Friday, December 30, 2005

Cults for Dummies: The Gray Area

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Ask not what your god can do for you. Ask what you can do for your god! The bored gods need a good agent, some promotional material, and at least a public access cable channel.

This week we're looking at cults. If you're shopping for a new one, better be pretty clear how it stands on the matter of riding comets.

The fascinating dude pictured above is Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). It's rare to find an encyclopedia who does not list him individually, his religious groups Thelema, O.T.O., and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn all as cults. (Individually Crowley is considered a cult leader.)

There's no doubt about it: This guy did some deep thinking, some psychic and psychological wonders, and some recruitment of followers who he encouraged to indulge in rites that might not seem so weird to horny Freemasons.

Certain bored gods appreciated him, especially Horus, the Egyptian deity we mentioned yesterday.

Crowley's teachings are complicated. However, they are readily available, because he wrote a great deal. Both Thelema and O.T.O. have survived him.

And therein lies the gray area. Neither of those organizations accords Crowley any deity status but rather uses his teachings as a way to achieve higher consciousness. He did not found the Golden Dawn. He learned from it and adapted its teachings to his own set of rites and rituals.

And, as any thinking person would, he rather enjoyed being called "The Wickedest Man Alive" by the popular press. Hey, it was a headline. Brought in followers.

Some of my legions of readers can actually penetrate Crowley's complicated celestial view. It eludes this druid because his most famous saying, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," lacks the important subordinate clause of druidry -- "an thou harm none."

Recall, readers, that Anne's definition of cults includes the caveat that to be a cult, the group has to harm its members. There are recorded instances of this happening within Crowley's sphere. He turned some dude into a camel, for instance. And he was notorious for staining furniture.

Seriously, Crowley was a known manipulator who enjoyed the limelight. But the interesting concepts he introduced into Western occultism have outlived him and are therefore worth pondering. Right, Horus?

The point of this entry is, if you can separate the founder from the message, it's not necessarily a cult. This author would not recommend that anyone behave like Aleister Crowley, but if some enlightenment can be gained from his work, then rock on.

An afterthought: Crowley died nearly alone, penniless, and addicted to heroin shortly after WWII. There was no Tom Cruise or Donny Osmond in the picture to see to his bills. That's another key provision of our cult def. The leader has to be taken care of financially without lifting a finger. I believe there are times in the life of Crowley where that occurred, but not consistently.

But gosh is he photogenic for the purpose of these little essays!


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cults for Dummies: Show Some Respect

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Please tell us: Where is the 3,000 year old Pyramid erected to Sun Myung Moon? Where is the official L. Ron Hubbard Sphinx? And why aren't they building a Parthenon for Madame Blavatsky or Aleister Crowley?

We'll tell you why: Because wanna be gods are a dime a dozen.

Yesterday my daughter The Heir and I took a little stroll through a neighboring village. It was not quite as posh as the village we live in, and that made it more exciting.

In this village is a store with charming items for your home decor. In one glass case, fairies, Celtic jewelry, mermaids. In another, wizards and dragons. In another, fossils and geodes. In yet another, a lovely collection of repro Egyptian artifacts. Statues of Isis, Osiris and Horus. Scarabs. Holy cats on thrones. Mummy sarcophagi.

The Heir was fascinated and asked all kinds of questions about these awesome bored gods. I'm not the most knowledgeable about this pantheon that lasted thousands of years and spawned several Wonders of the World, but I told her what I could.

Got me to thinking.

How very disappointed Isis and Osiris and Horus must be, to see modern humankind throw away money and devotion on other human beings. Because, sorry, but with the sole exception of the Dalai Lama, I can't buy the divinity of anyone breathing air.

Okay, you Christians are affronted. Jesus breathed air and presided over grand cathedrals decked in poinsettias, in which little children behaved like adults and a pontiff wearing a huge crown waved.

Seriously. I love Jesus. I think he proved his stripes. Like Horus, he died and then got up again, presumably because there was work to be done and he didn't trust the 11 remaining disciples to get it right. (Especially as they quickly marginalized both Mary the Mother and Mary the Magdalene.)

But the exception proves the rule. A Jesus comes along every 2,000 years or so. But people claiming to be Jesus, or specially chosen by Jesus, come out of the woodwork like termites.

Why would anyone worship these humans, when perfectly good gods and goddesses are sitting in their heavens counting the stars? Isn't that disrespectful?

Poor Isis! She's a little gilded statue in a glass case, sale priced at $69.99, while Scientology is racking up millions in donations and parents feed their kids poisoned Kool-Aid in the jungle.

Jesus proved his stripes, but so did Isis, Osiris, and Horus. We still have the writings they inspired, the temples they inspired, and the list of deeds that lift them from humanity to deity.

And yet people persist in calling these awesome gods "myths" in the face of the adoration of prior generations. On the other hand, any bearded guru can get his meals paid for by sycophants who prefer their gods to have toileting needs.

If you ask me, there's something wrong with this picture. That's why I started this web site, and thank you very much but I don't want a cult following. If you have an urge to worship Anne the Goat Judge, please curb it and go commune with the fairies and their awesome leadership.

Or, by all means be my guest and erect an altar to Isis. Sedna. Chongdanga. Tiki. The Thunderbirds. Atlanteans. In this case, older is better, and if they sweat and pick their noses, they can't be gods.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cults for Dummies 2: Keep Your Head

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's just tragic to think of the number of gods and goddesses who used to have temples erected in their honor and now have to work the night shift unloading stock at Target. Employ a bored god today! They don't ask for much, only a living wage and a standard benefits package.

The bored gods are particularly galled when they see bright young men and women snookered into working their keisters off to make some other human wealthy and powerful, all in the name of religion.

No matter how pretty and modest the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's web site is, the fact remains that he's made a vast fortune because he's convinced a lot of people that he talked to Jesus, and Jesus told him how to unify the Christian church across the globe.

What this has to do with owning conservative newspapers and sticky bun companies is beyond me. Maybe Jesus likes sticky buns.

Some ex-followers of the Reverend Moon claimed that the recruiting tactics used to elicit their praise and worship were beyond acceptability. Anyone who expresses even a vague interest in Reverend Moon is invited to a dinner where people hang on their every word, bombard them with affection and compassion, and then invite them to attend a camp where they'll be introduced to The Rev's philosophy in greater detail.

Boy, does this sort of thing rile the bored gods!

At Moonie camp, new recruits play childhood games, sing camp songs, receive numerous friendly hugs, and get about half the sleep they need to see straight. They sit through long, impenetrable sermons on theology and the deep love the Rev has for them.

By the end of a week of this, they would believe in that turtle upon whose back the earth rests.

They go to work for The Rev, where they still don't get enough sleep and have to marry strangers picked for them by The Rev.

Sounds nuts, doesn't it? How could anyone fall for that?

Read on:

Two years ago, when Anne was still a good church lady, it came time to have her older daughter, The Heir, take Confirmation class.

The Heir's Confirmation experience began with a compulsory trip to a camp called Keswick that is staffed by young men and women who want to be Christian pastors.

No parents were allowed at Keswick during the weekend.

The Heir and the other young teens with her played childhood games, sang songs, were bombarded with compassion, and stayed up late into the night confessing their problems and weeping about them. The leaders of the camp were so very interested in everything these youngsters had to say. And of course the leaders held out the promise that, with a mere altar call, the youngsters could enjoy the eternal protection of Jesus.

The Heir, a shy and retiring youngster who thinks deeply about many topics, felt distinctly uncomfortable, but she went along with the program.

Unlike the other teens who attended, however, The Heir came home and started thinking about her Keswick experience.

Then she started combing the second-hand bookstores for information about cults. She found a 1970s-era book about Reverend Moon and his recruitment techniques.


The moral of the story is, cult tactics can crop up in the darnedest places, and it takes an independent thinker to challenge the system. It's just not enough to be wary of Reverend Moon. Your local youth pastor might have the same playbook, if not exactly the same motives.

Well, they do ask The Heir to tithe.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cults for Dummies 1

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you got a gift card for a god, better come and redeem it right away. The gods and goddesses are flying off the shelves. Wow! People are acting like they're prosperous and their jobs are secure. Go figure.

For Xmas my daugher The Heir got a book called Cults from a friend of hers. The Heir is very interested in mind control. She has a deep suspicion of the Christian church because during her Confirmation Hearings she had to go to this Christian camp where she feels she was coerced into professing faith. She didn't like that much. The Scotch-Irish in her rebelled.

No better time than the present to look at the whole issue of cults.

So, out comes the trusty dictionary, the one published in 1974 that does not include any of the following words:
cellular telephone
world wide web
text message

Guess I need a new dictionary, eh?

Here's the dinosaur dictionary's definition of a cult:

1. A system of religious worship or ritual for a person, principle, etc., esp. when regarded as a fad. (Dino dictionary uses nudism as an example!)

2. The object of such attachment.

3. A group of followers; sect.

Okay, that is very broad indeed. Where do we draw the line between a cult, i.e. worship of a specific person by a group of followers, and religion, defined in dino dictionary as a belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe.

Now that's what I call a great definition. Gives respect to us polytheists.

I'm thinking we need to revise the too-broad definition of cult.

My definition of cult goes something like this:

A group of followers whose devotion to a person or persons causes those followers to perform dangerous acts that are either self-destructive or harmful to others, or both.

