Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here, Sharky Sharky

Hot off the press! Just in time for Memorial Day, a great white shark is tootling up the East Coast, no doubt looking for two scoops of ice cream rather than one.


Don't you just want to call this lil cutie and offer him a banquet of nicely-aged millionaire meat?

I know, I know, I shouldn't have so much hate in my heart, but it's just so tempting to round up the chief executive, his scary Barbie doll daughter, and a couple of cabinet appointees (okay, well, all  the cabinet appointees and the new Supreme Court justice too) and take them for a nice boat ride off the Jersey Shore. They could take in all the sights -- all the pizza parlors and arcades and Ferris wheels and gift shops and tattooed gibrones and bikini-clad cutie pies -- and then dive off the ship for a refreshing swim in the drink. Jaws would do the rest.

I wonder if rich people taste different from poor people? I mean, rich people can afford the best quality health care, which means they probably have expensive prescription pharmaceuticals in their bodily tissues. Heck, if you wait a few years, it might be that poor people won't have any pharmaceuticals in their systems at all, possibly making them more palatable to ol' Jawsie. But we're talking about now, right now, because that shark is bearing down, and everyone these days can get the medicine they need. Taste be damned, Jaws would no doubt savor the cabinet secretaries and Barbie.

As for persuading el presidente and his charming family and staff to ditch Trump properties for a jaunt to the Jersey Shore, well, is there anything more all-American than a beach visit over Memorial Day? It's not like any of those people plan to honor the memory of soldiers who died defending America. Let's get a boat, round them up, and do a little reverse fishing!

Oh, who am I kidding? Sharks are notoriously omnivorous, but even a famished great white would probably pass on a platter of Trump. Sharks aren't buzzards, after all. They don't want food that's rotten to the core.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Old and Ugly

I got up this morning at 6:00 and was at work by 7:00. I left work at 3:45 and drove home. I collapsed in a chair, and all I can think about is where I'll get the energy to make dinner.

I'm 58 and tired. So what does that make Donald Trump?

I think in the minds of many morons taxpayers, Donald Trump is a permanently youthful figure, invigorated by his years of sexual conquest and macho bluster. It's quite easy to perpetuate this myth when you're standing behind a podium, and all you've done that day is a 60-minute tirade political speech.

But the presidency? That's a different story.

I'm slender and in great health, but my mind boggles at a 9-day trip through a half dozen countries, out of my time zone and language competency. Oh, I could do it, but it would age me prematurely (as it does most presidents).

Donald Trump is 70 years old and overweight. Nothing in his previous work history has prepared him for the pace of governing one of the world's largest and most complicated nations. It's no wonder that he retreats to his golf courses and country clubs when he can -- the job is wearing him out.

This fact, not his horrible personality, will likely be his downfall.

Will he resign? Will he be impeached? Or will he just fall ill and need a very long vacation? I know the old fart isn't a quitter, but I'll bet even now he wishes he could ditch the day job without losing face.

I don't wish bad health on anyone, but hey, I don't have to. Donald Trump asked for it himself. He didn't sit down and think, "Wow, I'm going to be hella busy at a time of life when most rich men just hit the links." Yes, there's money and power in the game for him, but at the cost of his golden years.

Donald Trump's last bad deal was winning himself the presidency. Now he has to do the job. It just might kill him.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Just a Few Chores

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Have you ever opened your eyes onto a sunny, springtime Sunday morning and thought, "Oh! I have absolutely nothing to do today!" Yeah, well, having absolutely nothing to do is actually a curse. It's something devised by bad faeries under a dark moon with much muttering and wicked giggles.

I woke up this morning in my own bed, having driven home from my mother-in-law's funeral because both the Heir and the Spare had to be back to Philly on Sunday. Mr. J stayed behind in Baltimore, which meant ... me ... all alone in the house in Philly with no plans!

Now factor in cats.

We know what cats do. They wake us up early, because they are hungry. Mine were hungry. It was 7:00, and they wanted breakfast.

EXHIBIT A: GAMMA WANTS BREAKFAST



So you know where that goes. You get up to feed the cats, and you decide to have a cup of tea. Then you look in the fridge and find some of those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that should have Surgeon General warnings on the side, and -- looking for something to have with your tea -- you flick on the oven.

Then, when they are freshly baked, you eat four of those sugar bombs, only pausing to realize that now you'd better work off those calories.

So you open all the windows to air out the house. You re-arrange closets. You drag stuff to Goodwill. You wash towels and clean cat boxes and re-pot plants and fold laundry and throw out day-old newspapers, and go grocery shopping, and drive an extra 5 miles for local strawberries. You hang pictures, re-arrange furniture, hose the pollen off the porch,

Suddenly it's 2:30, and you're famished. Off to Chipotle for another repast that probably packs enough calories for a pride of lions.

