3 Things … December 13th, 2018


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after Christmas

To Continue on December 26th

1. Keep noticing what people want.

2. Seriously singing silly songs

3. Acting surprised instead of deserving

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Drawing Attention … December 12th, 2018

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Crackling Logs

(tap the picture to see the video)

art by smarrttie panntts

Music: “Crackling Logs” by Jonathan Richard Cring

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Published in: on December 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jonathots … December 11th, 2018


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handbook for touching

The light of the body is the eye

If the eye is evil, then the whole body is filled with darkness. But if the eye is clear, then the whole being can be illuminated.

Honestly, these words can sound like a bunch of gibberish if they’re not understood. This is the trouble with a lot of deep philosophy and passages that insist they are “spiritual.”

Let me phrase it this way:

Your eyes belong to you, but what you see was programmed by others.

Even though you may insist that you are the master of your own thinking and the manipulator of your vision, there is so much programming that’s gone into you–from childhood, schooling, experiences, defeats, failures and pain–which clouds your vision and only presents the images that memory will offer.

We are very critical of prejudice, but the fact of the matter is, nearly all of our preconceived ideas are deeply ingrained within our consciousness long before we have a chance to vote on whether to accept them or not.

This affects our touch.

If we don’t like what we see, we don’t want to get near it. If we don’t want to get near it, we avoid it and fear it. And once we’ve decided that someone or some group is foreign, then it becomes necessary for us to rationalize our choice by attempting to prove that the forbidden topic, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is hampered by evil.

Thus, white people who grow up in a bigoted environment really do think the black race looks a bit like monkeys. That’s how they were taught to see them. Therefore, that’s how they view them. The end result is, they decide not to be around them and the unity brought on by touch is forsaken.

Likewise, black parents who teach their children that Latinos are lazy and not to be trusted raise children that purposely avoid anyone with light brown skin, unless there’s enough pigment to welcome them as black brothers and sisters.

Also, the Latinos do it with the Asians, and within their own culture, assuming that Cubans are better than Dominicans, and Asians assuming that Chinese are superior to Japanese.

Once our eyes have been fitted with a pair of glasses by our upbringing, making us see the world in a certain way, then our bigotry becomes a spectacle.

Because once we’re afraid–once our “eyeballing” of other human beings promotes darkness in our minds, we are certainly not going to want to be near them, to shop with them, to go to church with them or to ever risk touching them.

Without touch there is no fellowship. Without fellowship there is no commonality, and without commonality, there is alienation.

Take some time during this Christmas season to consider the vision you have of life–the way you see those around you.

Are you controlling your own perception? Or do you have people you were taught were “untouchables?”

Because if you’re not willing to touch people with the tenderness of your hands, you will certainly end up fighting them with your fists.

 

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1 Thing You Need to Know This Week

There is no success without overcoming

You will not be able to overwhelm the whole world

You can’t overtake everyone in the competition

You won’t walk on water, so don’t go overboard

People are not afraid of your overwrought reaction

Overcomplicated is a real turn-off

Overlooking is flat-out annoying

Change is to come. Get over yourself.

Find your weakness, and deal with it before you find yourself over the hill.

 

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Jubilators … December 9th, 2018

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Jubilators

Sitting Fourteen

The Pop Quiz

Since lunch, Christopher had tried to reach Shelley on the phone, only to get her answering machine ten times. He left ten messages.

Each one was a little different–the first three a trifle frantic, the next three were a little defensive, trying to explain why he had made his stand with Mr. Markins, and the last four had increasing degrees of groveling, begging for her forgiveness.

There was no response.

So Christopher was grateful that he had the diversion of going to Fenswick Park for the 10:45 meeting with Golda and her friends. As he walked toward the park, he had second thoughts about the rendezvous. What was he trying to do? How would his presence be perceived by these unknown children?

He arrived at 10:40 and promptly at 10:45, Golda came walking up to him. Standing about twenty yards away was another girl. A boy, who was sitting on the ground, grabbing little sticks and stones and casting them down in disgust.

