Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bad Faerie Redux

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," bedeviled by bad faeries and yellow canaries!

Just kidding about the canaries.

Our promised post on bad faerie control appears below the navel-gazing. If you're looking for answers to your faerie infestation, scroll down!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Navel ad Nauseum

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we can't help it but pull up the old Budweiser t-shirt every now and then and gaze at our navel. Oh goodie, it's still there, all puckered and cute!




There'll be nothing particularly informative about this post, so skip it if you're looking for our usual logic. We're keen to lay down a personal narrative today.



First, we at "The Gods Are Bored" remain baffled by puberty. Two weeks ago my daughter The Spare informed me that she wished I would die so she could sell all my stuff. Last night she asked me to make a list of all my favorite songs. She got on the web, found 'em, and burned them all onto one CD. On the CD she wrote, "To Mom with love from The Spare."



For a geezer like me it is perfectly amazing to hear the New Grass Revival's medieval "Spring Peepers," followed closely by "Who Are You?" The Spare even found a really super version of Anne's personal Pagan anthem, "Everything Is Round." Hey, don't look for a link here. Ask the 13-year-old nearest to you.



Amazement. I think the world is much more complicated than we can fathom.



Herewith we begin the personal narrative we want to save for the Anne Archives.



Older daughter The Heir is a multi-media artist. Sometimes she paints, sometimes she draws, sometimes she makes films, sometimes she writes poetry. She's not technically inclined (just like her mom), so her films are short, stream-of-consciousness things. This year's offering to her school's annual Student Film Festival was a three-minute excursion through maximum weirdness called "Static Bliss." When I mention that the background music was an obscure track by Lou Reed, you'll understand The Heir's no ordinary 17-year-old.



The Heir goes to a posh Blue Ribbon School where you're dirt if you're not smart and good at sports. The Heir's class is dominated by a golden boy I'll call Adonis. Adonis is a multi-sport phenomenon, an accomplished artist, girls swoon over him (Heir excepted), teachers suck up to him, he's in the National Honor Society ... and he made a film for the festival.



Festival hour arrives. Five students are present to view "Static Bliss." But when word gets out that Adonis's film is about to air, a couple dozen "populars" file in to watch the Adonis offering. Which, of course to these adult eyes writing this entry, was nothing more than a self-indulgent, glitzy techno-snobbery, poorly filmed and pretentious.



It didn't help that the asshole teacher introduced Adonis's offering by saying, "Now, here's the one we've all been waiting for. It has proven to be very popular."



So Heir and I are sitting there watching this thing, and the substitute teacher in me starts deconstructing it. How did Adonis get free rein in the school to manipulate empty corridor lights and film in parts of the school that are off limits to students? When The Heir left a textbook at school one weekend the janitors wouldn't even let her in the door to go to her locker. Slurp slurp slurp! Someone's sucking up to Adonis big-time.



Didn't you go to school with one of these perfect pricks?



Anyway, Adonis's film just crushed the poor Heir flat. When it was over, she left the room, rushed out of the school, dashed her VHS with "Static Bliss" on the ground, and tore into the park. I let her go. Sometimes we just need to walk off our anger, don'tcha know?



When I got home myself, though, she was sitting in the living room weeping. Mr. Johnson and I just couldn't get her calmed. It sure didn't help that she was preaching to the choir when she said that no matter how hard some people work on perfecting their visions, their efforts go completely unappreciated by the boobs and morons who populate the globe.



A little blur of movement caused me to look out the window. And there was the Monkey Man, streaking past on his bike. First time he's been on our street since New Year's Day.



I leaped from my seat and rushed out to the street. He was already half way down the block. I yelled, "Yo! Monkey Man!"



He turned around and came back. He had two puppets with him. His monkey, of course, and a butterfly. There was a lot of other stuff in his bike basket too.



I sketched out what had just happened to The Heir. By that time The Heir had come out of the house with her face all puffy and teary-eyed. We talked awhile in the front yard. The Monkey Man is a locally regarded poet, so he was probably the very best person to settle The Heir. Like me, he's a substitute teacher. Who can make it as a poet? And yet he's reading Monday night at the Philadelphia Public Library. You have to calibrate your expectations when you're creative. He's done that.



Then the Monkey Man asked if he could see The Heir's film.



Next thing I knew, the Monkey Man himself was sitting in this very chair I'm using now. He flirted with Decibel the parrot. And how was it that Decibel, usually hell on wheels with strangers, talked and laughed with the Monkey Man?



The Heir had shattered her VHS when she threw it on the ground. It was her only copy except what was saved in her camera. So the Monkey Man had to watch the tiny little screen on the camera. Which he did.



The Monkey Man graduated from high school when I was two years old. And that makes him Vietnam generation. Except he didn't go to Nam, he went to San Francisco, Haight to be specific. The residue of that experience clings to him resolutely.



He said to the Heir: "God, you can just see some great weird rock band using this footage behind them on the stage."



The Heir said, "I never thought of that."



This was news to me, as Cy has indoctrinated the Heir thoroughly on the very weirdest bands of all time. Lou Reed is the tamest among the Heir's favorites. I actually though the Heir had been inspired by some video of a Residents concert or something.



Shortly after that, the Monkey Man returned to his bicycle. I said to him, "What brought you by here this afternoon?"



He said, "The wind blew me this way when I got off work." He admitted that usually when he rides through our neighborhood he uses the street on which he grew up. It's the one behind ours. But somehow he found himself on our street.



It wasn't like he was lurking in front of our house. He was rippin when he passed here. I had to shout to get his attention.



Then I reminded the Monkey Man that he'd have 7 miles of riding home, face into the west wind. He said, "I'll cheat and take the El."



Mr. Johnson and I are still puzzling about the strange synchronous appearances of the Monkey Man. By chance on New Year's Day when he was bike riding alone in a drizzle of rain. That day he needed some companionship and a warm supper. By chance yesterday when most needed as a hippy role model for The Heir. When you factor in the long, convoluted story of how we came to know the Monkey Man after puzzling over him for years, it's just ... emmm ... maybe bored gods or dead parents at work or something

If you're still reading this, wow. You must like "The Gods Are Bored" a hell of a lot. We appreciate your patronage.

