Sit Down Comedy … June 5th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan.

A triple threat in alliteration.

She is forty-six years old, the mother of three children who range in age from twenty-one down to a precocious ten.

She is the assistant manager at the local Nordstroms, where she has been employed for twenty years, ascending in the ranks, and well-respected.

The date is November 8th, 2016.

Mary was awake early that morning. She had lost her battle with insomnia hours earlier, trying to remain still as a mouse, hoping that sleep would be merciful to her fatigue. Giving up, she rose, made coffee and cinnamon toast—one of her favorites—and prepared for the day in the quiet of a very chilly pre-dawn kitchen.

She had one thought on her mind: should she go vote before work, or wait until afterwards and possibly face long lines?

Actually, that wasn’t the primary question. What had been haunting her mind for weeks was whether she could cast a vote in good conscience either way.

Politically, Mary was a moderate.

At least, moderate for Michigan.

She had voted for her share of Democrats and a similar array of Republicans. She felt she was informed and believed herself to be open-minded to opportunities offered by both parties. But the past few months had left her in a whirl, dizzy from disjointed facts and accusations.

Donald Trump seemed unqualified to be President, but his journey as a mature man of business seemed respectable.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seemed more prepared for the position, but less sure-footed in the midst of entanglements.

But still, that wasn’t the real problem.

Deep in her heart, Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, felt that everything was just moving too fast.

She wasn’t against progress–she was upset about the speed being used to achieve it.

So many issues.

Abortion, for instance.

Mary believed a woman should have the right to choose the conclusions of her life, but she was uncomfortable about how the subject of abortion—the termination of a fetus—had become so cavalier. She especially hated the phrase, “abortion on demand.”

Wasn’t a little more humility in order?

Mary also knew she didn’t hate gay people. She was one of the first ones in her local church to rally behind the idea of civil unions.

But lickety-split, she was expected to not only honor gay marriage, but to be supportive of it whenever it was brought up, so she wouldn’t come across as a homophobe.

It felt unfair.

After all, the world of psychology and psychiatry had, for decades if not centuries, contended that homosexuality was aberrant behavior which required treatment.

Now, since that diagnosis had been recently abandoned, they expected Mary and all the American people to quickly shed several generation’s worth of comprehension and join the parade.

It was fast.

Mary wanted equal pay for women in the workplace, but when she rallied with those struggling to achieve this worthy goal, she found herself in the midst of some who decried motherhood and made fun of the simpler values Mary held dear.

Mary was especially troubled by the spiritual indifference, which seemed to reject any soul who believed in God, deeming such a person irrational or uneducated.

Everything was so quick.

Marijuana becoming legal. If marijuana was so safe, why did the people who smoked it always portray it in their movies as a brain-staller—and a pathway leading to no motivation?

And then—the candidates themselves.

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, was very worried about a man who mocked women, weaker folks and other nationalities with a sneer. But on the other hand, how could she support a woman like Hillary Clinton, who defended her husband’s mistreatment of a twenty-one-year-old intern in the White House, and even to this day, joined into the attacks against poor Monica?

As Mary sipped her coffee in the kitchen, she heard rumblings from the bedrooms above.

Soon her family would join her. Her thoughts would be blended with their desires.

Realizing how important her decision was, she scurried around, deciding to leave for work, going to the polls early to beat the rush.

She called out her good-byes and best wishes for the day, jogged to her car, got in and drove off.

She was nearly to the polling station when she veered off at a graveyard. She sat, staring at the frosty granite stones. Still they were—and at peace.

In a moment of deep reflection, she asked herself what all these people who had once lived would want her to do.

Who would they want her to vote for?

Mary just wished that one of those who wanted to be President of the United States would acknowledge that affairs, nations, wars and social revisions were happening at such a rapid pace that we all needed a deep breath—just to appreciate where we are, who we are and what we’re about to undertake.

Was there an order in it?

