Monday, September 13, 2021

Labor Day 2021

 Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson, a school teacher in the Time of COVID-19. If you can do this job, under these circumstances, without resort to magic, you are a better person than me.

But La Di Dah! I got two shots, and I've got a copper bracelet, and I have hung vulture feathers at my front door! COVID can't touch me!

Well, okay, it can. I just hope that when it does, it flicks me lightly, rather than walloping me with a blunt instrument.

Never mind that. Last Monday was Labor Day! And you know what that means, right? Philadelphia's annual Communist, Socialist, Godless, Corrupt and Overpaid Union Get-Together!

Just kidding with all those adjectives. Big Business wants people to hate unions so that the businessmen can go on being rich on the backs of their workers. And that would be a nope. Public sentiment for unions is actually improving. Hooray!

So, without further sermon, here are some photos I snapped at the AFL-CIO Labor Day Parade in Philadelphia on September 6. Here is the float that got things started.

You see that blue sky? The weather was gorgeous. 

Here is a card-carrying Socialist in the crowd.

The red shirt is a coincidence, because the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (plus that one pesky blogger from New Jersey) also wear red.

My shirt says #redfored, which is our teacher motto.

Every year the union puts up a big banner at Penn's Landing.

And then all the various unions -- identified by their shirts, enjoy the use of Penn's Landing (with free burgers and fries) for four hours. I think these are Boilermakers.

Every union has its own matching t-shirts, often with meaningful slogans on the back.

Here's the Communications Workers of America. That's the union Mr. J belonged to.

This year the AFL-CIO gave out beach towels.  That's what the dude is holding.

And you will never guess who I ran into there. The Monkey Man! He rode to the parade on his bike, with Monkey in tow, and we enjoyed a nice chat by the Delaware River. It's always good to see him!

The sunlight made it hard to get a good shot, but you get the picture.

It was great to get out into the sun with my union brothers and sisters. Needless to say this didn't happen last year. But we're back!

And guess what else is back? The Mummers Parade! In some form. I put down a deposit on a dress.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Malcolm Kenyatta Is Amazing

 Hello there! You may have Googled Malcolm Kenyatta's name and come to my page as a newcomer. If so, welcome aboard! I am a resident of New Jersey, progressive as get-out, and I believe in a future that is epitomized by Malcolm Kenyatta.

Now, my three regulars. I know you have never heard of him, so I'll give you some back story on Malcolm Kenyatta.

My daughter The Fair lives in Center City, Philadelphia. When the pandemic began and her hours were cut, she couldn't get unemployment because there was an unresolved issue with a social security number that she had gotten wrong once, on a long ago job. Fair was so upset, crying, certain she would never get things straightened out, and I told her to call her State Representative. I even looked up his name in the Pennsylvania legislature. His name: Malcolm Kenyatta.

Finally I persuaded Fair to call Malcolm Kenyatta's office, and his staff quickly fixed her issues with Pennsylvania and got her that unemployment pay.

It's kind of sad that no one knows their State Representatives can do such things. People are way too used to the idea that the government doesn't care about them at all, except at election time. But long story short, Representative Kenyatta has an efficient staff, and they are quite helpful.

Then one day I was driving to work, and the local news station played a clip about a State Representative who was giving Republicans some kinda sass in a committee meeting. The clip they played was hysterical. Bunch of old white men telling Malcolm he was out of order, and Malcolm not having it. I thought, "That's the guy who helped Fair! I think I have a new hero!"

It was about this time that MSNBC discovered Malcolm Kenyatta, and he started appearing on the various evening shows. That's where I was able to put a face to the name. The odd thing is that now, I can't even remember the issue that got him on national t.v. There are so many that could qualify.

If you want to see him standing up for voting rights, here he is.

Earlier this year, Malcolm Kenyatta announced that he is seeking the position of Senator in the state of Pennsylvania. It didn't take me two seconds to sign up to support his campaign, even though I'm across the river. I'm doing it for my daughters.

Malcolm Kenyatta is young, gay, progressive, and passionate. He reflects the America I would like to see, where people of all races and persuasions have a seat at the table where big decisions are made. I like the way this young man doesn't suffer fools. I flat-out love his platform.

