G-Poppers … February 16th, 2018

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There’s no upside to horror.

After seventeen bodies lay in a schoolyard, riddled with bullets, any attempt to assign valor, purpose or mission to such a scene of mayhem is sacrilegious.

G-Pop insists that three things should never be stated:

A. “They’re in a better place.”

No mortal can say such a thing for certain. Since we have not navigated the oceans of eternity, we should be careful touting our knowledge from our port of bewilderment.

B. “There were heroes.”

There are no heroes in a murder spree. There are people who die, people who intelligently run and people who feel compelled in the moment to step in and try to stop the craziness. All of them are victims.

C. “No one saw it coming.”

Liars.

Rather than getting worked up into a froth over gun control, sit down and understand the process of what causes someone to reach a point where they unleash bullets into the bodies of their brothers and sisters.

There is a fourteen-step process. Yes, at any point in the fourteen steps, these killers can be stopped.

1. “I’m disturbed.”

You know the crazies in your family. Take care of them.

2. “I’m disturbing others.”

Disturbed people are not satisfied with a solitude of pain. They want notice, attention and to inflict heartache on others.

3. “I insist on being the victim.”

Disturbed people who are disturbing others will accuse them of bullying and mistreatment.

4. “I threaten.”

This is the first sign that the soul of the human in front of you is beginning to disintegrate.

5. “I am drenched in self-pity.”

Look for lack of hygiene, wearing dark clothes, smelling bad on purpose, grimacing and hiding away.

6. “I plot.”

Not the final plot–just ways to communicate that everyone is crazy and he is misunderstood.

7. “I intimidate.”

Sometimes it’s animals. Sometimes a next-door little boy, but they always go through this phase of domination.

8. “I write warnings.”

Read their Facebook. See the journal they scribble in. It will be filled with rancor and hate.

9. “I purchase a weapon.”

10. “I practice.”

11. “I am arrogant and brag about my gun.”

12. “I wait for the right moment, which will seem logical to me for committing my insane action.”

13. “I warn.”

There’s always someone who’s told.

14. “I kill.”

Pursuing gun control is a piece of liberal propaganda to pass the responsibility for the poor mental health of many of our young people on to the National Rifle Association.

You can’t tell grown-ups in America what they can’t have or do.

But you realize that disturbed people go through a definitive process before they kill. The children in Parkland knew who the shooter was long before anyone told them. Why weren’t the grown-ups listening?

Every young person in America, along with his or her SAT scores, should have to pass a basic mental health exam before going to high school and then college. Maybe before high school.

It is not an intrusion–it is an inclusion which will protect them and those around them from the screaming demons that want to release hell.

 

 

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Catchy (Sitting 35) Feel the Steel … February 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Tremaine Wilkerson was black…to this day.

He and Matthew had become friends in high school, mainly because Tremaine was the only black student within three counties and also, Matthew wanted to place on his college entrance application that he had a black friend.

Their closeness was cemented when the two of them were elected to attend a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and they were driving around at night, in a car which they had boosted from one of the sponsors to go joy-riding, when they were stopped by an Atlanta police officer.

It was two o’clock in the morning and neither Tremaine nor Matthew appeared a drizzle over sixteen years of age. Matthew was at the wheel so the officer asked for a license and registration. (Matthew was impressed that he was able to come up with half of the request.) The policeman was not appeased.

The cop was greatly interested in Tremaine. For you see, Tremaine was a very large boy–the kind you think should play football or basketball, although he had given no attention to either sport. He had also allowed his hair to go natural–so he had a huge Afro, which would only have seemed appropriate for a dancer on Soul Train. The Atlanta constable did not find it particularly appealing.

He had Tremaine get out, pushed him up against the car, had him spread his legs and searched him for anything that might seem the least little bit controversial.

Matthew realized he needed to do something, so he interrupted the cop and said, “Listen, I have to admit I’m a bratty kid–wealthy–and this young fellow is my butler. He didn’t want to go out on this drive, but it was his job to keep an eye on me. I foolishly borrowed this car, and now I see how ridiculous it was. So if you will just forgive me, I’ll drive us back and we’ll never do anything so stupid again.”

Matthew knew the speech was very flimsy, but the policeman seemed relieved that the black fellow was not an equivalent, but rather, a servant. He gave a stern warning to Matthew and sent them on their way.

Tremaine never forgot it.

So when Matthew was trying to draft a plan to get information about what was really going on with Jo-Jay, Carlos and the mysterious death of Prophet Morgan, he decided to contact Tremaine, who was now married, living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, working as a chemist, writing poetry on the weekends.

Matthew outlined the following plan:

He wanted to use Tremaine’s ethnic appearance to scare the shit out of Michael Hinston. So Matthew hired four good-natured buddies who were “goon-like” to assist Tremaine in kidnapping Michael Hinston following one of his handball game at the local Y, and take the distinguished Congressman to the back unit of a storage facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tremaine listened carefully, trying not to interrupt, but about three-quarters of the way through the unfolding of the plot, he felt compelled to interject.

