Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nary a Spade Has Been Turned

Have you ever seen a cat that knows it has a mouse cornered under the refrigerator? That cat will sit there for days, totally attentive, waiting for the mouse to emerge. Cats are tenacious that way.

Housing developers are tenacious, too. Once they've bought a parcel of land, it doesn't matter how much common sense, local opposition, and state regulations stand in their way. They just keep sitting there, waiting for the pay day, waiting for that moment when a commissioner can be bribed, or the administration changes in the state capital, or the opponents run out of money for a land-use lawyer.

One such determined individual, Michael Carnock, has now been trying for years and years to get something built on a choice morsel of land that is hell-and-gone into the mountains of Western Maryland. The aforementioned morsel is called Terrapin Run, named after a delightful seasonal stream that tumbles through it.

Mr. Carnock's plans for a 4,000-unit, 11,000-person town in an area where there is currently nothing but a two-lane road and lots of woods has hit upon a few snags. As in, there aren't even any churches in the neighborhood, let alone schools, sewage treatment plants, or CVS pharmacies. Finally seeing the light, the bone-headed Mr. Carnock has scaled his plans back to 900 units. Even this has met with a polite but firm "no way" from Maryland's natural resources people. So of course Mr. Carnock is suing everyone in sight, like a cat whose coveted mouse slipped through a hole in the siding and escaped.

Sometimes, when developers buy mountain land and can't build cities on it, they timber it to smithereens. I've driven past Terrapin Run at least once a year for the past decade, and I don't think the land has been disturbed at all. (It had been timbered by previous ownership. That helps.)

Oh, but you should just see that pretty little stream, Terrapin Run! I know you've seen one like it. The water is so pure that you can count the stones on the bottom. And it makes that charming swishy, trickly noise that those cunning little dry run creeks make.

Awhile back, I placed an intention on that land and petitioned the Goddess Cloacina to guard it for me. She has been doing a fabulous job as the litigation drags on. In July I'll be going up that way again, so if you want to add your protective spells to the place and its sacred little stream, just communicate with me or Cloacina.

If all else fails, if Maryland is suddenly beset with a Koch brother as governor, or a clamor arises for housing units 35 miles from the nearest doctor, we still have an ace in our hands, my friends.

 The Terrapin Run watershed is home to Harperella, a bona fide endangered plant that relies on seasonal fluctuations in freshwater streams. Granted, our federal endangered species laws are being trampled, but this plant literally only grows on two waterways. I'm pinning my faith on a little white flower.

We who love the land should love not to build on it where it otherwise has been undisturbed. That should be a tenet of sensible world stewardship. Rebuild before starting something new.

I'd be willing to bet that you're seeing such foolishness in your own community -- big, ugly developments springing up like pimples on a cheek, while nearby sit older neighborhoods just ripe for rehab.

If it's your lifetime dream to live in the mountains, take some advice from this expat Appalachian: Move to an established town. If you thought this past winter was bad, just re-live it in your mind, but add complete solitude and steep, windy roads to the mix. Mr. Carnock not only neglected to provide for churches and pharmacies when he proposed his fetching hamlet. He forgot all about the weather. He could have asked any Johnson. We'd have been glad to tell him how much and how often the flakes fly in that neck of the woods.

May no spade be turned on Terrapin Run. May no spade ever be turned on Terrapin Run. In this little slice of the world, may the peace of the land prevail.

Sermon's over! Time to watch a baseball game!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dinner Plans

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," a favorite haunt for all the Spirits of Trickery and Mayhem since 2005! Sly Anansi and cheeky Loki do really funny things when they're bored (which is less and less often these days). I've had me some grand times with them over the years.

Which is why they've both popped in for an interview today! Other people ask Heloise for hints, but me? I go straight to the Jokers. Please give a warm, wonderful, Gods Are Bored welcome to Loki and Anansi, Gods of Trickery!

Anne: Sacred Fellows, I have a problem.

Anansi: Oh, I love problems! I tend to think of them as challenges.

Loki: Brain teasers, if you will.

Anne: Here's the scoop. My daughter The Spare has celebrated turning 20 by getting herself a boyfriend.

Loki: You've got the wrong deities here, Anne. Love is not our specialty.

Anansi: Anne knows that, for the love of fat flies!

