Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Infallible Logic from Anne

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Don't expect any New Year's greetings here. The New Year began November 1 in our preferred pantheon. And the weather was really nice then.

Follow my logic:

1. People like Saddam, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot deserve to die for torturing great groups of people to death.

2. The victims of the above dictators suffered horribly and then died. Human beings with empathy find this appalling.

If the above two statements are true, then:

3. The God of the Torah/Bible/Koran should be promptly tried and hanged. Somehow this deity has discovered a method of torture for eternity, eliminating even the possibility of a peaceful death. And this deity is inflicting said perpetual torture on masses of good people in numbers that so dwarf Mao's achievements as to make Mao look like a wee little krill in the wide Sargasso Sea.

Judged by human standards, God Almighty is a brutal, despotic dictator. Get the rope, Chauncey.

I've been told to my face that when I arrive at the Pearly Gates, my dad will be standing there crying because he got into heaven and I won't. But I've got news for you, folks. My dad once pulled over in his car to break up a violent domestic dispute between two complete strangers. Ain't no way he'd sit by and let God Almighty do an eternal Stalin on me. Ain't no way I'd take up a harp and a plate of casserole and sit in heaven while my kids were being tortured forever, either.

Why don't we put a "Help Wanted" Ad in USA Today and see if we can find ourselves a sane bored goddess to set all this right? I'll bet She's out there right now, whispering in a few ears. Hey. I'll listen.



Friday, December 29, 2006

Is It Just Me, or Are You Afraid to Get Sick Too?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dispensing essential wisdom for free since 2005! Before that it cost you a stick of gum, so you're ahead of the game.

Some people like to cook. Some consider it a chore. I fall into the latter category. Therefore I am rarely in my kitchen during the half hour of national nightly news on the telly.

This week I've heard the telly news several times while dicing and slicing. And it wasn't the sorrowful passing of Gerald Ford that made me sit up and take notice. It was the commercials.

Do you watch the nightly news? Have you seen and heard all the pharmaceutical commercials? These aren't happy jingles for Speedy Alka-Selzer. These are ads for serious prescription medications.

So, I'm idly decimating an onion, and I hear the following ad, or something like it:

"Is that persistent anxiety getting you down? Interfering in your life? Putting a wall between you and your loved ones? We can help! Prescription OxyContin will have you feeling completely at ease with yourself and others in just two or three doses! With continued use, you'll find such an improvement in your life you'll hardly know yourself."

(Personal testimonial from an actress) "I had trouble just getting into the elevator at work. Now I'm the life of the party! OxyContin has given me my life back. I'll never be without it again!"

Now here's the part that gets my attention:

"OxyContin is a prescription medication for use only as directed.
Side effects can include the following: cessation of breathing, cardiac arrest, constipation, vomiting, bleeding from the eyes, lack of motor control, insomnia, drowsiness, lack of appetite.
Discontinue use of OxyContin immediately if you stop breathing, as this can lead to serious medical conditions, not limited to brain damage.
Prolonged use of OxyContin can be habit forming. Consult your doctor before discontinuing use of OxyContin, as you may experience violent withdrawal symptoms too numerous to mention in this ad."

So, for the love of fruit flies, who's going to rush to the doctor and beg for OxyContin? (Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "rush.") And that's just an example. I'm pretty sure I heard a commercial for a prescription arthritis drug that can cause bleeding ulcers and stroke.

You've gotta be in pretty serious pain to prefer stroke to your sore hip.

Of course the million dollar question is: "How much of the price of the medication goes into these moronic advertisements?" And the answer is: plenty.

I guess this is what happens when the real medicine-makers get booted from the airwaves. Jack Daniels and Bacardi spring to mind. But I guess they'd have to list their side effects too, and that would make any barfly think twice.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Pox Calypso

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," bringing you the very best and brightest gods and goddesses from around the world! Ask yourself how you would feel if folks used to throw festivals and slaughter the fatted calf for you, and now you're selling rip-off Dior handbags from a kiosk on a side street in Philly.

Remember, gods and goddesses are immortal. If they get downsized by zealous missionaries from another faith, they've still gotta earn a living.

It's always a pleasure to welcome a bored god to our site. That's why we're here! And it's a bonus if that god or goddess has a name that's easy to spell. Today we have just such a one here at our side. Please give a great big "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Chac, sacred god of the ancient Mayan people!

Anne: First off, Chac, thanks for the easy name. I thought all the Mesoamerican deities had hard-to-spell monikers.

Chac: Ah, that's the Aztecs and Incas. We Mayans had an extensive alphabet, and our scribes didn't want to get writer's cramp.

Anne: I suppose you're probably here because you want to comment on Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto.

Chac: Absolutely correct. Have you seen it?

Anne: No, afraid not. I'm not into gore. The last Mel movie I saw was Braveheart, and to be frank I laughed through it. English soldiers weren't the only thing butchered in that flick. History took a shellacking as well. Is Apocalypto any more accurate?

Chac: Take a nut case with an agenda and a big budget, set him loose in the jungle, and you can just imagine what you get for your $8.50.

Anne: Yeah, I was afraid of that. So it's about as accurate a portrayal of the Mayan culture as Bonanza is an accurate portrayal of the Old West. I mean, you've got three guys living on a ranch, and never once do they get laid. You'd think just once Little Joe would say, "I'm so horny, I've got such a hard-on..."

Chac: Errr. Anne. I think you're quoting from a pretty authentic movie called Tin Men.

Anne: Why, so I was at that! Back to topic. Chac, I understand that despite the dissolution of your empire in pre-Colombian times, followed by centuries of smallpox, alcohol, genocide by various governments, and the inexorable missionaries, you still have a small praise and worship team.

Chac: It's just big enough that I can get by. And for that I'm very grateful. You should hear the tales poor old Baal tells!

Anne: And your verdict on Apocalypto?

Chac: Inaccurate in all but the smallest details. Insulting. Especially coming from a person whose praise and worship team has done its share of torturing, maiming, mass executions, and psychological damage.

Anne: Yes. Well. One would like to see Mr. Gibson tackle a bloody topic like the suppression of the Cathars or the Knights Templar by the Catholic Church. If he wants to wade knee-deep through blood he need look no further than Jacques de Molay.

Chac: Thank you for making that point. My sentiments exactly.

Anne: How did you like the part where the good Catholic missionaries came riding in to save the day ... like, 400 years early or something?

Chac: I tossed my ayahuasca.

Anne: I daresay.

Chac: Every bored god and goddess is wondering when Mel Gibson is going to descend on their praise and worship teams and make nasty movies about them. What a hypocrite! A certified wackadoo going 140 mph down Loony Lane without a map!

Anne: Chac, I think I like you exceedingly. Let me brew you a cup of ayahuasca. Can you stay for supper?

Chac: Sorry. This climate doesn't agree with me. My feet are cold.

Anne: Then by all means wing it back to the Yucatan. Drop by any time!

So there you have it. Straight from a bored god's mouth. But in case that isn't enough for you, here's the opinion of an expert.



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Poetry from the Monkey Man

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," wild and weird, wonderful and wacky since 2005! Please have some holiday cookies before they get stale!

Today we are in receipt of a holiday card from the Monkey Man. My legions of regular readers will remember him. To you newcomers, well ... it's a long story.

Anyway, the Monkey Man is a poet. He lives in Camden, New Jersey. And here's the poem he hand-wrote into my card:

beside the lawn full
of lights and Jesus' birth,
the Happy Buddha Delivery Van.

I'm sending him a haiku in return. The Monkey Man is keen on haiku because of Nick Vergilio, who also lived in Camden.

Anyway, here's my feeble effort:

two dogs yelp at me
while I am cutting holly.
Rocky, please come home.

As I said, it's a long story.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa Claus Meets the Establishment Clause

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dedicated to the self-evident truth that all human beings, past, present, and future, should be free to worship the way they choose. What makes one praise and worship team think they've got an exclusive ticket to Six Flags Great Adventure Heaven Park?

In honor of this holiday that certain people think should be theirs and theirs alone, we march out some bored gods and goddesses to wish you and yours a happy Establishment Clause!

