Not Long Tales … September 3rd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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4.

43

The Great Debate.

As the critics and advocates tumbled and tussled over the issue of gun control, an innovation quietly made its way onto the world stage. It silenced the controversy about guns because it was not considered a weapon. It was touted as beneficial and given a clever, almost cute name: The Blaster.

Privately, for years the American government had been working on a nuclear hand-held device. Though it was initially considered impossible to control a fission reaction held in the human hand, the well-funded research nevertheless persisted, energized by much money.

It was unveiled as a simple climate-friendly way to dispose of waste, clean up after a hurricane or even quickly eliminate unwanted foliage in building of new communities.

It had a companion device called “Clean Boy.” Even though The Blaster itself emitted low-level radiation within the acceptable range of human exposure, Clean Boy was manufactured to make sure that any work done with The Blaster would leave the region free of the fear from radiation sickness.

The Blaster seemed ideal for disposing trash from an area since it only covered a twelve-foot radius, leaving whatever was in its path a pile of ash and dust. As often is the case, for a brief season it was used exactly for what it was conceived to address.

That was, until the Holy City Massacre.

Blasters, which were supposed to be highly regulated and kept out of the hands of criminals or the uninformed were suddenly used at a mass shooting in Jerusalem, killing over four thousand pilgrims and annihilating several of the holy sites.

Of course it was a shock to everyone’s system. But over the years there had been so many mass shootings that no one considered The Blaster, with its nuclear implications, to be that much worse than other atrocities.

What was once considered an American problem had, over the years, been translated into every language and culture. Even though the United States wished to export democracy and freedom, it ended up transporting death and mayhem. So the debate about The Blaster was similar to the arguments over assault weapons.

But there was a man who lived in Winesca, Iowa, named Dylan Cavanaugh. Fifteen years before The Blaster came onto the scene, Dylan and his wife realized that the thirst to kill and the appetite to hear about it on the nightly news was too strong to stop the insanity.

When the ban on assault weapons was lifted, Dylan and his wife journeyed to Wyoming, where they found a parcel of land with a mountain and purchased it, using some inheritance money Dylan had acquired from his mother and father.

The couple set off to change their world. Every summer (and actually, every chance they got to get away) they prepared a way of escape. Even when four daughters arrived, Dylan and his wife, Crenslo (whom he called Crennie) went to Wyoming to their dreamscape and made plans—intricate plans.

Dylan was a licensed electrician, but he also was an inventor. He had manufactured a special battery for an electric minibus which had solar panels in its roof and large storage spaces in the sides. It seated eleven counting the driver.

Shortly after the Holy City Massacre, Dylan gathered his family together and explained his plan. “I do not want to scare you, or maybe I should say I don’t want to scare myself, but because of the atrocity in Jerusalem, it seems to me that half the world is anticipating the wrath of God and the other half is ready to bring it. I’m going to ask you to trust me. For the time being, and for further notice, we are going to our property in Wyoming, which we have prepared as a living space, until I am certain that I can offer you a safe home here in Iowa.”

The girls stared at him in disbelief. Each one had a life in the small Hawkeye town. But Dylan had succeeded, both as a human being and as a father, to build trust with his children. So Clancy, age fifteen, Roberta, thirteen, Sharon, eleven, and Caroline, nine, climbed into the electric minibus and made the journey with their parents to Wyoming. There was sadness, intrigue and just enough distraction along the way from trying various treats at gas stops to keep them engaged and hopeful.

Upon arriving, the young ladies got to see their mother and father’s vision. Carved into the mountain were a series of caves, fully lit and even decorated—enough openings and rooms to house fifty people. On the mountain itself were thousands of solar panels, providing enough energy—especially with Dylan’s new battery technology—to keep them warmed or cooled for months.

They spent the whole first month learning how to shoot a bow and arrow. No guns were allowed, but there was a need to gather food. Dylan had brought a computer, and also a ham radio setup so he could stay in contact with society. Still, the rest of Earth seemed far away from the Wyoming outpost.

