Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

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Convenient

Convenient: (adj) at hand; easily accessible:

Although in the annals of literary history, he is considered to be one of the greatest villains of all time, Ebenezer Scrooge has a classic response to Bob Cratchit when his worker asks if it’s convenient to take Christmas Day off. In all candor, Scrooge spits back, “No, it’s not convenient to pick a man’s pocket.”

I, for one, have tip-toed my way around friends and family for years when asked if something was convenient or not, fearing I would come funny wisdom on words that begin with a Cacross Scrooge-like if I voiced my real opinion.

So this morning I will tell you five things that are not convenient:

  1. It is never convenient to be lied to, even if an apology follows. Mistrust lingers.
  2. It is never convenient for someone else to make an appointment for you simply because he or she thought it was “in your best interest.”
  3. It is not convenient to assume that as a Grandpa, you will attend every event at the school pertaining to your grandchildren, just because “you better, or you suck.”
  4. It is not convenient for the restaurant to run out of straws and napkins, but “they hope you’ll understand.”
  5. And finally, it is not convenient to be honked at in traffic simply because someone views him or herself as an aggressive driver on the way to an important meeting.

I shall add a sixth:

It is not convenient to listen to talking heads on television tell us that politicians just naturally run by different rules than us normal human beings.


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Brink

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Brink: (n) a point at which something is about to happen; the verge.

Two pundits. Two opinions.

Contradictions.Dictionary B

One firmly states, “We are on the brink of disaster.”

The other enthusiastically counters, “We are on the brink of great success.”

Each one has a case.

Each one works off of existing facts, trying to convince the listener of the validity of his or her point.

Can they both be right? Or are they both wrong?

It is amazing to realize that most of the time, life continues at a snail’s pace, without disaster or success. Matter of fact, it takes a great intervention to produce either one.

But we are on the brink of a decision.

Are we going to leave things the way they are and let them play out? Or are we going to intrude on the trend to generate a new possibility?

There are certain ingredients for disaster. Arrogance and ignorance would be the pair which normally precede that devastation.

And there are ingredients for success. Kindness and creativity. For after all, nothing of human quality can be done without kindness, and if we don’t create, we have a tendency to settle.

What are we on the brink of?

It would be the hope of this author that we’re on the brink of a great awakening–a season when we’re no longer afraid to admit our weaknesses, anticipating that they can be forgiven, the door flung open to repentance…and that we can usher in a new life.

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Best

Best: (adj) of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

Dictionary B

The most miserable, unfulfilling, angry, jealous and confusing moments in my life were when I believed I was pursuing the “best.”

I suppose that’s because I feel they’re always moving my keys.

Do you know what I mean?

You come home, you lay your keys on the counter (and you’re damn sure you did) and you come back and they’re gone. Your first instinct is to believe that someone has come and taken your keys and placed them somewhere that they thought would be best.

Truth is, most of humanity does not pursue their own best, but only feels they have insight on what I should pursue to get my best.

So politicians, preachers, pundits and personalities of all shapes and forms preach to me their permutation of what is really perfect.

I’m tired of perfect.

I hate perfect.

Matter of fact, if I believed Jesus was perfect, I would completely comprehend the crucifixion. He would have been too annoying to keep around.

Candidly, I have spent so much time worrying about the best that I’ve often missed the chance … to just get better.

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Bellicose

Bellicose: (adj) demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.

Dictionary B

I have seen this word in print a couple of times and had a general idea of what it meant, but am sitting here amazed at how well it describes our present social and political climate.

Somewhere along the line, we have allowed our pundits to convince us that people with a bellicose nature–a pushy, bullying, “picking-a-fight” profile–are the dominant voices, and that those who decide not to participate in such outlandish behavior are relegated to obscurity.

It is remarkable that we simultaneously have programs against bullying in our schools, while tolerating a bellicose attitude in our politicians and leaders.

Which one is it?

Is bullying really the ultimate costume, designed for the weak loser?

Or is bullying the necessary campaign used by those trying to achieve their purposes in order to win the day?

Of all the sins of mankind, the most heinous is hypocrisy.

I, for one, am tired of teaching my small children to be ladies and gentlemen … so they can grow up to be aggressive, adult sons-of-a bitches.

 

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Barker

Barker: (n) a person who stands in front of a theater or sideshow and calls out to passersby to attract customers.Dictionary B

The two problems with self-promotion are that they contain a pair of dangerous concepts:

First, self. And second, promoting.

Combined, they create the nervous energy we all feel when people are thrusting themselves into the role of “barker,” to make us aware of what they consider to be a needful idea or product.

Basically, in our age most of the forms of communication are all about “barkers.”

Politics is full of barkers. Supposedly, the more you push, advertise, criticize and self-aggrandize, the better your chance to get a vote. No one stops to ask if this is actually true. It is a foregone conclusion by the pundits that if someone punches you, you should punch back, or if you remain silent too long or simply state your beliefs, you will be overthrown by the mass hysteria of those who generate a mob.

I was always a little uncomfortable with the idea of the evangelizing associated with Christianity. Because even though salvation is promised in the religious community, we first find ourselves barking at people, telling them how evil and destitute they are before we grant them the package of eternal life.

Of course, social media is nothing more than a bunch of technological barkers.

  • “Look at my beautiful this…”
  • “Check out my kid picking his nose, but in his case it’s cute…”
  • “I just got promoted and bought a new car, so don’t you see how much better my life is than your mediocre one?”

Is it possible to quietly succeed?

Is there a path that takes us to heaven without a marching band?

And is there a way to enrich the lives of your brothers and sisters in the world without startling them with your approach?

If there is, I will seek to find it.

And if it is not possible, I will still refrain from being a barker … and quietly walk away into gentle and blissful obscurity. 

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Ascendant

Ascendant: (adj) rising in power or influencedictionary with letter A

I sit patiently watching.

I am not given to the frantic profile of becoming too encouraged by any particular fleeting moment, or discouraged by threatening trends.

I have an abiding truth deep within my soul. I know for a fact that “love your neighbor as yourself” is not an inspiration, nor is it an aspiration, but actually the respiration for human life.

So from my position of review, I wait until I see anything that comes along which confirms the value of including others’ feelings and success in the quest for our own. Whenever I see it, I interrupt my solitude by bursting into applause.

Yet if a new book, song, movie or pundit comes out proposing that we shut others out, or only think about our own well-being, I simply disagree, step into the shadows and await the downfall of such idiocy.

There is only one principle which is ascendant to human life. When we fail to follow it, everything begins to fall apart. To a certain degree, it is the confirmation of the paradigm which states, “If a butterfly dies in the rain forest of Brazil, it snows in Minnesota.”

Even though this idea seems a bit abstract, whenever we take the time to consider the feelings of others as much as we consider our own, that mercy trickles down to nature … and even the longevity of the butterfly controlling the snowfall in Minneapolis.

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