Crooner

Crooner: (n) someone who utilizes smooth but exaggerated singing

Late one night, as a friend and I drove across the expanses of the American prairie, where it was so lonesome and dark that even the prairie dogs had turned in for the night, we quickly discovered that we were getting sleepy.

We tried eating.

We tried listening to the radio.

We tried talking. (I think we confessed all the sins and indiscretions from our youth at least three times over.)

While flipping around the radio, we discovered a channel set aside exclusively for old-time singers like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

We were deeply surprised at how much production was put into each and every song, and how these crooners took every single tune and made it sound the same as the others—simply by homogenizing the words and blending the tones together to develop the same consistency on every ballad.

We got tickled.

We decided to take great rock and roll songs and sing them to one another as if we were crooners. From “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, to “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues, to “Hang On Sloopy,” by the McCoys, to “Get Back” by the Beatles—each rendition was funnier than the last.

After all, rock and roll is known for separating words and lyrics, almost in a syncopated style. When you smear it all together, it not only loses its beat, but certainly threatens to remove all meaning.

Crooners are interesting vocalists.

They took a time in our history, when we wanted our background music to be nearly symphonic, and then they added cottage cheese vocals, to make everything resound with romance.

Still, I don’t think anything else could have kept us awake that night, as we drove across Americana.

It was especially funny when we decided to do our “crooner rendition” of the Kiss song, “I’m Gonna Rock and Roll All Night and Party Every Day.”

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Broadcast

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Broadcast: (n) a radio or television program or transmission.

Like any good, red-blooded American, I reserve the right to have my own personal definition for words.Dictionary B

You can contradict me with Webster’s realities, but I will explain to you that the intimacy of my experience allows me to screw around with the vernacular.

Such is the case with two words: illusion and delusion.

An illusion, to me, is something I am pursuing which I do very well, and I am waiting for the rest of the world to acknowledge my excellence.

A delusion is something that deep in my heart I know I’m not very accomplished at doing, but I am hoping I will luck out and make a lot of money from it anyway.

When I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1992 so that my children, who were now aging out of their teen years, could settle in and find lives of their own, I maintained one little piece of my vagabond creative persona by initiating a radio broadcast which aired five minutes a day on a local station which had its headquarters in a building about the size of six outhouses.

I was under the illusion that my talent was strong enough and my ideas so clever that they would draw listeners to this little forsaken location on the AM radio dial, and make myself well-known as an innovator.

Matter of fact, I did well over a thousand episodes on this particular outlet before sitting down one day and coughing up a hairball of delusion.

I admitted to myself that I was being clever in a vacuum.

Nobody was listening–and if they were, their appreciation was quite silent.

It was then that I had to define the word “broadcast.”

Broad in the sense of covering much territory.

Cast, referring to being thrown out there.

In the purest sense, my effort was certainly “broad” and “cast.”

But literally, it was more small and spilled.

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Blizzard

Blizzard: (n) a severe snowstorm with high winds and low visibility.

Dictionary B

Actually, a blizzard is just more than I want.

I will call it a blizzard because it has met my disapproval and it is inconvenient:

  • A blizzard of activity
  • A blizzard of problems.
  • And of course, a blizzard of snow.

Many years ago, driving home, I found myself in the midst of one of those classic midwest winter squalls. I had an old car which had a heater with memories but no present evidence, and bald tires, which were known to slip even on rain.

Listening to the radio, I was informed that we were in the midst of a blizzard. Being a young man and not having my frontal lobe fully in place, I freaked out. I began to imagine myself sliding off the road, landing in the ditch and freezing to death before I could be discovered by some perseverant mailman who was paid to deliver his goods no matter what.

I tried to calm myself down, but a blizzard of fear entered my blizzard of misunderstanding and created a blizzard of anxiety. My heart rate went up and I was convinced that I was about to experience cardiac arrest.

It was enough just to keep the car on the road, but I decided to add an anxiety attack, just to keep things interesting.

Somehow or another, I managed to drive the fifteen miles to my house, climb the stairs and make it inside. I drank a cup of hot tea and my heart attack went away. (I can recommend the cure.)

Now I realize how we name things affects our view of life, which determines the energy we place in our endeavors.

In other words, you never achieve more traction by calling a flurry a blizzard.

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Billboard

Billboard: (n) a large outdoor board for displaying advertisements.

Dictionary B

I am gradually learning to be reluctant to assume that my common practices or inclinations are universal across our species.

It is a natural posture we tend to take when justifying our feelings to make ourselves a part of the mass instead of separated like the math nerd from high school who’s too skinny and has pimples.

So I will phrase it this way: I read billboards.

I don’t know why. Probably because driving on the highway, I am a prisoner to the miles. And even though I may be listening to the radio or having a great conversation, 5,280 feet, which makes up only one mile, can still be a long way.

So I’m grateful for the reading material along the side of the road which fortunately is set in a large enough font for me to discern.

I read ’em all.

