I’m Looking For… A Cool Cat January 31, 2013

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cats

I don’t like cats.

I find them to be finicky, fussy–portraying great promise, with very little evidence of actual worth.

I grew up with them. My mother loved cats. There were always at least three or four hanging around our house. A case could be made that I’ve overdosed on the furballs, but the truth is I’ve just gotten to know them so well that I no longer find their peculiarities to be cute, but rather, obnoxious and arrogant.

They don’t really like people. Now, I’m sure your pet cat is the exception to the rule, but if you’ll allow me to analyze the species as a whole without feeling that I’m attacking Muffin, here are the things about cats that I don’t like:

  1. They use people when they need them and discard them at will.
  2. It is necessary to de-claw them because their jungle instincts come out only in disdain for your furniture.
  3. They never love when you need love, only when their psyche personally requires it.
  4. They leave the house and kill birds–actually, an estimated three and a half billion last year.
  5. They don’t make eye contact. They walk at a distance from you, looking askance.
  6. They don’t come when you call them. They interpret this as independence when it is actually overwrought self-worth.
  7. They will occasionally just walk out of the house to never return, leaving no note behind explaining their departure.

Please understand–I think cats have a greater potential in physiology and even attitude for FAR surpassing the dog in viability to the human family. They just don’t care. They are not interested in the propagation of our race or the whims and desires of our needs.

Cats aren’t cool.

So I am looking for a cool cat. Yes, I mean this in the sense of the feline, but also the “we-line.” Here are things I think would help make cats cooler:

  1. Stop playing so hard to get. They may refer to you as a Persian cat, but it doesn’t mean you’re royalty.
  2. Be grateful that somebody’s calling you, and walk across the room to respond to their beckoning.
  3. Never scowl or spat at those around you, even when they come up behind and surprise.
  4. Bury your crap a little deeper in the litter and stop being offended because people are not impressed with the residue of your stinky.
  5. Stop disdaining the dogs around you and realize that you’re not better just because you’re a cat.
  6. Enjoy the food set before you, even if it’s not presented in a fancy glass dish and garnished with a bit of parsley.
  7. Maintain the dignity of your claws–just don’t use them on people you love or the things they own.

There you go. Today, I feel like I have rebuilt the cat–and in the process, maybe I, myself, can learn to avoid the choice of being a lap dog … by learning how to be a cool cat.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Last Night … January 10, 2013

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The success of any adventure is usually devised in one’s own mind, wherein the failure is likewise plotted.

Often I don’t believe that.

I falljon and jan oboe victim to the concept that circumstances can be so intense or forbidding that no matter how much effort or good attitude I bring to the table, it ends up being impossible to create a banquet. Foolish.

Yesterday I had a 300-mile round trip to go to a small church in Palm Bay, Florida, to put on a program. The number of people projected to attend the event was not much more than one would have at a large dinner party. I began to focus on my potential fatigue–the energy I would have to expend to perform this deed–and preliminarily, depressed myself with the “notion of the motion.” In other words, I had a dread before I was dead.

But I have learned one or two things as I have opened up the magic box of tricks provided for me on life’s journey, and the main thing that has finally settled in my soul as truth is that nothing is decided until I bring everything I’ve got, invite God along on the journey and then actually play it out.

So when I arrived at the church, I was suddenly struck by a verse which commands us, as people of faith, that when we come to a house we should salute it.

Now, this always seemed like a silly little piece of advice. After all, a house is just four walls with corresponding furniture and knick-knacks. But I realized, as I stared at the building in front of me where we were scheduled to present our ideas, that many sermons, discussions, meetings and even arguments had occurred in this edifice long before my arrival.

I think locations have emotional wallpaper. Because the doings in a room have been so repetitive over the years, the people who find themselves walking in the doors fall under the spell of the surrounding spirit. I know that sounds creepy, and I’m not suggesting that any particular address is inhabited by demons or angels. I’m just saying that we get accustomed to the procedures tied to certain buildings and we convince ourselves that nothing can be changed. That’s why we say Congress and Washington, D.C. are hopeless. Religion also seems locked in to emotional wallpaper, which can be anything from sullen to judgmental to joyous.

This is why Jesus wanted us to salute a house when we enter it. He said if the house is worthy, that “your peace will come upon it.”

So instead of being in a grumpy mood about my drive all the way up to Palm Bay, I decided to walk into the house of Fellowship United Methodist Church and salute it. Matter of fact, I saluted the youth room, where I sat to prepare for the service. I saluted the narthex, where people gather before entering to worship. Doggone it, I even saluted the bathroom.

I felt a little weird doing so, but I realized that God has called me to speak my piece to the world around me. Even as I sit in my motel room today, I realize that this space has been rented many times. It’s been the scene for happiness, sleep and maybe even violence. I have an opportunity during my stay to change the emotional wallpaper–to leave behind my peace.

If the house is worthy, my peace will remain. And Jesus said if it’s not worthy, my salute and peace will return to me–unscathed. It’s a pretty good deal.

I didn’t come to this planet to leave things the way I found them. There is much emotional wallpaper hanging off the halls of justice, schools, homes, churches and auditoriums in this country. They need to be renovated. We need to believe once again that our salute has value because it brings peace.

I saluted those beautiful people last night, who actually came out in abundance. And I found a worthy place–where my peace remains.

It made the long drive back much easier, and it makes this morning sweeter to know that I haven’t come to use my talents to tear down anything.

