Things I Learned from R. B. (June 7th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Episode 18

They called the place “The Hunchley.”

R. B. heard about it listening to one of the local Christian radio stations.

It was a gathering of about a dozen songwriters who were looking for their big break and got together to play their songs for one another, both to gain encouragement and suggestions on how to make the compositions more tuneful.

In my earlier years I had attended several of these.

I will be candid and say that I found them boring—because as a poet of sorts, I was completely uninterested in any material that was not my own. I tried to fake it, as did those around me, but the only time any of us were happy was when intoning our own personal songs.

So when R. B. brought it up, said he wanted to go, was scared to go by himself and asked me to join him, I turned him down.

The first thing that bothered me about it was that R. B. had been unemployed for two years. He was losing the will to seek the livelihood to give him solvency.

His stock in trade was repairing computers. When these magical machines had first appeared, repairing them was a very good job to have. They were expensive, and most people paid the money to have them fixed instead of replacing them. But as often happens, time marches on, taking prisoners, and soon computers were cheap enough that it was just more efficient to buy a new one than to take it to a shop and have an R. B. do surgery.

His job just didn’t exist anymore, and he was unwilling to pursue any other field. Each time a possibility was offered in his direction, it just didn’t sound as uptown as saying, “I rebuild computers.”

I didn’t want to do anything that might divert his attention from work. And secondly, he wasn’t that pleasant to be around when he was mingling his songwriting with his anger.

So I did not agree to go with R. B. to The Hunchley on the first, second or even the fifth time he asked me.

But one Monday night he arrived at my door, all dressed up, and begged me to come along to The Hunchley.

He didn’t want to go by himself. He was timid. Actually, he was a confusing mixture of timid and overbearing—a turnoff on two fronts.

Yet I had no reason to say no. Of course, there was the excuse of sanity, but after the fourth well-executed “beg,” I agreed.

On the way to The Hunchley, I decided three things:

1) I was not going to talk much

2) I was not going to eat much (something I committed to at other places than The Hunchley)

3) And under no circumstances would I play one of my songs.

My career had already taken me into the publishing world, the musical caravan, television and all sorts of concerts. I was done with that and I was not interested in seeing if I could start it again.

We tried to arrive late, but since it was young songwriters, we were still too early. This allowed much too much time for the six or seven sitting around waiting to get to know R. B.

To describe R. B.’s personality, you would have to consider a broken water pipe. When a water pipe sits there, you never even notice that it’s a water pipe and has water running through it. But if it breaks open, it sprays in every direction.

That was R. B.

Once he realized there was time on everyone’s hands, and most of the people were nervous, he decided to fill all the space with stories about his childhood, his songs and his dreams for his career.

People were polite at first. Then they looked over at me, wondering if I had the special key to turn him off.

At length, they turned their bodies away from him, hoping to discourage the verbal deluge. Fortunately, everyone finally showed up and the evening commenced.

It would have been fine if R. B. had sat there as a gentleman, listening to other people’s efforts, and then gone up to sing his song and listen to their comments.

He was incapable of such a maneuver.

The room was not large, and when other people were singing, R. B. was whispering—very loudly in my direction—all the various ideas he had about improving their work.

When he shared some of his thoughts aloud, the faithful dozen tried to be patient, partially out of their Southern-hospitality training, but also because they weren’t certain if R. B. might actually be somebody—or, oh, my God—a song publisher.

Then it was R. B.’s turn to share a song. It quickly became obvious to the gathered that R. B. was not someone or a publisher.

This seemed to grind some gears in the machinery of The Hunchley.

So after he got done, many critics rose to point out the flaws they heard in his music. They weren’t mean—but they sure weren’t uplifting.

R. B. got more and more infuriated.

After the grilling was done, he came back to his seat and looked at me with fire in his eyes and whispered, “Let’s leave. Now.”

It actually was not a very good time to depart. The musicians had gathered into some sort of mutual devotion and were attempting to gain a spirit of unity.

R. B. didn’t care. He stood to his feet and stomped toward the door.

I thought about remaining, to see if he would return, but I was a bit unnerved about him being outside the building, knowing that he was fully capable, while smoking a cigarette, to suddenly unleash his burst of curse.

I stepped outside and motioned to him. We went to the car and got inside. I was about to start the vehicle when he grabbed my hand and said, “Can you believe those asses?”

I was hoping it was a rhetorical question, but I was wrong.

R. B. wanted me on his side, and he wanted me on his side right then and there.

He began to explain what he wanted me to feel.

He called them hypocrites. No talents. Vindictive. And unbelievers.

I realized it was up to me to pick one of these insults, make it my own and join him in the demolition of The Hunchley.

I paused and thought for a moment.

I wished I were not there.

I wished I’d had better sense than to come.

I wished I didn’t have to wish anything.

I spoke in my quietest voice. “You know, R. B., there are hundreds of these songwriting meetings all over Nashville every week. Is it possible you just found a bad one?”

My, God, Jehovah—he liked that thought.

He asked me where these other groups were and how he could find out about them. I said I wasn’t sure, but he could investigate.

R. B. enthusiastically nodded his head, changed the subject and started talking about how good he thought his performance was.

I felt confident that I would never have to go to another “Hunchley” event with R. B.

Why?

Because R. B. never investigated anything.

The B. S. M. G. Report


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Fudge the Judge held a grudge

And to this day, does not budge

BAD

Foregone conclusion.

Are our decisions the testimony of experience or the fears that terrify us, keeping us from trying anything new?

All I know is that it’s very bad.

There is a foregone conclusion which screams, “We are so divided.”

It is the explanation given for everything, from our preference on football teams to why some boy goes into a high school to shoot and kill his friends.

It justified a war between the states which was anything but civil and took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

I guess the premise is, if we can convince ourselves “we’re so divided,” we can run to our camps and start hurling rocks in all directions. Why not introduce a new thought?

“We are confused.”

Yes, because of the divisions which have cropped up, we’ve lost all sense of balance.

So when we try to stand up, we fall over.

When we look at our world, the scene is too blurry to determine an intelligent path.

We are confused by those who have forced upon us the foregone conclusion that we are divided and there’s nothing we can do about it.

SAD

“It can’t get better.”

Another foregone conclusion—an assertion that things have reached the point of no return.

It is the position held by both liberals and conservatives. Conservatives are convinced that the souls of all the aborted babies will rise up and scream our damnation, while liberals contend that the Earth itself will swallow and drown us.

Of course, there is a thought out there:

“It won’t get better until we change it.”

The good news is, we don’t have to do major revision to see lasting results.

MAD

“We are all just so different.”

This is such a popular foregone conclusion that it almost sounds like an afterthought spoken in a roomful of strangers.

In the pursuit of making everybody feel special, we insisted on personal uniqueness for each human being, therefore removing any brother and sisterhood.

It makes one curious if we could return to the chemical, scientific, spiritual and psychological reality that we are all human beings, sharing in common.

GLAD

“At least we have our families.”

We’ve begun to believe that as long as a man, woman or child speaks the glory of his or her domesticated unit, that these individuals are blessed with wisdom.

Of course, the truth is, with all the divorces, deaths and disillusionments, most people don’t actually end up with their original family with its common chromosomes.

So we have to keep changing the definition of family to suit our need. I wonder if it would ever occur to us to return to a more generous position: “We are all family.”

In some way, shape or form, because we have been conceived from the same species, we are cousins. Could be twelfth removed, but we are related.

I, for one, feel very bad about the fact that we’re under the curse of foregone conclusions.

But I think I’m about ready to take a chance on some new ideas.

 

 

 

The Z Word … July 30th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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THE

Image result for gif of letter z

WORD


And finally, the Z word that should never be spoken or written again is:

Zealot

A zealot is a person who, though still human, becomes obsessed with a divine calling to be supremely right and to manifest the conviction through:

Fanaticism and an uncompromising attitude

I have found it

It is good

I am right

It is perfect

You must leave it alone

I will fight you over it

This is what makes a zealot. It is very easy to become a one. It occurs between step 2, “It is good,” and step 3, “I am right.”

For since we wear skin and are prone to error, we should never translate the goodness we experience as being a definitive sign that we’re right.

Everything that happens after that proclamation of rightness is deeper and deeper wells of arrogance drudging up more and more of the filth of selfishness and eventually violence.

I have found it.

Great. This is good. This is a bold statement that is still acceptable. But at no time during your season on Earth are you ever going to be able to say, “I am right.” As soon as you do, you trigger the need to cheat, lie, abuse and curse your way into proving that your profile is accurate.

Zealots are never good.

Zealots never achieve anything except proving that pride goes before every fall.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 27th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dawning of This Day

by Jonathan Richard Cring

My skin prickles when you speak

I am much more than a biological freak

I occupy Earth as a human being

More than what you insist on seeing

Barely beginning to reach my peak

 

I am blamed for Eden, a symbol of weakness

A delicate flower, the mother of meekness

Yet my body rallies to birth a new student

Teaching love, strength and all that is prudent

Taking time for the problems I address

 

I am not angry at men

I consider them my friends

I might curse the sky

To contradict the lie

Embracing “BE”–not what has been

 

Just listen to me, mister

I am your powerful sister

Ready to stop our struggle with two

Prepared to fight the battle with you

For I am the conscientious resister

 

It’s time to clear the way

To think before we say

Finding the power we generate together

Unite our might, birds of a feather

We shall meet at the dawning of this day.

This week’s guest reader is Anisa, who lives in Brentwood, Tennessee, with her husband, Matt

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Salient…May 28th, 2018

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There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Taking into consideration the attitudes and climate in our nation, there are certainly times you might feel like you’re stuck in an elevator with a life insurance salesman, a Mormon missionary and a flasher. It is very difficult to escape without being offended by one of them.

Yet before you fall into a pit of despair or decide to give in to trending thoughts, you might want to consider that there are certainly ongoing principles that need to be honored. Even though it may seem that people break these cardinal rules and get by with it, ultimately, there’s always a reckoning.

There are three words that make the world go ’round: “I was wrong.”

Without “I was wrong” nothing can ever be right.

If you can’t say “I was wrong,” you inevitably resort to lying.

Also, if you’re unable to say “I was wrong,” it leads to an immediate situation: “I am wrong.”

In other words, I continue to be wrong as long as I don’t admit I was wrong.

For most certainly, nothing we ignore ever changes.

Nothing is transformed merely by the passage of time.

Everything must be evaluated, confessed and revised. Otherwise, we cannot separate ourselves from wrong.

I personally don’t mind visiting “wrong” as long as I don’t have to live there. And the only way to keep from dwelling in the condition of being wrong is to admit that you stumble.

Because if you are unwilling to say “I was wrong,” you enter the realm of “I am wrong.” Then the ultimate curse that befalls you is “I will be wrong.”

So no matter what your position is in life, if you’re slow to say “I was wrong,” by the law of nature, you will continue to be MORE wrong as time passes.

You can object. You can try to disguise your iniquity, but your foolishness will be exposed.

So here is your salient moment: “I was wrong” is the only way to ever become right.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 7th, 2018

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Toward the Second Mile

Winter cling

Depress the spring

Delay the flower

To a later hour

Selfish soul

Takes its toll

A message to send

Curse a friend

Frightened child

Meek and mild

Hides away

Avoids the day

Untrue lover

Seeks another

Breaks the rule

Leaves a fool

Nasty mother

Hurts my brother

Hates her Mister

Taints my sister

Greedy politick

A nation sick

Feelings raw

Broke the law

It’d be a sin

If we gave in

To unruly mob

A common slob

So can I see

It’s up to me

To walk a while

Toward the second mile

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Easy Peasy

Easy peasy

Cakes and pies

Japanesey

Tell no lies

Raise the sun

Say a prayer

Night is done

Prove you care

Then one morn

I awoke

Dreams stillborn

Plans a joke

Doctoring fear

And nursing pain

Nothing’s clear

Shrill, insane

Where’s the promise

Of the Most High

Do I mingle praise

With the tears I cry

I like it quaint

Like any good saint

Follow the verse

Remove the curse

But now I feel all alone

A nasty storm has me blown

Where’s the favor

I once received

From my savior

In whom I believe

Easy peasy

Has flown away

Leaving me queasy

To stomach the day

 

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