Cornball: (n) person who indulges in clichés or sentimentality.

“I am just so blessed to write to you every single day. You are such terrific people.”

You see, this passage I just wrote is considered “cornball.” Another word is “cloying.” How about “maudlin?”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

And then there’s the classic: sappy.

Somewhere along the line we became so frightened of being insincere that we became sincerely mean.

It doesn’t take more than half an hour of watching old television to realize that the producers of nearly every show were determined to leave the watcher tingly with goodness.

Nowadays, it would be impossible to market a show called “Breaking Good” or to suggest that a life of gentleness and kindness could make you anything but a victim waiting around to be victimized.

How much cornball do we need? Do we need any?

When I grew up, people walked around and said things to each other like, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Or, “Honk your horn if you love Jesus!”

But somewhere along the line, the bumper stickers and slogans filled with such cornball notions of “peace on Earth” were suddenly replaced with apocalyptic concepts of doom and gloom.

Maybe it happened when the first person affixed, on the tail end of his or her car, the thought, “Shit happens.”

But even in our modern world, “shit happens” would be considered cornball—because it maintains an attitude of being patient with the shit instead of twittering about it.

That’s interesting. When I was younger, if you felt good, excited and full of great hopes for the ‘morrow, you would say to people that you were “all a’twitter!”

Now, when people are “a’twitter,” they are merely considering better ways to destroy one another.

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dictionary with letter A

Ardent: (adj) enthusiastic or passionate.

“One man’s bratwurst is another man’s wiener.”

(I’m sure it’s a famous saying somewhere. For the sake of the essay, let us assume so.)

Also, I must tell you that one person’s “ardent” is another critic’s “fanatic.”

Passion is worthy of praise. To criticize all passion is to remove the energy that creates change.

So what is the difference between ardent and fanatic?

For instance, in the process of trying to generate political progress, we have diluted truths and valuable causes down to mere slogans and debate points.

In the quest for avoiding religion infringing on the rights of minorities, we have often crippled the legs of faith, which transforms lives.

I am an ardent believer, but I am not a fanatic. May I tell you the difference?

1. I use my beliefs to experiment on myself, not you.

I am not concerned whether you desire to follow my path. If you’re interested, come see. If you’re not, go look.

2. I want to use my beliefs to clarify what science and technology are discovering.

Science and faith are not at odds. They are fellow-researchers, working in the same laboratory, often greatly surprised at their similar findings.

3. And finally, I do not want my faith to be made of stone, but rather, of a material which allows the grace of stretching to cover a multitude of situations–even sins.

I have little concern about what the Law of Religion says. It is my job to find the mercy within its legislation.

Ardent is when we realize that what we pursue is for our benefit, not for constraints on others.


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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.


by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acorn: (n.) the fruit of the oak; a smooth, oval nut in a rough, cup-like base.

I decided not to look it up. You see, I found that my feeble attempts at trying to REMEMBER the old saying were much more comical.

  • I think it’s “Big oaks from little acorns grow.”
  • Although it could be: “little acorns make big oaks.”
  • I’m pretty sure it’s not, “Big acorns amazingly make little oaks.”
  • There is a chance it might be, “Big growth comes from little acorns which cause oak trees.”

You get the idea.

It’s one of those little slogans made up by people to take basically worthless objects and make them seem valuable. Here’s the problem with acorns–you can’t eat ’em.

No matter what else the acorn does, it is completely obliterated by the walnut, the pecan and any number of other similar nuts that end up in our tummies instead of our Book of Proverbs.

I do not know why some people can’t understand that value is placed on objects. Things that are lesser are sometimes just short-changed.

I became a happier man when I realized that every time I walk into a room, there are people in that enclosure who are smarter than me. I do not have to be equally attractive, equally intelligent or equally blessed with everyone I meet. And acorns just need to understand that the little cap they wear on top of their heads may be cute, but they’re just a hard nut to crack.

So … let me be the first one (or tenth one, depending on how far this has moved along) to say that merely declaring everything equal in quality does not make it so.

I think by creation and by mission, acorns are just as good as pecans. But until they come up with a way to transform themselves into a delicious pie, they need to understand that in my book, they are not promotable.