Sit Down Comedy … July 19th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It is a breathtakingly simple three-step process:

I. Like. You.

I, like you.

I like you.

Although not complex, it seems to profoundly stump the consciousness of the human race.

It begins with I.

In other words, me. I will stop putting the focus and the blinding light on the faults of others and center it on my own foolish foibles.

I will remove the sacs filled with venom so that when I become grouchy and bite someone, I don’t have to accidentally poison them.

I will become the “I” that needs to learn what I need to know, and only I need to know, in order to accomplish what I must do.

This will lend itself to becoming a person who can “like” things once again.

I have stopped doing so. In favor of coming across with wit, I have transformed myself into a cynical snoot, thinking that intelligence is better expressed through critique. I have refused to appreciate the little blessings that have come my way.

But since I have taken the time to acknowledge what I am and what I need to do, I can ease up my insecurity and start to like things again.

Which brings me to You.

You have always been one of my problems—perhaps my only calamity—because I view you as competition and resent the hell out of you using up the oxygen in the room that I could be hoarding in reserve.

I am twice as critical of you than I am me.

I am ten times more judgmental of your pratfalls than my huge stumblings.

But if I will take the time to find out who I am and not be afraid of admitting that I am lacking in some areas, then the possibility for liking things will cheer my soul and make me much more pleasant to be around—so I will be able to store up a measure of grace for when I find myself dealing with you.

With Step One in place, I am ready for Stage Two:

I, like you.

Yes, I look for similarities between you and me—your kind and my kind—my race and your race. I want to stop discussing your culture and my culture and see if we can discover the human culture.

And thirdly, I believe I will arrive at a position where I can say—hopefully:

I like you.

Perhaps God was too optimistic to think we could love our neighbor. But maybe we are able, after we’ve taken stock of our own weakness, to like things again, offering more room for one another.

Then negotiation, reasoning, conversation and even arguments could be well-oiled with compassion, commonality and gladness.

There are nearly eight-and-a-half billion people in this world. It would not be necessary to get all of them to follow this three-step process. Even if we had one million people with hearts of good cheer, to pursue:

I. Like. You.

I, like you.

I like you.

Well, if we could just get a million, the light that would shine would be so brilliant that another ten million would want to imitate the success…

Of course, offering their own name for it.


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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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Ask Jonathots …December 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I have a co-worker who thinks that all the religions of the world are the same. She believes that they all teach human beings to love and respect each other, take care of those in need, be honest and that there’s something greater than ourselves. I have other friends who disagree vehemently. What do you think?

Choosing up sides seems to be the great pastime of the human race. A sociologist might insist that this is natural since we basically are gregarious and like to clump together.

But I think it is often a sign of our insecurity and the lack of faith we have in presenting our individuality.

Is there a purpose for religion?

Is it the bastion for our souls or is it, as Karl Marx insisted, merely an opiate for the people, to keep them calm so they can be controlled?

If you remove the word “religion,” then you’re left with a term called “belief.” And belief should be an acceptance of scientific discovery mingled with a psychological profile of getting along with others, interspersed with our theories of what an afterlife might truly be.

If religion could transform into belief, then I think it would become rather obvious to us how it should play out in our society. Whatever the religion and whatever the contentions may be of those who deem themselves holy, there has to be some respect given to one another and to the planet, not merely a conjecture on for heavenly dreams.

So I will tell you–not all religions are the same, simply because not all religions honor Earth, humanity, justice and respect for the scientific community.

There are three questions you can always ask of anyone who claims to have a religious inclination, and from the answers, you can determine whether the religion is Earth-friendly or has a tendency to alienate human beings from their environment:

1. Does the religion believe that some people are better than others?

If it does, it generates the climate for dissension, which will never allow us to be peacemakers.

2. Does the religion accept the fact that the world is evolving, and that everything in it is expanding to a different situation?

If the religious community continues to insist that our creative God did not evolve things through time, then there will be a complete misunderstanding on how to handle the natural bumps that come in the road.

3. Does the religion believe that kindness can endure and win out, or does it demand or tolerate retribution? Even though we may have a desire for revenge, that particular action has no end game, since there’s always someone prepared to retaliate to the last attack.

Not all religions of the world are sensitive to these three ideas.

If they aren’t, they hinder the progress that God intended for human beings.

If they do offer agreement in these areas, then they are not only acceptable, but necessary to our emotional and spiritual growth.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 4th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2742)

poHymn Nov 4

The Road to War

War is hell

Hell is lonely

Lonely is fear

Fear is loveless

Loveless is defensive

Defensive is angry

Angry is selfish

Selfish is ignorant

Ignorant is proud

Proud is prejudice

Prejudice is insecurity

Insecurity is frustration

Frustration is expectation

Expectation is complaining

Complaining is withholding

Withholding is vicious

Vicious is violence

Violence is war

War is …

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

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Confessing… October 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2718)

XXIII

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

In an attempt to avoid guilt, we have generated many words and terms to escape the responsibility of telling the truth.

It’s really lying, but now it comes under the guise of “padding your resume, misinformation, mis-spoke, you misunderstood me” or what I call promo talk.

Promo talk is when the real story is not big enough to match our ego.

So we elaborate, and in the process we end up proving that we’re ashamed of the extent of what we’ve done.

It all comes from a basic insecurity which is grounded in a deception:

God, you and that damn piece of bad luck screwed me.