Then you come home, fold the towels and clean up the kitchen.

What a beautiful thing! I got all of this done, and it was only 3:45! There I was, having accomplished multiple chores that didn't particularly need to be done, with plenty of hours left to read the New York Times!

The moral of this sermon is, if you want to thwart bad faeries who seek to ruin your weekend, get a cat. The cat will get you going so early that, on a long spring evening with lots of daylight, you'll still have time for your porch and your op-eds.

Of course, now it's 8:00 and I'm ready for bed. Does this mean the faeries win?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Isolation

La dee dah, another evening at home, watching MSNBC even though I can't stand those smug preppy hosts. The empty nest encompasses me like a desert. I have few friends, and they are far-flung. These days I have no social life at all.

"Anne!" you say. "You're such a lively, spunky old thing! Why are you sitting around? You've got 50 colleagues at your school, and you live in a walking community full of educated people!"
The simple answer to this is twofold: I don't drink, and I'm tired at the end of the day.

There are a lot of swell folks where I work. Many Friday afternoons, they go out to happy hour. There's nothing stopping me from accompanying them except for the fact that I'm a recovering alcoholic. Being a recovering alcoholic in a bar is like being a diabetic in a candy shop. You can resist the urge, but the effort makes you miserable.

Fatigue is the real killer. I get to work at 7:00 in the morning and return around 3:45, if I don't have any errands to run. By 7:30 I'm nodding. By 10:00 I'm asleep. I used to go to a drum circle, but half the time I bagged it because I was too tired to go. Now I don't even try.

You want to hear something weird? When I'm actually with people and socializing, I'm awkward. It's like I've lost the talent for conversation. I used to be the life of the party (probably because booze was the fuel), but sobriety has brought me shyness and isolation.

These thoughts are occasioned by the rites surrounding the services for my dear mother-in-law. Her funeral is tomorrow, and the reception afterwards promises to be chock-a-block with guzzlers. This would be a time I would love, getting together with my husband's family (who have always been very kind to me), but the thought that everyone -- including my daughters -- will be imbibing just makes me sad. I expect I'll find a quiet chair somewhere by myself and take a nap.

The moral of this sermon is, can someone suggest a few diverting dramas I can watch on Netflix or online? Rachel Maddow gets on my last nerve.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Free Advice on Spotting Fake News

How do you know that your news is coming from a trustworthy source? How do you know if it's true or not? That is the question.


I, Anne Johnson, am here to tell you some tips that will help you to distinguish the truth from the falsehood! Just remember these handy rules, and you'll soon enough know whether your news is fake or not.

1. If your mother tells you, it's not fake. This should be obvious. Mothers may lie like egg-sucking dogs, but not to their kids. Well, most of the time. If you want 100 percent verity, then ...

2. If your grandmother tells you, it's not fake. Mom may occasionally stretch the truth, but Mee Maw? OH no.

3. If you see it with your own eyes, it's not fake. I know, I know, we all try to fool ourselves, but at the end of the day, most of us face the truth. Most of us.

4, If it comes to you from the Gods, it's not fake. Be careful which deity you call a liar, because some of Them will smite you! Don't all the preachers say, "Trust God?"

5. If the results can be replicated in a controlled experiment, it's not fake. Science, bitch.

6. If you can wrap a fish in it, it's not fake. Yes, there are tabloids, and they are outrageous. But most newspapers have reputations to uphold. Take it from the wife of a journalist: Reporters have their pride. Like, George Washington and the Cherry Tree pride.


On the other hand ...

7. If the person delivering the news is wearing makeup, it could be fake. What are the talking heads trying to cover up with all those grain-fed faces? If the person you're getting your news from is on t.v. but could star in an action flick, no problem, you better fact check. You may be getting some stretchers.

8. If the news is free, it could be fake. Someone's paying for it! If you don't know who, it could be a baldfaced, egg-sucking, lowlife liar. Unless it's this blog, which is 100 percent true, 100 percent of the time.

9. If the news comes through the grapevine, it could be fake. Notice I said could be. I mean, the dude in the song did find out his gal was planning to make him blue with some other guy she knew before. That turned out to be true. So judge the grapevine carefully. If it includes Mee Maw, it's probably trustworthy. If it includes two or three of your co-workers, BAMP BAMP BAMP! Red flag.

10. If the news is good and will have a pleasant and uplifting effect on your life, it could be fake. Play it safe. Be a pessimist. When did anything ever turn out to be all for the best?

