Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm 2011

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I think all of the photos of the Fairie Fest this year have filtered in, so here's a little pictorial for those of you who are thinking of coming next year. I would like to thank Frater Servitor Lucem, Pam and Rita, and a host of other photographers for doing so much great clicking!

As leader of the Mountain Tribe, I had to bring the Stone of Destiny. Can't carry the original (and wouldn't want to move it from its current locale), so I got this one from behind the house on Polish Mountain. Yes, it was heavy.


Spare and I with dragons Big Red and Mushu. Mushu traveled all the way from Washington State to be at the festival, so I don't want any excuses from you Marylanders next year!

Big Red and I always do a little storytelling gig on Friday in the Pocket Fairy Booth.

I have to speak into the mic. It helps that the guy holding it is a fabulous person.




We had to make a sign with our Mountain Tribe chant on it. Ours won the prize as most pathetic.


Oh, these small ones! I don't know how to enlarge them. This is all the Tribe leaders doing the traditional La Tooshie dance. No Fairie Festival is complete without it.


 For my money, this was the most beautiful faerie on the site.



And here's dear Bibi with our REAL banner, made by an expert craftsman. We also had a beautiful tablecloth, made by Pam and Rita. I would say the Mountain Tribe did pretty well for itself.

Facebook has a May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood group with a gazillion photos posted. These are just a few to help me navel gaze on rainy days!

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brief Refresher Course

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're so glad to have your custom! There's a pie in the oven and a parrot on the porch, so stop by ... you won't have any trouble finding the house! Or me, for that matter. That's me in the picture. Just look for the neon tie-dye and the Stone of Destiny.

From time to time, we at "The Gods Are Bored" like to publish our Mission Statement and make a financial disclosure. This site has recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, so perhaps some of you haven't been around since the get-go.

THE GODS ARE BORED

FOUNDED APRIL 5, 2005

(Because Anne read a newspaper article about a woman who got her dog's vet bills paid by blogging about the dog's plight.)

MISSION STATEMENT

WHEREAS logic dictates, and certain holy books corroborate, the existence of multiple Higher Powers, and

WHEREAS these powers are perceived by humans living and dead to be of both genders and, in some instances, animal entities or geological phenomena,

THEREFORE be it enacted that "The Gods Are Bored" will recognize and venerate each and every Higher Power from pantheons known and unknown, the unknown being unknown because they are not represented in the annals of recorded history,

FURTHERMORE "The Gods Are Bored" reserves the right to recognize and venerate Higher Powers of more recent vintage, including, but not limited to, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Cthulhu.

SWORN BY ME, Anne Johnson, on this 29th Day of May, Year of Our Lords and Ladies, 2011.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

Beginning balance, April, 2005: $0

Current balance, May, 2011: $0

Income: $800 (exact figure unknown) in the form of books for Anne's classroom, books for Anne, and several nice gifts sent to Anne by readers.

Expenditures: $150 (exact figure unknown) in the form of charitable donations to other bloggers, postage and handling for gifts sent, return postage for borrowed items, and a few purchases from readers.

Respectfully submitted,
Anne Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Then vs. Now

Okay, whippersnappers, lissen up! I'm old Annie the geezer, and I don't like this new century.

Our species has been devising technology to solve problems with ever-accelerating efficiency since the first Australopithecus grabbed a club to scare buzzards off a wildebeest carcass.

We've come to the point of diminishing returns, my precious pets. This moment might have occurred in the 1990s (I'm sure it did), but it has become standard operating procedure. And it sucks. If you are over 50, or near 50, you will agree with me when I bemoan ...

...built-in obsolescence.

You whippersnappers will try to tell me that 8-track tapes and leisure suits had a built-in obsolescence too. I will counter that fashion has always relied on built-in obsolescence, and some inventions work better than others. What I mean by built-in obsolescence is labor-saving devices that are made to break down within eight years and entertainment systems that require a constant outlay of money, always more money, in order to entertain. Oh yes, and let's not forget that we need to get the latest computer gadget every two years, a gadget that becomes dated the minute it leaves the store.

Let me tell you pink-cheeked urchins something. When I was a kid, if you bought a refrigerator, it lasted 30 years. One washing machine and dryer would take a large family of kids into adulthood. Dishwashers never broke down, because they were people who used detergent and sponges. Remember Brillo Pads? I used them. I was a dishwasher. In 1978 I cleaned a whole huge Thanksgiving feast for 14 people, and here it is 2011, and I am still working! I can still scrub a pot!

In 1987, when we moved to Snobville, Mr. Johnson and I had to buy some appliances for our house. We bought a refrigerator. It still works. It's in the basement. When Heir was born, we bought a washer and dryer. They still work, and they've worked damn hard.

When we updated our kitchen in 2003, Mr. J and I bought all new kitchen appliances from Sears. Brand new dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, and microwave. The stove was recalled, the microwave is still working, sort of, the refrigerator has been repaired five times, and the dishwasher (though repaired more than six times) failed about two months ago.

Stubbornly, I insisted that we go back in time to the original dishwasher, AKA me, and I was pecking away at it, but Mr. J. doesn't like dirty dishes sitting around. Last weekend we went to the store I most detest on the planet, Home Depot, and purchased a brand new dishwasher. Do you know what the girl who sold it to us said? I kid you not:

"Dishwashers aren't built to last more than eight years anymore."

To which I replied, "Well, I know a dishwasher that has lasted 45 years without a single repair. Come on, Mr. J, let's go get a water ice."

He insisted that we purchase a new unit. We did, and a delivery date was set.

