Thursday, January 31, 2008

If It Don't Include Suffering, It Ain't Religion


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," suffering for religion every February!
This is what I'll be wearing on March 1, 2008. What will you be wearing that day???


I believe I might have told my five readers that I have a bad hip. The doctor ordered me into Physical Therapy. I was late last night because I could not stop watching a YouTube clip. I must have devoured the sacred footage at least a dozen times. It was sublime. Transformative. Past all bounds of human experience.

If you go to YouTube and search the words

vulture phone book

you'll find a Metaphysical Treasure.

And now, having just had my bad hip shot full of some sort of Barry Bonds-type clear liquid, I'm off to Wenonah to learn this year's Sacred Vulture Dance, which will be performed at the third annual East Coast Vulture Festival, lovingly described below.

All hail the Sacred Thunderbird, etc. etc. etc. Amen.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Labels:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hello everyone,
The vultures have returned to Wenonah, New Jersey for another winter. In just a handful of weeks, on Saturday, March 1st, it will be time to officially celebrate these gentle giants with the East Coast Vulture Festival 2008. There are a number of new things in store for the Festival this year:
We've added an afternoon of free children's activities: crafts, games, and storytelling. For both the young and young-at-heart, there will be nature talks, displays, and guided walks to the local vulture roosting areas.
In the evening, the stage of Wenonah Elementary School will be graced by live vultures and birds of prey. The Center for Birds of Prey, of Charleston, South Carolina, will be our featured presenter.
A new reduced-price children's ticket is available for the evening event.
As always, the evening event will have a little slice of "everything vulture": vulture-themed music, dancing costumed vultures, and a good helping of vulture merchandise for sale. The desserts are to die for, although you wouldn't want to with all the vultures around!
Tickets for the evening event must be ordered in advance. The best way to do that is to visit our website at www.EastCoastVultureFestival.org and print out the order form. While you're there, be sure to take a look at the 2008 Festival T-shirt, which features an elegant black vulture. These are ordered in advance also; we'll have them ready for pick-up at the Festival.
We hope to see you at the Festival this year. Don't forget to Look Alive!
Regards,
Scott Barnes
Secretary, Wenonah Environmental Commission

Monday, January 28, 2008

No Wonder Keith Calls It "Fixed Noise!"

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we'll be hustlin' with Mercury this week. Poetry splashes, buzzard dance routines, preparing for Imbolc, and teaching the political philosophy of Lock, Hobbes, Kant, and Montesquieu to ninth graders!

So please don't quit stoppin by if you see this message for a few. Mercury is a demanding God, more of a sprinter than a jogger.

Here's a little assignment you can do for a laugh. YouTube has the clip from Fox News (more properly known as Fixed Noise) on the new drug craze sweeping America, inhaling the vapors from raw sewage!

If you go to YouTube and search Fox and Jenkem, you'll find this hysterical clip from a television station that will do anything to promote family values, including giving good Christian kids ideas on how to recycle that unwanted poop!

Let me know if you can't find this classic news clip, and I'll try a link. But you know I'm stinkin' at linkin'. My daughter The Heir showed me the clip shortly before I found her passed out at the sewage pumping station two blocks from here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a whole new use for my powder room. Then again maybe I'll just stick to dry erase markers.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Frank Talk about Sex with Cell Phones

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We value your call. In order to serve you better, please listen to our menu of prompts.

If you want to speak to a bored god, press 1 now.
If you want to order the dog-training video by Rick Santorum, press 2 now.
If you want pizza, press 3 now.
If you want the world to watch you having sex, press 4 now.
(I saw you! You blushed!)

Do you have a cell phone? I have one, and I'll be doggoned if I can get it to work. But that might actually be a good thing, because some of the stuff cell phones can do these days can get you into deep buzzard barf.

We'll use a hypothetical young lady named Debbie for our educational film, "The Cell Phone: A Man-Made Menace."

Debbie and her significant other decide to get it on, and they turn on their cell phone's video recorder for the fun of it. And when they're finished getting it on, wow-ee, there's something fun to watch on that long bus ride to high school!

Except that Debbie's pal borrows the phone, watches the hot stuff, and beams it to Debbie's ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend, you choose). The ex, steamed to the max, beams "Debbie Does Ditzville" to just about everyone on his call list.

Pretty soon, dear old Debbie is Doing Detroit, Dubuque, Duluth, Dublin, Des Moines, Daytona, Dresden, Dubai, Denmark, Down Under, and ... we should never forget Dallas.

Worse than that. With his unlimited powers of phone-tapping, President Bush has deemed Debbie dangerous, and now she's Doing the Department of Defense.