So imagine my surprise and delight, when I went to this year's Philadelphia Labor Day Parade, that I turned around and nearly smacked into Malcolm Kenyatta! I did a little squeee, of course, and before I could say ICANTWAITUNTILYOUARESENATOR, we were hugging for a photograph.

Readers, I do truly want to see this fine man advance in the halls of government. If you live in Pennsylvania, vote for him. If you don't, invoke the help of your deities on his behalf. He is the America we need to see.

More about Labor Day soon!

Friday, September 03, 2021

The News from Texas

 I know you've heard all about it. Texas has a new law that forbids abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Oh, shucks, let's dispense with the formalities. Texas has made abortion illegal, and the Supreme Court has wink wink nod nod approved of it in the middle of the night.

This is a tricky little dodge that the Texas state legislature has passed. It's not the long arm of the law that's gonna enforce the abortion ban, it's ordinary Texans. They can report anyone who is getting an abortion, or anyone who helps in any way. Maybe what we would call a "citizen's arrest." And there's a nice bounty of $10,000 for any tip that leads to prosecution.

The law is so draconian that you practically have to reach back to Stalin and Mao to find precedent. But pish tosh! It's fine with the Supreme Court!

It's fine with me too, mainly because this kind of shit reminds me what a blessing it is to live in New Jersey, the Garden State, may the Gods guard and keep it!

You know why else it's fine? I'm all for this whole citizen cop thing. After all, the Supreme Court has approved, right? So let's get some good out of this.

I am contacting my state legislature. I think they should pass a bill that makes gun ownership against the law, except for active duty military. Any citizen of New Jersey can report a gun owner, or anyone who drives the gun owner to buy a gun, or anyone who operates a firing range, or golly, anyone who sells ammunition and camouflage clothing! I'm really cool with that $10k reporting fee, too. I will be really vigilant about turning in all those criminal gun owners out there.

Tell me how this is differs from the Texas law? Guns kill. Let's get them out of the hands of potential killers. And get paid to do it. Supreme Court will have to help us, because, you know, quid pro quo.

I'll bet I could think of a dozen laws for citizen vigilantes to handle. Take leaf blowers, for instance. What we need is a good stiff law that prevents people from using leaf blowers except for Saturday afternoons in October and November. Pollution! Noise! Where are my citizen crime fighters?

In all seriousness, I truly hope this abortion ban is the tipping point that turns Texas blue. How can a majority of citizens approve of ending abortions? (Legal and safe ones, anyway ... there will never be an end to abortions.) Come on, Texas! Vote the bums out. Start with the guy who flew to Cancun when the whole state was frozen solid and people were dying of hypothermia.

Texas gals, if you can make your way to New Jersey to "visit the historic Stone Pony," you can stay at my house for free. Wink wink, nod nod.

Thursday, September 02, 2021


 The remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through New Jersey last night. A tornado spawned in South Jersey and stayed on the ground through fully half of the state -- about 90 miles. It came within five miles of my house.

We get hurricanes all the time, and they wreak havoc. But this was different. Some areas got 10 inches of rain. Houses were demolished, tornado-style. This was not a typical New Jersey hurricane.

Such weather events used to be quite rare, but this is the second year in a row that we have had a damaging hurricane during season. Both names began with "I."

When I was growing up, I don't think I ever saw a hurricane that began with "I."

I also didn't think I would see Roe v. Wade overturned and Jim Crow voting practices reinstated. America is moving backwards in everything but overall temperature.

Gods help us all.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Die on the Hill, Just Don't Take Me Along

 Ah, summer is almost over, and a new school year beckons. Even though COVID-19 is almost worse than ever, we are back to full enrollment in our schools.

In the meantime, I know three fully vaccinated adults who caught COVID-19 and were sick for weeks. Granted, they survived. But sick for weeks. All younger than me.

Pandemic does not be over. How silly of me to think so! This is 'Murica, Land of the Idiot and Home of the Moron.

Why are people who have been vaccinated for a half dozen deadly and infectious diseases suddenly unwilling to get a shot? That was a rhetorical question. I know the answer. The answer (no matter what other answer they give) is that Joe Biden encourages everyone to get a shot. If Joe Biden promoted breathing, they would all turn blue and suffocate.

