Friday, February 29, 2008

The Body Electric, with Short Circuit

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Is your body a temple? So what do you do when the roof leaks?

I've always enjoyed very good physical health, a delightful girlish figure, few aches and pains except those we all get from time to time. But just lately, as Fidel Castro steps down from the position he's held since the year I was born, I find the old bodily temple getting some cracks in its columns.

Gosh, ya wonder why? Count the years that Fidel's been at the helm on his little island. That dude must have an iron constitution.

Recently a very nice doctor stuck a largish needle into my hip and sent me to physical therapy, better known as "rehab." If anyone had told me, back in my 20s, that I'd be in rehab some day, I'd have given them large odds it wouldn't be for a bum hip.

Like everything else in my life, I thought I had rehab figured out before I walked in the door. I figured the place would be brimming to the plimsol line with aging geezers like me trying to get a few more years out of the corpus delecti.

I was wrong.

Aging geezers are there, to be sure, but on the evenings when I go the place is dominated by little girls. Yes, readers. Little girls. Last night there were three girls there in rehab for injuries, and not one of them needed a bra!

These are not wayward tots who fell while climbing trees. These are gymnasts and soccer players injured during their chosen activities.

I'm sorry if I step on any soccer mom toes here, but if you're 13 and already in rehab, icing your bad ankle on the gurney next to the 89-year-old great-granny with osteoporosis, don't you take a peek at great-granny and wonder what the fuck you'll be like at her age?

I'll bet you that when great-granny was 13, she could dance all night long, ride her bike up steep hills, and hopscotch right through school lunch break. No one encouraged her to hopscotch to the exclusion of all else, until her good hopping leg went bad and she found herself on a gurney.

Hey, come to think of it, I would win that bet. My mama did gymnastics (they called it acrobatics in those days). She didn't pursue it until her wrists snapped. She just did it for fun.

You know what else I see when I lug my finely-aged tush into rehab? I see Gen Xers out in the gym, going hog wild on the exercise machines. Swear to the bored gods, if these people were in real-life situations, they'd be exerting themselves vigorously enough to escape that bull rush in Pamplona. Except the bull rush only happens once a year, and these yuppies are in there burning the machine cables to bits every night of the week.

Chill it on down, folks! Especially you little girls! Before you go betting your bones on Olympic fame, call up some footage of Muhammad Ali. Then look at some footage of Fidel Castro. Castro was born in 1926. Ali was born in 1942. You'd never know it to see them side by side. And I know for a fact (or maybe for a legend) that Fidel did some boxing in his youth. So that there's a rock-solid comparison. Sort of. Because maybe Fidel played baseball in his youth. I'm not going to spend the evening sorting it out.

The point is, you're only given one body at a time (nod to the Druid notion of reincarnation). Bodies wear out. We at "The Gods Are Bored" recommend not exceeding the speed limit and keeping after those essential oil changes every 3000 miles. You shouldn't be in for repairs before you've made the first investment in supportive undergarments and the final payment on your friggin braces.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Meme on Hold

Hecate has tagged me to do a meme about opening the book closest to me to page 123, etc. etc. etc. and copying five sentences into this space.

Oh zounds! Four days too late! I just sent the corrected proofs of my own novel off to the publisher earlier this week! And because I'd seen this meme going around, I looked up the pertinent passage in my book, and it wasn't bad.

So I'm gonna put this meme on the back burner for now, because the next closest book to my fist is Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen, and it is the most fabulously funniest, wickedest, filthiest romp of a book in my whole house, so I won't ruin it by spilling even five sentences. Go to the bookstore and buy it, tell 'em Skink sent ya.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bye Bye, Ballerina!


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Is there any deity who doesn't love dancing? If so, send that deity to the perimeter with an Etch-a-Sketch and a bag of those rice cakes that taste like paper!

When my daughter The Heir first went to high school, she was so unhappy to discover that none of her middle school friends had lunch the same time she did. She was faced with the prospect of sitting alone at a lunch table all year long.

So I told The Heir, "Look around the room and find someone who looks like you and is sitting alone, or almost alone. And then just ask that person if you can sit with them."

