Sit Down Comedy … November 8th, 2019

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Sit Down Comedy

 I felt the need for some caution.

When the Mogelthorpe family invited us over for a discussion, I was bewildered. First, I did not know the Mogelthorpes—only that their teenage daughter was dating our teenage son. Additionally, I didn’t think I had ever participated in an event dubbed “a discussion” that remained discussing and didn’t deteriorate into some sort of verbal standoff.

But I went.

As it turned out, the Mogelthorpes were very concerned that their daughter was getting too serious about our son, and that their high school dating experience was progressing at a frightening pace.

I listened. But I must admit, I find folks who attempt to curtail sexual activity somewhat comical. They, themselves, historically did not “cur their tail,” and most of the time when we try to keep young humans from doing things, they just do it sooner and faster.

I tried to talk like a responsible, aging, overly anxious parent and take the whole thing seriously.

At length I failed.

After an hour-and-a-half of back-and-forth conversation, which was deteriorating into each set of parents beginning to blame the other set for raising either a “tart” or a “rascal,” I finally concluded, “Folks, this is really simple. Your daughter has a radioactive vagina and my son is toting a Geiger counter.”

They did not find this humorous or even enlightening.

We left on semi-cordial terms—but with no prospects of future interaction or fellowship. It was especially ridiculous when within two weeks the two lovers lost interest in each other.

At this point, you might think the parents would relax and laugh at the failed conference. But no, the whole time I lived in the community, they never spoke to me again. And I imitated them.

Now, I felt the same way yesterday afternoon as I watched the news.

Made-up people are putting together made-up discussions over made-up problems in a world that has been made up by all of us.

The result will not be good. For it has become much more important to score points than to make one.

We are determined to wrestle our opponents to the ground and stand over them, spitting bullets.

We need to understand one fact:

Where there’s an absence, there will be a presence.

And where there is a presence, to make room for such an introduction, something will have to be absent.

Although the Democrats are certain that all the problems in our country are caused by the Republicans, and the Republicans feel they’re on a holy mission to prevent the Democrats from gaining control of the steering wheel to our government, the tactics that have been conjured are now the only things we all share in common.

Republicans aren’t nastier than Democrats. The Donkey Party has pulled even.

The Democrats are not free from scandal. They are completely equivalent to their Republican nemesis.

We believe the best way to settle a Presidential campaign is to insult until we get the desired result.

So the absence of one thing becomes the presence of another. And if you’re not careful, you may not even notice that something beautiful is gone. It is quickly filled in with something ugly. Then people tell you that this ugliness has always been there.

For instance:

The absence of civility is the presence of aggression.

Civility began feeling too “goody-goody” for us, so we attempted to change it to “toleration.” In other words, “I agree to disagree with you.”

Little did we know that in order to maintain this neutrality, we would have to be aggressive to keep our opponent at bay.

Likewise, the absence of truth is the presence of lying.

We didn’t believe that. We thought some matters could be “private,” and an explanation would not be necessary. But with a 24-hour news cycle, the facts always come out—and then, lying must be used to cover up the secret.

The absence of understanding is the presence of confusion.

Parts of our country have attempted to isolate themselves from other parts, pleading ignorance of social, cultural and even spiritual differences. But ignorance is a hard idea to present as a virtue.

And the absence of understanding has become the presence of confusion.

In other words, “How can those people be so stupid?”

Countered with, “How can those people be so arrogant?”

It may be difficult to understand, but:

The absence of good becomes the presence of evil.

We would like to characterize this as free will—but when humans are given liberty, they normally use it for an occasion to gratify their flesh. It’s just in our DNA.

So as Abraham Lincoln suggested, if we are not in pursuit of our better angels, our worst demons start planning the picnic.

I do believe we have good intentions.

But once you want to dominate, you don’t take the time to ruminate.

Yes—to sit and ponder how often we’re wrong, and to allow that to soak in so we don’t have to act like we are always right.

For I can tell you:

The absence of love is the presence of hate.

For the past twenty years, we have tried to achieve a relaxed indifference toward one another.

We have more interest in our personal family than the family of man.

And we have changed our lives to an electoral-college map, which tells us how to act.

Love is more than affection and it is more than commitment.

Love is the certainty that we are wrong often enough that we need to talk a helluva lot less.

Without this admission, hate shows up early, and leaves late.

 

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Sit Down Comedy … July 26th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Father Abraham had two sons.

Two sons had Father Abraham.

One was born of slave. His name was Confederate.

The other—Union—was birthed in free will.

Confederate worked very hard planting the land, establishing a close-knit home where family was honored above all and faith was treasured. In the household of Confederate, change was feared, opening the door to superstition, aggravation and an unrighteous pride about race.

