Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mummer, It's Cold Outside!

I'm just back from a more fun than all get out serious and grueling Two Street Stompers practice, in which we danced and partied the afternoon away rehearsed our routine until it reached epic silliness perfect precision!

It was cold as the Devil's cheeks out there, but I like cold weather.

I'm going to date myself beyond all doubt. Back in the day, there was a family called "The King Family" that performed musical specials on t.v. once or twice a year. It was an extended family of about 50 people -- cousins, uncles, in-laws, grandparents. And they all seemed to get along so well together! Anyway, long story short, the Two Street Stompers sort of remind me of the King Family. Most of them are related in some way. Some have been marching since they were kids. They took me in, and I'm glad. I love it.

A local t.v. station did a short piece on the Stompers. I've posted it below. When you see people dancing Gangam style, I'm the one in the black jacket with gold sleeves behind the TNT box. Clearly in my element.

Two Street Gold Rush!

Two Street Stompers

Friday, December 28, 2012

Visit from Bored Goddesses: Bast and Freya

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Seems like a while since I checked in. Well, we have been making merry here at Chateau Johnson. My daughters Heir and Spare got me the nicest gifts! Heir bought me a portable drum for drum circles, a real one from India, and Spare got me a faerie that I named Yule.

Here is a photo of the three of us that Spare's gentleman caller snapped for Mr. J:

EXHIBIT A: THE STARS OF THIS BLOG

That's Heir on the left, me, and Spare.

We have had some company here in the way of bored Goddesses. You see, my cat Alpha has entered extreme old age and is getting more frail by the day. Alpha has long been blessed by Bast and by Freya (the Latter loving it when Alpha bore Her chariot), and They are here giving solace to Alpha as she dwindles. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to have Goddesses caring for my cat!

Oh well, and yes, Mr. J and I are spoiling Alpha rotten by giving her all the foods she has been denied her whole life, like lunch meat and table spoils.

Bast is also quite tickled about the upcoming 2013 Philadelphia Mummers Parade. I showed Her some film footage from previous parades, and She was quite impressed! She said that Alexandria never had a finer spectacle, even at the height of its power! So, how about that?

This afternoon Bast helped me spray paint my sneakers a shiny metallic gold, Rustoleum reluctantly purchased from my nemesis store, Home Depot. While She and I were busy spraying, Alpha went missing for a time, outside. Of course I thought immediately of faerie abduction, and for the next hour I searched for Alpha fruitlessly. But some time after dark, Bast and Freya found Alpha and brought her back inside.

Tomorrow is Mummers practice. I get my suit! Stay tuned for some photos that will hardly be fit to print!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Results Must Be Measurable

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" The title of this post is "teacher lingo." It means that you must have some written proof that your students have learned what you set out to teach them.

But I think "results must be measurable" can apply to lots of other things as well.

For years I wondered why Christmas came five days after the winter solstice, and not right on it.

Voila! I'm not the quickest thinker, but I might have figured it out.

After the shortest period of daylight each year, we gain a half minute to a minute of extra daylight per 24-hour cycle. I guess it would take five days or so before the extra daylight would be measurable. It's like our ancient forebears had to be certain that the Sun was returning before they threw a party for it.

Yuletide, explained ... at least to my not-so-nimble mind.

On behalf of the staff of "The Gods Are Bored," and all the Ancient Ones whose praise and worship teams marked this part of the year with feasts, I wish you a peaceful and pleasant holiday. Set some mulled wine aside for the faeries, sing a carol or two, and enjoy the company of your nearest and dearest.

Blessings to all,

Anne
Crazy Buzzard Lady

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Funny Holiday Banter

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you think this is the most wonderful time of the year? Me neither!

It's dark. It's cold. The traffic is terrible. And it's hard not to overspend when the too-loud Xmas carols mess with your mind.

I've always said that I could gladly go from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve without stopping for Xmas at all.

Well, problem with that, these days, is that I would miss crucial Mummers practices, mid-month and toward New Year's Eve. So I've become reconciled to the whole Christmas season.

Today Mr. J and I bravely sallied forth to obtain foodstuffs for the holiday feasting. We went to this behemoth of a store called Wegman's. The thing about Wegman's is that they have a lot of stuff that is partially prepared, and all you have to do is bung it into the oven and set the timer. That's my kind of cooking.

Trouble is, that's the kind of cooking that appeals to most people. For the love of fruit flies, that place was packed! It was shopping cart gridlock. Every aisle was impassible. Gods forbid you had to stop and look at something, because you would start a huge bottleneck. Damned good thing that shopping carts don't have horns on them! It would have been honk heaven in there.