Al-Qaeda, Christian Science, Scientology and Heaven's Gate make the cut. Ditto the Peoples' Temple and their Kool-Aid binge. The Mormons, however weird, get a pass. Ditto the Krishnas. That's a religion, and their flowers are pretty.

Some religions start as cults and morph. Hard as it may be to believe, the goddess Diana tells me that the earliest Christians were considered a cult and were accused of slaughtering babies as part of their secret rituals.

One good barometer of a cult is whether or not it survives the death of its founder. Both Christian Science and Scientology have done that, but they're cults because they refuse modern medicine and even belittle such useful tools as psychiatric drugs and epidurals. (Katie Holmes is in for a long, hard -- and pointlessly painful -- battle.)

The most virulent cults, of course, are the ones in which the leader requests that his followers join him in the Great Hereafter immediately. I mean, when was the last time you saw a mass suicide in honor of Tiki?

Other virulent cults ask their followers to kill innocent people (and themselves in the nonce) for political reasons. What does that lead to? Nut cases flying planes into tall buildings in search of virgins and shade in the Great Hereafter.

So why is Anne the goat judge pontificating about cults? Because druids were listed as a cult in The Heir's Xmas gift book. Right alongside another credible religion, Santeria.

So for the next few days we'll be discussing cults, people who claim to be God, Jesus, or Satan returned to earth, and the followers that buy these claims even though there are so many bored gods sitting out there just begging for a little candle-lit prayer.

We'll meet Reverend Moon, a dude in the Southwest who calls himself Maitreya, and the eager young cadets of Keswick Camp.

We'll also offer some valuable suggestions on how not to have your religion dismissed as a cult. Okay, maybe that one's a no-brainer, but hey. This is Cults for Dummies.

If you're smart, go read someone else's diary.

jk jk jk jk jk

Monday, December 26, 2005

Wake Me Up When It's Over!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Were your farm animals passed over and someone else's used in the big mega-church Christmas pageant? Talk to us about it.

Our downsized deities would be thrilled to feature your mangy donkey in their worship services! They've been scraping by on squirrels and pigeons, maybe the occasional blue jay. They are seriously ready for real hooves and a HEE HAW.

Here at "The Gods Are Bored," we feature a goat judge named Anne whose prized 4-H cloven-hooved herbivores always took feature billing in church plays big and small.

While Anne became mightily tired of church pageants, she's never lost her deep love for goats. Know why? Each goat strives to be an individual, and each church pageant strives to look exactly like last year's.

Maybe it started as far back as 1991, maybe more recently, but Anne began asking herself, "Why am I standing here again, holding a little white candle, while the husband-and-wife tenor/soprano duo sings "O Holy Night" again? That same singing team has presented "O Holy Night" every Christmas Eve since 1987, maybe even longer.

It's like hearing Mick sing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" for the twentieth time, watching him strut across the stage like some geriatric rooster. At some point you say to yourself, "What exactly am I doing here? Why did I rush to fill this pew?"

This cake is stale.

However, on Xmas Eve, Anne found herself in the last pew in the balcony of a posh Methodist church, decked to the plimsol line with poinsettias and aglow with so many candles that the fire marshall must have been having palpitations.

Perhaps on account of their ages and the bizarre nature of Anne's religious paradigm changes, Anne's young daughters still help out at the Methodist church sporadically. Needless to say, they were much in demand as acolytes for the 8:00 service. All the good Christian kids wanted to do the 10:00 service. Because of course everyone knows that Jesus drew his first breath between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on December 24, 0.

To make a long story short, Anne discovered that Xmas Eve services move along much quicker if one falls asleep during "O Come All Ye Faithful" and wakes up to the last strains of "Joy to the World."

Poor Tom Sawyer would have benefitted from such a clue, eh?

However, the daughters were supposed to be deeply engaged in the proceedings, behaving themselves somewhat upon the order of Palace Guards to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

They didn't. At least, The Spare didn't. The Heir is in high school. She just nodded. The Spare is 11. She fidgeted and chatted with the other 2 acolytes (there were 4 in all, reader -- shoved into a pew built for 2).

Somehow, over the din of a brass ensemble, a 100-voice choir (including the two show-stoppers mentioned above), a harpist, and four pastors with mics, someone noticed the acolytes were talking and fidgeting.

Some good Methodist church lady took time out of her busy Xmas Eve schedule to scold The Spare and the other talking acolytes. This church lady told The Spare, "I'm going to have a word with your mother about this. I'm sure she'll punish you!"

Apparently The Spare pointed at the rafters, where a church lady with really good eyesight could see Mama Anne fast asleep and drooling like Homer Simpson with too many Duffs in his maw.

The Spare then botched the Recessional. Exit Anne, Heir, and Spare out a convenient side door, for the much more exciting and uplifting portion of Xmas Eve -- cruising around looking for over-the-top Xmas decorations on houses.

Anne is still waiting for the Conduct Report from the Acolyte Committee of the Stepford United Methodist Church. Golly, why does a watched pot never boil?


Homer Simpson is wholly owned by Matt Groening, whose "Life in Hell" books are a must-have for the truly complete bored god library.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jolly Old Elf

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Have you forgotten to write your Santa letter? You have one more day! Here's mine:

Dear Santa Claus,

I have been very good this year. Well, actually I've been somewhat good. To be very frank, I enjoy being bad now and then. Not in a way that hurts anyone, but in a way that supports the people who grow and manufacture alcoholic beverages. So that counts as good, right?

Okay. Except for occasional over-indulgences in the fermented juice, I've been decent.

Would you please remit the following items:

1. Continued employment for spouse.

2.Continued adequate performance of old putt-putt Ford.

3. More buzzards for my neighborhood. I hardly ever see one around here. I shouldn't have to drive 175 miles to see a buzzard.

4. Please bring more movies based on nineteenth century novels. It's high time for another remake of Wuthering Heights.

5. Please inspire Carl Hiaasen to write another novel featuring the character Skink. I swear I roll on the floor over that guy.

6. Renew The Brini Maxwell Show for a third season.

7. Send Heath Ledger to shovel me out from the next snowstorm.

8. The Fighting Wombat costume is falling apart. Can you give me a new one?

9. A better season for the Michigan Wolverines next fall. You have months and months to prepare for this one, so I expect results!

10. Last but not least, there's yappy dog living in the house that used to belong to the Monkey Man's family. The house borders my yard. Would you please combine my wish for peace and quiet with #3, above?

As always, I will leave virulently spiked egg nog under the tree for you. I understand that last year the entire state of Pennsylvania failed to get presents after you came to my house.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Great Ball of Fire!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We'll be open until midnight to serve you, now through Xmas eve! We've got a great selection of gods and goddesses still in stock, with more arriving every day! So you procrastinators can still get a great god by SUNday morning!

(Sorry, Brini Maxwell model is sold out.)

Gosh, I feel like I need a bullet list to cover all the stuff in this posting!

1. Yesterday I got taken to task by Thor, Freyda, and Wodin for not mentioning them by name as bored gods of the dark months. Sorry, Viking gods, but I am prejudiced against your praise and worship teams who raped and pillaged their way through the British Isles and left those fair-haired, blue-eyed, restless genes behind. So you won't get much press here, ever. Live with it.

2. Victory for Jesus! A federal judge, appointed by our sitting president, delivered a stinging rebuke of Intelligent Design, intended to be precedent-setting! There will be no more talk about how God made the panda's thumb in science class! So how's that a victory for Jesus? Hey, you've gotta have FAITH. And that does not require scientific evidence to back it up. Nor does it require that you use every tactic to transmit it to other people, who may or may not need it.

3. Big fat OOOOOPS from Senator Rick Santorum, junior of Pennsylvania, who steadfastly supported Intelligent Design in biology class ... until this week. Oh well, men are allowed to change their minds, aren't they? Shows flexibility of thinking. Or perhaps the ability to read opinion polls.

4. Victory again for Sedna and Negafook, awesome goddess and god of the Arctic! Even dirty tricks of the most indecent, underhanded sort won't scurry through and open the seismically-sensitive Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling! Many thanks to the ever-awesome senior senator from West (By Gawdess) Virginia for his hand in killing the Arctic drilling rider on the defense budget bill! Robert Byrd Rocks!

5. Amidst bright Yule candles, my dear little tween, The Spare, who's been much put-upon lately by mean girls, arrived at home with two new friends and blasted the house into a whirl of great karma with giggles and goodness!

6. Yuletide carols being sung by a choir? Not. This family gathered for a viewing of the latest episode of The Brini Maxwell Show (Style Network), in which the lovely and talented hostess made crafts and goodies and interior decorations based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Priceless.

7. While adjusting the TiVo to get Brini, who pops up on the screen but the Fighting Wombat mascot leading the Stepford Halloween Parade! Yes, dear readers, on Yule I was a t.v. star. You never know what you're going to see on public access, eh?

Nowhere to go from here but into the light of a brand new day.


Photo credit: Brini Maxwell. San Antonio Star.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you think one is the loneliest number, you've found a home on this page!

Solstice greetings from the many bored gods and goddesses of the Northern Hemisphere!

What's this Christmas stuff? Stonehenge was at least a thousand years old before the Holy Spirit made his little jaunt into the real world.

Today we bring back the light. We celebrate the return of the sun with prayers to Robin, Marion, Orphee and Brighid.

