Not Long Tales … October 29th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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12.

Cam-Pain

The season had arrived for the thirty-first official mayoral race in the little village of Garrettsburg, Oregon, population 4,322 individualists.

Three candidates stepped forward to offer themselves for consideration. As was the custom in the community, these contestants were not identified as Republican or Democrat. They were perused for their ideas, their popularity and whether they maintained a personable profile in all their dealings.

The first was the present mayor, Derrick Collins. He was one of those gentlemen caught somewhere between the barnyard and rock and roll. His favorite wheels—a motorcycle. His favorite beverage was a beer. Home-brewed if possible.

One of the challengers was Maxwell Jones, a slender man who taught history and civics at the high school. He favored classical music, though if you pressed him, would admit some fondness for the Moody Blues. He wore wingtips, polyester pants which desperately tried to reach to his shoe tops, and oversized sweater vests in an attempt to appear hunkier.

The third comer in the race was barely worth mentioning, since she was a woman and there had never been a female mayor in Garrettsburg history. It wasn’t that the community was gender-biased—just that so far, no woman had fancied the position. Her name was Rachel Luxor, and she was of some foreign extraction—and even by Oregonian standards, a bit frumpy.

Each one of these race runners had a different approach.

Maxwell immediately went after the issues. There were four he had in mind: expanding the park, sanitation pickup twice a week, cleaner water and better fireworks on July 4th. At the last minute, he added another one to his list of four, which unfortunately for his symmetrical mind, made it five. But it was important: filling in the potholes.

His strategy was to stay on point with these points to make his point. Matter of fact, that became his slogan: “Maxwell Jones will stay on point with these points to make his point.”

On the other hand, Derrick Collins was not quite so energetic. Already occupying the job, knowing the job and the city having printed business cards with his name on them, he felt very secure in his domain. What Derrick decided to do was, anything that Maxwell brought up to achieve—well, Derrick just took it to the next City Council meeting and proposed it himself. He figured it was perfect. If the proposal passed, it would then be to his credit, and if the Council thumbed their noses at the idea, then it really wasn’t his fault. So no matter how much Maxwell railed on an issue, Derrick just took the issue, put it to a Council vote and removed any potential for Maxwell following through on a campaign promise. So it seemed that Derrick Collins would once again be voted into the Mayor Chair.

Now, the two men and one woman had made a pledge to one another. A vigorous campaign would be waged, but there would be no dirty tricks. No insults. No personal attacks. And no punches below the beltline.

Well, since Derrick cheated—at least that’s the way Maxwell saw it—the promise was negated. A poster was printed with a picture of Derrick Collins drinking a beer at the monster truck extravaganza the previous fall. Underneath it was printed, boldly, “Here’s your man—if you want a redneck.”

The folks of Garrettsburg were not what you would call sophisticated, but they certainly did not want to be considered rednecks. Once this circular circulated through the community, Derrick decided the gloves had come off. He printed his own poster, showing Maxwell reading a book. Beneath the picture was the caption, “Your socialist at work.”

Once again, none of the citizenry were raging political animals, but they were pretty sure they did not want to be socialists.

The buckets were gathered, the lines were drawn, and the mudslinging began.

Maxwell said that Derrick once called an African American a Negro.

Derrick found a book report written by Maxwell back in high school, where he referred to Darwin’s volume, The Origin of the Species, as an “evolving read.”

According to Maxwell, Derrick was sympathetic to terrorists.

According to Derrick, Maxwell just might be one.

They scoured for dirt—back and forth. At first the community watched, pretending to be horrified, while lapping up every word.

On and on it went. It got nasty.

The two men refused to be in the same room with each other, which made things difficult since they ate lunch every day at the only diner in town. Therefore, it was agreed that Derrick Collins would arrive at 11:30 and eat until 12:15, when Maxwell would come from the school and eat from 12:16 to 1:00 P.M. Of course, that one minute in between did create some problems as the two jousters occasionally bumped into each other, like two bulldogs, growling and snorting.

Yet what was particularly aggravating for both camps was the fact that polling was not determining if the attack ads were successful—mainly because the populace was holding out its opinion, wondering what the next accusation might reveal.

There was no longer any discussion about filling potholes, and the quest for cleaner water dribbled away. It was a war of words and the two men were trying to put poison into each syllable.

Election Day rolled around. A gray cloud hung over the town—and not just emotionally. Since it was Oregon, and there were often gray clouds, the rain came pouring into the village like the wrath of heaven. It curtailed voter turnout.

Matter of fact, by midday, so few people had voted that the candidates decided to drive around town banging on doors, begging people to wade to the polls and cast their choice.

The weather also interfered with the counting of the ballots, so it was the next day, around one o’clock, before the tally was totaled. It was then posted on the window of the Garrettsburg newspaper, for all to read:

Derrick Collins got 32% of the vote.

Maxwell Jones also got 32% of the vote.

A tie.

But Rachel Luxor, from her backseat position, ended up winning with 34% of the vote (two percent of the electorate voted for a combination of Beyoncé, Tom Hanks, the Rock, Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback.)

There was a collective gasp that went through the community—well, maybe not the whole community, but certainly City Hall and the high school, where Derrick and Maxwell joined in a mutual head scratching, trying to figure out the source of their defeat.

It was perplexing.

After all, Rachel Luxor—now, Mayor Rachel—had campaigned on only one issue, with one slogan.

The issue was better school lunches. And the slogan?

“Carrots for Garretts(burg).”

 

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1 Thing You Can Avoid to Escape Becoming an Asshole

 

Stop insisting that you’re a “little grouchy” but don’t know why.

It is a sadistic ploy by those who feel they aren’t getting enough attention and wish to bring the entire focus on themselves. For you see,:

Some of the virtues of human beings can also become vices.

This comes to play with this situation.

When we find out something is broken or faltering or in this case, grouchy, we’re compelled to try to fix it.

So rather than beginning the trip or starting the new project or focusing on an important family matter, the “little grouchy guy or girl” has everyone in a furor, trying to figure out what to do to cheer him or her up.

  1. “Did you get enough sleep, or is it coffee? Did you have enough time to get yourself ready?”

People begin to fret over this seemingly hapless soul who merely hungers to control all attention.

  1. “Are you worried about your family? Are you worried about your job? Are you worried about your health? Are you worried about your bridge club? ”

Like young parents huddling around the two-year-old trying to figure out why he’s crying, they gather—with unnatural concern.

  1. “Are there any other symptoms? Is there a runny nose involved? Do you have iron-poor, tired blood?”

And of course, the inevitable:

  1. “Are you mad at me? Did I offend you? Did I miss one of your signals that are so quietly given that it’s difficult to know what you’re attempting to communicate?”

This sets the whole room a-buzzing with overwrought mercy, making this one person more important simply because they’ve expressed a weakness.

Yes—now I remember. That was Darwin’s concept:

The Survival of the Whiniest

Let me give you a clue.

Life is like a football game.

So pad your shoulders, put “peace” in your mouth and get your head in gear.

Don’t expect the other players or the coach to nurse you to victory.

Life is this way:

Tackle it or get smeared.

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Jonathots … November 27th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jonathan's Handbook of Hands

Darwin didn’t know anything about hammers, nails or carpentry. He was a banker who could build a portfolio but not a cupboard.

Yet there was a simple repair which required a couple of nails in a cabinet in his garage, so he decided to take the hammer from the drawer and do the work himself. He lined up the nail, failed to pay adequate attention, and ended up slamming his hand with the hammer.

It was shocking and it hurt.

The first thing he did was drop the hammer, take his right hand, reach over, and caress his wounded hand.

It was natural.

We all do it.

We have a toothache–we put our hand up to cradle our jaw.

A sore knee means that one of our hands will reach down and touch the hurtful area and massage it.

Built within the mechanism of our humanity is a notion that we have a “healing touch.” We instinctively want to touch the area of our body that is aching, bleeding or sore.

Yet for some reason, over the years we’ve denied this innate gesture–thinking it was either too religious or too intrusive.

There is one thing for sure–pain brings physical discomfort, but it also invites great emotional distress. Simply having one, two or many friends gather around us and lay their hands on us to express their empathy and tenderness always immediately heals the “emotional distress portion” of the problem.

People say they don’t believe in miraculous healing. Fine. But even if there were no God, there is still healing in every person’s hands, to reach into the soul and heart of another traveler, and for a few minutes–or maybe forever–alleviate the anxiety and terror that accompanies a diagnosis.

If I had a friend who was living thousands of miles away and I found out he was ill, I would call all my family and acquaintances together, purchase an oversized t-shirt and have everybody wear it for twenty seconds, then pack it up and send it to my friend, with the explanation that it was filled with the touch of all his supporters. He should wear it with confidence.

When a woman believed that a carpenter from Nazareth could heal her by touching the garments which were clinging to his body–well, she was miraculously cured because of her faith.

I’m not trying to pretend that any of us are Jesus, but I’m also not trying to live my life like I’m a clumsy monkey’s uncle.

Touch has mercy.

Touch has healing.

It is a way we can intervene in the lives of those around us who are suffering. For we will never know how much virtue we have within us that can be passed along through our compassionate fingertips.

If there’s a need for healing, touch someone.

The worst thing that can happen is closeness.

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Jesonian: COPs (Part 1)… May 31st, 2015

   Jonathots Daily Blog

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Karate Kid

Stuck in a room with the fading scent of Wizard air freshener, competing with the growing aroma of many fellow-humans who found themselves waiting, becoming bored with their circumstances, somebody brought up the subject of death, which quickly led to a discussion on heaven and hell.

Even though we were all mortals and no one had a supernal insight, the conversation eventually fell into two definitive categories.

There were those who only believed in heaven.

These folks had a vision of all of us being some sort of “danielsons,” who had been “waxing on and waxing off” for many years, who suddenly discover that the expensive antique car we had been brutalizing with our amateur efforts becomes ours as the “Great Miyagi in the Sky” tosses the keys in our direction.

There is no explanation for the generosity or evidence of deservedness, but all the parties holding this view universally agreed that we all get a Jaguar as a certificate of participation.

Then there was the other family of Darwins who put forth the theory that heaven would be “streets of gold” whether or not we prefer rubies or emeralds. And there will certainly be a Lake of Fire since the Good Book mentions the bad thing.

None of them were clear what this fiery body would be like or where this 10,001st lake would be located in Minnesota, but they were vehemently positive that a lot of folks were going to burn.

I became frightened–not over the responsibility of holding the title to a $250,000 car, or of burning off my fat calories in a whole new spark, but rather, because they began to glance my way to see if I would contribute my insights.

I tried to prevent thoughts from popping into my mind lest a giant “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” would begin to chase me across the Milky Way.

You see, it’s not that I’m devoid of imagination.

It’s not that I’m in disbelief of eternal life.

It’s just that it amazes me that we feel that the God of the Universe would be limited to ideas coming from John the Revelator, Himbo the Hindu, Alan the Atheist and Walt the Disney.

Did it ever occur to anyone that all the possibilities we discuss might have some vein of validity, plus a couple of billion more that a creative genius might come up with?

But one thing is fairly certain: there will be no COPs.

No Certificates of Participation.

We will not merely stand in line to receive an inexpensive diploma printed by the Angel Gabriel at the last moment from Kinko’s, and march in together with our vanilla lives to live vacuous existences in a creamy-dreamy afterlife.

I remained silent during the discussion, which caused half the room to think I agreed with them, and the other half to assume I was a heathen.

Only one phrase came to my mind during this vigorous, sweaty exercise in futility–the words of Jesus, the founder of the Jesonian way of thinking.

“I go to prepare a place for you.”

Since as far as I know, Jesus is the only one who owns full citizenship to both Earth and Heaven, I choose to place great credence in his gravitas.

  • Where is he going?
  • What is he preparing?
  • And what in the heavens–literally–does he mean by “a place for me?”

More coming in Part 2. 

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Five Rules of Fools… October 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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1. Be yourself.fool

Please don’t. Just imagine what would happen if eight billion ants went off in different directions to express themselves instead of contributing to the common  hill. In no time at all, ants would be extinct. The real truth is, find your talent, multiply it in a direction that assists the needs of humanity and you will always have work, friends, prosperity and opportunity.

2. We are exceptional.

Spitting defiantly into the wind is one of the best ways to end up with your efforts thrown back into your face. Some of the first words ever spoken by God in the Good Book to a human being were offered to a future murderer named Cain. God’s counsel was simple: “If you do well, won’t you be accepted?”

Claiming that we are exceptional does not make us excellent. It astounds me that those who insist they are spiritual do not believe in evolution, and those who adhere to evolution often negate the spiritual. Evolution and spirituality are the same. The “survival of the fittest,” presented by Darwin, is an identical concept to “what you sow is what you reap.”

So you can continue to insist that “God loves you no matter what,” or you can take the scientific approach and believe that everything in the universe is biochemical, or you can blend the two and realize that we are not exceptional until we do exceptional things.

3. Stand up for yourself.

You can do that, but be prepared to be knocked down. If we live in a world where everybody stands up for themselves, the entire planet will square off twenty-four hours a day, with the potential for “wars and rumors of wars” causing our hearts to fail for fear. Somebody has to stand down, to buy precious time for insight to arrive with a fresh shipment.

4. Pornography is art.

We used to believe that pornography was the exploitation of women, and often men. But somewhere along the line, about twenty years ago, when the young actors on the TV Show, Friends, began joking around about “porn,” it became an acceptable practice and is now viewed by some as an art form. Pornography is not art. It takes women and puts them in the most demeaning positions of false submission so as to get off a bunch of misfits who are incapable of maintaining real relationships which require faithfulness and sexual commitment.

5. Men and women are adversaries.

There’s an old saying, which is still true: “You shouldn’t crap where you eat.”  If your primary relationship with another person is a source of giggling love, romantic pleasure, financial security and family warmth, it might be a good idea to avoid stirring the pot by making that other person feel less than you. It is rather doubtful that we can continue as a race if fifty percent of us are fighting the other fifty percent in a condescending way.

I do not know if there are unique emotional differences between men and women. Much of it is certainly cultural. But I do know that if we spotlight those differences, we will eventually find the process of mating and settling into a lifestyle together extraordinarily unpleasant, nasty and maybe eventually even avoidable.

There you go–five rules of fools, which cause everything from divorce to government shut-down.

You can pursue them, but be prepared to end up in the camp of those who demand attention instead of those who command it.

 

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Finding a Message in a World a’Twitter: Act II – The Conflict… December 12, 2012

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Jon Signing

Do you want to have an intriguing dinner party? Then invite a bunch of atheists and believers over to your house, and as you serve the first course of soup, pose this question: Did God create man because He was lonely, or did man create God because he was?

Be prepared for some lively discussion. Matter of fact, some of your guests may stomp out, abandoning their main course and certainly their dessert. This confluence of confusion is all based around the foolishness of pursuing or rejecting a belief in a divine being instead of finding the footprints of that intelligence in His own creation and then tracing those clues back to His character.

If life is really just a big crap shoot of luck or misfortune, then candidly, a belief in a reasonable Creator is far-fetched. But if you take the time to study this planet we call earth–what works–you will emerge with your own personal message. In essence, your clue.

Mine, as I told you yesterday, is: NoOne is better than anyone else. That clue led me to several “con-clue-sions.”

1. The earth demands fruitfulness. Things that do not want to progress end up flailing and eventually die. This is something you can find in the Bible OR Darwin.

2. It is the responsibility of earth inhabitants to replenish and give back. Once again, science, technology, religion and even government require a certain amount of payback for receiving the blessings of earth. Those who don’t want to participate in this are always eventually identified as scoundrels.

3. And the third and final thing that is obvious to me as I have spread my wings with my message is that we live in a world that requires us to include. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with” specking out” your own space as long as you afford that to others–even that lion in the jungle. Earth creatures who decide to be insulated from the world around them, vindictive to different species or members of their own group, end up ostracized or extinct. They are also proclaimed by history to be fools.

So before you get into a big discussion about God or the absence of a supernal presence, make sure you understand the evidence that has been left behind in the present plane of existence we call life.

I selected my message of NoOne is better than anyone else because it honors the need to be fruitful, to replenish the earth and to include others. Am I saying that those three things are always easy? No. But they are made easier because the elements that are placed here for our use are not resistant to the flow of these concepts. We may think that having might and strength is the way to rule the world, but every previous empire that followed that philosophy is no longer in existence.

Here’s a clue: Switzerland thrives. It is never conquered, it doesn’t have financial difficulties–matter of fact, it possesses a big hunk of the world’s banks. It doesn’t take sides. Now, I’m not suggesting that we all become Swiss, but I am telling you there is a natural order to this planet that requires that we honor a message and in so doing, discover the purpose for our being and perhaps, the source of our beginnings.

So here is the conflict: those who discuss God without honoring His ideas, which are clearly laid out through His creation, end up looking backward and ignorant. Those who deny God without discovering His fingerprints all over the earth, end up appearing to be inflexible and dogmatic.blue marble

Find your message. Find it in the earth, and then look for those who have also discovered similar evidence and are on the hunt for whoever or whatever got this big, blue marble rolling.

 

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Sure–October 26, 2011

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Driving through the beautiful countryside of North Carolina last evening on my way to spend time with some wonderful folks, I received a phone call. It was a friend of mine, just calling to catch up with me–so he asked me what I was up to. I told him I was on my way to present a program at a little Methodist church in North Carolina. He snorted a bit. “North Carolina?” he inquired.  “What’s that like?”

I knew what he was getting at. There seems to be a universal pulse in this country that wants to pump out the heart-felt notion that we’re all so “different” and that one region of the country is ignorant while another region of the country is spewing with intelligence. So people in New York think that people in North Carolina don’t wear shoes or have indoor plumbing, while folks in North Carolina are prone to believe that individuals that live in California go to the beach all day and abort their babies, while eating a lot of tofu.

Of course, the media does little to alleviate this train of thought, because keeping people in tension towards one another is a great way to keep them tuning in and buying cars and hamburgers. Let me be flat and honest with you. It really doesn’t work out that way. I’ve traveled all over the country. The accents are different. Sometimes their ways of greeting strangers–like me–vary. But when you get past the outer skin of cultural reaction, inside is the image of God that was ushered in by His breath.

At that point it basically boils down to two different possibilities. You run across people who are sure that everything they believe should remain intact.  And them there are those folks who will listen carefully and if something is reasonable, they will say, “Sure.”

That’s really the difference.  It’s not a liberal or conservative issue. It’s not even a “religious” or “secular” difference. I find that conservatives, liberals, religious or secular people can be equally as open or closed-minded, depending on how willing they are to conceive that there might just be more.

Last night the people didn’t know me so they took a few minutes to get acquainted. I don’t care. Some people have to confirm that you’ve had your shots before they’ll give you a good hug. It’s immaterial.  What matters is whether they are sure of themselves and therefore impenetrable to the introduction of better ideas, OR if they possess a child-like heart and say, “Sure. Sounds good.”

You may want to ask, “Are there any signs to tell you which group you’re dealing with?”

The answer is no–because truthfully, some of the coldest and frowniest people I’ve ever met have turned, within a thirty-minute period, into some of the most generous souls I have ever left behind. And some individuals I have encountered who seemed to have a lot of enthusiasm, personality and what they would deem to be openness, will just as often dig their heels in and insist that their IQ prohibits them from receiving additional information.

But I will tell you this–there seems to be a little chain of events in human thinking which transcends us from being overly sure about our opinions into having a willingness to hear something fresh and become excited enough to say, “Sure.”  It is a three-step process:

1.  Do we really believe that people have free will? If you don’t understand that free will is sacred above anything else in the universe, you will start getting aggravated because people won’t do what you want them to. The minute you are aggravated with your fellow humans, you start putting them in boxes and categorizing them, which is the beginning of all prejudice. So a belief in free will, to me, is equivalent to a belief in God. And by the way, if God has no intention of crossing the free will of human beings, who am I to question if they have the right to pursue their own paths?

2.  Human beings are God’s top dogs. And I put the word “dog” in there for a reason–people who like animals equally, or even better, than humans, usually end up being quite anti-people. Let me tell you right now, humans are not animals. Now, that does not mean I deny an evolution in the environment.  I just don’t believe humans were a part of it. If God started evolution, He was also completely able to stop it after the chimpanzee. For instance, I have had a dog in my life, but he is not equivalent to my son. There are many reasons. I was able to teach my son not to lick his behind in public. (Most of the time.) Not so with my pooch. And if I got hit by a tree during a storm and was bleeding and dying on the ground, my son would call an ambulance.  My dog would lick the blood off my face. It’s what dogs do. To me, that’s the end of the discussion. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for animals–it just means there is no equivalency between the creatures of the jungle and the forest and the creation that possesses the soul of God.  Thinking of human beings as “just part of the ecosystem” is liberal gobbledygook, which eliminates the precious fact that human beings are God’s favorite workmanship.

3.  And finally, if you’re going to be a person who isn’t sure of everything and is willing to say, “sure,” you also must have an understanding that your family is not JUST those people who look like you, share your name or were birthed through your genetic essence. Human beings are all related to each other, with a common Father called God. If you don’t believe this, you’re going to think that some folks are better than others. Matter of fact, many intellectual bigots in the late 1800’s used Darwin’s Origin of the Species to prove that black men and women were the “missing link” between monkeys and men. Funny, isn’t it, that now the theory of evolution is affiliated with liberalism, when at one time it was the justification for treating a whole race of people as inferior? 

 I guess you can use anything to prove everything that you want to be sure of.

But if you believe that mankind has free will, that man is above animals in importance and that everyone human is linked to a common father–God–you will loosen your grip on your inflexible commandments and allow for the freshness of God-sent ideas.

If, on the other hand, you contend that people should do what you think, or what a black leather-bound book requires, or that animals have the same rights as humans, or that the only people you are responsible to love are those who eat Thanksgiving turkey with you, you just might end up being too sure that you know everything already … and miss a blessing.

So what would I tell my friend about North Carolina? Some people there are like everybody else in the country. They are sure they know everything. There are others who live in the Tar Heel State who are willing to hear anointed ideas from the Spirit and say: “Sure.”

Is that going to change? Not until we realize that life is a journey and not a destination. Being a journey, we will travel, sight-see and learn–until we’re taken to another place.

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Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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