Not Long Tales … October 29th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4212)

12.

Cam-Pain

The season had arrived for the thirty-first official mayoral race in the little village of Garrettsburg, Oregon, population 4,322 individualists.

Three candidates stepped forward to offer themselves for consideration. As was the custom in the community, these contestants were not identified as Republican or Democrat. They were perused for their ideas, their popularity and whether they maintained a personable profile in all their dealings.

The first was the present mayor, Derrick Collins. He was one of those gentlemen caught somewhere between the barnyard and rock and roll. His favorite wheels—a motorcycle. His favorite beverage was a beer. Home-brewed if possible.

One of the challengers was Maxwell Jones, a slender man who taught history and civics at the high school. He favored classical music, though if you pressed him, would admit some fondness for the Moody Blues. He wore wingtips, polyester pants which desperately tried to reach to his shoe tops, and oversized sweater vests in an attempt to appear hunkier.

The third comer in the race was barely worth mentioning, since she was a woman and there had never been a female mayor in Garrettsburg history. It wasn’t that the community was gender-biased—just that so far, no woman had fancied the position. Her name was Rachel Luxor, and she was of some foreign extraction—and even by Oregonian standards, a bit frumpy.

Each one of these race runners had a different approach.

Maxwell immediately went after the issues. There were four he had in mind: expanding the park, sanitation pickup twice a week, cleaner water and better fireworks on July 4th. At the last minute, he added another one to his list of four, which unfortunately for his symmetrical mind, made it five. But it was important: filling in the potholes.

His strategy was to stay on point with these points to make his point. Matter of fact, that became his slogan: “Maxwell Jones will stay on point with these points to make his point.”

On the other hand, Derrick Collins was not quite so energetic. Already occupying the job, knowing the job and the city having printed business cards with his name on them, he felt very secure in his domain. What Derrick decided to do was, anything that Maxwell brought up to achieve—well, Derrick just took it to the next City Council meeting and proposed it himself. He figured it was perfect. If the proposal passed, it would then be to his credit, and if the Council thumbed their noses at the idea, then it really wasn’t his fault. So no matter how much Maxwell railed on an issue, Derrick just took the issue, put it to a Council vote and removed any potential for Maxwell following through on a campaign promise. So it seemed that Derrick Collins would once again be voted into the Mayor Chair.

Now, the two men and one woman had made a pledge to one another. A vigorous campaign would be waged, but there would be no dirty tricks. No insults. No personal attacks. And no punches below the beltline.

Well, since Derrick cheated—at least that’s the way Maxwell saw it—the promise was negated. A poster was printed with a picture of Derrick Collins drinking a beer at the monster truck extravaganza the previous fall. Underneath it was printed, boldly, “Here’s your man—if you want a redneck.”

The folks of Garrettsburg were not what you would call sophisticated, but they certainly did not want to be considered rednecks. Once this circular circulated through the community, Derrick decided the gloves had come off. He printed his own poster, showing Maxwell reading a book. Beneath the picture was the caption, “Your socialist at work.”

Once again, none of the citizenry were raging political animals, but they were pretty sure they did not want to be socialists.

The buckets were gathered, the lines were drawn, and the mudslinging began.

Maxwell said that Derrick once called an African American a Negro.

Derrick found a book report written by Maxwell back in high school, where he referred to Darwin’s volume, The Origin of the Species, as an “evolving read.”

According to Maxwell, Derrick was sympathetic to terrorists.

According to Derrick, Maxwell just might be one.

They scoured for dirt—back and forth. At first the community watched, pretending to be horrified, while lapping up every word.

On and on it went. It got nasty.

The two men refused to be in the same room with each other, which made things difficult since they ate lunch every day at the only diner in town. Therefore, it was agreed that Derrick Collins would arrive at 11:30 and eat until 12:15, when Maxwell would come from the school and eat from 12:16 to 1:00 P.M. Of course, that one minute in between did create some problems as the two jousters occasionally bumped into each other, like two bulldogs, growling and snorting.

Yet what was particularly aggravating for both camps was the fact that polling was not determining if the attack ads were successful—mainly because the populace was holding out its opinion, wondering what the next accusation might reveal.

