Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day! May Day!

In an hour, we at "The Gods Are Bored" will be embarking for the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. Please join us there as members of the Mountain Tribe -- or just to say howdy. Even if 20,000 people come every day (I think that's an accurate prediction), I will be easy to find. I'm the crazy one.

The Fairie Festival is usually picketed by Pentecostal Christians who issue dire warnings of hell to everyone who enters the fairie grounds.

To them -- and to you -- I would reply, "Going to a fairie festival doesn't make you a Pagan anymore than going to France makes you French.

"Having said that ... Vive la France!"

Blessings to all on Beltane. Light a fire for the bored gods. Dance for spring, for all the blooming, growing, flowering things that soak up the sunshine and give us oxygen in return! Blessed be the Ancient Ones!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jealous Gods and Goddesses

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Are you the jealous type? Do jealous people annoy you? Has your life been negatively impacted by jealousy in the past? Right now? Read on!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" hate jealous deities! The immortal pox take all jealous deities! Jealousy is not an emotion befitting an immortal. And You know who You are, jealous deity!

Actually, that should be jealous deities, because the busy Bible god doesn't have the jealousy market cornered by any stretch.

Over the weekend, Mr. Johnson and I took an itty bitty overnight trip to the Chesapeake Bay. It was sunny when we set out. It clouded over as we drove there. The Bed and Breakfast I chose had beautiful rooms with waterview vistas, but the hosts were wackadoos. The restaurant ruined the rockfish! (Those of you from Maryland will recognize this unholy sacrilege ... but can you believe it happened right by the dock where the fish are brought to land?)

Nevertheless, Mr. Johnson and I had a splendid time. It's not often we get to be together without our little fledglings.

Enter jealous Aphrodite.

I guess this doggone Goddess, renowned for Her jealousy, took aim at me today. Because today was one of those days from hell when I had to work 11 hours at school, and now I'm home, and there's housework to do. Mr. Johnson is slaving away at a big project... For shame, Aphrodite! Do you have to pine for every good looking mortal on the planet? Leave my husband and me alone!

We at "The Gods Are Bored" hope we don't offend any Hellenists out there, but it's no wonder the busy jealous god eroded the power of those Greco-Roman deities. Almost every Greco-Roman deity is jealous in some way, whereas in the Bible, the only jealous one is God. Really cuts down on the jealousy factor.

So, Aphrodite. Will you please move along? There are so many mortals and so little time.

Would someone out there distract Aphrodite before she drowns me in a sea of over-work?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fifth Anniversary

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," proud to serve you the finest forgotten deities since 2005!

Yes, that's right. This month, "The Gods Are Bored" turned five. I can hardly believe it. When you love doing something, time doesn't matter. In case you haven't noticed, I love to blog.

For our fifth anniversary, here's a little wisdom from a very silly person.

Dance to the music of your soul. Within you is an orchestra. You are the conductor and the principal performer. When all is in balance, my, what fine symphonies you perform!

As the conductor, you are empowered to keep your inner musicians in harmony. If one section begins to blare or go off tune, study the problem -- and you can correct it.

Listen for the laughter of the bored gods. They exist amongst us, the glorious divinities that accompanied us onto the lion-infested plain, out of the warm lands and into the steppes, across the seas and deep into the mountains. Their names and deeds may be forgotten, but their love lives on. In all that we do for and upon the Earth, we should remember those who have gone before -- both deities and humans.

Pour blessings for your ancestors. Pour blessings for those to come. Pour blessings for the deity who saved your ancestress from the lion. She lived, and because of that, you live. Blessed be mother, Mother, and all Great Ancient Mothers.

We need not know their names. Our libations are still pleasing to them.

Thank you to everyone who reads "The Gods Are Bored." It is our pleasure ... trust me ... it is our pleasure to serve you.

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS

"Eyeball Vulture," site signature drawing, by The Heir.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

If It Grows by My Door, I'm a Witch!

My good friend Nettle tells me that those who have mugwort growing by their doors are witches. If this is so, Yowsa! I'm a witch!