Long enough post? Not hardly. While writing it, I've been listening to the CD the Spare made for me. So I've had to stop and cry a few times. Here are my all-time favorite songs (factoring in that I had a notion what the Spare was up to, so I used all easy stuff to find):



By Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (or combinations thereof)
"Wasted on the Way"
"Southern Cross"
"Johnny's Garden"
"Ohio"
"Find the Cost of Freedom"



By the New Grass Revival
"Spring Peepers"



By Jonathan Edwards and the Seldom Scene
"Blue Ridge"



By James Taylor
"Fire and Rain"

By The Who
"Who Are You?"
"Join Together"



By Elton John
"Rocket Man"



By Earth, Wind & Fire
"Fantasy"



By the Doobie Brothers
"Black Water"



By the Commodores
"Easy Like Sunday Morning"



By the Moody Blues
"Nights in White Satin"



By Ricky Scaggs (cover)
"The Walls of Time"



By an unknown folk artist
"Everything Is Round"



Spare added "Lean on Me." We like to sing that together when she's not feeling like killing me and plucking out my eyeballs.



Geezer stuff all, except "Everything Is Round." Which it is. Awen.



FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Principles of Bad Faerie Control


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're always here with helpful suggestions for upholstery maintenance! Out, out, damned spot!

Today we're going to share some tips on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy faeries. In other words, we want you to be free ... free of bad faeries who will make you say words you don't want your children repeating in front of the Sunday School superintendant.

With no further ado, we offer:

Faerie 101: Tips for Essential Bad Faerie Control

1. Keep your surroundings tidy. Bad faeries hide in piles of junk. They hide your important stuff in there, too. So, hard as it is for you and me, we've got to throw out those old newspapers.

2. Make proper offerings to your faeries. They love alcohol, chocolate, cheese, fragrant candles, and any kind of dessert. Never open a bottle of booze without setting aside a portion for the faeries. Put your offering in a corner, and when you've finished your portion, take up the faeries' portion. Angela-Eloise reminds me that you never say "thank you" to a faerie. It insults them. Try saying, "My, that was some kick-ass Budweiser, eh faerie?"


3. As Tennessee Jed puts it, try not to make matters worse. The more riled up you get, the more bad faeries you'll attract. Jed mustn't have a bad faerie to his name, because he climbs baseball stadium light fixtures to change the bulbs. You just can't do that if you're surrounded by bad faeries.

4. If the bad faeries will not leave you alone, get dressed up in your finest and go to a service at the nearest mega church. Let them think you're converting to the religion that belittles their existence. Okay, so this will be hard for you, too. It's called tough love.

5. If you have a baby and you're afraid the bad faeries are going to try to substitute a changeling -- well, that's gotten easier to control than ever. Just buy one of those nursery monitors and keep it on when the tot is in bed. You'll find a nursery monitor has many valuable uses beyond merely protecting a babe from bad faeries. So it's win-win.


6. It has been my experience that bad faeries can be driven from a home by repeatedly playing your DVD set of "The Honeymooners." This may drive you from your home, too, but you'll come back and they won't.


7. Try to understand where your bad faeries are coming from. They may be cranky at having to spend time in the mortal world. Invite them for a drive in the country, stop at some beguiling spot, and suggest they explore. I have in this manner infested a little stream called Terrapin Run with a veritable army of bad faeries who will rain bad karma on any developer who tries to build a town for 11,000 people along the creek banks. Are you reading this, Michael Carnock?


So, with all these handy tips, you should be able to tame those pesky faeries and get them into shape. Truth to tell, though, it's sometimes fun to have a few bad faeries around just to make life interesting. Until they get into your computer, that is. I've got a couple doing the jig in mine just now.


FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tackling the Thorny Issue of Bad Faeries


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," home to mad faeries and glad faeries and bad faeries! You tell us your issue, we'll send you a faerie to solve it. If that faerie makes your issue worse, well ... it's a faerie. What do you expect?


The One God people have angels and demons. It's not hard to differentiate. Angels wear white and do good all the time. Demons like black and red, and they do bad all the time. So easy to remember!

Faeries, on the other hand, have no known legitimate color preference. They can be good one day and bad the next. They can be completely dedicated to good, or completely dedicated to bad, or just dedicated to mayhem and mischief.

Let's face it. A demon is not going to spend valuable time hiding your cell phone in the cat box.

That's why it has always bugged us here at "The Gods Are Bored" when someone equates Paganism to devil-worship. Faeries don't urge people to sneak into the woods and gut a cat in a circle of stones. That's the work of your One God demons.

Bad faeries have been known to steal infants and put changelings in their places. I'm not sure how prevalent this is anymore. Haven't heard much about it in the newspaper. On the other hand, my daughter just saw a gutted cat in a circle of stones, right down the street in the park. It's safe to say that demons are being badder, and working at it harder, than the worst of the bad faeries.

Yet the thorny issue of bad faeries remains. Even a modest cluster of them can piss you off. And oh, do they ever take glee in pissing you off! The more flustered you become, the harder they laugh. Your frustration is their fuel.

What's got Anne on this topic today? Well, today was my last day as a long-term substitute teacher. I've been attempting to instruct some young adults in the fine art of writing and reading. I give myself a C-plus. And that's not too bad for someone who never taught school before in her life and never took a single class in how it's done.

When I began this subsitute posting, I replaced a teacher who had the worst infestation of bad faeries I'd ever seen. The classroom was completely snarled with them. The situation was so dire that even the inclusion teacher recognized that something needed to be done. So when the regular teacher embarked for her time off, the inclusion teacher took it upon himself to re-arrange the furniture. And I took it upon myself to purge the room of any bad faeries that might have stayed behind.

Of course you can't banish 100 percent of all bad faeries from any locale. But I did a little better than C-plus. In three months they stole one pair of desk scissors and a reference book on insects valued at $23.00. And of course they took the assignments that some of the kids turned in. I mean, really. In what classroom in the world are you going to find not one single student who says, "But, Miss, I gave you that!" Bad faeries at work.

All in all, with the room more wide-open and the work spaces more tidy, the bad faeries were kept to a minimum.

Monday the regular teacher returned. Doggone if she didn't cart her whole legion of bad faeries right in with her again! She phoned the inclusion teacher and made him come down and "fix" all the "mess" he'd made. Within four hours, four hours, that classroom looked like a flea market on steroids.

Awash in her bad faeries' karma, the returning teacher complained bitterly and loudly when some of the students said they'd miss me. She complained about the lesson I'd planned for her return ("I hate group work. This is the last group project this year!"). She lost everything she put down. (Classic bad faerie, that.) She went through the 2006-07 curriculum standards meticulously and grilled me about what I hadn't covered.

Last week, hearing that state auditors were coming to the school, I stayed until way past dinnertime putting up a nice current bulletin board, as it seems that's what the state auditors want to see. First thing Monday, the returning teacher scrutinized my bulletin board, weighed it in the balance, and found it wanting. (I suppose she was nostalgic for the 95 papers she hung up in September and hadn't taken down by December 10.)

Fearing that bad faeries would steal more student work, I brought home the projects my students completed at the end of the last marking period. Returning teacher wants them brought back to the classroom, even though they've been graded for a previous marking period. She can't wait to get her clutches on these papers so she can prove beyond doubt how little I know about teaching.

