Bunting

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Bunting: (n) patriotic and festive decorations made from cloth or paper, usually in the form of draperies,

I was only eighteen years old, and I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to see President Nixon. He was passing through town.

I wasn’t a particularly political teen, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–to see a President of the United States. It also gave me a chance to get off school so I decided to go.

The atmosphere was festive. They had a band from some high school, a female singer to do the national anthem, and hundreds and hundreds of feet of bunting–red, white and blue as far as the eye could see, draped over everything in sight.

From a distance it was very impressive. But being the curious type, I inched my way forward.

As I got closer, I realized that since it was a hot day, the band members had unlatched the top buttons of their uniforms and unfastened their hats, losing some of the magnificence of the visual.

So I moved a little closer.

In no time at all, I wiggled my way within twenty-five feet of the girl in the prom dress and the tiara, who was about to sing the national anthem. She was dripping with sweat–I assume from a combination of heat and nerves. She didn’t look nearly as lovely.

Somehow or another, perhaps because of my honest-looking face, they let me get all the way up to the stage, standing two feet away from the colorful bunting. I inspected it carefully and saw that it was held on by staples, scotch tape and was wrinkled in many places due to being put up in haste. It was not very attractive.

The backstage area, where the President was to come through to give his speech, smelled like sweat with a hint of alcohol. And because there were two or three dogs wagging their tails nearby, there was a whiff of the woof.

I thought to myself, the closer I got to the experience, the less impressive it was. I registered that deep in my soul.

For perhaps the whole secret to our journey on Earth is realizing that the closer people get to us, the more real and genuine it should be.

The bunting was put up in minutes to last for a few hours, to be ripped down and thrown away.

It is frighteningly symbolistic of our political system, and the way we sometimes regard the important values of our culture.

 

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Berserk

Berserk: (adj) out of control with anger or excitement; wild or frenzied.

Dictionary B

Calm down.

I find myself saying that, thinking that and praying that incessantly in today’s environment of erratic behavior, showcased by overwrought promotion.

I like excitement.

But a world that feels the necessity to stimulate interest by standing in a dark tanker, lighting a match to read the sign that says, “Gasoline,” is opening the door to explosive results.

There are too many oddities, nervous twitches and borderline personalities on our planet to permit us to encourage bizarre behavior by over-selling.

Terrorists killed people in Brussels. It is a horrible thing–but it is what terrorists do.

What is an adequate response to such an atrocity? I’m not sure–but I don’t think berserk is honorable.

We’re trying to select a President for the United States. It is a serious decision.

Yet I think going berserk and exposing the underbelly of the American political system is unwarranted.

Somewhere along the line, we have to learn how to “measure out:”

  • If we measure out mercy, we obtain mercy.
  • If we measure out common sense, we open the door to more tender exchanges.

But if we measure out berserk and give it a microphone, platform and poster, we more than likely will reap ... a harvest of crazies.

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Appear

dictionary with letter A

Appear: (v) to seem: ex. it appeared to be true.

  • Appearances are deceiving
  • Things are not as they appear.

It is always fascinating to me that human beings are granted certain gifts which enable us to function in an intelligent way in a topsy-turvy world, and then we are told not to trust these senses.

If it isn’t as it appears, then what is it?

Sometimes I get confused by knowledge which is imparted to me and then retracted so as to leave the door open for future contradictions.

I need the ability to look at what is set before me and make brilliant decisions. There is a danger in second guessing. There certainly is potential for disaster in delaying action.

What does it appear to be?

  1. It appears to me that color of skin makes very little difference in the viability of the humans around of me to interact, procreate and work together.
  2. It appears to me that homosexuality is not my choice and therefore it will take me a while to get used to the idea, but in the meantime it appears to me that I can grant the gay community the dignity I give to myself.
  3. It appears to me that our political system has broken down in its own lavish overstatement and needs to be retooled to meet the needs of the population.
  4. It appears to me that religion has replaced God.
  5. It appears to me that men and women are very much the same 95% of the time, and I am a fool to focus on the trailing number.
  6. It appears to me that if I don’t lose some weight I will die sooner rather than later.
  7. It appears to me that my talent is sufficient to give me room and board for the rest of my life if I don’t freak out.
  8. It appears to me that I am more appealing when I’m not judgmental.
  9. It appears to me that God has given me eyes to see what appears, and have a sound mind to think good and pure thoughts instead of negative and dark ones.

Even though we find ourselves to be a generation of enlightened and knowledgable souls, we often remove the greatest gift we have by rejecting the responsibility that has been given to us: to learn and deal with what appears to be. 

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Additive

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Additive: (n.) a substance added to something in small quantities, typically to improve or preserve it: e.g. many foods contain chemical additives.

I am an additive.

I have never been the main substance or the primary focus in my entire life.

I have come upon a political system where I neither fit in nor agree and can only disperse granules of my feelings into the concoction.

I am part of a religious system which is encumbered by its own lack of essentials, and I attempt to stir in my flavor and saltiness to produce a better brew. But is there a vanity in proclaiming that my additive will make it a better brew? I don’t know that for sure.

For instance, when making a cup of coffee, since I don’t really care for the “squeezing of the bean” in the first place, I find that I prefer the additives to the original concept. In other words, creamer and sweet ‘n low are to my taste, whereas I tolerate the coffee.

