Sit Down Comedy … December 27th, 2019

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Sit Down Comedy

There’s that split second right before the reveal.

The last little piece of tape is peeled back, and the gift is in our hands.

Let me be clear—no one under the age of ten actually offers an immediate disappointed reaction to a Christmas present.

We have been taught to be cool.  Detached.

Yes—the cool detachment of the Christmas season.

If the present is to our liking, the reaction usually contains some form of profanity

“Oh, shit!”

“Jesus Christ!”

“Oh, my God!”

When you hear these words, though inappropriate, it’s a great response to your selection.

If the gift is not favored, you may hear one of the following:

“Oh, neat. I was curious about these. So this is what it looks like.”

“What a thoughtful gift—certainly something I would never have gotten for myself.”

“After all the morning activities, you’ll have to sit down and explain this to me so I can enjoy it even more.”

“You sure topped yourself this year!”

“What a unique gift!”

These statements fall off our lips when we are confused or distraught with this year’s offering.

Yet we try to maintain our cool detachment.

Truthfully, as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is safely put away for making sandwiches, we are already considering to what degree we’ll allow ourselves to become involved in the holiday of newborn kings, elves and magical sleigh-riders.

It’s difficult to overcome the fear.

Like the fear of singing Christmas carols. It seems like a proper idea, and then you get in the middle of the second verse and everybody has a different interpretation of the words, and sometimes it ends up stopping dead while someone Googles the lyrics.

And oh, yes. Part of that cool detachment is the terror over being the person to actually beginning the Christmas carol. Maybe you feel the spirit’s right, or a friend nearby says, “You’re musical. Why don’t you get us started?”

There are so many things that can go wrong. Your voice can crack, or you can pitch the carol too high or too low, leaving all those who joined in trying to change the key in the middle of the chorus.

There is a great consensus with this cool detachment to emphatically insist that “Christmas is for the kids.”

Do we really want to believe that? We may love our children, but why would we sacrifice such an exciting adventure to their often-snotty attitudes—not to mention unwashed hands?

A creepy, cynical false humility can also cause us to cough up the phrase, “I don’t need anything…”

(First and foremost, this response to “What do you want for Christmas?” is unhelpful and annoying. And having watched each and every one of us shop at the store, buying countless items that we do not “need” means that we are open to excess. We’re not fooling anyone.

Next, I know it’s not politically correct to say this, but here I go:

Hanukkah–literally–cannot hold a candle to Christmas.

Jewish people know this.

It’s like going to a National Football League game and talking to the star quarterback about your son beginning Pop Warner Football. There’s no equivalency—therefore, there should be no competition.

Let me see—what’s another part of this cool, adult detachment? Here’s another one. We all must moan about the pressure to “get everything done.”

If America couldn’t bitch about how busy we all think we are, I’m not sure we could even carry on a conversation.

The cool detachment.

The reminder by a sullen friend that we must be careful not to be too rambunctious in our celebration, since “some people find Christmas to be a sad time.”

Or that religious fanatic you know, who insists that “Christmas is too commercial” and want to declare war on the devil.

Or your favorite atheist, who laments the inclusion of religion in our normal commerce.

I just fear that along with our insincerity about the presents we receive, we have developed a grown-up press release, which we offer to limit the joy of Christmas, turning it into a tedious act we perform for the good of family—especially “them young’uns.”

So, hark the herald, angels sing…

Christmas is one month out of the year when “good will toward men” is not a joke, but rather…

A heavenly demand.

 

The B. S. M. G. Report


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Refusing to ever rest

From seeking what is best

BAD

You are not worthy of great opportunity unless you’ve counted the cost and decided you know how to lose.

Someone will lose.

Unlike what your third-grade teacher told you, not all of us are winners.

I saw something bad yesterday. Three or four grown men—college football coaches—turned into whiny, bitchy babies because their teams lost, and the reporters asked them questions they did not want to answer.

I’m sorry, gentlemen. You don’t get to do that. The minute you start taking millions of dollars in salary for running a football team, you lose all privilege of being snotty. If you can’t give a civil answer, cancel the press conference. Please, do not teach the younger generation that it’s perfectly acceptable to be so disappointed that you pour your poison out on everyone around you.

