Chromatic

Chromatic: (adj) a musical scale including all existing pitches

I have sung for decades.

This doesn’t mean I’m a good singer–and I’m not trying to be humble. Singing is similar to chasing a butterfly–because you may be able to
see what you want to capture, but it can quickly flit away.

Sometimes your voice is not in good shape. Humidity can affect it–and stubbornly insisting you are on pitch is the best way to be out of tune.

So one of the best exercises for singing is practicing the chromatic scales up and down. Moving your voice only a half-step teaches you precision–and exposes those occasions when you might find yourself rubbing up against the correct tone but not actually owning it.

Now, if you’ve never sung, this may not mean anything to you. If you’re a singer, some of this may not mean anything to you.

But the reason I continue to sing is because it’s a wonderfully humbling chamber for the human ego, because there are three obvious realizations:

1. You’re at the mercy of your voice

2. There is no excuse for bad tone or bad pitch

3. There is always someone who will sing better than you.

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Chore

Chore: (n) a routine task, especially a household one.

I suddenly realized that there is no happy word to describe work.

“Labor.” That sucks.

“Effort.” Well, that takes effort

“Struggle.”

Even the word “employment” is constricting, brings a frown to one’s face.

How do we expect to ever move forward in our consciousness when everything seems to be a chore? We didn’t like chores when we were children, so are we going
to wake up one morning having accumulated enough birthdays that we will become intrigued with doing repetitious tasks?

And if we don’t like doing these “events,” what’s to guarantee that the mechanic who’s repairing the airplane doesn’t get bored and take a shortcut?

If we don’t like doing the things we’re supposed to accomplish, won’t we eventually just do them poorly?

And once mediocre becomes normal, normal is certainly dangerous.

How can we re-train ourselves to believe that work is not a chore and that chores do not need to be repetitious, but rather, gain glamor and gleam by being enhanced with new possibilities?

This is not the season to insist on tradition. The work force in America needs a revolution–a revival, if you will–of the passion that originally made us believe we wanted to do what offered us a paycheck.

Don’t ask me to do my chores.

I will rebel, go to my room and listen to the music you don’t like.

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Change

Change: (v) to make or become different

A prototype is required.

Human beings cannot run on ideas, just like lovers fail to subsist on kisses. If something needs to be changed, it needs to be seen so it can be
imitated.

We talk too damn much. We yap and yap and yap and still plan for another talk show.

Seeing is believing.

The faith to believe may come through hearing a good idea, but the human species requires some evidence before rendering its verdict.

If you think the world needs to be a more loving place, then you need to visualize and also make visible a loving life.

If you think the world lacks music, make good music that’s sensitive to the audience’s heart instead of just your finicky taste.

If you think the world needs Jesus, make Jesus human instead of dangling the divine in front of the disappointed.

If you think the Republican Party is going to change our nation, offer some obvious results that can be eyeballed.

If you think the Democrats hold the key, develop a news reel of your plans that make it crystal clear where you wish to head.

Change for change’s sake is rather changeless. It just never catches on.

But if we’re able to see how it benefits our entire being–heart, soul, mind and strength–we just might pick up a tambourine and join the band.

 

 

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Centerpiece

Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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Caviar

Caviar: (n) the pickled roe of sturgeon or other large fish, eaten as a delicacy.

Fishy, mushy and salty. That’s how I would describe caviar.

I will now pause and consider if any one of those words is appealing.

Fish, themselves, have to be careful not to be too fishy.

We normally fry our mush so it won’t be mushy.

And salty is a lovely taste if it’s bringing out another flavor which takes predominance.

I won’t even mention the abortion of sturgeon babies that’s involved in the process of putting together this little delicacy.

But I did learn a long time ago that part of being opulent is convincing yourself that you like things that other people don’t, simply because they cost a lot of money.

It doesn’t matter if it makes you miserable or if it causes your taste buds to recoil. Learn to enjoy it so when people see you doing it they will place you in a category which is superior to the norm.

It also explains much of fashion, music and politics. If there’s money for it, then there must be a reason for it.

I am hardly a country person–but if offered caviar on a cracker, or sausage gravy on biscuits, I will pull my chair up with those south of the Mason Dixon line.

 

 

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Cajun

Cajun: (n) descendants of French Canadians dwelling mostly in Southern Louisiana

I try. I really do.

Being a congenial type, I always attempt to blend in and be open-minded, if not compliant.

Living in Louisiana for three years, it was assumed that I would eventually develop a taste for Cajun food. At the root of most Cajun food is
crawfish.

They love it.

A crawfish looks about the size of a newborn lobster. It’s bug-like. It doesn’t have much meat in its claws or its body, so much work has to be done to acquire nibbles.

The natives tell you that the best part of the crawfish is acquired by sucking out the insides of the head. As appealing as that may sound, it took me many months to garner the courage. When I did work up the nerve to suck the contents of the brainpower of the average crawfish, I was surprised at how much it tasted like salty snot.

I smiled, wanting to be a local advocate of cultural affairs. But after a while, I had to let my stomach and my conscience come clean. The food was too hot, it was too much work and it was filled with so much rice that I walked around for the next few hours like I was recovering from an LSD trip.

Cajun comes with food, accent, music … and attitude.

I never developed an appreciation for any of it.

 

 

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Busk

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Busk: (v) to play music or perform for voluntary donations in the street or in subways.

What is sacred?

Or for that matter, is there anything sacred?

Is Earth so earthy that everything is earthen?

Is there anything of heavenly quality on a miniscule planet orbiting in the midst of an immense Universe?

We certainly think there are sacred things–and it’s not limited to those who have a religious swing to their club.

No, everyone, in their own way, will make it clear to you what they perceive to be so important that it must never, ever be ignored, criticized or portrayed in an unseemly way.

The Muslims insist Mohammed is sacred. No pictures. No criticisms. No embellishment in any way, shape or form.

Some Christians are still that way about Jesus, but the Nazarene has certainly been allowed to tiptoe through darker halls of speculation.

Some people think money is sacred. Just ask them for some. They will explain in vivid detail how separation from finance is the true definition of being cast into outer darkness.They will walk by a musician busking on the thoroughfare and deem the musical effort to be glorified begging instead of allowing some humanity to dribble from them as they realize that this individual who loves music is merely trying to find a way to subsist while doing it.

The list goes on and on.

Motherhood.

Some people consider their sexuality to be sacred.

On Sundays in the autumn months, football is a sacred rite of passage in the United States. If you don’t believe so, factor this in–it comes complete with wings and fantasy leagues.

When I sat down to write this essay, I asked myself, what do I think is sacred?

I know the answer. But I’m afraid to speak it out loud for fear that people will accuse me of “busking” a foolish idea. Or worse, that I will be expected to revere my own assertion.

Yet I believe the only thing that’s sacred is the way I treat the next person I meet.

 

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