Friday, October 31, 2008

Samhain 2008



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on Samhain 2008! The air is crisp, the veil is thin, the year has ended, the crops are in.

Is there any more sane time of year to consider the 365-day cycle complete? When the last frosted pumpkin has been hauled from the field, when the apples have all been collected, when even the grass shrinks back in the cold, a circuit has come to an end.

We have arrived at the holy evening of the bored gods. It has endured through the millennia and is still one of the most highly-anticipated days on the calendar. Some will dress to frighten. Some to fulfill fantasies of themselves. Some with the mirth that either fills all their days or only peeks through once a year. At any rate, we honor the Old Ones by donning special clothing on Their holiday.

The veil thins. Some of us might feel our loved ones, our lost friends, at our sides. Others (myself among them) might receive messages in the apparent world that could only have been sent from another world, another dimension, a different plane.



Why do we believe in deities, in faeries, in spirits and shades and the Summerlands? Because to think that our Homo sapiens senses are adequate to experience and understand the whole of the universe is setting a low baseline for the universe. Are we the best that can be done? Have our brains developed as far as they can go, or do new perceptions await, some of them humming in the corners of our consciousness even now?

I have felt the nourishing love of the Blessed Mother. I have cavorted with The Trickster. I have made people smile who have never seen my face in the flesh. I want to be a disciple and a shaman. I believe there are greater Ones out there. I can feel Them. Can you?


If you call at my house this evening, I will be attired as Mother Nature. My talented mother-in-law created a costume very much like this for me, and I have achieved an age where I can wear it with grace.

Stop by for a treat. Have a glass of warm cider. Sit by my fire, which I think I'll build inside this year!

May all evil be banished from my doorstep. May all disturbing thoughts be set aside. Happy New Year, my friends, my readers, my fellow walkers of The Path.

Blessed be the deities who have marked our human way through the long march of time.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help

Just because of one nasty commenter, I have somehow disabled the comment portion of my web log. Will some patient person please email me and tell me how to get it back?

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But Wait, There's More!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," celestial infomercials for deserving deities! Are you feeling cranky or blue? Let our pantheons work for you!

Most of you probably did not watch the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series last night. (Yay!) However, I bet you did watch Barack Obama's infomercial on his qualities as a presidential candidate.

It was John McCain's idea to call the spot an infomercial, but doggone, no other valid definition exists.

My daughter The Heir has two endearing qualities:

1. She is fascinated by advertising of all sorts, especially infomercials.
2. She is as gullible a human being as you'll ever find anywhere.

Last night she called right after the Phils won the Series. She lives in a co-ed college dormitory, so you can imagine the mayhem I could hear in the background.

I asked The Heir if she had watched Obama's infomercial.

She said, "His WHAAAAT?"

Oh, readers. Can you blame me?

I told her that Barack Obama was offering a set of carving knives that would slice through paper and never need to be sharpened. That he demonstrated how to comb every last hair out of his pet Persian. That he revealed the secret to his tight abs and made bruschetta from scratch using a Magic Bullet.

She believed this much, so I went on.

I told her Candidate Obama would show her how to get rid of those pesky chin hairs without tweezing. I said his miracle vitamins would help her build muscle mass, study harder, see better, and turn blonde. I told her Candidate Obama would send her a free CD showing everything she needed to know about how to buy and sell on Ebay.

She believed this too.

"But wait," I told her "..... THERE'S MORE!"

So I told her that a vote for Candidate Obama would bring an end to people with no health insurance, a restoration of labor unions, the return of outsourced jobs to America, drastically reduced college tuition bills, a complete cessation of lobbying on behalf of fatcat corporations, green energy, and world peace.

She finally caught on that I was pulling her leg.

Let's face it. Whoever wins the presidential race inherits a mess worse than Great-Granny's hoarder house. America didn't fall into the toilet in one day, and it's going to take more than one day to drag it out again ... if indeed the task can be done. I happen to think Mr. Obama has a better chance of extricating the U.S. from the crapper, but while he's doing it he's going to look like he's spinning his wheels instead of bringing change.

And when the change comes, it's not going to work any better than the Magic Bullet, which looks great on t.v. but has serious flaws in the kitchen. So before you call those operators who are standing by to take your credit card information, don't get your hopes up too high. Our previous presidents have allowed cockroaches to run rampant through Washington, and extermination is not a perfect science.

I would love to believe that part about the college tuition, though. Where's the phone? Where's my credit card? Just a few easy payments...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Down...

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," located just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

If the Phillies can win the World Series, surely Barack Obama can become president.

At any rate, we at "The Gods Are Bored" picked a good evening to sit in front of the television set.

And just now it's rather noisy outside. Better bring in the cats and the lawn gnomes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Redistributing the Common Sense

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," freezing our butts off eight miles from Philadelphia! Brrrrrrrrr! It's windy. It's pouring. The foster kittens are huddled under a blanket, and so am I. Common sense, don't you think?

Some of you might have heard that a certain candidate for president is accusing the other candidate of wanting to "redistribute the wealth." I say it's high time for that, because trickle down doesn't.

While we are redistributing things, can we also spread around some common sense?

Those of you who are in the prime of life, like moi, can remember a time when the Baseball World Series was held in the earliest part of October. If you're edging toward geezerhood, you can even recall a time when all of the Series games were played during the day. In the sunshine of balmy early October afternoons.

I don't know when Major League Baseball instituted the League Playoff Series, but in my gung-ho baseball years I can remember these as simple best-of-five playoffs. Now (correct me if I'm wrong) we have two rounds of best-of-seven playoffs before the World Series. Maybe it's one, but I know it's best-of-seven.

And we have a World Series being played in Philadelphia during the final week of October.

What has brought this fiasco into being? Nothing but greed.

Greedy owners, greedy parking lot attendants, greedy television networks, greed ... greed ... greed!

Where does that leave the fans? Shivering under tarps in a Perfect Storm Nor'Easter, wind-driven rain, not fit weather for oystering on the Chesapeake, and those oystermen are tough dudes.

What we need is a correction in the distribution of common sense. Take the heaping helpings of common sense from fans who'd like to attend the World Series but can't justify spending the big bucks for tickets, and distribute it to the greedy owners trying to play a summer game in -- I kid you not -- a wintry mix.