About two months in, the Internet disappeared, and the radio went silent. The girls watched as their father cried and their mother joined him. They weren’t certain what the tears were for, but they contributed a few of their own.

At that point, Papa Dylan began going off in the minibus for days at a time. Upon returning, he always had one, two, and once, five people along with him. Each one had a story, each story more terrifying than the one before.

Dylan made his journeys for about six months. He ceased them once he stopped coming back with human folk. All in all, there were 43 people who found refuge in the vision of Dylan and Crennie.

One day, when it was pretty certain who was who and what was what, Dylan made a short speech. “I have not given up on the Earth. But right now, I want to make sure that we don’t give up on each other. I know each one of us saw lots of movies about the Apocalypse and the destruction of the Earth. In those flicks, the survivors always ended up killing each other.” He looked around, then joked, “Maybe it was because they were all zombies.” Everyone laughed. It was good to laugh.

He continued. “There are going to be three jobs in our little home. Those who gather the food, those who cook the food and those who clean up. Each one of us will learn how to do all the jobs. We’ll alternate. There will only be three—well, I guess we can call ’em rules. Love your neighbor, do your work, learn something new every day.”

The other 42 people who had gathered for the little speech smiled, shed a quick tear over loss and then turned to one another and embraced. Dylan found Crennie and kissed her lovingly on the lips.

Clancy, the oldest daughter, looked across the room at a boy named Zach.

She thought he was cute.

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Sit Down Comedy … August 16th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4138)


Sit Down Comedy

Can you play the game?

What is the game?

People interaction. Intimacy. Give and take.

The “get-along-ism” of the human prism.

Does it bother you that it’s a game? Shouldn’t it be called a mission, a ministry or an odyssey?

“Love your neighbor.”

A little piece of optimism, don’t you think? Some sort of idealistic drivel promoted by theologians. Generous and compassionate, but in its own way, foolish.

And it would be ridiculous to ask people to “love their neighbor” if that was exactly how the commandment was phrased. But it isn’t.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.

Actually, it’s a very cynical concept. In other words, since you’re madly infatuated with your own comings and goings and can’t pass by a mirror without glancing into it, might you consider sharing some of that concern with the people in the world around you?

After all, Jesus wasn’t stupid.

Jesus wasn’t hoping we would become angelic while praying that we would avoid devilish. He was merely asking us to play the game. The game is very simple:

Don’t expect anybody to give a rat’s ass about you if you don’t give a rat’s ass about them.

Perhaps not as eloquent as “love your neighbor as yourself,” but nevertheless, a practical paraphrase.

And by the way, be prepared for a five-to-one ratio. In other words, for every five minutes you’re willing to listen to someone else, they will probably return a minute of attention.

If you’re foolish enough to say that’s unfair, then you’ll end up with nothing.

If you decide you don’t give a shit about anyone, that’s fine, but you’ll discover that nobody gives a shit about you, and worse, they’ll probably try to find a way to get back at you because you didn’t give a shit about them.

Let’s tip our hat to President Trump. It’s obvious that he doesn’t care about anyone else. He is very interested in himself, and you can have a delightful conversation with the man as long as you’re willing to discuss Donald, and not “trump” him in any way.

On the other hand, the Democrats are less truthful. They pretend that they care about the farmer in Iowa who’s struggling with the loss of his soybean profits, while posting over and over again on the Internet the need for more donations—hoping to rise higher in the polls to make the next debate.

If you understand it’s a game, you can keep from being cynical.

If you think it’s supposed to be spiritual, moral or ethical, then you will find yourself broken, despondent and left with faith drained from your body.

I play the game.

Even within my own family, the interest level they have for me is limited and only comes forth when I first send out a query about their efforts and wishes.

Can you play the game?

Are you willing to take the five-to-one ratio?

