Cracked 5 … June 20th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog


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Five Father’s Day Gifts That Will Never Make It Out of the Box

A.  A “make your own” beef jerky kit


B.  A book entitled, “Finding the Mommy in your Daddyhood”


C.  A week’s membership at the “Him Gym”


D.  A bow tie–ANY bow tie


E.  An app with replacement words for cussing


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Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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G-Poppers… June 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog


Jon close up

G-Pop’s youngest son asked him, “What was your dad like?”

G-Pop took a long pause. He realized that often in his conversations of discussing his childhood and his relationship with his father, he was not very generous. Maybe it’s the lot of all children–to simultaneously be offended by parents while also defending them out of tradition and respect. G-Pop wanted to be honest with his son, but not overly critical.

“My dad was like all dads in the sense that he wasn’t prepared to be a dad, but was frightened to admit that. For after all, the word ‘dad’ begins with ‘da.’ Nobody knows how to do it. Most men don’t plan much beyond their orgasm. So it’s rather remarkable that the male of our species was actually able to come up with a rendition of fatherhood that is passable enough that all the children on the earth are not permanently damaged.

My dad was quiet, somewhat self-involved, but deep in his heart wanted to be closer to his sons. But by the time he ended up with five of them, he was pretty well overwhelmed and decided to kick into survival mode. So he had favorites. And even though that sounds terrible, we are human beings and we do tend to favor one thing over another.

He also was older. He was gazing at his 50th birthday when I was born. Now that I’ve reached that age, I realize how terrified he must have been to start all over again with a new bambino. So he did what he could.

I don’t think he was always happy with my mother. One of the things that men need to realize is that children often evaluate Father based on how much Dad loves Mom. So I give him a pass. Not because he’s dead and gone and I want to speak good of his departing spirit, but because now that I’ve become a father, I realize the job is ill-suited to humans–especially men. Yet it is our job.”

G-Pop’s son sat and listened patiently and intently. There was a question brewing.

“So what does it mean to be a good dad?”

“There are three things that are involved in being a good dad–a trio of needs that every child has,” said G-Pop. “First, love the me you see. Secondly, work with the child–meek or wild; and finally, pray for the one he or she will become.

Yes, every kid born needs to believe they are loved–if not unconditionally, then mercifully. But every child needs to be worked with. Nobody comes out of the womb with any idea of what to do. And then, somewhere along the line, when they become adults, you need to pray for them, knowing that the work is done and most of the love they require will come from other sources.

It’s not that we ever stop loving our children–it’s just that our love will never be the only love they require. Instead, they need to become lovers and parents.

So you love, you work and you pray. You put each one in the right season, and then, finally, you hope that by some miracle all your mediocre efforts will pan out.”

G-Pop’s son nodded his head and smiled.

G-Pop felt good about the fact that he understood his dad’s weaknesses and had tried to improve upon them. But he did comprehend that his dad didn’t have much of a chance to find ways to be better.

Fatherhood is not a natural happening because one is a man with a sexual appetite. Fatherhood is finding the piece of God breathed within, mingling it with virility and adding the more gentle parts of the woman–in order to create a workable and helpful teacher.

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Laughing or Lying … June 15, 2013


smiling sonsI do wish I would have learned it sooner.

It would have been advantageous to apply this priceless principle to all seven of my sons in the process of training them to be human beings, instead of just sporadically stumbling upon the idea.

It’s really quite simple: people are much more likely to tell the truth in an atmosphere of levity, laughter and good cheer than they are in a climate of challenge, seriousness and intimidation.

It’s a mistake every parent has made. We scare our children away from telling the truth because we walk into the room with a stern face and ask them to sit down as we explain in vivid detail how important it is to share the real story, brows furrowed.

It scares the truth right out of them.

They will do anything in the world to change that disconsolate face in front of them back into an understanding, gentle parent-visage. They want to say the right thing, so in the process they end up saying the wrong thing: a lie.

You even see it in the Garden of Eden. God made the mistake of walking in and saying, “Why are you hiding from me?” instead of joking with them about how their fig-leaf aprons were not very attractive.