I am an interior decorator of mankind.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Motelin Just What … May 29, 2012

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Somewhere between $35.95 cents and $169.99 is the average cost of a motel room in this country for one night. Of course, there are places where you can pay much more for a room based upon locale, special events or some little extra accommodation advertised. But generally speaking, most motels will blush with embarrassment once they go above that top dollar.

It is probably one of the most diversely priced items in this country. For instance, if I told you that a gallon of milk ranged between $1.23 and $18.55, you would be up in arms and ready to lynch some dairy farmer in Wisconsin. Yet the motel industry seems to get by with it by maintaining some dubious rationale in its advertising.

I will tell you right now, after having traveled nearly forty years staying in these establishments, which the top fifty dollars of every price is paying for the name, the location, or the privilege of eyeballing staff wearing coats and ties rather than t-shirts and jeans. If that is relatively important to you, then you should pull out that money and spend it heartily.

Thirty dollars of the price of a motel room in the higher range is for the privilege of being with clientele of your particular social ilk. Yes, I am saying it out loud—cheaper motels tend to draw people who don’t have as much money and unfortunately, in this country we contend that those souls are the source of our crime and violence. (Obviously, not so.)

Motels that charge you a lot of money for the rooms refer to these cheaper establishments as “flea bags–infested with bugs, or dens of drugs and prostitution. Of course, once again, very little truth in the matter (although I would not recommend taking out a motel room adjacent to an adult bookstore.)

If you will allow me to put it into perspective for you, a motel room is a simulation of a master bedroom.  Bed, dresser, closet, television set and adjoining bathroom. And nowadays, most of them have microwaves and refrigerators for convenience, which is a consideration we all might have in the future for our own home unit.

There are really three questions you must ask yourself about your motel room for the night that are essential for a good stay:

1. How much room in the room? Unless you have become very familiar with your traveling companion or don’t mind cramped quarters, being able to walk around your room without running into walls or furniture is a plus.

2. Can I park in front of the door or near to my room? One of the biggest misconceptions is that motel rooms that are enclosed, with a parking lost adjoining are safer than those where you can pull up to your door with your car. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would not want to rob from cars that are right next to the windows of the owner. I would find a nice, large parking lot far from the front desk–and take my pick.

3. Now, this may surprise you. Staying in a motel room is all about the bathroom. You should be careful of those establishments that miniaturize everything in the toilet area so as to condense space so the room can look larger—because all of the plumbing may look Snow White, but it is best suited for the seven dwarves. Especially beware of toilet seats that are round instead of oblong. They tend to be very uncomfortable and are usually encased by a wall on either side, giving you the feeling that you are being wedged into your experience. The bathroom is the key to a motel room. Good lighting, double sinks a plus–or even a sink in the bathroom and one outside the bathroom is really handy. The shower should be easy to get in and out of and have good pressure.

Once you discover these pieces of information, you understand that the most you should probably pay for a motel room is about $75 a night. Everything above that is advertising name, location, staff or a hot breakfast which is offered to you, including eggs, bacon and sausage (which, by the way, is completely unnecessary unless you’re a lumberjack felling trees in the Yukon.)

As you find with everything else in life, there are ways to save money without losing quality. That seems to stymie a lot of folks, including the U.S. government and Congress–because at least half of what people refer to as quality is name-brand assurance that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong.

So the Holiday Inn wants you to pay extra money for their good name over “Bob and Mary’s Motel” down the street–because in the case of some unforeseen difficulty, they want you to believe they would handle it better than Bob and Mary. But since we don’t know what that unforeseen difficulty would be, and no one knows what anyone would do, you end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing–similar to buying extra insurance coverage on a car rental.

So I pulled into Denver yesterday and went to my motel, and as always, it ends up being a mixed bag. The room is small but has a lovely bathroom with an accessible shower AND throne. The air conditioning unit needs some work, but we’ve already met the maintenance man and he seems congenial and willing to try. The television set is too big for the room, but that hardly seems like something one should complain about after simply noting it. And the furniture is not made of oak or covered with leather, but instead, looks like your Uncle Charlie made it out in the garage because he’s hoping to someday leave his job at the factory and start a business.

I feel very good every week upon discovering a diamond in the rough and saving money that people have given me so that I can travel—to use it wisely to buy quality instead of merely a name or false assurance. If we could teach the financiers of our nation the same concept and we would begin to barter once again for better pricing on items instead of signing lifelong contracts with companies based on their previous reputations, we could begin to emerge from this dark cloud of indebtedness and arrogant spending with some dignity–and even have a little fun in the process.

Fortunately for me, I have a traveling companion who enjoys cutting a corner here and there as long as she doesn’t lose and arm or a leg. If we could just find people to elect to be our representatives who had similar mindsets, we would be all set.

So those are my discoveries about moteling. To sum it up, if you need a name, or if you are afraid of being next door to someone who makes less than 50K a year, then you will probably end up paying for the higher priced institutions, for the powdered eggs in the morning, convincing yourself it was worth it. But if you realize that buying a name doesn’t mean guaranteeing quality, or sharing the neighborhood with people who don’t have late-model cars but do have contemporary standards and morals–then you can shop around and save yourself upwards to fifty or sixty dollars a night.

Last week I met some of the most interesting people at the swimming pool where we were staying in Grand Junction, Colorado. They were young enough to be my children or grandchildren, and I befriended them, loved them and enjoyed them, discovering many twists and turns in their ever-evolving lives. It was fascinating.

So “motelin’ just what you’re looking for,” as you stay overnight somewhere, realize that money can be easily spent pursuing a security–that is never pre-ordained.

 

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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