That is how The Heir met Seitou the artist and Giselle the ballerina. Seitou and Giselle were seniors, but they welcomed The Heir to their lunch table, and before you know it, lunch was The Heir's favorite part of the daily agenda. (As it is for so many high schoolers, nothing rare there.)

Right out of high school, Giselle moved to Indiana to pursue ballet. She was in a company there for awhile and then went to another in Texas, and then, finding Texas curiously inhospitable to her blue politics, she moved back to Indiana.

This past week Giselle attended auditions along the East Coast. She stayed with us.

Oh my, my chin grows quivery and my eyes fill with tears as I contemplate the two beautiful young women who have grown to young adulthood together, Heir and Giselle, sitting and laughing over some silly YouTube posting, or sharing tidbits of advice on how to get on in the world! Giselle is so admirable, trying her best to live her dream at extra-long odds. That's what we're supposed to do when we're young.

Heck, I'm still doing it at ... emmm ... old as dirt.

Seitou lives nearby, but circumstances make it difficult for her to join in merry endeavors. This was particularly disappointing to Giselle, who so wanted a true reunion. But Seitou also pursues art in her quiet way. In fact her faeries are so exquisite that they could almost be ballerinas.

I feel my age watching these young ladies come into their own, but I wouldn't have it any other way. At a moment when my daughter The Heir could have sat down at a cafeteria table full of heavy metal stoners, she looked around for someone who looked like her and found ... artists. And that's what she is too. And no bored deity of any pantheon the world has ever known could ever love anyone more than I love my daughter.

So I guess that makes me something like a Goddess, only they've got prettier hair and never get gingivitis or stains on the upholstery.

Bon voyage, Giselle -- may Queen Brighid the Bright guide you back to the Great Blue Northeast on a toeshoe and a prayer!
FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Transition between Big Events

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," water-logged and windshield-fogged, and everything about it blogged!

Last Saturday I undertook the important duty of assessing the relative quality of certain specimens of good ol' H2O. Picture below. You'd never guess from looking at the photo that I'm as poor as a rat in a recycle bucket.

This coming Saturday, religion comes alive at the East Coast Vulture Festival, where I don my sacred Shamanic Vulture Suit to perform Religious Rites of the Highest Importance. If you are in the neighborhood of the Vulture High Mass, please do drop by and say howdy.

You do not need to be a vulture-worshipper to come to the festival. But once you're there we will try to persuade you with offerings of rich desserts and speeches about the ecological importance of the Golden Purifier, a.k.a. Turkey vulture. You may not weep, but you will be changed.

And now I must fly. Good-bye!

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Monday, February 25, 2008

In Which I Do Something Worthy of "Countdown!"

Welcome to "The Gods Are Very Interested in the Antics of Anne Johnson!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson. That's the Anne Johnson who participated in the 18th annual Berkeley Springs Water Tasting Festival this past weekend. That's the Berkeley Springs Water Tasting Festival that just got mentioned on "Countdown with Keith!"


If you blinked you missed it, but the Los Angeles municipal water supply was among Keith's "bests" tonight, 2/25. Yes, Anne Johnson helped to establish L.A.'s tap water as top of the flock! Here I am, hard at work. O ye of little faith!



I am not worthy. But Berkeley Springs is. Be there, or be square. Best water on the planet. (Except for Bosnia. And L.A.)


FROM ANNE
PROUD MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

While the Cat Is Away...

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bloated!" It's a tough job being an internationally recognized water taster like me. You try it. Go ahead.

In a span of six hours on Saturday, I tasted almost 80 different waters from all over the globe. Predictably, my nod went to two Bosnian naturally sparkling mineral waters, neither of which are available for purchase by American consumers.

I'm a most very helpful judge. Really.

Okay, so they love me in Bosnia. It's nice to be loved somewhere.

No mother can go away for three nights without coming home to teenaged mischief. As soon as my little economy car puttered out of sight last Thursday evening, my daughter The Heir and one of her subversive friends set out to find a store that would sell them .......


And they found an ample supply.