All hail the Gentry of Sidhe, Mother Earth who nourishes us, the Green Man who leads us through the tangled brush, the Lady of the Lake who will guide us to Avalon.

Praise be to Peter Pan and all sprites of eternal youth! (That means you, Dad.)

Praise to the gods and goddesses who walk among us, spreading magic and music. (That means you, Monkey Man.)

Praise to holy Stonehenge, ancient cathedral of mysteries, calendar of the bored gods!

Hark! The herald fairies pun,
Glory to the newborn sun

So might it be.


Thanks to Getty Images for the awesome image.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why I Left the One True Religion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your eleventh-hour salvation superstore!

Behind on that shopping? Cookie-baking? Card writing? Why do you do all this every year anyway? Ever wonder?

I'm Anne, back from the deep. "Mr. Applegate" is a fine subsitute blogger, but he scares my cats and leaves behind the odor of burning leaves. You can only take so much of that, especially if the leaves smell like oak and not cannabis.

On this Yule Eve, I'm proud to announce that I will be coming out as a druid on December 25. It happens that Christmas and the beginning of Hanukkah (sp?) fall on that date, and our little community is planning a lighting ceremony. What better place to appear, wand in hand, and quietly add yet another little religious curiosity into the mix?

Not that I plan to steal the show or anything. But from now on, in this town, whenever they have an ecumenical religious event of any kind, I will be there in the position of resident druid.

So why, at mid-life, did I deep-six Christianity?

It was like a shoe that never fit my foot. Always.

Even as a kid, I preferred the "legends" of King Arthur, and the Lady of the Lake, and Avalon, and the dragon boats bearing the dead away to Sidhe.

Imagine how excited I was when I discovered that some people consider these stories religion.

When you add the fact that druids were not all priests, but in fact a caste of educated people, the plot thickens. My dad was an educated scientist, a lifelong Christian church attendee, sang on the choir and taught Sunday School for fifty years. But he often told me that the religion felt to him like a shoe that didn't fit.

Even before Dad died, I put on a new pair of slippers that felt better to my feet. And in the process, I assessed the shoe store and found it full to the brim of fascinating products of the Collective Unconscious. Bird deities. Unidentified Flying Objects. Local shrines, Asheras, ayahuasca and peyote, vision quests. OBEs. Psychics who see Uncle Ralph by a stony brook.

Belief in just one religion does seem so "cramped up and smothery sometimes," to quote the inimitable Mark Twain.

So when I use the word "druid," it just means I want to learn more. And maybe hug a few oak trees just to keep up the stereotype.

Far be it from me to challenge you and your faith. Just don't spill anything on my furniture, okay?

Ending with Mark Twain again, I am


Monday, December 19, 2005

Dean's Christmas Poetry

Reggie White Sacks Another Quarterback. A Devout Christian, White Would Not Let His Family Celebrate Christmas, Calling it a Pagan Holiday

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where you can shop online for ideas and laughs. We'll even get them to you by Xmas.

Due to a case of the CHRISTmas blues, Anne has gone AWOL. I've stepped in for her. You can call me "Mr. Applegate." I'm not a bored god, but I sure am burned out. (Pardon the pun.)

Anne went to see "Brokeback Mountain" yesterday. She'll go to anything with "Mountain" in the title. When she came home she looked like she was going to howl at the moon and punch a hole through the wall. Sometimes she'll belly up to a flick that hits too close to home. I know, because she used to be a Christian (a Methodist of all things), and that put her in my praise and worship team.

Now that Anne's not in my praise and worship team anymore, it's none of my business how she conducts her life. Thank goodness. I have enough on my hands. One more unemployed goat judge I do not need.

So, I was rifling through Anne's stuff, and I found some old verses by a long-lost friend of hers, Dean Dauphinais of Detroit, Michigan. Dean and Anne worked together at Goats R Us in Saline, Michigan.

Dean waxed particularly creative at Christmas time. Here are a few of his verses that he put in his home made cards:

Born in a manger
Died on a cross
Never had turkey
And cranberry sauce.

Died on a cross
Born in a manger
Never saw Batman
Or the Lone Ranger.

Anne had this one circled:

Born in a manger
Died on a cross
Never saw quarterbacks
Sacked for a loss.

If my boss finds out about this post, he'll send Reggie White to sack me.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Applegate on Crossing the Borders

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you haven't contacted your senator or congressman yet to save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, please do so Ay-sap!

Hi, I'm Satan, your host at "The Gods Are Bored" while Anne works her way through another Christmas from Hell (pardon the pun).

But, my temper is restored, so you can call me "Mr. Applegate."

The distinguised author Alexis de Tocqueville reminds me that in a democracy, majority rules, and it's clear that a majority of ordinary Americans oppose drilling for oil in Alaska. That majority cannot be bamboozled one and all, and it only takes a few voices to put everyone on the alert.

By the way, did you know that de Tocqueville makes a mean souffle? Of course we have wonderful ovens here.

But I digress. Today's topic is as old as the dawn of Intelligent Design:

Sibling rivalry.

I don't have any siblings. I was created when a small star belched.

From what I've seen of sibling rivalry, however, I'm glad to be an Only God. One need only think of the Civil War, or of the Hummels in Aunt Gladys's Last Will and Testament to recall that siblings will fight over big things and small.

And of course, when it comes to religion, how many siblings see eye to eye? Pick a church. Any church. See if you have every sibling from one family present and accounted for on the designated day for worship.

(That's why the Big Guy likes the Old Order Mennonites so much. They stick together on Sunday like peanut butter and Wonder Bread.)

Here's the rub.

On the mortal side of the coin, siblings can argue about religion, tell each other they're dead wrong (which is of course stupid, because they aren't dead yet), pray that the errant sibling sees the light. The greater the gulf in praise and worship teams, the greater the disdain held by one sib for the other.

Ah, human nature. It needs about 10 million years of extra evolution before it will be palatable.

I just want to warn some of you warring siblings about what happens on the Other Side.

First, my own association: namely, heaven and hell.

People who go to heaven or hell spend several thousand years congratulating themselves that they never have to die again. Then, like clockwork, they suddenly miss the old errant sibling. Trouble is, they find it very difficult to get a visa to go to any other alternate heaven (or hell).

For instance, if you're one of those Left Behind addicts, or you froth at the mouth at the opportunity to play a shepherd in the mega-church Christmas pageant, and your sib is a tree-hugging druid, you - the Left Behinder, are going to give up in frustration before you're allowed a passport to Avalon, even for a week's stay.

Imagine being immortal, and still not being able to cut through red tape. With all the time in the world at your disposal. You wind up weeping over a fruitcake you'll be mailing to let the loved one know how much you miss him or her.

Conversely, many worthy pantheons offer better benefits packages in this regard. You can be reincarnated right alongside a sibling from another life. You can come and go through alternate heavens as you please, getting to know people from all cultures and eras.

Sorta takes the sting out of not being able to die.

It's my experience that denizens of Avalon occasionally visit my satellite office to see an old family member or sibling. Rarely do the visitors linger more than a few days. Inevitably they start feeling claustrophobic and quickly remember that they forgot to feed the unicorn. Off they go, leaving the sibling more miserable than ever.

The moral of the story is this: If your praise and worship team claims to be the Only True Way, use caution. This locks you into an ironclad contract.

Flexibility is essential, while you're alive and after you pass. And if my boss knew about this post, he'd have a hissy fit.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Applegate Quotes the Druids

This is "The Gods Are Bored," and I am the Prince of Darkness.

Forget "Mr. Applegate." I only use that when I'm not pissed to the max.

The ancient druids had a saying. It went like this:

"They create a wasteland and call it progress."

I have an email from the Goddess Sedna. She's sacred to the Native Arctic peoples. It seems the U.S. government has hidden a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling in the defense appropriations budget.

In other words, any senator who votes against saving the Arctic also votes against armoring vehicles for the poor cannon fodder soldiers in Iraq.

Slick, eh? Pardon the pun.

Sedna is absolutely distraught. First comes global warming, and now this. Soon she won't have a praise and worship team, and she'll have to go freelance like I did some time ago. I certainly hope she finds a better species to god for in her next posting.

And it's your loss, "humanity." You Americans especially. Alas, alas for you who waste your money on useless gadgets and fill your guts with Whoppers. You will pay.

My boss might not have Designed you people very Intelligently, but he has some respect for his creation -- all of it. I have an Advance Directive from him received today. To whit:

"Azreal, you slacker, enlarge that big lake of ice at the bottom of your lair and make room for the entire U.S. congress, senate, and leadership. Additionally, prepare some dry ice in which to encase lobbyists for the oil industry."

And this is the Christian god! Mark my word, the Green Man is even angrier. He's mobilizing his forces to blow the Yellowstone caldera. You know what will be Left Behind after that? Cockroaches and those creatures in the deep sea that swim around with bioluminescent lanterns in front of their faces.

Hey, I've seen bioluminescent deep sea fishes that made better use of their environments than you do, "human race." You deserve just what you'll get, which is


Friday, December 16, 2005

Applegate Takes the Reins

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," now officially sanctioned by the premier bored god site on the WWW, namely If you need a god for a specific purpose (saving you from a sinking ship, or catering your next cocktail party, for instance), they have a god for you!