“Matthew, you do know I’m a chemist?”

“I do,” said Matthew, “but can I say that I’m interested in some of the other aspects of your chemistry?”

Tremaine frowned. “You mean the fact that I’m black and have a ‘fro?”

“Yes,” said Matthew, “and pretty muscular.”

“I work out,” said Tremaine.

“It shows,” cited Matthew.

Now Matthew knew that Tremaine was an altruistic soul. Matter of fact, Tremaine had a soft spot in his heart for the black kids on the south side of Chicago, and volunteered every summer for two weeks to assist with the young folks, and gave money based upon his budget.

Matthew offered, “If you’ll do this for me, I will donate $25,000 to the dudes from South Chicago.”

Tremaine shook his head. “You do know kidnapping is against the law, right?”

Matthew feigned surprise. “No…I wish you hadn’t told me.”

Matthew laughed but Tremaine didn’t. Yet for some reason the passive black man from the Wolverine State agreed to participate.

It was not terribly complicated. Michael Hinston popped out of the YMCA whistling a happy tune and was immediately nabbed by the four hired goons, had a bag thrown over his head, and was tossed into a nearby beat-up Ford van.

Realizing that Tremaine was not going to be prepared for such an encounter, Matthew had written a script for him.

“Lay there quietly and don’t say a word or I’ll slit your throat,” warned Tremaine, with too many delays for the speech to sound natural.

Congressman Michael kept objecting while offering money, favors and possible other Congressmen who would be better to kidnap because of their more powerful positions.

Cued by the script, Tremaine continued. “Shut up! Shut up, honky bastard! Shut up, Congressman Whitewash!” and finally, “Shut up or I’ll kilt you!”

There was one other line, which was, “Stop axing too many questions!”

Arriving at the storage unit, Matthew met the van with a finger on his lips, warning Tremaine and the goons to remain silent so the Congressman wouldn’t know he was present.

The script continued with stage direction: “Tremaine, you do the lines, and I, Matthew, will do all the motions.”

They carried Hinston into the storage unit, pulling down the door for privacy, sat him in a wooden chair, tying him to the slats and legs. Michael was obviously distressed. Matthew motioned for Tremaine to read his next line.

Tremaine looked down, reading ahead, and then back up at Matthew, perplexed. Matthew nodded, encouraging him to go ahead, so Tremaine uttered, “I be knowing that yous be a killer. You kilts the Prophet and took the young woman and spit her out in the jungle.”

Tremaine turned to Matthew, looking like he had just bitten into a lemon. Matthew again encouraged him to continue.

“I be’s tellin’ you this one time. You talk or I’m gonna cuts your tongue out and stick it in your hand.”

Tremaine stepped back and admired himself for this particular performance. When Tremaine mentioned “cut your tongue out,” Matthew lifted the bag, stuck a knife underneath and rubbed the cold steel against Michael’s cheek. Matthew then pointed at Tremaine.

Tremaine glanced at the script, and using his best inner-city voice, growled, “Feel the steel.”

Michael peed his pants.

It was unpleasant to experience, but made the goons standing in the background giggle uncontrollably. Matthew tried to silence them but he, himself was quite amused.

There was no need for further intimidation. Michael began to expound on the story of his life. He shared everything he knew–which ended up being very little.

He explained that he had been coerced by the CLO to have Jubal Carlos arrested in Vegas, and to suggest that there should be an investigation into Jubal and the movement over the mysterious murder of Morgan.

He knew nothing about Jo-Jay.

He knew nothing about further plans.

And he closed off with a whimpering sigh, whining, “I’m nobody. Just ask anybody.”

Matthew believed him. He walked over and quietly loosened the ropes on Michael’s wrists and legs. Tremaine had one final line:

“You stay here for an hour, you white bastard, and then you can loosen yourself and leave. But don’t you be makin’ trouble for my people. Life began in Africa, and your life could end there.”

When Tremaine finished the line he gave a huge grin and a thumbs-up to Matthew, approving the script.

Matthew, Tremaine and the four goons departed.

Matthew made good on his $25,000 donation and gave a thousand to each goon.

So for under thirty thousand dollars he found out nothing, except as always, the easy explanation was never the correct one.

 

 

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G-Poppers … September 22nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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She wanted to make sure G-Pop knew the story.

Even though she had messed up her life to the extent that most of her friends had abandoned her, leaving her to her own explanations and tales of woe, she still needed confirmation from G-Pop that he found some good in her bad.

Always looking for a way to find some good in our bad.

It’s why we come up with a story, a rendition, a plot line, and worst of all, an explanation.