Or do you think that if it’s not completely pure, that it has no heart?

It’s time to decide. If you can play the game, you will win.

If you can’t play the game, you will not only lose, but you will turn everyone who interacts with you into losers, too.

 

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Sit Down Comedy …March 22nd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3992)


I bought a loaf of bread. I didn’t eat it all.

So on the eighth or ninth day, I visited the cupboard to see if I could get another slice of life and discovered that the bread had been overtaken by mold.

I paused.

I considered removing the wrapper, cutting the mold off and eating the rest, but the mold also came with a smell—actually, similar to beer. So reluctantly—maybe even a little aggravated—I took my last five or six slices, now moldy, and tossed them into the garbage.

I was a little surprised how fussy I was about it. I don’t know if I just had my heart set on a sandwich or if I felt cheated because my bread gave up.

But I knew this: mold does not get better. I couldn’t do some “treatment” to my bread and return the next day and find it unmoldy. Once mold arrives it takes over. Quite aggressive. And it isn’t pretty—grayish-green with little hairy arms.

It’s a nasty substance and it turns bread into shit. (You can hear by my words that I was really put off.)

Welcome to America.

I’ve heard us called “the breadbasket of the world.” I was told as a youngster that our farmlands could feed the nations. Not much talk about that of late—nowadays farmers are trying to survive and make their beans and corn cover their budgets. No one trying to feed the four corners.

But we once were the breadbasket. Then one day, we reached into our souls, our mind, our heart and into our principles and pulled out moldy bread. Really bad mold.

And as I told you earlier, mold doesn’t get better. You can’t reform mold. You can’t try to find a way to accept it and develop a taste for it. You have to throw the whole damn thing out.

That’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate but it’s necessary.

Truth is, one apple does not spoil the whole bushel—but one little piece of mold does spoil the whole loaf, because the climate necessary to breed that mold permeates all the way to the crust.

Likewise, the insolence, selfishness and meanness that have brought about the present American way of dealing with each other has spoiled many of the treasures we used to hold dear.

Some things have just got to be thrown out. There isn’t a choice. It’s because the mold has taken over the “bread of life” in America and the mold is a simple poison. Here it is:

  • “My ideas are more important than you.”
  • “My faith is more valuable than your freedom.”
  • “My politics are divinely inspired, while yours are evil.”
  • “My lifestyle is superior.”
  • “Even my dog is more human than any of you.”

And,

  • “I and those who came out of my orgasm of procreation are much higher in quality, and it’s difficult to tolerate you anymore.”

There’s the mold. It’s gotta go.

You can try to save some of the stuff, but the arguing that we call politics has to be thrown in the trash, even if we lose some “debate.”

The beliefs we call religion have to be dumped even if we ignore a verse or two of holy writ.

And the definition of family needs to expand to include everybody twenty-five thousand miles in any direction throughout the entire Earth.

If we don’t do this, we’re going to start believing that the worst parts of the bread can be cut off, and the rest will be just fine, even though it tastes a little pukey.

We are permeated with the mold of those who are too old, too bold and too cold. Some things must be thrown away.

I, for one, am going to go into my cabinet, where I keep my soul, and start clearing out the nastiness. Anything that makes me believe that I’m better than you, or that my ideas are more God-like, or that my politics have the touch of grace while yours are imbedded with the sinister, will be dumped into the trash.

Buy fresh bread. Don’t get more than you need.

Matter of fact, start thinking of it this way:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

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The C Word … February 19th, 2019

THE

WORD


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3959)

When I sat down to consider “the C word,” many grotesque possibilities came to mind. I will not go into the ones I rejected. They are obviously repugnant or too controversial to even give utterance.

Instead, I chose a peculiar one because it is subtle and might even seem to be positive until you carefully study the history of its drastic devastation.

So the C word—the word that should never be used again or even spoken—is CULTURE.

