Catchy (Sitting 62) Meeting II, Three and 4…August 19th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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“I usually don’t meet with white people.”

Terrance Eldridge.

Carlin paused, considering the statement. “Well, I usually don’t meet with a racist,” he replied.

Terrance stiffened. “I’m not a racist. I wasn’t casting an aspersion on the white race. I was merely saying that usually white people don’t want to hear what I have to say.”

Carlin smiled. “Maybe if they knew you weren’t going to be reluctant to see them they might be more receptive to your words.”

Terrance leaned back in his chair, reached over and took a sip of coffee. “You see, you feel comfortable being self-righteous, my friend. That’s because you’re white. If I take a dignified position, I’m uppity. Or radical. You may not be aware, Mr. Canaby, but America works on the ‘Hue-y’ decimal system. ‘What is your color? Then we’ll place you on the appropriate shelf.'”

Carlin just shook his head. “There’s nothing new here, Mr. Eldridge. This is the same drivel that’s been shared through Malcolm X, Farrakhan and any number of urban rappers who rail against the system and present themselves as victims.”

“Not victims,” said Terrance. “Just unable to join in the game without being proclaimed a loser before it even begins.”

Carlin sighed deeply. “Well, I’m not here to argue with you. Let me just sit here as the oppressive white person in the room and listen to you rattle on for half an hour, and then deliver my report. But I’ll tell you right now–somebody’s made a mistake in choosing you for anything. You are an agitator. Yes, an agitator. You come along just to stir people up, without offering any solution. And I, as a white man, don’t have any problem telling you that you’re sand blowing in the wind.”

Terrance eyeballed him. Then he spoke slowly. “I think I like you, Canaby. I think you’re stupid. I think you have no grasp of the problem. But you speak your ignorance eloquently.”

Carlin lifted his hands in the air and replied, “Then we agree. We’re both talking asses.”

“Perhaps we should start over,” reasoned Terrance Eldridge.

For the next half hour, the black educator did his best to present a coherent message to his pale brother. Basically it was pretty simple. As long as white people were deciding what black people were, black people would be unable to make decisions for themselves. Even if the decisions made by white people were favorable–“they’re great athletes” or “no one is as strong as they are”–black people were still victims of slavery.

They are really African-Americans, Terrance pointed out.  They deserved to be honored with their history one month a year. But even when such concessions are made, they are still chosen by a white committee.

Terrance explained that the black man achieved nothing by being angry at white America or at the nation in general. This just played into the hands of false patriots, who wanted to believe that equality had already been achieved, and what the black race was looking for was entitlement.

Terrance had two visions.

One was educational–huge weekend rallies held in big cities, inviting famous athletes and musicians to come and share, and to punctuate the fact that the black race, although brought to the United States under evil pretense, still owns their portion of the American dream.

The second piece involved taking the finest actors in Hollywood and making five movies–entertaining but also inspirational–about the journey of the black race in America. Each movie would take a different era, beginning with Movie One: 1750; Movie Two: 1850; Movie Three: 1950; Movie Four: 1960, Movie Five: Today.

Using the foundation of the Alex Haley series, Roots, there would be storylines connecting all the eras, to show what progress had been made and what progress still needed to be pursued. The movies would be entitled “AmeriKin” in honor of Terrance’s book.

So with the combination of the rallies and the release of the films, a new awakening could come into the black community, to seek common ground with all races in the country, to claim the space reserved and preserved solely for them.

The meeting ended up lasting an hour. Carlin listened carefully. Even though Eldridge was guilty of both erroneous opinions and overly zealous projections, Carlin could see where there would be value in having a movement among black Americans to claim their true heritage.

Terrance closed his discourse by saying, “I don’t know why you’re here, Mr. Canaby. I don’t know what this is all about. I don’t know whether you’re a spy or just a nice guy. I don’t know whether curiosity brought you here or if I’m going to walk out in the hall to say good-bye and get blown away by an assassin. So let me just say this–I will find a way to do all the things I’ve mentioned here. I will not judge whether these things will be successful until they’re accomplished. And if I’m the only black boy in America who claims his true kinship in this country, you will have one of us to deal with.”

Carlin smiled. He suddenly felt close to the dreamer. They stood to their feet. Carlin gave Terrance a hug. Terrance recoiled a bit, but reciprocated.

