism.

It is a citizen of both Minnesota and Mardi Gras, without apology.

I’m not so sure if those at the mouth would approve of the aboral destination of the river. But the river does not ask permission. It has learned a valuable lesson:

Go with the flow.