Did civil rights come before women’s rights or abortion rights?

It all seemed to be happening at the same time.

Was she supposed to feel some beckoning or even a requirement to vote for a woman since she was a woman herself? Maybe she would have felt differently if Hillary had even visited Michigan—instead of assuming that the unions and the black vote “had it in the bag.”

The Democrats took too much for granted, and the Republicans granted so very little.

Time was passing.

She had a tiny window—about twenty minutes—to go vote and still get to Nordstroms for her shift.

But after weeks—perhaps months—of deliberation, she was no further along.

So she made a very quick decision in her troubled mind.

That night, as Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, watched the election returns, she was so troubled that she felt a chill go down her spine.

Donald Trump was winning. Would he rise to the occasion and be a great President?

Should Hillary have been the one?

Even though the campaign had drug on for more than a year-and-a-half, now it all seemed to be too quick. Too speedy.

Mary was not a bigot.

Mary was not conservative.

Mary was certainly not liberal either—not by present standards.

Mary didn’t hate anyone.

But Mary also didn’t favor people just because they were of a certain color or even just because they were victimized.

As the night wore on, it gradually became more obvious and then official.

Donald J. Trump would be the President of the United States.

Mary didn’t know what to feel.

Maybe she was a little relieved that there wouldn’t be any more Clintons in Washington, but also a bit frightened that a real estate developer would be leading the greatest nation on Earth.

But most of all, she was in turmoil about herself.

For she had gone to work—and didn’t vote.

1 Thing the American People Should Not Be Permitted to Do

Vote for the President

The employees at Wal-mart don’t choose the CEO.

College students don’t cast ballots to pick the president of the university.

Why? Because they’re not qualified.

The job requires a specific set of skills and should not be a popularity contest.

The same is true with the Presidency of the United States.

We can involve the American people in a dozen ways, but when it comes down to selecting the individual to run our nation and bring together the three branches of the government, it should be a decision based on merit, not might.

Just consider the two candidates we have this year:

  • One is a real estate developer who’s built up a formidable following, maintaining his present status
  • The other is an aging politician whose skills are obviously diminished, who is worthy of honor but not necessarily prepared to chair the most important job in the world.

This present virus has shown us that there are governors, mayors, doctors and nurses all over America who have picked up the cross and carried it for the national leadership.

I have no feelings of anger toward President Trump or nominee and former Vice-President Joe Biden. But I do think one is unqualified and the other is over the hill—and that America can do better.

The system needs to be revised.

First, I believe we should have a President from one party and a Vice-President from another party.

Every four or eight years, that should switch.

There should not be majorities in either house of Congress. If bills are going to be passed, we need to institute interaction among the members.

And the President and Vice-President should both be selected rather than voted in. The system can still remain democratic and include the populace in some phase of the operation. For instance, we could boil it down to four applicants who are all suitable.

Since no one can be truly vetted and come out clean anyway, we need to stop being concerned with issues of morality, and instead, be more focused on productivity.

Until the United States is able to pick a leader that represents the history, authenticity and significance of our mission on the world stage, we will be stuck with those who can raise enough money and tell enough lies to wrangle the gig.

The American people are good for many things–choosing Presidents is not one of them.

Just look at our history. Not even fifteen percent of those elected into the role are worthy of mention. Some took us to war, some kept us in war and there is a shameful lack of a woman in the roster.

Foolishness. Pride.

That’s what keeps us pursuing the electoral college, embroiled in a two-party system, and allowing the country as a whole to vote for the loudest.

 

 

Sit Down Comedy … March 6th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

What statement would best typify the attitude of the average American citizen?

“Freedom and justice for all?”

“Land of the free and home of the brave?”

“All men are created equal?”

These are terrific thoughts. Can I offer a fourth possibility?

“Don’t tell me what to do!”

Yes—this one seems to have universal appeal.

The adult American maintains fragments of adolescent rebellion through most of his or her life.