11. If the news is on the Internet, it could be fake. Except this blog, see above #8.

12. If the news involves some vast, complicated, and secret conspiracy, run by provocateurs hidden deep within the recesses of daily life, it could be fake. Do you know how hard it is to keep a secret? Okay, the Illuminati have been very successful at hiding Tupac, but ... other than that one instance, it just doesn't happen.

The moral of this sermon is, evaluate your news sources carefully! Trust your grandmother first and foremost. If she's out to tea, you can depend on The Gods Are Bored to get the straight scoop. The Gods tell me everything! See above #4.

Supposedly the economy has improved to such an extent that I no longer have to pay you to take my free advice! Now it's just free. What a relief to my fraying wallet!

Monday, May 15, 2017

#We

Did you hear that Donald Trump posted a tweet that said nothing more than "We?"

As in:

We

This would have remained very mysterious had he not deleted it a few minutes later. But you know the Internet. Lots of people saw it.


I sat down with my dear friend, the faerie Puck, to try to decode this tweet, as it seemed to be an intelligent attempt to get people to finish his thought for him. What could be behind the impulsive We?

Puck betrays my age as he helps me to translate.

are the champions.

Easy and obvious.

will, we will rock you.

No fair, Puck, that's the same song.

all went down to Montreaux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline.

Whoa, Puck! You heavy metal faerie, you! You might be on to something there. Here's what I think:

are stardust, we are golden.

Puck says that's absolutely the last possible one that Donald Trump would choose. He thumbs his nose at me and says Betsy DeVo$$ was using Trump's device, and she meant to tweet

don't need no education.

Thanks, Puck. I love you too. Well, it was Mother's Day ... perhaps he meant

are family. I've got all my sisters with me.

Does he have sisters? I'm not gonna look it up. Instead I'll pump my fist, resistance-style, and say

are strong. No one can tell us we're wrong.

Puck says it could be an early Christmas tweet. Maybe he meant

three kings of Orient are,

or

wish you a merry Christmas.

Wrong time of year, Puck! Nor is it Thanksgiving, so ditch

gather together to ask the Lord's blessing.

I guess we could go on and on like this, especially if you start adding apostrophes:

're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

've only just begun ... to live ... white lace and promises ... a kiss for luck and we're on our waaaaayyyy.....

Okay, okay, Puck! I'll stop singing! I know that last one hopelessly anchors me in Geezer Bay!

There is only one ending to that elusive We that I can completely rule out, because the tweeter in question is a hard case, seriously interested only in his map of his electoral college victory and his ratings on the nightly news shows. There is no way, sadly, that Donald Trump would have followed that We with

shall overcome.

What do you think? Help Puck and me out here!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

My goodness, they are both all grown up.

When I started this blog, one was still in grade school! That one made brunch for the whole family, in the house she just moved into in Philadelphia.

EXHIBIT A: THE SPARE


The other one was in high school when I started blogging. She doesn't like to have attention drawn to her. But if you need someone to pour molten aluminum into a mold, just ask her.

EXHIBIT B: THE HEIR


Of course, these posed shots don't capture their personalities very much ... so I have to add ...

EXHIBIT C: YEP


Mother's Day isn't happy for everyone. Maybe you've lost your mom, and you miss her. Maybe your mom didn't have very good parenting skills (or any at all ... I can relate). But just remember that we all share a Goddess Mom who we can feel under our feet. She says bring Her some sweet tea, She's had a long day, and She's overheated.

Take care of your Mom!

Happy Mother's Day from Philadephia, where it's always sunny!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Scream, You Scream

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," vulture worship and ice cream for everyone! Tonight's flavor is Dead Skunk, which sounds like it will please the deity a lot more than the congregation.

I don't know about you, but I am crazy about ice cream. Any flavor will do. I don't go much for all the extra stuff they fling on the top, but a big, solid ice cream cone? Yasssss.

EXHIBIT A: HUMBLE ABODE



This unassuming little shack is the home of the Scottish Highland Creamery. You don't have to take my word for it. This place has the best ice cream in America. It's small batch, made by a nice gent and his wife, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that Mr. J and I plan our summer vacations so we can go and shovel in fistfuls of the stuff.

EXHIBIT B: SINFUL WARES


Well, you can't get sex in plastic containers, so this is the best product ever packaged. Mr. J and I always get some dry ice and haul home a cooler full, since we don't live anywhere near Oxford, Maryland.

My Scottish Highland Creamery stash is sacred to me. I don't share it blithely. There's still a little bit in the freezer from a run back in April, and as soon as I'm through with this sermon, I'm going to partake.

