Sit Down Comedy … June 5th, 2020

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Sit Down Comedy

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan.

A triple threat in alliteration.

She is forty-six years old, the mother of three children who range in age from twenty-one down to a precocious ten.

She is the assistant manager at the local Nordstroms, where she has been employed for twenty years, ascending in the ranks, and well-respected.

The date is November 8th, 2016.

Mary was awake early that morning. She had lost her battle with insomnia hours earlier, trying to remain still as a mouse, hoping that sleep would be merciful to her fatigue. Giving up, she rose, made coffee and cinnamon toast—one of her favorites—and prepared for the day in the quiet of a very chilly pre-dawn kitchen.

She had one thought on her mind: should she go vote before work, or wait until afterwards and possibly face long lines?

Actually, that wasn’t the primary question. What had been haunting her mind for weeks was whether she could cast a vote in good conscience either way.

Politically, Mary was a moderate.

At least, moderate for Michigan.

She had voted for her share of Democrats and a similar array of Republicans. She felt she was informed and believed herself to be open-minded to opportunities offered by both parties. But the past few months had left her in a whirl, dizzy from disjointed facts and accusations.

Donald Trump seemed unqualified to be President, but his journey as a mature man of business seemed respectable.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seemed more prepared for the position, but less sure-footed in the midst of entanglements.

But still, that wasn’t the real problem.

Deep in her heart, Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, felt that everything was just moving too fast.

She wasn’t against progress–she was upset about the speed being used to achieve it.

So many issues.

Abortion, for instance.

Mary believed a woman should have the right to choose the conclusions of her life, but she was uncomfortable about how the subject of abortion—the termination of a fetus—had become so cavalier. She especially hated the phrase, “abortion on demand.”

Wasn’t a little more humility in order?

Mary also knew she didn’t hate gay people. She was one of the first ones in her local church to rally behind the idea of civil unions.

But lickety-split, she was expected to not only honor gay marriage, but to be supportive of it whenever it was brought up, so she wouldn’t come across as a homophobe.

It felt unfair.

After all, the world of psychology and psychiatry had, for decades if not centuries, contended that homosexuality was aberrant behavior which required treatment.

Now, since that diagnosis had been recently abandoned, they expected Mary and all the American people to quickly shed several generation’s worth of comprehension and join the parade.

It was fast.

Mary wanted equal pay for women in the workplace, but when she rallied with those struggling to achieve this worthy goal, she found herself in the midst of some who decried motherhood and made fun of the simpler values Mary held dear.

Mary was especially troubled by the spiritual indifference, which seemed to reject any soul who believed in God, deeming such a person irrational or uneducated.

Everything was so quick.

Marijuana becoming legal. If marijuana was so safe, why did the people who smoked it always portray it in their movies as a brain-staller—and a pathway leading to no motivation?

And then—the candidates themselves.

Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, was very worried about a man who mocked women, weaker folks and other nationalities with a sneer. But on the other hand, how could she support a woman like Hillary Clinton, who defended her husband’s mistreatment of a twenty-one-year-old intern in the White House, and even to this day, joined into the attacks against poor Monica?

As Mary sipped her coffee in the kitchen, she heard rumblings from the bedrooms above.

Soon her family would join her. Her thoughts would be blended with their desires.

Realizing how important her decision was, she scurried around, deciding to leave for work, going to the polls early to beat the rush.

She called out her good-byes and best wishes for the day, jogged to her car, got in and drove off.

She was nearly to the polling station when she veered off at a graveyard. She sat, staring at the frosty granite stones. Still they were—and at peace.

In a moment of deep reflection, she asked herself what all these people who had once lived would want her to do.

Who would they want her to vote for?

Mary just wished that one of those who wanted to be President of the United States would acknowledge that affairs, nations, wars and social revisions were happening at such a rapid pace that we all needed a deep breath—just to appreciate where we are, who we are and what we’re about to undertake.

Was there an order in it?

Did civil rights come before women’s rights or abortion rights?

It all seemed to be happening at the same time.