After an hour or more of wrestling our way through the store, Mr. J and I had a modest cartful of groceries. We took our place in one of the long lines by a cash register. Then Mr. J went to look for another item. I was on my own, and in my usual friendly Appalachian way, I just started talking to everyone around me.


First I told the checker, "I think you're lucky to be working here. This company is really going gangbusters."

He said, "Yeah, we're doing pretty well."

I said, "Now, the guys at the top might tell you otherwise, but don't believe it. I know success when I see it."

Then he rang up my total, and it was the highest price I have ever paid in a grocery store. My jaw dropped. I gasped. Mr. J walked up, and I tried to shield him from the bottom line.

That's when it got funny. The guy behind me in line, seeing my dismay, started singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." He looked at me and laughed and said, "Aren't you glad it only happens once a year?"

And I said, "Well, I don't know about you, but my family is going to be like the Waltons -- living on love until the end of January."

All of us cracked up. The checker, the other customer, me, and even Mr. J. Then Mr. J and I brought home our modest-in-size, maxed-in-price haul, and I'm set to do some mild cooking.

Wegman's has good groceries, but the real reason to go there is that they consistently stock TaB cola. I paid dearly for needing that today.

Happy Saturnalia! Once a year ... and that's enough.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Write a Letter

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," one of the voices of America's Pagan community since 2005.

Speaking of communities, there are very few these days who don't have at least a few practicing Pagans, especially here in the Great Blue Northeast.

I suppose, without a shred of evidence, that Newtown, Connecticut has its small share of Old Religion adherents of various pantheons. I talk to the Bored Gods all the time, but like doctors, they don't reveal names unless the person wants to be known. Nothing worse than being pulled out of a closet when you're not ready to leave it.

One of the teachers at my school secured the address below. The man in question grew up in Newtown and plans to go there on December 28 to distribute letters of condolence.

I wrote one on behalf of the Bored Gods (very serious, which you know is unlike me). On the outside of the envelope, I wrote "Druid/Wiccan/Asatru." Hopefully this message of comfort, naming the deities of those pantheons, will find its way into the hands of someone there who counts himself or herself a member of the praise and worship team for those deities.

If you feel likewise inspired, here's the address. I withhold the man's name so that he doesn't Google himself ten years from now and find this post:

Resident


3 Woodmansee Ct

Richmond, RI 02892

I suggest you write "Druid/Wiccan/Pagan" on the envelope yourself ... and "message for Newtown" ... and then we can only hope that this man has an open mind to go with his open heart.

On Monday I handed out index cards to my students and invited them to write anonymous questions or comments about the shooting. I wanted to allay anxieties, since my classroom is the first one beyond the front door.

When I collected them, one of my students had written:" I think that in that type of situation that we are in a great clasroom with the perfect teacher."

I got so choked up I had to daub my face with a paper towel.

Now ... to lighter things ... If you haven't watched the fabulous 3 minute video, "Momma Bird," starring MOI, scroll down and help my talented filmmaker daughter rack up points on YouTube! Leave a comment on YouTube for her, and win a blessing from the bored deity of your choice!
From Anne, the Momma Bird

Monday, December 17, 2012

Here I Am!

Here's The Spare's awesome documentary film on me! Let it uplift us all in these dark hours!

I have just one request of you, readers. Please consider leaving a comment on The Spare's YouTube space. It will make her happy. And the more of you who watch "Momma Bird," the better Spare's rating will be.

If watching this heartfelt testimonial for the Sacred Thunderbird moves you to wish to praise and worship Vulture, our operators are standing by to take your call. (It's only 3 and a half minutes of your day. And it could change your life.)

Momma Bird, starring ME!

Momma Bird

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Twice a month my school has a fire drill. Two or three times a year we have lockdown drills. Everyone takes them seriously.

Once I found myself in a Tier Three lockdown drill with 25 freshmen at 1:30 in the afternoon. There were quite a few snarky girls in that class who excelled in disrespectful put-downs.

As we crouched on the floor in silence, one of the girls started to snicker. I turned around and whispered to her, "If you want to get me fired, keep laughing. If you don't, be quiet."

She stayed quiet after that. They all did.

Once we had a Tier Two lockdown that was unscheduled. We kept on teaching, only with the doors shut and locked. The students were not allowed to leave the classroom. This put everyone on edge, and the inevitable questions ensued:

"Miss. We are the first classroom by the front door. Won't we be the first ones shot?"

