Three Ways to Blaze a Trail … October 16, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Davy Crockett

1. Find a forest that needs a path.

There are many bramble bushes of confusion in society today. It often seems that the only way they’re being addressed is by pundits who further confuse the issues. So you can become a force of nature simply by problem solving instead of problem debating.

The three largest difficulties facing us at this point are gender inequality, racial prejudice and pernicious apathy. There is plenty of room for trail-blazers.

Find a forest. Build a path.

2. Don’t be afraid of the bears and the wolves.

There are bears in our society who want to scare you away with their growl and claws, and wolves who would like to take a bite of you in order to establish their dominance. But just like the bears and wolves in the actual woods, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

Walk confidently, let them see you coming, and stay faithful without apprehension.

3. Cut down some trees so people can see the forest.

You remember the old saying: “can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Sometimes nature gets in the way of our progress. There are institutions, organizations and even religious conclaves which must be trimmed down to make room for human beings to enjoy the forest.

We can no longer merely throw our hands up in the air and sigh, “What am I going to do?” and think that we’re going to have the life we presently enjoy, or anything resembling it, to pass onto our children.

You will need to blaze a trail, but like all the pioneers and explorers before you, you will have to escape your seat of comfort and learn how to take dominion in unknown territory. 

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Staring Out the Window… November 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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logI sent my two sons out into a nearby woods to look for a huge log. They were exhilarated because I had explained to them the concept of a yule log, placed on the fire to burn all night on Christmas Eve.

Honestly, I didn’t expect them to find such a piece of wood just lying on the ground in the forest, but I thought it would be quite an adventure for them, and I just really wanted to be alone.

For the past year and a half, I had settled into a situation that was unsatisfying. There was plenty of money. Everything seemed fine. But I had quietly walked away from my calling, my talent and my aspirations. Oh, I still occasionally wrote something, or sang a song, just to remind myself of former days. But I had swallowed up domestication while allowing myself to be swallowed.

It was a strange series of events which brought me to this little duplex in Sacramento. (Actually, it was Citrus Heights. We were thrilled because our address was on Orange Avenue in Citrus Heights. Isn’t that cool? We thought it was.) Even though our lodge was humble and simple, it was the best thing we’d had as a home for a long time. It had a fireplace, a sunken living room, a dining room and enough bedrooms that you didn’t have to hear another family member snore.

So on this day, as the boys made the trek into the woods, I stared out the window into the cold December grayness. It was so beautiful.

It was also terrific to be moving forward. The sensation was overwhelming and brought tears to my eyes and a resolution to my spirit. I would truly never allow myself to be surrounded by mediocrity again.

As I stared into the distance, I closed my eyes and reopened them like a shutter on a camera, taking a picture. I wanted to make sure I would never forget the morning–surrounded by silence, chilled to the bone by joy and at peace with myself.

It was so beautiful.

All at once, coming toward me in the distance were my two boys. Between them was a large log they found in their quest. I had to laugh. They had performed the impossible. They had done something unexpected.

May we all be so blessed.

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My Old Dog… October 23, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

His name was Madez.I sure did love that old dog–as much as one is able to express deep affection to a mere mutt. He was a house dog. During his stay on this planet, he lived a life of luxury, seemingly having an opinion on every household matter and settling in on his favorite places to slumber, which was often and frequent.

But once a day he enjoyed going out and roaming through our back yard into a nearby woods, pretending he was actually a viable member of the animal kingdom. He usually was not gone very long–thirty minutes or so–but on one particular afternoon he didn’t return for several hours and we became a little concerned about his whereabouts. Just before sunset, there was the familiar scratching on our front door, informing us that His Majesty was ready to reenter his castle.

