Not Long Tales … September 3rd, 2019

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The Great Debate.

As the critics and advocates tumbled and tussled over the issue of gun control, an innovation quietly made its way onto the world stage. It silenced the controversy about guns because it was not considered a weapon. It was touted as beneficial and given a clever, almost cute name: The Blaster.

Privately, for years the American government had been working on a nuclear hand-held device. Though it was initially considered impossible to control a fission reaction held in the human hand, the well-funded research nevertheless persisted, energized by much money.

It was unveiled as a simple climate-friendly way to dispose of waste, clean up after a hurricane or even quickly eliminate unwanted foliage in building of new communities.

It had a companion device called “Clean Boy.” Even though The Blaster itself emitted low-level radiation within the acceptable range of human exposure, Clean Boy was manufactured to make sure that any work done with The Blaster would leave the region free of the fear from radiation sickness.

The Blaster seemed ideal for disposing trash from an area since it only covered a twelve-foot radius, leaving whatever was in its path a pile of ash and dust. As often is the case, for a brief season it was used exactly for what it was conceived to address.

That was, until the Holy City Massacre.

Blasters, which were supposed to be highly regulated and kept out of the hands of criminals or the uninformed were suddenly used at a mass shooting in Jerusalem, killing over four thousand pilgrims and annihilating several of the holy sites.

Of course it was a shock to everyone’s system. But over the years there had been so many mass shootings that no one considered The Blaster, with its nuclear implications, to be that much worse than other atrocities.

What was once considered an American problem had, over the years, been translated into every language and culture. Even though the United States wished to export democracy and freedom, it ended up transporting death and mayhem. So the debate about The Blaster was similar to the arguments over assault weapons.

But there was a man who lived in Winesca, Iowa, named Dylan Cavanaugh. Fifteen years before The Blaster came onto the scene, Dylan and his wife realized that the thirst to kill and the appetite to hear about it on the nightly news was too strong to stop the insanity.

When the ban on assault weapons was lifted, Dylan and his wife journeyed to Wyoming, where they found a parcel of land with a mountain and purchased it, using some inheritance money Dylan had acquired from his mother and father.

The couple set off to change their world. Every summer (and actually, every chance they got to get away) they prepared a way of escape. Even when four daughters arrived, Dylan and his wife, Crenslo (whom he called Crennie) went to Wyoming to their dreamscape and made plans—intricate plans.

Dylan was a licensed electrician, but he also was an inventor. He had manufactured a special battery for an electric minibus which had solar panels in its roof and large storage spaces in the sides. It seated eleven counting the driver.

Shortly after the Holy City Massacre, Dylan gathered his family together and explained his plan. “I do not want to scare you, or maybe I should say I don’t want to scare myself, but because of the atrocity in Jerusalem, it seems to me that half the world is anticipating the wrath of God and the other half is ready to bring it. I’m going to ask you to trust me. For the time being, and for further notice, we are going to our property in Wyoming, which we have prepared as a living space, until I am certain that I can offer you a safe home here in Iowa.”

The girls stared at him in disbelief. Each one had a life in the small Hawkeye town. But Dylan had succeeded, both as a human being and as a father, to build trust with his children. So Clancy, age fifteen, Roberta, thirteen, Sharon, eleven, and Caroline, nine, climbed into the electric minibus and made the journey with their parents to Wyoming. There was sadness, intrigue and just enough distraction along the way from trying various treats at gas stops to keep them engaged and hopeful.

Upon arriving, the young ladies got to see their mother and father’s vision. Carved into the mountain were a series of caves, fully lit and even decorated—enough openings and rooms to house fifty people. On the mountain itself were thousands of solar panels, providing enough energy—especially with Dylan’s new battery technology—to keep them warmed or cooled for months.

They spent the whole first month learning how to shoot a bow and arrow. No guns were allowed, but there was a need to gather food. Dylan had brought a computer, and also a ham radio setup so he could stay in contact with society. Still, the rest of Earth seemed far away from the Wyoming outpost.

About two months in, the Internet disappeared, and the radio went silent. The girls watched as their father cried and their mother joined him. They weren’t certain what the tears were for, but they contributed a few of their own.

At that point, Papa Dylan began going off in the minibus for days at a time. Upon returning, he always had one, two, and once, five people along with him. Each one had a story, each story more terrifying than the one before.

Dylan made his journeys for about six months. He ceased them once he stopped coming back with human folk. All in all, there were 43 people who found refuge in the vision of Dylan and Crennie.