"Miss. What will you do if a shooter comes in?"

I've said it before here at "The Gods Are Bored." I don't know what I'd do if a shooter came in. But I hope I would call upon the Great Bored Gods and try my very best to save the lives of my students. They are my kids. And they're just kids. I would try to save them.

We can joke about the end of the world, but if you ask me, things are proceeding not with a bang, but with a whimper. The pace of these horrific mass shootings is accelerating. Our well-regulated militia is not well regulated. Maybe we ought to reconsider who gets to bear arms.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The End of the World Is Nigh -- Again!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I wish I had $100 for every time I've heard that the world was about to end, don't you? We could all go on a joyous summer cruise together!

This is a true story. The first time I heard that the world was going to end was in 1967. I told the neighbor girl that I was going to my cousin's wedding that night, and the neighbor girl said no, I wasn't, because she was going to destroy the whole Earth before I could even get there.

It was a beautiful wedding. My cousin looked stunning in her 1960s-era gown, and the fine man she married has been at her side ever since. It was my first wedding. My cousin took time out of her busy evening to make sure I got a root beer, after someone stuck a glass of champagne in my hand. I was eight years old.

Shortly thereafter, I attended a Pentecostal church for about two years. If you've ever done anything as bone-headed as that, you'll know that people who frequent these establishments wake up every day expecting to be in Heaven by nightfall, sitting in the clouds watching with sadistic glee as the rest of us get sulfurated by demons.

It must be so depressing to spend your day waiting for the Rapture, only to find it bedtime, and your bunion is still hurting and the sinners are still sinning.

Now we have an ancient Native American calendar, endowed as are most Native American things (out of guilt mostly) with tremendous religious and metaphysical import. This Solstice the world will end. Again.

Haven't you always wondered what the end of the world would be like? We could ask cockroaches or horseshoe crabs if they have any deep memories -- their forebears have been through a few, unscathed.

One of the great things about being cool with the bored gods is that I can go straight to the source and get the scoop on Apocalypses Now. In this case I am glad to report, from the lips of the bored God Macuilxochitl, that the world will not end if we all party hearty on December 21, 2012! You see, Macuilxochitl is the God of Partying, and apparently He wants to have a good time that night.

Hmmm. It is a Friday night, December 21. So here's what you do: Line up a designated driver, or fill your home with the nearest and dearest, and celebrate ... it's all right! Macuilxochitl wants you to!

Come on. If Rhiannon wanted you to do it, you would. So go for it! Party away Doomsday!

(Either that, or fruitlessly wait for the Four Horsemen ... or do an overnight meditation on the darkest day in the North, pulling the Sun back with your thoughts and focus.)

Or a little of most of the above.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gods Are Bored

If you've been Googling "The Gods Are Bored" these days, you might be finding a brand new song by a British band called the Datsuns. It's a terrific song, and one cannot fault the band members for their awesome youthful energy.

Since I only have about a dozen readers here, I seriously doubt that the Datsuns checked out my site before creating this epic song. Instead, I will be the interloper and adopt "The Gods Are Bored" and the Datsuns as another bored deity-endorsed musical ensemble.

I don't really share the philosophy that the gods entertain themselves by watching us fuck up, but I'm not discounting it either. Remember, we humans are the ones that endow deities with Their human-like qualities. Since that is the case, surely there must be some embittered Gods and Goddesses who chart our miseries with sadistic glee.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm, wonderful, Gods Are Bored welcome to The Datsuns and their new song, "The Gods Are Bored!"


Pictures of chaos fill our screens day and night

Is this sensational or is it merely playtime?

We're going down down down down at their choosing

Among the heartache, the tears and the bruises



You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

We entertain with our lives and our flaws

You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

Come get wild tonight



Holy rollers, hypocrites knock on the door

Microscopic, tectonic war

We're going down down down down at their choosing

Among the heartache, the tears and the bruises



You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

We entertain with our lives and our flaws

You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

Come now die hey hey hey hey tonight



You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

We entertain with our lives and our flaws

You know the gods, yeah the gods are so bored

Come now why hey hey hey hey tonight

The Datsuns - Gods Are Bored

Monday, December 10, 2012

Frank Talk about Rapid Weight Loss

Well, here's one you've never seen before on "The Gods Are Bored!" With the exception of a few potshots at Governor Chris Christie, there's not much to be said about weight loss chez moi.

It's tough as all get out to shed pounds once you've put them on. This is especially true if the weight gain is gradual, the accumulation of years of bad eating habits. Once you feel like you're overweight, it's the very devil dieting your way out of it. And once the weight is off, you struggle day by day, hour by hour, to maintain.

