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Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Interview with Foodbucket Fanpage blogger Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson is on a mission from God. The Colorado-based blogger's wicked satire covers the ongoing misadventures of televangelist Jim Bakker. Yes, that Jim Bakker, the man who once ruled the Christian television world through PTL and Heritage USA before spectacularly imploding in front of an international television audience. Jim Bakker was charged and ultimately served time in federal prison on multiple counts of mail and wire fraud, including a single count of conspiracy. He claims to be a changed man. According to Ron Johnson, he isn't.

Ron Johnson's blog makes for fascinating and often-times hysterical reading. I reached out to him through his blog, to see if he would agree to an interview with me. After multiple verifications of my identity, he agreed to meet me at a busy Starbucks in Boulder. He arrives early, wide-eyed and jumpy, with an awkward swagger about him. His brow is heavily furrowed, yet his eyes are warm and he wears a nervous smile. We greet each other, he shakes my hand, and I'm immediately hit with the sense that this Ron Johnson, the person receiving so much hate from his underground blog, is just a normal chap. I like him already.

[Stone] Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us Ron.
[RJ] Hey no problem dude. I'm honored.

[Stone] Honored?
[RJ] Sure. Who would ever think I'd be interviewed for making fun of some obscure televangelist and his tv show? Certainly not me.

[Stone] Are you surprised?
[RJ] [laughs] Very.

[Stone] You seem a little nervous?
[RJ] [laughs] I'm a nervous guy. Well, not nervous, but fidgety. It's hard for me to sit still because my mind is always running.

[Stone] Alright, so tell us a little bit about yourself.
[RJ] Well, there's not much to say really. I'm a pretty boring guy. I work a lot and I watch a lot of tv.

[Stone] By a lot of tv, do you mean The Jim Bakker Show?
[RJ] Actually, no. I only watch Jim Bakker when I'm gearing up for a blog post.

[Stone] [surprised] Really?
[RJ] Yeah. When I first started this thing, I would watch him pretty regularly to find out what kind of shady stuff he was up to. Now, I just don't have the time. When I'm writing, it's an all-consuming thing. I have to lay off a lot nowadays, otherwise I'd never sleep. My mind is very active when I'm writing.

[Stone] So describe your blog to me.
[RJ] Well, my blog began as just a hobby. I had watched Bakker during the preceding years [of the blog], and was just completely disgusted with him. So I thought, what the hell, I'll start writing about him online, giving my opinion on what I see going on.

[Stone] Just like that?
[RJ] Yeah, just like that. I had no idea where I was going with it, I just started writing. I remember one of my first posts, Bakker had this guy named Glen Eschelstein or Eschelman, something like that, he had him on and the guy had a big bleach stain on his jacket. Or maybe it was makeup. Either way, this Eschelman dude is on tv with a big obnoxious mark on his jacket and I thought it was funny, so I mentioned it.

[Stone] I remember that post, and I remember the stain. I think it was makeup.
[RJ] [laughs] You'd think someone would have caught that and fixed it before showtime, right?

F-B: Hairless Ape, Waterhead, Morningside Strangler
Directly over the Hairless Ape's shoulder is another person who makes me suspicious; I suspect that Jim may have actually hired a waterhead for piano duties. I know waterhead is not a nice word, but I first heard it from Jim's own mouth when he used it to describe a retarded person. And I think that's what I'm seeing wearing a blue vest and pounding away on the Morningside piano right now. Maybe Slick Jim reversed the musician payment deal on him, telling him that instead of being paid to play on the show, he has to pay Jim to play. However it happened, somehow, some way, he's there.

