Monday, April 06, 2020

Gods Save the Queen

She's never been touchy-feely. She's always been stiff and stuffy. At times she has been flat-out clueless.

But today, and always, I am asking the Bored Gods to save the queen of England.

It boggles the mind that Queen Elizabeth II is still alive and able to make a coherent speech, given that she was born in 1926 (five months before my long-deceased mother) and that she bravely contributed to the effort in World War II while a princess and heir to the throne.

I know she's a figurehead with no political standing in the UK. Still, she's a symbol of the continuity of rule by a series of fairly educated and benign monarchs. She may only be an old lady in pearls, but she descends from Queen Victoria and does it nicely.

When you contrast her message to the citizens of the UK with the horrible, dishonest, self-serving and insulting daily briefings our chief executive is offering, you can't help but wonder if we would have been better off if England had crushed the colonial rebellion in 1781.

View the queen's address here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2klmuggOElE

How are you getting along? I'm having some difficulties.


Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Go Directly To Jail, Moron Televangelist

Greetings, my friends, and a hearty virtual hug from Pastor Annie at "The Gods Are Bored!" You know, science is a wonderful thing. So is history. And when you're asked to shelter in place during a highly contagious pandemic, you're relying on science and history as your guides!

Of course, your stone cold moron element -- widely represented in America -- respects neither science nor history.

Hot off the press, here's a little tale of a televangelist inviting people from all over the country to a huge outdoor Easter ceremony. He wants it to be of Woodstock proportions, because Christians sheltering from the pandemic are just "pansies."

There are way too many people out there who think Jesus will protect them from anything, even when proven abundantly wrong, time and again. My dad taught Sunday School for 60 years, and Jesus didn't keep him from getting Parkinson's Disease and breaking his hip and dying of a heart attack. Hey, for a brief period in the 1960s I believed in Jesus healing the sick, but my prayers on my mother's behalf did not yield results ... in fact her condition worsened.

Well. I'm no dummy. Pray and don't get results? Either change the prayer, or change the God. Or both.

The particular pastor inviting a national flock for a shindig hasn't been following the news. There has already been one conservative pastor who has died in the prime of life after suggesting the disease is a hoax. And honestly, I don't mind that guy. He didn't invite a festival's worth of people to hug and kiss in the midst of a killer plague.

Mark my words. On Easter Sunday there is going to be a mighty flood of civil disobedience as the stupider brand of Christian heads out to harp and hosanna in numbers. I would say, have at it ... except that these "Jesus will protect me" morons will disperse into their communities and start killing dear old grannies right and left.

Chew on this, morons: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a noise? Put it another way. Will Jesus still rise from the dead if you don't go hug 300 people in a crowded church?

At least one televangelist has already been arrested, and the Pennsylvania dude in the linked story says he'll gladly go to jail over his big Woodstock Jesus bash. Okay. Lock them up! Menaces to society.

Hey, Christian kids! Are you worried about your granny getting sick if you go to church on Easter? Well, you should be. Let me tell you about religions that respect science and history and would never expect their members to put any human being in the path of a novel coronavirus! Jeez, where should I start? You want the whole list, or just the top 100?

Moron televangelists should go to jail, directly to jail. They should not pass Go. They should not collect $200. Lock. Them. Up.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Reply Here

I don't do Twitter. There's a reason. I can't curb my enthusiasm. Inevitably I would get in big trouble, because on Twitter the trolls are everywhere. 

But here, safely ensconced at "The Gods Are Bored," mostly among like-minded -- and therefore highly intelligent and enlightened -- people, I can post tirade after tirade.

So today I'm inaugurating a new recurring motif: Replying Here. When our sorry excuse of a commander in chief tweets some brainless drivel that heightens my ire, I'm going to post it here and then smack the shit out of it. This is my comfort zone, and I need to vent.

Today's Assault on Humanity comes from March 29, 2020.

Real Donald Trump on Twitter:

"Because the 'Ratings' of my New Conferences etc. are so high, "Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers" according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. "Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him." said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!


Anne's Reply:

For real, are you kidding me, you bone-headed, knuckle-dragging insult to everything Neanderthal? Where's your empathy? Oh, wait! I go way back, watching your antics. You lost your extremely limited supply of empathy during a coke binge at Studio 54 in 1978. A janitor sweeping up the next morning dumped it in the trash and didn't even notice, because it was so small.