Mugwort is practically all that is growing in my garden these days. I have to beat it back with a stick. It threatens even my precious bloodroots, dear little Appalachian replants like myself.

This is the interesting part. When I moved to my house, the back yard was not Mugwort Heaven. Mugwort only started appearing in quantities about six years ago -- at the time when I began to question all the answers. So I think Nettle must be right. The bored gods moved in, recognized that I was going to bang a gong for them, and populated my garden with the correct plant.

I only pull it up around the bloodroot. Otherwise, mugwort rules. The leaves are pretty, and it is definitely a plant that doesn't need much sunshine to thrive.

When I get a minute, I want to ask you, my dear readers, about the new ghost in my house. But that will have to wait. There's cat hair on the upholstery, and nothing is more important than returning my chintz to its pristine state.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So, What's with Mugwort?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we have never, ever understood why someone can buy a fifth of whiskey and get into a raging drunk -- legally -- while a peaceful little spliff gets you sent to jail. This, my friends, is injustice.

We at TGAB quickly add that we do not partake of either whiskey or spliffs, feeling one to be evil and the other to be illegal. Enough said.

However, there is a weed growing rampant in my yard that has my curiosity piqued. It's mugwort.

The Druids considered mugwort a magical herb that led to enlightenment. Now the state of Louisiana wants to make it illegal to grow mugwort. Is there something promising in this hardy perennial that has choked out everything else in my garden?

Please, if you have any anecdotal information on the ingestion of mugwort, please share. It's April 20, and I'm going outside to make a fire of a certain pesky perennial ... just on the odd chance that ...

This is New Jersey, after all, not Louisiana.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Getting To Choose a New Mom

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" in the aftermath of the most exhilarating Sweet Sixteen party ever! Spare is exhausted ... and no wonder. Dancing in the grass with her friends while a live band played classic rock was just awesome!

This fabulous party was made possible by my mom.

Wait a minute. My mom is dead. She's been dead since 2001!

Well, you see, my biological mother gave me one gift: life. That's an important gift. After that, living with her was a nightmare that I don't care to re-visit even in a therapist's chair.

One thing you learn, if you have a bad mom and you want a good mom, is -- you go looking for the mom of your dreams. I found mine six years ago. She owns a store called Woodstock Trading Company.

Everyone calls her Mom. She has a thriving business because every customer is made to feel at home (except for pesky shoplifters -- it is a business, after all).

Woodstock Trading Company, and Mom, played a central role in my paradigm change. The minute I walked into Woodstock for the first time, the balance of my being shifted. I left the store that day with my faerie, Princess. From the store have also come my other faeries -- Puck, Aine, and Chance.

It was these faeries who saw to it that I visited the store on the day that Mom and her staff fished a 10-day-old kitten out of the crawlspace beneath the floor. I took the kitten home to foster. He had an infection. I had the antibiotics on hand. He grew and developed nicely, and on Thanksgiving weekend 2008 he went to live in the store. He now weighs 17 pounds and is the happiest cat in Camden County.

Mom's gratitude to me for the life of this kitty has become a bond between us that is more warm and wonderful than anything I ever experienced with my biological mother. She scheduled a band on the lawn for Spare's birthday. She opened her store and her heart to all of Spare's friends.

Mom, please read this. You are my mother. I love you.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

College Daze

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," better known as Deity Central Station! All aboard the westbound train -- making stops everywhere and anywhere! Just let the conductor know when you want to disembark. No schedule necessary.

Ah, if only life were like this, eh?

As part of getting my teaching certificate, I have had to attend occasional Saturday classes at a university here in South Jersey. I will not name the school in question, because my feeling is that most of these "alternate route" teaching gigs are about equal whether you're in New Jersey or Newfoundland.

It works like this: Young people pay upwards of $30,000 or more in tuition for four-year degrees in elementary or secondary education. You can't expect them to like it when mature, working people with life skills are stuck in classrooms without having to learn any of that expensive undergrad stuff. So we working people with life experiences have to cram all the "pedagogy" into a few Saturday sessions and some online "modules" so that college professors and college students won't feel insignificant.