I don't know where in the hell the old piano player Chubbs went. The band is probably wondering the same thing. That is, except for Guitarist Joey. As discussed a few times over the past year, I suspect the smooth-handed Joey may be moonlighting as the Morningside Strangler, luring people into his van to check out 8-tracks, then giving his smooth hands a workout. I don't think Joey's wondering about Chubbs:

Guitarist Joey: "Ain't nobody seeing Chubbs again."
[Drummer] "Hey Joey, you seen Chubbertini around lately?"
[Guitarist Joey] [dismissive tone] "Nah, I ain't seen him."
[Pops the Bass Player] "Say, wasn't he going to help you install a tape deck in your van last weekend?"
[Joey] [gruffly] "He didn't show up."
[Pops] [innocently] "Didn't show up? That's strange. it's not like Chubbs to not meet his appointments. Say, you don't have his number lying around do ya? Maybe you can call him up?"
[Joey] [eyes lower threateningly] "No pops, I don't have his number lying around."
[Pops] "Joey, calm down will ya? I just wanna find out where he is, maybe ask around a bit to see if anyone's seen him."
[Joey] [smirking] "Ain't nobody seeing him, pops."

And now this new, defenseless piano player has been dropped in there with Joey, defenseless as a feed mouse in a snake tank. Will the Morningside Strangler strike again?

[Stone] [laughs] Now, I've noticed that your writing style seemed to change from those early posts. Would you agree?
[RJ] Oh yeah, for sure. I started out just sort of summarizing the show, giving my opinion of what I saw, drawing conclusions based on my observations, that sort of thing. Then at some point, probably around July or so, I started giving a narrative instead. The posts got longer, and in my opinion funnier, as I started writing what I thought real-time as opposed to having to go back in my mind and recall events to summarize the show.

[Stone] You seem to have gotten more comedic too.
[RJ] Well, I think it's always been satire. I'm not a professional comedian and I'm not an English major, so it's not that I planned to make it satire. It just is, that's the way I write naturally I guess. Frankly, it's the way I see the world.

[Stone] [laughing] Must be an interesting world?
[RJ] [laughing] Oh, if you only knew. It's like, anytime I engage my critical eye, which is frequently, I can't help but think of stuff which makes me chuckle. This applies to myself too by the way, my sense of humor includes self-deprecation, and if someone makes a joke about me, I laugh. If it's funny, of course.

[Stone] So your blog was always satire, but you just changed the way you approached writing? Is that correct?
[RJ] Exactly. I went from memory recall for summary, to real-time thought for narrative, if that's the correct word. I started watching the show and writing real-time as I watched. That's why my posts grew so large over time. It's not on purpose, it's just the nature of the beast.

[Stone] How do you want people to approach your blog?
[RJ] What do you mean?

[Stone] I mean, should people read it for humor, read it as an expose, or something else?
[RJ] I would say that people should read it for humor and for my commentary, but with a critical eye. I express my opinion about Jim Bakker and his guests, sometimes fiercely, but I could always be wrong. That's the nature of opinion, it's not fact and it can be debated. If I'm wrong about something, I'm more than happy to change my views. But you gotta show me where I'm wrong. I'm watching a television show and making jokes, giving my opinion on what I see, and drawing conclusions based on my observations. I think that is abundantly clear to my audience. If it isn't, then you shouldn't be reading it, and you probably shouldn't be handling knives or other sharp objects either.

Did Jim just return from Florida?
[Stone] So what you're saying is that when you say Jim and Lori are heading down to Florida to their plastic surgeon, that shouldn't be taken as fact?
[RJ] [laughing] How the fuck would I even know that? What I do know is that Jim and Lori look remarkable for their age, though please don't confuse 'remarkable' for 'beautiful'. Jim himself had his skin pulled back tight like a snare drum on the show once, there's a picture of it in one my posts. That shit was so tight his ears wiggled when he smiled. And every few months Lori shows up on the show with duck lips or wearing a hat. Indoors, by the way. She's wearing a hat indoors, which makes no sense and in some circles is considered rude unless you're bald. Lori is obviously not bald, so why would she suddenly show up wearing a hat on the show? To me, that means they're getting plastic surgery or botox. And when I think plastic surgery, I think Florida.

