Friday, December 30, 2005

Cults for Dummies: The Gray Area

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Ask not what your god can do for you. Ask what you can do for your god! The bored gods need a good agent, some promotional material, and at least a public access cable channel.

This week we're looking at cults. If you're shopping for a new one, better be pretty clear how it stands on the matter of riding comets.

The fascinating dude pictured above is Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). It's rare to find an encyclopedia who does not list him individually, his religious groups Thelema, O.T.O., and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn all as cults. (Individually Crowley is considered a cult leader.)

There's no doubt about it: This guy did some deep thinking, some psychic and psychological wonders, and some recruitment of followers who he encouraged to indulge in rites that might not seem so weird to horny Freemasons.

Certain bored gods appreciated him, especially Horus, the Egyptian deity we mentioned yesterday.

Crowley's teachings are complicated. However, they are readily available, because he wrote a great deal. Both Thelema and O.T.O. have survived him.

And therein lies the gray area. Neither of those organizations accords Crowley any deity status but rather uses his teachings as a way to achieve higher consciousness. He did not found the Golden Dawn. He learned from it and adapted its teachings to his own set of rites and rituals.

And, as any thinking person would, he rather enjoyed being called "The Wickedest Man Alive" by the popular press. Hey, it was a headline. Brought in followers.

Some of my legions of readers can actually penetrate Crowley's complicated celestial view. It eludes this druid because his most famous saying, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," lacks the important subordinate clause of druidry -- "an thou harm none."

Recall, readers, that Anne's definition of cults includes the caveat that to be a cult, the group has to harm its members. There are recorded instances of this happening within Crowley's sphere. He turned some dude into a camel, for instance. And he was notorious for staining furniture.

Seriously, Crowley was a known manipulator who enjoyed the limelight. But the interesting concepts he introduced into Western occultism have outlived him and are therefore worth pondering. Right, Horus?

The point of this entry is, if you can separate the founder from the message, it's not necessarily a cult. This author would not recommend that anyone behave like Aleister Crowley, but if some enlightenment can be gained from his work, then rock on.

An afterthought: Crowley died nearly alone, penniless, and addicted to heroin shortly after WWII. There was no Tom Cruise or Donny Osmond in the picture to see to his bills. That's another key provision of our cult def. The leader has to be taken care of financially without lifting a finger. I believe there are times in the life of Crowley where that occurred, but not consistently.

But gosh is he photogenic for the purpose of these little essays!


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cults for Dummies: Show Some Respect

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Please tell us: Where is the 3,000 year old Pyramid erected to Sun Myung Moon? Where is the official L. Ron Hubbard Sphinx? And why aren't they building a Parthenon for Madame Blavatsky or Aleister Crowley?

We'll tell you why: Because wanna be gods are a dime a dozen.

Yesterday my daughter The Heir and I took a little stroll through a neighboring village. It was not quite as posh as the village we live in, and that made it more exciting.

In this village is a store with charming items for your home decor. In one glass case, fairies, Celtic jewelry, mermaids. In another, wizards and dragons. In another, fossils and geodes. In yet another, a lovely collection of repro Egyptian artifacts. Statues of Isis, Osiris and Horus. Scarabs. Holy cats on thrones. Mummy sarcophagi.

The Heir was fascinated and asked all kinds of questions about these awesome bored gods. I'm not the most knowledgeable about this pantheon that lasted thousands of years and spawned several Wonders of the World, but I told her what I could.

Got me to thinking.

How very disappointed Isis and Osiris and Horus must be, to see modern humankind throw away money and devotion on other human beings. Because, sorry, but with the sole exception of the Dalai Lama, I can't buy the divinity of anyone breathing air.

Okay, you Christians are affronted. Jesus breathed air and presided over grand cathedrals decked in poinsettias, in which little children behaved like adults and a pontiff wearing a huge crown waved.

Seriously. I love Jesus. I think he proved his stripes. Like Horus, he died and then got up again, presumably because there was work to be done and he didn't trust the 11 remaining disciples to get it right. (Especially as they quickly marginalized both Mary the Mother and Mary the Magdalene.)

But the exception proves the rule. A Jesus comes along every 2,000 years or so. But people claiming to be Jesus, or specially chosen by Jesus, come out of the woodwork like termites.

Why would anyone worship these humans, when perfectly good gods and goddesses are sitting in their heavens counting the stars? Isn't that disrespectful?

Poor Isis! She's a little gilded statue in a glass case, sale priced at $69.99, while Scientology is racking up millions in donations and parents feed their kids poisoned Kool-Aid in the jungle.

Jesus proved his stripes, but so did Isis, Osiris, and Horus. We still have the writings they inspired, the temples they inspired, and the list of deeds that lift them from humanity to deity.

And yet people persist in calling these awesome gods "myths" in the face of the adoration of prior generations. On the other hand, any bearded guru can get his meals paid for by sycophants who prefer their gods to have toileting needs.

If you ask me, there's something wrong with this picture. That's why I started this web site, and thank you very much but I don't want a cult following. If you have an urge to worship Anne the Goat Judge, please curb it and go commune with the fairies and their awesome leadership.