Carlin walked out the door, comically mentioning that there was no assassin–because they couldn’t find one on a Thursday afternoon. He headed for his car.

He had done what he was told. He had completed his mission.

What in the hell did it all mean?

*******

Jasper was freaked out.

He thought he was supposed to meet up with a comedian named Mickey Kohlberg at a comedy club. Jasper was used to comedy clubs. They were pleasant holes-in-the-wall in the middle of Downtown Somewhere.

But Jasper became unnerved when the corporate jet flew him to Tel Aviv in Israel.

Jasper did not like the Holy Land. First of all, it wasn’t very holy–more bloodshed had been perpetrated there than any place in the world. And honestly, Jasper never found it to exactly be land. There was so much contention, so much disagreement, over who owned the little strip of property, that it was difficult to believe that anybody would ever be able to put up permanent housing.

Landing in Tel Aviv, Jasper was handed an envelope by a fellow dressed in black, with no neck. He sat on the tarmac and opened it. It read: “You will be taken by car near Jerusalem, where you will meet up with Mickey Kohlberg at a location called the Sinai Club.”

That was it.

Jasper had a million questions–but the only person to ask was his driver, who only spoke Hebrew. Or was it Farsi? Jasper could not distinguish.

He decided to take a nap on the ride, and the next thing he knew he was sitting in front of a building made of cement blocks–unfinished, unpainted, resembling more a bomb shelter than a commercial venture.

Jasper climbed out of the car and a very small man with wire-frame glasses, long, black curly hair and a beard came walking up, and introduced himself as Mickey Kohlberg.

For a brief moment, Jasper was mentally and physically unable to function. He wordlessly followed Mickey inside.

He couldn’t fathom being where he was. He thought he was heading to a comedy club. What was sitting in front of him was a makeshift structure without air conditioning–without electricity–filled with small round tables and rickety wooden chairs.

Because Jasper felt so overwhelmed, he just allowed Mickey to do the talking.

“This is what we do. You may not know it, but you’re sitting on the border of a disputed territory. You go fifteen feet in one direction and you’re in Israel. Fifteen feet the other direction, you’re still in Israel–but not according to the Palestinians. They believe it’s their land. It’s a little bit hard to define who ‘they’ might be–coming from Bedouin backgrounds, they don’t exactly have a formal government or leader. They have a claim. They believe the land is theirs.”

“Every night I open up this club, put some candles on the tables, and I invite people from Israel and from Palestine to come to this structure and sit down together…and laugh. This club has been blown up five times. That’s why we keep building it in cement blocks. Makes it much easier to reconstruct.”

Mickey smiled a bit sadly. “So you may ask, how do I bring these people together? I find the only thing they really share in common is Jesus of Nazareth. He was once a prophet to the Jews and also one to the Muslims. I don’t sit here and share his teachings, but I take his teachings, his thoughts, and even parts of his life, and I turn them into comedy routines. Because I’m not making fun of Jew or Muslim, they are completely willing to laugh at Christian.”

“Now don’t misunderstand me. I am very respectful. But I do poke fun. Especially when I talk about how Americans have turned their religion into guns and bombs instead of compassion.”

Jasper held up a hand to stop Mickey. “I don’t understand,” he said. “What do you expect to achieve?”

Mickey sat for a long moment before answering.

“I believe,” he mouthed slowly, “that if we can show, even for a moment, that Palestinians and Israelis can agree on a common laugh, we might gain the world’s attention and get comics, musicians or artists from all over the world to come and sit in our little stone building and encourage the possibility of communication.”

Jasper sat very still. He realized that such an effort would require much money, a whole lot of motivation and twisting some arms.

“And what is the end game?” Jasper inserted.

“The end game?” repeated Mickey, uncertain of the meaning.

“Yes,” said Jasper. “Where does this take us? What is the next step afterwards? Where are we going?”

“I don’t know,” said Mickey. “Honestly, I just come here in the afternoons with a bunch of friends–early enough to rebuild the stones if necessary, and grateful if we don’t have to.”

“You’re a dead man walking,” observed Jasper pointedly.

Mickey welled up with tears. “There are worse ways to go,” he said. “That’s why I call is ‘Dying Laughing.'”

Jasper felt horrible for his nasty comment.