Finally, Debbie's brother Darren down in Delaware gets a copy of the drama on his phone. He dials Debbie's dad, who's driven to drink by the debacle.

If you think this can't happen, you should read the newspaper more often.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" aren't going to tell you how to use your cell phone. But you might want to think twice before you hit the "record" button and then get hot and heavy with your honey.

Gives a whole new meaning to "come to the phone."

Friday, January 25, 2008

At Last! Universal Agreement!



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on this momentous afternoon ... we have found something upon which every one of our readers will agree upon totally!

Middle School sucks.


If you disagree, I apologize for saying this, but you're a bonehead.

As you can see, I've loaded a picture of the French forces storming the Bastille onto this blog entry. Because I've never seen a Middle School that didn't deserve being stormed by bloodthirsty French peasants bent upon liberating the poor oppressed inmates!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not examining a Middle School with a one-sided perspective. As I see it, here's what's wrong with Middle School:

1. the students
2. the teachers
3. the administrators
4. (okay, I do single this group out for special hatred) the secretaries

To sum it up in one sentence: Middle School is somewhere that no one wants to be except the principal. And he or she is looking at the "Help Wanted" ads every day for a high school opening.

Do you remember Middle School? I got beaten up by a gang of girls because one of them said I looked at her boyfriend with lust in my heart. (That's not exactly how she put it, but this is a family values blog.) As I recalled it, I simply looked at the guy the way you'd look at a stop sign when you were making a right turn at the end of a street.

Do you remember zits? I got one right on top of my nose that looked like Mont Blanc (keeping with la theme francaise). I popped it. It erupted. I have a scar to this day.

Do you remember Middle School? My daughter The Spare has a teacher who's probably vying for tenure. The Spare has so much homework in this one class that it probably surpasses the entire homework load that most high schoolers carry home at the end of a day. One of her assignments this week was to define five words with the root ver (truth). So here's an 8th grader who's expected to know what "verisimilitude" means. Test next Friday.

You know who's eternally happy to be in Middle School forever? The cockroaches in the kitchen. But even they become wretched in the summertime when they have to subsist on textbook paste and overlooked zit pus.

My personal Bastille Day from Middle School was June 8, 1973. Isn't it remarkable that I can remember the exact day? Not really. I declared it a holy day at midnight on June 8, 1973 and have done something special on June 8 every single year since that time.

This spring my daughter The Heir will graduate from high school. My daughter The Spare will graduate from Middle School. I doggone well know which party should be the biggest, most expensive, and rowdiest. But when you've gone through Middle School three times (self, Heir, Spare), you can't help but stage a humongous bash for the end of Middle School for ever and ever.

You see, I've made a personal vow not to live to see my grandchildren enter Middle School. Awful, yes, but enough is enough.



I'll let the Great God Bumba have the final say on Middle School.
FROM ANNE
MIDDLE SCHOOL FREE IN FIVE MONTHS, SEVENTEEN DAYS, AND TWENTY-THREE HOURS

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who B da Blackest, Yo?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your daily surreality check! Oh, what fools we mortals be! Any bored god will tell you that.

I sometimes read a little bit about politics. Only a little. In big doses, reading about politics works on me like that little bottle of stuff you keep in the cupboard in case someone swallows mothballs.

I'm catching a drift that there's some quarrel between the Clinton and Obama campaigns about who has the best record of helping black people (or even being a black person).

I'd like to tell both candidates something. Until they stop raking in stacks of big money to pay for their overpriced commercials and nonstop touring, neither of them is black. They're politicians. Being bought off like pork futures.

Am I the only one who finds it just a little distasteful that political candidates of both parties are spending more than $500 million each just to get a job that pays about $300,000 a year? I mean, don't you just want to ask them, "What's really in it for you?"

Having your picture in a history book? Go ahead, convince me. Then I'll sell you a damn bridge, Mrs. Clinton/Mr. Obama, because you're the only people I know with enough ready cash to buy one.

The country's broke, and it won't get fixed by people who play by the same old rules. Who B da Blackest? My students, that's who. And they sure could use those wasted campaign commercial funds to buy nice, up-to-date history books. Which they don't have now.

I'm Anne Johnson, and I approved this blog entry.

Labels:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Frank Talk about Sex with Robots



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today we're gonna talk about sex! I don't know about you, but it's one of my favorite things. I'd rather have sex than go shopping, which might explain my shabby wardrobe.



The Philadelphia Inquirer runs a weekly column about sex. Usually it's boring stuff like how fruit flies go queer if they're subjected to LSD ... oh, I don't know, that's just a ficitious example, but not too far from the truth.