Or, by all means be my guest and erect an altar to Isis. Sedna. Chongdanga. Tiki. The Thunderbirds. Atlanteans. In this case, older is better, and if they sweat and pick their noses, they can't be gods.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cults for Dummies 2: Keep Your Head

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's just tragic to think of the number of gods and goddesses who used to have temples erected in their honor and now have to work the night shift unloading stock at Target. Employ a bored god today! They don't ask for much, only a living wage and a standard benefits package.

The bored gods are particularly galled when they see bright young men and women snookered into working their keisters off to make some other human wealthy and powerful, all in the name of religion.

No matter how pretty and modest the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's web site is, the fact remains that he's made a vast fortune because he's convinced a lot of people that he talked to Jesus, and Jesus told him how to unify the Christian church across the globe.

What this has to do with owning conservative newspapers and sticky bun companies is beyond me. Maybe Jesus likes sticky buns.

Some ex-followers of the Reverend Moon claimed that the recruiting tactics used to elicit their praise and worship were beyond acceptability. Anyone who expresses even a vague interest in Reverend Moon is invited to a dinner where people hang on their every word, bombard them with affection and compassion, and then invite them to attend a camp where they'll be introduced to The Rev's philosophy in greater detail.

Boy, does this sort of thing rile the bored gods!

At Moonie camp, new recruits play childhood games, sing camp songs, receive numerous friendly hugs, and get about half the sleep they need to see straight. They sit through long, impenetrable sermons on theology and the deep love the Rev has for them.

By the end of a week of this, they would believe in that turtle upon whose back the earth rests.

They go to work for The Rev, where they still don't get enough sleep and have to marry strangers picked for them by The Rev.

Sounds nuts, doesn't it? How could anyone fall for that?

Read on:

Two years ago, when Anne was still a good church lady, it came time to have her older daughter, The Heir, take Confirmation class.

The Heir's Confirmation experience began with a compulsory trip to a camp called Keswick that is staffed by young men and women who want to be Christian pastors.

No parents were allowed at Keswick during the weekend.

The Heir and the other young teens with her played childhood games, sang songs, were bombarded with compassion, and stayed up late into the night confessing their problems and weeping about them. The leaders of the camp were so very interested in everything these youngsters had to say. And of course the leaders held out the promise that, with a mere altar call, the youngsters could enjoy the eternal protection of Jesus.

The Heir, a shy and retiring youngster who thinks deeply about many topics, felt distinctly uncomfortable, but she went along with the program.

Unlike the other teens who attended, however, The Heir came home and started thinking about her Keswick experience.

Then she started combing the second-hand bookstores for information about cults. She found a 1970s-era book about Reverend Moon and his recruitment techniques.


The moral of the story is, cult tactics can crop up in the darnedest places, and it takes an independent thinker to challenge the system. It's just not enough to be wary of Reverend Moon. Your local youth pastor might have the same playbook, if not exactly the same motives.

Well, they do ask The Heir to tithe.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cults for Dummies 1

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you got a gift card for a god, better come and redeem it right away. The gods and goddesses are flying off the shelves. Wow! People are acting like they're prosperous and their jobs are secure. Go figure.

For Xmas my daugher The Heir got a book called Cults from a friend of hers. The Heir is very interested in mind control. She has a deep suspicion of the Christian church because during her Confirmation Hearings she had to go to this Christian camp where she feels she was coerced into professing faith. She didn't like that much. The Scotch-Irish in her rebelled.

No better time than the present to look at the whole issue of cults.

So, out comes the trusty dictionary, the one published in 1974 that does not include any of the following words:
cellular telephone
world wide web
text message

Guess I need a new dictionary, eh?

Here's the dinosaur dictionary's definition of a cult:

1. A system of religious worship or ritual for a person, principle, etc., esp. when regarded as a fad. (Dino dictionary uses nudism as an example!)

2. The object of such attachment.

3. A group of followers; sect.

Okay, that is very broad indeed. Where do we draw the line between a cult, i.e. worship of a specific person by a group of followers, and religion, defined in dino dictionary as a belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe.

Now that's what I call a great definition. Gives respect to us polytheists.

I'm thinking we need to revise the too-broad definition of cult.

My definition of cult goes something like this:

A group of followers whose devotion to a person or persons causes those followers to perform dangerous acts that are either self-destructive or harmful to others, or both.

Al-Qaeda, Christian Science, Scientology and Heaven's Gate make the cut. Ditto the Peoples' Temple and their Kool-Aid binge. The Mormons, however weird, get a pass. Ditto the Krishnas. That's a religion, and their flowers are pretty.

Some religions start as cults and morph. Hard as it may be to believe, the goddess Diana tells me that the earliest Christians were considered a cult and were accused of slaughtering babies as part of their secret rituals.

One good barometer of a cult is whether or not it survives the death of its founder. Both Christian Science and Scientology have done that, but they're cults because they refuse modern medicine and even belittle such useful tools as psychiatric drugs and epidurals. (Katie Holmes is in for a long, hard -- and pointlessly painful -- battle.)

The most virulent cults, of course, are the ones in which the leader requests that his followers join him in the Great Hereafter immediately. I mean, when was the last time you saw a mass suicide in honor of Tiki?

Other virulent cults ask their followers to kill innocent people (and themselves in the nonce) for political reasons. What does that lead to? Nut cases flying planes into tall buildings in search of virgins and shade in the Great Hereafter.

