Sit Down Comedy …March 1st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3971)


I do not want to expel my innermost feelings, like some sort of nattering ninny in a room which is progressively disinterested. After all, in our society, we encourage one another to be honest, when what we really mean is honestly lie.

How are you?

Fine.

How’s the family?

Busy.

Got any plans brewin’?

Oh, just the usual.

Have you had any deep emotional or spiritual experiences which have transformed you into a new creature in your journey on Planet Earth?

What??

With this in mind, I have decided to candidly present to you my feelings about dying—that moment when I will leave this Earth, or at least contribute my dust to its topsoil.

I want people to be devastated.

I want slobbering sobs.

I want people wondering whether they can go on without me.

I want my demise to be a topic of conversation beyond a single news cycle.

I want people to remember things that are probably fictitious, but still cast me in a great light.

I want people to note the vacancy left behind by me checking out of the room.

I want loved ones to keep loving me with the same intensity they did when I was alive—except having it enhanced by the realization that I am no longer among the tax-payers.

I want to be valued.

This is probably why I do noble deeds—or at least attempt to. Of course, there is an altruistic part of me that really does give a damn and wants to help people, but I also want to be remembered as someone who lended a helping hand.

I’m not one of those Bible-thumping sorts who believe “this world is not my home” and “I’m just passing through.”

I want an empty chair at the table, so people will remember I once filled it—often gluttonous.

I want to be treasured, and if that means my loved ones lose a few hours of sleep, shed some tears and shake their heads, speaking of how unfair it was for me to be taken, then so be it.

Of course, I also realize that much of this is highly unlikely. With the several thousand people I may know, and the several hundred who have personal contact with me, and the few dozen who share intimate details, I will be very fortunate if there is one.

Yes, if there’s just one person who gets to the funeral luncheon and can’t eat because I’m not there.

If there’s just one who sits around with other people, refraining from discussing how good the honey baked ham truly is, it will be sufficient.

If there’s just one who sits in a dark room and conjures memories that are so rich and full that it seems my presence hangs in the air, it will be enough.

Because that one person could remind the others, and then the others can be stirred to good thoughts.

I know it’s silly. I don’t care.

I don’t want to be part of a genealogy. I don’t want to slip through the cracks of a gravestone.

I want one blessed, holy, sweet person to wonder what he or she is going to do since I have vacated the space.

Just one.

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Catchy (Sitting 62) Meeting II, Three and 4…August 19th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3769)

“I usually don’t meet with white people.”

Terrance Eldridge.

Carlin paused, considering the statement. “Well, I usually don’t meet with a racist,” he replied.

Terrance stiffened. “I’m not a racist. I wasn’t casting an aspersion on the white race. I was merely saying that usually white people don’t want to hear what I have to say.”

Carlin smiled. “Maybe if they knew you weren’t going to be reluctant to see them they might be more receptive to your words.”

Terrance leaned back in his chair, reached over and took a sip of coffee. “You see, you feel comfortable being self-righteous, my friend. That’s because you’re white. If I take a dignified position, I’m uppity. Or radical. You may not be aware, Mr. Canaby, but America works on the ‘Hue-y’ decimal system. ‘What is your color? Then we’ll place you on the appropriate shelf.'”

Carlin just shook his head. “There’s nothing new here, Mr. Eldridge. This is the same drivel that’s been shared through Malcolm X, Farrakhan and any number of urban rappers who rail against the system and present themselves as victims.”

“Not victims,” said Terrance. “Just unable to join in the game without being proclaimed a loser before it even begins.”

Carlin sighed deeply. “Well, I’m not here to argue with you. Let me just sit here as the oppressive white person in the room and listen to you rattle on for half an hour, and then deliver my report. But I’ll tell you right now–somebody’s made a mistake in choosing you for anything. You are an agitator. Yes, an agitator. You come along just to stir people up, without offering any solution. And I, as a white man, don’t have any problem telling you that you’re sand blowing in the wind.”

Terrance eyeballed him. Then he spoke slowly. “I think I like you, Canaby. I think you’re stupid. I think you have no grasp of the problem. But you speak your ignorance eloquently.”

Carlin lifted his hands in the air and replied, “Then we agree. We’re both talking asses.”

“Perhaps we should start over,” reasoned Terrance Eldridge.

For the next half hour, the black educator did his best to present a coherent message to his pale brother. Basically it was pretty simple. As long as white people were deciding what black people were, black people would be unable to make decisions for themselves. Even if the decisions made by white people were favorable–“they’re great athletes” or “no one is as strong as they are”–black people were still victims of slavery.