I know Lori has gone to Florida a few times because she's mentioned it on the show. So I connect the dots to impart my opinion in a funny way, within the context of whichever blog post it shows up in. So no, I don't know for sure that they go to Florida for 2-for-1 plastic surgery trips. Do I think they do? Yeah. I think them going to Florida for plastic surgery is more likely than them visiting some cross-eyed Ozark plastic surgeon who's going to fuck up their faces. Oh wait...[laughs]

[Stone] So it sounds li...
[RJ] [interrupting] Let me say something else to this effect too. I don't lie and I don't mislead, it's not in my character. I write what I think and I try and make it funny for readers. Yes, I feel an obligation to expose Jim Bakker and his buddies for what I feel is very suspicious behavior down in ZombieLand. But I don't need to lie to do that. The fair way to do this is to do exactly what I do: Express opinion through satire and commentary. Lying is, frankly, not an option for me. If anyone feels I've lied, just let me know what it is and why it's a lie. If I believe you, or if you show me evidence which corrects me, I would correct myself. The draw of my blog, I think, is that people can see that I'm not making shit up in the way I express my views. For all the jokes, there is also that seed of truth which I provide. I don't mean truth as in this part is true and this part is false. I mean truth as in, my readers are seeing the same thing I'm seeing. I had a comment once that said something to that effect, that I am able to put their thoughts into words for them to read. I don't know if that makes sense or not?

[Stone] Sounds like you take truth seriously?
[RJ] Absolutely I do. Everyone deserves a fair shot. Truth is fair. Lies are not.

[Stone] Do you have any proof-reading or editor or something, like a relative or friend to check your work before you're done with it?
[RJ] Nope, it's just me. I don't let anyone see my work before I'm done with it. It's all rough draft until that last second when I hit 'post'. The only thing worse than seeing my jokes out of context are seeing them unfinished. I consider myself an artist in a sense, and I don't want people seeing stuff that's incomplete.

[Stone] An artist eh? Do you paint?
[RJ] [laughing] I can't draw for shit. I guess what I mean is that...umm... I've found out through writing this blog that I'm actually a pretty creative person. I don't physically paint things, but I think I sort of paint mental pictures for people, and take them down a fun little road in their minds while they're reading. Let's face it, The Jim Bakker Show is atrocious to watch for a variety of different reasons. But I make it fun for people. I've even seen some people leave comments which sort of copy my flavor and style. I love it! That brings pleasure to people. Maybe it doesn't bring it to Jim and his buddies, but that's not my fault. They know what they're doing is wrong, so I really don't give a fuck whether our laughs are at their expense or not. I don't have sympathy for people like that. I'm a real polarized dude.

[Stone] [laughs] Polarized...you know they have medication for that.
[RJ] [laughs] Nah not like that. I mean, I personally feel that I exist on both ends of some sort of emotional spectrum. I am very kind-hearted. I don't like saying that because it's inappropriate to label yourself like that, but what the hell, as I get older I think I'm just going to accept it. I feel a very genuine, innate sense of wanting to help people, to add some kindness to the world. But on the other hand, I feel a powerful sense of justice. I suppose there's some interplay between those two poles. [thinking] I would explain it like this: Those people who are kind and unassuming, just normal people living their lives, when they are hurt by someone who is taking advantage of them in some way, then I have no problem at all with treating the perpetrators like dirt [laughs]. For instance, consider the death penalty. I'm all for it. I'd even support the death penalty for something like armed robbery. [laughing] It's not that simple of course, circumstances are important, but if it's cut and dried, like you took a gun, you terrorized a person, and you stole their money, then I say: Goodbye to you. There are good people on this planet, and you aren't one of them.

[Stone] Let me play devil's advocate then: What about bloggers who make fun of people in Jim Bakker's audience by calling them inbreds and zombies?
[RJ] I don't have sympathy for people who are willfully ignorant. They are perpetuating Jim's behavior and allowing it to spread to others who may be unintentionally ignorant. They are not helping the world, in fact they are detracting from it.

[Stone] But what if they aren't? What if they're just working a job to try and make ends meet?
[RJ] Well, if that is truly the case, then I'm sorry. I don't deny that some people over in ZombieLand might be in that situation. But consider it this way: If you are only working there to support yourself, then I hope you'd understand that any jokes I'd be making in your direction are just that: jokes. If it were me, I'd sort of be honored.