Okay, I don't know butkus about teaching. But I do know faeries. Bad faeries will make you irritable. Good faeries make you happy. I don't think it's me the students will miss. I think it's my faeries.

As for the student projects, they will have to go back to the school. The students want them back. I think I'll give them to the inclusion teacher and let him distribute them. He's mighty interested in Druidry.

That's enough for today. Tomorrow, with all the time in the world at my disposal, I'll give you some hot tips on how to purge your surroundings of bad faeries. Or maybe I'll write about something else. Who knows?

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
"Rebel," by Seitou. Check out Seitou's latest faerie art by clicking the sidebar!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Announcement

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we love faeries! Ummm ... well ... most faeries. Some faeries are just bad faeries, you know what I mean? Like, a returning school teacher will walk into a room that has been painstakingly purged of bad faeries, and that teacher will drag all the bad faeries right back in with her, and a slough of bad karma besides.

But pish tosh to returning school teachers! There's great news at "The Gods Are Bored!"

Puck and Princess, Faeries
Are Pleased to Announce
The Birth of Their First Baby Faerie

Baby Aine
Born March 27, 2007
4:45 p.m.
At Woodstock Trading Company, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Mother and daughter are doing well. Father is raising hell.

Remember, they're faeries!

FROM ANNE
Proud to be guarded by (mostly) good faeries who (mostly) don't give her trouble, most of the time (except for sometimes).

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Our Local Poet

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," rejecting the straight and narrow for the big, broad, flexible boulevard! Seat belts optional, but recommended.

Why the hell would anyone want to live in Southern New Jersey? Damned if I know. But here we are, and as with all humans, we need something to brag about.

Our "something" is Walt Whitman. He is buried but not forgotten in Camden, NJ, the city in which he spent the end of his interesting life.

Today marks the 115th anniversary of Whitman's death. Or so says the Monkey Man, and who am I to argue with the Monkey Man? You should hear him recite Walt Whitman!

Here's a little verse from Whitman to get you through your day. Give your bored god a holiday and meditate on this magnificent poet.

O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman.

O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

PIZZA & POETRY NITE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007
SLICE OF NEW YORK PIZZA
3rd AND COOPER STREETS
CAMDEN, NJ

(BYOB)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Interview with a Salmon

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," deep into the bowels of Lent!

This is no time to be a fish. You have heard the fishies' Lenten Lullabye, haven't you?

Now I lay me
Down to sleep,
I hope I wake
Within the deep.
If I should fry
Before I wake
I'll know it's Lent,
for pity's sake.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" therefore salute the bravery of tonight's guest, who has come here in all his amino-acid-rich glory and on a Friday to boot! Please give a wild, warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom, sacred to the Celtic pantheon!


Anne: Welcome, blessed Fintan, holder of all the knowledge in the universe!


Fintan: I wish you had told me you live up the street from a fish market, Anne. A customer tried to grab me. I had to eat his BlackBerry and cough it out without the memory chip.


Anne: Oh, sorry! I was afraid you wouldn't come if I mentioned the local shoppes.

Fintan: No problem. But perhaps you should give some background on me, for your readers who think humans are the be-all and end-all in the brain game.

Anne: Okay, well, Fintan's story varies from location to location, as all good fish stories do, but here it is in a Hazelnut of Wisdom shell. The great Finn Mac Cool (awesome Celt) wanted to gain all the knowledge he could in order to rule wisely.

Fintan: Unlike today, when your leadership vies to be stupidest on the planet.

Anne: See, folks? I told you he was one smart fish. Anyway, Finn Mac Cool's travels took him to a sacred well. Into the well dropped nuts from the Tree of Knowledge ... say. Wait a minute, Fintan. I thought the Tree of Knowledge had apples on it!

Fintan: Wrong tree, wrong pantheon. Stay with the hazelnuts.

Anne: Okay. The hazelnuts dropped into the sacred pool, and you, Fintan, ate them. You thus became stuffed to the plimsol line with wisdom and smarts.

Fintan: Precisely.

Anne: So Finn Mac Cool found you at your Phi Beta Kappa banquet, but there was a sage named Finegas living by the pool who kept trying to catch and eat you because that sage had divined that someone named "Finn" would catch and eat you and thus become a geek of first stripe.

Fintan: Poor Finegas. He was an old dude when Finn Mac Cool came along. Finn just snapped his fingers, and up I flopped onto the land. You'd think that would be a tip-off to Finegas that he was a fin short of a ten-spot. But no. Finegas asked Finn to cook me but not eat me.

Anne: And Finn did just that, except that he burned his thumb during cooking and had to suck on it to cool the burn. I know this has nothing to do with the story, but have you ever seen a man trying to barbecue anything? They don't fool me with their macho outdoor spatulas and lighter fluid.

Fintan: Finn was no exception. He rather botched the cookout, but he came away sadder and wiser for it. Sad because his thumb hurt. Wise because his thumb hurt. And whenever he wanted to use his far-ranging knowledge to solve some conundrum, he would just bite his thumb.

Anne: If old Finn Mac Cool hadn't flown off to Sidhe with the rest of the bored Celtic gods and goddesses, he'd be gnawing his thumb to the bone today. Does Finn really have a solution to tough stuff like global warming, wars of empire, and misguided use of taxpayer largesse?

Fintan: Of course! But he knows these One God people won't listen, so he's biding his time, along with all the Gentry of Sidhe.

Anne: Speaking of the One God people, they are just one of many praise and worship teams who feel that knowledge is the source of all evil. One thinks also of Prometheus and Pandora. I'm getting from you that the Celts thought their heroes ought to have knowledge. In fact, it seems like a significant prize.

Fintan: So significant, indeed, that Druids still include me by name in their rituals.

Anne: Yes, that's how I found you. By looking in the Druid Yellow Pages under "wisdom." Psyche! I knew about you already. I'm big into bored gods that ought to get better-paying gigs and more respect.

Fintan: And this does not surprise me. Is that not a Phi Beta Kappa certificate with your name on it, hanging on the wall?

Anne: I've always been a Druid. I just didn't know it until a few years ago.

Fintan: I knew it all along. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's nearing the supper hour, and I noted that big Roman Catholic family across the street...

Anne: Oh yes! We've got to take you to the river. Drop you in the water.

Fintan: You geezer. We're waiting for you in Sidhe.

Anne: I'm glad to hear it. Could I take just one picture of you? No one is going to believe how big you are!

Fintan: They all want a snapshot.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV
Summer residence of Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Criswell Predicts


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dispensing wisdom and Pez since 2005! If you're ever in Easton, Pennsylvania, be sure to stop at the Pez Dispenser Museum. It's sublime.