People tell the truth more quickly if they’re surrounded by the reassurance that nothing is going to be taken too seriously, and redemption is possible because joy is already present.

When I was in high school, a bunch of my friends would get together to laugh, and in no time at all, we were telling deep secrets to each other. But if anyone had walked in and in an austere voice demanded that we tell our stories and become transparent about our feelings, we would have returned to the Kingdom of Lying, telling tales we believed to be pleasing to our intruder.

Can I make it this simple? When it comes to human beings, it’s a choice between laughing or lying. If you can’t get people to relax through good cheer and laughter, realizing that nothing is the end of the world, they will always resort to some sort of misrepresentation of the facts, just to try to get things back to normal and hopefully, restore the comedy.

As I said, I wish I had learned this sooner–as a parent. There were times that I actually WAS tickled by how stupid my children’s actions were, so I mocked them, getting them to laugh over their misdeeds, and in no time at all they were confessing other wrong things they had done.

But every time I walked in with that growly face of disapproval, I scared them away from being open to me. No wonder people who believe in an angry God spend their whole lives in deception. It is not surprising that folks involved in a threatening relationship are constantly lying to one another.

Laughter or lying–it’s why I always try to get my audiences to “lighten up” and chuckle at the world around them, and even the world inside them. Then a release valve permits them to unload their real feelings instead of manufacturing safe choices.

So on the eve of this Father’s Day, keep in mind that you can try to be the big boss of your household and scare your family into submission, but what you’ll end up with are words thrown your way to please you … which usually have nothing to do with the real heart of the matter.

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Jerrod, Angy and Joel… June 17, 2012



A father offers his love, but it is the child who determines the true nature of the relationship. An intelligent dad doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated or disappointed in that decision. Each one of my sons has defined his own essence and meaning for our interaction. I offer the same continuing stream of love to all of them and they assimilate it into their lives at will–as needed.

One of my sons always wanted to be in the front seat with me. It didn’t matter where I was going, what I was doing or how boring the task. He would leap into the seat next to me, believing each time that we were on the “Magical Mystery Tour.” Because of that, at times he seemed to be more of a comrade-in-arms than merely a fledgling of my flock. He learned, he responded, he believed and even when he met the woman of his dreams, he allowed me to tag along, acting as both cheerleader and chaperone while he pursued her to the shores of California. His name is Jerrod.


Tonight I arrived back from my gig to discover a story from Jerrod in response to my request to have my Father’s Day gifts shared with others instead of bestowed in my direction. This is his tale:

In the Name of the Father

I have always loved when my birthday is, situated almost exactly half way through the year on June 7, the perfect reprieve and excuse to celebrate just as summer begins to peek around the corner. My two daughters have usually just gotten out of school and that gives us even more reason to be joyful and make merry together. I always felt sorry for those people whose birthdays are close to Christmas or other major holidays, because I think it’s hard for it not to get lost in the shuffle. The only disadvantage to the anniversary of my birth is the proximity it usually has to Father’s Day. For instance, this year it is a mere ten days apart. It always seems a bit self-indulgent to ask people to spend their time and resources to commemorate my birth and then turn around a few days later and ask them to spend time and resources commemorating my assistance in others having birthed. But this year thanks to my Dad’s brilliant plan, the fact my Birthday and Father’s day are so cozy in placement on the calendar actually worked to my advantage as a way to bless some dear friends in the name of my Father.

I was invited by a group of friends and co-workers to go out to Lunch in order to acknowledge my arrival on this planet a mere 36 years ago. The plan was to go to lunch and everyone would pay for their own meal and split my portion amongst the attendees.  I went along with this plan, nodding and giving my approval at every turn.  But as we finished the meal I quietly got up and procured the check and paid for the entire brood myself.

Soon after the waitress came by and one of the attendees asked about the check and the waitress told them that I had already paid for it. Then came the half-hearted pleas of “Why did you do that”, “You didn’t have to” and “But it’s your birthday,” to which I quickly replied that “My Dad told me to take what money I would have spent blessing him this Father’s day and instead bless a group of people in his name, so in the name of the best Dad a son ever had…Happy Birthday to me!”

