G-Poppers … April 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop wishes for his children to listen carefully.

Yes, during this season of great confusion, it is important to be careful how we hear.

With rivers of information flowing through the countryside with greater speed than ever before, there are also mounds of misunderstanding pouring out raw sewage of stupidity, tainting the flow.

Beware the liberal.

Also beware the conservative.

The thing to remember is that truth has no agenda–just a message to make us free; free of the obstruction of needing to stand behind an opinion.

You can always identify the words that are rotten with antagonism.

They blame.

Each political party, every religion, countless races–all point a finger at one another to create blame.

Is there blame? Perhaps. But such accusations need to take a journey through scrutiny.

It begins with the facts. It’s difficult to get them. Websites, news reports and pundits tend to obscure them behind statistics and endorsements.

Listen to all sides, and then find that sweet spot in the middle, where truth has cuddled up, waiting for the persevering soul to discover it.

Find the facts. Don’t be so sure.

Once you find the facts, then it’s important to decide who or what is responsible. Finding the responsible parties is not a decision to target blame, but rather, discovering who has the power to bring solution.

Who is responsible?

Could it be that we are responsible?

What part of the responsibility can we take onto ourselves, to make sure that something will be addressed?

Then, once responsibility is addressed, any blame that needs to be brought forth in order to clean up the nastiness can be pointed out without fear.

  • Facts.
  • Responsibility.
  • Blame.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work if you go the other direction–blaming someone and making them responsible to fit your allegation.

G-Pop must warn his children that if they pursue the facts to ascertain responsibility, to correctly place blame, that they will find themselves being neither conservative nor liberal–just real.

It is a season when goodness will be determined by those who are not so intent on advertising the badness in their adversaries.

To do this requires a set of ears tuned to history and the love of humankind … instead of listening for reasons to confirm our suspicions and alienate one another.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 33 (March 12th, 1967) Charley … September 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2364)

(Transcript)

Charley loved to run.

Not me.

I had chubby legs that seemed to be made out of cotton candy, generating the gait of a circus elephant.

In one of the brief fits of verbosity that possessed his soul, Charley once shared with me that running faster and faster made him feel that his feet were leaving the ground and he was soaring into the heavens to dance with the angels.

Pretty articulate for a Midwest kid.

I decided to go out for track and field more or less because I didn’t have anything else to do. Since I could not run or jump, they asked me to try out on the shot put. I did.

I was unimpressed, so I fell back into my acquired nature of quitting. But even though I departed the team, I found myself during study hall sitting at the table with these athletes, and when the monitor left the room, Randy spoke up and gave us a juicy piece of gossip. (Randy was also a runner but never quite as fast as Charley.)

Randy explained that Charley was a “gypsy type.” Now, I do not know what the origin of that phrase was in our community, but I knew that “gypsy type” meant that Charley was–well, dangerous. The adults had other terms for Charley’s problem when they were alone and away from the children.

  • “Effeminate.”
  • “Queer.”
  • “Sodomite.”

Although I had no personal experience with Charley demonstrating such bizarre behavior, in 1967 just the mention of the situation caused your skin to crawl, making you want to avoid any contact with such perverted beings.

Randy knew this. In other words, it didn’t have to be true–just spoken. The gossip mill and bigotry would do the rest.

No one drew close to Charley after that.

He ate alone, he ran alone, he walked alone, he talked alone.

When he asked me why I was not sharing with him anymore, I clumsily replied, “I’ve been busy.”

One day we came to school and he was gone. No one even asked where he was or if he was coming back. Charley was soon forgotten, and the quest for other “gypsy types” was set in motion with renewed scrutiny.

It was many years later that Randy, the accuser of his running friend, came out of the closet, admitting that he was gay. (“Gypsy type” was no longer acceptable terminology.) Randy was lauded for his courage. He was embraced by his friends. Matter of fact, he was set apart as an example of someone who had endured a silent persecution and now was set free.

Mustering some boldness, I asked Randy about Charley. He said he didn’t remember much about Charley.

He paused and then added, “Oh, wasn’t Charley that good-looking kid that was really fast?”

I just smiled, and said, “Yeah. That’s him.”

I walked away from that encounter realizing that there is no such thing as a “righteous” judgment.

It’s all just crapping on people.

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Untotaled: Stepping 10–December 31st, 1965 (The Watch Night) … April 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

There is certainly not much to do on New Year’s Eve in a little village of fifteen hundred people.

Some of the folks of our town would actually make the trip down to Columbus to take in a show and imbibe some alcohol, feeling as if they had flown to the moon and could disguise their drunken condition without fear of community scrutiny.

But most of the citizens of our little burg were devoid of entertainment or ideas for ringing in the New Year.

So our local church planned a Watch Night service, so as to prohibit–or at least impair–the possibility of the young kids falling victim to the beckonings of “demon rum.”