Our official artist, Cy, stopped by the other night with her latest finds. Cy's one of those people who can spend hours in used bookstores and come out laden with the nuttiest literature you've ever seen. Her personal favorite is Clam Plate Orgy, sort of the Bible of subliminal message research.


This time, among Cy's discoveries was a little volume called Criswell Predicts, published in 1968. I don't remember Criswell, but apparently he was a clairvoyant with enough of a following that he could get a book published. His predictions run from 1968 through the year 2000. So now, with 20-20 hindsight, we can score Criswell's accuracy.

He predicts a war in Alaska between the U.S. and Russia for 1980. He predicts that by 1985, Texas will be split into three states. He predicts cannibalism as part of race riots in Pittsburgh by 1972.

Criswell predicts that New Jersey will be so overpopulated by 1980 that it will be the first state to pass mandatory birth control laws. The first state, mind you. One surmises that places like Kansas will follow suit.

Speaking of Kansas, Criswell predicts that the U.S. capital will move from Washington, DC to Wichita before 2000. Whoa, baby, the Red Staters would luvvvv that, wouldn't they?

What a magnificent seer! Criswell predicts Castro's assassination, right down to the very day: August 9, 1970. By a woman. Apparently no one notified Fidel about this. Or maybe they did and he stayed inside that day, playing poker with the guys.

Cy and I made our way through Criswell Predicts and agreed that his batting average wouldn't get him into a reputable Little League. However, even a piss-poor seer can produce a few nuggets.

Criswell predicts that Atlantic City, New Jersey will be underwater by 1987. I think he got that one right but should have added a century to the date.

Here's the most interesting nugget:

"I predict that a Dallas, Texas Millionaire will shock America and the world by leaving millions upon millions of dollars in his will to set up a true NAZI party in the U.S."

No date on this one. His capital letters, not mine.

Any psychic will tell you that the whole process of divination is like seeing through a glass darkly. Heck, even Harry Potter learns this at Hogwart's. If you parse the prediction above, it has some interesting elements.

Texas. Millionaire. Shocks America and the World. NAZI party.

One could make an argument for this one. The most fascinating element of it is the lack of a date. Criswell must have thought that perhaps this one would happen after 2000.

BAMP! No mandatory birth control in New Jersey.
BAMP! Wichita is not yet the capital of the U.S.
But ... a Texas millionaire shocking America and the world by supporting Fascist philosophy? KA-ZINGGGG!

Anne predicts she'll eat at least one cookie tomorrow. Ka-zingggg.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
Tomorrow or Friday: An interview with a salmon. Be there, or be square!

Artwork by Cy, "Eyeball Vulture."

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blessings of Alban Eiler




Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the righteous Celtic pantheon wishes to greet you with a hearty Happy Alban Eiler!




About 90 minutes before this posting, the sun crossed the equator. (I bet I got it right this time.)


Take a moment to honor your ancestors and the ancestors of your place. Think what spring must have meant to them. Especially those Native Americans in Canada that got buried under five feet blizzards. All hail these hardy folks!

And let us not forget the ancestors of the African people, who were brought to these shores against their wills. Where are their bored gods now? All hail those bored gods, may they find light and worship again!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" have some posts planned, but we're so doggoned busy being a school teacher. It just don't come natural, like writing does.

So, a blessed Alban Eiler to you and yours, celebrate the spring, if it's spring where you are!

Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonder where
The buzzards iz.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS, no matter how stupid some people might find that title!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's Hard Out There for a Hillbilly


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your foul-weather friend! Through storms large and small, we'll entertain y'all!
With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:
You know you're a hillbilly when you don't need a sled. You've got a car!
(Now, don't forget the rule. If you are a hillbilly, you can use the word "hillbilly." If you aren't and you say it in the wrong company, you must not value your teeth too much.)
We had a bruiser of a sleet storm here where I live on Friday night. Actually the sleet started around noon and kept pelting everything until about 10:00 at night. It never did change to snow.
The storm left behind three inches of white concrete, slippery as a mortgage banker. But hey. If it's white, a hillbilly will drive on it.
I learnt to drive in the mountains. In those parts, you don't drive in snow you're pretty much housebound for three or four months of the year.
Okay, yes, it's tom foolishness. I've got a cousin, for instance, who got his Ford Bronco stuck in a snowdrift on an untraveled road in the wake of a blizzard. He had gone out for a quart of ice cream. That's it. A quart of ice cream.
It's hillbilly thinking like this that leads to 50 mile backups on interstate highways, like the one on I-80 in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. Gridlock on a massive scale, through the Poconos and beyond.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the morning after the sleet storm I scraped off my fabulous 1994 Ford Escort (no snow tires) in order to go pet cats at the animal shelter. My daughter and I volunteer. What's a little weather, eh?
So today I thought nothing of driving to Ridley Creek State Park for my Druid group's equinox celebration. Off I tootle, proudly displaying my "Appalachian Pride" and "I Love Turkey Vultures" bumper stickers.
There was only one problem. The celebration had been cancelled. The cancellation was there, plain to see on the message board, but heck. I'm a hillbilly. I think like a hillbilly. I didn't check the message board. I drove the 45 miles to the state park and was surprised when no one else showed up.
Once I got there, did it matter to me that all but one road in the park had been blocked by orange cones? Naaah. I figured my fellow Druids would find me by the visitor's center.
By the way, the park was sheathed in ice to the plimsol line. And there were people out jogging in it. They just weren't Druids.
So, after figuring out that I'd been foxed by my hillbilly brain, I gunned the Escort for the trip home. After a few spectacular skids and a spinning tire or three, my Escort and I returned across the Delaware to hearth and home. At which time I checked the Llyn Hydd Grove message board. Wiser urban heads prevailed.
All was not lost on the day. I watched a perfectly spectacular turkey vulture do its aerial thing over the woods in the park. Who could ask for anything more?
In closing I will let my readers know that if they ever need a quart of ice cream during a sleet storm, they need only call upon someone who grew up in Appalachia or who has lived there through one winter. White precipitation is part of the package, you let it slow you down a little. Not a lot.
FROM ANNE
STAR 14 APPALACHIAN

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Friday, March 16, 2007

No Green Please, We're Celtic

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we talk to God. Hundreds of them! You could say we dabble in downsized deities who deserve devotion.

Today, in (dis)honor of St. Patrick's Day, we welcome a proud member of the Irish-Scottish-Welsh Celtic pantheon. Please give a wild, warm, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Manannan Mac Lir, awesome High God of Ye Olde Ancient Celts!