Play to win. Lose and survive.

That’s how it works.

SAD

Great full.

I thought it was a little sad this year that Thanksgiving was not nearly as punctuated with true gratitude as I have seen in the past. Maybe it was just me—perhaps I was at the wrong places. Could I have watched the bogus television shows?

Yet the message I heard was, “It is great that we are full.

Anybody can smile when their belly is satisfied, their house is warm and they’re doing good on their job.

Maybe it’s true that none of us learn how to be grateful until one or more of our wishes is absent and we still have to press on.

Yes, I think that’s it.

Gratitude is always better expressed by the souls who offer their appreciation, and those around them wonder how they can be so happy with so little.

MAD

I heard it again.

Somebody told me they have “faith in their doctor.”

I know why they said this. Medicine portrays itself as a religion. Everything is white, pristine and there are all sorts of gadgets, tons of explanations, and enough pomp and circumstance to march the Pope into the Vatican thirty times.

I don’t know why we can’t just deal with the truth:

Doctors and nurses are fabulous, and also ignorant.

  • We’re still doing more cutting than curing.
  • We still prescribe more medication than offer solutions.
  • We are still wrong much too often.

For instance, medicine has killed tens of thousands of people through opiate addiction and the misapplication of painkillers.

Everyone knows there are more infections in a hospital than there are in your kid’s sandbox.

I’m not asking the medical field to be diminished, nor am I criticizing them.

I am demanding some needful humility.

In the 1790’s, when doctors were treating President George Washington for pneumonia and they bled him with leeches, they were certainly convinced they were giving him expert treatment, and probably discussed among themselves how this particular breed of leech was ground-breaking.

All the chatter did not change the matter. And the matter was, their treatment was counterproductive. They had to learn their way out of it.

I think it’s important to go to the doctor and get checked over as best you can—as long as you realize that part of what you’ll experience is somewhat experimental, making you a temporary guinea pig.

So oink-oink. And let us encourage these people of science to grow instead of crow.

GLAD

I believe I saw it on a YouTube.

It was a little boy, about nine. So maybe not so little, but still young.

He was asked a question in his classroom by a teacher.

“What do you want your life to be?”

They filmed a couple of students talking about money, happiness, marriage, cars and such.

Then they came to this young man. It was as if he was suddenly possessed by an angel from heaven. He explained, “Life doesn’t show up fixed. You gotta put it together.”

I laughed and broke out in tears all at the same time.

Do any of us really believe that?

Even though the boy’s words were eternal, can we realize how powerful this idea truly is?

It makes me glad there is one small member of the human race out there who has it right. Maybe he’ll infect us. Here’s what we need to learn:

Inhale life. Exhale good cheer.

Then repeat the process.

Not Long Tales … November 26th, 2019

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16.

Falling Leaves

Clouds are just water vapor. They have no lining—certainly not a silver one.

This is probably the first thing any villager from Blanchport, Pennsylvania learns growing up near the West Virginia border, where eking out a surviving wage without hating your work is considered heaven.

Murtrand Gillogly was only seventeen years old when she met Benson. He was tall, muscular and worked in the coal mines, so had a little extra money—more than the average boy walking the streets or plowing the fields.

She fell in love. Well, at least enough to give herself over to him in the cab of his Ford pickup truck. They had only consummated their confirmation on three occasions when Murtrand found out that she had missed her time.

Not knowing what to do, she finally decided to go to the town doctor. “Murty,” he said. (That’s what all the locals called her.) “Murty, I want to tell you something real simple. You’re pregnant.” He peered at her. “I imagine that’s not good news for you, so I will grant you the privacy of keeping my mouth shut until you want to yap about it.”

The young girl was terrified but had enough sense to confess to her parents, her preacher and a few close friends. They all did the wrong thing—what often happens in small towns with small minds.

They condemned her.

It became especially problematic when after three-and-a-half months, the hospital, twenty-five miles away, confirmed that she was carrying twins. Benson, her boyfriend and baby-maker, had decided to hang around—until he received this latest news. There was something about two babies popping out that scared the living shit out of him.

He explained that because there was so much expense that needed to be covered, he was going on a “miracle journey.” That’s what he called it–a “miracle journey” to Las Vegas–to win enough money to take care of the family, for now and all time. Murty was suspicious—but still moved that he had the desire to be a breadwinner, even if the crumbs came from the gambling tables. She sweetly kissed him on the lips and promised to remain true.

That was the last time she ever saw him.

Six months later, by the ordination of nature and sheer will and purpose of the human body, Murty gave birth to two boys. Feeling particularly traditional and proud of herself, she decided to name one Clarence and one Cameron.

Concerning the community, no support and no real sense of acceptance came her way throughout the first part of the twins’ growing up time. For in Blanchport, Pennsylvania, once you sin, it’s not forgiven unless God shows up and does it Himself.

And He doesn’t come around very often.

So Murty did a little waitressing, telemarketing and even pumped gas down at the local convenience store, to keep shoes on four small feet and grits in three bellies.

She loved her boys.

She was really proud of Clarence. When he was only seven years old, he walked by the town bank and noticed that somebody had dropped a hundred-dollar bill. His first instinct was a good one. He took it inside and presented it to the bank president (or some fellow wearing a tie) and explained that he had found it just outside the door, so figured it might belong to somebody inside.

The banker patted him on the head, told him he was a good little gent, and said they would advertise, letting people know the money had been discovered.  But he added that if it wasn’t retrieved in the next thirty days, little Clarence could keep it.

He had a terrible time sleeping. He even picked himself up a giveaway calendar from down at the drug store and started marking off the days. The whole town was rooting for him. Matter of fact, he acquired a nickname. Instead of Clarence, they started calling him “C-note.” He liked it, even though he didn’t know what it meant. But when they explained that a hundred-dollar bill was called a C-note, he was flattered and overjoyed.

It was the twenty-ninth day of waiting to find out about the prize money when the banker called Clarence to his office. The little boy sat down, anticipating his hundred dollars—ready to scream just as loud as he could.

The banker smiled, cleared his throat and said, “Young man, I want to tell you how admirable it is that you brought the money in when you found it. Some boys would have run off to the candy store or hid it in a jar in the back yard. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that as it turns out, after the books have been budgeted and calculated, that hundred dollars belongs to the bank.”

Clarence cried. He tried not to do so. He tried to keep what the preacher always called a “stiff upper lip,” but even though his lips seemed quite all right, his eyes were pouring.

The banker came from behind his desk, put an arm around the boy and said, “Now, now. Don’t you cry. Because we at the bank have decided to give you five dollars as a finders fee.”

Now, it wasn’t much money. Certainly not a hundred. But it seemed to be enough encouragement to turn off the water faucets in his eyes.

He ran out of the bank with his five-dollar bill and down the street. He bought something for his brother, Cameron, something for his mother and something for himself. They had a wonderful night together, celebrating their sudden wealth and how much they loved each other.

Only one problem arose from the situation: Cameron was pissed off that he didn’t have a nickname, too. After much deliberation and even a little bit of prayer, he decided that from that point on, he wanted to be known as Camo.

It didn’t have any meaning. Yet from that moment, the twins became known as C-note and Camo.

Their eighth year looked similar to their ninth. And the tenth year was marked by a brief visit to some friends in Harrisburg.

They went to school, they wore the clothes provided, they smiled at the right adults and when those grown-ups weren’t looking, they had their fun.

One of their favorite pastimes was climbing an old mulberry tree down by the railroad tracks. It was a huge one—about eight enormous branches going up to the sky. Each boy marked his courage by how high he was willing to go on the branches leading to heaven.

C-note had made it to the third branch. Camo was still sitting on the second one, mustering up the courage to shimmy up the tree.

One day, they foolishly invited their mother out to watch them climb. She was terrified. She almost forbade them to do it anymore, but after much pleading she made a compromise. “You can climb that, but no higher than that third branch,” she said, pointing it out to them. She made them point it out, too, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding.

But it is truly amazing how quickly a mother’s advice evaporates in the heat and enthusiasm of a climb.

On the Monday morning before Thanksgiving, C-note decided it was time to go to Level 4. Camo was scared—shaking like a leaf.

C-note mocked him for his cowardice. “If you’re gonna be a big boy, you’ve gotta do big things,” he said.