As Golda walked up, Christopher asked, “Why are your friends staying over there?”

“Because of you,” said Golda.

“What’s wrong with me?” asked Christopher, still a bit bruised from the luncheon calamity.

“I tried to explain to them that I had a great conversation with you, and you seemed okay, but they just can’t believe that any grownup could be trusted or helpful,” said Golda.

“But I’m not a grown-up,” insisted Christopher. “Not a typical one.”

“I’m sorry, but they just don’t believe me,” said Golda. She turned to exit.

“Wait!” said Christopher. “Tell them to give me a chance.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know,” said Christopher. “Test me. Question me. Something.”

Golda paused. “Tell you what,” she said. “Let me go talk to them again and I’ll be right back.”

Christopher watched closely as Golda reasoned with the pair. He tried not to be too observant lest he scare them away, but still peered in their direction to find out what might be the end result. The three argued and fussed, and Golda finally put a finger on each of their noses, making a final point. They nodded their heads and she slowly made her way back to Christopher.

“So what’s the word?” said Christopher anxiously.

“They want to test you,” replied Golda.

“Test me?” asked Christopher.

“Yes. A series of four tests, to see if you’re really different, or if you’re just an average grown-up, trying to pretend you care about kids.”

“Okay,” said Christopher, uncertain but satisfied to have an opportunity.

Golda motioned to the two kids to come over. As soon as they arrived, the boy stepped in and took charge. “My name is Harry Ventner, and I will be conducting your test. This is Shanisse Martinez, and she helped me come up with the questions.”

Shanisse folded her arms across her chest, glaring at the Chris.

“So what do you need to know?” he asked.

“Question one,” said Harry. “Name Santa’s reindeer.”

“Let me see,” began Christopher. “What was the song again…?”

“You can’t use the song!” interrupted Harry, wagging his finger in Christopher’s face.

“Oh, that’s mean,” said Christopher. “You are tough. Okay. Here we go. There’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner…”

“That’s six, mister. There’s two more,” challenged Harry.

“Okay,” said Christopher. “Let me start again. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer…VIXEN! There’s one.”

He continued. “Comet, Cupid…I got it. Donner and Blitzen.”

“He got them,” said Shanisse, surprised.

“It took two tries,” noted Golda.

“Give me a break,” said Christopher. “I think even Old Man Claus might forget sometimes.”

“He is not an old man,” said Harry. “You are.”

“Right,” said Christopher, realizing he needed to be more careful. “And don’t forget Rudolph!”

“Rudolph is retired,” said Shanisse.

“He’s been replaced by his son, Randolph,” added Harry.

Randolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” queried Christopher incredulously.

“Yeah,” said Golda. “What’s your problem?”

“No problem,” said Christopher. “You know what they say about Rudolph. He is…or was…Santa’s designated driver when Mr. Claus had too much nog in his egg, making for a foggy night.”

Christopher laughed. Alone.

“Was that supposed to be funny?” Golda asked.

“No,” said Christopher. “Just an anecdote.”

“Part two!” announced Shanisse. “Follow me.”

Christopher rose and followed the children across the playground over to the slide. Harry spoke up. “We want you to climb up the slide and slide down.”

“What?” exploded Christopher.

“I told you that’s what he’d say!” exclaimed Shanisse. “A real child would never say ‘what’ to the chance to go down a slide.”

“Then neither do I,” concluded Christopher determinedly.

He carefully put his big feet onto the steps and maneuvering his chubby bottom onto the slide. He pushed off, getting caught halfway down the descent because he was too thick. All at once there was a cracking sound.

Golda ran over, waving her hands in the air. “You didn’t make it, and you broke the slide!”

Christopher struggled, finally freeing himself from the apparatus and rising to his feet. “The issue was not whether I would make it all the way, but whether I was willing to go down the slide. Am I right?”

The kids looked at each other and had to agree.

“Next question,” said Golda. “It’s dinner at your house. You hate vegetables. But which vegetable would you rather have your mother serve? Broccoli? Asparagus? Or carrots?”