One day, when it was pretty certain who was who and what was what, Dylan made a short speech. “I have not given up on the Earth. But right now, I want to make sure that we don’t give up on each other. I know each one of us saw lots of movies about the Apocalypse and the destruction of the Earth. In those flicks, the survivors always ended up killing each other.” He looked around, then joked, “Maybe it was because they were all zombies.” Everyone laughed. It was good to laugh.

He continued. “There are going to be three jobs in our little home. Those who gather the food, those who cook the food and those who clean up. Each one of us will learn how to do all the jobs. We’ll alternate. There will only be three—well, I guess we can call ’em rules. Love your neighbor, do your work, learn something new every day.”

The other 42 people who had gathered for the little speech smiled, shed a quick tear over loss and then turned to one another and embraced. Dylan found Crennie and kissed her lovingly on the lips.

Clancy, the oldest daughter, looked across the room at a boy named Zach.

She thought he was cute.

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Cracked 5 … May 8th, 2018


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Due to the recent notoriety given to Stormy Daniels, a porn actress, below are some other women from that industry who would like to present their names for consideration, which also are marked by meteorological mention:

A. Partly Cloddy

 

B. Com-u-lust

 

C. I-drought-that

 

D. Her-i-came

 

E. Whornado

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Cracked 5 … September 12th, 2017


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Signs That You May Have Stayed Too Long At Your Adult Son’s House With His Family Waiting For The Electricity To Turn On In Your Home After The Hurricane

A. You’re beginning to repeat your stories with no other obvious symptoms of dementia

 

B. Your granddaughter caught a brief glimpse of you in your “holey” inappropriate boxer briefs

 

C. His family stares at you, perplexed, when you inquire about the fiber content in the breakfast waffles

 

D. You accidentally discover that your son has been browsing Google on the topic, “Evicting a Relative”

 

E. Your son’s children are crying because you woke up this morning

 

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Jesonian … September 16th, 2017

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I am despondent.

I feel violated.

Like millions of other souls in the Caribbean and the Southeast United States, I am insulted and slapped in the face by Mother Nature through her daughter, Irma.

It is a silly thing. After all, a hurricane doesn’t have a spirit or a grudge against anyone. It’s a part of the natural order which we should study, and learn its ways.

That being said, it doesn’t change my feelings. I am a human being, so naturally, I despise being inconvenienced. Irma disrupted my schedule.

So what’s next?

The secular answer is to show countless pictures of broken boats, torn-up homes, flood waters and weeping humans in an attempt to create empathy. But the problem is, America was already emotionally hurting before the storm came. Our country was reeling from not knowing where to put our feet on solid ground.

The storm has shaken an already unstable populace.

It reminds me of the story in Mark the 2nd Chapter. Jesus is teaching at Peter’s house. The crowd is good. Jesus had been away for a while, so people were glad to see him and came out to hear the latest “good thoughts.”

Four fellows showed up with a crippled friend, hoping to gain an audience with Jesus, thinking he might be able to do something to help their comrade. They can’t get into the house–it’s too crowded. They can’t get anywhere near the front door.

So they crawl on top of the house, lifting their friend, and they vandalize it. They tear a hole in the roof. Just like Irma.

They rip off the roof, creating devastation and a disaster.

They ease their friend down, into the house, in front of Jesus. Jesus does not comment on the destruction. Jesus does not apologize to Peter because a hole has been ripped in his roof. Jesus tells this man who’s been let down, humiliated and left vulnerable through the experience, that his sins are forgiven.

It’s what he needed to hear.

It’s what I need to hear.

It’s what everyone needs to hear: “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s a hole in the roof. You’re not a worse sinner because your roof got blown off and the one next door didn’t, and you’re certainly not more saintly because you escaped destruction. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be all right.”

We are emotionally devastated while simultaneously trying to tally the total amount it will take to replace our goods. There needs to be a voice speaking to all of us, saying, “It’s okay. Irma was just doing a natural thing. God’s not out to get you, and it’s not all about climate change. It’s called ‘the weather.’ It happens. But you are loved. You are worth much more than a hole in the roof.”

After Jesus forgives the man, he says to him, “Get up.”

And that’s what I want to say to all my brothers and sisters, as I also proclaim it to myself: “Get up. We’re all right.”

Take a minute, though, and make sure you are emotionally stable before you start filing your insurance claims–because it was scary. It was painful. It was hot and sweaty. It was dark.