There was no longer any discussion about filling potholes, and the quest for cleaner water dribbled away. It was a war of words and the two men were trying to put poison into each syllable.

Election Day rolled around. A gray cloud hung over the town—and not just emotionally. Since it was Oregon, and there were often gray clouds, the rain came pouring into the village like the wrath of heaven. It curtailed voter turnout.

Matter of fact, by midday, so few people had voted that the candidates decided to drive around town banging on doors, begging people to wade to the polls and cast their choice.

The weather also interfered with the counting of the ballots, so it was the next day, around one o’clock, before the tally was totaled. It was then posted on the window of the Garrettsburg newspaper, for all to read:

Derrick Collins got 32% of the vote.

Maxwell Jones also got 32% of the vote.

A tie.

But Rachel Luxor, from her backseat position, ended up winning with 34% of the vote (two percent of the electorate voted for a combination of Beyoncé, Tom Hanks, the Rock, Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback.)

There was a collective gasp that went through the community—well, maybe not the whole community, but certainly City Hall and the high school, where Derrick and Maxwell joined in a mutual head scratching, trying to figure out the source of their defeat.

It was perplexing.

After all, Rachel Luxor—now, Mayor Rachel—had campaigned on only one issue, with one slogan.

The issue was better school lunches. And the slogan?

“Carrots for Garretts(burg).”

 

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Sit Down Comedy … April 5th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4006)


Yes, let my opinions begin

I, for one, think the grocer should know what a plum is.

The plumber should be acquainted with his or her way around a toilet.

A toilet should certainly flush.

We should be flushed with excitement just over living.

Living should be easy.

Easy should be like Sunday morning.

And I contend that Sunday morning should be like heaven.

Yet we are observing life as if it is something that happens to us instead of something we control.

Do Not Accept

Even though I, like you, received DNA at birth, the three initials, in my mind, stand for Do Not Accept.

I do not accept that I am the sob-total of all of my molecules, colliding and fussing with one another.

I do not accept that I have to be white just because my skin has a tone, or a dominant male because of how I urinate, and some red-or-blue-state-philosophy due to my politics.

I do not accept that my life is pre-determined by birth, but instead, insist on daily being born again.

For I feel that if mankind can stop making the classic four mistakes, we could become humankind and start assisting one another to break out of the goo of procreation and start generating lives.

What are the classic four mistakes?

  1. We choose things by how attractive they are.
  2. We foolishly follow the crowd, thinking popularity means shit.
  3. Rather than being creative, we are defensive.
  4. We lie because lying is lying around, lying.

So, encrusted with these stale, day-old-bread mannerisms, we struggle to interact with each other in fresh ways and end up with burnt toast.

I think it begins with misconceptions about our “personal space.”

I was thinking about this just yesterday…


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G-Poppers … August 3rd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children suggested that it be referred to as a “Pop-cast” since it was G-Pop doing it. Although terribly cute, endearing concepts like that often do not fare very well in the present marketplace.

But let us say that G-Pop’s children were thrilled when he started a podcast to share his humor and ideas all over the Internet.

Now, here’s the problem: The first question that comes out of anyone’s mouth when they discover you have a podcast–whether they’re interested or just polite–is, “What’s it about?”

Well, G-Pop’s podcast is on the most interesting subject on the entire planet.

People.

When dealing with people you have two choices. You can tell them what they want to hear, which opens the door to some popularity, or you can tell them what they need to hear, which has been known to empty many a room.

So when G-Pop started his podcast, “Good News and Better News,” he decided the key was to talk about the most practical things possible in the simplest, and hopefully, most humorous way, and perhaps, in so doing, Mary Poppins may be proven true–that a “spoonful of sugar” does “help the medicine go down.”

Because no human being ever begins their journey until he or she learns that there is the person you are, and there’s the person you want to be. If for some reason you decide to skip to the person you want to be, you have to lie an awful lot about the person you are.

And everyone knows what the problem is with lying: you get caught.