Christopher paused, thinking deeply. Obviously a trick question. “Well,” he said. “Asparagus is too weird. Carrots…uh…I don’t think so. All right. Broccoli.”

The three children burst out laughing.

“I told you he was just a grown-up,” said Harry.

“Wait!” Christopher objected. “Doesn’t broccoli taste better than carrots or asparagus?”

“They’re vegetables!” said Shanisse. “You don’t plan on tasting them.”

Golda stepped in. “The issue is which vegetable can you slip into your hand easily under the table and have the dog eat without your parents knowing.”

Harry concluded. “Any kid would know that dogs don’t eat asparagus or broccoli. Your best chance would be carrots.”

The three children nodded in unison.

“Good point,” said Christopher. “You got me on that one. I am learning.”

“I think he’s flunkin’,” said Harry.

“C minus,” offered Shanisse.

“Let’s give him one more chance,” said Golda. She faced Christopher. “Why does Santa bring toys?”

Harry jumped in. “And be careful. Don’t give some dumb grown-up answer.”

Christopher wanted to win. He desired their acceptance. As silly as it seemed, the past few months had been difficult for him–especially since he had started seeing Shelley, who made him feel immature because she didn’t share his enthusiasms.

He walked back over to the park bench, followed by the three young ones. He sat down, looked at them, and said, “I suppose I could tell you that Santa brings toys because he loves children, but everybody says they love children. But not everyone brings them toys. I suppose some people think Santa brings toys because he’s copying the gift of the Wise Men, who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to little baby Jesus. But it’s more than that. Then there’s the idea that Santa isn’t real, and we use him as a way of making a holiday of gift-giving, so big companies can make big money. But I don’t believe any of those to be true. I think Santa brings toys because he’s still a child himself and he just likes toys, and he’s looking for other people who like them, too.”

A quiet settled on the park as three children considered the fate of a grown-up. They looked at one another and concurred.

Harry stuck out his hand towards Christopher. “Good answer. Only a kid would have known that.”

Christopher took the hand of the little fellow and then shook each child’s hand as a confirmation of their union.

For the next hour they talked. The children shared their dreams. They told of additional dreams, where they were being prompted to hurry and make their night visions come true. Christopher revealed some dreams of his own. Soon there was a unity only experienced by those who share a common heart. The children forgot that they were too young and Christopher forgot that he felt rejected by the adult world around him.

At the end of the visit they agreed to meet back in three days to put together some plans to make all their dreams come true. As they left they held hands and made a promise, reciting these words: “May we work together to let Christmas be Christmas.”

That said, the children ran away to their homes, and Christopher ambled down the path alone, towards his car.

Emerging from behind a tree, dressed in a navy-blue wool trench coat and a matching fedora, with a beard that lay upon the coat like freshly fallen snow was an aged man with a cane.

He watched as the foursome departed, and then chuckled to himself. He turned and walked away, with an intermittent giggle punctuating his pace.

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Cracked 5 … December 8th, 2018


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Cracked 5

Signs Santa is Depressed

A.  Burns his workout video

B.  Demands Rudolph get a nose job

C. Mocks the stupid letters he receives

D. More nog than egg

E. Puts things up high where the elves can’t reach them

 

depressed Santa

 

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Sit Down Comedy … December 7th, 2018

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The Wise Crack (Up)

Dorkius was also wise.

He just enjoyed his wisdom with a strong portion of practicality. Matter of fact, Dorkius believed that wisdom without practicality was just foolishness with a nasty surprise.

So when his three friends–Santere, a wealthy merchant, Chenaul, a renowned seller of purple cloth, and Beloit, a little person in charge of the maintenance of a huge flock of camels–came to visit him, telling him about a beautiful star sparkling in the sky, Dorkius was already familiar with the phenomenon.

Very impressive.

Like his friends, Dorkius was always prepared to view heavenly wonders, and discuss them for hours over a nice flask of wine and a sumptuous meal. He believed that discussion held the power to calm every fiber of the human soul, and was therefore the ointment of contentment and good health.