Constitution of the United States of America, Bill of Rights

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Happy Holidays from "The Gods Are Bored!" Blessed be you, your family, and your freedom.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Alice Doesn't Buy Here Anymore

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" At 7:22 p.m. on December 21, the sun officially crossed the equator. So sorry to all my fabulous readers Down Under, but the bored gods of the Northern Hemisphere are just tugging at that big star that warms our world! Bless them for doing it.

When does $68 million seem like chump change?

I'll tell you: It's when you've got $18 billion or so, earned dollar by stinking dollar from enslaving the world. Hello, Alice Walton. If the shoe fits, my dear, you've gotta wear it. Did the shoe in question come from Wal-Mart? Oh, I didn't think so! Only poor people shop there. Come to think of it, only poor people work there, too.

Just a few short weeks ago, the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital announced that it would sell its Philadelphia masterpiece oil painting, "The Gross Clinic," to Ms. Alice Walton for her new museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. "Jeff," as the hospital is locally known, gave the citizens of Philadelphia until December 26, 2006 to match the price. If all the Longshoremen and Carpenters and Teamsters out there -- and all the "Jeff" alumni, and all the art worshippers -- couldn't cobble together $68 mil, the painting was outta here, Adrian.

Philly has done it.

I was just driving home from a long day in the Ag shop at the Vocational Technical School, and I heard it on the radio. With pledges of all sizes, the citizens of Philadelphia (and presumably the art world) have acquired "The Gross Clinic" for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Yo, that's the big building with the "Gotta Fly Now" steps.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" say once again that we deplore a world in which a single painting costs $68 million -- a sum, one imagines, that could build maybe a dozen hospitals in Congo. But if people are going to pony up ridiculous bucks for oil slathered on canvas, it sure makes my day that THE LOSER IS......

Alice Walton.

Hey, Alice. Go have tea with the Mad Hatter and then buy some art that reflects the way you've earned your living. To whit:

Wow, a lot of pictures in this one! It feels like a holiday.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Give me that Old Time Religion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" O come, all ye stressed church ladies. Lay down those lamb costumes and kiddie choir songs. Take thee to the woods, for what building made by the hands of humans can match the splendor of Mother Nature's creation?

I've just returned from my Druid Grove celebration of Yule. We always gather on the Sunday before the date of the holy day.

What a warm and wonderful invocation of peace and light we shared! We're getting to know each other and like each other, and some of us drive quite a distance to be there. Every time we have a ritual, we get two or three new people, and two or three people who came the time before don't return. Somehow we always have enough folks to take all the roles. Today I was Holly.

The ancient bored gods have jars of jam older than Christianity. Give me that old time religion ... it was good for the Stonehenge craftsmen, and it's good enough for me!

Looking at the distant winter sun, it is possible to believe that the light will return. Mourn the loss of this old year and accept a new dawn, whatever it brings. See the blazing Yule before us -- strike the harp and join the chorus.

Fa la la! We'll talk again on Friday! Please do drop by, I baked cookies.


Friday, December 15, 2006

New Jersey and You - Perfectly Rainbow

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," broadcasting live from New Jersey, the Asphalt State. We get no respect here in Jersey. We give you Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, you give us your toxic waste.

Forget the part about the toxic waste. Because New Jersey is really the Garden State, and if you're gay, we want you!

If you live in Mississippi or Kansas, or some other dreadful Red State, and you're blissfully in love with your same-gender partner, then pack up the old kit bag and move to New Jersey! We've got brand new civil union laws that will provide your loved one with peace of mind in his or her old age.

And hey. Once you get around these mammoth property taxes, you can get yourself a really nice little bungalow, fix it up, and get along great with your broad-minded neighbors!

Gay Americans, New Jersey wants you! We know how to judge character here. Heck, it's a lot easier than judging the commuting time from Clifton to Wall Street.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In Praise of Fairy Tales

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," flying under the radar since 2005! Come gather 'round Mama Annie for a funny little anecdote.

As my legions and legions of readers already know, I have had to accept a long-range substitute teaching assignment because of the rampant corporatization of the goat-judging business. Goat judging profits are now flowing into the hands of two or three billionaires, while the rank and file starve. So what's new? That makes me a modern American.

Anyway, when I took over the ag shop on Monday evening, the first thing I did was rip down all the autumn decorations that had probably been there since the first day of school. Tuesday morning I brought in the following:

1. A silk holly wreath.
2. A metal wreath that said "Merry Christmas" with angels on it.
3. Pictures of my kids and my dad (Duh).
4. A Brian Froud card with the Faerie Godmother depicted in stunning purple tones.

I was quickly intercepted in the school foyer and told that some of my decorations were "politically incorrect."

To whit: The "Merry Christmas" wreath!

The Faerie Godmother flew right into the shop and is now beaming at me from my temporary desk.

Needless to say I don't try to spread my religion in school. I'm a firm believer in the Establishment Clause. But my goddess gets to sit there because, hey. She's a fairy. And everyone loves fairies!

I'll bet this has been happening for two thousand years.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

They're Baaaaack! Praise the Bird!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your drive-thru dive with gods for you! Go ahead. Supersize 'em.

We've had a tense few weeks here in Wenonah, New Jersey, waiting to see if the Sacred Thunderbirds would indeed return to their winter roosting sites in the town limits.

Tonight it's confirmed. Both black and turkey vultures are flocking to Wenonah, finding the big old white pines and enjoying the view from the water tower. Oh happy day! When buzzards washed my blues away!

Here's the latest shot, hot off the press:

You too can embrace the Sacred Thunderbird, Golden Purifier! Come to the second annual East Coast Vulture Festival, and experience the inner joy only buzzard worship can bring.

You will not all weep, but you will be changed.

Our operators are standing by to take your call.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Volunteers Needed

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Tis the season to be stressed to the max by overwork! Take your troubles to the bored gods. They're partly responsible for this predicament.

There's a dirty little word out there that sounds all noble and high-minded but is really just a synonym for slave.

That word is volunteer.

Everyone from popes to presidents lauds the work of volunteers. But aye, that's the rub. Volunteers work. They work their babyfat off, and for what? The State of New Jersey has given me a coffee mug, two t-shirts, and a plastic lunchbox for my volunteer work at a local museum. (Oh, yeah, I forgot the annual Certificate of Appreciation and Volunteer Brunch that I never have time to attend because it's hell and gone in Hoboken.)

In order to earn those certificates, uneaten bagels, and trinkets, I've had to deal with a "Here's Johnny" museum director who loves his volunteers one minute and treats them like chattel the next. If you say, "I just bought a wreath for the front door," he says, "Great! But you know, it has to be absolutely authentic to 1777, or, well, oh, em, well, we just can't use it, but you know it's your call." And then he'll spend 30 minutes telling you about the nice little old lady who's too old to volunteer now, but who always got every last detail absolutely perfect.
Yeah. My cat box stinks, and I'm volunteering to work for this guy.

Never is the volunteer drudgery heaped on you more than at this joyous Holiday time. Call the holiday whatever you want, you're gonna be expected to bake 12 dozen cookies, plan two parties (one of them for loud, destructive, furniture-staining kids), and --- here's the hardest part --- keep your regular damned life moving along at its regular manic clip.

I'll be the first to admit that the award for selfless slavery volunteerism goes to church ladies. Set foot in any church and say hello, and the next thing you know you're up to the neck in volunteer quicksand, making 15 lamb hats and 27 shepherd costumes while baking those 12 dozen cookies and five casseroles for the congregational dinner. Then rushing off to choir practice. But oooops! You forgot the holiday acolyte run-through for Xmas Eve! Now you're in trouble.

I'm not a church lady anymore, but I'm still loaded to the plimsol line with volunteer duties, which weigh all the heavier now that I'm out of the goat pasture and into a 10-hour-a-day paid position.

Please don't tell me I can "Just Say No." How can you Just Say No when your 12-year-old wants to be president of the local chapter of Children of the American Revolution? Even if that means planning not one, but two big parties? Parties that will be attended by D.A.R. Poobahs who know how a finger sandwich ought to look. And taste. And be displayed on a platter.

Have you ever heard of a caterer who knows what a finger sandwich is? If they do, they know how to charge top dollar for the skimpiest of nourishments.

Now let's ratchet this rant up one more notch.