[Stone] Honored at being made fun of?
[RJ] [laughing] Yeah, why not? So I call you fat, or stupid, or cross-eyed? They're words, who cares. I'm not the prettiest guy in the world, I have flaws. And people I know make fun of my physical flaws, shit I make fun of them myself! So what? You're a character in the world I've created, and you're giving people laughs. Is that so bad? Geez dude, go smoke a joint and relax. Don't take yourself so seriously.

[Stone] I'm interested in knowing how long it takes you to construct a blog post. I know some of them extend to multiple pieces, and in reading the know they can get pretty complicated. That must take a lot of time?
[RJ] It takes a shit load of time. Hours upon hours, over multiple days. Keep in mind, it's not just the writing, it's the image capturing too. I probably take about a hundred and twenty pictures for each blog post. Then I choose which ones to use, edit them, and integrate them into the blog. Then I have to caption them. And keep in mind, all the while I'm still re-reading and re-writing the text to make it better.

[Stone] And this isn't your full-time job?
[RJ] [laughing] Nah. For awhile there, it felt like a full-time job though. Every weekend I'd be writing this shit, through the afternoon and sometimes into the night. It became too much man, that's why I started pulling back a little bit.

[Stone] So would you say it was burning you out?
[RJ] Oh yeah, definitely. But the responses I was getting from my readers was worth it. They thought it was hilarious, and I was very proud to know that I could make people laugh while also doing what I felt, and still feel, was a good thing. I was exposing Jim Bakker to the masses.

[Stone] I'm interested in that. Why do you think Jim Bakker needs exposing?
[RJ] Because he's insulting to me.

Jim Bakker insults my intelligence
[Stone] In what way?
[RJ] He's on my television, telling me the world is going to end and that my money will be worthless, yet he's happy to take my money in return for all the junk he sells. That insults me because it assumes that I'm too stupid to see the hypocrisy of it. Add in the fact that this guy already went to prison for fraud, and it's just too much. I had to speak up, to speak the truth as I see it.

[Stone] You sound pissed?
[RJ] [laughing] I'm not pissed, I'm just frustrated. I'm a principled guy, and I know right from wrong. What I see him doing on television is wrong. He's scaring people unnecessarily. You don't do that. I don't care if his people are suckers, or stupid, or whatever. It's not right. Make an honest living, don't be a dickhead who has to stretch the truth and make shit up about hearing from God in order to make money. I like to think I'm above stooping that low simply to make a buck. Money dude, that's what it's all about for him. At least from what I see from his show.

[Stone] But in his defense, doesn't he have to make money in order to sustain being on television?
[RJ] He doesn't have to be on tv.

[Stone] But he's a televangelist?
[RJ] He doesn't have to be a televangelist. He can just be a preacher at a church. Nothing wrong with that. This would be like saying that, as a drug dealer, I have to sell crack to continue being a drug dealer. The solution to the problem, if I'm an honest man, is not to be a drug dealer in the first place. And that's not to say that Jim can't continue to be a televangelist. But if he is one, he needs to do things correctly. Jimmy Swaggart is back on tv, and you know what he's doing? He's preaching sermons, giving legitimate teaching, and selling bibles and cds to keep himself on the air. He ain't selling sleep bands and chintzy jewelry named after his wife.

[Stone] Now see, you sound pissed again.
[RJ] [laughing] Okay, maybe a little bit. But it's borne of frustration. I just want to see people do the right thing, bring some good into the world for a change. Not all this slinking in the shadows, preying on the weak-minded.
Larry Bates is on the witness stand. The tense courtroom is packed with onlookers and media. Ron Johnson sits behind his lawyer's desk, a blue-plumed bird perched protectively on his shoulder. Twelve jurors listen intently as Bates is questioned.

[Defense Attorney] “Mr Bates, can you describe the word 'integrity' to me please?”
[Larry Bates] “Sure. Integrity is being upstanding and moral.”
[Defense Attorney] “How about honesty, Mr Bates? Does integrity include honesty?”
[Larry Bates] “Yeah sure.”
[Defense Attorney] “Sure? How about 'yes' or 'no'?”
[Larry Bates] [slightly ruffled] “Yes, integrity includes being honest.”
[DA] “And being honest means not lying, would you agree Mr Bates?”
[Bates] “Yes, I would agree.”
[DA] “Do you have integrity, Mr Bates?”
[Bates] “Of course I do. What kind of question is that?”
[DA] “Very well. I would like to play you several video clips, Mr Bates. In these clips, you are going to see Jim Bakker on camera. After each clip, I will ask you one question.”
[Bates] [squirms in chair] “Okay.”