Today's topic was a new book out called Love and Sex with Robots, by David Levy. Mr. Levy says we're just a few short years away from gettin it on with androids.



So please tell me when and why we bypassed gettin the housework done by androids. Because I sure as hell would rather have a robot that did dishes than one that did Dallas.



Mr. Levy makes the case that men in particular would love robots that responded to their ... emm ... oh phooey! If you've seen The Stepford Wives, I need not say more. Except that man-on-robot would probably rank in popularity somewhere between man-on-cow and man-on-dog. (What would I do without Rick Santorum and his "man-on-dog" remark?)



But Mr. Levy also says that women would go for these boy toys. I'm sitting here trying to picture this in my mind. Because this goes way past the fun stuff you buy at that little store on the dark alley. This is, like, a whole functional creation here. (I wonder if you can choose hair and eye color?)



I'm not going to pry into your sex life here, but I think average people can do complicated and creative things in the sack. So, would a robot be willing and able to play a little game like "The Very Distracted Tourist and the Very Vigilant Orangutan?"



(I got that example from Mel Brooks' The Producers, not from Chateau Johnson.)



Sex with robots. Well, if that becomes common, it will put a whole lot of nice pubs right out of business. Other industries will suffer as well, and I don't think I need to mention them here. This is a family values web log.



I have so many questions about my sex robot. Take hygiene, for instance. Does he need a daily shower, or can I just spruce him up with a Windex wet-wipe? One assumes as well that the she-bot would need some over-the-counter feminine products that men don't usually purchase at the pharmacy.



Can't you see it? Guy comes to the drugstore counter with a box of Summer's Eve Disposable ... emmm ... and the pharmacist says, "Hot night with the old robotess, ay buddy?"

The Philadelphia Inquirer article says that these sexy nonhumans will retail at about $7000. For the love of fruit flies! You could have a fine time in Vegas with that kind of dough, probably even find someone to play the Vigilant Orangutan.



We at "The Gods Are Bored" are not going to dictate your sex life to you, or tell you how to spend your money. But let's get real, guys and gals. If you've got $7000 sitting around, that could give you 200 decent nights in a pub, in which you're doggoned bound to find someone who will not have to be stuffed under the bed when your mom comes to visit.



FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS


Darn! Can't get the "off" button to work!


THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Labels:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

75 Percent Off Sale

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where one Anne isn't enough! Get that super-clone machine geared up, I can't work hard enough to satisfy George W. Bush. I need two more Annes here to help me out. And they better be as old as me, because I don't want my husband flirting with them.

Have you ever seen a sign on a store that said, "75 Percent Off! Sale Inside!" Then you go in, and you pick up a blouse, and its original price was $475.00.

So let's get this straight. Seventy-five percent off outrageously expensive is ... outrageously expensive.

If I've done my math right (always a dodgy proposition), the above-mentioned blouse, retailing at $475, would still cost $121. Maybe Jenna Bush can take advantage of that sale to improve her wardrobe.

I'm thinking of this because in September, my daughter The Heir will start college.

The other day, The Heir got a letter of acceptance from an area institution. They were pleased to offer her a $15,000 scholarship based on her academic record!

Wow. Yippee!

Alas. This generous college (seeking to boost its lackluster reputation by attracting scholars like The Heir) costs $37,000 a year for tuition, room and board.

Again with the math. We the Parents would be out $22,000 a year to send The Heir to a lackluster college. The Heir has applied to colleges with good reputations that will probably cost us about the same amount.

And where we'll get that kind of dough I have no idea. I hear our president is going to be sending out $250 checks to deserving working folks. Maybe we can put that in the bank, and in 1000 years it will have earned enough interest to pay for The Heir's college.

I didn't bother to do the math on that last one. Sorry. Long day and all that.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Meow! A "Gods Are Bored" Interview!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," unmasking myths for what they really are -- revealed religion! Remember, here at TGAB we recognize all deities, paying due respect to those who've been scrapped as figments of imagination.

Oh please. Like the Sphinx was built by people dedicated to enjoying old myths.

And speaking of the Sphinx, it's been a long time since we conversed with a bored god or goddess here ... and that's what we live for!

So, without further ado, please give a warm and wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Bast, Ancient Egyptian Goddess of Cats!

Anne: Howdy howdy howdy, Madame Meow! Do you know the difference between a cat and a comma?

Bast: No, dear, I can't say I do.

Anne: A cat has claws at the end of its paws. A comma's a pause at the end of a clause.

(Extended period of hearty laughter from the Goddess Bast. Can't believe she hasn't heard that tired old joke.)