Anne: Righteous Manannan, I'm sorry I can't type that cool accent grave over the last "a" in your name. I'm not very computer literate.

Manannan Mac Lir: That's perfectly all right. Can I have another slice of your soda bread?

Anne: Take the whole loaf, oh forgotten one.

Mannanan Mac Lir: Not entirely forgotten, thank goodness. I've got my island...

Anne: Oh, yes, the Isle of Man. I'm sure it's fair as a maiden's smile.

Mannanan Mac Lir: How fine it is to talk to a daughter of bards with the bardic gift herself!

Anne (blushing): Pshaw. Ain't nuthin. But we're not here to talk about me. We're here to talk about you. How you got booted from your job even after you were willing to do it for free.

Mannanan Mac Lir: It's still hard for me to talk about. And just like Bill O'Reilly won't say Keith Olbermann's name, I refuse to speak the names of those two ignorant Christians who robbed me of my praise and worship team.

Anne: Those would be St. Patrick and St. Columba.

Mannanan Mac Lir: Egg-sucking dogs.

Anne: Tell us, o God of the waves and the high heavens. What happened?

Manannan Mac Lir: Well, as you know ... grrrrr ....

Anne: St. Patrick...

Mannanan Mac Lir: He's the one. Brought Christianity to Ireland. Before that, fair Erin was the domain of self and extended family. Some of my fellow deities took pay cuts and worked for the Christians. Queen Brigid the Bright was one. She settled for sainthood so she could continue to care for her peeps. Me, I steered clear of the Catholics and kept on doing my thing with the rank and file folk. Me and my faeries, of course.

Anne: Of course.

Manannan Mac Lir: Then along comes the other one ... grrrrr.....

Anne: St. Columba.

Manannan Mac Lir: Shiftless skunk.

Anne: What happened?

Manannan Mac Lir: Skunk broke his golden chalice and asked one of my people to take it to the smith. I met my follower on the path to the blacksmith shop. One little puff from my mouth was all it took to fix that chalice, plus some. You learn all this stuff in God School.

Anne: I have a reader who has been there. Go on.

Manannan Mac Lir: So, I sent the good fellow back with the repaired cup and a message: "what say you to the power of someone who does this? Does your pantheon doom me, or accord me a measure of respect?" Darned if that poor servant didn't slink back and tell me that .... grrrrrrrr

Anne: St. Columba.

Manannan Mac Lir: The very one. He told the servant that only a demon could do such work, and I'd better get to hell where I belonged. Worse than that, the Shiftless Skunk scared the poor servant so bad that the servant went to all his friends and told them not to take my help anymore, no matter how well-intentioned it seemed. Just imagine. My faeries and I were providing great weather for farmers, fair skies for sailors. We were helping people find stuff they'd lost and filling children's heads with beautiful old tales. All of a sudden I'm persona non grata.

Anne: A common fate for bored gods and goddesses. What did you do?

Manannan Mac Lir: I booted it for the islands off Scotland and England, where folks are just stubborn enough to believe in me through thick and thin. It's a living. Barely. But the climate is nice if you like moody seascapes, which I happen to enjoy.

Anne: We here at "The Gods Are Bored" pay you all glory, laud, and honor, Manannan Mac Lir! And don't you worry. People are starting to appreciate the fact that Ancient Ones such as yourself deserve more than you're getting.

Manannan Mac Lir: My faeries and I worked for free. Gratis. Still no dice from those ... grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Anne: So what color do you suggest we wear on March 17, we who recognize the wrong done to you and your pantheon?

Manannan Mac Lir: The tartan of your Clan. Barring that, Anne, I think the burgundy shirts you wear to your school are quite becoming on you.

Anne: That's the school uniform! If I wear that on a Saturday, my husband will pitch a fit! He's sick to death of burgundy! How about this powder pink Land's End sweatshirt? It bids fair to be a coldish day.

Manannan Mac Lir: A glorious hue. Is there anything my faeries and I can do for you?

Anne: Not a thing, honored one. Our motto here at "The Gods Are Bored" is simple: "Ask not what a god can do for you. Ask what you can do for a god." How about this: In your honor, I will not submit a reimbusement request to the East Coast Vulture Festival for the expensive buzzard costume I rented. The Nature Society of Wenonah will therefore have another hundred bucks to spend on their six miles of walking trails.

Manannan Mac Lir: You do me justice, daughter of ancient Scotland. I'll be hovering, should you need me.

Anne: So, friends, there you are. Another bored god, done in by a demanding "It's All About Me" deity and his followers. As for me and my house, we will not wear green.

FROM ANNE
CLAN HANNA

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

All About My Fabulous, Wonderful Book!


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," futility on a half shell! Remember all those grand ambitions you had as a hardy youth? Yeah, well, now you have bursitis.


I absolutely suck at linking, and I know from reading other blogs that it's a skill I should have. Lacking the time and tutor to do anything about it today, I give you instead a little plug about my most recent book, Defining Moments: The Scopes Monkey Trial. (Detroit: Omnigraphics Press, 2006)

The Scopes Monkey Trial is a simple, straightforward narrative about the famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee in which a school teacher named John Scopes was accused of teaching evolution to his students in violation of Tennessee's newly-passed Butler Act of 1925. According to the Butler Act, it became unlawful to teach anything that contradicted the notion that the world was created in six days by an Intelligent Designer. Scopes, a young bachelor who thought he'd just have a lark of it, decided to challenge the law.

In fact, Scopes said it is impossible to teach biology without teaching evolution.

A riveting trial ensued. Clarence Darrow and Dudley Field Malone led Scopes's defense. William Jennings Bryan, a once-great politician reduced to fundie propagandizing, pontificated for the prosecution.

If you've seen "Inherit the Wind," you've seen a fruity fictionalized version of this important trial. In fact, the real Scopes trial was not nearly such a one-sided victory for all things rational and intellectual. During the real trial, Darrow attacked Bryan so savagely that it was overkill.

Wait a minute. It was just kill. Bryan died less than a week after the trial ended. One presumes his ticket to that Great Adventure Theme Park in the Sky was paid for and in his pocket.

So, my book is about this trial. It includes historical events leading up to the trial, chapters on the trial itself, how the trial was viewed by subsequent generations, and finally, all the modern flap about teaching Intelligent Design. This narrative is followed by biographical entries on the major figures in the trial. It then has a chronology, and then a glossary. And then an iddy biddy index.

Needless to say, The Scopes Monkey Trial was written for school children. That's why I don't shill it shamelessly here at "The Gods Are Bored." It's very pricey at $44.00. The reason for the high price is that the book is library grade, meaning that it has acid-free paper and a library binding. Those things don't come cheap. TSMT is meant to be sold to school libraries. It's part of a series called "Defining Moments."

