Thursday, December 08, 2016

Postmodernist Pet

I am a school teacher. I teach English.

This week my students are writing memoirs about significant happenings in their lives. This is an emotionally fraught exercise.

As a teacher, I believe in teaching by model. So I wrote my own memoir about a time when my dog ... oh, wait! I've never told that story here.



Here's the dog in question, 1969. I'm actually writing this story about writing a story about a dog.

Basically I'm putting the photo here so I can show my students. Maybe some day I'll tell all of you about how this magnificent pet saved me from danger.

Yes, students, that's me on the right.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Don't Blame Me, Blame the Water Company

Did you know that there are some plant that are illegal to grow on your lawn?

Dumb question. I'll try again.

Did you know that a random poisonous plant can suddenly spring up in your yard, and you didn't plant it?

This happened to me over the summer. I feel blessed, truly blessed.

The saga began last winter when we had a brief spell of below-freezing weather. Soon thereafter I noticed water trickling down the street from under my sidewalk. It was a water main leak.

Thank goodness the doggone thing was on water company property, and not my own, because they came and fixed it. But in the process, they tore up my front lawn and did an indifferent job of re-landscaping it.

(I didn't bug them about it. My upholstery? I would have sued. My lawn? Meh.)

Some time in June I noticed a rather large and foreign plant growing in the bald spot. I had no idea what it was.

EXHIBIT A: MYSTERY PLANT KNOWN ONLY TO WITCHES

Within just a few weeks, my mystery plant had grown to this size and was sporting these beautiful white blossoms that opened at night. My friend Maebius correctly identified the plant as Datura stramonium, aka jimson weed, a highly poisonous hallucinogen in the nightshade family.

While Mr. J pleaded fruitlessly for me to chop down the charming little vegetable, I did some research. I learned that jimson weed seeds can lie dormant in dirt for more than a century, and, if they are roused from the depths, can sprout and grow.

So while Mr. J saw a poisonous plant, poorly placed curbside where any tot could pull and eat its blooms, I saw a throwback to a time when Snobville was a wild paradise of native life, unhampered by asphalt, concrete, and tract houses.

This was one of the few occasions where I prevailed. My jimson weed, which I named Omar, lived long enough to bear seed pods. When those ripened, I heeded my better judgment and pulled the plug. School was just about to start, you know, and lots of kids walk past my house.

Some time later, I attended a Pagan Pride Day talk given by a Witch who uses flying potions.

Oh my goodness, have you heard of these things? You dab on a little goo, and whoa ... only the strong survive!

Datura stramonium is one of the plants used occasionally in flying potions.

Might have been a time, oh, when I was 16 or so, that I might have liked to experiment with a Datura flying potion. Nowadays, thank you very much, I'll leave it to the experts. All the same, I can't find it in my heart to deny life to a plant just because you can't eat it. Look at those blooms!

I also find it compelling that the seeds lay dormant in the deep dirt for who-knows-how-long before they roared back to life. I do wish some people could do that. There are folks I miss very deeply, and if the water company could just re-animate them, that would be swell.

I gave one of Omar's seed pods to a Witch and kept another for myself. My back yard is dedicated to native flora, and I am sentimental. Omar was resurrected. His descendants have a right to reclaim their land.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Re-Introducing The Spare

Everyone's a critic. And is anyone more critical than your own kids, when you get to be a certain age, and they get to be a certain age?

For my many new readers (and I already love you all), I have two daughters. I call them The Heir and The Spare. I got the idea from something I read about Princess Diana back in the day. Apparently Wills and Harry are an Heir and a Spare.

The following conversation occurred a few days ago between myself and The Spare.

Spare: Mother.

Anne: Yes, darling?

Spare: About your blog.

Anne: Something wrong with my blog?

Spare: Yes.

Anne: I'm hanging on your every word. Do you want to see changes?

Spare: Of course! You aren't talking about me enough!

Anne: Right on it.

EXHIBIT A: THE SPARE HAD A BIG YEAR

I know this will make my four original readers feel ancient. I sure do.

Spare graduated from college! She has a good job, and she's doing improv comedy in Philadelphia. Last night I went to a show (it wasn't improv) in which she convincingly portrayed an RNA sequence fresh off a splice!

Spare's college is in Center City, Philadelphia. I love this shot.

EXHIBIT B: SPARE AND BILLY PENN

Then there was a happy day on the Fourth of July, long before politics weighed us down.

EXHIBIT C: SUMMER MUMMERS


Spare and I are all paid up to strut with the Two Street Stompers again on January 1. And just three weeks later, another march! We will wear holes in our shoes.

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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Feeling the Burn

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Wow, more readers in a week than I had in a lifetime! Can't thank "She Who Seeks" enough!

Every year on the first weekend in December, the charming Pennsylvania hamlet of Phoenixville has a Firebird Festival. Artists in the community create a giant wooden bird (different every year), and at 8:15 on Saturday night, they set it on fire.

For a modest donation, you can put any kind of wish or intention on paper, and just before the burn, the organizers put the wishes inside the bird. Voila! Matter becomes energy.

My daughter The Heir and I always attend this event. Oh, dear Heir! She is an adult now. I don't see her as often as I like, but we make up for that in quality time. The Firebird Festival is quality time.

Someone I don't know named King Arthur took this video of the burning Phoenix.

Pictures and videos don't really do this event justice, because on your computer screen you can watch it without losing your eyebrows. Heir and I always get so close that we come home singed.

I put a wish in the Firebird. I also added some intentions from friends. May they all come true through the energy of the elemental fire!

There's a little Phoenix in all of us, don't you think?

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Friday, December 02, 2016

The All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," with malice toward none ... oh, hell. Who am I kidding? Sometimes the world calls upon you to have attitude. It just does.