So why is Anne the goat judge pontificating about cults? Because druids were listed as a cult in The Heir's Xmas gift book. Right alongside another credible religion, Santeria.

So for the next few days we'll be discussing cults, people who claim to be God, Jesus, or Satan returned to earth, and the followers that buy these claims even though there are so many bored gods sitting out there just begging for a little candle-lit prayer.

We'll meet Reverend Moon, a dude in the Southwest who calls himself Maitreya, and the eager young cadets of Keswick Camp.

We'll also offer some valuable suggestions on how not to have your religion dismissed as a cult. Okay, maybe that one's a no-brainer, but hey. This is Cults for Dummies.

If you're smart, go read someone else's diary.

jk jk jk jk jk

Monday, December 26, 2005

Wake Me Up When It's Over!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Were your farm animals passed over and someone else's used in the big mega-church Christmas pageant? Talk to us about it.

Our downsized deities would be thrilled to feature your mangy donkey in their worship services! They've been scraping by on squirrels and pigeons, maybe the occasional blue jay. They are seriously ready for real hooves and a HEE HAW.

Here at "The Gods Are Bored," we feature a goat judge named Anne whose prized 4-H cloven-hooved herbivores always took feature billing in church plays big and small.

While Anne became mightily tired of church pageants, she's never lost her deep love for goats. Know why? Each goat strives to be an individual, and each church pageant strives to look exactly like last year's.

Maybe it started as far back as 1991, maybe more recently, but Anne began asking herself, "Why am I standing here again, holding a little white candle, while the husband-and-wife tenor/soprano duo sings "O Holy Night" again? That same singing team has presented "O Holy Night" every Christmas Eve since 1987, maybe even longer.

It's like hearing Mick sing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" for the twentieth time, watching him strut across the stage like some geriatric rooster. At some point you say to yourself, "What exactly am I doing here? Why did I rush to fill this pew?"

This cake is stale.

However, on Xmas Eve, Anne found herself in the last pew in the balcony of a posh Methodist church, decked to the plimsol line with poinsettias and aglow with so many candles that the fire marshall must have been having palpitations.

Perhaps on account of their ages and the bizarre nature of Anne's religious paradigm changes, Anne's young daughters still help out at the Methodist church sporadically. Needless to say, they were much in demand as acolytes for the 8:00 service. All the good Christian kids wanted to do the 10:00 service. Because of course everyone knows that Jesus drew his first breath between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on December 24, 0.

To make a long story short, Anne discovered that Xmas Eve services move along much quicker if one falls asleep during "O Come All Ye Faithful" and wakes up to the last strains of "Joy to the World."

Poor Tom Sawyer would have benefitted from such a clue, eh?

However, the daughters were supposed to be deeply engaged in the proceedings, behaving themselves somewhat upon the order of Palace Guards to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

They didn't. At least, The Spare didn't. The Heir is in high school. She just nodded. The Spare is 11. She fidgeted and chatted with the other 2 acolytes (there were 4 in all, reader -- shoved into a pew built for 2).

Somehow, over the din of a brass ensemble, a 100-voice choir (including the two show-stoppers mentioned above), a harpist, and four pastors with mics, someone noticed the acolytes were talking and fidgeting.

Some good Methodist church lady took time out of her busy Xmas Eve schedule to scold The Spare and the other talking acolytes. This church lady told The Spare, "I'm going to have a word with your mother about this. I'm sure she'll punish you!"

Apparently The Spare pointed at the rafters, where a church lady with really good eyesight could see Mama Anne fast asleep and drooling like Homer Simpson with too many Duffs in his maw.

The Spare then botched the Recessional. Exit Anne, Heir, and Spare out a convenient side door, for the much more exciting and uplifting portion of Xmas Eve -- cruising around looking for over-the-top Xmas decorations on houses.

Anne is still waiting for the Conduct Report from the Acolyte Committee of the Stepford United Methodist Church. Golly, why does a watched pot never boil?


Homer Simpson is wholly owned by Matt Groening, whose "Life in Hell" books are a must-have for the truly complete bored god library.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jolly Old Elf

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Have you forgotten to write your Santa letter? You have one more day! Here's mine:

Dear Santa Claus,

I have been very good this year. Well, actually I've been somewhat good. To be very frank, I enjoy being bad now and then. Not in a way that hurts anyone, but in a way that supports the people who grow and manufacture alcoholic beverages. So that counts as good, right?

Okay. Except for occasional over-indulgences in the fermented juice, I've been decent.

Would you please remit the following items:

1. Continued employment for spouse.

2.Continued adequate performance of old putt-putt Ford.

3. More buzzards for my neighborhood. I hardly ever see one around here. I shouldn't have to drive 175 miles to see a buzzard.

4. Please bring more movies based on nineteenth century novels. It's high time for another remake of Wuthering Heights.

5. Please inspire Carl Hiaasen to write another novel featuring the character Skink. I swear I roll on the floor over that guy.

6. Renew The Brini Maxwell Show for a third season.

7. Send Heath Ledger to shovel me out from the next snowstorm.

8. The Fighting Wombat costume is falling apart. Can you give me a new one?

9. A better season for the Michigan Wolverines next fall. You have months and months to prepare for this one, so I expect results!

