Monday, January 14, 2019

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Can you believe it? Barbie turns 60 this year. I actually think she looks younger now than she did in 1959.

EXHIBIT A: BARBIE 1959



To be honest, as a little girl, I found Barbie disconcerting. I didn't like her big tits or the fact that her feet were constructed so she could only wear high heels.

EXHIBIT B: BARBIE 2019


What do you know? Her tits are smaller, but she's still wearing those heels! Come on, Barbie. Eat some cake! You're too thin!

Actually I have some very good news for Barbie. I, too, was born in 1959. In just a few weeks I'll be eating a whopper of a cake -- and Barbie can help me polish it off!

Gosh, I can hardly believe it. I'm almost 60. I feel blessed to have come this far. Sure, there are aches and pains, but I'm hardy and working every day. All the same, 60 can make you a bit existential. Unless you're Barbie.

Readers, I have arrived at the age of 60 hardly having done any traveling at all in my life. So this Spring Break I will embark on an epic quest for my Thunderbird soul-mate. I'll tell you about it very soon!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Destroyer of Worlds

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," brought to you from the Great Blue Northeast since 2005! We've got millionaire neighbors here now, but that only makes it more likely that we will flaunt our radical left-wing agenda. And possibly eat the rich.

I don't know if you've kept up with the alt-right and their symbol appropriation.  Long story short, this cute little frog has become the alt-right's mascot.


Poor little guy! My heart bleeds for him. (What else would you expect from a bleeding heart liberal?)

It seemed only a matter of time before the radical left responded in kind. An eye for an eye, and all that nonsense.

Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled a new hockey mascot who is so magnificently hideous that he practically melts steel. His name is Gritty.


As luck would have it, the very week the Flyers unveiled Gritty, Donald Trump visited Philadelphia for a fundraiser. Protesters gathered, and more than a few signs featured Gritty, telling Trump to get out of the city.

Don't ask me why the Flyers promotional team didn't match up the rhyme ... but they didn't.

Gritty caught on immediately as a foil to the alt-right's frog. From local origins he has branched out in all his tangerine glory. Even the New York Times made a snooty note of it. Now you can't go to a protest of any sort without seeing Gritty on signs or decals.



Don't mess with Philadelphia when it comes to being bad-ass.

The first time I laid eyes on Gritty, I thought he was what one might see if one watched Sesame Street while licking a cane toad or swallowing questionable mushrooms. But wow, did I warm to him quickly when he stepped into the political arena!


The title of this post, "Destroyer of Worlds," comes from the t-shirt my daughter The Fair gave me for Christmas.


All I have to say is, if Gritty can destroy the world our nation is descending into -- where we're held hostage by a lunatic narcissist and his venal flunkies -- then you go, Bearded Wild Thing! Have at them!

PS - He came to the Mummers Parade. Imagine that!

Yes, that's me hugging him. He was in my unit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Interview with a Bored Goddess: Ma'at

Good day, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This is the site where we designate deities to duties that need to be done. Yes, reader, you too can become a Prayer Warrior -- just choose a God or Goddess who will heed your call, and then pray your heart out.

And boy, am I praying today! I've had the scouts out everywhere, looking for Ma'at, the sacred ancient Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Justice.

Used to be, I didn't have a bit of trouble getting such ancient and venerable deities to join me for a bracing beverage and a fireside chat. In these times, They are not as accommodating. My first message from Ma'at was: "Busy sorting wing feathers. Call me back when that lying sack of sated dung beetles is no longer your leader."

Can you blame her one bit? But I petitioned again, more urgently this time, and she has joined me for scones. Please give a warm, wonderful, "Gods Are Bored" welcome to Ma'at, Goddess of Justice!


Anne: Thank you so much for coming! You must be furious about the lack of justice in America right now.

Ma'at: Honestly, Anne? When was America ever a just nation? Just because Americans recite "and liberty and justice for all" every damn day doesn't make it happen.

Anne: You've got a point, o winged wonder. But Ma'at ... I've been searching high and low for you because America needs you, right now! It's a small but crucial assignment, and I sure hope you'll accept it.

Ma'at: Well, tell me what it is, and I'll check my Outlook calendar to see if I'm available.

Anne: Snap, I'm impressed, Goddess! I can't figure out Outlook calendar to save my life! Not surprised deities can do it, though.

Ma'at: So, what is it, and when do you need me?

Anne: It's this, and I'm about 10,000 times more serious than usual: Our great justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is having health problems. She's 85 and still on the job -- trying to hold out for a sensible president to replace her, instead of the Orange Gibbon currently in charge.