If it was just the anti-shot morons infecting each other, I wouldn't care a bit. Go ahead and die on the hill of your "freedom." But I don't want to go with you. I have done everything -- everything -- the public health experts have told me to do. Everything. A 45-minute visit on Christmas, on the front porch of my daughter's rental? Did it. Quarantine for weeks and weeks? Did it. Wearing a mask everywhere? Did it. Doing it. Will do it. Hand sanitizer? Use it. Avoiding crowded indoor events? Did it. Doing it. Will do it.

I fought to get a date for my vaccination. Now I will need to fight for a booster ... and in the meantime spend my days with a room full of teenagers. There are 100 students on my roster this year. Even if half of them are vaccinated, that'll be a lot of COVID-19 floating in the stagnant classroom air. And I will have to wear a mask all day long, every day. I'll be afraid to take it off any time I'm in the room, including when I'm alone. Shit can hang in the air.

Most of this suffering could have been avoided if we had a citizenry that is less evenly divided between reasonable and ridiculous.

Getting sick from COVID when you've done everything to prevent it is like dying of tobacco-induced lung cancer without ever having smoked a cigarette. I don't want to be that victim!

Yes, I have practiced magic to keep myself safe. But no matter. I'm predicting with confidence that I'll contract this damn plague sometime this fall. Oh, morons. Thank you so much.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Hope Is a Thing with Oak Trees

You know that even in the Wild, Wild West there were people who planted apple trees and built schools, right? That's kind of how I feel about Facebook.

The platform is a dung heap of buzzard-gagging proportions, but how else would I be able to keep up with the Southampton Township Historical Society? (They have a page.)

You see, the Southampton Township Historical Society is the historical body responsible for the area that my ancestors called home from the earliest 1700s. The president of the Society posts all kinds of stuff about that area. One day I clicked in, and there was the obituary for my great-great grandmother, who died in 1947. All kinds of stuff like that. And there are a lot of people following that page ... 939 to be exact. I'm probably related to 938 of them.

It was on this page that I saw an offer, by owner, for a small property in Southampton Township. The property is a quarter mile from the churchyard where my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents are buried.

Earlier this week, I went up to see the property in question. It's small. But I am in love.


I was expecting a steep, rocky thicket of scrub pine trees with no place to even set up a pup tent. Instead the land is a growing hardwood forest that has achieved enough maturity that the floor is springy with leaf mold and there's ample space for a cozy campsite.

This picture doesn't really capture it. The trees are tall. They're hardwood. No invasive species, no poison ivy, no place for rattlesnakes to hide.

I love it. I want to buy it. I want to be a citizen of Southampton Township again.

Working on it. Wish me well!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Plant of Doom

 It's happened twice this summer. I have gotten poison ivy without even seeing it.

I know what this pestilential plant looks like. I've known since I was a kid. "Leaves of three, let it be." Yeah yeah yeah. I know, I KNOW.

I let it be, I promise. But it finds me. It slinks through the underbrush and catches me unawares.

The first time I got it this summer, I kind of understood. The Fair and I went to Cattus Island County Park and took a hike. I stepped off the path for 15 seconds to pick some wild blueberries. I think that's when the Plant of Doom attacked. The next evening I started feeling that classic unbearable itch at two places on my leg. 24 hours later I had blisters the size of dimes.

Okay, that was weeks ago. This past Monday I did a little light yard work in my sandals. Did I mention that I know what the damn stuff looks like???? I did not see it. Nor did I touch it, because it's not on my hands. There are, once again, two blisters on my ankle, right above where the sandal hits my foot.

I. Did. Not. See. The. Plant.

I feel that poison ivy has become sentient. It is now following me around and attacking me by stealth. It does this because it knows it's the only native flora I will not abide in my yard.

Have any of you ever gotten poison ivy without setting eyes on it? I have literally not been anywhere outside of my yard since last Saturday. And I know I didn't get it at the LARP, because I wore boots, socks, and leggings while I was there.

Why, readers, why? I didn't see it! How can you get slapped by the Plant of Doom without noticing it? I'm on my way to two more  #$#S%#@$#  blisters!