Anne: Yeah, I do know that. Here's the scoop. This new boyfriend has strictly religious parents ... and I don't mean Pagan ... there's a deep well of conservatism there. He hates Maryland. But worst of all, he's allergic to cats!

Loki and Anasi burst into sustained laughter.

Anansi: It worked, Loki! We chose the perfect boyfriend for The Spare!

Loki: Don't take credit where it isn't due, Anansi ... although I know you love to do that. Even we would not have thought to throw in the cat allergy. Classic!

Anne: Spare is bringing this fellow around for a spot of supper next Saturday. She wants him to think she has a normal family.

Loki and Anansi burst into sustained laughter.

Loki: Of course you aren't going to comply with this directive.

Anne: I don't see how I can! Spare has specifically requested that I abstain from throwing road kill carcasses into the back yard. What if I see some bloated possum that would be a fit offering to the Sacred Thunderbird?

Anansi (to Loki): We've got to find a dead possum. This is South Jersey. Piece of cake.

Anne: What should I wear?

Loki: How about that t-shirt that says, "God is a comedian, playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh?"

Anansi: You have four Vulture Fest t-shirts ... I like the bright red one. But for the best effect, most definitely ...

Anansi and Loki together: MUMMER'S SUIT!

Anne: You don't think that's over the top?

Loki: Anne, with you there is no top.

Anne: This is the problem. Spare wants her family to look normal. I'm not even sure what normal looks like anymore. I haven't been a Methodist since 2005, and that was where I got all my clues on normal.

Anansi:  Christians. So damn serious. Not one funny story in a book 1,000 pages long!

Loki: Well, some of them are funny without meaning to be. The one about the woman being created out of the man's rib ... cracks me up every time.

Anne: How in the world do I prepare this house for someone who is allergic to cats? Right now I've got three inside and another one outside.

Anansi: Yeah, and the couch you just trash-picked for fifty bucks comes from a house that had two cats. Didn't you see how Gamma was sniffing it up when Mr. J and Heir hauled it in here?

Loki: That one was my dodge.

Anansi: Do say! Good job!

Loki and Anansi high-five.

Loki: What did you do with the little sign that said, "$50?"

Anne: I threw it away, of course!

Loki: Dig it out. Put it back on the couch.

Anansi: At the very least, brag about it. Not everybody gets a nice couch like this off the street for fifty bucks.

Loki: Out of deference to you, Anne, I chose one that didn't have any stains.

Anne: Well, thank you for that, Loki, but ... asking again ... where do I draw the loony line?

Anansi: I dunno ... Kansas?

Loki: I'm going to steal your pencils so you can't even draw a line!

Anne: This young fellow is coming to dinner. I'll miss "The Rachel Maddow Show!"

Anansi: No! Turn it on! Blast it! You might miss some important breaking news about Chris Christie!

Loki: I'll take care of hiding Mr. J's shaving cream.

Anansi: I'll open the New York Times to Maureen Dowd.

Loki: I'll round up all the neighborhood cats. The air won't be breathable inside or out.

Anansi: I'll arrange the Spoutwood Fairie Festival photos in loving order on the mantelpiece.

Loki: Don't include the ones with Spare in her corset.

Anansi: I was thinking rather of this little number.

Anansi: And this one.

Loki: Bumper stickers! Anansi! We need more bumper stickers for the remaining Johnson vehicle! "I Heart Mountains" is not sufficient!

Anansi: Yeah, Anne, what happened to the one that says, "I Do Whatever My Rice Crispies Tell Me To Do?"

Anne: I ditched it.

Loki: And you call yourself Our disciple! Get another one!

Anansi: And this pin: "A Woman's Place is In Her Union." It's not prominent enough on the kitchen corkboard. Wear it!

Loki: ... on the "God is a comedian" t-shirt.

Anne: Good suggestions all, but I really don't want to embarrass The Spare. She's a great kid.

Anansi: Anne, face facts. The only way you are going to appear "normal" is to re-decorate your house, throw out your whole wardrobe, ditch your entire library, and dismantle the Shrine of the Mists.

Loki: And even then, with us at your back, you're going to commit every faux pas imaginable.

Anansi: Yep! Every last one!

Anansi and Loki high-five on their way to search for road kill and bumper stickers.

Image of Loki, Thalia Took. Image of Anansi, Janice Skivington.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

One Healthy Druid, Sort Of

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson, and I'm healthy. Well, not really. If you consider mental health part of health, then I have a chronic condition. I take medication for the condition. If I miss the medication, I will become ill.