Enjoy some sunshine. Get in the light. Remember, you are worth many sparrows. God hasn’t stopped loving anyone. Nature and science have run their course.

Let’s get up now–go back to our homes, take what we’ve learned, and live even more meaningful and intense lives.

 

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Just a Show Before We Go… October 1, 2012

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As Neil Sedaka once phrased it, Waking up is hard to do.” (I might be mistaken on that. It could be ‘breaking,” “making,” “shaking,” or even  “raking” up.) Actually, waking up in the morning is one of those things we should get better and better at as we get older.

After all, no one wakes up worse than a baby. Even though some of us more mature individuals may want to open our eyes and scream into the surrounding room, pleading for nourishment and maybe even a change of our diaper, we refrain.

We certainly should learn how to wake up better than an adolescent. Once children reach about the age of thirteen, they become frightened to death to go to sleep and then think that “noonish” is the beginning of the day.

Actually, I rather enjoy waking up–as long as I’ve shed all fantasy about how life works and have ceased to insist that I somehow manipulate circumstances to my advantage.

Today I am waking up in Kent, Ohio, and heading off to Conneaut–about a two-hour drive–to do a show which will also double as a filming, to make a video of our presentation for those individuals who would like to purchase it because they want to share it with friends or just want to go home to try to figure out what they just saw.

The only thing I am certain of is my abiding security in uncertainty. Even though I greatly believe there’s a God in heaven, I do understand that for scientific and realistic reasons He has put a natural order into effect in the daily affairs of this planet’s activities.

We call this force Mother Nature It is mis-named. It would be better refered to as “Teenage Boy Nature.” Because the system that maintains our life has the temperament of a sixteen-year-old kid with raging hormones, inexhaustible energy, an unwillingness to do chores upon request and a sluggishness in getting started.

I had to reflect last night when I watched the fine folks in Texas with their present raining and flooding. I was down there for the past two years and the main subject of conversation was drought. You would have sworn by listening to the populace that there was a complete imbalance in the world and that “something needed to be done” or all the water supplies would dry up. Now they’re trying to figure out how to escape from the moisture.

You see what I mean? The natural order is a sixteen-year-old boy, who never does anything in moderation. If we would just learn the process, we would be so much happier. During times of excess rain, build dams and store up. When you have a good week financially, don’t assume that next week is going to be the same. Balance out what comes your way, be it good or bad. The only thing that is really certain is that whatever it is, more than likely, to our taste, it will seem extreme.

It is obvious to anyone who has lived that the earth makes drastic adjustments. May I point out once again–they are drastic by OUR standards. As far as we know, the earth has survived an ice age or two, heat waves, droughts, floods, typhoons, hurricanes and forest fires–long before man was here to worry about it OR try to find a way to manipulate it. That’s why I believe that our journey through our earth-bound time is going to be a roller coaster rather than a well-planned picnic in the park.

So what do I know waking up today on my way to Conneaut, Ohio? I have plugged as many holes as possible, planned carefully and now am going to hang on tight to my seat in the van–and be prepared.

Here’s a little formula that will help you understand life. When the wheels get rolling, just remember:

  • you’re going to get little of what you want
  • some of what you need
  • but much of what is available.

So if you find yourself walking outside to view overcast skies and your way of handling that particular surprise is to bow your head in prayer and ask for sunbeams, you probably will end up very miserable during your lifespan.

But if you can walk out and see overcast skies and either grab an umbrella or step back inside and conclude that it’s a wonderful day for paperwork with soup and grilled cheese, you will probably greatly enjoy the spontaneity around you.

It’s all in how you determine to wake up.

I am waking up to deal with the adolescence of nature, trying to bring my understanding that what becomes available to me in huge chunks on this lovely day will be my lot. I will tell you what happens in tomorrow’s column. There is one thing for sure, as I told you earlier. It undoubtedly will be little of what I want, some of what I need and much of what ends up being available.

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Alabama Allegations… September 26, 2012

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Alabama is not my “sweet home,” but I have always enjoyed my numerous visits to the state.

It is located on about the third notch of the Bible Belt (even though with me being blubbery, I prefer an elastic waist). As is often the case in many of the communities in our southern regions, people in Alabama go to church a lot, respecting God and country with tremendous personal fervor. So when I arrived with my proclamation that “NoOne is better than anyone else,” I found myself greeted with a small smile, only partially disguising a wince. My Alabamian brothers and sisters immediately offered two allegations to potentially contradict my theorem:

Allegation One: “Jonathan, isn’t the Jewish nation the chosen people? Doesn’t that make them better?”