He told Mickey he would go and report what he had found and see what the people wanted to do about it. Jasper explained that he didn’t even understand why he was there.

“Just one more question,” posed Jasper. “Why do you call it the Sinai Club?”

“Mount Sinai was the last time that God spoke to my people,” Mickey answered. “I just think it’s time again.”

Mickey stood to his feet and walked out of the building, terminating the interview.

Jasper picked up a handful of the sandy floor of the club and tossed it across the room. He strolled out of the concrete bunker, hopped into the car and headed back to the Tel Aviv airport. The jet flew him to Washington, D.C., arriving ten hours later.

Coming down the steps of the jet, he found himself face-to-face with Jo-Jay, who was getting ready to board.

“Where you been?” she asked.

“Hell,” replied Jasper. “At least, the closest place to hell there is on Earth.”

He walked across the tarmac to the hangar and disappeared.

Jo-Jay shook her head and headed into the jet, waiting for them to refuel. She was on her way to Phoenix, Arizona. There she was scheduled to meet up with the young man named Careless.

She had done a lot of reading. She had a lot of stats and facts–the kind of useless information that makes interviewers feel informed, but actually does little to acquaint them with the subject.

Careless had selected his name based on the idea that if rich people were so rich that they weren’t concerned about money anymore, then they should start acting like they cared less and find ways to care more.

He was an igniter.

He felt it was his job to connect people of great finance with people who had Earth-changing ideas. He called it “the MacDonald project”–after Old MacDonald who had the farm.

In this scenario, the “farms” were worthy projects, organizations, research or efforts to quickly and efficiently impact the human race.

He envisioned a situation where he would be the conduit between those who had money and those who could use money efficiently to heal, protect, save and inspire.

He called it the E.I.O. Project.

Eeliminate

Iilluminate

Oobliterate

He was looking for people to take one of the “MacDonald farms,” a stash of cash, and in a 365-day period, either eliminate an evil or a disease, illuminate a nation or a race of people, or obliterate an injustice that exists on the planet.

Each one of these “farms” would be given fifty million dollars and at the end of a year, would be asked to account for how they used it and what effect they felt their project had achieved. There would also be a private investigating committee, which would likewise review and summarize.

If one of the “farms” was successful, the following year they would be given a hundred million dollars. If they were not, they would be replaced by a new “farm.”

Many people had been critical of Careless, contending that one year was insufficient to evaluate any effort. Careless, on the other hand, explained to his billionaire clients that too much time was spent by charities deliberating the best way to do something instead of experimenting with the next way.

It was radical.

Jo-Jay fell in love with him. Not romantically–but she believed she had found a common spirit. Even though Careless was well-versed in the subject matter, there was a simplicity and optimism in him that was infectious. She left her meeting inspired–realizing that the billion dollars he planned to raise to get the project going was chump change to the fifteen potential clients he was pursuing.

It was an interesting possibility.

Jo-Jay departed overjoyed, thinking to herself that the whole world could use such a sensation.

*******

On Thursday, at 1:15 A.M., Matthew checked himself in to the Las Vegas hospital. It had been a rough week.

Leonora had left him. He wasn’t angry at her–she had hung around for several weeks, even though his ability as a lover had diminished to nothing.

His body was taking on the pallor of a dying man.

She tried, but she was just too pink to be gray. She was too young to be around debilitation.

When she left him, he wanted to turn to the bottle, but now he felt too weak to even get drunk.

When he woke up on Wednesday morning and realized that his left leg was not moving, he knew he was in serious trouble. He spent the day crying, thinking, and even for a brief moment, tried a prayer.

But at midnight he realized it was time to call a private ambulance to pick him up and take him to the hospital.

He was only in the examination room for about an hour when the doctor appeared and confirmed the situation.

“You are in the final stages of liver failure. Your other organs are beginning to give up in sympathy. You need a transplant and you need it now. Before you ask me, I will tell you–we’re talking no more than a week. I’ve had your name pushed to the front of the list for donors. We shall have to see.”

The doctor left the room.

Everything was so still that Matthew could hear the buzzing of the flourescent bulbs.

He needed to talk to someone.

Who in the hell should he call?

 

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The Day After… July 5, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1934)

The day after I was born, I was a squalling, moody, pink blob of pending poop.

The day after my first kindergarten class, I was confused by the ABC’s, hoping and praying we would spend more time with round-tipped scissors and delicious paste.