Jim Bakker weeping uncontrollably
The courtroom watches as video is played of Jim Bakker, fake-crying while talking about Lori's House fundraising.

[DA] “Did you see that video clearly, Mr Bates?”
[Bates] “Yes.”
[DA] “And do you think Jim Bakker was really crying in that video, or was he faking it?”
Larry Bates appears very uncomfortable in the witness box. A long pause ensues as Larry Bates considers his answer.

[DA] “Cat got your tongue, Mr Bates?”
[Bates] “I would say yes, he is really crying.”
[DA] “Can you repeat your answer, Mr Bates, this time addressing the jury?”

Bates turns nervously towards the jury.

[Bates] “Yes, he is really crying.”
[DA] “Thank you Mr Bates. Now please watch the monitor again as I play another clip for you.”

Tears stream down the face of a sobbing Jim Bakker
A new clip is played of Jim Bakker, this time choking up while talking about road building. A juror laughs. Bates again shifts uncomfortably in the witness box.

[DA] “Do you think Jim Bakker was really crying in that clip, Mr Bates? Or was he faking it?”
[Bates] “Where is this going? What are you getting at?”
[DA] “Answer the question, Mr Bates.”
[Bates] “I'm not answering your question.”
[DA] “Why not, Mr Bates?”
[Bates] [angry] “Because it's a stupid question.”
[DA] [petitioning judge] “Your honor, can you please compel the witness to answer my question?”
[Judge] “Answer the question, Mr Bates.”
[Bates] [turning red] “Yes, he's really crying.”
[DA] “Can you please repeat that to the jury so that they can hear you?”
[Bates] [turns abruptly to jury] “Yes, he's really crying.”

[DA] “Mr Bates, I have one final question, just for clarification purposes. Part of having integrity means not lying, right?”
[Bates] [face has turned bright red] “That's right.”
[DA] “I'm done with this witness, your honor.”

[Stone] Okay so let's move on. You left a comment on your blog a few months ago suggesting that you had another project going on in the background. Were you serious?
[RJ]Right, yeah a few months ago I mentioned that I had something 'bigger' planned. I had this idea that I was going to document myself covering Bakker, sort of create a cheap indie documentary. I know that my personality is a little different than most people, and I thought it might be compelling to see me doing what I do when I sit down to cover Bakker, because it's a lotta shit. But I ended up getting so bogged down in writing and working my real job that it just never happened. I had a whole idea thought out, I think it woulda' been really cool. I'll bet I would have had some of Bakker's numbskulls watching it too. Those people are fucking stupid man [laughs]. I'll bet Jim could physically grab one of those people by the cheeks, look them in the eyes and call them a dumbshit to their face, then turn around and sell them a bible for a hundred bucks. They are that stupid.

[Stone] [laughing] That stupid huh?
[RJ] [laughing] I mean, Jim actually sold these people magic stickers that were supposed to somehow give you more strength. [laughing] Do you know how fucking retarded you have to be to buy something like that? And now I've poked their cage. They're all starting to wander onto the internet and attack me like rabid lemmings. I don't need that in my life man, I got enough to take care of day-to-day in my life to not need to be calling the cops all the time on lunatic stalkers.

[Stone][laughing] You sound a touch serious in how you say that. Are you really concerned about lunatic stalkers?
[RJ] Yeah dude, Bakker's zombies are nuts.

[Stone] I'm going to read off a list of words to you, and I want you to give me the first word that comes to mind. Okay?
[RJ] [laughing] Alright.

[Stone] Lori Bakker.
[RJ] Airhead. [laughs]

[Stone] Foodbucket.
[RJ] Disgusting. [laughs]

Joey: "Wanna check out some 8-tracks in my van?"
[Stone] Guitarist Joey.
[RJ] [laughs loudly] Man I love Joey! He's my favorite character of the whole bunch!