Anne: Goddess Bast, I hope you've been keeping a record of all the sweet little foster kittens I've nurtured into young adulthood for adoption by responsible families.

Bast: I keep a better record of it than you do. You can't even remember their names. Except for this latest one, Willoughby, who went to live at Woodstock Trading Company.

Casey Jones

Anne: Well, I do remember some. This cutie is Casey Jones. Found at age 10 days old, in a box left on the train tracks.

Bast: And let us not forget your two resident cats -- responsibly neutered -- Alpha and Beta. Both of them rescued from hardship! Oh Anne, you are a saint.

Beta


Anne: I'll say. Beta leaps on me every morning demanding a full body massage. At 5:30 a.m.

Bast: That is duly noted in my files.

Anne: Bast, with so many Americans bloody nuts about their felines, I don't think you're probably as bored as, say, Chonganda. Or in danger of being warmed out of a job like Sedna.


Bast: I guess you could compare my following to a band that plays college and small theater gigs. Not numerous, but surely enthusiastic.

Anne: As well they should be. Cats rock. Ah, here's my Alpha now, searching for a warm lap. Beta is outside having a difference of opinion with the neighbor animal, Mr. Mistoffeles. The original conjuring cat. Please listen to me and don't scoff. All his inventions are off his own bat. Yo! Bast! T.S. Eliot was an atheist, wasn't he? Is there a possibility that he's in your heaven? All those cat poems...

Bast: He is with me for eternity, surrounded by luscious, purring, fluffy kitty cats. Mr. Eliot is happy as a kitten with three blind mice.

Anne: Now my next question is completely self-serving. I tend toward omnitheism, the belief in every God and Goddess that ever was and ever will be. As such I feel I'm hedging my eternal bets, hoping to be warmly welcomed in many heavens by many different deities. Can I count the Egyptian pantheon among them?

Bast: Are you serious, Anne? You raise animal shelter kittens, you pamper your own rescue cats... and you worship vultures. We're waiting for you! Come and visit for a few days or forever. All your foster kittens will be there, Alpha and Beta will be there, your cat from your teen years, Ozzie, is already there, and the barn cat you loved named Dusty is your guardian cat even now. You are aces with the Egyptian pantheon. Trust me.

Anne: Comfort, comfort, o feline. Say, Bast, there's a whopper of a cat show this weekend over in Cherry Hill. Why don't I pull out the sleep sofa and put you up for the night. We can go to the show together!

Bast: Thanks for the offer, but I'm exhibiting several extraordinary kitties, so I'm staying at the hotel.

Anne: Geez, I'd hate to be competing for a blue ribbon against the Goddess Bast.

Bast: Yeah, it's pretty much pointless. See you in Egyptian Heaven, Anne.

Anne: Not soon, I hope. But in good time. 'Cause I'd be happy enough there. For real.

Labels:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Worst Job in the World

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," swimming in Jello since 2004!
I wonder if it's really possible to swim in Jello. Tell you what. I'm not going to be the test dummy for that experiment.

Just now I read on the Internet that the Los Angeles studios have cancelled their writers' contracts. There's a strike going on, and the studios now have no new t.v. shows to sling at the couch potatoes. Except, of course, the reality t.v. garbage, which any good couch potato ought to love in and of itself.

Readers, the producers of your favorite t.v. dramas are trying to bust a strike. They're saying to themselves, "Heck. We don't need the writers we have, those stinking strikers who want a share of video/online profits. We can just go out on the sidewalk and pluck new writers out of the unemployment lines."

Sadly it's true. The writing field is saturated with creative people who can't get a break in the business. I'm not talking now about all you lucky stiffs who know how to write medical journals and software pamphlets and "how to" manuals for putting together the new gas grill. I'm talking about people who write novels, poetry, television shows, plays, song lyrics, screenplays. That kind of stuff.

Gosh, if Ronald Reagan could crush the air traffic controllers' union, smashing the t.v. and film writers' union ought to be a snapperooni. Our nation's producers of television and film are banking on it. How hard can it be, with potential scabs on every street corner?

It doesn't help when so-called lefties like Bill Maher decry the strike as "the wrong thing at the wrong time" and go right on with their shows.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you creative writing. The WORST JOB IN THE WORLD.


See this dude? He's a honeydipper. Sucking nasty stuff from the sewer. Guess what? His job looks pretty good to me. And safe, too. You're not going to find thousands of people straining at the bit to scab him. Frankly I wish I had his skills and know-how, so I could step in and dip honey.

Still I wouldn't scab him, or shaft him, or cross his picket line.

The moral of this sermon: Support the striking t.v. and film writers! Turn off that tube and take up a nice wholesome hobby. Instead of watching Desperate Housewives, why don't you be a desperate housewife and seduce your best friend's husband? Then you can write your own dialogue and not even be a scab.