Union, on the other hand, sat on the cusp of a great industrial revolution, where a man’s work was in a line of assembly, his home perched in the midst of hundreds of other families. Union believed his faith was better expressed by his deeds, and that change was the only way to frighten superstition and dispel racial baiting.

Father Abraham understood both of his sons.

After all, he, himself, was conceived and reared in blue grass but nurtured in a spring field.

But try as he would, Father Abraham was unable to bring the boys to cooperation. They argued, they struggled, and eventually they chose to fight. Just short of the last drop of blood flowing from their veins, peace was sought.

It was a tenuous agreement, and even while the ink was drying on the pages of the treaty, a friend of Confederate killed Father Abraham.

It enraged Union.

It made Confederate defensive, feeling compelled to explain the sinister deed.

Even to this day, the two brothers are segregated, isolated in their politics and their traditions—one believing that life is more a “state of mind,” and the other rallying behind “we, the people.”

Father Abraham had two sons.

Two sons had Father Abraham.

I am one of them

And so are you

So let’s just praise the Lord.

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The Y Word … July 23rd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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THE

Related image

WORD


Eighteen, nineteen

Certainly twenty

Full of vigor

Vim aplenty

I remember

I retrace

I recall

My youthful face.

The Y word that should never be spoken or written again is:

YOUTHFUL

How is it possible that a word that can be followed by either “energy” or “indiscretion” is so revered in our society that we fearfully abhor the sight of an aging countenance in favor of one bright and ready, but still filled with foolishness?

And it truly is ironic that arguably the two greatest Presidents we’ve ever had, Lincoln and FDR, certainly did not exude youthfulness, beauty or even a measure of health.

I am not suggesting that the older you are, the smarter you are—nor am I connoting that possessing a youthful spring in your step for as long as possible is not desirable. But when the window for musicians and entertainers begins at thirteen and ends just short of thirty, and the younger the executive the more convinced we are that he or she will be full of innovative ideas, and with the startling realization that investing in anti-aging cream is always a sure shot, it is time for us to realize that we are both addicted to youth and also enslaved by immaturity.

I do not want to hear if someone is youthful.

I do not care if the President of the United States can take the stairs into Air Force One two at a time.

What I want to be sure of is that the birthday candles have nothing whatsoever to do with the fire in the soul, the energy in the brain and the willingness of the heart.

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Drawing Attention … September 5th, 2018

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art by smarrttie panntts

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Jesonian … August 4th, 2018

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“No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.”

The word “master” is such a nasty, archaic term. But basically, the message is that there is something that compels us. We fancy ourselves to be the compellers, but we actually spend most of our lives compelled. And when you take the word “compel” and look at the synonyms–constrain, enforce, urge, bulldoze, coerce and squeeze–you come up with a vision in your mind which gives you a sense of claustrophobia concerning being manipulated.

Perhaps that’s why people have trouble coming to terms with human life. They continue to pursue the fallacy that they call all their own shots and that everything is perfect if it is at their beckon command.

Unfortunately, Jesus was correct. From the time of our birth to the time of our death, we are obsessed with some compulsion. It is that compulsion that dictates our moods, our actions, our frustrations, our bigotry and to a large degree, our finance.

The reason I bring up finance is that the rest of the verse is a cold, hard statement from the Nazarene, telling us, “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Like master, Mammon is one of those words which is barely comprehensible to most of the population. Mammon is just a total obsession with things. Once we are obsessed with things, we are compelled to get them. Whatever stands in our way becomes the enemy.

I sat down before I wrote this essay and asked myself, “What is it that compels me?”

Much to the chagrin of my lineage, who may be waiting for an inheritance, profit and gain has never intrigued me in the least. I’ve had lots of money and I’ve had no money, and have found the two experiences to have little impact on my soul satisfaction.

So I would like to simplify this phrase down to one that may be easier to understand: You will be compelled, and the choice you are given is whether you are going to serve good, or goods.

Pause.

Your immediate instinct may be to say, “I’m not materialistic. I don’t want more than I need.” But there are three questions you can ask that will tell you if you’re being mastered by the good, or by goods:

1. Do you worry about money?

Since you know worrying about money doesn’t achieve anything, what is the purpose of worrying about it unless you’re compelled to do so?

2. Do you feel you would be happier and better off if you had more money?

Candidly, even though we don’t think money can buy happiness, we’re pretty sure it can rent it.

3. Do you have a wish list of things you hope to attain financially before the end of your life?

A large portion of the world will go to bed hungry tonight. In such an environment, having dinner makes you a rich person.

When you look at these three questions, you can ascertain whether you are being mastered by good or by goods.