The final product of this redistribution of common sense would be:

1. Sensible ticket prices and reasonable schedules, tailored to the elements.

2. Owners who still are rich, though perhaps not quite as rich as God.

And that's how you redistribute common sense! Does this make me a socialist? I don't care if it does!

I'm Anne Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies fan, and I approved this message.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Really It!


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," mounds of mirth for what it's worth! I'm your host, Anne Johnson, the "It Girl."

"It" because I've been tagged three times for the same meme. Y'all are too kind! My taggers are: Pom, Thalia, artist of the Bored Gods, and Aquila ka Hecate. Lovely Pagan bloggers all! Blessings to them.

I'm supposed to list six random things about myself.

1. I'm having deja vu at the moment.

2. I'm raising three foster kittens for the animal shelter. Two of them are polydactyl (six toed). See photo above and count for yourself.

3. I haven't been to Berkeley Springs since last February. But I'm still its Merlin.

4. My parrot, Decibel, is downstairs ripping something to shreds.

5. If you want to befriend me on Facebook and can't find me because of my name, add "Vultures" to your list of interests and then click on it. I'm the only person on Facebook who lists vultures as an interest. Ponder that for a moment. Maybe you don't want to be my friend.

6. My faeries are mad at me. They broke my printer and flattened a tire on my car. I need to gain back their favor by taking them on a lark.

I am supposed to tag six more people, but from looking around the old sidebar, most of you have already fulfilled this command, and the rest of you are more serious than that. I'll just ask The Hillbilly Fairy if she wants to do it, all nice and polite.

Any thoughts on pacifying faeries run amok?

FROM ANNE
HEART FOREVER IN BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween at Public School!


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where Halloween is Holy unto the Bored Gods and Goddesses! All glory, laud, and honor to the holy day that has survived from the Old Time Religions!

Every year around this time, the Christian Wrong starts moaning and groaning about the fact that public schools celebrate Halloween, but they do not celebrate Christmas or Easter or St. Patrick's Day ......... ooops!

Okay, you get the gist. Halloween, is not a holy day to "evil occultists," but rather to good, sweet, law-abiding, tree-hugging Druids and Wiccans, as well as a huge contingent of Hispanic Roman Catholics.

Isn't celebrating this occasion at school a violation of church and state?

Well, it would be if even one school teacher sat down with the class and explained in detail the history and religious meaning of Halloween. But that's not usually (if ever) the order of the day. School Halloween parties consist of kids showing off their wonderful costumes and harried moms handing out cupcakes, popcorn, candy corn, Juicy Juice, potato chips, pretzels ... oh, it goes on and on! Trust me, I've been there.

No one even tells kids who dress up like wicked witches that witches aren't wicked, nor do they wear black pointy hats. Nor does anyone point out to the kids done up like Satan that there's nothing Satanic about Halloween ... wrong pantheon.

All the same, I'll concede to the Christian Wrong that public schools devote an afternoon every year to a Pagan holiday.

My solution to this terrible, monstrous, obscene, unacceptable practice? Simple.

Make October 31 a religious holiday, like December 25.

Wouldn't you love that, Pagans?

Not only would you not have to work on the most holy day of the calendar, you could also expect many, many questions from kids as to why Halloween has suddenly become a day off school! A win-win situation! Think of the parties! The family togetherness! The establishment of traditions, like Halloween brunch!

So I'm with the Christians on this one. Halloween is a religious holiday. Let's accept that, snatch it off the school schedule, and make it what it should be: HOLY. But still fun! Trick or treat!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Natural Selection at Work

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," mystified by morons since 2005! Actually it was long before that, but I only just started writing about it.

The Intelligent Design morons like to prove their case that some things are too complicated to have evolved. They trot out some bacteria that moves with this little propeller that looks -- and works -- like the rotor on a helicopter. Had to have been made like that! Where's the intermediate step?

Okay, all you ID morons, explain MRSA.

Over the past year, my daughter The Spare has gotten two nasty boils on her leg. They started as little nicks and wound up red, hot, and oozing pus. For the second time, she will be taking antibiotics ten days straight, for something you or I would have cured with a little Bactine, back in the day.

The Spare has MRSA (Methycillin Resistant Stapholo .... oh for the love of Sarah Palin's fruit flies! It's a long name.)

MRSA is bacteria that can withstand the onslaught of antibiotics. It is proof positive that natural selection works -- and works fast -- especially with bacteria.

My good friend Seth put it this way: "If you use an antibacterial soap on your countertop that promises to kill 99 percent of all germs, guess what? You leave behind one percent of germs that rock on, immune to the soap. These multiply, and pretty soon you've got a big, fat, naturally selected problem on your hands."

Just think of bacteria that live by the rule, "That which doesn't kill me only makes more of me."

Antibiotics have only been around for about 60 years. That's not even a blip of time in the great, grand history of Planet Earth. Even so, there are now bacteria that can thumb their flagella at antibiotics. Because their predecessors lived through previous assaults by antibiotics.

It's called NATURAL SELECTION, YOU ID MORONS!

It's very worrisome to me that The Spare, at 14, has already had problems with MRSA. This does not bode well for her future. (This, and the fact that she doesn't give a fig about her schoolwork.)

On the other hand, MRSA has a Right to Life. I'm sure Mrs. Palin would agree that MRSA is a living thing, and all living things have a Right to Life. Except perhaps fruit flies.

I've saved the worst part for last. The doctor says that Mr. Johnson and I are also carrying MRSA, although we're hardy enough to keep it at bay -- just now. (I'm surprised the little buggers didn't get in my surgical site, but I might not be out of the woods on that.)

The doctor wants my spouse and I to swab the inside of our nostrils twice a day with antibacterial ointment. And to not pick our noses.

Dammit, when you get to my age, nose-picking and flatulence are two of life's pleasures that it's hard to live without! I'll try not to pick my nose, but my fingers just want to gravitate to my nostrils. I'll have to take up knitting or some such.

Yours from the forefront of Natural Selection,

ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Boo!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," praise and worship for the sane and sensible!

Today, as a public service, we're reprinting (in its entirety, as its author demands) a screed against Halloween by --- duuuuuh --- a put-upon Christian columnist. As usual, this poor persecuted man of faith decries the fact that Christmas can't be celebrated in schools, but Halloween can.

I will weigh in on this subject next week, but for now here's the screed. Don't blame me for how long it is. The caveat at the bottom said it had to be reprinted in full, with no editing. Done.


