Monday, January 20, 2020

Raining on My Parade

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," wishing we could sneak into Davos and eat the rich! Or at least eat what the rich are eating, which I bet are some exceptionally fine vittles.

Mr. J and I are just emerging from an epic grippe. He was hospitalized with it, and I coughed for three weeks straight. Today was the first time since the Mummers Parade that I was able to get out and even exercise a little bit.

And with everything else going on in the world, today's post is yet again about the Mummers Parade.

The city of Philadelphia is quite clearly sick of this parade. They have shortened the route and put a third of the performances indoors. But the worst enemy of the Mummers Parade are some of the participants themselves.

The use of blackface in the parade has been banned since the 1960s, and even entries with "tanned" or red skin have been called into question. All Mummers know that appearing in blackface gives the press and the city ammunition in denouncing the spectacle. It also provides reason for the city's majority population groups to hate the parade.

And yet there are always two or three pinhead cracker morons who insist on blacking their faces.

The difficulty arises in the size of some of the wench clubs. (If you think of the parade as a hierarchy, even the wenches will tell you that they are the bottom feeders.) When you have a club marching a thousand people, your leadership can't police everyone. Sadly, it appears that self-policing or group admonition is beyond these fools.

The largest and rowdiest wench brigade was disqualified this year from their division for having members in blackface. The leadership of the brigade said those offenders will not march with the group again. But the damage is done. The appearance of those two or three wannabe Nazi creepers was the only thing the various news outlets wanted to talk about in the wake of the parade. And of course this malfeasance has been seized upon by everyone who wants the parade to be seen as racist, lawless, and a blot on the spotless reputation of the City of Brotherly Love.

I know there are racist and homophobic people who march in the Mummers Parade. Those people are not in my comic club. Do I stand down and denounce the event, or do I participate?

Well, I look at it like this. You go to a party, and over in the corner there's a pinhead cracker moron with a t-shirt that shows Trump dressed like Rambo, holding a semi-automatic weapon. (No lie, I have seen such shirts. Not at the Mummers Parade.) Do I get a plate of food and sit as far away as I can from the offender, or do I leave? Do I offer myself and my friends as better examples of the average party-goer, or do I just decamp in a huff?

I have no plans to decamp from the Mummers Parade. It hurts my heart to see it showered with disrespect by groups that I like (aka Antifa), but the experience does remind me that the biggest story is always the ugliest story. "Nice Mummer Lady Poses with Crowds on Her Way Back to the El Train" would hardly be something that anyone would want to read.

For the record, my club (Comic, not Wench Division) finished third. We had over 200 members in our group. None in blackface. That. Would. Not. Fly.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

The Heir Makes a Special Delivery

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," fearfully dodging World War III since 2016! I'm the hostess with the most-est, Anne Johnson. Ask me anything! I won't know the answer, but I'll nod thoughtfully.

Some of you who blog-hop will be tickled by what I am about to say.

As I write this, my daughter The Heir is having dinner in West (by Goddess) Texas with the fabulous Yellowdog Granny! I hope they love each other as much as I love both of them.

Yellowdog Granny and I go all the way back to the dawn of this blog. We found each other early and often. Two hearts that beat as one, you might say. If you have never visited her blog, you'll see why we mesh so well if you click on the link.

Of course, I have known my daughter The Heir even longer. She has flown from Philadelphia to Waco to help create a giant Snickers bar at a Mars candy factory there. Yes, you read that right. If you're willing to live in a drafty room and trash pick all your stuff, you get cool jobs like making giant candy sculptures. And puppets for Disney.


So on my behalf, Heir is having supper with Yellowdog Granny, and delivering to her some Philadelphia Tastykakes. Oh to be a fly on the wall!

Heir says it's not so hard to get to West, Texas. I'm listening.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Marching After All

Goodness, it was a close call, but at the 11th hour I did this ...

I will be able to march, if briefly, in the 2020 Mummers Parade!