As usual, asking no compensation for such sound advice.

Labels:

Monday, January 14, 2008

The God Bowl


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we're Pagan and proud and laughin' out loud! Every pantheon should have a deity of revelry. If yours doesn't, you might want to try some comparison shopping.

Do you like football? Bunch a big, strappin males out pummeling each other, trying to shove their way to victory?

Now, remember we're talking about football here and not big business.

I'm sure you've seen some cocky receiver strut into the end zone, drop to a knee, and thank The Big I-Am for the touchdown.

I'd hate to break the receiver's bubble by reminding him that his particular deity of choice is too busy influencing political elections and inspiring terrorists to watch football. Or maybe God is a football fan. Maybe he's a crackshot multi-tasker.

Sometimes if you watch a football game, you'll see guys from each team thanking the same god for their opposing scores. This baffles me. Which guy really gets the celestial boost?

Here's what I propose. We should take a poll of all NFL players. Find out which church they attend. Then put them on teams by church affiliation and let them duke it out in a God Bowl.

I'm not just talking Catholics vs. Protestants here. I'm talking Methodists vs. Baptists vs. Lutherans vs. well, okay, Catholics. Gotta be Catholics in there, for the love of fruit flies. Notre Dame always contends.

So we have a big ol' playoff, and then we get a Super God Bowl, in which the two teams that have bumped off the others (with the help, one presumes of the Almighty) square off to see who God really loves the most.

Your religious players will tell you that they thank the Big Guy after big plays because they want youngsters to see faith at work. What I think youngsters see is that God likes certain teams more than others.

We ought to settle this once and for all. Which denomination deserves God's ovation? Would someone please get on this? Because the way it works now, it's impossible to detect with any certainty a divine hand behind any given touchdown.

Ask yourself. Would The Big Guy like:

The Redskins (Native American Pagans.)
The Vikings (Uh oh. Pagan for sure.)
The Patriots (No way. Establishment Clause and all that.)
The Packers (Say, what is a Packer, anyway?)
Lions, Bengals, Bears, Colts, Eagles, Jaguars, Seahawks (Animals all.)
The Giants (Sounds Pagan, or at least Philistine)
The Titans (Ditto)

That narrows it down a bit. And sorry to tell all you kids out there, but there's only one team, as currently constituted, that your god can support. That would be...


Drum roll ...


The New Orleans Saints.

So, if you see a player point to the sky and say a little prayer after his touchdown, and he's not on the New Orleans Saints, that player could be praying to a bored god. Or even a goddess. Goodness knows goddesses like football. I guess. I've never asked one. Have you?

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Labels:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Holy Birds, Holy Trees


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we worship vultures!

You think that's crazy? Well, who or what do you worship? Some jealous bearded dude in the sky who thinks you're never good enough? Maybe the Almighty Dollar? Or, you bottom feeder, yourself?

Ever seen a sky full of vultures, honing in on tall pine trees for a night's roost? It's a moving sight indeed.

This afternoon I watched the vultures congregate in my personal Mecca, Wenonah, New Jersey. They wafted over me so close to the ground I could hear the soft swish of their wing feathers. I don't know how I missed this in all the years of buzzard-gazing, but they use their tails as rudders for steering, as well as their wings.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Behold the Sacred Thunderbird, rider of the air, custodian of the planet, imparting to the living viewer nothing more than a spectacle of grace.

Our operators are standing by to take your call.
Photo: Vultures of Wenonah, New Jersey

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do You Get These?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we do what the voices in our head tell us to do! Heck, those little pesky voices might be bored gods. Best not to offend them by ignoring them, huh?

I knew a dude in college who was so stuck up that you could see inside his nostrils. You know the kind. Everyone detested him, including me.

Well, not exactly everyone. I was shocked to the core one day when a nice girl I didn't know very well actually expressed regret that I knew Mr. Snobby so much better than she did. It transpired that she had a crush on the fool.

Always the helpful Girl Guide, I told him. He promptly asked her out, and they're married to this day.

I've lived in the same house for 20 years, so my address hasn't changed in awhile. For the past 15 years, Mr. Snobby and family have been sending me Xmas cards, even though I never send them one.

Their cards always consist of a family portrait and a long, one-page xeroxed letter (in smallest type font) detailing their year.

Don't you just bloody hate those things? The form letters, I mean. And they're always written in the third person:

"Mr. Snobby, after 20 years of making millions as a hedge fund manager, left his cushy company this year to start his own firm. In the first six months of this year, Snobby, Inc. pulled in $30 million in revenue.