Was she supposed to feel some beckoning or even a requirement to vote for a woman since she was a woman herself? Maybe she would have felt differently if Hillary had even visited Michigan—instead of assuming that the unions and the black vote “had it in the bag.”

The Democrats took too much for granted, and the Republicans granted so very little.

Time was passing.

She had a tiny window—about twenty minutes—to go vote and still get to Nordstroms for her shift.

But after weeks—perhaps months—of deliberation, she was no further along.

So she made a very quick decision in her troubled mind.

That night, as Mary of Moncrief, Michigan, watched the election returns, she was so troubled that she felt a chill go down her spine.

Donald Trump was winning. Would he rise to the occasion and be a great President?

Should Hillary have been the one?

Even though the campaign had drug on for more than a year-and-a-half, now it all seemed to be too quick. Too speedy.

Mary was not a bigot.

Mary was not conservative.

Mary was certainly not liberal either—not by present standards.

Mary didn’t hate anyone.

But Mary also didn’t favor people just because they were of a certain color or even just because they were victimized.

As the night wore on, it gradually became more obvious and then official.

Donald J. Trump would be the President of the United States.

Mary didn’t know what to feel.

Maybe she was a little relieved that there wouldn’t be any more Clintons in Washington, but also a bit frightened that a real estate developer would be leading the greatest nation on Earth.

But most of all, she was in turmoil about herself.

For she had gone to work—and didn’t vote.

Ask Jonathots… July 7th, 2016

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Will God give a doctor or medical researcher ideas on how to cure a disease or sickness if they merely ask Him?

Most people favor the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

Although I do extol the beauty of that passage, I prefer Psalm 24:1: “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

It’s a strong message. The Earth is complete within itself. Even though we have bacteria and viruses, there are also–growing and prospering right next to them–the cures.

If I were a doctor, I would keep this in mind.

If I were researching remedies for diseases, I would understand that the Earth is a complete creation, stocked full of ready solutions, waiting to be discovered.

I would suggest a three-fold process to gain the wisdom of God’s creative mind, to tap these unknown resources:

1. Study holistic medicine.

I’m not talking about superstitions, but instead, the use of herbs and chemicals that are common to Earth, and have been utilized for centuries by cultures to treat ailments.

Don’t rule out anything.

We should not allow the pharmaceutical companies to determine the destiny of the health of humanity simply based upon margins of profit.

Study what has been used by those in the past, and weed out the possibilities that fail to deliver results.

2. Pay special attention to plants, organisms and compounds that seem to have little purpose–or have been used only for excess and vice.

After all, what would the medical field be without alcohol?

Look at what we’re discovering about the medical use of marijuana.

So what does the tobacco plant hold in secret that we have not yet tapped?

Yes, I think special interest should be given to things that seem to be cast aside as vices, with seemingly little virtue.

3. And finally, I think it’s important for us to shorten the time between the discovery of a possible cure and the trial study done on humans.

There are thousands of people dying of cancer who would be more than willing to sign a release of responsibility in order to participate in a study which just might lead to extending their lives. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

It is currently taking too long to get good ideas into the hands of people who need them–and we are still ending up with drugs that have dangerous side-effects anyway. So let’s shorten the process and give terminal patients a chance to either be healed or at least contribute to the common good by participating in research.

If you are a doctor and you understand that “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” then you can completely comprehend that through prayer and seeking wisdom, you are out to discover the miracle that already exists.

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Ask Jonathots … June 9th, 2016

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What do you think about the legalization of recreational marijuana? How do you think this will affect American society?

Clarity.

It is the action of clarifying the facts we possess, trying to ascertain how we should proceed. Clarity is a good thing.

So what is the clarity on the issue of marijuana?

First of all, I think we have to get rid of the term “recreational.” We tried to add an adjective to alcohol by calling it “social drinking,” but unfortunately, many of those who felt they were “socially drinking” got in their cars, drove tipsy and ended up killing. It is doubtful that any human being, on their own, can determine their limits.

So once you remove the adjective, you end up with marijuana.