Perhaps I was a little full of myself and the feeling of having blessed these people, but the spiritual symbolism seemed to run pretty deep in my little luncheon. Those who had set out to bless someone else were actually the ones who ended up being blessed. My Dad chose not to receive but instead to give. So I chose not to receive and instead I gave and those that were giving received. Perhaps I was a little over engrossed in the moment, but the look of surprise and confusion that was followed by joy was truly worth every penny. And the best part is that was in the name of the Father…


Not only the wife of Jerrod and the mother of our grandchildren, but also, like her husband, when she joined the family, she embraced the mission, and for nearly two years, she traveled the country with Janet and myself as we presented dramatic readings from my novel based on the life of Jesus entitled, I’M … the legend of the son of man.

When I started a program in Tennessee called The Topper, which was merely giving the few dollars and coins at the top of one’s personal checking account to those in need, she has continued it on. She understands that the greatest way to tribute someone you love is to possess one of his fondest notions and make it her own. I just wanted you to know about her, and I just want to thank her on this Father’s Day for honoring me by honoring the principle of giving aid to those less enabled.


My final son spent the day in a true action of love. He found himself in a difficult situation, standing firm with a friend in need. I know he did this because he believed that was what was right, and what he was taught to be. He didn’t do it because it was pleasant; he didn’t do it because it was easy, but on this day before Father’s Day, he exemplified the kind of love that friends express to each other.


At times, when we give our love away, at first it seems like it is merely evaporating into the air, not to be absorbed or even acknowledged. But it is not so. Love never disappears, because love never breaks down from its chemical impact and its spiritual power. His name is Joel and I am very proud of him. And Joel, I can see your gift to me, in the love you expressed to your friends.

Never lose sight of the fact that faith and hope keep the world moving–but it is love that allows us to breathe.


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Justin and Angel, Jasson and Deahna, Daniel … June 16, 2012



He came to live in my home when he was nine years old. It was a three-pack, he arriving with two brothers. He was extraordinarily intelligent, but also possessed the first fruits of a nature to take mischief to darker arenas. I loved him dearly. We fought and argued all through his adolescent years, more or less because such a predestination was upon us. When he went to college he made a decision to go to China to finish his studies and also to learn how to become a film-maker. While there, he met a beautiful woman named Angel, who not only possessed great intelligence but also came pre-packaged with an understanding of his American

Justin and Angel

culture and was fluent in English. His name was Justin. The pair have recently returned to the United States so that she can attain her MBA at UCLA and presently they are on their way to Chicago, Illinois, so she can perform her summer apprenticeship. When I requested that my sons and daughters-in-law use any money proposed for Father’s Day gifts to bless others, this is the note I received from them:

To give you our love and blessings on father’s day, here is how we want to spend the money:
In 2010, we watched a documentary called COVE, telling a story about how tons of dolphins get slaughtered every year in Japan and the official institutions so far can’t do anything about it because of all kinds of political complication. And here is One single man from US fighting to save them in Japan and all over the World one at a time. The movie helped him to establish the Foundation called Cove to fundraise and gather volunteers to continue such Mission and also hopefully make a change in Japan’s brutal practice one day. To support him and Cove was something we have been wanting to do and should have done 2 years ago. And thank you for reminding us that outside our life, there are things bigger that we should care about and be part of. We will be donating the fund for father’s day to this organization and help them carry the mission forward!  Love on the road, Angel and Justin

(In all candor, I used to be quite suspicious, if not critical, of those who pursued animal rights causes, fearing they were more interested in the beasts of the field than the least of those in their own human race. But as time has gone on and I have allowed myself to grow a brain, I realize that the sensitivity to the needs of the animal kingdom only enhances an awareness to have the same compassion on those around us. Yes, I think it’s possible to care about a dolphin and your brothers and sisters in trials nearby. Matter of fact, I think it’s possible to be concerned over a squirrel without being squirrelly, while helping a bum without it becoming a bummer. So thanks to Justin and Angel.)