I focus on Americans because other countries are so embroiled in wars, survival, calamities and tyrants that expressing “don’t tell me what to do” could quickly put you in the position of having the muzzle of a gun thrust in your face.

It’s a luxury we Americans enjoy—to object at will.

After all, a speed limit of seventy-miles-per-hour is not a rule. In our minds, it’s more like a recitation of suggested daily specials offered by a waiter when we arrive at a restaurant.

A “no parking” sign is the only sure way to guarantee that all the parking spots will be filled.

And if you put a button on a wall beneath a sign which reads, “Do Not Touch,” statistics show that at least seventy-two percent of people will look to their right and to their left, and sheepishly walk over and push it.

This in itself would be a great subject for an article—but let us add an additional question.

Do we feel any different about being told what to do when it’s a woman instead of a man?

An amazing thing happens to the male of the species with the arrival of testosterone in his early teens. He begins to play team sports or joins the military—settings in which he is often ridiculed, yelled at or even kicked around by coaches or drill sergeants.

A woman, on the other hand, often has little opportunity for team sports, and unless she purposely tries to find a combat position, will usually never experience such radical treatment.

Because of this, none of us are accustomed to being challenged, questioned or ordered around by a female.

And if a woman does gain authority, the characterization is quite different:

  • Men are assertive. Women are bitchy.
  • Men are resolute. Women are stubborn.
  • Men know how to command a situation. Women are bossy.

Just consider the three people presently running for President of the United States.

What if Donald Trump was Donna Trump? She would be dismissed as a dirty old lady.

What if Bernie Sanders was Beatrice Sanders? She would be a nasty-tongued wench.

And how about Joe Biden as June Biden? A little bit slow—perhaps senile.

But because they’re men, they are assigned integrity for their positions and are taken seriously—simply because they have prostates.

Does this mean that all Americans are misogynistic or anti-female?

No, but the average American has little experience with women being in control—not since they were little kids listening to their mothers nag about the laundry and dirty shoes next to the door.

Harken to this:

We had a whole caravan of females running for President this year. What we need to ask ourselves is, if any one of them had been male, based upon her credentials, her platform, her debate skills, her energy and her patriotism, would she still be alive in the contest?

I believe certainly one of them would have survived.

But each one was eliminated because eventually a tear came into her voice at the wrong time, which made her sound weak, even though when Joe Biden does it, it’s called empathy.

Or in the midst of making a point, her speech became more of a shout than a proclamation—although Bernie Sanders makes his living ranting at everybody.

Or she was a little too off-the-cuff or maybe not quite lady-like—although we refer to Donald Trump’s comments as “spontaneous” and “just his way.”

You will never know if you are free of misogyny until you can listen to a woman disagree with you, or even be your superior, without thinking you are back at home being criticized by “Mommy Dearest.”

Sit Down Comedy … November 22nd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Please allow me to use myself as an example.

I was born. (That was a good beginning.)

I developed a little musical talent. (So far so good.)

I discovered I could sing. (A great addition.)

I also stumbled upon some sort of ability to arrange music. (Certainly makes you interesting to other musicians.)

Along the way, I started writing songs. (Okay. We’re waiting to hear…)

And the songs were good enough that one of them got signed and performed by a national act. (Well, that certainly gives you permission to continue.)

I started my own music group. (Were you any good?)

We got signed and recorded an album. (Well, well, well. Congratulations.)

Then I decided to write a musical. (That sounds a little more tricky.)

The musical turned out all right, and the cast traveled the country to twenty-five cities (Well, there you go.)

This put an itch in my brain to write books. (That’s a big step. What you might call “the leap.”)

Well, thirteen books later, I’ve sold my fair share though I’ve never threatened anyone on the New York Times Bestseller List. (What do they know?)

Next, I decided to run for Senator in my state. (Wait. Wait. Wait! Danger, danger, danger…)

Exactly.