What sort of punishment is harsh enough for a wayward daughter that uses her mother's absence from home as a reason to search for an obscure, 1960s-era diet soda that tastes ten times better than the municipal water supply of Washington, DC?


FROM ANNE
THE HOMESICK MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gotta Be Good at Something

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where no one's gods will be ignored! A wealth of fun is in here stored, so come collect your laugh reward!

"The Gods Are Bored" will be on hiatus until Monday, February 25. I have been called to Berkeley Springs, WV to serve in the important capacity of water taster. After all these decades, I've finally found something at which I'm an expert. I can taste water with the best of 'em, and dole out gold medals too.

The following weekend, March 1, is East Coast Vulture Festival! So ... busy me. But I will have gobs of great stuff to write about, so desert me not, oh reader dear! Your custom is so important to me.

Respectfully submitted,

ANNE JOHNSON
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Faces of Evil?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," on this day when we celebrate the birthday of the first and last decent Republican! And even ol' Honest Abe used the same playbook. He suspended habeus corpus, threw folks in prison just on the say-so of their neighbors. Freed some of the slaves, some of the time. Jeez, the more I write, the more Republican he sounds!

At our last meeting of Grove of the Black Oak, my daughter The Heir snapped this group photo. It was Imbolc, and for one reason or another, more than half our usual members could not attend the Ritual.


I have to laugh when I look at this picture. Even if you are a Pagan, usually when you hear that a group is Pagan, it conjures in your mind some offbeat people, people who perhaps dress differently or are slightly more flamboyant in temperament, or whatnot.

Look at us! Could you honestly and truly discern that we're Druids, and not Methodists, or cousins at a family reunion, or -- gassssssp -- a Bible study group taking a break at a Focus on the Family convention?

So if we don't look evil, and don't act evil, and don't think evil thoughts, why are people calling us evil just because we don't want to say "one nation under God" while pledging the flag?

Every time the God stuff has been challenged in the courts, it has always been by atheists. I would love to see the American Pagan community become so large that it could mount a lawsuit against the God stuff in government, from dolla dolla bills to the Pledge.

Rick Santorum says we're a nation founded on Judeo-Christian underpinnings. That may be true, but we're also a nation founded on the principles of religious freedom, and in this country at this time, more and more of us are removing the Judeo-Christian pins and worshipping other ways.

And we are all Americans. Rather ordinary-looking Americans at that.

I'm Anne Johnson, and I approved this ad.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

When Good Friends Go Bad

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where this afternoon we will be striking the rare serious note. If it's laughter you're after, sad to say ... not today.

Over the weekend a huge scandal broke in my old home county, craggy land of limestone and Civil War battles.

The politician who represented District 2A in the Maryland General Assembly House of Delegates abruptly resigned. At the same time he resigned from district leadership of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.

The reason? Acting upon a tip, the police searched his house and found child pornography in the form of videos, print matter, and computer downloads.

This man was one of my oldest and dearest friends. I had no idea he might be doing something like this. I can only look back at his life in retrospect and from there detect possible clues that he had some sort of problem.

So far no one has come forward to accuse this person of actual child abuse. But we here at "The Gods Are Bored" say that anyone who buys or views child pornography might as well be doing the abusing, because they're creating a market for products that feature child abuse.

Yesterday another of my close friends from back home called me. He and I agreed that this is the biggest scandal to hit our county in our lifetimes. The story was reported in the Baltimore Sun and also (so I understand but don't quote me) on Fox News.

And so today my heart is heavy, not for the man I called friend for 34 years, but for all the children who were harmed to feed his well-kept secret addiction. In a faxed message he told the newspaper that he was "embarrassed." Embarrassed.

My religion has a central tenet: "An thou harm none, do what thou wilt." My friend did harm. He should be more than "embarrassed" about it.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN WHO ONCE LIVED IN DISTRICT 2A

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rick Santorum Soothes My Nerves


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Check your dull moments at the door! We don't allow those here. Especially during presidential primary season.

I feel sorry for those of you outside the Delaware Valley who cannot subscribe to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer does not put its editorials online. You are therefore robbed of the experience of reading a long, pissy ... err ... pithy piece by ex-senator Rick Santorum every other Thursday.