Ten Reasons Christians Should Not Celebrate Halloween
by J. Kerby Anderson


Many in our secular society believe Halloween is nothing more than a harmless festival that allows kids to collect candy. But is it? Its origins lie deeply rooted in the occult, and Christians should stay away. Here are ten reasons why.

1. October 31st has long been known as "The Festival of the Dead." The Celtic tribes and their priests the Druids celebrated this day as a marker for the change from life to death.

2. Halloween today is performed usually by adherents of witchcraft who use the night for their rituals. Witches celebrate Halloween as the "Feast of Samhain," the first feast of the witchcraft year. Being a festival of the dead, Halloween is a time when witches attempt to communicate with the dead through various forms of divination.

3. Christians should not be involved with occultic practice or divination. Note God's command against divination in Deuteronomy 18.

4. Occultists believe Halloween is a time of transition between life and death. Some occult practitioners practiced divination and believed you could learn the secrets of life and wisdom by Iying on a grave and listening to the messages from the long-departed.

5. Occultists also taught that spirits and ghosts left the grave during this night and would seek out warmth in their previous homes. Villagers, fearful of the possibility of being visited by the ghosts of past occupants, would dress up in costumes to scare the spirits on their way. They would also leave food and other treats at their door to appease the spirits so they would not destroy their homes or crops but instead move on down the road. That is the real reason why kids dress up in costumes today and go door-to-door seeking treats.

6. Occultists also would try to scare away the spirits by carving a scary face into a pumpkin. This horrible visage would hopefully move the spirit on to another home or village and spare that home from destruction. Sometimes the villagers would light a candle and place it within the pumpkin and use it as a lantern (hence the name, Jack-o-Lantern). This is the origin of carving pumpkins at Halloween.

7. In some witchcraft covens, the closing ritual includes eating an apple or engaging in fertility rites. In the Bible (Genesis 3), eating a piece of fruit brought sin and death into the world. In witchcraft, eating an apple is symbolic of bringing life. The practice of bobbing for apples brings together two pagan traditions: divination and the fertility ritual.

8. Schools are removing any religious significance from Christmas (often called winter break) and Easter (spring break). Isn't it ironic that most public schools still celebrate Halloween even though it has occultic origins?

9. Participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, haunted houses, and other occultic practices.

10. Christians should avoid Halloween and develop creative alternatives. Churches can hold a Fall Fun Festival and/or celebrate Reformation Day (also October 31). They should not endorse or promote Halloween.
Copyright © 2001 Probe Ministries

About the Author
Kerby Anderson is the president of Probe Ministries International. (emphasis Anne's) He received his B.S. (emphasis Anne's) from Oregon State University, M.F.S. from Yale University, and M.A. from Georgetown University. He is the author of several books, including Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Living Ethically in the 90s, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope, and Moral Dilemmas. He also served as general editor for Marriage, Family and Sexuality.
He is a nationally syndicated columnist whose editorials have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post.
He is the host of "Probe," and frequently serves as guest host on "Point of View" (USA Radio Network). He can be reached via e-mail at kerby@probe.org.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to reclaim the primacy of Christian thought and values in Western culture through media, education, and literature. In seeking to accomplish this mission, Probe provides perspective on the integration of the academic disciplines and historic Christianity.

In addition, Probe acts as a clearing house, communicating the results of its research to the church and society at large.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by writing to:
Probe Ministries
1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100
Richardson, TX 75081(972) 480-0240 FAX(972) 644-9664
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

--END OF SCREED--

PS: It takes cheek to call your ministry "Probe" in this day and age!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Wizard of the Y


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where Samhain is nearly upon us! May your ancestors greet you with pride and joy!

Okay, maybe not this kind of Pride and Joy.

I am still rehabbing my newly titaniumized hip joint. I have moved on to swimming pool therapy. Except that Mr. Johnson and I can't afford a swimming pool membership. So we did a kind of sneaky thing. We got a two week trial period at a posh health club in the neighboring borough. When that "tryout" runs out, I hope I'm ready to rehab on dry land.

Can't afford physical therapy either. $30 copay per visit. I'm doing the pool exercises on my own.

Today I was at the pool in the morning for about 90 minutes. (Who has time for this, day after day?) In that time, I saw four moms bring in their cute little tots for swimming lessons. The moms sat and made cellphone calls while their tots learned to swim with a certified instructor.

Watching those cute kids with their perky teacher reminded me of how my kids learned to swim.

A long time ago I decided to teach my daughter The Heir how to swim. Why pay someone else to do it? So I got a membership at the local YMCA (since torn down) and began teaching her myself.

Mind you, my definition of swimming is pretty simple. You've got to be able to tread water, swim underwater a short distance, dive or jump into deep water, and swim four laps, dog-paddling if necessary.

Well, The Heir was young and afraid of almost everything. She was especially reluctant to put her head underwater. We went to the YMCA week after week, and she started dog-paddling pretty well, and treading, but she wouldn't put her face in the water.

An elderly gentleman was always there in the pool, doing a little bit of exercise but otherwise just people-watching. Once when The Heir got out of the pool to fetch a noodle, I struck up a conversation with the guy. It turned out he was a retired elementary school principal, and he was getting a kick out of watching me with The Heir. I told him about the brick wall I'd hit, trying to get her to go underwater.

He said, "Tell her I'm a wizard, and I'll work magic on her."

So when The Heir came back to the pool, I pointed out the guy. Of course she had seen him there all along, but it was news to her that he was a magical wizard who would work magic so that going underwater wouldn't be scary anymore.

The Heir looked at the guy. He bowed his head grandly and made a lordly gesture.

I took The Heir over to the lane rope that I'd tried a thousand times to get her to duck under. This time, with one last glance back at The Wizard, she ducked right under, came up sputtering, and pronounced it not so bad. After a few more tries, she was comfortable going underwater.

We thanked The Wizard for his magic.

Many, many years have passed now. Both of my daughters can swim and ride bikes. I taught them. I'm glad. It's a pleasant memory, the little daughter slipping into my arms from a jump into the pool, or holding my hands as she kicks to the center. It's warming to think about those first tentative pedal-pushes on the bike, the sense of pride when it all fell in place.

Now that I'm sort of a wizard myself, I do sorely want to tell those cell phone moms at the posh health club that they're missing something big by allowing professionals to teach the kiddies to swim. Those kids won't make the Olympics ... why care about stroke technique? Why, when you can swirl your tot around in the water as she giggles and squirms?