Empathy is what we need right now. We need a leader who is actually a human being.

EXHIBIT A: IF YOU CAN'T BE EVEN THIS HUMAN, YOU ARE HOPELESS


Nobody's asking you, Donald Trump, to stride in to an emergency room and kiss elderly women on ventilators. But you should be able to express something more than a brag-out about your television ratings! Oh, right. Maybe you did. Maybe there are 42 compassionate tweets that I don't know about. But it doesn't matter, you chimp! One stupid, ridiculous tweet like the above totally cancels out any sympathetic tweets you send.

Trump, you execrable egg-head, you are only as good as your worst tweet. You are president. You should think, and think hard, about the contents of each tweet. And if you can't think (there is abundant evidence of this), you should turn this task over to someone who can. Oh, wait. There's abundant evidence that you have surrounded yourself with toadies who don't think much either, if their wallets aren't in the game.

Repent, clueless tweeter! Take that ridiculous, unprotected cell phone and fling it into the Reflecting Pool. Your boasting has always added insult to injury, but right now it is intolerable.

From Anne Johnson
Citizen

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sacrificing Grandparents on the Altar of the Economy: A Rant

Did you see where the wealthy Caucasian lieutenant governor of Texas went on Fox t.v. and said that senior citizens would be willing to sacrifice their lives to keep the economy humming? He's 70 or some such himself, so of course he could speak for all the wealthy white motherfuckers loving grandparents out there.

Count me the fuck out, Tex. I'll hang on to my life, Dow Jones be damned.

There is hardly anyone alive now who can remember the Great Depression. My mother was a little kid in the 1930s, and if she were still alive she would be 95. But the point is, America made it through the Great Depression. Without killing grandma! Jesus, has nobody read the last chapter of The Grapes of Wrath?

This bonehead Texas lt. gov. had the bloody nerve to speak for all older Americans everywhere. What does he know about the many households that are headed by grandparents? I'll tell you: He knows squat. Bupkus. Nada. Less than zero. There are significant numbers of such households, including in his state.

And excuse me for pointing something out to this clueless moron, but he forgot to ask grandchildren if they value their jobs over their grandparents. That's a big omission! Oh my Bored Gods, the stories I could tell him about my students and the bonds they share with grandparents! I wish I felt comfortable telling you all about it, but it would violate my students' privacy. But what does an old white guy care about people of color in New Jersey? The economy! Jobs! Executive Compensation! Salaries! Asshole.

I can only talk about myself.

When I was a child, growing up in a household ravaged by mental illness and redneck mentality, my father's parents were a bastion of strength and sanity. My life would have unfolded entirely differently if I had not had them and their gentle care, their little mountain home, and their comfort.

EXHIBIT A: BELOVED ANCESTORS


That's me on the far right. Smiling.

In order to keep my grandparents from dying before their time, I would gladly have worn feed sacks and eaten potato peels, or stood in line for soup, or lost my job. What amount of money can you place on the lives of your grandparents?

This is not to say I would never be willing to sacrifice my life for my daughters. Pish, tosh! I certainly would! But the reason for that self-sacrifice would have to be more than the national economy. My daughters are already suffering from this recession, and they will continue to after the quarantine ends. But I have confidence in the sweep of history.  We will bounce back. And if it gets grim, if we find ourselves in a Great Depression, we will live as they did then. Sharing sacrifices.

I want to live to see my grandchildren, if at all possible, thank you very much you clueless moron of a lieutenant governor. A plague upon your house! Go ahead and sacrifice yourself. As for me and my house, we need each other more than that.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Names and Places

One night a few months ago, I heard the doorbell ring. Someone delivered a package to me from LL Bean. My name and address were on the front.

I told Mr. J, "I didn't order anything from LL Bean." But maybe someone sent me a gift out of the blue, for no reason? So I opened it. Inside was one of the ugliest shirts I've ever seen. You know that LL Bean look. Aggressively plain navy with some sort of snot-colored print. It was my size, though.

There was no gift card with it, but the invoice said the item had indeed been paid for.