Volunteering reaches its peak of need at the darkest time of the year, when every sane person is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So now you're doing your job, keeping your house, watching your kids' faces fall when you tell them you can't take them to the Macy's Christmas Display downtown because you have to buy groceries, and you're rushing off for five hours of volunteering at the museum, because hey, it's Christmas, and that's the time for a extra festive Open House! And Oh Holy Night, you didn't notice your prescription for Quaaludes has run dry!!!!!!


I know this post is meaner than my usual meanness. Because without volunteers, homeless people wouldn't have blankets and hot soup, scientists wouldn't have the money for breast cancer research, and every single community everywhere would be a bleaker, darker place. It's not pretty to conceive of a world run by Ebenezer Scrooges.

That's the trouble, though. The Scrooges are in the ascendant. They're expecting more work for less pay, and no pensions or health insurance. What does that mean to the future of volunteering?

Just this: No one will be able to retire with enough pulse, energy, and extra gas money to hand out blankets. The golden days of little old lady volunteers who got every detail right is over. This is the end, my friend.

Oh yes, there will always be legions of high schoolers trying to pad their college aps by tutoring and picking up litter. And there will always be church ladies. Yes, there will always be church ladies. Especially in churches where it's considered a sin for women to work outside the home. But overall, the level of volunteerism in America is dropping at about the same rate that the global temperature is rising. People just don't have the time.

Don't believe me? Attend a meeting at your local Masonic Lodge and find a man under the age of 65. The Masons helped found this nation and have rocked on with charity work ever since, but in 30 years they'll be gone. Gone.

The D.A.R. might last a bit longer, but it too will eventually sag into the sea. Who has time to spend four days in Washington every year, marching in formation with badges on shoulders and listening to national Treasurer's Reports? Who's available to attend that local luncheon on a Wednesday? Who wants to spend a weekend driving to the other end of the state for a convention?

Squeezed by Scrooge, new generations will volunteer no more. Don't believe me? Try picturing a Ladies' Auxilliary for the Veterans of the Iraq War. Trust me, these vets' wives will be working two jobs, and the vets will too. Until they drop dead, victims of illnesses they had no insurance to cover.

In summary:

1. If you have time to volunteer, you must have a nice pension.
2. If your volunteer assignment is worse than your job, cut bait.
3. If all your volunteer duties climax in this darkest of months, and are tied to your place of worship, think hard about your religious choices.
4. If you're that little old lady who knows how to get every last detail right, you'd better dive into the bunker. The world will be clamoring for you, and you've already proven you don't know how to say no.

Now you must excuse me. I'm late for my appointment with the speech therapist. She's going to teach me how to say "NO!"


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Puck, Grounded

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your headquarters for the harried, hurried, worried, and not-yet-buried!

By this time next week my husband may be out on strike. The owner of his plant wants to freeze the pension, thank you Ronald Reagan and Ken Lay!

But what's the rule here at "The Gods Are Bored?" Rose-colored glasses only! That way, when the sun goes super-nova, we won't even be able to tell!

Awhile back it became apparent that I'd have to give up freelance goat-judging and go into the workforce. So for the next 10 weeks I'll be a longterm substitute teacher in the Ag shop at the local Vo-Tech school. I've had four days to prepare for the profession that people earn doctorates in -- secondary education.

It's bad enough that this Ag shop is almost exclusively horticultural in emphasis. Heck, they don't even keep any cows on site! But what makes it worse is that the classroom has the worst infestation of faeries I've ever seen.

I've been "in service" with the teacher who's leaving for the last two days. I swear by all the fae that every time that teacher puts something down, it disappears. And have you seen the amount of paperwork teachers have to do? Computers only make it worse.

Before I can do anything else I'll have to tame those bad faeries. That means my own, Puck and Princess, are grounded here at home until matters come under control.

Exhibit A: Puck the Faerie

And that means I won't be able to find my slippers at night, for sure. But the grade book is more important than the slippers.

"Puck," by Seitou, reprinted only with permission of "The Gods Are Bored," please!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saved by the Buzzards

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Was it St. Paul who said, "In the midst of winter I find in myself an eternal summer?"

No? Mmmmmm. Yeah, does sound a bit like Tim Leary. Or Henry David Thoreau, maybe. I never can keep these people straight.

For those of you fearing that Annie might be brewing up some hemlock for herself, take heart! This news just in makes the hardest road walkable. Barefoot.

Drum roll please ...

Ladies and Gentlemen, with humility and religious zeal, I give you:

The East Coast Vulture Festival 2007.

Yes, you ... YOU ... can experience a night of unbridled buzzard worship, madcap mayhem, poetry, music, and great eats! Come and meet Anne, the High Priestess of Vulture Worship, and her many fellow priests and priestesses! Come dressed as your favorite carrion bird. It's okay. Really.

No matter what the world throws at me between now and March 3, 2007, I will not care. Just take me to the buzzard festival and all will be well with my soul!

Here's a shot from last year's event. The 2007 festival will be even better!

"Let the bald head set you free!" (from The Bible of Buzzard Worship, New Revised Edition with Concordance and Maps)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we light candles and curse the darkness.

It's 5:15 p.m. It's pitch dark. The nearly full moon shining in the window offers little encouragement.

I hate this time of year. Pardon my use of an expletive, but it sucks.

Call this holiday whatever you want. Christmas, fine. Yule, great. Kwanzaa, you go. Hanukkah, super duper. Solstice, rock on. JUST GET THE DAMNED THING DONE SO THE SUN COMES BACK!



Friday, December 01, 2006

The Virgin Mary and Intelligent Design

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Have you ever wondered why all those deities that got steamrolled by this One God guy didn't take up picket signs and protest? Me too.

A reminder to my legions and legions of readers: My longterm substitute teacher assignment has been moved to a start date of December 6. I may therefore have less time to create these stunning essays every day. C'est la vie du goat judge unemployee. (Fill in the accents if you know where they belong.) Oh, my cloven-hooved wonders! How I will miss you!

Today we at "The Gods Are Bored" are fresh off a glowing review of the new movie based on the Christmas story in the New Testament. Now here's one that will rake in the dough. It's rated PG. You know all those good Christians will flock (pardon the pun) to see it.

The movie review reminded me of something I'd forgotten about this sweet tale. The Virgin Mary was a tot of 14 when she was chosen by the Holy Spirit to give birth to Jesus.

I'm not quibbling with this virgin birth stuff at all. Because I've read accounts of people being abducted by aliens and impregnated with half/alien/half/human babies. So of course it could be done.

What has me baffled is how this story contradicts Intelligent Design.

Giving birth is always a risky proposition. It is especially perilous to two age groups: women almost too old to have babies and young teenagers. I'm a goat judge, not a public health official, but I've seen the newspaper stories about the complications arising from pregnancies and deliveries in the youngest age demographic.

But budding teens do have healthy babies, even hardy babies that can spend their first days surrounded by pooping stable animals. (If this wasn't true there would be no Scotch Irish - and I can say that because I am Scotch Irish.)

My qibble is this: Why did an Intelligent Designer take a chance on a 14-year-old kid when there must have been, oh please, at least a few 21-year-old virgins in the neighborhood? Wouldn't it have been safer and more humane to go with a slightly sturdier female?

I should contact the Discovery Institute and see what their scientists say about this.

Now, this second little issue I have arises from the first chapter in the Gospel According to Matthew. The writing in question begins with a long, involved genealogy of Joseph, showing how he was related to the House of Father Abraham. But then the author, Matthew, says that Mary's baby was not fathered by Joseph! So why the tedious genealogy? Jesus would not have been eligible for the Sons of the American Revolution if he was only adopted by Joseph, or not blood kin to Joseph.

So, if you ask me, someone filled out a massive S.A.R. form for no good reason.

I guess maybe it's a good thing I won't be able to write so much in the future. I give myself a headache. Imagine what I do to you!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Have a Holly Jolly FleeceTime

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We enjoy your company. If there's anything we can get for you, just let us know.

For those dozen or so of you who frequent this site, you know we're always interested in words and their meanings, and traditions and their meanings. You might say we go sleuthing for bored gods in every iddy biddy thang.

One of the annual flaps that amuses us the most is the "Christmas v. Holiday" debate. Some people actually lose sleep over whether or not stores should sell stuff under banners that say "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas."