10. Last but not least, there's yappy dog living in the house that used to belong to the Monkey Man's family. The house borders my yard. Would you please combine my wish for peace and quiet with #3, above?

As always, I will leave virulently spiked egg nog under the tree for you. I understand that last year the entire state of Pennsylvania failed to get presents after you came to my house.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Great Ball of Fire!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We'll be open until midnight to serve you, now through Xmas eve! We've got a great selection of gods and goddesses still in stock, with more arriving every day! So you procrastinators can still get a great god by SUNday morning!

(Sorry, Brini Maxwell model is sold out.)

Gosh, I feel like I need a bullet list to cover all the stuff in this posting!

1. Yesterday I got taken to task by Thor, Freyda, and Wodin for not mentioning them by name as bored gods of the dark months. Sorry, Viking gods, but I am prejudiced against your praise and worship teams who raped and pillaged their way through the British Isles and left those fair-haired, blue-eyed, restless genes behind. So you won't get much press here, ever. Live with it.

2. Victory for Jesus! A federal judge, appointed by our sitting president, delivered a stinging rebuke of Intelligent Design, intended to be precedent-setting! There will be no more talk about how God made the panda's thumb in science class! So how's that a victory for Jesus? Hey, you've gotta have FAITH. And that does not require scientific evidence to back it up. Nor does it require that you use every tactic to transmit it to other people, who may or may not need it.

3. Big fat OOOOOPS from Senator Rick Santorum, junior of Pennsylvania, who steadfastly supported Intelligent Design in biology class ... until this week. Oh well, men are allowed to change their minds, aren't they? Shows flexibility of thinking. Or perhaps the ability to read opinion polls.

4. Victory again for Sedna and Negafook, awesome goddess and god of the Arctic! Even dirty tricks of the most indecent, underhanded sort won't scurry through and open the seismically-sensitive Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling! Many thanks to the ever-awesome senior senator from West (By Gawdess) Virginia for his hand in killing the Arctic drilling rider on the defense budget bill! Robert Byrd Rocks!

5. Amidst bright Yule candles, my dear little tween, The Spare, who's been much put-upon lately by mean girls, arrived at home with two new friends and blasted the house into a whirl of great karma with giggles and goodness!

6. Yuletide carols being sung by a choir? Not. This family gathered for a viewing of the latest episode of The Brini Maxwell Show (Style Network), in which the lovely and talented hostess made crafts and goodies and interior decorations based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Priceless.

7. While adjusting the TiVo to get Brini, who pops up on the screen but the Fighting Wombat mascot leading the Stepford Halloween Parade! Yes, dear readers, on Yule I was a t.v. star. You never know what you're going to see on public access, eh?

Nowhere to go from here but into the light of a brand new day.


Photo credit: Brini Maxwell. San Antonio Star.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you think one is the loneliest number, you've found a home on this page!

Solstice greetings from the many bored gods and goddesses of the Northern Hemisphere!

What's this Christmas stuff? Stonehenge was at least a thousand years old before the Holy Spirit made his little jaunt into the real world.

Today we bring back the light. We celebrate the return of the sun with prayers to Robin, Marion, Orphee and Brighid.

All hail the Gentry of Sidhe, Mother Earth who nourishes us, the Green Man who leads us through the tangled brush, the Lady of the Lake who will guide us to Avalon.

Praise be to Peter Pan and all sprites of eternal youth! (That means you, Dad.)

Praise to the gods and goddesses who walk among us, spreading magic and music. (That means you, Monkey Man.)

Praise to holy Stonehenge, ancient cathedral of mysteries, calendar of the bored gods!

Hark! The herald fairies pun,
Glory to the newborn sun

So might it be.


Thanks to Getty Images for the awesome image.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why I Left the One True Religion

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your eleventh-hour salvation superstore!

Behind on that shopping? Cookie-baking? Card writing? Why do you do all this every year anyway? Ever wonder?

I'm Anne, back from the deep. "Mr. Applegate" is a fine subsitute blogger, but he scares my cats and leaves behind the odor of burning leaves. You can only take so much of that, especially if the leaves smell like oak and not cannabis.

On this Yule Eve, I'm proud to announce that I will be coming out as a druid on December 25. It happens that Christmas and the beginning of Hanukkah (sp?) fall on that date, and our little community is planning a lighting ceremony. What better place to appear, wand in hand, and quietly add yet another little religious curiosity into the mix?

Not that I plan to steal the show or anything. But from now on, in this town, whenever they have an ecumenical religious event of any kind, I will be there in the position of resident druid.

So why, at mid-life, did I deep-six Christianity?

It was like a shoe that never fit my foot. Always.

Even as a kid, I preferred the "legends" of King Arthur, and the Lady of the Lake, and Avalon, and the dragon boats bearing the dead away to Sidhe.

Imagine how excited I was when I discovered that some people consider these stories religion.

When you add the fact that druids were not all priests, but in fact a caste of educated people, the plot thickens. My dad was an educated scientist, a lifelong Christian church attendee, sang on the choir and taught Sunday School for fifty years. But he often told me that the religion felt to him like a shoe that didn't fit.

Even before Dad died, I put on a new pair of slippers that felt better to my feet. And in the process, I assessed the shoe store and found it full to the brim of fascinating products of the Collective Unconscious. Bird deities. Unidentified Flying Objects. Local shrines, Asheras, ayahuasca and peyote, vision quests. OBEs. Psychics who see Uncle Ralph by a stony brook.