When I came home from school the day the new dishwasher was installed, I found a pool of water on my kitchen floor. The first time Mr. J used the machine, it leaked. He called the installer, who said the gasket was probably broken. I know what a gasket is, and there was nothing wrong with the gasket on the new machine. In fact, the machine continued to ooze water even when it wasn't running. It hadn't been properly installed. Now we have to wait until Tuesday for a repairman to come, all the while mopping up puddles of water from our hardwood kitchen floor.

Whippersnappers, this would not have happened in 1969. You just have to trust me. You want to know why we haven't sent any more astronauts to the moon? Because nothing is built to work long enough to get the job done.

One last bit to this rant, and then I'm going to go hunt and gather.

In 1969, if you liked a band, you bought their records. Records were plastic disks that you played on a record player. Most record players were affordable, and once you bought one, it worked for years without any further expenditure. Records, if treated gently, were eternal. I don't have to tell you that. You go to the flea market! Point is, you paid for the record once, and then you didn't have to pay for it ever again. You owned it.

My daughter The Spare gave me her MP3 player, and it was a huge hassle getting it to run again, even though we'd been paying $15 a month on it for years without any use. A month or two ago, I was bragging about getting the thing filled up with music before the subscription expired. Because that's what the guy with the thick Indian accent told me I could do: load as much stuff on it without paying as I could in a month.

The month came and went. I loaded 835 tracks. Now a month has gone by again, and the MP3 player would not work, because the "licenses had expired." Just now I spent another 90 minutes chatting with someone on the other side of the planet, and once again he had to hack into my computer to re-up the player. It's working now, I think... but I have a sick feeling in the pit of my gut that I'm going to be billed for every last one of those 835 tracks of music. Not to mention the fact that I have to pay a monthly subscription fee just to use the device at all.

Makes me long for a time when you didn't even need a record player if you had a washboard and a pair of spoons.

There's no moral to this rant. I just want to leave notice here that, should "The Gods Are Bored" suddenly cease all new posts, it's because:

1. The computer malfunctioned.
2. My internet server decides I haven't paid enough to warrant being on the computer.
3. Mr. J gets a bill from Rhapsody for 835 tracks of music and decides no spouse should spend so wantonly.
4. I have no time to post because I'm washing dishes.

Where is Mr. Peabody? I need the Way-Back Machine, and I need it now!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Be Still and Know That They Are There

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Scary confession time: The only parts of my house and yard that are tidy and well-kept are the two shrines. All else is a cluttered, overgrown, unkempt, neglected mess.

Part of the reason everything else is a mess is because the shrines are important, and getting the pine needles off the driveway isn't. I don't sit on the driveway and commune with the pine needles. That's the purpose of a shrine, of which, as I said, I have two.

Sorry, I don't have any good pictures of my shrines. I haven't entered the 21st century yet in terms of photography. Appearance isn't important, anyway. What's important is the existence of shrines and their purpose in worship.

As humans we are wired to "look up" to certain people -- experts, priests, doctors, scholars. Religions are that way, too. Some people know more about the religion than others, so those people are looked to for guidance. Which doesn't always work out, I'm sure you'll agree.

If you're hearing this for the first time, listen up: Cut out the middle man and go straight to the gods.

If you trust your own ability to perceive, to think and to feel, you can be at one with the Divine, and you don't even need to have a specific, prescribed, delineated, and relentlessly studied Path. This is what I walked away from when I left Christianity ... and it's why I go off on tangents when I worship with other groups. At Druid Grove I'll feel Manito. Some nights at my outdoor shrine I'm greeted by the Green Man, but on other occasions it's Manannan, Loki, Santa Claus. The important thing is that deities will fill the silence if you just open up your heart and be still. You don't need to pray unless you want to. I find that the quieter I sit, and the less my mind works, the more powerful the bond between me and whatever deity crosses my path.

My indoor shrine is more directly dedicated to Queen Brighid the Bright, but when I center in stillness there I just feel Mother-love. It could be my great-grandmother reaching to me beyond the Veil. She was, in her time, a hedge witch with a merry spirit. Just touching the bench where I keep my wand and my crystals infuses me with Divine. In my particular case, I feel like the less I know in terms of knowledge, the more I know in terms of connection. Be still and know that Goddess is within. So, how many Goddesses are there? How many do you need? This is just me when I say, the more the merrier! I feel that many Higher Powers are at work, in my house, in my heart, in the world.

Now you know why I very rarely write about my particular praise and worship. There's just no easy explanation to offer. When you cut out the middle man, you're free to fling yourself into the thicket of Divine as a purely sensory experience. You stop asking questions, and you most especially stop asking for guidance, favors, luck, money ... all that stuff of which the apparent world is made.

Now you're saying, "Well, I really do need some help here. At least as much as my parents gave me when they taught me to ride a bike."

The only solid advice I can offer is to know your element. If you're a water person, you will derive the most communication with Divine from being around water. Ditto fire, earth, and air. I would add to those ... music. Music should be a whole element of itself, because just lumping it in with air doesn't give enough credit to the earth, upon which all toes tap and from which all instruments spring; or fire, which accompanies it from the vast arenas to the smallest altar candle.

Which element am I? *sigh* That's a question. Seek beyond the questions. Don't look for answers, look for Divine. Sometimes the answer is just .... Shhhhhhhhhh.

Oh yes. And harm none. Do no harm, that's my only Scripture. It's tough enough, and broad enough, that I'd rather not shoulder any more.

Come here for laughs, not lessons. The irony is that I'm paid to teach, even as I grope mindlessly and joyfully at the edge of the Veil.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rapture Is Only Postponed!