So I called LL Bean. And surprisingly enough, after a very short wait, I got a real human being on the line. She read me the last 4 digits of the credit card used to purchase the ugly shirt. Not my card. Whew!

The question remained: Why did this hideous waste of cotton arrive on my doorstep? And then the customer service rep and I figured it out. The shirt belonged to the other Anne Johnson.

The other Anne Johnson lives down the street in the next block. (I notice her house is up for sale). Things used to get really mixed up between our two houses, but in recent years about all I've gotten is thank-you notes from the Boy Scouts.

I told the LL Bean customer rep that I would just schlep the item down to the other Anne Johnson. Which I did. She wasn't home. I left it in the mailbox.

Now it's just a few months later, and Mr. J and I find ourselves isolated in our house, with two daughters who hardly ever see eye-to-eye absolutely united in their demand that we not go out.

Bowing to the requests from the old kith-and-kin, Mr. J set out to order some groceries from the local store where we do the vast majority of our shopping. We can walk to this store from our house. But to get our asparagus and oranges delivered, we had to go through InstaCart.

At precisely 5:52 yesterday evening, InstaCart sent Mr. J a text message, reporting that our $100 of groceries had been delivered. Only they hadn't. Nor were they placed on the porch at any later hour, and they weren't here this morning.

My nimble fingers did a Google Maps search, and wouldn't you know it? There's another house with our exact address in the very next borough! When I called the house up on Maps, it was clearly and distinctly a single-family dwelling.

Someone else got my oranges. And InstaCart is out of the question, because Mr J spent 90 minutes on hold with them trying to sort this out ... and got nowhere. Never even talked to a human being.

I'm glad I stocked up on March 10, but I didn't buy any perishable fruits and vegetables. I didn't get cheese, either. Guess Mr. J and I will have to do without those luxuries. First world problems.

This is a mixed-up, fucked up country at the best of times. These are not the best of times.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Offer of Services

Hello and a hearty wave from a distance! It's another day at "The Gods Are Bored!" As of 4:00 this afternoon I will have been home bound for an entire week. It has happened before when I had babies and surgery. So far I'm okay.

I am posting the following message from my daughter The Fair. It is an offer of reasonably-priced services regarding web design and other tasks.

Her email is olivia.kram@gmail.com

Olivia Says:

Life update: I still have a job. I'm very fortunate to work for a company that cares about its employees during these trying times. Not everyone is that lucky and you should definitely give those people your business first. That being said, I am drastically having my hours reduced to keep the business afloat. I have a history with surviving on little but both due to needing something to do and to make sure I can keep up with my bills I'm re-opening my freelance services and I'm drastically reducing my prices to accommodate everyone's limited resources.
Here are some things I offer:
1. Website: Let me build your website! I can build you a website from scratch and teach you how to make edits on your own.
2. Graphic Design: Need a logo? Business Card? Resume Facelift? I can build a template for you so that you've got you a working copy you can continue to edit.
3. Social Media: Need some content? I can create that content. I can build posts and write copy for you. I can also show you how to use scheduling platforms and create a strategic plan for your profiles.
4. Copywriting: I have a degree in writing and can create content for you in no time at all. It doesn't matter what you want me to write. I'll write it.
Message me for rates. I'm going to be giving a HUGE discount to artists. I can also be flexible. Let's talk and I can see what we can do.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Solitary Religious Service for a Time of Pandemic


           Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne, always Anne, and today I'm offering some terrific free advice. We could all use something free right now.

In troubled times, religious worship takes on even more significance. I remember during 9/11, the churches were packed. Sadly, we can't pack ourselves into anything right now, even if we feel the need to access the Divine more than usual.

This is where solitary-practicing Pagans can lend a hand. This post is long because it contains the text of a ritual that I have practiced for a long time, doing all the roles. It's a broad and general ritual, which I will make even more broad by suggesting deities instead of leaving specific deities named.

Christian teens, you can totally do this! Just plug in "God." And take a good look at the rest of this, because it might have some real appeal.

If you're comfortable in your solitary practice, you go! I'm so happy for you.                                    


Ritual for Solitary Worship


If a specific speaker is identified, just read all those roles.

Herald:        By the Light of the Sun and Moon, by the Power of Sea and Stone, by the Beauty of Flower and Field, I will now undertake this moment of worship. This is my ceremony to honor the Gods, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits. 