Belief in just one religion does seem so "cramped up and smothery sometimes," to quote the inimitable Mark Twain.

So when I use the word "druid," it just means I want to learn more. And maybe hug a few oak trees just to keep up the stereotype.

Far be it from me to challenge you and your faith. Just don't spill anything on my furniture, okay?

Ending with Mark Twain again, I am


Monday, December 19, 2005

Dean's Christmas Poetry

Reggie White Sacks Another Quarterback. A Devout Christian, White Would Not Let His Family Celebrate Christmas, Calling it a Pagan Holiday

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where you can shop online for ideas and laughs. We'll even get them to you by Xmas.

Due to a case of the CHRISTmas blues, Anne has gone AWOL. I've stepped in for her. You can call me "Mr. Applegate." I'm not a bored god, but I sure am burned out. (Pardon the pun.)

Anne went to see "Brokeback Mountain" yesterday. She'll go to anything with "Mountain" in the title. When she came home she looked like she was going to howl at the moon and punch a hole through the wall. Sometimes she'll belly up to a flick that hits too close to home. I know, because she used to be a Christian (a Methodist of all things), and that put her in my praise and worship team.

Now that Anne's not in my praise and worship team anymore, it's none of my business how she conducts her life. Thank goodness. I have enough on my hands. One more unemployed goat judge I do not need.

So, I was rifling through Anne's stuff, and I found some old verses by a long-lost friend of hers, Dean Dauphinais of Detroit, Michigan. Dean and Anne worked together at Goats R Us in Saline, Michigan.

Dean waxed particularly creative at Christmas time. Here are a few of his verses that he put in his home made cards:

Born in a manger
Died on a cross
Never had turkey
And cranberry sauce.

Died on a cross
Born in a manger
Never saw Batman
Or the Lone Ranger.

Anne had this one circled:

Born in a manger
Died on a cross
Never saw quarterbacks
Sacked for a loss.

If my boss finds out about this post, he'll send Reggie White to sack me.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Applegate on Crossing the Borders

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you haven't contacted your senator or congressman yet to save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, please do so Ay-sap!

Hi, I'm Satan, your host at "The Gods Are Bored" while Anne works her way through another Christmas from Hell (pardon the pun).

But, my temper is restored, so you can call me "Mr. Applegate."

The distinguised author Alexis de Tocqueville reminds me that in a democracy, majority rules, and it's clear that a majority of ordinary Americans oppose drilling for oil in Alaska. That majority cannot be bamboozled one and all, and it only takes a few voices to put everyone on the alert.

By the way, did you know that de Tocqueville makes a mean souffle? Of course we have wonderful ovens here.

But I digress. Today's topic is as old as the dawn of Intelligent Design:

Sibling rivalry.

I don't have any siblings. I was created when a small star belched.

From what I've seen of sibling rivalry, however, I'm glad to be an Only God. One need only think of the Civil War, or of the Hummels in Aunt Gladys's Last Will and Testament to recall that siblings will fight over big things and small.

And of course, when it comes to religion, how many siblings see eye to eye? Pick a church. Any church. See if you have every sibling from one family present and accounted for on the designated day for worship.

(That's why the Big Guy likes the Old Order Mennonites so much. They stick together on Sunday like peanut butter and Wonder Bread.)

Here's the rub.

On the mortal side of the coin, siblings can argue about religion, tell each other they're dead wrong (which is of course stupid, because they aren't dead yet), pray that the errant sibling sees the light. The greater the gulf in praise and worship teams, the greater the disdain held by one sib for the other.

Ah, human nature. It needs about 10 million years of extra evolution before it will be palatable.

I just want to warn some of you warring siblings about what happens on the Other Side.

First, my own association: namely, heaven and hell.

People who go to heaven or hell spend several thousand years congratulating themselves that they never have to die again. Then, like clockwork, they suddenly miss the old errant sibling. Trouble is, they find it very difficult to get a visa to go to any other alternate heaven (or hell).

For instance, if you're one of those Left Behind addicts, or you froth at the mouth at the opportunity to play a shepherd in the mega-church Christmas pageant, and your sib is a tree-hugging druid, you - the Left Behinder, are going to give up in frustration before you're allowed a passport to Avalon, even for a week's stay.

Imagine being immortal, and still not being able to cut through red tape. With all the time in the world at your disposal. You wind up weeping over a fruitcake you'll be mailing to let the loved one know how much you miss him or her.

Conversely, many worthy pantheons offer better benefits packages in this regard. You can be reincarnated right alongside a sibling from another life. You can come and go through alternate heavens as you please, getting to know people from all cultures and eras.

Sorta takes the sting out of not being able to die.

It's my experience that denizens of Avalon occasionally visit my satellite office to see an old family member or sibling. Rarely do the visitors linger more than a few days. Inevitably they start feeling claustrophobic and quickly remember that they forgot to feed the unicorn. Off they go, leaving the sibling more miserable than ever.

The moral of the story is this: If your praise and worship team claims to be the Only True Way, use caution. This locks you into an ironclad contract.

Flexibility is essential, while you're alive and after you pass. And if my boss knew about this post, he'd have a hissy fit.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Applegate Quotes the Druids

This is "The Gods Are Bored," and I am the Prince of Darkness.