Mr. J was in the hospital for two days, and I thought I might have to scratch the parade from my dance card. But they discharged him, so I'll be able to join the club in Philly and do the competition and the Broad Street portion of the event. All is well!

If you want to watch my portion of the parade, it will be on from 10:00 until 1:00 - ish, live streamed on PHL 17 dot com. I can't give more precise coordinates for when the Two Street Stompers will perform.

Apologies for not being a better correspondent this year. To be perfectly honest, I feel like my writing skills have eroded. It's a consequence of career change, the political climate, and possibly just age. Nothing seems to be a laughing matter anymore.

But pish tosh! A new decade dawns, the next Roaring Twenties, and it's time to dust off the flapper gowns and elect a boring president!

If there's any topic you'd like me to tackle in 2020, fling it in a comment. Maybe what I need is inspiration. Or to live a somewhat interesting life ... which I mostly don't.

Thank you again, sweet readers, for helping get books and supplies for my students. May all the Gods and Goddesses of multiple pantheons both known and unknown bless you and keep you, and make Their light shine upon you.

I got to meet this Thunderbird in 2019. That will be hard to top.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Sweet, Sweet Lil BUB

I'm having trouble with this site being linked to some raunchy websites, but what can I do? I have no idea how the Internet works. Over the years I've written less about sex than any other topic, but I guess there are people out there who really do want to hook up with deities. More power to those people. They are not me.

I'm just going to put my two cents in about the death last week of Lil BUB. If you are a cat-lover like me, you no doubt wept, like me, when you saw on Facebook or Instagram that she passed in her sleep after a battle with bone infection. She was eight years old, which to me is phenomenal, considering how wacky she looked.

Maybe in ordinary circumstances I would have been mildly amused by BUB. But over the last three years I have sought her out often as an antidote to the times we live in. I know her owner made bank on her, and I don't fault him for a second. She raised lots of money for homeless pets. And she was so cute. You'll never see her in pessimistic memes like Grumpy Cat. She'll always be a special lil waif, destined for an early departure from this vale of tears until a kind man took her in.

I don't know about you, but I felt like lil BUB was my cat-away-from-home. I have followed her on every platform, although I never went out of my way to meet her. She seemed to have a cheerful personality ... and those videos of her slurping her food ... (her teeth never came in) ... well, has there ever been any feline content more adorable?

BUB got an obituary in the New York Times, that venerable publication that I read every Sunday. Glad to know that she was important enough that her passing was duly noted. I will miss the new photos of her but always look at the archives. As for purchasing BUB merchandise, I already have it. The Heir gave me a BUB calendar last year for Yule. I have literally looked at BUB every day this year.

So, lil BUB, what a cat you were! Trundle off now to the Summer Lands, and say hello to my Alpha. And my Beta. And Ozzie. And Dusty. And all my foster kittens who didn't make it. You made Trump World slightly more bearable. No mean feat.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Oh, the Things I'll Never Buy

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Thanksgiving edition! And considering there was no Halloween Edition, or Veteran's Day edition, I think it's a sign of life.

Black Friday is upon us, followed closely by Cyber Monday. The principal beneficiary of our need to purchase gifts is a company called Amazon.

I was all for Amazons when they were fearsome female warriors. I still endorse them wholeheartedly and wish they would return in numbers. But the company called Amazon? May it tank and burn as if struck by the Flaming Meteor of Doom.

About a week ago Mr. J ordered something for me from Amazon. He has a Prime membership. He placed the order about 9:00 on a Friday night, and the packet got flung on the porch before noon on Saturday. I was impressed.

I guess in the back of my mind I knew the dark side of this delivery. But imagine. Me, a good Union girl, not really confronting the scourge that is Amazon Prime!

Here's an essential article on the business from Atlantic Monthly magazine. It will make you stroll out on Cyber Monday and buy the first locally-sourced gift you see.

No more Amazon for this writer. I can't enjoy products that represent the worst sweatshop since the heady days of Upton Sinclair and the meat-packing plants.

