Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Take My Daughter's Survey -- Please!

 Hello to all ten of you "Gods Are Bored" faithful! Can you believe it? My daughter The Fair is in graduate school. And she is killing it. While working 25 hours a week. Seems like just yesterday she was being disrespected by the Karen moms on the playground.

The Fair needs lots of people to take this survey she created about news sources and late-night comedy shows. Would you please oblige? You'll help educate a fine young mind.

It takes about five minutes.

Thank you from the staff at "The Gods Are Bored!"


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12dMKWXXixARlduvbe8zhd6beGzIyoJjxgJDa38XKuiY/edit




Sunday, November 21, 2021

Interview with a Bored Something or Other: The Grim Reaper

 You might want to tiptoe away from this installment of "The Gods Are Bored." I'm sweating bullets myself. No one wants to see this creature coming up the walk.



Anne: Ummm ... uhhhh ... is it my time? Or someone who lives here? There are some ants in the cupboard that you can have ... ahhh .... not my Gamma cat, please. Or Mr. J, he makes such good pies!

Reaper: I have come with a message.

Anne: OH NO WHO IS GONNA GET IT???? 

Reaper: Many will get it. "It" being an untimely visit from me.

Anne: When you say "many," do you mean "many members of Anne's family" or "many people" in general?

Reaper: Many people in general. There are plagues afoot in America.

Anne: Don't I know it! But I got my vaccines, and my booster, and my flu shot, and I'm going to get Shingrix over Christmas ... and...

Reaper: SHUT UP A MINUTE OR ELSE.

Anne: 

Reaper: Your country is in the throes of multiple plagues. And no one seems to care. There's that illness Covid, and there's the opiate epidemic, and the gun thing. I am cutting down people in the prime of life. People who should be home with their families and friends.

Anne:

Reaper: You may reply.

Anne: I was just going to say that both guns and opiate addiction are serious public health crises that no one seems to be taking seriously. There was a teenager out in Wisconsin just this week who got a free pass after shooting three people. To say nothing of all the gun violence in Philadelphia.

Reaper: It is thus everywhere right now.

Anne: I know! Gee, it's almost like the people profiting off guns and opiates don't care about who they harm.

Reaper: And that's the small stuff. The oil, coal, and gas barons are keeping me so busy with all these natural disasters. I have had to hire more staff.

Anne: I daresay. But Sir, or Your Majesty, or Your Grand Wazooness (How does one address the Grim Reaper?), what can I do? I feel like the horse is out of the barn with both opiates and guns. There's no way America can take all the weapons out of circulation. And doctors continue to prescribe opiates in great quantities.

Reaper: I know you are about to acquire some property. Do not buy a gun to "defend" it.

Anne: Wasn't planning to, honestly. The last gun I fired was a BB gun in day camp when I was 10. I almost shot my eye out. But Your Highness, I do so worry about my daughters in the city! There have been more than 450 deaths in Philadelphia this year to date.

Reaper: You're telling ME this?

Anne: Oh! My bad! So sorry! Of course you know all about it! I guess what I have learned in my many years (which I hope will be extended many more) is that the people who have the means of production do not care one whit about how their products are abused. As long as the bottom line is green in their ledger, they couldn't care less. And I am powerless to affect this. I do my part for climate change. I'm sure you don't notice, but it's cold in here because I'm trying to burn less fuel. I also have a clothesline. Soon I will own four acres of trees that will not be cut down. But guns and drugs? I feel so powerless.

Reaper: You are powerless over capitalism. It must run its ugly course.

Anne: I figured as much. Ummm ... can I offer you a warm beverage?

Reaper: No.

Anne: Oh, gee! Look at the time! I have to run to Petco to get some cat food! I mean, I hope there will be a need for cat food ...

Reaper: I am not going to take your cat. Or you. Not today.

Anne: (gulps) Tomorrow?????

Reaper: That is for me to know.

Anne: It sure is, Your Excellency. But I wonder. What will be the ultimate fate of Kyle Rittenhouse?

Reaper: Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Anne: I expect so. Guns are made to be used, and lots of people with guns don't like that kid. So! Umm. Is there anything else today? Because that cat food ...

Reaper: That is all. Have a nice day.

Anne: (big sigh of relief) Oh trust me, I will!

Actually I have plenty of cat food. It was the best dodge I could think of in a pinch. Dang. Close call.


Photo found here.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Meteor

 I wonder if people living in 3421 will look back on us and find us primitive? If the species survives, that is.

I ask this question because the weirdest thing happened to me, and my scientific dogma wants to dismiss it. But I just can't.

All through this Samhain season I have talked to my ancestors in all the usual ways that I do it. The only difference this year was the awesome Moth Man vigil candle I got for my shrine, something my dad would have loved.

The night before Halloween, there was an alert about a solar storm that could possibly cause the Northern Lights to be seen as far south as New Jersey. It's on my bucket list to see the Northern Lights, but I know it won't happen from the comfort of my home. The light pollution is intense around here.

