Croatia

Croatia: (Prop. Noun): a country in South East Asia, formerly a part of Yugoslavia.

I’m nearly positive.

There must be a lovely little restaurant in Hiroshima that serves a tasty bird’s nest soup.

Likewise, Nagasaki probably has gorgeous parks for walking and sitting and talking.

I once saw a brochure about the beaches of Vietnam, advertising how spacious and clean they are.

I have no trouble thinking about Hawaii as a utopian climate of perfection.

And Pearl Harbor must surely be a fine location. Still, it is difficult for me to imagine it without seeing attacking airplanes and burning boats.

I am also incapable of thinking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without envisioning flaming ruins from atomic explosions.

And if I do actually consider the beaches of Vietnam, it would be with the arrival of American Marines, under fire.

Likewise, when I hear the word Croatia, what comes to my mind is war.

I am inundated with visions of tragedy, genocide and crimes.

For you see, sometimes I get very tired of my American brain.

I love my country. I’m patriotic, but the limited scope my mind possesses when I hear certain words rings a false note and is definitely tiresome.

Can I see an American Indian—a Native—without thinking about Custer’s Last Stand?

And have I gotten past all my imagery from the movies, about black men and women huddled together as slaves?

I will agree it is sometimes good to be reminded of past sins, frailties, atrocities and horrible deeds.

Yet it is equally as good to be refreshed with visions of hope, possibility and brotherly love.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Chink

Chink: (n) a Chinese person.

I am prejudiced against skinny people–mainly because I’m fat.

I am intimidated by handsome men, truthfully because I’m quite plain.

I get nervous around other writers because deep in my heart, I need to be the best.

And the only reason I would ever call a Chinese person a “Chink” is because deep in my heart I know he or she is superior to me in attitude and talent, and I need
a way to degrade the prowess.

Certainly white people would never have brought black slaves from Africa unless the natives were superior to them working in the fields. Even after Emancipation, the white community was intimidated that the black work ethic would overtake them and lead to their poverty. So it’s easier to call them “niggers” and send out the signal that they are to be relegated to a lesser position.

We’ve done it for years with gender. All the terms used for women have eventually exposed a disguised prejudice.

  • “Ladies”
  • “Weaker sex”
  • “Little miss”
  • And of course, “bitch”

I’m not quite sure why the word “Chink” is in the dictionary. Perhaps it’s to remind us that there will always be people who are better at what they do than we are, and simply humiliating them with a condescending name does not take away their power.

We live in an America where there is still prejudice against the black race, even though we mimic their actions, customs, worship style and sports efforts in almost every way.

If bigots actually did think they were better than the people they prey upon, it would still be disgusting, but at least comprehensible.

But knowing that bigots are mean-spirited because they are secretly jealous and wish they possessed the abilities of those they attack may be the Earthly definition of satanic.

 

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Birthright

Birthright: (n) a particular right of possession or privilege one has from birth

I hate idealism.Dictionary B

It is an idea that we have relegated to the realm of impossibility which we voice anyway, even though we’ve lined up all the excuses in our minds as to why it won’t work.

Tom Jefferson said that “all men are created equal.”

A lovely piece of belligerent idealism–belligerent because our arrogance will not allow us to accept others as our equals without some sort of struggle or cynicism.

Ironically, Mr. Jefferson was probably being served tea and crumpets by one of his slaves as he penned these words about equality. Thus the damn hypocrisy of honoring principles without first finding a way to live them out.

Americans are obsessed with birthright.

We believe in our “manifest destiny” to occupy, control and manipulate. Sometimes we forget that other human souls, also created in the likeness of God, are tempted to feel the same way.

Sooner or later, it is necessary for the human race to surrender to the obvious conclusion that we are barely out of the jungle … and nowhere near Mount Olympus.

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Await

Await: (v) to wait fordictionary with letter A

There is a contingency of humanity which believes that as long as any issue can receive a majority of approval, then that particular subject in question is proven truthful.

What hogwash.