Ma'at: 85, you say? That's advanced age, right there. Any kind of health problem or surgery can really take a toll on a person of that many years.

Anne: I know, I know! I'm worried sick! Ma'at, will you please, please, please drop whatever else you're doing and take up protective watch over Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Ma'at: That's a pretty cheeky request, Anne! You think I don't have anything else to do? I'm busy all the time! I have a thriving praise and worship team, not to mention all the superior art work to supervise.


Anne: Dear Goddess, it is with the utmost humility that I approach you and petition you to protect Justice Ginsburg. I'll put it to you this way: Who cribbed your holy edicts and passed them off as original?

Ma'at: The Judeo-Christians, that's who!

Anne: Well, a good passel of them are praying that Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies.

Ma'at: Say no more. I'll put my other appointments on hold. Where can I find this Justice Ginsburg?

Anne: Washington, DC, I think. She works there, and if she's resting at home, I assume her home is there. Not sure, though. But you're a Goddess, Ma'at! You can find this person, can't you?

Ma'at: Consider it done! However, I require something from you (and whoever else reads this) in return. Please petition Me to do this important job. I want to be recognized for my contributions to *ahem* American "justice."

Anne: Trust me, Ma'at. I'm going to be praying to You daily. This is some serious shit here. I have children to think of -- daughters and students -- who need Justice Ginsburg alive and on the bench. To my three readers, I say (and I have never said this before) ... Please petition the Goddess Ma'at to preserve and protect Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! We need her. Oh, please, Ma'at .....

Monday, December 31, 2018

Why the Mummers Parade Survives

I think this is the 118th year that Philadelphia has hosted a Mummers Parade on January 1.

Like many events in big cities, this parade began as a civic effort to curb public drunkenness on New Year's Day. But in this era of warm and cozy bars and restaurants, open museums, and a less tolerant attitude toward public drunkenness, why does this parade survive?

Mind you, as many as 10,000 people take part in the parade. And there's a simple formula to its continued existence (even though Philly's civic leaders would rather it just fizzle out).

Have you ever gone to a family reunion? My dad's people used to have them every year on the Fourth of July, in a little creek-side park near Chaneysville, PA. Upwards of a hundred people would come, and the event consisted of eating, talking, playing horseshoes, a few kid's games, and ... not much else. And it lasted all day.

Now imagine if your family reunion had a goal in mind: marching in a parade as a family, with matching costumes and a theme. Yes, you would need to get together a little more often to practice and make costumes and props. But it's your family. You wouldn't really mind (mostly), would you?

Mumming persists in Philadelphia because many Mummer groups are basically big, extended families whose members have been in parades since they were tots. My club, the Two Street Stompers, was formed by a family whose parents, aunts, and uncles had marched with other clubs. Some members of the Stompers who are well into mid-life have been marching on Broad Street since they were too young to walk. (They were carried.) Now they are carrying their kids.

Every year at our Two Street Stompers practice, there are young parents bringing their babies and toddlers for the first time. And there are also esteemed elders -- some in their 90s -- who come to watch, and then stand up to strut a little at the end. It's a touching sight.

The number of participants in the Mummers Parade has dwindled over the past 20 years or so. Still, if you go to a Mummers practice -- any club of any size -- you'll see multiple generations of the same family, carrying on a family tradition. That's what keeps this thing going.

As far as curbing public drunkenness goes, well, emmm ... People are going to imbibe on a holiday, no matter what else they are doing. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A "Weird New Jersey" Hike To Remember

Nothing fills me with gratitude and joie de vivre quite like hiking.

You see, I gave up hiking for years -- actually decades -- and then re-discovered it because the government of Atlantic City put up a sea wall that blocked all the sea glass from coming ashore.

Before the sea wall, I was content to spend a sunny day in winter looking for sea glass in Atlantic City. Who can blame me? Look at this view.

EXHIBIT A: THIS BEACH IS GONE


EXHIBIT B: THIS VIEW IS GONE TOO


I could have met the loss of the beaches with a sad, old lady sigh. Instead I shook my fist at the fickle finger of Fate and decided to collect waterfalls. This requires hiking.

EXHIBIT C: A VALUED PIECE IN MY NEW COLLECTION


In the process of hiking to waterfalls, I made a discovery that made me shake my fist at myself. Within a 2-3 hour drive of my home in Haterfield are miles and miles and miles of amazing hiking trails! Me, with my "I'm from Appalachia, I don't have time for the Poconos" attitude ... I almost blew it. I could have gone to my grave without ever bonding with my own back yard.