"Mrs. Snobby raised $100,000 for the Fuglyville Symphony Orchestra. Wow! It was a full-time job for her, let me tell you. She hardly had a moment to bake those PTA brownies and keep up with her tennis game.

"Snobby, Jr. got accepted early decision to Harvard, after his original research on the causes of prairie dog population decline became the basis for a Nobel Prize-winning theory of dog demographics.

"Our dear little Snobette continues to make her way through the ballet ranks, having performed Swan Lake with the Fuglyville Private Academy All-Stars this Xmas.

"We hope your year has been as wonderful as ours. Keep in touch!"

Keep in touch? Are you for really, Mr. Snobby? If I saw you walking down the street I'd duck into a manhole. Take your perfect family, your kept wife and genius kids, and stuff them in a pig bladder.

Sour grapes? Okay, guilty as charged. But I do hate those damned xeroxed Xmas letters. Even Decibel the parrot doesn't want them in the bottom of his cage.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Friday, January 11, 2008

No Child Learns Butkus

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," viewing the teaching profession as a dispassionate outsider!

Emm, except we at "The Gods Are Bored" aren't dispassionate about anything. Have you noticed?

The famous Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education put an end to "separate but equal" schools in America. But I don't think Mr. Brown or anyone else foresaw the debacle known as "No Child Left Behind."

Needless to say, NCLB is one of the smaller debacles of our sitting president, who -- trust me implicitly on this one -- could not pass the New Jersey High School Performance Assessment test.

When the bright young minds who conceived NCLB wrote up their reports and collected their consulting fees, they forgot something. Or rather, several things. To whit:

1. Public schools should not perform the same function for each and every student.

2. Some students have special talents that are not reflected in the standardized assessment tests. Some kids who attend high school every day are not mentally able to learn the material they need for the tests, so they don't get a diploma.

I'm seeing all of this played out through the point of view of a Vo-Tech student. And I'm thinking that NCLB isn't getting its fair share of ridicule, considering all the other ridiculous things our fearless leader has laid on us.

Let's take a hypothetical case in point. Let's call him Larry.

Larry comes from a tough neighborhood in a really tough city. He's had a sub-standard education until he arrives at the Vo-Tech, and he continues to struggle academically there. He manages to pass his high school courses. But where Larry excels is in auto shop. He's fascinated by cars and learns quickly how to diagnose and fix them.

Along comes the NCLB tidal wave. Larry flunks the NJ High School Performance Assessment. Even though he's had perfect attendance and passed his courses, and even though he's aces with the cars, he can't get a diploma.

Okay, maybe an auto repair business will overlook Larry's lack of diploma. But what about the nursing home where Lisa wants to work? Lisa's in the same boat. She sucks at math, couldn't pass the damn HSPA, but she's really great in her allied health shop and works well with patients. What's the minimum requirement to work in a nursing home? You got it. High school diploma.

If I had a kid who had good attendance and passing grades through 11 years of school, and that kid couldn't pass the standardized test, I would jolly well sue someone.

These days, showing up at school and doing the best you can doesn't cut it. You gotta be able to read Beowulf and factor quadratic equations.

I don't know why they don't cut to the chase and call it "No Rich White Child Left Behind." Because the poor kids are hearing about these standardized tests and they're saying, "I'm not going to pass it, I might as well drop out now."

Hey, Dubya! Sit down. Here's a little test for you. If you don't pass it, you've got to live the rest of your life on the bottom rung. But don't worry. I'm sure you understand Beowulf. It's about war, and you're really good at that. Right? Right? Right?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Prince

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Would anyone like to purchase a slightly used parrot? Bargain rates. Drop me a line.

Please do not tell the staff at the Vo-Tech where I substitute that I never got a decent world history course in high school and therefore shunned the topic in college. Because starting Monday, I will be teaching world history to a student body that is 100 percent minority (actually, 99.23 or something like that).

I will be teaching these students about the French Revolution. I am not allowed to use audio visuals. This calls for some creativity, and I'm not a very creative person when push comes to shove. I hate to take in the miniature guillotine The Spare and I built to give swift dispatch to the basement cricket population (our resident aristocrats).

Just kidding about the cricket guillotine. I love my basement crickets. And they have a right to life.

Today the Vo-Tech students were prepping for their mid-term examination. This fall they learned about ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the Italian Renaissance, and world religions.

Much of the information danced through their brains and made quick exit. Hey, if you thought those long-dead white dudes were dull, imagine how these students feel!

Anyway, I was encouraging them to sift through the memory banks, because one of the dead white dudes on the list was Machiavelli, and the test features an essay question about The Prince.