This Saturday morning topic was multicultural education and developing tolerance for cultural and racial distinctions. So you can best believe that I was intently interested in this topic, considering that my entire student body is minority (except for three kids whose parents attended the school).

The professor overwhelmed us with handouts, slid through an incomprehensible two-hour lecture, fielded questions that yielded incomprehensible answers, and then had us take a true-false, multiple choice test he gives his graduate students ... just so we could see how little we knew.

He was right about knowing little. I never thought graduate students were given true/false and multiple choice tests. Did you? I thought graduate school was all about writing papers and doing research. How silly of me!

Turns out this professor knows as much about semantics as I know about multiculturalism, because some of his true-false questions contained the dreaded words "always" and "never," which are sure-fire pointers to FALSE, but his were TRUE! Oh well. There was no grade involved. You just had to sign in and sit there, more or less.

Which brings this sermon to its point. The whole class was about being tolerant of diversity. You got that point, right?

I was one of the last people to leave the room, simply because I'm super-responsible, and I also felt like I'd just been beaten about the head with a bunt object for three hours. So it was that I overheard the following conversation between The Professor and one of my classmates. The classmate in question was an elderly male (looked to me to be too old to have to work at all) with an extremely thick foreign accent.

Classmate: I am so sorry, sir, to be late to your class.

Professor: You were two hours late. I can't give you full credit.

Classmate: I know, I am so, so sorry! I live in Philadelphia. I no know how to get to the New Jersey. How to find the college. Then I no know which building. Then the classrooms no marked.

Professor: Well, that's too bad. It's not fair to the people who got here on time if I give you full credit. You'll have to make it up somehow.

Classmate: Oh, I will! I will! I will! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!


Readers, I don't know about you, but after sitting through a class where we were told to make modifications for different ethnic and cultural groups, to respect their differences and try to teach them in the best way they would understand, I thought the Mighty Professor was contradicting himself. Here before him stood an elderly man with a foreign accent who had to cross a river into a different state and find a classroom on the most poorly-labeled campus in America. If the student in question doesn't deserve some slack for his accent, he should at least get it for his age!

Professor Hypocrite. As The Spare would say, what a TOOL.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open Invitation

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This is an invitation to an event. Whether it's near you or not is for you to decide!

EVENT: Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party/Hippie Lawn Concert

WHEN: Sunday, April 18, 12-4 p.m.

WHERE: Woodstock Trading Company, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

PERFORMERS: Four Barrel Carol, classic rock

GUEST OF HONOR: Spare

This is open to the public, so if you like sitting on a blanket in the grass, grooving backwards in the time machine, come and join us at Woodstock. We are stardust, we are golden. Everywhere is a song and a celebration!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saying Happy Birthday to the Spare

Dear Spare,


Today is your sixteenth birthday. Here are some fine sentiments for you to ponder as you celebrate.

1. Way to pick a birthday, dummy! You'll owe the government your party money every year.

2. Happy birthday to someone who has the wisdom to stay in the car when her mother is dancing under a tree filled with 62 turkey vultures.

3. You're Old Greggg.

4. Free boat ride for 3.

5. I wonder if the boxing lessons I bought you will come back to haunt me some day.

6. It's never too soon to begin hunting for the right husband, so I just registered you with www.marryamillionaire.com. You're welcome!

7. As you pursue a career in theater, just remember what they said about Fred Astaire after his first Hollywood screen test: "Can't sing, can't act, can dance a little."

8. Dr. Seuss's art teacher told him to seek another profession besides drawing.

9. Sometimes I wish you were still the Library Baby.

10. They say beauty is only skin deep, but you prove otherwise.

11. Blessed be for avoiding alcohol, drugs, shopping malls, dudes who own motorcycles, cigarettes, Republicans, and cliques.

12. Laugh and the world laughs with you ... but you already knew that.

13. There are two things one can do when one has a weird, eccentric mother. The first option is to distance yourself from the eccentricity. The second is to embrace it and participate in it. Thank you for choosing Plan B.

14. I love you dearly, and so does Baby Lion.

15. Couldn't ask for a better partner for the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm.

16. It may be your birthday, but do your homework and clean up your room! Slacker.

JK LOL. BFFL

Mom

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Natural

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Is there something you're good at that you haven't ever practiced ... you're just a "natural?" Considering that you're one of my highly intelligent and discerning readers, the answer is probably yes.

A long, long time ago I took a job in Detroit, Michigan, writing entries for reference books. This was the era when quality was more important than quantity, and fair market value was prized. Therefore the reference book company trained large staffs of people to write really, really good entries.

The training process was long. Some of the people I worked with had been there for over a year, and they were still trainees. As for me, I found the training process to be a little bit slow. Especially where the prose writing was concerned. So one day, when I was choosing entries to update, I took one that needed a good prose essay. I wrote it. I turned it in with my "beginner" batch.

A day later, my supervisor asked me into the office. I thought, "Uh oh. Overstepped the boundaries."

She asked me to sit down. Then she told me I was being given a raise and a promotion. "You are a natural at this," she said. "We'll save a lot of money on your training, so we're giving some of it to you."

(To all readers under 30 -- yes, you just have to trust me, this sort of thing actually did happen in the business world in the early 1980s. It was a quick downhill ride for all of us after that.)

I am remembering that day on this one, 25 years later, because now I'm in a new profession. I am not a "natural" at this profession.

My supervisors in this new endeavor have decided that I need to be trained more in order to do this job. I'm grateful that they even want to give me the chance.

It's wonderful if life paves the way for you to be a "natural" at something and make a living at it. But that doesn't always happen. I believe that my current employment is serving the higher purpose of pricking my inflated ego and showing me that there are some things I can't do very well.

There are two ways to deal with doing something for which you have no real natural talent:

1. Suck it up, learn what you need to learn, and try your best, being aware that your best may not be good enough.

2. Weep and moan that life isn't fair because you can't do what you love.

OH, WOE IS ME! OH, PITY POOR ANNE! WHY DID MY LIFE TAKE THIS HORRIBLE TURN? I'M DROWNING IN A SEA OF BROKEN DREAMS, SHATTERED ILLUSIONS, AND DESPAIR! I'M SO MISUNDERSTOOD! WHY CAN'T I DO WHAT COMES NATURAL TO ME?????

Naah. Whining is for losers. Back to the drawing board I go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Holidays

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today's sermon: holidays.

I just finished Spring Break. This is a holiday that schools didn't have where I grew up. It's kind of weird just to be off school for a whole week, if you don't spend some of that week gussied up in some Methodist sanctuary.

Nothing has changed more in my nascent Cailleach years than my holiday schedule. It's like I cleaned out the holiday closet, got rid of some old ones, and made room for some new, interesting ones that I'd never celebrated before. Keep Christmas. I have the East Coast Vulture Festival. And you can especially keep Easter. At least as it's celebrated in our culture. Give me a rousing Fairie Festival with a Maypole and music, and I'll be all smiles!

We all have a personal holiday every year -- our birthdays. But you can build your own holiday any time. Some people go to great lengths for the perfect vacation. That's too wearisome for me. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, and it's a gorgeous day outside, and I don't have to go to work, I just declare the day "International Anne Johnson Day." It's that simple! Who's going to argue with me? Is Lisa Jones going to say, "No, wait, Anne. Today is International Lisa Jones Day?"

The next time you need a holiday, don't count the days on your calendar until the next public event. Go to the bakery, buy yourself a cake, sit on the porch and eat it, and tell everyone that it's International (Your Name Here) Day!

You're going to tell me that many calendars, including Wiccan ones, have holy days, etc. already published on them. Ah, forget the fine print! Have a holiday any time!

Here's another fabulous piece of free advice from your first source on the Web for free advice: Have an anti-holiday.

Anti-holidays work like this. You wait until a day or two after a big holiday. Let's say Easter, because it just passed. Then you go to the store, buy a whole bunch of Easter stuff at pennies on the dollar, and go home and have Easter. That delicious-looking Easter cake that cost $13.00 on Sunday morning suddenly will set you back a mere $3.00 on Monday. The candy is a good deal too.

This practice works for most holidays in the spring, but it's getting harder to do at Halloween. Last fall the clock had barely chimed on November 1 before all things skeletal were swept from the stores in favor of the Almighty Ho Ho Ho. Yes, I'm afraid anti-holidays are easier to celebrate this time of year.

Speaking of holidays, there's a big, official one coming up here at "The Gods Are Bored" this week.

My daughter The Spare will be turning sixteen. *weeps*

Her real birthday is during the week. We're celebrating on the weekend. With bargain Peeps I got in the after-Easter candy sales. The smart holiday planner always knows how to work these things.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Heir

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," proud parenting of The Heir and The Spare since 1989 and 1994 respectively! They are named Heir and Spare because that's what some stuffy talking head called Princess Diana's sons. To quote the talking head: "One Diana had produced an heir and a spare, she really wasn't necessary."

Lovely thing to say, what ho? It must suck being a princess.

My daughter The Heir has had a great deal of trouble with her health since she was a little girl. She has a chronic condition. The medicine she was on for a long time stopped working, and now the doctor is trying to change the medication. All of this, combined with a full course load at college -- and a brutal winter -- had poor Heir on the ropes. I have been deeply concerned about her for quite some time.

And so it is with joy that I report that I went to see The Heir at college today. She was chipper and in good spirits. Her little room (more like nook, she has a single) was messy, like you'd expect a college kid's room to be. She was chatty and not as bothered by her symptoms.

We went to a small park that was resplendent with wildflowers -- spring beauties, blue bells, grape hyacinths, jack-in-the-pulpits, violets -- and we sat by a little frog pond that was brimming with exuberant tadpoles. Heir seemed like her old self again. And as usual, she told me she loved me about ten times in the course of three hours.

By the end of my life I'm not going to have a lot to show for being here on Earth. My best accomplishment will be my children. The fact that they love me is my chief joy.

I'm not renowned for doing things right, but I think I've made a good go at motherhood. At any rate, I rejoice to see The Heir so improved.

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Friday, April 09, 2010

My Awesome Solution for Better Living and Working Conditions in West Virginia and Kentucky

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Should be grading papers. Blogging instead. I'll just give all my students A's, and everyone will be happy!

See how easy it is to be a teacher?


Today's sermon: Improving the economy of West Virginia and Kentucky

Why do men (and a few women) go deep into mountains and labor under dangerous working conditions that could get them killed at any time? Emm, I dunno ... maybe for the money? If coal mining was the only decent job where you lived, and you were hired to do it, would you say, "Oh, no, I think I'll work at Wal-Mart instead," and then go toil at pennies on the dollar? Not me. I'd strap on the helmet and spend my days in the dark.

You might say, "Anne, coal miners could move somewhere else and work in another occupation." To which I would reply, "Yes, many West Virginians emigrated to Detroit and Akron and such places to be auto manufacturers. But gosh. Hard as it is to imagine, people who live in the mountains love the mountains and want to stay there."

Cutting to the quick, here's my handy solution to the unemployment problems in two of our nation's most beautiful and scenic states.

First, you pass a law legalizing marijuana growth and use in West Virginia and Kentucky. All marijuana must be grown, processed, and used within those two states. Voila! An instant and ongoing economic stimulus! You'd have farming, processing, and that perennial moneymaker, tourism. You'd need border guards and extra law enforcement. Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. And none of them underground!

I suggest this sensible solution because it has worked in The Netherlands. The tourist industry there has boomed with the legalization of weed. Turns out that very few natives smoke the stuff. It's sold primarily to tourists.

So we fire up the farms and the processing plants (jobs), we designate some fine resort areas for pot cafes (The Greenbriar springs to mind -- you reading this, Al Gore?), and we step up border vigilance (jobs). All of this would lead to an influx of tourists spending money on food (jobs), pot (jobs, as above), lodging (jobs), and souvenirs (jobs, but probably in China).

The only downside I can see to this is that some people in the western states might say it's not fair that they would have to fly to Charleston or Louisville to visit a pot cafe. Oh well. You have Yellowstone. Deal with it.