The minute any of us decides that we are not ashamed of the person we are, and do not walk away from the reality of our present situation, then we find ourselves in the position to negotiate–to seek and find ways to gradually become the person we want to be.

Because bluntly, you can’t save your soul until you find your soul.

So “Good News and Better News,” which is broadcast on Tuesday every week and available on all the major outlets, helps you to find your soul so you won’t be so frightened about the person you are and can keep a good sense of humor on the journey to the person you want to be.

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Catchy (Sitting 25) I’ll Fly Away (Old Glory) … December 3rd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3510)

Turns out a new Lear jet cost twenty million dollars.

Matthew discovered this alarming fact because Jubal wanted to purchase one.

Amazingly, a Las Vegas businessman, Bob O’Connell, who was totally intrigued with the notion of popularizing Jesus, offered his used Lear jet with only 1,020 landings, for a reasonable twelve million.

Jubal insisted that Matthew snatch it up. Mr. Carlos had an idea. He decided the key was to take the same message to the same people if you wanted the same results. For after all, Jesus made the point that his campaign hid the contents of the mission from the wise and prudent souls of the time and delivered it unto the common man and woman.

So Jubal wanted to rise every morning at 5:30 A. M. and fly the Lear jet into small towns all over America, to hold lunch-time rallies in the biggest park close to the landing spot, giving away free hamburgers and cokes, playing great music, and delivering an inspiring piece of Gospel.

After these rallies, which were to be completely spontaneous with no one knowing where the next one would be from day-to-day, Jubal and his entourage would get back on the jet and fly back to Vegas for a nighttime meeting in Clark County.

They located an abandoned warehouse, which they purchased for $120,000, and were able to suit it up as a decent, but rustic, auditorium for another hundred grand. It was called “The We House”–and it was a place for souls to gather to find simplicity and abundant joy.

Town after town was selected for the daytime rallies:

  • Bismark, North Dakota.
  • Butte, Montana
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Bangor, Maine
  • Waco, Texas

Jubal, Matthew and the band, along with a couple of extra wives and friends, used the plane trips to sleep and rest coming and going, and used the energy from the towns to rejuvenate their spirits.

Whenever they landed in a community, the local hamburger establishments jockeyed for the right to offer their burgers to the populace.

Jubal Carlos had a phrase which he passed onto all these budding entrepreneurs who were trying to get in on the ground floor of a good idea and promote their product at the same time. His response was always the same: “Thank you for your products, but no thank you. We shall not promote you.”

Amazingly, this didn’t seem to make any difference. Hamburger and coke people begged to be part of the unfolding.

Posted on the Lear jet was a series of “NOs”:

NO sponsors

NO bitching

NO divas

NO give-up

NO drugs

And NO interviews

Yes, this was an intricate part of Jubal’s plan. Under no circumstances were any people to talk to the press, conduct any interviews or answer a question from those with journalistic intentions. Although there was a feeding frenzy for data, Jubal and the gang remained mum.

It didn’t take long. People began speculating on the location of the next day’s noontime meeting. When a rumor sprouted that Jubal was spontaneously showing up at some church in America once a week on Sunday morning, church attendance suddenly spiked, with many hoping they would accidentally stumble on the musician/prophet.

And the evening sessions at “The We House”–often conducted in candlelight–were rich with emotion, tuneful and carried a mingling of melancholy and joy which nearly struck one down with its gentleness upon entering the room.

Four weeks into the promotion, news reports started to circulate about the past history of band members or how some girl had infiltrated the troop as a groupie to gain a sexual rendezvous with the nation’s now most famous drummer.

This worried Matthew–but Jubal’s answer was easy. “We’ll put out daily press releases about our weaknesses. Each member of the band, each person in the entourage, will confess one of their faults or sins and release it over social media long before the press can pounce on it.”

At first people were interested in the flaws of the Lear Jet Revival membership. After that, they thought it was silly, and eventually everyone got bored with finding out the sins of the travelers, which were not that dissimilar from their own.

Church attendance continued to climb.

News organizations were offering hundreds of thousands of dollars for any interview with staff from the movement.

And people were becoming sensitized to the relaxation, simplicity and immersion in joy.