When she started to offer excuses about what happened, G-Pop stopped her. She was a bit surprised and thought he was being judgmental. She immediately became defensive and challenged his Christianity and his charity. He explained that he had no judgment for her whatsoever–just some sage advice:

A story is useless.

When ignorance, stupidity or carelessness invade our lives with some form of mishap, what we need to give is a report. Not a story. A simple report.

It’s not that different from what we did in high school, when we stood in front of the class to cite our discoveries upon reading a book. We weren’t allowed to elaborate on the tale, or make up things the author might have chosen to do. Rather, we were told to showcase the actual events and offer some feelings on what they meant to us.

Here is a powerful thought–our story will not take away our responsibility, even if we enhance it into a Hollywood production with props and special effects. What garners the attention of our fellow-humans is when we have the audacity and tenacity to give a factual report. Here’s how it should go:

  1. This is what I did.
  2. This is why it was wrong.
  3. This is what I could have done.
  4. This is what I would like to do to make things better.
  5. What do you think? I value your opinion.

This five-step process places us within the ranks of human beings trying to move forward through change, instead of merely sporting a nasty attitude.

Give a report.

It’s a little piece of wisdom G-Pop offers to his children on this Friday.

 

 

 

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Ask Jonathots… June 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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When should children be told about sex? What do you think is the right age for a woman or a man to first have sex? Do you think couples should wait until they’re married? In other words, what constitutes a healthy attitude about sex?

Normally it would be difficult to answer three questions.

But let’s be candid–sex is about choice. The more choice you can involve in your sexual experience, the better off you are. Unfortunately, the present system, which is overly promiscuous in its entertainment and puritan in its educational approach, actually fails to teach the joy of choice.

For example, because children are not monitored well or instructed about their bodies, they often have their first sexual encounter by “playing doctor” or being abused by a relative.

Likewise, high school, which is really just a glorified bar scene, with people looking for ways to hook up and have an affair, leaves most students pressured to do things they have not selected.

So by the time people enter the adult world, they are either so confused or over-sexed that they don’t feel the compulsion for romantic encounters with their mate.

So in one way we revere sexuality, focusing on childish concepts by giggling and pointing, and on the other side we fail to realize the deep emotional and even physical pleasures of the experience because we were not taught how to make intelligent decisions.

I believe that children should be told about sexuality just as soon as their friends start tattling about it. I think the discussion should fall into three categories:

A. This is how your body works.

B. This is what you want to get off of the experience.

C. Therefore, these are the choices available.

As to your second question, it is rather doubtful that people will wait until they get married to have sex. That would be the ultimate choice made by a very mature individual who had selected a profile of virginity for his or her own advantage.

In other words, you will not hold back the burst dam of hormones simply by quoting scriptures or signing a pledge card. In that case people stumble into having “accidental” sex, which can be interpreted to mean more than it actually should.

Concerning a right age for having sex, we are all over the spectrum on this issue.

For instance, we have decided that a person is old enough to drive at sixteen, to vote at eighteen, and to drink at twenty-one. But the likelihood that they will involve themselves in sex before sixteen is very high.

So which one is actually more involved? Driving at fourteen, voting at fourteen, drinking at fourteen or having sex at fourteen?

When I raised my sons, I assumed that they were going to be pushed into sexual awareness by about fourteen or fifteen years of age. That does not mean this is the ideal age to have sex–but it does mean that every parent should be aware when the pressure mounts.

To have a healthy sexual attitude at any age, three things need to be in place:

  1. Wisdom about your own body
  2. Wisdom about your own choices
  3. Wisdom about all consequences

If those are in order, the door is opened for people to choose their romantic encounters, instead of being coerced into them by peer pressure, church regulation or just too much chance.

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Ask Jonathots …December 3rd, 2015

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I’m a high school creative writing teacher. At the start of every year I identify a few really talented students, and more often than not, they end the year under-achieving–or even tanking–while students with average abilities work hard and rise to the top. I’m beginning to question my definition of talent. What’s yours? And how can I inspire these so-called stars to reach their potential?

Talent is a capacity for success.

Nothing more, nothing less.

We make two major mistakes when we discuss talent.

  1. It is God-given or we’re born with it.
  2. Talent, by itself, contains an engine to propel it forward.

Neither is true.

The major talent that all human beings are given is life.

The deterrent to talent is always perspective.

For example, if your mom and dad gave you life and also refrained from teaching you that life sucks, you have a chance to take that life, discover ability and then turn it into prosperity.

I do not want to evaluate your choices as a teacher. You certainly have a fine education and your own way of doing things.

Yet writers are not hatched nor are they coddled into production.

A writer is someone who has a story and is always looking for better and more concise ways to tell it.

Simply because someone has sentence structure or a comprehension of syntax does not make him or her a writer. As with every occupation or calling, the impetus comes from passion, not from the accumulation of knowledge.