When this dark time of the year arrives, Anne predictably falls into a funk. She even went to Berkeley Springs for a rest cure and was called home early by a family emergency. So I've decided to give her over to fairy protection and write here for awhile.

The fairies know just what to do with Anne. After she plies them with a bottle of wine or two, they let her romp with their darling centaurs. What more could a goat judge want?

Legions and legions of readers have joined this site since last I wrote, so here's the resume in a nutshell:

My name is Lucifer, Azrael, Mephistopheles, Satan, Beelzebub, the devil, Old Scratch, the Dark Angel.

EEeeesh. What an ugly roundup of monikers! Please call me Mr. Applegate. It's user-friendly, and I like that play, "Damn Yankees," even though I'm the bad guy.

When am I ever the good guy? You see the basest fools out there killing kittens and planning murders or terrorist attacks, and they blame it all on me!

Thanks to my employer (who has his own long list of names but is best known as God), my reputation is in ruins. When my contract expires 7,996 years from now, I'll have to go back to school for an advanced degree. Either that or settle for a lesser position, like Titan or Extraterrestrial.

You can't even imagine how expensive tuition is at god school. I've seen it cost three solar systems with active biological planets in order to receive top certification. I haven't got that kind of clout.

Let this be a lesson to you, reader. Always have a lawyer look over a contract for you. Those hidden clauses and vague phrasings will kill ya, even if you're immortal.

Lately I've had a few visits from Pluto. The god Pluto, not the planet or the Disney dog.

Poor Pluto! No one has come his way in 1600 years! He's stuck with the same old faces, the same old stories. He wishes he could trade places with me.

So do I, but his contract runs for a million years. That's a long time to wait for free agency.

Pluto and I come from different pantheons. In his, everyone ended up with him. In mine, most people do.

You might think that's splitting hairs. But there are some important differences.

In my pantheon, people who meet the death penalty, having unburdened themselves of their sins to a proper priest, can go to heaven. In Pluto's pantheon, the wretches have no choice where they go. Nada.

So generally, when you American folks administer those lethal injections, I get poor people, usually minorities, sometimes mentally retarded, sometimes innocent (at least of what they've been killed for), and sometimes so flat-out mean and ornery I have to shut them up in a cave where all they can hear is bland Methodist sermons.

But God gets the ones who repent. Is that fair? The rest of you wretches have to suffer it out on earth, never earning enough to pay your bills, getting sick, growing old, watching your kids screw up, listening to your parents kvetch, worrying and working your fingers to the bone!

While the Ted Bundys wreak havoc, ruin lives, kill wonderful, sweet, innocent people, and then, while strapped to a gurney, ask the Big Guy for forgiveness and get a pleasant release from your accursed vale of tears.

(I had to ask Webster to look up "vale" for me. He's most obliging.)

This whole thing puzzles the daylights out of me and Pluto. We wonder why Americans don't put serial killers into a regime of hard, unrelenting, back-breaking work, and then send them to a cell where they have to listen to other people complain. Let them be the ones who get cancer, AIDS, flesh-eating bacteria.

In the meantime, all those Christians who are so eager not to be Left Behind should just take matters into their own hands and hasten their exits. Why are they sticking around, waiting for cancer or Alzheimers when they can high-tail it to heaven in the prime of life?

Okay, enough philosophy.

Pluto wants all you astronomers out there to know how honored he is that you named a planet after him. He's very angry that you've demoted the planet Sedna to a "post-systemic orbiting object." Pluto likes Sedna, and he's worried about her praise and worship team. More about that tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Greed Creed

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the fairies are fair and the world isn't.

Today we will look at a few rules that apply to that one percent of Americans who control - what is it? - 80, 90 percent of the wealth?

Warning: If you are not one of those people, you cannot follow these rules.

1. If I want it, it's mine.

2. If you have it and I can take it, it's mine.

3. If I had it once and I want it back, it's mine.

4. If I can grab it at any cost to others, it's mine.

5. If I fight for it, you'll lose, and it will be mine.

6. If it was mine once, forever it will be mine.

7. If I see it and like it, it's mine.

8. If you think it's yours, forget it, it's mine.

9. If I want to own you, you're mine.

10. If it has coal, it's a mine.

The fairies added that last one.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Season's Beatings

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we admit to a healthy, ongoing, and ever-increasing detestation of Christmas! Changing the name to Holiday doesn't improve the fact that:

1. This is the darkest time of the year.
2. People spend money they don't have to buy things no one likes.
3. Celtic and Romanic traditions have been completely and jealously usurped, no retreat and no surrender.

So I'm going to find a quiet corner, close my eyes, and save myself.

I see a big old barn. I'm sitting behind it, watching my Nubians roam the pasture. At my feet is Laddie, the collie, his fur knotted in burrs. Uncle Ralph comes round to see what I'm doing and says, "Did you see the kittens in the horse stall?" So I go in, and six darling little kittens are nursing. The mother doesn't care if I pet them.

Aunt Bess is in her vegetable garden, admiring her huge cabbages and bragging about how much kraut she'll be able to put up. Cousin Ronnie is buzzing up and down the road on his dirt bike (aptly named). A buzzard floats by on the breeze.

In this reverie, all the people I loved have come back to life, and the ones I love now are not yet in my sphere. I can climb the mountain without getting short of breath. I help my grandfather fill jugs at the spring and watch him stare into his magnifying scope to fix broken watches.

My grandmother cuts fresh flowers from her garden and comes in with an apron full of tomatoes.

Eyes wide open.

Yesterday waded through a foot of snow to put Dollar Store poinsettias on their graves. I'm glad they didn't live to see online shopping, "organic" food that doesn't have insect holes or spots on it, watches that run on batteries and computers, a goat pasture grown over with locust trees, a neglected barn falling to bits.

The farm will be sold and subdivided. Rich baby boomers will buy plots and build homes. Brave commuters willing to spend 3 hours a day in their SUVs will follow.

Bored gods, get me through these dark days.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

PDQ - The Gods Are Bored

Position Description Questionnaire

Name of position: Editor in chief, "The Gods Are Bored."

Purpose of position: To assess, define, and examine deities. To weigh deities in the balance and find them worthy of praise and worship teams, or insufficient for religious devotion. To determine the eligibility of laid-off deities for reinstatement, given the requirement that they not join a union.

Necessary tools for position: A computer, a magic wand, a valid email address, vulture feathers, and eyeglasses.

Briefly describe your duties: As above, commenting on ancient and modern gods and goddesses, filtering observations through a pyramid of current events of a personal, global, and national nature.

Briefly describe your special talents for this position: Ability to see the humor in most, but admittedly not all, dark situations. Propensity to pray about dark situations that possess no humor. Typing = 70 words per minute. Knowledge of internet, Microsoft Office programs, goat breeding and hygiene.

Briefly state how you might improve yourself and hence your ability to perform duties: I could eat more vegetables.

Briefly state your education and how it pertains to the position: Graduated from Billy Bob Agricultural University, degree in animal husbandry, specializing in goats. Significant post-graduate experience as goat judge and observer of water fairies in West Virginia. Some credentials do not apply to position, others add a bias to assessments. But please don't fire me!

Are you now, or have you ever, been solicited to join a union? Sadly, no.

Are you now, or have you ever, been a member of a mainstream Christian church? Sadly, yes.

Any health difficulties we should be aware of: Allergy to poison ivy, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Are you now, or have you ever, sought medical help for these health problems? Sadly, no.

If this position involves travel, are you willing to spend your own money to undertake it? Isn't that the way things work today? Alas, yes.

Are you willing to work as much and as long as your duties require, or do you adhere to a 40-hour work week? What's a 40-hour work week? This isn't Sweden.

Summarize your mission with this company: I feel that, far from being a one-shot deal, god-wise, the Other Side offers a vast cornucopia of deities and their heavens, and that a smart individual optimizes his or her chances of hitting at least one heaven by showering numerous heavens with resumes.

Expect layoffs, salary cuts, and increased work load.
Of course. It's the New American Way.

Respectfully submitted this 6th day of December, 2005,


Monday, December 05, 2005

Can Bored Gods Reform?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your daily dose of positive, proactive, polytheism! Welcome back, Thunderbirds! Long may you reign!

I am flabbergasted. My sister (the one starring in her mega-church Christmas pageant, rising from a fog machine all clad in gold) actually sent me three vulture feathers for my magic wand! How's them apples? I just knew her interest in Native American flutes would bend her mind.

To other news: A Christian psychic is like Martha Stewart without a glue gun. Like Bob Villa without a hammer. Like Paris Hilton all the time.

The psychic would not take myself and spouse to the haunted house. She said the spirits were too powerful, that I might take one home and it would haunt us.

As if!

Some badass spirit walks into my abode, first thing he sees is an altar to Queen Brighid the Bright, directly behind a protective fairy ball (done up for the holidays), graced with a magic wand oh so recently empowered with Thunderbird feathers. We druids know how to keep these nasty wretches from the Other Side off our backs.

And if none of the above work, fairies are bullish about being the only ones able to mess with a house.

Today, though, a question. The psychic said she was visited by an Ancient One named Seth. After consulting my third-grade Bible and the incomparable Godchecker ( I identify this entity as one of two possible candidates:

1. Set, a truly whopper of a badass from the ancient Egyptian pantheon, universally detested in their heaven and among the people and sacred kitty cats.

2. Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. Genesis 4.

The psychic said that "Seth" told her he'd once been a badass, but now he's reformed, he's working for The Light. By which I guess she means Father Yahweh and his Intelligent Design for the Universe.

I've seen some tough characters reform so thoroughly that they became completely boring. But can gods reform? Especially one who still has a praise and worship team, Satanic in nature?

I strongly cautioned the psychic to watch her step with "Seth." Unless, of course, he's really the progeny of Adam and Eve, in which case he's her sainted ancestor.

I am interested in your opinion on this. Can gods reform? Can they take honest assessment of their past behavior and promptly join a celestial Twelve-Step program?

You could make a case that Yahweh did it as Jesus. I've hardly ever seen a father and son more different, unless the son was adopted.

Sorry for the big build-up yesterday. I was totally prepared for that haunted house, with two Civil War ancestors and one Underground Railroad ancestor at my back. I think the Underground Railroad guy was the most disappointed, because the psychic said she thinks the spirits were slave traders.

Hope she'll invite us to try another time. I'd love to see my Pennsylvania ancestor lay a butt-kicking on some lowlife trash spirits who are bursting light bulbs in an old lady's house.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

True Story

Today my beloved and I are driving to Maryland to visit a haunted house.

This is absolutely true. I never create fiction on this site.

A psychic is going with us. She invited us. She's been there before, and she says the ghosts are really fierce. She says my beloved and I should steer clear of the basement.

The psychic is a Christian. I think she can feel the ghosts but doesn't know how to handle them. I think she's using the wrong set of protocols. I'll try to help her establish a different paradigm without seeming to interfere.

I've seen ghosts in my time. Reality is far scarier.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Help! I Need A REAL JOB

Oh no! Not you again! Go away! I can't bear to look at you! Don't speak! Tell someone else. Someone with guts and ambition!

Yes, it's the beginning of Yule month, and the Delphic Oracle brings dire predictions of more job loss to the Johnson household. So, like steadfast, godly Odysseus, we will plug our ears with wax and JUST NOT LISTEN.

There's no navel-gazing allowed on this blog. We're all about Big Ideas, The Only True Religion (several of them), and finding where the fairies hide our eyeglasses.

December's big topics will include:

The Knights Templar and the Catholic Church: A Tale of Greed, Betrayal, and Martrydom. (And the Holy Grail)

It's an Ebenezer World: A Meditation on Dickens' Christmas Carol.

Ah, Those Fabulous Mega-Church Pageants! Christ as Entertainment!

Making It through Yule without Killing Yourself or Others

Last, but not least, My Budding Friendship with the Monkey Man and His Monkey! (Eccentrics can't help but be drawn to one another, eh?)


PS - If you enjoy this artwork, thank a gay artist!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pack Your Bags, Virgil!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the absurd never fails to lift the deepest depression!

This just in: The pope is going to deep-six Limbo.

We're not talking about that silly dance where you shimmy under a stick. That's the "limbo rock." We're talking about the Big L, where unbaptized babies go, and where the poet Dante saw so many worthy individuals who had the bad luck to be born before Jesus. Including Virgil, pictured above. I think he's the one with dreadlocks.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dante's Inferno, that's Canto IV.

Just before he descends into Hell, Dante comes to a place (not a happy one) wherein all the good folks reside who were born before Year 1 A.D. It's a busy place. Just the ancient Romans and Greeks alone would fill the University of Michigan football stadium. And we haven't even started on the Native Americans, Africans, Indians, Russians, Mongols, and Fiji Islanders born before 1.

Hey, Pope Rat! Where are all these folks going to find lodging? Do you know how expensive apartments are these days? Even if you share with five other Romans, you're going to need some cash!

Seriously, Mr. Pope. Won't you be embarrassed when Virgil can't pay his electric bill, when his telephone goes dead, and when the landlord won't fix the broken toilet because the rent is in arrears? And what about when that eviction notice gets posted up on the door? Shameful to think of great ancient poets made homeless by a careless pope.

And the babies. The babies! What happens to all the babies who were born but died before they were baptized? Do they come around again? Oooops! That smacks of Buddhism. Does Jesus accept them despite the drip-drop of holy water on the little bald heads? Okay, then why can't Jesus let Virgil through the door?

Wow. I am completely confounded by this piece of news. Thank goodness, because otherwise the day was dark indeed.

(Shhhh! I think all those unbaptized babies are in Sidhe, hiding out as pixies. But don't tell Pope Rat. He'll burn you at the stake.)


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bring It On, NWO!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!"

Whew! For once we don't have to think of a kicky opening statement! A picture paints a thousand words, doesn't it?

You know this guy, eh? Ol' Blue Eyes? Although he meets none of the criteria of this web site, he is considered a god by many.

So, what's Frank doing on a hillbilly goat judge's blog?

Some of you might have seen a film called "The Manchurian Candidate." In that film, Ol' Blue Eyes plays a normal dude who's been brainwashed to perform an assassination when he gets a command that's been programmed into his brain. He won't know who he's shooting, or why, and when he's done it, he'll either be killed himself or have no memory of the murder.

Science fiction, right?

Sorry. Art imitating life.

For years after World War II, the C.I.A. operated a number of over-the-top secret programs aimed at perfecting mind control. In effect, they were trying to create "Manchurian Candidates" or at least a practical aerosol spray that would neutralize attacking soldiers by numbing their brains. Conspiracy theorists believe that the C.I.A. even tried some of this mass mind control by showering San Francisco with a hallucinogenic aerosol, to see if it worked.

I guess the secret aerosol came to rest at the corners of Haight and Ashbury Streets.

In 1972, the director of the C.I.A. ordered all records of these mind control experiments destroyed. Know why?

Because the C.I.A. pulled "experiment subjects" off the streets of big cities, figuring, who's gonna miss a street person or two? These "experiment subjects" were called "expendables."

That's gettting right to the point.

Okay. So the C.I.A. doesn't do that kind of work anymore. Oh, no. Of course not. Never ever. Wouldn't think of it. Unethical and all that.

Actually, I believe that. It's easier to monitor what the Russians and Chinese are doing in this regard than to go around snatching bums that might be Uncle Harry to some hard-working urban homocide detective.

But the New World Order, that's another matter. They are all about messing with brains. They watch that old silent film, "Metropolis," and salivate. There they are, in their pleasure palaces, while the proles work underground, marching to their horrible jobs in perfect military lines.

What you gonna do when they come for you?

I say, why not volunteer?

If you volunteer for a "Manchurian Candidate" program, you might be able to name your own drug of choice and get the best bed in the bunker. And if, like this author, you couldn't shoot a moose accurately if it was standing in your kitchen, you needn't really worry about harming anyone.

Going through a whole brainwashing program would probably bring you a year's worth of high-quality hallucinogens, "three hots and a cot" (that's what we hillbillies call gainful employment), and then a fairly swell life back in the sweet air at the end of the programming.

So, bring it on, NWO! Looking for a candidate? I'm sure I could shoot a head of state every bit as precisely as that wino bum you snatched from Hell's Kitchen in 1952.

Some of you are a tad anxious. Didn't those secret C.I.A. experiments in brain behavior sometimes lead to madness and death?

True. But look on the bright side. If you're crazy, they'll give you Thorazine and keep you in comfort. If you die, you go to the heaven of your choice with a crown of martyrdom. There isn't a god around, active or inactive, who turns a blind eye to the suffering inflicted on innocent victims by the powers that be.

(We'll talk about that more next month.)

So I don't see a downside to the mind control experiments of the New World Order. If you have ever been stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, you probably agree with me.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How to Foil the New World Order

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Please be advised that we do not subscribe to the notion that all human worship stems from contact with aliens in a "2001: A Space Odyssey" mode.

Naaah. Religion was born from dual sources right here on earth:
1. Observation of others' mortality.
2. Use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The first one is a no-brainer, the second comes from Terrence McKenna, employee of the New World Order. (Laurance Rockefeller was T.M.'s boss and funded T.M.'s research.)

So we've got this big, bad entity out there called the New World Order that's composed of the intensely rich, who always want more for themselves and are willing to sacrifice other people to fulfill their never-ending needs. They want you to be either dead or willing to work like a Triangle Shirt Factory sewing girl, and by damn they're gonna see to it that you do.

What can you do to foil their intrusion in your life?

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" don't recommend building a cabin in the Montana wilderness and retreating into it. That's just catnip for the F.B.I. And you'll get lonely during those long winters.

Think about this for a moment.

Rich and powerful international robber barons have been around since the Fertile Crescent was first cultivated. And here you sit in the 21st century, reading this.

Ergo, your ancestors lived through a lot of exploitation.

How did they do it? By blending.

Think of yourself as an apple on the flood.

Bob along, mingle quietly with the crowd, excercise and keep your furniture clean. Stay away from addictive substances, especially opiates. Case in point: If you want to see a mindless tool of the New World Order, you need look no further than Rush Limbaugh.

This is much easier for calm people to do than a pissed-off hillbilly like Anne. But so far Anne hasn't had her house surrounded for a big-time shootout with the feds, and it has happened in her neighborhood.

Tomorrow: How to beat the New World Order at their own game.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Shhhh! The New World Order Wants You (Dead)!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we offer the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help us Thunderbirds.

Thunderbirds? What about God?