Funny how you think of these things sometimes. I guess that Wizard of the Y has long ago gone to Great Sidhe, there to live with the bored gods forever. And if The Heir falls off a boat, she knows how to swim. And when I remember teaching her, I am full of grace.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pretty Itty Kitties

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," doing gods' work in the world today! That's Godzzzzzzz. Lots and lots of gods. And we prefer the word "deity," because it's gender neutral.

I have received a new batch of foster kittens from the animal shelter. They are to be cared for and returned when they're weaned and ready for adoption. Right now they're hungry as buzzards ... only a lot louder. Gotta bottle feed 'em. Like, ten minutes ago.

So that's all for today!

With the extra time you would have spent here reading my drivel, you can go see Mrs. B. and enter her fun contest of the day! I won three beautiful note cards ... and she's still handing out stuff.

Amazing how loud a kitten can cry. Coming, little ones!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Being Fair to the Spare

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored with High School!" I'm your host, Frazzled Annie. So glad you could join me today.

It's tough to be a Spare, I think. Those of you who grew up with older brothers and sisters (Heirs) will probably bear me out on this. But my daughter The Spare has it tougher than most. Her older sister was a shy, anxious wallflower who obsessively did her homework, helped with the housework, hugged me all the time, and brought home report cards chock a block with A's.

To make matters worse, I was the older sister in my childhood too.

So it's really hard for me to deal with The Spare, a social butterfly who hates homework and lives to AIM, who steals my makeup and silk scarves and jewelry and doesn't return them. Who snaps back when I scold her and pushes back when I prod her. In other words, the normal kid.

I don't quite know what to do. So far The Spare has laid off sex, drugs, and booze. She's a good, pro-union Democrat. A terrific actress and comedian, pretty as a movie star. And I know that we love each other ... it's just hard to know how much prodding and pressing and pleading is enough, and how much is too much.

If your grown children have become rocket scientists or otherwise can pay their own way in the world, your advice would be greatly valuable to me.

If you too were a younger sibling, your advice would be greatly valuable to me.

If you know of the best bored Goddess to take these matters to, please share her! Your advice would be greatly valuable to me.

If you are satisfied with Republican politics, keep your damn advice to yourself. It will fall on deaf ears.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breaking News

My Christian fundamentalist sister just sent me an email. She is voting for Barack Obama. She says Sarah Palin belongs at home, caring for her family. And rich people shouldn't mind paying more taxes.

Someone pinch me. I might be asleep and dreaming!

Buzzard Worship for the Masses: Alienating the Base

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Alienating the base? Who am I, John McCain?

No, but today I want to talk about something near and dear to the hearts of my legions and legions of readers: wind energy.


What can be more benign than a windmill, rotating blithely and generating electric current for bloated, over-consuming Americans? Windmills don't spill carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They don't erode the ozone layer. They aren't gonna melt Santa Claus out of house and home by decimating the Arctic sea ice.

So, what's the problem with windmills?

Just this. They kill birds.


I don't have to tell you what particular birds I'm looking out for, but the Sacred Thunderbirds are not the only winged things that need fear the rotating windmills. Other large birds of prey are also vulnerable to windmill attack.

This seems a small price to pay for a push-back against global warming. But you're not an eagle. The eagle might have a different view of it.

The state of Maryland recently decided not to put windmills on the mountaintops in its state forest lands. The reasoning was that the windmills could kill birds. Including, but not limited to, that God/dess of the Sky, the Sacred Thunderbird.

Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about windmills offshore. Although most migratory waterbirds stick close to the water and hug the shoreline, some of the higher flyers could get far enough out to sea that they tangle with the windmills.

Brothers and sisters, do we need another way to depress the population of the Sacred Thunderbird? No windmills in the woods!

Perhaps I should speak to the presidential candidates about this.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pagan White Magic at Work!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," counting down the hours to the end of this dreadful retrograde! Soon. Oh so soon.

I know there have been many Pagans doing the good work to sink the McCain/Palin ticket. And blessed be, no one's shouting for the death of either candidate ... or calling them terrorists. Most religions have rules about that kind of thing. And sensible people don't wish anyone else dead, even if there's no religion in the picture.

But magick is in the air, oh yes! Faeries in a frenzy, deities dancing with delight!


Skeptic, you may call this a coincidence if you like. But tonight, Wednesday, is the final presidential debate. And at exactly the same hour, the Philadelphia Phillies will be on the verge of making it to the World Series!

So who's going to watch a silly baseball game instead of a serious presidential debate? HALF OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, including ALL THE PHILLY SUBURBS, that's who!

Yes, Pennsylvania, that big, sought-after battleground state, will mostly be otherwise engaged tonight. The timing is impeccable.

I might be wrong about this, but I think the last time the Phillies were in the World Series was 1983. So if they punch their way through tonight, it will be a small (and lovely) miracle. And if they distract the Pennsylvania electorate as I think they inevitably will, no amount of McCain improvement will change the numbers in the Keystone State.

Mindful that magic works in mysterious ways, I shout: "Play ball!"

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Palin in Comparison

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where our magic is white, our faeries are bright, and if you don't like us, we'll punch out your lights!

Sorry about that last part. Just channeling my inner Philadelphian. I've been living near the City of Brotherly Love for more than 20 years, and the general tenor of daily living here has worn off on me.

There are things Philadelphians boo with reason:

1. The Dallas Cowboys (always #1).

2. Last call at the bar.

3. The Schuykill Expressway (richly deserves the razz).

4. Republican politicians.

Which was why Sarah Palin had no business dragging her little daughter to a Philadelphia Flyers game and stuffing the poor tot into a Flyers jersey. If Sarah thought the sight of her little daughter in Flyers orange would deflate the innate Philly hatred of Republican politicians, then she really is a moron of the first stripe.

Hey. You sow hatred like she does, you oughta reap some in return.

A Letter to the Editor from the Philadelphia Inquirer, October 14, 2007:


"Of course Philadelphia fans booed vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. We booed Santa Claus, and he is more qualified to be president than Palin. Don't forget, the North Pole shares a border with Russia."

Classic!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Big Fat Headache


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," laughing through the Apocalypse, lounging through Armageddon, roaring through Revelation! Take that, St. John! You're loonier than me.

Today we descend to a new level of paranoia altogether. Think it's not possible? Sorry. It is.

When you get a titanium implant in your hip, you can no longer go through airport security without setting off every bell and whistle in the place. So the government issues you a wallet card that gets you through the checkout line without having to pass the scanner.

My physical therapist tells me I'll get one of these cards, and I'd better guard it with my life.

Yes, readers. Some little old lady who had a hip replacement found her purse burgled. The only thing taken was the airport security card. Not her credit cards, not her driver's license, nada. Just that "get-thru-the-airport-free" card.

This is not urban legend. This was one of my PT's clients. When she reported the card stolen, the Secret Service came to her house. I'm sure she's probably being watched now as closely as some mafia don up north. A little old lady!

Do I need another big fat headache? Where do I hide a card that is golden to a terrorist? I'm not gonna spend $125 a year for a safe deposit box. We closed ours down when it got that expensive.

Maybe I'll laminate it and put it in the toilet tank. Or tape it to the bottom of the cat box. Or bury it in the backyard next to the dead gerbils.

One more gory little detail of life in George Bush's America.




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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Realistic Racist

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," watching from the sidelines as Sarah Palin fights her maverick way across Philadelphia, facing hatred on (almost) all sides.

Our favorite Witch-Burning-Inquisitor attended a fundraiser in Philly last night, 400 invitees. She was met by an equal or greater number of protesters outside the venue. They heckled not only her but also the guests attending the gala.

Then Sister Sarah attended the Philadelphia Flyers opener, where she dropped the ceremonial first puck. (Not my Puck, I assure you! He says if she becomes VP he's moving back to Scotland!) She was expecting a solid round of booing, and she got it ... except from the high-end ringside seats. However, in order to drown out the jeering, the arena cranked up the music so loud that it was the only thing the audio could pick up. So YouTube doesn't do it justice.

Today's sermon: Are hillbillies racist?

The billboard in the post below was erected in the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas. And much has been said about this anonymous sign, and what it says about hillbillies.

When most people think of hillbillies, they get a mental picture of Jed Clampett or those scary droolers in Deliverance. Poor, white, racist, violent, inbred. Heard it all.

Except there are black people living all through Appalachia. Are they too hillbillies? Of course they are, because "Appalachia" refers to a region and not a race. There are Asian hillbillies, Native American hillbillies, even Jewish and probably a few Muslim hillbillies. Because Appalachia is a region and not a race, and it covers a lot of ground, including not a few metropolitan areas.

Someone might say, "Well, in order to be a real hillbilly, you have to live on a mountainside." Those people have never been to Cumberland, Maryland -- a city of 25,000, built on several mountainsides. Sizable black population.

Are there racists in Appalachia? Of course. There are racists in Detroit, too. The white race doesn't hold a patent on racism.

Which brings me to a quote I've lifted from my friend Bibi's blog, "Your Wings Are Real." Bibi lives in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. She gives this account of her work on behalf of Barack Obama:

"I had an interesting response to my canvassing tonight. I was using the "Neighbor to Neighbor" tool on the Barack Obama website to call people. I wasn't entirely confortable with this -- probably most of my neighbors don't actually want me to know how they're voting, and would probably rather talk to a stranger -- but anyway. I called someone I didn't recognize and asked him how he thought he'd be voting. His response: "Well, we've pretty much decided to vote for that colored boy." I had to ask -- "So you're voting for Barack Obama?" Yes, he is. Well, I guess that's ok!"

"We've pretty much decided to vote for that colored boy."

Are Appalachians a bunch of racists? Or do they look out for their best interests and use old-timey phrases to express themselves? Or is this just one person giving his one opinion, no matter what part of the country he hails from?

At any rate, I'm with Bibi on this. I guess that's ok!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

The World According to John McCain


Too late, Johnny. You've painted your opponent as a scary terrorist. Now you have to live with the consequences. The moron portion of America believed you. And now that's all you have to show for yourself: the moron vote.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Virgin Mary on the Rocks

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," scanning the known universe for celestial beings worthy of worship! And today we will not need a telescope!

Hail Mary, full of Grace. Watch your back, go buy some mace.

Yesterday, Jason, over at The Wild Hunt posted numerous links to a radical Christian movement called the Third Wave/New Apostolic Reformation. Jason references a detailed article in The Huffington Post that links Sarah Palin to the Third Wavers.

As I read it, the Third Reich ... errrr ... Wave (sorry) lists as an agenda item the abolishment of Goddess worship worldwide. And no Goddess is too big or small to attract their righteous wrath.

They're out to get the Virgin Mary. Better known as the Blessed Mother. You know the prayer, for the love of fruit flies! She's the Mother of God, so far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned.

To the rest of us, she's just Mother. Of everything. You have a boo-boo, She's got a Band-aid.

In the clear light of a sunny autumn afternoon, it's easy to dismiss the Third Wave and its newest prominent disciple, Mrs. Palin, as not having enough clout to stomp The Goddess. Heck, Our Lady made it through the first Protestant Reformation, and that was before She started doling out vaccinations and dinosaur fossils and all those scientific goodies that have generally advanced human knowledge a little bit.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" are not truly fearful for the Blessed Mother. But we think the Roman Catholic Church in America should be aware of the Third Wave, its aims, and ... its membership.

Cindy Jacobs is part of this anti-Goddess crowd. Her most recent book is called The New Reformation. And not for nothing is her website called "The Generals."

Mrs. Palin is of more immediate concern. She could be president. And if she becomes president, will she not conference with people like Cindy Jacobs, trying to find ways to advance the Third Reich ... oooops! There you go again, Anne! Third Wave agenda through legitimate government channels?

Imagine trying to be a worse vice president than Dick Cheney. What a daunting proposition! But doggone it, nothing is impossible, you betcha.

Okay. We've decided to tie a bell on the cat. Who's willing to alert the pope? Someone oughta tell him that a new Reformation is underway, and its umbrella reaches into his jurisdiction.

I know I'm peaching to the choir here at "The Gods Are Bored." These Third Wave "generals" will have to come at my house with a battering ram, and even then they won't oust The Goddess from my foyer.

May it be the same with you and yours.
I'm Anne Johnson, and I approved this message.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Contests ... Thank You ... Concert Review


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," merry mass mayhem since 2005! Shed your baggage and join us! Our operators are standing by to take your call.

1. Great Contests!

Today I want to direct your attention to two fun contests, both with prizes! Evn, at "Lover of Strife," has offered a really fun challenge! Go and see for yourself.

Also, Mrs. B is giving great stuff away every day between now and Samhain! If you love Halloween, you've gotta bookmark Mrs. B.

(Note how Anne acts against her own interests, as she's a contestant at both sites.)

2. Huge Thanks for Outpouring of Weird Bands!

The request for weird bands elicited a fabulous outpouring of recommendations: more than 45 different bands/musicians! To all of you who suggested music for my daughter The Heir's radio show, I can only say THANK YOU! She had heard of some of the bands, but most of them were new to her. And what variety! From Leon Redbone and Tiny Tim to Gwar and Primus! (The Heir is already a huge fan of Negativland. We actually got to see a live show.)

For the love of fruit flies, we are a peculiar species. Which brings me to...

3. Concert Review: The Residents!



So far past weird that you can't even see weird in the rearview. For those of you who commented below -- you who dare venture to the precipice of weirdness and then dive off without a bungee cord -- the DVD of Bunny Boy is available at The Residents' Web site. While listening, just imagine someone performing it, wearing a grimy bunny costume.

This is definitely not a band that a political candidate would want at a performance fundraiser. A satisfying, terrifying freak show. I'm glad I went, even though it set my hip rehab back in painful ways.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

For the Love of a Daughter


EXHIBIT A: YOUR NOODLY MASTER

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We'll help you plan your escape route from the Palin Menace! Step one: Stockpile ramen noodles. You'll have a lightweight food for quick getaway, and you'll earn the protection of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!


EXHIBIT B: SETH

About five years ago, my daughter The Heir asked this man, a friend named Seth, to tell her the weirdest band of all time. Without hesitation he answered, "The Residents." The Heir promptly went out and began to stockpile CDs and DVDs from this band, which makes Frank Zappa look like Lawrence Welk. Calling The Residents a band even stretches the concept of "band" as far as it will go, since none of them can sing or play the instruments they use, other than to make lots of noise.

EXHIBIT C: THE RESIDENTS

I took great solace in hearing that The Residents had been around since the 1960s. So it was not likely that they would go on tour and give shows anymore.

Bamp.

Tonight, The Heir, Seth, and I are going to a Residents concert. All Residents material is themed. This one is called "Bunny Boy." The Heir is so excited she can hardly see straight. I asked Seth (who is not a geezer) if he didn't think the audience might be rather long in the tooth. He replied, "No, what I think you're gonna see are a lot of people who rarely leave their basements."

Oh. Joy.

Actually there is some joy in this. The Heir has only been home for one night since she left for college on August 23. So it will be wonderful to see her, and to watch her enjoy her favorite ... band ... term used loosely. And the beauty of the theater is that it has an upstairs, open only to adults, where I can sit and put my hands discreetly over my ears (when I'm not drinking). No way I could stand through a concert just now, but sitting will be okay.

If you have a favorite extremely weird band, please post a comment. The Heir has her own radio show at her college, and she devotes it entirely to the weirdest music she can find. So dig into your archives and give me some names. We are already aware of Niko, Klaus Nomi, Devo, Talking Heads, Les Claypool, and the Butthole Surfers.

I'm not even taking my faeries to this concert. Oh well, maybe Puck. This sounds like the kind of thing Puck will love. He's bad to the wing.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Asherah Revisited

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson. That's my real name. And don't forget the "e" on the end. Sign of class.

Today we have a real treat! A visit from a bored goddess!

Now, everybody. Get out your Bibles ...

Uhhhh. Don't have one? Weren't you ever in third grade?
Okay, then. Share with the person next to you.

Actually, we don't need the Bibles, except as evidence for the defense. So you can put that dusty thing back on the shelf, and try not to disturb the spider sleeping on it.

Today's guest is the goddess Asherah, known in some cultures as Astarte, and by dozens of other names too. She's an ancient goddess of the Middle East. Let's get the ball rolling!

Anne: Asherah, are you at all related to Queen Brighid the Bright?

Asherah: No, but I see her sometimes at the hairdresser.

Anne: I'm hardly believing these notes my producer gave me for this interview. It says here you were married to Yahweh? Wow, Asherah, that's a bold assertion!

Asherah: Archaeologists have found documents from extremely ancient Israel that leave no doubt as to our former marital status. One tablet clearly says "Yahweh and His Asherah." We had sons, too!

Anne: I am flabbergasted. No one told me about that in Methodist Sunday School.

Asherah: Well, you know, once a god gets the Immaculate Conception thing ironed out, why keep a spouse around? Especially one who was as popular as I was.

Anne: You were popular in ancient Israel?

Asherah: I was huge. Especially among the ordinary folk. I had temples and priests and the whole works. It was a rare ancient Israelite woman who didn't have a small altar to me right in her home.

Anne: And this was fine with Yahweh.

Asherah: Yes, at first.

Anne: What happened? I mean, I don't want to pry if it's personal...

Asherah: There was nothing personal about it! Politics, pure and simple, ruined my marriage.

Anne: That's novel. Never heard that one before. (Just kidding.)

Asherah: A king named Amon got snuffed in a coup d'etat. But the folk didn't like it, so the palace insiders put Amon's son on the throne. His name was Josiah. He was only eight when he got the crown. And things went along as usual for awhile. But then Josiah grew up, he got cocky. A gifted writer named Hilkiah caught his ear. Then Hilkiah invited King Josiah to a scruffy little temple for Yahweh. My time was up.

Anne: I don't get it.

Asherah: In that temple, Hilkiah showed Josiah the long-neglected, spiderweb-covered, completely overlooked Ark of the Covenant. It had been sitting ignored for so long that the priests thought it was a box of socket wrenches.

Anne: Wait a minute. The Ark of the Covenant, neglected and overlooked? How could that be? It was the most important item in the Yahweh lexicon! And it was just sitting there like a piece of Mom's ugly furniture?

Asherah: Can I speak frankly?

Anne: We here at "The Gods Are Bored" offer you and yours a forum for just this sort of thing.

Asherah: All right, then. Here's the scoop. Hilkiah wanted the inside track, the position with bennies and a seat at the head table during banquets. He "discovered" the Ark of the Covenant and conveniently found that all the sacred Torahs inside were written in his handwriting.