If I found myself in your position, I suppose I would pick out the assignments that stimulate that inner anxiety to express, and then let those missions isolate the writers from those who merely have a grasp of grammar.

Yes, it is the work that defines the talent, not the talent that dictates the work.

Just as there are many athletes in the world but very few who actually can be counted on for performances on demand, the same is true with everything–including writing.

I don’t write unless I have something to share that burns so deeply inside me that I have no choice but to try to translate it into words.

I guess my definition of a good teacher is someone who allows people to find their own talent … without suggesting where it might be hiding.

 

 

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Confessing … June 6th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2604)

V.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Being 16 years of age, I was thrilled.

The principal of our high school had agreed to let our music group perform at an assembly for the entire student body.

I was pumped–with a side of arrogance.

I arranged for the custodian to meet me at the school very early that morning so I could get in, set up the equipment and make everything perfect.

I also decided to bring along my 9-year-old brother so he could help me carry stuff and be my legs, running around from place to place.

But when I arrived at the school there was no janitor anywhere and the building was locked.

Fearing that my dear friend who swept the halls might be late for our appointment, I had taken the precaution the previous day of going into the basement of the high school, where they kept the boiler room, and unlocking a window which faced out to the parking lot.

I was so proud of myself.

This was another reason I had brought my little brother–the window was only big enough for him to slide through.

So I went over, opened the window and gradually eased him down, holding onto his hand, thinking that certainly his feet would touch the ground on the furnace room below.

They didn’t.

He was scared and started to cry, so I released his hand.

He fell a few feet to the ground and bumped his head on the wall. Once again, tears ensued.

I yelled at him, told him to go up and open the door so I could get in.

When the janitor finally did show up, I was nearly set up. With an angry tone and furrowed brow he asked me how I got into the school. I explained that it was really weird, but apparently somebody left the door open. He didn’t believe me, but he also couldn’t prove I was wrong.

After I got set up it was time to take my little brother to the elementary school. On the way I told him to keep his moiuth shut about us entering the school and him bumping his head. He promised he would.

But during the day he got a headache, so Mom had to come pick him up–and all the beans were spilled.

She yelled for a while, calling me inconsiderate and selfish. Honestly I didn’t care. The concert at the school went great.

Until writing this essay today, I had not done a whole lot of thinking about that incident simply because my lies weren’t punished, my meanness to my brother was not revealed and it all came off beautifully.

But it does make me wonder if any of that self-righteous deception is still inside me.

Am I willing to cheat to get what I want if I know what I want is a good thing?

I hope the years have taught me that honesty is not a wimp sitting in the corner waiting to be bullied by the lying crowd, but rather, an intelligent student with a secret–knowing that when all things pan out, he will be the valedictorian.

 

Confessing boy falling

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 47 (April 20th, 1969) Demise… December 27, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2456)

(Transcript)

Even though I only lived a few blocks from the high school, I drove my car there–because I could.

I also went home for lunch even though it was basically against policy. Once again, because I could.

On April 20th, I decided to drive to my abode to raid the refrigerator, avoiding the cafeteria surprises. On my way I stopped off at my mom and dad’s little loan company and there was a note on the door. It read:

Closed. Family Emergency.

I knew what that meant.

My dad was in failing health. More accurately stated, he was dying. Forty-five years of cigarette smoking had caught up with him, riddling his body with cancer. So desperate was his situation that there was a quiet celebration among the family when it was discovered that the disease had spread to his brain and in doing so, had closed off the pain centers, making him less of the suffering soul.

I didn’t want to go to the house but I knew it was expected. I pulled up in the driveway and was climbing the steps to the porch when I first heard it: from the upstairs, through the walls, was the hideous volume of my dad gasping for air.

It was a death rattle.

I could not bring myself to go in. I turned around, headed back to school and was so angry–at my dad and at myself–that I skipped the next two classes.

I was furious at myself for being so cowardly, and a rotten person because I didn’t want to be near my father in his last moments.

And I was infuriated with him for destroying his body with smoke instead of dealing with his inadequacies.

I arrived back at school for the last hour of classes. After the session was over for the day I headed to a friend’s house and hung out for the rest of the evening.

Nobody knew where I was. I liked it that way.

I arrived home at ten o’clock. My older brother was waiting for me. He told me that our dad had passed away a couple of hours earlier.

I didn’t feel much, barely even noticing how pissed off my brother was that I hadn’t been there for the death-bed.

He was my dad–but I never knew him. And in like manner, he didn’t know that much about me.

Now he was dead. His ashes of ashes would turn to dust.

I cried.

Honestly, it was not for my lost parent. I cried, feeling sorry for myself.

He deserved a better son. But he should have been wise enough to realize that teenage sons don’t get better.

That is the duty and the mission … of a father.

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