(Except for the occasional mention of Yuletide in Nat King Cole songs or Medieval carols, "Yule" doesn't get a vote. And, come to think of it, where was King Wenceslas going on the Feast of Stephen? What the heck is the Feast of Stephen?)

Let's settle this bitter argument with a term everyone will love and embrace! It's up-to-date and snappy. Something the smart set will love.

Let's call this season FleeceTime.

I told you it was snappy. That capital letter in the middle of the word is all the rage right now.

FleeceTime. Don't you love it? Conjures pictures of happy couples all swathed in posh coats and scarves, strolling village streets, arm-in-arm. And for the Christians, the charming image of a shepherd gently wrapping the baby Mithras ... errrr ... Jesus ... in a lambskin.

Who doesn't love fleece? It's warm and cuddly, and fluffy, and it comes in pretty colors. Rainbow colors in fact. Universal appeal!

So, let's hear it for FleeceTime!

If you don't like this hip new holiday word now, why don't you wait until about January 30 and try rolling it off your tongue again? Because, mark my words, the merchants at the mall are just waiting to fleece you to the max on your credit cards, and maybe even an extension.

So, let's call this holiday what it really is: fleece time.

And let's look at what it really is: A Northern Hemisphere human rite to reclaim the sunlight that becomes so sparse by December 21.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" offer this sane and fair solution to the holiday name game at no charge. See? And you were ready to go and buy some FleeceTime at Wal-Mart!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Black Friday Itch

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," preparing for the big holiday built around a johnny-come-lately baby, using rituals and trappings of deeply ancient faiths!

Have some egg nog. Light the Yule log. Roast the prize hog!

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, I get an itch. It's not the urge to run to the mall and spend on credit. It's the uncontrollable need to start decking the halls.

I'm a goat judge, not an electrician. But buried on my wish list, somewhere between a monthly box of fine chocolates and a full body massage by Johnny Depp, there lies the urge to create a crazy Christmas house.

Exhibit A: Crazy Christmas House

You know what I'm talking about. Those over-the-top displays of gaudy greatness, plastic snowmen and manger scenes and every inch of every branch of every tree swathed in light.

We had one guy here in the borough who did a crazy Christmas house all in white lights. He had a manger scene with live actors, donkeys, and sheep (no goats, that was strange); a choir of Dickens-clad carollers; and a real live Santa Claus with a real white beard on the front porch. That house was lit up so bright it looked like daytime. People came from miles around to see it. And unlike the heaven described so vividly by my sister's pastor, you didn't need a ticket to get in. You just parked and walked up the sidewalk. Side-stepping the donkey doo.

That kind fellow went on to the Great North Pole in the Sky about 15 years ago, may he rest in neon. His crazy Christmas house passed into history. But there are others in our county, and my kids and I make a yearly trek to the best ones.

But oh! To make one! To buy all those plastic critters and run all the wires out to the dancing elves display! Oh, to watch your neighbors melt down as you disrupt the power grid and draw gawkers from two states!

I guess it's a good thing I'm a goat judge.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Never Ask a Faerie to Make Thanksgiving Dinner

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we offer multiple pantheons and sound advice for daily living.

Today's tip: Do not allow faeries to prepare your Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Of Bar Mitzvahs and Oil on Canvas

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We respect your religion -- will you respect ours? Or are you the kind of person who says, "It's my way or hell, there's no other option."? If the latter, I suspect you might stain my furniture or steal a can of my Tab cola. Or stain my furniture with my Tab cola. Oh me oh my.

Here at "The Gods Are Bored," we say "Everything is, nothing is." Our either-or is, well, all gods and goddesses exist, or none of them do. Why is one person's deity a dud, while another person's rocks on? That hardly seems sportsmanlike.
And so it is with open mind and open heart that I send my daughter The Spare to yet another Bar Mitzvah. She has many, many Jewish friends.

This particular Bar Mitzvah comes at an opportune moment.

You know you always have to give a gift to the kid. And a check in a card seems so crass to me. On any occasion. So if you get married, expect a toaster in the mail.

Earlier I wrote about the Thomas Eakins masterpiece The Gross Clinic, painted by a Philadelphia native and housed in the Philadelphia hospital it depicts since 1878. Until now, when it was bought for $68 million by Alice Walton, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune. $68 million is chump change to Ms. Walton, who is worth billions -- $11 billion, I think.

Exhibit A: "The Gross Clinic," Thomas Eakins, either oil on canvas or diamond on platinum, can't decide.

Do you see the prices set to these paintings? This is just my opinion, but I think it's obscene. Millions and millions for a Picasso or a Van Gogh. For the love of fruit flies, they're paintings! Unique, yes, but are they more valuable than schoolbooks and vaccinations, or even pet shelters? Some dude flings paint at a big canvas, and that's worth millions? Sorry. That dough could buy a lot of oatmeal.

So, as much as I wanted to stick it to Ms. Walton, the Marie Antoinette of the 21st century, I decided not to participate in Philadelphia's "Save the Gross Clinic" campaign.

Until now.

Along comes a worthy young man requiring a gift. His Bar Mitzvah card will read: "Congratulations, X, on your blessed day. A donation has been made in your name to 'Save the Gross Clinic': Fund for Eakins' Masterpiece."

Take that, Alice Walton! I fling my phlegm in your general direction!

It helps that the boy's mom is a painter. In case he really wanted a savage video game.

I'm wondering if I should take painting lessons.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Why Don't We Do It in the Tiger Cage?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we scan the blogosphere and find that the danger zone is everywhere. From right here in Chateau Johnson, where a strike looms at the spouse's plant, to worldwide -- the latest Kyoto Protocol suggestion is to set off bombs of pollution particles to cast a pall over the earth and cool it down.

Our response at "The Gods Are Bored?" Laugh until there's no tomorrow, and then say goodbye.

Okay, before we get started today, I want to urge my multitudes of readers to go to Mark of the Beast and help Anntichrist S. Coulter's friend if you can. Some of you billionaire venture capitalists can spare a couple of bucks for a young woman suffering from a brain tumor who has no insurance. (Imagine that! No health insurance! She must be one of the four in ten Americans in the same boat!)

I know you've read this far because of that sexy little title above. And yes, today's entry is about doing it.

The Beatles had a song called "Why Don't We Do It in the Road." No one will be watching. Hey, even you non-geezers have heard this one.

So, why don't we do it in the road? Because asphalt is hard. And if the road is dirt, there's gravel on it. Which partner gets his or her back shredded with gravel while doing it in the road?

I'm inspired to write this by just having read a book that I picked up at a library sale. The book is called Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots. I rarely read novels, but this one was pretty decent. And I don't think I'll spoil it too much if I tell you that two of the characters do it in a shallow draft rowboat, drifting in the snake-infested mangrove swamps of Ecuador.

I'm a goat judge, not a sport fisherman, but I've spent the odd hour here and there in a rowboat. And although I can swim like a fishy, my impulse in a rowboat is to stay as still as possible, because if you move around much you're gonna either take a bath or toss your cookies.

If you've done it in a shallow draft rowboat, please comment. Leave no small detail uncovered. I'm just really curious.

A few years ago I belonged to a historical novel chat room, and one of the contributors was a published author named Michael Jensen who had written a gay romance novel about Johnny Appleseed. It's called Frontiers. Now that was one rip-roaring read. I loved it, especially the hot stuff.

Michael came to do a reading in Philly, and I went to see him, and he plied his audience with free whiskey, which I guess emboldened me. When he had the courage to ask for criticism, I said I found very little, except for one thing. His hero does it on a clifftop.

I've spent a lot more time on clifftops than in rowboats, but again these are not locations that lend themselves to doing it. Not that you'd be dumb enough to plunge off the edge or anything. Clifftops are just doggone rocky. Sometimes you're hard-pressed (pardon the pun) just to find a comfortable place to sit, wearing layers of rugged hiking clothes.

I'm sure some daring folks have done it on clifftops and come home with flesh gouged out of their thighs. And they might think it worth the fun.

Now, a thick pine forest with years of soft needles underfoot and an army blanket or two ... emmmmmm ... Well, suffice it to say that if you're writing a novel where your characters are doing it, you might want to consider this location.