They are really African-Americans, Terrance pointed out.  They deserved to be honored with their history one month a year. But even when such concessions are made, they are still chosen by a white committee.

Terrance explained that the black man achieved nothing by being angry at white America or at the nation in general. This just played into the hands of false patriots, who wanted to believe that equality had already been achieved, and what the black race was looking for was entitlement.

Terrance had two visions.

One was educational–huge weekend rallies held in big cities, inviting famous athletes and musicians to come and share, and to punctuate the fact that the black race, although brought to the United States under evil pretense, still owns their portion of the American dream.

The second piece involved taking the finest actors in Hollywood and making five movies–entertaining but also inspirational–about the journey of the black race in America. Each movie would take a different era, beginning with Movie One: 1750; Movie Two: 1850; Movie Three: 1950; Movie Four: 1960, Movie Five: Today.

Using the foundation of the Alex Haley series, Roots, there would be storylines connecting all the eras, to show what progress had been made and what progress still needed to be pursued. The movies would be entitled “AmeriKin” in honor of Terrance’s book.

So with the combination of the rallies and the release of the films, a new awakening could come into the black community, to seek common ground with all races in the country, to claim the space reserved and preserved solely for them.

The meeting ended up lasting an hour. Carlin listened carefully. Even though Eldridge was guilty of both erroneous opinions and overly zealous projections, Carlin could see where there would be value in having a movement among black Americans to claim their true heritage.

Terrance closed his discourse by saying, “I don’t know why you’re here, Mr. Canaby. I don’t know what this is all about. I don’t know whether you’re a spy or just a nice guy. I don’t know whether curiosity brought you here or if I’m going to walk out in the hall to say good-bye and get blown away by an assassin. So let me just say this–I will find a way to do all the things I’ve mentioned here. I will not judge whether these things will be successful until they’re accomplished. And if I’m the only black boy in America who claims his true kinship in this country, you will have one of us to deal with.”

Carlin smiled. He suddenly felt close to the dreamer. They stood to their feet. Carlin gave Terrance a hug. Terrance recoiled a bit, but reciprocated.

Carlin walked out the door, comically mentioning that there was no assassin–because they couldn’t find one on a Thursday afternoon. He headed for his car.

He had done what he was told. He had completed his mission.

What in the hell did it all mean?

*******

Jasper was freaked out.

He thought he was supposed to meet up with a comedian named Mickey Kohlberg at a comedy club. Jasper was used to comedy clubs. They were pleasant holes-in-the-wall in the middle of Downtown Somewhere.

But Jasper became unnerved when the corporate jet flew him to Tel Aviv in Israel.

Jasper did not like the Holy Land. First of all, it wasn’t very holy–more bloodshed had been perpetrated there than any place in the world. And honestly, Jasper never found it to exactly be land. There was so much contention, so much disagreement, over who owned the little strip of property, that it was difficult to believe that anybody would ever be able to put up permanent housing.

Landing in Tel Aviv, Jasper was handed an envelope by a fellow dressed in black, with no neck. He sat on the tarmac and opened it. It read: “You will be taken by car near Jerusalem, where you will meet up with Mickey Kohlberg at a location called the Sinai Club.”

That was it.

Jasper had a million questions–but the only person to ask was his driver, who only spoke Hebrew. Or was it Farsi? Jasper could not distinguish.

He decided to take a nap on the ride, and the next thing he knew he was sitting in front of a building made of cement blocks–unfinished, unpainted, resembling more a bomb shelter than a commercial venture.

Jasper climbed out of the car and a very small man with wire-frame glasses, long, black curly hair and a beard came walking up, and introduced himself as Mickey Kohlberg.

For a brief moment, Jasper was mentally and physically unable to function. He wordlessly followed Mickey inside.

He couldn’t fathom being where he was. He thought he was heading to a comedy club. What was sitting in front of him was a makeshift structure without air conditioning–without electricity–filled with small round tables and rickety wooden chairs.

Because Jasper felt so overwhelmed, he just allowed Mickey to do the talking.

“This is what we do. You may not know it, but you’re sitting on the border of a disputed territory. You go fifteen feet in one direction and you’re in Israel. Fifteen feet the other direction, you’re still in Israel–but not according to the Palestinians. They believe it’s their land. It’s a little bit hard to define who ‘they’ might be–coming from Bedouin backgrounds, they don’t exactly have a formal government or leader. They have a claim. They believe the land is theirs.”