You'll remember the name, Rick Santorum. He's the idiot every village is longing to call its own.

Two days ago, ex-sen's editorial took aim at John McCain. I don't know much about Candidate McCain. When you say he's a Republican, that's enough right there. I wouldn't vote Republican if they dug up Abe Lincoln, brought him back to life, and stood him on the stump.

Ex-senator Santorum does not like John McCain. It seems that Mr. McCain is a moderate who might commit unspeakable heresies such as closing the Bastille in Guantanamo, allowing people to buy cheaper Canadian pharmaceuticals, protecting Alaska's wilderness from oil-sucking robber barons, and -- gassssp -- this one is a whopper. Mr. McCain favors criminal background checks at gun shows! Oh, the horror!

To quote ex-senator Santorum, Mr. McCain "has too often joined the very people who seek to destroy and replace what we fight to conserve and improve."

Translation from ghost writer to the real voice of Santorum: "McCain is a homo-lovin, gun-hatin, man-on-dog, godless commie librul."

I find it comforting to know that Rick Santorum hates John McCain. As long as McCain doesn't prove his worthiness of village idiocy by choosing some dim-witted conservative running mate, we might manage to limp through another four years of Republican rule if worse comes to worst.

--- optional trim ---

Here's how ex-senator Santorum describes the Democratic Party:

"It has morphed into a made-in-the-USA Western European liberal party that seeks to grow the power of government, increase the public's reliance on Washington, wage class warfare, downplay national-security threats, relinquish our sovereignty, redefine the family, and substitute secular humanism for our society's Judeo-Christian underpinnings."

Wow. Boggles the mind to think that there's someone out there who could write this with a straight face. And, as always with Idiot Santorum (whose village, by the way, is Fredericksburg, VA), the use of "Judeo-Christian underpinnings" has a distinct whiff of sexual innuendo about it. As in, gotta go do a load of laundry, all my underpinnings are dirty.

--- end optional trim ---

If I were John McCain, I would call and thank Rick Santorum for the no-confidence vote. Because if a majority of Republicans in this country were as consistently harebrained as Rick Santorum, then the 2008 Republican presidential candidate would be ... Rick Santorum.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Friday, February 15, 2008

Shop Steward vs. GS 7s

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We know fighting authority is a no-win situation. But we just can't stand to waste what we've learned in all those Kung Fu classes!

My beloved husband, Mr. Johnson, is a shop steward for a union. Mr. Johnson is not a human being to be taken lightly. In fact, if you're thinking of taking him at all, please don't! I like him immensely.


This fall my daughter The Heir will begin college.


In preparation for that, Mr. Johnson had to fill out some incredibly lengthy and completely incomprehensible document called the FAFSA.

For those of you who've never heard of this government headache, FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Or Fuck All Families, Students, and Animals. I'm not sure exactly which.

Over the past two days, Mr. Johnson has engaged in an attempt to add two colleges to our daughter's FAFSA application in time for the application deadlines at those colleges. When he went to the online site and tried the procedure, he got a little pop-up box that told him that it took 3 days for changes to be shown on the account. And in those 3 days, he would miss the deadline for the colleges.

(If you're now thinking, "Well, why did la famille Johnson wait until the last minute to do this?" here's my advice to you. Remove your anal ass from "The Gods Are Bored" right now and make those plane reservations for the vacation you intend to take in 2012.)

So, Mr. Johnson calls the FAFSA 800 line and asks why it would take 3 days for something to show up on a computer program, when even the slowest dial-up internet connection can send and email promptly.

The first person he got on the line, a woman, said, "That's just the way it is." Mr. Johnson got huffy. She got huffy. I don't know to this hour exactly what he said to her, but let's just say he fought City Hall. The First Round was a draw.

This is what you learn by being a shop steward. You never stop working until progress is made. With that in mind, Mr. Johnson waited 24 hours and called the same number again.

This time he got a man on the other end of the line. Which meant that all pretense of politeness could be forgotten on both sides. I shouldn't be laughing about this, but I can't help it. Heated words were exchanged, and eventually the Federal Government hung up on Mr. Johnson.