Matthew marveled. Jubal was breaking every rule of Madison Avenue, but was promoting better than any organization or corporation he had ever seen.

If anything became complicated, they just stopped, thought and prayed until it got easier. If anybody attacked them, they agreed with the truthful parts and ignored the foul.

Two months in, the country was stirred and stalled by this mixture of rallies and evening meetings. People began to hop into their motor homes, cross the country and camp out on the grounds of the warehouse and nearby RV parks.

Soon the warehouse was too small–but a bigger warehouse would make things less intimate. They had a pleasant problem.

What can you do to keep something beautiful going once it starts getting popular?

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 46 (February 14th, 1969) The Pain in Pleasure… December 20, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2449)

(Transcript)

Her name was Belinda.

She was about two rungs down the ladder of popularity from me, promoted by the horrendous high school caste system.

She liked me a lot.

I liked her, but of course, I would never go against the feudal structure of High School U. S. A., to ask her out on a date. I would never survive the ridicule and humiliation.

But I got lonely around Valentine’s Day.

My dad was sick and dying. One of the guys in our music group quit because his girlfriend thought he was taking too much time with us, and I had no idea whatsoever on what geometry was all about.

So I quietly asked Belinda out on a date, hoping that because she was so devoted in my direction, there might be some necking involved. She was one of those farm girls, raised on Bible principles, but was willing to renegotiate some of the terms on a Saturday night.

I wanted to neck.

I had kissed girls, but had never sustained long sessions of smooching and my curiosity had overtaken me. So I selfishly decided to take advantage of poor Belinda.

She was thrilled and promised not to tell anybody about our date because I told her we “needed to see how it worked out.”

I took her to a drive-in movie, which in 1969 was code for “we’re gonna mess around.”

It took me nearly thirty minutes to work up the courage to put my arm around her, and then I was afraid to move it and therefore contracted some horrible cramps in my muscles, which continued through the entire evening.

It was easy to get her to start kissing. She had thin lips so the first couple of times I got mostly teeth. But after a minute or so we got the hang of it, and she started slipping her tongue in my mouth, which was relatively new to me.

Adapting the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I concluded, “When in France do as the French do.”

We were about ten minutes into the session when I realized that one of us had really stale breath. It wasn’t really horrible–that dried smell of garlic baloney and over-chewed gum.

I persisted.

She really got into it–so much so that she unbuttoned her blouse, inviting me to see how “alive the hills really were.”

I thought about it. After all, I was a teenager. Morals were something to discuss at church and feverishly avoid in your everyday life.

But something stopped me.

Maybe it was the ache in my bicep. Or it could have been the halitosis.

But I backed out of the encounter, tongue first.

I took her home. She wondered what was wrong. She practically pleaded with me to see her again. And rat that I was, I went mousy and never spoke to her.

It was an odd night.

Rather than feeling fulfilled, I felt like I had used another human being, who would suffer some pangs from the experience.

It sucked.

I did learn, though, that there is some pain in pleasure.

The reason most people never pursue their goals is because along the way, there are some shards of glass strewn in the pathway which either need to be avoided or walked over.

If life was easy, dumb people would rule the world.

Well, maybe they do.

But life isn’t easy. With every pain comes some pleasure, and the pleasures that arrive our way do require that we survive a bit of discomfort.

 

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. . . knew what to do … October 26, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2048)

five thousandCommittees can be powerful as long as they are headed by a visionary person of principle who reminds the gathered of the power of truth instead of giving in to convenience.

We should never throw a good idea aside, but also never embrace one when it has fallen by the wayside and is being maintained for the sake of tradition.

If they had held a committee meeting on a hill so many years ago when five thousand hungry people, who had been listening to teaching for days, were famished and in need of nourishment, the vote taken by the thirteen members of that body of consideration would have been to “send the folks away” and hope for the best. Even though a young itinerant minister named Jesus asked the opinion of his fellow-travelers, the story tells us that he, himself “knew what he was going to do.”

