Monday, June 14, 2021

Heartbroken Hillbilly ISO a Little Piece of Land

 I have never gotten over the sale of my grandfather's property on Polish Mountain. I couldn't afford to buy my cousins out. And the house would have needed upkeep. I'm no starry-eyed romantic when it comes to unattended homes in the middle of nowhere.

Still I have grieved. That's the Land of My People -- seven, eight generations -- and I've felt adrift since the property passed out of my life.

I've been looking at the real estate listings in that neck of the woods, and the prices are astonishing. I had pretty much given up ever buying even a little shard of ground in the zip code where I grew up. (It's about 100 miles from DC and Baltimore, which explains everything.)

But now I spy a glimmer of hope. It is just a glimmer.

There's a slip of land for sale by owner. Sitting right smack dab in Land of My People Central. A really small lot covered with rock and hardwood saplings, bordered by a wildlife refuge.

If I am able to acquire this land, I don't plan to build on it. I'll just take a folding chair and go sit in the woods there. It'll be the largest ancestor shrine in the region, but no one will know because I don't intend to disturb one single rock. I'm not going to hang one shiny bauble from a tree limb. I'm not going to pester the bears or the rattlesnakes. It's woods now, it'll stay woods. But it will be my woods.

Well, y'all know that buying and selling even the simplest piece of ground is a mammoth undertaking. So I'm not putting a lot of emotional investment in this. I'll go up and see it this summer, if it's still available, and then I'll decide.

Did you know that one cannot build a good ol' outhouse in PA anymore? What is the world coming to?

I'm not a huge or even medium Woody Allen fan, but this clip is short and apropos of the situation.

Say a little prayer for me to the deity of your choice. It would be wonderful to be a card-carrying hillbilly again.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Red-Eyed Menaces

 My dear ol' dad taught me to respect and appreciate insects. I'm pretty tolerant of most bugs, with the usual exceptions for cockroaches and biting flies. It's never been part of my playbook to be disconcerted by harmless insects, no matter how large they are.

That tolerance was tested to the max over the weekend when I went to Maryland for my nephew's high school graduation.

The state of Maryland is experiencing a brood year for 17-year cicadas. I took some photos that are better than others online, but my technology isn't working for me tonight. I will have to paint a picture with words.

These HUGE, LOOMING MENACES have beady red eyes, transparent wings, and the vocal prowess of 100,000 HEAVY METAL BANDS. They consider all parts of the human body to be swell perches. They collide with windshields with resounding splats. And YOU CANNOT HEAR ABOVE THEIR DIN.

The worst of it was on the Baltimore Beltway, a place where one doesn't want to be distracted by SWARMS OF SIZABLE BUGS. It felt like they were raining from the sky. Glancing at the trees beside the highway revealed packs and packs of them. And then ... SPLAT. SPLAT. SPLAT. Windshield wipe-out.

At first I thought the Red-Eyed Menaces weren't as numerous in Western Maryland. But then my sister and I took a kayak paddle down a local waterway, and WE HAD TO SHOUT TO BE HEARD OVER THE CICADAS. They were flailing in the stream, zooming through the air, and using the kayaks (and our shoulders, and our heads) as helpful landing zones.

Oh, I wish my photos would load! Then I could subject you to the trauma!

17-year cicadas are about the length and size of a thumb. That's a little bit more insect than I want to find on my kneecap, glaring at me from beady red eyes.

Well, reader. I did survive. I'm back in New Jersey, which is remarkably free of the scourge. I don't know how I have gotten to the ripe age I am without ever having been confronted with a 17-year cicada brood, but it happened. Now my education on the subject of Red-Eyed Menaces is complete, and I'll know to take a pass on Maryland in 2038.


Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Must Admit, It Stings

Here I was, all full of vigor and great ideas. Time to move on, time to join the deluge of podcasts just the way I leapt into blogging in 2005!  Time to stay edgy and relevant and young.

What's a girl to do? I hatched the idea to interview bored deities for a podcast! Sounds great, right?