“Every night I open up this club, put some candles on the tables, and I invite people from Israel and from Palestine to come to this structure and sit down together…and laugh. This club has been blown up five times. That’s why we keep building it in cement blocks. Makes it much easier to reconstruct.”

Mickey smiled a bit sadly. “So you may ask, how do I bring these people together? I find the only thing they really share in common is Jesus of Nazareth. He was once a prophet to the Jews and also one to the Muslims. I don’t sit here and share his teachings, but I take his teachings, his thoughts, and even parts of his life, and I turn them into comedy routines. Because I’m not making fun of Jew or Muslim, they are completely willing to laugh at Christian.”

“Now don’t misunderstand me. I am very respectful. But I do poke fun. Especially when I talk about how Americans have turned their religion into guns and bombs instead of compassion.”

Jasper held up a hand to stop Mickey. “I don’t understand,” he said. “What do you expect to achieve?”

Mickey sat for a long moment before answering.

“I believe,” he mouthed slowly, “that if we can show, even for a moment, that Palestinians and Israelis can agree on a common laugh, we might gain the world’s attention and get comics, musicians or artists from all over the world to come and sit in our little stone building and encourage the possibility of communication.”

Jasper sat very still. He realized that such an effort would require much money, a whole lot of motivation and twisting some arms.

“And what is the end game?” Jasper inserted.

“The end game?” repeated Mickey, uncertain of the meaning.

“Yes,” said Jasper. “Where does this take us? What is the next step afterwards? Where are we going?”

“I don’t know,” said Mickey. “Honestly, I just come here in the afternoons with a bunch of friends–early enough to rebuild the stones if necessary, and grateful if we don’t have to.”

“You’re a dead man walking,” observed Jasper pointedly.

Mickey welled up with tears. “There are worse ways to go,” he said. “That’s why I call is ‘Dying Laughing.'”

Jasper felt horrible for his nasty comment.

He told Mickey he would go and report what he had found and see what the people wanted to do about it. Jasper explained that he didn’t even understand why he was there.

“Just one more question,” posed Jasper. “Why do you call it the Sinai Club?”

“Mount Sinai was the last time that God spoke to my people,” Mickey answered. “I just think it’s time again.”

Mickey stood to his feet and walked out of the building, terminating the interview.

Jasper picked up a handful of the sandy floor of the club and tossed it across the room. He strolled out of the concrete bunker, hopped into the car and headed back to the Tel Aviv airport. The jet flew him to Washington, D.C., arriving ten hours later.

Coming down the steps of the jet, he found himself face-to-face with Jo-Jay, who was getting ready to board.

“Where you been?” she asked.

“Hell,” replied Jasper. “At least, the closest place to hell there is on Earth.”

He walked across the tarmac to the hangar and disappeared.

Jo-Jay shook her head and headed into the jet, waiting for them to refuel. She was on her way to Phoenix, Arizona. There she was scheduled to meet up with the young man named Careless.

She had done a lot of reading. She had a lot of stats and facts–the kind of useless information that makes interviewers feel informed, but actually does little to acquaint them with the subject.

Careless had selected his name based on the idea that if rich people were so rich that they weren’t concerned about money anymore, then they should start acting like they cared less and find ways to care more.

He was an igniter.

He felt it was his job to connect people of great finance with people who had Earth-changing ideas. He called it “the MacDonald project”–after Old MacDonald who had the farm.

In this scenario, the “farms” were worthy projects, organizations, research or efforts to quickly and efficiently impact the human race.

He envisioned a situation where he would be the conduit between those who had money and those who could use money efficiently to heal, protect, save and inspire.

He called it the E.I.O. Project.

Eeliminate

Iilluminate

Oobliterate

He was looking for people to take one of the “MacDonald farms,” a stash of cash, and in a 365-day period, either eliminate an evil or a disease, illuminate a nation or a race of people, or obliterate an injustice that exists on the planet.

Each one of these “farms” would be given fifty million dollars and at the end of a year, would be asked to account for how they used it and what effect they felt their project had achieved. There would also be a private investigating committee, which would likewise review and summarize.

If one of the “farms” was successful, the following year they would be given a hundred million dollars. If they were not, they would be replaced by a new “farm.”