I take two medications. One is controlled. One isn't.

My local pharmacy fills my prescriptions automatically. When I went to pick them up on Sunday, the controlled medication wasn't there. The prescriptions had expired, and apparently my doctor, Doctor Mushroom, was out of town. So I got my one medicine (filled by some doctor I'd never heard of), but the other one was a no-show. That would be the controlled medication.

I had enough of the controlled medication to last two more days. So today I called Doctor Mushroom's office to get him to front me a 30-day supply until I could get an appointment. That's how it's worked before, once or twice, when this happened.

Recently, Doctor Mushroom merged his practice with another doctor. So there are secretaries working for him now who don't know me. I got one of these pleasant individuals on the telephone, and the conversation went like this:

Anne: Hello, my prescription for XXXXX expired, and I didn't notice. Can you get Doctor Mushroom to call in a prescription and make me an appointment?

Secretary: He won't call in a prescription for you until he sees you.

Anne: When can I come in? I'll need to see him some time today or tomorrow.

Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday.

Anne: So what am I going to do for medication until then?

Secretary: I don't know. You'll just have to do without it. Why didn't you notice that it needed authorization?

Anne: The pharmacy has been filling it and calling Doctor Mushroom right along! Ma'am, I need this medicine. I've been a patient of Doctor Mushroom's since he began his practice. He knows me. Can I talk to him?

Secretary: He's got patients.

Anne: You can't work me in? He could always work me in.

Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday. Do you want that appointment?

Anne: I can't go without my medication for that long. I can't believe this is happening. You mean to tell me if I had high blood pressure, I wouldn't be able to get my medicine for a week? I could be dead by then.

Secretary (patronizing): You aren't going to die.


Secretary: You should be more careful about your refills. Here. I've looked up your file. You haven't been to see Doctor Mushroom since 2012.

Anne: Wow. That can't be true.

Secretary: It's true. Your last appointment was July 2012. Do you want that Monday appointment?

Anne: I want you to go right now and tell Doctor Mushroom that it's Anne Johnson, and I need some XXXX, and he needs to call it in.

*beep*beep*beep* (on hold for about three minutes)

Secretary: He will not prescribe the medicine for you until he sees you Monday. Do you want the appointment?

Anne: Yes. Because I want to look him in the eye when I tell him that he has become a bad doctor who has forgotten his Hippocratic Oath.

Secretary: Well, whatever.

Anne: I'm leaving this practice.

Secretary: Suit yourself.

Anne: But I still want the appointment, as I said.

Secretary: Monday at @#:#$.

I hung up on her, with that snarky "you won't die" ringing in my ears. Oh, the stigma! It's only a mental health medication. How bad could I need it?

The cell phone hadn't cooled off before I rang up my psychiatrist, also a very longtime physician in my life. The difference between this psychiatrist and Doctor Mushroom is ... $120. Yes, it costs $130 to get the medication from the psychiatrist. Again with the stigma. Have you noticed that mental health professionals who are any good don't take insurance?

The medication was secured and an appointment made with the mental health professional.

Three hours later, someone from Doctor Mushroom's office called. He faxed in the prescription. But the damage is done.

I'll bet I'm preaching to the choir here amongst you broad-minded and thoughtful Pagans, but mental health is not really considered part of health at all. You see it all the time. Addicts are "weak," depressives should "just get over it," anxious people (like me) should just settle down. It fucking doesn't work like that, and medical secretaries should know it.

I haven't been to a doctor since 2012. Wow, the picture of health! On the surface.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

National Poetry Month, Gods Are Bored Edition!

The parrot and the carrot one may easily confound.
They're very much alike in looks, and similar in sound.
We recognize the parrot by his clear articulation,
For carrots are unable to engage in conversation.

From How To Tell the Birds from the Flowers, by Robert Williams Wood

Friday, April 04, 2014

National Poetry Month

Some primal termite
knocked on wood,
and tasted it,
and found it good.
And that is why
your cousin Mae
fell through the parlor floor today.