Watch Night services were a tradition of Dixie which had been transplanted to the Buckeye State via those who floated north. It was in four parts:

  • First there was eating–the best potluck of the year. Everyone tried to outdo one another both in culinary skills and appetites.
  • Then there were a couple of hours of gospel singing, featuring local talent (or at least local persons).
  • This trailed off into some preaching, warning all present of the dangers of increasing sin in our nation and the hopes that revival would break out in the coming 365 days provided..
  • And finally, the twelve o’clock hour offered the opportunity for hugs and handshakes.

This year I was thrilled. My group, The Gospels, a quartet of young teens, was going to participate in the singing portion of the evening. We had lobbied the previous year, and even auditioned for the church elders, were weighed in the balances and found wanting. This year, apparently we were in tune.

The ironic part of being welcomed into the songfest was that our group was about to break up. Actually I was breaking it up by kicking the Connelly brothers out of our team and replacing them with two of my friends who I liked better. This caused quite a stir in the church. Matter of fact, I was called in for a conference with the pastor’s wife, as she tried to explain that human beings had feelings and the Connelly brothers deserved better treatment.

I listened politely and then did what I always did. Ignored her. You see, the Connelly brothers didn’t mind. They sang their hearts out that night.

I don’t know if we sounded good or not, but we sure had fun. It was one of those times when I felt really grown-up, in charge and important. That’s hard to come by in a tiny town.

I thought a lot about what the pastor’s wife said on how to treat people and how to conduct your affairs in a way that would not upset anyone else. I came to the conclusion that this was going to be difficult.

I think many people thought I was a real dick when I was a teenager. But without being a little bit of a dick as a teenager, you can grow up to be a dickless adult.

So I decided to try to continually improve what I do and what I work with without upsetting people too much.

Yes, that should keep me really busy.Donate Button

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Populie: America Is Exceptional … April 9, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

(2199)

American flag colorsTricky business.

How can you maintain a conviction without attacking or denigrating others if they disagree?

It is a huge problem, personified, I believe, in the popular belief that “America’s great,” intermingled with the lie, “we are better than others.”

It generates the populie, “America is exceptional.”

And by the way–good luck objecting to that in a room full of people.

  • For after all, politics loves it because the cheers come easily.
  • Religion observes it to welcome a patriotic element in the congregation, willing to attend.
  • Entertainment is always aware that butts in seats are more easily placed if asses are kissed.

But what is the truth? Let’s look at it using the element of common sense. Exceptional is a status. Case in point: if someone said you were an exceptional parent, you would suddenly feel the responsibility of the title, and need to continue your status through effort, fully aware that greater scrutiny will certainly be coming your way.

So therefore if we declare our nation to be exceptional, the proclamation comes with responsibilities. We must:

1. Lead the world in freedom and human rights.

2. Challenge mediocrity and reward the pursuit of excellence.

3. Reject self-satisfaction in favor of true self-awareness.

4. Follow through on all men and women being created equal.

5. Constantly be on the cutting edge of science and technology.

6. Speak out against injustice.

7. Take care of our own people and teach them to have a heart for others.

8. Lead by example.

Which leads me to an interesting conclusion–if we did the eight things listed above, there would be no need to claim the title of exceptional.

For after all, the world would know us by our fruits.

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Two That Make One … January 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2126)

Angy and ClintWhen I found out he died, it was the first thing that came to my mind.

I suppose if I were a more traditional fellow, I would have taken a moment or two to conjure images of his face, life and interactions with him. But honestly, the best thing this fellow ever did with his life was to marry a woman–whom he eventually divorced–and have a daughter, who now continues to overcome her culture, becoming a dynamic force within her own family, with personal aspirations.

Often, two people make one. Matter of fact, it is a biological imperative. But even though historically, the two that made the one may leave behind no other heritage or footprint, the one who was birthed can still honor the memory by living a life that has joy over precious memories, but also an eye toward exceeding the training.

It was a startling fact. A young woman I know quite well, who is doing her best to bless the world, has recently lost both of her parents–and the determination of society and history on their lives will be evaluated by how this dear woman conducts her journey.

My parents, too, made five. I place no judgment on their lives, but I will tell you that their legacy is held in scrutiny by those around them who view their offspring.

It is a solemn affair.

If we don’t create art, share a great idea, chase windmills or speak against injustice, our lineage becomes our sole eulogy.

It made me very happy for this gentleman that passed away. Although in a critical moment, I might suggest that some of his choices were terribly introspective, he does have the advantage of giving life to a missionary who is doing a much better job at propelling beauty to the earth.

So I guess in a sense we get two cracks–one opportunity with our own lives, to say something, be something, feel something and do something that causes the world to be a better place. But then, when our time is finished, we have those we have brought into the world who can offer a new and improved product.

So even though I weep for this gentleman who has passed on, simultaneously a smile comes to my face because I realize that the woman he left behind, carrying his DNA, is intent on making a massive difference.

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