How about another example?

He has a really unique hairdo. (Well, that’s interesting.)

He has lots of money. (A very helpful thing.)

He likes to build buildings and put his name on them. (Good…if a bit vain.)

He enjoys promoting prize fights and beauty contests. (I’m listening…)

He deeply appreciates beautiful women. (Who doesn’t, right? Wink, wink.)

He was invited to host a reality show on television. (That’s pretty nifty.)

It did very well—so well there was a spin-off. (Impressive.)

Matter of fact, the ratings were very, very high. (Those doggone Nielsen families.)

He decided to run for President. (Wait, wait, wait! Danger, danger, danger…)

It’s important where things end up–and that goes for people, too.

Anyone who has ever tried to fix up a house to sell it for profit will tell you there are so many people’s numbers that end up in your phone—who have to work on this and work on that—that suddenly, you find yourself involved with people who need to install your toilet and lay concrete, that you accidentally know about their gastric problems, and whose wife is about to leave whose husband—and you know there is no way to make this really successful.

There are just people I should never meet. For instance, the state of Florida should never meet me. If I want to fix up a house, I’d better do it alone, because all of the scammers will not benefit my life’s journey.

And just because a guy knows how to wear an Italian suit, build a building and host a beauty pageant, does not mean he should be President.

And here’s another clue:

He told us that.

From the onset, Donald Trump told us the truth. He did.

He said, “I am a promoter and a liar.”

If you read his book, it is full of all sorts of approaches to deceiving the competition.

He never expected to be President.

Along with the help of the Electoral College, the hatred many people felt for Bill and Hillary, and a foolish playfulness on the part of the American voter, he was ushered into the Oval Office.

We were never supposed to see him there.

We were never intended to even meet the cast of characters who have come before us to testify about one another—and him.

The whole thing resembles a huge blow-up in a gymnasium at a high school, when people find out what other people have been saying about them.

It is a misplaced conclusion brought about by a misplaced representation urged on by a misplaced valuation of ability.

We are not all supposed to be famous.

The individuals who are presently serving this nation were meant to be hidden. They are servants. They are helpers. They should never have been brought to the forefront as if they are superstars, or worthy of being heard.

We are completely out of balance.

Case in point:

In a country which has never elected a woman as President, when statistics report that 46% of men would never vote for a woman, the Democrat Party still believes that offering five of them is a good idea.

And this party does not comprehend that the black church, which does believe the homosexual community should have civil rights but also thinks the lifestyle is immoral, well, they are not likely to line up to vote for the Indiana mayor.

Do I even have to address the electability of two accused socialists?

Or how about that left-over Vice President, who always seems to be on a confusing journey to find a subject or verb to hook up with his object when he speaks?

It’s not supposed to be.

We are not making America great again. We are dumbing it down.

We are pretending that conversations which we would have found insulting a few years ago are now worthy of an hour-long show on the 24-hour-news cycle.

It is not Make America Great Again (MAGA)

What it does feel like is Make America Small Again (MASA)—an ironic acronym, don’t you think?

Masa.

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The B. S. M. G. Report


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Avoiding becoming insane

But never wanting to complain

BAD

TUA much.

A young man sprawls on the ground, broken, writhing in pain, as thousands of people watch in horror, torn between sympathy for him and fear over what this might mean in pursuing a national championship.

One week earlier, the same fellow played in a game twenty days after having ankle surgery, limping and agonizing along to his team’s defeat.

He needed time.

Don’t we all?

How many of us are eager to go back to work on the sixth day after a cold?

Do any of us want to walk across a room and get a cup of juice after having stubbed our toe?

But for some reason—a very bad reason—selfish, greedy, older men (and maybe women) who are long past their prime, want to relive their youth on the backs and bodies of determined athletes.

It’s TUA much.

It’s TUA much to ask of anyone.

Let’s not blame the coach of Alabama.