In the pursuit of clarity, let’s not study marijuana from the mindset of those who oppose it, but rather, carefully look at the assessment of the individuals who have or are participating in using the substance.

In every movie I’ve seen, marijuana leaves people listless, uncaring, silly, non-functioning and certainly incapable of performing their best rendition of themselves.

That’s not my assessment. I’ve never seen a film in which someone smokes marijuana and then goes out and saves the life of a child through heart surgery. So if those who are imbibing in marijuana feel that it’s an intoxicant which incapacitates them for normal human participation, then we immediately have to factor this in when talking about legalization.

Are we going to develop Breathalyzers for marijuana use?

Are we prepared to add traffic deaths due to driving under the influence of grass?

Yet on the other hand, marijuana has proven to be a source of relief for pain and discomfort.

So what is the purpose of this plant that has been placed on the earth?

And how can we know that a pain-killer is for killing real pain, not for “recreational” use by those who have no pain?

How can we use marijuana in a productive way without taking our generation, which already has difficulty with comprehension, and making it more bland?

First, if someone wants to smoke marijuana in his or her own home, it should not be illegal.

But we already have laws against public smoking, and we have laws against participating in human activities while intoxicated. Even if marijuana were legalized, it would fall under the same restrictions as smoking and drinking.

You could go to a marijuana bar and smoke with your friends, but when you left there would need to be a designated driver to take you home. Unfortunately, unlike alcohol, your driver might be suffering from a contact high.

So I think the most important thing is for us to clarify the facts instead of stomping around, discussing “freedom and privilege.”

Case in point: I am a fat man. I have the absolute right to go out and eat three pizzas. But if I do, there are ramifications. Perhaps I should understand the boundaries before I eat the three pizzas.

So in conclusion:

1. Marijuana has a purpose because it’s on Earth.

2. It brings relief to those who are suffering.

3. It is an intoxicant.

4. It is mind-altering.

5. Therefore, it will have to be regulated in our society in some way, otherwise we will be endangering the lives of others.

6. It should no longer be criminal when used properly and privately by a person of acceptable age.

There you go.

Never look at a problem as if it’s an issue of freedom, but rather, clarify how that freedom affects the rights of others.

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G-Poppers … August 7th, 2015

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G-Pop is in the middle of a hard-boiled fussiness with a side order of grumble hash.

Listening to three well-known journalists, ranging from 45 to 60 years of age, he was astounded by the inordinate amount of time they spent discussing Lenny Kravitz’s penis.

For you see, apparently Mr. Kravitz split his leather pants, which made his private turf suddenly public domain. Rather than performing as investigative reporters, as they tout themselves to be, questioning whether this was a staged event–since how odd is it for someone to be handy with a camera trained on the crotch?–they instead spent a lengthy time postulating on the penis at hand.

G-Pop will not even discuss how inappropriate this might be for morning television. Instead, he poses the question: when is it important to notice that the train is speeding up as we’re heading directly toward the mountain?

Very often, G-Pop becomes frustrated because his children and grandchildren deem him a prude because of his stance on alcohol, marijuana and the absence of courtesy in human interaction.

G-Pop is not a prude. A prude is someone who looks at your life and says that you should not do that. G-Pop has a private conviction concerning vices which have gained voices.

For instance, you can call yourself a “social drinker” if you have a beer or cocktail when you’re out with friends. The minute you buy alcohol to put into our own home on a weekly basis, you are no longer socializing. You are materializing a habit.

Yet G-Pop is called a prude.

What G-Pop has are private convictions. A private conviction is when you say to yourself, “I’m not going to do that.”

This often leads to a practical mission. Is there a way we can do this better?

But the minute you question questionable actions, the fallback position of those who prefer habitual anarchy is to call you a prude.

  • Or maybe they call you prejudiced.
  • Or maybe they say you have a phobia.
  • You most certainly are out of step.
  • Or you are trying to curtail people’s freedom.

