Crackle

Crackle: (v) to make slight, sudden, sharp noises, rapidly repeated

Long, long ago, when rock and roll was a baby boom and bellbottoms were considered normal wear, there was a cereal named Rice Krispies which lacked an identity. After all, it was just puffy rice, which, when sitting in a bowl of milk for more than twenty-eight seconds, turned into slush.

Something needed to be done.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

A young executive at the Kellogg’s Corporation noticed that when milk was first spilled onto the cereal, it made slight sounds, as the fluid gradually smothered the rice particles and drowned them, leaving them lifeless.

He believed he heard snap—and saw one of the rice particles leap from the bowl momentarily, giving the appearance of pop.

So he went to the ad executives and explained that the product could be marketed by referring to it as the “snap-pop cereal.”

The room frowned. What did “snap-pop” mean? How could this be personified? Who was going to eat a cereal that was going to snap at you, or pop off its opinion? The whole thing seemed doomed, until one young, female intern said, “They just need a third friend.”

This time the room scowled. No one had suggested there was a “they” involved, and certainly had not intimated that a friendship had been formed. Yet the man who had the original idea for “snap and pop” was so desperate to salvage his ego that he grabbed onto the notion and started looking for a third “sounder” to complete his trio.

The first ten ideas were horrible.

Snap, bubble and pop.

Snap, drip and pop.

Snap, sizzle and pop.

Snap, sneeze and pop.

Snap, whisper and pop.

Snap, clap and pop.

Snap, moan and pop.

Snap, giggle and pop.

Snap, wink and pop.

Snap, argue and pop.

Each possibility seemed to have the fragrance of failure.

Going home at the end of the day, the young executive was explaining his dilemma with the Rice Krispies to his family over dinner.

He was deflated.

He was discouraged.

He was ready to give up on the whole campaign.

Then his four-year-old daughter, who had opted not to eat liver and onions, but instead had grabbed a bowl of Rice Krispies, leaned her ear down to listen, and said, “Daddy? I hear a crackle.

The man nearly fainted. He had no idea his little daughter was even listening to the conversation, and he certainly was unaware that she knew the word “crackle.”

Or perhaps it was Divine Revelation, brought to him from the Mount of Advertising.

He didn’t care.

He took it to work the next day and the rest is cereal promotion history.

It became “Snap, Crackle and Pop.”

It was a Rice Krispies treat.

W-a-i-t…

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Coshocton

Coshocton: (n) a city in E central Ohio.

My body was twenty years old, my heart, fifteen, my soul, sixty-five, and my mind, ten.

Yeah. That’s about right.

I had started a music group and was convinced it was just a matter of time until we would have a record contract, dazzling the airwaves, and in the process also impress my family members who thought I should get a job at a local department store called Buckeye Mart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Gigs were hard to come by. We were performing contemporary music with a rock edge, but it had a Christian message. In that season, those elements were not allowed to combine.

So I was absolutely thrilled when there was a Bible college in Coshocton, Ohio, which contacted us and said they wanted us to come and play for their morning chapel.

I had long hair, and our group dressed like hippies who had put together their wardrobe with an Ohio mindset. We headed off to the college—which was rather conservative, and upon arriving, immediately ran into trouble.

The dean of students did not think it was appropriate to place us on a “platform of importance” when they had a dress code at the school which included that all men must wear their hair off their ears.

I kept my cool. This was the “old soul” part of me. I explained to them, in a comical way, that I was going to use part of the twenty-five-dollar honorarium check to get a haircut, because up to this point, I had not been able to afford one.

They looked at me with sympathetic eyes and actually bought the story—so much so that I was embarrassed that I lied to them.

Nevertheless, the Dean of Students included that part of our interchange in the introduction before we came up to sing our two songs.

I should say “prepared to sing our two songs,” because when we began, the bass guitar and drums were so foreign that the teaching staff came forward, objected and stopped the program.

The students were alarmed and perhaps offended that we were not able to continue but had drunk enough of the Kool-Aid to remain silent.

The ten-year-old mind and the fifteen-year-old emotions got together—and I threw a shit fit right there in front of everyone. I quoted Bible, Bill of Rights, Constitution and even something I had read in their school charter about “allowing the Spirit to move.”

It didn’t make any difference.

But apparently, I was eloquent enough that they decided to give us the twenty-five dollar check anyway, so it wouldn’t look like they were welchers and had cheated us.

So having only sung a half of a chorus on one song, we packed up our equipment and headed down the road.

By the way—I never got the haircut.


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Community

Community: (n) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

Our little village was filled with community pride.

It was cute–a little bigger than a postage stamp, yet you could walk around the entire downtown area in less than ten minutes.

Growing up there, I was taught that community is not so much sharing a location, but rather, absorbing a basic ideology.

I’m not sure who came up with the standards or the principles which were passed down among the locals and inhaled like air, but generally speaking, you could do well in my community if you understood the mindset and the dress code.

If for some reason, you wanted to vary from the common universal brain, or clothe yourself in such a way as to gain too much attention, then you were initially viewed as comical.

If you persisted, you went from comical to being deemed confused.

And if confusion was maintained, then you would be considered dangerous and need to be dealt with by the negative approaches established by our community.

It was a very successful system.

We were able, through this system, to keep all blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians and long-haired rock and rollers far from our borders–without ever firing a shot.

The teeny tiny handful of those who remained were simply ostracized–or maybe just received really poor mail service.