After the first phone call I tried to remind Mr. Johnson that this is George Bush America, where no deed goes unpunished. But you just simply cannot stop a shop steward on a mission. Subtract 110 years and Mr. Johnson would be a Wobblie, as depicted above.

He calls a third time. He gets a young woman. She says, "Well, all you have to do is go to your account and get the DNS code. Then call us back, give us the code, and we'll fix the account right away."

He goes back to the web account. Acquires the DNS code. Calls Fuck the Animals, etc. a fourth time.

This time it's another dude. Mr. Johnson grits his teeth and enters the fray.

The dude takes the code and fixes the problem that could not be fixed for 3 days. It takes 30 seconds.

I've seen Mr. Johnson do this before with plane reservations, which he does not book four years in advance. When an airline tells him a plane is brimming to the plimsol line and has no more seats available, he just hangs up and calls again, and the next operator cheerfully informs him that he's been upgraded to first class on the flight that was supposed to be full.

Am I nervous that those GS 7 customer service reps at Fuck All Famous Stars, or whatever, are gonna turn Mr. Johnson's phone number over to Big Brother? You betcha. In Stalinist Russia, they'd have already rounded Mr. Johnson up for mass extermination. But, sighhhh, this is America. He'll probably get off with a light waterboarding, after which our tax returns will be audited for the rest of our lives.

But never mind that. The stupid colleges got their stupid form that everyone has to fill out even though you've gotta be living in the subway to qualify for government financial aid.

The Chinese curse says, "May you live in interesting times." If I can say anything about the life I've shared with my beloved since 1793, it's that we've lived in interesting times. Hopefully things will get boring, but I wouldn't count on it.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," radical righeousness and deity devotion for folks who know that things fall apart! The center will not hold, so have a seat on the periphery. It has a nicer view too.

I'm too tired at night to watch the news, but my dearly beloved (29 years my only Valentine) tells me that our Fearless Leader vows our country will soon be struck by a terrorist blow that will make 9/11 look positively kittenish.

Is kittenish a word? Or is it kitten-like?

Fearless L. is using this tactic to defend government use of public phone companies as handy dandy spying machines.

So let me get this straight. I live in:

1. New Jersey, within
2. 4 miles of the "murder capital of America," which is
3. Due east of every coal-burning power plant in the nation, which are
4. spewing mercury into my air, which is
5. super-heated by global warming, which doesn't bother me because
6. I'm trying to teach a nervous teenager to drive on the turnpike in
7. New Jersey.

On any given day, at any given moment, you and/or I can meet death. We will do it either alone or with others, either slowly or in a snap. But we're gonna do it. It's gonna happen.

So thank you, Mr. President, for feeling you need to monitor my phone calls. I'm sure you're very tired of hearing me making doctor's appointments and hair dressing appointments and talking to Geico about my car insurance and to my cousin about my sister. So, Sir, give up spying on me, and leave everyone else alone already too, unless you go through the proper legal channels!

Oh, for the love of fruit flies. Can you believe I just used "proper legal channels" in a note to George Bush? As if he would know what those were.

FROM ANNE
AND HER RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tricky Tiki & Talkin Turkey

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where a dread Tiki has come to live in the next block, unexpected and unheralded. There goes the neighborhood. Just kidding! We love all bored gods here!

(You can see the upstart Tiki by scrolling down. It's still there by the pond. It's been there a week now.)

My daughter The Spare got all her homework finished at school. So I shoved her onto the home computer in search of Facebook strangers and toddled off here to the library.

Whenever I come here to the Snobville Public Library, it always seems like a good occasion to:

1. watch every vulture video on YouTube, and
2. remind my three loyal readers what we're all about here at TGAB!

I started "The Gods Are Bored" in April 2005 after reading that some woman had blogged about her dog's illness and collected enough money to pay his vet bills.

My cats are healthy, but as I sat looking at the newspaper story, I said to myself, "Alas, perhaps someday dear Fluffy and Puffy might need vet care!" So I decided to start a blog.

No wonder there are so many bloggers, because starting a blog was so easy even I could do it. All the tricky bells and whistles about statistics and feeds and pathways and all that are beyond me, but by golly, I can get here to this box every day and type. So I'm happy.