No matter. After dark I went upstairs and looked out the bedroom window towards the north.

And in the split second I found myself looking out, a meteor streaked across the sky.

This had to be a whopper of a meteor to be seen over the light pollution. It might be the first time I ever saw a meteor from home. And the Orionids peaked two weeks ago, and it was only about 10:00 pm.

The day after Halloween, I got a message from the seller of the property I want to buy. She got the survey, and it's all systems "go." At the very latest I'll make the transaction next April during my spring break. Perhaps earlier if it can be done remotely.

I hadn't heard a word from the seller since August and was beginning to believe she had changed her mind.

The skeptic in me says it was a total coincidence that I happened to hear about a solar storm, and I happened to be standing by the window when a meteor blew by that happened to be bright enough to beat the light pollution. But this time the spiritual me says, "Yo, your fam be winkin' at you from beyond the Veil."

And I just can't stop thinking about that land. It's the perfect place to watch a meteor shower.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Samhain 2021

 It seems like an eternity since Labor Day, but Samhain 2021 is finally upon us. It's the time when spirits walk among us and we remember our Ancestors and thank them for giving us life.

And if you're Anne, it's time to get your chaos on.

EXHIBIT A: I PITY THE EVIL SPIRIT


I bought this awesome Moth Man vigil candle from an artisan at South Jersey Pagan Pride Day. I couldn't fork over my ducats fast enough! Jack-o-lanterns are one thing, but Moth Man on my shrine? Not only keeps the bad monsters away, also entertains the Ancestors and Nature Spirits.

And that's my outdoor shrine, looking extra spiffy. My daughter The Heir gave me some flea market candle holders made of crystals glued together. One day I felt the need for extra power, so I dismantled the candle holders and put all the crystals on my shrine. And yes indeed, the extra Earth energy is very helpful.

Have you seen this hashtag thingy #whatwitcheslooklike2021? The idea is to take a really plain photo of yourself and post it to show that witches are like everybody else. Trouble is, when you look at a whole bunch of these all together, they just all look like extraordinary people.  Photo after photo, there's just something in the eye, or the tilt of the chin, or the attire or setting, that just broadcasts "HEY I AM A WITCH!"

So I am going to try really hard here to put up a photo of myself that doesn't look a single bit witchy.

EXHIBIT B: #WHATWITCHESLOOKLIKE2021


No, wait. I have some kind of crystalline pendant on there. I'll try again.


EXHIBIT C: AS ABOVE


This works, right? It's the time I flew all the way to Salt Lake City to celebrate the 60th birthday of a condor! 

Damn. That sounds witchy. Back to the photo queue.

EXHIBIT D: AS ABOVE

This hits the spot. On the beach at Cape May last November. That could be anybody.

But part of the fun of being witchy is dressing the part, don't you think?

EXHIBIT E: AS ABOVE


A blessed Samhain to you, my friends! Always so glad to see you here at "The Gods Are Bored!"


PS: I got poison ivy on my arm from holding onto that tiny tree trunk.

Monday, October 25, 2021

It's Liberating To Be Hated: Interview with Justitia

 Howdy howdy howdy and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, and I have been saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag since 1964. It has gotten old. So for the past 25 years or more, I've been leaving out the "liberty and justice for all" part. Because, get real. Where's the justice in American society?

But it's a trifle sensitive trying to explain that to my guest tonight, Justitia, the Goddess of ... you guessed it ... justice! She joined me for dinner, and we're sitting here digesting, so let's give this lovely Lady and her balance scales a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" welcome!


Anne: Good evening, great and mighty Justitia! What did you think of the chicken cacciatore?

Justitia: Well, it was good and bad. Tasted fine, but the portion was too small.

Anne: Oh gosh! Sorry! Do you want seconds?

Justitia: I have rendered my decision on the matter. Case closed.

Anne: To be honest, Your Honor, I could be persuaded to go out for a soft serve ice cream.

Justitia: Motion is approved! You may approach the bench.

Anne: But before we sojourn to the ice cream shop, I want to ask your opinion on something.

Justitia: Opinions are my thing. Justly rendered, of course.

Anne: Of course! Well, Justitia, it has come to my attention that someone very high in the chain of command at my workplace has an extraordinarily low opinion of me. So low, in fact, that this person thought students would be better served by a substitute teacher than by me.

Justitia: Well, what are the students being served? If it's chicken cacciatore, the substitute might be more generous.

Anne (aside) These Roman deities are so human, aren't they? (to Justitia) No food involved, just education. A teacher is out sick, and I offered to cover her class. The principal was all for it, but the higher-up wasn't having it. 

Justitia: It's probably about money.

Anne: Nah, money's not a factor. I know from talking to ex employees of my firm that this particular power-broker holds me in very low esteem. My problem is, this person may come in to evaluate me at some point this year.

Justitia: Why, how very liberating!

Anne: What do you mean?