In June, 1986, my second-born son, Joshua, passed away after a painful six-year struggle of surviving a hit-and-run accident, which left him incapacitated. Almost three months to the date after Joshua’s death, we had a son born to us and we named him Jasson. Now, people do not replace one another like pictures on a wall, but what they do is provide a mural when the snapshot of joy has been removed from your life. And that Jasson was–talented, funny, possessing a soul and a heart along with his mind and strength, he has blessed me and our family over the years. Then to top everything off, he introduced us to Deahna,

Jasson and Deahna

who leaped into the experience of our family in full stride, and blessed every one of us with both her willingness and her independence. With her came a son named Justice, the budding delight needed at a time when all of our little ones had become big. When I made my request to have blessing given to others on my behalf for Father’s Day, I received the following:

My Dad asked me to not give him a gift this year for Father’s Day. Well, not a gift in the traditional sense. Instead of a tie rack,sunglasses that clip on to your regular glasses or some type of Edible Arrangement he requested that his sons honor him by giving to others. This is very much my Dad’s style – unending generosity and selflessness. My wife and I racked our brains trying to think of who to give to. We had landed on posting on Craigslist (since that is where we look for everything else) to find a family in need when it hit me. This is still Fathers Day and my Father has taught me how  and whom to give to my entire life. We rattled off a huge list of things that my Dad had taught me to love and revere and landed on a short list of ways to honor Jon Cring as a Father whilst giving to others.

My Dad always asks us to give money to him for his Birthday (instead of presents) so that he can bless everyone he can with the dollars we can accumulate. One of the main activities on these December 18ths is purchasing meals for people unbeknownst to them until they try to get their check. In an homage to this activity and working with our modest budget, we took the plan to a Popsicle shop (that we absolutely love) called Las Paletas. We purchased one Popsicle for my son (you cannot go to Las Paletas with a 3-year-old and deny him the pleasure of a chocolate-with mint chips treat) and then asked the associate who took our money to purchase the next 4 Popsicles for whomever came in after us to get frozen deliciousness. No one was currently behind us in line so we smiled and laughed while picturing the 4 perfect strangers who received a treat on this day because my Dad loves to bless. The young lady at the counter was incredibly giddy to take our request and particularly moved by the fact that it was in honor of my Father for Father’s day. She thanked us and my Dad for those who would not get the chance.

I was always instructed to give to the homeless. My Father instilled in me that these were human travelers in need that could use a couple of dollars far more than my judgment. They were in the throngs of the hardest of times and accusations of them being “lazy” or just “needing to get a job” were never allowed utterance in the household in which I was raised. Nashville no longer allows individuals to just request money/panhandle. If one needs to request funds they are to purchase newspapers entitled “the contributor” and then sell them for a dollar to people wherever they can. While looking for someone trying to sell one of these papers, we stopped at a grocery story. While walking in, I was stopped by an elderly gentleman leaning against the brick of the building. He explained that he was jobless and homeless and that on this special weekend he hoped to make a few bucks giving people Father’s Day cards. He had a handful of cards and envelopes and spoke of his, now passed, Father. I told him I love my Father very dearly and that he had asked me to not give him presents but rather to bless those around me for this Holiday. I took one of his cards and gave him far more cash than he requested. He said, “I don’t know your Daddy but I love him. God sent me a blessing and it was you.”

Finally, my Dad taught me that if you put a flower in a toilet it ceases to be a flower. The inner-city can be a rough place for children to be raised. They are not always given the best environment to succeed and I was taught that we should do all we can to help those dealt a more difficult hand to better their situation.  Also, Dad taught me to love the game of Football. He taught me how to play it with passion and discipline and his coaching of me in the sport helped mold me in many ways. That is why with the final few dollars I had left for this Father’s Day experiment I went to a local non-profit called Backfield in Motion. This center provides tutoring, camp, after-school-programs and football practice to the youth of the East Nashville inner city. I could not think of a place that more exemplified making a difference and that also dealt in the realms of what my Father had taught me was important. I crafted a short letter with the check I dropped off explaining why I was donating to the center and the man who inspired me to do so . It was a very fulfilling day thanks to a simple request from my pop, Jon Cring.