Then I had to decide what to write about. A theme, so to speak, upon which to hang my hat.

I chose bored deities because I've always championed the underdog, the little guy or gal who gets shoved out of the way by the big man on campus and his entourage. Seems to me that if the human race can do shit like this, it must happen in the celestial realm as well.

There's something especially creepy about a person who decides to go out and spread his or her religion around among the masses, while labeling the various religions of the masses crocks of crap. I mean, suppose all those missionaries who went to Congo to preach about Jesus were actually wrong, and the real god is Chonganda. Not only are the missionaries headed for perdition, Congolese-style, but so are all those converts who might have stuck with Chonganda if they hadn't been pestered constantly and bribed with t-shirts and medicine.

We here at "The Gods Are Bored" would like it very much if everyone had a big, broad, flexible outlook where religion is concerned. Live and let live. MYOB, stop trying to make everyone look at the world the same way you do. Big, broad, flexible outlook.

The next time two pinch-faced Mormon missionaries disturb your Saturday morning cup of coffee, you might ask yourself where they would be and what they would be doing if they exercised a little big, broad flexibility.

Our only strong prejudice is against pesky stains on the upholstery. So if you plan to visit, please be advised: You must be careful with that glass of red wine if you're perched on the couch.

And now the tranquility of the Snobville Public Library has been broken by three moon-faced youngsters doing their too-difficult homework and whispering as loudly as it's humanly possible to whisper. So, have a nice day, don't spill on the rug, and start saving now for the vet bills my cats are sure to incur in years to come!

BTW, thanks to all of you who suggested what to offer the Tiki. Unfortunately, the items you suggested (with the exception of kava) are all products that I can't live without myself. Do you suppose the Tiki would like to have a big hank of hair from a whispering fifth-grader?

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Monday, February 11, 2008

Whatever It Is, I Need to Feed It!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" That soft wheezing sound you hear is my cat Alpha, asleep on the radiator. Move over, Alpha. Annie's feet are cold!

Yesterday I posted the picture below of a fearsome bored something-or-other who has suddenly appeared in the neighborhood. My commenters (a group known for superior intellect) couldn't exactly agree on what this thing is, but most thought I ought to acknowledge its presence with a suitable offering.

I rather agree. When a gnarly object the size of an average human suddenly appears in the next block, one would be unwise to ignore it.

However, I am flummoxed. I've already given it a rare item that had personal value to me -- a 1999 pin honoring my service to disabled veterans.

It seems to be sneering at this trinket, because I just had me 24 hours of heck. It would be hell, but I slept through part of it. So that knocks it down to heck.

What should I give the doggone thing? I draw the line at slaughtering Alpha and leaving her carcass at its feet. But I do not know what to do about this bored god. Your guidance would be most sincerely appreciated.

There now. That was polite, wasn't it?

And just so you know, the thing isn't in my back yard. It's sitting in a public park that is across the street from the house behind my house. If that makes any sense.

FROM ANNE
MUDDLED MERLIN

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is This a Tiki? You b da Judge


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where this strange bored deity has taken up residence about 200 yards from my house. I will entertain all thoughts on what this might be. I think its a Tiki, but I'm not terribly educated on South Pacific pantheons.


I do believe we can rule out "piece of unwanted postmodernist art."


FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF NEW JERSEY

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Someone Dumped a Tiki behind My House

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," with malice toward no god and with charity toward all deities!

There is one row of houses behind my house, and after that there's a pond. Today I was driving on the street by the pond, and my daughter The Heir said, "WHOA, MOM, STOP!"

Someone had left a Tiki as tall as me nestled in a rhododendron bush! The Tiki is hidden so that a person driving by can't see it, but a walker or a biker would.

Given the foot/bike traffic on that particular lane, I'm keen to get a photo of the Tiki before someone makes off with it. (That someone would have to be very strong and own a pickup.) In the meantime I called the Monkey Man, because he grew up on that lane, and I'm sure he'll want to see it.