Let us admit that we are the ones who pressured him into accepting the erroneous decision of a novice young man when he proclaimed, “Put me in, Coach. I’m ready to play.”

SAD

Working off the answers to find the questions. Truthfully, it’s what human beings are better suited for in the long run.

Maybe that was on Merv Griffin’s mind when he launched a television game show called, “Jeopardy!”

After a very short season, he hired Alex Trebek to be the host.

Alex is the over-stated, ever-loving geek who sometimes—even as you want to hug him with delight—causes you to roll your eyes over his pretentious attempts to utter foreign words in an exaggerated accent, insert little mentions of his world travels or become perturbed when some contestant fails to understand that every answer was to begin with an “O.”

Despite his quirks, we love him.

And when he read, “A fourth-stage disease which requires immediate treatment but is also terminal,” he filled in the answer to: What is Alex Trebek’s cancer diagnosis?

It’s ridiculous to think the world won’t go on without Alex Trebek (or any of us, for that matter).

It just won’t be quite as delightful.

MAD

The Muddle East.

I have often told my children to always try to find a second reason for everything they do. It takes away some of the pressure of thinking that you’re hanging on a limb by one twig.

So with that in mind, if you aren’t convinced of climate change and the need to back off fossil fuels, then consider this second reason:

To keep us out of a region of our world filled with religious fanatics, nationalists and misogynists:  The Middle (or as I stated it)—the Muddle East.

It is not a Holy Land.

Rather, it is a soulless, arid climate, manufacturing despair as its only byproduct.

It offers nothing to us but war.

And although it is true that oil and water do not mix, neither do oil and blood.

GLAD

I am tickled pink with rosy cheeks at the prospect of more candidates entering the Presidential campaign. I find myself overjoyed and grateful.

We are closing the door too quickly on the elevator heading up to the Oval Office.

Let’s leave it open.

Why can’t we learn from our very recent error? You know what I’m talking about:

Just three short years ago, when we were convinced that one candidate had the right to be elected President simply because she was a woman and had a predominant name.

And that another fellow was worthy of the White House because he scored high ratings on a reality television show and was fairly adept at hotel placement.

Let us not be foolish.

President of the United States is a calling.

It is a position which requires a human being to free him or herself of the ego of actually wanting the job.

 

 

The B. S. M. G. Report


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Looking for a way to bless

But stymied in the mess

Bad

For one hundred and ninety-six years, the United States stumbled and fumbled, but also struggled its way through discovering its own definition of a “Democratic Republic,” with only one occasion when the President of the United States was impeached.

Now, in the past forty-seven years, we have had three Presidents impeached. Also George W. Bush was repeatedly threatened with it, and even Ronald Reagan was nearly brought down by the Iran-Contra affair.

It’s time to realize that we have lost sight of what it means to be Americans and also have failed to follow through on the vision of what we set out to do so many years ago with the Declaration of Independence.

The figures speak for themselves.

We either cannot find good leadership, or we do not know how to pick a good leader.

SAD

When the vote was taken for the impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump, not one single Republican cast an affirmative to proceed with the investigation.

The sadness I feel is not because I think the President is guilty, nor that I deem him innocent. I am saddened because this has become a partisan event, since it is most assuredly Democrats against Republicans.

Meanwhile, the pundits bicker and snicker.

MAD

We’re supposed to be the good guys.

We’re supposed to be the U.S.A. which travels the globe to help people out when there are disasters.

We’re supposed to be the nation that challenges other nations to be more honest, more democratic and more willing to pursue human rights.

It is truly maddening that we have lost our way, and gradually are becoming the laughingstock of a world which is intimidated, not just by our atomic warheads, but also by our desire to make things right no matter how wrong they may seem to be.

GLAD

It is like a tiny bugle in the distance. I can barely hear it. Shall we call it a “frugal bugle”—one that would love to blow a retreat from selfishness, politics and jealousy, allowing us to regroup into a nation indivisible?