Sorry. Here at "The Gods Are Bored," it's "one nation, under the Thunderbirds, indivisible, with liberty and justice for the New World Order."

Ever heard that old slogan, "The rich are different from you and me?"

And "me" is correct grammar. We goat judges know our grammar.

Well, it's true. The rich are different. They are toddlers who never grew up from the "if I can grab it, it's mine" phase of life. They are Ebenezer Scrooge before the conversion. Their favorite slogan about proles like us is, "If they are going to die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Enter the New World Order. Yep. They're all about decreasing the surplus population. They want just enough people to do their bidding, not one soul more.

Contrary to the popular opinion in America for more than one hundred years, these secretive grabbers aren't all Jewish. They aren't all American. In fact, a disconcerting number of them are Chinese. And frankly, the Chinese know how to decrease surplus population. While we bemoan Hitler and Stalin, the head count laid low by Mao absolutely dwarfs them both.

Lay off unionized American workers in favor of child labor in Vietnam?
New World Order.

Force profitable companies to generate more profit by laying off workers?
New World Order

Generate phony reasons to go to war in search of oil and rebuilding profits?
New World Order

Sponsor terrorism to keep the proles scared?
New World Order

Generate unreasonable demands for useless consumer products, big t.v.s, violent video games, paid for with high-interest credit cards?
New World Order

What can we do to keep these Masters of the Universe from knocking us off, draining our jobs and resources, anesthetizing us with useless gadgets and mindless entertainment?

Not one damn thing.

One caveat: The Illuminati are often credited with the schemes created by the New World Order. Not true. The Illuminati exist merely to expedite communication between humankind and extraterrestrial intelligent life forces. And the Illuminati are smart enough to know that our species is not ready for that moment (hence the Men in Black - they're Illuminati). However, the Illuminati try to bump evolution forward any way they can. Hence, Timothy Leary.

So, my solution to the New World Order is to give buzzards their due. Who are we to think we're at the top of the food chain? Even if we global warm this planet out the wazoo, the last large creature left will be a vulture.

We'll leave it to the Thunderbirds to settle with the New World Order.


Friday, November 25, 2005

A Quickie

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your mini-mart for god-shopping and essential information on the grooming and breeding of show goats.

What fun to watch the National Dog Show yesterday! Made me wonder if I picked the right animal to judge. Those dog judges look like they're rolling in it (and I don't meen dog doody).

Bless my soul, the infamous Monkey Man was at the Wombats game! We are now friends. I am assured by other fans at the game that he's a lovable eccentric, a good Catholic (fine with me, we all need a god), and - get this - an extremely able poet!

I asked him what year he graduated from high school. Turns out he's quite a bit older than me - old enough not to have been able to miss Vietnam unless he was as eccentric then as he is now.

He gave me something to read, and I can vouch for it. You'd never believe this guy's a super writer, but there you go.

I was wrong about how much of the Lions game I'd get to see. I watched two whole downs.

Now it's Black Friday. My mother-in-law is walking a groove in the floor downstairs, itching to shop (at the thrift store), and I have to edit a goat protocol.

Gonna be a long day. Back to real topics soon!


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mystery of the Monkey Man Solved

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We think touting polytheism and other dangerous heresies is far more interesting than folding laundry.

If you're just joining this post, we have been talking about a mysterious Monkey Man who rides through our town on his bike, entertaining kids with his monkey puppet. He's a gray-bearded gent whose age could range from old enough to be a Vietnam vet to young enough to be Anne's contemporary (Just shy of Vietnam, Anne isn't sensitive about it.)

Yesterday the Monkey Man arrived on our doorstep. Story below. He was wearing pajama pants and a jester hat, and of course had his monkey with him. He was happy as always.

After much thought, and many dollars spent taking Heir and Spare (daughters) to the newest Harry Potter movie, it dawned on me just who this guy is.

He's a wizard. He fits the entire profile.

One pictures him playing Quiddich in his youth. Of course as soon as he goes to the Wizard Sidhe, his monkey becomes a real monkey. It's only here in the Muggle world that the monkey is a toy.

Further proof: Once, at a Halloween parade, Anne and Spare saw the Monkey Man dressed like a wizard.

Case closed. Mystery solved. I hope no other wizard comes and washes his memory from my brain.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Points Deducted for Lateness

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," located in spirit (if not in flesh) in the great state of West (By Gawdess) Virginia!

Guess that's the last place you'd expect to find a bunch of fairy-lovin' pagans, but they're more than welcome to come as tourists, or to live there, so long as they do their part and park a gutted car in the front yard.

So, I've been dealing with a bad wicked goat today, and I'm more put-upon than the Intelligent Designer at the end of a long Day Six.

I'm not sure I have the spelling of this guy's name right. Is it Murtha? We'll accept that spelling and move on.

This Murtha, a Democratic congressman, says it's time to cut bait in Iraq. We've got Saddam, there's no evidence of WMD, why send any more hard-working and good-looking young men and women into harm's way?

A fine sentiment. We here at "The Gods Are Bored" soundly applaud the brave congressman.

Except he's a bit late. One -- and we mean ONE -- brave legislator stood on the Senate floor and denounced this ridiculous war from its very inception. One senator stood up, in the face of ALL that HARD EVIDENCE of WMDs and ALL that HARD EVIDENCE of SADDAM COURTING AL-QAEDA. And that senator said, "This war is a sham, it's a hoax, and I will never, never never vote for it!"

That senator was Robert Byrd, senior Democrat of West Virginia.

Once again (sorry to be redundant), if you want to understand the world, take up Byrd watching.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Eww! Icky! I'ts Wal-Mart Week!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We like to examine our culture in search of life-threatening organisms! Like this one, the infamous "strep." Why the heck did Noah take THAT one on the ark?

Anne's dear daughter, The Heir, suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

You know the condition. The victim is so obsessed with germs and sickness that he or she washes compulsively, walks around with a thermometer stuck in his or her mouth, slathers everything with anti-bacterial gels, and avoids situations where sick people might be. Even fun places, like raves.

Just an aside: An uninsured OCD patient can expect to spend $319.00 a month on the medication used to treat the disorder.

But we digress.

A helpful mother is going to read up on this condition in order to understand it better. And that helpful mother is going to learn that even normal people have a bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It's natural to shun anything that might make you sick. The avoidance of filth and pestilence, and the recognition thereof, is seen as a positive genetic mutation, one that enabled the human race to grow and expand.

Okay. It's normal to want to avoid strep like the plague. It's not normal to spend your entire day thinking about getting strep. Subtle difference.

Perhaps the following would never have occurred to Anne the goat judge if she didn't have a daughter with OCD. But think about it a minute.

Businesses that offer health coverage to employees and their families will be cleaner environments in which to shop.

Businesses that provide inadequate or no health coverage to employees and their families will have germy goods on the shelves. Why? Because those shelves are stocked by sick people. Their hands touch everything.

Ponder this, reader, the next time you rush into Wal-Mart for a cake mix.

Now Wal-Mart's gonna sue me, say they do offer health coverage to some of their workers. Part-timers? Naaah. And how about the families of those workers? Naaaah.

So Lisa Jones, Wal-Mart "associate," spoon-feeds her cranky, feverish, uninsured tot and then comes to work. She's assigned the task of stocking the toy section with 372 brand new "My Scene" dolls, made by generally unhealthy Asian workers in sweatshop conditions.

Who wants a "Stella Strep," the newest "My Scene" doll created just for Wal-Mart?

And I hope to kiss a duck before I'd touch their pork chops.

"So," holler you slash-domestic-spending conservatives, "where do you shop, Madame Liberal?"

I buy my groceries at Acme (union). I buy my hardware at Eastmont Hardware (mom & pop). I buy my clothing at thrift stores, bring it home and wash it first thing. For everything else, there's always a slightly more expensive store that treats its workers better.

Sadly, Anne knows that many rural communities now must depend entirely upon the local Wal-Mart for their shopping needs. Take heart, America! That which does not kill you will only make you stronger!

If you come home from Wal-Mart with germ-infested merchandise, and you get sick, well, you have two possibilities. If you live, your immune system's had its workout and is rocking on. If you die, who cares anyway? Certainly not the owners of Wal-Mart.

You know what's lying on its deathbed right now? The union movement. Let's give that essential component of free market enterprise an antibiotic drip, electrolytes, and lessons on the languages of all nations.

United we bargain.

Divided we beg.

Remember that on Black Friday, when you go to Wal-Mart for plastic Santas and tinsel, and come home with scarlet fever.



Monday, November 14, 2005

Big Brother Blues

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We open our doors, and in rush the gods and goddesses of yesteryear, eager for praise and worship teams, drooling over the possibility of being promoted from the lowly standing of "myth."

Last week, the goddess Asherah dropped by and told of her divorce from Yahweh (a.k.a. the Intelligent Designer, he's been outed). If you're a woman who's been told you "haven't grown" with your spouse as he departs for the Trophy Wife, scroll down while there's time!

Well, you know how it is with families. Mom has her say, then the son drops by.

Kind readers, please welcome Baal, son of Yahweh and His Asherah. A big wig in ancient Israel until a little cabal of priests decided that all this polytheism stuff is for primitives.

Baal: Hey, you're only making it worse. I've been in therapy 2000 years trying to get over the loss of my familial status.

Anne: Oh my, I can imagine. Divorce is so hard on children, no matter how old they are. What happened to the big golden calf you used to ride around on?