If Lenny split his pants and it was an accident, we shouldn’t be sitting around discussing his penis or how it was adorned. If he planned it, and wanted us to go on and on about his penis, then we should seriously wonder why this artist feels that his music is not strong enough to gain the interest of the market and that instead, he needs to offer additional allurements.

And when G-Pop sees a group of older men who should have the gravitas to offer a more intelligent perspective suddenly turn into gossiping ninnies and giggling schoolboys who just discovered their first Playboy Magazine, he is astounded and fearful that we’ve lost all sense of balance.

G-Pop is not a prude. He’s not trying to tell people they shouldn’t do things.

G-Pop just believes that privately, he chooses to avoid that path …and that the human race can do better things with its time than leering at a celebrity’s penis.

 

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G-Poppers… May 29th, 2015

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G-Popper

He yelled at her.

Yes, G-Pop rebuked his teenage granddaughter because she failed to attend one of his performances when he was passing through the area.

She was offended.

To a certain degree, that made him even more angry, though he understood her predicament. From her perspective, she was young and he was old.

There was a danger that the “old” would link up with “fashioned” to make him completely unacceptable to her lifestyle.

Old-fashioned.

Why would she want to go out and see something old-fashioned or invite her friends to it? He understood.

It is the fear of every generation–that on their journey they would accidentally haul along pieces of their parents, which might classify them as completely out of step with new-fangled conclusions. She did not understand that G-Pop was fully aware of the dangers of being old-fashioned.

The true definition of old-fashioned is clinging to things you used to do even though they have proven to be ineffective, simply because you’ve grown accustomed to a certain way.

But in the world of reality, a prophet is a wise soul who studies history, then carefully predicts when it will repeat itself.

To always be current is to understand and deal with five important questions:

1. Does it take away freedom?

If it does, it won’t last very long.

2. Does it take away life?

Whatever kills eventually assassinates. In other words, if you limit or destroy life, you will be the final victim.

3. Does it take away faith?

As intriguing as it may be to shake your fist at the heavens, events will come your way which produce the need to lift your hands.

4. Does it take away equality?

Yes, it’s cute to talk about how men and women are ill-suited to one another, but since we share a planet, eventually we will have to learn to get along.

5. Does it take away motivation?

Listening to an interview with Howard Stern and the comedian, Louis C. K., both of them pointed out that smoking marijuana leaves people dull and disconnected. So even though there may be a rallying cry to legalize weed, it can never catch on, because the human race is–as advertised–actually a race.

G-Pop wished he could make his granddaughter understand, but popular ideas always show up in new, shiny boxes, failing to reveal … that they are recycled.

 

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G-Poppers…April 24, 2015

 

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G-Popper

A dear friend asked G-Pop if he would talk to her sixteen-year-old son who had recently been arrested for smoking marijuana with some of his friends.

G-Pop asked her, “What is it you would like to see happen here?”

She looked at him, perplexed, and replied, “I want him to stop being stupid.”

G-Pop agreed to have the conversation. The boy arrived and sat down reluctantly on the couch, as if he was perched on a pile of needles.

G-Pop began. “You probably don’t want to be here.”

The young man didn’t know how to answer, so he shrugged his shoulders.

G-Pop continued. “You probably think I’m going to preach at you.”

The teenager made very brief eye contact, then dipped his head. G-Pop began.

“Well, I don’t blame you for not wanting to be here and I can guarantee you, I’m not going to preach at you. I just want you to remember two words–in and of.

There is no doubt, my dear friend. You are in this world. It has beauty, it has humor, it has creativity. But it also has danger, foolishness and paths that take you away from your own good.

This is why you can’t just be in the world, or the world will eventually grab you by the ears and drag you where it wants you to go.

The world is filled with tribulation. What does that mean? It means that people are looking for the most complex way to do things, which they think will make them smart. Actually, the best way to live in this world is to find the simplest way to do things. So even though you have to be in this world, if you’re going to be intelligent, you can’t be of this world.

So how do you know? How do you know what opportunities are beautiful and creative, and what is just tribulation trying to complicate your life?