I would like to introduce each and every one of you–and also re-acquaint myself–with the power of reading the Bible to discover a consensus. Facts are, it is easy to find a single verse in the Bible to back up almost any notion, perversion, lifestyle or inclination. But when you pursue further, you will discover that many other verses not only temper that particular assertion, but sometimes update or flat-out contradict it.

Since we are Christians and not followers of Moses, we have to go to the words of Jesus to find what he thought about this concept of the Children of Israel being “chosen.” Matter of fact, I will guarantee you on this fine morning that the main reason he hung between earth and sky, suspended by nails, was that they did not favor his opinion on their manifest destiny. He told the Jews bluntly that they took “great pride in being the children of Abraham” but that God had every capability of taking a common rock laying beside the road and turning it into a “child of Abraham.” You can imagine, considering the nationalistic pride frothing at the time, that this particular teaching was met with quite a bit of resistance.

We are also clearly informed that God is “no respecter of persons,” so even though there are those who would love to propagate the notion that Israel and the Jews are a chosen people, favored by God, and therefore they are unique by birthright, the general consensus of the Bible, which we call the Word, is that God has opened His door to include everyone equally.

So as not to get a bunch of emails from people suggesting that I am anti-Semitic, I will tell you that I believe that Israel has every right to exist, be respected and honored for her traditions. It’s just that since  the time that Jesus walked the earth, Jewish people are not preferred above Arabs or anyone else.

Allegation Two: “Jonathan, you certainly believe that Billy Graham is better than Charles Manson, right?”

You see, this is the idea that we are unique by salvation. I can always tell when people are desperate to win an argument. They either bring up their pet dog, Hitler or Charles Manson. They mention their pet dog because they want to create sympathy; Hitler, to prove how bad people are, and Charles Manson when they want to convince you that some people are beyond hope.

So let me tell you what I told these fine folks from Alabama. Actually, thief that I am, I borrowed the sentiment from Jesus. Talking one day to a group of gossiping Galileans, he asked them if they thought that the people who had recently been killed by Pilate were worse sinners than those who didn’t die. And after all, we do the same thing. If someone survives a hurricane, we insist that “God was with them,” which, whether we like it or not, connotes that the people who perished were at least secretly somewhat dastardly.

Jesus’ response to his own question about this “worse sinner” possibility was, “Except you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

You see, folks, it’s basically a PR situation–life comes along and the first thing you need to do is participate. It is true that there are greater benefits if you indulge in earthly activities by following the rules, but when you don’t, you get a second crack, which is called repentance. If you repent, you are blessed with a clean slate to participate again with a little bit more wisdom.

It doesn’t matter whether you are Billy Graham or Charles Manson–the same rules apply. Participate and repent. If you don’t choose to participate, don’t expect anything to happen. If you do participate, make a mistake and stubbornly refuse to repent, don’t expect to be able to participate anymore. It’s really that simple.

Many people were shocked when Charles Manson was the murderous propagator of so many slain, innocent people. I, too, was appalled, but I awaited the great miracle of repentance. It never came. So righteously, Charlie-boy doesn’t get to participate anymore.

But honestly, folks, if we found out something bad about Billy Graham tomorrow, most Christians would abandon him. I, instead, would wait for the repentance. And once my dear brother repented, I would welcome him back into the family of man, to participate.

Do I believe that Billy Graham is better than Charles Manson? Not by creation. He gains footing on earth’s soil because he repents–and if he didn’t repent, like Mr. Manson, he would find himself perishing one miserable day at a time, in a tiny jail cell.

So participate, and if you don’t, please understand that nothing will happen. After you participate, take note of the quality of your efforts and repent where stupidity has clearly been pointed out to you. It gives you license to participate again. There is no such thing as “worse sinners.” Just terrible repenters.

So this ended my little excursion into Alabama, where people tried to establish that we are unique by birthright, or, as in the case of Billy Graham, unique by salvation. But after I had a friendly conversation with these lovely folks, I made it clear to them that God is no respecter of persons, and that the key to human life is participating and repenting.

I moved on down the road and landed in Missouri, which they refer to as the “Show Me” State. I was certainly not going to escape their scrutiny with my new-fangled phrase.

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