I don't know much about Tikis, but everything about this one is fearsome and suggestive of a bored god with whom one wouldn't want to mess. So I dredged around my car for a suitable offering, found a pin I got for service to disable veterans, and carefully placed it in the leaves at the Tiki's base.

When the gods are bored, they like to relocate. This one looks like it's been on a long, strange trip. Photos to follow.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If You Give a Spare a Camera...



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the weeds are high and the mead is dry! Here, my dear, have a piece of pie!


See, I coulda been Dr. Seuss, but the job was taken.


At Yuletide my daughter The Spare got her very own digital camera. Except it's sorta not hers, it's everyone's, because if someone else needs to use it, well, you know how these things go. But really it's hers.


Last Sunday we celebrated Imbolc with Grove of the Black Oak, our regular Druid group. Our numbers were small on this particular holy day, but Queen Brighid, Great Bored Goddess, appreciates any modest number of supporters.


Little did I know that Spare was taking pictures. I hope I can load them into this space successfully.
Well, I wasn't exactly successful, but The Spare is here now clawing my eyeballs out and rolling them around the marble pit, so I'll load the rest tomorrow.
FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
Photos of Ridley Creek Park by The Spare

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hotel Fundie

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we talk of many things -- of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings.

We also steal everyone else's best lines. Get over it.

Every year in the wake of Equinox, my daughters get a week off of school. They have been begging to go home to the mountains and toddle around their blood's country for a few days.

At the same time, my Super-Fundie sister has just moved into a spanking new McMansion, and she's keen to show it off. She's never invited us to bunk with her before, but this time she's adamant. All three of us (self, Heir, Spare) are expected to stay with her for two nights, even though she only has bed space for two.

I have a splendidly sane and delightful cousin who lives in the same area. She has always played hostess to me before, and we just dearly love sittin in front of the big screen, eatin fried chicken and watchin Dr. Phil. Cousin has a big, broad, flexible outlook and a grandson the same age as The Spare.

I gently suggested to Sis that The Spare and I could stay with Cousin, and The Heir (who loves her privacy) could stay with Sis. This did not wash. Sis wants us all. She's gone to a lot of trouble to decorate a cute little visitor's room, and no one else is ever going to come and see her. So we must all come and flop at her chateau.

Sis also wants to go bike riding. She's sure she can find a bike that will accommodate my degenerative arthritic hip! Krikey, I can't wait to see this bike. Any bike that I'll be able to ride in my current condition probably also can bake pastries and crush diamonds.

My sister bought an ugly house on what used to be Appalachian farmland, she goes to a fundie church and to several "girl groups" attached thereto. Her pastor preached my father's funeral sermon, using the occasion to warn all Pagans and Gays present that they were headed for hell.

So it's my vacation. How do I make it fun?

Here's how. If Sis has a "girl group" meeting, I'll go with her. If her dear pastor and his lovely wife are in town, I'm going to suggest she include them in dinner plans. All of these people should have an opportunity to meet me, the fallen-from-grace-into-some-wacky-cult-that-will-send-her-to-hell sister! They pray for me at every gathering, so don't you think they oughta see who they're begging God to drag back into the fold?

Maybe they'll decide heaven would be better off without me.

It won't hurt my feelings if they come to this conclusion.

I've gotta fill this blog space with fun stuff, and I can't think of anything more fun than spending two days in the fundie wilderness, in the midst of a presidential election season.

Besides, church "girl groups" always serve savory snacks, and then everyone tells sob stories that are better than the ones on Dr. Phil. Which by the way it's time for now, so off I go. I want to be excited about my life.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super (Bowl) Tuesday

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," looking for liberty and justice in America since 1960 -- and not finding it.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" live in a Super Tuesday state. Which means that last night, during an otherwise perfectly diverting episode of Dr. Phil, we were subjected to political advertisements, heavily weighted towards the two remaining Democratic candidates.

Have you ever thought about what goes into the production of a television commercial? You need a scriptwriter, directors, an entire (and expert) film crew, music, and a "hook" that will get your viewer to like you and want you in their breakfast bowl.

One of the candidates, shot in soft pastels, promised to be there in the White House for me. The other, filmed mingling with the unwashed throngs, says it's time for Americans to have a voice.