If I were to have a dinner party at which I served Scottish Highland Creamery ice cream, I would not have two scoops while my guests had one. I might want it to be that way, but I'm not insane. You don't serve everyone else less ice cream than you're having yourself, unless you are the only adult and you're scooping for three-year-olds.

Can we believe that our commander in chief serves his dinner guests one scoop of ice cream when he has two? Oh, yes, sadly we can. And I'll bet it's not from his personal stock of Scottish Highland Creamery, either. He's probably got tubs and tubs of artisan confections in the White House fridge.

The moral of this sermon is this: If you can mandate one size dessert for yourself and another size for your guests, without asking how much they want, you're a despicable reprobate who ought to be packed in dry ice and shipped to Bora Bora on a slow boat.

Chocolate, or butter pecan? One scoop or two? Or shall we just scream?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fairies in the Rain

Old-timers who visit this blog know that every year I go to the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. Spoutwood is a charming property in south-central Pennsylvania, complete with a vintage farmhouse, adorable outbuildings, and a burbling brook. Every year on the first full weekend in May, the owners at Spoutwood open their land to anyone and everyone who puts their hands together for the faeries.

My daughter The Spare has attended this fest for a long, long time.

EXHIBIT A: SPARE AT HER FIRST FAIRIE FESTIVAL



EXHIBIT B: SPARE AT SPOUTWOOD 2017


She's a little taller these days.

The first inkling I had that this would be no ordinary Spoutwood was while driving there. It was raining. Not just raining, but pouring in great torrents. We all know what happens to burbling streams when they are visited by torrential rainstorms, right? So I was a little bit worried about the stream. But, when I got there, the rain stopped by some miracle. The brook mostly stayed in its banks and didn't rise like it had in the past.

Another obstacle remained, however. We all know what happens to spongy spring ground when it gets saturated, and lots of people walk over it, don't we? Maybe you're too young to remember Woodstock, but things do get muddy when a lot of people get together in moist weather to have fun.

Cold, rainy, muddy, and ... well-attended.

Many people sojourn to Spoutwood for happiness and healing. When we assembled on Friday, quite in the numbers, we all looked at each other and said, "Never mind the weather. We need this." Not saying every single person there was traumatized by the election, but every single faerie there was traumatized by the election, and They needed healing too. So we healed each other.

EXHIBIT C: ANNE ENJOYS SPOUTWOOD, 2017


This is me, telling the faeries that everything will be okay! Thank you Casie A. Chilcote, for the photo!

Long story short, the muddy conditions on the farm and in the parking grounds caused the festival to shut down on Sunday. It was so sad that I didn't get to see some of my friends and Mountain Tribe members, but safety first!

Seems like a good many events I've attended this year so far have been weather-challenged. Must say, though, that I will take a rained-out Spoutwood after the Women's March came off on a day that was way milder than seasonal, with not a drop of precip. Maybe the faeries had something to do with that. I'll have to ask Them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

An Open Letter to the Squirrels in the White House Tree

Dear Squirrels I just saw climbing a tree on the White House lawn:

I understand, although I've never seen it, that rabies is a terrible disease. I wouldn't wish it on any squirrel. After all, you little fluff bombs don't really do all that much damage. Yes, you get into crawl spaces sometimes and make a hell of a racket. Yes, you gnaw off the fruit tree buds in the spring. Yes (and you really should work on this as a species), you do sit on the bird feeder and eat every damn seed. But that's not enough to deserve a case of rabies.

And yet... are you in any way patriotic? Do you, the squirrels on the White House tree, feel deeply about the health and happiness of squirrels elsewhere? Would you consider making the ultimate sacrifice for your country?

Listen, squirrels on the White House lawn! The squirrels of America (and the people too) call out to you! Take one for the team!

Think about it. If you contract a case of rabies, and you bite, oh, say, anyone with weird hair who lumbers by, you could go down in history as the greatest, most wonderful, most magnificent squirrels ever to tear around the trunk of an ancient oak! Imagine our troubled nation, saved by a case of rabies that won't even be noticed right away because the human you need to bite already acts rabid.

Squirrels! Squirrels! To arms, citizens! Sacrifice yourselves for the greater good! Just take on a case of rabies, bite a few humans (especially those with weird hair who lumber), and wrap yourselves in the flag.

We, the humans of America -- as well as all of squirrelkind -- plead with you to do your duty, for God and country. If you commit this magnificent act of self-sacrifice, I personally will see that you get a statue in Yellowstone National Park. A big one, with fresh peanuts doled out daily to all visitors.

Please, please! So much is riding on your fluffy little tails!

Sincerely,
Anne Johnson