(It was so moving to me to receive this report. When Jasson was in high school, I always wondered if my escapades of charity and reaching out to the community were more embarrassing and confusing to him than enlightening. But as parents, we have to trust that ideas are like seeds–they rarely bloom immediately and may take years to gain root and blossom in the lives of our children. Just because apathy seems to be etched on the face of a young human, never assume that your efforts are meaningless. Thank you, Jasson and Deahna.)


The youngest of the three-pack who came into my home, as we absorbed them with our love and hopefully a bit of security, was Daniel.


He was six years old, full of life, and already ornery enough to get himself in trouble if circumstances allowed. I watched him carefully over the years, discovering his tender side without being ashamed and also uncovering the value of truth in his heart. He sent me a quick note last night and told me of his joys and adventures, attending Bonaroo rock festival and even some encounters with young ladies he met. He politely asked me if it was all right if he went in with Jasson and Deahna on their project (since he was a single guy and all). Daniel, the answer is yes. And also, I want you to know how happy I am that you’re finding yourself, and that what you’re discovering is revealing and peeling back layers–unveiling a true person with true colors. I love you dearly.

Well, that’s what came in via my request to take Father’s Day funds and use them to enrich the lives of others. I hope you enjoyed it. I still have three little birds out there flying who may yet come in, and if they do, I will include them in tomorrow’s message. Always remember, if you were once a father, you can still enhance the lives of your children by changing things that need revision. And you also have the ability to stand on the good things you planted, allowing time the dignity and opportunity … to let them grow.


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Happy Feathers Day … June 15, 2012


No, it’s not a misprint. The word IS feathers.

For after all, there has to be something more involved in fatherhood than just being present for conception and providing room and board for your chickadees. Actually, the job is to encourage the foundation and growth of good human beings. So every year when this Father’s Day holiday comes along, I like to take a look at where my family is in the context of what I deem to be important, and what I believe to be universally applicable.

Your children can be like “feathers in your cap.” They are a confirmation of your efforts, and proof-positive that you actually showed up for the job, punched the clock and did an excellent day’s work before heading home.

I’m going to give you a list of ten things that I ask about my children each year, to evaluate how many feathers I feel I can put in my own cap concerning my humble efforts with my offspring. They are more or less questions which I carefully evaluate to note progress, or on occasion, some back-sliding.

1. Do my children respect other people’s rights to privacy and choice? (Prejudice is not part of DNA. It is force-fed to children who have no other information but what they hear.)

2. Does my offspring honor excellence and challenge mediocrity? (Making excuses for poor work is the first step to lying, which is the path to all iniquity.)

3. Can they laugh at themselves? (We are living in a generation that can mock but has little ability to be meek about their own weaknesses.)

4. Do they watch AND pray? (It’s what Jesus told us to do. Don’t just piously recite prayers, but also watch and be attentive to your own life and how to make things better.)

5. Do my children believe in the family of man? (There’s a great danger in our times of becoming overly focused on our immediate genealogy, ignoring the greater fellowship in the world around us.)

6. Do they receive the truth? (The truth is always a shock if you don’t constantly remind yourself that your opinion probably needs additional input.)

7. Do they enjoy the world but also recognize when it has gone crazy and make a stand? (It’s very important to be congenial, but not a pushover when things have gone awry and principles need to be honored.)

8. Can they make a stand for what they hold true? (Often peacefulness and cowardice can be the same action if we are willing to sacrifice the power of what is proving to work in our lives.)

9. Do they know that the kingdom of God is within them? (All religion is an attempt to break down our personal responsibility to a few exercises of worship instead of using our lives as a vehicle for creating peace.)

10. Are they creative? (The true test of creativity is to have the sensibility to stop and listen when frustration is trying to make you repeat bad habits.)

So there you go. Those are the ten “feathers in my cap,” available to me if I discover each and every year that my children have continued to pursue the good path on which I tried to place them. Of course, along the way, they pick up excellent ideas of their own. That’s how the generations move forward instead of backwards.