I've gotta say I'm tickled pink with The Scopes Monkey Trial. Especially this acid-free paper, which means the doggone thing will look spiffy if and when my grandchildren blow off the cobwebs and take a peek.

The editors at Omnigraphics called me out of the blue and asked me to write the book. I was already an armchair expert on H.L. Mencken, who covered the trial for the Baltimore Sun and the American Mercury. I also studied human evolution at Johns Hopkins University with author Pat Shipman and her husband Alan Walker, winner of a MacArthur "genius grant." (One defining moment in my life came when I turned down an opportunity to work for Dr. Walker. I wanted to be a writer. Duhhhhhhhhhhh.)

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" have never loved anything more than running our flame-tipped pens through Intelligent Design. It's an ongoing joy for us to offer scientific evidence of a world vomited from the belly of a stressed bored god. And that incontrovertable proof that we all rest on the shell of a turtle because a Goddess needed some dry land under her feet.

If you would like "The Gods Are Bored" to offer a series of posts on the Scopes Monkey Trial, leave a comment! Let's see. I think we'd call it Gene or Genesis. Wow. That's snappy!

Do I have anything that I will shamelessly shill on this site in the future? Damn straight. Ten bloody years before the stupid Da Vinci Code, I started writing a historical novel about how the Knights Templar got their mitts on the Holy Grail and all its secrets. This summer I'm gonna get someone to make me a web site about that book, and if you want to read it the price will be right! No acid free paper on that baby, no sirreeee.

In the meantime, we at "The Gods Are Bored" look forward to serving you righteous portions of powerful polytheism! In fact, we've already booked a bored god for tomorrow or Saturday who is going to tell you why to wear anything but green on St. Patrick's Day!

FROM ANNE
CHIMP, CHAMP, CHUMP

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be ...

... writers.

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," pole position in the Poorhouse Classic! Vrooom Vroooooom!

This might surprise some of you, but I'm not a goat judge.

I got the idea of calling myself a goat judge when my daughters and I went to a county fair and I saw a goat judge at work. He was an old grizzled geezer, and completely besotted with goats (in an appropriate sort of way). To me, judging the quality and quantity of lactation, as well as handler skill, looked like a swell way to make a living.

One thing's for damn sure. It pays more than what I am, which is a writer.

I published a nice book last year. I'm proud of it. I also finished a second book-length manuscript and wrote a long article for Faerie Magazine.

It's a sweet life when you love what you do. That's why I wish I loved scooping ice cream at Coldstone, or taking toll money on the turnpike.

If you ever dreamed of being a freelance writer, your own boss with your beautifully-produced books arriving in the mail, well. Get an application to Goat Judge School and start learning about buds, kids, and the proper principles of fencing.

Even highly successful freelance writers will tell you that you're always one assignment away from mortgage foreclosure. In fact, forget about a mortgage. You won't qualify for one. When the banker hears "freelance writer," he or she will leave the room, stamp NO NO NO NO NO NO! on your application, and come back with a shit-eating grin, trying to offer you a high interest credit card -- just in case that novel growing spider eggs in the corner of your office ever gets published because your daughter marries the president of a big New York publishing house.

My daughters aren't marrying age, and I'd never advise them to tie the knot with a publisher. Those dudes are only one bad book away from foreclosure too. Just ask that gal who bought a book by O.J. Simpson called How I Would Have Done It, But I Didn't Do It, But I Could Have If I'd Wanted To.

If you're wondering what sparked this rant, it's this: I've been a long-term substitute teacher in a high school since December 10. My salary was raised January 1. Between then and now I've earned more teaching freshmen how to research a report on insects than I earned all of last year on all the projects listed above.

And you know what else? My paychecks have arrived right on time, with the taxes already taken out. I haven't had to make one phone call, let alone the 15 or 16 it usually takes to get a ducking editor to pay what they owe. (Must admit Omnigraphics Press is a prompt pay and a good staff. The exception, not the rule.)

Think about this for a minute. It pays better to be a substitute teacher than a writer. Unless you're bloody John Grisham or J.K. Rowling.

If you'll excuse me now, I have to crank up the Model T and go get my daughter The Spare from her school. I never make her do her Language Arts homework.

FROM ANNE
WRONGER

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another Year, Another Number

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," helping you to connect with your inner god or goddess, or sacred animal, or hallucinatory mushroom! (Well, actually you have to find your own mushrooms.) We don't care how you reach the divine. Just don't stain our furniture while doing it.

Today is my birthday! Yippee! Mr. Johnson treated me to a massage. No, I mean a professional one. It's the first one I've ever had. Imagine that, me being more or less from a spa town.

If you look at my life as a Greyhound bus ride, here's how it would go:

I've already passed through Traumatic Childhoodville and Puberty City (both very hilly). Changed in Puberty City for Youthful Follyton, lots of furniture stains in that burg. From Youthful Follyton it was only a skip and a jump to Learning Land, a pleasant place to spend 4 years despite all the red brick buildings. After Learning Land, Greyhound took me through a series of little towns all known as Jobton. Final destination (or so I thought at the time): The Motor City.

Sadly boarded Greyhound in Motown. Destination: New Jersey, where I've been esconced in Maternity Borough for many years. Side trips to Mid-Life Crisisville, which I prefer to call Paradigm Change City.

The bus is rollin' on. Next stop, Pay4College Point, which you can only get to by taking residence in Suck City. By the time I'm through with Suck City, my feeling is that Greyhound will move me on down the line to Bad Knee Geezerville. I can see the high towers of the orthopedic ward off in the distance.

It's been a long ride, but since I found this blog and all my friends out there in the sphere, it feels like I'm with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters instead of those boring earnest moms in the PTA.

I've also made friends with a Monkey Man and a bunch of people who like to dress up like vultures. So I'm happy enough on the bus.













Thank you for going Greyhound, the energy saver.





FROM ANNE
OLDHEN (Today's stupid Pagan name)

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Business for a Bored God


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We can spell without a checker, but our linkin' is stinkin.'

The best I can to do introduce today's post is to send you to The Wild Hunt, an awesome serious Pagan site. Jason, the author there, will send you further on down the line to another site, BoingBoing, also thoroughly grounded in modern Paganism.

Okay, that's the hat tip and bibliography for today. Go ahead and slap a "D" on my paper. I can take it.

Here's the story:

President Bush has just finished a tour of Guatemala that included a visit to Ixmche, location of the ancient Kakchiquel Mayan Temple. In the aftermath of the presidential visit, the praise and worship team remaining to the ancient bored gods of the Mayan people decided they would have to conduct a thorough cleansing ceremony.