Having never reached for the fourth branch, knowing nothing about it, C-note was unaware that the fourth branch was broken. And even though he was a young boy, his weight was still enough that when he grabbed on, a big piece of branch broke off in his hands and he fell to the Earth. The fall seemed to last forever, as he stared up into the top of the tree and the world began to spin.

All at once he landed—flat on his back.

He waited for the pain. He was surprised he was still awake. Suddenly his ears opened, and he could hear Camo screaming. And then, the sounds of one, two, five, maybe ten people running in his direction. He was so scared he pooped his pants. Now he was dying and going to stink.

Something odd, though, was that he didn’t feel damaged. He didn’t think he was dead. And when the people began to gather around him, he could make out faces, which meant his brain was still working.

It took about five minutes, but the doctor arrived, and with the assistance of a couple other men and one woman, they moved him gently, and the doctor checked him over for broken bones, cuts, bruises—and found nothing.

Camo explained that C-note had fallen from the fourth branch, which was about twenty feet up in the air. Then one of the observers looked down, pointed, and said, “Look! That’s what saved you.”

C-note, now fully conscious and aware of what was going on, turned around and saw a mashed wild turkey, which had broken his fall—but had also broken its neck. It was lying on the ground, looking like…well, looking like an eighty-five-pound twelve-year-old boy had fallen twenty feet from the sky on top of it. The bird did not fare well.

C-note was pronounced sound of body.

The turkey was dead on arrival.

Everybody laughed, then cried. And then, when it occurred to them that they had experienced a bona fide miracle of supernatural intervention, they sat down under the tree and got real quiet. Here’s what they thought.

“How did a turkey end up at exactly that place at exactly that time, when a little boy was falling from the sky, unless God Himself plucked it from the woods and placed it there, granting it final purpose? And we all know–this is one of the more noble ways a turkey can die.”

C-note was mystified and angered by the whole situation. He shouldn’t have been climbing the tree—not that fourth branch. Why did a turkey have to die because he was disobedient? And why was God going around asking turkeys to help dumb little boys?

It just didn’t make sense.

By this time the city newspaper—even though Blanchport was not a city—had sent a photographer to the scene. As they carefully removed the carcass of the sacrificial fowl, the photographer asked if C-note would be willing to kind of “re-enact” what happened.

He shook his head. “I ain’t climbin’ that dumb tree and falling again just so you can get a picture.”

The photographer patted him on the shoulder. “No, no. I just want you to sprawl out on the ground there and pretend you’ve got a turkey under your back.”

C-note squinted. Mrs. Marlins stepped in and explained what the photographer was trying to communicate in more kid-like language. So C-note spread himself out like he’d just fallen from the tree. The newsman took two shots, which appeared in the newspaper three days later.

In the meantime it was the talk of the town—no, much more than that. It was the only thing anybody could think about.

The preacher down at the Pentecostal Church was certain it was a sign from God that little Clarence was a prophet.

Some of the more sensitive folks who dressed up their dogs in costumes—that type—had a memorial service for the turkey.

And speaking of the turkey, something had to be done with it. It was suggested that it would be wonderful to pluck the bird, dress it and give it to Murty and her little family for Thanksgiving.

The grocer threw in some ‘taters, snap green beans, gravy and miscellaneous sweets to complete the deal. It was so thrilling.

The television station in Pittsburgh contacted the mayor and asked if they could bring in a camera crew to do an interview with C-note about the whole magical turkey event. (Although it never happened because some other more important news came along to delay them, the town felt important, always knowing they had been considered.)

It did nothing to calm the heart and soul-searching of Clarence.

He asked advice from his schoolteacher. Her words were, “Be grateful.”

He asked the oldest lady in the community—who everybody called Aunt Rachel—what she thought he should feel and do about the dead creature. She closed her eyes, looked like she was praying for a moment, and then said to C-note, “I just talked to the turkey in heaven…and he forgives you.”

Unimpressed with her response, C-note went to Deacon Connelly, who did a lot of hunting and had shot a turkey or two in his time. C-note wanted to discuss his feelings, but Deacon Connelly was so impressed with the fact that it was a clean kill and there was no need to remove buckshot from the carcass that he chattered away, unaware of the boy’s turmoil.