Call me weird, but I've read The Prince three times all the way through, and more than that chapter by chapter. There's just something so refreshingly forthright about Machiavelli's cold assessment of how to gain and consolidate power.

Turns out good ol' Machiavelli resonates pretty well in these times. When I prompted the students to tell me anything ... anything ... about The Prince, they could do it:

1. Don't trust flattery.

2. Don't make a promise unless it's to your advantage to keep it.

3. The ends justify the means.

4. Make sure people fear you but don't hate you.

I think I'll park this post under "politics as usual."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Decibel Applies for a Job


HELLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOO!

MY NAME IS DECIBEL. I'M A SEVERE MACAW. I SEEK FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT AT A COMPETITIVE WAGE IN THE FOLLOWING FIELDS OF ENDEAVOR:

1. SEVERING OF FINGERS AT JOINT OR MID-DIGIT.

2. BURGLAR ALARM, VERY EFFECTIVE! YOU WILL NEVER NEED YOUR CAR ALARM AGAIN. NOR WILL YOU BE ABLE TO HEAR IT.

3. CARNAL ACTS WITH WILLING PARROTS. PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PERFORM CARNAL ACTS WITH PEOPLE, SO IF YOU ARE RICK SANTORUM, DO NOT BOTHER TO CALL.

4. FABULOUS HARRASSMENT OF TELEPHONE SOLICITORS, OR ANYONE ELSE TELEPHONING FOR THAT MATTER.

BIRD SEED IS EXPENSIVE, SO CALL NOW. MY RENT JUST GOT RAISED AND I NEED TO EXPAND.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Thirteen

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," leaving seriously wounded daughters in the lurch since ... never.

My daughter The Spare is hale and hearty, never mind the dramatic message in yesterday's comments section.

Just remember how often you were in pain when you were 13, and you'll understand completely.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hippie Dippy

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we like to think of religion as a smorgasbord! Take a plate, move on down the line, and there's sure to be a faith practice that fits you perfectly. Druid or Dervish, Mithras or Methodist, you're welcome here!

For about two years I've been having trouble with my left hip. As in, it hurts so much it makes me limp. I'm not overweight, so I can't blame extra pounds.

I figured the problem was bursitis and waited for it to go away on its own. It hasn't.

Over the holidays I got so many X-rays that I glowed brighter than the drunken gleam in your Uncle Zeb's eye. Last week, on the second day of this new year, I took the X-rays to the doctor.

The minute he put them up on that little light-up thingy, I said, "Oh man, I am so screwed."

The doctor didn't disagree. But he made getting a new hip joint sound like a pleasant walk through a sunny glade, and he promised me that he was sending me to a surgeon who is "more artist than physician."

Sometime this year, Picasso is going to do a Cubist boogie in my hip joint, leaving some titanium and teflon behind. In the meantime, as I'm a contract employee desperately seeking full-time work, I've got to hide this limp as best I can. No one is going to hire a limpy middle-aged female with substandard computer skills, even if she is thin and smart and nice and a people person who can type 70 words per minute and find the split infinitives and dangling participle phrases.

Tomorrow I return to long-term substitute teaching, and twice a week I have to go to physical therapy to prepare my legs for the surgery. So if you log onto "The Gods Are Bored" and find nothing but the same post as the day before, please be patient! Someone will be with you shortly.

Don't give up on me. I promise this site will continue to be dedicated to the bored gods, and not to my problems. Everybody has problems. But everybody doesn't have Sacred Thunderbirds or Loki or Chonganda in their lives. So my mission hasn't changed. If you need one god, two gods, red gods, or blue gods, check here first! Our low rates can't be beat, and our gods and goddesses are top-notch.

Please, please! Don't send donations! I can just hear you rustling for the checkbook. How sweet!

If you want to do something for me and the bored gods, just recommend me to new readers. If my polling numbers are correct, Mike Huckabee and Barak Obama don't need to be looking over their shoulders at Candidate Johnson. But please, help me make them sweat by increasing my fan base. It never hurts to please a bored god.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's Bliss, Remember?


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," boldly going where no silly Pagan has gone before! The Afterlife's a banquet, and some bored gods are starving to death. Light a candle and pick a pantheon, won't you? Immortality can get pretty dull without an active praise and worship team.

Speaking of praise and worship teams, no one is more surprised than I am this morning that the Huckabee menace actually won the Iowa gig. Makes one wonder if there's any Republican out there who cares about anything except unborn babies and what gay people do in their spare time. Rest assured I would not have poked fun at the guy if I thought he had a prayer of winning.

Silly me.