Many people had been critical of Careless, contending that one year was insufficient to evaluate any effort. Careless, on the other hand, explained to his billionaire clients that too much time was spent by charities deliberating the best way to do something instead of experimenting with the next way.

It was radical.

Jo-Jay fell in love with him. Not romantically–but she believed she had found a common spirit. Even though Careless was well-versed in the subject matter, there was a simplicity and optimism in him that was infectious. She left her meeting inspired–realizing that the billion dollars he planned to raise to get the project going was chump change to the fifteen potential clients he was pursuing.

It was an interesting possibility.

Jo-Jay departed overjoyed, thinking to herself that the whole world could use such a sensation.

*******

On Thursday, at 1:15 A.M., Matthew checked himself in to the Las Vegas hospital. It had been a rough week.

Leonora had left him. He wasn’t angry at her–she had hung around for several weeks, even though his ability as a lover had diminished to nothing.

His body was taking on the pallor of a dying man.

She tried, but she was just too pink to be gray. She was too young to be around debilitation.

When she left him, he wanted to turn to the bottle, but now he felt too weak to even get drunk.

When he woke up on Wednesday morning and realized that his left leg was not moving, he knew he was in serious trouble. He spent the day crying, thinking, and even for a brief moment, tried a prayer.

But at midnight he realized it was time to call a private ambulance to pick him up and take him to the hospital.

He was only in the examination room for about an hour when the doctor appeared and confirmed the situation.

“You are in the final stages of liver failure. Your other organs are beginning to give up in sympathy. You need a transplant and you need it now. Before you ask me, I will tell you–we’re talking no more than a week. I’ve had your name pushed to the front of the list for donors. We shall have to see.”

The doctor left the room.

Everything was so still that Matthew could hear the buzzing of the flourescent bulbs.

He needed to talk to someone.

Who in the hell should he call?

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 7th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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See Me Stop

Don’t tell me I’m livin’

When everything is dyin’

Don’t ask me to be givin’

To a system that’s lyin’

SEE ME STOP!

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!

How can you believe

If you never receive?

When will you release

And allow for some peace?

HALT THE FLOW!

BEFORE WE GO!

If God is good

And hell is hell

Why isn’t anyone

Doing well?

SLAM ON THE BRAKES!

IDENTIFY THE FLAKES!

Give me a shot of real

A bit of something to feel

A reason to bow and kneel

OR LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!

I want to be happy

I don’t think that’s sappy

Tired of feelin’ crappy

STAND UP! STOP CRAWLING!

I believe in Jesonian

Give me ideas

SCREW THE GUN!

Just you, then me

To find an identity

And then we’ll see

“What will be will be”

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G-Poppers … April 21st, 2017

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Jon close up

G-Pop awoke this morning with an idea as pristine as a Windexed pane of glass.

Clarity–those moments when for a brief second, it appears that intelligence has been allowed into the garbage dump of our brains.

It was rather simple: the body should die first.

We spend countless billions of dollars to keep our physical beings alive years after our hearts, souls and minds have deteriorated to nothing.

The body is supposed to die first. It’s really the only way to leave happy. If you’re emotionally drained, spiritually strangled and mentally executed before that happens, it is a misery that simulates the vacuous nature of hell itself.

We are supposedly a people of faith–who are scared to death of death.

We visit every doctor, swallow every pill, buy every step-climber and pursue each and every herbal remedy suggested on the comical Internet of knowledge.

So we live without passion.

We exist from one doctor’s appointment to another.

We spend our time discussing our ailments, lamenting our lives because that which made us who we are has decayed, fallen off and blown away as dust.

I don’t want my body to live one more day than my heart, soul and mind.

Simple.

There’s a blessing to dying while you’re still productive. It is a gift to have people lament that you died too soon instead of quietly whispering to one another, “It was for the best.”

G-Pop thought this was especially significant on this day, when he’s celebrating the birth of his dear friend. She has escaped the rigors of her culture, denied the stupidity of her youthful mishaps and has come out the other end chasing her talent to greater and greater discovery.

It’s the only way to live.

It’s the only way to be.

God grant me the insight to know that I am a heart, soul and mind, surrounded by a body which desperately needs to be the first to give up the ghost.

 

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Good News and Better News … July 18th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Lady Liberty hillAll the squirrels and sparrows in the woodlands of Pennsylvania did not seem to care.

As I drove through on my way to St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Valley View, these creatures were preoccupied with the pursuit of living–actually, rather excited and vigorous about it. They seemed unaware that political conventions were about to convene or that lunatic killers roam the earth, trying to prove that their god is better or that their lives truly matter.