To those who would object to pot use on moral grounds, here is my response:

1. Which makes a person meaner, a doobie or a fifth of Jack?
2. Marijuana use was legal until the 1930s, was supported by the pharmaceutical industry, and was only vilified by William Randolph Hearst because hemp was used to make paper, and Hearst had bought scads of forest to cull for paperwood.

Hemp! Oh, for the love of fruit flies, I forgot all about hemp! Fabric! Paper! And the manufacture thereof. More jobs!

Yes, I know this will never happen. But a lot of sensible things never happen. Doesn't mean they aren't sensible.

This advice is offered to the citizens and lawmakers of West Virginia and Kentucky free of charge as a courtesy of "The Gods Are Bored." But, folks in those parts ... if you decide to do it, can I get some comps?

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Pesky First Amendment Issues, Alas!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Sometimes we talk about "the Wee People." Sometimes we talk about "We the People." Either way, we always set aside a nice slice of pie just for you!

Last weekend I drove from the flatlands to the mountains and back again, using one of the busiest stretches of roadway in the Great Blue Northeast. Even on Eostra morning the traffic was brutal. But Spare and I got home safely.

Monday afternoon when I went to pick up Spare from high school (an unusual treat), I got rear-ended by a teenage driver who admitted she had only had her license since January. Both Spare and I got whiplash, but it could have been worse. If the teenage driver had hit me just a little harder, I would have been pushed into a crowd of pedestrians. They were the reason I stopped in the first place.

This morning I drove my car over to the body shop for a new rear bumper. As the insurance adjuster was examining the damage, I happened to see my handy First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, carefully attached to the exterior of  my Dodge. Thank goodness it's not on the bumper! It's on the side of the car, up at eye level.

It says right in the First Amendment that American citizens are guaranteed "freedom of speech."

This is just another of those super-simplified statements in our nation's principal code of law. Freedom of speech covers everything from saying, "Excuse me" when you need to get past a fellow citizen on the sidewalk, to shouting, "Dead soldiers are proof that God hates fags!" at a funeral for a Marine corpsman killed in the line of duty.

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Something tells me the original framers of the U.S. Bill of Rights didn't envision some of the applications of freedom of speech that today serve as a barometer of the lack of civility in our populace.

I needn't link you to the loathsome Westboro Baptist Church. Nor do I need to explain to you that this small fringe group of hellhounds has seized upon military funerals as a way to publicize their radical anti-gay message. Nor do you need to believe in our "mission" in Iraq in order to mourn the loss of a young man in the prime of life -- even if he chose to be a soldier, knowing the job is almost as dangerous as coal mining.

There are myriad species of pond scum that have more appeal than the handful of haters that comprise the Westboro Baptist Church. Sadly, as our U.S. Constitution is currently written, WBC has certain rights under the First Amendment.

Our Supreme Court of the United States (also known as JBB -- Justices for Big Business) will hear a case against the WBC, brought by a parent of a Marine. This is the first time a case against WBC has advanced to JBB. It's hard to say how the current batch of (In)justices will decide, since some of them pad their benches with the Constitution.

As we at "The Gods Are Bored" see it, this case must fall in favor of WBC. The nebulous quality of the First Amendment allows for odious shouting -- and the resulting mental trauma -- doled out by lunatic hellhounds who somehow manage never to get into scuffles that they start themselves. Freedom of speech. It's there. If the WBC can't shout at military funerals, then what comes next? Perhaps we need to ask the Chinese.

Cruel, hard-hearted Anne! What if that was your daughter, being lowered into a grave under the watchful eyes of a military escort, as someone in the background shouts, "This is proof that God hates fags!"

Here's what I say to that.

Grieving parents, We the People hear you. We feel your pain. Such a vast majority of us feel your pain that the pain crosses every religious and political boundary. We are behind you, grieving parents. We are behind you with moral outrage and deep sympathy.

I wish to add the following:

WBC is a tiny fringe group that has gotten just what it wanted -- publicity, and lots of it. If that publicity leads to widespread disruptions of solemn funerals or other life-changing events it will be time not to pass a law, but to amend the Constitution.

Which state in this nation would vote against a Right to Dignity at Religious Observance Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? You tell me. Where do you live?

Not that I'm looking out for my own selfish interests here, but the above proposed Constitutional Amendment would also prohibit the rabid Christians who shout abuse at the Fairy Festival attendees. I see all silver cloud with no lining here! Please tell me if I'm wrong.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My Gods, Your Gods, Their Gods, Our Gods

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" They're bored, those gods. Many of them. Almost all of them, in fact. The deities we know now are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fine pantheons have come and gone before the dawn of what we call "history." Their names and deeds are lost to time. *Anne weeps*

Here at "The Gods Are Bored" we honor those forgotten deities. Think of us as the Tomb of the Unknown Gods. Eternal flame blazing -- we know not for whom.

One of the nice things about being off school this week is that I've gotten back up to date on the news and the blogs. (The news is bad from West Virginia, but I'll have more to say about that as the Fairie Festival approaches.)

My friend Hecate had a link to an interesting post about praising and worshiping the deities of your place, even if your ancestors lived elsewhere. At the same time, Jason at The Wild Hunt quotes from a Heathen who believes that deities do, and should, stay with their cultural groups of origin. We will begin by quoting the Heathen, whose name is Stephen McNallen:

‘Pagan,’ as I use the term, does not mean lacking a moral code. It does not mean rituals mixing Isis, Thor, and American Indian beliefs, with a little lesbian-feminist philosophy thrown in for good (or bad) measure. It is not a hobby, a pastime, or an affectation … There are only two kinds of religions in the world. One kind, like Christianity, Islam, or Scientology, lacks any roots in blood or soil … The other category includes the ones we call pagan, or native, or indigenous religions.  They are innately tied to a specific people and cannot be transferred to another group without losing their truth, power, and integrity. Such religions are the distilled experience of a specific biological and cultural group from its very beginning.”

We at "The Gods Are Bored" accept and respect "the distilled experience of a specific biological and cultural group from its very beginning." If such a thing were to exist today, we would throw ourselves in front of the missionaries trying to "civilize" it. Fact of the matter is, human nature has been to explore, to clash or colonize, to mix and mingle, and otherwise to scatter "specific biological and cultural groups" to the four winds. With all due respect to Stephen McNallen (because we respect all spiritual paths here), it must be more difficult to get into his praise and worship team than it is to prove you can belong to the D.A.R. Does the worship of the Odin pantheon require a DNA sample linking the follower to a pure strain of Norwegian? Put it another way. If Lebron James suddenly decided to worship Thor, would he be deemed unacceptable?

I think we should let Thor decide. Thor would probably be absolutely, positively delighted with Lebron James. But I could be wrong. Thor declined an interview for this post. He's busy seeking new followers. Not wherever He can find them, but from a "specific biological and cultural group." Uh oh. I feel some boredom coming on!

Hecate's link, and her own comments, suggest that we ought to forge bonds with the deities of our ancestors as well as the deities of the place in which we reside. To put it in my characteristically oversimplified "Gods Are Bored" way, it works like this: When you light a candle to Brighid, dedicate it also to Turtle Woman, or to whatever Native deity or deities reside within your place. This is not a "hobby, pastime, or affectation." This is basic respect and acknowledgment of the memory stored in the ground at your feet.

I would even dispute Mr. McNallen's claim that Christianity and Islam (and even Scientology, for the love of fruit flies) "lack any roots in blood or soil." Please don't tell the Muslims that! Making those pilgrimages are an important part of their faith! And by all means don't point this out to the Christians who flock to Israel in droves, leaving their tourist ducats behind!

All spiritual paths are rooted to some specific place. It's how they branch that makes all the difference. Some branches suffocate others. It's our mission here at "The Gods Are Bored" to trim back the ivy and find whatever species of plant exists underneath all that spreading stuff.

We are especially keenly aware of the ancestral deities of place. This means that all "Gods Are Bored" rituals that occur in Appalachia recognize the Algonquin deities. The Celtic deities. The pre-Celtic deities. And the god who was rooted in Palestine and spread like that pesky Wisteria all over the planet. That busy god doesn't need your patronage, but He can't be ignored entirely if your beloved granny went to church every Sunday.

So, here's to heaping helpings of potent bored god mixtures! Create your own today. Don't know how to start? Touch the ground where you live. Then listen.



Images: "The Bitter One," by Seitou. "Manabozho in the Flood," public domain.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Space Shuttle Through Service to Pittsburgh and Points West

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," with malice toward nuns and charity toward owls!

Just kidding about nuns. I've never had much dealing with them. I think overall they must be a good lot, with some exceptions of course. They must save a bundle by not ever needing marriage counseling. Talk about a situation where the husband is always right!

Ah. As you see, we at "The Gods Are Bored" are back in the bad saddle and ready to rumble. It's spring break this week, and that means a new post every day! Oh joy!

Just now I dropped the Spare off at high school. I was listening to the news radio, and honestly, here's what the guy said:

"The space shuttle Discovery just made a successful launch. Where is it going? Stay tuned to find out!"

I guess I should have stayed tuned, because I've been under the impression that the space shuttle goes into space. But heck, I could be wrong. Maybe its destination this time was Disney World. Maybe it's going to do a flyover of Paramus, NJ and then land in the Hudson Valley. Could be that those astronauts needed to get to Kansas ASAP, and the space shuttle was just sitting there, all fueled up with nowhere to go.

I know that these news stations all use teasers to get us through the commercials. As teasers go, promising us that we soon will learn the destination of a recently lifted-off space shuttle was sucky at best.

Gosh. Do you think the Space Shuttle Discovery is actually headed for Olympus? That would be awesome!

Maybe I should have stayed tuned.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Life Really Sucks Today

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored." Or stay away. I don't care. Do whatever you want.

The sun is out. The weather is perfect. Why am I sitting here writing this when I could be folding laundry? There's nothing in this world that's better than folding laundry, except perhaps scrubbing out the refrigerator, which I also am going to do rather than sit here and write this.

I can hardly see through the tears. Our school's Spring Break just began. The security guards had to drag me from the building kicking and screaming. Why, oh why, can't I stay in my classroom, just sitting there and dreaming sweet dreams of future lessons? Why wouldn't they let the students stay? I'll bet I had 50 kids today, on their knees begging me to instruct them in the finer points of persuasive essays. One enlightened youngster was heard to exclaim in despair: "All I want to do is to read Brave New World!"

I tell you, life isn't fair. How will I endure eight days without the opportunity to educate?

Wait. It gets worse. Night school was canceled this week, and it's off next week too. Oh, zounds! Missed chances to hear my genius instructor impart his wisdom and passion, his riveting anecdotes and memorable mantras!

I can't tell you how badly I wish it was April 12.

No, I can't say that I wish it was April 12, because that's just closer to the doggone Spoutwood Fairie Festival, a three-day bore out in a field giving praise to faeries. As if faeries deserve praise. Pesky little buggers. I would poison them, but they crawl inside the walls to die, then they stink up everything.

Another crushing blow. Tomorrow I have to drag my obnoxious daughter to see my loathsome sister in a pestilential place called Western Maryland. My sister actually has the idea that I like to hike. She also has plans to visit a bird sanctuary where they have a caged vulture. Vultures are disgusting. No other word for them. As for hiking, it's only fun if you're drunk.

I'll also have to watch my sister brag about her Rat Fink collection and her outdoor faerie habitat. Kill me now.

Then we're going to go to Berkeley Springs. Talk about an overrated place. Patch of grass with a little bit of water bubbling up in the middle. This is someone's idea of a good time?

EXHIBIT A: THE MOST BORING PLACE ON THE PLANET

I guess I'll pull out of this mood on Sunday. Three church services ought to do the trick. I just spent $300 on a brand new Easter dress and shoes, so I'll look great for God. And that tithe I owe toward capital improvements? Paid in full!

So, not that I care whether you read this or not, but I'll be gone a few days ... miserable ... and then, like the Risen Christ, I will return full of the Blood of the Lamb!

In His name,
Ann

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