The thing that makes me angriest about Amazon is that its founder is so putridly rich that he could hire ten times the number of employees and pay them ten times as much, and he would still be so rich that he couldn't spend all his money in ten lifetimes.

We can't let this go on. Where's Upton Sinclair when we need him?

On a happier note, Melania Trump went to Baltimore to make a speech to middle school students and got a hearty round of full-throated boos. Out of the mouths of babes sometimes come gems.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

On the Boardwalk in Atlantic City

It's Friday afternoon, about 90 minutes before sundown, and I'm on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. There's a cold-as-hell wind out of the northwest, sending the sand swishing across the dunes. The boardwalk merchandise flaps. The sky is cold front blue and, although it's only 3:00, the shadows are long across the boards.

The Atlantic City boardwalk is never crowded but never empty. Today is typical, with clusters of tourists scattered here and there, the usual panhandlers and store owners, and those guys that will pedal you in a little wicker cart for a fee. I used to sneer at those. Who is too feeble to walk on a boardwalk?

I had been walking into the wind -- about a mile, I think -- and it tore right through my sweater coat as if I had nothing on at all. But now I have turned around and am walking back the way I came, south, and the autumn sun beams into my face. It feels good. It also bleaches out the tattered landscape, sad gilded AC, home to poverty and distorted dreams.

I'm passing a pier to my left, and a tall, rather ragged man stands alone between me and the t-shirt store where you can get 3 for 9 dollars. He says to me, "Will you be here tomorrow?"

I keep walking. "No," I say. My voice is maybe just a tad harsh. Everyone you pass on these planks wants something.

Twenty paces later I'm passing the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum, with its own eager barker, and it occurs to me that the tall man probably works for the museum, maybe offering discount tickets or a late season pass.

It's not the tall man himself that lingers in my mind, but his question. "Will you be here tomorrow?"

There are three levels to this question, and all of them solicit the same clipped "no."

Level One: I won't be on the boardwalk in Atlantic City tomorrow. I'm leaving town before sunset. I want to clip some phragmites from the bay side salt marsh to make a tasteful seasonal arrangement. Then I will drive home. It will be dark almost the whole way.

Level Two: I won't be at the same spiritual moment that I am in Atlantic City on this Friday afternoon in early November, 2019. My religious path flows and morphs, sometimes in little subtle changes, and sometimes with massive upheavals. But it does change. It's never just here.

Level Three: If "here tomorrow" is metaphorical, then no. I won't be here. As much as I would like to be the exception to the rule, I will some day face a tomorrow-less moment. I won't be here. My great-grandchildren, should I have any, won't know the first thing about me if they lack curiosity. Their great-grandchildren won't even know my name.

If I won't be here tomorrow, today is freighted with importance. The ability to walk, to breathe, to see the "WELCOME NJEA" signs, to hear the Guy Fieri restaurant loop outside Bally's ... none of that is trifling. I must seize the moment. I must start putting onto paper the sentences that crowd my mind. I must clip phragmites, clean the bathroom, feed the cat, and write. I must write. Because tomorrow I won't be here.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Just Posting This Here

A week ago I went with six students from my school to serve dinner at the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ. This is a (of course) Christian charity that serves dinner and sandwiches to the homeless. We served 381 dinners in less than 2 hours, including a family of 12.

The students from my school worked their butts off. They never slacked and never complained. They were still smiling as we swept up the place.

Readers, it's humbling to go to a place like that and see our nation's most vulnerable citizens. There are family tables there, for the love of fruit flies!

But there was nothing shabby about what those folks got to eat. We served baked chicken, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, and salad, with two pieces of bread. The bread was definitely donated by various bakeries, because it was artisan in a dozen hues.

I spent 2 hours in the kitchen, dropping salad and bread onto plates, which then went out, restaurant style, to the assembled patrons.

This navel gaze ends with a video, made by the students at my school. I'm just dumping it here. There's a really short bit about the Cathedral Kitchen, and my picture is in the "respect" segment, but it's on the long side. On the other hand, if you want to see where your books went, here are the kids who got them.