The day after puberty began, I was greatly enamored with my abilities and appearance while frightened that I had five more years of school and celibacy.

The day after I graduated from high school, I was shocked by how little the world cared.

The day after I got married, I realized that my wife needed a man, and I had no idea whatsoever where to find one.

The day after my first son was born, I was surprised that no one would let me be a child with him.

The day after I nearly died, I concluded that life is brief and unsympathetic to the procrastinator.

And …

The day after they signed the Declaration of Independence, very frightened patriots probably wished they could take it back.

Fear is what intelligent people do to buy some time to gain courage.

The day after I die, I will know if what I believe is real–or just a bunch of crap.

Scary.

Lord, grant me the time … to muster bravery.

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Wrong Again … February 6, 2012

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I like being wrong.

It is comforting to know that the entire wealth of human knowledge is not kept in a safe deposit box in my brain. There is life that goes on outside of my consciousness–and even beyond my approval. Reassuring. Because I feel that way, it makes my journey so much sweeter, and free of the need to constantly prove my point and clarify my statements, cleansing them with self-righteousness. Sometimes I’m just wrong–and being raised in the Mid-West, as a Buckeye, I was taught many things about people who have ended up being erroneous and full of prejudice. Yes, I am a bigot and join all the other bigots(such as yourself) in the great bigot march towards what I hope is called discovery.

That said, let me tell you that I arrived in Texas to a community which even the Lone Star folks would call “rural.” I was scheduled to share at a local church and my mind immediately launched into scenarios of what I might see, feel and even do to compensate for the social climate surrounding me. Unfortunately, the problem with abandoning our prejudices is that there are enough street signs on the road of life that resemble our stereotypes that we often feel we are on the right path and therefore don’t take the time to complete the entire journey. In other words, if you think there are only lions at the zoo and you go to the zoo and only visit the lion cages, you leave the zoo feeling that you were right and there was nothing more to see. That used to be me. I was so in need of being correct that I would fudge the facts and only experience events that would confirm my assertions. Fortunately, I stopped that years ago. Now I take on the whole enchilada and find out what’s stuffed inside.

The little Texas town was a blessing. Oh, I saw things that certainly reinforced some of my prior conceptions, but I did experience many more things that just screamed the great expression: “People are people, so get to loving people.”

I sat in my green room and talked to two women full of vim, vigor, spirituality and hope for our lives and our nation. They were intelligent, intuitive, kind and generous. I met a pastor who had a gentleness of spirit which allowed him to take the position of a servant to us, without feeling he was diminishing his profile or tarnishing his well-earned doctorate. I shared in front of two congregations of individuals who certainly were just as cautions towards me as I was towards them, but because the Spirit blows in corners which we previously tried to hide, the barriers were quickly brought down and connection was made.

(I did view one funny incident. A young mother and her six-year-old daughter came up to talk to the pastor. The mother was explaining to him why her husband was absent–because of work duties. When she completed her apology for her husband’s absence, the daughter piped up. “No, Mommy–Daddy went hunting. I saw him leave the house with his shotgun.” The mother quickly inserted that “he took the gun just in case he saw something along the way.” The daughter continued to protest her mother’s rendition as she was quickly ushered out of the room, away from pending peril. But you see, that’s just human. Our children were born to resemble us, but never to mimic us. If you wanted someone to be like you and respond like you, you should have purchased a parrot. Kids don’t do it.)

The other day someone asked me the difference between a conservative and a liberal. That’s easy. A conservative stands ten feet away and peers at you to find out if you’re going to act, react, believe and do what he or she does. If you seem to pass muster, a conservative will inch his way to your side to learn more. Liberals, on the other hand, feel no need to peer at you and skip all those steps because they already know they are superior. Either way, folks, if you look at the world as the sum total of its philosophy, you will end up with good guys and bad guys instead of just people.

Now, even though I think I have all of this down and have become a much more expansive being, parts of my training and pre-conceptions do crop up from time to time to aggravate me. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have a spirit in me, prodding me to stop being such a predictable jerk. I would probably spend most of my time making judgments and the rest of the time rationalizing them.