And then there's the good ol' broken-in Sealy, with perhaps a candle or two to set the mood.

If you find that boring, be my guest in the snake-infested mangroves. But don't say I didn't warn you.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where teamwork wins games! Go ahead. Ask your local Pee Wee football coach. Can one kid get the whole job done on Saturday morning?

Okay, maybe that's not the best analogy we've ever scraped up at "The Gods Are Bored." Because if the Pee Wee football coach's kid is on the team, he's gonna say, "You betcha. Watch my boy Biff."

Generally speaking, however, victory is a matter of teamwork in the Here and Now. So why not in the Great Beyond? Pursue Polytheism for a Purpose-Driven Life!

Those of you who have never attended a fundamentalist Christian church might not understand the protocols of prayer circles.

These differ from prayer chains, where one person has a tragedy and tells someone over the phone, and the phone caller relays the call to prayer out over the lines like ripples in a pond.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" heartily endorse prayer chains, feeling them to be nurturing of life and limb.

Prayer circles work a little differently. These are usually undertaken by small groups of folks who meet together socially at least once a month to study the Bible and to support one another.

Again, nothing objectionable in the principle of prayer circles, according to the official by-laws of "The Gods Are Bored."

But the sticky problem in prayer circles is this: What do you pray about if everything in your life is coming up roses? Why, the answer is simple. You pray for the sinners who have stuck their noses up at your particular brand of piety. The farther said sinner has strayed from Deuteronomy, the better. And if it's into some realm of bored gods (say just for instance, Druidism), then you've hit the jackpot. If you've got a sibling in an alternative praise and worship system, you roll snakeyes at every meeting.

I don't need proof that my sister and her cohorts at the LuvGawd Pentecostal Church pray for my redemption regularly. Proof was supplied in abundance when my dad died and we held his funeral at her church. The preacher used Dad's passing to rail against sinners. The preacher compared heaven to a theme park, and sinners to those who try to get through the turnstile without a ticket. Those who, just coincidentally, turn their back on the Bible during their lifetimes on earth.

Gee, do ya think he was talking about me?

Maybe I'm being a bit touchy. Or maybe Sis's pastor had just been praying for my pagan soul for so long he couldn't wait for an opportunity to have at me in the flesh.

It's this flesh part that I'm thinking of today.

About two weeks ago, my sister paid an unexpected visit to my house. She hadn't been here in 15 years. And when she walked up to my modest altar to Queen Brighid the Bright, which contains my magick wands, a candle, and some crystals, well. All hell broke loose.

My smoke detectors are hard-wired. That means if one goes off, they all do. And just as Sis rested her gaze on my shrine, those doggone things started squealing like they might if I'd forgotten to take the fricasee off the stove.

No smoke anywhere in the house. I checked thoroughly, I assure you, because I knew the batteries were all fresh in the detectors.

After about a minute of ear-splitting early warning, the smoke detectors stopped. They haven't peeped since, except when I deliberately lit a match under one of them to see if they were functioning properly.

This is one of those stories where you get to choose your favorite ending!

Ending #1: Sis at Prayer Circle

"She has a shrine set up to a pagan goddess of some kind, with wands and crystals! Oh, how it breaks my heart! As if those crystals could get her into heaven, without being born again!

And here's the scary thing. When I came near her devil's shrine, all the smoke detectors went off! It's like God Almighty was telling me to get away from that sin!"

Ending #2: Anne at Home

Whoa, dudes, I believe in karma and all that, but wow. It's like when Sis approached Queen Brighid the Bright, the faeries in my house just went bat-shit! They just freaked out at her very presence. They must have been channeling energy from innocent people burnt at the stake. Hence, the use of smoke detectors. They were warning me to keep my distance from this Grand Inquisitor.

Real Ending:

The smoke detector thing was way weird. I love my sister, and I would never try to change her beliefs. The last thing I'd ever think of doing is going to a Druid circle and having everyone pray that she find her way to the bored gods. But I have my beliefs too, and at the moment of the Great Smoke Detector Rebellion, I believe the bored gods were alarmed by her presence.

For you scientific rationalists out there: Yes, it's true that an insect crawling across a smoke detector can set it off by mistake. And yes, it could be purely coincidental that my sister was staring at my shrine at the time. Yes. Fine. I'm not going to try to tell you what to believe either. It's against my religion.

PS: I allowed my father's funeral to take place at the LuvGawd Pentecostal Church because the Environmental Protection statutes in the states of West Virginia and Maryland would not allow me to set Dad on a barge made of dry tinder and float him down the river as archers with flaming arrows shot at his bier. Yeah, but they can post the Ten Commandments in front of a courthouse. I say, no fair.

Image, "A Little Mischief," by Seitou, for use only with permission of "The Gods Are Bored."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Perpetual Girlhood

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you clean your upholstery and your toilet with the same product? Of course not! Then why worship just one god? Don't be deity insecure. (see post below) Branch out to those specialized pantheons!

I'm inspired today by an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer. They don't archive their editorials, so here it is in a nutshell:

The author, a mid-life guy, laments his inability to run, jump, shoot, and score the way he used to. In a strictly sporting sense. He sees his arthritic knees as a harbinger of the end of all boyhood, truly as the bones-scraping-bones that will lurch him to Geezer City.

Poor fella! I mean that seriously. If your entire concept of boyhood revolves around your ability to compete in a sporting event, you're doing 110 on Mid-Life Crisis Boulevard.


Aren't these dollies cute? They're called Liddle Kiddles. When I was a girl of seven or eight, these charmers came on the market at affordable prices. I had a bevvy of them and played with them until they became, well, played-with. Today collectors will shell out $500 or more for the poor unfortunate Kiddles who were never removed from their boxes and played with.


This Kiddle is Freezy. I have a Freezy of my own, but she sure doesn't look like this.

Last Christmas I decided to give my Freezy doll a Mid-Life Crisis. Heck, Freezy's almost as old as I am, which means she's at mid-life or maybe even a little past the peak.

The out-of-pocket cost of Freezy's crisis was about ten bucks. I bought a teeny tiny string of lights that really light up, tangled her hopelessly in them, drew circles under her eyes, and mis-matched her snow boots. I already had a little Christmas tree to lean her against. It helped that her hair was already standing on end from too many childhood experiments in doll grooming.

Originally, Liddle Kiddles always came in packages with little comic books telling of their adventures. So I wrote a new one for Freezy's changed life circumstances. It was aptly titled: Pity Poor Freezy.

Once a happy-go-lucky sledding cutie, Freezy had become a harried church lady, trying fruitlessly to untangle her outside Christmas lights while baking cookies for the Sunday School pageant and spearheading a fundraiser for her teenager's youth group trip to Sri Lanka. Freezy didn't have time to search for the mate to her boot, so she shoved her foot into her teenager's undersized footwear. And Mr. Freezy can't come to her aid because he's making a Finance Committee report at the church's Administrative Council meeting.

Freezy's standing knee-deep in the snow (I used cotton) recalling her brief experimentation with quaaludes in college. We leave her there in that predicament.

My daughters, The Heir and The Spare, helped me to create Mid-Life-Krisis Freezy. We made a special ceremony of illuminating her tangled rope of lights. Fully lit, with that hair standing on end, she looked like she was being electrocuted. I hope I'm not bragging when I say it was an evocative tableau.

So yes. I, Anne Johnson, still play with dolls at the age of ##. I am determined never to leave childhood behind, so thank goodness mine didn't revolve around some stinking soccer team.

Forever young in mind and heart I remain,

Yours truly,


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Big Brother's Appetite

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," demon-free since ... well ... gosh, since forever. Occasionally we get visits from Satan, but he's not a demon. He's an angel. As for real demons, we believe in them. But they stain the furniture with reckless abandon, so they're not welcome here.

Are you food insecure?

According to an analysis by the United States government, 35 million Americans suffered from "food insecurity" in 2005. (I'm a goat judge, not a mathematician, but I think that's roughly one in ten. Right? Right? Right?)

Okay, so one in ten Americans is insecure about food. What does that mean?

Food insecure. Kind of brings to mind someone with a deadly shellfish allergy perusing the offerings at a Chinese buffet, trying to pick out the entrees that contain shrimp.