Anne: Are you suggesting that Hilkiah wrote the entire history of the Hebrew people off the top of his head? All that stuff about Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, and the begats?

Asherah: He was a veritable Leo Tolstoy. Yes.

Anne: And he had a political agenda.

Asherah: Yep. Deep-six the polytheism in favor of his deity, Yahweh. The rest of the story is set down in the Bible. Josiah ordered all the temples to me and Baal, and all the other gods, torn down. He ordered the priests in those temples to be burnt alive on their altars. And of course he forbade all worship of me in private homes (although it continued for awhile). Call it what you want. I got divorced. Tossed out.

Anne: At least there wasn't another woman involved.

Asherah: True. But in those times Yahweh wasn't as popular as he is now. Not by a country mile. So the terms of my settlement weren't very generous. I've had to work my keister off, cleaning Turnpike bathrooms and telemarketing and doing night shift at Wendy's. It's been tough.

Anne: I am so sorry to hear that, Asherah. You know, a great many American women share your burden. They ought to erect shrines to you in their homes.

Asherah: That would help my morale, I must admit! And you know, there's a new book out about me. Maybe it'll get picked up by Lifetime and made into a t.v. movie!

Anne: Don't hold your breath on that one. But I could see Charlize Theron playing you. Can't imagine who'd do Yahweh.

Asherah: Why, Mel Gibson, of course!

Anne: That would work. So, Asherah, as a bored goddess, you're allowed to make a bald pitch for support on this site.

Asherah: I just want to stop being seen as some second-class, harlot, evil wicked witch. It hurts my feelings. I was respectable, and I resent the revisionist history.

Anne: As well you might. I'll ask Queen Brighid the Bright to put you on her "A" list for parties.

Asherah: Oh, would you do that? She does have lively ones!

Anne: Goddess Asherah, thank you for being our guest today on "The Gods Are Bored." I wish you the best of luck regaining a praise and worship team!

Asherah: Thank you. Are you going to finish that Pop Tart?

Anne: Help yourself. There's a whole box downstairs. Take as many as you like!

Sources for Information on Asherah:
God. The Holy Bible, 2 Kings 21-23. Israel, Middle East: 1032 B.C.
Hadley, Judith M. The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah: Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Walker, Barbara C. The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1983.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Pissed Off Caffeine Rant


Welcome. To. The. Gods. Are. Bored. Arrrrghgghghghg! Too. Much. TaB. Cola. Three. Cups. Of. Tea. Equals. Anxiety. Attack.

Sometimes I can get cranked on caffeine to such an extent that I begin to ponder my mortality with a great deal of trepidation.

The Spare and I are reading a book about Hiroshima for her Language Arts class, and that right there is enough to get me going. I think deep in every atheist lurks a believer in immortality, and deep in every religious person lurks a scientific rationalist. You just can't sail towards death without a chill.

The tonic for moments like this is to focus on something in the here and now that will piss you off. Just can't laugh and throw on the big, broad, flexible outlook after three cups of tea and a can of TaB. It's anger or anxiety. Nothing else.

So I'm pissed off.

Mr. Johnson has a grandmother still living -- she is 94 years old. She went to the doctor recently for a checkup, and he told her that most 40-year-olds would kill for her numbers. She comes from a longevity gene. Her own mother lived to be over 100.


This is not the precise view from Granny Johnson's house, but it's a close enough approximation. Back in the early 1950s she scrimped and saved and worked her fingers to the bone so she could buy a little waterfront property. And she bought a doozie, a fabulous lot on the Severn River about six miles from Annapolis, Maryland.

I'm not much of a Chesapeake Bay person, having grown up in the mountains. But there's something to be said for strolling out on the pier, pulling up the crab traps, emptying them into a pot, and steaming your supper. And eating it on the picnic table on the beach, as the cruise ships out of Annapolis float by, filled to the plimsol line with tourists who wish they were you.

Healthy 94-year-old Granny has a gorgeous place. But she turned her power of attorney over to her son. (Not Mr. Johnson's dad) And this son wants to put Granny in a home.

Son says Granny's running out of money. He even cancelled her daily newspaper ... the one she read religiously, looking for grocery bargains and gossip.

Not surprisingly, Granny doesn't want to go live in a nursing home. Almost no one does, but certainly no one does who has a waterfront property to die for like Granny's.

The bored gods know that this is no time to be seeking any kind of mortgage. But for the love of fruit flies! What bank wouldn't give a 94-year-old a reverse mortgage on prime waterfront 40 miles from Washington, DC? Granny paid off the property long ago. She owns it free and clear!

One thing Granny doesn't qualify for, of course, is state aid. No wonder! She's a millionaire! But Son has not tried to find Granny any kind of volunteer visitor service (we've got a huge one here in Snobville). He moans about having to go see her to pay her bills, because he wants to take cruises with other peppy young retirees like himself. And he won't even consider a reverse mortgage or an equity line of credit. It's shove Granny into a home and sell the place, or nothing.

Last night Son yelled at Mr. Johnson's mom because Mr. Johnson's mom can't take Granny in for a few weeks just now. The funny thing is, Granny doesn't want to be taken in. Gee. I wonder why. SHE LIVES ON HIGH END WATERFRONT, THAT'S WHY! Why would she want to go spend weeks in a cramped condo with a daughter who's sicker than she is?

The moral of this rant is: Do everything you can to keep your loved on in his or her own home for as long as is humanly and safely possible. Because the clock is ticking, and your turn is coming, and your kids are watching how you treat Granny.

In this case, Granny's evil Son has no children. Which is even better, because when his day comes to move into the nursing home, no one will even go to see him. Why should they? I hope he likes stewed prunes and Jeopardy. Rat's bastard.


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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dinosaur Magic Update

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," magic for the masses! Dream it, do it, laugh about it later!

My legions and legions of readers will remember that the town I live in is famous for the discovery of an extensive dinosaur skeleton back in the 1800s some time or the other. So the town has a little tiny park dedicated to that discovery. It's called the "Dinosaur Site."

Generations of tourists sought out the "Dinosaur Site" only to discover a bench and a plaque. That was it. A bench and a plaque. Oh, and a comment box where most of the comments were, "This is boring."

So my daughters and I decided to liven up the "Dino Site." We started buying cheap plastic dinosaurs at flea markets and thrift stores. And we left them on the bench for kids to play with. Anonyously.