I went to the door and absent-mindedly almost opened it to let him in, but in the nick of time, looked down to discover that he was covered in sticky burrs, had ticks all over him and what appeared to be fleas leaping from his nose to his head with a daredevil tumble to his backside. Madez tried to push on through the opening and enter as if there was no problem whatsoever. I was appalled and instinctively shut the door, unfortunately catching the tip of his nose and inviting a most ungodly yelp. I apologized for my lack of consideration, but made it clear to him that I had no intention of letting him into the house in his condition. He didn’t understand.

So as I tried to figure out which one of my children I was going to burden with the job of de-burring, de-ticking and de-fleaing our dog, he perched himself outside the door and began to whine and bark for entrance into the house, which was his domain.

You see, I couldn’t do it. Even though the old dog was fine, the friends he had picked up on his little journey were not welcome in my abode. They were back-biting, blood-sucking sticklers that had no business being in a civilized environment. Madez had to be quarantined for a while to be made suitable to enter his original domicile.

I want you to keep this story in mind as I explain my next point. As I watched the two old dogs square off last night during the debate at Lynn College, I realized that these two gentlemen were fine men–individuals I would be more than happy to count as friends and even comrades. What bothers me is that both of them have been walking out in the woods of their particular party affiliation and now are trying to get back into my life, carrying all of their fleas, ticks and burrs.

Yes, the problem with electing a President in this country is that he, and hopefully someday she, is associated with many back-biting, blood-sucking sticklers, who have an agenda of their own that is not inclusive of everyone else. It makes these two old dogs dangerous to us. Even though we may love them, we can’t let them bring the forest vermin into our house of freedom. It’s just not going to work.

So my dear friends, it’s not so much what Mitt Romney or Barack Obama are going to do if they are President of the United States that concerns me. If I can be candid with you, many of those decisions are already pre-determined or set in motion, as you could tell last night, when they ended up agreeing on more matters of foreign policy than being in dissension. The problem lies with the nastiness and short-sighted creatures that cling to their coats and come into that oval office with them, demanding that their specific special interests be given more attention than is really necessary or due.

Yes, I think a decision for President this year is based upon what fleas, ticks and burrs you think will be easiest to remove from your favorite old dog.

With Romney, you get the Christian Coalition, the Tea Party, anti-abortion, the NRA … well, I could go on. Each one of these organizations has an agenda that is very specific and unfortunately, fails to pass all of the standards of American inclusion and personal freedom. Also, I must be honest–they infest the fur and hide of Mr. Romney.

On the other hand, Barack Obama is surrounded by liberalism, over-dependence on government programs, pseudo-intellectualism and often more concern for baby seals than babies in the womb. These advocates, which cling to the carcass of Mr. Obama, are equally as dangerous to general inclusion and freedom.

The pestilence on Mr. Romney would love to get rid of all liberals, the state of California and most of the east coast.

The nasty bugs on Mr. Obama have a hankering to believe that everyone south of New York City is a hillbilly.

They are dangerous. Both of them.

So there really are only two questions. Number one: which one of these men is going to have the greatest ability and backbone, to stand up to the blood-sucking, back-biting sticklers from his own party and do what is right for all the American people? Number Two–which one of these men can grow in maturity with the office and become a statesman rather than a mouthpiece for this brief season for his political brotherhood?

For to be a good President is always to lose the support of your own people, and even for a season, to baffle the will of the nation. Just ask Abraham Lincoln, as he struggled over the issue of slavery.

You see, I couldn’t let Madez in my house until he was cleansed of all his unrighteousness. And we can’t let Mitt Romney into the White House until we’re certain that he won’t bring all of his “bugs” with him. Likewise, we must not allow Barack Obama to continue to be President until we’re confident that he’s been de-loused.

The choice is simple. Who will have the guts to sit out on the porch and allow himself to be shampooed and made worthy to enter the White House? And who is so tied up with his own walk in the woods that he demands entrance without being freed?

There you go, friends. By the way, it took one of my sons about an hour and a half to get Madez ready for the house again–and honestly, for two or three days after, we still found an occasional pesky flea and a perseverant tick. All of them had to be removed so that our dog was worthy of his surroundings.