So I’m leaving this rural Texas town so much the better for having met its wonderful people.  For example, when fatigue set in yesterday and I had completed my second program and it was time for me to pack up my goods and head out of town, a wonderfully energetic young man came forward to become my arms and legs, and filled in the gaps of my lacking, enabling me to load up my van without pain and anguish. He was a treasure. He was without nationality, borders, political party, denomination or even gender. He was just a damned good human.

I like being wrong. It gives other people a chance to be right.

And if we do that often enough–that is, forfeit our need to be in supremacy–then we might actually get more of the inklings and ideas of the Supreme Being.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Giants and Patriots … February 5, 2012

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They will play today. Or is it battle? It all depends on how overwrought the particular announcer propagating the match wishes to become. It is a contest which has been not-so-cleverly dubbed “The Superbowl” by some executive who hastily wanted to promote another profitable event. I will certainly watch, doing my part for the cause by grimacing at the failures of athletes much more physically qualified than myself, while simultaneously over-eating in their honor. The actual event will not be as difficult to comprehend as people make it out in all of their pre-game gibberish. If the teams are evenly matched, it will come down to some escapade of a fumbling rookie or a flailing kicker. If the game is over-hyped and one team is superior, more often than not it becomes a rout. But the only thing I request is when Sunday is over and all the commercials have been run and highlights well high-lighted, let us stop on Monday morning with all Giants and Patriots.

We do not need giants and we certainly do not require any patriots. What would be nice is for people to start joining up in the marketplace and bring their true talents and honestly expose their vulnerabilities. Let’s take a look at the words–because at the end of every “giant” is an “ant,” and the conclusion of a raging “patriot” is a “riot.” So as long as we continue to make people believe that we’re all giants and that we need to be patriots, we will live in a world filled with ants rioting.

Now, the ant is a very industrious creature, but rather useless and unimpressive when it attempts to riot. Just as in today’s Superbowl, the announcers, the audience and the gathered hordes will be looking for supernatural feats from mere mortals. We seem to believe in our political, religious and economic climate that we are due a Lincoln, a new Messiah or a Henry Ford, respectively. The end result is that we have a bunch of ants rioting, insisting they’re really giants and patriots.

There is one way to be a good American–it is written between the lines in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Here it is: “I have an idea and please let me try my idea because part of my idea is to let you have an idea that you can try, too.”

Unlike the two football teams marching up and down the field today, the goal in our country is not to tackle, stomp and pummel one another. It is to try to find the jersey color of common acceptance and somehow or another, get on the same team. Take a few moments, disagree about the play-calling, but then come to the line, hike the ball–and work together.

Yet, two very nasty statements have become commonplace in our country in the past sixty days. They must be eliminated. Otherwise, all the ants will start insisting they’re giants, and the newly proclaimed patriots will begin to riot.

1. “You have to be mean to win an election in the United States of America.” This idea is being expounded as gospel on every 24-hour news cycle, and is gradually seeping into the fiber of our thinking. Someone needs to step in to sop it up quickly before we become saturated with the notion that strong-arming does anything but give you temporary control … until a stronger arm shows up. If our country must be led by the most conniving, fierce, defensive, jealous, frightened and mean-spirited individual available, then I am buying my ticket to Canada. Stop the foolishness. Every time you hear someone say, “Well, it’s just politics. They have to lie, cheat and be mean,”  you just respond, “No, thank you.”

2. “Everybody wants to be rich.” This statement slipped into the conversation this year and has become public pabulum for all the pundits who want to pontificate on the political parties. No. Not everyone wants to be rich. Having been both poor and fairly wealthy in my life, I will tell you that extremes in any temperature are bizarre, unnatural and not particularly pleasing. When I was poor I spent too much time thinking about money and when I was wealthy I spent too much time thinking about money. What most people want is the ability to pay their bills and come out on the other end feeling as victorious as a Superbowl champ. Most of would like to watch the Superbowl today without having to worry about overextending our checking accounts by buying that extra batch of chicken wings. That’s about it.

Trying to make being rich the epitome of the human journey is exactly the opposite of every philosophy and spiritual energy ever unleashed in the better parts of the human heart. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” According to the present thinking, plenty.

We must stop the giants, who are really ants, and all the raging patriots who just create a sense of false importance and riots. In other words, be a good American. Help out with the real Superbowl of our society. Here’s how:

“I have an idea and please let me try my idea because part of my idea is to let you have an idea that you can try, too.”

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

**************

To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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