The priesthood of the Mayan pantheon determined that President Bush sowed bad vibes in the temple. It does not take a leap of faith to understand this point of view. President Bush is seen in some meso-American countries as being disrespectful to immigrants and -- gasp, how could this be? -- as a dangerous force of violence in other parts of the world.


So as we speak, the sacred priests of Ixmche are performing careful rituals to rid their house of worship of a demonic presence. We at "The Gods Are Bored" will light candles tonight in solidarity and pray for a successful exorcism.


Chac, the bored Mayan god pictured above, is a frequent visitor to our site. (Pagans take note: This deity does not shrink from lavish displays of sartorial excess.)


Chac is too busy to drop in today, needless to say. But he did send this statement, via his press secretary:


"In solidarity with the struggling poor of my peoples, and in horror at the bloodshed precipitated by the Demon Bush, I must work with my praise and worship team to purify our sacred site. A missionary opportunity like this comes along so seldom that I will be very busy for some time to come. Any queries should be posted to my Office of Public Relations. Someone will get back to you shortly."


You go, Chac! A bored god at work! Blessed be!


And I love the part about "bloodshed precipitated by the Demon Bush." Chac is a Rain God. Ah, the irony.


FROM ANNE

CHAC FULL O' GUTS

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This One Made Me Laugh


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" You thought I was just kidding when I said I was swathed in 100 pounds of vulture feathers. Hoo hee! This is me! Suffering for the Sacred Thunderbird!


Seriously, if you want to get 3 seconds of air time on a major metropolitan newscast, dress like this.


I read something funny in the newspaper just now. You might have missed it if you don't live in Philadelphia.

There are two U.S. Mints in America: Philadelphia and Denver. Their job is to churn out the coin of the realm, those shiny pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters that you dump into parking meters and laundromat washing machines.

Lately the two mints have been busy churning and churning on yet another dumbcluck idea. They've been turning out yet another dollar coin.

How many dollar coins are they going to produce before they get it that we just don't want them? For the love of fruitflies, I just adored the one with Sacajawea on it, I thought it was an honor to the bored gods and everything. Did I use it? Only on the El. You go to the Elevated Train, you put your paper dollar in one machine, it spits out Sacajawea, then you put Sacajawea in another machine for a ticket. If you don't take the El every day, you're hard pressed to find a merchant that doesn't look at pretty Sac and say, "Don't you have a real dollar?"

The newest dollar coins are meant to be collectible but also usable as legal tender. Philly's been cranking them out in epic numbers.

Some day this week or last, something went wrong. The new dollar coin, sporting yet another boring picture of George Washington, is supposed to say "In God We Trust" around the rim of the coin. Isn't technology amazing? Except that the folks at the Philadelphia Mint missed a big bunch of dollar coins. Some went out without the "In God We Trust" logo.

Did you get that? There's finally some usable money out there that doesn't violate the Establishment Clause!

Oh, if only I can stuff my paper dollars into the El machine and here the sweet jingle jangle of a dollar coin that doesn't say "In God We Trust!"

In the meantime, I am not for the life of me going to spend forty bucks buying one off Ebay.

Sadly, though the coins were minted in Philadelphia (which is my point of destination when I ride the El), they were apparently dispersed in Florida and points south. So if you know someone who's down at Spring Training cheering on their favorite baseball team, text 'em quick and get 'em to hit the banks.

Today freedom is not free. It costs a dollar.

FROM ANNE
VULTURETTA
A new feature of "The Gods Are Bored": trying to think up a new stupid Pagan name every day.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On Clout, or the Lack Thereof



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Illogical, irreverent, and ill-conceived since 2005!













What do the following have in common?

1. The United Auto Workers
2. The American Civil Liberties Union
3. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
4. Mothers against Drunk Driving
5. The Sierra Club

Not a whole hell of a lot, you say. How about this group?

1. The Westboro Baptist Church
2. Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids
3. Daughters of 1812
4. Hannidate
5. Green Party

Even less, right?

Sorry, wrong. The first group has an important cache (accent acute). They have clout. The outfits in column two, by virtue of numbers, cash on hand, and distribution over the general population, have no clout whatsoever.

Oh yeah, you may see those dunderheads in the Westboro Baptist Church on t.v. from time to time. The overwhelming majority of Americans watch the t.v. and say, "God, are those people morons." And then WBC is forgotten instantly.

Whoever heard of the Daughters of 1812? Trust me, they exist. They have a national society. The youngest member is probably about 62.

I wonder who has more members, the U.S. Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, or the Daughters of 1812? Thank goodness both of them have more members than WBC, which seems to consist of one family that retains a great deal of Australopithecus DNA.

The point I'm after here is this: Pagans are not going to be taken seriously, no matter what they wear. In order to be taken seriously in America you need to be numerous, well-heeled, and organized. As far as I've seen, the whole point of Pagan worship is to be independent of central organization. The idea of a Southern Pagan Leadership Conference doesn't appeal, savvy?

I don't have any ready solution for this dilemma, because of course your average Pagan would like to see some social change. Oh, say, like the end of this moronic inferno in Iraq. Or state recognition of same-sex marriage. But in order to get those things done, Pagans would have to organize.

Then they would bicker. Have you ever known a large group that didn't erupt regularly with well-publicized bouts of bickering? Look at these mainstream Christian yearly conventions and see how they're resolving the burning issue of gay clergypeople. Yuck. Ack. Who wants that?

But if those same conventions want a big-name politician to come greet them and give a rousing speech, you can best bet they'll get whoever they call. I'm not going to hold my breath until Candidate Clinton addresses the Daughters of 1812.

Suppose Pagans suddenly exploded in the population, until they could actually have significant political clout? Suppose those same Pagans could vote into office candidates who would enact laws respecting same-sex marriage, a drastic program to curtail CO2 emissions, and massive preservation of wild lands, including the end to Mountaintop Removal? Okay, how would that make Pagans different from the fundies, except in philosophy?

Oooooooo. Annie gonna get in some deep buzzard droppings here.





Earlier I said I didn't have a solution for this problem. Actually I do. It's called Separation of Church and State. Suppose all existing Pagans, and all Pagans to come (of which I predict there will be many more than D of 1812), joined the Green Party?





Aren't you fed up with politics as usual? I know I am. Let's take our minimal clout and try to maximize it.





Before you scold me by saying that Ralph Nader caused Al Gore to lose the 2000 election, let me answer. I hear you. Al Gore would make a splendid candidate for the Green Party.





Okay, swing away. I'm wearing 100 pounds of fake vulture feathers. I won't feel a damn thing.