I realized that I could either imitate my friends in the forest or the commentators on television, who bombard me with the command to be sad or mad.

After all, it seems appropriate to be forlorn or infuriated. Killing is deadly. Worse, it’s terrifying. (That’s why we call them terrorists.)

It seems irresponsible to follow the advice of Jesus and “be of good cheer” or “be not afraid” and “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Matter of fact, one of the better ways to be mocked in this day and age is to suggest that things will get better instead of worse.Valley View Map

So I was delighted when I arrived at the church and discovered that the human creatures emerging from their homes had decided to imitate the squirrels and the sparrows instead of the pundits on television, who continue to repeat the same information, hoping it will create greater nervousness and rage with each pronouncement.

Why do we need to be glad? Because we become emotionally unhinged when we’re mad, and mentally depleted when we’re sad.

Gladness releases the chemicals in our bodies which make us willing to go the second mile instead of complaining about the first one.

Gladness causes us to remember times of goodness instead of being partly cloudy with evil.

Gladness is the abiding notion that we still have something to contribute instead of being at the mercy of the people with the loudest guns or the biggest truck.

For I will truly tell you that yesterday the only place of satisfying sanctuary and hope was the church.

  • It’s not because it’s perfect.
  • It’s not because every issue is handled correctly by the clergy.

It’s because we serve a Master who insists on fueling us with good cheer instead of wearing us down with negative reports.

During the service, I watched the people bloom. They brought the seed, I brought the water and God gave the increase.

I watched Pastor Duane encourage it to happen without inserting reports of doom and gloom or trying to balance it out with an overuse of concern. Yes, concern is overused if it has no intention of becoming involved.

Here’s the good news: Jesus told us that even when we’re confronted by those who are persecuting us, we should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Why? Because in the hour of need, our “smarts” might be our only friend.

And the better news is that the only way to tap the full potential of what we’ve experienced in our lives is to busy ourselves living instead of worrying about dying.

Valley View book table

 

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Ask Jonathots … March 3rd, 2016

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ask jonathots bigger

The medical field keeps people alive much longer than it used to. Do you think this is a good thing?

Are you asking me, do I think more people should be dying? (Somehow or another, I think this is a trick question.)

For thousands of years, life offered only one possibility: quality.

Quantity was fairly unlikely, except in a few rare cases, where longevity was miraculously granted without any obvious effort by the recipient.

Most people, from the time they were children, grew up with an awareness of their mortality and the realization that death was not only present, but often imminent.

So over the years, through medical advances, we have succeeded in increasing the quantity of life without really doing anything to enhance the quality.

This is what I feel about long life: Long life is wonderful if it’s good life.

To me, good life has three elements:

  1. Purposeful work.
  2. Expanding, growing relationships
  3. A good balance of vulnerability and confidence.

The medical field does not address these situations, nor should it have to. This should be the responsibility of our philosophers, teachers and ministers.

If you’re only going to live longer to spend that time fussing about your health, well-being and treatments, then I’m not sure what you’re achieving by becoming a prisoner of your own body.

So I think pursuing a long life is an enriching experience as long as you avoid a trio of negative by-products:

A. Becoming obsessed with your physical health to the detriment of your emotional and spiritual health.

B. Allowing your concern about health to encompass your conversation to the point that you become irrelevant to younger people.

C. Living so long that you settle for a less-than-fulfilling situation, which is only a fragment of what you originally intended to have in your life journey.

Somewhere along the line we need to understand what life is all about. A great teacher once stated that “life is more than the body–what we shall eat and what we shall wear.”

So true.

So if you can give the same attention to your body that you have given to your heart, soul and mind, then I think it’s possible to live on for a long time…with joy.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … October 28th, 2015

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(2736)

PoHymn Oct 28

Common

So much worse than dying

Is living without life

More agonizing than crying

Is suffering through the strife

Like having God absent grace

A head for knowledge minus a face

A faith with talk, no feet to walk

Or humans trapped within their race.

To really get along

We need a common song

Marching with integrity

Requires the drums of unity

Indeed, there is nothing worse

Than preaching from condemning verse

Refusing to grant saving release

Suffocating the mastery of holy peace

The letter kills the spirit to believe

The pious deny the option to receive

There is no power in repeated prayer

Nor sweet fellowship if we fail to share

For the God we worship is all-seeing

But came to us as a human being.

 

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***************************

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