On his way home from Deacon Connelly, C-note ran across the drifter referred to as “the town drunk.” C-note was pretty sure his name was Mandrake. Mandrake was a nice enough fellow when he was sober, which was so in infrequent that nobody thought of him as a nice fellow.

But on this day, he’d only had a little bit of the juice. When C-note called to him, he answered, “Boy! I got a new name for you. They oughta call you ‘Fallin’ Leaves.’”

C-note was confused. He wanted to ignore Mandrake, but he kept going. “You see what I mean?” asked Mandrake. “You got yourself a dead turkey. You know why?”

C-note shrugged.

The drunk continued. “You have a dead turkey because that’s what your fallingleaves.”

Mandrake burst into laughter. C-note was not amused, even though he kind of understood the joke. It just seemed improper to be laughing so near the demise of his savior.

His brain popped up the word “savior” without him even thinking about it. It wasn’t like C-note thought the turkey was Jesus Christ. And even though Jesus might be saving his soul from hell, the turkey kept him from getting’ there.

It left him cold, a little frightened and humble.

When he got home and saw that his savior had been plucked, oiled and was heading for the oven, he burst into tears again.

Camo screamed at him. “Godammit, would you stop cryin’? Mama might decide not to cook it.”

His mother tried to comfort Clarence, but he just could not wrap his mind around eating his savior. He didn’t think he could even watch other people devour his protector.

About four hours later, Mama came into the room and found him in a fitful sleep. She gently woke him up, whispering, “Dinner’s ready.”

He just shook his head. He didn’t know what to say.

She hugged him real tight—the way mothers are supposed to do in those situations. He was expecting sympathy, but instead, he got the razor of her truth.

“There’s two things I want you to understand, Clarence.” (She had never gotten used to calling him C-note.) “The first thing I want you to understand is that in five minutes we’re gonna walk out of this room and gorge ourselves on turkey and fixings before it gets cold. I will not hear any more nonsense about trying to preserve a bird that’s already gobbled its way to glory.”

She paused, eyes glittering. “And the second thing is, you can honor this bird by learning from it. As you eat this meal that we did not expect to have, you can speak to the meat provided and say, ‘Thanks for catching me. I’m sorry it cost you your life. No disrespect, but may I say, you sure do taste good.’”

C-note didn’t want to listen to his mother’s counsel, but memories of the yardstick she kept in the closet and occasionally applied to his backside made him more pliable.

For the rest of his life, he never ate a turkey dinner without thinking about the one that rescued his life. The one that kept him going. And whether it was a miracle or not, the intervention was sweet.

For every creature on Earth will eventually experience a falling…

And only time will tell what it leaves.

Cracked 5 … November 24th, 2018


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Cracked 5

What To Do With Leftover Thanksgiving Food

A. Gravy smoothies

 

B. Use the white meat to defoliate dead skin on your feet

 

C. Wrap them in Christmas paper and send them to people you don’t like

 

D. Turkey pumpkin tarts

 

E. Just shut up and eat the meat, avoiding the green parts

Thanksgiving leftovers

 

 


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3 Things … November 22nd, 2018

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To Take Away From the Thanksgiving Table

1. These beautiful, involved, unique people decided to spend this time with you.

 

2. Thankful people are better people because they’re still thankful even if things don’t get better.

 

3. Eating ’til it hurts is difficult to digest.


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Cracked 5 … November 17th, 2018


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Cracked 5

Cracked 5

Laments of the Common Turkey During This Holiday Season, Including Ways It Might Try to Save its Own Neck

A.  Ducks are ALL dark meat

 

B.  The Pilgrims actually preferred lobster.

 

C.  At least give me the dignity of eating my gizzard

 

D.  Pork is also good with dressing

 

E.  Ben Franklin thought I should be the national bird. Did you ever think of that?

Thanksgiving Turkey


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Cracked 5 … November 28th, 2017


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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

 

Reasons that Leftover Turkey Often Tastes Better

A. Stewing in its own juices, it found some answers.

 

B. Not needing to compete against the arrogant Honey Baked Ham.

 

C. Spent some time in the “cooler”–got born again.

 

D. People are hungry again by Saturday.

 

E. Rejected at the original feast, it gained character.

 

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