--Ogden Nash

Thursday, April 03, 2014

National Poetry Month: More Top-Notch Silly Stuff

One of my favorite poets is the late Don Marquis. Here's one of his. Remember, for all your silly poetry needs, check us out here at "The Gods Are Bored."

pete the parrot and shakespeare

i got acquainted with
a parrot named pete recently
who is an interesting bird
pete says he used
to belong to the fellow
that ran the mermaid tavern
in london then i said
you must have known
shakespeare know him said pete
poor mutt i knew him well
he called me pete and i called him
bill but why do you say poor mutt
well said pete bill was a
disappointed man and was always
boring his friends about what
he might have been and done
if he only had a fair break
two or three pints of sack
and sherris and the tears
would trickle down into his
beard and his beard would get
soppy and wilt his collar
i remember one night when
bill and ben jonson and
frankie beaumont
were sopping it up
here i am ben says bill
nothing but a lousy playwright
and with anything like luck
in the breaks i might have been
a fairly decent sonnet writer
i might have been a poet
if i had kept away from the theatre
yes says ben i ve often
thought of that bill
but one consolation is
you are making pretty good money
out of the theatre
money money says bill what the hell
is money what i want is to be
a poet not a business man
these damned cheap shows
i turn out to keep the
theatre running break my heart
slap stick comedies and
blood and thunder tragedies
and melodramas say i wonder
if that boy heard you order
another bottle frankie
the only compensation is that i get
a chance now and then
to stick in a little poetry
when nobody is looking
but hells bells that isn t
what i want to do
i want to write sonnets and
songs and spenserian stanzas
and i might have done it too
if i hadn t got
into this frightful show game
business business business
grind grind grind
what a life for a man
that might have been a poet
well says frankie beaumont
why don t you cut it bill
i can t says bill
i need the money i ve got
a family to support down in
the country well says frankie
anyhow you write pretty good
plays bill any mutt can write
plays for this london public
says bill if he puts enough
murder in them what they want
is kings talking like kings
never had sense enough to talk
and stabbings and stranglings
and fat men making love
and clowns basting each
other with clubs and cheap puns
and off color allusions to all
the smut of the day oh i know
what the low brows want
and i give it to them
well says ben jonson
don t blubber into the drink
brace up like a man
and quit the rotten business
i can t i can t says bill
i ve been at it too long i ve got to
the place now where i can t
write anything else
but this cheap stuff
i m ashamed to look an honest
young sonneteer in the face
i live a hell of a life i do
the manager hands me some mouldy old
manuscript and says
bill here s a plot for you
this is the third of the month
by the tenth i want a good
script out of this that we
can start rehearsals on
not too big a cast
and not too much of your
damned poetry either
you know your old
familiar line of hokum
they eat up that falstaff stuff
of yours ring him in again
and give them a good ghost
or two and remember we gotta
have something dick burbage can get
his teeth into and be sure
and stick in a speech
somewhere the queen will take
for a personal compliment and if
you get in a line or two somewhere
about the honest english yeoman
it s always good stuff
and it s a pretty good stunt
bill to have the heavy villain
a moor or a dago or a jew
or something like that and say
i want another
comic welshman in this
but i don t need to tell
you bill you know this game
just some of your ordinary
hokum and maybe you could
kill a little kid or two a prince
or something they like
a little pathos along with
the dirt now you better see burbage
tonight and see what he wants
in that part oh says bill
to think i am
debasing my talents with junk
like that oh god what i wanted
was to be a poet
and write sonnet serials
like a gentleman should well says i pete
bill s plays are highly
esteemed to this day
is that so says pete
poor mutt little he would
care what poor bill wanted
was to be a poet

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Celebrating Poetry Month in True, Gods-Are-Bored Style!

April is National Poetry Month! Hooray! We at "The Gods Are Bored" love poetry!

Now, a lot of bloggers offer you the finest literary verse during this thirty-day period. But this is The Gods Are Bored, where life is a laugh! (alliteration)

So this month, we will be offering poetry as well, but just the funny stuff.

We'll start with a bang!

Moose and Goose
by Theodore Seuss Geisel

A moose is asleep. He is dreaming of moose juice.
A goose is asleep. He is dreaming of goose juice.
That's well and good when a moose dreams of moose juice.
And nothing goes wrong when a goose dreams of goose juice.
But it isn't too good when a moose and a goose
Start dreaming they're drinking the other one's juice.
Moose juice, not goose juice, is juice for a moose.
And goose juice, not moose juice, is juice for a goose.
So, when goose gets a mouthful of juices of mooses
And moose gets a mouthful of juices of gooses
They always fall out of their beds screaming screams
So, I'm warning you, now! Never drink in your dreams.