Cocoon

Cocoon: (v) to protect and surround.

I sometimes giggle when I read an article, and I can immediately tell that the writer has taken ten minutes to look up the subject on Wikipedia and throw in some smart words, so it appears to be a “learned” piece, laced with technological terms.

Today I refrained from doing that.

I think the most interesting thing about each and every one of us is our experience mingled with our ignorance. As long as we know we’re ignorant on certain subjects, it has a certain amount of charm to it.

For instance, I have seen a caterpillar. I have beheld a butterfly. And I know that the stage in between is referred to as a cocoon.

I have had a cocoon pointed out to me, but it was needful because it was so non-descript that I would never have noticed it. After all, there might be a danger in having a bright purple cocoon, lest someone think it’s a beautiful rock, and takes it home, eliminating the possibility for a butterfly.

Whether you believe in God or Nature, you must admit that one of these two, or both of them, are pretty damn smart.

I certainly think it would behoove the human race, instead of sewing wings onto caterpillars, to take some time to cocoon our efforts, our motivations, our desires, our wishes, and our insecurities, so that we can mature into butterflies, instead of pretending we can soar.

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Chestnut

Chestnut: (n) a glossy brown nut that may be roasted and eaten.

Beware of those who pursue authenticity simply to establish the superiority of their cause.

Spending Christmas with some friends many years ago, the suggestion was made that we try to roast some chestnuts over an open fire to
capture the sensation of Mel Tormé,  when he wrote “The Christmas Song.”

You remember…

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”

Not familiar with Jack Frost, we decided to go for the chestnuts. Actually, they decided–those purists who felt that authenticity gave them an edge in the competition for supremacy.

Three problems immediately came to the forefront:

  1. Nobody knew anything about chestnuts–and this was before Wikipedia enabled us to fake it.
  2. Nobody had any idea what type of fire would be necessary for roasting, or how the little fellas would line up to be toasted.
  3. And of course, none of us knew what chestnuts tasted like.

At first, it seemed to go pretty well. We were able to locate chestnuts, and somebody provided a solid brass container with two extended arms, so the chestnuts could be placed above the fire for cooking.

It looked lovely.

Then for some reason, the gentleman who basically instigated the event, became so excited about checking on his chestnuts that he forgot that the brass container was metal and had been dangling over (you got it) an open fire. For some reason, he reached in with his hands to remove the container and then lurched back in horror and pain, his paws red and ablaze.

So rather than having chestnuts roasting over an open fire, we ended up driving our friend to the Emergency Room to have his hands treated and wrapped in gauze.

Upon returning about two and a half hours later, the chestnuts had burned because no one remember to take them off–once again–the open fire.

In case you don’t know, chestnuts, like any number of other substances, don’t smell very good when they are burned. As a matter of fact, the odor of nutty immolation was in the house for months to come. Needless to say, not much was ever said about chestnuts, roasting or open fires.

Sometimes it’s just better to go out and buy a package of peanuts and warm them in the microwave.

Then pretend.

 

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Antibiotic

dictionary with letter A

Antibiotics (adj): a medicine such as penicillin which inhibits the growth of or destroys microorganisms.

There are two kinds of knowledge.

There is the current information available through research, discovery and even the sharing of hypotheses.

And then there are personal encounters which we all have with various subjects which grant a peek into the inner workings.

Now, some people swear by pursuing educational tools to learn about the universe and its various parts. Other folks are more intent on having a close encounter of the first kind with what they receive.

So when I look at the word “antibiotics,” I don’t immediately jump on Wikipedia and find out what the scientific community has to say about these chemicals which we refer to as “wonder drugs,” but rather, to take just a moment and tell you that for a very brief season in my life, I found myself septic and in need of pouring these concoctions into my system to counteract infection.

They do have truth in advertising, In other words, they are antibiotics, which means they are against all forms of life. They don’t just kill the bad guys in your blood stream, but while they’re there, are very willing to become hit men to all the good ones wearing white hats.

So even though I was appreciative of the cocktail of medication provided for me, I found myself having to take other pills to counteract the effects the antibiotics had on my “happy places.”

All sorts of little blurps came up on the screen during this season of healing. It let me know three very important things:

1. Antibiotics are good because they do attack the bad.

2. Antibiotics, being strong, destroy anything in their path that’s weak.

3. They should be used as infrequently as possible.

So even though I know that many folks swear by antibiotics, by the time I got done interacting with them, I was swearing at antibiotics.

I am not in a hurry to make reacquaintance or have a reunion. My sentiment about antibiotics is similar to my feeling about the sun: it is very nice to enjoy on a day when you’re going to the beach … but I have no particular desire to get any closer.

 

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Ambassador

dictionary with letter A

Ambassador: (n) 1. an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country 2. a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specific activity

I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

Word has it that many of the people standing in line, waiting their turn to become ambassadors for the United States, have proven themselves to be less than experts on the nations they are going to visit and “diplomat.”