But pursuing false wisdom produced a contentious nature which caused one to fear that not enough was being accomplished, and generated the eager itch to follow the unknown. This often left a confused traveler discombobulated, and therefore, ailing.

Even though Santere, Chenaul and Beloit were well-traveled, excellent reasoners, they were never able to out-debate the adept Dorkius.

So when the three came to visit, enthused over the revelation of the star, they insisted that it foretold a great event–a social and spiritual awakening–the announcement of a great ruler who would bring a sense of harmony to the Earth.

Dorkius immediately pointed out to his friends that there was no basis for this in the science of astrology, for such an alignment was unlikely for thousands of years. But Santere objected, noting that perhaps “the heavens felt the need to hasten the pace.”

Dorkius smiled. Chenaul was all to familiar with that particular smirk. It meant that her friend had been amused by some piece of illogical thought and was about to pounce on it with all the aptitude of his intellect.

“The heavens in disarray?” asked Dorkius, as if posing the question to the entire Universe. “My dear Santere, why would the heavens be in disarray? Why would they need to hasten anything, when they, and they alone, hold the vision to all answers? You must remember, my dear friend, that in the pursuit of great knowledge, many imitators, bringing stupidity, will scamper to our side.”

Beloit, who had a wee voice, spoke with great conviction. “But consider this, dear Dorkius. What if it is miraculous? What if it’s the only star of its kind to ever appear in the heavens? What if it is the beckoning light for the King of all Kings and the Master of all Magistrates? What if it is the greatest light we shall ever see?”

Dorkius countered with a fury of anger. He was always annoyed with Beloit’s overly simplistic approach. “And what if it isn’t?” he challenged. “If there were ten chances before you and nine of them were death and one was eternal life, would you take the risk? Is the prospect for a greater and longer existence worth the nine possibilities of losing the one you have?”

Chenaul touched Dorkius’ arm tenderly and said, “It is if it’s the brightest chance you’ve ever seen.”

Dorkius shook his head. He prepared himself for another onslaught of verbal battling and an additional flask of wine.

Instead, Santere stood to his feet and offered, “We have not come tonight, my dear friend, to argue philosophy or to wrangle over the intellect of odds. We have come to invite you to join us on a journey with a great entourage–to find the source of the Star. To find the resting place. And hopefully, to find the King it proclaims.”

Dorkius laughed, at first with great levity, which gradually curdled into a cruel tone. “Are you asking me,” he scoffed, “to drop all I have, all I own, and all I do, to follow a star?”

“No,” said Chenaul, also standing to her feet, “we’re inviting you. Since we feel the star invited us, it seemed unrighteous to leave behind our sweet friend.”

Beloit also stood, and spoke boldly. “I know you don’t like me, Dorkius. We don’t need to discuss that. But I love you enough to want you there when we find the source of the reflection that radiates the heavens.”

Dorkius sighed. “I would continue to reason with the three of you but I think it’s time for Nature and the gods to teach you a lesson. We are mere mortals. We live and die, and all that remains are the values we have taught others, the deeds we have done and the shadow of a legacy that is always fading. I don’t want my last memory to be a foolhardy odyssey to chase a beam of light. Please, reconsider your plan. I know the three of you to be extraordinarily wise. Now, use that wisdom in a practical way. The gods do not call us to chase, but rather, observe, learn and apply. I, for one, will take the beauty of what I see in the sky and report it to those I see around me–encouraging them to enjoy the spectacle. You see, herein lies wisdom–but mingled with appreciation for one’s own circumstances.”

The three wise ones could not argue with their friend. Everything he said had elements of truth, value, some nobility and certainly the safety of sleeping in one’s own bed, in one’s own tent.

But his perspective lacked faith. It lacked vision. It lacked the adventure required by hope–to bring the joy in the human soul.

They all embraced. They shared meditations. And the three mounted their camels and set off on a journey.

That night Dorkius wept for his friends. He mourned for their misguided, meaningless meandering. He went to bed confident that he was safe and sound.

Dorkius was wise, but practical.

And practical is what kept him from seeing the Christ Child.

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