And in like manner, all of these pests will have to be removed to make sure that one of these men is worthy of the White House.

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Deer, Antelope … May 3, 2012

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Home, home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope …

I must tell you a secret. (Actually, if I’m sharing with thousands of people on the Internet, it is no longer a secret, but rather, a perceived private thought.) I have been in Antelope Valley for four days now and I have seen … NO antelope. Now, I am not trying to accuse the Chamber of Commerce of some mass conspiracy to defraud the public about meandering wildlife, but no antelope have come before my eyes. And I’m also beginning to seriously doubt that I am actually in a valley. But rather than becoming cynical about the poor choice of name for this region, I have chosen to believe that for some bizarre explanation, the antelope are protesting.

After all, it is not easy to be an antelope. Basically, you are just as functional and attractive as a deer, but they get all the press. After all, they have Bambi. There’s no movie out about Antwerp, the Crusading Antelope who leaps through the woods trying to prevent deforestation. Why do people prefer deer to antelope? Here’s a piece of propaganda–deer supposedly have antlers, but antelope have horns. And after all, once we establish that any creature is “horny,” we are riddled with suspicion. Those things protruding on both of their heads are the same stuff–the only difference being that the antlers seem to rise to the sky and the antelope’s efforts curve. This is apparently distasteful. So deer are “oohed and ahhed” over and antelope are basically treated like some sort of mutant goat.

That would be enough to upset any antelope–and then, along comes this misleading song about life on the range. In this anthem, deer and antelope are portrayed as “playing.” Now, the deer will survive this slight–being trivialized–but the antelope, who are already suffering from the public relations “Horn of Unplenty” are left looking like  twisted, misshapen deer who just want to fool around.

It is so upsetting to the more religious antelope from the First United Antelopians that they have insisted that the words of the song, Home on the Range, be changed to “…where the deer and the antelope PRAY.” It may be a bit too sacred, but it certainly escapes the frivolity of presenting the species as lackluster and lazy, frolicking through the woods, purposeless. The Antelopians have decided to pray that the word “pray” will be placed into the song instead of the word “play,” preying on their reputation. (How about THAT sentence??)

Another group of antelope, with a more political bend, has decided to lobby for changing the song to “…where the deer and the antelope PAY”–a protest over high taxes and rising prices, which are debilitating the local economy.

Any way you look at it, the antelope must be extremely upset to miss an opportunity to show up in a community which has actually honored them by naming its valley after their sake. So what do YOU think? Do you favor the more pious rendition, where “the deer and the antelope pray?” God knows, we need more prayer. (Wait a second … Does God know we need more prayer? Is God really looking to increase His work load? Isn’t that what more prayer would put upon Him? And what would an antelope pray? Is God really supposed to interrupt His day to hear supplications about the need for more berries? Or… “why are my horns crooked, and not pointing to heaven?” I’m sorry. I digress.)

Or do you swing more towards the politically bent antelope, who want to protest high taxation? Where “the deer and the antelope pay“? (Their problem is actually quite human. They do not understand why taxes are being levied on middle-class antelope when it’s obvious from the economy directly above them that there are creatures “squirreling it away”…)

For I will tell you this. The antelope are fed up with “never hearing a discouraging word” and they just can’t figure out what it means…”and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

Maybe that’s it. Maybe the whole song is just faulty and should never have been recorded in the first place. Maybe the guy who wrote the song never saw a deer and certainly never followed an antelope around to find out the extent of its daily activity, and just rendered them “playful” instead of “prayerful” or just good-paying citizens.

Whatever the reason, there are no antelope in sight. (I actually haven’t seen any deer, either.)

Let me suggest a more appropriate name for this region: Cactus Valley. Another possibility: Blowing Dust Valley.

Although I have to say … I am still a little bit dubious that there’s a valley anywhere nearby.

  

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