(This is classic. After the toy dinos had been there awhile, one of the comments read, "I like the toys, but there's nowhere to sit." MORON.)

For the first time in a long time, I was able to drive a car this week. Which was good, because I was flat out of TaB cola. First things first, I made a TaB run to the market. Then, when I opened the trunk of the car, I discovered some plastic dinos that my daughters bought just before my surgery. So I took them to the dino site.

A funny thing has happened at that dino site. Other people leave stuff there now. (And some nasty people take the plastic dinos, they constantly have to be replenished.)

This time the dino site had a stack of drawings, held down by a heavy rock. Of course I started looking through them. I figured they were left behind by some preschoolers.

But these drawings were not by preschoolers. Yes, they were silly and cartoonish, the kind of dinos a five-year-old would draw. But these dinos had decidedly teenaged issues. One, "Deathosaurus," stood beside a tombstone. The caption read, "Decided to take biology, chemistry, and physics all at the same time -- now I'm dead."

Then there was "Umbilical Cordosaurus." Caption: "I sever heads, not umbilical cords." The dinosaur pictured was bound with some kind of blue cord that looked like sausage.

My favorite was "Depressosaurus." Poor dino, crying ... broke up with boyfriend.

The giveaway was "Superiorsaurus," who announced his school's superiority over a rival -- both local parochial high schools.

By this time I was ROFL ... and there were more than 20 of these drawings!

They say if you laugh, the world will laugh with you. Sometimes all it takes is leaving a few plastic toys on a park bench.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Faeries Do Not Like Catholic Hospitals



Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" There's an autumn nip in the air this morning. Time for the faeries to stir their paint pots and start painting the leaves!

I recently had a little bit of orthopedic surgery, requiring a hospital stay of three days. The surgeon works out of a local Catholic hospital. I wasn't keen on getting the job done at the Catholic hospital, but I was keen on the surgeon. Word of mouth on the guy was stellar.

I figured my faeries would protect me from the Catholic vibe.

Bamp! Wrong.

When I went for my pre-op testing, I got stuck in the revolving door. It just ceased to function with me inside it. After about ten nerve-wracking seconds, the door worked again ... perfectly.

On the day of the surgery, I walked up to the same door and promptly tripped and nearly fell. "Okay," I think. "The faeries are making this crystal clear. They don't want me in this place."

I went anyway, because it's not wise to give in to faeries.

The surgery went well, and the next day Mr. Johnson and my daughter The Spare came to see me. The Spare brought one of my three main faeries, Princess, who lives in a glass orb that I wear around my neck. I was so glad to see Princess! But when I put her around my neck, the hemp string she hangs from suddenly irritated my skin in a way it never had before. This was not a case of the opiate itchies. The hemp was scratchy. After only about an hour, I had to take Princess off. The following day, The Spare took Princess home. I've had no further problems with the hemp irritating my skin.

You might remember that while I was gone I had a guest blogger named Muin. I discussed this faerie situation with him when I got home. He said absolutely the faeries do not want to be immersed in a Catholic environment, because they feel keenly the abuse, derision, and downright pilfering of personas they've suffered at the hands of Christian clerics.

Here's some free advice. If you have to go to a Catholic hospital, tell your faeries you'll see them when you get home. Give them a tricky riddle to keep them occupied, and a libation of wine to satisfy their thirst. Otherwise, not only will they be ticked at having to go with you, they'll also make a mess of your house.


You should see my home office. The faeries ran amok, and I'm not yet physically able to clean up the wreckage. (Must admit Spare has helped with the chaos in this respect. Probably inspired by ticked-off faeries.)

The moral of this sermon: You may have a big, broad, flexible attitude yourself, but don't expect faeries to follow suit.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
Faerie art by Seitou

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

The New Me

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," rectifying dissatisfaction with deities since 2005! If your pantheon isn't performing, our operators are standing by to take your call.

My legions and legions of readers might recall that I went to the hospital four weeks ago and got a total hip replacement. Yes, this is what it looks like, only my titanium rod is a little longer and sharper.


I'm bouncing back now, so much so that there's time for a little reflection.

Here's the reflection: When I'm cremated, what happens to the titanium in my hip? I can't imagine that crematoriums work at temperatures high enough to melt titanium.

I guess I have a few years to ponder what I'll suggest my descendants do with that metal spike. Maybe someone in my family will go to Mars and leave it there. Can't imagine they'll want it sitting around on the mantelpiece. "Look, there's dear Mama's hip. May she have found the Summerlands."

I'm open to creative ideas here. Help me out!

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Books Week: My Personal Favorite

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" in the midst of Banned Books Week! Every year the American Library Association sets aside a week to remind us that the banning of books continues apace in school and public libraries.

The Baltimore filmmaker John Waters (Desperate Living, Hairspray) attended a strict Catholic high school. He said that every Friday, a monk would stand up and list the movies that the students should avoid that weekend. Waters made note and promptly went out to see every one of those movies. He said without the help of that monk, he never would have become a filmmaker.

The same holds true for banned books. If you get your mitts on the list (it varies, giving me a welcome pass on linking), you'll find some of the most fabulous works of world literature. Huckleberry Finn is always on it, and for my money it's the best novel ever written by an American.

Lately there's a new banned book on the block, and if I hadn't had grade school kids when it was published, I would have missed it.

Tra-la-la! Introducing Captain Underpants!


There are a series of "Captain Underpants" books by writer/artist Dav Pilkey. In the books, two elementary school boys named George and Harold cause mischief and draw comic books making fun of their hated principal, Mr. Krupp. So potent are these comics that Mr. Krupp winds up actually becoming the character, a doddering superhero who wears nothing but tighty-whiteys.

This is LOL funny stuff! And it has been banned from some school libraries. Why? Because "it encourages a disrespect for authority figures."

Sorry, book-banners, but we at "The Gods Are Bored" feel that this nation needs more, not less, disrespect for authority figures. Elementary-school-aged boys ought to be encouraged to draw comics of teachers and principals they hate. It's creative! Lets 'em blow off steam! Encourages them to question the fearless leaders of our nation!

If you know a youngster, especially a boy (but my daughters, The Heir and The Spare, loved this series), run out and buy "Captain Underpants" before it's banned from the stores!

And thank you for supporting Banned Books Week and books in general. Reading and writing is what separates us from other primates. If you don't do either, have a banana.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

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