Forget "Mr. Applegate." I only use that when I'm not pissed to the max.

The ancient druids had a saying. It went like this:

"They create a wasteland and call it progress."

I have an email from the Goddess Sedna. She's sacred to the Native Arctic peoples. It seems the U.S. government has hidden a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling in the defense appropriations budget.

In other words, any senator who votes against saving the Arctic also votes against armoring vehicles for the poor cannon fodder soldiers in Iraq.

Slick, eh? Pardon the pun.

Sedna is absolutely distraught. First comes global warming, and now this. Soon she won't have a praise and worship team, and she'll have to go freelance like I did some time ago. I certainly hope she finds a better species to god for in her next posting.

And it's your loss, "humanity." You Americans especially. Alas, alas for you who waste your money on useless gadgets and fill your guts with Whoppers. You will pay.

My boss might not have Designed you people very Intelligently, but he has some respect for his creation -- all of it. I have an Advance Directive from him received today. To whit:

"Azreal, you slacker, enlarge that big lake of ice at the bottom of your lair and make room for the entire U.S. congress, senate, and leadership. Additionally, prepare some dry ice in which to encase lobbyists for the oil industry."

And this is the Christian god! Mark my word, the Green Man is even angrier. He's mobilizing his forces to blow the Yellowstone caldera. You know what will be Left Behind after that? Cockroaches and those creatures in the deep sea that swim around with bioluminescent lanterns in front of their faces.

Hey, I've seen bioluminescent deep sea fishes that made better use of their environments than you do, "human race." You deserve just what you'll get, which is


Friday, December 16, 2005

Applegate Takes the Reins

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," now officially sanctioned by the premier bored god site on the WWW, namely If you need a god for a specific purpose (saving you from a sinking ship, or catering your next cocktail party, for instance), they have a god for you!

When this dark time of the year arrives, Anne predictably falls into a funk. She even went to Berkeley Springs for a rest cure and was called home early by a family emergency. So I've decided to give her over to fairy protection and write here for awhile.

The fairies know just what to do with Anne. After she plies them with a bottle of wine or two, they let her romp with their darling centaurs. What more could a goat judge want?

Legions and legions of readers have joined this site since last I wrote, so here's the resume in a nutshell:

My name is Lucifer, Azrael, Mephistopheles, Satan, Beelzebub, the devil, Old Scratch, the Dark Angel.

EEeeesh. What an ugly roundup of monikers! Please call me Mr. Applegate. It's user-friendly, and I like that play, "Damn Yankees," even though I'm the bad guy.

When am I ever the good guy? You see the basest fools out there killing kittens and planning murders or terrorist attacks, and they blame it all on me!

Thanks to my employer (who has his own long list of names but is best known as God), my reputation is in ruins. When my contract expires 7,996 years from now, I'll have to go back to school for an advanced degree. Either that or settle for a lesser position, like Titan or Extraterrestrial.

You can't even imagine how expensive tuition is at god school. I've seen it cost three solar systems with active biological planets in order to receive top certification. I haven't got that kind of clout.

Let this be a lesson to you, reader. Always have a lawyer look over a contract for you. Those hidden clauses and vague phrasings will kill ya, even if you're immortal.

Lately I've had a few visits from Pluto. The god Pluto, not the planet or the Disney dog.

Poor Pluto! No one has come his way in 1600 years! He's stuck with the same old faces, the same old stories. He wishes he could trade places with me.

So do I, but his contract runs for a million years. That's a long time to wait for free agency.

Pluto and I come from different pantheons. In his, everyone ended up with him. In mine, most people do.

You might think that's splitting hairs. But there are some important differences.

In my pantheon, people who meet the death penalty, having unburdened themselves of their sins to a proper priest, can go to heaven. In Pluto's pantheon, the wretches have no choice where they go. Nada.

So generally, when you American folks administer those lethal injections, I get poor people, usually minorities, sometimes mentally retarded, sometimes innocent (at least of what they've been killed for), and sometimes so flat-out mean and ornery I have to shut them up in a cave where all they can hear is bland Methodist sermons.

But God gets the ones who repent. Is that fair? The rest of you wretches have to suffer it out on earth, never earning enough to pay your bills, getting sick, growing old, watching your kids screw up, listening to your parents kvetch, worrying and working your fingers to the bone!

While the Ted Bundys wreak havoc, ruin lives, kill wonderful, sweet, innocent people, and then, while strapped to a gurney, ask the Big Guy for forgiveness and get a pleasant release from your accursed vale of tears.

(I had to ask Webster to look up "vale" for me. He's most obliging.)

This whole thing puzzles the daylights out of me and Pluto. We wonder why Americans don't put serial killers into a regime of hard, unrelenting, back-breaking work, and then send them to a cell where they have to listen to other people complain. Let them be the ones who get cancer, AIDS, flesh-eating bacteria.

In the meantime, all those Christians who are so eager not to be Left Behind should just take matters into their own hands and hasten their exits. Why are they sticking around, waiting for cancer or Alzheimers when they can high-tail it to heaven in the prime of life?

Okay, enough philosophy.