Baal: I hocked it for tuition payments. I've got a degree in Theatre Arts from Athens University. I mean, the Athens University. Sophocles was one of my teachers.

Anne: You must be an awesome actor.

Baal: I'm always cast to type. I never get to see just what I could do with a character role.

Anne: Cast to type? What does that mean?

Baal: I always wind up playing the disenchanted brother, gnashing my teeth over the accomplishments of the better sibling. (Sigh.) Is it life, or is it art?

Anne: Sorry, I'm running through every play I can think of, and I can't come up with one drama where that's a device. Current or past.

Baal: Pardon me, but you're a goat judge, not an English professor.

Anne: So true.

Baal: I've made a tidy living since the 1940s playing Jamie in "Long Day's Journey into Night." That's a Eugene O'Neill play, for you goat judges who don't know great theatre.

Anne: Wait. Wait! I saw that! Wow, it's been awhile, but I saw Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst on Broadway in that. Back when I made good money judging goats. Were you in that production?

Baal: Who, me? On Broadway? Oh, I hope I get there some day! When you're immortal, it's nice to have ambitions. Otherwise the time passes so slowly.

Anne: So, Baal, where do you perform "Long Day's Journey into Night?"

Baal: Summer stock, mostly.

Anne: Summer stock? You're kidding me. Summer stock? Isn't that for dreck like "Annie, Get Your Gun?"

Baal: Everything is more serious in Massachusetts.

Anne: Oh, you work in Massachusetts. Say no more. So, Jamie is your defining role, eh?

Baal: Afraid so. If the shoe fits. I also do Happy in "Death of a Salesman." And there's the occasional stunt work for movies. You know, human beings can't pitch head-first off a cliff and live, but you see that a lot in films. Usually it's me. Did you see the first Rambo?

Anne: I think so.

Baal: I did too. What a good movie!

Anne: Okay, we'll let that one pass. So Jesus Christ is your brother?

Baal: Half brother. You really are a goat judge.

Anne: Stupid mistake.

Baal: I'll say. Especially since Mama was just in here last week.

Anne: Stop me if I get too personal, okay? As I said, one of the side effects of divorce is that the children rarely get to see one of the parents. Are you ever invited to family events in ... heaven?

Baal: Nope. Black sheep and all that. I think the half brother would like to have me visit, but I've been playing Jamie too long. I would try to get him liquored up, make him a failure so I'd feel better about myself.

Anne: That shows deep insight.

Baal: Ought to. Spent the last of the Golden Calf cash on psychoanalysis with Freud.

Anne: So you never see Big Daddy, eh?

Baal: I'm okay with it. I've got steady work. I can even send Mama a little dough now and then, help her with the electric bill. My brothers do even better.

Anne: Oh, I forgot you have brothers! How is it that they do better than you?

Baal: They hooked up with humans and got themselves a family tree. So, even though they're 6,004 years old, they still get invited at Thanksgiving.

Anne: What do they do to pay the bills the other 364 days of the year?

Baal: It varies. They run seasonal Halloween costume stores, they work as stewards on cruise ships, they harvest oranges in Florida. I have one brother who's never worked out his anger at being ousted. He raises snakes for the pet market. Keeps a few cobras and rattlers for his own amusement. I beg him to get help, but he says, hey. He's immortal. So if they bite him, big deal. Who am I to judge? The half brother says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Anne: You're exactly the kind of god brotherhood we like to hear from at "The Gods Are Bored." One can only imagine the comedown of being a deity one day and a fruit-picker the next.

Baal: It's not all fun and games being a deity. I had to ride that damned golden calf into battles. Trust me. It was a pleasure to melt that thing down and get enough largesse for a first-class education.

Anne: You're lucky you went to school in Ancient Greece. If you tried to stretch that golden calf today, it might pay for a year or two of community college. Forget the psychiatry.

Baal: All in all I can't complain. People read the Bible, they figure I'm dead and gone. So I never get recognized in public, even when I do Jamie fifteen nights in a row in Salem.

Anne: Here's your chance to make a pitch to regain a praise and worship team, Baal.

Baal: Oh, hell no! Even from Massachusetts I can see how it's tearing my half-brother apart! Pastors calling for assassinations and natural disasters, soldiers seeking revenge, his so-called followers grubbing in the cash by the fistful. Even church suppers tick him off. Wrong use of holy buildings, you know? So I'm just as happy (pardon the pun) playing Bad Brother in serious dramas, and occasionally pitching head-first off a cliff.

Anne: Most of us ordinary Americans can understand that, Baal. We're all facing diminished expectations as the cash flows into the hands of the wealthiest, while the rest of us cringe for our jobs. Or lose them.

Baal: I'm glad I've got a skill. And thanks for your time. I've got curtain in an hour, and it takes a long time to make myself look like a worthless, drunken, womanizing, jobless twentieth-century American.

Anne: I've got you there. Except for the womanizing, I could be ready for that curtain in about five minutes.

BEST WISHES FROM THE BORED GODS! If you haven't seen or read "Long Day's Journey into Night," you're missing a classic.


Intelligent Designer Revealed!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We thought this title was kickier than "Jesus Is Embarrassed by His Followers."

The bored gods assure us that we need not worry that the Christian Heaven, and only the Christian Heaven, looks like West Virginia. In fact, I have it directly from Tiki of the Marquessa Islands (wherever they are) that even his heaven looks like West Virginia! One hundred bad songs by John Denver can never blunt the beauty of West Virginia. Case closed.

Today's Topic: God, Out of the Closet!

Some of you might have been following the court case in Dover, PA, where religious school board members were trying to have a caveat about "Intelligent Design" read before biology teachers began any unit on evolution. This innocuous little statement was supposed to encourage students to go looking for a book called Of Pandas and People that offers "scientific evidence" that the universe was created by an Intelligent Designer.

Ever looked at these books, gentle reader? Most of them just criticize Darwin's theory, carping on the defects thereof and completely overlooking the many cases of natural selection at work on our Intelligently Designed planet (bird flu being Exhibit #1 for the Defense).

But the big push lately has been to take the God part out of Intelligent Design and just say, "Hey, there was an Intelligent Designer. Whether or not it was God we can't say."

Because to give God the credit would be religion. Right? Right? Right?

Last week the good citizens of Dover mounted a School Board election. Nine out of ten members of the Board were deep-sixed in favor of new candidates. The winning candidates to a man and woman expressed the view that religion should not be taught in science class.

Encouraged, a female wolf spider took up residence on Of Pandas and People and laid a few eggs in its spine. The only kids taught with that daft tome are Rick Santorum's brood, and they're home-schooled. (In Virginia, not Pennsylvania).

Enter Pat Robertson, Grand Poobah of the "Jesus Is Embarrassed" Movement in America. Robertson denounced the citizens of Dover, warning that if a terrible disaster befell their city, they'd better not pray to God about it.

Um, excuse me, Mr. Robertson?

Is the "God" to which you refer the Intelligent Designer that all those Discovery Institute scholars insist isn't necessarily the Intelligent Designer?

Okay, did He ... or didn't He?

If God is NOT the Intelligent Designer of this marvelous universe, then why would the citizens of Dover need to stock quantities of dried beans, antibiotics, spring water, and sand bags? If the Intelligent Designer isn't God, why are the citizens of Dover suddenly "un-Godly?"


But if the Intelligent Designer is God, that's religion. Not science. Religion operates on faith, and you don't need Einsteins out there trying to back up your faith with empirical evidence. In fact, it's bad form. Insulting to your deity, if you get my meaning.

I think the good Pastor Robertson "outed" God as the Intelligent Designer of the universe. And not a moment too soon, because don't think for a minute that students in Shanghai are reading Of Pandas and People in science class. Even though pandas are Chinese!

Geez. Another entry on Intelligent Design. Anne is losing her originality.

Stay tuned, Dover. Tomorrow we look at what God did on Day Eight in his Intelligently Designed universe! We have a special guest arriving who will talk about 1500 years of psychotherapy and how he has learned to live with an indifferent dad and a vastly superior younger brother.

Join us, won't you?


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Seriously. Thunderbirds.

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," officially sanctioned site of Partership for Polytheism, Inc. This site was born when its author heard a speech by an atheist who said, "Think how silly it sounds to say, 'In Zeus We Trust.'"

Well, yeah. Zeus got pink-slipped. So did Ishtar. They have a very difficult time getting health insurance. But that's no reason not to be reverent toward them. The folks who built Babylon and the Parthenon weren't just merry mythmakers.

Every now and then Anne has to go "take the waters" at Berkeley Springs, a very spiritual little town in West Virginia. So the gods will be bored until next Monday.

We're sure glad Sedna got in under the wire.

Time to go see those awesome Thunderbirds. Majesty in flight.

Peace to all,


Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!"

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...


Yes, fans! Thanks to your bold petitions to the bored goddess SEDNA, the measure for drilling for black gold in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been STRIPPED from its hiding place in the congressional budget bill and DEEP SIXED OUT THE TEXAS WAZOO!

Accepting this reprieve on behalf of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Sedna simply wiped away a tear and said, "You love me! You really love me!"

In gratitude for all your prayers and attention, the bored goddess Sedna invites you to join her in a 90-day period of feasting on pecan pie, onion rings, Swiss chocolates, and -- for the Wolverine fans -- CONEYS!