None of the people in our community considered themselves prejudiced–just enamored by a preference. After all, if you wanted varying behaviors, you could drive twenty miles down the road to the Big City, where there were all sorts of options available, complete with rape, murder and a variety of other crimes. We were thoroughly frightened of the outside world, without ever being officially indoctrinated into a cult.

But our community was a cult.

I found this out when I wanted to stray from the daily routine and pursue my own ideas. No one struck me, no one physically attacked me, and no one even openly rebuked me. They just left me out of everything.

The system works to this day. All across America little towns have a network of gossipers who warn of suspicious arrivals, allowing the community a chance to provide the inconsideration to drive good folks away.

 

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Classical

Classical: (adj) standard, classic.

I have worked for 22 years with an oboist.

She’s a little bit Mozart; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

When we teamed up, I think she was concerned that our musical tastes might be ill-suited for one another. She had played in symphony
orchestras, and I had bopped around with gospel, blues and pop.

What she did not know was that as a boy of eleven years of age, I got hooked on a record series called “The 25 Greatest Melodies of All Time” and “The 50 Most Influential Classical Music Pieces.” So along with listening to rock and roll and some gospel music, I played my recordings of Strauss, Wagner, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninoff.

It was perfectly produced–the records didn’t have so much of each composition to bore me, just the highlights. What you might call the Cliff notes of the masters.

I loved the music. To this day, I think my partner is a little surprised when I insert a bit of understanding (or sometimes misunderstanding) of the music of that era. Matter of fact, she and I joined together to write some symphonies–our tribute to the styling, with the addition of our original juice.

It’s too bad we have to call something “classical.” It scares off the best market–young humans. After all, why would they want to listen to any music their parents might enjoy?

But what they don’t understand is that these composers who wrote this dynamic material were just a bunch of radical, rebellious, rag-tag and reckless adolescents.

 

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Church

Church: (n) a building used for public Christian worship.

Sometimes I need to laugh. I require a place for that.

Tears are often demanded. Once again, having a location where I can share them with others would be beneficial.

I need to go somewhere and know that I’m not the most important thing in the world. Where’s the address?

I like good music. I’m a little bit country; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

I need to see that I’m not alone. Difficult to do if you don’t gather somewhere.

Over and over and over again, I must be reminded to “love my neighbor as myself.” There should be some sort of joint that advertises that.

I know my money is to cover bills, but every once in a while, I need to think about the “Bill” that’s on the street. Any group of people willing to teach that?

I need to find agreement in the midst of a disagreeable world. Let the conversation begin.

In my moments of clarity, I do understand that I’m lost–in need of a Savior. Any candidates?

Even if I find out after I die that there is no heaven and no hell, I need to live my life as if heaven is available.

We sure could use church if church were what it’s supposed to be. If it’s merely an overblown expression of appreciation for some particular definition of God, then basically, it’s more of an annoyance than a bounty.

Let’s find the church.

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Chopper

Chopper: (n) a helicopter.

Knowing that my brain, like most human brains, has selective memory, and that triggers installed for certain sounds, words, or even smells, I can tell you of a truth that the word “chopper”–and the vision of one–for me conjures memories of Vietnam.

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I came of age during the height of the conflict, came upon my eighteenth birthday and was eligible for the draft. Helicopters were prevalent in the nightly news, and made me think about that horrible war.

Today I call it horrible. When I was a teenager, I lived in a community that actually had its own chapter of the John Birch Society, and the violence in Southeast Asia was extolled as patriotic–our best avenue for stopping the spread of Communism.

So for me, it’s a chain of mental commands:

Chopper makes me think about Vietnam.

Vietnam makes me think about the protests.

The protests make me think about rock and roll.

Rock and roll conjures images of Woodstock.

Woodstock reminds me that I was living in a provincial village and was too frightened to go to the festival.

And being too frightened to go–as a young man, I was also always arguing with my family over a half-inch of hair over my ears, trying to rebel by listening to The Monkees.

I was no hero.

But as history moves forward, we realize that unfortunately there were no heroes during that era.

The government was corrupt, the hippies were imbalanced, the Vietnamese were crazed, violent and suicidal, the draft dodgers were relegated to the status of cowards as they drove their Volkswagen vans to Canada, and the soldiers who did go to war bled in a jungle that no one even cares one bamboo shoot about today.

So I guess when I see the word “chopper,” I think of lost causes, and I am alerted to spy them–and call them out before they generate guilt, graft … and graves.

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Bonanza

Bonanza: (n) a sudden increase in wealth or good fortune

My parents would not allow me to watch the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, but I was allowed to view episodes of Bonanza.Dictionary B

Now, many of you reading this article may not know what Bonanza was. It was a show about a father and three adult sons, the Cartwrights, who owned a huge ranch, the Ponderosa, in Nevada and their struggles in trying to maintain their opulence.

I loved the show when I was a kid, but when I started watching it as an adult, it was a little bit terrifying. Why? Because a lot of people got killed so all of the family who lived on the Ponderosa could be proven right.

It was just the mindset of the time.

In our country, once we had established that something was “an American thing,” it had to be justified. So we condoned:

  • A Cold War
  • Racial inequality
  • Killing Vietnamese
  • And even brutalizing in the press scrawny rock-and-roll singers from Britain

As I watched the reruns of Bonanza, I realized that I was required to root for Dad and the boys in every episode, no matter how faulted their motives might be.

Bonanza?

Yes, I guess so–if your name was Pa, Little Joe, Adam or Hoss.

 

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