Justitia: If you know that they hold you in low esteem, then no matter how brilliantly you perform, it won't matter. So why perform at all? Everything this person says about you is tainted by bias, thus rendering the person incapable of forming a true opinion of your worth.

Anne: You know, I didn't think of that! You're absolutely right! Nothing I do or say is going to convince this person I'm a good teacher. I could get a citation from the governor, and I would still be stuck with the nines.

Justitia: Therefore you should not expect justice from the person, nor court it, nor even care. Knowing you can't please this individual frees you from having to try.

Anne: Justitia, Great and Mighty Goddess, I am going to fix you up with a to-go container of chicken cacciatore! And here, take these bagels ... they are terrific. And here's a handful of Halloween candy, mostly Snickers.

Justitia: Annnnd?????

Anne: Soft serve ice cream! I'll get my coat and car keys!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I'm a Wreck at the Vo-Tech

 When was the last time I interviewed a bored deity? A long time. But I can't blame them for boycotting me. Who wants to talk to a human wreck who can't even keep her upholstery clean?

This is just a follow-up on the hate crime in my classroom. To recap, a student wrote the "n" word on a Black student's paper during a time when everyone was circulating around the room. The student who received the slur reported it as a HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying).

I turned in a ton of handwriting samples to the administration, and this helped them to determine whose handwriting best fit the scrawl on the paper. They clearly identified a boy and proceeded to grill him about it. He cried. He pleaded innocence. His tears moved the vice principals.

They didn't see the look the kid shot me in between grillings. With face masks, all I can see is eyes. But that's all you need to see, really.

Long story short, another student confessed to the crime. The student said he didn't know the paper belonged to an African American student. He said he thought it was funny. And he said he imitated his best friend's handwriting.

This satisfied the administrators and the girl. The boy who confessed was removed from my class. The girl is back.

The boy with the distinctive handwriting and menacing glare is still in my class.

It's unrealistic to expect that I'll never have issues like this in my classroom. But by and large, the students at my school are pretty dedicated and respectful. And the baddies don't last. But with a TikTok challenge called "Slap a Teacher," I am on my guard.

I've got a wand. I found a piece of rose quartz at the beach over the weekend. I put up a grid of the Four Quarters on my desk. Every day I wear my Witch Ball and my copper bracelet.

There are no atheists in the foxhole.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

It Gets Worse

 You know what? Before I became a teacher, I complained about my neighborhood, politics, and religion. Never my job. Oh, how I long for those days.

For those of you just joining the chorus at "The Gods Are Bored," I'm a school teacher at a vo-tech just east of Camden, NJ.

Earlier in the school year, I got trolled on parent night by someone who posted the "n" word and also called me a white cracker. It was good for a few laughs in the teachers' lounge.

But on Thursday, I was doing a "gallery walk" for my students' writers notebooks. The students were walking around the room, commenting on one another's notebook entries. And someone in the room wrote the "n" word on the paper of an African American student.

In all my years of teaching, I've never seen ... yada yada yada Doesn't matter. My jaw dropped and hasn't returned to normal.

The wronged student filed a report on the incident (as did I) but will not come back to class, because the criminal who wrote the word is still in my room. I know it because every kid who was there on the day it happened came back the next day -- except the victim, who is one of my brightest kids this year.

Someone in the room has been convicted in the court of public opinion, but that's not enough to get them out of my class, and out of the school. There has to be convincing proof. Which means that on Friday, I had to conduct class as if the incident hadn't even happened, hoping to collect a writing sample from each kid featuring a capital G.

I will say right out of the gate that the perpetrator could not have been Caucasian, because I only have one Caucasian kid that period (out of 23 kids total), and he's a baa lamb who sits on the other side of the room.

There's nothing quite like having to call the parent of the wronged student to apologize and try to make amends. When I say I have been shaking like a leaf and sick to my stomach since it happened, I do not exaggerate.

As a teacher, I feel like I am the captain of the ship. If someone is injured on my watch, it's my fault. And this is the worst injury a student can face in my school, short of being slam-dunked or shot. I feel horrible.

I haven't gotten blowback from administration -- yet. But that may change when I insist that the suspect be re-assigned to another classroom, even if they can't prove he did it. (The suspect is tearfully proclaiming his innocence.)

The worst part of this is not being able to flip my shit about it in front of the whole class. I have a lot of African American students in there, and I'm sure they're concluding I don't give a damn about them. Never mind the cute little Hispanic girls who are sure they know who did it, but they can't be positive, but they want to see justice served.

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! Every day droves of students are going home, infected with Covid or quarantining. Seven students got called out of my 9th period class on Friday. Word on the street has it that kids left on Wednesday non-stop from beginning to end.

I need the pay and benefits at my job. If I didn't, I would quit.

I would honestly rather be writing about Jeff Bozos and the Big Blue Dick Horizon, but it's hardly on my mind.

Breaking out every charm, ointment, and spell I can use to set this right. My teacher desk is going to look very interesting on Monday. I'll try to take a photo.