There is, of course, one way to achieve rapid weight loss without purpose-driven dieting. You get sick.

Take my cat, Alpha. Alpha is a relic. She has lived with us for a dozen years and was about six when we rescued her. She has no teeth left. Over the past six to eight months, she has lost about half her body weight. Food disagrees with her. She can't bite the hard stuff, and the soft stuff causes digestive issues.

There's nothing particularly novel about this. Very elderly people usually lose a lot of weight too. It's just sad, for me, when I gently pick up my Alpha and feel every bone just barely covered with skin. Yes, readers, we did take her to the vet -- and our vet's office is in Camden, so this doctor knows people on a budget. He said we should just take Alpha home and be nice to her.

I, too, have experienced rapid weight loss since June. At the end of the school year I was about 25 pounds heavier than I am now. People notice and compliment me on it, as if I'm a poster child for Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Then comes the dreaded question: "How did you do it?"

How did I do it? I was sick! Still am! It's easy to lunch on a small salad and water when your appetite says, "Oh, just forget it."

Here's how you can tell the difference between someone who is dieting with Weight Watchers and someone who is losing weight because they are sick. The Weight Watchers person talks about it and seeks moral support. The Weight Watchers person cheers when he or she drops pounds. The sick person just shows up in the lunch room trying to hitch up her pants, because they have become too large.

The fact that my malady is not exactly life-threatening makes it even harder to explain.

My complexion is pink, my energy level is normal, my smile is bright, and my teeth are white. I still love buzzards, and faeries, and festivals, and my family. I'm just not hungry. It is a result of anxiety. And since many people think anxiety is something you can overcome by shaking yourself like a wet dog and moving on, it's very, very difficult to explain my rapid weight loss.

The frank scoop on weight loss is this: If someone is getting thinner, assume first that they're sick and let the story unfold. They'll tell you if they're dieting. If the visibly-reduced person says little or nothing about the weight loss, chances are there's some underlying issue. Best to err on the side of ignorance.

The word of Vulture for the people of Vulture. Thanks be to Vulture. Ramen!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Fabulous Firebird Festival

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice ... ahh, I forget the rest...

In these dark days, we automatically feel that the year is coming to an end, and a new one will begin. It's right and fitting -- and bored god-endorsed -- to turn this moment into a symbolic spectacle.

There's a town in Pennsylvania named Phoenixville. Nine years ago the enlightened citizens decided to have a Firebird Festival in honor of the Phoenix after which their town is named. They built a big bird out of wood and set it on fire, with drummers and dancers and music. They did this in December.

Now it's a tradition. If you read this little site at all, you will know that this sort of thing is right down my alley.

Here's a picture of this year's Phoenix. I would say it was 30 feet tall, maybe more. Now imagine a parade of fire dancers and drummers dancing up to it and setting it aflame. And this is not damp wood that smoulders for weeks. It's chock-a-block with accelerant and cherry bombs. It flames up fast and huge, popping and sparking ... and then in collapses into a huge bonfire with coals in every color of the rainbow. There goes 2012! And from the ash heap will rise 2013 ... so long as the Aztecs made some errors in their mathematics. (The bored deities of the Aztec pantheon have been reassuring me frequently.)

For two dollars you can write a wish and have it put in a box that is placed into the Firebird before it goes up. My daughter The Heir and I always do this. Maybe next year I'll invite you to submit wishes from afar. The alchemy consists of turning intention into energy by having your thoughts turned into flame. If you don't believe in this, what are you doing here at "The Gods Are Bored?" Go watch crime t.v. or something.

There is a very nice impromptu drum circle at this event, which gives it even more energy. Before the burning of the Phoenix, they have smaller bonfires and barrel fires and vendors of candles and food.

Some people worship quietly, alone or in small groups. My favorite form of praise and worship is loud, full of people, and dramatic. The Firebird Festival fits that bill. Fire is not my element (I'm a water gal), but the energy is so high that I could feel it in my soul.

2012 I wish I could say this was the best year of my life, but it is a year I want to put into the archives ASAP. The first step toward this end is the Phoenixville Firebird Festival. The last step is a strut at the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.

What apocalypse? The Phoenix has risen!

Monday, December 03, 2012

It Appears that the Constitution Is in Force

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you have any idea how many bored deities there are out there in their respective Heavens? Me neither.

But just imagine if we were to mount a display to honor each and every one at this dark time of the year. After all, the dark days have been with humankind for a very long time. Time out of mind to petition deities to bring back the light.