And because of his sense of mission and mercy, the folks were fed, using the resources of the reluctant committee members, stimulating their faith by giving them the chance to be part of a miraculous event–even though they might have voted against it.Abraham and cabinet

In 1861, a less-than-popular Abraham Lincoln ascended to the role of President of the United States. He surrounded himself with both advocates and critics, trying to form a government that would cohesively address the issue of slavery.

Yet I will tell you, if Abraham Lincoln had left the decision up to his Cabinet and Congress, we would be two nations today–one of them probably still having some form of sophisticated slave labor.

Abraham Lincoln knew what he was going to do–and somehow or another found a way to get those around him to come along and appear as if they were part of the solution instead of being entrenched in the problem.

Over and over again, throughout history, men and women of purpose and conscience have sat in front of committees, and rather than surrendering their leadership to the temporary will and often insanity of the popular opinion of the day, they guided their constituents to better conclusions.

gay rightsRecently, even in our country, on the justification of gay Americans to have civil rights, there has been a committee of those who have focused on the morality or normalcy of the issue instead of the liberty and justice that is required for all. Even in the face of such comprehensive division, we, the people, found the impetus to begin the journey to grant our citizens their due.

Do we all agree?

Absolutely not.

Is there a right and wrong here?

Often, my dear friends, freedom dictates that we abandon the notion of purity in favor of equality.

There is much to do in this country–and since we cling to a notion of democracy, it probably will require committees for accomplishment. But we do need those who chair the conclave of “deciders” to have an understanding of history, an appreciation of freedom and a stalwart will to abandon popularity in favor of posterity.

Can we find such individuals? Will we take the time to select leadership that will spur us to discover the inspirational choices … which will make our children call us blessed?

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Parallel Universe … October 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2042)

oxen“What are the cool kids doing?”

I thought that question would be a phenomenon of high school and would disappear, or at least dissipate, in importance when I entered the unknown realm of “Grown-ups-ville.” Now that I’ve occupied that territory as a resident for several decades, I will tell you that we are still oppressed, possessed and obsessed by “what the cool kids do.”

Perhaps the most annoying factor in this scenario is the process by which we determine who the cool kids ARE. Normally three ingredients:

  1. Popularity
  2. Money
  3. What they get by with

So much to my chagrin, as I travel across the country, I see perfectly wonderful, kind people under the spell of a temporary haze of confusion by a political arena that is back-biting and ferocious and a spirituality which only offers flavors in bubblegum and castor oil.

It is most unfortunate.

It is rather doubtful if we will be able to deter people from chasing the ways of the cool kids. Our only hope would be to change the roster of that particular group of people.

Yes, to a certain degree we are all victims of this quandary, in which we have a tendency to imitate the people in our society who have power, money and who get away with things, performing it in our own little homespun three-act play.

So churches, organizations and even families are plagued with much more bickering, fussiness and dogmatic attitudes because we are told by our media pundits that this is the “way of the world” and is the best avenue for getting what you want.

It will take some awfully brave people to counteract this misery. Therefore I woke up this morning and asked myself: who do I want to be?

I guess I would like to have the strength of an ox.

I chose the ox NOT because of the age-old reputation, but because the creature is deliberate, mighty and uncomplaining. For I’m sure that an ox has aches and pains, but nothing will deter it from its labor.

For me, I want the mind of Jesus.

Why? It blends wit and tenderness, which will win the day if given the opportunity to perform.

I guess I would like to have the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

For as you study his life, you realize he was a gentle soul with an iron will, a sense of humor and more questions than answers about his faith. There’s a healthiness to that which keeps your spirituality moving forward instead of settling into your favorite pew.

And emotionally, I would like to be the perfect merger of a child and a soldier:

The simplicity of a child’s curiosity and honest about my own needs, and the bravery of a soldier, who realizes that sometimes my wants are negated by reality, and I need to march on.

Where I see these attributes in my society, I will praise them. Where I don’t, I will avoid them.

  • I want to be a strong ox
  • with the mind of the son of God
  • and the spirit of an emancipator
  • while sporting the simplicity of a child and the courage of a soldier.

This creates my parallel universe to our present earth-bound logic.

If you’re looking, that is where you’ll find me.

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