There’s an old saying, which in this case, isn’t just for old people… “

(At this point the young man actually snickered. A good sign. G-Pop bounced off the energy and punctuated.)

“The old saying is that we should desire to be healthy, wealthy and wise. If you look at the things you do in your life and they fit into one of those categories, they’re probably great.

Does it make me healthy?

Is it going to make me wealthy? For after all, we do need money to do things.

And will it truly make me wise? If it doesn’t, or you’re not sure, take a deep breath and walk away from it until you can think it through. But if it does, enjoy it.

There are many things that make us healthy, wealthy and wise that church people wouldn’t necessarily approve of.

I’ve always loved rock and roll, but when I was your age, I was told it was of the devil. It isn’t.

And when I was your age, marijuana was all the rage, and I was challenged by all my friends to smoke it. Well, I asked myself those questions. Will it make me healthy? Not really. Will it make me wealthy? Most of the dudes I saw smoking it couldn’t hold a job. Will it make me wise? Honestly, it seems like it makes you a little dull. So I passed.

But I did want to have a music career. Everybody told me that was unrealistic. So I asked the questions:

Is it healthy? Sure makes me feel alive.

Is it wealthy? Depends on whether I got good at it.

Does it make me wise? It awakens the creativity in my soul, so yes.

So I pursued it. I was right and they were wrong.

So like I said, I don’t want to preach at you. I just want to tell you that you were born to be in the world, but not of the world.

The world wants to screw around with you and complicate your life. Your job is to keep it simple.

Your mission is to be healthy, wealthy and wise.”

The young man’s eyes filled with tears, so G-Pop gave him a hug.

It’ll be some time before we know if the conversation did any good.

And it will be the young man’s decision … whether he wants to be trapped in the world, or free of the world.

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Populie: We Need More God/Freedom… December 10, 2014

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weed guy and America needs god with border

Loud is loud.

When you add brash to it, you come up with a profile that is impossible to ignore, yet difficult to receive.

It seems that America is standing on both ends of the playing field screaming, hoping that the intensity of their individual squall will win the day.

It’s a battle between freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

  • “We need God.”
  • “We need freedom.”

The entertainment industry loves the populie because it makes for great theater, placing causes, and even cultures, at odds with one another.

Religion, of course, joins in, in order to prove that the presence of more “godliness” would allow for greater blessing from the Almighty and perpetual supernatural intervention.

And politicians alternate between God and freedom based on the temperament of their constituency or the audience which has rallied to the cause.

The end result?

Noise. And certainly not a joyful one.

Is there something we need? Is there an insight or philosophical approach that would lead us to a greater unity?

I think we need more personal responsibility.

I think granting additional freedoms without taking into consideration how they will affect the lives of those around us–as well as our own well-being–is a catastrophic miscalculation.

We want to give people the freedom for abortion without fully understanding the ramifications for the woman, the child, the man and the culture. Simultaneously, we don’t want to talk about the personal responsibility of procuring birth control and making sure that unwanted pregnancies are not nearly as often unwanted.

We cry for freedom and shun personal responsibility.

We want to legalize marijuana, never taking into account that our society is mostly smoke-free, so people would not be able to puff in public anyway, nor do we consider the danger of second-hand smoke. Plus we fail to recognize that it is a drug that does affect disposition and productivity. We don’t want to take the personal responsibility for the end result of this campaign for freedom.

Likewise, others scream for “more God” while failing to use the God they have. After all, it is “not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” But we spend more time discussing who should be left out than who should be brought in.

True belief in God is only confirmed by our level of mercy.

There is no way to prove that someone loves God without seeing their mercy in action. If we live for the grace of God to save us from our own inadequacies, we must extend that same tenderness to others through the ointment of mercy.

I will believe that spirituality has a place in our society when I see it beginning to create more compassionate and merciful people. Bigotry, self-righteousness, traditionalism, pop-culture gospel, prosperity and political pundits do not represent the mind of Jesus.

So in our country, it’s popular to scream “we need God” or “we need freedom.”

But the truth is, what we need is personal responsibility and mercy. 

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