And perhaps since I'm feeling so bellicose lately, I received a visit today from the Great Goddess Tabiti, sacred to the Scythians and all Amazon warrior women!


Tabiti actually came because I called Her. In fact, I am petitioning Her as I once did Cloacina. Desperate times call for all the Goddess power readily available!

Maybe you have heard that there is going to be a Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017. I have already made plans to attend, along with Heir and Spare. The current number of attendees is 100,000 -- but that's just people who clicked a button on Facebook. My guess is that this march could bring five times that many women to town.

Word of this activity has reached across the news spectrum, finally filtering its way down into the cesspit occupied by the old fartbag named Rush Limbaugh.

Rush couldn't resist. He called the march "The All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion," and suggested that the women in attendance would synchronize their periods so as to be bleeding all together on that day.

Ask any Amazon, and she will tell you: When your enemies mock you, cleave them in twain with a battleaxe. Having accomplished that, take anything they have of worth and use it against their tribe.

I asked the Goddess Tabiti what she thought of All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion, and she said it sounded wonderful ... noble ... powerful. I agree! Traditional Amazon women were badass as fuck! They wore tattoos and smoked weed and lived in a society where everyone wore pants. Makes you pine for antiquity, doesn't it?

To my veteran and new readers, take heed. I, Anne Johnson, have been named a lieutenant in the All-American First Cavalry Amazon Battalion. I take my commission from Tabiti herself. On January 21, 2017 I will obey the call to march. And you're gonna hear me roar.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Donald Trump: Baby Christian

Honestly. You can't make this shit up.

My dear sister lives out in the country, and inevitably she has friends who are evangelical Christians. When she posted something against The Orange Menace on her Facebook page, one of these cockeyed morons replied:

"Yes! Donald Trump is a Christian! He's a baby Christian, but he's on his way."

EXHIBIT A: BABY CHRISTIAN


Don't know about you, but when the term "baby Christian" gets thrown around, this is the first thing I think of! Who hasn't been to one of these little ceremonies?

I suppose this is what the evangelicals are calling newly-minted charlatans converts. But when it comes to the Orange Menace, "baby" fits way better than "Christian."

An overwhelming majority of grown-up evangelical Christians supported the Orange Menace. This should forever put to rest the idea that such people are anything more than rank hypocrites. They actually flicked the "yes" switch for a womanizing, twice-divorced huckster who takes glee in stiffing his employees, plastering the world with dreary golf courses, and firing up factories in foreign lands.

EXHIBIT B: THE BUSY GOD RESPONDS

Now, this right here is the facepalm you make when everything you ever worked for, believed in, and died for is thrown overboard by people who pretend to believe in you. Poor Jesus! Even if you're a Pagan (like me), you can't help but feel a little bit sad for Him. Turns out His followers will overlook a whole lot of really bad behavior just for the vacuous promise of trying to overturn settled Supreme Court decisions.

Does any of this surprise you?

Well, this message has a (somewhat) happy ending. Upon hearing about this, quite a number of bored Goddesses spent the entire afternoon making macaroons from scratch for poor, sad Jesus. When it comes to understanding the perfidies of one's followers, no one can sympathize more than another deity.

I'm sure glad I lent my kitchen to the Goddesses for their baking. It smells heavenly -- and I can lick the bowls!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's My Country, and I'll Cry If I Want To

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we prize sanity, not vanity. I'm Anne Johnson, and sometimes things make me cry.

On the morning after Election Day, my school district had a teachers' meeting scheduled. It's a good thing, because so many of us were in tears that I can't imagine how we could have taught anything in the classroom. The most grief-stricken of my colleagues? The history teachers.

You can therefore imagine my dismay and disappointment when one of my friends -- and a good one, a true one, someone I considered "bosom" -- posted on Facebook that all the crying people "ought to go live in China, or Cuba, or Iran, if you really want to cry about something." This post came from an intelligent man.

I've seen quite a few less intelligent individuals expressing the same sentiments. Don't like the fact that an incompetent, fractious, conceited blowhard has been elected to head the Ship of State? Move to China!

There is so much I could say about this, but I'll try to be brief.

First of all, if your candidate won, and you are happy about it, why does it bother you that people -- particularly women -- are crying? Oh! I can answer that! You are just a little bit uncomfortable about this election yourself. You feel in your bones that this won't turn out well. But hey, you are celebrating anyway! And how dare anyone fling a little reality at your glee?

Secondly, do you mind if I ask how you would be responding right now if the polls had been correct, and Mrs. Clinton won? Don't answer that. I know. You'd be out on the range, shooting your AK at human-shaped targets. You'd be standing by your man, who would be DEMANDING a RECOUNT and CRYING FRAUD. Don't tell me you would have bowed to the will of the people, stone-faced and stoic. I'm not buying it.

Thirdly (please give me extra credit for these thoughtful transition words), why move to China, Cuba, or Iran when it's going to be just like China, Cuba, and Iran right here? I don't have the money for a plane ticket. And let's see: Where would I be going if I did have that ticket? To a country ruled by a handful of above-the-law elites who oppress their citizens with low wages, curbs on free speech, and narrow, abusive religious practices codified into law. Why fly, when I can get all those perks right here? It's only a matter of time.

And now, to all of you "Stop Crying and Move to China" white males, I will say this:

Okay, I'll go. Now, here's where you need to go.

You need to hop inside the covers of a Charles Dickens novel. Yes, propel yourself back to Victorian England, where a handful of above-the-law elites oppressed citizens with low wages, curbs on free speech, and narrow, abusive religious practices codified into law! I understand there's a partnership opening at Scrooge and Marley. You're perfect for the job.

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