This is as yet unconfirmed, but rumor has it that Rapture has been briefly postponed and will now occur on October 21, 2011.

We at "The Gods Are Bored" are thrilled to hear this, as it gives us ample opportunity to interview many bored gods and let you have a wide sampling of the Higher Powers you can choose to praise and worship ... none of which are promising to torch the world and unleash the undead.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"God Will Know His Own"

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," still stewing in self-pity in the wake of another ruptured Rapture. Damn it! I have five loads of laundry to fold tonight! If anything makes fighting with zombies seem appealing, it's that.

Back in the Middle Ages, there was a small sect of Christians in southern France who were known as the Cathars. They were very peaceful and not terribly numerous, but as their numbers (and their wealth) grew, they earned the wrath of the pope, who called for them to be exterminated.

The Cathars were rounded up and burnt at the stake. Finally their remnants gathered inside a castle, along with a few sympathetic local Christians who didn't like the way the Cathars were being treated.

The Crusader general who besieged the castle ordered that everyone inside should be slaughtered. When some of his soldiers protested that not everyone inside was a Cathar, the general replied, "Kill them all. God will know His own."

This brutal story comes across almost a thousand years of history, but it poses a question that Christians ought to take up with their busy god. The question is this: When Judgment Day really comes (if it does), won't more people curse You than bless You?

Every day, somewhere in the world, there's a terrible localized catastrophe. Look at our own nation in the middle of tornado season. Look at Japan. People get killed by the hour in what we wrongly term "acts of god." I say wrongly, because we know that no truly loving Higher Power would ever swoop down and wantonly destroy in such a willy-nilly way.

If a worldwide catastrophe occurred that could be directly traced to a specific deity, would you want to worship such a deity? Any kind of global cataclysm would wipe out millions and millions of little kids and elderly, millions and millions of really nice people who just happened to follow different religious Paths.

We don't think much of Stalin and Hitler, do we? And yet, every description I've ever heard of Rapture paints a scenario that would make every ruthless dictator who ever lived look like a pansy ass. Compared to a God we should worship. Go figure.

I can't imagine that seeing my daughters, my cats, and my parrot scorched in a fire would make me wish I had praised and worshiped the deity doing the dirty deed. I would pretty much see that deity as a playground bully writ large, gathering His posse to His side. Who wants to be part of that?

Fortunately, I am of the belief that there are many Paths, known and lost to time, that do not concern themselves at all with the Rapture, and those who walk these Paths will be immune to Horsemen, Great Beasts, and zombies. Only Christians face the reckoning of Rapture, and if it ever comes to them ... wow. They will defect from the busy god in droves. Who would blame them either?

God will know His own. As for the rest, find some new gods! Not all deities threaten to unleash worldwide havoc. Some of them are quite content to join you for a walk in the woods.

The word of the bored gods for the people of the bored gods. Thanks be to the bored gods.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

How I Spent Judgment Day: A Message of Hope for Harold Campling and His Flock

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you are a depressed follower of Harold Camping, having wandered here bleary-eyed and disappointed, well ... I'm disappointed too! However, it's time to move on.

Here's a little parable about organized religion. I'll call it "The Parable of the Busy Zoo."

My daughter The Heir and I agreed to meet some cosplay folks at the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday. The arrangements were all made over Facebook.

It rained all week long here in the Delaware Valley, but on Saturday morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky (or a zombie in the backyard). When I say "beautiful day," I feel this is scant praise for the weather. If you weren't standing directly in the bright sunshine, the temperatures were perfect. And everything was moist and verdant from all that rain.

Heir and I got a late start for our noon meet-up at the zoo. At 11:45 we were stuck in traffic on the Schuykill Expressway -- all of it what they call "zoo traffic," meaning that the backup was all created by folks trying to get off the highway at the zoo exit.

Eventually we did get off the highway and into the realms of the zoo. The whole area was packed with people. All the parking lots for the zoo were filled. A pedestrian quite kindly told us that our best bet was to park in Fairmount Park, which is across the Schuykill River from the zoo.

Heir and I were lucky to find a spot for my sweet little economy car, deep inside the park. We set out on a long trek toward the zoo, in our semi-cosplay outfits. This trek included practically having to scale a cliff to get up to the bridge that would take us back across the river to our destination.

It was while we were crossing the bridge that Heir informed me she didn't have a cell phone number for the people we were supposed to meet.

When we finally got to the gates of the zoo, about 60 minutes late, there was a huge, long line for tickets. The place was packed.

Now, I never have a bad time at the zoo, because the Philadelphia Zoo has a pair of Andean condors, and I just sit by their flight cage for two hours. But Heir likes the small mammals. I said to her, "You know what? If you try to see the pygmy marmosets in this crowd, the only thing you'll see is other people also trying to see the pygmy marmosets."

Heir readily agreed to turn back, especially since we didn't see any of the cosplayers.

As we made our way back across the bridge, we did run into some of the cosplay people. They (also late) were headed for the zoo. And they were lavishly attired. Spare and I made our apologies and continued on our way. We weren't in their league when it came to costumes, and I was still thinking about the crowd in the zoo and the cost of getting inside.

Heir was a little angry at me for more or less calling the shots and giving up so easily, especially when we quite serendipitously ran into the very people we would have been looking for. (Trust me, they would have been easy to find, by sight, no matter how crowded the zoo was!) But by that time I didn't care what she thought, because I was heeding the call of the bored gods.

We re-traversed the cliff, crossed busy Kelly Drive, and found ourselves along the banks of the river. It was not a Regatta day, but plenty of people were plying crew boats in the water, and there were joggers, bikers, walkers, and nature-lovers everywhere. Heir and I found a bench in the shade of a secluded garden that overlooked the river. We talked and talked as the pretty boats slid by and all sorts of people passed us in their own pursuits.

After awhile I remembered that it was Judgment Day. And by golly, there was something I'd never done that I always wanted to do, and by golly, I was right there ready to do it!

I'd never walked along Boathouse Row.

So Heir and I did it.

Boathouse Row is pretty famous. It's a serious of a dozen or so boat-storage houses, dating to the mid-1800s, that sit along the river and serve as host destinations for Regatta teams. You can see Boathouse Row from the freeway, and I'd often looked at it with longing as I inched by on the other side of the river.

Wow, those houses are gorgeous up close! It's like France or something. Each one has a personality, and the whole avenue where they sit is tree-lined and shady, with plenty of space for strolling. At the end of the row there's a little sandwich shop where Heir and I used our zoo money to get lunch and water.

As we ate, I said to Heir, "Hey, we're right by the Waterworks! I've always wanted to see that too!"

So we walked on. We explored the Waterworks, watched the river spill over a dam, and then ... right above us on the cliff ... Philadelphia's Museum of Art!

It was way too late to go into the museum, but we scaled the cliff and stood at a gazebo, staring out at the vast distance we had walked, the Schuykill River, the beginnings of a wedding at the Waterworks, the racing boats ... and off on the horizon, the hot air balloon marking the environs of the zoo. Behind us the modern skyscrapers of Philadelphia rose shining in the sun.

I said, "It doesn't get better than this." It felt so good to be out in the air, uncrowded and unfettered.

Then we walked back to the car, passing yet another wedding-in-progress. Happy the brides that the sun shines on!

The moral of this parable: Follow not your prescribed plans, but your heart instead. Don't be led by people. Take the hands of the gods and ramble the less-trodden path.

For those who live by the book and by the charismatic exhortations of fellow mortals are often led astray. But those who stand in the presence of the bored gods, with nothing between themselves and the Divine, will find peace in the apparent world -- and peace beyond the veil.

Busy god letting you down? Listen: there are other singers in other rooms. How sweet they sound.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

R U Rapture Ready?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we have long awaited Rapture and are now counting down the hours! The meek are about to inherit the Earth, my friends! All others go to Heaven, and ... ahem ... Godspeed them.

My friend Intense Guy alerted me to an article about Rapture that ran on some news site this week. Thanks, Iggy, for giving me the theme of my final pre-Rapture sermon! (And BTW, Iggy's post today is also about doomsday, but peppered with gorgeous photos of the Rail Trail to Cumberland, Maryland. So when you've ended your sojourn here at TGAB, by all means toddle over there!)

I have something very important to say regarding the End of the World.

For the sake of argument, let's buy the belief (however briefly) that the busy god, and only the busy god, exists. We've got either a few hours or a few months (depending on who you believe) before those of us who don't fit into His heaven get the axe.

It's time to say goodbye.

What do you have that is unsaid and unfinished in your life? Are you bearing a grudge against someone? Did you have harsh words with a spouse, offspring, or sibling recently? Is there anything, anything that you would regret not doing or saying if you knew that you only had a short time to live?

Fill in the blank: Just once before I die, I would like to ________.

Then, so long as it harms no one, go do it! This may be your last chance to visit those chateaux in the Loire Valley. Book the flight!

Do you have a close friend you haven't talked to in a long time, because you're too busy to bother? What if you knew that you wouldn't have another chance after tonight? (*Anne makes note to self: Call Celeste.*) Take a few precious minutes out of your final hours and phone a friend. Bonus points if you make plans to have coffee on Sunday!

Personally I have few regrets, no grudges I can think of with anyone, and no place on Earth I haven't visited that I feel like I need to see before I go. I'm always at peace with the bored gods (except Mars, He hates peace). Then what should I do with my last labored breaths?

Gratitude seems to be in order.

To my family and friends in the apparent world: I love you all, one and all, you are always on my mind and in my heart. As it appears we will all be going down together, let's hold hands and laugh and kiss and be of good cheer. Chins up, no surrender!

Friends, readers ... people who've been coming here to "The Gods Are Bored" for years, and you who have stumbled in recently: Thank you for visiting. I have actually met some of you (and merry was the meet in every case), and it's been so much fun to get messages from all over the planet. Over the course of my long run here, I've been elitist, righteously indignant, snarky, foolish, too personal on occasion, sentimental, silly, and sometimes stupid. You have forgiven my trespasses, shared my worldview, educated me, chastised me on occasion, and provided warmth on gloomy days. If this is farewell, then as the bored gods are my witnesses, it's been swell writing for you. I've enjoyed what I've done here.

And tra la la! I don't even have to go back and delete posts I regret writing, because I did that awhile back!

Let's make these next few days a time of frank gratitude amongst ourselves for all that is good in our lives, and perhaps rectify some relationships that have gone awry. I think the Jews have a day for this built into their calendar, but the rest of us, not so much.

Rapture ready? Sure, why not! Goodbye, kind world. Well done.

Photo: Anne and Spare, with Big Red and Mushu at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival, 2011.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Beast's Short List

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," counting down to Rapture in three ... two ... one.

I find it hard to make predictions about deities. One time I was on a golf course, on a high piece of ground, with a titanium putter in my hand, just four feet from the hole. I missed the shot. As a thunderstorm roiled around me, I waved the putter in the air and dared God to strike me dead.

And here I am. You cannot trust these deities to do what they're purported to do.

At the same time, I can't help but draw up a wish list for the Great Beast.

You've heard of the Great Beast. He's the bad dude who's going to descend and enthrall us after Rapture ... only to dash our heads against the bricks, or some such.

Who would you like to see dashed on the bricks by the Great Beast?

Me, I'm a no-kill kinda gal, so maybe I ought to put it differently. Who do you think deserves to smell the Great Beast's breath up close and personal?

Here's my short list.

1. People who think there's only one way to salvation, and that is ... (enter your exclusionary religion here).

2. People who reap profit off human suffering. You know, insurance company execs, makers of fast food, the Military Industrial Complex ... enough examples. You're smart. You get it.

3. People who set themselves up as paragons of virtue, when really they're secretly boozing, drugging, and banging in reckless abandon. Have at 'em, Beast.

4. All of the people who have replaced the cute Mister Softee vendor who used to drive the ice cream truck through my neighborhood. (Yes, I know. It's personal.)

5. Rick Santorum, just because he would not believe his bad luck at not being Raptured.

Please feel free to leave your candidates for suffering at the hands of the Great Beast in the comments column. We at "The Gods Are Bored" really appreciate your patronage, which will be the subject of the next entry!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Which I Predict the End of the World

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," counting down to Rapture on May 21! Yes, Rapture is scheduled, and we who are longing to be Left Behind can only hope that the 1,235th time is the charm.

The world will end some day. It surely will. You don't need "The Gods Are Bored" to tell you that.

Our planet has undergone several immensely significant extinction events, the most recent being the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. This wasn't a long, slow descent into darkness, but a catastrophic collision with an asteroid.

Think about it. One day, all the rich, varied plethora of dinos were out in their rain forests, munching those pretty big plants and gently nuzzling their babies, and the next day, the Earth said "ouch," and that was that. The large dinosaur species must have disappeared in a matter of months. Months, on a planet that has been rocking on for a couple billion years.

We've got fancy science now that could tell us if another asteroid might be on a collision path with Earth. But could we stop it? Oh yeah, that would get all of us to work together for awhile, or at least to view each other with more empathy. Once the impact occurs, though, it would be every Homo sapiens for himself, and none of us could cope with a sunless sky and the total loss of food crops. We're better organized than the dinosaurs, but we're still too fragile to survive a catastrophic extinction event.

Let's say Earth never gets hit by another asteroid. Well, we at "The Gods Are Bored" still predict that the world will end. The planet is warmed by a star that will change as it ages. One little burp that's bigger than usual will fry us one and all. It's inevitable that changes to the Sun will alter the surface temperatures on Earth beyond the survival capacity of biological life.

It might not even take a Sun burp. Humankind is its own worst enemy. Have you seen the population estimates for this century? Me too. The more crowded we get, the more meat we supply to an opportunistic bacterium or virus. In this era, a sickness that wiped out 90 percent of the population might cause the other 10 percent to die of attrition, since almost everyone on the planet now relies on some basic forms of technology. Would you know how to grow enough food and kill enough meat for ten percent of the people in your home town? Me neither.

We've got the Yellowstone caldera, global climate change, plate tectonics ... ah, face it, our rock is always in peril.

Notice this, however. I predict with 100 percent certainty the end of the world. I do not predict the exact date when it will happen. People who do this are foolish. Your better variety of deities never do it. Even the busy god says He has it on His calendar, but He's not telling anyone when.

The reason for not assigning a specific date to chaos is crystal clear. If you mark it on your calendar, and that day comes and goes with only the usual round of death and misery (off-balanced by birth and joy), you look like a moron. People may begin to doubt your predicting skills. Banquet halls might not want to book your daughter's wedding reception. The dry cleaner won't ask you when you plan to pick up your shirts ... heck, they might not even take your shirts in the first place! If you can't predict the big stuff with certainty, no one will trust you on the details either.

Casinos, however, will roll out the red carpet to you -- as will race tracks. You clearly, dearly love a long shot.

The world will end. Just not on Saturday. How do I know for sure? I don't know for sure. But the odds of me getting up to fix Sunday brunch on May 22 are astronomical. I like a safe bet.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Countdown to Rapture

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," cursing Facebook one virus at a time! Why, why, why did I ever fall for the latest stupid viral post? If you are my Facebook friend, never believe one thing you see posted by me. I'm about to swear off it for good.

There's a Rapture scheduled for Saturday, and I invite those of you who blog to think about what you might say to anyone who wanders, disillusioned, onto your site in the wake of it. Given the sad history of groups who have made reservations, seen them cancelled, and decided to seek the higher power by committing suicide, this really isn't exactly a laughing matter. (Although, trust me, I'll find some way to be snide about it.)

I was thinking about this Rapture event Sunday afternoon. My daughter The Spare had a choir concert at a local Episcopal church, so I went to hear it. And it was fabulous. There are some upsides to living in Snobville -- everyone else can afford to give their kids singing and music lessons. We even have a bongo player.

Before the concert began, I stared around at the church, which I'd maybe been in one time before. I got to thinking about it. Other than giving blood, I haven't been in a church for a long time. Even the funerals I've gone to in the past few years haven't been held in churches.

An awful lot of beautiful artwork goes into a church, doesn't it? All those stained-glass windows, and carved beams. Eye candy, for sure. Not distracting from the music, but nice to persue in between numbers.

And then the inevitable happened. Except it had been so long since I'd been in a church that I forgot the inevitabilities of every beautiful church building of any pantheon. Namely, you must pay the rent.

A jovial fellow (the music pastor from the church) got up and made a merry little speech about how wonderful it was to have the Snobville choirs perform, but please, as you leave, put a little money in the plate so we can continue to have these concerts. Because,  you see, we need to have the lights on for the concert, and we need the air conditioning, and all that stuff costs money. So be generous.

Well, right up pops my faerie Puck, and that bad thing, he whispers in my ear, "Hey, Anne, there's going to be a bowlful of money at the back of this place, and you need to buy a baby shower gift!"

The brat. Can you believe him?

Seriously, however, I found myself thinking: "It's a beautiful day outside. Why do we need to be in this air-conditioned, lit building anyway? We could have had this concert in the courtyard of Snobville High! No air-conditioning, no lights, no stained glass that needs its weekly Windex, no pews that need their Pledge. Just songs in the air, under the sky.

I know that my tax dollars cover music concerts held inside Snobville High. (The building is pretty run-down, given the average income level, but that's because of the way school taxes are collected here in New Jersey.) Snobville High's auditorium is not air-conditioned. It does have microphones and stage lighting. But they never charge admission to a concert. Nor do they ask for an offering. They sell t-shirts and Hershey bars in the lobby, but that's different. You get something in return for your payout.

Part of what always bothered me about the busy god was this constant plea for rent money. I guess it makes sense to petition the faithful for cash on Sunday morning. But an audience of mostly parents who have come in to hear a concert by their kids? Does this suddenly make me responsible for the air-conditioning all the rest of the time when I'm not in the building?

Needless to say, the church did not get any money from me. Also needless to say, I did not heed Puck's suggestion to line my pockets from the coffers. It's just bad form, bad form, to need money so badly that you stick your hand out for an hour-long concert by the local high school, in which the audience was three-quarters or more parents of same.

Get this. The air conditioning wasn't even on. As I said, it was a beautiful day.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Kept Women and Rhodesian Ridgebacks ... Again!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," praise and worship for everybody still on solid ground as of this hour next week! It's countdown to Rapture, after which we will deal with the remainders by providing warm blankets, bottled water, and counseling through Friends of the Bored Gods (501 C3).

This should be an interesting week.

Today's post, however, concerns two of my favorite topics: kept women and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Well, they're not really my favorite topics, but the two posts I did about them got more viewings than anything else I've written.

Keeping the crowd happy, so to speak.

I live in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia called Snobville. It bears a scary resemblance to Stars Hollow in that t.v. show The Gilmore Girls, if you ever happened to see it. (This may not be a coincidence. One of the leading actors on that show grew up in Snobville.) Mr. J and I moved to Snobville in 1987, purchasing a fixer-upper where the only thing in top-notch condition was the poison ivy in the back yard.

Previously I had written about a doctor here in Snobville who kept his purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback hunting hounds at his home on the other side of town. I've been soundly excoriated in previous posts for bad-mouthing these pooches, but I stand by my view that dogs bred to chase lions might not make cuddly pets. In our local case, two dogs owned by this doctor (father and son dogs) bit a series of children and adults over about 10 years, one of them being the oldest daughter of my friend Wanda. Wanda's daughter will have scars all her life on her neck and shoulder.

Last week, so the local newspaper says, one of the dogs bit yet another kid. The doctor was under some kind of court order respecting the animal, and apparently this was enough. The dog was euthanized. But look how long it took. The dog's father, also a biter, was never put down, and this dog (I believe) might have sired some puppies -- who should be chasing friggin lions instead of pulling on leashes while being walked through the groomed precincts of Snobville.

I can say anything I want here about the pope, or the Book of Revelation, or snake-handlers, or Mormon missionaries, and I don't get a peep from the haters. But if I go thumbs-down on Rhodesian Ridgebacks, I get pounded.

Who cares? I'll say it again. Certain dog breeds are BRED to behave in certain ways. They're BRED for certain climates. Have you ever seen some poor Huskie suffering through a summer afternoon on the end of some leash? Breaks my heart.

Want a good dog? Go to the pet shelter, adopt a mixed breed (read: mutt), and you will find yourself with a lovely companion pet who is wired to think the world of you and not wired to wonder if an overly-affectionate toddler might perhaps be a lion.

Moral of this sermon: Send the Ridgebacks back to Rhodesia! Seriously, do not tell me these dogs make great pets. Mutts make great pets. You have that dog for a whole different reason. Status.

And it is that oh-so-Snobville word, status, that brings me to the kept women.

Mr. J doesn't like it when I tee off on the women here in Snobville whose spouses make so much money that they don't have to work. You see these females all over the place, and you can spot them a mile away. How? They're all thin, tan, and they all wander around in workout suits and high-end athletic shoes. A busy day includes a tennis lesson, mani-pedi, lunch, and shopping. A quiet day minimizes the shopping but might have a bit of yoga somewhere at a convenient hour.

Yesterday my daughter The Heir (newly home from college, yay!) found herself at Snobville's town center around noon. It was a lovely afternoon. Right in the middle of the town center, a small but significant group of kept women were having a yoga class outside. Sun Salutation, right between the Coldstone Creamery and the By Hand Art Gallery. Meanwhile, Heir told me, some construction workers were doing something in the street, and they were staring, pointing, and laughing at the women.

Now, don't go hating me on yoga! I love yoga! Can't do it, but I think it's great. But to me, yoga is rather like prayer. If you're going to do it outside, it would be better to find a quiet, leafy glen -- not the semi-bustling, concrete, bistro-heavy center of Snobville.

There's something about doing yoga in a public location of that nature that just invites you to be mocked by men who are working their butts off, presumably in relationships with women who also work their butts off.

Message to kept women: I know Mr. J says I'm jealous, but really I'm not. Because if Mr. J suddenly became a surgeon with a hankering to breed Rhodesian Ridgebacks, I would still work at something. Yoga in Snob Center? Never, not even the day before Spare marries Prince Harry!

It would really be swell if some of these kept women were Raptured, but I'm not very hopeful. I've read enough of the Bible to know that, no matter how hard they try to stay thin, they're still not going to get those buffed buns through the eye of a needle. Sadly, they will remain among us, bemoaning the loss of their favorite Vietnamese manicure artist.

Okay, haters. Off you go!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our New Nonprofit

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" What a beautiful day it is outside! I think I'll keep this post short.

As my three readers already know, a date for The Rapture has been officially set. It is exactly 10 days hence, on May 21, 2011.

So far, those of us who promote the bored gods have pretty much been thinking about the commercial and ecological ramifications of this long-awaited event. How could we have overlooked the spiritual dimension?

The Bible pretty much lays out this scenario where those who are not Raptured will face great strife from such vile opponents as celestial horsemen and a Great Beast that we'll all recognize because he'll be spray-painted with a great big 666.

That sounds scary.

There's also the matter of people being Left Behind. Suppose some of those people (more likely a lot of them) think they should have been promoted? There's bound to be bitterness.

Some people scared, some people bitter ... and some of us not giving a fig, because we're with the bored gods.

So I, Anne Johnson, am now going to create a 501 C3 nonprofit organization called Friends of the Bored Gods. We at Friends of the Bored Gods will be offering post-Rapture counseling and education for all of those who are either scared or pissed. No one need look over a shoulder for the Great Beast! At least, not if you're taking an alternate route. Friends of the Bored Gods will provide alternate routes to healing and closure in the post-Rapture world. Trust me, friends, the hundreds of bored deities who've been ousted by Yahweh are already camping around the pond behind my house, just waiting for a new influx of mortal followers. (We've been having some lively, family-friendly parties.)

If you would like to donate to Friends of the Bored Gods, just remember our rules here at "The Gods Are Bored." It's all about the economy. You write to me, tell me how much you would like to donate. I'll send you a check for that amount, which you will then return to me. Let's face it, times are tough. This is our way of letting you feel good without having to sacrifice your pin money.

Friends of the Bored Gods has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Gosh, I thought that up all by myself! Rather proud.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Save the Date!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we have very, very, very good news today!

The date for Rapture has been set. According to a huge billboard about a mile away from where I'm sitting, Armageddon begins on May 21, 2011.

In less than two weeks, the busy god will call his best pupils away, and the world will suddenly become less populous. That is, if you believe that more than 144,000 people can get into heaven.

For the sake of celebration, let us assume that more than 144,000 people will get into heaven.

On May 21, as I said, the best and brightest of Yahweh's bustling entourage will be whisked straight away. What will the rest of us do?

On Facebook, someone has set up an After Rapture Party for May 22. I'm cool with that. I'll dig out a nice casserole recipe for nostalgia's sake, and all of us Left Behinders can revel in the removal of the very most sanctimonious amongst us.

Think of all the mega-churches we'll have, totally empty and at our disposal! Well, there's a nice gap-filler in the school budget, for one thing. Art supplies! Tables, chairs, and desks, for kids of all sizes! Take the school stuff out, put in some lightly-used furniture, and voila! Housing for people who are living in tents! Some of these places even have showers and basketball courts. Sweet!

The Raptured will leave behind homes, cars, clothes, jewelry, furniture, pets, and other swell things that can be doled out to the non-Raptured on an as-needed basis. I think we can be fair about this. Take me, for instance. My car works pretty well, so I won't need the late model Ford Escalade belonging to the pastor who figured out when The Rapture would begin. But I'll bet there's someone out there whose beat-up old pickup just breathed its last. And I'll bet that person just missed Rapture by a smidgen, maybe bet the Kentucky Derby last weekend or something equally pernicious. Justice! That's what I'm all about. The Escalade goes to the guilty gambler. It'll take the sting out of not being Raptured (and missing out on that fabulous $300-plus exacta).

Just a warning: We at "The Gods Are Bored" may be a little late for the After Rapture Party. Awhile back, we went to give blood at the Snobville United Methodist Church, in the process getting an eyeball of some high quality upholstered furniture in the church foyer. No one will miss it! Ask any Snobville Methodist, they will shyly admit they're on the Rapture roster.

So I get first dibs on the easy chairs, okay? You all must know me by now.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

My Man Jeff

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Mother's Day edition 2011! Spare made breakfast, and she also made a beautiful video for me with pictures from throughout my whole life. It was hugely touching. As for Heir ... hmmm ... Heir ... still at college, not even a phone call. Maybe later.

Just now I was out tending Shrine of the Mists. Seemed like a nice way to honor my Mother.

Every time I visit Polish Mountain I bring back more stone for my Shrine. This batch of stone just added is extra special, since it first attended the Fairie Festival ... and I'm pretty sure it's Marcellus shale. So the Shrine is all dressed up and looking beautiful. It just needs the new Orangina bottle to be complete.

This is a picture of My Man Jeff. I only know him as My Man Jeff. Twice now he has come to the Fairie Festival and joined the Mountain Tribe. And two years in a row he has brought water for me in an Orangina bottle.

Last year at the festival, it was hot as all get out, and Jeff might have saved me from heat stroke with his gift. This year wasn't as hot, but I still was glad for the water.

Jeff does not have a Facebook. For all I know he's a faerie who materializes for the festival and then drifts away again beyond the veil. Except I have a feeling he's mortal, because this year he had a pleasant young female friend with him (not pictured).

I put Jeff's Orangina bottles on the Shrine because he is probably the very most random person I call "friend." We know nothing about each other except that we are in Mountain Tribe at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival.

Here's to My Man Jeff, magick in a small yearly dose. One day a year we are happy together. I pray that the other 364 he's just as serene.

So might it be.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Company You Keep

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dedicated silly Paganism since 2005! Some people only think they hear the Horned One whispering in their ears. I'm taking it to a whole new level, people. Here I am, taking His advice on how best to proceed in this and every other dimension!

Today's sermon: Is it bad to be bad?

The trouble with many people is that they can't distinguish between bad and evil. Any rule broken, any convention challenged, it's evil. Having a great time in a very rowdy way? Evil! Saying what's on your mind, even if it's an inconvenient truth? Evil! We should be serious. Uphold all standards of social respectability. And to whom do we look for those standards of respectability? Why, nice, church-going middle class white people, of course!

BAMP! Wrong.

Suppose we stop the clock for a day or two and allow The Horned One to call the shots. See, I know this Guy. He's a misunderstood bored god. Yes, He is going to encourage you to be bad. But no, most emphatically no, He is not going to want you to be evil. He wants you to have the time of your life, without harming yourself or anyone else. Yes, sadly, he wants you to overlook what might happen to the quality of the upholstery on your favorite ottoman. Stains happen. But they're stains, not sins.

People think the Horned One likes to lead young innocents astray. In my experience, there's no need of a deity to do the pushing when it comes to lust, especially in May. On the other hand, it's convenient to have Someone to blame it on when you creep off into the woods with a cutie. Devil made me do it, dontcha know.

Truth is, the Horned One doesn't make you do anything. He encourages you to enjoy yourself. My friends, our time of life is short. Let us all have fun being bad! And heck, if we stay outdoors we won't even threaten the purity of the chintz!

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

First Thing on My Mind

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we're slowing to a crawl after a very busy spring break! This week I'll be posting some pictures of the Fairie Festival as they become available, and I would ask anyone who has any to send me some. There's a few good ones on my Facebook profile, but I can't get them to download properly.

I wish I could revel in the festival, but earlier in the week I had an experience that shook me up and has stayed with me. I'll get that out of my system and then move on to cheerier topics!

Last Monday I drove out to Polish Mountain in southern Bedford County, PA. My family lived there for 14 generations, and I'm mostly related to everyone who was living in the area before 1970.

When I was growing up, I spent many a fine summer afternoon with my aunt Belle and my uncle Earl. Uncle Earl was my grandfather's oldest brother, and he doted on me fondly, as retired shop steward factory workers will do. He let me roam in his sturdy barn (but I was not allowed in the hayloft) and play in the spring near his house. Aunt Belle had a garden that was the talk of the township, and she, too, doted on me as only a gardening grandma can.

None of us noticed the view from Uncle Earl and Aunt Belle's house, really. It was just mountains. The only time it became important was when a storm was rolling in. At that time it was a splendid lookout for any kind of rough weather, since the kitchen window faced due west.

After Uncle Earl and Aunt Belle passed in the early 1980s, one of their sons insisted that the farm be sold. That's the way it works. If more than one person owns a property, it must be sold if any of the owners wants out.

None of Uncle Earl's family members wanted the place. The little house (a log cabin with an addition and tar paper siding) wasn't big by today's standards, and the well wasn't altogether reliable either. So, onto the market the property went.

One of Uncle Earl's sons called me and told me the asking price. It happened that Mr. J and I were just getting ready to move to Snobville, and we needed all of our money to buy a house there. We couldn't take on the responsibility or the expense of absentee landlording (even though one of my cousins -- reliable too -- was renting). We had to pass on Uncle Earl's property.

The property from which my great-grandfather's grandfather marched to the Civil War.

The place was bought by a single woman whose idea of upkeep was to bring in her mail. She did nothing. NOTHING, to keep up the house or the barn. Barn wood is greatly prized by artisans, especially the big beams that hold the structure together. She either didn't know this or didn't care.

Some years she didn't even mow the yard. But she was living there, mostly.

Last month she put the property on the market. Her asking price is $250,000.

It's a 70-acre plot with an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful view of three states. This lady knows that the view is the selling point.

Up pops a buyer, right off the bat. Local blood, distantly but directly related to Uncle Earl and Aunt Belle. The offer: $200,000.

The seller turned him down.

Last Monday while I was visiting my granddad's place (also now up for sale, but at least well maintained), I walked over to Uncle Earl's house. Oh, the shame! The weeping and wailing of my kin! I could hear it through the Veil, readers! Word!

The big, sturdy barn is ready to crumble. A good windstorm will finish the job. Carpenter bees have consumed even the milled beams. But worse than that is the house. A log house, no doubt a candidate for the Historical Register, left to rot and ruin, to carpenter bees and termites and mold. Windows broken. Roof useless. Knee-high grass right up to the door that won't shut. Collapsed outbuildings, trash strewn everywhere.

But oh boy, that view. What a view! A quarter million dollar view! Forget that local buyer, hold out for the lobbyist from DC who likes his hunting and wants his martinis on a redwood deck overlooking three states.

I know that one should never Work in heightened temper. But I did it anyway. What was I going to do, wait around until I could get over my ancestral home having gone to rack and ruin?

I wish no ill upon the owner/seller, but I did lob one heck of an Intention onto that property.

Well, we all know you can't turn back the clock, and I shouldn't expect a place to look the same as it did 45 years ago. But wait. Why not? When you buy a property, you should be prepared to undertake routine maintenance. Log homes are built to last, with a little appropriate care. And, as I said, the barn could have been dismantled and lovingly used for artistic purposes.

Does anyone want to purchase a beautiful view of three states? And a ... tear ... down?

Buyer, beware.

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