I put out a call to all the bored Gods and Goddesses who so graciously enjoyed my hospitality over the past decade and a half, here at "The Gods Are Bored." I figured they would be all keen to do the latest, greatest social experiment.

Monday afternoon as I was tearing into my Memorial Day hamburger, a ... what shall I call it? ... delegation of Goddesses knocked politely at the front door. They wouldn't come inside, preferring to sit on the porch. At first I found this a hopeful sign, as it was an exceedingly temperate day.

Hel did the talking, which was surprising as I had never interviewed Her before. But the others sat primly nodding their heads in agreement.

Long story short, there will be no interviews with deities from Anne. I am relegated to that special realm of disdain reserved for women over 60 and under 102.

Hel did not mince words: Obsolete. Washed up. No longer relevant. Like, when was the last time you wielded a sword? Can you even lift one?

This is the kind of harsh shit you would expect from a Goddess like Hel, but the oh-so-polite pursing of lips and gentle nods of Her companions hurt more. I'm not gonna name names here. But it was a thorough inventory of Goddesses who have dipped my scones in their tea for years.

Well, then, what about the bored Gods -- as in, the male deities? Hel flicked her wrist and had me understand that the only deity who agreed to sit for a podcast interview was Zeus. And He only wants to "explain the whole swan thing."

Needless to say, this visitation from the Exulted Ones was brief. I watched Them go, the ingrates, and was sorely tempted to tell them this is how Yahweh got His stranglehold on the praise and worship racket.

Nobody in Johnsonia noticed that I was blue and distracted the rest of the day. If you're over 60, you know the feeling.

Now please excuse me while I go wallow in atheist snark on social media.

And fuck podcasts. They're boring.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

An Open Letter to the White Boomer Singers at the Farmer's Market

 Dear White Boomer Singers at the Haterfield Farmer's Market:

What in the name of red-eyed fruit flies are you thinking, daring to cover "What's Goin On?" For the love of all that's holy! Just because you're Boomers with guitars (acoustic), that sure doesn't make you worthy to sing Marvin Gaye! Sweet Jesus in the manger. Here I am, on my first maskless outing since March 13, 2020, and I have to hear some gray-bearded white guy mangle "What's Goin On?" What a buzz kill.

Music is an infrequent topic here at "The Gods Are Bored." I'm not a rock snob. But I do know a bit about music, having written for an American Music reference book for five years. Point of fact, one of the entries I did was on Marvin Gaye.

You can search far and wide through the canon of mid-century American music and not find a more soulful song than "What's Goin On." Or its sister "Mercy Mercy Me." Marvin Gaye went way out on a limb putting together that album. The people at Motown were against it, but he persisted. And thank all the bored Gods he did, because his velvety voice questioning war and brutality and pleading for brotherhood was unparalleled. That is some deeply moving music, there.

I remember when that song first came on the radio. It turned my head. I was always a Motown fan, but this was different. And what made it different in a groundbreaking way was the actual presentation of the song. Marvin owned that music. His voice was like a warm pool he had built himself, and he was swimming around in it.

Maybe he should have taken those songs to the grave with him.

The effrontery of two saggy white people covering that at a farmer's market in a damn near segregated suburb! You cannot sing that well, chumps. Even if you could sing, you couldn't sing that. You can't sing "What's Goin On." Stop. Stop. Stop.

One Saturday morning before the pandemic, I found myself at the Berlin Flea Market, which is quite a different vibe from Haterfield. That market had hired a similarly craggy Boomer dude to provide some music. He sat down on a stool and gave up some high quality Bob Seeger. It was sublime. Then he did a little Gordon Lightfoot, a little Chicago. The man was on safe turf. He was where he should be. No Motown! Dude had some respect.

White people singing at farmer's markets should stick to any damn country song about losing your girl, your dog, your pickup, and your gun. No white person has any business covering Marvin Gaye. Don't do it again, unless and until you wake up some morning and you actually are Marvin Gaye.

Brother brother brother.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

About the Podcast/Moron Sighting

 You can blame my school district.