What was the master of Abraham Lincoln? Saving the Union. To do so he realized he had to abolish with slavery. A double blessing.

What was the master of Napoleon? Conquering the world and proving that the French were superior. In attempting to do this, he ended up dying alone on an island.

What is the master of former President Jimmy Carter? This man just seems to enjoy helping other folks. He is well into his nineties and still keeps picking up a hammer.

You will be compelled, constrained, urged and coerced to do something from some thing which has gained the full attention of your passion.

Just keep in mind, it is impossible to serve the pursuit of good and the quest for goods.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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G-Poppers … June 8th, 2018

G-Pop wants his children to know that if you’re going to follow what is right and do what is consistent with sanity, you will sometimes find yourself looking not cool, and even being considered not very smart.

It is the whole instability of a fad.

A fad is a decision to depart from the norm, if for no other reason than to escape what is perceived to be a restrictive situation.

Because fads have no future, they don’t really consider all of the ramifications of their practices. You can follow such trends, but when they fall apart–and they do–you will be counted among those who got duped.

There’s no need to be picky in life and try to be a stick in the mud, but certainly there are truths that cannot be altered, and should not be set aside simply because we want to experiment with a novel approach.

Here’s a simple way to view it:

1. Is it something that needs to be done?

2. Is it something that Abraham Lincoln had to do?

3. Is it something you want to teach your children to do?

Then do it.

It might sound a little silly–and I used Abraham Lincoln because he stood against some very strong, convincing fads, but stayed on the game plan that “all men are created equal.” It was not so popular to believe that. He was the kind of fellow who didn’t care. (You notice I did not say to use Richard Nixon as an example.) Abraham Lincoln did unpopular things because they were lasting and true.

So there’s your three-part process. If you really know what needs to be done, and you know Abraham Lincoln did it, and you know that as a parent you would teach your children the right way, then do it.

Don’t get tempted to follow a fad that fades.

For…they always do.

 

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Salient … May 7th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I’ve never been involved in politics. (I did have a passing interest in the candidate, Abraham Lincoln, but it turns out I was WAY too young to vote.)

I now stand back quietly and watch as the Republicans jab the Democrats, and they, the Democrats, wrestle with their more conservative opponents.

Honestly, it bores me.

Since I don’t believe political solutions bring about lasting change, it’s rather doubtful that I’d want to invest my limited lifespan into band aids for gaping wounds.

Yet today I must be honest and share a salient concept that has absolutely nothing to do with politics–although it may refer to those who are politically involved.

There seems to be some sort of bumbling campaign to make the American public accept more and more bizarre circumstances, and deem them “normal.”

For instance, a man who allegedly has a romantic tryst with a porn star actress during the time when his wife is preparing to give birth to their son, and once again, allegedly arranges for a financial payoff to this woman, using his lawyer to be the “bag man,” granting her finance so she will remain quiet about the circumstances.

These are the facts as evenly distributed as I can present them.

Now, here’s what I did today: I took that story and I considered what I would feel and think if it were alleged about five members of my community: my plumber, my banker, my minister, my son’s teacher and the local handyman.

What would I think if there were rumblings that my plumber had sexual intercourse with a porn actress and paid her off to secure her silence? Well, I suppose I would still keep him as my plumber as long as he didn’t come in the house and talk about the details or flaunt it in front of the community.

But if it were my banker, I would have to consider that anyone involved in a financial institution who would put together gag money might be a little suspect in other monetary matters. I might have to change banks.

My minister? Well, candidly, I do think there’s a difference between judging someone and condoning unsuitable behavior. No, I don’t have a problem with a minister saving the lost, but I am a little squeamish on him screwing the lost.

How about my son’s teacher? That’s a toughy. Can a person be a good teacher and still be accused of immorality and cover-up? Is it just an issue of whether the teacher shares with his class? Or is it tainted too much by the fact that the students become cognizant of the discrepancy?

And then there’s the handyman. That’s the guy who comes to your house to do the chores that you might be able to do yourself, but not without swearing at the heavens. Does he have to maintain a certain moral code and integrity for me to allow him to trim the hedges?

As you can see, it differs with the distinctions among jobs. Where trust, honesty and fiscal responsibility come into play, considering the allegations becomes more pertinent.

So of the five people I mentioned, in order for me to maintain peace of mind, I would probably have to find a new banker, a fresh minister and request that my son have a different teacher.

It’s not because I am judgmental or inflexible–it’s just that certain occupations require quality or they diminish in value.

What, if instead of plumber or banker, I insert President of the United States?

So here is your salient moment:

Don’t accept what is unacceptable simply because everybody around you decides to accept it, so what they do will be considered more acceptable.

 

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