Suppose government property became egalitarian and allowed every single praise and worship team to erect a Yuletide memorial on the public lawn. Gosh, it would be as crowded as some of these crazy Christmas houses! In fact, if you start inviting the bored gods, you might have to stack displays on top of one another, just to be fair.

Where would it end?

The three of you who read "The Gods Are Bored" all the time will probably recall that, last Yule, a Christian group and a Jewish group both set up lit displays at the public library: a manger scene and a menorah that was 15 feet high.

After Yule had come and gone, I wrote an email to Snobville's mayor and to her two henchmen city councilmen. I politely asked to be notified when the permits for religious displays at the library would be issued. I said I wanted one on behalf of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a legitimate 501.C3 nonprofit religious order). I said that a dedicated group of FSM adherents was even then crafting a giant Noodly Master out of swimming pool noodles and pasta. In my mind I pictured something like this fabulous shrine from www.deeppencil.com:

This year we have no manger scene or menorah on taxpayer-funded property.

First Amendment triumphant! Fa la la la laaaaah!

There is, of course, a Christmas tree, that universal, powerful symbol of beating back the darkness and protecting the wildlife from the harsh ravages of winter. Ramen!

You may be wondering if Snobville is now bereft of Christian influence.

Fear not, o stranger! There's a lovely Baptist church one block from the library, right on the main street. This church has a large, well-lit nativity scene that goes live on Friday nights, thanks to cute little kids willing to stand in the cold dressed like Mary and Joseph. Menorah? I haven't seen one. There are certainly Jewish people living in Snobville, but I wonder ... perhaps some of them didn't like the constitutional issues behind the big menorah, either. Truth to tell, if I was Jewish, I would have hated that thing. It was ugly!

I like to think that my email about the Noodly Master had something to do with Snobville's decision to back off displays of religious origin on public land. However, my daughter The Spare tells me she thinks that probably lots of Snobvillians complained. And hey -- ever since The Spare decided to make a film about moi, I'm taking her word for everything.

My taxes aren't lighting the nativity scene at the Baptist Church. That's how I like it.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Behind the Scenes on the "Mommy Bird" Movie Set: A Buzzard-Worship Navel Gaze

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," about to be immortalized on the silver screen! Okay, well, about to be gobbled up in the maw of YouTube. Any way you shoot it, I'm gonna be in a movie!

You know how it is. The semester is ending at art school, you've got a dozen projects to finish, and a five-page essay ... and one last film to make. This is the sad fate of my daughter The Spare, who has had to scramble for a film idea at the last minute.

Her topic: Why her mom loves buzzards. This is a nonfiction documentary.

As the star of this timeless cinematic masterpiece-to-be, I rather bridled at having to curb my more rowdy impulses for the filming. But I get it. When one has an opportunity to do mission work for the Sacred Thunderbird, one considers the audience. Tamped down on the rowdy. A little.

In order to find Sacred Thunderbirds, Spare, Heir, and I had to drive down to Wenonah, where a flock sometimes 200 strong roosts in the winter. I won't say the town was buzzard-free this weekend, but there weren't nearly as many wretches as there used to be. Nevertheless, there were buzzards on the water tower, and a small flock fussing in a tall pine tree.

It was Spare's idea to set up the camera while I went to the tree and tried to flush the buzzards out, so she could get shots of them flying. Well, this I was very glad to do, especially when I discovered that they were roosting in a tree in the back yard of a house for sale. House for sale! Carte blanche to go screaming and gyrating up to a pine tree in the yard. I leaped. I yelled. I waved my puny arms.

Forty feet above me, the Sacred Thunderbirds regarded me with disdain and went right on with their nightly routines. Not one single vulture took flight.

On the other hand, an alarmed woman in the house across the street opened her door and peered out at me. I said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to get the vultures to fly."

Her response was to slam her door and pull down a blind. Heir thought this was embarrassing. I just felt like you have to forgive the sinner. Poor woman has two dozen vultures right across the street, and she lacks all appreciation! Sad, that. Very sad.

All in all I alarmed two homeowners in my hearty pursuit of the Sacred Thunderbird in the process of providing footage for Spare's documentary. Meanwhile I alarmed not a single Thunderbird. They were too high.

I'm sure Spare will be creative in her use of the footage she was able to shoot. And what fun we'll have here at "The Gods Are Bored" when this film hits the Intertubes!

The best part of being the star attraction in a documentary is the fun you have making it with your daughters. I hope this isn't apostasy, but the buzzards were kind of a sweet afterthought.

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