Food insecure. Kind of brings to mind someone who's barfed from eating spoiled Spam, someone who will no longer trust that peerless potted meat product.

Food insecure. Definitely brings to mind the many Nicole Ritchies out there, trying to become beautiful by swathing their skeletons in as little flesh as possible. Yes. Food insecure definitely sounds like an eating disorder. But golly. As rampant as anorexia is, can one in ten Americans actually have that?

Turns out none of the above fit the precise meaning of food insecure.

We have this just in from the Ministry of Truth that Big Brother wants us to call hungry people ... food insecure. You see, they're insecure because they don't know where their next meal is going to come from.

Yeah, and layoffs are no longer layoffs, they're revised head counts. Big Brother says the word "layoff" implies you may someday return to your job, whereas "revised head count" means that your head is no longer needed for counting. Nor will it ever be again.

So, if you're one of the 35 million Americans who worries about being able to buy or beg enough food for yourself or your family, you're not hungry, or poor, or miserable. You're insecure. You don't need food, you need an antidepressant!

One in ten people in America doesn't have enough to eat. Leave it to Big Brother to make that sound like a gentle little psychiatric imbalance.

Someone's knocking on my door. I think it's time to go to the dungeon where the rats gnaw at my face until I love Big Brother more than anyone.

Thanks to Heroic Hecate for having a proper link for this information.

Insecure, for damn sure

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What's In a Name?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where there are more gods and goddesses than you can shake a stick at! But please don't shake a stick at a deity. That isn't very nice.

My name is Anne Johnson.

Thanks to a link, I was able to find out how many Anne Johnsons there are in America.

the link is here.

Drum roll please.....

There are 341,964 people in America named "Anne Johnson."

Beat that, sucker!

If your name is Lisa Jones, please don't play.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jury Duty

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we perform our civic duty with a minimum of outer grumbling and a maximum of inner anxiety.

Today we had to report to Camden, New Jersey for jury duty.

For those of you who don't keep up with statistics, Camden lost its ranking as Murder Capital of America, which it held in 2004 and 2005. This year it has slipped all the way to #5 on the list.

You would never know it to read these nasty, aggressive posts, but we at "The Gods Are Bored" are real shrinking violets when it comes to bodily harm. It has always been thus at "The Gods Are Bored," ever since the day we vomited at a Health Fair at the sight of a mock accident.

Speaking of mock accidents, there also existed the distinct possibility of finding ourselves in a civil suit involving a dreadful collision of multiple automobiles. If you've ever tried to drive through New Jersey, you know exactly what we're talking about.

Worrying about the possibilities of having to stare at graphic photos took all the fun out of sitting in a windowless room for 3 hours with 245 other citizens. When the jury coordinator began barking numbers into the microphone, we almost fainted.

Carefully we mentally rehearsed all the reasons we couldn't sit on a jury, starting with refusal to say "So help me God" and ending with the embarrassing detail that we are self-employed and eking out a precarious day-to-day living.

Then we at "The Gods Are Bored" extracted our mineral wand from our purse, laid it on our heart, and just told it to banish the anxiety. Because, after all, a good Druid knows that justice is paramount and one should never shirk the responsibility of trying to see it done.

At 11:30 a.m. the jury coordinator came in and said we could go home. Out of 245 people they called 60 and sat 12. We learned this statistic while walking to the rapid transit with a lady who was called upstairs but never got interviewed.

It's just as well they didn't call me. We here at "The Gods Are Bored" have some strange opinions where justice is concerned. Like, few poor people get it.

Anyway, we have completed our civic duty, finding the System as guilty as an egg-sucking dog.


Sunday, November 12, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Just like the masses of humanity stuck at or below the poverty level, there are numerous gods and goddesses out there who can't keep themselves in libations and fatted calves. Does the presiding Celestial CEO give a rat's ass about that? Heck no. He wants it all for himself. No amount of praise and worship is enough. Greedy and jealous, he. What wonderful traits for a deity!

On Saturday the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Alice Walton, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, has used part of her $18 billion net worth to buy a painting. Here it is:

EXHIBIT A: "The Gross Clinic," by Thomas Eakins

This painting was created in Philadelphia, by a Philadelphian. It has hung in the Philadelphia hospital depicted in the picture since 1875. The hospital put it up for sale because the hospital wants to expand. No one in Philadelphia was notified of the sale until it was completed.

Ms. Walton wants the painting for her new museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Maybe my legions of readers can help me here. How can this woman look in the mirror? How can she lie down at night and sleep? She has just spent nearly $68 million for a painting but can't offer affordable health care to her workers.

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this the kind of thing that starts revolutions? One woman buys a painting. Thousands of hard-working poor people are denied lunch breaks and insurance in the stores that provided this one woman with her $18 billion fortune.

To which pantheon should we turn for justice when this tyrant, Alice Walton, arrives at that great leveling moment, Death?

And how can a painting be worth $68 million?

Punch my ticket. I'm sick of this world.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we entertain you with a Tab and a smile! Sorry, no Coke. We have to watch our girlish figure.

My daughter The Heir works at a rare book store. She likes the work because she never knows what she'll find: For instance, yesterday it was The Eye in the Triangle, by (I think) Israel Regardie. Correct me if I'm wrong.

When I went to pick her up yesterday afternoon, she said, "Mom. Come look at this."

It was a big, original, magnificent oil painting of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When I told her what the painting portrayed, she'd never heard of them. Twelve years a Methodist and never perused Revelation! I'm thinking about sending her to Jesus Camp.

Actually I wasn't far behind her. I couldn't recall exactly what each Horseman represented. Guess I've spent too much time with the bored gods. So I dusted off the old Third Grade Bible, the one every good Christian kid gets, and tried to piece it together.

No luck. The Book of Revelation is murky on the subject. At least my translation is. Better make two reservations at Jesus Camp.

My daughter said that the painting just showed one theory. Some people hold the theory that these Celestial Jockeys are gonna ride out of the clouds and whoop ass.

I explained to her that this was not a theory, but a belief. It could only be a theory if it was backed by scientific evidence. For instance, if the Hubble Space Telescope found a planet being threatened by a foursome of giant Grim Reapers astride supersized equines, then the Four Horsemen would become a theory and not a belief. But until then, I don't think the bright scientists at the Discovery Institute are gonna be able to experiment with this one.

Cheeky as this may seem, we at "The Gods Are Bored" hereby offer our own Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

1. People
2. People
3. People
4. People

At the rate we're going, we won't need big dudes on steeds. We're perfectly capable of destroying our own kind if we really put our minds to it. And if we shilly-shally, the Yellowstone Caldera will speak its piece. Or we'll fry in our own CO2.

So kindly forgive me if I feel that the true Four Horsemen have come and gone, leaving behind some historic football victories and perhaps a few descendants.

Exhibit A: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

"Eyeball Vulture" by Cy to be used only with permission of "The Gods Are Bored."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dance the Day Away

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we celebrate the One True Religion -- thousands of them! From the modest celebrant with a shrine to a secret deity in the backyard to the mighty ranks of the Buddha, we salute you all! Just don't stain our furniture.

There's a fellow in this area who is known simply as The Monkey Man because he often wears a jester hat, clown pants, and totes a toy monkey with him as he cruises around on his bicycle. How my daughters and I came to know him is a long story. I won't bore you with it here.

The Monkey Man is a poet, as befits someone who resides in Camden, New Jersey, blocks from the former home of Walt Whitman. In fact, The Monkey Man knows huge blocks of Whitman by heart and does re-enactments. But his own poetry is good too. Very good, in fact.

The Monkey Man gave a reading here in the borough last Friday night. To preface one of his poems, he said the following:

"In America at the end of a long day, you might ask someone, 'What did you do today?'

"In Africa, they ask, 'What did you dance today?"

He then launched into a poem about how Americans dance through their days, and it was superb. It left a lasting impression on me.

Now, instead of waking up in the morning and thinking, "What will I do today?" I'm asking myself, "What will I dance today?" And my reward for this change in worldview is seeing the preparation of a chicken casserole as a form of ballet, and the opening of a mailbox as a gesture of grace.

What did you dance today? What will you dance tomorrow? Give praises to the Goddess Yasigi, sacred to the people of Mali -- she inspires us to dance!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back to Business as Usual

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Think of all the political upheavals the bored gods have seen. Don't believe me? Ask Baal.