Because it’s not proper or kind to be so blatant, we choose instead to embellish the details of our successes and deny the elements of our failures.

I am guilty.

I have known it for many years, and I have gradually attempted to pull myself out of the abyss of the procedure.

But it’s tricky.

  • I’ve lied about my education.
  • I’ve lied about my relationships.
  • I’ve lied about the extent of my impact.
  • And I’ve lied about not lying.

It’s all because I refuse to look at the beauty of my journey and realize that God’s grace is sufficient for me–without addendum.

I’m sorry. Yes, I am so sorry that I haven’t let the facts speak for themselves.

After all, I will not become more powerful by flexing mythical muscle.

I will not become more intelligent by claiming false degrees.

And I will not become more valuable by elaborating on my qualities.

Promo talk is lying. It doesn’t seem that way because everybody does it. It appears to be just good business.

But good business becomes bad business when we have to cheat ourselves out of the simplicity of standing on our record instead of jumping up on the soapbox and screaming to be heard.

 

Confessing barbershop singer

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Untotaled: Stepping 9 — Goodnight, Sweet Prince (November 12th, 1965) … April 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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(Transcript)

I was scared.

Normally, I was ecstatic to visit my grandpa’s house, because after a brief series of greetings and obligatory, slobbery kisses, I was allowed to go into the nearby living room where there was a large, brown horsehair couch–my favorite perch. I loved to rub my legs against the scratchy surface. It was a delicious brown–caramel, chocolate and orange soda, all “splurged” together.

But on November 12th, 1965, arriving at Grandpa’s home, it was a much different scene.

As always, I was greeted at the door by Queenie, his collie, who was overly zealous and friendly, and always smelled–well, pardon the cliché–like wet dog.

This time there was no greeting from Gramps. Instead, we found him in the living room, kneeling over Irma, whose breathing was laborious, was white as a sheet and had creamy drool dribbling out of the corners of her mouth.

Grandpa was crying.

My mother moved to his side to comfort him, and I stared at the suffering lady. I didn’t know much about Irma–she never talked. I mean literally, I had never heard her speak.

She was passed off by my Grandpa as his houseguest/friend/maid/cook. I heard relatives refer to her as “retarded, evil, a slut and a foreigner.” Absent understanding of what many of these words meant, my interpretation was to just stay away.

Irma seemed to have no problem with our distant relationship, so on this horrible day, when my beautiful, brown horsehair couch was turned into the deathbed of this strange woman, I heard my mother utter these words: “Jonathan, come over and say good-bye to Irma.”

Yes, this was a day and age when people actually died in their homes without heroic measures.

I thought to myself, “Say goodbye? I’ve never said hello.”

I eased over to her side and touched her forehead. It was clammy and cold. I jerked back and then was embarrassed by my revulsion.

“Goodbye, Irma,” I managed, and then shuffled out of the room.

Two weeks after Irma died, my mother went out to console Grandpa and spend the night, and they placed me on the brown couch to sleep. They turned off the light and I was left in the room with the memories of Irma and her demise.

I was so frightened.

Lying there on the couch, I thought I could smell her. It was horrible. Squeezing my pillow tightly, I prayed.

“God, I’m scared. Please take the scare away.”

I don’t remember anything after that. I went to sleep and woke in the morning without any signs of the previous night’s terror.

I was transformed–not just for that occasion. I can mark that night as the time when much of the childish apprehension, insecurity and trepidation departed from me, like a vapor, leaving a boiling pan of water.

I was stronger.

I would never, ever be that afraid again.

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G-3: Create or Critique… December 20, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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apeI struggled with the decision.

I do believe I have ability, but apparently I possess enough insecurity that I would rather discuss my efforts than enact them. Why? Because stepping forward always generates the possibility of slipping or falling off a cliff.

Yes, it is much more pleasant to contemplate an idea than it is to perform it.

But here’s the difficulty: when we fail to create, we find ourselves tumbling into the backward, ignorant position of critiquing. Why? Because those around us who have the audacity to actually produce a product end up making us look insipid in our indecision, so we feel compelled to pick and fuss at their endeavors in order to make ourselves look viable and intelligent.

At the heart of every critic is a person who could have been creative, but balked out of fear. But I will tell you–once you begin to create things, you are much less likely to criticize the virgin efforts of others. The experience of making yourself vulnerable by presenting your gift also causes you to feel greater mercy for others who brave the terror.

Why are we so afraid?

1. We have convinced ourselves that something has to be perfect.

I don’t know why–nothing ever is.

  • But the reason most people don’t write is because they think every sentence has to be aligned with the gospel of grammar.
  • People refuse to sing, horrified that bad pitch or forgetting the lyrics will render them the fool of the day.
  • A carpenter will stop working with wood, terrified that he’ll hit his thumb with a hammer.

All creativity is brought to a halt by the superstition of perfection. There is no such thing, but we insist on its existence.

2. We are afraid to perfect.

Yes, there is a certain chill that goes down our spine over the dual prospect of admitting lack and jumping in once again to remold the idea. So because we’re plagued by this tentative energy, we choose to critique instead of create.

But after I wrestled with my own frustrations, I finally decided to become a creator instead of a criticizer. And what did I get for my noble decision? Criticism. But also–something to work with.

So I will make something today that did not exist yesterday, knowing that it will be critiqued by those who made nothing. For creativity is the only way we sense the breath of God within us.

Criticism is for monkeys … and those who ape them.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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