[Stone] Why is that?
[RJ] I don't know, I think it's the Captain Stubing hairdo and the way he plays that axe. He also gets this look on his face sometimes like he's too cool for school, you know?

[Stone] So you don't really think he's a serial killer?
[RJ] [laughing] Nah man, no way. The only thing Joey's killing are guitar notes, and maybe a few hearts of lovelorn ladies. Those are jokes, it's satire. It's funny. In fact, and I mean this sincerely, I hope Guitarist Joey laughs at what I write about him. He looks like a cool guy.

Enjoying yourself in Moldova, Flip?
[Stone] [laughs] Okay, back to the word association. Philip Cameron.
[RJ] I don't think I can come up with a single word that's strong enough to express my feelings about Philip Cameron.

[Stone] What do you mean by that?
[RJ] I can't stand Philip Cameron. I think I've mentioned before in a blog post that I dislike Philip Cameron even more than I dislike Jim Bakker. Cameron is just...I don't see anything even remotely redeeming about that guy. At least Bakker is capable of being likable. Cameron doesn't even have that.

[Stone] Yes I've read your posts about him. They're pretty brutal.
[RJ] Right. I don't like him at all. I'd love to do a whole satirical blog on him in particular, but apparently the fat fuck likes to hide in Moldova a lot with his orphaned girls and boys so we don't see him that much. Ugh.

[Stone] Moving on. Jim Bakker.
[RJ] [thinking] Intelligent.

[Stone] Intelligent huh?
[RJ] Yeah, Bakker is a smart guy. Look at how successful he is at making a living, and how he makes that living? That doesn't mean he's a good guy, or that he should be lauded for it, but he certainly knows how to ring the dinner bell for inbreds.

[Stone] How do you think he does it?
[RJ] I don't know man, but he does it. I've always felt that he's successful because he has that 'aww-shucks' demeanor that everyone trusts. It's hard to believe that a guy that looks like a kindly old frog would be lying to you about receiving special prophecy from God, then use that as a means to take your money. But he does it, at least in my opinion he does. I don't know how anyone of sound mind could think otherwise after watching his show a couple times. It's pretty blatant.

[Stone] Is there redemption for Jim Bakker, in your eyes?
[RJ] You mean personally, with me?

[Stone] Yes.
[RJ] Of course there is. Everyone can redeem themselves in my view. I'm a fair guy, in fact that's something I pride myself in. If someone told me that I wasn't being fair it would be like an alarm going off in my head, and my thoughts would come to a screeching halt. For Bakker, if he folded up shop tomorrow and admitted that he's been wrong these past few years, then I'd be done. In fact, I would applaud him for it...publicly. People can change if they want to, and that change can be startling. I know, because I changed. So if Jim Bakker changed his tune, I would support him for that.

[Stone] So you would actually lend your support to Jim Bakker if he changed tomorrow?
[RJ] Sorry man, I know I'm being a little unclear here. My thoughts come very quickly so sometimes I figure them out while I'm speaking. Support isn't the right word here so let me clarify. [thinking] If Jim Bakker stopped running Salesville tomorrow, I would give him praise for it because he would deserve praise. I don't think I'd ever fully support him or stake my reputation on him, that seems fairly impossible to me. There are very, very few people who I mix my name with. [laughing]

[Stone] Like?
[RJ] The only person I can think of right now is my wife [laughing]. I wouldn't even put my reputation on the line for some of my family. Everyone has to prove themselves to me before I stake my reputation, and let me tell you...that takes a long time.

[Stone] I just have one more on this to follow up. So you don't hold grudges?
[RJ] I wouldn't say that I don't hold grudges. I think it's more accurate to say that any grudges I hold are temporary in nature. I am always open to changing my mind.

[Stone] So outside of the Foodbucket Fanpage, have you considered other topics to write about?
[RJ] Actually yeah, there's a few different things I'm interested in doing.