Pluto wants all you astronomers out there to know how honored he is that you named a planet after him. He's very angry that you've demoted the planet Sedna to a "post-systemic orbiting object." Pluto likes Sedna, and he's worried about her praise and worship team. More about that tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Greed Creed

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the fairies are fair and the world isn't.

Today we will look at a few rules that apply to that one percent of Americans who control - what is it? - 80, 90 percent of the wealth?

Warning: If you are not one of those people, you cannot follow these rules.

1. If I want it, it's mine.

2. If you have it and I can take it, it's mine.

3. If I had it once and I want it back, it's mine.

4. If I can grab it at any cost to others, it's mine.

5. If I fight for it, you'll lose, and it will be mine.

6. If it was mine once, forever it will be mine.

7. If I see it and like it, it's mine.

8. If you think it's yours, forget it, it's mine.

9. If I want to own you, you're mine.

10. If it has coal, it's a mine.

The fairies added that last one.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Season's Beatings

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we admit to a healthy, ongoing, and ever-increasing detestation of Christmas! Changing the name to Holiday doesn't improve the fact that:

1. This is the darkest time of the year.
2. People spend money they don't have to buy things no one likes.
3. Celtic and Romanic traditions have been completely and jealously usurped, no retreat and no surrender.

So I'm going to find a quiet corner, close my eyes, and save myself.

I see a big old barn. I'm sitting behind it, watching my Nubians roam the pasture. At my feet is Laddie, the collie, his fur knotted in burrs. Uncle Ralph comes round to see what I'm doing and says, "Did you see the kittens in the horse stall?" So I go in, and six darling little kittens are nursing. The mother doesn't care if I pet them.

Aunt Bess is in her vegetable garden, admiring her huge cabbages and bragging about how much kraut she'll be able to put up. Cousin Ronnie is buzzing up and down the road on his dirt bike (aptly named). A buzzard floats by on the breeze.

In this reverie, all the people I loved have come back to life, and the ones I love now are not yet in my sphere. I can climb the mountain without getting short of breath. I help my grandfather fill jugs at the spring and watch him stare into his magnifying scope to fix broken watches.

My grandmother cuts fresh flowers from her garden and comes in with an apron full of tomatoes.

Eyes wide open.

Yesterday waded through a foot of snow to put Dollar Store poinsettias on their graves. I'm glad they didn't live to see online shopping, "organic" food that doesn't have insect holes or spots on it, watches that run on batteries and computers, a goat pasture grown over with locust trees, a neglected barn falling to bits.

The farm will be sold and subdivided. Rich baby boomers will buy plots and build homes. Brave commuters willing to spend 3 hours a day in their SUVs will follow.

Bored gods, get me through these dark days.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

PDQ - The Gods Are Bored

Position Description Questionnaire

Name of position: Editor in chief, "The Gods Are Bored."

Purpose of position: To assess, define, and examine deities. To weigh deities in the balance and find them worthy of praise and worship teams, or insufficient for religious devotion. To determine the eligibility of laid-off deities for reinstatement, given the requirement that they not join a union.

Necessary tools for position: A computer, a magic wand, a valid email address, vulture feathers, and eyeglasses.

Briefly describe your duties: As above, commenting on ancient and modern gods and goddesses, filtering observations through a pyramid of current events of a personal, global, and national nature.

Briefly describe your special talents for this position: Ability to see the humor in most, but admittedly not all, dark situations. Propensity to pray about dark situations that possess no humor. Typing = 70 words per minute. Knowledge of internet, Microsoft Office programs, goat breeding and hygiene.

Briefly state how you might improve yourself and hence your ability to perform duties: I could eat more vegetables.

Briefly state your education and how it pertains to the position: Graduated from Billy Bob Agricultural University, degree in animal husbandry, specializing in goats. Significant post-graduate experience as goat judge and observer of water fairies in West Virginia. Some credentials do not apply to position, others add a bias to assessments. But please don't fire me!

Are you now, or have you ever, been solicited to join a union? Sadly, no.

Are you now, or have you ever, been a member of a mainstream Christian church? Sadly, yes.

Any health difficulties we should be aware of: Allergy to poison ivy, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Are you now, or have you ever, sought medical help for these health problems? Sadly, no.

If this position involves travel, are you willing to spend your own money to undertake it? Isn't that the way things work today? Alas, yes.

Are you willing to work as much and as long as your duties require, or do you adhere to a 40-hour work week? What's a 40-hour work week? This isn't Sweden.

Summarize your mission with this company: I feel that, far from being a one-shot deal, god-wise, the Other Side offers a vast cornucopia of deities and their heavens, and that a smart individual optimizes his or her chances of hitting at least one heaven by showering numerous heavens with resumes.

Expect layoffs, salary cuts, and increased work load.
Of course. It's the New American Way.

Respectfully submitted this 6th day of December, 2005,


Monday, December 05, 2005

Can Bored Gods Reform?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your daily dose of positive, proactive, polytheism! Welcome back, Thunderbirds! Long may you reign!

I am flabbergasted. My sister (the one starring in her mega-church Christmas pageant, rising from a fog machine all clad in gold) actually sent me three vulture feathers for my magic wand! How's them apples? I just knew her interest in Native American flutes would bend her mind.

To other news: A Christian psychic is like Martha Stewart without a glue gun. Like Bob Villa without a hammer. Like Paris Hilton all the time.

