Cut-offs: (n) blue jeans cut off and turned into shorts.

There is certainly the possibility that if you’re willing to speak your fears out loud, you can save a lot of money on therapy.

So I will tell you bluntly that for the first twenty-one years of my life, I was frightened to death to go without a shirt or even think about wearing shorts.

When I was a teenager, I went to the swimming pool and waited until it was either empty or everyone had gone over to the snack bar before I would feverishly remove my shirt and jump in the water, hoping nobody noticed the recently submerged whale.

It was worse with my legs. They were bare.

For some reason, my genetics gave me absolutely no hair.

When I was sixteen, I took a magnifying glass, examined them, and found that there were follicles, but for some reason the little hairs became discouraged upon reaching the top of my skin—too frightened to make a public appearance.

So I was fat.

Very white because I got no sun.

And had no hair on my legs.

Not a great teenage turn-on.

So it was the summer of my twenty-first year that I found myself traveling, landing with my music group in Miami, Florida—still scared shitless to go shirtless, and completely unwilling to drop my pants.

Then, one beautiful hot day when the ladies in the group were anxious to go to the beach—tired of magnanimously staying behind with me—I grabbed an old pair of jeans, took scissors and snipped them off the best I could. I slid them on and walked outside with my two comrades.

At first, I held onto their arms, hiding and hoping nobody noticed me.

Apparently, I got my wish. Nobody noticed me.

It was Miami. There were oddly shaped people of every color, everywhere.

For the rest of that two-week trip, I did nothing but walk around shirtless, wearing my ugly cut-off jeans, walking the beach.

By the time I flew back to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet up with my producer, I was gloriously toasted brown and my confidence was at an all-time high.

I have never and will never feel the relaxation to walk into a room believing that everyone will accept my obesity or my hairless legs.

But I’m happy to report that the comfort of being comfortable in cut-offs finally comforted me.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Credits: (n) a listing of those who create a film

Let me give you a really quick clue on a way to identify a shitty film:

Any movie that has many, many credits rolling BEFORE the action begins—or especially before you even see the title—Is a piece of doo-doo on celluloid.

You can tell because you realize they had too many meetings discussing who would get credit, how it would be phrased, how it should be presented, and in what order it could be placed on the screen, instead of sitting around trying to make a better flick.

The greatest problem with art is that it becomes quite ugly and loses all beauty as those who are trying to push themselves forward insist on struggling to the front of the line.

If a motion picture has more than one director, more than one company, more than one producer and more than one cinematographer, generally speaking, someone is trying to bullshit someone else to gain power, instead of putting the work in on crafting something entertaining and inspirational.

That’s why when you see a great film they get you into the setting as quickly as possible instead of rolling fifty names in front of your face, which frustrates you because you have to remember what movie you’re actually watching.

I have been a part of making some independent films, and I will tell you:

The simpler, the better

  • The director should have a name.
  • The writer should have a name.
  • And the cinematographer and editor should have names.

And preferably, one name for each category, so that egos can get out of the way and the possibility for great storytelling can unfold.

Ironically, movies with lots of credits normally don’t deserve any credit.


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Choreography: (n) the sequence of steps and movements in dance

Producing a Broadway-style musical does require some choreography–just as putting together a Ruben sandwich means you’re gonna bust out some sauerkraut.

Many years back, when I wrote such a musical, produced it, cut the tracks, penned the script and found a cast, it came time to go into
rehearsal camp and I realized I needed a choreographer.

Just to make my story clear, the goal of a choreographer is to show up and know choreography to such a degree that this information can be passed along to others. Simply having the credentials, the desire or the reputation for dance and movement does not make one a choreographer.

To teach choreography, you must be willing to come up with a format which can be commonly performed by people who are normally actors and singers–and not ballet dancers.

So when my choreographer showed up and began to conduct classes with my actors in an atmosphere that landed somewhere between a séance and a giggle-fest, I saw that my people were not learning anything. Matter of fact, when my choreographer brought me in to show me that day’s progress, the cast was so confused that they were running into one other. A friend standing nearby suggested that it more resembled “collisionography.”

Complicating the matter were the expressions on the faces of my hired actors, who pleaded with me through their eyes to either kill them or the choreographer.

So I made an executive decision to nicely fire her–which is a simple way of saying I paid her off–and hired two other guys, who were even worse.

By opening night, the lines were well-learned, the music was beautiful, the singing was enchanting, the blocking was positive, the costumes, lovely, and the choreography–disastrous.

It was one of those moments in my life which was so poorly accomplished that the onus fell on me–the fool who had no idea what he was doing.

So the next morning, as we were getting ready for that night’s performance, I asked a question. “Can you explain to me what you know how to do and what you would be able to do tonight without hurting one another?”

They came up with four moves. We quickly incorporated them into the show–over and over again–and the second night went beautifully.

I do not know why my choreographer could not teach choreography to my actors.

She insisted they were mentally retarded. Having their applications in front of me, I knew this was not true.

I also realized that it doesn’t do any good to know how to do something if you don’t know how to communicate it to those who don’t know how to do it at all.

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by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbsurd: (adj.) wildly unreasonable, illogical or inappropriate

What a revelation!

One of the first screenplays I ever wrote was returned to me by a producer with a two-word comment: “Absolutely absurd.”

I did not take a moment to go and check the definition of the word at the time, so I took it as a compliment–that the writing in this project was wacky, filled with delightful whimsy. But reading the meaning today, I now realize that this gentleman meant me no good.

Of course, it sheds light on other occasions in my life when the word “absurd” has been applied to my behavior.

I remember asking the prettiest girl in the class to go with me to the prom in my junior year of high school. She gently patted my cheek and said, “That’s absurd.” And here I thought she meant I had a great sense of humor.

No, any way you look at it, “absurd” is not a compliment. It appears to be a way of communicating the sentiment “you suck” while maintaining a certain amount of decorum.

Of course, I can think of many things that I consider to be absurd. But the problem with pointing the “absurd gun” at others is that if you live a life capable of being viewed as out of the box, you are more susceptible to verbal retaliation.

I think I will just go out and try to be funny, enjoy my life and hope that nobody criticizes my particular jovial view.

Of course, this is America. Who could possibly curtail the joy of critique?

Now that’s absurd.