(I'll bet you thought she'd offer beef jerky and whale blubber. Not on this occasion!)

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" will keep you informed if any stinkin' politician tries some slick move, like shoving that bad idea back into a bill that otherwise protects homeless kittens and mandates maximum crab catches in the Chesapeake Bay.

But for now, let's celebrate! Gee! Haw! Where's my coney?



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Asherah Wednesday

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson. That's my real name. And don't forget the "e" on the end. Sign of class.

Today we have a real treat! A visit from a bored goddess!

Now, everybody. Get out your Bibles ...

Uhhhh. Don't have one? Weren't you ever in third grade?

Okay, then. Share with the person next to you.

Actually, we don't need the Bibles, except as evidence for the defense. So you can put that dusty thing back on the shelf, and try not to disturb the spider sleeping on it.

Today's guest is the goddess Asherah, known in some cultures as Astarte, and by dozens of other names too. She's an ancient goddess of the Middle East. Let's get the ball rolling!

Anne: Asherah, are you at all related to Queen Brighid the Bright?

Asherah: No, but I see her sometimes at the hairdresser.

Anne: I'm hardly believing these notes my producer gave me for this interview. It says here you were married to Yahweh? Wow, Asherah, that's a bold assertion!

Asherah: Archaeologists have found documents from extremely ancient Israel that leave no doubt as to our former marital status. One tablet clearly says "Yahweh and His Asherah." We had sons, too!

Anne: I am flabbergasted. No one told me about that in Methodist Sunday School.

Asherah: Well, you know, once a god gets the Immaculate Conception thing ironed out, why keep a spouse around? Especially one who was as popular as I was.

Anne: You were popular in ancient Israel?

Asherah: You think that picture of me you loaded into this entry was done by Picasso? I was huge. Especially among the ordinary folk. But I also had temples and priests and the whole works. It was a rare ancient Israelite woman who didn't have a small altar to me right in her home.

Anne: And this was fine with Yahweh.

Asherah: Yes, at first.

Anne: What happened? I mean, I don't want to pry if it's personal...

Asherah: There was nothing personal about it! Politics, pure and simple, ruined my marriage.

Anne: That's novel. Never heard that one before. (Just kidding.)

Asherah: A king named Amon got snuffed in a coup d'etat. But the folk didn't like it, so the palace insiders put Amon's son on the throne. His name was Josiah. He was only eight when he got the crown. And things went along as usual for awhile. But then Josiah grew up, he got cocky. A gifted writer named Hilkiah caught his ear. Then Hilkiah invited King Josiah to a scruffy little temple for Yahweh. My time was up.

Anne: I don't get it.

Asherah: In that temple, Hilkiah showed Josiah the long-neglected, spiderweb-covered, completely overlooked Ark of the Covenant. It had been sitting ignored for so long that the priests thought it was a box of socket wrenches.

Anne: Wait a minute. The Ark of the Covenant, neglected and overlooked? How could that be? It was the most important item in the Yahweh lexicon! And it was just sitting there like a piece of Mom's ugly furniture?

Asherah: Can I speak frankly?

Anne: We here at "The Gods Are Bored" offer you and yours a forum for just this sort of thing.

Asherah: All right, then. Here's the scoop. Hilkiah wanted the inside track, the position with bennies and a seat at the head table during banquets. He "discovered" the Ark of the Covenant and conveniently found that all the sacred Torahs inside were written in his handwriting.

Anne: Are you suggesting that Hilkiah wrote the entire history of the Hebrew people off the top of his head? All that stuff about Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, and the begats?

Asherah: He was a veritable Leo Tolstoy. Yes.

Anne: And he had a political agenda.

Asherah: Yep. Deep-six the polytheism in favor of his deity, Yahweh. The rest of the story is set down in the Bible. Josiah ordered all the temples to me and Baal, and all the other gods, torn down. He ordered the priests in those temples to be burnt alive on their altars. And of course he forbade all worship of me in private homes (although it continued for awhile). Call it what you want. I got divorced. Tossed out.

Anne: At least there wasn't another woman involved.

Asherah: True. But in those times Yahweh wasn't as popular as he is now. Not by a country mile. So the terms of my settlement weren't very generous. I've had to work my keister off, cleaning Turnpike bathrooms and telemarketing and doing night shift at Wendy's. It's been tough.

Anne: I am so sorry to hear that, Asherah. You know, a great many American women share your burden. They ought to erect shrines to you in their homes.

Asherah: That would help my morale, I must admit! And you know, there's a new book out about me. Maybe it'll get picked up by Lifetime and made into a t.v. movie!

Anne: Don't hold your breath on that one. But I could see Charlize Theron playing you. Can't imagine who'd do Yahweh.

Asherah: Why, Mel Gibson, of course!

Anne: That would work. So, Asherah, as a bored goddess, you're allowed to make a bald pitch for support on this site.

Asherah: I just want to stop being seen as some second-class, harlot, evil wicked witch. It hurts my feelings. I was respectable, and I resent the revisionist history.

Anne: As well you might. I'll ask Queen Brighid the Bright to put you on her "A" list for parties.

Asherah: Oh, would you do that? She does have lively ones!

Anne: Goddess Asherah, thank you for being our guest today on "The Gods Are Bored." I wish you the best of luck regaining a praise and worship team!

Asherah: Thank you. Are you going to finish that Pop Tart?

Anne: Help yourself. There's a whole box downstairs. Take as many as you like!

Sources for Information on Asherah:

God. The Holy Bible, 2 Kings 21-23. Israel, Middle East: 1032 B.C.

Hadley, Judith M. The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah: Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Walker, Barbara C. The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1983.



Family Reunion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Ah, the abilities of humankind! Isn't this a beautiful piece of handiwork? Thank you, University of Michigan Football Web site!

Constructed in 1927, the University of Michigan football stadium is the second largest in America. It seats 102,501. (The one is reserved for the ghost of a coach from a past era.) "Standing Room Only" capacity is 106,000.

On certain Saturdays in autumn, this stadium ranks among the 200 largest cities in America.

Okay, okay, Anne! We know you love Michigan football! Get to the point.

I'm a goat judge, not a mathematician, so feel free to correct me if these calculations are bogus.

1. Given: Human beings produce a new generation every twenty years.

2. Given: The U of M stadium holds 102,500 people. (Sans ghost.)

3. Proposal: You, reader, sit down in Section 1, seat 1. Next to you sits your mother. Next to her sits her mother. Next to your grandmother sits her mother. Each successive direct generation, going back in time.

In ten seats, you will already be back to 1800. In twenty seats, your maternal ancestress will talk like the St. James Bible. In forty seats, assuming your ancetress was also English, her language will be incomprehensible. Remember, we're already back to 1400, almost a century before Columbus.

A mere 100 seats away from you, your direct ancestress will have been alive at the time of Jesus Christ. And, hey. She was! None of us spring from the ground like golems.

In the next section, you'll have relatives dealing with Wooly Mammoths and the Ice Age.

Hold the Presses! Two quick questions here:

Q: Why are you using all women here, Anne?
A: Can you imagine 102,500 men in a football arena? Even if they're blood kin, they're bound to start fighting. Especially if Michigan plays poorly and the Neanderthal Man next to them is an Ohio State fan.

Q: Isn't it true that God created the world in six days, just 6,000 years ago?
A: Hey. That doesn't even produce enough ancestresses to staff the school band! And one can hardly imagine Eve in the last seat, struggling with the bass drum.

So, for the purpose of this little excursion through the University of Michigan stadium, we are ignoring the fact that an Intelligent Designer spent six days creating this planet, 6,000 years ago. We are also depending on women to fill the seats, because most of them will be damned glad to see Grandma. (Anne included!)

Let's take a walk. Go get a beer and a coney (for you non-Michiganders, that's a hot dog) at the far end of the stadium.

Whoa. We are passing a lot of dark-skinned people here! Practically the whole place! Sorry, Idaho, but Africa was the cradle of Homo sapiens, and it's hot and sunny there. You might be blonde now, but that ancestress over there, the one who had an astonishing thirteen hardy children by six different men in the days before the species knew how to make fire, she is black.

Hey, honored ancestress! Want a coney? With chili and cheese?

Now we're strolling to the opposite goal post. Anne thinks her math is sound.

Direct ancestresses going back 2 million, fifty thousand years.

That's not counting standing room. Add another 4,000 standing, and some of them might not be standing quite as upright. And not because of that Stroh's beer. We're deep into Australopithecus territory, or at least back to the dawn of the Homo genus. We've certainly left sapiens behind.

Wouldn't you love to meet that grandma sitting exactly opposite you on the far side of the stadium? And all the ones in between? Which ones started this whole praise and worship thing? Or does religion flow over into the deeply ancient ones, the ones still out in the parking lot tail-gating because they didn't have tickets?

Think about this for awhile and it boggles the mind. How many bored gods are represented? Once again, instinct says the vast majority are female. Remember, if you only go back 6,000 years to the days of Yahweh, that's 300 of the total. In a stadium that seats 102,501. (The ghost is back.)

Now Anne's gentle readers are wondering if she's been spending less time with Thunderbirds and more time with that sect in Arizona that got government approval to use ayahuasca in their religious rites.

Anne's not nuts. She's just curious. About some really weird things.

Time to go feed the goats.