So I’m not so sure that television advertising always works with me. I have heard many commercials on radio and never given them a second thought.

But I have often stopped at a Chinese buffet advertised on a billboard, which was only five miles ahead, finding myself more and more excited as I speeded toward it.

I’ve gotten good deals on motels.

I have occasionally found an inspirational message.

There are folks who consider billboards to be an eyesore, but I do not believe anyone can claim that they’re ineffective. In the course of a single day on an average freeway in America, tens of thousands of people pass by and at least have to glance up and see the promo.

It is very effective–at least with me.

And I don’t even think they’re ugly, even though the ones in Kentucky that say “Hell Is Real” may totally and completely disprove my assertion.

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Battery

Battery: (n) a container consisting cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.Dictionary B

Click.

Actually, there wasn’t even a click. It was just a sense of suspended animation while I held my car key in the position which normally ignited my engine, but this time–no fire.

The radio did not work.

The lights didn’t work.

The car was suddenly cast into the role of being a one-ton paperweight.

All because my battery was dead.

It didn’t give me any warning. Oh, I suppose I should have been keeping up with its passing birthdays, but I didn’t.

So I, who just short moments earlier was in the midst of a deep discussion about some procedure to raise at the upcoming meeting, suddenly became a dumbfounded, indigent traveler, with no idea on where to go or what to do.

Fortunately, somebody gave me a jump to start my car and I drove down to the local Wal-Mart to purchase a battery.

Because here’s the truth: there’s just no goose without the juice.

Nothing happens without the energy.

As I watched them put my battery in, I waxed philosophical. (I occasionally do that, fostering an annoying practice which somehow refuses to leave me.)

  • I need a battery for my emotions.

I must remind myself that to feel things–otherwise I am not capable of being in relationship with other humans who, like me, are creatures of emotion.

  • I need a battery for my spirit.

Something other than prayer and Bible study, that proves that I am loved and there just might be something out there other than stars and molten lava on dried-up planets.

  • I need a battery for my brain.

Without that battery I cannot create the jolt which stimulates new ideas rather than pumping out all the training of my youth.

  • And God knows, I need a battery for my body.

Often the fuel I send to my cells better prepares me for a nap than a walk.

It only took them ten minutes to give my car the boost it needed to be a car again.

It made me wonder what I could do with ten minutes.

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Austere

Austere: (adj) severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance.

I call it the “Granble Face.”dictionary with letter A

It’s that look blending the countenance of Grandma or Grandpa with the attitude to grumble.

Somewhere along the line, we gave up on the idea of giggling, smirking, laughing and running around looking for ways to be mischievous.

Maybe it’s because it finally registered in our brain that our parents wanted us to be as miserable as they were, and we feel the responsibility to honor our father and mother so that our days might be long and filled with anguish on the Earth.

I don’t know.

But I do know this–the austere facial expression that greets me daily as I look at my peers and fellow-humans leaves me caught between despair and hilarity.

They look so funny trying to be so grownup, and they tend to get so angry with me because I maintain my childish chortle.

  • What is the power of being austere?
  • Why are we supposed to be quiet when we enter a church or a funeral home? Is it really going to bother the dead?
  • Why is it necessary to sit in traffic, roll down your window to save on air conditioning, and sweat and curse at the holdup? Why not just turn up the radio and rock out to Queen?

Austere is the profile that proves we’ve had enough birthdays to be defeated.

It is the universal complexion of those of any color who have reached a certain status, where despondency is a badge of honor.

It is often accompanied by words like mature, holy, focused and adult.

Even though we were told for our spiritual journey it’s best for us to “become as little children,” we would rather develop the “Granble Face” …Grandpa grumbling about the price hike on his medication.

 

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Audible

Audible: (adj) able to be heard

dictionary with letter A

Can you hear it?

Trust me, it’s there.

A whisper of reason

A breath of common sense

A wish that is being quietly mumbled from tentative lips

There are still people who believe in belief.

There are souls who lovingly pursue love.

And there are dreamers who are willing to share their dreams.

Yet noise can be alarming.

Screams and shouts often interrupt the prayers of the children.

How can we tune our ears to hear the good things in a world filled with the blaring sounds of insane conflict?

I don’t listen too much to the news.

I don’t stay in a room where bigotry is being proclaimed as truth.

I don’t hunt and peck with a gaggle of gossips.

In a world filled with bubbles, I have selected my enclosure.

It is sound-proof to the rattling of sabres and the insistence on war.

It has closed out a community of covetousness, which pleads for more, while ignoring what it already has.

It is an atmosphere where the natural melody of a human voice is preferred over the mechanical interpretation via an I-phone.

For after all, a “Book of Faces” does not provide a great body of proof.

You have to listen carefully.

You have to tune your spirit, like an excellent radio, to the frequency you wish to become the soundtrack of your life.

Truth is audible.

It’s just not very loud.

So if you feel overwhelmed by the volume, be prepared to be underwhelmed … by the content.

 

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