What’s the big deal?

Is there a real advantage in showing up in a country acting like you know everything about it? I mean, can you imagine them taking you on a guided tour and you keep interrupting their spiel, spouting off your own knowledge on the subject?

There’s a great balance if you’re going to do something important in your life: know enough to get yourself started and be willing to learn enough to make yourself appear to be growing.

Yet I think anyone who is going to be the ambassador to Norway should know how to spell it. Also it might be good if he or she could locate it on a map before the confirmation hearings.

But I think there’s something absolutely adorable, powerful and human-loving about showing up to work wondering what you’re going to learn today.

I guess for many years, I have been an ambassador of common sense–and the wonderful thing about my subject matter is that you never stop discovering new batches of it. Because just about the time you think you’re smart enough to know what you’re talking about, common sense runs away and if you’re sharp, you’ll end up chasing it.

There are so many nations in the world that it would be very difficult to know something about all of them, and if you tried, you’d probably end up looking like a walking Wikipedia instead of an actual fount of knowledge.

Yes, I think the most important thing you could do if you want to be an ambassador for anything, any place or anyone is to be thrilled about what you’ve already learned … and thirsty to get more.

Alloy

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alloy: (n) a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, usually to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion

Since I don’t know anything about metal, I will refrain from trying to come off as someone who just read a short Wikipedia explanation in order to espouse expertise.

Let me instead use the word “alloy” to suggest the melding of two great ideas–which, when smelted, create a bond which is difficult to break.

The first idea is “No one is better than anyone else.”

Every culture which has ignored this principle, or set it aside to temporarily gain the approval of the majority, has found itself flailing, devoid of purpose and alienating the very citizens who could have brought about progress.

The second idea we would like to bind into this mixture is, “Be fruitful and multiply; replenish the earth.”

Can you imagine what would happen if we set these two ideas into motion–to collide in a unity of purpose to become the backbone of our culture?

No one is better than anyone else–and because we hold that truth to be self-evident, we encourage you to be fruitful, expansive, creative and bring about the multiplication of new energy, instead of dividing us into little sects and groups, so that we can replenish the earth instead of robbing it of all of its resources.

The day we understand that equality and creativity are not conservative and liberal concepts, but rather, issues of survival, will be when we wake up and become intelligent enough to be worthy of the brain space we have been granted.

What a great alloy.

Even though each one is individually a strong concept, when united, they give us the sniff of humanity and the power of our convictions instead of rendering us … hapless, over-evolved gorillas.

 

Ailey, Alvin

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Ailey, Alvin: (1931-89) U.S. dancer and  choreographer. He founded the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in 1958 and helped to establish modern dance as an American art form, incorporating ballet, jazz and Afro-Caribbean idioms in his choreography.

Being a writer carries with it a certain amount of arrogance. There is the contention that one has something worthy to be said, and therefore read, and also the annoying predilection to associate everything you hear and see into your own spectrum of thinking.

Yes, it’s truly overbearing.

And when I came across this fine gentleman who was so progressive in the art of dance, because I lacked a lot of personal experience with his work, and fearing that merely taking a journey through Wikipedia to impress you with minor details would be presumptuous, if not comical, I decided to sit down and ask myself what I thought of dance. Realizing that this may be completely irrelevant to you, it is my connection with this journeyman’s craft.

As a lad I didn’t dance at all because my church believed that it was the devil’s two-step. One of the deacons in my congregation insisted that it led to lust. When I explained that at fifteen years of age, merely saying a girl’s name aloud could produce great fantasies and tremblings, he didn’t think I was funny.

So it was after I left home and began working in the music field, and decided to compose a Broadway show that, I began to think about choreography, movement and dance. Matter of fact, for my first production I hired a bunch of freelance musicians and singers to perform–all with an amateur status. Failing to realize that just because someone can sing a tune does not mean their feet will coordinate with each other, on our opening night, one critic deemed our staging and dancing to be “collisionography.”

Later on, I tried choreographing myself. Even though I am built more like a water buffalo than a graceful deer, I pranced around stage, learning my steps, acting as fluid as I possibly could, trying to discover my “center,” which ended up being very large because of my midriff.

But I enjoyed every minute of it.

I was thrilled with the audacity of daring to erupt in front of other people, while projecting emotion and ideas through the gyrations.

So when I look at the work of a man like Alvin Ailey, I realize that even though some folks think such shenanigans are evil, despicable or lascivious, life without movement–often purposeful–is bland and motionless.

Matter of fact, there are times when I have jobs to do and I choreograph every single endeavor to produce desirable results.

We come into this world, squeezing through a tiny opening, landing on our butts, learning to walk, so that hopefully … someday we can dance.