Anyway, it's encouraging to see democracy at work, a correction to the hegemony of the last six years. But we at "The Gods Are Bored" take a dim view of all politicians, believing them to be in the pockets of the Few Who Control the Many.

But humbug to politics now! It's time to get back to important, yea verily essential topics.

Like silverware.

Those of you who live with faeries know that they steal things. (Puck finally gave me my telephone book back yesterday because he wanted to go with me to the polls.)

There are two items that faeries steal and don't return to you: socks and silverware.

The other day, Mr. Johnson and I looked at our dwindling supply of silverware and decided to buy some more. As luck would have it, the local Macy's had the very same pattern on sale that we'd been using until the faeries stole it all, piece by piece, starting with the teaspoons.

So my darling and I strapped ourselves in the Chrysler and drove to the mall, and sure enough there was our pattern, and on sale as promised. We bought and brought it home.

Yesterday I pulled it out of the pack. And I noticed something right away. Sure enough, it looked like the older set, exactly the same pattern. But every single piece of the new flatware was visibly larger than the old set. The salad forks are so gargantuan that I couldn't fit them into my caddy.

By all the bored gods. Now they're supersizing silverware! Fit more food on that fork! Scoop more soup with that spoon! Whose idea was this? Is it an attempt to use more steel? Not American steel. The stuff is made in China. Where they eat with sticks.

Don't think for a minute that the faeries will have trouble ridding our house of supersized silverware. They'll steal it just as fast. But even that might not be fast enough to keep us from stuffing our faces with gobs of galloping gourmet.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go to L.A.Weight Loss. I'm anticipating future problems with my eating habits.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Eve

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on election eve, 2006.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" have always evaluated candidates on their platforms, voting records, and perceived personal integrity. However, this election we urge every and all readers of this post to vote the straight Democratic ticket.

It's like choosing between Hell and Heck, but it must be done.

Case in point:

This man was one of my best friends in college. We graduated the same year. We had a barter going through senior year: He lent me textbooks, I typed his papers. So I know that he is a fine man, an intelligent man, good-hearted and perfectly capable of doing the job. I still hold a deep fondness for him.

And yet I could not bring myself to vote for this man, this kind and wonderful person. As luck would have it, I don't live in his state anyway. But this is the first time in my life that I'm judging political party over every other consideration.

But woe to you who think a Democratic sweep will change anything! The Democrats will do just as much to correct global warming as the Republicans did to abolish abortion.

In this country, it's liberty and justice for the rich. The rest of us can rot, and decrease the surplus population.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Night Lights

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's Friday night, a crisp autumn breeze blowing, the far-off sound of a band practicing their halftime ensemble ... can we be far from another spine-crushing accident on the high school football field?

Yo. Let's play.

We're the toughest team in the league. We're the team that can't be beat. And if you're better, we'll just cheat.

We're ready for you, yessirree. We're suited up, all those hairline fractures wrapped, and steroid-free for three hours.

First, a moment of prayer: "Dear God, please let us win this football game as proof of your Divine Power."


We're dynamite, we're dynamite
We're tick tick tick tick
BOOM! Dynamite.
BOOM BOOM! Dynamite.

Hold That Line! Hold That Line!
Defense. Defense.
Hold That Line!

Rush the Passer
Rush the Kicker
High on Dope and Broads and Liquor!

Beat 'em, Bust 'em
Readjust 'em
Fight Team Fight!

This pep rally sponsored by Friends of the Red Rum High School Football Team. Go, Fighting Storm Troopers!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Big Sister Is Watching

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We like to think of ourselves as the corner pub for all those gods and goddesses out there who used to have massive libations poured out to them (for free) and who now have to drink on Cheap Beer Night. Will someone please buy Osiris another round?

My sister said she's going to vote the straight Republican ticket because of abortion. One vote, one issue.

Never mind those flag-draped coffins coming back from Iraq, dangerous war games off the coast of Iran, global warming, tax breaks for the super-rich, the rape of the Constitution, a federal deficit that boggles the brain...

Oh, for Zeus's sake, I could go on all day! Suffice it to say that, as usual, the one voter at "The Gods Are Bored" will cancel out Sis's attempt to climb into other peoples' wombs.

Today's topic: The Perilous Path of Minding Other Peoples' Business

There's a fellow living here in my little town who is my age exactly but looks about 25 years older. We'll call him John, as in Baptist. He is a victim of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He can't drive a car, but he can read and write, and he's very proud of the fact that he's a taxpayer and homeowner in this borough. (He has a trustee who pays his bills for him.) He's also unkempt and unbathed and has no teeth. I don't know if he eats locusts.

Anyway. One day I was blogging in the public library. The woman sitting next to me began an earnest (and very loud) conversation with the man next to her. They were talking about John.

According to this woman, John's house is a wreck inside, and he's "just completely incapable of taking care of himself," to use her words.

The man said something should be done.

The woman complained that John's trustee doesn't care about him. "They need to sell that house and put John in a halfway home," she said. "The money from the house would pay his upkeep, and his hygiene would be seen to."

You'd never know it to read this blog, but I'm not a confrontational person. I clamped my jaw shut and kept on writing about Aphrodite or some other worthy deity. But I was so ticked off that my train of thought jumped the track, killing an unsuspecting Luna moth.

See? Some people don't just want wombs. They want to decide which citizens bathe enough and whose houses are clean enough. Meddle, meddle, meddle!

It happens that John is a friend of mine. I know he's very proud to be active in this community. He draws up elaborate plans for parks where they don't exist now and attends every single Borough Commissioners' Meeting. And those suckers are the only thing I can think of that are more boring than a Methodist sermon.

We have no halfway homes in this borough. Not one. John would have to relocate to another town. Did I mention he was born and raised here, went all the way through school here, and has never lived anywhere else?

We at "The Gods Are Bored" say, to hell with minding other peoples' business, be it abortion, how they pay their taxes, or how they live!

If they're not being hauled away by the gendarmes or staining your furniture, why do you care? For the love of ducks, leave poor John alone!

I'm writing this today because tomorrow night the same meddlesome woman is hosting a candlelight poetry reading in her Civil War-era home. The featured poet is my friend The Monkey Man.

The woman saw me on the street a few weeks ago and made sure to invite me, because I came to a few of her poetry readings before this. When I said I knew The Monkey Man, damn if she didn't start in on him!

"I've invited him to spend the night at my house," she said. (She's a divorcee. MM is single.)

"Why would you do that?" I asked.

"Oh, because he lives in Camden!" she replied. "He shouldn't be wandering the streets at night in Camden!"

(For the record, Camden lost its distinction as Murder Capital of the Nation this week. It's now ranked #5.)

Okay, getting past my sneaking suspicion that Madame la Meddler wants to seduce the Monkey Man, let's look at this one:

Yes, The Monkey Man lives in Camden. Assume for a moment that he isn't safe going out after dark. What in the Sam Hill does he do this time of year, with Eastern Standard rocking on? Is he a prisoner in his home by 5:00 p.m.?

BAMP! Wrong. I saw him at the borough Halloween parade, which was held in the inky darkness of 7:00 p.m. Presumably he went home to Camden afterwards.

Meddle, meddle, meddle.

Go on. Stick your delicate nose into your neighbor's stinky business. But if you ask "The Gods Are Bored," we say that invites bad karma into your own life. Next time you might be the Medlee. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

OOOOOPS! No Smoking Allowed!

Gosh, I need a drink. Thank goodness I'm legal.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Party of the Gods II - Halloween Edition

Happy New Year from the Bored Gods! Judging by this party, they're not as bored as all that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on Samhain 2006! Do you know where your ancestors are? Bless them all for giving you life! And no matter how hard you have it, remember that they lived through hard times too. And there will be more hard times to come, and that's why we look forward to the Summerlands!

What a long, strange trip these past two days have been! Have you got a minute? Can I make you a steaming cup of cocoa? Oh, by the way, do you know how to carve a jack-o-lantern? I have a beautiful pumpkin downstairs and no talent.