For after all, it doesn’t do much good for us to be “under God” if we’re split apart by ethnicity, bigotry, political parties and religion.

I hear a faint bugle blowing.

It is a call by those who are weary of Republicans and disappointed in Democrats and would like to go back to the simplicity of a land where people are given equal opportunity and equal respect.

Listen for the bugle.

When you hear it, join the retreat from insanity and the gathering of those who will not move one more foot—until common sense is placed in charge.

 

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Sit Down Comedy … October 18th, 2019

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Sit Down Comedy

“Love your enemies.” A peculiar idea.

First, how does that happen? If you’re really a lover, how do you make enemies? Do some people just hate to be loved—therefore they have to hate you because you’re the one who loved them?

Or is it that you fail to love your neighbors, and in the meantime, they turn into enemies, so now you’ve got a real problem.

How can you love your enemies? Doesn’t the word “enemy” connote some sort of conflict?

Does Jesus love Satan? They’re enemies.

Does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi love Donald Trump? They’re enemies.

There seems to be a prerequisite of a certain amount of disfavor, if not hate, in levying the word “enemy” onto someone else.

So what’s the purpose of the love? Are we speaking figuratively, as in, “compared to the amount of dislike we could muster, we sure seem loving in our discretion?”

Or is it that condescending “love your enemy,” like they do with gay people?

“I love the sinner, but I hate the sin.” How does one do that?

For this to work, the sinner would have to believe he or she is sinning, rather than following a sexual orientation. Any way you look at it, it’s hatred.

So how do you love your enemies? Doesn’t it express a weakness that leaves you vulnerable? Someone gets ready to punch you in the face, and you say, “Listen—I love you.”

Do we think it’s a deterrent?

Does “turn the other cheek” spare a cheek from being hit? Or just make you defenseless?

God knows, pessimism is a destructive virus. But likewise, optimism leaves us all gooey and doughy—half-baked.

I don’t know about you—I don’t want platitudes.

I don’t want someone to say, “Love your enemies,” and then if I try it, they chuckle and say, “No—not that way.”

Or, “Come on, kid. You’ve gotta stand up for yourself.” But we’ve been standing up for ourselves for a long time.

Israel stands up for itself in the Middle East. So do the Arabs.

Standing up for oneself is really the formula for a stand-off, isn’t it?

Yet what good does it do to introduce love into a volatile situation?

It seems so ridiculous to people, even those who claim to believe in the Gospel, that they try to ignore it and think of all sorts of ways to hurt one another.

How did I ever get goddamn enemies? Did I think I was loving, but ended up being an asshole? Or did I insist I imitate a loving person while being an asshole? Come on.

Words are useless unless you know what they mean.

When the words “love” and “enemy” occur in the same sentence, I, for one, need more information.

I’d rather not have enemies. Will being a loving person help with that? Now, there’s an idea.

I don’t want to pick a fight. Picking a fight is such a futile process. There’s a chance you’ll win. There’s a chance you’ll lose. But if you win, you still must have some sort of concern toward the person you beat the crap out of. Otherwise, people will think you’re wicked. I guess it’s alright to be hateful as long as you aren’t wicked.

When people say they’ll pray for you, do they? Or is the statement the prayer?

I think maybe the human race could do much better if high-sounding ideas like “love your enemy” were better explained, and really shitty attitudes, like, “every man for himself,” were exposed.

My thought is, if somebody is your enemy and you aren’t able to whoop him, you’d better find a way to get along with him.

And if you think you can whoop everybody, it’s safe to say that you’ll eventually get whooped.

I’m not in the mood for a good whooping—either to give one or to take one.

So I guess the thought is:

Once you find out that someone is pissed at you, control the vibe.

Nurture the energy that flows his or her way, and make sure they have no reason to turn the feud into a vendetta and the vendetta into a war.

 

 

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