There are times in our history when chasing witches and killing them, owning slaves, beating women and human sacrifice certainly gained a 51% range of acceptance.

It didn’t make it right.

So I become concerned when religious and secular people agree.

I suppose that sounds odd, but it tells me that the subject matter has some sort of copout, because these two worlds don’t normally coincide.

  • In the religious world, it’s called Calvinism–the contention that our lives are predestined and therefore pretty much out of our control.
  • In the secular community, it is blissfully proclaimed to be destiny. “We were born a certain way, therefore we’re committed to be a certain way, and the more we fight it, the more miserable we become.”

But I happen to be of a school of thought that there is a universal truth from which all founts of blessing pour:

It’s called free will. And when you remove free will, you shake your fist at the sky and insist the Earth is flat.

So I make my decisions about life, spirituality and social change based upon free will.

The removal of free will is the institution of stupidity.

The institution of free will is the only way to fight stupidity.

So even though I am not favorable to abortion, I live in a Republic where a woman has a free-will right to decide that for herself.

Even though I don’t understand all the ins and outs of the gay community, I am thoroughly convinced of their free-will authority to pursue their own path.

So when I saw the word “await” today, it reminded me of a common phrase I’ve always found distasteful: “Await your fate.”

If you don’t mind, I shall not do that.

If it turns out that I was destined to be one way or another, then so be it. But my understanding of God and His universe is that He has granted us the power to will and do … thus opening the door to changing our circumstance.

 

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Antic

dictionary with letter A

 

Antic: (adj) grotesque or bizarre

What happens when you use two words to define one word and the two words you apply–which were meant to be synonyms–have absolutely nothing to do with each other?

Because bluntly, I would have to admit that there were times in my life when people would characterize my actions as bizarre, but I would never believe them to be grotesque.

To me, grotesque means “ugly” and bizarre means “unusual.”

Unless we’re trapped in some 21st Century contention that if you happen to be a bit less than beautiful, you’re unusual enough to be considered grotesque. Is that the message?

And an antic is not an appearance, it’s an action–and I, for one, can think of at least four antics off the top of my head which were considered bizarre, if not grotesque in their time, but have proven historically to be life-saving:

1. John Brown attacking the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to free the slaves.

If any of us had met John Brown we would have called him grotesque and certainly bizarre, with his zealous appeal against slavery and his antic of attempting the take-over of a government installation with a bunch of church friends.

It wasn’t exactly well-planned, yet the Union soldiers went into battle singing about his antic to inspire them to destroy an antiquated and evil institution of owning human beings.

2. Jesus of Nazareth calling himself the Son of God–or if you want to be really picky, not raising any objection when others did so.

How much guts would it take to have faith in someone you were sitting next to, who had just farted, as he contended that he was possessed of divine inspiration? I don’t know if I could have pulled that off.

Yes, believing in the resurrected Christ is certainly easier than following the unkempt Galilean.

3. Winston Churchill.

When Adolf Hitler had taken over most of Europe and had set his sights on the British Isles, Churchill and a few of his cronies decided to make a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Berlin. It wasn’t popular and certainly the bombing of Londontown was grotesque and bizarre.

But the action halted the progress of the Third Reich, allowing time for the United States to rally and help chase the bully back into the bunker.

4. And finally, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,. who by the way was raised in an era when Jim Crow was not only tolerated, but was considered to be evidence for how the Old South was resolving the colored/white issue.

What a bizarre notion, to think that people of all colors should be able to ride on a bus together, when in your entire life you had been taught by your elders that separation was inevitable, if not righteous. And how grotesque it was to see little girls blown up in churches because your antics were being objected to by the white plurality.

I think the definition offered by Mr. Webster portrays that antics are displeasing and therefore perhaps should be shoveled away.

Yet without antics, we don’t have any of the practical nuts and bolts that somehow or another, miraculously hold this contraption together. 

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Antagonist

dictionary with letter A

Antagonist: (n.) a person who opposes someone or something; an adversary.

I guess I should rate this particular column PG-13.