They blocked Blogger.

I can see my blog but can't write new posts.

I guess I should write them in Google and then copy and paste them here, but there's something comforting about composing on this platform. Blogger and I go way back. Blogger is basically my blankie.

It occurred to me that I could do a podcast and put it up here.

Nowadays there are now thousands of podcasts out there. It's ridiculous, really. And when things get ridiculous, it's time to spoof them! You didn't expect "The Gods Are Bored" to go straight, did you? BAMP. No! If you're gonna spend time with me, I want you to have fun!

My first podcast was serious. If I do a serious one, I'll give you a head's up that it's serious or informational. If it's a spoof, I'll tell you that, too.

I'll also tell you how long the recording is. It won't ever exceed 10 minutes, because the platform I use maxes out at 10 minutes.

I'm not gonna switch completely to podcasting. That would make me snobby.

In today's news, Maximum Moron on the loose! Story below.

I joined a New Jersey hiking group on Facebook. Last night I saw a post, and I only wish I could find it to include the compelling photo here. Alas, it might have been axed from the feed. The post featured one of those morons that you stroke your chin and wonder: How the hell did this person live to adulthood?

The picture was of a young bro in his early 20s, out in the woods, holding up a snake. The bro was grinning ear to ear.

The photo caption: "I'm from Idaho, so I don't know much about the wildlife in New Jersey. What kind of snake is this?"

For the love of fruit flies!

The comments had been disabled, needless to say. But not before people informed the young idiot that he was holding a Nope Rope, a Danger Noodle, a Savage String. And someone else said, "We don't go pulling your damn potatoes out of the ground, do we?"

It's been quite a while since I saw a classic moron. Trump had the moron market cornered for so long, it's actually refreshing to see one outside of politics.

Monday, May 17, 2021

The Gods Are Bored Premiere Podcast!

 Blogging is so 2008, you know? So here's the first episode of The Gods Are Bored Podcast!

Let me know what you think! It's 4 and a half minutes.

The Gods Are Bored Epic Podcast #1

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Internet Influencer

 Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," an old-school communication on an old-school platform! I'm your has-been host, Anne Johnson.

This technology we live with just morphs overnight, doesn't it? One day Blogger is the new, hip thing. The next day it's in the rearview mirror.

I say this because I have a colleague who started writing poetry two years ago and then decided to publish a book. I'm afraid I didn't encourage her much, because after all, Mr. J wrote two books, both with major publishing houses, and neither one earned back its advance.

But some people don't need encouragement.  (You probably know the type.) My friend got herself fired up on Instagram with her poems all done up spiffy in their own page, and then she went on Tik Tok, and before you know it she's making a profit on her self-published books. She just released her third.

Okay, okay, I'm a bit jealous. But jealousy is perfectly fine! Lots of deities are known for it, and if it's good enough for a deity *cough Yahweh* it's good enough for me.

I hate being outdone this way! I've been writing "The Gods Are Bored" for 16 years, and I can't even get it considered by a damn museum! Life is so unfair!

Then I got to thinking ... how hard could it actually be to become an Internet influencer?

I started looking into this dodge, and I learned quickly that Internet Influencers are by and large:

*good-looking

*relentless

*undaunted

This was discouraging. I needed look no farther than the first criterion to know I don't have a shot at this whole Influencer thing.

But waaah waaaah waaah! I want it!

So I looked about me, and my eyes fell on Gamma, who though past his prime, is a handsome feline.

EXHIBIT A: GAMMA


Now there's some serious sex appeal! This cat can influence a can of meaty food out of me every morning, so he has potential.

The next step was to position Gamma. I found a Facebook page called "Disapproving Cats," and I began posting photos of him, asking for people to post their cats to show me.

It's that easy. Gamma (re-named Big Red because that page already has an influential cat named Big Frank) has gotten 450 likes on his third photo and is up to 125 on a picture I posted yesterday!

I figure it's only three or four weeks before I'll be able to self-publish The Gods Are Bored Greatest Hits and sell 6,000 copies.