FROM ANNE

NO PARTICULAR STUPID PAGAN NAME

Photo: Communications Workers of America, Labor Day 2006

Sunday, March 04, 2007

My Fifteen Seconds of Fame

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," animated animism, totem template, vulture Valhalla! If you yearn to dress like a sacred animal or bird and dance madly in a warm bath of light, you are not alone. Have some leftover delicacies from the East Coast Vulture Festival 2007, and let a nearly-martyred missionary tell you how to suffer for your faith.

Catching my legions and legions of readers up on previous posts:

1. Anne agrees to be buzzard mascot for the East Coast Vulture Festival, March 3, 2007. Anne sees this as a means by which to witness to the greatness of the turkey vulture, better known by its Latin name Golden Purifier.

2. Anne orders a rental vulture mascot costume from a company in Akron, Ohio.

3. Anne fusses and frets over whether the company will actually send the costume in time.

4. The company sends the costume in time, but Anne has the flu.

5. The costume looks like a vulture but feels like the kind of armor a well-heeled member of William Wallace's infantry might have found desirable.

6. The breathing hole in the costume is too small and clogged with black paint.

7. Anne has the flu.

8. Anne makes a fateful decision: One must suffer along the winding road to Vulture Valhalla. Anne appears at the East Coast Vulture Festival in the mascot gear and leads the shamanic vulture dance.

9. That was yesterday. Now it's morning after, and Anne feels like one of those old-time missionaries, returned from a long posting in deepest Africa, gaunt and riddled with every sort of exotic wasting illness known to humankind.

It was worth it.

Long will I cherish the memories of the hugs and kisses from the cute little kids at the festival, the respect of my newfound cadre of buzzard-besotten peers, the grudging admiration of my noxious tween, and yes ... (wiping tears) the sight of a rehabilitated turkey vulture, released from a cat carrier back into the wild from whence it came.

I'd lay odds that you could poll every billionaire on the planet and you wouldn't find one who would say he or she had a better March 3, 2007 than I did. The fact that I can't swallow today is a mere trifle.

Here is the best part.

Remember how Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes? I tend to agree, but I think that you had better be picky about how you spend your fifteen minutes of fame. You don't want to be the guy arrested for running out of the stands at Yankee Stadium to dump his mama's ashes where Lou Gehrig used to stand.

I got my fifteen seconds of fame today, and damned proud I am of how I achieved it.

Turned on Philadelphia's Action News this morning for a weather report, and doggoned if they didn't have a 15-second spot about the Vulture Festival. They showed the nature lady releasing the wild vulture. And they showed me, watching at the front of the crowd.

Of course you can't see me, because I'm swathed in 100 pounds of vulture costume, turning blue for lack of oxygen.

But what does that matter? Hoo hah! I'm on T.V.! Famous for the thing I love the most!

I guess by my age it's far too late to pursue a normal existence.

There's a serious lesson to be learned from all this East Coast Vulture Festival stuff. First, if you're open-minded and a situation arises (such as a vulture infestation in your borough), you'll decide to view the nuance as an opportunity, not a menace. Then, just as a joke, you'll see if you can make a few bucks off your pesky problem. You get a few friends together, delegate some authority, and voila! A clear profit of $4000 in two years for the pet nature projects you want to endorse in your community!

Pictures of the event will be posted as they become available.

In Vultures We Trust,

ANNE JOHNSON

Friday, March 02, 2007

Gods Are Bored Fashion Show


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," clearinghouse for 10,000 One True Religions! Choose, then choose again, then change your mind, and then check out the clearance rack! There's sure to be a deity that's perfect for you, and in your price range, too.

You know what all religions have in common? Whenever two or more people gather together to practice, they're gonna note what the others are wearing.

If you happen to practice in a state of nudity, you're not exempt. Your compadres will still take notes, and make notes, and mull your birthday suit over in their minds, whether they mean to or not.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" get a great deal of Pagan news from The Wild Hunt, a very rational and comprehensive site. Lately the author of this site has reported on a mild frisson among Pagans on what exactly constitutes proper Pagan attire for gatherings of a religious nature.

Some malcontents have actually heaped scorn on the Goth and Medieval attire that is so popular with the New Age crowd.

Argue with this one if you'd like, but I sure wouldn't kick him out of my circle.


















One contributor of a comment at "Wild Hunt" suggested that Pagans should "grow up," wear normal clothing, and stop using made-up names, so as to be taken seriously. Tell it to this guy.




















Moving on to Exhibit C:






I don't know about you, but when I see these dudes coming, I suddenly remember I have to clear the hair trap in my bathtub. Hi fellas, leave your weird book on the porch and come back for it later!



This bored god thinks we moderns don't go nearly far enough in our body ornamentation.


















The point I'm trying to make is, what's the big deal if folks want to wear their SAC or Ren Faire garb to a Pagan worship service? Or, for that matter, the metal-studded black leather pants they just bought on the sale rack at Hot Topic or some other Goth store? It's human nature to want to dress up when you worship -- you're wearing the most expensive items in your wardrobe, after all.



Actually, this looks like fun to me.

















Please don't get the idea that every mega-church is brimming to the plimsol line with Brooks Brothers suits and sensible Talbots ensembles in easy-to-clean polyester. These days the Rapture Righties are trying to lure the youthful crowd by allowing their teenagers to get tattoos and wear leather. Think I'm kidding? I know a youth pastor with a shaved head and a tattoo on his neck that says "Jesus Saves." Yo, whatever works, right?











So, the next time you find yourself in a praise and worship situation with like-minded thinkers, please try to curb your sartorial opinions.

If you find this impossible, we at "The Gods Are Bored" remind you that there are any number of bored gods and goddesses that pine for your praise and worship, even if you want to do it in bed, in your flannel jammies, while eating Oreo cookies and watching "Countdown with Keith."

FROM ANNE

Addendum: Home today with the flu, anxiously hoping for sufficient health to wear my own religious attire (see below), I checked the moon schedule. Can one worship with egg on the face? As far as I can figure out the time and tide, tomorrow night is a full moon, with an eclipse to boot. I still hope you'll take a moment Friday at 7:30, turn off your lights, and meditate for a solution to global climate change.
I'm a pretty pathetic Pagan if I can't even keep track of the behavior of the moon. I guess I'm hoping that other Pagans won't care if I'm not perfect.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS (dumb made-up name)

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Magickal Working for Our Overheated Planet


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," perfectly serious entries about 1/10000th of the time!


On Friday, March 2, please be in meditation to the deity you praise and worship, asking for intercession in this grave global warming situation. Nothing has a greater potential to ruin our world, except perhaps a rogue meteorite or the Yellowstone Caldera.


Meditation will begin at 7:30 p.m. The deity to whom you address you concerns is your business, not mine.


If you don't believe in deities of any sort, just turn off your lights for a little while and save the energy.


FROM ANNE

THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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