Our Druid Grove service on Sunday was uplifting and imparted such peace ... and boy, did I need it yesterday. The Nor'easter that so bedeviled Athana in Maine left us in the Mid Atlantic with a cloudless skies and thundering winds. We couldn't light candles, but the gusts were fabulous for sending off our prayers and our troubles into the coming darkness. Best of all, my daughter The Spare went with me and said she wanted to come again. We had a great mother-daughter day. All glory, love, and honor to the Ancient Ones!


Out of the blue, my super-fundie, Dobson-besotted sister phoned and said she would be in Philadelphia on Monday with her husband. Could we spend some time together? Well, of course. She's blood. Different blood type, but kin nonetheless. So I picked her up, and within minutes she was talking about people who speak in tongues, and how she urged the Holy Spirit to give her the gift, and was rewarded by praying in some strange language that sounded like Chinese, which it might have been because how would she know?

Remember, readers: We at "The Gods Are Bored" accept all religious faiths as long as no one stains the furniture. And there's no chance of that from my sister. She hadn't been inside my house in 15 years, but her judgment was that the clutter I live with would drive her crazy. Well, she should have seen it before I busted my keister to tidy it up before her arrival! So, no furniture stains from Sis or her god. But plenty of subtle hints that I should jump back on the straight and narrow before it's too late.

Here's something interesting for you Goddess gals. When Sis came near my shrine to Queen Brighid the Bright, all the smoke detectors went off in the house. The smoke detectors are hard-wired, meaning if one goes off they all do. The batteries are pretty fresh, so I immediately ran through all the floors looking for a fire. When sis moved away from the Goddess, the smoke detectors stopped beeping. They haven't given me a moment of trouble since.

I'd love to hear your comments on this. Was it the Goddess sensing danger, or was it Sis's God telling her to back off?

Anyway, I spent about 4 hours with Sis. And I could tell you more that would make you laugh, and maybe I will. But for now, suffice it to say that just when we got back to the Airport exit on I-95, she was pontificating (great word) about how creation science should be taught in school, and how she was going to vote Republican because of abortion, and how poor Christians are persecuted because they can bring home pictures of witches to color at Halloween but they can't sing "Away in the Manger" at their Christmas programs in school. And if you've ever been to Philadelphia, you know it's damn near impossible to miss the exit for the Airport. For crying out loud it has two dedicated lanes on I-95.

I missed them. Both of them. And I got lost driving home, and I've lived in Philly for 19 years.


As I said, I love my sister because you love your kin if you possibly can. But when I say I had the taste of wormwood in my mouth when I got home, that's putting it mildly.

Ah, but redemption was at hand.

Every year on the night before Halloween, our little borough has a parade. It's not much more than the high school band, followed by an unorganized mob of little tots and their parents, all dressed in costume.

It's been my tradition for the last three years to lead the parade in the high school's Fighting Wombat mascot costume. (Technically it's my daughter The Heir who is the mascot, but since the mascot never speaks, we tag-team.) So last night I got to lead the parade and hug about 100 adorable little kids.

And the Monkey Man was there. Oh thank all the bored gods! There was no one I wanted to see more than than my favorite lovable eccentric and his puppets! In 20 seconds he swept away the bad karma and re-united me with the Weird and Wonderful.


This morning my daughters The Heir and The Spare were running around in a tizzy trying to put together their Halloween costumes in time to get to school. I said. "Hey. Hold on a minute! Take all the time you need! I'll write you notes for your tardiness."

Turns out they weren't very late, but here's the jist of the notes I wrote for each of them:

Dear School:

"Halloween is the most sacred day on the Celtic calendar, and my daughters have a scheduled school day they must attend. Therefore I allowed them to be tardy. I expect this tardiness not to be affixed to their records because it has religious implications. Only a small minority of Americans are practicing Druids, so we as a group would hardly expect a Holy Day school break on Halloween. However, I ask that you respect our faith as you would that of any other religious group."

You can best bet that note lit a fire under the daughters to get to school on time. But I know The Heir didn't make it, and I would have loved to have seen the look on the principal's face. The Spare probably didn't make it either, but my guess is she'll take a marked tardy rather than turn in that note. Who can blame her at age 12?

Samhain is still fresh morning as I write this, and sure to contain many fun-filled (and serious) moments. One blessing is that our official artist, Seitou, will make a rare appearance, as she loves to stroll around on this particular day.

Wow! Long post. Sorry. I'll be back in form soon.

Did I mention that at midnight my husband's plant might go out on strike?

AREA 14, STAR 14

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Inventor

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," the purpose-driven, peace-seeking polytheist's pit stop on the pebble-strewn pathway!

I just spent 4 hours at a Middle School play practice. My daughter The Spare has the lead role. The only sentence she uttered to me in 4 hours was, "You're not supposed to be drinking water in the auditorium. Get out."

I guess that's two sentences.

Awhile back we at "The Gods Are Bored" decided that Samhain was a wonderful opportunity to yank open the old closet and let the skeletons come tumbling out. We've reassembled some over the last month. Now we're almost finished.

Have you ever plucked a hair from your head and thought that you might need to drill five holes, side by side, across the tip?

That's never happened to you? I can't believe it.

Okay, here's another scenario.

Have you ever been sent into a toxic chemical spill, where the slightest whiff of fumes will kill or disable you for life?

No? Well, aren't you the lucky one! You must live in Montana or something.

Random thoughts on a blustery autumn day? Not at all. You see, my grandfather was an inventor. He worked for the American Celanese Corporation, where he was in charge of creating microscopic holes through which liquid would be forced, turning it into strands of synthetic fiber. The strands of fiber were also microscopic, until they got woven together and became either your grandma's favorite polyester pantsuit, or a cigarette filter, or part of a gas mask or a parachute.

My grandad invented the jet drill. I'm not offended if you never heard of it. Not many people are adequately knowledgeable on the topic of production and use of synthetic fibers.

My dad's father was my really and truly grandad, biologically and legally. (Unlike the mutant branches on the Cracker side of my family tree.) He was born and raised in a three-room log farmhouse on a mountainside, sharing his home space with parents, two sisters, and three brothers. He attended a one-room school, where he met my grandma.

Somehow Grandad found the dough to attend Shippensburg Normal School, as it was then called. He studied for two years to be a school teacher. His favorite subject was entymology. It was in that class, observing the mouth parts of dog fleas through a microscope, that my grandad discovered his raison d'etre. In other words, he thought microscopes were cool.

Grandad spent the first year of his working life teaching in a one-room schoolhouse just like the one he'd attended himself, and in fact not that far from home. He hated it. Loathed it. And I can imagine, because he wasn't a very assertive individual. The kids must have plastered the walls with him.

Then his younger brothers started gloating about the good jobs they'd gotten on the assembly line at the new synthetic fabric plant in Cumberland. They hadn't even gone to college, and suddenly they were making more money than Grandad!

So in he marches in his best suit, asks for an application. On the application there's a list of instruments. "Check the box if you know how to use..."

One of them was "microscope."

Forty-five years later he retired from the American Celanese Corporation, where he'd created a slew of patented tools key to the industry. They gave him a gold watch. When it broke, he stuck it under the microscope and fixed it. (That was his hobby, watch repair.)

From the time I could crawl until his death in 1987, I firmly believed that the sun rose and set just for my grandfather. Don't get me wrong. I adored my grandma too, his wife. She taught me all I know about cooking and flower arranging and gardening and a million other things. She was the hugger, the lap to cuddle in, the smiler and cheek-pincher.

But grandad was the cool, deep water, the tall, handsome pillar of kindness and wisdom. The guy who would take a little granddaughter by the hand, lead her out into the woods, and show her how wildflowers are symmetrical. He carved a hiking staff for me and showed me how watches work. And when I went away to college, and snuck up to see him for a long weekend, there he would be at the unscheduled Greyhound stop on a nearly deserted stretch of old Route 40, waiting in his latest luxury automobile. He always did like a fancy American car.

Have you ever gone to a wedding where there was a cake so multi-tiered, lavish, flawless, and awe-inspiring that it stuck in your brain forever? Well, if grandfathers were wedding cakes, he'd have been that confection.

Look at me. He's been dead 19 years and I'm still sitting here crying, missing him. Not because I've got a hair here that needs five holes drilled in it, but because he was excellent in every single way.


Monday: My Dad vs. God: May the Best Man Win.