The psychic would not take myself and spouse to the haunted house. She said the spirits were too powerful, that I might take one home and it would haunt us.

As if!

Some badass spirit walks into my abode, first thing he sees is an altar to Queen Brighid the Bright, directly behind a protective fairy ball (done up for the holidays), graced with a magic wand oh so recently empowered with Thunderbird feathers. We druids know how to keep these nasty wretches from the Other Side off our backs.

And if none of the above work, fairies are bullish about being the only ones able to mess with a house.

Today, though, a question. The psychic said she was visited by an Ancient One named Seth. After consulting my third-grade Bible and the incomparable Godchecker ( I identify this entity as one of two possible candidates:

1. Set, a truly whopper of a badass from the ancient Egyptian pantheon, universally detested in their heaven and among the people and sacred kitty cats.

2. Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. Genesis 4.

The psychic said that "Seth" told her he'd once been a badass, but now he's reformed, he's working for The Light. By which I guess she means Father Yahweh and his Intelligent Design for the Universe.

I've seen some tough characters reform so thoroughly that they became completely boring. But can gods reform? Especially one who still has a praise and worship team, Satanic in nature?

I strongly cautioned the psychic to watch her step with "Seth." Unless, of course, he's really the progeny of Adam and Eve, in which case he's her sainted ancestor.

I am interested in your opinion on this. Can gods reform? Can they take honest assessment of their past behavior and promptly join a celestial Twelve-Step program?

You could make a case that Yahweh did it as Jesus. I've hardly ever seen a father and son more different, unless the son was adopted.

Sorry for the big build-up yesterday. I was totally prepared for that haunted house, with two Civil War ancestors and one Underground Railroad ancestor at my back. I think the Underground Railroad guy was the most disappointed, because the psychic said she thinks the spirits were slave traders.

Hope she'll invite us to try another time. I'd love to see my Pennsylvania ancestor lay a butt-kicking on some lowlife trash spirits who are bursting light bulbs in an old lady's house.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

True Story

Today my beloved and I are driving to Maryland to visit a haunted house.

This is absolutely true. I never create fiction on this site.

A psychic is going with us. She invited us. She's been there before, and she says the ghosts are really fierce. She says my beloved and I should steer clear of the basement.

The psychic is a Christian. I think she can feel the ghosts but doesn't know how to handle them. I think she's using the wrong set of protocols. I'll try to help her establish a different paradigm without seeming to interfere.

I've seen ghosts in my time. Reality is far scarier.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Help! I Need A REAL JOB

Oh no! Not you again! Go away! I can't bear to look at you! Don't speak! Tell someone else. Someone with guts and ambition!

Yes, it's the beginning of Yule month, and the Delphic Oracle brings dire predictions of more job loss to the Johnson household. So, like steadfast, godly Odysseus, we will plug our ears with wax and JUST NOT LISTEN.

There's no navel-gazing allowed on this blog. We're all about Big Ideas, The Only True Religion (several of them), and finding where the fairies hide our eyeglasses.

December's big topics will include:

The Knights Templar and the Catholic Church: A Tale of Greed, Betrayal, and Martrydom. (And the Holy Grail)

It's an Ebenezer World: A Meditation on Dickens' Christmas Carol.

Ah, Those Fabulous Mega-Church Pageants! Christ as Entertainment!

Making It through Yule without Killing Yourself or Others

Last, but not least, My Budding Friendship with the Monkey Man and His Monkey! (Eccentrics can't help but be drawn to one another, eh?)


PS - If you enjoy this artwork, thank a gay artist!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pack Your Bags, Virgil!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the absurd never fails to lift the deepest depression!

This just in: The pope is going to deep-six Limbo.

We're not talking about that silly dance where you shimmy under a stick. That's the "limbo rock." We're talking about the Big L, where unbaptized babies go, and where the poet Dante saw so many worthy individuals who had the bad luck to be born before Jesus. Including Virgil, pictured above. I think he's the one with dreadlocks.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dante's Inferno, that's Canto IV.

Just before he descends into Hell, Dante comes to a place (not a happy one) wherein all the good folks reside who were born before Year 1 A.D. It's a busy place. Just the ancient Romans and Greeks alone would fill the University of Michigan football stadium. And we haven't even started on the Native Americans, Africans, Indians, Russians, Mongols, and Fiji Islanders born before 1.

Hey, Pope Rat! Where are all these folks going to find lodging? Do you know how expensive apartments are these days? Even if you share with five other Romans, you're going to need some cash!

Seriously, Mr. Pope. Won't you be embarrassed when Virgil can't pay his electric bill, when his telephone goes dead, and when the landlord won't fix the broken toilet because the rent is in arrears? And what about when that eviction notice gets posted up on the door? Shameful to think of great ancient poets made homeless by a careless pope.

And the babies. The babies! What happens to all the babies who were born but died before they were baptized? Do they come around again? Oooops! That smacks of Buddhism. Does Jesus accept them despite the drip-drop of holy water on the little bald heads? Okay, then why can't Jesus let Virgil through the door?

Wow. I am completely confounded by this piece of news. Thank goodness, because otherwise the day was dark indeed.

(Shhhh! I think all those unbaptized babies are in Sidhe, hiding out as pixies. But don't tell Pope Rat. He'll burn you at the stake.)