Druid 1:       Let us take three breaths…
                        Together with the Earth beneath us…
                        Together with the Sky above us…
                        Together with the Sea around us…

Druid 2:       I have sought this holy light, in the Sun’s (or Moon's) sight, to celebrate this, a Rite of Worship. Let all disturbing thoughts be laid aside. May I be granted peace from all quarters, for only with peace can the work proceed.

Face East:              I salute the Hawk of Dawn, from which rises the warmth of the Sun. I call upon the Powers of the East. May there be Peace in the East!

Face South:           I salute the Great Stag in the heat of the chase, and the crucible of the Sun. I call upon the Powers of the South. May there Peace in the South!

Face West:             I salute the Salmon of Wisdom, who dwells within the sacred waters of the pool from which all rivers flow. I call upon the Powers of the West. May there be peace in the West!

Face North:           I salute the Great Bear lighting the darkened sky at night, whose path marks the fruiting of the bountiful Earth.  I call upon the Powers of the North. May there be Peace in the North!

Back to Center:                 May there be Peace throughout the whole world.

Druid 1:       Gods and Goddesses of this most sacred place, I ask for your blessings in this my  ceremony. I will recite the prayer that unites all Druids.

                 Grant, O Gods and Goddesses, thy protection, and in protection, strength,
                        And in strength, understanding,
                        And in understanding, knowledge,
                        And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice,
                        And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it,
                        And in the love of it, the love of all existences,
                        And in the love of all existences,
                        The love of the divine and all goodness.



Face in the direction of your choice:           Why do I come today to the Gods?

            I honor the power of the Gods in every season, as all times and seasons are important to the life of humankind. I celebrate growth, the dance of life, vibrancy shimmering through the day and night. I honor the sun in the sky, with its many faces, as it makes the transition from its northernmost rising at the summer solstice toward the south for the winter. I honor the waning of the year, the slide into darkness, the harvest home. I honor the Wheel of the Year.

Druid:            I will let my sickle down
                        As the nourishing ear is in my hand
                        I will raise my eye to the heights
                        I will turn on my heel to the right

Druid:                As the sun travels
                             From the eastern quarter to the west
                             From the northern quarter to the southern quarter
                             As the sun rests at center, I will honor the Gods.



Druid:        Let us meditate upon the things in our lives that nourish us, the things that we wish to preserve in troubled times. 

All: Meditate quietly.


Druid:  Think of how you can open yourself to that which would smooth you and soften your way as you pass along this challenging path. This is a time for meditation: for relaxing what is hard and sharp and becoming at peace with the elements of time and tide. Think of the power you have to protect yourself, and those things which are outside your control. Both of these are sacred. They are the way of the world.

At this time you address your deities personally, petitioning them for clarity or asking them to hold you and your loved ones in the Light. Any concerns or celebrations are acknowledged. Stay in the presence of the Divine as long as you like. You can kindle a bonfire, do a dance, some drumming or singing, or even make a craft. At the end of this period, complete the ritual as below.


Druid 2:      This time has passed; may it come again in the fullness of the year. As the celebration ends, let its fire be lit in my heart. May my memory hold what the eyes and ears have gained.



 (3 times) 
I swear, by peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart and hand in hand.
Mark, O Spirit, hear me now,
Confirming this, my sacred vow. 

 Three Awens or other closing spiritual exclamation

Druid 2:       May the spirits of the four directions be thanked for their blessings.

                                    

Face East:              In the name of the Hawk of Dawn, from which rises the warmth of the Sun;  I thank the Powers of the East.

Face South:           In the name of the Great Stag in the heat of the chase, and the crucible of the Sun, I thank the Powers of the South.

Face West:             In the name of the Salmon of Wisdom, who dwells within the scared waters of the pool from which all rivers flow, I thank the Powers of the West.

Face North:           In the name of the Great Bear lighting the Darkened Sky at night, whose Path marks the fruiting of the bountiful Earth, I thank the Powers of the North.

Return to Center:                 May the harmony of the land be complete.

Herald:         May the blessings of the Divine be always with us. I declare this ceremony is now closed in the apparent world. May its inspiration continue within my heart.