Honestly, each and every year, the tally is a little different. Each and every child scores uniquely. I don’t judge them by this test, but rather, evaluate whether our particular rendition of humanity is blessing the planet or merely inhabiting it.

But always keep in mind, if some of these ideas were never transfused into your children when they were growing up, you still have the power–through repentance–to set a new example, even at a distance. I want my children to see that Dad wasn’t always right, but that Dad is still moving to find out what is.

So–Happy Feathers Day! Because the feather we can stick in our cap is knowing that we have unleashed on the world folks who have come through our household who are not lethal to others … and might just be ready to offer abundant life.


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Jon and Tracy … June 14, 2012


I had an idea.

In lieu of my children giving me presents for Father’s Day, I asked each one of them to take the money they would have targeted for my gift and find a way to bless somebody else in the circumference of their life and tell this individual they were doing it in honor of their father.

I certainly don’t need any more “stuff” to carry with me on the road, and it sounded like the experiment would yield all sorts of pleasant and interesting results. I also asked my sons and daughters-in-law to send me the results of their escapades in story form so I could share them on my jonathots with you readers.

Well, I asked this last week, and then sent out another email to my familial “entourage,” reminding them of the task. Yesterday I received my first response, from my first-born and his wife.

Jon Russell and Tracy Nicole live in Albany, New York, and make movies for a living. Actually, it would be more accurate to say they somehow scratch out a living in the process of making movies. However you may speak about their situation financially, they are absolutely ecstatic in what they do and thrilled to be together.

For a season of about three years, I was their dramatic muse, penning the screenplays for their projects. About a year ago, I asked them to expand themselves, meet new people and get the mind and the heart of other scribblers. Now let me explain something about my relationship with Jon and Tracy. We love each other dearly but disagree on many things. I have never been afraid of a good disagreement, nor did I teach my children to think that merely finding oneself in an adversarial position with a loved one was of any particular dastardly significance. In other words, people who think always disagree. It’s the price you pay for thinking instead of just blindly following. You will occasionally find yourself at odds with others, even though you love them dearly. And the only reason I share that particular friction with you is that even though I’ve had my disagreements with this pair, I can still always count on them to jump in with both feet and usually be one of the first ones to respond to both need and desire.

Thus, in this case, they are my first family members to bring forth their story about what they did with money alloted for Dad’s Day, which instead, was used to benefit others.

Jon and Tracy took their money, went out into the streets of Albany, New York, and asked a complete stranger what he or she would do if they suddenly found themselves in the possession of an unexpected five dollars. As long as the person had an immediate plan, Jon and Tracy gave them five dollars in my honor. It was fascinating to listen to the story. Matter of fact, you can hear the entire verbal exchange they had with the Upper State folks because I have placed the audio link on my website (below).

But the thing that came out of the experience for me is that lots of folks just don’t know what to do when they’re surprised–and often believe there is a hidden “snake in the basket” instead of a “blessing in the bushel.” I do not know has made us so suspicious and frightened of one another, but if somebody has plotted to make us paranoid, then they should go reward themselves with a fine dinner, because they have accomplished their mission.

But you can listen for yourself, and as you do, keep Jon and Tracy in mind–and even though I love them dearly and disagree with them on several fine points of art and entertainment, you won’t find two people who are more desirous to find joy in their lives in what they do than this duo.

Matter of fact, that’s my first suggestion about fatherhood. One of the greatest things you can do for your children is to teach them to blend work and play. If you want to make a grouchy human being, make a distinction between the work they have to do that is holding up the clock on possible playtime. I taught my children to play while they work, but also to work while they play. Blending the two makes you realize that nothing in life is too painful as long as you decorate it adequately.

So much thanks to Jon and Tracy for spreading a blessing across the Empire State in my honor. And I hope you enjoy listening to the audio of their experience on this website.

Make your work playful, and make your play time work for you–because you’ve organized it well.

Not a bad tip … and not a bad son and daughter-in-law, for that matter.


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