I am not the type who likes to use colloquial or street language just to be colorful, yet sometimes there is no word that communicates quite as clearly as one that threatens to dribble off into the gutter.

Here are the facts, at least as far as I know them:

Some people are antagonists for a good reason, and some folks are just assholes.

The difficulty lies in knowing the difference.

Because certainly, to over half of the U. S. in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was an asshole. He was making a stand against an institution that had cemented itself into the Southern culture, and even into the minds of many Northern politicians. It seemed like he was urinating on apple pie and had slapped Mom and America in the face.

Yet by the same token, in the 1960’s, Dr. Timothy Leary introduced LSD to our culture, insisting that it was equally as mind-expanding as the Emancipation Proclamation. But really, he ended up just being a weirdo and bringing grief to a lot of unfortunate, gullible souls.

There are many antagonists in our world today. With whom should we side?

  • Supposedly if you take into consideration the feelings of the Palestinians, you’re against Israel.
  • If you express your empathy for the state of Israel, you become a Zionist pig.
  • If you have misgivings about the gay lifestyle, you’re a homophobe.
  • Yet if you promote an entirely liberal, open-minded agenda, history may place you in the “leary” category.

Is there any way of knowing what is truly being motivated by an asshole and what is the necessary work of an antagonist, who’s come along to prophetically shake up our world and better mankind?

I have three ideas. (They are no better than yours, but since I have you reading, I guess you’re stuck with me for the time being:)

1. Great ideas don’t make us more dependent. They cause us to declare our independence from things that are not necessary.

2. Great ideas have a sense of the common good without making fun or humiliating the adversary.

3. Great ideas have appeared in history before. Even if they’ve been shoved to the rear, they still have a lineage in truth.

For instance, slaves being freed has always been a positive throughout mankind’s journey.

Drugs actually expanding our minds and making us more intensely involved have not proven to be such.

I believe this: we must question everything with gentleness, allowing the truth to come to the forefront, instead of just reading aloud, in unison, the press release.

I, myself, am an antagonist.

Will history find me on the right side–or a mental dinosaur?

We shall see.

Of course, I won’t really care … because I won’t be here.

 

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Anschluss

dictionary with letter A

Anschluss: (v) the annexation of Austria by Germany

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if somebody had caught little Jack before he became the Ripper, and told the lad never to play with knives?

Or maybe if there had been somebody in the house of little Johnny of the Booth clan, saying that black people aren’t really meant to be slaves?

It would have been nice if someone would have caught Jeffrey Dahmer yelling at a cat and mistreating one before he went on a killing rampage.

There are moments reserved for the brave.

They happen to all of us.

Yes, each and every one of us have “crazies” in our lives.

For instance, several people were responsible for Adolph Hitler–and because they didn’t want to interfere or be judgmental, they decided to let him proceed in his growing insanity.

It would have been wonderful if the British and the Americans would have made a big deal over Hitler annexing this little piece of Austria. Why? Because Hitler wasn’t ready for war at that point.

He thought he was. But what created his war machine was the confidence that grew in his troops as they conquered Europe.

Yes, by the time he got to annexing France, he became nearly unbeatable.

I thought about this a lot when I was a father, raising my children. Sometimes I was tired and it was easier not to make the object lesson, calling out bad behavior. Matter of fact, sometimes it seemed noble to “let one slide.”

But I rarely did.

Because facts are … the little confrontation you have today always eliminates the war which could rage later.

 

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Anathema

dictionary with letter A

Anathema: (n) something or someone which one vehemently dislikes.

I wonder if that’s what’s necessary? I mean, I’m curious if there is a requirement for a certain amount of vehemence, anger, intensity and frustration to well up in the human soul before we actually decide to change anything.

Let’s take the old-fashioned word repentance.

It’s not old-fashioned because it’s out-dated. but like many valuable words, it’s lost some of the frequency of use because it’s not quite as pleasant to current thinking.