A few days ago, my daughter The Heir and I went on a hike to a rock formation that was once featured in Weird New Jersey magazine. Even though we got lost on the way to the park, we still got there in two hours. In other words, we could do a hike as a day trip ... a hike in the mountains.

EXHIBIT D: TRIPOD ROCK


Heir and I hiked to this rock. It's called Tripod Rock because it's a glacial anomaly. As in, you can't believe the sight of this freakin rock.

EXHIBIT E: OTHER SIDE OF TRIPOD ROCK


Yes, you're seeing that right. One big rock, balancing on three little rocks. This actually could be the work of some bored deity. Hard to imagine a glacier being that precise.

The hike to and from Tripod Rock was not even strenuous, and I only fell two times. Heir and I had a swell afternoon together, and we got to the rock before the steady stream of hikers who came in our wake. You see, Tripod Rock is only 30 miles outside New York City.

How did I get to be a woman of a certain age without knowing about all the hiking trails in the New Jersey Highlands? Why did I sneer like a snob at the Poconos? Alas, some time has been wasted.

On the other hand, I'm still fairly hale and hearty, and there's nothing like a bracing hike to make you feel hale and hearty. There is still time. I have found new mountains to climb.

EXHIBIT F: LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH


The bored gods uprooted me from the mountains of my birth and dropped me in a state that is the punch line in a million jokes. It has been up to me to make the best of this fact. It's getting easier all the time. All the time.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Where's My Gold Spray Paint? Another Year with the Two Street Stompers!

This tumultuous year is drawing to a close, and that means it's time for another Mummers Parade!

Philadelphia hosts an annual Mummers Parade on New Year's Day. For decades I would get out of bed on January 1 and turn on the t.v. and sit in a chair, watching the parade. "That looks like fun," I would say to myself.

And then something shifted. Instead of saying, "That looks like fun," I started thinking, "I wonder how I could do that?" So I asked Doctor Google, I got some phone numbers, and in December of 2011 I found myself in Brooklawn, New Jersey at the clubhouse of the Two Street Stompers.

EXHIBIT A: THE AUTHOR STRUTS AS A TWO STREET STOMPER


The Philadelphia Mummers Parade is a tradition that extends back 100 years or so and has its roots in South Philly neighborhoods. The Two Street Stompers have been marching as a club since 1978. They were one of the first clubs to have women members.

When I joined the D.A.R., I had to fill out a huge, long form and get two members to endorse me. I had to meet the membership and prove I was of high moral fiber. I became a Stomper after a phone call. They didn't even need to eyeball me first. The fact that I wanted to strut was enough for them.

My three regular readers know that I like to sport fancy costumes. In this respect, being a Stomper is intensely rewarding. Every year I get a beautiful, brand-new satin suit that I get to keep ... and I don't have to make it myself! What a relief that is!


This is our club in one of our first-place finishes. I helped to make the puffy parasols.



I think it's fair to say this isn't the D.A.R.

I've had so much fun as a Two Street Stomper. Originally I thought I would do it a year or two, just to say I participated. BAMP! Now I can't even imagine sitting in the chair and watching!


This is my favorite parade picture. That's me and my daughter The Fair. She marched with us twice. Look at City Hall in the background! Mind you, this is the first day of the year. The first. What an excellent way to launch another 365-day cycle!

If you want to see last year's first-place-finishing routine, click here.

We made the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News. It was 6 degrees with a stiff breeze. But hey. It's only once a year.



I'm in the back, wearing a red ski cap.

You can judge a girl by the company she keeps. The D.A.R. taught me that.






Friday, December 21, 2018

Gratitude Project

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I asked all of my students to look around the room and write something nice about everyone they liked in the room. I gave them the sentence stems "I like you because ..." and "I'm grateful for you because..."

I put the names of students in my other classes up on the projector screen, so that every student I have could say something nice about every other student I have.

I compiled a personal list for each of my 65 students, with everything everyone said about them. It took a long time ... thank goodness 65 kids didn't say something about each and every kid in the room/on the list. But every kid had at least two kids who said something nice about them.


This is Zaire. He got the most comments. Everyone loves him.

Today was the last day before winter break. I handed an envelope to every student, warning them that this was not scientific, and people they expressed gratitude for might not have reciprocated -- but to dwell not upon "who said it to whom" but rather "what was said."

They loved it. It was worth the time and effort.

Blessed Solstice to you and yours ... out of the darkness we come!