I now turn over the podium to Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken, with this important public service reminder:

"No one in this world, so far as I know- and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

Did anyone else on the East Coast see the meteor shower this morning? I caught a couple of whoppers and wished I'd hauled out of bed earlier.

See you in church.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"Gods Are Bored" Iowa Endorsement

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on Iowa Caucus day! It's time for us to endorse a candidate! And ah, it's so difficult. So many fine morons from which to choose. So many wealthy and influential folks with big, fat war chests for commercials in which they sell themselves like breakfast cereals. How can we separate the wheat from the chaff?

Can't. So, with no further ado, we at "The Gods Are Bored" endorse Mike Huckabee as the next president of the United States of America.


Mike is the only candidate who exhibits the same low level brain activity as our current sitting president. If elected, he would certainly continue the ridiculously wasteful and ill-conceived war in Iraq. We might ambitiously expect that he would be braver than the current administration and just shove our nation's aggression into Iran.

Mike's domestic agenda is simple enough. White men own things, women stay barefoot and pregnant, and everybody must go to Christian church (preferably not one of those mushy churches like the Methodists, and certainly nothing as radical as the UUs). Dust off that Bible, because the government will be coming to your house to make sure you're reading it to your kids every night at dinnertime.

If you vote for Mike, which I hope you will, you'll also be saving yourself from melanoma. Because you'll want to stay out of the sunshine, so that no one will confuse you with those brown people who will be deported. You'll want your skin to be lily white. Except if you're black. But if you're black, you'll be okay if you go to church and work for the Man.

Mike Huckabee will rid this nation of all the nasty, mentally ill homosexuals who choose to live a dirty, unnatural lifestyle. Well, okay. If you're gay you can stay, as long as you choose to be celibate, or if you marry someone of the other gender and have a healthy, normal, Christian family. If you don't think this can be done, you don't listen to Focus on the Family.

Finally -- and vitally important to us at "The Gods Are Bored" -- Mike Huckabee will shut down these pesky labor unions once and for all. Just look how daintily he crossed a picket line to be on Jay Leno's show last night! Striking workers should be deported along with the brown people! Then America would get back all the jobs the Chinese are doing for 14 cents an hour, because Americans would be willing to work for 14 cents an hour.

Oh, and I almost forgot. As president, Mike Huckabee will pardon all convicted rapists. After all, these men are just doing the human race a favor, trying to create more little humans inside the bodies of the inferior gender.

Only a moron of epic magnitude could compare with George W. Bush. We at "The Gods Are Bored" are convinced that Mike Huckabee is that moron. So vote for him, because things in this country won't begin to change until times become so desperate that desperate measures will be taken. The French Revolution springs to mind.

Huckabee in '08. Stay the disastrous course!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mummers Continue a Grand Pagan Tradition!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" coming to you half alive from the environs of Philadelphia, PA! If I had a mind to do it, I could walk to Independence Hall from where I'm sitting right now. But I'd rather take the El. Can you spot me fare?


Philadelphia has a grand New Years Day tradition more than a century old. Just about everybody in the city dresses up in fabulous costumes and struts up the street in a 12-hour Mummers' Parade. We're talking 3000 men in frilly dresses. And that's just one division, aptly called "Wenches."

The highlight of the Mummers' Parade is a series of lavish productions by local amateur string bands and fancy brigades. These are jaw-dropping in quality, especially when you consider that the participants are not dancers or symphonic musicians, but rather longshoremen, carpenters, and other solid citizens of that sort.

And where they get these costumes is beyond me.

Note to Mummers: Please don't tell me they're made in China, even if they are.

The word on Mumming has always been that it springs from German origins. But quite by coincidence last Sunday evening, I caught a documentary on the local PBS channel called "Mummers and Masks." The documentary was made by a Canadian company that traced the antecedents of Mumming back to pre-Christian Britain, including Scotland, England, and Ireland.

Some of the most ancient forms of Mumming are still practiced in Ireland and in Newfoundland. The details vary from place to place, but all of the Mumming traditions have several things in common:

1. People dress up in strange costumes and entertain others with their antics.
2. The tradition is tied to the New Year.
3. The tradition often involves revelry with "rebirth of the sun" themes and/or fertility rites.

My guess is that Mumming occurred on October 31/November 1 in Pagan times (the county seat where I grew up had a "Mummers' Parade" on Halloween). The tradition moved to New Years' Eve/Day when the Christian calendar changed the dates of the New Year.

All I can say is that I'm not surprised to hear that Philly's yearly flirtation with sequins, feathers, and accordions springs from Pagan roots. And this is yet another fine tradition that survived smackdown by the One God Model.

Oh, dem golden slippers!

Labels: