Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Face of DC 40

Yo, Philly, there's a group of people who wanna change our karma here in da City of Brotherly Love. They call themselves DC 40, and just so you'll recognize them when you see them, here's a pitcher of one of 'em.


Okay, okay, okay! I know I'm supposed to be serious. But humor is my magick. So let us laugh away the hate!

PS - Granny, this spell will work in Dallas too, with a few modifications.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knights Templar Trending

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Imagine my surprise to see, lately, the Knights Templar "trending" on my news feed! Granted, there are always conspiracy theorists who love all things Templar (Dan Brown and myself among them), but this latest surge of interest comes from another source.

The Oslo terrorist composed a manifesto in which he called himself a Knight Templar and extolled the wars between Christians and Muslims in which the Templars participated.

This guy is a nut case for sure, but he was certainly a determined nut case. He killed more people in 90 minutes than any Knight Templar before him. The original Templars didn't have automatic weapons or fertilizer. Or trucks.

The interesting thing about this modern so-called "Knight Templar" is that no group in Norwegian politics or religious life knew anything about him. He was a complete lone wolf, or so it appears. What we must ask ourselves is this: From whence did his motivation arise? Could it have been fanned by events beyond Norway? Could it have been stoked by rhetoric from other countries -- without the knowledge of the people responsible for the rhetoric?

Those who hold power, especially in politics and religion, must always be aware that someone might hear their pronouncements, or read their position papers, or see their YouTubes, and then become over-zealous in the implementation of the agenda. This is what worries me about fringe groups like the DC40 (see below). A fiery video ... preachers inveighing against the Goddess ... proclaiming "spiritual warfare" in an era when anyone can purchase a firearm. Others can shrug it off, but I call it alarming. Falling on the wrong ears, this rhetoric calls lunatics to battle.

I agree that it's best not to engage these fringe groups on their own terms. But it falls to us, to thinking people, to keep the peace, to protect our places, and to preserve the tenets that inform our republic.

Our gods would rather be bored than brutal.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

DC40: Darkness Upon Your Doorstep

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you believe in black magic? I do. Any kind of spiritual hatred directed at another person, for any reason, is black magic.

Here's my pathetic attempt to link you to a site...

http://www.dc40.net/

...that has published the video below. Want to have a scary experience? Before you turn up the volume and hear what it's about, turn the volume OFF and just view the images.

This group, DC40, is going to engage in "spiritual warfare" (their term, not mine) in every state in America, but with extra concentration on Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Washington is getting special attention because it's name derives from the Goddess Columbia -- a relative newcomer, so far as I can tell, to the great, grand congregation of deities.

DC40 is co-led by Cindy Jacobs, a person who has come under a great deal of scorn here at "The Gods Are Bored." We've had a lot of fun at her expense, branded her a moron ... you know, all the usual Trickster stuff we indulge in here.

It's not funny anymore. Nut jobs like Cindy Jacobs have an out-sized voice in our national politics just now, and rest assured that many people of limited discernment will join her in prayers to make Washington, DC the "District of Christ."

I have no idea what your particular religious leaning is, reader. But I'll bet that, even if you go to the Methodist Church every Sunday and have prayer meetings there on Wednesday evenings, and a picnic once a year at the local park, you still cringe at the concept of "District of Christ."

It is the very thing our forefathers fled Europe to avoid. Yes, they were Christian, but not all one variety of Christian. Oh, wait! In the earliest decades, the vast majority of them weren't even Christian! They worshiped African deities like Anansi and Oshun and Chonganda! So this has never been One Nation under God. Ever.

This embarrassment of an event begins on October 3 and continues to November 11. (Veterans' Day! Oh, it gets worse and worse!) The worst black magic will be flung at Pagans over Samhain -- our New Year. And so, we here at "The Gods Are Bored" are asking all of our readers to send this message viral. Protect your homes and hearths, and wherever possible, protect the boundaries of your state, and especially your state capitol, from a formally-planned group concentration of hatred against the sacred principles of our founding fathers.

Watch the clarion call below, and then ask yourself: What can I do to keep the peace?

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DC 40 - 51 Days of Reformation Intercession

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Heir's Day in Oslo

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" My three readers will remember that I commended my daughter The Heir to the not-very-bored Goddess Freya a few weeks ago. The Heir decided to spend her summer abroad, studying architecture in Norway. She is residing at the University of Oslo.

This morning, The Heir went to the National Museum in Oslo to view Edvard Munch's paintings. Having done that, she went downtown to shop at a thrift store she found. While she was in the store, she heard a very loud explosion. She noticed that the people working in the shop looked scared. But most people went on shopping. Heir bought something and went outside.

The thrift store's door had been open when the explosion occurred. Heir noticed that other stores had shattered glass lying in the street. She saw many people talking frantically on their cell phones, people running toward something on fire in the distance -- and then she heard something she hadn't heard since arriving in Norway: police sirens. Lots of them.

Heir began to panic, because all the people around her were panicking too. But she got herself to an elevated train and headed back to the university. It was there that she discovered that Oslo's government buildings had been bombed. She was hunkered down in the dorm with her fellow students when a crazy gunman started shooting down kids at a summer camp on an offshore island.

The worst violence on Norwegian soil since WWII.

I had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek when I asked Freya to look out for The Heir. And for her first four weeks in Oslo, Heir pretty much ran the city by herself. She said she never even saw a policeman, and she never felt endangered in any neighborhood.

Freya, Your people are baffled. Not that Norwegians aren't tough ... they are. But until now they haven't exactly been consumed with anxiety about terrorist attacks. This will change now. Heir might have seen an end of an era in her previous four weeks in Oslo.

Prayers of good will to the praise and worship team of Odin, Freya, Thor, and Loki. And thank goodness my Heir is all right!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summertime Nerves

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Well, so much for the promises to write something every day! Falling down on the job, am I. There are compelling reasons, readers -- most of which I cannot place in this forum at this time.

Last Moday's adventure speaks to my state of mind. I got up in the morning and decided to go to Asbury Park for a day at the beach -- not toting along Mr. J, or Heir (in Norway anyhow) or Spare (that place would bore her). Got to the beach, parked. pulled the beach bag from the trunk. No swimsuit. I remembered pulling it out of the chiffarobe, but it never got into the beach bag.

But here's some free advice for which I'll pay whatever you ask. If you're going to forget something that you need at the beach, a bathing suit should top the list! If you've got $$$, you can buy a fairly affordable one on the spot. I was just about to do that -- brought one up to the cash register -- and then remembered that my credit card was locked in the trunk of my car, ten blocks away.

I swam in my clothes. If New Jersey has clothing-optional beaches, Asbury Park is not one of them.

At least I had my sunscreen and my summer reading book. But I forgot my baseball cap, and the wind kept whipping my hair into my face ... because I didn't have any ponytail holders either.

Going to the beach never used to be so tricky.

All of this speaks to an agitated state of mind, which I have abundantly now. My wand is working overtime to keep me cool.

This morning a good rant will help cleanse my palate, so I take aim at a familiar target: my sister, once again reaping the rewards of rash behavior.

I knew there were such things as quickie divorces, but it appears there are also such things as quickie adoptions. Back in late May, my sister took custody of two little boys, brothers aged 5 and 7. She is 47. Her husband is 49. Apparently the adoption process is under way but not complete ... I am scanty on details because I have kept my distance through sis's rampant acquisition of things, pets, and now people. From the time she began talking about adoption until the time she got two children was a matter of months. The agency never contacted me at all. I would not have said Sis couldn't be a fit mother, but I would have alerted them to a potentially vicious dog in the mix. The dog is still there.

Day before yesterday, my sister leaves a Facebook status, berating the federal government for not granting her temporary passports for the boys so they could all go to Jamaica on vacation.

All you liberals out there, pat yourselves on the back! It is actually difficult for a couple to take two young boys who are not completely adopted and who have been living with the couple less than 12 weeks, to a Third World country on temporary passports! My sister was shocked ... SHOCKED, I tell you, that her vacation plans have been scuttled by government red tape!

In the course of our virtual shouting match on this issue, Sis told me that the two social workers assigned to her case said that there would be no problem jetting off to Jamaica with the kids, and that one of those gated, fenced-in family resorts would be a super-duper place for them to "bond as a family."

I'm no social worker, no training in that profession whatsoever. But it seems illogical to me that family bonding should occur at an exclusive resort, rather than on a day-to-day basis with, say, a picnic basket, a handful of the dogs, and a local bathing beach.

Sis said that she and her husband had booked a hiking trip in Montana last summer, for this summer. (This is the old, typical Sis and her husband.) The travel agency would not reimburse them for the trip. (More free advice? Think ten times about those vacations booked a year in advance.) Jamaica was an alternative that the agency offered. And the social workers a-okayed it and started my sister onto the process of obtaining quickie passports for two minors.

Sis's Facebook statuses continue to reflect her frustration with our vigilant government and its efforts to curb child trafficking, efforts that penalize good, Christian people who only want to go to a fenced-in resort to bond with their instant family.

If any of you out there have adopted children and can send along to me some valuable advice on how best to bond, please fling it my way. Remember that in these days of shared sacrifice, you will need to pay me to take your free advice, but I'll be pretty liberal. I'm a proud liberal. I like to see my tax dollars at work.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Bored Gods Storm the Bastille

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you want a Tastykake? If you live in the Philadelphia area, I know the answer to that. You would literally grab one from the sky if you needed to.

Every year on the weekend closest to Bastille Day, the good folks at Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary host a re-enactment of the Storming of the Bastille.

Of course, there was nothing funny about the French Revolution. The peasants were driven, by starvation and poverty, to attack the very, very wealthy, including Queen Marie Antoinette. She lived in such splendor, and so far removed from her subjects, that she was taken completely by surprise when the Revolution began. It was a gory affair, overworked guillotines and heads mounted on pikes, and journalists murdered in their bathtubs, and a prince who went missing and was never found. And of course the queen lost her head.

Let us not overlook the fact that this revolution was principally caused by the disparity between the rich and the poor. And fueled by the success of the American Revolution. Have we learned any lessons about leveling the playing field, so that everyone has enough to eat and for their children too?

Ahem, ooo la la! Who cares? Life is nasty, brutal, and short ... let the best man win!

It's a "Gods Are Bored" philosophy that the most gruesome historical events make for the best dark humor. Heck, we're not alone in that. Anyone out there see "The Producers?"

Philly's Bastille Day re-enactment satisfies every bone in my body. I got to boo Marie Antoinette and Darth Vader simultaneously (nice pairing, btw). Spare nabbed four Tastykakes.

This is an annual event, but its lively cast writes a new script every year, with all new zingers, a vast majority of them left-wing-friendly. Sadly, the video below only captures the climax of the storm ... not the entire witty repartee. Nonetheless, it's a good little tutorial on how we have fun in Philadelphia. We boo with the best of them, we are completely tasteless (except for our Tastykakes), and on any given summer day the weather can be lovely.

Citoyens, have a look at Bastille Day 2011! Vive la Camp!

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Bastille Day - Let Them Eat Tastykake at the Eastern State Penitentiary ...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seriously, Voldemort, You Are SO Crushed!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on Harry Potter, Part II  # VII movie premiere night! Spare has spent two days transforming our house into Hogwarts. (Alas, just the first floor. The second floor now looks like it was hit with one of those movie wind machines.)

We're having a Potter Party!

Yesterday, in anticipation of this event, Spare asked my husband, Mr. J, what character he planned to be. Not missing a beat (and never having read a word of the opus), Mr. J said, "Dean Martin."

Spare exclaimed, "He's a muggle!"

Dean Martin, a muggle? Who says? Harry Potter is only fiction, but Dean Martin ... Dean Martin! He's a Titan! Grovel in the muck, you pathetic wretch Voldemort! You are no match for Deano.

I've done Harry Potter Smackdowns before, but this one is a no-brainer. There is no one, no one, in the whole of Harry Potter who could generate as much magic as Dean Martin. Other people can cower and run from Death Eaters. I'll just slip in my Dean Martin DVD, select "That's Amore," play it at a sensible sound level, and CRUSH SEVERAL EVIL EMPIRES SIMULTANEOUSLY. Voldemort? Down! Vader? Down! The Vanger clan? Cat food!

You want to send a bored war god packing? Play Deano singing, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

If J.K. Rowling had been a Dean Martin fan, she could not even have conceived Harry's opponents. Every time her thoughts turned to the Dark Side, she would have been completely disarmed. Ought to be a spell named "Volare." Just saying it causes the bad guys to dissolve into dust.

In preparation for the Potter party, we decided that Mr. J should not be Dean Martin, because he would be totally cooler than anyone in the entire Potter pantheon, and far more powerful than the sad, befuddled wizards who led poor Harry down so many blind alleys.

Is anyone else laughing over this? Pinky swear, if I had video skills, I would do a YouTube where Dean faces off against Voldemort. Sports analogy: New York Yankees vs. Snobville T-ball All-Stars.

So now we have established a male icon who could crush Voldemort like a spent cigarette. Time to move on to the other gender. What living goddess could wither pathetic Voldemort on the vine?

Potter fans, I give you Aretha Franklin. Swish, smack! Voldemort's toast.

RESPECT. Find out what it means to me. Is there any fictional character in the entire Potter oeuvre who even has the credentials to give Reefa a pedicure? See, this is why I give Potter a C-plus, and no more. When I think of magic, I can find actual humans who produce it by the gallon, and they are real.

Reefa never needed no wand, sucka. And let's not stop at Potter. I pity the Orc who seeks to subdue her. One little shake of her pointer finger would eliminate the entire race of Daleks and every single zombie that ever dared to crawl out of its grave. When she sings a scale, she purifies the Detroit River. Let's see Hermione do that!

As we close the chapter book on Harry Potter, let us be ever aware that evil is relative. If you are facing a powerful wizard, fight back with the best ammo in the world: a few choice songs from America's classic singers.

When I picture Voldemort facing Dean Martin and Aretha Franklin, the image that comes to mind is the Loony Tunes coyote falling off a cliff, then being further crushed by a giant rock. Soul is not for sale.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harry Potter and the Absence of Females

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Okay all you ladies over the age of 30 out there -- which Harry Potter character are you?

I ask because for Thursday's premiere of the final movie installment, Spare and I are having a little Potter party. Spare loves Harry Potter, and no wonder! There are any number of young female characters she could be!

But let's take a close look at the rest of the female characters in this saga, particularly the ones over 35.

There's the loving, befuddled Mrs. Weasley, always dressed in tatters, bustling about a kitchen where everything cooks by magic.

There's kind but stern Professor McGonigal, resplendent in a witch hat and flowing black robes, about as cuddly as a crawdad. Is this character meant to express the idea that, while witches can be good, they are never gentle and beautiful?

There's a nurse who's kind, but I can't even remember what she looks like.

Emma Thompson played a psychic in thick glasses, whiny and pathetic and not even good at what she was supposed to be teaching.

The herbologist is stern and bossy ... maybe I'm getting her mixed up with the nurse. Neither one is memorable to anyone but the most ardent Potter fans.

There's Delores Umbridge, memorable because she is so loathsome -- one of those nice, queenly types hiding evil behind a veneer of politesse.

Tonks, the token freedom fighter in combat gear is too young to qualify for this survey.

Then we've got the bad girls. Bellatrix, an S&M nightmare. Yes, she's memorable, all right. For all the wrong reasons.

Which leaves us with Mrs. Malfoy, another cypher whose only big moment is when she pleads for her son's safety.

Did I miss anyone, fans? Anyone that I, Anne Johnson, Druid of a certain age with a lively temperament and a disdain for the Dark Arts, can cosplay? I think not. Do you suppose that over the course of a series that runs to 4,000-plus pages, the author could have introduced at least one female character over the age of 30 who moves the action along? The male wizards get all the good parts.

Am I to resort to the caverns of fan fiction to find a Potter character to cosplay? BAAMMMMMMP! No.

Behold, Anne! Going to the Potter premiere as the Lady of the Lake!

J.K. Rowling has said that her little story is a Christian allegory. I can't wrap my mind around this. I see nothing particularly Christian, or anti-Christian, for that matter, about it. But it certainly is reminiscent of the revealed religion of the bored god King Arthur, who was protected as a child, tutored by a wizard, and then looked to as a savior for a troubled kingdom. Who is this author kidding? "Christian allegory" my corny toes!

Pinky swear, when my schedule clears I'm going to write a heroic action/adventure featuring some kind of kid hero in peril. You know what my problem would be? The central wizard character would be a woman, and she would sweep all of the evil away and get things squared by about page 52. Then how would we fill the rest of the movie?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dan Says It Better Than Me

A few posts back, I chided modern Christians (using my standard "Gods Are Bored" snarky tone) for showing no interest in social justice as America becomes more widely polarized between the wealthy few and the struggling many. A commenter took me to task, blaming me for tarring and feathering ALL Christians, when SOME are working their butts off for social justice.

Here's what Dan Savage has to say about the well-meaning liberal Christians out there. If this shoe fits you, wear it bravely. Don't call me narrow-minded. I only report what I see and hear.

Dan Savage at Rhodes good christian churches

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baseball as a Metaphor for Our Times: Interview with a Bored Goddess

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today, once again, we are talking baseball, the all-American game, pure as apple pie. Nothing quite like finding a good seat in an airy ballpark, with your bag of peanuts and cup of beer, to watch a sporting event featuring young, good-looking men who move like panthers!

One of my legion of commenters noted that baseball is a metaphor for life on many levels. Absolutely correct! Give that intelligent person a pie!

Sadly, today's American baseball also reflects what's wrong with our country -- how out-of-control things have become. Here today to discuss this matter with me is a bored Goddess who has every right to hold a grudge against American sports. We've talked before, and She is a delight. Please give a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Nike, Goddess of Victory sacred to the Ancient Greek peoples!

Anne: Well, Nike, we've talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Your name is associated with a brand of sporting equipment, made by child labor in Third World countries and sold at inflated prices to people who think they're getting something special, when really they're not.

Nike: I would curse everyone who wears the "swoosh," but that would cause a lot of havoc. I have restrained myself.

Anne: Admirable, dear Goddess. Today I would like to talk with you about the sorry state of American spectator sports, with emphasis on baseball.

Nike: I like baseball. It beats naked Spartan wrestling by a country mile. Better a man in tight pants than a naked one. It exercises the imagination.

Anne: Agreed! Although I must say I fondly remember the Jim Palmer Jockey Shorts posters.

Nike: MmmmMMMMMmmmm. Me too!

Anne: Have you noticed, Nike, that professional baseball has followed the trend of modern American, almost in a lock-step?

Nike: Oh yes indeed. Sometimes, to make a little spending money, I sell beer in Yankee Stadium. Remember, I don't get a single dime from the merchandise that bears my name.

Anne: Neither does the lady who designed the "swoosh." Anyway, let's do a little tandem bitching here, okay? We'll call it "Baseball as a Metaphor for What's Wrong with America." You go first.

Nike: Ticket prices for professional sporting events are out of reach of middle class families. A dad can't take his three kids to the ballpark anymore unless he has seriously planned and budgeted for the event.

Anne: New baseball stadiums have been built around the concept of corporate boxes for high-rollers. People use those boxes, but not for watching baseball. In the meantime, as you said, ordinary folks can't afford to get inside the park.

Nike: This reflects the trend towards a polarized society, where the rich reap out-sized rewards, and the poor and middle-class make sacrifices.

Anne: In modern ballparks, fancy computerized scoreboards run constantly during the game and are especially loud and bright between innings. It's like a video game in the outfield, chock-a-block with subliminal advertising.

Nike: This reflects an overall reduction in attention span among the American populace. Most fans, if they were to be transported back in time to the years of your childhood, Anne, would be bored to tears by baseball.

Anne: When I went to see the Baltimore Orioles with my dad in 1969, the scoreboard had been made automatic, number-wise, but that was the end of it. Between innings we watched Brooks Robinson stretch his hamstrings.

Nike: Great guy. And a good example of another downturn in America's game. Today's pro players are beefed up on steroids, way overpaid for what they do, and they're arrogant and rude. Remember how Brooks Robinson used to take you little-old-lady neighbor out to lunch and get her seats behind the plate?

Anne: I sure do! When one of my best friends was dying, Brooks called him on the phone and talked to him. Oh well, not many people measure up to Brooks Robinson, let's face it. But it's true that the modern baseball player is a chemical nightmare with a bad temper.

Nike: This represents the American desperation to be a financial success at any cost. And having found that success, to act like the others who have also found it -- completely aloof.

Anne: Little kids never pick up a baseball game on a sandlot anymore. They're driven into Little Leagues, where their fathers yell and curse at the umpires.

Nike: This reflects the regimentation of American childhood. Kids don't just "play" sports anymore. They have to have uniforms, and schedules, and coaches, and parents watching. Did anyone watch when the kids in your neck of the woods played baseball and football in the cow pasture?

Anne: Nope. And no one got hurt either. Well, there were a few fights. But that was between kids. No adults intervened, and we worked it out ourselves.

Nike: At the same time that sporting events have become regimented and unaffordable, they have been elevated to a level of worship in some quarters.

Anne: Absolutely correct, dear Goddess. In my youth, a Sunday soccer league would have been unthinkable. Nowadays, even the busy god is seeing His praise and worship team eroded by  Sunday sports. Not that we didn't play sports on Sunday when I was a kid. It's just that it was un-regimented, and we played in the afternoon, after church, when all the adults were napping.

Nike: You know what makes me sick? Corporate names on ball parks. Here in Philadelphia, it used to be Franklin Field. Veterans' Stadium. Now it's Citizens Bank Park. Excuse me while I hack up a fur ball. (Ugly noises)

Anne: Joining you on the hack. (Ugly noises) I have never set foot in Citizens Bank Park, and I don't intend to. For one thing, I can't afford a ticket. And even the minor league ballparks are named for corporations now! They too have the garish scoreboards and all sorts of between-inning distractions! And get this, Nike: At the Lakewood Blue Claws -- a single-A affiliate -- I paid eight bucks for a seat on grass, behind the foul pole! There was no general admission seating except a grassy knoll! Single A. How long until even the minors get too expensive for a family of four?

Nike: One last observation, and I must fly. When teams win big championships, like the World Series, riots erupt in the winning cities. Cars get burnt. In Detroit in 1984, a guy got shot and killed -- during a celebration.

Anne: This reflects the middle- and lower-class frustration with daily life. There's so much rage, and no way to vent it constructively. Nike, what are we to do about all of this?

Nike: Sad to say, things will crash and burn. I've seen it happen before, trust me. I don't need to advise you to encourage your kids to play outside, creating their own games using their imaginations. You did that. But if any of your three readers have children, they should do the same. And instead of shelling out for a baseball game, take the family hiking, or on a picnic. You may have to pay a little bit to park, but think about having that whole six-pack of Coors for the price of one small cup at the ballpark!

Anne: MmmMMMMmmm. And better food too! I could buy three bags of Planters trail mix for the price of a little sack of Blue Claw peanuts.

Nike: Anne, you have to start thinking outside the ballpark.

Anne: Yeah, I'm working on it. Thank you for visiting, Great Goddess Nike! Here's a bottle of Gatorade for your trouble!

Nike: Thanks. And I'll be sure to leave the empty in your recycle bin.


Well, sports fans, this was kind of a downer, huh? Nike is justifiably bitter, and so am I. But bitterness is not the name of the game here! Tomorrow I'll take another walk down my baseball memory lane, and then -- pinky promise -- back to the work of the bored gods!

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Friday, July 08, 2011

An Old Flame Re-Ignites, Part One

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!"  Tonight's sermon topic is one of the longest loves of my life: baseball.

I've always loved watching a live baseball game. Don't you? The sweet, green grass, the elegant players, the quiet precision of the white ball snapping from glove to glove ... ah, it's wonderful.

To me, baseball has a mystical appeal that our other big national sports lack. The field is a "diamond," but actually everything's round. You start at home, and you end at home. Everything in between is like ballet. Despite all the coaching in the world, no two pitchers work exactly alike. Every batter has his own little ritual and his own way of connecting with the ball. The guys at farthest remove from the action have to pay as close attention as the one behind the plate. It's a strategic, graceful game, not totally without its roughness, but the scoring is supposed to be done without crushing the skull of the opposing player.

This is not a very original observation, but in baseball you are considered a tremendous success if you do things right three out of every ten tries. If I only passed three of every ten students in my classes, I would be fired. But that's just how hard baseball is to get right. It is one freaking tough skill game. I admire anyone who even attempts to do it.

I'm writing this because on Thursday night I went with Mr. J to a minor league ballpark in Lakewood, New Jersey to watch a baseball game. Only when I had paid $8.00 for a seat on the grass behind the foul pole, gotten myself a beer and a bag of peanuts, did I realize that baseball was a love I had lost and need to find again.

If you are coming to this site for insightful Pagan commentary, today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking too good either. But if you feel, as I do, that anything that harms none, and pleases most, is great and holy, then All Hail Baseball!

When I was a girl in the 1960s, only boys could participate in Little League. I am intensely grateful for that. Being left-handed, and having less hand-eye coordination than a turtle, I never would have made a Little League team. And if I did, some coach would have yelled at me until I slunk away, hating the game and myself.

In the 1960s, our section of the county had its own team, and all the local boys were on it. My mom loved baseball so much that she would take me to watch the games. This was that time of life when girls have cooties and boys are icky, but I still could tell that my homeboys liked having me as a fan. Most important, my mother was not exactly sane, but there was something about baseball that brought out the best in her. So when I remember her fondly, it's usually when we were watching baseball together.

The team was just called Oak Ridge, from where we lived, and the team colors were purple and white. I can still remember the names of some of the boys on the team. And they were pretty good. They made the playoffs two years in a row and lost in the finals by one (disputed) run.

I'm going to go to bat (tee hee) for the idea that some things are just gender specific. I couldn't be in Little League, but I wasn't bitter or jealous. While they had baseball practice, I went swimming, jumped rope, and ran just for the fun of running. Then I went and watched the boys play ball.

At the end of the summer, the county Little League had a picnic and swimming party for all of the teams. The moms of some of the boys told me they thought I had been such a good and faithful fan that I should come to the picnic. I was so excited! I would actually get to be at a picnic with all the Little League homeboys! And go swimming too!

You know what I discovered at the Little League picnic and swimming party? The boys didn't know how to swim! That's right. They had been so busy doing batting practice that they missed out on crawl stroke. I had the deep end all to myself as they watched, awe-struck, from the shallows.

It got better.

They lined us all up by age and had a sprint. I forget how far we had to sprint, but I don't forget the fact that I beat almost every Little League player in the county. I was probably trying harder, but that didn't matter.

This childhood sporting success is a memory that has stayed with me all my life, and to which I return when I feel insignificant.

They say that playing baseball gives you self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. Not playing it can do the same, if you discover strengths beyond the diamond. With baseball, with Rituals, with anything at all in this world, sometimes it's fine just to watch. One size doesn't fit all. Wow, I say that a lot.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tidbits of Information

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you are new here and have come to this location for information on Buddy Miley, well, ahem ... this is actually a zany site run by a wacky woman who can't keep her faeries out of the wine. But welcome anyway! We're all about laughter here. Or mostly about laughter. Sometimes a rare chuckle. Trying for at least a little hmmm hmmmm occasionally. Not always getting it.

Whoa. I just looked out my window and saw two goldfinches fighting in mid-air! I didn't know they did that! Mockingbirds, yes. Finches ... learn something new every day. (Maybe the finches learned it by watching the mockingbirds.)

Tidbits of information for immediate release:

1. Mr. J's car broke down in Reading, PA last Saturday. I've had to make two trips out and back, first to get him, and then to take him back to the mechanic shop. It's a longish drive. But he and his car are okay. Today is his birthday -- now he gets the senior citizen discount. Can't tell you how thrilled he is about that.

2. Heir is having a swell time in Norway, learning all about castles and stuff that we don't have here in the USA. She calls me on Skype, and we talk just like the phone, and she swears it's free.

3. I am reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I like it so far.

4. Ivy is growing into my shrine. So far it looks beautiful, but I know I'll have to watch carefully for excess coverage.

5. The other day I was near a J Jill store. I went inside and saw two pieces of clothing I liked. The total came to $110, so I passed on the purchase. Next day went to the thrift store and got very similar items (not kidding) for $10. If you would like lessons on how to do this, we can arrange it. But I'll bet you already know.

6. If you have ideas on how I can set some pretty new wallpaper on my blog, please email me at luvbuzzards at yahoo dot com. It's time for a change.

7. I don't know why I am so reluctant to upload my novel, Gray Magic, to Kindle and Nook. What is holding me back?

8. I set a big mound of tree limbs and brush at curbside for pickup, and the Borough of Snobville will not take it for some reason. Now it's all dried out, and the only thing keeping me from setting it on fire is that it's already too hot around here. I can't compost these big limbs!

This post is somewhat like a "Dear Abby" letter written after smoking toad. Pinky swear I haven't done toad today. It's Mr. J's birthday, and I don't want to be slobbering wacky when he comes home from work.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

4th of July Reflection: Jesus Has Dropped the Ball

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on the Fourth of July weekend, 2011! America, America, God shed disgrace on Thee.

At the turn of the previous century, America was a nation where the vast majority of citizens labored long hours for minimal pay, in dangerous professions, while a slim minority lived like royalty. Gradually the lower classes began to find their voices, and they were backed by Christian ministers and people like William Jennings Bryan, who, for all his myopia on evolution, held the radical belief that Jesus would want the rich to be more fair to the poor -- and the government should lead the way by acting like Jesus.

Judging by today's government, it seems that Jesus now favors that slim royal few. Or maybe He still cares about the rest of us, but his many busy priests aren't listening. Either way, there's no call for social justice from our nation's mainstream religion. Christians don't care if other Christians lose their jobs and their homes and their health care.

Here's what I read on the front page of today's New York Times:

"With the final numbers counted, median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million, a 23 percent gain from 2009."

In the meantime, who among us hasn't had to give back raises, pay more for benefits (if you even have them), watch pension funds dry up, and see the nation's social safety nets maligned bitterly by people who claim to be Christians?

HOOOOONNNNNK! That's the final buzzer on you, Jesus. Your people aren't paying a bit of attention to You. The only ones left who think they're doing Your work are sloshing around rain forests, trying to downsized even more bored gods.

It's time to reinstate some bored deities who will look out for the helpless and the hopeless, the way Jesus' people used to do. I suggest we call upon Mother Goddesses from multiple pantheons to take up this important job. Surely They will do it. They're probably waiting for their cell phones to ring, tapping their fingers in anticipation.

If we Pagans want to have an impact on society, we need to advocate for the hopeless and helpless on behalf of our deities. We need some kick-ass Ancient Wisdom to mend the social contract.

I can't speak for the rest of you, but from now on, every time I attend a rally for any cause that I believe in, I will be dressed in my full Druidic attire. The Gods, stirring from their boredom, are weighing America in the balance and finding it wanting. Lets take Them with us as advocates for truth and justice.

Placing a call to Columbia now.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Big Apple with Spare: Good Free Advice

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" My three readers must be wondering where I've been this week. I can hardly believe it myself, but I spent three enjoyable days in New York City!

REASONS WHY I HAVE ALWAYS HATED NEW YORK:

1. The Yankees
2. Fans of the Yankees
3. First time I went there was so stressful I vomited.
4. Tall buildings give me vertigo, both looking down out of them and looking up at them.
5. It's too crowded and noisy.
6. Everything is so friggin expensive!
7. People drive recklessly.
8. Everything is so expensive!

Wouldn't you know it? My daughter The Spare has her heart set on going to college in New York City: The New School, to be exact. This college is located on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. We went to check it out.

Did you know that I'm stubborn and cheap? Well, I am -- and New York City is no place for someone who is stubborn and cheap. But I was determined. DETERMINED. To make that city affordable at all costs. Especially since Spare wants to live there.

First, transportation. Through my daughter The Heir, I discovered that there's a bus service out of Philadelphia that goes express to Manhattan. Picks up in Chinatown, Philly and drops off in Chinatown, NYC. Round trip ticket: $20. Major mileage solved. Minor mileage in the city is trickier -- the subway system is not for newbs. Spare and I took it some, but mostly we walked. And walked. And walked. We saw Chelsea, Times Square, Greenwich Village, East Village, Soho, and Little Italy all by foot. Add to that, we walked the new High Line park system (it's free). My feet are bloody stumps, but it was worth it. If you want to see things, walking is the best way.

Second, lodging. Through a friend from school, I got a long list of cheap flophouses, found one that cost $50 per person per night. Dorm rooms with bunk beds. Who cares? A bed is a bed. Now, you may have heard that New York City has had an epidemic of bed bugs. This is true. But you know where they are? In the high-end hotels! Our little hostel turned out to be clean and no-nonsense ... and it was filled to the plimsol line with cute foreigners speaking all kinds of languages.

Free things to do in New York: Walk around and look at all the people. New York abounds in young, beautiful people -- most of them struggling actors and actresses, I suppose. True story: Spare and I actually saw a guy walking along by himself, memorizing lines from a script! Also, there are lots of nice pocket parks, and if you sit in the parent-and-kid sections you don't have to worry about the junkies. Spare and I shopped at a thrift store, and we went to a comedy show that charged $5 per ticket. If you add to that a willingness to eat at chains like Subway, you've got a cheap vacation!

Spare really loved the New School, and if she wants to be in the media business, I can't see any better place for her. She sure will need a job, though, because the New School isn't one of the priciest, but it is still $$$$$! (Remember, I'm cheap.)

I came home from New York pretty tired and definitely in need of some peace and quiet. But I also felt like I had tamed an evil dragon from my past -- my distant past -- and learned to like something I despised with an unreasonable hatred.

I still hate the Yankees.

(As usual, due to economic conditions, the free advice in this post is not free any more. Please email me the amount of money you want me to send you for the advice, and I'll write you a check. It's called "shared sacrifice," and I'm doing my part.)

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