Let’s be candid. I am not alone here. Anyone who tampers with the “original black gold” is admitting that the additives are possibly more appealing than the caffeine blend.

What would we do without additives (although they certainly have a bad reputation)? Matter of fact, we like to advertise that our particular rendition of something is “pure” because it’s free of additive.

Our politics is completely Republican, with nary a nod for the teeming masses.

Our Democratic Party is one hundred per cent liberal, castrated of ANY conservative values.

We will not allow additives, so as to make sure that we are offering the purest product possible.

So you see my dilemma. I am an additive. I come along and try to sweeten, smooth, flavor, enhance and even color the broth of humanity, to make us all more palatable to each other.

Purists must hate me.

Those who like a good mug of joe probably despise my artificial sweetener.

I don’t care.

Additives in and of themselves are not evil as long as they don’t give you cancer or take away the power of the original concept but instead, make it more palatable. They are not only precious, but I will go so far as to say–necessary.

We could use some additives:

I would like a little courtesy with my human interaction.

I would like a bit of smile with my faces.

I would like a dose of humanity with my spirituality.

And I would like a little spirituality within the Politick of the Body Earth.

So being an additive, I am an advocate of such inclusion. Just make sure it won’t kill you … and it just might bless you.

 

Accrete

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accrete: (v.) grow by accumulation or coalescence: e.g. ice that has accreted grotesquely into stalactites.

It’s hard to accumulate anything when you’re spending all your time convincing yourself it’s trash.

Although there are people in our society who think they come across intelligent by poo-poohing every idea and coming up with some reason why it won’t work, ultimately we have to take the plunge or we’re just wearing a swimsuit and never getting wet.

But as long as we have a firm belief that being critical is the definition of objective and that analyzing is the best path to progress, we won’t accumulate much of anything but ongoing failure for the project that should have been uprooted long ago and now is held in place because we have no idea how to get rid of it.

There are so many things in our political system which should have been stuffed in the garbage can generations ago, but are kept around because the alternative to them seems frightening to those who are terrified of their shadows.

There are certainly ideas which have come forth from religion, such as self-righteousness and exclusivity, which wore out their usefulness eons ago, and merely propagate because somebody has already purchased the supplies, even though there is no demand.

There are countless things being taught  in our educational system which no one will ever use in their entire life and will only make them seem like nerds if they brag about knowing them.

We continue to pummel one another as men and women, even though this alleged opponent can be the source of one of our greatest physical pleasures.

I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to develop a sense of humor and the common sense to accrete valuable things, but until we do, second best will seem like a dream, as we constnatly settle for the dregs.

I am a human being. If I am going to be honest with myself, I have to ask three questions about everything that comes my way if I am trying to decide if I want to accrete it.

1. Is it easy and simple? If it isn’t, I probably won’t do it more than once, and spend the rest of my time on earth complaining about the initial encounter, while offering an explanation on why I would never do it again.

2. Will it benefit me? I work really hard to be generous about including others, but it is certainly easier to pursue openness when I am already savoring the fruits of the experience.

3. Is there a way to make it cool? I believe one of the signs of mental illness is the insistence that you don’t need to feel cool. It is the first fruits of a persecution complex that often drives people to the top of the tower with a deer rifle, looking for targets.

There you go.

I do believe that those who have good ideas should make sure they package them in a way that’s easy, beneficial and cool. If they don’t, be prepared for the cynics to pick them apart.

Abulia

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abulia: (n.) an absence of willpower or an inability to act decisively, as a symptom of mental illness.

Did you notice that sneaky little chain of reasoning?

The dictionary just let us know that an absence of willpower is what causes indecision leading to a diagnosis of mental illness.

Does that scare anyone but me?

Sometimes the dictionary is very vindictive. It slides in a series of defining terms which are so narrow-minded and closely trimmed that one could actually feel intimidated or judged by the whole process.

To be blunt, I am OFTEN abulia. I DO lack willpower. Even though I am constantly trying to eat better, I refuse to lie and say that a salad or a bowl of vegetables is more scrumptious than an original recipe greasy thigh at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

It just isn’t.

Maybe the nutritious food is better for us, but it doesn’t win the “yummy” test.  So my willpower will sag upon occasion–but I never considered that it was due to the flaw of being indecisive. Truthfully, when I order barbecued ribs, it is very decisive and is initiated by a tremendous burst of food lust.

But I guess what the Old Dictionary means is that just an hour earlier, I probably gave an inspiring speech about my desire to rededicate myself to the abandonment of ribs, barbecued or otherwise, in the quest for better health and longevity.

But this final step is a KILLER. Is it really true that if I lack willpower, it means that I’m indecisive, which lends itself to conclude that I am suffering from mental illness? Is it possible that my restrictive diet will cause me to become a serial killer?

I will admit that I am occasionally crazed for a pizza “all the way,” but I really don’t think I would kill the delivery boy in my haste to snatch the box from his hands. Of course, I’ve never put myself in that situation, so who knows?

Abulia. Maybe it describes our political system: a lack of willpower to say no to special interest groups, lending itself to indecision and unwillingness to vote on certain issues, and thrusting to the forefront every kind of mental illness, deficiency and weirdness in our society.

I don’t know–maybe Old Dic got it right.

But I still think that occasionally desiring a thick, juicy steak does not mean that I have multiple personalities.