But I’m not sure repentance is possible until we become totally disgusted with where we are. In other words:

  • Will racism ever leave our world until it becomes anathema to our lives and even our breathing?
  • Can I lose weight without, in some way, shape or form, despising my way, shape and form?
  • Do we ever become free of our addictions until we nearly literally vomit them from our existence?

Are there really only two gears in the human vehicle–drive and reverse?

I don’t know.

But without anger and protests, most wars tend to go on indefinitely. Without some teaching of abstinence, promiscuity, disease and unwanted pregnancy begin to creep into society.

And without constantly reminding ourselves of our ancestors owning people as slaves, we just might forget to think about how we’re enslaving people today.

What is an anathema?

It is whatever we decide to do that takes away the power of other folks to do what they decide.

Yes, I guess that’s worth a few minutes … of uncomfortable reflection.

 

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Alabama

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alabama: (n) a state in the southeastern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico, capital Montgomery, statehood, Dec. 14, 1819.

A state of mind.

Even though I must tell you, having traveled all over this country, that there are nests of belief, custom, culture and theology that persist or flourish in their particular homeland, the hatchet job that has been done to our fifty states to promote causes, newspaper articles and political agendas is abominable.

Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the perception of Alabama.

I would be amiss if I merely portrayed the “sweet home” aspects of this particular state. Like every other principality which has ever existed on earth, it is riddled with mishaps, bad judgments and incoherent ideas being fostered as “normal.”

But to personify Alabama–or any part of the south–as the hotbed for bigotry, ignorance and inequality is not only short-sighted, but comes from a place of arrogance and a desire to limit the qualities that these dear folks can offer to our country in faith and hospitality.

Some of the worst memories I have of my journeys have been in the south–especially Alabama–and also some of the golden treasures of people and discovery have also been found within its borders.

Here’s the truth: people live where they were hatched, take the best parts of their surroundings and mingle them with tolerance and love to form a workable way of being. No matter where they abide, if they accept the portions of their culture which alienate them from the rest of the world, they have gone down a foolish path. But if they set aside childishness, they gain eternal perspective.

Prejudice was not born in the south. Long before slaves were brought to this country, there were slaves in Rome, Greece, Egypt, China and every corner of our globe. Those who were intelligent, historical and also spiritual learn to recognize the limitations of their upbringing in deference to the mercy that the God of our creation requires of His children.

I love Alabama. I love Massachusetts. I love California–not because of the history book or the spouting of their individual Chambers of Commerce. No, it’s because I have met people in each of these locations–and many others–who have overcome their ancestors to be born again … to newness of life.

 

Ad

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

Ad: (n) an advertisement

dictionary with letter A

Sometimes it’s the way people choose to insult you.

If you’re promoting an idea, a product, or some particular outgrowth of your own efforts, they will accuse you of “advertising.”

Matter of fact, even though we are all basically slaves to the system, we simultaneously insist that we HATE ads. We’ll even try to edit them out of our television programs, and therefore insist upon our independence from such interference. But if we were really all that turned off by ads, Madison Avenue would certainly pick up on our distaste and stop making them.

Are there things that are worth advertising? Because quite honestly, I will put an ad out to the world if I believe in something. I’m not tight-lipped about it at all.

I only require three contingencies to stimulate my passion:

1. It needs to work. I would never want to promote something that was intermittent or just flat-out fails to deliver its promises. That’s the danger of both religion and politics–their adherents have secretly become unbelievers. So the followers are like an old rocker, traveling around from one concert to another in an old beat-up van, peddling t-shirts, who no longer believes in his own slogans.

2. It should make things easier, not harder. Even though I do not think laziness is a virtue, I think over-working is a much worse vice. If you want to improve the world, make a better mouse that doesn’t need to be trapped.

3. It needs to include everybody. I know there are products, ideas and even philosophies which seem to focus on a particular age group. Maybe this is necessary. But I find the greatest value of an idea is how well it can be applied across the board–to all races, genders, ages, creeds, and orientations.

There you go. What is worthy of writing an ad? Anything that fits the criteria listed above.

In other words, an ad should … add.

Everything else is just an imitation and derivation of the hula-hoop.