For eighty-five years in this nation, we fostered, promoted, advertised, argued and finally fought over a fictitious cultural difference.

Here was the contention:

Mason liked fried potatoes. Dixon preferred grits.

Yankee Doodle drank beer and brandy, while Johnny Reb preferred whiskey and moonshine.

The North favored a Union. The South touted states’ rights.

Missy, a woman living north of the line, spent time working in the fields with her husband, planting, while the Dixie chicks pretended to be more fragile, appearing dainty.

Mason didn’t have slaves. Dixon did.

But Dixon didn’t call it “slave labor.”  Working under the guise of business, these folks who were shipped in from Africa were addressed as “field hands,” for it was the commerce of the South—and King Cotton required serfs to work, and black ones seemed to be more suited for the heat and the burden.

For eighty-five years, we pretended it was a “cultural difference.”

Men we extol as the founders of our nation, ignorantly hid behind debate, hoping it would disguise the atrocity.

It came down to a simple question:

You say slave, I say worker—almost a member of my family.

You say a person and I claim property.

You interrupt my culture and I wail and squeal about states’ rights.

We thought we could compromise, tolerate, negotiate and even appease one another. There were so many compromises that we started naming them after states, like Missouri. There were so many times we thought we had it worked out on paper, negotiating a deal or producing a favorable agreement, that many people were shocked when this “culture problem” created a Civil War which killed three-quarters of a million people.

And the fires of that conflict still smolder to this day.

We thought we could handle cultural difference. We believed we could let bygones be bygones.

But a cultural crisis was brought on by the crisis of culturing.

The truth is, human beings become viable to one another when they insist on similarities and pursue commonality.

You can eat your potatoes and drink your liquor any way you want.

But free will, justice and equality cannot be negotiated.


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G-Poppers … August 18th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s five-year-old son came strolling over carrying a dirty, beat-up baby blanket with frayed edges, which had been the source of great comfort and solace to the little chap for years.

He handed it to G-Pop and said, “Fix it.”

The blanket did need some help.

The ends were torn and worn from being drug on the ground and any memory of the original color had faded beneath a cloud of general “dirty.”

G-Pop’s son even brought along the family sewing kit to aid in the repair. G-Pop peered at the blanket and then down into the hopeful eyes of his child.

“I don’t need the sewing kit. It won’t help. What I need is a pair of scissors.”

The five-year-old squinted. “Why?”

Why indeed?

G-Pop realized that the ony way to fix the blanket was to carefully take the scissors and meticulously trim off the ripped regions on the perimeter. They could not be fixed. They would never be woven into the one piece of cloth. They were gone.

They were needfully gone. A new border needed to be negotiated. Otherwise, the blanket was worthless.

G-Pop was thinking about that today as he was mulling over the situation in our country.

We are a tattered patchwork, and our ends are frayed. Attempts to sew things together or make them right are useless because the substance to stitch is just not there.

Here’s the truth: No matter how honorable foolish people are in pursuing their goals, the end result is still foolishness.

No matter how many flags are waved for the glory of a cause, if that idea is unrighteous, unfair and bigoted, it needs to cease to exist. It is frayed; it is torn. And it will continue to tear into the other fabric if we allow it to blow in the wind.

It is time for America to bring its security blanket to the forefront, and for us–as “we, the people”–to take scissors and cut away the nonsense.

After all, some things are wrong because God and Mother Nature got together and decided they were wrong. Yes, Science and the Divine often have meetings, and generate or terminate parts of the Earth.

So grab your scissors, starting with your own life, setting an example for those around you, and:

1. Trim back opinions.

Opinions are stop-offs on our way to the truth. To spend too much time touting them is to delay the arrival of common sense.

2. Clip the need to debate.

If the goal of a debate is to find out what is really workable, then perhaps it has merit. If it is to change the minds of those around us by using words, statistics and intimidation, it is fruitless. The time we spend debating could be put to better use by creating.