Big money, slick commercials, vapid promises. That's why I searched my fertile mind for the most sugary and nutrition-free cereal with the stupidest product endorsement character to represent my opinion of the remaining Democratic field.


Quisp for president. He'll be there for me in the White House. He's going to give me a voice. His marketing team is living large on the profits from his commercials, but hey. He's for real.

I'm Anne Johnson, and I approved this message.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Pecking Order

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we recognize the ferocity of just about everything! What are humans, anyway? The more I think about it, the more I marvel that we weren't all eaten by lions back at the dawn of humankind.

Yesterday the daughters and I enjoyed a wonderful Druid get-together for Imbolc. The park grounds were so saturated we felt perfectly safe building a fire in a park-designated fire pit, and we all got enveloped in smoke as we honored Queen Brighid the Bright and asked her blessings on the coming spring.

After thoroughly dousing the fire, we repaired to a pub. There the conversation turned to critters.

In no particular order, our small party recounted being attacked by ducks, geese, wolverines, kittens, turtles (box, not snapping), mountain lions, and scorpions. Anecdotal evidence expanded the list to ostriches, African lions, various birds of prey (not vultures), raccoons and possums.

When you look at a duck and a person side by side, it's a pretty sad commentary on people that, in absence of a weapon, a hearty duck can kick butt.

Have you ever taken it on the chin from some critter that ought to be something you could dominate? I've had go-rounds with geese and ducks, and kittens. That's just sad. A wolverine I can understand, but an iddy biddy kitty?

Yep. Kittens got teeth, and if they're wild they know how to use 'em.

Oh yeah, and I was the one who got abused by a box turtle too.

Must be some bored gods working hard out there to keep our sorry soft carcasses rockin on. Because there's hardly a single critter larger than a canary that can't beat us hand-to-paw.

A truly motivated canary might have a fighting chance too.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

Friday, February 01, 2008

Imbolc 2008


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," seldom seen serious, since silly's so sweet!

Groundhog Day. What a stupid little dodge. Largish rodent crawls out of his hole, goggles the weather, and returns to hole. Supposed to be a foolproof predictor of future meteorological patterns.

Truth is, the whole point is that the ground hog returns to his hole. Imbolc is about your own personal ground hog hole, and the Goddess you invite to bless it.

Queen Brighid the Bright is the Goddess of Imbolc. She is the Goddess of home and hearth, of metal work, of creativity, and of nesting. It is to this Blessed Mother we turn to protect that which we hold most dear: our homes in which we shelter our children, our desire to take the base metal of ourselves and turn it into something precious. To dedicate yourself to Queen Brighid is to recognize that you must do for others. You must nurture children. You must create art that will delight. You must keep the fire burning so that no one grows cold and dies.

On this blessed weekend, take a small piece of a project you want to complete and ask Queen Brighid's charms upon it. Do right by a child. Build a fire -- a big roaring blaze worthy of your father's funeral pyre, or just a gentle candle or two by a mirror. Let Queen Brighid know that her attention will not be wasted on you, because you're not some nasty slimy thing that slithered from under the woodwork, but rather a well-meaning furry creature whose hole needs protection and who, with divine help, can brighten the homes and hearths of others.

Bridghid of the mantle, encompass us.
Lady of the Lambs, protect us.
Beneath thy mantle gather us.
And restore us to memory.
Foremother of our foremothers,
Foremothers strong,
Take our hands in yours.
Remind us how
To kindle the hearth.
To keep it bright, to preserve the flame,
Our hands within your hands,
Your hands upon our hands.
To keep the light, both day and night.
The mantle of Bridghid about us,
The protection of Bridghid upon us,
The memory of Bridghid within us,
Keeping us from harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness, this day and night, from dawn until dark, from dark until dawn.

Queen Bridghid the Bright, we at "The Gods Are Bored" ask your help. We want to light a fire that will honor the Ancient Ways of our blood. We want, at any cost, to preserve the lives of all children that wander into our path. We want you to walk with us again, not bored but adored.

A blessed Imbolc to all,

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS