Daughter

Daughter: (n) a female child or person in relation to her parents.

 I think I spent more time studying daughters, even though I only had sons, than I might have if my children had been girls.

There is a tremendous responsibility for a man to understand a woman.

That’s why it is so sinister for the sarcastic theater and the socially stunted church to make relationships between men and women seem so unlikely and unfulfilling.

Six sons came through my house.

Three of them were my natural children and three were my godsons.

I immediately realized they were not getting adequate training on their relationships with the female gender by hanging out with friends, watching television or attending school.

For some reason, we are completely satisfied to make male and female conflict a part of our culture, holding gender equality at bay.

I don’t know what I would tell my daughters about boys. But I do know what I told my young gentlemen about women.

I explained that it’s set up perfectly.

I mean, the way a woman is constructed is ideal for interaction.

It is polite to start at the head and go to the toe.

In her head is a brain.

Get to know it. Study it. Have sympathy for the struggles. Help her ease out of her culture, where her upbringing was short-sighted, and allow her to do the same for you.

Next are the eyes.

How do they see? Is it a small world? A big world? Or a dangerous world?

The lips.

What does she speak? Do you easily discern her messages? Or are they too garbled and unclear due to her training? Help her find her voice.

How about those ears?

Women, like men, have not been instructed to listen. They envision a verbal conflict with the opposite sex, so they are prone to close off their hearing. Learn to hear each other.

A chin.

It’s easy nowadays to see that chin sink over the simplest of offenses. For some reason, depression has become synonymous with “deep thinking.” Foolishness. If a man loves a woman and a woman loves a man, they help each other keep that chin up, and eyes on the goals.

The heart.

Fortunately, it’s near the breast. I always told my boys to consider that the appreciation they have for the female breast is also expressed through a respect for her heart—her feelings.

As you can see, as you ease down from the top, love has a chance to grow. So by the time you get to the flesh and the sexuality, there’s a purpose for it.

On the other hand, if you start there, you will wade into emotions you don’t understand.

As for the legs and feet, they take her where she decides to go. She should have her own determination, based upon the joys of sex, which were enhanced by having an understanding of emotions in learning how to “face” one another.

I never had a daughter, but I probably would tell her much the same.

We are not as different from each other as advertised.

What keeps men and women apart is a calloused indifference—because we think we know everything.

Dancer

Dancer: (n) a person who dances professionally

In the world of fruits and vegetables, it would be pretty well assumed that string beans would make good dancers, but cantaloupes and pumpkins–not so much.

Matter of fact, when you see a rotund human dancing, it normally is on a YouTube, which has many views by people who find it hilarious to spy such a sight.

I don’t know whether it’s the mixture of the bouncing jowls in the face, the pinking of the cheeks or the extra blubber shifting like the tide.

But it’s pretty well accepted that those who dance on Broadway live on lettuce and smells.

So when I—more in the melon family of appearance—put on a play many years ago which demanded some dancing and found myself unable to cast one of the major parts, I was encouraged by the other cast members to take on the challenge, break down some barriers and hoof my way through the performance.

I’ve always been pretty athletic. (Candidly, when you’re fat, athletic can be walking through a china shop without knocking over some bullshit.)

So I learned the dancing, practiced it, and got to the point that I could do the numbers without completely gasping for breath.

But as I stood backstage on opening night, getting ready to make my entrance, hearing the mumbling of the audience, I was completely terrified.

All the stereotypical reactions about “prancing fat boys” raced to my brain and did their own little tap dance all over the state of my confidence.

And sure enough, when I entered the stage in my costume and began the shuffling of my feet that would lend itself to dancing, I heard giggles from the gallery.

I was humiliated.

I was frightened.

But I also realized that doing it halfway would only make it look worse.

So I sold out.

And—as often happens when one sells out—half of the audience admired the hell out of me, and the other half was pissed because I made them feel a little naughty about their judgment.

I am not a dancer.

At best I am an agile beach ball, bouncing on the sand—scurried by the wind.

 

Curtain

Curtain: (n) a hanging piece of fabric

I can’t think of an occasion when the word “addicted” can be used in a positive way.

Yet I will tell you, there are certain things to which I am addicted.

One of those revolves around a curtain.

I couldn’t have been more than twelve years old the first time I stood backstage at a theater, right next to the beautiful velvet curtain that swept its way across the stage to close the production or open up to new story possibilities, encouraging the audience to use its imagination.

No matter where you are, there’s always that small space where the dressing rooms and the gathering areas empty out onto holy ground, where the actors, singers and musicians stand and wait to enter the stage and share their best.

I remember at age twelve, putting together a song with three other guys to sing at the school talent show. We had searched all over Columbus, Ohio for just the right ties. We all went to the same barber shop to get our hair cut two days earlier. My singing buddies had come to my house to dress and prepare for the evening. We had rehearsed our song over and over again, trying to fine-tune the musical excellence to the greatest extent of our pre-adolescent acuity.

There we were.

The small-town audience sat waiting, as we stood nervously backstage.

I remember being so close to that beautiful red velvet curtain that I laid my head over, resting it on the soft fabric. It was comforting.

Yes, it was at that point I knew I was addicted.

I wanted to spend the rest of my life backstage somewhere, waiting for the curtain to open so I could come and share the better parts of myself, hoping that the audience could find the better parts of their hearts.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Crêpe

Crêpe: (n) a thin, light delicate pancake

 Sitting here, pausing, mulling the idea and the essence of the crepe, it occurred to me that many of the transitions and outstanding moments in my life have been marked by the discovery and pursuit of some new food.

Maybe that’s why I’m overweight.

I’ve lived such a full life at the banquet table of experience.

I remember when I was about six years old and I ate pickle-pimento lunchmeat for the first time. It was so good. I liked it when it was sliced thin. I liked it when the butcher made it chunkier.

I liked pickle-pimento loaf so much that I asked for it on my twelfth birthday.

On that day, and throughout that night, I personally ate an entire pound of the stuff.

I never developed a dislike for it—just allowed it to graduate on to my next epiphany of treats.

There was a season when I discovered Chinese food. Having graduated from high school, I found myself driving my old car to downtown Columbus—that being the one in the state of Ohio—and walking around, taking in some theater, and visiting (and eventually frequenting) a little Chinese walk-in restaurant called La Toy.

I had never eaten such fare during my growing up years. I quickly developed a favorite. It was listed as Number 3 on the menu: Fried rice, Egg Foo Yung and Chicken Chow Mein.

So whether I was shopping, looking for a chance to play in a rock and roll band, trying to figure out how to flirt with a girl or going to the state theater to see the Broadway cast of Godspell, I always ended up afterwards at La Toy, munching my jaws on my favored three.

Then a few years later, when I was traveling on the road trying to scratch out a living (but actually not caring one way or the other if the electric company got their payment) I stopped in with a couple of friends at the International House of Pancakes, and posed the question:

What is a crêpe?

It was explained to me, and on a whim, I ordered some, with strawberries on top.

Crêpes are the best of pancakes. They aren’t so heavy and flour-filled. They also are the best of eggs because you don’t have to decide if you like the yolks or not. I became fond of crêpes and frequented I-Hop so often that I nearly went bankrupt from my less-than-wealthy purse.

But to this day, if I come upon a crêpe, I will order it.

Matter of fact, some day in the future, arriving in heaven, sitting before me at the Banquet Table of Life, will be pickle-pimento loaf, Number 3 from La Toy and a platter of crêpes.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

 

Cinema

Cinema: (n) the production of movies as an art or industry.

“To date, I have written thirteen screenplays which have been produced into independent movies, receiving recognition at twenty-eight film festivals.”

This is a blurb.

It’s the kind of thing you stuff into an advertisement or resumé  to let people know you have credentials.

Once it is stated or read, the person who has received the input immediately asks, “What movies? Would I know one?”

The answer is no–because I am not famous, rich, nor do I wield any power.

I do not say that with misgiving. I am so grateful being able to make my living doing what I like while also having the freedom to drive down to the local department store and move around in total anonymity.

But can I tell you? From my personal experience, the world of cinema is locked up tighter than a nun’s vagina.

It is filled with nepotism, red tape and a self-righteousness about art which often contends that the more bizarre the story line, the more realistic it becomes.

The budgets are overblown, the plot lines as thin as a Parisian model, and the resolutions are not geared for the edification of humankind.

So comically, the movies that make the most money in the world of cinema are G-rated–but the movies that are touted are usually R.

I have nothing against either genre. I have written in both.

But historically it has been the job of theater–in this case, cinema–to lift us as a people from our depression and make us believe in the higher good of the human race, which began as dust inhabited by the image of God.

 

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Box Office

Box office: (n) a place at a theater or other arts establishment where tickets are bought or reserved.

In the midst of my human journey, which I’m sure some people would consider a cavalcade of bizarre experiments and perpetual oddities, I, for a season, wrote screenplays, which were produced into low-budget, independent films, and showcased at festivals.Dictionary B

On top of that, we had a premiere of each film, which could be viewed by all of the participants, actors and family members, so they could “ooh and aah” over their participation (and also confirm that the camera really does put ten pounds on you).

I was in Michigan and they were shooting my script entitled “Wonderful,” which was a tipping of the hat to the Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when it was determined that we would rent a big metroplex theater for our premiere.

It was a bold move.

The place seated about 300 people, and we had no reason to believe that such a multitude would be willing to come and see our little endeavor.

I vividly recall sitting in the parking lot, staring at the road leading to the theater and watching as the cars–one by one, then three by three, and finally ten by ten–began arriving for our debut.

It was thrilling.

By the time everybody gathered, the place was full, the movie was screened, the energy was supreme and the human interaction of joy and fellowship that followed was the definition of what our lives should truly be.

I will never forget that box-office moment, when the people poured out of the theater, some in tears, some laughing, some grumpy (maintaining their nature) but all aware that they had broken down their barriers, and allowed themselves, for a brief moment, to truly be brothers and sisters.

 

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Bleak

Bleak: (adj) without hope or encouragement

Dictionary B

The abiding sense of superiority is generally accompanied by a pious smirk.

Often, when I involve myself in discussions about hope, possibilities and even the importance of kindness, a roomful of pseudo-intellectuals will smirk at me. Matter of fact, the entire entertainment industry seems to be on a dismal journey to convince the world that “dark is the new light.”

Yes, we’re supposed to take unseemly, nasty characters and find a tiny stream of goodness within them.

It’s a convenient assertion.

After all, if it turns out that I am a bit more righteous than the average protagonist, I leave the theater feeling really good about myself.

But it is a dangerous practice–giving human beings too much rope. They will not only hang themselves, but also use the slack to cut none to others.

  • If the whole world is mediocre, then what is the definition of good?
  • If evil is the norm, then why pursue excellence?
  • If politicians are all liars, then how should we listen?
  • If religion is possessed by “greedy Gantrys,” then why should we pray?

In the pursuit of realism, what we have discovered is a bleak bitterness which promotes the decay of mankind … minus the possibility of redemption.

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Balcony

Balcony: (n) the upstairs seats in a theater, concert hall, or auditorium.Dictionary B

In my youthful years…

Actually, there’s little that’s more disgusting than an aging author reflecting back on earlier times with a slight grimace of regret, but mostly tantalizing details of virility and prowess.

That would not be my intention in this particular article, so let me begin with the less pretentious, “When I was a teenager…”

Yes, when I was a teenager there was an old-fashioned theater near my hometown which showed movies and had a balcony. It was commonly known and notoriously reported by prudish older women that the young folks would go up in the balcony and neck during the movies instead of watching them like critics who had a deadline for the morning news.

So after a while, due to the complaining of these decrepit patrons, they put a velvet rope in front of the balcony entrance, connoting that the area was no longer available to the public.

I do not know why it failed to occur to them how easy it is to ignore a velvet rope. So the young people continued to trail upstairs and do the laboratory portion of their sex education training.

After that they hired someone to stand next to the velvet rope, in a white shirt and black bow tie, attempting to deter the young folks from entering the stairs to the heights of pleasure.

It didn’t take any of us very long to discover a curtain which dangled from the other side of the balcony, which was easily scaled, quietly placing us in the balcony area where we could enjoy ourselves with ferocious kissing and then slide back down the curtain to leave the theater.

The manager, fearing that the curtain would eventually be destroyed through this process, eliminated the guard and velvet rope, and gave in to the primeval nature of the youth.

Even the old ladies decided to ignore the iniquity happening just above their heads.

So my memory of a balcony is a place of escape from the circus and theater of life happening all around, to enjoy more personal pleasures.

Also, it’s a great place to go nowadays, even though I’m older, to sleep if I’m not that interested in the offerings of the silver screen.

 

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Actor

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

 

Actor: (n) a person whose profession is acting on the stage, in movies or on television.

 

 We sure spend an awful lot of time, money and energy honoring those who portray characters in the film industry. Yet at the same time we pretend that acting—or trying to be something we’re not—is a bad thing in real life.

 

I will tell you this right now: I would much rather people become excellent actors, treating me with love and respect, instead of becoming so comfortable around me that I get the brunt of their bad mood.

 

Over the years as I’ve traveled, I have gotten to know some families, spending time in their homes, and after a while they start arguing in front of me and cease to treat me as a guest. When I ask them about it, they insist that this is their way of accepting me as “kin”—abandoning any need for hospitality.

 

My response is always the same: Let’s go back to when you didn’t know me and felt compelled to be nice.

 

I am tired of reality as a whole, even if it’s a show, if it means that we’re going to unleash our darker sides on one another and spit forth our meaningless opinions at will.

 

I suppose I would aggravate some people because I do believe my life is a stage. I think it’s important to learn the right lines, pursue plots and stories that are enriching instead of bizarre and twisted, and try to come to a conclusion at the end of every day which somehow or another resembles a happy ending.

 

I think it’s important to be an actor.

 

I think it’s essential that we stop making fun of things that are good, kind, pure and gentle in favor of grumbling dissatisfaction.

 

Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that if we don’t start making the movie of our lives that is suitable for all audiences, we will end up rating ourselves R to simulate the truthfulness of our each and every frustration festering inside of us, not providing a pleasant theater experience.

 

So if I want to say “damn,” you don’t really deserve that. It won’t hurt me to temper it to “darn.”

 

If I’m disappointed over losing my job, I shouldn’t impale you with my cynicism, but instead, find a quiet place with myself, my experiences, and God–to become people-worthy before joining the human race again.

 

Yes, all the world is a stage, and honestly, sometimes we’re just roadies and not actors in front of the crowd. But while we’re backstage, learning how to work the lights, we might want to work on our mood, so that when we find ourselves under the key light,  we can bring positive energy … instead of defeat.

Accent

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Accent: (n.) a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality or social class

Anyone who spends any time whatsoever in theater realizes that it is often a bigoted representation of society’s perception of all races and nationalities.

What I mean by that statement is that if you’re playing a part in a production and your director wants you to convey a certain immediate energy to the audience, he will often ask you to consider using an accent to trigger an image or attitude in the mind of the hearer.

Could anything be more prejudiced? Yet it is standard practice–and an admission that we human beings often draw conclusions based on what we hear and therefore perceive.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you’re playing the part of a snobby, high-falutin’; upper-class woman. The suggestion may be made to give her a British accent–therefore concluding that all Brits are really pricks.

Are you gonna play a boxer in the movie? Then you probably should have a New Jersey accent–“Joisey.”

Let me run a few more:

  • Mafia? Italian, of course.
  • A slick gigolo lover? French.
  • A bigoted ignoramus? A Southern Dixie accent.
  • How about a surfer? A California Valley-girl accent.
  • What if the part demands you be a spy? I would suggest a Russian accent.
  • A karate champion? Japanese.
  • How about a dictator? Gotta be German.

Since it is so obvious that we equate certain attributes to accents, it might be a good idea to be careful how you round your r’s and punch your syllables.

Because as much as we may discount the value of prejudice, it was here when we arrived–and it will stand over our graves.