3. Snip the separations.

If America is a melting pot, let it melt. And while you’re at it, jump in the pan. A stew should be so well-cooked that people have to ask you what kind of concoction it is instead of looking inside and noting a predominance of chicken.

Thus, America. We shouldn’t be identified as white, black, Hispanic, cultural, ethnic, Anglo-Saxon, Asian, male or female.

The blend should be complete.

If you are saying anything before “American” it is contentious, be it African, Asian, Mexican, white or female. Just “American” will do fine.

The tapestry of our country is frayed. The extreme ends cannot be repaired. We must trim them away, allowing a new edge to our common understanding.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 11th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-come-and-hear

Come and Hear

Louder and louder the voices raise

Full of anger, absent praise

Once a plea for human reason

A desire for peace in its season

Has become a nasty mumble

A growl, grimace, rumble

Truth is lost in fiery debate

Souls are raw, feelings irate

Infected with the need to be right

Well prepared for a lingering fight

Twisting the logic to meet the need

Parsing the words of what we read

Gathering around our common fire

Warming comrades feeding our desire

Lost in defense, unable to repent

Ignoring the prophets mercy has sent

Self-assured in what we know

Stubbornly negating the way to grow

Ignorance is always much too sure

Promoting a promise but tainting the cure

It’s time for souls to sit and learn

Calm the rage, soothe the burn

Come and hear, you have an ear

And stay ’til love casts out all fear.

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Three Ways to Win an Argument… October 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2397)

arguing woman

Arguments are like hamburgers in the sense that most people agree that they’re not very good for us, but on the other hand, few are able to resist them. Unlike hamburgers, they end up being a part of our diet whether we like it or not, so we should learn how to ingest and digest them better.

First of all, we need to stop mingling the words “discussion,” “debate” and “argument,” as if they are the same species.

A discussion is when people come together, admitting they do not have enough knowledge on a subject and engage in an exchange of information for enlightenment.

A debate is when two people of differing opinions share their ideas with the aspiration that one of the presentations will come to the forefront as having more common sense.

An argument occurs when folks are certain they have discovered a truth which they believe has been tested, and they are unwilling to give in to any other insight because they feel they have found the correct path.

So an argument seems doomed to elicit frayed feelings and even digress to some violence if we do not know how to conduct ourselves and become the winners.

And by winning an argument, I do not mean usurping authority over other people, to bend them to our will. Winning an argument is to control the atmosphere and make sure that rage does not enter in.

So what should we do?

1. Ask lots of questions.

Arguments always turn volatile when people literally spit their opinions at one another, rather than challenging the source of the other person’s position. It’s difficult to become overwrought when someone is asking you a question and you’re having to provide evidence instead of just passion.

Some time ago I was arguing with a friend about a project he was working on and I stopped in the middle of the back-and-forth and asked, “Do you feel this project is up to the calibre and integrity of what you’ve done in the past?”

It brought him to a complete halt. In the midst of that stall, he calmed down, thinking more deeply.

To win an argument, always have more questions than comments.

2. Somewhere early on in the argument, concede a point or two which will not alter the quality of your conviction.

Anytime you argue with folks, they will make a good point, and usually pride will prevent you from admitting it. If you stop to acknowledge the truth, you disarm your competitor and also create a more gentle environment for the ongoing experience.

If it’s true, it’s true. And if it’s true, say so quickly. You don’t lose points and in the end you will actually gain respect.

3. Summarize as you go.

Every few seconds, repeat these words: “So what you’re saying is…”

It gives the person a chance to hear back what you heard, and confirm whether it’s true, or if some mis-speaking occurred. It also slows the progression of arrogance, permitting simplicity to have its day.

I guarantee you that if you do these three things, you will win every argument, because the true goal is to arrive at a way for both of you to continue to work together and be friends, even though this rift has occurred.

The key to life is realizing that you can give up some turf and still have enough room to stand.

arguing man

 

 

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