[Stone] Would you care to enlighten us or are you keeping them private?
[RJ] Well, what I do with Bakker could translate very well to politicians or other people who I consider to be shysters. I absolutely can't stomach politicians. They're all liars looking out for their own self-interests. I'd love to cover political debates or something like that, or maybe just pick whichever politician is the sleaziest and cover them, solely. The problem, unfortunately, is that the creative process for me comes very slowly. I could cover a political debate with satire, with nobody getting out unscathed, but I can't churn it out in a timely fashion.

[Stone] People want stuff quickly, you're saying?
[RJ] Right. Reading about a debate from a month ago, something that's already happened, I think people may just sort of move on and not care. But I could be wrong on that. Maybe people would be interested, maybe the timeliness of it isn't important when people are looking for laughs at the expense of disgusting people. I wouldn't know until I try, I suppose.

[Stone] I'd read it, sign me up!
[RJ] [laughs] Yeah, well, it takes time that I don't have much of anymore. You know what though? All these shitheads who can't stand me because I make fun of Jim Bakker and expose him, I'll bet you they'd love me if I went after a politician they didn't like. They'd be telling me I'm the best and go get 'em, that sort of thing. I really believe that. Superficial people man, they're really strange. Insult their God [Jim Bakker] and their vicious. [laughing]

[Stone] Other ideas?
[RJ] [laughing] Actually, yeah there are a few other ideas floating around. I'm a big mixed martial arts fan and I've thought about maybe covering the UFC and other organizations in a comedic way. Not in the sense of putting it down, because I love it. It would be more like, creating characters out of the fighters and sort of covering different fights while pointing out the humorous things I see while I'm watching. The ref's haircut. People in the crowd on their cell phones. Fighter gear malfunctions, stuff like that. That one might be a long shot, but it's something.

[Stone] So what about the...
[RJ] [interrupts] You know what I really wanted to do but I had no time? I wanted to cover the funeral of Kim Jong-Il. Did you see that thing?

[Stone] Yes I do, we actually covered it on an article.
[RJ] Yeah well, nobody would have covered it like me. That thing went on for hours and hours, with the soldiers freezing their balls off on the side of the road and everyone beating their chests in feigned sadness. I actually served in Korea when I was in the Army, so those wacky North Koreans always interest me. I only caught about an hour of the funeral, but I'm telling you, I could have made that thing hilarious. Oh man, that's really the one that got away.

[Stone] I'm sorry you missed it.
[RJ] Oh believe me, I'm sorry too.

[Stone] So what's up with the Foodbucket Fanpage? I notice that you're speaking about it in the past tense?
[RJ] For the past few months, I've been thinking of ending it. That's why the time between my posts started getting so stretched out. I think the time has come now. I just don't have the time or desire anymore, and I think I've said all that needs to be said. If my heart isn't into it, then I'm going to start writing things that aren't my best work. I'm not cool with that. It's either the best from me or nothing at all.

[Stone] So you're admitting defeat?
[RJ] [laughs] Call it what you want. I've poured a lot of time and energy into it, and I'm happy with what I've done and accomplished. I've brought a lot of enjoyment to people, brought a lot of critical attention to Jim Bakker, and I think my readers will remember Ron Johnson and the fact that I fought the good fight. I'm honestly sad to say goodbye to my readers, but I have my own life to live. At some point, you have to finish the chapter and start a new one. At the height of my writing, I was spending entire weekends hacking away on my keyboard. I would drive to work reviewing lines in my head, coming up with better ways to write things. My wife would speak to me at home, but all I'd hear was my inner monologue as I focused on my latest blog post. My wife never once complained, but now I'm complaining. I'm tired of writing about Bakker, I've been tired of it for a few months now.

I'm ready to do something different, and I've already started laying the groundwork for the next chapter of my life. We're new to Colorado, and it's beautiful here dude. Lots of natural stuff to see, shit that I like. I'm actually going to take a layoff from my job pretty soon and go back to school to study the earth sciences. And I suppose Jim Bakker is going to continue doing what he does. Oh well, I've done all I can. Either good will triumph here, or it won't.

[Stone] So the Foodbucket Fanpage is done then?
[RJ] Yeah, I'm done.


THE FOODBUCKET FANPAGE
Thank you to all my readers.
Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” Mark Twain